Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Lucy
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Heaven is for Real
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic material including some medical situations
Release Date:
April 16, 2014

And So It Goes
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Sabotage
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

Wish I Was Here
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

Transcendence
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

Interview: Dan Cohen of “Alive Inside”

posted by Nell Minow

Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases.  He is featured in the documentary “Alive Inside.” He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides resources to help bring these programs to people with dementia.

How did you get started playing personal music for nursing home residents?

I’m a social worker by training. In 2006 I heard a journalist on the radio talking about how Ipods are everywhere. I Googled “Ipod in nursing homes” and even though there were 16,000 nursing homes in the US I couldn’t find one that was using Ipods for their residents. So I called up a nearby county-owned nursing home, and I said, “I know music is already your number one activity, you have live music, you play recorded music but what would be the added value if we were to totally personalize the music? And they said, “Sure.” So I sent them a laptop and some Ipods for the residence.

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How do you personalize music for somebody who has lost so much memory that they can’t tell you a lot about who they are?

They can tell you nothing about who they are or what they like. So this is where if the family is available, we’ll speak to family. We’ll speak to friends, whoever is visiting. What did they listen to when they were young? Did they sing in choirs? Did they go to musicals? Did they play an instrument? Are there old records sitting in storage somewhere that we could look at? We really try to discover what that might be. We try for music from when they were young then we watch for their reaction to the songs. So build out a list based on their reaction to the songs.

Is it very important to personalize it to the individual’s experience?

That is exactly what is special about it, so back to Dr. Allen Power, who wrote Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care. He’s a geriatrician and a leader on how things should be in the nursing homes. He says that the typical nursing home facility is playing that 50s songs and it just becomes background noise. For the rest of us, everybody has their devices, and what do we put on? We put on what we really want to hear and that’s what we listen to.

We have that ability but these folks in nursing home are in like a digital isolation from the modern age and of course it takes technology to make this happen. But with music that is personalized, if somebody has advanced dementia and they can’t recognize their own family members and they can’t speak, if you give them music that has personal meaning for them they will awaken. Even with Alzheimers where you have short term cognition that is seriously degraded, your emotional system is very much intact. So you can say to somebody. “I’m here this is your daughter” and they do not react. But once you put on something, “God bless America,” Frank Sinatra or whatever, they will awaken literally as Henry did in the movie and start reminiscing and start being more social instead of just being in a slump and non-verbal.

One woman seems to indicate that the music connects her to memories she cannot access without it.

As you could see she had a lot of angst and it was really difficult to get through the day, and so this just allowed her to be herself, enjoy herself and that was huge for her. And that’s a massive benefit. That really changes their day. And it changes the way they interact with the family.

What kind of neurological research is being done on this kind of therapy?

There have been hundreds of studies over the last 50 years. Most of them have a really small sample size but the one study that I base this on, one piece of it, is research by Linda Gerdner on the impact of individualized music to reduce agitation. And it was so good; her research said that every one of the 16,000 nursing homes in New York should be using individualized music to reduce these agitations. But there is no money behind it, no requirement to do it so how do you do this anyway?

Dr. Concetta M. Tomaino who co-founded the institute for music and neurological research with Oliver Sacks, was with the New York State Department of Health funding in the 90s that did research on working on individuals with late stage dementia and playing music that personally related to them for an hour three days a week and repeated this three hour routine for 10 months. And after 10 months, these folks scored 25 percent better on the cognitive test. And then the neurologists who are brought in to assess by looking at these folks, how advanced the dementia was, they were unable to accurately assess how advanced the dementia was because these folks were uncharacteristically awake and alert instead of just head-down slumping.

If somebody came up with a pill and said, “After 10 months of taking this pill, your mom’s cognition is going to improve on average by 50 percent” well, it would be a multibillion-dollar blockbuster and every doctor would be prescribing it and every family would say, “I want it.” But because it’s not coming in the form of a pill, and we have medicalized our society, we are very much left with just word-of-mouth. We now have about 16,000 nursing homes and it’s just the living and hospice and home care and hospitals adult day care all using this in 45 states in eight countries. And then they see their benefits and then they tell everyone else in the community and that is how it this thing spreads because they are seeing it work.

Wisconsin rolled out 100 nursing homes with this six months ago. They are doing an 18 month study with 1500 residents with dementia. While they are waiting for their final results from this 18 month study, they already got funding approved to roll out a phase two, 150 nursing homes.

Have you been surprised at all by some of the musical choices that have had the biggest impact?

It really runs the gamut. It could be something their mom listened to when they were young and it was her song from the old country. Even though two people could be very similar in age, religion, culture and they have some overlap as a result of that, every playlist is like a fingerprint. That’s the hardest part sometimes to find that. But once you have that, you have it for this individual for the rest of your life and it will change their experience and the experience of their caregivers. My recommendation is to train all these nursing homes to have as large a playlist as possible no matter how advanced the dementia is.

Contest: “Lullaby” — Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund

posted by Nell Minow

Copyright 2014 ARC EntertainmentGarrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and “Downton Abbey’s” Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan’s sister.

I have two copies of the DVD to give away. To enter, send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Lullaby in the subject line and tell me your favorite movie family. Don’t forget your address! I’ll pick a winner at random on Augut 4, 2014.

And don’t forget you still have a few more days to enter the “Earth to Echo” contests for the GoPro camera and Echo plushie.

Comic-Con 2014: Day One

posted by Nell Minow
copyright Nell Minow 2014

copyright Nell Minow 2014

Here’s what’s at Comic-Con, which means here’s what’s coming everywhere else: affordable 3D printers with hand-held scanners that transmit 360 degree images to your tablet or laptop instantly. GoPro cameras. Google glasses. Even Oculus Rift, the totally immersive virtual reality headset invented by a teenager and sold for $2 billion that is said to be a literal game-changer (its first commercial use will be in gaming) and could change everything from movies and television to medical imaging.

And, once again, even more fan involvement in everything, the line between creator and consumer of content almost dissolving completely. When you have your photo taken with an alien chasing you, you don’t just get a print-out. You are directed to a console so you can post it to all of your social media. The new Ships of the Line Star Trek calendar will have fan art as well as the official renderings. And the new USA television miniseries from “Heroes” helmer Tim Kring, “Dig,” starring Jason Isaacs, has a virtual scavenger hunt set up at Comic-Con. If you discover the rune-like symbol they have hidden all over the area, you post a photo to Snapchat with their hashtag, you can win a chance to chat with someone from the show.  And you can see prequel footage and engage with the writers via Wattpad.

I attended a press event featuring the people behind the new “Madagascar” animated series spin-off, “Penguins of Madagascar,” including writers/directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith (reuniting for the first time since “Antz”), Tom McGrath (director of the earlier films and voice of Skipper) and John Malkovich, who provides the voice of the villain, an evil octopus.  The film also features Benedict Cumberbatch as a dashing, James Bond-style secret agent.  It takes place just after the end of the last film (not the television series), as the penguins need some rest after the excitement of the circus adventure.  “What starts as a birthday romp turns into a world tour.”  Like the Bond films, they wanted to have a series of exciting locations.

McGrath says he always envisioned Robert Stack as the voice of Skipper, and tries to channel him when he performs the part.  I asked Malkovich what was fun about playing a bad guy.  He said that “this one is quite fun because he seems happy, he’s lazy, not particularly profound or remorseful, and that’s always a pleasure.”

“Dig” looks very impressive, and the chase scenes they showed us from the first episode really highlighted the locations in Jerusalem.  (They will continue filming in New Mexico.)  Isaac said he took the part because “I get to run around and pretend to be cooler, tougher, sexier, and smarter than I am.”  Anne Heche plays his boss (and sometimes more).  “We wanted to make it cinematic, multi-layered, epic,” said the cinematographer.  They used a 90-year-old lens to “embrace the golden light” in Jerusalem, and an up-to-the-minute lens for the “calmer, cooler, beautifully crisp” light of Norway to achieve the maximum contrast.  Because it is a limited “event” series, they know where it is going to end from the beginning, no “art of the stall.”  They warned us that no one in the series is what he or she seems and that we should “look out for the color red,” which is almost another character in the story.

Remembering the Vietnam War: 10 Movies

posted by Nell Minow

gardens of stoneAs we observe the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam, here are ten of the best of the movie and documentary depictions of the war and its impact on history and culture in the United States. The best-known films about Vietnam include “Apocalypse Now,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “Platoon,” “The Deer Hunter,” “Coming Home,” “Good Morning Vietnam.” But over 2000 films have touched on or portrayed the Vietnam war and there are sure to be many more to come as we continue to grapple with the strong feelings about the conflict. These are others I think are well worth watching.

1. We Were Soldiers The very first U.S. military involvement in Vietnam is explored in this somber portrayal of military honor and politicians’ hubris.

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2. Gardens of Stone James Caan and James Earl Jones star in this poignant story of the war at home and in Southeast Asia, focusing on the Arlington Cemetery’s “Old Guard.”

3. Hearts and Minds This documentary was made in 1974 so it is as much an artifact of its time as it is an accurate depiction of events as we have come to understand them.  But it is a powerful film with some important footage of the era.

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4. China Beach This beautifully acted television series is a rare look at the war through the eyes of women.

5. Hamburger Hill The story of the 101st Airborne’s attempt to take a single hill in one of the most brutal engagements of the war stars Dylan McDermott and Don Cheadle.

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6. Born on the Fourth of July Tom Cruise plays Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, who became an anti-war protester after he returned.

7. Little Dieter needs to Fly Werner Herzog made a documentary about a German immigrant fell in love with planes and became an American naval pilot in the Vietnam War, where he was captured and then escaped, and then made it again as a feature film called Rescue Dawn with Christian Bale.

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8. Vietnam – A Television History The PBS series about the Vietnam war has been re-edited and updated. It is still a thoughtful, balanced history of the conflict and its context.

9. In Country Bruce Willis stars in the story of a girl who wants to find out what happened to her father, who never returned from Vietnam.

10: Remembering Vietnam: The Wall at 25 Maya Lin’s memorial to the Americans who died in Vietnam is one of the most powerful spaces in Washington D.C. Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs was determined to build a Vietnam memorial. Maya Lin was the Yale undergraduate whose etched granite memorial was selected by the judges but was considered insulting by some in the veteran community. The site has become a place for thousands of visitors to pay their respects. Many of them leave tokens with deep personal connections, and that is now a part of the memorial as well.

Previous Posts

Interview: Dan Cohen of "Alive Inside"
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases.  He is featured in the documentary "Alive Inside." He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides resources to help bring these programs to peopl

posted 8:00:36am Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Contest: "Lullaby" -- Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund
Garrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and "Downton Abbey's" Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan's sister. I have two copies of the DVD to give

posted 3:50:33pm Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day One
Here's what's at Comic-Con, which means here's what's coming everywhere else: affordable 3D printers with hand-held scanners that transmit 360 degree images to your tablet or laptop instantly. GoPro

posted 11:08:17am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Remembering the Vietnam War: 10 Movies
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam, here are ten of the best of the movie and documentary depictions of the war and its impact on history and culture in the United States. The best-known films about Vietnam include "Apocalypse Now," "Full Metal Jacket," "Platoon," "The Deer Hun

posted 8:00:34am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Lucy
I always enjoy Luc Besson's stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem.  While

posted 6:00:51pm Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »


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