Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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Tusk
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

The Fault in Our Stars
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
Release Date:
June 6, 2014

This is Where I Leave You
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

Think Like a Man Too
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Release Date:
June 20, 2014

The Maze Runner
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

Godzilla
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Release Date:
May 16, 2014

Dennis Lim on Movie Fight Scenes

posted by Nell Minow

Anything Dennis Lim writes about movies reflects his exceptional knowledge and insight and is a pleasure to read. His latest piece is about the way fight scenes are staged in movies is terrific — and his insights are accompanied by the film clips that illustrate his points. matrix.jpgFrom a stunning fight between Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck in 1958′s “The Big Country” to “Died Hard,” “Raging Bull,” and “The Matrix,” Lim points out the how the way the fight is shot and edited can convey as wide a range of emotion, character, and plot as the dialogue.
I really like his description of the way that styles in the editing fight scenes have changed over the decades, partly as a result of technology advances that made quicker cuts and shakier, more close-in cameras possible.
Walter Murch, the venerable film editor reflects on how effective cutting keeps audiences grounded as one shot, often imperceptibly, becomes another. The trick is to determine where the viewer’s attention is trained in a particular shot and to cut to a shot that contains a focal point in the same area of the frame. But there is at least one major exception to this rule: the fight scene. “You actually want an element of disorientation–that’s what makes it exciting,” Murch says of his approach to splicing together a fight. “So you put the focus of interest somewhere else, jarringly, and you cut at unexpected moments. You make a tossed salad of it, you abuse the audience’s attention.”
Attention abuse is certainly one way to describe the on-screen tumult that is by now a summer multiplex ritual and that increasingly suggests even more aggressive terms than Murch’s. (Try pureed instead of tossed.)
And what a great description of the influence of the Hong Kong films and of the period when two-men fights briefly were eclipsed by bigger bangs:
Yet ’90s action cinema is a wasteland when it comes to fight scenes. Most of these frat-metal spectaculars, obsessed with scale and volume, were too busy detonating asteroids and dropping fireballs on major metropolitan areas to bother with anything quite as puny as one-on-one combat.
Until “The Matrix” came along, that is.
Here were fights (choreographed by martial-arts veteran Yuen Wo-ping) that defied time and space. CGI was not new, but The Matrix introduced the sense that anything is possible and, what’s more, could be conjured from nothing. The way you feel about most contemporary movies–and their fight scenes–probably depends on whether you find that prospect thrilling or alarming.

Interview: Christine Frisbee on Healthy Siblings of Disabled Kids

posted by Nell Minow

The healthy siblings of disabled or sick children are often “the forgotten ones” as understandably pre-occupied parents devote their attention to the child whose needs seem most pressing. Author Christine Frisbee lets these siblings tell their own stories in Day By Day, Children tell their journeys of faith and determination living with a sick sister or brother. The book shows how siblings of seriously ill or challenged children can learn to embrace the challenges of their exceptional situation, ultimately allowing them to transform into strong, spiritual, and caring people and gives parents some resources for making sure that these children do not feel neglected or guilty. I interviewed Ms. Frisbee via email.

What can parents do to make the sibling who is not disabled feel that he or she deserves time and attention?

Although it is easy to think that everyone in the family is adjusted to having a sick child in the family, often the siblings are quietly coping. The reason they are quiet is because they do not want to make the issues worse or make their parents feel more overwhelmed than they sometimes can.

Therefore the best thing to do is to talk about the sibling’s feelings and make sure that they know you, as a parent, have their best interests at stake too. Spend separate time with the children who are not disabled and tell them you appreciate their patience and help every day. Explain that just because you need to give so much attention to the disabled child does not mean that you care about them any less, but that you admire and respect their help and love.

Is “Survivor Guilt” a problem?

It is a fact that survivor guilt is a big problem in families. Children are very happy that they are not the one to have the disability or serious illness, but with that said, they also feel very guilty that they are the one who continues with a more normal life. Neither child understands why illness came to one of them and not the other.

Do the siblings sometimes act out to get more attention? Do they wish they were sick or disabled?

It is extremely common for siblings to act out when they have a sick sister or brother. They sometimes do not realize how much they are misbehaving. Often they know they are acting out and continue because they are angry about the misbalance of attention within the family. When they see their sick sibling getting more attention they wonder if it is worth it to have something happen to them so they get more attention, compassion and gifts from friends and relatives who want the sick child to feel better.

Comic-Con 2008, Part 3 (Igor, On The Bubble, and Joss Whedon’s Latest)

posted by Nell Minow
  • I had a private interview with Chris McKenna, screenwriter of an animated release due out this fall called “Igor.” It is the story of a hunchbacked lab assistant to an evil scientist who wants to be more. Voice talent for the film includes Jon Cusack as Igor, John Cleese as the scientist he works for, Eddie Izzard as the villain, and Molly Shannon as the Bride-of-Frankenstein-like creature they create. Here is the adorable trailer:

  • “We cooked up a really fun story with a great character,” McKenna told me. “Everyone knows him but no one really knows him. He’s lurking in the shadow. But he has his own hopes and dreams, aspirations. Is everyone born with a hunch named Igor and forced to become a lab assistant? Setting up the world was the biggest challenge. What do we need to tell the audience? How do we tell the story in an interesting way, balancing all you need to know to understand this world with all you need to know to get involved with the characters and connect to the story? Igor lives in a world where the biggest stars are the evil scientists, they’re the rock stars, all he wanted to be, his role model, but that’s impossible. He had a hunch and was forced to serve. But he needs to create.”

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  • Producers of comics, movies, music, games, magazines, and other media “content” were not the only ones trying to get the attention of Comic-Con attendees. Advertisers are very eager to find out how to reach audiences who are able to skip radio and television commercials and are increasingly resistant to traditional forms of marketing. I was very interested that a session on a new web-based comedy series called On the Bubble led off not with one of the producers, writers, or performers but with a brand specialist. The people who created the show said that they loved the creative freedom of not having to deal with a television network (“They always have notes.”) The Sierra Mist representative said, “Comedy is the way we reach you.” They will not do anything as obvious as product placement, going instead for “deeper engagement value” through added content, message boards, and other new media.
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  • Another of my favorite sessions at Comic-Con was the “Quick Draw,” with Pulitzer Prize–winner Mike Peters, MAD artist Sergio Aragonés, and veteran of Hanna Barbera and many other animation projects Scott Shaw! (yes, that exclamation point is part of his name). Comic-Con all-star Mark Evanier took devilish pleasure in tossing out all kinds of crazy ideas for them to respond to as the audience watched them draw via overhead projector on huge screens. One of Evanier’s challenges was that he would unexpectedly say to Aragons, “Sergio, don’t do that!” and Aragonés would have to do an instant cartoon with that as the caption. Other ideas included “Why an elephant should not be allowed at Comic-Con” (hint: he doesn’t look too good in a Batman costume). And Evanier had Shaw! do from memory sketches of 50 different Hanna Barbera characters, from Scooby-Doo to Rosie the robot maid on “The Jetsons” and Tennessee Tuxedo, Touché Turtle, and Betty Rubble. I was fascinated by the way they all were able to think ahead and draw like they were telling a joke — saving the punchline part of the picture for the end. And all of the drawings were sold to raise money for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
  • The panel discussion about “Dollhouse,” the new television show from Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly”), began with Tahmoh Penikett (“Battlestar Galactica”) taking a photo of the crowd. “Smile everyone!” he said. Whedon watched him, amused. “This is his first experience with science fiction.”
  • Star Eliza Dushku explained that her new series began when she was was complaining to Whedon about not being given a chance to show all of the range of characters she could do. “Staring into the eyes of the woman, seeing all of the things she could be, I realized I’d have to do it,” Whedon said. “So, I created a girl who has every personality in the world except her own.” The result was the new series with Dushku as Echo, one of a group of men and women who are imprinted with different personalities for different assignments. Dushku talked about what she loved about Whedon’s scripts. “He makes the words pretty on the page, fully puts me at ease and challenges me at the same times. The characters have feist, fury, some funny. He’s like a career brassiere!” Whedon said he liked Dushku because she is “good with pain and being crazy and also acting.”

    A questioner noted that there are already web sites dedicated to saving the show and it has not started yet. “The enthusiasm I love, the wariness is earned, but this is not a niche show,” Whedon promised.

If you’ve read through to the very end, you are really a fan! The first person to send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with the word Comic-Con in the subject line will get some small knick-knacks I was given there.

Comic-Con 2008, Part 2 (Spaced, MAD, and Lynda Barry)

posted by Nell Minow

More highlights, observations and pictures from Comic-Con 2008
Most of the presenters mentioned that their name cards had a cautionary note on the back reminding them that they should be careful about what they said because there would likely be children in the audience. And then they ignored it. If there is an overall theme of Comic-Con it is, as Jack Black said in “School of Rock,” sticking it to The Man. Even if The Man is Comic-Con itself.
Like connoisseurs of all kinds, whether wine, art, movies (we should say “cinema”), or sports, there is a specialized and a little pretentious vocabulary for talking about comics. I heard a lot of great terms, including “orchestral” and “meta-paneled.” IMG_5828.JPG
In addition to the people listed previously and below, Comic-Con appearances included Deepak Chopra, Paris Hilton, Triumph the insulting dog puppet, Robert Culp and William Katt of “The Greatest American Hero,” Dan Ackroyd (there’s a new “Ghostbusters” computer game), the new Aston Martin from the forthcoming James Bond movie, and cast members from “Lost,” “Chuck,” “Knight Rider,” the new HBO vampire series “True Blood,” created by Alan Ball of “Six Feet Under” and “American Beauty,” and, speaking of vampires, the much-anticipated upcoming film, “Twilight.”
I hardly think that coming as Silent Bob qualifies as a costume. Same with Hancock. But for some very impressive costumes, you can see my photos here. And I also wrote a piece for the Association of Women Film Journalists about Comic-Con posted on their site.

  • I interviewed Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Jessica Stevenson about the DVD release of their first project together, a British television show called Spaced. Wright and Pegg went on to make “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” and Pegg will play Scotty in the new film version of “Star Trek.” Jen Chaney of The Washington Post reported that they were actually filming, too — “Daytrippers” director Greg Mottola is making a movie featuring Pegg and frequent co-star Nick Frost that begins and ends at Comic-Con.
    Wright spoke about his American influences, including “Arrested Development,” the plotting of “Seinfeld,” “Flight of the Conchords,” and “The Larry Sanders Show.” “‘Larry Sanders’ was not all that popular but it was one of the most influential series. It led directly to the UK ‘The Office.’ And we wanted to make an associative, clever, original comedy show like ‘Arrested Development.’” They were also influenced by the British sit-com “The Young Ones.” “It changed the lives of the people of our generation. It spoke to us so personally. It was punk for comedy. It helped give us permission to share experiences like our lives. Like us, the characters sat around, procrastinated, played PlayStation, smoked weed, and had adventures. It was a message for the geek community throughout the world: ‘We are taking over the world.’”
    Wright also described getting the commentary tracks together for the DVD. “It all came together at the last minute and we did it all in one day in LA. Kevin Smith, Diablo Cody, Matt Stone, and Quentin Tarantino did it all for free, driving themselves. I did have to get Kevin Smith out of bed, though.”
    Stevenson talked about her “strong and unique female character. She is different but equal to the male. She’s not intended to be any sort of archetype of stereotype — just an original and authentic character and that was the interesting perspective and because I am female it was strong. The fan base is equally strong in both genders,” she noted. ” That is because it is not escaping into a fantasy world of no gender boundaries; it’s a real world of real people.”
  • Swamp_Thing_v.2_6.jpgOne of the highlights of a panel discussion on comics in the 1970′s was the raucous recollections of the struggles with the censors. Like the movies, comics had been subject to a code that covered (literally in some cases) what could be depicted. Bernie Wrightson recalled that after six issues of “Swamp Thing,” the censors noticed that he wasn’t wearing any pants. Wrightson explained that (a) no one had objected in the first six issues, (b) this was a creature who emerged from the swamp, where pants are not easily obtained, and (c) he is a plant.
    IMG_5860.JPGAnother great panel was the reminiscences from the MAD Magazine editor and staff about their experiences in the 1960′s. They had especially fond memories of the annual vacation trips the staff would take together to locations all over the world. One year, they went to Haiti and found out ahead of time that MAD had only one subscriber on the island, an American teenager. The entire staff went over to his house and rang the doorbell to ask him to renew.
  • It was fun to run into the crew from Rotten Tomatoes — here interviewing Bender the robot from “Futurama”

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