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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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New in Theaters
  New to DVD

The Age of Adaline
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Release Date:
April 24, 2015

 

Cake
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Release Date:
January 24, 2015

The Water Diviner
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Release Date:
April 24, 2015

 

Big Eyes
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

Monkey Kingdom
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

 

Wild
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

New in Theaters

grade:
B

The Age of Adaline

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Release Date:
April 24, 2015
grade:
B-

The Water Diviner

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Release Date:
April 24, 2015
grade:
B+

Monkey Kingdom

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Cake

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Release Date:
January 24, 2015
grade:
B+

Big Eyes

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014
grade:
B+

Wild

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

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Beliefnet Movie Highlights: Movie Underdogs

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to check out Kris Rasmussen’s great gallery on the top Hollywood underdogs (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). She includes some of my favorite movies, like “October Sky” and “Babe.” Some of my other favorite movie underdogs are the kids in “The Sandlot” and the teams in “Hoosiers,” “Bull Durham,” and “Miracle.”

Crossing Over

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, some strong violence and sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:February 27, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some strong violence and sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: February 27, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2009

A well-intentioned but ham-handed exploration of U.S. immigration policies, this movie’s message is undermined by its cardboard characters and clunky script. Like “Babel” and “Crash” it is a multi-story exploration of one theme, but it is formulaic and uninvolving.

It starts off badly as one character says to Max Brogan, the immigration cop played by Harrison Ford, “must you always be the humanitarian?” And just in case we don’t get it immediately that the immigration defense lawyer played by Ashley Judd is close to sainthood when she is introduced on screen hugging a little African girl and worrying that if she is not placed soon she will lose her native language, Judd wears a necklace with a charm in the shape of Africa to make it clear where her loyalties are.

The movie unspools as though it had been laid out on a grid. On one side, we have the worthy immigrants who want to stay in the United States. On the other we have the evil or unfeeling bureaucrats who want to send them home. Brogan’s partner is a naturalized citizen from Iran (New Zealand’s Cliff Curtis, in one of the film’s best performances) whose father is about to become the last member of the family to be naturalized. The two Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (with huge ICE letters on their jackets) conduct raids on sweatshops to round up illegal immigrants. But the soft-hearted “humanitarian” Brogan cannot help getting involved. When one beautiful young woman pleads with him to make sure her son is all right, he literally cannot sleep until he tracks down the boy and delivers him to his grandparents in Tijuana.

The movie’s points are hit with a sledgehammer and the dialogue is almost as overweighted. Each character is a symbol with only one presenting characteristic. Slimy: predatory judge who insists on sexual favors in exchange for a green card. Misguided: Korean kid about to be naturalized who thinks that he has to be in a gang to get along in America. Even more tragically misguided: long, awkward conversations and confrontations in impossible circumstances, like a murder accusation in the middle of a naturalization ceremony. This is a serious and often tragic issue but the sincerity of the film’s good intentions cannot make it successful as a movie or as advocacy.

Fired Up

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, partial nudity, language and some teen partying
Movie Release Date:February 20, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, partial nudity, language and some teen partying
Movie Release Date: February 20, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2009

Yes, this is a dumb little teen sex comedy that repeatedly tries to generate hilarity with a cheer involving the initials of its title. Yes, it spends a lot of camera time focusing on tight little shorts on tight little tushes. Yes, it tries for the best of both worlds by presenting us with heroes who are major playas for most of the film with some lessons learned and spiritually enlarging experiences just in time for (and during) the closing credits. Yes, the high school junior heroes are played by actors who are at least a decade older than their characters. But as dumb little teen sex comedies go, this one could have been a lot worse.
Shawn (Nicholas D’Agosto) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) have just one goal — to get with as many lovely young ladies as possible as frequently as possible. Very effective singly, they are all but unstoppable with each other as wingmen. When it is time to go to El Paso for football training camp, they decide that rather than go to hot, dry, girl-free Texas they will instead go where the girls are, cheerleading camp. Though the camp is three weeks long, they plan to leave early to spend time at a friend’s vacation home.
fired-up-1.jpg
Carly (Sarah Roemer), the captain of the cheerleaders, is a very attractive girl who is unprecedentedly impervious to Nick’s charm (and also impervious to the obnoxiousness of her pretentious boyfriend). Shawn does very well with the cheerleaders but increasingly finds himself attracted to the co-cheerleader coach (Milly Sims), even though she is married to her co-coach (Michael John Higgins, born to do spirit fingers) and, in his word, “old.” While Shawn and Nick are focused on getting as much as they can from as many girls as they can, the girls are focused on competing with the champion Panthers.
No surprises along the way — except perhaps how poorly the cheerleading routines are photographed and how much you can get away with in a PG-13 movie — but D’Agosto and Olsen have an easy rhythm and the movie wisely makes their comeuppances more sweet than humiliating. Its attempts to temper its homophobic humor are weak. But it nicely makes the point that the girls who get a boy’s attention and respect are those who respect themselves enough to insist on trust and affection before they will get involved.

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The International

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sequences of violence and language
Movie Release Date:February 13, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sequences of violence and language
Movie Release Date: February 13, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2009

This thriller about a multi-national bank with innumerable tentacles and immeasurable power has two problems and the worst is bad timing. It’s just a little bit more difficult these days to feel pleasurably shaken up while watching a story about a couple of brave souls from law enforcement fighting a big, bad, bank when recent developments have made it clear that not only are the banks less powerful than we thought, they are not even competent enough to stay in business much less plot total world domination.

If we can put reality aside for a moment, it begins as a fairly serviceable if standard thriller, some tough talk, a murder, a determined if overmatched international investigator (Clive Owen as Louis Salinger), and that all-powerful corporation that thwarts him through a combination of muscle and corruption. There are hints and echoes of a story worth exploring about the ability of large corporations to transcend and evade the rules of any jurisdiction. But it all descends into the same old bang-bang and director, in a couple of awkwardly inserted scenes reportedly added due to lukewarm responses to an earlier version. Director Tom Twyker seems much more interested in the architecture of the various world capitols the characters chase through than he is in having anything of much interest happen there.

There is a lot of urgent rushing around from city to city, always helpfully identified with official-looking titles in the corner of the screen. And there are a lot of meaningful glances with narrowed eyes as people try to convey urgency and threats and counter-threats. And then there is a big out of nowhere shoot-out in the Guggenheim Museum that goes on forever but apparently not long enough for law enforcement to stop the survivors from walking away from it before any police cars arrive.

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