Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™

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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


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

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Release Date:
July 18, 2014


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

Planes: Fire & Rescue
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for action and some peril
Release Date:
July 18, 2014


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

The Pixar Story: tonight at 10 on STARZ

posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:August 27, 3007

The most successful movie studio in Hollywood history is Pixar, which created the first computer-animated feature film, Toy Story. Every one of their films has not only made money, but every one has made over $100 million. What is even more stunning is that every one of them has been based on original material. Unlike the Disney animated classics, they never relied on familiar stories and characters with a pre-sold audience. But every one of their movies has provided audiences with stories filled with heart and insight and characters that immediately felt like old friends. Like Disney, which now owns the Pixar studio, it pioneered stunning technology in animation and filled its movies with extraordinary images but always remembered that the most important part of the movie is its story.
For the first time, a documentary goes behind the scenes at Pixar, featuring exclusive interviews with John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs (of Apple), George Lucas (“Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, current Disney CEO Bob Iger, Brad Bird of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, and voice talents Tom Hanks, and Tim Allen (Toy Story) and Billy Crystal (Monsters, Inc.). Made by Leslie Iwerks, the Oscar-nominated granddaughter of animation pioneer Ub Iwerks, Pixar’s history is placed in the context of animation as an art form.

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Expelled: Intelligence Welcome (part 2)

posted by Nell Minow

Ben Stein has accomplished his goal — he has people talking about how we decide what will be taught and studied as science. If he has accomplished the feat of getting people thinking and listening as well, that will be a great achievement.
The problem is that the people at the farthest reaches of the two approaches to the issue are not just not listening; they are not speaking the same language. One side says: science is about what we can test, measure, and prove according to settled and established principles of the scientific method. The other side says: we think that should include the idea of Intelligent Design. One side says it would be like teaching French in geometry or going to a pizza parlor and ordering a car. The other side says that those distinctions are not important. Both sides feel impatient and not listened to.
Ben Stein is trying to make the argument about freedom of speech instead of the scientific validity of the concept. He says that Intelligent Design might be right or wrong, but why not include it in the conversation? The science community says that there are many ideas we do not teach in science: astrology, phrenology, alchemy. For them, this is not an issue of freedom of speech. Intelligent Design is not excluded because people do not like the idea. It is excluded because it cannot be tested according to the scientific method. Intelligent Design is deduced from the complexity of biological structures and the unresolved areas that science has yet to (and may never) reach. Until it can be tested, measured, and proven according to the same protocols that all of science is constantly subjected to, it is excluded. Not every exclusion is an act of censorship. Sometimes it is the exercise of judgment based on the merits. As Valerie Tarico (raised as a fundamentalist, now a writer for, the Huffington Post and other publications, said, “somebody needs to gently remind Stein and his creationist cronies that they haven’t been expelled from school, they flunked.”
Or, as noted in the Kitzmiller decision:

[W]hile ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science.
They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation;
(2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980′s; and
(3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community.
As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena.

Intelligent Design supporters might like to change the scope or definition of science, but until they do, or until they find a way to subject Intelligent Design concepts to the kinds of tests required by the scientific method, they will not be able to call it science.
Both the people in the movie and the people criticizing the movie have taken some extreme positions. Stein tries to tie Darwin to the Holocaust. The twisted minds behind Nazi genocide perverted any ideas they used. Some on the side of science go to extremes in arguing that because science cannot prove there is a God, the concept is a “delusion.” These are a distraction from the real question and only show that the issue is one that can inspire a lot of emotion.
The real question is not whether Intelligent Design is true or even whether it is an idea worth studying and discussing. The only question at issue here is whether it is science, and both science and law have determined that it is not.
One thing that troubles me in particular is when people dismiss the other side by name-calling, most absurdly claiming that Judge John E. Jones III, who decided the Kitzmiller v. Dover case (finding that Intelligent Design is not science) is a liberal activist who parroted (one commenter even said “plagiarized from”) the ACLU because they do not like his decision. Jones is a Republican who was appointed by George W. Bush. As all judges do, he relied on the materials submitted by the parties to draft his decision. It is activist judges who depart from the filings made by the parties to create their own arguments in a judicial decision.
Another thing that troubles me is the inability or unwillingness of some people on both sides to state the other side’s position in a way that is acceptable to them. That is an indispensable element of making a credible argument. You can tell a great deal about the validity of an argument and the credibility of the person making it by how he or she treats the other side. Sarcasm? Insults? Distortion? Generally indicators of uncertainty and emotion triumphing over logic.
As I noted in my comments, I do not see a conflict between the scientific understanding of the origins of life and Intelligent Design. To me, one picks up where the other leaves off. Scientists admit that they do not know what force was behind the origin of life and are unlikely to find out — using the scientific method. Intelligent Design is one way to think about what the possibilities are. One is science and one is religion, philosophy, and metaphysics. Put it this way: Whether God created life is the subject of philosophy and religion. Why God created life is the subject of philosophy, religion, political science, literature, anthropology, and more. Science is not about the whether and the why of creation but the how.
We are not going to settle the argument here. But I ask the people who care so much about this issue to think carefully about what it means to know something and how we choose what and who we believe. And I ask them to remember that it is easier to listen to those who express their views with kindness, patience, and respect.

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List: Five Movies for Earth Day

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate Earth Day with some of these great films about our planet, its beauties and its challenges:

1. An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary makes a powerful case for the dire effects of climate change — and an even more powerful case for our ability to prevent more damage before it is too late.Earthday.jpg

2. Planet Earth — This magnificent BBC series includes extraordinary footage of our planet’s splendor — jungles, deserts, oceans, mountains, and caves, elephants, caribou, dolphins, snow leopards, penguins, and much more. If you can, see it in Blu-Ray — it jumps off the screen.

3. The Eleventh Hour Leonardo DiCaprio produced a thoughtful, important film about the devastating impact of industrial development on the fragile environment. He has assembled an impressive collection of scholars and world leaders to emphasize the precariousness of the situation and the urgency of action to reverse the effects of human opportunism and greed, to change our idea of “progress” from growth and acquisition to sustainability and respect for the fragility of the environment that sustains us.

4. Silent Running
Douglas Trumbull, who created the special effects for “Star Wars,” “Blade Runner,” and many other movies, directed this outer-space story about a botanist caring for the last remnants of plant life from Earth. It features three of the most adorable robots in movie history, named after Donald Duck’s nephews: Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

5. Dora the Explorer – Save the Mermaids Even the youngest children can learn the importance of caring for our planet and there is no better way to begin than this Dora story about saving mermaid friends from a garbage-dumping octopus.


posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 22, 2008

cloverfield-1-18-08-poster.jpg Stories, especially movies, are usually linear and organized in part because stories are how we make sense of the world but mostly because of the limits of time. If we are only going to give two hours of our lives to a movie, we don’t have time for irrelevant details. But real life is messy. Patterns only emerge in retrospect. Part of the appeal of scary movies is that we know that it’s just a movie. Those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park or the great ape in King Kong are contained, not just within the limits of the screen but also within the formal limits of traditional story-telling. The perfect lighting and welling music provoke a response in us that is a kind of comfortable scariness.
This movie goes in another direction. A clever premise keeps the audience literally off-balance in “Cloverfield” from J.J. Abrams, the creator of Lost and Alias. We may be in stadium seating at the mall multiplex, eating popcorn, but what we are watching is not a feature film. It is an artifact, a home video found at a site “formerly known as Central Park” that happened to be running when something terrible happened. It’s as though the only documentation of a massive and devastating attack was a 21st century equivalent of the Zapruder film.

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posted 3:58:01pm Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Movies' Greatest Mirror Scenes
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posted 8:00:51am Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »

How Do Movies Show Time Passing?
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posted 8:00:40am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Boring TV Makes You Fat
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posted 8:00:05am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Switched at Birth and the End of Life
I'm a big fan of ABC Family's Switched at Birth and have appreciated its complicated characters, honest and heartfelt relationships, and compelling storylines, as well as its unprecedented, in-depth portrayal of the deaf community. Last week's episode may have been the all-time best (SPOILER ALERT)

posted 3:59:49pm Jul. 21, 2014 | read full post »

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