Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Release Date:
October 24, 2014

 

Moms' Night Out
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

John Wick
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Release Date:
October 24, 2014

 

Earth to Echo
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
Release Date:
July 3, 2014

23 Blast
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Release Date:
October 24, 2014

 

Snowpiercer
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Release Date:
July 2, 2014

Red Band Trailers (Rated R)

posted by Nell Minow

“Green Band” trailers begin with a notice that says that while the movie has been rated something else, the trailer itself has been approved for all audiences by the MPAA. I am sure that sometimes the people who make trailers have a tough time finding two or three minutes of clips for the trailer that don’t have bad language, sex, or violence. As a result, despite the warning, the trailer often gives a misleading impression of the movie’s content. R-rated movies have red band trailers, which can only be shown before R-rated movies because they include R-rated content. These were quite rare until recently because most theaters did not allow them.
And then came the internet. Red band trailers are available online and any 12 year old who knows the birth date of an adult can easily get access to them. Slate’s Josh Levin writes about the sharp rise in red band trailers:
R-rated trailers–known as “red bands” on account of the red, “Restricted Audiences Only” warning that precedes them–have become omnipresent. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, nearly 30 restricted-audience trailers have been approved so far in 2008, already matching the number accepted between 2000 and 2006…
Given the popularity of movie trailers on the Web, the potential audience for a red-band preview has gone from minuscule in the Showgirls era to virtually limitless in the time of Pineapple Express and Zack and Miri. Compared with an R-rated trailer that’s screened in theaters, a Web-based red band is more likely to get talked up and to reach a target audience of (possibly under-17) fan boys who’ll line up for a screening on opening weekend.
Trailers are still subject to tighter restrictions than the feature films themselves due to the intensified impact of the short form. But because they are quick to watch they are especially potent and viral and are now an indispensible and fast-growing element of movie marketing. As Levin notes, these trailers may give a more accurate idea of what is in the movie but they are also more likely to give away more of the good parts of the movie. For parents, they create yet another challenge in a media minefield already filled with too many traps.

Fireproof

posted by Nell Minow

The faith-based film Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron, is enjoying impressive advance ticket sales this week according to Harry Medved of Fandango. It is the story of a firefighter who finds that his most difficult challenge is finding a way to give his wife the love and intimacy necessary to keep their relationship strong. It is not until he turns to God for help that he begins to find a way to let her know how much she means to him.

It opens in more than 800 theaters this Friday, small in Hollywood terms but an extraordinary achievement for a film that cost only $500,000 and was made mostly by amateurs from a film-making ministry in Albany, Georgia. “No one is expecting it will rule the box office,” Medved told me, “but it has made an impressive beginning.”

Church-based “action squads” have been buying tickets in bulk, a powerful reminder to Hollywood that an under served audience will respond positively to a film like this, even without a lot of ad support. “It’s a great couples’ movie,” said Medved. “When’s the last time a movie improved your marriage? We get a lot of movies about falling in love or about temptations away from marriage but this is a film about making a marriage work.” Couples can learn from this film about how to give fully of themselves for a strong and lasting relationship, no matter what their religious beliefs.

“For moviegoers who plan to see a smaller release on opening weekend, online ticketing is the way to go,” says Fandango Chief Operating Officer Rick Butler, who adds that advance ticket sales for “Fireproof” continue to be “healthy.”

‘Gabriel Over the White House’ — The President Finds God

posted by Nell Minow

A little-seen 1933 film called “Gabriel Over the White House” has some themes that are particularly resonant in this time of unprecedented economic uncertainty and this historic Presidential campaign. Walter Houston (father of director John Huston and grandfather of actress Anjelica Houston — three generations of Oscar winners) plays the newly elected President of the United States, a cynical and apathetic man who has an affair with his private secretary and refuses to meet with the leader of the homeless. But then he has an automobile accident and is seriously injured. When he comes out of his coma, he is transformed. As he becomes an outspoken advocate of integrity and economic justice, he makes some powerful enemies. But it becomes clear that he has been inspired by a visit from the angel Gabriel.

This has been a controversial film since it was made for its frank acknowledgment of political policies based on scripture and for its association of policies some people consider “liberal” with religious beliefs some people consider “conservative.” Audiences have argued about whether the President is a visionary or a dictator. But it seems astonishingly prescient in its portrayal of the failures of Wall Street and government and its sincere commitment to Biblical principles is still fresh and appealing.

Should We Rate Movies for Marketing?

posted by Nell Minow

Alissa Quart’s column in Slate’s Big Money argues that in addition to rating movies and television for language, violence, sex, smoking, and substance abuse, we should rate them for product placement. She notes that for $300,000 you can have your product prominently featured in “customized storylines” on “The L Word,” a program produced by the “non-commercial” Showtime cable network. So, when we see a character on that show who is excited about a new car or pair of shoes or laundry detergent, we no longer accept that as an indication of character or plot but a distraction to remind us that we may be watching a story but we are also being sold. The line between art and commerce blurs even further as the networks themselves are getting into the business of selling the products and clothes and even the furniture used by television characters, essentially turning every program into an infomercial.
This is especially troubling in media for children where even “Baby Einstein,” which originally promised its DVDs would not be used to sell products, changed its mind and every G and PG release has with “partners” selling everything from postage stamps to cleaning products, not to mention toys and fast food. I would like to see a prominent caution listing all companies that have paid to have their products featured in the movie or in its advertising so at least parents can be prepared to help children navigate the ever-shrinking line between story and commercial.

Previous Posts

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, "Birdman" (subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance") explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of storytelling. Michael Keaton p

posted 5:59:46pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

John Wick
This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people wh

posted 5:44:02pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

23 Blast
23 Blast is the name of a football play, and "23 Blast" is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed teammates, was able to keep playing. The real hero of the movie is the coach, played by "Ava

posted 3:57:18pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Little Hope Was Arson, Story of Church Burnings
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/EYk-EU9Ydyw?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Available in select theaters and nationwide VOD beginning Nov 21! For more info, please visit: http://littlehopewasarson.com. January 2010: In the buckle of the Bible Belt, 10 churches burn to

posted 1:00:10pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »


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