Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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The Woman in Gold
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
April 1, 2015

 

The Imitation Game
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Release Date:
November 21, 2014

The Wrecking Crew
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images
Release Date:
March 27. 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

Home
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
March 27, 2015

 

Interstellar
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language
Release Date:
November 7, 2014

Last Chance Harvey

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2009
DVD Release Date:May 5, 2009

It’s wonderful to watch young people falling in love for the first time. That’s why we get to see it so often in the movies. But it is even more wonderful to see people falling in love for the last time, and that is one of the three great pleasures of this touching grown-up love story.

It’s always romantic to see first love because we can share with them — just for a moment — the belief that happily ever after means that there will never be an argument or disappointment or loss. But it is even more romantic to see older people fall in love because they know there will be all of that and they go ahead anyway. That is the story of “Last Chance Harvey,” a man who has lost his job and whose daughter asks her step-father to give her away at her wedding because she feels closer to him. Which is what gives him a chance to think about what he really wants for the rest of his life — and then he sees Kate.

Not much more happens. They walk around. They dance at the daughter’s wedding reception. They think about whether they really want to take the risk of sharing themselves knowing in a way that young people cannot what it really means. And yet in those moments, everything happens, and we know it and they know it.

The other two pleasures of the film are Dustin Hoffman as Harvey and Emma Thompson as Kate. These two actors, so perfectly at home with themselves, fearlessly give us two people who are complicated, difficult, and very, very protective of their bruised hearts. And then they let us see them bloom, not all at once, more of a two steps forward, one step back opening up of their hearts to each other. And that leaves our hearts just a little more open, too.

The Hip Hop Project

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to watch the amazing documentary The Hip Hop Project tonight and see the extraordinary work by Chris “Kazi” Rolle in encouraging young people to tell their stories. He gives kids who feel invisible a chance to own their experiences, express their frustrations through art instead of violence. I interviewed Kazi a few years ago and was very impressed by his insight and charisma — and by his accomplishments.
Chris “Kazi” Rolle, who founded the program when he was a homeless teenager, told me that he was inspired by “Hoop Dreams.” “A lot of inner city kids see sports as their way out.”
Rolle wanted to give them a chance with something they could do themselves, without relying on anyone outside the community. So he adopted what he calls “the pill in the dog food” approach, “pulling them in with what they like,” hip-hop. His goal is to reach “the kid in the back of the class – he is always scribbling something.” When they arrive, they want to imitate what they have heard. “Young people live from the outside in; TV and radio tell them who they have to be.” But he brings them back to the origins of hip-hop – “it started as political” and encourages them to tell their own stories by listening to them and encouraging them to listen to each other.
The Hip Hop Project at LocateTV.com

A Plumm Summer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG

A Plumm Summer had a limited release in 2007 but is now widely available for the first time with this week’s DVD. It is based on the real-life story of a “kidnapped” puppet from a local children’s program in Montana that became a national news story and a case for the FBI.

I was lucky to get a chance to interview one of the stars of the film, Brenda Strong.

What made you want to be a part of this movie?

What appealed to me was family-friendly, heart-warming movie with no CGI, just a good, old-fashioned story. I had a 10 year old son and I was tired of telling him I was in a movie he could not see. I wanted to make a movie where he could be part of the filming process and be on the set and tell his friends to go see when it was done. I wanted to do something for my family. And then I saw who was involved. Henry Winkler and I had done another kid-friendly film and really got along — that cemented it.

I have heard that he is a wonderful guy.

He’s just a walking heart. He exudes love wherever he goes. Years ago when he was still in “Happy Days” my husband walked up to him and he was so warm. He is still the same. If someone recognizes him he gets up and shakes their hand, always treats everyone with such respect and honor. A lot of people can learn from that. It is so nice to see someone hold space in that way.

This is a true story?

It is based on a true story, a triumphant tale of these two brothers who meet a new friend and then like the Hardy Boys become involved in a mystery when a marionette much in the same vein as Howdy Doody is kidnapped from a popular local television show. There really was a Froggy-Doo character on television in Montana, and the host was Happy Herb. And Froggy-Doo really was puppet-napped by some people who thought they would get some money out of Herb. It became a national case and J. Edgar Hoover sent out some feds to investigate! We actually had the original Happy Herb and Froggy-Doo on the set with us, it was really magical. Whenever you go to a more rural environment, there’s an essence of innocence that resonates. That was part of what made it a magical shoot before during and after. The thing that I’m really looking forward to in the DVD is the deleted scenes and gag reel. Even if they have seen the movie they should definitely get the DVD because of all the extras.

Why is it so hard to get Hollywood to make movies for this age group?

They underestimate the intelligence of kids. We get animation for little kids and CGI for middle schoolers. What we’re missing right now are stories that engage the imagination from a character point of view, stories that can help them start to build their value system. When the character of Elliot has to jump off the bridge, it is a huge character choice, because he was scared but he knew how important it was to his brother. And he has to stand up to his father, too. These choices are threaded throughout the story, things kids need to see and feel. Animation is one thing but kids relate on a much more visceral level to the real thing.

Lessons from 90’s Teen Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Jezebel has a marvelous list of 90’s teen movies and the lessons we learn from them and it includes some of my favorite guilty pleasures like The Craft, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, and Can’t Hardly Wait. An alert commenter added the indispensible Empire Records, one of those movies that comes along every decade or so that manages to include just about every actor who is about to be huge. It is fun to see the early work of some of today’s stars. “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead” stars this week’s cover girl on People’s Most Beautiful issue, Christina Applegate — and features a very young pre-“X-Files” David Duchovney. And “The Craft” was directed by Andrew Fleming of “Hamlet 2″ and stars Robin Tunney of “The Mentalist.” And it is great to see these definitional films, dismissed as lightweight on release, discussed in terms of their influence as well as their awesomeness. “I’m right on top of that, Rose!”

Previous Posts

April 2015: Movies Opening This Month
Happy April!  Here's what I'm looking forward to in theaters this month.  It's very intriguing that three movies opening in April have themes about eternal

posted 3:37:58pm Apr. 01, 2015 | read full post »

The Woman in Gold
The very title is a form of theft. When Gustav Klimt painted the portrait that gives this film its name, he called it "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer." She was a warm, vibrant young woman who was a vital part of the extraordinary period of intellectual and cultural life in Vienna known as the Sacred

posted 5:58:01pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: The Woman in Gold's Simon Curtis and E. Randol Schoenberg
Director Simon Curtis told me, "My last film was My Week with Marilyn, and this one is my century with Maria."  He is referring to "The Woman in Gold," with Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, who brought a lawsuit to get back the portrait of her aunt Adele, painted by Gustav Klimt, which had been stole

posted 3:37:47pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Faith-Based Movie Picks -- The Today Show
In honor of Easter and Passover, the Today Show has some good suggestions for faith-based movies, from the very serious and respectful to the light-hearted.

posted 3:13:29pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Another "Star is Born" Movie? Possibly, with Bradley Cooper as Director and Beyonce to Star!
A movie that's already been done three times (at least) may just get yet another remake if the rumors are true that Bradley Cooper will direct and Beyoncé will appear in "A Star is Born."  The original 1937 version, said to be inspired by (among others) the marriage of aging vaudeville star Al Jol

posted 3:54:02pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »


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