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Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some partial nudity, disturbing images and brief strong language
Release Date:
September 26, 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

The Boxtrolls
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor
Release Date:
September 26, 2014

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Release Date:
June 27, 2014

The Equalizer
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references
Release Date:
September 26, 2014

 

Neighbors
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

Unexpectedly Spiritual Films: ‘Hamlet 2′ and ‘Henry Poole is Here’

posted by Nell Minow

August is usually the time of the movie year for silly gross-out comedies, cheaply-made slasher films, and studio inventory they never found the right time to release. And Hollywood is usually very uncomfortable dealing with spiritual themes or religion as anything other than a sham. That makes two of this year’s August releases especially refreshing.

“Henry Poole is Here” is the story of a man who thinks there is nothing left for him. He finds that what he sees as a bad stucco job appears to his neighbor (whose name is Esperanza, which means “hope”) and to the check-out girl at the grocery story (whose name is Patience) like the face of Jesus. And then what looks like a drop of blood appears on the wall. The movie is surprisingly respectful of faith — and doubt — and the clergyman, played by George Lopez, is a thoughtful and compassionate man. The story is a bit reminiscent of the underseen Tortilla Heaven.

And then there’s last year’s Sundance hit, “Hamlet 2.” It is very raunchy and profane. In part, the plot deals with an outrageous high school production of an original play that has Hamlet going back in time to prevent tragedy. Yes, there is a musical number called “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.” Unquestionably, it will offend some in the audience. But in the film, the believers who come to the play to protest end up applauding because, the Jesus character is the one who inspires everyone else to be better and more forgiving. I found it unexpectedly sweet, sincere, and even reverent.

Remembering the Hays Code — Movie Censorship from 1930-1968

posted by Nell Minow

NPR’s Bob Mondello has an excellent essay on the Hays Code, which governed Hollywood films from 1930-1968, when it was replaced by the MPAA rating system.
A reaction to some provocative films in the days of the early talkies, the code was named for the former Postmaster Will Hays, who created it at the request of the movie studios.

Among those considerations: that no picture should ever “lower the moral standards of those who see it” and that “the sympathy of the audience shall never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.” There was an updated, much-expanded list of “don’ts” and “be carefuls,” with bans on nudity, suggestive dancing and lustful kissing. The mocking of religion and the depiction of illegal drug use were prohibited, as were interracial romance, revenge plots and the showing of a crime method clearly enough that it might be imitated.

There was very little about violence in the Code but there were restrictions that seem quaint today in other areas — for example, it prohibited portrayals of clergy that made them appear corrupt or foolish. There are legendary stories of battles over whether Rhett Butler would be allowed to say “I don’t give a damn” in “Gone With the Wind” (he was) or whether Bette Davis could get away with murder in “The Letter” (she wasn’t). And writer-directors like Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges prided themselves on getting past the censors with subtle double entendres.
The Code was abandoned 40 years ago in favor of the ratings system. While it is very far from perfect, it does have the advantage of making it possible for movies to cover a wider range of subjects and characters.

Boxboarders!

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, crude and sexual content, some teen partying and reckless behavior.
Movie Release Date:NA
DVD Release Date:July 29, 2008

The writer of the delightful Clockstoppers has written and directed an unpretentious little comedy about a crazy “sport” — racing boxes on wheels. It makes the most of its low budget with an easy-going good humor in this goofy but sweet story about two teens who accidentally invent the “boxboarding” and end up in a big race against their nemesis. And of course it also involves getting a little bit closer to the girls they like.
The young cast performs with gusto, ably assisted by top adult character actors like Stephen Tobolowsky as the ever-patient psychologist dad and “The Office’s” Melora Hardin as a litigator always eager to go to court. Clearly, everyone had a blast making the film. One of the DVD’s highlights is an entertaining making-of featurette that I hope will inspire those who watch it not to try taping a refrigerator box to a skateboard but to pick up a camera and make a movie.
Parents should know that in addition to the completely idiotic and very dangerous “sport” in the film, it also has some bad language, teen partying, and sexual references.

List: the Hendricks’ Top Relationship Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Authors and consultants Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks (Conscious Loving, Attracting Genuine Love, Five Wishes, and The Corporate Mystic) teach seminars in conscious relationships and “bodymind vibrance.” They have complied a list of their top relationship movies, movies that combine “artistic merit with the ability of the movie to shed light on the inner workings of relationships and how to maximize their potential. In addition, all the movies we selected share that elusive quality known as heart.” moonstruck.jpg
All of the films on their list are worth watching and discussing. Here’s their list, with my comments. Their discussion appears in two parts on their Huffington Post column. Here are the first five:
1. Moonstruck This is one of the most romantic movies ever made. The Henricks picked it for Nicolas Cage’s speech about victimhood and responsibility, but I’d pick it for its acknowledgment that true love does not always make you happy but it always makes you feel alive.
2. The Holiday I like this movie in spite of myself. It is not very clever or witty but I love the love stories, not just Kate Winslet and Jack Black and Cameron Diaz and Jude Law but also Kate Winslet and Eli Wallach as her neighbor, a screenwriter from Hollywood’s golden era.
3. The January Man This was a surprising choice because it is a little-known thriller. The Hendricks picked it for just one scene at the beginning and they are right that it is a good model about how to talk honestly about relationships.
4. Truly, Madly, Deeply One of the wisest and most touching love stories ever made, this is about loving and letting go as a young widow (Juliet Stevenson, utterly luminous) must choose life for herself after a great loss. It has a rare romantic lead performance by the magnificent Alan Rickman and there is a magical scene when the two of them are reunited.
5. Monsoon Wedding Every possible variation of family relationships is lovingly explored in this wonderful story of the importance of honesty and loyalty.

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Tomorrow on HBO: "The Fifty Year Argument" -- Scorsese on The New York Review of Books
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FREE Tickets to "The Good Lie" on Sept 30, 2014 in DC!
Based on a true story, "The Good Lie" is about young survivors of the brutal civil war in Sudan, which began in 1983.  These children traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety.  Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America.  Pla

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