Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Tusk
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Release Date:
September 19, 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

This is Where I Leave You
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

Think Like a Man Too
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Release Date:
June 20, 2014

The Maze Runner
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

Godzilla
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Release Date:
May 16, 2014

‘Lord Save Us From Your Followers’

posted by Nell Minow

My good friend Brandon Fibbs has a characteristically thoughtful review in Christianity Today of a new documentary called Lord Save Us From Your Followers from writer-director Dan Merchant.

Merchant’s documentary turns on a deceptively simple question: Why is the gospel of love dividing America? Christianity, he contends, is far more interested in the “gospel of being right” than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Fed up with the strident language and angry rhetoric that have come to define modern Christendom, Merchant, a veteran of the entertainment industry, set out to explore the flashpoint of faith and culture in America.

Fibbs says that
What makes the film so powerful is its intractable ability to embrace both the baby and the bathwater. This is a film made by a follower, and therein lies its unique musculature….”If the first half of the film is showing how we’re missing the mark,” Merchant says, “the second half is really an examination of who we’re trying to be. If (the world) wants to criticize (Christians) for the things we do wrong, we should accept it and apologize. But let’s also be honest that that is not the whole picture….” [The film] also reveals Christians acting in ways that bring honor to the God they serve, earning the respect of all those around them. Rather than using the Bible as a weapon, these believers use it as a salve, and the response is as simple as it is astonishing. Suddenly Christ and Christians are synonymous again. Says Merchant, “Let’s be so like Christ that others say, ‘You can always count on the Christians when they come around.’ I’d love for us to be that. That’s how Jesus did it.”
I was very touched by Fibbs’ description of Merchant’s open and honest communication and spiritual generosity and look forward to seeing the film.

Quotes of the Week: Dark Knight and Mamma Mia

posted by Nell Minow

The Dark Knight has inspired some very thoughtful reviews. Anonymous DC critic “J.J.” wrote that the film moved him to tears:
Perhaps it’s because the film has characters I grew to care about, scenes that soaked my heart in adrenaline and sociological themes that range from the unsettling to the horrifying. This movie moves beyond good and evil and enters into our world, which is much more complicated than comic books. This is the first film-with-terrorism-metaphor that our age of terrorism deserves. And it will stop your heart.
His description of Heath Ledger’s performance is one of the most astute I’ve seen:

Everything you hear about Heath Ledger is true. And we should’ve expected it. He was the best actor of his generation, and his ability to mash depravity and hilarity into something compulsively watchable…The Joker has never made more sense than he does here…As played by Ledger and as written by the Nolans, the Joker is walking anarchy, cackling sadism, crime for the sake of crime. He is a terrorist without a god to kill for. His actions are beyond random; they are perpetrated not in the name of something but solely for the consequences. And he is capable of understanding (and exploiting) our suppressed desires for this type of anarchy. Ledger makes you root for him, then, inexplicably, makes you feel utterly depraved for doing so.

The moment I saw Mamma Mia! I knew critics would not be able to resist one of my least favorite contemporary terms: “cougar,” used to describe a sexually active woman over 40, usually portrayed as desperate, predatory, and interested in much younger men.
Tanya in the movie, as portrayed by Christine Baranski, is a sexually active woman over 40, but she is far from desperate or predatory and has an entire musical number about resisting the advances of younger men. And yet, she was called a “cougar” by a number of critics including Bill Gibron of Pop Matters and Mike Russell of the Oregonian (who did not like the movie), James Ward of the Visalia Times-Delta (who did), and Chris Hewitt of the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press (who liked it a lot, and who includes a nice assessment of ABBA’s tunes and lyrics).
If you must, use ABBA lyrics in your headlines. “Take a chance on this movie.” “This winner doesn’t take it all.” But let’s retire the word “cougar,” all right?

PG-13 Superheroes in Pre-K Books

posted by Nell Minow

Children’s book author Erica S. Perl has a gallery in Slate about books for early readers featuring superheroes from PG-13 movies like The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man and even the very violent and disturbing Dark Knight. Perl reports that
at many chain bookstores there is now a specifically labeled “At the Movies” tier on the early-reader rack. This isn’t the first time brand extensions have shown up in early readers–books starring SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer have been around for several years now. But there’s something more unsettling about books aimed at preschoolers and kindergartners featuring PG-13 movie characters, and they pose a tricky question for parents. Books like A Hero Called the Hulk and The Dark Knight: I Am Batman practically beg to be plucked by small hands.herocalledhulk.jpg
Perl says that some of these books are educationally sound, while others are not.
I Am Iron Man!, one of the best of the bunch, blithely ignores much of the plot of the movie my husband called “the loudest film ever made,” and Guido Guidi’s drawings of Iron Man’s suit convey the undeniable excitement of a snazzy magic flying costume. As important, his pictures provide a good jumping-off point for kids who want to make up their own stories about gaining the power to soar through the skies. Other movie-based early readers, however, present problems. A Hero Called the Hulk, seen here, provides none of the educational scaffolding beginning readers need.
Pedagogical value aside, I think it is wrong to use these books to market characters and movies to kids who are too young for them. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission urged the Motion Picture Association of America to reconsider guidelines that allow some PG-13 movies to be marketed to young children, following a complaint by an advocacy group that the blockbuster film “Transformers” was inappropriately advertised to children as young as 2. It also urged toy manufacturers, fast-food chains and retailers to review how they sell movie-based toys to young children. These books are essentially ads for movies that are inappropriate for children and the Federal Trade Commission and the MPAA should prohibit this kind of licensing for products intended for those who are too young to see the movie.
FTC contact: Mary Engle, Director of the Division of Advertising Practices
* Online:secure complaint form
* Phone: Toll-free helpline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357);
TTY: 1-866-653-4261
* Mail:
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Or complain to the publisher:
Carolyn Kroll Reidy
CEO, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-698-7000

Report on Gender and Movie Criticism

posted by Nell Minow

Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, Director of the Center for the Study of Women In Television and Film at San Diego State University, has released a new report on the representation of women among film critics. I live in the Washington D.C. area, where the Washington Post buy-outs of 100 of its once-900 newsroom staff eliminated two film critic positions, leaving Ann Hornaday as the only full-time critic on staff. The movie critic for the nation’s largest circulation newspaper, USA Today, is Claudia Puig (pictured), now that long-time critic Mike Clark is concentrating on DVDs. And most movie features for USA Today are written by Susan Wloszczyna. claudia puig.jpg
But Dr. Lauzen’s research shows:
Contrary to the myriad prognostications of media observers and writers, film criticism is not dead. It is, however, hurtling into a new era in which professional critics share space with amateurs, and credentialed journalists find multiple platforms for their reviews. Through web sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, formerly print-only film critics and writers now supplement their traditional audience with a whole new generation of on-line readers….
Of the newspapers featuring film reviews in the fall of 2007, 47% had no reviews written by women critics, writers or freelancers. In contrast, only 12% had no reviews written by men critics, writers or freelancers. Overall, 70% of the individuals reviewing theatrical film releases in Fall 2007 were male and 30% were female. In addition, men wrote significantly more film reviews than women. Men wrote an average of 14 film reviews. Women wrote an average of 9 film reviews.
ebert460.jpgThese imbalances may be slightly tempered by the fact that women critics, writers, and freelancers wrote for newspapers with marginally higher circulations. The average circulation size of newspapers with women writing reviews was 348,530. The average circulation size of newspapers with men writing reviews was 294,760….
Overall, these findings suggest that film criticism in this country’s newspapers is largely a male enterprise, echoing the heavy male dominance behind the scenes and on screen in the film industry.

Continue Reading This Post »

Previous Posts

TrueSpark: Teaching Children and Teens About Character With Quality Films
I am honored to serve on the advisory committee for TrueSpark, which provides quality films and curricula for schools at no cost to use in teaching character. [iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/akEWIRfjnxk?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Parents and teachers who want to lear

posted 8:22:33pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Genevieve Bailey of "I Am Eleven"
There's a reason that so many heroes and heroines of classic literature are eleven years old. It is that last magical moment at the cusp of childhood and adolescence, which is what makes it so fascinating and delightful. Genevieve Bailey remembered the year she was 11 as one of the happiest of her l

posted 8:09:47pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »

The Best TV for Kids May Be Online
Children have more choices than ever on television, but some of the best viewing for kids is online. Common Sense Media has a great list of family-friendly YouTube stars. I'd add EvanTube to the list. Newsweek calls him The Most Popular Kid You've Never Heard Of, with 272 million views of his engagi

posted 3:59:29pm Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Fifty Years of Fiddler on the Roof
The Yiddish-language stories of Sholem Alechim, collected as Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories (Library of Yiddish Classics), inspired one of the most successful, influential, and widely performed Broadway musicals of all time, "Fiddler on the Roof," which opened fifty years ago this week.

posted 8:00:47am Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Great Cinematographers on Instagram
Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.