Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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The Wrecking Crew
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images
Release Date:
March 27. 2015

 

Unbroken
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

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

 

Into the Woods
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
March 20, 2015

 

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

The Spirit

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of stylized violence and action, some sexual content and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 14, 2009

If there is ever an Oscar category for best performance by an article of clothing, the red tie worn by the title character in this film would be the clear winner and the rain coat would most likely be the runner-up.

This film version of the innovative and influential comic book owes much more to writer/director Frank Miller than to the man who created the character, Will Eisner. Miller, who revitalized Batman as The Dark Knight and co-directed “Sin City,” based on his own comic book series, itself in part inspired by Eisner’s subversive noir stories.

The Spirit is is something more than a man but something less than a superhero. Once he was Denny Colt, a cop, but something has happened that gives him special power and special responsibility. His great love is the city and he serves as its masked and mysterious protector. But there are also women, many of them and all utterly captivating and utterly captivated by him — his childhood sweetheart, the doctor who patches him up, a rookie cop. And there is a super villain, Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), a guy who has developed a potion for giving him something on the brink of immortality. He has the same kind of special powers of healing that The Spirit does. And he wants something that will give him everything he needs to become all-powerful but it was in a box that got mixed up with something also very valuable but much more mundane.

Miller misses the forest for the trees here with luscious, insouciant images that sizzle and tantalize but finally detract from any sense of story, purpose, or character. I’ve seen lava lamps with more of a plot. And for an action movie it all seems very posed and static. Comic books, with their panel-bound drawings, provide a more muscular sense of motion than Miller does here. He pays more attention to the sole of The Spirit’s shoe than he does to anything that would connect us with the character or even connect the characters do each other. Everyone is arch. Everyone just poses. They might as well be trying out for “America’s Next Top Model.”

And Jackson is not just over the top. He is over whatever is over the top. As his sidekick, Scarlett Johansson is completely out of her depth and it is uncomfortable to see her floundering to try to look predatory. In the title role, Gabriel Macht is outdone by his clothes. The only watchable performance is from Eva Mendes as Sand Serif, the bad girl who could only have a heart of gold if she stole one.

Eye candy can only go so far. Archness is not the same as irony. Style is not the same as substance. Miller captures the letter, but what this film is lacking, in every sense of the word, is the Spirit.

Movie Mom Talks to BDK About ‘Hannah Montana’

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friend BDK (Kevin McCarthy) for inviting me on his radio show to talk about “Hannah Montana” — we both admitted that it made us cry!

iCarly

posted by Nell Minow

iCarly is a cute Nickelodeon series about a girl named Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) who creates her own web show called iCarly with her best friends Sam and Freddie. The series incorporates content produced by the viewers. I’ve got copies of the new DVD (Season One, Volume 2) to give away to the first four people who send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “iCarly” in the subject line. Tell me what you like best about iCarly!

List: Body-Switching Movies

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “17 Again,” starring Zac Efron and Matthew Perry, about a middle-aged man who finds himself turned back into a teenager, reminded me of some of my favorite “body-switching” movies.

1. Freaky Friday Both feature film versions of the classic book about a mother and daughter who switch bodies are delightful and it is fun to see them both and talk about the way each one reflects its era. Be sure to read the book by Mary Rodgers (daughter of Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hammerstein).

2. Vice Versa Judge Reinhold and “Wonder Years'” Fred Savage play the body-switching father and son in this 1988 comedy.

3. All of Me This very funny story about a wealthy lifelong invalid who wants her spirit to find a healthy body has lawyer Steve Martin is inhabited by the spirit of Lily Tomlin (some mature material).

4. Face/Off It’s actually not the bodies but the faces that switch in this fantasy-thriller that has cop Nicolas Cage swapping his face and voice with criminal John Travolta (very mature material).

5. “Dating the Enemy” A pair switches not just bodies but genders in this story about an estranged couple about to break up find themselves in each other’s bodies in this Australian film starring Guy Pearce.

6. Big One of the most beloved films in this category has Tom Hanks as a boy in a grown-up body. It includes the “Chopsticks” scene, with Hanks and Robert Loggia jumping over an enormous keyboard to play the song. (Some mature material)

7. “Turnabout” This odd little 1940 comedy has a married couple switching bodies thanks to a magical statue in their bedroom.

8. Prelude to a Kiss Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan fall in love and then on their wedding day an old man gives her a kiss and what began as a fairly standard romance becomes a meditation on identity and intimacy.

9. Being John Malkovich A brilliant screenplay by Charlie Kauffman explores the nature of identity, art, gender, the wish for immortality, and a lot more in this story of a portal to the mind of actor Malkovich (who appears as himself, sort of). (Very mature material)

10. 18 Again! and Seventeen Again Body-switching skips a generation as grandparents find themselves teenagers again in these two movies, one starring George Burns and the other starring Tia and Tamera Mowry.

Others in this category include “Goodbye Charlie” and Switch (both about lotharios whose spirits come back as women) and A Saintly Switch, a Disney film with Viveca A. Fox and David Allen Grier as a quarreling pregnant woman and her football player husband who switch bodies thanks to a magical potion.

And we have more ahead with “Opposites Attract” (a couple) from Broken Lizard’s Jay Chandrasekhar and “Traded” (a professional football player and a high school nerd), starring Ashton Kutcher.

Previous Posts

Trailer: Adam Sandler and Peter Dinklage in "Pixels," a Comedy About the Attack of the Aliens Modeled on Classic Video Games
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0CYMC5b8KLE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:58am Mar. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Actress Speaks Up Against Absurd Hollywood Casting Conventions
Cheers to the understandably anonymous "Miss L," an actress in Hollywood, for her Tumblr posting real-life casting information that shows how limited and misogynistic Hollywood casting is.  Casting Call Woe shows actual casting call notices, most of which require actresses to be hot (no matter what

posted 3:57:54pm Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Paper Towns with Nat Wolff
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/w4olpTxktM4?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:09am Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

The Wrecking Crew
Maybe you like Frank Sinatra and your friend likes the Mamas and Papas. Maybe you've argued about who is better, the Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel, or maybe you prefer Elvis. Each of those monumen

posted 9:48:37pm Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Home
"Home" is a cute and colorful movie about an alien invasion with an important safety tip concerning one of the most destructive forces in the universe, something devastating to every known life form.

posted 5:59:44pm Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »


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