Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Lucy
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Noah
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

And So It Goes
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Sabotage
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

Wish I Was Here
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

Transcendence
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

No Country for Old Men

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence and some language.
Movie Release Date:November 9, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2008

“I’m fixin to go do somethin dumbern hell but I’m goin anyways. If I don’t come back tell Mother I love her.”
“Your mother’s dead Llewelyn.”
“Well I’ll tell her myself then.”
For the Coen brothers’ first-ever adaptation of another writer’s work, they found an author whose terse, wry, gritty dialogue is a perfect match. Cormac McCarthy’s book about a man who finds a case full of money at the scene of a drug deal gone very, very wrong is ideally suited for the Coen brother’s understated talk and striking visuals.

Continue Reading This Post »

Nancy Drew: Mystery in the Hollywood Hills

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild violence, thematic elements and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2008

Part of the appeal of Nancy Drew through the decades has been the way she has continually been updated while remaining essentially the same. The problem with this movie is that the updates are poorly chosen, awkwardly inserted, and inappropriate for its intended audience.

In the original books, Nancy’s mysteries were usually about lost lockets, secret codes, maybe a kidnapping or some attempted harm that Nancy was able to prevent just in time. In this film, the central puzzle is the murder of a film star, and the plot centers on an out-of-wedlock pregnancy kept secret even from the father. This is an incomprehensibly poor choice in a movie intended for children. It also a poor dramatic choice, undercutting the movie’s plot, tone, and style and throwing its story off-balance.


In the opening scene, Nancy (Emma Roberts) crisply captures a couple of bad guys (watch for “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Kattan). They may think they have captured her, but she soon turns them over to the grateful local cops, who have come to rely on her for their toughest cases. But all of that is coming to an end. Nancy’s father (Tate Donovan) has to go to Los Angeles for several months on business and she is going with him. And after solving that last mystery had her dangling off a rooftop, Mr. Drew makes Nancy promise that she will take a break from crime and just be a normal high school girl in their new city.


She does not tell him she selected their new home because it had a mystery for her to solve. Many years ago, a beautiful and successful actress was murdered there and left some clues behind. And there is a caretaker who may know something as well.


All of this is much more important to Nancy than lesser mysteries like how to make friends in her new school. But that retro attire she whipped up from her mother’s old patterns pretty much acts as a classmate-repellent, so she has to find a way to make some friends who like her the way she is.


Roberts (daughter of Eric and niece of Julia) has a natural elegance, poise, and focus. She fits well in the role and she looks sweetly chic in her classic wardrobe. As in the books, Nancy is a clever, determined, and spunky detective who can be fascinated by crime and still have an air of innocence. When it comes to boyfriend Ned Nickerson (Max Thieriot), she is barely aware that he might feel anything more than friendship or expect her to make him a priority. This makes her focus on the illicit romance of a long-dead movie star all the more awkward. So is a possible jealousy subplot involving Ned and an annoyingly precocious 12-year-old named Corky (Josh Flitter). A surprise cameo from a big star is just a distraction, adding nothing to the sleuthing or new kid in school storylines.


Young detectives serve as inspiration and metaphor for children trying to puzzle out the mysteries of the adult world. Seeing someone their own age understand and explain what is going on to grown-ups is highly satisfying for children. But here the uncertain shifts in tone from sincerity to almost-camp and the inappropriate subject matter make the unsolvable mystery just who this movie’s audience was intended to be.

Parents should know that although handled in a low-key way, the themes of this film include murder and out of wedlock pregnancy. There are some scary moments, including what appears to be a ghost. Nancy also takes some risks and breaks some rules.

Families who see this movie should talk about why some of the other girls thought Nancy was strange and how that affected the way they treated her. How should we treat people who are different? What made them change their minds? Who in the film was jealous, and why? They might like to think about the changes Nancy has had to make over the years. Even in the constantly-reissued books, Nancy does not drive a blue roadster anymore. She uses the internet in her sleuthing. Vestiges of racial and gender stereotypes have been eliminated. What other changes do you think they have made or should make?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy reading the books. Nancy Drew now appears at different ages in separate series designed for ages eight to early teens (with more mature material than the original series). She even appears in video games.

For more background on the history of Nancy Drew, try Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her and Bobbie Ann Mason’s The Girl Sleuth. They will also enjoy Agent Cody Banks and an earlier version, The Original Nancy Drew Movie Mystery Collection, played by Bonita Granville.

August Rush

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild violence and language
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2008

Those who are willing to open their hearts to this urban fairy tale will find its pleasures, as long as they they don’t think about it too hard.
august%20rush.jpg

Continue Reading This Post »

Dan in Real Life

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some innuendo.
Movie Release Date:October 26, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2008

No one is better than Steve Carell at playing clenched. In “Dan in Real Life,” he plays a character so clenched he just about levitates off the ground. Dan is an advice columnist and a single parent. He cares for his three daughters. He provides warm and witty counsel to the lonely hearts who write in for help. But his own lonely heart feels like it has been on hold for four years, since his wife died. Dan is holding on to what he has left as hard as he can; a little too tightly, according to the two older daughters. He is not quite ready to let Jane (Alison Pill) drive. And he is not even close to ready to let 15-year-old Cara (Brittany Robertson) have a boyfriend, even one who calls him “sir.” It’s as if he lets go of them, if he lets go of anything, he might experience another devastating loss. So, he subsists on tight smiles and denial, tossing off a few gentle wisecracks to try to pretend to the girls and to himself that everything is just fine.

Continue Reading This Post »

Previous Posts

"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape
One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt).  Here are some of the highlights. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede [youtube]http://www.youtub

posted 8:00:21am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on

posted 10:04:47pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Thank You! This Site is 19 Years Old This Week!
It seems like yesterday, but it was 19 years ago this week that I first began writing reviews online as The Movie Mom®.  Anyone remember Prodigy?  The first appearance of my website was via the Sears-owned online service, so long ago it does not even turn up in Wayback searches.  At the time, we

posted 3:59:49pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Dan Cohen of "Alive Inside"
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases.  He is featured in the documentary "Alive Inside." He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides resources to help bring these programs to peopl

posted 8:00:36am Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Contest: "Lullaby" -- Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund
Garrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and "Downton Abbey's" Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan's sister. I have two copies of the DVD to give

posted 3:50:33pm Jul. 25, 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.