Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Laggies
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Release Date:
October 31, 2014

 

Moms' Night Out
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Release Date:
October 24, 2014

 

Begin Again
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:

Release Date:
July 2, 2014

John Wick
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Release Date:
October 24, 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

Who Should Be Offended by ‘Tropic Thunder?’

posted by Nell Minow

A coalition of disability group has called for a boycott of the R-rated satire Tropic Thunder. They are asking people not to see the movie because they say ittropic-thunder-stiller-rdj-.jpg
demeans, insults, and harms individuals with intellectual disabilities by using the “R- word.” Furthermore, it perpetuates derogatory images and stereotypes of individuals with intellectual disabilities including mocking their physical appearance and speech, supports the continuation of inappropriate myths and misperceptions, and legitimizes painful discrimination, exclusion, and bullying.
Special Olympics Chair Timothy Shriver said
Some may think we ought to lighten up and not get so worked up because this is, after all, just a film. But films become part of pop culture and character lines are repeated in other settings time and time again. It’s clear to me that lines from this particular film will provide hurtful ammunition outside the movie theatre. While I realize that the film’s creators call this a parody and they never intended to hurt anyone, it doesn’t mean those words won’t.
I respect their concerns for the dignity of the disabled, but they are simply wrong and their comments reflect such a fundamental misunderstanding of the film that it is impossible to believe that anyone connected with these statements actually saw it. I side with the other movie critics who have said that this film is not disrespectful or inappropriate in the treatment of disabled people.
The movie in no way makes fun of developmentally disabled people. On the contrary. It makes fun of pretentious actors who think they can win awards by portraying developmentally disabled people.

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Fly Me to the Moon

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:August 13, 2008

Don’t try to swat that enormous insect buzzing a few inches above your popcorn. It’s a hologram-like image hovering in front of you and it is part of the movie. Yes, you have to wear the clunky glasses, but within moments you will forget all about them and be caught up in the pure magic of the 3D technology in the first feature-length animated film completely produced in that format. It is stunningly beautiful and almost hyper-real in its depth of field and meticulousness of detail. The virtual reality is so believable you will feel as though you can reach into each shot and rearrange the furniture.

Unfortunately, the dull characters and weak story keep getting in the way of the gorgeously produced backgrounds. The plot about three young flies who hitch a ride on Apollo 11’s trip to the moon is almost an afterthought.

The starring role here is played by the techies, who focused not just on the 3D effects but also on the science and engineering of the Apollo 11 mission. They relied on NASA records, blueprints of the rocket ships and equipment, and even the audio recordings of the flight to bring extra verisimilitude to the screen. This part of the movie is a flat-out marvel, and the shots of the moon are breathtaking.

The artists who designed the environments designed a community for the houseflies that has some clever detail and some lovely touches, especially the rippling water, so tactile you may feel a little damp.

But all of the imagination seems to end there. The history of animated movies is abuzz with cute cartoon insects, from one of the very first animated features, “Hoppity Goes to Town” to the dapper Jiminy Cricket in “Pinocchio,” “A Bug’s Life”, and “The Ant Bully.” But there is no effort of any kind to give the characters here any distinctive fly qualities. They just look like little humans with antennae and wings, and they are almost interchangeable, with each assigned just one identifying characteristic. One is the leader, one has glasses, and one is fat. Then there are the Soviet flies who want to prevent the rocket from reaching the moon before they do, just poor copies of Boris, Natasha, and Fearless Leader from “Rocky and Bullwinkle.”

But the biggest disappointment is the script, as arid as last year’s Tang. It fails to make us care about the characters or identify with the flies’ dream of going to the moon. It was inspired by a fly grandfather’s reminiscence of saving pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart by flying up her nose (I am not kidding). It is not based on any interest or understanding beyond a vague quest for adventure. It assumes much too much knowledge from today’s children about the space race and the 1960’s. Kids are likely to be confused by the Cold War bad guys and the retro portrayal of the female characters. The girl flies toss their ponytails and giggle and the lead fly’s Stepford-like mother is pretty much limited to fussing over her larvae babies, making dinner, and fainting(!) whenever she is upset. The action scenes are poorly choreographed and hard to follow and the comedy tends toward potty humor and fat jokes. And then the big happy ending is followed by a live action coda with real-life astronaut Buzz Aldrin reminding us that it was all pretend.

The dazzling technology just puts a spotlight on the lackluster script, like a high-definition picture of an out-of-focus subject . If they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they tell a better story about sending some flies along for the ride?

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.

Previous Posts

Laggies
Lynn Shelton is known for writing and directing small, intimate, independent films with a lot of improvised dialogue ("Humpday,""My Sister's Sister," "Touchy Feely"), often using the same small group of actors. With "Laggies," she moves seamlessly to working with a more conventional screenplay, writ

posted 5:58:04pm Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Middleburg Film Festival -- Year Two
The paint was hardly dry at Middleburg Virginia's swanky new Salamander Resort when the first Middleburg Film Festival kicked off last year, but it was a spectacular start for both the festival and the resort, with Bruce Dern appearing to introduce "Nebraska." This year, the festival hits its strid

posted 4:28:04pm Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Disney's Headless Horseman, Sung by Bing Crosby
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ysNSKrH8hHo?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 1:39:39pm Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts
Happy Halloween! Here are ten of my favorite movie ghosts.  (NOTE: Some of these have inferior remakes -- stick with the originals.) Topper Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the most s

posted 8:00:42am Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

List: Sam Rockwell
Sam Rockwell is one of the most versatile leading me in Hollywood. This week, he stars with Keira Knightley in "Laggies," playing a single dad. Here are some of my favorite Sam Rockwell performances: Moon Rockwell takes on the biggest possible acting challenge -- he in alone on screen for the ent

posted 3:50:02pm Oct. 29, 2014 | read full post »


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