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New in Theaters
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Vacation
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:

Release Date:
July 29, 2015

 

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

Southpaw
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Release Date:
July 25, 2105

 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
Release Date:
March 6, 2015

Paper Towns
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity -- all involving teens
Release Date:
July 25, 2015

 

The Longest Ride
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action
Release Date:
April 10, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
D

Vacation

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Release Date:
July 29, 2015
grade:
B

Southpaw

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Release Date:
July 25, 2105
grade:
B+

Paper Towns

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity -- all involving teens
Release Date:
July 25, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Home

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

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
Release Date:
March 6, 2015
grade:
C

The Longest Ride

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action
Release Date:
April 10, 2015

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Pete’s Dragon

posted by Nell Minow

“Pete’s Dragon,” a warm-hearted Disney musical fantasy combining live action and animation, is out on DVD today. It stars Helen Reddy (singing the Oscar-nominated song, “Candle on the Water”), Mickey Rooney, and Jim Dale (narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks). The first person who sends me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Dragon” in the subject line will win a DVD.

PetesDragonHighFlyingEdDVD.jpg

Mary J. Blige sings ‘I Can Do Bad All By Myself’

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s Mary J. Blige singing the title song from Tyler Perry’s upcoming movie, starring Taraji P. Henson and featuring Blige and Gladys Knight.

Interview: Jon Brunson of ‘Addicted to the Outdoors’

posted by Nell Minow

Jon and Gina Brunson are Addicted to the Outdoors and so that is the name of their television show on the Outdoor Channel. Now they are working on a new show that will include their six children, ranging from age 5-16. I spoke to Brunson about how it feels to be on a reality television program and the steps he takes to make sure that his family is not subjected to the tabloid pressures that have been so difficult for Jon and Kate, the Hogans, and other families on television.
What steps do you take to make sure that this is a positive experience for your family?
We do things a whole lot differently from most reality shows. We control everything, as much as it can be controlled. The reason we’re so successful and it keeps the family together instead of a marriage-breaker is the way we run things. I don’t come from a traditional TV background. I had to figure it out on my own, for myself on down. Our employees, producers, cameramen, they really know just one way and that is my way. Every single person who works for us has an iron-clad contract that they cannot take any of the footage but more important these are people who have worked for us for years and they know what we want. We do things a lot differently than many mainstream reality shows do. Our TV show is pretty much outside the house. The kids are on camera if they’re on the trip. We keep them sheltered so much from it.
We’ve had several mainstream producers approach us over the past two years to offer us a reality TV show spin-off of our show, to bring cameras into the house, about how we run the show and have three different companies and juggle six kids. It is fun and exciting and interesting. We talked to them and said, “We think that could be a good product.” But the reason we decided to keep it all in-house and launch it as a web-based show, which we should be launching this month, is so that we could maintain control. It is called “Meet the Brunsons.”
We can always go mainstream. If we control this in-house and establish a fan base we can always take it to a network and hook up with a mainstream producer but we can build the product our way. If it gets too personal we can turn it off, we can just shut it down. If it works well and we’re comfortable, we can always have the option to allow strangers into our house. Our family is the most important thing to us. So we have to be the ones to decide whether the cameras are on or off, whether to keep them out for the day or give the family a break.
No matter how good and exciting it is, if I give them a signal, they shut the camera down. If you bring a mainstream production company in, their job is to get the drama. Their job is not your family’s best interest, it is ratings and money. We don’t run cameras 24-7, which a lot of the others do. If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything good you have to do that, but we do not. And we let the kids be involved in the process. If it’s weird or embarrassing to the 16 year old we’ll tweak it or edit it or change it. I won’t do something to make the show look a little better if it is going to embarrass my son. Family first, product second. In many cases on other shows it is the other way around. They will try to sell you by saying, “It’s going to be good TV, so let’s just do it.” People get sucked in. Even if it is a hit with millions of viewers I will shut it down if it is not right for the family. And I won’t even blink. I won’t think twice about it.
How do you decide what to make public and what to keep private in your show?
“Addicted to the Outdoors” is reality-based, but it is more about Gina and me and the things we do and the trips we make and the kids are occasionally on the show. As we move more into “Meet the Brunsons,” we’re learning. There’s no secret formula; we’re easing into it. To me, the determination comes more on the edit than up front. The footage does not leave us and go to LA. It stays in our control. The crew make what they think is the best show and then I have the final edit. They know what we like and they have a pretty good feel for what we want. And then they bring it to me. There are times when I’m not sure when we’re filming and it looks fine, and other times when I think something is okay while we’re filming and it is not right when I see it.
The product is overseen by me extremely closely. I tell them, “Tweak this, cut this, make this shorter,” and that is what they do. Our kids are as normal as you can find. It doesn’t really compute to them that we’re on TV. When it comes to standard reality television, their job is to get the drama. Their job is to produce a product that will generate ratings and make money. Their job is not what is best for your family.
How has the program made your family closer?
Prior to going full-blown TV/entertainment, before we made that transition, I owned a marketing company. I worked like a mad man, 6-7 days a week, 100 hours a week, but making a living in the outdoors was what I always wanted to do. I told my parents when I was 15 years old that by the time I was 35 I was going to spend my life in the outdoors. I got there by 32, a couple of years ahead of my goal.
Since I began doing this, I shifted gears and started spending a whole lot more time with the family. I always made time for the family but could not spend the time I wanted to at home. Now we spend tons of time together. With the exception of the trips, we’re home, and I don’t got to an office. I turn my phone off at 7 and we eat dinner at the table every night. It’s family time. We both come from a traditional background. My dad was a Southern Baptist preacher. So the show has helped us because I went from working a normal job being away 5-6 days a week, to being home 3-4 weeks straight with the kids and traveling all over the world with my wife, doing things we love, and she’s my best friend. My goal is to be in a place financially where I can able to hang out with my wife and kids and hunt and camp and fish and goof off.
Do you have a favorite trip?
Man, there’s a bunch — it’s hard to pick! We love going over the US. Africa is one of my favorite trips, I love New Zealand. They’re all completely different experiences. We love Alaska, we’re going back there again this year. Canada, Mexico. They’re all a blast. The kids love Colorado and the mountains and the snow. They went skiing there for the first time and some of them said they wanted to live there when they grow up.
What is the most important lesson for people to learn from your travels?
Conservation first and foremost, trying to keep the outdoor lifestyle alive. Hunting, fishing, camping, outdoors — those are traditions we like to see passed down in families. The charities we are involved in are about teaching kids about the outdoors. Taking care of property, game, making sure that it’s going to be around for our grandchildren, great-grandkids, great-great-grandkids will be able to enjoy them.

‘District 9′ — About Racism or Racist?

posted by Nell Minow

“District 9″ is one of the best-reviewed films of the 2009. Entertainment Weekly put it on the cover and called it the must-see movie of the summer. Most critics described it as a thinking person’s action movie because it presents its humans vs. aliens story in the context of apartheid and other historic incidents of racial, religious, and ethnic separation.
Desson Thomson, one of my favorite critics, said in The Wrap:

What’s ingenious about “District 9″ (co-written and directed by South African born Neill Blomkamp) is the way it cannily appropriates symbols and clichés of the apartheid regime of South Africa — the snarling dogs, the barefoot kids, the depressing shanty houses, the dust, poverty and hopeless — and repurposes them into a stunning sci-fi movie.

It’s our recognition of those symbols that gives the movie heft. We are watching apartheid in parenthesis. And yet, we are seeing it in an entirely different light.

But at least two African-American critics believe that the film perpetuates stereotypes more significantly than it addresses racism. Frequently contrarian critic Armond White of the New York Press has been attacked by fanboys and other critics for his scathing review of the film. White says that it:

suggests a meager, insensitive imagination. It’s a nonsensical political metaphor. Consider this: District 9’s South Africa-set story makes trash of that country’s Apartheid history by constructing a ludicrous allegory for segregation that involves human beings (South Africa’s white government, scientific and media authorities plus still-disadvantaged blacks) openly ostracizing extraterrestrials in shanty-town encampments that resemble South Africa’s bantustans.

It’s been 33 years since South Africa’s Soweto riots stirred the world’s disgust with that country’s regime where legal segregation kept blacks “apart” and in “hoods” (thus, Apartheid) unequal to whites. District 9’s sci-fi concept celebrates–yes, that’s the word–Soweto’s legacy by ignoring the issues of self-determination (where a mass demonstration by African students on June 16, 1976, protested their refusal to learn the dominant culture’s Afrikaans language). District 9 also trivializes the bloody outcome where an estimated 500 students were killed, by ignoring that complex history and enjoying its chaos. Let’s see if the Spielberg bashers put-off by the metaphysics in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will be as offended by District 9’s mangled anthropology.

District 9 represents the sloppiest and dopiest pop cinema–the kind that comes from a second-rate film culture. No surprise, this South African fantasia from director Neill Blomkamp was produced by the intellectually juvenile New Zealander Peter Jackson. It idiotically combines sci-fi wonderment with the inane “realism” of a mockumentary to show the South African government’s xenophobic response to a global threat: Alien-on-earth population has reached one million, all housed–like Katrina refugees or Soweto protesters–in restricted territories.

White says that the aliens in the movie want to go home while the blacks in South Africa wanted to stay and engaged in one of the most stirring and peaceful revolutions in history. And White also objects to the portrayal of black Nigerian gangsters. “These malevolent blacks are also grinning cannibals who later threaten Wikus’ life. They’re a new breed of racist swagger; the kingpin sits in a wheelchair, big, black and scary.”
I have been a fan of DC Girl@The Movies for a long time and especially like her essay on the failures of most movies about racism. Her comments on “District 9” are insightful and thought-provoking. Like White, she objects to the portrayal of the black Africans as “Ooga-booga negroes who think *eating* the aliens will somehow give them their ~*magic*~, gun-toting gangstas, hos, and yes, we even have a barely-there sidekick who is repeatedly called ‘boy’.”
Another of my favorite critics, Cynthia Fuchs, says it is one more film that purports to be about racism but gives the heroics to the white man. “Racism provides the white guy with a very special growth experience.”
Slate’s Jonah Weiner took a friend who lived in South Africa to “District 9″ and wrote about their reaction in the site’s Brow Beat blog:

My friend was troubled by the depiction of the stranded aliens as “shiftless” “intergalactic schlubs,” as Dan puts it. There’s something unsavory, he argued, in director Neill Blomkamp portraying his allegorical shack dwellers as dumb, hapless, and helpless members of a community so thoroughly rent by poverty and oppression that the only hope for their betterment lies either in intervention from the outside (Wikus van der Merwe) or the lone efforts of an anomalous, intellectually advanced insider (the alien called Christopher Thompson). This logic can take on an infantilizing, unempowering aspect, he said, that denies oppressed parties agency, the ability to organize effectively from the ground up.

We were both uncertain about Blomkamp’s ultimate point about miscegenation, for lack of a better word, as represented by Wikus’s gooey transformation into a prawn. Right through the film’s final image, Wikus regards his othering from himself as a horror he wants reversed–he fights the evil MNU not out of virtue but out of self-interest and, in the process, becomes a microcosmic model for any “native” body that fears “foreign” contamination. The transforming/transformed Wikus isn’t the embodiment of post-racial harmony. Rather, the metamorphosis alienates him twice over, strands him between categories that are themselves left intact: He’s not a human and he’s not a “prawn,” either.

A couple of points here. First, I have been fascinated with the intensity of debate White’s review has engendered, including more than 500 comments on Rotten Tomatoes and a sort of defense of White from Roger Ebert, who at first said White was valuable because his ideas are outside of the mainstream and then wrote a second piece saying:

I realized I had to withdraw my overall defense of White. I was not familiar enough with his work. It is baffling to me that a critic could praise “Transformers 2″ but not “Synecdoche, NY.” Or “Death Race” but not “There Will be Blood.” I am forced to conclude that White is, as charged, a troll. A smart and knowing one, but a troll. My defense of his specific review of “District 9″ still stands.

Like Ebert, I think the comments by White are valid, and I’d add in the assessments by DC Girl and Fuchs as well. In my view, however, the movie is not intended to be so closely aligned with the specific events or individuals affected by apartheid, either the victims or the perpetrators and it would be a mistake to try to make it that way — overly didactic and heavy-handed. As I said in my review:

The film is more clever and ambitious than that. Just as the classic original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is claimed by both the right and the left as representing their side, this is a movie that is designed to be discussed and argued over. It is those conversations about Its meaning in light of the way that struggles with the notion of “the other” can inspire both the best and the worst of what it means to be human.

Previous Posts

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posted 11:42:40pm Jul. 29, 2015 | read full post »

New From Oprah Winfrey: "Belief"
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posted 3:07:27pm Jul. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Movie Addict Headquarters: Comic-Con and "Minions"
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posted 8:50:02am Jul. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Vacation
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posted 6:44:58pm Jul. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Bugs Bunny Turns 75
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHpXle4NqWI A fascinating look at what made Warner Brothers cartoons work. Surprisingly, within these anarchic worlds, there were a lot of rules. This video has some very thoughtful commentary, including ...

posted 3:21:10pm Jul. 28, 2015 | read full post »

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