Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Horrible Bosses 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Release Date:
November 26, 2104

 

The Giver
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
November 26, 2014

 

The Expendables 3
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

Little Hope Was Arson
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Not Rated
Release Date:
November 21, 2014

 

The November Man
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Release Date:
August 27, 2014

Baby Mama

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and a drug reference.
Movie Release Date:April 25, 2008

“Baby Mama” is not just smart, warm, funny, and romantic, it is an especially welcome dose of XX chromosome humor in an Apatow-flooded XY era.

Tina Fey (“30 Rock”) plays Kate, a single woman who has achieved a great deal of professional success as an executive in an organic food company but at age 37 finds herself overcome with longing for a baby. When her doctor (John Hodgman, the PC in Mac commercials) tells her that it is almost impossible for her to have a child, she hires a surrogate (“Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler as Angie). Shortly after she becomes pregnant, Angie leaves her husband and Kate, worried about Angie’s health and hygiene habits, eager to share the prenatal experience, and something of a micro-manager, invites her to move in. Think The Odd Couple with Lamaze class. We know that as must always happen in movies Kate will teach Angie about responsibility and Angie will teach Kate to loosen up and have a little fun. But it is done with a light touch and a sense of humor about itself, Fey and Poehler have an easy warmth and chemistry, and it feels good to see a buddy comedy about women.

Writer/director Michael McCullers (of “Austin Powers” and neglected gem Undercover Brother) wisely lets the characters lead the story, avoiding the usual wacky plot contrivances. Kate continues to be very successful at her job, and when Angie meets Kate’s boss, there are none of those tiresome and painful mix-ups/inadvertent insults/clumsy accidents that have to be corrected so that everyone can agree how much happier they are. Even better, McCullers fills the screen with top comic talent so that every encounter Kate and Angie have is, well, pregnant with possibilities that, well, deliver. Sigourney Weaver is magnificent as Chaffee Bicknell, the steely operator of the surrogacy company. When Kate expresses surprise at the $100,000 price tag — “It costs more to have someone born than to have someone killed,” Bicknell purrs sympathetically without losing a beat “It takes longer.”

Dax Shepard is unabashedly trashy as Angie’s husband (“common law!”), Maura Tierney adds warmth as Kate’s sister, and the always-impeccable Holland Taylor is right on target as their mother. Two poor choices in character design are saved by two superb choices in casting — Greg Kinnear somehow makes a dumb running joke about how his juice bar is nothing like the nationwide chain sound not all all whiny but somehow slightly mystified in a confident but sensitive way. And Will Forte as Kate’s ex elevates some sub-par dialogue about his perfect life. Other SNL-ers include Siobhan Fallon Hogan as the birthing instructor whose speech impediment just makes her sound even more inclusive and elemental and Fred Armisen as a stroller salesman. The wonderful Romany Malco is a highlight as Kate’s doorman. And I won’t spoil the surprise and give away the name of the star who shows up as Kate’s boss, who says things like “I am going to reward you with five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact.” I’ll just say he’s a great choice and does justice to that gray ponytail.

Fey is terrific; we’re on her side all the way. But it is worth seeing the movie a second time just to watch Poehler. As we first see her nervously dropping a little curtsy to the doorman on her way into Kate’s building, we understand that she is someone who may have had no education or opportunity but who has some sense of a bigger world than the one she has known. In one of her best scenes, she pretends to be Kate’s sister and we can see her mind working as she tries very hard to do what she thinks will be most supportive of Kate but also begins to get a different sense of her own capabilities and possibilities. Like Angie, this movie has some surprising depth and heart.

More on Language from the Las Vegas Review-Journal

posted by Nell Minow

“Language packs a punch in culture,” says a column by Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter John Przybys about the debate over Tropic Thunder.
Przybys and I had a long talk about this subject and he quoted me in the column:

Nell Minow, who writes “Movie Mom,” a column on Beliefnet.com in which she evaluates movies from a parent’s perspective, argues that protesters’ ire is misdirected.
“Tropic Thunder” doesn’t lampoon the disabled, Minow said during a recent phone interview, but, rather, the self-absorption of Hollywood and actors who offer one-dimensional portrayals of the disabled and then congratulate themselves for it.
“As a person with disabled family members and whose first job was working with what we then called the ‘retarded,’ I’ve been appalled at movies that get all kinds of critical praise, like ‘I Am Sam’ and ‘Forrest Gump,’ because I think they’re terrible portrayals of disabled characters,” Minow said.
“Too often in movies, the disabled aspect is the character’s defining trait,” Minow continued, and disabled characters exist only to “inspire people and/or give (other characters) an important lesson about compassion. That’s about it, and this is wrong. Disabled people are interesting human beings who’ve got really interesting stories to tell.”
In “Tropic Thunder,” the word “retard” is used to “show something about the person who said it,” Minow said, and the film makes “a very trenchant and powerful argument in favor of the disabled being treated well by showing that the person who didn’t understand was a nincompoop.”
Similarly, even as Downey plays a white actor who darkens his skin to play a black character, the film is “very intelligent in giving the actual black character the power and moral weight in the movie,” Minow said.

Apostles of Comedy

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:September 9, 2008

Four Christian stand-up comics join forces in this performance film that combines hilarious commentary on all of the absurdities of life with very touching glimpses of the men at home and their fellowship with each other. Anthony Griffith, Brad Stine, Jeff Allen, and Ron Pearson are talented performers who believe that their comedy can be a kind of testimony, bringing people to a place where they are more receptive to God. This is a heart-warming, hilarious, and inspiring film. Be sure to check out my interview with Ron Pearson about what makes him laugh and how he finds a way to be both reverent and irreverent.

A live tour featuring the four stars of “Apostles of Comedy” will begin on November 10 in Northern California and make stops in over 15 cities before Thanksgiving. Venues for the tour will include large churches as well as theaters and auditoriums. Stops will include Phoenix, Tulsa’s Maybee Center, Dallas’ Nokia Theatre, Houston, Orlando, Chattanooga and Knoxville, TN.

Interview: Ron Pearson of ‘Apostles of Comedy’

posted by Nell Minow

Ron Pearson of the new DVD Apostles of Comedy answered some of my questions about his tour. Pearson starred for several years on “Malcolm & Eddie,” guest starred on “The Drew Carey Show,” “Two Guys and a Girl,” “The George Lopez Show,” and appeared in a recurring on “That 70s Show.” As a comedian Ron has made numerous late night appearances from “The Late Late Show,” to “The Dennis Miller Show,” and “Comedy Central.” The DVD has Pearson and three other top Christian comics at home and in performance.
What is the most important thing for a comedian to know about his or her audience?
There is a phrase in comedy that says, “Know your audience!” That in itself is the second most important thing in comedy. Everyone laughs at a joke that is based on a truth, but not everyone’s experiences are the same. Talking to a group of teens it wouldn’t be that funny to them talking about the problems of a large mortgage. Or the same talking to a bunch of Amish about troubles with the computer!
If you understand who you are talking to, you can find the common ground and break down the barriers! It’s all about knowing the audience.

What inspires you?

What a broad question–What inspires you? So many things. A great movie makes me want to do better work. Seeing a great play, and a song by Baz Luhrmann, the film director, called ‘Everyone is Free to Wear Sunscreen” inspired me to write a one man comedy show. Some parts of it are actually in the Apostles of Comedy film. However, the biggest inspiration for me is an empty bank account!

What makes you laugh?

Everyday life! Life’s a lot easier if you can laugh at it! My wife, kids and myself are constantly doing and saying funny things. It’s my job to capture that and put it in a looking glass of words for others to relate too. For example, my family was going to a lacrosse game recently and we were right on the edge of being late and the emergency brake cable in the truck snapped off.
I wanted to get to the game so bad, I was frustrated, wasn’t sure who
to call, so I yelled to my wife in frustration to “call General Motors.” My wife said, ”Really, General motors has someone standing by on a Sunday night to fix your
emergency brake!”
Now every so often one of the kids will just yell, “Call General Motors!” Much to my chagrin, it’s been hours of laughter for my family! But, That’s life and life is funny!
I laugh at just about everything! Have you ever noticed that even at a funeral, you get some of the
biggest and deepest laughs? Also, great jokes and great comedians make me laugh!
You know how I make God laugh? I tell him my plans.
My Godson, Beckett makes me laugh. He’s almost 3 years old and just listening to him talk cracks me up!
Can you be reverent and irreverent at the same time?
Another great question! Life is full of oxymorons, I’m just a moron! Yes, I think you can in a weird way be reverent and irreverent at the same time. The reason is, comedy is based on truth and sometimes the truth is ugly. So often, making a joke about a topic that people don’t want to talk about, or won’t acknowledge because of some predisposition, is the best way for people to relate to something difficult for them. The fact that you base it on truth is the important part. That keeps it reverent because God is truth.
Do you have a favorite Bible passage about the importance of laughter?
The funniest thing in the Bible to me is the story of Noah! Here’s a guy who preached for 100 years and didn’t have a single convert! He could barely get his own family on the ark! I can relate to this guy! The frustrated dad. The passage that also hits home is James 4:9 Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom! JUST KIDDING. Actually it’s Proverbs 17:22–A cheerful heart makes good medicine.
Laughter is therapeutic!
What’s the best advice you ever got?
The best advice I ever got was to treat a woman with respect. Oh, you mean about comedy. The best advice was from the actor Peter Scolari. When I first came to Los Angeles, I considered him to be my mentor. He told me that you can make an audience laugh and laugh, but if you show them your heart they will never forget you. This is all about being vulnerable onstage. It’s a very hard thing to do but it is the same thing we can do as Christians. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable to others, it draws them in.
Is stand-up a kind of testimony or preaching? How?
I don’t know if I’d call comedy preaching. I’ve not changed the world or cured cancer from the stage, but comedy is based on truth. Preaching is based on the Bible and that is truth, God is truth. So maybe in a weird way through stand up, some people might look at the world a little differently! I guess that’s my hope. I want my audience to be uplifted. So much of comedy is very dark, but I want the audience to be floating on cloud 9 when they leave. The truth of God’s
word takes the weight of the world off your shoulders. What I try to do is take that same weight off and maybe, just maybe my, life could be a testimony to someone in need!

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