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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

The Age of Adaline
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Release Date:
April 24, 2015

 

Cake
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Release Date:
January 24, 2015

The Water Diviner
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Release Date:
April 24, 2015

 

Big Eyes
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

Monkey Kingdom
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

 

Wild
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

New in Theaters

grade:
B

The Age of Adaline

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Release Date:
April 24, 2015
grade:
B-

The Water Diviner

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Release Date:
April 24, 2015
grade:
B+

Monkey Kingdom

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Cake

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Release Date:
January 24, 2015
grade:
B+

Big Eyes

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014
grade:
B+

Wild

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

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Bolt

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and peril
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2008
DVD Release Date:March 24, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and peril
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 24, 2009

Bolt (voice of John Travolta) thinks he is a super-dog. He and his “person,” Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus) spend their days battling the evil, green-eyed Dr. Calico (voice of Malcolm McDowell), who has captured Penny’s scientist father and has a lair defended by dozens of black-clad henchmen. Thank goodness for Bolt’s loyalty and courage and for his thunderous super-bark and heat vision, too!

But what Bolt doesn’t know is that none of this is real. He’s an actor on a television show and his “superpowers” are special effects. The director insists that Bolt must believe that it is all really happening in order to make his performance, well, believable. “If the dog believes it,” he explains condescendingly to “Mindy from the network,” “the audience believes it.”

Bolt accidentally gets shipped to New York, and for the first time finds out what the real world is like — and what he is really like, too. Even without the super-bark and the steel-melting stare, he has to find his way back to Penny.

This feels like a transitional film, as Pixar takes over Disney animation, and the seams show. Bolt is a likable character, but bland next to those around him, especially the pigeons, who deserve much more screen time, and those who accompany him on his road trip, a scraggly cat (voice of Susie Essman of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and an excitable hamster (animator Mark Walton). Bolt’s dilemma may be confusing to younger children who are still unclear with their own notions of what is real and what is pretend and may not be interested in the problems of a child star with a pushy agent. But in its best moments, it gently shows us how Bolt’s discoveries parallel those of a child in learning self-reliance.

Children have an ever-evolving sense of what is real and what is pretend. Developmental psychologists believe that it is not until age nine or even older that they are sure about whether what they see in movies and television is really true and still engage in “magical thinking” that parents can approve of (that Santa lives in the North Pole) and that is more troubling (that they caused parental discord or separation). Being able to repeat “it’s only pretend” does not mean that they understand what it means. “Bolt” is a movie that reflects this aspect of childhood.

Quantum of Solace

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2008
DVD Release Date:March 24, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 24, 2008

More like “The Bond Ultimatum,” this is the Bournization of Bond. He may still spend some time in a dinner jacket, but this Bond is not the cool, debonair spy who seldom misses and never questions. This Bond is almost feral. He is seldom sure but he never, ever stops.

For the first time, there is no “Bond, James Bond” introduction and no dry flirtation with the ever-reliable Miss Moneypenny. Past Bonds have seemed like infomercials because they were so overstuffed with product placement, but this version is so stripped down to essence that there is not even time for Q to demonstrate an array of new gadgets so that we can have the pleasure of anticipating each of them in action.

This is the first Bond film to be an explicit sequel, beginning where Casino Royale left off. And so, in addition to non-stop action, brilliantly staged, we get to see Bond in the process of becoming Bond. Craig’s Bond is still near-feral, rough around the edges, his fury not yet under control. In the last film, he showed himself to be damaged but capable of being vulnerable until the death and apparent betrayal of Vesper (Eva Green) left him furious and equally determined to exact revenge and to protect his heart, if not his body or his soul, from any further trauma. Yes, this time it’s personal.

The issue of betrayal arises at all levels in this movie, right from the beginning, when even allies like the Americans and the inside circle of British spies can no longer be trusted. M (Judi Dench, as tart as a Granny Smith apple) has to rely on Bond, who may be rough, edgy, furious, even brutal, but who is not conventionally corruptible.

Every era gets the Bond it deserves. Every Bond is a reflection of his times. The Cold War Bond was the last of the unabashed pre-feminism alpha males. In the run-up to the Reagan era we had the Bond of excess — overstuffed with product placement and plots so literally out of this world that Bond ended up in outer space. And now we have the Bond of the era of compromised morals and unclear alliances. This is a rebooted Bond, building to some future time when gadgets and girls and martinis may re-enter the story.

Some things are unchangeable. No “Bond, James Bond,” Miss Moneypenny, or Q, but Bond does wear a dinner jacket (beautifully) and globe-hop to an array of glamorous locations. All the better for chasing around them and blowing them up. The girl (there must always be a girl) is as bent as Bond is, also driven for revenge and willing to do or destroy anything to get it. But don’t spend any time trying to figure out what the title refers to — basically, nothing. It is the title of a James Bond short story that has no other connection to this movie.

The film is not just tough on Americans; it portrays the world as a bleak and inherently compromised place. The bad guy insists on being paid in Euros, not dollars, and the CIA is willing to sell out just about anyone for oil. But it is another, even more precious liquid that is at risk here. Bad guy Mathieu Amalric (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) glowers effectively and Gemma Arterton is refreshing as Ms. (Strawberry) Fields. Her departure from the story is, as in Casino Royale, a quick visual homage to an iconic Bond image, reminding us that if our era requires a Bond more gritty and less glamorous, Craig, Dench, & Co., have delivered him.

List: Inspiring Quotes from the Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Movies have enormous power to inspire us and some of their best lines stay with us long after we leave the theater. Here are some of the lines that always make me try a little harder, risk a little more, and hold on a little longer. And I’d love to hear some of yours.
braveheart.jpg“Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart
“A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.” Maude in Harold and Maude
Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.
The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers
“Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin.” Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption
“Life is not the amount of breaths you take. It’s the moments that take your breath away.” Will Smith in Hitch
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” The Emperor in Mulan
“There is a story in the Talmud about a king who had a son who went astray. The son was told, ‘Return to your father.’ The son replied that he could not. The king then sent a messenger to the son with the message… ‘Come back to me as far as you can, and I will meet you the rest of the way.'” Reuven in The Chosen
“I believe a man is as big as what’ll make him mad.” Reno Smith in Bad Day at Black Rock
“Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” Truvy in Steel Magnolias
clarence.jpg“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Clarence the angel in It’s a Wonderful Life

Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2009

Robert Blecker is one of the most outspoken — and unexpected — proponents of the death penalty. He does not try to base his argument on the death penalty as deterrent or to prevent the opportunity for further crimes. The self-described “retributivist advocate of the death penalty has managed to alienate both sides of the debate on the politically divisive and morally complex issue of capital punishment….[H]e makes a powerful case for the death penalty as retribution, but only for the ‘worst of the worst’ offenders.”

Defining what ‘worst of the worst’ means is a constant and sometimes painful struggle for Blecker, and as a part of his continuing effort to define that category he first came into contact with someone who appears to qualify according to anyone’s standard. That man is Daryl Holton, who shot his three children and their half-sibling to death in 1997 because, he said, he thought it was better for them to be dead than to live with their mother.

This documentary about the relationship between the two men does not take sides. It simply documents their conversations, which are vivid, engrossing, and surprising. As Blecker gets to know Holton, he finds it difficult to maintain the sense of outrage that is an essential part of his justification for the death penalty, even in light of the unspeakable nature of the crime. The deepest questions of what we are as humans echo throughout the film. Is Holton’s crime so inhuman that he must be insane and therefore less culpable? Is it inevitable that interviewing him will establish a connection that makes it more difficult to advocate for his being put to death?

This is less a film about the death penalty than it is about more fundamental issues of purpose and meaning. It is a provocative film about deeply troubling issues. No matter what your perspective, it will be challenged. And no matter how you come out, it is that very engagement and need for understanding that ultimately reaches the deepest part of the human experience and responsibility.

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