Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

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

 

Adventure Planet
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:

If I Stay
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Release Date:
August 22, 2014

 

Blended
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language.
Release Date:
May 23, 2014

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
August 22, 2014

 

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some scary images and mild peril
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

Contest: Blackjack tip cards from “21″

posted by Nell Minow

21jim.jpgThink you can beat the house in Blackjack? That’s what a group of MIT students did. By counting cards, which is perfectly legal, they won very big in Las Vegas. Their story was told in a book called Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, now retitled “21″ to tie in with this week’s release of the movie it inspired.

For those of us who are not MIT math geniuses, there is a playing card-size cheat sheet to guide your betting. Want one? I’ll send one to the first three people to send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com. Stay tuned — later this week I will post my interviews with star Jim Sturgess and the MIT math whiz who inspired both the book and the movie, Jeff Ma.

Interview with Hugh Welchman of “Peter and the Wolf”

posted by Nell Minow

Peter and the Wolf,” this year’s Oscar-winner for best short animated film will be shown on PBS this Wednesday from 8-9 Eastern Time. It is a brilliantly imaginative film and well worth setting aside some family time to watch it together.
“Peter and the Wolf” was originally written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936 as a way to introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra. A brief narration tells the story of the little boy who goes into the forest with his pet duck and cat. They meet up with a little bird and have an encounter with a scary wolf. Each character in the story is represented by a different instrument.
Bird: flute
Duck: oboe
Cat: clarinet
Grandfather: bassoon
Wolf: French horns
Hunters: percussion
Peter: strings
There have been many film versions of the story. Perhaps the most famous is a Disney animated cartoon made in 1946. This latest version, produced by Hugh Welchman of Breakthru Films, dispenses with the narration, which only takes up three minutes of the half-hour-long musical composition, but creates a complex and involving story with a contemporary setting that remains very true to the themes of the original. I spoke to Welchman about the challenges of creating Peter’s world for the painstaking stop-motion animation to create the film.
How big was the set?
ProkofieffPeterWolffilm.jpg“We were working at a one in five ratio. That’s the normal scale for stop-motion animation. The set was truly enormous. The forest had 1700 trees, each 6 feet high. The set was 80 feet long; it was like going into Wonderland. We also did all the close-ups at 1 in 3 [ratio]. The grandfather puppet was 3 1/2 feet high. With that size, you get so much more detail. The grandfather’s hands were incredibly detailed which gave it a real different quality and makes it much more real.
The set was built in Poland and they worked amazingly quickly to build it. That was one of the fastest part of the process; making the models took much, much longer. We wanted it set in modern Russia and so we went there to take photographs. On a playground somewhere they found [the model for] Peter. And they were arrested by the KGB for taking photographs of a power station! The Russian police didn’t really know what to do with these two women. They thought they were eco-terrorists. So, they wiped their photos.
But the Russians are very knowledgeable about film, especially animation.
Yes, they’ve got a heritage with stop-motion.

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Trevor Romain’s DVDs about Kid Problems

posted by Nell Minow
B+

Trevor Romain knows how to talk to kids about the problems they think no one understands. His DVDs are a great way to begin conversations at home, in school, in Scout troops, religious groups, or in other community gatherings. They are just right for that stage in life when children first begin to want to look beyond their parents for answers to questions that trouble them and they speak to kids in a frank but matter-of-fact tone that is very reassuring. Most important, they provide very concrete, practical suggestions for coping with some of the most complex troubles of childhood and early adolescence, from homework to bullies to divorce and loss.

Interview with Ilana Trachtman, director of “Praying with Lior”

posted by Nell Minow

Ilana Trachtman found the subject of her documentary, “Praying with Lior,” at Rosh Hashanah services. Lior has Down syndrome. His devotion to prayer has inspired the members of his close and loving Jewish community in Philadelphia. But the movie is not just about him. It is the story of a family.
Trachtman was a successful director of television programs . Her work was meaningful and satisfying and she was not looking for an independent film project.
What happened?
I prayed with Lior, that’s what happened to me. I was feeling estranged from prayer and went to a Rosh Hashanah retreat. The morning service was very long. I was counting the pages, thinking of what we would eat when services were over. It was literally like hearing a call. Behind me there was this off-key but consistently engaged and enthusiastic voice. I was really compelled because I had never seen anyone like Lior in services before. I grew up in a huge synagogue that never had anyone like Lior. Lior_postfront-1.jpgThe struggle I had with prayer, this person with half my IQ seemed so natural. I was filled with curiousity and envy. This was in the fall. His bar mitzvah was in May. I needed to get started quickly.

How did you get the permission of the family?

I expected I would have to do a lot of explaining, but when I started talking, Lior’s father said, “We’ve always wanted to do a documentary about the bar mitzvah.” That same spirit of generosity pervaded the entire experience. It was one miraculous moment after another on every level, a very b’shert (destined) experience all the way along.

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Previous Posts

Interview: Daniel Schechter, Writer/Director of "Life of Crime"
Newcomer Daniel Schechter, who wrote one of my favorite neglected gems, The Big Bad Swim, worked with an all-star cast in "Life of Crime," which he adapted from The Switch by Elmore Leonard and directed.  It is set in 1970's Detroit and it is the story of a woman played by Jennifer Aniston who i

posted 3:59:35pm Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

The November Man
Pierce Brosnan knows what it is like to play a spy in a big-budget, glamorous, blockbuster. He was the most urbane of Bonds in four movies. He knows what it is to play a seedier spy in a prestige, mildly meta movie, the 2001 film "The Tailor of Panama" (with Daniel Radcliffe in a pre-Potter role).

posted 10:57:58am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Thunder and the House of Magic
"Thunder and the House of Magic" opens September 5, 2014. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6VKG3lZEIg[/youtube]

posted 8:00:02am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Anatomy of Every Movie Ever
This is hilarious and, I have to say, accurate.  Thank you, John Atkinson of Wrong Hands!

posted 3:59:37pm Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Cozi Zuehlsdorff's New Song for "Dolphin Tale 2" -- "Brave Souls"
I'm really looking forward to "Dolphin Tale 2," even more so after seeing this music video by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, the young actress who reprises her role as Hazel from the original film. Cozi’s song, which she wrote and performs herself, is called “Brave Souls” and in this video she explains how

posted 12:23:08pm Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »


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