Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Fading Gigolo
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some crude comments, language and action violence
Release Date:
December 25, 2013

Transcendence
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

The Nut Job
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 17, 2014

Bears
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

Grudge Match
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Release Date:
December 25, 2013

Block Party

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006

The regal Erykah Badu takes the stage, her slender form topped with an enormous puff of hair that hangs down over her face. But the stage is outdoors on a gusty, rainy day, and all of a sudden it is blown back and then off! She keeps singing.

Unknown White Male

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for drug references and brief strong language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006

Confounded doctors admit that they’ve only seen it in movies and textbooks. But in this documentary a mystery, perhaps the ultimate mystery occurs.


A healthy and successful young man wakes up on a train to Coney Island to discover – nothing. He has no idea who he is and nothing to indicate his name or address. He has completely lost his “episodic memory,” all of the details of his own personal experience – relationships, education, work, his own subjective reactions to the world. He retains the basics of his “semantic memory,” enough to let him conclude that the place to go for help is a police station. But everything else is just…gone.


And so, he goes from discovering an almost endless nothing to discovering an infinite everything. Like a visitor from another planet, he is an adult man for whom everything he sees is brand new. His family and friends are reassuring but also confusing – is he still the man they say they cared about if he cannot remember any of the shared experiences they describe? The wonders the rest of us take a little bit for granted, from the ocean to chocolate mousse, come to him pure and undiluted.


After a few days of detective work, he learns his name: Doug Bruce. But after months of medical tests and trying to remember the people and places everyone tells him were once part of his life, he still does not know who Doug Bruce is. Or, he does know who Doug Bruce is. He just doesn’t know who he was.


This documentary takes us on the journey with Doug, the man who lost his memory. Director Rupert Murray was a close friend of Doug’s before he lost his memory. His movie is not just the story of Doug’s journey to finding himself but a meditation on the nature of identity, memory, and connection.


Parents should know that this movie has some strong language and disturbing themes.


Families who see this movie should talk about their most important memories and what they can do to preserve them.


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy some of the famous fictional depictions of memory loss, especially Random Harvest and I Love You Again. They may also enjoy my interview with the director.

16 Blocks

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006

When a cop at a crime scene needs someone to stay with the bodies until the detectives arrive, he asks “who don’t we need?” That would be tired, slow, Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis). As soon as the other cops leave, he limps into the kitchen and takes a bottle of booze out of the cabinet, then sits on the sofa, pours himself a drink, and waits until he can go.


Back at the station, he is about to sign out for the day when his lieutenant assigns him one more job. A prisoner has to testify before a grand jury 16 blocks away before 10:00, and it is now Jack’s responsibilty to deliver him.


So Jack puts Eddie (Mos Def) in the back of a squad car. On the way to the courthouse, he stops at a liquor store, leaving Eddie in the car. Two men try to kill Eddie.

It turns out that a lot of people will do everything they can to keep Eddie from testifying. And that powerful people were counting on Jack to “do what he always does.” Does that mean “mess up” or “go along?”


This movie is 2/3 video game, as Jack and Eddie find dangerous surprises around every corner and in a variety of settings, including the obligatory Chinatown scene. Bang, duck, bang, duck, bang, shoot back. But the other third makes it work — that’s the sure direction of a well-constructed script by Richard Donner, balancing tension, thrills, and a few well-placed laughs, with sharp, clever performances by Willis, Def, and David Morse as Jack’s former partner.

Willis is always underestimated as an actor. It’s easy to do because he never seems to be trying very hard. But that just shows how good he is. In the middle of an action movie he gives a subtle, complex, and nimble performance that increases the tension, never distracting from it. Mos Def gives depth and appeal to a character who has two functions in the script: contrast with Jack’s burn-out and McGuffin prop to be shot at and fought over. Eddie’s non-stop commentary could have quickly become annoying with a less skillful performer. But Def makes the rhythms of Eddie’s speech a counterpoint to the script’s ticking clock. The moment when he has to make a big decision is beautifully played. This 16 block journey is one audiences will enjoy being along for the ride.


Parents should know that this movie has non-stop action and peril with many tense situations and a lot of violence (mostly shooting). Many characters are injured and some are killed. A character abuses alcohol. Characters use brief strong language and there are some mild sexual references.


Families who see this movie should talk about whether and when people can change. Why did Jack decide to protect Eddie? Why did Eddie decide to help Jack? Why is Eddie’s riddle important?


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the best in this genre, Midnight Run (non-stop very strong language), Speed, and Willis’ Die Hard 3.

Doogal

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006

This tiresome animated quest story starts out uninspired but quickly becomes irritating. Half an hour into its 80 minute running time, the child behind me asked hopefully, “Is that the end?” If only.


Has anyone behind this movie ever met a child? The story, about an evil wizard who is after three magic diamonds and the dog, rabbit, cow, and snail who try to stop him, has some mild appeal, but the characters are so uninteresting, most of the artwork so unimaginative, and the tone so uneven that it is unlikely to hold the interest of any age group.


This is a G-rated film directed at children that tries to make jokes about the Blue Man Group, Donald Trump, Simon and Garfunkel, Austin Powers, the MTV car fix-up show “Pimp My Ride,” Mission Impossible, human resources departments and the inadequacies of interns, Dawn of the Dead, music group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. These are not the kind of keep-the-grownups-happy jokes from Shrek and The Incredibles. They are just stale throw-in-any-pop-culture-reference non-jokes-in-a-hopeless-attempt-to-sound-hip-and-snarky.


The story itself is sugary pap of the “kids don’t know any better so it won’t matter if there’s nothing especially vivid or memorable” category. It keeps telling us that friendship and togetherness are important, but we never have any reason to believe that they believe it, much less that we should. Even the voice talents of Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy, and Jimmy Fallon can’t make up for a lackluster script and sluggish pacing. The animation has the low-budget CGI look: meticulous textures but movement as jerky and unpersuasive as Davey and Goliath.


Originally made in England, the movie was redubbed to make it more accessible to an American audience. Apparently, they didn’t think American children would find British accents appealing. The slightly governess-y narration by Dame Judi Dench is, however, the best part of the movie, suggesting that it might have been better to leave it as it was.

Parents should know that, despite the G rating, this movie may be too intense for younger children. Wizards fight with lightning bolts, scary skeletons guard a jewel, children are locked in a frozen merry-go-round, characters are in peril and there are some apparent deaths. There is some crude schoolyard language (indcluding the expression “pimp my ride”), a brief joke about substance abuse, and some potty humor.


Families who see this movie should talk about how friendship and loyalty made it possible for Doogal and the others to succeed.


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Yellow Submarine and The Thief and the Cobbler.

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[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0RhLJYKi-4[/youtube]

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