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

The Women

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1939

It isn’t so much that they have updated or re-invented the brilliantly acidic Claire Boothe Luce play that was adapted for a classic 1939 movie; they completely misunderstood it. The surface details of the original may need updating but its essential message and mordant wit are timeless. This version, in the works for more than a decade, is soft-focus but high-gloss, substituting empowerment for devotion. It is entertaining but it has a bitter aftertaste.

The original, the musical remake with June Allyson, and the new version all center on Mary Haines (Meg Ryan), who seems at the beginning to have it all — a beautiful home, a great job, good values, a loving family, and a lot of women friends, and who discovers that her husband is having an affair with a girl from the perfume counter. The original was written at a time when the daily lives of New York society women were as unknown and exotic to the men in their lives as to everyone who did not live on 5th Avenue. Each character was an example of one of a range of different coping mechanisms for the pampered birds in their silver cages. Without a single male in the cast, the story was told in women-only settings like an afternoon bridge game, a luxurious day spa, elegant stores, and a Nevada ranch-full of women establishing their six-week residency as the only way back then to get a divorce. Most of the characters were silly, selfish, cynical, or alone. And Mary painfully learned that “pride is a luxury a woman in love can’t afford.” Her husband and family must come first.

In this Oprah-fied version, it’s still an all-female story, and sistahs are doin’ it for themselves. The diamond rings on their fingers are gifts the women exchanged with each other. Mary says that she lost her job, her husband, and her best friend, and it is the best friend she misses most. And Mary’s great revelation comes from asking herself not what is best for her family but what she wants.

Some worthwhile thoughts about the way women lose themselves in what Oprah calls “the disease to please” are lost in the new-agey self-absorption of tasks like making a collage of magazine cut-outs to define your dreams and transforming your life by straightening your previously adorably curly hair. In the original, a woman’s heart got a make-over. Here, it’s just her hairstyle. And the actresses, who have the benefit of great genes and the finest cosmetic treatments in the world, have the chutzpah to do a post-credits coda reminding those of us in the audience who are not out at the parking lot already that inner beauty is what matters.

The all-star cast is sublimely watchable, especially Mary’s close friends: Annette Benning as a harried single magazine editor, an ever-pregnant earth mother (Debra Messing), and the spirited gay friend (Jada Pinkett-Smith). Bette Midler shows up as a brassy multi-married agent and the femme fatale behind the perfume counter is Eva Mendes. There are some clever in-jokes for fans of the first version and the able cast knows how to give the dialogue from writer/director Diane English snap. But the script makes the same mistake its characters do — it tries to do too much and to be whatever everyone wants.

This movie is less true to the original than it is to the girlcrush/shopping fetish “Sex in the City.” Instead of wit we get quips. Instead of poignant conversations about love and loss we get wisecracks and shoe shopping. “What do you think this is, some kind of 1930’s movie,” one character asks. We wish.

Explaining Economic Issues

posted by Nell Minow

My selection of David Copperfield as the book to best help people understand the current economic situation is included in this Washington Post round-up of recommended books by people with a background in business, economics, or finance.
All of the suggestions are worthwhile, including classics like Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds and up-to-the minute assessments like The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do about It.
If they had allowed me to recommend a movie, I would have suggested I.O.U.S.A., Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, The Corporation, “Maxed Out,” and “The Solid Gold Cadillac,” all of which should be shown to every high school and college student and every person eligible to vote before they are allowed to see the next big blockbuster.

Online Audio and Video Resources

posted by Nell Minow
drhorrible.JPG

With not much new in theaters this week and next week, it’s a good time to investigate some of the great online resources for entertainment. I was delighted to find out that there is still a way to see Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” When Whedon made it available free for one weekend only so many people tried to get access that there was a server meltdown. You can buy it now on iTunes or DVD. Or, you can watch it (with brief commercial interruptions) on Hulu. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a three-act musical about a would be super-villain played by Neil Patrick Harris. I love the laundromat song! And Hulu also has a wonderful collection of classic and new episodes of TV series and movies like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Groundhog Day.” It’s my go-to site when I have the flu.

I’d also like to recommend Odeo, a wonderful collection of the best audio and video from throughout the web. I am a huge fan of the series of podcasts from The Moth, where writers and performers tell stories about their lives that must be both true and without notes. I was enormously moved by the latest in the series, Ed Gavagan’s “Drowning on Sullivan Street.” Odeo makes it easy to subscribe so that you won’t miss any of your favorites. The Moth is also available on iTunes at no charge. Here is Gavagan’s story:

List: Alaska Movies (and one television show)

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the new Republican nominee for Vice-President, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, here’s a list of movies that take place in Alaska:

1. North to Alaska This easy-going comic “Northern” (that’s a western set up north) stars John Wayne and the lovely Capucine

2. The Gold Rush Charlie Chaplin memorably turns shoelaces into spaghetti in this Klondike classic.

3. Mystery, Alaska Russell Crowe is a hockey player on an underdog team from a small Alaska town that takes on the pros.

4. Insomnia If you have insomnia, going to a place with no nights is probably not a good idea, especially if you’re investigating a murder. Three Oscar-winners — Al Pacino, Hillary Swank, and Robin Williams — star in this remake of a Norwegian thriller written and directed by “The Dark Knight’s” Christopher Nolan.

5. Grizzly Man Werner Herzog’s tragic documentary about a man who wanted to live with grizzly bears is a thoughtful meditation on the impulse to go to extremes.

goldrush-1.jpg

6. Into the Wild Sean Penn wrote and directed this fact-based story of a young man who wanted to leave everything behind and died in the Alaskan countryside.

7. Balto Kevin Bacon provides voice talent in this animated film based on the true story of the dog who saved the lives of Alaskan children by delivering essential medicine. There’s a statue in his honor in New York’s Central Park.

8. Road to Utopia Hope and Crosby’s “Road” travels take them to Alaska in this silly comedy.

9. The Simpsons Movie Homer Simpson leaves Springfield for Alaska in the first feature film from this record-breaking comedy classic television series.

10. Northern Exposure This beloved television series about a naive young doctor is well loved for its endearing characters and understated humor.

Previous Posts

Johnny Cash's Thanksgiving Song
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuaC6h_4AB8[/youtube]

posted 12:00:11pm Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NSQLMPUK-8[/youtube] All my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, and please know how thankful I am for the time you spend here.

posted 7:00:00am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Claire LaZebnik's Thoughts on Thanks
I can't think of a better way to start Thanksgiving weekend than taking a few minutes to read my friend Claire LaZebnik's wise and inspiring essay on gratitude. This most American of holidays is often accompanied by stress -- from hosting and being hosted, from traveling, from family. Claire write

posted 9:39:41am Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Horrible Bosses 2
Maybe it's just the proximity to the horrible "Dumb and Dumber To," but the cheerily offensive "Horrible Bosses 2" made me laugh. Full warning -- it begins with an elaborate sight gag as our hapless he

posted 5:58:28pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Penguins of Madagascar
The most adorable characters from the first three animated "Madagascar" movies were the penguins, the seldom right but never in doubt leader Skipper (Tom McGrath), the often right but never listened to Kowalski (Chris Miller), the literally explosive Rico (Conrad Vernon), and the ever-loyal Private

posted 5:17:32pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »


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