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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

 

Paddington
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 16, 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

 

The Boy Next Door
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for violence, sexual content/nudity and language
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

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

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

Paddington

Lowest Recommended Age:
All Ages
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 16, 2015
grade:
D

The Boy Next Door

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for violence, sexual content/nudity and language
Release Date:
January 23, 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

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Contest: City of Ember

posted by Nell Minow

I have two copies of City of Ember to give away to the first two people who send me an email to moviemom@moviemom.com with Ember in the subject line. Good luck!

The ‘Happily Ever After’ Ending for Willy Wonka

posted by Nell Minow

NPR has a very charming five-minute interview with the screenwriter for “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” about how he came up with the movie’s ending.

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.

Previous Posts

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posted 3:47:40pm Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Men in Suits: Costume Designers Talk about "Scandal," "Mad Men," and More Suit-Wearing Characters on TV
The women's clothes get all the attention, but for a costume designer -- and for the actor -- a suit is just as important. Indiewire ...

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Interview: Matt Mamula of Celebrity Impersonator Documentary "Just About Famous"
Matt Mamula co-directed "Just About Famous," the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes ...

posted 3:59:51pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Barak Goodman of "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies"
Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced ...

posted 3:55:04pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Creativity Conference 2015: Nancy Pelosi, Snoopy, and Drones with GoPros
I had so much fun at last year's Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is ...

posted 3:07:48pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

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