Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

McFarland USA
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language
Release Date:
February 20, 2015

 

Big Hero 6
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements
Release Date:
November 7, 2014

The DUFF
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying
Release Date:
February 20, 2015

 

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

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
Release Date:
February 13, 2015

 

Beyond the Lights
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Release Date:
November 14, 2014

Neglected films of 2008

posted by Nell Minow

Before the year is out I’d like to mention some independent films that did not get much attention in 2008 but are worth a look. These are not easy to summarize because they don’t follow the usual formulas. Some of their messiness comes from a more authentic and complicated sense of the world, some comes from having a tiny budget and some comes from being new at the process of telling stories with film. But they include some of my favorite moments on screen this year.

Kabluey is the story of a hapless loser (writer/director Scott Prendergast) sent to help his over-stressed sister-in-law while his brother is stationed in Iraq. He gets a job of soul-crushing absurd pointlessness, standing on an all-but-deserted road in a suffocating costume, the logo of a failing business, handing out fliers that no one wants. The costume gets some unexpected reactions from the people he meets and he begins to think differently about the effect he has on people. This is not one of those heart-warming cuddle-fests but it has moments of piercing sweetness and unexpected hilarity.

Grace Is Gone John Cusack usually plays a hyper-verbal, high-strung character. But here, as a former soldier whose wife is killed in Iraq, he is someone who is so internal he cannot find the words to tell their two daughters what happened. He impulsively takes them on a road trip to a theme park. The two young actresses Shélan O’Keefe and Gracie Bednarczyk, give beautifully sensitive performances and there is an evocative score written by Clint Eastwood.

“Lifelines” One of the most exquisite images on screen this year was the lovely face of the brilliantly talented Jane Adams, who plays Nancy, the mother of a profoundly dysfunctional family in this film from first-time writer-director Rob Margolies (and originally titled “Wherever You Are”). Nancy and Ira (Josh Pais) bring their three angry and bitter children to a therapist (the always-marvelous Joe Morton) for a big announcement. In private meetings with each of the children, there are revelations that in another film might seem showy or melodramatic but a sure hand from Margolies and some exceptional acting from talented performers keep us involved and caring. The final twist is a bit too much but it is the mistake of a talented beginner and I very much look forward to seeing what Margolies does next.

And thanks to Dustin Putman for introducing me to “Kabluey” and “Lifelines.”

Swingin’ Dreidel

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah!

Kwanzaa Documentary: ‘The Black Candle’

posted by Nell Minow

The documentary The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration, narrated by Maya Angelou, uses the holiday of Kwanzaa to explore the African-American experience. The holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana studies, as a way to recognize and celebrate the unique experience of African-Americans. Family, history, and culture are a part of the seven-day celebration that begins the day after Christmas. Each night a candle is lit to symbolize one of the principles of Kwanzaa:

* Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We,” or “I am because We are.”
* Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.
* Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
* Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
* Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
* Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
* Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

The documentary traces the evolution of the holiday from the Black Power Movement in the 1960s to its a global celebration with over 40 million participants. Happy Kwanzaa!

The Most Romantic Movie Moments of 2008

posted by Nell Minow

2008 was not a great year for romance on screen, as I have already noted. But there were four very touching movie love stories that deserve special mention:

Wall∙E: Love brought two mechanical creatures to life in this tender romance about a rusty trash compactor with a sentimental soul who falls in love with a sleek little exploratory drone. Together they learn that the real prime directive is devotion and that some rules must be ignored.

HIgh School Musical 3: Senior Year One of the best things about the third in the HSM series is the relationship between Troy and Gabriella. No silly misunderstandings. No pettiness, power-plays, or jealousy. Just sweetness, respect, and support. When Gabriella’s special program prevents her from attending the prom, Troy brings the prom to her — nothing big or showy, just a recognition that they don’t need anything else to make their music.

“Slumdog Millionaire” Two children grow up in a world of unspeakable abuse and poverty but the purity of the love they share keeps their souls intact. At the end of the film, he leans down for their first kiss and instead of her lips, he kisses her scar, showing her that he cannot help be grateful for everything that made her who she is and brought them to this place together.


Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist
One of the very few falling-in-love stories of the year, this was this adorable romance starring Kat Dennings and Michael Cera. It beautifully catches the way that falling in love at the same time transforms us and makes us our most authentic selves.

The good news is that there is a good love story opening up in the first month of the new year, an indicator, I hope, of a better year for movie romance in 2009.

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posted 12:00:09pm Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

New from Daniele Watts: Muted
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posted 8:00:46am Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: Uptown Funk from Alex Boye and the Dancing Grannies
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posted 9:16:46am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Like Sunday, Like Rain with Debra Messing and Leighton Meester
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posted 8:00:29am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

List: The Best Movie Con Games and Grifters
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posted 3:45:21pm Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »


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