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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

San Andreas
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 30, 2015

 

American Sniper
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015

Aloha
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015

 

Strange Magic
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

Tomorrowland
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

 

Mortdecai
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
C-

San Andreas

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 30, 2015
grade:
B

Aloha

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015
grade:
B+

Tomorrowland

Lowest Recommended Age:
4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

American Sniper

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015
grade:
C

Strange Magic

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015
grade:
D

Mortdecai

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

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Has ‘Pimp’ Become an Acceptable Term for Children?

posted by Nell Minow

“G-Force” is an upcoming PG-rated comedy from Disney about a crack team of super-agents who happen to be guinea pigs, assisted by a mole and a fly, with voice talent including Tracy Morgan and Steve Buscemi. The trailer makes it look like fairly harmless nonsense, though I winced a bit when the girl guinea pig dances to “don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me.” But what really made me pause was the line “pimp my ride.” Has that term become so thoroughly sanitized that it is now acceptable in a children’s film from Disney?

It is the nature of words and other elements of culture to move from the edge to the mainstream and that is often a very good thing; it is what keeps our culture vital, engaging, and challenging. The word “pimp” has expanded from its original meaning as a man who manages prostitutes. Last year, when a journalist used it to describe the way Hilary Clinton’s campaign was deploying her daughter Chelsea, however, the candidate’s response was more as a mother than a politician, saying “Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Shuster used and no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient.” The reporter and the network apologized unreservedly and whole-heartedly.

MTV’s television series “Pimp My Ride” has popularized the use of the term as a reference to tricking up something, making it more glamorous and show-offy (like the popular notion of the pimp lifestyle), and it is in that sense that the word is used in this film. But I was sorry to see both Disney and the MPAA find that it is appropriate language for a PG. I believe it is inappropriate language for children to hear and use and a troubling contribution to the coarsening of our culture and discourse.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:May 12, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date: May 12, 2009

Brad Pitt is a very fine actor (see “Twelve Monkeys” and “True Romance”) but in this epic fantasy his diligent and thoughtful performance contributes less to the film than his appearance, about two-thirds of the way through. I mean appearance in the broadest sense. It is not until that point that we feel that the Pitt we have been waiting for shows up on screen. And it is at that moment that Pitt’s appearance, meaning his golden movie star beauty, provides the essential jolt that propels the story forward into its final, heart-wrenching conclusion.

It takes its title from a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who lives his life backwards, born as an old man and getting younger every day. The movie begins with both of its main characters very, very old. One is Daisy (Cate Blanchett), dying in a hospital, with her daughter standing vigil. Daisy asks her daughter to read aloud from an old diary and we go back to the Armistice, the end of World War I. A baby is born and his mother dies in childbirth. The father is horrified by the child and leaves him on the doorstep of a home for the elderly where he is adopted by Queenie (the marvelous Taraji P. Henson), who works at the home. At first he seems like an exceptionally ugly baby. And then as he gets older he seems to be disabled. A nursing home is a perfect environment for young Benjamin Button. He’s just another person who needs help. He is raised in an atmosphere of unconditional love and acceptance and grows up to have a gentle and observant nature.

One day a little girl comes to visit her grandmother. It is Daisy. Benjamin looks like a very old man but he is really a little boy and he wants to play with her. As she grows up, he gets younger, but there are still decades between them. Benjamin leaves the nursing home to work on a ship and writes to Daisy from around the world.

The digital effects are very well done and by this time Pitt starts to become more recognizable, so almost-familiar that we almost believe that this is the way he looks now, that he’s getting a little older like the rest of us. And then, all of a sudden, there he is, the wind brushing his hair, a burnished glow on, around, and coming from him, the very personification of youth and promise and every possible kind of yes. Our hearts ache with the bittersweet longing for what he has that no one ever will, the look and energy of youth with the wisdom and experience of age. And then they ache again with what he shares with us and every human, the awareness of how brief it all really is and the need for connection to transcend life’s limits.

This is a film with the scope and reach of almost a century but its power comes from the smallest gestures and the simplest moments. And its ultimate conclusion is one of the most powerful and moving of the year.

‘The Big Lebowski’ Abides

posted by Nell Minow
biglebowski.jpg

It was not especially popular with critics or audiences when it was first released but has since become something of a cult with conventions of fans in costume, scholarly analysis, lines of dialogue recited with reverence by its fans, and a wide assortment of merchandise.

“Star Trek?” Nope, this time it’s The Big Lebowski from the Coen brothers. The film defies summary, which is sort of the point. There is a mix-up involving two people named Lebowski. One, a shlub played by Jeff Bridges, is mistaken for a millionaire who has riled up some powerful people. When they seek redress of their grievances with the wrong Lebowski, our anti-hero, who had previously spent most of his time smoking pot and bowling, tries to figure out what is going on, and his investigations lead him into some strange adventures with some even stranger characters.

The movie is now seen not just as a fine film but as remarkably wise and prescient. Should you wish to meet with other fans all dressed as characters from the movie, you can choose from conventions in your choice of cities. You can bring the movie home with a Dude Bobble Head, Action Figure (as I noted before, shouldn’t he be an “in-action” figure?), or Big Lebowski White Russian Black T-shirt .

And if you want to ponder the deeper meaning in it all, you can take a look at a new book from Indiana University Press collecting scholarly research on the movie. It is called The Year’s Work in Lebowski Studies and I got a big kick out of reading the table of contents:

The Last Unicorn

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1982
DVD Release Date:2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1982
DVD Release Date: 2009

I am delighted to report that the animated version of Peter S. Beagle’s classic fairy tale has been re-mastered and re-issued — and that you can get a personalized autographed copy from the author himself. The beloved family classic, with music by Jimmy Webb (of “Up, Up, and Away in My Beautiful Balloon” fame) is the story of a unicorn (voice of Mia Farrow) who believes she is the last of her kind. On a journey with a wizard named Schmendrick (voice of Alan Arkin), she is captured and then enchanted and turned into a human. She becomes more and more human on the inside, experiencing the emotions of love and regret, before she is reunited with her herd.

The 40th anniversary edition of the book is also available and can be inscribed.

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