Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Wish I Was Here
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

Heaven is for Real
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic material including some medical situations
Release Date:
April 16, 2014

Boyhood
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

Sabotage
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

Planes: Fire & Rescue
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for action and some peril
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

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

Sunshine

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violent content and language.
Movie Release Date:July 17, 2007
DVD Release Date:January 8, 2008

The sun is dying. A rocket ship from earth, meaningfully named “Icarus,” failed in its mission to reboot the sun with a supercharged nuclear payload designed to “create a star within a star.” Now the earth’s last chance is Icarus II. If they do not deliver the payload, the sun and all of its planets will die.


But this is not the usual “and then something goes wrong” or “and then an alien leaps out of a crew member’s chest” space opera. This is a meticulously constructed story that presents its characters with a series of exponentially more complex moral and practical dilemmas as gripping as the perilous situations that threaten the mission.


Director Danny Boyle transcends genre. His films have ranged from horror (28 Days Later) to thrillers (Shallow Grave) to charming family fantasy (Millions). But all of his films focus on moral choices. In 28 Days Later, he showed us a world infested with enraged zombies where it is the uninfected humans who are the scariest predators. In both Shallow Grave and Millions, characters discover the corrosive effect of stolen money. Boyle likes to make us think about what we would do to survive, how far we would go to get something we wanted.


The crew of Icarus II has just passed the point where communication with earth has been cut off. They are alone, a community unto themselves, and they must struggle with the remnants of the priorities and procedures they have been given as they are confronted with increasingly dire circumstances and increasingly conflicted priorities.


Should they change their course to try to save anyone who might still be there? No, that would interfere with their mission. But what if it might increase the chance of completing the mission? And what if things change and it is essential for completing the mission?


And what if there is not enough oxygen for everyone? How do we decide who gets to live? By assigning blame? By rank? By who is most important for completion of the mission? And, at the end of these judgments, who are we? How do they change us?


Boyle and his able cast create an atmosphere of conviction and sincerity that makes us invest in the answers to these questions, and the debates as gripping as the action scenes.

Parents should know that this is an intense and disturbing movie, with extreme peril, some jump-out-at-you shocks, and some graphic violence. Characters are injured and killed and there is a suicide. One of the strengths of the movie is the way it presents moral issues in a provocative manner, and that may be disturbing for some audience members. Another strength of the movie is its portrayal of diverse characters.


Families who see this movie should talk about how the characters evaluated their choices. What were their priorities? When they disagreed, what were the determining factors? Authors often use science fiction and the device of putting diverse characters in an environment that is cut off from everyone else to highlight particular controversies. How would this story have been different if it took place today, in the US?

Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy Silent Running, Apollo 13, and 2001 – A Space Odyssey. Books like Tragic Choices and The Problems of Jurisprudence consider ways to evaluate options in a legal, economic, and public policy framework and of course many books consider moral, ethical, and spiritual approaches to these issues as well.

Critics Choice Awards

posted by Nell Minow

Watch the Critics Choice Awards hosted by D.L. Hughley tonight on VH1 and look for me in the silver dress!

Why (and how) do we like to be scared? What do you think is scary?

posted by Nell Minow

Before there were scary movies, there were scary plays. Before there were scary plays, there were scary stories. Scary has been very popular for a very long time. The top twenty box office champs are all scary, from Titanic to the Indiana Jones and of course the first modern blockbuster Jaws, which still has some people afraid to go into the water. Horror and terror have been popular since stories began. Jaws.jpg Did you hear the story about the man who chopped up his enemy’s children into a pie and fed them to him? It was written by the same guy who wrote about suicidal teenagers and murderously ambitious would-be kings — Shakespeare. And then there’s the one about the guy who killed his father and put out his own eyes — written around 429 B.C.

Scary movies are especially popular with teenagers. They serve as a sort of training wheels for social interaction and a way of letting off steam. Teens watch them in groups, grabbing each other and screaming, then talking afterward about the experience.

The two best pieces I have read recently on the subject of scary movies are Desson Thomson’s article in the Washington Post about the difference between what is scary and what is gory and a piece by Grady Hendrix in Slate about the grisly and very popular “Saw” movies.

There Will Be Blood

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:R for some violence
Movie Release Date:January 4, 2008

therewillbeblood.jpgIt opens with a scorching contrast of light and darkness. Alone at the bottom of a dark pit, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) stubbornly scratches and claws in the mud. High above, a pitiless sun bleaches a remote desert landscape. Plainview goes back and forth between the dark and the light, repeatedly returning to pick away at the earth. He is as flinty and unyielding as the rocky terrain itself, a man of ferocious resolve seeking something of value deep inside the rock. For almost 15 minutes, there is no other person but the resolute miner, no other sound but his relentless attack on the wall of stone. Finally, it begins to yield tiny bits of previous metal. Plainview falls. He is badly injured. But he perseveres, dragging himself to the assay office.
When we see him again, he is just as focused, just as intense, now seeking another kind of treasure. Plainview supervises a small group of men, digging for oil. To make sure there is no doubt about the nature of the forces that have been unleashed on the earth, it all becomes powerfully clear when one of the wells ignites, creating a vivid scene from Dante’s Inferno, belching fire and brimstone into the night, killing one of the men, leaving his infant son an orphan.

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posted 8:00:40am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Boring TV Makes You Fat
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posted 8:00:05am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Switched at Birth and the End of Life
I'm a big fan of ABC Family's Switched at Birth and have appreciated its complicated characters, honest and heartfelt relationships, and compelling storylines, as well as its unprecedented, in-depth portrayal of the deaf community. Last week's episode may have been the all-time best (SPOILER ALERT)

posted 3:59:49pm Jul. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014
It's here!  San Diego Comic-Con begins Wednesday night in San Diego and I'll be there.  This is my favorite event of the year, a chance to find out what everyone will be watching, listening to, playing, and otherwise enjoying over the next few years.  As I always say, this is the Iowa caucuses of

posted 8:00:20am Jul. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Wish I Was Here
My intention was to review Zach Braff's new film without mentioning the controversy he stirred up in funding it via Kickstarter.  My view was that what mattered was the movie itself, and the kerfluffle over how it was all paid for was beside the point.  But it turns out that it is the point.  "Sc

posted 7:21:07pm Jul. 20, 2014 | read full post »


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