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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Far from the Madding Crowd
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

 

Selma
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

 

Spare Parts
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language and violence
Release Date:
January 16, 2015

Welcome to Me
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

 

Fifty Shades of Grey
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language
Release Date:
February 13, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Far from the Madding Crowd

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Release Date:
May 1, 2015
grade:
B+

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 1, 2015
grade:
C

Welcome to Me

Lowest Recommended Age:
Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
A

Selma

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014
grade:
B

Spare Parts

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language and violence
Release Date:
January 16, 2015
grade:
B-

Fifty Shades of Grey

Lowest Recommended Age:
Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language
Release Date:
February 13, 2015

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Slumdog Millionaire

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Movie Release Date:November 12, 2008
DVD Release Date:March 31, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Movie Release Date: November 12, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009

Like its title character, this film has had highly improbable success, ending up with the Best Picture Oscar for 2008. The title character is Jamal (Dev Patel) a “slumdog” orphan child who grew up in the streets of Mumbai and works as a “chai wallah,” delivering drinks to the workers at a call center. When he manages to be not only a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” but manages to answer the questions correctly, everyone thinks he must be cheating. He has had no education and seen very little of the world. How could he know all the answers?

As it does in every country, it starts off with the easy ones. Who was the star of “Zanjeer?” You might as well ask an American child who was in “High School Musical,” that is if “High School Musical” or “Hannah Montana” starred some star who was a combination of Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jordan. What is interesting there is not that Jamal knows the answer but how important that answer is to him. As we find out how much the star of that film meant to Jamal as a child (played by Ayush Mahesh Khedekar), we learn about his sense of integrity and capacity for devotion. And then we go back to the show, and each question and answer leads us to another story from Jamal’s life.

After their mother is killed by anti-Muslim fanatics, Jamal, his brother Salim (Madhur Mittal), and his friend Latika (Freida Pinto) go on the run to stay safe. They are befriended by a man who turns out to be a heartless exploiter of children, turning them into beggars and prostitutes and subjecting them to the most horrific abuse imaginable. Jamal and Salim escape, but Latika is left behind.

For a while, Salim and Jamal make a living leading tourists through the Taj Mahal, making up “facts” about its history, something of a counterpoint to the “facts” he is able to draw later as a contestant on for the show. But the man they escaped from is still after them. And Jamal never gives up on finding Latika again.

The contrast between the fairy tale element of the story and the heart-wrenching harshness of Jamal’s circumstances make the environment as vivid and central a character as any human in the story. The music, the textures, the intensity of images and colors, the juxtaposition of the bleakest poverty and the most brutal cruelty with the most tender but enduring feelings of love and hope are what make this film feel like a triumph of joy over despair.

Marley & Me

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:March 31, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009

Life is messy. And in this movie, that very important lesson is embodied by Marley, affectionately dubbed “the worst dog in the world” by his loving family. Jennifer (Jennifer Aniston) and John (Owen Wilson) Grogan are newlywed newspaper writers who have just moved to Florida. John’s friend Sebastian (Eric Dane of “Gray’s Anatomy”) tells him he can distract Jennifer from her desire to have a child by getting her a puppy. So he surprises her with a Labrador they call Marley after the reggae singer. Marley grows up to be big, omnivorous, and completely out of control, an obedience school reject, a destroyer of property, and an utterly devoted and utterly beloved member of the family. Yes, the movie has cute puppies and cute people, but it is not a soft-focus valentine that could be a commercial for dog chow. I like the way Marley is the most comic of the problems facing the Grogans as they struggle to adjust to the challenges that life brings to their plans and their marriage. John sees his friend Sebastian living his alternate life as a globe-trotting journalist with the glamor assignments and a new girlfriend every week (often with Marley acting as a chick lure). Jennifer sees John living her alternate life as she stays home with the children. They have to deal with other kinds of losses, a stillborn child, changes at work. Marley leads John to finding his voice as a columnist, a temporary sideline that becomes his truest calling.I never quite believed Wilson or Aniston as suburban parents but then I never quite believed their homes as being within the budget of a newspaper columnist. Wilson needs to develop more range of facial expression and Aniston needs to stop acting with her hair. But director David Frankel nicely evokes domestic chaos and the dog is irresistible. Continue Reading This Post »

‘Honey I Wrecked the Kids’ — Parenting Advice from Alyson Schafer

posted by Nell Minow

One of parenthood’s toughest challenges is finding a way to communicate clearly with your children about our expectations and standards while also communicating our unconditional love and support. This is especially difficult when it comes to incentives and discipline. We want to reward without bribing them, punish without breaking their spirits. parents1.gif
Psychotherapist, author, and talk show expert Alyson Schafer has a new book called Honey, I Wrecked the Kids: When Yelling, Screaming, Threats, Bribes, Time-outs, Sticker Charts and Removing Privileges All Don’t Work that has some wise and practical advice for parents looking for ways to set standards without unnecessary conflict, especially those kids who are extra difficult because they are particularly oppositional or manipulative. Schafer describes the impact that our “toxic times” have on children, giving them messages that undermine parental rules.
mother child argument.jpgSchafer says that everyone has four basic needs: the need to feel connected, the need to feel capable, the need to feel counted (a meaningful contributor), and the need to feel courageous. To the extent that parents speak to these needs, they can guide behavior. And they can do this by recognizing the sources of bad behavior.

When I don’t feel connected — I will seek undue attention.

When I don’t feel capable — I will seek power over others.

When I don’t feel I count — I will seek revenge.

When I don’t feel courageous — I will seek to avoid.

Parents often “reward” bad behavior by giving the child more attention. Or they “reward” it by negotiating, giving the child more power. Schafer gives parents very specific guidelines for redirecting a child’s behavior and permitting natural consequences to determine the incentives and results of their good and bad decisions. This book will help tired, overwhelmed parents come up with new tools to improve not just behavior but the home atmosphere as well.
Parents, too, need to feel connected, capable, meaningful, and courageous, after all.
As an added bonus, you will also learn some great techniques for dealing with some of the more challenging adults in your life, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family.
And don’t forget one of my all-time favorites: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

Bedtime for Frances

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:March 31, 2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009

The wonderful Scholastic series has a very special new release, Bedtime for Frances, with three animated stories about the beloved little badger. Author Russell Hoban’s Frances stories are filled with gentle humor and perceptive insights about the way children see the world. The title story has Frances feeling a bit anxious and fearful as it gets closer to bedtime and trying to delay with requests for more hugs and kisses and then asking questions about some of the things that scare her. The DVD comes with a custom-made hard-bound book featuring that story, Bedtime for Frances, which received the “Notable Children’s Book” award from The American Library Association when it originally debuted in 1960.

Children love to identify with the curious and imaginative little badger and to see her adventures with her little sister, Gloria, her mom and dad, and her best friend Albert. With Hoban’s story and animation from the Jim Henson company, this is a top-notch addition to my very favorite DVD series for kids. (NOTE to parents: There is a reference to spanking in the story but no one gets spanked.)

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