Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Release Date: December 19, 2014
The Maze Runner
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Release Date: September 19, 2014
Magic in the Moonlight
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Release Date: August 1, 2014
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date: December 19, 2014
We saw B.J. Thomas perform at the Birchmere tonight. His voice is marvel, wonderfully clear and supple. He sang all the hits, “Hooked on a Feeling,” “Rock and Roll Lullabye,” “Eyes of a New York Woman,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” and of course “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
I loved it when he sang my very favorite, “Mighty Clouds of Joy” — with spirit that filled the room with some mighty clouds of joy of his own. Check out his tour dates to see if you can get a ticket.
Kiera Knightley plays 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire in this muddled but eye-filling saga of an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, who shared her status as a fashion icon, heartbroken wife of a man in love with someone else, and object of intense public fascination.
Georgiana was still a teenager when she was told that one of the most sought-after catches in England wanted to marry her. Silly girl, she thought it meant he loved her. But the Duke thought of marriage as something between a political alliance and animal husbandry. All he cared about was her ability to produce a male heir. The property law of the time depended on continuing the male line (as readers of Pride and Prejudice well know). And, as an affecting scene near the end shows, the Duke (Ralph Fiennes) is as constricted by the conventions of the era as she is.
This creates the opportunity for a soap opera in period clothes, with mutual adulteries and children born to other partners. Georgiana (known as “G”) also struggles with the betrayal of her closest friend (“Brideshead Revisted’s” Hayley Atwell) and the agonizing choice between her great love, a politician (“Mamma Mia’s” Dominic Cooper), or her children with the Duke.
It never quite comes together because G’s life was too big and varied to fit on screen. She was a fashion icon and an influential figure in politics. She was a devoted mother and an “all for love and the world well lost” libertine. She was strong and weak, intelligent and foolish, loyal and disloyal, practical and a dreamer. Though Knightley is game, the film falters in pomp and loses her under the feathers and jewels.
Of course Richard Gere is going to fall in love with Diane Lane in this movie. How could he resist her and why would he try? Certainly the audience will fall in love with her, too. There is no actress who conveys so much with so little. The subtlety and complexity of her performances is one of the wonders of cinema. Close-ups were invented for Lane’s rare beauty, inside and out. We feel that it is her spirit as an actress and a character illuminating this story.
And we cannot help but feel a sense of completion in seeing the two of them together, after two previous films that showed their palpable connection. This film, based on the book by chronicler of the grown-up romance Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Message in a Bottle) puts their relationship center stage. Lane is Adrienne, a devoted single mother who is watching her best friend’s bed and breakfast for a weekend. Gere is Paul, the only guest. Adrienne’s husband, who left her for another woman, wants to come back home. Paul has come to the Outer Banks of North Carolina not to enjoy the coast but to have a conversation with someone who feels damaged by him. A storm hits the coast and (metaphor alert) Paul and Adrienne shore up the inn as they begin to open up to each other.
It is lovely to see a mature romance and this one is beautifully played by Gere and Lane, with Scott Glenn as a widower whose story provides poignant counterpoint. Viola Davis is superb as always in the thinly written role of the best friend, Christopher Meloni is fine as Adrienne’s maddening ex-husband, and an unbilled James Franco makes the most of his brief appearance as Paul’s doctor son. But it is Lane who simple honesty and luminous spirit keep us watching and believing that some day we, too, might find love and meaning and forgiveness on a stormy night in Rodanthe.
“Green Band” trailers begin with a notice that says that while the movie has been rated something else, the trailer itself has been approved for all audiences by the MPAA. I am sure that sometimes the people who make trailers have a tough time finding two or three minutes of clips for the trailer that don’t have bad language, sex, or violence. As a result, despite the warning, the trailer often gives a misleading impression of the movie’s content. R-rated movies have red band trailers, which can only be shown before R-rated movies because they include R-rated content. These were quite rare until recently because most theaters did not allow them.
And then came the internet. Red band trailers are available online and any 12 year old who knows the birth date of an adult can easily get access to them. Slate’s Josh Levin writes about the sharp rise in red band trailers: R-rated trailers–known as “red bands” on account of the red, “Restricted Audiences Only” warning that precedes them–have become omnipresent. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, nearly 30 restricted-audience trailers have been approved so far in 2008, already matching the number accepted between 2000 and 2006… Given the popularity of movie trailers on the Web, the potential audience for a red-band preview has gone from minuscule in the Showgirls era to virtually limitless in the time of Pineapple Express and Zack and Miri. Compared with an R-rated trailer that’s screened in theaters, a Web-based red band is more likely to get talked up and to reach a target audience of (possibly under-17) fan boys who’ll line up for a screening on opening weekend.
Trailers are still subject to tighter restrictions than the feature films themselves due to the intensified impact of the short form. But because they are quick to watch they are especially potent and viral and are now an indispensible and fast-growing element of movie marketing. As Levin notes, these trailers may give a more accurate idea of what is in the movie but they are also more likely to give away more of the good parts of the movie. For parents, they create yet another challenge in a media minefield already filled with too many traps.
What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines? Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri
George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey You don't have to be a fan of "Downton Abbey" (or "Mr. Selfridge") to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley.
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Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson's wonderful "Book on Every Bed" proposal:
Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood).
You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or whatever holiday you celebrate), you leave the book in a place where Santa is
Wild's Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous "Dear Sugar" advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) also wrote as Dear Su
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