Movie Mom

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Believe Me
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:

Release Date:
September 26, 2014

 

The Fault in Our Stars
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
Release Date:
June 6, 2014

Tracks
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some partial nudity, disturbing images and brief strong language
Release Date:
September 26, 2014

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Release Date:
June 27, 2014

The Boxtrolls
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor
Release Date:
September 26, 2014

 

Neighbors
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

Happy 100 Jimmy Stewart!

posted by Nell Minow

Jimmy Stewart, number 3 on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 male movie stars of all time, was born 100 years ago today in Indiana, Pennsylvania. The Oscar he won for The Philadelphia Story was on display at his father’s hardware store there for 25 years. While he did not always play the good guy, he is best remembered for the way he exemplified the American ideal of decency, integrity, and unpretentious authenticity. And he was a genuine hero, enlisting in the Air Force (the skinny actor had to gain five pounds to meet the minimum weight requirement) and serving on active duty. He became a colonel and earned the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Croix de Guerre and seven battle stars. In 1959, serving in the Air Force Reserve, he became a brigadier general.Stewart300dpi.jpg

It is easy to underestimate his skill as an actor because he made each performance look effortless. But if you watch these classics carefully you will see the brilliant subtlety of his steady gaze. These films show the range of his work, from light comedy to romantic drama, from all-American guy-you-wish-lived-next-door to menace and obsession. Every one of them is well worth watching and re-watching. Happy birthday, Jimmy!

1. The Philadelphia Story Since I was in high school, this incomparable romantic comedy with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant has been my all-time favorite movie. Stewart’s performance as cynical reporter Mike Connor won him his only Oscar.

2. You Can’t Take it With You This Best Picture Oscar-winner about the delightfully nutty Sycamore family stars Stewart as the boss’s son. Watch for the scene in the restaurant.

3. Harvey In this gentle comedy Stewart plays Elwood P. Dowd, who explains his philosophy of life: “Years ago my mother used to say to me… She’d say ‘In this world Elwood, you must be oh-so smart or oh-so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart…. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.” Dowd has an invisible friend, an enormous rabbit-looking creature named Harvey, and Stewart’s interactions with Harvey (who is never shown) are so charming and convincing you may think you see him, too. You will certainly want to.

4. It’s a Wonderful Life Stewart’s favorite of his own films (and also the favorite of director Frank Capra) is this Christmas classic about a man who thinks he has nothing until he finds out what the world would have been like if he had never existed.

5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Stewart and Capra again — this time Stewart plays an idealistic young man who is appointed to fill out a term in the U.S. Senate by corrupt politicians.

6. Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation Not as well remembered as some of Stewart’s classics, but this is one of my own favorites because it is the quintessential story of a multi-generational family vacation at the beach. Impossible relatives, sulky teenagers, and an even sulkier hot water heater in the rental house, this is an affectionate salute to the American family at play.

7. Anatomy of a Murder This fact-based murder trial has Stewart as a former prosecutor turned defense attorney, defending a solider who killed a man for allegedly raping his wife. Brilliant performances by the whole cast, including Ben Gazarra, Lee Remick, Eve Arden, and Arthur O’Connell, but especially real-life American hero Joseph Welch as the canny judge. Fans of “Law and Order” will love this one.

8. Bell, Book and Candle The other Stewart pairing with Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” may be better remembered, but I think Stewart’s performance in this romantic comedy is often overlooked. Stewart is a publisher who falls for a sultry witch. Watch his eyes when he drinks the potion to break the love spell.

9. The Shop Around the Corner“You’ve Got Mail” was based on this charming romantic comedy about co-workers who think they are enemies because they do not realize that they have fallen in love with each other by letter.

10. Destry Rides AgainStewart plays a young deputy sheriff who does everything he can to avoid using a gun in this classic Western.

Other great Stewart classics: “Rear Window,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “The Spirit of St. Louis,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” “Magic Town,” “Call Northside 777,” “Next Time We Love,” and many, many more.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some violence and action
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2007
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2008

national%20treasure%202.jpg The first movie ended with historian/treasure-hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) triumphant, with riches, a dream house, and a dream girl, historian/knockout (and conveniently named) Abigail Chase (“Troy’s” Helen Diane Kruger). He has pretty much lost all of that as this movie begins. Meanwhile, sidekick Riley (Justin Bartha) can’t get anyone to buy his book and has learned that “the tax on $5 million in income is $6 million) as his fancy car is towed away by the IRS. It’s time to break out the treasure maps and cypher-decoders.

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Sesame Street’s TLC Series for Military and their Families

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR

Sesame Street salutes the members of the United States Armed Forces with a series of DVDs and other educational materials and resources to help friends and families cope with absence, loss, and change. This bilingual (English and Spanish) multimedia outreach program is designed to support military families with children between the ages of two and five who are experiencing deployment, multiple deployments, or a parent’s return home changed due to a combat-related injury. These materials are available at no charge to military families through OneSource.
Adults who are caught up in their own concerns may not realize that children have fears and misunderstandings about what is going on or know how to help them most effectively. Materials for both adults and children encourage communication and important reminders that sad and happy feelings can be scary and complicated and that even absence, loss, and change do not affect the love we have for each another. As Memorial Day approaches, this tribute to the military and their families sends a powerful message about the sacrifice so many families are making and the importance of letting them know how much we appreciate all they do.

Coming Soon: Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D

posted by Nell Minow

This week director Eric Brevig and producer-star Brendan Fraser (“That’s Fraser like razor”) answered questions about their new film, “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D.” Unlike the earlier versions, including the 1959 George Pal version with Pat Boone and James Mason and a recent made-for-television movie starring Ric Schroeder, this is based on the Jules Verne book. Instead, it is the story of a modern-day scientist who searches for his brother, who discovered that Verne’s book was true.

The movie is a real thrill-ride with great stunts and effects and it was a blast to hear Brevig and Fraser talk about how it was made. In order to get the 3D effect, they have a special camera that shoots two separate movies, one for each eye. Essentially, they are projected together on screen (we got a sense of how tricky that was when they got it wrong three times before rebooting the system to get it right) and then when viewed with the special glasses, the audience gets a sense of depth and detail so distinct that — well, when the dinosaur drools, you’re going to feel like you need to wipe off your forehead.

Fraser good-naturedly answered questions — no, there will not be a sequel to “Encino Man” and yes, he does all his own stunts (he pointed out that the hanging off a cliff and getting burned stunts were left to the last day of shooting at the request of the insurance company). Brevig swore us all to secrecy when he confided that Fraser has one additional uncredited role in the film — he provides the warbling sounds for the adorable little glow-birds.

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Join Me at the Hill Center for A Tribute to Mary Wickes -- Including An Exclusive Showing of Her "Mary Poppins"
I am so excited about this!  Steve Taravella, author of the wonderful Mary Wickes: I Know I've Seen That Face Before, and I will host an tribute to Wickes at DC's Hill Center on November 16, 2014. And we will present an exclusive showing of the very first production of "Mary Poppins," with Wickes

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Trailer -- Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Story of Moses with Christian Bale
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posted 8:00:26pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

October 2014: Movies This Month
Happy October! This month is when we start to get the big, award-hopeful fall releases. Some of the highlights of what's ahead this month include: October 3: "Gone Girl," with Ben Affle

posted 3:42:45pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

The Inside Story of "The Princess Bride" by Cary Elwes: As You Wish
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posted 8:00:44am Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Believe Me
Will Bakke has followed his two thought-provoking documentaries on faith with a remarkably smart, funny, brave, and heartfelt first feature film that explores religion and values without ever falling

posted 11:06:16am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »


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