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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

 

Pride
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Release Date:
October 9, 2014

Into the Woods
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material
Release Date:
December 25, 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

Unbroken
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Release Date:
August 8, 2014

Televised Presidential Debates

posted by Nell Minow

There’s an op-ed in today’s Chicago Tribune is about the value of televised debates. It was written by my dad, Newton Minow, and his frequent co-author, Northwestern professor Craig LaMay. This week is the anniversary of the very first Presidential debate, the legendary Kennedy-Nixon broadcast from Chicago in 1960. Both candidates and most historians believe it played a decisive role in the outcome of the election.

Slate has a good video review of the highlights (or rather low points) of the past debates from Ford’s fumble on Eastern Europe to Al Gore’s sighs and George H. W. Bush looking at his watch as though he was bored.

On Monday, Dad and Professor LaMay participated in a panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) about the history and future of the debates with the producer of the Kennedy-Nixon debate, Don Hewitt (who would go on to produce “60 Minutes”), and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter. From the audience, Kennedy advisor Ted Sorensen recalled briefing the candidate and former debates co-chair Rita Hauser, who recalled the 27-minute audio breakdown in the Carter-Ford debate and the wry comment by one-time Presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy that he didn’t notice.

My dad is the only person to have helped organize every Presidential debate in U.S. history. He and LaMay have written a book, Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future.

In today’s op-ed, they describe the improved format of this year’s debates,

designed to get the candidates to talk directly to each other, rather than to the moderator. The 90-minute forum will be broken into segments, each devoted to a particular subject. This new format is a direct response to voter preferences and can only improve what are already the most genuine events of a campaign that is otherwise a carefully scripted and uninformative run of television news sound bites and (mostly negative) advertisements.

And they respond to criticism that the candidates merely recite canned answers:

The televised debates are the only place in the modern campaign where voters get the opportunity to compare the candidates and their views and see them think on their feet. Yes, the candidates will anticipate questions and prepare answers in advance. Who would expect otherwise? This is the biggest contest on the American electoral stage.

More important than what happens in the debate is what it means for American citizens.

You are smarter than the pundits and political professionals. After you watch tonight’s debate, turn off your television and avoid the spin that follows. Talk about the debate with your family, co-workers, friends, neighbors. Then go see what the pundits have to say, and whether you think they got it right. It is your judgment and your vote that counts, not theirs.

Finally, we confidently predict the winner of tonight’s debate and those still to come: the American voter.

Radio Ladio

posted by Nell Minow

My daughter showed me this adorable video from a British group called Metronomy. It shows how much can be accomplished with a little imagination and some colorful make-up.

B.J. Thomas Live

posted by Nell Minow

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.

The Duchess

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity, and thematic material
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2008

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.

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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.

Previous Posts

Joy to the World
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DLT9dSt8cwg?rel=0"]

posted 12:00:46pm Dec. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Merry Christmas 2014!
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posted 5:00:29am Dec. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Selma
"Selma," director Ava DuVernay's film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital at Montgomery, to make the case for the right to vote, is superb as

posted 5:55:52pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Into the Woods
This is not a Disney movie. Oh, well, yes, it is a Disney movie in the sense that it is produced by Disney, which is the only possible explanation for the PG rating (and the slightly sweet

posted 5:55:31pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Unbroken
Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie breaks into the top ranks of American directors with "Unbroken," showing an exceptional understanding not just of actors, but of tone, scale, and letting the

posted 5:49:18pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »


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