Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Fading Gigolo
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

Philomena
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references
Release Date:
November 22, 2013

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

 

The Nut Job
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 17, 2014

Bears
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

Grudge Match
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Release Date:
December 25, 2013

In Her Shoes

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2005

Siblings divide up the world to prove who they are, and the closer they are to each other, the more they depend on each other, the harder they would to stake their claim to being different from each other. In this formulaic but affecting movie, two sisters are connected by — and torn apart by — the way that only the two of them understand what it was like to grow up in their house.

Rose (Toni Collette) is the good girl, the responsible, honor roll daughter, now a very serious lawyer whose romantic encounters are so rare that when we first see her, she is taking a photograph of the man sleeping in her bed as a souvenir. She works all the time and the closest she gets to having fun is spending money on insanely extravagant shoes, which sit neatly lined up in her closet in mint condition.

Her younger sister Maggie (Cameron Diaz) is the mess, nothing neatly lined up about her. She drinks too much, sleeps around too much, and is happy to take what she can get, lifting cash from family members’ sock drawers and smiling at men to get them pick up her bar tab. She gets fired a lot because she is dyslexic. She is afraid people will believe she is stupid. She wonders if they would be right. When her stepmother Sydelle (Candace Azarra) throws Maggie out of the house, all her things stuffed in a trash bag, she moves in with Rose.

Things begin badly and get worse. Maggie takes Rose’s money, messes up her apartment, wears her shoes, and seduces he man Rose is hoping will be her boyfriend. Rose throws Maggie out.

Maggie discovers a hidden drawer of undelivered letters from a grandmother she never knew she had, so she takes the train to Florida to meet her. Ella (Shirley MacLaine) lives in “a retirement community for active seniors.” At first, Maggie is as hostile and unyielding as a sullen teenager. But Ella’s patience and grandmotherly combination of wisdom and unconditional love get Maggie off of the lounge chair by the pool and into scrubs as an attendant at the local assisted living facility. Her sense of accomplishment there, especially her friendship with a blind former professor (Lloyd Nolan) who patiently encourages her to read, help her to find a way to a job that is just right for her.

Meanwhile, Rose is also exploring a different career path, and feeling better about herself allows her to see that there is someone who knew how special she was, even before she did.

The set-up is as heavy-handed as the shoe metaphor, but heartfelt performances, sympathetic direction from Curtis Hansen (L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile), and some sharp writing make up for some soapiness and inconsistency. The very different performing styles of Diaz (star dazzle), Collette (drama school), and MacLaine (old-time Hollywood) help convey the clash of their characters. The supporting cast, especially Nolan, go far to try to overcome the usual stereotyping — perfect boyfriend, adorable oldsters, witchy stepmother. And it has several of what my husband considers the definitive requirement of a chick flick — a big, fat apology. You might not want to walk a mile in these shoes, but for a couple of hours, they fit pretty well.

Parents should know that Maggie is promiscuous and drinks too much. When we first see her, she is drunk and having sex with someone whose name she does not quite know — until she interrupts sho she can throw up. There are sexual references and non-explicit sexual situations. Characters drink and smoke and use some strong language. There are references to mental illness and suicide and there is a sad death.

Families who see this movie should talk about all of the different feelings Rose and Maggie had about each other. What connected them? What drove them apart? How did they compete with each other? How did they help each other? How did their new jobs change the way they felt about themselves? Why did Simon say he could not marry Rose? What did Maggie and Rose find hardest to like about themselves? Families may also want to talk about people like Sydelle — why do they hurt other people’s feelings?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Terms of Endearment (with MacLaine’s Oscar-winning performance), Down in the Delta with Alfre Woodard, and 28 Days with Sandra Bullock. They should also read the poems read by Maggie in the movie, One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and i carry your heart with me by E.E. Cummings.

Domino

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2005

“Based on a true story.”

“Sort of.”

Domino Harvey was the daughter of British movie star Laurence Harvey (The Manchurian Candidate<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nellminowthemovi&l=ur2&o=1" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;"). She grew up in luxurious surroundings, worked as a model, and then became a bounty hunter. She died of a drug overdose a few months before the movie’s release date.

You’d think all of that would be plenty for a movie, but director Tony Scott (Top Gun, Days of Thunder) feels he has to MTV it up with quick cuts, swooping pans, what feels like half the shots either sped up or slowed down and “Three Hours Later”-type titles marching across the screen.

It’s not enough that Domino (Kiera Knightly, about as tough as Bounty Hunter Barbie) and her colleagues break into a trailer after some stolen loot, bringing a severed arm with the combination to the safe on it; the trailer has to have the television on so Domino can see her father and Frank Sinatra in a scene from The Manchurian Candidate.

It’s a lot of sizzle with no steak, all style and attitude but no real energy or flair. Scott is using the same tricks that were tired in his last film, Man on Fire, and what makes us tired, too, is the way he expects us to think it all means something.

There are brief glints of something more, thanks to a script co-written by Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko). The narration explains that the one place everyone has to go through is the DMV, which means that the world is run by “sassy black women.” We meet one of them, Lateesha (Mo’Nique Imes-Jackson) as she is putting the finishing touch on fingernails as intricate as an illuminated manuscript, looking past them at her next customer with infinite contempt. Lateesha (who later identifies herself as a “Blacktina” and as the world’s youngest minority grandmother) will turn out to have more to do with that situation in the trailer with the tv set and the severed arm than we think.

Less successful is the attempt to be searingly provocative about such over-worked topics as our fascination with celebrity (two Beverly Hills 90210 alums either get props for being good sports or are way too desperate for jobs or money).

It’s loud, it goes on too long, it never makes us care about the title character or about what happens to her, and its uneven tone and pacing make the violence seem excessive and distracting and literal overkill. A diversion into reality television would be a complete waste of time except that it includes the two best performances in the movie, from Christopher Walken and Mena Suvari who counterpunch with clever underplaying and make everyone else look even sillier and more shrill. A last minute redemption and reconciliation are insincere and unsupported. The movie is loud and empty, and I don’t mean sort of.

Parents should know that this is a very violent movie, with intense and graphic fighting, gunplay, and explosions. A man’s arm is hacked off and characters are wounded and killed. Characters smoke, drink, and use drugs. They also use very strong language. The film includes nudity and sexual references and situations, porn, a lap dance, and scenes in a strip club.

Families who see this movie should talk about the appeal of the bounty hunter life for a young woman raised in Beverly Hills and about the movie’s perspective on “celebrity.”

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the better Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Get Shorty.

Oliver Twist

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2005

Waiting

posted by rkumar
F
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2005

I’ve said it before, but apparently some out there were not listening, so here I go again.

Disgusting is not the same as funny.

Now, please, pay attention this time, because I do not want to have to sit through another endlessly tediously mind-meltingly worthless and utterly predictable movie that is so hopeless it appears that even the cast lost interest long before the movie was over.

Disgusting can be funny. But it isn’t enough. If there was ever any question about that, this movie can serve as exhibit one for the prosecution.

It’s about waiters at a restaurant chain called Shenaniganz. Like the Smurfs, everyone in the cast has just one identifying characteristic. Naive new hire Mitch (John Francis Daley) is assigned to too-cool-to-take-anything-or-anyone-seriously Monty (Ryan Reynolds), which gives us chance to follow them around and meet everyone else. Dean (Justin Long) is feeling down because his high school classmate has graduated from college with a degree in electrical engineering. There’s one with anger management issues, one who is too shy to make a move on a girl (he has a shy bladder, too), a Yoda-esque dishwasher (Chi McBride) imparting wisdom, a couple of busboys who talk like rappers and huff whipped cream, and, of course, the foolish manager who enjoys petty power plays and doesn’t realize how lame it all is.

There is nothing in the characters or dialogue of any entertainment value whatsoever. The script covers something that cannot really be called a plot because it barely rises to the level of incidents. These moments attempt and fail to find humor in commiting various atrocities on food as revenge on rude customers, would-be wisecracks and insults that fall below the level of “I’m rubber, you’re glue” (except with four-letter words), and something I can only describe as an extensive discussion of and participation in a game that consists of the males flashing each other with a form of genital origami. This is the primary activity and interest of our merry little band.

The atrociousness is amplified rather than muffled by incompetent direction, so that even talented performers like Long, McBride, Luis Guzman, and Anna Faris look bored and embarrassed. Even the make-up is amateurish.

There are two points that take it from vile to virulent. First, the message that anyone who buys into traditional measures of success is a sucker or a loser comes across as juvenile instead of subversive. Second is the level of sophomoric homophobic humor, insufferably immature for anyone over the age of 12. Both shamefully reveal that the core audience intended for this film will not be the 17-and-ups its R-rating suggests but the DVD-renting middle schoolers who make the theatrical release of films like National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (also featuring Reynolds) a loss leader for the (often unrated) DVDs.

Those of any age who sit through to the end of the film hoping to find anything worth watching are doomed, like the cast, to waiting.

Parents should know that this is an extremely raunchy movie with near NC-17-level sexual references, language, and nudity. Just about every possible bodily function is included or described. Characters participate in a game that involves flashing their genitals at each other. Characters (including teenagers) drink, smoke, and use drugs. There are homophobic comments. The movie also features a lot of atrocious behavior, though, in fairness, I should point out that one character turns down the opportunity to have sex with another because she is under age (though he promises to take her up on it in a few days, after she turns 18).

Families who see this movie should talk about Dean’s response to the promotion offer and why people stay in jobs that don’t make them feel proud or engaged.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the far better Office Space.

Previous Posts

Fading Gigolo
John Turturro wrote, directed, and stars in "Fading Gigolo," a bittersweet meditation on the ways we seek and hide from intimacy, sometimes at the same time. Turturro plays Fioravante, a florist who works part-time for Murray (Woody Allen), the third-generation proprietor of a used and rare books

posted 9:24:32pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Transcendence
Think of it as "Her 2: The Revenge of Him." Or Samantha infected by Heartbleed. Just as in last holiday season's Her, "Transcendence" is the story of an artificial intelligence contained in a computer program that becomes or is seen as human consciousness.  Instead of the warm, affectionate voic

posted 6:00:39pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Bears
This year's Disney Nature release for Earth Day is "Bears," the story of an Alaskan bear named Sky and her twin cubs, Scout and Amber, their trek from the den where they've hibernated all winter t

posted 6:00:05pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Martha Williamson of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
Talking to Martha Williamson is pure positive energy and a real treat. The creator of "Touched by an Angel" has a new series on the Hallmark channel. It's called "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and it is about a USPS dead letter office where a quirky but very dedicated group of people track down the rec

posted 8:00:57am Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer #2: The Box Trolls
Did I mention how excited I am about this?  Coming in September, from the people who did "Coraline" and "ParaNorman." [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDr_ZY37RFg[/youtube]

posted 12:12:22pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »


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