Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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Tusk
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Release Date:
September 19, 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

This is Where I Leave You
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Release Date:
September 19, 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

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

 

Think Like a Man Too
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Release Date:
June 20, 2014

Rendition

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for torture/violence and language.
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2007
DVD Release Date:February 19, 2008

This is America. We do not torture people. But sometimes we send prisoners suspected of ties to terrorism to places where they do torture people. That is what happens to Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally), a chemical engineer who moved to America at age 14, attended NYU, and is now married to Isabella (Reese Witherspoon), who is pregnant with their second child. He calls to tell her that he is on his way home from a conference in South Africa and then he just…disappears. No one will acknowledge that he was even on the plane, but credit card charges for in-flight duty free show that he was there.rendition.jpg

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Michael Clayton

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual dialogue.
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:February 19, 2008

Michael Clayton (George Clooney) spends a lot of time facing into the dark midnight of the soul, his own and others’.


Late one night and early the next morning, he does both at once as he gets a call on his cell phone in the middle of a high stakes poker game because a client of his law firm needs some help with a nasty hit and run. The client is the one who hit and ran. In the middle of the night, not knowing what to do, he calls the lawyer who does his business deals. And that lawyer calls Michael Clayton.


Clayton is a lawyer, but he does not appear in court or write wills. He is a fixer, a clean-up guy. When a client petulantly says, “I thought you were a miracle worker,” he explains that he is a janitor. He cleans up messes, the kind that lawyers in their three-piece suits and three-figure ties do not want to know about. Clayton will not break the law, but he will bend it a little. He can make some calls to the right people and say soothing words to the wrong people to smooth out the rough edges. Sometimes, the most powerful thing he can do is tell the truth to people who are used to nothing but soothing words. We see that as he explains to the hit and run driver that he will not be able to get away with trying to pretend that it did not happen.


Afterward, he drives through the quiet suburbs. It is still very early in the morning. Clayton sees some horses and gets out of his car to look at them. They seem so far from his world, so pure and filled with energy. He gazes at them, letting his head clear. And then his car explodes.


We go back a few days and find out that Clayton’s closest friend at the firm, Arthur (Tom Wilkinson) was the lead counsel on a $3 billion class action suit against the firm’s client over a pesticide that allegedly poisoned some of the farmers who used it. Arthur’s increased disgust at defending the huge corporation — and his decision to stop taking his medicine — sends him into a manic spiral. Another mess for Clayton to clean up.


But he also has his own mess to clean up. An ill-advised investment with his brother in a restaurant has left him desperate for cash. All of this makes him think about what his options are and what his priorities are.


George Clooney just keeps getting better and better. His performance here is rich and deep and layered, and seeing him work through his range of reactions is enormously moving. It provides a strong center for the legal thriller swirling around him.

Parents should know that this movie includes some violence, including murder and a reference to suicide. There are references to mental illness (and drugs to treat it), alcoholism, gambling addiction, environmental toxins, and suicide. Characters use some strong language and drink (scenes in a bar).

Michael will bend some rules but not others. How can you tell? What are the factors that guide his decisions? What is the significance to the Conquest story? Why do we see Karen practicing her speech and getting dressed?


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the books and films of John Grisham.

List: Five movies about presidents

posted by Nell Minow

PresidentsDay-w.jpg
Why have there been no great films about George Washington? And why are there so many films featuring Abraham Lincoln? From the John Ford classic Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda, to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there is something about the tall man with the wry sense of humor that is very cinematic.
Five great movies for President’s Day:
1. Young Mr. Lincoln Long before he ran for President, we see Abe Lincoln mourn his first love and defend his first clients.
2. Independence Day Bill Pullman is a former fighter pilot who leads America and the world after an alien attack.
3. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb This cold-war farce has Peter Sellers in three roles, including President of the United States. His conversation with his counterpart in the USSR is a masterpiece. (Some mature material).
kisses%20for%20my%20president.jpg4. “Kisses for My President” Not available on DVD or video, this all-but forgotten 1964 film features Polly Bergan as the nation’s first female President, but in this pre-feminist era its focus is on the problems faced by her husband, played by Fred McMurray. It is every bit as silly as its title suggests and you will never believe how it all gets resolved. (Guesses welcome)
5. Air Force One Harrison Ford is the President as action hero. When Air Force One is captured by terrorists, it’s a good thing that the man who played Han Solo and Indiana Jones is on hand.

Top Picks: Yo Gabba Gabba

posted by Nell Minow

Is there a more adorable television show ever than Nick Jr.’s “Yo Gabba Gabba?” I love this mash-up of movie star, viral pioneer “Numa Numa,” and good old-fashioned silly dance fun.

Previous Posts

Christopher Orr on the Coen Brothers' "Miller's Crossing"
One of my favorite critics writes about one of his favorite movies in The Atlantic: the highlight of Christopher Orr's outstanding series on the Coen Brothers' films is his essay on Miller's Crossing. Whether you're a fan of the Coens or of this film or not, Orr's essay is a pleasure to read for it

posted 3:53:09pm Sep. 23, 2014 | read full post »

New on ABC: Black-ish
One of the best new shows of the year is Anthony Anderson's "Black-ish."  Anderson plays Andre "Dre" Johnson has a great job, a beautiful mixed-race doctor wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids, and a colonial home in the mostly-white suburbs.  But now that he has given his children a bett

posted 10:20:50pm Sep. 22, 2014 | read full post »

The Real Story: Tracks and Robyn Davidson's Long Walk Across Australia
Mia Wasikowska plays real-life adventurer Robyn Davidson in "Tracks," based on the 1980 international best-seller about her 1700-mile walk across Australia with four camels. A thoughtful interview with Davidson in The Australian describes her: Davidson is an enigma. With her patrician air, prim

posted 3:51:08pm Sep. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: The Dancing Traffic Light
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB_0vRnkeOk[/youtube]

posted 8:00:15am Sep. 22, 2014 | read full post »

TrueSpark: Teaching Children and Teens About Character With Quality Films
I am honored to serve on the advisory committee for TrueSpark, which provides quality films and curricula for schools at no cost to use in teaching character. [iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/akEWIRfjnxk?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Parents and teachers who want to lear

posted 8:22:33pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »


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