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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Tomorrowland
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

 

American Sniper
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015

I'll See You in My Dreams
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

 

Strange Magic
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Release Date:
May 15, 2015

 

Mortdecai
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Tomorrowland

Lowest Recommended Age:
4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015
grade:
B+

I'll See You in My Dreams

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015
grade:
B+

Mad Max: Fury Road

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Release Date:
May 15, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

American Sniper

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015
grade:
C

Strange Magic

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015
grade:
D

Mortdecai

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

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Changeling

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violent and disturbing content, and language.
Movie Release Date:October 25, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violent and disturbing content, and language.
Movie Release Date: October 25, 2008

Radiantly beatific, Angelina Jolie glows with mother love in bright red lipstick and a series of divine cloche hats as Christine Collins, a devoted single mother, in this fact-based drama directed by Clint Eastwood. In 1928 Los Angeles, while she was at work, her son Walter just disappeared. Months later, the police told her they had found him, but the boy they gave her was not her son. She was pressured by corrupt cops to accept the new boy as hers. When she persisted in pointing out that not only was this boy physically different from Walter but that his dentist and teacher were on her side, she was committed to a mental institution and told she could not leave until she dropped all efforts to prove that her son had not been returned.

Eastwood’s meticulous direction and the sheer outrageousness of the story make for absorbing drama, though the very strangeness of the underlying facts makes the material seem overpacked (the running time is almost two and a half hours) and its discursive unfolding diminishes the dramatic effect.

It is impossible not to bring Jolie’s public role as a devoted mother of six to her performance here. Once Hollywood’s most notorious wild child, Jolie has transformed her public persona into a sort of earth Mother Courage on behalf of her own multi-cultural brood and on behalf of all the world’s poor and neglected children with her work for the United Nations. All of that blends in to the ferocity she brings to this role, diminishing the power of the story. The stand-out performances here are Ryan as the indomitable inmate and Jason Butler Harner as the man who probably knows what happened to Walter.

An additional distraction is the effort to put three separate stories into one long drama. The first act is the boy’s disappearance and the horrifyingly absurd attempt to persuade Collins that another child is her son. The second is a “Snake Pit”/”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” diversion after she is thrown into the state mental hospital, where she is subjected to abuse but meets another inmate (the always-outstanding Amy Ryan) whose honesty and courage helps sustain her hope. And then there is a third act, where Collins all but disappears as the crime drama plays out and we find out what happened to the boy and what happened to those responsible.

Behind the Scenes with HSM3!

posted by Nell Minow

Disney reveals the bloopers and accidents behind the scenes at “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” It’s fun to see how the young stars bounce back from their mistakes with such good spirits and good humor.
Get ready to giggle as the stars of High School Musical 3 reveal their biggest bloopers and on-set slip ups. Which cutie gave her co-star a black eye? Who sweated through three prom dresses? And which HSM fella fell over the most on camera? The shameful secrets are all here… Oops!
FOOT FIASCO!
Zac Efron: I don’t know how it happened, but my foot slipped through a theatre seat during a scene and I couldn’t get it out! It was so funny because they had to take the seat apart to rescue my foot. The cameras had to stop rolling and people were brought on set to unscrew the bottom of the chair. I was mortified!
FALL OUT BOY!
Corbin Bleu: Whenever you’re dancing with an ensemble, something is always going to go wrong. Tons of the cast would fall over or trip over each other’s feet – but it was me who fell over the most. The camera would always catch me, which was really embarrassing. Look out for the falls on the DVD’s blooper reel!0031_HSC-56533.JPG
TUTU MUCH!
Olesya Rulin: During the prom number, I was wearing a ballet tutu – but I didn’t have the right boy shorts underneath for the first take. When I twirled, my tutu went up and it looked like I wasn’t wearing any underwear because the shorts underneath were flesh-coloured! I was so embarrassed…
HIGH-HEEL HORROR!
Jemma McKenzie-Brown: I feel down the stairs on stage loads of times during my dance scene because they were so slippery! I had these high heels on, but luckily there were 10 boys below to catch me. I guess it wasn’t too bad being caught by 10 lovely boys – but I still went bright red with embarrassment!
SWEATY BETTY!
Monique Coleman: I had to have three copies of my High School Musical 3 prom dress because I sweated a lot on set – and it would show through three layers of clothes! I’d have to run to the room next door to change, which was pretty embarrassing. But by the end of the first day, everyone knew I was really sweaty, so I didn’t bother running next door. I would just stand in the corner of the room with a blow dryer drying out the dress!
BLACK-EYE BUDDY!
Vanessa Hudgens: I’m so clumsy. It’s terrible! I managed to hit Ashley several times by accident on set – and I felt awful about it. At one point, I hit her in the eye and she had to put ice on it. Another time, I whacked her in the face with my elbow. I was always bashing her – but it was completely by accident. Oops!
WATER WOE!
Matt Prokop: There was a hilarious wipeout during the scene where I run around wearing just a towel! The crew sprayed water on Justin and me to make us look wet, but I guess they forgot to wipe it off the floor because Corbin went flying. We came running around the corner in our towels to find Zac crying with laughter – and the camera got all of it! It was hysterical.
MODEL MOVES!
Zac Efron: We had a lot of fun with a mannequin’s hand on set. I think it fell off a prop, so I picked it up and made full use of it. I’d put it in my sleeve and place the fake hand in my pocket – but then had my real hand would be hidden underneath the front of my shirt. When people least expected it, I would punch out my real hand – and they would think there was an alien popping out of my chest! It was hilarious. People were screaming out loud in terror!
DANCE DISASTER!
Monique Coleman: On the very first day of filming, [HSM3 director] Kenny Ortega insisted that the floor was sparkling clean. The crew diligently polished away for hours, but they cleaned it so well that it became a slippery nightmare. During the first dance scene, everyone went flying! It was like we were dancing on water as we slipped and slopped all over the room. We were cracking up all over the place!
HELICOPTER HIGH JINKS!
Vanessa Hudgens: One of the funniest bloopers happened during Can I Have This Dance. A helicopter kept flying overhead and when that happens, you lose the sound so you can’t continue a scene. The helicopter wouldn’t go away, so in the end Zac just looked at me and said, “That’s actually my helicopter… Do you want to go for a ride?” We both ran to the edge of the building and pretended to jump off the balcony, but we were only joking. It was like Mission Impossible and we couldn’t stop laughing at the crew who thought we were being serious!
OOH, THE SHAME!
Olesya Rulin: I embarrassed myself constantly on the set of High School Musical. I’m so awkward! I was always tripping over on set – and I would also somehow trip into my trailer. I’d always be hoping that no-one would be around to watch me fall – but there would usually be one or two people or loads of cameras catching me goof up!
ZAC ATTACK!
Jemma McKenzie-Brown: Zac was a huge practical joker on the set of HSM3. He loved to throw water bombs on people, which was really funny. He never got me, but Vanessa tried to at one point. She ran into my trailer with a water bomb, but she fell over and it went all over her!
SURPRISE GIVEAWAY! The first five people to send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with HSM3 in the subject line will get a copy of the new DVD! When you write, let me know why you love HSM!

List: NR’s Best Conservative Movies of the Last 25 Years

posted by Nell Minow

The National Review has updated its 1994 list of the top conservative movies with selections from the best conservative movies of the past 25 years, including films like The Incredibles, 300, Forrest Gump, and Braveheart. As with their last list, I have more of an argument with their interpretation of the movies’ politics than with the movies’ quality. As can be expected with a list that reflects the views of several contributors, the definition of conservatism seems to vary — and at times seems to encompass every possible virtue. But all of the films are well worth viewing and discussing.
NOTE: The list is not consolidated so the best way to see it is to go to The Corner blog and search for the term “movies.”

Religulous

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language and sexual material
Movie Release Date:October 3, 2008
DVD Release Date:February 17, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language and sexual material
Movie Release Date: October 3, 2008
DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009

The most important moment in Bill Maher’s new documentary about the dangers and hypocrisy of religion is at the conclusion of his visit to a tiny trucker’s chapel. As he does throughout the movie Maher challenges the very notion of faith. One of the worshipers is so offended he walks out. But another explains he had once worshiped Satan and lived a life of carnal pleasures until he found Jesus. Maher of course shakes his head in disbelief that anyone would find that an improvement. But they pray together, or at least Maher stands in a prayer circle and listens as the others pray, thanking God for Maher’s visit, for allowing them to hear the voices of others. And then, as they say goodbye, Maher says, “Thank you for being Christ-like and not just Christian.”

Maher, the trenchant, provocative, sometimes outrageous stand-up comic turned political commentator, believes weapons of mass destruction have made humanity more powerful than we are wise (no argument there) and that religion, specifically the aspect of religion that relies on faith rather than reason, is more likely to catapult us into destroying ourselves than it is to inspiring us to listen to what Maher would probably not refer to as our better angels. Maher and his sister were raised Catholic by a Catholic father and a Jewish mother, going to church every Sunday until it abruptly stopped when he was a young teenager. He continued to believe somewhat half-heartedly, even bargaining with God in a dire circumstance at age 40. But now he is not only a non-believer, he is an evangelical one. He advocates non-belief. One of the most unintentionally amusing elements of the film is how much in structure it resembles Christian testimony. In his own way, he is saying, “I was blind, but now I see.”

Despite his deep commitment to logic and reason (one might say he has a lot of faith in it), Maher never really makes his case. Instead of doing serious and thoughtful research, instead of presenting us with (admittedly less entertaining) data about the influence of particular religious beliefs or institutions, instead of investigating the good works of people inspired by religion or the benefits of faith-based programs, instead of trying to understand the appeal of religious faith, he seeks out the people on the fringes and pretty much makes fun of them. There is certainly plenty to expose in the hypocrisy and virulent influence of various religious groups and practitioners, but he stays away from that for the admittedly more entertaining selection of fringe people and groups. At least he is even-handed. He goes after Christians, Catholics, Scientologists, Mormons, Muslims, and Jews. And he is wide-ranging. He visits (and is escorted off the premises of) the Vatican, the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, and the Holy Land Experience (that’s the theme park in Orlando, Florida, not the Mid-East).

And so the movie works far better as anthropology than argument, just because some of the people and places are fascinating and exotic. But it is filled with cheap shots and low blows. It is easy to make an obvious charlatan who sells himself to his followers as the literal messiah look like a con man. It is easy to make a couple of Orthodox Jews look silly for trying to create inventions to help people comply with the strict limits of Shabbat. And it is easy to try to trap believers with the Bible’s inconsistencies (especially when you have the final edit) about the differences between coincidences and miracles or the relevance of some Biblical references more than 5000 years later. Maher finds a scientist who (unlike 93% of his colleagues) believes in God and another one who says he can prove that religious belief is a neurological disorder.

Of course, Maher is preaching to his choir. Even if he was able to put together a very linear and thoroughly documented argument he would not persuade anyone because faith is not about persuasion. It is always worthwhile to consider challenges to belief because by helping define what we don’t believe we better define what we do believe. The strength and value of our faith is best proved when it is unafraid of heresy.

The film’s message is most that on a sign one character holds: “Don’t believe anyone. Including me.” And Maher is like the assimilated atheistic Jew in a story I heard recently from a rabbi. It seems the Jew sent his son to a school called Trinity because it had an excellent reputation and a secular curriculum. But the son came home and said, “Do you know what Trinity means, Dad? It means the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The father was furious. “Now listen to me, because I want you to remember this. There is just ONE God! And we don’t believe in Him!”

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