Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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Annie
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Release Date:
December 19, 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

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Release Date:
December 19, 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

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date:
December 19, 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

College Road Trip

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:March 7, 2008

college%20road%20trip.jpgWhat bugs me the most about this movie is not that it is cynical, synthetic, exploitative, and lazy, though it is all of those things. It is not that it alternates being dull with being both painful and dull, though it is both of those things. What bugs me the most is that it has no idea who its audience is and does not seem to care.

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Step Up 2 the Streets

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, some suggestive material and brief violence.
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2008
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2008

step%20up%202.jpgIsn’t it too soon for a remake of “How She Move,” which came out less than a month ago? “How She Move” itself felt like a remake of all of those “You Got Served”/”Stomp the Yard”/”Save the Last Dance”/”Step Up” movies that are the 21st century version of the interchangeable series of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies. Kids get together to put on a show, setting off a few romantic sparks and learning an important life lesson or two about loyalty and the importance of being yourself along the way, possibly overcoming some past loss as well.
The structure is as invariable as a sonnet. A teenage boy and girl from different backgrounds with different styles have to find a way to work together in time for the big dance competition. And they ramp up the dramatic weight of the competition with something else to prove, something more at stake, and some adult in the dancer’s life who must achieve a new understanding of how important this all is. Unlike most sequels, this does not repeat the characters from the original; it just repeats the story. The only thing that matters about the plot is that it gets out of the way of what we’re really here to see – the dance numbers. And by that standard, despite the dumbest teen dance sequel title since 1984’s “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” and teen lingo so out of date they might as well call the dance steps “groovy,” “Step Up 2 the Streets” succeeds.
Andie (Briana Evigan, daughter of television star Greg Evigan) is the street girl whose mother died of cancer and who feels the only family she has left is her hip-hop “crew” that competes in street dance competitions. An old friend (Channing Tatum, in a brief reprise of his role in the original “Step Up”) arranges for her to audition at the Maryland School of the Arts, where her fresh moves capture the attention of Big Man on Campus Chase Collins (Robert Hoffman). Chase’s brother, the ballet dancer who runs the school, is less impressed. When her old crew kicks her out for missing rehearsals, Andie and Chase put together a new crew made up of the school’s misfits and outcasts, just in time for the big competition.
The dances are almost as electrifying as those in “How She Move,” not surprising because choreographer Hi-Hat worked on both films (she appears briefly on a scene in the subway), with additional choreography by Jamal Sims of the first “Step Up” and Dave Scott of “Stomp the Yard.” The rousing conclusion has a nice nod to Gene Kelly’s classic “Singin’ in the Rain” dance number. It is fun to watch the kids perform to a souped-up hip-hop version of “Jump Down Turn Around (Pick a Bale of Cotton)”, and the street theater “pranks” they video to become eligible for the street competition are fresh and clever.
This does not have the gritty authenticity of “How She Move” – it is a Disney film, after all – but that means that even its toughest characters and confrontations are fairly mild for a PG-13. Evigan wisely emphasizes Andie’s softer side, Hoffman has a great smile, and both feel effortlessly natural on screen. A scene at a family barbecue includes some gorgeous salsa dancing and a sweet moment with the two leads talking quietly as they sit on a tree branch. The supporting cast of young dancers is especially strong, with fine work from Danielle Polanco as Andie’s friend from home and rubber-limbed Adam G. Sevani as the kid who knows he is not the dork others assume he is. The story may be old, but these kids act – and dance – as though they are telling it for the first time.

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Mandela

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:March 21, 1997

Celebrate the 90th birthday this week of one of history’s greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela, with one of the fine films about his extraordinary perseverance, vision, courage, and leadership. The story of the massive social change he achieved without violence is profoundly moving and inspiring and one that all families should understand and discuss. Perhaps his greatest contribution is the notion of reconciliation and forgiveness rather than retribution and punishment, a lesson the world will need to recover from its current conflicts.

nelson mandela.jpg

The documentary, Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation follows Mandela from his early years as one of nine children of a polygamist father assigned the name “Nelson” by a teacher instead of his tribal name to his 27 years in prison, his election to the Presidency of South Africa and the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. The made-for-television Mandela & De Klerk (PG-13 for disturbing images of political violence) has Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine as Mandela and his co-Nobel awardee F.W. de Klerk. Both are outstanding.

Tribute: Thomas M. Disch

posted by Nell Minow

Science fiction writer Thomas M. Disch, who died on the 4th of July, wrote one movie for families, the wonderful animated film, The Brave Little Toaster. It is the Toy Story-style tale of a group of appliances left behind by their young master who take off on a dangerous journey to find him. Disch will probably be best remembered for the books he wrote for grown-ups, but this charming film is a gem as well.

Previous Posts

Smile of the Week: A Boy and a Penguin
This reminds me a little of the depiction of a child's world in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Barnaby. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iccscUFY860[/youtube] Many thanks to Slate for this and the others on its list of the year's best ads.

posted 12:06:45pm Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Mel Torme and Judy Garland: Christmas Song
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaEedtRHklg[/youtube] I love it that Judy Garland sings "rainbows" instead of "reindeer."

posted 8:00:57am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?
Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri

posted 3:58:57pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey
You don't have to be a fan of "Downton Abbey" (or "Mr. Selfridge") to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ryo7fqdmcGQ?rel=0" frameborder="0"] [

posted 1:43:50pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed
I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson's wonderful "Book on Every Bed" proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or whatever holiday you celebrate), you leave the book in a place where Santa is

posted 12:00:42pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »


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