Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Release Date:
October 24, 2014

 

Moms' Night Out
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

John Wick
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Release Date:
October 24, 2014

 

Earth to Echo
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
Release Date:
July 3, 2014

23 Blast
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Release Date:
October 24, 2014

 

Snowpiercer
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Release Date:
July 2, 2014

Leatherheads

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.
Movie Release Date:April 4, 2008

leatherheads_header.jpgLike the 1925 ragtag professional football team it follows, this movie has more high spirits than ability to deliver.

George Clooney directs and stars in this affectionate tribute to 1920’s “professional” football and 1930’s movie comedies, but it it captures more of the letter than the (high) spirit of the rat-a-tat-tat dialogue and ebullient effervescence of those Turner Classic Movie channel-worthy gems. It is entertaining without being especially memorable.

Clooney plays Dodge Connelly, a player on a failing team in a failing league. In 1925, football was a college sport. Cheering crowds filled college stadiums while professional football was disorganized on and off the field — or cow pasture, as the case might be. Dodge decides to recruit the top college player, Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski of The Office), who is not only a football hero but a real American WWI hero as well. Carter agrees to leave school because Dodge guarantees him a ton of money and because he is very happy to have a chance to keep playing. He is guided on this by his agent, CC Frazier (suitably, if silkily, satanic Jonathan Pryce), a character who raises the intriguing Jerry Maguire-ish question of whether pro sports would have been created without pressure from pro agents.

Remembering Jules Dassin

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director Jules Dassin died this week at age 96. He is perhaps most fondly remembered as a key figure in establishing the genres of film noir (Naked City) and the heist film (Topkapi and “Rififi”) and for the marvelous Never on Sunday, starring his wife, Melina Mercouri, as an earthy prostitute who is “educated” about ancient Greece by an American scholar (Dassin himself).

The movie I most want to remember today is one that Dassin wrote and directed early in his career, one of the most profoundly spiritual films I have ever seen. It is called “He Who Must Die,” and it is the story of a group of Greek villagers who put on a passion play each year. The powerful citizens of the town decide who will play each part. Almost contemptuously, they select a stuttering shepherd to play Jesus and the town prostitute to play Mary Magdalene. But when a real-life conflict comes to the town, the members of the passion play cast begin to take on the attributes of the New Testament figures they are portraying. Unfortunately, the film is not available on video or DVD, but I strongly recommend making every effort to try to see it.

List: Science Fiction Movies With Accurate Predictions

posted by Nell Minow

When people think of the future we often — influenced by sci-fi movies — picture silvery jumpsuits, rayguns, and flying cars. Very often, the movies project the extremes of Utopian or distopian civilizations. But sometimes the movies get it right. Popular Mechanics has put together a list of The 10 Most Prophetic Sci-Fi Movies Ever, with the hits and misses in classics from “2001” (space tourism) to “The Truman Show” (reality TV), “Minority Report” (touch screens — and, I would add, Patriot Act-era surveillance, though not quite at the “precognition” stage), and “Gattaca” (designer genes).
The comments are as worthwhile as the list. We’ve come a long way from The Trip to the Moon, where the space travelers returned to earth by jumping off.
gattaca_ver1.jpg

Interview with Arie Kaplan of “Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer”

posted by Nell Minow

Arie Kaplan writes the new series of Speed Racer comic books, called “Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer.” Separate from the big-budget movie coming out later this year, the comics provide Speed Racer with a wider range of settings and a deeper backstory than he has had before. I talked to Kaplan about Speed Racer and his other projects, including his three-part series for Reform Judaism Magazine about the Jewish origins and themes of comic books and comedy performers. Kaplan also writes for Mad Magazine, speaks often on subjects relating to Judaism and comedy, and has a new book coming out later this year: From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books. Speed_Racer-chroniclesRI.jpg

How did you get involved with Speed Racer?

My series for Reform Judaism Magazine about the the influence of Jews on the comic book industry gave me a lot of contacts in the comic book world. I went to Wondercon and talked to IDW about Speed Racer. I had to go back and catch myself up on what was going on in comics. If you haven’t been reading comics for a while and then read the One More Day series, you think, “What the Hell has been going on?” The quality of the writing is getting stronger. It is more like TV shows, but there are things you can only do in comics.

I wrote a horror screenplay a while back. Even though it had a horror element the special effects had to be pretty low key. It couldn’t be like Transformers; it had to be low budget. For this Speed Racer series, each issue if they filmed it would cost like $300 million. In comics, you can do a story where it doesn’t feel self-indulgent but you can have pirate ships, giant transforming robots, not too grandiose or too loaded or over the top, but make it work. It costs the same amount of money to draw people having a conversation as having an action sequence, that’s the difference between comics and movies. Anyone who wants to draw Speed Racer likes to draw action sequences, racing, blowing stuff up, but it won’t take a special secret expensive pen. Your imagination is honestly the only special effect; the budgetary limits are met.

But you don’t want to put too many story twists; you don’t want to pack the story too much. You do burn through story quite a bit because Speed finds out he is the last of a long line of racers. His last name used to not be the family name, but the occupation. There is a chosen one in each generation, the one to outrace the evils of the world. He is a crime-fighter but instead of super powers or a utility belt he has the Mach 5.

How did you come up with your interpretation of Speed Racer?

I wanted to make him more iconic, more comic-booky, more kinds of stories. I wanted him to be more of a teenager, and I wanted to bring in some of the The Hero with a Thousand Faces themes.

The name was one of the inspirations for this series. I wanted some explanations about why the goofy characters would have such on the nose names. I thought about my own name. Arie means lion, Kaplan means religious leader. A lot of names come from occupations – what if Speed’s family was like that?

Previous Posts

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?
The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies," with some disturbing conclusions about parents' ability to make good decisions about the impact some media may have on their children. This is not

posted 8:00:58am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Is E-Reading to Kids the Same as Analog Reading?
The New York Times asks, Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time? In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading comprehension than children whose parents used traditional books. Part of th

posted 8:00:40am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »


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