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McFarland USA
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language
Release Date:
February 20, 2015

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Release Date:
November 21, 2014

The DUFF
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying
Release Date:
February 20, 2015

 

Foxcatcher
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Release Date:
November 21, 2014

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
Release Date:
February 13, 2015

 

Horrible Bosses 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Release Date:
November 26, 2104

Hollywood’s Inaccurate Portrayal of Religious Practice

posted by Nell Minow

E! Online has a column about Hollywood’s inaccurate portrayal of religious practice. A reader wrote in to complain about the treatment of Mr. Eko, who pretends to be a priest in “Lost.”
According to E!, Tod Tamberg, communications director of the Los Angeles Archdiocese is the man who usually answers Hollywood’s questions about Catholicism ritual, belief, and practice, but no one checked with him about Mr. Eko.
Pretty much every religion offers at least one consultant to keep pertinent films honest. One of them happens to have served as Hebrew coach for an A-list star…But unless Hollywood actively reaches out to such people–and not at the last minute, either–there’s little that religious consultants can do to ensure authenticity.
It was heartening to see the faith-group-produced “Fireproof” do modestly well last weekend, but accurate portrayal of religious practice and sincere faith is rare in Hollywood movies. I was pleased to that in this week’s light teen romantic comedy, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” a character briefly but movingly explains the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam (“healing the world”) as the spiritual purpose of life. It is nice to see something Jewish in a movie that is not bagels, oy vey, or guilt!
For more about the portrayal of religion in the movies, see this bibliography and this religious studies syllabus.

A Month of Halloween Horror from The Movie Boy

posted by Nell Minow

The Movie Boy Dustin Putman knows horror, and he salutes it this month with a new review every day.
For the entirety of October, TheMovieBoy.com will be updated daily with all-new content, including at least thirty-one full-length reviews of horror pictures–a collection of classics, lesser-known gems, and longtime favorites–that I have never previously covered; an additional smorgasbord of fresh (but not necessarily positive) capsule reviews; and an ongoing blog where I will tackle any number of horror-related subjects. Maybe I can help readers come up with ideas on what’s worth watching this October. Or maybe I can help them get in the mood for a holiday filled with ghosts, goblins, costumes, candy, and things that go bump in the night. Either way, the goal is to entertain and inform both die-hard horror fans, as well as the heretofore uninitiated who are interested in taking that first dip into a too-frequently underappreciated category of cinema. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all (myself included) learn a little something, too.
I am not a horror fan, but Putman’s first choice is perfect, the silent classic Nosferatu. As he says, it may not be the first horror film, but it is the first influential one. It is essentially “Dracula,” but director F.W. Murnau did not want to pay royalties, so they changed the names. The mysterious Max Schreck starred (there is an urban legend that he really was a vampire — amusingly explored in “Shadow of the Vampire” with Willem Dafoe as Schreck) and it is every bit as creepy as any CGI-enhanced state-of-the-art special effects horror movie made today, nearly 80 years later.

Thank You

posted by Nell Minow

The two most powerful words I know are “thank you.” A simple statement of acknowledgment and gratitude transforms the person who says it as well as the person who hears it. If every one of us just added five “Thank yous” to each day we could change the world. So many souls shrivel waiting for some recognition. I love this poem by Jan Struther:

Hard words will break no bones:
But more than bones are broken
By the inescapable stones
Of fond words left unspoken.

Watch this clip by Laura Trice from Ted Talks about the power of saying “Thank you.” Some people will object to her suggestion that we ask for thanks, but what she is saying is that it can be a gift to those closest to us to confide in them about what we are proud of. She is not telling us to be needy or demanding. She is suggesting that we share ourselves and let those we love share in return.

A similar idea comes from writer Carolyn See, who recommends writing a “charming note” every single day to help launch a writing career. She suggests you write to authors and editors whose work you like to let them know — specifically — how much you appreciate them. To be charming, a note must be hand-written on beautiful note paper and it must not ask for anything. It’s a good idea to leave out most details about you and your aspirations because that is an implied request for a favor.

I think a daily “charming note” is a great exercise for anyone with or without a specific ambition. The discipline of gratitude is essential for all of us but we often feel we are too busy or worry that it makes us too vulnerable.

So thanks to all of you who visit this site and especially to those who post comments, whether praise or complaint. I am very grateful to you all. And here is one more story I love about the importance of expressing appreciation.

The Candidates Atone (Fiction, of Course)

posted by Nell Minow

Previous Posts

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
[iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uI1SqfJvvCk?rel=0" frameborder="0"] And don't forget the only live action film written by Dr. Seuss, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T! [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgpfMxYFSmE[/youtube]

posted 11:12:17am Mar. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Going Clear -- Documentary About Scientology
HBO will show Alex Gibney's new documentary about Scientology on March 29, 2015. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zllYkNu1sl4?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:17am Mar. 02, 2015 | read full post »

A New Alphabet Book for Women's History Month: Rad American Women A-Z
Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! is a wonderful new alphabet book to teach girls, boys, and their families abou

posted 3:37:56pm Mar. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Opening this Month: March 2015
Happy March! Looking forward to warmer days and better movies. Some of what we're looking forward to this month: March 6 "Chappie," from "District 9's" Neill Blomkamp, is the story of a robot whose artificial intelligence may just rise to the level of a personality, even a soul, with Hugh Ja

posted 3:35:27pm Mar. 01, 2015 | read full post »

A Purim Take on Uptown Funk -- Shushan Funk
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KsJKSew4BvY?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Happy Purim! May this be a year when all the Hamens of the world are vanquished. This tale, was once told In the days of Achashverosh This one needs a new girl Needs a good girl A strai

posted 12:36:54pm Mar. 01, 2015 | read full post »


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