Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Black or White
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight
Release Date:
January 30, 2015

 

The Book of Life
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

Black Sea
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Release Date:
January 30, 2015

 

The Judge
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Release Date:
October 10, 2014

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

 

Fury
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

Wired’s 25th Anniversary Tribute to ‘Wargames’

posted by Nell Minow

I recently included War Games in my list of great movie computers. Wired Magazine has a fascinating salute to the movie’s 25th anniversary and the way it influenced a generation of proto-geeks in the current issue, featuring interviews with the screenwriters (and the legendary hackers they consulted) about developing a script centering on this still-exotic technology. And they actually considered casting John Lennon as the designer of the computer program! Even more astonishing was the impact the film had on one very powerful viewer, the President of the United States.

Days after the screening, wrote Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon, Reagan held a closed-door briefing with some moderate members of Congress, wherein he sidetracked discussion of the MX ballistic missile program by bringing up “WarGames.” Had any of them seen the film? he asked, then launched into an animated account of the plot. “Don’t tell the ending,” cautioned one of the lawmakers.

The Defense Department was so taken with the display system created for the movie that they designed one like it. But if the movie raised the consciousness of those creating defense systems, it also made them warier of those who might try to hack into them. Kevin Mitnick, who served five years in prison for hacking says,

That movie had a significant effect on my treatment by the federal government. I was held in solitary confinement for nearly a year because a prosecutor told a judge that if I got near a phone, I could dial up Norad and launch a nuclear missile. I never hacked into Norad. And when the prosecutor said that, I laughed — in open court. I thought, “This guy just burned all his credibility.” But the court believed it. I think the movie convinced people that this stuff was real. They tried to make me into a fictional character.

There’s a new 25th Anniversary Edition DVD with some excellent features and interviews.

Watchman Trailer

posted by Nell Minow

Wow — the trailer for “The Watchman” looks amazing!

Ebert’s Farewell to The Balcony

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friend Bob Elisberg for directing me to Ebert’s farewell to the 33-year movie review television show he shared with Gene Siskel and then Richard Roeper. That show, “just two guys talking about the movies,” made them into national figures and changed the way people think about movies and movie critics. Be sure to check out the acerbic outtake clips of Ebert and Siskel making promotional spots and setting off the kind of sparks that made the show so much fun. (WARNING: Some very politically incorrect joking and some very strong language — this clip would be rated R)

Good Review of A Bad Film — Cynthia Fuchs on ‘Step Brothers’

posted by Nell Minow

I often say that when movies are good, critics are very, very good, but when movies are bad, they’re better. It is a challenge sometimes to write an interesting, meaningful review of a dumb comedy like Step Brothers. One of my favorite critics, Cynthia Fuchs, did just that with her review. She did not ask the film to be more than it aspired to be but respected what it was enough to engage with its aspirations and implications within its own terms.
Unable to intervene, ever-pert Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) is, in fact, this spectacle’s ideal audience, the girl who can’t fathom the anti-nuances of masculine ritual. Watching her man-children clobber each other to sweaty, gasping pulps, she’s reduced to abject impropriety… Apparently the only possible punchline for this going-nowhere-slowly scene, Nancy’s exclamation also makes clear the fundamental logic of Step Brothers. Demonstrating (and occasionally exaggerating) the lewd, brutal routines that make up the lengthy, much celebrated transition from boy to man in U.S. consumer culture, the movie has plenty of ground to cover. The fact that it’s ground often traversed in Ferrell’s movies and more recently, in co-producer Judd Apatow’s movies, doesn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm or inanity. Rather, the repetition seems to up the ante: how much more can be said, showed, or countenanced? How low can it go?
I love the way she says that films like this “simultaneously to ridicule and celebrate masculinity” and her comment on the role that the female characters play helped me to understand my own reaction:
While they surely ensure that the boys, for all their homoerotic/homophobic rites, are emphatically heterosexual, the women also provide the film’s necessary internal audience. Appalled by manifestations of male insecurities and aggressions, they embody those social, domesticating judgments that make such manifestations seem so wild and crazy. That is, the boys are most plainly appalling when the girls are appalled.

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