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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Monkey Kingdom
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

 

Wild Kratts: Shark-Tastic
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating:
NR
Release Date:

Ex Machina
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

 

Big Eyes
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

True Story
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some disturbing material
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

 

Wild
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Monkey Kingdom

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015
grade:
A-

Ex Machina

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Release Date:
April 17, 2015
grade:
B

True Story

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some disturbing material
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Wild Kratts: Shark-Tastic

Lowest Recommended Age:
All Ages
MPAA Rating:
NR
Release Date:
grade:
B+

Big Eyes

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014
grade:
B+

Wild

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

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Fred Claus

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:November 9, 2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: November 9, 2007

fredclausposter2.jpg
The predictable work and family and romantic complications ensue, but they are dragged out and overplotted as an efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey) comes in for some bah-humbug moments, threatening to outsource the entire operation. The movie could have used an efficiency expert as it drags on about half an hour too long and the ratio of laughter per minute declines. All that should matter in the movie are the two brothers. As long as we stay with them, the movie stays on the “nice” list.
Vince Vaughn has a literally off-beat vibe. His words tumble out in a rapidly syncopated tumble and his delivery vibrates like a plucked high tension wire. The words come out so quickly that it takes a moment to realize that he has just revealed something hilariously honest that even he does not seem to know he said. He is disarmingly frank about being a bit of a liar.
Director David Dobkin has worked well with Vaughn before (in the under-appreciated “Clay Pigeons” and the smash comedy “The Wedding Crashers”) and this movie about Santa’s brother is well-designed to take advantage of Vaughn’s strengths. The theme of sibling rivalry is perfect for showing off Vaughn’s gift for barely-under-the-surface resentment. And it is very funny to see the 6’4″ actor trying to interact with hundreds of elves and their Lilliputian environment.
The set-up is promising: If you think sibling rivalry is tough, imagine being the sibling of the most beloved figure in the world: Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti). And Vaughn is marvelous dancing with the elves and struggling not to be drawn to his irresistibly loveable brother. But plot digressions that take much too long to resolve and mangled special effects are a distraction and a nuisance.
According to this movie, Santa’s older brother Fred (Vince Vaughn) has spent hundreds of years feeling slighted and resentful. It turns out that when Nicholas became a saint, his entire family was granted perpetual life. So, Fred now lives in Chicago, where he is needs money to start his off-track betting operation, and where his meter-maid girlfriend (Rachel Weisz) is losing patience with his evasions and unreliability. Fred asks his brother Nick (Santa) for money. Mrs. Claus wants him to say no, but he tells her, “I’m a saint. Tough love’s a little difficult for me.” The best he can do is insist Fred come up to the North Pole to earn the money. So Willie (the head of John Michael Higgins on a little person’s body), the head elf, swings by in the sleigh to pick him up, and Fred gets whisked to Santa’s workshop by reindeer express.
Fred does not exactly fit in, physically or culturally. He gets into a tussle with the workshop’s DJ (the head of Chris “Ludacris” Bridges on a little person’s body), after one too many spins of sugary seasonal tunes. Fred shoves him aside and plays Elvis singing “Rubberneckin’.” The elves get so excited that the workshop turns into a rave, complete with mosh pit.
The predictable work and family and romantic complications ensue, but they are dragged out and overplotted as an efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey) comes in for some bah-humbug moments, threatening to outsource the entire operation. The movie could have used an efficiency expert as it drags on about half an hour too long and the ratio of laughter per minute declines. All that should matter in the movie are the two brothers. As long as we stay with them, the movie stays on the “nice” list.
Parents should know that this movie has some crude humor, including mild sexual references, potty jokes, a non-explicit childbirth scene, mild language, and some skimpy clothing. Some audience members will find it insensitive that Fred and the elves assume that boys will all want one gender-specific toy and girls will want another, though it does show one girl happily receiving the “boy’s” toy. And this is a rare Christmas film to recognize that some people belong to religions that do not celebrate Christmas or expect a visit from Santa. Some may also find it insensitive that the faces of full-size actors are imposed on the bodies of little people.
Families who see this movie should talk about Fred’s feelings about Nick. Why was it hard for him to feel good about his brother? Who was right about the naughty list? How can an efficiency expert be a help?
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Elf (some crude humor) and The Santa Clause.

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Inappropriate Trailer Shown Before ‘Twilight’

posted by Nell Minow

Critics usually do not see trailers in our special screenings, so many thanks to the commenters who brought this problem to my attention. Some “Twilight” fans are seeing the disturbing trailer for “The Unborn” before the movie.
The choice of trailers is made by individual theater owners and managers. In general, they usually try to make sure the movie they are advertising will appeal to the same audience. It is unthinkable to me that anyone who knows what “Twilight” is about — a tender love story and the triumph of better angels over base desires — would want to show that audience a trailer for a film about a demonic spirit.
Parents should check with the theater manager to make sure this trailer will not be shown when they decide where their teenagers will be seeing “Twilight.” And I also recommend a protest to the authorities:
National Association of Theatre Owners
750 First Street, NE
Suite 1130
Washington, DC 20002
Tel. 202.962-0054
Fax: 202.962-0370
E-mail: nato@natodc.com
Office of the Chairman and CEO
Washington, DC
1600 Eye St., NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 293-1966 (main)
(202) 296-7410 (fax)

Grrrrl Power at the Box Office: ‘Twilight’ Sales Set Records

posted by Nell Minow

To the surprise of no one but the Hollywood insiders, none of whom apparently have ever spoken to a teenage girl, “Twilight” set records at the box office this weekend, exceeding all predictions to bring in over $70 million, almost doubling the previous record for a movie directed by a woman. Blockbuster films have always been directed at teen boys. “Twilight” shows that teen girls are just as eager to buy tickets — often more than one — for movies that speak to their lives and interests.
E! noted:
“This is a game-changer. This is an industry-changing performance,” Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock said today. “…With the success of Sex and the City, and Mamma Mia!, we’ve awoken a sleeping giant at the box office.”
The Associated Press spoke to an expert who saw a trend:
“Teen girls rule the earth,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. “If you look back at the `Hannah Montana’ movie, how well that did, and now this movie, the teen girl audience will never be ignored again or underestimated. It was always teen boys who were the coveted ones, but someone finally caught on to the idea that girls love movies, too, and if you create something that they’re into, that they’re passionate about, they will come out in big numbers and drive the box office.”
One of my favorite reviews of the film was from my pals at the Kansas City Star, who run my parental advisory capsules each week and occasionally invite me to write reviews. My email pen pal, “resident fangirl Sharon Hoffman” added her comments to the negative review from the paper’s critic, responding to his complaints about the story and the actors by explaining what she liked about the movie. In every case, I was on her side.

Happy Birthday Lucas Grabeel

posted by Nell Minow

Today is the birthday of Lucas Grabeel, an extraordinarily gifted performer I’ve seen in four different movies in the past few weeks. He’s still best known for playing Ryan, the twin brother of the scheming Sharpay, in the High School Musical series.

They highlighted his singing and dancing, especially the third one, where he gets a little more screen time. In Alice Upside Down he played the title character’s older brother, showing an appealing on-screen confidence and a deft touch with comedy. They had to add a line to explain his shaved head — he had just completed an appearance as a young Lex Luthor in an episode of “Smallville.” He took the lead in the cute comedy The Adventures of Foodboy as a high school senior who discovers he has the power to make food appear.

And he has a small role in the prestige film “Milk,” co-starring with Sean Penn in the story of the first openly gay man to win major elective office in the United States. Grabeel plays photographer Danny Nicoletta, and you can glimpse him with a camera in this trailer for the film. I am very impressed with the range, screen presence, and charisma of this talented young actor and I expect him to be a breakout star.

Previous Posts

Trailer: Ant-Man
Okay, I admit I was skeptical. I was thinking along the lines of Teeny Little Super Guy from Sesame Street. But I love Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll and this trailer has me sold. [iframe width="560" height="315" ...

posted 3:25:31pm Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Movie Scenes in Grocery Stores -- Featuring Macaulay Culkin, Michael Keaton, Natalie Portman, Steve Martin, Ryan Gosling, and More
Check out Slate's compilation of movie scenes set in grocery stores.  It has a lot of my favorites, but leaves out this classic with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, from the fact-based "Yours, Mine, and ...

posted 8:00:01am Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Ebertfest 2015, Part 2
It was a great honor to be included on today's panel of movie critics, along with superstars Godfrey Cheshire, Scott Foundas, Matt Zoller Seitz, Rebecca Theodore Vachon, Richard Roeper, Susan Wloszczyna, Michael Phillips, Brian Tallarico, and ...

posted 8:36:52pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

GI Film Festival -- Coming to DC May 19-24
I was very lucky to be able to attend a preview of the upcoming 9th annual GI Film Festival, coming to Washington, D.C. and Fairfax, Virginia May 19-24, 2015.  Brandon Millett and Laura Law-Millett started the festival, the first ever devoted ...

posted 3:40:40pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer -- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngElkyQ6Rhs[/youtube] ...

posted 8:11:36am Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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