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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity
Release Date:
July 31, 2015

 

Far from the Madding Crowd
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

Best of Enemies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
July 31, 2015

 

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

Vacation
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:

Release Date:
July 29, 2015

 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
Release Date:
March 6, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity
Release Date:
July 31, 2015
grade:
B+

Best of Enemies

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
July 31, 2015
grade:
D

Vacation

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Release Date:
July 29, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Far from the Madding Crowd

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Release Date:
May 1, 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
grade:
B+

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
Release Date:
March 6, 2015

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I Could Never Be Your Woman

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2008

Usually when a movie has a limited release with no ad support it means that test audiences hated it and the studio has decided to cut their losses. But once in a while it has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the film and that is the case with I Could Never Be Your Woman. The title is awful, but the script and cast are great and the movie is a quiet gem.

Michelle Pfeiffer plays Rosie, a television studio executive responsible for a sitcom called “You Go, Girl!” with a demanding star. The show’s appeal is fading and its cast has outgrown their roles — though they are still playing teenagers, most of them are married with children. In order to refresh the show and broaden its appeal, Rosie adds a new cast member, Adam (Paul Rudd), an appealing and talented young actor. He is interested in her but she is reluctant to respond because he is younger than she is and because she is still protective of her feelings following her divorce. Rosie’s relationship with Adam is endearing and appealing, but in every way the heart of the story is Rosie’s relationship with her middle-school-age daughter Izzie (Saoirse Ronan, the young girl who was nominated for an Oscar in “Atonement”). Rosie counsels Izzie about life in general and a boy in school in particular and the tenderness and understanding of that relationship is beautifully conveyed.

But it never got any support from the studio. Even the trailer doesn’t do justice to the film. It looks sit-com-y.

The movie got caught in completely unrelated financial problems at its studio and never got a real chance in theaters. I am hoping that Rudd’s recent success will inspire audiences to seek out this film. It is uneven (though I love Tracy Ullman, I would have cut her scenes as Mother Nature). But it has a deft script, smooth direction from Amy Heckerling (“Clueless”), world-class performances, and a real feeling for the mother-daughter relationship. And Pfeiffer is an extraordinary actress. This film really gives her a chance to shine as a professional, a mother, an ex-wife, and a woman who is surprised and delighted to find out that she can still be surprised and delighted. Audiences will find themselves surprised and delighted, too.

Ebertfest!

posted by Nell Minow

I am honored that Roger Ebert has invited me to his Ebertfest (formerly known as the Overlooked Film Festival). I will be presenting the gorgeous adventure film “The Fall” appearing with its talented young star, Catinca Untaru . If you’re in the Champaign-Urbana area on April 25, come by and see me!

The Spirit

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of stylized violence and action, some sexual content and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 14, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of stylized violence and action, some sexual content and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009

If there is ever an Oscar category for best performance by an article of clothing, the red tie worn by the title character in this film would be the clear winner and the rain coat would most likely be the runner-up.

This film version of the innovative and influential comic book owes much more to writer/director Frank Miller than to the man who created the character, Will Eisner. Miller, who revitalized Batman as The Dark Knight and co-directed “Sin City,” based on his own comic book series, itself in part inspired by Eisner’s subversive noir stories.

The Spirit is is something more than a man but something less than a superhero. Once he was Denny Colt, a cop, but something has happened that gives him special power and special responsibility. His great love is the city and he serves as its masked and mysterious protector. But there are also women, many of them and all utterly captivating and utterly captivated by him — his childhood sweetheart, the doctor who patches him up, a rookie cop. And there is a super villain, Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), a guy who has developed a potion for giving him something on the brink of immortality. He has the same kind of special powers of healing that The Spirit does. And he wants something that will give him everything he needs to become all-powerful but it was in a box that got mixed up with something also very valuable but much more mundane.

Miller misses the forest for the trees here with luscious, insouciant images that sizzle and tantalize but finally detract from any sense of story, purpose, or character. I’ve seen lava lamps with more of a plot. And for an action movie it all seems very posed and static. Comic books, with their panel-bound drawings, provide a more muscular sense of motion than Miller does here. He pays more attention to the sole of The Spirit’s shoe than he does to anything that would connect us with the character or even connect the characters do each other. Everyone is arch. Everyone just poses. They might as well be trying out for “America’s Next Top Model.”

And Jackson is not just over the top. He is over whatever is over the top. As his sidekick, Scarlett Johansson is completely out of her depth and it is uncomfortable to see her floundering to try to look predatory. In the title role, Gabriel Macht is outdone by his clothes. The only watchable performance is from Eva Mendes as Sand Serif, the bad girl who could only have a heart of gold if she stole one.

Eye candy can only go so far. Archness is not the same as irony. Style is not the same as substance. Miller captures the letter, but what this film is lacking, in every sense of the word, is the Spirit.

Movie Mom Talks to BDK About ‘Hannah Montana’

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friend BDK (Kevin McCarthy) for inviting me on his radio show to talk about “Hannah Montana” — we both admitted that it made us cry!

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