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

Hollywood Escapes tour

posted by Nell Minow

Another highlight of my visit in Los Angeles was a personal tour from Harry Medved, co-author of the wonderful Hollywood Escapes: The Moviegoer’s Guide to Exploring Southern California’s Great Outdoors. Harry drove me around Santa Monica to show me the locations in movies from “The Sting” to “Gigli.”

Here is my photo of the carousel Paul Newman repairs in “The Sting.”IMG_1082.JPG

The Critics Choice Awards

posted by Nell Minow

IMG_1097-1.JPG Last night, my husband and I attended our first-ever red carpet event, the Critics Choice Awards, which were broadcast on VH1. It was a lot of fun, especially the end, when all of the critics went up on stage to present the best picture award (to “No Country for Old Men”), so I could look down from the stage and see everyone from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to Dixie Carter (who complimented my dress) and Hall Holbook, to Nikki Blonsky (best young actress), Queen Latifah, and Elijah Kelly from “Hairspray” to Don Cheadle (who graciously accepted the first-ever Joel Siegal award for achievement in both film and humanitarian efforts, presented to him by George Clooney). The talk of the evening was the cancellation of rival awards show the Golden Globes, due to the writers’ strike. The best line of the evening was when presenter Steve Zahn said he wished the writers would come back to work and the critics would go on strike. The funniest acceptance speech was from Casey Affleck, who wasn’t even accepting his own award, but one for his co-star, Amy Ryan. He pretended he was editing out her jokes about him as he read the speech he prepared.

Here I am at the after-party with Cuba Gooding, Jr.

And here is Beth Grant, who played up-tight characters in “Donnie Darko” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” dancing up a storm.

And the winners are…

Sunshine

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violent content and language.
Movie Release Date:July 17, 2007
DVD Release Date:January 8, 2008

The sun is dying. A rocket ship from earth, meaningfully named “Icarus,” failed in its mission to reboot the sun with a supercharged nuclear payload designed to “create a star within a star.” Now the earth’s last chance is Icarus II. If they do not deliver the payload, the sun and all of its planets will die.


But this is not the usual “and then something goes wrong” or “and then an alien leaps out of a crew member’s chest” space opera. This is a meticulously constructed story that presents its characters with a series of exponentially more complex moral and practical dilemmas as gripping as the perilous situations that threaten the mission.


Director Danny Boyle transcends genre. His films have ranged from horror (28 Days Later) to thrillers (Shallow Grave) to charming family fantasy (Millions). But all of his films focus on moral choices. In 28 Days Later, he showed us a world infested with enraged zombies where it is the uninfected humans who are the scariest predators. In both Shallow Grave and Millions, characters discover the corrosive effect of stolen money. Boyle likes to make us think about what we would do to survive, how far we would go to get something we wanted.


The crew of Icarus II has just passed the point where communication with earth has been cut off. They are alone, a community unto themselves, and they must struggle with the remnants of the priorities and procedures they have been given as they are confronted with increasingly dire circumstances and increasingly conflicted priorities.


Should they change their course to try to save anyone who might still be there? No, that would interfere with their mission. But what if it might increase the chance of completing the mission? And what if things change and it is essential for completing the mission?


And what if there is not enough oxygen for everyone? How do we decide who gets to live? By assigning blame? By rank? By who is most important for completion of the mission? And, at the end of these judgments, who are we? How do they change us?


Boyle and his able cast create an atmosphere of conviction and sincerity that makes us invest in the answers to these questions, and the debates as gripping as the action scenes.

Parents should know that this is an intense and disturbing movie, with extreme peril, some jump-out-at-you shocks, and some graphic violence. Characters are injured and killed and there is a suicide. One of the strengths of the movie is the way it presents moral issues in a provocative manner, and that may be disturbing for some audience members. Another strength of the movie is its portrayal of diverse characters.


Families who see this movie should talk about how the characters evaluated their choices. What were their priorities? When they disagreed, what were the determining factors? Authors often use science fiction and the device of putting diverse characters in an environment that is cut off from everyone else to highlight particular controversies. How would this story have been different if it took place today, in the US?

Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy Silent Running, Apollo 13, and 2001 – A Space Odyssey. Books like Tragic Choices and The Problems of Jurisprudence consider ways to evaluate options in a legal, economic, and public policy framework and of course many books consider moral, ethical, and spiritual approaches to these issues as well.

Critics Choice Awards

posted by Nell Minow

Watch the Critics Choice Awards hosted by D.L. Hughley tonight on VH1 and look for me in the silver dress!

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Trailer: Little Hope Was Arson, Story of Church Burnings
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