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Selma
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

 

Pride
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Release Date:
October 9, 2014

Into the Woods
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

 

Magic in the Moonlight
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Release Date:
August 1, 2014

Unbroken
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Release Date:
August 8, 2014

The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything-A Veggie Tales Movie

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Preschool
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:January 11, 2008

veggiepirates.jpgThe Veggie Tales have produced a series of popular computer-animated videos for children and their families, with fruit and vegetable-inspired characters in engaging and funny stories with gentle moral overtones. Their new feature film does not mention God, as the videos do (briefly but explicitly). It is a fable-like story of three unlikely heros who find themselves called upon to rescue a captured prince and princess. They have been captured by their evil pirate uncle, who is planning to usurp the throne. We know he must be a bad guy because like all classic movie villains, he has a deep voice with an English accent. Unlike the other characters, he also has arms and legs, or rather one leg and one peg.
Princess Eloise, in a Princess Leia-like desperate call for help, throws a golden ball into the ocean and tells it to find her some heroes. But the people, or rather, vegetables it finds do not seem very heroic and certainly do not think of themselves that way. They are “cabin boys” (waiters) in a pirate-themed dinner theater called “Pieces of Ate” who can’t even manage to get up the nerve to try out for the show. Elliot is afraid of so many things that he keeps a fight list. Sedgewick is lazy and thinks trying is too much work. And George, who has the husky cadences of a Borscht Belt comic, does not respect himself and realizes that his children do not respect him, either.
But the golden ball finds them and soon they find themselves on a rowboat in the ocean, on their way to rescue Princess Eloise and her brother Prince Alexander. Each of our trio will face important challenges and learn important lessons. And of course there will be a little adventure and a lot of silliness and a couple of musical numbers along the way.
The Veggie Tales’ colorful but limited animation can seem static on the big screen, and children used adventures that conclude in a brisk half hour may find this feature film a little long. But the gentle humor and equally gentle lessons will be appealing to younger children and long-time fans.

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Interview: Regina Hall of “First Sunday”

posted by Nell Minow

Regina Hall has been the best thing in many movies that were either not worthy of her talents (the “Scary Movie” series), overlooked (Malibu’s Most Wanted), or just plain awful (“The Honeymooners,” “King’s Ransom”). She has an extraordinary ability to be funny and real at the same time, always avoiding caricature. In Ice Cube’s latest film, “First Sunday,” she plays his “baby mama.” Her role is to hound him for money, but she manages to make the character touching and sympathetic. Ms. Hall spoke to me about the film, her plans for the future, and her thoughts on faith on January 4 in Washington, DC.


Regina Hall talks about her new movie with Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, and Katt Williams, “First Sunday”


Regina Hall talks about her character, Omunique

I loved the way you made Omunique sympathetic — it would have been so easy to make her shrill and over the top. This was especially important because your scenes with Ice Cube and are in contrast to the rest of the movie, which is very broad comedy, and are what really make us care about what happens to the characters. Can you tell me how you thought about her and how you create that balance?

Omunique is like a lot of single mothers who work really hard and whose partners have not shown up in an equal capacity. It can make it difficult but she loves her son, and that is what matters to her. It’s about him, not about her. There’s another scene that got cut from the movie but will be on the DVD where she sees her son talking to his father on the phone about the video game and he tries to hide it from her. She tells him that he does not ever have to sneak to call his father, and it shows you that she is protective of the father-son relationship even though they are not together. It is a comedy, but you can’t caricaturize. Her name gave it enough! Omunique is not in a lot of scenes so I only had a few moments to get what you need for comedy and still leave truth there. That’s something that every woman of every race can understand.

Best Spiritual Films of 2007 — Beliefnet Group Discussion

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to check out the new Beliefnet Discussion Group on the Best Spiritual Films of last year and let us hear about the movies that inspired and nourished you.

First Sunday

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, some sexual humor, and brief drug references.
Movie Release Date:January 11, 2008

first%20sunday.jpg Ice Cube was once a member of the fiercely provocative gangsta rap group N.W.A. (for N****** With Attitude). He is now a prolific Hollywood producer with franchise films from R-rated (the Friday series) to family-friendly (Are We There Yet?). He is going for the PG-13 market with “First Sunday,” and it is more product than movie, filled with signifiers instead of story. It has the slapstick of a The Three Stooges short without the comic timing, the characters of “Hot Ghetto Mess” without the irony, and the stereotypes of Amos ‘n’ Andy without the wit.
Cube and “30 Rock’s” Tracy Morgan play Durell and LeeJohn, a hapless duo sentenced to community service after a series of petty infractions. Durell’s ex is about to move away, taking his son with her, unless he can give her the money she needs to open a beauty salon. LeeJohn needs to reimburse some bad guys for failing to make a delivery as promised. When Durell and LeeJohn find out that the local church has raised more than $200,000, they decide to steal it, and end up taking the deacon, the preacher, his bootylicious daughter, and the choir and choirmaster (comedian Katt Williams) hostage. They take the audience hostage as well because this section of the film seems to go on forever.
In between the tired jokes about guzzling sacramental wine, “pimped”-up wheelchairs, a masseur who turns out to be male, a developmentally disabled man, and a very tight skirt, there are very strong moments and performances that deepen our disappointment about what this movie could have been. The always-exquisite Olivia Cole appears as one of the hostages, bringing class and dignity to her too-brief moments on screen. The talented Regina Hall makes the most of her brief appearance as Omunique, Durell’s baby mama. Her part could easily have been a caricature, nothing but bling (check out those earrings) and shrill demands for money. But she is always real and appealing, making it clear that she may be a little desperate but that she is protective of the love Durell and his son have for each other. Williams, as ever, seems to be in his own movie, completely independent of whatever the screenplay and director had in mind, and his offbeat energy and subversive humor brighten the otherwise-interminable hostage scenes in the church sanctuary.
There are also brief glimpses of some themes well worth exploring. The characters debate the idea of rebuilding and expanding the church in its current location or moving it to somewhere less “urban” and “congested,” acknowledged code words for abandoning the poorer, more crime-ridden black community. The portrayal of the community’s commitment to fatherhood is welcome, as the hostages, gangsters, and his angry ex all unquestioningly support the bond between Durell and his son. But this is not enough to surmount the offensiveness of material so cynical and pandering it would have infuriated Ice Cube in his N.W.A. days. Attitude is just what this movie is missing.

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Previous Posts

Trailer: "Comet" with Justin Long and Emmy Rossum
I love this trailer for "Comet," an intriguing romance with a fantasy/sci-fi element, starring Justin Long and Emmy Rossum. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/aUpQhgl9PGQ?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 3:16:39pm Dec. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Denzel Washington Turns 60
Happy 60th birthday to the man I consider the finest actor working in movies today, Denzel Washington. Genetta M. Adams assembled an impressive top ten list for The Root in honor of his 60th birthday. Many of my favorites are on the list, but I would also include Flight, Antwone Fisher (which he a

posted 8:00:54am Dec. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Now That's Funny: The Paley Center Visits Top TV Comedies
In case you missed the Paley Center special on TV comedy shows, you can watch it online. It is a lot of fun to go behind the scenes to hear the creators of "The Big Bang Theory," "Mom," "Modern Family," "New Girl," "Episodes," "Parks and Recreation," "Key and Peele," and "The Mindy Project" talk ab

posted 9:36:00am Dec. 27, 2014 | read full post »

CONTEST: Divergent DVD/Book
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfgTxS91faA[/youtube] I have a Divergent DVD/Book to give away! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with "Divergent" in the subject line and tell me about the best gift you ever GAVE. Don't forget your address! (US addresses only.) I'll pick a wi

posted 8:00:51am Dec. 27, 2014 | read full post »

The Year's Best Christian Films
The Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury is made up of film critics and cinephiles who wish to recognize and celebrate films that use the medium to explore themes of religion, faith, or spirituality. We particularly seek to enlarge or expand the perception of what is meant by either labeling a film a

posted 3:51:16pm Dec. 26, 2014 | read full post »


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