Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Fading Gigolo
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

Philomena
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references
Release Date:
November 22, 2013

Transcendence
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

The Nut Job
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 17, 2014

Bears
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

Grudge Match
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Release Date:
December 25, 2013

Step Into Liquid

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2003

The classic 1966 documentary The Endless Summer by Buce Brown introduced audiences around the world to the glories of surfing and made the search for the perfect wave thrilling and epic. Now Brown’s son Dana has produced this follow-up, another movie about surfing and the people who love it that becomes a stirring tribute to waves and sun and the people who believe that they best honor nature and the farthest potential of the human spirit by riding on the waves.

You may believe that, too, as you see the heart-stoppingly magnificent swells on the most beautiful beaches of the world and the intrepid and deeply devoted people who surf them. Brown shows us children just beginning to surf and those who have been surfing for 30 or 40 years, amateurs and world champions. Some surf in sun-drenched resort areas, on ocean waves that lap up against sparkling white beaches. But we also see the dedicated surfers of Sheboygan, Wisconsin and those who chase supertankers off the coast of Texas to surf in their wakes. Three American brothers go to Ireland to surf on the craggy shores and bring Catholic and Protestant children together to learn to surf with them. A veteran who brought his surfboard with him to Viet Nam returns with his son to surf and meets up with the tiny but dedicated surfing club there. We see the original Gidget and the women she inspired and we catch up with the surfers from the original The Endless Summer. We meet a paraplegic man who broke his neck in a surfing accident but is still happiest when he is surfing. And we see surfers take on the biggest waves in the world, a “because it’s there” dream like that of conquering Mount Everest or walking on the moon.

The stories are striking, but this movie is all about the sights, and they are, simply, glorious. The cameras take us inside the pipe waves so that we can almost smell the saltwater. It is a very sweet ride.

Parents should know that the movie has no bad language, violence, nudity, or sexual references, but some risky behavior.

Families who see this movie should talk about the way that a common passion unites all of the very different people in the movie. What do you think about the idea that the best surfer in the world is the one who is having the most fun? Is there another sport (or any other activity) where attitude and a sense of humor is considered more important than talent and achievement?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Endless Summer and its sequel The Endless Summer 2, as well as surfing classics like Gidget, Blue Crush and Point Break.

Camp

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003

Camp Ovation does not look like much, but to the high school kids who return there summer after summer, it is close to heaven. Heaven being Broadway, that is.

Camp Ovation is a camp for “theater kids,” those kids who may not be familiar with the songs on the radio but have memorized the entire oeuvre of Stephen Sondheim, including the legendary flops that even Sondheim has probably forgotten. They can’t catch a ball, but they know every kind of stagecraft, from tap-dancing to sword-fighting. These kids feel completely alone all year long, except when they come together each summer to put on a full theatrical production every two weeks.

If this sounds like Fame with pine trees, you’ve got the right idea. Writer/director Todd Graff filmed the story at the real-life theater camp he attended and then worked at as a counselor. His affection for the camp and the kids and and his eye (and ear) for detail are very engaging. When the kids are first gathering at the buses that will take them to the camp, one girl re-introduces herself to another with a marvelous throwaway line, reminding her that they had appeared together in the suicide drama, “‘night Mother.”

But, as it should be, what is best about the movie is the kids. At the center of the story are Vlad (Daniel Letterle) and Ellen (Joanna Chilcoat). The kids are a little suspicious of Vlad because he seems too normal — an all-American straight boy who likes to skateboard and throw a football. Ellen is a more typical Ovation camper, a sensitive and insecure girl. Her close friend Michael (Robin de Jesus), is a gay boy who was thrown out of his school prom and beaten up because he arrived in drag. Then there is Jill (Alana Allen), already a diva, and Fritzi (Anna Kendrick), her devoted sidekick.

The performances by the kids are terrific, with Broadway show tunes from “Promises, Promises,” “Follies,” “Gospel at Colonus,” and “Dreamgirls.” Kendrick and Sasha Allen (Dee) are standouts, with true show-stopping Broadway voices.

There is some sharp dialogue, well delivered. The plot is too cluttered, however, including not just the expected romantic complications, adolescent angst, and even the future of Broadway musicals, but also a one-hit composer with a drinking problem that is resolved too neatly, and an All About Eve subplot about a sabotaged performer that is resolved too messily. The Vlad character is particularly overdone, burdened with at least two too many plot twist/quirk-style complications. Letterle does his best, but no one could pull all of that off.

Parents should know that the movie has very strong language and sexual references and situations for a PG-13. An adult character is an alcoholic. One of the movie’s strengths is the way that the love for theater gives these kids so much in common that other differences, including race and sexual orientation, are warmly embraced.

Families who see this movie should talk about how several of the kids are deeply hurt by parents who do not support their interests and talents. They should also talk about Bert’s bitterness — why did he think it would make him feel better to speak to the kids the way he did? Why didn’t it?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Fame (some mature and upsetting material).

Freaky Friday

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some language
Movie Release Date:2003
DVD Release Date:2004

Jamie Leigh Curtis and Lindsay Lohan play a mother and teenager who switch bodies in this third version of the book by Mary Rodgers.

Curtis is Tess, a compassionate therapist and a loving, if harried mother of two children (there is a cute moment as she loads her pager, cell phone, and PDA into her purse). Her husband died three years ago, and she is about to be married to the devoted and understanding Ryan (the always-gorgeous Mark Harmon).

Lohan is her daughter Anna, and like most 15-year-olds, she thinks that she has both too much of her mother’s attention (when it comes to telling her what to do) and not enough (when it comes to knowing what is important to her, which she should just be able to intuit, since Anna does not really want to tell her anything).

When the two of them get into an argument at a Chinese restaurant, the owner’s mother gives them magic fortune cookies. The next morning, they wake up as each other. While they figure out how to return to their own bodies, each has to spend the day living the other’s life.

That means that Tess has to cope with high school, including a teacher with a grudge, a former friend-turned rival, a guy Anna has a crush on, and a big exam. Anna has some fun with her mother’s credit cards but then has to cope with needy patients and a television appearance promoting her mother’s new book. And both start to understand the pressure of the schedule conflict that is at the center of their conflict with each other — the rehearsal dinner before the wedding is at the same time as an important audition for Anna’s rock band.

Curtis and Lohan are so clearly enjoying themselves that they are fun to watch and the story moves along so briskly that its logical flaws barely get in the way.

Parents should know that characters use rude schoolyard words (“sucks,” “blows,” etc.). Anna wants to get the side of her ear pierced, and when she is in her mother’s body, she does. There is some kissing (the ew-factor of Ryan’s wanting to kiss Tess, not knowing that Anna is occupying her body, is handled with some delicacy). There are some tense family scenes and the movie deals with issues of parental control and teen rebellion.

Families who see this movie should talk about why it is hard for Tess and Anna to understand each other at the beginning of the movie. If the parents and children in your family switched places, what would be the biggest surprises? Families will also want to discuss some of the choices Tess and Anna make, especially the resolution of Anna’s problems with her English teacher and the honors exam. And it might be nice to compare this to the original movie, in which the mother is a full-time mom in a two-parent household, and the daughter’s challenges center around housework.

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the original Freaky Friday or the 1995 made-for-television version starring Shelley Long. Mary Rodgers is also the author/composer of the delightful musical “Once Upon a Mattress.” It is not available on video, but you can get the marvelous original cast album with Carol Burnett on CD. And every family should see the movie musicals composed by Rodgers’ famous composer father, Richard, including Oklahoma, South Pacific, Carousel, and The Sound of Music).

Thirteen

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003

They say that the two worst years of a woman’s life are the year she is 13 and the year her daughter is.

We get to experience both at once in this film about a 7th grader named Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) who is catapulted into self-destructive behavior because she wants so badly to be accepted, to be cool, and to numb some of the pain of growing up. It was co-written by 13-year-old Nikki Reed, who plays the friend Tracy is so desperate to impress.

Tracy lives with her brother Mason (Brady Corbet) and their mother, Mel (Holly Hunter), a loving but damaged recovering alcoholic who does her best to support the family.

On the first day of 7th grade, there are always a couple of kids who really hit the puberty jackpot over the summer. Just as the rest are at their most clumsy, insecure, and vulnerable, those impossibly sure and golden kids appear to have arrived at the destination while everyone else is still trying to find the map.

Adults of any age are likely to still be carrying around the vision of their own perfect 7th grade classmates and how inadequate they felt by comparison. It somehow is not much comfort that not only did those kids themselves not feel as together as we thought, but that they were surpassed soon after by the late bloomers, who had to work a little bit to get there and thus have more staying power.

For Tracy, it is Evie (co-screenwriter Reed) who seems to have everything she desires. So when Evie introduces her to drugs (taking them and selling them), shoplifting, body-piercing, lying, and sex, it seems a small price to pay for feeling accepted or, to use a word that is only used about teen-agers or celebrities, “popular.”

Reed and first-time director/co-screenwriter Catherine Hardwicke have given this film great strengths — particularly its authenticity of detail (Hardwicke’s past career as a production designer really helps) and its genuine commitment, even tenderness, toward its subject matter. This really shows in the performances. Hunter is fearless in revealing Mel’s fragility, her generosity, and the deep, deep love for her children that grounds her. Wood (of television’s “Once and Again”) is breathtakingly open; every ounce of the joy and anguish she feels is in heart-breaking relief on her face. Wood shows us Evie’s wounded child inside the cool manipulator. The script has some particularly subtle and perceptive moments, especially when Tracy’s father keeps asking for the problem to be explained to him “in a nutshell.”

On the other hand, it would be nice if Tracy didn’t have to take on every single one of every parent’s worst nightmares; in addition to substance abuse, sexual involvement, lying, stealing, and failing in school, she develops an eating disorder and cuts herself. There are enough teenage problems in this movie to fill a decade’s worth of after-school-specials. But the film’s weaknesses are the weaknesses of youth and inexperience, and that is actually very appropriate for the subject matter.

Parents should know that the R rating comes from frank and explicit — but thoughtful — treatment of the subject matter. This is just another example of the failings of the MPAA rating system, because there are comedies that refer to all of the same issues that are rated PG-13. This movie is far better for teenagers because it deals forthrightly with the consequences of the behavior it depicts.

Characters constantly use very strong language. Teenagers engage in every possible self-destructive behavior — they smoke, take drugs, steal, lie, and pierce their tongues and belly buttons. They have sex that is so casual it is almost anonymous. There is also adult substance abuse and bad behavior. There are very tense family confrontations.

Families who see this movie should talk about how easy it was for Tracy to slip away from everything she had learned. Why was Evie’s friendship so important to her? Why was Tracy important to Evie? Why was it so hard for Mel to say no to anyone?

Families who appreciate this movie will also appreciate Smooth Talk and Foxes.

Previous Posts

Tribute: Hurricane Carter
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter died at home at age 76.  A prize fighter who was wrongly convicted of murder and released after serving 19 years in prison, he devoted the rest of his life to helping others. Denzel Washington portrayed Carter in the movie The Hurricane. [youtube]https://www.youtube.c

posted 11:28:53am Apr. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Celebrate Easter!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0RhLJYKi-4[/youtube]

posted 7:00:48am Apr. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Chef
Jon Favreau follows his big-budget special effects movies ("Iron Man," "Cowboys and Aliens") with a return to his small, indie roots ("Swingers") as director/writer/star of the scrumptious-looking "Chef."  (WARNING: Some strong language) [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP6SE65F-h4[/yout

posted 8:00:51am Apr. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Have a Blessed Easter: Movies for the Family
My gallery of Easter movies includes "Ben Hur," several different movie versions of the life of Jesus, a couple of choices just for kids, and a classic musical named for a classic song, Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade." There's something for every family celebrating this weekend. [youtube]https://

posted 8:00:44am Apr. 19, 2014 | read full post »

A Dramatic Commercial for TNT
I love this commercial for TNT! [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIkPeZKP-d4[/youtube]

posted 8:33:40am Apr. 18, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.