Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Lucy
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Heaven is for Real
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic material including some medical situations
Release Date:
April 16, 2014

And So It Goes
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Sabotage
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

Wish I Was Here
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

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

A Dirty Shame

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2004

Somehow I don’t see this movie following Hairspray to become a Tony-award-winning Broadway musical for the whole family. Too bad, because those would be some musical numbers.

Once again, John Waters has made a Baltimore-based movie about people outside of conventional society who are far happier and more loving than the people who like to think of themselves as exemplary and public-minded. But this time his outsiders are all people whose head injuries have caused them to become sex maniacs.

Tracy Ullman plays Sylvia Stickles, a grumpy and dowdy housewife who works the cash register at the local convenience store owned by her mother, Big Ethel. When we first see her, she is turning down sex with her husband (Chris Isaak) and she is embarrassed by her daughter Caprice (Selma Blair), who has been sentenced to home arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet for nude drunken driving. Her stage name, Ursula Udders, is a tribute to her most obvious attribute: her surgically-enlarged gigantic breasts, which are bigger than her head.

On the way to work, Sylvia accidentally gets clonked and immediately becomes a voracious sexual enthusiast. Ray-Ray Perkins (Johnny Knoxville) provides her with some gratification and explains that she completes his inner circle of people who have become hyper-sexual following concussions.

Each of the others, like her, was hit on the head, and each represents a different category of sexual inclination and satisfaction. The list of fetishes and proclivities with extremely imaginative terminology is, depending on your own inclinations, either one of the funniest parts of the movie or the grossest thing you’ve ever heard. Or both. Sylvia is number twelve, and it will be her task to discover a new sex act.

She is delighted by this, even overjoyed. She feels liberated and emotionally connected. It turns out that Caprice and her boyfriend, Fat F*** Freddie are also members of Ray-Ray’s group, as are some of Sylvia’s neighbors. But Sylvia’s transformation is a shock to her husband and Big Ethel, especially since Big Ethel is leading a community group to promote “decency,” which essentially means no sex or references to sex anywhere. They proudly call themselved “neuters.”

Sylvia and Caprice reach a new understanding, and with the battle cry, “Let’s go sexin’!” they are off to have a lot of sex and encourage others to do the same. The new sexual converts are cheerfully evangelical, missionaries for a world of sexual connection and benign tolerance. That the topic is sexuality is just incidental. They could be converts to a new and liberating religious faith or even more enthusiastic — audience members in a late-night infomercial for some life-changing new product.

Waters, as always makes his outsiders the heroes, making the wildest of sexual variations unthreatening that they are practically wholesome. The reconciliation scene between Sylvia and Caprice/Ursula is funny but also quite tender and touching. Syliva’s innocent and unashamed pleasure in her new life is comic in contrast to the explicit raunchiness of the subject matter. But it is also genuinely sweet.

This movie is only for those who are comfortable with the most provocative material. But Waters is not making a “dirty” movie and the context of the material is presented is comic, often satiric, sometimes confrontational, but not especially erotic. Ullman is winning in her joyous embrace of her new life and Knoxville shows real screen presence as Ray-Ray. If they manage to make the whole concept more silly than shocking, that is probably exactly what Waters intended.

Parents should know that John Waters is always cheerfully outrageous and many people will find this movie offensive for any number of reasons. The movie has extremely mature material and gets a well-deserved NC-17 rating for extremely strong language and extremely explicit sexual references and situations, including nudity, sex with many partners, oral sex, masturbation, adultery, exhibitionism, straight and gay sex, and many variations and fetishes. Characters drink and use drugs. There is some comic violence. Furthermore, some audience members may be offended by the movie’s parallels between the sex addicts and the disciples of the New Testament.

Families who see this movie should talk about why the “neuters” were so threatened by the hyper-sexuality around them. What was the best way for them to respond?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy Waters’ other movies, including Hairspray and Cry-Baby. They may also enjoy American Pie and its sequels, which have the same combination of raunchy humor and genuine sweetness.

The Cookout

posted by rkumar
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2004

It’s too bad that a fresh, smart, and courageous look at the conflicts African-Americans feel about racist stereotypes that sometimes feel more real to them then they would like to admit gets lost in a a tired and lazy script littered with poop jokes and dope jokes and clueless whitey jokes in “The Cookout.” It’s the story of a young basketball player who gets a pro contract and has to deal with a greedy girlfriend, jealous relatives, and terrified neighbors in his wealthy new neighborhood. It’s “The Jeffersons” crossed with “The Beverly Hillbillies,” only gross and raunchy.

Todd (Storm P) is a good kid from a strong and loving middle class family who becomes the number one draft pick for New Jersey’s pro basketball team. Even though the contract has not been signed, he gets so excited about the prospect of a multi-million dollar contract that he happily buys gifts for his parents (Jennifer Lewis as Em and Frankie Faison as JoJo) and his girlfriend, Brittany (Meagan Good) and a huge house in an exclusive gated community. And the family plans a big cookout party to celebrate.

Todd’s agent (Jonathan Silverman) reminds him that he doesn’t actually have the money yet. So they set up an interview for an endorsement deal and of course it’s very important that Todd make a good impression as a reliable and mature spokesperson. But darned if the interview and the cookout don’t happen on the same day, with the white lady in the businesslike suit arriving just before all of the wild and wacky relatives.

That would include the cracker brothers who arrive with a dead deer. When told that it’s dripping brains on the floor, they explain, “That’s our home-made Slip ‘n’ Slide!” Then of course the lady in the suit comes in and slips on it. And we also have the sassy cousin who’s out to snag a basketball player to be daddy to her several out-of-wedlock babies. And the hugely overweight twins who are perpetually baked on marijuana. There’s also a cousin who’s got a conspiracy theory to explain why bigotry is the reason for just about everything and Em’s jealous sister, who wants her son to play pro ball instead of going to medical school.

Todd’s new neighbors are so skittish that the adults recoil in horror and the children shriek when they see a black family moving in. Most hysterical of all is Mrs. Crowley (Farrah Fawcett!) who screams, “I saw some NEGROES!” and races into the house to tell her husband, a black man who appears to have just about convinced himself and everyone else that he is white.

The movie’s willingness to poke fun at black-on-black bigotry provides its few sharp moments, even more welcome because it is the only humor that is understated, the point powerful enough that it does not have to be amplified. There are offhand comments about “good” hair and the black characters are just as likely to assume the worst stereotypes about each other as the white characters are. The community security guard (Queen Latifah, who also produced the film) may be black, but she is just as bigoted as the residents are. When she sees Todd and his agent together, she assumes Todd is mugging him. We even see a glimpse of sheepish embarrassment and confusion from characters who are educated and financially successful about relatives who conform to stereotypes (the lazy dopers, the man who blames white prejudice for his own failures, the woman with children by several different men). All the more reason, then, that the movie’s own willingness to exploit the most blatently bigoted stereotypes for the cheapest possible humor is so disappointing.

Meagan Good, who lit up her one small corner of You Got Served, gives her gold-digger a nice bimbo squeal, and Jenifer Lewis’ dry delivery gives some snap to even third-rate dialogue. Queen Latifah’s rent-a-cop may make the Keystone Kops look subtle, but she is a real movie star and always watchable.

Parents should know that the movie has drug humor. Marijuana use, including driving while high, is portrayed as endearing and cute, even empowering. Characters drink and smoke. Characters use strong language and double entendres. There are other sexual references, including a character who has had many children out of wedlock with different fathers and some crude talk about the anatomy of a man’s wife. There is also some mild violence, including a gun used threateningly, but it is never fired. Racial prejudice is a theme of the movie. While it deserves credit for raising some issues of prejudice within the African-American community, it unfortunately also exploits and perpetuates the stereotypes it tries to expose, including an over-the-top portrayal of gay characters. A character wears a dress that she plans to return, a form of theft.

Families who see this movie should talk about the way that the Andersons supported each other even when they did not always respect each other and even when they were not successful. Why was Em’s sister so competitive? They should also talk about how and why even hoped-for changes like money and success can create problems. If you suddenly got a lot of money, what would you spend it on? How do the “three F’s” play a role in your home? What do you like to eat at cookouts?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy Friday (mature material). They might want to look at other movies about parties that get a little out of control like Blake Edwards’ The Party (inspired by the brilliant party scene in his Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and Bachelor Party with Tom Hanks. Those looking for something with more depth and meaning should see Hoop Dreams, the brilliant documentary about two teenagers hoping to break out of poverty by playing basketball.

Danny Deckchair

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2004

We get one of these every few months whether we need one or not, so “Danny Deckchair” is this season’s quirky-characters-with-accents comedy. Unlike its main character, it never quite achives lift-off, but it is a pleasant little diversion with some very sweet moments.

Rhys Ifans (best remembered as the goofy roommate in Notting Hill) plays Danny, a sweet, unambitious man who is looking forward to taking his girlfriend (Justine Clark) on a camping trip for his vacation. But she cancels to spend some time with a glamorous newscaster. Danny mopes around the house, feeling unimportant and unappreciated. When all of his friends are over for a party, he decides to do something to impress everyone. So he ties a bunch of huge yellow helium balloons to a lawn chair and takes off into the sky.

He floats through the night and like Dorothy landing in Oz, he comes down in a place that is completely strange to him. It’s the town of Clarence. He lands in a tree owned by Glenda (Miranda Otto of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), a meter maid. Like Danny, she is feeling neglected and pigeonholed, so she impulsively introduces him as her professor and implies he is her boyfriend as well.

Both Danny and Glenda enjoy the freedom they find in re-inventing themselves. The people in Clarence listen to Danny, at first because they are curious about him, then because they think he is a professor, and finally because they like what he has to say. He likes being listened to. He is asked to help with the campaign of a local politician. People listen to Danny — and then he starts to listen to himself, to want to be all that the people of Clarence think he is and all that Glenda thinks he can be.

The slight story steals a lot of charm from its performers. Ifans and Otto are marvelously endearing and Clark is wonderfully funny as the girlfriend who enjoys the attention she gets when her boyfriend disappears into the sky. If it is lightweight and predictable, it is also undeniably a lot of fun.

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language, implied sexual situations, mild sexual references, and drinking and smoking. There are some tense scenes and scuffles. Danny’s escapade is, of course, extremely dangerous and children who see this movie should be warned not to try anything so foolish.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Danny saw himself so differently in Clarence than he did at home. Why did Danny make Glenda see herself differently? Why was it hard for Danny and Glenda to know what they really wanted?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Full Monty (mature material), Calendar Girls, and Waking Ned Divine,

Wicker Park

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2004

This is one of those dopey thrillers that are frustrating to write about because I can’t tell you why it is dopey without spoiling the surprises. Even dumb surprises are sacrosanct according to the Code of the Critic. I’ll do my best, but if you want to avoid spoilers entirely, stop reading now.

Matt (Josh Hartnett) is an executive who has recently returned to Chicago after two years away. He has a good job and is about to propose to his girlfriend, who conveniently happens to be the sister of his boss. The three of them are at a swanky restaurant, having lunch with important clients to celebrate a deal Matt is about to close in China. Matt’s girlfriend slips him some pills to help him sleep on the plane and he swallows them at the restaurant. Then he hears the voice of a woman on the phone and the last two years seem to evaporate. It sounds like the voice of Lisa (Diane Kruger), the woman who broke his heart.

Flashback time. Matt is a sweet, shy, artistic guy working in a photography store. He glimpses a face on a videotape brought into his store for repair. And then he sees the same woman across the street. He follows her. He meets her at his best friend’s shoe store, pretending to be a salesman. He orders the black shoes with red soles in her size. They fall in love. And then…well, we don’t find out what happened then for a while as the movie shifts back and forth between the past and present and between different characters’ points of view.

It turns out to be one of those movies that sets up an intriguing puzzle and a nicely spooky vibe and then spoils it all by explaining much too much and having that explanation be both achingly obvious and sometimes unintentionally hilarious, retroactively dissipating any creepiness created earlier and dumb-ifying the entire story even further.

This is one of those movies that depends on its characters’ inability to make a phone call or ask a question to straighten things out. Just a few questions from me: why would Matt take the sleeping pills in the restaurant instead of waiting until he got on the plane? Why doesn’t anyone at this crucial meeting in China call back to the US to find out what is going on? Why would Luke fail to deliver the most important message of Matt’s life until it is almost too late? What happened to the stalker millionaire with the wife who died in the car accident? How does Matt go from being a low-level employee in a photo shop to being a big shot in a fancy suit in two years? Why does everyone, even the lady who works for the airline seem unable to resist Matt? Do stalkers become stalk-ees? Why did anyone think this script would work?

Matthew Lillard flounders in an attempt to play Matt’s best friend. Rose Byrne as a mystery woman who shares Matt’s girlfriend’s name and shoes is slightly more interesting than the drippy character she plays, but her efforts to play Viola/Cesario in “Twelfth Night” (a character in disguise who does not tell her love, get it?) are simply dreadful. Harnett and Kruger move through the story like sleepwalkers who hope they won’t wake up until the movie is over. I know how they feel.

Parents should know that the movie has brief strong language, some explicit sexual references, and non-explicit sexual situations. Characters drink and one becomes tipsy. There are tense and suspenseful situations and some jump-out-at-you surprises.

Families who see this movie should talk about the dividing line between love and obsession. Do you believe in love at first sight? What do you need to know about someone to be willing to make a commitment?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy thrillers like Frantic, The Vanishing, and the noir classic The Woman in the Window.

Previous Posts

Interview: Dan Cohen of "Alive Inside"
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases.  He is featured in the documentary "Alive Inside." He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides resources to help bring these programs to peopl

posted 8:00:36am Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Contest: "Lullaby" -- Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund
Garrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and "Downton Abbey's" Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan's sister. I have two copies of the DVD to give

posted 3:50:33pm Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day One
Here's what's at Comic-Con, which means here's what's coming everywhere else: affordable 3D printers with hand-held scanners that transmit 360 degree images to your tablet or laptop instantly. GoPro

posted 11:08:17am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Remembering the Vietnam War: 10 Movies
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam, here are ten of the best of the movie and documentary depictions of the war and its impact on history and culture in the United States. The best-known films about Vietnam include "Apocalypse Now," "Full Metal Jacket," "Platoon," "The Deer Hun

posted 8:00:34am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Lucy
I always enjoy Luc Besson's stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem.  While

posted 6:00:51pm Jul. 24, 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.