Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Strange Magic
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

 

The Book of Life
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

Mortdecai
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

 

The Judge
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Release Date:
October 10, 2014

Cake
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Release Date:
January 24, 2015

 

Fury
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

Webkinz sneaks in advertising for kids

posted by Nell Minow

Webkinz is the most popular online site for children. If they buy a Webkinz toy, they can log onto the site where a virtual version of the toy will appear. Any real-life accessory they buy will show up on the site as well. They can create environments for the toys online and interact with the toys and each other. It can be a creative and satisfying experience and teach them some rudimentary programming skills. I do not approve of the way it keeps kids coming back by requiring them to continuously care for the pet if it gets “sick” because they forget to feed it, but I had considered it a fairly benign activity — until, without letting parents know, they began to accept advertising. According to the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, “Webkinz, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, is currently promoting the film Alvin and the Chipmunks. In addition to banner ads, the site is encouraging young users to actively engage with the movie by purchasing specially designed chipmunk costumes and food for their virtual pets. Bee Movie – a film that partnered with McDonald’s, General Mills and Brachs and has dozens of licensed products – was promoted in a similar way.” The CCFC has set up a site for parents who want to complain to Webkinz CEO Howard Ganz.

Stardust

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some fantasy violence and risque humor.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:December 18, 2007

This is an enchanting story that lives up to the promise of a “once upon a time beginning,” filled with romance, adventure, magic, and wit. It has witch sisters who need to find a fallen star to make the potion that gives them eternal youth, prince brothers who want to find it because the jewel that knocked it out of the sky will determine which of them will be king, cloud pirates who sail in a flying ship, and a unicorn.


stardust.jpg Tristan (Charlie Cox) promises to bring back a fallen star to win the hand of the girl he loves. To find it, he must cross the wall that divides his village from the magical land of Stormhold on the other side. It turns out that he has a connection to Stormhold that he did not know. And it turns out that the fallen star is not an it but a she — the star has a human form, a woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes). And so begins a journey that will include sword fights and transformations, captures and escapes, bickering and kisses, encounters with rascals, villains, and imprisoned princesses, and reunions with unexpected lost connections.
Director Matthew Vaughn (“Layer Cake”) blends romance, action, and comedy with brilliantly imagined visual effects, seasoning fairy tale enchantment with a splash of modern sensibility. Peter O’Toole as the dying king, Robert DeNiro as the pirate captain with a surprising hobby, and Ricky Gervais as a dealer in stolen goods, and Rupert Everett as one of a Greek chorus of murdered princes are high-spirited but never wink at the audience; the film is as sincere as its appealing lead characters. Pfeiffer has a blast as the witch, whether cooing at her restored beauty or blasting through its disintegration as she pursues the star.


Modern without being post-modern, ironic without air-quotes, romantic without apology, this is a fairy tale for our time because it takes us beyond time and reminds us that happily ever after is still a dream worth having.

Parents should know that this film includes fantasy violence, with characters injured and killed in a variety of ways, everything from having their throats cut to being thrown out of windows, poisoned, and drowned. There is some mild language and there are some mild sexual references and non-explicit sexual situations. A strength of the movie is unexpected acceptance of and support for a cross-dressing character.


Families who see this movie should talk about what drew Dunstan and Tristan to the other side of the wall. What is the difference between being a shop boy and a boy who works in a shop?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy sumptuous fantasy classics The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, Time Bandits, and Ladyhawke (also featuring Pfeiffer). And they will enjoy the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess.

Movie Mom on Reel Talk

posted by Nell Minow

I’ll be doing an interview on Reel Talk this afternoon at 4 pm EST and we’ll be taking questions from callers, so please listen in and give us a call!

Baby Einstein = Baby Couch Potato

posted by Nell Minow

The fastest-growing “audience” for media has been babies under age two. Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against them and all academic evidence has shown that it takes babies two to three times as long to learn something from television than it does to observe it in person, that they are at the same time soporific and stimulating, and that they interfere with direct interaction and development of self-soothing skills, they continue to be marketed with names like “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby” to persuade parents (and grandparents and baby shower gift-givers) that these are good for children.
In 2006, The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Companies such as Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby have capitalized on parents’ desires to give their very young children a leg up on learning and development by deceptively and falsely marketing their videos as educational and beneficial for infant development. For example, Baby Einstein claims that with its Baby da Vinci video, “your child will learn to identify her different body parts, and also discover her five senses… in Spanish, English, and French!” Brainy Baby claims that “the educational content of Brainy Baby can help give your child a learning advantage!”
These claims are deceptive and false in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The claims are deceptive because no research or evidence exists to support Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby’s claims that their videos are educational or beneficial for very young children. In fact, preliminary research suggests that television is a poor tool for educating very young children. They are false because research indicates that television viewing by children under three negatively affects cognitive development. Furthermore television viewing has been linked to sleep irregularity in babies and obesity in preschoolers. Finally, experts are concerned that television may be harmful for infants and toddlers because it displaces brain stimulating activities with proven developmental benefits, such as interaction with parents and siblings and
creative play. Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby, and other infant-video producers’ claims influence consumer purchasing decisions and decisions about their infant’s media usage. These choices directly impact the health and safety of thousands of very young children and put them at risk for significant harm. For these reasons, the CCFC calls on the Commission to take prompt action to prevent consumers from being misled into purchasing infant videos and to protect thousands of infants and toddlers from the potential harms caused by early television viewing.

They were supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has consistently recommended against any “screen time media” for babies under age 2.

Research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other caregivers for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional, and cognitive skills. These infant videos are marketed under the guise of being educational. The company names alone, Brainy Baby and Baby Einstein, are proof of the marketing strategy. There is no current evidence to prove that these videos help infants and toddlers in an intellectual or developmental way. Parents should know that their babies will develop just fine without watching these videos.
The reality is that parents play the videos to give themselves some time to do other household chores, like cooking dinner or doing laundry. However, they shouldn’t be led to believe that it helps their baby.

Disappointingly, following some toning down of the advertising claims, the FTC ended its investigation. But the original (disproven) claims persist on the websites of retailers like Amazon. Beware.

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