Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

The Wrecking Crew
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images
Release Date:
March 27. 2015

 

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

Home
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
March 27, 2015

 

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

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
March 20, 2015

 

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

School children force-fed avertising on the bus

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times reports that a special radio channel has been installed in school buses. It plays music that kids like, and it plays commercials. The content is provided at no cost to the school district by RadioOne, which is only to happy to have a captive audience of young consumers.

Steven Shulman, who founded BusRadio with Michael Yanoff, said the company provided an “age-appropriate” alternative to local FM radio stations, with songs and advertising screened by an advisory committee of school administrators and psychiatrists.
In contrast, he said, his son once came home asking what Viagra was after hearing a commercial on the bus coming home from summer camp in Mashpee, Mass. BusRadio develops playlists from a library of 1,000 pop songs and will either edit out questionable content and lyrics or refrain from playing a song altogether. “It’s tough to find clean rap music, but we do,” Mr. Shulman said.school-bus-large.gif
Recent advertisers on BusRadio include Answers.com, the Cartoon Network, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The company does not accept advertising for candy or soda, or for toys that Mr. Shulman considers inappropriate, like video games with violent content, and it prefers advertisements that have a message. “We don’t want them to say, ‘Go out and buy $200 sneakers,’ ” Mr. Shulman said. “We want them to say, ‘Go and exercise, and use this gear if you want.’ ”

I appreciate this sensitivity (which is, I am sure, a commercial necessity), but do we really need to fill kids’ heads with mass media to and from school? Isn’t this time for social interaction and looking out the window and quiet reflection? Aren’t we teaching them that they should expect every minute of every day to be hooked into some form of media instead of learning how to make conversation and use their imagination? And do we really need to bombard them with more exhortations to buy more things?

Iron Man

posted by Nell Minow

With its first self-financed production, Marvel has produced one of the best superhero movies ever made, pure popcorn pleasure for its special effects, its story, its villain, and its hero. Director Jon Favreau, star Robert Downey Jr. and a first-class screenplay mix electrifying action, a compelling drama, and top-notch performances. Plus there are the best robot-type characters since R2D2, C3PO, and Hewey, Dewey, and Louie.

Downey plays international weapons dealer/super-brain/playboy Tony Stark as a rock star. He is an industrialist who appears on the cover of Rolling Stone and dates cover girls. He has an answer for every possible question or criticism about the company he runs: “The day weapons are no longer needed to keep the peace I’ll start building beams for baby hospitals.” But he does not have an answer for himself. His own conflicts would haunt him if he would slow down for a moment to think about them. That moment comes when he is captured by jihadists on a sales tour of American armed forces in the Mideast, using his own weapons. Told to recreate his company’s most powerful weapon for them instead he creates something for himself. The mastermind of cutting edge technology reaches back to the oldest of old school combat and creates for himself a high-tech suit of armor so that he can escape. It becomes the first stage in what will transform him into Iron Man. And the more he is protected by his Iron Man suit, the more he begins to open up to himself and others about who he really is and take responsibility for the world he has helped to create.

Downey superbly conveys Stark’s vulnerability and brilliance. He makes every line of dialogue feel improvised and natural, a great counter to the over-the-top special effects and fight scenes. In this middle of this great big movie he gives a subtle performance that is every bit as compelling as the most jam-packed action footage. He evolves as the suit does, trying out new things, coming alive for the first time as he is encased in metal.

The themes of the story has some powerful resonance about America’s role in the world without being heavy-handed. There’s no time for it — everything moves quickly as Stark continues to develop his suit and is attacked by bad guys and good guys and, well, there’s another category I am not going to give away. There is strong support from Terrence Howard as Stark’s military contact and friend, Gwenyth Paltrow, who gives some snap to her role as the indispensable aide de camp, and Jeff Bridges (with his head shaved!) as Stark’s closest business associate. The visuals are bracing and powerful and the action scenes are fanboy heaven. Watch for quick cameos from director Favreau, fan Ghostface Killah, and Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee. But don’t get distracted. Downey is the literal heart of this movie, and like the appliance that keeps Stark alive, he is a power source whose potential seems limitless.

Young@Heart

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:April 21, 2008

In School of Rock Jack Black taught a classroom of 10-year-olds that rock and roll music is always about one thing: Sticking it to The Man. A new documentary about a chorus of performers in their 80’s and 90’s shows that no one has more reason to stick it to The Man than people who are most defiantly not going gently into that good night.

This is not your grandfather’s choir. Instead of singing songs from their youth like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” or “Sentimental Journey” these old folks tap their orthopedic shoes, tug along an oxygen tank, and slam into the music of their great-grandchildren’s generation. They’ve gone straight from 78’s to iPods, literally without skipping a beat.
It sounds cute. Old people are settled, conservative. They are The Man, aren’t they? There is something deliciously incongruous about very old people singing the songs of very young people.

But it is not cute. Their set list is not soft or easy. No Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, or Beach Boys, no gentle harmonies or catchy melodies. This is raw and angry. They sing hard rock (Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”), punk rock (The Ramones’ “I Want to Be Sedated”), and blues (“I Feel Good” by James Brown). This is real rock and roll, written to be shocking, provocative, subversive. It is stirring, and deeply moving, finally transcendent. Music videos for songs like Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia” and the Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere” have a surreal, dream-like quality, good-humored but poignant as they add moments of fantasy and release. The Man they are sticking it to is loss of all kinds.

The movie takes us from the first rehearsals to a sold-out performance in the chorus’ home town of Northampton, Massachusetts. Continually frazzled but continually optimistic choir director Bob Cilman makes no concessions, artistically or generationally. This is not occupational therapy; it is art and it is show business. He insists on a top-quality professional production.

Cilman presents the chorus with Allen Toussaint’s tongue-twistingly syncopated “Yes We Can Can,” which has the word “can” 71 times. Form equals content and the medium becomes the message as they struggle to master the intricacies of the song.

Director Stephen Walker’s interviews occasionally seem intrusive, even condescending, but perhaps he, like Cilman, gets a little flustered at the inability to maintain any sense of control over the feisty singers. Early in the film, 92-year-old soloist Eileen Hall flirts with Walker – probably just to keep him off-base, at which she is entirely successful. Hall’s elegant British diction makes the opening lines of the Clash song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” sound as though she is asking whether we want cream or sugar. But then the song turns into a goose-bump-inducing negotiation with life and death.

Two members who have been very ill, Fred Knittle and Bob Salvini, return for a duet, the Coldplay song, “Fix You.” But Salvini dies before the show. The chorus gets the news as they sit on a bus, about to leave for a performance at a local prison. No one knows better than they do that the show can and must go on.

They stand in the prison yard singing Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” voices quavering perhaps just slightly more than usual as they remember their friend. The prisoners are transfixed. Then, at the concert that concludes the film, “Fix You” is performed as a solo by Knittle, his oxygen tank beside him. He sings “when you lose something you can’t replace…I will try to fix you…lights will guide you home” and it is impossible not to feel that these performers understand those words better than the young men who wrote them. And when they nail “Yes We Can Can” it becomes an anthem of defiance, survival, and, yes, sticking it to The Man.

88 Minutes

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content, brief nudity and language.
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2008

eighty_eight_minutes.jpg This non-thrilling thriller is so full of howlers and slippery plot holes that it should slide off the screen, which would be a relief to everyone there. It is at least 88 minutes too long.

Al Pacino plays Dr. Jack Gramm, a forensic psychiatrist-as-rock-star type who is a major celebrity and has a big fancy office and what appears to be an even bigger and fancier apartment. On the day that a serial killer he helped to convict is to be executed, he gets a call on his cell phone, telling him he has 88 minutes to live. Tick Tock. That’s a quote.

If you eliminate the first 88 things a rational person would do after receiving such a call, you might come up with the boneheaded shenanigans that follow as Gramm and his trusty (OR ARE THEY????) teaching assistant Kim (Alicia Witt) and office sidekick Shelley (Amy Brenneman) race around Vancouver (pretending to be Seattle) trying to figure out who might be behind all of this. Meanwhile, they struggle with clunky dialogue and a soundtrack that seems to have been lifted from some Quinn Martin production of the 1970’s. The outcome is both predictable and boring. And the movie is far too infatuated with the torture scenes so that we begin to wonder whose side it is on.

This is a huge waste of top talent and a huge waste of time for anyone unlucky enough to buy a ticket.

Previous Posts

Trailer: Adam Sandler and Peter Dinklage in "Pixels," a Comedy About the Attack of the Aliens Modeled on Classic Video Games
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0CYMC5b8KLE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:58am Mar. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Actress Speaks Up Against Absurd Hollywood Casting Conventions
Cheers to the understandably anonymous "Miss L," an actress in Hollywood, for her Tumblr posting real-life casting information that shows how limited and misogynistic Hollywood casting is.  Casting Call Woe shows actual casting call notices, most of which require actresses to be hot (no matter what

posted 3:57:54pm Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Paper Towns with Nat Wolff
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/w4olpTxktM4?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:09am Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

The Wrecking Crew
Maybe you like Frank Sinatra and your friend likes the Mamas and Papas. Maybe you've argued about who is better, the Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel, or maybe you prefer Elvis. Each of those monumen

posted 9:48:37pm Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Home
"Home" is a cute and colorful movie about an alien invasion with an important safety tip concerning one of the most destructive forces in the universe, something devastating to every known life form.

posted 5:59:44pm Mar. 26, 2015 | 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.