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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Tomorrowland
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

 

American Sniper
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015

I'll See You in My Dreams
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

 

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

Mad Max: Fury Road
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Release Date:
May 15, 2015

 

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

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Tomorrowland

Lowest Recommended Age:
4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015
grade:
B+

I'll See You in My Dreams

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015
grade:
B+

Mad Max: Fury Road

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Release Date:
May 15, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

American Sniper

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015
grade:
C

Strange Magic

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

Mortdecai

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

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William Holden Salute at Lincoln Center

posted by Nell Minow

The Film Society of Lincoln Center completes its salute today to one of my favorite movie stars, William Holden. Michael Atkinson writes on the Museum of the Moving Image’s wonderful Moving Image Source site that Holden was:

william_holden.jpg

on the surface one of the Hollywood century’s typical all-purpose leading men, but beneath it the keeper of poisoned secrets, and a living embodiment of America’s postwar self-doubt and idealistic failure. He seethed with disappointment as a persona, and we all knew what he meant. Holden was the anti-Duke, an avatar of hopelessness, shrouded in the smiling physique of an all-American boyo. For every high school football star turned pot-bellied gym teacher, every prom queen turned food-stamp mom, and every good-hearted B student turned Cracker Barrel waiter, Holden was the walking, talking, growling truth, in a sea of showbiz lies.

Holden was terrific as a romantic leading man in early movies like “Dear Ruth” and tweaking that role slightly for “Sabrina,” where he was the irresponsible younger brother to Humphrey Bogart’s wealthy businessman, both attracted to the chauffeur’s daughter played by Audrey Hepburn. He was a good choice for a character who is the essence of America, George Gibbs in Thorton Wilder’s “Our Town.” But Holden was at his best showing the complexity, insecurity, and disappointment of the post-WWII era. Sometimes his character triumphed over it; sometimes not. In “Executive Suite,” his idealistic executive competes against a green-eyeshade number-cruncher (Frederic March) for the top corporate job. In “Picnic” he had one of his most memorable roles as a college football star who had lost his way. He arrives in town to meet up with a wealthy friend from school and tries to pretend that he has been as successful as everyone expected. In this scene, one of the most famous moments ever put on film, a dance with his friend’s girlfriend, the prettiest girl in town (Kim Novak) has an intimacy that changes both of their lives.

I am a big fan of “Born Yesterday,” where Holden played a Washington journalist hired by a thuggish businessman to “educate” the businessman’s former showgirl significant other (Judy Holliday). In “Sunset Boulevard” he was a struggling screenwriter who is corrupted by a demented former star. Holden won an Oscar for “Stalag 17,” playing a prisoner of war, and he was nominated for another for his performance in “Network” as a television news producer. In these roles and others what made him so compelling was that he showed the tension between his characters’ cynicism and idealism in a way that expressed part of the essence of the American spirit.

And this is for you, Alicia! Holden’s appearance in my very favorite episode of “I Love Lucy!”

College Road Trip

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:March 7, 2008
D
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: March 7, 2008

college%20road%20trip.jpgWhat bugs me the most about this movie is not that it is cynical, synthetic, exploitative, and lazy, though it is all of those things. It is not that it alternates being dull with being both painful and dull, though it is both of those things. What bugs me the most is that it has no idea who its audience is and does not seem to care.

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Step Up 2 the Streets

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, some suggestive material and brief violence.
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2008
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, some suggestive material and brief violence.
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2008
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2008

step%20up%202.jpgIsn’t it too soon for a remake of “How She Move,” which came out less than a month ago? “How She Move” itself felt like a remake of all of those “You Got Served”/”Stomp the Yard”/”Save the Last Dance”/”Step Up” movies that are the 21st century version of the interchangeable series of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies. Kids get together to put on a show, setting off a few romantic sparks and learning an important life lesson or two about loyalty and the importance of being yourself along the way, possibly overcoming some past loss as well.
The structure is as invariable as a sonnet. A teenage boy and girl from different backgrounds with different styles have to find a way to work together in time for the big dance competition. And they ramp up the dramatic weight of the competition with something else to prove, something more at stake, and some adult in the dancer’s life who must achieve a new understanding of how important this all is. Unlike most sequels, this does not repeat the characters from the original; it just repeats the story. The only thing that matters about the plot is that it gets out of the way of what we’re really here to see – the dance numbers. And by that standard, despite the dumbest teen dance sequel title since 1984’s “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” and teen lingo so out of date they might as well call the dance steps “groovy,” “Step Up 2 the Streets” succeeds.
Andie (Briana Evigan, daughter of television star Greg Evigan) is the street girl whose mother died of cancer and who feels the only family she has left is her hip-hop “crew” that competes in street dance competitions. An old friend (Channing Tatum, in a brief reprise of his role in the original “Step Up”) arranges for her to audition at the Maryland School of the Arts, where her fresh moves capture the attention of Big Man on Campus Chase Collins (Robert Hoffman). Chase’s brother, the ballet dancer who runs the school, is less impressed. When her old crew kicks her out for missing rehearsals, Andie and Chase put together a new crew made up of the school’s misfits and outcasts, just in time for the big competition.
The dances are almost as electrifying as those in “How She Move,” not surprising because choreographer Hi-Hat worked on both films (she appears briefly on a scene in the subway), with additional choreography by Jamal Sims of the first “Step Up” and Dave Scott of “Stomp the Yard.” The rousing conclusion has a nice nod to Gene Kelly’s classic “Singin’ in the Rain” dance number. It is fun to watch the kids perform to a souped-up hip-hop version of “Jump Down Turn Around (Pick a Bale of Cotton)”, and the street theater “pranks” they video to become eligible for the street competition are fresh and clever.
This does not have the gritty authenticity of “How She Move” – it is a Disney film, after all – but that means that even its toughest characters and confrontations are fairly mild for a PG-13. Evigan wisely emphasizes Andie’s softer side, Hoffman has a great smile, and both feel effortlessly natural on screen. A scene at a family barbecue includes some gorgeous salsa dancing and a sweet moment with the two leads talking quietly as they sit on a tree branch. The supporting cast of young dancers is especially strong, with fine work from Danielle Polanco as Andie’s friend from home and rubber-limbed Adam G. Sevani as the kid who knows he is not the dork others assume he is. The story may be old, but these kids act – and dance – as though they are telling it for the first time.

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Mandela

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:March 21, 1997
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: March 21, 1997

Celebrate the 90th birthday this week of one of history’s greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela, with one of the fine films about his extraordinary perseverance, vision, courage, and leadership. The story of the massive social change he achieved without violence is profoundly moving and inspiring and one that all families should understand and discuss. Perhaps his greatest contribution is the notion of reconciliation and forgiveness rather than retribution and punishment, a lesson the world will need to recover from its current conflicts.

nelson mandela.jpg

The documentary, Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation follows Mandela from his early years as one of nine children of a polygamist father assigned the name “Nelson” by a teacher instead of his tribal name to his 27 years in prison, his election to the Presidency of South Africa and the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. The made-for-television Mandela & De Klerk (PG-13 for disturbing images of political violence) has Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine as Mandela and his co-Nobel awardee F.W. de Klerk. Both are outstanding.

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