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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

How to be Single
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content and strong language throughout
Release Date:
February 12, 2016

 

Spectre
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and languag
Release Date:
November 6, 2015

Zoolander 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language
Release Date:
February 12, 2016

 

Grandma
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some drug use
Release Date:
August 21, 2015

Touched With Fire
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
February 12, 2016

 

99 Homes
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and a brief violent image
Release Date:
October 2, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B-

How to be Single

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content and strong language throughout
Release Date:
February 12, 2016
grade:
B-

Zoolander 2

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language
Release Date:
February 12, 2016
grade:
B

Touched With Fire

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
February 12, 2016

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Spectre

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and languag
Release Date:
November 6, 2015
grade:
B+

Grandma

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some drug use
Release Date:
August 21, 2015
grade:
B+

99 Homes

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and a brief violent image
Release Date:
October 2, 2015

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Comic-Con 2009

posted by Nell Minow

The 40th anniversary of Comic-Con is this week and I am thrilled to be attending. It long ago expanded its range from the original gathering of comics fans and now includes sneak peeks at everything that is going to be cool in the popular arts over the next year or two. We will see previews of the big movies (including “iron Man 2″ and “Toy Story 3″) and get a chance to hear from the performers and creators. Joss Whedon will be there. So will Tim Burton. I’m hoping to get to interview one of my favorite actors, Eric McCormack. And, yes, many Klingons and Han Solos and Harry Potters. Last year’s most popular costume was the Joker. Any predictions on what this one’s will be?
I will be tweeting and posting blog updates. Take a look at the schedule and let me know if there’s anything you think I should not miss.

Recess Monkey: Great Music for Kids and Their Families

posted by Nell Minow

Seattle-based teachers-turned-music group Recess Monkey came to Washington DC to play at XM Radio and Jammin’ Java this week and I was lucky enough to see them perform before a wildly enthusiastic crowd of very excited kids and very happy parents.

Jack Forman, Andrew Holloway, and Daron Henry are three elementary school teachers who write songs based of their everyday interaction with kids and their equal passions for children and for tuneful pop. They know what kids care about most — when they will get a pet, when that tooth will fall out, what kind of backpack they need, and, of course, how many very, very silly jokes they can tell. One song is about a “Knocktopus,” an octopus who tells knock-knock jokes that are real groaners. The music is tuneful and catchy and the lyrics are witty and reassuring. Highly recommended!

The Great Buck Howard

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some language including suggestive remarks, and a drug reference
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 21, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some language including suggestive remarks, and a drug reference
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009

This story about a retro performer itself has a very retro feeling, as though it is a recently rediscovered artifact. The likable Colin Hanks plays Troy Gabel, who drops out of law school with some vague thought that he would like to write. To support himself, he applies for a job as assistant to Buck Howard (John Malkovich), known professionally as The Great Buck Howard. He is also sometimes known as a magician, which he is not. He is a mentalist, someone who astounds the audience with feats of mind-reading and hypnotism. He was once popular and successful. He guested over 60 times on “The Tonight Show,” back when it was the real “Tonight Show,” the one with Johnny. But somehow, he lost his place on the A List and now performs in small, half-filled venues.

While he can be bitter about his lack of recognition and demanding of Troy, when he is on stage he seems perfectly happy and at home, always apparently genuine with his signature greeting, “I love this town!” And Troy, well aware of the cheesiness of an act that seems more suited to the days of Ed Sullivan than the era of YouTube, can’t help admiring Buck’s showmanship and resilience. A young pr executive (Emily Blunt) arrives in Cincinnati to coordinate the press for Buck’s dramatic new effect. And both Buck and Troy learn something about what really matters to them.

Hanks is a likeable onscreen presence with an easy affability, and he does as much as he can with a character that is written with only one dimension — if that. His best scenes are with his real-life father, Tom Hanks, playing his on-screen father, who disapproves of his decision to leave law school. Malkovich has a lot of fun with his role as Buck, enthusiastically pumping the hands of everyone he meets and showing the character’s mingled sense of entitlement and insecurity, acute awareness of how he comes across to an audience and lack of awareness of how he comes across one-to-one. Its old-fashioned structure and unpretentiousness give it some extra appeal. And even though it is all pretend, it is fun to see Buck’s act.

Coraline

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor
Movie Release Date:February 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 14, 2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor
Movie Release Date: February 6, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009

In the grand tradition of Alice, Dorothy, Milo, and the Pevensie children, Coraline enters a portal to a magical world that is both thrilling and terrifying, one that will both enchant her and demand her greatest resources of courage and integrity. And it will teach her that she does being given whatever she wants is not what she thought — that what she thinks she wants may not be what she wants after all.

Coraline (voice of Dakota Fanning) is bored and lonely. She and her parents have just moved into a new home and she does not know anyone. Her mother (voice of Teri Hatcher) and father (voice of John Hodgman, who plays the PC in the Mac commercials) are distracted and busy with work. While they type away furiously on their computers about gardening, they never actually go outside and plant anything. Coraline meets her neighbors, a pair of one-time performers (voices of Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French), a man training singing mice (voice of Ian McShane), and a boy her age named Wybie (voice of Robert Bailey Jr.), to whom she takes an immediate dislike.

She explores her surroundings and finds a mysterious locked door. Her mother tells her since the house was converted to make apartments it only opens onto a brick wall. But when she tries it herself, it opens into a tube-shaped corridor that leads to a place very like but also very unlike her own home and neighborhood. Everything is brighter and more colorful. The mother and father tell her that they are her Other parents. They sound just like her real parents and they look like them, too, except that they are utterly devoted and attentive and generous, and except for their eyes, which are sewn-on black buttons.

The Other world is enchanting for a while, with all kinds of diversions and performances. Many, like the Other parents, echo the places and characters from home. But then it begins to feel too synthetic and a little creepy. When the Other mother asks her sweetly to replace her eyes with buttons, Coraline goes home. But home is not the same. Something has happened and she will have to return to the Other place for an adventure that will require all of her courage, perseverance, and some growing up, too.

Coraline must follow the storyline and grow disenchanted with the Other place but we have the luxury of reveling in it. The creepier it gets, the more mesmerizing the visuals, ravishingly grotesque and dazzlingly inventive when the Other Mother suddenly elongates, her cheekbones sticking out like flying buttresses and her arms and legs getting spider-y. This is the first stereoscopic 3D film made in the painstakingly meticulous stop-motion system in which no more than 2-4 seconds can be completed each day because every frame requires as many as a thousand tiny adjustments. The 3D effect is all-encompassing and utterly entrancing as we feel as though we are inside the Other world as its uneasy false cheeriness slides away and we discover what is really going on. Like her parents, Coraline has been separated from authenticity of experience, in her case because she is a child. But the journey to the Other world shows her that she has what she needs to become more fully herself and to find a more vivid and vibrant life in the place she once thought of as drab and uninvolving.

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