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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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New in Theaters
  New to DVD

San Andreas
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 30, 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

Aloha
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015

 

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

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

 

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:
C-

San Andreas

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 30, 2015
grade:
B

Aloha

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015
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

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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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How Would Wall?E Vote?

posted by Nell Minow

The chattering classes are already going after that sweet little robot Wall?E. Some on the right accused the film of being leftist propaganda because of its environmental message. As the New York Times points out:
Blogland moves at the speed of thought, however, and already the right-wing backlash to the right-wing backlash against “Wall-E” is underway.wall-e-poster1-big.jpg
Other conservatives are embracing the film as an exemplar of conservative values. Beliefnet’s own Crunchy Con Rod Dreher writes that Wall?E

embodies a traditionalist conservative critique of modernity, one that advocates a more or less Aristotelian view of humanity and politics. Philosophically, this is one of the most subversive movies I’ve ever seen. Crunchy cons, this movie is for us.

Of course the movie is neither conservative nor liberal. If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And if all you look at is partisan politics, everything you see has to be categorized as either for or against whatever position you are espousing. This is especially the case if you are on deadline — or if you would like to leverage a hugely popular movie by attempting to appropriate it for your cause.
Like all great art, “Wall?E” is far too nuanced and layered to be used as anyone’s soundbite. And the attempts to do so say far more about the speaker than they do about the message of the film and the views of the people who made it. Those who argue that the film is “leftist propaganda about the evils of mankind” are saying that it is left-wing to point out that human beings have been careless with the earth’s resources in a way that could lead to making the planet uninhabitable and that corporations do not always have the best interests of the community as their top priority. Beliefnet’s Crunchy Con argues that this critique is a fundamental misunderstanding of the true nature of conservatism.
Technology emerges as a villain here — but it’s a complicated villain, as I’ll explain. Technology allowed for the development of the consumer economy, and the creation of the fantastic spaceship that allowed humanity to escape an earth it despoiled with technology. But technology also shaped the consciousness of the humans. It led them to break with nature (Nature), and to think of technology as something that delivered them from nature. As humanity became more technologically sophisticated, the film argues, they became ever more divorced from Nature, and their own nature…Consequently, they’ve become slaves of both technology and their own base appetites, and have lost what makes them human.

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Shorts: Where is Matt Dancing Today?

posted by Nell Minow

In 2006, a semi-slacker named Matt traveled around the world doing what he referred to as his dance. While he acknowledged that this is the only dance he can do and he does it badly, even that is probably saying too much. It’s more of a mash-up between jogging, a sailor’s hornpipe, and a leprechaun-ish little hop. But it is so undeniably entertaining that we’ll humor him and call it a dance. And somehow, when you see him in front of such a wide a variety of locations, it is endearing and inspiring. The people at Stride gum thought so, too, and so they gave Matt some money to travel around the world and make videos of himself doing his little dance. He made a 6 month trip through 39 countries on all 7 continents.

Matt visited a lot of new locations, including my beloved Chicago Bean, and has now posted a new video. It is available only as a link at the moment, but please take a look at it. Remember the old advice to “dance as if no one is watching?” Matt dances as if he hopes everyone is watching and will join in. I promise, this is one of the most heartwarming little films you will ever see.

Stop-Loss

posted by Nell Minow
B-
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date:March 28, 2008
DVD Release Date:July 8, 2008
B-
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date: March 28, 2008
DVD Release Date: July 8, 2008

stop%20loss.jpgA young soldier who has come home from Iraq is forced to rethink his ideas about heroism and patriotism when he is “stop-lossed” — informed that instead of leaving the Army he has been involuntarily assigned to another tour of duty. Brandon (Ryan Phillippe) and Steve (Channing Tatum), his best friend since high school, were greeted with an old-fashioned hero’s welcome right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, with a parade and a warm handshake from their Senator, who says his door will always be open to real-life American heroes. They speak proudly about “killing ’em in Iraq so we won’t have to kill ’em in Texas.” But when Brandon finds out that the government has the right to send him back, he goes AWOL and leaves for Washington with Steve’s estranged fiancée (Abbie Cornish), hoping the Senator will find a way for him to stay home.
The real-life Army euphemism “stop loss,” sometimes referred to as a “backdoor draft” for the all-volunteer army, takes on multiple meanings as the film progresses. Brandon’s efforts to stay home are his own stop loss program. When he first comes home, he seems to be the most stable and responsible of the returning soldiers. But he crumbles quickly when ordered to return. For him, leaving the Army is the only way to stop further loss of his ability to return to a normal life. His efforts to resist only create conflicts with the people closest to him.

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Shipwrecked

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1991
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1991

A Norwegian boy named Hakon (Stian Smestad) is being pushed around by some bullies. He warns them that his father will take care of them when he gets back from sea, and they tell him his father owes so much money he should never come home. But his father does come home, with an injured leg, and with Jens, the man who saved his life. Hakon does not want to go to sea in his place, but when the family risks losing their home, he goes. Jens promises to look after him.shipwrecked.jpg
The stern captain tells him, “There is no room for children aboard this ship,” and the crew initiates him by hanging him from the mast, but he watches, learns, works hard, and soon fits in well. At the first port, the captain tells him he has passed muster, and can stay on for the entire voyage. They are joined by a new First Mate — Howell. We know what the captain and Hakon do not — it is a murderer named Merrick passing as Howell. Hakon discovers guns in a crate marked “glass.” Merrick tells him it is a secret. Just as Hakon is about to tell the captain, the captain falls ill — poisoned by one of Merrick’s accomplices. The captain dies and is buried at sea. Merrick takes over.
At the next port, a brave young girl named Mary stows away. Hakon discovers her, and brings her food. She teaches him to read, using a book of Coleridge poetry. When Merrick discovers her, Jens confesses to protect Hakon. Hakon tells Merrick that it was his fault, and Merrick orders Jens to whip Hakon. But just then, the ship is struck by lightning and sinks. Hakon is washed up on an island, where he discovers pirate treasure–and a newspaper clipping with a drawing of Merrick, leader of the pirates. Hakon knows Merrick will come for the treasure, and sets up elaborate booby traps all over the island. Seeing smoke on another island, he builds a small boat, and explores it. He finds Mary and Jens, living with friendly natives. They return to Hakon’s island, just before the pirates come to get the treasure. Between the traps and Mary’s liberation of the ship, they manage to get away with the treasure, and return to Hakon’s home in triumph.
Neglected on its release, this is an exciting adventure, and a lot of fun to watch. Hakon does a lot of growing up. At the beginning he is a young boy who can only fight bullies by telling them to wait for his father. At the end he is a young man who is confident of his ability to protect himself.
Questions for Kids:
· How does Hakon decide whether to tell the captain about the guns he found?
· Why does Jens say that it was he who hid Mary?
· Why does Hakon tell the truth?
· Which part of the movie was the scariest? Which part was the funniest?
Connections: The booby traps on the island are reminiscent of the invasion of the pirates in “The Swiss Family Robinson,” and of course “Home Alone.”
Activities: Find Norway on a map and see if you can chart the course Hakon followed. You might also enjoy reading the Coleridge poem Hakon likes, “Kubla Khan.” Even if it is hard to follow, the language and rhythms are a pleasure to the ear and tongue. And it provides a good beginning for a discussion of dream or ideal places. The “pleasure dome” inhabited by “Citizen Kane” is named Xanadu, a reference to this poem.

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