Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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Fading Gigolo
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

Philomena
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references
Release Date:
November 22, 2013

Transcendence
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

The Nut Job
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 17, 2014

Bears
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

 

Grudge Match
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Release Date:
December 25, 2013

Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002

Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat is a personal, autobiographical stand-up act from Martin Lawrence that should please his fans.

Runteldat is a live comedy concert that opens with reels of newsmen talking about Lawrence’s tumultuous last few years, including his arrest for disturbing the peace and his collapse and subsequent coma while jogging on the hottest day of the year. Lawrence gives a voiceover monologue about the struggles both in his life and on the job as a stand-up comedian and we see him backstage calmly preparing himself to deliver his act to an enthusiastic Washington DC audience. When he gets to the show, he gives his notoriously raunchy act and has his fans in stitches, but also finds time to take a comedic but responsible look at his life. By the end of the show, even those turned off by his dialogue will be impressed by what he’s learned.

Martin Lawrence is undeniably gifted, and always shines even when his material doesn’t. He’s better off here than in some of his recent movies, as he just gets a chance to make us laugh rather than having to worry about a plot. The movie title comes from his life being a topic for public discussion and speculation (“Guess what Martin just did, run n’ tell dat”) and he doesn’t hesitate to tell his side of the story. His language, as well as his takes on sex and race, are filthier than all four comics in The Original Kings of Comedy but he’s always likeable and relatively unegotistical, making this film a real treat for fans of stand-up comedy.

Parents should know that this film has more coarse language than anything else you are likely to see all year, and anyone who has been offended by his previous acts, from You So Crazy! to Def Comedy Jam should skip this one. He avoids being sexist or racist himself, and addresses both topics extensively. Interestingly, his only references to drugs and alcohol are commenting on what an ass he made of himself when he had too much of either.

Martin consistently brings up the theme of living life to its fullest. Families can discuss the risks and rewards of working as hard as Lawrence does (he talks about stand-up being one of the hardest things anyone can do) and getting as far as he has if that means embarrassing oneself with substance abuse and having his private life in the public eye.

Anyone who enjoys Martin Lawrence Live should check out the aforementioned stand-up concert films as well as Martin’s best, Bad Boys and Blue Streak.

Maid in Manhattan

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2002

Romantic comedies are so endlessly appealing both to those looking back on their own experience of falling in love and those looking forward to it that Hollywood keeps cranking them out. The elements seem so simple – the plucky but vulnerable heroine, the wisecracking best friend, the handsome hero all but dumbstruck by the heroine’s charm and beauty, the second act complication, and the happily-ever-after ending. Yet, like love itself, perhaps, it is a goal more often sought than obtained, and the key ingredient to make it work is impossible to define.

“Maid in Manhattan” is as careful a combination of ingredients as it is possible to package. Every aspect is a proven commodity designed to go to the heart of the core fantasies of a 13-year-old girl, and the end result is undeniably pleasing, if not particularly memorable.

It’s Cinderella in a hotel. Jennifer Lopez plays Marisa, a maid at a big luxury hotel in Manhattan. She has a darling son, an unreliable ex-husband, and a mother who tells her not to dream of more than she has. Cashmere-voiced Ralph Fiennes plays Chris, a Senate candidate who has no heart for the hypocrisy of the campaign. Marisa’s fairy godmother is her best friend who urges her to try on a fabulously expensive designer pantsuit about to be returned by a hotel guest. Chris sees her in the suit, thinks she is staying at the hotel instead of cleaning it up, and invites her out. Then there are forty minutes of various excruciating complications before Marisa has to tell the truth and Chris has to decide whether she really is the person he thinks – or wants to think – she is.

Marisa is an appealing heroine, beloved by her son and her co-workers, loyal, practical but optimistic. She dreams of being more but isn’t anything as icky as ambitious or confident or focused. Chris, too, dreams of more but isn’t craven, like his political advisor. Everything is at the fairy tale level, which means we never dwell on troubling realities like what, exactly, Chris hopes to achieve as a senator or how, exactly, Marisa gets a job after being fired for stealing. The best and worst you can say about the movie is that there are no surprises – no bad ones, but no good ones, either.

Parents should know that there is some crude humor (mostly from the wisecracking best friend) and brief strong language. Chris and Marisa have sex (off camera and no nudity). She apparently intends for it to be a one-night stand, an issue parents will want to discuss. The movie does make it clear that stealing and lying are always wrong and have severe consequences.

Families who see this movie should talk about how – and why — Marisa’s mother was an obstacle to pursuing her dreams. How is the end different from most movies of this kind? Why? How is this story like Cinderella and how is it different?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Notting Hill” and “The Runaway Bride.” They might also enjoy some of the Depression-era comedies with similar themes, like “Easy Living” and “The Lady Eve.”

Little Lord Fauntleroy

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1936

Plot: Cedric (Freddie Bartholomew), who lives in New York with his widowed mother, finds out that he is the grandson of a British earl, and is to go to England to live in his castle. After marrying an American, Cedric’s father was estranged from the Earl, but now that both of the Earl’s sons have died, Cedric is the only heir. He says goodbye to his best friends, Mr. Hobbs (Guy Kibbee) and Dick (Mickey Rooney), and leaves for England, not knowing that the Earl has forbidden his mother to set foot in the castle.

The Earl is a rigid and somewhat pompous man, but, encouraged by his mother, Cedric sees everything the Earl does as wonderfully generous and kind. The old man is utterly charmed by Cedric, as are all who meet him, and he tries to live up to Cedric’s image of him. They grow to love each other. There is a crisis when they are told that the Earl’s older son was married and had a son of his own before he died, and that boy is the rightful heir. With the help of Dick, they prove the new heir a fraud, the Earl realizes that Cedric’s mother is a fine woman, and they all live happily ever after.

Discussion: This is basically a male version of “Pollyanna.” Like Pollyanna, Cedric goes to live with a wealthy but crusty and snobbish relative, insists on seeing the best in everyone (even when it isn’t there), and wins the hearts of all who know him. Not quite as sugary as its reputation, it may still put off kids who think Cedric is too perfect. But his colorful friends, his maturity under stress, and the fun of the idea of his being brought from poverty to an Earldom make it hold up surprisingly well.

Questions for Kids:

Lilo & Stitch

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2002

“Lilo and Stitch” is as welcome as a gentle breeze coming through the hibiscus.

It has a cute story, endearing characters, a sensational soundtrack of Elvis classics, and glorious hand-painted animation that shows those smarties hunched over their computers that there are still a few things machines can’t do.

At its heart, it’s just an old-fashioned story of a child and a pet. But this is not the usual movie child and it is definitely not the usual pet.

The movie opens on some far-away planet with all kinds of monstrous-looking creatures. One of them, a scientist, has been experimenting with genetics, and has created an indestructible destruction machine called 626 in the form of a mischievous-looking little blue guy. The scientist is thrown in jail, but the experiment escapes and races off to a planet they refer to as “E-Arth.” So, the scientist and an expert on Earth are sent after him to capture him with a minimum of fuss.

626 lands in Hawaii and disguises himself as a dog. He is adopted by a tiny little girl named Lilo who is grieving the loss of her parents. She names him Stitch and teaches him that even a creature designed to destroy can learn to create.

The story is nothing new, but the Hawaiian location and gorgeous visuals give it a fresh feeling. Instead of the usual wasp-waisted Disney heroines with impossibly big hair, we get attractive but believable-looking Nani, Lilo’s sister, who is struggling to grow up quickly so that she can care for Lilo the way her parents did. And Lilo’s passion for Elvis Presley means that instead of girls looking up at the stars and trilling ballads about their dreams we get a bouncy score of favorites like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up,” and of course, “Blue Hawaii.” The score also features Elvis hits “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” sung by a chorus of Hawaiian children and “Burning Love” sung by country superstar Wynonna Judd.

Lilo is irresistibly adorable and her relationship with her sister is a believable mixture of affection, resentment, and connection. Both are deeply affected by the loss of their parents and torn between fearing another loss and just wanting to get it over with. Ving Rhames adds just the right note of wry authority to his role as the social worker with a surprising past, and Jason Scott Lee is fine as the friend who would like to be more. There is some very funny dialogue, especially the description of Earth as an endangered species preserve — the endangered species is mosquitos, and humans are just kept around to feed them!

Parents should know that the movie is rated PG for some action and peril that may be too intense for the youngest children. The loss of Lilo’s and Nani’s parents in a car accident is handled quietly and sensitively, but still may be upsetting for some children. They may also be concerned about the idea that a social worker might want to remove Lilo from her sister’s home if he does not think she can take care of her. Female characters, including Nani and the leader of Stitch’s planet, are strong and independent. It is a special pleasure to have a movie set in a part of America that is often forgotten, and the scenery, especially in the sensational surfing scene, is likely to have families thinking about heading in that direction for a future vacation.

Families who see this movie should talk about Lilo’s definition of a family: “No one gets left behind.” Why didn’t the other girls want to play with Lilo? Are there things that Lilo and Nani could have talked about with each other that would have made them feel better? Why didn’t Stitch stay the destructive monster he was designed to be? Did anything surprise you in the scenes at the end that showed what happened to Lilo and Stitch and Nani?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove, Toy Story and Toy Story 2. They may also want to try You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

Previous Posts

Fading Gigolo
John Turturro wrote, directed, and stars in "Fading Gigolo," a bittersweet meditation on the ways we seek and hide from intimacy, sometimes at the same time. Turturro plays Fioravante, a florist who works part-time for Murray (Woody Allen), the third-generation proprietor of a used and rare books

posted 9:24:32pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Transcendence
Think of it as "Her 2: The Revenge of Him." Or Samantha infected by Heartbleed. Just as in last holiday season's Her, "Transcendence" is the story of an artificial intelligence contained in a computer program that becomes or is seen as human consciousness.  Instead of the warm, affectionate voic

posted 6:00:39pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Bears
This year's Disney Nature release for Earth Day is "Bears," the story of an Alaskan bear named Sky and her twin cubs, Scout and Amber, their trek from the den where they've hibernated all winter t

posted 6:00:05pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Martha Williamson of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
Talking to Martha Williamson is pure positive energy and a real treat. The creator of "Touched by an Angel" has a new series on the Hallmark channel. It's called "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and it is about a USPS dead letter office where a quirky but very dedicated group of people track down the rec

posted 8:00:57am Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer #2: The Box Trolls
Did I mention how excited I am about this?  Coming in September, from the people who did "Coraline" and "ParaNorman." [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDr_ZY37RFg[/youtube]

posted 12:12:22pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »


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