A blog post by Consumer Reports points out that in her record-breaking 3D concert film, Miley Cyrus and her dad ride in the back seat of a Range Rover on the way to rehearsal — without their seatbelts. Cyrus senior has issued an apology.
“We got caught up in the moment of filming, and we made a mistake and forgot to buckle our seatbelts,” he explains. “Seatbelt safety is extremely important.”
The blog post inspired a stream of angry comments. Miley Cyrus has some passionate fans –who knew they read Consumer Reports, though? But if the young woman Forbes called “a cultural and merchandising icon” uses her onscreen persona to sell everything from movie and concert tickets to keychains, t-shirts, throw pillows, and beach towels, she has to recognize that she influences more than the decision about which backpack to buy. She has been a wonderful role model for young girls, a welcome contrast to Lindsay Lohan, and Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears. It seems a small point to criticize her for failing to buckle up when we are so glad to have a pop star who seems like a well-behaved, respectful girl. But because she is so intensely observed and imitated, everything she does is a lesson. In this case, the lesson is that when you make a mistake, you apologize. Good for Consumer Reports for pointing out that Miley should have buckled her seatbelt, and good for Miley’s dad for acknowledging their mistake.
One of the highlights of NBC’s “Qubo” children’s educational program schedule is Jane and the Dragon, created by author Martin Baynton and Oscar-winning animator Richard Taylor, visual effects designer for the The Lord of the Rings series. Jane and the Dragon is a CGI series about a medieval girl and her friend, a vegetarian dragon. Jane does not want to be a lady-in-waiting. She wants to be a knight. I spoke to Martin and Richard about the show as they visited Los Angeles to attend the Annie Awards; the show has been nominated for the most prestigious honor in animation.
How did the show come about?
MB: I wrote the books over twenty years ago when my children were both very young, and they’ve been in print ever since. It’s always a book I’ve been extremely fond of and you get so attached to them you want to see them grow and flourish. In the literary field you hear horror stories about having books made into film. But meeting Richard it was clear he wanted to honor what the book was trying to do.
RT: Martin sat with us for an hour and a half at a picnic table in our back courtyard, and thatâ€™s all it took. We shook hands and had a deal.
Scott Farrell of Chivalry Today interviewed me about the portrayal of chivalry in movies, and the podcast is available on the website (you can skip the intro and start about halfway through). We talked about some of the Hollywood greats, like The Adventures of Robin Hood and Ivanhoe and some recent knight-related stories for kids like “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.” And we talked about how movies about knights and chivalry can give families a chance to talk about the way the ideals of that era continue to inspire us.
This is a curious hybrid combining contemporary language and violence with a retro set-up right out of a 1930’s James Cagney/Pat O’Brien movie and pulsating undercover law enforcement action of 1970’s films like Serpico and The French Connection.
The story is simple: two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of the war on drugs. Bobby (Joaquin Phoenix), is a nightclub manager with a gorgeous girlfriend (Eva Mendes as Amada). He loves the nightlife, he loves to feel important and respected, and he loves to feel that he is something of a rule-breaker. He loves to feel far away from his law enforcement relatives and has changed his last name to Green so no one will know he has cops in his family. His brother Joseph Grusinsky (Mark Wahlberg) hates anyone who breaks the law, especially drug dealers. his father Burt (Robert Duvall) wants to be proud of both of his sons.
Bobby and Amada show up at Joseph’s promotion ceremony, high and giggling. Joseph, Burt, and some of the other officers take Bobby upstairs to the church sanctuary to ask him to help them capture a drug dealer named Vadim (electrifying newcomer Alex Veadov), nephew of the club’s owner. The owner and his wife have treated Bobby like a member of the family. Bobby refuses — until catastrophe occurs and he has to think about who really is family and whose side he will be on.
Despite a powerful chase scene and some affecting performances, the movie’s retro slant makes it simplistic and superficial. Instead of commenting on the conventions of the past, it awkwardly tries to pretend that they are still in effect.
Parents should know that this movie has intense and graphic peril and violence, including a lot of gunfire. Many characters are wounded and killed. The plot concerns drug dealers and narcotics officers, and characters use and sell drugs, drink, and smoke. They also use strong language. A strength of the movie is its diverse characters, but there are some racial epithets.
Families who see this movie should talk about what made Bobby and Joseph alike and what made them different.
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Departed and classic crime dramas of the 1930’s like Angels With Dirty Faces.