Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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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

 

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

Bears
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
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

Heaven is for Real
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic material including some medical situations
Release Date:
April 16, 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

The Three Lives of Thomasina

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1963

Plot: The story takes place in the Scotland of 1912. Mary MacDhui (Karen Dotrice) is a little girl whose mother has died. She loves her cat Thomasina more than anything in the world. Her father Andrew (Patrick McGoohan), a veterinarian, is a very rational man who has trouble communicating and tends to see his animal patients in economic rather than emotional terms. He has a hard time showing Mary how much she means to him, or understanding how much Thomasina means to her. He is unable to cure Thomasina when she is hurt, so he puts her to sleep, a choice that is rational, but insensitive.

Mary’s friends help her plan a funeral with an enthusiastic chief mourner (He says with pride, “I can cry very loud!”). They reassure her that the whole town will understand the magnitude of the loss: “Everyone will say, ‘There goes the poor widow McDouhi a-burying her dear Thomasina, foully done to death, God rest her soul.” The funeral is interrupted by Lori MacGregor (Susan Hampshire), a beautiful and mysterious woman who lives in the forest outside the town. She cures animals with herbs and affection and is thought to be a witch. Lori finds Thomasina, who is not dead; she has just used up one of her nine lives. In a fantasy scene set in Cat Heaven, Thomasina is reborn, with no memory of her previous life.

The people in the town begin to bring their sick animals to Lori, upset because Andrew put his daughter’s cat to sleep. Mary, pining for Thomasina, glimpses her, and runs after her, becoming drenched in a storm. She gets ill, and Andrew, desperate, goes to Lori for help. Lori tells him that his love is what Mary needs. Thomasina appears outside Mary’s window, and Andrew brings her inside. Thomasina has brought them all together, and Andrew and Lori are married.

Discussion: Andrew represents the head, and Lori the heart. In the beginning of the story, both are isolated. Thomasina and Mary bring them together. Children may be interested in the way that the funeral arrangements are such a comfort to Mary. They may also want to know more about why Andrew had such a problem communicating his feelings. WARNING: Some children may be upset over the notion that a cat can die and come back; some who have lost a pet (or a family member) may be upset that they don’t come back.

Questions for Kids:

· What do you think about Mary’s decision not to talk to her father? Was that a good way to solve the problem?

· What was her father’s reaction? Was that a good way to solve the problem?

· Why is it harder for some people to talk about their feelings than others? Is it ever hard for you to talk about yours?

Connections: The children in this movie, Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber, also appeared in “Mary Poppins,” released the same year, and “The Gnome-mobile,” released in 1967.

The Thomas Crown Affair

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1999

This is the movie equivalent of a beach book, a glossy story about beautiful, wealthy, people that not only doesn’t require much thinking but actually repels it. Think too much (They allow briefcases and food in the galleries of a major museum? You can get a search warrent for a hunch? Have any business negotiations ever included such ridiculous posturing? What are these thrill seekers going to find to thrill them if they do make their getaway? You can do that to a painting? What is the purpose of that last fake-out?) and you’ll miss the slight but real pleasures of this remake of the 1968 version starring Steve McQueen as a wealthy but bored businessman who robs a bank and Faye Dunaway as the insurance company investigator hired to solve it.

In this version, Pierce Brosnan (who also produced) plays Crown, now a wealthy but bored businessman who robs the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Rene Russo as the investigator. Faye Dunaway appears briefly as Crown’s therapist, to let us know that all of this is just acting out due to his fear of, guess what, intimacy. That is just one example of the movie’s biggest failure — more clever than smart, it tells us instead of showing us such major points as the main characters’ fear of trusting someone else and the fact that they find each other uniquely not boring. But in late summer we are willing to let movies like this one carry us along in exchange for some steamy moments, some crafty twists, and some beautiful scenery — Brosnan and Russo included.

Parents should know that the R rating comes from some swear words, nudity (Russo appears topless and Brosnan appears bottomless), and a steamy but not very explicit sex scene. Families should discuss what makes people afraid to trust others, and the consequences of that fear, and what people do to make themselves feel alive and involved.

The Tao of Steve

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2000

Dex (Donal Logue) is a fat, irresponsible, pot-smoking slacker with no ambition. But he is so charming that women cannot resist him. And neither can the viewers. Dex may have no ambition, but he has no pretention, either. He has a wonderful command of repartee covering everything from Lao Tzu to Josie and the Pussycats. And he has a system for seducing women that is just about foolproof. As he explains to his friend Dave, there are three rules. First, “Eliminate your desire.” Women cannot let down their defenses as long as they sense that a man is trying to get them into bed. Second, “Do something excellent in their presence, thus demonstrating your sexual worthiness.” Third, “Retreat.” This is the titular “Tao of Steve,” named for Dex’s three polar stars, $6 million man Steve Austin, Hawaii 5-0 cop Steve McGarrett and the greatest Steve of them all, Steve McQueen. Channeling these Steves allows Dex to feel cool. And smoking marijuana every morning and having a lot of one-night stands allows him to feel less purposeless, or maybe it just allows him not to feel very much at all.

Then, he attends his 10th college reunion, where he has sex with a classmate’s wife, makes a date with a student tending the bar, and is re-introduced to Syd (co-screenwriter Greer Goodman). She has come to town to design sets for a production of “Don Giovanni” (Don Juan). Dex begins to think that he might be a little like Don Giovanni, who “slept with thousands of women because he was afraid he wouldn’t be loved by one.” He tells Dave to ignore all of his advice: “I’ve been trying to turn you into me and I’m not sure even I want to be me anymore.”

This is a classic “the love of a good woman inspires a man to grow up at last,” but it is a sweet, funny romantic comedy with appealing characters and witty dialogue. Logue, a character actor in movies like “Steal this Movie,” “The Runaway Bride,” and “The Patriot,” is wonderful. According to the credits, the screenplay is “Based on a story by Duncan North” which is “Based on an idea by Duncan North,” which is “Based on Duncan North.” North appears on the movie’s website answering questions about love and relationships.

Parents should know that the movie has drug use and a lot of drinking and smoking. Dex has an affair with a married woman, the wife of a good friend. Although the resolution of the movie has Dex becoming more mature, the movie makes immaturity (to the point of hedonism) seem very appealing. Dex cites St. Augustine’s famous, “Lord make me chaste — but not yet.” Although it is clear that Dex’s behavior does not make him very happy or proud of himself and it hurts the woman he seduces, teen-agers may come away with the same conclusion.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Dex went from the brilliant and promising student his classmates remember to a philosophy that “doing stuff is overrated.” Talk about his quote: “the sage, because he never does anything, never ruins anything,” and ask whether that is possible. Why is it that Dex’s behavior does not make him happy, and why doesn’t he change? What is he afraid of? Why does he feel differently about Syd? Why does she put up with him? Is Dex right when he says that romance is our national religion?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Next Stop Wonderland.”

The Sword in the Stone

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Preschool
Movie Release Date:1963

Plot: Based on the book by T.H. White, this is the story of the early years of King Arthur. Nicknamed “Wart,” the future King Arthur is squire to a knight when he meets Merlin the magician, who promises to take on his education. Merlin turns him into a fish, a bird, and a squirrel to teach him lessons like the importance of brains over brawn. He gets to see this in action when Madame Mim, Merlin’s enemy, challenges Merlin to a duel by magic, and, though she cheats, Merlin is able to defeat her.

Wart still has his duties as a squire, and, having forgotten the sword for a jousting match, he runs to get it. He sees a sword stuck in a stone and pulls it out, not knowing the legend that whoever will pull the sword out of the stone will be the rightful king. He becomes King Arthur, and listens when Merlin reminds him that knowledge is the real power.

Discussion: The Arthur legend has fascinated people for centuries, and this story about Arthur’s childhood as special appeal for children. Aside from the fun of seeing what it is like to be a bird, a squirrel, or a fish, and from having your very own wizard as a teacher, there is the highly satisfying aspect of having one’s worth, unappreciated by everyone, affirmed so unequivocally.

Questions for Kids:

· What made Arthur the one who could pull the sword out of the stone?

· What did he learn from his adventures with Merlin?

· How will what he learned help him to be a good king?

· How did Madame Mim cheat?

· How did Merlin fight back when she did?

Connections: Older kids may like to see “Camelot,” the musical by Lerner and Lowe (of “My Fair Lady”), to find out some of what happened to Arthur later (WARNING: the focus of that movie is on Guinevere’s infidelity with Lancelot). Mature teenagers might like the rather gory “Excalibur,” which has some stunning images.

Previous Posts

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

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

Interview: Martha Williamson of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
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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 »

Heaven is for Real
A movie like "Heaven is for Real" requires two different reviews, one for believers/fans of the 1.5 million-volume best-selling book, one for those who are unfamiliar with the book and whose views about faith and heaven and proof may differ from the evangelical beliefs of the Wesleyan pastor who wro

posted 6:00:04pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »


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