Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Wish I Was Here
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Release Date:
July 18, 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

Boyhood
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

Sabotage
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

Planes: Fire & Rescue
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for action and some peril
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

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

Gothika

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003

Dr. Miranda Gray (Halle Berry) explains that “Logic is overrated” in the middle of a climactic confrontation. It feels like a last-minute attempt to justify the resolution of a movie that begins as a promisingly creepy thriller but then falls apart.

Miranda is a psychiatrist at a facility for the criminally insane. The director of the facility is her husband, Doug (Charles S. Dutton). Driving home on a dark and stormy night, Miranda swerves to avoid hitting a girl standing in the road. When she gets out of the car, she sees that the girl is badly hurt. Miranda tries to talk to her. The next thing she knows, she wakes up in the mental hospital, but now she is on the other side of the glass wall. She is a patient. Doug has been murdered, and all of the evidence points to Miranda as the killer. How can she find out what really happened if everyone thinks she is crazy?

Director Mathieu Kassovitz (who played the love interest in Amelie) creates a nicely creepy feeling, though he overdoes the flickering lights and the guess-what’s-just-out-of-her/our-field-of-vision surprises. But the last half and especially the last half hour are both predictable and presposterous.

Parents should know that this movie has intense peril and disturbing, graphic, and grisly images of violence. There are references to extremely violent crimes. There is nudity in a scene of a group shower and a joke about circumcision. Characters use very strong language. One positive note is the portrayal of a strong, intelligent, resourceful black woman.

Families who see this movie should talk about Pete’s comment that “the ability to repress is actually a vital survival tool.” What other survival tools did Miranda demonstrate?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2003

Chuck Jones, who produced over 100 of the greatest Warner Brothers cartoons, was asked whether he was making his cartoons for adults or children. “Neither,” he responded. “I make them for myself and my friends.”

Those cartoons are still wonderfully entertaining, even for those who don’t quite get some of the 1940′s-50′s-era satire. Jones and the other Warner Brothers legends like Tex Avery and Friz Freleng had no focus groups or demographic surveys. They just tried to outdo each other and to make each other laugh. That was the secret of their deliriously looney sensibility, their sublime silliness, and their brash and fearless anarchy.

So it is most promising when this new live action/animated feature begins with Daffy Duck being let go by the studio because while everyone loves Bugs Bunny, Daffy’s fan base consists of “angry fat guys in basements.” Then Kate, the studio’s Vice President of Comedy (Jenna Elfman, looking a little wan), sits down with Bugs to explain that she wants to leverage his synergy. Kate’s claim to fame is “Lethal Weapon Babies.” A little later a character explains that it would “send the wrong message to children” to let a car blow up and then it does, and then when Walmart appears in the middle of the desert and the characters explain that it’s product placement. So we are happily assured that the subversive spirit of the Looney Tunes is in good hands.

Director Joe Dante is clearly a fan and he keeps the jokes coming. There are movie parodies (Psycho, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), throwaway gags (watch the signs, especially the French poster for a Jerry Lewis movie), and lots of all-out mayhem, especially a wildly surreal romp through the paintings at the Louvre. And though Wile E. Coyote is now ordering online from Acme.com, the goodies are just as outrageous and subject to Murphy’s law as ever.

Live action performers Brendan Fraser (as a stuntman for Brendan Fraser who was fired for taking too much screen time in The Mummy), Timothy Dalton as his father, a dashing movie star/spy, Steve Martin (as the chairman of Acme), and Joan Cusack (as a scientist at Area 52 — Area 51 was just a decoy), all have fun, but they can’t steal the movie from Bugs, Daffy, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweetie Pie, Marvin Martian, the Tasmanian Devil, Pepe LePew, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, and of course Mr. Coytote.

Parents should know that there is a great deal of comic peril and violence, though of course no one is hurt. The film includes a little potty humor and a couple of mildly naughty words.

Families who see this movie should talk about the original cartoons and which characters they like the best. How are the Looney Tunes different from other animated characters, like those in the Disney movies?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Looney Tunes classics like “What’s Opera, Doc?” and “Duck Dodgers.”

In America

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003

Screenwriter/director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) tells the story of his family’s move to America as something of a fairy tale set in a sweltering and grimy apartment building where even the kind-hearted drug addicts help look out for the children.

Johnny (Paddy Considine) and Sarah (Samantha Morton) move to New York with their daughters Ariel and Christy (real-life sisters Emma and Sarah Bolger) from Canada, still shell-shocked from the loss of their son, Frankie.

Sarah is a teacher and Johnny is an actor, but the only jobs they can get are waitress and cab driver. They are struggling, sometimes even desperate and their surroundings are often sordid. But we see the story through the eyes of 11-year-old Christy and she makes it all magical. The girls insist on trick-or-treating in their apartment building, even at the door with a “keep away” sign, the home of an angry neighbor named Mateo (Djimon Hounsou). And he turns out to be not mean, just angry, bitter, and lonely — except that with the girls he is exquisitely tender.

Indeed, the whole movie is exquisitely tender. The girls’ sense of wonder brings a softness and a glow to whatever they see, whether it is a street fair or a broken-down air conditioner. Lovely, touching performances by all, especially the Bolger sisters and Hounsou, add delicacy and lyricism. The story may be predictable and it teeters on the edge of twee with its references to angels and aliens. But thankfully it is messy and episodic enough to capture the attention and even the heart.

Parents should know that the movie includes strong language, drinking, smoking, and drug use, violence, and very sad deaths. There is a sexual situation (and resulting childbirth). Tense moments include a violent confrontation and a serious health problem.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Christy thinks that Frankie can grant her three wishes and about the different ways that each character response to the loss of someone important to them. The movie may give families a chance to talk about their views on what happens after people die and how we talk to very ill people about what they are facing.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Hope and Glory and The Commitments (mature material).

Big Fish

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:2003

“Big Fish” is the enchanting story of a father and son, but it is really the story of stories themselves. It’s about all kinds of stories, from the first stories whispered by a father to a sleepy child to the stories a son tells his father to comfort him as he nears death. Facts are fine, but some truths can only be told by fiction, and this movie tells a captivating tale that is a delight for the eye, the heart, and the spirit.

Will (Billy Crudup) believes that his father Edward (Albert Finney) has used his gorgeously embellished tales to hide his true self. Edward loves to tell stories about grand adventures, always with himself as the hero. After he occupies the center of attention at Will’s wedding with one of his favorite stories about — what else — the day he tried to capture a legendary big fish, Will cannot even speak to him, maintaining contact only through his mother. Will and his new wife move far away, and Will gets a job writing stories that are all facts when he becomes a journalist. Then he learns that his father is dying, and Will comes home to try one more time to know what is true, to feel that he really knows his father.

But most of the movie is not about this (relatively) “true” story of a hoped-for deathbed reconciliation. Director Tim Burton, like Edward, believes that it is the fantastic that deserves our attention more than the mundane. So most of what we see are the stories Edward loves to tell.

The young Edward (Ewan McGregor), like the hero of a fairy tale, leaves home in search of adventure and finds a giant, a witch, a werewolf, a town where no one wears shoes, a highly unusual singing sister act, and the love of his life (Alison Lohman as the young Sandra, Jessica Lange as the older version), who happens to be engaged to someone else. There is a breathtaking moment when Edward first sees her at the circus and the world stops. He walks toward her, gently brushing away popcorn — or maybe it is the stars — suspended in the air between them.

The ravishing images are marvels, but it is the heart of the stories that will capture you, especially when it (literally) all comes together at the end in a moving conclusion filled with connection, understanding, and forgiveness.

Parents should know that the movie has brief nudity, mild language, and fantasy peril.

Families who see this movie should talk about some of their favorite stories — factual and fictional.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy some of director Tim Burton’s other inimitably imaginative films, including Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. The movie is also reminiscient of another story about stories, The Wonderful World of the Brother Grimm.

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