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New in Theaters
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Vacation
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:

Release Date:
July 29, 2015

 

Home
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
March 27, 2015

Southpaw
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Release Date:
July 25, 2105

 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
Release Date:
March 6, 2015

Paper Towns
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity -- all involving teens
Release Date:
July 25, 2015

 

The Longest Ride
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action
Release Date:
April 10, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
D

Vacation

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Release Date:
July 29, 2015
grade:
B

Southpaw

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Release Date:
July 25, 2105
grade:
B+

Paper Towns

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity -- all involving teens
Release Date:
July 25, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Home

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
March 27, 2015
grade:
B+

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
Release Date:
March 6, 2015
grade:
C

The Longest Ride

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action
Release Date:
April 10, 2015

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The Sword in the Stone

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1963
DVD Release Date:June 17, 2008
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1963
DVD Release Date: June 17, 2008

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.

What Kids Learn from ‘Silly’ Media

posted by Nell Minow

FlowTV, the always-interesting scholarly online publication about media, has a thoughtful article by Aaron Delwiche of Trinity University called “‘What we me worry?’ What the new media literacy movement can learn from Mad Magazine and Wacky Packages.”What-me-worry-715605.jpg
Delwiche makes some good points about the legitimacy of video games as a subject for serious cultural and cognitive study and as a form of media that can be on a par with books, music, and movies. But I thought the more interesting part of the article was his discussion of Wacky Packages (the 1980’s trading cards with gross-out parodies of consumer products) and Mad Magazine and the way that the inherently rude and subversive nature of humor helps children begin to question assumptions, think more actively and creatively, and want to learn more about the world so that they can understand the jokes.

As we revamp the media literacy curriculum for the 21st century, Mad Magazine and Wacky Packages have something to teach us about the importance of humor, the value of simplicity, and — above all else — the importance of questioning the man behind the curtain.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary creature action and violence, peril and some thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2008
DVD Release Date:June 24, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary creature action and violence, peril and some thematic elements.
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2008
DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008

spiderwick%20poster.jpgThe best-selling series of books about children who find their mysterious old house surrounded by magical creatures has been turned into a visually sumptuous treat for fans of fantasy and imagination.
Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) plays twins Jared and Simon Grace, who with their sister Mallory (Sara Bolger of In America) and mother (Mary-Louise Parker) move into a spooky old mansion that once belonged to their great-uncle. Mallory and Simon have accepted the move but Jared is furious about their parents’ split and unhappy about the new home.

Continue Reading This Post »

Why is TV So White? (Entertainment Weekly)

posted by Nell Minow

Entertainment Weekly has a very important article that asks a very important question. Why is it that the only minority character to anchor a new series is Cleveland Brown — an animated character voiced by a white guy?
The show is a Family Guy spin-off called “The Cleveland Show.”
After a period of making a public effort to focus on diversity in their casting — kickstarted by an NAACP outcry over the white TV landscape in 1999 — the networks have clearly started to lose that focus, and not just when it comes to African-Americans. Today the current prime-time lineup, including fall’s 14 new scripted shows, is looking alarmingly pale. According to an Entertainment Weekly study of scripted-programming casts for the upcoming fall 2008 season, each of the five major broadcast networks is whiter than the Caucasian percentage (66.2 percent) of the United States population, as per the 2007 census estimate. And all of the networks are representing considerably lower than the Latino population percentage of 15.2 percent, with The CW — whose only lead Latina star, JoAnna Garcia, will be playing a white character named Megan Smith on Surviving the Filthy Rich — registering just 3.8 percent. After the quiet and unceremonious departure this winter of eight-season hit Girlfriends (the No. 15 show in all prime time among African-American audiences), The CW’s black comedy block (inherited from predecessor UPN) has shrunk to just two sitcoms: critical darling Everybody Hates Chris (No. 29 among African-Americans) and The Game (No. 7 among African-Americans), which have both been relegated to the dead zone known as Friday nights this fall.
***
“Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes sees progress in her diverse cast and those of other established hits — namely Lost and Heroes. But she still cites room for improvement: ”Do I want to see any more shows where someone has a sassy black friend? No, because I’m nobody’s sassy black friend. I just want to see shows in which people get to be people and that look like the world we live in. The world is changing, and television will have to follow.” True enough: It feels downright regressive to have to point out that minorities can be stars too, at a time when Will Smith continues to dominate box offices, Oprah is the most powerful woman on television, and Barack Obama is running for the ultimate leading role (you know, of the free world).
The article ends on a note of hope:
[C]olor-blind casting is something teen-focused networks seem to have down pat: Nary a show has passed through ABC Family or The N without an interracial coupling or a naturally integrated cast. (ABC Family’s Greek even has an interracial gay couple.) Those networks’ execs say it’s a simple matter of economics, that their Gen-Y viewers accept — nay, expect and demand — such a reflection of their multi-cultural lives. ”They’re completely color-blind,” ABC Family president Paul Lee says of younger viewers. ”We’ve done a lot of things wrong as a nation, but we’ve clearly done something right here. They embrace other cultures.”

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