Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

The Drop
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language
Release Date:
September 12, 2014

 

The Fault in Our Stars
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
Release Date:
June 6, 2014

Dolphin Tale 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Release Date:
September 12, 2014

 

Fed Up
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic elements including smoking images, and brief mild language
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

The One I Love
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use
Release Date:
September 5, 2014

 

Words and Pictures
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual material including nude sketches, language and some mature thematic material
Release Date:
June 6, 2014

Nothing But a Man

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1964

Duff (Ivan Dixon) is a black man who is a member of a railroad crew, laying track in a small Southern town. He meets Josie (Abbey Lincoln), a local black woman who is a teacher, at a church social. Neither Duff’s nor Josie’s parents think he is a suitable match for her (when he asks her why she is going out with him, she says, “You don’t think much of yourself, do you?”). But she tells him he isn’t “sad” like the men she knows, and that she thought they’d have something to say to each other.

They get married, and he goes to work in the mill. But he cannot accept the hazing by the whites who work at the mill and is fired when a casual remark about “sticking together” is interpreted as an indication of labor organizing. Word gets around, and he is unable to get a job at the other mill or keep jobs picking cotton or working in a gas station. Josie gets pregnant, and Duffs sense of despair at not being able to care for her begins to eat at him. He leaves her, saying, “I ain’t fit to live with no more. It’s just like a lynching. They don’t use a knife, but they got other ways.”

He goes to see his estranged father, who dies from alcohol abuse brought on by his own despair. Duff realizes he has to do better than that. He picks up his young son, who had been boarding in another city, and takes him home to Josie. He says, “It ain’t going to be easy, but it’s going to be all right. Baby, I feel so free inside.”

This thoughtful, quiet movie was not widely distributed when it was made in 1964, but it has had an enduring and well-deserved reputation as a sensitive portrayal not just of a particular moment in the tortured history of race relations in this country, but also as an intimate story of human dignity and the need for connection.

In a way, Duff struggles with the same problem that Mary Kate Danaher struggles with in The Quiet Man — to achieve the sense of completeness and equality necessary to be able to enter a relationship fully. Josie may be right when she tells Duff he doesn’t think much of himself, but he thinks enough of himself to say to Josie’s father, “You’ve been stooping so long, Reverend, you don’t know how to stand straight. You’re just half a man.” When the Reverend tells him to “make ‘em think you’re going along and get what you want,” Duff says, “It ain’t in me.” This is part of what Josie loves about him, part of what distinguishes him from the “sad” men she knows, like her father, who knew who was responsible for a lynching but did not say anything.

Duff sees his father die, broken and alone, and he knows he will do better than that. Duff finds in his son (though he says that he doubts he is the boy’s natural father) what he cannot find in his environment, a way to be more than “half a man.”

The portrayal of the life of the people in this movie is harsh. None of the black characters have warm, loving, intact families. Duff’s failure to be involved in the life of his son may strike some viewers as callous and others as a racist (or sexist) stereotype.

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language, including racial epithets. There are sexual references and situations. Duff’s friend patronizes a prostitute. Duff says he is not the father of the child he is supporting. On a date, Duff says to Josie, “Next time we’ll have to hit the hay or get married, and you don’t want to hit the hay and I don’t want to get married.” When Duff tells his friends he is going to marry Josie, one says he must have “knocked her up.” White men make sexual references about Josie as a way of humiliating Duff. Characters drink and smoke, and a character is an alcoholic.

Families who see this movie should talk about the way that Josie, Duff, and the Reverend all express views of how to interact with white people. How are they different? Duff calls the Reverend a “white man’s n—–.” Is that fair? When Duff asks Josie why she does not hate whites, she says, “I don’t know. I guess I’m not afraid of them.” What difference does that make?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Defiant Ones.

The Butterfly Effect

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2004

This movie is not just pretentious twaddle. It is inept and exploitive pretentious twaddle, not even worth a “so bad it’s good” video rental.

The title comes from the idea, here attributed to “chaos theory,” that the flap of a butterfly’s wing can produce a typhoon half a world away. Ashton Kutcher, way out of whatever league he is capable of playing in, is Evan, a tortured soul who was given to blackouts as a child. Now in college, as his memories begin to come back, Evan regrets not having been able to save Kayleigh (Amy Smart), the girl he loved, from her abusive father. He realizes that he has inherited the gift of being able to go back in time and change the direction of events. But each time he goes back, he makes things worse.

This is an irresistibly intriguing notion — all of us have thought about what would happen if we could go back in time and make a different choice, and the idea has been explored in formats from fairy tales to EC Comics to Twilight Zone episodes. And just about all of them have had more imagination, insight, and even believability than this version. If I could go back in time, I’d try to talk myself out of deciding to watch this movie.

Evan gets to go back to the moment in which he agreed to take his clothes off for a child porn video made by Kayleigh’s father (Eric Stoltz). Instead of saying no or running away or calling the police, 7-year-old Evan’s second chance decision is to explain to Kayleigh’s father in the words of his adult persona that her father should not destroy her life. Somehow, this instantly persuades him to stop molesting her.

Then college-age Evan, back in the present but of course remembering the original reality, is all of a sudden transformed from cool guy with goth roommate to frat boy, with Kayleigh transformed from suicidal waitress to the sweetheart of Sigma Chi.

But oh-oh, when 7-year-old Evan’s compelling powers of persuasion showed Kayleigh’s father the error of his ways, he somehow forgot to include Kayleigh’s brother Tommy, who now, in scenario #2, as the recpient of all of the abuse in the family, is rather over-protective of his sister and apt to get angry at anyone who wants to be her boyfriend. Disaster ensues and Evan has to find a way to go back to another fork in the road to try to make things work out better.

Other scenarios present other problems, including several variations in Evan’s facial hair to help Kutcher and the audience remember which one is which, as we run through a Jerry Springer assortment of every possible form of hideous crime and abuse, including animal torture, child molestation, the death of an infant, prison rape, and drug addiction, all unforgiveably thrown in for shock value and none with any shred of dramatic legitimacy. And wherever he is, psychology teacher’s pet, half-hearted participant in fraternity hazing, confined to prison, or confined to a wheelchair, Kutcher’s acting is not up to the challenge of making even a nosebleed believable. The only thing in this movie that makes any sense is the revelation in the credits that the producer with the poor judgment to put Ashton Kutcher in this mess was…Ashton Kutcher.

Parents should know that the movie has extreme graphic violence. Characters are severely wounded and killed, including children. A character commits suicide and an animal is tortured and killed. Children are also molested (off-camera) and there are references to prison rape. The movie includes nudity and very explicit sexual references and situations, including bondage gear, prostitution, and references to multiple orgasms. Characters smoke (including children), drink, and use drugs (bong shown, character is an addict, cocaine mentioned). Characters use very strong language, including hate speech.

Families who see this movie should talk about moments when they could have made a different choice and how that would have affected the lives of others around them.

Families who are intrigued by this idea will enjoy many better variations on the theme including the original Bedazzled, Frequency, Back to the Future, Groundhog Day, and of course the classic It’s a Wonderful Life. They should also look at this famous butterfly effect story by Ray Bradbury.

Torque

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2004

Ford (Martin Henderson) comes back to town with a score to settle and a woman to win back, just like a cowboy in an old western. Only in this movie, instead of horses, there are motorcycles, very fast ones.

This movie is one percent dumb plot, 74 percent stunts, and 25 percent attitude, or, rather Hollywood’s idea of what passes for attitude. So, Ford is the kind of guy who wears a Ramones t-shirt and a leather jacket that proclaims “Carpe Diem” (sieze the day). He must be the movie’s hero because he and his pals are so photogenically ethnically diverse that they look like they just stepped out of a Benneton ad.

The woman (Monet Mazur) has Hollywood’s idea of a cool name: Shane, a cool profession: mechanic, and a cool way in a fight. And they all say faux-tough lines like “I know you said it wouldn’t be any fun if it was easy, but does it have to be that much fun?”

The action sequences are silly fun, especially a chase scene that has one motorcycle racing on top of a fast-moving train while another rides through the train cars in between the passengers and a chick fight on motorcyles between Shane and a multi-pierced Jaime Pressly. Ice Cube’s appearance is more presence than performance, and Henderson is all about the dimples. But Fredro Starr makes an impression as Ice Cube’s, well, Fredo equivalent, and Faison Love as a gang member and Adam Scott and Justina Machado as FBI agents hold our interest.

Parents should know that the movie has a lot of violence for a PG-13 including many crashes and explosions, shooting, punching, kicking, and strangulation. Characters are killed. Characters drink, smoke, and use strong language, including the n-word and other epithets. One character gives another the finger. Characters ride in reckless and extremely dangerous ways, often without helmets. The plot centers on drug dealing. There are some sexual references but nothing very explicit. The soft drink product placement is particularly intrusive.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Cary ran away and why he came back. What made Trey change his mind about Ford? Practical-minded families might want to talk about the liberties this movie takes with some of the laws of physics.

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the better Biker Boyz and The Fast and the Furious.

Along Came Polly

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Movie Release Date:2004

The writer and star of Meet the Parents reunite in this much tamer comedy about a risk-averse guy who meets a free spirit.

Reuben (Ben Stiller) evaluates risk for a living. When he marries Lisa (Debra Messing), he thinks he has a sure thing. But on the first day of their honeymoon she falls for a scuba instructor, and he returns home alone to an apartment filled with unopened wedding gifts.

He runs into Polly (Jennifer Anniston), a childhood friend, and he asks her out. Can a guy who spends eight minutes a day just putting away and taking out the decorative throw pillows for his bed find happiness with a non-planner, a risk-taker, an exotic-food-lover, and a key-loser?

More important, how many excrutiatingly embarrassing moments will we have to share with Reuben before we find out?

Oh yes, there are many, many “ewwwwwwwwwwww” moments ahead. Reuben’s face collides with a hairy, sweaty torso. Polly drops a candy bar on the street, picks it up, plucks off a hair, and eats it. A man still standing at a urinal wipes his hand on Reuben’s ear. On a first date, while trying to make a good impression, Reuben floods Polly’s toilet by using her grandmother’s embroidered hand-towel as toilet paper. Reuben is constantly struggling to hold in various bodily functions, from controlling his irritable bowel syndrome when he eats ethnic food to maintaining his sexual stamina when he becomes overexcited the first time he and Polly make love. And Polly’s almost-blind ferret keeps slamming into walls. If all of this strikes you as funny, then you probably don’t get out much and then this may be the movie for you when you do.

But you will still have to sit through a lot of dull filler subplots that waste the talents of the stars, including Reuben’s self-centered and obnoxious childhood friend (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a has-been actor still clinging to his one sucessful appearance in a John Hughes-style teen movie, salsa lessons, and a client prospect (Bryan Brown) who likes to jump off buildings and swim with sharks. The characters are overly generic, especially Reuben’s kvetching mother (Michelle Lee) and silent but deep father (Bob Dishy). Hank Azaria, newly Joe Piscopoed into a buff and muscular body that looks like a CGI effect, is wasted as a naked scuba instructor with a Pepe LePew accent. None of the characters are anything other than narrative conveniences and so it is impossible to care what happens to them. I challenge anyone to remember a week after the movie the big reveal about why Polly is such a commitment-phobe. And the attempt to make a bigger point about taking risks and letting go feels formulaic, even cynical.

Parents should know that this movie has very explicit sexual references and situations for a PG-13 including male nudity (full rear view), adultery, spanking as foreplay, and concerns about premature ejaculation. There is also a lot of explicit gross-out potty humor. Characters use strong language.

Families who see this movie should talk about how they assess risks and rewards and how different people are comfortable with different kinds of risks.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Meet the Parents (for mature audiences. They might also like to see Bob Dishy in a movie that includes some similar themes, Lovers and Other Strangers, and another story about a newlywed falling in love with someone else while on the honeymoon, The Heartbreak Kid. Every family should see the classic repressed male meets uninhibited female movie, Bringing Up Baby.

Previous Posts

James Franco's New Movie Mash-Up Series
James Franco has a new series on AOL Originals. He'll be re-enacting classic movie scenes combined with other classic movie scenes. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cNkFIwas0rk?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 3:59:52pm Sep. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Paper Planes
Coming in 2015, "Paper Planes" stars Sam Worthington ("Avatar"). [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h00GHmlFjCs[/youtube]

posted 8:00:37am Sep. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Janelle Monae Tells Sesame Street About the Power of Yet: Just Keep Trying
I told you this was going to be great! Janelle Monae sings about "The Power of Yet" to remind us that if we can't do something, we just have to keep trying. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XLeUvZvuvAs?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:52am Sep. 13, 2014 | read full post »

All the Gilmore Girls Episodes Will Be Streaming on Netflix!
I am delighted that all of the 153 episodes of "Gilmore Girls" will be available on Netflix, starting in October.  This show had some of the most delightfully quirky characters and some of the most witty dialog in television history.  Melissa McCarthy plays the chef and business partner and best

posted 8:00:41am Sep. 13, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Featurette: Last Weekend
Patricia Clarkson plays a sometimes-outrageous and insensitive mother of adult children in "Last Weekend," written and co-directed by Tom Dolby.  I'm delighted to be able to share an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/aqKIrtNo9ZY?re

posted 3:58:26pm Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.