Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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  New to DVD

Horrible Bosses 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Release Date:
November 26, 2104

 

The Giver
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
November 26, 2014

 

The Expendables 3
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

Little Hope Was Arson
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Not Rated
Release Date:
November 21, 2014

 

The November Man
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Release Date:
August 27, 2014

The Ring Two

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2005

First off, this is the kind of sequel where you really should see the Ring before seeing the Ring Two. In addition to the many visual and character references, you also will understand that the second in the series, while scarier, lacks the first’s novelty and many of its strengths.

Single-mom and journalist, Rachel (Naomi Watts), has packed up son, Aidan (David Dorfman), and the city apartment in favor of a new start away from the killer-video-tapes of Seattle. Settling into their new house in a small town near the ocean, Rachel promises Aidan that they did what they had to do to survive, regardless of the immorality of placing other people at risk of the tape’s deadly curse. No sooner can Rachel say “we are safe now”, then she hears about a local teen who has died from terror in front of his television.

Rachel destroys the new tape only to find that deadly little tape-ghost, Samara (Kelly Stables and, on tape, Daveigh Chase), has designs on taking over Aidan. The chase is on: Rachel must find out how to get Samara out of their lives for good, seeking help from the young ghost’s biological mother (Sissy Spacek in a disappointing cameo as the “crazy” women who mothers seek out for advice on their unruly kids). Realizing she will have to take care of business herself, Rachel dives into a series of watery endings that come together in a muddy puddle, ultimately demonstrating that maternal love wins over evil. Or something to that effect.

The crux of the Ring Two’s scariness is that Samara is free from the rules of the first movie. She pops out of the video and into their lives without the requisite seven-day waiting period and, like Edward Gorey’s Doubtful Guest, shows no intention of leaving. When she makes the Child Protective Services agent assigned to Aidan’s case inject herself in the jugular with a syringe full of air, Samara is showing that this is her world now and it will work to her rules. The dominant imagery in the Ring Two is water and hydrophobic Samara, killed in a well, exercises her nightmares on all those she touches.

Director Hideo Nakata, who was the mastermind behind the Ring’s inspiration (Japanese blockbuster “Ringu” and the less popular “Ringu 2”), excels at atmospherics but is lazy with plot. While spookier than the first, the bare bones of the movie read like a rehashed Lifetime (cable’s “television for women”) drama. A mom protects her child against a threat no one else understands, only to be forcibly removed from her child by authorities, who in turn are punished, and to end the horror, mom must sacrifice herself in some way, thus saving her child.

If you are willing to jump over the plot’s many weak bits, then this psychological thriller is a good-looking spook-fest and a should-see for fans of the original. For those looking for a tight, tense stand-alone horror movie, they might want to peek into another dark corner.

Parents should know that this movie is extremely scary and there is near-constant peril for all the major characters. Younger and horror-adverse audiences will be frightened by numerous scenes and images, including the attempted murder of young children and the suicides of parents. There are deer attacks, attempted drownings, chase scenes, a spooky basement and the non-explicit but horrific off-screen deaths of characters. There is a very graphic “suicide” and references to madness. A character swears in a very memorable and scary scene.

Families who see this movie might want to talk about the consequences of our actions. At the end of the Ring, Rachel made a choice and the Ring Two represents the outcome of her choice. What else could she have done? What are the teenagers in the beginning of the movie choosing to do in a similar situation? What would you do differently?

Families who enjoy watching scary movies together want to watch “Poltergeist”, “The Grudge”, “The Sixth Sense”, or “The Shining”. If they have not yet seen “The Ring” then they should watch that before this sequel.

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2005

Somewhere inside this very mainstream Hollywood confection is a surprisingly subversive little bit of deconstruction. It takes a classic Cinderella theme — the makeover that catches the attention of Prince Charming — and turns it upside-down. This is a movie about an un-makeover.

The original Miss Congeniality was a Cinderella story with Sandra Bullock as the ironically-named FBI agent Gracie Hart. The shy and dowdy girl who snorted when she laughed got a glamour makeover so that she could go undercover in a beauty competition. She unleased her inner bombshell, bonded with her fellow beauty queens, and captured both the bad guys and the heart of a hunky fellow agent.

But there’s no such thing as happily ever after when there’s sequel money to be made, so as this one opens, Gracie’s notoriety has made it impossible for her to do undercover work and the romance has come unraveled. She is given the choice between a desk job and going on the road to do promotional work for the Bureau. While she does not want to become “FBI Barbie,” she does not want to deal with the loneliness and insecurity of her old life, so she gets another makeover, goes on a book tour, and ends up demonstrating her famous SING method of self-defense (that’s “solar plexus, instep, nose, and groin”) on Regis, with the help of Sam Fuller, her hostile new associate (Regina King).

But we have to figure out a way to get some of the other characters from the first movie back into the story, so Gracie’s friends from the beauty pageant (Heather Burns as Miss United States of America and William Shatner as pageant representative Stan Fields) get kidnapped, and Gracie and Sam have to outsmart not just the bad guys but also the local FBI by-the-books types to save the day.

All of this is just a conventional set-up for some outlandish and silly but mildly entertaining farce and a couple of better-than-average wisecracks. Bullock chases and tackles someone she thinks is a Dolly Parton impersonator, dresses up like an old Jewish lady in a wheelchair, and does a lot of racing around in sequins and high heels. But the reversal of the usual makeover/romance theme adds, if not weight, at least a bit more interest.

As producer of the film, Bullock has tailored it around her talents, and her pleasure in the role makes it more fun to watch. The wonderful Regina King (Ray) is unfortunately relegated to scowls and punches for most of the movie but gets to shine in her own set of spangles near the end. Dietrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show,” Napoleon Dynamite) and Eileen Brennan (Private Benjamin) provide some bright moments but the rest of the cast is cardboard-y and practically invisible.

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language and a lot of action-style violence (no on hurt) and peril. There is some sexual humor, some crude jokes, and a joke about drinking. A strength of the movie is its portrayal of strong, loyal, and capable diverse characters, including minorities, women, and a gay character.

Families who see this movie should talk about whether “people care about people who care about themselves.” Why was Sam so angry? What was the most important thing that Sam and Gracie learned?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the original, Legally Blonde, Beverly Hills Cop, and the underrated Guarding Tess.

The Ring 2

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2005

First off, this is the kind of sequel where you really should see the Ring before seeing the Ring Two. In addition to the many visual and character references, you also will understand that the second in the series, while scarier, lacks the first’s novelty and many of its strengths.

Single-mom and journalist, Rachel (Naomi Watts), has packed up son, Aidan (David Dorfman), and the city apartment in favor of a new start away from the killer-video-tapes of Seattle. Settling into their new house in a small town near the ocean, Rachel promises Aidan that they did what they had to do to survive, regardless of the immorality of placing other people at risk of the tape’s deadly curse. No sooner can Rachel say “we are safe now”, then she hears about a local teen who has died from terror in front of his television.

Rachel destroys the new tape only to find that deadly little tape-ghost, Samara (Kelly Stables and, on tape, Daveigh Chase), has designs on taking over Aidan. The chase is on: Rachel must find out how to get Samara out of their lives for good, seeking help from the young ghost’s biological mother (Sissy Spacek in a disappointing cameo as the “crazy” women who mothers seek out for advice on their unruly kids). Realizing she will have to take care of business herself, Rachel dives into a series of watery endings that come together in a muddy puddle, ultimately demonstrating that maternal love wins over evil. Or something to that effect.

The crux of the Ring Two’s scariness is that Samara is free from the rules of the first movie. She pops out of the video and into their lives without the requisite seven-day waiting period and, like Edward Gorey’s Doubtful Guest, shows no intention of leaving. When she makes the Child Protective Services agent assigned to Aidan’s case inject herself in the jugular with a syringe full of air, Samara is showing that this is her world now and it will work to her rules. The dominant imagery in the Ring Two is water and hydrophobic Samara, killed in a well, exercises her nightmares on all those she touches.

Director Hideo Nakata, who was the mastermind behind the Ring’s inspiration (Japanese blockbuster “Ringu” and the less popular “Ringu 2”), excels at atmospherics but is lazy with plot. While spookier than the first, the bare bones of the movie read like a rehashed Lifetime (cable’s “television for women”) drama. A mom protects her child against a threat no one else understands, only to be forcibly removed from her child by authorities, who in turn are punished, and to end the horror, mom must sacrifice herself in some way, thus saving her child.

If you are willing to jump over the plot’s many weak bits, then this psychological thriller is a good-looking spook-fest and a should-see for fans of the original. For those looking for a tight, tense stand-alone horror movie, they might want to peek into another dark corner.

Parents should know that this movie is extremely scary and there is near-constant peril for all the major characters. Younger and horror-adverse audiences will be frightened by numerous scenes and images, including the attempted murder of young children and the suicides of parents. There are deer attacks, attempted drownings, chase scenes, a spooky basement and the non-explicit but horrific off-screen deaths of characters. There is a very graphic “suicide” and references to madness. A character swears in a very memorable and scary scene.

Families who see this movie might want to talk about the consequences of our actions. At the end of the Ring, Rachel made a choice and the Ring Two represents the outcome of her choice. What else could she have done? What are the teenagers in the beginning of the movie choosing to do in a similar situation? What would you do differently?

Families who enjoy watching scary movies together want to watch “Poltergeist”, “The Grudge”, “The Sixth Sense”, or “The Shining”. If they have not yet seen “The Ring” then they should watch that before this sequel.

Sin City

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sustained strong stylized violence, nudity and sexual content including dialogue
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2005

Looming shadows fall starkly across rain-slick streets. A door chain jiggles because a very bad man wants to come in and hurt someone. Hookers pull guns from garter belts. Tough, tough talk comes from bruised lips that dangle cigarettes and spit blood.

The villians are unspeakably evil. The heroes are compromised and overmatched. The city is filled with corruption but the countryside is even worse.

In “Sin City,” two of today’s greatest stylists join forces in an audacious synthesis of graphic novel and movie. It has the logic of a nightmare. It is movie-making pared down to the essentials Pauline Kael once saw on an Italian movie poster: “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”

Copyright 2011 Lionsgate

Copyright 2011 Lionsgate

It is intentionally shocking when it confronts us with heart-stopping cruelty and violence. And it is even more shocking when it finds a terrible beauty in ruination.

Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids) defied the rules of the Directors Guild to bring on as his co-director Frank Miller, the writer/artist who created the Sin City graphic novels. The result is a faithful, shot-for-shot rendition of each stunning panel. Hard, resolute voice-overs accompany stark, inky images. There are brief flashes and flutters of color — red for brake-lights, a heart-shaped bed, a lightning-streaked sky, a sleek getaway car, and for blood. Yellow for the golden curls of a dead hooker and the jaundiced skin of a cowardly villain whose toxic perversions have turned him the color of bile.

Three stories about heroes battling overwhelming odds circle around each other, amplify each other, and ultimately intersect.

Marv (almost unrecognizable Mickey Rourke in a career-restoring performance) is a gigantic brute of a man. “I love hitmen,” he says, “No matter what you do to them you don’t feel bad.” After a beating he says, “My muscles make me a thousand promises of pain to come.” He has had one perfect night of love with a golden-haired prostitute who “smelled the way an angel should.” She said she wanted him. But the next morning, he wakes up in that heart-shaped bed to find that she has been murdered lying next to him.

Marv does not think too clearly. He can hold just one thought in his head at a time, if that. The world always seems incomprehensible and dreamlike to him, especially when he thinks he sees his Goldie again. But this is her twin sister. Marv knows — he thinks he knows — that justice requires him to kill the people who murdered his angel, no matter what the cost.

John (Bruce Willis) is a cop about to retire. He has a bad heart. But he cannot quit until he finds a way to rescue a little girl named Nancy from a man who molests and kills children but is protected by the forces that control Sin City.

And Dwight (Clive Owen) is a man who has made a bad enemy, his girlfriend’s predatory and abusive ex-boyfriend (Benicio Del Toro). Their dispute will shred the fragile compromise between the corrupt cops and the gang bosses that allows the prostitutes to control their own section of Sin City.

This is a masterpiece of technique, bravura film-making with sure and complete mastery of tone, setting, and mood. A lesser cast would be lost, even invisible, but Rourke, Willis, and especially Owen are every bit as arresting as the images around them. Most of the female characters are more props than characters, but Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba make strong impressions.

The film is overwhelming at times, intentionally keeping viewers off-kilter by combining grand heroics, stunning beauty, hideous grotesquery, outrageous butchery, toughness and innocence, tragedy and comedy. This is a movie where a man’s hand is sliced off and then he slips on it like a bananna peel. The entire film exists precisely on the edge between exploitation and artistic statement, ultimately saving itself from toppling over with the sincerity of its tone, the beauty of its images, and the honor of its heroes.

Parents should know that this movie is extremely disturbing. It is not for kids and not for many adults. It is an extremely violent movie with constant, intense, and exceptionally graphic battles and all-out butchery and slaughter. Body parts are sliced off (and eaten — off-camera). People are wounded and killed just about every possible way, including electrocuted, stabbed, impaled, shot, dumped into a tar pit, and sliced up. There are severed heads and other body parts. There are references to child rape and cannibalism. The film also includes nudity, strippers, prostitutes, sexual references, and non-explicit sexual situations. Characters drink and smoke and abuse prescription drugs. They also lie, cheat, steal, extort, and violate as many laws (and commandments) as can be packed into one movie, with some of the most loathsome and vile villains ever put on film.

Families who see this movie should talk about the enduring appeal of such dark stories and characters and the way that co-directors Miller and Rodriguez use the settings and the camera to create mood and character.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the graphic novel series that inspired it as well as some of the movies that inspired them, like The Woman in the Window, Scarlet Street, and Kiss Me Deadly. They will also enjoy films by “guest director” Quentin Tarantino, including Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.

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