Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Fury
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

 

Moms' Night Out
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

St. Vincent
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 For mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

 

Earth to Echo
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
Release Date:
July 3, 2014

Dear White People
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

 

Snowpiercer
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Release Date:
July 2, 2014

Sleepover

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

Fourteen-year-old girls at a sleepover party violate every rule they agreed to. They lie, cheat, vandalize, steal, sneak out of the house and into a bar, order a drink with a man they met on the internet, and sneak into a high school dance by telling the girl taking tickets she has to let them in so they don’t turn into a lonely loser like her. This is not a sequel to last year’s searing thirteen. No, this is supposed to be a touching and light-hearted comedy and these girls are its heroines.

Aiming somewhere between Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, this is the story of Julie (Alexa Vega of Spy Kids) and three friends who participate in a scavenger hunt with a significant prize — the favored “power” lunch spot for the whole school year. The losers have to sit by the dump.

Julie and her friends accept the challenge. They have to get a man they meet on the internet to buy them a drink, put their clothes on the mannequins in the Old Navy store window, and steal a security guard’s car decal and the boxers of the boy of Julie’s dreams. Even though Julie promised not to leave the house, she and her friends sneak out, leaving her college drop-out brother to cover for her. At the club, it turns out that the internet mystery date who thinks Julie is a grown-up and a swimsuit model is none other than the girls’ nerdy teacher. Ewww.

Once that gets sorted out and the girls have given him a makeover so that he can pick up a hot chick (ewww again), they are off to finish off the list. This has them climbing on a roof, running away from a security guard and locking him up, hiding in a shower stall while a boy takes off all his clothes and then stealing his boxers, and driving without either permission or license. They cause a lot of damage for which they take no responsibility. And while the movie pits the nice girls against the mean girls, by the end of the movie it is hard to tell them apart.

Vega and the other girls are appealing performers, especially Mikka Boorem as Julie’s best friend and Jessica Simpson-lookalike Sara Paxton as the snooty Mean Girl Stacie. The “why can’t you understand I’m growing up” and “how can I survive if my best friend moves away?” and even the white-out toenail polish elements of the plot will ring familiar with the intended audience, but they may be a little befuddled by seeing the girls dance to a Spice Girls song that was last popular when the girls in the movie were in second grade.

The movie’s irresponsible portrayal of extremely risky and destructive behavior and its distorted notion of grrrl power make it truly disturbing. The exaggerated hijinks are merely unfortunate. But the attempt to portray the girls as smart, caring, and loyal when they mindlessly buy into the mean girls’ game and standards catapults to the movie from unfortunate to reprehensible.

Parents should know that this movie is filled with the kind of parental concerns that are not factored into the MPAA’s rating system and they should think carefully about the film’s appropriateness for its intended age group. As noted above, the main characters sneak out of the house after promising not to. They make a date with a man they met on the internet with the plan of getting him to buy one of them a drink. Boys sneak into Julie’s house and steal underwear. Julie dresses up to look older and they sneak into a club that serves liquor. She orders a drink called “Sex on the Beach.” She hides in a shower and watches the boy she likes undress (from the rear, nudity offscreen) and then she steals the boxer shorts he has just removed. They vandalize store window mannequins and mistreat a security guard, damaging his car and locking him in the store window. One of the girls loses a boyfriend by refusing to “hook up” with him (apparently she bragged to her friends that she had, however). Characters make an overweight girl feel bad about herself (some intentionally, one unintentionally), but despite some half-hearted attempts to suggest otherwise, the girls too often evaluate themselves by whether they are well-regarded by boys. Girls drive without licenses and in one case without permission. Many characters lie, including Julie’s father, who lies to her mother when he causes damage to the ceiling. There is also some bathroom humor and intrusive product placement.

Families who see this movie should talk about why the lunch table location was so important, why Julie and her friends let the other girls determine what the tests would be, and whether Julie will tell her mother the truth about what happened. They should talk about why Julie and Stacie stopped being friends and what parents and young teenagers can do to get used to the idea that kids are growing up. How did the events of the evening make Ren feel differently about returning to college?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the better Snow Day and The Babysitter’s Club.

Anchorman

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

Remember the old “Spanky and Our Gang” episodes where the boys wouldn’t let Darla into the treehouse? Imagine that plot set in the all-white-guys world of 1970’s television news, when there were only four stations to watch and “everyone believed what they saw on TV.”

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) has got it all. He is the anchor of the top-rated news program in San Diego alongside his His best pals, sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), and reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd). They cover stories like a water-skiing squirrel and a pregnant panda. He gets to go to lots of swinging parties. And he has great hair. Life is just about perfect.

And then there comes that pesky word “diversity.” Ron learns that diversity is not a famous Civil War battleship but the reason that for the first time the news team will include a woman, the beautiful, talented, and very ambitious Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate).

There are a bunch of “no girls allowed” jokes and a bigger bunch of “weren’t the 1970’s a hoot” jokes, including a soundtrack of cheesy oldies and references to the importance of musk-fragrance cologne. The story runs out of steam and disintegrates into a bunch of uneven skits, not surprising as Ferrell and his co-scriptwriter, director Adam McKay come from “Saturday Night Live.” But there are moments of inspired looniness (a dog named Baxter has the funniest lines in the movie) and Ferrell the performer keeps hitting enough comic moments out of the park to keep it very watchable.

Most comedians, especially those gifted in physical comedy, have a show-offy “look at me!” quality that bespeaks years of practice in distracting and even disrupting whole classrooms filled with their earliest audiences. But what makes Ferrell so endearing is his complete and fearless absence of any ego. He has a complete absence of vanity in allowing himself to appear to be vain. He doesn’t throw himself into the character as much as hurl himself into it, utterly and completely. The result is magnificently funny. He laughs, cries, fights, falls in love, and sings so whole-heartedly that it is mesmerizing and hilarious at the same time.

It’s too bad that the script does to the talented Christina Applegate what the newsroom guys to do Victoria. She is primarily called upon to look as though she is trying to maintain her composure despite being surrounded by idiots. Carell is a stand-out as the dimmest of the news crew’s dim bulbs, and there are several guest appearances to help hold our interest.

Parents should know that the movie has extremely mature material for a PG-13, even for this “slob comedy” genre. Characters use very strong language and there are especially graphic sexual references and situations and crude humor. The movie has comic peril and violence. Characters drink and smoke a great deal and there is a reference to drug use. One character’s arms are hacked off and others are killed.

Families who see this movie should compare the opportunities and expectations for women in the era of the movie to today’s and talk about how much has changed and what still needs to change. How has the way we get our news changed since the 1970’s? What is better and what is worse?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Ferrell’s appearances in Old School (mature material) and Elf. They will also enjoy a less silly take on television journalism in Broadcast News.

The Corporation

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2004

This documentary from writer Joel Bakan and directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott argues that “today’s dominant institution” is not government or the church but the corporation. While Michael Moore participates and provides some of the film’s liveliest moments, the film mostly presents its evidence without Moore’s brand of incendiary brash insouciance, and is even more chilling for doing so. Instead of Moore’s snarky saracasm a calm, almost robotic female voice recites the narration as though it is asking you to please hang up and dial again. The feeling is of a world vacated by any human qualities.

The film-makers let the participants tell the story. A Wall Street trader explains that while the terrorist attacks on September 11 were very sad, his fellow traders’ first thought was how it would affect the price of gold. Then he reassures us that his clients did fine, because he correctly predicted that gold would go up. “In devastation there is opportunity,” he explains. The head of a firm that advertises toys and candy to children is paid to figure out ways not just to persuade children to want the products but to encourage children to nag their parents to get them. When asked whether this is ethical, she does not seem to understand the term.

Shareholder activist Robert Monks quotes Lord Thurlow: “Did you ever expect a corporation to have a conscience, when it has no soul to be damned, and no body to be kicked?”

Our laws have declared a corporation to be a legal “person” when it comes to rights, but not a person when it comes to limits, except for limiting its liability for harm that it inflicts. It is not subject to the most universal and permanent limitation that applies to humans because unlike a person, a corporation lives forever. The combination of perpetual life, imperviousness to punishment, and a legal and cultural commitment to creating shareholder wealth as its sole obligation have created an entity that, according to Monks, is like a shark. It maximizes its profits by “externalizing” all of its costs.

The film-makers have organized their critique around the criteria for diagnosing psychopathology. Their view is that if the corporation is a “person” it’s mental state can be evaluated according to the provisions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Compared against that list — inability to maintain long-term relationships, tendency to lie, lack of concern for the impact of its behavior on others — the corporation gets a diagnosis that indicates severe pathology.

Parents should know that the movie is not rated. Its content may be disturbing for some viewers, but it raises very significant questions for discussion with mature children and teenagers, especially about the influence of advertising and the challenges of accountability.

Families who appreciate this movie will also appreciate Michael Moore’s television series The Awful Truth.

King Arthur

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

Saying that this “King Arthur” is “The Truth behind the Legend” is an overstatement of epic proportions, making the movie’s tagline the only thing epic about it. The battle scenes, the dialogue and the attractive actors all place this film squarely in the realm of summer popcorn flicks – entertaining and briefly uplifting but not destined to linger in memory, much less in history.

The story sounds complicated, especially considering that it jettisons just about everything you expect in a story about King Arthur but the Round Table. It piles on the history, but there is just enough plot to fill the scenes between battles.

Arthur and his severely depleted Round Table of six knights have completed the fifteen year tour of duty guarding Hadrian’s Wall required of them by Rome. Arthur’s knights are conscripts from Samaria, young, pagan horsemen from the Steppes of present day Georgia/Russia, who cannot return home without safe passage papers from Rome. Meanwhile, half-Roman/ half-Celtic Arthur hopes to be reuinited with his friend, the moral reformer, Christian, and free-will proponent Pelagius, to partake of the democracy and equality that Arthur believes now rule Rome.

However, the Bishop who carries their release papers also brings the news that Arthur and his men have one final mission to complete: they must cross Hadrian’s Wall to face the blue-painted tribes to the North led by the sorcerer-warrior, Merlin, in order to retrieve a noble Roman family, a sort of Saving Private Roman. The hitch is that Rome is abandoning Britain to the conquest-hungry Saxons who are landing on the island’s shores as Arthur’s men celebrate their impending freedom at the local tavern. Needless to say, Arthur rescues a damsel, skirmishes with the Saxons, learns that the Rome of his dreams no longer exists, and, by the time the drums herald the final battle, finds a new mission in life .

If only Clive Owen were not so very easy to watch, this “King Arthur” would be soggy fare at best. As the title character –-albeit “King” for only two of the movie’s 210 minutes -— Owen’s Arthur is a hard-eyed study in leadership, asking nothing of his fighters that he would not do himself. He communicates well the difficulty in balancing on the sword’s edge of living by a code of equality and simultaneously determining the fates of others. It does not hurt the movie that Owen wears his chest plate well. Danish film star, Mads Mikkelsen, plays the knight Tristan with a feral charisma that might make Isolde and her contenders swoon, while Stellan Skarsgard as the leader of the Saxons projects a natural, grumpy style of leadership that contrasts nicely with Arthur’s more magesterial approach.

It is too bad that many of the other folks onscreen mistake facial hair for acting. As a Saxon invader, Cynric (German tough guy Til Schweiger) glowers as if he is suffering from a massive hang-over. Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd, hiding the talent he displayed in Black Hawk Down behind his beard) moons about in the background, while the rest of the knights have just enough character to hold up a sword but not to add much to the story.

The tale of Arthur is significantly refreshed by having a strong female figure as a colleague on the battlefield and not just as a trophy, even though Guinnevere’s avenger in a leather bikini is something of a distraction. Kiera Knightly plays Guinnevere, re-imagined here as a Bodicea-styled warrior princess of the Britains, as if she were back on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean with a bit of Kill Bill thrown in for good measure.

Those looking for the familiar terrain of King Arthur’s legend — the silvery arm holding Excalibur aloft, the search for the Grail, and the illicit love between Lancelot and Guinnevere — should head to the library or the video store. Those in search of the true stories behind King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table can look to Celtic, Scottish, Welsh, Roman and Assyrian legends. But those looking for some memorable battle scenes and some attractive actors without too much plot to slow things down can fill up the popcorn bucket and sit back for some summer entertainment.

Parents should know that this movie has many battle scenes and deaths, with the lots of swords flashing and arrows flying, even if they do not depict gore and explicit violence. Young Arthur sees his town burnt and knows that his parents have been killed, which will disturb some children. Several victims of torture are shown in weakened states and refer to machines of torture. Two characters have a sensual scene with non-explicit sex. Characters talk about women, sex and their physical attributes. Arthur’s men drink to celebrate and drink to mourn loss.

Families who see this movie may wish to discuss leadership and the characteristics that inspire loyalty in this movie, as displayed by Arthur, Merlin, and the Saxons. The horror on the face of the Bishop’s men at the sight of the famous Round Table is a statement on hierarchy. Families might wish to talk about the notion of equality that Arthur discusses versus the manner in which the Romans are depicted. The concepts of freedom, duty, and service are all used frequently in describing reasons for battle. Do you think these rallying speeches are moving? Do you think other factors (and if so, which) are what motivate the troops?

Families that enjoy this movie might wish to see Excalibur (mature audiences) and A Knight’s Tale. Those looking for more humorous takes on the theme of knights might enjoy Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which has mature humor), while an uneven movie it is one of the most quoted movies of all time for its absurdly funny sketches of King Arthur’s knights. Alternatively, renting the classic The Court Jester is highly recommended for all audiences. Other versions of this eternally appealing story include the Lerner and Lowe musical, Camelot, Disney’s animated The Sword in the Stone and many versions of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Families looking for a good read on the subject of King Arthur, but one that takes its perspective from the women of the story, are recommended to pick up “Mists of Avalon” (mature audiences), but to ignore the made-for-TV movie that it inspired.

Previous Posts

Best Movies About Writers
Flavorwire has put together a great list of the 50 best movies about writers. It's always tricky to make a writer interesting on film. On one hand, you have the advantage of a character who is likely to be witty and eloquent. Movies are written by writers, so they have some insight and appreciatio

posted 3:37:07pm Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Great News About Now You See Me 2
You didn't think Arthur Tressler was going to let them get away with it, did you? I am very happy that one of the most entertaining films of 2013, Now You See Me is getting a sequel and the stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, and Woody Harrelson, are back, alo

posted 8:00:59am Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

In the Footsteps of St. Peter
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4c7qh9hMVY[/youtube] David Suchet (PBS' Hercule Poirot) is the host of In the Footsteps of St. Peter, out tomorrow on DVD.

posted 3:55:57pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Wrong About Critics, Wrong About Movies, Wrong About Faith
I am not going to give the people behind the idiotic and offensive press release I recently received the recognition of identifying them by name, but the claim that they make is one I have heard often enough I need to respond. The headline: Film Critics Don't Get Faith Films. This shows no understan

posted 2:36:30pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Disney Announced a New Animated Film for 2016: Moana
Entertainment Weekly reports that Disney has announced a new animated feature to be released in 2016: "Moana," with a Polynesian heroine in search of a fabled island. With Disney greats Ron Clements

posted 1:59:28pm Oct. 20, 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.