Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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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

 

Philomena
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references
Release Date:
November 22, 2013

Under the Skin
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for graphic nudity, sexual content, some violence and language
Release Date:
April 11, 2014

 

The Nut Job
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 17, 2014

Rio 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 11, 2014

 

Grudge Match
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Release Date:
December 25, 2013

Dr. Dolittle 2

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2001

Before the opening credits are over, we’ve seen bathroom jokes and sexual humor, but at least this time it’s rated PG.

It really is a shame, because Eddie Murphy is just great as Dr. Dolittle, content to be the straight man to an adorable assortment of wise-cracking animals. And the story is a cute one. It’s a twist on the old classic “Born Free.” Dolittle needs to introduce a tame bear into the forest so that he can mate with the last female of their endangered species, in order to protect the forest from developers. Steve Zahn and Lisa Kudrow provide voices for the two bears so deliciously perfect that we want them to get together as much as Dolittle does. Meanwhile, Dolittle has some problems at home with a teen-aged daughter who has a new boyfriend (rapper Lil’ Zane) and a secret she isn’t ready to discuss.

Parents should know that the movie is raunchier than the usual PG, with a lot of bathroom humor and sexual references (kids may ask what it means to be “in heat”), but it is much milder and sweeter than other Murphy vehicles like the PG-13-rated first episode and the “Nutty Professor” movies.

Families who see this movie should talk about the difficulty of responding to the needs of the family and the responsibility to help others. They may also want to talk about the way that children sometimes feel embarassed by their parents, and the importance of listening to the people you love. Families might want to spend some time in a nature preserve and discuss ways to make sure that animals are treated with respect and dignity.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Cats and Dogs.” They might like to see the original “Dr. Dolittle” movie, a musical starring Rex Harrison.

Driven

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2001

It’s a good thing that the people who will want to see this movie are not too concerned about the plot, dialogue or performances, because the people who made the movie were not too concerned about them either. The plot is predictable, the dialogue is even more predictable, and the performances are barely noticeable. They are just there to give the audience a chance to catch its breath between the scenes that they came for, the scenes with very, very fast cars.

Though it never uses the term, the movie is about Formula One drivers, and the script, by co-star Sylvester Stallone, seems to come from movie script formula one, too, with pieces from the various Rocky films transposed to the world of racecars and himself in the Burgess Meredith/Yoda role. What matters here are the racing scenes, and the racing scenes are worth seeing. Director Renny Harlin (who also directed Stallone in “Cliffhanger”) has a gift for putting the audience in the center of the action, and that is where the movie delivers. When not much is happening on screen, Harlin uses flashy cuts and music-video-style camera tricks with film speed to pump a little more energy into the story.

Kip Pardue (“Sunshine” the quarterback in last year’s “Remember the Titans”) plays Jimmy Blye, a talented young driver who is winning a lot of races and may take the world championship title away from the reigning champ, Beau Brandenberg (Til Schweiger). Beau gets rattled and dumps his girlfriend of three years because she is “a distraction.” Jimmy is coping with another kind of distraction. His ambitious manager/brother (Robert Sean Leonard) is pushing him very hard on and off the racetrack. When Jimmy crashes his car, the team owner (Burt Reynolds) brings in former champ Joe Tanto (Stallone) to provide back up and focus.

There is some story line about which of the drivers the girl really cares about, and something about Tanto’s ex-wife (Gina Gershon, by far the liveliest person on the screen), now married to another driver whom she describes to Tanto as “a younger, better you.” Tanto has to help Jimmy find the part of himself that just loves driving fast (the thing that in “Rocky III” was called “the eye of the tiger” but in this movie is just called “it” or something like that), some choices need to be made, and some old scores need to be settled.

But it is the racing that matters, and that is terrific. Jimmy and Tanto attend a black tie party in Chicago where their cars are on display. In one delirious scene, they impulsively drive the racecars off onto the city streets, slamming around corners, screeching through underpasses, and leaving chaos and admiring onlookers in their wake. The scenes on the track are bone-crunching, heart-thumping, you-are-in-the-driver’s-seat exciting and the crashes are heartbreaking.

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language, smoking and drinking, and tense and scary accident scenes. A character is badly hurt, and another character has been disabled as a result of a racing accident. A character betrays a member of his family and there are other tense confrontations. There are also a lot of girls in revealing outfits, with tiny t-shirts promoting various racing sponsors.

Families who see this movie should talk about how teammates decide when to help each other and when to compete against each other and how to maintain focus on what really matters. They should also talk about the choices made by Jimmy and Beau when one of the other drivers is injured and about why Jimmy’s brother behaves the way he does. They may also want to discuss why people continue to compete in and buy tickets for such dangerous sports, given tragic losses like champion Dale Earnhardt.

Viewers who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Cliffhanger” and two other racing movies, “Days of Thunder” with Tom Cruise and “Winning,” with Paul Newman and Robert Wagner.

Dragonfly

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002

This is another attempt at creating a new “Sixth Sense,” and it falls far short. It is dreary, it is boring, and worst of all, it is phony. And it completely wastes the talents of two brilliant Oscar-winning actresses, Kathy Bates and Linda Hunt.

Kevin Costner plays Joe Darrow, a doctor whose pregnant wife is killed on a humanitarian mission in South America. He is heartbroken. He begins to believe that she is sending him messages through the sick children she used to care for. Somehow, when they have near-death experiences, they communicate with her.

Joe is committed to a rational view of the world, and is torn between wanting to hold on to what he believes and wanting to hold on to what he had with his wife. Finally, the messages are impossible to ignore, and he goes off in search of whatever it is that is she is trying to tell him.

The movie has some highly predictable surprises as Joe gets everything but a telegram showing the weird curvy cross sign that turns out to symbolize a waterfall. As hard as Costner tries, you can’t help feeling that he does not really care that much about it, and neither does the audience.

Parents should know that the movie has a mild sexual situation involving a married couple and some chilling moments. There is also a very mild reference to a lesbian relationship.

Families who see this movie should talk about their own views on life after death and the ability of dead loved ones to communicate with those left behind.

Families who enjoy this movie should watch the vastly superior “The Sixth Sense” and “Truly, Madly, Deeply.”

Down to Earth

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2001

Chris Rock is a stand-up comic. The people behind this movie (the Weitz brothers, of “American Pie” and “Chuck and Buck”) wisely devote 25 percent of the film to Rock’s stand-up routine. Chris Rock is not an actor. He has a likeable comic presence and has made some memorable screen appearances in movies like “Dogma” (as an unrecorded disciple) and “Nurse Betty.” But he is not an actor. He has no capacity to show even the few emotions called for in this movie. During the dramatic and romantic episodes, he always appears to be counting the minutes before he can go back on stage. It is also a real disappointment to see the comic talents of one of today’s most talented actresses, Regina King (of “Jerry Maguire” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) neglected

In this third movie version of the play originally called “Heaven Can Wait” (filmed under that name with Warren Beatty and filmed earlier as “Here Comes Mr. Jordan”), Rock plays Lance Barton, a would-be stand up comic who is prematurely delivered to heaven by an angel named Keyes (Eugene Levy) who did not know that he was supposed to survive a bicycle accident. Keyes’ boss, Mr. King (Chazz Palminteri), a cool, rat pack-ish guy in a dinner jacket, brings Lance back to earth to find him a new body to inhabit. Lance agrees to a temporary arrangement, the body of the world’s 15th richest man, Charles Wellington. Wellington is a white man in his sixties. And he has a young bimbo wife and an assistant who are trying to kill him.

Lance agrees to take on Wellington’s body when he sees Sontee (Regina King), a nurse who has come to tell Wellington off for taking over a local hospital and refusing patients who do not have insurance. But then he has to get used to being seen by the world as a rich white guy. When he tries to do his usual stand-up routine, about the differences between blacks and whites, the audience is shocked and offended. Somehow Sontee sees past his appearance,though. As they begin to fall in love, Lance is reluctant to leave Wellington’s body. But he is able to take what he has learned when it is time to move on.

Parents should know that the movie has strong language, including frequent use of the n-word. (The movie points out that everything depends on whether the word is said by a white person or a black person — this is well worth discussing.) There are sexual references and situations, including adultery and a proposed menage a trois (with two women in bed). A couple’s sexual relationship includes insults and fighting. Characters drink and smoke, and make drug references. Characters are killed (some accidentally) and one commits suicide because he has lost his money.

Families who see this movie should talk about what it would be like to inhabit the body of someone of another race (or gender). Tellingly, since he always appears the same to himself, Lance discovers that a new body he is inhabiting is black only when he tries to hail a cab and none will stop for him. How does humor change, based on who is telling the joke? What jokes do you tell about your own group that might offend you coming from someone else? Are there jokes you might tell among your own group that you would not say in a mixed group? Some families might want to talk about the conflicts between making a profit and helping the community raised by Sontee’s protests.

Families who enjoy this movie should see the two original versions with Robert Montgomery (father of “Betwitched’s” Elizabeth Montgomery) and Warren Beatty.

Previous Posts

Trailer #2: The Box Trolls
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posted 12:12:22pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Heaven is for Real
A movie like "Heaven is for Real" requires two different reviews, one for believers/fans of the 1.5 million-volume best-selling book, one for those who are unfamiliar with the book and whose views about faith and heaven and proof may differ from the evangelical beliefs of the Wesleyan pastor who wro

posted 6:00:04pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Heaven is for Real: The Real Story
"Heaven is for Real" opens tomorrow, with Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo, a Nebraska pastor whose four-year-old son says that he visited heaven during surgery for a ruptured appendix.  It is based on a best-selling book Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back,

posted 3:59:56pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Movie Critic Ann Hornaday Comes Out as...a Christian
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posted 3:59:22pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Gone Girl with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike
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posted 2:33:38pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »


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