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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

The Age of Adaline
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Release Date:
April 24, 2015

 

Cake
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Release Date:
January 24, 2015

The Water Diviner
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Release Date:
April 24, 2015

 

Big Eyes
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

Monkey Kingdom
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

 

Wild
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

New in Theaters

grade:
B

The Age of Adaline

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Release Date:
April 24, 2015
grade:
B-

The Water Diviner

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Release Date:
April 24, 2015
grade:
B+

Monkey Kingdom

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Cake

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Release Date:
January 24, 2015
grade:
B+

Big Eyes

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014
grade:
B+

Wild

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Release Date:
December 5, 2014

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Because I Said So

posted by jmiller
F
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, some mature thematic material and partial nudity.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, some mature thematic material and partial nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

I blame “Sex and the City.”


Now everyone thinks that what it takes — or all it takes — for a story about a bunch of women characters to work is non-stop talk about sex and shoes and a complete absence of boundaries. But this film is missing three key elements of “Sex and the City.” First: wit. Second: interesting, distinctive, believable characters and situations. Third: Conversations that are pleasantly racy and edgy between friends are just plain ewwwwwwwwwww when they’re between mothers and daughters.

This movie manages to be offensive and yet dull and predictable, as phony as a Kate Spade sidewalk knock-off bag and as unoriginal as the ready-for VH1 soundtrack. Does it give you an idea if I mention that there are not one, not two, but three intended-to-be-hilarious dropped cakes? And not one of them is actually funny?

With an apparent complete lack of direction and a fingernails-on-blackboard screenplay, all the talented cast can do is race around in a frenzied ditz-fest.


Diane Keaton plays Daphne the supposed-to-be-adorably ditzy, funkily chic, and hopelessly overinvolved mother of three daughters. The older two aren’t important enough for us to care what their names are, but they are played by the should-fire-their-agents-for-this “Gilmore Girls'” Lauren Graham and Piper Perabo. The youngest is Milly (Mandy Moore), also supposed-to-be-adorably-ditzy, who runs a catering service. Her mother says things to her like “Go talk to that guy, but don’t do that thing you do.”


So, what’s an interfering mother to do? The internet is just sitting there, filled with prospective sons-in-law. So, after a brief intended-to-be-humorous interlude in which Daphne gets stuck on a porn site (I hope Gateway didn’t pay for product placement), she posts a “looking for someone for my daughter” ad and soon enough has 17 would-be-suitors lined up for interviews.


And one musician named Johnny (Gabriel Macht) performing in the bar who rescues her from a volunteer therapist who shows up for an impromptu intervention. Daphne thinks she’s found Mr. Right in Jason (Tom Everett Scott), a successful architect. But the musician goes after Milly, too. Soon she’s dating them both. Two problems here: one, there is no reason to believe that Jason would have any interest in Milly, and two, Milly’s failure to be honest with either of them makes her much less sympathetic. Oh, and there’s also a child who enters the picture who makes a lot of only-in-the-movies, intended-to-be-cute-and-funny-but-completely-synthetic comments. But one of these suitors has a handsome dad (Stephen Collins) who makes Daphne think that maybe it’s her own love life she should be fixing. What she should have been fixing is this tedious, unfunny, embarrassing movie, but I’m afraid it’s as beyond repair as those three smashed cakes.


Parents should know that this movie has some crude language and extremely explicit sexual references and situations for a PG-13 movie, including mother-daughters discussions of the pros and cons of thong underwear and circumcised penises, about oral sex and numbers of orgasms. There are some scanty undies, scenes of internet porn (inspiring a dog to hump the furniture), and a brief “humorous” same-sex kiss. Characters do some social drinking and some drinking to deal with stress, loneliness, and nervousness. There is some insensitive racial and ethnic stereotyping and humor involving a possibly suicidal man in counseling that is intended to be humorous but comes across as offensive.


Families who see this movie should talk about how parents know when to step back from their involvement in their children’s lives. And they should talk about how people who care about each other handle the “off days.”


Families who enjoy this movie may enjoy some of the other (and much better) movies about mothers trying to run their daughters’ love lives, including Next Stop Wonderland and For Love or Money. The two wonderful Gary Cooper movies Daphne likes are Love in the Afternoon with Audrey Hepburn and A Farewell to Arms.

The Situation

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and a scene of sexuality.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and a scene of sexuality.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Parents should know that this film contains disturbing wartime violence involving military and insurgent groups. Characters are injured and killed. There are some non-explicit sexual situations. Characters drink, smoke, and use some strong language. A strength of the movie is its portrayal of strong, loyal friendships between people of different races and cultures, even in the midst of war.


Families who see this movie should learn more about the war in Iraq. They may want to review the report of the Iraq study group and updates from the White House.

Families who appreciate this movie will also enjoy the documentaries Gunner Palace, Control Room, and The War Tapes and feature films Three Kings and Jarhead.

Amazing Grace

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material involving slavery, and some mild language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material involving slavery, and some mild language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Parents should know that this film includes frank descriptions of some of the most profound atrocities of the slave trade, including torture and rape. The painful symptoms of Wilberforce’s long-term illness are also included. The movie’s portrayal of extraordinary leadership, courage, and persistance is in the context of positions taken by other characters that by today’s standards are obviously inhumane and racist.


Families who see this film should talk about why Wilberforce was among the first to see that slavery must be abolished. What was different about the situation in Britain that permitted this to be accomplished years before slavery was abolished in America, and without a war? How are the arguments and tactics adopted by the opposition similar to those used in other great debates, from civil rights to women’s suffrage?

Families who appreciate this movie will want to learn more about William Wilberforce and William Pitt, the youngest prime minister in British history. Families will also appreciate Amistad and the groundbreaking television miniseries Roots. The essay “When Mr. Beecher Sold Slaves in Plymouth Pulpit” describes the actions of abolitionist minister Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe) took the dramatic step of staging a slave auction to demonstrate its barbarity. Families will enjoy Bill Moyers’ superb PBS special about the history of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Blood and Chocolate

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence/terror, some sexuality and substance abuse.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence/terror, some sexuality and substance abuse.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

There was enthusiastic applause in the theater when the name of author Annette Curtis Klause appeared in the opening credits. The book, about a teenage girl in Maryland whose werewolf issues serve as a metaphor for the sometimes-disturbing forces in adolescence, has a devoted following. But by the time the movie ended, there were only a few half-hearted claps from that same part of the theater. And the book’s fans were not the only ones who were disappointed.


The movie version’s lead is a little older (she seems to be out of school, with a job in a chocolate shop) and the location has been moved to Romania, for no particular reason.

Vivian (“ER”‘s Agnes Bruckner is a lone wolf, so to speak, regarded with some suspicion by the rest of the pack, and some jealousy, too. There’s some yadda yadda about a prophecy and her being chosen and “these are the ways of our people,” but it boils down to the fact that the leader of the pack, so to speak (Olivier Martinez, oily as always) has picked her to be his new she-wolf. Apparently, they have solved the whole seven-year-itch thing by giving the Big Bad Wolf the chance to select a new mate every seven years. But Vivian is different. The wolf pack loves to find a human to chase and kill, but she just loves to run because it makes her feel free.

Vivian meets Aiden, a human (Hugh Dancy), a graphic novelist with his own backstory, and soon he has her feeling hungry like a wolf, but only metaphorically. A couple of montages later (trying on clothes for the big date, running through fountains, looking up at the sky, all to some faux-indie music),


But wolves have strong feelings about their territory. They don’t like Vivian’s relationship with Aiden. When a confrontation with Vivian’s cousin ends in his being killed (by Aiden’s silver pendant), the young couple has to find a way to trust each other and create their own destiny.


There are a few nice touches — a falling red ribbon, an abandoned historic church, Vivian’s exuberant race through the streets. But the dialogue is weighted with dull claptrap about prophecies and “these are the ways of our people” and howlers like, “If you cared a Goddamn thing about me, you’d have left me before we even met,” the transformation scenes have no special vibrance, and Vivian’s existential angst just seems petulant. This wolf story is toothless.

Parents should know that this movie has intense and explicit peril and violence for a PG-13, including close-up shots of cuts and wounds, and fights with guns, knives, and very sharp teeth. Many characters are injured and killed. Characters use some strong language and drink and one deals drugs. There are some sexual references and there is brief non-sexual nudity.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Vivian felt responsible for her parents’ death. How did Aidan’s family background help him to understand her situation? What will happen to them? Are the wolf people cursed or blessed? Why?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy An American Werewolf in London, The Lost Boys, Sleepwalkers, and Wolf.

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