Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Lucy
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Noah
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

And So It Goes
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Finding Vivian Maier
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
April 11, 2014

Wish I Was Here
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

Sabotage
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

Friday After Next

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

This third in Ice Cube’s “Friday” series has something to offend everyone, with highly politically incorrect jokes in just about every category. On the other hand, it is better than the last one, and I have to admit that at the screening I attended, the audience loved it. I’ll even admit that I laughed a few times, too.

This time, it is the morning of December 24, and Craig (Ice Cube) and his cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps) are asleep in their apartment when a burglar disguised as Santa Claus breaks in and steals all of their Christmas presents and the stereo speakers where Day-Day hid their rent money. Their mean landlady and her just-out-of-prison son want that money by the end of the day, so Craig and Day-Day take jobs as security guards at a seedy little strip mall and then have a rent party, which all leads to various encounters with colorful characters.

This is a comedy with no aspirations for anything other than a forgettable good time, so it is unfair to expect it to make sense or respect the dignity of its characters. But I still think it is worth noting that unlike comedy predecessors from Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin through Abbott and Costello, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Steve Martin, and Jim Carrey, all of whom created humor by their failed attempts to fit into the accepted of society, this movie and all of its characters share an unstated assumption that traditional notions of success are barely relevant and even a little depressing.

All comedy is subversive, but this unrelenting bleak insistence on opting out of any opportunity for finding meaning in relationships or work just becomes sad. It is especially disconcerting coming from Ice Cube, whose own life is in sharp contrast. Although the subject matter of his early work with the rap group NWA was very anti-establishment, no one has worked harder within the rules to achieve the most traditional forms of success in producing, writing, and starring in movies. Ice Cube is a fine actor and has appeared in first-class films like “Boyz N the Hood,” “Three Kings,” and his own recent unexpected hit, “Barbershop.”

Parents should know that this movie has extremely strong language, including the n-word. If the movie had been made by whites, it would have been justifiably excoriated for its offensive racial stereotypes. It is racist, sexist, homophobic, and extremely vulgar. In the mall, there is a clothing store called “Pimp’s and Ho’s.” Everyone loves smoking pot, even the police. Everyone lies, cheats, and steals. A character has a threesome. There are nasty jokes about homosexual rape.

Families who see this movie should talk about how the members of the family in this movie do – and don’t – communicate and take care of each other.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the original “Friday,” and the much better “Barbershop.”

Formula 51

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

This “Formula” is missing some key ingredients – like plot, characters, and dialogue.

Here is what it does have: the undeniably cool Samuel L. Jackson (who co-produced) in a kilt, fending off attackers with golf clubs and one funny joke. Unfortunately, it also has Samuel L. Jackson fending off some other attackers by inducing what I will tactfully call severe intestinal distress. And the joke is stolen from “Pulp Fiction,” in a much better scene featuring, um, let me think, yes, Samuel L. Jackson. It also has lots and lots of violence, with many people getting shot or blown up. And there are, oh, about 20 or 30 words in the script that are not profane, though none profane or otherwise that are particularly witty or memorable. It has kilt jokes, though none that are particularly original or memorable, plus I can’t figure out why so many people who live in England which is right next door to Scotland seem never to have seen a kilt before or at least know what it is called.

Jackson plays Elmo McElroy, a pharmacist by training who never got his license because of a drug conviction. So, he spent 30 years cooking up concoctions for a very mean drug dealer (played by rock star Meat Loaf) who not only speaks of himself in the third person but when doing so actually calls himself “The Lizard.” McElroy has an idea for one last big deal to buy his freedom. All he has to do is blow up all of his current customers and sell his latest invention, a drug 51 times more powerful than any ever invented before while avoiding the beautiful assassin who is trying to kill him.

Director Ronny Yu brings out the tired old Hong Kong camera tricks. Every other scene is either sped up or slowed down. He wastes the talented Robert Carlyle and Emily Mortimer. They play characters who have different motivations and even different personalities from scene to scene. They do whatever moves the story forward, which means whatever will cause the most destruction.

Parents should know that the movie has extreme graphic violence and non-stop profanity. The language used includes many exceptionally vivid British swear words, the literal meaning of which may not be familiar to some viewers. The characters are drug dealers (who generally themselves do not use drugs), and there is a generally lax attitude toward substance abuse of all kinds. There is one sex scene that is moderately explicit and brief non-sexual nudity.

Families who see this movie should talk about how McElroy developed the plan that would allow him to achieve his dream (which is not fully revealed until the credit sequence). Why was that dream so important to him? Speaking of dreams, they might like to talk about what it was about this material that made Samuel L. Jackson want to produce and star in it.

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the far better “The Transporter” and Jackson version of “Shaft.”

Forbidden Planet

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1956

Plot: It is the year 2200, and Commander Adams (Leslie Nielson) directs his spaceship to an earth-like planet called Altair-4 in search of a former earth colony, out of contact for many years. They receive a transmission from Dr. Morbius, telling them to go away, but they insist on landing. When they arrive, a huge robot named Robby greets them and brings Adams and two crew members to the home of Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon). Morbius shows off Robby’s many accomplishments, and tells them that, with the exception of Morbius and his wife, everyone else in the colony perished violently, killed by an unseen force, which has not bothered him since. His wife now dead, he lives there with his daughter, Alta (Anne Francis) and Robby. Curious about the men, Alta introduces herself. She has never seen any human other than her father, and her only friends are the animals, descendants of those brought from earth years before.

Morbius explains that a great race once lived on the planet, and he has studied their artifacts. In an attempt to use their minds and spirits to create something, he inadvertently created a creature made up of their fears and anger. It is called the Id. It reappeared when the colonists arrived, out of their subconscious urges. And, with the arrival of the crew from earth, it has come back again. The invisible being damages the spacecraft and kills three of the men before Morbius, realizing that the Id came from within him, renounces that part of himself, destroying both of them. Adams and Alta escape with the crew before the planet explodes.

Discussion: This was the first big-budget science fiction movie, and the only one for over a decade. It is loosely based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” the story of Prospero the Sorcerer and his daughter Miranda, who are alone on an island until a storm brings their former countrymen to them. Robby the Robot is the obedient Ariel. And the Id is the powerful and angry Caliban. The gadgets and special effects seem almost quaint to us now, but the movie is still fun to watch for younger children and it still raises some important questions for older ones.

The Id, of course, is named for Freud’s famous concept of the id, the instincts and impulses of the unconscious mind. Morbius says that he and his wife survived because they were the only ones who loved the planet and wanted to stay, that the monster was created from the fears and jealousies of the other colonists. The implication (more explicit in portions cut from the film), is that it is the jealousy Morbius feels when Alta falls in love with Adams that brings the Id’s destructiveness out again. In a way, this movie is more a way of exploring unconscious feelings we all harbor than it is speculation about life in the future or on other planets.

Questions for Kids:

This story shows the way people more than forty years ago thought about the future. What things might make people’s ideas about the future different now?

It is interesting that the threat in this movie comes not from some kind of space alien or “bug-eyed monster” but from within the humans themselves. If your feelings could create a creature like the Id, what would it look like when you are mad? When you are sad? When you are lonely? When you are happy?

Do you think we will ever have robots like Robby? What would be the best thing about having one? Would there be any disadvantages?

Is the rule making it impossible for Robby to harm any rational beings a good one, even though it makes it impossible for him to protect them from the Id? Can you think of a better rule?

Connections: Robby inspired, among others, the robot in “Lost in Space” and possibly the “Droids” in “Star Wars” as well. Anne Francis also appeared in “Bad Day at Black Rock” (again as the only woman in the story). Leslie Nielson is now best known for his work in wild comedies like “The Naked Gun” series.

Activities: Read or see a production of “The Tempest” and compare it to this story. (Mature high schoolers might enjoy a modern interpretation in a movie called “Tempest,” directed by John Cassavetes.) The idea of robots is a fairly recent one, dating back to a play called “R.U.R” by Karl Capek. Teenagers should read “R.U.R” and I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov, and become familiar with Asimov’s “rules” for fictional robots, including the one forbidding robots to harm living things.

High schoolers might appreciate some exposure to Freud’s ideas about the id, ego, and superego, which were very current in public consciousness at the time of this movie. His book An Introduction to Psychoanalysis is a good place to start.

Extreme Ops

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

They can fake a lot of things in the movies – they can make us believe that Superman can fly, that there are real dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, and that Harry Potter can wear an invisibility cloak and fight a giant three-headed dog. But they can’t fake coolness. One reason is that part of the definition of being cool is that you don’t notice or care whether you’re cool or not and would never exert any effort to try to pretend to be if you weren’t.

“Extreme Ops” is a movie that is fairly successful at faking some pretty cool stunts but a complete failure at trying to create some pretty cool characters. The premise is an obvious pander to the Hollywood notion of what teenage boys think is cool – a group of hotshot extreme sports superstars go to the Alps to film a television commercial and end up having to escape from a Serbian war criminal. So, basically, what we have is an opportunity for three kinds of stunts: get acquainted with the characters stunts, showing off for each other stunts, and getting away from the bad guy stunts.

In between there is some wisp of a plot about tension between the two partners making the commercial (played by slumming British actors Rupert Graves and Rufus Sewell) and a world champion skier (Bridgitte Wilson-Sampras) who thinks she needs to loosen up a little.

Parents should know that the movie pushes the limits of the PG-13 rating. The characters use the in-movies-only euphemism “freakin’” but their behavior exemplifies the show-me-the-rules-so-I-can-break-them extreme culture it tries to evoke. There is vulgar and crude language, brief nudity, and a same-sex kiss (on a dare). Characters drink (one gets drunk) and smoke. Characters are in extreme peril and there is a lot of shooting, but none of the good guys get badly hurt.

Families who see this movie should talk about how different people have different ideas about risk. What kinds of risks are hard for you, and what kinds are easier? Do you think it is odd that none of the characters in the movie seem to have any idea what is going on in the news?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the superb documentary about the origins of the extreme sports culture, “Dogtown and Z-Boys.”

Previous Posts

Behind the Scenes Clip: Adam Levine in "Begin Again"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RhZTVijgpb8?rel=0" frameborder="0"] I have one copy of the wonderful soundtrack to give away!  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Levine in the subject line and tell me your favorite song of the summer.  Don't forget your

posted 3:59:43pm Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Thunder Levin of "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2"
One of the highlights of Comic-Con was the chance to catch up with Thunder Levin, screenwriter of the sensation, "Sharknado" and the sequel, "Sharknado 2," which premieres tonight on Syfy.  The original was remarkable for its over-the-top storyline and even more for the Twitter-nado it inspired.  

posted 7:37:17am Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Contest Winner -- "Earth to Echo's" GoPro Camera
Thanks to all who entered!  This contest had far more entries than any other I've ever run.  Congratulations to the lucky winner! WINNER OF THE GOPRO CAMERA: Susan D. Burkburnett, TX  

posted 11:54:55pm Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Intuition -- A Short Film from Danielle Lurie
I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz. [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101953117[/vimeo]

posted 10:09:01am Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Joseph Nasser of "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway"
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geig

posted 8:00:33am Jul. 28, 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.