Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Love is Strange
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language
Release Date:
08/22/2014

 

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

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

 

Blended
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language.
Release Date:
May 23, 2014

If I Stay
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Release Date:
August 22, 2014

 

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some scary images and mild peril
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

Equilibrium

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

Equilibrium is set in the joyless state of Libria. It is a society built on peace at all costs. In a bid to make the outbreak of war impossible in this post-nuclear apocalypse, early Twenty First Century, all human emotions are outlawed. Any material, such as books or artworks, that might cause people to feel sensations is destroyed, as are those who engage in their production, dissemination or appreciation. Human instincts are kept in check through the regular taking of the drug Prozium. Prozium enables people to give up their own spouses and parents for execution by the state for engaging in “sense crimes”, without guilt or sorrow.

The protectors of this violent peace are the “clerics”. They are highly trained to detect anyone failing to take their Prozium doses and destroy members of the underground who allow themselves to partake in feeling. John Preston (Christian Bale) is a leading cleric, ruthless in tracking down and eradicating sense criminals. He feels nothing about destroying those closest to him. However, after a potent meeting with underground member, Mary (Emily Watson), and a missed dose of Prozium, Preston too begins to allow himself to have feelings.

So, the once emotionless, calculating cleric sets about his task of bringing down the system from the inside. In a world based upon suspicion and a near psychic perception of those who illegally retain their sensations and sensitivities this is fraught with danger. On a number of occasions Preston is almost caught out by his own newly found, emotion-driven folly and the sharpness of his new partner, Brandt (Taye Diggs). Fortunately, Preston is saved by writer/director Kurt Wimmer’s unwillingness to let logic or consistency get in the way of his story.

Equilibrium draws heavily from George Orwell’s classic, 1984. Wimmer substitutes “Big Brother” for “Father” whose voice and features are projected across Libria on enormous television screens, constantly reminding people of the dangers of the natural human state and the devastation it had led to in earlier, less sophisticated societies. Where Orwell has “thought police”, Wimmer has “sense police”. States in Orwell’s world subdue their populations by the need to maintain their war efforts, while Libria’s justifies the abuse of its people through the notion of sustaining peace.

There are a number of interesting issues that Equilibrium sets up to address. In discussions with children these could easily be drawn out, but the film itself descends into a predictable and formulaic shoot-em-up sci-fi action movie. The ninja-based gun fighting style used by the clerics verges on the balletic, but for any admirer of this film genre, they will have witnessed almost identical scenes in The Matrix.

Ultimately, Preston, emotion and beauty win over the dour, controlling Librian state. Rather than straightforward tales of good over evil, the subject of this film means that one is led to question these opposing concepts. Peace is surely good, but then in this case evil derives from an all-consuming quest for peace, which itself breeds violence. Notions of the importance of love, loyalty and joy abound, but glory is also associated with violence and destruction. Equilibrium raises all these issues, and more, for those willing to look into them. Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, the style of the film encourages one to switch off sense awareness and subtle thinking.

Parents should know that the film is violent. The opening scenes show a sense police raid, involving much shooting and death. The closing scenes are of greater violence, big explosions and more death. In between there is intermittent violence and death. Despite this, Equilibrium is not unusually violent movie for this kind of movie and the deaths are not gory. Some younger children might be upset by the sense police’s arrest and abduction of Preston’s wife in front of her young family.

Families who enjoyed this movie may also like: “Minority Report,” “Matrix,” and “Clockwork Orange.” They might also want to read some classic dystopian literature, like Huxley’s Brave New World or 1984.

Muppets From Space

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Preschool
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1999
DVD Release Date:2000

Like all Muppet movies, this latest entry has plenty of jokes to keep the parents happy while the kids are enjoying the story. This time, the story focuses on a question that has intrigued Muppet fans for years: exactly what IS Gonzo? Gonzo feels alone and outcast, even in the midst of the busy Muppet group house. He dreams that Noah refuses to let him on the ark because there is only one of him, and Noah wants only pairs. But then he begins receiving messages and learns that he is an alien, and that his alien family is coming to meet him.

There is a problem, though. Edgar Singer (Jeffrey Tambor of television’s “Larry Sanders Show”), who works at a mysterious government office that tracks aliens, captures Gonzo and orders a scientist to remove his brain for study. Gonzo’s pal Rizzo the Rat is put in a cage with lab rats. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal, and the others set out to rescue them.

The movie has sly references to just about every space movie classic, from “The Day the Earth Stood Still” to “Independence Day” and “Men in Black” (plus “The Shawshank Redemption”), cameos from stars including Andie MacDowell, Ray Liotta, and David Arquette, and a bouncy score of rock classics. While the score draws from performers like James Brown, The Commodores and Sly and the Family Stone, the human performers are overwhelmingly white, a mistake also too often committed by the sci-fi movies so lovingly parodied. With that caveat, and with the further warning that this may not be the Muppets’ all-time best, it is a very pleasant way to spend a quick 90 minutes, and the best movie of the summer for families with younger children.

American Pie

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexuality, crude sexual dialogue, language and drinking, all involving teens.
Movie Release Date:1999
DVD Release Date:2000

This is a movie about teenagers who promise each other that they will have sex before the night of the prom, and then do whatever they can to make it happen. It is one of the raunchiest and most explicit movies ever released by a major studio. The title, for example, refers to an apple pie that the main character masturbates in. A girl explains that she used her flute to masturbate. A boy ejaculates into a glass of beer. Boys hide a camera so they can broadcast pictures of a girl changing her clothes over the internet. A little boy hides in a closet so he can see teens have sex.

Parents whose kids see this movie may want to see it themselves, so they can give kids their own ideas about the appropriate ways to make responsible choices about sex, showing respect for themselves and their partners.

Welcome to Collinwood

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