Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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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

 

Draft Day
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Release Date:
April 11, 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

 

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

The Bourne Identity

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

“The Bourne Identity” does not have much in the way of plot or characters, but it is a better-than-average guns, gadgets, and chases in interesting locations movie.

The film starts off with a theme that is much more common in films than in real life: amnesia. A shipping vessel just happens to pick up an unconscious man (Matt Damon) out of the sea. The Italian crew also just happen to speak English and just happen to have a medic who removes bullets and a strange information capsule from the man’s back. When he awakes, he is angry, desperate, and doesn’t know who he is. He is dropped off in Europe and tries to work his way to finding his identity, only to be suddenly attacked by people from his past life. He successfully fights them off and pays a woman (“Run Lola Run’s” Franka Potente) to drive him to safety, but at every angle there’s another danger, and the film picks up as the plot unravels, with Damon eventually discovering his name (or one of his names) is be Jason Bourne and researching his past to find out why people are trying to kill him. It’s formulaic but stylish, clever, and fun.

Franka Potente is always fun to watch, and bad guy Chris Cooper (American Beauty) remains one of Hollywood’s finest character actors, but as credible an actor as Matt Damon is, he makes a rather unconvincing action hero. His boyish looks don’t help him when he’s beating people up or jumping off buildings, and his ability to stay clean and perfectly shaven after days without having any chance to wash himself is pretty questionable. One can’t help but think that Hugh Jackman or Pierce Brosnan would have flawlessly executed the role, and seeing the terrific Clive Owen shine in a small role only makes you see how perfect he’d be in the title role. But I guess they needed an American hero.

Parents should know that the movie has lots of cartoonish but sometimes graphic violence and some bad language in English and German. There is a mild and non-explicit sexual situation.

Families who see this movie should talk about how we can ensure accountability for covert operations and how Jason and Marie decided to trust each other.

People who enjoy this film will also like the 007 and Mission: Impossible series.

The Banger Sisters

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

The considerable pleasures of watching Oscar-winners Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, and Geoffrey Rush displaying all of their combined charm and talent are repeatedly tripped up by a lame script that wastes not just its stars but also an enticing premise.

Hawn plays Suzette, an aging free spirit who never quite left the 60’s. She is still working as a bartender in a club and sees herself as the same girl who dropped out of high school to go to concerts and have sex with musicians. But the rock stars who perform there and the club manager are not impressed. She loses her job. So, she decides to find her one-time best pal, Vinnie (Susan Sarandon). But Vinnie is now Lavinia, the very proper of two teen-agers and wife of a lawyer with political ambitions, and she has done her best to eradicate any vestige of her wild youth, even from her own memory. One is all about sensation and the moment and the other is all about being careful and fitting in.

Hawn is marvelous as Suzette, who could be an older version of the Penny Lane character played by her daughter, Kate Hudson, in “Almost Famous.” Hawn shows us not just Suzette’s spirit but also her vulnerability. Suzette has had sex for every possible reason except intimacy. She has given sexual favors to get close to rock stars and to show herself and others that she is a wild and amazing person. When she offers herself to Harry (Rush), a man she met on the road, just to get a place to stay, we see that she has almost completely lost the notion of herself as precious. But then, when she runs into Vinnie’s daughter Hannah (“Traffic’s” Erika Christensen), having a bad acid trip at her high school graduation party, we also see that she can respond to the preciousness of other people. She cares for Hannah tenderly, causing Harry – and the audience – to see that she is more than a careless party girl.

At first, Vinnie is horrified to see Suzette, and offers her $5000 to go away. But Suzette won’t take it. As desperate as she is for money, she finds that she wants friendship even more. And then, as Vinnie discovers that despite her best efforts, she has not been able to protect her daughters from taking risks, she begins to long for that part of herself that was adventuresome and colorful.

Sarandon and Rush are also marvelous, giving Vinnie and Harry vastly more interest than the script does. They are so good that the idiotic arbitrariness of the script doesn’t leap off the screen the way it should. For example, Harry is horrified by his bus trip because two flies landed on his hand and had sex (I know, that was my reaction, too – huh??). So, what does he do? He abandons the bus to ride in Suzette’s skuzzy beat-up car. A character has a loaded gun, a teenager uses drugs and has sex with a possibly untrustworthy boyfriend, another teenager drives without a license and hits a parked car – these are all events that seem to be thrown into the plot so that characters can react to them and then are just abandoned. Characters completely change their minds for no reason.

Families should know that the movie has very strong language, sexual situations and explicit references that include teen sex, a variety of sexual acts, and photographic souvenirs of sexual encounters. Characters drink and use drugs, including teenagers. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll are portrayed as emblems of liberation and a fulfilling life. A character says he plans to shoot his father.

Families who see this movie should talk about how Suzette and Vinnie were changed by their reunion. How will Vinnie’s relationship with her family change? Families should also talk about how much of her past Vinnie should have discussed with her daughters and what they think she was doing well or badly as a mother of teenagers. Parents may want to use this movie to talk about their own choices as teens and how that affected the messages they tried to send their children. Vinnie’s daughter says “You’re allowed to fail; I’m not.” Vinnie says, “I’m just trying to keep you safe.” Harry also wants to be safe. How much risk and how much failure should parents expect or allow from their kids? What does your family think of Suzette’s view that people who love each other fight and argue, and she wants to have someone to argue with. And parents should make sure that their children know the difference between Jim Morrison and Van Morrison!

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Almost Famous” and another movie about two middle-aged women who reunite after going in very different directions, “The Turning Point.”

Tadpole

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

“Tadpole” is as slight and charming as the title character, a 15-year-old prep school kid named Oscar (played by 25-year-old Aaron Stanford) with a crush on his stepmother.

Oscar comes home for vacation determined to tell his stepmother how he feels. But it is harder than he thought. There are too many people around all the time. And, when he does get her alone, it is a challenge to get Eve (Sigourney Weaver) to see him as anything other than her husband’s bright kid. But the biggest complication is that before he can tell Eve how he feels, he is seduced by her best friend, Diane (Bebe Neuwirth in a performance as dry and potent as a double martini).

So, “Tadpole” combines the coming-of-age movie with some moments of sex comedy. Or, maybe coming-of-age movies always have some moments of sex comedy – making fun of the terror and humiliation of loss of control.

It’s a silly premise, but it can be a silly time of life. Oscar is just outgrowing his childhood nickname of “Tadpole.” He is a winning combination of young and old for his age. The movie makes up for its weak and awkward premise with some moments of great humor and subtle insight. Oscar’s talk with his professor father (John Ritter) about the importance of listening, and his own demonstration of the impact of paying attention on Diane’s friends are nicely done. Stanford, Weaver, and Ritter are all first-rate.

Parents should know that the movie has a lot of non-explicit but mature material, including Diane’s seduction of Oscar. Her friends show a lot of interest in him, too. Characters drink and smoke. Oscar gets drunk, which makes him vulnerable to Diane. And Diane tells Oscar that she can only keep his secret if she does not drink.

Families who see this movie should talk about how young teenagers often develop crushes on unattainable objects as a way of experiencing early feelings of love without the complication of intimacy.

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy Breaking Away and Say Anything.

Swimfan

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

Haven’t we all seen this already? Many times? Too many times?

A nice, cute guy who seems to have it all meets extremely attractive girl who promises him guilt-free sex learns the sad lesson that there is no such thing. The big difference this time is that instead of being a lawyer (“Fatal Attraction”) or a radio show host (“Play Misty for Me”), this time the guy is a high school swimming champion.

Even though anyone who has ever seen a movie will know everything that is going to happen, there are some pretty good jump-out-at-you surprises. Having the hero (Jesse Bradford) spend so much time in the pool, wearing nothing but a swimsuit and goggles, adds to the atmosphere of vulnerability and otherworldliness. Erika Christensen of “Traffic” is very effective in her retro good-girl dresses and high heels, and uses her babyface well to switch instantly from innocence to obsession. Overall, though, the movie is a forgettable retread of more effective thrillers.

Parents should know that the movie has sexual references and situations, strong language, and violence. There is a reference to drug testing of athletes that is positive for steroid use.

Families who see this movie should talk about the choices made by Ben, Amy, and Madison.

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the woman-scorned-stalker classics Fatal Attraction and Play Misty For Me. They may also want to try the underrated Alicia Silverstone thriller, The Crush.

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