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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

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

 

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

Ex Machina
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Release Date:
April 17, 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

True Story
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some disturbing material
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+

Monkey Kingdom

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

Ex Machina

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Release Date:
April 17, 2015
grade:
B

True Story

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some disturbing material
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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Little Man

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor throughout, language and brief drug references.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor throughout, language and brief drug references.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

The Wayans family is better at making money than making movies. They know that if they keep the budget low and the humor even lower, they can keep making money. In fact, according to Entertainment Weekly, they are the most successful family in Hollywood. “Over the past 20 years, Wayans sibs like Kim (Juwanna Mann) and Damon (ABC’s My Wife and Kids) have written, directed, produced, and/or starred in more than 45 movies and television shows…And the family boasts a combined domestic box office of over a billion bucks — a hefty $331 million of which comes from the powerhouse trio at the forefront of the Wayans dynasty, Keenen, 48, and brothers Shawn, 35, and Marlon, 33.” Like Adam Sandler, they figure that if they can make that kind of money without paying much attention to the script, why bother?


Most of the budget for their latest movie went to special effects. Actually, one effect. Marlon Wayans plays Calvin, a tough, mean career criminal who is the size of a one-year-old. His head is imposed on the body of a little person or a child throughout the film.


Calvin and his partner (SNL’s Tracy Morgan) have stolen a great big diamond. But they had to stash it in the purse of the upwardly mobile Vanessa (Kerry Washington), who is resisting the urging of her husband Darryl (Shawn Wayans), who wants to have a baby. So Calvin puts on a diaper and a bonnet and masquerades as a baby to get taken into their home and steal back the diamond.


Vanessa and Darryl don’t know much about babies, so they can’t tell the difference between an adult male (even one with a full set of adult teeth with bridgework and a tattoo) and a toddler. Somehow, even their friends who have children and a pediatrician they consult don’t figure it out, either. This creates an opportunity for Calvin as baby to get access to female bodies that Calvin as man enjoys very much. And it creates an opportunity for Calvin as baby to inflict pain on male bodies that Calvin as man seems to enjoy even more.


Then there are the unintentional indignities imposed upon Calvin, most vividly the rectal thermometer.


This is among the intentional indignities inflicted on the audience, along with a plot that even by the low standards of dumb comedies makes no sense. Calvin is treated like a one-year-old in some scenes, like a five or six-year-old in others. The adult characters are inconsistent, behaving fairly normally in some scenes and then going over the top when the movie is lagging, which is just about all the time. Marlon makes a lot of faces (that’s all he has to act with). Shawn shows some actual appeal that could make him a very effective performer in a movie that gave him more to do than act as straight man to a demon child. The exquisitely talented Kerry Washington (Ray) is wasted in a part that has a supposedly successful professional woman squealing over her aging father and not noticing that she is having sex with someone considerably shorter than her husband. And, again, they steal and debase jokes from better movies, this time a final twist from one of the Hope and Crosby “Road” movies. Little man, little effort, little result.

Parents should know that this movie features a great deal of very crude humor including jokes about genital size, pregancy, pretending to be a woman’s husband to have sex with her, breast-feeding, child molesting, and prison rape. There is also a great deal of crude bathroom and body part humor. Characters use crude language and some four-letter words and one of them gives the finger. There is a great deal of comic (and less comic) violence including many crotch hits, head bonks, and gun threats. A character engages in some macho discussion of the importance of men being tough and beating each other up in a football game and the point of view of the movie is that the way to respond is to beat up the people who say that.


Families who see this movie should talk about how people decide when they are ready to have children and why Calvin’s feelings and priorities changed when he was treated kindly.


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy other Wayans brothers movies (very crude humor).

You, Me and Dupree

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity, crude humor, language and a drug reference.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity, crude humor, language and a drug reference.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Remember the classic comedy The Odd Couple? This is sort of the same movie, only it’s the odd triple and it isn’t very funny.


Adorable newlyweds Molly (Kate Hudson) and Carl (Matt Dillon) are just back from their honeymoon when Carl’s best friend Dupree (Owen Wilson) loses his job and his apartment. So, Carl invites him to stay with them for a few days.


But Dupree is a case of arrested development crossed with poor impulse control who somehow missed that train to grown-up-ville. He breaks things. He intrudes. He creates chaos. He seems hurt that he isn’t Carl’s top priority anymore, even jealous. So, he does what has always worked at getting Carl’s attention. He listens and supports Carl and he encourages him to go back to a carefree bachelor life.


While this is going on, in what appears to be a plot from another movie, Carl is having problems with Molly’s over-attached and highly competitive father (Michael Douglas), who happens to be his boss, and gives him a big promotion while urging Carl to change his last name and get a vasectomy.


There have been many memorable, touching, and very funny movies about free-wheeling character who shake up the lives of sober, responsible people, but this is not one. It is unpleasantly misogynistic, the women all prudes and scolds, the men all terrified of what might happen if they break the rules.

Wilson, who also produced, switched directions mid-movie. Dupree starts out as an immature clod and then turns into a supposedly-loveable Lost Boy who was somehow left behind and serves as an innocent inspiration until he is lucky enough to find his own path to growing up. That’s where the movie goes off the rails. Wilson makes the same mistake the character does of assuming that he is irresistibly forgiveable, a crime in itself unforgiveable. He wears out his welcome even faster than Dupree does.

Parents should know that this has some very strong material for a PG-13, including some strong and crude language and sexual references. A character is called a slut, characters talk about porn and discuss titles of various Asian porn movies, and a character masturbates to porn, there is discussion of vascectomies with a diagram showing what is done. The movie has some violence, mostly comic, with minor injuries. For no reason whatsoever, a minor character is supposed to be Mormon and therefore straight-laced.


Families who see this movie should talk about friends who are not always accepted by their families and how sometimes we can be close to people and then grow in different directions or have to rethink the relationship when the other person does not grow. They should also talk about why it was hard for Carl to talk about his feelings and why Molly and Carl liked different things about Dupree.


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Odd Couple and The Man Who Came to Dinner. A slyly spicy movie about a three-way relationship is Noel Coward’s Design for Living. Families will also enjoy some of the cast’s earlier work, including Dillon’s My Bodyguard and Wilson’s Bottle Rocket. Charles Dickens wrote about Dupree-like characters Mr. Dick in David Copperfield and Harold Skimpole in Bleak House.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

posted by jmiller
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of adventure violence, including frightening images.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of adventure violence, including frightening images.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This is what big summer blockbuster studio movies are all about — love, honor, humor, villains evil enough to make it really satisfying when they are beaten and scary enough to keep you wondering whether it’s possible, and thrilling stunts and big explosions.

It’s summer. We don’t want to think too hard. A little silliness is fine, and we’re more than willing to abandon any thoughts about whether this bears any relation to history or reality or the laws of time and space. We do ask, though that someone has thought it through at least enough so that we can enjoy it without any intrusive “Hey, wait a second” moments. And of course it helps to throw in some cannibals, a voodoo enchantress, an undead monkey, a guy with an octopus head, and the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. The result is a perfect popcorn pleasure, one of the most sensationally entertaining movies of the year.


It is supposed to be the wedding day for Elizabeth (Kiera Knightly) and Will (Orlando Bloom). But they are arrested for helping Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) escape. Unless Will can find him and bring back something in Sparrow’s possession to give to the ambitious aspiring governor, they will both be executed. So Will goes off in search of Sparrow and Elizabeth goes off in search of Will.


But they are not the only ones looking for Sparrow. There are some cannibals who are deciding whether they will be better off with him as their god — or their main course. And then there’s the little matter of Davy Jones, he of the “locker” where the spirits of the deep are kept. He sails in the famous ghost ship called the Flying Dutchman with a part human/part sea-creature crew that includes Will’s father. And they want something from Sparrow, too.


This gives us plenty of time for swashbuckling sword fights (including one on a mill wheel that is near Indiana Jones quality), deliciously dangerous predicaments and clever getaways, true love, and non-stop adventure. The screen almost explodes with visual splendor so witty and imaginative that the production designer shouldn’t just get an Oscar; he should get a MacArthur genius grant.


So does Bill Nighy (the addled rock star from Love, Actually) for managing to not just make us believe in the octopus-face, but managing to act through it as well. His eyes and voice are magnificently expressive and deliciously malevolent. Naomie Harris has a blast with a deliciously witty performance as a voodoo priestess who has what appears to be squid ink leaking from her tattoos. She has no illusions about Captain Jack Sparrow but gets quite a kick out of him.


Director Gore Verbinski stages the imaginative stunts with high spirits and keeps things moving. He also manages to give the audience enough time with the characters to keep us involved and on their side. And the cliff-hanger ending — and promise of Keith Richards as Sparrow’s father — leave us happily hungry for part III.

Parents should know that this movie has non-stop action-style violence, including a scary sea monster with a zillion teeth. At times it is very intense, with characters injured and killed. A son is whipped by his father leaving bloody wounds. While most of the rest of the film is not gory, there are some gross images some audience members will find funny but others may find disgusting and overly graphic. There are some mild sexual references, and characters drink rum. It does not include the usual four-letter words, but there is some vivid and salty sailor-talk. Some audience members may be disturbed by references to the occult.


Families who see this movie should talk about why the compass stops working for Jack. What is important to him? How can you tell? Families might also like to investigate the source of some of the legends in this film like the flying Dutchman and Davy Jones’ locker.


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the original, The Crimson Pirate, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Gene Kelly and Judy Garland in the musical The Pirate, and the underrated Shipwrecked. The classic ride at Disneyland and Disney World has been redesigned with changes from the movies, including the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow. Check here for updates.

Superman Returns

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Superman has returned. In the movie, Superman (now played by Brandon Routh) comes back to earth after five years in search of his roots on the exploded planet Krypton, and the inhabitants of earth are overjoyed. In real life, Superman has come back to summer audiences in search of the popcorn pleasures of explosions and flying, and the inhabitants of earth will be, if not overjoyed, happily entertained.


Routh is better than he needs to be. He’s a Superman with soul who makes his soaring flights expressions of his existential longing. But superhero movies depend on their villains, and this one has Kevin Spacey happily chewing up every piece of scenery in sight as Lex Luthor and is almost sinfully entertaining. He just loves being bad and we love watching it.


Director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) nimbly navigates the tricky balance between the old-school purists (the Lois and Jimmy of the 1950’s television show have cameos and there are clever connections to the original comic book, the 1930’s radio program, and the 1978 Christopher Reeve movie) and 21st century sensibility, with existential questions: does the world need Superman? Does he need us?


Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) does not think so. She has a fiance, a dashing pilot named Richard (James Marsden, switching from Marvel’s X-Men to D.C.’s Superman) who conveniently happens to be the nephew of choleric editor Perry White. She has a son named Jason, a cute kid with long hair and asthma. And she has a Pulitzer Prize for an editorial arguing that the world is better off without Superman.


But before Perry can say “Great Ceasar’s ghost” Supe has suited up and is rescuing Lois again. She’s on a fancy new jet, covering its first flight, when everything goes wrong. The rescue is thrillingly staged, the kind of sequence summer popcorn movies are made for. Routh has the square jaw to make us believe in the man of steel and the puppy eyes to make us want to hang a poster in our locker after study hall. He and Bosworth make a picture-perfect couple, with their matching chins and dazzling smiles. The special effects are gorgeous; the bad guy is deliciously evil.


But it is easier to like than love. Traditionally, people have fallen into one camp or the other: Superman or Batman. There are those who like the dark, brooding, vulnerable Batman and those who prefer the more optimistic, confident, sometimes naive, outgoing Superman. Perhaps concluding that no one wants to see a cornfed boy from Smallville spout off about truth, justice, and the American way, this Superman is isolated by the mandate of the father he can barely remember. He was sent to Earth to help humans find their best selves and to protect them from their worst. That creates a barrier that prevents him from getting close to anyone. He loves Lois. He longs to be close to her. But he knows he cannot be what Richard is — a guy who can be there to help make dinner and pick up Jason from day care. He knows he must be willing to sacrifice everything, even his own life, to protect humanity. And Richard knows he can never be what Superman is, the man Lois loves. And of course Lex has some surprises for Superman, including a blade made from Kryptonite. Even Jason knows a few things that will surprise the adults in his life.


That’s a pretty soapy plot for a superhero movie. Some will find it rich and complex; some will find it overstuffed. It underuses some of its greatest resources, like Parker Posey (who looks sensational as Lex’s sidekick but doesn’t have enough to do) and Kal Penn as one of his indistinguishable henchmen. Some will admire the way Superman doesn’t just fly, but hovers. Others will think all that overlay gets in the way of the popcorn-chomping scenes and that Superman’s hovering makes him float like Tinkerbell. That pockmarked “S” on his chest looks like it was cut out of a bath mat, and the cape, while it billows nicely, is too dark. And the ending is not exciting enough to be a cliffhanger or satisfying enough to give a sense of resolution.


Still, Superman flies into space, lands an airplane in a baseball field, and rescues people all over the world. Bullets shatter when they hit his eyeball. He gives us the pleasure of watching a terrible villain, secure in the knowledge that Superman won’t let anything bad happen to us. Does the world need Superman, even a lonely, sometimes melancholy one? You bet we do.

Parents should know that the movie has a great deal of action-style (very little blood) violence. Characters are injured and killed and a child is in peril. Spoiler alerts: Superman is beaten and stabbed; some graphic and disturbing images. There is some crude language (pissed, crap) and there are some double entendres and mild sexual references. Lois is not married to the father of her child. Spoiler alert: the issue of the child’s paternity is raised.


Families who see this movie should talk about why Superman wanted to see what was left of Krypton. Older viewers might want to talk about some of the story’s themes parallel the New Testament or classic myths. They should talk about how Superman was created by a pair of teenagers who sold their idea for $130.


Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy all of the various depictions of Superman, going back to the original comic books, the television series (“Superman,” “Lois and Clark,” “Smallville,” cartoons), and the Christopher Reeve movies (but skip the last one). They also might like to see Bosworth and Spacey as Sandra Dee and Bobby Darrin in Beyond the Sea.

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