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This week’s release, “The Blind Side,” is the story of Michael Oher, played by Quinton Aaron. Here is a glimpse of the real Oher, now an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. What I find most touching is when he says that he became a part of the family when he realized he was needed.


Kaitlyn Maher, who enchanted millions with her appearances on “America’s Got Talent,” has a sweet, clear voice and a sunny personality. She is quite busy these days, appearing in Disney’s new Santa Buddies DVD and singing on the soundtrack. And she has a new CD coming out in December, You Were Meant To Be. Two singles will be available for download next week on her website. She will soon star in a new Disney film, “The Search for Santa Paws,” and is a special ambassador to help in the campaign to help poor children throughout the world. She has toured the US and abroad, singing before audiences in concerts, charities, and sporting events.

Imagine what she will do when she is six.

Yes, Kaitlyn is just five years old. And she and her mother Alison took the time to speak with me about what she is up to, from singing and song-writing to taking care of her baby brother.

Don’t forget to check out my Santa Buddies giveaway!

NM: Do you like being the voice of Tiny the puppy in the new “Santa Buddies” movie?

KM: He’s really cute! I love Tiny because he saves the day and is sweet and nice and cute, and he sings. He shares his love and that’s what I like to do! I think it is wonderful that I get to sing in the movie. I love acting but singing is my favorite thing do to. The song in the movie is “The Christmas Miracle.”

NM: How old were you when you started singing?

I was just one year old.

NM: Are there some Christmas songs on your new CD?

KM: “God Rest Ye” and “Away in a Manger.” My favorite songs to sing are “Amazing Grace” and “Daddy I Love You.” I helped write that song and another one called “Dreams Come True.

NM: Do you have a favorite toy?

KM: I have Samantha, the American Girl. We have some tea and we just play together and I read books to her. I sing to her a lot! I help my baby brother stack his blocks when he needs some help and when he can’t reach something that he wants.

NM: And what movies do you like?

KM: I like to watch the princess movies, “Cinderella” and “Snow White.”

NM: What do you love most about singing?

KM: I wanted to bless people and give them hope and help cheer up their day when they’re having a bad day. I never really have a bad day, I’m always reading books and playing with my baby brother and going to school.

My dear friend and fellow critic Tim Gordon starts a new weekly podcast about the movies tonight. He always has something interesting to say and it is always fun to listen to him say it, so be sure to tune in.

MaryAnn Johanson has a great piece in her series on the website of the Association of Women Film Journalists in response to the Hollywood conventional wisdom that movies need to be directed at boys and men to make money. Noting that the advance sales for “New Moon” are ahead of “Transformers” at this stage, she says:

If the boys can be targeted by Hollywood with movies that pander to their basest instincts — toys! explosions! Megan Fox! — then I suppose we must see it as a sign of progress that girl audiences are getting the same treatment: sighing! moon eyes! Robert Pattinson!

And speaking of Megan Fox, Johanson skewers Lynn Hirschberg’s profile in the New York Times Magazine.

Later, noting that the TV in the hotel room was on and tuned to some girly reality show about wedding dresses or somesuch, and that Fox said she watches these things because she doesn’t understand them and is trying to figure them out, Hirschberg characterizes Fox thusly:

Fox said this as if she were contemplating an alien species.

Because, you see, reality shows about wedding dresses represent the actual actuality of all women, and a woman who doesn’t comprehend why anyone would collapse into fits of tears over a wedding dress must be an alien. Because no real women would need to study such a reality show, as Fox indicates she does — a real woman would just understand.

I like to read Johanson’s summary of the way women are portrayed in current releases. Here’s what she had to say last week:

OPENING THIS WEEK. Women are there to be rescued in 2012, whether it’s the Mona Lisa or Amanda Peet as John Cusack’s ex-wife, who does literally nothing but scream for two and a half hours while the world ends around her. Good riddance to this world. Women — or females, at least — are all but absent from Fantastic Mr. Fox, except Meryl Streep as the alternately scolding and praising wife to the titular character; the male animals are the ones who get to have all the adventure and all the fun, and they’re the ones who get to learn things about themselves and grow as people. And forget Pirate Radio: the boat HQ of the illegal broadcaster is boys only — well, there’s one girl present, to cook, but she’s a lesbian, so she doesn’t really count.

On the indie side, things aren’t much better. Women in Trouble does feature an ensemble cast of terrific actresses, but it’s all in service of writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez’s fantasies about what women are really like (hint: it frequently involved lingerie). The Messenger, a drama about the soldiers who notify families that their loved one has been killed overseas, does at least feature Samantha Morton in a powerful and unexpected role as a new widow.

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