Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

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

 

Adventure Planet
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:

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

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
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

The Scorpion King

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2002

Some very scary looking guys are about to kill a guy who would be even scarier-looking if he wasn’t tied up. But then everyone steps back in awe of a guy who steps in looking scariest of all and as they hesitate, he cocks an eyebrow and says simply, “Boo.” That is the Rock (WWF star Dwayne Johnson) and he plays the title role in this prequel to the “Mummy” movies, giving us the background of the character who appeared briefly but memorably in the second one as half-man, half very large bug.

This movie does not pretend to having anything like the wit and charm of the “Mummy” movies, which were a loving tribute to Saturday morning serials. It is produced by Vince McMahon, Chairman of the WWF (and one of its star performers). McMahon has made a fortune making wrestling matches into stories, with vivid characters and dramatic confrontations. “The Scorpion King” just takes it one step further, a three-act wrestling drama with computer graphics. Maybe the next step will be adding arias and turning it into an opera.

On the silly popcorn scale, it works pretty well, largely due to its star. The Rock has genuine screen presence. He even manages most of the material better than Michael Clarke Duncan (“The Green Mile,” “The Whole Nine Yards”) who is just too much of an actor to deliver the cheesy dialogue with the right mix of sincerity and irony, and Peter Facinelli (“Can’t Hardly Wait,” “The Big Kahuna”), whose thin-voiced delivery doesn’t convey the necessary petulant malevolence.

The Rock is the good guy. He has a comical sidekick. No one bothered to give him a name. He is actually listed in the credits as “Comical Sidekick” (Grant Heslov). There is also a bad guy (English accented, of course), evil dictator Memnon (Steven Brand), who relies on a sorceress (Kelly Hu) to guide him in battle. The sorceress is beautiful. You get where this is all going; I don’t have to spell it out.

There is one innovation worth mentioning. In action movies, the hero is almost always stoic, even when he gets hurt. Think of Rambo sewing up his own wounds. But the Rock, carrying over the conventions of professional wrestling, grimaces in pain when he gets hurt. It doesn’t rise to the level of acting, but in a funny way I think that it adds some heart to the story.

Parents should know that the movie has a lot of action violence, meaning that it is not too graphic or gory. There are some vivid images, including attacking cobras, an impaled body, and a dead child. And there are very vivid sound effects making on- and off-screen violence more explicit with spurting and squishing sounds. There are sexual references and non-explicit sexual situations, including two women in a man’s bed. There are no four-letter words, but there are some strong epithets.

Families who see this movie should talk about Memnon’s claim that order was better than freedom. They may also want to talk about how the sorceress protected herself from Memnon.

Families who enjoy this movie should watch The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.

The Score

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2001

Movies are made for heist stories. Great robberies can be fun to watch on stage or read about in a book, but movies provide an immediacy and economy of narrative that no other form of story-telling can touch. Give us something worth a lot of money, whether it is money, jewels, or a secret formula, put it somplace hard to break into, whether it is a museum, a bank, or an enemy compound, and an anti-hero to root for, and we’re ready to enjoy.

The pattern may be familia, but it is reliable. Set out the task and explain the obstacles, come up with clever ways to get around the obstacles, then show us the heist itself, throwing in a few unexpected challenges and some even more clever on-the-spot problem-solving, add in some colorful characters with a few twists and turns in their relationships, and we will settle back and enjoy.

“The Score” benefits from this formula almost as much as it benefits from its Mount Rushmore of acting power. The story might not have much that’s new, but it is still fun to see a thief look at an intimidating new safe utterly undaunted, explaining that “If somebody can build it, somebody can unbuild it.” The movie’s real luster comes from stars Marlon Bando, Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, and Angela Bassett, who are thrilling to watch under any circumstances. You can’t help wishing, though, to see them under other circumstances. I’ll be the rehearsals for some of these scenes were more fun to watch than the scenes themselves.

DeNiro plays Nick, a careful thief who plans meticulously, keeps his cool when the unexpected occurs, and lives by two rules: work alone and never rob in the city you live in. He is willing to think about breaking those rules when Max, his long-time fence Brando) offers him a job so big that he can retire and live happily ever after with the woman he adores (Bassett) and the jazz club he owns.

The job will require working with Jack (Norton), who came up with idea (stealing a priceless gold scepter studded with jewels) and who has done all of the prep work (posing as a retarded man to get a janitor’s job in the building, getting access to all of the technical specifications for the security system), but who does not know how to crack the safe. If they are going to do this job, Nick and Jack will have to work together.

There are not many surprises here. Of course Nick and Jack will have some trouble learning to work together. They will have to rely on a mother-ridden computer nerd to get the key access codes. Nick and his girlfriend will have a disagreement about this “one last job.” And there will be both honor and dishonor among the thieves. This would be a B movie without the world-class talent on screen, but even they can’t lift it to more than a B-plus. It is fun to watch them spark each other, though, and for my money, Norton (who does have the showiest role) takes the prize.

Parents should know that the movie is rated R for language, brief drug use, sexual references, and a brief, non-expliit sexual situation. The heroes of the movie are all theives, and there is no suggestion that there is anything wrong or even any harm in stealing an historic treasure.

Families who see this movie should talk about the conversation Nick and Jack have about taking risks, and how their views differ. They may also want to talk about how Nick was firm about his rules until enough money was offered to change his mind.

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy some heist movie classics, like “Topkapi,” “The Great Train Robbery,” and “The Lavender Hill Mob.”

The Scarlet and the Black

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1983

Plot: Gregory Peck plays Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty in this true story of WWII Rome. The Vatican had diplomatic neutrality, so that no one within its borders could be arrested. O’Flaherty used the Vatican as a base of operations to save thousands of Allied POWs, in a long, elaborate, and deadly game of cat and mouse with German Colonel Herbert Kappler (Christopher Plummer).

As Italy is falling to the Allies, Kappler knows the war is over. He seeks out O’Flaherty, his bitterest enemy, to ask a favor: to draw on the same resources he used to help the POWs escape to get Kappler’s family to Switzerland. Kappler does not find out until he is being interrogated by the Allies that his family is safe, and he protects O’Flaherty from charges of collaboration by refusing to give any information about his operation, even though it would have shortened his sentence.

Discussion: This movie presents us with an assortment of characters who each try to do what they believe is best to protect the values they care about. O’Flaherty and his colleagues decide that all they can do is rescue and protect; they cannot undertake or even aid anti-German activities like espionage or sabotage. A fellow priest who does become involved in these activities is captured and executed. Kappler genuinely loves his family, and loves Rome. His sense of honor is clear in the sacrifice he makes to protect O’Flaherty. He is brutal only in capitulation to the orders of his superiors. The Pope preserves what politicians call “deniability” by not permitting himself to know much about what O’Flaherty is doing. Though he warns that he will not be able to protect him when the Germans come, the Pope refuses to turn him over to them. The British emissary says that he cannot help, even though the men are his own soldiers, explaining that “My strictest duty is to do nothing which might compromise the neutrality of the Vatican State or His Holiness the Pope.” His aide, however, is one of the most important participants in O’Flaherty’s efforts. This is an outstanding story of true personal moral courage and redemption, with a conclusion that is deeply moving.

Questions for Kids:

· Were O’Flaherty and Kappler alike in any ways? How?

· Why wouldn’t O’Flaherty do more to fight the Germans?

· Why did O’Flaherty help Kappler’s family?

· Were you surprised by the ending?

Connections: Plummer appeared as a man who fled from the Nazis in “The Sound of Music,” another true story, and Peck appeared as a Nazi in the fantasy “The Boys From Brazil.” O’Flaherty’s decision to help the prisoners but not to enter into the fight is similar to that made by Jess in “Friendly Persuasion.”

The Royal Tenenbaums

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2001

Just about everything is a little off-kilter in this quirky story about a wildly dysfunctional family.

A prologue tells us that Royal (Gene Hackman) and Etheline (Anjelica Houston) had three children, all of whom were so prodigiously accomplished while still in grade school that they were the subject of books, including one by their mother.

It seems that they lived their lives backward, though. As children, they easily surpassed adults with their astonishing achievements in the arts (Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a playwright), sports (Richie (Luke Wilson) was a tennis champion), and business (Chas (Ben Stiller) was a financial wizard). But as adults, they have reverted to childhood, and either can’t or won’t perform anymore. One by one, they return home, moving into their old bedrooms. And then Royal, long estranged from the family, tells Etheline that he, too, wants to come home, to make his peace with the family before he dies of cancer.

The result is a crackpot blending of J.D. Salinger’s stories about the gifted Glass children, the classic Kaufmann-Hart play “You Can’t Take it With You,” and a made-for-TV movie called “The Gathering,” in which a tough old rich guy played by Ed Asner visits his long-estranged but never- divorced wife, played by Maureen Stapleton, and asks her to persuade their grown children to come together for Christmas.

But this is very far from the glossy but conventional “Gathering.” It takes place in a whacked-out fantasy version of New York City, where hotels employ uniformed elevator operators, decrepit taxis literally labeled “Gypsy Cab” show up whenever someone needs to go somewhere and there is a YMCA on “375th Street.” The production design is brilliant, especially the house (the children’s bedrooms are magnificent) and the hotel.

Director Wes Anderson and actor Owen Wilson (who plays the Tenenbaum’s neighbor, Eli) wrote the screenplay, and like their previous collaborations, “Bottle Rocket” and “Rushmore,” this movie defies categorization, combining elements of satire, fantasy, comedy, tragedy, farce, and drama. That’s a combination that will make some audiences uncomfortable, but will seem to others to be the best possible way – maybe the only possible way — to truly convey a story of family conflict. The result is messy, even outrageous, but reflecting a singularity of vision that is welcome in a mainstream studio film starring three Oscar-winners.

Families should know that the movie has very mature material including a graphic and bloody suicide attempt, sexual references and situations (brief nudity, brief shot of gay embrace, adultery and a possible romance between adopted siblings) and painful issues of betrayal and deception. There are references to a tragic death. An adopted child is made to feel like an outsider. A character has a serious drug abuse problem. Some people may find the light-hearted treatment of these issues offensive.

Families who see this movie should talk about whether its wild exaggeration of family communication problems can be of help to families who are struggling to connect to each other. What can parents do to give gifted children the stimulation and support they need without making them feel isolated from friends and family? Eli says to Royal “I always wanted to be a Tenenbaum,” and Royal responds, “So did I.” What does that mean? Why did such accomplished children become such fragile adults? Why did Chas react to his wife’s death by becoming obsessed with safety?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Rushmore.” Every family should see the Best Picture Oscar-winning “You Can’t Take it With You,” starring Jimmy Stewart.

Previous Posts

Interview: Daniel Schechter, Writer/Director of "Life of Crime"
Newcomer Daniel Schechter, who wrote one of my favorite neglected gems, "Big Bad Swim," worked with an all-star cast in "Life of Crime," which he adapted from The Switch by Elmore Leonard and directed.  It is set in 1970's Detroit and it is the story of a woman played by Jennifer Aniston who is

posted 3:59:35pm Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

The November Man
Pierce Brosnan knows what it is like to play a spy in a big-budget, glamorous, blockbuster. He was the most urbane of Bonds in four movies. He knows what it is to play a seedier spy in a prestige, mildly meta movie, the 2001 film "The Tailor of Panama" (with Daniel Radcliffe in a pre-Potter role).

posted 10:57:58am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Thunder and the House of Magic
"Thunder and the House of Magic" opens September 5, 2014. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6VKG3lZEIg[/youtube]

posted 8:00:02am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Anatomy of Every Movie Ever
This is hilarious and, I have to say, accurate.  Thank you, John Atkinson of Wrong Hands!

posted 3:59:37pm Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Cozi Zuehlsdorff's New Song for "Dolphin Tale 2" -- "Brave Souls"
I'm really looking forward to "Dolphin Tale 2," even more so after seeing this music video by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, the young actress who reprises her role as Hazel from the original film. Cozi’s song, which she wrote and performs herself, is called “Brave Souls” and in this video she explains how

posted 12:23:08pm Aug. 26, 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.