Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Horrible Bosses 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Release Date:
November 26, 2104

 

The Giver
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
November 26, 2014

 

The Expendables 3
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

Little Hope Was Arson
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Not Rated
Release Date:
November 21, 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

Secondhand Lions

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:2003

Walter (Haley Joel Osment) is dumped on the unwelcoming front porch of his two great-uncles, Hub (Robert Duvall) and Garth (Michael Caine) by his flighty mother (Kyra Sedgewick) so she can go to school and learn how to be a court reporter. She tells him that they disappeared 40 years earlier and just mysteriously returned. The rumor is that they have money hidden away somewhere, and she tells Walter to see if he can find it.

Hub and Garth are not used to taking care of anyone. They tell Walter that if he needs anything he should find it himself or, better yet, do without it. Walter is not used to being taken care of. His mother has had a series of worthless or abusive boyfriends. When he calls the school to try to talk to her, he runs through a whole list of aliases before finding out that she has lied to him again and never even enrolled.

Duvall and Caine have such easy charm that they make this movie work, though it sags when anyone else is on screen, including the flashbacks of their adventures in Africa and Osment’s struggles to find his character and manage his adolescent voice.

Parents should know that the movie has “action violence,” cartoon-style and not graphic. There are some tense family issues and sad deaths.

Families who see this movie should talk about their own best advice for children about growing up and about the importance of having role models. They should also talk about Hub’s view that sometimes it is important to believe in things whether they are true or not.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Holes and Shirley Temple’s Captain January.

Cabin Fever

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003

Imagine the basic Texas Chainsaw/Blair Witch formula, where five college kids go out into the woods for a vacation in an old cabin, meeting a few eccentric townies along the way and ending up with less than pleasant results. But this time there’s no talk about, “Did you hear the old story of what happened here?” or “Look out, some crazy stuff has happened here before!” That’s because the killer is impossible to see, and almost impossible to avoid.

After brilliantly intense opening credits, Cabin Fever starts with a man in the woods finding his dog is dead. When he investigates the corpse he gets blood all over himself. Cut to five college students bursting out of school, ready for a fun trip out to the woods staying in an old cabin. After running into a hand-biting kid and some weird older men in a convenience store, they settle down in the cabin and have a campfire, go swimming, and one particularly dim kid goes squirrel hunting with a BB gun. He accidentally shoots someone, who we see is the man whose dog died, and who is now a bloody mess with some sort of flesh-eating disease. Terrified, the kid runs back to the cabin, but the man follows him and disrupts the area near the cabin, battering and spewing blood all over their car before getting chased away with a fire. So the kids try to call the police, walk through the woods searching for help, and try to fix and clean up the car. But one by one they break out in a disgusting, bloody, rash disease, and there appears to be no way to stop it…

Until the very end of the movie, we don’t know how the kids get the disease. That makes Cabin Fever all the more terrifying, for every time someone touches someone who’s infected, drinks the local water, or gets blood on them we can only cringe and wait to see if their flesh will start decaying. The people start to change before our very eyes, physically and horribly, but also as they get panic stricken they begin to change their behavior, taking desperate measures just to stay alive, sometimes irrationally. It’s scary enough for suspense fans, gory enough for slasher fans, and wonderfully shot and written by Eli Roth, David Lynch’s former researcher who makes his debut, as well as an amusing cameo. Roth benefits from frequent Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti’s score, and the viewer benefits from Roth’s storytelling skills and pull-no-punches direction. This is for horror fans only, but they will find this one of the best horror movies of the year.

It should be noted that Lion’s Gate Picture, which distributed Cabin Fever, is also responsible for this year’s debuts of horror writer/directors Lucky McKee and Rob Zombie, and appears to have become a breeding ground for new horror classics. Fans of that genre shouldn’t miss Cabin Fever.

Parents should know that this film contains foul language, two graphic sex scenes, drug use, and R-rated gore and violence. There is also a racial slur that is given an interesting twist at the end.

Most similar horror films have a scene where one of the characters tells a scary story similar to what’s about to happen, to set the stage. Cabin Fever tweaks that convention by having someone tell a story about a bowling-alley murderer that has little to do with the movie. Families may want to discuss why that’s there, the role of the convenience store workers and the local deputy, and the enduring appeal of horror stories, going back to the days when telling stories around the campfire was the primary form of entertainment.

People who enjoy this movie might want to try the original gory vacation tale The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the contagious disease-related Outbreak.

Matchstick Men

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003

Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Thelma and Louise, Blade Runner) has assembled the ingredients in this movie like a perfectly iced martini that is stirred, not shaken. The result is dry but refreshing — and with a kick.

Nicolas Cage plays Roy, who is so proud of his ability to entice money from unsuspecting marks that he prefers to be referred to not as a con man but a “con artist,” specializing in the “short con,” the quick and simple cheat that does not require an elaborate set-up. But his conflicts about his success have left him feeling even more uneasy than he is willing to admit.

As a result, he has displaced his sense of guilt and has become ticcy and obsessive-compulsive, repeating motions, scrubbing windows, afraid of the outdoors. His source for the illegal drugs he had been using to control the symptoms disappeared, so his partner, Frank (Sam Rockwell) recommends a psychiatrist (Bruce Altman). In order to get the doctor to prescribe medication, Roy agrees to therapy. This leads him to explore unresolved issues from his past, including his longing for the child he never met. When his wife left him, she was pregnant. Fourteen years later, he does not know if she had a boy or girl or where they are.

The doctor helps Roy find his daughter, Angela (Alison Lohman). He is overwhelmed and deeply touched by her open-heartedness. And when she is fascinated by his skill as a con artist and when she shows that she has inherited it, he is very proud but also a little horrified. He wants something better for her than what he has had. He wants to be better for her than he has been. Maybe the thing to do is one last “long con” and then he and Angela can live happily ever after. But, as Roy tells Angela, the challenge for a con artist is being ready for things that you did not plan.

We see Roy using his best line on a mark: “What could be more important than family?” It is one of the movie’s uses of duality that he will find out what that question truly means. And when he tells Angela to be as open and honest with her mark as she can be, it is clear to both of them that open and honest is not his speciality, that he has conned for so long he may not know how to do anything else. The man who could not bear to have a shoe touch his carpet ends up making the biggest mess of all.

Altman is excellent, Lohman and Rockwell are both impeccable, but Cage is mesmerizing. His performance perfectly matches Scott’s direction, both exploring the movie’s multi-layered themes of conflict, betrayal, counterpoint, inversion, imperatives, and longing. This is a movie about con games at every level; characters con each other and con themselves.

And of course the ultimate con artist here is the movie itself. Some audience members will think there is at least one twist too many, and others will find that the pieces do not hold together as well as they might like. But others will appreciate its superb performances and story-telling, as cool as cocktail music.

Parents should know that the movie includes violence with some graphic injuries. Characters use strong language, drink, smoke, and self-medicate. There are some sexual references. And of course the main characters lie, cheat, and steal.

Families who see this movie should talk about how Roy’s failure to be honest with himself and the people he stole from may have led to his symptoms. How did Angela change his life? How did he change hers?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Sting and As Good as it Gets.

Once Upon A Time In Mexico

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003

I guess if there really was a story or characters in this movie, the violence might be too disturbing.

But Robert Rodriguez, who not only wrote and directed this movie but also “shot, chopped, and scored” it, too, doesn’t so much omit story and character as transcend them. This is a kinetic and voluptuous pulp fantasia, a mythic nightmare pastiche of stylish slaughter, featuring twisted iconic figures destroying each other and just about everything else in sight with a lot of flair.

It is the third in the series that began with the $7000 “El Mariachi” and continued with the quasi-remake/sequel “Desperado.” Or, it’s more like the 3 1/2, as Rodriguez has said that he wants this to be more like a 4th in the series, with flashbacks to provide just a hint of the episode we missed.

If I had to explain the story, it would be something like this: Everyone shoots everyone else outdoors. Everyone shoots everyone else indoors. Lots more people shoot other people.

But boy oh boy, they sure do it with a lot of style. Imagine an R-rated Roadrunner cartoon with Acme bazookas and flamethrowers, and you’ll get some idea of what’s in store. This is the kind of movie where a rogue CIA agent played by Johnny Depp asks someone, “Are you a Mexi-CAN or a Mexi-CAN’T?,” kills a chef because he made a pork dish too well and therefore threw off the balance of the universe, and wears a t-shirt that says, “I’m with stupid” with the drawing of a hand pointing not sideways but down. This is the kind of movie where a sensationally beautiful woman reveals her magnificent thigh when she reaches back to grab a handful of knives from her garter and then flings them to take down a bunch of bad guys who are aiming their guns at her husband. A $10,000 payoff is presented in a Clash of the Titans lunchbox. Blood splatters on the camera lens. A guitar case contains an arsenal. And lots and lots and lots of stuff gets blown up.

Rodriguez is indisputably a masterful film-maker. He fills the screen with lots to look at and no one is better at creating propulsive energy through striking images, brilliantly edited. Depp, Banderas, and Hayek are all sensational. Pop star Enrique Iglesias makes a very respectable acting debut and Eva Mendes is very fine as an FBI agent who wants more.

This film is worth watching just as an education in how to shoot and edit. Someday, perhaps, Rodriguez will become more of a story-teller. In the meantime, the film is very entertaining for anyone who does not object to the carnage, and a must-see for fans of hard-core action.

Parents should know that the movie has constant extremely graphic and intense violence. It is so over-the-top it is hard to take seriously, but still may be upsetting to some viewers. There are many character deaths, including a mother and her child. One character has his eyes gauged out and one has his knees shot out. There are scenes showing very grisly plastic surgery. Characters use extremely strong language. There is drinking and smoking and references to a drug cartel.

Families who see this movie should talk about its portrayal of violence compared to a more realistic approach in movies like Saving Private Ryan. Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy El Mariachi and Desperado.

Previous Posts

Johnny Cash's Thanksgiving Song
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuaC6h_4AB8[/youtube]

posted 12:00:11pm Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NSQLMPUK-8[/youtube] All my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, and please know how thankful I am for the time you spend here.

posted 7:00:00am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Claire LaZebnik's Thoughts on Thanks
I can't think of a better way to start Thanksgiving weekend than taking a few minutes to read my friend Claire LaZebnik's wise and inspiring essay on gratitude. This most American of holidays is often accompanied by stress -- from hosting and being hosted, from traveling, from family. Claire write

posted 9:39:41am Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Horrible Bosses 2
Maybe it's just the proximity to the horrible "Dumb and Dumber To," but the cheerily offensive "Horrible Bosses 2" made me laugh. Full warning -- it begins with an elaborate sight gag as our hapless he

posted 5:58:28pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Penguins of Madagascar
The most adorable characters from the first three animated "Madagascar" movies were the penguins, the seldom right but never in doubt leader Skipper (Tom McGrath), the often right but never listened to Kowalski (Chris Miller), the literally explosive Rico (Conrad Vernon), and the ever-loyal Private

posted 5:17:32pm Nov. 25, 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.