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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Magic Mike XXL
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
Release Date:
July 1, 2015

 

The Woman in Gold
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
April 1, 2015

Terminator Genisys
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief strong language
Release Date:
July 1, 2015

 

Run All Night
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use
Release Date:
March 13, 2014

Max
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Release Date:
June 26, 2015

 

Unfinished Business
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some strong risque sexual content/graphic nudity, and for language and drug use
Release Date:
March 6, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B

Magic Mike XXL

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
Release Date:
July 1, 2015
grade:
B-

Terminator Genisys

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief strong language
Release Date:
July 1, 2015
grade:
B+

Max

Lowest Recommended Age:
4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Release Date:
June 26, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

The Woman in Gold

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
April 1, 2015
grade:
C-

Run All Night

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use
Release Date:
March 13, 2014
grade:
C

Unfinished Business

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some strong risque sexual content/graphic nudity, and for language and drug use
Release Date:
March 6, 2015

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Georgia Rule

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and some language.
Movie Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and some language.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Minow rule: If Hector Elizondo barely makes an appearance in a Garry Marshall film, watch out.

Or, I should say, don’t watch.

Marshall wisely does his best to include the talented Elizondo in every one of his films. If the only place Marshall can find for him is a few seconds on screen as a character with a ponytail and a funny name, the movie is in trouble. Especially when that brief appearance has more class and authenticity than anything else in this uneven mess of a film.


The title refers to the no-questions, no-arguments, no-compromises, no-prisoners edicts handed down by Georgia (Jane Fonda, still looking great in jeans and a t-shirt) to just about everyone, especially her angry daughter Lily (Felicity Huffman) and rebellious granddaughter Rachel (Lindsay Lohan).

In what must feel like a reprise of On Golden Pond, where Fonda’s character dumped an unhappy teenager on her parents for the summer so that she could spend time with his father and so that everyone could Learn Important Lessons about Life, Lily dumps Rachel on Georgia for the summer. Let the Life Lessons begin.


Georgia lives in a small town in Idaho, set design seemingly inspired by Norman Rockwell by way of Kinkade. Intended-to-be-cute cuddly little small town moments collide uneasily with grand drama and dysfunctional laundry-airing among and between the three generations of women. What we get are less life lessons than a lot of recrimination and more “you were never there for me” accusations than a week with Dr. Phil.


While she was making this film, Lindsay Lohan received a widely circulated letter of admonishment from the producer for “ongoing all night heavy partying” and missing her call times. Onscreen, she looks uncomfortable and jittery. Her character is supposed to be struggling with desperation, self-hatred, and deep sadness, to be vulnerable and needy. But all she shows us is the character’s anger, which comes across more like brattiness. She can’t let go of the cute thing.

Huffman seems to still be channeling her Transamerica character’s obsession with meticulous attention to external appearances as a cover-up and compensation for internal disarray. Lily is very big on high high heels and just-right clothes and exquisitely tasteful gifts. But she’s a mess and she knows it, even though she tries everything she can — including booze — to help her run away from her insecurity and doubt. Cary Elwes shows up more pudgy than sleek as a big-time, big-city lawyer who may or may not be a very bad guy.

Fonda injects powerful rays of real emotion as often as she can and Dermot Mulroney manages some nice moments as the town vet who is just too darned nice to refuse to treat those adorable townsfolk, doing his best in spite of a cornpone set-up and the tiredest of revelations.


Comedy and drama can combine beautifully as this film’s screenwriter, Mark Andrus, did so well with As Good as it Gets. But this time it just doesn’t work, lurching unevenly back and forth with at least two too many fake-outs that make Rachel seem like the girl who cried wolf. And you know what that means — when she calls, stay home.

Parents should know that this film has a good deal of very mature material, including themes of child sexual abuse and incest. Rachel is sexually provocative and seductive in a number of inappropriate situations involving a young boy, a young man who is engaged and has made a moral and religious commitment to chastity, and an older man. Characters use strong and crude language. A character has a drinking problem and gets drunk. There are references to drug use and tense and emotional confrontations and some mild violence.


Families who see this movie should talk about why Lily was angry with Georgia and why Rachel did not think she could tell Lily the truth.


Families who appreciate this movie will also appreciate Charms for an Easy Life and Down in the Delta.

Fast Track

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief language and a drug reference.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief language and a drug reference.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Painfully overlong at under 90 minutes, “The Ex” (formerly known as “Fast Track”) is a clunky, lead-footed disaster, the stunning incompetence of its script and direction only exceeded by the shocking array of talented and successful performers who struggle in it as though they are going down for the third time. In quicksand.


All that before we get to how offensive it is. This film tries to be outrageous, daring, and edgy but it is just crude, sluggish, cheap, and boring. There is a long list of groups who could file defamation actions against the producers of this movie, including disabled people, little boys, anyone with a job, citizens of Ohio, and pretty much the entire human race.


This is the story of Tom (Zach Braff) and Sofia (Amanda Peet), who move to Ohio with their new baby so that Tom can go to work in his father-in-law’s advertising agency and Sofia can be a full-time mom. Tom is assigned to work with Chip (Jason Bateman) — think Eddie Haskell with a touch of Charles Boyer in Gaslight. A creepy guy in a wheelchair that everyone but our hero thinks is an Eagle Scout! And wait, there’s more! He and Sofia knew each other in high school. They were cheerleaders and he hoisted her up high with his hand on her rump. And they had sex once. And he still likes her! Add in some attempts at The Office-style humor — this is the kind of place where people throw an imaginary YES ball at each other to keep that teamwork going — pratfalls and crotch hits, moments of excruciating embarrassment, professional mishaps, a kid who stuffs a whole hamburger in his mouth at once (many, many times), potty humor (many, many times), references to private parts, a marriage counselor who has his clients smack each other with bats, a plot twist stolen from every single episode of Bewitched and it has to be funny!


Not. Especially after a ludicrous fake-out near the end that shrieks of reshoots following understandably horrendous feedback from test audiences.


Some of the wittiest and classiest actors in movies today somehow ended up in this mess, which will certainly appear in a gag reel in any future award show tributes. In addition to stars Peet and Braff, we gasp in horror as yet another previously-unsullied reputation is, well, sullied. Donal Logue as a long-haired hippie CEO! Amy Poehler as an office drone! (Wasn’t Envy bad enough?) Oscar-nominee Amy Smart as a mom who believes in baby massage! For this, Charles Grodin makes his first movie in 13 years? What’s the matter, Mia Farrow? All those kids need tuition payments?


Every one of these questions was more interesting to think about than the plodding storyline and the pointless pratfalls. This movie gets a big NO ball from me.

Parents should know that this movie has very crude material for a PG-13. There is a lot of comic violence, including pushing a disabled character down the stairs. Characters use strong language (one f-word) and make offensive jokes. There is brief drug humor.


Families who see this movie should talk about why it was hard for the characters in this movie to tell each other what they were thinking.


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Saving Silverman and Stuck on You, by no means classics but far better than this one.

Jindabyne

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing images, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing images, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Parents should know that this film deals with very disturbing themes, including the discovery of the dead body of a young woman who may have been raped. There are scenes of nudity and graphic wounds. Characters drink (sometimes to excess), smoke, use very strong and crude language, and have tense and unhappy confrontations. There are references to mental illness and the death of a little girl’s mother. Children are in peril. They also get in trouble for bringing a knife to school and killing the class pet. The situation in the film raises issues of gender, race, ethnic, and cultural differences as well as differences of opinion about how to respond to painful and confusing circumstances.


Families who see this movie should talk about why the different characters felt differently about the right way to respond to the discovery of the body. What do their different attitudes tell us about what was most important to each of them? What is the role of the children in helping to tell the story?

Families who like this movie will also like The Vanishing (the original, not the American remake) and Deliverance (both with very mature material). They might also like to read some of the short stories by Raymond Carver, including “So Much Water So Close to Home,” in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Stories, which was the basis for this film.

Lucky You

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual humor.
Movie Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual humor.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Maybe if it had been made in the 1940’s or 50’s in black and white, maybe if it starred Frank Sinatra and Lee Remick, maybe if we had never seen better films like “The Hustler,” maybe this script might have worked. But today it just seems formulaic and out of date. As a poker hand, it’s not even a pair of deuces.

<P
Huck (Eric Bana) is a poker player. He has a lot of natural skill and a lot of experience. His weakness is that at the big moment he does not go by the book. Sometimes that means a good decision based on intuition. Other times it means a bad decision based on anger. He understands the concept of "left pocket money," your "real" money that can't be bet. But when the moment comes, he bets not only his left pocket money but everyone else's too.


Huck lives in Las Vegas, where the world series of poker is about to start. He needs to qualify for a seat and he needs to have the $10,000 entry fee. The first part of the movie is about whether he will make it — not much suspense there, as we wouldn’t have a movie if he did. Then we have the tournament itself. In most movies in this genre, our young hero must take on a father-figure, an Oedipal metaphor, the champion, the establishment guy, the man our hero both looks up to and longs to triumph over. It is emblematic of this movie’s absence of subtlety or complexity that in this case the father-figure is in fact Huck’s literal father, English professor-turned professional gambler Robert Duvall, who insists on calling his son “Huckleberry.” (The English professor background suggests the name is inspired by Finn, not Hound.)


And there must be The Girl, in this case Billie, played by Drew Barrymore, still the effervescent flower child, even as a brunette, but who cannot and should not sing. It was okay in “Music and Lyrics,” where she was not supposed to be a good singer. Here, it is a performance that cries out for Simon Cowell. She and Bana have no chemistry, a real problem when their supposed overwhelming attraction and powerful connection is expected to not just capture our attention but justify most of the decisions and developments throughout the movie.


The movie’s one great strength is a brief appearance by Robert Downey, Jr. as a friend of Huck’s who answers a variety of 900-number calls while he sits at a bar and refuses to loan Huck money. As he juggles the calls on his cell phones, the conversations a witty counterpoint to his dialogue with Huck, the movie briefly comes alive. But all too quickly, his scene is over and we’re stuck watching people play cards. You gotta know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em — in this movie, the wise viewer will toss in his cards as soon as Downey’s scene is over.

Parents should know that this movie has some strong language and some sexual references and a non-explicit situation. Characters smoke and drink. The movie includes a lot of bad behavior including lying and stealing and a discussion of cheating, plus excessive and possibly compulsive gambling and some peril and violence.

Families who see this movie should talk about the significance of the ring. What did Huck decide was most important?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy The Hustler and the sequel, The Color of Money. Rounders has Matt Damon and Edward Norton as poker players. Families will also enjoy a true story about the world series of poker, Positively Fifth Street.

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