Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Tusk
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

The Fault in Our Stars
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
Release Date:
June 6, 2014

This is Where I Leave You
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

Think Like a Man Too
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Release Date:
June 20, 2014

The Maze Runner
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

Godzilla
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Release Date:
May 16, 2014

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.

The Road to El Dorado

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2000

Dreamworks SKG steps up to the Disney gold standard with this sensationally entertaining animated adventure. Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branaugh provide the voices for Miguel and Tulio, two loveable rogues who go off to the new world in search of excitement and gold. Contrary to the way most animated films are made, the producers put the two actors in the same room to record their dialogue, and it paid off. Kline and Branaugh, both classically trained and both masters of improvisation, brought humor and spontaneity to the relationship of the two characters that adds life and electricity to a medium that can often seem too staid. Think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid crossed with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. It is no coincidence that the “Road to” title and one of the best gags in the movie pay loving tribute to the Hope/Crosby series. The animation is terrific. The biggest challenge — making the character’s faces expressive without being caricatures — is especially well done. El Dorado itself is suitably magical, and the scenes with humor and tension are epertly handled, especially a high stakes basketball-style game and the climactic escape. Aside from the lackluster Elton John/Tim Rice score, this is an outstanding family movie.

The movie is set in 1519, as Cortes is planning “to conquer the new world for Spain, for glory and for gold.” Miguel and Tulio accidentally stow away, along with their one possession, a map to El Dorado, the legendary land of gold. They escape Cortes in a rowboat (taking a clever horse along with them!) and land on a coast that looks just like the one in their map. They follow the map to the city of gold, to be welcomed as gods by the friendly chief (voice of Edward James Olmos) and his less friendly priest Tzekel-Kan (voice of Armand Assante). They are also welcomed by Chell (voice of Rosie Perez), who knows they are con men, but promises to help them if they will take her with them when they go.

As they struggle to behave like gods, Miguel and Tulio begin to care about what happens to the people of El Dorado, first from the power- hungry Tzekel-Kan and then from Cortes, who plans to plunder the city. Their friendly rivalry begins to get hostile as Miguel thinks of staying behind and Tulio and Chell fall in love. The final conflict forces them to find out what their priorities really are.

Families who watch this movie together should talk about how the characters decide what is important to them and how they decide what to do. When Miguel and Tulio think they are dying, they thank each other for their friendship and talk about what they most wanted in life –- adventure, gold, being remembered. How do their actions later on reflect these goals? Tulio says, “You know that voice that tells people to quit when they’re ahead? Miguel, you don’t have one.” What does that mean? Why does Miguel take risks that Tulio thinks are not wise? Talk about Tzekel-Kan’s view of people as disgusting and his statement that “people will not respect you unless they fear you.” Why does he think that? How does thinking that make him behave differently? Keep in mind that Tulio and Miguel are small-time con men, and ask kids if they think the end was fair, and whether Tulio and Miguel will continue to cheat people in the future. Kids with a lot of patience might enjoy trying to replicate the domino stunt in the movie, and older kids will enjoy learning more about Cortes and talking about the history of colonization.

Parents should know that this is not a Disney movie. It is rated PG for a couple of mild words, some brief nudity and suggestiveness, and some tense moments. Some families may object to Cortes’ reference to the disciples or to his calling Tzekel-Kan a “lying heathen.”

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the spectacular animated movie “The Thief and the Cobbler” and the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby classic, “The Road to Bali.”

The Replacements

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2000

What is it about football movies? I don’t even like football, but I am a sucker for a good football movie. I’m even a sucker for a pretty good one like this lightweight but likeable story about players called in when the team goes on strike. It’s sort of “Rocky” crossed with “The Longest Yard,” “The Dirty Dozen,” and “The Bad News Bears.”

Gene Hackman plays Jimmy McGinty, a former coach of the Washington Sentinals football team brought back by the owner (Jack Warden)when the players go on strike. The other teams quickly hire professionals, but McGinty has been keeping a file of talented players who for one reason or another, have never played pro ball. One had an injured knee, one is in prison, one is deaf, one is a Welsh soccer player, one is a sumo wrestler, and one, Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves) was a college superstar who quit after a disastrous showing at the Sugar Bowl.

Not that I’m trying to spoil the ending or anything, but this is definitely a feel-good movie, and if we have to suspend a little disbelief with regard to a few small issues, oh, well, we don’t go to summer movies to think too hard.

What we do go to summer movies for is to enjoy ourselves, and that we do. As McGinty says, these guys get “what every athlete dreams of, a second chance.” They get to play for the love of the game and the challenge of defeating the other guys and their own demons. Loners get to be a part of a team. Their time on the field may be brief, but they leave forever changed. We get to see “everyday guys” playing in the big league. It is a delicious fantasy and just plain fun to watch.

Director Howard Deutch takes no chances, loading up the soundtrack with every classic sports movie standard from “We Will Rock You” to Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll, Part II,” and adding in some replacement cheerleaders who come from a strip club for some sizzle. It all comes together nicely. There are some very funny spots along the way, including a prison cell rendition of “I Will Survive” and a stripper-led cheer that distracts the opposing team at a crucial moment. The romance between Falco and head cheerleader Annabelle Farrell (Brooke Langton) is handled nicely, making it clear that it is not until he begins to feel better about himself that he can allow himself to get close to her. The team’s growing sense of loyalty and dignity and the coach’s faith in them are warmly portrayed. And, when all else fails, the football games are a hoot.

Parents should know that the movie includes some salty language, sexual references, and highly suggestive cheerleader moves. There is also substantial violence on and off the field, mostly punching and shoving, and a few mildly gross moments as well. Characters smoke and drink, and there are scenes in bars.

Families who see this movie should talk about what it is that makes people feel good about themselves, how a leader can make all the difference on a team, and whether fame and money hurt professional athletes and sports. Families should also talk about the coach’s comment that the difference between a winner and a loser is that a winner gets back on the horse and keeps trying.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “M*A*S*H” and “The Longest Yard” (both for mature audiences).

The Princess Diaries

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2001

This is a great big luscious lollypop of a movie, terrific fun for girls of any age and for their families, too.

Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) is a shy 15-year-old who says, “My expectation in life is to be invisible, and I’m good at it.” She dreams of a “foot-popping” kiss from high school hunk Josh Bryant (Erik von Detten) (that’s a kiss so good that it makes your foot pop up) and she would like to be able to get up in front of the class to speak without going to pieces. Her sympathetic mother, an artist, her best friend Lily (Heather Matarazzo), and her “baby,” a beat-up Mustang she is having repaired, keep her going.

Just before her 16th birthday, she gets a visit from her grandmother (Julie Andrews), whom she has never met. An even bigger surprise is the reason for the visit. It turns out that Mia’s grandmother is the queen of Genovia, her late father was the king, and that makes her – a princess! Mia will have to get some fast princess lessons to get ready for the annual ball. That is, if she decides to accept the job, which is not too appealing. As she says to her mother, “Just in case I’m not enough of a freak already, you add a tiara!”

Things get worse when Lily feels deserted and a couple of very public mistakes make Mia feel that she is not up to the job. But this would not be a fairy tale if everyone did not live happily ever after, so somehow everyone’s wishes come true.

This is a terrific movie for any age. It might not be of much interest to boys, though Hathaway is spectacularly gorgeous (the least realistic part of the movie is the highly ineffective attempt to make her look like an ugly duckling), and there are some cool cars and very funny moments. But it is a wonderful story about growing up, finding ourselves, and taking chances, with lots of great things for families to talk about afterwards. The queen’s head of security (Hector Elizondo in another impeccable performance) quotes Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous words, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And Mia realizes that the important part of being a princess is not what it does for her, but what it makes it possible for her to do for others.

Parents should know that Mia drives without a license and manages to escape a ticket using tactics they might find troubling.

The movie is rated G because it has no profanity, violence, or sexual material, and there is very little to concern parents. But that does not make it a kids-only movie. This is a family movie in the best sense, a movie that the whole family will enjoy. This might be a good time to tell the kids about some of your own mistakes and fears when you were Mia’s age, and what you did to help you move on from them. They may also want to talk about what teens should consider before deciding to kiss someone, and how important it is to be loyal to true friends.

Video/DVD notes: There is no Genovia, but it might have been inspired by Monaco, where an American actress became a real-life princess, the late Grace Kelly. Families will enjoy seeing some of her movies on video, especially “High Society” and To Catch a Thief.

Previous Posts

Great Cinematographers on Instagram
Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »

De-fictionalizing Products in Movies and Television: Life Imitating Art
Fast Company has an article about Omni Consumer Products, a "de-fictionalizing" company that looks for products in movies and television that do not really exist and makes them available. As the sole proprietor of Omni Consumer Products, [Pete] Hottelet is constantly scanning the pop culture z

posted 8:00:17am Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Tusk
You can make a good movie about slackers, for example "Slackers," from Richard Linklater and "Clerks" from Kevin Smith. But you can't make a good movie by a slacker, and Smith does not seem wi

posted 5:59:40pm Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

This is Where I Leave You
A toddler carries his little potty out in front of the house so he can try out his new-found skill in public. Twice. Plus another time when the contents of the potty are first displayed for the

posted 5:59:39pm Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

The Maze Runner
Yes, it's another dystopic YA trilogy (actually, there's a fourth volume, a prequel), and yes, only a teenager with fabulous cheekbones can save the day. But "The Maze Runner" is not a lesser repeat. It is a worthy addition to the genre, an absorbing drama with surprising turns and even more surpris

posted 5:59:23pm Sep. 18, 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.