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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Tomorrowland
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

 

American Sniper
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015

I'll See You in My Dreams
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

 

Strange Magic
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Release Date:
May 15, 2015

 

Mortdecai
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Tomorrowland

Lowest Recommended Age:
4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015
grade:
B+

I'll See You in My Dreams

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015
grade:
B+

Mad Max: Fury Road

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Release Date:
May 15, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

American Sniper

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015
grade:
C

Strange Magic

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015
grade:
D

Mortdecai

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

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Ultraviolet

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action throughout, partial nudity and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action throughout, partial nudity and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This movie hopes that it can distract you from its failure of imagination with the following:

  • Throbbing techno club music-style soundtrack
  • Sleek, towering futuristic structures
  • The toned body of star Milla Jovovich, magnificently displayed in a variety of skin-tight, midriff-baring outfits. She can change the color of her catsuits and hair, too.
  • Lots and lots and lots of shooting, kicking, swordfights, and explosions


But all of that can’t hide:

  • Cardboard dialogue that compounds its failures with a lot of repetition for emphasis and faux-seriousness. “It’s just the wind. Just — the wind.”
  • An unintelligible story line
  • Dreary performances by everyone in the cast except for William Fichtner as a kind-hearted scientist
  • A boring bad guy. In fact, a couple of all but indistinguishable boring bad guys.
  • You know all those fight scenes? Not very exciting, at its best a poor imitation of better movies

Milla Jovovich (the Resident Evil) series plays Ultraviolet, who isn’t kidding when she introduces the story by saying “I was born into a world you may not understand.” It isn’t that it is so complicated; it’s just not interesting enough to pay attention to. She’s a mutant and a part of a rebel group fighting the tyranny of the humans. She infiltrates their compound to pick up what looks like a boogie board-shaped briefcase containing some highly destructive biological agent and is told it will self-destruct if she tries to open it.


So, she opens it. And inside is a child. When she gets back to the rebel stronghold, they decide to kill the child, whose blood contains some, I don’t know, bad stuff of some kind. But Ultraviolet, whose pregnancy was terminated 12 years earlier when she became infected with the mutating pathogen, finds her maternal instincts taking over and she and the boy, whose name is Six (Cameron Bright, continuing a string of awful movies after Godsend and Birth) are soon on the run.


Inevitably, we have the 2/3 of the way through moment of peace and safety that shows up in most action films for all the characters to catch their breath, bond, and show their softer sides. Meanwhile, the bad guys stride through spotless corriders in buildings where weirdly calm disembodied female voices say things like “Switching to emergency backup lighting system.”


If only I could have found the button for the emergency back-up better movie system.

Parents should know that the film has non-stop action violence with a lot of shooting, stabbing, and kicking. Many characters are killed and a child is in peril and apparently doomed. Characters use brief strong language and there is brief non-sexual nudity and some barfing.


Families who see this movie should talk about the risks of bio-terrorism. Why does Violet decide to protect Six?


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Blade Runner and The Matrix and Jovovich’s The Fifth Element (all with some mature material).

Block Party

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

The regal Erykah Badu takes the stage, her slender form topped with an enormous puff of hair that hangs down over her face. But the stage is outdoors on a gusty, rainy day, and all of a sudden it is blown back and then off! She keeps singing.

Unknown White Male

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for drug references and brief strong language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for drug references and brief strong language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Confounded doctors admit that they’ve only seen it in movies and textbooks. But in this documentary a mystery, perhaps the ultimate mystery occurs.


A healthy and successful young man wakes up on a train to Coney Island to discover – nothing. He has no idea who he is and nothing to indicate his name or address. He has completely lost his “episodic memory,” all of the details of his own personal experience – relationships, education, work, his own subjective reactions to the world. He retains the basics of his “semantic memory,” enough to let him conclude that the place to go for help is a police station. But everything else is just…gone.


And so, he goes from discovering an almost endless nothing to discovering an infinite everything. Like a visitor from another planet, he is an adult man for whom everything he sees is brand new. His family and friends are reassuring but also confusing – is he still the man they say they cared about if he cannot remember any of the shared experiences they describe? The wonders the rest of us take a little bit for granted, from the ocean to chocolate mousse, come to him pure and undiluted.


After a few days of detective work, he learns his name: Doug Bruce. But after months of medical tests and trying to remember the people and places everyone tells him were once part of his life, he still does not know who Doug Bruce is. Or, he does know who Doug Bruce is. He just doesn’t know who he was.


This documentary takes us on the journey with Doug, the man who lost his memory. Director Rupert Murray was a close friend of Doug’s before he lost his memory. His movie is not just the story of Doug’s journey to finding himself but a meditation on the nature of identity, memory, and connection.


Parents should know that this movie has some strong language and disturbing themes.


Families who see this movie should talk about their most important memories and what they can do to preserve them.


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy some of the famous fictional depictions of memory loss, especially Random Harvest and I Love You Again. They may also enjoy my interview with the director.

16 Blocks

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

When a cop at a crime scene needs someone to stay with the bodies until the detectives arrive, he asks “who don’t we need?” That would be tired, slow, Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis). As soon as the other cops leave, he limps into the kitchen and takes a bottle of booze out of the cabinet, then sits on the sofa, pours himself a drink, and waits until he can go.


Back at the station, he is about to sign out for the day when his lieutenant assigns him one more job. A prisoner has to testify before a grand jury 16 blocks away before 10:00, and it is now Jack’s responsibilty to deliver him.


So Jack puts Eddie (Mos Def) in the back of a squad car. On the way to the courthouse, he stops at a liquor store, leaving Eddie in the car. Two men try to kill Eddie.

It turns out that a lot of people will do everything they can to keep Eddie from testifying. And that powerful people were counting on Jack to “do what he always does.” Does that mean “mess up” or “go along?”


This movie is 2/3 video game, as Jack and Eddie find dangerous surprises around every corner and in a variety of settings, including the obligatory Chinatown scene. Bang, duck, bang, duck, bang, shoot back. But the other third makes it work — that’s the sure direction of a well-constructed script by Richard Donner, balancing tension, thrills, and a few well-placed laughs, with sharp, clever performances by Willis, Def, and David Morse as Jack’s former partner.

Willis is always underestimated as an actor. It’s easy to do because he never seems to be trying very hard. But that just shows how good he is. In the middle of an action movie he gives a subtle, complex, and nimble performance that increases the tension, never distracting from it. Mos Def gives depth and appeal to a character who has two functions in the script: contrast with Jack’s burn-out and McGuffin prop to be shot at and fought over. Eddie’s non-stop commentary could have quickly become annoying with a less skillful performer. But Def makes the rhythms of Eddie’s speech a counterpoint to the script’s ticking clock. The moment when he has to make a big decision is beautifully played. This 16 block journey is one audiences will enjoy being along for the ride.


Parents should know that this movie has non-stop action and peril with many tense situations and a lot of violence (mostly shooting). Many characters are injured and some are killed. A character abuses alcohol. Characters use brief strong language and there are some mild sexual references.


Families who see this movie should talk about whether and when people can change. Why did Jack decide to protect Eddie? Why did Eddie decide to help Jack? Why is Eddie’s riddle important?


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the best in this genre, Midnight Run (non-stop very strong language), Speed, and Willis’ Die Hard 3.

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