Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Love is Strange
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language
Release Date:
08/22/2014

 

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

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

 

Blended
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language.
Release Date:
May 23, 2014

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

 

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

Some Like it Hot

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1959

Plot: In the first moments of the movie, what appears to be a hearse turns out to be carrying bootleg liquor, and we are prepared for a movie in which nothing will be what it seems and nothing will be treated very seriously. It is the 1920s, during Prohibition, and Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are two musicians who play in a speakeasy. When they accidentally witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre of a group of bootleggers by Spats Columbo (George Raft) and his mob, they have to hide out. So they accept a job with a band on its way to Florida — an all- girl band — and they dress as women, calling themselves “Josephine” and “Daphne.”

On the train, they meet the rest of the band, including lead singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe). Both men are very attracted to her. She quickly becomes friends with “Daphne” and they have a late-night pajama party. But when they get to Florida, Joe adopts yet another disguise, this time as a wealthy bachelor. Meanwhile, Osgood (Joe E. Brown), a real wealthy bachelor, is interested in “Daphne.” Joe gets “Daphne” to distract Osgood so he can use Osgood’s yacht for a date with Sugar.

Meanwhile, Spats and his gang arrive at the hotel for a conference with other gang leaders that results in even more bloodshed. Joe realizes that he does not want to mislead Sugar anymore and sends her a diamond bracelet (from Osgood) and a farewell note. But, seeing her sadness, he is overcome and kisses her, forgetting that he is dressed as Josephine. She runs after them, and joins Joe, Jerry, and Osgood as they escape on Osgood’s boat.

Discussion: This is one of the wildest farces ever filmed, but it has a lot of heart as well, with brilliant performances by all three stars. Monroe is heartbreakingly vulnerable as Sugar, explaining that she always gets “the fuzzy end of the lollypop.” Joe must become someone else in order to learn the truth about Sugar (who would never have confided in a man) and about himself (as he sees the consequences of his exploitive behavior and feels what it is like to have men try to force their attentions on him). Jerry, hilariously, turns out to be as suggestible as a woman as he was as a man. As himself, he ends up going along with whatever Joe tells him. In women’s clothes, he starts to think of himself as a woman. The scene where he tells Joe he and Osgood are engaged is a classic.

Questions for Kids:

· How does Joe change, and what makes him change?

· What does he learn from being dressed as a woman?

· How do Joe and Jerry react differently to dressing as women?

· How does Sugar behave differently with “Junior” and “Josephine”?

Connections: Other movies with male characters disguising themselves as women include the venerable “Charlie’s Aunt,” filmed seven times, including a musical version with Ray Bolger, and “Tootsie,” with Dustin Hoffman (rated PG, but with mature themes). Curtis and Lemmon also appeared together in “The Great Race.” George Raft engagingly spoofs his tough guy performances in 1930s gangster movies, even repeating his coin- flipping habit from “Scarface.”

Someone Like You

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

Animal Husbandry,” a wry and witty book about a single woman’s efforts to understand men, has become “Someone Like You” a generic looking-for- love-in-all-the-wrong-places romance with plot twists that were tired back in the days of Sandra Dee and Bobby Darrin.

Ashley Judd, once again adding more heart and star power to a movie than it deserves, plays Jane Goodale (sounds like Jane Goodall, the chimp expert, get it?), a booker for a television talk show hosted by Diane (Ellen Barkin, looking a little washed out but always fun to watch). The people booked on the show are called “gets,” and ambitious Diane tells Jane that what she wants on her show is “the un-get-able get” the elusive guest that everyone wants but no one has.

Meanwhile, Jane is looking for a “get” of her own, a man who will love her as much as she loves him. But that seems really un-get-able. If she isn’t looking for love in all the wrong places, she is certainly looking in most of them. Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear), Diane’s new producer, seems like The One, and Jane is blissful, until he gets cold feet just as they are about to move in together. She ends up having to sublet a room from Eddie (“X-Men’s” Hugh Jackman). His womanizing provides the foundation for her emerging theory of male behavior. For example, when she asks him if it isn’t complicated when he begins dating the roommate of a woman he had recently dated, he says, “It’s never complicated for me.” Jane decides that men are genetically determined to act like bulls that refuse to service a cow a second time. Men are always looking for the “new cow.”

Jane’s best friend Liz (Marisa Tomei) persuades her to write a magazine column about the theory, under a pseudonym. Suddenly, everyone is talking about it and everyone, especially Diane, wants to interview the author. Ray tells Jane that he wants to get back together. Eddie turns out to be not heartless but recovering from a broken heart. If you have ever seen or even heard about any movie ever made, you know where it all leads.

So the only question is how much fun it is on the way to the happy ending, and the answer is: mildly. Judd delivers everything she can, and she makes Jane’s yearning to love as well as to be loved very poignant. Jackman, out of his Wolverine X-Men outfit turns out to clean up very nicely indeed, and makes a likable leading man. The dialogue is above average, and director Tony Goldwyn has some good ideas, but the plot twists are below average. This is especially clear in the last 15 minutes, which seem like a desperate attempt to think of any way to end it, and just don’t work at all.

Parents should know that the movie features sexual references and situations and some very strong language for a PG-13. Characters drink and smoke, and there are scenes in a bar. Drinking is shown as a solace for pain. Boxes of condoms and a diaphragm that has not been used for a while are shown for comic effect.

Families who see this movie should talk about the foolish choices made by Jane, Ray, and Eddie. Jane is so in love with the idea of love that she does not expect Ray to say that he loves her before they become intimate. She does not really know him when they have sex, and yet she expects him not just to know her but to love her. Jane and Liz think they have a problem figuring out men, but the problem is in understanding themselves. Eddie uses indiscriminate sex as a way of warding off intimacy. Ray is not able to be honest with himself or with the women in his life. None of them seem to have any sense of how enduring love grows, though the conclusion does suggest that it is more likely to grow between people who begin with emotional intimacy and get that on firm ground before moving on to other kinds.

Families who see this movie should look for Ashley Judd’s mother, country singer Naomi Judd, in a brief role as a make-up artist. And families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Pillow Talk” with Doris Day and Rock Hudson and Judd’s performance in “Where the Heart Is.

Snow Dogs

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2002

Two Oscar-winners are no match for some irresistible dogs (with a little assistance from puppeteers and computer animators) in this so-so slapstick comedy about a Miami dentist who ends up in a dogsled race. The actors do their best, but there is no way they can hold the attention of the audience when those beautiful Siberian huskies and one magnificent border collie are on screen.

This is an a attempt to return to one of the Disney staples of the 1960’s, a light-hearted story pairing cute but clumsy actors with cute but clever animals. Think of “That Darn Cat,” “The Shaggy Dog,” “The Monkey’s Uncle,” and “The Ugly Dachshund.” The set-up this time is fine: a successful Miami dentist named Ted Brooks (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) inherits a team of champion Alaskan snow dogs. And some of the highly predictable jokes work reasonably well, as the city slicker used to sunshine has to adjust to live in a remote area that is all snow and ice.

Gooding is, as always, an attractive presence, with welcome support from Nichelle (“Lt. Uhura”) Nichols as his adoptive mother, James Coburn as his biological father, and Joanna Bacalso as his romantic interest. There is a cute dream sequence and the scenery is gorgeous. But overall, the movie is no better than fair.

Parents should know, though, that despite the PG rating, there is some material they might not consider appropriate for children. Characters drink hard liquor. Brooks’ late mother leaves a drink of Wild Turkey to all her friends. Brooks learns early in the movie that he is adopted, which some children (both adopted and not) might find disturbing. Later, he is told that his natural parents were two loners who had a one-night stand, and his biological father is a cranky (and white) mountain man played by James Coburn. Brooks tries to gain the respect of the mountain man and find out how his biological parents felt about each other and about him.

When Brooks finds out that he is half white, his adoptive mother makes a stereotype joke, responding, “That explains why you’re so crazy about Michael Bolton.” Parents should also make it clear to younger children that despite what it says in the movie, humans do not bite dogs on the ear to tame them.

Families who see this movie should talk about when we allow ourselves to be measured by the standards of others and when we trust our own ability to know what is important.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Beethoven(about a St. Bernard that adopts a family) and Rat Race(another slapstick comedy starring Gooding).

Small Time Crooks

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2000

Woody Allen’s lightest comedy in years is a slight story of an unsuccessful crook named Ray who comes up with a plan for one big heist. He wants to rent a storefront that is two doors down from a bank and then tunnel underneath to rob the vault. He and his friends are hopelessly incompetent. But it turns out that his wife, Frenchy (Tracey Ullman), makes sensational cookies, and the business they started as a cover for the tunneling turns out to be a huge success.

A little abashed at having made more money legitimately than they ever dreamed of stealing, they settle in to enjoy it but find that they have different dreams. He wants to drink beer, eat cheeseburgers, and watch television. She wants to be a patron of the arts and have dinner parties with socialites. But behind her back, the people she invites snicker about her “flawless vulgarity.” When she meets a handsome, charming art dealer with an English accent (Hugh Grant), she asks him to teach her about culture.

The story has something of a fairy tale quality to it, as when the characters get what they wished for it was not what they had in mind. The small-time crooks learn that when you are rich there are big-time crooks to worry about. And at least some of the characters learn that what matters is the people you love.

Ullman and Grant are fun to watch, but the real standout performance is Elaine May as Frenchy’s dim-witted cousin.

Parents should know that the movie will not be of much interest to children but there is little objectionable material. There is social drinking and a character says, “I’d have a whiskey if I were you” before giving bad news. The main characters in the movie are criminals, and families may want to talk about what makes them believe that this behavior is acceptable.

Families should talk about Frenchy’s comments that “You were a crook so you think everyone is” and “Class is something you can’t fake and you can’t buy.” Who were the worst crooks in the movie?

Families who enjoy this movie will like Allen’s last movie about a crook, “Take the Money and Run” (some mature material), in which he plays a bank robber so inept that no one can read his handwriting on the stick-up note. And they may also enjoy the British crime comedy classic, “The Lavender Hill Mob.”

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