Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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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

Deliver Us from Eva

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

The deliciously dishy Gabrielle Union, so memorable as the rival cheerleading captain opposite Kirsten Dunst in “Bring it On,” gets center stage in this saucy romantic comedy inspired by “Taming of the Shrew.”

Union plays Eva, the domineering big sister of the Dandridges, universally acknowledged as the four smartest and prettiest girls in the city. Eva took responsibility for the family after their parents were killed in an automobile accident, and even though they are all grown up, she still calls the shots. Her sisters’ significant others — two husbands and a boyfriend — smarting from her intrusions and insults, come up with a scheme — they will pay a “player” to win her heart and then dump her to keep her distracted and out of their lives.

The player is Ray (rap star LL Cool J), a rolling stone with charm to spare. He needs the money to buy a house, so he takes the job. But things don’t go as planned and Eva, Ray, and all the sisters and their men have some surprises in store and some lessons to learn.

There are some sharply observed moments and some barbed commentary on the war between the sexes, but what makes this movie above average is the snap, energy, and appeal of its outstanding young cast and its understated but affectionate glimpse of the community of middle class African-Americans. Union has one of the most sparkling smiles and one of the most attractive speaking voices in movies today, and LL Cool J (appearing under his original name as James Todd Smith) gives Ray not just all of his considerable charm but also some real acting to show us how Ray’s feelings for Eva change him. Director Gary Hardwick (“Brothers”) shows verve and imagination from the very first moment, when the opening credit sequence has the couples dancing Temptatations-style to Motown classic “You’re All I Need to Get By.” A parallel to “Barbershop” sets a series of scenes in the local beauty salon, where the Dandridge sisters have weekly get-togethers for pedicures, facials, and lots of girl talk.

Parents should know that the movie is rated R for some very strong language and some explicit sexual references. A gay character is mildly stereotyped, but positively portrayed. The behavior of the main characters, however, demonstrates strong values, including responsibility, self-respect, and fidelity. Characters drink and there is a reference to a drinking problem.

Families who see this movie should talk about how we can support family members without being too intrusive. They may also want to talk about how people sometimes react to loss by trying to exert too much control on the people and circumstances around them.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy some of the stories that may have inspired it, including Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and the delightful British comedy, “Hobson’s Choice.” They should also see the marvelous “Barbershop.”

Final Destination 2

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

Not bothering with everyday movie conventions like plot, acting, or logic, this wisp of a sequel found its competitive advantage in “Final Destination” (2002) and pursued it with gleeful abandon. The first movie took the time to follow teen horror flick conventions, to develop characters –as thin as they were — and to throw in some theories about why all these people were dying. In the second movie, all these time-fillers are skipped and the movie becomes a heaping helping of mind-boggling mayhem. “Final Destination 2” asks why it should bother with the parsley of plot, dialogue, or characters, when people just want a plateful of death.

In many ways, “Final Destination 2” is a stronger movie than the first. Judging by the stunned guffaws of the audience, the tunneling of all the movie’s energies into a smorgasbord of imaginative deaths works better than the heavy-handed “suspense” and overall much of a muchness of the original “Final Destination.” The movie does not waver much from the basic premise of the first and it should be noted that neither movie is particularly good.

Plot? Please. If you saw “Final Destination” or even just saw the preview for this movie then you are familiar with the plot. A group of people know that they are going to die; what they do not know is how this untimely event is going to take place. It is for this ‘how’ that the audience, eyes darting around the screen to pick out possibly lethal traps, stays riveted for most of the movie’s 100 minute running time.

As with the first movie, the premise is that we cannot escape death when our turn has come, so if we were meant to die in an accident but somehow skip this fate, then we are due another visit from death to correct the omission. In this case, strangers on the merge to the highway avoid death in the form of a fiery pile up due to the premonition of the pretty but uninteresting, Kimberly (A.J. Cook). While still congratulating themselves for not dying, the survivors begin to fall victim to a string of bizarre accidents. Kimberly seeks out the sole survivor from those fated to die in “Final Destination”, Clear Rivers (Ali Larter), who has some helpful things to say but cannot stop the body count from rising.

Acting? Mediocre at best. It is saying something when the only person who seems comfortable in his role is Tony Todd returning as the unblinking mortician, Dr. Bludworth (this movie meets no definition of the word ‘subtle’), speaking in koans and providing the riddle of survival. Do they solve the riddle in time? Few will care, considering that there is no reason to like any of the characters and the main thrill of the movie comes from the elaborate nature of the deadly accidents. After a particular accident dispatched two characters at once, a lady sitting in a nearby row complained that the audience had been cheated.

Was it supposed to be camp? If this movie is supposed to be a scary thriller, then it flies far of the mark. If, however, “Final Destination 2” seeks to take us no further than bloody spectacle, then it does a fine job indeed.

Parents should know that this movie is very gory and that death is a meaningless event held up for entertainment value. Many of the accidents involve everyday items, which might lead some audience members to view their surroundings in a much different way. Several college age kids use drugs in a casual, off-hand manner that the other characters appear to accept. Parents in this movie seem unwilling to discuss possible peril with their children and are powerless to help their teens survive.

Families who see this movie should talk about the characters’ different reactions to (a) surviving the accident, and (b) facing the continuing danger to themselves. One of the characters proclaims that he is the master of his own fate and that therefore he will not die. Parents might discuss this concept of fate and the role of our own actions to influence our futures.

Families who enjoyed this movie might wish to rent “Army of Darkness” (1993), the third movie in the horror trilogy also comprising “Evil Dead” (1982) and “Dead by Dawn” (1987). As with “Final Destination 2”, “Army of Darkness” took the original scary premise to its absurd, logical extreme, resulting in a extremely camp “horror” flick, which, with lines including “it’s a trick, get an ax”, is similarly over-the-top. For those interested in more lighthearted and, frankly, more entertaining depictions of Death as an anthropomorphized being, then the Discworld books by British humorist, Terry Pratchett, are not to be missed.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

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

Kate Hudson is irresistably adorable in this frothy update of the 1950’s-style battle of the gorgeous (and gorgeously-attired) sexes romantic comedy. It’s easy to imagine Doris Day and Rock Hudson as the magazine columnist and advertising executive at the center of a head-on-collision between two competing bets and one overpowering attraction.

Hudson plays Andie Anderson, who writes the “how to” column for Compusure, a popular magazine for young women devoted to fads, diets, fashion, and celebrity gossip. She wants to write about politics. She gets to write about decorating with feng shui and charming her way out of a traffic ticket. Her next assignment give this movie its title. She is supposed to pick up a guy and make every mistake women make to drive men away, to get him to dump her in ten days.

Matthew McConaughey plays Ben, a guy’s guy specializing in ads for beer and sports equipment who wants to move up to the advertising big time with a huge new account, a company that handles seventy percent of the world’s diamonds. His boss (Robert Klein) says that he can have the account if he can make a woman fall in love with him in ten days. His rivals at the advertising agency (played by supermodels Shalom Harlow and Michael Michele), knowing about Andie’s column, pick her as the subject.

The movie has some clever jabs at the war between the sexes. Andie’s glee at torturing Ben is softened a little because the torture comes from gestures that are seen as natural to women. What men see as being clingy and possessive, women see as affectionate and caring. We see this contrast in the way Andie and Ben treat (and are treated by) their friends. And we suspect that it is good for Ben to have to stick it out a little bit with a woman for a change.

Andie takes Ben to a chick flick festival and a Celine Dion concert. She gives him a houseplant and marks his apartment as her territory by spreading stuffed animals, potpourri, and feminine hygiene products all over it. Even worse, she becomes friendly with his mother, intrudes on his poker night, and gives a part of his anatomy a name that is, um, counter-productive. She even makes him go to couples therapy — and pay for it. But we also see how truly right Andie and Ben are for each other and how crazy they are about each other right from the beginning. It isn’t just the bet that keeps Ben going. It is his sense that somewhere inside this crazy behavior is a girl he really wants to get close to.

Parents should know that the movie has very mature material for a PG-13, including explicit and graphic sexual references and situations. There are references to impotence, orgasms, sex between people who do not know each other very well, and the appropriate name to give to genitals. Characters drink and smoke. Drinking to the point of drunkenness is portrayed as a way to handle unhappiness. There is also very strong language for a PG-13, including continuous use through one long scene of the word “Bull*****” in a card game my family used to just call “I Doubt It.” Most important, this is a movie in which the characters lie to each other and manipulate each other and make no effort to tell each other the truth, even after they have become very close.

Families who see this movie should talk about how men and women may have different communication styles. And they should talk about bets that may hurt someone’s feelings.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy three Rock Hudson movies: “Pillow Talk,” “Come September,” and “Lover Come Back” (all of which reflect the early 1960’s era morality).

The Recruit

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

When you lie all the time, how do you remember what is true? How do you remember to care?

That is a theme of most spy movies, and it is right at the center of this twisty story about a grad student from MIT who is recruited for the CIA, put through a brutal training period, and then sent out to find a mole, someone from the inside who is working for the bad guys.

In what used to be the Tom Cruise part (supremely talented but hot-headed kid with father issues), we have Cruise’s co-star in “Minority Report,” the supremely talented and magnetic Irish actor Colin Farrell. His Obi-Wan Kenobi equivalent is grizzled veteran Burke (Al Pacino), who has mastered the art of identifying the right candidates and enticing them to join up, even though there is no chance of money or recognition. You might win a medal, but they just show it to you and take it back — you aren’t even allowed to keep it.

Burke tells James Clayton (Farrell), Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan), and the other recruits that everything is a test; nothing is as it seems. CIA training facility (called The Farm) is like boot camp crossed with “Fear Factor.” They learn not to believe anything or anyone. They learn to lie without quickening their pulses or dilating their pupils. And they learn that nothing matters — no feelings, no friendships — except for completing the mission.

The other students are told that Clayton was dropped, so that Burke can use him undercover to find which one of them is working for the other side. Is it Layla?

It’s a “Top Gun”-style part, and Farrell has everything it takes to be a huge star, but it is unlikely that this movie will make it happen for him. There are some supple plot twists, but the story sags in the middle, there aren’t any gee-whiz gadgets, and the preview gives too much away. It’s an above-average thriller, but not especially memorable.

Parents should know that the movie has strong language and sexual references and situations, some exploitive (intended to get access to secrets). Characters smoke and drink, sometimes to excess, especially after receiving bad news. There is a lot of peril and violence, including torture that is graphic for a PG-13. Characters are killed.

Families who see this movie should talk about the classic conflict we confront when we allow the ends to justify the means. How do we create an organization of liars and keep them honest? Would you like to be a spy?

Families who enjoy this movie should watch the brilliant BBC miniseries, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” inspired by the real-life British mole Kim Philby.

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