Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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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

 

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

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

 

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

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
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

Hello, Dolly!

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1969

Plot: Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) is a matchmaker in turn of the century Yonkers, outside of New York. She is hired by Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) to find him a wife. He also hires her to take his niece Ermengarde (Joyce Ames) to New York City, to encourage her to forget about marrying her artist beau, Ambrose (long-legged Tommy Tune). Instead, Dolly makes matches for his two clerks (Michael Crawford and Danny Lockin), advises them on how to get promotions from Horace, and helps Ermengarde get permission to marry Ambrose. Finally, after a series of intricate maneuvers, Dolly makes a match for herself, with Horace.

Discussion: This is one of the last of the big-time, old-fashioned musicals, with lavish production values and a dozen hummable tunes. The very slight story is bolstered by terrific singing and dancing — staged by two masters of the genre: Gene Kelly, who directed, and Michael Kidd, who choreographed. The elaborate sets, costumes, and musical numbers make this movie a treat for the eyes and ears.

Dolly is almost a magical figure, with business cards for every purpose. When she tells Ermengarde and Ambrose they can earn the money they need by winning the dance contest at Harmonia Gardens, she produces one that says “Artists Taught to Dance.” With all the confidence it takes to transform the lives of everyone around her, she still hesitates when it comes to herself. She still mourns her late husband Ephraim, but she wants more out of life “Before the Parade Passes By.” Yet when Horace finally proposes, she waits for a sign of Ephraim’s approval. What she gets is a sign that Horace has the qualities she is looking for, that, as she suspected all along, his gruff exterior conceals a warm heart and a wish to help others.

Questions for Kids:

· Why doesn’t Dolly just tell Horace the truth about what she thinks is right for him and for Ermengarde?

· How does she help the people in the movie to think differently about themselves, and how does that help them change?

· What does Dolly mean when she sings “Before the Parade Passes By”?

· When the young couples sing “We’ve Got Elegance,” do they really think they are fancy?

· What would you do if you were Barnaby and Cornelius at the Harmonia Gardens?

· What is the difference between Dolly’s view of money and Horace’s view?

Connections: Michael Crawford went on from male ingenue parts (“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”) to star in the title role of “Phantom of the Opera.” This story, originally a German play, has been produced in a number of forms, including “The Matchmaker,” a non- musical play written by Thornton Wilder (of “Our Town”), filmed with Shirley Booth, and most recently redone by avant-garde playwright Tom Stoppard from the perspective of the two clerks as “On the Razzle.”

Activities: Take the kids to a parade, preferably one where they can march along. They might also enjoy making some hats inspired by the spectacular creations in the movie.

Heist

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

David Mamet, writer/director of “Heist,” is fascinated by the con. He has written movies about an ordinary person who becomes involved with professional con men (“House of Games”) and about men who sell vacation property by selling a dream to people who cannot afford it. His most recent film was “State and Main,” about people who said and did anything to get their movie made. When one character was accused of lying, he explained it was just “a talent for fiction.” But it may be that the con that interests Mamet most is the story itself, with the storyteller as the con man who spins a yarn so enticing that the listener is utterly captivated.

And it is a pleasure to be captivated by Mamet, the master of tired, tough, talk. The characters in “Heist,” long-time thieves on their last big job, have had everything burned off of them but the coolness at their core. They do not talk to communicate. They talk to test each other and show off in front of each other and sometimes to show off in front of those who don’t get it. Their talk is like their thievery, stripped down, cynical, and clever. It’s like a secret language from Planet Cool and it makes you feel that it just might be worth breaking the law just to be able to speak it. Main character Joe Moore (Gene Hackman) is “so cool that when he sleeps, sheep count him.” His pretty, young wife (Rebecca Pidgeon) “can talk her way out of a sunburn.” And everyone wants money; “That’s why they call it money.”

More archetype than stereotype, the set-up is the veteran with one last big job, the one that will get him out of the business for good. Moore’s fence (Danny DeVito) will not pay off on a jewel robbery unless Moore goes for a gold shipment being held on a plane. If this part sounds familiar, it’s because you just saw the same set-up with Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro in “The Score.” Just as in “The Score,” the fence brings a new young partner into the deal. In this movie, it is Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell), young and arrogant. Will Moore get away with the gold? Will there be double, triple, and quadruple crosses? Is there ever any honor among thieves? It is a treat to explore these questions in such capable hands.

Parents should know that the movie has very strong language, sexual references and situations (including sex used as a bargaining chip), drinking, smoking, robbery, and a very violent shoot-out.

Families who see this movie should talk about whether it is possible to be loyal to people who are professional betrayers. Are there any good guys in this movie? How can you tell?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy seeing Hackman, DeVito, and Lindo working together in Get Shorty and some of Mamet’s other movies, including Glengarry Glen Ross and State and Main.

Hearts in Atlantis

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

If you’re allergic to the kind of movie that starts with a funeral and then goes into a flashback about a sensitive kid’s last childhood summer, then stay away. But audiences with an appreciation or even a tolerance of this genre will find this to be above average. It is based on a story by Stephen King. There is some tension and an element of the supernatural, but this is King’s coming of age mode (“Stand By Me”) and contact with an extraordinary character mode (“The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile”), not a horror movie.

It is summertime, and Billy has just turned 11. His mother’s birthday gift is not the bicycle he dreams of but an adult library card. She is quick to remind him that they have very little money, since Billy’s father died leaving them with unpaid bills and no insurance. Billy’s friend Carol points out that his mother buys new clothes for herself, but Billy defends her, saying that she has to look good for work.

A stranger comes to live above Billy and his mother. His name is Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins). He hires Billy to read him the newspaper and watch out for “the low men,” who wear hats, drive fancy cars, and leave odd messages in code on telephone poles. Billy thinks Ted is a little loony, but he agrees, at first because he wants to earn money for the bicycle, and then because he is drawn to Ted’s warmth, humor, and even to his strangeness. He begins to see signs of the low men, but he does not tell Ted. He knows that when Ted hears that the low men have come, he will have to leave.

Billy gets a chance to see through Ted’s eyes, which may be weak when it comes to reading but which see important things very clearly. When Billy touches Ted, he gets a little bit of Ted’s ability to somehow “know” things. All of a sudden, in the next room, Billy can tell that what Ted is wondering about is his cigarettes. And a surprised three-card monte shark (well-played by “A Knight’s Tale’s” Alan Tudyk) finds that Billy can tell him where the Queen of Hearts is without even looking at the cards. Even more important, though, is that way that Ted, like all special grown-ups in the lives of children, guides Billy to a new knowledge of himself and the world. Ted helps Billy realize that his friend Carol is more special to him than he thought, that he deserves better treatment from his mother, and that the town bully is not as powerful as he thinks.

Parents should know that there is some strong language, characters are in peril and some are injured, and a character is raped (inexplicit and mostly offscreen). A character is wrongfully accused of molesting a child. A bully who accuses others of being “queer” turns out to be acting on his fears about his own sexuality. Fighting back is portrayed as heroic. There are a couple of chaste kisses.

Families who see this movie should talk about the grown-ups who inspired them the most, and might also want to discuss how we decide whom we will trust.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Stand By Me – Special Edition(some mature material).

Heartbreakers

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

William Tensy (Gene Hackman), a chain-smoking tobacco zillionaire, goes into a little rant about the ridiculous notion that second-hand smoke is harmful and turns to blast a cloud of cigarette smoke at his parrot, who immediately keels over. If only the second-hand comedy in this movie was as powerful. It is clear that the dream cast members are all enjoying themselves immensely, but that does not translate into much fun for the audience.

Sigourney Weaver plays Max, a con woman who marries wealthy men, denies them sex, and then sues them for divorce when they make a pass at her partner, Page (Jennifer Love Hewitt), who is also her daughter. Weaver and Hewitt are at their most delectable in outfits that Erin Brockovich could only dream of. If there were ever an Oscar for cleavage, this movie would be the one to beat.

After they take New Jersey chop shop owner Dean (Ray Liotta), Page is restless and wants to go off on her own. When they run into a little problem with the IRS, they agree to take on one last big con together and head off for Palm Beach. Max wants to go after Tensy, but Page is drawn to a sweet bartender named Jack (Jason Lee) who owns some land worth $3 million. Max’s challenges include a ferocious guard dog of a housekeeper (“Saturday Night Live’s” Nora Dunn), and Tensy’s constant coughing and terrible tobacco-stained teeth. Page’s challenge is keeping her plan secret from her mother and keeping herself from falling in love with Jack.

It isn’t a terrible movie, but it just does not work very well. We like the characters too much to enjoy their greedy behavior but we do not like them enough to care whether they end up happily. Max and Page are awful to just about everyone and have no sense that their behavior hurts other people. They are selfish and amoral, operating entirely out of expediency with no thought for the consequences for themselves or others. The script tries to make us believe that this is all because Max is trying to protect Page from being hurt, but that is a con job that we just don’t fall for. And despite a few con-job twists, the script is just weak and unoriginal. In real life, these con women would not fool Forrest Gump. Can it possibly be true that this is the second movie in two months to have a supposedly funny scene in which the genitals are knocked off of a nude male statue? This one is even less funny than the one in “The Wedding Planner.”

Aside from the cleavage already mentioned, the best reason to watch the movie is to see Weaver and Hewitt doing their bombshell best and Hackman’s odious performance as the mark who just might not be worth marrying to get $20 million.

Parents should know that this is yet another example of the MPAA’s comedy rule, meaning that material that would get an R rating in a drama gets a PG-13 rating because it is supposed to be funny. The movie contains continual sexual humor that can get very raunchy, including references to group sex. There is no nudity and nothing too graphic onscreen except for the statue. It has very strong language, especially for a PG-13, smoking (comic) and drinking. As noted, the main characters are con women with no concerns about stealing from anyone and everyone.

Families who see the movie should talk about how Max tried to protect Page from hurt, and whether that is wise or even possible. What does it mean to say, “you might as well get hurt in your own healthy ways?” What was it about Jack that made Page think differently about herself and about the possibilities? What do you have to think about the world to be able to rob everyone you meet? Why did it take Page so long to tell Jack her real name, and what did it mean when she did?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy one of the all-time classics, “The Lady Eve,” about a father-daughter team of con artists, and “The Sting” (some mature material), about two con men who take on an even bigger crook for one of the most intricate and satisfying con jobs of all time.

Previous Posts

The November Man
Pierce Brosnan knows what it is like to play a spy in a big-budget, glamorous, blockbuster. He was the most urbane of Bonds in four movies. He knows what it is to play a seedier spy in a prestige, mildly meta movie, the 2001 film "The Tailor of Panama" (with Daniel Radcliffe in a pre-Potter role).

posted 10:57:58am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Thunder and the House of Magic
"Thunder and the House of Magic" opens September 5, 2014. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6VKG3lZEIg[/youtube]

posted 8:00:02am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Anatomy of Every Movie Ever
This is hilarious and, I have to say, accurate.  Thank you, John Atkinson of Wrong Hands!

posted 3:59:37pm Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Cozi Zuehlsdorff's New Song for "Dolphin Tale 2" -- "Brave Souls"
I'm really looking forward to "Dolphin Tale 2," even more so after seeing this music video by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, the young actress who reprises her role as Hazel from the original film. Cozi’s song, which she wrote and performs herself, is called “Brave Souls” and in this video she explains how

posted 12:23:08pm Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Adventure Planet
Jane Lynch, Danny Glover, Brooke Shields, Bailee Madison, and Drake Bell provide the voices for "Adventure Planet," an animated adventure for the whole family out today on DVD.  Norva and Jo

posted 5:00:18am Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »


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