Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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Lucy
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Heaven is for Real
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for thematic material including some medical situations
Release Date:
April 16, 2014

And So It Goes
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Release Date:
July 25, 2014

 

Sabotage
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Release Date:
March 28, 2014

Wish I Was Here
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Release Date:
July 18, 2014

 

Transcendence
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

A Man for All Seasons

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1966

Plot: The Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) is a man of great principle and a devout Catholic in the time of King Henry VIII. The King wants to dissolve his marriage to the queen (a Spanish princess and the widow of his late brother) so that he can marry Anne Boleyn. All around him, courtiers and politicians plot to use this development to their advantage, or at least to hold on to their positions, given the conflict between the Church’s position that marriage is indissoluble and the King’s that it must be dissolved. For More, the choice is clear, and God comes before the King. But because of More’s incorruptible reputation, his support is crucial. Every possible form of persuasion and coercion is attempted, but More will not make any affirmative statement on behalf of the divorce (though he refrains from opposing it explicitly). And More will not lend his allegiance to the new church headed by the King.

Finally, having lost his position, his fortune, his reputation (on false charges) and his liberty, More is sentenced to death. He accepts it with grace and faith, forgiving the executioner.

Discussion: This is an outstanding (and brilliantly filmed) study of a man who is faced with a harrowingly difficult moral choice. The choice remains clear to him, even at great cost not just to himself but to his family. Yet within his clear moral imperative, he does calibrate. His conscience does not require him to work against or even speak out against the divorce; he need only keep silent.

Questions for Kids:

· What does the title mean?

· The same director made “High Noon” — do you see any similarities?

· What would you consider in deciding what to do, if you were More?

· What other characters in history can you think of who sustained such a commitment to a moral principle?

Connections: Kids and teens should read some of the books about this period, and see if they can find reproductions of the paintings by Hans Holbein of the real-life characters. They may want to watch some of the many movies about it as well. As history shows, the marriage that led to the establishment of the Church of England did not last. “Anne of the Thousand Days” tells the story of the relationship of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, including, from a different perspective, some of the events of “A Man for All Seasons.” A British mini-series, “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” devotes one episode to each wife, and is more historically accurate and very well done. Henry VIII is such a colorful figure that he appeared in several movies, including the classic “Private Life of Henry VIII” with Charles Laughton. His death appears in the (completely fictional) “Prince and the Pauper,” and his daughter with Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I, is featured in several movies, including “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” (with Bette Davis and Errol Flynn) and “Mary, Queen of Scots” (with Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth) and “Mary of Scotland” (with Katharine Hepburn as Mary and Florence Eldridge as Elizabeth).

This movie won six Oscars , including Best Picture, Director, and Actor.

A Knight’s Tale

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2001

If the idea of a medieval jousting movie set to classic rock songs like “We Will Rock You,” “Low Rider,” and “The Boys are Back in Town” bothers you, forget this movie and rent “Ivanhoe” instead. But if the idea appeals to you, get some popcorn and get ready for a ravishingly good time. This is “Ivanhoe” crossed with “Rocky” for the MTV/WWF generation, and it is great silly movie fun. In other words, leave skepticism behind and it will rock you.

Heath Ledger plays William Thatcher, a knight’s squire who steps into his liege’s armor when the knight is killed in a jousting match. All he is thinking of is winning the match so that he can get some food for himself and the other two squires (“The Full Monty’s” Mark Addy as Roland and “28 Days’” Alan Tudyk as Wat). But once the armor is on and the lance is in his hand, his childhood dream of being a knight is awakened, and he persuades Roland and Wat to help him pretend to be a nobleman, so he can continue to compete.

A young writer named Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany), forges the appropriate documents and acts as his herald, and William becomes Sir Ulrich. Although his greatest skill is in the sword-fighting event, the big money is in jousting, so that is where he decides to compete.

Of course William meets a beautiful princess (newcomer Shannyn Sossamon) and an arrogant champion who competes with him for the princess and the title (Rufus Sewell, wonderfully brooding as Count Adhemar). The secret of William’s low birth is revealed at the most dramatic moment. But there is a happily-ever-after ending that is just right for this fairy tale.

Ledger holds his own well in his first leading role, and Bettany is completely winning as Chaucer, who may have a gambling problem but who knows the value of words. Sossamon, in her first role, is pretty, but unimpressive. The art direction sets the scene beautifully, and, if you are willing to give it a chance, the music works very well, especially in a dance sequence that shifts about 600 years into David Bowie mid-step. I’m sure that if Bachman Turner Overdrive had been aroundin the 1400’s, they would have played “Taking Care of Business” during combat.

Parents should know that the movie is very violent, with a lot of shattered lances and battered combatants, but little gore. There is some strong language and a mild sexual situation.

Families who see this movie should talk about the pros and cons of the use of anachronisms (Wat says, “It’s a lance – hel–LO!”) to tell this story, and about the loyalty shown by William, Jocelyn, Roland, Wat, and Geoffrey (and Coville) to each other. They should also talk about why Adhemar was willing to do anything to win and how he would have felt if he had been successful. William is not the only knight who competes under cover – why does the Prince want to compete without letting anyone know who he is? Why was it important for William to allow Coville to lose with honor? And families should discuss Jocelyn’s order to William that he lose to prove his love for her, and whether that was fair or kind. Take a look at Leigh Hunt’s poem, “The Glove and the Lions” at http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/275.html for a similar story that concludes, “No love,” quoth he, “but vanity sets love a task like that.” They might want to take a look at a modernized version of “The Pardoner’s Tale” (http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/pardoner.htm) to see if Geoffrey Chaucer kept his word and got his revenge.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Ivanhoe,” though it’s a little slow between the jousting matches and, as in the book, Ivanhoe ends up with the wrong girl. They will also enjoy “Gladiator” (warning: much more violent than this movie).

A Hard Day’s Night

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1964
DVD Release Date:June 24, 2014

One of the greatest musicals of all time has a gorgeous new Criterion edition in honor of its 50th anniversary.

The documentary style of this movie masks its tight construction, clever script, and sublime anarchy second only to the Marx brothers. A surrealistic day in the life of the most overwhelmingly popular rock group of all time, it portrays the Beatles sympathetically — like the heroine of “It Happened One Night,” they are constantly told what to do and smothered by all they have. Part of the humor is that it is not the members of the Beatles but Paul’s “clean” grandfather who causes most of the trouble. Musical numbers include “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Should Have Known Better” as well as the title song, inspired by Ringo’s warped syntax after a long recording session.

YouTube Preview Image

The deluxe anniversary edition includes lots of extras:

  • New 4K digital film restoration, approved by director Richard Lester, with two audio options—a monaural soundtrack and a new 5.1 surround soundtrack made by Apple Records—presented in uncompressed monaural and DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring various members of the film’s cast and crew
  • In Their Own Voices, a new piece combining interviews with the Beatles from 1964 with behind-the-scenes footage and photos
  • You Can’t Do That: The Making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a 1994 documentary program by producer Walter Shenson
  • Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, writer Alun Owen, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, and others
  • New piece about Lester’s early work, featuring a new audio interview with the director
  • The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959), Lester’s Oscar-nominated short featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan
  • Anatomy of a Style, a new piece on Lester’s approach to editing
  • New interview with Mark Lewisohn, author of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years—Volume One
  • Deleted scene
  • Trailers
  • One Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Howard Hampton

 

Families who see this movie should talk about the nature of fads and the problems created by success.

Families who enjoy this movie together will also enjoy the Beatles in “Help!” and “Yellow Submarine,” but skip the movie “Magical Mystery Tour” and just listen to the music instead. Kids 12 and up might enjoy “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” about teens overcome by Beatlemania or “That Thing You Do,” written and directed by Tom Hanks, the story of a 1960s Erie, Pennsylvania, rock group that has an unexpected hit song.

 

A Christmas Story

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1984
DVD Release Date:1984

There’s no better way to start off the Christmas season than this holiday classic, now celebrating its 25th anniversary and so popular that Turner Classic Movies runs it for 24 hours each year. Millions of fans can recite its lines from memory and some are so passionate they visit the Christmas Story house and attend the Christmas Story conference. Some even buy leg lamps or the action figures.

christmas story action figures.jpg

I think there are two reasons for the movie’s enduring appeal. First, it perfectly evokes the experience of childhood. Today’s kids may not drink Ovaltine or wait for their decoder rings, but they still have to deal with bullies and they still wish for gifts their parents think are too dangerous. But more than that, this is the perfect antidote to all those stories of Christmas perfection on one hand and dysfunction on the other. I love the way this family responds when everything goes wrong. They laugh. And you know that in the future, this Christmas is the one they will always remember.

Parents should know that this movie includes some mild sexual references. A character offers money to a girl to do some non-specific things for him and looks at pictures of women in lingerie. There are also humorous references to bad language including a child having his mouth washed out with soap for swearing.

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