Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

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

 

Moms' Night Out
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Release Date:
May 9, 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

 

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

Houseboat

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1958

Plot: Diplomat Tom Winston (Cary Grant) returns to Washington, D.C. following the death of his estranged wife. His three children, David, Robert, and Elizabeth, have been staying with his wife’s sister, Caroline (Martha Hyer). They are hurt and resentful. He takes them to an outdoor orchestra concert, and Robert wanders off and meets Cinzia (Sophia Loren), the daughter of a visiting conductor. She has also wandered off, in search of adventure and companionship. When she brings Robert back, Tom sees that Robert likes her, and impulsively offers her a job as a housekeeper. She agrees, because traveling with her father has been boring and lonely.

David causes an accident that destroys their home, so the only place they can live is an old houseboat owned by Angelo, a handyman (Harry Guardino). They settle in there with Cinzia. It turns out she can neither cook nor do laundry, but the children adore her, and Tom warms to her too. With her help, he reaches out to his children, and they reach out to him.

Caroline tells Tom that her marriage is ending, and that she has always loved him. On the way to a country club dance, a tipsy male friend of Caroline’s swats Cinzia on her rear end and she tosses wine in his face. Caroline, annoyed at Tom for sticking up for Cinzia (and jealous), leaves for the dance without him. Tom invites Cinzia to the dance, and she accepts, despite her promise to go fishing with David. At the dance, Tom proposes to Caroline, but then, as he dances with Cinzia, he realizes that she is the one he loves, and that she loves him, too.

At first, the children are terribly upset and feel betrayed by both of them. Cinzia, unwilling to make them unhappy, runs back to her father, apologizing, “I’ve learned many things, including how hard it is to be a father.” Tom finds her there, but she refuses to go back with him. “Your children are your friends again, and that is the most important thing.” He tells her that being their friend is not the most important thing; being their father is. They get married. And the children, at the last minute, join in.

Discussion: This is a warm romantic comedy that is exceptionally perceptive and sensitive about the feelings of the children. It does a nice job of showing that David’s truculence and petty theft are due to his feelings of vulnerability and loss. In one scene, Tom at first tries to show David how to fish, then, when David says that he feels incompetent, Tom asks him for advice, and they are able to talk for the first time about his mother’s death. Tom shows David that nothing is ever really lost, and David is able to let Tom know that he fears losing Tom, too. After this talk, David feels safer, and confesses to Angelo that he took Angelo’s knife. (Angelo is very understanding.) Robert’s reaction to the loss of his mother is to withdraw, playing mournfully on his harmonica as his only means of expression. Elizabeth reacts by sleeping in her father’s room every night, and becomes very upset when she learns that will not be possible after he and Cinzia get married.

This is also a rare movie that deals honestly with the issue of children’s reaction to remarriage. Even though they love Cinzia, the children do not like sharing her with Tom, or sharing Tom with her. Children who have been in this situation will be grateful for the opportunity to see that they are not alone.

Questions for Kids:

· How do each of the children show that they are hurt and sad? How do each of them show when they are beginning to feel better?

· What can you tell about Caroline’s feelings when she gives the dress to Cinzia?

· Why does Cinzia tell Angelo the story about the necklace, and why does it make him leave without her?

· Was Cinzia wrong to leave for the dance when she had promised to go fishing with David?

Connections: This movie has two lovely songs, “Almost in Your Arms” (nominated for an Oscar) and “Bing Bang Boom.”

Activities: Just about every child plays some kind of call and response game like the “Yes Sir, You Sir” game Tom plays with his children. There is one that begins “Who Took the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?” Another one is called “Concentration,” and involves a series of claps accompanying the listing of items in selected categories. See if your children know any. If so, play one with them. If not, teach them one. Take them to an outdoor concert, like the one in the movie (the site of the concert in the movie is now the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.). Try playing the harmonica.

Hollywood Ending

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002

Woody Allen’s films seem to get whispier and more ephemeral every year. For all its small pleasures “Hollywood Ending” is so light it nearly floats off the screen.

Allen plays Val, a movie director who is brilliant but so neurotic that no one will work with him. His ex-wife, Ellie (Tea Leoni) arranges for him to have one last chance to direct — a movie set in New York that seems perfect for him. Her new boyfriend Hal (Treat Williams) is reluctant to trust Val with a $60 million movie, but he goes along with it because Ellie wants Val to do it, and he trusts her to keep Val under control.

The problem is that Val is so neurotic that just before the film is supposed to begin shooting, he develops hysterical blindness. His agent, Al (real-life movie director Mark Rydell) persuades him that blindness is no reason not to go ahead and make the movie.

So, Val shoots the movie. The only people who know the truth are Al and a Chinese student hired to translate for the cameraman, who does not speak English. Despite the fact that the director never looks anyone in the eye and his directions make no sense, everyone keeps talkng about his artistic “vision” and his leading lady tells him that she loves the way he looks at her.

Various mix-ups and pratfalls later, the movie turns out to be a $60 million mess, but there is indeed a Hollywood ending and almost everyone lives happily ever after.

Allen gets a lot of credit for poking fun at his own reputation, and there are a couple of movie industry jokes that will be funny for anyone who watches “Entertainment Tonight” or reads “People.” The movie has some great lines and some funny scenes, especially when Val and Ellie get together for their first business meeting and it keeps exploding into recrimination about their divorce. “Will and Grace’s” Deborah Messing is delicious as Val’s airhead girlfriend, who does leg stretches while she talks on the phone and whose only response to hearing that he is breaking up with her is, “Am I still in the movie?”

Overall, though, the movie feels a little tired. Not one character is as distinctive as any of Anne Hall’s family members or the robots in “Sleeper.” This is middle of the road Woody Allen — a pleasant diversion for his fans, but it won’t make any new ones.

Parents should know that the move has some sexual references and situations, including adultery. There is some strong language and a reference to drug use.

Families who see this movie should talk about why people sometimes put up obstacles to realizing their dreams. What made Val decide to reconcile with his son? Why wasn’t it possible earlier? Why did Woody Allen name the male characters Val, Al, and Hal?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” “Sleeper,” and “Take the Money and Run.”

Holiday

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1938
DVD Release Date:2006

After a whirlwind romance at a ski resort, Johnny Case (Cary Grant) is on his way to meet his new fiancée, Julia Seton (Doris Nolan). Overwhelmed by the mansion at the address she gave him, he assumes she must be on the staff, and goes to the back door to ask about her. But she is the daughter of the wealthy and distinguished family that occupies the house. He is surprised and amused, and enjoys meeting Julia’s sister Linda (Katherine Hepburn) and brother Ned (Lew Ayres). They promise to help him win over their father, who is likely to object to the engagement, because Johnny is not from an upper-class wealthy family.

Johnny is a poor boy who has worked hard and done very well. Julia likes him because she sees a similarity to her grandfather, who made a fortune. She wants him to do the same, and tells him, “There’s nothing more exciting than making money.” But Johnny, who has just taken the first vacation of his life, only wants to make enough so that he can take a “holiday,” to “find out why I’ve been working.” As the movie begins, he is about to achieve that goal.

Linda thinks this is a great idea. She is something of an outsider in the family, forsaking the huge formal rooms of the mansion for one cozy place upstairs, which she calls “the only home I’ve got.” She tries to persuade Julia and their father that Johnny is right. Even though he completes the deal that gives him enough for his holiday, Johnny gives in and promises Julia to try it her way, and go to work for her father for a while. As her father presents them with a honeymoon itinerary and explains he is arranging for a house and servants for them, Johnny balks. He knows that if he accepts all of this, he will never be able to walk away from it. Julia breaks the engagement, and Linda joins Johnny on his holiday.

Kids should talk about why it was so important to Linda that she be allowed to give the engagement party. Why did Johnny change his mind about trying it Julia’s way? If you were going to take a holiday, what would you do? Remember, this is more than a vacation, it is more like a journey of discovery. Where would you go? What would you hope to find? How do you think people decide what jobs they want to have? Ask your parents what they thought about in choosing their jobs, and whether they ever took (or wanted to take) a “holiday.” What do you think Johhny will do at the end of his holiday? If Linda thought making money was exciting, why didn’t she want to do it herself?

Many kids will identify with the feeling of wanting to take a holiday, to step back from daily life and study the larger picture. The idea that other things are more important than making money and living according to traditional standards of success may also have some appeal. This is a good opportunity to talk with them about what success really means, and about finding the definition within yourself instead of putting too much weight on the definitions of others. There is nothing inherently wrong with making a fortune, of course, just as there is nothing inherently wrThis movie has two exceptionally appealing characters in Johnny’s friends the Potters, played by Jean Dixon and Edward Everett Horton. Their kindness and wisdom contrasts with the superficial values of the Seton family.

Cary Grant began in show business as an acrobat, and you can see him show off some of that prowess in this movie. The same stars, director, author and scriptwriter worked on another classic, “The Philadelphia Story.”

 

High Noon

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1952

Plot: Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) marries Amy (Grace Kelly) and turns in his badge. She is a Quaker, and he has promised her to hang up his gun and become a shopkeeper. But they get word that Frank Miller is coming to town on the noon train. Kane arrested Miller and sent him to jail, and Miller swore he would come back and kill him.

Will and Amy leave town quickly. But he cannot run away, and he turns around. He knows that they will never be safe; wherever they go, Miller will follow them. And he has a duty to the town. Their new marshal does not arrive until the next day.

Will seeks help from everyone, finally going to church, where services are in session. But he is turned down, over and over again. Amy says she will leave on the noon train. Will’s former deputy, Harvey (Lloyd Bridges) refuses to help, because he is resentful that Will did not recommend him as the new marshal. Will’s former girlfriend, Helen Ramirez (Katy Jurado), now Harvey’s girlfriend, will not help him, either. She sells her business and leaves town. Others say that it is not their problem, or tell him to run, for the town’s good as well as his own. The previous marshal, Will’s mentor, says he can’t use a gun any more. The one man who promised to help backs out when he finds out that no one else will join them. The only others who offer to help are a disabled man and a young boy. Will must face Miller and his three henchmen alone.

At noon, Frank Miller gets off the train. The four men come into town. Will is able to defeat them, with Amy’s unexpected help. As the townsfolk gather, Will throws his badge in the dust, and they drive away.

Discussion: This outstanding drama ticks by in real time, only 84 tense minutes long. Will gets the message about Frank Miller at 10:40, and we feel the same time pressure he does, as he tries to find someone to help him. We see and hear clocks throughout the movie, and as noon approaches, the clock looms larger and larger, the pendulum swinging like an executioner’s axe. In the brilliant score by Dimitri Tiomkin (sung by Tex Ritter) the sound of the beat suggests both the train’s approach and the passage of time.

This is like a grown-up “Little Red Hen” story. Will cannot find anyone to help him protect the town. Everyone seems to think it is someone else’s problem (or fault). Teenagers may be interested to know that many people consider this film an analogy for the political problems of the McCarthy era. It was written during the height of the Hollywood “red scare.” After completing this screenplay, the writer, an “unfriendly witness” before the House Un-American Activities Committee, was blacklisted. But this unforgettable drama of a man who will not run from his enemy, or his own fears, transcends all times and circumstances.

Questions for Kids:

· Everyone seems to have a different reason for not helping Will. How many can you identify? Which reasons seem the best to you? Which seem the worst? What makes Amy change her mind?

· Why does Will throw his badge in the dirt?

· Do you think the screenwriter chose the name “Will” for any special reason?

· How do you decide when to stay and fight and when to run? How do you evaluate the risks? What should the law be?

Connections: This movie was the first attempt at an “adult” Western, its stark black and white images a contrast to the gorgeous vistas in the Westerns of John Ford and Howard Hawks. It was included in the first list named to the National Film Registry, established by the Library of Congress to identify films that are “culturally, historically, or esthetically important.” It has had tremendous influence, and has inspired many imitations and variations. “Outland,” starring Sean Connery (and rated R) is a not-very-good attempt to transfer this plot to outer space. “Three O’Clock High” moves it to a high school, with a new student challenged by the school bully. Despite some directoral pyrotechnics, it is not very good, either. “The Principal” has another “High Noon”-style confrontation in a school, but this time it is the title character who must show his mettle. “The Baltimore Bullet” moves the confrontation to a pool hall.

Previous Posts

Thursdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film
This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Thursday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Thursday is D

posted 9:21:56pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of the people around them.  Psyblog described the study, which s

posted 3:56:33pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies
Happy September!  There isn't much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here's the best of what's coming in theaters this month: September 12: "Dolphin Tale 2"  This sequel to the endearing fact-based "Dolphin Tale" brings back stars Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Fr

posted 8:00:52am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Labor Day 2014: Movies About Unions
Today we pay tribute to workers, especially those who worked for better conditions for everyone. Sally Field won an Oscar for this real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45CX8W9peTs[/youtube] Doris Day plays

posted 7:00:42am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Summer Summer-y: The Summer Movies of 2014
A few concluding thoughts on the summer movies of 2014: A good summer for food movies: "The Chef," "The 100-Foot Journey," and "The Trip to Italy" had some big-time actors but the real stars were the luscious meals. Special mention of the delicious French comedy "Le Chef," starring Jean Reno, as

posted 3:46:47pm Aug. 31, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.