Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

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

 

Noah
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
Release Date:
March 28, 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 Room With a View

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1986

Plot: Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) arrives in Italy with her strait-laced aunt Charlotte (Maggie Smith). Disappointed at not getting the room with a view they had been promised when making their reservations at the inn, they are not sure whether it is proper to accept the offer of Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliot) and his son George (Julian Sands), staying at the same inn, to switch rooms so they may have a view after all. Reassured by the clergyman, Mr. Beebe (Simon Callow), they agree.

Later, out in the countryside, George impetuously kisses Lucy, and her aunt, horrified, whisks her back to England. There, Lucy is engaged to Cecil, a prissy man, who likes Lucy’s “freshness” and “subtlety,” and kisses her lightly, only after asking her permission. Mr. Beebe says that “If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays (the piano), it will be very exciting–both for us and for her.” He clearly does not think the engagement to Cecil is evidence that she has.

The Emersons move into a cottage near the Honeychurch family, invited by Cecil, who does not realize that Lucy knows them. Lucy is distressed, partly because she wanted two elderly ladies she met in Italy to live there, and partly because having George so near is disturbing to her. She does her best to resist her attraction to him and to the passionate reality that he offers, but ultimately breaks the engagement to Cecil, marries George, and returns with him to the room with a view.

Discussion: Lush natural settings have a powerful affect on fictional characters, especially those in love, or wanting to fall in love. In Shakespeare, lovers go to the woods to straighten things out. In the British literature of the 19th and early 20th century, they often go to Italy, which represents freedom from repression, with “Enchanted April” and this film as prime examples. The wheat field where George kisses Lucy is in sharp contrast to the manicured lawns of the Honeychurch home, as the precise and cerebral Cecil is in contrast to the passionate George.

This is a movie about having the courage to face one’s feelings, and to risk intimacy, fully knowing and being known by another person. George never hesitates to take that risk. Cecil, sensitively played by Daniel Day-Lewis as a full character and not a caricature of a fop, has feelings but will never be able to “take to live as (he) plays.” Clearly, he does care deeply for Lucy, but he does not have the passionate nature to respond to hers fully, as George does. As George says, Cecil “is the sort who can’t know anyone intimately, least of all a woman,” someone who wants Lucy as an ornament, perhaps to enjoy her passionate nature by proxy, not realizing that his own proximity is likely to stifle it. George wants Lucy “to have ideas and thoughts and feelings, even when I hold you in my arms.”

Questions for Kids:

· Mr. Emerson refers to a “Yes! And a Yes! And a Yes” at the “side of the Everlasting Why.” What does this mean?

· What leads Lucy to break her engagement to Cecil? What leads her to accept her feelings for George?

· What is the meaning of the title?

Connections: Some of the themes of this movie are reminiscent of movies like “I Know Where I’m Going,” “Born Yesterday,” “Sabrina,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “It Happened One Night,” and others in which the leading lady ends up marrying someone other than the man she planned to marry, choosing true love and intimacy over comfort and a relationship that seemed safer.

Activities: Teenagers might enjoy the book by E.M. Forster, and some of his other books, including Howard’s End.

A River Runs Through It

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:1992

Writer Norman Maclean’s autobiographical story of growing up in Montana with his brother Paul begins, “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.”

Their Presbyterian minister father taught Norman and his brother Paul schoolwork, religion, and fishing as though they were all one subject. He was strict and thorough in all of those lessons. Reverand Mclean believed that no one who did not know how to fish properly should be permitted to disgrace a fish by catching it. He used a metronome to time their four-count stroke between the positions of ten o’clock and two o’clock.

Norman, though more sober, loved the wild streak in Paul that made him “tougher than any man alive” but feared that it would destroy him. And it did. While Norman becomes a professor of English literature and falls in love with Jessie Burns (Emily Lloyd), Paul becomes a reporter and gets into trouble drinking and gambling. Norman is called by the police to get Paul out of jail, and ultimately, he is called again when Paul is killed.

One of the tragic realizations of growing up is that you can love someone without being able to understand or save them. Like Norman, Jessie has a brother who is self-destructive, though his part of the story is played more for comedy. In today’s terms, Jessie’s mother would be considered an enabler because she does not impose any limits on her son, and does not insist that he recognize the consequences of his behavior.

Parents should know that the movie has some mature material, including family tragedy, alcohol abuse, a sexual situation (nudity), and prostitutes. A Native American woman is insulted by bigots.

Families who see this movie should discuss what they would do in Norman’s position. What would you have said to Paul? When? Why didn’t Norman say those things? If you were Jessie, what would you say to Neal? Why was it important to have Neal’s story in the movie? What does Norman mean when he says that his father saw no difference between religion and flyfishing?

Director Redford also addresses the theme of loving families who do not communicate pain well, with one member of the family suffering the consequences in two other movies, “Ordinary People” and “Quiz Show.”

A Night at the Opera

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1935

The Plot: Harpo, Chico, and Groucho Marx bring their sublime brand of anarchy to perhaps its most fitting setting in this comic masterpiece. Groucho is (as ever) a fast-talking fortune hunter (this time called Otis P. Driftwood), chasing (as ever) dim dowager Margaret Dumont (this time called Mrs. Claypool).

Mrs. Claypool brings two Italian opera stars to the United States (Kitty Carlisle as sweet Rosa and Walter Woolf King as cruel Rodolfo Laspari) on board an ocean liner. Talented tenor Riccardo (Allan Jones), who loves Rosa, his manager Fiorello (Chico Marx), and Tomasso (Harpo Marx), Rodolfo’s abused dresser, stow away in Driftwood’s steamer trunk. They manage to get off the boat disguised as bearded Russian aviators, but are discovered and are chased by a New York detective. When Rosa refuses Rodolfo’s romantic advances, she is fired. But Tomasso and Fiorello wrack havoc on the opera’s performance of “Il Trovatore,” until Rosa and Riccardo come in and save the show.

Discussion: Many of the Marx Brother’s best-loved routines are here, including the wildly funny contract negotiation, as Groucho and Chico try to con each other (“That’s what we call a sanity clause.” “Oh no, you can’t fool me. There ain’t no Sanity Clause!”) and the famous stateroom scene, as person after person enters Groucho’s closet-sized room on the ship, while Harpo manages to stay asleep (and draped over as many women as possible) and Groucho stays philosophical (when the manicurist asks if he wants his nails long or short, he says, “You’d better make them short; it’s getting pretty crowded in here.”). The movie veers happily from the wildest slapstick (the Marx brothers replace the music for “Il Trovatore” with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”) to the cleverest wordplay (by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind), punctuated by musical numbers that range from pleasant to innocuous. Children studying piano may especially enjoy Chico’s speciality — playing the piano while his fingers do acrobatics. And all children will enjoy learning that the stars were real-life brothers, who performed together for most of their lives.

Questions for Kids:

· Why won’t Rodolfo sing to the people who came to say goodbye to him?

· The Marx brothers play people who are not very nice in this movie — they steal, they cheat, they lie, and they cause havoc. How does the movie make you like them anyway?

Connections: This was the most commercially successful of the Marx Brothers movies, in part because of the very sections that seem most tedious to us now — the serious musical numbers and the romance. Children will enjoy the other Marx Brothers movies as well, especially “A Day at the Races” (NOTE–that movie contains some material that seems racist by today’s standards, particularly a rather minstrel show-ish musical number), “Duck Soup,” “Horse Feathers,” and “Monkey Business.” Fans of the many movie references in “The Freshman,” with Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando, may notice that Broderick’s fake passport is in the name of Rodolfo Laspari.

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.

Previous Posts

"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape
One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt).  Here are some of the highlights. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede [youtube]http://www.youtub

posted 8:00:21am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on

posted 10:04:47pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Thank You! This Site is 19 Years Old This Week!
It seems like yesterday, but it was 19 years ago this week that I first began writing reviews online as The Movie Mom®.  Anyone remember Prodigy?  The first appearance of my website was via the Sears-owned online service, so long ago it does not even turn up in Wayback searches.  At the time, we

posted 3:59:49pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Dan Cohen of "Alive Inside"
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases.  He is featured in the documentary "Alive Inside." He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides resources to help bring these programs to peopl

posted 8:00:36am Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Contest: "Lullaby" -- Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund
Garrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and "Downton Abbey's" Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan's sister. I have two copies of the DVD to give

posted 3:50:33pm Jul. 25, 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.