Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Far from the Madding Crowd
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

 

Selma
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

 

Fifty Shades of Grey
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language
Release Date:
February 13, 2015

Welcome to Me
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

 

Black or White
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight
Release Date:
January 30, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Far from the Madding Crowd

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Release Date:
May 1, 2015
grade:
B+

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 1, 2015
grade:
C

Welcome to Me

Lowest Recommended Age:
Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

Advertisement

New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
A

Selma

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014
grade:
B-

Fifty Shades of Grey

Lowest Recommended Age:
Adult
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language
Release Date:
February 13, 2015
grade:
B

Black or White

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight
Release Date:
January 30, 2015

Advertisement

Everybody Says I’m Fine

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

This bittersweet fairy tale centers on Xen (Rehaan Engineer), the owner of an upscale Bombay beauty shop, who can read the minds of his clients when he cuts their hair. The source of this power is a devastating loss. His parents were killed in a fire in a recording studio when he was a child and he saw it, trapped in a soundproof booth. “I went crazy in a world of silence,”he says, and promised “never to have to listen to someone in order to hear them.”

Now he lives very quietly above the salon, the only color in his life the glimpses of the fears, hopes, and deceptions of the people who come to him to have their hair done.

A woman keeps “forgetting” her wallet. But Xen knows that she is desperately trying to keep up appearances after being cruelly abandoned by her wealthy husband. A young man and woman are drawn to each other but too shy to begin a relationship. Xen knows the secrets of a corrupt executive and a wealthy woman who loves gossip — and cocaine. A brash and flamboyant young actor (writer/director Rahul Bose in the movie’s least successful performance) is not as successful as he pretends. And there is an intriguing young woman named Nikita (Koel Purie) whose mind Xen cannot read. Has she no inner life at all or is there something there that he just can’t reach? Perhaps he cannot see into her mind because she can see into his.

The exotic feel of this movie owes as much to its unconventional mix of genres as to its colorful location and characters. It has elements of romantic comedy, drama, farce, even thriller. The combination can feel uneven at times but ultimately it adds texture and a rewardingly authentic sort of messiness that works well with the fantasy elements of the movie’s plot. Xen uses what he learns to change the lives of his customers. And then one of them changes his.

Garden State

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2004
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2004

Andrew Largeman’s head seems to float in the air. Largeman (director/writer Zach Braff) has been given a shirt made from the fabric left over when his mother covered the walls, so when he wears it, his body blends in with the background.

Largeman is home in New Jersey, the “Garden State,” for his mother’s funeral and even when he is not wearing the wall-blending shirt, he seems to be floating, numb, through life. The reasons are chemical as well as psycholgical. His psychiatrist father has prescribed powerful psychotropic medication for him since he was a child. Largeman’s medicine cabinet in Los Angeles has rows of little bottles. But he leaves them behind when he goes home. He has not really felt anything in a long time, and this may be the time to begin to try.

Largeman is trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles. He had a prominent role as a developmentally disabled quarterback but is still supporting himself as a waiter in a snooty Asian restaurant. Back in New Jersey, he catches up with high school friends including Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), who is, perhaps in a nod to Hamlet, a gravedigger, along with a cop, and the investor of “noiseless Velcro,” who has tons of money but is just as lost as the others.

Waiting to see a doctor about his headaches, Largeman meets Sam, played by Natalie Portman, who manages to give the typical “quirky romantic interest who shows up to give the lead a reason to want and hope for more out of life” role a genuine, effervescent, and endearing — well, quirkiness.

Going home again helps Largeman understand who he is and who he wants to be. What is just as enriching is seeing how this movie is helping writer/director/star Braff learn who he is and wants to be. While there are some clumsy detours, particularly a meaningless visit to a peeping-Tom hotel employee, the movie is filled with outstanding performances and moments of great authenticity, sensitivity, and heart. A hungover breakfast with Mark, his mother (Jean Smart from television’s “Designing Women”), and a young man wearing a suit of armor (he works in a medieval re-enactment attraction) is a small masterpiece of acting. And a scene near the end in an ark-like structure at the bottom of a canyon is deliriously but matter-of-factly audacious. He is willing to hold back and not resolve every issue or tell us everything about his characters and that makes them feel like they exist beyond what we see on screen. Braff’s control of tone, his superb use of music, his mastery of image and feel for creating moments of moments of great sweetness and insight are the qualities of a great film-maker. He makes us want to follow Largeman’s journey as a man and continue with him on his own journey as a film-maker.

Parents should know that the movie has extensive substance abuse. Characters smoke, drink, and take a lot of drugs. There are brief but explicit sex scenes and many sexual references including a young man who is unhappy about his mother’s affair with a younger man. Characters use very strong language and engage in risky and foolish behavior. There is a discussion of suicide and mental illness. One character is a thief. A strength of the movie is its positive portrayal of a person with a disability.

Families who see this movie should talk about why it was so difficult for Largeman to talk to his father. Why was it important to the story that his father is a psychiatrist? What did Largeman learn from Sam? From Albert?

Families who appreciate this movie will also appreciate Pieces of April and The Station Agent.

Collateral

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2004
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2004

As cool as a jazz riff from a tenor sax, this stylish and powerful thriller has it all — consistently absorbing characters, twisty dialogue and an even twistier story, and action that engages the heart as it thumps a little faster.

Max (Jamie Foxx) is a cab driver who begins his shift by wiping off the dashboard and putting his favorite picture on the visor. He takes his job seriously. When an accomplished and beautiful fare (Jada Pinkett Smith as Annie) tries to direct his route, he bets her the price of the trip that his way is faster, and he’s right, down to the minute.

She is impressed with him, and we are, too. He is used to being underestimated. He dreams of a limo company that makes each ride a perfect oasis from stress. But he is as careful in planning his future as he is in planning his routes. Maybe more so. He has had this temporary job for twelve years.

Max’s next fare is a silver-haired man in a gray suit, carrying a briefcase. He offers Max $600 to stay with him all night, through five stops. Max turns him down at first; it’s against the rules. But then he says yes. He takes the fare to his first stop. Vince goes inside while Max waits for him. And then a dead body hits the roof of his cab.

Max has picked up a hit man named Vince (Tom Cruise). Vince’s five stops are people he has been hired to kill. Can Max save any of them? Can he save himself?

When Max asks if Vince killed the man who fell on the car, Vince cooly responds, “No, I shot him. The bullets and the fall killed him.” Max cannot believe that Vince shot someone he did not even know. “What, I should only kill people after I get to know them?” Now that Max knows what Vince is doing, it’s time for “Plan B.” Vince will have to keep Max very close by to get the job done.

In the long night ahead, Vince and Max will test each other and even weirdly bond a little bit, as Vince, though clearly planning to kill Max at the end of the night, can’t help giving him advice on pursuing his dreams and Max, clearly planning to stop Vince any way he can, can’t help doing his responsible best, even trying to get Vince’s approval. And Vince can’t help trying to teach Max to be more assertive, even though it is in his own interests to keep him compliant.

Director Mann uses a silvery blue pallette and spare, reflective, glass-filled settings to keep the mood as cool as moonlight. Both Pinkett Smith and Ruffalo are endlessly watchable, giving their characters subtlety and context to make us care far out of proportion to their time onscreen.

But this is really about Max and Vince, a sort of buddy movie on crank. One is “indifferent” and one cares very much, attached to one woman he has known all his life and one he just met. Both are careful and meticulous, constantly evaluating risks; they just assess them differently. One’s completely in the moment, a devotee of improvization in life and in music, and the other is a careful guy who plans so much he does not act. One part of the score unites the themes with a jazz take on a Bach composition.

Foxx is turning into a performer of great presence and depth and he makes a convincing leading man. Cruise is a little out of his range but that works oddly well for Vince, giving him a little frisson of uncertainty underneath the Terminator-like singlemindedness of the character. And Cruise has moments of brilliance. He even runs in character, completely focused but so in each moment that he does not try to pace himself. He puts everything he has into each step forward.

Parents should know that the movie is extremely violent with constant tension and peril and many graphic shoot-outs. Many people are killed. Characters use very strong language, drink and smoke, and there are references to drugs and drug dealing.

Families who see this movie should talk about Vince’s ability to compartmentalize. He says he did not kill one of the victims, “the bullet and the fall killed him.” Notice the way that Vince is always to the left of Max except in one scene. Which scene is that and why? What were Max’s options? What is the meaning of the title? Who or what serves as collateral?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Manhunter by the same director. It is the first movie featuring Hannibal Lecter (played by Brian Cox before Anthony Hopkins took over in Silence of the Lambs and it is an overlooked gem. They may also enjoy Internal Affairs, Matchstick Men, and Narrow Margin.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2004
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2004

This unpretentiously genial little stoner comedy has a couple of things going for it. The characters and jokes are a bit above average for a genre with admittedly low standards. And its very unambitiousness gives the film moments that almost approach charm.

That said, it’s still mostly just extremely dumb and vulgar.

The title sums up the plot. Harold (John Cho) has a job that requires him to analyze numbers and a crush on a pretty girl in his building. He also has a big assignment that has just been dumped on him by his boss. Kumar (Kal Penn) is a slacker whose only ambition is not to become a doctor like his father and brother. Oh, and to get completely baked, with which Harold concurs.

Once happily stoned, the duo realize that there is only one more thing they need to achieve perfect happiness, those scumptious square hamburgers from White Castle. But the nearest White Castle is a long drive away and it will get a lot longer as Harold and Kumar run into all kinds of characters and adventures along the way.

Many of those adventures are gross and disgusting. Then there are those that are even more gross and disgusting. Most of them are downright stupid as well. Somewhere in there, though, there are a couple of moments that are funny, sweet, and even smart, and some commentary on race and ethnicity that almost qualifies as subtle. Cho and Penn are engaging, especially when they sheepishly but then with increasing joy sing along with Wilson Phillips, and there are appearances by Fred Willard, Neil Patrick Harris (playing himself as a child star gone very, very bad), Anthony Anderson and, perhaps in a nod to Bringing Up Baby, an escaped cheetah. I also give it extra credit for avoiding the obvious forms of triumph over the bad guys.

Parents should know that this movie wallows in bad taste and is cheerfully vulgar and offensive in every possible category. It includes constant drug use, bad language, extremely explicit toilet humor, and frequent and explicit sexual references and situations. There is comic violence, some graphic, including a scene in surgery with a lot of blood and a disfigured man. While some characters are bigoted and there is a lot of homophobic and racist humor, a strength of the movie is the portrayal of diverse characters.

Families who see this movie should talk about how Harold and Kumar deal with pressure from family and co-workers. What does it mean to say that “the universe tends to unfold as it should?” They might also want to talk about their own views on alcohol and drugs. And they might want to try to find a White Castle!

Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy Up in Smoke.

Previous Posts

Native Americans Refuse to Work on Adam Sandler's New Film
Adam Sandler is currently filming "The Ridiculous Six," reportedly a comic version of the classic Western "The Magnificent Seven." According to Indian Country Today Media, a group of Native American actors walked off the set because they were ...

posted 3:35:23pm May. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Woody Allen's "Irrational Man"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OKBz-1tpUo Woody Allen's new movie has Joaquin Phoenix as a depressed middle-aged professor who finds new joy and meaning in the love a beautiful young student. This is a recurring theme in Allen's films, but ...

posted 8:00:22am May. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Wit and Wisdom in The Jottery by Andy Selsberg
I really enjoyed The Jottery: Thought Experiments for Everyday Philosophers and Part-Time Geniuses by Andy Selsberg. Each page has a question or ...

posted 3:39:37pm May. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: What Happened, Miss Simone? -- Nina Simone Documentary
I was privileged to hear Nina Simone perform in concert and can't wait to see this film. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/moOQXZxriKY?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0" frameborder="0"] ...

posted 8:00:35am May. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Tomorrowland Contest: The Museum of Science Fiction Wants Your Ideas About Tomorrow
The Museum of Science Fiction today announced the launch of an online contest to celebrate the opening of Disney’s new film “Tomorrowland.” Fans ...

posted 5:29:31pm May. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.