Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


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Horrible Bosses 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Release Date:
November 26, 2104

 

The Giver
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Release Date:
November 26, 2014

 

The Expendables 3
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

Little Hope Was Arson
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Not Rated
Release Date:
November 21, 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

Someone Like You

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

Animal Husbandry,” a wry and witty book about a single woman’s efforts to understand men, has become “Someone Like You” a generic looking-for- love-in-all-the-wrong-places romance with plot twists that were tired back in the days of Sandra Dee and Bobby Darrin.

Ashley Judd, once again adding more heart and star power to a movie than it deserves, plays Jane Goodale (sounds like Jane Goodall, the chimp expert, get it?), a booker for a television talk show hosted by Diane (Ellen Barkin, looking a little washed out but always fun to watch). The people booked on the show are called “gets,” and ambitious Diane tells Jane that what she wants on her show is “the un-get-able get” the elusive guest that everyone wants but no one has.

Meanwhile, Jane is looking for a “get” of her own, a man who will love her as much as she loves him. But that seems really un-get-able. If she isn’t looking for love in all the wrong places, she is certainly looking in most of them. Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear), Diane’s new producer, seems like The One, and Jane is blissful, until he gets cold feet just as they are about to move in together. She ends up having to sublet a room from Eddie (“X-Men’s” Hugh Jackman). His womanizing provides the foundation for her emerging theory of male behavior. For example, when she asks him if it isn’t complicated when he begins dating the roommate of a woman he had recently dated, he says, “It’s never complicated for me.” Jane decides that men are genetically determined to act like bulls that refuse to service a cow a second time. Men are always looking for the “new cow.”

Jane’s best friend Liz (Marisa Tomei) persuades her to write a magazine column about the theory, under a pseudonym. Suddenly, everyone is talking about it and everyone, especially Diane, wants to interview the author. Ray tells Jane that he wants to get back together. Eddie turns out to be not heartless but recovering from a broken heart. If you have ever seen or even heard about any movie ever made, you know where it all leads.

So the only question is how much fun it is on the way to the happy ending, and the answer is: mildly. Judd delivers everything she can, and she makes Jane’s yearning to love as well as to be loved very poignant. Jackman, out of his Wolverine X-Men outfit turns out to clean up very nicely indeed, and makes a likable leading man. The dialogue is above average, and director Tony Goldwyn has some good ideas, but the plot twists are below average. This is especially clear in the last 15 minutes, which seem like a desperate attempt to think of any way to end it, and just don’t work at all.

Parents should know that the movie features sexual references and situations and some very strong language for a PG-13. Characters drink and smoke, and there are scenes in a bar. Drinking is shown as a solace for pain. Boxes of condoms and a diaphragm that has not been used for a while are shown for comic effect.

Families who see this movie should talk about the foolish choices made by Jane, Ray, and Eddie. Jane is so in love with the idea of love that she does not expect Ray to say that he loves her before they become intimate. She does not really know him when they have sex, and yet she expects him not just to know her but to love her. Jane and Liz think they have a problem figuring out men, but the problem is in understanding themselves. Eddie uses indiscriminate sex as a way of warding off intimacy. Ray is not able to be honest with himself or with the women in his life. None of them seem to have any sense of how enduring love grows, though the conclusion does suggest that it is more likely to grow between people who begin with emotional intimacy and get that on firm ground before moving on to other kinds.

Families who see this movie should look for Ashley Judd’s mother, country singer Naomi Judd, in a brief role as a make-up artist. And families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Pillow Talk” with Doris Day and Rock Hudson and Judd’s performance in “Where the Heart Is.

Snow Dogs

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2002

Two Oscar-winners are no match for some irresistible dogs (with a little assistance from puppeteers and computer animators) in this so-so slapstick comedy about a Miami dentist who ends up in a dogsled race. The actors do their best, but there is no way they can hold the attention of the audience when those beautiful Siberian huskies and one magnificent border collie are on screen.

This is an a attempt to return to one of the Disney staples of the 1960’s, a light-hearted story pairing cute but clumsy actors with cute but clever animals. Think of “That Darn Cat,” “The Shaggy Dog,” “The Monkey’s Uncle,” and “The Ugly Dachshund.” The set-up this time is fine: a successful Miami dentist named Ted Brooks (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) inherits a team of champion Alaskan snow dogs. And some of the highly predictable jokes work reasonably well, as the city slicker used to sunshine has to adjust to live in a remote area that is all snow and ice.

Gooding is, as always, an attractive presence, with welcome support from Nichelle (“Lt. Uhura”) Nichols as his adoptive mother, James Coburn as his biological father, and Joanna Bacalso as his romantic interest. There is a cute dream sequence and the scenery is gorgeous. But overall, the movie is no better than fair.

Parents should know, though, that despite the PG rating, there is some material they might not consider appropriate for children. Characters drink hard liquor. Brooks’ late mother leaves a drink of Wild Turkey to all her friends. Brooks learns early in the movie that he is adopted, which some children (both adopted and not) might find disturbing. Later, he is told that his natural parents were two loners who had a one-night stand, and his biological father is a cranky (and white) mountain man played by James Coburn. Brooks tries to gain the respect of the mountain man and find out how his biological parents felt about each other and about him.

When Brooks finds out that he is half white, his adoptive mother makes a stereotype joke, responding, “That explains why you’re so crazy about Michael Bolton.” Parents should also make it clear to younger children that despite what it says in the movie, humans do not bite dogs on the ear to tame them.

Families who see this movie should talk about when we allow ourselves to be measured by the standards of others and when we trust our own ability to know what is important.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Beethoven(about a St. Bernard that adopts a family) and Rat Race(another slapstick comedy starring Gooding).

Small Time Crooks

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2000

Woody Allen’s lightest comedy in years is a slight story of an unsuccessful crook named Ray who comes up with a plan for one big heist. He wants to rent a storefront that is two doors down from a bank and then tunnel underneath to rob the vault. He and his friends are hopelessly incompetent. But it turns out that his wife, Frenchy (Tracey Ullman), makes sensational cookies, and the business they started as a cover for the tunneling turns out to be a huge success.

A little abashed at having made more money legitimately than they ever dreamed of stealing, they settle in to enjoy it but find that they have different dreams. He wants to drink beer, eat cheeseburgers, and watch television. She wants to be a patron of the arts and have dinner parties with socialites. But behind her back, the people she invites snicker about her “flawless vulgarity.” When she meets a handsome, charming art dealer with an English accent (Hugh Grant), she asks him to teach her about culture.

The story has something of a fairy tale quality to it, as when the characters get what they wished for it was not what they had in mind. The small-time crooks learn that when you are rich there are big-time crooks to worry about. And at least some of the characters learn that what matters is the people you love.

Ullman and Grant are fun to watch, but the real standout performance is Elaine May as Frenchy’s dim-witted cousin.

Parents should know that the movie will not be of much interest to children but there is little objectionable material. There is social drinking and a character says, “I’d have a whiskey if I were you” before giving bad news. The main characters in the movie are criminals, and families may want to talk about what makes them believe that this behavior is acceptable.

Families should talk about Frenchy’s comments that “You were a crook so you think everyone is” and “Class is something you can’t fake and you can’t buy.” Who were the worst crooks in the movie?

Families who enjoy this movie will like Allen’s last movie about a crook, “Take the Money and Run” (some mature material), in which he plays a bank robber so inept that no one can read his handwriting on the stick-up note. And they may also enjoy the British crime comedy classic, “The Lavender Hill Mob.”

Sleeping Beauty

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1959

Disney has beautifully restored one of its most treasured classics, “Sleeping Beauty,” in honor of its 50th anniversary.

The King and Queen happily celebrate the birth of their daughter, Princess Aurora. The young Prince who is betrothed to the baby and three good fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, join the celebration. But wicked Maleficent, a bad fairy, is enraged when she is not included. She arrives at the party to cast a spell on the baby Princess. When she turns 16, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, and die.

The good fairies cannot remove the spell, but they change it from death to a deep sleep from which Aurora can be awakened only by love’s first kiss. The King and Queen try to protect the princess by sending her off with the good fairies to live in a tiny cottage in the woods until her sixteenth birthday is over. They cannot use their magic powers because it would lead Maleficent to the princess. Aurora (called Briar Rose) grows up. Out in the woods, she meets the Prince, and they fall in love, not knowing they are already engaged. But the fairies prepare for her birthday party and argue about whether the dress they are making for Aurora should be pink or blue, and cannot resist using their magic. Maleficent discovers where they are and is able to make Aurora prick her finger and fall into a deep sleep. Maleficent also captures the prince to make sure he cannot break the spell. After the fairies help him escape, Maleficent turns herself into a dragon to stop him. He kills the dragon and wakes Aurora with a kiss. At her birthday party, they dance, not even noticing that her dress turns from blue to pink as the fairies continue to argue about the color.

In this classic story, as in “Snow White,” a sleeping princess can only be awakened by a kiss from the prince. Psychiatrist Bruno Bettelheim and others have written extensively about the meaning of these stories, and the ways in which they symbolize the transition to adulthood and sexual awakening. Bettelheim’s theory was that such fairy tales begin to prepare children for developments they are not ready to assimilate consciously.

There is no reason to discuss this interpretation with children, of course. But it is worthwhile to talk with them about Maleficent, one of Disney’s most terrifying villains, and why her bitter jealousy makes her so obsessed with vengeance. Is that what she really wants? Isn’t she doing exactly the opposite of what is required to achieve her real goal, acceptance? Children also enjoy the little squabbles of the three good fairies, which may remind them of arguments with their siblings.

NOTE: The Blu-Ray DVD includes a bonus “regular” DVD for families who have not yet switched to Blu-Ray but plan to in the future.

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