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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Grandma
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some drug use
Release Date:
August 21, 2015

 

Iris
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

We Are Your Friends
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Release Date:
August 28, 2015

 

Aloha
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015

Z for Zachariah
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language
Release Date:
August 28, 2015

 

Big Game
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Release Date:
June 26, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Grandma

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some drug use
Release Date:
August 21, 2015
grade:
B-

We Are Your Friends

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Release Date:
August 28, 2015
grade:
B+

Z for Zachariah

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language
Release Date:
August 28, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Iris

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Release Date:
May 1, 2015
grade:
B

Aloha

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015
grade:
B

Big Game

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Release Date:
June 26, 2015

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Roll Bounce

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2005
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 2005

In Undercover Brother, director Malcolm Lee’s shrewd but affectionate appreciation of the 1970’s was played for satire. In “Roll Bounce,” he brings that same evocative skill to a coming of age story that is sweet, funny, touching, and completely genuine. Lee creates not just the era some of us remember but also the moment all of us experience — that summer when the world opens up and you begin to see all the tantalizing and terrifying possibilities. And it has a superbly selected soundtrack of 70’s gems.

It is the summer of 1978 in the south side of Chicago. Xavier (Bow Wow), known to just about everyone as “X,” loves to skate, but the local roller rink is closing down. So, X and his friends decide to venture north to the upscale Sweetwater rink in the posh neighborhood. It is overwhelming at first. X and his friends wonder if the people at Sweetwater are better than they are, especially the local skating champion, Sweetness (Wesley Jonathan), who rules the rink with a rock-star-like entourage and his own theme music. The annual skate-off is coming up, with a $500 award for first place. X and his friends decide to compete.

X does not get a lot of support from his father (the terrific Chi McBride), who is struggling to keep the family together after the loss of his wife. He does not want his children to know that he has also lost his job. But he has not really allowed himself — or X and his sister — to mourn.

For X, friends are his family, anyway. Despite the constant tossing back and forth of insults (many relating to each other’s mothers or race), his friends are his support system, including a new friend who happens to be a girl (the sweet Jurnee Smollett as Tori).

This movie manages to pack in a lot of characters and a lot of plot and still keep a gentle, easy-going and nostalgic atmosphere. There are no surprises here. X and his father will have a confrontation and learn to understand each other better (they’ll both begin to develop relationships with lovely ladies as well) and X and his friends will wonder whether they are good enough to compete with Sweetness and then decide to give it their best shot. But the characters are endearing and genuine and it all goes down as easy as Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.”

Parents should know that this film has brief strong language, including racial epithets. Part of the culture of this community is “the dozens,” where people try to top each other with insults, mostly directed at each other’s mothers. There are also racial wisecracks, including the n-word, often relating to the characters of mixed racial backgrounds or in inter-racial relationships, but it is done with good humor and affection. Overall, a strength of the movie is its portrayal of strong and loyal characters of diverse backgrounds. There is some adult social drinking, but X’s father explains that he does not drink. There are some tense and sad moments.

Families who see this movie should talk about why X and his father had a hard time communicating and what made it possible for them to find a way to share their feelings of loss and sadness. Why was skating so important to X and his friends? Why do X and his friends insult each other so much? How do they demonstrate their loyalty and commitment?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Drumline, starring Cannon, Cooley High, Saturday Night Fever (mature material), and Breaking Away.

Red Eye

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2005
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2005

Master of horror Wes Craven moves into the thriller genre, showing us that scary is scary, with or without grotesque killers (A Nightmare on Elm Street) or grotesque killings (the Scream trilogy). Craven’s sure sense of pace and ability to make the characters real enough to pull us in without becoming distracting makes this tense little film into a real heart-pounder.

It begins by almost lulling the audience into thinking we’re about to watch a romance. Lisa (Rachel McAdams) is an efficient young woman who is used to staying calm around people who are upset. She handles customer relations at a luxury hotel. When she is stuck at a Texas airport on her way back to Miami after her grandmother’s funeral, she strikes up a conversation with Jackson (Cillian Murphy of 28 Days Later), a sympathetic and charming stranger.

The plane finally boards and it turns out they are seated together. And then it turns out that is not coincidence. Lisa is in for a turbulent ride. And so are we.

Jackson is also an expert at staying calm and very efficient at what he does. He is an assassin. One of his colleagues is waiting outside Lisa’s father’s house. Jackson tells Lisa that her father will be tortured and killed if she does not call her notel to move a visiting dignitary to a different room.

Lisa is trapped, physically and psychologically. Jackson makes it clear that she won’t be getting any help from anyone on the plane. The pressure keeps increasing as the time gets shorter and she understands more about what she is risking.

Craven uses the claustrophobic confines of the airplane extremely well, keeping things moving enough to create visual interest but always making us aware of how vulnerable and limited Lisa feels. Then the plane lands. The landscape expands, but the tension tightens. (A quibble, though, about the treatment of the Deputy Director of Homeland Security, who travels like a rock star, not a bureaucrat, violating several federal laws and providing a “hey, wait a minute” reaction that momentarily takes us out of the movie.)

McAdams makes Lisa appealing and believeable and Murphy shows us the charm and the chill of the sociopath. But the star of the show here is Craven, who knows how to make a thriller thrill.

Parents should know that this is a very intense thriller with near-constant tension and peril. There are some scary surprises and brief graphic images. Characters are injured and killed. There is a scene in a bar. Characters drink and one becomes a little tipsy. There are brief sexual references and a few uses of profanity.

Families who see this movie should talk about Lisa’s job and past experiences affected the way she responded to Jackson.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Nick of Time with Johnny Depp and Collateral with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. They may also enjoy some of the other airport-based films, including dramas (The Terminal, Airport), romances (Jet Lag), and one of the most outrageously funny comedies of all time, Airplane! (mature material).

Supercross

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:2005
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 2005

I’ve got to give this movie some credit for its lack of pretense and the modesty of its goals. The title says it all. This movie is called “Supercross” and that’s exactly what it is. It’s pretty much just supercross racing — motorcycle cross-country racing on off-road tracks with added extreme man-made obstacles. That’s all there is to it.

Oh, there’s a little sprinkling of something sort of wispily plot-ish. There are some moderately attractive performers who appear to be portraying some sort of characters who have a few things to say to each other, fall in love, and learn some lessons in between races. But all of that has the good sense to stay out of the way of the movie’s theme and reason for being, which is, let me say it again, supercross. The movie’s brief running time (about an hour and 15 minutes) is mostly taken up with shots of motorcyle races, with lots of slo-mo jumps.

Two brothers make their living cleaning pools but live for racing motorcycles. KC (Steve Howey) is the “old school,” more conservative one, and Trip (Mike Vogel) is more impulsive risk-taker. KC gets a “factory ride” (corporate sponsor), but is disappointed to find out that they don’t want him to win — they just want him to clear away the competition so the boss’ son can be the first to cross the finish line. Trip competes as a “privateer” (without a sponsor), his bike provided by a man who has a pretty daughter who knows everything about motorcycle engines (Cameron Richardson).

Some romantic encounters, some sibling rivalry, some “what do I want out of life” moments, a brief appearance by a Teen Beat cover boy (singer Aaron Carter) and a lot of motorcyle jumps, races, and crashes later, it’s over before anyone has time to think too much. It’s got all the depth and insight of a video game, but it manages to stay out of the way of its minor pleasures by not trying to be more complicated than it needs to be.

Parents should know that there is brief bad language and characters drink (scenes in bar). There is a brief reference to drug use when someone advises a racer that there is no drinking or drug use permitted during training. There are some intense racing scenes, including crashes, and some injuries.

Families who see this movie should talk about the differences — and the similarities — between the brothers. Why did KC change his mind about the factory deal? What was the difference between what KC did for Rowdy and what Trip did for KC? What did it mean when Piper said, “It’s a good thing you don’t race this scared?”

Families who are interested can find out more about supercross and motocross racing. Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Fast and the Furious and Days of Thunder.

Valiant

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2005
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date: 2005

Like its title character, this little animated film has heart and charm. What it will have trouble finding is an audience to appreciate it. This is a computer-animated film with a G rating that assumes its viewers will understand references to Edith Piaf and the Invasion of Normandy. If there are any children out there who were born in th 1940’s, this could be just the movie for them.

It is set in World War II London, where carrier pigeons played a crucial role by bringing essential information to the fighting forces. A small pigeon named Valiant (voice of Ewan McGregor) dreams of being one of them. He is not exactly up to the literally high standards of the Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon Service, but their forces have been terribly depleted by capture and casualties and they have to take what they can get.

Squadrons A, B, C, D, and E are no longer available. So, Valiant is reluctantly accepted for training in Squadron F, along with Bugsy (voice of “The Office’s” very funny Ricky Gervais), his messy, cowardly, dishonest, but somehow endearing friend. There is an important message to be delivered, some carnivorous German falcons to be evaded, some captured colleagues to be rescued, a problem only someone much smaller than the usual carrier pigeon can solve, and, of course, freedom to be fought for and a pretty nurse pigeon to come home to.

This is the traditional G-rated underdog theme, but it is first and foremost a very traditional WWII movie, down to the saucy French resistance fighter and the salty veteran of the previous war who always has a drink on the house for a brave lad, I mean pigeon.

It doesn’t have the immediate accessibility of most animated films or most G-rated films of any kind. Its greatest charm lies in its understated humor and its affectionate salutes to the familiar characters of the era. But this is likely to be confusing or completely above the heads of children, even most teenagers. Unlike its title character, this is a film that is not quite sure how to deliver its message.

Parents should know that there is some mild wartime violence, including a plane crash, some injuries, and some off-camera fatalities. There are some mildly grisly images, including bombed-out buildings, the bones of birds that have been eaten, a gargoyle, and the squishing of a fly. Characters are in peril in secenes that may be too intense for younger children. There is some mild crude humor.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Valiant wanted to be a part of the messenger corps. Why did Valiant want to be a part of the fight? Why did Bugsy not want to, and why did he come back? They may want to find out more about the use of animals in wartime. The real life Dickin medal awardees are discussed on these BBC programmes. And families may also want to find out about the real-life Normandy invasion.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Chicken Run.

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