Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

The Age of Adaline
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Release Date:
April 24, 2015

 

Paddington
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 16, 2015

The Water Diviner
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Release Date:
April 24, 2015

 

The Boy Next Door
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for violence, sexual content/nudity and language
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

Monkey Kingdom
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

 

Big Eyes
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

New in Theaters

grade:
B

The Age of Adaline

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Release Date:
April 24, 2015
grade:
B-

The Water Diviner

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Release Date:
April 24, 2015
grade:
B+

Monkey Kingdom

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 17, 2015

Advertisement

New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B

Paddington

Lowest Recommended Age:
All Ages
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Release Date:
January 16, 2015
grade:
D

The Boy Next Door

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for violence, sexual content/nudity and language
Release Date:
January 23, 2015
grade:
B+

Big Eyes

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Release Date:
December 25, 2014

Advertisement

Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2003
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 2003

“Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” just isn’t a very funny movie. At best, audiences who don’t think too much will laugh once or twice then forget the whole thing before they reach the door of the theater.

This is yet another in the increasingly inert and generic assembly line created by Adam Sandler for SNL alums like Rob Schneider. It has Sandler’s “Happy Madison” production company trademarks: lame middle-school-style jokes that seem racy to younger kids and stuck-in-the-80’s humor for older viewers who, like Sandler, suffer from arrested development.

The SNL-alum of choice in this one is David Spade as a former child star trying to make a comeback. But it fails to take advantage of Spade’s snarky sensibility, relying mostly on the stunt casting of real-life faded child stars to make the audience feel smugly superior to the people who were once featured on their lunch boxes and locker posters.

Dickie Roberts was the son of an overbearing mother who pushed him to be the child star of a hugely successful TV show called The Glimmer Gang, complete with a precious tagline (“This is nucking futs!”—cute, huh?) that propelled him into stardom and had him washed up by the time he was seven. Now he’s fighting to get back in the picture, starting with a pitiful celebrity boxing match where he gets his butt kicked by “Webster” (Emmanuel Lewis).

Dickie begs director Rob Reiner to cast him in a role that Sean Penn is competing for about a guy building a big house who finds Heaven in his backyard.

When Reiner tells Dickie that he’s unsuitable for the part because he has no idea of what it’s like to have a normal childhood, Dickie puts an ad in the paper to find a family that will let him move into their house and live like a kid, as one character says, to “reboot him like a computer.”

He’s adopted by the father (Craig Bierko) of a picturesque American family. Mommy (Mary McCormack) and the two kids (Scott Terra and Jenna Boyd) don’t really like him at first, but…you know the rest.

Of course the premise makes no sense, but then the way it’s carried out doesn’t make any sense either. It’s just a string of listless skits. The movie feels haphazard and thrown together, with a bike-riding scene that ends up like a Jackass stunt and a disturbingly Oedipal “your mom’s hot” running joke. Just to show how lazy this film is, when Dickie gets back on the scene, instead of writing something funny, they use use old footage of David Spade on Jay Leno’s show, on the cover of Rolling Stone, and performing with Aerosmith. Or maybe that was in hopes of reminding us that despite this movie, David Spade is actually a pretty cool guy.

There are a few moments that remind you how talented Spade is, particularly when he spouts off smart-aleck remarks, but they are more suitable for stand-up routines than for depiction on screen with other actors. His insults to some school bullies would be funnier if we didn’t see him actually using that language to people who are, after all, children. The movie seems to applaud him not just for for crudely insulting children, but also for making a fake 911 call and giving someone the finger.

Episodes like giving a bath to a dead rabbit, applauding “Mom” for rudely telling off an imperious neighbor, the exchange of a kidney transplant for an audition, and hitting someone in the head with a champagne cork are sour and weird.

It’s impossible not to get the feeling that the real-life Spade, the co-writer and star, is closer to the twisted Dickie at the beginning of the movie than the loving family man of the end. The way he wastes the talents of Jon Lovitz (as Dickie’s agent), McCormack, Bierko, SNL’s Rachel Dratch, Brendan Fraser, and former child star Alyssa Milano, and his inability to interact with anyone else on screen just demonstrates that Spade is as self-absorbed as Dickie is.

Ultimately, though, the movie’s lame humor is less painful than the supposedly touching material about how love is all that really matters.

In a sense, it may seem almost kind to give cameos to all the former child stars, given this reminder of how empty their lives can feel when they are no longer adorable. But there is something un-funnily awkward about seeing them debase themselves in this movie just for another shot at an audience and a paycheck. And there is some irony that by far the brighest moments of the movie come from one of its child stars — Boyd has a lovely comic snap and gives the most genuine perfomance in the film.

Parents should know that this film contains very strong language for a PG-13, including crude humor, alcohol and drug references, a child’s use of a swear word portrayed as funny, and a joke about Jesus that some people will find offensive.

Families who see this movie should talk about some of their favorite child stars and what they would and would not like about being famous.

Families who enjoy this movie should try Back to School or watch Spade shine with the late Chris Farley in Tommy Boy.

The Eye

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2003

The Eye is a Taiwanese ghost film that will please the American audiences who flocked to The Sixth Sense, The Others, and The Ring, far superior to recent American trash that has been made to cash in on the fascination with ghost stories.

The Eye focuses on Mun (Angelica Lee), a blind girl as she is about to receive some donated retinas in an operation that will give her vision. The operation is successful, and over time she can see as well as anyone and better communicate with her supportive family, her doctor, and a sickly child she has befriended in the hospital. However, one night, she sees the old lady near her in the hospital being escorted out by a stranger after visiting hours, and the next morning she is dead. When Mun is finally out in the real world, she sees people that others can’t see, all of them very strange and some of them particularly frightening. By the time her doctor recommends her to his nephew psychiatrist Dr. Wah (Lawrence Chou), it is clear that she is seeing ghosts, and while trying to get someone to believe she tries to find out more about the donor.

It’s no surprise that this film has already been optioned for an American remake, especially with the success of the Ringu remake The Ring. The US version may have more expensive special effects and a more upbeat resolution, but this version is a very likeable movie. It is beautifully filmed by the Pang brothers and it has some ambitions to be more than a typical mindless scarefest, taking on important topics like intolerance. It’s very easy to make a bad scary movie and hard to make a good one, especially considering how many have been made recently (I hope you all missed The Mothman Prophecies and Dragonfly), The Eye delivers the goods without insulting anyone’s intelligence.

Lee and Chou both have charm and talent and are great finds for the Pang brothers, who have proven themselves worthy of an American audience. Scenes like Lee’s operation are done with warts and all realism, and Mun and Dr. Wah’s relationship is very believable when it could have easily been contrived. These realistic elements convince the biggest naysayers that even the ghosts could be real, and situations, from the horrific climax to full, intriguing stories that link the ghosts with their past lives will send chills down your spine.

Parents should know that the movie is very scary and has pervasive tension, violence, and some disturbing images.

People who enjoy this movie should try the recent popular (and chilling) ghost stories, particularly the aforementioned The Sixth Sense, The Others, and The Ring and the original Ringu. Families might also enjoy two other movies about blind people who gain their sight, Blink and At First Sight.

The Other Side of the Bed

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2003
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2003

As the credits roll in this first entry in the Sundance series, we meet two couples, the men asleep in their beds, their girlfriends both crooning a silly pop song about honeymoons and sunlight. Then, in a restaurant, Paula (Natalia Verbeke) tells Pedro (Guillermo Toledo) that she is leaving him because she is in love with another man. Pedro goes to tell his best friends, Javier (Ernesto Alterio) and Sonia (Paz Vega) that his heart is broken. The reason for Javier’s discomfort is revealed when we find out that it is Javier for whom Paula has left Pedro. And he becomes even more uncomfortable when she pushes him to tell Sonia about their affair.

That leads to a light-hearted romp of musical beds with real music — every so often one of the characters breaks into song with assorted bystanders as a chorus line.

The result is a lightweight but highly enjoyable romantic farce, as ever-sillier complications mount until things are sorted out and everyone gets to live happily ever after.

Parents should know that the movie has very explicit sexual references and situations, nudity, very strong language, comic violence, and drinking and smoking. Some characters discuss homosexuality in an ignorant manner, but the gay character is dignified and not at all stereotyped.

Families who see this movie should ask whether the characters have learned anything and will be likely to behave differently in the future.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Noises Off.

Under the Tuscan Sun

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2003
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 2003

Like the crumbling Italian villa at the center of this story, there is a lot wrong with the movie, but it is so enticing — especially for its intended audience — that it is hard to resist.

The best-selling book by Frances Mayes about her restoration of a crumbling villa is beautifully written and wonderfully evocative, but it does not have much of a story. So writer/director Audrey Wells has taken the real Mayes, and thrown a lot of plot at her, just the kind of thing that last year’s Adaptation should have warned her against.

Mayes (played by the exquisite Diane Lane) is now a book critic and would-be novelist who is dumped by the husband she has been supporting. This means that he is entitled to alimony in addition to his half of the house, which he wants to keep. She is financially and emotionally devastated and moves into a depressing furnished apartment complex filled with people who are getting divorced.

When her best friend Patti (the marvelous Sandra Oh) becomes pregnant, she gives Frances her ticket for a tour of Tuscany. It’s a “Gay and Away” tour, which is fine with Frances, who is relieved that there will be no possibility of romantic entanglements.

But she ends up with an entanglement is of a different kind, impulsively buying an ancient house called Bramasole, which translates into “yearning for the sun.”

And yes, it is Frances who is yearning for the sun, and yes, the renovation of the house is a metaphor for renovating her spirits. On this emotional journey, she will meet kind souls who will impart life lessons with a profundity somewhere between fortune cookie and Dr. Phil.

A free-spirited Englishwoman, a kind local realtor, and three Polish construction workers help her get ready to enter back into life again, and a charming Italian man helps her begin by reminding her that she is capable of loving and being loved. Frances makes a wish for a wedding and a family in the house and when at first it seems that the wedding and the family are not the ones she wished for, she begins to understand that they really are just what she wanted. And she learns that she can help others who yearn for the sun, healing herself at the same time.

The problem is that director/screenwriter Wells tells us a lot more than she shows us. She seems to have no understanding of how to translate a story into film. The movie often seems abrupt and unfinished and the characters are superficially drawn. The script tells us how the characters feel about each other but does not make it matter enough for us to believe in or care about the way their relationships are resolved. Lane brings as much to the material as is humanly possible, but is given little to do beyond looking wistful and wounded. But it is all beguilingly pretty to watch and its message of hope and second chances is beguilingly pretty, too.

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language for a PG-13. There are sexual references and situations, including a sexual encounter between two people who barely know each other — portrayed as deeply romantic and healing — and a sexually active young couple. Another character is happily promiscuous. Mayes’ husband leaves her for another woman. The movie does a good job of avoiding stereotypes with a gay Asian character.

Families who see this movie should talk about all of the advice that Mayes gets and what she learns from it, especially the stories about the train tracks, about bad ideas being like playground bullies, and about the ladybugs. How important is “childish enthusiasm?” Why did Frances believe the relationship with Marcello was more than it was? In the book, Mayes says that “the house is a metaphor for the self.” How is that shown throughout the movie?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Enchanted April and A Room With a View, both part of the rich tradition of movies showing how the sun-dappled vistas and luscious food of Italy can restore souls and open hearts. There’s an almost-as rich tradition of harried home renovations movies (the best is Mister Blandings Builds His Dream House) and of house-as-metaphor movies, most recently Life as a House with Kevin Kline. Families might also like to try some Italian cooking, learn more about the tradition of the flags in Siena, and of course visit Tuscany if they can.

Previous Posts

Interview: Matt Mamula of Celebrity Impersonator Documentary "Just About Famous"
Matt Mamula co-directed "Just About Famous," the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes ...

posted 3:59:51pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Barak Goodman of "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies"
Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced ...

posted 3:55:04pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Creativity Conference 2015: Nancy Pelosi, Snoopy, and Drones with GoPros
I had so much fun at last year's Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is ...

posted 3:07:48pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The Little Prince
The beloved book The Little Prince has been gorgeously animated, with voices including Jeff Bridges, James Franco, and Rachel McAdams.  I love this trailer. [iframe frameborder="0" width="480" height="270" ...

posted 8:00:24am Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Samuel L. Jackson is the President in "Big Game"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKThy0cipVA ...

posted 8:00:34am Apr. 25, 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.