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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

 

The Maze Runner
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
Release Date:
December 12, 2014

 

Magic in the Moonlight
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Release Date:
August 1, 2014

Top Five
Lowest Recommended Age:
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language throughout and some drug use
Release Date:

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Release Date:
August 8, 2014

A Hannukah Version of “Shake it Off!”

posted by Nell Minow

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
Copyright Warner Brothers Studios 2014

Copyright Warner Brothers Studios 2014

Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans.  I think even Tolkien himself would cry “no mas” at this point.  Remember how the third LoTR movie had about five or six endings because Jackson just could not bear to let go?  This whole movie is like that.  It’s not bad.  There’s just too much of it.

The second of the Hobbit movies remains my favorite because it had the most excitingly staged action scenes and the best characters.  And it left us with a heck of a cliffhanger as Smaug the dragon delivered on the promise of the title, leaving his lair to desolate the village of Lake-Town.  But that all gets resolved pretty quickly (and excitingly) and then, as this title makes clear, most of the rest of the time is not about the original quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain or the sub-quest to obtain the powerful Arkenstone.  It is about a battle of just about everyone, with shifting loyalties and heartbreaking losses.  If you are not a hard-core Tolkienite at the Stephen Colbert level, here’s the one key guideline to keep in mind: the worse the teeth, the more evil the creature sporting them.  The elves, dwarves, and men may have their grievances with each other and may even go into battle against each other, but as any crossword puzzle fan knows, Orcs are the bad guys, ugly cusses with terrible gnashy teeth, and nothing unites rivals and enemies quicker than the arrival of a much worse enemy coming after all of them.

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Martin Freeman (television’s “Sherlock” and “Fargo”) returns as Bilbo Baggins, the heart and the moral center of the story.  While my mind wandered at times to consider such questions as who does all that intricate hair-braiding that the characters sport?  It must be like a middle school slumber party around those campfires, with everyone in a circle doing the hair of the person in front of them.  Isn’t that total turnaround by Thorin Oakenshield a little unbelievable? And I can never figure out exactly the scope of the powers and jurisdiction of characters like Gandalf and Galadriel. Plus, the snively traitor guy gets much too much screen time.

But I never stopped admiring the gorgeously imagined visuals or the subtle complexity of Freeman’s performance. As we see on “Sherlock,” there is no one better at showing us a thoughtful and deeply honorable struggle over how to respond. There may be epic battles, shifting loyalties, elaborate stunts, and a lot of gnashing of very scary-looking teeth, but it is the part of the title before the colon that is what matters.

Parents should know that this movie has extensive and graphic peril and war violence with many sad deaths and some disturbing images.

Family discussion: What was the most difficult decision made by Thranduil? By Bilbo?

If you like this try: The other Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films by Peter Jackson and the books by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Maccabeats! Happy Hannukah! All About the Neis

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah 2014/5775!

posted by Nell Minow
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A Hannukah Version of "Shake it Off!"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NoHp2Rq8sMI?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:41am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »


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