Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Tusk
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

The Fault in Our Stars
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
Release Date:
June 6, 2014

This is Where I Leave You
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

 

Think Like a Man Too
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Release Date:
June 20, 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

 

Godzilla
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Release Date:
May 16, 2014

The Art of John Alvin — Designer of Iconic Movie Posters

posted by Nell Minow
Copyright John and Andrea Alvin 2014

Copyright John and Andrea Alvin 2014

Any fan of film history and design will love this magnificent new book devoted to the iconic movie posters and other artwork from John Alvin, assembled and written by his widow, Andrea Alvin. John Alvin’s 40 years of movie poster art includes Disney films such as Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Pinocchio, as well as Empire of the Sun, Gremlins, Blazing Saddles, Predator, and the Star Wars 30th anniversary.

This book not only collects some of Alvin’s finest work, but also includes previously unseen comprehensives and sketches. alvin batman

Collectors will want to check out Alvin’s originals and limited editions at ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery.

alvin blade runner

Copyright John and Andrea Alvin 2014

Copyright John and Andrea Alvin 2014

Guest Post: Tara Sonenshine on “Calvary”

posted by Nell Minow
Brendan Gleeson in "Calvary"

Brendan Gleeson in “Calvary” Copyright Fox Searchlight 2014

My deepest thanks to Tara Sonenshine for allowing me to publish her thoughtful comments on “Calvary,” starring Brendan Gleeson as a troubled priest in a small Irish town.  It is a moving story of betrayal, despair, faith, and sacrifice.

Faith in Things: How A Movie Moves You

In what do you believe? In whom do you believe?

Those are separate but related questions in the recent film, “Calvary” starring Brendan Gleeson as an Irish priest, Father James, confronted by an agonizing life and death dilemma laid out in the first few minutes of the film. The movie opens inside a confessional, where an unseen parishioner — a childhood victim of a pedophile priest, promises to kill Father James as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the Roman Catholic Church’s clerical brethren. The audience is not sure who this parishioner is—only that the murder of Father James will take place a week later even though the parishioner is clear that Father James is not a rapist nor a “bad” man, but must be killed to draw attention to the issue of sexual abuse. The entire premise is a bit unwieldy but the movie managed to hold my attention.

The film is really about Father James and his struggle to handle not only the threat to his life by this unseen parishioner, but other earthly troubles like his suicidal daughter (he was married before becoming a priest) and ministering to a host of depraved and troubled parishioners –any of whom might be motivated to kill. Suffice it to say the story is dark, depressing and full of despair as Father James deals with corrupt people, an uncertain clergy, and acts of betrayal including the burning down of his tiny church—the physical embodiment of his religious faith.

In the end, the film leaves you wondering, in what or whom Father James and others in the film believe. The inescapable question is—where is God?

I saw “Calvary” at a time when I had been thinking about faith as part of the annual summer run-up to the Jewish High Holidays. At this time of year, Jews start preparing for the start of Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement. Both holidays tend to concentrate the mind on religious belief, on faith, and on the more mundane Jewish practice of juggling school dates with High Holiday tickets for services and filling out membership forms for synagogues. Only in America do Jews end up deciding if you want to worship during the holiest of days in the traditional synagogue or in the “over-flow” space at a local high school. (Despite the struggle that many synagogues today face to retain membership, these two special Jewish holidays –Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur- draw record numbers of worshippers and strain the ability of synagogues to accommodate everyone in one place.)

In an world of e-everything, there is also a new option– to simply stay home and follow a service online, via SKYPE, or, for that matter, an audio or video recording. More and more people simply forego membership or affiliation to a permanent house of worship and look for religious services on an ad hoc basis or online.  The very act of choosing a location in which to worship can become a test of faith, itself. Where is God? Is God in a physical place like a house of worship, or in a spiritual place within us? Do we even need places of worship if God is everywhere and anywhere? Why bother to find parking on the High Holidays if God is higher than a holiday—let alone pay membership dues to “belong,” to a synagogue. The internet is free. Maybe God even has his or her own Facebook page?

Having pondered the issue, I come down on the side of faith venues—a physical place of worship. There is something to be said for bricks and mortar in religion—be it a church, a mosque, a synagogue or simply a sanctuary where communities gather to worship, collectively.

Prayer is lonely business and for some, like me, it feels good to be surrounded by people during prayer. “Practicing” religion takes practice and houses of worship encourage it and symbolize it. Asked to choose between attending a service with others or “bowling alone,” I’d go with a place I can enter that is neither my home nor my work and where someone has put together an organized service to follow.

Asked to support a religious institution all-year round, I vote yes—even if I don’t use it all-year round. I want it to be there beyond me.

Organized religion has its fair share of critics. There are monetary requirements to operate religious institutions. As is revealed in “Calvary,” even the highest clergy members can be of dubious value. Houses of worship rely upon donations and donors—not all good ones. Someone has to pay to keep the lights on.  Institutions, even in an age of declining faith in them, do offer places and spaces for gathering.( It’s why many of us still go to movie theaters—the sense of community and tradition.)

Houses of worship provide physical reminders that religions are ancient. They remind us that centuries before us, others came to pray. The services keep communities believing in community—and give children a reason to complain as well as the fondest of memories about things and people of meaning.
Depending on your interpretation of the movie, “Calvary,” the Irish priest either finds faith (even without a physical church) or loses it despite his best efforts. Regardless, one is left hoping that traditions continue– that we leave legacies for others—and that faith is in the eyes of the beholder but must be something to behold.

Tara D. Sonenshine teaches media and public diplomacy at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

Trailer: Effie Gray, Starring Dakota Fanning and Emma Thompson

posted by Nell Minow

Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her “Sense and Sensibility” screenplay. She wrote and stars in “Effie Gray,” with Dakota Fanning, the real-life story of the Victorian art critic, John Ruskin (David Suchet), and his much-younger bride, Effie Gray. Tom Sturridge plays John Millais, the artist she married after the unconsummated marriage to Ruskin was annulled.

New MacArthur Genius Award Winners Include Alison Bechdel and Joshua Oppenheimer

posted by Nell Minow

It is always a treat to see the worthy awardees of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grants.” The foundations awards are unique because you cannot apply for them and there are no restrictions on the use of the money given to the recipients. The awards committee reviews the work of people making extraordinary contributions to science, culture, and justice. This year’s recipients of the MacArthur awards are superbly impressive, as always. I was especially glad to see the awards go to Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing, one of the most striking, innovative, and compelling films I have ever seen, and Alison Bechdel, author of one of my favorite books, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, and popularizer of “The Bechdel Test” for movies: Are there more than two female characters and do they talk about anything other than men? I’m thrilled that these awards will bring more attention to their work and help them to do more. Oppenheimer’s sequel, “The Look of Silence,” is opening later this year, and Bechdel’s second memoir, Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, was published last year.

Previous Posts

The Real Story: Tracks and Robyn Davidson's Long Walk Across Australia
Mia Wasikowska plays real-life adventurer Robyn Davidson in "Tracks," based on the 1980 international best-seller about her 1700-mile walk across Australia with four camels. A thoughtful interview with Davidson in The Australian describes her: Davidson is an enigma. With her patrician air, prim

posted 3:51:08pm Sep. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: The Dancing Traffic Light
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB_0vRnkeOk[/youtube]

posted 8:00:15am Sep. 22, 2014 | read full post »

TrueSpark: Teaching Children and Teens About Character With Quality Films
I am honored to serve on the advisory committee for TrueSpark, which provides quality films and curricula for schools at no cost to use in teaching character. [iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/akEWIRfjnxk?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Parents and teachers who want to lear

posted 8:22:33pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Genevieve Bailey of "I Am Eleven"
There's a reason that so many heroes and heroines of classic literature are eleven years old. It is that last magical moment at the cusp of childhood and adolescence, which is what makes it so fascinating and delightful. Genevieve Bailey remembered the year she was 11 as one of the happiest of her l

posted 8:09:47pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip -- Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave
Alpha and Omega are back! And we are lucky to have an exclusive clip.  It is available tomorrow at Walmart. Runt, Kate and Humphrey's Omega wolf cub, sneaks off to explore the haunted Saw Tooth Cave. When Runt finds a wolf who's been driven from her pack for being different, he musters all his c

posted 10:11:29am Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »


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