Thursday, November 22, 2007

A great movie resource for parents ... and everyone else too


Nell Minow, who has been Yahoo's "Movie Mom" for years now, has now taken the title with her for her own blog/review site, a welcome addition to the wide Web of film criticism.

Now, don't let the title Movie Mom scare you, or the fact that her blog is part of the Beliefnet Christian Web site. Though Nell takes into consideration all the factors that might concern parents with a movie, she also reviews flicks for their genuine entertainment value, and does so with style.

For instance, I happen to know that Nell is a big fan of both "Grindhouse" and "Shoot 'Em Up," hardly two movies you would think of as family fare. And though I'm not sure I can fully agree with her here, she gives "Live Free or Die Hard" a B+ in this week's DVD reviews.

Frankly, whether you agree with the Christian angle or not, Nell's reviews are a good sight better than almost anything else you'll find that takes families into consideration. To read her latest reviews, visit the new Movie Mom site here.

RIP Fernando Fernán Gómez

I have to admit that the name Fernando Fernán Gómez didn't mean anything to me until my co-worker Karen, who despite having the surname Ludwig is rather proud to have Spanish blood flowing through her veins, pointed out to me that he had died.

It turns out, as a quick visit to the IMDB confirmed, that the Peruvian actor appeared in 212 films in his long career, including starring in one of my all-time favorites, "El Espíritu de la Colmena," a k a "Spirit of the Beehive." If you haven't seen this flick about two Spanish girls and their quest to find the Frankenstein monster, do so as soon as possible (I think you can still find it on DVD.) He also starred as the pater familias in "Belle Epoque" and had a big role in Pedro Almodóvar's "Todo sobre mi madre" ("All About My Mother"). Rest in peace, Mr. Gómez.

Can Johnny Depp actually sing?

If I remember correctly he may have already done so in John Waters' "Cry Baby," but that's still a key question surrounding Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

Well, the answer, judging from this clip of him in the studio singing is only kind of, but probably good enough to serve the purposes of this flick. Judge for yourself, and have a perfectly pleasant turkey day.

15 comments:

renee said...

I read in an interview that Johnny's voice was dubbed in the singing parts of Cry-baby, so this is his first actual singing part. He also refused to work with a voice coach and just trained on his own. I love that wack-job!!

How about those cheekbones, though? I think you could cut yourself on them! *sigh*

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't argue with you there, Renee ... He definitely has the manianical look to pull this off too, so I have really high hopes this will be a Tim Burton film I love rather than hate (like his remakes)

Divinity said...

Sondheim's music is so discordant and pseudo-operatic that oftentimes I feel that the best singers some off sounding somehow wrong. I wonder if he doesn't do it to bring divas down a peg or two. Burton, Depp and Sondheim... three of a kind in a lot of ways.

Divinity said...

P.S. Did you see my update from the LA fan-con I went to at the beginning of the month? There's a MLS connection...

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to confess I didn't, Divinity, but I will later today after I've done some of my work ...

Anonymous said...

A question: Whose fault is it that "No Country for Old Men" is not in Macon? The studio, or Macon's local movie theaters?

Reel Fanatic said...

That's a very valid question that I'm not sure I can answer, anonymous one .. If I had to guess, I'd say the studios rather than Macon, because the movie has been making more and more money in each week it has been out, so it should really be in as wide a release as possible

Mercurie said...

I have to admit that I have been a big fan of Movie Mom for a long time. Nell is one of those critics with whom I often find myself agreeing, even though I am not even Christian.

I have to admit one of the many, many reason I want to see Burton's version of Sweeney Todd is curiosity as to whether Depp can pull it off, can he actually sing. I have to admit it is one of my big concerns about the movie too. I mean, no matter how good the film itself is, if Depp can not pull off the singing, then the movie simply will not work.

Reel Fanatic said...

I finally saw the trailer on the big screen for the first time today, Mercurie, and he did very little singing in it .. the overall vibe, though, looked pretty much perfect, so I have really high hopes

Nell Minow said...

Keith, thanks so much for the wonderful write-up! You made my day. Thanks, mercurie, too. One small correction, though -- Beliefnet is not Christian and neither am I. Beliefnet is a site for people of every possible faith catgory from Catholic to Islam to Wiccan to questioning. They describe their purpose like this: "to help people like you find, and walk, a spiritual path that will bring comfort, hope, clarity, strength, and happiness." And I am Jewish. They want to help people find the faith practice that is right for them and I want to help people find the movies that are right for them, so it seems like a good fit. I'm looking forward to doing not just reviews but interviews, features, and other stuff, too, and I hope you and your readers will check it out and write lots of comments. Thanks again -- I loved what you wrote.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ah ... that shows you what I get for making an assumption about Beliefnet without actually finding out for myself what it's all about .. and I certainly will be reading your reviews on the new site very often

Neel Mehta said...

Nice plug, and it's good to see this terrific movie resource get a new (and better?) home.

One question for Ms. Minow, though, and I didn't see a good place to put it on her site: when is someone going to create a more informative list of sensitive subject matter in movies?

I was watching In the Land of Women on DVD this evening, and I couldn't help but think that a warning about an extended breast cancer subplot would be nice. Stuff like cancer, fatal car crashes (think Save the Last Dance), child sexual abuse... nothing against the films that choose to address these subjects, but people who might feel close to these issues would probably appreciate being warned about them in films that they're just going to see for entertainment value.

I realize this borders on spoiler territory, but trust me, sensitive viewers would want to be so spoiled.

Anyway, I don't know if the Movie Mom (or Beliefnet) is the best place for this, but I wish someone in the reviewing world would step up.

Reel Fanatic said...

I know what you mean, Neel ...I can't think of a specific example right off the top of my head, but there have certainly been times when the subject matter of a movie caught me off guard and just hit me the wrong way ... Like you said, though, it is an awkward way to approach movie reviews, so I'm not sure either just what the forum would be

Nell Minow said...

Neel -- Yes, I do alert parents and other viewers to sensitive material in a movie, including suicide, adultery, sad deaths (of animals or humans), etc. Context is very important -- shoplifting portrayed as high-spiritited bonding is different from seeing it portrayed as a mistake, and a glass of wine in celebration is different from "I've had a bad day; I need a drink." If it involves a crucial plot element, I will make a spoiler alert. My friend Jim Judy of screenit.com also has very comprehensive information.

Neel Mehta said...

Thanks for the responses and the referral. But more importantly, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks about these things.