List: Movie Judges

Posted on May 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm

supreme-court.jpgAs President Obama thinks about his selection to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter, it is a good time to take a look at some memorable movie judges.
1. Anatomy of a Murder Real-life lawyer — and real-life American hero — Joseph Welch plays the judge in this spell-binding story of a murder trial, based on a real-life case in a novel written by Robert Traver (pen name of John Donaldson Voelker, a Michigan Supreme Court justice). You can see Welch’s stand against Joseph McCarthy in Point of Order!
2. The Supreme Court A superb documentary about our government’s smallest and least transparent branch.
3. The Talk of the Town Ronald Coleman plays a law professor whose appointment to the Supreme Court is jeopardized when his landlady hides an anarchist (Cary Grant) from the authorities in the farmhouse where he is staying. The two men engage in a spirited debate about the law and a competition for the heart of the lovely landlady.
4. Separate But Equal Sidney Poitier plays Thurgood Marshall in the story of Brown v. the Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that may have had the most significant impact on the lives of all Americans. It is as gripping as any thriller, especially for those who find it hard to imagine a time when segregation in schools was legal. The way this case was assembled and presented is at time shocking, all the more reason that it is a must-see. Marshall, who argued the case, later became the first black Supreme Court justice. Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All is his story.
5. Stranger in Town Frank Morgan, who played the title character in The Wizard of Oz plays a Supreme Court justice on a hunting trip who gets caught up in a small town’s political dispute.

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For Your Netflix Queue Lists
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MaryAnn Johanson

Posted on May 6, 2009 at 8:00 am

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has an excellent website that this week includes a very thoughtful essay by MaryAnn Johanson about the week in media.

It’s mostly a testosterone fest at the multiplex this weekend, with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” slashing its way into theaters and sure to be a huge hit. Girls who like boys will appreciate all the Hugh Jackman beefcake on display, of course, but girls who want to see stories about girls will be disappointed…though the film does feature Lynn Collins in a smallish role as the woman Logan (aka Wolverine) loved and lost. I was astonished by her Portia in 2004’s big-screen “Merchant of Venice,” and continue to hope that she will one day headline her own film, instead of playing second fiddle to the boys.

You might think that “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” would feature some kick-ass women — perhaps one or two who’d actually kick Matthew McConaughey’s ass for being such a meatheaded manwhore — but no: they’re all simpering crybabies to a one, overemotional dunderheads simply incapable of not falling in love with him after 10 seconds of the blatant propositioning that he thinks is seductive and flirtatious. If McConaughey’s playboy had gone through as many women as we’re supposed to accept he has, he should have run into one or
two who were as rapacious and as uninterested in any kind of relationship beyond a sexual one as he is. But doncha know, all women feel exactly the same way about love and sex!

The only female of any prominence this weekend is the teenaged alien Mala of the animated “Battle for Terra.” Voiced by Evan Rachel Wood, she is spunky and adventurous and actually gets to save her world. Of course, she’s a cartoon, but I guess we can’t have everything.

I loved the quote Johanson found from one of my favorite actresses, Juliet Stevenson (Kiera Knightly’s mother in Bend It Like Beckham and the grief-struck widow in Truly Madly Deeply), from an interview in The Telegraph. She speaks about the difficulties of finding a role as a mature actress in a world looking for babes.

“It is intensely frustrating.” There is a jagged edge to the famously honeyed larynx. “The longer you live, the more interesting life gets, and yet many of the parts involve carrying trays and putting lamb chops down in front of the leading man.”

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Star Trek Quiz (Old School)

Posted on May 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Get ready for this week’s rebooting of the “Stark Trek” saga by revisiting the original television series. How much do you remember about Captain Kirk and his crew, whose origins we will see in the new J.J. Abrams film?
1. What is Captain Kirk’s middle name?tribbles.jpg
2. Where is he from?
3. What is the name of the adorable creatures who came on board the Enterprise as pets but later came close to causing disaster and ultimately saved the day?
4. Creator Gene Roddenberry described the show by saying it would be like what successful series but “set in space?”
5. How long is its mission supposed to last?
6. What kind of crystals are necessary for fuel?
7. What is the name of the ring that was a doorway to any time and place and where (and when) does the crew go when they materialize on Earth?
8. Why did Spock’s father marry a human?
9. What was striking about the warring factions in “Let that Be Your Last Battlefield?”
10. In “Plato’s Stepchildren,” which cast characters shared a memorable kiss?

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Quiz Science-Fiction Television

Star Trek Monopoly

Posted on May 5, 2009 at 9:53 am

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Space may be the final frontier, but the newest MONOPOLY collector’s edition boldly goes where no one has gone before. Star Trek fans will get a chance to travel through the Star Trek Continuum and explore generations of Starfleet history. Instead of Boardwalk and Park Place, players will buy, sell and trade memorable Star Trek locations from founding Federation home worlds such as Andoria and Vulcan to other memorable worlds including Bajor, Cardassia Prime and the New Founders’ Homeworld. This quest enables all fans to experience the historic adventures of their favorite captains as they travel around the Galaxy exploring the worlds of Star Trek. Players can take a voyage around the board as one of six collectible pewter tokens including a Vulcan Harp, a Phaser, a Communicator, a Klingon Blood Wine Goblet, a Shuttlecraft, and the Captain’s Chair.

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Earth

Posted on May 5, 2009 at 9:24 am

B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Low-key and mostly off-camera references to predators and life cycles
Diversity Issues: Diverse species
Date Released to Theaters: April 22, 2009

This stunning valentine to our planet’s plants and animals re-purposes some of the footage from the stunning documentary Planet Earth into a more narrative storyline, taking us through the seasons and across the globe to see nature’s eternal themes of renewal and connection. We see cooperation and nurture by parents across species. And we see the perils of the animal world as well.
The narration drags at times, mostly avoiding getting too cute but sometimes, even with the voice of James Earl Jones, sounding too much like an educational film for Social Studies classrooms. It alternates between almanac-worthy facts and figures and cozy folkish narratives about the animal families, never matching the grandeur of the visuals.
Parents should know that there are some discreet references to the life cycle and survival issues, some G-rated footage of predators (no blood), and not all of the animals make it to the end of the movie. There are also references to the consequences of climate change on the habitats of the animals.
Topics for discussion: Which of the animals are most like humans? Why?
If you like this, try: Planet Earth, Microcosmos, and Winged Migration.

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