Uncharted

Posted on February 17, 2022 at 5:28 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence/action and language
Profanity: Strong language, several s-words
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol, scenes in a bar
Violence/ Scariness: Extended action/video-game style violence, many characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: February 18, 2022
Date Released to DVD: May 9, 2022

Copyright 2022 Sony
Uncharted” is most likely exactly as good as you hope it will be, and I say that as someone who hoped it was going to be a chases and stunts movie that was fun to watch. It achieves the primary goal of based-on-a-video-game movies, which is that the non-stunts parts like storyline and character don’t get in the way of the stunts parts, which are the reason we are there. There is just enough story and character to add enough emotion to the stunts to take the place of the engagement we feel when we are controlling part of the game.

It helps a lot that the two characters we are supposed to root for and identify with are played by Mark Wahlberg as Sully and Tom Holland as Nate, who bring their established star quality and connection to the audience to fill out the thinly drawn characters they are playing. Holland really takes over as a full-on action hero, even more than he is able to in the Spider-Man movies because there is no mask; he has to act his way through all of the action scenes and did I mention that the stunts are truly wild?

“Uncharted” begins with a “Fast and Furious”-level action scene that is absolutely bonkers. Huge chained-together cargo bundles are hanging out of a plane and Nate is hanging from one of them by a foot caught in the strap until he isn’t, and falls or jumps from one bundle to the other as bad guys are shooting at him and, yes, a fire-engine red sports car comes driving out of the cargo hold, which, let me remind you, is still in the back of a plane that is in the actual, okay green-screen but it looks actual, sky.

It’s the classic MacGuffin: lost pirate treasure. We don’t need to know anything else. We’re on board. Literally; pirate ships are involved and made to do things their builders could never have anticipated. There are objects that must be retrieved in order to find and access it. And there are people who team up and sometimes un-team up and sometimes fight each other to get it. That’s the storyline.

But mostly, there are some wild stunts, on land, water, and in the air. There are nods to (barely disguising lifts from) Indiana Jones, the “Fast and Furious” and “National Treasure” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, but hey, this is a movie where the heroes are thieves, so steal from the best. There are villains, meaning people who also want the treasure and are willing to take more extreme measure to get it. There is something between retaliation and revenge, the oldest of them all: “You killed my brother.”

The little hints of plot, motivation, and character never get in the way of the stunts, which are a hoot.

Parents should know that this movie has a lot of carnage for a PG-13, with video-game-like peril, injuries, and deaths. Many minor characters are killed without blood or consequences. Characters use strong language (many s-words) and drink, with scenes in bars.

Family discussion: How did Sully and Nate decide who they would trust? How did that change? How were their reasons for finding the treasure different?

If you like this, try: The Indiana Jones and “Fast and Furious” and “National Treasure” movies

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Action/Adventure Based on a video game DVD/Blu-Ray movie review Movies -- format Scene After the Credits

Family Movies for Black History Month

Posted on February 15, 2022 at 7:47 pm

Every family should observe Black History Month and movies like these are a good way to begin discussions and further study.

1. “Glory” The true story of the US Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of their own Union army and battling the Confederates, with brilliant performances by Denzel Washington (who won an Oscar), Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Broderick as the white officer who truly believed all men were equal.

2. “Something the Lord Made” The obstacles to education and professional advancement kept Vivien Thomas (Mos Def) from medical school, but he was a pioneer in heart surgery.vivien thomas

3. “Roots” Writer Alex Haley told the story of his own family going back to the capture of one of his ancestors from Africa to be sold into slavery in this historic miniseries.

4. “Amistad” A slave rebellion led to an historic Supreme Court case that addressed fundamental notions of personhood and inalienable rights.

5. “With All Deliberate Speed” This documentary about the Brown v. Board of Education case that transformed American schools and culture has interviews with lawyer Thurgood Marshall (who later became the first black Supreme Court justice) and others involved in the case.

6. “Malcolm X” Denzel Washington is mesmerizing in this story of the incendiary leader and his journey from complacency to activism to understanding.

7. “Eyes on the Prize” This PBS documentary covers the Civil Rights movement from the murder of Emmett Till to the march in Selma.  There is also an excellent sequel. Many feature films cover this history including “Selma” and “Boycott.”

8. “The Rosa Parks Story” Angela Bassett stars as the Civil Rights activist whose refusal to give up her seat on the bus electrified the nation.

9. “The Loving Story” The name of this history-making couple was really Loving.  Their inter-racial marriage led the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the laws against miscegenation in 1967. “Loving” is the superb feature film based on their story.

10. “A Great Day in Harlem” This documentary tells the story of photographer Art Kane’s 1958 iconic photograph of all of the great jazz musicians of the era.

great-day in harlem

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Movie Mom’s Top Picks for Families Race and Diversity

For Valentine’s Day: Great Movie Kisses

Posted on February 14, 2022 at 7:00 am

Romeo and Juliet

Notorious — Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Alfred Hitchcock get around the restrictions on the length of a kiss by filming many small kisses

Carmen Jones

The Age of Innocence

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Pump Up the Volume

The Princess Bride

A Warm December

Spider-Man

Notting Hill

Carol

Lady and the Tramp

Avengers: Infinity War

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Holidays Trailers, Previews, and Clips

Real-Life Movie Couples for Valentine’s Day

Posted on February 14, 2022 at 12:30 am

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I love to recommend romantic movies for Valentine’s Day. This year, how about some movies starring real-life movie sweethearts?

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward made several films together, including “The Long, Hot Summer” and “Rachel Rachel” (he directed, she starred).

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn met on “Woman of the Year” and you can see them fall in love on screen.

Their last movie together was “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” This speech, filmed just before Tracy’s death, feels as though Tracy is speaking about his love for his co-star.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall fell in love on the set of “To Have and Have Not.”

Director Taylor Hackford met his wife, Helen Mirren, when they made “White Nights” together.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had a passionate, tempestuous relationship, including two marriages and divorces, that was reflected in their films together.

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Romance

Football Movies: Like the Super Bowl but Just the Good Parts of the Game

Posted on February 13, 2022 at 12:33 am

Copyright TriStar 1993

Get ready for the Super Bowl with some of my favorite football movies:

Burt Reynolds, who played college football, stars in The Longest Yard as former pro player who puts together a team in prison. (Ignore the Adam Sandler remake, please.)

North Dallas Forty is a darkly comic look at the game with Nick Nolte as an aging player who clashes with the coach.

Remember the Titans is inspired by the true story of the first integrated team at a Virginia high school, with Denzel Washington as Coach Boone. You will cry, I promise.

(Did you catch Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panitierre?). Here Washington and the real Coach Boone talk about the role.

Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz star in Any Given Sunday.

There’s more Ryan Gosling in this little-seen football movie gem, The Slaughter Rule:

Chicago is my home town, so I have a soft spot for Brian’s Song, one of the cryingist movies of all time, the true story of Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, with Billy Dee Williams and James Caan.

Why not have a mule as your kicker? Try Gus and see.

Or you could try The Game Plan, featuring real-life former college football player Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson in a more family-friendly story about a selfish quarterback who discovers he has a ballet-loving daughter:

I’m a big fan of the silly but fun Keanu Reeves movie, The Replacements, with Gene Hackman as the coach, a kind of Dirty Dozen of football. Catch “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau on the team.

You can see Favreau in another crying football movie based on a true story, Rudy.

The Express is the true story of the first Black winner of the Heisman trophy, Ernie Davis.

Draft Day has Kevin Costner as a GM whose most important strategic decisions are about the draft.

Or watch them all at once!

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Sports
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