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Frame by Frame: A Family-Friendly Movie Blog

    Frame by Frame: A Family-Friendly Movie Blog

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    111811: Opening This Weekend

    Posted: 18 Nov 2011 03:28 AM PST

    Dancing Penguins & Vampires

    This will no doubt be a big box office weekend when it comes to money as Hollywood pulls out all the stops releasing two big movies the same weekend. For the most part anything else on the big screen this weekend will fall into the category of “also showing”. There is no doubt the two new movies will race to the top of the box off standings. The only question to be answered – when the dust settles who will be on top!

    Will it be a dancing penguin? Or blood sucking vampire.

    New On The Big Screen This Weekend

    Happy Feet Two – PG on 3,606 screens
    The sequel to the 2006 animated film again features Elijah Wood as teh voice of the tap-dancing penguin Mumble. His son doesn’t really dance and is more drawn to another penguin who can fly. But Mumble begins to win over his son when he leads the penguin nations against “powerful forces”. Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Sofia Vergara, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and pop star Pink also lend their voices to the film which is screening in 3D.

    The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 – PG-13 on 4,061 screens
    In the fourth film in this series, Kristen Stewart’s Bella and Robert Pattinson’s Edward tie the knot and then find out she’s pregnant with his vampire child. The pregnancy puts her in the cross-hairs of the wolves. But, Taylor Lautner’s werewolf character, Jacob, vows to protect her.

    Enjoy the show!

    Dr. Rus

    Movie Review: Jack and Jill

    Posted: 17 Nov 2011 02:04 PM PST

    Jack and Jill


    PG for crude and sexual humor, language, comic violence
    and brief smoking.
    Genre: Comedy
    Running Time: 1 hour 33 minutes

    Jack Sadelstein, a successful advertising executive in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife and kids, dreads one event every year – the Thanksgiving visit of his identical twin sister Jill. He tries to make the best of it and weather the storm for this once a year visit. But, it is rather challenging at times. Jill’s neediness and passive-aggressiveness is maddening to Jack. Of course every year when Jill shows up on the scene Jack’s normal tranquil life is turned upside down at every turn.

    The Split Personalities of Adam Sandler

    The trailers for Jack and Jill seem to give this new Adam Sandler movie a glimmer of hope that it will be good and funny. But – we are sad to report – such is not the case. 

    While Jack and Jill does have some funny moments, we left the theater saying it was a “long” hour and a half. You just never know what you’re going to get with Adam Sandler. We use to say any Sandler movie was either really good and funny – or – really bad and sad.

    Jack and Jill seems to fall right in the middle of the Good VS. Bad scale.

    For the most part if you saw the trailer, you saw the funny parts of this movie. While there is an attempt to keep some kind of story line flow, there are times when this movie falls into the disjointed category too. From time to time it becomes nothing more than a collection of short comic skits than a so-called feature length movie. It seems Adam Sandler may possibly find himself at a crossroads when it comes to his acting career. He seems torn between trying to be a good actor, writer and comic – and simply being a comic who goes for the quick rude and crude laugh.

    Jack and Jill

    Jack and Jill (Image via

    While this is not a movie all about Adam Sandler, he does play the two main characters of Jack and Jill.

    As Jack Sadelstein, Sandler’s character is a successful advertising executive. As Jill Sadelstien, Sandler is his own twin sister in this movie. A woman from the Bronx looking for love and acceptance.

    It’s here we find the confusion and almost split personality of Sandler.

    Throughout Jack and Jill Sandler’s Jack character is balanced and a family man trying to sort through the challenges of life. The character is funny and the laugh moments are – for the most part – clean and humorous. It’s obvious he was working for his humor as the character of Jack. But when it comes to Jill, Sandler seems to fall into the abyss of going for the rude and crude quick laugh. It seems as though Sandler didn’t want to sully an image he’s trying to build as a serious and funny man as a guy. As a result, he degrades himself and stoops to potty humor with the alter ego Jill Sadelstein. It’s true we have seen worse in the form of potty humor from Sandler in the past, but it’s still disappointing to see him stoop to this level again and it really takes away from the movie. It gets to the point where it’s almost painful to watch the character of Jill go through her trials.

    It’s Not A Total Loss

    However, even though Sandler’s alter ego character pulls Jack and Jill down, that’s not to say this movie is a total loss. There is a positive message about family and discovering what’s important. But, even more intriguing are the numerous cameo appearances sprinkled in throughout the movie. Al Pacino, far from a cameo appearance, is wonderful and a joy to watch here. It is nice to see him in a humorous role. But even after saying that, be on the look out for wonderful surprise cameos from Johnny Depp and even Jared the Subway guy!

    As for rating, with a PG rating Jack and Jill is simply not family-friendly. The humor is too raunchy and rude and not suited for a younger audience. While it does not need an R rating even with a PG-13 rating we would have to say it’s still cautionary family-friendly. In other words, when it comes to the family-friendly category, it’s best to think of Jack and Jill as a cautionary family-friendly movie with a PG-13 rating.

    Is it worth rushing to the movie theater to see? Probably not. While there are some glimmers of laughter and heart warming moments, Jack and Jill is probably best left on the “wait and see when it comes out on DVD” list.

    Wait for the DVD,

    Dr. Rus

    Movie Review: Tower Heist

    Posted: 17 Nov 2011 02:02 PM PST

    Tower Heist


    PG-13 for language and sexual content.
    Genre: Comedy, action, adventure, crime
    Running Time: 1 hour 44 minutes

    The workers at a posh Central Park condominium plot to steal back their pensions from a thieving Wall Street billionaire whos’ about to get away with the ultimate white-collar crime. Financial giant Arthur Shaw has just been placed under house arrest in his luxury New York City penthouse for cleaning out his investors to the tune of two billion dollars.

    Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the financial spectrum, Josh Kovacs earns a modest living as the manager of the building where Shaw lives. When he learns that the tower staffers who entrusted Shaw with their retirement funds are about to lose their life earnings and the thief will probably get off scot-free, Josh recruits a crafty swindler named Slide to help get their money back.

    An Unlikely Group of Thieves

    The security is tight in Arthur Shaw’s condo. But between Josh’s knowledge of the building and Slide’s slight of hand, an unlikely group of thieves come up with a plan to get their money back. 

    The cast for Tower Heist includes the likes of Alan Alda, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Judd Hirsch and Casey Affleck. But, it all falls a little flat as the headliner for this movie is Ben Stiller who plays the character of Josh Kovaks. In my opinion the only movie Stiller has ever really been strong in was Night At The Museum. As a leading role in that movie he did indeed pull it off. However, for the most part, Stiller is best when playing some kind of a supporting character role. He’s too predictable, too flat, too routine and too straight-faced to really pull off a leading role. Such is the case for Tower Heist. If it weren’t for the likes of Eddie Murphy and others in this movie it would possibly be a total loss.

    Eddie Murphy is his usual flamboyant jump off the screen self. The interaction between him and Stiller’s character are humorous. But, it also seemed like Stiller was left speechless at times as he was simply over-shadowed by the comedic brilliance of Murphy’s character Slide in Tower Heist. There are times in this movie when the camera pans to Stiller’s face during their interactions and he has the proverbial “deer in the headlight” look. He just seems lost.

    Judd Hirsch is brilliant but unfortunately his character of Mr. Simon does not get enough screen time. It’s nice to see Alan Alda back on the big screen again and Matthew Broderick is his usual self too. His Mr. Fitzhugh character is funny and even though Broderick is again one of those one dimension actors, he plays this character well. At times there are hints of Mr. Gadget and the hints of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is simply hilarious! I will not include any spoilers here but suffice it to say if you’re a fan of Broderick like I am and a fan of that now cult-classic Ferris Bueller you will see the connection as well.

    Mildly Humorous – Could Have Been Better

    While the trailers for Tower Heist make this movie look like it will be a “roll on the floor laughing” type movie, many of the really funny parts are in the trailer. That’s not to say this movie falls into the category of “if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen the movie”. The opposite is actually the case. The trailer accomplishes exactly what it’s suppose to do – Tease you into seeing the movie. But, as a result of the disjointed and flat performance of Ben Stiller, Tower Heist does not live up to its full potential in the belly laugh category. This could have been a very funny movie as it does contain a number of good lines and jokes. However, with the stilted performance of Stiller, what could have put this movie over the top on the laughter scale rolls it back to the “mildly humorous” genre.

    It’s not all bad, but Tower Heist could have been a lot funnier.

    As for rating, we have to say Tower Heist is cautionary family-friendly. Eddie Murphy has done worse, but it’s really his character that moves this movie into the cautionary area. While Ben Stiller takes away the laughs, Eddie Murphy adds the crase. It’s the raunchy humor from Murphy’s character that firmly places this movie into the cautionary family-friendly category.

    Enjoy the show!

    Dr. Rus