Category Archives: K

The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right (2010): United States – directed by Lisa Cholodenko

Rated R by the MPAA – contains sexual content, some nudity, strong language, mature themes, California

The Kids Are All Right appears, on the surface, to be a conventional family drama/comedy about an unconventional family.  Normally, if one were to praise a film, he or she might comment with something like, “but it goes so much deeper,” or “but if you look really closely.”  Unfortunately, The Kids Are All Right barely manages to successfully be a conventional film about an unconventional family.

Nick (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) have been together for many years.  They have two kids, but not together, obviously.  They used the same sperm donor, so the “father” is the same, but Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) have always grown up having two moms.  And they are a perfectly normal, happy family.  Joni has graduated from high school and is about to move on to college.  Laser has a troublesome friend named Clay (Eddie Hassell), but is really more interested in something else.

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The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech (2010): United Kingdom – directed by Tom Hooper

Rated R by the MPAA – contains some profanity used in a therapeutic context

The story may not be well-known to many Americans; it certainly wasn’t to me.  But it is a fascinating story, and, in some ways, a highly significant one.  A king, without power but beloved by his people, must deliver a stirring address as the nation approaches a war with a neighboring state.  But there is a catch, and a not-inconsequential one: he stammers.

The Duke of York, also known as Bertie (Colin Firth), is the second son of King George V (Michael Gambon).  His elder brother, Edward (Guy Pearce), is a philanderer, albeit an eloquent one.  The Great War is fresh in European memories, and a cad named Hitler is threatening trouble in Easter Europe.  King George V is ailing, and soon a successor must rally Great Britain around the government, lending them the support they will need to wage such a conflict.  But this blasted stammer.

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Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda (2008): United States – directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne

Rated PG by the MPAA – contains some mild rudeness and consequence-less action/violence

Dreamworks has long been struggling to catch up to the efforts of Pixar and Disney.  Jeffrey Katzenberg’s departure from Disney to Dreamworks created an odd sort of rivalry, one that Dreamworks never could equal.  Starting with Kung Fu Panda and continuing with the recent How To Train Your Dragon [review here], Dreamworks seems that they might indeed be able to carve out their own respectable niche in the animation market.

Jack Black’s grating obnoxiousness is perfect for the role of Po Panda, a large black and white fur-ball who is irreverent without being rude and intrusive without malicious intent.  He is the son of a noodle-seller and is destined to continue in his father’s footsteps.  But at night Po dreams of kung fu, of epic battles and an enigmatic warrior who happens to be large, furry, and a panda.  His true destiny lies with the greatest of kung fu masters.

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The Kid

The Kid (1921): United States – directed by Charlie Chaplin

Not rated by the MPAA – contains sad children

Charlie Chaplin’s first feature length film (though at around 50 minutes it treads the line of “feature”) is one of his most heartwarming and touching movies.  The Tramp (played by Chaplin) is humorous and mischievous, the trouble-making poor man with a heart of gold.  An opening title even introduces the film as “A picture with a smile – and perhaps, a tear.”

As the film opens a young woman (Edna Purviance) leaves a charity hospital with a bundle of joy, and trouble.  For whatever reason, be it out-of-wedlock, an affair, or inability to feed and shelter, the woman knows she must give up the child.  The film does not judge or provide explanations.  The woman is in this position and the audience is encouraged to take compassion on her without blame.  She soon finds an encouraging spot to leave the child: in a fancy car in front of a mansion.  Surely the rich people inside will care for the child.

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The Killing of Satan

The Killing of Satan (1983): Philippines – directed by Efren C. Piñon

Not rated by the MPAA – contains ridiculous violence, some blood, and some random background nudity

This movie is both as terrible and as awesome as its poster would lead you to believe.  I have almost no idea what happened in it, but it was still quite amazing and quite unlike most any other movie I’ve seen.

There’s a plot, somewhere, but I’m still not entirely sure what all happened.  All I know is that a large Filipino Charles Bronson gets some super powers and fights Satan.  Or something.  I can tell you in a little more detail what happens, but I’m not sure if it qualifies as a plot summary.

We meet some villagers, and they are getting harassed by some bad guys.  One of the bad guys has special powers, as indicated by whirling sounds and sonic flashes of light.  The leader of the village, Uncle Miguel, is injured by the bad guy.  The bad guy makes his head spin around really fast, with his magic powers.

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