31 August 2016

Movie Review: "The Prince & Me"

Synopsis: Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) is a girl with a dream: After finishing medical school, she wants to travel the world practicing medicine.  Soon after starting college, she meets a guy named Eddie, and they soon fall in love.  What Paige doesn't know is that "Eddie" is really Edvard, Crown Prince of Denmark, and heir to the throne.  When Paige discovers who her lover really is, she isn't sure what to do.  Will she become the Queen of Denmark, or is becoming royalty too much for a girl from small-town Wisconsin?

The Good: Like many romantic comedies, this film has quite a few moments that were cute or sweet, if not both.  Eddie's dedication to Paige is admirable, and Paige herself is likable.  The actors all did very well, and the soundtrack was fun.  There weren't many profanities, which is surprising, because...

The Bad: This movie definitely pushes the envelope when it comes to "PG" films.  It's rife with sexual content, featuring everything from a discussion of a one night stand to near-intercourse to a remark about homosexuality.  Drinking is also seen throughout, especially by the college students.  It's films like this that make people not trust the MPAA ratings.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Several scenes of passionate kissing that are either interrupted or cut away from; a scene where two college students nearly engage in sexual activity, but are interrupted; a college girl discusses a one night stand with a much older man; a guy asks a girl to remove her top, though she declines. 2/5
  • Nudity: The female protagonist is seen in everything from bare-midriff outfits to low-cut tops to off-the-shoulder gowns; the prince is seen shirtless and even in his underwear. A scene shows college girls stripping, though critical areas are blacked out. 3/5
  • Language: One use of the s-word; at least as many usages of the d-word, h-word, and a-word; about five or so misuses of God's name. 3/5
  • Violence: Mostly comedic pratfalls, though some guys do get into a brawl where nobody is killed. 4/5
  • Drugs: Drinking throughout. 3/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: The fight; some emotional intensity. 3/5
Conclusion: How many times has a movie come out with one rating, only for everyone to say it should have been rated something else? It happens all the time with "PG-13" films, especially comedies, which is why I generally don't watch flicks with that rating unless they fall into the sci-if/fantasy, superhero, or Christian genres.  It also happened with "PG" films ranging from Apollo 13 to Prince Caspian.  This is yet another example of movie ratings gone wrong.  Discerning viewers can do much better.

Score: 2/5

16 August 2016

Quickie TV DVD Review: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles": Volume Five

Synopsis: The heroes in a half-shell are in for more crazy adventures in this fifth volume of their original cartoon series! Whether they're fighting a robot that was programmed with their ninja skills, trying to get a samurai rabbit back to his own dimension, or falling for a deadly female ninja hired by Krang, these twelve episodes are chock-full of adventure, fun...and pizza! With their rodent sensei Splinter, and their friends April O'Neil and Casey Jones, it'll take everything the Turtles have got to defeat Shredder and his minions...but, will it be enough?

My Review: I love pretty much all superhero cartoons; in fact, it was the 2003 incarnation of this franchise that led to me discovering series such as these.  While this one does lack some polish--the animation is rough at times, and the characters' voices, especially Shredder's, seem to vary from one episode to another--it still manages to be quite fun and exciting.  The heroes are likable, the villains despicable, and the plots keeping you wondering what will happen next.  Of course you know the Turtles will win; the question is, how? I'm glad I have plenty more DVDs of this series on hand!

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: A kiss on the cheek; "bimbo" is used as a slang word for a woman. 4/5
  • Nudity: April is briefly seen in a bikini. 4/5
  • Language: Name-calling and euphemisms such as "butt" and "heck" are used throughout; someone misuses God's name, albeit in French. 3/5
  • Violence: As usual for a series like this, "fantasy violence" is present throughout.  The Turtles, the villains, and various other characters hit, kick, punch, throw, etc., each other countless times.  The good news is that nobody, not even the defeated enemies, dies, and the Turtles try to solve problems as non-violently as possible. 3/5
  • Drugs: None. 5/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Along with the violence, some of the villains, particularly the Rat King and Leatherhead could be scary. 3/5
  • Other: Occasional crude/bathroom humor. 4/5
Score: 4.5/5