Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mr. Church

An Eddie Murphy movie for kids other than Daddy Day Care! Yep, and this one has depth. Eddie Murphy starred in a little gem of a movie that came out in 2016 about a man with a past that helps a family through difficult times. The message in this movie and simple and powerful. I also think in today's fast paced world, we need to remind our children of life's simplest message, and that message is kindness. This movie drives the message home with subtle tones and themes. I almost found myself doubting the movie at times. I was thinking I was going to be disappointed.

The movie is PG-13 for some mature themes. However, I found it to be on the milder side of PG 13. I think children 12 and over are fine to watch it with an adult. As all movies recommended in Cerebral Cinema, the movie has many layers for discussion. For this reason, I highly recommend Mr. Church.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Charlie Chaplin's The Dictator

So you want to explain the dangers of a Trump Presidency to a 13 year old.....Hmmmm what to do? How about a cinematic experience from our past that warns us of such dangers of such a presidency? And a funny one at that!

1940-such a film was made.
 Charlie Chaplin made a brilliant movie titled, The Dictator that was a warning of facism and Hitler while using humor to get his point across. I love this movie. Quite funny and irreverent. Full of historical nuggets that bring history alive.
This was also a movie in which he warns us about the future of global politics. Whether it was his intent to reflect upon current events or predict events yet to happen is up to the viewer to decide.
While entertaining, it does have a speech that will surely surprise your kids. One that has been shown in high schools and colleges for generations to enjoy. No child should be left behind with this speech.
While made in the 1930s,  you would have expected it to be the latest anti-trump meme on Facebook. Poignant and powerful, this movie will surely create conversations, which is why cerebral cinema for kids is so important.
If this copy does not work, look for O Grande Dictator. You should be able to watch the film in HD for Free on YouTube if you have a smart tv or hook up your laptop.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Before The Flood

Climate change. Our legacy for our children. Most likely caused by denial that it truly exists. It is up to this current generation to fix the damage we have caused. Education is the key. Like so many recommendations from this blog, documentaries and movies help us understand a new reality. For this reason, I am reviewing Before The Flood, and strongly encourage families to watch this with their children.

What is Before The Flood? Before The flood is a National Geographic documentary on climate change.  Leonardo DiCaprio is leads the presentation from start to finish.. His presence was actually a stronger part of the movie than I would have expected. I truly believe he accomplished what Al Gore could not. Many years ago, Al Gore had a similar movie known as an Inconvenient Truth. While and excellent movie, it had a feeling of a PowerPoint presentation by the former Vice President. What Leonardo DiCaprio brings to this documentary is the heart lacking from an Inconvenient Truth. It is a stunning look into the science of climate change. It is undeniable, and happening now.

Leo starts the movie with his childhood vision conjured up by a renaissance art painting, "The Garden of Earthly Delights." He discusses how climate change frightened him, and he makes an astonishing connection to this brilliant piece of art. The revelation that humans are at a point in which their is no turning back on the damage fossil fuels have done to our environment.

If we were to show this film to every classroom, we would surely see a change in our culture. However, films like this are optional, which is part of the problem .We allow the Koch brothers and big business to prevent a mass education to our children about climate change. The science is clear, yet there is so much doubt in the United States that climate change is real.

Solutions abound in this movie. Some simple, some complex. Even our diet plays a role in climate change. The most significant solution is people demanding change. However the barriers to change is media manipulation. This is why the movie is so important. We need to get the word out.

Before the flood is available on most platforms. If you never like Leonardo DiCaprio, this documentary may change your mind. He is an ambassador of peace, and I was truly proud of his commitment to future generations.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Quantum Leap

Few shows capture the imagination of science as Quantum Leap did in the 1980s. The show combines science, history, and social commentary as part of a journey for kids to learn that parallel universes allow us to analyze the past.

Parallel universes are nothing new to television viewing. The Twilight Zone captured our attention with time travel. Quantum Leap was an upgrade to the Twilight Zone. It might not have the intelligence of Rod Serling, however for a child, it captures the essence of what Serling was trying to accomplish with an adult audience.

Some episodes may not be appropriate for younger children. However most are great for 8 -13 year olds. Overall, the show uses humor to keep most episodes light hearted. Some however will surely encourage critical thinking for your children, and provide for interesting conversations around the dinner table.

Season 1 episode 7 is probably one of my favorites. Sam does a quantum leap into the body of an African American in the deep south during the 1950s. (The Color Of Truth) One of Sam's most complicated missions, as he struggles being in the deep south with the moral compass of a future generation. Truly an episode worth watching with your children.

Quantum Leap is also a great companion for science and technology discussions. We have barely touched the possibilities of quantum physics, and Quantum Leap stands the test of time, and encourages children to explore the realms of our universe.

You can find Quantum Leap on Netflix, or boxed sets are very reasonable on Amazon or Ebay.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Truman Show

Truly one of Jim Carey's best films, the Truman Show is worthy for your kids to watch. The Truman Show is a movie about a reality show about an orphan boy, that viewer watched grow up in a fictitious world. As the show develops, some viewers have questioned the worthiness of such a show. The moral questions of such a concept can make for interesting conversations both during and after the movie. Children 10 and above will understand the concept, and ask questions to their parents and guardians. Albeit the questions will be at all levels, the movie will make for great conversations.

The Truman Show has many concepts. One of my favorites is the production of the show. The creator of the show is Christof, which implies of Christ. The voyeurism of Christof drives the show. While implied, Christof's character serves as an example of how power and control can lead us down a path of ruin. Christof protects his world from outside interests. Christof refuses to allow any doubt of Utopia to enter Truman's world. As Truman gets older, Utopia will eventually come to an end.

The Truman Show was made in 1998. Apocalyptic, and shows like Survivor and Big Brother would follow. The world of Truman would be replicated to a certain extent by our modern media. People are given realities that have unintended consequences. Similar to Truman, many people are provided realities for the enjoyment of others.

The Truman Show can help your child navigate the world of social media. Truman questioning his reality may be something that kids can connect to in their life. Too often, screen time provides them realities that are untrue, or exaggerated. Like Truman, maybe they will question what is truth. This is what makes the movie truly special.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Secret Rules Of Modern Living - Algorithms

The world our children live in is governed by technology and science. Corporations and Government can manipulate their choices in a much more sophisticated manner than ever existed before. Free will is still an option. However, there are ways to manipulate our free will using algorithms. That's right, those pesky math problems we did in high school and college have a purpose that go way beyond what we could have imagined.

Algorithms have been around for thousands of years. The difference today is the use of artificial intelligence to figure out how we make decisions. For this reason, I highly recommend that parents watch this movie with their children. You partake in algorithms as much as your kids do without realizing how they impact your daily life.

Anything that has a choice can be impacted by an algorithm. We just do not see, what is in front of us. Yet we answer countless questions that are intended to complete an algorithm. Many times, we have recommendations given to us without wondering where they come from. For example, on Netflix, watch a few movies and you get a plethora of movie recommendations. That's because your data is being tracked. However, it is being tracked using very sophisticated algorithms.

When I was much younger, people warned about technology taking over our lives. Watching this movie, one can begin to understand the warnings are real. Technology is subtle when it comes to it's impact in our lives. It will not be the Terminator that comes after us as in the sci-fi movies would like us to believe. It is the ability of artificial intelligence to learn through algorithms how we think and learn.

The Secret Rules Of Modern Living is a warning shot for our children's generation. It is important to be aware of the impacts of technology on our lives. Without a common knowledge of how government and corporations will use algorithms, we will be vulnerable to losing our free will to choose.

Author's note: The movie is available on YouTube for free and Netflix

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Monkees - Here They Come....(On You Tube)

One of the things I love about a Smart TV is the access  to You Tube. You can find gems on You Tube from previous generations that kids will love. Recently, I found out that the Monkees are on You Tube. You can view full episodes from their first 2 seasons.

The Monkees, as I remembered provided episodes of laughter for kids. The show provides great examples of the importance of friendships. The Monkees had a concept that was unique for television back in the 60 The show was an early example of a comedy that mocked a cultural phenomenon. The Monkees mocked the British Invasion. while becoming so popular with kids, they earned as much fame. They were on everything back then, including cereal boxes and lunch boxes. They became a huge hit overnight. Shows like Get Smart would use a similar platform for comedy. (Get Smart mocked the James Bond films of the 60s)

The show was a 2 year sensation. In those 2 short years, they had huge music hits, and great comedic episodes. Slapstick and corny jokes that will surely get your kids to laugh out loud. Some fun trivia to share with your kids. The Monkees while not real musicians developed a passion to become musicians. In a sense, the machine that created the Monkees would soon be challenged by the band. They wanted to write their own music and be taken seriously.

Ironically, the Monkees benefitted from working with great talent. Neil Diamond provided some of their greatest songs. They had some of the greatest writers and musicians provide them a foundation. Your children will be introduced to some great music. And this is great time for them to watch the Monkees. They may have released their last record this year. After watching a few episodes, check out their new single She Makes Me Laugh. The new single t is connected to the show, and they will enjoy the magic of the music that has been enjoyed by multiple generations.