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Swedish Cinemas Launch Ratings System To Sniff Out Sexism; Would ‘Philomena’ Or ‘Gravity’ Make The Grade?

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 5:05pm PST

While Harvey Weinstein is making a case that awards-buzz title Philomena should be given a PG-13 rather than the R it’s been saddled with by the MPAA in the U.S., a group in Sweden is eyeing a new form of ratings altogether – one that Philomena would be unlikely to pass. Four art-house cinemas in the cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, Helsingborg and Malmö recently installed a new (unofficial) ratings system that hinges on the Bechdel Test, a means by which it’s become popular to measure the level of gender bias in movies. The test is based on three criteria which were introduced by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel in a 1985 strip of her comic, Dykes To Watch Out For. The criteria are that a movie has to have: 1. at least two named women in it, 2. who talk to each other, and, 3. about something besides a man. Although the database at has yet to yea or nay Philomena in its list of 2013 movies, I’m fairly confident in my recollection that the only “named” women are the eponymous character, her fellow unwed mothers at the abbey and the nuns that gave her baby away. For the most part, their discussions are only about a man – in this case Philomena’s long lost son. Another awards season contender, Gravity, … Read More »

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PTC Calls The MPAA’s ‘Check The Box’ Campaign An “Empty Gesture”

While the Parents Television Council’s view is no surprise, the activist group made it forcefully this week in a letter to MPAA chief Chris Dodd calling for meaningful changes in the movie ratings system and its treatment of on-screen violence. The “Check The Box” initiative that Dodd unveiled at last month’s CinemaCon confab changes movie ratings labeling to help people see the specific rationale — for example whether a PG-13 or R-rated film received the designation due to its use of profanity, nudity, smoking, drug use, or violence. PTC says that just gives studios “the appearance of doing something about media violence without actually doing anything at all.” The MPAA can “keep rating violent movies PG-13″ which means studios can “market those violent films to kids … PG-13 films run the gamut from Les Miserables to Drag Me To Hell. And because it applies to everything, in practice, it means nothing.” Read More »

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MPAA Gives Oscar Fave ‘The King’s Speech’ PG-13 Rating For Removing 2 Swear Words

Everyone is hungry to horn in on the glitz and glamor of the 83rd Academy Awards. Even the Motion Picture Association of America which first went to the media to announce it was giving a PG-13 rating to a slightly altered version of The King’s Speech before the organization even bothered to alert the movie’s U.S. distributor The Weinstein Company. I’ve learned that the Weinstein Co was told that, if 3 of the 5 uses of the swear word “Fuck” were muted, then the pic would receive a lesser rating than its current “R”. No film footage was altered in keeping with director Tom Hooper’s insistence that the stammering king’s pivotal therapy-by-cursing scene not be cut. Deadline initially broke the news that The Weinstein Co was seeking the lower PG-13 film rating in response to educational and church groups who wanted to show the movie. Not to mention that, if this frontrunner for Best Motion Picture does win the Oscar on Sunday night, the Weinstein Co will be able to draw wider and bigger audiences into theaters and thus make more moolah. Especially because the MPAA waived any waiting period.

Here is the MPAA news release:

LOS ANGELES – The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) has assigned a PG-13 rating to an alternate version of The King’s Speech submitted by The Weinstein Company. The original version of the film is rated R “for

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David Schwimmer Laments That MPAA R Rating Breaches ‘Trust’

Mike Fleming

David Schwimmer tells me that whether Millennium Entertainment is successful or not in overturning the R rating that the MPAA has given his upcoming film Trust, he will not alter the scenes that prompted the rating on a film about a family trying to deal with every parent’s nightmare: their 14-year old daughter is lured into a rendezvous by an online predator who rapes her.

The ratings board objected to a scene in which the father (Clive Owen), out of his mind with anger and a desire for revenge, plays back the attack in his mind. The images are disturbing. Schwimmer said the scene is powerful, but he was careful in how he shot it.

“There is no nudity, no overt sexuality other that what needed to be implied for a scene in the hotel room where we learn that a rape took place,” Schwimmer told me. “I think the scene was tastefully handled.”

There is profanity. While the ratings board gives leeway to scenes of violence, a couple of F-bombs is the surest way to get an R.  That is something The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper discovered after a scene in which Colin Firth uses the word repeatedly to help overcome a debilitating stutter.

Like Hooper, Schwimmer said he won’t alter his film if the appeal is rejected. He feels it will rob the picture of any chance of being taken seriously … Read More »

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Weinsteins Hire Legal Pitbulls David Boies And Bert Fields For Ratings War With MPAA

Mike Fleming

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 18, 2010) – In response to the ratings given to two of its upcoming films, The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has engaged a formidable legal team to challenge the NC-17 rating for BLUE VALENTINE and the R rating for THE KING’S SPEECH given by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), according to TWC Co-Chair Harvey Weinstein.

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