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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

January 1970 Archives

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genre

  • Action
  • Animation
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  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Sports
  • Spy
  • Thriller
  • War
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quality

  • A+, A, A-
  • B+, B, B-
  • C+, C, C-
  • D+, D, D-
  • F+, F, F-

who's watching

  • My entire family
  • Just the grown-ups
  • Little kids
  • Big kids

age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
  • 4th - 6th grade
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  • Mature High schooler
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Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!

posted by Nell Minow

Harry Potter’s birthday is July 31, like the woman who imagined him, J.K. Rowling.  Happy birthday, Harry!

The Original: “Total Recall” With Arnold Schwarzenegger (1990)

posted by Nell Minow

The remake with Colin Farrell opens this week, so here is a quick look at the original, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, and Sharon Stone.

Smile of the Week: Marc Erlbaum’s Progress on “The Meaning of Life”

posted by Nell Minow

I was delighted to get an update from Marc Erlbaum about what has happened since our interview about his new documentary on what people think about the meaning of life.  Here’s his latest, a sweet reminder that while we sometimes […]

Pixar’s Rules for Story-Telling — in Legos!

posted by Nell Minow

All movie fans and aspiring writers should be familiar with Pixar’s rules of story-telling, and Slackstory has delightfully illustrated twelve of them with Legos.

The Story of the Costume Drama

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2008
DVD Release Date:July 30, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2008
DVD Release Date: July 30, 2012

One of the greatest pleasures of costume drama is, of course, the costumes.  Stories set in different places and times invite us into their world and tell us about their characters through the details and artistry of the wardrobe.  Whether […]

Robert Downey, Jr. and Don Cheadle Talk About “Iron Man 3″

posted by Nell Minow

One of the highlights of my time at Comic-Con was a press conference with Don Cheadle, Robert Downey, Jr., producer Kevin Feige, and Shane Black about “Iron Man 3.”  Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “The Last Boy Scout”) co-wrote and […]

Trailer: “Cloud Atlas”

posted by Nell Minow

Take an early look at what promises to be one of the most intriguing and ambitiously mind-bending movies of the year, “Cloud Atlas,” based on the novel by David Mitchell.  Six interlocking stories follow characters from the mid-19th century to […]

The Watch

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 13, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012

Yet another attempt to go for the “Ghostbusters” funny-scary vibe crashes and burns in the under-written “The Watch,” originally titled “Neighborhood Watch” until the Treyvon Martin shooting created uncomfortable associations with the idea of self-appointed suburban guys with guns.  But […]

Song of the Month: How Ya Like Me Now

posted by Nell Minow

The Heavy’s song, “How Ya Like Me Now” is quickly becoming the go-to song in trailers and movie soundtracks, sort of the new “I Feel Good.”  This month, it appears in “Ted” and “The Watch.” Before that, it was in […]

Step Up Revolution

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2012

A girl.  A guy.  A ragtag but devoted and immensely talented group of dancers with varied styles and talents.  Impressively toned bodies.  Breathtakingly athletic moves.  Even more breathtakingly sensuous moves. A conflict.  A misunderstanding.  A pep talk.  “We’re going to […]

When Tragedy Collides With Entertainment

posted by Nell Minow

Both nationwide movie releases this week were intended to be light entertainment and both found themselves having to respond to real-life events that they inadvertently evoke.  “The Watch,” an action comedy with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill, was […]

Ruby Sparks

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 29, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 29, 2012

The idea of bringing a dream significant other to life goes back at least as far as the ancient Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion, who created a statue so beautiful he fell in love with her.  Modern versions and variations include  […]

Trailer: “The Life of Pi”

posted by Nell Minow

This looks wonderful.  Have you read the book?  Are you looking forward to the movie?  

Tribute: Frank Pierson

posted by Nell Minow

One of Hollywood’s most distinguished and influential writers, Frank Pierson, died this week at age 87.  He won an Oscar for “Dog Day Afternoon,” and was nominated for the comic western “Cat Ballou.”  The American Film Institute included his line […]

Tribute: Sherman Hemsley

posted by Nell Minow

Sherman Hemsley, best known for playing the outspoken George Jefferson on the classic Norman Lear sit-com “The Jeffersons,” died this week at 74.  It was a challenge to play the role of George Jefferson, who was often referred to but […]

Interview: Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano of “Ruby Sparks”

posted by Nell Minow

Zoe Kazan, the grand-daughter of legendary director Elia Kazan (“On the Waterfront”) and the daughter of two writers, has made a strong impression in small roles opposite Meryl Streep (“It’s Complicated”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (“Revolutionary Road”).  Her boyfriend is Paul […]

An Olympics Moment: Jesse Owens 1936

posted by Nell Minow

As we prepare for the memorable moments of the 2012 Olympics, let’s take another look at this one, when a black American competed in Hitler’s Berlin and, as the world watched, he put the lie to Hitler’s claims about Aryan […]

Telstar’s 50th Anniversary — and My Dad

posted by Nell Minow

When you watch the London Olympics — or use your cell phone — keep in mind that it all began 50 years ago this week with the first telecommunications satellite broadcast.  My dad, Newton Minow, was one of the people […]

What Movie Could You Watch a Million Times?

posted by Nell Minow

We all have one.  I have several.  Very often, it’s not a classic.  Sometimes it is a guilty pleasure.  But each of us has a movie we could take to a desert island and be happy to watch over and […]

Interview: The “Little Miss Sunshine” Directors Discuss Their New Film “Ruby Sparks”

posted by Nell Minow

Co-directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton are so smart, so dedicated, so creative, and so purely delightful that I found it hard to believe they are so good at showing us dysfunctional characters.  Their new film, “Ruby Sparks,” written by […]

Smile of the Week: New “Written by a Kid” Series with Dave Foley and Joss Whedon

posted by Nell Minow

Could Joss Whedon be any more lovable?  He creates smart, provocative, and funny television shows with strong and fascinating female characters.  He directed one of the biggest movies of the year, “The Avengers.”  And now he stars as an action […]

Interview: Jade Pettyjon of the New American Girls Movie: McKenna Shoots for the Stars

posted by Nell Minow

I absolutely loved the new American Girls movie, McKenna: Shoots For The Stars.  Based on the stories about the American Girl of the Year doll for 2012, a young gymnast. So it was a treat to get to interview the […]

For the London Olympics: A Movie Quiz

posted by Nell Minow

The Olympics have inspired a lot of great (and not-so-great) movies, both fact-based and fictional. Which ones can you identify? 1. A warm-weather country competed in a cold-weather sport in which fact-based Disney film? 2. Which Oscar-winning movie was the […]

Tim Gordon Interviews The Sugar Man

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most fascinating documentaries of the year is “Searching for Sugar Man,” the extraordinary story of musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, who made two albums in the 1970’s and then disappeared from performing. It is a moving reminder that […]

Responding to the Shooting at “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado

posted by Nell Minow

An excited and happy crowd bought tickets to the first showing of one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the year, “The Dark Knight Rises,” in Aurora, Colorado.  A half hour into the film, a man in a gas […]

Comic-Con: Miscellaneous Highlights

posted by Nell Minow

Some other highlights from Comic-Con: The panel for the Syfy show “Alphas” was a lot of fun and really made me look forward to the second season premiere next Monday.  The cast promises some new romance and a new character […]

The Dark Knight Rises

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:July 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: July 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

There’s a reason you never hear about “your friendly neighborhood Batman.”  Spidey may have some angst and guilt and abandonment issues but he is downright sunny-natured compared to the brooding soul of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), holed up in Wayne […]

Comic-Con: Costumes!

posted by Nell Minow

My most popular Comic-Con post each year is the one with the pictures of the attendees in costume.  I took more than 400 photos, and these are some of my favorites. Those are Playboy Bunny Avengers!  You can see Thor’s […]

More From Comic-Con: “Firefly” 10th Reunion

posted by Nell Minow

Okay, even by Comic-Con standards, this is spectacular. The cast of Firefly was there to tape a 10th anniversary reunion special that will be broadcast on the Science Channel on November 11 and I got to attend the press conference with […]

More From Comic-Con: Batmobiles

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most popular attractions at Comic-Con was the collection of Batmobiles parked across the street from the convention center. A new book Batmobile: The Complete History and documentary pay tribute to the cool cars driven by Batman over […]

More From Comic-Con: “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2″ Panel

posted by Nell Minow

It was the first last press conference when the cast of “Twilight” got together to talk to the fans and the press about the last episode and the journey that brought them to this moment.  Following their appearance at the […]

Teach Kids Logic With These Terrific Cartoons (Free)

posted by Nell Minow

Brain Pickings writes about a terrific series of cartoons for kids that explore logic and ideas.  Even adults can learn a few things — and they may need to, as watching these will make kids very good at arguing!   […]

Smile of the Week: An NPR Reporter’s Daughter Cuts Her Sister’s Hair

posted by Nell Minow

When a five year old gave her sister a haircut, their father interviewed them to get the whole story and the result is adorable.

Teaching Kids About “Stuff”

posted by Nell Minow

I like Kirsten Greenidge’s piece in the Boston Globe about what she did when her children had tantrums in a store.  She said she understands the appeal of “stuff.”  And she described how the seemingly harmless fun of posting photos […]

Matte Painting Backgrounds — Before CGI

posted by Nell Minow

Years ago, my husband and I attended an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York featuring the spectacular matte paintings of Peter Ellenshaw, who created the enthralling background designs for movies from the futuristic “Things to Come” […]

A Day at Comic-Con

posted by Nell Minow

Oh, there is so much I want to tell you!  But you will see why all I have time to do right now is entice you by sharing my schedule for today. 6:00 am Pick up by stretch limo to […]

Comic-Con: “Oz the Great and Powerful”

posted by Nell Minow

I am sure that somewhere in the world there were people who were looking at great works of art and somewhere else people were enjoying magnificent natural vistas and exquisite flowers but I assure you that no one saw anything […]

DVS: Making Movies Accessible to the Visually Impaired

posted by Nell Minow

Boston public television station WGBH is a pioneer in making movies and PBS shows available to the visually impaired by adding descriptive audio, called DVS.  That is a quiet narration to explain the actions and settings, like “Jim runs to […]

Ice Age: Continental Drift

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date:July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date: July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012

The “Ice Age” folks have the formula down very well, and this fourth entry is one of their strongest, with enough of the familiar to be satisfying and enough that is new to keep things interesting.  The real expertise is […]

Comic-Con, Preview Night

posted by Nell Minow

I am thrilled to be back at Comic-Con and the preview night was sensational.  The special effects geniuses at WETA have really outdone themselves and their enormous trolls from Peter Jackson’s upcoming “The Hobbit” were magnificent.  I saw “Star Wars” […]

Interview: Lauren Greenfield of “The Queen of Versailles”

posted by Nell Minow

Lauren Greenfield is the director of the new documentary, The Queen of Versailles, the story of Jackie and Siegel, who were building the largest residence in the United Sates, a 90,000 square foot mansion with ten kitchens, a baseball field, a […]

Spider-Man Licorice and Other Weird Marketing Gimmicks

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friend and fellow critic Cynthia Fuchs for leading me to this list of marketing tie-ins for “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  It’s funny that the Pez dispenser was the first reveal of the movie’s villain.  I am not surprised by […]

Breakthrough Performer: Chris Messina

posted by Nell Minow

Two of the most intriguing independent films of the summer were written by the actresses who star in them, and both movies feature an actor I’ve admired for a while, Chris Messina.  in “Ruby Sparks,” he plays the brother of […]

The Angelika Comes to Virginia!

posted by Nell Minow

The Angelika theater in New York is legendary for the quality of its films and attention to detail in showing them.  With theaters in San Diego and Texas, the Angelika is now building their 27th theater in suburban Falls Church, […]

Comic-Con 2012!

posted by Nell Minow

It’s almost here!  The San Diego Comic-Con starts tomorrow night and continues through Sunday afternoon, with thousands of passionate fans and hundreds of events.  I always refer to it as the Iowa caucuses of popular culture because this is where […]

MVP of the Month: Denis Leary

posted by Nell Minow

This month’s MVP is Denis Leary, a stand-up comedian turned actor who appears in two of the biggest movies of the summer.  Last week he starred in “The Amazing Spider-Man” as police Commissioner Stacy, the protective father of Emma Stone’s […]

I Join the Punch-Drunk Critics to Talk about the Best and Worst of 2012 So Far

posted by Nell Minow

I had a blast talking to my pals at Punch-Drunk Critics about the best and worst in 2012 film so far.  Many thanks to Travis and John for including me!

You Can Buy the House from “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”

posted by Nell Minow

Steve Martin spent an entire movie trying to get back there.  And now you can come home there every day.  The home that Neal Pane, Steve Martin’s character, lived in is on the market.  For $1.799 million. The house is […]

14-Year-Old Teaches 17 Magazine About Real Girls

posted by Nell Minow

I used to tell my daughter that she could read fashion magazines as long as she understood that everything in them, the articles and the ads, was intended to make her feel bad about her looks and buy a lot […]

Tribute: Ernest Borgnine

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of Oscar-winning actor Earnest Borgnine, who died today at age 95.  As the title character in the Best Picture winner, “Marty,” he was heart-wrenchingly poignant, a man who feared that his romantic soul and yearning for […]

On Demand: Channing Tatum 24/7

posted by Nell Minow

Can’t get enough Channing Tatum?  The star of three big 2012 hits (so far) has his own Time-Warner “On Demand” channel, where you can Tatum your heart out with “21 Jump Street,” “Fighting,” “GI Joe: Cobra,” “Haywire,” ‘Step Up” (opposite […]

Movieline Asks Both “Spider-Man” Filmmakers the Same Questions

posted by Nell Minow

If they’re going to make the same movie, why not ask the same questions?  Movieline went for it — with a side-by-side comparison showing the responses by the directors and stars of “Spider-Man” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” to the same […]

Interview: David France of “How to Survive a Plague”

posted by Nell Minow

“This isn’t a movie about what AIDS did to us,” writer/director David France told me as he was preparing to present “How to Survive a Plague,” his documentary about AIDS activism at the prestigious Silverdocs film festival in Silver Spring, […]

Hidden Treats in “Brave”

posted by Nell Minow

Fans of Disney•Pixar’s feature films love to scour the screen in search of the Hidden Gems the filmmakers sneak into each film: Wall•E’s explorations uncover a Mike Wazowski antenna ball, paying homage to ,Monsters, Inc., and in Up, the classic Luxo […]

Activity Sheets: “Treasure Planet” and “Home on the Range”

posted by Nell Minow

“Treasure Planet” and “Home on the Range” are not classics, but they are both beautifully animated and a lot of fun.  In honor of their re-release on DVD/Blu-Ray Disney has made available free activity sheets for download.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language, and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language, and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

A prize-winner at Cannes and Sundance, this near post-apocalyptic story of a father and daughter in a condemned part of Southern Louisiana is a stunningly assured debut by first-time feature director and co-writer Benh Zeitlen and extraordinary performances by a […]

Savages

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong, brutal, and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout
Movie Release Date:July 6, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong, brutal, and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout
Movie Release Date: July 6, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

Oliver Stone’s new movie about drug dealers and drug users seems to assume that its audiences may be watching in an altered state of consciousness as well.  Stone has never been known for subtlety, but just to make absolutely sure […]

Rifftrax Live in Theaters Next Month

posted by Nell Minow

The comedians of Mystery Science Theater 3000 are coming back to select movie theaters nationwide, as they take on one of the worst films of all time with  RiffTrax Live: ‘Manos’ The Hands of Fate on Thursday, August 16 at […]

Our National Anthem, Sung by Whitney Houston

posted by Nell Minow

Yankee Doodle Dandy

posted by Nell Minow

James Cagney as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy:

God Bless America, Sung By Martina McBride

posted by Nell Minow

Happy 4th of July!

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate America with “America’s Heart and Soul”

posted by Nell Minow

If you want to watch a movie that will remind you of what we love most about the wonderful country we celebrate this week, try America’s Heart and Soul.  If Norman Rockwell made a movie, this would be it. If […]

A Capitol Fourth: Tomorrow on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

Tomorrow at 8 Eastern time, PBS will broadcast the annual Capitol Fourth concert, hosted by Tom Bergeron, of the hit TV series “Dancing With the Stars.” Performers include “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips, acclaimed Broadway and television star Megan Hilty of NBC’s “Smash;” two-time […]

Tribute: Andy Griffith

posted by Nell Minow

Andy Griffith, beloved star of the long-running television series about the small-town sheriff and single father, died today at age 86.  Griffith first became known for his gentle, countrified story-telling and singing and then had a brief but notable film […]

The Amazing Spider-Man

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 5, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2012

One thing I love about comics is that they are the only form of story-telling, with the possible exception of soap operas, where so many different people tell open-ended stories about the adventures of the same characters through a period […]

Enjoy Some of This Year’s Best Indies On Demand

posted by Nell Minow

Some of the best movies of the summer will not play in theaters in most areas but you do not have to wait for them to be available on DVD or cable to see them.  Increasingly, video on demand is […]

Tribute: Nora Ephron

posted by Nell Minow

We all mourn the loss of the warm, wise, and witty writer/director Nora Ephron.  As Adam Bernstein noted in his perceptive obituary for the Washington Post, she was always guided by the advice of her screenwriter parents to “take notes […]

EW’s 50 Must-See Movies You’ve Never Heard Of

posted by Nell Minow

I love Entertainment Weekly‘s lists of under-appreciated films and the current issue’s list includes some of my favorites, the movies I am constantly begging people to try.  It is a great chance to see some wonderful films, and in may […]

Be Sure to Try Beliefnet’s Inspiring Movie Quotes Quiz!

posted by Nell Minow

Beliefnet has a terrific quiz about inspiring quotes from movies — I hope it leads you to explore some films you have missed!

Previous Posts

Trailer: Mississippi Grind with Ryan Reynolds
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posted 8:00:11am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Mockingjay 2, the Last Chapter of The Hunger Games
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-7K_OjsDCQ ...

posted 11:33:30pm Jul. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Behind the Scenes: Making Michael Douglas Younger in "Ant-Man" and Wigs and Makeup for Key and Peele
"Ant-Man" begins with a flashback to 1989, with Michael Douglas appearing not as he looks to day but as he looked 25 years ago. How did they do that? Special effects that are called "digital make-up." New York Magazine's Vulture has the ...

posted 8:00:25am Jul. 26, 2015 | read full post »

New on DVD: Tales from the Royal Wardrobe
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OvH0TgkvbY[/youtube] New from PBS: Tales From the Royal Wardrobe. Historian Dr. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, explains that the fascination with the clothes worn by the ...

posted 10:54:10pm Jul. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Spoiler Alert: What Really Doesn't Work in "Trainwreck" -- and the Surprising Moments that Do
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT I had a few more thoughts about Amy Schumer's "Trainwreck" that didn't fit into my review because ...

posted 3:37:37pm Jul. 25, 2015 | read full post »

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