Submarine movies are immediately gripping because they are powerful microcosms that amplify conflict. A small group of people in very close quarters, highly trained and with an explicit mission are then completely disconnected from the rest of the world. When […]
More action, more romance, more spectacle, a brave princess who wears armor and does not wait to be rescued, and lots more giants — this is a grand bedtime story 21st century-style. As a boy, Jack (“Warm Bodies” Nicholas Hoult) […]
The writers of “The Hangover” have written and directed a new film so close to the original they could sue themselves for plagiarism. Once again, it is the story of a a wolf pack of bros looking for a good […]
Family-friendly comic Michael Jr. has a delightful new DVD called “Laughing on Purpose,” filled with gentle but insightful humor and I am lucky enough to have one to give away! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Laughing” in the […]
What’s the difference between an executive producer and an associate producer? Between screenwriters billed as “Smith and Jones” and “Smith & Jones?” Which actors get an “and” or a “with” or an “as?” What are all those “in association with” […]
John Ottman is not just editor of this week’s exciting fantasy, “Jack the Giant Slayer” — he also composed the score. I had a lot of fun talking to this polymath about his work on the film. When you think […]
This is a coach — and a team — who understand the score. Many thanks to my friend Ann Horak for sharing this touching story.
“The Last Exorcism, Part 2″ looks pretty bad. It’s a “cold open” (not shown to critics in time for reviews), which is always a bad sign. But its recent amendment to add a reference to appear to tie the resignation […]
Eleanor Tomlinson plays Princess Isabelle in “Jack the Giant Slayer.” But she is not your grandfather’s fairy tale princess. This one goes undercover to explore the world of her subjects, rebels against her father’s plans to marry her off to […]
Claire LaZebnik’s latest YA novel, The Trouble with Flirting, published today, is the witty and insightful story of Franny Price, a talented teenager who gets a summer job working with her aunt, the costumer for a high school drama program […]
Did you watch the Oscars? I did, and here’s what I thought. 1. Best Picture: “Argo.” 2. Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln.” 3. Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook.”4. Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained.” 5. Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, […]
Faith Street Film Partners, a Rochester, NY-based collective of filmmakers, churches, investors, and supporters – totaling more than 1,000 people – decided to fund, film, and release their new movie by listening to the audience. “Audiences are changing, and so […]
Rob Sheffield is one of my favorite writers and I love his books about popular music. For Rolling Stone, he has created a gallery of the all-time best rock moments in movies, with irresistible clips from the “Wayne’s World” rendition […]
Warner Brothers has issued a spectacular collection of musical films, from the ground-breaking “The Jazz Singer” to classics like “Cabaret,” “Signin’ in the Rain,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and “The Music Man.” This is a treasure that should be […]
I’m with Flavorwire! It’s time for some new Oscar categories like “best ensemble,” “best casting,” “best comedy,” and “best soundtrack.” I’d also like to see “best performance under age 20,” “best newcomer,” and “best contemporary costume design.” I’ll be thinking about […]
The day before the Oscars, the Razzies are awarded to the worst films of the year. Adam Sandler, who swept the awards last year for “Jack and Jill,” managed to get only two Razzies (worst actor, worst screenplay). The last […]
I admit that the awards show I enjoy most each year is the “Spirit Awards,” and not just because I am lucky enough to get to vote for them. They truly reflect their name in paying tribute to films that […]
I’m thrilled to be able to give away a DVD of the new film, “Backwards, ” now available on iTunes, DirectTV, Walmart, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. It’s the story of Abi Books [Sarah Megan Thomas], a fiercely competitive rower […]
50 years after they recorded the first Beatles single, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Martin got back together.
Be sure to check out my Gallery on 10 Things to Watch for on Oscar Night — and if you watch the awards tomorrow night, let me know what you think!
Congratulations to the winners of the Little Red Hen DVD, Cindi H. and Pat P!
The free MovieQuoter mobile app is now available for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to search its 150,000+ movie quote database, share those quotes with their friends, and even make personalized memes using their own pictures combined with their favorite quotes. […]
My publishing company is proud to announce three new books — and the chance to win Kindle versions! The Washington Nationals and Their Grand Tour of 1867 by Frank Ceresi and Carol McMains is the amazing real-life story of a Civil […]
“Snitch” tries to be three things at once, but it doesn’t do any of them very well. First, it wants to be a drama about fathers and sons. John Matthews (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a good man who who […]
“Shanghai Calling” is a fish out of water story filled with charm. Korean-American actor Daniel Henney plays Sam, a Chinese-American lawyer who is sent to China to work on a big project. He does not speak Chinese and he knows […]
Danièle Watts is a multi-talented actor/writer/producer and one of the liveliest, most engaging, and purely delightful performers I have ever interviewed. I could have talked to her all day. Audiences may know her best as Coco in the Oscar-nominated “Django […]
Want to know how the 600-page Beautiful Creatures was adapted for a two hour movie (script about 120 pages)? Jean Trinh helpfully lists all of the differences between the movie and the book on The Daily Beast.
It was very exciting, as a long-time fan of “Good Times,” to get a chance to interview BerNadette Stanis, who played Thelma. She was a teenager herself when she was given the role. She made me feel like an old […]
Why have there been no great films about George Washington? And why are there so many films featuring Abraham Lincoln? From the John Ford classic Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda, to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there is something about the […]
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Murray discuss the word “reinforce” — to make something stronger.
The Criterion Collection includes the very best throughout the history of cinema, impeccably restored. And this long weekend, you can watch Criterion’s collection free on Hulu. Try Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal,” Truffaut’s “Stolen Kisses,” Wenders’ “Wings of […]
Yesterday Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), spoke at the National Press Club, which prepared movie poster cookies in his honor. As a member of the club who writes about movies, I was invited to […]
A new animation studio called Rainmaker has produced its first film, “Escape from Planet Earth,” a story of sibling rivalry and aliens. It almost works as an amiable, if derivative time-waster for kids with a few jokes for the grown-ups, […]
Ever since last summer at Comic-Con, I have been looking forward to the prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” with James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis. Here’s a sneak peek.
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl include a lot of literary references in their Beautiful Creatures series of books. This poem by Charles Bukowski is quoted in the film based on the first book. Lifedance The area dividing the brain and […]
Featured in my new book, 101 Must-See Movie Moments:
Reminiscent of this year’s adorable Oscar-nominated short, “Paperman,” this very romantic Australian short is the story of a lonely office worker who falls for a pretty girl in the window of the building across the street.
My friend John Hanlon has a funny column on CNN today about why “Die Hard” is a perfect Valentine’s Day movie (for guys). Men often imagine winning a girl’s affection by proving their worth in a battle against someone or […]
Some of my favorite movie romances are just right for Valentine’s Day. Cuddle up with your valentine and a bowl of popcorn and enjoy these movies about how love makes us crazy and immeasurably happy at the same time. 1. Moonstruck Cher […]
In a small Southern town that feels far from everything, where everyone is “too stupid to leave or too stuck to move,” a teenage boy named Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) dreams every night of a girl he has never seen. Ethan […]
Chases. Explosions. Guns. Crashes. Wisecracks. Punches. Repeat. Repeat again. Yes, it’s the fifth “Die Hard” movie. Bruce Willis returns as cop John McClane and this time the setting is Moscow. Though he repeatedly says throughout the film’s zippy 90 minutes […]
Now that best-selling author Nicholas Sparks has rung every possible variation out of his core formula: damaged hearts, pretty people, syrupy pop-song montages, buttery, sunlit cinematography, the healing powers of a body of water (and rain), the healing powers of a […]
The latest from my very favorite series for families is Scholastic Storybook Treasures’ The Red Hen and more cooking stories. I have one copy to give away! Send me an email at email@example.com with Hen in the subject line and tell […]
Beautiful Creatures is the first of a sensationally popular series of books about a “caster” girl with magical powers and the human boy who loves her. The books are best-sellers around the world. I spoke to authors Kami Garcia and Margaret […]
Be sure to check out our exclusive clip from the film “Bless Me, Ultima.” Set in New Mexico during WWII, the the film is a beautiful coming of age story about a young Chicano boy and how his life is forever […]
Check out the exclusive Google hangout with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson February 13th at 11am PT/2 pm ET, hosted by Conan O’Brien, to debut the trailer of their new comedy “The Internship” and talk about their experiences shooting at the famed […]
Celebrate the birthday of our 16th President with some of the classic movies about his life. Reportedly, he has been portrayed more on screen than any other real-life character. Coming soon to theaters: Saving Lincoln. Still […]
This week’s releases are opening a day early for your Valentine’s Day enjoyment. Those looking for a date night movie on February 14 have two choices, both based on popular books. Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven is the story of a woman running […]
On Monday 11th February 1963 the Beatles’ debut album was recorded in just one day. On the 50th anniversary of that 12-hour session at Abbey Road, leading artists will attempt the same feat, in the same time period, in the […]
The biggest award in the recording industry is the Grammy and tonight is the 55th annual presentation. It will be broadcast at 8 pm (7 Central) on CBS, hosted by rapper-turned-TV star LL Cool J. I’m looking forward to the […]
For some insight on how the Academy members vote for the Oscars, check out these behind-the-scenes insights. Watch the Oscars two weeks from tonight at 7 pm (Eastern) on ABC.
To promote the Blu-Ray/DVD release next week of the Oscar nominated “Argo,” there is a new feature called “Argo: Declassified – A special in-depth look at the real events that inspired the film directed by Ben Affleck. Own Argo on […]
I love heist films, and this one looks amazing!
Emily Bazelon’s first book, Sticks and Stones, comes out this month. Her Slate series about bullying included illuminating research that altered the conventional narrative of some highly publicized real-life cases. The book builds on this with new stories about kids […]
Thanks to Beliefnet for inviting me to write a tribute to our movie of the month, “Sleepless in Seattle.” Sleepless in Seattle is like a valentine to love itself, that exquisite balance of improbability and inevitability that can make people 3000 […]
How did so many great performers get stuck in this awful movie? And why, why? There’s one scene in this ugly and poorly paced road trip comedy that has the straight-laced Sandy (co-producer and star Jason Bateman) hiding in the […]
Those “ask your doctor about” commercials for medication always have a lawyer-imposed “side effects may include” section briskly recited by the narrator in the second half of the ad in the same bright but soothing tones used for the near-miraculous […]
Many thanks to Thelma Adams for including me in her Oscar Roundtable. We began with a discussion of Best Actor nominees — who will win, who should win, and who was left out. I was sorry that John Hawkes’ performance […]
Disney’s Oscar-nominated short is one of the best movie romances of 2012. It appeared in theaters before the feature “Wreck-It Ralph.” The music is by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Christophe Beck and it was produced and directed by John Kahrs.
The Scroll is a new series from director Parrish Smith shown on Magic Johnson’s Aspire Network featuring intimate, inspiring interviews with more than 50 African-American clergy. Some of the faith leaders featured in the documentary are: Bishop T. D. Jakes, Rev. […]
A savvy teacher found a wonderful way to turn Valentines Day into a lesson in math — for constructing a box to receive the valentines and for processing the votes on “prettiest” and “neatest” and “most valentine-y.” And of course […]
ALDEN FILMS is distributing a new 7-DVD special on the Holocaust that is an important resources for schools, libraries, and families. For a limited time, the set includes two extra DVDs: WHAT FIRE CAN’T BURN, a tale of a childhood lost […]
The Solomon Bunch is a sweet, gently funny story of a group of children who ponder the meaning of Proverbs 18:13 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him,” but don’t fully understand […]
It may not sell any beer, but it was as touching as the farmer ad.
Congratulations to the prize winners! Hotel Translyvania Prize package: Lisa R., Waconia MN (Lots of votes for the “Monsters Inc.” monsters as favorites, but I enjoyed all the choices!) Downton Abbey: Kharyn L., San Diego CA (Lots of choices of […]
Today — and every day — we salute the vision and courage of Rosa Parks, not just for what she did one day in being arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to […]
Jewish Gilt with Jonathan Greenstein is a wonderful new series on the Jewish channel that explores the precious artifacts treasured by Jewish families and the stories that go with them. I had the pleasure of speaking to Greenstein about the […]
You don’t often hear the word “adorable” used to describe a zombie movie, but that is probably because you don’t often have a story about a zombie in love. Oh, it’s still a zombie movie. Brains get eaten. In fact, […]
Animal Planet’s most popular show is the Puppy Bowl, now in its ninth year. Today’s broadcast features fan favorites like the Water Bowl Cam, tail-gating fans, and the hamster-steered blimp, this year’s big game is sure to be a tail-wagger. For […]
Families who want to enjoy the Super Bowl together might want to turn off the television during the ads. The commercials now get almost as much press as the game itself. But Common Sense Media reports that this year’s ads […]
Get ready with one of my favorite football movies: Or this one: Or this one: (Did you catch Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panitierre?) There’s more Ryan Gosling in this little-seen football movie gem: Or you could try this one, featuring […]
For those who wait patiently for the football to be over so they can see the ads, there is Hulu, which has previews of the ads for Super Bowl XLV online already.
I have been a proud and happy subscriber to Roger Ebert’s wonderful newsletter, always filled with intriguing trailers and commentary and much more. Check out this free issue of the Ebert Club Newsletter and sign up for the teeny price […]
My very favorite DVD series for kids is Scholastic Storybook Treasures and their new release for Black History Month is a special treat. It is called “Stories about African American Heritage Featuring March On!” The title story is written by […]