This is the most purely entertaining film of the year, a joyous space romp that all but explodes off the screen with lots of action and even more charm. Our recent superheros have been complex, often anguished, even downright tortured. […]
There are a lot of challenges in taking on the life story of James Brown, known variously as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite and others with variations on the term “Funk.” First […]
Woody Allen’s 44th film is an amuse bouche without a meal, a dollop of whipped cream without the dessert underneath. In last year’s film, “Blue Jasmine,” the strength of the performances (especially Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett) and the resonance of its […]
Brendan Gleeson gives a magnificent performance as a warm-hearted priest in a sad and damaged world in “Calvary,” opening next week across the country. Here’s an exclusive peek behind the scenes, featuring Gleeson and Director of the Pauline Center for […]
Tonight is the last of the Pre-Code films Margaret Talbot and I will be presenting at Washington D.C.’s Hill Center. And it’s a doozy, Jean Harlow in “Red Headed Woman.” We’d love to see you there. Margaret and I will […]
Featuring my favorite Muppet characters! (Probably because they are critics.)
About 10-15 percent of Comic-Con attendees come in costume and they are always willing to post for photos. I love the way there is total fluidity of age, race, gender, and body type. Even species — see Superdog below (no, […]
One of the highlights of this week’s “Get on Up” is a scene where James Brown and his group appear in a teen movie set in a ski chalet. The fun of the scene is seeing the R&B performers so […]
Want to know what it looks like inside the legendary Hall H, the biggest venue at Comic-Con, the one where people camp out for days in advance to see the biggest stars and the coolest advance previews? When LAIKA CEO […]
I have one copy of the wonderful soundtrack to give away! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Levine in the subject line and tell me your favorite song of the summer. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only). I’ll […]
One of the highlights of Comic-Con was the chance to catch up with Thunder Levin, screenwriter of the sensation, “Sharknado” and the sequel, “Sharknado 2,” which premieres tonight on Syfy. The original was remarkable for its over-the-top storyline and even […]
Thanks to all who entered! This contest had far more entries than any other I’ve ever run. Congratulations to the lucky winner! WINNER OF THE GOPRO CAMERA: Susan D. Burkburnett, TX
I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz.
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young […]
One of the many pleasures of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70’s classics from an “Awesome Mixtape” played by Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt). Here are some of the highlights. “Hooked on […]
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with “Sharknado” and “Sharknado 2″ screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was […]
It seems like yesterday, but it was 19 years ago this week that I first began writing reviews online as The Movie Mom®. Anyone remember Prodigy? The first appearance of my website was via the Sears-owned online service, so long […]
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases. He is featured in the documentary “Alive Inside.” He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides […]
Garrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and “Downton Abbey’s” Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan’s […]
Here’s what’s at Comic-Con, which means here’s what’s coming everywhere else: affordable 3D printers with hand-held scanners that transmit 360 degree images to your tablet or laptop instantly. GoPro cameras. Google glasses. Even Oculus Rift, the totally immersive virtual reality […]
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam, here are ten of the best of the movie and documentary depictions of the war and its impact on history and culture in the United States. The best-known films […]
I always enjoy Luc Besson’s stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem. While I found much to like in this story about a […]
A second marriage is, as Samuel Johnson famously said, “The triumph of hope over experience.” And as lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote in the song Bing Crosby sang in “High Time,” “Love is lovelier the second time around.” In this slight […]
A budding, young photographer stumbles upon an old photo album chronicling the ideal romance of a happy couple. Intrigued by their love and unable to find her own “true love,” she sets out to find the couple and figure out […]
Michael Rossato-Bennett agreed to spend one day filming Dan Cohen’s remarkable music therapy work with people struggling with dementia. He ended up spending three years there and the result is “Alive Inside,” an extraordinary documentary about the power of music […]
Anne Billson has a great piece in The Telegraph on mirror scenes in movies, from the Marx brothers clowning in “Duck Soup” and the shootout in “The Lady from Shanghai” to Elizabeth Taylor scrawling on the mirror with lipstick in […]
Someone once said that movies are “pieces of time.” A few take place in “real time.” Alfred Hitchcock’s experiment, “Rope,” unfolds in just the time it takes us to watch it, all in what appears to be one seamless shot. […]
A new study finds that boring television leads to mindless snacking and that leads to putting on pounds. So, watch programs that excite and engage you. Or, if the show is boring, turn off the television.
I’m a big fan of ABC Family’s Switched at Birth and have appreciated its complicated characters, honest and heartfelt relationships, and compelling storylines, as well as its unprecedented, in-depth portrayal of the deaf community. Last week’s episode may have been […]
It’s here! San Diego Comic-Con begins Wednesday night in San Diego and I’ll be there. This is my favorite event of the year, a chance to find out what everyone will be watching, listening to, playing, and otherwise enjoying over […]
My intention was to review Zach Braff’s new film without mentioning the controversy he stirred up in funding it via Kickstarter. My view was that what mattered was the movie itself, and the kerfluffle over how it was all paid […]
I have free activity sheets for Planes: Fire & Rescue! Send me an email at email@example.com with “Planes!” in the subject line and I’ll write you back with the activity sheet attached. The offer is good until July 31, 2014.
45 years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon, a powerful reminder of what is possible if we put no limits on our goals “for all mankind.” I hope we never lose that sense […]
One of my favorite actors has left us. James Garner, handsome, wry, effortlessly masculine, all-purpose leading man for decades on television and in movies, has died at age 84. He had consummate skill in comedy, drama, and romance, and even […]
I love this compilation from Cinefix of the top ten movie edits of all time. I’ll bet you can guess at least a few.
Wicked author Gregory Maguire has a wonderful essay on the Smithsonian website about the original screenplay for what is probably the greatest family movie of all time, The Wizard of Oz. By coincidence, I just finished a book by the […]
One of my favorite stops on our tour of LAIKA Studios to see the sets for “The Boxtrolls” was our visit with Georgina Hayns, Creative Supervisor for Puppet Fabrication. Is that the coolest job title ever or what? She described […]
Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (“We Bought a Zoo,” “The Devil Wears Prada”) talks about inspiration in this latest in the terrific Academy Originals series from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
How do you go on when everything that gives life meaning is gone? In this fact-based story, David Duchovny and Hope Davis play a married couple who must face this question when their daughter dies. The movie is Louder than […]
Many thanks to Betty Jo Tucker for including me in her anniversary special and for all the fun I’ve had on the show over the years.
“A boy’s will is the wind’s will/And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.” (Longfellow) We first see Mason (Ellar Coltrane) lying on the ground, looking up at the sky, and it is clear that his thoughts are very […]
The visuals are stunning, the details are witty, the 3D effects are splendid, the songs are lively, the voice actors are top-notch, but the storyline feels like an episode of “Thomas the Tank Engine.” That’s when it was still analog […]
The great Elaine Stritch has died at age 89. It is hard to imagine a world without that vibrant, brash, brassy, and utterly vital force of nature. She was the kind of woman about whom it was not just apt […]
Richard Linklater is one of my favorite directors. Films like “Waking Life,” “Before Sunrise”/”Before Sunset”/”Before Midnight,” “Dazed and Confused,” “School of Rock,” “Bernie,” and “Me and Orson Welles” display his restless intelligence and remarkable range. His latest film, “Boyhood,” was […]
I have some adorable plushies of the little alien in “Earth to Echo” to give away! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Echo” in the subject line and tell me your favorite summer activity. Don’t forget your mailing address! […]
Freddie Highmore and Antonio Banderas star in the animated adventure Justin & The Knights of Valour, along with Charles Dance, Rupert Everett, Barry Humphries, Alfred Molina, Mark Strong, Julie Walters, Olivia Williams and Saoirse Ronan. I’m delighted to share an exclusive clip. […]
More from my enchanting visit to LAIKA Studios to see the sets and meet the filmmakers for “The Boxtrolls,” the upcoming stop-motion film: The story: A family event movie from the creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” that introduces audiences to […]
Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) is a down-on-his-luck New Yorker who inherits a Parisian apartment from his estranged father. But when he arrives in France to sell the vast domicile, he’s shocked to discover a live-in tenant who is not prepared […]
I have an app! And it’s free! If you have an Android device, please visit Google Play to download it.
It is literally….very instructive!
Weird Al Yankovic, gets weird about Pharrell Williams’ ubiquitous “Happy,” with some help from Aisha Tyler, Margaret Cho, Eric Stonestreet, Kristen Schaal, and Jack Black! Update: I am pleased that Weird Al, who is the gentlest soul alive, has apologized for the thoughtless use […]
One of the most anticipated films of the year is “Unbroken,” directed by Angelina Jolie, and based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-seller, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. It is the story of Louis Zamperini, who died […]
Happy Bastille Day! This is a great time to watch the classic “A Tale of Two Cities,” based on the book about the French Revolution by Charles Dickens.
Raffi has a new CD! His first new music in twelve years is called Love Bug and it will be available tomorrow. It was a special thrill to talk to someone whose music has been so important to our family. […]
Summer is a time for travel, and, whether you’re traveling or not, it’s a great time for movies about travel as well. Film Forever has an excellent list of movies about Brits traveling abroad. Here are my favorites.
Amanda Scherker has an excellent piece in the Huffington Post about “whitewashing” in films — ethnically white actors playing non-white characters. We understand now how absurd it was to have John Wayne play Genghis Khan or Katharine Hepburn play “Dragon […]
The kids in Earth to Echo use a snazzy GoPro Hero3 to record their adventures. Now you can win GoPro and record your own! Many thanks to “Earth to Echo” for making it possible for me to share this extraordinary prize. To […]
Colbie Caillat is not the only one paying tribute to the full range of female beauty with a new video. John Legend’s “You & I” is a deeply moving tribute to the woman he loves, who appears in the video […]
The video for Colbie Caillat’s new song, “Try,” from Gypsy Heart Side A, shows her struggle to be true to herself in a world that expects women, especially performers, to conform to a narrow and highly polished idea of beauty. […]
Two intriguing new announcements about upcoming films: As the first trailer for his Moses epic is released, starring Christian Bale (and a lot of other actors who are not of Middle Eastern ethnicity), Ridley Scott has announced that he will […]
My friend Michael Mirasol has put together another magnificent compilation — this time it’s a history of apes and monkeys in film. How many can you identify? He writes: Non-human primates have existed on film from the art form’s inception, […]
James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series of books is going to be filmed — for YouTube. Page to Premiere reports that the stories about DNA-enhanced teenagers with wings was unable to get produced for theatrical release despite the interest of several studios. An […]
All hail Caesar! The intelligence-enhanced ape from Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes center stage in this sequel, which begins ten years after the last film. The virus we saw infecting the human population has now wiped out […]
Illinois’ Lisle Station Museum has an exhibit about the little-known and less-remembered history of film censorship in Chicago under the direction of what was originally called the Police Censor Board, formed in 1907, the first such oversight organization in the […]
The Emmy nominations are in! And they look a lot like last year. Reliable favorites like “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones” garnered a lot of nods. But once again the Academy overlooked Tatiana Maslany of “Orphan Black,” whose multiple […]
Errol Flynn became one of the greatest movie stars of all time, specializing in swashbucklers like “Captain Blood” and “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” No one was better than Flynn at playing the dashing, gallant hero. But the Tasmanian actor […]
A very special episode indeed! Tonight, on the Hub Network, you can see a very young Mayim Bialik and Johnny Galecki in their pre-“Big Bang Theory” days, on “Blossom.”
I’m excited to be able to share a secret I’ve been keeping since April. I got to cross a big item off my bucket list when I was invited to visit LAIKA Studios and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of their […]
The actress Carla Laemmle has died at age 104. She is not widely known, but is well worth remembering for her role in film history and her incandescent spirit. Her uncle Carl Laemmle, whose name she adopted (her given name […]
DreamWorks Pictures has released a new behind-the-scenes featurette exploring director Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri and Charlotte Le Bon.
Music Vault has added 13,000 new videos with concert footage to YouTube. USA Today reports: The collection holds 2,000 hours of exclusive video spanning the past 50 years and rare performances by some of the biggest names in music history, […]
Mashable has a very intriguing list of upcoming show business memoirs, by everyone from Oprah Winfrey (What I Know For Sure) to rapper Ja Rule (Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man). I’m particularly looking forward to Yes […]
Tomorrow the new DVD “Wings: Sky Force Heroes” will be available and I have an exclusive clip! Josh Duhamel (Transformers) is back as Ace in the thrilling story about a heroic pilot seeking redemption in the DOVE-approved family adventure, Wings: Sky […]
Even better than Mecha-Shark vs. Godzilloctopus, the mad men of Rifftrax are taking on “Sharknado,” live on July 10 and transmitted in real time to theaters across the country. Just the thing to get you ready for “Sharknado 2,” coming […]
Many thanks to Betty Jo Tucker for inviting me on her podcast to talk about the best and worst movie teachers along with her guest co-host, Mack Bates. It was a lot of fun to share some thoughts about the […]
Mary Blair was the designer behind the look of Disney in the 1950’s. You can learn more about her at The Disney Family Museum’s exhibit, MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair. Blair’s joyful creativity―her eye-appealing designs and exuberant […]
Roger Ebert said that Steve James’ documentary “Hoop Dreams” was the greatest film of the first decade of the 21st century. He wrote, “A film like “Hoop Dreams” is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and […]
Joe Berlinger is one of my favorite directors and it was a treat to talk to him about “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger,” his new documentary on the trial of the notorious gangster. We know Bulgar […]
This is what we are celebrating today. Happy 4th!
A safe and happy celebration to all!
Roger Ebert, the most influential film critic of all time, gets the film he deserves directed by one of the many filmmakers he championed, Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”). It is co-produced by Martin Scorsese, whose emotional appearance in […]
Tune in to PBS tomorrow night for the live broadcast of A Capitol Fourth. This year’s performers will include Patti LaBelle, Jordin Sparks, Michael McDonald the Jersey Boy himself, Frankie Valli. And composer John Williams will conduct the choir and orchestra […]
In this short from the terrific Academy Originals series, Seth Rogen says that it is friendship that is at the center of the stories he likes to write. [Warning: Some strong language.] “Academy Originals” is AMPAS’s first original digital series. […]
Summer is a great time to catch up on some classic and even not-so-classic films, the movie version of beach books. The nice folks at Entertainment Weekly have come up with a terrific list of films all children should see […]
Brian “Astro” Bradley plays Tuck in this week’s “Earth to Echo,” the story of three friends who discover a stranded alien and help to rescue him. Astro talked to me about being in the film and the books and music […]
I’m looking forward to this upcoming documentary about original “Star Trek” cast member George Takei, who is also a leader in LGBT rights and a pioneer in social media.
A French graphic novel by Jacques Lob about a post-apocalyptic train containing all that is left of humanity is now the first English-language film from Korean director Joon-ho Bong (“Mother,” “The Host”), with an international cast that includes Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Ed […]
“It’s delicate,” a songwriter tells a performer who has (literally) amped up her gentle ballad into a power anthem. The songwriter is Greta (Keira Knightly) and the performer (Maroon 5’s Adam Levine) is her ex. They were together for five […]
Top talent is wasted in this un-funny and disappointing vanity production from Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone. They wrote it, or, more accurately, assembled it from pieces of other films, some better (“Thelma and Louise”), some even worse […]
Three kids go on a wild adventure and make an extra-terrestrial friend in this updated take on films like “E.T.” and “The Goonies.” It being 2014, that means that the found footage genre, pioneered in “The Blair Witch Project” and […]
Always brought in Lauren Greenfield, is an award-winning American artist, and documentary photographer and filmmaker, to create their #likeagirl videos. What do we think of when we hear “throw like a girl,” “run like a girl,” or “fight like a girl?” […]