Will Bakke has followed his two thought-provoking documentaries on faith with a remarkably smart, funny, brave, and heartfelt first feature film that explores religion and values without ever falling into the easy conventions of many faith-based films. Bakke has a […]
Rosamund Pike delivers a stunning breakthrough performance in this week’s “Gone Girl.” She’s been a favorite of mine for a long time, for her elegant voice and precise acting choices. It’s a good excuse to check out some of her […]
One of my favorite writers provides insights into one of my favorite (if flawed) movies — Matt Zoller Seitz created a beautiful video essay about Bob Fosse’s autobiographical “All That Jazz” for the Criterion Edition, and then they were unable […]
Be sure to tune in to PBS tomorrow night for what is sure to be one of the highlights from one of the all-time best series on PBS: “The Makers,” the story of women in America. Tomorrow’s episode is about […]
Once upon a time, there was no internet. And instead of bloggers and pundits and tweets we had something called public intellectuals, people who read widely, thought deeply, and wrote long, passionate, carefully reasoned, thoroughly documented and beautifully written articles […]
Based on a true story, “The Good Lie” is about young survivors of the brutal civil war in Sudan, which began in 1983. These children traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety. Fifteen years […]
The gorgeous Hollywood Costume exhibit that has been getting rave reviews and massive crowds at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is coming to Los Angeles, its final stop. The costumes will be on display from October 2, 2014 […]
Coming November 7, 2014: Disney’s newest animated feature, “Big Hero Six,” about a loveable robot and the nerdy kids who have to save the day. If you want to get to know the characters better, read the graphic novels or […]
Many thanks to Dana Stevens and the Slate Spoiler Special podcast for inviting me to talk about “The Boxtrolls.”
Every story has at least two sides, especially the story of a relationship. Writer/director Ned Benson explores romance and loss from the perspective of the man (James McAvoy) and the woman (Jessica Chastain) in two separate films, “The Disappearance of […]
When you see the adorable “Boxtrolls” movie, you will want to dress like a boxtroll! Luckily for you, I have two Boxtrolls shirts to give away, one child size small, one adult size small (or child size large). To enter, […]
In 1977, a 27-year-old woman named Robyn Davidson took a dog and four camels and walked 1700 miles across the Australian desert. A National Geographic photographer met up with her four times to cover it for the magazine. That led […]
LAIKA Studios (Paranorman and Coraline) has created another loveably crooked world, this time inspired by Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles). It’s their first period setting, a sort of slightly bent Edwardian with a touch of steampunk, in the […]
The only thing nicer than having a real-life friend who could circumvent any obstacle of power or law or, you know, logic to deliver the roughest but most just of rough justice would be to have that friend be Denzel […]
Simon Pegg stars as Hector in this gentle fable based on the whimsical French novel by psychiatrist Francois Lelord. Like Lelord, Hector is a psychiatrist. He has a “tidy” life with a nice girlfriend named Clara (“Gone Girl’s” Rosamund Pike), nice […]
Many thanks to Criticwire for inviting me to participate in an intriguing survey: what films would you give to aliens to explain life on earth? Here’s what I wrote: I’d have to include a silent comedy, something that would be […]
Thanks to Matthew Rissien for this parody of “All About the Bass.” For something a little more spiritual, here’s Barbra Streisand singing the beautiful hymn “Avinu Malkeinu.” Translation: Our Father, Our King Be gracious and answer our prayers For we […]
Yesterday, I was honored to attend the Second Global Symposium on Gender in Media, held a the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. The keynote was delivered by Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in […]
College students start a sham Christian charity in Believe Me, written and directed by Will Bakke. We’re honored to have an exclusive early look.
In honor of the release of “The Boxtrolls” this week, I’m sharing some of the photos I took in July at Comic-Con, where I interviewed the cast and filmmakers and attended an “Eat Like a Boxtroll” lunch made up of […]
One of my favorite critics writes about one of his favorite movies in The Atlantic: the highlight of Christopher Orr’s outstanding series on the Coen Brothers‘ films is his essay on Miller’s Crossing. Whether you’re a fan of the Coens […]
One of the best new shows of the year is Anthony Anderson’s “Black-ish.” Anderson plays Andre “Dre” Johnson has a great job, a beautiful mixed-race doctor wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids, and a colonial home in the mostly-white suburbs. […]
Mia Wasikowska plays real-life adventurer Robyn Davidson in “Tracks,” based on the 1980 international best-seller about her 1700-mile walk across Australia with four camels. A thoughtful interview with Davidson in The Australian describes her: Davidson is an enigma. With her […]
I am honored to serve on the advisory committee for TrueSpark, which provides quality films and curricula for schools at no cost to use in teaching character. Parents and teachers who want to learn more can find out how to […]
There’s a reason that so many heroes and heroines of classic literature are eleven years old. It is that last magical moment at the cusp of childhood and adolescence, which is what makes it so fascinating and delightful. Genevieve Bailey […]
Alpha and Omega are back! And we are lucky to have an exclusive clip. It is available on Digital HD and On Demand tomorrow, and will be available on DVD at Walmart on October 7. Runt, Kate and Humphrey’s Omega […]
Children have more choices than ever on television, but some of the best viewing for kids is online. Common Sense Media has a great list of family-friendly YouTube stars. I’d add EvanTube to the list. Newsweek calls him The Most […]
The Yiddish-language stories of Sholem Alechim, collected as Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories (Library of Yiddish Classics), inspired one of the most successful, influential, and widely performed Broadway musicals of all time, “Fiddler on the Roof,” which opened […]
Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.
Fast Company has an article about Omni Consumer Products, a “de-fictionalizing” company that looks for products in movies and television that do not really exist and makes them available. As the sole proprietor of Omni Consumer Products, [Pete] Hottelet is constantly […]
You can make a good movie about slackers, for example “Slackers,” from Richard Linklater and “Clerks” from Kevin Smith. But you can’t make a good movie by a slacker, and Smith does not seem willing to be anything more. There […]
A toddler carries his little potty out in front of the house so he can try out his new-found skill in public. Twice. Plus another time when the contents of the potty are first displayed for the family and then […]
Yes, it’s another dystopic YA trilogy (actually, there’s a fourth volume, a prequel), and yes, only a teenager with fabulous cheekbones can save the day. But “The Maze Runner” is not a lesser repeat. It is a worthy addition to […]
Any fan of film history and design will love this magnificent new book devoted to the iconic movie posters and other artwork from John Alvin, assembled and written by his widow, Andrea Alvin. John Alvin’s 40 years of movie poster […]
My deepest thanks to Tara Sonenshine for allowing me to publish her thoughtful comments on “Calvary,” starring Brendan Gleeson as a troubled priest in a small Irish town. It is a moving story of betrayal, despair, faith, and sacrifice. Faith […]
Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her “Sense and Sensibility” screenplay. She wrote and stars in “Effie Gray,” with Dakota Fanning, the real-life story of the Victorian art critic, John Ruskin (David Suchet), and his much-younger bride, Effie Gray. Tom […]
It is always a treat to see the worthy awardees of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grants.” The foundations awards are unique because you cannot apply for them and there are no restrictions on the use of the money given to […]
It was on September 17, 1789 that the US Constitution was approved. The Bill of Rights was not added until later, but let’s celebrate that, too. How many can you name? This will help you remember them.
Inspired by Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” this is the story of a weekend at a country house that includes a famous actress, her discontented son, and people who love the wrong people and are angry at each other — sometimes at […]
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence re-team in “Serena,” which looks very intriguing but does not yet have a US release date. Stay tuned.
Join Ella the Elephant and her kindhearted friends in this all-new animated series from Disney Junior featuring 8 charming episodes. Elephant Island is home to many curiosities, but when Ella and her friends’ appetite for fun lands them in some […]
Country star Kellie Pickler joins the cast in “Beauty and the Beet,” from the Veggie Tales folks, coming out October 14, 2014. (With a name like that, it was just a question of time!) BEAUTY AND THE BEET, a brand-new […]
A great video for Back to School from the hilarious Holderness family!
James Franco has a new series on AOL Originals. He’ll be re-enacting classic movie scenes combined with other classic movie scenes.
Coming in 2015, “Paper Planes” stars Sam Worthington (“Avatar”).
I told you this was going to be great! Janelle Monae sings about “The Power of Yet” to remind us that if we can’t do something, we just have to keep trying.
I am delighted that all of the 153 episodes of “Gilmore Girls” will be available on Netflix, starting in October. This show had some of the most delightfully quirky characters and some of the most witty dialog in television history. Melissa McCarthy […]
Patricia Clarkson plays a sometimes-outrageous and insensitive mother of adult children in “Last Weekend,” written and co-directed by Tom Dolby. I’m delighted to be able to share an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse. Here’s the trailer.
The young human stars of Dolphin Tale, Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, are back for the delightful sequel. They conducted a charming Q&A session after a screening in Washington, D.C., always remembering to say “Good question!” to the children who […]
Author Dennis Lehane writes about a world of desperation, fear, and damaged people inflicting further damage. His novels have been filmed as “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone.” And now his short story, “Animal Rescue,” has been turned into “The […]
The warmest, wisest, most pleasurable live-action family film of the year is “Dolphin Tale 2,” even better than the 2011 original. This really is that rare movie for the whole family. The first film was inspired by the true story […]
This is an amazing deal. For a limited time, Amazon is offering a collection of 100 Warner Brothers classics at 75 percent off. Best of Warner Bros 100 Film Collection, including 22 Best Picture winners, a limited edition 27 x […]
The critics screening of this week’s release, “No Good Deed,” was cancelled just hours before we were supposed to see it. The reason: “There is a plot twist in the film that they do not want to reveal as it […]
Watch how Pixar uses the colors of the rainbow to create a mood, tell a story, and delight the eye.
We remember the unspeakable tragedy of 9/11 today as the losses of those devastating hours continue to bolster our resolve to eradicate terrorism and keep our families safe. CNN has updates on some of the people who helped us understand […]
Many thanks to Betty Jo Tucker for inviting me to talk about the movies I am most looking forward to this fall, along with my fellow critics Mack Bates and A.J. Hakari!
I wonder why there are three (so far) different stories coming out that tell us the same saga of an up-and-down romance from two different perspectives (POV, or point of view). “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” starring James McAvoy and […]
Every family will enjoy the 50th anniversary edition of the glorious Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, starring Lesley Ann Warren, with Celeste Holm as the fairy godmother, Jo Van Fleet as the evil stepmother, and Walter Pidgeon and Ginger Rogers as […]
I love the Academy Originals series on YouTube. The latest asks actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers to name the first film that made them laugh.
I’m delighted to share some of the behind-the-scenes artistry that went into LAIKA Studios’ “The Boxtrolls.” You can see some of what I found so enchanting on my visit to the studio last spring.
Passion, betrayal, unprecedented power, triumph, failure, devastating loss, personal and professional turmoil, and triumph again, played out against the most tumultuous events of the 20th century — that is the real-life story of the Roosevelts, especially the two who served […]
SundanceNow Doc Club is a streaming video service for documentary lovers, a user-friendly place to go to find and watch quality documentaries, free of advertising interruptions. Doc Club offers a carefully curated selection of acclaimed documentaries, hand-picked by experts led […]
David Duchovny, Tim Hutton, and Hope Davis star in Louder than Words, a fact-based story about parents who find a way to pay tribute to the daughter they lost by building The Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a state of the […]
I got to visit my pals at the Jeff and Jer show when I was in San Diego last week!
I am very excited about my friend Kevin Sampson’s new Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about diversity in the film industry. I’m supporting him — I hope many others will as well. This is a story that needs to […]
The NAACP has an all-star line-up of performers reminding parents to read to their children, including Bill Withers and Tatyana Ali. Take a listen — and follow their advice. There is no greater gift you can give your kids than […]
Talk about a win-win — take a look at Prizeo, where celebrities offer chances to win once-in-a-lifetime, dream-come-true prizes to people who support their charitable causes. Sir Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Jeff Gordon, One Direction, Lady Antebellum, Hunter […]
Can it really be two decades since we first met Friends? The beloved television series about the six 20-somethings who were all there for each other premiered 20 years ago, and in honor of that anniversary, a real-life version of […]
“The Song” follows aspiring singer-songwriter Jed King (Alan Powell) as he struggles to catch a break and escape the long shadow of his father, a country music legend. After reluctantly accepting a gig at a local vineyard harvest festival, Jed […]
Tomorrow on Oprah’s OWN channel is the premiere of “Help Desk,” with Gotham Chopra and a bunch of experts who sit at tables on the sidewalk like a lemonade stand, giving out advice to passers-by.
Can’t help it — I’m looking forward to this.
Fathom Events, BY Experience and National Theatre Live are presenting a live performance of Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire broadcast to select cinemas nationwide directly from London’s Young Vic Theatre in an extraordinary one-night event, Tuesday, September […]
Naomi Judd and Robert Loggia star in “Evergreen Christmas,” on DVD and VOD November 4, 2014. Leaving her seemingly glamorous Hollywood life on hold, Evie Lee is forced to return to her small hometown of Balsam Falls, Tennessee and her […]
“The One I Love” is pretty good as a movie and sublime as an exercise, especially an acting exercise. Just describing details about the story will require a huge spoiler alert, which I will insert below before giving away some […]
“The Identical” is an incompetent mishmash of mawkish sentimentality larded with a few pleasant musical numbers and some random asides about Israel. I’m not making this up. It is inspired by an intriguing fact. Elvis Presley was a twin. His […]
Joan Rivers has died at age 81. More abrasive than her trademark raspy voice, Rivers wanted to be an actress but became famous as a comedian, in an era when comedy was almost completely all-male. She did act, appearing on […]
ABC will be airing a tribute to the classic educational series “Schoolhouse Rock” on September 7. Now parents can sing along to “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction” and share with their kids these delightful and remarkably informative gems. […]
In “Thunder and the House of Magic,” a little cat named Thunder stumbles into an old mansion owned by a retired magician, filled with all kinds of tricks, machines and curios. When the magician’s greedy nephew puts the house up […]
SNL’s Bill Hader has a great list of the top 200 movies anyone interested in comedy should see. And of course that means that they’re great choices for anyone who likes to laugh. I love all of his choices and […]
I’m really looking forward to “Sonic Highways,” a new HBO series premiering in October. Dave Grohl crosses the country with the Foo Fighters to make music, recording a different track in each studio, and talks to a wide range of […]
It is annoying enough when someone near you in a movie theater takes out a cell phone to text. Imagine how it would be if you then saw the text on the screen. That’s what a Chinese theater is experimenting […]
Screen time is a treat, not a right. It’s a good idea to make sure that it comes only after homework, chores, other kinds of play, and family time. Make sure there is some quiet time each day as well. […]
The Ice Bucket Challenge has brought a lot of money and attention to a devastating illness, ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s Disease for the the New York Yankee who had to leave baseball when he was […]
This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Tuesday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. […]
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids. Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of […]
Happy September! There isn’t much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here’s the best of what’s coming in theaters this month: September 12: “Dolphin Tale 2″ This sequel to the endearing fact-based “Dolphin […]
Today we pay tribute to workers, especially those who worked for better conditions for everyone. Sally Field won an Oscar for this real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. Doris Day plays a union […]