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Christopher Orr’s 2014 Movie Round-Up

posted by Nell Minow

If I were going to make a top ten list of movie top ten lists, Christopher Orr‘s would be number one. I love reading his end-of-year pieces in The Atlantic. The best of the year list is just the beginning. […]

What Did We Search For in 2014?

posted by Nell Minow

End the Year With Films About Justice

posted by Nell Minow

Bill Moyers has an excellent list of 2014’s best documentaries about the struggle for justice, covering issues from healthcare to the environment, politics, the collision between national security and privacy, domestic violence, human rights, and marriage equality. All are highly […]

2014 in Film: Best, Worst, and More

posted by Nell Minow

Ten is an arbitrary number, a year is an arbitrary span of time, and it makes no sense at all to try to rank movies that are so different in concept, genre, and aspiration. Nevertheless, as I always say when […]

TCM’s Farewell to The Filmmakers We Lost in 2014

posted by Nell Minow

Trailer: “Comet” with Justin Long and Emmy Rossum

posted by Nell Minow

I love this trailer for “Comet,” an intriguing romance with a fantasy/sci-fi element, starring Justin Long and Emmy Rossum.

Denzel Washington Turns 60

posted by Nell Minow

Happy 60th birthday to the man I consider the finest actor working in movies today, Denzel Washington. Genetta M. Adams assembled an impressive top ten list for The Root in honor of his 60th birthday. Many of my favorites are […]

Now That’s Funny: The Paley Center Visits Top TV Comedies

posted by Nell Minow

In case you missed the Paley Center special on TV comedy shows, you can watch it online. It is a lot of fun to go behind the scenes to hear the creators of “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom,” “Modern Family,” […]

CONTEST: Divergent DVD/Book

posted by Nell Minow

I have a Divergent DVD/Book to give away! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Divergent” in the subject line and tell me about the best gift you ever GAVE. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only.) I’ll pick a […]

The Year’s Best Christian Films

posted by Nell Minow

The Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury is made up of film critics and cinephiles who wish to recognize and celebrate films that use the medium to explore themes of religion, faith, or spirituality. We particularly seek to enlarge or expand […]

The Real Story: Walter and Margaret Keane and the Big Eyes Paintings

posted by Nell Minow

The strangest parts of the story of Walter and Margaret Keane in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes are true. Perhaps the strangest of all is that the paintings — at the time thought to be painted by Walter Keane but ultimately […]

Kwanzaa Blessings!

posted by Nell Minow

Warm Kwanzaa greetings to all who celebrate. May the blessings of unity, faith, work, cooperation, purpose, creativity and faith be with you all year.

Joy to the World

posted by Nell Minow

Merry Christmas 2014!

posted by Nell Minow

Selma

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2015
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2015

“Selma,” director Ava DuVernay’s film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital at Montgomery, to make the case for the right to vote, is superb as biography, as history, and as […]

Into the Woods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

This is not a Disney movie. Oh, well, yes, it is a Disney movie in the sense that it is produced by Disney, which is the only possible explanation for the PG rating (and the slightly sweetened storyline), but this […]

Unbroken

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie breaks into the top ranks of American directors with “Unbroken,” showing an exceptional understanding not just of actors, but of tone, scale, and letting the camera tell the story. Working with the magnificent cinematography of Roger […]

Big Eyes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 13, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 13, 2015

In Woody Allen’s 1973 film “Sleeper,” set in a decadent future, Diane Keaton plays a superficial socialite who tries to think of the highest compliment she can give to an amateurish painting.  “Oh, it’s Keane! It’s pure Keane!” she exclaims. […]

George Bailey’s Christmas: It’s A Wonderful Life Closing Scenes

posted by Nell Minow

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: Josh Groban

posted by Nell Minow

Oxford Sings: All I Want for Christmas Is You

posted by Nell Minow

  Behind the scenes:  

Christmastime Is Here — from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

posted by Nell Minow

Selma: The Real Story

posted by Nell Minow

Here is some footage of the real-life march from Selma to Montgomery depicted in this week’s Martin Luther King film, “Selma.” Governor George Wallace made his famous pledge of “segregation forever” in his inaugural address. That speech was written by […]

Model With Down Syndrome in Target Ad

posted by Nell Minow

Bravo Target! An adorable 2-year-old from Minnesota named Izzy Bradley is featured in this ad for Target. She has Down Syndrome. Thanks very much to Target for understanding — and spreading the message — that all kinds of beauty are […]

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release, “Selma,” begins with the ceremony honoring The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King with the Nobel Peace Prize. Here is the real footage of his famous speech.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales

posted by Nell Minow

The whole family will enjoy this beautiful version of Dylan Thomas’ classic memory about his family Christmases in Wales.

Pride

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 22, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 22, 2014

The ingredients for this film were so irresistible that it is a unexpected bonus to find that it is so much better than it needed to be. It’s based on a true story of extraordinary kindness, generosity, and friendship and […]

Interview: Ava DuVernay of “Selma”

posted by Nell Minow

My favorite movie of the year is “Selma,” the story of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery, to bring attention to the barriers the Southern states were using to prevent black […]

Smile of the Week: A Boy and a Penguin

posted by Nell Minow

This reminds me a little of the depiction of a child’s world in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Barnaby. Many thanks to Slate for this and the others on its list of the year’s best ads.

Mel Torme and Judy Garland: Christmas Song

posted by Nell Minow

I love it that Judy Garland sings “rainbows” instead of “reindeer.”

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?

posted by Nell Minow

Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don’t seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, […]

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey

posted by Nell Minow

You don’t have to be a fan of “Downton Abbey” (or “Mr. Selfridge”) to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley.

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed

posted by Nell Minow

I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson’s wonderful “Book on Every Bed” proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or […]

Interview: Matthew Llewellyn, Composer for Wally Lamb’s “Wishin’ and Hopin'”

posted by Nell Minow

Wishin’ and Hopin’ is Lifetime movie airing December 21, 2014, based on the novel by Wally Lamb. It stars Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf with narration by Chevy Chase. Composer Matthew Llewellyn was kind enough to answer my questions about […]

Wild’s Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast

posted by Nell Minow

Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous “Dear Sugar” advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly […]

Actors Of Color Discuss Racial Stereotypes In Hollywood

posted by Nell Minow

Film Courage produced this excellent and very compelling film with actors of color talking about the challenges they face in Hollywood. If we did a better job of representing diversity in film, we would not just tell better stories and […]

Annie

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corporate privacy invasions, and Katy Perry tweets. There are some […]

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 9, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 9, 2015

Fans of the first two “Night at the Museum” films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibits come to life […]

Listen to People’s Lives: David Plotz’s Working Podcast

posted by Nell Minow

Former Slate editor David Plotz, now at Atlas Obscura, says that he is a big fan of Studs Terkel’s classic book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. He has […]

Little Orphan Annie: From Comic Strip to Radio, Broadway, Television, and Two Movies

posted by Nell Minow

The spunky little girl with the curly red hair and a dog named Sandy began as Little Orphan Annie in 1924, created by Harold Gray.  Her pluck, self-sufficiency, and resilience caught the imagination of the Depression-era audience in the 30’s, […]

A Trailer for A Movie You’ll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna

posted by Nell Minow

“Moonquake Lake” has a lot of star power behind it — “LEGO Movie” directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks….intriguing, some sort of “Twilight”-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn’t […]

New Additions to the National Film Registry: 2014

posted by Nell Minow

The Library of Congress has announced this year’s additions to the National Film Registry. 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant titles are added each year, under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act. The films must be at least […]

Black Reel Awards Nominations 2014

posted by Nell Minow

One of the great pleasures of this time of year is voting for so many of my favorite filmmakers as a part of the Black Reel Awards. Thanks, as ever, to Tim Gordon for allowing me to participate. I think […]

A Hannukah Version of “Shake it Off!”

posted by Nell Minow

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans.  I think even Tolkien himself would cry “no mas” at this point.  Remember how the third LoTR movie had about five […]

The Maccabeats! Happy Hannukah! All About the Neis

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah 2014/5775!

posted by Nell Minow

Eight Nights Song: StandFour

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah from StandFour!

Online Film Critics Awards 2014

posted by Nell Minow

I am proud to be a member of the Online Film Critics Society, and very pleased to announce this year’s awards: Best Picture: The Grand Budapest Hotel Best Animated Feature: The Lego Movie Best Film Not in the English Language: […]

Critics Choice Award Nominees 2014

posted by Nell Minow

I am very proud to be a member of the Broadcast Movie Critics Association and very excited about attending this year’s award ceremony on January 15, 2015, hosted by Michael Strahan. I’m thrilled that we will be presenting special awards […]

Trailer — Mad Max: Fury Road

posted by Nell Minow

This is absolutely stunning.  Can’t wait to see it.

Trailer: Pixar’s Inside Out

posted by Nell Minow

Remember the old scary movie line, “The call is coming from inside the house?”  There’s nothing more terrifying than discovering that a place or a person you were certain was safe has all of a sudden become completely unpredictable and […]

AFI Docs Announces New Director: Michael Lumpkin

posted by Nell Minow

I am a huge fan of AFIDocs, the documentary Film Festival (formerly SilverDocs) and am proud to have been a sponsor for the past two years.  So I was delighted to hear that The American Film Institute has selected producer […]

After You’ve Watched White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and A Christmas Story…..

posted by Nell Minow

I love the Christmas classic movies and watch as many as I can every year.  But there are many great Christmas films that don’t get mentioned as often and I like to remind families that these are worth making time […]

See The Year’s Most Intriguing Actors In New Kissing Scenes: NY Times Magazine

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times brought together the stars of some of this year’s biggest films and asked them to kiss. Each is a tiny gem of a film that suggests so much more.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Bloopers

posted by Nell Minow

From this week’s DVD/Blu-Ray release of Guardians of the Galaxy — it looks like as much fun to make as it was to watch!

Music Video: Fenech-Soler Sing Last Forever

posted by Nell Minow

I love this video, which reminds me of some of my favorites from OK Go. It seems deceptively simple but they have some remarkable dimensional and reverse-motion effects. Nice song, too!

Exodus: Gods and Kings

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
Movie Release Date:December 12, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
Movie Release Date: December 12, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The story of Exodus is central to three of the world’s most significant religions and one of the Bible’s most cinematic stories, with a flawed but charismatic hero and a stirring story of slaves seeking freedom.  It has already been […]

Top Five

posted by Nell Minow

Why is it that we love to talk about our top five? Is it because it gives us a sense of order in the midst of chaos? Is it because we feel that if we can somehow distill the whole […]

2014 Award Nominations: SAG and Golden Globes

posted by Nell Minow

Awards season is heating up. Yesterday, the Screen Actors Guild announced their nominees and this morning we heard from the Golden Globes. Both are considered early indicators of the Oscars, but for different reasons. SAG is the actors voting for […]

Supercut: The Best Films of 2014 from David Ehrlich of Little White Lies

posted by Nell Minow

This gorgeously edited supercut from David Ehrlich of Little White Lies pays tribute to his favorite films of 2014 from the widely lauded to the barely noticed. Get out a pen and paper — you’re going to want to make […]

TOADY 2014: The Worst Toy of the Year

posted by Nell Minow

I look forward to the TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young children) worst toy of the year award given out each year by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood with a horrified fascination. What could they have been thinking? […]

Trailer: Al Pacino as an Aging Rock Star in “Danny Collins”

posted by Nell Minow

Al Pacino plays a rock star whose life is changed when he finds a letter John Lennon wrote him decades before.

Family DVDs for Hannukah

posted by Nell Minow

When all the world is caught up in Christmas, it can help to have some movies on hand to explain that some people celebrate a different holiday at this time of year, especially when the stories and songs are told […]

Behind the Scenes: Boyhood

posted by Nell Minow

Enjoy this glimpse behind the scenes of “Boyhood,” the remarkable film made over a 12-year period, as star Ellar Coltrane ages from six to eighteen. I am very proud that it was selected by our Washington Area Film Critics Association […]

Us the Duo Sings the Hits of 2014 — In 2 1/2 Minutes

posted by Nell Minow

Us the Duo, the adorable Carissa and Michael Alvarado, whose song is featured in “The Book of Life,” have a new video with the top hits of 2014 in just 2 1/2 minutes.

Trailer: Strange Magic, A New Animated Film from George Lucas

posted by Nell Minow

Coming next month — a long-term passion project from George Lucas, “Strange Magic” features the voices of Kristin Chenoweth, Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cummings, Maya Rudolph, Alfred Molina, and Elijah Kelley.

Exclusive Clip: When the Game Stands Tall

posted by Nell Minow

We are proud to be able to present this exclusive clip from the new DVD release “When the Game Stands Tall,” the extraordinary true story of the high school football team with the longest winning streak in the history of […]

Washington Area Film Critics Awards 2014: Birdman, Boyhood, Roger Ebert’s Life Itself and the Best DC Movie of the Year

posted by Nell Minow

I’m proud to announce the winners of the 2014 awards from the Washington Area Film Critics. It is especially meaningful to me that we chose Roger Ebert’s story, “Life Itself,” as our top documentary of the year. It’s not about […]

Movie Theaters Worth the Drive?

posted by Nell Minow

Movie theater owners are constantly having to up their game to sell tickets, knowing that many film-lovers have well-equipped home theaters and will wait three or four months until the movies are available for home viewing. It can be tough […]

Bob Elisberg Pays Tribute to Kukla, Fran, and Ollie — and to Burr Tillstrom

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to take a look at this wonderful tribute to Burr Tillstrom from my friend Bob Elisberg. Bob is a marvelous writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of the best of popular entertainment. And in the early days of television, […]

Student Filmmakers: Enter Your Movies in the White House Student Film Festival

posted by Nell Minow

Cooler than Cannes — you could get a chance to have your movie shown at the White House! From now through January 20, submissions are open for the second White House Student Film Festival. The theme of this year’s festival […]

Washington Area Film Critic Awards 2014: Nominations

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Area Film Critics Association is proud to announce our nominees for our 2014 awards: Best Film: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Boyhood Gone Girl Selma Whiplash Best Director: Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) Ava DuVernay (Selma) David Fincher […]

Trailer: Hugh Jackman in “Pan”

posted by Nell Minow

Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up, has been enchanting children and their families for more than a century now. This week’s live broadcast of the Broadway musical version starred Alison Williams and Christopher Walken. And next year […]

Casting News: The Next James Bond Villain and a Remake of a Classic Western

posted by Nell Minow

Just ten more months until the next James Bond film! Daniel Craig will return as 007, and he will be joined by Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz, along with “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott (Moriarty to Benedict Cumberbatch’s […]

Behind the Scenes Featurette: Unbroken

posted by Nell Minow

One of the biggest films of the year is “Unbroken,” based on the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete whose airplane crashed into the Pacific in WWII. He survived for weeks in a lifeboat and then spent two […]

Poems from “Wild” — Emily Dickinson and Adrienne Rich

posted by Nell Minow

In “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed begins her 1100-mile hike with a quote from Emily Dickinson. Here is the poem. If your Nerve, deny you— If your Nerve, deny you— Go above your Nerve— He can lean against the Grave, If he […]

Wild

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Movie Release Date:December 5, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Movie Release Date: December 5, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

“If your Nerve, deny you— Go above your Nerve—” Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) adds the name of the author, Emily Dickinson, to the quote she has inscribed in a journal for hikers kept at her entry point on the Pacific […]

The Imitation Game

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician with an enormous intellect, an almost equally enormous ego, and an almost equally enormous secret. He was one of the founding thinkers behind modern computing and it is his name that we use for […]

Learn Code with Elsa and Anna!

posted by Nell Minow

Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to giving every student in every school the opportunity to learn computer programming. They have partnered with Disney to create tutorials hosted by “Frozen’s” heroines, Anna and Elsa. Disney is also very generously contributing $100,000 […]

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 — For Movie Lovers and Their Families

posted by Nell Minow

Happy holidays to one and all! Whatever you are celebrating at this time of year, these films will race your pulse, warm your heart, and delight any friends and family members lucky enough to receive them. For the lover of […]

HUGE Holiday Giveaway! Family DVD Giftpack

posted by Nell Minow

I have a fabulous gift pack of family DVDs to give away!  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Holiday” in the subject line and tell me your favorite holiday dessert.  Don’t forget your address!  (US addresses only).  I’ll pick […]

Peter Pan Mash-Up Music Video With Alex G, DJ Tay James, and the Cast of Peter Pan Live

posted by Nell Minow

Watch Peter Pan Live! On NBC Thursday, December 4 at 8/7c.

Download This Year’s Best Screenplays for Free

posted by Nell Minow

For a limited time only (and for educational purposes only) this year’s best screenplays are available for free download. This is a chance to read the work of greats like Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”), Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), Alejandro Iñárritu, Nicolás […]

Margo Page on a Broader Bechdel Test

posted by Nell Minow

I’ve written more than once about the Bechdel test for movies: Are there at least two named female characters who have lines and do they talk to each other about anything other than men? And I’ve written about some of […]

The Right Stuff: An Oral History

posted by Nell Minow

What a treat to see an oral history for one of my favorite films of all time, “The Right Stuff.” The story of the first astronauts in the early days of the space program, based on Tom Wolfe’s book, is […]

Leonard Maltin’s Collection of Movie Memorabilia on eBay

posted by Nell Minow

The great critic and film historian Leonard Maltin has moved to a new home and so he is putting some of his fabulous collection of movie treasures up for auction on eBay. Maltin writes: Long ago I got hooked on […]

December 2014: A Lot of Oscar Hopefuls and Holiday Blockbusters

posted by Nell Minow

Happy December! Everyone is busy in December, but make time now on your schedule for some of the year’s biggest films, including Oscar hopefuls, blockbusters, and even a couple of possible surprises. (NOTE: As typical at this time of year, […]

Composer Christopher Lennertz on “Horrible Bosses 2″

posted by Nell Minow

I am usually so busy taking notes when I am at a movie screening that I don’t have time to pay much attention to the score, but at “Horrible Bosses 2” I took a moment to scrawl “great music!” Not […]

Trailer: Sam Rockwell and Marisa Tomei in “Loitering With Intent”

posted by Nell Minow

Available on nationwide VOD beginning 12/16 and in theaters January 2015! When out-of-work-actors Raphael (Ivan Martin) and Dominic (Michael Godere) hustle a prominent New York producer into believing they’ve written a hot movie script, they have 10 days to deliver […]

Smile of the Week: Kristen Bell and Straight No Chaser Sing Text Me Merry Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Kristen Bell (“Frozen”) and the a cappella group Straight No Chaser have a new Christmas song sure to be a classic: “Text Me Merry Christmas.”

How Do People Decide What Movies to See?

posted by Nell Minow

Google did a survey to determine why and how people decide what movies to see. Flavorwire reports: Unsurprisingly, they’re trumpeting the prominence of Google-owned YouTube, noting that four out of five moviegoers “use video sites to look for more information […]

Sir Paul McCartney in Virtual Reality

posted by Nell Minow

Jaunt promises that you can have a virtual reality experience with Sir Paul McCartney, using their app to get a 360 degree view of his performance of “Live and Let Die” at Candlestick Park, featuring immersive audio and stereo 3D. […]

The Sisterhood: A Reality Series About Would-Be Nuns

posted by Nell Minow

Lifetime’s new reality series “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns” is one of the best shows on television right now. It follows a group of five young women who are considering becoming nuns and have entered into a process called “discerning.” They […]

The Man Who Is Updating Peter Pan’s Indian Songs

posted by Nell Minow

As NBC prepares for the live production of “Peter Pan,” they are doing a bit of updating to the play, originally produced as a non-musical 100 years ago. This version is the musical best remembered as the Mary Martin production […]

Trailer: Star Wars — The Force Awakens

posted by Nell Minow

This is AWESOME!

Two Nights Only in Theaters: 60th Anniversary of “White Christmas”

posted by Nell Minow

The 60th anniversary of one of the most beloved movies in history is coming up, and so you will have a chance to see “White Christmas” in theaters for just two nights, December 14-15, 2014. This is your chance to […]

Johnny Cash’s Thanksgiving Song

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

posted by Nell Minow

All my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, and please know how thankful I am for the time you spend here.

Claire LaZebnik’s Thoughts on Thanks

posted by Nell Minow

I can’t think of a better way to start Thanksgiving weekend than taking a few minutes to read my friend Claire LaZebnik’s wise and inspiring essay on gratitude. This most American of holidays is often accompanied by stress — from […]

Horrible Bosses 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date:November 26, 2104
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date: November 26, 2104
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

Maybe it’s just the proximity to the horrible “Dumb and Dumber To,” but the cheerily offensive “Horrible Bosses 2″ made me laugh. Full warning — it begins with an elaborate sight gag as our hapless heroes demonstrate their new product […]

Penguins of Madagascar

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The most adorable characters from the first three animated “Madagascar” movies were the penguins, the seldom right but never in doubt leader Skipper (Tom McGrath), the often right but never listened to Kowalski (Chris Miller), the literally explosive Rico (Conrad […]

Coming Soon: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the Miniseries

posted by Nell Minow

Susanna Clarke’s novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is one of those delicious stories that transports the reader to another world, so enthralling that it is difficult to leave. The setting is historical, England in 1806, as the Napoleonic Wars […]

Trailer: Jurassic World with Christ Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard

posted by Nell Minow

Listen In as Betty Jo Tucker, A.J. Hakari and I Discuss the December Movie Releases

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Betty Jo Tucker for inviting me back on her show — this afternoon we will be discussing the big holiday season releases, including “Unbroken,” “Inherent Vice,” and “Into the Woods.” Check Out Movies Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio […]

MPAA Ratings #Fail on “Horrible Bosses 2″

posted by Nell Minow

In yet another example of the inadequacy and the deliberate obfuscation of the MPAA ratings systems, we have the ratings for both the theatrical release of “Horrible Bosses 2″ and the upcoming unrated DVD. Not only does the explanation omit […]

Family Movies for Thanksgiving

posted by Nell Minow

There are some great Thanksgiving movies for adults. And here are some for the whole family to share. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving This is the one with the famous episode about Charlie Brown trying to kick the football Lucy keeps […]

Smile of the Week: Spaghetti

posted by Nell Minow

The New X-Men Villain is….Oscar Isaac

posted by Nell Minow

Ever since he played Joseph in “The Nativity Story, I’ve been saying that Oscar Isaac should be a full-on movie star. He gave my favorite performance of last year as Llewyn Davis in the Coen Brothers movie “Inside Llewyn Davis,” […]

List: YA Books About Coming Out and Same-Sex Relationships

posted by Nell Minow

My good friend Sandie is my go-to for YA literature as she is not only very knowledgeable but also very insightful, with superb taste. As a part of her series of books that explore issues of diversity, understanding, and identity, […]

Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street

posted by Nell Minow

Amazon Prime’s new series for families is a delight. Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street is the story of three middle school-age friends and the mysteries they investigate on Normal Street are anything but normal. It has fun and fantasy […]

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Auction Tomorrow from Bonhams/TCM

posted by Nell Minow

Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies have joined together again for another auction of classic Hollywood memorabilia, with treasures from the golden age of movie-making, including the piano Sam plays “As Time Goes By” on in “Casablanca,” the cowardly lion’s costume […]

Little Hope Was Arson

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014

In a small East Texas community “with a church on every corner,” 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film “Fireproof” one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself the next day. This is a […]

Docudrama about Handel’s Messiah on BYUtv November 27, 2014

posted by Nell Minow

BYUtv has produced a new docudrama, Handel’s Messiah, premiering November 27, 2014, about the world’s most popular and renowned choral work by one of the leading composers of the Baroque era, George Frideric Handel. The docudrama, narrated by Emmy® and Golden […]

Another #Epicfail for Barbie — And a Non-Barbie Alternative

posted by Nell Minow

Remember when Teen Talk Barbie got in trouble for saying “Math is hard?” Well, Mattel did not get the memo because a new Barbie book intended to encourage girls’ interest in STEM subjects like computer programming completely misses the point. […]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Stars Talk About the Film

posted by Nell Minow

Fandango has a great interview with the stars of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.” What was the toughest part for Jennifer Lawrence?  Singing!

Exclusive Clip: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

posted by Nell Minow

Writer, director and producer Tyler Perry presents the unpredictable tale of a successful woman’s life “gone downhill” when Tyler Perry’s Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned – The Play is showcased on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and […]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2015

It seems no different at first. While the second in the “Hunger Games” series ended with the surprise last-minute rescue of heroine Katniss Everden (Jennifer Lawrence), and the even bigger surprise that insider Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was secretly […]

Foxcatcher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2015

John Eleuthère Du Pont was of the wealthiest men in the world. He was an ornithologist, a philatelist, a purchaser of military weapons (including a tank), a wrestling fan who set up a luxurious training facility for the US Olympic […]

Trailer: Pitch Perfect 2 — The Pitch is Back!!

posted by Nell Minow

Acca-can’t wait.

Tribute: Mike Nichols

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of director Mike Nichols, who died yesterday at age 83, survived by his wife, television journalist Diane Sawyer. Nichols began as part of the 1950’s improvisational movement coming out of Chicago, and rose to fame as […]

Wonder Woman’s Amazing Secret History

posted by Nell Minow

Historian Jill Lepore is one of my favorite writers and I am also a Comic-Con-attending fangirl, so I was thrilled to get a chance to hear Professor Lepore speak at the Smithsonian about her new book, The Secret History of […]

Trailer: Disney’s New Live-Action “Cinderella” With Cate Blanchett as the Evil Stepmother

posted by Nell Minow

Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) plays the title role in Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella,” with Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother and Helena Bonham-Carter as the fairy godmother, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) is the charming prince. […]

Costume Designers: One Famous, One Not

posted by Nell Minow

Costume designers are not a about pretty clothes or fashion. The one time Coco Chanel tried to design costumes for a film, her impeccable designs came across as flat and uninspired. Costumes are about creating the character and telling the […]

Susan Wloszczyna on the Prospects for Women at the Oscars

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and fellow critic Susan Wloszczyna is covering the run-up to the Oscars for Women and Hollywood, and I particularly appreciated her thoughtful essay on the prospects for women nominees this year. Noting that only one woman has ever […]

List: The Greatest Acts of Kindness on Film

posted by Nell Minow

I love this list of the most touching and inspiring moments of kindness in movies from BFI, including my favorite:

Trailer — Hannah: Buddhism’s Untold Journey

posted by Nell Minow

Hannah Nydahl was dedicated to introducing Buddhism to the western hemisphere.  This is her story. Co Director/Producer Marta György Kessler spent 15 years traveling with Hannah Nydahl and some of the most renowned Buddhist Lamas, before her directorial debut with […]

Exclusive Clip: The Three Dogateers

posted by Nell Minow

“The Three Dogateers” from vRLJE/Image Entertainment is available starting tomorrow, November 18, 2014 only at Walmart. “Lois and Clark’s” Dean Cain and “Office Space’s” Richard Riehle star in this story about three little white fur balls who get their paws […]

Rosewater

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014

First-time writer/director Jon Stewart has made a remarkably assured film about the imprisonment and torture of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari It is an absorbing drama that is at the same time the story of a very specific individual and a […]

MVPs of the Month: Scientists and Nerds

posted by Nell Minow

November 2014 may just be the greatest month in film history for the portrayal of heroes and heroines whose achievements are not about athletics or fights but about equations and science. Last week we had two blockbuster hits featuring fictional […]

Interview: A.J. Edwards of the Lincoln Movie “The Better Angels”

posted by Nell Minow

A. J. Edwards is the writer and director of “The Better Angels,” a lyrical new film about the early years of Abraham Lincoln, when he was a boy growing up in a small log cabin. The title comes from Lincoln’s […]

Coming Soon: Guardians of the Galaxy on Blu-Ray with Extras

posted by Nell Minow

Coming soon on DVD and Blu-Ray: the most purely entertaining film of the year, “Guardians of the Galaxy”  Release dates: 11/18 for Digital 3D and Digital HD 12/9 Digital SD, 3D Blu-ray Combo pack (3D Blu-ray + Single Disc Blu-ray […]

Interview: Nate Parker of “Beyond the Lights”

posted by Nell Minow

I first interviewed Nate Parker seven years ago about “The Great Debaters.” It was a great pleasure to catch up with him to discuss his performance in “Beyond the Lights,” one of the year’s best romantic dramas, with sizzling chemistry […]

Contest: Tickets to a DC Screening of “Penguins of Madagascar” on November 22, 2014

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to be able to offer a limited number of FREE TICKETS to a pre-release screening of “Penguins of Madagascar” in Washington DC on Saturday morning, November 22, 2014. To win a pair of tickets, follow this link to […]

Trailer: Song One with Anne Hathaway

posted by Nell Minow

Behind the Scenes: Eddie Redmayne and Stephen Hawking on “The Theory of Everything”

posted by Nell Minow

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “The Theory of Everything,” with comments from stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, director James Marsh, and Stephen Hawking himself.

Interview: Gina Prince-Bythewood of “Beyond the Lights”

posted by Nell Minow

It was an honor to speak to one of my favorite filmmakers, Gina Prince-Bythewood, writer/director of one of this year’s best romantic dramas, “Beyond the Lights.” As I spoke to her, she had just received word that Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who […]

Beyond the Lights

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

“Beyond the Lights” is a welcome return to the grand traditions of movie romance, with sizzling chemistry between gorgeous, fabulously charismatic stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker. And it also has some very astute insights about family, ambition, and the […]

Dumb and Dumber To

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 15, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 15, 2015

A poorly timed cameo appearance by Honey Boo-Boo’s sexual predator-consorting Mama June is dumb.  Making a sequel 11 years after the original “Dumb and Dumber” and the best-forgotten prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” is dumber.  Too. Jeff […]

The Theory of Everything

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 16, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 16, 2015

We have seen many film biographies of great individuals (mostly men). But we have seen almost no films, fact-based or fictional, about great marriages. And we have certainly never seen any films about great marriages that end up with the […]

The 100 Best Action Movies: Time Out

posted by Nell Minow

Time Out Magazine went to the experts — action directors and stars — to make a rock ’em sock ’em list of the all-time best action films. I immediately guessed #1, did you? Here’s a hint — it was featured […]

CriticWire: Our Favorite Movies About Making Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to CriticWire for including me in this great survey about one of my favorite categories of movies: Movies About the Art, Craft, and Business of Movie-Making. There are some great choices here, including:

The All-Time Best Movie Sandwiches

posted by Nell Minow

Slate has a wonderful compilation of the top ten movie sandwiches of all time.  But they left out my favorite, which was the inspiration for my 101 Must-See Movie Moments, the sandwich made by the daughter of the main character […]

The Other Stephen Hawking Movie — With Benedict Cumberbatch

posted by Nell Minow

Before “The Theory of Everything” with Eddie Redmayne as cosmologist Stephen Hawking, there was “Hawking” with Benedict Cumberbatch. You can see it on YouTube.

Tonight: Supernatural Celebrates the Fans in the 200th Episode

posted by Nell Minow

Veteran’s Day 2014: Paying Tribute

posted by Nell Minow

As we remember and thank those who have served our country and defended our freedom, these movies help us begin to understand their contribution. The Messenger One of the finest young actors working today, Ben Foster, stars with Woody Harrelson […]

Interstellar at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum

posted by Nell Minow

  Every element of Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” was really happening in front of the camera. Well, they didn’t actually go into space and explore other planets, but they did build every piece of equipment and they did seek out landscapes […]

Beyond the Light’s “Blackbird” — Original Version

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s lush romantic drama “Beyond the Lights” features a touching cover of the Nina Simone classic “Blackbird.” Before you enjoy the new version, here’s the original.

Robert Elisberg’s Review of My Book: 101 Must-See Movie Moments

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to my old friend Robert Elisberg for a wonderful review of my book in the Huffington Post. 101 Must-See Movie Moments What makes the book such fun is that most books on movies give a fairly general overview […]

Are Romantic Comedies About Love or Money?

posted by Nell Minow

I really enjoyed this essay by Meredith Haggerty at Medium about the way that romantic comedies have dealt with money issues through the years. Of course, all movies reflect the economic environment of their eras — the eras in which […]

Danny Elfman: Film Score Composer

posted by Nell Minow

We attended a superb concert at the Kennedy Center, with the National Symphony playing some of film scores Danny Elfman composed for his long-time colleague Tim Burton. So I was especially glad to see this excellent interview with Danny Elfman […]

Movies Are Mirrors: Seeing Ourselves in Movies

posted by Nell Minow

The Poem from Interstellar: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

posted by Nell Minow

“Interstellar” features this classic poem by Dylan Thomas: Do not go gentle into that good night Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of […]

Trailer: Minions

posted by Nell Minow

Did you ever wonder where Gru’s minions came from?

Red Carpet: The Theory of Everything with Eddie Redmayne and Screenwriter Anthony McCarten

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight was a special screening of “The Theory of Everything” and I was very lucky to be at the red carpet, with star Eddie Redmayne, who plays physicist Stephen Hawking, and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. Redmayne told me about the meticulous […]

Big Hero 6

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a super-smart kid who likes to hustle underground robot fighters with his deceptively cute-looking little bot.  He has no interest in going to school until the older brother he adores (Daniel Henney as Tadashi) brings him to […]

News from Pixar: Another Toy Story!

posted by Nell Minow

Disney has announced “Toy Story 4,” coming from Pixar in 2017, to be directed by John Lasseter.  Hurray for Pixar, and for Buzz and Woody!  I’ll provide more details as they are announced.

MVP of the Week: Robots

posted by Nell Minow

Two of the biggest movies of the year open up this week and they have one more important similarity — they both feature robots. Disney’s animated “Big Hero 6″ has a robot named Baymax, created to diagnose and treat a […]

Trailer: Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

posted by Nell Minow

I have to say I thought a Grumpy Cat movie was not a good idea, but this adorably meta trailer has just about won me over.  It will be broadcast Saturday, November 29th at 8/7c on Lifetime, and my prediction is […]

Smile of the Week: Airplane Safety Video, Hobbit-Style

posted by Nell Minow

Exclusive Clip! See Jim Davis Drawing Garfield the Cat in Garfield’s Holiday Collection

posted by Nell Minow

We are delighted to have an exclusive peek at a behind-the-scenes bonus clip from Garfield’s Holiday Collection. You can see Jim Davis drawing Garfield, star of the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world.

Interview: Laura Poitras of the Edward Snowden Documentary “Citizenfour”

posted by Nell Minow

I normally begin my interviews by asking for permission to record the conversation for my notes.  But there was something eerily resonant about that routine request when I spoke to journalist Laura Poitras, director of the new documentary “Citizenfour,” about […]

Interstellar

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

Writer/director Christopher Nolan takes on literally cosmic issues with “Interstellar.” It is an ambitious, provocative, thoughtful, and highly entertaining film that deals with, well, pretty much everything, and, all things considered (believe me, ALL things are considered), it holds together […]

Interview: Jet Jurgensmeyer of “A Belle for Christmas”

posted by Nell Minow

A Belle for Christmas, available today on DVD, is a cute holiday story of a dog named Belle who comes to live with kids named Elliot and Phoebe and their widowed father (Dean Cain).  Kristy Swenson plays Dani, the crafty […]

An Interview With Planes: Fire & Rescue Stars Erik Estrada and Fred Willard

posted by Nell Minow

Erik Estrada and Fred Willard provide two of the most distinctive voices in Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue, and it was a great treat to hear those voices through my telephone, as both actors called me to talk about their […]

Now on DVD: Garfield Holiday Collection

posted by Nell Minow

Garfield Holiday Collection, available on DVD exclusively at Walmart stores on November 4th and on iTunes and other digital platforms on November 11th, 2014, includes Emmy™ Award-winners “Garfield Halloween Adventure” and “Garfield on the Town,” as well as Emmy™ Award-nominated […]

Trailer: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry — The Women’s Movement 1966-71

posted by Nell Minow

Three Films About What We Discover About Others and Ourselves When We See and Hear What People Do When They Think No One is There

posted by Nell Minow

Professor Drew Morton deftly shows the connections between three films about listening or looking in secret and what secrets are discovered or uncovered: Blow Up, Blow Out, and The Conversation

Contest: Downton Abbey DVD Set

posted by Nell Minow

I am delighted to have a limited edition box set of Downton Abbey Seasons 1-4 to give away! To enter, send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com and tell me your favorite character from British television. Don’t forget your address! (U.S. […]

November 2014: Movies This Month

posted by Nell Minow

It’s going to be a great month at the movies! November is traditionally the time when we start to see the big awards hopefuls. Next Friday, two of the most anticipated films of the year open: Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” with […]

HBO: Frances McDormand in Olive Kitteridge

posted by Nell Minow

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Stout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a difficult woman experiencing and creating difficulties, is now a two-part miniseries on HBO, premiering tomorrow night, with Oscar-winner Frances McDormand in the title role.

Mickey’s Halloween 2014

posted by Nell Minow

Jack O’Lantern — Happy Halloween!

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Halloween! Light Show 2014

posted by Nell Minow

Laggies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Movie Release Date:October 31, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Movie Release Date: October 31, 2014

Lynn Shelton is known for writing and directing small, intimate, independent films with a lot of improvised dialogue (“Humpday,””My Sister’s Sister,” “Touchy Feely”), often using the same small group of actors. With “Laggies,” she moves seamlessly to working with a […]

Middleburg Film Festival — Year Two

posted by Nell Minow

The paint was hardly dry at Middleburg Virginia’s swanky new Salamander Resort when the first Middleburg Film Festival kicked off last year, but it was a spectacular start for both the festival and the resort, with Bruce Dern appearing to […]

Disney’s Headless Horseman, Sung by Bing Crosby

posted by Nell Minow

List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Halloween! Here are ten of my favorite movie ghosts.  (NOTE: Some of these have inferior remakes — stick with the originals.) Topper Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the most sophisticated, witty, and glamorous ghosts ever in this delightful […]

List: Sam Rockwell

posted by Nell Minow

Sam Rockwell is one of the most versatile leading me in Hollywood. This week, he stars with Keira Knightley in “Laggies,” playing a single dad. Here are some of my favorite Sam Rockwell performances: Moon Rockwell takes on the biggest […]

Lauren Bradshaw’s Terrific New “Before They Were Famous” Column

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and fellow critic Lauren Bradshaw has a great new series on the very earliest appearances by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. You can see Emma Stone, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain in their very first roles, and give […]

Big News From Marvel: Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and Much, Much, MUCH More

posted by Nell Minow

Wow, Marvel really knows how to make an announcement. Get out your calendars: May 6, 2016: Captain America: Civil War Nov. 4, 2016: Doctor Strange May 5, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 July 28, 2017: Thor: Ragnarok Nov. 3, […]

Nell Scovell Pays Tribute to the Under-Used Women Alumnae of SNL

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful Nell Scovell, who helped Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg write Lean In and is now working on a screenplay based on the book, has an excellent essay in Time about the talented women who appeared on “Saturday Night Live” but […]

Contest: Begin Again Soundtrack

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s release on DVD/Blu-Ray of the sweet romantic film Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, I am giving away a copy of the movie’s terrific soundtrack. Send me an email […]

What Makes Scary Movies Scary

posted by Nell Minow

Vox has a very good essay on what makes scary movies so scary, illustrated by thirteen classic scenes that demonstrate different techniques: introducing the monster, building suspense, silence and noise, and looong takes.

OK Go: I Won’t Let You Down

posted by Nell Minow

No one making movies anywhere is more creative than OK Go. This is pure kaleidoscopic joy. And all it took was a few umbrellas. Some background on the making of the video here.

Exclusive Clip: An Evergreen Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Robert Loggia and Naomi Judd star in “An Evergreen Christmas.” Leaving her seemingly glamorous Hollywood life on hold, Evie Lee is forced to return to her small hometown of Balsam Falls, Tennessee and her family’s once-thriving Christmas tree farm to […]

When Movies Turn the Tables on Critics

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks again to Criticwire for including me in their survey about how movie critics feel about the way that critics themselves are portrayed in movies. Sometimes filmmakers take a bit of revenge on those of us who judge them and […]

Benedict Cumberbatch: Behind the Scenes as Smaug

posted by Nell Minow

Here is a fascinating glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch’s full-on performance as Smaug in “The Hobbit” series.

Family Movies for Halloween

posted by Nell Minow

  Halloween gives kids a thrilling opportunity to act out their dreams and pretend to be characters with great power. But it can also be scary and even overwhelming for the littlest trick-or-treaters. An introduction to the holiday with videos […]

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies,” with some disturbing conclusions about parents’ ability to make good decisions about the impact some media […]

Is E-Reading to Kids the Same as Analog Reading?

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times asks, Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time? In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading […]

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary “Mentor”

posted by Nell Minow

Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, “Mentor,” the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 […]

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

posted by Nell Minow

The latest in Disney’s animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell’s friend Fawn, an animal […]

Interview: “Avatar” Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in “23 Blast”

posted by Nell Minow

Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in “Avatar.” But in “23 Blast,” based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a […]

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 16, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 16, 2015

Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, “Birdman” (subtitled “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”) explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of […]

John Wick

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2015

This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people who really know stunts and […]

23 Blast

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014

23 Blast is the name of a football play, and “23 Blast” is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed […]

Trailer: Little Hope Was Arson, Story of Church Burnings

posted by Nell Minow

Available in select theaters and nationwide VOD beginning Nov 21! For more info, please visit: http://littlehopewasarson.com. January 2010: In the buckle of the Bible Belt, 10 churches burn to the ground in just over a month igniting the largest criminal […]

Trailer: The Avengers: Age of Ultron

posted by Nell Minow

I’m very excited about the next Avengers movie, coming out next spring, and it’s a great trailer with the bleak images, random ballerinas, and creepy re-do of the classic song from “Pinocchio” (Disney loves to dip into its own archive, […]

Interviews: “Art and Craft’s” Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman

posted by Nell Minow

The documentary “Art and Craft” is the extraordinary story of two men.  One is Mark Landis, an artist who created counterfeit paintings and then disguised himself as various philanthropist personas and donated them to art museums over three decades.  The […]

Previous Posts

The Oldest Living Movie Stars
The Film Experience has a put together a list of the 200 oldest movie stars, from age 82-105.  It includes two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland ("Gone With the Wind"), John Wayne c0-star Maureen O'Hara, and century-old Norman Lloyd, who ...

posted 8:00:53am Aug. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Tom Cruise Runs -- Supercut
I love this supercut of Tom Cruise's best running scenes, first because it shows the range of films he's worked in over the decades, and the different ways different directors and cinematographers shoot the scenes (and some similarities), and ...

posted 10:17:54pm Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

You Can Help Support This new Ed Asner Film on Indiegogo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAY_sMucKl4 Ed Asner stars in this new film about a young man who finds a book at his grandmother’s memorial, with a series of fantastical tales that his grandfather wrote for his grandmother. Each is a ...

posted 4:18:09pm Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Opening this Month: August 2015
August is usually one of the slowest months of the year for major movie releases, but this year we have some prospects that could include both ...

posted 3:15:47pm Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: On Beauty
[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/110407707[/vimeo] ...

posted 8:00:06am Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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