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quality

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

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age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
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Christopher Orr on the Coen Brothers’ “Miller’s Crossing”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

New on ABC: Black-ish

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

The Real Story: Tracks and Robyn Davidson’s Long Walk Across Australia

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Smile of the Week: The Dancing Traffic Light

posted by Nell Minow

TrueSpark: Teaching Children and Teens About Character With Quality Films

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Genevieve Bailey of “I Am Eleven”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Exclusive Clip — Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Best TV for Kids May Be Online

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Fifty Years of Fiddler on the Roof

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Great Cinematographers on Instagram

posted by Nell Minow

Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.

De-fictionalizing Products in Movies and Television: Life Imitating Art

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Tusk

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 29, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 29, 2014

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 […]

This is Where I Leave You

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2014

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 […]

The Maze Runner

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2014

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 […]

The Art of John Alvin — Designer of Iconic Movie Posters

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Guest Post: Tara Sonenshine on “Calvary”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Trailer: Effie Gray, Starring Dakota Fanning and Emma Thompson

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

New MacArthur Genius Award Winners Include Alison Bechdel and Joshua Oppenheimer

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Happy Birthday US Constitution!

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Trailer: Days and Nights With Katie Holmes and Allison Janney

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Trailer: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in “Serena”

posted by Nell Minow

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence re-team in “Serena,” which looks very intriguing but does not yet have a US release date. Stay tuned.

Contest: Win a DVD of Ella the Elephant

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Kellie Pickler Joins the Veggie Tales in Beauty and the Beet

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Smile of the Week: Baby Got Class

posted by Nell Minow

A great video for Back to School from the hilarious Holderness family!

James Franco’s New Movie Mash-Up Series

posted by Nell Minow

James Franco has a new series on AOL Originals. He’ll be re-enacting classic movie scenes combined with other classic movie scenes.

Trailer: Paper Planes

posted by Nell Minow

Coming in 2015, “Paper Planes” stars Sam Worthington (“Avatar”).

Janelle Monae Tells Sesame Street About the Power of Yet: Just Keep Trying

posted by Nell Minow

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.

All the Gilmore Girls Episodes Will Be Streaming on Netflix!

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Exclusive Featurette: Last Weekend

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Interview: Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff of “Dolphin Tale 2″

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Drop

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2015

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 […]

Dolphin Tale 2

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 8, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2014

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 […]

Limited Time Offer from Amazon: Warners Best, 100 Films for About $2 Each

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

No Good Deed — A Twist on the Gothika Rule

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Colors of Pixar

posted by Nell Minow

Watch how Pixar uses the colors of the rainbow to create a mood, tell a story, and delight the eye.

9/11/14

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Movie Addict Headquarters: Fall Movie Preview 2014 with Betty Jo Tucker, Mack Bates, and A.J. Hakari

posted by Nell Minow

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!

Why Are We Getting So Many Split POV Stories About Couples?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Cinderella — With Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Academy Originals: The First Film That Made You Laugh, Featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Lupita Nyong’o and More

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Behind the Scenes: The Boxtrolls

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Best TV Show of the Fall: The Roosevelts on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

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: The Essentials

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Contest: Win a DVD of “Louder than Words” starring David Duchovny

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Jeff and Jer Showgram — In Studio

posted by Nell Minow

I got to visit my pals at the Jeff and Jer show when I was in San Diego last week!

Kickstarter Campaign for a New Documentary on Diversity in Films: The Hollywood Blackout

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

NAACP Reminds Parents to Read to Their Kids

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Fabulous Celebrity Encounters Via Prizeo

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Sit Down — Friends is 20 Years Old

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Trailer: The Song

posted by Nell Minow

“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 […]

Help Desk on OWN: Experts Give Advice on the Street

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Trailer: The Rewrite with Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei

posted by Nell Minow

Can’t help it — I’m looking forward to this.

Fathom Events: A Streetcar Named Desire with Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Coming Soon: Evergreen Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

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

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use
Movie Release Date:September 5, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use
Movie Release Date: September 5, 2014

“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

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 5, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 5, 2014

“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 […]

Tribute: Joan Rivers

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Schoolhouse Rock is Coming Back to TV!

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

Exclusive Clip: “Thunder and the House of Magic”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Bill Hader’s 200 Movie-List for Comedy Writers

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Sonic Highways: Making Music With Dave Grohl

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Should Movie Audiences Text to the Screen?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Back to School Guidelines for Parents on Kids and Media

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

After the Ice Bucket Challenge: Two Upcoming Movies About People With ALS

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Tuesdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Labor Day 2014: Movies About Unions

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Summer Summer-y: The Summer Movies of 2014

posted by Nell Minow

A few concluding thoughts on the summer movies of 2014: A good summer for food movies: “The Chef,” “The 100-Foot Journey,” and “The Trip to Italy” had some big-time actors but the real stars were the luscious meals. Special mention […]

The Last Leonard Maltin Movie Guide

posted by Nell Minow

Leonard Maltin was only 17 years old when he was offered the chance to create his guide to movies on television. For many years, I kept the latest copy on my desk and anyone who came into my office could […]

“Let’s Be Cops” Could Have Been Not Terrible

posted by Nell Minow

“Let’s Be Cops” is a dumb movie that wants to be like “Lethal Weapon” or “The Other Guys,” a comedy action film about buddies with badges. It’s moderate box office returns are possibly in part because the unrest in Ferguson […]

Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang — Beyonce, Cher, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Jesse J

posted by Nell Minow

Two hit tunes from the hottest pop divas are both called “Bang Bang.”  One is Beyoncé’s sultry, glamorous cover of the Cher oldie in this teaser for her HBO special. Ariana Grande, Jesse J, and Nicki Minaj have an unrelated […]

Contest: Hey Arnold! The Complete Series

posted by Nell Minow

The football-headed Arnold and all his pals are here in this box set with all 99 adventures from the beloved Nickelodeon series. It’s available exclusively at Walmart, but I have a copy to give away! Send me an email with […]

Interview: Dylan Brody on Comedy, Depression, and Robin Williams

posted by Nell Minow

Dylan Brody is a comedy writer and stand-up performer dubbed “brilliant” by Robin Williams.  It was Williams’ tragic suicide that inspired Brody to write a moving essay about his own struggles with depression.  Brody generously took time to talk with me […]

Opera Flash Mob at a London Grocery Store

posted by Nell Minow

Sacla staged an impromptu Opera in the food aisles of a London grocery store. They planted five secret opera singers who were disguised as casual shoppers and store staff amongst the groceries who broke into song bringing the foodhall to […]

Exclusive Clip: Juliette Lewis in “Kelly and Cal”

posted by Nell Minow

Juliette Lewis stars as a rocker-turned suburban mother of a newborn in “Kelly and Cal.”  Here she tries to make friends with the other mothers, who treat her like mean girls shooing off a freshman who wants to sit at […]

Love is Strange

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:08/22/2014
DVD Release Date:January 12. 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: 08/22/2014
DVD Release Date: January 12. 2015

Love is strange.  As this movie opens, a deeply devoted couple of more than three decades wakes up and prepares for a big, important, emotional, happy occasion.  They bicker a little bit, but it is clear to them and to […]

See Great Directors — in TV and Music Videos

posted by Nell Minow

Top directors do more than movies.  Take a look at these clips from Emmy-nominated television series and these music videos made by some of the most talented directors working in Hollywood, including Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), […]

Interview: Daniel Schechter, Writer/Director of “Life of Crime”

posted by Nell Minow

Newcomer Daniel Schechter, who wrote one of my favorite neglected gems, The Big Bad Swim, worked with an all-star cast in “Life of Crime,” which he adapted from The Switch by Elmore Leonard and directed.  It is set in 1970’s Detroit and […]

The November Man

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:August 27, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 25, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: August 27, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 25, 2014

Pierce Brosnan knows what it is like to play a spy in a big-budget, glamorous, blockbuster. He was the most urbane of Bonds in four movies. He knows what it is to play a seedier spy in a prestige, mildly […]

Trailer: Thunder and the House of Magic

posted by Nell Minow

“Thunder and the House of Magic” opens September 5, 2014.

Anatomy of Every Movie Ever

posted by Nell Minow

This is hilarious and, I have to say, accurate.  Thank you, John Atkinson of Wrong Hands!

Cozi Zuehlsdorff’s New Song for “Dolphin Tale 2″ — “Brave Souls”

posted by Nell Minow

I’m really looking forward to “Dolphin Tale 2,” even more so after seeing this music video by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, the young actress who reprises her role as Hazel from the original film. Cozi’s song, which she wrote and performs herself, […]

Adventure Planet

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Not rated
DVD Release Date:August 19, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Not rated
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2014

Jane Lynch, Danny Glover, Brooke Shields, Bailee Madison, and Drake Bell provide the voices for “Adventure Planet,” an animated adventure for the whole family out today on DVD.  Norva and Jorpe are siblings who live in the tropical forests of […]

HUB Network Switches Parents and Kids in the Freaky Friday-ish “Parents Just Don’t Understand”

posted by Nell Minow

Joey Fatone hosts the new HUB Network reality series “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” a real-life “Freaky Friday,” with parents and kids switching places.  It airs Saturdays at 7 (6 Central).

Trailer: Mortdecai with Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow

posted by Nell Minow

This looks like fun!

Anne Hathaway, Chris Pratt, Andy Serkis, Kate Winslet And More — Interviewing Each Other

posted by Nell Minow

I got a kick out of seeing what happened when Total Film asked the celebrities on junkets to interview each other.

Interview: Ira Sachs of “Love is Strange”

posted by Nell Minow

It’s hard to imagine that there will be a more tender love story on screen this year than John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in “Love is Strange,” from writer/director Ira Sachs.  They play a long-time couple who get married after […]

When the Game Stands Tall — The Real Story

posted by Nell Minow

“When the Game Stands Tall” is based on the real-life story of the De La Salle High School Spartans football team, which had the longest winning streak of any team in any sport at any level 151 games in a […]

Yes, Handwriting Still Matters — Here’s How to Teach Kids Cursive

posted by Nell Minow

Schools are eliminating curricula to teach cursive writing, based on the assumption that what matters is keyboarding skills. But studies show that writing by hand helps you process and learn more effectively. It is important for fine motor skills as […]

Taylor Swift Shakes it Off

posted by Nell Minow

Taylor Swift, who can be seen in “The Giver,” debuts her first pop album with this adorable video. There have been some online discussions about whether Swift is racially insensitive or even racist.  That is a subjective assessment viewers will […]

Yes, Another “Happy” Video, But You Will Love This One, I Promise

posted by Nell Minow

Produced by a team of Deaf campers & staff from Deaf Film Camp 2014 at Camp Mark Seven.

An R Rating for Being Gay?

posted by Nell Minow

“Love is Strange,” a tender, beautifully written and performed love story about a three decade relationship, stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina.  The MPAA has given the movie an R rating even though there is nothing in the film that […]

If I Stay

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

Hamlet asked it best. “To be, or not to be: That is the question.” We struggle through, worrying about whether someone likes us or whether we will be accepted at the school of our choice. Those seem like serious problems. […]

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

If you want to not just see but hear an eyeball being pulverized, then see “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”  If you want to see and hear it in the company of an audience who thinks that’s funny, […]

When the Game Stands Tall

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014

This dreary assemblage of every possible sports cliché has one thing in common with the game it portrays. Every time it seems to be going somewhere, it stops. More frustratingly, it wastes the opportunity to tell a good story by […]

Christian Indie Films of 2014

posted by Nell Minow

This year has already seen a remarkable and perhaps unprecedented number of Christian and Biblically-based films, from big-budget epics like “Noah” and “Son of God” to small faith-oriented films like “God’s Not Dead.”  There is an excellent summary of four Christian […]

Frank: The Real Story of the Singer With the Paper-Mache Mask

posted by Nell Minow

One of the handsomest men alive spends almost the entire movie wearing a huge round paper maché head in “Frank,” a moving film inspired by the real-life story of the late Frank Sidebottom.  Michael Fassbender plays Frank, a sweet-natured but […]

What’s Up With My Family? — App Helps Middle Schoolers Navigate Life

posted by Nell Minow

Middle School Confidential™ 3: What’s Up with My Family? is a new IOS app, the next installment of the series for tweens and teens. The third edition continues the story of Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle—a tight-knit group […]

The Simpsons Binge Watch: Every Episode Plus the Movie

posted by Nell Minow

Get your food delivery menus ready.  Unplug your phone.  All 552 Simpsons episodes will be broadcast in order, starting tomorrow. They include scenes cut in syndication that have not been on television since the original broadcast. And of course they […]

Interview: Bo Svenson

posted by Nell Minow

Bo Svenson is an actor, writer, director, judo champion, and, as I was lucky enough to find out, an enthralling guy to talk to, turning an interview into a wide-ranging conversation. Svenson was born in Sweden. His family emigrated to […]

Tribute: Don Pardo

posted by Nell Minow

Don Pardo’s face was not familiar.  But his voice was instantly recognizable.  We mourn the loss of one of the great announcers in broadcast history, who died on Monday at age 96. The cast of “Saturday Night Live,” where he […]

Interview: Gayle Forman of “If I Stay”

posted by Nell Minow

Gayle Forman is the author of If I Stay, the source for this week’s movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia, a talented young cellist in a coma following a car accident.  As she hovers between life and death, she […]

Popcorn Update….Maybe

posted by Nell Minow

Remember when I explained how movie theater lobbyists created a loophole in the rules requiring places that serve food to let you know the calories and fat content of your purchases? I don’t think it’s likely to happen, but it’s […]

Exclusive Clip: Home is Where the Heart is

posted by Nell Minow

We are delighted to have an exclusive clip from the warm-hearted family film, Home Is Where the Heart Is — and even more delighted to have two copies to give away. “Trophy Wife’s” Bailee Madison, Laura Bell Bundy (“Heart of […]

Dancing Baby Groot

posted by Nell Minow

We can all use a little more dancing Baby Groot in our lives. And if you’d like to see Groot dance to some other songs, check this out.

Michael Mirasol Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Michael Mirasol shares some of his favorite moments from Robin Williams extraordinary range of films.

Do We Really Need a Secrets of “Saved by the Bell” Movie?

posted by Nell Minow

Coming on Labor Day — the seamy expose of what went on behind the scenes in “Saved by the Bell.”

More Cliches for the Never Put This in a Movie Again List

posted by Nell Minow

Mentorless has a great list of movie dialog clichés that should be banned from all future films.  I really miss the old Rotten Tomatoes show that had great compilations for lines like “That wasn’t part of the plan.”  Here are […]

Interview: Elan Mastai, Screenwriter of Daniel Radcliffe’s Romantic Comedy “What If”

posted by Nell Minow

Daniel Radcliffe’s first romantic comedy is “What If,” co-starring Zoe Kazan. Radcliffe plays Wallace, a former medical student who dropped out after his romance fell apart. He meets a girl named Chantry (Kazan) who seems perfect, but she has a […]

Quotes of the Week: Critics on “Expendables 3″ and “The Giver”

posted by Nell Minow

“The Expendables 3″ inspired a lot of geriatric-themed commentary.  Some of it was pretty funny (“a fraternity reunion with the brothers at Alpha Delta Viagra“, “Sylvester Stallone’s jobs program for expired action heroes“).   The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert had a distinctive […]

More from Chris Pratt

posted by Nell Minow

Chris Pratt is having a very good year.  The buffed-up star of Guardians of the Galaxy also provided the voice for the lead character in another of the year’s best films, The LEGO Movie.  But many of us have known how […]

Trailer: The Letters, the Story of Mother Teresa

posted by Nell Minow

Juliet Stevenson stars as Mother Teresa in the story of the extraordinary woman who cared for “the poorest of the poor.”

A Will for the Woods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014

“Without this,” Clark Wang says, “dying from lymphoma feels so empty and meaningless and pointless.”  Dr. Wang was diagnosed in 2003, and we meet him as he is running out of options for treatment.  His doctor tells him it is […]

The Expendables 3

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 25, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 25, 2014

Everything I said about the last two “Expendables” movies, blah blah, with some new additions from the AARP branch of the action heroes club: Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, and Mel Gibson, plus a couple of Expendable interns to […]

Teaching Kids Kindness: Richard Weissbourd

posted by Nell Minow

I am a big fan of Richard Weisbourd, author of The Parents We Mean To Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development, and I was especially impressed with his thoughtful comments on teaching children kindness — not […]

Let’s Be Cops

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014

Oh, let’s not. As generic as its name and way too long, any significant connection “Let’s Be Cops” has with its audience comes from the increasing sense of regret that this talented cast wasted its time — and ours. The […]

Contest: Win Free Passes to the Romantic Comedy “What If” with Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan

posted by Nell Minow

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in this R-rated romantic comedy about a medical school dropout who meets a girl who could be the one — only to find himself relegated to the friend zone.  And I have five pairs […]

April O’Neil: Feminist Progress or Passive Object?

posted by Nell Minow

Could it be possible that Megan Fox as April O’Neil is the strongest heroine in any of the big summer blockbusters? Despite the title, April is in many ways the main character in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” The film starts […]

Tribute: Lauren Bacall

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of Lauren Bacall, who has died at age 89. “Anybody got a match?” With those words, a teenager born Betty Perske from Brooklyn made her first screen appearance, in To Have and Have Not. Her chin […]

Remembering “The Wonder Years”

posted by Nell Minow

Paste Magazine has a very entertaining piece by Bonnie Stiernberg about “The Wonder Years.” There’s something of a meta layer in feeling nostalgic for a 1988-93 television series that was itself about the nostalgia an adult man felt for his […]

Short Film: My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts

posted by Nell Minow

I love this endearing story about how people in even the most unexpected of jobs can make a real difference.

WIN TMNT Prizes Including Nintendo Game!

posted by Nell Minow

The heroes on the half shell are back with a blockbuster box office hit! If you’re a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this contest is for you. It includes a Nintendo game, a Raphael mask, a Leonardo action […]

The Giver

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 24, 2014

“Thank you for your childhood.” Are there any more fearsome words in literature than these? Lois Lowry’s The Giver is a Newbery Award-winning novel, a staple of middle school reading lists and book reports. It tells a dystopian story of […]

Tribute: Robin Williams

posted by Nell Minow

The loss of actor Robin Williams is almost unbearably wrenching.  His boundless gifts could not help him battle depression so devastating that it prevented him from understanding how deeply he was loved or perhaps how deserving he was of love. […]

Trailer: I Am Eleven

posted by Nell Minow

Along the lines of the marvelous Babies, the new documentary “I Am Eleven” introduces us to eleven-year-olds around the world, different cultures, but all on the brink of adolescence, that terrifying, amazing moment. It looks wonderful.

Win FREE Tickets to Boyhood! Win the Boyhood Soundtrack!

posted by Nell Minow

Richard Linklater‘s “Boyhood,” filmed over 12 years, is one of the best movies of the year and I have FIVE FREE PASSES to give away. Each admits two. Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Boyhood” in the subject line […]

Contest: Arthur Goes Back to School

posted by Nell Minow

Eight-year-old Arthur the aardvark has four adventures in this new DVD, available tomorrow, August 12, 2014. This is the perfect back-to-school treat, as Arthur and his friends find out that a candy bar may not be as appetizing as they […]

Quotes of the Week: Trashing the Turtles

posted by Nell Minow

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie inspired some howls of outrage from critics.  As usual, when movies are good, the writers I admire are good, but when they’re bad, they’re better. I enjoyed this one from Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir: Yes, […]

Guardians of the Galaxy Merch: Where’s Gamora???? Sigh.

posted by Nell Minow

Guardians of the Galaxy is enormous fun and a huge box-office hit, with loveable characters and a refreshing sense of humor about itself. Who wouldn’t want to extend the pleasures of the film with some merch, perhaps an action figure […]

Trailer: Pride — Based on the True Story of LGBT Activists Who Aided Mineworkers

posted by Nell Minow

Bill Nighy, Dominic West, and Imelda Staunton star in “Pride,” based on the true story of LGBT activists who came to the aid of striking mineworkers in Wales during the Thatcher era.  Opening September 19, 2014.

Writing for the Industry: Black Writers Talk About Their Work

posted by Nell Minow

This afternoon at 3PM, the 8th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair in Los Angeles will host a “Writing for the Industry” panel, which will aid “beginning, advanced and aspiring screenwriters through the steps of writing their first feature length script, […]

Richard Nixon: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly

posted by Nell Minow

Forty years ago today, Richard Nixon became the first and so far only President of the United States to resign from office. Elected easily just two years before, he was about to be impeached for his role in the Watergate […]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 16, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2014

Dear Michael Bay, Just because you were able to turn one Saturday cartoon series for children into a PG-13 blockbuster, based on nostalgia on the part of its now-teen and 20-something audience and some world class special effects, does not […]

The Hundred Foot Journey

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 1, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2014

Shakespeare famously made fun of the notion of a sighing lover creating an ode “to his mistress’ eyebrow.” But it would take Shakespeare to do justice to Helen Mirren as a French woman of impeccable bearing who is able to […]

Into the Storm

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

Let’s get this out of the way up front. It’s no “Twister,” which is not just the “Citizen Kane” of tornado movies, but a loveably cheesy thrill ride of a film that holds up very well even though its then-cutting […]

List: Movies About Chefs

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s release about competing chefs, “The Hundred Foot Journey,” I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite movies about cooks and chefs. Julie & Julia Meryl Streep plays legendary chef Julia Child and Amy Adams […]

Free for a Limited Time: 121 Best Books for Children

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful folks at Dinner A Love Story have kindly made their 121 Books: The Greatest Kid Books of All Time ebook available for free for a limited time, so grab it right now.

Trailer: The Theory of Everything

posted by Nell Minow

“The Theory of Everything” is the story of one of the world’s most brilliant minds, renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who has the most severe physical disabilities. Eddie Redmayne (“Les Misérables”) and Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) star as Hawking […]

Interview: John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson of “Calvary”

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson met with my friend John Hanlon and me to talk about “Calvary,” where Gleeson plays an Irish priest in an oceanside community that is filled with sadness, regret, and loss. Some of the […]

Ethan Hawke’s “Boyhood” Beatles Black Album

posted by Nell Minow

For his extraordinary 12-year filming project, “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater encouraged his actors to bring elements of their lives over that period to the characters they played.  When Ethan Hawke said that he had prepared a mix-CD for his own children […]

Happy Birthday, Ella Jenkins!

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful singer Ella Jenkins turns 90 this week! You can wish her a happy birthday on the Smithsonian’s tribute page. You can preview her new collection of multicultural songs. And we have one to give away! Send me an […]

Sight and Sound List: The Best Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

I love documentaries, and it was a treat to read through this list from Sight and Sound, which includes many of my favorites and some I’d never heard of. And here are a few of my favorites that I’d add […]

Lena Dunham on “The Big Chill” Generation

posted by Nell Minow

I am a big fan of Lena Dunham, and her essay on “The Big Chill” and its generation — her parents’ generation — is enormously thoughtful and beautifully written. Her insight and her generosity of spirit are very moving. And […]

Interview: Mike Cahill of “I Origins”

posted by Nell Minow

Mike Cahill writes and directs singular, provocative stories where science and faith combine — and sometimes clash. In “Another Earth,” Cahill’s college classmate, sometimes co-writer and friend Brit Marling starred as a girl who befriends the man whose family she […]

Bob Mondello on the Challenge of Naming Movie Sequels

posted by Nell Minow

NPR’s Bob Mondello has a delightful commentary on titles of movie sequels.  Somehow he neglected to mention “Sharknado 2: The Second One,” which democratically allowed the fans to pick the title via Twitter votes.  That approach could have prevented some […]

“Guardians of the Galaxy” in LEGOs

posted by Nell Minow

Trailer: Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”

posted by Nell Minow

Interview: Michel Gondry of “Mood Indigo”

posted by Nell Minow

Michel Gondry is one of my favorite directors, with a distinctive style of romance and whimsy, best known for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Be Kind Rewind.”  His films usually feature intricate contraptions with a very hand-made feeling. […]

Eyes On/In Film

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Alan Zilberman has a great essay on Rogerebert.com about the history of close-ups of the eye in films. The current release, “I Origins” is about scientists who study eyes professionally, one of whom has taken thousands of photographs […]

Girl in a Country Song — Maddie and Tae Reverse the Gender Roles

posted by Nell Minow

“Can I put on some real clothes now?”

Coming in August: Helen Mirren, Ninja Turtles, Step Up 5, If I Stay, The Giver, and More

posted by Nell Minow

August is traditionally a slow month for movies, with some of each year’s worst being released just before Labor Day. But this year, the last month of summer vacation leads off with a bang, Guardians of the Galaxy, plus the […]

Lucy and the Box Office: The Good News and the Bad News

posted by Nell Minow

Last week, “Lucy” beat “Hercules” at the box office, good news for those who still think that women-led action films can’t make money. As blog The Mary Sue put it succinctly: “Today In Female-Led-Movies-Obviously-Don’t-Make-Money News, Lucy Beat Out Hercules This […]

Guardians of the Galaxy

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 8, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2014

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. […]

Get on Up

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

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 […]

Magic in the Moonlight

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 16, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2014

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 […]

Exclusive Clip: Behind the Scenes on “Calvary”

posted by Nell Minow

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: The Last of Our Pre-Code Series, Jean Harlow in “Red Headed Woman”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Statler and Waldorf and “Muppets Most Wanted”

posted by Nell Minow

Featuring my favorite Muppet characters!  (Probably because they are critics.)

Comic-Con 2014: Costumes!

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

The Real Story: James Brown and “Ski Party”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Comic-Con 2014: Days 3 and 4

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Behind the Scenes Clip: Adam Levine in “Begin Again”

posted by Nell Minow

I have one copy of the wonderful soundtrack to give away!  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com 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 […]

Interview: Thunder Levin of “Sharknado” and “Sharknado 2″

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Contest Winner — “Earth to Echo’s” GoPro Camera

posted by Nell Minow

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  

Intuition — A Short Film from Danielle Lurie

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Interview: Joseph Nasser of “Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

“Guardian of the Galaxy’s” Awesome Mixtape

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Thank You! This Site is 19 Years Old This Week!

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Dan Cohen of “Alive Inside”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Contest: “Lullaby” — Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Comic-Con 2014: Day One

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Remembering the Vietnam War: 10 Movies

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Lucy

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2015

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 […]

And So It Goes

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:B00NW6KQYE
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: B00NW6KQYE

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 […]

The Memory Book — This Saturday on the Hallmark Channel

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Michael Rossato-Bennett of “Alive Inside”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Movies’ Greatest Mirror Scenes

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

How Do Movies Show Time Passing?

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

Boring TV Makes You Fat

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Switched at Birth and the End of Life

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Comic-Con 2014

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Wish I Was Here

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 27, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2014

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 […]

Free! Planes: Fire & Rescue Activity Sheets

posted by Nell Minow

I have free activity sheets for Planes: Fire & Rescue! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.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.

Happy Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Tribute: James Garner

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Importance of Film Editing: Cinefix

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Noel Langley and the Original Script for “The Wizard of Oz”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

My Visit to LAIKA: Part 3

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Academy Originals: Creative Spark — Aline Brosh McKenna

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Exclusive Clip: Hope Davis and Timothy Hutton in “Louder Than Words”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

I’m Proud to be Featured on Movie Addict Headquarters’ 7th Anniversary Show

posted by Nell Minow

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.  

Boyhood

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

“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 […]

Planes: Fire & Rescue

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and some peril
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 3, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and some peril
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2014

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 […]

Tribute: Elaine Stritch

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Richard Linklater of “Boyhood”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Contest: Win a Plushie Echo from “Earth to Echo”

posted by Nell Minow

I have some adorable plushies of the little alien in “Earth to Echo” to give away! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Echo” in the subject line and tell me your favorite summer activity. Don’t forget your mailing address! […]

Exclusive Clip: Justin and the Knights of Valour

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

My Visit to LAIKA: Part 2

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Previous Posts

Movies vs. Science -- The Worst Science Mistakes on Film
The Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum used to have a great little video with a claymation Albert Einstein shaking his head over the many mistakes in sci-fi movies. "They're breaking my rule!" he exclaimed. As the animated genius went on to ...

posted 8:00:59am Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Ant-Man
Okay, I admit I was skeptical. I was thinking along the lines of Teeny Little Super Guy from Sesame Street. But I love Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll and this trailer has me sold. [iframe width="560" height="315" ...

posted 3:25:31pm Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Movie Scenes in Grocery Stores -- Featuring Macaulay Culkin, Michael Keaton, Natalie Portman, Steve Martin, Ryan Gosling, and More
Check out Slate's compilation of movie scenes set in grocery stores.  It has a lot of my favorites, but leaves out this classic with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, from the fact-based "Yours, Mine, and ...

posted 8:00:01am Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Ebertfest 2015, Part 2
It was a great honor to be included on today's panel of movie critics, along with superstars Godfrey Cheshire, Scott Foundas, Matt Zoller Seitz, Rebecca Theodore Vachon, Richard Roeper, Susan Wloszczyna, Michael Phillips, Brian Tallarico, and ...

posted 8:36:52pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

GI Film Festival -- Coming to DC May 19-24
I was very lucky to be able to attend a preview of the upcoming 9th annual GI Film Festival, coming to Washington, D.C. and Fairfax, Virginia May 19-24, 2015.  Brandon Millett and Laura Law-Millett started the festival, the first ever devoted ...

posted 3:40:40pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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