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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
The whole family will enjoy this beautiful version of Dylan Thomas’ classic memory about his family Christmases in Wales.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
I love it that Judy Garland sings “rainbows” instead of “reindeer.”
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, […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Happy Hannukah from StandFour!
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: […]
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 […]
This is absolutely stunning. Can’t wait to see it.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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!
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!
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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? […]
Al Pacino plays a rock star whose life is changed when he finds a letter John Lennon wrote him decades before.
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 […]
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, 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.
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.
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 […]
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 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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
I have a fabulous gift pack of family DVDs to give away! Send me an email at email@example.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 […]
Watch Peter Pan Live! On NBC Thursday, December 4 at 8/7c.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.”
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
All my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, and please know how thankful I am for the time you spend here.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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,” […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
Fandango has a great interview with the stars of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.” What was the toughest part for Jennifer Lawrence? Singing!
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
I love this list of the most touching and inspiring moments of kindness in movies from BFI, including my favorite:
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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” 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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:
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 […]
Before “The Theory of Everything” with Eddie Redmayne as cosmologist Stephen Hawking, there was “Hawking” with Benedict Cumberbatch. You can see it on YouTube.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
Did you ever wonder where Gru’s minions came from?
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your favorite character from British television. Don’t forget your address! (U.S. […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Here is a fascinating glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch’s full-on performance as Smaug in “The Hobbit” series.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
Last week both cable giant HBO and broadcast giant CBS made announcements that signal the end of television as we know it. Both responded to the clear message of the market and said that they would make their content available […]
Dylan Baker is probably best remembered for playing some of the most horrific villains imaginable (“The Good Wife,” “Happiness”). But his extensive career has included wild comedies (“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” “Anchorman 2″), historical drama (he was Robert McNamara in […]
Flavorwire has put together a great list of the 50 best movies about writers. It’s always tricky to make a writer interesting on film. On one hand, you have the advantage of a character who is likely to be witty […]
You didn’t think Arthur Tressler was going to let them get away with it, did you? I am very happy that one of the most entertaining films of 2013, Now You See Me is getting a sequel and the stars, […]
David Suchet (PBS’ Hercule Poirot) is the host of In the Footsteps of St. Peter, out tomorrow on DVD.
I am not going to give the people behind the idiotic and offensive press release I recently received the recognition of identifying them by name, but the claim that they make is one I have heard often enough I need […]
Entertainment Weekly reports that Disney has announced a new animated feature to be released in 2016: “Moana,” with a Polynesian heroine in search of a fabled island. With Disney greats Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin”) in […]
Here’s a cute reminder on movie theater manners.
Writer/director Ted Melfi got Bill Murray to appear in his first film by calling him. Murray does not have an agent or a manager. He has an 800 number. And Melfi left message after message until Murray finally called back […]
Thanks to Indiewire for including me in their survey of critics about how important it is to watch a movie as it was filmed. If it was made on film stock, is it unfair to the artists’ vision to watch […]
Pixar artist Armand Baltazar has a forthcoming three-book children’s series called Timeless, about a world in which all time periods come together, and all nows are at the same time. A boy and friends from different time periods must rescue […]
Get ready for Halloween with Scholastic’s “Day of the Dead” DVD, featuring four spooky (but not too scary) tales. In the title story, by Bob Barner and narrated by Rita Moreno, two children celebrate their ancestors on this Latin American […]
History, Winston Churchill reminds us, is written by the victors. But sometimes those victors have some second thoughts, more complex thoughts, about the nature of heroism, patriotism, and the spoils (in both senses) of war. And sometimes people want to […]
Jorge Gutierrez (Nickelodeon’s “El Tigre”) is co-writer and director of a dazzling new animated film that all but explodes off the screen in a kaleidoscope of color and energy and a love of life and storytelling and colorful characters and […]