It was a lot of fun to talk to Libby Coleman about “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.” In an article for Ozy, Coleman says that by one standard it is the worst film of all time (or at least since the […]
It was a lot of fun to talk to Libby Coleman about “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.” In an article for Ozy, Coleman says that by one standard it is the worst film of all time (or at least since the […]
Thanks as always to my pals at Motley Fool Money for inviting me on the podcast. I always love it when I get to combine my interests in finance, investing, and movie!
I’m sorry Sandra Bullock’s film, Our Brand is Crisis, isn’t getting more attention. I thought it was smart and funny and loved Bullock’s performance. But I admit another reason I liked it was that the wonderful actress Ann Dowd played […]
PrettyFamous examined the most successful film franchises of all time. [C}haracter-driven franchises with plenty of edge-of-the-seat moments can spur on the production of final chapters, sequels and prequels for years to come. The most recent example is, of course, the […]
Data curated by prettyfamous.com and findthedata.com and sourced from Gracenote.
Michael Hiltzik writes in the LA Times: [As many as] 700 titles [are] assumed to be nestled in the vaults of Universal Pictures, which inherited Paramount’s 1930s and 1940s film archive from its forebear MCA, which acquired the collection in […]
There’s a cool new website that is kind of like Match.com, except that it matches you with a movie character! Charactour.com lets you find your movie dream date or remix your favorite character to create your own ideal match.
The blogger behind Phyllis Loves Classic Movies held an invitational blogathon on a subject many people have strong feelings about: remakes. Phyllis herself took on one, or I should say, two of my favorites: “My Favorite Wife” with Irene Dunne […]
Have you ever wanted to let an advertiser know what you thought of the commercial? Or just checked out the actor or theme music? Ispot.tv is a great site with commercials and background info, with comments from viewers on what […]
Here is the MPAA rating for “Hotel Transylvania 2″ Rated PG for some scary images, action and rude humor And here is the rating for the first “Hotel Transylvania” Rated PG for some rude humor, action and scary images Can […]
Many thanks to Tara Sonenshine for this thoughtful commentary: It’s Yom Kippur, The Pope is Arriving, and “Meet the Patels” is in Theaters….Let’s Celebrate “Tradition” I am very glad to have met the Patels last night via the new film, […]
Karina Longworth is the creator/narrator of the brilliant “You Must Remember This” podcast, which covers Hollywood history. Last season was entirely devoted to a mesmerizing narrative about the Charles Manson murders. The show has now moved to Slate’s Panoply podcast […]
This is part 2 of my interview with Alex Sheremet about his book, Woody Allen: Reel to Real. You can read Part 1 here. He keeps coming back to a character’s taking moral judgement into his own hands to commit […]
As kids go back to school, it’s a good time to establish some rules about screen time. My recommended rules are below. This is increasingly important as kids are surrounded by screens everywhere — and by adults who themselves have […]
Alex Sheremet is the author of Woody Allen: Reel to Real, an in-depth exploration of the work of one of the most prolific and singular directors in history. He generously took time to answer my questions. Part 2 will be […]
Thanks to Indiewire for including me in this great rundown of the all-time worst movie accents. Critics vented frustration and fury, many picking Quentin Tarantino and Dick van Dyke, but I went with two actors who played Robin Hood:
While we wait for “Serial” to start up again, here are three podcasts so enthralling you may find yourself taking the long way home so you can keep listening, or just sit in the car on the driveway because you […]
A new study from USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism documents the vastly over-proportionate portrayals of white males on film and in filmmaking. Their review of 700 top-grossing films from 2007-2014 found: Gender. Only 30.2% of the 30,835 speaking characters […]
Oscar nominated screenwriter Billy Ray (“The Hunger Games,” “Shattered Glass”) has a warning for “our next great screenwriters.” Hollywood will not help you. It will work against you. In a speech later adapted for an article on Medium, he explained: […]
David Foster Wallace was a very private person who committed suicide in 2008. He is also one of the foremost authors of contemporary literature. After his death, writer David Lipsky published a book based on the audiotapes from a four-day […]
A fascinating look at what made Warner Brothers cartoons work. Surprisingly, within these anarchic worlds, there were a lot of rules. This video has some very thoughtful commentary, including Leonard Maltin and Steven Spielberg.
Common Sense Media has developed Digital Compass to help tweens learn about safety, privacy, and “digital citizenship,” as they begin to go online by themselves and get their first smartphones. Designed by Common Sense for middle schoolers, this engaging game helps […]
Both of the big nationwide releases this week have widely distributed trailers that include scenes that are not actually in the movie. I’ve written about this before. Sometimes the movie is still being edited as the trailer is being prepared. […]
People camped out for days to see this panel — and it was worth it!
I was thrilled to be invited by Betsy Bozdech of Common Sense Media to appear on a panel discussion if and how to share our nerdy passions with our children. I was even more thrilled when I found out who […]
In my book, The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies, there is a discussion of “makeover movies.” Little girls and bigger ones see a lot of what I call “makeover movies:” in a crucial scene Our Heroine gets a new […]
“Inside Out” is not just one of the best movies of the year (animated and live action). It is also one of the most psychologically profound and astute films about emotions and the mind ever made. It set the all-time […]
The Chicago Tribune asked actors and filmmakers what books they would like to see adapted for the screen. “Selma” director Ava DuVernay picked Octavia Butler’s time travel story Kindred. Ethan Hawke picked the provocative Story of the Eye by Georges […]
“Spy” beat “Entourage” last weekend in the battle of the two R-rated raunchy comedies. The one featuring women in all the lead roles was first at the box office with a robust $29.1 million, and the one featuring men in […]
Brad Bird’s gorgeously imagined “Tomorrowland” is not just inspired by an area in the original Disneyland, celebrating its 60th anniversary this week, it is a tribute to the sensationally imaginative work of the “imagineers” and artists who created it and […]
Even the least ambitious films often include some philosophical questions about identity, meaning, and free will. But I enjoyed this list of philosophical films from The Guardian. All of them are worth seeing and all of the questions they raise […]
Here is my wonderful dad, Newton Minow, on his famous “vast wasteland” speech, delivered to the National Association of Broadcasters on May 9, 1961, 54 years ago today. On Tuesday night, Chicago PBS station WTTW celebrated its 60th anniversary and […]
Celebrate Star Wars Day (“May the 4th Be With You”) by checking out the Star Wars Instagram photos. One of the highlights is Darth Vader’s selfie.
Adam Sandler is currently filming “The Ridiculous Six,” reportedly a comic version of the classic Western “The Magnificent Seven.” According to Indian Country Today Media, a group of Native American actors walked off the set because they were offended by […]
I had so much fun at last year’s Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is the third time the MPAA has teamed up with media and technology partners […]
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 […]
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 Sam Fragoso.
Cheers to the understandably anonymous “Miss L,” an actress in Hollywood, for her Tumblr posting real-life casting information that shows how limited and misogynistic Hollywood casting is. Casting Call Woe shows actual casting call notices, most of which require actresses […]
I love this exploration of how cinematic storytelling has evolved to reflect the role that technology plays in our lives, especially in the way we absorb and convey information, especially the discussion of the elegant use of text in the […]
SPOILER ALERT If you’re watching the new season of “House of Cards,” you may wonder whether the trick now-President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) to create jobs and boost the economy has up his sleeve would be allowed in real-life politics. […]
Joan Graves heads up the MPAA’s ratings board and she is the only member whose name is public. She talked to The Wrap about some intriguing regional difference in views on sex and violence. “The South is concerned about using […]
I love this tribute to boredom on car trips with children. I well remember being in the back seat with my sisters, alternating games of GHOST and Botticelli with highway bingo and, yes, arguing with each other about who had […]
The wonderful screenwriters’ blog Go Into the Story has assembled a terrific list of the most over-used lines of dialog we have heard far too often in movies. The lines usually mentioned as the most frequent: “Let’s get out of […]
Of all the tributes and critiques of “Saturday Night Live” as it starts its fifth decade, none is more astute than Tom Shales’ for Daily Beast. Shales is the co-author of Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday […]
No one is smarter about actors and Oscars than Susan Wloszczyna, and I was honored to be included in her latest Big O piece about front-runners Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette, and why wins for the two of them will […]
“Saturday Night Live,” once the brash upstart whose cast billed themselves as the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” is now an established institution. Performers like John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Al Franken, Eddie Murphy, […]
I always enjoy Jimmy Fallon’s lip synch competitions and this is one of the best, with Will Ferrell performing “Drunk in Love” and ‘Let it Go,” Kevin Hart going all out with “All of Me” and “Roar,” and Fallon rocking […]
It is wonderful that directors like Ava DuVernay, Angelina Jolie, and Gina Prince-Bythewood gave us superb films in 2014. But it is an indicator of the challenges still faced by women filmmakers that none of them was nominated for a […]
How did a 1977 song in French by the Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand become a go-to for 21st century American movie soundtracks, from big studio films to quirky indies? “Ça Plane Pour Moi” has appeared in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf […]
The Disney princesses have their first Latina member! Princess Elena of Avalor will make her debut in the Disney Channel series “Sofia the First” before starring in her own series on the Disney channel. Disney says she is “a confident […]
The acclaimed Sundance Film Festival, where ground-breaking films and indie favorites often premiere, will have its first-ever panel discussion of faith and films this week. “Hollywood reflects society, society reflects Hollywood, and each needs the other,” Tim Gray, founder and […]
Two of the movies opening this week are about women named Claire, played by women named Jennifer. And both are the kind of stories we often see in Lifetime movies. In “Cake,” Jennifer Aniston plays the survivor of a tragic […]
Ten years ago, would anyone have believed there would be popular fairy-tale-inspired television series both serious (Once Upon a Time, Grimm), and comic/musical (Galavant)? Why do fantasy and fairy tales mean so much to us? I asked one of my […]
Two U.S. military heroes wrote books about their lives that became movies released in the last few weeks. Both men wrote movingly about the way faith anchored their lives and guided their actions. And yet there was little mention of […]
Thanks to Sam Adams and Indiewire for including me in a thoughtful discussion of “offensive art” in light of the attack on the satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. My response: I don’t have a favorite example of offensive art, […]
The rules governing which songs are eligible for the Oscar are out of date and out of whack. Okay, it’s fine with me if “Everything is Awesome” from “The LEGO Movie” wins this year, first because I love the song […]
Until a few years ago, the movie critics you read were determined by geography. There were a few critics in national publications, like Pauline Kael in the New Yorker and the critics for Time and Newsweek. If you lived in […]
New York’s public television station WNET, ran this terrific “Open Mind” interview with my dad, Newton Minow, about his experiences at the FCC during the Kennedy Administration and the early days of PBS.
You will never see a better movie than the documentary “Life Itself,” the story of an extraordinary life. Roger used to say, “‘Rocky’” is not about boxing. It is about Rocky.” And this movie is not about movies or movie […]
What does “based on a true story” really mean? The Washington Post had a front-page story titled, “‘Selma’ sets off a controversy amid Oscar buzz,” describing the objections by Lyndon Johnson administration insiders to the way he was portrayed. They […]
If I were going to make a top ten list of movie top ten lists, Christopher Orr‘s would be number one. I love reading his end-of-year pieces in The Atlantic. The best of the year list is just the beginning. […]
Ten is an arbitrary number, a year is an arbitrary span of time, and it makes no sense at all to try to rank movies that are so different in concept, genre, and aspiration. Nevertheless, as I always say when […]
The Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury is made up of film critics and cinephiles who wish to recognize and celebrate films that use the medium to explore themes of religion, faith, or spirituality. We particularly seek to enlarge or expand […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
It’s funny how every so often there are multiple movies about the same subject or idea. I can understand when there were three movies about farm families at the time (“Country,” “The River,” “Places in the Heart”) when small farms […]
One of my favorite writers provides insights into one of my favorite (if flawed) movies — Matt Zoller Seitz created a beautiful video essay about Bob Fosse’s autobiographical “All That Jazz” for the Criterion Edition, and then they were unable […]
Yesterday, I was honored to attend the Second Global Symposium on Gender in Media, held a the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. The keynote was delivered by Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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” 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 […]
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”), […]
This is hilarious and, I have to say, accurate. Thank you, John Atkinson of Wrong Hands!
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Anne Billson has a great piece in The Telegraph on mirror scenes in movies, from the Marx brothers clowning in “Duck Soup” and the shootout in “The Lady from Shanghai” to Elizabeth Taylor scrawling on the mirror with lipstick in […]
Someone once said that movies are “pieces of time.” A few take place in “real time.” Alfred Hitchcock’s experiment, “Rope,” unfolds in just the time it takes us to watch it, all in what appears to be one seamless shot. […]
A new study finds that boring television leads to mindless snacking and that leads to putting on pounds. So, watch programs that excite and engage you. Or, if the show is boring, turn off the television.
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 […]
I love this compilation from Cinefix of the top ten movie edits of all time. I’ll bet you can guess at least a few.
Wicked author Gregory Maguire has a wonderful essay on the Smithsonian website about the original screenplay for what is probably the greatest family movie of all time, The Wizard of Oz. By coincidence, I just finished a book by the […]
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.
Amanda Scherker has an excellent piece in the Huffington Post about “whitewashing” in films — ethnically white actors playing non-white characters. We understand now how absurd it was to have John Wayne play Genghis Khan or Katharine Hepburn play “Dragon […]
The video for Colbie Caillat’s new song, “Try,” from Gypsy Heart Side A, shows her struggle to be true to herself in a world that expects women, especially performers, to conform to a narrow and highly polished idea of beauty. […]
My friend Michael Mirasol has put together another magnificent compilation — this time it’s a history of apes and monkeys in film. How many can you identify? He writes: Non-human primates have existed on film from the art form’s inception, […]
Illinois’ Lisle Station Museum has an exhibit about the little-known and less-remembered history of film censorship in Chicago under the direction of what was originally called the Police Censor Board, formed in 1907, the first such oversight organization in the […]
One of the questions I get asked most often is why parents in movies for children are always dead or otherwise out of the picture. As I wrote in my book, The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies: This is […]
Some people want to know if a movie has a good story, compelling characters, or stunning images. You can come here to read my reviews and find answers to those questions. Some people just want to know if the dog […]
Thanks to Jim Judy of Screenit for suggesting this terrific video essay by Jennine Lanouette on how even crooked, selfish, and powerful movie characters gain our sympathy. I was delighted to see that she highlights one of the scenes featured in my […]
A lot of people complained about the ending of “Edge of Tomorrow,” but I liked it. And I really liked this explanation of what it all meant from my friend Hamilton Whitney at FilmHamster. [Spoiler alert, of course.] Here’s the […]
Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman starred in two films directed by Douglas Sirk in the 1950’s, All That Heaven Allows and Magnificent Obsession. When they were released, they were considered glossy, if soapy, romantic dramas without much insight or artistic […]
I got most of these, and especially enjoyed the “Benjamin Hill Center for Film Studies,” glimpsed during the silly chase scene. But I didn’t know anything about this one. [Directors] Lord and Miller treated fans with another Easter egg when they […]
The folks at Criticwire have a weekly survey of questions for movie critics. This week’s question is especially important. Q: Many of the positive reviews for “The Fault in Our Stars” boil down to either “It’s good for what it […]
This week’s two big national releases are both sequels featuring Jonah Hill. But they have something more important in common: Both reflect a wiser, kinder, more just treatment of GLBT characters. It was only a few years ago that I […]
There seems to be a new superhero movie every month or two this year. We’ve already had “Captain America: The Winter Solider” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ and in a couple of weeks we’ll get the new X-Men film. Quartz […]
53 years ago today my dad, the new 35-year-old Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission appointed by President John F. Kennedy, made a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters that was on every list of the most influential […]
Check out these ideas to help your family detox from television and the internet. And before you turn off your computers for a week, watch this to remind you what we miss when we look at screens instead of each […]
It was only a question of time. If people are going to check their phones while they’re watching a movie, then why not make an app specifically designed to accompany the movie? The movie is called (of course) “APP.” By […]
Two smart, shrewd, and very funny women have written books about their lives in show business. Judy Greer has played the heroine’s best friend in romantic comedies like “13 Going on 30,” “27 Dresses,” and “Love Happens.” She has made […]
Fifty years after Stanley Kubrick began work on “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the ultimate behind-the-scenes story will be out next month in a limited edition $750 four-volume history by Piers Bizony, an expert on both Kubrick and space exploration. Made […]
Noah may be controversial, but it is also a box office success. Literalists complained about its departure from the Biblical text. There were also some complaints about what some viewers interpreted as too much emphasis on environmentalism, and those who wanted […]
It’s not unusual for low-budget horror films, movies based on video games, and Tyler Perry movies to open “cold,” without giving critics a chance to see and review them before they are in theaters. The usual reason is that the […]
Many thanks to my friend Michael Mirasol for sharing this great look at the history of movie trailers.
Many thanks to Kevin Sampson for including me in the Picture Lock Women’s History Month special, a panel discussion about the state of women in film, on and off screen. And many thanks to my fellow panelists, casting director Kimberly Skyrme, […]
Christian leaders are responding warmly to “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe. I have not seen the film yet, but was moved by the response of my friend Rebecca Cusey, who has, unlike many of the people who have been complaining about […]
On top of the distressing news that Halle Berry’s Storm character in the new X-Men movie has been cut down to one scene — possibly just one line — and Anna Pacquin’s Rogue removed entirely, comes some more bad news. […]
Director Sam Mendes (“Skyfall,” “American Beauty”) has some advice for directors. In accepting an award, he listed 25 recommendations that are well worth reading. Some are particular to his profession (“If you have the chance, please work with Dame Judi […]
Despite the critical and financial success of “Gravity” and “The Hunger Games,” it is still hard to find movies with strong leading female characters. A new report from Women in TV and Film shows little progress. The title is pointed: […]
One of the sharpest observers of the business of making movies is Anne Thompson, and I am very excited about her new book, The 1 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System. There […]
In the midst of the silly battles over “Noah,” Liel Leibovitz has a superb piece on the Tablet website about how the best movies always have a religious component. As is often the case when we strive to talk seriously […]
It’s only the first week of March and already we are getting our third sword-and-sandal movie. In January, there was The Legend of Hercules. February was Pompeii. This week is the follow-up to 300, based on the Frank Miller graphic […]
Amanda Scherker has a very funny piece on Huffington Post about the way that changes in technology make it hard to understand what the big deal is in a lot of movie classics. Is it possible to be terrified by […]
Jon Negroni just might get you to cry over “Toy Story” again. I love the post from Beliefnet’s former “Deacon’s Bench” blogger about the connection between the first shot of the original (Pixar’s first and the first-ever full-length feature film […]
My friend John Hanlon has a thoughtful piece on CNN.com about the way the Oscars and other movie awards overlook stories about young people and performances by actors in their teens and twenties. It’s unfortunate but undeniable that award shows […]
Many thanks to Kevin Sampson for inviting me to join my friends Tim Gordon and Jason Fraley and director and DC film office head Pierre Bagley for a lively discussion and debate on movies made by African-American filmmakers.
The anonymous creator of the Moviewise website was kind enough to agree to an interview about movies and the lessons they teach. How did the moviewise website get started? How long have you been doing it? I started the moviewise site in […]
“Anchorman 2” was released as a just-barely PG-13. It’s now being re-released, with 763 new jokes, as a hard R. “When my editor told me we had a whole different version of the movie that was more than two […]
Russell Crowe plays Noah in a new movie from director Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler,” “Requiem for a Dream”) and co-starring “Harry Potter’s” Emma Watson and Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly. Variety reports that a group called “Faith Driven Consumers” conducted a poll […]
Most associated with Steven Spielberg, the “dolly zoom” shot is the vertiginous technique that has the camera moving backward as the lens zooms in. Here’s a terrific compilation — hold on tight!
Producer Harvey Weinstein, producer of some of Quentin Tarantino’s ultra-violent films like “Django Unchained,” told Piers Morgan he is not going to make movies like that anymore. “You have to look in the mirror, too. I have to choose movies […]
A provocative new study measured the effects of movies on the viewers’ thoughts about political/public policy issues like the environment, abortion, and health care, even the viewers’ overall faith in the political system. Mother Jones explains some of the findings […]
There has been a lot of conversation about whether enfant terrible critic Armond White heckled director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) at the New York Film Critics Circle awards ceremony. What was far more significant were the thoughtful comments […]
Indiewire’s weekly poll turns the critics on themselves, asking them to disclose what words they would ban from reviews. From “epic” to “game-changer” to “Oscar-worthy,” they tell us what terms are overused, under-specific, and just too easy. I admit […]
In its seventh week out, Disney’s animated musical treat “Frozen” tops the box office, leading off 2014 with another powerful reminder of the market for top quality family movies. The story of the sister princesses did not just beat out […]
The closing of the last Blockbuster stores has led to some “end of an era” pontificating and even some meta “end of the era of end of the eras” commentary from Monica Hesse in the Washington Post. For me, it is […]
Dreamworks is teaming up with Fuhu, the maker of tablets for children to create the first tablet in which the content provider controls what the user sees. In other words, it’s more like a television. While Amazon sensibly makes sure […]
When you make an outspoken, irascible patriarch into a television star, he is going to say outspoken, irascible things. And so “Duck Dynasty” dad Phil Robertson gave his views on homosexuality as a sin in an interview with GQ, using […]
Jim Emerson has put together an excellent list of movies everyone should see. What’s your score? And if you get a good score on that one, take a look at the list from the Alamo Drafthouse and this one from […]
Cheers to The Station in Bernardsville, NJ. They give patrons a basket for their phones and other devices. And then if the customers make it to the end of the meal without using them, they give 5% off the bill. […]
Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis has been a leader in understanding and improving the role of women in media. The founder of her namesake Institute on Gender in Media wrote a piece for the Hollywood Reporter citing data showing that there are […]
Alison Bechdel once had a character in her comic strip explain what she looked for in a movie. There had to be two named female characters and they had to talk about something other than men. It was a joke, […]
One of the most insightful people I know about movies is my friend Michal Oleszczyk, and he has written a marvelous essay about one of my favorite movies, “It Happened One Night.” The screwball romantic comedy about a runaway heiress and […]
Leonard Maltin answers viewer questions on obscure (but cherished) Disney programs, the future of the movie business, “Citizen Kane,” Kickapoo Joy Juice, and more.
Pediatrics, the journal of the pediatric professionals, has published a new study about the increase of gun violence in PG-13 movies, often more than in R movies. It documents what parents have already figured out. Violence in films has more […]
I’m thrilled to announce that Margaret Talbot and I are co-hosting a steamy series of four films from the early 1930’s at Washington DC’s Hill Center, starting this Friday with Barbara Stanwyck’s “Baby Face.” In a film and discussion series […]
Many thanks to Kevin Sampson for a great interview!
I always enjoy IndieWire’s critics surveys and this is an especially good question: What is your favorite example of a bad movie with a great soundtrack? I was not surprised to find Elizabethtown mentioned by Alissa Wilkenson of Christianity Today. I would […]
Kids spend too much time staring at screens according to recommendations released today from the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The average 8-year-old spends eight hours a day using various forms of media, and teenagers often surpass 11 hours of media […]
Dan Kois has a funny piece in Slate about the use of the word “bad” in so many recent movie titles. I love the movie posters Slate created for retitled classics. Would you see “Jaws” if it was renamed “Bad […]
Scott Jordan Harris is the author of Rosebud Sleds and Horses’ Heads: 50 of Film’s Most Evocative Objects – An Illustrated Journey, a beautifully illustrated tribute to some of the most beloved props and costumes in film history. He writes […]
Smithsonian Magazine goes back 8000 years to find out why we eat popcorn at the movies. Popcorn–a name mostly associated with puffed kernels of corn–is actually a strain of corn, characterized by especially starchy kernels with hard kernel walls, which […]
For more information: Institute on Gender in Media
For more information: Institute on Gender and Media
This is one of my favorite of the excellent Geena Davis series to help parents manage the media onslaught. Parents should model the kind of active engagement with what they see that kids need to learn to develop.
Keanu Reeves — yes, Keanu Reeves — hosts a fascinating documentary about the impact of the switch from film to digital images in movies, tonight on PBS, and anyone who loves movies should take a look. For me, the revelation […]
I loved the piece on the use of colors in Breaking Bad. And this IndieWire post on the look of the show, especially the use of light and dark, is, well, illuminating.
Another VMA broadcast on MTV, another morning-after round of horrified reactions. This time, most of the criticism is focused on former Disney tween star Miley Cyrus, whose dance with Robin Thicke included the usual VMA trifecta for female performers: skimpy […]
This is an astonishing true story about a woman who wrote and directed more than 1000 films, including the first-ever film starring African-American actors, and built and ran her own movie studio, all 100 years ago, before women even had […]
I highly recommended my friend Rebecca Cusey’s very thoughtful essay on Patheos, Hey Conservatives, Don’t Blast ‘The Butler’ (From a Conservative). I am strongly opposed to reducing complex human stories to us-vs-them political bullet points (indeed, opposed to us-vs-them political […]
I love stories like this wonderful analysis by John LaRue about the way the costume designers on “Breaking Bad” use the colors of the characters’ clothes to tell you what is going on. There are a lot of patterns that […]
Anyone who cares about movies should see “Casting By,” a new documentary on HBO about casting directors. It is a rare opportunity to see early glimpses of some of the greatest actors live in their first roles and even never-seen […]
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that “educational” apps for babies do not have any documented value. This is the same group that made the charges against Baby Einstein that […]
I love this “Portlandia” skit about spoilers. The whole issue of spoilers has become very complicated because of all the time-shifting and binge-watching in the way we consume media. I don’t like spoilers and really work hard to keep them […]
I always enjoy interviewing film expert Phil Hall, and it was a special treat to hear his thoughts about his new book, The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time. The bad movies in your book fall into several different categories, […]
I was very pleased to be included in a new article about the way folklore continues to be at the heart of 21st century storytelling. Folklore is the mother of all stories – “every story told since stories began has […]
I am so happy that Christy Lemire, former movie critic for AP, now has her own website and I look forward to checking in often to see what she has to say. One of her first posts is about the popular […]
I’m quoted in this story about films for children that have material that may be too complicated or adult for their level of maturity. “I think the real issue is the quicker cuts and more explosive effects,” Minow told NBCNews.com. […]
I very much enjoyed Scott Nye’s article for rogerebert.com about plot holes in movies that are summerily — if not satisfyingly — dealt with via some line of dialogue. If you watch big budget entertainments, there’s no escaping these sorts […]
New York Magazine’s Vulture blog has a sobering statistical analysis from Amand Dobbins showing that women play significant roles in a very small percentage of feature films. The 2013 lineup is all superheroes and crass man-boy bonding. Granted, studios release […]
The tooth fairy is one of childhood’s most treasured myths, a lovely tribute to a bittersweet rite of passage that allows each family to crate their own traditions. (Our tooth fairy left a book.) There’s an awful movie with The […]
It is unusual for an actor to star in two major studio feature films opening the same week. Studios understandably do not want to split the fans by making them choose between two options. Even though the audiences for the […]
More than halfway through the year, we have not seen a single high-profile romantic comedy. Once a reliable staple of the cineplex, the “we know they are destined to be together before they do” movie starring America’s sweethearts like Meg […]
Susan Wloszczyna has a terrific column on RogerEbert.com and the headline gets right to the point. DEAR HOLLYWOOD: HIRING WOMEN DIRECTORS COULD RESCUE THE SUPERHERO MOVIE. LOVE, HALF THE HUMAN RACE And where is that Wonder Woman movie, […]
I had a lot of fun on Tim Gordon’s Blogtalk radio show talking about “Despicable Me” and “Let Me Explain.
I’m looking forward to participating in this classic movie blogathon about movie duos — romantic, adversarial, comic, and otherwise. My post will be up July 14, and I’ll also link to some of the best of the others.
The 2010 film Kick-Ass, about a group of young would-be superheroes who did not actually have any super powers, was controversial for its ultra-violence and for featuring a young girl, played by then-12-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz, who used extremely strong and […]
I’m quoted in this NBC article about the MPAA ratings system and the disappearance of the G-rated movie. “The G rating has all but disappeared from theatrical releases other than one or two animated films each year,” said Nell Minow, […]
Linda Holmes of NPR’s Monkey See blog has written a piece that is more than the usual “Why aren’t there more women in/making movies?” There are 617 movie showings today — that’s just today, Friday — within 10 miles of […]
Are snails the penguins of 2013? For a while, penguins were the adorable go-to, in movies from “Madagascar” to “Surf’s Up” to the record-breaking documentary “March of the Penguins.” But this summer, the cutest creatures in animated movies seem to […]
Did the folks at Disney even watch “Brave?” One of the great strengths of Pixar’s first movie starring a female character (and its first originally written by a woman, Brenda Chapman, though she was replaced by a male director) was […]
Those fanboys at Next Movie have uncovered seven secrets buried inside “Iron Man 3.” How many did you notice?
For a look at the scope and consequences of today’s media-saturated culture on children, check out these charts and an article from Utne about the impact of nonstop corporate marketing through kids’ media. Marketing affects what children want to eat, wear, […]
Susan Wloszczyna writes in USA Today about teens and 20-somethings’ shift in movie watching from theaters to devices and the resulting focus on older audiences for theatrical releases. [F]ilms that cater to grown-up tastes are becoming a valuable commodity for studios […]
Every year I enjoy voting for the award the Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ “Most Egregious Age Difference Between The Leading Man and The Love Interest Award.” There are always a lot of contenders. Now New York Magazine charts the […]
The MPAA ratings board announced some new “check the box” enhancements to the movie ratings system to give parents better and clearer information about the content of the movies, along with an ad campaign, an updated website for checking ratings, […]
Interview: Shepherd Frankel, Production Designer for "Ant-Man"
posted 3:59:07pm Nov. 30, 2015 | read full post »
Exclusive Clip: Merry Kissmas
posted 8:00:11am Nov. 30, 2015 | read full post »
Interview: Erin Bernhardt of "Imba Means Sing"
posted 6:35:22am Nov. 29, 2015 | read full post »
Trailer: Barbershop - The Next Cut
posted 12:28:41pm Nov. 27, 2015 | read full post »
Happy Thanksgiving! Alice's Restaurant
posted 3:45:01pm Nov. 26, 2015 | read full post »