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Movie Mom

Understanding Media and Pop Culture Archives

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Tomorrowland’s Inspirations

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Great Films with Philosophical Themes

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Newton Minow and the Vast Wasteland Speech, May 9, 1961

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

May the 4th Be With You — Happy Star Wars Day!

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Native Americans Refuse to Work on Adam Sandler’s New Film

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Creativity Conference 2015: Nancy Pelosi, Snoopy, and Drones with GoPros

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Movies vs. Science — The Worst Science Mistakes on Film

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Ebertfest 2015, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Actress Speaks Up Against Absurd Hollywood Casting Conventions

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

How Do Movies Change to Convey Modern Technology?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Would President Frank Underwood’s Plan Be Legal?

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

MPAA Ratings and Community Differences on Sex and Violence

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

When Boredom Beats Mental Busywork

posted by Nell Minow

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 Most Over-Used Lines in Movies

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Tom Shales on SNL and Lorne Michaels

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette — Why We’re Rooting for them on Oscar Night

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

SNL Turns 40

posted by Nell Minow

“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, […]

Why We Love Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Synch Contests: Fallon, Ferrell, and Hart Perform “Drunk in Love,” “Let It Go,” “All of Me” (Plus Drew Barrymore)

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Three Views on the Challenges Women Face in the Film Industry

posted by Nell Minow

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 Ca Plane Pour Moi End Up in So Many Movies?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Una Gran Noticia! Disney’s First Latina Princess

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

For the First Time at Sundance: A Panel on Faith and Films

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

This Week in Theaters: Two Lifetime-Ish Movies About Women Named Claire Played by Women Named Jennifer

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Kate Fowkes on Fantasy and Fairy Tales

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Where is the Faith in “American Sniper” and “Unbroken?”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

How Should We Look At “Offensive” Art?

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

Why the Oscar Almost Always Goes to the Wrong Song

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Critic Critiques — Has the Internet Been Good or Bad for Movie Criticism?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

My Dad, Newton Minow, and the History of PBS

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Tonight on CNN: The Roger Ebert Documentary “Life Itself”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

How True Should a “Based on a True Story” Movie Be?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Christopher Orr’s 2014 Movie Round-Up

posted by Nell Minow

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

2014 in Film: Best, Worst, and More

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Year’s Best Christian Films

posted by Nell Minow

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

Model With Down Syndrome in Target Ad

posted by Nell Minow

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

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?

posted by Nell Minow

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

Poems from “Wild” — Emily Dickinson and Adrienne Rich

posted by Nell Minow

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

Download This Year’s Best Screenplays for Free

posted by Nell Minow

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

Margo Page on a Broader Bechdel Test

posted by Nell Minow

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

How Do People Decide What Movies to See?

posted by Nell Minow

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

MPAA Ratings #Fail on “Horrible Bosses 2″

posted by Nell Minow

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

Susan Wloszczyna on the Prospects for Women at the Oscars

posted by Nell Minow

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

MVPs of the Month: Scientists and Nerds

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Are Romantic Comedies About Love or Money?

posted by Nell Minow

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

Movies Are Mirrors: Seeing Ourselves in Movies

posted by Nell Minow

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

MVP of the Week: Robots

posted by Nell Minow

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

What Makes Scary Movies Scary

posted by Nell Minow

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

Is This the End of Television?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

What Do Critics Think About Watching Film That Is Not What the Makers Intended?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Five Upcoming Movies Have Real-Life Actors Playing Themselves, Sort Of

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Telling Time in “All That Jazz”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Second Global Symposium on Gender in Media

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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”), […]

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!

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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.

Who Should Play Non-White Characters?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Colbie Caillat’s Wonderful New Video

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

A History of Apes In Movies from Michael Marisol

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

Museum Exhibit Explores Illinois Film Censorship Bureau

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Where are the Cartoon Moms?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Does the Dog Die? An Important Movie Question

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Why Do We Sympathize with Unsympathetic Movie Characters?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Explaining “Edge of Tomorrow’s” End

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Superb Essay on the Objects in “All that Heaven Allows”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

EW Explains the Inside Jokes from “22 Jump Street”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Criticwire Survey: Should You Look Down on YA Movies?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Movies Get Wiser About GLBT: How To Train Your Dragon 2 and 22 Jump Street

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Story Behind Hollywood’s Love for Superheroes

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Is Television Still a “Vast Wasteland?”

posted by Nell Minow

  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 […]

Screen-Free Week 2014 Starts Tomorrow

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

App — A New Movie to Watch With Your SmartPhone On

posted by Nell Minow

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 Terrific New Books About Show Business by Judy Greer and Carol Leifer

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Ultimate Book About “2001: A Space Odyssey”

posted by Nell Minow

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: Reactions and Responses

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

What Happens When a Movie Opens Cold?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The History of the Movie Trailer

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to my friend Michael Mirasol for sharing this great look at the history of movie trailers.  

Picture Lock: Women in Cinema, from the Bechdel Test to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

Religious Leaders Respond to Noah: Moving and Inspiring

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

What! No Female Superhero Movies?

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

Sam Mendes Has Advice for Directors

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

New Report: Female Characters Still Under-Represented in Films

posted by Nell Minow

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: […]

The $11 Billion Year — Anne Thompson’s New Book About Hollywood

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Tablet Says The Best Movies Are Religious (Even If They Are Not Bible Stories)

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

What’s the Deal with Swords and Sandals?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Will Kids Today Ever Understand These Classic Movies?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Sweetest Secret in the “Toy Story” Trilogy

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Do the Oscars Overlook Movies About Young People?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Was 2013 the Best Year in History for African-American Films?

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Interview: Moviewise — Movies to Teach Morality and Character

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

An R-Rated Anchorman 2 is Coming to Theaters

posted by Nell Minow

“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 […]

Should Faith Audiences Like the New “Noah” Movie?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Evolution of the Dolly Zoom — the “Spielberg Shot”

posted by Nell Minow

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!

Tarantino’s Producer Says It’s Time to Cut Back on Movie Violence

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Can A Movie Change Your Mind About Politics?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Harry Belafonte on Movies and Race

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Critics on Critics: What Words Would You Ban from Reviews?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

“Frozen” Tops the Box Office

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Nextflix Micro-Genres Are Amazing

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Present NOT to Buy Your Children Next Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

How to Respond to the Duck Dynasty Controversy

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Movie Literacy Test: How Many Have You Seen?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

I Hope This Idea from a New Jersey Restaurant Goes Viral

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

Geena Davis Can Fix Hollywood Gender Stereotypes in Two Steps

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Should There Be a Bechdel Test for Rating Movie Sexism?

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

“It Happened One Night” — A Tribute to this 5-Oscar Classic

posted by Nell Minow

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

posted by Nell Minow

Leonard Maltin answers viewer questions on obscure (but cherished) Disney programs, the future of the movie business, “Citizen Kane,” Kickapoo Joy Juice, and more.

Yes, There is More Violence in PG-13 Movies Now: Pediatricians

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

In DC: I’m Co-Hosting a Series of Pre-Code Films at the Hill Center

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview on Kevin Sampson’s Picture Lock Show

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Kevin Sampson for a great interview!

Bad Movie/Good Soundtrack — IndieWire’s Critic Survey

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Pediatricians Say Kids Spend Too Much Time Watching Media

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Why Are Movie Titles So “Bad?”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Scott Jordan Harris on Rosebud Sleds and Horses’ Heads — The Greatest Movie Objects

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Who Put Popcorn and Movies Together?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Geena Davis: The “Guess Who?” Educational Program

posted by Nell Minow

For more information: Institute on Gender in Media

Geena Davis: The Hyper-Sexualization of Girls in the Media

posted by Nell Minow

For more information: Institute on Gender and Media

Geena Davis on Talking to Kids About What You See on TV

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Side By Side — From Film to Digital

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Look of “Breaking Bad” — Part 2

posted by Nell Minow

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.

What Was Really Wrong With Miley Cyrus on the VMAs

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Kickstart a New Film about Movie Pioneer Alice Guy-Blanche

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Why Conservatives Should Appreciate “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

What the Colors of the Clothes on Breaking Bad Tell You About the Characters and Story

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

“Casting By” — HBO Documentary About Casting Directors

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Before You Download that “Educational” App for Your Baby

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Are Spoilers Really That Bad?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Phil Hall on “The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time”

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

Folklore is Still Embedded in Today’s Movies

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Manic Pixie Dream Girls — Christy LeMire’s Top Five

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Are Today’s Kids’ Movies More Challenging?

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

Two Thoughtful Assessments of What’s Wrong With Movies

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Where Are the Women in 2013 Movies?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Hijacking the Tooth Fairy

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

MVP of the week, sort of: Ryan Reynolds

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

What Happened to Romantic Comedies?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Isn’t It Time for a Woman to Direct a Superhero Movie?

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

Thanks to Tim Gordon for Inviting Me on FilmGordon with Travis Hopson

posted by Nell Minow

I had a lot of fun on Tim Gordon’s Blogtalk radio show talking about “Despicable Me” and “Let Me Explain.

Classic Movie Bloggers Salute Great Movie Duos in July

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Jim Carrey Says His New Movie Is Too Violent

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

What Happened to the G Rating?

posted by Nell Minow

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: Where Are the Women in Movies?

posted by 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 […]

MVP of the Summer: Animated Snails?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Disney Lets Merida Be Merida After All

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Secrets of Iron Man 3

posted by Nell Minow

Those fanboys at Next Movie have uncovered seven secrets buried inside “Iron Man 3.” How many did you notice?

Some Scary Facts to Follow Screen-Free Week

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

Are Baby Boomers the Last Movie Theater Ticket-Buyers?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Charting the Age Differences of Movie Star Romances

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

MPAA’s New Check the Box Ratings

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

Dove Teaches Women an Important Lesson About Beauty

posted by Nell Minow

What Do You Think About Spoilers?

posted by Nell Minow

Do you remember a movie that really surprised you? Do you remember having a big movie surprise spoiled for you?  Did that make the movie less powerful? Jennifer Richler has an excellent story in The Atlantic about spoilers and why […]

Iconic Movie Posters

posted by Nell Minow

Trailers are so accessible these days that we sometimes overlook the power of a really great movie poster.  I like this list of the greatest movie posters of all time because it is a great reminder of some iconic images and […]

A Little Help from a Friend Named Spielberg

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times has a very sweet article about how the most successful director in Hollywood acts as a sort of fairy godfather to other directors, giving them advice about cinematic storytelling. Mr. Spielberg, 66, is considered the most […]

Floor Plans of Movie and Television Living Spaces

posted by Nell Minow

On Etsy, you can find floor plans of the homes of movie and television characters by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde that are works of art in themselves.  Look at the homes of Will and Grace, Carrie Bradshaw, Dexter, the Golden Girls, Monica, Rachel, […]

Maltin on Music: Old Songs in New Movies

posted by Nell Minow

One of my very favorite writers on film is Leonard Maltin so I was delighted to see his new essay on the use of classic or obscure older songs in new movies. Classic songs and selections from what’s now called […]

Decoding a Movie’s “Billing Block”

posted by Nell Minow

What’s the difference between an executive producer and an associate producer?  Between screenwriters billed as “Smith and Jones” and “Smith & Jones?”  Which actors get an “and” or a “with” or an “as?”  What are all those “in association with” […]

MPAA Head Chris Dodd Speaks at the National Press Club

posted by Nell Minow

Yesterday Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), spoke at the National Press Club, which prepared movie poster cookies in his honor.  As a member of the club who writes about movies, I was invited to […]

A Free Issue of Roger Ebert’s Newsletter

posted by Nell Minow

I have been a proud and happy subscriber to Roger Ebert’s wonderful newsletter, always filled with intriguing trailers and commentary and much more.  Check out this free issue of the Ebert Club Newsletter and sign up for the teeny price […]

What’s the Worst Sequel Ever Made?

posted by Nell Minow

I always enjoy the surveys from Criticwire, and this one was especially fun.  The question: What is the worst movie sequel ever made? I expected to see “Batman and Robin,” “Grease 2,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “Speed 2,” and “The Whole Ten […]

If Bilbo Had a Lawyer….

posted by Nell Minow

James Daily writes intensive, witty, and very astute analyses of the legal issues raised in feature films.  I love his piece on the 5-foot long  contract between Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves in “The Hobbit.”  Here’s a sample on the very […]

“Everything Else Was True” — “Catfishing” with Manti T’eo and on MTV

posted by Nell Minow

Notre Dame football player Manti T’eo says that he was the victim of a heartless hoax.  He thought he had a girlfriend who died of cancer.  But no such person existed.  Although he told people he had seen and spoken […]

Win a Copy of My New Book: 101 Must-See Movie Moments

posted by Nell Minow

My new book is out in paperback! 101 Must-See Movie Moments is available on Amazon for $12, but I have three autographed copies to give away.  It’s 101 brief essays on great moments in neglected movies (like “Miss Tatlock’s Millions,” “The […]

Model Cameron Russell on What She Really Looks Like

posted by Nell Minow

Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she’s tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don’t judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive […]

The Media and Violence — Changing Perspectives After Sandy Hook

posted by Nell Minow

The comprehensive public safety reform package proposed by President Obama today includes new programs and proposed rules to increase support for the mentally ill, restrict access to the most deadly weapons, and provide additional security through more funding for law […]

Amazing New Movie Technologies

posted by Nell Minow

It seems like something from “The Jetsons,” but according to The Creators Project, these new technologies will help us literally see and make movies in new ways very soon, including 3D without glasses, laser projection for sharper, more high-contrast images, […]

How Were Women Portrayed in the Movies of 2012?

posted by Nell Minow

The terrific Vitamin W website has a video reminding us that we can and must do better than the way women were portrayed on screen in 2012.

The Best Deleted Scenes: Total Film

posted by Nell Minow

Total Film has a great list of the 50 best deleted scenes, and what kind of impact they would have on the storyline.  It’s a lot of fun to look at deleted scenes on DVDs, but it is usually easy […]

The Face They Deserve: Actresses Who Let Themselves Age Naturally

posted by Nell Minow

The Globe and Mail has a great tribute to Dame Judi Dench, who appears as M in “Skyfall.”   There was Judi Dench in her seventh outing as M, James Bond’s boss, the head of MI6, looking like a woman […]

The Real Problem With Movie Bad Guys — Soviet to Chinese to Korean in “Red Dawn”

posted by Nell Minow

The 1984 version of “Red Dawn,” starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, had a high school football team defending their town from Communist invading forces.  The bad guys were a reflection of the Reagan era: the Soviet Union, Cuba, and […]

Free “Lincoln” Book for iPad

posted by Nell Minow

A beautiful new behind-the-scenes ebook about the movie Lincoln is available free for iPads.  This exclusive interactive book is called “Lincoln: Discover the Story.” It shows how a crucial time in America’s history was recreated and brought to the screen and features […]

Troma’s Free Film School

posted by Nell Minow

Troma Entertainment has launched a brand-new, free YouTube channel dedicated to sharing decades of filmmaking expertise with aspiring filmmakers, Troma president Lloyd Kaufman announced today.  Troma will post free secrets to financing, producing, and selling movies which Lloyd Kaufman has […]

Game Makers Push for Consistent Ratings on Multiple Platforms

posted by Nell Minow

Television has parental guidance ratings that go from TV-Y (all audiences) to TV-MA (mature audiences).  Movies have the MPAA rating system, from G to NC-17.  The recording industry has a parental advisory label. Games are rated EC (early childhood) to […]

New Report on Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media has issued a new research report, Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: The View from the Classroom.  Findings include: Most teachers think that use of entertainment media has impaired ability to learn and perform in the classroom by decreasing […]

The Poem from “Skyfall”

posted by Nell Minow

M (Judi Dench) quotes a stirring passage from “Ulysses,” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in the new James Bond movie, “Skyfall.” Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth […]

Two Fabulous Views of the History of Film

posted by Nell Minow

Jonathan Keogh brilliantly edited the top 250 movies from the Internet Movie Database into this tw0-minute tribute. And designer Larry Gormley created this sensational poster that summarizes the history of film genres, with more than 2000 titles.

Disney Buys Lucasfilm and Announces a New Star Wars Trilogy

posted by Nell Minow

The Force is going to be a whole new generation.  Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion and has announced that it will produce a new Star Wars trilogy, with the first one coming out in 2015.  As all true fans […]

William Castle’s “13 Ghosts”

posted by Nell Minow

People often ask me if I’ve ever walked out of a movie.  Fortunately, I seem to have an endless tolerance and sometimes even affection for bad movies.  But just once, I did insist on leaving the theater, and a delightful […]

Still Puzzling about “Cloud Atlas?” Here’s Some Help

posted by Nell Minow

“Cloud Atlas” is confusing, with six different stories set in six different time periods told in six different styles but with the same actors in different roles in all of them and the same themes — fighting tyranny and oppression, […]

Family Movies that Scare Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media‘s Betsy Bozdech has a timely post about classic family movies that some children find upsetting.  Everyone I’ve ever talked to about watching movies as a child had an immediate title when asked what a movie that was […]

Big Bird Halloween Costumes — The Good, The Bad, and The Very, Very Yellow

posted by Nell Minow

Mitt Romney’s comment about cutting funding for PBS at the first Presidential debate has made Big Bird one of the most popular costumes for Halloween this year.  But that’s not all good news.  The Children’s Television Workshop, producers of “Sesame […]

Movie Plot Holes

posted by Nell Minow

As I walk to my car after a movie, I want to be thinking, “Oh…so when such-and-such happened at the beginning” or “When so-and-so made that comment” and figure out how the puzzle pieces all fit together.  Too often, instead […]

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