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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Action/Adventure Archives

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genre

  • Action
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quality

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

who's watching

  • My entire family
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age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
  • 4th - 6th grade
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Big Game

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Movie Release Date:June 26, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Movie Release Date: June 26, 2015

Yes, it is basically “Die Hard” and “Under Siege” in the mountains of Finland, if Bruce Willis was a kid on a rite-of-passage solo hunting trip.  And instead of executive hostages in a big office building, the kid has to […]

Spy

posted by Nell Minow

It is time to celebrate. Melissa McCarthy finally has the movie role she deserves. Writer/director Paul Feig, who directed her in “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” has wisely given her center stage and allowed her to be quirky and awkward, which […]

San Andreas

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: May 30, 2015

Another summer blockbuster-by-the-numbers, another dad who needs redemption and re-connection with his family, and the only way he can get it is via massive, catastrophic disasters lovingly created via CGI that feels more real than the emotions, characters, or dialog. […]

Tomorrowland

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Movie Release Date: May 22, 2015

It begins with an argument. Frank (George Clooney) is trying to tell us the story. But he is repeatedly interrupted by someone we will learn is Casey (Britt Robertson). “Try to be a little more upbeat,” she urges him. The […]

Mad Max: Fury Road

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Movie Release Date:May 15, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Movie Release Date: May 15, 2015

Mad Max (Tom Hardy, taking over from Mel Gibson) stamps on a two-headed lizard and then chews its head off. And that’s just in the first minute. That master of apocalyptic junkyard anarchy, George Miller, is back, bigger, wilder, madder […]

Hot Pursuit

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are both talented, beautiful actresses with savvy business acumen and strong entrepreneurial energy. Witherspoon’s accolades in 2014 included more than a Best Actress Oscar nomination for “Wild.” She also produced it, and another Oscar-nominated film, […]

Furious 7

posted by Nell Minow

Who would have picked the Fast & Furious series as the one that would defy the odds and just keep getting better? In part that is because the first one was not very good. And the second wasn’t either. It […]

Insurgent

posted by Nell Minow

This second in the “Divergent” series suffers from sequel-itis. The exuberance of the premise buoyed the first episode, as we and the central character, Tris (Shailene Woodley) explored the post-apocalyptic world that divided all citizens into strictly segregated factions. But […]

Run All Night

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:March 13, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 15, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: March 13, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 15, 2015

Two guys with the understanding of what they have lost and what they have paid to be where they are that only comes with sit opposite each other, drinks on the table between them. They must, at last, reckon with […]

Jupiter Ascending

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:February 6, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 1, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: February 6, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 1, 2015

“Jupiter Ascending” was released in early 2015 but it was originally scheduled for release in the summer of 2014. It does feel like a summer movie. Somehow warm weather makes us more in the mood for explosions and less in […]

Unbroken

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

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

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

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

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

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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

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

Exodus: Gods and Kings

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

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

Trailer: Jurassic World with Christ Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard

posted by Nell Minow

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

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

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

Interstellar

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

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

John Wick

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

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

Fury

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 26, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2015

History, Winston Churchill reminds us, is written by the victors. But sometimes those victors have some second thoughts, more complex thoughts, about the nature of heroism, patriotism, and the spoils (in both senses) of war. And sometimes people want to […]

Tracks

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some partial nudity, disturbing images and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014

In 1977, a 27-year-old woman named Robyn Davidson took a dog and four camels and walked 1700 miles across the Australian desert. A National Geographic photographer met up with her four times to cover it for the magazine. That led […]

The Equalizer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 29, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 29, 2014

The only thing nicer than having a real-life friend who could circumvent any obstacle of power or law or, you know, logic to deliver the roughest but most just of rough justice would be to have that friend be Denzel […]

The November Man

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

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

The Expendables 3

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

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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

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

Into the Storm

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

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

Guardians of the Galaxy

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

This is the most purely entertaining film of the year, a joyous space romp that all but explodes off the screen with lots of action and even more charm. Our recent superheros have been complex, often anguished, even downright tortured. […]

Lucy

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

I always enjoy Luc Besson’s stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem.  While I found much to like in this story about a […]

Exclusive Clip: Justin and the Knights of Valour

posted by Nell Minow

Freddie Highmore and Antonio Banderas star in the animated adventure Justin & The Knights of Valour, along with Charles Dance, Rupert Everett, Barry Humphries, Alfred Molina, Mark Strong, Julie Walters, Olivia Williams and Saoirse Ronan. I’m delighted to share an exclusive clip. […]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:July 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 1, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: July 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2014

All hail Caesar! The intelligence-enhanced ape from Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes center stage in this sequel, which begins ten years after the last film. The virus we saw infecting the human population has now wiped out […]

Snowpiercer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date:July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 20, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date: July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 20, 2014

A French graphic novel by Jacques Lob about a post-apocalyptic train containing all that is left of humanity is now the first English-language film from Korean director Joon-ho Bong (“Mother,” “The Host”), with an international cast that includes Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Ed […]

Transformers: Age of Extinction

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Movie Release Date:June 27, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 29, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Movie Release Date: June 27, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 29, 2014

The script for the new Transformers movie is basically: Noise.  Explosions. Chases. Guy-on-guy fighting.  Transformer-on-Transformer fighting.  Brief pauses for father-teenage daughter conflict, father-boyfriend of the teenage daughter conflict, paranoia-inducing rogue government operatives, paranoia-inducing megalomaniacal one-percenter, and a flicker of a […]

22 Jump Street

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2014

It can be treacherous to go meta in a sequel, especially in the sequel to movie based on a television series that was already pretty meta, with a climax that included appearances by Johnny Depp and some of the other […]

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Top Sci-Fi Movies

posted by Nell Minow

A strophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, star of this week’s DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, may be critical of the science howlers in some sci-fi movies, but he gave Giant Freakin Robot a list of his sci-fi […]

Edge of Tomorrow

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
Movie Release Date:June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 7, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2014

Are there moments you would like to relive, so you could make a different choice? It’s a universal fantasy that has played out many times in books and films. It can be a gift (About Time). It can be a […]

X-Men: Days of Future Past

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language
Movie Release Date:May 23, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 13, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language
Movie Release Date: May 23, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 13, 2014

X-Men fans will see this film anticipating the pleasure of watching their favorite X-Men characters in one of the comic book series most acclaimed storylines: the time-bending saga of a desperate trip to the past to undo one tragic mistake. […]

Godzilla

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 16, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 16, 2014

All the basic ingredients are there for a slam-bang summer monster movie.  We have people in helmets and hazmat suits running to try to get away from something scary.  We have a scientist pleading with a military officer to trust […]

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary images and mild peril
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 25, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary images and mild peril
Movie Release Date: May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 25, 2014

“Oh, Toto,” says Dorothy (“Glee’s” Lea Michelle), “This doesn’t look like the Oz I remember.” Tell it, sister. Why why why why why take the most beloved family film of all time, based on a cherished book, and make a […]

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date:May 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 18, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date: May 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 18, 2014

This is not the angsty Spidey we know.  Just like the old television series theme song said, Peter Parker is “your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”  We first see him exuberantly swinging through the skyscrapers, deliciously vertiginous in 3D.  His disposition is […]

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout
Movie Release Date:April 3, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 8, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout
Movie Release Date: April 3, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 8, 2014

This is how you make a superhero movie. Director brothers Joe and Anthony Russo are best known for sitcoms with few but passionate fans (“Community,” “Happy Endings,” “Arrested Development”) and the underrated crime comedy “Welcome to Collinwood.” That is not […]

Noah

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date:March 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 28, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date: March 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 28, 2014

“Noah” is a serious, thoughtful, reverent movie that, like its title character, wrestles with the big issues of morality, survivor guilt, and strengthening a connection to the divine.  It is also a big, grand adventure with drama and special effects. […]

Sabotage

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Movie Release Date:March 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 22, 2014
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Movie Release Date: March 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 22, 2014

“Sabotage” begins with two painful images.  A woman is being horribly tortured.  And Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the man watching it happen on video, is trying to act. As generic as its title, “Sabotage” wastes no time or effort on such, […]

Divergent

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:March 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: March 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2014

Another day, another movie based on darkly dystopic book trilogy with a brave and beautiful teenaged girl who is the only one who can save the world. This time it is Tris (Shailene Woodley), who lives in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, […]

Need for Speed

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
Movie Release Date:March 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 4, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
Movie Release Date: March 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2014

Important tip: If the word “speed” is in the title of the movie, don’t make it over two hours long. And especially, don’t make it feel even longer than that. Clearly going for the “Fast and Furious” vibe with a […]

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and brief rude humor
Movie Release Date:March 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 14, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and brief rude humor
Movie Release Date: March 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 14, 2014

Jay Ward’s irresistibly daffy cartoons of the early 1960’s were charming and witty, with a post-modern meta wink at the fourth wall, wacky puns, and jokes that kids would suddenly remember and understand years later.  This reboot is smarmy, overblown, […]

Trailer–Transformers: Age of Extinction with Mark Wahlberg

posted by Nell Minow

300: Rise of an Empire

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a new term: this movie is neither a sequel nor a prequel to 300, the story of the 300 Spartans who died battling the vastly greater army of the Persians. This is a “side-quel,” a “meanwhile” story about what […]

Non-Stop

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
Movie Release Date:February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
Movie Release Date: February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

I’ve got nothing against action movies that are dumb fun (see last week’s review of 3 Days to Kill). My bar is pretty low. I don’t ask them to make sense. But “Non-Stop” sinks to a level of ridiculousness that […]

3 Days to Kill

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014

Kevin Costner is back, big time, with five scheduled releases this year. It’s only February, and this is his second big spies-and-shoot-outs action film of 2014, following Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  This one, from writer Luc Besson and director McG […]

Pompeii

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014

In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, wiping out the city of Pompeii. Director Paul W.S. Anderson, who gave us movie versions of “Resident Evil” and “Mortal Kombat,” presents the story as a video game. If what you are looking for […]

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

There are three conclusions to draw from this reboot of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character. First, it plays like an infomercial for NSA access to, well, pretty much everything. Second, no matter how attractive the actors and how thrilling the […]

The Legend of Hercules

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality
Movie Release Date:January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 29, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality
Movie Release Date: January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014

Director Renny Harlin has made a Hercules epic with drab, washed-out cinematography, poorly staged action scenes, incompetent acting, bad hair, terrible computer effects, and dialogue that lands more heavily than the title character’s punch. Even at just over 90 minutes […]

Contest: Journey to a Christmas Star

posted by Nell Minow

Norway’s most beloved Christmas story is directed by Academy Award nominee Nils Gaup. It is the story of a courageous girl who sets out on a hazardous journey across a gorgeous winter wonderland to find the Christmas Star in order […]

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 13, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 7, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date: December 13, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 7, 2014

Everybody ups his game in this second of the three-part Peter Jackson version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again.  The first one courageously tried out the new hyper-clear technology with twice as many frames per second […]

Frozen

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 17, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 17, 2014

Smart, exciting, funny, sweet, tuneful, and gorgeously animated, the Oscar-winning “Frozen” adapts Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale into a story of two sisters kept apart by a scary secret.  Scary wolves, an enormous snow monster, a perilous journey, a […]

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 4, 2014

In the second chapter of the three-book, four-movie series, Katniss Everdeen has gone from being a shy unknown with extraordinary skills to being an acclaimed superstar. The same could be said for the actress who plays the part. When Jennifer […]

Thor: The Dark World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date:November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 25, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date: November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 25, 2014

I always say that superhero movies are defined by their villains, and “Thor: The Dark World” has a lulu in Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki, who was not as vanquished at the end of “The Avengers” as we thought.  Thank goodness. Loki, […]

Ender’s Game

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 11, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014

Director Gavin Hood (“Tsotsi”) has skillfully adapted the Nebula and Hugo award-winning novel about a boy who leads an interplanetary battle against insect-like aliens, doing justice both to the fun of the sci-fi action and to the seriousness of the […]

Escape Plan

posted by Nell Minow

At 90 minutes or less and with some sense of its own silly preposterousness, the aging action stars might have made this prison break movie work. But at almost two hours, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger seem a little out […]

Gravity

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:October 4, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 24, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: October 4, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 24, 2014

In space, there is no oxygen and no sound. There is no up or down. Everything is weightless. When you cry, the tears float away instead of running down your cheeks. “Gravity” is one of the once-to-a-generation films that transform […]

World War Z

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images
Movie Release Date:June 21, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 17, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images
Movie Release Date: June 21, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 17, 2013

There are going to be a lot of superheroes on screen this summer, but none of them are as super as Gerry Lane a former investigator for the UN called back into action to fight the zombie apocalypse. No superhero […]

The Family

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language, and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 13, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language, and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 13, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2013

“Anybody who doesn’t contradict me can expect nothing but good things,” “Fred Blake” (Robert De Niro) explains in item 10 of his David Letterman-style countdown of what he considers his best qualities.  Fred is his current nom de witness protection. […]

Win Tickets to See “Wizard of Oz 3D”

posted by Nell Minow

It’s probably the most beloved family film of all time, and now it is bigger and deeper than ever.  “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Judy Garland, is coming to 3D Imax screens for the first time.  See the Munchkins, the […]

Getaway

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence, and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures and language
Movie Release Date:August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence, and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures and language
Movie Release Date: August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013

There’s dumb fun and then there’s just dumb.  “Gateway” is closer to that second category, and worse, so forgettable that better title would be “Throwaway.”  This one has 99 cent DVD bin all over it. Ethan Hawke, believably seedy, plays […]

The World’s End

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:August 23, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: August 23, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2013

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and co-writer/director Edgar Wright have re-united for the third in the genre-bending “Cornetto” series, which I refuse to call a “trilogy” because I want them to keep going.  In case you’re listening, guys: Please. “Shaun of […]

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 2, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date: August 21, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2013

The first volume of Cassandra Clare’s popular YA The Mortal Instruments series has been respectfully brought to screen in another attempt to tap into the Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games/Buffy audience.  The problem is that fans of those series may find that too […]

Kick-Ass 2

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2013

The first Kick-Ass was entertaining as an over-the-top response to true-blue superhero movies.  The Dark Knight might think he’s angsty and tortured and tough, but he has nothing on the merry band of misfits who form a sort of Justice […]

Elysium

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout
Movie Release Date:August 9, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 17, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout
Movie Release Date: August 9, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 17, 2013

The best science fiction acts like a narrative Rorschach test, taking specific elements of our current condition, extrapolating into the future (usually dystopically), and allowing the audience to project our assumptions — and our fears — onto it.  “Elysium” is […]

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images, and mild violence
Movie Release Date:August 7, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 16, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images, and mild violence
Movie Release Date: August 7, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2013

The second in the series of films based on Rick Riorden’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians is even better than the first.  The young actors are more comfortable, their characters better established, and the special effects more, well, special. We learned […]

2 Guns

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:August 2, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 19. 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: August 2, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 19. 2013

The couple with the most electrifying chemistry on screen so far this year is Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in “2 Guns.” As the title of the the graphic novel by Steven Grant and Mateus Santolouco suggests, it is a […]

RED 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
Movie Release Date:July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
Movie Release Date: July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013

Catherine Zeta Jones seems to be making a habit of appearing in the dumbed-down sequels to big, all-star franchises.  First there was “Oceans 12,” and now there’s an utterly thankless role in “Red 2,” a stylish but empty follow-up to […]

Pacific Rim

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief language
Movie Release Date:July 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief language
Movie Release Date: July 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013

I know there’s only one question you have about this movie, and the answer is yes.  If you ever wanted to see a movie with giant monsters battling giant robots, this is it. And if you ever wanted to see […]

The Lone Ranger

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material
Movie Release Date:July 4, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material
Movie Release Date: July 4, 2013

For more than a century the movies have been telling us the story of America through westerns, and each decade gets the version it deserves.  We have seen films range from the optimistic, heroic, and racially insensitive movies of the […]

Despicable Me 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2013

Is there more to the story of “Despicable Me” after Gru (Steve Carell) isn’t despicable anymore? The original, with Gru and Vector (Jason Segal) as warring super-villains, was one of the best animated films and one of the best family […]

White House Down

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.
Movie Release Date: June 28, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013

When the White House gets attacked, who better than SMA (Sexiest Man Alive) Channing Tatum and Django Unchained Jamie Foxx to save the day? And who better to blow stuff up than Roland Emmerich, who has his characters cheekily observe […]

Man of Steel

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language
Movie Release Date: June 14, 2013

Come on, guys, can’t you give us one superhero who is not all angsty and conflicted? Director Zack Snyder, who presided over the ultimate superhero deconstruction in Watchmen, and producer/co-screenwriter Christopher Nolan, who put the cinematic “dark” in Batman’s Dark […]

After Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for action violence and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 8, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for action violence and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2013

“After Earth” goes off the rails in the first minute as Jaden Smith (the “Karate Kid” remake, “The Pursuit of Happyness”) opens the story with a near unintelligible voice-over narration with some mishmash about how a thousand years before all […]

Fast & Furious 6

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and mayhem throughout, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date:May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and mayhem throughout, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2013

The storylines of the “Fast and Furious” franchise may be preposterous, but what’s even harder to believe is that, contrary to the history of just about every other multi-sequel series and what I thought were the laws of nature, these […]

Star Trek: Into Darkness

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 9, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2013

This time, there’s crying in “Star Trek.”  And some very significant time on Earth as well.  This story is in the most literal sense, close to home. Writer-director J.J. Abrams, who rebooted Gene Roddenberry’s original “Star Trek” saga with a […]

Iron Man 3

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date:May 3, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 23, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date: May 3, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 23, 2013

Good for Marvel/Disney in keeping the title simple.  No fancy Roman numerals, no colon, so extra words about the return of this or the revenge of that.  But if there was a second title for this third in the “Iron […]

Jurassic Park 3D

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror
Movie Release Date:April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 22, 2013
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror
Movie Release Date: April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 22, 2013

Back in 1993, what was astonishing in “Jurassic Park” was the special effects that seemed to bring dinosaurs back to life.  Two decades later, rediscovering Steven Spielberg’s mastery of cinematic storytelling is the best reason to go see it again. […]

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:March 29, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 30, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: March 29, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 30, 2013

As big, dumb, action and explosions and “hell, yeah, ooyah” movies based on toys go, this one is a lot of fun.  Jon M. Chu, director of two of the “Step Up” movies and producer of the third knows how […]

The Croods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 1, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 1, 2013

I think we can all agree that at least in some respects all children are Neanderthals. It is the grand challenge of parenthood to civilize these sometimes savage little creatures by teaching them language, manners, and keeping safe.  And some […]

Oz the Great and Powerful

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:March 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 10, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: March 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 10, 2013

A prequel to one of the most beloved films of all time is a daunting challenge, but Disney’s prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” manages to balance respect for the original with some fresh and appealing insights into the story. […]

The Best Family Movie of All Time: The Wizard of Oz (and Other Versions)

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of the prequel, “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a good reason to take another look at what may be the greatest family movie of all time, the classic MGM musical version of “The Wizard of Oz,” […]

Jack the Giant Slayer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images, and brief language
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 17, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images, and brief language
Movie Release Date: March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 17, 2013

More action, more romance, more spectacle, a brave princess who wears armor and does not wait to be rescued, and lots more giants — this is a grand bedtime story 21st century-style.  As a boy, Jack (“Warm Bodies” Nicholas Hoult) […]

Snitch

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some drug content and scenes of violence
Movie Release Date:February 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some drug content and scenes of violence
Movie Release Date: February 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

“Snitch” tries to be three things at once, but it doesn’t do any of them very well. First, it wants to be a drama about fathers and sons.  John Matthews (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a good man who who […]

Escape from Planet Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2013

A new animation studio called Rainmaker has produced its first film, “Escape from Planet Earth,” a story of sibling rivalry and aliens.  It almost works as an amiable, if derivative time-waster for kids with a few jokes for the grown-ups, […]

A Good Day to Die Hard

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013

Chases.  Explosions.  Guns.  Crashes.  Wisecracks. Punches.  Repeat.  Repeat again.  Yes, it’s the fifth “Die Hard” movie. Bruce Willis returns as cop John McClane and this time the setting is Moscow.  Though he repeatedly says throughout the film’s zippy 90 minutes […]

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

Once upon a time, a brother and sister were left in the woods by their father.  They came upon a house made of candy that turned out to be owned by a witch, who used it to lure children and […]

The Last Stand

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

The NRA should forget that ad about the Obama girls and use this movie instead. The entire storyline can be summarized in the words of NRA head Wayne LaPierre: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun […]

Zero Dark Thirty

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date:January 11, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date: January 11, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2013

It begins with heart-breaking audio of 911 calls from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  A frantic woman who asks if she is going to die is soothed by the operator until she is suddenly gone and we […]

Django Unchained

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 16, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 16, 2013

How do you solve a problem like Tarantino? The prodigiously talented writer/director is a master of style, sensation, and a uniquely muscular kind of cinematic storytelling that builds on a stunning ability to mash up high and low art in […]

Jack Reacher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013

Jack Reacher, the hero of a series of books by Lee Child, is as much an idealized fantasy figure as any adorkable chick-lit single girl rocking her Jimmy Choos and self-deprecating quips until Mr. Perfect puts a ring on it. […]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 4, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 4, 2013

As the second in the Hobbit trilogy is about to be released, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Extended Edition).  Director Peter Jackson returns to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth for this “Lord of the Rings” prequel, the adventure of young Bilbo […]

Life of Pi

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout and some scary action scenes and peril
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout and some scary action scenes and peril
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2013

“Oh God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” This classic Breton fisherman’s prayer describes “Life of Pi,” Ang Lee’s exquisitely beautiful fairy tale story of an Indian boy shipwrecked with a Bengal tiger, and their […]

Red Dawn

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence and action and for language
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 5, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence and action and for language
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013

There was much to improve in the original version of “Red Dawn,” a simple-minded fantasy film about a communist invasion of small town America: the plot, which asked us to believe that Cuban and Soviet invaders would focus their attention on […]

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:November 15, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: November 15, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2013

The “Twilight” series comes to a close with the fifth film based on the four-book supernatural love story from Stephenie Meyer. This one is for the fans, with a loving farewell that includes a romantic recap series of flashbacks and […]

Skyfall

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language, and smoking
Movie Release Date:November 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 11, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language, and smoking
Movie Release Date: November 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2013

James Bond goes home in every sense in this ravishingly entertaining entry in the series.  Five decades later, it all of a sudden feels fresh, fun, and utterly engaging.  This is the best Bond in decades.We are in the middle […]

The Mark

posted by Nell Minow

The Mark is the first of a two-part Christian end times film starring Craig Sheffer.  He plays Chad Turner, a non-believer who gets caught up in the fight of his life and of his soul as a courier of a critically […]

Wreck-It Ralph

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence
Movie Release Date:November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 4, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence
Movie Release Date: November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 4, 2013

No one wants to be the bad guy anymore.  In “Despicable Me,” Gru’s delightfully dastardly plans were no match for the overpowering adorableness of three little girls.  “Megamind” found that being the bad guy was no fun after he vanquished […]

Halloween Pick: “Poltergeist”

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite Halloween movies for older kids is the original Poltergeist.  The scares are great but what makes it work are the human characters.

Cloud Atlas

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:October 26, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: October 26, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013

Six nested stories set in the past, present, and future entwine grand themes of the conflicts between those who would oppress and those who demand freedom, those who must create and those who want to repeat what is already there, […]

Looper

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 24, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 24, 2012

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play the same man in a twisty time-travel thriller about “loopers,” assassins who use short-range guns called blunderbusses to kill targets sent back in time from the future.  The first thing we see is an […]

Premium Rush

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences, and language
Movie Release Date:August 24, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 18, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences, and language
Movie Release Date: August 24, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 18, 2012

He’s a Manhattan bicycle messenger and his name is Wilee, like the coyote.  But Wilee (the always-brilliant Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is more like the road runner in this story.  He has an envelope to deliver, and Bobby (Michael Shannon) wants to […]

The Expendables 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout
Movie Release Date:August 17, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 20, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout
Movie Release Date: August 17, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2012

The Botox budget must be bigger than the catering costs but less than the ordnance in this sequel to Sylvester Stallone’s first round-up of the 80’s and 90’s A-Team for an action extravaganza.  That’s A as in AARP. This time, […]

Hit & Run

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 8, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 8, 2013

Real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are as cute as can be on and off camera, but there is nothing in this movie that comes close to the adorableness of their viral sloth video.  Bell produced and Shepard wrote, […]

ParaNorman

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor, and language
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor, and language
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2012

While digital animators create algorithms that replicate real life textures and weights and movements so perfectly they can seem real-er than reality, the small but preposterously dedicated stop-motion animators create their own three-dimensional world and invite us inside.  Like its […]

The Bourne Legacy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Movie Release Date:August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Movie Release Date: August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2012

Different spy.  Different program.  Same evil conspiracy still trying to justify the nastiest of means with the most unprovable ends.  This is “The Bourne Legacy,” the fourth in the Bourne series and the first not to star Matt Damon.  Tony […]

Total Recall

posted by Nell Minow

Will the 2012 version of the story inspired by Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” erase the memory of the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic from 1990?  Dick’s story is about a time in the future when […]

The Watch

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 13, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012

Yet another attempt to go for the “Ghostbusters” funny-scary vibe crashes and burns in the under-written “The Watch,” originally titled “Neighborhood Watch” until the Treyvon Martin shooting created uncomfortable associations with the idea of self-appointed suburban guys with guns.  But […]

The Dark Knight Rises

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:July 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: July 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

There’s a reason you never hear about “your friendly neighborhood Batman.”  Spidey may have some angst and guilt and abandonment issues but he is downright sunny-natured compared to the brooding soul of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), holed up in Wayne […]

Ice Age: Continental Drift

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date:July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date: July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012

The “Ice Age” folks have the formula down very well, and this fourth entry is one of their strongest, with enough of the familiar to be satisfying and enough that is new to keep things interesting.  The real expertise is […]

The Amazing Spider-Man

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 5, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2012

One thing I love about comics is that they are the only form of story-telling, with the possible exception of soap operas, where so many different people tell open-ended stories about the adventures of the same characters through a period […]

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012

Now, that’s a President.  Abraham Lincoln, previously best remembered for the penny, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, the Gettysburg Address, the humor, the honesty, and the height, is now re-imagined with all of that plus a rail-splitting ax tipped […]

Brave

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 12, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 12, 2012

“Brave” is not just one of the best movies of the year for any age; it is one of the best movies ever made from a female point of view. It has been a long time coming.  Pixar’s unprecedented series […]

Prometheus

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sci-fi violence including some intense images and brief language
Movie Release Date:June 7, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 9, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sci-fi violence including some intense images and brief language
Movie Release Date: June 7, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2012

Is it possible that all of the elements of life on earth, from the protozoa to the human, were the gift of god-like creatures who came to a barren planet to create us in their image? And that they stayed […]

Snow White and the Huntsman

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:June 1, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 11, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: June 1, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012

Director Rupert Sanders is known for making television commercials that look like fairy tales, with angels falling from the sky for a guy who uses Axe body spray and a boy battling samurai warriors with Excalibur to sell X-Box game […]

For Greater Glory

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:June 1, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: June 1, 2012

In 1926, the atheist President of Mexico Plutarco Elias Calles (Rubén Blades) decided to secularize the country by edict.  He deported non-Mexican priests and prohibited the remaining priests from appearing outside of the churches in their cassocks.  Rebels fought back, at first with […]

Coriolanus

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some bloody violence
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 28, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some bloody violence
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 28, 2012

Shakespeare’s play about a Roman general who survives battle only to take on the bigger battles of politics has been brought to screen by Ralph Fiennes, who directed and stars as the title character.  Contemporary costumes and weapons and Serbian […]

Men in Black 3

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date:May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date: May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

Welcome back, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. The stars and director of one of the most creative and purely entertaining movies of the last 20 years are back for a third that does not match the original but makes up […]

Battleship

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action, and destruction, and for language
Movie Release Date:May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 28, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action, and destruction, and for language
Movie Release Date: May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012

As if it wasn’t enough of a challenge to try to create a movie based on a board game — and a board game based on a game that is perfectly adequately played with pencil and paper — this movie […]

The Avengers

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout and a mild drug reference
Movie Release Date:May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 24, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout and a mild drug reference
Movie Release Date: May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 24, 2012

“The Dirty Dozen.” “The Bad News Bears.” “The A-Team.” “The Expendables.” Stories about a mixed group of badass tough guys who have trouble with authority but learn to work together are second only to stories about loners taking on The […]

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, and some language
Movie Release Date:April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, and some language
Movie Release Date: April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2012

The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) enjoys his life of adventure on the high seas, but there are a few problems. His crew is having a spirited debate about the best part of pirating – is it the cutlasses, the looting, […]

Lockout

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: April 13, 2012

You know what was cool?  “Die Hard!”  One smart-ass guy who has a problem with authority Yippie-ky-ay-ing as he outsmarts a dozen bad guys in an LA skyscraper.  And “Under Siege,” with a smart-ass guy who has a problem with […]

Titanic 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disaster-related peril and violence, nudity, sensuality, and brief language
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2012

Classic Greek tragedies explored the theme of hubris as human characters dared to take on the attributes of the gods only to find their hopes crushed. This is a real-life story of hubris, as the ship declared to be “unsinkable” […]

Mirror Mirror

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 26, 2012

Director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar has found a story worthy of his ravishing visuals and the result is an enchanting update of the classic fairy tale of Snow White. Julia Roberts is clearly having a blast as the evil queen whose hostile […]

Wrath of the Titans

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Movie Release Date:March 30, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Movie Release Date: March 30, 2012

What I love best about classically trained British actors is that they are game for anything.  Whether it is a commercial for cough drops or a silly comedy they always bring their A-game.  Their timing and diction are impeccable and […]

The Hunger Games

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens
Movie Release Date:March 23, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens
Movie Release Date: March 23, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2012

Just as brave and loyal Katniss Everdeen is the heart of the wildly popular series of “Hunger Games” novels by Suzanne Collins, Jennifer Lawrence is the heart of this faithful adaptation.  Director Gary Ross clearly understands the book and what […]

21 Jump Street

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking, and some violence
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 26, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking, and some violence
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 26, 2012

The record on movie versions of decades-old television shows is not a pretty one.  I call them lunchbox movies because I can envision the pitch meeting with the young studio executive smiling, “Oh, I had the lunchbox for that show! […]

Casa de Mi Padre

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, language, and some sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 17, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, language, and some sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012

You think having sunny-spirited Californian Will Ferrell play the son of a Mexican rancher is not goofy enough?  How about if the entire movie is in Spanish (with subtitles)?  You want goofier?  I got your goofy right here.  The entire premise […]

John Carter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012

It takes a while to get going and is about half an hour too long, but “John Carter” has some spectacular visuals and well-staged action scenes.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the Tarzan novels, also wrote the John Carter: Adventures […]

Sneak Preview for “Titanic 3D”

posted by Nell Minow

The Best Picture Oscar winner and box office record-breaker is back to remind us that our hearts will go on.   Moviegoers across the U.S. and Canada will be among the first audiences anywhere to experience Titanic in 3D at […]

Act of Valor

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
Movie Release Date:February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
Movie Release Date: February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 6, 2011

The Navy SEALS approached the Bandito Brothers film-makers about telling their story, years before they became headline heroes by finding and killing Osama Bin Laden.  After spending time with the SEALS and learning about their extraordinary missions and their extraordinary devotion to their […]

Safe House

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012

Denzel Washington is the vodka and Ryan Reynolds is the orange juice in this spy story with top-notch action, middle-notch story, and bottom-notch ending, with a “surprise” plot twist that is obvious from the first 10 minutes. Apparently, the CIA […]

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2012

Like its predecessor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, this is a well-paced and highly entertaining family film made with good humor, panache, and imagination.  Josh Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, a teenager whose last expedition was in search […]

Haywire

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 1, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012

A little bit “Rambo,” a little bit “Kill Bill” and more than a little bit “La Femme Nikita” and its imitation, “Alias,” this film can best be summarized as follows: a private contractor operative employed by the United States kicks […]

Red Tails

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

The official military documents of the 1940’s said that African-Americans were “mentally inferior” “subservient and cowards” and not fit to fly planes.  The Tuskegee Airmen of WWII proved that African-Americans were outstanding pilots.  They had to fight to be trained […]

Contraband

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012

Oh, not another one last job movie!  This remake of an Icelandic thriller, directed by the actor who played the lead role in the original, is a by-the-numbers heist, chase, and shoot-em-up.  It’s too gritty to be escapist fun and […]

The War Horse

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:April 3, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: April 3, 2012

The second Steven Spielberg movie of the week opens on Christmas Day, a grand epic, is big, long, ambitious, and showy.  It is a work by a master, but it is not a masterpiece.  Every detail is carefully considered.  Every […]

The Adventures of Tintin

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

Two box office champion directors and a cult favorite joined forces for a film that was a first for all of them, a 3D motion capture animated story.  It is clear that director Steven Spielberg, producer Peter Jackson (“The Lord […]

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brutal violent contact including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:December 20, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 20, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brutal violent contact including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: December 20, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012

The late Swedish author Steig Larsson created a series of books originally titled “Men Who Hate Women” with a character who was an idealized version of himself — an investigative journalist of impeccable integrity and political correctness who effortlessly appeals […]

The Island of Misfit Toys

posted by Nell Minow

A classic moment from one of the best-loved holiday treats, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Cheers to all of the misfit toys out there! The very touching story behind the Rudolph song and its creator, Bob May, was told by […]

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action and some drug material
Movie Release Date:December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 12, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action and some drug material
Movie Release Date: December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 12, 2012

All Sherlockians know that the only villain who could match the most famous and celebrated of all fictional detectives is the fiendish Professor Moriarty.  As we were promised in the postscript to the first Sherlock Holmes movie from Guy Ritchie, […]

Hugo

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 27, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 27, 2012

Martin Scorsese’s enchanting “Hugo” is a thrillingly immersive adventure.  It is about two orphans trying to solve a mystery.  It is about the way that stories help us make sense of life.  It stretches from the very beginnings of movies […]

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2012

In trying to balance the hopes of the passionately devoted fans of the Twilight series (are there any other kind?), who want to see every single word of the books up on the screen and the realities of cinematic storytelling that limit […]

Puss In Boots

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 21, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012

The popular feline bandit of the “Shrek” series gets his own feature film, one that is less of a fractured fairy tale and more of a swashbuckler.  Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of Puss in Boots, the cat with […]

In Time

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

In the future, according to this film, our currency will not be money but time.  Everyone gets 25 years.  Then the clock starts ticking down.  If you have not earned, begged, borrowed, stolen, or inherited time, you die. Everything is […]

Johnny English Reborn

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action violence, rude humor, some language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:October 21, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 28, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action violence, rude humor, some language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: October 21, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 28, 2012

The first Johnny English spy spoof came out in 2003.  The spy parts were not exciting enough and the comedy parts were not funny enough to make material that has been done by everyone from James Coburn and Dean Martin to […]

It’s Not Your Daddy’s ‘Star Wars’

posted by Nell Minow

Just last week, I decided to watch the original 1977 “Star Wars” again and enjoyed it very much.  I’ve lost count of how many times I have seen it, but I can tell you that when my then-fiance and I […]

The Lion King

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1994
DVD Release Date:October 3, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1994
DVD Release Date: October 3, 2011

“The Lion King” finishes its record-breaking theatrical re-release in 3D with its first Blu-Ray in a superpack and I have five to give away!  Details below. One of Disney’s most popular animated features (and the inspiration for one of Broadway’s […]

Dolphin Tale

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 12, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 12, 2011

It won’t be available for sale until next week but I just can’t wait to feature this terrific film.  I have a copy to give away so if you’d like to enter, send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Dolphin […]

Killer Elite

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 10, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 10, 2012

Like this year’s “The Devil’s Double,” this film would be much more satisfying and believable if it was not so self-serving in favor of the people telling the story. The oddest part is that the fight scenes are brutally, authentic […]

The Lion King 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1994
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1994

One of Disney’s most popular animated features (and the inspiration for one of Broadway’s biggest blockbuster) has been re-issued in 3D.  “The Lion King” is sort of a cross between “Richard III” and “Hamlet,” the story of Simba (voice of […]

Drive

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date:September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date: September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn said that “Drive” is his vision of a contemporary fairy tale about a princess who has to be rescued from a dragon.  It is a highly stylized, brilliantly acted, and brutally violent story about a man […]

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4D

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 21, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 21, 2011

Jessica Alba was dressed for her role in Robert Rodriguez’s ultra-violent “Machete” when, on a break from filming, she stopped to change her baby’s diaper.  Rodriguez says he saw her performing this most domestic of tasks in her action-movie attire […]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date:August 5, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 13, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date: August 5, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 13, 2011

By the time they got to the line, “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty ape!” I couldn’t help thinking, “Take your stinking paws off the franchise, Hollywood!”  Do we really need another apes movie? We do have […]

Cowboys & Aliens

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Pated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference
Movie Release Date:July 29, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 6, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Pated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference
Movie Release Date: July 29, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011

The last word I thought I’d be using about a movie called “Cowboys & Aliens” is “realistic,” but what I like best about this film is the way it uses the most speculative of fantasies for thoughtful exploration, not just […]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
Movie Release Date:July 15, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 8, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
Movie Release Date: July 15, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 8, 2011

Before I tell you about this film and about how much I liked it, I want to say thank you to J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers for the care and devotion they gave to this extraordinary story.  On the page […]

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo
Movie Release Date:June 30, 2011
DVD Release Date:September 30, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo
Movie Release Date: June 30, 2011
DVD Release Date: September 30, 2011

I feel like Goldilocks.  It’s not as good as the first one, but it’s not as awful as the second one.  So, if that doesn’t make it just right, at least it makes it better than the second one and […]

Green Lantern

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Movie Release Date:June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 11, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Movie Release Date: June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011

Let’s get right down to it with the superhero essentials checklist.  Cool powers?  Check.  Interesting villain?  Check.  Interesting girlfriend?  Half a check.  Aliens?  Check.  Fancy gala party?  I’m not sure why that appears to be a crucial part of every […]

Super 8

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 10, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 21, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 10, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 21, 2011

A couple of kids who are deeply in love with making movies have made a movie about kids deeply in love with making movies, and it is one of the most joyously thrilling treats of the summer, a love letter […]

X-Men: First Class

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image
Movie Release Date:June 3, 2011
DVD Release Date:September 6, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image
Movie Release Date: June 3, 2011
DVD Release Date: September 6, 2011

The two most interesting aspects of the X-Men are absorbingly explored in this prequel that takes us back to the childhoods of rival mutants Magneto and Professor Xavier, played in the first three films by classically trained Shakespearian actors Ian […]

The Man Who Would Be King

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1975
DVD Release Date:June 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1975
DVD Release Date: June 6, 2011

Director John Houston’s “The Man Who Would Be King,” released this week for the first time on Blu-Ray, is a magnificent spectacle, based on a story by Rudyard Kipling.  Michael Caine and Sean Connery star as British sergeants and adventurers […]

Kung Fu Panda 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence
Movie Release Date:May 27, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence
Movie Release Date: May 27, 2011

Po, the kung-fu master panda (Jack Black), has everything he hoped for in the first movie.  He has the martial arts skills to protect and impress the community and he is accepted as a teammate by the greatest champions in […]

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo
Movie Release Date:May 20, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 18, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo
Movie Release Date: May 20, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011

Jack is back. And he is doing what he does best — stealing the movie from everyone else.  Johnny Depp continues Captain Jack Sparrow’s conquest of center stage with this fourth in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, which abandons […]

The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:2003
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 2003

This week’s release of the new “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie is a good time to catch up with the original. Avast, me hearties and come hear the tale of a terrible pirate curse.   No, not the one about […]

Thor

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence
Movie Release Date:May 6, 2011
DVD Release Date:September 13, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence
Movie Release Date: May 6, 2011
DVD Release Date: September 13, 2011

The original Hammer is here.  Thor, Norse god of thunder and lightning (and the source of the word “Thursday”), star of Marvel comics written by Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber and memorably illustrated by Jack Kirby, now joins […]

The Green Hornet

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality, and drug content
Movie Release Date:January 14, 2011
DVD Release Date:May 3, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality, and drug content
Movie Release Date: January 14, 2011
DVD Release Date: May 3, 2011

Anyone here remember Van Williams? He was the star of the 1966-67 television series, “The Green Hornet.” But the only thing anyone remembers about the show today was the actor who played the title character’s martial arts and automotive expert […]

Gulliver’s Travels

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief rude humor, mild language, and action
Movie Release Date:December 22, 2010
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief rude humor, mild language, and action
Movie Release Date: December 22, 2010

A cringe-inducing catastrophe with all of the appeal of fingernails on blackboard, this movie’s first early warning sign should have been the omission of Jonathan Swift from the opening credits. I thought at first it was an arrogant oversight. Now […]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:November 18, 2010
DVD Release Date:April 12, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: November 18, 2010
DVD Release Date: April 12, 2011

Harry, Hermione, and Ron have to grow up quite literally in the gripping second-to-last installment of the “Harry Potter” movie series, based on the first half of the seventh and final book.  Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron […]

Hanna

posted by Evan Derrick
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language
Movie Release Date:April 8, 2011
DVD Release Date:September 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language
Movie Release Date: April 8, 2011
DVD Release Date: September 6, 2011

Director Joe Wright is fascinated with Saoirse Ronan’s blue eyes, entirely understandable. Her cerulean gaze is so pure, so clear, so direct, and at the same time knowing and innocent that it is perfect for the role of Hanna, a […]

Source Code

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence including disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date:April 1, 2011
DVD Release Date:July 26, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence including disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date: April 1, 2011
DVD Release Date: July 26, 2011

Director Duncan Jones (“Moon”) has produced a first-rate thriller with Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain Colter Stevens, sent back in time and into the body of a man on a commuter train eight minutes before it will explode, to see if […]

The Tourist

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 10, 2010
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 10, 2010
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2011

Behind this forgettable trifle are some very talented people, all punching below their weight when they’re not just calling it in. The screenplay is by Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”), Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”), and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck […]

Paul

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 9, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 9, 2011

Director Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “Adventureland”) is an expert at mixing raunch and sweetness. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”) are experts at making funny but knowing and affectionate tributes to movie genres. Together, they’ve made […]

Red Riding Hood

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and creature terror and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:March 11, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 13, 2011
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and creature terror and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: March 11, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 13, 2011

Oh, Grandmother, what a big, bad movie you have. So, apparently what happened here is that for whatever reason director Catherine Hardwicke did not get to make the second and third “Twilight” movies, so she decided to make a different […]

Battle: Los Angeles

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction and for language
Movie Release Date:March 11, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 13, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction and for language
Movie Release Date: March 11, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 13, 2011

Destined to be remembered primarily as yet another step toward closing the gap between games and movies, the essence of “Battle: Lost Angeles” is a lot of boom-boom and a bunch of “ooo-rah.” And essence is all it is; no […]