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quality

  • A+, A, A-
  • B+, B, B-
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  • D+, D, D-
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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 […]

Intro to “The Hunger Games”

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “The Hunger Games” is the most anticipated film of the spring and likely to be the biggest hit since the “Twilight” series.  It is based on the first of a wildly successful trilogy of books by […]

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 […]

Being Flynn

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for adult situations, language, nudity, and sex
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for adult situations, language, nudity, and sex
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012

Nick Flynn was working at a Boston homeless shelter when his father, Jonathan Flynn, came in looking for a place to stay. Nick was raised by his mother and had little contact with his father except for some letters explaining […]

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for some violence and sexual content and brief language
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 17, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence and sexual content and brief language
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012

Paul Torday’s satiric novel of politics, money, love, and fishing has been brought to the screen with Ewan McGregor as a government fisheries expert and Emily Blunt as an aide to a Yemeni sheik who has what seems to be […]

The Lorax

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date:March 2, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 7, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date: March 2, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 7, 2012

Adapting Dr. Seuss for a feature film is a challenge. The movies can capture his whimsical drawings and mischievous humor but they fail when they pad his storylines and jettison his rhymes.  Dr. Seuss had a genius for saying a […]

The Secret World of Arrietty

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:February 17, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: February 17, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

A spirited young heroine and an enchantingly beautiful setting make a story of friendship and courage beguiling in Studio Ghibli’s adaptation of Mary Norton’s popular series of “Borrower” books.  First published in the mid-1950’s, the stories are on based on […]

The Vow

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity, and some language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 8, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity, and some language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 8, 2012

More than any other attribute, memory is what defines our identity and our connections to each other.  When a young woman’s traumatic brain injury erases her memory not just of having married her husband but even of having met him, […]

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 […]

Giveaway: ‘Geek Charming’ with ‘Modern Family’ Star Sarah Hyland

posted by Nell Minow

Sarah Hyland stars in the very cute Disney Channel movie Geek Charmingas Dylan, a popular high school princess whose only aspiration is to be even more of a popular high school princess.  Matt Prokop is Josh, the “film geek” who […]

A Birthday List for Charles Dickens

posted by Nell Minow

Happy 200th birthday, Charles Dickens! In honor of the birthday of one of the greatest novelists of all time, Masterpiece on PBS has announced two new series based on Dickens novels:   A new “Great Expectations” miniseries starring Gillian Anderson […]

Black History Month: DVDs for Families

posted by Nell Minow

Great choices for Black History Month from Scholastic: Duke Ellington… and more stories to celebrate great figures in African American history. The DVD includes gently animated and beautifully narrated versions of four books about important figures in black history. Duke […]

Big Miracle

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language
Movie Release Date:February 3, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 18, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language
Movie Release Date: February 3, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2012

“You’re not as easy to hate as I thought,” an oil man tells an environmental activist in “Big Miracle,” the heartwarming true story of a 1987 effort to rescue three Alaskan whales. It could just as well have been said […]

One for the Money

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 15, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 15, 2012

Someday to be used in film schools as a textbook example of how not to adapt a best-selling novel for the screen, “One for the Money” is mis-cast, mis-scripted, and mis-directed in every category.  Janet Evanovich’s popular series of series […]

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 27, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 27, 2012

Jonathan Safran Foer’s acclaimed novel about a boy whose father was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11 has been brought to the screen with great sensitivity and heart.  Newcomer Thomas Horn plays Oskar, whose ferocious intellect overwhelms his […]

Beauty and the Beast

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:2010
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: 2010

“Beauty and the Beast” is one of Disney’s most beloved fairy tales and the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.  This week it is back in theaters in 3D and it looks gorgeous.  It is […]

New Barney and Angelina Movies Available on DVD and On Demand

posted by Nell Minow

Two preschooler favorite series have new movies released this week on DVD and On Demand. Barney: I Love My Friends The big purple dinosaur and his friends learn some valuable lessons about what it means to be a friend — […]

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 […]

An Oscar-Winning Animated ‘Christmas Carol’

posted by Nell Minow

I thought I knew of — and loved — every film version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”  But what a delight to discover a new one, and an Oscar-winning animated version by one of my favorite artists, Richard Williams (of “The […]

We Bought a Zoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:December 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:April 2, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: December 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: April 2, 2012

This is a good, old-fashioned family movie grounded in Matt Damon’s best-ever performance, inspired by the real-life story of a young widower who, without knowing a lot about animals or running a business, impulsively decided to buy a zoo. Benjamin […]

A Christmas Carol — The Top Five Versions

posted by Nell Minow

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas story and I love it in just about any of its movie incarnations. “Bah, humbugs” have been muttered by Scrooges played by top-notch dramatic actors like George C. Scott and Albert Finney, former Miss America Vanessa Williams, […]

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 Snowman: Walking in the Air

posted by Nell Minow

If you are feeling frazzled with holiday preparations, take a moment to enjoy the pure magic of this excerpt from one of the finest animated films ever made:

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, […]

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 20, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012

There are spy stories with glamor and chases and explosions and answers.  And there are spy stories like this one, murky, gritty, grubby, complicated.  The brilliant BBC miniseries version of the the book by John le Carre opened with the grim-looking Russian matryoshka […]

Babar and Father Christmas

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1986
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1986
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2011

Babar and Father Christmas is a new DVD with a charming holiday story.  The children of Babar and Celeste write to Father Christmas to invite him to their home town.  But the letter is stolen by wicked Rataxes the Rhinoceros, […]

My Week with Marilyn

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date:December 2, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date: December 2, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

“Her skin does not reject the light.” That was impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir’s answer when asked why he used one favorite model so many times.  And it describes the luminous beauty of Marilyn Monroe, who almost half a century […]

Have a Little Faith

posted by Nell Minow

Writer Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson) got a very unusual request.  A terminally ill rabbi asked if Albom would write and deliver his eulogy.  “As is often the case with […]

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 […]

A Trip to the Moon

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “Hugo,” based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, is inspired by the films of George Méliès, the French magician-turned-filmmaker who pioneered the field of special effects.  “A Trip to the Moon,” made in […]

The Littlest Angel

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:2011
DVD Release Date:November 23, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 2011
DVD Release Date: November 23, 2011

Based on one of the top-selling children’s books of all time, The Littlest Angel is a new film based on the classic story by Charles Tazewell, first published in 1946.  A small angel cannot quite seem to fit in until a […]

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 […]

The Descendants

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

Just because he lives in Hawaii, don’t think he’s in paradise, Matt King (George Clooney) warns us.  No one is immune to life.  The first Alexander Payne film since “Sideways” gives us another damaged hero at a crossroads and as […]

The Rum Diary

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, brief drug use, and sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 14, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, brief drug use, and sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 14, 2012

22-year-old Hunter S. Thompson wrote a novel about men in their 30’s working for a Puerto Rican newspaper, equally soaked in the title libation and the brinier flavors of cynicism and failure, but it was not published until more than […]

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 […]

The Worst Witch

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1986
DVD Release Date:October 16, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1986
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2011

Thanks to my godson, Theo Leiss, for reminding me of this Halloween treat! The Worst Witch is based on a pre-Harry Potter series of books by Jill Murphy about a school for young witches.  Fairuza Balk, who would later play a […]

The Big Year

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:October 14, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: October 14, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

“The Big Year” would be a lot better if it didn’t try so hard to be The Big Movie.   This over-Hollywood-ized take on the real-life story of passionate-to-obsessed birders (don’t say “bird-watchers”) makes us wish for a documentary instead.  Everything […]

Toast

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011

“Being normal is overrated,” a young boy’s friend assures him.  “You’ll probably turn out to be very interesting.” He was right.  British chef and food writer Nigel Slater tells his own story in “Toast”. His mother was a terrible cook. […]

Moneyball

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date:September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 9, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date: September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 9, 2012

Brad Pitt is underrated as an actor.  But he is the best there is when it comes to calibrating the deployment of his onscreen star power, which he uses as expertly as Meryl Streep does accents.  Pitt can dial it […]

I Don’t Know How She Does It

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual references throughout
Movie Release Date:September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 3, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual references throughout
Movie Release Date: September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 3, 2012

This film takes the most wrenching and universal dilemma of family life and turns it into a sitcom-y love letter to Sarah Jessica Parker.  Not the character she plays, the whippet-thin, stiletto-wearing financial whiz with the adorably mussed hair, but […]

Contest: Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin and More

posted by Nell Minow

I’m very excited to have a gorgeous DVD box set from the Scholastic Storybook series, my very favorite family DVDs to give away. And this one is really special, with three different collections that will inspire children to use their […]

Seven Days in Utopia

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:September 2, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 29. 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: September 2, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 29. 2011

Sports psychologist David L. Cook wrote a book called Seven Days in Utopia: Golf’s Sacred Journey about a young golfer who runs away after a meltdown at a big tournament, gets stuck in a small town, and meets a mentor who […]

Higher Ground

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:August 26, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: August 26, 2011

Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “The Departed”) directed and stars in “Higher Ground,” the true story of a woman’s spiritual journey, based on Higher Ground: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost by Carolyn S. Briggs. It is a rare […]

The Hedgehog

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 19, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 19, 2011

It’s hard to imagine a less cinematic novel than The Elegance of the Hedgehog.  Author Muriel Barbery is a professor of philosophy, and the book reads more like a series of essays than a story.  What made it work was the […]

One Day

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity, language, some violence, and substance abuse
Movie Release Date:August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 29, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity, language, some violence, and substance abuse
Movie Release Date: August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011

A gimmick that sort of worked in a novel becomes an obstacle that trips up this love story based on best-seller by David Nicholls.  It is better at telling us to care about the two characters than it is at […]

The Help

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material
Movie Release Date:August 10, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 5, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material
Movie Release Date: August 10, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 5, 2011

The book-club favorite about African-American women working as domestics in the early Civil Rights era South has been lovingly turned into a film that like its source material engages with its sensitive subject matter humbly and sincerely. Kathryn Stockett grew up […]

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 […]

Winnie the Pooh

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:July 15, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 25, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: July 15, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2011

Disney’s latest film lovingly captures the magic of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories and poems, which have been enchanting children and their parents for 85 years.  They were a sort of earlier “Toy Story,” with the adventures of Christopher Robin’s stuffed tiger, […]

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 […]

My Visit to the Set of ‘The Help’ — Coming Next Week

posted by Nell Minow

One of the biggest surprise best-sellers of the past ten years is The Help, the first novel by Jackson, Mississippi native Kathryn Stockett.  It is now one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the year.  The story of the book […]

Gidget (3-Pack)

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:1959
DVD Release Date:July 5, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 1959
DVD Release Date: July 5, 2011

A new DVD 3-pack of all three “Gidget” movies comes out today, and they’re worth another look, especially the 1959 original with Sandra Dee and James Darren.  Dee plays Francie, a sheltered and somewhat naive girl who thinks that it […]

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild rude humor and some language
Movie Release Date:June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 6, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild rude humor and some language
Movie Release Date: June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011

It used to be that a comedian who wanted to be in movies had to make an armed services comedy.  Now, we stick them in domestic stories about daddies who need to learn that the family is more important than […]

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor and language
Movie Release Date:June 10, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor and language
Movie Release Date: June 10, 2011

It’s the last day of third grade and redheaded Judy Moody (Jordana Beatty) is looking forward to the greatest summer ever.  She has big plans for herself and her three best friends, a summer of dares and thrills and adventures. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mao’s Last Dancer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for a brief violent image, some sensuality, language, and incidental smoking
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2010
DVD Release Date:May 3, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for a brief violent image, some sensuality, language, and incidental smoking
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2010
DVD Release Date: May 3, 2011

Director Bruce Beresford, best known for “Driving Miss Daisy,” returns to the themes of cross-cultural connections in this film based on the memoir of Chinese ballet star Li Cunxin. Li (Chinese surnames appear first) was taken from his poor, rural […]

Not Easily Broken

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sexual references and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:January 9, 2009
DVD Release Date:May 7, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual references and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: January 9, 2009
DVD Release Date: May 7, 2011

This week’s release of T.D. Jakes’ “Jumping the Broom” is a good time to take another look at his earlier film about marriage and in-laws, “Not Easily Broken.” If we believe the movies, the tough part of relationships is getting […]

Tikki-Tikki-Tembo…

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:NA
DVD Release Date:April 26, 2011
A
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: NA
DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011

The DVD pick of the week is Tikki-Tikki-Tembo and More Stories of Asian Heritage, another from my very favorite series for young children and their families. This one arrives in time for May’s celebration of Asian Heritage Month in May, […]

Water For Elephants

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for moments of intense violence and sexual content
Movie Release Date:April 22, 2011
DVD Release Date:2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for moments of intense violence and sexual content
Movie Release Date: April 22, 2011
DVD Release Date: 2011

According to the ringmaster of the Benzini Brothers Traveling Circus, “a circus survives on blood, sweat, pain and [excrement].”  In “Water for Elephants” we experience all of these, along with romance, danger, laughter and even a little bit of poetry.  […]

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
DVD Release Date:April 19, 2011
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
DVD Release Date: April 19, 2011

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 […]

Soul Surfer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material
Movie Release Date:April 8, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 2, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material
Movie Release Date: April 8, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 2, 2011

Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) tells us that as a child she spent more time wet than dry. She is the daughter of competitive surfers, home-schooled so that nothing would interfere with her training or her opportunity to go out into […]

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action
Movie Release Date:December 10, 2010
DVD Release Date:April 5, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action
Movie Release Date: December 10, 2010
DVD Release Date: April 5, 2011

A gallant warrior mouse and a dragon with a secret join the two youngest Pevensie children for a voyage and a quest in the third and best so far in the Narnia series. War has come to England and Edmund […]

Fair Game

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date:November 5, 2010
DVD Release Date:March 29, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date: November 5, 2010
DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011

It turns out that being a spy is not glamorous at all, especially when you are the mother of twins. Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) does not get to pick up a bunch of fun gadgets from Q or change from […]

Tangled

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild violence
Movie Release Date:November 24, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild violence
Movie Release Date: November 24, 2010

Disney has taken a 200-year-old story from the Brothers Grimm and made it just modern enough, sassy without being snarky, fresh and contemporary without any po-mo air quotes. It’s the classic fairy tale of the girl with the long, long […]

Jane Eyre

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements including a nude image and brief violent content
Movie Release Date:March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 16, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements including a nude image and brief violent content
Movie Release Date: March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 16, 2011

Why do film-makers keep coming back to Jane Eyre? Charlotte Bronte’s story has elements of horror, mystery, revenge, romance, and morality, but it is an internal narrative, Jane’s own clear-eyed but personal view of her story (“Reader, I married him.”) […]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor and mischief
Movie Release Date:March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 21, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor and mischief
Movie Release Date: March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011

This is the second movie based on the wildly popular series of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney. Last year, in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, we saw Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) begin the agonizing experience of […]

The Lincoln Lawyer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:July 12, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: July 12, 2011

That’s not Lincoln as in the rail-splitting President. It’s Lincoln as in car. Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a lawyer whose office is in his car, the better to maneuver between his court appearances and his clients. He’s a criminal […]

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 […]

Mars Needs Moms

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for science fiction action and peril
Movie Release Date:March 11, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 9, 2011
D
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for science fiction action and peril
Movie Release Date: March 11, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 9, 2011

There is one perfectly charming moment in “Mars Needs Moms,” but it does not come until the closing credits, when we get some live action glimpses of the voice actors. Their faces are covered with reference dots and they are […]

The Adjustment Bureau

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality, and a violent image
Movie Release Date:March 4, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 21, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality, and a violent image
Movie Release Date: March 4, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011

The first great movie of 2011 is thought-provoking, exciting, and swooningly romantic. Writer/director George Nolfi takes on the biggest questions of all — faith and doubt, fate and free will, God, love, the meaning of existence — with an absorbing […]

Beastly

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language including crude comments, brief violence, and some thematic material
Movie Release Date:March 4, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 28, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including crude comments, brief violence, and some thematic material
Movie Release Date: March 4, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 28, 2011

It’s the great challenge for all the versions of “Beauty and the Beast” that no one seems able to overcome: the beast is always a far more interesting, appealing, and yes, attractive character than the good-looking but bland prince he […]

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language
Movie Release Date:October 8, 2010
DVD Release Date:February 15, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language
Movie Release Date: October 8, 2010
DVD Release Date: February 15, 2011

A stressed-out teenager impetuously checks himself into a mental hospital in this semi-autobiographical tale based on It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. It is brought to screen by the talented writer-directing team of Anna Boden and Ryan […]

Great Figures in African-American History

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2011
DVD Release Date:February 1, 2011
A
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2011
DVD Release Date: February 1, 2011

Another one from my favorite series that arrives in time for Black History Month — Duke Ellington… and more stories to celebrate great figures in African American history from Scholastic Storybook Treasures. The DVD includes gently animated and beautifully narrated […]

I Am Number Four

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief language
Movie Release Date:February 18, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief language
Movie Release Date: February 18, 2011

A young, handsome kid has extraordinary special powers vastly beyond the abilities of mere mortals. He is being chased by big, scary, ruthless, and relentless creatures with enormous weapons who have killed numbers One, Two, and Three. He is Number […]

Exclusive Clip from ‘Jane Eyre’

posted by Nell Minow

A new version of the classic book by Charlotte Bronte is coming to the screen. “Jane Eyre,” the story of the shy governess who loves her brooding employer, a man with a dark secret. It has been filmed many times, […]

The Eagle

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for battle scenes and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:February 11, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 28, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for battle scenes and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: February 11, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 28, 2011

“The Eagle” is an epic story, lavishly filmed, but empty at the core. Without a reason to care about the quest, it does not matter how skillfully the battle scenes are filmed. It is based on The Eagle of the […]

Tamara Drewe

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 22, 2010
DVD Release Date:February 8, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 22, 2010
DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011

You might think that in a movie called “Tamara Drewe,” the character named Tamara Drewe would be the protagonist. She isn’t. You might then think she could be the primary antagonist creating the chaos that has to be straightened out […]

Cactus Flower

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1969
DVD Release Date:April 23, 202
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1969
DVD Release Date: April 23, 202

This week’s release of Adam Sandler’s remake of “Cactus Flower” is a good reason to check out the 1969 original with Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and, in her Oscar-winning screen debut, Goldie Hawn. It began as a French play, adapted […]

Black History Month Treat: Lincoln and Douglass

posted by Nell Minow

My very favorite series for kids, the Scholastic Storybook Treasures, has a new gem out for Black History Month and President’s Day. It’s a collection of DVDs based on four superb history books for children including Lincoln & Douglass: An […]

Alice in Wonderland

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:N/A
Movie Release Date:1951
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: N/A
Movie Release Date: 1951

Almost 150 years ago Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson published his wildly imaginative story about Alice’s adventures down a rabbit hole. And now the wildly imaginative director Tim Burton has brought Wonderland to the 3D movie screen. It is less faithful […]

The Rite

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images, and language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:January 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images, and language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: January 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2011

Actors! They just can’t help themselves when a juicy part comes along. And that is why Oscar-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins finds himself in “The Rite,” an “inspired by a true story” thriller about an exorcist who struggles with his own […]

Red

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:October 15, 2010
DVD Release Date:January 25, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: October 15, 2010
DVD Release Date: January 25, 2011

Give me Dame Helen Mirren with a semi-automatic weapon and Morgan Freeman smiling, “We’re getting the band back together,” and I will happily settle back and enjoy the popcorn. “RED” stands for “Retired Extremely Dangerous,” and this is the designation […]

Contest: Alice in Wonderland

posted by Nell Minow

I am overjoyed to have two copies of one of my very favorite Disney classics to give away. This is the Blu-Ray/DVD 60th anniversary edition of “Alice in Wonderland.” I have loved this film since we watched it at my […]

The Social Network

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language
Movie Release Date:October 1, 2010
DVD Release Date:January 11, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language
Movie Release Date: October 1, 2010
DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011

Change is not polite. The bigger the change, the more likely that it is messy and painful and ugly. Even its beginnings are often disturbingly uninspired and uninspiring. Despite what Hollywood and history books tell us, change is less often […]

The American

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, sexual content and nudity
Movie Release Date:September 1, 2010
DVD Release Date:December 27, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual content and nudity
Movie Release Date: September 1, 2010
DVD Release Date: December 27, 2010

There’s a reason so many movies give us a character who has just one last job to do before he (it’s almost always a he) can get free. It is because we can sympathize with someone despite even the most […]

Gulliver’s Travels: the Animated Feature

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1939
DVD Release Date:2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1939
DVD Release Date: 2010

In the early days of animation, Disney’s biggest rival was the studio run by the Fleischer brothers, whose Betty Boop, Popeye, and Out of the Inkwell cartoons were very popular. Their first feature, released in 1939, was “Gulliver’s Travels.” While […]

True Grit

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of western violence including disturbing images
Movie Release Date:December 22, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 7, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of western violence including disturbing images
Movie Release Date: December 22, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 7, 2011

In a remake of the John Wayne classic that is truer to the Charles Portis book, the Coen brothers have made their most sincere film yet, a western as spare and yet majestic as its unspoiled landscapes. Like all great […]

The Night Before Christmas…and More Classic Holiday Tales

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2010
DVD Release Date:2010
A
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2010
DVD Release Date: 2010

My very favorite DVD series for families has a wonderful holiday treat: The Night Before Christmas…and More Classic Holiday Tales. Twelve beloved family classics come to life, including the Christmas stories “The Night Before Christmas,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” […]

Giveaway: ‘Flipped’

posted by Nell Minow

I am delighted to have five copies of one of my favorite family movies of the year to give away. Flipped, directed by Rob Reiner has wonderful performances by Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe in a story set in the […]

Shrek Forever After

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor, and brief language
Movie Release Date:May 21, 2010
DVD Release Date:December 7, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor, and brief language
Movie Release Date: May 21, 2010
DVD Release Date: December 7, 2010

Talk about happily ever after! “Shrek Forever After” is the best Shrek since the first one. After a third episode that proved they couldn’t take it much further by going forward, they’ve found a clever way to reboot the story […]

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for fantasy action violence, some mild rude humor, and brief language
Movie Release Date:July 14, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 30, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for fantasy action violence, some mild rude humor, and brief language
Movie Release Date: July 14, 2010
DVD Release Date: November 30, 2010

A pinch of movie magic makes this fantasy action movie a summer movie popcorn pleasure for kids and their families. The story goes back to an 18th century poem by Goethe that inspired a symphony by Paul Dukas a century […]

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of action and violence and some scenes of sensuality
Movie Release Date:June 30, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 30, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of action and violence and some scenes of sensuality
Movie Release Date: June 30, 2010
DVD Release Date: November 30, 2010

Things — and people — heat up in this third chapter in the “Twilight” saga. Bella (Kristen Stewart) begins by quoting Robert Frost’s famous poem about whether the world will end in fire or ice. That will be more than […]

Eat, Pray, Love

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual references, and male rear nudity
Movie Release Date:August 13, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 23, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual references, and male rear nudity
Movie Release Date: August 13, 2010
DVD Release Date: November 23, 2010

Here’s a word I never thought I would use about Ryan Murphy: safe. The guy behind the twisted pleasures of the television series “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee” has made sensationally entertaining comedy-dramas about ambition, competition, beauty, and self-expression. He has specialized […]

Flipped

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and some thematic material
Movie Release Date:August 27, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 23, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and some thematic material
Movie Release Date: August 27, 2010
DVD Release Date: November 23, 2010

The director of “When Harry Met Sally….” has given us a middle-school variation, an on and off love story that begins in second grade when Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe) and his family move in across the street from Juli Baker […]

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary sequences and images
Movie Release Date:November 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:November 16, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary sequences and images
Movie Release Date: November 6, 2009
DVD Release Date: November 16, 2010

Writer-director Robert Zemeckis wisely chose the most unquenchable of stories for his technological marvel. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, already filmed with everyone from Michael Caine to Patrick Stewart, George C. Scott, Vanessa Williams, and Mr. Magoo in the role […]

Magnificent Obsession

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1954
DVD Release Date:2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1954
DVD Release Date: 2009

Celebrate Rock Hudson’s birthday this week with the movie that really made him a star, a remake of a Robert Taylor movie based on a popular book by Lloyd C. Douglas, who often included religious themes in his stories. (Both […]

The Sound of Music

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1965
DVD Release Date:November 9, 2010
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1965
DVD Release Date: November 9, 2010

The Sound of Music is out in a gorgeous new 45th anniversary edition Blu-Ray/DVD combo. The beloved family musical is the fictionalized story of Maria von Trapp (Julie Andrews). It is an outstanding family film, filled with glorious music (“Do […]

Ramona and Beezus

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:July 23, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 2, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: July 23, 2010
DVD Release Date: November 2, 2010

Walden has just about mastered the art of turning the very best in children’s literature into very fine family films. It doesn’t get any better than Beverly Cleary’s marvelous series of books about Ramona Quimby and her family, and here […]

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language, and drug references
Movie Release Date:August 13, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 2, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language, and drug references
Movie Release Date: August 13, 2010
DVD Release Date: November 2, 2010

Director Edgar Wright’s latest movie is based on the popular series of graphic novels about Scott Pilgrim, an often-clueless, out of work musician who falls for a girl named Ramona and has to fight her seven evil exes in a […]

Charlie St. Cloud

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language including sexual references, an intense accident scene, and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:July 30, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 2, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including sexual references, an intense accident scene, and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: July 30, 2010
DVD Release Date: November 2, 2010

Zac Efron makes an affecting and credible dramatic lead in “Charlie St. Cloud,” the movie Nicholas Sparks wishes he could write, based on the book by Ben Sherwood. Like Sparks’ stories, this has loss, and love, and a setting at […]

Sex and the City 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:May 28, 2010
DVD Release Date:October 26, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: May 28, 2010
DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010

After two years as Mrs. Big, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) admits that she’s feeling a bit too “Mr. and Mrs. Married.” Mr. Big (Chris Noth) wants to stay at home with take-out and cuddle while watching black and white movies […]

Howl

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:October 15, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: October 15, 2010

In the post-WWII era of peace and prosperity — and the Cold War and the blacklist and conformity — a small group of writers found much to terrify and infuriate them. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed […]

Jonah Hex

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images, and sexual content
Movie Release Date:June 11, 2010
DVD Release Date:October 12, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images, and sexual content
Movie Release Date: June 11, 2010
DVD Release Date: October 12, 2010

Josh Brolin plays Jonah Hex, a man transformed by loss in a fantasy western set just after the Civil War, based on the series of comics and graphic novels. The war is over in the United States, but it continues […]

How to Train Your Dragon

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:March 26, 2010
DVD Release Date:October 12, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: March 26, 2010
DVD Release Date: October 12, 2010

The sheer exhilaration of flying along with our hero on the back of his new best friend, a dragon, is exceeded only by the exhilaration of top-notch film-making with a witty and heartwarming script, endearing characters, dazzling visuals, and a […]

The Secret of Moonacre

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild peril and language
Movie Release Date:2008
DVD Release Date:September 21, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild peril and language
Movie Release Date: 2008
DVD Release Date: September 21, 2010

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is often asked what book she loved most when she was a child and she always answers The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. It is the story of a little girl named Maria Merryweather […]

Never Let Me Go

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and nudity
Movie Release Date:September 24, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and nudity
Movie Release Date: September 24, 2010

Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Remains of the Day, about a butler who devoted his life to service without questioning his master’s authority or the validity of his judgment became a movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. And now his […]

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:September 24, 2010
DVD Release Date:March 12, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: September 24, 2010
DVD Release Date: March 12, 2011

Zack Snyder tries to do for feathers what he did for abs and biceps in “300” in this 3D animated adventure based on three books from the 15-book series of Ga’hoole novels by Kathryn Lansky. Every snowflake, feather, and talon […]

Robin Hood

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence including intense scenes of warfare and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:May 14, 2010
DVD Release Date:September 21, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence including intense scenes of warfare and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: May 14, 2010
DVD Release Date: September 21, 2010

If, as the Gothic calligraphy tells us as the beginning of this film, tyrants inspire heroes, then the clear implication is that heroes inspire movies. And Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to give to the poor, has been […]

Jonah and the Whale

posted by Nell Minow

On the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jews study the story of Jonah and the Whale. The Jewish educational and outreach group AISH says In a certain sense it is very much the story […]

Amish Grace

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:March 28, 2010
DVD Release Date:September 14, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: March 28, 2010
DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010

The highest-rated Lifetime Movie Network film, “Amish Grace,” is out on DVD this week and well worth viewing. It is based on the true story of a devastating tragedy and the example of courage, compassion, and forgiveness that inspired the […]

Interview: the Stars of ‘Flipped’

posted by Nell Minow

Madeline Carroll (now 14) and Callan McAuliffe (now 15) star in a sweet story of first love called “Flipped,” based on the popular book by Wendelin Van Draanen. I spoke to them about acting in a story set three decades […]

Angelina Ballerina: Love to Dance

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:August 31, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: August 31, 2010

Angelina Ballerina: Love to Dance, the first chance to see the new CGI makeover for everyone’s favorite dancing mouse, comes out this week. I have three DVDs to give away and a special prize for everyone who writes to me. […]

Great Movie Teachers, Part 3: Grade and Middle School

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the first day of school, I am reposting my list of some of my favorite movie teachers in elementary and middle school. Note that not all movies about kids this age are intended to be viewed by […]

Nanny McPhee Returns

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude homor, some language, and mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude homor, some language, and mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2010

For the first half of this movie, the children in the audience were completely on board, laughing when the children on screen were covered with mud and various kinds of animal poop, delighting in seeing them naughtily fighting with each […]

The Last Song

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, some violence, sensuality and mild language
Movie Release Date:March 31, 2010
DVD Release Date:August 17, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, some violence, sensuality and mild language
Movie Release Date: March 31, 2010
DVD Release Date: August 17, 2010

Miley Cyrus shows us how her reach exceeds her grasp in “The Last Song,” an attempt to move past Hannah Montana. She has become Disney’s most valuable property through the force of her personality, comic timing, and way with a […]

Me and Orson Welles

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual references and smoking
Movie Release Date:November 25, 2009
DVD Release Date:August 17, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual references and smoking
Movie Release Date: November 25, 2009
DVD Release Date: August 17, 2010

“This is the story of one week in my life. I was seventeen. It was the week I slept in Orson Welles’s pajamas. It was the week I fell in love. And it was the week I changed my middle […]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor and language
Movie Release Date:March 19, 2010
DVD Release Date:August 3, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor and language
Movie Release Date: March 19, 2010
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010

“Middle school may be the dumbest idea ever,” says Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), and I think he speaks for all of us. If you ask most adults whether they would rather be audited by the IRS or go back through […]

Clash of the Titans

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightning images and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:April 2, 2010
DVD Release Date:July 27, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightning images and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: April 2, 2010
DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010

Director Louis Leterrier (the second “Hulk” movie) says that he was a big fan of the 1981 Clash of the Titans when he was a child. Perhaps that is why he has remade the wrong parts of that film. Nearly […]

Contest: James and the Giant Peach on Blu-Ray

posted by Nell Minow

This is a treat. Before he made “Coraline,” director Henry Selick made the enchanting “James and the Giant Peach,” based on Roald Dahl’s classic book and featuring the voices of Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss, and “Frazier’s” Jane Leaves. It’s now […]

Misty

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1961
DVD Release Date:2002
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1961
DVD Release Date: 2002

If you can’t make it to Virginia today for the annual swimming of the ponies, take a look at this faithful adaptation of the classic (and fact-based) children’s book Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry. It is the story of […]

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 6, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: November 7, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010

If you have not read any of the Millennium trilogy of novels by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson, someone near you has. A worldwide sensation published after the death of the author, the books follow the title character, Lisbeth Salandar, a […]

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language
Movie Release Date:February 12, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 22, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language
Movie Release Date: February 12, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 22, 2010

A teenager feels like he doesn’t fit in anywhere. It all comes together when he finds out that he has inherited some special powers from the father he last saw when he was seven months old. And he soon finds […]

Shutter Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity
Movie Release Date:February 19, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 8, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity
Movie Release Date: February 19, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2010

Dennis Lehane, author of gritty crime novels like Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone and one of the writers of “The Wire,” and director Martin Scorsese, best known for movies like “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” about wiseguys, hitmen, and omertas, have […]

Alice in Wonderland

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar
Movie Release Date:March 5, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 1, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar
Movie Release Date: March 5, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010

Almost 150 years ago Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson published his wildly imaginative story about Alice’s adventures down a rabbit hole. And now the wildly imaginative director Tim Burton has brought Wonderland to the 3D movie screen. It is less faithful […]

Dear John

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and violence
Movie Release Date:February 5, 2010
DVD Release Date:May 25, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and violence
Movie Release Date: February 5, 2010
DVD Release Date: May 25, 2010

Nicholas Sparks writes the equivalent of comfort food, high-carb, low-nutrition, but sometimes it hits the spot. His stories usually feature relationships that are not just true and deep and loving but healing. And then, like ripping off a band-aid, he […]

The Road

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Movie Release Date:November 25, 2009
DVD Release Date:May 26, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Movie Release Date: November 25, 2009
DVD Release Date: May 26, 2010

The most terrifying moment we ever experience is the realization that we are responsible for the life of the perfect being who has turned us from people into parents. We want more than anything to keep them safe and teach […]

Flicka 2

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some reckless behavior
Movie Release Date:2010
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some reckless behavior
Movie Release Date: 2010
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2010

Flicka 2 is a straight-to-DVD sequel of the most recent version of Flicka, the kid-and-a-horse story that goes back to the 1941 novel, My Friend Flicka, which inspired sequels, movies, and a 1956-57 television series. In this latest version a […]

The Adventures of Robin Hood

posted by Nell Minow
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1938
DVD Release Date:2002
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1938
DVD Release Date: 2002

Errol Flynn is the definitive Robin Hood in this glorious Technicolor version of the classic story, one of the most thrillingly entertaining films of all time. King Richard the Lion-Hearted, off fighting in the Crusades, has been captured and held […]

The Lovely Bones

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language
Movie Release Date:December 11, 2009
DVD Release Date:April 20, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language
Movie Release Date: December 11, 2009
DVD Release Date: April 20, 2010

Peter Jackson, whose film versions of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy could be a textbook example of how to adapt a literary work for screen, could find his latest film, “The Lovely Bones” as the example on the next […]

An Education

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexual content, and for smoking
Movie Release Date:October 23, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexual content, and for smoking
Movie Release Date: October 23, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2010

Part of the charm of “An Education,” a bittersweet coming of age story based on a brief memoir by Lynn Barber, is how much we know what its main character does not. Jenny (an incandescent Carey Mulligan) is a teenager […]

Interview: Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’

posted by Nell Minow

Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders are the writer-directors behind one of the best family films of the year, “How to Train Your Dragon.” It was a very great pleasure to talk with them about adapting the popular books and the […]

Fantastic Mr. Fox

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action, smoking and slang humor
Movie Release Date:November 25, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 18, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action, smoking and slang humor
Movie Release Date: November 25, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 18, 2014

Today Criterion issues a gorgeous new Blu-Ray edition of “Fantastic Mr. Fox” with lots of great behind-the-scenes extras.  Director Wes Anderson has often seemed more interested in his films’ props and sets than the characters and stories. His last movie’s […]

The Men Who Stare At Goats

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:November 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: November 6, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010

“More of this is true than you would believe,” “The Men Who Stare at Goats” cheekily informs us as it opens. And while its tone is high satire, even farce, the story it tells is not hard to believe at […]

The Blind Side

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references
Movie Release Date:November 20, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references
Movie Release Date: November 20, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010

“The Blind Side” is a movie about football that had its own broken field running challenge. It is the true story of Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher, a homeless black kid adopted by a wealthy white family. So, it […]

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and action
Movie Release Date:November 20, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and action
Movie Release Date: November 20, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2010

“You’re good with weird,” a character tells Bella mid-way through “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” That’s an understatement. In the first Twilight movie, as in the first of the series by Stephanie Meyer, high school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) […]

The Princess and the Frog

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:December 11, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: December 11, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2010

Disney has cooked up a yummy batch of gumbo with this blend of the past and present. “The Princess and the Frog” is a satisfying and thoroughly entertaining return to the hand-drawn animation that built the studio. Although it is […]

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:November 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 9, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: November 6, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 9, 2010

Claireece (newcomer Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe) is a 16-year-old, still in middle school, illiterate, pregnant with her second child. The first baby has Down Syndrome. Both pregnancies are the result of rape by her own father. She is subjected to constant […]

Up in the Air

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:December 4, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 08, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: December 4, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 08, 2010

To the list of the biggest lies of all time (“The check is in the mail,” “I’ll still respect you in the morning,” etc.) this must now be added: “All the answers are in your packet.” No, they aren’t. Many […]

Ponyo

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:August 14, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: August 14, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010

Hayao Miyazaki has produced another trippy fantasia, this time a fish out of water story along the lines of “The Little Mermaid.” A little girl goldfish with magical powers loves a little boy and turns herself into a human, by […]

Where the Wild Things Are

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language
Movie Release Date:October 16, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language
Movie Release Date: October 16, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010

Maurice Sendak’s spare, poetic, and deeply wise book has been lovingly unfolded into a movie about the child who lives in all of us, brave and fearful, generous and needy, angry and peaceful, confident and insecure, adventuresome and very glad […]

The Informant!

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:September 18, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: September 18, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010

Like some of the food made with the substances produced by the corporation at the heart of this story, this movie is pleasant but leaves a sour aftertaste. It is inspired by the real-life story of one of the most […]

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language
Movie Release Date:October 23, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language
Movie Release Date: October 23, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010

Vampires are everywhere these days. There are the Romeo and Juliet-style stories of Twilight and the steamier True Blood as well as the love triangle of the CW’s Vampire Diaries. And now there is “Cirque Du Freak,” based on the […]

The Time Traveler’s Wife

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, brief disturbing images, nudity and sexuality
Movie Release Date:August 14, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 9, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, brief disturbing images, nudity and sexuality
Movie Release Date: August 14, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 9, 2010

Books and movies are two very different modes of expression. Books tend to be more subjective and internal, focusing on what the author or characters think and feel. Movies are usually better at showing what happens. Even a hugely popular […]

Contest: Emma and Cranford

posted by Nell Minow

This is a very special contest with not one but two utterly delectable DVD sets, both series based on classic books and both originally shown on PBS. Emma (2009) is based on the novel by Jane Austen (already filmed with […]

Once Upon a Mattress

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2005
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2005

“Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical version of “The Princess and the Pea,” is one of my favorites. Carol Burnett became a star for her portrayal of the kind-hearted but rather loud princess when it premiered on Broadway and she […]

Louis James Hates School

posted by Nell Minow

I love this short film based on Bill Morrison’s book about the little boy who tried to get a job without knowing how to read.

Whip It

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content including crude dialogue, language and drug material.
Movie Release Date:October 2, 2009
DVD Release Date:January 26, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including crude dialogue, language and drug material.
Movie Release Date: October 2, 2009
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010

Drew Barrymore has devoted more time than most people to growing up and has done it more publicly than most people, too. At age 34, she has been acting for nearly three decades. Here she makes her directing debut with […]

Youth in Revolt

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, language and drug use
Movie Release Date:January 8, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, language and drug use
Movie Release Date: January 8, 2010

Those who want to see the Michael Cera they know and love and those who want to see him do something else can both find what they are looking for in “Youth in Revolt,” based on the popular epistolary novels […]

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date:September 18, 2009
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date: September 18, 2009
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2010

When things go very, very wrong in this movie, as they so often do, we get to see a series of television news broadcasts from around the world showing the destruction of various iconic monuments, as we so often do. […]

Sherlock Holmes

posted by Nell Minow

Perhaps even the great detective himself could not solve the mystery of why Sherlock Holmes holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for having been portrayed on screen than any other fictional character, with more than 75 actors in […]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality.
Movie Release Date:July 14, 2009
DVD Release Date:December 8, 2009
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality.
Movie Release Date: July 14, 2009
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2009

In his last two movies, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) was becoming an adolescent. In this gripping and atmospheric film, based on the sixth book in the series, Harry Potter is becoming a man. He knows who he is and what […]

A Single Man

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some disturbing images and nudity/sexual content
Movie Release Date:December 11, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some disturbing images and nudity/sexual content
Movie Release Date: December 11, 2009

Designer Tom Ford has exquisite taste, and his first movie is an exquisite movie. Based on a story by Christopher Isherwood, as adapted by Ford, it is the story of one day in the life of a British literature professor […]

Julie & Julia

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:August 7, 2009
DVD Release Date:December 8, 2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: August 7, 2009
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2009

“Julie & Julia” is — I can’t help it — a scrumptiously satisfying film about writer/director Nora Ephron’s two favorite subjects: food and marriage.It is based on two true stories. Julia Child revolutionized American notions about food with her cookbook […]

Public Enemies

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for gangster violence and some language
Movie Release Date:July 1, 2009
DVD Release Date:December 8, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for gangster violence and some language
Movie Release Date: July 1, 2009
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2009

Back before the days when trashy faux celebrities from tawdry reality shows merited magazine covers and “gangsta” rappers postured and pretended to be killers, there was once a romanticized fascination with actual killers with names like “Baby Face” and “Pretty […]

Scholastic: A Night Before Christmas (with Hannukah and Kwanzaa)

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: 2009

My very favorite series has a special family treat for the winter holidays. Clement Moore’s classic poem about Santa Claus is read by Anthony Edwards. Theodore Bikel reads “In the Month of Kisley,” a delightful Hannukah story about a poor […]

A Thanksgiving Treat

posted by Nell Minow

One of my very favorite movies begins with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the original Miracle on 34th Street. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Best wishes to you and your families, and please know how grateful I am for the chance to be […]

Angels & Demons

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material.
Movie Release Date:May 15, 2009
DVD Release Date:November 24, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material.
Movie Release Date: May 15, 2009
DVD Release Date: November 24, 2009

Harvard professor of Symbology Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) returns for another round of save the world heroics peppered with chases, kidnapping, murders, clues, codes, and ancient manuscripts, a beautiful and very erudite woman, murky motives, and a lot of historical, […]

The Box

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some violence and disturbing images
Movie Release Date:November 6, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some violence and disturbing images
Movie Release Date: November 6, 2009

I loved “Donnie Darko” and was eager to listen to the DVD commentary by writer/director Richard Kelly. But I had to turn it off after the first ten minutes. Kelly explained too much, and his explanations were so mundane they […]

Maurice Sendak on DVD

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:2008
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: 2008

If you saw Where the Wild Things Are this week and loved it — or if your children are too young for it but want to enjoy Sendak on film, try the Sendak collection from my favorite Scholastic Storybook series. […]

A Very Brave Witch

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: 2009

Here’s a great new DVD from my all-time favorite series, just in time for Halloween — A Very Brave Witch…and more Halloween stories. In the title story, a little witch who has been taught that humans are scary decides to […]

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1937
DVD Release Date:2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1937
DVD Release Date: 2009

Disney’s 70th anniversary release of its first animated feature film on Blu-Ray is gorgeously restored and filled with behind-the-scene extras and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with the one that is still “the fairest of them all.” Snow White […]

The Wizard of Oz

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1939
DVD Release Date:2009
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1939
DVD Release Date: 2009

The 70th anniversary of this all-time classic is being celebrated with a beautiful new DVD release, a great chance for the family to sit down and watch what is probably the all-time greatest family film again. Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) […]

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Preschool
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:2002
DVD Release Date:2002
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Preschool
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 2002
DVD Release Date: 2002

“Jonah’s” production company, Big Idea, promises “Sunday morning values, Saturday morning fun,” and in my opinion they have more than delivered on both, with a series of videos that are right up there with the best in entertainment and humor […]

If the World Were a Village

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2009
DVD Release Date:September 8, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2009
DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009

Based on David J. Smith’s best-selling and award-winning book If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People, this is an animated story about global culture that helps families understand our differences, our commonality, and our connections. […]

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1971
DVD Release Date:September 9, 2001
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1971
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2001

Based on the book by based on the book by Mary Norton (also the author of The Borrowers,” Bedknobs and Broomsticks is the story of three Cockney children evacuated from London during WWII, who are placed with Miss Eglantine Price […]

Sneak Peek: 14 Seconds from ‘New Moon’

posted by Nell Minow

The full trailer premieres before “Bandslam” this Friday!

The Soloist

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some drug use and language
Movie Release Date:April 21, 2009
DVD Release Date:August 4, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some drug use and language
Movie Release Date: April 21, 2009
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2009

All around Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey, Jr.), everything seems to be broken or breaking. The newspaper is losing readers and laying off staff. His marriage to editor Mary Weston (Catherine Keener) is over. He is estranged […]

Trailer: Fantasic Mr. Fox

posted by Nell Minow

This movie, opening in November, looks wonderfully cool. Owen Wilson, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Anjelica Houston, and Bill Murray star in this animated film based on a book by Roald Dahl, author of “Charlie […]

Chicka Chicka 123… and More Counting Fun

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:July 28, 2009
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009

First-time preschoolers can get a head start, kids returning in the fall can get a refresher, and everyone in the family can have fun with this terrific new DVD of counting stories from my very favorite series by Scholastic. I […]

The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:PG for mild language
Movie Release Date:1998
DVD Release Date:1998
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: PG for mild language
Movie Release Date: 1998
DVD Release Date: 1998

This is a wonderful, magical movie! Based on the short story and play by Ray Bradbury (who adapted for the screen), this is the story of five poor men who pool their resources to buy one magnificent, beautiful, white suit, […]

Watchmen

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 28, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language
Movie Release Date: March 6, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009

This movie deserves two separate reviews. The first is for fans of the the award-winning graphic novel, a dense, complex, challenging story of superheroes and costumed crusaders with lives that are messy, dysfunctional, and bleak. You will be very satisfied […]

Coraline

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor
Movie Release Date:February 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 14, 2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor
Movie Release Date: February 6, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009

In the grand tradition of Alice, Dorothy, Milo, and the Pevensie children, Coraline enters a portal to a magical world that is both thrilling and terrifying, one that will both enchant her and demand her greatest resources of courage and […]

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2005
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2005

Mrs. Palfrey (Joan Plowright) did not think of herself as someone who would live in the shabby gentility of the Claremont, a residential hotel in London. We never learn the details of what brought her there or keeps her there, […]

My Sister’s Keeper

posted by Nell Minow

How far would you go to save your child’s life? How far should you go? Those are the questions posed — and largely ducked — in this film based on the best-selling book, My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult. The […]

Confessions of a Shopaholic

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:February 13, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 23, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: February 13, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 23, 2009

Even the endlessly talented and infinitely adorable Isla Fisher cannot overcome the script problems in this unfrothy romantic comedy about a writer who just can’t stop shopping. As hard as they try to make her irresistable, the character she plays […]

Inkheart

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG for fantasy adventure action, some scary moments and brief language
Movie Release Date:January 23, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 16, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy adventure action, some scary moments and brief language
Movie Release Date: January 23, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 16, 2009

Inkheart is a best-selling novel by Cornelia Funke about the power of reading. There is something truly meta-magical about reading a book about reading a book, with a character who brings book characters to life. And no matter how creative […]

Revolutionary Road

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity
Movie Release Date:December 31, 2008
DVD Release Date:June 2, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity
Movie Release Date: December 31, 2008
DVD Release Date: June 2, 2009

It may be, as Thoreau said, that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation,” but in the movies, desperation is much more likely to be loud. “Revolutionary Road” is another movie about unhappiness, phoniness, and corrosive dysfunction behind the manicured […]

Defiance

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 2, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 2, 2009

Cowriter-director Edward Zwick, who also made “Glory,” the story of an all-black Union regiment in the Civil War, spoke to me about why it was important to tell the story of the Bielski brothers, who kept 1200 Jews hidden from […]

He’s Just Not That Into You

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:February 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 2, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: February 6, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 2, 2009

It turns out that it all goes back to the playground. What did our moms tell us when boys teased us and knocked us down? “He only does it because he likes you!” This leads to two consequences. First, women […]

Animated ‘Lord of the Rings’ — last 600 copies!

posted by Nell Minow

Peter S. Beagle, who write the novel and screenplay for this week’s DVD pick, The Last Unicorn, also wrote the screenplay for the animated version of “Lord of the Rings,” the movie that inspired a kid named Peter Jackson to […]

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:May 12, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date: May 12, 2009

Brad Pitt is a very fine actor (see “Twelve Monkeys” and “True Romance”) but in this epic fantasy his diligent and thoughtful performance contributes less to the film than his appearance, about two-thirds of the way through. I mean appearance […]

Hotel for Dogs

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild thematic elements, language and some crude humor
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 28, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild thematic elements, language and some crude humor
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2008
DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009

Cute kids + cuter dogs = one doggone cute movie. Emma Roberts (niece of Julia) stars in the movie based on the popular book by Lois Duncan about an orphaned brother and sister who rescue stray dogs. Andi (Roberts) and […]

Interview: Steve Lopez of ‘The Soloist’

posted by Nell Minow

Steve Lopez thought maybe he would get a column out of the homeless man who was playing a violin with only two strings. He did get a column, and then more, and then a book, a friend, a lot of […]

Contest: Tale of Despereaux

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to have four copies of Tale of Despereaux to give away to the first four people who send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Despereaux in the subject line. Good luck!

The Tale of Despereaux

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 7, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2008
DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009

The visuals are rich and inviting but a complicated three-part story makes an uneasy transition to screen for the well-loved book by Kate DiCamillo. Sigourney Weaver narrates the story, beginning with the description of a hero we will not meet […]

Slumdog Millionaire

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Movie Release Date:November 12, 2008
DVD Release Date:March 31, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Movie Release Date: November 12, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009

Like its title character, this film has had highly improbable success, ending up with the Best Picture Oscar for 2008. The title character is Jamal (Dev Patel) a “slumdog” orphan child who grew up in the streets of Mumbai and […]