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quality

  • A+, A, A-
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Trailer: Secret in Their Eyes with Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Chiwetel Ejiofor

posted by Nell Minow

The Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010 was The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos), an Argentinian film that is part cold-case detective story about a missing, perhaps murdered, girl, part love story. The […]

Trailer: Legend, the Story of The Crime Boss Twin Brothers, The Krays

posted by Nell Minow

Twin brothers known as The Krays” ran a brutal crime ring in 1960’s London. A new movie called “Legend” stars Tom Hardy as both of the identical twin brothers, Ronnie and Reggie Kray. A 1991 film called “The Krays” starred […]

Hot Pursuit

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 10, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 10, 2015

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

True Story

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some disturbing material
Movie Release Date:April 17, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 3, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some disturbing material
Movie Release Date: April 17, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2015

A reporter in disgrace for fabricating details of a story sits across the table from an orange-jumpsuited prisoner, accused of murdering his wife and three children. They have more in common than either of them expected. They are both outcasts. […]

Run All Night

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

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

List: The Best Movie Con Games and Grifters

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s release of “Focus,” here are some of my favorite movies about con games and grifters. Remember that “con” comes from “confidence.” A con man (or woman) makes you believe in them and have confidence in […]

The Jinx: HBO Series About a Millionaire Murderer

posted by Nell Minow

Robert Durst, heir to a vast fortune from New York real estate, has had a life has been punctuated by tragedy. When he was seven years old, his mother was killed when she fell off the roof of their home, […]

Mortdecai

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language and sexual material
Movie Release Date:January 23, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 11, 2015
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language and sexual material
Movie Release Date: January 23, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 11, 2015

There’s a lot of noise in “Mortdecai” but what I remember most is the silences where everything pauses for a moment to allow the audience to laugh without drowning out the next witty riposte. Nope, just crickets, as there was […]

A Most Violent Year

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 6, 2015

After three very different movies, we know two things about writer/director J.C. Chandor. First, he is already one of today’s most original, thought-provoking directors, with a remarkably mature and insightful eye, and second, he is vitally interested in the survival […]

Inherent Vice

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence
Movie Release Date:January 9, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence
Movie Release Date: January 9, 2015

We love mystery stories because they reassure us that questions have answers and justice is possible. But some mystery stories are there to remind us that life is complicated and messy, and sometimes answers are just more questions. This is […]

Foxcatcher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2015

John Eleuthère Du Pont was of the wealthiest men in the world. He was an ornithologist, a philatelist, a purchaser of military weapons (including a tank), a wrestling fan who set up a luxurious training facility for the US Olympic […]

John Wick

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

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

Kill the Messenger

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and drug content
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and drug content
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2014

Sometimes an honest, crusading, investigative reporter uncovers corruption and deceit and the result is triumph, a Pulitzer Prize, humiliating resignations and criminal convictions of the guilty and an Oscar-winning movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. And sometimes, instead, the […]

The Equalizer

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

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

The Drop

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2015

Author Dennis Lehane writes about a world of desperation, fear, and damaged people inflicting further damage. His novels have been filmed as “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone.” And now his short story, “Animal Rescue,” has been turned into “The […]

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

If you want to not just see but hear an eyeball being pulverized, then see “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”  If you want to see and hear it in the company of an audience who thinks that’s funny, […]

Interview: Joe Berlinger of “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger”

posted by Nell Minow

Joe Berlinger is one of my favorite directors and it was a treat to talk to him about “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger,” his new documentary on the trial of the notorious gangster. We know Bulgar […]

Interview: Robert May of “Kids for Cash”

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most outrageous scandals in the history of the U.S. justice system involved two judges who took undisclosed multi-million dollar payments from the developer of a privately owned and operated facility for incarcerating teenagers.  A “law and order” […]

Jersey Boys

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout
Movie Release Date:June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 11, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout
Movie Release Date: June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014

Winston Churchill famously said that history is written by the victors.  In movie terms, that means that when you see the names of just two of the original Four Seasons listed as the film’s producers, it is clear we are […]

22 Jump Street

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

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

Sabotage

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

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

The Grand Budapest Hotel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date:March 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 16, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date: March 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 16, 2014

Writer/director Wes Anderson loves precious little worlds and his movies are not just created, they are curated. There’s a reason that this film is named for its location, not its characters or plot. Anderson is the master of “saudade,” the […]

Veronica Mars

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality including references, drug content, violence and some strong language
Movie Release Date:March 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 5, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality including references, drug content, violence and some strong language
Movie Release Date: March 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 5, 2014

NOTE: I can’t pretend any objectivity here — I am a fan of the television series, a Kickstarter supporter of the film, and a friend of one of the producers.  I think I would have been capable of writing a […]

The Wolf of Wall Street

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 28, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 28, 2014

Jordan Belfort is a selling machine the way a shark is a killing machine.  Every single element of his being is optimally designed for just one purpose, with no extraneous or pesky attributes like a conscience to slow him down. […]

American Hustle

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2014

“Some of this actually happened,” the movie’s opening shot deadpans.  It is true that the United States government both threatened and paid a con man to help them con some bigger fish and then accidentally ended up conning some of […]

Out of the Furnace

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R For strong violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date:December 6, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R For strong violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date: December 6, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014

“Out of the Furnace” gets no credit for its good intentions because it collapses under the combined weight of pretentiousness and condescension. This is Hollywood’s idea of a searing drama about life in recession-era heartland, as phony as a painted […]

The Counselor

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:October 25, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: October 25, 2013

Cormac McCarthy’s spare, bleak, and very literary prose has made for some compelling cinema, most effectively in No Country for Old Men and The Road and the adaption of his play for an HBO movie, The Sunset Limited.  In his first original […]

Prisoners

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content including torture and language throughout
Movie Release Date:September 20, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content including torture and language throughout
Movie Release Date: September 20, 2013

The subject matter of the movie “Prisoners”– parents desperately searching for their kidnapped little girls– is so potent that it requires a strong, sure director to maintain control.  Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies”), in his first Hollywood feature film, is […]

The Family

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

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

Kick-Ass 2

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

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

2 Guns

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

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

Fruitvale Station

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, language throughout and some drug use
Movie Release Date:July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 14, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, language throughout and some drug use
Movie Release Date: July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014

The sadly timely release of Sundance award-winner “Fruitvale Station” begins with the shocking real-life cell phone footage shot in a San Francisco subway station on New Year’s Eve 2008.  A young black man named Oscar Grant was handcuffed and lying […]

Charade

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1963
DVD Release Date:July 8, 2013
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1963
DVD Release Date: July 8, 2013

I’m delighted that one of the all-time great romantic thrillers is being released for the first time on Blu-Ray this week.  Director Stanley Donen out-Hitchcock’s Alfred Hitchcock with this witty, elegant, sophisticated bonbon starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.  It […]

Despicable Me 2

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

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

The Heat

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:June 28, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 14, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: June 28, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 14, 2013

By my count, I have seen some sixty jillion buddy cop movies, and they follow a format as rigid as a sonnet.  One cop is by-the-book.  One is free-wheeling and impulsive.  There is a frustrated superior officer.  There is a […]

Now You See Me

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, some action, and sexual content
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 2, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, some action, and sexual content
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2013

The most purely entertaining movie of the year so far is “Now You See Me,” and like all great magic tricks, it makes us delighted to be fooled.   We are warned from the very beginning that the closer we […]

Pain & Gain

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout, and drug use
Movie Release Date:April 26, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout, and drug use
Movie Release Date: April 26, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2013

“Unfortunately, based on a true story,” we are warned as this film opens.  In case we forget, or, more likely, in case we assume the usual Hollywood embellishments, we are reminded, when things get really bizarre and really, really, really […]

Trance

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 22, 2013

Before he was the establishment figure who won Oscars for prestige projects (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and masterminded the fabulous opening ceremonies for the London Olympics that had the Queen and James Bond jumping out of a plane, Danny Boyle was a […]

New on Blu-Ray: Laura

posted by Nell Minow

The classic noir mystery/romance Laura is just out on Blu-Ray, and it is magnificent.  It has one of the all-time great movie twists, so I won’t give much away except to say that it stars the exquisitely beautiful Gene Tierney, […]

Snitch

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

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

A Good Day to Die Hard

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

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

Identity Thief

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013

How did so many great performers get stuck in this awful movie? And why, why? There’s one scene in this ugly and poorly paced road trip comedy that has the straight-laced Sandy (co-producer and star Jason Bateman) hiding in the […]

Stand Up Guys

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

A little bit “Goodfellas” and a little bit “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” this is a life-in-a-day story about aging criminals.  Unlike Ferris, these guys have had too many days off and are very happy to return to their old haunts […]

Broken City

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013

Another January weekend, another dumb shoot-out. Last weekend, it was 1950’s Los Angeles.  This week, it’s contemporary New York.  It’s still about corruption, betrayal, and bang-bang.  Co-producer Mark Wahlberg plays Billy, a cop exonerated after he killed a suspect because […]

The Last Stand

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

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

Jack Reacher

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

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

Killing Them Softly

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:November 30, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 26, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: November 30, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013

Brad Pitt plays Jackie Cogan, a hit man who prefers to kill people “softly,” meaning with as little fuss and muss as possible.   But because he is a hit man, he is constantly surrounded by messes that he is […]

Alex Cross

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rate PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity
Movie Release Date:October 19, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 5, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rate PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity
Movie Release Date: October 19, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2013

In “Alex Cross,” Tyler Perry is called upon to: show devastating grief, show incendiary fury, make threats, throw punches, and take over a part played twice on screen by Morgan Freeman.  He is not up to any of those things. […]

Looper

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

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

Lawless

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong, bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:August 31, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong, bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: August 31, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

Musician Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat are Australians who are drawn to bleak internal and external landscapes.  They worked together on “The Proposition,” a western-style and very violent crime story about brothers.  “Lawless” is another crime story about brothers, […]

Premium Rush

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

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

The Dark Knight Rises

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

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

Savages

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong, brutal, and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout
Movie Release Date:July 6, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong, brutal, and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout
Movie Release Date: July 6, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

Oliver Stone’s new movie about drug dealers and drug users seems to assume that its audiences may be watching in an altered state of consciousness as well.  Stone has never been known for subtlety, but just to make absolutely sure […]

The Amazing Spider-Man

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

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

21 Jump Street

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

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

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 […]

Man on a Ledge

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and brief language
Movie Release Date:January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 29, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and brief language
Movie Release Date: January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012

It wants to be a twisty-turny thriller but it is as straightforward as its title.  A man we will later know as Nick (Sam Worthington) checks into a New York hotel, orders room service (we see he has a scraped […]

Contraband

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

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

The 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 […]

Into the Abyss

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2011

Werner Herzog continues his exploration of the darkness and the light within the human spirit with “Into the Abyss,” a documentary about why and how we kill each other, in violation of the law and directed by it. In Texas, […]

Tower Heist

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012

If the Occupy Wall Street crowd decided to make it movie it would be “Tower Heist,” the story of 99%-ers stealing back from a 1% guy what he stole from them. Alan Alda has a lot of fun playing a […]

Interview: Harry Markopolos of Chasing Madoff

posted by Nell Minow

The award for the biggest “I told you so” of all time has to go to Harry Markopolos, who fought for nine years to convince anyone — regulator, prosecutor, journalist, or customer — that Bernard Madoff was a crook.  Finally, […]

30 Minutes or Less

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date:August 12, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 29, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date: August 12, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011

Counter-terrorism expert Mark Sageman has described what he calls the “bunch of guys” theory.  Instead of looking for a mastermind and a bunch of crackerjack operatives, Sageman says more often the people who create mayhem are a bunch of guys […]

Horrible Bosses

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date:July 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 11, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date: July 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011

Three old friends who work for deranged, abusive bosses decide that the only solution is a “Strangers on a Train”-style murder swap in a lightweight comedy sustained by recession-era resentment fantasies, some attention to plot structure, and a bunch of […]

The Green Hornet

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

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

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 […]

Conviction

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent images
Movie Release Date:October 15, 2010
DVD Release Date:February 1, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent images
Movie Release Date: October 15, 2010
DVD Release Date: February 1, 2011

Sam Rockwell gives one of the best performances of the year as Kenny Waters, a man wrongly convicted of murder for eighteen years until his sister was able to prove that he was innocent and get him released. Betty Ann […]

Takers

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language
Movie Release Date:August 27, 2010
DVD Release Date:January 18, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language
Movie Release Date: August 27, 2010
DVD Release Date: January 18, 2011

Why make a movie with so many first-rate performers and give central roles to people who cannot act and have no star power on screen? For the answer, read the credits. Rap star T.I. and R&B star Chris Brown are […]

The Other Guys

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, violence, and some drug material
Movie Release Date:August 6, 2010
DVD Release Date:December 14, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, violence, and some drug material
Movie Release Date: August 6, 2010
DVD Release Date: December 14, 2010

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg make an inspired buddy cop pairing in “The Other Guys,” a rare comedy based on something other than snark or irony or insults or humiliation or high concept. This is that rarest of comedies — […]

Despicable Me

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Movie Release Date:July 9, 2010
DVD Release Date:December 14, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Movie Release Date: July 9, 2010
DVD Release Date: December 14, 2010

We usually just take it for granted that the villain wants to rule the world without worrying too much about why. But one of the many charms of this utterly delightful film is that we get a glimpse that is […]

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 […]

Kick-Ass

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children
Movie Release Date:April 16, 2010
DVD Release Date:August 3, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children
Movie Release Date: April 16, 2010
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010

“Kick-Ass” revels in its transgressive, nasty brutishness, and its audience will, too. Of course, it’s one thing to have a 11-year-old girl in a comic book use very strong language and kill lots of people and it is another thing […]

The Bounty Hunter

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive comments, language, and some violence
Movie Release Date:March 19, 2010
DVD Release Date:July 13, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive comments, language, and some violence
Movie Release Date: March 19, 2010
DVD Release Date: July 13, 2010

Jennifer Aniston is a beautiful and talented woman, but this film had me thinking some very mean thoughts about her, thoughts like, “She is too old for this kind of movie” and “Probably not a good idea to make a […]

Brooklyn’s Finest

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:March 5, 2010
DVD Release Date:July 6, 2010
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: March 5, 2010
DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010

This bloated, pretentious mess is the slowest action movie I can remember, weighted down with over-used characters, situations, and dialog. The dialog is over-used within the movie itself. It isn’t enough for a character to say, “I want my life […]

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 […]

From Paris With Love

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, drug content, pervasive language and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:February 5, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 8, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, drug content, pervasive language and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: February 5, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2010

John Travolta loves to be bad. And so he is clearly having a blast — in both senses of the word — in this film, playing a bald guy with an earring who likes to shoot first and think later. […]

The Square

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date:May 7, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date: May 7, 2010

When the first 10 minutes of film introduce us to an illicit affair, a kickback scheme, and a hidden bag filled with money, we know we’re in for a twisty thriller, and “The Square” delivers. Brothers Nash and Joel Edgerton […]

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 […]

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 […]

District 13: Ultimatum

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, language and drug material
Movie Release Date:February 5, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, language and drug material
Movie Release Date: February 5, 2010

Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle make a sensationally appealing team in this follow-up to their hit film “District B13.” Belle is the creator of “parkour,” a stunt spectacular that turns an entire city into an obstacle course. It has become […]

Law Abiding Citizen

posted by Nell Minow
F
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:October 16, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2010
F
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: October 16, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2010

This is not just a bad film; it is a despicable one. The slim but highly profitable torture porn genre has now begun to permeate major studio films directed at a general audience and the result is this dim-witted thriller […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Taking of Pelham 123

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:June 12, 2009
DVD Release Date:November 3, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: June 12, 2009
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009

This third version of the story of a hijacked New York subway car may be superfluous but it still delivers some zip thanks to Tony Scott’s music-video flash and even a bit of heft thanks to Denzel Washington. The 1974 […]

American Violet

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, drug references and language
Movie Release Date:April 17, 2009
DVD Release Date:October 13, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, drug references and language
Movie Release Date: April 17, 2009
DVD Release Date: October 13, 2009

Meet two extraordinary women — Dee Roberts, based on a real-life single mother who took on corrupt and racist law enforcement officials in Texas and Nicole Beharie, the woman who plays her, who makes one of the most thrilling feature […]

Next Day Air

posted by Nell Minow
F
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, drug content, some violence and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2009
F
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, drug content, some violence and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2009

I was plenty offended by “Next Day Air’s” contempt for its characters. But the racism and sexism of this vile movie about dumb crooks and dumber would-be crooks and even dumber people who get mixed up with the first two […]

Wiseguy

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1987
DVD Release Date:August 25, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1987
DVD Release Date: August 25, 2009

“Wiseguy” was a tough, smart 1980’s television series about a cop (Ken Wahl) who goes deep undercover, starting with 18 months in prison to establish his criminal credentials. In this first season, just out on DVD, he infiltrates the organization […]

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 […]

Crossing Over

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, some strong violence and sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:February 27, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some strong violence and sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: February 27, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2009

A well-intentioned but ham-handed exploration of U.S. immigration policies, this movie’s message is undermined by its cardboard characters and clunky script. Like “Babel” and “Crash” it is a multi-story exploration of one theme, but it is formulaic and uninvolving. It […]

The Spirit

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of stylized violence and action, some sexual content and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 14, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of stylized violence and action, some sexual content and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2008
DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009

If there is ever an Oscar category for best performance by an article of clothing, the red tie worn by the title character in this film would be the clear winner and the rain coat would most likely be the […]

Body of Lies

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language throughout
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2008
DVD Release Date:February 17, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language throughout
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2008
DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009

Once movie spies were sleek and cool and impeccably dressed. They were devil-may-care, they had joie de vivre, they seemed to know everything, and they were unstoppable. The bad guys had endless money to spend on sociopathic sidekicks and elaborate […]

Pride and Glory

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language and brief drug content
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2008
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language and brief drug content
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2008

A big-name cast and some big-time issues are not enough to make up for a small-time script that adds absolutely nothing new to the too-often-told tale of police corruption and family betrayal. It is as generic as its title. Four […]

Righteous Kill

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2008
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2008
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009

Has there ever been a cinematic pairing as eagerly anticipated as this one? Perhaps, but I can’t think of one that has been anticipated as long. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro were both in 1974’s “The Godfather II” but their […]

Mad Money

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language, and brief drug references.
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2008
DVD Release Date:May 13, 2008
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language, and brief drug references.
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2008
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008

What force on earth is strong enough to unite an upper middle class suburban housewife, a poor African-American single mother and a young, spaced-out rock n’ roll fan living in a trailer? Why, the opportunity to steal from the government, […]

Street Kings

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2008
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2008

“Street Kings” is a like a Cliff’s Notes version of Training Day not that Training Day was any special challenge to the mental muscle. Corruption is bad, we get it. At least that movie had a sizzling performance and an […]

No Country for Old Men

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence and some language.
Movie Release Date:November 9, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence and some language.
Movie Release Date: November 9, 2007
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008

“I’m fixin to go do somethin dumbern hell but I’m goin anyways. If I don’t come back tell Mother I love her.” “Your mother’s dead Llewelyn.” “Well I’ll tell her myself then.” For the Coen brothers’ first-ever adaptation of another […]

The Bank Job

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, violence and language.
Movie Release Date:March 7, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, violence and language.
Movie Release Date: March 7, 2008

Ah, the pleasures of the heist film. Something for nothing. Sticking it to The Man. Tricky problems solved by clever people both in the planning stages and on the spot. And, just to make it really fun, sometimes, as here, […]

Illegal Tender

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date: 2007

There’s a chance, but a very slight chance that 20 years from now this could be one of those films whose pulpiness overcomes its dopiness. But I doubt it. Oh, it is fun to see Wanda de Jesus get all […]

Ocean’s 13

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

The first one was fun for them to make and us to watch. For the second one, clearly the Oceanists were having more fun than the audience. George Clooney has joked that the third “Oceans” film should be called “The […]

Mr. Brooks

posted by jmiller

I have to give this film credit for embracing its craziness. This is one movie that proudly raises its freak flag high and lets it wave. But that does not mean it works. Mr. Brooks (Kevin Costner) is an upstanding […]

Jindabyne

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing images, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing images, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Parents should know that this film deals with very disturbing themes, including the discovery of the dead body of a young woman who may have been raped. There are scenes of nudity and graphic wounds. Characters drink (sometimes to excess), […]

Fracture

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent content.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent content.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

This is not a who-dun-it. It’s a will-they-be-able-to-prove-it. As in the old Columbo television series, we know from the beginning who pulled the trigger. We see Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) shoot his wife in the head because she was having […]

Disturbia

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

This nicely nifty little thriller takes Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window and updates it to the era of cell phones and webcams. Kale (Shia LeBeouf) is under house arrest for hitting a teacher. For three months, he has to wear an […]

Perfect Stranger

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, some disturbing violent images and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, some disturbing violent images and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Was Ashley Judd at the hairdresser the day this script came in? She’s usually the star of movies like this — the low-level potboiler with the plucky girl in jeopardy, and Morgan Freeman around somewhere to give some sage advice. […]

The Lookout

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

In this tense and twisty thriller, our narrator and central figure is Chris (the stunning Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a one-time high school hockey star and dreamboat who was brain-damaged in a car crash on prom night. Now, he works as the […]

Hot Fuzz

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violent content including some graphic images, and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violent content including some graphic images, and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Those Shaun of the Dead guys are at it again. Having put a comedic stake through the heart of the zombie movie, they are now going after brainless cop films. Simon Pegg, the clueless Shaun in the last film, here […]

Zodiac

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong killings, language, drug material and brief sexual images.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong killings, language, drug material and brief sexual images.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

We still don’t know for sure who was — or is — the California serial killer known as the Zodiac, the name he used in a series of letters he sent to San Francisco newspapers in the late 1960’s and […]

Reno 911!: Miami

posted by jmiller
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language and drug use.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language and drug use.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Silly cops have been a staple of comedy since Shakespeare created the character of Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. They’ve been a staple of movie comedy from the Keystone Kops of the silent era through the Police Academy and […]

Smokin’ Aces

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

This is a flashy, nasty, hyper-violent story about a lot of people who are very, very interested in a snitch, magician and five time entertainer-of-the-year Buddy “Aces” Israel (Jeremy Piven). He’s about to turn state’s evidence against his long-time cronies […]

Alpha Dog

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive drug use and language, strong violence, sexuality and nudity.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive drug use and language, strong violence, sexuality and nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

“This whole thing is about parenting,” explains the ironically named Sonny Truelove (Bruce Willis). He is telling an off-screen questioner about his son Johnny (Emile Hirsch). Or, the questioner is trying to get some answers from Sonny, but not making […]

Code Name: Cleaner

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor and some violence.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor and some violence.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

With a script that couldn’t find 22 minutes of jokes to fill a sitcom on the USA Network, even Cedric the Entertainer can’t make this attempt at comedy anything but inert. It want to be a spy spoof. It’s a […]

Freedom Writers

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violent content, some thematic material and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violent content, some thematic material and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Here is the formula for movies about idealistic young teachers who go into bad neighborhoods: 1. Idealistic teacher goes into bad neighborhood and is aghast at poor conditions and cynicism of the school administration. 2. Students treat teacher with contempt […]

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for aberrant behavior involving nudity, violence, sexuality, and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for aberrant behavior involving nudity, violence, sexuality, and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

It’s an engaging idea — to make a movie about the one sense least able to be evoked by film, the sense of smell. The great triumph of the cinema is the way it unites sound, words, and images to […]

Harsh Times

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language and drug use.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language and drug use.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

If David Ayer the director paid David Ayer the screenwriter for this script, he should ask himself for some of his money back. The screenplay is awfully close to Ayer’s own Training Day, the film that won Denzel Washington his […]

The Departed

posted by jmiller
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Brilliantly acted, enthrallingly told, this vast, operatic saga centers on two men, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and William Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), both Boston Southies. Both are pretending to be the opposite of what they really are. Both are caught between […]

Haven

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, drug use, sexual content and some violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, drug use, sexual content and some violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Director Frank E. Flowers’ full-length debut, “Haven,” is a study in sin. Set mostly in the Cayman Islands, the film’s characters live in a world where the stakes are high and the people are higher. It could be written off […]

Gridiron Gang

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some startling scenes of violence, mature thematic material and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some startling scenes of violence, mature thematic material and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

The biggest shock in this film comes at the very end. It is not a spoiler to say that there’s the usual “here’s what happened to the characters” round-up. The shocker is the reminder that the murderers and drug dealers […]

The Black Dahlia

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Director Brian de Palma is all about the look and the mood and paying tribute to the classic old movies he loves. He loves them so much he crawls inside them. He imitates them like an art student sitting in […]

The Protector

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive strong violence and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive strong violence and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Martial arts actor Tony Jaa’s follow-up to his breakout performance, 2003’s Ong-bak, could be called Kill Bill with a conscience. The violence is so pervasive that viewers can’t help but become increasingly desensitized, and there’s a clear attention to style […]

Hollywoodland

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Is there a more heartbreakingly unsolveable mystery than a suicide? The only person who really knows what happened is gone. Even if we find out the how, we who are left behind will always wonder why. Those who are still […]

Crank

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Crank — as in the highly potent and highly agitating street drug, as in cranked up, as in dizzying cuts and swoops with the camera to replicate a disorienting strung-out high followed by an even more disorienting and strung-out crash. […]

Idlewild

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Percival, a mortician by day/speakeasy piano player by night, sleeps under an assortment of singing cuckoo clocks and serenades a lovely corpse dressed as a bride. The engraved rooster on a silver liquor flask talks to its owner, also named […]

Miami Vice

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

The original “Miami Vice” was Michael Mann’s decade-defining television show. It ran from 1984-89 and everything about it was fresh, edgy, and influential. The t-shirt under the Armani jacket with photogenic beard stubble look, the best-selling techno-synth musical theme that […]

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor, language and brief nudity.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor, language and brief nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Even with a face contorted with rage and vengeance and a voice echoing through the streets of New York as well as the theater, it’s difficult not to like Uma Thurman as the needy, controlling and manipulative Jenny Johnson/G-girl. The […]

Little Man

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor throughout, language and brief drug references.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor throughout, language and brief drug references.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

The Wayans family is better at making money than making movies. They know that if they keep the budget low and the humor even lower, they can keep making money. In fact, according to Entertainment Weekly, they are the most […]

Waist Deep

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

A standard gangsta bang-bang movie with a script like a rap song benefits from charismatic performers and smooth writing and direction by Vondie Curtis Hall, who plays it like an urban western — a strong, quiet loner takes on a […]

The Sentinel

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence and a scene of sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence and a scene of sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

What this movie gets right is the dry, cynical, slightly gallows-ish humor of people who spend their lives on constant alert, knowing that 999 out of a thousand of the “suspicious” activities they check out will be nothing. They are […]

Lucky Number Slevin

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, sexuality and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, sexuality and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Slevin (Josh Harnett) is not having a good week. He lost his job and his girlfriend. He was mugged and his wallet and suitcase were stolen. He decided to visit a friend, who seems to have disappeared. But the door […]

Basic Instinct 2

posted by jmiller
F-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language and some drug content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language and some drug content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Someone should tell Sharon Stone that you can’t step in the same river twice. Or you can’t go home again. Or that for every Godfather II there are a hundred Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloos. Anything to stop another big, boring […]

Inside Man

posted by jmiller
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent images.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent images.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Spike Lee’s brilliant direction and a clever and surprising script from first-timer Russell Gewirtz provide an ideal setting for four of the most watchable actors in the business in a heist film that transcends and tweaks its genre. It has […]

Find Me Guilty

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong language and some violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong language and some violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Director Sidney Lumet revisits the themes of two of his most memorable films in this movie, but with less success. Like Dog Day Afternoon, it is a true story with colorful characters and both comic and tragic overtones. Like 12 […]

16 Blocks

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

When a cop at a crime scene needs someone to stay with the bodies until the detectives arrive, he asks “who don’t we need?” That would be tired, slow, Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis). As soon as the other cops leave, […]

Freedomland

posted by jmiller
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This movie’s inability to live up to its potential is nearly as epic as its misleading title. In other hands, “Freedomland” might have played a jazz-like riff of personal loss and moving vignettes against the 4/4 beat of racial injustice […]

Firewall

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence, and for some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence, and for some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

What can you do if you want to rob a bank and hotshot Harrison Ford has designed a foolproof security system? Well, firewalls may be unbreakable, but people are not. So, you tell him that if he doesn’t break into […]

Match Point

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

In Stardust Memories, Woody Allen’s character refers to his mother’s cooking as putting food through the “deflavorizing machine.” His latest movie feels as though he has taken his complex and powerful Crimes and Misdemeanors abd put it through a deflavorizing […]

Fun With Dick and Jane

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief language, some sexual humor and occasional humorous drug references.
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2006
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief language, some sexual humor and occasional humorous drug references.
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2006

The first “Fun with Dick and Jane” was the popular reader that millions of first graders used to sound out words like “Oh” and “Run!” Dick and Jane were perfect suburban children in an idealized world of smiling parents, sunny […]

Crash

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2006
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2006

Everyone is angry. Everyone is scared. They all feel that something that belongs to them has been taken away and they don’t know how to get it back. And in this movie, they say so. “Crash,” the winner of the […]

The Maltese Falcon

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1941
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 1941

Plot: Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) is a private detective. A woman who says her name is Ruth Wonderly (Mary Astor) comes to see him, asking for help in finding her sister. Sam sends his partner, Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) to […]

On the Waterfront

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:1954
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 1954

Plot: Based on a true story (with a less satisfying conclusion), this is the story of the men who had the courage to stand up to the corrupt longshoreman’s union. The union is controlled by Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). […]

Murder by Numbers

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2002

In 1924 there was a murder was so shocking that it was called the crime of the century. What was chilling was the motive — not money or passion but a cool arrogance that led two wealthy young men to […]

All the President’s Men

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1976
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2012
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1976
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2012

This week is the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in and a good time to look at the Oscar-winning movie about the two reporters who would not give up on the story of the Watergate break-in, this is as gripping as […]

The Music Man

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1962
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date: 1962

“Professor” Harold Hill (Robert Preston) is a con man posing as a salesman of band instruments and uniforms. He happens upon River City, a small town in Iowa. As the citizens explain in song, Iowa is a place of stubborn […]

Insomnia

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2002

Detective Dormer (Al Pacino) can’t sleep. He and his partner, Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan), are LA cops on special assignment to investigate the brutal murder of a teen-age girl in tiny Nightmute Alaska. Dormer may have been brought in for […]

Entrapment

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1999
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 1999

A heist film is one of Hollywood’s most reliable plots. “Entrapment” has caught the look and feel but not the heart of classics like “Topkapi” and “To Catch a Thief.” Sean Connery plays “Mac” MacDougal, a dashing (if somewhat creaky) […]

Boiler Room

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2000
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2000

Seth (Giovanni Ribisi) wants two things very badly. He wants to make a lot of money quickly, and he wants the respect of his father (Ron Rifkin), a federal judge. Seth drops out of college to run a highly profitable […]

Drowning Mona

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2000
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2000

I guess they thought they were going to make another “Fargo.” That’s the only possible explanation for the time this talented cast spent making this awful movie. There are movies that paint small town America as an idyllic oasis of […]

The Green Mile

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1999
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 1999

It’s pretty easy to make a movie where the hero saves the Earth from asteroids or blasts the bad guys into smithereens, because those kinds of battles give us lots of very cool stuff to look at. It’s a lot […]

Run Lola Run

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1999
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 1999

Teenagers with a taste for the offbeat will enjoy this German import about a woman who gets a frantic phone call from her boyfriend and has only 20 minutes to find 100,000 marks (about $60,000), or he will be killed […]

The Whole Nine Yards

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2000
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2000

Surprisingly enough, there is a nice little comedy genre about mob hit men living in suburbia. This one doesn’t quite live up to Steve Martin’s neglected gem “My Blue Heaven,” but it has some very funny moments. Matthew Perry plays […]

Blue Streak

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1999
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 1999

Martin Lawrence stars in a made-to-order story of a jewel thief who returns to the scene of the crime to retrieve his loot, only to find that the construction site where he stashed the stolen diamond is now a police […]

Next Friday

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2000
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2000

On the one hand, this movie is a lazy, dumb, and misogynistic and it promotes pot smoking, unemployment, and burglary. On the other hand, it is genial and unpretentious. If it does not take drug use, crime, racism, and sexism […]

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