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Interview: Kim Campbell on Caring for Glen Campbell and “I’ll Be Me”

posted by Nell Minow

Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me is a beautiful documentary about an ugly disease. Glen Campbell, one of the most popular and successful musical performers of all time, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. As memories, words, and some basic concepts […]

In Theaters For One Night Only: How to Change the World

posted by Nell Minow

How to Change the World, the critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary, comes to select U.S. theaters this September 9, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. local time, presented by Fathom Events and Picturehouse Entertainment. The documentary looks at the very early days of […]

Being Evel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 28, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 28, 2015

Evel Knievel was an international celebrity in the 1960’s-70’s, known for three things: showmanship, stunts that succeeded, and stunts that failed. He was recognized for jumping over 19 cars in his motorcycle, for crash-landing after trying to jump over the […]

Rosenwald

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 28, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 28, 2015

Aviva Kempner, the director of the acclaimed documentaries about baseball star Hank Greenberg and television pioneer Gertrude Berg, has a new film about early 20th century Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. Like the prior films, this one is filled […]

Coming on PBS: The Women’s List, With Margaret Cho, Madeleine Albright, Betsey Johnson, Shonda Rhimes, and More

posted by Nell Minow

The Women’s List is coming to PBS as a part of the American Masters series on September 25, 2015, featuring: Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, 1997-2001 Gloria Allred, lawyer Laurie Anderson, artist Sara Blakely, entrepreneur Margaret Cho, comedian Edie […]

Gurukulam

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2015

It is hard to think of a form of communication more contrary to the internal stillness and oneness of meditation than a movie. Meditation seeks to remove our minds and spirits from the distractions of the outside world to free […]

Interviews: Jewish Views on Sex and Intimacy in “The Lost Key”

posted by Nell Minow

“The Lost Key” is a documentary that explores contemporary society’s confusion of sex and intimacy, and how the ancient principles from Jewish theology can restore the holy connection between husbands and wives. I spoke to director Ricardo Adler, whose own […]

Trailer: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

posted by Nell Minow

The smart alecks behind the Harvard Lampoon magazine parodies of Cosmopolitan and Time created their own magazine, the National Lampoon, in 1970, and it was like taking everything the Baby Boomers loved about the subversive humor of MAD Magazine and […]

Interview: Nancy Porter and Harriet Reisen on Louisa May Alcott

posted by Nell Minow

No writer has influenced me more than Louisa May Alcott, and it runs in the family. My mother’s name is Josephine, like Alcott’s most famous (and most autobiographical) character, and she was inspired by Little Women to insist on being […]

Trailer: On Beauty

posted by Nell Minow

Best of Enemies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:July 31, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: July 31, 2015

Once upon a time, network television news was dignified, objective, and delivered in stentorian, voice-of-God tones by white, vaguely Protestant men, in half-hour increments at the dinner hour. And then, in 1968, third-ranked network ABC, unable to compete with CBS […]

Interview: Joshua Oppenheimer of “The Look of Silence”

posted by Nell Minow

Joshua Oppenheimer has made “a companion piece” to his stunning documentary about government-sanctioned gangster killings of more than a million Indonesians in the mid-1960’s, “The Act of Killing.” In “The Look of Silence,” we see Adi, the brother of one of […]

New on DVD: Tales from the Royal Wardrobe

posted by Nell Minow

New from PBS: Tales From the Royal Wardrobe. Historian Dr. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, explains that the fascination with the clothes worn by the royals is not a recent development. And the monarchs have used and […]

Batkid Begins

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades

Children with cancer learn two things, we hear in this documentary about a boy who is being treated for leukemia. They learn how to fight. And, because they are surrounded by caregivers, they learn compassion. When he was two, Miles […]

Interview: Dana Nachman of “Batkid Begins”

posted by Nell Minow

Dana Nachman is the director of the heartwarming documentary “Batkid Begins.” She talked to me about how one five-year-old cancer survivor’s Make a Wish story captivated the entire world. At the screening I attended there was audible weeping. I also […]

Trailer: He Named Me Malala

posted by Nell Minow

Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The then 15-year-old (she turns 18 this July) was singled out, along with her father, […]

AFI Docs 2015: What I Saw

posted by Nell Minow

I loved every film I saw at AFI Docs this year, with a wide variety in subject matter and tone. There were intimate, personal stories, and movies about major global figures and forces. And I also saw an eye-popping demonstration […]

AFI Docs 2015: The World’s Best Documentary Film Festival Begins Tonight in Washington DC

posted by Nell Minow

AFI Docs (formerly SilverDocs) begins tonight in Washington, D.C. with another spectacular slate of documentary films. The opening night festivities feature “The Best of Enemies,” a terrific film about the battle of the upper-class, socially connected, classically educated, hyperverbal writers […]

New on DVD: Biblical Archeology of Israel

posted by Nell Minow

Alden Films presents “Biblical Archeology of Israel,” including:  ANCIENT ROOTS  — a compilation of recent discoveries in archaeological research in Israel   THE BOOK AND THE IDOL — Israel through the ages, from the stone age to biblical times   EXPLORERS […]

Interview: Pastor Steven Earp of “Where Was God?”

posted by Nell Minow

“Where Was God?” is a documentary about “stories of hope after the storm,” the impact on the community of Moore, Oklahoma of an E5 storm with destructive power eight times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. I spoke to […]

Trailer: The Search for Freedom

posted by Nell Minow

This new documentary tells the stories of the athletes who seek the freedom that comes from living in the moment and doing what makes us feel the most alive. This documentary written and directed by Jon Long (IMAX® Extreme) is […]

Movies for Memorial Day

posted by Nell Minow

I’ve already written about great documentaries and feature films about the military to watch on Memorial Day.  These recent documentaries about our 21st century conflicts give the military a chance to tell their own story.  They are not pro-war or […]

Trailer: Batkid Begins

posted by Nell Minow

The amazing Make-a-Wish story that captivated the world is now a movie, and I’ve been looking forward to it since I attended the event at last year’s Comic-Con. Can’t wait.

Friar’s Club Documentary — Tonight on WNET and Online

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on New York PBS station WNET, “Treasures of New York: Friars Club” will explore the rich history of the exclusive private club through never-before-seen footage of Frairs roasts and interviews with some of the club’s most prominent members. Larry […]

Interview: Sandy McLeod on “Seeds of Time”

posted by Nell Minow

Seeds of Time is a documentary that seems like a terrifying science fiction story. It is about the efforts of Cary Fowler, funded by Bill Gates, to find, preserve, and store seeds from plants necessary for all life forms on […]

Tonight on PBS — 1971, Documentary About The Robbery that Exposed FBI Abuses

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on PBS, the brilliant documentary “1971” will be shown on the Independent Lens series. In 1971, a group of ordinary citizens broke into a small FBI office in Pennsylvania and shared with the world their findings on COINTELPRO, the […]

Trailer: What Happened, Miss Simone? — Nina Simone Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

I was privileged to hear Nina Simone perform in concert and can’t wait to see this film.

Iris

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 23, 2015

Fashion icon nonagenarian Iris Apfel is renowned for her taste and style. But people who see this movie, the last from documentary legend Albert Maysles, will remember her for her fearlessness and life force. Along with the signature big, round, […]

Interview: Matt Mamula of Celebrity Impersonator Documentary “Just About Famous”

posted by Nell Minow

Matt Mamula co-directed “Just About Famous,” the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes famous, and it seemed […]

Interview: Barak Goodman of “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies”

posted by Nell Minow

Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced by Ken Burns, based on the book by book by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Everybody who […]

Trailer: Song from the Forest

posted by Nell Minow

I was delighted to see that there is a documentary about Louis Sarno, whose work I have admired since I saw the wonderful film Oka! directed by Lavinia Currier.

Monkey Kingdom

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 17, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 17, 2015

Disneynature’s annual wild kingdom-style nature documentary is predictably adorable but surprisingly absorbing. The toque macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka live in the 12th century ruins of Polonnaruwa in a society as rigidly structured and ruthlessly enforced as a high school […]

Trailer: Misery Loves Comedy

posted by Nell Minow

I love comedy and stand-up and can’t wait to see this documentary. Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Jim Gaffigan, Judd Apatow, Lisa Kudrow, Larry David, and Jon Favreau are among over 60 famous funny people featured in this hilarious […]

Interview: Jean-Michel Cousteau of “Secret Ocean 3D”

posted by Nell Minow

Jean-Michel Cousteau has carried on the legacy of his famous father, Jacques Cousteau, who first allowed the world to see the creatures that live in the water, through deep-sea diving and his pioneering underwater photography. Now his son has used […]

The Wrecking Crew

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images
Movie Release Date:March 27. 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images
Movie Release Date: March 27. 2015

Maybe you like Frank Sinatra and your friend likes the Mamas and Papas. Maybe you’ve argued about who is better, the Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel, or maybe you prefer Elvis. Each of those monumentally talented performers had a […]

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2015

Jean-Michel Cousteau begins this dazzling underwater documentary with archival footage of his father’s pioneering work in showing us life in the other two-thirds of the planet. And then he uses the latest technology to bring those flickering monotone images up […]

Trailer: Documentary About Illustrator Hilary Knight of “Eloise” and “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle”

posted by Nell Minow

I have loved Hilary Knight’s illustrations for as long as I can remember. The words about Eloise, the little girl who lives in New York’s Plaza Hotel, were written by nightclub singer Kay Thompson. But the illustrations were by Hilary […]

Watch This Year’s Documentary Oscar Winner Free Online: CitizenFour

posted by Nell Minow

“CitizenFour,” the Oscar-winning documentary about Edward Snowden, is free online. Whether you consider him a hero or a traitor, it is well worth watching, and considering the fragile balance between privacy and national security — and who decides.

Tribute: Documentary Pioneer Albert Maysles

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of film visionary Albert Maysles, who with his brother David, showed us a new way to see film and a new way to see the world.  They were the first Americans to create intimate, unstructured documentary […]

Merchants of Doubt

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date: March 6, 2015

Do you remember the tobacco executives standing up before a Congressional Committee, their right hands raised, each of them swearing that they did not believe that tobacco caused cancer?  That was in 1994, three decades after the US Surgeon General’s […]

New from PBS: The Italian-Americans

posted by Nell Minow

The PBS series Italian Americans is available this week on DVD. The documentary reveals the unique and distinctive qualities of one immigrant group’s experience, and how these qualities, over time, have shaped and challenged America. Unlike other immigrant groups, many […]

Interview: Dogs on the Inside, Documentary About A Prison Program for Rescue Dogs

posted by Nell Minow

“Dogs on the Inside” is a profoundly moving documentary about a program that teaches prisoners how to care for rescue dogs.  Seeing the dogs and the men in prison learn patience and trust from each other is touching and inspiring. […]

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, […]

Interview: Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman of “Above and Beyond”

posted by Nell Minow

In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of “Machal” (volunteers from abroad), they not only turned the tide of the war, they also laid the groundwork […]

Interview: Lacey Schwartz on Her Family’s “Little White Lie” — No One Told Her She Was a Black Daughter in a White Family

posted by Nell Minow

Lacey Schwartz grew up as the much-loved only child of warm, loving parents in a close-knit middle-class Jewish family. She did not resemble her parents, but they reassured her that she had a Sicilian grandparent who was the genetic source […]

End the Year With Films About Justice

posted by Nell Minow

Bill Moyers has an excellent list of 2014’s best documentaries about the struggle for justice, covering issues from healthcare to the environment, politics, the collision between national security and privacy, domestic violence, human rights, and marriage equality. All are highly […]

Exodus: Gods and Kings

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

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

Little Hope Was Arson

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014

In a small East Texas community “with a church on every corner,” 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film “Fireproof” one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself the next day. This is a […]

Interview: Laura Poitras of the Edward Snowden Documentary “Citizenfour”

posted by Nell Minow

I normally begin my interviews by asking for permission to record the conversation for my notes.  But there was something eerily resonant about that routine request when I spoke to journalist Laura Poitras, director of the new documentary “Citizenfour,” about […]

Trailer: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry — The Women’s Movement 1966-71

posted by Nell Minow

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary “Mentor”

posted by Nell Minow

Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, “Mentor,” the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 […]

Interviews: “Art and Craft’s” Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman

posted by Nell Minow

The documentary “Art and Craft” is the extraordinary story of two men.  One is Mark Landis, an artist who created counterfeit paintings and then disguised himself as various philanthropist personas and donated them to art museums over three decades.  The […]

In the Footsteps of St. Peter

posted by Nell Minow

David Suchet (PBS’ Hercule Poirot) is the host of In the Footsteps of St. Peter, out tomorrow on DVD.

Upcoming Documentary: Meet the Mormons

posted by Nell Minow

Meet the Mormons is a feature-length documentary that tells the stories of six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from around the world. The film will appear in theaters across the United States beginning on October […]

Tomorrow on PBS: The Makers: Comedy

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to tune in to PBS tomorrow night for what is sure to be one of the highlights from one of the all-time best series on PBS: “The Makers,” the story of women in America.  Tomorrow’s episode is about […]

Tomorrow on HBO: “The Fifty Year Argument” — Scorsese on The New York Review of Books

posted by Nell Minow

Once upon a time, there was no internet. And instead of bloggers and pundits and tweets we had something called public intellectuals, people who read widely, thought deeply, and wrote long, passionate, carefully reasoned, thoroughly documented and beautifully written articles […]

Best TV Show of the Fall: The Roosevelts on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

Passion, betrayal, unprecedented power, triumph, failure, devastating loss, personal and professional turmoil, and triumph again, played out against the most tumultuous events of the 20th century — that is the real-life story of the Roosevelts, especially the two who served […]

SundanceNow Doc Club: The Essentials

posted by Nell Minow

SundanceNow Doc Club is a streaming video service for documentary lovers, a user-friendly place to go to find and watch quality documentaries, free of advertising interruptions. Doc Club offers a carefully curated selection of acclaimed documentaries, hand-picked by experts led […]

A Will for the Woods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014

“Without this,” Clark Wang says, “dying from lymphoma feels so empty and meaningless and pointless.”  Dr. Wang was diagnosed in 2003, and we meet him as he is running out of options for treatment.  His doctor tells him it is […]

Trailer: I Am Eleven

posted by Nell Minow

Along the lines of the marvelous Babies, the new documentary “I Am Eleven” introduces us to eleven-year-olds around the world, different cultures, but all on the brink of adolescence, that terrifying, amazing moment. It looks wonderful.

Richard Nixon: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly

posted by Nell Minow

Forty years ago today, Richard Nixon became the first and so far only President of the United States to resign from office. Elected easily just two years before, he was about to be impeached for his role in the Watergate […]

Sight and Sound List: The Best Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

I love documentaries, and it was a treat to read through this list from Sight and Sound, which includes many of my favorites and some I’d never heard of. And here are a few of my favorites that I’d add […]

Interview: Dan Cohen of “Alive Inside”

posted by Nell Minow

Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases.  He is featured in the documentary “Alive Inside.” He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides […]

Happy Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

posted by Nell Minow

45 years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon, a powerful reminder of what is possible if we put no limits on our goals “for all mankind.”  I hope we never lose that sense […]

Interview: Director Steve James on the Roger Ebert Documentary “Life Itself”

posted by Nell Minow

Roger Ebert said that Steve James’ documentary “Hoop Dreams” was the greatest film of the first decade of the 21st century. He wrote, “A film like “Hoop Dreams” is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and […]

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 […]

Life Itself

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language
Movie Release Date:July 4, 2014
A
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language
Movie Release Date: July 4, 2014

Roger Ebert, the most influential film critic of all time, gets the film he deserves directed by one of the many filmmakers he championed, Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”).  It is co-produced by Martin Scorsese, whose emotional appearance in […]

June 28, 1969 — The Stonewall Uprising

posted by Nell Minow

We observe the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising this weekend. I wonder if any of the men who fought back against police oppression and brutality back in 1969 could have imagined that some day marriage equality would be the law […]

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” […]

More From AFI Docs

posted by Nell Minow

AFI Docs concludes today, though there will be a “best of the fest” wrap-up with screenings of some of the most popular films tomorrow.   I’ve also had a chance to see: “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. […]

AFI Docs: Three Great Documentaries About Failures of Law Enforcement

posted by Nell Minow

We had a great first day at AFI Docs, the most important documentary film festival in the country. I am very proud to be a sponsor. Yesterday, we saw three of the films featuring one of this year’s key themes, […]

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s marvelous “Cosmos” reboot comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week and it is well worth adding to every family and classroom library.  It is a very worthy successor to Carl Sagan’s classic PBS series of the […]

Veterans Remember D-Day

posted by Nell Minow

On this 70th anniversary, we are grateful for the dedication of the troops who defended our freedom. In The Longest Day, an all-star cast appears in the story of Allied forces preparing for a massive D-Day assault upon the beaches […]

Citizen Koch

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:June 6, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014

The 2010 Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case opened the door — no, opened the floodgates — to unlimited and unaccountable political spending by corporations and wealthy individuals.  The case itself rose from a film about Hillary Clinton […]

Travis: A Soldier’s Story

posted by Nell Minow

For Memorial Day, take a look at this short film about the documentary, “Travis: A Soldier’s Story” and see if you can arrange a screening in your area.

AFI Docs Announces 2014 Schedule with Ebert’s “Life Itself” in the Spotlight

posted by Nell Minow

I am a proud sponsor of Washington’s magnificent annual documentary festival and this year’s list of films is outstanding. I’m delighted that director Steve James will be there with his documentary about Roger Ebert, “Life Itself.” Also scheduled: 112 WEDDINGS: […]

Interview: Carolyn Jones of “American Nurse”

posted by Nell Minow

“American Nurse” is a deeply moving documentary about the men and women who are, as the bumper sticker says, “patient people.”  The film explores aging, war, poverty, and prisons through the work and lives of nurses.  Jason Short drives up a […]

Interview: “Fed Up’s” Laurie David and Stephanie Soechtig

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar-winning producer Laurie David is back with an even more inconvenient truth: our food is killing us and the government is powerless to stop food companies from making it worse. I spoke to David and director Stephanie Soechtig about the […]

Fed Up

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements including smoking images, and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 9, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements including smoking images, and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014

Here’s another inconvenient truth.  Our food is killing us.  And that’s because of something even more poisonous, the corruption of our political system through diversion of corporate money to politicians through campaign contributions and lobbying. Laurie David, producer of the […]

Contest: Win a DVD of “The Story of the Jews”

posted by Nell Minow

I am delighted to have five copies of the outstanding PBS series The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama to give away.  The DVD is being released tomorrow from PBS Distribution, and it is also available on digital download. […]

Bears

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 12, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 12, 2014

This year’s Disney Nature release for Earth Day is “Bears,” the story of an Alaskan bear named Sky and her twin cubs, Scout and Amber, their trek from the den where they’ve hibernated all winter to a place where they […]

Interview: “Island Of Lemurs” Filmmakers

posted by Nell Minow

I spoke with the humans behind the gorgeous new IMAX nature film, “Island of Lemurs 3D: Madagascar,” Drew Feldman (writer/producer), David Douglas (director/cinematographer), and Dr. Patricia Wright, about the challenges of making the film and the more daunting challenges of […]

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2014

The people behind the marvelous 3D IMAx Born to be Wild have made another awwww-inspiring story of some of the world’s least-known and most adorable and intriguing creatures, the more than a hundred species of lemurs, found only on the […]

The Unknown Known

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:April 3, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: April 3, 2014

Errol Morris turns his famous “interrotron” camera on two-time Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for something between a bookend and a counterpoint to his Oscar-winning The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. But this […]

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2014

It was a galvanizing moment.  A divisive moment.  An iconic moment. President George H.W. Bush had just nominated Clarence Thomas to be the second black man and the first black Republican Supreme Court justice.  The Senate Judiciary Committee was conducting […]

Stripped: Amazing New Documentary on Comics Now Available on iTunes

posted by Nell Minow

I’m a big fan of comic strips and a proud Kickstarter contributor to the new documentary “Stripped,” out today on iTunes. There is no better way to celebrate April 1st, spring, or just the joy of laughter than this look […]

Interview: Rachel Boynton of Oil Business Documentary “Big Men”

posted by Nell Minow

Documentarian Rachel Boynton (Our Brand Is Crisis) spent seven years filming “Big Men,” a documentary about what happens when the American oil business meets a previously unknown oil reserve in Ghana.  Is it possible for American business, with its obligations […]

Behind the Scenes: Island of Lemurs

posted by Nell Minow

Morgan Freeman narrates the IMAX 3D® documentary “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” the incredible true story of nature’s greatest explorers—lemurs.  Here’s an early peek at the film, coming soon to IMAX theaters across the country.

Let the Fire Burn — Coming to George Mason University March 19, 2014

posted by Nell Minow

“In the masterfully crafted Let the Fire Burn, viewers are thrown back into a time that seems both ancient and wrenchingly immediate, when mutual fear, suspicion and misunderstanding combusted in a grievous, literally fatal, explosion.” Ann Hornaday, Washington Post The GMU FAMS […]

Trailer: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most touching moments of the Oscars was the award for a documentary short called “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.”  It is the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, who died […]

Interview: Joshua Oppenheimer of “The Act of Killing”

posted by Nell Minow

If I were voting, “The Act of Killing” would not only win the Best Documentary Oscar, it would be a contender for Best Picture as well.  Director Joshua Oppenheimer broke through barriers from the secrecy and denial of government-sanctioned gangster […]

Interview: Patrick Creadon of “If You Build It”

posted by Nell Minow

Patrick Creadon is the director of the new documentary “If You Build It,” the story of an idealistic young couple who movie to a depressed North Carolina community to teach teenagers how to solve problems with design.  He talked to […]

Trailer: Soap Life and the Rise and Fall of Soap Operas

posted by Nell Minow

People make fun of soap operas, but they have passionate fans who appreciate the unique opportunity to follow characters over decades of drama — not just marriages and divorces and babies and affairs but kidnappings and amnesia and even an […]

If You Build It

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:February 21, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: February 21, 2014

An idealistic young couple from big cities moves to a tiny, economically depressed town in North Carolina for a project that will take advantage of what they think is “an untapped resource” — teenagers. Emily Polliton, TED talker and co-author […]

Tonight on PBS: Alice Walker

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on most PBS stations is the premiere of a new episode of the American Masters series, “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth,” in honor of the acclaimed author’s 70th birthday and Black History Month. Walker is the first African-American woman to […]

More on Paul Williams

posted by Nell Minow

If you saw Paul Williams on the Grammys last night and want to know more, take a look at the superb documentary Paul Williams Still Alive. Williams was ubiquitous in the 70’s, both on the music charts and the party […]

Steve James Talks About His Roger Ebert Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

Rogerebert.com editor Matt Zoller Seitz spoke to Steve James, one of Roger Ebert’s favorite filmmakers, and the man behind the crowd-funded documentary about Ebert, based in part on his autobiography, Life Itself: A Memoir.  Seitz writes It seems fitting that […]

Remembering the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King

posted by Nell Minow

As we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, every family should take time to talk about this great American leader and hero of the Civil Rights Movement. There are outstanding films and other resources for all ages. King: A […]

1976: Hunt vs. Lauda

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2013
DVD Release Date:January 7, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2013
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014

Ron Howard’s “Rush” was the story of the Formula One rivalry between the reckless and handsome James Hunt from Great Britain and the cool, hyper-rational Niki Lauda from Austria. In the extraordinary season of 1976, Lauda was in a terrible […]

Guaranteed To Improve Your Life, Your Job, and Your Relationships: 365 Grateful

posted by Nell Minow

Start the new year by joining this wonderful project and find out how being grateful will transform your life.

Interview: Daniel Ferguson of “Jerusalem”

posted by Nell Minow

Daniel Ferguson told an audience that making his extraordinary 3D IMAX film about Jerusalem required four years and “thousands of cups of tea.”  It took four years.  But he was able to persuade Muslims, Christians, and Jews to allow him […]

New on HBO: Six by Sondheim

posted by Nell Minow

HBO’s new documentary is “Six by Sondheim,” the story of six songs from the remarkable lyricist of “West Side Story” and “Gypsy” and composer/lyricist of “A Little Night Music,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Company,” “Follies,” “Into the Woods,” and many, many more. […]

My Dad Remembers His Friend, John F. Kennedy

posted by Nell Minow

My father, Newton N. Minow, met then-Senator Kennedy in the 1950’s and worked on his 1960 Presidential campaign. He was appointed by President-Elect Kennedy as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission until the spring of 1963. His work there […]

Time of Death — Showtime’s Brave New Series About Dying

posted by Nell Minow

We pride ourselves — for better and worse — about being very open and modern in contemporary society.  Topics that were previously not spoken of in polite society are discussed openly — sex, money, race, politics, religion.  But the one […]

Electoral Dysfunction — A New Documentary from Mo Rocca

posted by Nell Minow

Election day is coming next week, and Mo Rocca (“The Daily Show,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me”) has a new documentary about the state of elections in today’s America, with the backdrop of the 2008 Presidential election.  Rocca set […]

I Can’t Wait to See this Documentary About Cup Stacking Competitions

posted by Nell Minow

Really!  It looks awesome, doesn’t it?

The UP Crowd Turns 56: Coming on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

In 1964, director Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorky Park, Gorillas in the Mist) was a young researcher on an experimental program called Seven Up!, produced for England’s Granada Television. Taking its cue from the Jesuit maxim “Give me the […]

A New 3D Imax Film: Jerusalem

posted by Nell Minow

I am very excited about “Jerusalem,” a spectacular new 3D Imax film about the city called “the gateway to God.”  Exquisitely beautiful cinematography and immersive 3D effects bring the audience inside the city, from its thousands-year history to its religious […]

Tonight on Discovery: The President’s Gatekeepers

posted by Nell Minow

Twenty former White House Chiefs of Staff tell their stories in this two-part documentary narrated by Kevin Bacon.

To Remember 9/11/01 — Smithsonian’s 9/11: Strories in Fragments

posted by Nell Minow

This is the story, from 6 am to midnight, of  September 11, 2001.  At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, you start small: A briefcase, a Blackberry, a victim’s sweatshirt, and a hero’s name tag. These are simple objects […]

Side By Side — From Film to Digital

posted by Nell Minow

Keanu Reeves — yes, Keanu Reeves — hosts a fascinating documentary about the impact of the switch from film to digital images in movies, tonight on PBS, and anyone who loves movies should take a look.  For me, the revelation […]

One Direction: This is Us

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language
Movie Release Date:August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language
Movie Release Date: August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2013

“They don’t know me, but they love me,” says one dewy-eyed One Direction fan, and that says it all. This 3D documentary and concert film gives us a peek at the moment in time when One Direction, a group of five […]

Happy 70th Birthday Mick Jagger!

posted by Nell Minow

Mick Jagger turns 70 today!  Happy birthday Mick — celebrate him by viewing two of this summer’s best documentaries, “Muscle Schoals” and “20 Feet from Stardom,” or some of these other great screen appearances: Gimme Shelter The third in the […]

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:July 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: July 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013

Kevin Hart’s new stand-up movie is short (about 75 minutes).  And, as he will repeatedly remind you, so is he. There’s a brief prologue where guests at a rooftop party accuse him of not being in touch with his father, […]

Two Great Documentaries Take You Behind the Scenes of Classic Rock, Pop, and Soul

posted by Nell Minow

Summer is a time of raunchy comedies, superheroes, and explosions, but you can find movies for grown-ups, too.  I highly recommend two outstanding documentaries that take the audience behind the scenes of some of the greatest music ever recorded. 20 […]

New Documentary About the Mysterious, Fascinating J.D. Salinger

posted by Nell Minow

The author of Catcher in the Rye, one of the most popular and influential books of the 20th century, made no public appearances and published no new writing for the last forty years of his life.  A new documentary reveals […]

Beyond Belief: SundanceNOW Doc Club Series on Faith

posted by Nell Minow

Starting tomorrow, SundanceNOW Doc Club will premiere its “Beyond Belief” series of documentaries that provide an intimate look at what motivates and affirms belief, examining and challenging the limits of religious conviction.  Highlights of the series include: “Raw Faith, an intimate […]

Interview: Alex Gibney of “We Steal Secrets: The Wikileaks Story”

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School

I spoke to Alex Gibney, one of my favorite filmmakers, about his brilliant documentary on Wikileaks. The most interesting character in the movie is Bradley Manning.  Where is he now? He’s in prison, finally Leavenworth, after eight months in solitary confinement […]

We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some disturbing violent images, language, and sexual material
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some disturbing violent images, language, and sexual material
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013

The internet has made it possible to share all of the world’s knowledge. Sometimes that is a good thing, whether we’re able to track down just the exact item we want at the lowest possible price or make micro-loans to […]

For Memorial Day: Two Outstanding Short Films

posted by Nell Minow

For Memorial Day, Sundance is making available online two outstanding short films about the military. Please take time to watch them with your family. For aviation fans, get ready for a ton of wonderful archival footage coming your way in […]

For Memorial Day: Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

For Memorial Day, take a look at these documentaries about our military: War of 1812 The History Channel Presents The War of 1812 The young country proved its commitment to independence with this war against Britain that gave us a […]

Interview: Maiken Baird and Michelle Major of “Venus and Serena”

posted by Nell Minow

“Venus and Serena” is an enthralling new documentary about two of the most acclaimed athletes of our time.  Their story is even more extraordinary because they are sisters.  Venus and Serena Williams have won world trophies and broken records since […]

History of the Eagles

posted by Nell Minow

The documentary about The Eagles is out today: It is a three-disc set including History of the Eagles Part One and History of the Eagles Part Two, as well as Eagles Live At The Capital Centre – March 1977, featuring never-before-released performances from the Eagles’ […]

Never Forget to Lie — Tonight on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on “Frontline” is “Never Forget to Lie,” filmmaker Marian Marzynski explores, for the first time, his own wartime childhood and the experiences of other child survivors, teasing out their feelings about Poland, the Catholic Church, and the ramifications of identities […]

Hava Nagila

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 26, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 26, 2013

It is annoying, frustrating, embarrassing, and irresistible.  It is a tradition that has transcended its origins and yet calls us back to the complicated feelings of our past. All of which makes it a perfect Rorschach test and intriguing metaphor for […]

Celebrate Earth Day With These Great Movies

posted by Nell Minow

In addition to previously recommended Earth Day movies, take a look at these gorgeous documentaries about the creatures with whom we share this great planet: 1. March of the Penguins This worldwide sensation takes us to Antarctica, where these elegant birds triumph over […]

New On Discovery: All the President’s Men Revisited

posted by Nell Minow

Whether you’re a Watergate junkie like me or don’t know how a “third-rate burglary” toppled a President and changed the world of American politics — for good, for bad, and forever, be sure to watch the Discovery Channel’s “All the President’s […]

Planet Ocean

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Unrated
DVD Release Date:April 8, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: April 8, 2013

Josh Duhamel narrates this extraordinary documentary about one of our planet’s most precious resources, our oceans.  Filmed by directors Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, along with an outstanding team of international underwater cinematographers in partnership with OMEGA and with the […]

Interview: Janet Tobias of the Holocaust Documentary “No Place on Earth”

posted by Nell Minow

No Place on Earth is the extraordinary new documentary about a small group of Jews from Ukraine who hid from the Nazis in two caves for almost two years.  Interviews with the survivors, narration from a book written in the 1960’s […]

Contest: To the Arctic

posted by Nell Minow

Meryl Streep narrates “To the Arctic,” the story of twin polar bear cubs and their mother that is a great family film.  And I have a copy to give away. It’s an extraordinary journey to the top of the world […]

Greedy Lying Bastards

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date:March 8, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date: March 8, 2013

Greedy Lying Bastards is a documentary that takes on two problems — the pernicious impact of industry on the environment and the effect of those changes on communities and the even more pressing problem of the pernicious impact of a […]

New Aspire Series About African-American Faith Leaders: The Scroll

posted by Nell Minow

The Scroll is a new series from director Parrish Smith shown on Magic Johnson’s Aspire Network featuring intimate, inspiring interviews with more than 50 African-American clergy.   Some of the faith leaders featured in the documentary are: Bishop T. D. Jakes, Rev. […]

Seven-DVD Set of Holocaust Movies

posted by Nell Minow

 ALDEN FILMS is distributing a new 7-DVD special on the Holocaust that is an important resources for schools, libraries, and families.  For a limited time, the set includes two extra DVDs: WHAT FIRE CAN’T BURN, a tale of a childhood lost […]

Happy 100th Birthday, Rosa Parks

posted by Nell Minow

  Today — and every day — we salute the vision and courage of Rosa Parks, not just for what she did one day in being arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to […]

The Abolitionists

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
DVD Release Date:January 21, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
DVD Release Date: January 21, 2013

The new release from the PBS series “The American Experience” is a three-part story called “The Abolitionists,” the story of the fight to end slavery in the United States.  They were called radicals, agitators, and troublemakers. They thought of themselves […]

More about Fracking: Gasland

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “Promised Land,” with Matt Damon and Frances McDormand as representatives of a natural gas extraction company trying to persuade residents of a farm community to permit drilling, should inspire viewers to find out more about the […]

“Becoming Santa” — OWN Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful, poignant OWN documentary “Becoming Santa” is now available on DVD.  I wrote about the movie when it was shown on OWN.

Inventing David Geffen — Tonight on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on PBS, the “American Masters” series will show “Inventing David Geffen,” the story of the agent, manager, record industry mogul, Hollywood and Broadway producer, and philanthropist who has helped shape American popular culture for the past four decades. Notoriously […]

Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery

posted by Nell Minow

“Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery” is a documentary from HBO about “the saddest acre in America,” the final resting place of our military who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afganistan.  Emmy-winning producers Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill (Baghdad […]

The First Presidents on Film

posted by Nell Minow

As soon as movies were invented, Presidents started appearing on screen.  I love to watch these early films of the men we learn about in history books.

Interview: Arnon Goldfinger of “The Flat”

posted by Nell Minow

After documentary filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger’s grandmother died at age 97 in Israel, he brought a film crew to her apartment where she and his grandfather lived from the time they immigrated to what was then called Palestine just before World […]

Brooklyn Castle

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:PG for some language
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: PG for some language
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2012

I.S. 318 is a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school.  And its students have won more national chess championships than any other in the country.  So this is a touching and inspiring story of triumph and what can be accomplished in […]

“That Guy” — Showtime’s Documentary About Character Actors

posted by Nell Minow

I have a special affection for character actors.  They have to create a character and move the story forward without having the luxury of time and the audience’s primary attention, and they have to do it without overshadowing the star. […]

Interview: Matthew Heineman of the Health Care Documentary, “Escape Fire”

posted by Nell Minow

“Escape Fire” is a new documentary about what does not work in our system for preventing and treating illness, and what some people are doing to make it better.  I spoke to Matthew Heineman, co-director and co-producer of the film. […]

Bond 50th Anniversary: Books and Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight at 8pm on Epix, a tribute to 50 years of James Bond: And in honor of James Bond Day, Amazon has the James Bond novels on sale for $7!

Makers: Stories About Women

posted by Nell Minow

Makers is an “historic video initiative features exclusive access to trailblazing women – both known and unknown.”  In other words, it is a website with a fascinating series of peeks into the lives of extraordinary women, from groundbreakers like Justice […]

Interview: The Directors of the New Toastmaster Documentary “Speak”

posted by Nell Minow

Jerry Seinfeld pointed out that when people are asked what scares them the most, more people say public speaking than death — which means that at a funeral, most people would rather be the person who died than the person […]

Documentaries about Work

posted by Nell Minow

Documentary filmmaker David Kraus is making a series of documentaries about work.  He says his films capture “the sights, sounds, and textures of different American jobs, without the accompaniment of interviews or a musical score. Each chapter reveals the surprising, […]

Side by Side — Documentary About Film-Making

posted by Nell Minow

This looks fabulous!  

Smile of the Week: Marc Erlbaum’s Progress on “The Meaning of Life”

posted by Nell Minow

I was delighted to get an update from Marc Erlbaum about what has happened since our interview about his new documentary on what people think about the meaning of life.  Here’s his latest, a sweet reminder that while we sometimes […]

The Story of the Costume Drama

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2008
DVD Release Date:July 30, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2008
DVD Release Date: July 30, 2012

One of the greatest pleasures of costume drama is, of course, the costumes.  Stories set in different places and times invite us into their world and tell us about their characters through the details and artistry of the wardrobe.  Whether […]

An Olympics Moment: Jesse Owens 1936

posted by Nell Minow

As we prepare for the memorable moments of the 2012 Olympics, let’s take another look at this one, when a black American competed in Hitler’s Berlin and, as the world watched, he put the lie to Hitler’s claims about Aryan […]

Tim Gordon Interviews The Sugar Man

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most fascinating documentaries of the year is “Searching for Sugar Man,” the extraordinary story of musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, who made two albums in the 1970’s and then disappeared from performing. It is a moving reminder that […]

Interview: Lauren Greenfield of “The Queen of Versailles”

posted by Nell Minow

Lauren Greenfield is the director of the new documentary, The Queen of Versailles, the story of Jackie and Siegel, who were building the largest residence in the United Sates, a 90,000 square foot mansion with ten kitchens, a baseball field, a […]

Interview: David France of “How to Survive a Plague”

posted by Nell Minow

“This isn’t a movie about what AIDS did to us,” writer/director David France told me as he was preparing to present “How to Survive a Plague,” his documentary about AIDS activism at the prestigious Silverdocs film festival in Silver Spring, […]

Silverdocs: Awards

posted by Nell Minow

Silverdocs, the Silver Spring, Maryland documentary film festival that concluded this weekend, received 2018 submissions for 114 places on the schedule. Awards included: “Only the Young”  (best U.S. feature), directed by Jason Tippit and Elizabeth Mims, is about three teenagers […]

Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival Opens Tonight

posted by Nell Minow

In just 10 years, the AFI/Discovery Channel’s annual Silverdocs film festival has become not just one of the best places in the world to see documentaries but one of the world’s leading film festivals in any category. This year’s line-up […]

Trailer: “The Church on Dauphine Street”

posted by Nell Minow

A church, a priest, two kindred spirits, and the kindness of strangers. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when nearly all hope was drowned in the flood, one church in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans did not give […]

“Graceland” — 25th Anniversary Re-Release

posted by Nell Minow

Paul Simon’s brilliant song and album of the year Grammy-winning Graceland album celebrates its 25th anniversary next week with a re-release that includes bonus tracks and a new documentary by Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost, Metallica – Some Kind of Monster) that […]

Interview: Director Bess Kargman of the Ballet Documentary “First Position”

posted by Nell Minow

First-time filmmaker Bess Kargman brought her own experiences studying dance to her documentary, First Position, about a crucial, career-defining competition for young ballet artists.  The Youth America Grand Prix was launched in 1999 by two former dancers of the world-renowned Bolshoi […]

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:May 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: May 5, 2012

One of the most daring rescue missions of the post WWII era was the Raid on Entebbe in 1976.  Terrorist groups called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells hijacked an Air France plane […]

Chimpanzee

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 20, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 20, 2012

DisneyNature’s fourth in its series of nature documentaries released for Earth Day is gorgeously photographed, heartwarming, inspiring, and adorable. It combines astonishingly vivid and intimate footage of animal life with narration that sometimes crosses the line between accessible and intrusive.  […]

An Inconvenient Tax

posted by Nell Minow

As you file your tax return today and listen to the candidates debate the “Buffett rule” and terms like “carried interest,” here is a look at one perspective on the complexity of the tax code.

Trailer: “I Know That Voice!”

posted by Nell Minow

I love voice actors and I’m very excited to see what looks like a great documentary.  

Bully

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language
Movie Release Date:March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 12, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language
Movie Release Date: March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 12, 2013

This is a message for Alex.  You are a great kid.  You will be a great, happy, successful adult.  And those high school boys who torture you so brutally on the school bus every day will spend their adult lives […]

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

posted by Nell Minow

There’s an old joke about a woman who goes to a therapist.  “Why are you here?” he asks.  “My family wants me to come because I love pancakes,” she answers.  “Well,” he says reassuringly, “that’s perfectly normal!  I love pancakes, […]

Interview: Morgan Spurlock of “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope”

posted by Nell Minow

I was especially excited to talk to Morgan Spurlock about his newest documentary because it is about one of my favorite events of the year, San Diego’s Comic-Con.  Produced by Comic-Con heroes Stan Lee and Joss Whedon, the film follows […]

New Documentary from Morgan Spurlock About Comic-Con

posted by Nell Minow

I am a total Comic-Con fangirl (already counting the days to this year’s Con in July), so I am very excited about a new documentary from Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me,” “Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”) called […]

Giveaway: “Under Our Skin”

posted by Nell Minow

There will be more new cases of Lyme disease in the US this year than AIDS, Avian flu, and West Nile virus combined.  Its effects can be devastating.  But Lyme disease does not get the support or research dollars proportionate […]

St. Patrick’s Day Special: “Jig”

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this thrilling documentary about the world Irish step dancing competition.  

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 23, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 23, 2012

The Michelin Guide to restaurants describes the best as “worth a detour” or “worth a special journey.”  They describe a tiny ten-seat sushi restaurant in Tokyo as worth the trip to Japan.  If you want to eat there, call before […]

Interview: Matthew D. Kallis of “Most Valuable Players”

posted by Nell Minow

Producer/Director Matthew D. Kallis answered my questions about Most Valuable Players, the marvelous documentary about three high school teams competing for the Freddy Awards, given for the best high school musical productions.  I asked him about his favorite musicals and […]

Undefeated

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date:March 2, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date: March 2, 2012

Bill Courtney, a successful white businessman, coaches an underdog football team at an inner city high school in an Oscar-winning documentary that quickly transcends the risks of sports cliché and racially treacherous noblesse oblige.  Like the wonderful “The Heart of […]

Interview: Katie Wexler of MVP

posted by Nell Minow

Katie Wexler is one of the stars of Most Valuable Players, a sensational new documentary about three high school teams competing to win the Freddy Awards for theatrical productions.  The Freddys are like the high school version of the Tony […]

The Loving Story

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight HBO premieres a new documentary about one of the most important marriages in American history.  And their name was Loving. They should have been able to have the quiet life they hoped for.  Mildred and Richard Loving were residents […]

Martin Luther King: Movies to Celebrate His Legacy

posted by Nell Minow

Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King and every family should take time to talk about this great American leader and hero of the Civil Rights Movement. There are outstanding films and other resources for all ages. Every […]

‘Louder than a Bomb’ — Poetry Slam Documentary Tonight on OWN

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted that the brilliant documentary “Louder than a Bomb,” from director Jon Siskel, will be broadcast tonight on Oprah’s OWN network at 9/8 Central.  Every family with teenagers and everyone who loves words should be sure to tune in. […]

Interview: Sarah McCarthy of ‘The Sound of Mumbai’

posted by Nell Minow

“The Sound of Mumbai,” premiering tonight on HBO2, is a touching documentary about the most unlikely of productions, a concert performance of “The Sound of Music” featuring the “slumdog” children of one of the poorest communities in India.  These children […]

Woody Allen on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

Roger Ebert reviews the new PBS two-part documentary about Woody Allen: “Woody Allen: A Documentary” benefits from both its masterful construction and the willingness of Allen to offer commentary on everything from his oeuvre to his explosive divorce. Allen drives […]

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, […]

PBS Indies on iTunes

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted that PBS Indies are now available on iTunes for rental or purchase.  Great documentaries like “Between the Folds” (it’s about origami and it is fabulous), “Carmen Meets Borat” (real Kazachs respond to Borat’s comic portrayal), and “Wham! Bam! […]

The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:October 27, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: October 27, 2011

Documentaries made by adult children about their fathers have become a significant new genre.  My Architect is the story of Louis Kahn by the son he never publicly acknowledged.  In Tell Them Who You Are, filmmaker Mark Wexler trains his camera […]

Blog Action Day: Food

posted by Nell Minow

  This year’s Blog Action Day theme is food in recognition of World Food Day. Some top documentaries about food sustainability and wholesomeness: 1. The End of the Line  The rise of industrialized fishing, the current demand for fish and the […]

Thunder Soul

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief language and momentary historical smoking
Movie Release Date:October 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief language and momentary historical smoking
Movie Release Date: October 6, 2011

A real-life “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” this is the inspiring story of a dedicated teacher who transformed the lives of his students and the gathering 35 years later, when he was 92 years old, to perform a concert in his honor. […]

Up From Zero — 9/11 Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

“Up From Zero” is a US Department of Labor documentary about the construction workers who helped to clear ground zero after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, now available on YouTube.  

Metal of Honor — 9/11 Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

The full-length touching documentary “Metal of Honor” is the story of the ironworkers who arrived as the towers were collapsing and stayed for up to eight months to make sure the area was cleared safely.  It is on Youtube, and is […]

9/11 Movie: ‘Rebirth’

posted by Nell Minow

Jennifer Merin, About.com’s documentary expert, has a review of a documentary about five survivors of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011.  It is called Rebirth.  Merin says: The film doesn’t replay the well-known but still shocking footage of airplanes […]

A Day in the Life — New Series on Hulu

posted by Nell Minow

Hulu has another new original series, “A Day in the Life.”  Documentarian Morgan Spurlock (“Supersize Me,” “Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”) is spending time with fascinating people and showing us what one day looks like.  Want to […]

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, […]

Help Tell The Story of Rwanda

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Jennifer Merin writes about documentaries for About.com.  She has a thoughtful new post about a new project from film-maker Anne Aghion to create a repository for historical documentation about Rwanda, including a huge cache of footage shot during the ten years […]

Glee Live! 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, brief language, and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:August 12, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, brief language, and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: August 12, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2011

Gather up, Gleeks, “Raise Your Glass” and get ready for “Fireworks!”  The musical TV series about a high school show choir, now poised to move from hit to cult, continues its juggernaut from television, CDs and iTunes downloads, live performances, a […]

Interview: Joseph Dorman of ‘Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness’

posted by Nell Minow

The writer Sholem Aleichem was born Sholom Rabinowitz.  He grew up in a Russian shtetl. Today, he is most widely remembered as the author of the stories which became the basis for Fiddler on the Roof.  But a new documentary […]

Morgan Spurlock on 50 Un-Miss-able Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me and Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is the host of a new series on Current called “50 Documentaries to See Before You Die.”  He quotes Alfred Hitchcock: “In feature films, the […]

We Are Wizards: Documentary about Harry Potter Tribute Bands

posted by Nell Minow

Check out We Are Wizards, a documentary about Harry Potter Tribute bands, streaming now at no charge on Hulu.  

Trailer: ‘Raw Faith’

posted by Nell Minow

A Unitarian minister must find a way to bring to her own life what she has encouraged in others in this moving documentary, Raw Faith.

The Other Summer Movies: Documentaries to Make You Gasp, Laugh, Cry, and Cheer

posted by Nell Minow

I love summer movies with their crashes, chases, explosions, superheroes, and sequels as much as anyone, but after a while they all run together.  But good documentaries are unforgettable.  There is something about real-life characters inviting us into their lives […]

Interview: Buck Brannaman, the Real Horse Whisperer

posted by Nell Minow

I loved “Buck,” the new documentary about Buck Brannaman, the real-life horse whisperer who inspired the book and movie.  The film is extraordinarily moving.  Buck’s gift for animals is a wonder, but it is his understanding of people and his […]

Interview: Sue Bourne of the Irish Dance Competition Documentary ‘Jig’

posted by Nell Minow

Director Sue Bourne talked to me about her new documentary, “Jig,” the story of the Irish dancing world championships.  It is thrilling, touching, and inspiring, with unforgettable characters and stories and dancing that would make Michael Flatley stand up and […]

Interview: the Brother and Sister Behind ‘Discover the Gift’

posted by Nell Minow

“Discover the Gift” is an extraordinary new documentary, book, blog, and CD that reaches from the broadest universal dreams to the most intimate, personal insights, with appearances from powerful lessons from authors, educators, activists, artists, and icons including His Holiness the Dalai […]

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:February 11, 2011
DVD Release Date:May 10, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: February 11, 2011
DVD Release Date: May 10, 2011

Things for the young fans of Justin Beiber to think about as they watch this film: He is cuuuuute! Hair! Smile! Voice! Dancing!I  am so lucky to have a talented, unassuming, nonthreatening, hard-working, scandal-free performer to test my still-developing sense […]

Previous Posts

Trailer: Barely Lethal with Jessica Alba, Samuel L. Jackson, and Hailee Steinfeld
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y-CJjJ-jtw[/youtube] A teenage special ops agent who wants to experience a "normal" adolescence fakes her own death and enrolls in a suburban high school. She quickly learns that surviving the ...

posted 8:00:57am Sep. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Kim Campbell on Caring for Glen Campbell and "I'll Be Me"
Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me is a beautiful documentary about an ugly disease. Glen Campbell, one of the most popular and successful musical performers of all time, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011. As memories, words, and some basic ...

posted 12:07:58pm Sep. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Adorable BB-8 Drone from the New "Star Wars" Meets Some Adorable Puppies
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQIeBPjEiys[/youtube] ...

posted 11:43:57am Sep. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The Lobster, an Offbeat Sci-Fi Romance with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpt0tn1-54k[/youtube] This is the most intriguing trailer I've seen in ages -- a love story set in a world where everyone must be romantically paired and if they don't get together fast enough they ...

posted 8:16:04am Sep. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Transporter Refueled
It must be said. The refueled "Transporter" is very low octane. The original had some of the best chase scenes ever filmed and a ...

posted 5:34:15pm Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

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