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Water: Blog Action Day 2010

posted by Nell Minow

I am proud to be a part of Blog Action Day 2010. This year, the issue is vitally important — water. Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo. Some great movies about water: 1. Oceans Huge, […]

Interview: Chad Troutwine of ‘Freakonomics’

posted by Nell Minow

Who could have imagined that economics would become cool? Often referred to as “the dismal science,” economics has long been associated with formulas filled with little Greek letters and articles that propose valuing human life at x. But Freakonomics: A […]

Babies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for cultural and maternal nudity throughout
Movie Release Date:May 7, 2010
DVD Release Date:September 28, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for cultural and maternal nudity throughout
Movie Release Date: May 7, 2010
DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010

Don’t forget to enter the contest for a Blu-Ray/DVD or Babies carseat! Until they make a movie entirely consisting of raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, Hallmark cards, and puppies in the window, this will hold the record as the […]

Contest: Babies! (and check out the Grand Prize!)

posted by Nell Minow

I loved “Babies” and I am very honored to be able to give away three copies of the Blu-Ray/DVD. As I said in my review, Until they make a movie entirely consisting of raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, Hallmark […]

Remembering 9/11/01

posted by Nell Minow

As we remember the unspeakable losses of September 11, 2001, we also remember the immeasurable gallantry, courage, and devotion it inspired. “Metal of Honor” is a heart-wrenching documentary about the iron workers who arrived as the World Trade Center buildings […]

Trailer: Something’s Gonna Live

posted by Nell Minow

I’m looking forward to this film about the unsung people who are responsible for some of the most indelible movie moments, cinematographers, production designers, storyboard artists, and others. Without them, the movies would be empty.

Righteous Women: Documentaries about Jewish Heroines

posted by Nell Minow

George Heymont has an excellent column in the Huffington Post about three new tributes to real-life Jewish heroines, all shown at the recent San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. “Ahead of Time” is the story of Ruth Gruber. The first journalist […]

Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:July 10, 2009
DVD Release Date:August 24, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: July 10, 2009
DVD Release Date: August 24, 2010

Gertrude Berg is described in this sympathetic and engaging documentary as an earlier version of Oprah. She wrote every word of over twelve thousand scripts. She played the lead role and oversaw every element of the programs on radio, in […]

Interview: Yael Hersonski of ‘A Film Unfinished’

posted by Nell Minow

For decades, our impressions of the Holocaust have been formed by the images that survive and by the memories of those who were there. Now, as we near a time when the experience will no longer be within the memory […]

$100,000 Worth of Children’s Books for Seeing ‘Waiting for Superman’

posted by Nell Minow

Paramount Pictures, Participant Media and Walden Media jointly announced that global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has joined the WaitingforSuperman “Pledge Progress Meter” by committing to provide $100,000 worth of new children’s books to U.S. libraries in need once 60,000 […]

Visions of Israel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:August 10, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: August 10, 2010

From the Western Wall to the Temple Mount, “Visions of Israel” shows us breathtaking footage of this timeless land, sacred to three major religions. Stunning high-definition footage takes us to sites ancient and contemporary, providing settings of ancient history going […]

The Kind Campaign

posted by Nell Minow

How can we teach girls to be kinder to each other? We see a lot of movies and television shows and ads about the importance of being thin and looking young and smelling good and making money and being quippy […]

A Small Act: HBO Documentary about Transformation on $15 a Month

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most inspiring films of the year is A Small Act. It is a documentary about Chris Mburu, a human rights advocate for the United Nations, whose life was transformed when a Swedish woman he never met decided […]

The Jesus Guy

posted by Nell Minow

A wandering evangelist known only as “What’s Your Name” walks through the world with no money or possessions, dressed like the images of Jesus most familiar to Christians, sharing the messages of the Bible. It is interesting to me that […]

Interview: ‘The Lottery’s’ Madeleine Sackler

posted by Nell Minow

Too many children and too few spots — that is the story of The Lottery, a heart-wrenching documentary from Madeleine Sackler, the story of four children hoping to be the among the fortunate few chosen for admission to New York […]

Silverdocs

posted by Nell Minow

The greatest documentary film festival in America is Silverdocs, based in the American Film Institute’s gorgeous film exhibition spaces in Silver Spring, Maryland. It is an annual week-long festival that celebrates independent thinking, supports the diverse voices and free expression […]

Spellbound

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:2003
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 2003

In honor of this week’s Scripps Spelling Bee finals, every family should see this m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s movie about the national spelling bee because it is about so much more. It is about the strength of American diversity and the commitment of […]

The Horse Boy

posted by Nell Minow

I highly recommend “The Horse Boy,” an extraordinary documentary about a family that traveled to the other side of the world to help their autistic son and found all of their lives changed. Rowan Isaacson was diagnosed with autism in […]

Casino Jack and the United States of Money

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

As print media crumbles and broadcast and cable media splinters, documentaries have become one of the most thorough and dependable formats for delivering long-form journalism. From the acid (in both metaphorical senses of the word)-tinged advocacy of Michael Moore and […]

Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2009
DVD Release Date:April 13, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2009
DVD Release Date: April 13, 2010

Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh is a documentary about a woman of incalculable courage and honor. Senesh, an idealist who hoped to help create a Jewish state in Israel, escaped from Hungary to what […]

I Remember Better When I Paint

posted by Nell Minow

I Remember Better When I Paint: Treating Alzheimer’s through the Creative Arts is a documentary about the way that the arts can reach people struggling with severe dementia and other memory impairments. It is a touching and inspiring film that […]

Interview: Dr. Rick Hodes of ‘Making the Crooked Straight’

posted by Nell Minow

Dr. Rick Hodes is an Orthodox Jew who has devoted his life to “tikkun olam,” “healing the world. His motto is the Talmud’s statement that “He who saves one life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” […]

Autism: The Musical

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:2008
DVD Release Date:2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 2008
DVD Release Date: 2009

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, families can watch Autism – The Musical, about five families dealing with autism as they prepare for a musical performance. The film is illuminating in its depiction of the very different kids with very […]

Socalled: A Documentary about a Klezmer/Hip-Hop/Cowboy/Video-Artist

posted by Nell Minow

Socalled is a documentary with 18 short films about klezmer hip-hop music and video Montreal-based artist Josh “Socalled” Dolgin, featuring Katie Moore, Fred Wesley, C-Rayz Walz, David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz, Arkady Gendler, Benjamin Steiger Levine, D-Shade, Gonzales and lounge legend […]

Capitalism: A Love Story

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date:October 2, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 08, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date: October 2, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 08, 2010

Twenty years after his groundbreaking “Roger & Me,” documentarian-provocateur Michael Moore returns to some of the same themes with “Capitalism: A Love Story,” about the financial meltdown and what it shows about the failures of our financial and political systems. […]

Blood, Sweat, and Cookies — Olympic Women’s Hockey

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Bob Elisberg recommends a great documentary about the women’s Olympic hockey team — and the great thing is that you can watch it online. Bob wrote in the Huffington Post: it’s the comradeship of the women, pushing, encouraging […]

Why We Laugh

posted by Nell Minow

I can’t think of a better or more purely enjoyable way to celebrate Black History Month than watching Robert Townsend’s brilliant documentary Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy. It is showing on Showtime this month and will be […]

Good Hair

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language including sex and drug references, and brief partial nudity
Movie Release Date:October 9, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 16, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language including sex and drug references, and brief partial nudity
Movie Release Date: October 9, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 16, 2010

Chris Rock’s daughter wanted to know why she didn’t have “good hair.” And so he made this documentary as an answer, exploring the relationship between black women and their hair and hair products and processes — and how that relationship […]

Blacking Up: Hip-Hop

posted by Nell Minow

“Where do you draw the line between influence and appropriation?” “When is it admiration and when is it mockery?” Blacking Up: Hip-Hop’s Remix of Race and Identity is a thought-provoking film by documentarian Robert Clift is a sympathetic look at […]

Interview: Bruce Faulk of ‘Soul of the Church’

posted by Nell Minow

I was able to speak to the man behind the Black History Collection: Soul of the Church DVD, Bruce Faulk, who assembled a treasure trove of gospel performances into this stirring and inspirational collection. It even includes some of the […]

Soul of the Church

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2010
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2010
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2010

This is a genuine treasure. Black History Collection: Soul of the Church is a collection of vintage broadcasts of gospel superstars of the 1960’s, taken from a Sunday morning television show called TV Gospel Time and not seen for decades. […]

From Swastika to Jim Crow

posted by Nell Minow

Because this is the 20th anniversary of the Washington DC Jewish Film Festival, all of the previous festival directors were given the chance to pick their favorites from past years to put on this year’s schedule. That is how I […]

Michael Verhoeven at the Jewish Film Festival

posted by Nell Minow

At noon today, Visionary Award recipient Michael Verhoeven was interviewed by Sharon Rivo, Co-Founder and Executive Director, National Center for Jewish Film. We saw a few moments from his new film, “Human Failure,” which has its North American premiere tonight […]

‘The Way We Get By’ — Thanking Those Who Serve

posted by Nell Minow

Please take time to gather your family to watch The Way We Get By in observance of Veteran’s Day, showing tonight on PBS. This is a documentary about the troop greeters who devote their last years to being there to […]

The Christians: The History of Christianity and Its Global Impact

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:November 3, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009

Filmed on location in more than 30 countries, this 13-episode series covers the history of Christianity from the time of Jesus through “two thousand years of persecution, politics, and power.” This DVD set has extras as well: a new introductory […]

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1998
DVD Release Date:1998
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1998
DVD Release Date: 1998

In honor of the World Series, take a look at this documentary about baseball star Hank Greenberg. Brilliant documentary-maker Aviva Kempner has created a gem of a movie to lift the spirit of anyone who cares about baseball — or […]

This is It

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some suggestive choreography and scary images
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some suggestive choreography and scary images
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2009

“This is It” is here to rescue us from the tabloids and remind us what true star power looks like. There are moments of aching sadness as we get a behind-the-scenes look at the concert tour that never happened, but […]

Interview: Joe Berlinger of ‘Crude’

posted by Nell Minow

Crude is the latest documentary from Joe Berlinger, whose last film was the award-winning “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.” This movie explores a large, complex, international environmental lawsuit over damage allegedly inflicted by an oil company on a community in […]

Anvil: The Story of Anvil

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 10, 2009
DVD Release Date:October 6, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 10, 2009
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009

If this story wasn’t true, they’d have to invent it. Indeed, they already did. “This is Spinal Tap,” one of the most outrageous, influential, and utterly hilarious movies ever made, is a “mockumentary,” a fake documentary about a heavy metal […]

The Providence Effect

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 25, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 25, 2009

You often hear the expression “feel-good movie” and it usually refers to a heart-warming romantic comedy or maybe something with penguins. This is a real feel-good movie because it is a real story. A man with a passionate commitment to […]

Nursery University

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

Ingredients: 1. Too many toddlers 2. Not enough preschools 3. Parents who will do anything for their children 4. Parents whose top priority is their children’s education 5. Parents who recognize the substantial social and educational advantages of the few […]

It Might Get Loud

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements, brief language and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 4, 2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements, brief language and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 4, 2009

It goes to 11. Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) has made a documentary featuring three generations of guitar gods: Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2), and Jack White (The White Stripes). But it is not about the musicians. It […]

Woodstock

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for drug content, nudity and language
Movie Release Date:1970
DVD Release Date:August 25, 2009
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug content, nudity and language
Movie Release Date: 1970
DVD Release Date: August 25, 2009

Forty years ago, it seemed for one brief moment as though a disastrous, mud-soaked music festival that attracted so many people it had a larger population than all but one city in the state could be the beginning of a […]

X Games 3D: The Movie

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for extreme sports action and accidents
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for extreme sports action and accidents
Movie Release Date: August 21, 2009

Kids, don’t try this at home. 3D is X-treme film-making and thus well suited to the X Games, hyper-intense, hyper-dangerous, hyper-what are they thinking? sports that are closer to stunts. Young men compete on skateboard, snowboard, and on dirt bikes […]

Chris Rock on ‘Good Hair’

posted by Nell Minow

This new documentary from Chris Rock about the way African-American women think about what makes “good hair” looks terrific.

Remembering Robert McNamera

posted by Nell Minow

Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamera, the architect of the Viet Nam war, died today, still a figure of controversy after nearly half a century. Every family should watch the Oscar-winning documentary The Fog of War for a thought-provoking (and […]

Gertrude Berg, Television Pioneer

posted by Nell Minow

A forthcoming book and documentary about Gertrude Berg tell the story of this pioneering broadcaster, producer, and actress. According to a story in Flow Magazine, Gertrude Berg was the founder of the family situation comedy on radio and television. She […]

Interview: Nati Baratz of ‘Unmistaken Child

posted by Nell Minow

As they have for hundreds of years, a Buddhist monk goes on a journey in search of the “unmistaken child” who is the reincarnation of his master. The quest is unchanged in its goal and its procedures. But this time […]

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:February 27, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 30, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: February 27, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 30, 2009

Jonas Brothers fans will feel like they are on stage with Joe, Nick, and Kevin in this immersive 3D concert film from the recent “Burning Up” tour. Brief backstage glimpses of the JoBros waking up, having breakfast, filming a music […]

Paperclips

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:2004
DVD Release Date:2005
A
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 2004
DVD Release Date: 2005

The tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC last week reminds us yet again of the importance of making sure that future generations do not just learn the statistics but truly understand the near-incomprehensible devastation of genocide and […]

Silverdocs 2009

posted by Nell Minow

Silverdocs is now the biggest documentary film festival in the United States. It opens tomorrow in Silver Spring, Maryland, with an outstanding line-up of documentaries — old, new, long, short, funny, sad, domestic and international. Some of the highlights include […]

Come ‘Home’ with a One-Time Chance to See An Amazing Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

Home is a gorgeous new documentary with a haunting musical score about the planet we live on. It is from internationally renowned French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and produced by award-winning director Luc Besson. HOME is narrated in English by Glenn […]

Earth

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 22, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 22, 2009

This stunning valentine to our planet’s plants and animals re-purposes some of the footage from the stunning documentary Planet Earth into a more narrative storyline, taking us through the seasons and across the globe to see nature’s eternal themes of […]

The Hip Hop Project

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to watch the amazing documentary The Hip Hop Project tonight and see the extraordinary work by Chris “Kazi” Rolle in encouraging young people to tell their stories. He gives kids who feel invisible a chance to own their […]

Grey Gardens, Act III

posted by Nell Minow

What is is about the story of Grey Gardens that has been so enduringly fascinating? They have inspired a documentary film, a Broadway musical, endless articles, even a song by Rufus Wainwright. Some people think it is because the two […]

I.O.U.S.A.

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 7, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some thematic elements.
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2008
DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009

Two guys who are super-smart and super-rich, Warren Buffet and Pete Peterson and one guy who is just super-smart, former Comptroller General of the United States David Walker have a message for Americans — don’t spend money you don’t have. […]

Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2009

Robert Blecker is one of the most outspoken — and unexpected — proponents of the death penalty. He does not try to base his argument on the death penalty as deterrent or to prevent the opportunity for further crimes. The […]

Jonas Brothers 3D

posted by Nell Minow

No review because they didn’t show it to critics, but here’s a shot from the new Jonas Brothers concert film.

Interview: New York Noir

posted by Nell Minow

New York Noir is a documentary about the experience and influence of African-Americans in the history and culture of New York City. It will be shown on the Documentary Channel this week and it is available for purchase online. I […]

Must Read After My Death

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:February 20, 2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: February 20, 2009

A generation ago the technology first became widely available to allow families to document their lives with home movies and audio recordings. The use of these artifacts has transcended the “can you believe I used to look like that” and […]

Religulous

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language and sexual material
Movie Release Date:October 3, 2008
DVD Release Date:February 17, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language and sexual material
Movie Release Date: October 3, 2008
DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009

The most important moment in Bill Maher’s new documentary about the dangers and hypocrisy of religion is at the conclusion of his visit to a tiny trucker’s chapel. As he does throughout the movie Maher challenges the very notion of […]

Walking Across America With Just $217

posted by Nell Minow

Alex Charwick sits down at a table with two microphones and a sign that says “Interviews 50 Cents” and talks to everyday Americans about their lives. The results are enthralling. In this interview, he talks to an Algerian-American man who […]

Girls Rock!

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date:March 7, 2008
DVD Release Date:January 27, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date: March 7, 2008
DVD Release Date: January 27, 2009

As Jack Black explains in School of Rock, rock music is about sticking it to The Man. That takes on a wider meaning when the sticking is coming from young girls. In this documentary about a music camp in Portland, […]

The History Channel Presents The Presidents

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2005
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2005

This week we observe one of the great strengths of the system created by the founding fathers, the orderly transition to a new administration. In honor of the outgoing and incoming Presidents of the United States, take a look at […]

Interview: Steve James of ‘At the Death House Door’

posted by Nell Minow

I last wrote about the superb documentary At the Death House Door when I interviewed its subject, Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served 15 years as the death house chaplain to the infamous “Walls” prison unit in Huntsville. The film was […]

Interview: The Tustys of ‘The Singing Revolution’

posted by Nell Minow

Tea thrown overboard. Freeing the prisoners. Knocking over a statue. Every revolution has a moment when the people say that they will no longer tolerate tyranny. In the case of Estonia, the Baltic nation that suffered under two of history’s […]

Man on Wire

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and nudity, and drug references.
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:December 9, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and nudity, and drug references.
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2008
DVD Release Date: December 9, 2008

“Beacause it’s there.” George Mallory’s reason for conquering Everest applies to feats of exploration and adventure that include traveling to the moon. This documentary shows us that it also explains how a French teenager leafing through a magazine at his […]

List: Election Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of one of the most exciting elections in American history, here is a list of ten classic documentaries about elections and politics. 1. Primary This pioneering political documentary from Robert Drew, the first in a trilogy, shows candidate […]

Please Vote for Me

posted by Nell Minow

There is no better way to make elections real to kids than this award-winning documentary about the first-ever election in a third-grade classroom in China. In Please Vote for Me , the children are completely unfamiliar with even the concept […]

Creationism vs. Atheism at the Box Office

posted by Nell Minow

As the pro-intelligent design film Expelled comes out in DVD this week, the ads crow that it is the top-grossing documentary of the year. But its record has been eclipsed by the anti-religion film Religulous after only two weeks in […]

Morning Light

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some language
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some language
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2008

This sunny documentary about a sailboat race across the Pacific Ocean is a bit of a throwback to the days when a night at the movies included some cartoons, a newsreel, and a travelogue. It has a lot of postcard-pretty […]

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, some disturbing images and brief smoking.
Movie Release Date:April 21, 2008
DVD Release Date:October 16, 2008
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, some disturbing images and brief smoking.
Movie Release Date: April 21, 2008
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2008

There may be a good argument to make on behalf of teaching Intelligent Design in science class, but this documentary from Ben Stein does not make it. The movie itself is an example of design by faith and emotion rather […]

What is Obscene? Arthouse Films Documentary About Obscenity Trials

posted by Nell Minow

Arthouse Films, a terrific new company specializing in documentaries about art, has released an important documentary called Obscene: A Portrait of Barney Rossett and Grove Press. As was once said about another film, this one has “something to offend everyone.” […]

Interview: Irena Salina of ‘FLOW’

posted by Nell Minow

Director Irena Salina talked to me about her new documentary, “FLOW: For Love of Water,” about the problems of contamination and scarcity in water systems throughout the world. What kind of water do you drink? Tap water! We need to […]

FLOW: For Love of Water

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2008

Americans take for granted our most precious and vital resource. We assume that when we turn on the tap, the water that comes out will be perfectly safe and more than plentiful, endless. And then there are those rows and […]

Apostles of Comedy

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:September 9, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008

Four Christian stand-up comics join forces in this performance film that combines hilarious commentary on all of the absurdities of life with very touching glimpses of the men at home and their fellowship with each other. Anthony Griffith, Brad Stine, […]

Lists: Great Sports Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

10. The Heart of the Game A dedicated girls’ basketball coach and a talented player with some daunting challenges make this an unforgettable story. 9. 16 Days of Glory Bud Greenspan’s documentary series about the Olympics give you a front-row […]

Mandela

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:March 21, 1997
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: March 21, 1997

Celebrate the 90th birthday this week of one of history’s greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela, with one of the fine films about his extraordinary perseverance, vision, courage, and leadership. The story of the massive social change he achieved without violence is […]

Women and Spirituality: The Goddess Trilogy

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:NR
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: NR

Women & Spirituality is a three-part series about the power of the sacred feminine in mythological, historical and cultural contexts. Part 1, Goddess Remembered, examines goddess-based pre-historic societies, linking the loss of goddess-centered societies to environmental degradation. The second, The […]

Interview: At the Death House Door

posted by Nell Minow

At the Death House Door is an extraordinary documentary from the makers of “Hoop Dreams.” It is the story of Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served 15 years as the death house chaplain to the infamous “Walls” prison unit in Huntsville. […]

Documentary Therapy: Families Use Cameras to Create Conversations (and Confrontations)

posted by Nell Minow

Last week I saw a documentary called Bigger Stronger Faster* (The Side Effects of Being an American). The film, produced by some of the people behind Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, ties the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing […]

The Pixar Story: tonight at 10 on STARZ

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:August 27, 3007
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: August 27, 3007

The most successful movie studio in Hollywood history is Pixar, which created the first computer-animated feature film, Toy Story. Every one of their films has not only made money, but every one has made over $100 million. What is even […]

Young@Heart

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:April 21, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements.
Movie Release Date: April 21, 2008

In School of Rock Jack Black taught a classroom of 10-year-olds that rock and roll music is always about one thing: Sticking it to The Man. A new documentary about a chorus of performers in their 80’s and 90’s shows […]

Interview with Ilana Trachtman, director of “Praying with Lior”

posted by Nell Minow

Ilana Trachtman found the subject of her documentary, “Praying with Lior,” at Rosh Hashanah services. Lior has Down syndrome. His devotion to prayer has inspired the members of his close and loving Jewish community in Philadelphia. But the movie is […]

Special offer for Public Libraries on Films of Frederick Wiseman

posted by Nell Minow

Pioneering documentarian Frederick Wiseman is one of the key developers of what is sometimes called “observational” or “direct” cinema. These days, our concept of documentaries is often shaped by Michael Moore or Al Gore, unabashedly advocacy movies that are more […]

Arctic Tale

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:July 30, 2007
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: July 30, 2007
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2007

The people behind “March of the Penguins” have put together another endearing story of life in the coldest place on earth. This time, it is the story of two newborns, a polar bear called Nanu and a walrus named Seela. […]

How to Cook Your Life

posted by Nell Minow

Writer-director Doris Dörrie has made a wonderfully touching and inspiring documentary about zen priest and best-selling cookbook author Edward Espe Brown. It is about food and dignity and touch and mindfulness, sufficiency and abundance, physical, spiritual, and emotional hunger, anger […]

11th Hour

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild disturbing images and thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2007
DVD Release Date:April 9, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild disturbing images and thematic elements.
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2007
DVD Release Date: April 9, 2008

Leonardo DiCaprio has produced a thoughtful, important film about a vitally important subject, the devastating impact of industrial development on the fragile environment. He has assembled an impressive collection of scholars and world leaders to emphasize the precariousness of the […]

Sicko

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

Presenting symptoms: queasiness, fever, hyperventilation, and mood swings. Diagnosis: You’ve just seen Michael Moore’s latest film, “Sicko.” As the tagline says, “This might hurt a little.” Moore’s record-breaking documentaries have taken on guns (Bowling for Columbine), the war in Iraq […]

Jackass: Number Two

posted by jmiller
F-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for extremely crude and dangerous stunts throughout, sexual content, nudity and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
F-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for extremely crude and dangerous stunts throughout, sexual content, nudity and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Anyone unfamiliar with the Jackass collection (a prior feature-length “movie” -– really a collection of skits –- and a series on MTV) will definitely not want to go into the boys’ second film, “Jackass: Number Two” (get it?), without first […]

An Inconvenient Truth

posted by jmiller
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

No zombies. No chain saws. No mutants. No aliens. No meteors hurtling toward Earth. And yet, this is the scariest movie of the year, not, as some jokes suggest, because it is a two-hour Power Point Presentation by famously un-exciting […]

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug content, and language including a sexual reference.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug content, and language including a sexual reference.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

It’s not just that an interview with a rock star while he is in the dentist’s chair having his teeth drilled is far from the weirdest thing in this movie. It’s more that the whole story is so weird that […]

Block Party

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

The regal Erykah Badu takes the stage, her slender form topped with an enormous puff of hair that hangs down over her face. But the stage is outdoors on a gusty, rainy day, and all of a sudden it is […]

Unknown White Male

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for drug references and brief strong language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for drug references and brief strong language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Confounded doctors admit that they’ve only seen it in movies and textbooks. But in this documentary a mystery, perhaps the ultimate mystery occurs. A healthy and successful young man wakes up on a train to Coney Island to discover – […]

Roving Mars

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Imagine standing in Los Angeles, trying to shoot a basketball all the way to New York, where it must hit the basket without touching the hoop. That’s the magnitude of the challenge faced by NASA scientists and engineers in trying […]

First Descent

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and a momentary drug reference.
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and a momentary drug reference.
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2006

When the helicopter takes you to the snowy peaks at the end of the paved road, where “backcountry” describes a style and a philosophy as oppose to a location, you know you are about to see something beautiful. As if […]

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2005
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2005

Telegraph Hill, overlooking the North Beach section of San Francisco, is a place where all kinds of creatures from all kinds of places can feel welcome. One of them is onetime musician Mark Bittner, a man with “no visible means […]

America’s Heart and Soul

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:2004
DVD Release Date:June 29, 2011
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 2004
DVD Release Date: June 29, 2011

Celebrate America with this glorious love letter to our wonderful country.  If Norman Rockwell made a movie, this would be it. If “America the Beautiful” was a movie, this would be it. If America had a home move, this would […]

The Insider

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

Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), a research scientist for a tobacco company, tells “60 Minutes” to reveal that the company is more aware of the addictive properties of nicotine than its executives claimed and in fact manipulated the delivery of nicotine. […]

Playing from the Heart

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1998
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 1998

This theatrical production of the real-life story of deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie is a real treasure for family viewing. As with the other productions from Globalstage, it may take some kids a while to get used to the more impressionistic […]

Cradle Will Rock

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

How do you stay true to ideals when there is pressure to compromise in order to make a living? How can you sell without selling out? These questions are provocatively posed in “mostly true” intersecting stories surrounding a pro-union play […]

The Hurricane

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

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter triumphed over a brutal childhood to become a contender for the middleweight boxing championship, through pure determination. Then, wrongfully sentenced to three life terms for murders he did not commit, he used the same discipline, integrity, and […]

Previous Posts

Interview: Matt Mamula of Celebrity Impersonator Documentary "Just About Famous"
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 ...

posted 3:59:51pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Barak Goodman of "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies"
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 ...

posted 3:55:04pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Creativity Conference 2015: Nancy Pelosi, Snoopy, and Drones with GoPros
I had so much fun at last year's Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is ...

posted 3:07:48pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The Little Prince
The beloved book The Little Prince has been gorgeously animated, with voices including Jeff Bridges, James Franco, and Rachel McAdams.  I love this trailer. [iframe frameborder="0" width="480" height="270" ...

posted 8:00:24am Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Samuel L. Jackson is the President in "Big Game"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKThy0cipVA ...

posted 8:00:34am Apr. 25, 2015 | read full post »

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