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Drama Archives

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genre

  • Action
  • Animation
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  • Classic
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  • Drama
  • Epic
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Musical
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Sports
  • Spy
  • Thriller
  • War
  • Western

quality

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

who's watching

  • My entire family
  • Just the grown-ups
  • Little kids
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age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
  • 4th - 6th grade
  • Middle school
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  • Mature High schooler
  • Adult
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Max

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:June 26, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: June 26, 2015

“Max” is a good, old-fashioned story of a boy and a dog who mend each other’s broken hearts.  It is heartwarming without getting treacly, and frank without getting too disturbing.  And it has adventure, romance, loss, and something to say […]

Inside Out

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date:June 19, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date: June 19, 2015

Roger Ebert liked to refer to movies as an “empathy machine.” He said that the great gift of movies, more than any other art form, is the way they can put us inside the world, experiences, culture, and perspective of […]

The Farewell Party

posted by Nell Minow

Israeli filmmaker Sharon Mayman says that the idea for “The Farewell Party” came from the time that his boyfriend’s grandmother, age 92, was dying, and paramedics prolonged her suffering by “fighting for her life like she was 16 years old.” […]

Entourage

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:June 3, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: June 3, 2015

I sometimes muse that it might be nice to have a rule that I spend no more time writing a review of a film than the screenwriter spent writing the script.  If I had, this review could end right here, with […]

Aloha

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Movie Release Date:May 30, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Movie Release Date: May 30, 2015

Writer/director Cameron Crowe presents us with an attractive and talented but messy and compromised hero in “Aloha,” and asks us to root for him. The problem is that the film itself is attractive, talent-filled, messy, and compromised, and harder to […]

I’ll See You in My Dreams

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:May 22, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: May 22, 2015

Blythe Danner gives a performance of exquisite sensitivity in “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” the story of a lonely widow. She plays Carol, a singer-turned teacher who retired 20 years ago after her husband died. Her friends in a […]

Ride

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

A surf bum named Ian (Luke Wilson) is explaining the physics of the interaction between surfboard and wave: it’s an inanimate object in an ever-changing environment. One doesn’t move. One never stops moving in powerful and highly unpredictable ways. And […]

Far from the Madding Crowd

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015

It may be a British costume drama based on a classic novel, but Thomas Hardy’s saga of a headstrong woman and the three marriage proposals from very different men is not the usual corsets and teacups. Far from the Madding […]

Welcome to Me

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015

In “Welcome to Me,” Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a depressed woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who wins $86 million in the lottery. She uses much of it to create a one-woman television series that feature monologues about her life […]

The Water Diviner

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:April 24, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: April 24, 2015

Before it detours into not one, not two, but at least three preposterous Hollywood twists, “The Water Diviner” is an absorbing drama about Joshua Connor, an Australian farmer (Russell Crowe, making his directing debut as well) who travels to Turkey […]

Ex Machina

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Movie Release Date:April 17, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Movie Release Date: April 17, 2015

Movies about artificial intelligence or computers achieving consciousness are, of course, really about what it means to be human. When software and hardware combine to mimic or exceed human qualities in “Her,” “Chappie,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Terminator,” or the […]

True Story

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

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

While We’re Young

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:March 27, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: March 27, 2015

“While We’re Young” opens with an exchange from Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” about what happens when the young come knocking at the door. But it might just as well begin with the wry Amish aphorism, “We grow too soon old […]

The Woman in Gold

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:April 1, 2015
DVD Release Date:July 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: April 1, 2015
DVD Release Date: July 6, 2015

The very title is a form of theft. When Gustav Klimt painted the portrait that gives this film its name, he called it “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” She was a warm, vibrant young woman who was a vital part of […]

Danny Collins

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, drug use and some nudity
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 29, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, drug use and some nudity
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 29, 2015

Movie stories often begin with the hero or heroine having everything and then losing it or having nothing and then finding it. But some of the best combine them both, as Writer/director Dan Fogelman (“Cars,” “Tangled,” “Crazy Stupid Love”) has […]

The Gunman

posted by Nell Minow

Stars too often produce the kind of movie they want to star in, instead of the kind of movie anyone wants to watch. Co-writer/producer/star Sean Penn is clearly trying to make The Gunman a thinking person’s thriller. You can hear […]

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
Movie Release Date: March 6, 2015

A documentary called “Young @ Heart” had a choir of singers in their 80’s performing contemporary rock songs.  The very fact of their age and experience gave an unexpectedly profound meaning to the words.  And in “The Second Best Exotic […]

Kingsman: The Secret Service

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:February 13, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 8, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: February 13, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2015

“James Bond? Jason Bourne?” Our hero is being asked for the inspiration for naming his dog JB. “No,” he explains, “Jack Bauer.” This is a cheeky, nasty, meta, po-mo update of the spy genre, self-aware enough to name-check not just […]

Fifty Shades of Grey

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language
Movie Release Date:February 13, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language
Movie Release Date: February 13, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2015

The Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy by E.L. James became an international blockbuster best-seller because it satisfies the deepest, most passionate, most secret longing of the female spirit. It has nothing to do with being tied up or spanked, but […]

Seventh Son

posted by Nell Minow

If “The Big Lebowski” fans ever imagined a re-teaming of Jeff “The Dude” Bridges and Julianne “Maude” Moore, it is unlikely that they would have come up with the idea of this sword-and-sorcery epic based on the first of the […]

Black or White

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight
Movie Release Date:January 30, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight
Movie Release Date: January 30, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2015

Writer-director Mike Binder sure likes to get Kevin Costner drunk. As in his uneven but impressive “The Upside of Anger,” Binder once again has Costner playing a man who is a little lost and usually shnockered, a role well suited […]

Black Sea

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Movie Release Date:January 30, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Movie Release Date: January 30, 2015

Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. “Outside is just dark, cold, and death,” says one. “We all live together or we all die together,” says another. Submarines […]

Cake

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:January 24, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 20, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: January 24, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 20, 2015

Two shrewdly-chosen elements separate this film from the typical Lifetime saga of a middle class white woman struggling to overcome a dire challenge. First is the way writer Patrick Tobin and director Daniel Barnz (the underrated “Beastly”) trust the audience, […]

A Most Violent Year

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

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

Spare Parts

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language and violence
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 5, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language and violence
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 5, 2015

It really happened. Four undocumented high school kids from the poorest of communities took on the most brilliant engineering students from the country’s top colleges in a robotics competition and won. The contest results were one in a million, but […]

Inherent Vice

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

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

Selma

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2015
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2015

“Selma,” director Ava DuVernay’s film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital at Montgomery, to make the case for the right to vote, is superb as biography, as history, and as […]

Unbroken

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

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

Big Eyes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 13, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 13, 2015

In Woody Allen’s 1973 film “Sleeper,” set in a decadent future, Diane Keaton plays a superficial socialite who tries to think of the highest compliment she can give to an amateurish painting.  “Oh, it’s Keane! It’s pure Keane!” she exclaims. […]

Pride

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 22, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 22, 2014

The ingredients for this film were so irresistible that it is a unexpected bonus to find that it is so much better than it needed to be. It’s based on a true story of extraordinary kindness, generosity, and friendship and […]

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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

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

Exodus: Gods and Kings

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

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

Wild

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Movie Release Date:December 5, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Movie Release Date: December 5, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

“If your Nerve, deny you— Go above your Nerve—” Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) adds the name of the author, Emily Dickinson, to the quote she has inscribed in a journal for hikers kept at her entry point on the Pacific […]

The Imitation Game

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician with an enormous intellect, an almost equally enormous ego, and an almost equally enormous secret. He was one of the founding thinkers behind modern computing and it is his name that we use for […]

Foxcatcher

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

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

Rosewater

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014

First-time writer/director Jon Stewart has made a remarkably assured film about the imprisonment and torture of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari It is an absorbing drama that is at the same time the story of a very specific individual and a […]

Beyond the Lights

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

“Beyond the Lights” is a welcome return to the grand traditions of movie romance, with sizzling chemistry between gorgeous, fabulously charismatic stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker. And it also has some very astute insights about family, ambition, and the […]

The Theory of Everything

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 16, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 16, 2015

We have seen many film biographies of great individuals (mostly men). But we have seen almost no films, fact-based or fictional, about great marriages. And we have certainly never seen any films about great marriages that end up with the […]

HBO: Frances McDormand in Olive Kitteridge

posted by Nell Minow

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Stout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a difficult woman experiencing and creating difficulties, is now a two-part miniseries on HBO, premiering tomorrow night, with Oscar-winner Frances McDormand in the title role.

Laggies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Movie Release Date:October 31, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Movie Release Date: October 31, 2014

Lynn Shelton is known for writing and directing small, intimate, independent films with a lot of improvised dialogue (“Humpday,””My Sister’s Sister,” “Touchy Feely”), often using the same small group of actors. With “Laggies,” she moves seamlessly to working with a […]

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 16, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 16, 2015

Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, “Birdman” (subtitled “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”) explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of […]

Fury

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

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

St. Vincent

posted by Nell Minow

A crude, inconsiderate, bitter slacker — Bill Murray could play that in his sleep. And it would be pretty good. But he doesn’t. Bill Murray gives a beautiful, wise, complex performance as Vincent, an angry old man who drinks too […]

Dear White People

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2015

Before I turn to whitesplaining this film, I will begin by suggesting that you read what Aisha Harris at Slate and what my friends and fellow critics Travis Hopson and Stephen Boone have to say first. If I did not […]

The Judge

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 26, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2015

Robert Downey Jr. gives his best performance since “Chaplin” in “The Judge,” an absorbing story of family, redemption and home. Downey co-produced and stars as Hank Palmer, a Chicago criminal defense attorney known for doing whatever it takes to get […]

Featurette: “The Good Lie” the Faith of the Lost Boys of Sudan

posted by Nell Minow

“The Good Lie” is a moving, inspiring story of Lost Boys (and a girl) from Sudan to immigrate to the US, a must-see for middle and high schoolers and their families.  This featurette takes us behind the scenes and focuses […]

Believe Me

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014

Will Bakke has followed his two thought-provoking documentaries on faith with a remarkably smart, funny, brave, and heartfelt first feature film that explores religion and values without ever falling into the easy conventions of many faith-based films. Bakke has a […]

Tracks

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

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

Hector and the Search for Happiness

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some brief nudity
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some brief nudity
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2015

Simon Pegg stars as Hector in this gentle fable based on the whimsical French novel by psychiatrist Francois Lelord.  Like Lelord, Hector is a psychiatrist.  He has a “tidy” life with a nice girlfriend named Clara (“Gone Girl’s” Rosamund Pike), nice […]

This is Where I Leave You

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2014

A toddler carries his little potty out in front of the house so he can try out his new-found skill in public. Twice. Plus another time when the contents of the potty are first displayed for the family and then […]

The Drop

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

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

The Identical

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 5, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 5, 2014

“The Identical” is an incompetent mishmash of mawkish sentimentality larded with a few pleasant musical numbers and some random asides about Israel.  I’m not making this up. It is inspired by an intriguing fact.  Elvis Presley was a twin.  His […]

If I Stay

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

Hamlet asked it best. “To be, or not to be: That is the question.” We struggle through, worrying about whether someone likes us or whether we will be accepted at the school of our choice. Those seem like serious problems. […]

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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

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

When the Game Stands Tall

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014

This dreary assemblage of every possible sports cliché has one thing in common with the game it portrays. Every time it seems to be going somewhere, it stops. More frustratingly, it wastes the opportunity to tell a good story by […]

The Giver

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 24, 2014

“Thank you for your childhood.” Are there any more fearsome words in literature than these? Lois Lowry’s The Giver is a Newbery Award-winning novel, a staple of middle school reading lists and book reports. It tells a dystopian story of […]

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 […]

The Hundred Foot Journey

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 1, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2014

Shakespeare famously made fun of the notion of a sighing lover creating an ode “to his mistress’ eyebrow.” But it would take Shakespeare to do justice to Helen Mirren as a French woman of impeccable bearing who is able to […]

Get on Up

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

There are a lot of challenges in taking on the life story of James Brown, known variously as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite and others with variations on the term “Funk.” First […]

Contest: “Lullaby” — Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund

posted by Nell Minow

Garrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and “Downton Abbey’s” Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan’s […]

And So It Goes

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:B00NW6KQYE
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: B00NW6KQYE

A second marriage is, as Samuel Johnson famously said, “The triumph of hope over experience.” And as lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote in the song Bing Crosby sang in “High Time,” “Love is lovelier the second time around.” In this slight […]

Wish I Was Here

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 27, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2014

My intention was to review Zach Braff’s new film without mentioning the controversy he stirred up in funding it via Kickstarter.  My view was that what mattered was the movie itself, and the kerfluffle over how it was all paid […]

For Bastille Day: A Tale of Two Cities

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Bastille Day!   This is a great time to watch the classic “A Tale of Two Cities,” based on the book about the French Revolution by Charles Dickens.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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

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

Jersey Boys

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

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

Lullaby

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014

An outstanding cast, a weighty subject, and the sincerest of intentions are almost enough to make up for an undercooked, stuntish, and stagey script in this story about a man who decides to die and the family he leaves behind. […]

The Fault in Our Stars

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 15, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 15, 2014

John Green’s best-selling novel, The Fault in Our Stars is the story of kids with cancer, but it is not about dying.  It is about living.  This exquisite adaptation is that rare film based on a beloved novel that does full justice […]

Chef

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, including some suggestive references
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 29. 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, including some suggestive references
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 29. 2014

You’re writer/director/actor Jon Favreau.  You’ve been making big-budget films, mostly huge blockbuster successes (“Elf,” “Iron Man”), but also a big-budget bust (Cowboys & Aliens, which I liked).  This might put you in mind of a simpler, more satisfyingly creative time […]

Belle

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

Writer Misan Sagay, director Amma Asante, and actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw have created a film of exceptional understanding, honoring the life of the real-life woman who inspired the story with intelligence, sensitivity, and insight that illuminate her time and our own.  Mbatha-Raw […]

Decoding Annie Parker

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:May 2, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: May 2, 2014

This is the true story of two women who share a goal but meet just once, for a few moments.  Oscar winner Helen Hunt plays scientist Dr. Mary-Claire King, whose pioneering research led to one of the most significant medical […]

Walking With the Enemy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 28, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 28, 2014

Why do we keep making movies about the Holocaust? Because we are still trying to understand one of the most shocking, inhumane tragedies in history. Because it is the essence of heightened, dramatic storylines, with the most depraved real-life villains, […]

Fading Gigolo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: April 19, 2014

John Turturro wrote, directed, and stars in “Fading Gigolo,” a bittersweet meditation on the ways we seek and hide from intimacy, sometimes at the same time. Turturro plays Fioravante, a florist who works part-time for Murray (Woody Allen), the third-generation […]

Under the Skin

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for graphic nudity, sexual content, some violence and language
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic nudity, sexual content, some violence and language
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2014

This haunting, provocative film is the essence of what it means to call a work of art “adult,” not because of its explicit nudity and sexual situations but because of the way it presents and engages with them. It is […]

Draft Day

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 2, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2014

How do you choose? That is a critical and daunting question for anyone. And a defining one, too. How can we take what we know now and figure out what we will need in the future? In this film, set […]

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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

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

Veronica Mars

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

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

Non-Stop

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

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

Son of God

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence
Movie Release Date:February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 2, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence
Movie Release Date: February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 2, 2014

“Son of God,” re-cut and expanded from the popular miniseries produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, “The Bible,” tells the story of Jesus from birth to crucifixion and resurrection in a thoughtful, reverent, and dignified manner. This is a […]

Pompeii

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

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

The Monuments Men

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking
Movie Release Date:February 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 19, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking
Movie Release Date: February 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 19, 2014

Many years ago, my husband and I attended an art auction at which one item was a pencil drawing of a peaceful river setting, made by an Austrian art student in the early 20th century: Adolf Hitler.  The bidding opened […]

Two Film Noir Classics Now Free Streaming

posted by Nell Minow

“Film Noir” (“black films”) usually refers to the stylized dark crime films of the 1940’s, usually made by German directors who came to the United States to escape the Nazis.  Their cynicism, sense of dread and loss, and themes of […]

The Wolf of Wall Street

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

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

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some crude comments, language and action violence
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 15, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some crude comments, language and action violence
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 15, 2014

We all know what it feels like to be Walter Mitty, imagining ourselves as achievers and darers far beyond our normal lives. The original short story by James Thurber is about a middle-aged, hen-pecked man who daydreams about dashing adventures […]

American Hustle

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

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

Inside Llewyn Davis

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:December 20, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 10, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: December 20, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 10, 2014

Oscar Isaac gives the best performance of the year as the title character in the most intimate and profound movie yet from the Coen brothers.  The story is set in the New York folk music world of 1961 and the […]

Saving Mr. Banks

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For thematic elements including some unsettling images
Movie Release Date:December 13, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For thematic elements including some unsettling images
Movie Release Date: December 13, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2014

For most of this story, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) are on opposite sides.  He has been trying for twenty years to persuade her to let him make a movie based on her books about the […]

Out of the Furnace

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

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

Black Nativity

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, language, and a menacing situation
Movie Release Date:November 27, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, language, and a menacing situation
Movie Release Date: November 27, 2013

The poet Langston Hughes wrote a play called “Black Nativity,” a joyous African-American retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus with gospel music, and it has become a holiday perennial. Now it has been adapted by writer/director Kasi […]

Philomena

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 14, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 14, 2014

Dame Judi Dench has played many strong-minded, determined characters, from Queens (Victoria and Elizabeth I) to the even more imperious head of the MI6 who can take on James Bond with an air of crisp authority.  As the title character […]

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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

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

Paradise

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material, substance abuse, some language, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material, substance abuse, some language, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 15, 2013

Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”) tries directing for the first time with “Paradise,” based on her own script about a girl from a very conservative religious background whose faith is challenged after a terrible accident.  Even she acknowledges that she […]

The Book Thief

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014

The title character in “The Book Thief” is Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), a little girl in pre-WWII Germany.  We first see her on a train with her mother and dying younger brother.  The children were both going to be delivered to […]

Dallas Buyers Club

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014

Matthew McConaughey lost nearly 40 pounds to play Ron Woodroof, a good-time party animal and homophobic Texas cowboy who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and given a month to live.  This was in the early days, before safe and […]

About Time

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 3, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 3, 2014

Richard Curtis perfected the art of the 21st century romantic comedy in “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill,” and “Love Actually.”  They were witty and sophisticated and had posh British accents that made them seem twice as witty and […]

The Counselor

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

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

12 Years a Slave

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 3, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 3, 2014

Watching “12 Years a Slave” is a shattering experience. It shatters any remaining illusions of gracious, chivalrous, Southern plantation life in the pre-Civil War era.  They were based on the late 19th century myth-making from the children of slave-owners in […]

The Fifth Estate

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2013

In late medieval times, when people first began to divide each other into groups defined by status and power, they began to speak of a “first estate” (the clergy), a “second estate” (the nobility, which also at the time meant […]

Captain Phillips

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use
Movie Release Date:October 11, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 21, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use
Movie Release Date: October 11, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 21, 2014

Memorable movie villains tend to fall into two categories: volatile and violent or sociopathic and megalomaniac. Both kinds are caricatures, sketched in exaggerated terms to justify our feeling of triumph when the hero prevails. But in “Captain Phillips,” the true […]

Romeo & Juliet

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:October 11, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: October 11, 2013

William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is the most-filmed play of all time, with dozens of versions and variations from the sublime (the Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann versions, “West Side Story” and “Shakespeare in Love”) to the outlandish (the cute […]

A.C.O.D.

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 4, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 4, 2013

Are today’s 20-and 30-somethings the least-parented generation in history, as a character explains in this film? To quote Rosie O’Donnell in “Sleepless in Seattle” about another depressing statistic, “It’s not true, but it feels true.” While the generation that came […]

Gravity

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

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

Don Jon

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 31, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 31, 2013

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt has made a remarkably assured debut as writer/director, putting him in the front ranks of today’s filmmakers. Gordon-Levitt also plays the lead role, Jon, a New Jersey guy with a high and tight haircut and a spare […]

Rush

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 29, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 29, 2014

The immensely gifted screenwriter Peter Morgan reunites with his “Frost/Nixon” director Ron Howard and returns to his favorite theme, a real-life drama about the clash between two brilliantly talented but flawed figures. This time it is the bitter rivalry between […]

Thanks for Sharing

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and strong sexual content
Movie Release Date:September 20, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 7, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and strong sexual content
Movie Release Date: September 20, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014

Imagine that the one thing you cannot trust yourself to be near is around you all the time, wherever you go.  As difficult as it is to recover from addiction to drugs or gambling or alcohol, at least those in […]

World War Z

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

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

Closed Circuit

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief violence
Movie Release Date:August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 7, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief violence
Movie Release Date: August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014

Terrorism has killed thousands of people, destroyed buildings and property, and caused seismic rifts in our notions of who constitutes “us” and “them.”   What is even more terrifying is the damage it has inflicted on our most fundamental notions […]

Short Term 12

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:August 23, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 17, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: August 23, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 17, 2014

There is a look in the eyes of those who have seen the very worst that can happen.  Those who no longer have the blessing of living in denial.  Those who know, not just in their heads but in their […]

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking
Movie Release Date:August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 13, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking
Movie Release Date: August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 13, 2014

Washington Post reporter Wil Haygood was covering the 2008 Obama campaign when some young black women told him that they were going to vote for America’s first major party Presidential candidate who was African-American, even though their fathers told them […]

Jobs

posted by Nell Minow

Even the most fascinating character, a true visionary with a transformative impact on the world and a story with one of the most wallopingly vindicating comebacks in business history, cannot always translate into a great movie.  A straight-on biopic cannot […]

Elysium

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

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

Blue Jasmine

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 26, 2013
DVD Release Date:Januar
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 26, 2013
DVD Release Date: Januar

Two sisters. One imagines herself living a life of ease, comfort, graciousness, and elegance that does not really exist. The other is more accepting of her lower middle class life, her carnality, her limited expectations. The first sister loses everything […]

Cloudburst

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2013
DVD Release Date:July 29, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2013
DVD Release Date: July 29, 2013

Two of the all-time great actresses play a long-time couple who must find a way to cope with the indignities of aging — and the greater indignities of the way they are treated by their families and the legal system. […]

Still Mine

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief sensuality/partial nudity
Movie Release Date:July 19, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief sensuality/partial nudity
Movie Release Date: July 19, 2013

Why do we spend so much time in movies watching young people fall in love? Why is the wedding so often the happy ending? “Still Mine” is a beautifully performed true-life tale of a couple who have been deeply in […]

Fruitvale Station

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

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

Trailer: Romeo and Juliet

posted by Nell Minow

“Downton Abbey’s” Julian Fellowes has adapted a new version of “Romeo and Juliet,” starring “True Grit’s” Hailee Steinfeld, Damian Lewis, and Paul Giamatti, premiering in October.

The Lone Ranger

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

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

The Way Way Back

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language, some sexual content, and brief drug material
Movie Release Date:July 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 21, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language, some sexual content, and brief drug material
Movie Release Date: July 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 21, 2013

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, Oscar winners for the screenplay of “The Descendants,” have written, produced, and directed an endearing coming-of-age story called “The Way Way Back,” appearing in it as well. At times it seems there have been as […]

The Heat

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

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

Civil War Movies to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

posted by Nell Minow

This week is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, still the greatest loss of life in American history, the turning point of the war, and the inspiration for one of the greatest speeches in history, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg […]

The Kings of Summer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some teen drinking
Movie Release Date:Jun3 7, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 24, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some teen drinking
Movie Release Date: Jun3 7, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 24, 2013

When Mark Twain had Huck Finn leave the kind-hearted widow who hoped to “civilize” him to “light out for the territories,” he tapped into the dream of all teenagers and the teenagers inside all of us to escape from all […]

Before Midnight

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013

Please, please don’t call this third entry in the story of Celine and Jesse the final chapter of a trilogy. The audience is almost as invested in them as we are in the stories of the “Up” movie documentary series […]

Now You See Me

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

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

What Maisie Knew

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date:May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 12, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 12, 2013

She has the face of a flower and she still believes that the world is an enchanted place that cannot hurt her.  She does not understand what is going on around her, but we do. Her name is Maisie (the […]

The Great Gatsby

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.
Movie Release Date:May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.
Movie Release Date: May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2013

Kids, here’s a hint: Don’t think you can pass a sophomore English exam on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz age classic and high school reading list perennial by watching this movie.  While this version of the story of a man who […]

Disconnect

posted by Nell Minow

Viewers will spend much of this movie mentally imploring the characters on screen not to do what it is all too disturbingly clear that they are ineluctably drawn to do.  This is a very scary movie with three stories about […]

The Company You Keep

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 13, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2013

I can’t help thinking that even though this movie is based on a novel by Neil Gordon, it is primarily a trip down memory lane for director/star Robert Redford.  Shia LeBeouf plays Ben, an idealistic investigative reporter a la Redford in […]

Trance

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

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

To the Wonder

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013

Director Terrence Malick has made a movie for those fans who loved “Tree of Life” but thought it was too linear and easy to follow. “To the Wonder” is an impressionistic story of love and loss.  Theoretically it stars Ben […]

42

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2013

Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play major league baseball. His number, 42, is worn by every player once a year to commemorate his achievements as a baseball player and as a man.  This version of the story […]

The Sapphires

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements, and smoking
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 15, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements, and smoking
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 15, 2013

A very conventional story of a 60’s Australian girl group gains extra power from its context and setting in this fact-based story set to the beat of Motown soul.  Co-written by the son of one of the real-life singers and […]

Unconditional

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent content and mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 5, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent content and mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013

This faith-based drama stars two top performers who give its fact-based story the sweetness and spirit that is sometimes lacking in the heartfelt but uneven script. Lynn Collins (“The Merchant of Venice,” “John Carter”) plays author Samantha Crawford, who is […]

New on Blu-Ray: Laura

posted by Nell Minow

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

Phantom

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence
Movie Release Date: March 1, 2013

Submarine movies are immediately gripping because they are powerful microcosms that amplify conflict.  A small group of people in very close quarters, highly trained and with an explicit mission are then completely disconnected from the rest of the world.  When […]

Snitch

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

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

Shanghai Calling

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:February 20, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: February 20, 2013

“Shanghai Calling” is a fish out of water story filled with charm. Korean-American actor Daniel Henney plays Sam, a Chinese-American lawyer who is sent to China to work on a big project.  He does not speak Chinese and he knows […]

Beautiful Creatures

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, scary images, and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, scary images, and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2013

In a small Southern town that feels far from everything, where everyone is “too stupid to leave or too stuck to move,” a teenage boy named Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) dreams every night of a girl he has never seen.  Ethan […]

Safe Haven

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 12, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 12, 2013

Now that best-selling author Nicholas Sparks has rung every possible variation out of his core formula: damaged hearts, pretty people, syrupy pop-song montages, buttery, sunlit cinematography, the healing powers of a body of water (and rain), the healing powers of a […]

Side Effects

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and language
Movie Release Date:February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and language
Movie Release Date: February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

Those “ask your doctor about” commercials for medication always have a lawyer-imposed “side effects may include” section briskly recited by the narrator in the second half of the ad in the same bright but soothing tones used for the near-miraculous […]

Stand Up Guys

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

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

Happy 200th Birthday to Pride and Prejudice

posted by Nell Minow

Jane Austen’s beloved story of the headstrong Elizabeth Bennett and the arrogant Mr. Darcy is one of the most popular and influential books ever written.  Pretty much any story that involves a couple who battle until they fall in love […]

Downton Abbey 3rd Season DVD!

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NA
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2013
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NA
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2013

The most popular television show in the world has a gorgeous new DVD/Blu-Ray release this week, Season 3 and some marvelous extras: –    Downton Abbey Behind the Drama –    Shirley MacLaine at Downton –    The Men of Downton –    […]

Zero Dark Thirty

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

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

Promised Land

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:January 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 23, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: January 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013

“Promised Land,” written by stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski is smart, sincere, and timely, well directed by Gus Van Sant and with thoughtful, intelligent performances by everyone, especially Frances McDormand (“Fargo”) and Titus Welliver (“The Good Wife”). It’s a […]

Django Unchained

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

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

Les Misérables

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sensual material, violence, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sensual material, violence, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013

Fair warning: I seem to be impervious to the appeal of “Les Misérables.”  I was not a fan of the stage show or the songs, but I understand that it is the most popular musical of all time, and I […]

This is 40

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013

Writer-director Judd Apatow has made the mistake of believing that the audience will find his wife and children and mid-life crisis as relatable and endearing as he does. And there is nothing more fatal to a movie than a gross […]

Hyde Park on Hudson

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 9. 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 9. 2013

When Franklin Roosevelt’s sixth cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley (pronounced “sook-lee”) died at age 99, a cache of letters was found in a suitcase under her bed.  Everyone knew she had spent years working near Roosevelt, and most thought he had […]

Killing Them Softly

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

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

Hitchcock

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 12, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 12, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock loved to scare people and he did it very, very well.  This highly entertaining story of the making of one of his most controversial (and terrifying) films stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as the portly British He did it […]

Life of Pi

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

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

Silver Linings Playbook

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 29, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2013

When Bradley Cooper appeared on “Inside the Actors Studio,” the first graduate of the program to be featured, they showed a clip from Robert DeNiro’s appearance on the show, with then-student Cooper asking him a question about his performance in […]

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

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

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

Anna Karenina

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 18, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 18, 2013

Director Joe Wright and his favorite star, Kiera Knightley (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Atonement”) have produced a ravishing, highly theatrical version of Leo Tolstoy’s classic “Anna Karenina.”  It is deeply romantic but has more focus on the social and political context than many […]

Anna Karenina on Film

posted by Nell Minow

Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina,” with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard, opens in limited release this week, with Kiera Knightley in the title role as Tolstoy’s tragic heroine who loves not wisely but too well.  The novel has one of the […]

Lincoln

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:November 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 25, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: November 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 25, 2013

The first question about big, prestige films like “Lincoln” is always where it falls on what I call the spinach scale.  Will I tell people to see it because it is entertaining or because it is good for them.  For […]

The Mark

posted by Nell Minow

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

Movie of the Month: Casablanca

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to check out our Movie Corner Movie of the Month, Casablanca, with some of my thoughts on what makes it a classic.  Seventy years after its release, it is still as fresh and vibrant and touching as ever.

Flight

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity, and an intense action sequence
Movie Release Date:November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 5, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity, and an intense action sequence
Movie Release Date: November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2013

Denzel Washington is at his best playing a man who is at his worst.  “Whip” Whitaker is a brilliant airline pilot who flies commercial jets.  He is also in deep denial about a substance abuse and addiction problem that is […]

Cloud Atlas

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

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

Alex Cross

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

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

Argo

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent images
Movie Release Date:October 12, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 18, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent images
Movie Release Date: October 12, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 18, 2013

The movie within the movie, an outlandish space fantasy possibly named “Argo” for Jason’s vessel in the ancient Greek myth, may be more believable than the true and recently declassified story that surrounds it.  In 1979, when American State Department […]

Won’t Back Down

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 15, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013

What should have been a rousing, feel-good, “inspired by a true story” film about a mother and a teacher who take on the teacher’s union and the school board to turn around a failing elementary school benefits from strong performances […]

Looper

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

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

Trouble With the Curve

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012

“Trouble with the Curve” pitches softballs to power hitters.  It has major league players and a bush league script. Clint Eastwood plays — surprise! — a grumpy old guy, a role he is too comfortable in, on and off screen. […]

The Master

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012

In the sixth movie from virtuoso writer-director P.T. Anderson (“There Will be Blood,” “Boogie Nights”), we see Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) pause on the dock to look at what seems like the ultimate dream of civilization, a party on board a […]

Liberal Arts

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Unrated
Movie Release Date:September 14, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Movie Release Date: September 14, 2012

It is true.  At heart, everyone is 19, except for the people who actually are.  “How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor has followed his promising debut as a writer/director with the uneven but intriguing “Liberal Arts,” a throwback […]

The Words

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 7, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 7, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 24, 2012

This movie about an unsuccessful writer who appropriates an old manuscript and sells it as his own feels like a movie made by a writer who has the same problem. This is an idea that has already been explored by […]

Touchback

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date:April 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 3, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date: April 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 3, 2012

Haven’t we all wished for a chance to live that one moment over again? Scott (Brian Presley, who also produced) has that opportunity in “Touchback,” the story of a man who wants to go back to his days as a […]

Lawless

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

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

Sparkle

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

You can’t help wondering what Whitney Houston was thinking when she decided to co-produce and star in the remake of a flawed but beloved 1976 musical melodrama about a singer who becomes involved with an abusive performer and becomes addicted to drugs. […]

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 3, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2012

I have one copy to give away to the first person who sends me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Timothy” in the subject line!  Don’t forget your address! One of the biggest surprises — and greatest pleasures — of being […]

Beasts of the Southern Wild

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language, and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language, and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

A prize-winner at Cannes and Sundance, this near post-apocalyptic story of a father and daughter in a condemned part of Southern Louisiana is a stunningly assured debut by first-time feature director and co-writer Benh Zeitlen and extraordinary performances by a […]

Savages

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

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

Yankee Doodle Dandy

posted by Nell Minow

James Cagney as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy:

Magic Mike

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

You might expect a movie about strippers to be either a glossy Hollywood fantasy or a gritty, sour, documentary.  The surprise of “Magic Mike” is that it avoids both extremes with an appealing naturalness and intimacy that softens but does […]

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

Dr. Johnson memorably said that the prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.  Part of what stories do for us is concentrate the mind by providing us with narratives that eliminate distracting quotidian effluvia and allow us to focus on […]

Moonrise Kingdom

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and smoking
Movie Release Date:May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and smoking
Movie Release Date: May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2012

Wes Anderson films are not so much directed as curated.  Often accused of being more interested in his props than his characters, Anderson’s fussy, even obsessive focus on the objects and sets gives his films a missing the forest for […]

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 17, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 17, 2012

A dream team ensemble cast of British acting superstars gives a predictable story of displaced retirees spark and depth in this cozy tale based on the novel These Foolish Things, by Deborah Moggach. A group of British retirees come to India […]

The Lucky One

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 29, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 29, 2012

Director Scott Hicks pours enough syrup over this film to supply an IHOP.  Every shot of the golden sunlight on the Louisiana bayou or the perfectly tousled angelic curls of the perfectly precocious angelic boy or the perfect smile of the […]

Blue Like Jazz

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexuality, drug and alcohol content, and some language
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 6, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexuality, drug and alcohol content, and some language
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 6, 2012

Donald Miller’s best-selling collection of essays, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality has become a crowd-financed and lightly fictionalized film about a Texas teenager from a sheltered Baptist community who goes to the famously free-thinking Reed College in Portland, Oregon. […]

Titanic 3D

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

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

The Hunger Games

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

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

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

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