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Movie Mom

Family Issues Archives

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genre

  • Action
  • Animation
  • Comedy
  • Classic
  • Documentary
  • 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
  • Big kids

age range

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




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
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, drug use and some nudity
Movie Release Date: March 20, 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 Sound of Music Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

posted by Nell Minow

A glorious new 50th anniversary Blu-Ray edition of Sound of Music is out this week, featuring commentary, behind the scenes footage, and all kinds of extras — sure to be one of your “favorite things.”   This box-office champ is one […]

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 […]

Black or White

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Paddington

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015

Michael Bond’s gentle, charming stories about the Peruvian bear named for a London train station has been brought to the screen almost as gently and charmingly, and certainly far more so than the slapsticky trailer suggested. A generation ago, a […]

A Child’s Christmas in Wales

posted by Nell Minow

The whole family will enjoy this beautiful version of Dylan Thomas’ classic memory about his family Christmases in Wales.

Annie

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corporate privacy invasions, and Katy Perry tweets. There are some […]

Interview: Jet Jurgensmeyer of “A Belle for Christmas”

posted by Nell Minow

A Belle for Christmas, available today on DVD, is a cute holiday story of a dog named Belle who comes to live with kids named Elliot and Phoebe and their widowed father (Dean Cain).  Kristy Swenson plays Dani, the crafty […]

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 […]

Fifty Years of Fiddler on the Roof

posted by Nell Minow

The Yiddish-language stories of Sholem Alechim, collected as Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories (Library of Yiddish Classics), inspired one of the most successful, influential, and widely performed Broadway musicals of all time, “Fiddler on the Roof,” which opened […]

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 […]

Coming Soon: Evergreen Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Naomi Judd and Robert Loggia star in “Evergreen Christmas,” on DVD and VOD November 4, 2014. Leaving her seemingly glamorous Hollywood life on hold, Evie Lee is forced to return to her small hometown of Balsam Falls, Tennessee and her […]

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 […]

Love is Strange

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:08/22/2014
DVD Release Date:January 12. 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: 08/22/2014
DVD Release Date: January 12. 2015

Love is strange.  As this movie opens, a deeply devoted couple of more than three decades wakes up and prepares for a big, important, emotional, happy occasion.  They bicker a little bit, but it is clear to them and to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Boyhood

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

“A boy’s will is the wind’s will/And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.” (Longfellow) We first see Mason (Ellar Coltrane) lying on the ground, looking up at the sky, and it is clear that his thoughts are very […]

Home is Where the Heart Is — Coming Soon on DVD

posted by Nell Minow

“Trophy Wife’s” Bailee Madison, Laura Bell Bundy (“Heart of Dixie”), and John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”) star in “Home is Where the Heart Is,” coming on DVD August 19. Disillusioned actress Sunny returns to her hometown of Bent Arrow, Texas, to […]

How to Train Your Dragon 2

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 10, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 10, 2014

“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ is all fans of the original were hoping and has a good shot at being not just the best animated film of the year but one of the best in any category and for […]

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 […]

Moms’ Night Out

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 1, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date: May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 1, 2014

It may feel like a kinder, gentler, sweeter version of “Adventures in Babysitting” or “The Hangover,” but this charming story manages to avoid getting syrupy, even when everyone settles down in the midst of chaos for a little talk about […]

The LEGO Movie

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and crude humor
Movie Release Date:February 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 18, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and crude humor
Movie Release Date: February 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2014

Everything is awesome in this fast, fresh, funny, and utterly adorable movie set in the vast world of LEGOs. Last year at Comic-Con the filmmakers said that there are two great things to do with LEGOs — you can follow […]

Labor Day

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality
Movie Release Date:January 31, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 29, 2014
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality
Movie Release Date: January 31, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014

On the surface, “Labor Day” feels like would-be Nicholas Sparks, a syrupy romance about two people with damaged hearts finding a healing love in a picturesque setting. But like a pretty chocolate candy with a filling that turns out to […]

Gimme Shelter

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving mistreatment, some drug content, violence, and language, all concerning teens
Movie Release Date:January 24, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 28, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving mistreatment, some drug content, violence, and language, all concerning teens
Movie Release Date: January 24, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 28, 2014

Vanessa Hudgens gives a touching and sensitive performance in this fact-based story of a pregnant, homeless teenager. Both Hudgens and writer/director Ron Krauss moved into a shelter so that they could do justice to the stories of these young women. […]

Grudge Match

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 8, 2014
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 8, 2014

Not that this is going to come as a surprise to anyone, but this movie is not just bad, it is sad.  The stars of two of the greatest boxing movies of all time are not just slumming here.  They […]

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 […]

Interview: Bruce Boxleitner of “Silver Bells”

posted by Nell Minow

Bruce Boxleitner stars in Silver Bells, premiering on UP TV tomorrow, Sunday, December 1st at 7pm, 9pm and 11pm ET.  It is the story of a Type A, very competitive dad who wants everything his family does to be the best, including Christmas. […]

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 […]

Frozen

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 17, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 17, 2014

Smart, exciting, funny, sweet, tuneful, and gorgeously animated, the Oscar-winning “Frozen” adapts Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale into a story of two sisters kept apart by a scary secret.  Scary wolves, an enormous snow monster, a perilous journey, a […]

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 […]

Delivery Man

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2013

The undeniable sweetness of “Delivery Man” makes its inherent silliness just about forgivable.  Or, it just might be the sense of relief that Vince Vaughn is finally making a movie that is just silly instead of crass and stupid like “Couples […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

In a World….

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual refeences
Movie Release Date:August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 23, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual refeences
Movie Release Date: August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 23, 2014

Writer/director/star Lake Bell has produced a smart, fresh, and funny film that sends up Hollywood, sexism, and the conventions of the romantic comedy and yet somehow has us rooting for the characters to find a happy ending.  And she has […]

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 […]

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 […]

An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2013
DVD Release Date:July 1, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2013
DVD Release Date: July 1, 2013

The latest in the terrific series of American Girls movies is the story of Saige (Sidney Fullmer), a talented artist and a horse-lover.  She is devastated to learn that due to budget cuts, there will be no more art class […]

Interview: “American Idol’s” Brooke White on Hallmark Channel’s “Banner 4th of July”

posted by Nell Minow

American Idol star Brooke White talked to me about her role in “Banner 4th of July,” premiering on the Hallmark Channel this Saturday at 9/8c.  White plays Desiree Banner, who once was in a successful band called The Banner Project […]

Fill the Void

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:June 14, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: June 14, 2013

A young woman about to choose the man she will marry is torn between her own desires and the wishes of her devout family, ultra-Orthodox Jews.  We know where the American version of this story would go — the triumph […]

Epic

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language
Movie Release Date:May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 19, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language
Movie Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2013

“Epic” means big — usually a big story filled with grand adventures. This is a grand adventure, but the story is very small, or at least its characters are. Like “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,”  “A Bug’s Life,” and “The […]

Peeples

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material and language
Movie Release Date:May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 10, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material and language
Movie Release Date: May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 10, 2013

Sometimes I think that all the myths and fairy tales about scary monsters, dragons, and ogres are just metaphors for life’s most terrifying meeting — the introduction to the family of one’s beloved.  Every family is its own country, with […]

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 […]

The Croods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 1, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 1, 2013

I think we can all agree that at least in some respects all children are Neanderthals. It is the grand challenge of parenthood to civilize these sometimes savage little creatures by teaching them language, manners, and keeping safe.  And some […]

Escape from Planet Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2013

A new animation studio called Rainmaker has produced its first film, “Escape from Planet Earth,” a story of sibling rivalry and aliens.  It almost works as an amiable, if derivative time-waster for kids with a few jokes for the grown-ups, […]

A Good Day to Die Hard

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

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

Parental Guidance

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012

This shtick-y, utterly synthetic sit-com of a movie telegraphs its every joke and then pounds the audience over the head to make sure we get them.  Oh, we get them.  We just wish we didn’t. Artie (Billy Crystal) is a […]

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 […]

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 […]

Disney’s Cinderella — New Diamond Edition

posted by Nell Minow

This week, Disney’s animated classic Cinderella is being released with a glorious new Three-Disc Diamond Edition: Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy, and that glass slipper really sparkles! The classic fairy tale by Charles Perrault is lovingly and imaginatively brought to life in this […]

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. […]

Finding Nemo 3D

posted by Nell Minow
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:September 14, 2012
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: September 14, 2012

“Finding Nemo” is an ideal choice for a 3D re-release. Its Pacific Ocean setting is majestic, immersive, not intrusive, in evoking the vast sweep of the water and bringing us into the world of the tiny fish characters. Digital and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

posted by Nell Minow

This is the third movie based on the wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. With each movie, the franchise becomes better at milking the formula that causes 4th graders to cringe with delight.  The story […]

Ice Age: Continental Drift

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date:July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date: July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012

The “Ice Age” folks have the formula down very well, and this fourth entry is one of their strongest, with enough of the familiar to be satisfying and enough that is new to keep things interesting.  The real expertise is […]

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 […]

Brave

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 12, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 12, 2012

“Brave” is not just one of the best movies of the year for any age; it is one of the best movies ever made from a female point of view. It has been a long time coming.  Pixar’s unprecedented series […]

The Listen to Your Mother Show

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate mothers everywhere with the Listen to Your Mother Show.  Launched by Ann Imig in Madison, WI two years ago, the show gives local writers a platform to gather and present their work on motherhood, under the slogan “Giving Mother’s […]

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” […]

Being Flynn

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

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

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2012

Like its predecessor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, this is a well-paced and highly entertaining family film made with good humor, panache, and imagination.  Josh Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, a teenager whose last expedition was in search […]

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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

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

Courageous

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date:September 30, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 16, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date: September 30, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 16, 2012

Courageous is the story of men who confront danger every day as law officers but who discover that it is a bigger challenge to be good fathers and family men. Sherwood Pictures, the faith-based film production company behind “Facing the […]

Joyful Noise

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language including a sexual reference
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including a sexual reference
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2012

Joyful indeed — this movie is pure cinematic sunshine, guaranteed to brighten the heart and gladden the spirit.  Super-divas Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah play rival gospel choir leaders in an inspiring and heart-warming story filled with love, laughter, music, […]

We Bought a Zoo

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

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

Interview: Nancy Stafford of ‘Christmas with a Capital C’

posted by Nell Minow

The beautiful and talented Nancy Stafford (“Matlock”) stars in the heartwarming Christmas with a Capital C, now available on DVD.  She spoke to me about the movie and about the way her faith leads her to projects that share her message […]

The Greening of Whitney Brown

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011

A middle schooler who thinks she has it all figured out finds herself tossed from 1 percent-ville to 99-percent-land in a cute new film in limited release called “The Greening of Whitney Brown.”  Sammi Hanratty plays the title character, a […]

The Descendants

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

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

The Way

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, drug use, and smoking
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 21, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, drug use, and smoking
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012

In honor of this DVD Pick of the Week, I have three copies to give away.  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “The Way” in the subject line and tell me your favorite Martin Sheen movie.  Don’t forget your […]

Real Steel

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 24, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 24, 2012

The robot has the heart and the human has to learn to feel again in this unabashedly cheesy but irresistible fairy tale about a father, a son, and robots who bash the heck out of each other in a boxing […]

Toast

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

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

Dolphin Tale

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 12, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 12, 2011

It won’t be available for sale until next week but I just can’t wait to feature this terrific film.  I have a copy to give away so if you’d like to enter, send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Dolphin […]

I Don’t Know How She Does It

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

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

Warrior

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense martial arts fighting, some language, and thematic material
Movie Release Date:September 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense martial arts fighting, some language, and thematic material
Movie Release Date: September 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2011

Imagine if Rocky, instead of fighting Apollo Creed, got into the ring with another Rocky.  And they were brothers. I know, I know, but somehow it works in a surprisingly affecting story of the sons of an abusive alcoholic who […]

Family Movie Night: ‘Game Time — Tackling the Past’

posted by Nell Minow

The latest Family Movie Night, sponsored by Wal-Mart and P&G, is “Game Time: Tackling the Past,” about a pro football player named Jake (“Chuck’s” Ryan McPartlin) who has been estranged from his family.  He reluctantly returns home for the first […]

Seven Days in Utopia

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

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

Our Idiot Brother

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content including nudity and for language throughout
Movie Release Date:August 26, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content including nudity and for language throughout
Movie Release Date: August 26, 2011

You can’t really make a bad movie with Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Rashida Jones, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Zooey Deschanel,  Emily Mortimer, and Steve Coogan.  They are seven of the most able and appealing performers of our era.  But it […]

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4D

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 21, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 21, 2011

Jessica Alba was dressed for her role in Robert Rodriguez’s ultra-violent “Machete” when, on a break from filming, she stopped to change her baby’s diaper.  Rodriguez says he saw her performing this most domestic of tasks in her action-movie attire […]

The Hedgehog

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

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

The 5th of July

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1982
DVD Release Date:July 5, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1982
DVD Release Date: July 5, 2011

This filmed version of Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July is a brilliantly acted story of the complicated relationships of a group of friends and relatives who get together over the 4th of July holiday.  It centers around the relationship of Kenneth […]

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

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

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

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

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

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

Beginners

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:June 10, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: June 10, 2011

Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is engaged in the saddest of tasks, clearing out his late father’s home, choosing what to take, what to give away, what no one will want.  He brings his father’s dog home with him, giving him a […]

The Tree of Life

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for thematic issues
Movie Release Date:June 3 2011
DVD Release Date:October 11, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic issues
Movie Release Date: June 3 2011
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011

On those dark nights of the soul, when we consider not just life but Life, and Meaning, and our place in the cosmos, our lives don’t play out in our minds in sequence.  Images and snatches of words flicker back […]

Jumping the Broom

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual content
Movie Release Date:May 6, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 8, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual content
Movie Release Date: May 6, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 8, 2011

Sabrina (Paula Patton) is from a wealthy, upper-class family with a mansion on Martha’s Vineyard.  Jason (Laz Alonso) is from a blue-collar family in Brooklyn.  They fall in love, he proposes, and there’s just one obstacle to their happily ever […]

Prom

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language and a brief fight
Movie Release Date:April 29, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 30, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language and a brief fight
Movie Release Date: April 29, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 30, 2011

Less engrossing than a Clearasil commercial and more synthetic than a Rebecca Black video, “Prom” is Disney’s attempt to launch a new generation of tween idols with a wholesome confection about a high school dance. But the buoyant energy of […]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules

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

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

Mars Needs Moms

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

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

The Grace Card

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:February 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 13, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: February 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 13, 2011

Anger seduces us because it fools us into feeling powerful. Anger absorbs so much energy that it helps us avoid the more complicated and painful emotions of loss, guilt, regret, and fear. And that, as “The Grace Card” shows us, […]

Conviction

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

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

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 24, 2010
DVD Release Date:December 14, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 24, 2010
DVD Release Date: December 14, 2010

Is greed still good? Does greed still, for want of a better word, work? Twenty-three years later, Gordon Gekko is back, still played by Oscar-winner Michael Douglas and now running short on money and even shorter on what he realizes […]

Shrek Forever After

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

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

Pieces of April

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, sensuality, drug content and images of nudity
Movie Release Date:2003
DVD Release Date:2003
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, sensuality, drug content and images of nudity
Movie Release Date: 2003
DVD Release Date: 2003

One of my favorite Thanksgiving films is this touching story of a young woman, estranged from her family, who invites them to Thanksgiving dinner at her apartment. I love movies that don’t feel like they have to tell you everything. […]

Flipped

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

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

The Sound of Music

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

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

Ramona and Beezus

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

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

Giveaway: 25th Anniversary ‘Back to the Future’

posted by Nell Minow

Go back in time with a sumptuous new 25th anniversary Blu-ray or DVD of the “Back to the Future” trilogy. Even Doc Brown could not have imagined that a quarter-century after Marty McFly got to meet his parents as teenagers […]

Monster House

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary images and sequences, thematic elements, some crude humor and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:October 1, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary images and sequences, thematic elements, some crude humor and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: October 1, 2012

My DVD pick this week is one of my favorites for Halloween. “Honey, I’m home” takes on a cheerfully creepy new meaning in “Monster House,” a fresh, fun, and deliciously scary animated film produced by Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the […]

Special DC Screening: ‘Family Affair’

posted by Nell Minow

A Family Affair is a documentary about the unforgivable. And the power of forgiveness. Film-maker Chico Colvard has made a powerful film about his own family’s tragedy and their journey toward reconciliation and understanding. Those in the Washington, D.C. area […]

A Christmas Snow

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
DVD Release Date:October 12, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
DVD Release Date: October 12, 2010

A snowstorm at Christmas time makes a busy woman stop and reconsider her priorities when she is stuck in her apartment with two people she has just met: a little girl who does not want to be there and a […]

How to Train Your Dragon

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

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

The Boy Who Could Fly

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1986
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1986

In honor of Special Education Week, watch this touching film with your family: Milly (Lucy Deakins), her mother, Charlene (Bonnie Bedelia), and her brother, Louis (Fred Savage), move into a new home, still feeling bereft over the loss of the […]

Babies

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

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

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:2010
DVD Release Date:September 21, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 2010
DVD Release Date: September 21, 2010

Tinker Bell has found her voice in a popular series of DVDs that give Peter Pan’s sidekick a chance for her own adventures in her home town of Pixie Hollow. She and her fairy friends Rosetta, Silvermist, Fawn and Iridessa […]

City Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, smoking, and language
Movie Release Date:April 26, 2010
DVD Release Date:August 24, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, smoking, and language
Movie Release Date: April 26, 2010
DVD Release Date: August 24, 2010

This warm-hearted dysfunctional family comedy-drama benefits from an exceptionally strong cast, including producer Andy Garcia as the father, Julianna Margulies as the mother, and Steven Strait as the young man just released from prison who sets off a series of […]

Nanny McPhee Returns

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

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

Letters to God

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements
Movie Release Date:April 9, 2010
DVD Release Date:August 10, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements
Movie Release Date: April 9, 2010
DVD Release Date: August 10, 2010

Director David Nixon is dedicated to telling stories of faith and inspiration. His most recent film is “Letters to God,” inspired by the true story of a critically ill boy who wrote to God to ask for help. But the […]

To Save a Life

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images and sexuality.
Movie Release Date:January 22, 2010
DVD Release Date:August 3, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images and sexuality.
Movie Release Date: January 22, 2010
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010

Whose life does the title refer to? “To Save a Life” begins with a funeral, a tragic loss of a high school kid who committed suicide because he felt isolated and friendless. Jake (Randy Wayne), a popular senior who thinks […]

Misty

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

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

The Kids are All Right

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date: July 16, 2010

Life is messy, and one of the ways we try to make sense of it is through stories. With their selection of detail and events and resolution — whether a happy or a sad one — they give us a […]

Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For thematic elements, language, some sexual content and brief teen smoking.
DVD Release Date: July 13, 2010

This 2008 Australian film is one of my favorites of the past few years and I am very happy that it is finally available on a US-format DVD. It’s the story of the title character, Esther Blueburger (Danielle Catanzariti), approaching […]

Preview: The Jensen Project

posted by Nell Minow

The people behind the sensationally popular “Secrets of the Mountain” have a new family movie called “The Jensen Project,” starring Kellie Martin and premiering July 16 on NBC. It’s the story of a couple who once worked at a secret […]

Extraordinary Measures

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, language and a mild suggestive moment
Movie Release Date:January 22, 2010
DVD Release Date:May 11, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, language and a mild suggestive moment
Movie Release Date: January 22, 2010
DVD Release Date: May 11, 2010

Harrison Ford has his best role in years as a testy scientist who listens to classic rock as he works all night in the lab and who may just have the key to a crucial medicine for a disease that […]

Mother and Child

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexuality, brief nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:May 7, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexuality, brief nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: May 7, 2010

Rodrigo García, who showed great taste, restraint, and sensitivity in telling the intertwined lives of women in “Nine Stories” and “Things You Can Tell Just from Looking At Her” shows less of all three in the clunky, awkward “Mother and […]

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 18, 2009
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 18, 2009
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2010

Christian families looking for wholesome and satisfying entertainment will appreciate “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry,” the story of young friends whose lives are changed through friendship with a man who does more than encourage them to study the Bible; he […]

The Greatest

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, some language, and drug use
Movie Release Date:April 16, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, some language, and drug use
Movie Release Date: April 16, 2010

Two gifted young women whose best work will be in other films are the reason to see this one. Carey Mulligan, so enchanting in last year’s An Education, plays a pregnant teenager in “The Greatest,” written and directed by newcomer […]

The Perfect Game

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:April 16, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: April 16, 2010

Think of it as the “Good News Bears.” This sweet, sometimes sugary film is based on a real-life Little League team from Monterrey, Mexico who came to the United States to play in the Little League World Series of 1957 […]

An Education

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

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

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

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

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

Where the Wild Things Are

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

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

Everybody’s Fine

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 4, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 4, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010

Parents try very hard to protect their children and at the same time teach them to be independent. And then we struggle to accept the consequences. That is what has happened to Frank Goode (Robert DeNiro), a recent widower preparing […]

Whip It

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

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

Post Grad

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual situations and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual situations and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: August 21, 2009

There is not one single thing in this movie that you don’t see or guess from the trailer, but for some audiences that means that it will deliver just what they are looking for. Alexis Bledel plays Ryden, who thinks […]

I Can Do Bad All By Myself

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving a sexual assault on a minor, violence, drug references and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 11, 2009
DVD Release Date:January 12, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving a sexual assault on a minor, violence, drug references and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 11, 2009
DVD Release Date: January 12, 2010

Tyler Perry’s movies are review-proof. Not just because he does not let critics see them before they are released, knowing that his audience won’t care about reviews, but because they do not lend themselves to the usual kind of analysis. […]

Youth in Revolt

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

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

The Gathering

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1977
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1977
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2009

I’m thrilled that one of my favorite Christmas movies is available on DVD for the first time from Warner Brothers. It is the Emmy-award winning The Gathering and it stars Ed Asner and Maureen Stapleton as the long-separated parents of […]

Hannukah on DVD and video

posted by Nell Minow

When all the world is caught up in Christmas, it can help to have some DVDs on hand to explain that some people celebrate a different holiday at this time of year, especially when the stories and songs are told […]

Imagine That

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language and brief questionable behavior.
Movie Release Date:February 12, 2009
DVD Release Date:October 6, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language and brief questionable behavior.
Movie Release Date: February 12, 2009
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009

Title aside, there is not much imagination in this formulaic story of a daddy who discovers the value of his daughter’s imaginary friends — and then learns that it is his daughter who matters most of all. But I am […]

My Sister’s Keeper

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Seven Little Foys

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:1955
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: 1955
DVD Release Date: 2007

Bob Hope would have turned 106 this week, and his birthday and the upcoming Father’s Day reminded me of one of my favorite of his films. It’s also one of the least characteristic because he is playing a real-life character […]

A Plumm Summer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: PG

A Plumm Summer had a limited release in 2007 but is now widely available for the first time with this week’s DVD. It is based on the real-life story of a “kidnapped” puppet from a local children’s program in Montana […]

Is Anybody There?

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2009

A boy whose parents turn their house into a nursing home can be expected to develop an interest in death. Ten year old Edward (“Son of Rambow’s” Bill Milner) is more than interested. He is fascinated. And that is in […]

The Tale of Despereaux

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

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

Rachel Getting Married

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2008
DVD Release Date:March 10, 2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 10, 2009

Fiction is usually very linear, just because of the limits of time. The longest epic and the thickest novel don’t have enough scope to encompass extraneous detail. In real life people can’t find parking spots and fumble for correct change, […]

Must Read After My Death

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

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

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2008
DVD Release Date:February 17, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2008
DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009

Sometimes “nice” can be very high praise, and that is the way I mean it when I say that the utterly snark-free “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” is as nice as it gets. With a gossamer-weight plot line that […]

Interview: Rob Margolies of ‘Lifelines’

posted by Nell Minow

“Lifelines,” which I wrote about as one of the overlooked gems of 2008, opens April 3 in New York. It is about a deeply wounded family’s visit to a therapist and the revelations and connections and consequences that result. I […]

City of Ember

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild peril and some thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild peril and some thematic elements.
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2008

Under the earth’s surface for so long they have forgotten how and why they got there and even that there is another place to be, the citizens of the City of Ember have just about lost their sense of hope, […]

The Best “Christmas Carols” — from “Bah humbug” to “God bless us everyone!”

posted by Nell Minow

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

Horton Hears a Who

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:March 14, 2008
DVD Release Date:December 16, 2008
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: March 14, 2008
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2008

They finally got Dr. Seuss right in this warm-hearted and heart-warming story of the elephant who is “faithful 100 percent” and the world on a little speck of dust that he rescues. Jim Carrey provides the voice of Horton, an […]

A Christmas Story

posted by Nell Minow
A-
A-

There’s no better way to start off the Christmas season than this holiday classic, now celebrating its 25th anniversary and so popular that Turner Classic Movies runs it for 24 hours each year. Millions of fans can recite its lines […]

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for epic battle action and violence.
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2008
DVD Release Date:December 2, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for epic battle action and violence.
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2008
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008

The Pevensie children are back in London and contemporary life seems pale and uninvolving compared to their adventures in the magical land of Narnia. As they wait for the Tube, a wall opens up and just as happened when they […]

The Perfect Holiday

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG for language and some suggestive humor.
Movie Release Date:December 12, 2007
DVD Release Date:November 11, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: PG for language and some suggestive humor.
Movie Release Date: December 12, 2007
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2008

This sugarplum of a movie is held together with good intentions and paperclips, but its appealing cast and seasonal sweetness make it — if not the perfect holiday treat, a pleasantly enjoyable one, especially welcome because there are so few […]

Alice Upside Down

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

Based on the popular series of books by Phylis Reynolds Naylor, this understated but sensitive and warm-hearted film is funny, touching, and wise. Middle school is miserable enough, but for Alice (Alyson Stoner) there are complications that are even more […]

Meet Me in St. Louis

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1944
DVD Release Date:2000
A
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1944
DVD Release Date: 2000

This episodic story of the Smith family in the St. Louis of 1903 is based on the memoirs of Sally Benson.  Its pleasures are in the period detail, the glorious songs (including standards “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a […]

Nim’s Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild adventure action and brief language.
Movie Release Date:April 4, 2008
DVD Release Date:August 4, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild adventure action and brief language.
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2008
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2008

A pair of heroines on opposite sides of the world team up in an eye-filling and heart-warming story from Walden Media, the latest in its series of fine films based on popular children’s literature. Eleven year old Nim (Abigail Breslin […]

Alvin and the Chipmunks

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor.
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2007
DVD Release Date:April 7, 2008
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor.
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2007
DVD Release Date: April 7, 2008

Novelty songwriter Ross Bagdasarian noticed that speeding up the audio recordings creatd a high-pitched sound in 1958, and used that technique in his song “The Witch Doctor.” It was a hit. And so, he created the singing chipmunks, Simon, Theodore, […]

Interview with Hugh Welchman of “Peter and the Wolf”

posted by Nell Minow

Peter and the Wolf,” this year’s Oscar-winner for best short animated film will be shown on PBS this Wednesday from 8-9 Eastern Time. It is a brilliantly imaginative film and well worth setting aside some family time to watch it […]

Enchanted

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary images and mild innuendo
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary images and mild innuendo
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2007
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2008

Fairy tales and modern-day Manhattan find a way to live happily ever after in this adorable Disney story about the adventures of a prince, an almost-princess, and an evil queen in New York City.

Nancy Drew: Mystery in the Hollywood Hills

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild violence, thematic elements and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2008
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild violence, thematic elements and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008

Part of the appeal of Nancy Drew through the decades has been the way she has continually been updated while remaining essentially the same. The problem with this movie is that the updates are poorly chosen, awkwardly inserted, and inappropriate […]

Bee Movie

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Preschool
MPAA Rating:PG for mild suggestive humor.
Movie Release Date:November 2, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Preschool
MPAA Rating: PG for mild suggestive humor.
Movie Release Date: November 2, 2007
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008

Jerry Seinfeld will always be remembered for creating a brilliant and beloved television show about…nothing. His unbreakable rule was “no learning, no hugging.” Popular sitcoms had always been about learning and hugging and “very special episodes.” But Seinfeld created four […]

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 4, 2008
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2007
DVD Release Date: March 4, 2008

There’s nothing harder to get right in a movie than whimsy. And there are few clumsier crashes when it goes wrong. What could have been a charmingly whimsical children’s book becomes an arch and sugary movie, its failures of tone […]

Song of Bernadette

posted by Nell Minow

The anniversary of the shrine at Lourdes is a good reminder of the lovely performance of Jennifer Jones in “Song of Bernadette,” the story of the young girl who saw “a beautiful lady” and became Saint Bernadette Soubirous.

The Game Plan

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2007
DVD Release Date:January 22, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2007
DVD Release Date: January 22, 2008

There is undeniable little girl appeal in this story of a big, selfish meanie of a quarterback who is tamed by the 8-year-old daughter he never knew he had. Some audiences will find it as sugary as a fruit-scented princess […]

The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything-A Veggie Tales Movie

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Preschool
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:January 11, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Preschool
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: January 11, 2008

The Veggie Tales have produced a series of popular computer-animated videos for children and their families, with fruit and vegetable-inspired characters in engaging and funny stories with gentle moral overtones. Their new feature film does not mention God, as the […]

The Water-Horse

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action/peril, mild language and brief smoking.
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action/peril, mild language and brief smoking.
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2007

In the grand tradition of “he followed me home — can I keep him?” movies, we have seen movies about children who are brought to adventure and understanding through dogs, horses, cats, a whale, a dolphin, dragons, geese, and an […]

Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Judy Barber wrote a wonderful comment about this neglected gem: One of THE sweetest movie or video is Emmet Otter Jugband Christmas, a muppet video. I make everyone watch it at Christmas. And the funnest thing about it is the […]

Bratz

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:August 3, 2007
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements.
Movie Release Date: August 3, 2007
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2007

If the “Transformers” were the snips and snails and puppy dog tails of the toys-to-movie genre of the summer of 2007, the Bratz were the sugar and spice.

Shrek the Third

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:May 18, 2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: May 18, 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Did you ever wonder what happens to the villains while the hero and heroine are living happily ever after? We get to find out in this third chapter in the saga of Shrek. In the previous episode, Prince Charming failed […]

Underdog

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude humor, mild language and action.
Movie Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor, mild language and action.
Movie Release Date: 2007

There may be no need to fear now that Underdog is here, but there is no reason to feel very happy, either. This live-action adaptation of the 1960’s animated television show substitutes special effects for satire. The animated series was […]

Ratatouille

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2007

Pixar’s latest release is brilliantly animated, and a lot of fun. But it does not have a clear sense of who its audience is, and families with children who are looking for the next Finding Nemo may find themselves puzzled. […]

Surf’s Up

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language and some rude humor.
Movie Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language and some rude humor.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Every so often an unpretentious little charmer like “Surf’s Up” darts ahead of the pack of big, over-hyped, over-long, resistance-is-futile summer blockbusters lumbering into multiplexes. This one is as refreshing as an ice cream cone after a hot day. The […]

Shrek the Third

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some crude humor, suggestive content and swashbuckling action.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Did you ever wonder what happens to the villains while the hero and heroine are living happily ever after? We get to find out in this third chapter in the saga of Shrek. In the previous episode, Prince Charming failed […]

Firehouse Dog

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of action peril, some mild crude humor and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of action peril, some mild crude humor and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Ths story about a mega-movie star dog who gets lost and finds a home with the son of a fire chief is an uncomfortable blending of three different stories that neglects the one thing we want to see — the […]

Are We Done Yet?

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some innuendos and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some innuendos and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Is it over yet? Please? Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? was tough enough to sit through, though unaccountably successful. Thus, we have this doubly unnecessary sequel. It is so creatively bankrupt that it has to teeter not just on […]

Meet the Robinsons

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

At times, all of us feel like strangers in the world. In Disney’s bight, colorful, CGI animated film (available in 3D in some locations), Lewis (voice of Daniel Hansen) is left on the steps of an orphanage as a baby […]

The Last Mimzy

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Two children find toys that make them more intelligent and powerful and send them on an adventure in this fine story for 4th-8th graders and their families. After he plays with the toys, Noah (Chris O’Neil) doesn’t need his glasses […]

Bridge to Terabithia

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements including bullying, some peril and mild language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements including bullying, some peril and mild language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Thirty years ago, a young mother named Katherine Paterson wrote a book to console her son David after his close friend was killed in an accident. That book went on to win the Newberry, children’s publishing’s highest honor, and to […]

Arthur and the Invisibles

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for fantasy action and brief suggestive material.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for fantasy action and brief suggestive material.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Director Luc Besson is known for his striking visuals and his mash-ups of sentimental, even corny moments with intense, graphic violence. At his best, in films like The Professional and The Fifth Element, these juxtapositions work well. But here, in […]

Happily Never After

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

As an Empress of Evil announces that she is in charge and from now on it will be “happily NEVER after,” the film appears to jump off the sprockets of the projector and a narrator interrupts with an important announcement. […]

Night at the Museum

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, language and brief rude humor.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, language and brief rude humor.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Larry (Ben Stiller) needs a job fast. He has always dreamed of making it big, but none of his schemes have worked and as his ex-wife points out, their son Nick needs some stability. After an employment counselor (Stiller’s real-life […]

Eragon

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for fantasy violence, intense battle sequences and some frightening images.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for fantasy violence, intense battle sequences and some frightening images.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

The fact that the CGI dragon gives the best performance in this film is not going to impede the enjoyment of its intended audience, which is 9-12 year olds. It may, however, make it a bit of a long haul […]

The Pursuit of Happyness

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:May 27, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: May 27, 2013

This week’s release of “After Earth,” starring Will Smith and his son Jaden, is a good time to take another look at their first co-starring film, based on a real-life father and son: If a man goes from homeless single […]

Unaccompanied Minors

posted by jmiller
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild rude humor and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild rude humor and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

In “Unaccompanied Minors,” a group of young travelers are stranded in Chicago’s fictional Hoover Airport on Christmas Eve. Lead to a room full of other children but decidedly empty of Christmas spirit, five break away from the chaotic “rec room,” […]

Charlotte’s Web

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

E.B. White’s book, Charlotte’s Web, is a genuine classic for readers of any age, a beautifully written literary novel about loyalty and loss, friendship and the importance of a perfectly chosen word. The book began with a little girl named […]

The Nativity Story

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some violent content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some violent content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Jean Kerr once wrote of school Christmas pageant with a moving depiction of the nativity that consisted of two young children crossing a bare stage. They stopped briefly. Joseph said, “Mary, ’tis a cold, cold night.” “‘Tis,” she replied. And […]

Deck the Halls

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some crude and suggestive humor, and for language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some crude and suggestive humor, and for language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Another year, another cheesy, hypocritical movie about how the true meaning of Christmas gets lost in the madness of Christmas. Except that this movie is, in itself, Exhibit A in the Christmas Madness category. And, to boot, it has unforgiveably […]

Happy Feet

posted by jmiller
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild peril and rude humor.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild peril and rude humor.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

It’s official. The cutest thing on the planet is penguins singing “Boogie Wonderland.” Especially if one of them is tap-dancing. This movie is a straight shot of sunshine. I defy anyone to watch it without smiling. Just as important, I […]

Opal Dream

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements, language and some violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements, language and some violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote in The Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” That is the theme of this gentle story about a little girl whose […]

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Tim Allen and Martin Short are funny guys. How do we know this? Because when this movie is finally over, there are some outtakes during the credit sequence that remind us. Up to that point, it’s easy to forget. Twelve […]

Flushed Away

posted by jmiller
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for crude humor and some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for crude humor and some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Aardman has applied the sweetly demented sensibility of the “Wallace and Gromit” claymation films to their first CGI film and it is an irresistible treasure. It has their trademark intricacy of design, thrilling, hair’s-breadth-timing of action sequences, mastery of physical […]

Flicka

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

“No one’s riding that loco thing!” Well, of course as soon as we hear that line we know someone’s going to have to ride it. And in this very fine family film, the rider will be Katy (Alison Lohman), just […]

Stormbreaker

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of action violence and some peril.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of action violence and some peril.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

I never thought I’d miss Cody Banks. But the dull and lifeless Alex Rider brought back surprisingly fond thoughts of the better-than mediocre Agent Cody Banks and the terrific first two Spy Kids. Even the lousy third one was better […]

Open Season

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor, mild action and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor, mild action and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

I love CGI. I love the textures, the way every single hair and feather, every leaf and raindrop, every shiny, fuzzy, smooth, rough, soft, hard surface is perfectly perfect. But I realized, as I watched this movie, that one of […]

Everyone’s Hero

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

The indomitable spirit of Christopher Reeve shines through this little story of a boy who will not give up his quest to retrieve the baseball bat belonging to the greatest player ever, Babe Ruth. Ten-year-old Yankee Irving (that’s his name) […]

How To Eat Fried Worms

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild bullying and some crude humor.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild bullying and some crude humor.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This is a delightfully snips and snails and puppy-dog tails-style movie, with kids who look and act refreshingly like real kids. It’s based on the book by Thomas Rockwell that has delighted and happily grossed out kids since 1973. A […]

Material Girls

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and rude humor.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and rude humor.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

The problem with a movie about rich people learning about real life that is written by rich people who have no idea about real life is that you end up with something like this — a movie about two rich […]

Barnyard

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild peril and rude humor.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild peril and rude humor.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

In this movie, the cows are boys. They have big pink udders and manly male voices. In fact, head cow Ben has the manliest, malest, deepest voice imaginable, that of quintessential cowpoke Sam Elliott. Our hero, Otis has the voice […]

The Ant Bully

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor and action.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor and action.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

A boy beset by bullies turns bully himself, going after the ants in his family’s back yard. But the ants shrink him down to their size and he learns something about ants, about empathy, about himself, and about how to […]

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some off-color elements.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some off-color elements.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This is lowest common denominator movie-making. Why not, it’s based on a lowest-common denominator comic strip. Garfield’s lighter-than-air comic strip is utterly generic because its motivating force is not art or comedy but commerce; the less distinctive the character or […]

Cars

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

Look closely at the little flying bugs buzzing and bumping in the hot light of the desert. They are, of course, Bugs: VW Bugs with wings. In the world of this story, all of the characters are cars and all […]

Over the Hedge

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor and mild comic action.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor and mild comic action.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Computer technology has always had the advantage in animation when it comes to texture and three-dimensionality, and it is superb for physical properties like “shiny” and “bouncy,” but it has lagged behind hand-drawn when it came to expressions. “Over the […]

Hoot

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild bullying and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild bullying and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Kids take on developers to protect endangered owls in this mildly pleasant story based on the award-winning book by Carl Hiaasen. Parents will admire some of the messages — care for the environment, self-reliance, loyalty, and communication skills. But they […]

RV

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for crude humor, innuendo and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for crude humor, innuendo and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Road movies are pretty easy. Whether the people on the journey have just met and are getting to know each other or who don’t like each other and have to ov