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Trailer: Goosebumps with Jack Black

posted by Nell Minow

The wildly popular Goosebumps horror-comedy series for kids by R.L. Stine is now a movie!

List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Halloween! Here are ten of my favorite movie ghosts.  (NOTE: Some of these have inferior remakes — stick with the originals.) Topper Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the most sophisticated, witty, and glamorous ghosts ever in this delightful […]

Tusk

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 29, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 29, 2014

You can make a good movie about slackers, for example “Slackers,” from Richard Linklater and “Clerks” from Kevin Smith. But you can’t make a good movie by a slacker, and Smith does not seem willing to be anything more. There […]

Carrie

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 14, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014

The remake of “Carrie” is not a bad movie; it’s just a completely unnecessary one.  The 1976 original is a horror classic, directed by Brian de Palma and the first film based on a novel by Stephen King, just 26 years […]

Interview: Dustin Putman on The Fright File: 150 Films to See Before Halloween

posted by Nell Minow

It was a special treat to interview my friend Dustin Putman about his new book, The Fright File: 150 Films to See Before Halloween. As horror director Scott Derrickson says on the cover, “Dustin Putman knows the horror genre inside […]

Warm Bodies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
Movie Release Date:February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 3, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
Movie Release Date: February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2013

You don’t often hear the word “adorable” used to describe a zombie movie, but that is probably because you don’t often have a story about a zombie in love. Oh, it’s still a zombie movie.  Brains get eaten.  In fact, […]

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

Once upon a time, a brother and sister were left in the woods by their father.  They came upon a house made of candy that turned out to be owned by a witch, who used it to lure children and […]

Universal Classic Monsters

posted by Nell Minow

What could be better for Halloween than the new Blu-Ray release of Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection , with deluxe editions of eight classics:  “Dracula” (1931, 75 min.), “Frankenstein” (1931, 71 min.), “The Mummy” (1932, 74 min.), “The Invisible […]

Zoinks! A Halloween Tribute to Scooby-Doo

posted by Nell Minow

“And I would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids!” Scooby-Doo and his pals are the ultimate in funny-scary.  Created for television by Hanna-Barbera in 1969, the stories of investigations of haunted amusement parks and mysterious […]

Halloween Pick: “Poltergeist”

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite Halloween movies for older kids is the original Poltergeist.  The scares are great but what makes it work are the human characters.

William Castle’s “13 Ghosts”

posted by Nell Minow

People often ask me if I’ve ever walked out of a movie.  Fortunately, I seem to have an endless tolerance and sometimes even affection for bad movies.  But just once, I did insist on leaving the theater, and a delightful […]

The Original Movie Vampire: Nosferatu

posted by Nell Minow

As we think about scary movies for Halloween, I wonder what the vampires in “Twilight” or “True Blood” would think of one of the earliest screen depictions of a vampire, “Nosferatu.”  If the story seems familiar, it is because they […]

Leslie Combernale’s Top 10 Little-Seen Zombie Movies

posted by Nell Minow

I am not a horror fan, but I still like to read about horror films, and I was delighted to see that my friend and fellow critic Leslie Combernale has put together a list of little-seen zombie films she thinks […]

Frankenweenie

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, and action
Movie Release Date:October 5, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, and action
Movie Release Date: October 5, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2013

Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein was a scientist who wanted to create life.  Tim Burton’s Victor Frankenstein is a kid who just wants his dog back. Writer/director and master of the macabre Burton first developed this idea in a 1984 live […]

“Possession” and the Tradition of Jewish Horror Films

posted by Nell Minow

The new horror film “Possession” is a kind of Jewish version of “The Exorcist,” the story of a little girl who is possessed by an evil spirit.  Like “The Exorcist,” it was inspired by a true story, and focuses on […]

ParaNorman

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor, and language
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor, and language
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2012

While digital animators create algorithms that replicate real life textures and weights and movements so perfectly they can seem real-er than reality, the small but preposterously dedicated stop-motion animators create their own three-dimensional world and invite us inside.  Like its […]

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012

Now, that’s a President.  Abraham Lincoln, previously best remembered for the penny, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, the Gettysburg Address, the humor, the honesty, and the height, is now re-imagined with all of that plus a rail-splitting ax tipped […]

Fandor’s Primer on Horror

posted by Nell Minow

Fandor, the terrific new site for watching “essential films instantly” has a great primer on horror by Dennis Harvey, which reminded me of the superb exhibit on the history of horror film I saw at the EMP Museum in Seattle earlier this […]

Dark Shadows

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking
Movie Release Date:May 11, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 2, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking
Movie Release Date: May 11, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 2, 2012

“Dark Shadows” tries to sink its teeth into the legendary 1960’s supernatural soap opera with both ironic distance and visceral thrills.  It can be done — see the original “Men in Black” — but wonderfully weird visuals from director Tim Burton […]

Sucker Punch

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language
Movie Release Date:March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 28, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language
Movie Release Date: March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 28, 2011

Girls in thigh-hi stockings and tiny spangled miniskirts take on steam-powered corpses, WWI bi-planes, samurai robots, and an angry dragon, along with a series of odiously predatory men in the latest film from Zack Snyder. His versions of “300” and […]

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language
Movie Release Date:October 23, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language
Movie Release Date: October 23, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010

Vampires are everywhere these days. There are the Romeo and Juliet-style stories of Twilight and the steamier True Blood as well as the love triangle of the CW’s Vampire Diaries. And now there is “Cirque Du Freak,” based on the […]

Zombieland

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for horror violence/gore and language
Movie Release Date:October 2, 2009
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for horror violence/gore and language
Movie Release Date: October 2, 2009
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2010

What is it about zombies? Dating back to 1932’s “White Zombie,” the stories of the relentless, omnivorous undead and the humans who try to escape them have been one of film’s most popular genres, with sub-genres including the flourishing category […]

Jennifer’s Body

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexuality, bloody violence, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:September 18, 2009
DVD Release Date:December 29, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexuality, bloody violence, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: September 18, 2009
DVD Release Date: December 29, 2009

“Jennifer’s Body” is not scary enough for horror and not knowing enough for commentary on horror. “Hell is a teenage girl,” says Needy (Amanda Seyfried of “Mama Mia” and “Big Love”). And she should know. She is a teenage girl. […]

Toto on Why We Love Horror

posted by Nell Minow

Christian Toto asks why we love horror movies and he comes up with what to me — someone who has very little tolerance for horror movies — some very plausible answers. The entire post is well worth reading and here […]

Cloverfield

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 22, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2008
DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008

Stories, especially movies, are usually linear and organized in part because stories are how we make sense of the world but mostly because of the limits of time. If we are only going to give two hours of our lives […]

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for graphic bloody violence.
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic bloody violence.
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2007

There could be no better match for the gothic saga of the barber who slit men’s throats and the baker who made their bodies into pies than director Tim Burton, the master of the macabre. Here working with Johnny Depp, […]

Turistas

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence and disturbing content, sexuality, nudity, drug use and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

The growing trend in horror is to be as disgusting as possible — the story need not be involved, as long as it includes some form of stainless-steel torture and preferably five to six young backpackers/tourists/campers/other people away from home. […]

The Grudge 2

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing images/terror/violence, and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing images/terror/violence, and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

There are two types of people who awake with an uneasy feeling on Friday the 13th: the superstitious, and those who just can’t stomach the release of another horror sequel, remake, or (in this case), sequel to a remake. But […]

The Wicker Man

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing images and violence, language and thematic issues.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing images and violence, language and thematic issues.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Fans of the original The Wicker Man appreciate the film for many reasons: Its dichotomy of paganism and Christianity, its skillful use of Celtic folk music, its eerie and overbearing ambience. Although some might find it slow, disturbing, and at […]

The Omen

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

Director John Moore knows one thing — how to compose some compelling images with swirling white (flakes of snow, scraps of paper) and something creepy and scarlet to catch your eye. But those swirling flakes and glimpses of red have […]

The Hills Have Eyes

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

If these hills only had eyes, it would be one thing but parents should know that they also have mutants wielding pickaxes which results in a disturbingly graphic movie not suitable for sensitive audiences of any age or species. Even […]

Final Destination 3

posted by jmiller
F
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong horror violence/gore, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong horror violence/gore, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

It’s like deja vu, says the main character, only of something I haven’t done yet. Wow, get out of my head, Wendy! We are barely minutes into “Final Destination 3” and already we, the audience, are sharing her feeling. We […]

When a Stranger Calls

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

“He is calling from within the house.” What a line! Since the original version of When a Stranger Calls came out in 1979, that sentence — packed with impending terror –has resonated with babysitters and played on their fears as […]

Underworld: Evolution

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive strong violence and gore, some sexuality/nudity and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive strong violence and gore, some sexuality/nudity and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

“Is that the same guy that was just sucking the blood out of the dead horse?” That was my question to the critic sitting next to me in the middle of the movie. I liked the first Underworld. I thought […]

The Amityville Horror

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R
Movie Release Date:2005
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: R
Movie Release Date: 2005

Going over the same ground as the original 1975 cult classic and its many derivative offspring, this “Amityville Horror” provides enough of a shiver for novice horror fans to guarantee an opening-weekend audience but, for more well-versed fans of the […]

Freddy vs. Jason

posted by rkumar

I hope needless to say, this extremely violent movie is only for the hard-core fans of the genre who are old enough not to be traumatized by it. Since I do not think I can be fair to these movies, […]

Frailty

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

Many great horror movies deal with families; that is where we are all most sensitive. This uneven film exploits that vulnerability but is ultimately unsatisfying. The film opens on a dark and stormy night; Fenton Meiks, (Matthew McConaughey) a troubled-looking […]

Arlington Road

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

This is a very scary movie about a very scary subject — terrorism. Indeed, its release was delayed due to concerns about the sensitivity of the material. Jeff Bridges plays Michael Faraday, a professor who specializes in terrorism, still grieving […]

The Haunting

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:1999
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 1999

This high-tech remake of the creepy classic is dumb and overblown, but some teenagers will have a good time with it, especially if they go in a group. Its only possible merit is that it is too silly to be […]

Sleepy Hollow

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

This is less the Washington Irving story than it is “Scream” set in post- revolutionary times. Its production design by Rick Heinrichs is ravishingly eerie, all gray skies, looming spires, gnarled branches, and rearing horses. The magnificent collection of character […]

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Trailer: Oscar Winner Eddie Redmayne in "The Danish Girl"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d88APYIGkjk" frameborder="0"] Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander star in "The Danish Girl," directed by Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech"). It is the true story of transgender ...

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Who is Surprised that a Faith-Based Film Beat Zac Efron and Owen Wilson?
The end of August is traditionally one of the year's low points when it comes to Hollywood releases. So it was not surprising that the powerhouse "Straight Outta Compton" lead the box office, far ahead of the two new releases, the Owen ...

posted 5:00:55pm Aug. 31, 2015 | read full post »

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