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Inherent Vice

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

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

Veronica Mars

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

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

Two Film Noir Classics Now Free Streaming

posted by Nell Minow

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

Charade

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1963
DVD Release Date:July 8, 2013
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1963
DVD Release Date: July 8, 2013

I’m delighted that one of the all-time great romantic thrillers is being released for the first time on Blu-Ray this week.  Director Stanley Donen out-Hitchcock’s Alfred Hitchcock with this witty, elegant, sophisticated bonbon starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.  It […]

Now You See Me

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

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

New on Blu-Ray: Laura

posted by Nell Minow

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

Up for a Bit of English Mystery?

posted by Nell Minow

British TV specialist Acorn has the first complete collection of Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime: The Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries starring James Warwick and Francesca Annis as the lively detective duo; Agatha Christie’s Poirot & Marple Fan Favorites Collection featuring 11 […]

The Adventures of Tintin

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

Two box office champion directors and a cult favorite joined forces for a film that was a first for all of them, a 3D motion capture animated story.  It is clear that director Steven Spielberg, producer Peter Jackson (“The Lord […]

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brutal violent contact including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:December 20, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 20, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brutal violent contact including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: December 20, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012

The late Swedish author Steig Larsson created a series of books originally titled “Men Who Hate Women” with a character who was an idealized version of himself — an investigative journalist of impeccable integrity and political correctness who effortlessly appeals […]

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action and some drug material
Movie Release Date:December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 12, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action and some drug material
Movie Release Date: December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 12, 2012

All Sherlockians know that the only villain who could match the most famous and celebrated of all fictional detectives is the fiendish Professor Moriarty.  As we were promised in the postscript to the first Sherlock Holmes movie from Guy Ritchie, […]

Hugo

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 27, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 27, 2012

Martin Scorsese’s enchanting “Hugo” is a thrillingly immersive adventure.  It is about two orphans trying to solve a mystery.  It is about the way that stories help us make sense of life.  It stretches from the very beginnings of movies […]

Drive

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date:September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date: September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn said that “Drive” is his vision of a contemporary fairy tale about a princess who has to be rescued from a dragon.  It is a highly stylized, brilliantly acted, and brutally violent story about a man […]

The Third Testament

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:NR -- mature theme and disturbing material
DVD Release Date:March 8, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: NR -- mature theme and disturbing material
DVD Release Date: March 8, 2011

The discovery of a Third Testament leads to a mystery — a whole series of them — in this ambitious, intricately constructed film from first-time writer-director Matt Dallman. Carolyn Matthews (Amy Weins) is determined to find her husband, Jacob, who […]

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 […]

Never Let Me Go

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and nudity
Movie Release Date:September 24, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and nudity
Movie Release Date: September 24, 2010

Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Remains of the Day, about a butler who devoted his life to service without questioning his master’s authority or the validity of his judgment became a movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. And now his […]

Contest: ‘Prime Suspect’ Complete Series

posted by Nell Minow

This is really special. I have one fabulous complete set of the brilliant “Prime Suspect” series from the BBC and PBS, starring Helen Mirren as police detective Jane Tennison. USA Today called it “A masterpiece” and “A perfect marriage of […]

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 6, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: November 7, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010

If you have not read any of the Millennium trilogy of novels by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson, someone near you has. A worldwide sensation published after the death of the author, the books follow the title character, Lisbeth Salandar, a […]

Traitor

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences, thematic material and brief language
Movie Release Date:August 27, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences, thematic material and brief language
Movie Release Date: August 27, 2008

A timely story, some welcome complexity, and a compelling performance elevate this story of terrorism above the usual bang-bang. Don Cheadle plays Samir, a person of interest being tracked by the authorities for his possible involvement in terrorist activities. He […]

The Good German

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, violence and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, violence and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Director Steven Soderbergh has created a loving tribute to the films of the 1940’s that is more accomplished than effective. It is such a meticulous re-creation of the techniques and technology of the era that it seems jarring to see […]

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 Black Dahlia

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Director Brian de Palma is all about the look and the mood and paying tribute to the classic old movies he loves. He loves them so much he crawls inside them. He imitates them like an art student sitting in […]

Hollywoodland

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Is there a more heartbreakingly unsolveable mystery than a suicide? The only person who really knows what happened is gone. Even if we find out the how, we who are left behind will always wonder why. Those who are still […]

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 Illusionist

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

This feels like a fairy tale, so I will begin: “Once upon a time…” …there was a princess who loved a commoner but was engaged to a cruel prince. The commoner and the princess played together as children, but when […]

The Night Listener

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some disquieting sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some disquieting sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Armistad Maupin (Tales of the City) didn’t trust his own story in his adaptation of his novel inspired by something that happened to him. But what could have been a thoughtful psychological drama raising issues of identity and trust and […]

Scoop

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Woody Allen’s recent scripts, yes, even the revered Match Point, are so lightweight the pages must just float up into the air. His latest is “Scoop,” no relation to the Evelyn Waugh comic novel about journalists, just a weak, stale, […]

Lady in the Water

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some frightening sequences.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some frightening sequences.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

There is no conventional rating scale that could do justice to this film. It is a terrible movie, but it is terrible in an interesting and often highly watchable way. There have been better films that I have enjoyed less. […]

The Da Vinci Code

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, some nudity, thematic material, brief drug references and sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

A character in this movie’s version of the Catholic organization Opus Dei explains that their mission is to follow doctrine very strictly. That was director Ron Howard’s secular mission as well with this adaptation of the world-wide best-seller. He and […]

Basic Instinct 2

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

Someone should tell Sharon Stone that you can’t step in the same river twice. Or you can’t go home again. Or that for every Godfather II there are a hundred Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloos. Anything to stop another big, boring […]

Freedomland

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

This movie’s inability to live up to its potential is nearly as epic as its misleading title. In other hands, “Freedomland” might have played a jazz-like riff of personal loss and moving vignettes against the 4/4 beat of racial injustice […]

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 […]

Drowning Mona

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2000
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2000

I guess they thought they were going to make another “Fargo.” That’s the only possible explanation for the time this talented cast spent making this awful movie. There are movies that paint small town America as an idyllic oasis of […]

Snow Falling on Cedars

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

There has never been a movie more literally true to its title — this is indeed a movie with many long, loving scenes of snow falling on cedars. There are also scenes of raindrops plopping in puddles and autumn leaves […]

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