Alden Films presents “Biblical Archeology of Israel,” including: ANCIENT ROOTS — a compilation of recent discoveries in archaeological research in Israel THE BOOK AND THE IDOL — Israel through the ages, from the stone age to biblical times EXPLORERS […]
Israeli filmmaker Sharon Mayman says that the idea for “The Farewell Party” came from the time that his boyfriend’s grandmother, age 92, was dying, and paramedics prolonged her suffering by “fighting for her life like she was 16 years old.” […]
“Pass the Light” follows 17-year-old high school student Steve Bellafiore (Cameron Palatas) as he decides to stand up against a congressional candidate’s use of religion to spread hatred and intolerance. Steve runs for Congress on a campaign of uniting the […]
One problem is that we really do not know very much about dinosaurs, especially live ones, and especially genetically tweaked live ones. A bigger problem is that we keep ignoring what we do know about humans. Over and over again […]
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks team up again in “Bridge of Spies,” with a screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen. It is based on the real-life story of an American lawyer recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to […]
Lifetime’s new reality series is “Preach,” following four powerful female leaders who believe God has given them the ability to heal the sick, see the future and rid people of their addictions. Known as “Prophetesses,” these women say that they […]
“Where Was God?” is a documentary about “stories of hope after the storm,” the impact on the community of Moore, Oklahoma of an E5 storm with destructive power eight times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. I spoke to […]
Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in “Macbeth,” Shakespeare’s story of ambition, murder, ghosts, witches, and madness.
It is time to celebrate. Melissa McCarthy finally has the movie role she deserves. Writer/director Paul Feig, who directed her in “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” has wisely given her center stage and allowed her to be quirky and awkward, which […]
Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan star in this film based on the fight to give women the right to vote in the UK. I wish it had been called “Suffragist,” the term the women themselves preferred (“suffragette” was used by […]
I sometimes muse that it might be nice to have a rule that I spend no more time writing a review of a film than the screenwriter spent writing the script. If I had, this review could end right here, with […]
We are delighted to be able to share a clip from Dreamwork Dragons: Race to the Edge, coming from Netflix on June 26, 2015. Hiccup stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient treasure while exploring an abandoned, booby-trapped ship.
The 1980’s cartoon series “Jem and the Holograms” is now a movie! It stars that Aubrey Peeples as Jem, Stefanie Scott as Kimber, Hayley Kiyoko as Aja, Aurora Perrineau as Shana, and Ryan Guzman as Rio, and it is scheduled […]
Another summer blockbuster-by-the-numbers, another dad who needs redemption and re-connection with his family, and the only way he can get it is via massive, catastrophic disasters lovingly created via CGI that feels more real than the emotions, characters, or dialog. […]
Writer/director Cameron Crowe presents us with an attractive and talented but messy and compromised hero in “Aloha,” and asks us to root for him. The problem is that the film itself is attractive, talent-filled, messy, and compromised, and harder to […]
This is certainly turning out to be the year of the AI robot. This one stars Daniel Brühl and this time the robot is a child named EVA.
Tonight Turner Classic Movies has some time travel treats, including George Pal’s classic version of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux. Also on the schedule is “Time After Time,” with Malcolm McDowell as Wells himself, […]
The Illuminate Film Festival opens today in Sedona, Arizona. Its mission is to be the premier film festival for “conscious cinema.” Dedicated to spreading enlightened ideas and pushing humanity forward, Illuminate is poised to become a landmark destination event and […]
This new documentary tells the stories of the athletes who seek the freedom that comes from living in the moment and doing what makes us feel the most alive. This documentary written and directed by Jon Long (IMAX® Extreme) is […]
I’ve already written about great documentaries and feature films about the military to watch on Memorial Day. These recent documentaries about our 21st century conflicts give the military a chance to tell their own story. They are not pro-war or […]
The amazing Make-a-Wish story that captivated the world is now a movie, and I’ve been looking forward to it since I attended the event at last year’s Comic-Con. Can’t wait.
It begins with an argument. Frank (George Clooney) is trying to tell us the story. But he is repeatedly interrupted by someone we will learn is Casey (Britt Robertson). “Try to be a little more upbeat,” she urges him. The […]
Blythe Danner gives a performance of exquisite sensitivity in “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” the story of a lonely widow. She plays Carol, a singer-turned teacher who retired 20 years ago after her husband died. Her friends in a […]
Tonight on New York PBS station WNET, “Treasures of New York: Friars Club” will explore the rich history of the exclusive private club through never-before-seen footage of Frairs roasts and interviews with some of the club’s most prominent members. Larry […]
Seeds of Time is a documentary that seems like a terrifying science fiction story. It is about the efforts of Cary Fowler, funded by Bill Gates, to find, preserve, and store seeds from plants necessary for all life forms on […]
We are delighted to have a sneak peek at Netflix’s new Richie Rich series, premiering May 22, 2015.
Tonight on PBS, the brilliant documentary “1971” will be shown on the Independent Lens series. In 1971, a group of ordinary citizens broke into a small FBI office in Pennsylvania and shared with the world their findings on COINTELPRO, the […]
The highest-grossing movie of 2014 is also one of the most controversial. Director Clint Eastwood and producer-star Bradley Cooper have made a more subtle and nuanced film than either the people who loved it or the people who hated it […]
Even the least ambitious films often include some philosophical questions about identity, meaning, and free will. But I enjoyed this list of philosophical films from The Guardian. All of them are worth seeing and all of the questions they raise […]
The new “Supergirl” series on CBS stars Melissa Benoist (“Glee,” “Whiplash,” “Danny Collins”) as Superman’s Kryptonian cousin, with Calista Flockhart as her “Devil Wears Prada”-style boss. Former Superman (“Clark and Lois” Dean Cain and former Supergirl Helen Slater play her adoptive […]
Dude Perfect is the second largest sports channel on YouTube, with over 4.5 million subscribers and more than 556 million views. They are a group of five best friends (plus a panda) from Texas who love sports, comedy and living […]
This looks a bit too much like “Bruce Almighty,” but with the Monty Python guys playing aliens, I can’t help but be intrigued.
Mad Max (Tom Hardy, taking over from Mel Gibson) stamps on a two-headed lizard and then chews its head off. And that’s just in the first minute. That master of apocalyptic junkyard anarchy, George Miller, is back, bigger, wilder, madder […]
“Pitch Perfect 2″ is — bear with me — the musical comedy variation on the “Furious 7″ recipe for success. The sequel jettisons any pretense of seriousness of purpose, structural logic, or psychological authenticity, joyfully tosses off any pretense of […]
Queen Latifah plays blues singer Bessie Smith in a new movie premiering on HBO May 16, 2015. Monique co-stars as Ma Rainey. Here is the real Bessie Smith.
Happy 100th birthday to the writer/director/star of one of the greatest films of all time, Citizen Kane. Everyone should see that movie, and then everyone should see it again, listening to Roger Ebert’s shot-by-shot commentary, a master illuminating a master […]
Christina Noble is an Irish woman known as “Mama Tina” to thousands of Vietnamese children and their families. Her own childhood was one of poverty, abandonment, loss, and hardship, but her resilience and determination led her to give children half […]
Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are both talented, beautiful actresses with savvy business acumen and strong entrepreneurial energy. Witherspoon’s accolades in 2014 included more than a Best Actress Oscar nomination for “Wild.” She also produced it, and another Oscar-nominated film, […]
If only salutory intentions and one good performance could save a film so fundamentally wrongly conceived. “Bravetown” starts out as “Footloose,” veers into “Ordinary People,” and ends up as “Swing Kids,” with jaw-dropping shifts in tone and focus and total […]
Comedies, especially dark ones, have a lot of freedom when it comes to narrative logic, but the emotional logic still has to ring true. No matter how crazy the storyline gets, the way the characters respond to it has to […]
A surf bum named Ian (Luke Wilson) is explaining the physics of the interaction between surfboard and wave: it’s an inanimate object in an ever-changing environment. One doesn’t move. One never stops moving in powerful and highly unpredictable ways. And […]
J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults was the dark, sometimes savage story of small town politics, The Casual Vacancy. The title refers to an elected office that is vacated before the term is up, which in this story occurs in […]
Real-life spouses Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega talk about robots for the “Spare Parts” DVD/Blu-Ray, available today.
I was privileged to hear Nina Simone perform in concert and can’t wait to see this film.
Coming January 2016, starring Joseph Fiennes.
It may be a British costume drama based on a classic novel, but Thomas Hardy’s saga of a headstrong woman and the three marriage proposals from very different men is not the usual corsets and teacups. Far from the Madding […]
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) sums it up best. Speaking pretty much to himself but also to us in the audience, he notes that he is on a floating city trying to fight off a robot army with arrows. “It doesn’t make […]
In “Welcome to Me,” Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a depressed woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who wins $86 million in the lottery. She uses much of it to create a one-woman television series that feature monologues about her life […]
Fashion icon nonagenarian Iris Apfel is renowned for her taste and style. But people who see this movie, the last from documentary legend Albert Maysles, will remember her for her fearlessness and life force. Along with the signature big, round, […]
Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Far from the Madding Crowd is the story of headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, who inherits a farm and who receives marriage proposals from three very different men. A new version starring Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, […]
Matt Mamula co-directed “Just About Famous,” the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes famous, and it seemed […]
Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced by Ken Burns, based on the book by book by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Everybody who […]
The beloved book The Little Prince has been gorgeously animated, with voices including Jeff Bridges, James Franco, and Rachel McAdams. I love this trailer.
I was delighted to see that there is a documentary about Louis Sarno, whose work I have admired since I saw the wonderful film Oka! directed by Lavinia Currier.
Be careful what you wish for. You think it would be great to stay 29 forever? Adaline (Blake Lively) finds out that it is not great to become unstuck from time, to watch everyone you love grow old and die, […]
Before it detours into not one, not two, but at least three preposterous Hollywood twists, “The Water Diviner” is an absorbing drama about Joshua Connor, an Australian farmer (Russell Crowe, making his directing debut as well) who travels to Turkey […]
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” opens May 1, 2015.
When will humans (at least those in movies) figure out that putting machines in charge is never a good idea?
The Adventures of Maya the Bee is a classic children’s book from Germany, originally published more than 100 years ago, about a brave little bee who breaks the rules by leaving the hive but saves the day when she warns […]
Okay, I admit I was skeptical. I was thinking along the lines of Teeny Little Super Guy from Sesame Street. But I love Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll and this trailer has me sold.
Disneynature’s annual wild kingdom-style nature documentary is predictably adorable but surprisingly absorbing. The toque macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka live in the 12th century ruins of Polonnaruwa in a society as rigidly structured and ruthlessly enforced as a high school […]
Movies about artificial intelligence or computers achieving consciousness are, of course, really about what it means to be human. When software and hardware combine to mimic or exceed human qualities in “Her,” “Chappie,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Terminator,” or the […]
A reporter in disgrace for fabricating details of a story sits across the table from an orange-jumpsuited prisoner, accused of murdering his wife and three children. They have more in common than either of them expected. They are both outcasts. […]
We are delighted to present an exclusive clip from the adorable “Paddington,” available on DVD/Blu-Ray April 28, 2015.
Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Freaks and Geeks”) has a new comedy sci-fi series called “Other Space” premiering today on Yahoo. There is a fascinating article by Stephan Rodrick in the New Yorker about one of the people who played a key […]
Bob, Larry and the Veggie crew are back in five all-new, 22-minute episodes of the Netflix original series VeggieTales In the House! The brand-new episodes will be available for Netflix members to watch instantly this Friday, April 17. We are delighted to be […]
I love comedy and stand-up and can’t wait to see this documentary. Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Jim Gaffigan, Judd Apatow, Lisa Kudrow, Larry David, and Jon Favreau are among over 60 famous funny people featured in this hilarious […]
PBS’s Wild Kratts is one of my favorite series for families. I love the relationship between the two real-life Kratt brothers and their enthusiasm and sense of adventure. The episodes have a nice balance between adventure, humor, and information about […]
Blythe Danner is the American equivalent to Helen Mirren — endlessly elegant, witty, radiant. I can’t wait to see this film, which shares its name with the Gus Kahn song and the biopic about Gus Kahn starring Danny Thomas and […]
Another spring, another Nicholas Sparks movie. I don’t mind (much) that they are so rigidly formulaic. Every one of them centers on (1) water, (2) letters, and (3) somebody dying. All genre films follow some sort of formula, and we […]
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (“The Bible”) have a new series based on the later chapters of biblical history. “A.D. The Bible Continues” picks up where “The Bible” left off, exploring the events that followed the Crucifixion of Christ. Beginning […]
Who would have picked the Fast & Furious series as the one that would defy the odds and just keep getting better? In part that is because the first one was not very good. And the second wasn’t either. It […]
“Hillsong: Let Hope Rise” chronicles the Australia-based Christian band, Hillsong UNITED. Directed by Michael John Warren, the film follows the band as they record their next album and explores the history of Hillsong, a 30-year journey from a tiny church […]
“While We’re Young” opens with an exchange from Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” about what happens when the young come knocking at the door. But it might just as well begin with the wry Amish aphorism, “We grow too soon old […]
Jean-Michel Cousteau has carried on the legacy of his famous father, Jacques Cousteau, who first allowed the world to see the creatures that live in the water, through deep-sea diving and his pioneering underwater photography. Now his son has used […]
The very title is a form of theft. When Gustav Klimt painted the portrait that gives this film its name, he called it “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” She was a warm, vibrant young woman who was a vital part of […]
In honor of Easter and Passover, the Today Show has some good suggestions for faith-based movies, from the very serious and respectful to the light-hearted.
We are honored to present an exclusive clip from “WWJD (What Would Jesus Do): The Journey Continues,” inspired by the best-selling classic book In His Steps. WWJD: The Journey Continues is available on DVD and Digital HD March 31, 2015. […]
Writer/director Amy S. Weber first became interested in the problem of bullying when she was producing educational films for young people in 1996, over about a 10 year period. “I was working with mostly teenagers on real life stories documenting […]
Maybe you like Frank Sinatra and your friend likes the Mamas and Papas. Maybe you’ve argued about who is better, the Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel, or maybe you prefer Elvis. Each of those monumentally talented performers had a […]
“Home” is a cute and colorful movie about an alien invasion with an important safety tip concerning one of the most destructive forces in the universe, causing utter devastation to every known life form. Yes, it is hitting the dreaded […]
Jean-Michel Cousteau begins this dazzling underwater documentary with archival footage of his father’s pioneering work in showing us life in the other two-thirds of the planet. And then he uses the latest technology to bring those flickering monotone images up […]
This second in the “Divergent” series suffers from sequel-itis. The exuberance of the premise buoyed the first episode, as we and the central character, Tris (Shailene Woodley) explored the post-apocalyptic world that divided all citizens into strictly segregated factions. But […]
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 […]
Stars too often produce the kind of movie they want to star in, instead of the kind of movie anyone wants to watch. Co-writer/producer/star Sean Penn is clearly trying to make The Gunman a thinking person’s thriller. You can hear […]
SPOILER ALERT If you’re watching the new season of “House of Cards,” you may wonder whether the trick now-President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) to create jobs and boost the economy has up his sleeve would be allowed in real-life politics. […]
This is our first real glimpse at “Tomorrowland” from Brad Bird (“The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant”). I love the way it incorporates the 1950’s aesthetics of what the future would look like. This looks like it’s going to be […]
Here’s what’s magical — a fairy tale told in 2015 that is true to the spirit of the classic story by Charles Perrault but is still fresh and real despite the dozens of re-imaginings and the seismic shifts in culture […]
Two guys with the understanding of what they have lost and what they have paid to be where they are that only comes with sit opposite each other, drinks on the table between them. They must, at last, reckon with […]
We are proud to be able to share an exclusive clip from the new film Confessions of a Prodigal Son, starring Kevin Sorbo. It is a modern retelling of the classic biblical story, premiering on DVD and Digital HD March […]
I have loved Hilary Knight’s illustrations for as long as I can remember. The words about Eloise, the little girl who lives in New York’s Plaza Hotel, were written by nightclub singer Kay Thompson. But the illustrations were by Hilary […]
ChristianCinema.com is hosting the First Annual Christian “Movie Madness” Tournament. Audiences can vote for their favorite films in a bracket-style tournament competition, based on basketball’s March Madness tournament. ChristianCinema.com hopes to promote great films and create industry-wide buzz about audience-favorite […]
David Milchard stars in “Russell Madness” as the father of a family who inherits a wrestling arena. But I think he would agree that the real stars of the film are the talking monkey and dog. He took the time […]
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 […]
When Fred Flintstone has an idea to make money that involves putting Barney in the ring with the Stone Age WWE all-stars, what can possibly go wrong? This week, we find out in The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age Smackdown, […]
“CitizenFour,” the Oscar-winning documentary about Edward Snowden, is free online. Whether you consider him a hero or a traitor, it is well worth watching, and considering the fragile balance between privacy and national security — and who decides.
We mourn the loss of film visionary Albert Maysles, who with his brother David, showed us a new way to see film and a new way to see the world. They were the first Americans to create intimate, unstructured documentary […]
“Unfinished Business” is a story about three renegade renegades from bureaucracy going up against The Man and the importance of the individual in an era of soul-grinding corporatism. But the movie itself is clearly the product of institutional over-management, as […]
So, basically, no one here saw “Terminator.” Or “Frankenstein.” But maybe they did see “Robocop?” Or “Short Circuit?” Writer/director Neill Blomkamp likes sci-fi allegories of social and political conflicts, as we saw in “District 9″ and “Elysium.” Here he imagines […]
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 […]
Do you remember the tobacco executives standing up before a Congressional Committee, their right hands raised, each of them swearing that they did not believe that tobacco caused cancer? That was in 1994, three decades after the US Surgeon General’s […]
It’s like a real-life “Roman Holiday.” According to this film, on the night victory was declared in WWII, Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister, Princess Margaret were given permission by their father (the “King’s Speech” guy) for […]
And don’t forget the only live action film written by Dr. Seuss, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T!
In honor of this week’s release of “Focus,” here are some of my favorite movies about con games and grifters. Remember that “con” comes from “confidence.” A con man (or woman) makes you believe in them and have confidence in […]
“Love & Mercy” tells the story of Brian Wilson, the brilliant but troubled member of the Beach Boys.
Win a copy of this week’s release of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Adventures Of The Cutie Mark Crusaders! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your favorite real-life or fictional horse. Don’t forget your address! (US […]
The PBS series Italian Americans is available this week on DVD. The documentary reveals the unique and distinctive qualities of one immigrant group’s experience, and how these qualities, over time, have shaped and challenged America. Unlike other immigrant groups, many […]
Big Hero 6 will be out on DVD/Blu-Ray February 24, 2015. Here’s a cute clip from the DVD extras.
“The Breakfast Club,” is one of the best of the John Hughes films about teenagers. No American filmmaker portrayed the lives of contemporary teenagers with as much affection, sensitivity, and understanding as Hughes, with Molly Ringwald the very best of […]
In 1987, Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), who had never coached or even run cross country, took a team of kids from one of the poorest communities in California to a state championship. Of course that would have to become […]
A haiku has 17 syllables. A limerick has five lines. An omelet is made from eggs. And a teen romantic comedy will have our characters visit the mall, a locker room, a classroom, and the school bathroom. There will be […]
Ali Faulkner is in every way the heart of the new faith-based film, “The Song.” She plays Rose, who inspires the title song and marries the musician who wrote it for her. Unlike most films, this one does not end […]
“James Bond? Jason Bourne?” Our hero is being asked for the inspiration for naming his dog JB. “No,” he explains, “Jack Bauer.” This is a cheeky, nasty, meta, po-mo update of the spy genre, self-aware enough to name-check not just […]
The Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy by E.L. James became an international blockbuster best-seller because it satisfies the deepest, most passionate, most secret longing of the female spirit. It has nothing to do with being tied up or spanked, but […]
Oh, how I loved The Man from U.N.C.L.E. when I was a kid. And this trailer for the new Guy Ritchie movie with “Superman’s” Henry Cavill and “The Social Network’s” Armie Hammer (plus Hugh Grant in the Leo G. Carroll […]
It may not be the most accurate of the more than 200 movies featuring Abraham Lincoln, but this quiet John Ford film is still one of my favorites, especially in the depiction of his tragic love for Anne Rutledge.
Comedy stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, who have worked together for decades in SCTV and the Christopher Guest films “Waiting for Guffman,” “For Your Consideration,” and “A Mighty Wind,” are back together again in a new series for the […]
“Dogs on the Inside” is a profoundly moving documentary about a program that teaches prisoners how to care for rescue dogs. Seeing the dogs and the men in prison learn patience and trust from each other is touching and inspiring. […]
The Pick of the Week is a Disney animation classic: 101 Dalmatians, which has a gorgeous new Diamond edition. For some behind-the scenes info about the film, check this out.
Robert Durst, heir to a vast fortune from New York real estate, has had a life has been punctuated by tragedy. When he was seven years old, his mother was killed when she fell off the roof of their home, […]
Don’t mess with the animators! I really enjoyed this trailer for “Ratchet and Clank,” based on the Ratchet & Clank Sony game.
Hallmark Channel’s countdown to Valentine’s Day features some old favorites and some new stories like “Cloudy With a Chance of Love,” premiering on February 8, 2015, at 8 pm (7 central). “Switched at Birth’s” Katie Leclerc stars with Michael Rady, […]
“Jupiter Ascending” was released in early 2015 but it was originally scheduled for release in the summer of 2014. It does feel like a summer movie. Somehow warm weather makes us more in the mood for explosions and less in […]
Our friends from Bikini Bottom are back in another deliriously silly story, so tender-hearted and cheery that there is no way to resist it. Plus, it has superheroes, a pirate played by Antonio Banderas, existential metaphysics, the guitarist from Guns […]
Sometimes all we want from a movie is Hugh Grant delivering witty, self-deprecating lines about his empty life and bad choices as he learns to find his heart and soul. You know, the cinematic equivalent to eating a pint of […]
If “The Big Lebowski” fans ever imagined a re-teaming of Jeff “The Dude” Bridges and Julianne “Maude” Moore, it is unlikely that they would have come up with the idea of this sword-and-sorcery epic based on the first of the […]
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 […]
Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. “Outside is just dark, cold, and death,” says one. “We all live together or we all die together,” says another. Submarines […]
The acclaimed Sundance Film Festival, where ground-breaking films and indie favorites often premiere, will have its first-ever panel discussion of faith and films this week. “Hollywood reflects society, society reflects Hollywood, and each needs the other,” Tim Gray, founder and […]
In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of “Machal” (volunteers from abroad), they not only turned the tide of the war, they also laid the groundwork […]
Despite the big names behind it, including George Lucas, who came up with the story and produced, it feels like a straight-to-DVD, about the level of Disney’s Tinkerbell series. It’s bright, colorful, self-affirming, and bouncy. And, likely to be appreciated […]
Pure pleasure: Four great Disney artists, Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Josh Meador, and Walt Peregoy, paint a tree. There’s a reason they call them actors with pencils. Or, just call them geniuses.
There’s a lot of noise in “Mortdecai” but what I remember most is the silences where everything pauses for a moment to allow the audience to laugh without drowning out the next witty riposte. Nope, just crickets, as there was […]
This looks adorable. In theaters February 6, 2015.
Two shrewdly-chosen elements separate this film from the typical Lifetime saga of a middle class white woman struggling to overcome a dire challenge. First is the way writer Patrick Tobin and director Daniel Barnz (the underrated “Beastly”) trust the audience, […]
Even by the very low standards of January movies, “The Boy Next Door” still manages to be a disappointment. It even manages to disappoint beyond the very dim expectations for director Rob Cohen, His “Alex Cross” and “Stealth” were both […]
Meredith Anne Bull stars in this week’s release “Strange Magic,” an animated musical fairy tale based on a story by George Lucas. She plays Dawn the “young, naive, unaffected and thrilled with life” younger sister of the heroine, Marianne, played […]
Imagine they were beta-testing Samantha in “Her,” or one of the replicants in “Blade Runner” and you were brought in to try out the latest model. That’s the idea behind “Ex Machina,” with two of today’s most fascinating actors, Oscar […]
After three very different movies, we know two things about writer/director J.C. Chandor. First, he is already one of today’s most original, thought-provoking directors, with a remarkably mature and insightful eye, and second, he is vitally interested in the survival […]
It really happened. Four undocumented high school kids from the poorest of communities took on the most brilliant engineering students from the country’s top colleges in a robotics competition and won. The contest results were one in a million, but […]
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 […]
David Heyman was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the smartest people in Hollywood. It may be because he grabbed the rights to a children’s book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I enjoyed his latest movie, “Paddington,” […]
Did you know there was not one major romantic comedy release last year? What happened to all the Jennifers and Jessicas? All the meet-cutes and misunderstandings? All the quippy best friends and quirky roommates? All the cute pajamas and strolls […]
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 […]
James Franco and Jonah Hill star in “True Story,” a title with layers of meaning. It is based on the real life story of reporter Michael Finkel (Hill), who was fired because he fabricated and altered facts in a “true […]
Sacred Journeys With Bruce Feiler comes out this week on DVD. If you missed it on PBS, here is your chance to travel along with pilgrims and worshippers around the world. 200 million people go on a pilgrimage each year. […]
One of the most exciting new televisions shows of the season is “Empire,” premiering on January 7, 2015 on Fox. It is part “King Lear,” part “Godfather,” part “Lion in Winter,” part soap opera, and set in the world of […]
Lacey Schwartz grew up as the much-loved only child of warm, loving parents in a close-knit middle-class Jewish family. She did not resemble her parents, but they reassured her that she had a Sicilian grandparent who was the genetic source […]
This looks like a lot of fun! Coming this spring on the Disney Channel, starring Laura Marano and Leigh-Allyn Baker, it’s “Bad Hair Day.”
What does “based on a true story” really mean? The Washington Post had a front-page story titled, “‘Selma’ sets off a controversy amid Oscar buzz,” describing the objections by Lyndon Johnson administration insiders to the way he was portrayed. They […]
It is one of the most famous paintings of the 20th Century, a masterwork by Gustav Klimt, a portrait of his friend Adele Bloch-Bauer. It was confiscated by the Nazis during WWII. And then, 60 years later, it became the […]
Bill Moyers has an excellent list of 2014’s best documentaries about the struggle for justice, covering issues from healthcare to the environment, politics, the collision between national security and privacy, domestic violence, human rights, and marriage equality. All are highly […]
I love this trailer for “Comet,” an intriguing romance with a fantasy/sci-fi element, starring Justin Long and Emmy Rossum.
In case you missed the Paley Center special on TV comedy shows, you can watch it online. It is a lot of fun to go behind the scenes to hear the creators of “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom,” “Modern Family,” […]
“Selma,” director Ava DuVernay’s film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital at Montgomery, to make the case for the right to vote, is superb as biography, as history, and as […]
This is not a Disney movie. Oh, well, yes, it is a Disney movie in the sense that it is produced by Disney, which is the only possible explanation for the PG rating (and the slightly sweetened storyline), but this […]
Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie breaks into the top ranks of American directors with “Unbroken,” showing an exceptional understanding not just of actors, but of tone, scale, and letting the camera tell the story. Working with the magnificent cinematography of Roger […]
In Woody Allen’s 1973 film “Sleeper,” set in a decadent future, Diane Keaton plays a superficial socialite who tries to think of the highest compliment she can give to an amateurish painting. “Oh, it’s Keane! It’s pure Keane!” she exclaims. […]
The whole family will enjoy this beautiful version of Dylan Thomas’ classic memory about his family Christmases in Wales.
The ingredients for this film were so irresistible that it is a unexpected bonus to find that it is so much better than it needed to be. It’s based on a true story of extraordinary kindness, generosity, and friendship and […]
Wishin’ and Hopin’ is Lifetime movie airing December 21, 2014, based on the novel by Wally Lamb. It stars Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf with narration by Chevy Chase. Composer Matthew Llewellyn was kind enough to answer my questions about […]
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 […]
Fans of the first two “Night at the Museum” films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibits come to life […]
The spunky little girl with the curly red hair and a dog named Sandy began as Little Orphan Annie in 1924, created by Harold Gray. Her pluck, self-sufficiency, and resilience caught the imagination of the Depression-era audience in the 30’s, […]
Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans. I think even Tolkien himself would cry “no mas” at this point. Remember how the third LoTR movie had about five […]
Remember the old scary movie line, “The call is coming from inside the house?” There’s nothing more terrifying than discovering that a place or a person you were certain was safe has all of a sudden become completely unpredictable and […]
The story of Exodus is central to three of the world’s most significant religions and one of the Bible’s most cinematic stories, with a flawed but charismatic hero and a stirring story of slaves seeking freedom. It has already been […]
Why is it that we love to talk about our top five? Is it because it gives us a sense of order in the midst of chaos? Is it because we feel that if we can somehow distill the whole […]
Coming next month — a long-term passion project from George Lucas, “Strange Magic” features the voices of Kristin Chenoweth, Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cummings, Maya Rudolph, Alfred Molina, and Elijah Kelley.
We are proud to be able to present this exclusive clip from the new DVD release “When the Game Stands Tall,” the extraordinary true story of the high school football team with the longest winning streak in the history of […]
Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up, has been enchanting children and their families for more than a century now. This week’s live broadcast of the Broadway musical version starred Alison Williams and Christopher Walken. And next year […]
“If your Nerve, deny you— Go above your Nerve—” Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) adds the name of the author, Emily Dickinson, to the quote she has inscribed in a journal for hikers kept at her entry point on the Pacific […]
Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician with an enormous intellect, an almost equally enormous ego, and an almost equally enormous secret. He was one of the founding thinkers behind modern computing and it is his name that we use for […]
The 60th anniversary of one of the most beloved movies in history is coming up, and so you will have a chance to see “White Christmas” in theaters for just two nights, December 14-15, 2014. This is your chance to […]
Maybe it’s just the proximity to the horrible “Dumb and Dumber To,” but the cheerily offensive “Horrible Bosses 2″ made me laugh. Full warning — it begins with an elaborate sight gag as our hapless heroes demonstrate their new product […]
The most adorable characters from the first three animated “Madagascar” movies were the penguins, the seldom right but never in doubt leader Skipper (Tom McGrath), the often right but never listened to Kowalski (Chris Miller), the literally explosive Rico (Conrad […]
There are some great Thanksgiving movies for adults. And here are some for the whole family to share. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving This is the one with the famous episode about Charlie Brown trying to kick the football Lucy keeps […]
In a small East Texas community “with a church on every corner,” 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film “Fireproof” one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself the next day. This is a […]
It seems no different at first. While the second in the “Hunger Games” series ended with the surprise last-minute rescue of heroine Katniss Everden (Jennifer Lawrence), and the even bigger surprise that insider Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was secretly […]
John Eleuthère Du Pont was of the wealthiest men in the world. He was an ornithologist, a philatelist, a purchaser of military weapons (including a tank), a wrestling fan who set up a luxurious training facility for the US Olympic […]
Historian Jill Lepore is one of my favorite writers and I am also a Comic-Con-attending fangirl, so I was thrilled to get a chance to hear Professor Lepore speak at the Smithsonian about her new book, The Secret History of […]
Hannah Nydahl was dedicated to introducing Buddhism to the western hemisphere. This is her story. Co Director/Producer Marta György Kessler spent 15 years traveling with Hannah Nydahl and some of the most renowned Buddhist Lamas, before her directorial debut with […]
First-time writer/director Jon Stewart has made a remarkably assured film about the imprisonment and torture of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari It is an absorbing drama that is at the same time the story of a very specific individual and a […]
A. J. Edwards is the writer and director of “The Better Angels,” a lyrical new film about the early years of Abraham Lincoln, when he was a boy growing up in a small log cabin. The title comes from Lincoln’s […]