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quality

  • A+, A, A-
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That Awkward Moment

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date:January 31, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 13, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date: January 31, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2014

A cast of exceptionally appealing performers and some very funny lines are not enough to make this raunchy comedy overcome its essential charmlessness.  At its heart, it wants to be a romantic comedy, a chick flick from the perspective of […]

Exclusive Clips: The Gabby Douglas Story

posted by Nell Minow

Olympic champion Gabby Douglas plays herself in a new Lifetime movie called “The Gabby Douglas Story” premiering Friday, February 1 at 8 Eastern.  The superb cast includes Regina King, S. Epatha Merkerson, Imani Hakim, and Sydney Mikayla. A prodigy from a […]

Trailer: The Fault In Our Stars

posted by Nell Minow

Get out your handkerchiefs for one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, based on John Green’s book about the teenagers who meet in a cancer support group.

More on Paul Williams

posted by Nell Minow

If you saw Paul Williams on the Grammys last night and want to know more, take a look at the superb documentary Paul Williams Still Alive. Williams was ubiquitous in the 70’s, both on the music charts and the party […]

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. […]

Let It Go from “Frozen” — in 25 Languages

posted by Nell Minow

And the LA Times explains how they do it. As the film business has become an increasingly global one, [Rick] Dempsey’s job has become ever more complex, with languages in emerging territories added every year. The newest additions include Bengali, […]

Steve James Talks About His Roger Ebert Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

Rogerebert.com editor Matt Zoller Seitz spoke to Steve James, one of Roger Ebert’s favorite filmmakers, and the man behind the crowd-funded documentary about Ebert, based in part on his autobiography, Life Itself: A Memoir.  Seitz writes It seems fitting that […]

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1963
DVD Release Date:January 20, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1963
DVD Release Date: January 20, 2014

What could be better than a 2 1/2 hour movie with every comedian and comic actor in Hollywood in a madcap masterpiece about the race to a hidden fortune?  A new Blu-Ray edition with deleted scenes, commentary, and interviews! Directed […]

And NBC’s Next Live Musical Performance Will Be….Peter Pan!

posted by Nell Minow

NBC pledged to follow up it’s live production of “The Sound of Music” with another family musical and they’ve announced what the next one will be — another classic that originally starred Mary Martin, “Peter Pan.” There have been many […]

Contest: Win a DVD of “The Fifth Estate”

posted by Nell Minow

The NSA snooping on cell phones. Bradley Manning on trial. The people behind a 40-year-old robbery of FBI files that revealed extensive abuses finally coming forward. Target getting hit by hackers who steal thousands of credit card numbers. There is […]

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

There are three conclusions to draw from this reboot of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character. First, it plays like an infomercial for NSA access to, well, pretty much everything. Second, no matter how attractive the actors and how thrilling the […]

Ride Along

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language,
Movie Release Date:January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 22, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language,
Movie Release Date: January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 22, 2014

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart have such a devoted fan base that they can count on them to buy a ticket to anything they do, and that is pretty much what they have done here in a generic buddy cop […]

The Nut Job

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 15, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 15, 2014

I miss the days when the economics of animation were so daunting that we were assured a certain level of quality. Yes, there were some low points that don’t even qualify for a Disney re-issue (I could find some affection […]

G.B.F.

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual references
Movie Release Date:2013
DVD Release Date:January 11, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual references
Movie Release Date: 2013
DVD Release Date: January 11, 2014

Writer George Northy and director Darren Stein manage to subvert and salute the traditions of the high school comedy in this smart, fresh, and funny story that shakes up the classic elements of teen movies but recognizes their eternal verities. […]

Remembering the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King

posted by Nell Minow

As we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, every family should take time to talk about this great American leader and hero of the Civil Rights Movement. There are outstanding films and other resources for all ages. King: A […]

List: Jack Ryan

posted by Nell Minow

As we prepare for this week’s release of the Jack Ryan prequel, “Shadow Recruit,” you might want to take a look at the other thrillers based on Tom Clancy’s dashing hero.  Watch how each one of these stories reflects its […]

The Legend of Hercules

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality
Movie Release Date:January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 29, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality
Movie Release Date: January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014

Director Renny Harlin has made a Hercules epic with drab, washed-out cinematography, poorly staged action scenes, incompetent acting, bad hair, terrible computer effects, and dialogue that lands more heavily than the title character’s punch. Even at just over 90 minutes […]

Lone Survivor

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 3, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014

Director Peter Berg is as good as it gets when it comes to putting a particular kind of male chemistry on screen. If he was writing instead of filming, he would dunk his pen in testosterone, beard stubble, and sweat. […]

P&G Thanks the Moms Who Raised the Kids Who Are Going to Sochi

posted by Nell Minow

1976: Hunt vs. Lauda

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2013
DVD Release Date:January 7, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2013
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014

Ron Howard’s “Rush” was the story of the Formula One rivalry between the reckless and handsome James Hunt from Great Britain and the cool, hyper-rational Niki Lauda from Austria. In the extraordinary season of 1976, Lauda was in a terrible […]

Guaranteed To Improve Your Life, Your Job, and Your Relationships: 365 Grateful

posted by Nell Minow

Start the new year by joining this wonderful project and find out how being grateful will transform your life.

Trailer: Million Dollar Arm

posted by Nell Minow

A sports agent goes to India to recruit cricket players for major league baseball in “Million Dollar Arm,” starring Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Aasif Mandvi, and Alan Arkin.

The “Veronica Mars” Movie Trailer Looks Great!

posted by Nell Minow

The Kickstarter-financed update to the beloved television series looks wonderful — a great combination of letting the main character grow up (she’s a lawyer now) but giving her a reason to go home and interact with the characters from her […]

Contest: Anything is Possible

posted by Nell Minow

Start the new year with a heartwarming family film starring musical prodigy Ethan Bortnick, who wrote the songs he performs in this film  “Anything is Possible”  is the story of ten-year-old Nathan (Bortnick), who is devastated when his mom is […]

Trailer: How to Train Your Dragon 2

posted by Nell Minow

This is one of the movies I am most looking forward to in 2014.  I met with the director and had glimpses of some of it and it looks sensational!

The Wolf of Wall Street

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

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

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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

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

Her

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content, and brief graphic nudity
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 12, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content, and brief graphic nudity
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 12, 2014

“Transition objects” are usually thought of as the stuffed toys toddlers hold onto so as a way of feeling more secure as they begin to separate from their parents and navigate the bigger world.  But we all have them.  We […]

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 […]

Contest: Journey to a Christmas Star

posted by Nell Minow

Norway’s most beloved Christmas story is directed by Academy Award nominee Nils Gaup. It is the story of a courageous girl who sets out on a hazardous journey across a gorgeous winter wonderland to find the Christmas Star in order […]

Walking with Dinosaurs 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for creature action and peril, and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 20, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for creature action and peril, and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 20, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 24, 2014

Dinosaur movies pretty much all have the same plot.  Unless it is a fantasy like “Jurassic Park,” the story is pretty simple: the dinos have to migrate and there are a lot of encounters and adventures along the way. What […]

American Hustle

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

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

Inside Llewyn Davis

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

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

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence
Movie Release Date:December 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 31, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence
Movie Release Date: December 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2014

Will Ferrell and his crew beat the sophomore slump with just the right mix of stuff we want to see again (yes, there will be jazz flute, a rumble with the other news teams featuring wildly improbable surprise guest stars […]

Contest

posted by Nell Minow

“Contest” more than makes up for some first-time-filmmaker shortcomings with its sincerity and unexpected strengths in the storyline and cinematography. Tommy (Danny Flaherty) is a high school loner, often bullied by the swim team jocks led by Matt (Kenton Duty). […]

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 […]

Contest: Step Dogs

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to have a copy of this cute DVD to give away! Meatball is a carefree, wisecracking country dog. Cassie is Hollywood’s most pampered pet They couldn’t be more different, and when their owners marry and move the entire […]

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 13, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 7, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date: December 13, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 7, 2014

Everybody ups his game in this second of the three-part Peter Jackson version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again.  The first one courageously tried out the new hyper-clear technology with twice as many frames per second […]

List: Movie Dragons

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s release of the second Hobbit movie, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon Smaug, here are some of my other favorite movie dragons. 1. How to Train Your Dragon One of the best animated movies in the […]

Interview: Daniel Ferguson of “Jerusalem”

posted by Nell Minow

Daniel Ferguson told an audience that making his extraordinary 3D IMAX film about Jerusalem required four years and “thousands of cups of tea.”  It took four years.  But he was able to persuade Muslims, Christians, and Jews to allow him […]

New on HBO: Six by Sondheim

posted by Nell Minow

HBO’s new documentary is “Six by Sondheim,” the story of six songs from the remarkable lyricist of “West Side Story” and “Gypsy” and composer/lyricist of “A Little Night Music,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Company,” “Follies,” “Into the Woods,” and many, many more. […]

Ten Lessons from Schindler’s List

posted by Nell Minow

Steven Spielberg’s film about Oskar Schindler and the 1200 Jews he saved from being killed by the Nazis came out twenty years ago, based on the novel by Thomas Keneally (originally titled Schindler’s Ark).  Keneally happened on the story when he […]

Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Tribute

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Betty Jo Tucker for inviting me on her show to talk about the upcoming 50th anniversary of one of the greatest family films of all time, Mary Poppins. Stay tuned for my review of “Saving Mr. Banks,” […]

Out of the Furnace

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

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

Carrie Underwood’s Live Sound of Music — Dec 5

posted by Nell Minow

Carrie Underwood stars as Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live broadcast of “The Sound of Music” on December 5. Stephen Moyer of “True Blood” plays the Captain, “Smash’s” Christian Borle plays Max, and, thrillingly, Tony winner Audra McDonald plays 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 […]

Interview: Mark Henn of “Frozen”

posted by Nell Minow

I always love talking to Mark Henn, one of the top animators in Disney history.  Previously, we spoke about young Simba in The Lion King and the most recent Winnie the Pooh.  This week, we talked about the adorable snowman character, […]

Cute Clip from “The Naughty List”

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to present a clip from the cute new holiday film, The Naughty List. Two young elves, Winter and Snowflake, have a hard time following the rules and are prone to sneaking off for some good elf playtime. But […]

My Dad Remembers His Friend, John F. Kennedy

posted by Nell Minow

My father, Newton N. Minow, met then-Senator Kennedy in the 1950’s and worked on his 1960 Presidential campaign. He was appointed by President-Elect Kennedy as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission until the spring of 1963. His work there […]

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 […]

The Christmas Candle

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2013

Former Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is now in the faith-based movie business and his first film is based on The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado. Just before the holidays, a progressive young clergyman named David (Hans Matheson) takes over a […]

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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

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

Trailer: Divergent

posted by Nell Minow

This looks every bit as awesome as I was hoping!  Coming in March of 2014.  In the meantime, read Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Paradise

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

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

The Book Thief

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

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

Turbo in Sixty Seconds

posted by Nell Minow

Watch a 60-second version of my Pick of the Week, the cute “Turbo” about the NASCAR racing snail.

“It Happened One Night” — A Tribute to this 5-Oscar Classic

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most insightful people I know about movies is my friend Michal Oleszczyk, and he has written a marvelous essay  about one of my favorite movies, “It Happened One Night.”  The screwball romantic comedy about a runaway heiress and […]

Trailer — Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

posted by Nell Minow

Idris Elba stars as Nelson Mandela in this film, opening November 29.

“Frozen” from Disney — New Clip

posted by Nell Minow

Disney’s latest animated release will be out for Thanksgiving.  Here’s a sneak peek:

Dallas Buyers Club

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

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

Thor: The Dark World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date:November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 25, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date: November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 25, 2014

I always say that superhero movies are defined by their villains, and “Thor: The Dark World” has a lulu in Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki, who was not as vanquished at the end of “The Avengers” as we thought.  Thank goodness. Loki, […]

Last Vegas

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014

Oscar-winning actors are a precious commodity, usually doled out no more than one or two per movie.  But in this AARP-version of “The Hangover” crossed with “Ferris Bueller,” there are five, and the greatest pleasure of this film is in […]

Ender’s Game

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 11, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014

Director Gavin Hood (“Tsotsi”) has skillfully adapted the Nebula and Hugo award-winning novel about a boy who leads an interplanetary battle against insect-like aliens, doing justice both to the fun of the sci-fi action and to the seriousness of the […]

Time of Death — Showtime’s Brave New Series About Dying

posted by Nell Minow

We pride ourselves — for better and worse — about being very open and modern in contemporary society.  Topics that were previously not spoken of in polite society are discussed openly — sex, money, race, politics, religion.  But the one […]

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 […]

Free Birds

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action/peril and rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 2, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action/peril and rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 2, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014

Maybe it’s just me, but I think this may be the worst idea for a movie intended for children I have heard since the one about the kid bank robber. Does anyone think it makes sense to horrify children just […]

Happy Halloween from Casper and Wendy!

posted by Nell Minow

Electoral Dysfunction — A New Documentary from Mo Rocca

posted by Nell Minow

Election day is coming next week, and Mo Rocca (“The Daily Show,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me”) has a new documentary about the state of elections in today’s America, with the backdrop of the 2008 Presidential election.  Rocca set […]

Monstrous Holiday: New Halloween Movie For Kids

posted by Nell Minow

In Monsterous Holiday a young inventor named Andy reaches out to his neighbor Doctor Frankenstein to help him win the upcoming science fair. But, finding the Doctor not to be at home, he meets the next best thing, Frankenstein’s monster; […]

I Can’t Wait to See this Documentary About Cup Stacking Competitions

posted by Nell Minow

Really!  It looks awesome, doesn’t it?

The Uninvited: Now on Criterion

posted by Nell Minow

Just in time for Halloween, one of my very favorite ghost stories has been released in a beautifully restored edition from the wonderful folks at Criterion. It is The Uninvited, starring Ray Milland (“Love Story”) and Ruth Hussey (“The Philadelphia […]

The Hunters: New on the Hallmark Channel

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on the Hallmark Channel at 8 (7 Central), the wonderful Walden Family Theater has a new movie for the whole family. It is a modern day fairy-tale adventure. The brothers Flynn embark on an international quest to find their […]

The Counselor

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

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

Tonight Only: Merrily We Roll Along from Sondheim/Furth/Kaufman/Hart

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight only — Fathom will make the legendary musical “Merrily We Roll Along” available in theaters across the country. Set over three decades in the entertainment business, the story charts the relationship between three friends Franklin, Mary and Charley. Travelling backwards […]

A Fabulous Chart Showing the Relative Sizes of Fictional Spaceships

posted by Nell Minow

Haven’t you always wanted to know which was bigger, the Millennium Falcon or the Starship Enterprise? Take a look at this amazing size comparison chart from Dirk Loechel on DeviantArt.

12 Years a Slave

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

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

The Fifth Estate

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

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

Escape Plan

posted by Nell Minow

At 90 minutes or less and with some sense of its own silly preposterousness, the aging action stars might have made this prison break movie work. But at almost two hours, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger seem a little out […]

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 […]

Tonight on TV: Toy Story of Terror

posted by Nell Minow

Pixar’s first ever television special has the “Toy Story” characters (including “Toy Story 3’s” master thespian Mr. Pricklepants, voiced by Timothy Dalton) in a story filled with funny scares and scary fun.  Tonight on ABC 8PM (7 Central)

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 […]

Captain Phillips

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

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

Romeo & Juliet

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

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

The Snow Queen

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG
Movie Release Date:October 6, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
Movie Release Date: October 6, 2013

It may be a coincidence that a Russian animation studio decided to make a movie based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the Snow Queen at the same time as Disney’s big-budget feature, “Frozen,” inspired by the same […]

Contest: Halloween Story Collection from Scholastic Storybook Treasures

posted by Nell Minow

My very favorite series for kids has a wonderful new collection for Halloween and I have three to give away! Enjoy the ghoulish pleasures and scary delights and ghostly giggles of stories like The Little Old Lady Who Was Not […]

The UP Crowd Turns 56: Coming on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

In 1964, director Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorky Park, Gorillas in the Mist) was a young researcher on an experimental program called Seven Up!, produced for England’s Granada Television. Taking its cue from the Jesuit maxim “Give me the […]

A.C.O.D.

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

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

Gravity

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

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

Trailer — The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

posted by Nell Minow

The Character Dropped from “The Little Mermaid”

posted by Nell Minow

Remember Harold the Merman?  No, you don’t, because he was dropped from “The Little Mermaid.”  But you can see why writer/directors Ron Clements and John Musker were so devoted to him in one of the delicious extras on this week’s […]

Trailer: The Need for Speed

posted by Nell Minow

DreamWorks Pictures’ “Need for Speed” is a return to the great car culture films of the 1960’s and 70’s, when the authenticity of the world brought a new level of intensity to the action on-screen. Tapping into what makes the […]

Interview: Ron Clements and John Musker of “The Little Mermaid”

posted by Nell Minow

After Walt Disney died, the studio he founded faltered, especially Disney animation.  Following the powerhouse classics like “Peter Pan,” “Dumbo,” and “The Jungle Book” (the last animated film Walt Disney supervised personally), the animation division became mired in struggles that […]

A New 3D Imax Film: Jerusalem

posted by Nell Minow

I am very excited about “Jerusalem,” a spectacular new 3D Imax film about the city called “the gateway to God.”  Exquisitely beautiful cinematography and immersive 3D effects bring the audience inside the city, from its thousands-year history to its religious […]

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rate PG for mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rate PG for mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014

Who would have guessed that the brightest and funniest and most heartwarming animated film of the year would not be from Pixar or Disney but Sony?  And that to boot it would be a sequel, or, perhaps given the subject […]

Don Jon

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

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

Rush

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

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

Disney Is Making a New Live Action Cinderella Movie

posted by Nell Minow

Walt Disney Studios, which made the classic animated version of “Cinderella” in 1950, is now filming a sumptuous new live-action Cinderella film, directed by Kenneth Branagh, with Lily James (“Downton Abbey,” “Wrath of the Titans”) in the title role, Richard […]

Prisoners

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content including torture and language throughout
Movie Release Date:September 20, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content including torture and language throughout
Movie Release Date: September 20, 2013

The subject matter of the movie “Prisoners”– parents desperately searching for their kidnapped little girls– is so potent that it requires a strong, sure director to maintain control.  Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies”), in his first Hollywood feature film, is […]

Thanks for Sharing

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

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

World War Z

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

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

The Family

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language, and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 13, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language, and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 13, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2013

“Anybody who doesn’t contradict me can expect nothing but good things,” “Fred Blake” (Robert De Niro) explains in item 10 of his David Letterman-style countdown of what he considers his best qualities.  Fred is his current nom de witness protection. […]

Tonight on Discovery: The President’s Gatekeepers

posted by Nell Minow

Twenty former White House Chiefs of Staff tell their stories in this two-part documentary narrated by Kevin Bacon.

To Remember 9/11/01 — Smithsonian’s 9/11: Strories in Fragments

posted by Nell Minow

This is the story, from 6 am to midnight, of  September 11, 2001.  At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, you start small: A briefcase, a Blackberry, a victim’s sweatshirt, and a hero’s name tag. These are simple objects […]

Coming Soon: Journey to the Christmas Star

posted by Nell Minow

Vertical Entertainment will be releasing the sweet fantasy “Journey to the Christmas Star” on DVD on November 5, 2013. A plucky heroine with a kind heart seeks the Christmas Star to break the curse on the kingdom. She gets some […]

Coming Soon: “The Fifth Estate”

posted by Nell Minow

Win Tickets to See “Wizard of Oz 3D”

posted by Nell Minow

It’s probably the most beloved family film of all time, and now it is bigger and deeper than ever.  “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Judy Garland, is coming to 3D Imax screens for the first time.  See the Munchkins, the […]

Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson to Star in “50 Shades of Grey”

posted by Nell Minow

E.L. James’ erotic best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey is soon to be a movie, starring Dakota Johnson as literature student Anastasia Steele and Charlie Hunnam as billionaire Christian Grey.  The book began as “Twilight” fan fiction and with its two sequels has […]

Bring on the Bad Guys: Spader. Cranston…Timberlake?

posted by Nell Minow

I always say that superhero movies are defined by the villains.  So in the midst of all the debate about Ben Affleck as the new Batman, I am much more interested in the possibility that Bryan Cranston as bad guy […]

Win a DVD! Adventures of Bailey: A Night in Cowtown

posted by Nell Minow

Win a copy of this third story about the lovable dog Bailey! In this episode, Bailey falls in love with a dog from “the other side of the fence.” When her brother Felix is dognapped, Bailey and his brother Duke […]

Side By Side — From Film to Digital

posted by Nell Minow

Keanu Reeves — yes, Keanu Reeves — hosts a fascinating documentary about the impact of the switch from film to digital images in movies, tonight on PBS, and anyone who loves movies should take a look.  For me, the revelation […]

Getaway

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence, and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures and language
Movie Release Date:August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence, and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures and language
Movie Release Date: August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013

There’s dumb fun and then there’s just dumb.  “Gateway” is closer to that second category, and worse, so forgettable that better title would be “Throwaway.”  This one has 99 cent DVD bin all over it. Ethan Hawke, believably seedy, plays […]

One Direction: This is Us

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language
Movie Release Date:August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language
Movie Release Date: August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2013

“They don’t know me, but they love me,” says one dewy-eyed One Direction fan, and that says it all. This 3D documentary and concert film gives us a peek at the moment in time when One Direction, a group of five […]

Closed Circuit

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

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

The World’s End

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:August 23, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: August 23, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2013

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and co-writer/director Edgar Wright have re-united for the third in the genre-bending “Cornetto” series, which I refuse to call a “trilogy” because I want them to keep going.  In case you’re listening, guys: Please. “Shaun of […]

New on DVD: The Life of Muhammad

posted by Nell Minow

PBS distribution this week released “THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD” on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download. It is a three-part program, presented by acclaimed journalist and author Rageh Omaar, charting the extraordinary story of a man who, in little more than […]

Short Term 12

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

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

Shrek the Musical — Now on DVD/Blu-Ray

posted by Nell Minow

Can’t make it to the theater to see “Shrek the Musical?” On October 15,  you will be able to get front-row tickets to a spectacular Broadway musical based on the beloved movie from DreamWorks Animation, which is itself based on […]

Austenland

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and innuendo
Movie Release Date:August 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 11, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and innuendo
Movie Release Date: August 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014

Edward Arlington Robinson wrote a poem about a man named Miniver Cheevy who wished so much that he could have lived in the days of knights and ladies that he refused to participate in the life before him.  Author Shannon […]

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 2, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date: August 21, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2013

The first volume of Cassandra Clare’s popular YA The Mortal Instruments series has been respectfully brought to screen in another attempt to tap into the Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games/Buffy audience.  The problem is that fans of those series may find that too […]

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

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

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

Jobs

posted by Nell Minow

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

Kick-Ass 2

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2013

The first Kick-Ass was entertaining as an over-the-top response to true-blue superhero movies.  The Dark Knight might think he’s angsty and tortured and tough, but he has nothing on the merry band of misfits who form a sort of Justice […]

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 […]

Shakespeare’s Hollow Crown Plays Coming on DVD

posted by Nell Minow

Executive producer Sam Mendes (“American Beauty,” “Skyfall”) is presenting four stunning adaptations of some of William Shakespeare’s most revered historical plays.  The all-star cast includes Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers), Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek franchises), Jeremy Irons (Margin Call), Ben Whishaw […]

Elysium

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

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

Planes

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:August 9, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 19, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: August 9, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 19, 2013

“Planes” literally takes off from the retro world of “Cars” and “Cars 2,” with the story of a brave little crop-duster named Dusty (Dane Cook) who wants to compete in an international air race. A couple of problems for Dusty: […]

“Standing Up” — Exclusive Clip of a New Film Based on “The Goats”

posted by Nell Minow

“Standing Up” is a new movie based on Brock Cole’s popular YA novel, The Goats.  It is about an 11-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl (Chandler Canterbury and Annalise Basso) who are ostracized by their peers at summer camp are […]

We’re the Millers

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity
Movie Release Date:August 7, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity
Movie Release Date: August 7, 2013

Thankfully, we are spared the dreary backstories in this saga of a small-time drug dealer who recruits a stripper, a homeless girl, and a neglected teenage neighbor to provide cover for crossing the border by posing as his family. But […]

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images, and mild violence
Movie Release Date:August 7, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 16, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images, and mild violence
Movie Release Date: August 7, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2013

The second in the series of films based on Rick Riorden’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians is even better than the first.  The young actors are more comfortable, their characters better established, and the special effects more, well, special. We learned […]

Oliver & Company

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1987
DVD Release Date:August 6, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1987
DVD Release Date: August 6, 2013

Disney is celebrating the 25th anniversary of this tuneful animated classic loosely based on Dickens’ Oliver Twist with a new Blu-Ray release.  It is the story of an orphaned cat named Oliver (Joey Lawrence) who is befriended by vagabond dogs […]

Robin Hood

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1973
DVD Release Date:August 6, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1973
DVD Release Date: August 6, 2013

Disney is celebrating the 40th anniversary of one of its most beloved animated musicals with a gorgeous new Blu-Ray. It is based on the classic Robin Hood story of the man who robbed from the rich to give to the […]

The Sword in the Stone

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1963
DVD Release Date:August 5, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1963
DVD Release Date: August 5, 2013

Disney is celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of its animated classics with a beautiful new Blu-Ray edition.  Based on The Once and Future King by T.H. White that also inspired the musical “Camelot,” “The Sword in the Stone” is the […]

2 Guns

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:August 2, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 19. 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: August 2, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 19. 2013

The couple with the most electrifying chemistry on screen so far this year is Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in “2 Guns.” As the title of the the graphic novel by Steven Grant and Mateus Santolouco suggests, it is a […]

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 […]

Trailer: The Box Trolls

posted by Nell Minow

Laika, the stop-motion animation studio behind two of my favorite films of the past ten years, “ParaNorman” and “Coraline,” has released the teaser trailer for its 2014 release, “The Box Trolls,” and it looks amazing.  Nice nod to non-traditional families […]

Cloudburst

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

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

Trailer: When Comedy Went to School

posted by Nell Minow

This documentary is a portrait of the generation of the mid-century Jewish comics that includes Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, and Jerry Stiller, who appear telling jokes and telling their stories. And it is the story of […]

Happy 70th Birthday Mick Jagger!

posted by Nell Minow

Mick Jagger turns 70 today!  Happy birthday Mick — celebrate him by viewing two of this summer’s best documentaries, “Muscle Schoals” and “20 Feet from Stardom,” or some of these other great screen appearances: Gimme Shelter The third in the […]

First Kiss: “The Spectacular Now”

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a lovely scene from one of this year’s best independent films, “The Spectacular Now,” starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller (who will also both appear in the upcoming “Divergent”). Director James Ponsoldt says: This is one of my favorite scenes […]

The Wolverine

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 3, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2013

The first X-Men spin-off movie with Hugh Jackman as the super-healing, never-aging mutant who shoots blades out of his knuckles was called “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”  This one is called “The Wolverine.” Got it? Wolverine is the, well, lone wolf of […]

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 […]

RED 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
Movie Release Date:July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
Movie Release Date: July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013

Catherine Zeta Jones seems to be making a habit of appearing in the dumbed-down sequels to big, all-star franchises.  First there was “Oceans 12,” and now there’s an utterly thankless role in “Red 2,” a stylish but empty follow-up to […]

Fruitvale Station

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

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

Turbo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 12, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 12, 2013

Who declared this the summer of the animated snails? In Twentieth Century Fox’s “Epic,” a snail and slug duo stole the spotlight from the human characters, even the Beyoncé-voiced nature queen.   The end credits of Pixar’s “Monsters University” features not […]

This Week on the Disney Channel: Teen Beach Movie

posted by Nell Minow

I have a lot of affection for the teen beach movies of the 1960’s starring the late Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, with guest stars including Buster Keaton and “Little” Stevie Wonder.  There was a nice update, “Back to the […]

Pacific Rim

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief language
Movie Release Date:July 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief language
Movie Release Date: July 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013

I know there’s only one question you have about this movie, and the answer is yes.  If you ever wanted to see a movie with giant monsters battling giant robots, this is it. And if you ever wanted to see […]

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 […]

Trailer: Romeo and Juliet

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Lone Ranger

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

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

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:July 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: July 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013

Kevin Hart’s new stand-up movie is short (about 75 minutes).  And, as he will repeatedly remind you, so is he. There’s a brief prologue where guests at a rooftop party accuse him of not being in touch with his father, […]

Trailer: Jennifer Hudson in “Black Nativity”

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar winners Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker star in this musical opening in November about a struggling single mother who sends her son to her parents’ home for Christmas. It is adapted from a Langston Hughes story and directed by […]

The Way Way Back

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

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

Trailer: Still Mine

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful James Cromwell (“Babe”) and Genevieve Bujold star in “Still Mine,” a touching love story, opening July 12.

Despicable Me 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2013

Is there more to the story of “Despicable Me” after Gru (Steve Carell) isn’t despicable anymore? The original, with Gru and Vector (Jason Segal) as warring super-villains, was one of the best animated films and one of the best family […]

For the 4th of July: 1776

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Independence Day!  There’s only one possible pick of the week for the 4th of July. This rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost […]

Interview: Jeff Allen of “Apostles of Comedy: Onwards and Upwards”

posted by Nell Minow

The very funny Jeff Allen answered my questions about his new DVD, Apostles of Comedy: Onwards & Upwards. When did you first know you were funny? I thought I was funny when I started stand up comedy in Chicago; the […]

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 […]

The Heat

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

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

Nelson Mandela on Film

posted by Nell Minow

Our thoughts are with the family of Nelson Mandela, the people of South Africa and the world community he inspires.

Two Great Documentaries Take You Behind the Scenes of Classic Rock, Pop, and Soul

posted by Nell Minow

Summer is a time of raunchy comedies, superheroes, and explosions, but you can find movies for grown-ups, too.  I highly recommend two outstanding documentaries that take the audience behind the scenes of some of the greatest music ever recorded. 20 […]

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

White House Down

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.
Movie Release Date: June 28, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013

When the White House gets attacked, who better than SMA (Sexiest Man Alive) Channing Tatum and Django Unchained Jamie Foxx to save the day? And who better to blow stuff up than Roland Emmerich, who has his characters cheekily observe […]

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 […]

Apostles of Comedy: Onwards and Upwards

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2012
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2012
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013

The very funny Jeff Allen (“Thou Shalt Laugh”), Ron Pearson (“Malcolm & Eddie”) and Keith Alberstadt (“Next Big Comic”) perform on tour in the family-friendly “Apostles of Comedy: Onwards and Upwards.”  It is nice to hear good, old-fashioned humor about the […]

Help!

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1965
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1965
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013

The Beatles’ second film is not the masterpiece of their first, “A Hard Day’s Night,” but it is colorful, funny, and exciting.  And it also has a fabulous soundtrack including the title song and “You’re Going To Lose That Girl,” […]

Monsters University

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:June 21, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 28, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: June 21, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 28, 2013

“Monsters Inc.” is one of my favorite Pixar movies, filled with wit, imagination, and heart. This prequel is a lot of fun, still very funny and wildly imaginative, but a little hollow where the heart should be. One problem Pixar […]

Much Ado About Nothing

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:June 21, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 7, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: June 21, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2013

Joss Whedon’s take on Shakespeare’s classic tale is swanky, sexy, and sophisticated, as crisp as a dry martini poured from a silver shaker on a summer night. In many of his best-loved romantic comedies, William Shakespeare sends his mixed-up couples […]

Father’s Day on TCM: Mankiewicz and Mankiewicz

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate Father’s Day on Turner Classic Movies with the father and son team of Ben and Frank Mankiewicz picking the line-up.  The TCM host and his politico father are the grandson and son of the legendary Herman Mankiewicz, who wrote the […]

Some of the Best Movie Dads are Animated

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Father’s Day!

New Documentary About the Mysterious, Fascinating J.D. Salinger

posted by Nell Minow

The author of Catcher in the Rye, one of the most popular and influential books of the 20th century, made no public appearances and published no new writing for the last forty years of his life.  A new documentary reveals […]

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 […]

Man of Steel

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language
Movie Release Date: June 14, 2013

Come on, guys, can’t you give us one superhero who is not all angsty and conflicted? Director Zack Snyder, who presided over the ultimate superhero deconstruction in Watchmen, and producer/co-screenwriter Christopher Nolan, who put the cinematic “dark” in Batman’s Dark […]

The Teenagers Who Created Superman

posted by Nell Minow

Seventy-five years ago, two teenage boys created Superman, the most enduring superhero of all time.  He has appeared with great success in every possible form of media, starting in comic books and radio and then in movies and several television […]

At Long Last: At Long Last Love

posted by Nell Minow

“At Long Last Love” was one of the most derided films of its era, mostly for reasons that had nothing to do with the film.  Director Peter Bogdanovich had left his wife for his star, Cybill Shepherd, and ticket-buyers were […]

The Internship

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying, and language
Movie Release Date:June 7, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying, and language
Movie Release Date: June 7, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013

Co-writer and star Vince Vaughn brings us what is basically a remake of his “Old School,” a sort of “Revenge of the Un-Nerds” with a little “Legally Blonde,” and a lot from pretty much every story about  a group of […]

The Kings of Summer

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

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

Interview: Jordan Vogt-Roberts of The Kings of Summer

posted by Nell Minow

Jordan Vogt-Roberts’s first feature film is “The Kings of Summer,” the story of three teenage boys who run away and build a house in the woods.  It’s one of my favorite movies of the year, so I was very glad […]

Beyond Belief: SundanceNOW Doc Club Series on Faith

posted by Nell Minow

Starting tomorrow, SundanceNOW Doc Club will premiere its “Beyond Belief” series of documentaries that provide an intimate look at what motivates and affirms belief, examining and challenging the limits of religious conviction.  Highlights of the series include: “Raw Faith, an intimate […]

Interview: Alex Gibney of “We Steal Secrets: The Wikileaks Story”

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School

I spoke to Alex Gibney, one of my favorite filmmakers, about his brilliant documentary on Wikileaks. The most interesting character in the movie is Bradley Manning.  Where is he now? He’s in prison, finally Leavenworth, after eight months in solitary confinement […]

We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some disturbing violent images, language, and sexual material
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some disturbing violent images, language, and sexual material
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013

The internet has made it possible to share all of the world’s knowledge. Sometimes that is a good thing, whether we’re able to track down just the exact item we want at the lowest possible price or make micro-loans to […]

Before Midnight

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

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

After Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for action violence and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 8, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for action violence and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2013

“After Earth” goes off the rails in the first minute as Jaden Smith (the “Karate Kid” remake, “The Pursuit of Happyness”) opens the story with a near unintelligible voice-over narration with some mishmash about how a thousand years before all […]

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 […]

Interview with Ryan Simpkins of “Space Warriors” (and a Chance to Win A Trip to Space Camp)

posted by Nell Minow

Space Warriors is the story of a group of extraordinary teens recruited for Space Camp, who battle for their chance to win a seat in the next shuttle to space, and learn the importance of teamwork, dedication and friendship when they get […]

Interview: Thomas Horn of “Space Warriors”

posted by Nell Minow

Thomas Horn, Jeopardy champion and star of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” appears in this week’s “Space Warriors.”  The movie premieres on Friday, May 31st at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel and co-stars Ryan Simpkins, Danny Glover, Dermot Mulroney, Josh […]

MVP of the Summer: Animated Snails?

posted by Nell Minow

Are snails the penguins of 2013? For a while, penguins were the adorable go-to, in movies from “Madagascar” to “Surf’s Up” to the record-breaking documentary “March of the Penguins.”  But this summer, the cutest creatures in animated movies seem to […]

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 […]

For Memorial Day: Two Outstanding Short Films

posted by Nell Minow

For Memorial Day, Sundance is making available online two outstanding short films about the military. Please take time to watch them with your family. For aviation fans, get ready for a ton of wonderful archival footage coming your way in […]

For Memorial Day: Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

For Memorial Day, take a look at these documentaries about our military: War of 1812 The History Channel Presents The War of 1812 The young country proved its commitment to independence with this war against Britain that gave us a […]

Behind the Candelabra: The Real Story of Liberace and Scott Thorson

posted by Nell Minow

Behind the Candelabra premieres this weekend on HBO.  It is based on the hard to believe but true story of one of the most popular and flamboyant stars of the 1950’s and 60’s, who went by just one name: Liberace. […]

Fast & Furious 6

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and mayhem throughout, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date:May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and mayhem throughout, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2013

The storylines of the “Fast and Furious” franchise may be preposterous, but what’s even harder to believe is that, contrary to the history of just about every other multi-sequel series and what I thought were the laws of nature, these […]

What Maisie Knew

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

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

The Hangover Part III

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity
Movie Release Date:May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 8, 2013
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity
Movie Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2013

Let’s hope that this movie is the much-needed stake in the heart to the triligization of popular movies (okay, with an exception for Richard Linklater’s “Before” series and “Toy Story”).  I began to think of the three films as a […]

Star Trek: Into Darkness

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 9, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2013

This time, there’s crying in “Star Trek.”  And some very significant time on Earth as well.  This story is in the most literal sense, close to home. Writer-director J.J. Abrams, who rebooted Gene Roddenberry’s original “Star Trek” saga with a […]

Trailer: The Butler Tells the Story of A Man Who Served Eight Presidents

posted by Nell Minow

Lee Daniels (“Precious”) directs this story of Cecil Gaines, the White House butler who served eight Presidents, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, with Robin Williams as Harry Truman, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda […]

Trailer: Tom Hanks Stars in Somali Pirate Drama “Captain Phillips”

posted by Nell Minow

For Mother’s Day: Irene Dunne in “I Remember Mama”

posted by Nell Minow

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posted 8:42:32am Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

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posted 8:00:51am Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Dick Van Dyke to Guest Star on "The Middle"
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posted 8:00:06am Apr. 20, 2015 | read full post »

The Hobbit: The Definitive Movie Posters
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posted 3:16:48pm Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Ebertfest #3 -- The "Ida" Panel
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk2--Y8hfqQ[/youtube] Thanks to Matt Zoller Seitz, Sheila O'Malley, and Todd Rendleman for our superb discussion about this year's Oscar winner for best foreign language movie, "Ida." ...

posted 8:59:24am Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

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