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genre

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quality

  • A+, A, A-
  • B+, B, B-
  • C+, C, C-
  • D+, D, D-
  • F+, F, F-

who's watching

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  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
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Clip: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s release, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ with Andrew Garfield and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.

Trailer: If I Stay with Chloe Grace Moretz

posted by Nell Minow

Get out your handkerchiefs. If I Stay, based on the book by Gayle Forman, stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley.

The Other Woman

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references and language (on appeal from the original R rating)
Movie Release Date:April 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 29, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references and language (on appeal from the original R rating)
Movie Release Date: April 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 29, 2014

The latest in a female-centered revenge comedy genre that extends from “9 to 5″ through “She-Devil,” “The Other Woman” is intended to be a merry little tale of female empowerment and grrrl power.  Instead it is soggy, haphazard, poorly paced […]

Walking With the Enemy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 28, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 28, 2014

Why do we keep making movies about the Holocaust? Because we are still trying to understand one of the most shocking, inhumane tragedies in history. Because it is the essence of heightened, dramatic storylines, with the most depraved real-life villains, […]

The Top 100 Animated Films of All Time: The Animators Pick

posted by Nell Minow

Time Out New York asked top animators to pick the greatest 100 animated films of all time.  All the Disney, Pixar, and Miyazaki classics are there, plus some surprises.  I have some disagreements, but am entirely in favor of the […]

Disney Classic: Funny Little Bunnies

posted by Nell Minow

Movie Stingers: Scenes After the Credits

posted by Nell Minow

Ferris Bueller had one.  Marvel superhero movies sometimes have two.  When did it become a thing to have a scene after the credits (sometimes called a stinger)? New York Magazine’s Vulture column has the history of these extended post-credit scenes, […]

Fading Gigolo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: April 19, 2014

John Turturro wrote, directed, and stars in “Fading Gigolo,” a bittersweet meditation on the ways we seek and hide from intimacy, sometimes at the same time. Turturro plays Fioravante, a florist who works part-time for Murray (Woody Allen), the third-generation […]

Transcendence

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 22, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Movie Release Date: April 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 22, 2014

Think of it as “Her 2: The Revenge of Him.” Or Samantha infected by Heartbleed. Just as in last holiday season’s Her, “Transcendence” is the story of an artificial intelligence contained in a computer program that becomes or is seen […]

Bears

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 12, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 12, 2014

This year’s Disney Nature release for Earth Day is “Bears,” the story of an Alaskan bear named Sky and her twin cubs, Scout and Amber, their trek from the den where they’ve hibernated all winter to a place where they […]

Heaven is for Real

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material including some medical situations
Movie Release Date:April 16, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 21, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material including some medical situations
Movie Release Date: April 16, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 21, 2014

A movie like “Heaven is for Real” requires two different reviews, one for believers/fans of the 1.5 million-volume best-selling book, one for those who are unfamiliar with the book and whose views about faith and heaven and proof may differ […]

Heaven is for Real: The Real Story

posted by Nell Minow

“Heaven is for Real” opens tomorrow, with Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo, a Nebraska pastor whose four-year-old son says that he visited heaven during surgery for a ruptured appendix.  It is based on a best-selling book Heaven is for Real: […]

Trailer: Gone Girl with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

posted by Nell Minow

Take a look at the very creepy trailer from director David Fincher for the upcoming “Gone Girl” based on the best-seller by Gillian Flynn.

Under the Skin

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for graphic nudity, sexual content, some violence and language
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic nudity, sexual content, some violence and language
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2014

This haunting, provocative film is the essence of what it means to call a work of art “adult,” not because of its explicit nudity and sexual situations but because of the way it presents and engages with them. It is […]

Trailer: Dolphin Tale 2

posted by Nell Minow

Dolphin Tale 2” is the sequel to the successful 2011 family film “Dolphin Tale.”  Inspirational professional surfer Bethany Hamilton (the subject of the feature “Soul Surfer”) will join returning cast members Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, Ashley Judd, […]

Rio 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 14, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2014

Just because a South American frog has toxic venom that can cause instant death does not mean she cannot be adorably lovesick.  Broadway belter Kristin Chenoweth (“Wicked,” “Glee”) steals the show right under the Brazil nut-cracking beaks of our old […]

Draft Day

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 2, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2014

How do you choose? That is a critical and daunting question for anyone. And a defining one, too. How can we take what we know now and figure out what we will need in the future? In this film, set […]

Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals Get New Releases from Fox

posted by Nell Minow

Fox Home Entertainment is releasing the Rodgers & Hammerstein Blu-ray Collection on May 6. This Amazon-exclusive collection will feature six of the 15-time Academy Award-winning movie musicals by the EGOT and Pulitzer Award-winning team of Rodgers & Hammerstein, including Best […]

Trailer: Decoding Annie Parker

posted by Nell Minow

Helen Hunt, Samantha Morton, Aaron Paul, Rashida Jones, and Corey Stoll star in this fact-based story of two women, one with breast cancer and one trying to solve the genetic link in families with high incidence, research that led to […]

Contest: The Jungle Book

posted by Nell Minow

I’m thrilled to have one of my all-time favorite Disney classics to give away: The Jungle Book.  The last film personally supervised by Walt Disney himself, this one has brilliant voice talent (Phil Harris, Louis Prima, Sebastian Cabot) and some […]

Interview: “Island Of Lemurs” Filmmakers

posted by Nell Minow

I spoke with the humans behind the gorgeous new IMAX nature film, “Island of Lemurs 3D: Madagascar,” Drew Feldman (writer/producer), David Douglas (director/cinematographer), and Dr. Patricia Wright, about the challenges of making the film and the more daunting challenges of […]

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2014

The people behind the marvelous 3D IMAx Born to be Wild have made another awwww-inspiring story of some of the world’s least-known and most adorable and intriguing creatures, the more than a hundred species of lemurs, found only on the […]

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout
Movie Release Date:April 3, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 8, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout
Movie Release Date: April 3, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 8, 2014

This is how you make a superhero movie. Director brothers Joe and Anthony Russo are best known for sitcoms with few but passionate fans (“Community,” “Happy Endings,” “Arrested Development”) and the underrated crime comedy “Welcome to Collinwood.” That is not […]

The Unknown Known

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:April 3, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: April 3, 2014

Errol Morris turns his famous “interrotron” camera on two-time Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for something between a bookend and a counterpoint to his Oscar-winning The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. But this […]

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2014

It was a galvanizing moment.  A divisive moment.  An iconic moment. President George H.W. Bush had just nominated Clarence Thomas to be the second black man and the first black Republican Supreme Court justice.  The Senate Judiciary Committee was conducting […]

Windy Day by John and Faith Hubley

posted by Nell Minow

This time of year always makes me think of “Windy Day,” one of my favorite short films.  John and Faith Hubley created this wonderfully impressionistic animation using a recording of their daughters playing together as a soundtrack.

Stripped: Amazing New Documentary on Comics Now Available on iTunes

posted by Nell Minow

I’m a big fan of comic strips and a proud Kickstarter contributor to the new documentary “Stripped,” out today on iTunes. There is no better way to celebrate April 1st, spring, or just the joy of laughter than this look […]

Interview: Rachel Boynton of Oil Business Documentary “Big Men”

posted by Nell Minow

Documentarian Rachel Boynton (Our Brand Is Crisis) spent seven years filming “Big Men,” a documentary about what happens when the American oil business meets a previously unknown oil reserve in Ghana.  Is it possible for American business, with its obligations […]

How Many of These Cartoon Theme Songs Can You Identify?

posted by Nell Minow

There are some cartoony hints to help you out. But if you want to see the entire list, it is here.

Noah

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date:March 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 28, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date: March 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 28, 2014

“Noah” is a serious, thoughtful, reverent movie that, like its title character, wrestles with the big issues of morality, survivor guilt, and strengthening a connection to the divine.  It is also a big, grand adventure with drama and special effects. […]

Sabotage

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Movie Release Date:March 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 22, 2014
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Movie Release Date: March 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 22, 2014

“Sabotage” begins with two painful images.  A woman is being horribly tortured.  And Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the man watching it happen on video, is trying to act. As generic as its title, “Sabotage” wastes no time or effort on such, […]

Exclusive Clip: The Little Rascals Save the Day

posted by Nell Minow

The Little Rascals are back!  The beloved comedy series from the earliest days of film featured the wild adventures of Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Buckwheat, their dog Petey, and the rest of the gang.  On April 1, the all-new story “The […]

Behind the Scenes: Island of Lemurs

posted by Nell Minow

Morgan Freeman narrates the IMAX 3D® documentary “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” the incredible true story of nature’s greatest explorers—lemurs.  Here’s an early peek at the film, coming soon to IMAX theaters across the country.

Trailer: The Giver

posted by Nell Minow

Meryl Streep stars in this movie based on the Newbery award winning novel about a seemingly perfect world by Lois Lowry.

Trailer: Sophia Grace and Rosie’s Royal Adventure

posted by Nell Minow

In their first film, Ellen DeGeneres sends the adorable Sophia Grace and Rosie on a royal adventure.  The DVD will be out on May 20.

Divergent

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:March 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: March 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2014

Another day, another movie based on darkly dystopic book trilogy with a brave and beautiful teenaged girl who is the only one who can save the world. This time it is Tris (Shailene Woodley), who lives in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, […]

Muppets Most Wanted

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action
Movie Release Date:March 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 11, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action
Movie Release Date: March 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 11, 2014

The Muppets live up to the title in this adorable follow-up that is even truer to the essence of Muppetry than the Jason Segal predecessor because it puts the Muppets themselves at the heart of the story, not the humans. […]

A Birder’s Guide to Everything

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for language, sex and drug references, and brief partial nudity
Movie Release Date:March 21, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for language, sex and drug references, and brief partial nudity
Movie Release Date: March 21, 2014

First rule: do NOT call them bird watchers. These are seriously ornithophilic teenagers and the correct term is “birder.” Maybe one reason they like birds so much is that the three members of the high school birder society — all […]

Exclusive Clip: Walking With Dinosaurs

posted by Nell Minow

Enjoy this exclusive clip from “Walking with Dinosaurs,” the gorgeously animated story of a young dinosaur, with the voice talents of Justin Long and John Leguizamo.  In a time when dinosaurs rule the Earth, the smallest of the pack — a […]

Trailer: Get On Up — The James Brown Story

posted by Nell Minow

Chadwick Boseman (“42″) looks electrifying as James Brown in this biopic directed by “The Help’s” Tate Taylor, produced by Ron Howard, and co-starring Viola Davis, Jill Scott, and Octavia Spencer.  It will be in theaters this summer.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date:March 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 16, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date: March 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 16, 2014

Writer/director Wes Anderson loves precious little worlds and his movies are not just created, they are curated. There’s a reason that this film is named for its location, not its characters or plot. Anderson is the master of “saudade,” the […]

Need for Speed

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
Movie Release Date:March 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 4, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
Movie Release Date: March 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2014

Important tip: If the word “speed” is in the title of the movie, don’t make it over two hours long. And especially, don’t make it feel even longer than that. Clearly going for the “Fast and Furious” vibe with a […]

Veronica Mars

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

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

Watch the Oscar-Winning Animated Short Film: Mr. Hublot

posted by Nell Minow

In this charming story, a man finds his life transformed by a robot pet.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and brief rude humor
Movie Release Date:March 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 14, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and brief rude humor
Movie Release Date: March 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 14, 2014

Jay Ward’s irresistibly daffy cartoons of the early 1960’s were charming and witty, with a post-modern meta wink at the fourth wall, wacky puns, and jokes that kids would suddenly remember and understand years later.  This reboot is smarmy, overblown, […]

Trailer–Transformers: Age of Extinction with Mark Wahlberg

posted by Nell Minow

300: Rise of an Empire

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a new term: this movie is neither a sequel nor a prequel to 300, the story of the 300 Spartans who died battling the vastly greater army of the Persians. This is a “side-quel,” a “meanwhile” story about what […]

Let the Fire Burn — Coming to George Mason University March 19, 2014

posted by Nell Minow

“In the masterfully crafted Let the Fire Burn, viewers are thrown back into a time that seems both ancient and wrenchingly immediate, when mutual fear, suspicion and misunderstanding combusted in a grievous, literally fatal, explosion.” Ann Hornaday, Washington Post The GMU FAMS […]

Trailer: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most touching moments of the Oscars was the award for a documentary short called “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.”  It is the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, who died […]

Interview: Joshua Oppenheimer of “The Act of Killing”

posted by Nell Minow

If I were voting, “The Act of Killing” would not only win the Best Documentary Oscar, it would be a contender for Best Picture as well.  Director Joshua Oppenheimer broke through barriers from the secrecy and denial of government-sanctioned gangster […]

Non-Stop

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
Movie Release Date:February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
Movie Release Date: February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

I’ve got nothing against action movies that are dumb fun (see last week’s review of 3 Days to Kill). My bar is pretty low. I don’t ask them to make sense. But “Non-Stop” sinks to a level of ridiculousness that […]

Son of God

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence
Movie Release Date:February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 2, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence
Movie Release Date: February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 2, 2014

“Son of God,” re-cut and expanded from the popular miniseries produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, “The Bible,” tells the story of Jesus from birth to crucifixion and resurrection in a thoughtful, reverent, and dignified manner. This is a […]

Coming Soon: the Veronica Mars Movie

posted by Nell Minow

Want to be Kristen Bell’s date at the premiere?  Check this out.

Interview: Patrick Creadon of “If You Build It”

posted by Nell Minow

Patrick Creadon is the director of the new documentary “If You Build It,” the story of an idealistic young couple who movie to a depressed North Carolina community to teach teenagers how to solve problems with design.  He talked to […]

Trailer: Soap Life and the Rise and Fall of Soap Operas

posted by Nell Minow

People make fun of soap operas, but they have passionate fans who appreciate the unique opportunity to follow characters over decades of drama — not just marriages and divorces and babies and affairs but kidnappings and amnesia and even an […]

3 Days to Kill

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014

Kevin Costner is back, big time, with five scheduled releases this year. It’s only February, and this is his second big spies-and-shoot-outs action film of 2014, following Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  This one, from writer Luc Besson and director McG […]

Pompeii

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014

In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, wiping out the city of Pompeii. Director Paul W.S. Anderson, who gave us movie versions of “Resident Evil” and “Mortal Kombat,” presents the story as a video game. If what you are looking for […]

If You Build It

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:February 21, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: February 21, 2014

An idealistic young couple from big cities moves to a tiny, economically depressed town in North Carolina for a project that will take advantage of what they think is “an untapped resource” — teenagers. Emily Polliton, TED talker and co-author […]

President Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Why have there been no great films about George Washington? And why are there so many films featuring Abraham Lincoln? From the John Ford classic Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda, to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there is something about the […]

Trailer: Authors Anonymous

posted by Nell Minow

“The Big Bang Theory’s” Kaley Cuoco stars in the romantic indie “Authors Anonymous,” along with the late Dennis Farina and “Election’s” Chris Klein.

For Valentine’s Day: Three Great Movie Kisses

posted by Nell Minow

From my book, 101 Must-See Movie Moments: It was reputed to be Alfred Hitchcock’s own favorite of all his movies, and it was the acknowledged favorite of critic-turned filmmaker Francois Truffaut, whose book-length interview of Hitchcock is essential reading for […]

Winter’s Tale

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2014

“Winter’s Tale,” based on the acclaimed novel by Mark Helprin is deeply romantic but also pretty daffy. There are exquisite images and some grand themes but also some clangers, some murky mishmash in the set-up, poorly designed special effects, and […]

About Last Night

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for for sexual content, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for for sexual content, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2014

Kevin Hart, who starred in the surprisingly successful “Ride Along” just last month, is back with a much sharper, funnier comedy that is ideal for making the best use of his brash, motormouth persona. Even more important, for the first […]

List: Movies About Lincoln

posted by Nell Minow

Happy birthday, Abraham Lincoln! Celebrate the birthday of our 16th President with some of the classic movies about his life. Reportedly, he has been portrayed more on screen than any other real-life character.  I was honored to be invited to […]

New Sci-Fi Coming to Television: American Gods and Redshirts

posted by Nell Minow

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods has taken a step toward becoming a television show. For a long time it was in development at HBO, where it bogged down. But now it is in the hands of FremantleMedia, the producers of “The […]

Original Version: Endless Love

posted by Nell Minow

Scott Spencer’s book Endless Love is, as its title suggests, a deeply romantic story about a teenager utterly swept away by a love that consumes him, and ultimately everyone around him.  When the girl’s father says he cannot see her, he […]

The Jungle Book

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1966
DVD Release Date:February 10, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1966
DVD Release Date: February 10, 2014

The last animated film personally overseen by Walt Disney  is “The Jungle Book,” inspired by the Rudyard Kipling story of a boy abandoned in the forest who is raised by the animals.  It has some of the most endearing and […]

Original Version: About Last Night…

posted by Nell Minow

First there was a play about what was not then yet called “hookup culture” or “booty calls” by pre-“Glengarry Glen Ross”/”The Verdict” David Mamet.  The title was “Sexual Perversity in Chicago.”  Both the title and the script were softened for […]

Tonight on PBS: Alice Walker

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on most PBS stations is the premiere of a new episode of the American Masters series, “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth,” in honor of the acclaimed author’s 70th birthday and Black History Month. Walker is the first African-American woman to […]

Family Movies for the Olympics

posted by Nell Minow

The First Olympics: Athens 1896, one of my very favorite sports movies ever, is a made-for-TV miniseries about the first modern-day Olympics. We take the Olympics as a given now, but there were 1500 years between the time of the […]

The Monuments Men

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking
Movie Release Date:February 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 19, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking
Movie Release Date: February 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 19, 2014

Many years ago, my husband and I attended an art auction at which one item was a pencil drawing of a peaceful river setting, made by an Austrian art student in the early 20th century: Adolf Hitler.  The bidding opened […]

The LEGO Movie

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

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

Charlie Chaplin’s 100th Year of Movies

posted by Nell Minow

One hundred years ago this week, British music hall star Charlie Chaplin made his first Hollywood film, the silent “It’s a Living.” It would be a little while before his classic character of the little tramp really came together. He […]

This is Why I’m Rooting for the Seahawks

posted by Nell Minow

The first legally deaf NFL player surprises his two biggest fans.  P.S.  Did you know that the football huddle was invented by the deaf players at Gallaudet University so that the opposing team would not see their hand signals?

Happy Groundhog Day!

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s hoping for an early spring! Ali Arikan’s great essay about “Groundhog Day” is here.

Two Film Noir Classics Now Free Streaming

posted by Nell Minow

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

A Remake Planned of “The Incredible Mr. Limpet”

posted by Nell Minow

Richard Linklater (“Before Midnight,” “School of Rock”) is going to direct a remake of the Don Knotts fantasy The Incredible Mr. Limpet, made in 1964 but set in the early days of the second World War. It’s the story of […]

Labor Day

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

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

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 […]

Previous Posts

Coming in July 2015: Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys, Minions, and Amy Schumer's Trainwreck
Happy July! As usual, this July is going to be filled with blockbusters, sequels, remakes, raunchy comedies, and superheroes, but there are some worthwhile smaller films as well. Opening today, for the holiday weekend, we have two sequels. ...

posted 8:00:49am Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Magic Mike XXL
"We're healers," one of the male exotic dancers, explains to another in "Magic Mike XXL."  They're here to bring a smile to women who ...

posted 6:02:11pm Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Terminator Genisys
"I'll be back," Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the first "Terminator" movie. He had the title role but only 16 lines, with about a total of 80 words. But those ...

posted 5:15:15pm Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Stephen "tWitch" Boss of "Magic Mike XXL"
I asked actor/dancer Stephen "tWitch" Boss whether it was as much fun to make "Magic Mike XXL" as it looked, and he said, "Absolutely and even ...

posted 3:45:10pm Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: All Creatures Big and Small -- FREE for a Limited Time on Google Play
[jwvideo vid='OIjUWfMd' pid='GvkPWNBE'] Martin Sheen and Amy Grant provide the voices in this animated animal adventure inspired by Noah's Ark, from Entertainment One (eOne). "All Creatures Big and Small" will be available for free for a ...

posted 3:44:16pm Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

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