I am delighted to be able to present an exclusive clip from “Ida,” the new award-winning film written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, opening May 2. Poland 1962. Anna (newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska) is a beautiful eighteen-year-old woman, preparing to become […]
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 […]
My gallery of Easter movies includes “Ben Hur,” several different movie versions of the life of Jesus, a couple of choices just for kids, and a classic musical named for a classic song, Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade.” There’s something for […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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” 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: […]
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.
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Noah may be controversial, but it is also a box office success. Literalists complained about its departure from the Biblical text. There were also some complaints about what some viewers interpreted as too much emphasis on environmentalism, and those who wanted […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“Remember also that no servant is greater than his master.” The Passion of The Christ is making its commercial television debut on UP TV on Palm Sunday night, April 13.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
There are some cartoony hints to help you out. But if you want to see the entire list, it is here.
“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” 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, […]
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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 […]
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.
Meryl Streep stars in this movie based on the Newbery award winning novel about a seemingly perfect world by Lois Lowry.
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.
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, […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
It was great to catch up with Kevin Sorbo to hear about his new role as an atheist professor with a student who is a committed Christian in “God’s Not Dead” from Pure Flix. The last time I talked to you, […]
Here’s star Kevin Sorbo — interview with him coming next week.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
In this charming story, a man finds his life transformed by a robot pet.
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, […]
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 […]
In the midst of the silly battles over “Noah,” Liel Leibovitz has a superb piece on the Tablet website about how the best movies always have a religious component. As is often the case when we strive to talk seriously […]
“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 […]
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 […]
The History Channel’s Bible Secrets Revealed premieres on DVD today and I have three copies to give away! The series covers the history of the Bible and its translations and editors over the centuries, from the moral codes of the Old Testament […]
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 […]
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,” 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 […]
Want to be Kristen Bell’s date at the premiere? Check this out.
“I just put on hand cream, so I can’t shake your hand,” Roma Downey said as I walked into the room. “You’ll just have to get a hug.” Fine with me! I was there to talk to Downey and her […]
As I noted earlier, Variety reported the results of a bogus survey as though it represented legitimate concerns from the faith community about the upcoming film, “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe and directed by Darren Aronofsky. It is always disappointing when […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Russell Crowe plays Noah in a new movie from director Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler,” “Requiem for a Dream”) and co-starring “Harry Potter’s” Emma Watson and Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly. Variety reports that a group called “Faith Driven Consumers” conducted a poll […]
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 […]
“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.
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,” 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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?
Here’s hoping for an early spring! Ali Arikan’s great essay about “Groundhog Day” is here.
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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. […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
WGN America and he Weinstein Company are joining together to produce “Ten Commandments,” a 10-part scripted series that with directors including Gus Van Sant, Lee Daniels, Jim Sheridan, Wes Craven and Michael Cera each taking on a different commandment and giving […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
Start the new year by joining this wonderful project and find out how being grateful will transform your life.
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 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 […]
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 […]
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!
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. […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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” 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). […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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,” […]
“Jews Telling Jokes & Stories” on Doc Club in December The Jewish legacy of storytelling and humor enlivens December Doc Club’s diverse selection of films on IFC’s SundanceNOW, a virtual destination for streaming independent films online. From classic Jewish comedy to a look into […]
“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 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 […]
Veggie Tales: Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas is the latest holiday treat from Bob and Larry and the gang, and it is one of their best. “Merry Larry” is an enthusiastic employee of the Spring Valley Mall who […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
The people behind the smash worldwide success miniseries “The Bible” now bring the story of Jesus’ life to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
This looks every bit as awesome as I was hoping! Coming in March of 2014. In the meantime, read Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Coming to theaters for Easter 2014
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 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 […]
Watch a 60-second version of my Pick of the Week, the cute “Turbo” about the NASCAR racing snail.
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 […]
Idris Elba stars as Nelson Mandela in this film, opening November 29.
Disney’s latest animated release will be out for Thanksgiving. Here’s a sneak peek:
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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; […]
Really! It looks awesome, doesn’t it?
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 […]
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 […]
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 — 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 […]
SpiritClips, a wonderful online resources for uplifting films, is premiering “Four Chaplains,” based on a true story of extraordinary heroism and sacrifice. In 1943, four Army chaplains of different faiths banded together to save military and civilian personnel aboard the […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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)
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
I’m in Love With a Church Girl is inspired by the true story of writer/director Galley Molina. It stars Ja Rule, Stephen Baldwin, T-Bone, and Michael Madsen, and will be in theaters on October 18. I enjoyed speaking to Galley about […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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. […]
Twenty former White House Chiefs of Staff tell their stories in this two-part documentary narrated by Kevin Bacon.
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 […]
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 […]