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quality

  • A+, A, A-
  • B+, B, B-
  • C+, C, C-
  • D+, D, D-
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In a World….

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual refeences
Movie Release Date:August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 23, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual refeences
Movie Release Date: August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 23, 2014

Writer/director/star Lake Bell has produced a smart, fresh, and funny film that sends up Hollywood, sexism, and the conventions of the romantic comedy and yet somehow has us rooting for the characters to find a happy ending.  And she has […]

Shakespeare’s Hollow Crown Plays Coming on DVD

posted by Nell Minow

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

Elysium

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

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

Planes

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

We’re the Millers

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

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

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

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

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

Oliver & Company

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

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

Robin Hood

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

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

The Sword in the Stone

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

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

2 Guns

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

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

Blue Jasmine

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 26, 2013
DVD Release Date:Januar
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 26, 2013
DVD Release Date: Januar

Two sisters. One imagines herself living a life of ease, comfort, graciousness, and elegance that does not really exist. The other is more accepting of her lower middle class life, her carnality, her limited expectations. The first sister loses everything […]

Trailer: The Box Trolls

posted by Nell Minow

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

Cloudburst

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

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

Trailer: When Comedy Went to School

posted by Nell Minow

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

Happy 70th Birthday Mick Jagger!

posted by Nell Minow

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

First Kiss: “The Spectacular Now”

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Wolverine

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

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

Still Mine

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief sensuality/partial nudity
Movie Release Date:July 19, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief sensuality/partial nudity
Movie Release Date: July 19, 2013

Why do we spend so much time in movies watching young people fall in love? Why is the wedding so often the happy ending? “Still Mine” is a beautifully performed true-life tale of a couple who have been deeply in […]

RED 2

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

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

Fruitvale Station

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

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

Turbo

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

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

This Week on the Disney Channel: Teen Beach Movie

posted by Nell Minow

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

Pacific Rim

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

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

Charade

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

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

Trailer: Romeo and Juliet

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Lone Ranger

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

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

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

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

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

Trailer: Jennifer Hudson in “Black Nativity”

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Way Way Back

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

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

Trailer: Still Mine

posted by Nell Minow

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

Despicable Me 2

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

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

For the 4th of July: 1776

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2013
DVD Release Date:July 1, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2013
DVD Release Date: July 1, 2013

The latest in the terrific series of American Girls movies is the story of Saige (Sidney Fullmer), a talented artist and a horse-lover.  She is devastated to learn that due to budget cuts, there will be no more art class […]

The Heat

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

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

Nelson Mandela on Film

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

White House Down

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

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

Interview: “American Idol’s” Brooke White on Hallmark Channel’s “Banner 4th of July”

posted by Nell Minow

American Idol star Brooke White talked to me about her role in “Banner 4th of July,” premiering on the Hallmark Channel this Saturday at 9/8c.  White plays Desiree Banner, who once was in a successful band called The Banner Project […]

Apostles of Comedy: Onwards and Upwards

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

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

Help!

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

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

Monsters University

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

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

Much Ado About Nothing

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

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

Father’s Day on TCM: Mankiewicz and Mankiewicz

posted by Nell Minow

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

Some of the Best Movie Dads are Animated

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Father’s Day!

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Fill the Void

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:June 14, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: June 14, 2013

A young woman about to choose the man she will marry is torn between her own desires and the wishes of her devout family, ultra-Orthodox Jews.  We know where the American version of this story would go — the triumph […]

Man of Steel

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

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

The Teenagers Who Created Superman

posted by Nell Minow

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

At Long Last: At Long Last Love

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Internship

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

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

The Kings of Summer

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

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

Interview: Jordan Vogt-Roberts of The Kings of Summer

posted by Nell Minow

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

Beyond Belief: SundanceNOW Doc Club Series on Faith

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

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

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

We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

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

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

Before Midnight

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

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

After Earth

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

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

Now You See Me

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Interview: Thomas Horn of “Space Warriors”

posted by Nell Minow

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

MVP of the Summer: Animated Snails?

posted by Nell Minow

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

Epic

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language
Movie Release Date:May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 19, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language
Movie Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2013

“Epic” means big — usually a big story filled with grand adventures. This is a grand adventure, but the story is very small, or at least its characters are. Like “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,”  “A Bug’s Life,” and “The […]

For Memorial Day: Two Outstanding Short Films

posted by Nell Minow

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

For Memorial Day: Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Fast & Furious 6

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

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

What Maisie Knew

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

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

The Hangover Part III

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

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

Star Trek: Into Darkness

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

posted by Nell Minow

Interview: Maiken Baird and Michelle Major of “Venus and Serena”

posted by Nell Minow

“Venus and Serena” is an enthralling new documentary about two of the most acclaimed athletes of our time.  Their story is even more extraordinary because they are sisters.  Venus and Serena Williams have won world trophies and broken records since […]

Peeples

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material and language
Movie Release Date:May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 10, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material and language
Movie Release Date: May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 10, 2013

Sometimes I think that all the myths and fairy tales about scary monsters, dragons, and ogres are just metaphors for life’s most terrifying meeting — the introduction to the family of one’s beloved.  Every family is its own country, with […]

The Great Gatsby

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.
Movie Release Date:May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.
Movie Release Date: May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2013

Kids, here’s a hint: Don’t think you can pass a sophomore English exam on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz age classic and high school reading list perennial by watching this movie.  While this version of the story of a man who […]

Iron Man 3

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date:May 3, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 23, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date: May 3, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 23, 2013

Good for Marvel/Disney in keeping the title simple.  No fancy Roman numerals, no colon, so extra words about the return of this or the revenge of that.  But if there was a second title for this third in the “Iron […]

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day — A New Live Action Feature Film

posted by Nell Minow

One of our family’s favorite books is the classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, with illustrations by Ray Cruz.  We all identify with poor Alexander, who has gum in his hair, loses his […]

Have a Tweet Chat with Wolverine

posted by Nell Minow

Fans are getting the special opportunity to ask Hugh Jackman questions about the highly anticipated film “The Wolverine.” Check out the Twitter pages for Hugh Jackman and The Wolverine on Thursday, May 2ndat 12:00 pm ET to see Hugh answer your questions via video!  You […]

History of the Eagles

posted by Nell Minow

The documentary about The Eagles is out today: It is a three-disc set including History of the Eagles Part One and History of the Eagles Part Two, as well as Eagles Live At The Capital Centre – March 1977, featuring never-before-released performances from the Eagles’ […]

Great Movie Lawyers

posted by Nell Minow

I’m a lawyer from a family of lawyers, and we all love law movies.  Be sure to check out Beliefnet’s list of courtroom dramas and Movie Unlimited’s list of great movie lawyers.

Never Forget to Lie — Tonight on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on “Frontline” is “Never Forget to Lie,” filmmaker Marian Marzynski explores, for the first time, his own wartime childhood and the experiences of other child survivors, teasing out their feelings about Poland, the Catholic Church, and the ramifications of identities […]

Pain & Gain

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout, and drug use
Movie Release Date:April 26, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout, and drug use
Movie Release Date: April 26, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2013

“Unfortunately, based on a true story,” we are warned as this film opens.  In case we forget, or, more likely, in case we assume the usual Hollywood embellishments, we are reminded, when things get really bizarre and really, really, really […]

Hava Nagila

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 26, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 26, 2013

It is annoying, frustrating, embarrassing, and irresistible.  It is a tradition that has transcended its origins and yet calls us back to the complicated feelings of our past. All of which makes it a perfect Rorschach test and intriguing metaphor for […]

Trailer for “Thor: The Dark World”

posted by Nell Minow

A Remake of “Guys and Dolls” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum?

posted by Nell Minow

New York Magazine’s Vulture blog says that a remake of the Frank Loesser classic musical “Guys and Dolls,” based on the stories of small-time gamblers and crooks by Damon Runyon.  The original movie starred Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, […]

Celebrate Earth Day With These Great Movies

posted by Nell Minow

In addition to previously recommended Earth Day movies, take a look at these gorgeous documentaries about the creatures with whom we share this great planet: 1. March of the Penguins This worldwide sensation takes us to Antarctica, where these elegant birds triumph over […]

New On Discovery: All the President’s Men Revisited

posted by Nell Minow

Whether you’re a Watergate junkie like me or don’t know how a “third-rate burglary” toppled a President and changed the world of American politics — for good, for bad, and forever, be sure to watch the Discovery Channel’s “All the President’s […]

Disconnect

posted by Nell Minow

Viewers will spend much of this movie mentally imploring the characters on screen not to do what it is all too disturbingly clear that they are ineluctably drawn to do.  This is a very scary movie with three stories about […]

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Paul Revere Day!  Here’s the classic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Trailer: Turbo

posted by Nell Minow

This looks adorable. Did you recognize the voices?  The cast includes Paul Giamatti, Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Peña, Snoop Dogg/Lion, Maya Rudolph, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Rodriguez. But “Push It” is becoming the new “I Feel Good.”  It […]

Trailer: Man of Steel

posted by Nell Minow

Contest: Adventures in Zambezia!

posted by Nell Minow

Adventures in Zambezia is a colorful new animated film from South Africa and I have one copy plus an activity book to give away.  It is the story of a falcon who leaves home in search of adventure and learns that […]

For Tax Day: The Mating Game and Stranger Than Fiction

posted by Nell Minow

In celebration of tax day, enjoy two romantic comedies about IRS agents. “The Mating Game” stars Tony Randall and Debbie Reynolds in a rollicking story about a warm-hearted farm family that never pays taxes because they do everything on the […]

The Magic Schoolbus: All About Earth

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:April 16, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: April 16, 2013

Just in time for Earth Day, Ms. Frizzles and the class go on three never-before-released episodes and a bonus from the popular series of animated adventures with science, with English and Spanish language options. The episodes are: “The Magic School […]

The Company You Keep

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 13, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2013

I can’t help thinking that even though this movie is based on a novel by Neil Gordon, it is primarily a trip down memory lane for director/star Robert Redford.  Shia LeBeouf plays Ben, an idealistic investigative reporter a la Redford in […]

Trance

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 22, 2013

Before he was the establishment figure who won Oscars for prestige projects (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and masterminded the fabulous opening ceremonies for the London Olympics that had the Queen and James Bond jumping out of a plane, Danny Boyle was a […]

To the Wonder

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013

Director Terrence Malick has made a movie for those fans who loved “Tree of Life” but thought it was too linear and easy to follow. “To the Wonder” is an impressionistic story of love and loss.  Theoretically it stars Ben […]

42

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2013

Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play major league baseball. His number, 42, is worn by every player once a year to commemorate his achievements as a baseball player and as a man.  This version of the story […]

Planet Ocean

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Unrated
DVD Release Date:April 8, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: April 8, 2013

Josh Duhamel narrates this extraordinary documentary about one of our planet’s most precious resources, our oceans.  Filmed by directors Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, along with an outstanding team of international underwater cinematographers in partnership with OMEGA and with the […]

Interview: Janet Tobias of the Holocaust Documentary “No Place on Earth”

posted by Nell Minow

No Place on Earth is the extraordinary new documentary about a small group of Jews from Ukraine who hid from the Nazis in two caves for almost two years.  Interviews with the survivors, narration from a book written in the 1960’s […]

Sneak Peek: Pixar’s “Planes”

posted by Nell Minow

From Up on Poppy Hill

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images
Movie Release Date:April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 3, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images
Movie Release Date: April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 3, 2013

The animated films from Japan’s Studio Ghibli are adored by many American families for their lush and intricate hand-drawn animation and imaginative story lines.  But others, like me, find many of them uneven and inaccessible.  The latest, from Goro Miyazaki, son […]

Jurassic Park 3D

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror
Movie Release Date:April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 22, 2013
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror
Movie Release Date: April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 22, 2013

Back in 1993, what was astonishing in “Jurassic Park” was the special effects that seemed to bring dinosaurs back to life.  Two decades later, rediscovering Steven Spielberg’s mastery of cinematic storytelling is the best reason to go see it again. […]

Beliefnet’s Movie of the Month: Field of Dreams

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to check out my essay on our latest Movie of the Month, Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster, and based on Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.

The Bible: Now on DVD

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:April 2, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 2, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: April 2, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 2, 2013

The hit television series is now available on DVD. “Audiences embraced The Bible in numbers and with passion we never could have anticipated,” producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett said the morning after the finale aired on Easter. “What a great […]

Contest: To the Arctic

posted by Nell Minow

Meryl Streep narrates “To the Arctic,” the story of twin polar bear cubs and their mother that is a great family film.  And I have a copy to give away. It’s an extraordinary journey to the top of the world […]

Happy Opening Day! Visit The National Pastime Virtual Museum

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the baseball season’s opening day, visit the brand-new virtual museum of baseball history, The National Pastime.  It is an astonishing treasure trove, based on a collection of over 25,000 items, including equipment, contracts, photos, and artifacts.  Gaze […]

Best of Warner Brothers: Romances

posted by Nell Minow
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Varied
DVD Release Date:April 1, 2013
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Varied
DVD Release Date: April 1, 2013

This is a must-have for every family’s library — the latest in Warner Bros series of collections is its Romance series, with 20 of the all-time greatest movie love stories: timeless love, unforgettable affairs, and modern romance, filled with passion, […]

Mr. Selfridge — Starring Jeremy Piven

posted by Nell Minow

Emmy-winning actor Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”) stars in Mr. Selfridge, a new Masterpiece series on PBS about the larger than life American entrepreneur/impressario who created a retail revolution in early 20th century London.  The store he created, Selfridges, is still known for […]

The Sapphires

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements, and smoking
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 15, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements, and smoking
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 15, 2013

A very conventional story of a 60’s Australian girl group gains extra power from its context and setting in this fact-based story set to the beat of Motown soul.  Co-written by the son of one of the real-life singers and […]

The Host

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for some sensuality and violence
Movie Release Date:March 29, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sensuality and violence
Movie Release Date: March 29, 2013

The author of the Twilight series was showing signs of running out of ideas around the middle of the second volume, and this latest story shows more evidence of the pressure of producing a new series than anything approaching inspiration. […]

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:March 29, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 30, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: March 29, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 30, 2013

As big, dumb, action and explosions and “hell, yeah, ooyah” movies based on toys go, this one is a lot of fun.  Jon M. Chu, director of two of the “Step Up” movies and producer of the third knows how […]

Tugg — Bringing Indie Films to a Theater Near You

posted by Nell Minow

You love movies, and love to read about those intriguing indies that somehow never make it to your local multiplex.  You’d like to see them in a theater, not on a laptop.  A company called Tugg has the answer.  You […]

“Oz the Great and Powerful” — Opening Credits

posted by Nell Minow

I was utterly captivated from the first moment of these magical opening credits.  This sequence welcomes us into the world of the man who will become the Wizard and the magic he will encounter.

Watch “Star Trek” Free on Hulu This Week

posted by Nell Minow

The original “Star Trek” series is free on Hulu this week and Slate has a great list of the essential episodes everyone needs to see. But — what, no tribbles?

Contest! Charlie: A Toy Story

posted by Nell Minow

Charlie: A Toy Story will be out next week, but I have an early copy to give away. It’s the story of 10 year-old Caden and his best friend Charlie, a golden retriever. They visit Caden’s father Jack at his […]

Admission

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 9, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 9, 2013

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd seem perfect for each other. The characters they play in this movie are not as persuasive.  Fey is so much better than the adorkable rom-com role assigned to her here and Rudd is capable of […]

The Croods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 1, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 1, 2013

I think we can all agree that at least in some respects all children are Neanderthals. It is the grand challenge of parenthood to civilize these sometimes savage little creatures by teaching them language, manners, and keeping safe.  And some […]

Carter Goodrich and “The Croods”

posted by Nell Minow

I love the work of Carter Goodrich, an artist and illustrator who has worked on films like “Despicable Me” and “Hotel Transylvania.”  I was delighted to see that he has made his sketches for this week’s release, “The Croods,” available […]

Interview: Tom Bancroft of “Mulan”

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite Disney movies is out in a glorious new Blu-Ray/DVD release this week, Mulan and its sequel, Mulan II. “Mulan” is a gorgeously hand-animated film based on a traditional Chinese folktale about a girl who dresses as […]

Trailer: Epic

posted by Nell Minow

Really looking forward to this one, featuring the voices of Amanda Seyfried, Jason Sudeikis, Beyoncé, Aziz Ansari, Christoph Waltz, and Colin Farrell.

The Ides of March: Julius Caesar

posted by Nell Minow

Today is March 15, the day Julius Caesar was famously told to beware.  Here is a scene from the Joseph Mankiewicz movie, starring Marlon Brando, James Mason, Sir John Gielgud, and Louis Calhern.    

Upside Down

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence
Movie Release Date:March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence
Movie Release Date: March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013

 Argentinean writer-director Juan Solanas has created a work of bracingly singular imagination that is sheer visual pleasure, with some mind-bending ideas and a deeply romantic sensibility. We are told by Adam (Jim Sturgess) that throughout the universe, there is only one solar […]

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language
Movie Release Date:March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language
Movie Release Date: March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013

Everyone on screen seems to be having a blast, but this story of rival magicians in Las Vegas is not as much fun for the audience.  It wants to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but there’s really nothing […]

Veronica Mars Movie Funded by Kickstarter

posted by Nell Minow

It’s the ultimate fan dream come true!  The fans of the Kristen Bell television series Veronica Mars have come together on Kickstarter to raise more than $2 million to make a feature film. I love the thank you note from Kristen […]

Smile of the Week: Her Morning Elegance

posted by Nell Minow

How did they do it?

A Lost Song from “The Music Man”

posted by Nell Minow

“The Music Man” is my all-time favorite musical, so I was especially intrigued by this great blog post by Bob Elisberg about the “lost song” from the show.  It is hard to imagine that a musical that seems so organically […]

Fred Astaire Dances on the Ceiling — And Glee Pays Tribute

posted by Nell Minow

I held out longer than most but am now among the many whose enthusiasm for “Glee” has wavered.  But you know I loved this week’s tribute to classic songs from movies.  The “Top Gun”/”Risky Business” mash-up was fabulous.  And I […]

Bindi Irwin Stars in Hallmark Channel’s “Return to Nim’s Island”

posted by Nell Minow

Bindi Irwin, the 14-year-old daughter of wildlife enthusiast Steve Irwin, stars in “Return to Nim’s Island,” a Hallmark Channel Original Movie World Premiere on Friday, March 15 (8 p.m. ET/PT, 7C). “Return to Nim’s Island” kicks off Hallmark Channel’s new […]

Oz the Great and Powerful

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:March 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 10, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: March 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 10, 2013

A prequel to one of the most beloved films of all time is a daunting challenge, but Disney’s prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” manages to balance respect for the original with some fresh and appealing insights into the story. […]

Greedy Lying Bastards

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date:March 8, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date: March 8, 2013

Greedy Lying Bastards is a documentary that takes on two problems — the pernicious impact of industry on the environment and the effect of those changes on communities and the even more pressing problem of the pernicious impact of a […]

Veggie Tales: The Little House That Stood

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:March 5, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013

  Bob and Larry bring humor and wisdom to a classic story sure to delight kids and their families in The Little House That Stood, an Easter-themed story inspired by “The Three Little Pigs” and the parable of the wise […]

The Best Family Movie of All Time: The Wizard of Oz (and Other Versions)

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of the prequel, “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a good reason to take another look at what may be the greatest family movie of all time, the classic MGM musical version of “The Wizard of Oz,” […]

Unconditional

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent content and mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 5, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent content and mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013

This faith-based drama stars two top performers who give its fact-based story the sweetness and spirit that is sometimes lacking in the heartfelt but uneven script. Lynn Collins (“The Merchant of Venice,” “John Carter”) plays author Samantha Crawford, who is […]

Trailer: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

posted by Nell Minow

This one looks every bit as adorable (and as unrelated to the book) as the first one.

New on Blu-Ray: Laura

posted by Nell Minow

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

Phantom

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence
Movie Release Date: March 1, 2013

Submarine movies are immediately gripping because they are powerful microcosms that amplify conflict.  A small group of people in very close quarters, highly trained and with an explicit mission are then completely disconnected from the rest of the world.  When […]

Jack the Giant Slayer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images, and brief language
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 17, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images, and brief language
Movie Release Date: March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 17, 2013

More action, more romance, more spectacle, a brave princess who wears armor and does not wait to be rescued, and lots more giants — this is a grand bedtime story 21st century-style.  As a boy, Jack (“Warm Bodies” Nicholas Hoult) […]

21 and Over

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs, and drinking
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 18, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs, and drinking
Movie Release Date: March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013

The writers of “The Hangover” have written and directed a new film so close to the original they could sue themselves for plagiarism. Once again, it is the story of a a wolf pack of bros looking for a good […]

Contest: Laughing On Purpose DVD

posted by Nell Minow

Family-friendly comic Michael Jr. has a delightful new DVD called “Laughing on Purpose,” filled with gentle but insightful humor and I am lucky enough to have one to give away! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Laughing” in the […]

Smile of the Week: Go El Paso Thunderbirds!

posted by Nell Minow

This is a coach — and a team — who understand the score.  Many thanks to my friend Ann Horak for sharing this touching story.

20 Film Collection from Warner Brothers: Musicals

posted by Nell Minow
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Varied
DVD Release Date:February 25, 2013
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Varied
DVD Release Date: February 25, 2013

Warner Brothers has issued a spectacular collection of musical films, from the ground-breaking “The Jazz Singer” to classics like “Cabaret,” “Signin’ in the Rain,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and “The Music Man.”  This is a treasure that should be […]

Spirit Awards — The Best in Independent Films

posted by Nell Minow

I admit that the awards show I enjoy most each year is the “Spirit Awards,” and not just because I am lucky enough to get to vote for them.  They truly reflect their name in paying tribute to films that […]

Contest: Rowing Movie “Backwards” with James Van Der Beek

posted by Nell Minow

I’m thrilled to be able to give away a DVD of the new film, “Backwards, ” now available on iTunes, DirectTV, Walmart, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. It’s the story of Abi Books [Sarah Megan Thomas], a fiercely competitive rower […]

Snitch

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some drug content and scenes of violence
Movie Release Date:February 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some drug content and scenes of violence
Movie Release Date: February 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

“Snitch” tries to be three things at once, but it doesn’t do any of them very well. First, it wants to be a drama about fathers and sons.  John Matthews (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a good man who who […]

Shanghai Calling

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:February 20, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: February 20, 2013

“Shanghai Calling” is a fish out of water story filled with charm. Korean-American actor Daniel Henney plays Sam, a Chinese-American lawyer who is sent to China to work on a big project.  He does not speak Chinese and he knows […]

Movies to Celebrate Presidents

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 […]

Criterion Free This Weekend on Hulu

posted by Nell Minow

The Criterion Collection includes the very best throughout the history of cinema, impeccably restored.  And this long weekend, you can watch Criterion’s collection free on Hulu.  Try Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal,” Truffaut’s “Stolen Kisses,” Wenders’ “Wings of […]

Escape from Planet Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2013

A new animation studio called Rainmaker has produced its first film, “Escape from Planet Earth,” a story of sibling rivalry and aliens.  It almost works as an amiable, if derivative time-waster for kids with a few jokes for the grown-ups, […]

A Valentine’s Day Romance Smile of the Week: Signs

posted by Nell Minow

Reminiscent of this year’s adorable Oscar-nominated short, “Paperman,” this very romantic Australian short is the story of a lonely office worker who falls for a pretty girl in the window of the building across the street.

Valentine’s Day Movies to Share With Someone You Love

posted by Nell Minow

Some of my favorite movie romances are just right for Valentine’s Day.  Cuddle up with your valentine and a bowl of popcorn and enjoy these movies about how love makes us crazy and immeasurably happy at the same time. 1. Moonstruck Cher […]

A Valentine’s Day Bella Notte

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Beautiful Creatures

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, scary images, and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, scary images, and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2013

In a small Southern town that feels far from everything, where everyone is “too stupid to leave or too stuck to move,” a teenage boy named Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) dreams every night of a girl he has never seen.  Ethan […]

A Good Day to Die Hard

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013

Chases.  Explosions.  Guns.  Crashes.  Wisecracks. Punches.  Repeat.  Repeat again.  Yes, it’s the fifth “Die Hard” movie. Bruce Willis returns as cop John McClane and this time the setting is Moscow.  Though he repeatedly says throughout the film’s zippy 90 minutes […]

Safe Haven

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 12, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 12, 2013

Now that best-selling author Nicholas Sparks has rung every possible variation out of his core formula: damaged hearts, pretty people, syrupy pop-song montages, buttery, sunlit cinematography, the healing powers of a body of water (and rain), the healing powers of a […]

Celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday!

posted by Nell Minow

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.         Coming soon to theaters: Saving Lincoln. Still […]

Beliefnet’s Movie of the Month: “Sleepless in Seattle”

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Beliefnet for inviting me to write a tribute to our movie of the month, “Sleepless in Seattle.” Sleepless in Seattle is like a valentine to love itself, that exquisite balance of improbability and inevitability that can make people 3000 […]

Identity Thief

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013

How did so many great performers get stuck in this awful movie? And why, why? There’s one scene in this ugly and poorly paced road trip comedy that has the straight-laced Sandy (co-producer and star Jason Bateman) hiding in the […]

Side Effects

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and language
Movie Release Date:February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and language
Movie Release Date: February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

Those “ask your doctor about” commercials for medication always have a lawyer-imposed “side effects may include” section briskly recited by the narrator in the second half of the ad in the same bright but soothing tones used for the near-miraculous […]

Smile of the Week: Disney’s Oscar-Nominated “Paperman”

posted by Nell Minow

Disney’s Oscar-nominated short is one of the best movie romances of 2012.  It appeared in theaters before the feature “Wreck-It Ralph.”  The music is by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Christophe Beck and it was produced and directed by John Kahrs.

New Aspire Series About African-American Faith Leaders: The Scroll

posted by Nell Minow

The Scroll is a new series from director Parrish Smith shown on Magic Johnson’s Aspire Network featuring intimate, inspiring interviews with more than 50 African-American clergy.   Some of the faith leaders featured in the documentary are: Bishop T. D. Jakes, Rev. […]

Seven-DVD Set of Holocaust Movies

posted by Nell Minow

 ALDEN FILMS is distributing a new 7-DVD special on the Holocaust that is an important resources for schools, libraries, and families.  For a limited time, the set includes two extra DVDs: WHAT FIRE CAN’T BURN, a tale of a childhood lost […]

Happy 100th Birthday, Rosa Parks

posted by Nell Minow

  Today — and every day — we salute the vision and courage of Rosa Parks, not just for what she did one day in being arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to […]

Warm Bodies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
Movie Release Date:February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 3, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
Movie Release Date: February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2013

You don’t often hear the word “adorable” used to describe a zombie movie, but that is probably because you don’t often have a story about a zombie in love. Oh, it’s still a zombie movie.  Brains get eaten.  In fact, […]

Are You Ready for some Football? Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

posted by Nell Minow

Get ready with one of my favorite football movies: Or this one: Or this one: (Did you catch Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panitierre?) There’s more Ryan Gosling in this little-seen football movie gem: Or you could try this one, featuring […]

You Know What Movie I’m Recommending Today!

posted by Nell Minow

Bing!

Stand Up Guys

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

A little bit “Goodfellas” and a little bit “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” this is a life-in-a-day story about aging criminals.  Unlike Ferris, these guys have had too many days off and are very happy to return to their old haunts […]

Happy 200th Birthday to Pride and Prejudice

posted by Nell Minow

Jane Austen’s beloved story of the headstrong Elizabeth Bennett and the arrogant Mr. Darcy is one of the most popular and influential books ever written.  Pretty much any story that involves a couple who battle until they fall in love […]

FREE Tickets to “Beautiful Creatures” — Supernatural Love Story

posted by Nell Minow

“Beautiful Creatures” is the supernatural love story based on the best-selling books by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stoh, in theaters February 14 for Valentine’s Day.  Alice Englert plays Lena, who has great powers and must decide on her sixteenth birthday whether to […]

Up for a Bit of English Mystery?

posted by Nell Minow

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

Downton Abbey 3rd Season DVD!

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NA
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2013
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NA
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2013

The most popular television show in the world has a gorgeous new DVD/Blu-Ray release this week, Season 3 and some marvelous extras: –    Downton Abbey Behind the Drama –    Shirley MacLaine at Downton –    The Men of Downton –    […]

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

Once upon a time, a brother and sister were left in the woods by their father.  They came upon a house made of candy that turned out to be owned by a witch, who used it to lure children and […]

The Abolitionists

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
DVD Release Date:January 21, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
DVD Release Date: January 21, 2013

The new release from the PBS series “The American Experience” is a three-part story called “The Abolitionists,” the story of the fight to end slavery in the United States.  They were called radicals, agitators, and troublemakers. They thought of themselves […]

Inauguration Day

posted by Nell Minow

With all good wishes to the President, Congress, and the Senate! Check out the Washington Post’s interactive guide to all of the previous inaugurations.

Trailer: Red 2

posted by Nell Minow

What could be more fun than the first “Red?”  Putting the band back together and adding Sir Anthony Hopkins!

Broken City

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013

Another January weekend, another dumb shoot-out. Last weekend, it was 1950’s Los Angeles.  This week, it’s contemporary New York.  It’s still about corruption, betrayal, and bang-bang.  Co-producer Mark Wahlberg plays Billy, a cop exonerated after he killed a suspect because […]

The Last Stand

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

The NRA should forget that ad about the Obama girls and use this movie instead. The entire storyline can be summarized in the words of NRA head Wayne LaPierre: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun […]

Movies for Families about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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. I highly […]

Beliefnet’s Movie of the Month: To Kill a Mockingbird

posted by Nell Minow

I was thrilled to have a chance to write about one of the greatest movies of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Movie of The Month for Beliefnet’s Entertainment Corner.  It is the rare case where a great book […]

Zero Dark Thirty

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date:January 11, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date: January 11, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2013

It begins with heart-breaking audio of 911 calls from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  A frantic woman who asks if she is going to die is soothed by the operator until she is suddenly gone and we […]

The Real Story: “Zero Dark Thirty” and the Hunt for Bin Laden

posted by Nell Minow

Letter from Senators Feinstein, Levin, and McCain“Zero Dark Thirty” is a leading contender for the Best Picture Oscar.  Following her Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for “The Hurt Locker,” Kathryn Bigelow began work on what she thought would be […]

More about Fracking: Gasland

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “Promised Land,” with Matt Damon and Frances McDormand as representatives of a natural gas extraction company trying to persuade residents of a farm community to permit drilling, should inspire viewers to find out more about the […]

Promised Land

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:January 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 23, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: January 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013

“Promised Land,” written by stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski is smart, sincere, and timely, well directed by Gus Van Sant and with thoughtful, intelligent performances by everyone, especially Frances McDormand (“Fargo”) and Titus Welliver (“The Good Wife”). It’s a […]

Happy New Year!

posted by Nell Minow

Ring in the new year with this classic romance!

Django Unchained

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 16, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 16, 2013

How do you solve a problem like Tarantino? The prodigiously talented writer/director is a master of style, sensation, and a uniquely muscular kind of cinematic storytelling that builds on a stunning ability to mash up high and low art in […]

Les Misérables

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sensual material, violence, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sensual material, violence, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013

Fair warning: I seem to be impervious to the appeal of “Les Misérables.”  I was not a fan of the stage show or the songs, but I understand that it is the most popular musical of all time, and I […]

Parental Guidance

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012

This shtick-y, utterly synthetic sit-com of a movie telegraphs its every joke and then pounds the audience over the head to make sure we get them.  Oh, we get them.  We just wish we didn’t. Artie (Billy Crystal) is a […]

Jack Reacher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013

Jack Reacher, the hero of a series of books by Lee Child, is as much an idealized fantasy figure as any adorkable chick-lit single girl rocking her Jimmy Choos and self-deprecating quips until Mr. Perfect puts a ring on it. […]

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some dramatic images and mild sensuality
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some dramatic images and mild sensuality
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2013

Her curiosity overcoming her shyness, a girl with big eyes and a gamine haircut (Erica Linz) walks through the gate for the “Circus Marvelous.”   She sees “The Aerialist” (Igor Zaripov), first smiling a welcome as he helps install the […]

This is 40

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013

Writer-director Judd Apatow has made the mistake of believing that the audience will find his wife and children and mid-life crisis as relatable and endearing as he does. And there is nothing more fatal to a movie than a gross […]

My Favorite Versions of “A Christmas Carol”

posted by Nell Minow

My favorite Christmas story is “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and I enjoy as many versions as possible every year.  I love it in just about any of its movie incarnations. “Bah, humbugs” have been muttered by Scrooges played by […]

The Guilt Trip

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and some risque material
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and some risque material
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013

If you know the title, you know the painfully unfunny movie with this dull slog across America that Barbara Streisand inexplicably selected for her first lead role in 16 years.  Seth Rogen plays chemist-turned-cleaning product inventor Andy Brewster, who never […]

Monsters, Inc. 3D

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2012
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2012

According to this movie by the “Toy Story” folks at Pixar, that monsters are more afraid of children than children are of monsters. But monsters need to collect the screams of children to fuel their world, and children are getting […]

Contest: Trouble With the Curve

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to have a copy of the brand-new DVD/Blu-Ray release, Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake.   Eastwood plays an old-school baseball scout, the opposite of the “Moneyball” guys with their computer models. […]

Monsters, Inc. — Now in 3D

posted by Nell Minow

Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” returns to theaters this week in 3D.

“Becoming Santa” — OWN Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful, poignant OWN documentary “Becoming Santa” is now available on DVD.  I wrote about the movie when it was shown on OWN.

Dr. Who Christmas Special 2012

posted by Nell Minow

Previous Posts

Critics: Which Movied Get Childhood Right?
Thanks to Sam Adams and Indiewire for including me in their survey of critics about our favorite movies from the perspective of a child.  Here was my answer: "To Kill a Mockingbird" somehow captures the voice of the novel in allowing us to see ...

posted 11:09:45pm Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: David and Christi Eaton of "Hope Bridge"
David and Christi Eaton wanted to help families devastated by suicide and those who struggle with thoughts of suicide. And so they wrote "Hope ...

posted 3:02:12pm Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The Good Dinosaur
Coming in summer 2016 from Pixar. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0QlRSVKwFA0?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0" frameborder="0"] ...

posted 8:00:31am Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Honeyglue
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHHQD3RfCA[/youtube] "Honeyglue" follows the story of Morgan (Adriana Mather), who flips her conservative, protected life upside down after learning she has three months left to live. She sets out on ...

posted 8:00:31am Jun. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Jalmari Helander and Onni Tommila of "Big Game"
Big Game, now in theaters and on VOD, is an exciting action movie about Oskari, a Finnish kid on a solo hunting trip, who has to save the President of the United States when he is ejected from Air Force One during an attack. I spoke to ...

posted 3:53:08pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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