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Science-Fiction Archives

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Trailer: Aurora

posted by Nell Minow

When will humans (at least those in movies) figure out that putting machines in charge is never a good idea?

Ex Machina

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Movie Release Date:April 17, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Movie Release Date: April 17, 2015

Movies about artificial intelligence or computers achieving consciousness are, of course, really about what it means to be human. When software and hardware combine to mimic or exceed human qualities in “Her,” “Chappie,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Terminator,” or the […]

Home

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date:March 27, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date: March 27, 2015

“Home” is a cute and colorful movie about an alien invasion with an important safety tip concerning one of the most destructive forces in the universe, something devastating to every known life form. Yes, it is hitting the dreaded “send […]

Chappie

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: March 6, 2015

So, basically, no one here saw “Terminator.” Or “Frankenstein.” But maybe they did see “Robocop?” Or “Short Circuit?” Writer/director Neill Blomkamp likes sci-fi allegories of social and political conflicts, as we saw in “District 9″ and “Elysium.” Here he imagines […]

Trailer: Ex Machina

posted by Nell Minow

Imagine they were beta-testing Samantha in “Her,” or one of the replicants in “Blade Runner” and you were brought in to try out the latest model. That’s the idea behind “Ex Machina,” with two of today’s most fascinating actors, Oscar […]

Trailer: Jurassic World with Christ Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard

posted by Nell Minow

Interstellar

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

Writer/director Christopher Nolan takes on literally cosmic issues with “Interstellar.” It is an ambitious, provocative, thoughtful, and highly entertaining film that deals with, well, pretty much everything, and, all things considered (believe me, ALL things are considered), it holds together […]

Guardians of the Galaxy

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 8, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2014

This is the most purely entertaining film of the year, a joyous space romp that all but explodes off the screen with lots of action and even more charm. Our recent superheros have been complex, often anguished, even downright tortured. […]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:July 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 1, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: July 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2014

All hail Caesar! The intelligence-enhanced ape from Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes center stage in this sequel, which begins ten years after the last film. The virus we saw infecting the human population has now wiped out […]

Rifftrax Takes on Sharknado — In Theaters July 10

posted by Nell Minow

Even better than Mecha-Shark vs. Godzilloctopus, the mad men of Rifftrax are taking on “Sharknado,” live on July 10 and transmitted in real time to theaters across the country. Just the thing to get you ready for “Sharknado 2,” coming […]

Snowpiercer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date:July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 20, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date: July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 20, 2014

A French graphic novel by Jacques Lob about a post-apocalyptic train containing all that is left of humanity is now the first English-language film from Korean director Joon-ho Bong (“Mother,” “The Host”), with an international cast that includes Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Ed […]

Earth to Echo

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 20, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 20, 2014

Three kids go on a wild adventure and make an extra-terrestrial friend in this updated take on films like “E.T.” and “The Goonies.” It being 2014, that means that the found footage genre, pioneered in “The Blair Witch Project” and […]

Transformers: Age of Extinction

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Movie Release Date:June 27, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 29, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Movie Release Date: June 27, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 29, 2014

The script for the new Transformers movie is basically: Noise.  Explosions. Chases. Guy-on-guy fighting.  Transformer-on-Transformer fighting.  Brief pauses for father-teenage daughter conflict, father-boyfriend of the teenage daughter conflict, paranoia-inducing rogue government operatives, paranoia-inducing megalomaniacal one-percenter, and a flicker of a […]

Star Trek Continues

posted by Nell Minow

If you’ve ever seen Trekkies and the sequel Trekkies 2 or William Shatner’s The Captains or the affectionate tribute to the super-fans, Galaxy Quest, you will appreciate the Kickstarter-funded new series “Star Trek Continues,” created by uber-Trekker Vic Mignogna. Here’s […]

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Top Sci-Fi Movies

posted by Nell Minow

A strophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, star of this week’s DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, may be critical of the science howlers in some sci-fi movies, but he gave Giant Freakin Robot a list of his sci-fi […]

Edge of Tomorrow

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
Movie Release Date:June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 7, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2014

Are there moments you would like to relive, so you could make a different choice? It’s a universal fantasy that has played out many times in books and films. It can be a gift (About Time). It can be a […]

Interview: Legion of Leia Founder Jenna Busch

posted by Nell Minow

I’m a huge fan of Jenna Busch, co-host of Most Craved for CraveOnline. She co-hosted ‘Cocktails With Stan’ with the legendary Stan Lee and she’s written for sites like Zap2it, After Buzz TV, Fanhattan, Screen Crave, Inside Horror, Huffington Post, […]

X-Men: Days of Future Past

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language
Movie Release Date:May 23, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 13, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language
Movie Release Date: May 23, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 13, 2014

X-Men fans will see this film anticipating the pleasure of watching their favorite X-Men characters in one of the comic book series most acclaimed storylines: the time-bending saga of a desperate trip to the past to undo one tragic mistake. […]

Godzilla

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 16, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 16, 2014

All the basic ingredients are there for a slam-bang summer monster movie.  We have people in helmets and hazmat suits running to try to get away from something scary.  We have a scientist pleading with a military officer to trust […]

Transcendence

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

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

Under the Skin

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

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

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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

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

Divergent

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Her

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

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

Ender’s Game

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

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

A Fabulous Chart Showing the Relative Sizes of Fictional Spaceships

posted by Nell Minow

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

Gravity

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

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

World War Z

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

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

The World’s End

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

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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?

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 […]

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, […]

Dr. Who Christmas Special 2012

posted by Nell Minow

Browncoats Unite! It’s the 10th Anniversary of “Firefly” Special

posted by Nell Minow

One of the highlights of the 2012 Comic-Con was the reunion of the cast and creator of the cult television series, “Firefly.”  When I saw them, they had just come from taping a 10th anniversary special, and it will be […]

Cloud Atlas

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:October 26, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: October 26, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013

Six nested stories set in the past, present, and future entwine grand themes of the conflicts between those who would oppress and those who demand freedom, those who must create and those who want to repeat what is already there, […]

Looper

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 24, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 24, 2012

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play the same man in a twisty time-travel thriller about “loopers,” assassins who use short-range guns called blunderbusses to kill targets sent back in time from the future.  The first thing we see is an […]

Total Recall

posted by Nell Minow

Will the 2012 version of the story inspired by Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” erase the memory of the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic from 1990?  Dick’s story is about a time in the future when […]

The Watch

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 13, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012

Yet another attempt to go for the “Ghostbusters” funny-scary vibe crashes and burns in the under-written “The Watch,” originally titled “Neighborhood Watch” until the Treyvon Martin shooting created uncomfortable associations with the idea of self-appointed suburban guys with guns.  But […]

Prometheus

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sci-fi violence including some intense images and brief language
Movie Release Date:June 7, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 9, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sci-fi violence including some intense images and brief language
Movie Release Date: June 7, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2012

Is it possible that all of the elements of life on earth, from the protozoa to the human, were the gift of god-like creatures who came to a barren planet to create us in their image? And that they stayed […]

Production Underway on “Ender’s Game”

posted by Nell Minow

Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi classic Ender’s Game is the story of a gifted child who is taken from his family at age 6 so that he can be trained to lead the Earth’s military forces against “bugger” aliens who have twice attacked […]

Men in Black 3

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date:May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date: May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

Welcome back, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. The stars and director of one of the most creative and purely entertaining movies of the last 20 years are back for a third that does not match the original but makes up […]

John Carter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012

It takes a while to get going and is about half an hour too long, but “John Carter” has some spectacular visuals and well-staged action scenes.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the Tarzan novels, also wrote the John Carter: Adventures […]

Shatner vs. Fisher on ‘Star Trek’ vs. ‘Star Wars’

posted by Nell Minow

Roger Ebert reports that “Star Trek” captain William Shatner and “Star Wars” princess Carrie Fisher are engaged in a battle bigger than anything involving Klingons or The Empire — the relative merits of their two franchises.  Check out the warring […]

A Trip to the Moon

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “Hugo,” based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, is inspired by the films of George Méliès, the French magician-turned-filmmaker who pioneered the field of special effects.  “A Trip to the Moon,” made in […]

In Time

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

In the future, according to this film, our currency will not be money but time.  Everyone gets 25 years.  Then the clock starts ticking down.  If you have not earned, begged, borrowed, stolen, or inherited time, you die. Everything is […]

It’s Not Your Daddy’s ‘Star Wars’

posted by Nell Minow

Just last week, I decided to watch the original 1977 “Star Wars” again and enjoyed it very much.  I’ve lost count of how many times I have seen it, but I can tell you that when my then-fiance and I […]

Real Steel

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 24, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 24, 2012

The robot has the heart and the human has to learn to feel again in this unabashedly cheesy but irresistible fairy tale about a father, a son, and robots who bash the heck out of each other in a boxing […]

10 Great Movie Robots

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s “Real Steel,” here are 10 movie robots worth watching.  The term “robot,” by the way, was invented by playwright Karl Capek in his 1920 play, “R.U.R.” 1.  Transformers The first in the series was a […]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date:August 5, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 13, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date: August 5, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 13, 2011

By the time they got to the line, “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty ape!” I couldn’t help thinking, “Take your stinking paws off the franchise, Hollywood!”  Do we really need another apes movie? We do have […]

Cowboys & Aliens

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Pated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference
Movie Release Date:July 29, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 6, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Pated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference
Movie Release Date: July 29, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011

The last word I thought I’d be using about a movie called “Cowboys & Aliens” is “realistic,” but what I like best about this film is the way it uses the most speculative of fantasies for thoughtful exploration, not just […]

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo
Movie Release Date:June 30, 2011
DVD Release Date:September 30, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo
Movie Release Date: June 30, 2011
DVD Release Date: September 30, 2011

I feel like Goldilocks.  It’s not as good as the first one, but it’s not as awful as the second one.  So, if that doesn’t make it just right, at least it makes it better than the second one and […]

Green Lantern

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Movie Release Date:June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 11, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Movie Release Date: June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011

Let’s get right down to it with the superhero essentials checklist.  Cool powers?  Check.  Interesting villain?  Check.  Interesting girlfriend?  Half a check.  Aliens?  Check.  Fancy gala party?  I’m not sure why that appears to be a crucial part of every […]

Tron: Legacy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:December 17, 2010
DVD Release Date:April 5, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: December 17, 2010
DVD Release Date: April 5, 2011

Here’s all you need to know about the stars: Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner return as Kevin and Alan and their avatar/doubles, CLU and Tron. They are joined by Garrett Hedlund as Kevin’s son, Sam, and Olivia Wilde as Quorra, […]

Source Code

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence including disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date:April 1, 2011
DVD Release Date:July 26, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence including disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date: April 1, 2011
DVD Release Date: July 26, 2011

Director Duncan Jones (“Moon”) has produced a first-rate thriller with Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain Colter Stevens, sent back in time and into the body of a man on a commuter train eight minutes before it will explode, to see if […]

Sucker Punch

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language
Movie Release Date:March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 28, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language
Movie Release Date: March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 28, 2011

Girls in thigh-hi stockings and tiny spangled miniskirts take on steam-powered corpses, WWI bi-planes, samurai robots, and an angry dragon, along with a series of odiously predatory men in the latest film from Zack Snyder. His versions of “300” and […]

Limitless

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language
Movie Release Date:March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:July 18, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language
Movie Release Date: March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: July 18, 2011

Most of us feel that there must be some way for us to unleash the best version of ourselves. Whole sections of bookstores, whole shelves of vitamins, dozens of infomercials, motivational speakers, and guides to personal growth, self-actualization, and personal […]

Paul

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 9, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 9, 2011

Director Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “Adventureland”) is an expert at mixing raunch and sweetness. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”) are experts at making funny but knowing and affectionate tributes to movie genres. Together, they’ve made […]

Battle: Los Angeles

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction and for language
Movie Release Date:March 11, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 13, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction and for language
Movie Release Date: March 11, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 13, 2011

Destined to be remembered primarily as yet another step toward closing the gap between games and movies, the essence of “Battle: Lost Angeles” is a lot of boom-boom and a bunch of “ooo-rah.” And essence is all it is; no […]

Mars Needs Moms

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for science fiction action and peril
Movie Release Date:March 11, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 9, 2011
D
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for science fiction action and peril
Movie Release Date: March 11, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 9, 2011

There is one perfectly charming moment in “Mars Needs Moms,” but it does not come until the closing credits, when we get some live action glimpses of the voice actors. Their faces are covered with reference dots and they are […]

The Adjustment Bureau

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality, and a violent image
Movie Release Date:March 4, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 21, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality, and a violent image
Movie Release Date: March 4, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011

The first great movie of 2011 is thought-provoking, exciting, and swooningly romantic. Writer/director George Nolfi takes on the biggest questions of all — faith and doubt, fate and free will, God, love, the meaning of existence — with an absorbing […]

Interview: George Nolfi of ‘The Adjustment Bureau’

posted by Nell Minow

“The Adjustment Bureau” is the first great film of 2011, a big and hugely entertaining film that takes on big ideas — love, free will, destiny, God, and the meaning of life. I was lucky enough to speak with writer […]

Megamind

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and some language
Movie Release Date:November 5, 2010
DVD Release Date:February 22, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and some language
Movie Release Date: November 5, 2010
DVD Release Date: February 22, 2011

Let’s get it out of the way first thing. “Megamind” would be a much more enjoyable experience if it wasn’t so close to one of this year’s brightest family pleasures, Despicable Me. Both are stories of the clash of two […]

I Am Number Four

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief language
Movie Release Date:February 18, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief language
Movie Release Date: February 18, 2011

A young, handsome kid has extraordinary special powers vastly beyond the abilities of mere mortals. He is being chased by big, scary, ruthless, and relentless creatures with enormous weapons who have killed numbers One, Two, and Three. He is Number […]

Inception

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout
Movie Release Date:July 16, 2010
DVD Release Date:December 7, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout
Movie Release Date: July 16, 2010
DVD Release Date: December 7, 2010

Stop right now. I mean it, stop reading. If you have not already seen “Inception,” there is nothing I can tell you that would not diminish your experience of this film. The less you know going in, the better you […]

Never Let Me Go

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and nudity
Movie Release Date:September 24, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and nudity
Movie Release Date: September 24, 2010

Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Remains of the Day, about a butler who devoted his life to service without questioning his master’s authority or the validity of his judgment became a movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. And now his […]

Preview: The Jensen Project

posted by Nell Minow

The people behind the sensationally popular “Secrets of the Mountain” have a new family movie called “The Jensen Project,” starring Kellie Martin and premiering July 16 on NBC. It’s the story of a couple who once worked at a secret […]

Avatar

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking
Movie Release Date:December 18, 2009
DVD Release Date:April 20, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking
Movie Release Date: December 18, 2009
DVD Release Date: April 20, 2010

NOTE: The DVD being released this week is a stripped-down 2D version. Later this year there will be another release with many more extras. Writer-director-producer James Cameron (“Titanic,” “Terminator”) spent a record-breaking $230 million on “Avatar,” and the good news […]

9

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and scary images
Movie Release Date:September 9, 2009
DVD Release Date:December 29, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and scary images
Movie Release Date: September 9, 2009
DVD Release Date: December 29, 2009

An award-winning animated student film has been turned into a full-length feature with intricately-designed visuals but a story-line that feels stuck together with chewing gum and Scotch tape. Tim Burton protege Shane Acker has proven a better student of the […]

District 9

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date:August 14, 2009
DVD Release Date:December 22, 2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date: August 14, 2009
DVD Release Date: December 22, 2009

This is the smartest alien movie in quite a while. But then movies about creatures from other planets are never about the aliens; they’re about the humans, and about what being human really means. It has cool and creepy giant […]

Terminator: Salvation

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and language
Movie Release Date:May 22, 2009
DVD Release Date:December 1, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and language
Movie Release Date: May 22, 2009
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2009

How can you have a war between humans and machines when the line between them is hard to find? In the first three Terminator movies, cyborgs from the future were sent back in time to prevent future leader of the […]

Star Trek

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2009
DVD Release Date:May 13, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2009
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2013

Get ready for this week’s “Star Trek” release with another look at this splendid reboot of the 40-plus year old “Star Trek” series. By boldly going where many, many have gone before, J.J. Abrams of television’s “Lost” and “Alias” has […]

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material
Movie Release Date:June 25, 2009
DVD Release Date:October 20, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material
Movie Release Date: June 25, 2009
DVD Release Date: October 20, 2009

Oh, dear. #TransformerFail I truly loved the first Transformers movie. It was everything you need in a big summer explosion movie, with stupendous special effects, shot through with heart-thumping adrenaline, with just enough character and storyline to allow us to […]

Alien Trespass

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sci-fi action and brief historical smoking
Movie Release Date:April 3, 2009
DVD Release Date:August 11, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sci-fi action and brief historical smoking
Movie Release Date: April 3, 2009
DVD Release Date: August 11, 2009

Was there ever a time when cheesy 1950’s sci-fi movies were actually scary? Is it because they are so low tech in comparison to the intense realism of CGI? Or is it just the balsa wood sets and cardboard dialog […]

Race to Witch Mountain

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of action and violence, frightening and dangerous situations, and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:March 13, 2009
DVD Release Date:August 4, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of action and violence, frightening and dangerous situations, and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: March 13, 2009
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2009

After an enormous train crash/explosion, a line of dialog reassures us that the engineer (played in a quick cameo by Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook) was not hurt. This is, reassuringly, a Disney movie. The entire planet may be at […]

Star Trek Quiz (Old School)

posted by Nell Minow

Get ready for this week’s rebooting of the “Stark Trek” saga by revisiting the original television series. How much do you remember about Captain Kirk and his crew, whose origins we will see in the new J.J. Abrams film? 1. […]

Star Trek: The Enterprise Captains Interview

posted by Nell Minow

In an exclusive interview for the new Star Trek 1-6 movie box set, Whoopi Goldberg interviews the captains of the USS Enterprise, to boldly go where no interview has gone before.

Watchmen Extras!

posted by Nell Minow

The best news since the settlement of the lawsuit that permits “The Watchmen” to open as scheduled on March 6 is the availability of these new extras and goodies. Check out the Watchmen’s YouTube channel, too.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence
Movie Release Date:December 12, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence
Movie Release Date: December 12, 2008

In the 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, a spaceship landed in front of the Washington Monument to warn the people of earth that they were on the path to destruction. The problem then was the Cold […]

The Day the Earth Stood Still

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1951
DVD Release Date:2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1951
DVD Release Date: 2008

In the 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, a spaceship landed in front of the Washington Monument to warn the people of earth that they were on the path to destruction. The problem then was the Cold […]

Wall•E

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:June 27, 2008
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2008
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: June 27, 2008
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008

700 years after the last humans left the planet they had made uninhabitable through environmental degradation, one small robot is still continuing to crunch the mountains of trash. He is a Waste Allocation Load-Lifter Earth-Class, or Wall•E. His eyes are […]

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking.
Movie Release Date:August 13, 2008
DVD Release Date:November 11, 2008
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking.
Movie Release Date: August 13, 2008
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2008

Oh, George Lucas. Please stop diluting the franchise. This latest all-animated iteration of “Star Wars” has a relationship to the original somewhere along the lines of the relationship of a homeopathic ingredient to the ultimate concoction. It has been diluted […]

The Happening

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violent and disturbing images
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2008
DVD Release Date:October 10, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violent and disturbing images
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2008
DVD Release Date: October 10, 2008

Here’s a spooky story: a talented storyteller mesmerizes his audience and then loses his way in a thicket of self-regard so that no matter how hard he tries, each of the stories he tells becomes less powerful than the one […]

Journey to the Center of the Earth

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for intense adventure action and some scary moments
Movie Release Date:July 11, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for intense adventure action and some scary moments
Movie Release Date: July 11, 2008

The most impressive achievement from Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson in this 3D action -adventure is holding our attention as it feels like we are being chased by a drooling dinosaur and squirted with something really ooky. Fraser plays a […]

Independence Day

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Movie Release Date:July 4, 1996
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Movie Release Date: July 4, 1996

In this heart-thumping, slam-bang action extravaganza, aliens arrive and blow up the world’s major cities. The president (Bill Pullman) and fighter pilots (led by Will Smith) must find a way to fight back. Some kids will find this too intense […]

Cloverfield

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 22, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2008
DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008

Stories, especially movies, are usually linear and organized in part because stories are how we make sense of the world but mostly because of the limits of time. If we are only going to give two hours of our lives […]

I am Legend

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2007
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2008

Will Smith plays the last man on earth in this third movie based on Richard Matheson’s novella. Scientist Robert Neville was immune to the virus that wiped out everyone. He spends his days hunting for food in the deserted streets […]

Sunshine

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violent content and language.
Movie Release Date:July 17, 2007
DVD Release Date:January 8, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violent content and language.
Movie Release Date: July 17, 2007
DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008

The sun is dying. A rocket ship from earth, meaningfully named “Icarus,” failed in its mission to reboot the sun with a supercharged nuclear payload designed to “create a star within a star.” Now the earth’s last chance is Icarus […]

Resident Evil: Extinction

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong horror violence throughout and some nudity.
Movie Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong horror violence throughout and some nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Those meanies at the Umbrella Corporation are at it again in the third chapter of this series based on the popular computer game. That pesky virus they allowed to escape has wiped out nearly all life on earth except for […]

Transformers

posted by jmiller

The surprising transformation here is not from machines into enormous robots but from a modest Saturday morning cartoon based on a line of toys into 2007’s most exhilarating summer movie, able to transform audiences of all ages into 12-year-old fanboys. […]

Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of action violence, some mild language and innuendo.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of action violence, some mild language and innuendo.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

If not exactly meriting the term “fantastic” yet, this second installment is a slight improvement over the “first” film. (“First” is in quotes because there was a legendary 1994 never-released quickie made only to preserve the studio’s rights to the […]

Spider-Man 3

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence.
Movie Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence.
Movie Release Date: 2007

It isn’t just Spider-Man who loses his way in the third and last installment. It’s the movie. A superhero movie should have (1) cool special effects, (2) a great villain, (3) thrilling action scenes, and (4) just enough plot to […]

Next

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, and some language.
Movie Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, and some language.
Movie Release Date: 2007

If Philip K. Dick could have seen into the future, he would never have agreed to have his story “The Golden Man” be adapted into a movie, at least not this movie. Nicolas Cage, who also produced, plays Chris Johnson, […]

Grindhouse

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic bloody violence and gore, pervasive language, some sexuality, nudity and drug use.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

NOTE: This movie has extremely graphic, grisly, violent, and disgusting images, situations, and characters. It is not appropriate for anyone under 18 or for many adults. The positive rating is only for its intended audience, fans of this genre. Famously […]

Meet the Robinsons

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

At times, all of us feel like strangers in the world. In Disney’s bight, colorful, CGI animated film (available in 3D in some locations), Lewis (voice of Daniel Hansen) is left on the steps of an orphanage as a baby […]

The Last Mimzy

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Two children find toys that make them more intelligent and powerful and send them on an adventure in this fine story for 4th-8th graders and their families. After he plays with the toys, Noah (Chris O’Neil) doesn’t need his glasses […]

Children of Men

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language, some drug use and brief nudity.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, some drug use and brief nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

“A baby is God’s opinion life should go on,” Carl Sandburg said. So, in a world where babies have stopped being born and the death of the youngest person on earth is an international tragedy, there seems to be no […]

Deja Vu

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

A heart-pounding thriller with a time-travel twist, “Deja Vu” will not leave you thinking you’ve seen it all before. Denzel Washington plays Doug Carlin, an ATF agent called in to investigate a bombing. Someone, perhaps a terrorist, has blown up […]

The Prestige

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

As if we should believe him, Hugh Jackman’s character proclaims in “The Prestige” that magicians have a “circle of trust.” “The Prestige” takes that circle of trust and twists it into a Russian roulette, with Jackman betting on black and […]

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor, language and brief nudity.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor, language and brief nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Even with a face contorted with rage and vengeance and a voice echoing through the streets of New York as well as the theater, it’s difficult not to like Uma Thurman as the needy, controlling and manipulative Jenny Johnson/G-girl. The […]

Superman Returns

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Superman has returned. In the movie, Superman (now played by Brandon Routh) comes back to earth after five years in search of his roots on the exploded planet Krypton, and the inhabitants of earth are overjoyed. In real life, Superman […]

X-Men: The Last Stand

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence, some sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence, some sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

A concerned father bangs on the door of the bathroom, insisting that his son open the door. Inside, his son sobs as he tries frantically to get rid of the evidence that his body is changing in a way he […]

V for Vendetta

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence and some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence and some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot. I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.” Who says good-looking, brawny action flicks cannot also have brains to match? “V for Vendetta,” based on Alan […]

Ultraviolet

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action throughout, partial nudity and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action throughout, partial nudity and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This movie hopes that it can distract you from its failure of imagination with the following: Throbbing techno club music-style soundtrack Sleek, towering futuristic structures The toned body of star Milla Jovovich, magnificently displayed in a variety of skin-tight, midriff-baring […]

Aeon Flux

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2006
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2006

Maybe it’s just that my expectations were so low because it was not screened for critics (meaning the studios did not think they would get even one good review), but “Aeon Flux” was not so bad. A little boring, yes, […]

War of the Worlds

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for frightening scenes of sci-fi violence and disturbing images
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:November 22, 2005
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for frightening scenes of sci-fi violence and disturbing images
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005

“Is it the terrorists?” a frightened child asks, because that is the scariest thing she knows. But what makes this thing scary is that it is something no one knows. It is beyond our knowledge, even beyond our imagination. Earth […]

Alone in the Dark

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R
Movie Release Date:2005
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: R
Movie Release Date: 2005

There’s something far scarier about this movie than its CGI monsters, whose lack of any apparent weight makes them seem as threatening as the floating Clifford balloon in the Macy’s parade. What’s scary is the premise: it’s based on a […]

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Movie Release Date:2001
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Movie Release Date: 2001

Cross “2001” with “ET” and “Blade Runner” and throw in some “Pinocchio,” some “Wizard of Oz,” some “Velveteen Rabbit” and a touch of “Our Town,” and you might have some sense of what to expect from “A.I.” It is an […]

Star Wars

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1977
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 1977

In what is now Episode 4 but what was the first episode filmed, the story starts right in the middle of the action, with a battle on a spaceship. Two robots or “droids” escape, the elegant C-3PO and his counterpart, […]

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:1982
DVD Release Date:October 8, 2012
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: 1982
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2012

“E.T’s” 30th anniversary is being celebrated with a gorgeous new re-issue and I have one to give away.  To enter, send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with E.T in the subject line and tell me your favorite movie alien.  Don’t […]

Armageddon

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi disaster action, sensuality and brief language
Movie Release Date:1998
DVD Release Date:1998
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi disaster action, sensuality and brief language
Movie Release Date: 1998
DVD Release Date: 1998

The summer thrill ride movie is becoming as much of a 4th of July tradition as the picnic and the fireworks, and the 1998 version is “Armageddon,” the second movie of the year about a meteor headed toward earth. While […]

Bicentennial Man

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1999
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 1999

Think of it as Pinocchio played by C3PO from “Star Wars.” Robin Williams plays “Andrew Martin,” a robot who wants to be human, in this adaptation of a story and book by Isaac Asimov. In “the not too distant future,” […]

Contact

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1997
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 1997

This film, based on the late Carl Sagan’s novel about a young scientist’s efforts to make contact with intelligent life beyond our world provides a sharp contrast in tone to slam-bang shoot-’em-ups like “Independence Day” and “Men in Black.” Sagan, […]

Godzilla

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi monster action/violence
Movie Release Date:1998
DVD Release Date:1998
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi monster action/violence
Movie Release Date: 1998
DVD Release Date: 1998

The classic Japanese monster film has been updated by the team that produced and directed “Stargate” and “Independence Day,” and what we get is basically “Jurassic Park” with one very, very big dinosaur. Nuclear testing has resulted in the mutation […]

Galaxy Quest

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action violence, mild language and sensuality
Movie Release Date:1999
DVD Release Date:2000
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action violence, mild language and sensuality
Movie Release Date: 1999
DVD Release Date: 2000

This is one of the funniest movies of the year, hilariously but affectionately skewering television sci-fi, its stars, and its fans. Not since William Shatner told Trekkers Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz to “get a life” back on Saturday Night […]

Mission to Mars

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2000
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date: 2000

Director Brian DePalma is known for movies that have two qualities — striking visual flair and frustrating narrative incoherence. If you are the kind of person who talks about the plot on the way home, this is not your kind […]

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