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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Thriller Archives

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genre

  • Action
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  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
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  • War
  • Western

quality

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

who's watching

  • My entire family
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age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
  • 4th - 6th grade
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Terminator Genisys

posted by Nell Minow

“I’ll be back,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the first “Terminator” movie. He had the title role but only 16 lines, with about a total of 80 words. But those three words have become a legend. It now appears he meant […]

Jurassic World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.
Movie Release Date:June 11, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.
Movie Release Date: June 11, 2015

One problem is that we really do not know very much about dinosaurs, especially live ones, and especially genetically tweaked live ones. A bigger problem is that we keep ignoring what we do know about humans. Over and over again […]

Trailer: Eva — Yet Another AI Robot Movie

posted by Nell Minow

This is certainly turning out to be the year of the AI robot.  This one stars Daniel Brühl and this time the robot is a child named EVA.

Mad Max: Fury Road

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Movie Release Date:May 15, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Movie Release Date: May 15, 2015

Mad Max (Tom Hardy, taking over from Mel Gibson) stamps on a two-headed lizard and then chews its head off. And that’s just in the first minute. That master of apocalyptic junkyard anarchy, George Miller, is back, bigger, wilder, madder […]

The Gunman

posted by Nell Minow

Stars too often produce the kind of movie they want to star in, instead of the kind of movie anyone wants to watch. Co-writer/producer/star Sean Penn is clearly trying to make The Gunman a thinking person’s thriller. You can hear […]

Black Sea

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Movie Release Date:January 30, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Movie Release Date: January 30, 2015

Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. “Outside is just dark, cold, and death,” says one. “We all live together or we all die together,” says another. Submarines […]

The Boy Next Door

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, sexual content/nudity and language
Movie Release Date:January 23, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 27, 2015
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual content/nudity and language
Movie Release Date: January 23, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 27, 2015

Even by the very low standards of January movies, “The Boy Next Door” still manages to be a disappointment. It even manages to disappoint beyond the very dim expectations for director Rob Cohen, His “Alex Cross” and “Stealth” were both […]

John Wick

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2015

This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people who really know stunts and […]

Gone Girl

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:October 3, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 12, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: October 3, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 12, 2015

Amy (Rosamund Pike) is watching television, vitally, even viscerally enthralled by what is happening on screen. The look on her face, mingled fascination and calculation, a hint of tooth and claw under her placid, golden girl beauty, is one of […]

The Drop

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2015

Author Dennis Lehane writes about a world of desperation, fear, and damaged people inflicting further damage. His novels have been filmed as “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone.” And now his short story, “Animal Rescue,” has been turned into “The […]

The November Man

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:August 27, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 25, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: August 27, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 25, 2014

Pierce Brosnan knows what it is like to play a spy in a big-budget, glamorous, blockbuster. He was the most urbane of Bonds in four movies. He knows what it is to play a seedier spy in a prestige, mildly […]

Coherence

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:June 20, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: June 20, 2014

Seriously, don’t read this review until after you’ve seen the movie. The less you know, the more you will enjoy this nifty thriller, which craftily makes the most of its micro-budget to maximize a deliciously mind-bending story. As in all […]

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 […]

Trailer: Gone Girl with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

posted by Nell Minow

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

Non-Stop

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

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

3 Days to Kill

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

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

Two Film Noir Classics Now Free Streaming

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Uninvited: Now on Criterion

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Counselor

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

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

Carrie

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 14, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014

The remake of “Carrie” is not a bad movie; it’s just a completely unnecessary one.  The 1976 original is a horror classic, directed by Brian de Palma and the first film based on a novel by Stephen King, just 26 years […]

Captain Phillips

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

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

Prisoners

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

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

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 […]

Getaway

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

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

Closed Circuit

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

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

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

William Castle’s “13 Ghosts”

posted by Nell Minow

People often ask me if I’ve ever walked out of a movie.  Fortunately, I seem to have an endless tolerance and sometimes even affection for bad movies.  But just once, I did insist on leaving the theater, and a delightful […]

Premium Rush

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences, and language
Movie Release Date:August 24, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 18, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences, and language
Movie Release Date: August 24, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 18, 2012

He’s a Manhattan bicycle messenger and his name is Wilee, like the coyote.  But Wilee (the always-brilliant Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is more like the road runner in this story.  He has an envelope to deliver, and Bobby (Michael Shannon) wants to […]

ParaNorman

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor, and language
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor, and language
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2012

While digital animators create algorithms that replicate real life textures and weights and movements so perfectly they can seem real-er than reality, the small but preposterously dedicated stop-motion animators create their own three-dimensional world and invite us inside.  Like its […]

The Bourne Legacy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Movie Release Date:August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Movie Release Date: August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2012

Different spy.  Different program.  Same evil conspiracy still trying to justify the nastiest of means with the most unprovable ends.  This is “The Bourne Legacy,” the fourth in the Bourne series and the first not to star Matt Damon.  Tony […]

Dark Shadows

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking
Movie Release Date:May 11, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 2, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking
Movie Release Date: May 11, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 2, 2012

“Dark Shadows” tries to sink its teeth into the legendary 1960’s supernatural soap opera with both ironic distance and visceral thrills.  It can be done — see the original “Men in Black” — but wonderfully weird visuals from director Tim Burton […]

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brutal violent contact including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:December 20, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 20, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brutal violent contact including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: December 20, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012

The late Swedish author Steig Larsson created a series of books originally titled “Men Who Hate Women” with a character who was an idealized version of himself — an investigative journalist of impeccable integrity and political correctness who effortlessly appeals […]

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action and some drug material
Movie Release Date:December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 12, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action and some drug material
Movie Release Date: December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 12, 2012

All Sherlockians know that the only villain who could match the most famous and celebrated of all fictional detectives is the fiendish Professor Moriarty.  As we were promised in the postscript to the first Sherlock Holmes movie from Guy Ritchie, […]

Margin Call

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:October 21, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: October 21, 2011

Investors can make bets by promising to buy stock at a higher or lower price than the current day’s valuation.  If all goes well, they never actually have to buy the stock.  They can keep buying and selling the bets […]

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 […]

Hanna

posted by Evan Derrick
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language
Movie Release Date:April 8, 2011
DVD Release Date:September 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language
Movie Release Date: April 8, 2011
DVD Release Date: September 6, 2011

Director Joe Wright is fascinated with Saoirse Ronan’s blue eyes, entirely understandable. Her cerulean gaze is so pure, so clear, so direct, and at the same time knowing and innocent that it is perfect for the role of Hanna, a […]

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 […]

The Tourist

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 10, 2010
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 10, 2010
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2011

Behind this forgettable trifle are some very talented people, all punching below their weight when they’re not just calling it in. The screenplay is by Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”), Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”), and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck […]

The Next Three Days

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, drug material, language, some sexuality and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 19, 2010
DVD Release Date:March 8, 2011
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, drug material, language, some sexuality and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 19, 2010
DVD Release Date: March 8, 2011

Paul Haggis loses his way in “The Next Three Days,” a labored prison escape drama that never recovers from a serious miscalculation midway through and then goes completely off the rails in the end. Russell Crowe plays a sometimes deliberate […]

Drive Angry

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:February 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:May 31, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: February 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: May 31, 2011

The movie is called “Drive Angry.” It stars Nicolas Cage. It’s in 3D. What more do you need to know? Cage is such a fan of comic books he took his screen name from a comic book superhero and starred […]

Unknown

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:February 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 28, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: February 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 28, 2011

What would you do if everything you thought you knew about your life and your identity suddenly seemed to be untrue? If even your wife kept insisting that another man was you? Liam Neeson plays Martin Harris, or a man […]

Sanctum

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images
Movie Release Date:February 4, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images
Movie Release Date: February 4, 2011

The stunningly beautiful cave scenes are breathtakingly realistic in this James Cameron-produced 3D “inspired by a true story” saga of a cave-diving expedition gone wrong. The plot and characters, not so much. It’s the basic “and then there were none” […]

The American

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, sexual content and nudity
Movie Release Date:September 1, 2010
DVD Release Date:December 27, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual content and nudity
Movie Release Date: September 1, 2010
DVD Release Date: December 27, 2010

There’s a reason so many movies give us a character who has just one last job to do before he (it’s almost always a he) can get free. It is because we can sympathize with someone despite even the most […]

Salt

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date:July 23, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date: July 23, 2010

“Salt” is the story of a CIA agent with an exemplary record who is accused by a mole of being a Russian spy, part of a cadre trained as children to infiltrate America by living normal lives until ordered into […]

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 6, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: November 7, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010

If you have not read any of the Millennium trilogy of novels by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson, someone near you has. A worldwide sensation published after the death of the author, the books follow the title character, Lisbeth Salandar, a […]

Shutter Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity
Movie Release Date:February 19, 2010
DVD Release Date:June 8, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity
Movie Release Date: February 19, 2010
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2010

Dennis Lehane, author of gritty crime novels like Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone and one of the writers of “The Wire,” and director Martin Scorsese, best known for movies like “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” about wiseguys, hitmen, and omertas, have […]

The Eclipse

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:March 26, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: March 26, 2010

“The Eclipse” is a moody Irish thriller about a recently widowed teacher who is a volunteer at a local literary festival. Michael (a deeply moving Ciarán Hinds) is doing his best to stay strong for his children and his father-in-law, […]

2012

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language
Movie Release Date:November 13, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2010
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language
Movie Release Date: November 13, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010

“2012” is yet another example of technological genius and story-telling mediocrity. Its careless, almost gleeful destruction of the entire world makes the brilliant CGI work jarring in a way the film-makers did not intend. It has the usual disaster film […]

Knowing

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 7, 2009
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 7, 2009

When MIT astrophysics professor John Koestler (Nicolas Cage in one-note mournful mode) looks distracted and thoughtful as he invites his class to debate randomness vs. determinism, you don’t have to be much of a determinist to figure out that as […]

The International

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sequences of violence and language
Movie Release Date:February 13, 2009
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sequences of violence and language
Movie Release Date: February 13, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2009

This thriller about a multi-national bank with innumerable tentacles and immeasurable power has two problems and the worst is bad timing. It’s just a little bit more difficult these days to feel pleasurably shaken up while watching a story about […]

Push

posted by Nell Minow

If you add up all the recent movies about ordinary-looking people who walk among us with special hidden powers, you might conclude that there are no normal people left. The accountant next door might be a secret mutant, time traveler, […]

Righteous Kill

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2008
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2009
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2008
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009

Has there ever been a cinematic pairing as eagerly anticipated as this one? Perhaps, but I can’t think of one that has been anticipated as long. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro were both in 1974’s “The Godfather II” but their […]

Wanted

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date:June 28, 2008
DVD Release Date:December 2, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date: June 28, 2008
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008

Nasty, twisted, pulpy, and brutally violent, “Wanted” is like a cross between Kill Bill, The Matrix, and The Terminator. Angelina Jolie, smokey-eyed and a little bit leaner, plays the assassin who grabs cubicle galley slave Wesley (“Atonement’s” James McAvoy) when […]

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 […]

Traitor

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences, thematic material and brief language
Movie Release Date:August 27, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences, thematic material and brief language
Movie Release Date: August 27, 2008

A timely story, some welcome complexity, and a compelling performance elevate this story of terrorism above the usual bang-bang. Don Cheadle plays Samir, a person of interest being tracked by the authorities for his possible involvement in terrorist activities. He […]

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violent and disturbing content and thematic material
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violent and disturbing content and thematic material
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2008

I want to believe, too, but this movie did not make it happen. Six years after the record-breaking television series ended its run, this attempt to carry the franchise forward is unlikely to make any new fans or entirely satisfy […]

Vantage Point

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, some disturbing images and brief strong language.
Movie Release Date:February 22, 2008
DVD Release Date:July 1, 2008
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, some disturbing images and brief strong language.
Movie Release Date: February 22, 2008
DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008

A gimmicky thriller without much of a gimmick or many thrills, “Vantage Point” suffers, too, from being out of synch with its time. Its premise may be current — an assassination attempt at an anti-terrorism summit — but its tone […]

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 […]

Nancy Drew: Mystery in the Hollywood Hills

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild violence, thematic elements and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2008
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild violence, thematic elements and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008

Part of the appeal of Nancy Drew through the decades has been the way she has continually been updated while remaining essentially the same. The problem with this movie is that the updates are poorly chosen, awkwardly inserted, and inappropriate […]

Michael Clayton

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual dialogue.
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2008
DVD Release Date:February 19, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual dialogue.
Movie Release Date: January 25, 2008
DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008

Michael Clayton (George Clooney) spends a lot of time facing into the dark midnight of the soul, his own and others’. Late one night and early the next morning, he does both at once as he gets a call on […]

We Own the Night

posted by Nell Minow

This is a curious hybrid combining contemporary language and violence with a retro set-up right out of a 1930’s James Cagney/Pat O’Brien movie and pulsating undercover law enforcement action of 1970’s films like Serpico and The French Connection. The story […]

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 […]

The Bourne Ultimatum

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action.
Movie Release Date:August 3, 2007
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action.
Movie Release Date: August 3, 2007
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2007

There is not much story here. The set-up was two movies ago, when a man with a gunshot wound was fished out of the water. He had no memory but when it came to the tricks of the spy trade, […]

The Kingdom

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for intense sequences of graphic brutal violence, and for language.
Movie Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for intense sequences of graphic brutal violence, and for language.
Movie Release Date: 2007

The highlight of this film is over by the time it begins. A brief credit sequence outlines the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia in provocative, trenchant terms covering the Saudi nationality of Osama Bin Laden and most 9/11 […]

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 […]

Illegal Tender

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date: 2007

There’s a chance, but a very slight chance that 20 years from now this could be one of those films whose pulpiness overcomes its dopiness. But I doubt it. Oh, it is fun to see Wanda de Jesus get all […]

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. […]

Live Free or Die Hard

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for intense adventure action and some scary moments.
Movie Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for intense adventure action and some scary moments.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Just as Entertainment Weekly picks the 1988 Die Hard as the greatest action movie of all time, Bruce Willis comma-ti-yi-yippies it up again for NYPD’s John McClane’s fourth explosion-and-wisecrack-fest. Number three is still my favorite, but this latest installment has […]

Ocean’s 13

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

The first one was fun for them to make and us to watch. For the second one, clearly the Oceanists were having more fun than the audience. George Clooney has joked that the third “Oceans” film should be called “The […]

Severance

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence, language, drug content and some sexuality/nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Severance is a quirky yet compellingly gory tale of a few great characters begrudgingly forced to spend a weekend together. And then they are hunted down, suffer grizzly deaths, and are, for the most part, never heard from again. Writer/director […]

Mr. Brooks

posted by jmiller

I have to give this film credit for embracing its craziness. This is one movie that proudly raises its freak flag high and lets it wave. But that does not mean it works. Mr. Brooks (Kevin Costner) is an upstanding […]

Jindabyne

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing images, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing images, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Parents should know that this film deals with very disturbing themes, including the discovery of the dead body of a young woman who may have been raped. There are scenes of nudity and graphic wounds. Characters drink (sometimes to excess), […]

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, […]

Fracture

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent content.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent content.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

This is not a who-dun-it. It’s a will-they-be-able-to-prove-it. As in the old Columbo television series, we know from the beginning who pulled the trigger. We see Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) shoot his wife in the head because she was having […]

Disturbia

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

This nicely nifty little thriller takes Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window and updates it to the era of cell phones and webcams. Kale (Shia LeBeouf) is under house arrest for hitting a teacher. For three months, he has to wear an […]

Perfect Stranger

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, some disturbing violent images and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, some disturbing violent images and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Was Ashley Judd at the hairdresser the day this script came in? She’s usually the star of movies like this — the low-level potboiler with the plucky girl in jeopardy, and Morgan Freeman around somewhere to give some sage advice. […]

The Reaping

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, disturbing images and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, disturbing images and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Ancient scrolls foretell the birth of an evil child begat of an unholy union between an episode of “The X-Files” and Nicolas Cage’s The Wicker Man, from the branch of the family that produced Children of the Corn. Okay, so […]

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 […]

The Lookout

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

In this tense and twisty thriller, our narrator and central figure is Chris (the stunning Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a one-time high school hockey star and dreamboat who was brain-damaged in a car crash on prom night. Now, he works as the […]

Shooter

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence and some language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence and some language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Pulitzer prize-winning film critic Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post has seen a lot of movies, both good and bad, and this film, based on his highly cinematic novel Point of Impact, shows an able, if somewhat derivative, sense of […]

Premonition

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

With little style and no substance, this low-wattage forgettable thriller plays like a rejected episode of “The Twilight Zone.” Linda (Sandra Bullock) wakes up every day in a different reality (and a different sleeping outfit — she has quite the […]

Zodiac

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong killings, language, drug material and brief sexual images.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong killings, language, drug material and brief sexual images.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

We still don’t know for sure who was — or is — the California serial killer known as the Zodiac, the name he used in a series of letters he sent to San Francisco newspapers in the late 1960’s and […]

The Number 23

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

There are 23 things wrong with this movie. Or maybe there are 24. Or 165. To be honest, I lost count. Despite this film’s best efforts, it never persuaded me that there was anything special about the number 23.It began […]

Ghost Rider

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for horror violence and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for horror violence and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

“Ghost Rider” needs a new ghost writer. Well, it needs something. You might not think that a movie based on a comic book about a flaming skeleton in a leather outfit who rides a (literally) hot motorcycle and has a […]

Hannibal Rising

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong grisly violent content and some language/sexual references.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong grisly violent content and some language/sexual references.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

My first Hannibal Lecter was Brian Cox in Manhunter . As dazzling as Anthony Hopkins was, that’s still my favorite Hannibal portrayal. Like Hopkins, Cox showed us Lecter’s mesmerizing stillness and unnervingly penetrating mind. In both Manhunter and The Silence […]

Breach

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

Robert Hanssen was the head of the Soviet department in the FBI. And he was working for the enemy. Over a period of 22 years, he sold vital secrets to the Soviet and Russian governments for $1.5 million, resulting in […]

The Messengers

posted by jmiller
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing violence and terror.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing violence and terror.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

The trailers for “The Messengers” don’t do it justice — there’s a lot more potential in this movie than appears in the Grudge– and The Omen-like snippets shown as teasers. The idea isn’t bad. It’s in living up to this […]

Smokin’ Aces

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

This is a flashy, nasty, hyper-violent story about a lot of people who are very, very interested in a snitch, magician and five time entertainer-of-the-year Buddy “Aces” Israel (Jeremy Piven). He’s about to turn state’s evidence against his long-time cronies […]

The Hitcher

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence, terror and language.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence, terror and language.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

John Ryder returns in this remake of the 1986 horror film, and this time he has his eyes (and knives, and guns, and fleet of constantly-changing automobiles-turned-weapons) on not the young man driving but the young woman in the passenger’s […]

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for aberrant behavior involving nudity, violence, sexuality, and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for aberrant behavior involving nudity, violence, sexuality, and disturbing images.
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

It’s an engaging idea — to make a movie about the one sense least able to be evoked by film, the sense of smell. The great triumph of the cinema is the way it unites sound, words, and images to […]

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 […]

The Good Shepherd

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, sexuality and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, sexuality and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

You can see what drew director Robert DeNiro and co-producer Francis Ford Coppola to this film about the beginnings of the CIA. It resonates with many of the same themes as their great triumph Godfather II. In both stories, men […]

Blood Diamond

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

December brings us the thinking person’s thrillers — all of the explosions and shooting and close calls of a summer movie, but with a more serious purpose and a more distinguished pedigree. Like Syriana and Traffic, this is the story […]

The Good German

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, violence and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, violence and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Director Steven Soderbergh has created a loving tribute to the films of the 1940’s that is more accomplished than effective. It is such a meticulous re-creation of the techniques and technology of the era that it seems jarring to see […]

Turistas

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence and disturbing content, sexuality, nudity, drug use and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

The growing trend in horror is to be as disgusting as possible — the story need not be involved, as long as it includes some form of stainless-steel torture and preferably five to six young backpackers/tourists/campers/other people away from home. […]

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 […]

Casino Royale

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, a scene of torture, sexual content and nudity.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, a scene of torture, sexual content and nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

They got a lot right with this new rebooted Bond, but — let me get this straight — when Bond and the Bad Guy have their big confrontation, it’s…a poker game? First things first. Daniel Craig is a great Bond, […]

Harsh Times

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language and drug use.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language and drug use.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

If David Ayer the director paid David Ayer the screenwriter for this script, he should ask himself for some of his money back. The screenplay is awfully close to Ayer’s own Training Day, the film that won Denzel Washington his […]

Babel

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, some graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, some graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

In the Bible, the story of Babel is a cautionary tale of hubris. The whole world had a common language until God, seeing that the people were building a huge tower together, “confused their speech.” They could no longer understand […]

Catch a Fire

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving torture and abuse, violence and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving torture and abuse, violence and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

A sizzling performance by Derek Luke ignites this story about Patrick Chamusso, a South African oil refinery worker who became caught up in the fight against apartheid. Chamusso who did his best to stay out of trouble and care for […]

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 […]

The Grudge 2

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing images/terror/violence, and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing images/terror/violence, and some sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

There are two types of people who awake with an uneasy feeling on Friday the 13th: the superstitious, and those who just can’t stomach the release of another horror sequel, remake, or (in this case), sequel to a remake. But […]

Man of the Year

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language including some crude sexual references, drug related material, and brief violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including some crude sexual references, drug related material, and brief violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

So, what if Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert decided to run for President? First of all, didn’t we already see that movie, when it was called Head of State and starred Chris Rock? (Okay, he didn’t play a comedian, but […]

The Departed

posted by jmiller
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Brilliantly acted, enthrallingly told, this vast, operatic saga centers on two men, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and William Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), both Boston Southies. Both are pretending to be the opposite of what they really are. Both are caught between […]

The Black Dahlia

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Director Brian de Palma is all about the look and the mood and paying tribute to the classic old movies he loves. He loves them so much he crawls inside them. He imitates them like an art student sitting in […]

The Protector

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive strong violence and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive strong violence and some sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Martial arts actor Tony Jaa’s follow-up to his breakout performance, 2003’s Ong-bak, could be called Kill Bill with a conscience. The violence is so pervasive that viewers can’t help but become increasingly desensitized, and there’s a clear attention to style […]

Hollywoodland

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Is there a more heartbreakingly unsolveable mystery than a suicide? The only person who really knows what happened is gone. Even if we find out the how, we who are left behind will always wonder why. Those who are still […]

The Wicker Man

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

Fans of the original The Wicker Man appreciate the film for many reasons: Its dichotomy of paganism and Christianity, its skillful use of Celtic folk music, its eerie and overbearing ambience. Although some might find it slow, disturbing, and at […]

Crank

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

Crank — as in the highly potent and highly agitating street drug, as in cranked up, as in dizzying cuts and swoops with the camera to replicate a disorienting strung-out high followed by an even more disorienting and strung-out crash. […]

Snakes on a Plane

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, a scene of sexuality and drug use, and intense sequences of terror and violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

If there’s ever an Oscar for truth in titling, it will go to “Snakes on a Plane.” As zillions of internet fans have noted for months, that says it all. This is the snakiest plane movie and the planeiest snake […]

The Illusionist

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

This feels like a fairy tale, so I will begin: “Once upon a time…” …there was a princess who loved a commoner but was engaged to a cruel prince. The commoner and the princess played together as children, but when […]

The Night Listener

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some disquieting sexual content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some disquieting sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Armistad Maupin (Tales of the City) didn’t trust his own story in his adaptation of his novel inspired by something that happened to him. But what could have been a thoughtful psychological drama raising issues of identity and trust and […]

Miami Vice

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

The original “Miami Vice” was Michael Mann’s decade-defining television show. It ran from 1984-89 and everything about it was fresh, edgy, and influential. The t-shirt under the Armani jacket with photogenic beard stubble look, the best-selling techno-synth musical theme that […]

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 […]

Lady in the Water

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some frightening sequences.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some frightening sequences.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

There is no conventional rating scale that could do justice to this film. It is a terrible movie, but it is terrible in an interesting and often highly watchable way. There have been better films that I have enjoyed less. […]

Waist Deep

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

A standard gangsta bang-bang movie with a script like a rap song benefits from charismatic performers and smooth writing and direction by Vondie Curtis Hall, who plays it like an urban western — a strong, quiet loner takes on a […]

The Omen

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content, graphic images and some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content, graphic images and some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Director John Moore knows one thing — how to compose some compelling images with swirling white (flakes of snow, scraps of paper) and something creepy and scarlet to catch your eye. But those swirling flakes and glimpses of red have […]

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 […]

The Da Vinci Code

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, some nudity, thematic material, brief drug references and sexual content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

A character in this movie’s version of the Catholic organization Opus Dei explains that their mission is to follow doctrine very strictly. That was director Ron Howard’s secular mission as well with this adaptation of the world-wide best-seller. He and […]

Poseidon

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This remake is so stripped down it doesn’t even have time for two of the three words of the original: this isn’t The Poseidon Adventure — it’s just “Poseidon.” If they remake it, it will be called “Pos.” Top-notch action […]

Mission Impossible III

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

At this point, the impossible mission may be finding some way to make this story work once more. That Lalo Schifrin score still jumps and in this version there is a propulsive shot of percussive adrenalin. The idea of super-spies […]

The Sentinel

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence and a scene of sensuality.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence and a scene of sensuality.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

What this movie gets right is the dry, cynical, slightly gallows-ish humor of people who spend their lives on constant alert, knowing that 999 out of a thousand of the “suspicious” activities they check out will be nothing. They are […]

Lucky Number Slevin

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

Slevin (Josh Harnett) is not having a good week. He lost his job and his girlfriend. He was mugged and his wallet and suitcase were stolen. He decided to visit a friend, who seems to have disappeared. But the door […]

Basic Instinct 2

posted by jmiller
F-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language and some drug content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language and some drug content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Someone should tell Sharon Stone that you can’t step in the same river twice. Or you can’t go home again. Or that for every Godfather II there are a hundred Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloos. Anything to stop another big, boring […]

Inside Man

posted by jmiller
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent images.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent images.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Spike Lee’s brilliant direction and a clever and surprising script from first-timer Russell Gewirtz provide an ideal setting for four of the most watchable actors in the business in a heist film that transcends and tweaks its genre. It has […]

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 […]

The Hills Have Eyes

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong gruesome violence and terror throughout, and for language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong gruesome violence and terror throughout, and for language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

If these hills only had eyes, it would be one thing but parents should know that they also have mutants wielding pickaxes which results in a disturbingly graphic movie not suitable for sensitive audiences of any age or species. Even […]

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 […]

16 Blocks

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

When a cop at a crime scene needs someone to stay with the bodies until the detectives arrive, he asks “who don’t we need?” That would be tired, slow, Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis). As soon as the other cops leave, […]

Freedomland

posted by jmiller
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent content.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent content.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This movie’s inability to live up to its potential is nearly as epic as its misleading title. In other hands, “Freedomland” might have played a jazz-like riff of personal loss and moving vignettes against the 4/4 beat of racial injustice […]

Final Destination 3

posted by jmiller
F
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong horror violence/gore, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong horror violence/gore, language and some nudity.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

It’s like deja vu, says the main character, only of something I haven’t done yet. Wow, get out of my head, Wendy! We are barely minutes into “Final Destination 3” and already we, the audience, are sharing her feeling. We […]

Firewall

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence, and for some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence, and for some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

What can you do if you want to rob a bank and hotshot Harrison Ford has designed a foolproof security system? Well, firewalls may be unbreakable, but people are not. So, you tell him that if he doesn’t break into […]

When a Stranger Calls

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense terror, violence and some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense terror, violence and some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

“He is calling from within the house.” What a line! Since the original version of When a Stranger Calls came out in 1979, that sentence — packed with impending terror –has resonated with babysitters and played on their fears as […]

Big Momma’s House 2

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual humor and a humorous drug reference.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual humor and a humorous drug reference.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

The poster for this movie shows Martin Lawrence in fat-lady drag tugging at a wedgie. This is as funny as it gets. A completely unnecessary sequel to a mildly amusing 2000 movie with Martin Lawrence as an FBI agent who […]

Underworld: Evolution

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive strong violence and gore, some sexuality/nudity and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive strong violence and gore, some sexuality/nudity and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

“Is that the same guy that was just sucking the blood out of the dead horse?” That was my question to the critic sitting next to me in the middle of the movie. I liked the first Underworld. I thought […]

Munich

posted by jmiller
A
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence, some sexual content, nudity and language.
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2006
A
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence, some sexual content, nudity and language.
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2006

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier said, “I can forgive them for killing my children. I cannot forgive them for forcing my children to kill theirs.” At the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, there was very little security because the Germans […]

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, […]

Syriana

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and language.
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language.
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2006

Most movies tell us everything and then they tell it to us again, just to make sure. Some movies, like this one, tell us too little, making us work at it, making us lean forward in our seats, fill in […]

Abandon

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Movie Release Date:2002
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Movie Release Date: 2002

Given the talent involved, it really is almost impressive how bad “Abandon” is. The movie is written by Stephen Gaghan, who last won an Oscar for “Traffic” and here makes his directing debut. The direction is poor, and the screenplay […]

Panic Room

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2002

This thriller, in the claustrophobic mode of “Rear Window”, finds Meg (Jodie Foster), a recent divorcee, and her combative daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart), trapped in the secret vault/bomb shelter/safe room set up by their apartment’s previous owner, a paranoid millionaire […]

Changing Lanes

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2002

Most thrillers have audiences asking themselves what the characters will do next. This one will have them asking themselves what they might do in this situation, because it is a movie about how close all of us are to abandoning […]

Along Came a Spider

posted by rkumar
D-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R
Movie Release Date:2001
D-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: R
Movie Release Date: 2001

Morgan Freeman returns as Dr. Alex Cross in this prequel to “Kiss the Girls.” Like the original, this movie has a nursery rhyme title and centers on a kidnapped girl. This time it is not a serial killer, just a […]

The Maltese Falcon

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:1941
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 1941

Plot: Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) is a private detective. A woman who says her name is Ruth Wonderly (Mary Astor) comes to see him, asking for help in finding her sister. Sam sends his partner, Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) to […]

Insomnia

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2002

Detective Dormer (Al Pacino) can’t sleep. He and his partner, Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan), are LA cops on special assignment to investigate the brutal murder of a teen-age girl in tiny Nightmute Alaska. Dormer may have been brought in for […]

Arlington Road

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1999
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 1999

This is a very scary movie about a very scary subject — terrorism. Indeed, its release was delayed due to concerns about the sensitivity of the material. Jeff Bridges plays Michael Faraday, a professor who specializes in terrorism, still grieving […]

Enemy of the State

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:1998
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 1998

This movie is what I call a “soft R,” the rating based on limited bad language and violence, but not really unsuitable for younger kids. Will Smith stars as Bobby Dean, a successful Washington lawyer, who in true thriller fashion […]

Run Lola Run

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1999
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 1999

Teenagers with a taste for the offbeat will enjoy this German import about a woman who gets a frantic phone call from her boyfriend and has only 20 minutes to find 100,000 marks (about $60,000), or he will be killed […]

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