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Annie
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

 

The Maze Runner
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

 

Magic in the Moonlight
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Release Date:
August 1, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Release Date:
August 8, 2014

Black Reel Awards Nominations 2014

posted by Nell Minow

One of the great pleasures of this time of year is voting for so many of my favorite filmmakers as a part of the Black Reel Awards. Thanks, as ever, to Tim Gordon for allowing me to participate. I think it is fair to say we had more and better choices this year than we ever have before. Here are our nominees:

MOTION PICTURE

Copyright 2104 Relativity Media

Copyright 2104 Relativity Media

Outstanding Motion Picture

Belle | Damian Jones (Fox Searchlight)
Beyond the Lights | Stephanie Allain, Amar’e Stoudamire, Reggie Rock Bythewood & Ryan Kavanaugh (Relativity Media)
Dear White People | Justin Simien, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe, Ann Le, Effie Brown & Julia Lebedev (Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions)
Selma | Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner & Christian Colson (Paramount)
Top Five | Scott Rudin & Eli Bush (Paramount)

Outstanding Actor, Motion Picture

Chadwick Boseman | Get on Up (Universal Pictures)
David Oyelowo | Selma (Paramount)
Nate Parker | Beyond the Lights (Relativity Media)
Chris Rock | Top Five (Paramount)
Denzel Washington | The Equalizer (Columbia Pictures)

Outstanding Actress, Motion Picture

Rosario Dawson | Top Five (Paramount)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw | Belle (Fox Searchlight)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw | Beyond the Lights (Relativity Media)
Tessa Thompson | Dear White People (Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions)
Quvenzhane Wallis | Annie (Columbia Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Motion Picture

Nelsan Ellis | Get On Up (Universal)
David Oyelowo | A Most Violent Year (A24)
Tyler Perry | Gone Girl (20th Century Fox)
Wendell Pierce | Selma (Paramount)
Michael K. Williams | The Gambler (Paramount)

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Motion Picture

Viola Davis | The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (The Weinstein Company)
Carmen Ejogo | Selma (Paramount)
Teyonah Parris | Dear White People (Lionsgate / Roadside Attractions)
Zoe Saldana | Guardians of the Galaxy (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Octavia Spencer | Snowpiercer (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Director, Motion Picturetop five

Amma Asante | Belle (Fox Searchlight)
Gina Prince-Bythewood | Beyond the Lights (Relativity Media)
Ava DuVernay | Selma (Paramount)
Chris Rock | Top Five (Paramount)
Justin Simien | Dear White People (Lionsgate / Roadside Attractions)

Outstanding Screenplay (Original or Adapted), Motion Picture

Gina Prince-Bythewood | Beyond the Lights (Relativity Media)
John Ridley | Jimi: All is by My Side (XLrator Media/ Open Road Films)
Chris Rock | Top Five (Paramount)
Misan Sagay | Belle (Fox Searchlight)
Justin Simien | Dear White People (Lionsgate / Roadside Attractions)

Outstanding Documentary

Anita: Speaking Truth to the Power | Freida Lee Mock (Samuel Goldwyn)
I Am Ali | Clare Lewins (Focus World)
Keep on Keepin’ On | Alan Hicks (Radius-TWC)
Time is Illmatic | One9 (Tribeca Film)
Virunga | Orlando von Einsiedel (Netflix)

Outstanding Ensemble (Awarded to Casting Directors)

Belle | Toby Whale (Fox Searchlight)
Dear White People | Kim Coleman (Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions)
Get On Up | Kerry Barden & Paul Schnee (Universal)
Selma | Aisha Coley (Paramount)
Top Five | Victoria Thomas (Paramount)

Outstanding Foreign Film

Difret (Ethiopia)| Zeresenay Mehari (Moving Turtle)
The Double! (U.K.) | Richard Ayoade (Magnolia Films)
Fishing Without Nets (Kenya) | Cutter Hodierne (Drafthouse Films)
Freedom Road (South Africa) | Shane Vermooten (Media Village Productions)
Half of a Yellow Sun (Nigeria) | Biyi Bandele (Monterey Media)

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male

Brandon Bell | Dear White People (Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions)
David Gyasi | Interstellar (Paramount)
Andre Holland | Selma (Paramount)
Stephan James | Selma (Paramount)
Tyler James Williams | Dear White People (Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female

Jillian Estell| Black or White (Relativity Media)
Patina Miller | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1 (Lionsgate)
Teyonah Parris | Dear White People (Lionsgate / Roadside Attractions)
Amber Stevens | 22 Jump Street (Columbia/ MGM)
Kuoth Wiel | The Good Lie (Warner Bros.)

Outstanding Voice Performance

Vin Diesel | Guardians of the Galaxy (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Morgan Freeman | The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Maya Rudolph | Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Zoe Saldana | The Book of Life (20th Century Fox)
Damon Wayans Jr. | Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

MUSIC

Outstanding Score

Terence Blanchard | Black or White (Relativity Media)
Kathryn Bostic | Dear White People (Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions)
Danny Bramson & Waddy Wachtel | Jimi: All is by My Side (XLrator Media/ Open Road Films)
Mask Isham | Beyond the Lights (Relativity Media)
Jason Moran | Selma (Paramount)

Outstanding Original Song

“It Ain’t Easy” from Top Five | Written & Performed by: Questlove & Elza Colby (Paramount)
“It’s On Again” from The Amazing Spider-Man 2| Performed by: Alicia Keys & Kendrick Lamar; Written by: Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, Hans Zimmer & Kendrick Lamar (Sony Pictures)
“Glory” from Selma | Performed by: John Legend & Common; Written by: John Legend, Common & Che Smith (Paramount)
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights | Performed by: Rita Ora; Written by: Diane Warren (Relativity Media)
“What is Love” from Rio 2 | Performed by: Janelle Monae; Written by: Janelle Monae, Nathaniel Irvin III and Roman Irvin (20th Century Fox)

INDEPENDENT

Outstanding Independent Feature

1982 | Tommy Oliver
Christmas Wedding Baby | Kiara C. Jones
CRU | Alton Glass
The Retrieval | Chris Eska (Variance Films)
Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind | Richie Adams

Outstanding Independent Documentary

25 to Life | Mike Brown (AAFRM)
Evolution of a Criminal | Darius Clark Monroe
Let the Fire Burn | Jason Osder
Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood | Bayer Mack
Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People | Thomas Allen Harris

Outstanding Independent Short

#AmeriCan | Nate Parker
Muted | Rachel Goldberg
The Voodoo | Steven Alexander

TELEVISION

Outstanding Television Documentary or Special

Finding the Funk | Nelson George (VH1)
Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown | Alex Gibney (HBO)
On the Run Tour: Jay-Z & Beyonce | Jonas Akerlund (HBO)
The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip-Hop | Billy Corben & Alfred Spellman (VH1)
Terror at the Mall | Dan Reed (HBO)

Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series

A Day Late and a Dollar Short | Tom Leonardis, Jeffrey M. Hayes, Bill Haber & Whoopi Goldberg (Lifetime)
Gun Hill | Daniel Hank (BET)
Rosemary’s Baby | Zoe Saldana, Cisely Saldana, Mariel Saldana, Tom Patricia & Robert Bernacchi (NBC)
Seasons of Love | Joshua A. Green, Asger Hussain & Yaron Schwartzman (Lifetime)
The Trip to Bountiful | Bill Haber, Cicely Tyson, Hallie Foote & Jeff Hayes (Lifetime)

Outstanding Actor, TV Movie or Mini-Series

Charles S. Dutton | Comeback Dad (UP)
David Alan Grier | An En Vogue Christmas (Lifetime)
Ving Rhames | A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime)
Keith Robinson | Lyfe’s Journey (UP)
Larenz Tate | Gun Hill (BET)

Outstanding Actress, TV Movie or Mini-Series

Whoopi Goldberg | A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime)
Imani Hakim | The Gabby Douglas Story (Lifetime)
Letoya Luckett | Seasons of Love (Lifetime)
Zoe Saldana | “Rosemary’s Baby” (NBC)
Cicely Tyson | The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)

Outstanding Supporting Actor, TV Movie or Mini-Series

Richard T. Jones | Lyfe’s Journey (UP)
Harry Lennix | The Fright Night Files (TVOne)
Mekhi Phifer | A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime)
Blair Underwood | The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)
Bokeem Woodbine | The Fright Night Files (TVOne)

Outstanding Supporting Actress, TV Movie or Mini-Series

Tichina Arnold | A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime)
Kimberly Elise | A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime)
Aisha Hinds | Gun Hill (BET)
Anika Noni Rose | A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime)
Vanessa L. Williams | The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)

Outstanding Director, TV Movie or Mini-Series

Reggie Rock Bythewood | Gun Hill (BET)
Stan Foster | My Other Mother (UP)
Princess Monique | Seasons of Love (Lifetime)
Russ Parr & R.L. Scott | The Fright Night Files (TVOne)
Ryan Richmond | Lyfe’s Journey (UP)

Outstanding Writing, TV Movie or Mini-Series

Reggie Rock Bythewood | Gun Hill (BET)
Shernold Edwards | A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime)
Dayna Lynne North | An En Vogue Christmas (Lifetime)
Peres Owino & Sharon Brathwaite-Sanders | Seasons of Love (Lifetime)
Kimberly Walker | Comeback Dad (UP)

A Hannukah Version of “Shake it Off!”

posted by Nell Minow

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
Copyright Warner Brothers Studios 2014

Copyright Warner Brothers Studios 2014

Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans.  I think even Tolkien himself would cry “no mas” at this point.  Remember how the third LoTR movie had about five or six endings because Jackson just could not bear to let go?  This whole movie is like that.  It’s not bad.  There’s just too much of it.

The second of the Hobbit movies remains my favorite because it had the most excitingly staged action scenes and the best characters.  And it left us with a heck of a cliffhanger as Smaug the dragon delivered on the promise of the title, leaving his lair to desolate the village of Lake-Town.  But that all gets resolved pretty quickly (and excitingly) and then, as this title makes clear, most of the rest of the time is not about the original quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain or the sub-quest to obtain the powerful Arkenstone.  It is about a battle of just about everyone, with shifting loyalties and heartbreaking losses.  If you are not a hard-core Tolkienite at the Stephen Colbert level, here’s the one key guideline to keep in mind: the worse the teeth, the more evil the creature sporting them.  The elves, dwarves, and men may have their grievances with each other and may even go into battle against each other, but as any crossword puzzle fan knows, Orcs are the bad guys, ugly cusses with terrible gnashy teeth, and nothing unites rivals and enemies quicker than the arrival of a much worse enemy coming after all of them.

YouTube Preview Image

Martin Freeman (television’s “Sherlock” and “Fargo”) returns as Bilbo Baggins, the heart and the moral center of the story.  While my mind wandered at times to consider such questions as who does all that intricate hair-braiding that the characters sport?  It must be like a middle school slumber party around those campfires, with everyone in a circle doing the hair of the person in front of them.  Isn’t that total turnaround by Thorin Oakenshield a little unbelievable? And I can never figure out exactly the scope of the powers and jurisdiction of characters like Gandalf and Galadriel. Plus, the snively traitor guy gets much too much screen time.

But I never stopped admiring the gorgeously imagined visuals or the subtle complexity of Freeman’s performance. As we see on “Sherlock,” there is no one better at showing us a thoughtful and deeply honorable struggle over how to respond. There may be epic battles, shifting loyalties, elaborate stunts, and a lot of gnashing of very scary-looking teeth, but it is the part of the title before the colon that is what matters.

Parents should know that this movie has extensive and graphic peril and war violence with many sad deaths and some disturbing images.

Family discussion: What was the most difficult decision made by Thranduil? By Bilbo?

If you like this try: The other Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films by Peter Jackson and the books by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Maccabeats! Happy Hannukah! All About the Neis

posted by Nell Minow
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