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genre

  • Action
  • Animation
  • Comedy
  • Classic
  • Documentary
  • Drama
  • Epic
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Musical
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Sports
  • Spy
  • Thriller
  • War
  • Western

quality

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

who's watching

  • My entire family
  • Just the grown-ups
  • Little kids
  • Big kids

age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
  • 4th - 6th grade
  • Middle school
  • High school
  • Mature High schooler
  • Adult
  • All Ages




Grandma

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: August 21, 2015

Lily Tomlin is cranky, feisty, tough, and utterly irresistible in this story of a grandmother who has to visit past decisions about her own life in order to help her teenage granddaughter. She plays the aptly named Elle (French for […]

We Are Your Friends

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Movie Release Date:August 28, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Movie Release Date: August 28, 2015

Director Max Joseph brings some of the “Catfish” sensibility to “We Are Your Friends,” with an intimate, documentary feel and a storyline about people in their 20’s who have big dreams but understanding about how to achieve them or even […]

Gurukulam

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2015

It is hard to think of a form of communication more contrary to the internal stillness and oneness of meditation than a movie. Meditation seeks to remove our minds and spirits from the distractions of the outside world to free […]

Advice From Your Elders and a Goodbye from Wiretap

posted by Nell Minow

CBC’s wonderful Wiretap podcast says goodbye after 11 years with this adorable short film featuring wisdom from elders to youngers, ages 7-93. It covers everything from taking off the training wheels to asking a girl to dance to being kind […]

Hitman: Agent 47

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sequences of strong violence, and some language
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong violence, and some language
Movie Release Date: August 21, 2015

Maybe someday there will be a good movie based on a videogame. But there’s no evidence of that possibility in the tiresome “Hitman: Agent 47″ based on the first-person shooter Hitman Trilogy. The game keeps the player’s interest through challenges […]

Luxo Jr. — Pixar’s First Film Short Came out 29 Years Ago Today

posted by Nell Minow

Ever wonder why Pixar’s movies always begin with a desk lamp? Watch Pixar’s first computer-animated short, released 29 years ago today.

Happy Birthday to Votes for Women

posted by Nell Minow

It was only 95 years ago that American women first got the right to vote.

Straight Outta Compton

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, strong sexuality/nudity, violence, and drug use
Movie Release Date:August 14, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, strong sexuality/nudity, violence, and drug use
Movie Release Date: August 14, 2015

“What does NWA stand for?” asks Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), who is offering to become the manager of a new rap group from the Compton area of Los Angeles. “No Whites Allowed?” “No,” Eric “Eazy-E” Wright answers: “N**** Wit Attitude.” […]

The Man from UNCLE

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:August 14, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: August 14, 2015

Guy Ritchie’s update of the 1960’s television spy series is sleek, sophisticated, and sexy, with lively banter, high style, and oodles of roguish retro charm. Henry Cavill (“Superman,” “The Tudors”) takes the Robert Vaughn role of Napoleon Solo, an army […]

Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements and brief language
Movie Release Date:August 14, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements and brief language
Movie Release Date: August 14, 2015

“Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism” is a cute family fantasy, based on the series of books about a spunky orphan by Georgia Byng. Raffey Cassidy, the enchanting young star who was the highlight of “Tomorrowland,” is perfectly […]

New on Netflix: Dinotrux

posted by Nell Minow

New on Netflix: Dinotrux! It’s based on the books by Chris Gall. Dinotrux are huge creatures are half dinosaur, half construction vehicle. Ty Rux is a Tyrannosaurus Trux, and his best friend Revvit is a razor-sharp Reptool. Together they fight […]

Interview: Disney Animator Dorothy McKim on the Disney Short Film Collection

posted by Nell Minow

Dorothy McKim produced one of my favorite of the recent Disney short films, “Get a Horse,” which brought old-time Mickey Mouse into the era of 3D CGI with an eye-popping, with a hilariously intricate choreography that literally jumps out of […]

Ricki and the Flash

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language
Movie Release Date:August 7, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language
Movie Release Date: August 7, 2015

“Aren’t you allowed to have two dreams?” The person asking the question is Ricki (as she is now known), played by Meryl Streep. She has just accused her ex-husband, Pete (Kevin Kline), of not supporting her dream of playing rock […]

The End of the Tour

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:August 7, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: August 7, 2015

Form illuminates content in this imperfect but compelling film based on the real-life audiotapes of a four day interview of author David Foster Wallace in the final days of his book tour for Infinite Jest. The subject of the interview […]

Shaun the Sheep

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude humor
Movie Release Date:August 7, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor
Movie Release Date: August 7, 2015

“Shaun the Sheep is another adorably quirky animated film from Aardman, the folks behind “Wallace and Gromit” and “Chicken Run.” it is a wordless pleasure about a flock of sheep who get bored with their idyllic but monotonous life on […]

Fantastic Four

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language
Movie Release Date:August 7, 2015
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language
Movie Release Date: August 7, 2015

Three things a superhero movie should not be: dreary, dull, and tedious. Three things this movie is: see if you can guess. I am a huge fan of the comic book series Fantastic Four, which I first read as a […]

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity
Movie Release Date:July 31, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity
Movie Release Date: July 31, 2015

You think you’ve seen it before? Well, it is a familiar situation. Hitchcock had an assassin waiting in a concert hall for the right moment to shoot and our hero trying to stop it — twice, in the original “Man […]

Best of Enemies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:July 31, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: July 31, 2015

Once upon a time, network television news was dignified, objective, and delivered in stentorian, voice-of-God tones by white, vaguely Protestant men, in half-hour increments at the dinner hour. And then, in 1968, third-ranked network ABC, unable to compete with CBS […]

Vacation

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:July 29, 2015
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: July 29, 2015

I didn’t like the first one. I didn’t like the sequels. Keep that in mind when I tell you that I really did not like this latest in the gross-out, mean-spirited “Vacation” series, this time with the next generation going […]

The Imaginative Short Film that Inspired “Pixels”

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friend and fellow film critic Eddie Pasa for sharing this short film by Patrick Jean, the inspiration for this week’s “Pixels.”

Southpaw

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2105
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2105

Didactic and unabashedly manipulative, “Southpaw” borrows from almost every boxing movie ever made. It telegraphs every development and then, in case we missed it, tells us what just happened. The dialogue is purplish and melodramatic. The filmmaking is self-consciously arty, […]

Paper Towns

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity -- all involving teens
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2015

Everyone has one. That unobtainable dream we longed for when we were first learning what it felt like to be in love. For most of us, these impossible-to-attain objects of our desire are like training wheels to keep us from […]

Pixels

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive comments
Movie Release Date:July 24, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive comments
Movie Release Date: July 24, 2015

I never thought I’d see Max Headroom or “Fantasy Island” again, much less have to explain them to someone sitting next to me who was a toddler when they were on television, but Adam Sandler is still relentlessly working his […]

Ant-Man

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Movie Release Date:July 17, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Movie Release Date: July 17, 2015

San Diego Comic-Con is known for big, loud, and splashy promotions for movies and television series, especially those featuring superheroes.  So it was a delight to come across the tiny “billboard” for “Ant-Man,” smaller than a shoebox, that was the […]

Trainwreck

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:July 17, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: July 17, 2015

Judd Apatow has made a bunch of raunchy comedies about man-children who have to learn to grow up and embrace the joys of intimacy and responsibility, and one raunchy comedy (“This is 40″) about a couple who have to learn […]

Minions

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:July 10, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: July 10, 2015

The Minions should pay a little less attention to villains and a little more to penguins. Like “Madagascar’s” penguins, “Despicable Me’s” yellow minions were comic relief characters who took the lead in follow-up features. But the Minions are not quite […]

Self/Less

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date:July 10, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date: July 10, 2015

The longing for eternal life has inspired many stories, maybe most of them. What is creating a story itself if not a kind of search for immortality? Anne Rice created her series of books about vampires because the death of […]

Batkid Begins

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades

Children with cancer learn two things, we hear in this documentary about a boy who is being treated for leukemia. They learn how to fight. And, because they are surrounded by caregivers, they learn compassion. When he was two, Miles […]

Wil Wheaton Talks About His Mental Illness in a Video for UROK

posted by Nell Minow

I love the way Wil Wheaton sort of plays himself on “The Big Bang Theory.” The characters interact with him as Wil Wheaton, Wesley Crusher from “Star Trek: TNG” and star of “Stand By Me” (and “Serial Apeist 2″). But […]

Contest: Win a DVD of the Sweet Romance, “Old Fashioned”

posted by Nell Minow

Win a copy of the sweet romance, “Old Fashioned,” from PureFlix. It set a record with the highest opening for faith film on less than 300 screens. Director and star of the film Rik Swartzwelder has said he wanted to […]

The Declaration of Independence — Happy 4th of July!

posted by Nell Minow

Magic Mike XXL

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
Movie Release Date:July 1, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
Movie Release Date: July 1, 2015

“We’re healers,” one of the male exotic dancers, explains to another in “Magic Mike XXL.”  They’re here to bring a smile to women who have not, through tragically misguided oversight, been worshipped and adored.  They have not been ap-PRE-ciated.  They […]

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 […]

Interview: Jalmari Helander and Onni Tommila of “Big Game”

posted by Nell Minow

Big Game, now in theaters and on VOD, is an exciting action movie about Oskari, a Finnish kid on a solo hunting trip, who has to save the President of the United States when he is ejected from Air Force […]

Max

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:June 26, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: June 26, 2015

“Max” is a good, old-fashioned story of a boy and a dog who mend each other’s broken hearts.  It is heartwarming without getting treacly, and frank without getting too disturbing.  And it has adventure, romance, loss, and something to say […]

Big Game

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Movie Release Date:June 26, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 17, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Movie Release Date: June 26, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 17, 2015

Yes, it is basically “Die Hard” and “Under Siege” in the mountains of Finland, if Bruce Willis was a kid on a rite-of-passage solo hunting trip.  And instead of executive hostages in a big office building, the kid has to […]

Infinitely Polar Bear

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:June 19, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: June 19, 2015

“Infinitely Polar Bear” is the term a young girl uses in this film for bipolar disorder, the mental illness that her father struggled with as he cared for his daughters.   And it lets us know that this sensitive, touching […]

Ted 2

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 26, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 26, 2015

“Subtle” is not a word that naturally comes to mind for a movie that features a bong in the shape of male genitalia (which is more powerful — the longing for weed or the ew-factor of a straight guy who […]

An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:2015
DVD Release Date:June 22, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 2015
DVD Release Date: June 22, 2015

“Grace Stirs Up Success” is the latest in the excellent “American Girl” series, all featuring spirited young heroines confronting real-life problems, and learning some important lessons. They always include a lot of fun and a loving family, too. In this […]

Inside Out

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date:June 19, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date: June 19, 2015

Roger Ebert liked to refer to movies as an “empathy machine.” He said that the great gift of movies, more than any other art form, is the way they can put us inside the world, experiences, culture, and perspective of […]

AMC’s New All-Horror Movie Streaming Service

posted by Nell Minow

Uproxx reports that AMC has a new all-horror movie streaming service called Shudder with over 200 titles from the classics to international spook-fests, slashers, urban dread, supernatural scares, and more. You’ve been warned, but if you’re ready to be disturbed, […]

The Farewell Party

posted by Nell Minow

Israeli filmmaker Sharon Mayman says that the idea for “The Farewell Party” came from the time that his boyfriend’s grandmother, age 92, was dying, and paramedics prolonged her suffering by “fighting for her life like she was 16 years old.” […]

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 […]

Spy

posted by Nell Minow

It is time to celebrate. Melissa McCarthy finally has the movie role she deserves. Writer/director Paul Feig, who directed her in “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” has wisely given her center stage and allowed her to be quirky and awkward, which […]

Entourage

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:June 3, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: June 3, 2015

I sometimes muse that it might be nice to have a rule that I spend no more time writing a review of a film than the screenwriter spent writing the script.  If I had, this review could end right here, with […]

Clip: Dreamworks Dragons — Race to the Edge

posted by Nell Minow

We are delighted to be able to share a clip from Dreamwork Dragons: Race to the Edge, coming from Netflix on June 26, 2015. Hiccup stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient treasure while exploring an abandoned, booby-trapped ship.  

San Andreas

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: May 30, 2015

Another summer blockbuster-by-the-numbers, another dad who needs redemption and re-connection with his family, and the only way he can get it is via massive, catastrophic disasters lovingly created via CGI that feels more real than the emotions, characters, or dialog. […]

Aloha

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Movie Release Date:May 30, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 23, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Movie Release Date: May 30, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 23, 2015

Writer/director Cameron Crowe presents us with an attractive and talented but messy and compromised hero in “Aloha,” and asks us to root for him. The problem is that the film itself is attractive, talent-filled, messy, and compromised, and harder to […]

History of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier — Arlington National Cemetery

posted by Nell Minow

Tomorrowland

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Movie Release Date: May 22, 2015

It begins with an argument. Frank (George Clooney) is trying to tell us the story. But he is repeatedly interrupted by someone we will learn is Casey (Britt Robertson). “Try to be a little more upbeat,” she urges him. The […]

I’ll See You in My Dreams

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:May 22, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: May 22, 2015

Blythe Danner gives a performance of exquisite sensitivity in “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” the story of a lonely widow. She plays Carol, a singer-turned teacher who retired 20 years ago after her husband died. Her friends in a […]

Alamo Drafthouse Tells Audience Members to Turn Off Their Cell Phones with Lewis Black of “Inside Out”

posted by Nell Minow

Lewis Black plays Anger in Pixar’s new film, “Inside Out.” So who better to remind the audience to TURN OFF THEIR CELL PHONES!

Exclusive Clip: Richie Rich — Coming 5/22 on Netflix

posted by Nell Minow

We are delighted to have a sneak peek at Netflix’s new Richie Rich series, premiering May 22, 2015.

American Sniper

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 18, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 18, 2015

The highest-grossing movie of 2014 is also one of the most controversial. Director Clint Eastwood and producer-star Bradley Cooper have made a more subtle and nuanced film than either the people who loved it or the people who hated it […]

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 […]

Pitch Perfect 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for innuendo and language
Movie Release Date:May 15, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for innuendo and language
Movie Release Date: May 15, 2015

“Pitch Perfect 2″ is — bear with me — the musical comedy variation on the “Furious 7″ recipe for success.  The sequel jettisons any pretense of seriousness of purpose, structural logic, or psychological authenticity, joyfully tosses off any pretense of […]

Noble

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, including some violent and sexual situations
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, including some violent and sexual situations
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

Christina Noble is an Irish woman known as “Mama Tina” to thousands of Vietnamese children and their families. Her own childhood was one of poverty, abandonment, loss, and hardship, but her resilience and determination led her to give children half […]

Hot Pursuit

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 10, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 10, 2015

Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are both talented, beautiful actresses with savvy business acumen and strong entrepreneurial energy. Witherspoon’s accolades in 2014 included more than a Best Actress Oscar nomination for “Wild.” She also produced it, and another Oscar-nominated film, […]

Bravetown

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language, drug use and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language, drug use and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

If only salutory intentions and one good performance could save a film so fundamentally wrongly conceived. “Bravetown” starts out as “Footloose,” veers into “Ordinary People,” and ends up as “Swing Kids,” with jaw-dropping shifts in tone and focus and total […]

The D Train

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Unrated
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

Comedies, especially dark ones, have a lot of freedom when it comes to narrative logic, but the emotional logic still has to ring true. No matter how crazy the storyline gets, the way the characters respond to it has to […]

Ride

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 17, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 17, 2015

A surf bum named Ian (Luke Wilson) is explaining the physics of the interaction between surfboard and wave: it’s an inanimate object in an ever-changing environment. One doesn’t move. One never stops moving in powerful and highly unpredictable ways. And […]

Far from the Madding Crowd

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 3, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2015

It may be a British costume drama based on a classic novel, but Thomas Hardy’s saga of a headstrong woman and the three marriage proposals from very different men is not the usual corsets and teacups. Far from the Madding […]

Avengers: Age of Ultron

posted by Nell Minow

Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) sums it up best. Speaking pretty much to himself but also to us in the audience, he notes that he is on a floating city trying to fight off a robot army with arrows. “It doesn’t make […]

Welcome to Me

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015

In “Welcome to Me,” Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a depressed woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who wins $86 million in the lottery. She uses much of it to create a one-woman television series that feature monologues about her life […]

Iris

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 23, 2015

Fashion icon nonagenarian Iris Apfel is renowned for her taste and style. But people who see this movie, the last from documentary legend Albert Maysles, will remember her for her fearlessness and life force. Along with the signature big, round, […]

The Age of Adaline

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Movie Release Date:April 24, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Movie Release Date: April 24, 2015

Be careful what you wish for.  You think it would be great to stay 29 forever?  Adaline (Blake Lively) finds out that it is not great to become unstuck from time, to watch everyone you love grow old and die, […]

The Water Diviner

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:April 24, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for war violence including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: April 24, 2015

Before it detours into not one, not two, but at least three preposterous Hollywood twists, “The Water Diviner” is an absorbing drama about Joshua Connor, an Australian farmer (Russell Crowe, making his directing debut as well) who travels to Turkey […]

Ebertfest 2015, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow

It was a great honor to be included on today’s panel of movie critics, along with superstars Godfrey Cheshire, Scott Foundas, Matt Zoller Seitz, Rebecca Theodore Vachon, Richard Roeper, Susan Wloszczyna, Michael Phillips, Brian Tallarico, and Sam Fragoso.

Monkey Kingdom

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 17, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 17, 2015

Disneynature’s annual wild kingdom-style nature documentary is predictably adorable but surprisingly absorbing. The toque macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka live in the 12th century ruins of Polonnaruwa in a society as rigidly structured and ruthlessly enforced as a high school […]

Ex Machina

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Movie Release Date:April 17, 2015
DVD Release Date:July 14, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Movie Release Date: April 17, 2015
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2015

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

True Story

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some disturbing material
Movie Release Date:April 17, 2015
DVD Release Date:August 3, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some disturbing material
Movie Release Date: April 17, 2015
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2015

A reporter in disgrace for fabricating details of a story sits across the table from an orange-jumpsuited prisoner, accused of murdering his wife and three children. They have more in common than either of them expected. They are both outcasts. […]

Other Space — New Comedy Series on Yahoo from Paul Feig

posted by Nell Minow

Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Freaks and Geeks”) has a new comedy sci-fi series called “Other Space” premiering today on Yahoo. There is a fascinating article by Stephan Rodrick in the New Yorker about one of the people who played a key […]

VeggieTales in the House — A New Series on Netflix

posted by Nell Minow

Bob, Larry and the Veggie crew are back in five all-new, 22-minute episodes of the Netflix original series VeggieTales In the House! The brand-new episodes will be available for Netflix members to watch instantly this Friday, April 17. We are delighted to be […]

Wild Kratts: Shark-Tastic

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:April 14, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: April 14, 2015

PBS’s Wild Kratts is one of my favorite series for families. I love the relationship between the two real-life Kratt brothers and their enthusiasm and sense of adventure. The episodes have a nice balance between adventure, humor, and information about […]

The Longest Ride

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action
Movie Release Date:April 10, 2015
DVD Release Date:July 14, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action
Movie Release Date: April 10, 2015
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2015

Another spring, another Nicholas Sparks movie. I don’t mind (much) that they are so rigidly formulaic. Every one of them centers on (1) water, (2) letters, and (3) somebody dying. All genre films follow some sort of formula, and we […]

Game of Chairs — Sesame Street Adorably Takes on Game of Thrones

posted by Nell Minow

Furious 7

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:April 3, 2015
DVD Release Date:September 14, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: April 3, 2015
DVD Release Date: September 14, 2015

Who would have picked the Fast & Furious series as the one that would defy the odds and just keep getting better? In part that is because the first one was not very good. And the second wasn’t either. It […]

AISH and Six13 Uptown Funk Up Passover

posted by Nell Minow

AISH made an Uptown Funk parody in honor of Passover: And so did Six13: Hag sameach!

Happy Passover!

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a great Rube Goldberg-style contraption tribute to Passover from the folks at Technion. And here’s a glimpse of how they put it together.

While We’re Young

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:March 27, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: March 27, 2015

“While We’re Young” opens with an exchange from Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” about what happens when the young come knocking at the door. But it might just as well begin with the wry Amish aphorism, “We grow too soon old […]

The Woman in Gold

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:April 1, 2015
DVD Release Date:July 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: April 1, 2015
DVD Release Date: July 6, 2015

The very title is a form of theft. When Gustav Klimt painted the portrait that gives this film its name, he called it “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” She was a warm, vibrant young woman who was a vital part of […]

The Wrecking Crew

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images
Movie Release Date:March 27. 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images
Movie Release Date: March 27. 2015

Maybe you like Frank Sinatra and your friend likes the Mamas and Papas. Maybe you’ve argued about who is better, the Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel, or maybe you prefer Elvis. Each of those monumentally talented performers had a […]

Home

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

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

Smile of the Week: Soul Pancake on the Power of Accepting Compliments

posted by Nell Minow

My very wise mother always says, “If someone pays you a compliment, don’t argue or deflect it.  Just lower your eyes and say, ‘Thank you.’”  This wonderful film from the great folks at Soul Pancake shows exactly how important that […]

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2015

Jean-Michel Cousteau begins this dazzling underwater documentary with archival footage of his father’s pioneering work in showing us life in the other two-thirds of the planet. And then he uses the latest technology to bring those flickering monotone images up […]

Insurgent

posted by Nell Minow

This second in the “Divergent” series suffers from sequel-itis. The exuberance of the premise buoyed the first episode, as we and the central character, Tris (Shailene Woodley) explored the post-apocalyptic world that divided all citizens into strictly segregated factions. But […]

Danny Collins

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, drug use and some nudity
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 29, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, drug use and some nudity
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 29, 2015

Movie stories often begin with the hero or heroine having everything and then losing it or having nothing and then finding it. But some of the best combine them both, as Writer/director Dan Fogelman (“Cars,” “Tangled,” “Crazy Stupid Love”) has […]

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 […]

Cinderella

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:March 13, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: March 13, 2015

Here’s what’s magical — a fairy tale told in 2015 that is true to the spirit of the classic story by Charles Perrault but is still fresh and real despite the dozens of re-imaginings and the seismic shifts in culture […]

Run All Night

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:March 13, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 15, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: March 13, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 15, 2015

Two guys with the understanding of what they have lost and what they have paid to be where they are that only comes with sit opposite each other, drinks on the table between them. They must, at last, reckon with […]

Tom Hanks Lip-Syncs and Dances with Carly Rae Jepsen in “I Really Like You”

posted by Nell Minow

Tom Hanks really, really, really, really, really likes Carly Rae Jepsen!

Unfinished Business

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong risque sexual content/graphic nudity, and for language and drug use
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 15, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong risque sexual content/graphic nudity, and for language and drug use
Movie Release Date: March 6, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 15, 2015

“Unfinished Business” is a story about three renegade renegades from bureaucracy going up against The Man and the importance of the individual in an era of soul-grinding corporatism. But the movie itself is clearly the product of institutional over-management, as […]

Chappie

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 15, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: March 6, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 15, 2015

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

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2015
DVD Release Date:July 14, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some language and suggestive comments
Movie Release Date: March 6, 2015
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2015

A documentary called “Young @ Heart” had a choir of singers in their 80’s performing contemporary rock songs.  The very fact of their age and experience gave an unexpectedly profound meaning to the words.  And in “The Second Best Exotic […]

Merchants of Doubt

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date: March 6, 2015

Do you remember the tobacco executives standing up before a Congressional Committee, their right hands raised, each of them swearing that they did not believe that tobacco caused cancer?  That was in 1994, three decades after the US Surgeon General’s […]

YouTube’s New Campaign for Women: #DearMe

posted by Nell Minow

What advice would you give your younger self?  In celebration of International Women’s Day, take part in YouTube’s global #DearMe initiative to inspire and empower young girls everywhere.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

posted by Nell Minow

And don’t forget the only live action film written by Dr. Seuss, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T!

A Purim Take on Uptown Funk — Shushan Funk

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Purim! May this be a year when all the Hamens of the world are vanquished. This tale, was once told In the days of Achashverosh This one needs a new girl Needs a good girl A straight masterpiece! So […]

Smile of the Week: Uptown Funk from Alex Boye and the Dancing Grannies

posted by Nell Minow

“Uptown Funk,” from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, is covered in a sensational new video from longtime Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Alex Boyé and back-up performers ranging in age from 65-92.  According to the Choir’s website, Between all of his […]

Smile of the Week: Disney Shadows at the Mall

posted by Nell Minow

See what happens when Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Ana, Elsa, Olaf, Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear and other Disney Characters magically surprise unsuspecting shoppers with their “Disney Side.” Smooth moves, Mickey!

Mixmaster Baymax: from the “Big Hero 6″ DVD Extras

posted by Nell Minow

Big Hero 6 will be out on DVD/Blu-Ray February 24, 2015. Here’s a cute clip from the DVD extras.

McFarland USA

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language
Movie Release Date:February 20, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 1, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language
Movie Release Date: February 20, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 1, 2015

In 1987, Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), who had never coached or even run cross country, took a team of kids from one of the poorest communities in California to a state championship. Of course that would have to become […]

The DUFF

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying
Movie Release Date:February 20, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 8, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying
Movie Release Date: February 20, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2015

A haiku has 17 syllables. A limerick has five lines. An omelet is made from eggs. And a teen romantic comedy will have our characters visit the mall, a locker room, a classroom, and the school bathroom. There will be […]

Happy President’s Day!

posted by Nell Minow

Sergei Polunin Dances to “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle

posted by Nell Minow

This stunning ballet was choreographed by Jade Hale-Christofi

Kingsman: The Secret Service

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:February 13, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 8, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: February 13, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2015

“James Bond? Jason Bourne?” Our hero is being asked for the inspiration for naming his dog JB. “No,” he explains, “Jack Bauer.” This is a cheeky, nasty, meta, po-mo update of the spy genre, self-aware enough to name-check not just […]

Fifty Shades of Grey

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language
Movie Release Date:February 13, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language
Movie Release Date: February 13, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2015

The Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy by E.L. James became an international blockbuster best-seller because it satisfies the deepest, most passionate, most secret longing of the female spirit. It has nothing to do with being tied up or spanked, but […]

Jupiter Ascending

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:February 6, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 1, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: February 6, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 1, 2015

“Jupiter Ascending” was released in early 2015 but it was originally scheduled for release in the summer of 2014. It does feel like a summer movie. Somehow warm weather makes us more in the mood for explosions and less in […]

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild crude humor
Movie Release Date:February 6, 2015
DVD Release Date:June 1, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild crude humor
Movie Release Date: February 6, 2015
DVD Release Date: June 1, 2015

Our friends from Bikini Bottom are back in another deliriously silly story, so tender-hearted and cheery that there is no way to resist it. Plus, it has superheroes, a pirate played by Antonio Banderas, existential metaphysics, the guitarist from Guns […]

The Rewrite

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
Movie Release Date:February 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
Movie Release Date: February 6, 2015

Sometimes all we want from a movie is Hugh Grant delivering witty, self-deprecating lines about his empty life and bad choices as he learns to find his heart and soul. You know, the cinematic equivalent to eating a pint of […]

Seventh Son

posted by Nell Minow

If “The Big Lebowski” fans ever imagined a re-teaming of Jeff “The Dude” Bridges and Julianne “Maude” Moore, it is unlikely that they would have come up with the idea of this sword-and-sorcery epic based on the first of the […]

Every British Actor Appears in Vanity Fair’s Adorable Videos

posted by Nell Minow

Vanity Fair has cajoled all of the top British actors into re-creating classic American movie lines, featuring everyone from Dame Judi Dench to Benedict Cumberbatch, in this adorable video series. Here’s a sample.

Why We Love Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Synch Contests: Fallon, Ferrell, and Hart Perform “Drunk in Love,” “Let It Go,” “All of Me” (Plus Drew Barrymore)

posted by Nell Minow

I always enjoy Jimmy Fallon’s lip synch competitions and this is one of the best, with Will Ferrell performing “Drunk in Love” and ‘Let it Go,” Kevin Hart going all out with “All of Me” and “Roar,” and Fallon rocking […]

A Sneak Peek at the Frozen Mini-Sequel

posted by Nell Minow

“Frozen” fans have a treat in store! A short “Frozen” sequel will be in theaters next month, shown before Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella,” opening March 13, 2015. You can get a glimpse of it here.

Uptown Funk from A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School and Teacher Scot Pankey

posted by Nell Minow

High school teacher Scot Pankey brings the funk to the entire school in this joyous dubstep video. I love its spirit and its inclusiveness; everyone is just there to have fun. It has become a viral sensation, tweeted by Michelle […]

Black or White

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight
Movie Release Date:January 30, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight
Movie Release Date: January 30, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2015

Writer-director Mike Binder sure likes to get Kevin Costner drunk. As in his uneven but impressive “The Upside of Anger,” Binder once again has Costner playing a man who is a little lost and usually shnockered, a role well suited […]

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 […]

Paddington Music Video: Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani Sing “Shine”

posted by Nell Minow

Alan Menken Plays His Hits

posted by Nell Minow

Alan Menken, currently composing the songs for “Galavant,” here sings some of his greatest hits, including songs from “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Enchanted,” “Pocahontas,” “Tangled,” and “Newsies.”

Strange Magic

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action and scary images
Movie Release Date:January 23, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 18, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action and scary images
Movie Release Date: January 23, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 18, 2015

Despite the big names behind it, including George Lucas, who came up with the story and produced, it feels like a straight-to-DVD, about the level of Disney’s Tinkerbell series. It’s bright, colorful, self-affirming, and bouncy. And, likely to be appreciated […]

Four Disney Artists Paint a Tree

posted by Nell Minow

Pure pleasure: Four great Disney artists, Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Josh Meador, and Walt Peregoy, paint a tree. There’s a reason they call them actors with pencils. Or, just call them geniuses.

Mortdecai

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language and sexual material
Movie Release Date:January 23, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 11, 2015
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language and sexual material
Movie Release Date: January 23, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 11, 2015

There’s a lot of noise in “Mortdecai” but what I remember most is the silences where everything pauses for a moment to allow the audience to laugh without drowning out the next witty riposte. Nope, just crickets, as there was […]

Cake

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:January 24, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 20, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: January 24, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 20, 2015

Two shrewdly-chosen elements separate this film from the typical Lifetime saga of a middle class white woman struggling to overcome a dire challenge. First is the way writer Patrick Tobin and director Daniel Barnz (the underrated “Beastly”) trust the audience, […]

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 […]

Smile of the Week: Pass the Salt

posted by Nell Minow

When his sons text at the dinner table, a father responds.  This film from Matthew Abeler won the Best Comedy Award at the 2014 Five16 Film Festival. In less than two minutes, it makes its point and makes us smile.

A Most Violent Year

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 6, 2015

After three very different movies, we know two things about writer/director J.C. Chandor. First, he is already one of today’s most original, thought-provoking directors, with a remarkably mature and insightful eye, and second, he is vitally interested in the survival […]

Spare Parts

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language and violence
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 5, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language and violence
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 5, 2015

It really happened. Four undocumented high school kids from the poorest of communities took on the most brilliant engineering students from the country’s top colleges in a robotics competition and won. The contest results were one in a million, but […]

Paddington

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 27, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 27, 2015

Michael Bond’s gentle, charming stories about the Peruvian bear named for a London train station has been brought to the screen almost as gently and charmingly, and certainly far more so than the slapsticky trailer suggested. A generation ago, a […]

Online Series: Good News from Woody Allen, Bad News from the BBC

posted by Nell Minow

Amazon, which got its first Golden Globe wins (can we still call this category “television?”) Sunday night for “Transparent,” has announced that Woody Allen will write and direct a new series to be made available through their Prime streaming platform […]

Inherent Vice

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence
Movie Release Date:January 9, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence
Movie Release Date: January 9, 2015

We love mystery stories because they reassure us that questions have answers and justice is possible. But some mystery stories are there to remind us that life is complicated and messy, and sometimes answers are just more questions. This is […]

Some New Year Suggestions from Kid President

posted by Nell Minow

I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than these suggestions from Kid President. Happy 2015!

A Last Thought for the New Year: Write a Letter to a Stranger

posted by Nell Minow

Hannah Brencher has a story to tell about how she helped herself by helping others — through the almost-lost art of real letters on paper.  Make 2015 the year you write some letters — thank you notes, condolence notes, someone […]

A Last Look Back at 2014: YouTube

posted by Nell Minow

Joy to the World

posted by Nell Minow

Merry Christmas 2014!

posted by Nell Minow

Selma

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 4, 2015
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2015

“Selma,” director Ava DuVernay’s film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital at Montgomery, to make the case for the right to vote, is superb as biography, as history, and as […]

Into the Woods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

This is not a Disney movie. Oh, well, yes, it is a Disney movie in the sense that it is produced by Disney, which is the only possible explanation for the PG rating (and the slightly sweetened storyline), but this […]

Unbroken

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie breaks into the top ranks of American directors with “Unbroken,” showing an exceptional understanding not just of actors, but of tone, scale, and letting the camera tell the story. Working with the magnificent cinematography of Roger […]

Big Eyes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 13, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 13, 2015

In Woody Allen’s 1973 film “Sleeper,” set in a decadent future, Diane Keaton plays a superficial socialite who tries to think of the highest compliment she can give to an amateurish painting.  “Oh, it’s Keane! It’s pure Keane!” she exclaims. […]

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: Josh Groban

posted by Nell Minow

Pride

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 22, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 22, 2014

The ingredients for this film were so irresistible that it is a unexpected bonus to find that it is so much better than it needed to be. It’s based on a true story of extraordinary kindness, generosity, and friendship and […]

Smile of the Week: A Boy and a Penguin

posted by Nell Minow

This reminds me a little of the depiction of a child’s world in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Barnaby. Many thanks to Slate for this and the others on its list of the year’s best ads.

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey

posted by Nell Minow

You don’t have to be a fan of “Downton Abbey” (or “Mr. Selfridge”) to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley.

Annie

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corporate privacy invasions, and Katy Perry tweets. There are some […]

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 9, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 9, 2015

Fans of the first two “Night at the Museum” films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibits come to life […]

A Trailer for A Movie You’ll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna

posted by Nell Minow

“Moonquake Lake” has a lot of star power behind it — “LEGO Movie” directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks….intriguing, some sort of “Twilight”-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn’t […]

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
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
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
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

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 […]

The Maccabeats! Happy Hannukah! All About the Neis

posted by Nell Minow

Eight Nights Song: StandFour

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah from StandFour!

See The Year’s Most Intriguing Actors In New Kissing Scenes: NY Times Magazine

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times brought together the stars of some of this year’s biggest films and asked them to kiss. Each is a tiny gem of a film that suggests so much more.

Music Video: Fenech-Soler Sing Last Forever

posted by Nell Minow

I love this video, which reminds me of some of my favorites from OK Go. It seems deceptively simple but they have some remarkable dimensional and reverse-motion effects. Nice song, too!

Exodus: Gods and Kings

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
Movie Release Date:December 12, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
Movie Release Date: December 12, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The story of Exodus is central to three of the world’s most significant religions and one of the Bible’s most cinematic stories, with a flawed but charismatic hero and a stirring story of slaves seeking freedom.  It has already been […]

Top Five

posted by Nell Minow

Why is it that we love to talk about our top five? Is it because it gives us a sense of order in the midst of chaos? Is it because we feel that if we can somehow distill the whole […]

Us the Duo Sings the Hits of 2014 — In 2 1/2 Minutes

posted by Nell Minow

Us the Duo, the adorable Carissa and Michael Alvarado, whose song is featured in “The Book of Life,” have a new video with the top hits of 2014 in just 2 1/2 minutes.

Wild

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Movie Release Date:December 5, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
Movie Release Date: December 5, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

“If your Nerve, deny you— Go above your Nerve—” Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) adds the name of the author, Emily Dickinson, to the quote she has inscribed in a journal for hikers kept at her entry point on the Pacific […]

The Imitation Game

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician with an enormous intellect, an almost equally enormous ego, and an almost equally enormous secret. He was one of the founding thinkers behind modern computing and it is his name that we use for […]

Peter Pan Mash-Up Music Video With Alex G, DJ Tay James, and the Cast of Peter Pan Live

posted by Nell Minow

Watch Peter Pan Live! On NBC Thursday, December 4 at 8/7c.

Smile of the Week: Kristen Bell and Straight No Chaser Sing Text Me Merry Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Kristen Bell (“Frozen”) and the a cappella group Straight No Chaser have a new Christmas song sure to be a classic: “Text Me Merry Christmas.”

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

posted by Nell Minow

All my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, and please know how thankful I am for the time you spend here.

Horrible Bosses 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date:November 26, 2104
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date: November 26, 2104
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

Maybe it’s just the proximity to the horrible “Dumb and Dumber To,” but the cheerily offensive “Horrible Bosses 2″ made me laugh. Full warning — it begins with an elaborate sight gag as our hapless heroes demonstrate their new product […]

Penguins of Madagascar

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The most adorable characters from the first three animated “Madagascar” movies were the penguins, the seldom right but never in doubt leader Skipper (Tom McGrath), the often right but never listened to Kowalski (Chris Miller), the literally explosive Rico (Conrad […]

Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street

posted by Nell Minow

Amazon Prime’s new series for families is a delight. Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street is the story of three middle school-age friends and the mysteries they investigate on Normal Street are anything but normal. It has fun and fantasy […]

Little Hope Was Arson

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014

In a small East Texas community “with a church on every corner,” 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film “Fireproof” one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself the next day. This is a […]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2015

It seems no different at first. While the second in the “Hunger Games” series ended with the surprise last-minute rescue of heroine Katniss Everden (Jennifer Lawrence), and the even bigger surprise that insider Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was secretly […]

Foxcatcher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2015

John Eleuthère Du Pont was of the wealthiest men in the world. He was an ornithologist, a philatelist, a purchaser of military weapons (including a tank), a wrestling fan who set up a luxurious training facility for the US Olympic […]

Rosewater

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014

First-time writer/director Jon Stewart has made a remarkably assured film about the imprisonment and torture of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari It is an absorbing drama that is at the same time the story of a very specific individual and a […]

Beyond the Lights

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

“Beyond the Lights” is a welcome return to the grand traditions of movie romance, with sizzling chemistry between gorgeous, fabulously charismatic stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker. And it also has some very astute insights about family, ambition, and the […]

Dumb and Dumber To

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 15, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 15, 2015

A poorly timed cameo appearance by Honey Boo-Boo’s sexual predator-consorting Mama June is dumb.  Making a sequel 11 years after the original “Dumb and Dumber” and the best-forgotten prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” is dumber.  Too. Jeff […]

The Theory of Everything

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 16, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 16, 2015

We have seen many film biographies of great individuals (mostly men). But we have seen almost no films, fact-based or fictional, about great marriages. And we have certainly never seen any films about great marriages that end up with the […]

Big Hero 6

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a super-smart kid who likes to hustle underground robot fighters with his deceptively cute-looking little bot.  He has no interest in going to school until the older brother he adores (Daniel Henney as Tadashi) brings him to […]

Smile of the Week: Airplane Safety Video, Hobbit-Style

posted by Nell Minow

Interstellar

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

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

Three Films About What We Discover About Others and Ourselves When We See and Hear What People Do When They Think No One is There

posted by Nell Minow

Professor Drew Morton deftly shows the connections between three films about listening or looking in secret and what secrets are discovered or uncovered: Blow Up, Blow Out, and The Conversation

Mickey’s Halloween 2014

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Halloween! Light Show 2014

posted by Nell Minow

Laggies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Movie Release Date:October 31, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Movie Release Date: October 31, 2014

Lynn Shelton is known for writing and directing small, intimate, independent films with a lot of improvised dialogue (“Humpday,””My Sister’s Sister,” “Touchy Feely”), often using the same small group of actors. With “Laggies,” she moves seamlessly to working with a […]

Disney’s Headless Horseman, Sung by Bing Crosby

posted by Nell Minow

OK Go: I Won’t Let You Down

posted by Nell Minow

No one making movies anywhere is more creative than OK Go. This is pure kaleidoscopic joy. And all it took was a few umbrellas. Some background on the making of the video here.

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 16, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 16, 2015

Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, “Birdman” (subtitled “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”) explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of […]

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 […]

23 Blast

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014

23 Blast is the name of a football play, and “23 Blast” is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed […]

Manners at the Movie Theater

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a cute reminder on movie theater manners.

Classic Movie Scenes in Legos

posted by Nell Minow

From Morgan Spence

Fury

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 26, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2015

History, Winston Churchill reminds us, is written by the victors. But sometimes those victors have some second thoughts, more complex thoughts, about the nature of heroism, patriotism, and the spoils (in both senses) of war. And sometimes people want to […]

The Book of Life

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 26, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2015

Jorge Gutierrez (Nickelodeon’s “El Tigre”) is co-writer and director of a dazzling new animated film that all but explodes off the screen in a kaleidoscope of color and energy and a love of life and storytelling and colorful characters and […]

St. Vincent

posted by Nell Minow

A crude, inconsiderate, bitter slacker — Bill Murray could play that in his sleep. And it would be pretty good. But he doesn’t. Bill Murray gives a beautiful, wise, complex performance as Vincent, an angry old man who drinks too […]

Dear White People

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2015

Before I turn to whitesplaining this film, I will begin by suggesting that you read what Aisha Harris at Slate and what my friends and fellow critics Travis Hopson and Stephen Boone have to say first. If I did not […]

The Impossible Orchestra, Starring Everyone, Sings “God Only Knows”

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite songs, performed by many of my favorite performers. Here’s the guide to who’s who.

The Judge

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 26, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2015

Robert Downey Jr. gives his best performance since “Chaplin” in “The Judge,” an absorbing story of family, redemption and home. Downey co-produced and stars as Hank Palmer, a Chicago criminal defense attorney known for doing whatever it takes to get […]

Kill the Messenger

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and drug content
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and drug content
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2014

Sometimes an honest, crusading, investigative reporter uncovers corruption and deceit and the result is triumph, a Pulitzer Prize, humiliating resignations and criminal convictions of the guilty and an Oscar-winning movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. And sometimes, instead, the […]

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude humor including some reckless behavior and language
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 9. 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor including some reckless behavior and language
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 9. 2015

We’ve all had them. Some days, nothing goes right. The classic children’s book from Judith Viorst is about a little boy who wakes up with gum in his hair to a day that includes a dentist appointment, kissing on television, […]

The Pixar Universe: A Theory About How It All Fits Together

posted by Nell Minow

Left Behind

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, violence/peril and brief drug content
Movie Release Date:October 3, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, violence/peril and brief drug content
Movie Release Date: October 3, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

“Left Behind” is being marketed as Christian entertainment, but it does not qualify in either category. It is far inferior to the modestly budgeted but sincere straight-to-DVD starring Kirk Cameron, based on the blockbuster best-selling book series by Tim LaHaye […]

Smile of the Week: New York Sings “Tomorrow” from “Annie”

posted by Nell Minow

#anniemovie

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 Good Lie

posted by Nell Minow

“The Good Lie” wisely casts Reese Witherspoon and Corey Stoll, who are outstanding as always, as sympathetic employment agency representatives helping refugees from Sudan find work in Kansas. And then it even more wisely keeps those characters in the background […]

Believe Me

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014

Will Bakke has followed his two thought-provoking documentaries on faith with a remarkably smart, funny, brave, and heartfelt first feature film that explores religion and values without ever falling into the easy conventions of many faith-based films. Bakke has a […]

Tracks

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some partial nudity, disturbing images and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014

In 1977, a 27-year-old woman named Robyn Davidson took a dog and four camels and walked 1700 miles across the Australian desert. A National Geographic photographer met up with her four times to cover it for the magazine. That led […]

The Boxtrolls

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2015

LAIKA Studios (Paranorman and Coraline) has created another  loveably crooked world, this time inspired by Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles).  It’s their first period setting, a sort of slightly bent Edwardian with a touch of steampunk, in the […]

The Equalizer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 29, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 29, 2014

The only thing nicer than having a real-life friend who could circumvent any obstacle of power or law or, you know, logic to deliver the roughest but most just of rough justice would be to have that friend be Denzel […]

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posted 5:50:55pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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Director Max Joseph brings some of the "Catfish" sensibility to "We Are Your Friends," with an intimate, documentary feel and a storyline ...

posted 5:35:22pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Being Evel
Evel Knievel was an international celebrity in the 1960's-70's, known for three things: showmanship, stunts that succeeded, and stunts that failed. He was recognized for jumping over 19 cars in his motorcycle, for crash-landing after trying to ...

posted 5:13:51pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Rosenwald
Aviva Kempner, the director of the acclaimed documentaries about baseball star Hank Greenberg and television pioneer Gertrude Berg, has a new film about early 20th century Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. Like the prior ...

posted 12:10:06pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Possibly the Greatest Pairing Since Lennon and McCartney: Lawrence and Shumer
Jennifer Lawrence told the New York Times that she and Amy Schumer are writing a screenplay together! It's about two sisters, to be played by Lawrence and Schumer themselves. “Amy and I were creatively made for each other. We have ...

posted 10:49:12pm Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

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