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genre

  • Action
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quality

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

who's watching

  • My entire family
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age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
  • 4th - 6th grade
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The Meddler

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief drug content
Movie Release Date:April 29, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief drug content
Movie Release Date: April 29, 2016

Marnie (Susan Sarandon) is the irresistible force who, just before this movie starts, meets the immovable object: devastating grief in the loss of her husband. She does not have the vocabulary to process this loss. And so she tries to […]

Keanu

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language throughout, drug use and sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:April 29, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language throughout, drug use and sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: April 29, 2016

I laughed so much and so hard at this movie that by the time it was over I had become of those Key and Peele show parking valets. I just wanted to stand in front of a hotel in my […]

Ratchet & Clank

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG for action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date:April 29, 2016
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: PG for action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date: April 29, 2016

Roger Ebert famously declared that a video game could not be art, giving rise to howls of protest. I believe that videogames, like movies, can and will rise to the level of art. But movies like “Ratchet & Clank” will […]

Mother’s Day

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and some suggestive material
Movie Release Date:April 29, 2016
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and some suggestive material
Movie Release Date: April 29, 2016

I tried, Garry Marshall, I really did, but you finally broke me. I did my best to enjoy Valentine’s Day (I called it a tweet of a movie but gave it a B for being mildly entertaining) and New Year’s […]

Tale of Tales

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Unrated
Movie Release Date:April 22, 2016
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Movie Release Date: April 22, 2016

Who ever said that fairy tales were for children? “Tale of Tales” is based on three stories from Giambattista Basile that go back a hundred years before the Brothers Grimm. Basile, whose book was subtitled “entertainment for little ones” was […]

Elvis & Nixon

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date:April 23, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date: April 23, 2016

Today it does not seem at all odd to see Beyoncé hanging out with the Obamas or a reality television star as a popular Presidential candidate. But in the before-social media days of 1970, celebrity culture was not as all-encompassing […]

Sing Street

posted by Nell Minow

You’re a teenager. Suddenly, nothing you thought you knew seems certain anymore. Your parents do not understand you. Your siblings don’t understand you. Your teachers don’t understand you. You don’t understand yourself — everything outside and inside of you seems […]

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:April 22, 2016
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: April 22, 2016

With a storyline as awkward and unfocused as its unwieldy title, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is like a mashup of “Frozen,” “Lord of the Rings,” and the Narnia movies, without any of the heart or imagination of any of them. […]

A Hologram for the King

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality/nudity, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:April 22, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality/nudity, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: April 22, 2016

“Hologram for the King” is an uneven but always-watchable film based on the book by Dave Eggers. Like Arthur Miller, David Mamet, and many others, Eggers chose a salesman as a central figure and metaphor to illustrate the mixture of […]

The Jungle Book

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril
Movie Release Date:April 15, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril
Movie Release Date: April 15, 2016

The camera swoops behind the familiar Disney castle logo to take us to that magical place — you know, like the one that is found second star to the right and straight on ’til morning or through the wardrobe in […]

The Dark Horse

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
Movie Release Date:April 15, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
Movie Release Date: April 15, 2016

It would be so easy — and so wrong — to make this true story of a Maori chess champion who struggles with mental illness as he teaches underprivileged kids into a safe, simple, saccharine, uplifting story. But writer/director James […]

Barbershop: The Next Cut

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language
Movie Release Date:April 15, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language
Movie Release Date: April 15, 2015

In 1991, Ice Cube was barely into his 20’s when he starred in Boyz N The Hood, one of the most powerful American films of the 20th century, a searing indictment of gang violence and a tribute to one of […]

Demolition

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexual references, drug use, and disturbing behavior
Movie Release Date:April 8, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexual references, drug use, and disturbing behavior
Movie Release Date: April 8, 2016

As the title suggests, this is a movie about taking things apart, literally and spiritually. And Jake Gyllenhaal gives a performance of shattering intensity as Davis, a finance executive whose wife is killed in a car accident. At the hospital, […]

The Boss

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:April 8, 2016
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: April 8, 2016

Here is what Judd Apatow and Paul Feig know that Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone do not: a character can be hilariously obnoxious or endearing but not both, even when played by the irresistible McCarthy. Apatow and Feig have made […]

Midnight Special

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and action
Movie Release Date:April 1, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and action
Movie Release Date: April 1, 2016

What would happen if someone appeared with strange special powers? What if the person with special powers was an eight year old boy? Would a religious group consider him an angel or maybe a savior? Would the government consider him […]

Everybody Wants Some!!

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity
Movie Release Date:April 1, 2016
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity
Movie Release Date: April 1, 2016

“Everybody Wants Some!!,” the “spiritual sequel” to Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, is so much fun that it is easy to overlook how sweet it is and how smart it is. Those who are hoping for the same combination of […]

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material
Movie Release Date:March 25, 2016
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material
Movie Release Date: March 25, 2016

The original “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was a charming surprise, a fresh, honest story about a young woman trying to find a way to be true to herself despite her loving but overwhelmingly intrusive Greek-American family. This 15-years-later sequel […]

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:March 25, 2016
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: March 25, 2016

After the refreshing superhero palate-cleanser that was “Deadpool,” it’s tough to get back into the ponderous, self-important, choir-of-angels soundtrack, too long by at least 45 minutes, even the title is much too long, do we really need another scene (and […]

The Divergent Series: Allegiant Part 1

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity
Movie Release Date:March 18, 2016
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity
Movie Release Date: March 18, 2016

I can’t help it. They’re all beginning to run together in my head. How many post-apocalyptic stories featuring hot young stars as the brave teen heroes who are the only ones who can save the day for freedom and middle […]

Hello, My Name is Doris

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:March 18, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: March 18, 2016

Thank you, Michael Showalter, for giving American treasure Sally Field a role that gives her a chance to show us not just what she is capable of but what it means to fully inhabit a character with enough sensitivity and […]

Miracles from Heaven

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical issues
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2016
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical issues
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2016

Christy Wilson Beam’s book title says it all: Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl and Her Amazing Story of Healing. In the book, she tells the story of her daughter Annabel, critically ill with an incurable digestive disorder, who fell […]

Eye in the Sky

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violent images and language
Movie Release Date:March 11, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violent images and language
Movie Release Date: March 11, 2016

“Eye in the Sky” is a rare thriller that grips the mind and heart equally. Drones take our military closer than we have ever been before to the people and the activities of the enemy as they remove us further […]

The Young Messiah

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:March 11, 2016
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: March 11, 2016

We have a very clear picture of Jesus’s birth, and it is endlessly re-enacted and depicted each year at Christmas time. But we know almost nothing about His childhood, other than his astonishing the elders with his depth of knowledge. […]

London Has Fallen

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
Movie Release Date:March 4, 2016
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
Movie Release Date: March 4, 2016

“London Has Fallen” is a love letter from producer-star Gerard Butler to himself and every bit as dumb and dreary as that sounds. This sequel to the more violent of the two attack on the White House movies of 2013 […]

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, drug use and violent war images
Movie Release Date: March 4, 2016

When Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times reviewed the book that inspired “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” the memoir of journalist Kim Barker about her days covering US military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, she wrote: What’s remarkable about “The Taliban […]

Trapped

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:March 4, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: March 4, 2016

TRAP stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. “Trapped” is a powerful new documentary that focuses on efforts to cut off women’s access to abortion by imposing requirements and restrictions on clinics that have no relationship to health or safety. […]

Zootopia

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action
Movie Release Date:March 4, 2016
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action
Movie Release Date: March 4, 2016

Simmer down, out there. In this, the craziest of all political moments in US history, some people are going to tell you that Disney’s adorable “Zootopia” is full of subtext about issues like immigration and terrorism and the role of […]

Gods of Egypt

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action, and some sexuality
Movie Release Date:February 26, 2016
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action, and some sexuality
Movie Release Date: February 26, 2016

“Gods of Egypt” has more gods than IQ points. There are some grand and striking visuals and some well-staged fight scenes, but there are also effects that look like they were created for a 64-bit computer game and lines of […]

Eddie the Eagle

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking
Movie Release Date:February 26, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking
Movie Release Date: February 26, 2016

There are heroes who inspire us because they win, showing indomitable determination and courage, like Jesse Owens in Race. And then there are heroes who inspire us when they lose. They also have indomitable determination and courage. They just do […]

Race

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date:February 19, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date: February 19, 2016

When Adolf Hitler wanted to send the world his message of German/Aryan supremacy at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, African-American runner Jesse Owens won four gold medals. It was the first time that Olympic events were seen everywhere via the films […]

Risen

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for Biblical violence including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:February 19, 2016
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for Biblical violence including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: February 19, 2016

“Risen” is a sober, reverent story of Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a Roman soldier ordered to witness the crucifixion of Jesus and prevent his body from being stolen. When the rock placed in front of the tomb and sealed by Clavius […]

How to be Single

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and strong language throughout
Movie Release Date:February 12, 2016
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and strong language throughout
Movie Release Date: February 12, 2016

Drew Barrymore — you know I love you but how does your Flower Films production company produce a film about female friendship and empowerment that barely passes the Bechdel test? And did we really need a thinly disguised remake of […]

Zoolander 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: February 12, 2016

Kind of like fashion itself, we don’t really care whether “Zoolander 2″ is any good. We go because it is silly fun. The original Zoolander, released in 2001 just after the attacks on 9/11, was based on shorts Ben Stiller […]

Touched With Fire

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:February 12, 2016
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: February 12, 2016

Movies are fascinated with mentally ill people but they usually do not do a very good job of portraying them accurately or compassionately. Too often they are serial killers (“Silence of the Lambs”). Even worse, many times they are adorable […]

Deadpool

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity
Movie Release Date:February 12, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity
Movie Release Date: February 12, 2016

Frankly, exuberantly nasty — in the nicest possible way, Deadpool is not your father’s superhero. That is, unless your father is more like “Who’s your daddy?” all snarky wisecracks, 90’s pop culture references, and joyous mayhem. Deadpool is the po-mo […]

Hail, Caesar!

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking
Movie Release Date:February 5, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking
Movie Release Date: February 5, 2016

The Coen brothers love old movies, and not just the classics. I remember reading an interview where they discussed their affection for “With Six You Get Eggroll,” which even Doris Day’s most fervent fans do not consider one of her […]

The Finest Hours

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril
Movie Release Date:January 29, 2016
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril
Movie Release Date: January 29, 2016

“In the Coast Guard they say you gotta go out. They don’t say you gotta come back in.” It was a big nor’easter storm off the coast of Massachusetts. It was February 1952, so communications technology was limited. And not […]

Kung Fu Panda 3

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for martial arts action and some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:January 29, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for martial arts action and some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: January 29, 2016

The only panda more “aw-worthy” than Po (Jack Black), is the National Zoo’s Tian Tian rolling in the snow.  In this third outing, the roly poly martial arts hero is still kind, humble, brave, and wiser than he knows. And, […]

Anomalisa

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Movie Release Date:January 8, 2016
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Movie Release Date: January 8, 2016

The “Fregoli delusion” sometimes called the delusion of doubles, is a rare disorder that makes people believe that everyone else in the world is in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise. When Michael Stone (David […]

Concussion

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2015

It is a true story that seemed to have all the elements for a heartwarming, uplifting story about speaking truth to power, told with big stars and lots of Hollywood gloss. And yet, it does not work. In football terms, […]

Christmas Eve

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some peril, thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date:December 4, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some peril, thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date: December 4, 2015

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but the Christmas season is also the most hectic and the most fraught. Our to-do lists are overwhelming. Our expectations are even more so. And then there are the expectations […]

Miss You Already

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:November 6, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: November 6, 2015

Friendship has the best aspects of romantic love and the best of family love, and the worst of both as well. Your friends as are close to you as anyone in the world, which means you can rely on them […]

The Last Witch Hunter

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images
Movie Release Date:October 23, 2015
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images
Movie Release Date: October 23, 2015

A witch would have to cast a spell over me to make me sit through this big, dumb, dull, dud again. And that’s too bad, because I like Vin Diesel and I can easily be put in the mood for […]

Tales of Halloween

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody horror violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:October 16, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody horror violence throughout, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: October 16, 2015

True to its name, “Tales of Halloween” is a collection of ten short horror stories of the type that Boy Scouts might tell around a campfire late at night. That’s both its strength and weakness. The movie begins on Halloween […]

A Ballerina’s Tale

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:October 16, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: October 16, 2015

“A Ballerina’s Tale” — the title suggests a fairy story, with sugar plums and a happily ever after ending. But this documentary about Misty Copeland is a story about the brutal hard work and resolve necessary to create those exquisitely […]

Big Stone Gap

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief suggestive material
Movie Release Date:October 9, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief suggestive material
Movie Release Date: October 9, 2015

Even in small towns, big things can happen. Sometimes the most famous movie star in the world stops by and makes international headlines. And even bigger things happen, too — they just don’t get into the newspapers. Adriana Trigiani’s best-selling […]

Stonewall

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug use
Movie Release Date:September 25, 2015
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug use
Movie Release Date: September 25, 2015

In 1969, when the federal government prohibited the firing of gays and lesbians, when it was illegal for them to congregate in a bar or even to have consensual sex, when police harassment and brutality was not only permitted but […]

Finders Keepers

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:September 18, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: September 18, 2015

You might not think that a documentary about two men fighting over a severed leg would be funny, touching, and insightful, but it is. You might think that it would be a carnival freak show for the age of YouTube […]

Meet the Patels

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, brief suggestive images and incidental smoking
Movie Release Date:September 18, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, brief suggestive images and incidental smoking
Movie Release Date: September 18, 2015

The best documentaries — and the best movies and the best stories — are fascinatingly specific but universal as well. When actor/comedian Ravi Patel agreed to let his parents, Vasant and Champa, try to find him a wife according to […]

Captive

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse
Movie Release Date:September 18, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse
Movie Release Date: September 18, 2015

Two desperate people who think they have nothing discover that there is still a lot more to lose in this fact-based story about an escaped prisoner and the woman he held captive. The story made headlines throughout the country. Ashley […]

The Transporter Refueled

posted by Nell Minow

It must be said. The refueled “Transporter” is very low octane. The original had some of the best chase scenes ever filmed and a star-making performance from Jason Statham. This reboot casts newcomer Ed Skrein who is the lower-priced spread […]

Learning to Drive

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:September 4, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: September 4, 2015

Katha Pollitt’s wry but bordering on scathing essay about taking her first driving lessons in her 50’s, after her partner of seven years left her for another woman has been turned into a softened but still trenchant film. Patricia Clarkson […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

This is Where I Leave You

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2014

A toddler carries his little potty out in front of the house so he can try out his new-found skill in public. Twice. Plus another time when the contents of the potty are first displayed for the family and then […]

The One I Love

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use
Movie Release Date:September 5, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use
Movie Release Date: September 5, 2014

“The One I Love” is pretty good as a movie and sublime as an exercise, especially an acting exercise. Just describing details about the story will require a huge spoiler alert, which I will insert below before giving away some […]

The Identical

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 5, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 5, 2014

“The Identical” is an incompetent mishmash of mawkish sentimentality larded with a few pleasant musical numbers and some random asides about Israel.  I’m not making this up. It is inspired by an intriguing fact.  Elvis Presley was a twin.  His […]

When the Game Stands Tall

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014

This dreary assemblage of every possible sports cliché has one thing in common with the game it portrays. Every time it seems to be going somewhere, it stops. More frustratingly, it wastes the opportunity to tell a good story by […]

A Will for the Woods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014

“Without this,” Clark Wang says, “dying from lymphoma feels so empty and meaningless and pointless.”  Dr. Wang was diagnosed in 2003, and we meet him as he is running out of options for treatment.  His doctor tells him it is […]

Let’s Be Cops

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014

Oh, let’s not. As generic as its name and way too long, any significant connection “Let’s Be Cops” has with its audience comes from the increasing sense of regret that this talented cast wasted its time — and ours. The […]

Life Itself

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language
Movie Release Date:July 4, 2014
A
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language
Movie Release Date: July 4, 2014

Roger Ebert, the most influential film critic of all time, gets the film he deserves directed by one of the many filmmakers he championed, Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”).  It is co-produced by Martin Scorsese, whose emotional appearance in […]

Coherence

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

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

22 Jump Street

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2014

It can be treacherous to go meta in a sequel, especially in the sequel to movie based on a television series that was already pretty meta, with a climax that included appearances by Johnny Depp and some of the other […]

The Grand Seduction

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and drug references
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and drug references
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014

This utterly beguiling, comfort-food remake of the French-Canadian film La Grande Seduction is about adorable residents of an impoverished fishing harbor in Canada who come up with a plan to bring a recycling factory and all of its jobs to their town. […]

Lullaby

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014

An outstanding cast, a weighty subject, and the sincerest of intentions are almost enough to make up for an undercooked, stuntish, and stagey script in this story about a man who decides to die and the family he leaves behind. […]

Citizen Koch

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:June 6, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014

The 2010 Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case opened the door — no, opened the floodgates — to unlimited and unaccountable political spending by corporations and wealthy individuals.  The case itself rose from a film about Hillary Clinton […]

Belle

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, some language and brief smoking images
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some language and brief smoking images
Movie Release Date: May 9, 2014

Writer Misan Sagay, director Amma Asante, and actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw have created a film of exceptional understanding, honoring the life of the real-life woman who inspired the story with intelligence, sensitivity, and insight that illuminate her time and our own.  Mbatha-Raw […]

Dark Universe

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:May 2, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: May 2, 2014

“Dark Universe,” currently playing in the planetariums at The Einstein Planetarium of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, is a thrilling […]

Irreplaceable

posted by Nell Minow
F
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:May 6, 2014
F
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: May 6, 2014

“Irreplaceable” is indefensible. My parents taught me that you automatically lose an argument if you (1) fail to state the other side’s views in a manner they approve or (2) fail to attribute to the other side the same good […]

Decoding Annie Parker

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:May 2, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: May 2, 2014

This is the true story of two women who share a goal but meet just once, for a few moments.  Oscar winner Helen Hunt plays scientist Dr. Mary-Claire King, whose pioneering research led to one of the most significant medical […]

The Other Woman

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references and language (on appeal from the original R rating)
Movie Release Date:April 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 29, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references and language (on appeal from the original R rating)
Movie Release Date: April 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 29, 2014

The latest in a female-centered revenge comedy genre that extends from “9 to 5″ through “She-Devil,” “The Other Woman” is intended to be a merry little tale of female empowerment and grrrl power.  Instead it is soggy, haphazard, poorly paced […]

Walking With the Enemy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 28, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 28, 2014

Why do we keep making movies about the Holocaust? Because we are still trying to understand one of the most shocking, inhumane tragedies in history. Because it is the essence of heightened, dramatic storylines, with the most depraved real-life villains, […]

Fading Gigolo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: April 19, 2014

John Turturro wrote, directed, and stars in “Fading Gigolo,” a bittersweet meditation on the ways we seek and hide from intimacy, sometimes at the same time. Turturro plays Fioravante, a florist who works part-time for Murray (Woody Allen), the third-generation […]

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2014

The people behind the marvelous 3D IMAx Born to be Wild have made another awwww-inspiring story of some of the world’s least-known and most adorable and intriguing creatures, the more than a hundred species of lemurs, found only on the […]

The Unknown Known

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:April 3, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: April 3, 2014

Errol Morris turns his famous “interrotron” camera on two-time Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for something between a bookend and a counterpoint to his Oscar-winning The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. But this […]

A Birder’s Guide to Everything

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for language, sex and drug references, and brief partial nudity
Movie Release Date:March 21, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for language, sex and drug references, and brief partial nudity
Movie Release Date: March 21, 2014

First rule: do NOT call them bird watchers. These are seriously ornithophilic teenagers and the correct term is “birder.” Maybe one reason they like birds so much is that the three members of the high school birder society — all […]

300: Rise of an Empire

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a new term: this movie is neither a sequel nor a prequel to 300, the story of the 300 Spartans who died battling the vastly greater army of the Persians. This is a “side-quel,” a “meanwhile” story about what […]

If You Build It

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:February 21, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: February 21, 2014

An idealistic young couple from big cities moves to a tiny, economically depressed town in North Carolina for a project that will take advantage of what they think is “an untapped resource” — teenagers. Emily Polliton, TED talker and co-author […]

Winter’s Tale

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2014

“Winter’s Tale,” based on the acclaimed novel by Mark Helprin is deeply romantic but also pretty daffy. There are exquisite images and some grand themes but also some clangers, some murky mishmash in the set-up, poorly designed special effects, and […]

About Last Night

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for for sexual content, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for for sexual content, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2014

Kevin Hart, who starred in the surprisingly successful “Ride Along” just last month, is back with a much sharper, funnier comedy that is ideal for making the best use of his brash, motormouth persona. Even more important, for the first […]

Walking with Dinosaurs 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for creature action and peril, and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 20, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for creature action and peril, and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 20, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 24, 2014

Dinosaur movies pretty much all have the same plot.  Unless it is a fantasy like “Jurassic Park,” the story is pretty simple: the dinos have to migrate and there are a lot of encounters and adventures along the way. What […]

Black Nativity

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, language, and a menacing situation
Movie Release Date:November 27, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, language, and a menacing situation
Movie Release Date: November 27, 2013

The poet Langston Hughes wrote a play called “Black Nativity,” a joyous African-American retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus with gospel music, and it has become a holiday perennial. Now it has been adapted by writer/director Kasi […]

Frozen

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 17, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 17, 2014

Smart, exciting, funny, sweet, tuneful, and gorgeously animated, the Oscar-winning “Frozen” adapts Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale into a story of two sisters kept apart by a scary secret.  Scary wolves, an enormous snow monster, a perilous journey, a […]

Delivery Man

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2013

The undeniable sweetness of “Delivery Man” makes its inherent silliness just about forgivable.  Or, it just might be the sense of relief that Vince Vaughn is finally making a movie that is just silly instead of crass and stupid like “Couples […]

The Christmas Candle

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2013

Former Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is now in the faith-based movie business and his first film is based on The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado. Just before the holidays, a progressive young clergyman named David (Hans Matheson) takes over a […]

Paradise

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material, substance abuse, some language, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material, substance abuse, some language, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 15, 2013

Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”) tries directing for the first time with “Paradise,” based on her own script about a girl from a very conservative religious background whose faith is challenged after a terrible accident.  Even she acknowledges that she […]

The Counselor

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

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

The Fifth Estate

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2013

In late medieval times, when people first began to divide each other into groups defined by status and power, they began to speak of a “first estate” (the clergy), a “second estate” (the nobility, which also at the time meant […]

The Snow Queen

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG
Movie Release Date:October 6, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
Movie Release Date: October 6, 2013

It may be a coincidence that a Russian animation studio decided to make a movie based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the Snow Queen at the same time as Disney’s big-budget feature, “Frozen,” inspired by the same […]

A.C.O.D.

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 4, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 4, 2013

Are today’s 20-and 30-somethings the least-parented generation in history, as a character explains in this film? To quote Rosie O’Donnell in “Sleepless in Seattle” about another depressing statistic, “It’s not true, but it feels true.” While the generation that came […]

Prisoners

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

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

We’re the Millers

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

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

Still Mine

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

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

The Lone Ranger

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

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

Fill the Void

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

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

Man of Steel

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

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

We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

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

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

Hava Nagila

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

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

Disconnect

posted by Nell Minow

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

To the Wonder

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

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

The Host

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

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

Greedy Lying Bastards

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

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

Phantom

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

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

Shanghai Calling

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

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

Parental Guidance

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

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

Monsters, Inc. 3D

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

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

A Liar’s Autobiography

posted by Nell Minow

Graham Chapman was the Monty Python troupe member most often referred to by the others as “the dead one.”  This affectionate tribute, narrated by Chapman himself in excerpts from the audio version of the memoir he wrote before he died […]

Brooklyn Castle

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:PG for some language
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: PG for some language
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2012

I.S. 318 is a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school.  And its students have won more national chess championships than any other in the country.  So this is a touching and inspiring story of triumph and what can be accomplished in […]

Hotel Transylvania

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor, action, and scary images
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor, action, and scary images
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012

What scared me most about “Hotel Transylvania” was the prospect of another film starring Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg.  Their last collaboration was “That’s My Boy,” by far the most excruciatingly painful experience I’ve had at a theater this year. Thankfully, just […]

Trouble With the Curve

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012

“Trouble with the Curve” pitches softballs to power hitters.  It has major league players and a bush league script. Clint Eastwood plays — surprise! — a grumpy old guy, a role he is too comfortable in, on and off screen. […]

The Master

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012

In the sixth movie from virtuoso writer-director P.T. Anderson (“There Will be Blood,” “Boogie Nights”), we see Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) pause on the dock to look at what seems like the ultimate dream of civilization, a party on board a […]

Liberal Arts

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Unrated
Movie Release Date:September 14, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Movie Release Date: September 14, 2012

It is true.  At heart, everyone is 19, except for the people who actually are.  “How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor has followed his promising debut as a writer/director with the uneven but intriguing “Liberal Arts,” a throwback […]

Finding Nemo 3D

posted by Nell Minow
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:September 14, 2012
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: September 14, 2012

“Finding Nemo” is an ideal choice for a 3D re-release. Its Pacific Ocean setting is majestic, immersive, not intrusive, in evoking the vast sweep of the water and bringing us into the world of the tiny fish characters. Digital and […]

Last Ounce of Courage

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, some war images, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some war images, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2012

It is truly disappointing that a film that is intended to be in favor of “peace and joy and love,” faith, freedom and Christmas is instead about being a bully and being a phony. Last Ounce of Courage is the story […]

Thunderstruck

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date:August 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date: August 24, 2012

This “Freaky Friday” with basketball keeps throwing airballs. It’s the story of Brian (Taylor Gray) a sixteen-year-old kid who wishes he could have the skills of Olympic gold medalist and NBA star Kevin Durant playing himself, not very convincingly but […]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

posted by Nell Minow

This is the third movie based on the wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. With each movie, the franchise becomes better at milking the formula that causes 4th graders to cringe with delight.  The story […]

Total Recall

posted by Nell Minow

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

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012

Now, that’s a President.  Abraham Lincoln, previously best remembered for the penny, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, the Gettysburg Address, the humor, the honesty, and the height, is now re-imagined with all of that plus a rail-splitting ax tipped […]

For Greater Glory

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:June 1, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: June 1, 2012

In 1926, the atheist President of Mexico Plutarco Elias Calles (Rubén Blades) decided to secularize the country by edict.  He deported non-Mexican priests and prohibited the remaining priests from appearing outside of the churches in their cassocks.  Rebels fought back, at first with […]

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:May 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: May 5, 2012

One of the most daring rescue missions of the post WWII era was the Raid on Entebbe in 1976.  Terrorist groups called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells hijacked an Air France plane […]

Lockout

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: April 13, 2012

You know what was cool?  “Die Hard!”  One smart-ass guy who has a problem with authority Yippie-ky-ay-ing as he outsmarts a dozen bad guys in an LA skyscraper.  And “Under Siege,” with a smart-ass guy who has a problem with […]

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

posted by Nell Minow

There’s an old joke about a woman who goes to a therapist.  “Why are you here?” he asks.  “My family wants me to come because I love pancakes,” she answers.  “Well,” he says reassuringly, “that’s perfectly normal!  I love pancakes, […]

Titanic 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disaster-related peril and violence, nudity, sensuality, and brief language
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2012

Classic Greek tragedies explored the theme of hubris as human characters dared to take on the attributes of the gods only to find their hopes crushed. This is a real-life story of hubris, as the ship declared to be “unsinkable” […]

Wrath of the Titans

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Movie Release Date:March 30, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Movie Release Date: March 30, 2012

What I love best about classically trained British actors is that they are game for anything.  Whether it is a commercial for cough drops or a silly comedy they always bring their A-game.  Their timing and diction are impeccable and […]

Jeff, Who Lives At Home

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2012

Of course Jeff (Jason Segal) lives at home.  Just about everyone lives at home; that’s what “home” means.  The thing about 30-year-old Jeff, though, is that he still lives at the home he never-quite grew up in.  He lives in […]

A Thousand Words

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual situations including dialogue, language, and some drug-related humor
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012

“A Thousand Words” was filmed four years ago, when George W. Bush was President and a joke about the massive popularity of Hannah Montana was timely.  Four years later, it is being not so much released as exorcised as Dreamworks […]

Being Flynn

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for adult situations, language, nudity, and sex
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for adult situations, language, nudity, and sex
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012

Nick Flynn was working at a Boston homeless shelter when his father, Jonathan Flynn, came in looking for a place to stay. Nick was raised by his mother and had little contact with his father except for some letters explaining […]

Undefeated

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date:March 2, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date: March 2, 2012

Bill Courtney, a successful white businessman, coaches an underdog football team at an inner city high school in an Oscar-winning documentary that quickly transcends the risks of sports cliché and racially treacherous noblesse oblige.  Like the wonderful “The Heart of […]

The Iron Lady

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012

A performance by Meryl Streep of endless intelligence, skill, and sensitivity cannot keep this impressionistic portrait of Baroness Margaret Thatcher from being exactly the sort of sentimental nonsense she spent her career trying to avoid. “People don’t think anymore; they […]

Beauty and the Beast

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:2010
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: 2010

“Beauty and the Beast” is one of Disney’s most beloved fairy tales and the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.  This week it is back in theaters in 3D and it looks gorgeous.  It is […]

The Sitter

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, and some violence
Movie Release Date:December 9, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, and some violence
Movie Release Date: December 9, 2011

Basically “Bad Santa” crossed with “Adventures in Babysitting,” “The Sitter” stars Jonah Hill as Noah, an ambitionless doof living with his mother who cannot be bothered to answer the phone, much less find a job. Overlong at 80 minutes, it […]

The Greening of Whitney Brown

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011

A middle schooler who thinks she has it all figured out finds herself tossed from 1 percent-ville to 99-percent-land in a cute new film in limited release called “The Greening of Whitney Brown.”  Sammi Hanratty plays the title character, a […]

Into the Abyss

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2011

Werner Herzog continues his exploration of the darkness and the light within the human spirit with “Into the Abyss,” a documentary about why and how we kill each other, in violation of the law and directed by it. In Texas, […]

The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:October 27, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: October 27, 2011

Documentaries made by adult children about their fathers have become a significant new genre.  My Architect is the story of Louis Kahn by the son he never publicly acknowledged.  In Tell Them Who You Are, filmmaker Mark Wexler trains his camera […]

Margin Call

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

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

The Mighty Macs

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:October 21, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: October 21, 2011

Basketball coach Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino) arrived at tiny Immaculata College in 1972, at just the right moment for her, for the team, and for the game. Restrictive rules that had “protected” female players from a full-court game had just […]

Toast

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011

“Being normal is overrated,” a young boy’s friend assures him.  “You’ll probably turn out to be very interesting.” He was right.  British chef and food writer Nigel Slater tells his own story in “Toast”. His mother was a terrible cook. […]

Thunder Soul

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief language and momentary historical smoking
Movie Release Date:October 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief language and momentary historical smoking
Movie Release Date: October 6, 2011

A real-life “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” this is the inspiring story of a dedicated teacher who transformed the lives of his students and the gathering 35 years later, when he was 92 years old, to perform a concert in his honor. […]

50/50

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date:September 30, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date: September 30, 2011

When Seth Rogen’s friend Will Reiser got a rare form of cancer at age 24, they bolstered their courage by imagining a movie that would be true to their experience.  The movies they knew about people with cancer had characters […]

The Lion King 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1994
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1994

One of Disney’s most popular animated features (and the inspiration for one of Broadway’s biggest blockbuster) has been re-issued in 3D.  “The Lion King” is sort of a cross between “Richard III” and “Hamlet,” the story of Simba (voice of […]

Higher Ground

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:August 26, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: August 26, 2011

Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “The Departed”) directed and stars in “Higher Ground,” the true story of a woman’s spiritual journey, based on Higher Ground: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost by Carolyn S. Briggs. It is a rare […]

Our Idiot Brother

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content including nudity and for language throughout
Movie Release Date:August 26, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content including nudity and for language throughout
Movie Release Date: August 26, 2011

You can’t really make a bad movie with Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Rashida Jones, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Zooey Deschanel,  Emily Mortimer, and Steve Coogan.  They are seven of the most able and appealing performers of our era.  But it […]

The Hedgehog

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 19, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 19, 2011

It’s hard to imagine a less cinematic novel than The Elegance of the Hedgehog.  Author Muriel Barbery is a professor of philosophy, and the book reads more like a series of essays than a story.  What made it work was the […]

Monte Carlo

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date:July 1, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date: July 1, 2011

It’s the Princess and the Pauper with Disney star Selena Gomez and two Gossip Girls in a story about a Texas waitress who takes the place of a selfish heiress in the glamorous title city. There’s also a touch of […]

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor and language
Movie Release Date:June 10, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor and language
Movie Release Date: June 10, 2011

It’s the last day of third grade and redheaded Judy Moody (Jordana Beatty) is looking forward to the greatest summer ever.  She has big plans for herself and her three best friends, a summer of dares and thrills and adventures. […]

Beginners

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:June 10, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: June 10, 2011

Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is engaged in the saddest of tasks, clearing out his late father’s home, choosing what to take, what to give away, what no one will want.  He brings his father’s dog home with him, giving him a […]

Kung Fu Panda 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence
Movie Release Date:May 27, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence
Movie Release Date: May 27, 2011

Po, the kung-fu master panda (Jack Black), has everything he hoped for in the first movie.  He has the martial arts skills to protect and impress the community and he is accepted as a teammate by the greatest champions in […]

Bridesmaids

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong sexuality and language throughout
Movie Release Date:May 13, 2011
DVD Release Date:September 20, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexuality and language throughout
Movie Release Date: May 13, 2011
DVD Release Date: September 20, 2011

There is something intriguingly subversive in “Bridesmaids” that goes beyond the anarchy inherent in all humor and its reliable sub-category, the switch-up.  But we’ll talk about those first to get the basics out of the way. Comedy is almost always […]

Water For Elephants

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for moments of intense violence and sexual content
Movie Release Date:April 22, 2011
DVD Release Date:2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for moments of intense violence and sexual content
Movie Release Date: April 22, 2011
DVD Release Date: 2011

According to the ringmaster of the Benzini Brothers Traveling Circus, “a circus survives on blood, sweat, pain and [excrement].”  In “Water for Elephants” we experience all of these, along with romance, danger, laughter and even a little bit of poetry.  […]

Dumbstruck

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief suggestive humor
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief suggestive humor

Once a year, there is a gathering in Kentucky for people who “talk to themselves and play with dolls for a living” — ventriloquists.  “Dumbstruck” is a documentary from Lindsay and Mark Goffman that follows five of them for the […]

Lord of the Dance 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:March 17, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: March 17, 2011

The best seat in the house for one of the most popular shows on the planet is “Lord of the Dance 3D,” a concert film that puts the viewers on stage with the thunderously percussive Irish dancers starring and under […]

Rango

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude humor, language, action, and smoking
Movie Release Date:March 4, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor, language, action, and smoking
Movie Release Date: March 4, 2011

“Rango” is a deliciously demented and slyly satiric take on westerns, which means it takes on America’s deepest myths about our identity. It is wild and strange and blessedly idiosyncratic, with a witty and heartfelt performance by Johnny Depp in […]

I Am Number Four

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

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

For Colored Girls

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some disturbing violence including a rape, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:November 5, 2010
DVD Release Date:February 8, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some disturbing violence including a rape, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: November 5, 2010
DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011

Tyler Perry’s films frustrate critics and commentators, who are bothered by the awkward mash-ups of high melodrama and low humor and by what many people think is an exaggerated and biased portrayal of men as abusive, neglectful, incompetent, and/or disloyal. […]

Sanctum

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

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

Rabbit Hole

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, some drug use and language
Movie Release Date:December 17, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, some drug use and language
Movie Release Date: December 17, 2010

When you suffer a devastating loss, there is the pain of missing what you once had. But there is pain that goes beyond the space circumscribed by the person who is gone. Grief is its own planet and everyone who […]

Howl

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:October 15, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: October 15, 2010

In the post-WWII era of peace and prosperity — and the Cold War and the blacklist and conformity — a small group of writers found much to terrify and infuriate them. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed […]

Never Let Me Go

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

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

Legendary

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, brief partial nudity and some fighting scenes
Movie Release Date:September 10, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, brief partial nudity and some fighting scenes
Movie Release Date: September 10, 2010

A skinny teenager wants to wrestle in this unpretentious film with a predictable storyline (it even gives away the ending in the first minute) but benefits from some sharp dialog and the always watchable Patricia Clarkson. Cal Chetley (Devon Graye) […]

Nanny McPhee Returns

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude homor, some language, and mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2010
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude homor, some language, and mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2010

For the first half of this movie, the children in the audience were completely on board, laughing when the children on screen were covered with mud and various kinds of animal poop, delighting in seeing them naughtily fighting with each […]

Salt

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

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

The Kids are All Right

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date: July 16, 2010

Life is messy, and one of the ways we try to make sense of it is through stories. With their selection of detail and events and resolution — whether a happy or a sad one — they give us a […]

Casino Jack and the United States of Money

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date:May 7, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: