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genre

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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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McFarland USA

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

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

The DUFF

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

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

Happy President’s Day!

posted by Nell Minow

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

posted by Nell Minow

This stunning ballet was choreographed by Jade Hale-Christofi

Kingsman: The Secret Service

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

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

Fifty Shades of Grey

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

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

Jupiter Ascending

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

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

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

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

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

The Rewrite

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

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

Seventh Son

posted by Nell Minow

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

Every British Actor Appears in Vanity Fair’s Adorable Videos

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

A Sneak Peek at the Frozen Mini-Sequel

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Black or White

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

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

Black Sea

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

Alan Menken Plays His Hits

posted by Nell Minow

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

Strange Magic

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

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

Four Disney Artists Paint a Tree

posted by Nell Minow

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

Mortdecai

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

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

Cake

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

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

The Boy Next Door

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

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

Smile of the Week: Pass the Salt

posted by Nell Minow

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

A Most Violent Year

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

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

Spare Parts

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

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

Paddington

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Inherent Vice

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

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

Some New Year Suggestions from Kid President

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

A Last Look Back at 2014: YouTube

posted by Nell Minow

Joy to the World

posted by Nell Minow

Merry Christmas 2014!

posted by Nell Minow

Selma

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

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

Into the Woods

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

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

Unbroken

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

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

Big Eyes

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

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

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: Josh Groban

posted by Nell Minow

Pride

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

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

Smile of the Week: A Boy and a Penguin

posted by Nell Minow

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

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey

posted by Nell Minow

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

Annie

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

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

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans.  I think even Tolkien himself would cry “no mas” at this point.  Remember how the third LoTR movie had about five […]

The Maccabeats! Happy Hannukah! All About the Neis

posted by Nell Minow

Eight Nights Song: StandFour

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah from StandFour!

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Music Video: Fenech-Soler Sing Last Forever

posted by Nell Minow

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

Exodus: Gods and Kings

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

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

Top Five

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Wild

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

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

The Imitation Game

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

posted by Nell Minow

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

Horrible Bosses 2

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

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

Penguins of Madagascar

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

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

Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street

posted by Nell Minow

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

Little Hope Was Arson

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

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

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

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

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

Foxcatcher

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

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

Rosewater

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

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

Beyond the Lights

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

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

Dumb and Dumber To

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

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

The Theory of Everything

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

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

Big Hero 6

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

Interstellar

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Mickey’s Halloween 2014

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Halloween! Light Show 2014

posted by Nell Minow

Laggies

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

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

Disney’s Headless Horseman, Sung by Bing Crosby

posted by Nell Minow

OK Go: I Won’t Let You Down

posted by Nell Minow

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

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

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

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

John Wick

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

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

23 Blast

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

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

Manners at the Movie Theater

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a cute reminder on movie theater manners.

Classic Movie Scenes in Legos

posted by Nell Minow

From Morgan Spence

Fury

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

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

The Book of Life

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

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

St. Vincent

posted by Nell Minow

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

Dear White People

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Judge

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

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

Kill the Messenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

Left Behind

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

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

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

posted by Nell Minow

#anniemovie

Gone Girl

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

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

The Good Lie

posted by Nell Minow

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

Believe Me

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

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

Tracks

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

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

The Boxtrolls

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

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

The Equalizer

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

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

Hector and the Search for Happiness

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some brief nudity
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some brief nudity
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2015

Simon Pegg stars as Hector in this gentle fable based on the whimsical French novel by psychiatrist Francois Lelord.  Like Lelord, Hector is a psychiatrist.  He has a “tidy” life with a nice girlfriend named Clara (“Gone Girl’s” Rosamund Pike), nice […]

L’Shana Tova! Happy Rosh Hashanah 5775

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Matthew Rissien for this parody of “All About the Bass.” For something a little more spiritual, here’s Barbra Streisand singing the beautiful hymn “Avinu Malkeinu.” Translation: Our Father, Our King Be gracious and answer our prayers For we […]

Exclusive Clip: Believe Me

posted by Nell Minow

College students start a sham Christian charity in Believe Me, written and directed by Will Bakke.  We’re honored to have an exclusive early look.

Tusk

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 29, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some disturbing violence/gore, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 29, 2014

You can make a good movie about slackers, for example “Slackers,” from Richard Linklater and “Clerks” from Kevin Smith. But you can’t make a good movie by a slacker, and Smith does not seem willing to be anything more. There […]

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 Maze Runner

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2014

Yes, it’s another dystopic YA trilogy (actually, there’s a fourth volume, a prequel), and yes, only a teenager with fabulous cheekbones can save the day. But “The Maze Runner” is not a lesser repeat. It is a worthy addition to […]

Happy Birthday US Constitution!

posted by Nell Minow

It was on September 17, 1789 that the US Constitution was approved. The Bill of Rights was not added until later, but let’s celebrate that, too. How many can you name? This will help you remember them.

The Drop

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

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

Dolphin Tale 2

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 8, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2014

The warmest, wisest, most pleasurable live-action family film of the year is “Dolphin Tale 2,” even better than the 2011 original. This really is that rare movie for the whole family. The first film was inspired by the true story […]

The Colors of Pixar

posted by Nell Minow

Watch how Pixar uses the colors of the rainbow to create a mood, tell a story, and delight the eye.

Behind the Scenes: The Boxtrolls

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to share some of the behind-the-scenes artistry that went into LAIKA Studios’ “The Boxtrolls.”  You can see some of what I found so enchanting on my visit to the studio last spring.

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 […]

Opera Flash Mob at a London Grocery Store

posted by Nell Minow

Sacla staged an impromptu Opera in the food aisles of a London grocery store. They planted five secret opera singers who were disguised as casual shoppers and store staff amongst the groceries who broke into song bringing the foodhall to […]

See Great Directors — in TV and Music Videos

posted by Nell Minow

Top directors do more than movies.  Take a look at these clips from Emmy-nominated television series and these music videos made by some of the most talented directors working in Hollywood, including Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), […]

The November Man

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

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

Cozi Zuehlsdorff’s New Song for “Dolphin Tale 2″ — “Brave Souls”

posted by Nell Minow

I’m really looking forward to “Dolphin Tale 2,” even more so after seeing this music video by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, the young actress who reprises her role as Hazel from the original film. Cozi’s song, which she wrote and performs herself, […]

Adventure Planet

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Not rated
DVD Release Date:August 19, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Not rated
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2014

Jane Lynch, Danny Glover, Brooke Shields, Bailee Madison, and Drake Bell provide the voices for “Adventure Planet,” an animated adventure for the whole family out today on DVD.  Norva and Jorpe are siblings who live in the tropical forests of […]

Taylor Swift Shakes it Off

posted by Nell Minow

Taylor Swift, who can be seen in “The Giver,” debuts her first pop album with this adorable video. There have been some online discussions about whether Swift is racially insensitive or even racist.  That is a subjective assessment viewers will […]

Yes, Another “Happy” Video, But You Will Love This One, I Promise

posted by Nell Minow

Produced by a team of Deaf campers & staff from Deaf Film Camp 2014 at Camp Mark Seven.

If I Stay

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

Hamlet asked it best. “To be, or not to be: That is the question.” We struggle through, worrying about whether someone likes us or whether we will be accepted at the school of our choice. Those seem like serious problems. […]

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

If you want to not just see but hear an eyeball being pulverized, then see “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”  If you want to see and hear it in the company of an audience who thinks that’s funny, […]

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 […]

The Expendables 3

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 25, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 25, 2014

Everything I said about the last two “Expendables” movies, blah blah, with some new additions from the AARP branch of the action heroes club: Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, and Mel Gibson, plus a couple of Expendable interns to […]

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 […]

Short Film: My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts

posted by Nell Minow

I love this endearing story about how people in even the most unexpected of jobs can make a real difference.

The Giver

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 24, 2014

“Thank you for your childhood.” Are there any more fearsome words in literature than these? Lois Lowry’s The Giver is a Newbery Award-winning novel, a staple of middle school reading lists and book reports. It tells a dystopian story of […]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 16, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2014

Dear Michael Bay, Just because you were able to turn one Saturday cartoon series for children into a PG-13 blockbuster, based on nostalgia on the part of its now-teen and 20-something audience and some world class special effects, does not […]

The Hundred Foot Journey

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 1, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2014

Shakespeare famously made fun of the notion of a sighing lover creating an ode “to his mistress’ eyebrow.” But it would take Shakespeare to do justice to Helen Mirren as a French woman of impeccable bearing who is able to […]

Into the Storm

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

Let’s get this out of the way up front. It’s no “Twister,” which is not just the “Citizen Kane” of tornado movies, but a loveably cheesy thrill ride of a film that holds up very well even though its then-cutting […]

“Guardians of the Galaxy” in LEGOs

posted by Nell Minow

Girl in a Country Song — Maddie and Tae Reverse the Gender Roles

posted by Nell Minow

“Can I put on some real clothes now?”

Guardians of the Galaxy

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

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

Get on Up

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

There are a lot of challenges in taking on the life story of James Brown, known variously as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite and others with variations on the term “Funk.” First […]

Magic in the Moonlight

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 16, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2014

Woody Allen’s 44th film is an amuse bouche without a meal, a dollop of whipped cream without the dessert underneath.  In last year’s film, “Blue Jasmine,” the strength of the performances (especially Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett) and the resonance of its […]

Exclusive Clip: Behind the Scenes on “Calvary”

posted by Nell Minow

Brendan Gleeson gives a magnificent performance as a warm-hearted priest in a sad and damaged world in “Calvary,” opening next week across the country.  Here’s an exclusive peek behind the scenes, featuring Gleeson and Director of the Pauline Center for […]

Intuition — A Short Film from Danielle Lurie

posted by Nell Minow

I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz.

Lucy

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2015

I always enjoy Luc Besson’s stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem.  While I found much to like in this story about a […]

And So It Goes

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:B00NW6KQYE
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: B00NW6KQYE

A second marriage is, as Samuel Johnson famously said, “The triumph of hope over experience.” And as lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote in the song Bing Crosby sang in “High Time,” “Love is lovelier the second time around.” In this slight […]

Wish I Was Here

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 27, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2014

My intention was to review Zach Braff’s new film without mentioning the controversy he stirred up in funding it via Kickstarter.  My view was that what mattered was the movie itself, and the kerfluffle over how it was all paid […]

Academy Originals: Creative Spark — Aline Brosh McKenna

posted by Nell Minow

Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (“We Bought a Zoo,” “The Devil Wears Prada”) talks about inspiration in this latest in the terrific Academy Originals series from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Boyhood

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

“A boy’s will is the wind’s will/And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.” (Longfellow) We first see Mason (Ellar Coltrane) lying on the ground, looking up at the sky, and it is clear that his thoughts are very […]

Planes: Fire & Rescue

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and some peril
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 3, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and some peril
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2014

The visuals are stunning, the details are witty, the 3D effects are splendid,  the songs are lively, the voice actors are top-notch, but the storyline feels like an episode of “Thomas the Tank Engine.”  That’s when it was still analog […]

More Weird Al: He Fixes Your Grammar with “Word Crimes”

posted by Nell Minow

It is literally….very instructive!

Weird Al Gets Happy, I Mean Tacky!

posted by Nell Minow

Weird Al Yankovic, gets weird about Pharrell Williams’ ubiquitous “Happy,” with some help from Aisha Tyler, Margaret Cho, Eric Stonestreet, Kristen Schaal, and Jack Black! Update: I am pleased that Weird Al, who is the gentlest soul alive, has apologized for the thoughtless use […]

John Legend Thinks All Women and Girls Are Beautiful

posted by Nell Minow

Colbie Caillat is not the only one paying tribute to the full range of female beauty with a new video. John Legend’s “You & I” is a deeply moving tribute to the woman he loves, who appears in the video […]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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

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

The Declaration of Independence

posted by Nell Minow

This is what we are celebrating today.  Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July 2014!

posted by Nell Minow

A safe and happy celebration to all!

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 […]

Schoolhouse Rock Salutes the American Revolution

posted by Nell Minow

Academy Originals: Hollywood Filmmakers Talk About What Inspires Them

posted by Nell Minow

In this short from the terrific Academy Originals series, Seth Rogen says that it is friendship that is at the center of the stories he likes to write.  [Warning: Some strong language.]  “Academy Originals” is AMPAS’s first original digital series.  […]

Snowpiercer

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

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

Begin Again

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
Movie Release Date:July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 27, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
Movie Release Date: July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2014

“It’s delicate,” a songwriter tells a performer who has (literally) amped up her gentle ballad into a power anthem. The songwriter is Greta (Keira Knightly) and the performer (Maroon 5’s Adam Levine) is her ex. They were together for five […]

Tammy

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 11, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014

Top talent is wasted in this un-funny and disappointing vanity production from Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone. They wrote it, or, more accurately, assembled it from pieces of other films, some better (“Thelma and Louise”), some even worse […]

Earth to Echo

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

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

What Does it Mean to “Throw Like a Girl?”

posted by Nell Minow

Always brought in Lauren Greenfield, is an award-winning American artist, and documentary photographer and filmmaker, to create their #likeagirl videos. What do we think of when we hear “throw like a girl,” “run like a girl,” or “fight like a girl?” […]

An Exquisite Short Film From Legendary Disney Animator Glen Keane

posted by Nell Minow

Glen Keane is one of the all-time greats of old-school hand-drawn animation.  He was responsible for characters like Pocahontas and Ariel.  Much as I love computer-animation, there are some things only a hand can do, and his hand is one […]

A Blessed Ramadan

posted by Nell Minow

Transformers: Age of Extinction

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

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

How Do I Feel About the News that Pentatonix Will Appear in “Pitch Perfect 2?”

posted by Nell Minow

This should give you a clue.

Jersey Boys

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout
Movie Release Date:June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 11, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout
Movie Release Date: June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014

Winston Churchill famously said that history is written by the victors.  In movie terms, that means that when you see the names of just two of the original Four Seasons listed as the film’s producers, it is clear we are […]

Think Like a Man Too

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Movie Release Date:June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 16, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Movie Release Date: June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 16, 2014

A romantic comedy based on Steve Harvey’s book of advice for women about relationships has now led to a sequel based on finding the slightest possible premise for getting the gang back together to see if they can create some […]

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 […]

OK Go Has Another Spectacular Video: The Writing’s On the Wall

posted by Nell Minow

OK Go consistently produces the most creative music videos around — and some great songs as well.  Here’s their latest, fun with all kinds of optical illusions, and shot in one take. And, for a refresher, two of my other […]

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. […]

How to Train Your Dragon 2

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 10, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 10, 2014

“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ is all fans of the original were hoping and has a good shot at being not just the best animated film of the year but one of the best in any category and for […]

“All By Myself” — Hilarious Video From a Man Stranded Overnight in the Las Vegas Airport

posted by Nell Minow

When I get stuck in an airport, I usually buy trashy magazines and trashier food.  This man made a brilliant video.

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. […]

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s marvelous “Cosmos” reboot comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week and it is well worth adding to every family and classroom library.  It is a very worthy successor to Carl Sagan’s classic PBS series of the […]

Bobby Van Hopping in “Small Town Girl” — the Number that Inspired Hugh Jackman’s Tony Awards Opening Number

posted by Nell Minow

Did you see Hugh Jackman hopping through the opening number on the Tony Awards?  Top that next year NPH!  You might have caught a glimpse of the movie dance Jackman paid tribute to as he hopped by, the wonderful Bobby […]

Edge of Tomorrow

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

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

Words and Pictures

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material including nude sketches, language and some mature thematic material
Movie Release Date:June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 9, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material including nude sketches, language and some mature thematic material
Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014

What a refreshing change to have a witty grown-up love story in the midst of summer movie season. Popping up in the middle of monsters, superheroes, and special effects is this endearing romance built around what Shakespeare (and George Orwell) […]

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 […]

Maleficent

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images
Movie Release Date:May 30, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 3, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images
Movie Release Date: May 30, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2014

What makes bad guys bad?  We’ve always been told that Sleeping Beauty was cursed at birth by a wicked fairy caught up in a jealous fury because she was not invited to the christening.  In the classic 1959 Disney animated […]

A Million Ways to Die in the West

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material
Movie Release Date:May 30, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 7, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material
Movie Release Date: May 30, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2014

When Seth MacFarlane tops his unprecedented success on television with three animated series (“Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show,” “American Dad”) and his first feature film was a blockbuster — the talking teddy bear movie Ted is the highest grossing R […]

Why We Remember: Memorial Day 2014

posted by Nell Minow

For Memorial Day: A Story from I Like Giving

posted by Nell Minow

I Like Giving is a non-profit devoted to inspiring us to be kinder.  For Memorial Day, watch the short video about a veteran in need and a man who helped him, changing both their lives.

Dragons: Defenders of Berk, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2014
DVD Release Date:May 26, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2014
DVD Release Date: May 26, 2014

Get ready for what looks like this summer’s most exciting animated film, “How to Train Your Dragons 2,” with this new DVD/Blu-Ray release from the related television series, “Defenders of Berk.” And here’s a sneak peek at the film!

X-Men: Days of Future Past

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

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

Blended

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language.
Movie Release Date:May 23, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 26, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language.
Movie Release Date: May 23, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014

Oh, if perennial Razzie-winner Adam Sandler must keep making movies, I suppose they are less terrible when he includes his sweetest co-star, Drew Barrymore. She always brings out the best in him (“The Wedding Singer,” “50 First Dates”). The imperishable […]

Bert and Zachary Levi Remind Us to Put Our Devices Away and Enjoy the Outdoors — Sesame Street

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to my friend Leslie Combemale for sharing this adorable reminder that we are better off experiencing the world directly instead of staring at screens.

Pixar Founder John Lasseter Gives the Graduation Speech at CalArts

posted by Nell Minow

“Your voice is worthwhile. Have faith in it.”

Godzilla

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

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

Million Dollar Arm

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 6, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2014

The folks behind feel-good, based-on-a-true-sports-Cinderella-story, Disney movies “The Rookie” and “Miracle” are back with another.  This time it is the story of a real life Jerry Maguire sports agent named J.B. Bernstein (a terrific Jon Hamm) who has fallen on hard […]

Chef

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, including some suggestive references
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 29. 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, including some suggestive references
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 29. 2014

You’re writer/director/actor Jon Favreau.  You’ve been making big-budget films, mostly huge blockbuster successes (“Elf,” “Iron Man”), but also a big-budget bust (Cowboys & Aliens, which I liked).  This might put you in mind of a simpler, more satisfyingly creative time […]

“Duck Dynasty’s” Kay Robertson Talks About Marriage and Motherhood

posted by Nell Minow

Kay Robertson has made a short video for “I am Second” with some frank talk about marriage, motherhood, and her struggles with depression.

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 […]

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary images and mild peril
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 25, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary images and mild peril
Movie Release Date: May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 25, 2014

“Oh, Toto,” says Dorothy (“Glee’s” Lea Michelle), “This doesn’t look like the Oz I remember.” Tell it, sister. Why why why why why take the most beloved family film of all time, based on a cherished book, and make a […]

Neighbors

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 23, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout
Movie Release Date: May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 23, 2014

I admit it.  My always-thin ability to finds humor in movies about irresponsible jerks who won’t grow up has long since evaporated, and if I ever found irresponsibility entertaining, I can no longer remember why.  Though I suspect this development […]

Fed Up

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

Here’s another inconvenient truth.  Our food is killing us.  And that’s because of something even more poisonous, the corruption of our political system through diversion of corporate money to politicians through campaign contributions and lobbying. Laurie David, producer of the […]

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 […]

Moms’ Night Out

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 1, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date: May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 1, 2014

It may feel like a kinder, gentler, sweeter version of “Adventures in Babysitting” or “The Hangover,” but this charming story manages to avoid getting syrupy, even when everyone settles down in the midst of chaos for a little talk about […]

May the 4th Be With You! Happy Star Wars Day!

posted by Nell Minow

And catch the Cantina Band auditions, featuring Chris Daughtry, Ben Folds, Liz Phair, Reggie Watts, Mark McGrath, Jordin Sparks, Rick Springfield, Weird Al, Lisa Loeb, and mc chris.

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 […]

Everyone Gets “Happy”

posted by Nell Minow

I love it when a song and video inspires tributes that pop up all over YouTube.  And Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” an irresistible tune with a simple video of people dancing, has inspired people all over the world to do their […]

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date:May 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 18, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date: May 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 18, 2014

This is not the angsty Spidey we know.  Just like the old television series theme song said, Peter Parker is “your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”  We first see him exuberantly swinging through the skyscrapers, deliciously vertiginous in 3D.  His disposition is […]

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 […]

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