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genre

  • Action
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  • Romance
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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
  • Middle school
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Lawless

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong, bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:August 31, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong, bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: August 31, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

Musician Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat are Australians who are drawn to bleak internal and external landscapes.  They worked together on “The Proposition,” a western-style and very violent crime story about brothers.  “Lawless” is another crime story about brothers, […]

Smile of the Week: Written by a Kid — La Munkya

posted by Nell Minow

I am still enjoying the weekly episodes of “Written by a Kid” on Geek and Sundry’s YouTube channel.  Here’s another one of my favorites. The behind the scenes videos are also lots of fun.  

When a Movie Scares Your Child

posted by Nell Minow

There’s a viral video this week of a couple of children who were upset by the new Disney film, The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  SPOILER ALERT: The title character does not die, but he moves on to another place […]

Thunderstruck

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

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

Premium Rush

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

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

The Expendables 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout
Movie Release Date:August 17, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 20, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout
Movie Release Date: August 17, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2012

The Botox budget must be bigger than the catering costs but less than the ordnance in this sequel to Sylvester Stallone’s first round-up of the 80’s and 90’s A-Team for an action extravaganza.  That’s A as in AARP. This time, […]

Hit & Run

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 8, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 8, 2013

Real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are as cute as can be on and off camera, but there is nothing in this movie that comes close to the adorableness of their viral sloth video.  Bell produced and Shepard wrote, […]

Sparkle

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

You can’t help wondering what Whitney Houston was thinking when she decided to co-produce and star in the remake of a flawed but beloved 1976 musical melodrama about a singer who becomes involved with an abusive performer and becomes addicted to drugs. […]

ParaNorman

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

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

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 3, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2012

I have one copy to give away to the first person who sends me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Timothy” in the subject line!  Don’t forget your address! One of the biggest surprises — and greatest pleasures — of being […]

The Campaign

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude sexual content, language, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 30, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude sexual content, language, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 30, 2012

“Freedom.” “Jesus.” “America.”  And whoever you are, you are “the backbone of this country.”  This attempted political satire feels as empty as the platitudes spouted by the candidates in this R-rated comedy that, like the political system it portrays, goes […]

The Bourne Legacy

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

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

Hope Springs

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexuality
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexuality
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

Can this marriage be saved? For decades, the Ladies Home Journal’s most popular feature has been its monthly he-said/she-said/therapist says looks at a marriage in trouble.  No matter how dire the problem — infidelity, money problems, blended family problems — […]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

posted by Nell Minow

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

Total Recall

posted by Nell Minow

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

The Story of the Costume Drama

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2008
DVD Release Date:July 30, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2008
DVD Release Date: July 30, 2012

One of the greatest pleasures of costume drama is, of course, the costumes.  Stories set in different places and times invite us into their world and tell us about their characters through the details and artistry of the wardrobe.  Whether […]

The Watch

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 13, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012

Yet another attempt to go for the “Ghostbusters” funny-scary vibe crashes and burns in the under-written “The Watch,” originally titled “Neighborhood Watch” until the Treyvon Martin shooting created uncomfortable associations with the idea of self-appointed suburban guys with guns.  But […]

Step Up Revolution

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2012

A girl.  A guy.  A ragtag but devoted and immensely talented group of dancers with varied styles and talents.  Impressively toned bodies.  Breathtakingly athletic moves.  Even more breathtakingly sensuous moves. A conflict.  A misunderstanding.  A pep talk.  “We’re going to […]

Ruby Sparks

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 29, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 29, 2012

The idea of bringing a dream significant other to life goes back at least as far as the ancient Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion, who created a statue so beautiful he fell in love with her.  Modern versions and variations include  […]

An Olympics Moment: Jesse Owens 1936

posted by Nell Minow

As we prepare for the memorable moments of the 2012 Olympics, let’s take another look at this one, when a black American competed in Hitler’s Berlin and, as the world watched, he put the lie to Hitler’s claims about Aryan […]

Telstar’s 50th Anniversary — and My Dad

posted by Nell Minow

When you watch the London Olympics — or use your cell phone — keep in mind that it all began 50 years ago this week with the first telecommunications satellite broadcast.  My dad, Newton Minow, was one of the people […]

Smile of the Week: New “Written by a Kid” Series with Dave Foley and Joss Whedon

posted by Nell Minow

Could Joss Whedon be any more lovable?  He creates smart, provocative, and funny television shows with strong and fascinating female characters.  He directed one of the biggest movies of the year, “The Avengers.”  And now he stars as an action […]

The Dark Knight Rises

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:July 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: July 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

There’s a reason you never hear about “your friendly neighborhood Batman.”  Spidey may have some angst and guilt and abandonment issues but he is downright sunny-natured compared to the brooding soul of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), holed up in Wayne […]

Teach Kids Logic With These Terrific Cartoons (Free)

posted by Nell Minow

Brain Pickings writes about a terrific series of cartoons for kids that explore logic and ideas.  Even adults can learn a few things — and they may need to, as watching these will make kids very good at arguing!   […]

Ice Age: Continental Drift

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date:July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date: July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012

The “Ice Age” folks have the formula down very well, and this fourth entry is one of their strongest, with enough of the familiar to be satisfying and enough that is new to keep things interesting.  The real expertise is […]

Beasts of the Southern Wild

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language, and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language, and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

A prize-winner at Cannes and Sundance, this near post-apocalyptic story of a father and daughter in a condemned part of Southern Louisiana is a stunningly assured debut by first-time feature director and co-writer Benh Zeitlen and extraordinary performances by a […]

Savages

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong, brutal, and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout
Movie Release Date:July 6, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong, brutal, and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout
Movie Release Date: July 6, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

Oliver Stone’s new movie about drug dealers and drug users seems to assume that its audiences may be watching in an altered state of consciousness as well.  Stone has never been known for subtlety, but just to make absolutely sure […]

Our National Anthem, Sung by Whitney Houston

posted by Nell Minow

The Amazing Spider-Man

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 5, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2012

One thing I love about comics is that they are the only form of story-telling, with the possible exception of soap operas, where so many different people tell open-ended stories about the adventures of the same characters through a period […]

Ted

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012

It’s so wrong.  But it is very funny. Fans of Seth MacFarlane are familiar with the politically incorrect humor that has made him the world’s highest-paid television writer (“The Family Guy,” “American Dad,” “The Cleveland Show”) and a popular emcee […]

To Rome With Love

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual references
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual references
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013

The quality of Woody Allen’s films is incidental, even coincidental.  Woody Allen and Adam Sandler may occupy opposite ends of the comedy spectrum when it comes to their audiences and cultural touchstones.  Sandler’s touchstones are “I Love the 80’s” faded […]

Magic Mike

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

You might expect a movie about strippers to be either a glossy Hollywood fantasy or a gritty, sour, documentary.  The surprise of “Magic Mike” is that it avoids both extremes with an appealing naturalness and intimacy that softens but does […]

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

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

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

Brave

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 12, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 12, 2012

“Brave” is not just one of the best movies of the year for any age; it is one of the best movies ever made from a female point of view. It has been a long time coming.  Pixar’s unprecedented series […]

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

Dr. Johnson memorably said that the prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.  Part of what stories do for us is concentrate the mind by providing us with narratives that eliminate distracting quotidian effluvia and allow us to focus on […]

Kevin Spacey in “The Ventriloquist” (Short)

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to my wonderful friend Brandon Fibbs for sharing this heartwarming short film.  

Rock of Ages

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking, and language
Movie Release Date:June 15, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 12, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking, and language
Movie Release Date: June 15, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 12, 2012

The era of big power ballads reaching to the back rows of big stadiums filled with big crowds of fans with big hair is paid big tribute in this irresistibly entertaining anthem-rock love letter to the 80’s.  Sung almost entirely by actors […]

That’s My Boy

posted by Nell Minow
F
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 15, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 16, 2012
F
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 15, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2012

Oscar Wilde’s famous story The Picture of Dorian Gray is about a dissolute young man who retains his youthful beauty as his portrait, hidden in the attic, shows his face becoming more aged and corrupt.  I can’t help thinking that somewhere […]

Wes Anderson’s Animated Short About the Books in “Moonrise Kingdom”

posted by Nell Minow

My favorite part of Moonrise Kingdom was the books.  Wes Anderson’s props are often more appealing than his characters (I still long for that luggage from Darjeeling Limited).  “Moonrise Kingdom” is set in 1965 and one of its lead 12-year-old characters […]

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 8, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 8, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2012

“Madagascar 3″ is the best of the series, bright, fresh, fun, and funny, with a terrific script from co-director and Eric Darnell, a series regular, and, a bit improbably, “The Squid and the Whale’s” Noah Baumbach. In the first Madagascar, […]

Prometheus

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sci-fi violence including some intense images and brief language
Movie Release Date:June 7, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 9, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sci-fi violence including some intense images and brief language
Movie Release Date: June 7, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2012

Is it possible that all of the elements of life on earth, from the protozoa to the human, were the gift of god-like creatures who came to a barren planet to create us in their image? And that they stayed […]

Auto-Tuned Mr. Rogers

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to The Wrap for sharing a heartwarming gem.  The auto-tuned Mr. Rogers is just as friendly a neighbor as the original. I am not going to embed the clip because I am sorry to say it is followed by […]

Moonrise Kingdom

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and smoking
Movie Release Date:May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and smoking
Movie Release Date: May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2012

Wes Anderson films are not so much directed as curated.  Often accused of being more interested in his props than his characters, Anderson’s fussy, even obsessive focus on the objects and sets gives his films a missing the forest for […]

Snow White and the Huntsman

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:June 1, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 11, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: June 1, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012

Director Rupert Sanders is known for making television commercials that look like fairy tales, with angels falling from the sky for a guy who uses Axe body spray and a boy battling samurai warriors with Excalibur to sell X-Box game […]

For Greater Glory

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

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

Amazing Grace

posted by Nell Minow

 

Coriolanus

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some bloody violence
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 28, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some bloody violence
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 28, 2012

Shakespeare’s play about a Roman general who survives battle only to take on the bigger battles of politics has been brought to screen by Ralph Fiennes, who directed and stars as the title character.  Contemporary costumes and weapons and Serbian […]

Smile of the Week: A Live Lip-Dub Proposal

posted by Nell Minow

   

Men in Black 3

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date:May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date: May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

Welcome back, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. The stars and director of one of the most creative and purely entertaining movies of the last 20 years are back for a third that does not match the original but makes up […]

Battleship

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action, and destruction, and for language
Movie Release Date:May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 28, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action, and destruction, and for language
Movie Release Date: May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012

As if it wasn’t enough of a challenge to try to create a movie based on a board game — and a board game based on a game that is perfectly adequately played with pencil and paper — this movie […]

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, thematic elements, and language
Movie Release Date:May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 11, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, thematic elements, and language
Movie Release Date: May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012

No matter how carefully you plan and how diligently you read books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting, pregnancy is guaranteed to be different from whatever you think it is going to be.  I wish I could say the […]

The Dictator

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language, and some violent images
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language, and some violent images
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 21, 2012

Chutzpah has never been a problem for Sasha Baron Cohen, whose previous films, based on characters he created for television, were semi-documentaries of encounters with ordinary people who did their best to accommodate his outrageously offensive behavior.  Whether he was […]

For Mother’s Day: Anita Renfroe’s Classic Tribute

posted by Nell Minow

Dark Shadows

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

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

Smile of the Week: Cain’s Arcade

posted by Nell Minow

The New Yorker has a lovely piece about this short documentary about a remarkable boy who created an entire arcade with just cardboard — and imagination.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 17, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 17, 2012

A dream team ensemble cast of British acting superstars gives a predictable story of displaced retirees spark and depth in this cozy tale based on the novel These Foolish Things, by Deborah Moggach. A group of British retirees come to India […]

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

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

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

The Avengers

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout and a mild drug reference
Movie Release Date:May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 24, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout and a mild drug reference
Movie Release Date: May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 24, 2012

“The Dirty Dozen.” “The Bad News Bears.” “The A-Team.” “The Expendables.” Stories about a mixed group of badass tough guys who have trouble with authority but learn to work together are second only to stories about loners taking on The […]

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, and some language
Movie Release Date:April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, and some language
Movie Release Date: April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2012

The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) enjoys his life of adventure on the high seas, but there are a few problems. His crew is having a spirited debate about the best part of pirating – is it the cutlasses, the looting, […]

The Five-Year Engagement

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date:April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date: April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012

Jason Segal co-wrote and stars in the latest in a genre he helped to pioneer — the raunchy but sweet-natured romantic comedy.  Films like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “I Love You Man” put the misunderstandings and complications of the kind […]

Mo Willems’ Pigeon and Pals: Complete Cartoon Collection, Vols. 1 & 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2012
DVD Release Date:April 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2012
DVD Release Date: April 26, 2012

My favorite series for children has a wonderful new collection: Mo Willems’ Pigeon and Pals: Complete Cartoon Collection Volumes 1 & 2.  Emmy Award winner and Sesame Street veteran Mo Willems is the author/illustrator of the delightful book series about […]

Paul McCartney’s “My Valentine” Music Video with Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp Signing

posted by Nell Minow

This beautifully balletic version of Paul MCartney’s new song, “My Valentine” features Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp performing in sign language.  The song is featured in McCartney’s new standards collection, Kisses on the Bottom. NOTE: Do not pay attention to […]

The Lucky One

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 29, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 29, 2012

Director Scott Hicks pours enough syrup over this film to supply an IHOP.  Every shot of the golden sunlight on the Louisiana bayou or the perfectly tousled angelic curls of the perfectly precocious angelic boy or the perfect smile of the […]

Think Like a Man

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some crude humor, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 28, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some crude humor, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012

A gimmicky best-selling book about love, sex, and marriage has been made into a high-concept romantic comedy with an all-star cast.  “He’s Just Not That Into You”?  No, that was so 2009.  This time the inspiration is the book by […]

Blue Like Jazz

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexuality, drug and alcohol content, and some language
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 6, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexuality, drug and alcohol content, and some language
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 6, 2012

Donald Miller’s best-selling collection of essays, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality has become a crowd-financed and lightly fictionalized film about a Texas teenager from a sheltered Baptist community who goes to the famously free-thinking Reed College in Portland, Oregon. […]

Chimpanzee

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 20, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 20, 2012

DisneyNature’s fourth in its series of nature documentaries released for Earth Day is gorgeously photographed, heartwarming, inspiring, and adorable. It combines astonishingly vivid and intimate footage of animal life with narration that sometimes crosses the line between accessible and intrusive.  […]

Bill Murray Reads Billy Collins and More — National Poetry Month

posted by Nell Minow

Flavorwire has a sensational collection of actors reading poems in honor of National Poetry Month.  Here, Bill Murray reads to the construction workers building a new poetry center.  Other readers include Alan Rickman, Bill Clinton, and Anthony Hopkins.

Bully

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language
Movie Release Date:March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 12, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language
Movie Release Date: March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 12, 2013

This is a message for Alex.  You are a great kid.  You will be a great, happy, successful adult.  And those high school boys who torture you so brutally on the school bus every day will spend their adult lives […]

The Three Stooges

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language
Movie Release Date:April 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 17, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language
Movie Release Date: April 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012

I believe it was the great philosopher Curly Joe who first said that you cannot step in the same stream twice.  And perhaps it was Shemp who said that you can’t go home again.  Okay, that was the great ancient […]

More about Pixar’s “Brave”

posted by Nell Minow

Lockout

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

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

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

posted by Nell Minow

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

Happy Easter!

posted by Nell Minow

American Reunion

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking
Movie Release Date:April 7, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 10, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking
Movie Release Date: April 7, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 10, 2012

The first indication of a problem with this fourth in the series that began with the ground-breaking (and pastry-breaking) “American Pie” is that stars Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott are listed as co-producers.   Very few actors understand their characters […]

Passover in the Age of the Internet

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my mom for sending me this cute Passover video!

Surprising Facts about “Singin’ in the Rain”

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the 60th anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain, MovieFone’s Gary Susman has composed a list of 25 little-known facts about the film, one of the best-loved classics in movie history (and about movie history).  Most recently, it […]

Titanic 3D

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

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

A Short Love Story in Stop Motion

posted by Nell Minow

In a lovely short film by Carlos Lascano, reminiscent of the opening sequence in “Up,” two birds from a young girl’s drawing take flight to explore her dreams for her future.        

Sequels Coming: “Anchorman” and….”Twins??”

posted by Nell Minow

Stay classy, San Diego!  There is going to be a sequel to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the goofy film starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Christina Applegate that many fans can recite from memory, even though they […]

“I Believe” Dance Number from “Mirror Mirror”

posted by Nell Minow

Director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar grew up in India and began his career with music videos, and you can see the influence of both in this joyous musical number from Mirror Mirror. The Huffington Post’s Katie Calautti has a fascinating piece on […]

Mirror Mirror

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 26, 2012

Director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar has found a story worthy of his ravishing visuals and the result is an enchanting update of the classic fairy tale of Snow White. Julia Roberts is clearly having a blast as the evil queen whose hostile […]

Wrath of the Titans

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

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

New Documentary from Morgan Spurlock About Comic-Con

posted by Nell Minow

I am a total Comic-Con fangirl (already counting the days to this year’s Con in July), so I am very excited about a new documentary from Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me,” “Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”) called […]

Smile of the Week: Forgetfulness by Billy Collins

posted by Nell Minow

Ah, that explains why I can never remember anything!

The Hunger Games

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens
Movie Release Date:March 23, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens
Movie Release Date: March 23, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2012

Just as brave and loyal Katniss Everdeen is the heart of the wildly popular series of “Hunger Games” novels by Suzanne Collins, Jennifer Lawrence is the heart of this faithful adaptation.  Director Gary Ross clearly understands the book and what […]

21 Jump Street

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking, and some violence
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 26, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking, and some violence
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 26, 2012

The record on movie versions of decades-old television shows is not a pretty one.  I call them lunchbox movies because I can envision the pitch meeting with the young studio executive smiling, “Oh, I had the lunchbox for that show! […]

Casa de Mi Padre

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, language, and some sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 17, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, language, and some sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012

You think having sunny-spirited Californian Will Ferrell play the son of a Mexican rancher is not goofy enough?  How about if the entire movie is in Spanish (with subtitles)?  You want goofier?  I got your goofy right here.  The entire premise […]

Jeff, Who Lives At Home

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

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

TED Ed — TEDucational videos

posted by Nell Minow

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) was first known for its conferences, attracting extraordinary speakers who told the people lucky enough to be in the room amazing, thrilling, and inspiring stories about the latest discoveries in science and the arts.  When those […]

A Thousand Words

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

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

John Carter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012

It takes a while to get going and is about half an hour too long, but “John Carter” has some spectacular visuals and well-staged action scenes.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the Tarzan novels, also wrote the John Carter: Adventures […]

Being Flynn

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

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

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for some violence and sexual content and brief language
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 17, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence and sexual content and brief language
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012

Paul Torday’s satiric novel of politics, money, love, and fishing has been brought to the screen with Ewan McGregor as a government fisheries expert and Emily Blunt as an aide to a Yemeni sheik who has what seems to be […]

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 23, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 23, 2012

The Michelin Guide to restaurants describes the best as “worth a detour” or “worth a special journey.”  They describe a tiny ten-seat sushi restaurant in Tokyo as worth the trip to Japan.  If you want to eat there, call before […]

The Muppets Take on “The Hunger Games”

posted by Nell Minow

     

Robin Good and His Not-So-Merry Men

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:March 5, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 6, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: March 5, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2012

The latest from Veggie Tales is the delightful and heartwarming Robin Good & His Not So Merry Men. Larry the Cucumber stars as Robin Good, a fearless man who roves the town of Bethlingham with his band of merry men […]

Viewers Say Thanks for “Act of Valor”

posted by Nell Minow

“Act of Valor,” featuring active duty Navy SEALs, is number one at the box office and has inspired some nice “thank you” responses from viewers.    

Undefeated

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

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

The Lorax

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date:March 2, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 7, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date: March 2, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 7, 2012

Adapting Dr. Seuss for a feature film is a challenge. The movies can capture his whimsical drawings and mischievous humor but they fail when they pad his storylines and jettison his rhymes.  Dr. Seuss had a genius for saying a […]

Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” — The Book and the TV Movie

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “The Lorax,” the Dr. Seuss story about protecting the environment starring Danny DeVito, should inspire families to read the the book and check out the animated television version with Eddie Albert as the narrator.

British Teenager Creates Lego Tribute to 10 Classic Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Congratulations to Harry Bossert — how many of these scenes can you identify?

Wanderlust

posted by Nell Minow

It is painful to watch Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, who were superb together in “The Object of My Affection,” try to make the most from the fourth-rate Judd Apatow gross-out comedy “Wanderlust.”  It wastes a situation filled with comic […]

Act of Valor

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
Movie Release Date:February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
Movie Release Date: February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 6, 2011

The Navy SEALS approached the Bandito Brothers film-makers about telling their story, years before they became headline heroes by finding and killing Osama Bin Laden.  After spending time with the SEALS and learning about their extraordinary missions and their extraordinary devotion to their […]

Interview: Emilio Estevez of “The Way”

posted by Nell Minow

I spoke to Martin Sheen when The Way opened in theaters last year.  So it was a special treat to speak to the writer and director of the film about its DVD release — Emilio Estevez, Sheen’s son, who also appears briefly […]

This Means War

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sexual content including references, some violence and action, and language
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 22, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content including references, some violence and action, and language
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

In the world of this film, American spies work in stylish and luxurious L.A. offices and live in cool apartments that look like the ads in Maxim with people toasting each other with expensive vodka.  One of the apartments is […]

The Secret World of Arrietty

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:February 17, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: February 17, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

A spirited young heroine and an enchantingly beautiful setting make a story of friendship and courage beguiling in Studio Ghibli’s adaptation of Mary Norton’s popular series of “Borrower” books.  First published in the mid-1950’s, the stories are on based on […]

You Will Never See a Sweeter Valentine Love Story Than This One

posted by Nell Minow

Suggested by my darling daughter:  

The Vow

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity, and some language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 8, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity, and some language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 8, 2012

More than any other attribute, memory is what defines our identity and our connections to each other.  When a young woman’s traumatic brain injury erases her memory not just of having married her husband but even of having met him, […]

Safe House

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012

Denzel Washington is the vodka and Ryan Reynolds is the orange juice in this spy story with top-notch action, middle-notch story, and bottom-notch ending, with a “surprise” plot twist that is obvious from the first 10 minutes. Apparently, the CIA […]

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2012

Like its predecessor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, this is a well-paced and highly entertaining family film made with good humor, panache, and imagination.  Josh Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, a teenager whose last expedition was in search […]

Big Miracle

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language
Movie Release Date:February 3, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 18, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language
Movie Release Date: February 3, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2012

“You’re not as easy to hate as I thought,” an oil man tells an environmental activist in “Big Miracle,” the heartwarming true story of a 1987 effort to rescue three Alaskan whales. It could just as well have been said […]

One for the Money

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 15, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 15, 2012

Someday to be used in film schools as a textbook example of how not to adapt a best-selling novel for the screen, “One for the Money” is mis-cast, mis-scripted, and mis-directed in every category.  Janet Evanovich’s popular series of series […]

Man on a Ledge

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and brief language
Movie Release Date:January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 29, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and brief language
Movie Release Date: January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012

It wants to be a twisty-turny thriller but it is as straightforward as its title.  A man we will later know as Nick (Sam Worthington) checks into a New York hotel, orders room service (we see he has a scraped […]

Smile of the Week: Page Turner

posted by Nell Minow

How can Kindle compete with this?

Haywire

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 1, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012

A little bit “Rambo,” a little bit “Kill Bill” and more than a little bit “La Femme Nikita” and its imitation, “Alias,” this film can best be summarized as follows: a private contractor operative employed by the United States kicks […]

Red Tails

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

The official military documents of the 1940’s said that African-Americans were “mentally inferior” “subservient and cowards” and not fit to fly planes.  The Tuskegee Airmen of WWII proved that African-Americans were outstanding pilots.  They had to fight to be trained […]

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 27, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 27, 2012

Jonathan Safran Foer’s acclaimed novel about a boy whose father was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11 has been brought to the screen with great sensitivity and heart.  Newcomer Thomas Horn plays Oskar, whose ferocious intellect overwhelms his […]

A Mile in His Shoes

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:2011
DVD Release Date:January 18, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: 2011
DVD Release Date: January 18, 2012

“Do not just a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes,” we are told, and that is the message of this understated film about a gifted pitcher who is on the autism spectrum and the minor league […]

Courageous

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date:September 30, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 16, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date: September 30, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 16, 2012

Courageous is the story of men who confront danger every day as law officers but who discover that it is a bigger challenge to be good fathers and family men. Sherwood Pictures, the faith-based film production company behind “Facing the […]

Joyful Noise

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language including a sexual reference
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including a sexual reference
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2012

Joyful indeed — this movie is pure cinematic sunshine, guaranteed to brighten the heart and gladden the spirit.  Super-divas Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah play rival gospel choir leaders in an inspiring and heart-warming story filled with love, laughter, music, […]

The Iron Lady

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

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

Carnage

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:December 17, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 19, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: December 17, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 19, 2012

Some boys are arguing in a park but we are too far away to hear what it is about.  One of them whacks another in the face with a stick. And then we are in a spacious apartment as the […]

Contraband

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012

Oh, not another one last job movie!  This remake of an Icelandic thriller, directed by the actor who played the lead role in the original, is a by-the-numbers heist, chase, and shoot-em-up.  It’s too gritty to be escapist fun and […]

Beauty and the Beast

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

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

Rapunzel, Flynn, and the Horse — Wedding Scene

posted by Nell Minow

There’s a mini-“Tangled” sequel before “Beauty and the Beast” 3D!  Here’s a sneak peek!   A full sequel is scheduled to appear on the Disney Channel this spring.  Stay tuned.    

The Artist

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a disturbing image and a crude gesture
Movie Release Date:January 3, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a disturbing image and a crude gesture
Movie Release Date: January 3, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2012

“We didn’t need dialogue,” said Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) unforgettably in Billy Wilder’s classic, “Sunset Boulevard.”  “We had faces!”  Swanson herself had been a silent film star, but she is best remembered for playing the actress driven mad by being […]

Randy Travis — Old Time Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Andrea Bocelli — Angels We Have Heard on High

posted by Nell Minow

  Merry Christmas!

Gladys Knight — O Holy Night

posted by Nell Minow

Suzy Snowflake

posted by Nell Minow

It isn’t Christmas for those of us who grew up in Chicago watching “Garfield Goose” until we see “Suzy Snowflake.”

The War Horse

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:April 3, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: April 3, 2012

The second Steven Spielberg movie of the week opens on Christmas Day, a grand epic, is big, long, ambitious, and showy.  It is a work by a master, but it is not a masterpiece.  Every detail is carefully considered.  Every […]

An Oscar-Winning Animated ‘Christmas Carol’

posted by Nell Minow

I thought I knew of — and loved — every film version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”  But what a delight to discover a new one, and an Oscar-winning animated version by one of my favorite artists, Richard Williams (of “The […]

We Bought a Zoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:December 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:April 2, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: December 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: April 2, 2012

This is a good, old-fashioned family movie grounded in Matt Damon’s best-ever performance, inspired by the real-life story of a young widower who, without knowing a lot about animals or running a business, impulsively decided to buy a zoo. Benjamin […]

Angels We Have Heard on High — Mormon Tabernacle Choir

posted by Nell Minow

The Adventures of Tintin

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

Two box office champion directors and a cult favorite joined forces for a film that was a first for all of them, a 3D motion capture animated story.  It is clear that director Steven Spielberg, producer Peter Jackson (“The Lord […]

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

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

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

The Snowman: Walking in the Air

posted by Nell Minow

If you are feeling frazzled with holiday preparations, take a moment to enjoy the pure magic of this excerpt from one of the finest animated films ever made:

Smile of the Week: Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!

posted by Nell Minow

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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

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

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence
Movie Release Date:December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:April 09, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence
Movie Release Date: December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: April 09, 2012

The first live-action film from animation director Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles”) is pure adrenalin rush.  It has the best stunts of the year and crackerjack mastery of pace in this fourth “Mission: Impossible” movie. More “inspired by” […]

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:December 17, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 27, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: December 17, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 27, 2012

The third in the series about the singing chipmunks and their exasperated but perpetually forgiving human father is a little brighter and sweeter than its predecessors. It tones down the slapstick and potty humor, meriting a family-friendly G rating. The […]

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 20, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012

There are spy stories with glamor and chases and explosions and answers.  And there are spy stories like this one, murky, gritty, grubby, complicated.  The brilliant BBC miniseries version of the the book by John le Carre opened with the grim-looking Russian matryoshka […]

Simon, Theodore, and….Alvin: “Christmas Don’t Be Late”

posted by Nell Minow

As the latest Chipmunks movie opens up this week, we remember how it all got started, with the Grammy-winning 1958 song, “Christmas Don’t Be Late:” The singing chipmunks were created by songwriter Ross Bagdasarian, who had appeared in the Alfred […]

New Year’s Eve

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:May 1, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012

Something seemed familiar to me as I watched Garry Marshall’s New York-based follow-up to his multi-star, multi-story LA-set romantic comedy, Valentine’s Day.  It was something that went beyond the predictability of its sitcom-ish formulas and check-list of romantic comedy conventions, […]

The Sitter

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

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

One Second of Beauty — from Montblanc

posted by Nell Minow

Montblanc, maker of some of the world’s most magnificent pens (I am a pen nut and adore lovely fountain pens), has invited everyone to submit short films about beauty.  Really short — just one second.  There are two ways to […]

Babar and Father Christmas

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1986
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1986
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2011

Babar and Father Christmas is a new DVD with a charming holiday story.  The children of Babar and Celeste write to Father Christmas to invite him to their home town.  But the letter is stolen by wicked Rataxes the Rhinoceros, […]

My Week with Marilyn

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date:December 2, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date: December 2, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

“Her skin does not reject the light.” That was impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir’s answer when asked why he used one favorite model so many times.  And it describes the luminous beauty of Marilyn Monroe, who almost half a century […]

Shatner vs. Fisher on ‘Star Trek’ vs. ‘Star Wars’

posted by Nell Minow

Roger Ebert reports that “Star Trek” captain William Shatner and “Star Wars” princess Carrie Fisher are engaged in a battle bigger than anything involving Klingons or The Empire — the relative merits of their two franchises.  Check out the warring […]

The Next Voice You Hear

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1950
DVD Release Date:November 28, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1950
DVD Release Date: November 28, 2011

I was pleased to see that Turner Classic Movies will be showing “The Next Voice You Hear” this afternoon at 2:30 Eastern.  It’s a sweet little film with a timely message.  It was made in 1950, when the primary technology […]

For Thanksgiving: ‘Pieces of April’

posted by Nell Minow

Another of my favorite Thanksgiving movies is Pieces of April, with Katie Holmes as the estranged daughter making dinner for her family, including her mother (Patricia Clarkson), who is dying of cancer.  Derek Luke plays her boyfriend and Alison Pill […]

Hugo

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 27, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 27, 2012

Martin Scorsese’s enchanting “Hugo” is a thrillingly immersive adventure.  It is about two orphans trying to solve a mystery.  It is about the way that stories help us make sense of life.  It stretches from the very beginnings of movies […]

Arthur Christmas

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 6, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 6, 2012

A sleigh pulled by reindeer?  That’s so five decades ago.  With the population topping seven billion and the Duggars getting ready to welcome baby number 20, Santa (Jim Broadbent) needs all the support modern technology can provide.  He may not […]

The Muppets

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 19, 2012
A
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 19, 2012

Let the joy be unrestrained.  The Muppets are back.  It turns out that deep inside Jason Segal, best known for raunchy Judd Apatow comedies and for playing the monogamous Marshall on “How I Met Your Mother,” is at his core […]

A Trip to the Moon

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “Hugo,” based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, is inspired by the films of George Méliès, the French magician-turned-filmmaker who pioneered the field of special effects.  “A Trip to the Moon,” made in […]

The Greening of Whitney Brown

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

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

The Littlest Angel

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:2011
DVD Release Date:November 23, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 2011
DVD Release Date: November 23, 2011

Based on one of the top-selling children’s books of all time, The Littlest Angel is a new film based on the classic story by Charles Tazewell, first published in 1946.  A small angel cannot quite seem to fit in until a […]

Happy Feet 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor and mild peril
Movie Release Date:November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor and mild peril
Movie Release Date: November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

I loved the original Happy Feet, but five years later only liked this sequel.  It’s still a lot of fun to see dancing, singing penguins, but the meandering storyline never catches hold. In the original, a small Emperor penguin named […]

Little Drummer Boy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2011
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2011
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2011

The wonderful folks at Veggie Tales have a new DVD for the holidays, Little Drummer Boy, based on the classic Christmas carol.  In this version, Junior Asparagus hears the story of a little boy whose heart was filled with bitterness […]

Little Angels

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Preschool
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2011
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Preschool
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2011
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2011

Roma Downey knows something about angels after playing one on television in the fondly remembered “Touched by an Angel” series.  Now her Little Angels DVDs are a faith-based series for pre-schoolers to help them learn numbers and letters.  Animated twins Alex […]

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2012

In trying to balance the hopes of the passionately devoted fans of the Twilight series (are there any other kind?), who want to see every single word of the books up on the screen and the realities of cinematic storytelling that limit […]

The Descendants

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

Just because he lives in Hawaii, don’t think he’s in paradise, Matt King (George Clooney) warns us.  No one is immune to life.  The first Alexander Payne film since “Sideways” gives us another damaged hero at a crossroads and as […]

Into the Abyss

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

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

Smile of the Week: ‘In Your Arms’ with Kina Grannis and Zillions of Jellybeans

posted by Nell Minow

This is the best use of stop-motion in a video since the legendary “Sledgehammer” with Peter Gabriel.  And Kina Grannis and director Greg Jardin made it a frame at a time with real Jelly Bellys (donated by the company) — no CGI. Just as […]

West Side Story

posted by Nell Minow
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:1961
DVD Release Date:November 15, 2011
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 1961
DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011

In honor of the 50th anniversary of this American classic there is a new Blu-Ray release of West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition.  Modeled on “Romeo and Juliet,” this movie puts the star-crossed lovers in two warring gangs in the […]

With Thanks To All Our Armed Forces and Hopes for A Safe Return Home

posted by Nell Minow

Smile of the Week: Father-Daughter Wedding Dance

posted by Nell Minow

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers…And Other Inspiring Tales

posted by Nell Minow

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers… and More Inspiring Tales is another delight from Scholastic, who take the best children’s books and turn them into superb short films for beginning readers and their families.  The title film is based on […]

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
Movie Release Date:November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 7, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
Movie Release Date: November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2012

I was pretty sure that the line between being lame and making fun of being lame was fairly distinct but in this film Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) push it so hard it almost dissolves.  We’ve all come […]

Tower Heist

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012

If the Occupy Wall Street crowd decided to make it movie it would be “Tower Heist,” the story of 99%-ers stealing back from a 1% guy what he stole from them. Alan Alda has a lot of fun playing a […]

Holiday Gift Opportunity for the Movie-Lover

posted by Nell Minow

Barnes & Noble is offering all of the Criterion Collection DVDs at 30% off for a limited time.  As all serious film lovers know, the Criterion series are the best of the best — the best films and the best […]

Christmas with a Capital C

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:2011
DVD Release Date:November 1, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: 2011
DVD Release Date: November 1, 2011

This Dove-approved family film stars Ted McGinley and Daniel Baldwin as one-time high school rivals who find themselves on opposite sides again when they battle over Christmas decorations in a small Alaska town and learn that Christmas is not about […]

Happy Halloween!

posted by Nell Minow

Teeny-Tiny and the Witch Woman…And 4 More Spine-Tingling Tales

posted by Nell Minow

Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman… and 4 More Spine-Tingling Tales is a perfect Halloween treat for the littlest trick-or-treaters, with stories that are more fun than scary. Teeny-Tiny is the story of a boy who outsmarts the witch who wants to […]

The Rum Diary

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, brief drug use, and sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 14, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, brief drug use, and sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 14, 2012

22-year-old Hunter S. Thompson wrote a novel about men in their 30’s working for a Puerto Rican newspaper, equally soaked in the title libation and the brinier flavors of cynicism and failure, but it was not published until more than […]

Puss In Boots

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 21, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012

The popular feline bandit of the “Shrek” series gets his own feature film, one that is less of a fractured fairy tale and more of a swashbuckler.  Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of Puss in Boots, the cat with […]

In Time

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

In the future, according to this film, our currency will not be money but time.  Everyone gets 25 years.  Then the clock starts ticking down.  If you have not earned, begged, borrowed, stolen, or inherited time, you die. Everything is […]

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

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

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

Watch Coldplay Live Today!

posted by Nell Minow

You can watch Coldplay perform live today on YouTube at 1:00 Eastern/4:00 Pacific!  If you miss it, try later as it will replay all day.

Margin Call

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

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

The Mighty Macs

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

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

Johnny English Reborn

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action violence, rude humor, some language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:October 21, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 28, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action violence, rude humor, some language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: October 21, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 28, 2012

The first Johnny English spy spoof came out in 2003.  The spy parts were not exciting enough and the comedy parts were not funny enough to make material that has been done by everyone from James Coburn and Dean Martin to […]

The Return of Statler and Waldorf

posted by Nell Minow

On “The Muppet Show,” Statler and Waldorf (named for stately old hotels) were the two cranky old guys in the balcony who comment sarcastically on the performance.  I’m glad to see that they are on top of internet culture!  Looking […]

The Worst Witch

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1986
DVD Release Date:October 16, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1986
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2011

Thanks to my godson, Theo Leiss, for reminding me of this Halloween treat! The Worst Witch is based on a pre-Harry Potter series of books by Jill Murphy about a school for young witches.  Fairuza Balk, who would later play a […]

Footloose

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some teen drug and alcohol use, sexual content, violence, and language
Movie Release Date:October 14, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 6, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some teen drug and alcohol use, sexual content, violence, and language
Movie Release Date: October 14, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2012

Director Craig Brewer doesn’t so much remake 1984’s Footloose as tweak it.  At times, it feels almost identical, with small changes that are as likely to be commentary as updates.  But the most important thing this version has in common with […]

The Big Year

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:October 14, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: October 14, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

“The Big Year” would be a lot better if it didn’t try so hard to be The Big Movie.   This over-Hollywood-ized take on the real-life story of passionate-to-obsessed birders (don’t say “bird-watchers”) makes us wish for a documentary instead.  Everything […]

For Yom Kippur: Louis Armstrong Sings ‘Jonah and the Whale’

posted by Nell Minow

Kol Nidre

posted by Nell Minow

Warn greetings to all who are observing Yom Kippur.  May you and all you love be inscribed in the Book of Life.

The Way

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, drug use, and smoking
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 21, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, drug use, and smoking
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012

In honor of this DVD Pick of the Week, I have three copies to give away.  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “The Way” in the subject line and tell me your favorite Martin Sheen movie.  Don’t forget your […]

Real Steel

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 24, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 24, 2012

The robot has the heart and the human has to learn to feel again in this unabashedly cheesy but irresistible fairy tale about a father, a son, and robots who bash the heck out of each other in a boxing […]

Ides of March

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 17, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 17, 2012

Beau Willimon took his experience on the Howard Dean campaign and turned it into a play called “Farragut North,” for the Metro stop near the fancy Washington D.C. offices occupied by political consultants.  Working with George Clooney and Grant Heslov, […]

Toast

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

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

Thunder Soul

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

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

Sesame Street Does ‘The Heaviest Catch’

posted by Nell Minow

This adorable parody of “The Deadliest Catch” has the cutest squid ever!

Smile of the Week: One Step Forward

posted by Nell Minow

This charming and romantic little film from Ben Crawford won best film, best directing, best cinematography, best editing, and the group c audience award at the Boston 48 Hour Film Project. All films had to be made in 48 hours and have these elements: […]

The Lion King

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:1994
DVD Release Date:October 3, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 1994
DVD Release Date: October 3, 2011

“The Lion King” finishes its record-breaking theatrical re-release in 3D with its first Blu-Ray in a superpack and I have five to give away!  Details below. One of Disney’s most popular animated features (and the inspiration for one of Broadway’s […]

Smile of the Week: ‘Sesame Street’ Does ‘Glee!’

posted by Nell Minow

What’s Your Number?

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:September 30, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 10, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: September 30, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 10, 2012

Even the delectable Anna Faris cannot get us to root for the character she plays in this charmless, distasteful dud.  The first scene is weirdly identical to the opening of “Bridesmaids,” and one of the movie’s scarce pleasures is the […]

50/50

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

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

Break-Dancing Rosh Hashanah Celebration!

posted by Nell Minow

Previous Posts

Tom Cruise Runs -- Supercut
I love this supercut of Tom Cruise's best running scenes, first because it shows the range of films he's worked in over the decades, and the different ways different directors and cinematographers shoot the scenes (and some similarities), and ...

posted 10:17:54pm Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

You Can Help Support This new Ed Asner Film on Indiegogo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAY_sMucKl4 Ed Asner stars in this new film about a young man who finds a book at his grandmother’s memorial, with a series of fantastical tales that his grandfather wrote for his grandmother. Each is a ...

posted 4:18:09pm Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Opening this Month: August 2015
August is usually one of the slowest months of the year for major movie releases, but this year we have some prospects that could include both ...

posted 3:15:47pm Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: On Beauty
[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/110407707[/vimeo] ...

posted 8:00:06am Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Rent This Instead: A Better Ed Helms Raunchy Comedy (that isn't "Hangover")
"Vacation" is a gross, dumb disappointment. If you want to see Ed Helms in a much better raunchy comedy, try the neglected gem Cedar Rapids. Helms plays a mild-mannered, small town insurance guy who is tapped at the last minute to go to the ...

posted 3:05:56pm Jul. 31, 2015 | read full post »