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Jonah and the Whale

posted by Nell Minow

On the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jews study the story of Jonah and the Whale. The Jewish educational and outreach group AISH says In a certain sense it is very much the story […]

Knowing

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:March 20, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 7, 2009
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: March 20, 2009
DVD Release Date: July 7, 2009

When MIT astrophysics professor John Koestler (Nicolas Cage in one-note mournful mode) looks distracted and thoughtful as he invites his class to debate randomness vs. determinism, you don’t have to be much of a determinist to figure out that as […]

BFCA Summer Movie Predictions

posted by Nell Minow

The Broadcast Film Critics have announced their predictions for the movies of summer 2009: Summer Blockbusters: Star Trek Up Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Summer Sleepers: Away We Go 500 Days of Summer The Hurt Locker Outstanding Performances […]

Interview: Paul Newman biographer Shawn Levy

posted by Nell Minow

Movie critic Shawn Levy, author of the superb books King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis and Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Show Biz Party, has a new book about […]

‘Star Trek’ and ‘Terminator Salvation’ — Spoiler Alert Discussion

posted by Nell Minow

I love the Slate Spoiler Specials, discussions of movies for you to listen to on the way home from the theater. Because they allow the participants to include spoilers in the conversation, they are more satisfying than a review can […]

PBS Resource on Media for Parents

posted by Nell Minow

PBS has an excellent online resource for parents about the way that media shapes children’s views of the world, with separate sections for preschoolers, grade schoolers, pre-teens and teens, with tips for each age to help children understand media and […]

‘The Big Lebowski’ Abides

posted by Nell Minow

It was not especially popular with critics or audiences when it was first released but has since become something of a cult with conventions of fans in costume, scholarly analysis, lines of dialogue recited with reverence by its fans, and […]

DC Fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes

posted by Nell Minow

If you’re in the DC area on May 19, come to the fabulous Rock Creek restaurant in Mazza Gallerie for a “Beauty and the Beach” fund-raiser for juvenile diabetes. For $35 ($40 at the door), you will get hors d’oeuvres, […]

10 Things Critics Won’t Tell You

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Shawn Levy for pointing me to this piece from “Smart Money” about movie critics’ secrets. I enjoyed #5: “I could say a film’s ‘about a lovable misfit,’ but I’ll go with ‘it limns alterity.’” But I don’t think […]

Is Racism Subjective?

posted by Nell Minow

I was the only white person in the elevator after the screening of Next Day Air, and as we went down to the parking lot, I asked the assembled group, none of whom I knew, whether they thought the movie […]

Ebertfest, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow

It took me nearly 48 hours to get home due to weather and other delays, but I am back with some more from the Ebert festival. I was on a panel called “Film Criticism and the Web,” with 10 critics […]

Ebertfest, Part 1

posted by Nell Minow

I won’t be able to post pictures until I get home, but here is a quick update on Roger Ebert’s festival at the University of Illinois. Unlike many festivals, which have a dozen or more choices of events every minute […]

Disney’s First African-American Princess

posted by Nell Minow

The Disney Princesses, each the star of her own movie, are now a team and something of a marketing juggernaut. They have transcended their individual stories and now appear together in a wide range of merchandise. And now Snow White […]

Frost/Nixon

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date:December 5, 2008
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date: December 5, 2008

More than 30 years after he resigned from office, Richard M. Nixon has transcended politics and history and become epic. He has been portrayed on film by Anthony Hopkins, the man who won an Oscar playing Hannibal the Cannibal. And […]

Interview: Bill Haney of ‘American Violet’

posted by Nell Minow

“American Violet,” the fine new film about the real-life woman who took on corrupt and racist law enforcement officials in 2000, was written by Bill Haney. It was a very great pleasure to get to talk to him about the […]

Is there a Date Rape Joke in ‘Observe and Report?’

posted by Nell Minow

Observe and Report is a bleak, harsh, disturbing, violent, and transgressive movie about a mall security guard who is often delusional. Billed as a comedy, it has some funny moments, though most of the laughs come from outrageousness rather than […]

I.O.U.S.A.

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements.
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2008
DVD Release Date:April 7, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some thematic elements.
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2008
DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009

Two guys who are super-smart and super-rich, Warren Buffet and Pete Peterson and one guy who is just super-smart, former Comptroller General of the United States David Walker have a message for Americans — don’t spend money you don’t have. […]

Jonas Brothers 3D

posted by Nell Minow

No review because they didn’t show it to critics, but here’s a shot from the new Jonas Brothers concert film.

Oscar Thoughts from Three Top Critics

posted by Nell Minow

Jeannette Catsoulis tells us the Oscars should embrace the lowbrow in Las Vegas CityLife: [S]tudios spend all year milking dollars from young people only to turn around at Oscar time, overcome with shame and a newly minted commitment to quality, […]

The Spirits and the Razzies

posted by Nell Minow

Just before the Oscars every year, two other important awards are announced. The Razzies (named for the rude noise called a “raspberry”) are given to the worst of the year from Hollywood. This year the recipients are: Worst Picture: The […]

Debate: Is ‘The Reader’ Great Art or Hackneyed Tripe?

posted by Nell Minow

“Don’t Give an Oscar to ‘The Reader’” is the headline of an angry Slate essay by Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil. Rosenbaum says it is “a film in which all the […]

Critics Critiquing Critics

posted by Nell Minow

Critics complain about having to decide how many stars to give a movie. There are times when it does feel very arbitrary to try to assign stars or letter grades to a film. And sometimes I think it creates more […]

Interview: Director Ed Zwick of ‘Defiance’

posted by Nell Minow

Edward Zwick, the director of the new Holocaust movie “Defiance,” is well-known for both historical dramas (“Glory”) and intimate personal stories (the television series “Thirtysomething”) – and for finding the small moments in big stories and the big emotions in […]

Slate’s Movie Club Analyzes 2008

posted by Nell Minow

Every January Slate Magazine asks some of the country’s top critics to have an exchange of emails about the year in film and reading it is like sitting in on a terrificly well-informed, lively, thoughtful, and provocative conversation about what […]

Critic’s Choice Awards

posted by Nell Minow

I was not able to make it to this year’s Critic’s Choice Awards in person, but I really enjoyed casting my votes and watching it on television. Here are the winners and keep in mind they are often a better […]

Interview: Steve James of ‘At the Death House Door’

posted by Nell Minow

I last wrote about the superb documentary At the Death House Door when I interviewed its subject, Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served 15 years as the death house chaplain to the infamous “Walls” prison unit in Huntsville. The film was […]

Movie Quiz for Movie Bloggers

posted by Nell Minow

I was so charmed by Steady Diet of Film’s answers to the Professor Kingsfield “Hair-Raising Bar-Raising Holiday Movie Quiz” that I decided to try answering the questions myself. Professor Kingsfield, of course, is the terrifying law professor in “The Paper […]

Top Ten Spreadsheet

posted by Nell Minow

Movie City News has collected the top ten lists of all the top critics (yes, even me) and put them into a spreadsheet. Just about everyone picks four or five of ten heavily-promoted awards films — “Wall?E,” “Milk,” Slumdog Millionaire,” […]

Do Holocaust Movies Help Or Hinder Our Understanding?

posted by Nell Minow

Stuart Klawans, movie critic for The Nation for 20 years, has written a provocative essay about Holocaust movies for the website Nextbook. Like so many other Jews, I have made my contribution toward the multiplication of Holocaust films. On New […]

Women Critics Film Awards

posted by Nell Minow

As expected, the associations of female critics have a slightly different take on the best and worst films of the year than the male-dominated critic groups. One thing that makes them fun is the extra categories, like Most Offensive Male […]

Are Romantic Comedies Bad for Real-Life Romance?

posted by Nell Minow

Do romantic comedies create and foster impossible expectations? Are women doomed to disappointment when no man can possibly measure up to Lloyd Dobbler (Say Anything), William Thacker (Notting Hill) or Joe Fox (You’ve Got Mail) — or Cary Grant in […]

Broadcast Film Critics Announce Nominees

posted by Nell Minow

The Broadcast Film Critics Association is the group behind the Critics Choice Awards, the first awards broadcast of the year and the one that has recently been a good predictor of the Oscars. This morning we announced our nominees. As […]

The Dark Knight

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace.
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2008
DVD Release Date:December 9, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace.
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2008
DVD Release Date: December 9, 2008

“Dark” is right. Christopher Nolan’s sequel to his Batman Begins is not only dark; it is searing and disturbing. The bad guys are very, very bad. These are not guys who do bad things because that is the only way […]

Best of the Best from Blogs About Movies

posted by Nell Minow

One of my very favorite movie critics is writer/speaker Desson Thomson, whose wonderful new website has an archive of reviews, blog posts, clips from his NPR commentaries, and contact information for groups who’d like to have him do a presentation […]

Washington Film Critics Pick ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Area Film Critics have announced our awards for 2008. “Slumdog Millionaire,” the story of an orphan in India whose correct answers on the local version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” lead to suspicions he was cheating, […]

Interview with Brittany Curran

posted by Nell Minow

One of the best moments for any movie critic is the discovery of a bright new talent. Brittany Curran, who co-stars with Lucas Grabeel in The Adventures of Foodboy, caught my attention from her first moment on screen because she […]

Wanted

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date:June 28, 2008
DVD Release Date:December 2, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.
Movie Release Date: June 28, 2008
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008

Nasty, twisted, pulpy, and brutally violent, “Wanted” is like a cross between Kill Bill, The Matrix, and The Terminator. Angelina Jolie, smokey-eyed and a little bit leaner, plays the assassin who grabs cubicle galley slave Wesley (“Atonement’s” James McAvoy) when […]

Inappropriate Trailer Shown Before ‘Twilight’

posted by Nell Minow

Critics usually do not see trailers in our special screenings, so many thanks to the commenters who brought this problem to my attention. Some “Twilight” fans are seeing the disturbing trailer for “The Unborn” before the movie. The choice of […]

Grrrrl Power at the Box Office: ‘Twilight’ Sales Set Records

posted by Nell Minow

To the surprise of no one but the Hollywood insiders, none of whom apparently have ever spoken to a teenage girl, “Twilight” set records at the box office this weekend, exceeding all predictions to bring in over $70 million, almost […]

Tropic Thunder

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material.
Movie Release Date:August 13, 2008
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material.
Movie Release Date: August 13, 2008
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008

With constant coverage of every baby bump and trip to rehab, we all feel like show business insiders these days. And co-writer/director/star Ben Stiller makes the most of that with this pointed but ultimately sweet take on Hollywood excess. The […]

John Leonard on Books We Love

posted by Nell Minow

A beautiful tribute to book, television, and movie critic John Leonard in Salon has this lovely quote from him about the books he loved: My whole life I have been waving the names of writers. From these writers, for almost […]

David Thomson’s top 1000 Films

posted by Nell Minow

David Thomson is one writer whose appraisals are as riveting and entertaining as the films and performances he describes. His The New Biographical Dictionary of Film is one of the dozen or so indispensable reference works every film fan needs. […]

Welcome to the Back Porch!

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Mitchell Keller and his syndicated Back Porch show, featuring “real country music,” for inviting me to be their movie critic. I’ll be on every week talking about the new releases at the theater and on DVD. Thanks […]

Is Hollywood Taking the Oscars Back from the Indies?

posted by Nell Minow

For the past few years, independent films have out-performed Hollywood studio productions when it comes to awards like the Oscars so consistently that the studios made very little effort to campaign on behalf of big-budget films. But the New York […]

Thoughts on ‘W’ as Movie, History, and Politics

posted by Nell Minow

Movie review from Dana Stevens of Slate: Neither satire nor biopic, the film is a kind of secular pageant, enacting with dogged literality the well-known stations of the cross of Bush’s life: the 40th-birthday hangover-turned-religious-conversion! The near-asphyxiation by pretzel! Mission […]

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, some disturbing images and brief smoking.
Movie Release Date:April 21, 2008
DVD Release Date:October 16, 2008
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, some disturbing images and brief smoking.
Movie Release Date: April 21, 2008
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2008

There may be a good argument to make on behalf of teaching Intelligent Design in science class, but this documentary from Ben Stein does not make it. The movie itself is an example of design by faith and emotion rather […]

Print Critics vs. Online Critics: A Cineaste Roundtable

posted by Nell Minow

Print and new media writers debate the pros and cons of writing about movies online, where everyone’s a critic in a roundtable from Cineaste, a leading publication on film. In introducing the Critical Symposium on “International Film Criticism Today” in […]

Studios’ Second Thoughts on Critics

posted by Nell Minow

According to Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood has figured out that critics are important in helping audiences find good movies that are not pre-sold through familiar characters or special effects. It cites an Advertising Age article that concludes the studios are starting […]

A.O. Scott on “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”

posted by Nell Minow

I love New York Times critic A.O. Scott’s review of this movie, my favorite romantic comedy of the year so far by far. Scott beautifully captures the charm of this lovely film. As thin as an iPod Nano, as full […]

Beliefnet on “Religulous”

posted by Nell Minow

Beliefnet bloggers speak out on Bill Maher’s new movie: From Rabbi Brad Hirschfield of Windows and Doors: [F]or starters, let’s stop giving Maher credit for attacking all religion. He doesn’t. Instead, Maher selects the worst of religion and compares it […]

Anti-Islam DVD Circulated By Anonymous Group in Battleground States

posted by Nell Minow

I am grateful to Beliefnet blogger Aziz Poonawalla for bringing to my attention the 28 million free DVDs that were delivered with the Sunday newspaper throughout battleground states last month. The movie is called Obsession. According to Poonawalla, it is […]

Blind Activists Protest “Blindness”

posted by Nell Minow

“Blindness” is the story of unnamed characters in an unnamed community who all suddenly lose their sight with just one exception, a doctor’s wife played by Julianne Moore. The newly blind citizens, along with Moore’s character, who pretends to be […]

Iron Man

posted by Nell Minow

With its first self-financed production, Marvel has produced one of the best superhero movies ever made, pure popcorn pleasure for its special effects, its story, its villain, and its hero. Director Jon Favreau, star Robert Downey Jr. and a first-class […]

Tribute: Paul Newman

posted by Nell Minow

Paul Newman died yesterday at age 83 after a long struggle with cancer. This tribute from Slate by Dahlia Lithwick describes Newman’s unassuming generosity in contributing a quarter of a billion dollars, 100% of the profits from his food companies, […]

Televised Presidential Debates

posted by Nell Minow

There’s an op-ed in today’s Chicago Tribune is about the value of televised debates. It was written by my dad, Newton Minow, and his frequent co-author, Northwestern professor Craig LaMay. This week is the anniversary of the very first Presidential […]

FLOW: For Love of Water

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2008

Americans take for granted our most precious and vital resource. We assume that when we turn on the tap, the water that comes out will be perfectly safe and more than plentiful, endless. And then there are those rows and […]

More on Language from the Las Vegas Review-Journal

posted by Nell Minow

“Language packs a punch in culture,” says a column by Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter John Przybys about the debate over Tropic Thunder. Przybys and I had a long talk about this subject and he quoted me in the column: Nell […]

Are Some Words Forbidden No Matter What?

posted by Nell Minow

Should some words be banned entirely? In a debate reminiscent of the battles over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a coalition of disability rights groups called for a boycott of Tropic Thunder over the use of the term “retard.” The […]

Coming Attractions (September 2008)

posted by Nell Minow

There’s only one movie opening up this week, “Bankok Dangerous” with Nicolas Cage. That’s everything I know about it. It isn’t screening for critics, and that means the studio is pretty sure it won’t even get one good review. But […]

The TIVO and Netflix Picks We Get and Don’t Watch

posted by Nell Minow

By coincidence, two publications ran similar articles this week about the difference between what we think we want to see and what we actually sit down to watch. Entertainment Weekly’s Mark Harris asks readers to fess up about the television […]

Hot Weekend — Cold Opens

posted by Nell Minow

When a studio is fairly certain it will not get a single good review it simply refuses to let the critics get a look before the release date. That’s called a “cold open.” Usually, movies that open cold are based […]

List: Movies About Making Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Inspired by “Tropic Thunder,” Keith Demko of Reel Fanatic created a superb list from one of my favorite categories: movies about making movies. On his list: critic-turned-director Francois Truffaut’s bittersweet Day for Night, the trenchant satire Living in Oblivion, the […]

Who Should Be Offended by ‘Tropic Thunder?’

posted by Nell Minow

A coalition of disability group has called for a boycott of the R-rated satire Tropic Thunder. They are asking people not to see the movie because they say it demeans, insults, and harms individuals with intellectual disabilities by using the […]

Desson Thomson on Archetypes in ‘Dark Knight’ and ‘American Teen’

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most thoughtful and knowledgeable movie critics I know, Desson Thomson, appeared on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” this week to talk to Scott Simon about what ties “Dark Knight” and the new documentary “American Teen” together — the way […]

Ebert’s Farewell to The Balcony

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friend Bob Elisberg for directing me to Ebert’s farewell to the 33-year movie review television show he shared with Gene Siskel and then Richard Roeper. That show, “just two guys talking about the movies,” made them into […]

Good Review of A Bad Film — Cynthia Fuchs on ‘Step Brothers’

posted by Nell Minow

I often say that when movies are good, critics are very, very good, but when movies are bad, they’re better. It is a challenge sometimes to write an interesting, meaningful review of a dumb comedy like Step Brothers. One of […]

Mistakes!

posted by Nell Minow

I think one reason I became a critic is that I am fascinated by mistakes. I don’t mind seeing bad movies (most of the time) because I like to think about what it is that makes them so bad. And […]

Interview with Robert Gotlin about Raising Fit Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Do kids today get less exercise than their parents did? Why? If I told you kids are playing more sports than their parents did yet they are in worse shape and exercising less, you may look at me as if […]

‘Lord Save Us From Your Followers’

posted by Nell Minow

My good friend Brandon Fibbs has a characteristically thoughtful review in Christianity Today of a new documentary called Lord Save Us From Your Followers from writer-director Dan Merchant. Merchant’s documentary turns on a deceptively simple question: Why is the gospel […]

Quotes of the Week: Dark Knight and Mamma Mia

posted by Nell Minow

The Dark Knight has inspired some very thoughtful reviews. Anonymous DC critic “J.J.” wrote that the film moved him to tears: Perhaps it’s because the film has characters I grew to care about, scenes that soaked my heart in adrenaline […]

Report on Gender and Movie Criticism

posted by Nell Minow

Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, Director of the Center for the Study of Women In Television and Film at San Diego State University, has released a new report on the representation of women among film critics. I live in the Washington […]

FCC Commissioner insists on Public Interest in Satellite Radio Merger

posted by Nell Minow

FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, who will be casting the deciding vote in the proposed merger of satellite radio stations Sirius and XM, has been opposed to the merger in the past, but has agreed to vote in favor with […]

ABBA on video (with a surprise guest appearance)

posted by Nell Minow

“Mamma Mia” is a good reason (as if we need one) to revisit some ABBA classics featured in the movie: Take a Chance on Me Gimme Gimme Gimme Money Money Money All of ABBA’s promotional clips like these were directed […]

Batman

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Movie Release Date:1989
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Movie Release Date: 1989

The critical and box office success of The Dark Knight is a reminder to take another look at the last re-booted Batman and Joker, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s broody re-imagining of a character then best remembered […]

Slapsticon 2008: Slapstick Film Festival

posted by Nell Minow

Slapsticon, the international film festival of classic slapstick, starts today in Arlington Virginia. This annual, four-day film festival — scheduled in July of every year — features screenings of rarely seen comedies from the silent and early sound eras. It […]

Movie Mom on WJLA-TV re Heath Ledger

posted by Nell Minow

Local movie critic Arch Campbell did a television spot about Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker in this week’s “The Dark Knight” and he asked three local critics what we thought. You can see me here (briefly) with my friends […]

How Would Wall?E Vote?

posted by Nell Minow

The chattering classes are already going after that sweet little robot Wall?E. Some on the right accused the film of being leftist propaganda because of its environmental message. As the New York Times points out: Blogland moves at the speed […]

Stop-Loss

posted by Nell Minow
B-
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date:March 28, 2008
DVD Release Date:July 8, 2008
B-
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive language.
Movie Release Date: March 28, 2008
DVD Release Date: July 8, 2008

A young soldier who has come home from Iraq is forced to rethink his ideas about heroism and patriotism when he is “stop-lossed” — informed that instead of leaving the Army he has been involuntarily assigned to another tour of […]

Do Movie Critics Matter?

posted by Nell Minow

In 2006, Time asked whether movie critics still mattered. Since then, more than 30 major national critics have retired or been laid off and there has been a lot of commentary about the pros and cons of the democratization of […]

Women Critics on Superhero Movies

posted by Nell Minow

The members of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists speak out on superhero movies. Are they just for boys? MaryAnn Johanson, who’s carved her critic’s niche by taking superhero movies seriously, provides an introduction: “Comic books and comic book movies […]

Why is TV So White? (Entertainment Weekly)

posted by Nell Minow

Entertainment Weekly has a very important article that asks a very important question. Why is it that the only minority character to anchor a new series is Cleveland Brown — an animated character voiced by a white guy? The show […]

Fox News and the term ‘Baby Mama’

posted by Nell Minow

I have always disliked the terms “Baby Mama” and “Baby Daddy.” Originally they were used only to describe unmarried parents and the implication was that their connection through the baby or children was all that remained of their relationship. The […]

Salon asks for the Best Family Films

posted by Nell Minow

I like Salon movie critic Andrew O’Hehir very much. He covers the less mainstream films, independent, foreign, and festival fare and I always enjoy his take on what he sees. He is on vacation this week and in something of […]

Can Hatred be Funny?

posted by Nell Minow

Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times has an article in today’s paper about the forthcoming Adam Sandler movie, “Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” about “an Israeli assassin who flees to the United States to become a hairdresser.” Trailers for […]

Is Indy too old? (and what about Marian?)

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and fellow movie critic Christian Toto has a terrific article in Moviemaker about aging actors like Sylvester Stallone (“Rocky” and “Rambo”), Bruce Willis (“Die Hard”), and Harrison Ford (“Indiana Jones”) keeping their franchise series going over the decades. […]

Fortune asks me for the best career advice I ever received

posted by Nell Minow

Work part-time Nell Minow, co-founder of The Corporate Library, says sticking to an unconventional schedule made her successful. NEW YORK (Fortune) — The single best piece of advice I ever got about my job was to work part-time. It was […]

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language and drug use.
Movie Release Date:April 25, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language and drug use.
Movie Release Date: April 25, 2008

Like the effects of the marijuana laced with cocaine smoked by a world leader near the end of this movie, the sequel to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle combines a literally dopey stoner comedy buzz with an electric […]

Tribeca Film Festival 2008

posted by Nell Minow

I am on my way to the Tribeca Film Festival and will be providing updates about my adventures there. Tribeca is the neighborhood of Manhattan that was literally in the shadow of the World Trade Center. The name stands for […]

Expelled: Intelligence Welcome (part 2)

posted by Nell Minow

Ben Stein has accomplished his goal — he has people talking about how we decide what will be taught and studied as science. If he has accomplished the feat of getting people thinking and listening as well, that will be […]

Expelled: Intelligence Welcome (part 1)

posted by Nell Minow

I have very much enjoyed reading all of the comments (more than 70!) on my review of the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. I am going to comment on the comments and the controversy over the movie shortly, […]

Raising Victor Vargas

posted by Nell Minow

Two of the best performances of the year so far were given by Victor Rasuk in “Stop Loss” and Melonie Diaz in “Be Kind Rewind.” Both got their start in a little-seen independent film called a “minor miracle” by Salon […]

Beaufort

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Unrated
Movie Release Date:March 28, 2008
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Movie Release Date: March 28, 2008

‘Beaufort,” the first Israeli movie nominated for the best foreign film Oscar in 24 years, is a meditation on the tragic ironies that soldiers face while ending an 18-year occupation of a medieval fortress in Lebanon. Despite their valor, the […]

Do women critics review differently?

posted by Nell Minow

Jennifer Merin of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists invited me to respond to a blog post from Gary Susman of Entertainment Weekly on whether we need more female critics.

Interview with Ira Sachs of “Married Life”

posted by Nell Minow

Ira Sachs is the writer/director of “Married Life,” a story set in 1949 about a married man (Chris Cooper) who falls in love with a young widow (Rachel McAdams). He believes that it would be kinder to kill his wife […]

Religion in film: characters, themes, resources

posted by Nell Minow

Beliefnet’s Kris Rasmussen has a list of 10 positive Christian characters in recent films. I was pleased to see Amy Adams’ performance in Junebug included, though for me the most spiritually touching moment in the movie was when Alessandro Nivola, […]

Baby Einstein has to admit their DVDs do not educate

posted by Nell Minow

Three cheers for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. In a press release issued today, CCFC announced that “As a result of CCFC’s Federal Trade Commission complaint, Baby Einstein has completely redesigned its website and is no longer making educational […]

Should Miley Buckle Up?

posted by Nell Minow

A blog post by Consumer Reports points out that in her record-breaking 3D concert film, Miley Cyrus and her dad ride in the back seat of a Range Rover on the way to rehearsal — without their seatbelts. Cyrus senior […]

Quotes of the Week: We Don’t Love Paris

posted by Nell Minow

I love to read other critics’ reviews. When movies are good, they’re very, very good, but when movies are bad, they’re better. Paris Hilton’s new movie, The Hottie & the Nottie at least inspired two of my favorite critics and […]

What does “Not Screened for Critics” mean?

posted by Nell Minow

I hear there is some sort of sporting event going on this weekend. So it makes sense that studios decided it would not be a good time to release big-budget movies with hopes of big box office. If Sunday will […]

James C. Strouse of “Grace is Gone”

posted by Nell Minow

“Grace is Gone” is the story of a father who cannot bear to tell his daughters that their mother has been killed in Iraq, so he takes them on a road trip to a theme park called Enchanted Garden. It […]

Jeneé Osterheldt Recommends the Classics

posted by Nell Minow

The Kansas City Star’s Jeneé Osterheldt has a great column with the solution for television fans suffering from writers’ strike doldrums: go to Turner Classic Movies and enjoy the classics. When Martin Scorsese met with the Museum of the Moving […]

The Hunting Party

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:September 7, 2007
DVD Release Date:January 22, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: September 7, 2007
DVD Release Date: January 22, 2008

Crazy times require crazy tactics. And so just because the UN can’t seem to find Bosnia’s most notorious war criminal does not mean that a gonzo journalist shouldn’t track him down for an interview. Based on a 2002 Esquire Magazine […]

A Fresh Tomato for RT’s New Look

posted by Nell Minow

Yes, most critics love to read what our colleagues think about movies. And so I spend time just about every day on the wonderful Rotten Tomatoes website, the best place to read what everyone has to say, from Roger Ebert […]

The Critics Choice Awards

posted by Nell Minow

Last night, my husband and I attended our first-ever red carpet event, the Critics Choice Awards, which were broadcast on VH1. It was a lot of fun, especially the end, when all of the critics went up on stage to […]

Critics Choice Awards

posted by Nell Minow

Watch the Critics Choice Awards hosted by D.L. Hughley tonight on VH1 and look for me in the silver dress!

Baby Einstein = Baby Couch Potato

posted by Nell Minow

The fastest-growing “audience” for media has been babies under age two. Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against them and all academic evidence has shown that it takes babies two to three times as long to learn something […]

Interview: Diablo Cody and Ellen Page of “Juno”

posted by Nell Minow

The author and star of this year’s most popular and critically acclaimed independent film talked with me about “Juno,” a smart, funny, touching film about a pregnant teenager who decides to give her baby to a childless couple. This is […]

Catholic Bishops rescind “Golden Compass” review

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Eric Bateman for this update: The Catholic News Service reports that the Conference of Catholic Bishops has withdrawn its review of “The Golden Compass.” There are news reports that the US Bishops have been asked to fire the […]

Washington Area Film Critics pick Coen Brothers movie

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) today announced its selection of the gritty thriller No Country for Old Men as Best Film of 2007. In total, the Miramax/Paramount Vantage film won four awards including Best Director for Joel […]

More thoughts on “The Golden Compass”

posted by Nell Minow

Very worthwhile readings on “The Golden Compass” and the controversy: In the LA Times, Laura Miller talks about the emailed claims that author Philip Pullman is anti-relgion. Snopes lists this particular rumor as “true,” presumably because the e-mails use a […]

Welcome from The Movie Mom

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I hope you will check in often and I would be very happy to hear your comments, questions, and suggestions — even your corrections. I’ll be reviewing movies and DVDs every week and […]

The Golden Compass

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence.
Movie Release Date:December 5, 2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence.
Movie Release Date: December 5, 2007

Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) is disobedient, obstinate, crafty, and skeptical. In other words, she challenges authority, she is is a creative thinker, and she is in the grand tradition of the heroes of classic adventure stories. And this is […]

When Movies Collide

posted by Nell Minow

It often happens that movies seem to overlap or collide with each other. All of a sudden, there are two or three movies at the same time about earthquakes, or farm foreclosures, or asteroids hitting the earth, or CGI films […]

Not-so Enchanted

posted by Nell Minow

One of the best movie critics around is Slate’s Dana Stevens, and this week she has an excellent column about the adorable “Enchanted,” pointing out that there is one very un-enchanting element to the movie. She enjoyed the movie and […]

Lions for Lambs

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:MPAA Rating: R for some war violence and language
Movie Release Date:November 9, 2007
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: MPAA Rating: R for some war violence and language
Movie Release Date: November 9, 2007

It is more op-ed than movie. “Lions for Lambs” is a well-meaning attempt to encapsulate and move forward one segment of our current political debates. But it is mostly speeches, not stories.

Resurrecting the Champ

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2007
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2007

Critic-turned-writer/director Rod Lurie produces old-fashioned potboilers, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. His unabashed melodramas can be refreshing in an era when very little of what we see onscreen takes on big issues or provocative positions. But this time, […]

License to Wed

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual humor and language.

The best thing about “License to Wed” is that John Krasinski and Mandy Moore have enough of that ever-elusive quality — chemistry — that an impending marriage seems possible if not likely. They easily get us on their side. The […]

Ratatouille

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2007

Pixar’s latest release is brilliantly animated, and a lot of fun. But it does not have a clear sense of who its audience is, and families with children who are looking for the next Finding Nemo may find themselves puzzled. […]

Previous Posts

Tribute: Wes Craven
We mourn the loss of director Wes Craven, who knew what scared us and knew how much we loved being scared.  His series films included "Scream," "Nightmare on Elm Street," and "The Hills Have Eyes." My friend Simon Abrams interviewed Craven for ...

posted 10:53:30am Aug. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Rachel Hendrix of "77 Chances"
Rachel Hendrix plays Mac in the faith-based romantic film "77 Chances." It's a "Groundhog Day"-style story about a young man who feels lost ...

posted 3:39:15pm Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Tribute: Oliver Sacks
We mourn the passing of neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks, who illuminated the workings of the brain and set an example of grace and compassion that extended to the way he shared his thoughts about his terminal diagnosis. I first learned ...

posted 9:17:46am Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Three Hundred Year-Old Actors Are Still Working
Scott Feinberg talked to three actors with a combined age of 302 for The Hollywood Reporter. Patricia Morison (age 100), Norman Lloyd (age 100) and Connie Sawyer (age 102) shared memories and offered tips. All are in good health. “I ...

posted 3:32:48pm Aug. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Youth with Michael Caine
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c[/youtube] Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel play friends on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a film director, is ...

posted 3:25:22pm Aug. 29, 2015 | read full post »

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