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Critics: Which Movies Get Childhood Right?

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Sam Adams and Indiewire for including me in their survey of critics about our favorite movies from the perspective of a child.  Here was my answer: “To Kill a Mockingbird” somehow captures the voice of the novel in […]

Critics Write About Our First Encounters with Star Wars

posted by Nell Minow

The latest Criticwire survey asks for our first encounters with “Star Wars.” I had a lot of fun writing about mine: A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away, or at least that’s how it seems now, my […]

Bad Movies Inspire Great Critics: Mortdecai

posted by Nell Minow

Johnny Depp’s “Mortdecai” is sure of a place of dishonor on the end of the year worst lists.  Business Insider and Huffington Post have some choice quotes from some of the movie’s best bad reviews, and I’ve found some good ones, too, […]

Critic Critiques — Has the Internet Been Good or Bad for Movie Criticism?

posted by Nell Minow

Until a few years ago, the movie critics you read were determined by geography.  There were a few critics in national publications, like Pauline Kael in the New Yorker and the critics for Time and Newsweek.  If you lived in […]

When Movies Turn the Tables on Critics

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks again to Criticwire for including me in their survey about how movie critics feel about the way that critics themselves are portrayed in movies. Sometimes filmmakers take a bit of revenge on those of us who judge them and […]

What Do Critics Think About Watching Film That Is Not What the Makers Intended?

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Indiewire for including me in their survey of critics about how important it is to watch a movie as it was filmed. If it was made on film stock, is it unfair to the artists’ vision to watch […]

The Last Leonard Maltin Movie Guide

posted by Nell Minow

Leonard Maltin was only 17 years old when he was offered the chance to create his guide to movies on television. For many years, I kept the latest copy on my desk and anyone who came into my office could […]

Quotes of the Week: Critics on “Expendables 3″ and “The Giver”

posted by Nell Minow

“The Expendables 3″ inspired a lot of geriatric-themed commentary.  Some of it was pretty funny (“a fraternity reunion with the brothers at Alpha Delta Viagra“, “Sylvester Stallone’s jobs program for expired action heroes“).   The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert had a distinctive […]

Quotes of the Week: Trashing the Turtles

posted by Nell Minow

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie inspired some howls of outrage from critics.  As usual, when movies are good, the writers I admire are good, but when they’re bad, they’re better. I enjoyed this one from Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir: Yes, […]

Can You Identify The Films From One Line in a Review?

posted by Nell Minow

I had a lot of fun taking this quiz from Politix — and it got even more fun when I found out that one of the answers came from one of my reviews.  (P.S. I got a perfect score.)

What Happens When a Movie Opens Cold?

posted by Nell Minow

It’s not unusual for low-budget horror films, movies based on video games, and Tyler Perry movies to open “cold,” without giving critics a chance to see and review them before they are in theaters.  The usual reason is that the […]

In Memory of Roger Ebert — One Year Later

posted by Nell Minow

A year after his death, some of the writers Roger Ebert encouraged remember him with words and pictures. And the love of his life, Chaz Ebert, writes movingly about her year without him.

Critics on Critics: What Words Would You Ban from Reviews?

posted by Nell Minow

Indiewire’s weekly poll turns the critics on themselves, asking them to disclose what words they would ban from reviews.  From “epic” to “game-changer” to “Oscar-worthy,” they tell us what terms are overused, under-specific, and just too easy.   I admit […]

Worst Movies of 2013 — Round-Up

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to New York Magazine’s Vulture column for including my thoughts in the round-up of the worst films of 2013.  Here’s the consolidated list. As always, there are some movies that end up on both best and worst lists, notably […]

Rogerebert.com has All Women Writers This Week

posted by Nell Minow

Chaz Ebert has announced that everything posted on rogerebert.com this week will be written by a woman.  I’m delighted to kick it off with my tribute to Barbara Stanwyck, inspired by the Pre-Code film series I am co-hosting with Margaret Talbott […]

Leonard Maltin — Now On YouTube

posted by Nell Minow

One of my all-time favorite critics — and one of the nicest guys in this field — is Leonard Maltin.  Be sure to check out his new series on YouTube.

Tribute: Movie Critic Stanley Kauffmann

posted by Nell Minow

The masterful critic Stanley Kauffman, whose writing career stretched over eight decades, died this week at age 97.  Adam Bernstein’s perceptive Kauffman obituary in the Washington Post noted: “He was one of the few critics who could watch a 1997 […]

Rotten Tomatoes Takes on TV

posted by Nell Minow

I am delighted that Rotten Tomatoes, the pioneering aggregator of movie reviews, is taking on television with its new TV Zone.  Check out the reviews of scripted (non-reality) shows. So far, the widely-reviled “Dads” show gets a big rotten tomato […]

Take this Quiz on Romantic Comedy Scores on Rotten Tomatoes

posted by Nell Minow

See if you can guess the Rotten Tomato rankings for these romantic comedies (plus “The Notebook”).

Critics on Their Favorite Time Travel Movies

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of today’s release of “Looper,” IndieWire asked a panel of movie critics about their favorite time travel movies.  The answers are a lot to read, with many mentions of blockbusters like “Back to the Future” (and “Back to […]

Critic or Snarker? What Hurts and What Helps

posted by Nell Minow

It seems there’s a lot of criticism of critics lately.  Some think they’re too soft.  In Slate, Jacob Silverman bemoans the Twitter-fied outbreak of niceness in literary culture. Whereas critics once performed one role in print and another in life—Rebecca […]

Movie Critics’ Advice on Films for a Bright 14-Year-Old

posted by Nell Minow

Indiewire asked its panel of critics to respond to a great question from a critic who is mentoring a film-loving 14-year-old. “I mentor a 14-year-old from Harlem and nothing would make me happier then to have her enjoy ‘art house’ […]

Can You Write a 140-Character Movie Review?

posted by Nell Minow

The website Movie Tweeviews is conducting a competition for tweet-able movie reviews of classic films for inclusion in a possible book.  Ira Deutchman will post the title of one classic film each day and invite all who want to enter to submit […]

Roger Ebert’s List of the Best 2010 Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

For me, the big story of the movie of 2010 was the animated films and the documentaries — we had more great films in both categories than ever before. So I was delighted to see Roger Ebert’s list of the […]

Ebert on O’Hehir’s ‘Conspiracy Theory’ About the Christian Director of ‘Secretariat’

posted by Nell Minow

Roger Ebert has a superb rebuttal to Andrew O’Hehir’s review of “Secretariat” in Salon. Ebert is careful to say that he respects O’Hehir but that this review goes far beyond the usual disagreements about taste and aesthetics. O’Hehir read into […]

Keeping it Reel with Film Gordon

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks so much to my dear friend Tim Gordon for including me on his fall preview show along with film critics Dann Gire (Chicago Daily Herald), Eli Savada (FilmThreat), Wilson Morales (Black Film), Arch Campbell (WJLA-TV), Daryle Lockhart (The Black […]

Christian Toto on How to Be a Movie Blogger

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and fellow critic Christian Toto has some good advice for anyone thinking of being a movie blogger. He knows what he’s talking about — he’s one of the best. I love his emphasis on focus and finding a […]

Movie Review from the Twitterverse: TwitCritics.com

posted by Nell Minow

Can you review a movie in 140 characters? TwitCritics thinks you can. This site assembles tweets about current releases and distills them into a rating. You can follow them by RSS feed, on Facebook, or, of course, on Twitter. The […]

Viral Video Film School/Rotten Tomatoes Show

posted by Nell Minow

I’m a big fan of Current TV’s weekly Rotten Tomatoes Show with Brett Erlich and Ellen Fox. They have smart, funny reviews of each week’s movies with their own take and comments from viewers, looks at what’s coming next, top […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Previous Posts

Tonight on PBS: A Capitol Fourth with Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, and KC and the Sunshine Band
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IQqWgdF1z0[/youtube] Tune in tonight to watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS, featuring Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, KC and the Sunshine Band, Alabama, and Lang Lang, and hosted by Bradley Whitford. And ...

posted 12:00:57pm Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Marvin Gaye Sings the Star Spangled Banner
Happy 4th of July! [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/34606761[/vimeo] ...

posted 8:38:56am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Declaration of Independence -- Happy 4th of July!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETroXvRFoKY ...

posted 7:00:25am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

For the 4th of July: Singing Founding Fathers in "1776"
Happy Independence Day!  Every year, I recommend the rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence. "1776" makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost forget that you already ...

posted 8:00:01am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Sesame Street's Maria Says Goodbye
Sonia Manzano has announced that she is leaving Sesame Street after 44 years.  She was 22 years old when she auditioned for the brand new series that would revolutionize children's programming. She became Maria, one of the first Latina ...

posted 1:20:21pm Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

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