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genre

  • Action
  • Animation
  • Comedy
  • Classic
  • Documentary
  • Drama
  • Epic
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Musical
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Sports
  • Spy
  • Thriller
  • War
  • Western

quality

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

who's watching

  • My entire family
  • Just the grown-ups
  • Little kids
  • Big kids

age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
  • 4th - 6th grade
  • Middle school
  • High school
  • Mature High schooler
  • Adult
  • All Ages




Fifty Shades of Grey

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

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

Black or White

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

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

Strange Magic

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

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

Mortdecai

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

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

The Boy Next Door

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

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

Spare Parts

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

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

On DVD This Week: Sacred Journeys

posted by Nell Minow

Sacred Journeys With Bruce Feiler comes out this week on DVD. If you missed it on PBS, here is your chance to travel along with pilgrims and worshippers around the world. 200 million people go on a pilgrimage each year. […]

Into the Woods

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

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

Big Eyes

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

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

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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

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

Exodus: Gods and Kings

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

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

Family DVDs for Hannukah

posted by Nell Minow

When all the world is caught up in Christmas, it can help to have some movies on hand to explain that some people celebrate a different holiday at this time of year, especially when the stories and songs are told […]

Wild

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

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

Horrible Bosses 2

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

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

Family Movies for Thanksgiving

posted by Nell Minow

There are some great Thanksgiving movies for adults. And here are some for the whole family to share. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving This is the one with the famous episode about Charlie Brown trying to kick the football Lucy keeps […]

Foxcatcher

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

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

Interstellar

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

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

Interview: Jet Jurgensmeyer of “A Belle for Christmas”

posted by Nell Minow

A Belle for Christmas, available today on DVD, is a cute holiday story of a dog named Belle who comes to live with kids named Elliot and Phoebe and their widowed father (Dean Cain).  Kristy Swenson plays Dani, the crafty […]

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

posted by Nell Minow

The latest in Disney’s animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell’s friend Fawn, an animal […]

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

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

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

John Wick

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

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

Fury

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

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

The Judge

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

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

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

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

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

Left Behind

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

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

Gone Girl

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

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

Hector and the Search for Happiness

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

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

Tusk

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

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

The Drop

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

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

Dolphin Tale 2

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

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

Cinderella — With Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein

posted by Nell Minow

Every family will enjoy the 50th anniversary edition of the glorious Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, starring Lesley Ann Warren, with Celeste Holm as the fairy godmother, Jo Van Fleet as the evil stepmother, and Walter Pidgeon and Ginger Rogers as […]

The November Man

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

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

Adventure Planet

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

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

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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

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

The Expendables 3

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

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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

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

Into the Storm

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

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

Get on Up

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

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

Magic in the Moonlight

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

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

Lucy

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

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

And So It Goes

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

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

Wish I Was Here

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

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

Planes: Fire & Rescue

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

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

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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

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

Snowpiercer

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

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

Begin Again

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

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

Tammy

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

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

Earth to Echo

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

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

Transformers: Age of Extinction

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

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

Jersey Boys

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

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

Think Like a Man Too

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

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

Edge of Tomorrow

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

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

Words and Pictures

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

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

A Million Ways to Die in the West

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

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

Blended

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

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

Godzilla

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

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

Million Dollar Arm

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

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

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

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

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

Neighbors

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

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

Fed Up

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

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

Contest: Win a DVD of “The Story of the Jews”

posted by Nell Minow

I am delighted to have five copies of the outstanding PBS series The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama to give away.  The DVD is being released tomorrow from PBS Distribution, and it is also available on digital download. […]

Finding Vivian Maier

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 29, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 29, 2014

Vivian Maier was a Chicago-area nanny.  Only the children in her care knew how much she loved taking pictures.  After her death, the possessions she had in storage were auctioned off and a man named John Maloof bought some boxes […]

Bears

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 12, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 12, 2014

This year’s Disney Nature release for Earth Day is “Bears,” the story of an Alaskan bear named Sky and her twin cubs, Scout and Amber, their trek from the den where they’ve hibernated all winter to a place where they […]

Under the Skin

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for graphic nudity, sexual content, some violence and language
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for graphic nudity, sexual content, some violence and language
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2014

This haunting, provocative film is the essence of what it means to call a work of art “adult,” not because of its explicit nudity and sexual situations but because of the way it presents and engages with them. It is […]

Draft Day

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 2, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2014

How do you choose? That is a critical and daunting question for anyone. And a defining one, too. How can we take what we know now and figure out what we will need in the future? In this film, set […]

Contest: Saving Mr. Banks

posted by Nell Minow

I am thrilled to have five copies of Saving Mr. Banks to give away!  This is the behind-the-scenes story of Walt Disney’s efforts to persuade the author of Mary Poppins to let him make a movie musical about the magical […]

Contest: Frozen

posted by Nell Minow

This is really exciting!  I have five copies of the #1 DVD/Blu-Ray in the world to give away!  Yes, it’s “Frozen,” with all kinds of fabulous extras. Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Frozen in the subject line and […]

Need for Speed

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
Movie Release Date:March 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:August 4, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
Movie Release Date: March 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: August 4, 2014

Important tip: If the word “speed” is in the title of the movie, don’t make it over two hours long. And especially, don’t make it feel even longer than that. Clearly going for the “Fast and Furious” vibe with a […]

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and brief rude humor
Movie Release Date:March 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 14, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and brief rude humor
Movie Release Date: March 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 14, 2014

Jay Ward’s irresistibly daffy cartoons of the early 1960’s were charming and witty, with a post-modern meta wink at the fourth wall, wacky puns, and jokes that kids would suddenly remember and understand years later.  This reboot is smarmy, overblown, […]

Non-Stop

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
Movie Release Date:February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
Movie Release Date: February 28, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

I’ve got nothing against action movies that are dumb fun (see last week’s review of 3 Days to Kill). My bar is pretty low. I don’t ask them to make sense. But “Non-Stop” sinks to a level of ridiculousness that […]

3 Days to Kill

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:February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2014
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: February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014

Kevin Costner is back, big time, with five scheduled releases this year. It’s only February, and this is his second big spies-and-shoot-outs action film of 2014, following Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  This one, from writer Luc Besson and director McG […]

Pompeii

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: February 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014

In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, wiping out the city of Pompeii. Director Paul W.S. Anderson, who gave us movie versions of “Resident Evil” and “Mortal Kombat,” presents the story as a video game. If what you are looking for […]

Labor Day

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality
Movie Release Date:January 31, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 29, 2014
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality
Movie Release Date: January 31, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014

On the surface, “Labor Day” feels like would-be Nicholas Sparks, a syrupy romance about two people with damaged hearts finding a healing love in a picturesque setting. But like a pretty chocolate candy with a filling that turns out to […]

That Awkward Moment

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date:January 31, 2014
DVD Release Date:May 13, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date: January 31, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2014

A cast of exceptionally appealing performers and some very funny lines are not enough to make this raunchy comedy overcome its essential charmlessness.  At its heart, it wants to be a romantic comedy, a chick flick from the perspective of […]

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

There are three conclusions to draw from this reboot of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character. First, it plays like an infomercial for NSA access to, well, pretty much everything. Second, no matter how attractive the actors and how thrilling the […]

Ride Along

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language,
Movie Release Date:January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 22, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language,
Movie Release Date: January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 22, 2014

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart have such a devoted fan base that they can count on them to buy a ticket to anything they do, and that is pretty much what they have done here in a generic buddy cop […]

The Nut Job

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 15, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: January 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 15, 2014

I miss the days when the economics of animation were so daunting that we were assured a certain level of quality. Yes, there were some low points that don’t even qualify for a Disney re-issue (I could find some affection […]

The Legend of Hercules

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality
Movie Release Date:January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:April 29, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality
Movie Release Date: January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014

Director Renny Harlin has made a Hercules epic with drab, washed-out cinematography, poorly staged action scenes, incompetent acting, bad hair, terrible computer effects, and dialogue that lands more heavily than the title character’s punch. Even at just over 90 minutes […]

Lone Survivor

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date:January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date:June 3, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language
Movie Release Date: January 10, 2014
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014

Director Peter Berg is as good as it gets when it comes to putting a particular kind of male chemistry on screen. If he was writing instead of filming, he would dunk his pen in testosterone, beard stubble, and sweat. […]

Grudge Match

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 8, 2014
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 8, 2014

Not that this is going to come as a surprise to anyone, but this movie is not just bad, it is sad.  The stars of two of the greatest boxing movies of all time are not just slumming here.  They […]

American Hustle

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2014

“Some of this actually happened,” the movie’s opening shot deadpans.  It is true that the United States government both threatened and paid a con man to help them con some bigger fish and then accidentally ended up conning some of […]

Contest: The Naughty List

posted by Nell Minow

Even Santa’s elves sometimes find themselves on the naughty list.  In this very cute animated DVD, elf brothers named Winter (Sean Astin) and Snowflake (Drake Bell) have a hard time following the rules of the North Pole.  When they accidentally […]

Saving Mr. Banks

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For thematic elements including some unsettling images
Movie Release Date:December 13, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For thematic elements including some unsettling images
Movie Release Date: December 13, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2014

For most of this story, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) are on opposite sides.  He has been trying for twenty years to persuade her to let him make a movie based on her books about the […]

Out of the Furnace

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R For strong violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date:December 6, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R For strong violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date: December 6, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014

“Out of the Furnace” gets no credit for its good intentions because it collapses under the combined weight of pretentiousness and condescension. This is Hollywood’s idea of a searing drama about life in recession-era heartland, as phony as a painted […]

Gift Guide 2013

posted by Nell Minow

One of the great pleasures of the holiday season is finding just the right gift for someone special in your life.  These are some of my favorites. For the sports fan: 2013 World Series Collector’s Edition Relive the Cardinals vs. […]

List: Sister Movies!

posted by Nell Minow

As the oldest of three girls, I have a soft spot for movies about sisters, and this week’s release of Frozen made me think of some of my favorites. If you haven’t seen these, give them a try. If you […]

Contest: Merry Christmas, Splat

posted by Nell Minow

I am delighted to be able to give away a copy of the adorable Merry Christmas Splat & More Winter Stories, from my very favorite series for kids, Scholastic Storybook Treasures. Splat the cat is worried that he hasn’t been […]

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 4, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 4, 2014

In the second chapter of the three-book, four-movie series, Katniss Everdeen has gone from being a shy unknown with extraordinary skills to being an acclaimed superstar. The same could be said for the actress who plays the part. When Jennifer […]

Guidelines for Family Movie Night from Common Sense Media

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media has some common sense guidelines for family movie night.  The range of opportunities for solitary consumption of media has led to less time for families to sit down at the same time to enjoy — and talk […]

The Book Thief

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014

The title character in “The Book Thief” is Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), a little girl in pre-WWII Germany.  We first see her on a train with her mother and dying younger brother.  The children were both going to be delivered to […]

Veteran’s Day 2013: Movies to Pay Tribute

posted by Nell Minow

As we remember and thank those who have served our country and defended our freedom, these movies help us begin to understand their contribution. The Messenger One of the finest young actors working today, Ben Foster, stars with Woody Harrelson […]

Thor: The Dark World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 For sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date:November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 25, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 For sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date: November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 25, 2014

I always say that superhero movies are defined by their villains, and “Thor: The Dark World” has a lulu in Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki, who was not as vanquished at the end of “The Avengers” as we thought.  Thank goodness. Loki, […]

Last Vegas

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014

Oscar-winning actors are a precious commodity, usually doled out no more than one or two per movie.  But in this AARP-version of “The Hangover” crossed with “Ferris Bueller,” there are five, and the greatest pleasure of this film is in […]

Ender’s Game

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 11, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014

Director Gavin Hood (“Tsotsi”) has skillfully adapted the Nebula and Hugo award-winning novel about a boy who leads an interplanetary battle against insect-like aliens, doing justice both to the fun of the sci-fi action and to the seriousness of the […]

Free Birds

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action/peril and rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 2, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action/peril and rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 2, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014

Maybe it’s just me, but I think this may be the worst idea for a movie intended for children I have heard since the one about the kid bank robber. Does anyone think it makes sense to horrify children just […]

Escape Plan

posted by Nell Minow

At 90 minutes or less and with some sense of its own silly preposterousness, the aging action stars might have made this prison break movie work. But at almost two hours, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger seem a little out […]

Carrie

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 14, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014

The remake of “Carrie” is not a bad movie; it’s just a completely unnecessary one.  The 1976 original is a horror classic, directed by Brian de Palma and the first film based on a novel by Stephen King, just 26 years […]

Captain Phillips

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use
Movie Release Date:October 11, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 21, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use
Movie Release Date: October 11, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 21, 2014

Memorable movie villains tend to fall into two categories: volatile and violent or sociopathic and megalomaniac. Both kinds are caricatures, sketched in exaggerated terms to justify our feeling of triumph when the hero prevails. But in “Captain Phillips,” the true […]

Romeo & Juliet

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:October 11, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: October 11, 2013

William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is the most-filmed play of all time, with dozens of versions and variations from the sublime (the Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann versions, “West Side Story” and “Shakespeare in Love”) to the outlandish (the cute […]

Contest: Halloween Story Collection from Scholastic Storybook Treasures

posted by Nell Minow

My very favorite series for kids has a wonderful new collection for Halloween and I have three to give away! Enjoy the ghoulish pleasures and scary delights and ghostly giggles of stories like The Little Old Lady Who Was Not […]

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rate PG for mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rate PG for mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014

Who would have guessed that the brightest and funniest and most heartwarming animated film of the year would not be from Pixar or Disney but Sony?  And that to boot it would be a sequel, or, perhaps given the subject […]

Don Jon

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 31, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 31, 2013

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt has made a remarkably assured debut as writer/director, putting him in the front ranks of today’s filmmakers. Gordon-Levitt also plays the lead role, Jon, a New Jersey guy with a high and tight haircut and a spare […]

Rush

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 29, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 29, 2014

The immensely gifted screenwriter Peter Morgan reunites with his “Frost/Nixon” director Ron Howard and returns to his favorite theme, a real-life drama about the clash between two brilliantly talented but flawed figures. This time it is the bitter rivalry between […]

Giveaway: Wizard of Oz 3d Combo Pack

posted by Nell Minow

This is it.  The greatest family movie of all time.  “The Wizard of Oz” now has a gorgeous new 3D/Blu-Ray/Digital release and I have a copy to give away.  “Over the Rainbow.” “If I Only Had a Heart.” “We’re Off […]

The Family

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language, and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 13, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language, and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 13, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2013

“Anybody who doesn’t contradict me can expect nothing but good things,” “Fred Blake” (Robert De Niro) explains in item 10 of his David Letterman-style countdown of what he considers his best qualities.  Fred is his current nom de witness protection. […]

Celebrate the First Day of School with The Magic Schoolbus!

posted by Nell Minow

I have a Magic Schoolbus DVD to give away!  This one is called “In a Pickle,” and it includes the title episode about microbes, “Meets Molly Cule” about molecules, and “Makes a Stink” about smell — with a special bonus […]

Win a DVD! Adventures of Bailey: A Night in Cowtown

posted by Nell Minow

Win a copy of this third story about the lovable dog Bailey! In this episode, Bailey falls in love with a dog from “the other side of the fence.” When her brother Felix is dognapped, Bailey and his brother Duke […]

Getaway

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence, and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures and language
Movie Release Date:August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence, and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures and language
Movie Release Date: August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013

There’s dumb fun and then there’s just dumb.  “Gateway” is closer to that second category, and worse, so forgettable that better title would be “Throwaway.”  This one has 99 cent DVD bin all over it. Ethan Hawke, believably seedy, plays […]

One Direction: This is Us

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language
Movie Release Date:August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language
Movie Release Date: August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2013

“They don’t know me, but they love me,” says one dewy-eyed One Direction fan, and that says it all. This 3D documentary and concert film gives us a peek at the moment in time when One Direction, a group of five […]

Closed Circuit

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief violence
Movie Release Date:August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 7, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief violence
Movie Release Date: August 30, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014

Terrorism has killed thousands of people, destroyed buildings and property, and caused seismic rifts in our notions of who constitutes “us” and “them.”   What is even more terrifying is the damage it has inflicted on our most fundamental notions […]

Shrek the Musical — Now on DVD/Blu-Ray

posted by Nell Minow

Can’t make it to the theater to see “Shrek the Musical?” On October 15,  you will be able to get front-row tickets to a spectacular Broadway musical based on the beloved movie from DreamWorks Animation, which is itself based on […]

Austenland

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and innuendo
Movie Release Date:August 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:February 11, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and innuendo
Movie Release Date: August 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014

Edward Arlington Robinson wrote a poem about a man named Miniver Cheevy who wished so much that he could have lived in the days of knights and ladies that he refused to participate in the life before him.  Author Shannon […]

Kick-Ass 2

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2013

The first Kick-Ass was entertaining as an over-the-top response to true-blue superhero movies.  The Dark Knight might think he’s angsty and tortured and tough, but he has nothing on the merry band of misfits who form a sort of Justice […]

In a World….

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual refeences
Movie Release Date:August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 23, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual refeences
Movie Release Date: August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 23, 2014

Writer/director/star Lake Bell has produced a smart, fresh, and funny film that sends up Hollywood, sexism, and the conventions of the romantic comedy and yet somehow has us rooting for the characters to find a happy ending.  And she has […]

Chihuahua Too!

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:2013
DVD Release Date:August 13, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 2013
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2013

If you like “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and the Buddies movies, you will enjoy this story of a lonely dog looking for a family.  One problem — she’s a ghost. The Fastener family inherits a vacation home. Only their golden retriever […]

Elysium

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout
Movie Release Date:August 9, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 17, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout
Movie Release Date: August 9, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 17, 2013

The best science fiction acts like a narrative Rorschach test, taking specific elements of our current condition, extrapolating into the future (usually dystopically), and allowing the audience to project our assumptions — and our fears — onto it.  “Elysium” is […]

2 Guns

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:August 2, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 19. 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: August 2, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 19. 2013

The couple with the most electrifying chemistry on screen so far this year is Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in “2 Guns.” As the title of the the graphic novel by Steven Grant and Mateus Santolouco suggests, it is a […]

Blue Jasmine

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 26, 2013
DVD Release Date:Januar
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 26, 2013
DVD Release Date: Januar

Two sisters. One imagines herself living a life of ease, comfort, graciousness, and elegance that does not really exist. The other is more accepting of her lower middle class life, her carnality, her limited expectations. The first sister loses everything […]

The Wolverine

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 3, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2013

The first X-Men spin-off movie with Hugh Jackman as the super-healing, never-aging mutant who shoots blades out of his knuckles was called “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”  This one is called “The Wolverine.” Got it? Wolverine is the, well, lone wolf of […]

RED 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
Movie Release Date:July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
Movie Release Date: July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013

Catherine Zeta Jones seems to be making a habit of appearing in the dumbed-down sequels to big, all-star franchises.  First there was “Oceans 12,” and now there’s an utterly thankless role in “Red 2,” a stylish but empty follow-up to […]

Fruitvale Station

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, language throughout and some drug use
Movie Release Date:July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 14, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, language throughout and some drug use
Movie Release Date: July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014

The sadly timely release of Sundance award-winner “Fruitvale Station” begins with the shocking real-life cell phone footage shot in a San Francisco subway station on New Year’s Eve 2008.  A young black man named Oscar Grant was handcuffed and lying […]

Pacific Rim

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief language
Movie Release Date:July 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief language
Movie Release Date: July 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013

I know there’s only one question you have about this movie, and the answer is yes.  If you ever wanted to see a movie with giant monsters battling giant robots, this is it. And if you ever wanted to see […]

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:July 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: July 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013

Kevin Hart’s new stand-up movie is short (about 75 minutes).  And, as he will repeatedly remind you, so is he. There’s a brief prologue where guests at a rooftop party accuse him of not being in touch with his father, […]

Despicable Me 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2013

Is there more to the story of “Despicable Me” after Gru (Steve Carell) isn’t despicable anymore? The original, with Gru and Vector (Jason Segal) as warring super-villains, was one of the best animated films and one of the best family […]

White House Down

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.
Movie Release Date: June 28, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013

When the White House gets attacked, who better than SMA (Sexiest Man Alive) Channing Tatum and Django Unchained Jamie Foxx to save the day? And who better to blow stuff up than Roland Emmerich, who has his characters cheekily observe […]

Much Ado About Nothing

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:June 21, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 7, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: June 21, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2013

Joss Whedon’s take on Shakespeare’s classic tale is swanky, sexy, and sophisticated, as crisp as a dry martini poured from a silver shaker on a summer night. In many of his best-loved romantic comedies, William Shakespeare sends his mixed-up couples […]

Contest: Jack the Giant Slayer — and An Exclusive Look at the New “Jack the Giant Slayer” Game for Kids

posted by Nell Minow

I really enjoyed Jack the Giant Slayer, next week’s DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week, and I am very excited to have five copies to give away.  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Jack” in the subject line, and tell […]

The Internship

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying, and language
Movie Release Date:June 7, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality, some crude humor, partying, and language
Movie Release Date: June 7, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013

Co-writer and star Vince Vaughn brings us what is basically a remake of his “Old School,” a sort of “Revenge of the Un-Nerds” with a little “Legally Blonde,” and a lot from pretty much every story about  a group of […]

The Kings of Summer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some teen drinking
Movie Release Date:Jun3 7, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 24, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some teen drinking
Movie Release Date: Jun3 7, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 24, 2013

When Mark Twain had Huck Finn leave the kind-hearted widow who hoped to “civilize” him to “light out for the territories,” he tapped into the dream of all teenagers and the teenagers inside all of us to escape from all […]

“The Emperor’s New Groove” — A Neglected Gem from Disney

posted by Nell Minow

I am really pleased that one of my favorite Disney animated movies, “The Emperor’s New Groove,” will be out on Blu-Ray next week.  It is a neglected gem, colorful and very funny, with wonderfully executed sight gags and action and […]

Before Midnight

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013

Please, please don’t call this third entry in the story of Celine and Jesse the final chapter of a trilogy. The audience is almost as invested in them as we are in the stories of the “Up” movie documentary series […]

After Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for action violence and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 8, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for action violence and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2013

“After Earth” goes off the rails in the first minute as Jaden Smith (the “Karate Kid” remake, “The Pursuit of Happyness”) opens the story with a near unintelligible voice-over narration with some mishmash about how a thousand years before all […]

Now You See Me

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, some action, and sexual content
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 2, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, some action, and sexual content
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2013

The most purely entertaining movie of the year so far is “Now You See Me,” and like all great magic tricks, it makes us delighted to be fooled.   We are warned from the very beginning that the closer we […]

Fast & Furious 6

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and mayhem throughout, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date:May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and mayhem throughout, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2013

The storylines of the “Fast and Furious” franchise may be preposterous, but what’s even harder to believe is that, contrary to the history of just about every other multi-sequel series and what I thought were the laws of nature, these […]

The Hangover Part III

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity
Movie Release Date:May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 8, 2013
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity
Movie Release Date: May 24, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2013

Let’s hope that this movie is the much-needed stake in the heart to the triligization of popular movies (okay, with an exception for Richard Linklater’s “Before” series and “Toy Story”).  I began to think of the three films as a […]

Peeples

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material and language
Movie Release Date:May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 10, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material and language
Movie Release Date: May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 10, 2013

Sometimes I think that all the myths and fairy tales about scary monsters, dragons, and ogres are just metaphors for life’s most terrifying meeting — the introduction to the family of one’s beloved.  Every family is its own country, with […]

The Great Gatsby

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.
Movie Release Date:May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.
Movie Release Date: May 10, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2013

Kids, here’s a hint: Don’t think you can pass a sophomore English exam on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz age classic and high school reading list perennial by watching this movie.  While this version of the story of a man who […]

Pain & Gain

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout, and drug use
Movie Release Date:April 26, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout, and drug use
Movie Release Date: April 26, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2013

“Unfortunately, based on a true story,” we are warned as this film opens.  In case we forget, or, more likely, in case we assume the usual Hollywood embellishments, we are reminded, when things get really bizarre and really, really, really […]

The Company You Keep

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 13, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2013

I can’t help thinking that even though this movie is based on a novel by Neil Gordon, it is primarily a trip down memory lane for director/star Robert Redford.  Shia LeBeouf plays Ben, an idealistic investigative reporter a la Redford in […]

From Up on Poppy Hill

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images
Movie Release Date:April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 3, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images
Movie Release Date: April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 3, 2013

The animated films from Japan’s Studio Ghibli are adored by many American families for their lush and intricate hand-drawn animation and imaginative story lines.  But others, like me, find many of them uneven and inaccessible.  The latest, from Goro Miyazaki, son […]

Contest! Charlie: A Toy Story

posted by Nell Minow

Charlie: A Toy Story will be out next week, but I have an early copy to give away. It’s the story of 10 year-old Caden and his best friend Charlie, a golden retriever. They visit Caden’s father Jack at his […]

The Croods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 1, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 1, 2013

I think we can all agree that at least in some respects all children are Neanderthals. It is the grand challenge of parenthood to civilize these sometimes savage little creatures by teaching them language, manners, and keeping safe.  And some […]

Upside Down

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence
Movie Release Date:March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence
Movie Release Date: March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013

 Argentinean writer-director Juan Solanas has created a work of bracingly singular imagination that is sheer visual pleasure, with some mind-bending ideas and a deeply romantic sensibility. We are told by Adam (Jim Sturgess) that throughout the universe, there is only one solar […]

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language
Movie Release Date:March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language
Movie Release Date: March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013

Everyone on screen seems to be having a blast, but this story of rival magicians in Las Vegas is not as much fun for the audience.  It wants to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but there’s really nothing […]

Veggie Tales: The Little House That Stood

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:March 5, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013

  Bob and Larry bring humor and wisdom to a classic story sure to delight kids and their families in The Little House That Stood, an Easter-themed story inspired by “The Three Little Pigs” and the parable of the wise […]

Snitch

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some drug content and scenes of violence
Movie Release Date:February 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some drug content and scenes of violence
Movie Release Date: February 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

“Snitch” tries to be three things at once, but it doesn’t do any of them very well. First, it wants to be a drama about fathers and sons.  John Matthews (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a good man who who […]

Movies to Celebrate Presidents

posted by Nell Minow

Why have there been no great films about George Washington? And why are there so many films featuring Abraham Lincoln? From the John Ford classic Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda, to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there is something about the […]

Escape from Planet Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2013

A new animation studio called Rainmaker has produced its first film, “Escape from Planet Earth,” a story of sibling rivalry and aliens.  It almost works as an amiable, if derivative time-waster for kids with a few jokes for the grown-ups, […]

A Good Day to Die Hard

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013

Chases.  Explosions.  Guns.  Crashes.  Wisecracks. Punches.  Repeat.  Repeat again.  Yes, it’s the fifth “Die Hard” movie. Bruce Willis returns as cop John McClane and this time the setting is Moscow.  Though he repeatedly says throughout the film’s zippy 90 minutes […]

Safe Haven

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 12, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 12, 2013

Now that best-selling author Nicholas Sparks has rung every possible variation out of his core formula: damaged hearts, pretty people, syrupy pop-song montages, buttery, sunlit cinematography, the healing powers of a body of water (and rain), the healing powers of a […]

The Red Hen..And More Cooking Stories: Scholastic Storybook Treasures

posted by Nell Minow

The latest from my very favorite series for families is Scholastic Storybook Treasures’ The Red Hen and more cooking stories.  I have one copy to give away!  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Hen in the subject line and tell […]

Identity Thief

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013

How did so many great performers get stuck in this awful movie? And why, why? There’s one scene in this ugly and poorly paced road trip comedy that has the straight-laced Sandy (co-producer and star Jason Bateman) hiding in the […]

Side Effects

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and language
Movie Release Date:February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and language
Movie Release Date: February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

Those “ask your doctor about” commercials for medication always have a lawyer-imposed “side effects may include” section briskly recited by the narrator in the second half of the ad in the same bright but soothing tones used for the near-miraculous […]

Seven-DVD Set of Holocaust Movies

posted by Nell Minow

 ALDEN FILMS is distributing a new 7-DVD special on the Holocaust that is an important resources for schools, libraries, and families.  For a limited time, the set includes two extra DVDs: WHAT FIRE CAN’T BURN, a tale of a childhood lost […]

Stand Up Guys

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

A little bit “Goodfellas” and a little bit “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” this is a life-in-a-day story about aging criminals.  Unlike Ferris, these guys have had too many days off and are very happy to return to their old haunts […]

Up for a Bit of English Mystery?

posted by Nell Minow

British TV specialist Acorn has the first complete collection of Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime: The Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries starring James Warwick and Francesca Annis as the lively detective duo; Agatha Christie’s Poirot & Marple Fan Favorites Collection featuring 11 […]

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

Once upon a time, a brother and sister were left in the woods by their father.  They came upon a house made of candy that turned out to be owned by a witch, who used it to lure children and […]

Quartet

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and suggestive humor
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 18, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and suggestive humor
Movie Release Date: January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013

There is something splendid about seeing fine actors at the top of their game, still nailing it — in a movie about older performers, still nailing it.  Last year, it was Maggie Smith in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”  On […]

Contest: Abel’s Field

posted by Nell Minow

“Abel’s Field” is the story of high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis), left motherless by tragedy, abandoned by his father, and under enormous pressure to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. When […]

Broken City

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013

Another January weekend, another dumb shoot-out. Last weekend, it was 1950’s Los Angeles.  This week, it’s contemporary New York.  It’s still about corruption, betrayal, and bang-bang.  Co-producer Mark Wahlberg plays Billy, a cop exonerated after he killed a suspect because […]

The Last Stand

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

The NRA should forget that ad about the Obama girls and use this movie instead. The entire storyline can be summarized in the words of NRA head Wayne LaPierre: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun […]

Promised Land

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:January 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 23, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: January 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013

“Promised Land,” written by stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski is smart, sincere, and timely, well directed by Gus Van Sant and with thoughtful, intelligent performances by everyone, especially Frances McDormand (“Fargo”) and Titus Welliver (“The Good Wife”). It’s a […]

Contest Winners! “Trouble With the Curve” and “Pitch Perfect”

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winners! Trouble With the Curve Cary V., Burlingame, CA Pitch Perfect Ann B., White Plains, NY Amanda J., Dahlonega, CA Sammie Y., Manassas, VA Julie R., Charlottesville, VA Ken W., Fishers, […]

Django Unchained

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 16, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 16, 2013

How do you solve a problem like Tarantino? The prodigiously talented writer/director is a master of style, sensation, and a uniquely muscular kind of cinematic storytelling that builds on a stunning ability to mash up high and low art in […]

Les Misérables

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sensual material, violence, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sensual material, violence, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013

Fair warning: I seem to be impervious to the appeal of “Les Misérables.”  I was not a fan of the stage show or the songs, but I understand that it is the most popular musical of all time, and I […]

Jack Reacher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013

Jack Reacher, the hero of a series of books by Lee Child, is as much an idealized fantasy figure as any adorkable chick-lit single girl rocking her Jimmy Choos and self-deprecating quips until Mr. Perfect puts a ring on it. […]

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some dramatic images and mild sensuality
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some dramatic images and mild sensuality
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2013

Her curiosity overcoming her shyness, a girl with big eyes and a gamine haircut (Erica Linz) walks through the gate for the “Circus Marvelous.”   She sees “The Aerialist” (Igor Zaripov), first smiling a welcome as he helps install the […]

This is 40

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013

Writer-director Judd Apatow has made the mistake of believing that the audience will find his wife and children and mid-life crisis as relatable and endearing as he does. And there is nothing more fatal to a movie than a gross […]

The Guilt Trip

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and some risque material
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and some risque material
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013

If you know the title, you know the painfully unfunny movie with this dull slog across America that Barbara Streisand inexplicably selected for her first lead role in 16 years.  Seth Rogen plays chemist-turned-cleaning product inventor Andy Brewster, who never […]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 4, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 4, 2013

As the second in the Hobbit trilogy is about to be released, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Extended Edition).  Director Peter Jackson returns to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth for this “Lord of the Rings” prequel, the adventure of young Bilbo […]

Hyde Park on Hudson

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 9. 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 9. 2013

When Franklin Roosevelt’s sixth cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley (pronounced “sook-lee”) died at age 99, a cache of letters was found in a suitcase under her bed.  Everyone knew she had spent years working near Roosevelt, and most thought he had […]

More Christmas Movies You Might Not Know But Should

posted by Nell Minow

My lists of 12 Christmas movies that don’t feature Tiny Tim, Linus, Bing Crosby, the Grinch, or Clarence the Angel, or a Leg Lamp, Twelve More Great Christmas Movies Without Santa, Tiny Tim, or a Message from Ovaltine, and Worst Christmas […]

Shalom Sesame DVD Club

posted by Nell Minow

The popular Shalom Sesame DVD series has announced a Shalom Sesame DVD Club.  Grover the Muppet and Anneliese van der Pol (That’s So Raven, Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast) travel to Israel to meet new people and learn new things in this 12-part DVD series co-produced by Sesame […]

Contest: 12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog

posted by Nell Minow

Be careful what you wish for!  Having her dog taken away by an uptight landlord was heartbreaking for Laura (Elisa Donovan of “Clueless”). Willing to try anything to transform her life – and get her dog back – Laura follows […]

Killing Them Softly

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:November 30, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 26, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: November 30, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013

Brad Pitt plays Jackie Cogan, a hit man who prefers to kill people “softly,” meaning with as little fuss and muss as possible.   But because he is a hit man, he is constantly surrounded by messes that he is […]

Contest: Thomas, Bob, and Sam!

posted by Nell Minow

I am giving away two DVDs, featuring family favorites Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, and Fireman Sam.  “Heroic Rescue Adventures” has Fireman Sam and his fearless crew saving Norman from a fiery tower and a deep wishing well. […]

Contest: A Very Thomas Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

All aboard for a special holiday delivery filled with friendship, teamwork and fun! Rheneas picks the perfect Christmas tree when he finally stops to smell the evergreen. Charlie knows how fun snow can be and discovers that teamwork-in-the-snow is the […]

Contest: VeggieTales Ultimate Christmas Collection

posted by Nell Minow

I have a bunch of great holiday treats to give away!  We’ll get things off to a great start with the VeggieTales and their Ultimate Christmas Collection.  All of the Veggies delightful Christmas DVDs are combined in one terrific package. […]

The Greatest Miracle

posted by Nell Minow

The Greatest Miracle is an inspiring story about hope, faith, and worship.  It focuses on three characters and their guardians and on religious practice: confession, the parts of mass and communion, offerings, and prayers for those who have gone to […]

Hitchcock

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 12, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 12, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock loved to scare people and he did it very, very well.  This highly entertaining story of the making of one of his most controversial (and terrifying) films stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as the portly British He did it […]

Rise of the Guardians

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 12, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 12, 2013

The daughter of writer/illustrator William Joyce (“Dinosaur Bob,” “Robots”) once asked him whether the Easter bunny knew Santa Claus and that inspired him to create a series of stories about the characters of fantasy and folklore who care for children. […]

Red Dawn

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence and action and for language
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 5, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence and action and for language
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013

There was much to improve in the original version of “Red Dawn,” a simple-minded fantasy film about a communist invasion of small town America: the plot, which asked us to believe that Cuban and Soviet invaders would focus their attention on […]

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:November 15, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: November 15, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2013

The “Twilight” series comes to a close with the fifth film based on the four-book supernatural love story from Stephenie Meyer. This one is for the fans, with a loving farewell that includes a romantic recap series of flashbacks and […]

Anna Karenina

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 18, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 18, 2013

Director Joe Wright and his favorite star, Kiera Knightley (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Atonement”) have produced a ravishing, highly theatrical version of Leo Tolstoy’s classic “Anna Karenina.”  It is deeply romantic but has more focus on the social and political context than many […]

Veteran’s Day: Movies to Pay Tribute

posted by Nell Minow

As we remember and thank those who have served our country and defended our freedom, these movies help us begin to understand their contribution. The Messenger One of the finest young actors working today, Ben Foster, stars with Woody Harrelson and […]

The Mark

posted by Nell Minow

The Mark is the first of a two-part Christian end times film starring Craig Sheffer.  He plays Chad Turner, a non-believer who gets caught up in the fight of his life and of his soul as a courier of a critically […]

Flight

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity, and an intense action sequence
Movie Release Date:November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 5, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity, and an intense action sequence
Movie Release Date: November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2013

Denzel Washington is at his best playing a man who is at his worst.  “Whip” Whitaker is a brilliant airline pilot who flies commercial jets.  He is also in deep denial about a substance abuse and addiction problem that is […]

New From Veggie Tales: The League of Incredible Vegetables

posted by Nell Minow

The Veggie Tales folks at Big Idea Entertainment have a new DVD just in time for Halloween, to help kids who might have a hard time telling the difference between fun scary and scary scary.  It’s called The League of […]

Cloud Atlas

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:October 26, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: