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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




Won’t Back Down

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 15, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013

What should have been a rousing, feel-good, “inspired by a true story” film about a mother and a teacher who take on the teacher’s union and the school board to turn around a failing elementary school benefits from strong performances […]

The Words

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 7, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 7, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 24, 2012

This movie about an unsuccessful writer who appropriates an old manuscript and sells it as his own feels like a movie made by a writer who has the same problem. This is an idea that has already been explored by […]

Contest Winners! Chimp and Magic Schoolbus

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to all who entered!  For those who entered but forgot the address — please try again and remember the address next time! Magic School Bus: The Complete Series Dyer C, Houston TX Chimpanzee Mary K, San Diego CA Geza […]

Lawless

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

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

Premium Rush

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

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

The Expendables 2

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

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

Hit & Run

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

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

“Magic Schoolbus: The Complete Series” — Contest for Teachers Only

posted by Nell Minow

This year’s back-to-school contest for teachers only is really special — Magic School Bus: The Complete Series.  Join Ms. Frizzle and her students on field trips that go to outer space, inside the human body, back in time to see […]

Sparkle

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

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

The Campaign

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

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

Hope Springs

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

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

Zyzzyx Road — Lowest Grossing Movie In History

posted by Nell Minow

We can all name at least a few of the movies in the top 10 box office winners of all time.  But not many people know that the rec0rd-holder for the lowest ticket revenues of all time is “Zyzzyx Road,” […]

The Story of the Costume Drama

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

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

The Watch

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

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

Step Up Revolution

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

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

The Dark Knight Rises

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

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

Ice Age: Continental Drift

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

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

Beasts of the Southern Wild

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

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

Savages

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

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

Ted

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

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

To Rome With Love

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

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

Magic Mike

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

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

New on DVD: “The Artist,” “21 Jump Street,” and “Mirror, Mirror”

posted by Nell Minow

We’ve got something for everyone on DVD and Blu-Ray this week.  First, there’s the 2012 Oscar winner for Best Picture (and Best Director, Best Actor, Best Score, and Best Costumes), The Artist, the silent, black and white movie about a […]

Rock of Ages

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

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

That’s My Boy

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

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

Coming Soon: American Girls’ “McKenna: Shoots for the Stars”

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s an early sneak peek at a wonderful new DVD, based on the American Girls series about McKenna, the young gymnast, and the American Girls “Girl of the Year.”

Contest: 10th Anniversary “Princess Diaries” Original and Sequel

posted by Nell Minow

Has it really been ten years since Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews starred in The Princess Diaries?  It is a delightful movie about an awkward teenager who discovers that she is the heir to the throne of a small but […]

Prometheus

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

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

New on DVD/Blu-Ray: “Act of Valor,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” “John Carter,” “Machine Gun Preacher,” and “Safe House”

posted by Nell Minow

This week on DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming, and on demand: Act of Valor The Navy SEALS approached the Bandito Brothers film-makers about telling their story, years before they became headline heroes by finding and killing Osama Bin Laden.  After spending time with the SEALS and learning about their […]

Moonrise Kingdom

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

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

Snow White and the Huntsman

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

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

Beliefnet’s Newest Newsletters: Movie Mom Reviews DVDs and Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Of course I hope you all visit me here every day or at least a couple of times a week, but if you think it is more convenient to get my movie and DVD/Blu-Ray/Streaming/Download/On Demand reviews each week via email, […]

Men in Black 3

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

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

Battleship

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

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

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

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

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

The Dictator

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

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

Dark Shadows

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

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

“The Vow” An Exclusive Clip and an Online Chat with Star Channing Tatum

posted by Nell Minow

“The Vow,” starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, is based on the real-life love story of Kim and Krickett Carpenter, who had to start all over again when she lost her memory in a car accident shortly after their wedding. […]

The Five-Year Engagement

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

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

The Lucky One

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

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

Think Like a Man

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

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

War Horse Winners!

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to all who entered.  I loved reading about your favorite horse movies and was glad to find many of my favorites on your lists.  Reminder — some people did not qualify because you forgot your address.  I promise, […]

Bully

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

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

The Three Stooges

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

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

American Reunion

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

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

List: Movies for Passover

posted by Nell Minow

Hag Sameach! Passover is not just about remembering the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It is about telling the story. Thousands of years before people talked about “learning styles,” the Seder included many different ways of telling the story, […]

Mirror Mirror

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

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

Winners: “Lion of Judah,” “Under Our Skin,” and “Happy Feet 2″

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks for entering!  The lucky winners are: Lion of Judah — Jay S., Olathe KS; Latonya R., Hattiesburg MS; David D., New Cumberland PA Under Our Skin — Barbara G., Bronxville NY; Lucretia P., Morgantown West VA Happy Feet Two — Kathy […]

Giveaway: “Lion of Judah”

posted by Nell Minow

A lamb with the courage of a lion named Judah and his friends from a Bethlehem stable go on a journey in the week before the Crucifixion in this animated film with the voices of Ernest Borgnine and Bruce Marchiano. […]

Contest: Happy Feet 2

posted by Nell Minow

I have a copy of Happy Feet Two to give away!  This is the sequel to the story of the dancing and singing penguins.  There’s some great music but this time the film is stolen by some adorable krill, with the […]

New Giveaway! The Muppet Movie

posted by Nell Minow

I am thrilled to have three copies of one of 2011’s best family films to share with my wonderful visitors.  This is really special — a Wocka Wocka Value Pack, including the movie on Blu-ray high-definition, DVD and Digital Copy (3 […]

21 Jump Street

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

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

Casa de Mi Padre

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

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

Robin Good Prize Pack!

posted by Nell Minow

I have a special prize pack for Robin Good & His Not So Merry Men!   Robin Good DVD – Big Idea Robin Good  & Sweetpea “Motion” Puzzles – Big Idea VeggieTales Bandages – Big Idea VeggieTales Stackable Blocks – […]

John Carter

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

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

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

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

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

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

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

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

The Lorax

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

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

Wanderlust

posted by Nell Minow

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

Act of Valor

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

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

The Secret World of Arrietty

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

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

Safe House

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

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

Giveaway: ‘Geek Charming’ with ‘Modern Family’ Star Sarah Hyland

posted by Nell Minow

Sarah Hyland stars in the very cute Disney Channel movie Geek Charmingas Dylan, a popular high school princess whose only aspiration is to be even more of a popular high school princess.  Matt Prokop is Josh, the “film geek” who […]

Black History Month: DVDs for Families

posted by Nell Minow

Great choices for Black History Month from Scholastic: Duke Ellington… and more stories to celebrate great figures in African American history. The DVD includes gently animated and beautifully narrated versions of four books about important figures in black history. Duke […]

Behind the Scenes: Lady and the Tramp

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the release of Disney’s Diamond edition of the classic, “Lady and the Tramp,” here is a glimpse behind the scenes:

Interview: Ali Landry of ‘Me Again’

posted by Nell Minow

Have you ever wished you had taken another path?  We all wonder what our lives would be like if we had made a different choice and movies like “Me Myself I,” “The Family Man,” and “Sliding Doors” feature characters who […]

One for the Money

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

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

Man on a Ledge

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

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

Haywire

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

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

Red Tails

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

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

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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

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

A Mile in His Shoes

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

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

Courageous

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

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

Carnage

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

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

The War Horse

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

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

The Adventures of Tintin

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

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

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

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

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

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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

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

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

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

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

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

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

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

New Year’s Eve

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

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

Babar and Father Christmas

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

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

My Week with Marilyn

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

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

Gift Guide 2011

posted by Nell Minow

Some gift idea to keep in mind as you think of your friends and family this holiday season: For the sports fan: ESPN Films: 30 for 30 Limited Edition Collector Set These brilliant films by some of today’s top directors have […]

Arthur Christmas

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

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

Happy Feet 2

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

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

Little Drummer Boy

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

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

Little Angels

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

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

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

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

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

Ask the Movie Mom

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks for the great questions! I’m trying to find out the name of a movie I saw back in the sixties, i’m not sure what year it was made. It was about a girl that just wants a simple married […]

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

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

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

Tower Heist

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

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

The Rum Diary

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

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

Puss In Boots

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

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

In Time

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

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

Movie Mom Favorites for a Happy Halloween

posted by Nell Minow

Johnny English Reborn

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

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

‘Lion King’ Winners!

posted by Nell Minow

Wow, thanks to all who entered!  I wish I had one for each of you.  The winners are: Kathy T, Temecula CA Tim D, Deer Park, WA Stephen N, Romeoville IL Lindsay H, Peabody KS Tim G, Ramona CA Kim […]

Footloose

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

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

The Big Year

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

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

Ides of March

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

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

What’s Your Number?

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

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

Killer Elite

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 10, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 10, 2012

Like this year’s “The Devil’s Double,” this film would be much more satisfying and believable if it was not so self-serving in favor of the people telling the story. The oddest part is that the fight scenes are brutally, authentic […]

I Don’t Know How She Does It

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual references throughout
Movie Release Date:September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 3, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual references throughout
Movie Release Date: September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 3, 2012

This film takes the most wrenching and universal dilemma of family life and turns it into a sitcom-y love letter to Sarah Jessica Parker.  Not the character she plays, the whippet-thin, stiletto-wearing financial whiz with the adorably mussed hair, but […]

Drive

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date:September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date: September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn said that “Drive” is his vision of a contemporary fairy tale about a princess who has to be rescued from a dragon.  It is a highly stylized, brilliantly acted, and brutally violent story about a man […]

Warrior

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense martial arts fighting, some language, and thematic material
Movie Release Date:September 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense martial arts fighting, some language, and thematic material
Movie Release Date: September 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2011

Imagine if Rocky, instead of fighting Apollo Creed, got into the ring with another Rocky.  And they were brothers. I know, I know, but somehow it works in a surprisingly affecting story of the sons of an abusive alcoholic who […]

Seven Days in Utopia

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:September 2, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 29. 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: September 2, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 29. 2011

Sports psychologist David L. Cook wrote a book called Seven Days in Utopia: Golf’s Sacred Journey about a young golfer who runs away after a meltdown at a big tournament, gets stuck in a small town, and meets a mentor who […]

The Debt

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence and language
Movie Release Date:August 31, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 6, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence and language
Movie Release Date: August 31, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011

Stories are linear.  Part of what gives them their power is that we jettison the details that are distracting or unimportant.  But real life is messy.  That may not be as compelling, but is honest.  As we are told in […]

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4D

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 21, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 21, 2011

Jessica Alba was dressed for her role in Robert Rodriguez’s ultra-violent “Machete” when, on a break from filming, she stopped to change her baby’s diaper.  Rodriguez says he saw her performing this most domestic of tasks in her action-movie attire […]

One Day

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity, language, some violence, and substance abuse
Movie Release Date:August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 29, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity, language, some violence, and substance abuse
Movie Release Date: August 19, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011

A gimmick that sort of worked in a novel becomes an obstacle that trips up this love story based on best-seller by David Nicholls.  It is better at telling us to care about the two characters than it is at […]

30 Minutes or Less

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date:August 12, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 29, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date: August 12, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011

Counter-terrorism expert Mark Sageman has described what he calls the “bunch of guys” theory.  Instead of looking for a mastermind and a bunch of crackerjack operatives, Sageman says more often the people who create mayhem are a bunch of guys […]

Glee Live! 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, brief language, and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:August 12, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, brief language, and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: August 12, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2011

Gather up, Gleeks, “Raise Your Glass” and get ready for “Fireworks!”  The musical TV series about a high school show choir, now poised to move from hit to cult, continues its juggernaut from television, CDs and iTunes downloads, live performances, a […]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date:August 5, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 13, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date: August 5, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 13, 2011

By the time they got to the line, “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty ape!” I couldn’t help thinking, “Take your stinking paws off the franchise, Hollywood!”  Do we really need another apes movie? We do have […]

The Change-Up

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive strong crude sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug use
Movie Release Date:August 5, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 15, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive strong crude sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug use
Movie Release Date: August 5, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011

The movie has barely begun and Dave (Jason Bateman) already has projectile baby poop all over his face and in his mouth.  There is so much excretory material in this film that doctors specializing in intestinal and urinary issues could […]

Cowboys & Aliens

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Pated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference
Movie Release Date:July 29, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 6, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Pated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference
Movie Release Date: July 29, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011

The last word I thought I’d be using about a movie called “Cowboys & Aliens” is “realistic,” but what I like best about this film is the way it uses the most speculative of fantasies for thoughtful exploration, not just […]

The Smurfs

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor and action
Movie Release Date:July 29, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 2, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor and action
Movie Release Date: July 29, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2011

After a promising beginning with the tart but sweet romantic comedy “Never Been Kissed,” director Raja Gosnell has been mired in the quagmire of movie junk food, “family” movies like “Scooby-Doo” and “Yours, Mine and Ours.”  They are the cinematic […]

Friends With Benefits

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:July 22, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 2, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: July 22, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2011

“Shut up, Katherine Heigl,” says our heroine, as she passes by a wall of posters for another fungible romantic comedy that should be sued for deceptive advertising.  Jamie (Mila Kunis) is an executive recruiter who wants to believe in love […]

Winnie the Pooh

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:July 15, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 25, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: July 15, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2011

Disney’s latest film lovingly captures the magic of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories and poems, which have been enchanting children and their parents for 85 years.  They were a sort of earlier “Toy Story,” with the adventures of Christopher Robin’s stuffed tiger, […]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
Movie Release Date:July 15, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 8, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
Movie Release Date: July 15, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 8, 2011

Before I tell you about this film and about how much I liked it, I want to say thank you to J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers for the care and devotion they gave to this extraordinary story.  On the page […]

Horrible Bosses

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date:July 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 11, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date: July 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011

Three old friends who work for deranged, abusive bosses decide that the only solution is a “Strangers on a Train”-style murder swap in a lightweight comedy sustained by recession-era resentment fantasies, some attention to plot structure, and a bunch of […]

Zookeeper

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude and suggestive humor and language
Movie Release Date:July 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 11, 2011
D
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude and suggestive humor and language
Movie Release Date: July 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011

This is a movie about how Kevin James can do so much better, but Kevin James can do so much better than this movie.  In the film, he tries to change his life to be worthy of a woman he […]

Larry Crowne

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 1, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 15, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 1, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011

“Larry Crowne” is such a perfectly pleasant movie that it may not be until you walk toward the exit that you realize that something is missing. Until then, the good spirits of stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, clearly enjoying […]

Bad Teacher

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 24, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 18, 2011
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 24, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011

Are you a fan of comedy based on the sole premise that it is funny to see a beautiful woman make outrageously crude and narcissistic statements?  Then go watch Sarah Silverman.  This movie will only show you how much better  […]

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild rude humor and some language
Movie Release Date:June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 6, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild rude humor and some language
Movie Release Date: June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011

It used to be that a comedian who wanted to be in movies had to make an armed services comedy.  Now, we stick them in domestic stories about daddies who need to learn that the family is more important than […]

Green Lantern

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Movie Release Date:June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 11, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Movie Release Date: June 17, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011

Let’s get right down to it with the superhero essentials checklist.  Cool powers?  Check.  Interesting villain?  Check.  Interesting girlfriend?  Half a check.  Aliens?  Check.  Fancy gala party?  I’m not sure why that appears to be a crucial part of every […]

Super 8

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 10, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 21, 2011
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 10, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 21, 2011

A couple of kids who are deeply in love with making movies have made a movie about kids deeply in love with making movies, and it is one of the most joyously thrilling treats of the summer, a love letter […]

The Tree of Life

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for thematic issues
Movie Release Date:June 3 2011
DVD Release Date:October 11, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic issues
Movie Release Date: June 3 2011
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011

On those dark nights of the soul, when we consider not just life but Life, and Meaning, and our place in the cosmos, our lives don’t play out in our minds in sequence.  Images and snatches of words flicker back […]

The Hangover, Part II

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use, and brief violent images
Movie Release Date:May 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 6, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use, and brief violent images
Movie Release Date: May 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011

What’s it called again when you suffer the morning-after consequences of a wild night of extravagent, if debauched, fun?  Oh yes, a hangover. This second night out with the wolf pack of Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan […]

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo
Movie Release Date:May 20, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 18, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo
Movie Release Date: May 20, 2011
DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011

Jack is back. And he is doing what he does best — stealing the movie from everyone else.  Johnny Depp continues Captain Jack Sparrow’s conquest of center stage with this fourth in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, which abandons […]

Mia and the Migoo

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, some peril, and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:May 13, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 7, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some peril, and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: May 13, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 7, 2012

The influence of acclaimed Japanese animation wizard Hayao Miyazaki is clear in “Mia and the Migoo,” an award-winning film from French director Jacques-Rémy Girerd.  It has a Miyazaki-like brave young heroine on an eco-themed journey and random encounters with grotesque […]

Contest: More From Shalom Sesame

posted by Nell Minow

I’ve got two great new Shalom Sesame DVDs to give away!  Grover Learns Hebrew features “Will and Grace’s” Debra Messing and Countdown Shavout has a guest appearance by…a dancing cow.  These are a great treat for Jewish families and anyone […]

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

posted by Nell Minow

Don’t start with me about who wrote Shakespeare.  Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare and today is his birthday.  Celebrate with some of the many, many movie versions of, about, or inspired by his plays.  Here are some of my favorites: 1. The […]

Hop

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:April 1, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 19, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: April 1, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 19, 2012

“Hop” would more accurately be titled “Stumble,” a disappointing follow-up from the producers of one of last year’s best family films, “Despicable Me.” It is just another story of a hapless live action character who has his life turned upside-down […]

Contest: DVDs for Purim and Passover!

posted by Nell Minow

There are two great new Shalom Sesame DVDs to celebrate the spring Jewish holidays and I have one of each to give away. It’s a wonderful way to help introduce children to two of the year’s most important festivals. This […]

Contest for Teachers Only: DVDs on Presidents and Martin Luther King

posted by Nell Minow

I have two DVDs to give away — for teachers only, this time. These are from my very favorite series for kids, Scholastic’s Storybook Treasures and they are perfect for celebrating Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, Women’s History […]

Twelve Great Christmas Movies That Don’t Feature Clarence the Angel, Bing Crosby, Tiny Tim, or a Leg Lamp

posted by Nell Minow

Reprising from 2007: I love It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, and A Christmas Story as much as anyone. I love the bittersweet struggles of George Bailey and never get tired of seeing him try to resist falling in love […]

Water: Blog Action Day 2010

posted by Nell Minow

I am proud to be a part of Blog Action Day 2010. This year, the issue is vitally important — water. Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo. Some great movies about water: 1. Oceans Huge, […]

List: Movies for World Habitat Day

posted by Nell Minow

Today is the United Nations’ World Habitat Day, dedicated to the principle that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere. Take a moment today to be grateful for your home, for the warmth and comfort it provides for you […]

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:September 24, 2010
DVD Release Date:March 12, 2011
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: September 24, 2010
DVD Release Date: March 12, 2011

Zack Snyder tries to do for feathers what he did for abs and biceps in “300” in this 3D animated adventure based on three books from the 15-book series of Ga’hoole novels by Kathryn Lansky. Every snowflake, feather, and talon […]

Top Christian Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Check out Kris Rasmussen’s list of the Ten Best Christian Movies of all time. It has some of my favorites like “Dead Man Walking” “Lilies of the Field,” and “Chariots of Fire.” I’d also include the allegorical “Strange Cargo,” the […]

Beliefnet Gallery: The Best Movie Weddings

posted by Nell Minow

Dena Ross has put together a gorgeous gallery from my list of great movie weddings. It makes me want to throw some rice!

Shooting ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’

posted by Nell Minow

One of my all-time favorite movie moments is in the original “Fantasia” (and included in “Fantasia 2000″ as well), the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequence when Mickey Mouse, as the trainee working for a powerful wizard, decides to try a little magic […]

Father’s Day Gift Guide

posted by Nell Minow

After breakfast in bed and hand-made Father’s Day cards, let Dad settle back into his favorite chair with a great new DVD. My suggestions: Foyle’s War The 6th set of this superb British miniseries has just been released, with Michael […]

Movies to Salute Our Armed Forces

posted by Nell Minow

Reposting from 2008: In honor of Memorial Day, take a break from picnics and sales and share one of these great films about American soldiers, sailors, and Marines. And be sure to take time thank the military and veterans in […]

List: Librarians in Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate National Library Week! This year’s chairman is “Coraline” author Neil Gaiman. Visit your public library to take a look at what’s available in books, DVDs, and audio — and to thank your librarian. A special thank you shout-out from […]

Movies About Writers

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Kaitlyn Cole for sending me this list of 50 great movies about writers. I especially like the way it is broken down into categories — about writing (“Wonder Boys”), writers being bad (“Sunset Boulevard,” “The Shining”), and real-life […]

List: Movies About and for Spring

posted by Nell Minow

My beloved spoke, and said unto me: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing is […]

Beliefnet Movie Awards

posted by Nell Minow

Congratulations to Beliefnet judges and community members for selecting an outstanding group of winners for the Beliefnet movie awards. Judges Best Spiritual Film: The Road Best Inspirational Film: Precious and Up (Tie) Best Spiritual Documentary: ‘More Than a Game’ People’s […]

List: Winter Sports

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the Olympics, take a look at these classics about winter sports competitions: The Cutting Edge A spoiled figure skater (named Kate as in “Taming of the Shrew”) and a working class hockey player team up in this […]

Contest: Emma and Cranford

posted by Nell Minow

This is a very special contest with not one but two utterly delectable DVD sets, both series based on classic books and both originally shown on PBS. Emma (2009) is based on the novel by Jane Austen (already filmed with […]

The Best of 2009

posted by Nell Minow

It’s so hard to decide! But at the moment anyway, here are my top films of the year, including three films based on books for children that became movies primarily for adults: Up in the Air The perfect timing of […]

MPAA to Revise Rules

posted by Nell Minow

Following my phone meeting with Joan Graves and Marilyn Gordon of the MPAA and the FTC’s report (citing my article) criticizing the motion picture industry, the MPAA has informed me that it will be making some changes to its rules […]

Interview: Kaitlyn Maher of ‘Santa Buddies’

posted by Nell Minow

Kaitlyn Maher, who enchanted millions with her appearances on “America’s Got Talent,” has a sweet, clear voice and a sunny personality. She is quite busy these days, appearing in Disney’s new Santa Buddies DVD and singing on the soundtrack. And […]

Warner Brothers Upgrades Your DVD Collection to Blu-Ray!

posted by Nell Minow

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group today launched “DVD2Blu.com,” a site that allows consumers to upgrade the movies they already own on DVD to Blu-Ray Disc. Consumers can select from over 50 of Warner Home Video’s most sought-after titles to upgrade […]

List: Great Movie Coaches

posted by Nell Minow

The athletes have worked harder than they ever imagined, pushing themselves to the limits of their endurance. They’ve learned how to run faster and hit, kick, or shoot harder. They’ve watched tape of the other team, the champions, the ones […]

List: Halloween Movie Tricks and Treats!

posted by Nell Minow

Halloween gives kids a thrilling opportunity to act out their dreams and pretend to be characters with great power. But it can also be scary and even overwhelming for the littlest trick-or-treaters. An introduction to the holiday with videos from […]

Disney Admits that Baby Einstein Does Not Help Babies

posted by Nell Minow

Disney, which had to drop the word “educational” from its marketing of Baby Einstein DVDs following complaints from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), has now had to back down further and offer a refund. The New York Times […]

Climate Change

posted by Nell Minow

The theme of Blog Action Day this year is Climate Change. Observe this day by watching one of the many documentaries about the environment like An Inconvenient Truth , FLOW: For Love of Water, “No Impact Man,” or Wall?E. And […]

Tribute: Budd Schulberg

posted by Nell Minow

Hollywood legend and Oscar-winning screenwriter Budd Schulberg died this week at age 95. His best work documented the anguish and corruption he observed growing up as the son of one of the top executives of MGM at the height of […]

Moon Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Salute the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon mission with some moon-y movies (but my favorite is Monday’s DVD pick of the week, so stay tuned). 1. Moonstruck Cher won an Oscar for her performance in one of the most […]

Summer Camp Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Nametapes ironed on? Bugspray and sunscreen packed? As kids depart for camp, it is fun to watch some classic movies about the joys and terrors of life among the bunk beds and color wars. 1. Meatballs Bill Murray was the […]

More Great Movie Mothers

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Tim Gordon salutes five of of the all-time great movie mothers on his blog, FilmGordon. I was especially glad to see that he mentioned “Claudine,” a neglected gem that is very dear to my heart. I love that […]

List: Movie Judges

posted by Nell Minow

As President Obama thinks about his selection to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter, it is a good time to take a look at some memorable movie judges. 1. Anatomy of a Murder Real-life lawyer — and real-life American hero […]

List: Rainy Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Douglas Howe has a great list of rain scenes in movies over on Idol Chatter, including two of my favorites, “Singin’ in the Rain” with Gene Kelly and “Say Anything” with John Cusack. Cusack for some reason is always getting […]

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!

posted by Nell Minow

It’s Shakespeare’s birthday! Try to talk like Shakespeare. Or check out Turner Classic Movie Channel’s list of their favorite Shakespeare adaptations. Can you name three movies inspired by Shakespeare set in high school? Two that became Broadway musicals? Or one […]

Warner Brothers Shares Classic Treasures

posted by Nell Minow

One of the things I find most thrilling about movies is that they are timeless. Watch a movie and you can see the same performance your grandparents watched when it was first released. We will never know what it was […]

Anita Renfroe: Mother’s Day Special

posted by Nell Minow

The wise and hilarious Anita Renfroe is making some of her books available for just $5 until May 10, so it is a great time to grab a couple for Mother’s Day. You can also buy any DVD or CD […]

List: Body-Switching Movies

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of “17 Again,” starring Zac Efron and Matthew Perry, about a middle-aged man who finds himself turned back into a teenager, reminded me of some of my favorite “body-switching” movies. 1. Freaky Friday Both feature film versions […]

Contest: For Teachers Only

posted by Nell Minow

I have some real treasures to give away and I want them to go to people who are real treasures. I can’t think of more fitting recipients than teachers. Here are the prizes: The first is a collection from my […]

When Not to Watch Movies, Part 1

posted by Nell Minow

I was recently reminded of an incident I wrote about three years ago for the Chicago Tribune and it inspired me to re-post the essay: My husband, daughter and I had just settled in for lunch at one of our […]

Q&A With the Movie Mom

posted by Nell Minow

Years ago, 1940-mid 1950s, there was a movie involving a spinster teacher in a small town, who had inspired generations of students. The story involves flashbacks and interaction of former students showing how she had such a positive effect on […]

List: Election Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of one of the most exciting elections in American history, here is a list of ten classic documentaries about elections and politics. 1. Primary This pioneering political documentary from Robert Drew, the first in a trilogy, shows candidate […]

Anything Can Happen Day Giveaway

posted by Nell Minow

If you’re as old as I am, you remember the Mickey Mouse Club’s “Anything Can Happen Day.” In that spirit, I’m going to have an anything-can-happen giveaway grab-bag. The first TEN people to send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with […]

American Dream Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Idol Chatter has posted a list of the five best movies celebrating the American Dream. All good choices: Avalon and An American Tail (about the immigrant experience), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington about an idealistic young Senator, and Rocky, the […]

The Sandlot

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some language and kids chewing tobacco.
Movie Release Date:1993
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some language and kids chewing tobacco.
Movie Release Date: 1993

Happy Baseball Season! I am not sure why baseball has inspired more great movies than any other sport. There are wonderful choices for every age and interest, from musical (Damn Yankees) to fantasy (Angels in the Outfield — I prefer […]

Stick It

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some crude remarks
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:July 29, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some crude remarks
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: July 29, 2012

If the Olympics has sparked an interest in gymnastics, take a look at this fresh, fun, funny, and smart story about a teenager “sentenced” to return to the gymnastics training she thought she had left behind.  It has all the […]

Treasure Planet

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adventure action and peril
Movie Release Date:2002
DVD Release Date:July 3, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adventure action and peril
Movie Release Date: 2002
DVD Release Date: July 3, 2012

If “Treasure Planet” is not Disney at its best, it is still Disney at its still-pretty-much-better-than-anyone else, and well worth a look with this 10th anniversary re-release. It is based on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson story “Treasure Island,” filmed […]

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