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Trailer: Mississippi Grind with Ryan Reynolds

posted by Nell Minow

Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn star in “Mississippi Grind,” about two gamblers, one successful, one not, who join forces and go on the road together.

Trailer: Mockingjay 2, the Last Chapter of The Hunger Games

posted by Nell Minow

Behind the Scenes: Making Michael Douglas Younger in “Ant-Man” and Wigs and Makeup for Key and Peele

posted by Nell Minow

“Ant-Man” begins with a flashback to 1989, with Michael Douglas appearing not as he looks to day but as he looked 25 years ago. How did they do that? Special effects that are called “digital make-up.” New York Magazine’s Vulture […]

Spoiler Alert: What Really Doesn’t Work in “Trainwreck” — and the Surprising Moments that Do

posted by Nell Minow

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT I had a few more thoughts about Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck” that didn’t fit into my review because they are too spoilery. First, our concerns over Schumer’s party girl character, also called Amy, are supposed […]

The Imaginative Short Film that Inspired “Pixels”

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friend and fellow film critic Eddie Pasa for sharing this short film by Patrick Jean, the inspiration for this week’s “Pixels.”

The 100 Best American Films — From Movie Critics Around the World

posted by Nell Minow

The American Film Institute has its top 100 list and the Library of Congress has its National Film Registry.  But how do movie critics around the world see our films?  The BBC prepared a list of the 100 greatest American […]

Cut to the Chase: A Brilliant Compilation of Movie Chase Scenes from Michael Mirasol

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and fellow critic Michael Mirasol has shared another of his brilliantly edited supercuts of movie moments, and this is one of his best. There’s nothing the movies do better than chases!

Sneak Preview of “The Descendants,” the New Disney Film About the Next Generation of Villains

posted by Nell Minow

Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart and Sofia Carson star as the teenage sons and daughters of Disney’s most infamous villains in Disney’s “Descendants,” a live-action movie premiering July 31, 2015 on the Disney Channel.

Southpaw

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2105
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2105

Didactic and unabashedly manipulative, “Southpaw” borrows from almost every boxing movie ever made. It telegraphs every development and then, in case we missed it, tells us what just happened. The dialogue is purplish and melodramatic. The filmmaking is self-consciously arty, […]

Paper Towns

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity -- all involving teens
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2015

Everyone has one. That unobtainable dream we longed for when we were first learning what it felt like to be in love. For most of us, these impossible-to-attain objects of our desire are like training wheels to keep us from […]

Pixels

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive comments
Movie Release Date:July 24, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive comments
Movie Release Date: July 24, 2015

I never thought I’d see Max Headroom or “Fantasy Island” again, much less have to explain them to someone sitting next to me who was a toddler when they were on television, but Adam Sandler is still relentlessly working his […]

Interview: Lillete Dubey of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

posted by Nell Minow

Lillete Dubey stars with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Richard Gere in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, available now on DVD, Blu-Ray, and streaming video. Dubey plays the formidable Mrs. Kapoor, the disapproving mother of the eternally optimistic proprietor […]

Trailer: Goosebumps with Jack Black

posted by Nell Minow

The wildly popular Goosebumps horror-comedy series for kids by R.L. Stine is now a movie!

Trailer: Before We Go

posted by Nell Minow

Yes, a bit “Before Sunrise,” but there’s nothing wrong with that.  And I love Chris Evans and Alice Eve.  And love stories.

Trailer for the new James Bond Film: Spectre

posted by Nell Minow

Tribute: Theodore Bikel

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of actor/singer/activist Theodore Bikel, who has died at age 91. The multi-lingual performer was the original Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” on Broadway and played the role of Tevye in “Fiddler on the […]

Amy Schumer Talks to Michael Ian Black on “How to Be Amazing”

posted by Nell Minow

Amy Schumer appeared on Michael Ian Black’s brilliant interview series, “How to Be Amazing.” In this clip, she talks about creating her stand-up persona and “tricking people into listening.” You can download the hour-long interview for free, as well as […]

Trailer: Joy with Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro

posted by Nell Minow

“Joy” reunites Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and writer/director David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle”) in a multi-generational story, opening in December 2015.

Where You’ve Seen Them Before: The Cast of Ant-Man

posted by Nell Minow

“Ant-Man” has great special effects and a fun storyline but its real strength is the cast, several of my favorite performers.  They may look familiar. Paul Rudd has been one of the most appealing actors in Hollywood since “Clueless” came […]

Trailer: Mistress America with Greta Gerwig

posted by Nell Minow

Trailer: “Creed,” a New Chapter in the “Rocky” Saga

posted by Nell Minow

In Rocky, Sylvester Stallone played the title character, who got a one-in-a-million chance to fight the heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). In this film, Rocky is training the son of Apollo Creed, played by one of my favorite young […]

Trailer: Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette in “Miss You Already”

posted by Nell Minow

Ant-Man

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Movie Release Date:July 17, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Movie Release Date: July 17, 2015

San Diego Comic-Con is known for big, loud, and splashy promotions for movies and television series, especially those featuring superheroes.  So it was a delight to come across the tiny “billboard” for “Ant-Man,” smaller than a shoebox, that was the […]

Why Are There Scenes in the Trailer That Aren’t In the Movie? Again!

posted by Nell Minow

Both of the big nationwide releases this week have widely distributed trailers that include scenes that are not actually in the movie.  I’ve written about this before.  Sometimes the movie is still being edited as the trailer is being prepared. […]

The 100-Year-Old Actor in “Trainwreck” Who Worked with Hitchcock and Orson Welles

posted by Nell Minow

Actor/director/producer Norman Lloyd appears in “Trainwreck” as the resident of an assisted living facility. He’s been an actor for 80 years. He was the villain in Hitchcock’s “Saboteur,” hanging from the hand of the Statue of Liberty. He worked with […]

Trainwreck

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:July 17, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: July 17, 2015

Judd Apatow has made a bunch of raunchy comedies about man-children who have to learn to grow up and embrace the joys of intimacy and responsibility, and one raunchy comedy (“This is 40″) about a couple who have to learn […]

Trailer: Captive, Starring Kate Mara and David Oyelowo

posted by Nell Minow

Based on the stirring true story, Kate Mara and David Oyelowo star in the story of two desperate people whose lives are changed when he takes her hostage and she reads to him from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life. […]

Trailer: Secret in Their Eyes with Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Chiwetel Ejiofor

posted by Nell Minow

The Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010 was The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos), an Argentinian film that is part cold-case detective story about a missing, perhaps murdered, girl, part love story. The […]

Teaser Trailer: Kung Fu Panda 3

posted by Nell Minow

At the end of the last “Kung Fu Panda” movie we got a hint that our hero, an adopted son of a loving father, would get his first chance to meet his biological family. In this new chapter, Po (Jack […]

Behind the Scenes with Lebron James and “Trainwreck”

posted by Nell Minow

Comic-Con 2015: Interview with Bella Heathcote and Douglas Booth on “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”

posted by Nell Minow

Bella Heathcote (“Dark Shadows”) and Douglas Booth (“Romeo and Juliet”) play Jane and Mr. Bingley in the latest of innumerable movie and television adaptations of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. While I have not seen them all, I feel […]

Behind the Scenes: Paper Town

posted by Nell Minow

Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery

posted by Nell Minow

It’s the mash-up that had to happen. In Scooby-Doo! & KISS:Rock & Roll Mystery, Daphne has an enormous crush on KISS member Starchild, so she tells her Mystery Inc. pals they’ve been summoned to solve a mystery at KISS World, […]

Did Special Effects Peak in the ’90’s?

posted by Nell Minow

Comic-Con 2015: This is the “Star Wars” Panel That Had The Audience Cheering and Crying

posted by Nell Minow

People camped out for days to see this panel — and it was worth it!

Behind the Scenes: Minions

posted by Nell Minow

Comic-Con 2015 Panel on Fandom: The Next Generation

posted by Nell Minow

I was thrilled to be invited by Betsy Bozdech of Common Sense Media to appear on a panel discussion if and how to share our nerdy passions with our children. I was even more thrilled when I found out who […]

Vox on Makeover Movies

posted by Nell Minow

In my book, The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies, there is a discussion of “makeover movies.” Little girls and bigger ones see a lot of what I call “makeover movies:” in a crucial scene Our Heroine gets a new […]

Trailer: Learning to Drive

posted by Nell Minow

Writer Katha Pollitt found herself learning how to drive for the first time when she was 52.  She wrote about it ruefully in an essay that provides the title for Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories, which has now […]

Trailer: Legend, the Story of The Crime Boss Twin Brothers, The Krays

posted by Nell Minow

Twin brothers known as The Krays” ran a brutal crime ring in 1960’s London. A new movie called “Legend” stars Tom Hardy as both of the identical twin brothers, Ronnie and Reggie Kray. A 1991 film called “The Krays” starred […]

Minions

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:July 10, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: July 10, 2015

The Minions should pay a little less attention to villains and a little more to penguins. Like “Madagascar’s” penguins, “Despicable Me’s” yellow minions were comic relief characters who took the lead in follow-up features. But the Minions are not quite […]

Self/Less

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date:July 10, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language
Movie Release Date: July 10, 2015

The longing for eternal life has inspired many stories, maybe most of them. What is creating a story itself if not a kind of search for immortality? Anne Rice created her series of books about vampires because the death of […]

Comic-Con 2105: Opening Night

posted by Nell Minow

The cutest items I saw on the Exhibition Hall this evening were these “Body Knockers” from famous movies. How many can you identify? One of the highlights of Preview Night is an exclusive sneak peek at some of the upcoming […]

Batkid Begins

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades

Children with cancer learn two things, we hear in this documentary about a boy who is being treated for leukemia. They learn how to fight. And, because they are surrounded by caregivers, they learn compassion. When he was two, Miles […]

Behind the Scenes: Self/Less

posted by Nell Minow

The Inside Story of “Clueless” — Jen Chaney’s New Book is a Total Betty

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Jen Chaney is one of the most knowledgeable and insightful writers about movies and pop culture I know. Her new book is an oral history of “Clueless,” based on interviews with writer/director Amy Heckerling and the stars and […]

Wil Wheaton Talks About His Mental Illness in a Video for UROK

posted by Nell Minow

I love the way Wil Wheaton sort of plays himself on “The Big Bang Theory.” The characters interact with him as Wil Wheaton, Wesley Crusher from “Star Trek: TNG” and star of “Stand By Me” (and “Serial Apeist 2″). But […]

Interview: David Gordon Green, Director of “Manglehorn”

posted by Nell Minow

David Gordon Green has directed intimate, natural dramas (“George Washington,” “All the Real Girls”) and wild comedies (“Pineapple Express,” “Eastbound and Down”). His new film, “Manglehorn,” is a gentle story with magical realism elements, starring Al Pacino as the title […]

Behind the Scenes: Ant-Man

posted by Nell Minow

Interview: Dana Nachman of “Batkid Begins”

posted by Nell Minow

Dana Nachman is the director of the heartwarming documentary “Batkid Begins.” She talked to me about how one five-year-old cancer survivor’s Make a Wish story captivated the entire world. At the screening I attended there was audible weeping. I also […]

Inside “Inside Out” — Takes on Pixar’s Hit Movie About Feelings

posted by Nell Minow

“Inside Out” is not just one of the best movies of the year (animated and live action). It is also one of the most psychologically profound and astute films about emotions and the mind ever made. It set the all-time […]

Trailer: People, Places, and Things with Jemaine Clement and Regina Hall

posted by Nell Minow

Contest: Win a DVD of the Sweet Romance, “Old Fashioned”

posted by Nell Minow

Win a copy of the sweet romance, “Old Fashioned,” from PureFlix. It set a record with the highest opening for faith film on less than 300 screens. Director and star of the film Rik Swartzwelder has said he wanted to […]

Trailer: Jenny’s Wedding with Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel

posted by Nell Minow

Trailer: Glitch

posted by Nell Minow

There’s no US release date set at the moment for this film, also known as “Leading Lady,” but I hope we get to see it. The actress is Katie McGrath, currently in “Jurassic World” and soon to appear in the […]

For the 4th of July: Singing Founding Fathers in “1776”

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Independence Day!  Every year, I recommend the rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence. “1776” makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost forget that you already know how it all turned […]

Happy 99th Birthday, Olivia de Havilland!

posted by Nell Minow

Two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland turns 99 years old today. She was one of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, appearing memorably opposite Errol Flynn eight times, most memorably in “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” She […]

Contest: Win a DVD of “Hope Bridge”

posted by Nell Minow

“Hope Bridge” is a new DVD from Pure Flix about the devastating impact of suicide. Christi and David Eaton produced the movie after having experienced suicide twice in their family. They knew the best way to reach out to others […]

Trailer: No Ordinary Hero — The SuperDeafy Movie

posted by Nell Minow

Coming next month on DVD, “No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie” is the story of a deaf actor (John Maucere) who plays a deaf superhero in a campy television series. But he wants to be a real hero. A beloved […]

Exclusive Clip: Underdog Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Underdog Kids is family film about a karate team of misfits, available on VOD and DVD July 7, 2015. Adam Irigoyen (Disney’s “Shake It Up!” and “Wizards of Waverly Place”), Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6, Nickelodeon’s “Supah Ninjas”), Cade Sutton […]

Interview: Lorne Balfe, Composer for “Terminator Genisys”

posted by Nell Minow

Lorne Balfe composed the score for “Terminator Genisys,” the fifth in the series, which takes place in three different time period, some very dystopian. He talked to me about creating a sound that conveyed the mechanistic themes and how he […]

Exclusive Clip: The Dovekeepers

posted by Nell Minow

NCIS star Cote de Pablo gives a behind the scenes look at the making of the Roma Downey/Mark Burnett produced miniseries, The Dovekeepers. Adapted from Alice Hoffman’s novel, “The Dovekeepers” follows a group of extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for […]

Coming in July 2015: Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys, Minions, and Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck

posted by Nell Minow

Happy July! As usual, this July is going to be filled with blockbusters, sequels, remakes, raunchy comedies, and superheroes, but there are some worthwhile smaller films as well. Opening today, for the holiday weekend, we have two sequels. Magic Mike […]

Magic Mike XXL

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
Movie Release Date:July 1, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
Movie Release Date: July 1, 2015

“We’re healers,” one of the male exotic dancers, explains to another in “Magic Mike XXL.”  They’re here to bring a smile to women who have not, through tragically misguided oversight, been worshipped and adored.  They have not been ap-PRE-ciated.  They […]

Terminator Genisys

posted by Nell Minow

“I’ll be back,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the first “Terminator” movie. He had the title role but only 16 lines, with about a total of 80 words. But those three words have become a legend. It now appears he meant […]

Interview: Stephen “tWitch” Boss of “Magic Mike XXL”

posted by Nell Minow

I asked actor/dancer Stephen “tWitch” Boss whether it was as much fun to make “Magic Mike XXL” as it looked, and he said, “Absolutely and even more. People have been asking me what I would say to guys that are […]

Exclusive Clip: All Creatures Big and Small — FREE for a Limited Time on Google Play

posted by Nell Minow

Martin Sheen and Amy Grant provide the voices in this animated animal adventure inspired by Noah’s Ark, from Entertainment One (eOne). “All Creatures Big and Small” will be available for free for a limited time on Google Play starting July […]

Critics: Which Movies Get Childhood Right?

posted by Nell Minow

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

Interview: David and Christi Eaton of “Hope Bridge”

posted by Nell Minow

David and Christi Eaton wanted to help families devastated by suicide and those who struggle with thoughts of suicide. And so they wrote “Hope Bridge.” I spoke with them about how a busy couple with six children who had never […]

Trailer: The Good Dinosaur

posted by Nell Minow

Coming in summer 2016 from Pixar.

Trailer: Honeyglue

posted by Nell Minow

“Honeyglue” follows the story of Morgan (Adriana Mather), who flips her conservative, protected life upside down after learning she has three months left to live. She sets out on a bucket list of adventures with a purse snatching ex-junkie cross […]

Interview: Jalmari Helander and Onni Tommila of “Big Game”

posted by Nell Minow

Big Game, now in theaters and on VOD, is an exciting action movie about Oskari, a Finnish kid on a solo hunting trip, who has to save the President of the United States when he is ejected from Air Force […]

Contest: Win a Copy of Dancer & The Dame Starring Billy Gardell

posted by Nell Minow

Billy Gardell (“Mike & Molly”) stars in Dancer and The Dame. Gardell plays Rick Dancer, a wisecracking, disgruntled detective who is long past his prime. Only with the help of Princess, a fussy and fastidious canine cop, can Dancer break […]

Trailer: Daddy’s Home with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg

posted by Nell Minow

Will Ferrell plays a devoted stepdad who gets into a competition for the kids’ attention and affection with their biological dad, played by Mark Wahlberg, in “Daddy’s Home.”

Exclusive Blooper Clip: Paul Blart Mall Cop 2

posted by Nell Minow

We are delighted to present an exclusive clip from the DVD extras on Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. It’s a lot of fun to see Kevin James mess up his lines! It’s available on Digital HD June 30, 2015 and […]

Max

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:June 26, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: June 26, 2015

“Max” is a good, old-fashioned story of a boy and a dog who mend each other’s broken hearts.  It is heartwarming without getting treacly, and frank without getting too disturbing.  And it has adventure, romance, loss, and something to say […]

Big Game

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Movie Release Date:June 26, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Movie Release Date: June 26, 2015

Yes, it is basically “Die Hard” and “Under Siege” in the mountains of Finland, if Bruce Willis was a kid on a rite-of-passage solo hunting trip.  And instead of executive hostages in a big office building, the kid has to […]

Infinitely Polar Bear

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:June 19, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: June 19, 2015

“Infinitely Polar Bear” is the term a young girl uses in this film for bipolar disorder, the mental illness that her father struggled with as he cared for his daughters.   And it lets us know that this sensitive, touching […]

Ted 2

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 26, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 26, 2015

“Subtle” is not a word that naturally comes to mind for a movie that features a bong in the shape of male genitalia (which is more powerful — the longing for weed or the ew-factor of a straight guy who […]

Interview: Patrick Brice on the Very R-Rated Comedy “The Overnight”

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director Patrick Brice talked to me about his funny and provocative new film, “The Overnight,” about a couple new to Los Angeles (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling) who are invited to dinner at the lavish home of an impossibly hip […]

Exclusive Clip: Rosamund Pike in “What We Did on Our Holiday”

posted by Nell Minow

Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”), David Tennant (“Dr. Who”), and Billy Connolly (“Brave”) star in a family comedy about a vacation with relatives, where a couple discovers that it is very hard to keep a secret when there are children around. […]

Interview: Boaz Yakin and Josh Wiggins of “Max”

posted by Nell Minow

Boz Yakin wrote and directed “Max,” the story of a weapons-sniffing military dog whose human partner is killed. So traumatized he can no longer work, he goes to live with the grieving family and is cared for by their younger […]

Trailer: He Named Me Malala

posted by Nell Minow

Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The then 15-year-old (she turns 18 this July) was singled out, along with her father, […]

Tribute: James Horner

posted by Nell Minow

One of the greatest movie composers of all time, James Horner, died this week in a plane crash. His compositions added enormous depth and emotion to some of the all-time critical and audience triumphs, including the movie that broke the […]

If You Like “Inside Out,” Try “Everybody Rides the Carousel”

posted by Nell Minow

Before “Inside Out,” there was another animated film that explored emotions and psychological and cognitive development. Based on the pioneering work of psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, animators John and Faith Hubley created “Everybody Rides the Carousel,” with segments illustrating Erikson’s stages […]

Exclusive Clip from Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle

posted by Nell Minow

We are delighted to present an exclusive clip from Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle, released today. The soundtrack is also available. And don’t forget to take a selfie with Curious George! When Curious George is asked to take […]

Interview: Antonia Bogdanovich of “Phantom Halo”

posted by Nell Minow

Antonia Bogdanovich is the co-writer and director of “Phantom Halo,” the story of two brothers and their father, a one-time Shakespearean actor who forces them to steal to support his gambling and alcohol addictions. The brothers are named for the […]

Trailer: The Secret Life of Pets with Jenny Slate and Kevin Hart

posted by Nell Minow

Ever wonder what your pets get up to while you’re away? Jenny Slate, Steve Coogan, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Ellie Kemper and Louis C.K. will tell you all about it!

An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:2015
DVD Release Date:June 22, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 2015
DVD Release Date: June 22, 2015

“Grace Stirs Up Success” is the latest in the excellent “American Girl” series, all featuring spirited young heroines confronting real-life problems, and learning some important lessons. They always include a lot of fun and a loving family, too. In this […]

AFI Docs 2015: What I Saw

posted by Nell Minow

I loved every film I saw at AFI Docs this year, with a wide variety in subject matter and tone. There were intimate, personal stories, and movies about major global figures and forces. And I also saw an eye-popping demonstration […]

Real Genius — Three Decades Later, It Still Holds Up

posted by Nell Minow

Thirty years ago, a college comedy called “Real Genius” was released, and it is good to see that it holds up well. It is even more apt in some ways now than it was when it came out. Tor’s Emily […]

Trailer: Bill Murray in “Rock the Kasbah”

posted by Nell Minow

Three Great Movie Dads for Father’s Day 2015

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Father’s Day! And extra Father’s Day love to the two great dads in my life, my father and my husband. These are three of my favorite movie dads.  Give the dad in your life an extra hug and ask […]

StoryCorps: Listening is an Act of Love

posted by Nell Minow

The first-ever animated feature from StoryCorps celebrates the transformative power of listening. Listening Is an Act of Love: A StoryCorps Special presents six stories from 10 years of the innovative oral history project, where everyday people sit down together to […]

Trailer: Bilal

posted by Nell Minow

This animated film is inspired by the life of Bilal Ibn Rabah, one of Muhammad’s most trusted companions and known for his beautiful voice with which he called people to their prayers.

Interview: Maya Forbes on “Infinitely Polar Bear”

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director Maya Forbes did not just base her new film on her own childhood; she had her sister contribute to the soundtrack and cast her daughter as Amelia, the character inspired by Forbes herself. The film covers the period when […]

My Ebook on Movie Dads is Free This Weekend for Father’s Day!

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of Father’s Day, my eBook, 50 Must-See Movies: Fathers is FREE through Monday, June 22, 2015. What do “Wall Street” and the “Star Wars” saga and, seemingly, about half the movies ever made have in common? They are about […]

Inside Out

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date:June 19, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Movie Release Date: June 19, 2015

Roger Ebert liked to refer to movies as an “empathy machine.” He said that the great gift of movies, more than any other art form, is the way they can put us inside the world, experiences, culture, and perspective of […]

Clip: Disgust and Anger in “Inside Out”

posted by Nell Minow

In this clip, we meet two of the emotions living inside toddler-age Riley: Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black). I love the way emotions thought of as negative are shown here to play an essential and even constructive role.

AFI Docs 2015: The World’s Best Documentary Film Festival Begins Tonight in Washington DC

posted by Nell Minow

AFI Docs (formerly SilverDocs) begins tonight in Washington, D.C. with another spectacular slate of documentary films. The opening night festivities feature “The Best of Enemies,” a terrific film about the battle of the upper-class, socially connected, classically educated, hyperverbal writers […]

Clip: LeBron James and Bill Hader in “Trainwreck”

posted by Nell Minow

LeBron James talks about how much he loves Cleveland in this clip from Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck,” with Bill Hader.

Lisa Rosman Looks Back at “Rosemary’s Baby”

posted by Nell Minow

I am a big fan of critic Lisa Rosman, and her appreciation of “Rosemary’s Baby” for Word & Film is one of her best. On the surface, an Australian import about a mother and child haunted by a children’s book […]

Susan Wloszczyna Interviews Pete Docter about “Inside Out”

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Susan Wloszczyna interviewed “Inside Out’s” co-writer/director Pete Docter for IndieWire. The film takes place primarily inside the mind and emotions of an 11-year-old girl who has just moved to a new home and a new city with her […]

Two New Books About Creativity From Filmmakers: Judd Apatow and Brian Grazer

posted by Nell Minow

Two of Hollywood’s top filmmakers have new books out, and both, unusually, are compilations of interviews with creative people. Judd Apatow, one of the most influential writer/director/producers of the last twenty years, has written Sick in the Head: Conversations About […]

Trailer: “The Program” — The Lance Armstrong Story, Starring Ben Foster and Chris O’Dowd

posted by Nell Minow

Ben Foster plays Lance Armstrong and Chris O’Dowd plays David Walsh, the Irish journalist who uncovered the story about Armstrong’s use of dope and his lies. Walsh’s book is Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong.

Happy Flag Day 2015!

posted by Nell Minow

Jimmy Cagney plays George M. Cohan in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”  Happy Flag Day!

Trailer: The End of the Tour

posted by Nell Minow

In 1996, David Lipsky was assigned by Rolling Stone to write a profile of author David Foster Wallace, and so they spent five days together while Wallace was finishing his promotional tour for his book, Infinite Jest. After Wallace committed […]

Where You’ve Seen Them Before: The Cast of “Jurassic World”

posted by Nell Minow

Of course the dinosaurs and the geniuses at ILM who created them are the real stars of “Jurassic World.”  But the highest compliment we can pay the human performers is that they can hold their own next to the CGI […]

AMC’s New All-Horror Movie Streaming Service

posted by Nell Minow

Uproxx reports that AMC has a new all-horror movie streaming service called Shudder with over 200 titles from the classics to international spook-fests, slashers, urban dread, supernatural scares, and more. You’ve been warned, but if you’re ready to be disturbed, […]

What Book Would You Like To See Made Into a Movie?

posted by Nell Minow

The Chicago Tribune asked actors and filmmakers what books they would like to see adapted for the screen.  “Selma” director Ava DuVernay picked Octavia Butler’s time travel story Kindred. Ethan Hawke picked the provocative Story of the Eye by Georges […]

The Farewell Party

posted by Nell Minow

Israeli filmmaker Sharon Mayman says that the idea for “The Farewell Party” came from the time that his boyfriend’s grandmother, age 92, was dying, and paramedics prolonged her suffering by “fighting for her life like she was 16 years old.” […]

Trailer: Pass the Light

posted by Nell Minow

“Pass the Light” follows 17-year-old high school student Steve Bellafiore (Cameron Palatas) as he decides to stand up against a congressional candidate’s use of religion to spread hatred and intolerance.  Steve runs for Congress on a campaign of uniting the […]

Jurassic World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.
Movie Release Date:June 11, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.
Movie Release Date: June 11, 2015

One problem is that we really do not know very much about dinosaurs, especially live ones, and especially genetically tweaked live ones. A bigger problem is that we keep ignoring what we do know about humans. Over and over again […]

Women Rule the Box Office

posted by Nell Minow

“Spy” beat “Entourage” last weekend in the battle of the two R-rated raunchy comedies.  The one featuring women in all the lead roles was first at the box office with a robust $29.1 million, and the one featuring men in […]

Check out the Website for Jurassic World — the (fictional, so far) Theme Park

posted by Nell Minow

What if there really was a Jurassic World theme park? It would have a Jurassic World website just like this one. It has attraction wait times, fun facts, scheduled special events, and even some warnings not to tap on the […]

Interview: Director Peter Cousens of “Freedom”

posted by Nell Minow

“Freedom” interweaves two stories of slavery. In one, an enslaved family led by Samuel (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) escapes via the Underground Railroad. In the other, set a century earlier, John Newton, the captain of a slave trader sails from Africa […]

Trailer: Matt Damon in “The Martian”

posted by Nell Minow

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only […]

“Jurassic World’s” Resident Paleontologist

posted by Nell Minow

Working with real-life paleontologist Jack Horner to create a very scary new dinosaur!

Trailer: Bridge of Spies

posted by Nell Minow

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks team up again in “Bridge of Spies,” with a screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen. It is based on the real-life story of an American lawyer recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to […]

Trailer: Sharknado 3

posted by Nell Minow

Interview: Pastor Steven Earp of “Where Was God?”

posted by Nell Minow

“Where Was God?” is a documentary about “stories of hope after the storm,” the impact on the community of Moore, Oklahoma of an E5 storm with destructive power eight times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. I spoke to […]

Trailer: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in “Macbeth”

posted by Nell Minow

Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in “Macbeth,” Shakespeare’s story of ambition, murder, ghosts, witches, and madness.

Spy

posted by Nell Minow

It is time to celebrate. Melissa McCarthy finally has the movie role she deserves. Writer/director Paul Feig, who directed her in “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” has wisely given her center stage and allowed her to be quirky and awkward, which […]

This Week in Theaters: Boys vs. Girls in One-Word-Title, R-Rated Comedies

posted by Nell Minow

They both have one-word titles. They are both very raunchy R-rated comedies. And this week they square off against each other for domination of the box office. “Entourage” continues the adventures of movie star Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his home-town […]

Trailer: Suffragette

posted by Nell Minow

Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan star in this film based on the fight to give women the right to vote in the UK.  I wish it had been called “Suffragist,” the term the women themselves preferred (“suffragette” was used by […]

Trailer: The Good Dinosaur

posted by Nell Minow

Entourage

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:June 3, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: June 3, 2015

I sometimes muse that it might be nice to have a rule that I spend no more time writing a review of a film than the screenwriter spent writing the script.  If I had, this review could end right here, with […]

Trailer: Results with Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders

posted by Nell Minow

Opening This Month: June 2015

posted by Nell Minow

Summer movies are here! Raunchy comedies, blockbuster sequels, and even some documentaries and indie gems. Here’s what’s ahead this month. June 3 Entourage: Vince and his pals are back as the hit HBO series about a Hollywood star and his friends, and […]

Interview: Martha Williamson on the Expanded “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” Movie Series

posted by Nell Minow

It was just over a year ago that I first spoke to “Touched by an Angel” creator Martha Williamson about her dead letter detective series for Hallmark, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” She is one of my all-time favorite interviews, making me […]

Trailer: Jem and the Holograms

posted by Nell Minow

The 1980’s cartoon series “Jem and the Holograms” is now a movie! It stars that Aubrey Peeples as Jem, Stefanie Scott as Kimber, Hayley Kiyoko as Aja, Aurora Perrineau as Shana, and Ryan Guzman as Rio, and it is scheduled […]

Trailer: Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro in “The Intern”

posted by Nell Minow

This new film from Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “Something’s Got to Give”) stars Anne Hathaway as a young executive with a new intern played by Robert De Niro.

Contest: Reading Rainbow DVD — If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

posted by Nell Minow

Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow present four classic episodes on this new DVD from PBS Kids. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie read by Beth Howland, Owen read by Matthew Broderick, Two OId Potatoes and Me read by Jordan […]

The New Yorker’s Actress Profiles: Tilda Swinton, Angela Bassett, Katharine Hepburn, and More

posted by Nell Minow

The New Yorker has created a section with some of its best profiles of actresses, including Angela Bassett, Julia Roberts, Diane Keaton, Tilda Swinton, and Katharine Hepburn. They are a treat to read and will inspire you to check out […]

Exclusive Clip: Wish You Well

posted by Sharon Kirk

Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy, and Josh Lucas star in Wish You Well, a coming-of-age tale based on the best-selling novel by David Baldacci, who also wrote the screenplay. Foy plays 12-year-old Louisa, who moves with her brother from New York […]

San Andreas

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: May 30, 2015

Another summer blockbuster-by-the-numbers, another dad who needs redemption and re-connection with his family, and the only way he can get it is via massive, catastrophic disasters lovingly created via CGI that feels more real than the emotions, characters, or dialog. […]

Aloha

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Movie Release Date:May 30, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Movie Release Date: May 30, 2015

Writer/director Cameron Crowe presents us with an attractive and talented but messy and compromised hero in “Aloha,” and asks us to root for him. The problem is that the film itself is attractive, talent-filled, messy, and compromised, and harder to […]

Trailer: Eva — Yet Another AI Robot Movie

posted by Nell Minow

This is certainly turning out to be the year of the AI robot.  This one stars Daniel Brühl and this time the robot is a child named EVA.

Today on TCM: Go Back in Time With Time Travel Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight Turner Classic Movies has some time travel treats, including George Pal’s classic version of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux. Also on the schedule is “Time After Time,” with Malcolm McDowell as Wells himself, […]

Ashley Judd Movie, “Big Stone Gap,” Coming This Fall

posted by Nell Minow

Picturehouse will be releasing “Big Stone Gap” this fall. It was filmed on location in Virginia and stars Ashley Judd as Ave Maria Mulligan, who lives a simple life with her mother, runs the pharmacy, directs the real-life tourist attraction […]

Interview: “Mike and Molly’s” Billy Gardell on “Dancer and the Dame”

posted by Nell Minow

Billy Gardell, star of television’s Mike & Molly, talked to me about his new film, Dancer & The Dame. He plays Rick Dancer. “He was once like a super detective and he kind of got obsessed chasing this bad guy […]

Trailer: The Search for Freedom

posted by Nell Minow

This new documentary tells the stories of the athletes who seek the freedom that comes from living in the moment and doing what makes us feel the most alive. This documentary written and directed by Jon Long (IMAX® Extreme) is […]

Win a Daniel Tiger Book and DVD!

posted by Nell Minow

Daniel Tiger loves being outside and spending time with his family and friends. In these eight stories, he learns about swimming safely and visits the Enchanted Garden to pick strawberries. When a windstorm makes a mess of the playground, Daniel […]

Behind the Scenes: Jurassic World

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a great sneak peek inside “Jurassic World,” coming to theaters on June 12, 2015.

Tribute: Anne Meara

posted by Nell Minow

Today we mourn the loss of actress/comedian Anne Meara, wife of Jerry Stiller and mother of actor/director Ben Stiller. Stiller and Meara were a comedy team who appeared frequently on the Ed Sullivan show. Their humor often focused on their […]

Movies for Memorial Day

posted by Nell Minow

I’ve already written about great documentaries and feature films about the military to watch on Memorial Day.  These recent documentaries about our 21st century conflicts give the military a chance to tell their own story.  They are not pro-war or […]

Trailer: Batkid Begins

posted by Nell Minow

The amazing Make-a-Wish story that captivated the world is now a movie, and I’ve been looking forward to it since I attended the event at last year’s Comic-Con. Can’t wait.

A Clip from A.D. The Bible Continues — Jesus Appears to Saul

posted by Nell Minow

Jesus appears to Saul to turn him towards righteousness in this clip from Episode 8 of “A.D. The Bible Continues,” premiering Sunday, May 24, 2015, at 9/8c on NBC.

Tomorrowland’s Inspirations

posted by Nell Minow

Brad Bird’s gorgeously imagined “Tomorrowland” is not just inspired by an area in the original Disneyland, celebrating its 60th anniversary this week, it is a tribute to the sensationally imaginative work of the “imagineers” and artists who created it and […]

Trailer: Unexpected with Cobie Smulders

posted by Nell Minow

Samantha Abbott (“How I Met Your Mother’s” Cobie Smulders) is a dedicated and passionate teacher at an inner-city Chicago high school. Just as she is coming to terms with her school closing, Samantha faces some life-changing and unexpected news: she […]

Tomorrowland

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Movie Release Date: May 22, 2015

It begins with an argument. Frank (George Clooney) is trying to tell us the story. But he is repeatedly interrupted by someone we will learn is Casey (Britt Robertson). “Try to be a little more upbeat,” she urges him. The […]

I’ll See You in My Dreams

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:May 22, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: May 22, 2015

Blythe Danner gives a performance of exquisite sensitivity in “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” the story of a lonely widow. She plays Carol, a singer-turned teacher who retired 20 years ago after her husband died. Her friends in a […]

Interview: Brett Haley, Writer/Director of “I’ll See You in My Dreams”

posted by Nell Minow

Brett Haley wrote and directed “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” a bittersweet romance starring the luminous Blythe Danner as Carol, a widow taking some tentative steps toward love with Bill, a handsome new neighbor played by Sam Elliott. Haley […]

Friar’s Club Documentary — Tonight on WNET and Online

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight on New York PBS station WNET, “Treasures of New York: Friars Club” will explore the rich history of the exclusive private club through never-before-seen footage of Frairs roasts and interviews with some of the club’s most prominent members. Larry […]

Alamo Drafthouse Tells Audience Members to Turn Off Their Cell Phones with Lewis Black of “Inside Out”

posted by Nell Minow

Lewis Black plays Anger in Pixar’s new film, “Inside Out.” So who better to remind the audience to TURN OFF THEIR CELL PHONES!

Interview: Junkie XL, Composer of “Mad Max: Fury Road”

posted by Nell Minow

It was a treat to talk to Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg), the award-winning, multi-platinum producer/composer who created the sensational soundtrack for Mad Max: Fury Road, ranging from orchestral to heavy metal, and now available for purchase. Coming up next, he […]

Interview: Sandy McLeod on “Seeds of Time”

posted by Nell Minow

Seeds of Time is a documentary that seems like a terrifying science fiction story. It is about the efforts of Cary Fowler, funded by Bill Gates, to find, preserve, and store seeds from plants necessary for all life forms on […]

Trailer: We Are Your Friends

posted by Nell Minow

Zac Efron stars in “We Are Your Friends,” opening in August 2015.

Trailer: Al Pacino in “Manglehorn”

posted by Nell Minow

A strange and lonely man tries to come to terms with a past crime that cost him the love of his life in this film, opening June 19, 2015.

Blythe Danner Talks to Susan Wloszczyna About “I’ll See You In My Dreams”

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite critics interviewed one of my favorite actresses — Susan Wloszczyna spoke to Blythe Danner about her role in the bittersweet romance, “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Paltrow talks about introducing her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, to […]

American Sniper

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:May 18, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: May 18, 2015

The highest-grossing movie of 2014 is also one of the most controversial. Director Clint Eastwood and producer-star Bradley Cooper have made a more subtle and nuanced film than either the people who loved it or the people who hated it […]

Great Films with Philosophical Themes

posted by Nell Minow

Even the least ambitious films often include some philosophical questions about identity, meaning, and free will. But I enjoyed this list of philosophical films from The Guardian. All of them are worth seeing and all of the questions they raise […]

Interview: Carlos Pratts of “McFarland USA”

posted by Nell Minow

Carlos Pratt plays a real-life high school championship athlete in McFarland, USA, available on DVD and Blu-Ray June 2, 2015. Kevin Costner plays Coach Jim White, who has never coached running before when he helped a group of boys from […]

Would You Like to Win a Movie Theater With an Essay?

posted by Nell Minow

250 words and a $99 entry fee can win you a movie theater.  The Cape Ann Cinema is holding an essay contest to select the next owner.  Owner Rob Newton says: I opened the living-room-style Cape Ann Community Cinema in […]

Trailer: Absolutely Anything with Simon Pegg and the Monty Python Guys

posted by Nell Minow

This looks a bit too much like “Bruce Almighty,” but with the Monty Python guys playing aliens, I can’t help but be intrigued.

Mad Max: Fury Road

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Movie Release Date:May 15, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Movie Release Date: May 15, 2015

Mad Max (Tom Hardy, taking over from Mel Gibson) stamps on a two-headed lizard and then chews its head off. And that’s just in the first minute. That master of apocalyptic junkyard anarchy, George Miller, is back, bigger, wilder, madder […]

Pitch Perfect 2

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for innuendo and language
Movie Release Date:May 15, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for innuendo and language
Movie Release Date: May 15, 2015

“Pitch Perfect 2″ is — bear with me — the musical comedy variation on the “Furious 7″ recipe for success.  The sequel jettisons any pretense of seriousness of purpose, structural logic, or psychological authenticity, joyfully tosses off any pretense of […]

Get Roger Ebert’s Great Movies eBook for $1.99 Until May 24, 2015

posted by Nell Minow

Roger Ebert’s Great Movies ebook is on sale through May 24 for only $1.99. Whether you are a long-time film fan or just looking for something new on Netflix, you will want to have Ebert’s wise and witty appreciations of […]

Trailer: Queen Latifah Plays Bessie Smith on HBO

posted by Nell Minow

Queen Latifah plays blues singer Bessie Smith in a new movie premiering on HBO May 16, 2015.  Monique co-stars as Ma Rainey. Here is the real Bessie Smith.

A Better Movie with Sofia Vergara

posted by Nell Minow

Do you want to see a wild comedy with Sofia Vergara? Don’t waste your time with the dreary Hot Pursuit. Take a look at a much better film, Big Trouble, made in 2002, with Tim Allen and Rene Russo, based […]

Tomorrowland: Clues

posted by Nell Minow

Disney’s “Tomorrowland” is coming soon!  Here are some clues…

A Lovely Tribute to Movie Mothers

posted by Nell Minow

Rachel Apatoff on NPR

posted by Nell Minow

My beautiful and brilliant daughter, Rachel Apatoff, is a costume designer in Hollywood and she was interviewed on NPR today. A woman who worked with costume legends Edith Head and Bob Mackie was selling some of her possessions in a […]

Orson Welles: Happy First Century

posted by Nell Minow

Happy 100th birthday to the writer/director/star of one of the greatest films of all time, Citizen Kane. Everyone should see that movie, and then everyone should see it again, listening to Roger Ebert’s shot-by-shot commentary, a master illuminating a master […]

Noble

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, including some violent and sexual situations
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, including some violent and sexual situations
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

Christina Noble is an Irish woman known as “Mama Tina” to thousands of Vietnamese children and their families. Her own childhood was one of poverty, abandonment, loss, and hardship, but her resilience and determination led her to give children half […]

Hot Pursuit

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are both talented, beautiful actresses with savvy business acumen and strong entrepreneurial energy. Witherspoon’s accolades in 2014 included more than a Best Actress Oscar nomination for “Wild.” She also produced it, and another Oscar-nominated film, […]

Bravetown

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language, drug use and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language, drug use and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

If only salutory intentions and one good performance could save a film so fundamentally wrongly conceived. “Bravetown” starts out as “Footloose,” veers into “Ordinary People,” and ends up as “Swing Kids,” with jaw-dropping shifts in tone and focus and total […]

The D Train

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Unrated
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

Comedies, especially dark ones, have a lot of freedom when it comes to narrative logic, but the emotional logic still has to ring true. No matter how crazy the storyline gets, the way the characters respond to it has to […]

Ride

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:May 8, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: May 8, 2015

A surf bum named Ian (Luke Wilson) is explaining the physics of the interaction between surfboard and wave: it’s an inanimate object in an ever-changing environment. One doesn’t move. One never stops moving in powerful and highly unpredictable ways. And […]

Interview: Brenton Thwaites of “Ride”

posted by Nell Minow

Australian actor Brenton Thwaites (“Maleficent,” “The Giver”) stars in “Ride,” a new film written, directed, and starring Oscar-winner Helen Hunt. She plays Jackie, an overprotective mother whose son Angelo (Thwaites) is about to start college and move into a dorm […]

Interview: Jonny Campbell, Director of J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy”

posted by Nell Minow

J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults was the dark, sometimes savage story of small town politics, The Casual Vacancy. The title refers to an elected office that is vacated before the term is up, which in this story occurs in […]

Indiana Jones Exhibit at the National Geographic Museum

posted by Nell Minow

On May 14, 2015, an Indiana Jones exhibit comes to Washington, D.C.’s National Geographic Museum. It is an immersive experience, exploring the science and history of field archeology, featuring iconic props and behind-the-scenes production materials, including: * A vast and […]

Behind the Scenes: Pitch Perfect 2

posted by Nell Minow

Clip: Spare Parts DVD Extra With Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega Talk Robots and SPARE PARTS

posted by Nell Minow

Real-life spouses Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega talk about robots for the “Spare Parts” DVD/Blu-Ray, available today.

Tomorrowland: Meet Casey

posted by Nell Minow

Disney’s “Tomorrowland” opens Memorial Day weekend.  Britt Robertson (“The Longest Ride”) plays Casey.

MVP of the Month: Matthias Schoenaerts of “A Little Chaos” and “Far from the Madding Crowd”

posted by Nell Minow

Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts is this month’s MVP and best screen boyfriend, playing patient, decent, devoted, outdoorsy lovers in two different costume dramas. In “Far from the Madding Crowd” he plays farmer Gabriel Oak and in “A Little Chaos” he […]

Interview: Brian Bonnick Explains the Stunning New Technology of IMAX Laser Projection

posted by Nell Minow

The Smithsonian calls it a “reimagination of the movie-theater experience.” Its Arbus IMAX Theater at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum is one of only four theaters in the United States and the only one on the East coast to […]

May the 4th Be With You — Happy Star Wars Day!

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate Star Wars Day (“May the 4th Be With You”) by checking out the Star Wars Instagram photos. One of the highlights is Darth Vader’s selfie.

Native Americans Refuse to Work on Adam Sandler’s New Film

posted by Nell Minow

Adam Sandler is currently filming “The Ridiculous Six,” reportedly a comic version of the classic Western “The Magnificent Seven.” According to Indian Country Today Media, a group of Native American actors walked off the set because they were offended by […]

Trailer: Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man”

posted by Nell Minow

Woody Allen’s new movie has Joaquin Phoenix as a depressed middle-aged professor who finds new joy and meaning in the love a beautiful young student. This is a recurring theme in Allen’s films, but this trailer suggests that it may […]

Trailer: What Happened, Miss Simone? — Nina Simone Documentary

posted by Nell Minow

I was privileged to hear Nina Simone perform in concert and can’t wait to see this film.

Interview: Alex Garland of “Ex Machina”

posted by Nell Minow

Alex Garland is the screenwriter of thought-provoking sci-fi films like “28 Days Later” and “Never Let Me Go.”  He wrote and for the first time directed “Ex Machina,” a fascinating story about Caleb, a computer programmer (Domhnall Gleeson), invited to […]

Marvel/Disney — Where are the Natasha Dolls?

posted by Nell Minow

Jenna Busch and the wonderful folks of Legion of Leia and Heroic Girls are asking an important question: #wheresnatasha? Remember last year when the #WheresGamora hashtag called out the lack of Gamora toys in the Guardians of the Galaxy toy […]

Trailer: “Risen” — A Non-Believer Witnesses Christ’s Resurrection

posted by Nell Minow

Coming January 2016, starring Joseph Fiennes.

May 2015 — Movies Opening This Month

posted by Nell Minow

Fasten your seatbelts!  Summer movies are here.  Tonight “Avengers: Age of Ultron” will explode into theaters.  It’s already a blockbuster overseas. And for those of you who are looking for something more literary, “Far from the Madding Crowd” opens today […]

Far from the Madding Crowd

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015

It may be a British costume drama based on a classic novel, but Thomas Hardy’s saga of a headstrong woman and the three marriage proposals from very different men is not the usual corsets and teacups. Far from the Madding […]

Avengers: Age of Ultron

posted by Nell Minow

Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) sums it up best. Speaking pretty much to himself but also to us in the audience, he notes that he is on a floating city trying to fight off a robot army with arrows. “It doesn’t make […]

Welcome to Me

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015

In “Welcome to Me,” Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a depressed woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who wins $86 million in the lottery. She uses much of it to create a one-woman television series that feature monologues about her life […]

Iris

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date:May 1, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date: May 1, 2015

Fashion icon nonagenarian Iris Apfel is renowned for her taste and style. But people who see this movie, the last from documentary legend Albert Maysles, will remember her for her fearlessness and life force. Along with the signature big, round, […]

Original Version: Far from the Madding Crowd

posted by Nell Minow

Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Far from the Madding Crowd is the story of headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, who inherits a farm and who receives marriage proposals from three very different men. A new version starring Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, […]

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