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Una Gran Noticia! Disney’s First Latina Princess

posted by Nell Minow

The Disney princesses have their first Latina member! Princess Elena of Avalor will make her debut in the Disney Channel series “Sofia the First” before starring in her own series on the Disney channel. Disney says she is “a confident […]

Black or White

posted by Nell Minow

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

Black Sea

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Movie Release Date:January 30, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Movie Release Date: January 30, 2015

Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. “Outside is just dark, cold, and death,” says one. “We all live together or we all die together,” says another. Submarines […]

Interview: Ira Glass Talks to “Boyhood’s” Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane

posted by Nell Minow

“Boyhood” writer/director Richard Linkater and star Ellar Coltrane talk to “This American Life’s” Ira Glass about making the film over a twelve year period that began when Coltrane was six years old.

For the First Time at Sundance: A Panel on Faith and Films

posted by Nell Minow

The acclaimed Sundance Film Festival, where ground-breaking films and indie favorites often premiere, will have its first-ever panel discussion of faith and films this week. “Hollywood reflects society, society reflects Hollywood, and each needs the other,” Tim Gray, founder and […]

Interview: Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman of “Above and Beyond”

posted by Nell Minow

In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of “Machal” (volunteers from abroad), they not only turned the tide of the war, they also laid the groundwork […]

Women Talk About Making Movies

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times talked to women in Hollywood about making movies. Some of the highlights: “What’s wrong with bossy? It’s O.K. for a man.” Barbra Streisand, Director (“The Prince of Tides”) It’s a conundrum: We can’t change it ourselves, […]

When The Movie Plays With the Studio Logo

posted by Nell Minow

I got a big kick out of the post by Matt Singer from Screen Crush about movies that begin before the beginning by amending the studio’s opening logo.   Most recently, of course “The LEGO Movie” did the logo in […]

From Hermione to Belle: Emma Watson to Star in Live-Action “Beauty and the Beast”

posted by Nell Minow

Disney is working on a new live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” a follow to the upcoming “Cinderella,” and they have announced that “Harry Potter’s” Emma Watson will star as Belle. It will be directed by Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “Kinsey”). Watson […]

SAG Awards 2015

posted by Nell Minow

The Screen Actors Guild awards for television and movies in 2014 are in and it looks like Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore, and J.K. Simmons are in line to bring home Oscars on February 22. The tough one to call right […]

Paddington Music Video: Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani Sing “Shine”

posted by Nell Minow

Contest: Win Swag From One of the Year’s Worst Movies!

posted by Nell Minow

Mortdecai is a simply terrible movie. Don’t go see it. But its very terribleness just might be a reason to look super-cool in a Mortdecai t-shirt and socks! I have them and you can win them! Send an email to […]

Before They Were Stars: Television Commercials With Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, and More

posted by Nell Minow

Phil Hall has a delightful collection of “before they were stars” television ads featuring Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, James Dean, Morgan Freeman, Matt LeBlanc, Steve Carell, and more. Here’s one I love that he left out, with pre-“Laverne and Shirley” […]

Alan Menken Plays His Hits

posted by Nell Minow

Alan Menken, currently composing the songs for “Galavant,” here sings some of his greatest hits, including songs from “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Enchanted,” “Pocahontas,” “Tangled,” and “Newsies.”

Strange Magic

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

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

Bad Movies Inspire Great Critics: Mortdecai

posted by Nell Minow

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

Four Disney Artists Paint a Tree

posted by Nell Minow

Pure pleasure: Four great Disney artists, Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Josh Meador, and Walt Peregoy, paint a tree. There’s a reason they call them actors with pencils. Or, just call them geniuses.

Mortdecai

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

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

Trailer — The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

posted by Nell Minow

This looks adorable.  In theaters February 6, 2015.

Cake

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:January 24, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 20, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: January 24, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 20, 2015

Two shrewdly-chosen elements separate this film from the typical Lifetime saga of a middle class white woman struggling to overcome a dire challenge. First is the way writer Patrick Tobin and director Daniel Barnz (the underrated “Beastly”) trust the audience, […]

The Boy Next Door

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

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

Interview: George Lopez and Carlos PenaVega of “Spare Parts”

posted by Nell Minow

Spare Parts is based on the true story of four undocumented high school students who entered a robotics competition and beat the team from MIT.  I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to George Lopez, who produced the film […]

Contest: Win a DVD of “23 Blast”

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to have three copies of the heartwarming and inspiring “23 Blast” to give away. 23 Blast is the name of a football play, and “23 Blast” is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school […]

Interview: Meredith Anne Bull of “Strange Magic”

posted by Nell Minow

Meredith Anne Bull stars in this week’s release “Strange Magic,” an animated musical fairy tale based on a story by George Lucas. She plays Dawn the “young, naive, unaffected and thrilled with life” younger sister of the heroine, Marianne, played […]

This Week in Theaters: Two Lifetime-Ish Movies About Women Named Claire Played by Women Named Jennifer

posted by Nell Minow

Two of the movies opening this week are about women named Claire, played by women named Jennifer. And both are the kind of stories we often see in Lifetime movies. In “Cake,” Jennifer Aniston plays the survivor of a tragic […]

Smile of the Week: Pass the Salt

posted by Nell Minow

When his sons text at the dinner table, a father responds.  This film from Matthew Abeler won the Best Comedy Award at the 2014 Five16 Film Festival. In less than two minutes, it makes its point and makes us smile.

Interview: Kate Fowkes on Fantasy and Fairy Tales

posted by Nell Minow

Ten years ago, would anyone have believed there would be popular fairy-tale-inspired television series both serious (Once Upon a Time, Grimm), and comic/musical (Galavant)? Why do fantasy and fairy tales mean so much to us? I asked one of my […]

Debbie Reynolds on Movie Addict Headquarters

posted by Nell Minow

Debbie Reynolds, who will receive a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the SAG Awards this Sunday, appeared on Movie Addict Headquarters to talk about her career in the Golden Age of Hollywood with Betty Jo Tucker. Be sure to tune […]

Where is the Faith in “American Sniper” and “Unbroken?”

posted by Nell Minow

Two U.S. military heroes wrote books about their lives that became movies released in the last few weeks.  Both men wrote movingly about the way faith anchored their lives and guided their actions.  And yet there was little mention of […]

Trailer: Black or White

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer star as grandparents battling each other for custody of a child in “Black or White,” opening this week.

Exclusive Clip: A Little Game with Ralph Macchio, Janeane Garofalo, Rachel Dratch and Olympia Dukakis

posted by Nell Minow

Ostracized at her posh new uptown school and shaken by the death of her beloved grandmother, a 10 year-old downtown girl finds an unlikely mentor in the form of an irascible chess-master, who uses the game to teach Max lessons […]

Trailer: Ex Machina

posted by Nell Minow

Imagine they were beta-testing Samantha in “Her,” or one of the replicants in “Blade Runner” and you were brought in to try out the latest model. That’s the idea behind “Ex Machina,” with two of today’s most fascinating actors, Oscar […]

How Should We Look At “Offensive” Art?

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Sam Adams and Indiewire for including me in a thoughtful discussion of “offensive art” in light of the attack on the satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.  My response: I don’t have a favorite example of offensive art, […]

Why the Oscar Almost Always Goes to the Wrong Song

posted by Nell Minow

The rules governing which songs are eligible for the Oscar are out of date and out of whack. Okay, it’s fine with me if “Everything is Awesome” from “The LEGO Movie” wins this year, first because I love the song […]

Critics Choice Awards 2015

posted by Nell Minow

Sweetest moment of the Critics Choice Awards last night: when Emily Blunt was accepting her award for Best Actress in an Action/Sci-Fi Movie, her husband John Krasinski ran out from backstage, where he was waiting to present an award, to […]

Exclusive Trailer: Horse Camp with Dean Cain

posted by Nell Minow

All her life Kathy has wanted to ride a horse. Her dreams finally come true when her parents send her to a prestigious horse camp. Most of the girls at camp could see that Kathy is a natural with the […]

A Most Violent Year

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violence
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 6, 2015

After three very different movies, we know two things about writer/director J.C. Chandor. First, he is already one of today’s most original, thought-provoking directors, with a remarkably mature and insightful eye, and second, he is vitally interested in the survival […]

Spare Parts

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

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

Paddington

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date:April 27, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: January 16, 2015
DVD Release Date: April 27, 2015

Michael Bond’s gentle, charming stories about the Peruvian bear named for a London train station has been brought to the screen almost as gently and charmingly, and certainly far more so than the slapsticky trailer suggested. A generation ago, a […]

Oscar Nominations 2015: Surprises, Disappointments, Predictions

posted by Nell Minow

This year’s Oscar nominations are out!  Most of the expected nominees made it, but there were some surprises and disappointments, especially the omission of the Roger Ebert documentary “Life Itself” and the animated mega-hit “The LEGO Movie,” both of which […]

Interview: David Heyman, Producer of “Paddington”

posted by Nell Minow

David Heyman was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the smartest people in Hollywood. It may be because he grabbed the rights to a children’s book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I enjoyed his latest movie, “Paddington,” […]

Spare Parts — The Real Story

posted by Nell Minow

If it did not actually happen, no one would believe it. Four undocumented high school students with no money entered an underwater robotics competition, decided to compete against the college teams instead of the other high schools, and won, triumphing […]

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Exclusive Clip: Little Accidents with Elizabeth Banks

posted by Nell Minow

“Little Accidents” is a tense drama with Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook (“The Skeleton Twins,” “Gone Girl”), Josh Lucas, Chloë Sevigny, and Jacob Lofland (Mud, FX’s “Justified”). It opens Friday, January 16th in select theaters nationwide, VOD Platforms and iTunes. In […]

Contest: Paddington Bear

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Paddington day!  In honor of this week’s release of the Paddington movie, I have some completely adorable little Paddington Bears to give away.  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Paddington in the subject line and tell me your […]

Interview: Dan Heath, Co-Composer of the “Big Eyes” Song

posted by Nell Minow

Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes” is based on the real-life case of Walter Keane, who said he was responsible for the hugely successful “big eye” paintings of children in the 1960’s, and his wife Margaret Keane, who, as determined in a […]

Help Save the Rom-Com! Make a 30-Second Rom-Com and Win a Prize!

posted by Nell Minow

Did you know there was not one major romantic comedy release last year? What happened to all the Jennifers and Jessicas? All the meet-cutes and misunderstandings? All the quippy best friends and quirky roommates? All the cute pajamas and strolls […]

2015 Awards from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists

posted by Nell Minow

I am so proud to be a member of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and of our 2015 awards. AWFJ EDA ‘BEST OF’ AWARDS These awards are presented to females and/or males. Best Film BOYHOOD Best Director (Female or […]

Golden Globes 2015: The Good, The Bad, and the What Were They Thinking?

posted by Nell Minow

Thoughts on the 2015 Golden Globes: Amy Poehler and Tina Fey were marvelous as always. We knew they’d take on the Sony hack and “The Interview” and they got right to it. “North Korea referred to The Interview as ‘absolutely […]

Awards Season Heats Up

posted by Nell Minow

This is the week when we start seeing things come together as we get ready for the biggest awards night in the world of movies, the Oscars, coming up on February 22, 2015. Tonight is the Golden Globes. Amy Poehler […]

Exquisitely Subtle Movie Images in Cinemagraphs

posted by Nell Minow

Take a look at these gorgeous cinemagraphs by Tech Noir (Floris Kloet). Just watch for a moment and see how he uses the most subtle movement to create a mood. Beautifully done, and illuminating about the way we are touched […]

LAIKA Auction: Items from Coraline, ParaNorman, and Boxtrolls

posted by Nell Minow

LAIKA Studios is making some of the items from its brilliant stop-motion films “Coraline,” “ParaNorman,” and “Boxtrolls” available for sale for the first time through the Heritage auction house. They include: ● From Coraline * Coraline production puppet in her […]

Tribute: Rod Taylor

posted by Nell Minow

Today we mourn the loss of the Australian actor Rod Taylor, star of classic films including The Time Machine and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  He was an affable leading man with the confident physicality of an athlete, comfortable in light […]

Trailer: The Age of Adaline — With Harrison Ford and Blake Lively

posted by Nell Minow

Would you like to stay young forever? Maybe not.

Inherent Vice

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence
Movie Release Date:January 9, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence
Movie Release Date: January 9, 2015

We love mystery stories because they reassure us that questions have answers and justice is possible. But some mystery stories are there to remind us that life is complicated and messy, and sometimes answers are just more questions. This is […]

Trailer: True Story with James Franco and Jonah Hill

posted by Nell Minow

James Franco and Jonah Hill star in “True Story,” a title with layers of meaning. It is based on the real life story of reporter Michael Finkel (Hill), who was fired because he fabricated and altered facts in a “true […]

What Even Heroine-Led Films for Kids Get Wrong About Women

posted by Nell Minow

I’m glad that we are seeing more spirited, strong female characters, especially in movies for kids, really I am. But we still have a long way to go, as discussed in an excellent analysis on Tor.com from Emily Asher-Perrin. She […]

On DVD This Week: Sacred Journeys

posted by Nell Minow

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

Interview: Lacey Schwartz on Her Family’s “Little White Lie” — No One Told Her She Was a Black Daughter in a White Family

posted by Nell Minow

Lacey Schwartz grew up as the much-loved only child of warm, loving parents in a close-knit middle-class Jewish family. She did not resemble her parents, but they reassured her that she had a Sicilian grandparent who was the genetic source […]

List: Movie Snowmen

posted by Nell Minow

The movies have included some memorable snowmen. Here are some of my favorites. The Snowman This exquisite wordless story about a boy and a snowman is bittersweet (their time together is limited) but exhilarating. Frozen Olaf is the most adorable […]

Tonight on CNN: The Roger Ebert Documentary “Life Itself”

posted by Nell Minow

You will never see a better movie than the documentary “Life Itself,” the story of an extraordinary life. Roger used to say, “‘Rocky’” is not about boxing. It is about Rocky.” And this movie is not about movies or movie […]

Susan Wloszczyna on Producer Gail Anne Hurd

posted by Nell Minow

Susan Wloszczyna’s terrific series on women filmmakers for the Alliance of Women Film Journalists continues with a profile of Gail Anne Hurd, producer of films like “The Terminator,” “Aliens,” and television like “The Walking Dead.” Hurd has appeared on some […]

Oscar Isaac on “A Most Violent Year”

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”) is one of my favorite actors.  In “A Most Violent Year” he plays an immigrant in 1981 New York trying to keep his very successful home heating oil business both legitimate and competitive in a […]

Trailer: Disney Channel’s Bad Hair Day

posted by Nell Minow

This looks like a lot of fun!  Coming this spring on the Disney Channel, starring Laura Marano and Leigh-Allyn Baker, it’s “Bad Hair Day.”

How True Should a “Based on a True Story” Movie Be?

posted by Nell Minow

What does “based on a true story” really mean? The Washington Post had a front-page story titled, “‘Selma’ sets off a controversy amid Oscar buzz,” describing the objections by Lyndon Johnson administration insiders to the way he was portrayed. They […]

Trailer: Helen Mirren in “The Woman in Gold”

posted by Nell Minow

It is one of the most famous paintings of the 20th Century, a masterwork by Gustav Klimt, a portrait of his friend Adele Bloch-Bauer. It was confiscated by the Nazis during WWII. And then, 60 years later, it became the […]

Happy 2015! Here’s What’s Coming to Theaters This Year

posted by Nell Minow

Happy 2015! Some of the most highly anticipated films we expect this year are sequels. We’re going to get the rebooted “Star Wars” called “The Force Awakens,” with original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, as well as […]

Christopher Orr’s 2014 Movie Round-Up

posted by Nell Minow

If I were going to make a top ten list of movie top ten lists, Christopher Orr‘s would be number one. I love reading his end-of-year pieces in The Atlantic. The best of the year list is just the beginning. […]

End the Year With Films About Justice

posted by Nell Minow

Bill Moyers has an excellent list of 2014’s best documentaries about the struggle for justice, covering issues from healthcare to the environment, politics, the collision between national security and privacy, domestic violence, human rights, and marriage equality. All are highly […]

2014 in Film: Best, Worst, and More

posted by Nell Minow

Ten is an arbitrary number, a year is an arbitrary span of time, and it makes no sense at all to try to rank movies that are so different in concept, genre, and aspiration. Nevertheless, as I always say when […]

Trailer: “Comet” with Justin Long and Emmy Rossum

posted by Nell Minow

I love this trailer for “Comet,” an intriguing romance with a fantasy/sci-fi element, starring Justin Long and Emmy Rossum.

Denzel Washington Turns 60

posted by Nell Minow

Happy 60th birthday to the man I consider the finest actor working in movies today, Denzel Washington. Genetta M. Adams assembled an impressive top ten list for The Root in honor of his 60th birthday. Many of my favorites are […]

CONTEST: Divergent DVD/Book

posted by Nell Minow

I have a Divergent DVD/Book to give away! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Divergent” in the subject line and tell me about the best gift you ever GAVE. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only.) I’ll pick a […]

The Year’s Best Christian Films

posted by Nell Minow

The Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury is made up of film critics and cinephiles who wish to recognize and celebrate films that use the medium to explore themes of religion, faith, or spirituality. We particularly seek to enlarge or expand […]

The Real Story: Walter and Margaret Keane and the Big Eyes Paintings

posted by Nell Minow

The strangest parts of the story of Walter and Margaret Keane in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes are true. Perhaps the strangest of all is that the paintings — at the time thought to be painted by Walter Keane but ultimately […]

Selma

posted by Nell Minow

“Selma,” director Ava DuVernay’s film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital at Montgomery, to make the case for the right to vote, is superb as biography, as history, and as […]

Into the Woods

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

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

Unbroken

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie breaks into the top ranks of American directors with “Unbroken,” showing an exceptional understanding not just of actors, but of tone, scale, and letting the camera tell the story. Working with the magnificent cinematography of Roger […]

Big Eyes

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

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

George Bailey’s Christmas: It’s A Wonderful Life Closing Scenes

posted by Nell Minow

Christmastime Is Here — from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

posted by Nell Minow

Selma: The Real Story

posted by Nell Minow

Here is some footage of the real-life march from Selma to Montgomery depicted in this week’s Martin Luther King film, “Selma.” Governor George Wallace made his famous pledge of “segregation forever” in his inaugural address. That speech was written by […]

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release, “Selma,” begins with the ceremony honoring The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King with the Nobel Peace Prize. Here is the real footage of his famous speech.

Pride

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date:October 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 22, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief sexual content
Movie Release Date: October 9, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 22, 2014

The ingredients for this film were so irresistible that it is a unexpected bonus to find that it is so much better than it needed to be. It’s based on a true story of extraordinary kindness, generosity, and friendship and […]

Interview: Ava DuVernay of “Selma”

posted by Nell Minow

My favorite movie of the year is “Selma,” the story of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery, to bring attention to the barriers the Southern states were using to prevent black […]

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?

posted by Nell Minow

Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don’t seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, […]

Interview: Matthew Llewellyn, Composer for Wally Lamb’s “Wishin’ and Hopin'”

posted by Nell Minow

Wishin’ and Hopin’ is Lifetime movie airing December 21, 2014, based on the novel by Wally Lamb. It stars Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf with narration by Chevy Chase. Composer Matthew Llewellyn was kind enough to answer my questions about […]

Actors Of Color Discuss Racial Stereotypes In Hollywood

posted by Nell Minow

Film Courage produced this excellent and very compelling film with actors of color talking about the challenges they face in Hollywood. If we did a better job of representing diversity in film, we would not just tell better stories and […]

Annie

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corporate privacy invasions, and Katy Perry tweets. There are some […]

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 9, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 9, 2015

Fans of the first two “Night at the Museum” films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibits come to life […]

Little Orphan Annie: From Comic Strip to Radio, Broadway, Television, and Two Movies

posted by Nell Minow

The spunky little girl with the curly red hair and a dog named Sandy began as Little Orphan Annie in 1924, created by Harold Gray.  Her pluck, self-sufficiency, and resilience caught the imagination of the Depression-era audience in the 30’s, […]

A Trailer for A Movie You’ll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna

posted by Nell Minow

“Moonquake Lake” has a lot of star power behind it — “LEGO Movie” directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks….intriguing, some sort of “Twilight”-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn’t […]

New Additions to the National Film Registry: 2014

posted by Nell Minow

The Library of Congress has announced this year’s additions to the National Film Registry. 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant titles are added each year, under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act. The films must be at least […]

Black Reel Awards Nominations 2014

posted by Nell Minow

One of the great pleasures of this time of year is voting for so many of my favorite filmmakers as a part of the Black Reel Awards. Thanks, as ever, to Tim Gordon for allowing me to participate. I think […]

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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

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

Online Film Critics Awards 2014

posted by Nell Minow

I am proud to be a member of the Online Film Critics Society, and very pleased to announce this year’s awards: Best Picture: The Grand Budapest Hotel Best Animated Feature: The Lego Movie Best Film Not in the English Language: […]

Critics Choice Award Nominees 2014

posted by Nell Minow

I am very proud to be a member of the Broadcast Movie Critics Association and very excited about attending this year’s award ceremony on January 15, 2015, hosted by Michael Strahan. I’m thrilled that we will be presenting special awards […]

Trailer — Mad Max: Fury Road

posted by Nell Minow

This is absolutely stunning.  Can’t wait to see it.

Trailer: Pixar’s Inside Out

posted by Nell Minow

Remember the old scary movie line, “The call is coming from inside the house?”  There’s nothing more terrifying than discovering that a place or a person you were certain was safe has all of a sudden become completely unpredictable and […]

AFI Docs Announces New Director: Michael Lumpkin

posted by Nell Minow

I am a huge fan of AFIDocs, the documentary Film Festival (formerly SilverDocs) and am proud to have been a sponsor for the past two years.  So I was delighted to hear that The American Film Institute has selected producer […]

After You’ve Watched White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and A Christmas Story…..

posted by Nell Minow

I love the Christmas classic movies and watch as many as I can every year.  But there are many great Christmas films that don’t get mentioned as often and I like to remind families that these are worth making time […]

See The Year’s Most Intriguing Actors In New Kissing Scenes: NY Times Magazine

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times brought together the stars of some of this year’s biggest films and asked them to kiss. Each is a tiny gem of a film that suggests so much more.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Bloopers

posted by Nell Minow

From this week’s DVD/Blu-Ray release of Guardians of the Galaxy — it looks like as much fun to make as it was to watch!

Exodus: Gods and Kings

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

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

Top Five

posted by Nell Minow

Why is it that we love to talk about our top five? Is it because it gives us a sense of order in the midst of chaos? Is it because we feel that if we can somehow distill the whole […]

2014 Award Nominations: SAG and Golden Globes

posted by Nell Minow

Awards season is heating up. Yesterday, the Screen Actors Guild announced their nominees and this morning we heard from the Golden Globes. Both are considered early indicators of the Oscars, but for different reasons. SAG is the actors voting for […]

Supercut: The Best Films of 2014 from David Ehrlich of Little White Lies

posted by Nell Minow

This gorgeously edited supercut from David Ehrlich of Little White Lies pays tribute to his favorite films of 2014 from the widely lauded to the barely noticed. Get out a pen and paper — you’re going to want to make […]

Trailer: Al Pacino as an Aging Rock Star in “Danny Collins”

posted by Nell Minow

Al Pacino plays a rock star whose life is changed when he finds a letter John Lennon wrote him decades before.

Family DVDs for Hannukah

posted by Nell Minow

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

Behind the Scenes: Boyhood

posted by Nell Minow

Enjoy this glimpse behind the scenes of “Boyhood,” the remarkable film made over a 12-year period, as star Ellar Coltrane ages from six to eighteen. I am very proud that it was selected by our Washington Area Film Critics Association […]

Trailer: Strange Magic, A New Animated Film from George Lucas

posted by Nell Minow

Coming next month — a long-term passion project from George Lucas, “Strange Magic” features the voices of Kristin Chenoweth, Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cummings, Maya Rudolph, Alfred Molina, and Elijah Kelley.

Exclusive Clip: When the Game Stands Tall

posted by Nell Minow

We are proud to be able to present this exclusive clip from the new DVD release “When the Game Stands Tall,” the extraordinary true story of the high school football team with the longest winning streak in the history of […]

Washington Area Film Critics Awards 2014: Birdman, Boyhood, Roger Ebert’s Life Itself and the Best DC Movie of the Year

posted by Nell Minow

I’m proud to announce the winners of the 2014 awards from the Washington Area Film Critics. It is especially meaningful to me that we chose Roger Ebert’s story, “Life Itself,” as our top documentary of the year. It’s not about […]

Movie Theaters Worth the Drive?

posted by Nell Minow

Movie theater owners are constantly having to up their game to sell tickets, knowing that many film-lovers have well-equipped home theaters and will wait three or four months until the movies are available for home viewing. It can be tough […]

Student Filmmakers: Enter Your Movies in the White House Student Film Festival

posted by Nell Minow

Cooler than Cannes — you could get a chance to have your movie shown at the White House! From now through January 20, submissions are open for the second White House Student Film Festival. The theme of this year’s festival […]

Washington Area Film Critic Awards 2014: Nominations

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Area Film Critics Association is proud to announce our nominees for our 2014 awards: Best Film: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Boyhood Gone Girl Selma Whiplash Best Director: Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) Ava DuVernay (Selma) David Fincher […]

Trailer: Hugh Jackman in “Pan”

posted by Nell Minow

Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up, has been enchanting children and their families for more than a century now. This week’s live broadcast of the Broadway musical version starred Alison Williams and Christopher Walken. And next year […]

Casting News: The Next James Bond Villain and a Remake of a Classic Western

posted by Nell Minow

Just ten more months until the next James Bond film! Daniel Craig will return as 007, and he will be joined by Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz, along with “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott (Moriarty to Benedict Cumberbatch’s […]

Behind the Scenes Featurette: Unbroken

posted by Nell Minow

One of the biggest films of the year is “Unbroken,” based on the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete whose airplane crashed into the Pacific in WWII. He survived for weeks in a lifeboat and then spent two […]

Poems from “Wild” — Emily Dickinson and Adrienne Rich

posted by Nell Minow

In “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed begins her 1100-mile hike with a quote from Emily Dickinson. Here is the poem. If your Nerve, deny you— If your Nerve, deny you— Go above your Nerve— He can lean against the Grave, If he […]

Wild

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

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

The Imitation Game

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 30, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2015

Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician with an enormous intellect, an almost equally enormous ego, and an almost equally enormous secret. He was one of the founding thinkers behind modern computing and it is his name that we use for […]

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 — For Movie Lovers and Their Families

posted by Nell Minow

Happy holidays to one and all! Whatever you are celebrating at this time of year, these films will race your pulse, warm your heart, and delight any friends and family members lucky enough to receive them. For the lover of […]

HUGE Holiday Giveaway! Family DVD Giftpack

posted by Nell Minow

I have a fabulous gift pack of family DVDs to give away!  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Holiday” in the subject line and tell me your favorite holiday dessert.  Don’t forget your address!  (US addresses only).  I’ll pick […]

Download This Year’s Best Screenplays for Free

posted by Nell Minow

For a limited time only (and for educational purposes only) this year’s best screenplays are available for free download. This is a chance to read the work of greats like Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”), Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), Alejandro Iñárritu, Nicolás […]

Margo Page on a Broader Bechdel Test

posted by Nell Minow

I’ve written more than once about the Bechdel test for movies: Are there at least two named female characters who have lines and do they talk to each other about anything other than men? And I’ve written about some of […]

The Right Stuff: An Oral History

posted by Nell Minow

What a treat to see an oral history for one of my favorite films of all time, “The Right Stuff.” The story of the first astronauts in the early days of the space program, based on Tom Wolfe’s book, is […]

Leonard Maltin’s Collection of Movie Memorabilia on eBay

posted by Nell Minow

The great critic and film historian Leonard Maltin has moved to a new home and so he is putting some of his fabulous collection of movie treasures up for auction on eBay. Maltin writes: Long ago I got hooked on […]

December 2014: A Lot of Oscar Hopefuls and Holiday Blockbusters

posted by Nell Minow

Happy December! Everyone is busy in December, but make time now on your schedule for some of the year’s biggest films, including Oscar hopefuls, blockbusters, and even a couple of possible surprises. (NOTE: As typical at this time of year, […]

Composer Christopher Lennertz on “Horrible Bosses 2″

posted by Nell Minow

I am usually so busy taking notes when I am at a movie screening that I don’t have time to pay much attention to the score, but at “Horrible Bosses 2” I took a moment to scrawl “great music!” Not […]

Trailer: Sam Rockwell and Marisa Tomei in “Loitering With Intent”

posted by Nell Minow

Available on nationwide VOD beginning 12/16 and in theaters January 2015! When out-of-work-actors Raphael (Ivan Martin) and Dominic (Michael Godere) hustle a prominent New York producer into believing they’ve written a hot movie script, they have 10 days to deliver […]

How Do People Decide What Movies to See?

posted by Nell Minow

Google did a survey to determine why and how people decide what movies to see. Flavorwire reports: Unsurprisingly, they’re trumpeting the prominence of Google-owned YouTube, noting that four out of five moviegoers “use video sites to look for more information […]

Trailer: Star Wars — The Force Awakens

posted by Nell Minow

This is AWESOME!

Two Nights Only in Theaters: 60th Anniversary of “White Christmas”

posted by Nell Minow

The 60th anniversary of one of the most beloved movies in history is coming up, and so you will have a chance to see “White Christmas” in theaters for just two nights, December 14-15, 2014. This is your chance to […]

Horrible Bosses 2

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

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

Penguins of Madagascar

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 16, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 16, 2015

The most adorable characters from the first three animated “Madagascar” movies were the penguins, the seldom right but never in doubt leader Skipper (Tom McGrath), the often right but never listened to Kowalski (Chris Miller), the literally explosive Rico (Conrad […]

Coming Soon: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the Miniseries

posted by Nell Minow

Susanna Clarke’s novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is one of those delicious stories that transports the reader to another world, so enthralling that it is difficult to leave. The setting is historical, England in 1806, as the Napoleonic Wars […]

Trailer: Jurassic World with Christ Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard

posted by Nell Minow

MPAA Ratings #Fail on “Horrible Bosses 2″

posted by Nell Minow

In yet another example of the inadequacy and the deliberate obfuscation of the MPAA ratings systems, we have the ratings for both the theatrical release of “Horrible Bosses 2″ and the upcoming unrated DVD. Not only does the explanation omit […]

Family Movies for Thanksgiving

posted by Nell Minow

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

Smile of the Week: Spaghetti

posted by Nell Minow

The New X-Men Villain is….Oscar Isaac

posted by Nell Minow

Ever since he played Joseph in “The Nativity Story, I’ve been saying that Oscar Isaac should be a full-on movie star. He gave my favorite performance of last year as Llewyn Davis in the Coen Brothers movie “Inside Llewyn Davis,” […]

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Auction Tomorrow from Bonhams/TCM

posted by Nell Minow

Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies have joined together again for another auction of classic Hollywood memorabilia, with treasures from the golden age of movie-making, including the piano Sam plays “As Time Goes By” on in “Casablanca,” the cowardly lion’s costume […]

Little Hope Was Arson

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not Rated
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014

In a small East Texas community “with a church on every corner,” 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film “Fireproof” one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself the next day. This is a […]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Stars Talk About the Film

posted by Nell Minow

Fandango has a great interview with the stars of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.” What was the toughest part for Jennifer Lawrence?  Singing!

Exclusive Clip: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

posted by Nell Minow

Writer, director and producer Tyler Perry presents the unpredictable tale of a successful woman’s life “gone downhill” when Tyler Perry’s Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned – The Play is showcased on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and […]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 6, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2015

It seems no different at first. While the second in the “Hunger Games” series ended with the surprise last-minute rescue of heroine Katniss Everden (Jennifer Lawrence), and the even bigger surprise that insider Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was secretly […]

Foxcatcher

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

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

Trailer: Pitch Perfect 2 — The Pitch is Back!!

posted by Nell Minow

Acca-can’t wait.

Tribute: Mike Nichols

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of director Mike Nichols, who died yesterday at age 83, survived by his wife, television journalist Diane Sawyer. Nichols began as part of the 1950’s improvisational movement coming out of Chicago, and rose to fame as […]

Trailer: Disney’s New Live-Action “Cinderella” With Cate Blanchett as the Evil Stepmother

posted by Nell Minow

Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) plays the title role in Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella,” with Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother and Helena Bonham-Carter as the fairy godmother, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) is the charming prince. […]

Costume Designers: One Famous, One Not

posted by Nell Minow

Costume designers are not a about pretty clothes or fashion. The one time Coco Chanel tried to design costumes for a film, her impeccable designs came across as flat and uninspired. Costumes are about creating the character and telling the […]

Susan Wloszczyna on the Prospects for Women at the Oscars

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and fellow critic Susan Wloszczyna is covering the run-up to the Oscars for Women and Hollywood, and I particularly appreciated her thoughtful essay on the prospects for women nominees this year. Noting that only one woman has ever […]

List: The Greatest Acts of Kindness on Film

posted by Nell Minow

I love this list of the most touching and inspiring moments of kindness in movies from BFI, including my favorite:

Trailer — Hannah: Buddhism’s Untold Journey

posted by Nell Minow

Hannah Nydahl was dedicated to introducing Buddhism to the western hemisphere.  This is her story. Co Director/Producer Marta György Kessler spent 15 years traveling with Hannah Nydahl and some of the most renowned Buddhist Lamas, before her directorial debut with […]

Exclusive Clip: The Three Dogateers

posted by Nell Minow

“The Three Dogateers” from vRLJE/Image Entertainment is available starting tomorrow, November 18, 2014 only at Walmart. “Lois and Clark’s” Dean Cain and “Office Space’s” Richard Riehle star in this story about three little white fur balls who get their paws […]

Rosewater

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014

First-time writer/director Jon Stewart has made a remarkably assured film about the imprisonment and torture of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari It is an absorbing drama that is at the same time the story of a very specific individual and a […]

MVPs of the Month: Scientists and Nerds

posted by Nell Minow

November 2014 may just be the greatest month in film history for the portrayal of heroes and heroines whose achievements are not about athletics or fights but about equations and science. Last week we had two blockbuster hits featuring fictional […]

Interview: A.J. Edwards of the Lincoln Movie “The Better Angels”

posted by Nell Minow

A. J. Edwards is the writer and director of “The Better Angels,” a lyrical new film about the early years of Abraham Lincoln, when he was a boy growing up in a small log cabin. The title comes from Lincoln’s […]

Coming Soon: Guardians of the Galaxy on Blu-Ray with Extras

posted by Nell Minow

Coming soon on DVD and Blu-Ray: the most purely entertaining film of the year, “Guardians of the Galaxy”  Release dates: 11/18 for Digital 3D and Digital HD 12/9 Digital SD, 3D Blu-ray Combo pack (3D Blu-ray + Single Disc Blu-ray […]

Interview: Nate Parker of “Beyond the Lights”

posted by Nell Minow

I first interviewed Nate Parker seven years ago about “The Great Debaters.” It was a great pleasure to catch up with him to discuss his performance in “Beyond the Lights,” one of the year’s best romantic dramas, with sizzling chemistry […]

Contest: Tickets to a DC Screening of “Penguins of Madagascar” on November 22, 2014

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to be able to offer a limited number of FREE TICKETS to a pre-release screening of “Penguins of Madagascar” in Washington DC on Saturday morning, November 22, 2014. To win a pair of tickets, follow this link to […]

Trailer: Song One with Anne Hathaway

posted by Nell Minow

Behind the Scenes: Eddie Redmayne and Stephen Hawking on “The Theory of Everything”

posted by Nell Minow

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “The Theory of Everything,” with comments from stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, director James Marsh, and Stephen Hawking himself.

Interview: Gina Prince-Bythewood of “Beyond the Lights”

posted by Nell Minow

It was an honor to speak to one of my favorite filmmakers, Gina Prince-Bythewood, writer/director of one of this year’s best romantic dramas, “Beyond the Lights.” As I spoke to her, she had just received word that Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who […]

Beyond the Lights

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

“Beyond the Lights” is a welcome return to the grand traditions of movie romance, with sizzling chemistry between gorgeous, fabulously charismatic stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker. And it also has some very astute insights about family, ambition, and the […]

Dumb and Dumber To

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 15, 2015
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 15, 2015

A poorly timed cameo appearance by Honey Boo-Boo’s sexual predator-consorting Mama June is dumb.  Making a sequel 11 years after the original “Dumb and Dumber” and the best-forgotten prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” is dumber.  Too. Jeff […]

The Theory of Everything

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Movie Release Date:November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 16, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Movie Release Date: November 14, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 16, 2015

We have seen many film biographies of great individuals (mostly men). But we have seen almost no films, fact-based or fictional, about great marriages. And we have certainly never seen any films about great marriages that end up with the […]

The 100 Best Action Movies: Time Out

posted by Nell Minow

Time Out Magazine went to the experts — action directors and stars — to make a rock ‘em sock ‘em list of the all-time best action films. I immediately guessed #1, did you? Here’s a hint — it was featured […]

CriticWire: Our Favorite Movies About Making Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to CriticWire for including me in this great survey about one of my favorite categories of movies: Movies About the Art, Craft, and Business of Movie-Making. There are some great choices here, including:

The All-Time Best Movie Sandwiches

posted by Nell Minow

Slate has a wonderful compilation of the top ten movie sandwiches of all time.  But they left out my favorite, which was the inspiration for my 101 Must-See Movie Moments, the sandwich made by the daughter of the main character […]

The Other Stephen Hawking Movie — With Benedict Cumberbatch

posted by Nell Minow

Before “The Theory of Everything” with Eddie Redmayne as cosmologist Stephen Hawking, there was “Hawking” with Benedict Cumberbatch. You can see it on YouTube.

Veteran’s Day 2014: Paying Tribute

posted by Nell Minow

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

Interstellar at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum

posted by Nell Minow

  Every element of Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” was really happening in front of the camera. Well, they didn’t actually go into space and explore other planets, but they did build every piece of equipment and they did seek out landscapes […]

Beyond the Light’s “Blackbird” — Original Version

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s lush romantic drama “Beyond the Lights” features a touching cover of the Nina Simone classic “Blackbird.” Before you enjoy the new version, here’s the original.

Robert Elisberg’s Review of My Book: 101 Must-See Movie Moments

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to my old friend Robert Elisberg for a wonderful review of my book in the Huffington Post. 101 Must-See Movie Moments What makes the book such fun is that most books on movies give a fairly general overview […]

Are Romantic Comedies About Love or Money?

posted by Nell Minow

I really enjoyed this essay by Meredith Haggerty at Medium about the way that romantic comedies have dealt with money issues through the years. Of course, all movies reflect the economic environment of their eras — the eras in which […]

Danny Elfman: Film Score Composer

posted by Nell Minow

We attended a superb concert at the Kennedy Center, with the National Symphony playing some of film scores Danny Elfman composed for his long-time colleague Tim Burton. So I was especially glad to see this excellent interview with Danny Elfman […]

Movies Are Mirrors: Seeing Ourselves in Movies

posted by Nell Minow

The Poem from Interstellar: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

posted by Nell Minow

“Interstellar” features this classic poem by Dylan Thomas: Do not go gentle into that good night Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of […]

Trailer: Minions

posted by Nell Minow

Did you ever wonder where Gru’s minions came from?

Red Carpet: The Theory of Everything with Eddie Redmayne and Screenwriter Anthony McCarten

posted by Nell Minow

Tonight was a special screening of “The Theory of Everything” and I was very lucky to be at the red carpet, with star Eddie Redmayne, who plays physicist Stephen Hawking, and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. Redmayne told me about the meticulous […]

Big Hero 6

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 23, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 7, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2015

Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a super-smart kid who likes to hustle underground robot fighters with his deceptively cute-looking little bot.  He has no interest in going to school until the older brother he adores (Daniel Henney as Tadashi) brings him to […]

News from Pixar: Another Toy Story!

posted by Nell Minow

Disney has announced “Toy Story 4,” coming from Pixar in 2017, to be directed by John Lasseter.  Hurray for Pixar, and for Buzz and Woody!  I’ll provide more details as they are announced.

MVP of the Week: Robots

posted by Nell Minow

Two of the biggest movies of the year open up this week and they have one more important similarity — they both feature robots. Disney’s animated “Big Hero 6″ has a robot named Baymax, created to diagnose and treat a […]

Trailer: Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

posted by Nell Minow

I have to say I thought a Grumpy Cat movie was not a good idea, but this adorably meta trailer has just about won me over.  It will be broadcast Saturday, November 29th at 8/7c on Lifetime, and my prediction is […]

Interview: Laura Poitras of the Edward Snowden Documentary “Citizenfour”

posted by Nell Minow

I normally begin my interviews by asking for permission to record the conversation for my notes.  But there was something eerily resonant about that routine request when I spoke to journalist Laura Poitras, director of the new documentary “Citizenfour,” about […]

Interstellar

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

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

Interview: Jet Jurgensmeyer of “A Belle for Christmas”

posted by Nell Minow

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

An Interview With Planes: Fire & Rescue Stars Erik Estrada and Fred Willard

posted by Nell Minow

Erik Estrada and Fred Willard provide two of the most distinctive voices in Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue, and it was a great treat to hear those voices through my telephone, as both actors called me to talk about their […]

Now on DVD: Garfield Holiday Collection

posted by Nell Minow

Garfield Holiday Collection, available on DVD exclusively at Walmart stores on November 4th and on iTunes and other digital platforms on November 11th, 2014, includes Emmy™ Award-winners “Garfield Halloween Adventure” and “Garfield on the Town,” as well as Emmy™ Award-nominated […]

Trailer: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry — The Women’s Movement 1966-71

posted by Nell Minow

Three Films About What We Discover About Others and Ourselves When We See and Hear What People Do When They Think No One is There

posted by Nell Minow

Professor Drew Morton deftly shows the connections between three films about listening or looking in secret and what secrets are discovered or uncovered: Blow Up, Blow Out, and The Conversation

November 2014: Movies This Month

posted by Nell Minow

It’s going to be a great month at the movies! November is traditionally the time when we start to see the big awards hopefuls. Next Friday, two of the most anticipated films of the year open: Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” with […]

HBO: Frances McDormand in Olive Kitteridge

posted by Nell Minow

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Stout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a difficult woman experiencing and creating difficulties, is now a two-part miniseries on HBO, premiering tomorrow night, with Oscar-winner Frances McDormand in the title role.

Laggies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Movie Release Date:October 31, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexual material and teen partying
Movie Release Date: October 31, 2014

Lynn Shelton is known for writing and directing small, intimate, independent films with a lot of improvised dialogue (“Humpday,””My Sister’s Sister,” “Touchy Feely”), often using the same small group of actors. With “Laggies,” she moves seamlessly to working with a […]

Middleburg Film Festival — Year Two

posted by Nell Minow

The paint was hardly dry at Middleburg Virginia’s swanky new Salamander Resort when the first Middleburg Film Festival kicked off last year, but it was a spectacular start for both the festival and the resort, with Bruce Dern appearing to […]

Disney’s Headless Horseman, Sung by Bing Crosby

posted by Nell Minow

List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Halloween! Here are ten of my favorite movie ghosts.  (NOTE: Some of these have inferior remakes — stick with the originals.) Topper Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the most sophisticated, witty, and glamorous ghosts ever in this delightful […]

List: Sam Rockwell

posted by Nell Minow

Sam Rockwell is one of the most versatile leading me in Hollywood. This week, he stars with Keira Knightley in “Laggies,” playing a single dad. Here are some of my favorite Sam Rockwell performances: Moon Rockwell takes on the biggest […]

Previous Posts

Trailer: Woody Allen's "Irrational Man"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OKBz-1tpUo 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 ...

posted 8:00:22am May. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Wit and Wisdom in The Jottery by Andy Selsberg
I really enjoyed The Jottery: Thought Experiments for Everyday Philosophers and Part-Time Geniuses by Andy Selsberg. Each page has a question or ...

posted 3:39:37pm May. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: What Happened, Miss Simone? -- Nina Simone Documentary
I was privileged to hear Nina Simone perform in concert and can't wait to see this film. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/moOQXZxriKY?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0" frameborder="0"] ...

posted 8:00:35am May. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Tomorrowland Contest: The Museum of Science Fiction Wants Your Ideas About Tomorrow
The Museum of Science Fiction today announced the launch of an online contest to celebrate the opening of Disney’s new film “Tomorrowland.” Fans ...

posted 5:29:31pm May. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Alex Garland of "Ex Machina"
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 ...

posted 3:39:58pm May. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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