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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 […]

Lauren Bradshaw’s Terrific New “Before They Were Famous” Column

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and fellow critic Lauren Bradshaw has a great new series on the very earliest appearances by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. You can see Emma Stone, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain in their very first roles, and give […]

Big News From Marvel: Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and Much, Much, MUCH More

posted by Nell Minow

Wow, Marvel really knows how to make an announcement. Get out your calendars: May 6, 2016: Captain America: Civil War Nov. 4, 2016: Doctor Strange May 5, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 July 28, 2017: Thor: Ragnarok Nov. 3, […]

Nell Scovell Pays Tribute to the Under-Used Women Alumnae of SNL

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful Nell Scovell, who helped Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg write Lean In and is now working on a screenplay based on the book, has an excellent essay in Time about the talented women who appeared on “Saturday Night Live” but […]

Contest: Begin Again Soundtrack

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s release on DVD/Blu-Ray of the sweet romantic film Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, I am giving away a copy of the movie’s terrific soundtrack. Send me an email […]

What Makes Scary Movies Scary

posted by Nell Minow

Vox has a very good essay on what makes scary movies so scary, illustrated by thirteen classic scenes that demonstrate different techniques: introducing the monster, building suspense, silence and noise, and looong takes.

Exclusive Clip: An Evergreen Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Robert Loggia and Naomi Judd star in “An Evergreen Christmas.” Leaving her seemingly glamorous Hollywood life on hold, Evie Lee is forced to return to her small hometown of Balsam Falls, Tennessee and her family’s once-thriving Christmas tree farm to […]

When Movies Turn the Tables on Critics

posted by Nell Minow

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

Benedict Cumberbatch: Behind the Scenes as Smaug

posted by Nell Minow

Here is a fascinating glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch’s full-on performance as Smaug in “The Hobbit” series.

Family Movies for Halloween

posted by Nell Minow

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

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies,” with some disturbing conclusions about parents’ ability to make good decisions about the impact some media […]

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary “Mentor”

posted by Nell Minow

Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, “Mentor,” the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 […]

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

posted by Nell Minow

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

Interview: “Avatar” Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in “23 Blast”

posted by Nell Minow

Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in “Avatar.” But in “23 Blast,” based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a […]

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

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

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

John Wick

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

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

23 Blast

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014

23 Blast is the name of a football play, and “23 Blast” is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed […]

Trailer: Little Hope Was Arson, Story of Church Burnings

posted by Nell Minow

Available in select theaters and nationwide VOD beginning Nov 21! For more info, please visit: http://littlehopewasarson.com. January 2010: In the buckle of the Bible Belt, 10 churches burn to the ground in just over a month igniting the largest criminal […]

Trailer: The Avengers: Age of Ultron

posted by Nell Minow

I’m very excited about the next Avengers movie, coming out next spring, and it’s a great trailer with the bleak images, random ballerinas, and creepy re-do of the classic song from “Pinocchio” (Disney loves to dip into its own archive, […]

Interviews: “Art and Craft’s” Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman

posted by Nell Minow

The documentary “Art and Craft” is the extraordinary story of two men.  One is Mark Landis, an artist who created counterfeit paintings and then disguised himself as various philanthropist personas and donated them to art museums over three decades.  The […]

Dylan Baker on Directing for the First Time in the Fact-Based High School Football Movie “23 Blast”

posted by Nell Minow

Dylan Baker is probably best remembered for playing some of the most horrific villains imaginable (“The Good Wife,” “Happiness”).  But his extensive career has included wild comedies (“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” “Anchorman 2″), historical drama (he was Robert McNamara in […]

Best Movies About Writers

posted by Nell Minow

Flavorwire has put together a great list of the 50 best movies about writers. It’s always tricky to make a writer interesting on film. On one hand, you have the advantage of a character who is likely to be witty […]

Great News About Now You See Me 2

posted by Nell Minow

You didn’t think Arthur Tressler was going to let them get away with it, did you? I am very happy that one of the most entertaining films of 2013, Now You See Me is getting a sequel and the stars, […]

Wrong About Critics, Wrong About Movies, Wrong About Faith

posted by Nell Minow

I am not going to give the people behind the idiotic and offensive press release I recently received the recognition of identifying them by name, but the claim that they make is one I have heard often enough I need […]

Disney Announced a New Animated Film for 2016: Moana

posted by Nell Minow

Entertainment Weekly reports that Disney has announced a new animated feature to be released in 2016: “Moana,” with a Polynesian heroine in search of a fabled island. With Disney greats Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin”) in […]

Manners at the Movie Theater

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s a cute reminder on movie theater manners.

Interview: Ted Melfi of “St. Vincent”

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director Ted Melfi got Bill Murray to appear in his first film by calling him. Murray does not have an agent or a manager. He has an 800 number. And Melfi left message after message until Murray finally called back […]

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

posted by Nell Minow

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

Classic Movie Scenes in Legos

posted by Nell Minow

From Morgan Spence

Rio Director and Pixar Artist Collaborate on a New Film: Timeless

posted by Nell Minow

Pixar artist Armand Baltazar has a forthcoming three-book children’s series called Timeless, about a world in which all time periods come together, and all nows are at the same time. A boy and friends from different time periods must rescue […]

Contest: Scholastic’s Halloween DVD

posted by Nell Minow

Get ready for Halloween with Scholastic’s “Day of the Dead” DVD, featuring four spooky (but not too scary) tales. In the title story, by Bob Barner and narrated by Rita Moreno, two children celebrate their ancestors on this Latin American […]

Fury

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

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

The Book of Life

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 26, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2015

Jorge Gutierrez (Nickelodeon’s “El Tigre”) is co-writer and director of a dazzling new animated film that all but explodes off the screen in a kaleidoscope of color and energy and a love of life and storytelling and colorful characters and […]

St. Vincent

posted by Nell Minow

A crude, inconsiderate, bitter slacker — Bill Murray could play that in his sleep. And it would be pretty good. But he doesn’t. Bill Murray gives a beautiful, wise, complex performance as Vincent, an angry old man who drinks too […]

Dear White People

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date:February 2, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2014
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2015

Before I turn to whitesplaining this film, I will begin by suggesting that you read what Aisha Harris at Slate and what my friends and fellow critics Travis Hopson and Stephen Boone have to say first. If I did not […]

Dear White People: Interview with Writer/Director Justin Simien

posted by Nell Minow

“Dear White People” is fresh, provocative, timely, and very funny.  In the tradition of “Higher Learning” and “School Daze,” it is the story of four black students at an Ivy League college, all making different choices about adapting or challenging […]

Interview: David Dobkin of “The Judge”

posted by Nell Minow

Interviewing David Dobkin was a double pleasure for me. First, I loved the film he co-wrote and directed, “The Judge,” starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall. And second, he is the son of old friends Jim and Irma Dobkin, […]

Trailer: Old-Fashioned, A Faith-Based Romance

posted by Nell Minow

“Old-Fashioned” will be in theater for Valentine’s Day 2015.

Interview: Zane, Writer of “Addicted”

posted by Nell Minow

Zane is the pseudonym of the author of steamy novels and founder of two publishing imprints. “Addicted,” which opens on Friday, is based on her novel about a woman who risks her loving marriage with three affairs due to sexual […]

Interview: Us the Duo from “The Book of Life”

posted by Nell Minow

It’s a Cinderella story times two. Carissa and Michael Alvarado had a romance right out of a fairy tale. And then their creative and professional dreams came true. One moment they were uploading six-second covers of popular songs to Vine […]

Five Upcoming Movies Have Real-Life Actors Playing Themselves, Sort Of

posted by Nell Minow

It’s funny how every so often there are multiple movies about the same subject or idea.  I can understand when there were three movies about farm families at the time (“Country,” “The River,” “Places in the Heart”) when small farms […]

Interview: Courtney Baxter, Actress, Producer, and Just Out of Her Teens

posted by Nell Minow

Pennsylvania native Courtney Baxter attends Pace University in Manhattan as a double major in Economics and Film Studies.  In her early teens, Courtney filmed over a dozen national commercials and also appeared in television shows such as Gossip Girl, 30 […]

Interactive “Interstellar” Website

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most highly anticipated films of the year is Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” starring Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey.  An intriguing website invites fans to explore the world of the movie.

Talking to Nick DiGilio About Movies in Theaters and the Best Movie Teachers

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks, as always, to my pal Nick DiGilio for having me on the show at WGN to talk about “Boxtrolls,” “Gone Girl,” and some of the best movie teachers.

Big Hero 6 — Sizzle Reel

posted by Nell Minow

Here’s what New York Comic-Con attendees got to see yesterday — a sizzle reel from Disney’s upcoming “Big Hero 6.”

The Judge

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

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

Kill the Messenger

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and drug content
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and drug content
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2014

Sometimes an honest, crusading, investigative reporter uncovers corruption and deceit and the result is triumph, a Pulitzer Prize, humiliating resignations and criminal convictions of the guilty and an Oscar-winning movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. And sometimes, instead, the […]

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

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

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

Robert Downey Jr. Pays Tribute to His Mother

posted by Nell Minow

In a sad case of life imitating art, Robert Downey, Jr., lost his mother just before the release of “The Judge,” in which he plays a brash lawyer who must return home for his mother’s funeral.  Downey’s tribute to his […]

The Pixar Universe: A Theory About How It All Fits Together

posted by Nell Minow

Sleeping Beauty — Crafts and Activities

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s release of the glorious Diamond Edition of Disney’s classic “Sleeping Beauty,” the studio has released some crafts projects for families to enjoy.

Trailer: Home from Dreamworks

posted by Nell Minow

An overly optimistic, yet inept, alien race named Boov, led by Captain Smek, invades Earth to hide from their mortal enemy and make it a new home.Convinced they are doing a favour, they begin to relocate the human race, but […]

Common Sense Media Gives Its First Seal of Approval

posted by Nell Minow

I’m a big fan of Common Sense Media. I helped them get started and have been very impressed by how much they have achieved. They have just awarded their first-ever seal of approval to this week’s release of “Alexander and […]

FREE Tickets: The Dazzling Animated “Book of Life”

posted by Nell Minow

I love “The Book of Life,” the spectacular new animated film produced by Guillermo del Toro, with voice talent that includes Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, and Ice Cube.  It has adventure, music, laughter, great music, and lots of […]

Critics Choice Awards Moves to A and E

posted by Nell Minow

Great news! The 2015 Critics Choice Awards will be broadcast on A and E! This is one of my favorite events of the awards season, and I hope to be there on January 15, 2015. Stay tuned for more details!

Featurette: “The Good Lie” the Faith of the Lost Boys of Sudan

posted by Nell Minow

“The Good Lie” is a moving, inspiring story of Lost Boys (and a girl) from Sudan to immigrate to the US, a must-see for middle and high schoolers and their families.  This featurette takes us behind the scenes and focuses […]

Interview: Bill Smitrovich

posted by Nell Minow

Bill Smitrovich appeared most recently in “The November Man” with Pierce Brosnan as a CIA official with some secrets even his colleagues did not know. He has had an extensive and varied career in theater (“Of Mice and Men”), television […]

Cool Stuff: Batmobile Slippers and Big Lebowski Pinball

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Jenna Busch and the Legion of Leia for bringing to my attention this total fabulousness.  Super-comfy-looking Batmobile slippers, now available at Hot Topics: And what better activity to engage in while wearing Batmobile slippers than playing your very own […]

Upcoming Documentary: Meet the Mormons

posted by Nell Minow

Meet the Mormons is a feature-length documentary that tells the stories of six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from around the world. The film will appear in theaters across the United States beginning on October […]

Interview: Matthias Malzieu of “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart”

posted by Nell Minow

First it was a concept album of ethereally bittersweet songs from the French group Dionysos, and then it was a graphic novel, and now, writer/musician Matthias Malzieu has brought his tenderhearted fantasy love story to the screen in the animated […]

Left Behind

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

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

Trailer: Inherent Vice

posted by Nell Minow

P.T. Anderson is one of the most fascinating filmmakers of all time, writing and producing brilliant movies like “Boogie Nights” to “Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood,” and “The Master.” His latest film looks like an Elmore Leonard-style story of low-down […]

Smile of the Week: New York Sings “Tomorrow” from “Annie”

posted by Nell Minow

#anniemovie

Exclusive Clip: Under Wraps

posted by Nell Minow

Brooke Shields, Drake Bell, and Matthew Lillard star in “Under Wraps,” which will be out on DVD October 14, 2014. Danny and older sister Eleanor fall into an adventure of a lifetime when Danny accidentally unleashes a centuries old curse […]

Gone Girl

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

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

The Good Lie

posted by Nell Minow

“The Good Lie” wisely casts Reese Witherspoon and Corey Stoll, who are outstanding as always, as sympathetic employment agency representatives helping refugees from Sudan find work in Kansas. And then it even more wisely keeps those characters in the background […]

Exclusive Clip: Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

posted by Nell Minow

We are thrilled to be the first to release this exclusive clip from next week’s “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day,” starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner, based on the classic book by Judith Viorst.

Join Me at the Hill Center for A Tribute to Mary Wickes — Including An Exclusive Showing of Her “Mary Poppins”

posted by Nell Minow

I am so excited about this!  Steve Taravella, author of the wonderful Mary Wickes: I Know I’ve Seen That Face Before, and I will host an tribute to Wickes at DC’s Hill Center on November 16, 2014. And we will […]

Trailer — Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Story of Moses with Christian Bale

posted by Nell Minow

Christian Bale and Sir Ben Kingsley star in “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the story of Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. It opens this December.

The Inside Story of “The Princess Bride” by Cary Elwes: As You Wish

posted by Nell Minow

Fans of The Princess Bride, which means pretty much everyone, will love the new book from Cary Elwes (Westley), who takes us behind the scenes for the inside story of the making of the film, from his nervous audition (his imitation […]

Believe Me

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014

Will Bakke has followed his two thought-provoking documentaries on faith with a remarkably smart, funny, brave, and heartfelt first feature film that explores religion and values without ever falling into the easy conventions of many faith-based films. Bakke has a […]

Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike

posted by Nell Minow

Rosamund Pike delivers a stunning breakthrough performance in this week’s “Gone Girl.” She’s been a favorite of mine for a long time, for her elegant voice and precise acting choices. It’s a good excuse to check out some of her […]

Telling Time in “All That Jazz”

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite writers provides insights into one of my favorite (if flawed) movies — Matt Zoller Seitz created a beautiful video essay about Bob Fosse’s autobiographical “All That Jazz” for the Criterion Edition, and then they were unable […]

Tomorrow on HBO: “The Fifty Year Argument” — Scorsese on The New York Review of Books

posted by Nell Minow

Once upon a time, there was no internet. And instead of bloggers and pundits and tweets we had something called public intellectuals, people who read widely, thought deeply, and wrote long, passionate, carefully reasoned, thoroughly documented and beautifully written articles […]

FREE Tickets to “The Good Lie” on Sept 30, 2014 in DC!

posted by Nell Minow

Based on a true story, “The Good Lie” is about young survivors of the brutal civil war in Sudan, which began in 1983.  These children traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety.  Fifteen years […]

The Sensational Hollywood Costume Exhibit Comes to LA

posted by Nell Minow

The gorgeous Hollywood Costume exhibit that has been getting rave reviews and massive crowds at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is coming to Los Angeles, its final stop.  The costumes will be on display from October 2, 2014 […]

Trailer: Big Hero 6 from Disney

posted by Nell Minow

Coming November 7, 2014: Disney’s newest animated feature, “Big Hero Six,” about a loveable robot and the nerdy kids who have to save the day. If you want to get to know the characters better, read the graphic novels or […]

Spoiler Special Podcast on The Boxtrolls

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Dana Stevens and the Slate Spoiler Special podcast for inviting me to talk about “The Boxtrolls.”

Interview: Ned Benson of “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, Her, and Him”

posted by Nell Minow

Every story has at least two sides, especially the story of a relationship.  Writer/director Ned Benson explores romance and loss from the perspective of the man (James McAvoy) and the woman (Jessica Chastain) in two separate films, “The Disappearance of […]

Contest: Win a Boxtrolls T-Shirt!

posted by Nell Minow

When you see the adorable “Boxtrolls” movie, you will want to dress like a boxtroll! Luckily for you, I have two Boxtrolls shirts to give away, one child size small, one adult size small (or child size large). To enter, […]

Tracks

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some partial nudity, disturbing images and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014

In 1977, a 27-year-old woman named Robyn Davidson took a dog and four camels and walked 1700 miles across the Australian desert. A National Geographic photographer met up with her four times to cover it for the magazine. That led […]

The Boxtrolls

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2015

LAIKA Studios (Paranorman and Coraline) has created another  loveably crooked world, this time inspired by Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles).  It’s their first period setting, a sort of slightly bent Edwardian with a touch of steampunk, in the […]

The Equalizer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 29, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: September 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 29, 2014

The only thing nicer than having a real-life friend who could circumvent any obstacle of power or law or, you know, logic to deliver the roughest but most just of rough justice would be to have that friend be Denzel […]

Hector and the Search for Happiness

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

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

What Movies Would You Give to Aliens to Explain Life on Earth?

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Criticwire for inviting me to participate in an intriguing survey: what films would you give to aliens to explain life on earth?  Here’s what I wrote: I’d have to include a silent comedy, something that would be […]

Second Global Symposium on Gender in Media

posted by Nell Minow

Yesterday, I was honored to attend the Second Global Symposium on Gender in Media, held a the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.  The keynote was delivered by Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in […]

Boxtrolls: What Makes a Family

posted by Nell Minow

Boxtrolls: Interviews at Comic-Con

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the release of “The Boxtrolls” this week, I’m sharing some of the photos I took in July at Comic-Con, where I interviewed the cast and filmmakers and attended an “Eat Like a Boxtroll” lunch made up of […]

Christopher Orr on the Coen Brothers’ “Miller’s Crossing”

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite critics writes about one of his favorite movies in The Atlantic: the highlight of Christopher Orr’s outstanding series on the Coen Brothers‘ films is his essay on Miller’s Crossing. Whether you’re a fan of the Coens […]

The Real Story: Tracks and Robyn Davidson’s Long Walk Across Australia

posted by Nell Minow

Mia Wasikowska plays real-life adventurer Robyn Davidson in “Tracks,” based on the 1980 international best-seller about her 1700-mile walk across Australia with four camels. A thoughtful interview with Davidson in The Australian describes her: Davidson is an enigma. With her […]

TrueSpark: Teaching Children and Teens About Character With Quality Films

posted by Nell Minow

I am honored to serve on the advisory committee for TrueSpark, which provides quality films and curricula for schools at no cost to use in teaching character. Parents and teachers who want to learn more can find out how to […]

Interview: Genevieve Bailey of “I Am Eleven”

posted by Nell Minow

There’s a reason that so many heroes and heroines of classic literature are eleven years old. It is that last magical moment at the cusp of childhood and adolescence, which is what makes it so fascinating and delightful. Genevieve Bailey […]

Exclusive Clip — Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave

posted by Nell Minow

Alpha and Omega are back! And we are lucky to have an exclusive clip. It is available on Digital HD and On Demand tomorrow, and will be available on DVD at Walmart on October 7. Runt, Kate and Humphrey’s Omega […]

Great Cinematographers on Instagram

posted by Nell Minow

Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.

De-fictionalizing Products in Movies and Television: Life Imitating Art

posted by Nell Minow

Fast Company has an article about Omni Consumer Products, a “de-fictionalizing” company that looks for products in movies and television that do not really exist and makes them available. As the sole proprietor of Omni Consumer Products, [Pete] Hottelet is constantly […]

Tusk

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

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

This is Where I Leave You

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2014

A toddler carries his little potty out in front of the house so he can try out his new-found skill in public. Twice. Plus another time when the contents of the potty are first displayed for the family and then […]

The Maze Runner

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: September 19, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2014

Yes, it’s another dystopic YA trilogy (actually, there’s a fourth volume, a prequel), and yes, only a teenager with fabulous cheekbones can save the day. But “The Maze Runner” is not a lesser repeat. It is a worthy addition to […]

The Art of John Alvin — Designer of Iconic Movie Posters

posted by Nell Minow

Any fan of film history and design will love this magnificent new book devoted to the iconic movie posters and other artwork from John Alvin, assembled and written by his widow, Andrea Alvin. John Alvin’s 40 years of movie poster […]

Trailer: Effie Gray, Starring Dakota Fanning and Emma Thompson

posted by Nell Minow

Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her “Sense and Sensibility” screenplay. She wrote and stars in “Effie Gray,” with Dakota Fanning, the real-life story of the Victorian art critic, John Ruskin (David Suchet), and his much-younger bride, Effie Gray. Tom […]

Trailer: Days and Nights With Katie Holmes and Allison Janney

posted by Nell Minow

Inspired by Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” this is the story of a weekend at a country house that includes a famous actress, her discontented son, and people who love the wrong people and are angry at each other — sometimes at […]

Trailer: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in “Serena”

posted by Nell Minow

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence re-team in “Serena,” which looks very intriguing but does not yet have a US release date. Stay tuned.

James Franco’s New Movie Mash-Up Series

posted by Nell Minow

James Franco has a new series on AOL Originals. He’ll be re-enacting classic movie scenes combined with other classic movie scenes.

Trailer: Paper Planes

posted by Nell Minow

Coming in 2015, “Paper Planes” stars Sam Worthington (“Avatar”).

Exclusive Featurette: Last Weekend

posted by Nell Minow

Patricia Clarkson plays a sometimes-outrageous and insensitive mother of adult children in “Last Weekend,” written and co-directed by Tom Dolby.  I’m delighted to be able to share an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse. Here’s the trailer.

Interview: Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff of “Dolphin Tale 2″

posted by Nell Minow

The young human stars of Dolphin Tale, Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, are back for the delightful sequel. They conducted a charming Q&A session after a screening in Washington, D.C., always remembering to say “Good question!” to the children who […]

The Drop

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

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

Dolphin Tale 2

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

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

Limited Time Offer from Amazon: Warners Best, 100 Films for About $2 Each

posted by Nell Minow

This is an amazing deal. For a limited time, Amazon is offering a collection of 100 Warner Brothers classics at 75 percent off. Best of Warner Bros 100 Film Collection, including 22 Best Picture winners, a limited edition 27 x […]

No Good Deed — A Twist on the Gothika Rule

posted by Nell Minow

The critics screening of this week’s release, “No Good Deed,” was cancelled just hours before we were supposed to see it.  The reason: “There is a plot twist in the film that they do not want to reveal as it […]

The Colors of Pixar

posted by Nell Minow

Watch how Pixar uses the colors of the rainbow to create a mood, tell a story, and delight the eye.

Movie Addict Headquarters: Fall Movie Preview 2014 with Betty Jo Tucker, Mack Bates, and A.J. Hakari

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Betty Jo Tucker for inviting me to talk about the movies I am most looking forward to this fall, along with my fellow critics Mack Bates and A.J. Hakari!

Why Are We Getting So Many Split POV Stories About Couples?

posted by Nell Minow

I wonder why there are three (so far) different stories coming out that tell us the same saga of an up-and-down romance from two different perspectives (POV, or point of view). “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” starring James McAvoy and […]

Cinderella — With Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein

posted by Nell Minow

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

Academy Originals: The First Film That Made You Laugh, Featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Lupita Nyong’o and More

posted by Nell Minow

I love the Academy Originals series on YouTube.  The latest asks actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers to name the first film that made them laugh.

Behind the Scenes: The Boxtrolls

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to share some of the behind-the-scenes artistry that went into LAIKA Studios’ “The Boxtrolls.”  You can see some of what I found so enchanting on my visit to the studio last spring.

SundanceNow Doc Club: The Essentials

posted by Nell Minow

SundanceNow Doc Club is a streaming video service for documentary lovers, a user-friendly place to go to find and watch quality documentaries, free of advertising interruptions. Doc Club offers a carefully curated selection of acclaimed documentaries, hand-picked by experts led […]

Contest: Win a DVD of “Louder than Words” starring David Duchovny

posted by Nell Minow

David Duchovny, Tim Hutton, and Hope Davis star in Louder than Words, a fact-based story about parents who find a way to pay tribute to the daughter they lost by building The Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a state of the […]

Kickstarter Campaign for a New Documentary on Diversity in Films: The Hollywood Blackout

posted by Nell Minow

I am very excited about my friend Kevin Sampson’s new Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about diversity in the film industry.  I’m supporting him — I hope many others will as well.  This is a story that needs to […]

Fabulous Celebrity Encounters Via Prizeo

posted by Nell Minow

Talk about a win-win — take a look at Prizeo, where celebrities offer chances to win once-in-a-lifetime, dream-come-true prizes to people who support their charitable causes. Sir Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Jeff Gordon, One Direction, Lady Antebellum, Hunter […]

Trailer: The Song

posted by Nell Minow

“The Song” follows aspiring singer-songwriter Jed King (Alan Powell) as he struggles to catch a break and escape the long shadow of his father, a country music legend. After reluctantly accepting a gig at a local vineyard harvest festival, Jed […]

Trailer: The Rewrite with Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei

posted by Nell Minow

Can’t help it — I’m looking forward to this.

Coming Soon: Evergreen Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Naomi Judd and Robert Loggia star in “Evergreen Christmas,” on DVD and VOD November 4, 2014. Leaving her seemingly glamorous Hollywood life on hold, Evie Lee is forced to return to her small hometown of Balsam Falls, Tennessee and her […]

The One I Love

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use
Movie Release Date:September 5, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use
Movie Release Date: September 5, 2014

“The One I Love” is pretty good as a movie and sublime as an exercise, especially an acting exercise. Just describing details about the story will require a huge spoiler alert, which I will insert below before giving away some […]

The Identical

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 5, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 5, 2014

“The Identical” is an incompetent mishmash of mawkish sentimentality larded with a few pleasant musical numbers and some random asides about Israel.  I’m not making this up. It is inspired by an intriguing fact.  Elvis Presley was a twin.  His […]

Tribute: Joan Rivers

posted by Nell Minow

Joan Rivers has died at age 81. More abrasive than her trademark raspy voice, Rivers wanted to be an actress but became famous as a comedian, in an era when comedy was almost completely all-male. She did act, appearing on […]

Exclusive Clip: “Thunder and the House of Magic”

posted by Nell Minow

In “Thunder and the House of Magic,” a little cat named Thunder stumbles into an old mansion owned by a retired magician, filled with all kinds of tricks, machines and curios. When the magician’s greedy nephew puts the house up […]

Bill Hader’s 200 Movie-List for Comedy Writers

posted by Nell Minow

SNL’s Bill Hader has a great list of the top 200 movies anyone interested in comedy should see.  And of course that means that they’re great choices for anyone who likes to laugh.  I love all of his choices and […]

Should Movie Audiences Text to the Screen?

posted by Nell Minow

It is annoying enough when someone near you in a movie theater takes out a cell phone to text. Imagine how it would be if you then saw the text on the screen. That’s what a Chinese theater is experimenting […]

Back to School Guidelines for Parents on Kids and Media

posted by Nell Minow

Screen time is a treat, not a right. It’s a good idea to make sure that it comes only after homework, chores, other kinds of play, and family time. Make sure there is some quiet time each day as well. […]

After the Ice Bucket Challenge: Two Upcoming Movies About People With ALS

posted by Nell Minow

The Ice Bucket Challenge has brought a lot of money and attention to a devastating illness, ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s Disease for the the New York Yankee who had to leave baseball when he was […]

Tuesdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film

posted by Nell Minow

This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Tuesday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. […]

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Evel Knievel was an international celebrity in the 1960's-70's, known for three things: showmanship, stunts that succeeded, and stunts that failed. He was recognized for jumping over 19 cars in his motorcycle, for crash-landing after trying to ...

posted 5:13:51pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Rosenwald
Aviva Kempner, the director of the acclaimed documentaries about baseball star Hank Greenberg and television pioneer Gertrude Berg, has a new film about early 20th century Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. Like the prior ...

posted 12:10:06pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Possibly the Greatest Pairing Since Lennon and McCartney: Lawrence and Shumer
Jennifer Lawrence told the New York Times that she and Amy Schumer are writing a screenplay together! It's about two sisters, to be played by Lawrence and Schumer themselves. “Amy and I were creatively made for each other. We have ...

posted 10:49:12pm Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

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