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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. […]

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Happy September!  There isn’t much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here’s the best of what’s coming in theaters this month: September 12: “Dolphin Tale 2″  This sequel to the endearing fact-based “Dolphin […]

Labor Day 2014: Movies About Unions

posted by Nell Minow

Today we pay tribute to workers, especially those who worked for better conditions for everyone. Sally Field won an Oscar for this real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. Doris Day plays a union […]

Summer Summer-y: The Summer Movies of 2014

posted by Nell Minow

A few concluding thoughts on the summer movies of 2014: A good summer for food movies: “The Chef,” “The 100-Foot Journey,” and “The Trip to Italy” had some big-time actors but the real stars were the luscious meals. Special mention […]

The Last Leonard Maltin Movie Guide

posted by Nell Minow

Leonard Maltin was only 17 years old when he was offered the chance to create his guide to movies on television. For many years, I kept the latest copy on my desk and anyone who came into my office could […]

“Let’s Be Cops” Could Have Been Not Terrible

posted by Nell Minow

“Let’s Be Cops” is a dumb movie that wants to be like “Lethal Weapon” or “The Other Guys,” a comedy action film about buddies with badges. It’s moderate box office returns are possibly in part because the unrest in Ferguson […]

Exclusive Clip: Juliette Lewis in “Kelly and Cal”

posted by Nell Minow

Juliette Lewis stars as a rocker-turned suburban mother of a newborn in “Kelly and Cal.”  Here she tries to make friends with the other mothers, who treat her like mean girls shooing off a freshman who wants to sit at […]

Love is Strange

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:08/22/2014
DVD Release Date:January 12. 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: 08/22/2014
DVD Release Date: January 12. 2015

Love is strange.  As this movie opens, a deeply devoted couple of more than three decades wakes up and prepares for a big, important, emotional, happy occasion.  They bicker a little bit, but it is clear to them and to […]

See Great Directors — in TV and Music Videos

posted by Nell Minow

Top directors do more than movies.  Take a look at these clips from Emmy-nominated television series and these music videos made by some of the most talented directors working in Hollywood, including Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), […]

Interview: Daniel Schechter, Writer/Director of “Life of Crime”

posted by Nell Minow

Newcomer Daniel Schechter, who wrote one of my favorite neglected gems, The Big Bad Swim, worked with an all-star cast in “Life of Crime,” which he adapted from The Switch by Elmore Leonard and directed.  It is set in 1970’s Detroit and […]

The November Man

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

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

Trailer: Thunder and the House of Magic

posted by Nell Minow

“Thunder and the House of Magic” opens September 5, 2014.

Cozi Zuehlsdorff’s New Song for “Dolphin Tale 2″ — “Brave Souls”

posted by Nell Minow

I’m really looking forward to “Dolphin Tale 2,” even more so after seeing this music video by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, the young actress who reprises her role as Hazel from the original film. Cozi’s song, which she wrote and performs herself, […]

Adventure Planet

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

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

Trailer: Mortdecai with Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow

posted by Nell Minow

This looks like fun!

Anne Hathaway, Chris Pratt, Andy Serkis, Kate Winslet And More — Interviewing Each Other

posted by Nell Minow

I got a kick out of seeing what happened when Total Film asked the celebrities on junkets to interview each other.

Interview: Ira Sachs of “Love is Strange”

posted by Nell Minow

It’s hard to imagine that there will be a more tender love story on screen this year than John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in “Love is Strange,” from writer/director Ira Sachs.  They play a long-time couple who get married after […]

When the Game Stands Tall — The Real Story

posted by Nell Minow

“When the Game Stands Tall” is based on the real-life story of the De La Salle High School Spartans football team, which had the longest winning streak of any team in any sport at any level 151 games in a […]

An R Rating for Being Gay?

posted by Nell Minow

“Love is Strange,” a tender, beautifully written and performed love story about a three decade relationship, stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina.  The MPAA has given the movie an R rating even though there is nothing in the film that […]

If I Stay

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 17, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 17, 2014

Hamlet asked it best. “To be, or not to be: That is the question.” We struggle through, worrying about whether someone likes us or whether we will be accepted at the school of our choice. Those seem like serious problems. […]

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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

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

When the Game Stands Tall

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014

This dreary assemblage of every possible sports cliché has one thing in common with the game it portrays. Every time it seems to be going somewhere, it stops. More frustratingly, it wastes the opportunity to tell a good story by […]

Christian Indie Films of 2014

posted by Nell Minow

This year has already seen a remarkable and perhaps unprecedented number of Christian and Biblically-based films, from big-budget epics like “Noah” and “Son of God” to small faith-oriented films like “God’s Not Dead.”  There is an excellent summary of four Christian […]

Interview: Bo Svenson

posted by Nell Minow

Bo Svenson is an actor, writer, director, judo champion, and, as I was lucky enough to find out, an enthralling guy to talk to, turning an interview into a wide-ranging conversation. Svenson was born in Sweden. His family emigrated to […]

Interview: Gayle Forman of “If I Stay”

posted by Nell Minow

Gayle Forman is the author of If I Stay, the source for this week’s movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia, a talented young cellist in a coma following a car accident.  As she hovers between life and death, she […]

Popcorn Update….Maybe

posted by Nell Minow

Remember when I explained how movie theater lobbyists created a loophole in the rules requiring places that serve food to let you know the calories and fat content of your purchases? I don’t think it’s likely to happen, but it’s […]

Exclusive Clip: Home is Where the Heart is

posted by Nell Minow

We are delighted to have an exclusive clip from the warm-hearted family film, Home Is Where the Heart Is — and even more delighted to have two copies to give away. “Trophy Wife’s” Bailee Madison, Laura Bell Bundy (“Heart of […]

Dancing Baby Groot

posted by Nell Minow

We can all use a little more dancing Baby Groot in our lives. And if you’d like to see Groot dance to some other songs, check this out.

Michael Mirasol Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Michael Mirasol shares some of his favorite moments from Robin Williams extraordinary range of films.

Do We Really Need a Secrets of “Saved by the Bell” Movie?

posted by Nell Minow

Coming on Labor Day — the seamy expose of what went on behind the scenes in “Saved by the Bell.”

More Cliches for the Never Put This in a Movie Again List

posted by Nell Minow

Mentorless has a great list of movie dialog clichés that should be banned from all future films.  I really miss the old Rotten Tomatoes show that had great compilations for lines like “That wasn’t part of the plan.”  Here are […]

Interview: Elan Mastai, Screenwriter of Daniel Radcliffe’s Romantic Comedy “What If”

posted by Nell Minow

Daniel Radcliffe’s first romantic comedy is “What If,” co-starring Zoe Kazan. Radcliffe plays Wallace, a former medical student who dropped out after his romance fell apart. He meets a girl named Chantry (Kazan) who seems perfect, but she has a […]

Quotes of the Week: Critics on “Expendables 3″ and “The Giver”

posted by Nell Minow

“The Expendables 3″ inspired a lot of geriatric-themed commentary.  Some of it was pretty funny (“a fraternity reunion with the brothers at Alpha Delta Viagra“, “Sylvester Stallone’s jobs program for expired action heroes“).   The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert had a distinctive […]

More from Chris Pratt

posted by Nell Minow

Chris Pratt is having a very good year.  The buffed-up star of Guardians of the Galaxy also provided the voice for the lead character in another of the year’s best films, The LEGO Movie.  But many of us have known how […]

A Will for the Woods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014

“Without this,” Clark Wang says, “dying from lymphoma feels so empty and meaningless and pointless.”  Dr. Wang was diagnosed in 2003, and we meet him as he is running out of options for treatment.  His doctor tells him it is […]

The Expendables 3

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

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

Let’s Be Cops

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014

Oh, let’s not. As generic as its name and way too long, any significant connection “Let’s Be Cops” has with its audience comes from the increasing sense of regret that this talented cast wasted its time — and ours. The […]

Contest: Win Free Passes to the Romantic Comedy “What If” with Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan

posted by Nell Minow

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in this R-rated romantic comedy about a medical school dropout who meets a girl who could be the one — only to find himself relegated to the friend zone.  And I have five pairs […]

April O’Neil: Feminist Progress or Passive Object?

posted by Nell Minow

Could it be possible that Megan Fox as April O’Neil is the strongest heroine in any of the big summer blockbusters? Despite the title, April is in many ways the main character in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” The film starts […]

Tribute: Lauren Bacall

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of Lauren Bacall, who has died at age 89. “Anybody got a match?” With those words, a teenager born Betty Perske from Brooklyn made her first screen appearance, in To Have and Have Not. Her chin […]

Short Film: My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts

posted by Nell Minow

I love this endearing story about how people in even the most unexpected of jobs can make a real difference.

WIN TMNT Prizes Including Nintendo Game!

posted by Nell Minow

The heroes on the half shell are back with a blockbuster box office hit! If you’re a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this contest is for you. It includes a Nintendo game, a Raphael mask, a Leonardo action […]

The Giver

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date:August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence
Movie Release Date: August 15, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 24, 2014

“Thank you for your childhood.” Are there any more fearsome words in literature than these? Lois Lowry’s The Giver is a Newbery Award-winning novel, a staple of middle school reading lists and book reports. It tells a dystopian story of […]

Tribute: Robin Williams

posted by Nell Minow

The loss of actor Robin Williams is almost unbearably wrenching.  His boundless gifts could not help him battle depression so devastating that it prevented him from understanding how deeply he was loved or perhaps how deserving he was of love. […]

Trailer: I Am Eleven

posted by Nell Minow

Along the lines of the marvelous Babies, the new documentary “I Am Eleven” introduces us to eleven-year-olds around the world, different cultures, but all on the brink of adolescence, that terrifying, amazing moment. It looks wonderful.

Win FREE Tickets to Boyhood! Win the Boyhood Soundtrack!

posted by Nell Minow

Richard Linklater‘s “Boyhood,” filmed over 12 years, is one of the best movies of the year and I have FIVE FREE PASSES to give away. Each admits two. Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Boyhood” in the subject line […]

Contest: Arthur Goes Back to School

posted by Nell Minow

Eight-year-old Arthur the aardvark has four adventures in this new DVD, available tomorrow, August 12, 2014. This is the perfect back-to-school treat, as Arthur and his friends find out that a candy bar may not be as appetizing as they […]

Quotes of the Week: Trashing the Turtles

posted by Nell Minow

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie inspired some howls of outrage from critics.  As usual, when movies are good, the writers I admire are good, but when they’re bad, they’re better. I enjoyed this one from Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir: Yes, […]

Guardians of the Galaxy Merch: Where’s Gamora???? Sigh.

posted by Nell Minow

Guardians of the Galaxy is enormous fun and a huge box-office hit, with loveable characters and a refreshing sense of humor about itself. Who wouldn’t want to extend the pleasures of the film with some merch, perhaps an action figure […]

Trailer: Pride — Based on the True Story of LGBT Activists Who Aided Mineworkers

posted by Nell Minow

Bill Nighy, Dominic West, and Imelda Staunton star in “Pride,” based on the true story of LGBT activists who came to the aid of striking mineworkers in Wales during the Thatcher era.  Opening September 19, 2014.

Writing for the Industry: Black Writers Talk About Their Work

posted by Nell Minow

This afternoon at 3PM, the 8th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair in Los Angeles will host a “Writing for the Industry” panel, which will aid “beginning, advanced and aspiring screenwriters through the steps of writing their first feature length script, […]

Richard Nixon: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly

posted by Nell Minow

Forty years ago today, Richard Nixon became the first and so far only President of the United States to resign from office. Elected easily just two years before, he was about to be impeached for his role in the Watergate […]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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

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

The Hundred Foot Journey

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 1, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2014

Shakespeare famously made fun of the notion of a sighing lover creating an ode “to his mistress’ eyebrow.” But it would take Shakespeare to do justice to Helen Mirren as a French woman of impeccable bearing who is able to […]

Into the Storm

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

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

List: Movies About Chefs

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s release about competing chefs, “The Hundred Foot Journey,” I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite movies about cooks and chefs. Julie & Julia Meryl Streep plays legendary chef Julia Child and Amy Adams […]

Trailer: The Theory of Everything

posted by Nell Minow

“The Theory of Everything” is the story of one of the world’s most brilliant minds, renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who has the most severe physical disabilities. Eddie Redmayne (“Les Misérables”) and Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) star as Hawking […]

Interview: John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson of “Calvary”

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson met with my friend John Hanlon and me to talk about “Calvary,” where Gleeson plays an Irish priest in an oceanside community that is filled with sadness, regret, and loss. Some of the […]

Ethan Hawke’s “Boyhood” Beatles Black Album

posted by Nell Minow

For his extraordinary 12-year filming project, “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater encouraged his actors to bring elements of their lives over that period to the characters they played.  When Ethan Hawke said that he had prepared a mix-CD for his own children […]

Sight and Sound List: The Best Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

I love documentaries, and it was a treat to read through this list from Sight and Sound, which includes many of my favorites and some I’d never heard of. And here are a few of my favorites that I’d add […]

Lena Dunham on “The Big Chill” Generation

posted by Nell Minow

I am a big fan of Lena Dunham, and her essay on “The Big Chill” and its generation — her parents’ generation — is enormously thoughtful and beautifully written. Her insight and her generosity of spirit are very moving. And […]

Interview: Mike Cahill of “I Origins”

posted by Nell Minow

Mike Cahill writes and directs singular, provocative stories where science and faith combine — and sometimes clash. In “Another Earth,” Cahill’s college classmate, sometimes co-writer and friend Brit Marling starred as a girl who befriends the man whose family she […]

Bob Mondello on the Challenge of Naming Movie Sequels

posted by Nell Minow

NPR’s Bob Mondello has a delightful commentary on titles of movie sequels.  Somehow he neglected to mention “Sharknado 2: The Second One,” which democratically allowed the fans to pick the title via Twitter votes.  That approach could have prevented some […]

“Guardians of the Galaxy” in LEGOs

posted by Nell Minow

Trailer: Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”

posted by Nell Minow

Interview: Michel Gondry of “Mood Indigo”

posted by Nell Minow

Michel Gondry is one of my favorite directors, with a distinctive style of romance and whimsy, best known for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Be Kind Rewind.”  His films usually feature intricate contraptions with a very hand-made feeling. […]

Eyes On/In Film

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Alan Zilberman has a great essay on Rogerebert.com about the history of close-ups of the eye in films. The current release, “I Origins” is about scientists who study eyes professionally, one of whom has taken thousands of photographs […]

Coming in August: Helen Mirren, Ninja Turtles, Step Up 5, If I Stay, The Giver, and More

posted by Nell Minow

August is traditionally a slow month for movies, with some of each year’s worst being released just before Labor Day. But this year, the last month of summer vacation leads off with a bang, Guardians of the Galaxy, plus the […]

Lucy and the Box Office: The Good News and the Bad News

posted by Nell Minow

Last week, “Lucy” beat “Hercules” at the box office, good news for those who still think that women-led action films can’t make money. As blog The Mary Sue put it succinctly: “Today In Female-Led-Movies-Obviously-Don’t-Make-Money News, Lucy Beat Out Hercules This […]

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