“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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
Many thanks to Dana Stevens and the Slate Spoiler Special podcast for inviting me to talk about “The Boxtrolls.”
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 has a new series on AOL Originals. He’ll be re-enacting classic movie scenes combined with other classic movie scenes.
Coming in 2015, “Paper Planes” stars Sam Worthington (“Avatar”).
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Watch how Pixar uses the colors of the rainbow to create a mood, tell a story, and delight the eye.
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!
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
Can’t help it — I’m looking forward to this.
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” 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” 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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” 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 […]
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. 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 […]
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”), […]
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 […]
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 […]
“Thunder and the House of Magic” opens September 5, 2014.
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, […]
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 […]
I got a kick out of seeing what happened when Total Film asked the celebrities on junkets to interview each other.
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” 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 […]
“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 […]
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. […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
My friend Michael Mirasol shares some of his favorite moments from Robin Williams extraordinary range of films.
Coming on Labor Day — the seamy expose of what went on behind the scenes in “Saved by the Bell.”
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
I love this endearing story about how people in even the most unexpected of jobs can make a real difference.
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 […]
“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 […]
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. […]
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.
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 email@example.com with “Boyhood” in the subject line […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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.
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
This is the most purely entertaining film of the year, a joyous space romp that all but explodes off the screen with lots of action and even more charm. Our recent superheros have been complex, often anguished, even downright tortured. […]
There are a lot of challenges in taking on the life story of James Brown, known variously as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite and others with variations on the term “Funk.” First […]
Woody Allen’s 44th film is an amuse bouche without a meal, a dollop of whipped cream without the dessert underneath. In last year’s film, “Blue Jasmine,” the strength of the performances (especially Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett) and the resonance of its […]
Brendan Gleeson gives a magnificent performance as a warm-hearted priest in a sad and damaged world in “Calvary,” opening next week across the country. Here’s an exclusive peek behind the scenes, featuring Gleeson and Director of the Pauline Center for […]
Tonight is the last of the Pre-Code films Margaret Talbot and I will be presenting at Washington D.C.’s Hill Center. And it’s a doozy, Jean Harlow in “Red Headed Woman.” We’d love to see you there. Margaret and I will […]
Featuring my favorite Muppet characters! (Probably because they are critics.)
One of the highlights of this week’s “Get on Up” is a scene where James Brown and his group appear in a teen movie set in a ski chalet. The fun of the scene is seeing the R&B performers so […]
I have one copy of the wonderful soundtrack to give away! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Levine in the subject line and tell me your favorite song of the summer. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only). I’ll […]
One of the highlights of Comic-Con was the chance to catch up with Thunder Levin, screenwriter of the sensation, “Sharknado” and the sequel, “Sharknado 2,” which premieres tonight on Syfy. The original was remarkable for its over-the-top storyline and even […]
Thanks to all who entered! This contest had far more entries than any other I’ve ever run. Congratulations to the lucky winner! WINNER OF THE GOPRO CAMERA: Susan D. Burkburnett, TX
I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz.
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young […]
One of the many pleasures of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70’s classics from an “Awesome Mixtape” played by Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt). Here are some of the highlights. “Hooked on […]
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases. He is featured in the documentary “Alive Inside.” He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides […]
Garrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and “Downton Abbey’s” Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan’s […]
Here’s what’s at Comic-Con, which means here’s what’s coming everywhere else: affordable 3D printers with hand-held scanners that transmit 360 degree images to your tablet or laptop instantly. GoPro cameras. Google glasses. Even Oculus Rift, the totally immersive virtual reality […]
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam, here are ten of the best of the movie and documentary depictions of the war and its impact on history and culture in the United States. The best-known films […]
I always enjoy Luc Besson’s stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem. While I found much to like in this story about a […]
A second marriage is, as Samuel Johnson famously said, “The triumph of hope over experience.” And as lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote in the song Bing Crosby sang in “High Time,” “Love is lovelier the second time around.” In this slight […]
Michael Rossato-Bennett agreed to spend one day filming Dan Cohen’s remarkable music therapy work with people struggling with dementia. He ended up spending three years there and the result is “Alive Inside,” an extraordinary documentary about the power of music […]
Anne Billson has a great piece in The Telegraph on mirror scenes in movies, from the Marx brothers clowning in “Duck Soup” and the shootout in “The Lady from Shanghai” to Elizabeth Taylor scrawling on the mirror with lipstick in […]
Someone once said that movies are “pieces of time.” A few take place in “real time.” Alfred Hitchcock’s experiment, “Rope,” unfolds in just the time it takes us to watch it, all in what appears to be one seamless shot. […]
It’s here! San Diego Comic-Con begins Wednesday night in San Diego and I’ll be there. This is my favorite event of the year, a chance to find out what everyone will be watching, listening to, playing, and otherwise enjoying over […]
My intention was to review Zach Braff’s new film without mentioning the controversy he stirred up in funding it via Kickstarter. My view was that what mattered was the movie itself, and the kerfluffle over how it was all paid […]
I have free activity sheets for Planes: Fire & Rescue! Send me an email at email@example.com with “Planes!” in the subject line and I’ll write you back with the activity sheet attached. The offer is good until July 31, 2014.
One of my favorite actors has left us. James Garner, handsome, wry, effortlessly masculine, all-purpose leading man for decades on television and in movies, has died at age 84. He had consummate skill in comedy, drama, and romance, and even […]
I love this compilation from Cinefix of the top ten movie edits of all time. I’ll bet you can guess at least a few.
Wicked author Gregory Maguire has a wonderful essay on the Smithsonian website about the original screenplay for what is probably the greatest family movie of all time, The Wizard of Oz. By coincidence, I just finished a book by the […]
One of my favorite stops on our tour of LAIKA Studios to see the sets for “The Boxtrolls” was our visit with Georgina Hayns, Creative Supervisor for Puppet Fabrication. Is that the coolest job title ever or what? She described […]
Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (“We Bought a Zoo,” “The Devil Wears Prada”) talks about inspiration in this latest in the terrific Academy Originals series from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
How do you go on when everything that gives life meaning is gone? In this fact-based story, David Duchovny and Hope Davis play a married couple who must face this question when their daughter dies. The movie is Louder than […]
Many thanks to Betty Jo Tucker for including me in her anniversary special and for all the fun I’ve had on the show over the years.
“A boy’s will is the wind’s will/And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.” (Longfellow) We first see Mason (Ellar Coltrane) lying on the ground, looking up at the sky, and it is clear that his thoughts are very […]
The visuals are stunning, the details are witty, the 3D effects are splendid, the songs are lively, the voice actors are top-notch, but the storyline feels like an episode of “Thomas the Tank Engine.” That’s when it was still analog […]
Richard Linklater is one of my favorite directors. Films like “Waking Life,” “Before Sunrise”/”Before Sunset”/”Before Midnight,” “Dazed and Confused,” “School of Rock,” “Bernie,” and “Me and Orson Welles” display his restless intelligence and remarkable range. His latest film, “Boyhood,” was […]
I have some adorable plushies of the little alien in “Earth to Echo” to give away! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Echo” in the subject line and tell me your favorite summer activity. Don’t forget your mailing address! […]
Freddie Highmore and Antonio Banderas star in the animated adventure Justin & The Knights of Valour, along with Charles Dance, Rupert Everett, Barry Humphries, Alfred Molina, Mark Strong, Julie Walters, Olivia Williams and Saoirse Ronan. I’m delighted to share an exclusive clip. […]
More from my enchanting visit to LAIKA Studios to see the sets and meet the filmmakers for “The Boxtrolls,” the upcoming stop-motion film: The story: A family event movie from the creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” that introduces audiences to […]
Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) is a down-on-his-luck New Yorker who inherits a Parisian apartment from his estranged father. But when he arrives in France to sell the vast domicile, he’s shocked to discover a live-in tenant who is not prepared […]
One of the most anticipated films of the year is “Unbroken,” directed by Angelina Jolie, and based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-seller, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. It is the story of Louis Zamperini, who died […]
Happy Bastille Day! This is a great time to watch the classic “A Tale of Two Cities,” based on the book about the French Revolution by Charles Dickens.
Summer is a time for travel, and, whether you’re traveling or not, it’s a great time for movies about travel as well. Film Forever has an excellent list of movies about Brits traveling abroad. Here are my favorites.
Amanda Scherker has an excellent piece in the Huffington Post about “whitewashing” in films — ethnically white actors playing non-white characters. We understand now how absurd it was to have John Wayne play Genghis Khan or Katharine Hepburn play “Dragon […]
The kids in Earth to Echo use a snazzy GoPro Hero3 to record their adventures. Now you can win GoPro and record your own! Many thanks to “Earth to Echo” for making it possible for me to share this extraordinary prize. To […]
Two intriguing new announcements about upcoming films: As the first trailer for his Moses epic is released, starring Christian Bale (and a lot of other actors who are not of Middle Eastern ethnicity), Ridley Scott has announced that he will […]
My friend Michael Mirasol has put together another magnificent compilation — this time it’s a history of apes and monkeys in film. How many can you identify? He writes: Non-human primates have existed on film from the art form’s inception, […]
James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series of books is going to be filmed — for YouTube. Page to Premiere reports that the stories about DNA-enhanced teenagers with wings was unable to get produced for theatrical release despite the interest of several studios. An […]
All hail Caesar! The intelligence-enhanced ape from Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes center stage in this sequel, which begins ten years after the last film. The virus we saw infecting the human population has now wiped out […]
Illinois’ Lisle Station Museum has an exhibit about the little-known and less-remembered history of film censorship in Chicago under the direction of what was originally called the Police Censor Board, formed in 1907, the first such oversight organization in the […]
Errol Flynn became one of the greatest movie stars of all time, specializing in swashbucklers like “Captain Blood” and “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” No one was better than Flynn at playing the dashing, gallant hero. But the Tasmanian actor […]
I’m excited to be able to share a secret I’ve been keeping since April. I got to cross a big item off my bucket list when I was invited to visit LAIKA Studios and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of their […]
The actress Carla Laemmle has died at age 104. She is not widely known, but is well worth remembering for her role in film history and her incandescent spirit. Her uncle Carl Laemmle, whose name she adopted (her given name […]
DreamWorks Pictures has released a new behind-the-scenes featurette exploring director Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri and Charlotte Le Bon.
Mashable has a very intriguing list of upcoming show business memoirs, by everyone from Oprah Winfrey (What I Know For Sure) to rapper Ja Rule (Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man). I’m particularly looking forward to Yes […]
Tomorrow the new DVD “Wings: Sky Force Heroes” will be available and I have an exclusive clip! Josh Duhamel (Transformers) is back as Ace in the thrilling story about a heroic pilot seeking redemption in the DOVE-approved family adventure, Wings: Sky […]
Even better than Mecha-Shark vs. Godzilloctopus, the mad men of Rifftrax are taking on “Sharknado,” live on July 10 and transmitted in real time to theaters across the country. Just the thing to get you ready for “Sharknado 2,” coming […]
Many thanks to Betty Jo Tucker for inviting me on her podcast to talk about the best and worst movie teachers along with her guest co-host, Mack Bates. It was a lot of fun to share some thoughts about the […]
Mary Blair was the designer behind the look of Disney in the 1950’s. You can learn more about her at The Disney Family Museum’s exhibit, MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair. Blair’s joyful creativity―her eye-appealing designs and exuberant […]
Roger Ebert said that Steve James’ documentary “Hoop Dreams” was the greatest film of the first decade of the 21st century. He wrote, “A film like “Hoop Dreams” is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and […]
Joe Berlinger is one of my favorite directors and it was a treat to talk to him about “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger,” his new documentary on the trial of the notorious gangster. We know Bulgar […]
Roger Ebert, the most influential film critic of all time, gets the film he deserves directed by one of the many filmmakers he championed, Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”). It is co-produced by Martin Scorsese, whose emotional appearance in […]
In this short from the terrific Academy Originals series, Seth Rogen says that it is friendship that is at the center of the stories he likes to write. [Warning: Some strong language.] “Academy Originals” is AMPAS’s first original digital series. […]
Summer is a great time to catch up on some classic and even not-so-classic films, the movie version of beach books. The nice folks at Entertainment Weekly have come up with a terrific list of films all children should see […]
Brian “Astro” Bradley plays Tuck in this week’s “Earth to Echo,” the story of three friends who discover a stranded alien and help to rescue him. Astro talked to me about being in the film and the books and music […]