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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 […]

Guardians of the Galaxy

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 8, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 8, 2014

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. […]

Get on Up

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

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 […]

Magic in the Moonlight

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Movie Release Date:August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 16, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Movie Release Date: August 1, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2014

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 […]

Exclusive Clip: Behind the Scenes on “Calvary”

posted by Nell Minow

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: The Last of Our Pre-Code Series, Jean Harlow in “Red Headed Woman”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Statler and Waldorf and “Muppets Most Wanted”

posted by Nell Minow

Featuring my favorite Muppet characters!  (Probably because they are critics.)

The Real Story: James Brown and “Ski Party”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Behind the Scenes Clip: Adam Levine in “Begin Again”

posted by Nell Minow

I have one copy of the wonderful soundtrack to give away!  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com 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 […]

Interview: Thunder Levin of “Sharknado” and “Sharknado 2″

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Contest Winner — “Earth to Echo’s” GoPro Camera

posted by Nell Minow

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  

Intuition — A Short Film from Danielle Lurie

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Interview: Joseph Nasser of “Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

“Guardian of the Galaxy’s” Awesome Mixtape

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Dan Cohen of “Alive Inside”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Contest: “Lullaby” — Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Comic-Con 2014: Day One

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Remembering the Vietnam War: 10 Movies

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Lucy

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 19, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R For strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2015

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 […]

And So It Goes

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Movie Release Date:July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:B00NW6KQYE
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Movie Release Date: July 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: B00NW6KQYE

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 […]

Interview: Michael Rossato-Bennett of “Alive Inside”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Movies’ Greatest Mirror Scenes

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

How Do Movies Show Time Passing?

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

Comic-Con 2014

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Wish I Was Here

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 27, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2014

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 […]

Free! Planes: Fire & Rescue Activity Sheets

posted by Nell Minow

I have free activity sheets for Planes: Fire & Rescue! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.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.

Tribute: James Garner

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Importance of Film Editing: Cinefix

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Noel Langley and the Original Script for “The Wizard of Oz”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

My Visit to LAIKA: Part 3

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Academy Originals: Creative Spark — Aline Brosh McKenna

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Exclusive Clip: Hope Davis and Timothy Hutton in “Louder Than Words”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

I’m Proud to be Featured on Movie Addict Headquarters’ 7th Anniversary Show

posted by Nell Minow

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.  

Boyhood

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:January 5, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2015

“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 […]

Planes: Fire & Rescue

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and some peril
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 3, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and some peril
Movie Release Date: July 18, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2014

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 […]

Interview: Richard Linklater of “Boyhood”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Contest: Win a Plushie Echo from “Earth to Echo”

posted by Nell Minow

I have some adorable plushies of the little alien in “Earth to Echo” to give away! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Echo” in the subject line and tell me your favorite summer activity. Don’t forget your mailing address! […]

Exclusive Clip: Justin and the Knights of Valour

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

My Visit to LAIKA: Part 2

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Trailer: Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith in “My Old Lady”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Trailer: Unbroken

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

For Bastille Day: A Tale of Two Cities

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Brits on Vacation

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Who Should Play Non-White Characters?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Contest: A GoPro Video Camera from “Earth to Echo”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Just Announced: Redford as Rather and Another Biblical Epic from Ridley Scott

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

A History of Apes In Movies from Michael Marisol

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

Maximum Ride Will Be a YouTube Series

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:July 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:December 1, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: July 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2014

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 […]

Museum Exhibit Explores Illinois Film Censorship Bureau

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Trailer: Kevin Kline Plays Errol Flynn in “The Last of Robin Hood”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

My Visit to LAIKA and Boxtrolls!

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Tribute: Carla Laemmle, 104-Year-Old Actress

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Coming Soon: The Hundred Foot Journey

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Upcoming Show Business Memoirs

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Exclusive Clip from “Wings: Sky Force Heroes”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Rifftrax Takes on Sharknado — In Theaters July 10

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Movie Addict Headquarters: Interview with Mack Bates and Betty Jo Tucker on the Best and Worst Movie Teachers

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Disney Pays Tribute to Mary Blair

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Director Steve James on the Roger Ebert Documentary “Life Itself”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: Joe Berlinger of “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger”

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

1776: The Signing of the Declaration of Independence

posted by Nell Minow

Life Itself

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language
Movie Release Date:July 4, 2014
A
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language
Movie Release Date: July 4, 2014

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 […]

Academy Originals: Hollywood Filmmakers Talk About What Inspires Them

posted by Nell Minow

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 Movie Catch-Up: Lists for Kids, Couples, and Hipsters

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Interview: “Earth to Echo” star Astro

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Trailer: A New Documentary About George Takei

posted by Nell Minow

I’m looking forward to this upcoming documentary about original “Star Trek” cast member George Takei, who is also a leader in LGBT rights and a pioneer in social media.

Snowpiercer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date:July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 20, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Movie Release Date: July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 20, 2014

A French graphic novel by Jacques Lob about a post-apocalyptic train containing all that is left of humanity is now the first English-language film from Korean director Joon-ho Bong (“Mother,” “The Host”), with an international cast that includes Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Ed […]

Begin Again

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
Movie Release Date:July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 27, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
Movie Release Date: July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2014

“It’s delicate,” a songwriter tells a performer who has (literally) amped up her gentle ballad into a power anthem. The songwriter is Greta (Keira Knightly) and the performer (Maroon 5’s Adam Levine) is her ex. They were together for five […]

Tammy

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 11, 2014
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: July 2, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014

Top talent is wasted in this un-funny and disappointing vanity production from Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone. They wrote it, or, more accurately, assembled it from pieces of other films, some better (“Thelma and Louise”), some even worse […]

Earth to Echo

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 20, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 20, 2014

Three kids go on a wild adventure and make an extra-terrestrial friend in this updated take on films like “E.T.” and “The Goonies.” It being 2014, that means that the found footage genre, pioneered in “The Blair Witch Project” and […]

What Does it Mean to “Throw Like a Girl?”

posted by Nell Minow

Always brought in Lauren Greenfield, is an award-winning American artist, and documentary photographer and filmmaker, to create their #likeagirl videos. What do we think of when we hear “throw like a girl,” “run like a girl,” or “fight like a girl?” […]

Where are the Cartoon Moms?

posted by Nell Minow

One of the questions I get asked most often is why parents in movies for children are always dead or otherwise out of the picture.  As I wrote in my book, The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies: This is […]

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig Star in “The Skeleton Twins”

posted by Nell Minow

I might have to suspend my rule against lip-synch scenes in movies for this one.

An Exquisite Short Film From Legendary Disney Animator Glen Keane

posted by Nell Minow

Glen Keane is one of the all-time greats of old-school hand-drawn animation.  He was responsible for characters like Pocahontas and Ariel.  Much as I love computer-animation, there are some things only a hand can do, and his hand is one […]

June 28, 1969 — The Stonewall Uprising

posted by Nell Minow

We observe the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising this weekend. I wonder if any of the men who fought back against police oppression and brutality back in 1969 could have imagined that some day marriage equality would be the law […]

I’m Glad to Hear I’m Not the Only One Who Had No Idea What Was Happening in “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

posted by Nell Minow

Two writers from Slate couldn’t figure it out, either.  Except that “If I’m ever in Hong Kong in the midst of an apocalyptic battle between Dinobots, Autobots, reconstituted Decepticon leaders, evil CIA agents, venal tech CEOs, and Chinese nationals conveniently […]

Another Bad Idea for a Remake: Wargames

posted by Nell Minow

Cinema Blend reports that a remake of the Matthew Broderick film “Wargames” is in the works, possibly with Ansel Elgort or Tye Sheridan in the lead role.  This is an awful idea.  What made WarGames so popular in 1983 was […]

Does the Dog Die? An Important Movie Question

posted by Nell Minow

Some people want to know if a movie has a good story, compelling characters, or stunning images.  You can come here to read my reviews and find answers to those questions. Some people just want to know if the dog […]

More on “Jersey Boys” Director Clint Eastwood

posted by Nell Minow

Clint Eastwood is not a favorite of mine as an actor or a director, though I appreciate some of his work. I think his best performance may have been in Gran Torino, which he also directed.  But as a director, […]

Transformers: Age of Extinction

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Movie Release Date:June 27, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 29, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Movie Release Date: June 27, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 29, 2014

The script for the new Transformers movie is basically: Noise.  Explosions. Chases. Guy-on-guy fighting.  Transformer-on-Transformer fighting.  Brief pauses for father-teenage daughter conflict, father-boyfriend of the teenage daughter conflict, paranoia-inducing rogue government operatives, paranoia-inducing megalomaniacal one-percenter, and a flicker of a […]

Transformers: The Premake from Kevin Lee

posted by Nell Minow

Go behind the scenes with film critic Kevin Lee to see a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”  I love the way he incorporated the amateur videos made by fans as the big-budget studio film was […]

Michael Mirasol: Movie Robots

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Michael Mirasol has put together a wonderful supercut of movie robots in honor of this week’s release of the new Transformers movie.  How many can you identify?

Our Second Pre-Code Series Starts Tomorrow with Barbara Stanwyck’s “Ladies They Talk About”

posted by Nell Minow

Margaret Talbot and I will kick off our second series of Pre-Code films at Washington, D.C.’s Hill Center tomorrow night with “The Ladies They Talk About.” As Margaret says, it’s Depression-era “Orange is the New Black,” much of it set […]

Tribute: Eli Wallach

posted by Nell Minow

One of the all-time great character actors, Eli Wallach, has died at age 98.  He leaves behind an extraordinary range of work, from iconic bad guys (The Magnificent Seven), to sweet old guys (The Holiday). He appeared with Clark Gable, […]

From The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — President Snow’s Panem Address

posted by Nell Minow

Trailer: The Book of Life from Guillermo del Toro

posted by Nell Minow

Director Guillermo del Toro has a fabulously imaginative visual style. From “Hellboy” to “Pan’s Labyrinth,” he has created strange and intricate worlds. His upcoming animated film, “The Book of Life,” looks dazzling.

How Do I Feel About the News that Pentatonix Will Appear in “Pitch Perfect 2?”

posted by Nell Minow

This should give you a clue.

Trailer: Postman Pat

posted by Nell Minow

The beloved television series Postman Pat is now a feature film! The animated story about the friendly postman has voices from Stephen Mangan (“Episodes”) as Postman Pat; recording star Ronan Keating, who provides the singing voice for Postman Pat; Academy […]

Movie Greats: John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands

posted by Nell Minow

John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands were at the forefront of a revolution in cinema that led to a new era of naturalism in subject matter and performance. Cassavetes, best known as an actor for starring opposite Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s […]

Trailer: Home from Dreamworks Animation

posted by Nell Minow

My Interview at Rogerebert.com

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Rogerebert.com for interviewing me in their series on movie critics. Where did you grow up, and what was it like? I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. But when I was in 4th-5th grade, we lived […]

Home is Where the Heart Is — Coming Soon on DVD

posted by Nell Minow

“Trophy Wife’s” Bailee Madison, Laura Bell Bundy (“Heart of Dixie”), and John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”) star in “Home is Where the Heart Is,” coming on DVD August 19. Disillusioned actress Sunny returns to her hometown of Bent Arrow, Texas, to […]

Interview: Robert May of “Kids for Cash”

posted by Nell Minow

One of the most outrageous scandals in the history of the U.S. justice system involved two judges who took undisclosed multi-million dollar payments from the developer of a privately owned and operated facility for incarcerating teenagers.  A “law and order” […]

Why Do We Sympathize with Unsympathetic Movie Characters?

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Jim Judy of Screenit for suggesting this terrific video essay by Jennine Lanouette on how even crooked, selfish, and powerful movie characters gain our sympathy.  I was delighted to see that she highlights one of the scenes featured in my […]

Trailer: “The Drop” with James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy

posted by Nell Minow

James Gandolfini’s last performance in is “The Drop,” with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.  Here’s the trailer:

Trailer: Simon Pegg in Hector and the Search for Happiness

posted by Nell Minow

More From AFI Docs

posted by Nell Minow

AFI Docs concludes today, though there will be a “best of the fest” wrap-up with screenings of some of the most popular films tomorrow.   I’ve also had a chance to see: “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. […]

Interview: Michael Ealy and Meagan Good of “Think Like a Man Too”

posted by Nell Minow

I am a huge fan of Michael Ealy and Meagan Good and it was a lot of fun to talk to them about “Think Like a Man Too.” Meagan, I loved your performance of Bell Biv DeVoe’s classic “Poison!” MG: […]

Fred MacMurray and Burt Lancaster: Tonight on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

PBS pays tribute to two of the all-time great leading men with documentaries airing tonight (check your local station for viewing times). Burt Lancaster: Daring to Reach  Learn more about the epic screen star Burt Lancaster who went from street-wise […]

Star Trek Continues

posted by Nell Minow

If you’ve ever seen Trekkies and the sequel Trekkies 2 or William Shatner’s The Captains or the affectionate tribute to the super-fans, Galaxy Quest, you will appreciate the Kickstarter-funded new series “Star Trek Continues,” created by uber-Trekker Vic Mignogna. Here’s […]

AFI Docs: Three Great Documentaries About Failures of Law Enforcement

posted by Nell Minow

We had a great first day at AFI Docs, the most important documentary film festival in the country. I am very proud to be a sponsor. Yesterday, we saw three of the films featuring one of this year’s key themes, […]

John Green Profile by Margaret Talbot

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and Pre-Code movie series co-host Margaret Talbot has a thoughtful profile of The Fault in our Stars author John Green in The New Yorker.  He told her I love the intensity teen-agers bring not just to first love […]

Trailer: Robert Downey Jr. in “The Judge”

posted by Nell Minow

In “The Judge,” Downey stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way […]

Jersey Boys

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout
Movie Release Date:June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 11, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout
Movie Release Date: June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014

Winston Churchill famously said that history is written by the victors.  In movie terms, that means that when you see the names of just two of the original Four Seasons listed as the film’s producers, it is clear we are […]

Think Like a Man Too

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Movie Release Date:June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 16, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Movie Release Date: June 20, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 16, 2014

A romantic comedy based on Steve Harvey’s book of advice for women about relationships has now led to a sequel based on finding the slightest possible premise for getting the gang back together to see if they can create some […]

Coherence

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:June 20, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: June 20, 2014

Seriously, don’t read this review until after you’ve seen the movie. The less you know, the more you will enjoy this nifty thriller, which craftily makes the most of its micro-budget to maximize a deliciously mind-bending story. As in all […]

Interview: Carl Deal and Tia Lessin of the Documentary “Citizen Koch”

posted by Nell Minow

“Citizens United has unleashed money that our disclosure laws are not equipped to reveal.” Tia Lessin and Carl Deal wanted to make a documentary about the toxic effect of corporate money on politics following the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens […]

Jersey Boys: The Real Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

posted by Nell Minow

This week, Clint Eastwood’s film of the wildly successful, Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys” opens in theaters. It is based on the real-life story of one of the most successful pop groups of the 1960’s, The Four Seasons, who produced […]

Interview: James Ward Byrkit of “Coherence”

posted by Nell Minow

James Ward Byrkit wrote “Rango” and designed the visual effects for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.  His new movie, “Coherence,” is a nifty little mind-bender of a psychological thriller that makes the most of its micro-budget.  He talked to […]

Join Chaz Ebert for a Google Hangout Today Celebrating Roger Ebert’s Birthday

posted by Nell Minow

Today, Wed, Jun 18, from 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM, you can join Chaz Ebert and Steve James, the director of the Roger Ebert documentary, “Life Itself,” in a Google Hangout. Participants can win tickets to the Los Angeles, Chicago […]

Explaining “Edge of Tomorrow’s” End

posted by Nell Minow

A lot of people complained about the ending of “Edge of Tomorrow,” but I liked it.  And I really liked this explanation of what it all meant from my friend Hamilton Whitney at FilmHamster.  [Spoiler alert, of course.]  Here’s the […]

WGN’s Nick DiGilio Show: Interview on “Maleficent,” “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” “Coherence,” and More

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks, as always, to my pal Nick Digilio, who had me on his WGN radio show last weekend to talk about what’s going on in movie theaters.

Great News About What’s Coming from Pixar, Kristin Wiig, and The Magic Schoolbus

posted by Nell Minow

Great news about three upcoming projects! * Pixar has announced that its summer 2015 release will be “Inside Out,” which takes place inside the mind of an 11 year old girl.  Her emotions will be the characters: Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness […]

Superb Essay on the Objects in “All that Heaven Allows”

posted by Nell Minow

Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman starred in two films directed by Douglas Sirk in the 1950’s, All That Heaven Allows and Magnificent Obsession.  When they were released, they were considered glossy, if soapy, romantic dramas without much insight or artistic […]

New Clip: What If with Daniel Radcliffe

posted by Nell Minow

What If, with Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, seems like a 21st century “When Harry Meant Sally….”  I hope so!

EW Explains the Inside Jokes from “22 Jump Street”

posted by Nell Minow

I got most of these, and especially enjoyed the “Benjamin Hill Center for Film Studies,” glimpsed during the silly chase scene.  But I didn’t know anything about this one. [Directors] Lord and Miller treated fans with another Easter egg when they […]

Michael Mirasol’s Tribute to Movie Fathers

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Michael Mirasol has created a beautiful tribute to some of the greatest fathers in the movies.

List: 10 Great Movie Dads

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Father’s Day!  Check out Turner Classic Movies’ great line-up of movies about fathers.  And here are some of my favorite movie dads. 1. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in “To Kill a Mockingbird” The last line of the movie says […]

Happy Flag Day! James Cagney as George M. Cohan in “Yankee Doodle Dandy”

posted by Nell Minow

Criticwire Survey: Should You Look Down on YA Movies?

posted by Nell Minow

The folks at Criticwire have a weekly survey of questions for movie critics.  This week’s question is especially important. Q: Many of the positive reviews for “The Fault in Our Stars” boil down to either “It’s good for what it […]

Movies Get Wiser About GLBT: How To Train Your Dragon 2 and 22 Jump Street

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s two big national releases are both sequels featuring Jonah Hill.  But they have something more important in common: Both reflect a wiser, kinder, more just treatment of GLBT characters.  It was only a few years ago that I […]

M. Knight Shyamalan at the National Press Club

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director M. Knight Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable,” “The Last Airbender,” “After Earth”), appeared at the National Press Club this week to talk about his side project, an intensive assessment of American schools and proposals for reform, as described in […]

Interview: Dean DeBlois of “How to Train Your Dragon 2″

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director Dean DeBlois is one of my favorite people to interview and it was delightful to talk to him about the wonderful “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” Just give me the basics just to set the stage. Tell me […]

Free This Weekend: My eBook on Movie Dads

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of Father’s Day, my eBook, 50 Must-See Movies: Fathers is FREE through Monday, June 16, 2014. What do “Wall Street” and the “Star Wars” saga and, seemingly, about half the movies ever made have in common? They are about […]

22 Jump Street

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 18, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 18, 2014

It can be treacherous to go meta in a sequel, especially in the sequel to movie based on a television series that was already pretty meta, with a climax that included appearances by Johnny Depp and some of the other […]

The Grand Seduction

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and drug references
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and drug references
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014

This utterly beguiling, comfort-food remake of the French-Canadian film La Grande Seduction is about adorable residents of an impoverished fishing harbor in Canada who come up with a plan to bring a recycling factory and all of its jobs to their town. […]

How to Train Your Dragon 2

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date:November 10, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 10, 2014

“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ is all fans of the original were hoping and has a good shot at being not just the best animated film of the year but one of the best in any category and for […]

Tribute: Ruby Dee

posted by Nell Minow

We lost one of the greats today, the actor and activist Ruby Dee. Kennedy Center honoree with her husband, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee is as much a legend for her pioneering work as a leader of the Civil Rights movement […]

Interview: “Obvious Child’s” Jenny Slate and Gillian Robespierre

posted by Nell Minow

Jenny Slate gives a star-making performance in “Obvious Child,” a romantic comedy about Donna, a young stand-up comic who becomes pregnant and has an abortion. Her decision is not presented in a comic or light-hearted way. What is revolutionary is […]

Trailer: “The Box Trolls” from LAIKA

posted by Nell Minow

From the brilliant folks behind Paranorman and Coraline, “The Box Trolls,” coming this fall.

“All By Myself” — Hilarious Video From a Man Stranded Overnight in the Las Vegas Airport

posted by Nell Minow

When I get stuck in an airport, I usually buy trashy magazines and trashier food.  This man made a brilliant video.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Top Sci-Fi Movies

posted by Nell Minow

A strophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, star of this week’s DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, may be critical of the science howlers in some sci-fi movies, but he gave Giant Freakin Robot a list of his sci-fi […]

Trailer: Believe Me

posted by Nell Minow

Coming this fall: “Believe Me,” about colleges students who start a sham Christian charity, from writer/director Will Bakke.

Interview: Dave Clark of the Dave Clark Five

posted by Nell Minow

It was a tremendous thrill to speak to Dave Clark, from the Dave Clark Five, one of the greatest pop groups of all time.  Their string of classic hits include “Glad All Over,” “Bits and Pieces,” “Because,” and “Catch Us […]

Interview: Don McKellar of “The Grand Seduction”

posted by Nell Minow

Before we talked about his charming new film, “The Grand Seduction,” I just had to ask Don McKellar about the plans to make the sensational Broadway musical he co-wrote, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” into a film. He assured me that while […]

Lullaby

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:June 13, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: June 13, 2014

An outstanding cast, a weighty subject, and the sincerest of intentions are almost enough to make up for an undercooked, stuntish, and stagey script in this story about a man who decides to die and the family he leaves behind. […]

Exclusive Clip: A Basketball Player Finds His Faith in “Midrange”

posted by Nell Minow

I am delighted to have five copies of the new faith-based film “Midrange” to give away.  If you’d like to enter, send an email to moviemom@moviemom.com with “Midrange” in the subject line and tell me your favorite athlete.  Don’t forget […]

Trailer: DVD/Blu-Ray of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

posted by Nell Minow

Coming in September — one of this year’s most entertaining films, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:2014
DVD Release Date:June 9, 2014
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: 2014
DVD Release Date: June 9, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s marvelous “Cosmos” reboot comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week and it is well worth adding to every family and classroom library.  It is a very worthy successor to Carl Sagan’s classic PBS series of the […]

Bobby Van Hopping in “Small Town Girl” — the Number that Inspired Hugh Jackman’s Tony Awards Opening Number

posted by Nell Minow

Did you see Hugh Jackman hopping through the opening number on the Tony Awards?  Top that next year NPH!  You might have caught a glimpse of the movie dance Jackman paid tribute to as he hopped by, the wonderful Bobby […]

What Were The Best Films of the 60’s?

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Sam Fragoso and his colleagues at Movie Mezzanine for including me in their round-up of the best films of the 1960’s.  I really enjoyed reading through all the different selections.  Check it out and add your own […]

Trailer: Spooky “The Congress” With Robin Wright

posted by Nell Minow

Robin Wright stars as..Robin Wright, well, a version of herself anyway, in this futuristic thriller about an actress who agrees to turn over her cyber-persona to a movie studio so she can get the money she needs to care for […]

List: Sarah Lawrence College and Movies

posted by Nell Minow

This weekend my husband and I are attending a reunion at our alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Our son also graduated from Sarah Lawrence, and our niece will enroll in the MFA program in writing there […]

Coming to Theaters: Monty Python Live Reunion Performance

posted by Nell Minow

Monty Python is having a reunion and the (mostly) live performance will be in theaters courtesy of Fathom Events and Picturehouse Entertainment.   John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will reunite on stage for the first time in over […]

Yes, Trailers Get Awards, Too

posted by Nell Minow

It’s a different kind of artistry and it is a lot of fun to check out the winners of the 15th annual Golden Trailer Awards.  After all, who can resist a selection that includes an award for “Trashiest Trailer?”

Edge of Tomorrow

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
Movie Release Date:June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 7, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2014

Are there moments you would like to relive, so you could make a different choice? It’s a universal fantasy that has played out many times in books and films. It can be a gift (About Time). It can be a […]

Previous Posts

Exclusive Clip: Wish You Well
[jwvideo vid='sTOlso40' pid='GvkPWNBE'] Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy, and Josh Lucas star in "Wish You Well," a coming-of-age tale based on the best-selling novel by David Baldacci, who also wrote the screenplay. Foy plays 12-year-old Louisa, ...

posted 10:24:09pm May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

San Andreas
Another summer blockbuster-by-the-numbers, another dad who needs redemption and re-connection with his family, and the only way he can get ...

posted 5:55:26pm May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Aloha
Writer/director Cameron Crowe presents us with an attractive and talented but messy and compromised hero in "Aloha," and asks us to root ...

posted 5:37:27pm May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Eva -- Yet Another AI Robot Movie
This is certainly turning out to be the year of the AI robot.  This one stars Daniel Brühl and this time the robot is a child named EVA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ctMc4DFpik&spfreload=10 ...

posted 8:00:25am May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Today on TCM: Go Back in Time With Time Travel Movies
Tonight Turner Classic Movies has some time travel treats, including George Pal's classic version of H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine," starring Rod Taylor and Yvette ...

posted 8:00:19am May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

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