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genre

  • Action
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  • Drama
  • Epic
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  • Horror
  • Musical
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Sports
  • Spy
  • Thriller
  • War
  • Western

quality

  • A+, A, A-
  • B+, B, B-
  • C+, C, C-
  • D+, D, D-
  • F+, F, F-

who's watching

  • My entire family
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age range

  • Kindergarten - 3rd grade
  • 4th - 6th grade
  • Middle school
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  • Mature High schooler
  • Adult
  • All Ages




Hava Nagila

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Not rated
Movie Release Date:April 26, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Movie Release Date: April 26, 2013

It is annoying, frustrating, embarrassing, and irresistible.  It is a tradition that has transcended its origins and yet calls us back to the complicated feelings of our past. All of which makes it a perfect Rorschach test and intriguing metaphor for […]

Trailer for “Thor: The Dark World”

posted by Nell Minow

Disconnect

posted by Nell Minow

Viewers will spend much of this movie mentally imploring the characters on screen not to do what it is all too disturbingly clear that they are ineluctably drawn to do.  This is a very scary movie with three stories about […]

Trailer: Man of Steel

posted by Nell Minow

The Company You Keep

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 13, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2013

I can’t help thinking that even though this movie is based on a novel by Neil Gordon, it is primarily a trip down memory lane for director/star Robert Redford.  Shia LeBeouf plays Ben, an idealistic investigative reporter a la Redford in […]

Trance

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, some grisly images, and language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 22, 2013

Before he was the establishment figure who won Oscars for prestige projects (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and masterminded the fabulous opening ceremonies for the London Olympics that had the Queen and James Bond jumping out of a plane, Danny Boyle was a […]

To the Wonder

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013

Director Terrence Malick has made a movie for those fans who loved “Tree of Life” but thought it was too linear and easy to follow. “To the Wonder” is an impressionistic story of love and loss.  Theoretically it stars Ben […]

42

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2013

Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play major league baseball. His number, 42, is worn by every player once a year to commemorate his achievements as a baseball player and as a man.  This version of the story […]

From Up on Poppy Hill

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images
Movie Release Date:April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 3, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images
Movie Release Date: April 5, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 3, 2013

The animated films from Japan’s Studio Ghibli are adored by many American families for their lush and intricate hand-drawn animation and imaginative story lines.  But others, like me, find many of them uneven and inaccessible.  The latest, from Goro Miyazaki, son […]

The Sapphires

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements, and smoking
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:August 15, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements, and smoking
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: August 15, 2013

A very conventional story of a 60’s Australian girl group gains extra power from its context and setting in this fact-based story set to the beat of Motown soul.  Co-written by the son of one of the real-life singers and […]

The Host

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for some sensuality and violence
Movie Release Date:March 29, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sensuality and violence
Movie Release Date: March 29, 2013

The author of the Twilight series was showing signs of running out of ideas around the middle of the second volume, and this latest story shows more evidence of the pressure of producing a new series than anything approaching inspiration. […]

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:March 29, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 30, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: March 29, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 30, 2013

As big, dumb, action and explosions and “hell, yeah, ooyah” movies based on toys go, this one is a lot of fun.  Jon M. Chu, director of two of the “Step Up” movies and producer of the third knows how […]

Admission

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 9, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 9, 2013

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd seem perfect for each other. The characters they play in this movie are not as persuasive.  Fey is so much better than the adorkable rom-com role assigned to her here and Rudd is capable of […]

The Croods

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date:March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 1, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action
Movie Release Date: March 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 1, 2013

I think we can all agree that at least in some respects all children are Neanderthals. It is the grand challenge of parenthood to civilize these sometimes savage little creatures by teaching them language, manners, and keeping safe.  And some […]

Pacific Rim — Sweded

posted by Nell Minow

One of this year’s biggest summer releases is Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” a big, big, big summer action movie. It was the delightful “Be Kind Rewind” that established the term “Sweding” for home-made, frankly cheap but wholehearted and joyful […]

Trailer: Epic

posted by Nell Minow

Really looking forward to this one, featuring the voices of Amanda Seyfried, Jason Sudeikis, Beyoncé, Aziz Ansari, Christoph Waltz, and Colin Farrell.

Upside Down

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence
Movie Release Date:March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence
Movie Release Date: March 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013

 Argentinean writer-director Juan Solanas has created a work of bracingly singular imagination that is sheer visual pleasure, with some mind-bending ideas and a deeply romantic sensibility. We are told by Adam (Jim Sturgess) that throughout the universe, there is only one solar […]

Oz the Great and Powerful

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:March 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 10, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: March 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 10, 2013

A prequel to one of the most beloved films of all time is a daunting challenge, but Disney’s prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” manages to balance respect for the original with some fresh and appealing insights into the story. […]

Greedy Lying Bastards

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date:March 8, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date: March 8, 2013

Greedy Lying Bastards is a documentary that takes on two problems — the pernicious impact of industry on the environment and the effect of those changes on communities and the even more pressing problem of the pernicious impact of a […]

Unconditional

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent content and mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 5, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent content and mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013

This faith-based drama stars two top performers who give its fact-based story the sweetness and spirit that is sometimes lacking in the heartfelt but uneven script. Lynn Collins (“The Merchant of Venice,” “John Carter”) plays author Samantha Crawford, who is […]

Phantom

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence
Movie Release Date: March 1, 2013

Submarine movies are immediately gripping because they are powerful microcosms that amplify conflict.  A small group of people in very close quarters, highly trained and with an explicit mission are then completely disconnected from the rest of the world.  When […]

Jack the Giant Slayer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images, and brief language
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 17, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images, and brief language
Movie Release Date: March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 17, 2013

More action, more romance, more spectacle, a brave princess who wears armor and does not wait to be rescued, and lots more giants — this is a grand bedtime story 21st century-style.  As a boy, Jack (“Warm Bodies” Nicholas Hoult) […]

21 and Over

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs, and drinking
Movie Release Date:March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 18, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs, and drinking
Movie Release Date: March 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013

The writers of “The Hangover” have written and directed a new film so close to the original they could sue themselves for plagiarism. Once again, it is the story of a a wolf pack of bros looking for a good […]

Snitch

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some drug content and scenes of violence
Movie Release Date:February 22, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some drug content and scenes of violence
Movie Release Date: February 22, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

“Snitch” tries to be three things at once, but it doesn’t do any of them very well. First, it wants to be a drama about fathers and sons.  John Matthews (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a good man who who […]

Shanghai Calling

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language including sexual references
Movie Release Date:February 20, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language including sexual references
Movie Release Date: February 20, 2013

“Shanghai Calling” is a fish out of water story filled with charm. Korean-American actor Daniel Henney plays Sam, a Chinese-American lawyer who is sent to China to work on a big project.  He does not speak Chinese and he knows […]

Escape from Planet Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: February 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2013

A new animation studio called Rainmaker has produced its first film, “Escape from Planet Earth,” a story of sibling rivalry and aliens.  It almost works as an amiable, if derivative time-waster for kids with a few jokes for the grown-ups, […]

Beautiful Creatures

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, scary images, and some sexual material
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 20, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, scary images, and some sexual material
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2013

In a small Southern town that feels far from everything, where everyone is “too stupid to leave or too stuck to move,” a teenage boy named Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) dreams every night of a girl he has never seen.  Ethan […]

A Good Day to Die Hard

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013

Chases.  Explosions.  Guns.  Crashes.  Wisecracks. Punches.  Repeat.  Repeat again.  Yes, it’s the fifth “Die Hard” movie. Bruce Willis returns as cop John McClane and this time the setting is Moscow.  Though he repeatedly says throughout the film’s zippy 90 minutes […]

Safe Haven

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 12, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 12, 2013

Now that best-selling author Nicholas Sparks has rung every possible variation out of his core formula: damaged hearts, pretty people, syrupy pop-song montages, buttery, sunlit cinematography, the healing powers of a body of water (and rain), the healing powers of a […]

Identity Thief

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013

How did so many great performers get stuck in this awful movie? And why, why? There’s one scene in this ugly and poorly paced road trip comedy that has the straight-laced Sandy (co-producer and star Jason Bateman) hiding in the […]

Side Effects

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and language
Movie Release Date:February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and language
Movie Release Date: February 8, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

Those “ask your doctor about” commercials for medication always have a lawyer-imposed “side effects may include” section briskly recited by the narrator in the second half of the ad in the same bright but soothing tones used for the near-miraculous […]

Warm Bodies

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
Movie Release Date:February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 3, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
Movie Release Date: February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2013

You don’t often hear the word “adorable” used to describe a zombie movie, but that is probably because you don’t often have a story about a zombie in love. Oh, it’s still a zombie movie.  Brains get eaten.  In fact, […]

Stand Up Guys

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: February 1, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

A little bit “Goodfellas” and a little bit “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” this is a life-in-a-day story about aging criminals.  Unlike Ferris, these guys have had too many days off and are very happy to return to their old haunts […]

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 11, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013

Once upon a time, a brother and sister were left in the woods by their father.  They came upon a house made of candy that turned out to be owned by a witch, who used it to lure children and […]

Quartet

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and suggestive humor
Movie Release Date:January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:June 18, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and suggestive humor
Movie Release Date: January 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013

There is something splendid about seeing fine actors at the top of their game, still nailing it — in a movie about older performers, still nailing it.  Last year, it was Maggie Smith in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”  On […]

Broken City

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013

Another January weekend, another dumb shoot-out. Last weekend, it was 1950’s Los Angeles.  This week, it’s contemporary New York.  It’s still about corruption, betrayal, and bang-bang.  Co-producer Mark Wahlberg plays Billy, a cop exonerated after he killed a suspect because […]

The Last Stand

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Movie Release Date:January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date:May 21, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Movie Release Date: January 18, 2013
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

The NRA should forget that ad about the Obama girls and use this movie instead. The entire storyline can be summarized in the words of NRA head Wayne LaPierre: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun […]

Zero Dark Thirty

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date:January 11, 2013
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language
Movie Release Date: January 11, 2013
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2013

It begins with heart-breaking audio of 911 calls from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  A frantic woman who asks if she is going to die is soothed by the operator until she is suddenly gone and we […]

Promised Land

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:January 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 23, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: January 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013

“Promised Land,” written by stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski is smart, sincere, and timely, well directed by Gus Van Sant and with thoughtful, intelligent performances by everyone, especially Frances McDormand (“Fargo”) and Titus Welliver (“The Good Wife”). It’s a […]

Django Unchained

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 16, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 16, 2013

How do you solve a problem like Tarantino? The prodigiously talented writer/director is a master of style, sensation, and a uniquely muscular kind of cinematic storytelling that builds on a stunning ability to mash up high and low art in […]

Les Misérables

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sensual material, violence, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sensual material, violence, and thematic elements
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013

Fair warning: I seem to be impervious to the appeal of “Les Misérables.”  I was not a fan of the stage show or the songs, but I understand that it is the most popular musical of all time, and I […]

Parental Guidance

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012

This shtick-y, utterly synthetic sit-com of a movie telegraphs its every joke and then pounds the audience over the head to make sure we get them.  Oh, we get them.  We just wish we didn’t. Artie (Billy Crystal) is a […]

Jack Reacher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013

Jack Reacher, the hero of a series of books by Lee Child, is as much an idealized fantasy figure as any adorkable chick-lit single girl rocking her Jimmy Choos and self-deprecating quips until Mr. Perfect puts a ring on it. […]

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some dramatic images and mild sensuality
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some dramatic images and mild sensuality
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2013

Her curiosity overcoming her shyness, a girl with big eyes and a gamine haircut (Erica Linz) walks through the gate for the “Circus Marvelous.”   She sees “The Aerialist” (Igor Zaripov), first smiling a welcome as he helps install the […]

This is 40

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 22, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013

Writer-director Judd Apatow has made the mistake of believing that the audience will find his wife and children and mid-life crisis as relatable and endearing as he does. And there is nothing more fatal to a movie than a gross […]

The Guilt Trip

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and some risque material
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and some risque material
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013

If you know the title, you know the painfully unfunny movie with this dull slog across America that Barbara Streisand inexplicably selected for her first lead role in 16 years.  Seth Rogen plays chemist-turned-cleaning product inventor Andy Brewster, who never […]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 4, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 4, 2013

As the second in the Hobbit trilogy is about to be released, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Extended Edition).  Director Peter Jackson returns to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth for this “Lord of the Rings” prequel, the adventure of young Bilbo […]

Hyde Park on Hudson

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 9. 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 9. 2013

When Franklin Roosevelt’s sixth cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley (pronounced “sook-lee”) died at age 99, a cache of letters was found in a suitcase under her bed.  Everyone knew she had spent years working near Roosevelt, and most thought he had […]

Trailer: Every 2012 Movie

posted by Nell Minow

Fabulous mash-up of every movie released this year: I love Michael Sheen’s “Oh, my” from “Breaking Dawn, Part 2.”  And the “Step Up: Revolution” dancers. How many movies can you identify?  The full list is here.

Hitchcock

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 12, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 12, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock loved to scare people and he did it very, very well.  This highly entertaining story of the making of one of his most controversial (and terrifying) films stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as the portly British He did it […]

Rise of the Guardians

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 12, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 12, 2013

The daughter of writer/illustrator William Joyce (“Dinosaur Bob,” “Robots”) once asked him whether the Easter bunny knew Santa Claus and that inspired him to create a series of stories about the characters of fantasy and folklore who care for children. […]

Life of Pi

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout and some scary action scenes and peril
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 11, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout and some scary action scenes and peril
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2013

“Oh God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” This classic Breton fisherman’s prayer describes “Life of Pi,” Ang Lee’s exquisitely beautiful fairy tale story of an Indian boy shipwrecked with a Bengal tiger, and their […]

Red Dawn

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence and action and for language
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 5, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence and action and for language
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013

There was much to improve in the original version of “Red Dawn,” a simple-minded fantasy film about a communist invasion of small town America: the plot, which asked us to believe that Cuban and Soviet invaders would focus their attention on […]

Silver Linings Playbook

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 29, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2013

When Bradley Cooper appeared on “Inside the Actors Studio,” the first graduate of the program to be featured, they showed a clip from Robert DeNiro’s appearance on the show, with then-student Cooper asking him a question about his performance in […]

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:November 15, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: November 15, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2013

The “Twilight” series comes to a close with the fifth film based on the four-book supernatural love story from Stephenie Meyer. This one is for the fans, with a loving farewell that includes a romantic recap series of flashbacks and […]

Anna Karenina

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 18, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 18, 2013

Director Joe Wright and his favorite star, Kiera Knightley (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Atonement”) have produced a ravishing, highly theatrical version of Leo Tolstoy’s classic “Anna Karenina.”  It is deeply romantic but has more focus on the social and political context than many […]

Lincoln

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:November 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 25, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: November 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 25, 2013

The first question about big, prestige films like “Lincoln” is always where it falls on what I call the spinach scale.  Will I tell people to see it because it is entertaining or because it is good for them.  For […]

Skyfall

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language, and smoking
Movie Release Date:November 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 11, 2013
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language, and smoking
Movie Release Date: November 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2013

James Bond goes home in every sense in this ravishingly entertaining entry in the series.  Five decades later, it all of a sudden feels fresh, fun, and utterly engaging.  This is the best Bond in decades.We are in the middle […]

Wreck-It Ralph

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence
Movie Release Date:November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 4, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence
Movie Release Date: November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 4, 2013

No one wants to be the bad guy anymore.  In “Despicable Me,” Gru’s delightfully dastardly plans were no match for the overpowering adorableness of three little girls.  “Megamind” found that being the bad guy was no fun after he vanquished […]

Flight

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity, and an intense action sequence
Movie Release Date:November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 5, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity, and an intense action sequence
Movie Release Date: November 2, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2013

Denzel Washington is at his best playing a man who is at his worst.  “Whip” Whitaker is a brilliant airline pilot who flies commercial jets.  He is also in deep denial about a substance abuse and addiction problem that is […]

Cloud Atlas

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:October 26, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: October 26, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013

Six nested stories set in the past, present, and future entwine grand themes of the conflicts between those who would oppress and those who demand freedom, those who must create and those who want to repeat what is already there, […]

Alex Cross

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rate PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity
Movie Release Date:October 19, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 5, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rate PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity
Movie Release Date: October 19, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2013

In “Alex Cross,” Tyler Perry is called upon to: show devastating grief, show incendiary fury, make threats, throw punches, and take over a part played twice on screen by Morgan Freeman.  He is not up to any of those things. […]

Brooklyn Castle

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:PG for some language
Movie Release Date:October 18, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: PG for some language
Movie Release Date: October 18, 2012

I.S. 318 is a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school.  And its students have won more national chess championships than any other in the country.  So this is a touching and inspiring story of triumph and what can be accomplished in […]

Here Comes the Boom

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor, and action
Movie Release Date:October 12, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 5, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor, and action
Movie Release Date: October 12, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2013

Kevin James is so gosh-darned likable that he can make up for a lot of sub-par material, but not even he can make this tiresome effort work.  James co-wrote the story, an attempted feel-good saga of a lost-mojo high school […]

Frankenweenie

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, and action
Movie Release Date:October 5, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, and action
Movie Release Date: October 5, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2013

Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein was a scientist who wanted to create life.  Tim Burton’s Victor Frankenstein is a kid who just wants his dog back. Writer/director and master of the macabre Burton first developed this idea in a 1984 live […]

Pitch Perfect

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual material, language, and drug references
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 18, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material, language, and drug references
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 18, 2012

The sensationally talented Anna Kendrick finally gets to play the lead in a story about the cutthroat world of a capella competitions.  It’s “Stomp the Yard” with singing, or  “Glee Goes to College.”  The songs are fabulously entertaining, the romance is sweet, […]

Won’t Back Down

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 15, 2013
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements and language
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013

What should have been a rousing, feel-good, “inspired by a true story” film about a mother and a teacher who take on the teacher’s union and the school board to turn around a failing elementary school benefits from strong performances […]

Hotel Transylvania

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor, action, and scary images
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor, action, and scary images
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012

What scared me most about “Hotel Transylvania” was the prospect of another film starring Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg.  Their last collaboration was “That’s My Boy,” by far the most excruciatingly painful experience I’ve had at a theater this year. Thankfully, just […]

Looper

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 24, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 24, 2012

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play the same man in a twisty time-travel thriller about “loopers,” assassins who use short-range guns called blunderbusses to kill targets sent back in time from the future.  The first thing we see is an […]

Trouble With the Curve

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012

“Trouble with the Curve” pitches softballs to power hitters.  It has major league players and a bush league script. Clint Eastwood plays — surprise! — a grumpy old guy, a role he is too comfortable in, on and off screen. […]

The Master

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012

In the sixth movie from virtuoso writer-director P.T. Anderson (“There Will be Blood,” “Boogie Nights”), we see Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) pause on the dock to look at what seems like the ultimate dream of civilization, a party on board a […]

Liberal Arts

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Unrated
Movie Release Date:September 14, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Movie Release Date: September 14, 2012

It is true.  At heart, everyone is 19, except for the people who actually are.  “How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor has followed his promising debut as a writer/director with the uneven but intriguing “Liberal Arts,” a throwback […]

Finding Nemo 3D

posted by Nell Minow
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:September 14, 2012
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: September 14, 2012

“Finding Nemo” is an ideal choice for a 3D re-release. Its Pacific Ocean setting is majestic, immersive, not intrusive, in evoking the vast sweep of the water and bringing us into the world of the tiny fish characters. Digital and […]

The Words

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 7, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 7, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 24, 2012

This movie about an unsuccessful writer who appropriates an old manuscript and sells it as his own feels like a movie made by a writer who has the same problem. This is an idea that has already been explored by […]

Lawless

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong, bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date:August 31, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong, bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Movie Release Date: August 31, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

Musician Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat are Australians who are drawn to bleak internal and external landscapes.  They worked together on “The Proposition,” a western-style and very violent crime story about brothers.  “Lawless” is another crime story about brothers, […]

Thunderstruck

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date:August 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date: August 24, 2012

This “Freaky Friday” with basketball keeps throwing airballs. It’s the story of Brian (Taylor Gray) a sixteen-year-old kid who wishes he could have the skills of Olympic gold medalist and NBA star Kevin Durant playing himself, not very convincingly but […]

Premium Rush

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences, and language
Movie Release Date:August 24, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 18, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences, and language
Movie Release Date: August 24, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 18, 2012

He’s a Manhattan bicycle messenger and his name is Wilee, like the coyote.  But Wilee (the always-brilliant Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is more like the road runner in this story.  He has an envelope to deliver, and Bobby (Michael Shannon) wants to […]

The Expendables 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout
Movie Release Date:August 17, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 20, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout
Movie Release Date: August 17, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2012

The Botox budget must be bigger than the catering costs but less than the ordnance in this sequel to Sylvester Stallone’s first round-up of the 80’s and 90’s A-Team for an action extravaganza.  That’s A as in AARP. This time, […]

Hit & Run

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 8, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 8, 2013

Real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are as cute as can be on and off camera, but there is nothing in this movie that comes close to the adorableness of their viral sloth video.  Bell produced and Shepard wrote, […]

Sparkle

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

You can’t help wondering what Whitney Houston was thinking when she decided to co-produce and star in the remake of a flawed but beloved 1976 musical melodrama about a singer who becomes involved with an abusive performer and becomes addicted to drugs. […]

ParaNorman

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor, and language
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor, and language
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2012

While digital animators create algorithms that replicate real life textures and weights and movements so perfectly they can seem real-er than reality, the small but preposterously dedicated stop-motion animators create their own three-dimensional world and invite us inside.  Like its […]

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 3, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language
Movie Release Date: August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2012

I have one copy to give away to the first person who sends me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Timothy” in the subject line!  Don’t forget your address! One of the biggest surprises — and greatest pleasures — of being […]

The Campaign

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude sexual content, language, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 30, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude sexual content, language, and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 30, 2012

“Freedom.” “Jesus.” “America.”  And whoever you are, you are “the backbone of this country.”  This attempted political satire feels as empty as the platitudes spouted by the candidates in this R-rated comedy that, like the political system it portrays, goes […]

The Bourne Legacy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Movie Release Date:August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 10, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Movie Release Date: August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2012

Different spy.  Different program.  Same evil conspiracy still trying to justify the nastiest of means with the most unprovable ends.  This is “The Bourne Legacy,” the fourth in the Bourne series and the first not to star Matt Damon.  Tony […]

Hope Springs

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexuality
Movie Release Date:August 8, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexuality
Movie Release Date: August 8, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

Can this marriage be saved? For decades, the Ladies Home Journal’s most popular feature has been its monthly he-said/she-said/therapist says looks at a marriage in trouble.  No matter how dire the problem — infidelity, money problems, blended family problems — […]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

posted by Nell Minow

This is the third movie based on the wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. With each movie, the franchise becomes better at milking the formula that causes 4th graders to cringe with delight.  The story […]

Total Recall

posted by Nell Minow

Will the 2012 version of the story inspired by Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” erase the memory of the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic from 1990?  Dick’s story is about a time in the future when […]

The Watch

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 13, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012

Yet another attempt to go for the “Ghostbusters” funny-scary vibe crashes and burns in the under-written “The Watch,” originally titled “Neighborhood Watch” until the Treyvon Martin shooting created uncomfortable associations with the idea of self-appointed suburban guys with guns.  But […]

Step Up Revolution

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2012

A girl.  A guy.  A ragtag but devoted and immensely talented group of dancers with varied styles and talents.  Impressively toned bodies.  Breathtakingly athletic moves.  Even more breathtakingly sensuous moves. A conflict.  A misunderstanding.  A pep talk.  “We’re going to […]

Ruby Sparks

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date:July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 29, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 29, 2012

The idea of bringing a dream significant other to life goes back at least as far as the ancient Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion, who created a statue so beautiful he fell in love with her.  Modern versions and variations include  […]

The Dark Knight Rises

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date:July 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Movie Release Date: July 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

There’s a reason you never hear about “your friendly neighborhood Batman.”  Spidey may have some angst and guilt and abandonment issues but he is downright sunny-natured compared to the brooding soul of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), holed up in Wayne […]

Ice Age: Continental Drift

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date:July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Movie Release Date: July 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012

The “Ice Age” folks have the formula down very well, and this fourth entry is one of their strongest, with enough of the familiar to be satisfying and enough that is new to keep things interesting.  The real expertise is […]

Beasts of the Southern Wild

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language, and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 4, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language, and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

A prize-winner at Cannes and Sundance, this near post-apocalyptic story of a father and daughter in a condemned part of Southern Louisiana is a stunningly assured debut by first-time feature director and co-writer Benh Zeitlen and extraordinary performances by a […]

Savages

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong, brutal, and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout
Movie Release Date:July 6, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong, brutal, and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout
Movie Release Date: July 6, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

Oliver Stone’s new movie about drug dealers and drug users seems to assume that its audiences may be watching in an altered state of consciousness as well.  Stone has never been known for subtlety, but just to make absolutely sure […]

The Amazing Spider-Man

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date:July 3, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 5, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Movie Release Date: July 3, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2012

One thing I love about comics is that they are the only form of story-telling, with the possible exception of soap operas, where so many different people tell open-ended stories about the adventures of the same characters through a period […]

Ted

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:December 11, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012

It’s so wrong.  But it is very funny. Fans of Seth MacFarlane are familiar with the politically incorrect humor that has made him the world’s highest-paid television writer (“The Family Guy,” “American Dad,” “The Cleveland Show”) and a popular emcee […]

To Rome With Love

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual references
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 15, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual references
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013

The quality of Woody Allen’s films is incidental, even coincidental.  Woody Allen and Adam Sandler may occupy opposite ends of the comedy spectrum when it comes to their audiences and cultural touchstones.  Sandler’s touchstones are “I Love the 80’s” faded […]

Magic Mike

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language, and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 29, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

You might expect a movie about strippers to be either a glossy Hollywood fantasy or a gritty, sour, documentary.  The surprise of “Magic Mike” is that it avoids both extremes with an appealing naturalness and intimacy that softens but does […]

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012

Now, that’s a President.  Abraham Lincoln, previously best remembered for the penny, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, the Gettysburg Address, the humor, the honesty, and the height, is now re-imagined with all of that plus a rail-splitting ax tipped […]

Brave

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 12, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 12, 2012

“Brave” is not just one of the best movies of the year for any age; it is one of the best movies ever made from a female point of view. It has been a long time coming.  Pixar’s unprecedented series […]

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 22, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence
Movie Release Date: June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 22, 2012

Dr. Johnson memorably said that the prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.  Part of what stories do for us is concentrate the mind by providing us with narratives that eliminate distracting quotidian effluvia and allow us to focus on […]

Rock of Ages

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking, and language
Movie Release Date:June 15, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 12, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking, and language
Movie Release Date: June 15, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 12, 2012

The era of big power ballads reaching to the back rows of big stadiums filled with big crowds of fans with big hair is paid big tribute in this irresistibly entertaining anthem-rock love letter to the 80’s.  Sung almost entirely by actors […]

That’s My Boy

posted by Nell Minow
F
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:June 15, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 16, 2012
F
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: June 15, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2012

Oscar Wilde’s famous story The Picture of Dorian Gray is about a dissolute young man who retains his youthful beauty as his portrait, hidden in the attic, shows his face becoming more aged and corrupt.  I can’t help thinking that somewhere […]

A Fan’s Paper Trailer for “Prometheus”

posted by Nell Minow

Fan Travis Betz made this astounding trailer for “Prometheus” with paper:    

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date:June 8, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 15, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor
Movie Release Date: June 8, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2012

“Madagascar 3″ is the best of the series, bright, fresh, fun, and funny, with a terrific script from co-director and Eric Darnell, a series regular, and, a bit improbably, “The Squid and the Whale’s” Noah Baumbach. In the first Madagascar, […]

Snow White and the Huntsman

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date:June 1, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 11, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and brief sensuality
Movie Release Date: June 1, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012

Director Rupert Sanders is known for making television commercials that look like fairy tales, with angels falling from the sky for a guy who uses Axe body spray and a boy battling samurai warriors with Excalibur to sell X-Box game […]

For Greater Glory

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:June 1, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: June 1, 2012

In 1926, the atheist President of Mexico Plutarco Elias Calles (Rubén Blades) decided to secularize the country by edict.  He deported non-Mexican priests and prohibited the remaining priests from appearing outside of the churches in their cassocks.  Rebels fought back, at first with […]

Men in Black 3

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date:May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content
Movie Release Date: May 25, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2012

Welcome back, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. The stars and director of one of the most creative and purely entertaining movies of the last 20 years are back for a third that does not match the original but makes up […]

Battleship

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action, and destruction, and for language
Movie Release Date:May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 28, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action, and destruction, and for language
Movie Release Date: May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012

As if it wasn’t enough of a challenge to try to create a movie based on a board game — and a board game based on a game that is perfectly adequately played with pencil and paper — this movie […]

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, thematic elements, and language
Movie Release Date:May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 11, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, thematic elements, and language
Movie Release Date: May 18, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012

No matter how carefully you plan and how diligently you read books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting, pregnancy is guaranteed to be different from whatever you think it is going to be.  I wish I could say the […]

The Dictator

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language, and some violent images
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language, and some violent images
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 21, 2012

Chutzpah has never been a problem for Sasha Baron Cohen, whose previous films, based on characters he created for television, were semi-documentaries of encounters with ordinary people who did their best to accommodate his outrageously offensive behavior.  Whether he was […]

Dark Shadows

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking
Movie Release Date:May 11, 2012
DVD Release Date:October 2, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking
Movie Release Date: May 11, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 2, 2012

“Dark Shadows” tries to sink its teeth into the legendary 1960’s supernatural soap opera with both ironic distance and visceral thrills.  It can be done — see the original “Men in Black” — but wonderfully weird visuals from director Tim Burton […]

The Avengers

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout and a mild drug reference
Movie Release Date:May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 24, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout and a mild drug reference
Movie Release Date: May 4, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 24, 2012

“The Dirty Dozen.” “The Bad News Bears.” “The A-Team.” “The Expendables.” Stories about a mixed group of badass tough guys who have trouble with authority but learn to work together are second only to stories about loners taking on The […]

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, and some language
Movie Release Date:April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 27, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, and some language
Movie Release Date: April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 27, 2012

The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) enjoys his life of adventure on the high seas, but there are a few problems. His crew is having a spirited debate about the best part of pirating – is it the cutlasses, the looting, […]

The Five-Year Engagement

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date:April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language throughout
Movie Release Date: April 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012

Jason Segal co-wrote and stars in the latest in a genre he helped to pioneer — the raunchy but sweet-natured romantic comedy.  Films like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “I Love You Man” put the misunderstandings and complications of the kind […]

The Lucky One

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 29, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 29, 2012

Director Scott Hicks pours enough syrup over this film to supply an IHOP.  Every shot of the golden sunlight on the Louisiana bayou or the perfectly tousled angelic curls of the perfectly precocious angelic boy or the perfect smile of the […]

Think Like a Man

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some crude humor, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 28, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some crude humor, and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012

A gimmicky best-selling book about love, sex, and marriage has been made into a high-concept romantic comedy with an all-star cast.  “He’s Just Not That Into You”?  No, that was so 2009.  This time the inspiration is the book by […]

Blue Like Jazz

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexuality, drug and alcohol content, and some language
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 6, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexuality, drug and alcohol content, and some language
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 6, 2012

Donald Miller’s best-selling collection of essays, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality has become a crowd-financed and lightly fictionalized film about a Texas teenager from a sheltered Baptist community who goes to the famously free-thinking Reed College in Portland, Oregon. […]

Chimpanzee

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 20, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 20, 2012

DisneyNature’s fourth in its series of nature documentaries released for Earth Day is gorgeously photographed, heartwarming, inspiring, and adorable. It combines astonishingly vivid and intimate footage of animal life with narration that sometimes crosses the line between accessible and intrusive.  […]

The Three Stooges

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language
Movie Release Date:April 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 17, 2012
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language
Movie Release Date: April 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012

I believe it was the great philosopher Curly Joe who first said that you cannot step in the same stream twice.  And perhaps it was Shemp who said that you can’t go home again.  Okay, that was the great ancient […]

Lockout

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: April 13, 2012

You know what was cool?  “Die Hard!”  One smart-ass guy who has a problem with authority Yippie-ky-ay-ing as he outsmarts a dozen bad guys in an LA skyscraper.  And “Under Siege,” with a smart-ass guy who has a problem with […]

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

posted by Nell Minow

There’s an old joke about a woman who goes to a therapist.  “Why are you here?” he asks.  “My family wants me to come because I love pancakes,” she answers.  “Well,” he says reassuringly, “that’s perfectly normal!  I love pancakes, […]

American Reunion

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking
Movie Release Date:April 7, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 10, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking
Movie Release Date: April 7, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 10, 2012

The first indication of a problem with this fourth in the series that began with the ground-breaking (and pastry-breaking) “American Pie” is that stars Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott are listed as co-producers.   Very few actors understand their characters […]

Titanic 3D

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disaster-related peril and violence, nudity, sensuality, and brief language
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2012

Classic Greek tragedies explored the theme of hubris as human characters dared to take on the attributes of the gods only to find their hopes crushed. This is a real-life story of hubris, as the ship declared to be “unsinkable” […]

Mirror Mirror

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 26, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: March 30, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 26, 2012

Director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar has found a story worthy of his ravishing visuals and the result is an enchanting update of the classic fairy tale of Snow White. Julia Roberts is clearly having a blast as the evil queen whose hostile […]

Wrath of the Titans

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Movie Release Date:March 30, 2012
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
Movie Release Date: March 30, 2012

What I love best about classically trained British actors is that they are game for anything.  Whether it is a commercial for cough drops or a silly comedy they always bring their A-game.  Their timing and diction are impeccable and […]

The Hunger Games

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens
Movie Release Date:March 23, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens
Movie Release Date: March 23, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2012

Just as brave and loyal Katniss Everdeen is the heart of the wildly popular series of “Hunger Games” novels by Suzanne Collins, Jennifer Lawrence is the heart of this faithful adaptation.  Director Gary Ross clearly understands the book and what […]

21 Jump Street

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking, and some violence
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 26, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking, and some violence
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 26, 2012

The record on movie versions of decades-old television shows is not a pretty one.  I call them lunchbox movies because I can envision the pitch meeting with the young studio executive smiling, “Oh, I had the lunchbox for that show! […]

Casa de Mi Padre

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for bloody violence, language, and some sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 17, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, language, and some sexual content and drug use
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012

You think having sunny-spirited Californian Will Ferrell play the son of a Mexican rancher is not goofy enough?  How about if the entire movie is in Spanish (with subtitles)?  You want goofier?  I got your goofy right here.  The entire premise […]

Jeff, Who Lives At Home

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date:March 16, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references and some drug use
Movie Release Date: March 16, 2012

Of course Jeff (Jason Segal) lives at home.  Just about everyone lives at home; that’s what “home” means.  The thing about 30-year-old Jeff, though, is that he still lives at the home he never-quite grew up in.  He lives in […]

John Carter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012

It takes a while to get going and is about half an hour too long, but “John Carter” has some spectacular visuals and well-staged action scenes.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the Tarzan novels, also wrote the John Carter: Adventures […]

Being Flynn

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for adult situations, language, nudity, and sex
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for adult situations, language, nudity, and sex
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012

Nick Flynn was working at a Boston homeless shelter when his father, Jonathan Flynn, came in looking for a place to stay. Nick was raised by his mother and had little contact with his father except for some letters explaining […]

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for some violence and sexual content and brief language
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 17, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence and sexual content and brief language
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012

Paul Torday’s satiric novel of politics, money, love, and fishing has been brought to the screen with Ewan McGregor as a government fisheries expert and Emily Blunt as an aide to a Yemeni sheik who has what seems to be […]

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date:July 23, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: March 9, 2012
DVD Release Date: July 23, 2012

The Michelin Guide to restaurants describes the best as “worth a detour” or “worth a special journey.”  They describe a tiny ten-seat sushi restaurant in Tokyo as worth the trip to Japan.  If you want to eat there, call before […]

Undefeated

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date:March 2, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date: March 2, 2012

Bill Courtney, a successful white businessman, coaches an underdog football team at an inner city high school in an Oscar-winning documentary that quickly transcends the risks of sports cliché and racially treacherous noblesse oblige.  Like the wonderful “The Heart of […]

The Lorax

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date:March 2, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 7, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date: March 2, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 7, 2012

Adapting Dr. Seuss for a feature film is a challenge. The movies can capture his whimsical drawings and mischievous humor but they fail when they pad his storylines and jettison his rhymes.  Dr. Seuss had a genius for saying a […]

Wanderlust

posted by Nell Minow

It is painful to watch Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, who were superb together in “The Object of My Affection,” try to make the most from the fourth-rate Judd Apatow gross-out comedy “Wanderlust.”  It wastes a situation filled with comic […]

Act of Valor

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
Movie Release Date:February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
Movie Release Date: February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 6, 2011

The Navy SEALS approached the Bandito Brothers film-makers about telling their story, years before they became headline heroes by finding and killing Osama Bin Laden.  After spending time with the SEALS and learning about their extraordinary missions and their extraordinary devotion to their […]

The Secret World of Arrietty

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:February 17, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: February 17, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

A spirited young heroine and an enchantingly beautiful setting make a story of friendship and courage beguiling in Studio Ghibli’s adaptation of Mary Norton’s popular series of “Borrower” books.  First published in the mid-1950’s, the stories are on based on […]

The Vow

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity, and some language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 8, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity, and some language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 8, 2012

More than any other attribute, memory is what defines our identity and our connections to each other.  When a young woman’s traumatic brain injury erases her memory not just of having married her husband but even of having met him, […]

Safe House

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 5, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012

Denzel Washington is the vodka and Ryan Reynolds is the orange juice in this spy story with top-notch action, middle-notch story, and bottom-notch ending, with a “surprise” plot twist that is obvious from the first 10 minutes. Apparently, the CIA […]

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2012

Like its predecessor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, this is a well-paced and highly entertaining family film made with good humor, panache, and imagination.  Josh Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, a teenager whose last expedition was in search […]

Big Miracle

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language
Movie Release Date:February 3, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 18, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language
Movie Release Date: February 3, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2012

“You’re not as easy to hate as I thought,” an oil man tells an environmental activist in “Big Miracle,” the heartwarming true story of a 1987 effort to rescue three Alaskan whales. It could just as well have been said […]

Happy Groundhog Day!

posted by Nell Minow

Bing! Ali Arikan has a brilliant assessment of “Groundhog Day” at Slant Magazine.

One for the Money

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity
Movie Release Date:January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 15, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity
Movie Release Date: January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 15, 2012

Someday to be used in film schools as a textbook example of how not to adapt a best-selling novel for the screen, “One for the Money” is mis-cast, mis-scripted, and mis-directed in every category.  Janet Evanovich’s popular series of series […]

Man on a Ledge

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and brief language
Movie Release Date:January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 29, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and brief language
Movie Release Date: January 27, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012

It wants to be a twisty-turny thriller but it is as straightforward as its title.  A man we will later know as Nick (Sam Worthington) checks into a New York hotel, orders room service (we see he has a scraped […]

Haywire

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 1, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012

A little bit “Rambo,” a little bit “Kill Bill” and more than a little bit “La Femme Nikita” and its imitation, “Alias,” this film can best be summarized as follows: a private contractor operative employed by the United States kicks […]

Red Tails

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 22, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

The official military documents of the 1940’s said that African-Americans were “mentally inferior” “subservient and cowards” and not fit to fly planes.  The Tuskegee Airmen of WWII proved that African-Americans were outstanding pilots.  They had to fight to be trained […]

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date:January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:March 27, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date: January 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 27, 2012

Jonathan Safran Foer’s acclaimed novel about a boy whose father was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11 has been brought to the screen with great sensitivity and heart.  Newcomer Thomas Horn plays Oskar, whose ferocious intellect overwhelms his […]

Joyful Noise

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language including a sexual reference
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 30, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including a sexual reference
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2012

Joyful indeed — this movie is pure cinematic sunshine, guaranteed to brighten the heart and gladden the spirit.  Super-divas Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah play rival gospel choir leaders in an inspiring and heart-warming story filled with love, laughter, music, […]

The Iron Lady

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief nudity
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012

A performance by Meryl Streep of endless intelligence, skill, and sensitivity cannot keep this impressionistic portrait of Baroness Margaret Thatcher from being exactly the sort of sentimental nonsense she spent her career trying to avoid. “People don’t think anymore; they […]

Contraband

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:April 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012

Oh, not another one last job movie!  This remake of an Icelandic thriller, directed by the actor who played the lead role in the original, is a by-the-numbers heist, chase, and shoot-em-up.  It’s too gritty to be escapist fun and […]

The Artist

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a disturbing image and a crude gesture
Movie Release Date:January 3, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 25, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a disturbing image and a crude gesture
Movie Release Date: January 3, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 25, 2012

“We didn’t need dialogue,” said Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) unforgettably in Billy Wilder’s classic, “Sunset Boulevard.”  “We had faces!”  Swanson herself had been a silent film star, but she is best remembered for playing the actress driven mad by being […]

The War Horse

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:April 3, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: April 3, 2012

The second Steven Spielberg movie of the week opens on Christmas Day, a grand epic, is big, long, ambitious, and showy.  It is a work by a master, but it is not a masterpiece.  Every detail is carefully considered.  Every […]

We Bought a Zoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:December 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:April 2, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: December 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: April 2, 2012

This is a good, old-fashioned family movie grounded in Matt Damon’s best-ever performance, inspired by the real-life story of a young widower who, without knowing a lot about animals or running a business, impulsively decided to buy a zoo. Benjamin […]

The Adventures of Tintin

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: December 21, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

Two box office champion directors and a cult favorite joined forces for a film that was a first for all of them, a 3D motion capture animated story.  It is clear that director Steven Spielberg, producer Peter Jackson (“The Lord […]

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for brutal violent contact including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:December 20, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 20, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brutal violent contact including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: December 20, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012

The late Swedish author Steig Larsson created a series of books originally titled “Men Who Hate Women” with a character who was an idealized version of himself — an investigative journalist of impeccable integrity and political correctness who effortlessly appeals […]

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action and some drug material
Movie Release Date:December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 12, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action and some drug material
Movie Release Date: December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 12, 2012

All Sherlockians know that the only villain who could match the most famous and celebrated of all fictional detectives is the fiendish Professor Moriarty.  As we were promised in the postscript to the first Sherlock Holmes movie from Guy Ritchie, […]

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence
Movie Release Date:December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:April 09, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence
Movie Release Date: December 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: April 09, 2012

The first live-action film from animation director Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles”) is pure adrenalin rush.  It has the best stunts of the year and crackerjack mastery of pace in this fourth “Mission: Impossible” movie. More “inspired by” […]

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:December 17, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 27, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: December 17, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 27, 2012

The third in the series about the singing chipmunks and their exasperated but perpetually forgiving human father is a little brighter and sweeter than its predecessors. It tones down the slapstick and potty humor, meriting a family-friendly G rating. The […]

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date:December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 20, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, and language
Movie Release Date: December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012

There are spy stories with glamor and chases and explosions and answers.  And there are spy stories like this one, murky, gritty, grubby, complicated.  The brilliant BBC miniseries version of the the book by John le Carre opened with the grim-looking Russian matryoshka […]

New Year’s Eve

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:May 1, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: December 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012

Something seemed familiar to me as I watched Garry Marshall’s New York-based follow-up to his multi-star, multi-story LA-set romantic comedy, Valentine’s Day.  It was something that went beyond the predictability of its sitcom-ish formulas and check-list of romantic comedy conventions, […]

The Sitter

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, and some violence
Movie Release Date:December 9, 2011
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, and some violence
Movie Release Date: December 9, 2011

Basically “Bad Santa” crossed with “Adventures in Babysitting,” “The Sitter” stars Jonah Hill as Noah, an ambitionless doof living with his mother who cannot be bothered to answer the phone, much less find a job. Overlong at 80 minutes, it […]

My Week with Marilyn

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date:December 2, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language
Movie Release Date: December 2, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

“Her skin does not reject the light.” That was impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir’s answer when asked why he used one favorite model so many times.  And it describes the luminous beauty of Marilyn Monroe, who almost half a century […]

Happy Thanksgiving!

posted by Nell Minow

One of my very favorite movies begins with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the original Miracle on 34th Street. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Best wishes to you and your families, and please know how grateful I am for the chance to be here […]

Hugo

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 27, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 27, 2012

Martin Scorsese’s enchanting “Hugo” is a thrillingly immersive adventure.  It is about two orphans trying to solve a mystery.  It is about the way that stories help us make sense of life.  It stretches from the very beginnings of movies […]

Arthur Christmas

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 6, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 6, 2012

A sleigh pulled by reindeer?  That’s so five decades ago.  With the population topping seven billion and the Duggars getting ready to welcome baby number 20, Santa (Jim Broadbent) needs all the support modern technology can provide.  He may not […]

The Muppets

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 19, 2012
A
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 19, 2012

Let the joy be unrestrained.  The Muppets are back.  It turns out that deep inside Jason Segal, best known for raunchy Judd Apatow comedies and for playing the monogamous Marshall on “How I Met Your Mother,” is at his core […]

Happy Feet 2

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some rude humor and mild peril
Movie Release Date:November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor and mild peril
Movie Release Date: November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

I loved the original Happy Feet, but five years later only liked this sequel.  It’s still a lot of fun to see dancing, singing penguins, but the meandering storyline never catches hold. In the original, a small Emperor penguin named […]

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: November 18, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2012

In trying to balance the hopes of the passionately devoted fans of the Twilight series (are there any other kind?), who want to see every single word of the books up on the screen and the realities of cinematic storytelling that limit […]

The Descendants

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:March 13, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012

Just because he lives in Hawaii, don’t think he’s in paradise, Matt King (George Clooney) warns us.  No one is immune to life.  The first Alexander Payne film since “Sideways” gives us another damaged hero at a crossroads and as […]

Into the Abyss

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:November 16, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: November 16, 2011

Werner Herzog continues his exploration of the darkness and the light within the human spirit with “Into the Abyss,” a documentary about why and how we kill each other, in violation of the law and directed by it. In Texas, […]

New Trailer: ‘The Hunger Games’

posted by Nell Minow

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
Movie Release Date:November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 7, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
Movie Release Date: November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2012

I was pretty sure that the line between being lame and making fun of being lame was fairly distinct but in this film Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) push it so hard it almost dissolves.  We’ve all come […]

Tower Heist

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: November 4, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012

If the Occupy Wall Street crowd decided to make it movie it would be “Tower Heist,” the story of 99%-ers stealing back from a 1% guy what he stole from them. Alan Alda has a lot of fun playing a […]

The Rum Diary

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, brief drug use, and sexuality
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 14, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, brief drug use, and sexuality
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 14, 2012

22-year-old Hunter S. Thompson wrote a novel about men in their 30’s working for a Puerto Rican newspaper, equally soaked in the title libation and the brinier flavors of cynicism and failure, but it was not published until more than […]

Puss In Boots

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:February 21, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012

The popular feline bandit of the “Shrek” series gets his own feature film, one that is less of a fractured fairy tale and more of a swashbuckler.  Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of Puss in Boots, the cat with […]

In Time

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

In the future, according to this film, our currency will not be money but time.  Everyone gets 25 years.  Then the clock starts ticking down.  If you have not earned, begged, borrowed, stolen, or inherited time, you die. Everything is […]