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Concussion is About Football — and About Faith

posted by Nell Minow

The New Yorker has a thoughtful essay by Ian Crouch about the spiritual and religious themes in Will Smith’s fact-based movie, “Concussion.” Smith plays real-life doctor Bennet Omalu, who insisted on pursuing the issue of head trauma in professional football […]

Concussion

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2015
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2015

It is a true story that seemed to have all the elements for a heartwarming, uplifting story about speaking truth to power, told with big stars and lots of Hollywood gloss. And yet, it does not work. In football terms, […]

Coming to Theaters: February 2015

posted by Nell Minow

Happy February! Here’s some of what we’ll be seeing in theaters this month: February 6 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Everyone’s favorite residents of Bikini Bottom are back on the big screen with a 3D adventure, co-starring Antonio Banderas […]

Winter’s Tale

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2014
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality
Movie Release Date: February 14, 2014

“Winter’s Tale,” based on the acclaimed novel by Mark Helprin is deeply romantic but also pretty daffy. There are exquisite images and some grand themes but also some clangers, some murky mishmash in the set-up, poorly designed special effects, and […]

After Earth

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for action violence and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date:May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date:October 8, 2013
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for action violence and some disturbing images
Movie Release Date: May 31, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2013

“After Earth” goes off the rails in the first minute as Jaden Smith (the “Karate Kid” remake, “The Pursuit of Happyness”) opens the story with a near unintelligible voice-over narration with some mishmash about how a thousand years before all […]

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 […]

Trailer: Men in Black 3

posted by Nell Minow

The first “Men in Black” is one of my favorite films of the 1990’s.  The second was a terrible disappointment and clearly hacked up before release as shown by its slim running time and unsatisfying and conclusion.  I keep hoping […]

Tribute: J.D. Salinger

posted by Nell Minow

J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, and perhaps the country’s most famous recluse, died at home at age 91. His classic novel narrated by a 16-year-old named Holden Caulfield as he wanders around New York before he […]

List: The Most Inspiring Movies of the Decade

posted by Nell Minow

The first decade of the 21st century has given us many great films. Here are a dozen I found especially inspiring. From documentaries to fantasies, from real-life heroes to an animated fish, these are the stories that help to show […]

Seven Pounds

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material, some disturbing content and a scene of sensuality
Movie Release Date:December 19, 2008
DVD Release Date:March 31, 2009
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, some disturbing content and a scene of sensuality
Movie Release Date: December 19, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009

The way you feel about “Seven Pounds” will depend on the way you feel about the choice made by the main character at the end of the film. Some may consider it admirable and selfless but for me the choice, […]

Hancock

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language.
Movie Release Date:July 2, 2008
DVD Release Date:November 25, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language.
Movie Release Date: July 2, 2008
DVD Release Date: November 25, 2008

The problem is, this is not a 4th of July movie. It is not a bad movie. It is not a good movie either. It is a flawed but interesting movie but its biggest problem is that on the 4th […]

Independence Day

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Movie Release Date:July 4, 1996
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Movie Release Date: July 4, 1996

In this heart-thumping, slam-bang action extravaganza, aliens arrive and blow up the world’s major cities. The president (Bill Pullman) and fighter pilots (led by Will Smith) must find a way to fight back. Some kids will find this too intense […]

Family of the Week: Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jaden, and Willow

posted by Nell Minow

Will Smith likes to joke that he owns the 4th of July, and it is true that he starred in two of the hugest hits to open on the 4th, “Men in Black” and “Independence Day.” He’s hoping to do […]

I am Legend

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Movie Release Date:December 14, 2007
DVD Release Date:March 18, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2007
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2008

Will Smith plays the last man on earth in this third movie based on Richard Matheson’s novella. Scientist Robert Neville was immune to the virus that wiped out everyone. He spends his days hunting for food in the deserted streets […]

Will Smith — the Hitler flap

posted by Nell Minow

It is a shame that Will Smith’s reasonable comments have been taken out of context and he has been forced to apologize. Here is what he said: Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing […]

The Pursuit of Happyness

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:May 27, 2013
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: May 27, 2013

This week’s release of “After Earth,” starring Will Smith and his son Jaden, is a good time to take another look at their first co-starring film, based on a real-life father and son: If a man goes from homeless single […]

Ali

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R
Movie Release Date:2001
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: R
Movie Release Date: 2001

Will Smith delivers a knock-out punch as Muhammed Ali in this outstanding film that follows the champ from his first heavyweight title to the “Rumble in the Jungle” when he won the title again by defeating George Foreman in Zaire.Smith […]

Enemy of the State

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:1998
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 1998

This movie is what I call a “soft R,” the rating based on limited bad language and violence, but not really unsuitable for younger kids. Will Smith stars as Bobby Dean, a successful Washington lawyer, who in true thriller fashion […]

Wild Wild West

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:1999
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 1999

“The Wild Wild West” has the weak, weak script. It is not unusual to see a trailer that is better than the movie, but in this case the music video is brighter, wittier, and more exciting than the movie. Will […]

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Black History Month 2016
Be sure to take time during Black History month to watch movies the Civil Rights movement, ("Eyes on the Prize," "Selma," "Boycott"), and movies that are themselves a part of black history and film history (add to that list: "Killer of Sheep," ...

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