Image for post
Image for post

By all means, watch the classics! One of the sweetest family traditions is sharing favorites like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” “A Christmas Story,” “Elf,” “Home Alone,” and my favorite, “A Christmas Carol” (I watch the MCM, Alistair Sim, and Mr. Magoo versions every year, usually the Muppets version, too.) And then there are the TV classics like “A Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “The Year Without a Santa Claus.”

I’ve already posted lists of lesser-known but wonderful Christmas movies. And yes, “Die Hard” is definitely a Christmas movie. Case closed.

But there should always be room for something new, and I love…

Diane Warren has won Grammy, Golden Globe, and Emmy awards. She has received eleven Oscar nominations and three consecutive Songwriter of the Year Billboard awards, and is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Her songs have been sung by Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga.

Equal to her passion for music is her passion for animals. And both come together in her beautiful new song from “The One and Only Ivan,” which she has donated for Giving Tuesday to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. In addition, Ms. …

Image for post
Image for post

There are some great Thanksgiving movies for adults. And here are some for the whole family to share.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

This is the one with the famous episode about Charlie Brown trying to kick the football Lucy keeps snatching away from him. And Peppermint Patty invites herself to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving and he is too kind-hearted to tell her that he won’t be there because his family is going to his grandmother’s. When the Peanuts gang comes over for a feast prepared by Charlie Brown himself, Patty gets angry at being served toast and jelly beans. …

Image for post
Image for post

I’ve been a huge fan of Glen Keane for as long as I can remember. As a Disney animator, he worked on classics like “The Rescuers,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Tangled,” and “Pocahontas.” And now, for the first time, he has directed an animated film, the gorgeously designed and heart-warming “ Over the Moon.”

You have probably seen Keane as a child. His father, the legendary cartoonist Bil Keane, created the Family Circus comic panel, based on the Keane’s own family and with the distinctive round shape. The comic is still run by Keane’s siblings.

Keane gave a virtual interview to Critics Choice members this week. He told us about having his father work from home, drawing Family Circus, and how much it inspired him. When he was very young, his father told him, “I am a cartoonist, but you are an artist,” which made him feel, he said, as though he had just been knighted with a sword. His father gave him a book to get him started, called Dynamic Anatomy, which got him started on understanding how to draw the human figure. One day, when he was about 8, some kids on the school bus made fun of him for drawing nude figures, the classical images of the discus thrower and The Thinker. He said at first he was uncomfortable being laughed at, but then he thought about how much he liked drawing and he said, “I’m different! …

Image for post
Image for post

Aaron Sorkin answered questions from a small group of critics about “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” premiering this Friday, October 16, on Netflix. The all-star cast play the eight men accused of conspiracy and incitement to riot at demonstrations during the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. The highly unpopular Vietnam war and the frustration with candidates who seemed old and out of touch, the fury at the loss of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy earlier that year, led several groups to send protesters to the convention. Mayor Richard J, Daley called in the National Guard and gave the local police orders to “shoot to kill.” …

Image for post
Image for post

Win a $25 gift card from the “Fast and Furious” animated spin-off “Fast and Furious: Spy Racers Rio,” with the second season premiering today on Netflix. Details of how to enter below.

In the series, teenager Tony Toretto follows in the footsteps of his cousin Dom when he and his friends are recruited by a government agency to infiltrate an elite racing league serving as a front for a nefarious crime organization bent on world domination.

Now experienced spy racers, Tony and the crew embark on their first international mission to Brazil. Once in Rio de Janeiro, they discover that Ms. Nowhere’s latest recruit and formidable fellow racer, Layla Gray, is missing in action during an investigation. Unwilling to leave family behind, Tony and the Spy Racers go undercover to find Layla, but end up uncovering a sinister plot that keeps them guessing at every turn.

Image for post
Image for post

Sigh.

Robert Kimmel’s 1984 book, The War With Grandpa, is a lot of fun and also thoughtful about family, resolving conflicts, and war. The movie has tons of star power but it is just dumb slapstick, with escalating cartoon-style mayhem. It’s been on the shelf since it was originally scheduled for release in 2017 and even by pandemic shut-in standards it is barely watchable.

Which is not to say that some children won’t be amused by it because, see above re slapstick and mayhem. For the rest of us, it’s just sad and exhausting seeing Robert De Niro, yes that Robert De Niro, dropping his pants and flashing his son-in-law, plus sticking his hands down the pants of a dead body at a funeral. Then there’s Uma Thurman doing a spit-take and running around in a Christmas elf costume, plus a lot of predictable jokes about old people (they don’t understand technology! Hilarious!), married people (Dad feels diminished by his job, his father-in-law, and sometimes his wife), teenagers (they like to make out!), middle schoolers (puberty humor! bullies!), …

Image for post
Image for post

Athletic competition is endlessly fascinating, not just because of the talent and skill but because no one becomes a champion without character and values: determination, courage, and the kind of teamwork that requires respect and responsibility. And because we love stories about underdogs who never give up and come from behind. …

Image for post
Image for post

The Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates are coming, so here is what to look for. It is impossible to imagine that anyone will be watching who is not already familiar with the candidates’ positions and records. What the debates show us is something different. How do they respond in real time under pressure, without staff or briefing books? We watch the debates to evaluate their temperament and to get a sense of how effective they can be in negotiating with Congress and with international leaders, friendly and less friendly.

If I were advising Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, I would tell them to say this:

I’m going to spend my time here making sure the American people understand how I see the problems facing this country and what my plans are to address them. I will not have time to fact-check every statement made by my opponent. I’m leaving that to my staff, who will be posting fact-checks in real time, with documentation showing our sources. They will also be fact-checking me. Any mistake I make will be corrected, again showing exactly where we get our information. …

About

Nell Minow

Movie critic, corporate critic and shareholder advocate, critic/editor at @ebertvoices @moviemom, and #corpgov #movies and editor at @miniverpress

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store