Monday, December 31, 2012

"There you go, finding a hidden advantage in an unfortunate circumstance...

...using pain to take you to the next level. Those are the things that turn players into kings."

I wanted to post this last week while I was home in Philadelphia, but my mother's computer has gotten so slow that it would have taken me all week to finish. So here now, only a little delayed, are my favorite episodes of television from the past year. As I remind you every year, I do not think that they are necessarily the BEST episodes from the year, just my favorites. Be forewarned, there are plenty of spoilers ahead.

So, without further ado...

Sons of Anarchy "Laying Pipe"
This episode completely destroyed me. I was literally in a ball on the floor crying my eyes out by the time it was over. All that really needs to be said is that Ryan Hurst is a warrior and gave an incredible and heart-breaking final performance as Opie Winston. His presence on the show will be sorely missed but he went out in stellar fashion. I really enjoyed the entire season, but this hit me harder than anything else this year and really intensified everything else that happened the rest of the season. It will really set the tone for who Jax ultimately becomes. I said it last year and I will say it again, Kurt Sutter is a crazy genius and he has a phenomenal and totally under-rated cast backing him up.

The Vampire Diaries "Memorial"
Another episode of television that made me cry. I loved the whole episode, but I especially enjoyed the end where they released the Chinese floating lanterns in memory of all the friends and family they have lost over the past four seasons. And then, of course, when Damon refused to participate, he went to the cemetery to rant at Alaric's grave and as the camera pans out we see ghost Alaric sitting beside him listening and he says the best five words of the whole episode: "I miss you too, buddy."  So good.

Parenthood "One More Weekend With You"
This show has really stepped up its game this season. Parenthood has always been a great hour of television, but season four has been absolutely amazing every single week. A breast cancer storyline and a new character who is an Iraq War veteran has upped the stakes this year and every single actor has risen to the challenge. Monica Potter, Peter Krause, Mae Whitman and newest addition Matt Lauria are all especially mind-blowing in their performances. I liked this episode the best because it showed Kristina going through her first chemo treatment and the reaction she has from it in an incredibly realistic way. It also shows us for the first time, the real struggle that Ryan is going through after having lost one of his military buddies and how Amber deals with him and his situation. I really love the characters on this show and all of the actors that portray them. There really is not one weak link. It just continues to make me wish I were a Braverman.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"You made me Senior Partner, I always repay my debts. I'm a Lannister."

A few years ago, I joined Entertainment Weekly's Front Row Panel. I honestly do not remember exactly when or how I heard about it, but it is a community forum where the editors of the magazine ask about different entertainment and pop culture topics. They are interested in knowing what their readers think about movies and TV shows that are out and also about what we like and do not like about the magazine itself. They have a section where you can grade new movie releases and take a weekly pop culture quiz and often send out surveys about specific topics.

More recently, they have joined the Twitter universe and regularly ask their followers to retweet information about TV show premieres and help promote different products. They then choose one of these retweeters to win DVD sets and other fun things!

Last week, I got an email telling me that they were giving away a TV show to a certain number of lucky people. Not knowing what show it would be, I was happily surprised when seasons one and two of the USA Network show Suits arrived in the mail. I was already a fan of the show and I have since re-watched both seasons.

For those of you who do not already know, Suits is about a college-dropout with a brilliant mind named Mike Ross who gets a job as a lawyer at a New York City law firm. He is hired by the firm's top attorney, Harvey Specter, and together they must keep Mike's secret from the rest of the firm. Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht (pictured above) play the two leading men. The cast also includes Harvey's assistant Donna Paulson (Sarah Rafferty), Managing Partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), Paralegal Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) and Junior Parter Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman). 

The cast is phenomenal and the writing is fun and smart. I was not sure if I would like it when it started, but I very quickly became addicted and I CANNOT WAIT for the new episodes to start again on January 17th!

Side note: I think Janel Moloney and Sarah Rafferty need to start their own club called, "Actresses Who Play(ed) Kick-Ass Assistants Named Donna."

I highly recommend checking out this show and, if you are a huge entertainment nerd like me, I also recommend that you join EW's Front Row Panel immediately.


ps. In the spirit of the holiday season, I also ask you to remember that there are still many people struggling after Hurricane Sandy. Here are a few sites where you can donate money and find places to help volunteer:
Staten Strong
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
American Red Cross
Habitat for Humanity
Robin Hood Relief Fund

Friday, November 30, 2012

Jack: I love getting tossed in a sack and shoved through a magic portal.

Santa: Oh, good, that was my idea!

Over the holiday weekend, I got a chance to see both Silver Linings Playbook and Rise of the Guardians.

My mom came into town for Thanksgiving, so Wednesday night I introduced her to the Alamo Drafthouse. While she was not used to eating in the dark, she enjoyed her first Drafthouse experience and we both really liked Rise of the Guardians. I had heard a bad review on the radio and was not sure about it, but it ended up being fantastic.

When the Boogeyman, aka Pitch, tries to take over the world, the immortal guardians must join forces to stop him before children stop believing in the guardians and they disappear. If you have not already figured it from the picture, the group of guardians is comprised of Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman voiced by Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher and Hugh Jackman respectively (the Sandman does not speak) and the Boogeyman is Jude Law. I also quite enjoyed the elves and the yetis, who help Santa in his workshop.

While the plot was fairly predictable, my mom and I both thought that it was funny and very entertaining. It was visually beautiful, the dialogue was witty and it is just a great holiday adventure for the whole family.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"

On this Thanksgiving, I give you a few clips of awesome Thanksgiving themed episodes of television. The first is "Turkeys Away" from WKRP in Cincinnati. I was not actually alive when this episode originally aired, but I think it is hilarious. Apologies for the quality of the video:

I have recently been rewatching The West Wing and I really love this episode where President Bartlett calls the Butterball Hotline. I just always enjoy that he has to pretend that he is someone other than the President while talking to the woman on the phone. It reminds me of the scene in The American President when Michael Douglas's character tries to order flowers over the phone. But I digress, here is Martin Sheen in all his Presidential glory.

Another great Thanksgiving episode of The West Wing involves the President pardoning a turkey and C.J. having to choose between two candidates.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer also has a classic episode involving the spirit of a Native American warrior who is angry about having been massacred by Sunnydale settlers. There were not a lot clips available, but I do enjoy this one where Buffy accidentally turns the Native American that she is fighting into a bear :)

I also enjoy Xander and his syphilis in this episode and, of course, the appearance of Angel.

And, of course, no list would be complete without a Friends clip. They always had the best Thanksgiving episodes every season.  The Gellar Cup, the one where Rachel puts meat in the trifle and the one with Brad Pitt are all so good! This one involves a flashback to when Monica accidentally cuts off Chandler's toe.

A few honorable mentions that I could not find clips for includes New Girl "Thanksgiving," How I Met Your Mother "Slapsgiving," Felicity "Thanksgiving" and Parenthood "Happy Thanksgiving." Although, I do have to say, shows need to get more creative with their titles :)

At the beginning of this holiday season, I also ask you to remember that there are still many people struggling after Hurricane Sandy. I have listed some places below where you can donate money and find places to help volunteer. Every little bit helps!

I hope that everyone enjoys their holiday and stays safe.


Staten Strong
Presbyterian Disaster Asisitance
American Red Cross
Habitat for Humanity


Saturday, September 22, 2012

"May The Lord Grant You Extra Innings."

So far this Fall, I have not done as well as usual on my list of movies that I want to see. The Words and The Cold Light of Day received horrible reviews, more horrible than I expected, so I will wait until they come out on DVD. Yes, I will still eventually watch them because of my love for Bradley and Henry respectively.  In general, I have not been all that inspired to go to the movies lately.

However, I did go and see Trouble with the Curve today and I really enjoyed it. It was definitely not a perfect movie, but it was about baseball, it made me laugh and it made me cry. What more can a girl ask for?

Clint Eastwood plays Gus Lobel, an aging baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves whose eye sight is beginning to go and is still the best in the business. His daughter Mickey, played by Amy Adams, is close to making partner at her law firm, but when the Braves start to question Gus's judgement, she takes time off to join him on a recruiting trip to check out the number one draft pick a week before the draft. Despite their strained relationship, she ends up jeopardizing her own job to save her father's.

Eastwood and Adams have great chemistry. I love Adams and think she is fantastic in every role that she takes on. Justin Timberlake plays her love interest and, while his character is probably unnecessary, I thought he did a good job and I liked his interactions with both Adams and Eastwood. In general, he is becoming a great actor and has started to work on some interesting projects.

I would not say that this is a must-see movie. The dialogue does not always flow seamlessly and the struggles in Gus and Mickey's relationship were a little drawn out, but the interactions between the actors keep you invested and engaged. Overall, I think that if you like baseball you will probably enjoy this as much as I did.


Monday, September 3, 2012

"Tell me you love me."

September is finally here and that means so is the start of Fall Television. Therefore, as is tradition, here is my list of all the new and returning shows for which I will be tuning in. As always, I have packed my schedule.

Returning Shows:
Blue Bloods
Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23
Grey's Anatomy
Happy Endings
Hart of Dixie
How I Met Your Mother
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
New Girl
Once Upon A Time
Sons of Anarchy
The Good Wife
The Vampire Diaries
The Voice

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012 Fall Movie Preview

The only good thing about the approaching end of summer is the prospect of all the great movies coming out. My Entertainment Weekly Fall Movie Preview edition came this weekend and I have once again put together the list of films about which I am most excited.

7   - The Words (Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, Ben Barnes)
       The Cold Light of Day (Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver)
14 - The Perks of Being A Wallflower (Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Mae Whitman)
21 - End Of Watch (Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera)

Other possibilities for September include Bachelorette (9/7) , 10 Years (9/21) and Trouble With The Curve (9/21).

5   - Pitch Perfect (Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Elizabeth Banks)
       Frankenweenie (Charlie Tahan, Martin Short, Catherin O'Hara, Winona Ryan)
12 - Argo (Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston)
       3, 2, 1...Frankie Go Boom (Chris O'Dowd, Charlie Hunnam, Lizzy Caplain, Ron Perlman)

Other possibilites for October are  The Paperboy (10/5) and Nobody Walks (10/12).

Friday, June 22, 2012

"No one's killin' any folk today, on account o' we got a very tight schedule."

After three straight days of "all ATX Festival all the time," I needed a few days to recuperate and process my weekend. A few days turned into a few weeks and I am sorry that I am just now getting around to posting about my experience. I went through a bit of withdrawl the week following the festival, but it seemed as if others who attended had the same reaction (and are still craving queso and bbq three weeks later). The overall consensus is that everyone had the BEST. WEEKEND. EVER!

The festival kicked off Friday night, June 1 at the State Theater with a red carpet and screenings of USA Network's Suits season finale and Royal Pains season premiere. After the screening, Robyn Ross from TVGuide moderated a great Q&A with Suits Executive Producer David Bartis, Royal Pains Executive Producers Michael Rauch and Andrew Lenchewski and actress Reshma Shetty. The Opening Night After Party was held at the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental and included amazing performances by Landon Pigg, Mae Whitman and Alpha Rev with a special guest performance by Jason Ritter. I also got a chance to hang out with Ken Marino and a few of the guys from Children's Hospital as well as Robert Maschio and Neil Flynn from Scrubs.

Saturday morning, after getting about three and a half hours of sleep the night before, I headed back to the Stephen F. Austin where all of the panels were being held. My job for the weekend was to make sure that all the panelists showed up and made it to the correct room at the correct time, which basically means I was running around like a crazy person starting at 9:30 a.m. until the panels were over at 4:00 p.m. trying to track people down. (I may forever be referred to as "the girl in the green dress.") However, it also means that I got to talk to all of the panelists that were there! Everyone was extremely nice and very easy to approach. Saturday's panels were: TV Fantasy Goes Mainsteam, The Creators, Friday Night Lights Revisited, Women on Television, TBS very funny, Book to TV Series, One Tree Hill Says Goodbye, a Love Monkey Retrospective and The Stages of a Television Writing Career.

There were also screenings and Q&As going on at the Alamo Drafthouse and State Theater throughout the day, but if it did not happen at SFA, it was not on my radar.

After an Industry Reception at Austin Studios on Saturday Night, everyone headed over to the Hotel San Jose for the Friday Night Lights Outdoor Screening. Before the sun went down, there were musical performances by cast members Dora Madison Burge, Alicia Witt and Jesse Plemons. This event was free and open to the public and everyone was encouraged to bring their lawn chairs. Once it was dark enough, the crowd got a chance to see the premiere of the new Explosions In The Sky music video and then the cast of Friday Night Lights introduced the screening of the series finale episode. Following the screening, we headed back to the Stephen F. Austin for the Children's Hospital Marathon After Party. Although, I did not stay very long for this because I was so tired from the day that I almost fell asleep halfway through my Tito's Vodka Texas Sipper :o)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Here's to God and football and, ten years from now, good friends livin' large in Texas. Texas forever."

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I watch a lot of television. However, my obsession did not really start until college. I watched a lot of TV in high school, but never really paid much attention to specific actors or directors. While it mostly started out as a way to avoid studying for my college courses, it eventually turned into something more than that. Once you start watching a lot of television, you quickly learn to decipher between good shows and bad shows. That is not to say that many bad shows cannot be entertaining, but you begin to recognize the different calibers and styles of acting/writing/directing/etc.

I eventually became the person that all my friends turned to when they wanted to know about new shows or when they recognized a guest star on Grey's Anatomy and could not figure out what else they had seen that actor on. There are more of us TV nerds out there than you probably realize and now we have some place to celebrate that, just like all you movie and music lovers :o)

This weekend I have the esteemed pleasure of volunteering for the first annual ATX Television Festival here in Austin. Beginning tomorrow night, June 1, and running through Sunday, June 3, this festival will bring together actors, writers, directors, producers, music supervisors, studio executives and fans to talk about the past, present and future of television. Operating similarly to a film festival, there will be screenings, panels, parties and live music with some of the industry's leading professionals.

To kick things off on opening night, ATX is screening the season premiere of USA Network's Royal Pains along with an episode from the first season of Suits. Also in attendance will be the executive producers from both shows, David Bartis and Michael Rauch, and Royal Pains cast member, Judy Greer. A few other shows screening this weekend are: Life Unexpected, Parenthood, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Firefly, Criminal Minds, a few Web series and even some Hasbro cartoons.

The panels throughout the weekend include Women in Television, TV Fantasy Goes Mainstream, a Love Monkey Retrospective, Music in Television and a final goodbye to One Tree Hill. There will be a discussion between Bill Lawrence (creator of Spin City, Scrubs and Cougar Town) and a few of his friends about what it has been like to work together over the years. Jason Katims will also reflect on his career, which started on My So-Called Life and also includes Boston Public, Roswell, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. Moderators for these panels and screenings include Meg Masters from TVLine, Robyn Ross from TV Guide and Ben Blacker from Nerdist.

And if all that was not enough to make your head explode with excitement, the Alamo Drafthouse is hosting The Ultimate Children's Hospital Marathon on Saturday afternoon. Cast members Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino, Erinn Hayes and Executive Producers David Wain and Jonathan Stern will all be in attendance.

However, the event that I am probably most looking forward to is the Friday Night Lights Outdoor Screening taking place on Saturday night at the Hotel San Jose. It is open to the public and includes a screening of the Pilot and Finale episodes and will showcase music from cast members Alicia Witt, Dora Madison Burge and Jesse Plemons. A few of the other cast members who will also be on hand for the event are Scott Porter, Gaius Charles, Michael B. Jordan, Matt Lauria and Louanne Stephens. It should be tons of fun and I cannot wait!

This weekend, there is really something for everyone and if you are not in Austin you are definitely missing out on what is sure to be a FABulous time.

Like I said, I am working for the festival Friday through Sunday, but I will try my best to update Facebook and Twitter with behind-the-scenes info and pictures. And if I manage to meet Kristen Bell, it has been nice knowing you all because, I will probably die of excitement :o)


For more ATX  Festival information:

For Children's Hospital Marathon information:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lemon: I just want to let you know that it does not make you any less of a woman that you yourself have no wedding plans...

...or a boyfriend or even the prospect of one, because that little doctoring job you have can keep you busy for years to come and we have a great tradition of dignified spinsters down here.

Even though I have been really bad about updating my blog the past few months, I have definitely not stopped watching television. A few new shows started this Spring, some good and some not-so-good. Here are a few thoughts on what has been going on most recently.

A few of the new shows that I have been watching are Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, Girls and Scandal.

I am pretty picky about which sit-coms I watch, but I have really enjoyed Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23. James Van Der Beek is hilarious, but I am glad that he is not the main focus of the show, and I have liked Krysten Ritter since she was on Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls. It was just renewed for a second season and I am very excited to see what other craziness they come up with. Will James win Dancing With The Stars?! :o)

Girls, on the other hand, I am not quite sure about yet. I have watched the first few episodes and while I do not hate it, I also do not love it. As a twenty-something woman myself, I just do not really feel a connection to any of the characters. It has smart writing and parts of it are definitely funny, I just cannot get into it.

I was not sure about Scandal when it started. Something about the way they promoted the show just did not appeal to me. However, after hearing all the great buzz about it once it premiered, I decided I had to give it a try and I am very glad I did. The first season was short, but very high paced and incredibly entertaining. It did not go where I expected it to, but that made it all the more intriguing. I have heard that creator Shonda Rhimes wants to make season 2 a short one as well so that she can keep up the pace of the storyline and I am totally on board for that. While I do not enjoy waiting longer for new seasons, sometimes shows stretch things out too much just to fill twenty (or more) episodes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Reveal yourself, tiny songstress!"

The only movie in wide release this weekend is Dark Shadows.

Based on the television show from the '60s, Dark Shadows is about a vampire named Barnabas Collins. Collins has been imprisoned and when he gets released he moves in with his dysfunctional descendents. His family helps protect him from the witch that cursed him in the first place. This movie stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Chloe Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller, Jack Earle Haley and Christopher Lee.

The reviews for this movie have not been great, but I am guessing if you liked the TV show you will probably enjoy the movie. Plus, it is Johnny Depp, so how bad could it really be? :o)

Other movies in limited release are: Where Do We Go Now?, I Wish, Girl In Progress, God Bless America, Hick, Tonight You're Mine, The Road and A Bag Of Hammers.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"...And then shawarma after."

My original plan was to see The Avengers on Sunday. However, after sitting in front of my computer at work all day Friday and reading the multitude of comments on Twitter about how good the movie was, I decided that I needed to see it Friday night. Then, because it was SO GOOD, I saw it again on Sunday :o)

Don't worry, I will warn you before I get to the spoilery bits.....

When Loki teams up with an unexpected army, Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D) Director Nick Fury must bring together a group of super humans to defend the Earth. This team consists of Tony Stark/Iron Man, Steve Rogers/Captain America, Thor, Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Clint Barton/Hawkeye. After working out their differences with each other first, they then have to figure out how to defeat Loki.

The acting in this movie was all-around fantastic. There was not a weak link in the group, but it was really the supporting roles that stood out to me the most. We know from previous Marvel films that Clark Gregg is a great Agent Phil Coulson, but he was especially fantastic in The Avengers. Although he was not in a majority of scenes, he had his share of hilarious lines. I was also especially impressed with Cobie Smulders, who plays Agent Maria Hill. I love her on How I Met Your Mother, but she kicked a lot of ass in this movie...literally. I was also excited to see other Whedonverse actors Alexis Denisof, Ashley Johnson and Enver Gjokaj.

Of course, it would not be The Avengers without the Avengers themselves. We have seen Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in their roles as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Loki respectively and they all continue to be fantastic. However, this is the first time Mark Ruffalo played the role of The Hulk. I did not actually see the previous Hulk movies (mostly because they did not get very good reviews) but I thought Ruffalo was a welcome addition to the team.

And now on to the more spoilery parts of my review. If you do not want anything ruined then I suggest you STOP READING IMMEDIATELY.

For those that have already seen the movie, please continue....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Let me know if 'real power' wants a magazine or something."

The two major movies that are being released this weekend are: The Avengers and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

In The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a group of British retirees go on a trip to India to stay in, what they believe is, a newly restored hotel. The hotel turns out to be not quite as luxurious as the advertisement leads them to believe, but eventually its charm begins to grow on them. This movie stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup and Dev Patel.

The Avengers is a team of super humans who have been brought together by the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D) Director Nick Fury to defend the Earth from Loki and his army. This teams consists of Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Steve Rogers aka Captain America, Thor, Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye. This movie stars Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow and the voice of Paul Bettany.

I am very interested in seeing both of these movies. Marigold Hotel has a fantastic cast and looks really funny, and both have been getting great reviews. I am trying not to let my expectations for The Avengers get too high, but I am very excited about it and will definitely go this weekend.

Also in limited release is: LOL, First Position, The Perfect Family, Last Call at the Oasis, A Little Bit of Heaven, Mother's Day and Meeting Evil.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

"What pirates? Nobody here but us girl scouts!"

The big movies that are coming out this weekend are: Safe, The Raven, The Pirates! Band of Misfits and The Five-Year Engagement.

The Five-Year Engagement begins where most romantic comedies end: when characters Violet and Tom get engaged. The movie then follows them through all of the ups and downs of their engagement over the next five years. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt plays Tom and Violet and the rest of the cast includes Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, David Paymer, Jacki Weaver, Jim Piddock, Lauren Weedman and Mimi Kennedy.

In The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Pirate Captain and his crew set out to defeat their enemies, Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz, in a competition for Pirate of the Year. This animated feature is voiced by: Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imdela Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Anton Yelchin, Brendan Gleeson, Ashley Jensen and Al Roker.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"How can you explain something that you can't even understand yourself?"

This weekend, the big movies being released are: The Lucky One, Think Like A Man and Chimpanzee.

Chimpanzee is this year's Disney Nature documentary. It is about Oscar, a 3 year old chimpanzee that gets seperated from his family and adopted by a full-grown male. As they have done the past few years, Disney is releasing this film for Earth Day and part of opening weekend proceeds will be donated to conservation efforts. For every ticket purchased Friday through Sunday, 20 cents will go to the Jane Goodall Institute.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Summer Movie Preview 2012

It's that time of year again! I have received my favorite issue of Entertainment Weekly! Their Summer Movie Preview has arrived and it just makes me excited for all the fun movies that come out this time of year. It also means that my favorite season is just around the corner. So here it is, my list of movies that I am most excited about coming out in the next few months.
4   - The Avengers (Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo)
     - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy)
18 - Battleship (Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker)
     - Hysteria (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett)

If it gets good reviews, I may also see Dark Shadows (5/11) and What to Expect When You're Expecting (5/18).

Monday, April 16, 2012

"I'm drawing a line in the fucking sand. Do not read the Latin!"

Since I cannot say too much about The Cabin in the Woods without spoiling the movie, I have decided to combine this post with my overdue review of The Hunger Games.

I usually stay away from horror films at all costs. I do not like being scared and, while I can usually deal with the gore, I am more likely to close my eyes than watch someone's throat being slit or guts cut out of them. It is for this reason that I was initially hesitant to see The Cabin in the Woods. However, knowing that it was written by Joss Whedon and hearing all the great reviews it was getting, I figured I had to give it a try. I am happy to report that it was totally worth it and that this movie was fantastic!

To simplify the plot, and without giving anything away, this movie is about five friends who go into the woods to spend the weekend at one of their cousin's cabins. Unfortunately, things do not end up the way they planned. The acting was great, especially from Fran Kranz, Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, and the writing was exactly what you would expect from Whedon. It was clever, yes, scary in certain parts, but also extremely funny. To quote director, Drew Goddard you go "from high drama to high comedy, from horror to sadness to silliness. And often in the same scene."

If you plan to see this movie, and I highly recommend that you do, I would see it in theaters, if only to avoid any spoilers that might come out and ruin it if you wait too long.

And now, my long awaited opinion of The Hunger Games :o)

Even though I swore I would not go see The Hunger Games opening weekend, I did anyway. After reading all my friends' posts on Facebook and Twitter about the film, I decided I could not wait and ended up seeing it on Sunday morning of that weekend. My initial reaction to the movie was that I really enjoyed it. I left the theater satisfied and looking forward to the next installment. However, after thinking about it some more and talking it over with friends who had also seen it, I realized that I did have some issues.

There are a few spoilers, so if you have not yet seen the movie, proceed with caution.....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Something sent those things here to get us!"

The big movies that are out in theaters this weekend are: Lockout, The Three Stooges and The Cabin in the Woods.

The Cabin in the Woods is about five friends who go to a cabin in the middle of the woods and very bad things begin to happen to them. Very little has been revealed about the plot of this movie and from what I have heard, the less you know going into it the better. It was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, directed by Goddard and stars Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Kristen Connolly, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker, Tom Lenk and Richard Jenkins.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets."

The movies that are being released this weekend are American Reunion and the re-release of Titanic in 3D.

American Reunion brings us the American Pie characters from over ten years ago back to East Great Falls, Michigan for their high school reunion. Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch and the rest of their friends reunite and reconnect over one long weekend. The returning cast includes: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Tara Reid, Thomas Nichols, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, John Cho, Natasha Lyonne, Shannon Elizabeth, Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler's Mom.

If you do not know what Titanic is about, then I just really do not know what to say.

I will tell you that I saw this movie in high school when it first came out with three of my friends. We held hands the entire movie and bawled our eyes out, even after the movie was over. Standing in line for the bathroom still crying one woman said to us, "It's *just* a movie!" Luckily, thanks to our one male friend that joined us, we had plenty of tissues which he continuously distributed to us throughout the film. Considering all those memories, it is safe to say that I will not be seeing this movie again in theaters, if only to save myself the embarrassment of crying that hard again in public :o)

In limited release this weekend is: Take Me Home, ATM, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope, We The Party, Keyhole, The Hunter, We Have A Pope and Damsels in Distress.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

"They're not wrinkles, they're just crinkles."

The big movies opening in theaters this weekend are: Wrath of the Titans, Mirror Mirror, and Bully. Bully is actually only opening in New York City and Los Angeles this weekend, but I feel that it is a movie that you should know about.

Bully is a documentary about America's bullying crisis. It follows five children and their families throughout the course of one school year. The stories include two families who have lost their children to suicide and a mother whose daughter has been incarcerated for bringing a gun on the school bus. The cameras go into these families' homes, into the school classrooms, cafeterias and even the principles' offices.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

The only movie with a wide release this weekend is The Hunger Games.

Based on the first book from the trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is set in the future and every year the Capitol selects one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts to compete in a battle to the death on live television. Katniss Everdeen, this year's female tribute from District 12, played by Jennifer Lawrence, volunteers to take the place of her younger sister in the games. Along with Lawrence, the cast also includes Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, Woody Harrelson, Paula Malcomson, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Leven Rambin, and Donald Sutherland as President Snow.

It has been getting great reviews and I have been very excited for this movie to come out however, I have no plans to see it tonight at midnight. I might even wait until next week just to avoid the opening weekend crowds. I learned my lesson once with the first Twilight film and was surrounded by annoying teenage girls screaming every time Robert Pattinson came on the screen. If you see it before me, I hope you will let me know what you think!

Also in limited release this weekend is: The Raid: Redemption, The Deep Blue Sea, Brake, October Baby, Musical Chairs and The Trouble with Bliss.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Don't worry. If you're going to hell, I'll just come pick you up."

I really have no excuse for barely posting the past two months except for sheer laziness. The move to Austin has been a little overwhelming and I am still adjusting to working full time again. Since it has been so long, I will cover multiple movies in this one post and attempt to be brief.

In the past month and a half, I have gotten to the theater a few times. My mother and I saw The Artist my first weekend in Austin and I took myself on date for Valentine's Day to see Big Miracle. A few weeks ago, on my first official visit to the Alamo Drafthouse since moving, I saw This Means War and  I have also seen Wanderlust and John Carter.

That only counts as a few, right? :o)

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with The Artist. It was getting such rave reviews and I just really was not that impressed. Set in the late 1920's, you see silent movie star George Valentin struggle to figure out what do to once the world becomes interested in talking pictures. For starters, the plot reminded me way too much of Singin’ In The Rain. My mom really liked it but I thought it was a little boring, maybe I need to see it again now that I know what I am getting myself into.

It had gotten decent reviews, but my love of all things Kristen Bell is the real reason I saw Big Miracle. Based on a true story, it is about a family of grey whales that get trapped in the Arctic Circle and the people who helped save them. The movie not only shows the story from the side of Greenpeace, but also the native Alaskans who want to use the whales to feed their people and the big oil company that wants to drill in Alaska. It was a touching story and one worth seeing when the movie comes out on DVD, as I think it is already out of theaters.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

And the award goes to.....

I have to be honest, I have not been as excited about this year's Academy Awards as I have in years past. I do not know if it is because I am just not that interested in the nominees or if it is because I am far away from all my friends and cannot have my annual Oscar Party this year. Regardless, here are my 2012 choices and predictions for the 84th Annual Academy Awards:

***Updated with winners***

Best Actor:
My choice: Gary Oldman
Probable winner: Jean Dujardin
Actual winner: Jean Dujardin

Best Actress:
My choice: Michelle Williams
Probable winner: Viola Davis
Actual winner: Meryl Streep

Best Supporting Actor:
My choice: Christopher Plummer or Nick Nolte
Probable winner: Christopher Plummer
Actual winner: Christopher Plummer

Best Supporting Actress:
My choice: Melissa McCarthy
Probable winner: Octavia Spencer
Actual winner: Octavia Spencer

Best Animated Feature:
My choice: Rango
Probable winner: Rango
Actual winner: Rango

Best Director:
My choice: Woody Allen
Probable winner: Michel Hazanavicius
Actual winner: Michel Hazanavicius

Best Picture:
My choice: Midnight in Paris
Probable winner: The Artist
Actual winner: The Artist

Full list of winners

Since I am not having a party this year, I will be live tweeting the awards show here. I will also try to update this page with the actual winners as the night goes on.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

"If you're not willing to give up everything, you've already lost."

The big movies in theaters this weekend are: Gone, Good Deeds, Act of Valor and Wanderlust.

In Wanderlust, Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston play stressed Manhattan couple, George and Linda. When George loses his job, they move to Atlanta so that he can work for his brother. When that living situation becomes to unbearable, they happen upon Elysium, a commune inhabited by a lot of interesting characters. They must figure out if this is the community they have been needing or if it will just cause more problems for them. Along with Rudd and Aniston, this movie also stars Justin Theroux, Alan Alda, Malin Akerman, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Kathryn Hahn, Kerri Kenney, Lauren Ambrose, Michaela Watkins, David Wain, Michael Showalter, and Michael Ian Black.

Act of Valor is about an elite team of U.S. Navy SEALs who are sent on a covert mission to save a kidnapped CIA agent. It stars active-duty SEALs and, while the story is fictional, the skills, tactics and bullets are all real. The names of the SEALs could not be released but there are a few actual actors in the film and they are: Roselyn Sanchez, Emilio Rivera, Ailsa Marshall, Gonzalo Menendez and Nestor Serrano.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Why is my first thought always that he got eaten by the cat?"

The big movies in theaters this weekend are: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Secret World of Arrietty and This Means War.

This Means War is about the world's two most deadlist CIA operatives who also happen to be best friends. When they discover that they are both dating the same women, they go to war against each other to win her heart. This movie stars Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon, Chelsea Handler, Rosemary Harris and Angela Bassett.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"In these moments, you can normally find an Italian who isn't too picky."

Apologies for the lack of posting this month. With the big move approaching, I have had a lot going on and not much time to get to the movies or do much writing. Unfortunately, this will probably not improve much for a few weeks. However, thanks to Netflix, I was able to watch the show Downton Abbey and am now officially a fan.

I had not heard much about the show while it was airing on PBS last year. My mother may have mentioned it, but she watches a lot of random British shows and movies on PBS and BBC all the time and I tend not to pay attention to a lot of them. It was not until the last few months when award nominations came out that I started reading about how good this show is and figured I should give it a chance.

The first season centers around the Crawley family, the Earl and Countess of Grantham, and their servants and takes place before the start of World War I. In the first episode, the Titanic has sunk and it turns out that the fiancee of the eldest daughter was onboard. He was also the heir to the title of Earl of Grantham and the family must now figure out how to keep their family from having to move out of Downton Abbey.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"I feel like I'm flyin' my grandfather's Buick!"

The new movies in theaters this weekend are: Underworld: Awakening, Haywire and Red Tails.

Red Tails is about a group of African American pilots during World War II who were part of an experimental program in Tuskegee. The program is about to be shut down when the Pentagon realizes they need these men in order to win the war. This movie stars Terence Howard, Nate Parker, Tristan Wilds, Elijah Kelley, Leslie Odom Jr, Method Man, Daniela Ruah, Josh Dallas, Ne-Yo, Michael B. Jordan, Bryan Cranston, Jaime King and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"With all do respect, sir, I have done battle every single day of my life and many men have underestimated me before."

The big movies in theaters this weekend are: Contraband, Joyful Noise,  and The Iron Lady.

The Iron Lady takes a look at the life of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. She was the first and only woman to hold the position of Prime Minister in the United Kingdom and the film focuses on the price she paid for this power. Thatcher is played by Meryl Streep and the rest of the cast includes Anthony Head, Iain Glen, Harry Lloyd, Olivia Colman, Nick Dunning, Susan Brown and Jim Broadbent.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"That's the problem with working, too much instability."

Thanks to my friends asking me to house-sit (and having better cable than me) and a free weekend of Showtime OnDemand, I have now caught up on several shows: Shameless, Homeland and Weeds. I also got a chance to watch the first episode of Kristen Bell's new series, House of Lies.

Along with Bell, House of Lies stars Don Cheadle, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson and Dawn Olivieri. It is a half hour comedy about a management consultant team from the second best firm in the country. Cheadle leads the series and his character will use any means to win over his clients and get them the information that they want. His crazy ex-wife works for the competition and his father is a former psychiatrist and helps take care of his cross-dressing son. It is smart and witty and I cannot wait to see where the rest of the show takes us. But mostly, I just love having Kristen Bell back on my television :o)

I was a little skeptical going into Homeland. I am not really sure why but, even though it was getting rave reviews, I just did not think I was going to like it. I was very, very wrong. The first season was a very smart, intense thriller about a CIA agent and the P.O.W. that she thinks has been turned into a terrorist after eight years in Iraqi captivity. The twist is that the rest of the country sees this man as a hero and the CIA agent has mental issues of her own. The show stars Claire Dances, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Mandy Patinkin, David Harewood, David Marciano, Diego Klattenhoff and Jamey Sheridan and they were all fantastic. Although, every time Mandy Patinkin's character, Saul, would come onscreen, I could not help but think, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." This first season ended in a breathtaking way and I cannot even imagine what will happen in season two.