Posts Tagged 'Movies'

Oscar Movie Marathon: Year 3*

*technically this is my 4th year of doing the movies, but the 3rd year there have been more than 5 and I’ve blogged about it

If you were paying any attention to the world a few weeks ago, you probably knew the Academy Awards happened.  My family continued our tradition of participating in AMC Theaters’ Best Picture Movie Marathon.  This year we had an even bigger group (11!) of family and friends who traveled from out of town or cleared their weekend to watch 9 movies back to back in a 24 hour period.  The marathon started on the Saturday before the Oscars at 11:00 am and ended on Sunday morning around 8:30.  Overall, the 9 movies were great.  I liked them as a whole better than the 10 from the last two years.  Last year wasn’t bad, but I was excited to see more of these movies.

The movies (in the order I saw them) with my thoughts:

Hugo (in 3D)

I enjoyed Hugo but definitely not as much as everyone else.  It’s a good, interesting story, and from what I can remember it was true to the book.  But I just didn’t LOVE it.  I think I had a problem with some of the acting.  There would be some pauses before dialogue or I didn’t understand why Hugo did some of the things he did.  A lot of us picked it for Best Picture though, so if you haven’t seen it, go and make your own decisions.  I give it a 3/5.

The Tree of Life

You guys, I did NOT get this movie at all.  I knew going into it that it was going to be a very unique way to tell a story, but even that didn’t help.  Some of my family had already seen it, and they all really liked it, so they were excited to see it again.  They did say that when they saw it the first time, they discussed it for about 2 hours afterward – which is one of the big problems with doing a movie marathon – no time to digest a film.  Maybe I would have liked it better if I had been able to really talk about it with someone afterward.  I can see why it was nominated.  The three little boys are really great in it too, but I just didn’t get it.  Rating: 1/5

The Help

I really enjoyed this book, but I was really unsure how the movie was going to be, especially after seeing some of the trailers.  It was better than I had expected.  The acting was good, but I’m not sure I was really WOW-ed.  Jessica Chastain was great as Celia Foote though.  It was quite a switch from her role in The Tree of Life but she was great in both.  Not really much to say beyond that; I don’t think it had a shot at winning Best Picture.  Rating: 3/5

The Artist

This movie was great!  I kind of knew I would end up liking it though because I love old black-and-white movies, and this really feels like one of those old classics.  I don’t think I’ve seen a true silent film though, and this was so much fun!  The music is wonderful, the acting is excellent.  (Jean Dujardin is so good!)  I highly recommend seeing it.  Maybe you’ll discover you like the feel of older films.  It’s just a good refreshing alternative to today’s modern films.  I’m really glad it won Best Picture.  5/5!

The Descendants

This film felt similar to last year’s The Kids Are Alright with the family issues.  I liked it a lot, but I didn’t feel it was worthy of the best pick.  It’s set in Hawaii, which was interesting.  The acting was good – especially the girls who played George Clooney’s daughters.  I’m always impressed with child actors – when they’re good.  Consider yourself warned that George Clooney looks much older than you’ve ever seen him.  Movie rating; 4/5.

Midnight in Paris

This is the only film I had seen before we started.  I enjoyed it just as much, probably a little more, than the first time.  It’s a great throwback to the people, culture, life of Paris in the ’20s.  I won’t tell you much more, and I don’t suggest looking into the film much before you see it.  And you should see it.  It’s a wonderfully fun, kind of quirky film. Rating: 5/5

War Horse

I have to admit that this was probably the film I was least interested in seeing.  I’m not really a big animal movie fan, and I don’t know much about or am really interested in horses.  That said, it was better than I expected.  A little long at times, but it’s covering World War I, so there’s a little bit of an epic feel.  See it if you’re interested in horses, WWI, or need to see all of Spielberg’s films.  FYI: I think this was one of the films where afterward we played “Did you spot the Harry Potter actor/actress?”  Rating: 2/5


Besides animal movies, I’m not much of a sports movies fan.  However, it did hold my interest most of the time – toward the end, they show a lot of clips of a game, and I may have started to doze a little bit.  Of course, this one started at 4 am, so that probably had more to do with it.  It probably held my interest so much because Aaron Sorkin was one of the screenwriters, and I love the way he writes.  The acting is pretty good – both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are good, but I didn’t expect either to win.  The best part of the movie may have been the girl who plays Brad Pitt’s daughter who plays guitar and sings Lenka’s “The Show” a few times.  She is SO GOOD!  Oh and Chris Pratt shows up in this movie.  It’s kind of weird to see him play a real adult when you’re used to Andy Dwyer, but he was great too.  Rating: 3/5

 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Since I absolutely LOVE this book, this movie was one I was most interested (and scared) to see.  I didn’t expect much going in, since I’d read some less-than-great reviews, but I was pleasantly surprised.  There are several things different, but I think I can live with it for the movie.  I know a lot of people didn’t like the movie, but I think it’s because they haven’t read the book.  It’s hard to get the full picture when you’re missing the other peoples’ stories that help tell the complete story.  Still, the movie hits pretty close to the tone and emotions for Oscar’s story in the book.  Thomas Horn who plays Oscar is phenomenal.  I wish he had earned some kind of recognition for his acting.  Fun fact: He won the Kids’ Jeopardy tournament.  🙂  Rating: 4/5.

Has anyone seen any of these yet?  What did you think?

– Jill

This Movie Trailer Might Make You Pee Your Pants

When I first heard that Daniel Radcliffe was going to star in the movie version of The Woman in Black I was super excited.  I feel a strong connection to that story since I survived seeing the play when I was in London.

Why do I say “survived” seeing the play?  Because the play is freaking terrifying!!  When I was in London, I latched on to a lovely group of theater majors who were also on the trip and we went to a lot of shows together.  I think I went to 12 in all during the three months I was there.  I missed most of the big ones (The Lion King, Wicked, Chicago, etc.) but offhand I remember seeing Les Mis, Stones in His Pockets (the play Dan went to with his parents and met David Heyman for the first time……not a play for kids btw), Mama Mia, Noises Off, Private Lives (with Alan Rickman!!!) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (with Brendan Fraser).  It was easy for us to go to so many plays because if you had a student ID you could get any last minute tickets for super cheap right before the show started.

Well, one evening Josh asked if I wanted to go see The Woman in Black.  I said sure, whatever, because I had no idea what I was getting into.  Not until we got to the theater and I saw all the super creepy posters did I realize that this was a SCARY play.  I figured, “how scary can it be?  It’s a play, it will be so easy to tell that everything is fake!”  I could not have been more wrong.  The Woman in Black is soooooooo terrifying.  I don’t even remember much about the plot, just that this young dude spends some time in this spooky house and a woman in black keeps appearing.  It may sound kind of lame, but trust me, it is anything but.  At one point during the show, the woman actually walked down the main aisle of the theater and everybody screamed bloody murder.  If I hadn’t been safely up in the cheap balcony seats I would have run out into the dark streets of London by myself to escape the horror.

So anyway, enough rambling.  I figured that since I survived the play, the movie would be no problem at all.  Well, after seeing this trailer, I think I am going to skip this movie until I can watch it in broad daylight, surrounded by family and friends and my cats.

Awwwww man!  Why did I have to watch it again??  Now I am going to have nightmares for days.


Edit:  I just found the website for the play!!

My Thoughts on Deathly Hallows Part 2

I went to see this movie at midnight and it was a wonderful experience.  I was in line at 3:30 p.m. and it was quite lovely.  I watched a movie, did several word searches and ate a lot of food.  We got great seats and the whole evening was phenomenal.  My poor sister was in Ames and she was nearly trampled to death at her theater.  They wouldn’t let anyone line up until 9:00 p.m., so there was a literal “Wal-Mart on Black Friday” mob running across the parking lot to get in line.  She was the only one from her group who made it into the building so she had to save seats for 12 other people.  Poor thing, she was so traumatized.

Anyway, I have already seen the movie twice and have managed to put together some thoughts (once I mopped up all my tears and stopped whimpering).  It will be filled with spoilery type things, so only click through if you have seen the movie.

Continue reading ‘My Thoughts on Deathly Hallows Part 2’

Recap: Goblet of Fire

Goblet of Fire, to me, is really when the books start crossing into real YA lit area. It’s much darker, thanks to Voldemort. Also, I would argue that Goblet is really when the whole story of Harry Potter begins. The first 3 books could be viewed as exposition. Sure they have real plots and read individually, but in the whole story arc of the series, doesn’t it boil down to Harry vs Voldemort?

Sigh, this book is so good. Right now I’m after the Quidditch World Cup just before the dark mark is conjured. Ron is fantastic. I love him. Evidence: “Another loud bang echoed from the edge of the wood. Let’s just keep moving, shall we?’ said Ron, and Harry saw him glance edgily at Hermione.”

I love Harry & Ron’s fight.  It’s very realistic – Ron would definitely have gotten jealous of Harry’s attention and it was bound to come out somehow.  I also love that they don’t even really apologize – after the dragon task, Harry realizes how upset it made Ron and they get over it.  Boys are so weird.

Also can I just say that the idea of the Pensieve is awesome.  Of all of the magical objects and concepts J.K. created for this series, that is probably one of my favorites.  The only thing I wonder about is if you put a memory in the Pensieve, would you not remember it anymore?  Or do you have a vague memory of it, but the point of the Pensieve is to save the details?  That would be so cool.  I want one.

From the part of the book when the 3rd task begins, all the way to the end, it’s like a race to the finish.  There’s no stopping!  I remember when I read this book for the first time right when it came out.  This was the first big book I had to wait for and when it finally came, I devoured it.  I’m pretty sure I held my breath when the Triwizard Cup became a portkey.  And when Cedric died!  OMG, it was so QUICK.  I think I reread the section because I couldn’t believe it.  I like that it’s so quick though.  She doesn’t drag it out because Wormtail and Voldemort wouldn’t have taken their time with it.  It’s simple: Kill the spare.  I love the whole last section – Dumbledore’s concern, the confession from Crouch, Dumbledore asking McGonagall to get the dog from the pumpkin patch and taking it to his office, Dumbledore asking Snape to do what he must, etc. etc.  This is the book that sets up the rest of the series.  The entire tone of the series changes once Harry and Cedric are taken from the maze via the portkey.


Now I know it would be hard to adapt a gigantic book into a movie, but wow does this one move fast.  They don’t even really set up going to the Quidditch World Cup, let alone show it.  And if you hadn’t read the book, you probably wouldn’t get the Triwizard Tournament.   I’m still a little unsure about Dumbledore.  He practically manhandles Harry after his name comes out of the goblet.  Not a fan – that’s not what the Dumbledore in my head did.

I do like the casting of Mad-Eye Moody and Rita Skeeter.  Woah, it’s been a long time since I’ve watched this movie apparently.  I totally forgot that they say Ron knew about the dragons and didn’t tell Harry.  But in the book, Ron didn’t know and that’s why he ended up getting over being mad at him!  Ugh.

By the way, did anyone else remember how we met Cedric the first time?  He dropped out of a tree.  My mind instantly made a Edward Cullen joke but it could be because I keep picturing the “Robert is bothered” skits from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  🙂

– Jill

Recap: HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban

Ahh, Prisoner of Azkaban. I love this book because we get background on Lily & James. Voldemort doesn’t appear in any form, which is also a nice break & help prevent the series from seeming too formulaic.

I remember when I read this for the first time. I was babysitting my cousins, one who is also a big fan. I told her how I loved Sirius Black & accidentally ruined the surprise at the end since she hadn’t read it yet. Oops. Sorry, Katie!

There seems to be at least one thing I’ve forgotten about in each book. This time it’s Cho Chang.

One of my favorite things about this book is the introduction of the dementors.  The idea of the dementors is perfect.  I love when J.K. comes up with ideas for why things happen in the Muggle world.  I read that she came up with the idea after she was clinically depressed.  The concept of the dementors who suck the happiness and positive emotions out of you is fascinating…terrifying…and fascinating.

I just whipped through the last few chapters. There’s so much info you want to know, it’s hard to stop. The scene in the Shrieking Shack is so vivid. I’m not a giant fan of the repeated stuff after they go back in time, but I deal with it. All in all, a great book!


A lot of things are different in this movie, since it’s a new director.  I like the darker tone Alfonso Cuarón took with it.  There are a few things I dislike about it though.  For one, the shrunken heads on the Knight Bus.  I HATE them!

I do like a lot of things about this film though:  David Thewlis as Lupin is great, and I think casting Emma Thompson as Trelawney and Gary Oldman as Sirius was *perfect*.  Michael Gambon as the new Dumbledore is good too, but still doesn’t quite match the Dumbledore I have built in my head.  He’s closer than Richard Harris for me, but still isn’t as playful as Dumbledore seems to be in the books.

The dementors are fine with me in this movie, but I know they change as different directors come in, so I’ll have to remember to compare them with other versions.

Ooh, there are several things different from the book!  Maybe I didn’t read the book before anytime I watched the movie?  I really dislike how in the movie Harry’s most powerful happy moment when he’s learning how to conjure a patronus is his parents talking to him.  Um, no.  Harry’s most powerful happy moment is supposed to be when he found out he’s a wizard and is leaving the Dursleys.  Usually if there’s a change from the book, it’s to cut out a secondary plotline or to speed things along – like how Harry sees Peter Pettigrew on the Marauders’ Map and goes looking, which is how Snape gives it to Lupin instead of getting caught in Hogsmeade.  But the change with Harry’s most powerful memory is just really that important, is it?  So why couldn’t it be the same as the book?  It’s really surprising to me since Steve Kloves adapted the book to movie for the first two movies as well, which were very similar.

– Jill

It All Ends Thursday.

I have spent the last ten days re-reading the Harry Potter books for what is probably the 12th time (at least for the first four books).  I went through a period of many years when I read them at least twice a year, but I haven’t read them in at least two years.  It was wonderful to jump back into one of my favorite worlds and meet up with my favorite characters again.  I enjoyed reading each and every book, but in different ways than I had in the past, which was interesting.

I first read the books back in November of 2001.  That was almost ten years ago!!!  Back then I was an immature little college sophomore frolicking around London and having the time of my life.  But as soon as I picked up that first book, I completely gave up sightseeing and going to the pub to sit and read in my little room.  I remember being on the tube on my way to the theater or a museum and seeing at least half a dozen people reading Harry Potter.  It was funny to see the ones who tried to hide it by buying the “adult” covers and then the ones who blazenly didn’t care and were reading the kids version.

Ah, memories.  I can remember what I was doing when I read each of the books for the very first time.  I can also remember my first experience seeing each of the movies.  Even when the books ended, we still had three more movies to look forward to, so it was not as sad as it could have been.  Now it is really all going to be over and there is nothing left to look forward to.  (Don’t come back and say anything about Pottermore.  Don’t even get me started on that…..that just seems like a bunch of rubbish to me.  She should have spent her time working on the Encyclopedia, not a stupid website.  J.K. Rowling’s on my list now.)

Anyway, I am really excited to see the movie on Thursday at midnight.  I am lucky enough to be going with a huge group of people, and I will be the first person to get there to hold our spot in line.  I am going to pack my bag pretty soon so I will have everything I need.  Pillows, blankets, laptop with movies, books, headphones, cards, and lots of food are all necessary to survive the wait in line.

That is going to be a great day for me because it is the last day of summer reading programming.  I am going to clean up from my afternoon program as quick as a bunny (Oh man, why did I have to do a glitter project on the last day!!!) and skip out of the library waving my hands in the air and singing the Hallelujah Chorus.  I have already warned people that I will be doing this, so it probably won’t be seen as too odd.  After that, I won’t have to go back to work till the next Wednesday, so I am going to be the happiest girl in the world when those first few credits start to roll.

I will be very happy, but I’m pretty sure I am going to cry through the whole thing, so I should probably add a box or two of Kleenexes to my bag.

Here is a little video to catch everyone up on all the movies, and to show just how much those crazy kids have grown 🙂

Anyway, I hope that all my nerdgirls have similar plans to see the movie and get to see it with good friends.  I wish I could see it with you, but I haven’t learned to apparate yet.


Prom Drinking Game (For the Movie, Not Actual Prom)

I’ve seen the movie Prom twice now, and it is so FANTASTIC!!!  I love this movie!!!  I will admit that the first time I saw it I thought it was a little boring (eek!).  I think I was just in a weird mood that day and I was irritated that it was trying to be Love Actually for high schoolers, and let’s face it, the magic of Love Actually will never be re-created.  But the second time I saw it I LOVED it!!!  I can just hear you saying, “is you crazy?  why did you see it again if you thought it was boring?”  Here’s my answer:

My sister and I spent the whole car ride home after seeing the movie talking about how Thomas McDonnell is so hot it should be illegal.  I would pay money to stare at him any day.  I think one of the reasons I wasn’t such a fan of the movie the first time was because I got really irritated every time he wasn’t on screen.  I thought, “when you have a guy who is that hot, why wouldn’t you show him all the time?”

So, instead of me writing a review of the movie, I am going to direct you to the wonderful review found over at Forever Young Adult, because it says everything I would want to say.  Instead, I came up with a drinking game for this movie (I mean come on, if any movie is screaming for a drinking game it is this one).  Since this movie is stinking it up in theaters (come on people, why aren’t you going to see it???) it should be out on DVD in a few months, so you can refer back to this and have yourself a fine time.

So, without further ado, here is the Nerdgirl official drinking game for Prom.  (I will be using character names, since I don’t know all the actors’ names.)

Take a drink every time:

*Someone gets asked to prom in a crazy over-the-top way that doesn’t actually happen in real life (at least not at my school)

*When Jesse plays with his hair and/or walks away with hair swinging

*When Jesse strikes an “I’m a bad boy, look how hot I am pose”

*Stick Hippo is mentioned

*You think “why is Jesse still wearing a shirt?”

*Lloyd attempts and fails to ask someone to prom

*Lloyd does ask someone to prom, but gets shot down

*Tyler shows up with way too much lip gloss on

*Nova makes a speech about how important prom is

*Simone smiles and you are blinded by how white her teeth are

*Rollo does something to indicate that he is stoned out of his mind

*There is a situation when a normal person would swear loudly, but since this is a Disney movie the character lets out an unidentified scream

*Someone says “celestial fountain”

Finish your drink when:

*A character cries over something related to prom (this might get rough near the end)

*Somebody’s mom shows up and you go, “Hey, wasn’t she on that one sitcom?”

*A girl asks a guy to prom……………oh wait, that never happens in this movie!  Shame on you Disney, for perpetuating gender stereotypes!!  That’s one thing that really pissed me off about this movie.

Anyway, the movie is awesome in a High School Musical cheesetastic kind of way.  I will be counting down the days till it comes out on DVD and I can stare at Thomas McDonnell all I want.  I guess I can kind of do that now, since this is my current computer wallpaper:

A hot guy and milkshakes! What more could I want?


Am I Too Old To Go To “Prom?”

I spent last weekend at home with my family and I kept trying to convince my sister that we needed to go see the movie Prom.  I kept pushing her because I knew she was one of the only people who would not be embarrassed to go with me.  She is a 27 year-old who loves Justin Bieber and the Disney Channel (there is no doubt that we are related) so I knew she would be game to see this movie. I was devastated to learn that the movie doesn’t come out until THIS weekend.  Rats!  My great plan was foiled.

Now I will have to try to convince my much more mature local friends to see this with me.  I guess I could be the creepy old person who goes to a kids movie by herself.  I have been there, done that.  Or I could wait until Mother’s Day weekend and go with Anne then.

But really, I don’t know if I will be able to wait because the movie looks completely awesome.

I am pumped because it has the dorky glowing kid from Sky High in it.  Also, the totally hot guy with the long hair (come on, you know he is gorgeous) is like 24, so it is not inappropriate to drool over him.

I am going to see a grownup movie tonight (Water for Elephants) so I can make up for that by going to see Prom this weekend.


Classic Must-Sees: Hitchcock

I’m a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock movies.  So far I’ve seen 18 of his films.  They’re CLASSIC thriller/suspense films.  So many of his films are so iconic that people use the techniques or spoof his movies in other films or tv shows.  I most recently noticed this in the season 4 finale of Psych.  And it was done so well!

Even if you’ve never seen any of his films, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of his most famous movies:  Rear Window, Psycho, The Birds, and probably North by Northwest.  Those are all good.  But these are some of my lesser-known favorites…

Shadow of a Doubt

Young Charlotte “Charlie” is bored with her life.  So she’s thrilled to learn that her uncle Charlie, her mother’s exciting younger brother, is coming for a visit.  Uncle Charlie is quite a charmer but when two men appear asking questions, Young Charlie starts to question what she knows about her uncle.

This movie is very suspenseful.  Young Charlie’s life is in danger more than once, and I am always on the edge of my seat to find out what’s going to happen.  Joseph Cotton is perfect as the charming Uncle Charlie.


Notorious might just be my favorite Hitchcock film.  Not only is it incredibly suspenseful, but the acting is amazing.  You’d probably expect it to be good with Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Raines (from Casablanca and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), but the woman who plays Claude Raines’ character’s mother is perfectly villainous.  In this film, Ingrid Bergman’s character, Alicia is a woman whose father was convicted of treason.  She then meets Cary Grant’s character Devlin (how awesome is that name??), a government agent who convinces her to spy on Nazi friends of her father’s.  To infiltrate their group, she takes big risks – all when she is falling in love with Devlin.

Dial M for Murder

I saw this film most recently, and it was SO much better than I expected.  I don’t know what took me so long to watch it!  I guess I was being snobby about it being in color or something and thinking the B&W ones are better, but this one is awesome too.  In this one, a man concocts a plan to blackmail an old friend to murder his wife, Grace Kelly’s character.  But when it goes wrong, he improvises a new plan.  This one also had me on the edge of my seat.  I honestly wasn’t sure how it would turn out.  I really want to watch it again!

Do you have any Hitchcock faves?

– Jill

Classic Must-Sees #1

I am a huge fan of the old black-and-white movies.  Especially the screwball comedies from the 1930s & 1940s.  There are so many great old films that people easily miss.  So I’m starting a new series where I share my favorites.  🙂

BTW, Maureen Johnson often posts pictures from these old movies in her blog posts.  And I LOVE them.  I like trying to figure out which movie they are from.  Example = 98% sure that’s from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Up first?

Well, why not Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?

This movie is sooo gooood!!!  For starters, you have Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur.  Both AWESOME.

We rock.

Jimmy Stewart is Jefferson Smith, a wide-eyed dreamer who is appointed to be junior senator after one of the senators for his state (never specified, but seems to be one in the Midwest) dies suddenly.  He’s appointed because the corrupt men in charge of his state assume he’ll be too starry-eyed to realize what’s going on and simply take orders.

Jean Arthur plays Clarissa Saunders, a smart, no-nonsense woman who is entirely capable of handling herself among the male corrupt politicians.  She’s quick, witty, intelligent, and gorgeous.  I want to be her.  She’s the new Senator Smith’s secretary and at first, resents being his “babysitter.”  But she soon realizes he’s more genuine and sincere than anyone she’s ever met and certainly more than the other people from his state.

Listen to me- I know what’s going on!

Another reason this movie rocks?  Two words.  Frank. Capra.  Have you SEEN It’s a Wonderful Life?  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is just as inspiring if not more so since it doesn’t have that instant Christmas thing going for it.

Oh man, this scene is so great.

If you like underdog movies, you should have seen this movie already.  If you like good movies, what are you waiting for??  Netflix this sucker ASAP!

You may thank me when you’re done.

Keep your eyes open for my next installment of this new series.  The next film may or may not have Jimmy Stewart or Jean Arthur in it (they were in a lot of good stuff) or be directed my Frank Capra (his movies are almost all amazing).

Until tomorrow-