Did you ever see a car accident on your way home from work and think…could that have been me if I had caught that elevator I missed? Well, this film asks a question like that…how does a split second in the life of a London woman alter her existence forever? The movie then plays out two scenarios…one with her making a train and one with her just missing it. From that moment in time and the story splits in two, this film becomes an excellent example of how life, love, happiness, etc. can all change on a dime. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the woman here…and she’s never been better…she captures the perfect combination of innocence and naïve that is required to play the role of a woman whose life hinges a moment in time. Not as metaphysical as it sounds…this one is a good film for all romantics, as well as people who’ve ever thought…”if only I’d made that train…”

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Scoop is no Match Point. Woody Allen’s VERY serious and VERY Allen-less film Match Point was a favorite of mine in 2006 (it was released the end of 2005). So, when Scoop came along, I was excited…I mean it has a couple of the Match Point similarities. 1. It is set in London…of which Match Point was Allen’s first film set outside of the New York area. 2. It stars Match Point’s Scarlet Johansson. And, it also has Hugh Jackman, who I love as a actor. So, three pluses. Now, the minuses. 1. Allen goes back to his COMEDY roots…I think all of his gags have been treaded over one too many times. 2. Allen puts himself in the film. His neurotic New Yorker bit was funny in the beginning but now it’s just annoying. That’s it. So, three pros and two cons. Not exactly a ringing endorsement but enough for a good night in front of the DVD player. The story is the one that really sold this one for me…I was able to over look the neurotic Allen and the bad jokes since the story was pretty fresh and original. It revolves around a dead reporter who gets the “scoop” of a lifetime after he’s dead. He escapes the Grim Reaper just so he can try and get the story in the press through another reporter. He picks naïve Johansson as the person to give to “scoop” to and she tries her best to run with it, even though she falls in love with the person the “scoop” implicates. Complicated? No, it’s just hard to explain…but it is fun to watch. If only Allen would stay behind the camera…and try his hand at a little less humor…his genius for storytelling would continue to shine for years to come.

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Not exactly realistic, but a fun tale of a 19th Century duke who travels through time to meet his new wife in the present day. This film reminded me of the classic films of the 1940s and 1950s where believability was not necessarily a requirement. The “un”believeable part is the time-travel element that transports Hugh Jackman’s duke from the late 1800s to the 21st Century. I found myself not even caring that it is the most illogical premise ever conceived (at least, that I have seen). The movie really is not about if you believe in time-traveling. It’s about romance and love and fate and timeless passion. Jackman definitely steals the show as the charming, courteous time-traveler. Liev Schreiber also shines as Kate’s ex-boyfriend who starts the whole time-travel mess in the first place.

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In this Harold Ramis film (shot in Woodstock, IL), Bill Murray finds out what it is like to relive one day over and over again, giving himself the time to examine his less-than-personable behavior. The story starts with Murray’s gruff and cruel weatherman character covering the annual “Groundhog Day” festivities in Pennsylvania. He is on assignment with a news producer (Andie MacDowell) and a cameraman (Chris Elliott). As Murray begins to live the same 24-hours again and again, which happens to be Groundhog Day, his hardened character starts to soften.

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I have to confess that I really thought this movie was too hokey when I first saw it in the theaters. I was a HUGE Kevin Costner fan at the time and so it was essential I see it. I was 14 at the time and I thought this film was OK, but nothing special and WAY too silly for me. So, I’m not sure if it is age or life experience or what, but seeing it again after all of this time…almost 20 years later…lent a different perspective to this film that I definitely did not have as a teenager. It’s a movie about second chances. About regrets. About living in the NOW. About not letting things fly by you without notice…because one day when you feel like it’s time to finally take notice, it’s way too late. Sure, the “hoke” factor is still there, but it’s not what the movie is about. The fantasy element is just to get to the main point of the film…which I feel is to live life like everyday is your last. And to ENJOY life and try not to alienate too many people along the way because you never know when they might turn up in your yard and want to play catch.

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roadtrip

Guess what? This summer, you could win an 8GB iPod Touch and signed audiobooks from Listening Library.

Here’s How: First, pick a character (or characters!) from your favorite fantasy book series. Then imagine: If you could go on a road trip with them, where would you go? What would you do along the way? How would you travel? Finally, Create a video and post it on YouTube! 

There’s lots of “fine print” (i.e. rules) associated with this competition, and to get all the details go here: Listening Library Fantasy RoadTrip Contest.

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