BlueJasmine

I have made no secret that one of a handful of my favorite movies of the 21st Century is Woody Allen’s Match Point. I liked Midnight in Paris (2011) a lot. I enjoyed Cassandra’s Dream (2007), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and To Rome with Love (2012). But, for me, 2005’s Match Point is Allen’s 21st century masterpiece.  Why?  Well, it’s not Allen’s usual depressed, anxious and, at times, tedious schtick.  That worked fine in his early films, ala Annie Hall (1977) and Manhattan (1979) but over time, it just got overdone and overused.  Also, Match Point is far from Allen’s usual comfort zone…it’s NOT set in New York and it’s not a comedy —in any way.  Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) also can be seen as an Allen drama, as could Interiors (1978) and September (1987), but those still have some of Allen’s trademark nervousness (Crimes and Misdemeanors even features Allen in a role where he acts in his usual Allenesque way).  Match Point does not feature any characters with serious neuroses. Yes, they are troubled but they are troubled in a calm, passionate way…not in a psychological, overly-emotional manner.

So, what do we have in Blue Jasmine, Allen’s latest film?

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Well, they are finally here…the 2014 Oscar nominations.

Announced EARLY in the morning (7:30am CST) on Jan. 16, the Academy Awards nominations capped what has been a very competitive and very active film year, as they do every year.

We’ve already had the Golden Globes. Most critics from around the country (and the world) have given their “Best of” film lists. All major awards have already posted their nominations…the Screen Actors Guild, the British Academy of Film and Television, the Directors Guild of America, the Independent Film Spirit Awards. All we were waiting for was the Oscars. And now, they are here.

Who or what film was overlooked? Who or what film was a surprise pick? Did you want Tom Hanks to be nominated for Captain Phillips, not to mention for Saving Mr. Banks? Well, he was not…for either film. Did you want James Gandolfini to get nominated for Enough Said? Well, sorry, the late actor was also overlooked. But, if you are a fan of Sally Hawkins or Christian Bale, you are in luck since they both snagged nominations this morning, relatively unexpectedly. 

Who do you think will win on Oscar Night, Mar. 2?

Enter our “Pick the Winners” Oscar contest (starting on Feb. 1), where you will vote in eight of the major Oscar categories for your chance to win “A Night Out in Niles” with gift cards to Portillos and to the theaters in Golf Mill.

Stay tuned to this blog for more Oscar news over the next coming weeks!

Here is the complete list of nominations:

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In the first big awards show of the season, the Golden Globes showed off Hollywood’s best assets of 2013 in both film and television.

Without a single film sweeping all of the big awards, the show spread the love among a whole range of films, from 12 Years a Slave to American Hustle to The Wolf of Wall Street to Dallas Buyers Club to Blue Jasmine to Gravity.

Though American Hustle won two acting awards, as well as Best Musical/Comedy, Dallas Buyers Club also won two acting awards and has new-found momentum leading into Oscar season.  12 Years a Slave‘s acting shut-out did not stop that movie from taking home the Best Drama statuette.

Will these winners (and losers) help gauge the Oscar nominations out this Thursday, January 16?  Or will the Academy, as it usually does, walk to the beat of its own drummer?

Here’s a list of winners and nominees in all the categories. Tip: Click on the links to place a hold on the film before it comes out on DVD!

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When the weather is frightful, such as the New Year’s holiday snowstorm and last week’s frigid arctic cold, there are certain movies that will do the trick when you’re stuck at home.

And that’s where franchise series movies sweeps in to save the day.

For those who prefer to cozy up on the couch, sipping a hot beverage (hot coffee for me) in front of the TV, these types of films have the power to save the day and definitely suits your entertaining needs. You’re not just watching a single movie with a singular narrative, but rather a string of movies that share a common world, some with an overarching storyline such as the blockbuster Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future trilogies.

These types of movies will certainly keep you occupied when you’ve got nothing else you’d rather do but relax. Rather than fingering through a vast array of movies to watch, these shared movies have the power to pull you in like a good cliffhanger; they rope you into coming back for more.

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Christmas is finally here, which means that another month of listening to Christmas music is finally over.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate Christmas music — I  loved listening to my dad’s Alfred Burt vinyl every December while growing up. I’m also pretty sure I could whistle the entire Nutcracker Suite from beginning to end. But now I can go back to listening to my favorites, the music that has stuck with me all through the year whether waking up in the morning, driving, working, working out, relaxing on the couch or getting ready for bed at night.

One of the things I look forward to most at the end of each year is sifting through all the “best of” music lists; it’s a chance to discover all the great music that I’ve missed, and also to wonder about other people’s musical tastes. I also like to compile my own list each year. It’s based entirely on the number of plays that each song gets on my iPod, so I make no claims about it being “the best.” This is the music that I love, the music that has gotten me through an entire year of living; the music that I’ve shared with my friends to help them pull through, too. So here are some of my favorite albums and songs of 2013. Maybe there’s something here that’s new for you, something you’ll love or something that you’ll really hate. Either way, we’d love to hear about it, and about your favorites of 2013, too.

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The image above is probably embedded in every kids and adults mind alike that it hardly warrants guessing where it came from if you’ve watched the movie from your childhood or for the first time.

This hit family holiday comedy is a feel good movie for all ages!

Aside from being one of my all time favorite holiday movies, it deserves to be on the list of top classic holiday movies. Its multiple themes of togetherness, forgiveness, and most importantly family, transcends time itself and still plays on till this day. Though it premiered in November of 1990, the movie itself does not get tiring. Though the laughs may wane a little after watching the “Wet Bandits”, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, encounter the various booby traps–which I alone admit to actually recreating my own battle plans when I was small–the end result is still pretty darn hilarious.

The plot of the movie is simple: Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister gets left home alone after his family accidentally leaves him behind due to a mishap at the beginning of the movie, which I will not spoil, but is pretty ridiculous that you forget about it after watching the whole movie. He is forced to defend himself and his home after the two bumbling burglars sets their sights on their property. Amidst all the gags and the action that most of the comedy derives from, the emotional core of the movie and the music itself elevates it to a whole different experience.

At its core, it’s a heartwarming tale that tugs at the strings mainly because of the mother’s attempt to get home to her little boy. You’ll find yourself cheerful, festive, smiling, and maybe develop a slight “lump” in your throat after the movie.

So if you find yourself stuck with nothing to watch during the holiday season, pick yourself up a copy of the movie or put it on hold here. We also have the movie on Blu-ray here. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

 

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