Tag Archives: reviews

Out to the Movies: The Avengers

Haven’t seen The Avengers yet?

Do it. NOW.

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The stories behind the mouse

In the nearly four years Mitch and I have been dating, he's been to Disney World with me twice. It's a good thing he doesn't mind, because we have a lot more trips yet to take!

You don’t have to have known me very long to know that I love Disney. I was born and raised on the box-office busting animated films of the late 80s and early 90s and have been to Disney World more times than you have fingers. We can say all we want about corporate greed and the waist size of princesses and consumerism and so on, but there’s one fact that remains true.

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Big Love – Embrace it

Whenever I mention that I watch the HBO show Big Love, people always tend to give me a sideways glance. It’s that glance that says¬†“Isn’t that about polygamists? Why would you want to watch a show about that?” Well, it is about polygamists. But it’s also about more than that.

It’s about family.

Big Love is about more than polygamy. It's about family and the different ways that love can look for each of us.

If you take the time to watch the first season of Big Love, you’ll learn that the show portrays so much more than just a group of polygamists. There are dynamics and relationships between the husband, Bill, and each of his wives, as well as between each of the wives themselves. During the season finale of the first season, I remember being in body-shaking tears because of the emotions and situations that this family was going through. Yes, I get overly attached to characters, but that can only happen when you can identify with something those characters are feeling. The show may be about polygamists, but they experience feelings and situations many of us go through daily.

Because of the situations the show puts its characters in, I think Big Love pushes its viewers to understand and look at the idea of what makes a family a little differently. Now I’m not saying I’m running out to be an advocate of polygamy. However, I think we all need to be reminded now and again that love and family look different to each of us. Is it our place to judge what that should be?

If you have the chance (or Netflix), I’d encourage you to check out Big Love. There’s only 5 seasons and they’re all pretty short (10-12 episodes a season). I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Out to the Movies: The Hunger Games

Warning: This post contains spoilers about The Hunger Games books and movies. Don’t read if you don’t want to know.

I love a movie that, the minute the credits start rolling, you want to watch again. You want to disappear back into that world. For me, that’s how The Hunger Games was.

Not that I should have been surprised. The books were the same way.

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Memphis Lives in Me

Okay. So that title is kind of a lie. Because I don’t think I’ve ever been to Memphis.

But, boy did I love the musical!

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Out to the Movies: The Vow

From the first time I saw the preview last fall, I knew I was going to be in the theater when The Vow came out. It has everything that interests me in a movie: a love story, a good looking guy, a loveable girl. It’s a typical, yet enjoyable, chick flick romance.

Which is why, after seeing it tonight, I’m okay saying that there was nothing spectacular about the film.

Did I like it? Absolutely. Do I think you should go see it? Most definitely. Why, though – you’re asking yourself – if it’s so ordinary? I’ll tell you.

Because it has that thing I think every really truly great romance film should have – that ounce of reality that takes it from fiction-filled, never really going to happen fantasy and steps it up to something that makes you reflect on your own relationship(s).

You may or may not know that the film is actually based on real events. For one couple, an accident took away the wife’s memory. They’re still together today with two children, but she never regained her memory and had to learn to re-love her husband. What strikes me and moves me so much is this:

What if the person I loved more than anyone suddenly couldn’t remember me?

It’s that thought that brings me to tears. It’s that small ounce of reality – something that could potentially happen – that makes all the difference in this movie. It’s the same thing that makes the difference in my other favorite Rachel McAdams film, The Notebook. It’s not the handsome men or the beat-the-odds love story. It’s the portrayal of something that hits close to home that really takes a film to the next level.

OVERALL: The Vow is not an extraordinary love story. But it’s a real love story. And that’s what makes all the difference.

Not such a Smash, but there’s potential

Last night I tuned in for the first episode of NBC’s new show, Smash. It’s all about the makings of a new Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge Marilyn fan (which is why it’s kind of funny that I’ve watched this and Oscar-nominated film My Week with Marilyn in the past month), but thankfully being a Marilyn fan is not a prerequisite for watching this show. In any case, since I’m a sucker for anything that involves singing and dancing, I thought it might be right up my alley.

I will say, for the first 30 minutes or so, I was not impressed.

The storyline is everything you think it will be. Writers get inspired by all the Marilyn Mania happening in pop culture, think “Why not a musical?”, get a kick-butt choreographer/director who no one likes, and we get to listen to some very Marilyn-esque songs.¬† Yeah, there’s a lot of breathless, high-pitched “Ah!”s and “Oh!”s. In my opinion, if we wanted to listen to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”, we can go to iTunes. I don’t need to watch someone else singing it while pretending to be Marilyn to get the point.

Thankfully, about a half hour in, Katharine McPhee FINALLY started to sing.

Katharine McPhee was definitely the high point of NBC's new show, Smash. Would love to see her get more screen time with some great original music.

Now, I’m not an American Idol viewer, so I’d never really seen her before. Let me tell you, though, she lights up the screen. While her performance of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” was nothing to write home about, the emotion and feeling she portrayed while singing it were pretty darn good. As her storyline grew throughout the episode, it was easy to tell that she’s going to be the one who draws people in and makes them connect with the show. While Megan Hilty, Broadway veteran most well-known for playing Galinda/Glinda in my fave show Wicked (after Kristin Chenoweth, of course), is very talented, she didn’t make you want to feel for her the way McPhee does. She may have that chance in upcoming episodes, but she’s not there yet. (Check out this review of my favorite song from the episode – a McPhee and Hilty duet – called “Let Me Be Your Star”.)

Overall, I think I’d give the episode a B- with some room for improvement. If they stay away from the campy Marilyn songs, give Katharine McPhee a chance to shine and really give the audience something to connect with, I think success will be more possible. NBC’s been struggling with their primetime shows, though, so we’ll see if they can make a go at it with this one.

Did you watch the first episode of Smash? Agree with me or disagree? Would love to hear it in the comments!

Out to the Movies: One for the Money

A light-hearted comedy, this is one to see with your girls.

When I first moved to the Twin Cities, a coworker and I got together for a trip to the Mall of America. Over lunch we got talking about books we liked. She mentioned this series of books by Janet Evanovich – the Stephanie Plum series. She described the general plot, how each book title was a play on a number and said they were absolutely hilarious. Ever since that conversation, I had been meaning to pick up the first book and give it a try.

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