Movies

Christmastime in the City – and the Small Town

When it comes to the Christmas holidays, everyone has their likes and dislikes for how to spend the time.  We all have our own traditions and expectations.  And those preferences extend to where we like to be for the celebrations.
 

A Made-for-TV Christmas

christmas sceneI love Christmas! As the song says, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” and I’m not one to argue. With brightly colored lights and decorations everywhere, familiar Christmas carols playing on the radio, and sugary treats baking in the oven, Christmas is a feast for the senses.

As a child, I grew up in a household that embraced everything about Christmas. We had many wonderful holiday traditions, but my favorites all involved watching Christmas movies together. Each year, we would watch all of the classic Christmas movies like White Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I still love those movies and watch them every year, but recently, I have added a few new movies to my seasonal viewing: made-for-TV Christmas movies.

Creative Minds: P.D. James (1920-2014) and Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

The last few weeks have seen the passing of great talents behind the scenes of movies and television. 

A Holiday for Feasting

thanksgiving feastLast night, I finally had a chance to watch Chef, a movie I had missed in theaters this past summer despite my best intentions otherwise. In this movie, Jon Favreau plays a chef who, after receiving a scathing review from a powerful food blogger, opens a food truck and drives it across the country, stopping in food-famous cities along the way. A thoughtful, well-acted film about reigniting creative passions and rekindling family relationships, Chef also offers countless scenes filled with mouth-watering regional foods.

With Thanksgiving in less than a week, movies about food feel particularly appropriate. Although the holiday is ostensibly about spending time with loved ones and giving thanks for what we have, no Thanksgiving celebration is complete without a proper feast. Whether the feast includes traditional Thanksgiving dishes or more exotic fare, the food is what brings families and friends together in celebration.

Book Hunters in Brief #48: The Hunger Games

As fictional heroines go, Katniss Everdeen is as tough, smart and resilient as they come. No doubt about it. But there are plenty of other heinie-kicking heroines out there, just as Panem isn't the only chillingly dystopian society in the YA aisle. This week, in honor of the coming premiere of Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1,  (November 21) Book Hunters offers a few Hunger Games readalikes for when you're hankering for some more savory reads.

Alright, Alright, Alright!

matthew mcconaugheyThis past weekend, Interstellar, a movie I have been looking forward to since first seeing the teaser trailer last December, finally released in theaters. An intelligent and ambitious science fiction epic about a group of scientists who travel through a wormhole in space in search of a new habitable planet, Interstellar is the newest feature film from critically-acclaimed director Christopher Nolan. The film was as visually-stunning, emotionally-moving, and intellectually-stimulating as I had hoped, and, as Gravity did last year, does much to further our view of space in cinema. But although the cinematography and visual effects of Interstellar are stunning, the driving force behind the plot is Matthew McConaughey’s fantastic performance as Cooper, the everyman chosen to pilot the mission into space.

Love Less Ordinary

Halloween is when we like to dress up in silly or scary costumes.  We like to watch scary movies or TV series or maybe take it a step further and go to a local “haunted house" exhibit.  And every year, Hollywood provides us with plenty of movies to scare the daylights out of us.

Halloween Screams

halloweenWith Halloween only a week away, this weekend is the perfect time to stay in and have a scary movie marathon. Personally, I don’t watch many of the horror films that have come out in recent years. There is too much gore for me and, frankly, I’m just too easily spooked. Ever since watching The Ring while home alone and almost having a heart attack from all the scares, I just can’t handle most contemporary horror movies.

America in World War I

The United States entry into World War I was in 1917.  At least, that is the official date.  For the most part, America chose to stay out, even after German forces torpedoed the British passenger ship the Lusitania in 1915, killing over 1,000 people, including 128 Americans.  President Wilson continued to resist becoming a part of the conflict, until German submarines began targeting U.S.

Vampires Bite

vampireDespite the continuing heat outdoors, fall has arrived in Houston and Halloween is just around the corner! As a kid, I loved Halloween. I loved dressing up each year in a homemade costume and trick-or-treating with my friends, eating more candy than I was supposed to, and staying up too late watching old black and white scary movies. Now, my Halloweens are quieter. There is still candy (because it wouldn’t be Halloween without a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup shaped like a pumpkin), but sadly, my trick-or-treating days have long since come to an end. I do, however, still love a scary movie, particularly one featuring a blood-sucking vampire or two.

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