Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, Doctor!

Now and then, something truly remarkable happens in the world of entertainment. A 50th birthday is one of those things.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What to Watch This Weekend 9/14/13

While my recommendations may seem thin this week, if you haven't seen "Ender's Game" or "Thor: The Dark World", those ought to be at the top of your list. Here are a few other ideas:
On Netflix

If you haven't ever seen the show "Supernatural", now is as good a time as any to give it a look. It's been on TV for many years (I think it's in its 9th season), and I am not currently watching as it airs, but I did go back and watch the first couple of seasons recently. My first impression? It's so scary!! So maybe not for kids. Also now and then there are surprise sex scenes, so also not for kids. Luckily, they are short, not terribly graphic scenes. Actually, in all of seasons 1 and 2, I can't remember more than one, so thankfully that distraction is minimal. (One day I'm going to write a diatribe on the fact that Hollywood is filled with writeres who like to distract from actual STORYTELLING with sex scenes in their movies and TV shows... but this is not that day.) The show follows the Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) as they travel around the country fighting supernatural evil, including witches, ghosts, spooks, urban legends and demons. Though I didn't find it compelling enough to rush through, it is a show I will go back and watch from time to time, if I'm in the mood. Again, probably not for kids. It's scary, gory and there is adult dialogue, ifyaknowwhatImean.

At Redbox

With the second Hunger Games movie opening next week, it's a good time to rent the original and watch it again. For the uninitiated, this dystopic story is about a future where teens have to fight to the death to entertain the masses, which keeps everyone thoroughly oppressed by the government. It would be a rare treat if the movies were better than the books, but they do stand up pretty well on their own.

Comment below-- tell me what you're plans are!  Then pop the popcorn, make a mug of cocoa and settle in with your remote control or a good book. Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thor: The Dark World is Thorrific!

The good- Chris Hemsworth is very well cast, and seems to have grown into the role quite a bit. This time around, his Thor is much more natural and human. And his interactions with Loki are excellent-- the brotherly chemistry between them really works. 

Thankfully, the script for this sequel has a lot more humor than the original "Thor"-- I think the folks at Marvel and Disney learned something of real value when Joss Whedon's "The Avengers" was such a huge success in large part due to a script generously peppered with wit and humor. "Thor" benefits greatly from doing the same. 

I think the entire cast from the first movie returned for this film, including Thor's Asgardian buddies and family, and they have some fun moments. Natalie Portman's Jane Foster is back and somewhat more interesting this time, and Kat Dennings as her assistant Darcy is good as well, but it's Stellan Skarsgard who steals every scene he is in. I love the continuity between both "Thor" and "The Avengers" and his storyline in this film.

The bad- Some scenes seem rather rushed-- there were a handful of quick cut-aways that felt abrupt. Really, that's my only critical comment. Well, maybe also that the "Dark Elves" didn't really seem all that scary. I never felt like the heroes were ever in real peril, but in a film like this, that's okay.

The awesome- The special effects and CGI are, as usual, phenomenal in this movie. As I mentioned above, humor also improves on the first film so much-- no comic book-based movie should take itself too seriously, and "Dark World" achieves an excellent balance.

 But what really lifts this movie is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He endears the character with such depth-- Loki is a trickster, he is conniving, wicked, and clever. But he also feels sadness and disappointment and frustration and Hiddleston manages to relate a wonderful mixture of emotions beneath Loki's veneer of confidence and sly trickery. He really is utterly compelling as the villain and his performance threatens to overshadow all the heroes of the Marvel universe. I look forward to seeing what Loki will do next. (Though, it's been said that he won't appear in the sequel to "The Avengers".)

Oh, and one more awesome is a cameo by... well... maybe I won't tell you. You'll see. It's adorable and funny and made me so very excited for the next few Marvel projects. 

If you haven't made it to the theater for "Thor" yet, it's an excellent date movie, or take your teenagers. This is a great "popcorn" movie-- this film is what you go to the movies for. Fast, fun action and entertainment.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Review: "Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon"

For those who may have forgotten, by day I'm an elementary school librarian. This book was included in a packet of free books I got from Scholastic in a book order last month, and at first, I wasn't really interested in reading it. So many nonfiction books for children are, simply, boring. I don't know why that is, but that's my impression, and although this is an award-winning book, I figured it would just be dry facts and figures and not all that interesting.

What to Watch This Weekend 11/7/13

There are some great entertainment options this weekend!

In Theaters:

Monday, November 4, 2013