My Favorite Holiday Movies

I grew up in Wyoming, where winters are rough and once the driveway was shoveled and chores were done, there wasn’t much to do. Once we got a VCR, rented movies saved my family from strained game nights (my mom hates to lose and my brother cheats creatively and unrepentantly). There are few things nicer than making a blanket nest, mulling some wine, and watching a movie on a cold winter night with friends, family, and, of course, pets. Here are a few of my favorites for winter viewing. Continue reading “My Favorite Holiday Movies”


Librarians in pop culture

Working in a library has me thinking about my favorite librarians in pop culture. Interestingly, they’re mostly women, which is true of the profession at large, though that’s changing slowly.

Here’s a sampling of my best loved librarians, and library-centered stories, music, and films:

1. Parker Posey as Mary in Party Girl

Continue reading “Librarians in pop culture”

How to Train Your Dragon and the Question of the Animal

Let’s just get it out of the way right now that I really enjoyed How To Train Your Dragon. I’m always anxious about Dreamworks’ animated features – Kung Fu Panda was thoroughly enjoyable, the Shrek franchise is hit or miss, and the Madagascars are execrable – but Dragon was a pleasure. The characters are charming, the animation approaches Pixar-exquisite, the story, though slight, is entertaining, and the dragons are beautiful. The film is based on Cressida Cowell’s young reader series. Briefly, the story follows Hiccup (voiced by the adorable Jay Baruchel), a misfit Viking who bonds with a dragon and must convince his tribe – whose culture is centered around conflict with the dragons – that everything they know about the beasts is wrong. Continue reading “How to Train Your Dragon and the Question of the Animal”

Percy Jackson

The film of Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief opens on Friday.

I’m looking forward to it. Rick Riordan’s books did for Greek myth what Harry Potter did for the wizarding world. But don’t let the comparisons to Harry Potter dissuade you from seeing the film (or reading the books, for that matter). Riordan’s characters are likable and charming, and the action is brisk.With Chris Columbus at the helm the films should be engaging. Continue reading “Percy Jackson”

Bad Moon Rising

I went to New Moon last night with my friend Becky. She’s a better blogger than I am, a sincere and unrepentant feminist, and a YA lit fan. She’s also my chosen movie companion, joining me for Where the Wild Things Are, two Harry Potter movies, and even the execrable Transformers 2 (how do you make a robot battle movie boring? Ask Michael Bay.). Anyway, Becky and I have been discussing the Twilight phenomenon, how alarmed we are by its inveterate anti-feminism, how much Becky wants to marry (or something) Robert Pattinson, and how werewolves can be cougar-bait for some time now and so, though we had some mixed feelings about it, we decided to go to a late show on a school night (to minimize the number of squealing tweens we’d have to sit next to). Continue reading “Bad Moon Rising”

Where the Wild Things Are – Adaptation and Representation

The New York Times Magazine has a wonderful article on Spike Jonez’s adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. For fans of the book, the thought that the studio was afraid the adaptation was “too weird and scary” is nothing but good news, and it sounds like Sendak is behind both Jonze and the adaptation all the way. Continue reading “Where the Wild Things Are – Adaptation and Representation”

Where The Wild Things Are – Trailer

Had to share this, too. Obviously because of my affection for the story, I’m a tad anxious about a film adaptation, but I got a tear watching the trailer before Half-Blood Prince. The kid they got to play Max is very Sendak. And yes, that is Arcade Fire playing during the trailer, so they’re going for indy-hipster cred to draw in all the grown-up wild things out there.

Harry Potter: The Boy Who… umm… Drank?

The New York Times has an article on concerns about drinking in the new Harry Potter film. In a story where potion-making, -drinking, and -sneaking becomes central to the story line – from the liquid luck awarded Harry by Slughorn, to the rampant love potions, to the poisoned mead, and of course the disastrous liquor that hides the Horcrux in the sea cave, potions of some sort propel almost every twist of the plot – it’s no surprise that liquid charms would show up in the film. Continue reading “Harry Potter: The Boy Who… umm… Drank?”

Let The Right One In

[A NOTE ON SPOILERS: Everyone but Ishmael is dead at the end of Moby-Dick; Snape kills Dumbledore. Since this is a critical blog, not a fansite or a paid review site, I’m going to ruin the endings of pretty much everything I write about if you haven’t already read or seen them. Read on at your peril.]

I watched Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredsson’s exquisite little masterpiece Let The Right One In a couple of weeks ago and have been putting off re-watching it (or writing about it) in part because it didn’t want to lose the frisson of my first experience with the film, and dilute my excitement and affection for the film by looking at it critically. The film has stuck with me. Continue reading “Let The Right One In”