A Fan Girl’s Guide to Britain

I just returned from a fabulous trip across the pond where some friends and I had many adventures in England, Ireland, and Wales. We found lots of fun photo ops that were motivated by our mutual love for movies and television. In the event you find yourself traveling in the UK and are in need of some pop culture inspiration, you might want to consider some of these British entertainment adventures.

For Harry Potter Fans:

Of course London is riddled with J.K. Rowling’s hero’s haunts and you can even take “Muggle tours” to get the full Harry experience (but not, apparently on Wednesdays, our only free day there). Denied the tour because of unfortunate timing yet being the intrepid fans that we are, we headed to King’s Cross Station one evening to find the magical Platform 9 ¾ where wizarding students can catch the Hogwarts Express. Continue reading


Luck of the Irish

In honour of my upcoming trip to Ireland (among other UK destinations) in T-minus 9 hours and counting, I’m reposting my piece on favourite Irish movies. May it put you all in an Emerald Isle state of mind!

Popcorn Dinner

It’s been awhile, dear friends, but never fear, Popcorn Dinner is back! Ages ago I did a post about my favourite English movies promising more movie snapshots from the British Isles in the future. The time is now! I dubbed March “Irish Movie Month” (and yes, I recognize it’s now almost May, but that’s sometimes how long these things take) and had loads of fun watching a bunch of films with a distinctly Irish flavour. I’ve never actually been to Ireland – an oversight from my time living in the UK that I hope to rectify someday soon – but here’s an overview of what I’ve learned about the country from the movies, whatever your mood or preferences…

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Who Would Play Her in a Movie?

Yesterday would’ve been my Nannie’s 91st birthday. She died almost two years ago after a long, rich life full of family, travel, community service, music, baking, love, and laughter. As a family we went through some old pictures to compile a scrapbook in celebration of her life and I discovered many photos that I had never seen, especially of her early years. Every so often, I’d find one and think, “Wow – Nannie looks like a movie star!” I was inspired to do a post where I try to cast the role of my Nan in the story of her life, even though she was one-of-a-kind. Continue reading

“Do You Want to Play a Game?”: Favourite Movie Board Games

So friends, this month I have taken it upon myself to share some thoughts on what makes a good movie board game. I love games – grew up playing board games, card games, video games – and even now enjoy a good, old-fashioned “game night” with friends and family. But it’s hard to find good movie-related games. You need something that appeals to a wide range of movie knowledge levels and preferably something with some recent content. Movie trivia games become out-of-date quickly and the more specific they get (i.e. games about a particular movie or franchise), the more obscure and esoteric the questions. Continue reading

Awards Season Round-up

First of all, faithful readers, I have an announcement to make – I think the weekly posting idea has proved a tad optimistic and for the new year, I’m going to aim for posting about once a month. My lack of time for movie-blogging has also carried over as lack of time for movie-watching – usually by now I would have seen at least 75% of the top nominees. I’m nowhere near that this year, which makes it hard to render opinions as to winners. So I’m going to flounder my way through the practically mandatory film blog “predictions” post, even without seeing the majority of nominees. Continue reading

8 talks about the making of movie magic

Until I get my act together and get something original posted for 2013, here are some TED talks about moviemaking to tide you over. For those not familiar with TED, it’s a non-profit group that promotes “Ideas Worth Spreading” from innovative thinkers and visionaries in the fields of Technology, Education, and Design. Speakers are allowed just 20 minutes to get their ideas across. I haven’t taken a look at all of these talks about moviemaking yet, but so far J.J. Abrams’ talk about the “mystery box” is my favourite. Enjoy!

And don’t worry, there will be fresh Popcorn soon…

TED Blog

“Movies have proved to be the ultimate medium for magic,” says Don Levy in today’s talk.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and former senior vice president of marketing and communications at Sony Pictures, Levy has always been fascinated by the sleights of hand that filmmakers use to create illusions. And he knows he is far from alone. In the 117 years since the Lumière Brothers terrified audiences with their Train Pulling Into a Station (1896), Levy explores how visual effects have evolved.

“With complete control of everything the audience can see, movie makers have created an arsenal of techniques to further their deceptions,” says Levy. “Playing with the world and our perception of it really is the essence of visual effects.”

But Levy knows that words cannot capture the goosebump-raising experience of seeing something wonderful on a big screen. So, with the help…

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