Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: Colorado

How much do I love this 39th Telluride Film Festival poster by Dave Eggers? Oh so much.

How much do I love this 39th Telluride Film Festival poster by Dave Eggers? Oh so much.

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How could I not be obsessed? I head to the beautiful mountain state in just about a week for the first time since I moved to Arkansas in October 2010. Also, it’s my first vacation longer than four days since then, so needless to say, I am ready for a temporary change of pace.

The whole trip was planned around attending the Telluride Film Festival during Labor Day weekend. I had a taste of the event a few years back but didn’t get to attend any movies. After my parents sat in front of director Michael Hazanavicius at the Telluride screening of his film, “The Artist,” I knew I couldn’t miss 2012’s fest. My mom also waved at George Clooney — who she says waved back — and she and my dad ate dinner in the same room as Tilda Swinton.

Neither the attendees nor films are announced until days before, so I’m looking forward to being surprised, rubbing elbows with industry greats (if I’m so lucky) and seeing what I expect will be fabulous cinematic gems.

Don’t even think about robbing my apartment while I’m away, folks. The roommate is still around and she’s good at beating off intruders (by sleep-talking them away). She’s fierce. Like the University of Colorado fight song, which I grew up singing at women’s basketball games (because I didn’t attend the school in the end).

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Viral video of the week: “Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra”

Wally, aka Gotye, emailed to his fans this video compilation he put together. It mixes some of the best YouTube covers of his smash hit, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” I was very happy to see Pentatonix, an absolutely amazing a capella group, get some generous screen time. There’s also a smooth sax, Ingrid Michaelson and a choir in formalwear.

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Note to my dear readers: It is time I took a little hiatus, what with vacation and my twice-a-year teaching gig fast approaching. I will not post Picks of the Week for the next four weeks. I’ll miss all y’all’s comments!

There will be one final I Quit Sugar post Sunday. Don’t forget, it’s a giveaway. Bust over to last week’s post and comment for a chance to win Sarah Wilson’s e-book. You can read it on your computer, e-reader, tablet, laptop hooked to your TV, whatever!

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Filed under: Academy Awards, Colorado, Design, Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies, Music, News, Oscars, Products, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: Oscar bait in theaters.

Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, and the back of Jason Schwartzman's head in "Moonrise Kingdom."

Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, and the back of Jason Schwartzman’s head in “Moonrise Kingdom.”

It’s pretty early to be thinking about the Academy Awards, but let’s not forget “The Hurt Locker,” which premiered in early June 2009 and won Best Picture (along with five other Oscars) eight and a half months later.

Here are the movies on my radar:

  • “Moonrise Kingdom” — Wes Anderson has yet again created a film with heart, laughs, and gorgeous, meaningful visuals. I imagine a writing nomination is in this film’s future.
  • “Brave”* — Pixar missed out on an Animated Feature Film nod last season because of an underwhelming sequel, “Cars 2,” the first Pixar film since the category’s creation in 2001 to be absent from ballots. But with “Brave,” the company introduces its first female lead — and to good reviews — which will be enough to be listed as a contender come January.
  • “The Amazing Spider-Man”  and “Marvel’s The Avengers” — While not likely to be acknowledged for their stories or acting, big-budget action movies typically clean up in Visual Effects, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.
  • “To Rome With Love” — Following up on a love story to Paris and an Oscar for Original Screenplay at this year’s awards, Woody Allen not may have another winner in this ode to Rome. But I wouldn’t be surprised with a nomination; the Academy loves Allen, even if he refuses to attend the ceremonies (save for this moving and funny love letter to New York in 2002, complete with a shout out to the late Nora Ephron).
  • “The Dark Knight Rises”* — Christopher Nolan’s last installment in his Batman trilogy has yet to arrive in theaters (July 20 is the release date), but seeing as how the “The Dark Knight” Best Picture snub at the 81st Academy Awards singlehandedly brought forth the increase in the category’s number of nominees the following year, this film has high expectations from all.

*Films I have not yet seen but intend to before February’s awards.

Video stream of the week: On Netflix, 17 of 50 films named by Entertainment Weekly as “The 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen”

You may have seen a handful of these films, all released within the last 20 years. To catch up on a bunch more, you can thank Netflix. Below are links to the 17 streaming titles, and for the full list of 50, check out EW’s photo gallery.

Free download of the week: “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon

The first 2:45 of the music video is one shot and includes a key-tar, sparklers, average-Joe dance moves, and a door one can only assume leads to Narnia. What fun!

I first heard this song on my favorite place to discover new singles, AOL Radio’s New Pop First station. Then I realized I already owned it (and had unknowingly heard it in episode 1 of the third season of “The Vampire Diaries”).

You can download the Cincinnati band’s track for free at Amazon.com. If you want to stumble upon other up and coming artists, check out Amazon’s monthly sampler of artists on the rise, which, for July, includes songs from Japandroids and Ed Sheeran (download Sheeran’s EP for free when you sign up for his mailing list on his website).

Filed under: Academy Awards, Entertainment, Hollywood, Internet, Movies, Music, Netflix, Oscars, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: “The Amazing Spider-Man” in theaters

Amazing he is. And when I say he, I mean Andrew Garfield. The man brings a loveable, personal quality to the Peter Parker character, something Tobey Maguire never quite mastered. It also helps that the screenplay allowed the emotional moments to not just exist, but move forward the story.

Emma Stone impresses as usual as Gwen Stacy. Both Stone, 23, and Garfield, 28, pass as high schoolers thanks to some great one-liners that take me back to the years of teenage angst. Their on-screen love story is so real it’s no wonder their relationship blossomed off-screen.

The film was worth seeing in 3-D because of some cool technology used at Oscorp Labs, as well as the high-flying, web-slinging scenes atop New York City’s skyscrapers. The very last shot before the credits was obviously meant just for the goofy glasses-wearing viewers. But friends who saw the 2-D version left the theater feeling just as satisfied, for 3-D does not a good movie make.

Music stream of the week: fun. At The 9:30 Club, NPR concert

This band is one of my new favorites. They are quirky and, well, fun! I can hear the ’80s pop and rock influences, which as anyone can tell you, I love.

I’ll admit I was a bit tired of “We Are Young,” their explosive hit off their second album, “Some Nights.” But as soon as the New York City band released the disc’s title track, I was back to chanting the crowd-ready, anthemic choruses of both songs.

Enjoy this 80-minute performance from May 3, which NPR kindly streamed live and continues to provide access for those who missed it. You don’t need to be at Club 9:30 in D.C. to participate in the dancing Nate Ruess commands near the close of the concert.

Sounds like … of the week: Conor Maynard’s “Can’t Say No” sounds like Jesse McCartney

Remember Jesse McCartney? My middle sister saw him open up for Jordin Sparks once and she bought me a poster, which I still have.

Well usher in the latest teen to sing songs about girls, Conor Maynard, who is 19 and not related to our bachelorette, Emily, at least I don’t think he is. I expect Conor will ride the One Direction train and become quite popular because of his Britishness. Oh yeah, and the fact he can sing pretty.

Compare Maynard’s “Can’t Say No” with McCartney’s “It’s Over” and tell me you don’t hear the similarities.

And to try to prove Maynard is actually talented and not just another cutie with floppy hair from across the pond, here he is covering Katy Perry’s “E.T.” His album drops July 30.

Filed under: Entertainment, Hollywood, Internet, Movies, Music, Tech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Movie Review: Rock of Ages

"Rock Of Ages"

Just like the stage show, the motion picture “Rock of Ages” aims to please (with popular ’80s rock songs) and generally offend (in nearly every other way). The pure ridiculousness of it all translates mounds better on stage than on film, but that’s not to say the move is a bore. It’s actually loads of fun.

Let’s break down the best and the worst “Rock of Ages” has to offer.

BEST

  • Catherine Zeta-Jones. She should sing and dance in every film. Her role was written just for the screen (the writers reworked the hippie protester Regina into the mayor’s wife character).
  • Julianne Hough’s fabulous boots. After sporting some sweet red ones in the remake of “Footloose” she has transitioned to studded black ones.

    Julianne Hough's "Rock of Ages" boots

    The boots

  • “Here I Go Again.” None of the numbers really stood out to me dancewise, save for this one. It included the entire cast in their different states of life, and some slick moves at the Venus Club.
  • Russell Brand. He may not be popular, but he’s still good for a laugh in the role of Lonny, the business partner of Bourbon Room owner, Dennis (Alec Baldwin). Brand plays well off Baldwin’s one-note performance.
  • Debbie Gibson cameo! I’m not going to tell you where. Just look for her.
WORST
  • The Tom Cruise slow walk show. For the first half of the movie, there is too much focus on Cruise’s drink-drowning rock star, Stacee Jaxx. A lot of screen time is wasted on watching Cruise wander around at the pace of a snail, and he talks about as fast. I wish fewer frames were dedicated to him.
  • This camera shot:
    Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages"

    The money shot

    Somebody is real proud of this. It’s in the trailers, the film and the credits. I liked it the first time, but once is enough!

Obviously the good outweigh the bad. “Rock of Ages” is entertaining and a good two-hour escape from 2012. But if it weren’t for all the big name stars, this would just be a quality TV movie.

Filed under: Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies, Music, Musical, , , , , , , , , ,

Classic Film series: Gone With The Wind

An epic film deserves a dramatic design. I love this shot so I turned it into the latest in the series.

Gone With The Wind

Filed under: 1930s, Academy Awards, Classic Film Series, Design, Entertainment, Hollywood, Illustrator, Movies, Oscars

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