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This afternoon, FIFA held the drawing for the 2011 Women’s World Cup: check out who the top-seeded Americans will be facing. Do you guys watch women’s soccer, or any women’s sports for that matter?

Another big announcement today, but from the film industry. The Academy just announced the hosts for February’s Academy Awards: James Franco and Anne Hathaway??

Sometimes, sports and music make a beautiful combination. For proof, watch Hannah Storm (of Sportscenter) interview Beyonce.

Speaking of music, this is an interesting feature on dancers who perform on the subway. Have you guys seen them around?

The Frisky shows how to wear knits and florals. Perfect for places where the weather isn’t freezing yet!

And finally, it’s never too early to start making D.I.Y. holiday gifts.

Which links are you loving this week?

~ Sarah

Quickie Reviews

I’ve been on quite the DVD kick as of late, so I’ve watched four movies in a week. While I don’t really have the effort (or time) to write extensive reviews, I still want to write about all the good movies I watched. The solution: mini-reviews!

Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Quick Stats: Written, directed, and produced by Ari Folman. The American DVD includes both Hebrew and English audio tracks, as well as subtitles. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Plot: This animated documentary details Folman’s attempts to piece together his memories from the 1982 Lebanon War. It features interviews with other soldiers and flashbacks (both fact and fiction) to the war itself.

Verdict: Waltz with Bashir is one of the most stunning animated movies I’ve seen. I’m no expert on animation, so it’s hard for me to explain the style  but it’s refreshing to see non-CGI animation, especially as the medium for a documentary. The plot is also fixating, because the majority of the movie follows young men thrown into a horrible war. The film was met with controversy in the Middle East, so it’s important to note that while this is a documentary, it’s not meant to be a retrospective on the entire war. Instead, look at it was one man’s reflection on his involvement. There’s no right or wrong here- it just is what it is.

Pirate Radio (2009)

Quick Stats: Inspired by true events. Released outside North America as The Boat That Rocked. Written and directed by Richard Curtis, the man behind one of my favorite movies, Love Actually.

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans

Plot: Set in 1966, the movie follows a young man living on a pirate radio ship, Radio Rock. Since no stations in the U.K. play rock and roll, the pirates illegally broadcast rock music to the British masses. The station’s popularity pushes the stuffy government to try to shut them down.

Verdict: Pirate Radio is a fun look at the 60’s combined with the quirky and cheeky British humor I love. Although it’s (purposefully) historically inaccurate, it still covered an interesting subject I knew nothing about: pirate radio in Europe. As expected, the movie also has an awesome classic rock soundtrack.

Whip It (2009)

Quick Stats: Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut. She also produced.

Starring: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kirsten Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Drew Barrymore, and Jimmy Fallon

Plot: Bliss, a small-town girl and would-be beauty queen, secretly joins a roller derby team in Austin, Texas.

Verdict: Whip It is an entertaining “chick flick” that didn’t follow the usual and boring romantic-comedy route. Page is tailor-fit for the lead, and the supporting cast is fun and fresh. This coming-of-age, indie dramedy overcomes its predictability with loads of Southern charm and a healthy dose of Girl Power. Don’t be surprised if you starting think of roller derby names after watching it.

An Education

Quick Stats: Nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, and Emma Thompson

Plot: In post-war, pre-Beatles London (think: before Pirate Radio), Jenny, a bright schoolgirl with aspirations of attending Oxford University, begins a romantic friendship with a charming older man.

Verdict: An Education is a beautiful, intimate, and touching film. The acting is absolutely stellar. The cinematography and costume design are also great- this is one of those rare movies where every aspect is top-notch. After watching the movie, you’re left thinking and reflecting, not just on Jenny’s choices, but your own. I think it’s a very important movie for women especially to watch.

I would definitely recommend all of these movies, but they’re very different and each has its own merits. I can’t wait to pick up some more movies at the library this weekend.

Have you seen any of these movies? What did you think? Do you like this review format? Do you have any DVD recommendations?

~ Sarah

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Today’s the day my generation has been waiting for: the release of Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 3. If you haven’t been looking forward to watching the conclusion to the Toy Story franchise, then I’m not sure you had a childhood, honestly.

It all started back in 1995:

Seeing as I was five at the time, I didn’t realize what a landmark Toy Story was. It was the first feature film released to only use CGI. Perhaps most importantly, it was the first film by the critically-acclaimed studio Pixar. Over the last fifteen years, it’s hard to find a movie studio that has been as successful as Pixar. The company has already won 22 Academy Awards. And just think of the film classics they have brought to audiences:

Toy Story, 1995
A Bug's Life, 1998
Toy Story 2, 1998
Monsters, Inc., 2001
Finding Nemo, 2003
The Incredibles, 2004
Cars, 2006
Ratatouille, 2007
WALL-E, 2008
Up, 2009

And finally:

Toy Story 3, 2010

So many memories! I honestly can tell you about the first time I saw so many of these movies. Who can forget the Finding Nemo phenomenon? I think my favorite Pixar movie has to be WALL-E, but the opening scenes of Up were absolutely beautiful. Pixar has made us laugh, cry, and laugh again over the years: their movies are masterpieces. The studio has made going to the movies fun again.

Toy Story holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of the first movies I vividly remember seeing. (The others were all Disney too, of course.) I’m also around the same age as Andy; we kind of grew up together, in the cinematic sense. And the story is universal, the close bond between young child and toy. It’s so much more though: the Toy Story films have been about growing up. It’s a journey we all inevitably have to go on.

I cannot wait to go to the movies tomorrow-I’m going to make it an event. What about you guys? Are you excited to finally see Toy Story 3? What’s your favorite Pixar movie?

~ Sarah