Friday, December 21, 2012

Super Duper Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide! Books For Alls The Geeks.

We here at All Things Fangirl always try to have some kind of Holiday Gift Guide every year, so this time around, we're suggesting a slew of fun books for all of the geeks in your life. Barnes and Noble sent me an email saying they are staying open super late, so if one of these strikes your fancy, just give em a call and see if they carry it!

For the Steampunk Geek

Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and other Victorian Visions

This gorgeous hardcover encyclopedia of all things Steampunk is a fantastic buy not only for folks with a pre-existing love of Steampunk, but for any good geek. Though I have never cosplayed or own anything steampunk, I dig the aesthetic whenever it shows itself in pop culture, and thanks to this book, I now have an understanding of why it exists, where it came from, and how I can further get my fix. It even points out certain properties that were Steampunk before Steampunk was a thing (like Myst?!) The book is 192 pages filled with beautiful illustrations and detailed history - there's even a complete primer in Victorian Science Fiction like HG Wells, Jules Verne and Poe, and sections on Steampunk influences like Philip K Dick, Miyazaki, Alan Moore and Alexander McQueen.

Buy Belated on Amazon!

For the Comedy Geek

The Douche Journals: Volume One
This novelty book based on the world of New Girl is an account of all of the douchey things Schmidt did from 2005 to 2010 that required him to put money in the douche jar. The book is more or less a series of ridiculous quotes, when and why Schmidt said it, and how much money he had to put in the jar as a result. The book is actually pretty hilarious and can be appreciated from whatever page you randomly turn to, making it the perfect coffee table book for a self professed New Girl fan. Some examples - "God, I wish I had the wrists for a Livestrong bracelet"/The Mall/$20 "If a pony only doing one trick has become synonymous with failure, perhaps we as a society have become too demanding of our ponies."/Strip Club/unfair criticism of Kandy/$18 "I mean, come on, I shouldn't have to drive to Alhambra to find artisanal gherkins"/dinner table/gherkinless meal/$11 and the list goes on and on and on, 230 pages worth.

Buy Belated on Amazon!

WAY more after the jump!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Top 5 Soundtracks of 2012

Rad about the full top ten over on! We highly recommend it. The phrase "hand jobs for everyone" may or may not have been used."

Later this Awards Season, we'll have the Academy and numerous other awards bodies talking to us about the best scores of the year, (link to eligible scores), but what about the best soundtracks of the year? No love for music supervisors from the movie hemisphere? Sure, the Grammys honor such folk, but coming from a completely different perspective, TV soundtracks are eligible, and the films are honored in most cases an entire year after the typical film awards season. So we took it upon ourselves to honor our favorite soundtracks of 2012. 

A wonderful compilation of that strange and beautiful musical era in american history that bridged the gab between swing and modern jazz where bebop and soul vocals ruled the youth scene, and paved the way for the massive radical change to come. Beat era jazz rose to popularity in the early 50s and its proto-hippie fans could all be found jamming to upcoming entry "Not Fade Away'"s soundtrack 10-15 years later. But before we ever got there, we were toe tapping to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker and slow dancing to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday. "On The Road" perfectly encapsulates a time rarely depicted on screen and the corresponding tunes are not to be missed. Oh and Gustavo Santaolalla's score will force you to get up and bop around - money back guarantee! 
Favorite Track: Yip Roc Heresy by Slim Gaillard

While some have joked that this soundtrack is humorously better built for those in their 60s than their 40s, truly anyone can appreciate the old school folksy jams Judd Apatow so regularly leans towards, in this case specifically courtesy of legendary rockers Graham Parker & The Rumour, a central part of the film. Aside from that bands' reunion, the soundtrack showcases original tunes from the likes of Fiona Apple. Norah Jones and Lindsey Buckingham and features oldies but goodies from Ryan Adams, Wilco, Loudon Wainwright (duh), Jon Brion, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, and The Avett Brothers. Wondering why you aren't listening to this right now? Us too.
Favorite Track: Wilco's reworked I Got You (At The End of the Century)

If "The Hunger Games" is for the kiddies then consider "Lawless" for the grown men who speak unintelligibly while wearing sexy vests and the grown women who get nekkid with them. Hmm. That's how we all remember "Lawless", right? Anyhoo. This song listing shows off how well the new can blend with the old, used "as a way of stretching time…" according to music supervisor and composer, Nick Cave, with rousing bluegrass covers of punk songs from The Bootleggers (Cave and Warren Ellis featuring plenty of Emmylou Harris), Ralph Stanley and Willie Nelson, along with a gorgeous score also from Cave & Ellis. One of the most inventive soundtracks of the year, that you can't help but sing along to, whether you know the songs or not. If you loved the "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack, you'll flip for this. 
Favorite Track: White Light / White Heat by the Velvet Underground, covered by bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley

While none of these songs were written *for* the film, unlike our #1 choice, "Not Fade Away" features the best compilation of the year, providing a freakishly accurate soundtrack to the lives of anyone who came of age in the late 60s and provides a lesson in the importance of the British Invasion on America to anyone who didn't. Rather than going for the obvious, music supervisor Steven Van Zandt (Springstein's longtime guitarist and "Sopranos" actor) delves into the obscure yet recognizable, going for options that are specific and meaningful to those who lived through this time, rather than a skewed version of what we today think music was back then. For example, while the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and the Sex Pistols all appear on the soundtrack, its with songs like Tell Me, She Belongs To Me, T.B. Sheets and Road Runner as opposed to their more well known tunes. Artists like Bo Diddley, Small Faces, The Rascals and Lead Billy balance out  the soundtrack, all artists that influence the in-film band, The Twylight Zones, and as an added bonus, a tune Van Zandt wrote for Norweigan girl band Cocktail Slippers, appears, as performed by The Twylight Zones (as do many other songs recorded by the band) and is so good, it'll make you mad it wasn't written for the film and is thus ineligible for Oscar. 
Favorite Track: Go Now by The Moody Blues

Our favorite compilation of music written for a film, "The Hunger Games" is to bluegrass/americana what the "Twilight" soundtracks have been for emo: the best of its genre, aimed to introduce the tween set to a stronger level music. The way Twilight took tweens' interest in emo and used it to introduce them to Muse and Florence and the Machine, "The Hunger Games" rode the wave of pop country and newgrass as emerging genres to introduce tweens to The Civil Wars through their stunning song written in collaboration with Taylor Swift, the Punch Brothers, Low Anthem and the Secret Sisters, just to name a few. Each song is inspired by a different aspect of the film and book and is the perfect example of what a soundtrack should aspire to be. Unfortunately, due to Academy rules, the exceptional Safe & Sound is ineligible for a nomination, but on the plus side, this may be the year we can say The Arcade Fire became Oscar nominated.
Favorite Track: Aside from the obvious Safe & Sound? Secret Sisters' Tomorrow Will Be Kinder and Run Daddy Run from Miranda Lambert with Pistol Annies. 

The Master, Searching for Sugarman, Perks of Being A Wallflower, Les Miserables, Django Unchained and Moonrise Kingdom. Read about them here. 

Other 2012 soundtrack (and score) recommendations:

The Comedy (hat tip: @davidehrlich)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (by the soon to be oscar nominated Behn Zeitlin & Dan Romer) 
Anna Karenina (by the very likely to be oscar nominated Dario Marianelli) 
Life of Pi (by the maybe oscar nominated Mychael Danna) 
Paranorman (by Jon Brion) 
Ruby Sparks (by Nick Urata of Devotchka)

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Les Miserables Prize Pack Giveaway!

Okay this might be our most exciting contest yet, mostly because if you read below, you'll notice the word SOUNDTRACK as a prize. I repeat: SOUNDTRACK. To Les Miserables. As I noted in my top ten Soundtracks of 2012 post for, all you have to do is skip past the Javert songs like you would with any other Les Mis recording, and you're all set! Best singing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-in-your-car-aide ever! 

Let's get specific. Here's what you can win:

One (1) Winner will receive:
·         $25 Fandango Gift Card
·         T-Shirt
·         Journal
·         Soundtrack

All you have to enter is enter our super easy rafflecopter! Contest ends Monday, December 31st.

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Check out & share the Les Misérables Infographic     

About the FilmRelease Date:                         December 25, 2012Genre:                                     Musical EpicStudio:                                    Universal PicturesStarring:                                 Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron CohenDirected By:                           Tom Hooper (“The Kings Speech”)Written By:                            Based on the Original Stage Musical: Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables Based on the novel by Victor Hugo
Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. Helmed by The King’s Speech’s Academy Award®-winning director, Tom Hooper, the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar® winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
In December 2012, the world’s longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in Tom Hooper’s sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo’s epic tale. With international superstars and beloved songs—including “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More” and “On My Own”—Les Misérables, the show of shows, is now reborn as the cinematic musical experience of a lifetime.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our 8 Most Anticipated Movies of December 2012

Read my complete December preview at

8. Monsters Inc 3D (Dec 19)
In anticipation of next year's "Monster's University" and also in anticipation of knowing that having money is awesome, Disney-Pixar is re-releasing the 2002 classic "Monsters Inc" in 3D. The movie regrettably lost the Best Animated Film Oscar to "Shrek", but where is "Shrek'"s re-release in 3D, huh? HUH? The big question here is will this experiment in nostalgia meets modern technology lean more towards "The Lion King"'s thirty million dollar opening weekend success, or audiences' less than enthusiastic response to "Finding Nemo" returning to theaters?

7. Promised Land (Dec 28 NY, LA. wide Jan 4)
So remember that one time Matt Damon and John Krasinski got together to write a movie about fraking and had good friend Gus Van Sant pop in to direct it? It's safe to say many of us are a little befuddled yet excited by this partnership of two well known Hollywood cute-faces coming together to bring awareness to an issue through their art. The film, which also stars Frances McDormand, Rosemarie Dewitt and is-suddenly-in-everything Scoot McNairy, is about a natural gas company salesman (Damon) having his eyes opened about the dangers of fraking thanks to a small town resident (Krasinski). 

6. Quartet (Dec 28 limited)
Dustin Huffman's directorial debut which has been popping up at film fests all throughout the fall is about a quartet of former opera singers reuniting at a home for retired musicians. One of them, played by Maggie Smith, natch, got all diva on the other three years ago, which means wackiness is afoot! The film has gotten exclusively glowing reviews, and should appeal to anyone who fell for earlier 2012 release "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", a category that most certainly includes one Miss Me. Anything with Maggie Smith has to be the best. It's rule number one.

5. This is 40 (Dec 21)
The quasi sequel to "Knocked Up", focusing on the best part of that film, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's characters! The film takes a comedic (yet heartfelt, it's a Judd Apatow flick after all) look at married life in your early 40s and brings back not only Rudd and Mann but fittingly hilarious Apatow offspring Maude and Iris. Filling out the cast will be everyone funny ever, from Melissa McCarthy to Jason Segel to Albert Brooks to Chris O'Down to Lena Dunham…the list goes on and on. Early word is positive, despite minor complaints that the movie is too long, but again, it's a Judd Apatow flick, what do you expect?

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec 14)
THIS IS HAPPENING. Almost 10 years after "Return of the King" marked the first ever epic fantasy film to take home Best Picture at the Oscars, the start of a new Tolkien trilogy begins with this first installment of "The Hobbit", starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo and the returning Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis and Gandalf and Gollum, respectively. There is tons of controversy surrounding the film, whether in the form of animal cruelty, 48 fps, or the fact that that there will be roughly 8000 different ways of viewing it in theaters (okay more like 5-10), but at the end of the day, it's Peter Jackson returning to Middle Earth and so the movie's gotta rule at least a little bit. 

3. Django
 Unchained (Dec 25)
Tarantino follows up the impeccable "Inglorious Bastards" with this freed slave takes revenge tale starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Christoph Waltz and perhaps most excitingly, Leonardo DiCaprio exploring the scenery chewing side of the acting world. It has all of the hallmarks of classic Tarantino - violence, coarse language, smarts, quirks, great music and an array of interesting characters. The film hasn't screened yet, so there isn't much concrete Oscar buzz to speak of, but if it's as good as we all hope it will be….dark horse?

2. Les Miserables (Dec 25)
The current Oscar frontrunner for Best Picture, this adaptation of the musical from director Tom Hooper is almost perfect. The Best Supporting Actress win is Anne Hathaway's to lose for her gut wrenching portrayal of Fantine, and expect Hugh Jackman to be nominated for his first Oscar for holding. down. the. fort. as "yeah i sing for most of the movie, so what?!" badass Jean Valjean. When your weakest link not only has an Oscar, but was nominated two additional times, (here's looking at you, Russell Crowe), you know you've got something special on your hands. Don't be surprised when the heaving sobs come on - you're not the only one, and yes, it's fine to sing during the finale - if you can even manage to hold out until then. Plus, the film is peppered with nods to mega fans of the original London production in the form of visuals and actors, and Hooper's annoying tendency to shoot from the worst and/or closest angle possible seems as though it is starting to be curbed! Sort of! 

1. Zero Dark Thirty (Dec 19
 NY, LA. Wide Jan 11)
Otherwise known as "Kathryn Bigelow's Osama Bin Ladin movie"  or "In which Jessica Chastain battles Jennifer Lawrence for a Best Actress Oscar" or "yeah, pundits, you totes forgot about this one, didn't you?!!?!!" The film, which doesn't open wide until next year, is a dramatization of the Navy SEAL Team 6 taking out Bin Laden, an event that took the world by storm in 2011. The action drama also features Joel Edgerton, Taylor Kinney, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt and a host of others. Early screenings immediately reminded Oscar talking heads that the film not only exists, but has a damn good chance at a Best Pic nod. 

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