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  • As we settle in for another round of chilly temperatures here in Houston, I’m trying to imagine what it must be like for our family and friends in the North.  But my imagination falls short.  I really can’t fathom living and working in an environment where I’d have to face snowdrifts and icicles on a daily basis – much less driving in minus 0 weather. 

    And those musings led me to think about movies set in those climes.  And if we’re talking about cold weather, why not concentrate on those films that might send a chill down the spine – whether in summer or winter.  Or maybe just make you glad you live in southeast Texas.  Some of my favorites are listed below.  I’ll bet you find some of yours, too.

  • OscarsThis morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards. Honoring achievements in film, the Oscars are highly anticipated by Hollywood and movie goers alike. These nominations come several weeks after announcements of nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) and the British Film Academy Awards (BAFTA Awards).

    Every year, I find it interesting to compare the lists of nominees in the major categories at these three awards shows. Sometimes the nominations are strikingly similar (as with this year’s nominees for best director and lead actress), and sometimes they are completely different (as with this year’s nominees for best supporting actor). Below, I have listed all the nominees for film, director and the four major acting awards.

    Although the Bafta Awards and the SAG Awards are always handy indicators of what is likely to win at the Academy Awards, there are always surpries at each show. It will be interesting to see how the wins compare at the end of awards season.

    For a look at the entire list of nominations for each awards show, visit the Academy Awards website, the BAFTA Awards website, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards website.

    Best Film or Performance by a Cast:

    • 12 Years a Slave: Academy Award, BAFTA, SAG
    • American Hustle: Academy Award, BAFTA, SAG
    • August: Osage County: SAG
    • Captain Phillips: Academy Award, BAFTA
    • Dallas Buyers Club: Academy Award, SAG
    • Gravity: Academy Award, BAFTA
    • Her: Academy Award
    • Lee Daniels’ The Butler: SAG
    • Nebraska: Academy Award
    • Philomena: Academy Award, BAFTA
    • The Wolf of Wall Street: Academy Award
  • movie reelsFor moviegoers, 2013 was a glorious mix of award-contenders and popcorn movies, fantasy and reality, animation and live-action, courageous people and superheroes. Whether we watched in the theater or from the comfort of a living room couch, movies this year inspired us to defeat monsters of all forms, grow closer to friends and loved ones, and build our own futures.

    If you missed some of these the first time, or just want to watch them a second time, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie today! Remember some of these movies have yet to be released on DVD and so will not be available through HCPL just yet.

    So what was your favorite movie of 2013? Cast your vote in the poll below, or let us know in the comments!

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  • Let’s get real here.  There is no way one guy could circle the world bringing toys and games and other goods on one sleigh in one night all by himself.

    Not without some help.

    Seriously, Santa Claus needs a lot of help with such a monumental task.  Thank goodness he has it.  I mean, without the elves and the reindeer and especially Mrs. Claus, Santa wouldn’t have a chance of accomplishing all he’s got to do. 

    And every now and then, Hollywood remembers those who help make our Christmas holidays more fun.  Check out some of the movies and TV specials that give us a peek behind the scenes at the North Pole.

  • Christmas at DisneyworldChristmas is here again,
    Stand up and cheer again.
    Let’s leave our heartaches and sorrows behind.
    - "Christmas is Here Again", Roger Whittaker

    I know I say this every year, but it bears repeating: Christmas is my most favorite time of year! I love everything associated with the Christmas season and have since I was a little girl. I love decorating the Christmas tree with White Christmas playing in the background, baking cookies while singing along to my favorite Christmas tunes, and wrapping piles of presents late into the night. There are so many traditions associated with the Christmas season, but perhaps my favorite of these involves gathering around the TV with my family and watching beloved Christmas movies.

    Last year, I wrote about the classic movies that had shaped my childhood Christmases. I still love those movies today and cherish the memories they bring (e.g., like the year I first discovered White Christmas and watched it every day for two weeks straight!), but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for some of the more recent Christmas movies Hollywood has brought us. Some of the movies are funny and some are bittersweet. Some of the movies focus on the holidays, while others only happen around Christmas. But no matter the story, the joy of Christmas can be felt running through each movie. 

    If you’re in the mood for a more modern take on the holidays this year, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie today!

  • thanksgiving cookiesWith its tradition of big meals and family gatherings, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is also the most overlooked of the fall holidays, stuck in between the fun of Halloween and the cheer of Christmas. No sooner has the Halloween candy been eaten, than we are skipping ahead and preparing for Christmas, with only a meal and shopping to celebrate Thanksgiving. Even Hollywood seems to have bypassed Thanksgiving for the more obvious Christmas plots. Thanksgiving movies may be few and far between, but there are still enough to remind us what the holiday is really about: food, family, thankfulness, and pie. Always pie.

    If you are in the mood for a Thanksgiving movie this season, browse the HCPL catalog and request one today!