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And the Award goes to…

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Posted by Jennifer Blasen
The 82nd annual Oscar night is less than a week away and this year ten nominees were announced for Best Picture rather than the usual five. There haven’t been ten nominations since 1943 and at first 10 seems a little daunting. But with the movie list including blue creatures and colorful helium balloons, it’s the perfect year to host an Academy Award themed party, or plan a party when the flicks are released on Blu-ray disc. Here are my thoughts on a few of the nominees for Best Picture and party ideas if you decide to enjoy the big night with friends.

-Avatar-

Leading up to the Oscars Avatar has already been nominated and won several awards, but despite the Titanic-sized hype surrounding this film, I was determined to make up my own mind. I saw Avatar in 3D to get the full experience and to describe the film in one word it was enchanting. I became completely immersed in Pandora – a stunning and highly detailed world where I left the real world behind - that is until the lights flickered back on in the theater and I returned my 3D glasses. More than a movie it was an experience.

Shake it up with a Blue Martini

3 oz gin or vodka

½ oz dry vermouth

1 teaspoon blue Curacao

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and garnish glasses with lemon garnish

-The Blind Side-

The Blind Side is the ultimate feel-good movie and the best part – it’s a true story. I’m not a huge fan of sports dramas but the cast really pushed this film from good to great. The Blind Side is a movie that everyone in the family will enjoy, the perfect weekend flick to pop in your Blu-ray player and display on a Runco DLP™ VideoXtreme™ VX-33d projector with DHD Digital Controller.

Celebrate The Blind Side with Southern Deviled Eggs

9 large eggs

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons scallion (white part only), minced

2 teaspoons tarragon, minced

Paprika, to taste

Tarragon leaves, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, combine the eggs and enough cold water to cover. Bring to full boil. When the water reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs stand, covered, for 18 minutes. Drain the eggs, leaving them in the pan. Add enough cold water to the pan to cover the eggs. Let stand until the eggs are cool enough to handle.

2. Peel eggs and cut each egg in half lengthwise. Transfer the yolks to a small bowl and mash well with a fork. Stir in the mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper until smooth. Spoon in the filling into a zip-top plastic bag and snip one corner of the bag.

3. Arrange the egg whites cut-side-up on a large serving plate. Distribute the minced scallion and tarragon over the cavities. Squeeze out the filling from the bag, piping it into the cavities. Sprinkle the stuffed eggs with paprika and garnish with whole tarragon leaves. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

-Up-

I chose to see Up in the theater on my birthday (back in June) because I knew Pixar wouldn’t fail to entertain. Up was not only heartwarming, poetic, sad and visually entertaining (the colors in Up will look fantastic on a Runco Flat Panel with OPAL technology in a room with ambient light) but also told the story of many life lessons. The most poignant lesson I recognized: don’t wait to make your dreams come true. The magic about Up is that it appears to be made for kids, yet adults can get as much (or more) from the Up experience.

Up was full of color, so include a candy bar in your living room for guests to indulge during the awards. Use all different types of jars and canisters to make the candy look interesting and unique, including wrapped (Starburst) and loose candy (Skittles).


~Jennifer is a Linfield College Wildcat and has enjoyed her work with Runco for the past 3 years. In her spare time she enjoys running, golfing, working in the garden, and trying new things in the kitchen.

A Christmas Carol Frightens and Delights

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Posted December 27, 2009 by Pippa Edelen

To jumpstart getting in the holiday spirit, my hubby and I dropped $31 at our local multiplex to check out the IMAX 3D Disney remake of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starting Jim Carrey. Having played Mrs. Cratchit in Hallinan Elementary’s riveting showcase of A Christmas Carol in 5th grade, I was familiar with the story and had both read Dickens’ original and seen a range of versions, being particularly inclined to the version featuring Scrooge McDuck. Given the various iterations I felt fairly well prepared for what to expect in terms of the undead and blatant lesson of “do unto others;” however, I substantially underestimated how frightening this tale can be. As someone who startles easily, and hates to be startled, my neighbors in the theater were tickled the first time I screamed, rather loud, when something popped out of the screen accompanied by 30,000 watts of sound. They were understandably less charmed the third time I did this. And the fourth. And the fifth. The story holds nothing back in terms of death, ghosts, the afterlife and should come with a precursor this interpretation can be flat-out freaky. I cannot tell you how many kids I saw hiding or crying as they left the theater, so take note that this is definitely a movie only appropriate for audiences with double-digit ages. For the younger Christmas movie enthusiasts, I highly recommend the aforementioned tale featuring animated relatives of Donald Duck.
My previous exposure to big-screen 3D started with Jaws 3 in the 1983 and, most recently, the hastily-added 14 minutes to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. As someone who is prone to vertigo and miserably suffered through Beowolf with only my sour Skittles as comfort, I was delighted with the realism and execution of A Christmas Carol and give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the incredible advancement in the 3D technology and application. Particularly impressive are the scenes where Scrooge and various ghosts are flying over London and the details and texture in the otherwise ordinary, everyday things, like the wrought-iron fence and the characters’ skin. The animation still lacks a small detail of realism, particularly in the characters’ eyes, which fail to sparkle and light in a way that simulates lifelike. But the people are so well animated that you can, upon being introduced to new characters, guess the actor voicing them instantly, particularly Colin Firth as Scrooge’s nephew who plays a well-wishing opposite to his cold uncle. You’ll find yourself trying to guess each actor as we meet new guests and ghosts.
My favorite scene in A Christmas Carol, which does a particularly good convincing job using 3D to suspend disbelief, shows Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present watching a Christmas party through the floor of Scrooge’s vast London manse. I was impressed by the visually-stunning semi-opaque wood that is blends to be both the floor of the mansion and the ceiling of the party. Watch for the grains of wood disappearing into nothing and for the pressure caused by Scrooge’s hands on the ceiling. Its small details and effects like this that make this picture particularly enchanting and rather whimsical, spookfest-aside. At the end of this scene, Scrooge looks up at the ghost and, if shown the image as a still frame, in 3D, next to a photograph of the character, I would have been hard pressed to guess the animation from the actor. The talent is simply terribly impressive and represents a true advancement because instead of merely forcing a illness-inducing gimmick into an otherwise enjoyable movie, A Christmas Carol and the storytelling is instead enhanced by 3D.

The story is timeless, but the application of the latest 3D animation technology, as well as the affect from really talented actors, including my personal favorite, Gary Oldman, make for a stunning holiday movie that may be the first movie I’ve seen that’s worth the $15.50 for admission.

Destined to Be an Action Figure: Avatar and Storytelling

Friday, December 18, 2009

Posted December 18, 2009 by Jennifer Davis - Jennifer is all about technology innovation and is a customer advocate, business executive, mom, and loves her job as Runco’s VP of marketing.

On the opening night of James Cameron’s Avatar tonight, I was in the audience marveling at how it was possible that a love story between blue-skinned aliens could be so compelling.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

James Cameron proved again what a great story teller he is.  It appears that all those doodles and space aliens and robots he drew on his homework in high school paid off.
I walked out of the theater wanting to know more about what happened before the start of the movie.  What was Jake’s brother like?  How was picked to be a driver in the first place?  Why did he leave Pandora and find himself in a position to be mugged?  Why did Grace’s school close?  Then, of course, there is the question of what happens after the movie.  What happened to the people after they ushered the humans off Pandora and they got a chance to rebuild their home? 

I am rooting that this becomes a franchise like Star Wars.  The start of many stories, characters, and moral lessons.  To do my part, we have already bought our first action figure.  Consider it our vote, James, for you to create the prequel and sequel.

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