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Hanging with Mr. (Bradley) Cooper

14 Mar

Things I’m always up for:

  • Free things
  • Movies
  • Advanced screenings that make me feel “in the know”

So when I saw that the Boston Globe was hosting a free, advanced screening of “The Place Beyond the Pines” starring Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling, it seemed the stars had clearly aligned and I immediately roped by friend and frequent movie partner Kara in to see it.

photo (2)What made the screening extra cool was the scheduled post-movie Q&A with director and writer Derek Cianfrance!  But when it came time for the Q&A with Boston Globe movie editor Janice Page, the audience was in for a surprise when the film’s star and recent Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper joined him!

Cianfrance (who also directed Blue Valentine) was apparently having dinner with Bradley (yeah, that’s how tight we are now) nearby and asked him to tag along–which he did to the delight of the audience.

Derek and 2012’s sexiest man alive (who was dressed way down in a hoodie and baseball hat, but still managed to look super hot) answered questions about preparation for roles, project choices and lots of questions about the film: character development, where the inspiration for the plot came from, and what the name of the movie means (Schenectady, NY, where the film was filmed and set, is the Mohawk word meaning “beyond the pine plains”).

The Globe posted a bunch of way better pictures on Facebook; yes, I waited in that lo-o-o-ng line, but got in with the first group thanks to my spot (lucky 99!)


I’ll post my thoughts on the movie later, but first, an Oscartini tip: Always go to screenings. Sometimes one of the film’s stars will show up…and it will be awesome!


A Tour of the Kodak!

21 Feb

When I was in California recently (and by recently, I mean 10 months ago), I knew a tour of the Kodak Theatre was a must. And since recent news made it clear that the theater will likely not be named the Kodak Theater anymore, this seemed a good time to finally get this post up!

Since 2002, the Kodak has been the permanent home of the Oscars. With a seating capacity of 3,401 and one of the largest stages in the U.S., it’s a great place for produces to stage movie’s big show.

The tour was pretty short, only about half hour. But, I definitely found it to be worth the $15. Though there are no photos allowed inside (boo) you do get to see the very ornate stair case that the celebs use, the George Eastman VIP Room (complete with an Oscar statue!) and a table setup from last year’s Governors ball (the after party thrown by the Academy) which, as you might expect, was colorful, elaborate and above all else, expensive looking.

You also get to sit in the theater, and our guide pointed out where some of the award winners sat at last year’s event. We also walked down the back hallway that the winners are escorted through after they leave the stage–pretty cool!

The best part about the tour is seeing how the theater actually looks 99% of the time, compared to what you see during the Oscars’ red carpet pre-shows. The theater definitely gets the royal treatment during the Oscars; with Hollywood Boulevard shut down, the red carpet becomes more than the 30 feet or so in front of the entrance. Case in point:


If you’re going to be in the Hollywood area, I definitely recommend touring the Kodak! As the theater is basically part of a huge mall complex, parking is plentiful and fairly cheap for the area too!

Tours of the Kodak at offered Monday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. Tours depart every half hour from Level 2 entrance and last approximately 30 minutes. Tickets are $15 for adults (less for seniors and children), and can be purchased up to 7 days in advance from the websiteNote: Guided Tours will be suspended beginning February 5th due to the Academy Awards. Guided Tours resume regular schedule dates and time beginning Sunday, March 4th, 2012.

Oscartini takes Hollywood!

10 Oct

A few months ago, I took my proverbial show on the road for a visit to California! My very good friend Alyssa lives in San Diego with her fiancé Drew and their (slightly psychotic puppy) Nelson, and my boyfriend Nick’s aunt lives just north of Los Angeles, so we did a little “friends and family” west coast road trip!

We did a solid amount of sightseeing and touristy things; Nick had never been to CA and it was only my second time out, so it seemed like the right thing to do. Sadly, we didn’t see any celebrities, but we did do some fun movie related things!

One of our stops in San Diego was the famous Hotel Del Coronado. Also known as Hotel Del, the Del has been a favorite of Hollywood types since it opened in 1887. It’s pretty famous, and is one of the oldest and largest all-wooden buildings in California. Check out some of the Del’s Hollywood connection  here.

Marilyn Monroe’s movie Some Like It Hot was filmed at the Del in 1959, and is featured prominently throughout the movie.

And here’s my shot of the Del!

We heading north to LA after a few delightful days in San Diego, and saw some of the sights there!

First, we headed up to the Griffith Observatory, which is a popular tourist attraction that boasts awesome views of LA and the famed Hollywood sign! The Observatory plays a role in a bunch of movies, especially Rebel without a Cause, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and a bunch of TV shows too.

Proof I was there

Finally, on our last day in Cali, we took a Warner Brothers Studio Tour! The tour, which is 2 and a half hours through the WB back lot in a covered tram-type vehicle, covers the sound stages and sets of movies and TV shows that are filming/have filmed there. We saw some really cool stuff, including one of the tallest sound stages in the world that also has an in-ground tank with a two million gallon capacity (parts of Jurassic Park and The Perfect Storm were filmed in that one) and sets from TV shows like The Mentalist, Harry’s Law and this set that will probably look pretty familiar!

There was also a lot of cool Harry Potter stuff to see, which was a highlight for me. This is the car used by Harry and Ron in the very beginning of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:

There was also an awesome exhibit with costumes and props from all of the HP movies, but unfortunately, no photos were allowed there.

All in all, we had a great time in California doing movie things! What’s your favorite movie-related sight to see? Any awesome Cali places I have to hit next time I’m back? Leave ’em in the comments!

Filming in Boston: Ted!

4 May

**UPDATE 5/18** So I’m driving in to work today, and see a bunch of trucks, trailers and food service trucks. The next person I walk by has a Ted badge on; lucky for me, the cast and crew is shooting right down the street from where I work in South Boston at Lucky’s Lounge!

My friend Matt was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time (with his handy iPhone!), and snagged these shots of Mila Kunis and Joel McHale!

Courtesy of Matt Giordano

Courtesy of Matt Giordano

And here are some shots from the set, minus the stars.

End update =)

One of Boston’s favorite sons is back in town to film a new movie! If you’ve been hanging around  Tremont Street and Columbus Avenue the last few days, you might’ve caught a glimpse of Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Joel McHale, Laura Vandervoort (my girl Lisa on V) and Seth MacFarlane!

They’re in town to film the MacFarlane-directed flick Ted, which, according to IMDB, is a “story centered on a man and his teddy bear, who comes to life as the result of a childhood wish.” Tentatively set to be released next July, I’m not 100% convinced this will be on the 2012 Oscar ballot, but hey, you never know!!/LooVandervoort/status/65187192846286848

Check out some photos from the “set” (aka the streets of Boston around the South End.):

Courtesy of, taken by Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe

Courtesy of Zimbio, photo by Bauer Griffin

Viva Las Vegas Movies!

26 Apr

True story: up until a few weeks ago, I had made it through 25+ years of life without a single visit to our nation’s adult playground, Sin City. Yes, it’s very sad, I know.

But that all changed when I had the chance to go to Vegas for work, with some time for play built in! To my surprise, there’s no actual movie tour or anything that shows the sights in Las Vegas; I guess they expect you to get your gamble on and not worry about all the movies that have been shot or set in there, but not this girl! So I decided to conduct my own pseudo-movie tour, which would include visiting some of the hotels made femous (to me, at least) by some of my favorite Vegas-based movies!

First up: The Hangover, of course. Almost entirely set in Vegas, The Hangover cast and crew spent 15 days shooting on location in Nevada. However, I learned that none of the hotel room scenes were actually filmed at Caesars Palace; rather, the whole penthouse was recreated at Warner Brother’s Burbank studios. This was a fun tidbit from my tour guide from a studio tour I took a few weeks ago (more on this to come!), and obviously makes sense. As he put it, rather than run up costs by filming and subsequently destroying a suite at Caesars, they could create the room in the studio, and then destroy it without actually damaging the hotel.

Look familiar? If they turned around, theyd see me! (*Not actually a factual statement*)

And, according to IMDB, the suite the characters stayed at was modeled after two of the resort’s luxurious suites in its Forum Tower: a well-appointed penthouse and the so-called “Rain Man (1988) suite,” located on the 68th and 69th floors of the Forum Tower.

Next up on my self-guided tour were some of the locations in Vegas Vacation. Unlike The Hangover, the majority of shooting for Vegas Vacation was on location, with The Mirage Resort serving as a major filming location and home base for the hapless Griswold clan.

Some other fun facts from IMDB:

  • The living room in which Wayne Newton and Ellen have dinner is Wayne’s actual living room from his home in Las Vegas. His home was also on MTV’s “Cribs” (2000), where that same room is featured.
  • The Keno scene at the end of the film takes place at the MGM Grand Hotel Casino. The family is seen entering through the original “lion’s head” entrance, which was present when the casino was first built. This entrance has since been remodeled to look like “regular” doors, with a lion statue on top. The keno section of the casino is no longer there either.
  • Out of the three wonderful buffets I dined at in Vegas, I was sadly unable to locate and consumer blue or yella, Uncle Eddie style.

Last up on my made up Vegas movie tour: Ocean’s 11! This is a movie that filmed all over Vegas including shots at the three hotels the main gang robs (the MGM Grand, The Mirage and The Bellagio). With so much filmed in Vegas, there was just one thing I really, really wanted to see was this:

Taken by moi...

Look familiar?

Another fun fact: According to IMDB, “during the scene where the gang is watching the Bellagio fountains, the lake that the fountains perform in was actually drained on one side and a rail/bar was constructed there so that there would be room for each person to walk away, rather than turn and walk straight into the street.”

So what’s your favorite Vegas-set movie? Have you ever done your own makeshift movie tour?

**Reminder: don’t forget to enter Oscartini’s first birthday giveaway! See what you can win and how to enter here!**

She’s Hard-Hearted Hannah…

27 Oct


So, if my title is at all misleading, I just returned from a lovely 4 day trip to Savannah, Georgia.  This is my second time visiting the Peach State, and I have to tell you, it was great–lots to see, do and EAT.  There’s really something to the idea of awesome southern food, and Savannah didn’t disappoint.

Since you’re (probably) not here to read about my fabolous vacation, Savannah does have several movie connections, the most obvious one being Forrest Gump. This multiple Oscar winner (including Best Picture, Actor and Director) was partial shot in Savannah. In fact, the bench that Forrest narrated his story from was located in Chippewa Square, one of Savannah’s pristine park-like squares throughout the city!

Here’s Chippewa Square when Forrest was there…

And here it was this past weekend, when I was there!

Obviously, the major difference is the lack of bench.  According to IMDB, “Chippewa Square, the setting for the famous bench scene, does not actually have any benches on the outside of the square that faces the street, only inside the square. The bench was placed there for that scene only by the production team.”  The bench from the movie is located in a museum here in Savannah, but you get the idea even without it!

Another major film landmark was the Mercer Williams House, which was featured prominently in the movie and book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Here it is:

And again:

I’ve yet to see the movie, but I just finished the book and I really liked it!

What’s your favorite real-life movie location? Anyone take a movie tour in a city?  I know Boston and NY both have things like that!