Amy
ABOUT ME - My name is Amy and I'm a birder living in central Florida. On this blog I post book and birding product reviews as well as birder gift ideas and announcements related to my birder gift shop on this site. I also have a personal birding blog called Powered By Birds.

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Archive: Movie

Official trailer for The Birder

Posted on February 2nd, 2014 in Movie, Video

The official trailer for the upcoming movie The Birder, starring Tom Cavanagh, Mark Rendall, and Jamie Spilchuk, was just released! Check it out below.

Netflix Instant Watch for birders summer 2013

Posted on August 14th, 2013 in Movie

Some new titles of note are available on Netflix for instant watching. Remember that titles are often on Netflix for a limited time, so watch ’em while you can! Only two of the titles from my previous posts (Netflix Instant Watch for birders and More Netflix Instant Watch for birders) are available to watch today. Note: the images are affiliate links to Amazon.com, where you can purchase the title. The text links go to Netflix.

Birders The Central Park Effect DVD

Birders: The Central Park Effect This HBO documentary received acclaim from birders and non-birders alike when it first aired last year. “New York’s Central Park holds a magical attraction for diehard bird watchers such as the diverse group of locals featured here. The profiles include a teenage girl, a trombone technician, writer Jonathan Franzen and a host of feathered friends.”

Love Birds DVD

Love Birds This is a cute, quirky romantic comedy out of New Zealand that was never released theatrically in the United States. You can have a look at a trailer on the official site. This isn’t about birders; it is about a man and his relationship with a wild duck. I thought it was cute. “Recently dumped and wallowing in self-pity, Doug decides to nurse an injured duck back to health with the assistance of Holly, an eccentric vet and bird specialist. Soon, romance begins to bloom, but the path to love is never easy.”

My Life as a Turkey DVD

Nature: My Life as a Turkey “When naturalist Joe Hutto became “mother” to a clutch of 16 wild turkey eggs, he had no idea of the heartache and joy that were to become part of his daily existence for the next 18 months, as he raised the chicks and helped them leave the nest.” If you don’t have Netflix, this title is available to view for free on PBS.com.

Snowy Owl DVD

Nature: Magic of the Snowy Owl “Nature takes an intimate look at the snowy owl, a bird made popular by Harry Potter’s faithful companion, Hedwig. “Snowies” stand out for their magical beauty, intelligence and charm. Filmmakers take us deep into the owl’s tundra home on the North Slope of Alaska to observe the daily struggles involved in raising a family of helpless owlets until they’re able to fly. Viewers discover that these strikingly beautiful Arctic owls have a range of skills far more impressive than those required of magical messengers.” If you don’t have Netflix, this title is also available on PBS.com.

Jungle Eagle DVD

Nature: Jungle Eagle “Wildlife expert Fergus Beeley journeys to the Venezuelan rainforest to document the mysterious lives of the elusive and deadly harpy eagles. But with enormous wingspans and lengthy talons, the keenly intelligent predators prove to be difficult prey.” If you don’t have Netflix, this title is available to view for free on PBS.com as well.

Have you seen any of these titles? Have you ever discovered an unknown gem on Netflix Instant Watch, or an outstanding documentary? By the way, the two titles about which I previously blogged that are still available to view instantly are The Life of Birds and Ghost Bird.

Movie Review: Hoot

Posted on January 9th, 2013 in Movie, Movie Review

Wil Shriner’s Hoot tells the story of three young environmental warriors who band together to save a colony of Burrowing Owls from the bulldozers of development in Florida. Hoot is based upon a young adult novel by Carl Hiassen.

The story revolves around new kid in town Roy as he tries to overcome local bullies and fit in to his new school. Roy befriends classmate Beatrice and her oddball brother Mullet Fingers. The three young adults band together to stop goofball construction foreman Curly (Tim Blake Nelson) from razing a Burrowing Owl colony in favor of a pancake restaurant.

Hoot is a comedy with a serious underlying message of conservation. The kids use some questionable methods to try and save the owl colony (like releasing potentially owl-eating snakes to combat guard dogs) and confrontations between the conservationists and those who would kill the owls range from silly to over-the-top dramatic. Looking over these goofy plot conventions, I enjoyed Hoot for the most part. The owls were cute (of course), the kids were passionate about their cause, and the anti-development message was clear.

The Hoot DVD is full of extras, including short documentaries on costar Jimmy Buffet and the three young stars, backyard habitat and animals in action. The most enjoyable for me was a short piece entitled “Visit an Animal Rescue Center.” Bloopers and deleted scenes are also included in the extras. The DVD has one of the cutest menu navigations I’ve ever seen.

I give Hoot 3.5 Goldfinches out of 5.

Hoot is available for purchase via Amazon. It is also regularly available for immediate trade via SwapADVD.

Upcoming movie: Birdemic II

Posted on July 30th, 2012 in Movie

Ok everyone, get ready for a fall theatrical release of Birdemic II, the followup to 2010’s Birdemic: Shock & Terror. The sequel, subtitled The Resurrection, is being filmed in 3D. A fun teaser trailer spoofing an Avengers post-credits scene was recently posted:

Follow Birdemic II on Facebook to stay updated.

Big Year DVD Giveaway Winner

Posted on January 31st, 2012 in Giveaway, Movie

Thank you to everyone who entered for a chance to win a copy of The Big Year on DVD!

I used a random name picker to select the winner. Congratulations to Ben S. on winning the DVD! Ben, I will contact you privately via email shortly.

For everyone else, remember that The Big Year is available for purchase on DVD and Blu-ray today! Yay!

The Big Year extended version review

Posted on January 24th, 2012 in Movie, Movie Review

The Big Year is coming to the home market on DVD and Blu-ray on January 31st. The Blu-ray includes an extended version of the movie, as well as some other extras not available on the DVD version.

In the extended version of The Big Year, the story is told not via Brad Harris but by the narrator of the intro in the theatrical version (John Cleese). Because of this, certain scenes are edited a bit differently, and the movie has a slightly different feel from what was shown in cinemas last fall. The relationship between Brad and Stu is still pivotal, but it has a less one-sided feel (an improvement). In the extended version we also learn just a bit more about Brad’s personal life, which may have been awkward if included in the narrated-by-Brad version of the story.

The narrator talks during many of the scenes that Brad narrates in the theatrical version of the film. In these scenes and in others, John Cleese’s narrator often uses bird analogies when speaking about the characters of The Big Year. Some of these are a bit cheesy, but for the most part they work. In a movie about birders, it makes sense to compare important moments in the lives of the main characters to the pivotal moments in the lives of birds.

Parts of the extended version are framed by scenes featuring a Ruby-throated Hummingbird; the female bird’s migration in particular transitions between certain parts of the movie in a very effective way. The bird is CGI and looks beautiful.

These small differences between the theatrical and extended versions of The Big Year actually make a big difference in the story; I loved what I saw in the cinema but I may have loved the extended version even more. If you enjoyed The Big Year in cinemas last fall, you’ll probably enjoy the extended version, too. And if you didn’t get a chance to see it (its run was quite short!), I suggest you give both versions a try. I give The Big Year extended version 5 Goldfinches out of 5.

Thank you to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Think Jam for providing me with a screener copy of The Big Year for review.

Save the date: The Big Year coming to DVD & Blu-ray

Posted on January 14th, 2012 in Movie

The Big Year will be coming out on DVD and Blu-ray in just a few weeks, on January 31st.

I really enjoyed the movie both times I managed to see it during its theatrical run, which was unfortunately quite short.

The first time was a midnight screening opening day where Arthur and I were the only attendees. Just three weeks later we caught it again, this time at a second-run cinema with a handful of other viewers.

I’m looking forward to seeing The Big Year again in the comfort of home in just a few weeks, and I’m especially looking forward to seeing the extended version and what extras the producers will be including with the release. Extras slated for the Blu-ray include a behind-the-scenes feature, 14 deleted scenes, and a gag reel.

The publicity department at Fox is gearing up for The Big Year release; here’s hoping that DVD and Blu-ray sales perform better than the initial box office run! If you’re gearing up for the upcoming home video release too, here’s a cute graphic Big Year / New Year’s Resolutions Checklist you can print out as a reminder. January 31st – save the date!


Click to enlarge, save, print

Movie Review: The Big Year

Posted on October 14th, 2011 in Movie, Movie Review

I’ll cut to the chase: I enjoyed this movie a lot, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. I laughed a lot! Like a lot of other birders, I was apprehensive about how our hobby might be depicted. But birders – at least some of them – are actually quite normal (ha!) throughout the picture and do some very cool things in beautiful places. Win!

Now some random thoughts which include mild spoilers.

* Arthur and I were alone in our midnight screening. While I was disappointed there weren’t others in the theater, it was kind of nice to be able to talk with each other during some parts of the movie. I hope next time I see it, the theater will be packed. And I can imagine seeing this at birding festivals with a room full of birders.

* There were more great moments than cringe-worthy moments. I loved seeing the Bald Eagle courtship ritual and wished there were more fantastic wild bird shots incorporated into the movie.

* The Attu scenes were fantastic!

* I would love to see “Bostick!” become a birder’s curse and will get to work on sparking a trend among my peers. Dipped on a mega? BOSTICK!

* I thought Jack Black especially did a great job as an enthusiastic youngish birder. I loved how he shared the story of his favorite bird, the American Golden Plover, with his dad.

* I guess it helps make a movie successful to have a good versus bad dynamic, but having one of the birders in the movie be a rotten villain made me sad.

* The soundtrack is full of bird-themed songs. I really liked the use of the instrumental Blackbird during Stu’s “awakening” after the birth of his first grandchild.

* Big congrats to blogger The Two-fisted Birdwatcher for getting a product placement in the movie! A blog-branded mug appears on Brad’s nightstand towards the end of the movie. I tried unsuccessfully to get merch in the film and so did 10,000 Birds, apparently.

* I’ll leave the bird-type nitpicking to others. But there was one error in the credits that jumped out at me. Towards the end, thanks is given to Lange Elliot – should be Lang.

* I mentioned this in my previous post, but birders can help elevate the movie at least in the archives of the internets by contributing trivia and posting reviews (even short ones) on popular movie websites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb.

I give The Big Year 5 Goldfinches out of 5.

2 quick notes to birders re: The Big Year

Posted on October 14th, 2011 in Movie

I saw The Big Year last night at a midnight screening in Orlando. I’ll try to get my review up soon but my in-laws are visiting from Europe this week so it might be tough. Meanwhile I wanted to mention a couple of things very quickly regarding The Big Year.

First, bird bloggers and non-bloggers alike can add reviews (or an abridged review) to the popular film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. This site seems to be a go-to for a lot of potential audience members, so each positive review helps elevate The Big Year on the tomato scale.

Second, don’t spend too much time nitpicking details in the movie. But if you can’t help yourself (and you’re not alone there!), you can contribute to the page for The Big Year on IMDb (the Internet Movie Database). This is another huge website devoted to movies and details like trivia, quotes and goofs are archived. Each movie has a big yellow “edit page” button, so if you’ve got nits to pick with The Big Year, this is the place to do it. As of this posting, the goofs page for The Big Year is EMPTY. That cannot stand for long, I’m sure!!

Finally – a trailer!! Just over one month to The Big Year!

Posted on September 6th, 2011 in Books, Movie

The film adaptation of Mark Obmascik’s birding best-seller The Big Year is scheduled to hit cinemas on Friday, October 14th. And finally, today, we have a trailer! Check it out on the official The Big Year Movie website or just view below.


Birders are looking forward to seeing Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin chasing birds, but will the general public? Could The Big Year be the kind of movie that builds on good word-of-mouth and has staying power, like The Help, which came in second at the box office during its first week of release but went on to top receipts for the following three consecutive weeks? Or will The Big Year fall to the competition and fade into obscurity?

My first reaction to this trailer is that I really don’t recognize much from the book, and it looks like it’s going to be a buddy movie with a soul-searching theme. If I remember the book correctly, the Big Year birders are friendly to each other, but they don’t share all of their big year experiences together. What’s up with the tagline “everyone is searching for something”? Really?

If you haven’t read the book yet, you better get cracking! A movie tie-in version of the book is being re-released later this month, but other versions are available to purchase on Amazon right now. The book is fantastic and I highly recommend it.

Hat-tip to Facebook friend Dawn for sharing this!

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