Tag Archives: movies


The Dish: Truffles

Truffles are one of the easiest and most decadent things you can make. They lend themselves well to just about any flavor you can dream up, which makes them a versatile and elegant crowd pleaser.


— 2/3 cup heavy cream

— 12-ounce package (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips or substitute in any variety of chocolate

— 2 tsp vanilla extract. Substitute almond extract, rose water or orange flower water if desired.

— Add 1 tsp espresso powder, orange or lemon zest, ground-dehydrated raspberries or any other flavoring before adding the chocolate. Try a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne, or cardamom for an exotic, floral flavor.



— 1/4 cup cocoa powder or powdered sugar

— 3/4 cup toasted, shredded coconut

— 1/2 cup chopped pistachios or any nut you prefer


Bring cream to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Pour into medium bowl.

Cover; chill until firm, about 3 hours.

Line baking sheet with waxed paper. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.

Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

Place cocoa, coconut, nuts or any other coatings in separate bowls. Roll truffles between hands into rounds. Roll truffles in coatings.

Cover with plastic; chill until ready to serve.

Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep chilled.


Click the image below for a printable recipe card.



Tips to stay in style in Scottsdale

Fashion trends come and go in a flash. So how’s a girl to know what’s “in” and what’s “soooo last season?” The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau reached out to the style experts at Scottsdale Fashion Square who provided these tips for staying on trend with the hottest fall looks.

* Everything old is new again and the 1990′s are reflected in every detail.
* No need to be green with envy, every shade of green makes an appearance this season.
* Navy is the new neutral, pair it with a pop of color to stand out.
* Rich in color, like a nice wine, berry makes a colorful display from head to toe.
* Classic patterns with a twist: leopard, plaid, pinstripes, and especially houndstooth.
* Leather is not just for motorcycle jackets, it’s worn as tops, skirts, skinny pants and comes in every color.
* Stay cozy in boxy outerwear – oversized coats provide comfort or cinch them with a belt for a tailored look.
* Chokers speak volumes as statement necklace pieces.
* No more teetering on high skinny stilettos; this season chunky heels return with a heavier step.
* Shine bright in metallic again – keep gold apparel and jewelry in the closet from last season.


Scottsdale Film Festival Intoduces New Children's Programs

The annual Scottsdale International Film Festival returns for the 13th time on October 4 at Harkins Shea 14 Theaters. The entertainment will continue until October 8.

The festival will showcase local and foreign films, which have not been announced yet. The festival will also introduce a new children’s program that is sponsored by Republic Charities in partnership with Deer Valley Unified School District.

The children’s program will include a live action and animated series of films, curated by the Northe Film Forum’s Seattle International Children’s Film Festival. Your little one can enjoy the theater on October 7 at 10:30 a.m.

“This is a great opportunity for young people to experience the wonder of great filmmaking and explore the art form deeper than a major blockbuster,” says Amy Ettinger, Executive Director of the Scottsdale International Film Festival. “Without Republic Charities belief in and support of this program, we wouldn’t be able to give these kids the chance to see the world from the view of their counterparts around the world.”

Children will hop aboard a celluloid magic carpet and take a trip all the way from the Arctic to Mozambique, with stops along the way to see animated sights in Turkey, Germany, France, Argentina, and India, through movies like Bottle, Istanbul, Chinti and much more!

Films are appropriate for all ages. Ticket will become available on September 3. Prices range from $8 to $12.


Arizona considers film tax breaks

Arizona lawmakers looking to woo Hollywood are flirting with resurrecting a tax incentives program aimed at competing with New Mexico and other states that have long thrown free cash at production companies that film there.

A Senate committee unanimously approved the bill on multimedia production tax credits Wednesday after local film and tourism leaders argued Arizona would lose jobs if it didn’t do more to lure Hollywood to the state.

Critics point out a tax incentive program for production companies passed in 2005 was deemed a financial disaster in a 2009 report conducted by the Arizona Department of Commerce. The program expired in 2010.

The Arizona Film Office estimates more than 9,000 jobs in Arizona are generated by the film and television industry.


Overdue Items Receive Special Attention at Library

The Chandler Public Library is working hard to make sure that all of the books, music and movies that are borrowed by the public get returned. There is a series of steps involved in the return process in order to recover items that have been checked out and are overdue.

The number of books, CDs and DVDs that go unreturned every year is anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500. Chandler Public Library Services Coordinator Peter Perreault said that the number was “quite small” considering the fact that there are about 80,000 active users and a total circulation of about 2 million items per year. “Approximately one tenth of one percent of checked out items per year are not returned,” Perreault said.

The first step in the return process is to e-mail a library user (if their e-mail was provided) with a reminder about the due date two days prior to it. If the items have not been returned two days after the due date, then an e-mail is sent out with an overdue notice.

Ten days after the due date, the customer receives a phone call and another overdue e-mail. After 21 days the process changes a bit, and customers are contacted through the mail, and with another overdue e-mail. These notifications inform library members that the items are now considered lost and that the customer may be responsible for paying the replacement costs along with a processing fee.

Thirty-five days after an item is not returned, the customer receives another letter and e-mail telling them again that they could be responsible for overdue fees and that if the fees are not paid or the item is not returned, then the account might be referred to a collection agency. At this point, the customer has been notified up to eight times.

All of the library staff is trained to handle customer questions regarding overdue materials on their account. E-mails are automatically generated and sent out, giving the employees more time to specialize in direct customer service.

After 45 days, any items and material not returned are considered to be lost and the library member is now fully responsible for paying the replacement cost of every overdue item checked out plus a processing fee. Depending on how much the items cost, the account may be turned over to a collection agency for further action.

Perreault said that library members with overdue materials who do not clear their account in full after it goes to collections will have a debt reported to the credit bureaus.“We use a collection agency as a last resort,” he said, “but we have a responsibility to the citizens and taxpayers of Chandler to protect their investment.”

Provided By Flickr

Five Monopolies, Methods of Communication Losing Their Hold



According to CITA, an International Wireless nonprofit organization, 91% of Americans carry a cell phone as of 2009, and those numbers have continued to expand.  Now more than ever, with the growing popularity of the iPhone and Droid, cell phones have become both a necessity and an addiction.

In past decades, landlines were an essential part of the home, but with cell phone giants like Apple, wireless communication is quickly eliminating the need for both a home phone and cell.  Now, phones do much more than dial, and let’s be honest — landlines don’t have Angry Birds or Restaurant Finder Apps.

Landline Phones No More


“Snail” Mail vs. Email

Once a monopoly on long-distance communication, mailing letters to friends or loved ones has been virtually phased out of everyday conversation and proven to be the least efficient means of interaction.  What was once a necessity for love notes, bank statements, and college acceptance letters, “snail” mail is quickly becoming replaced with the popularity of social media platforms and widespread use of email.

Since cell phone’s and the internet explosion in the early 1990’s, this generation’s lack of composition skills have been harshly scrutinized.  In 2009, The United States Postal Service stated that 177 billion pieces of mail were delivered in the US, compared to 14.4 trillion by email.  Now, young people rely heavily on a keyboard, 140 characters and auto-correct spelling.

"Snail" Mail Replaced by Email



Electronic tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Pad, Amazon’s Kindle or the BlackBerry Playbook, have been 2010’s newest toy.  According to the Washington Post, “average daily circulation of all U.S. newspapers has been in decline since 1987″ and “has hit its lowest level in seven decades.”

Newspapers have been undoubtedly hit hard — as major stations are reporting record losses, cuts and even closures across the country.  Despite the change in the medium which news is delivered, there will always be a desire and need for the public to be informed and educated on current events.  It’s just that now news is viewed on a 9 x 5 LED screen — not paper.

Physical Newspapers Moving Online


Video Rental Stores

Some of my fondest childhood memories include “Power Rangers:  The Movie” and the newest Nintendo 64 game — both of which were rented from the local Blockbuster.  Video rental stores, like Blockbuster, have been slowly declining in business over the past 6 years as online sites such as Netflix and RedBox have stolen much of the business which these stores once had.

Having closed over 600 stores in just the past three years and reported record losses in the hundreds of millions, it’s no wonder Blockbuster is struggling to stay afloat.  According to an article by MSNBC.com, “Blockbuster Inc. may close as many as 960 stores by the end of next year,” primarily in response to appeal and ease of online streaming — in a society glued to their computer screens.

Video Rentals Like Blockbuster Replaced by Nexflix, Flickr, Scott Clark


In-Person Classrooms

As a current student at ASU, I recognize that most classes still meet in a physical room with a paper syllabus and wooden desks from the Jimmy Carter administration.  However, as technology of educational tools increases, so does the medium with which it is taught.

Arizona State University offered over 700 online classes this spring, which range from Managerial Economics to History of Hip Hop.  It’s not just ASU, but virtually all major universities across the country offer online classes and degrees, and sites like Blackboard allow professors to post assignments and readings for the week online.

Classrooms Moving Online
RealD glasses

Theatres Are Going RealD

RealD 3D eyewear

Photo: Flickr, AleGranholm

What used to be a novelty in the entertainment business is now expected by consumers worldwide. Movies have gone three-dimensional — or RealD as it is now being called — and while a 2-D version of the film is still available for viewing, theaters are offering the 3-D version simultaneously.

The term RealD comes from the leading global licensor of stereoscopic (three-dimensional) technologies. It is with the RealD Cinema System that many consumers now view 3-D motion pictures and alternative 3-D content.

Three-dimensional film has come a long way. It started in the 19th century with a British film pioneer William Friese-Greene, but it wasn’t until 1922 that the first confirmed 3-D film had a paying audience. There was little to no interest in this new development in entertainment, however, until later years.

These days, many who lived through the ’80s and ’90s remember the cardboard and plastic glasses with red and green lenses. They came in magazines with 3-D images, and we put them on to watch the three-dimensional tricks that television shows threw into their programming.

The glasses — along with the filming technology — have  evolved significantly from then. The design of the glasses has been made more fashionable, for one, and the red and green lenses are no longer necessary. It’s almost like wearing regular glasses, and movie theaters make a point to recycle the RealD eyewear.

avatar movie

Photo: Flickr, securecat

Eco-Friendly and more realistic entertainment is what consumers have to look forward to in theater and in the homes now. As technology advances we may have even more to look forward to soon. It is an incredible and unique opportunity that the latest stereoscopic technology has provided us. Sights that were nothing more than 2-D images on a screen are now so realistic that films like Avatar have warnings for viewers who may be afraid of heights.

RealD could help us experience things that are otherwise unavailable to consumers due to physical handicaps or inaccessible locations. The realistic quality of 3-D makes it easier to imagine that what you see is actually there. It has already helped advance fields of science, and, with further distribution, to communities it could help education.

IPic Theaters Image

IPic Theater In Scottsdale Quarter To Offer New Movie-Going Experience

A traditional night out at the movies will be redefined in Scottsdale this December after the opening of IPic Theaters.

The new, eight-auditorium cinema will seat between 71 and 91 people per theater featuring plush seats, pillows, blankets and state-of-the art technology.

IPic movie goers will have the option of choosing between two types of seating: premium seats will feature 30-inch leather chairs or Gold Class seats with custom recliners and foot rests that also offer food-and-beverage service during the movie as well as complimentary popcorn and valet parking.

Dining selections will include a seasonal menu, a 60-bottle wine list, cocktails, beer, breads, salads and desserts. Food and beverage service is available before or after the movie. Those items may also be brought directly into the theater.

A smart phone application is in the works that will enable guests to order food from their seat.
“We will give them as little or as much service as they want,” says Mark Mulcahy, Vice President of Marketing for IPic Theaters. “We’re trying to make sure the people who come in have the greatest experience possible.”

The theater’s opening couldn’t have come at a better time. Its Dec. 17 date will allow it to benefit from the holiday season’s offering of such first-run films including Little Fockers, Tron and True Grit. In an effort to promote a more stress-free environment for its viewers, iPic will not show pre-movie advertisements on the screen.

Apart from bringing an upscale form of movie-going to the Scottsdale area, the theater is also a boon the economy by creating 150 new jobs.

Open-call interviews will be held daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until all positions are filled. Positions include sales and marketing, guest services, and bartending. All new employees will go through a three-week training session.  Training will include educating workers on proper food and wine pairing.
In addition to providing jobs, the theater hopes to further boost the economy by bringing in more business to the surrounding Scottsdale area.

“This is a movie town,” Mulcahy says. “It will be a great asset to Scottsdale’s night life and will increase business for the Scottsdale Quarter as well as driving people over here for movies.”

Until its Dec. 17 opening, IPic is offering a free movie ticket for those who sign up online for its membership services. Members will also receive discounts for online advanced ticket purchases, member-only movie screenings along with weekday promotional events.

“They’re just going to have a better night out,” Mulcahy says. “People like to go out and people like to eat and we’re bringing it all to them.”

For more information on IPic Theaters or to sign up for membership services visit www.ipictheaters.com.

luxury movie theater lobby

Luxury At UltraLuxe Scottsdale Theater

Going to the movies will never be the same thanks to the newly remodeled luxury theater UltraLuxe, owned by San Diego-based UltraStar Cinemas. Located on Indian Bend Road and the 101 in Scottsdale, the renovation of the former United Artists theater was completed by DeRito Partners, an Arizona brokerage firm specializing in retail.

The grand opening was Nov. 16 with former Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzales serving as the guest of honor to cut the “film” to open the theater.

The theater, know as UltraLuxe, is located in the Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center just behind the new Diamondbacks spring training facility in Scottsdale. It will feature 11 auditoriums showcasing state-of-the-art Pure Digital Cinema, which UltraStar Cinemas describes as the crispest motion picture technology available. Each house will have stadium or luxury VIP seating in high-back reclining chairs.

UltaLuxe also will include special D-BOX enhanced motion chair technology, which moves the seats with the motion of the screen. For example, if there is an explosion in the movie that occurs on the left side of the screen, the seats move to the right to simulate the blast — creating a true movie experience.

There will also be five “Star Class” auditoriums, which will include seating reserved for guests 21 and older, special VIP viewing rooms with extra large leather chairs, menus and a call button for servers. Menu items include flavored popcorns, hummus, pizza and a selection of panini sandwiches. Specialty coffees, Italian sodas, beer and wine, and desserts will also be available in the Café and Star Class auditoriums.

If these delicious incentives and exciting amenities don’t get you into the theater, maybe the affordable prices will further entice you. Ticket prices are $7.50 for an adult matinee; $9.75 for an adult evening ticket; $7 for seniors and ages 12 and under; $8.75 for students and military with I.D.; and $5.50 for “early bird” tickets to the first matinee showing of each movie. 3-D, D-BOX seats or star class auditoriums add $2 to $8 to each ticket price.

Chewbacca and Han Solo aiming blasters at the viewer - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 1977 Yuma

Arizona On The Silver Screen 1970-1979 (Part 4)

Here’s Part 4 of Arizona On The Silver Screen, which looks at movies filmed in the Grand Canyon State. These films span the years 1970-1979.

  • The Great White Hope 1970 Globe
  • Billy Jack 1971 Prescott
  • Bless the Beasts and Children 1971 Prescott
  • Two-Lane Blacktop 1971 Flagstaff, Kingman
  • Joe Kidd 1972 Tucson
  • Junior Bonner 1972 Prescott
  • Night of the Lepus 1972 Tucson
  • Ulzana’s Raid 1972 Nogales
  • Electra Glide in Blue 1973 Carefree, Phoenix, Sedona
  • Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore 1974 Tucson
  • Death Wish 1974 Tucson
  • Harry and Tonto 1974 Sedona
  • The Trial of Billy Jack 1974 Canyon de Chelly, Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Tucson
  • A Star Is Born 1976 Tempe, Tucson
  • Hawmps! 1976 Tucson
  • The Gumball Rally 1976 Flagstaff, Prescott
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Tucson, Page, Patagonia
  • Damnation Alley 1977 Meteor Crater
  • Exorcist II: The Heretic 1977 Page
  • Haunted 1977 Apache Junction
  • Kingdom of the Spiders 1977 Sedona
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 1977 Yuma
  • The Gauntlet 1977 Phoenix, Superior
  • Comes A Horseman 1978 Flagstaff
  • The Frisco Kid 1979 Mescal
  • The Villain 1979 Tucson
  • Wanda Nevada 1979 Prescott
Avatar Sends an Eco-Friendly Message

Avatar Sends An Eco-Friendly Message

You don’t need to be a sci-fi buff to love Avatar. James Cameron makes his much anticipated return to movie making with this alien biopic of epic proportions. Outfitted with a stunning visual landscape, strong cast and concept as well as a multimillion-dollar budget, the movie is sure to provide an out-of-this world cinematic experience.  (Especially if you see in 3D, like I did).

What you probably don’t know is that beneath the action-packed drama, Avatar sends an eco-friendly message. It makes a pretty strong statement against the wastefulness of our industrialized society. In the film a corporation will stop at nothing in order to obtain a rare, expensive mineral — including eliminating an entire indigenous species of people. The film promotes sustainability and preserving the gifts that our natural environment has bestowed upon us, instead of plundering our natural resources and placing a dollar value on something that is irreplaceable. We as a society need to respect and value the natural resources we do have. If we continue to exploit them, the plotline in the film doesn’t feel that farfetched — rather a very scary glimpse into what our future may one day look like if we don’t implement changes.

This message really resonated with me and it’s great to see such current themes in movies. Though Avatar isn’t the first film to include an eco-friendly storyline, his stunning visual effects highlighted this concept and helped drive such large crowds to see it. Marketing this film to young adults (it’s rated PG-13) was a great way to spread the message about sustainability and encourage individuals to become ecologically responsible. The entertainment industry is a perfect medium to send such a message and can really make an impact. Oh and if you couldn’t tell from this post, I loved the movie and would definitely highly recommend it.

Photo Source: www.avatarmovie.com