Everyone has her own definition of a challenge. The one I set for myself this winter was to see all the major Oscar-nominated films. By “major,” I mean the ones nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. The challenge might not seem like much to some. It …

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, GWM brings you a sweet, quirky story about falling in love with life. Harold and Maude is my perfect movie. The humor is dark, the soundtrack is magnificent, it stars the ultimate Real Girl, and it has the power to shift the viewer’s perspective about big issues: life, …

It’s a new year and, in the tradition of fresh starts, this month marks the inauguration of my new blog series “Girls Watch Movies.” GWM will be a review of films incorporating themes, characters, or cultural insights that relate to or reflect GLI values. Though there are many films out there that could meet these …

I have a love/hate relationship with princesses. I love them out of nostalgia. As a child, my cousin, sister, friends, and I spent many afternoons at the public pool swimming around pretending to be mermaids. We were all Ariels – a legion of them – singing, undulating our “tails,” and whipping our long, wet hair …

Have you heard how three-of-a-kind makes a trend? I’ve seen three movies in the last few weeks that collectively are giving me a sinking feeling. It’s making me wonder: does modern cinema reflect our culture? Do the movies hold up a mirror to who we are? Or do the movies simply force upon us story …

Last week my mom, my little sister, and I went to see the latest Disney movie (the first to feature a black protagonist), The Princess and the Frog. As a feminist wary of the whole Disney Princess “some day my prince will come” thing, I didn’t get my hopes up and was prepared to leave the theater mildly annoyed at best and angry and offended at worst.

But in fact, I left the movie happily surprised. (***spoiler alert ahead***) Tiana, the protagonist, seems like a modern feminist herself—she’s a hard-working waitress who plans to open her own restaurant and doesn’t need a man to make her dreams come true. Tiana does eventually fall in love with Prince Naveen, a fun-loving yet lazy and materialistic guy; however, Tiana then teaches Naveen to cook and in the end the two marry and found Tiana’s dream restaurant together. With themes of gender equality and overcoming racial adversity and poverty, The Princess and the Frog seems like a feminist dream come true. (for more on its feminist themes, read this awesome blog post by Rose at Feministing: http://www.feministing.com/archives/019389.html)

Run, don’t walk, to see The Blind Side. Quick, before it leaves the theaters! I recommend this movie not because it’s an inspiring story about a young inner-city black man who makes a life for himself through determination and hard work, although it’s that. And not because it’s a heartwarming story about the kindness of a …

It’s no secret that I’m a Twilight fan. The books allowed me to joyfully indulge in cheesy, fluffy escapist fantasy. And the movies are no different. The first movie in the Twilight “saga” was enjoyable the same way campy b-movies are enjoyable. The effects were bad, the makeup was bad, the script was REALLY bad (er…. “spider monkey?”). It was low budget, and it showed. I giggled my way through it.

This time around, the producers understood what they had in hand: a money machine. So, they threw a little budget at it, changed the director and… voila! New Moon is a very different kind of movie. The special effects are great, especially when the werewolves come on the scene, and the dialogue is actually funny in parts. I mean, on purpose.

Here’s the deal. Whip It, the new Drew Barrymore/Ellen Page film, is tanking at the box office. We have to go see it. If we don’t, the money’s going to dry up for girl-power films.

Not that you won’t enjoy every minute. Whip It is the Real Girl movie of the year. Its motto: Be your own hero.

The plot: Bliss Cavendar (Page) is a 17 year old reluctant beauty pageant contestant, nudged along by her Good Girl mother (played by the terrific Marcia Gay Harden). Mom is a former beauty queen herself who sneaks smokes to project a Perfect Mom image to her daughter (and undergoes her own transformation in the film). When Bliss watches an all-female roller derby, she’s enthralled. She sneaks off to tryouts and busts into the world of Austin derby.