Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Flick Picks 4/22/14: The Invisible Woman

New on DVD at the Library This Week
The Easter holiday means a very slow week for new releases. The good news is that this gives you more time to catch up on DVDs that you might have missed! Here's what's coming out this week:

Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Felicity Jones star in The Invisible Woman, based on Charles Dickens' love affair with the much younger actress Ellen Ternan. Fiennes performs double-duty by also directing this somber period drama.

The documentary The Trials of Muhammad Ali focuses on Ali's attempt to overturn a five year prison sentence after he converted to Islam and refused to serve in Vietnam.

You can find all of our new and upcoming DVDs on Bibliocommons.

Holocaust Remembrance Day
Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, begins the evening of Sunday the 27th and we have a number of moving documentaries to help us bear witness to the Holocaust's atrocities.
  • The Last Flight of Petr Ginz relates the story of a Czechoslovak boy who died in a concentration camp at age 14, leaving behind a diary and many works of art and fiction.
  • Friends and family recall Anne Frank in Anne Frank Remembered, which also includes vintage footage and and photos.
  • A Film Unfinished focuses on Nazi-made footage of the Warsaw Ghetto, much of which was staged for the outside world.
  • Like the well-known Oskar Schindler, Nicholas Winton saved the life of many children during World War II, and the film Nicky's Family brings his name to light.
  • The French film Shoah features hours of interviews with survivors, prison guards and local residents and workers.
  • Hitler's Children takes a look at the descendants of some of Hitler's top associates and asks how they can deal with their past.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Flick Picks 4/15/14: Philomena, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

New on DVD at the Library This Week:
ENTERTAINMENT: One of the sleeper hits of the year is the must-see drama Philomena, based on the true story of a British mother who gave her son up for adoption (after signing an agreement that she wouldn't try to track him down) and later decided to discover his whereabouts. The film stars Judi Dench as the title character and the fantastic Steve Coogan is the reporter from the BBC who helps her out. Director Stephen Frears, whose steady hands held the camera for The Queen, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Dirty Pretty Things and many more, directs this one. We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, Ben Stiller offers up his take on the The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which his daydreams start to take his life's center stage. Stiller stars and directs and Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt and Shirley MacLaine try to bring him back to reality.

Anglophiles have some great options this week with some new British imports. Mike Newell, the director of Four Weddings and a Funeral, offers up a new take on Dickens' classic Great Expectations, with Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter leading up a talented cast. Murder on the Home Front is a mystery in which an early forensic scientist investigates murders taking place during the London Blitz of 1940. Also from the BBC, The Making of a Lady is an adaptation of a novel by The Secret Garden's Frances Hodgson Burnett about a woman who begins to fear for her life when her husband's relatives begin acting strangely towards her.

SERIES: There are two new releases from the UK, as we welcome seasons 2 of the World War II codebreaker drama The Bletchley Circle and the Victorian-age detective thriller Ripper Street.

SUBTITLED: A Touch of Sin is a drama based on four stories in contemporary China, in which economic change drives four different characters in disparate parts to violence.

DOCUMENTARIES: The fascinating The End of Time takes us to places around the world where we can witness destruction and rebirth and in doing so makes us reconsider our perception of time.

You can find all of our new and upcoming DVDs on Bibliocommons.

Monday at the Movies
Our next Monday at the Movies screening is the film Wadjda, the first full-length feature shot in Saudi Arabia and the first ever by a female Saudi director. It's the story of a young girl living in a suburb of Riyadh determined to raise enough money to buy a bike in a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl's virtue. The film will be shown on Monday, April 21 at 1:00 and 7:00 at the Glencoe Woman's Club at 325 Tudor Ct. It is 98 minutes long and rated PG. All of our screenings are free and open to everybody.

Live Music on DVD
Ravinia has announced its outdoor season and surely you need something to tide you over until you can enjoy live music outside in the Highland Park breezes. We've got music of all genres to keep your toes tapping until summer arrives.
  • He's plays a doctor on TV but in the real world he's got a successful musical career going. Enjoy Hugh Laurie and band as they play Live on the Queen Mary.
  • Jerry Garcia's 70th birthday is celebrated by former bandmates and special guests such as Carlos Santana and Mike Gordon from Phish in Move Me Brightly.
  • Love for Levon, another tribute to a deceased musician (Levon Helm from The Band), has Gregg Allman, Roger Waters, John Mayer, John Prine and many more musical all-stars offering up their takes on many Band classics.
  • Paul McCartney is still playing marathon live shows but Rockshow brings you Wings at their 1970s performing peak
  • If you think Adele is impressive on record then you should check her out live as well! Live at the Royal Albert Hall brings her voice to center stage.
  • Neil Young's Bridge School Concerts never fail to entertain as they bring together rockers such as Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson and R.E.M. to play for charity.
  • Harry Connick Jr. offers up his New Orleans-influenced repertoire in New York with In Concert on Broadway.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Flick Picks 4/8/14: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, August: Osage County

New at the Library on DVD This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: The epic tale of Bilbo Baggins and friends continues in part two of the The Hobbit trilogy: The Desolation of Smaug. In this one, Bilbo, Gandalf and the rest of the crew continue in their attempt to take the Lonely Mountain away from the control of the dragon Smaug, and we also learn more about a certain ring. Peter Jackson returns to direct, Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman are back and Benedict Cumberbatch voices Smaug. We've got it on Blu-ray and DVD. The other big release this week moves us from exotic Middle-earth to nearly as exotic Osage County, Oklahoma in the star-studded adaptation of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County. Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and the aforementioned Mr. Cumberbatch bring on the southern melodrama in this story of family secrets.

It's Stallone vs. DeNiro in Grudge Match, the story of two boxers who come out of retirement for one final bout, 30 years after their last match. The always interesting British director Michael Winterbottom offers up the drama Everday, in which Shirley Henderson portrays a mother raising four kids while her husband sits in prison. Our indie pick this week is A Field in England, a bizarre but captivating look at the English Civil War from up-and-coming British director Ken Wheatley. Fans of Ken Russell's hallucinogenic biopics might enjoy this one.

DOCUMENTARIES: Get a bird's eye view of the world with the BBC documentary series Earthflight. David Tennant narrates this gorgeous series that follows eagles, pelicans, geese and more on six continents.

You can find all of our new and upcoming DVDs in Bibliocommons.

Mickey Rooney 1920 - 2014
Mickey Rooney was one of our last connections to silent Hollywood and looking at his filmography one is amazed at his ability to keep working (with ups and downs) throughout his nearly 90 year career. He was a teen superstar, earning $150,000 a year before he turned 20, and despite the challenges of shifting his career into adult roles he was able to bookend his 1938 Academy Award with a 1983 Emmy Award (for Bill). We've got his 1991 memoir Life is Too Short available if you'd like to hear more from the man himself! Here are some of the Mickey Rooney films available in our video collection:
  • A young Mickey Rooney playing a street tough costars with Spencer Tracy in the classic Boys Town.
  • In National Velvet, Mickey is a former jockey training a young Elizabeth Taylor for England's Grand National Sweepstakes horse race.
  • Rooney plays an irreverent helicopter pilot in the William Holden Korean War vehicle The Bridges at Toko-ri.
  • Seemingly every Hollywood star ever is on hand in the madcap comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
  • Rooney's last great role in The Black Stallion returned him to the world of horse racing, in which he helps turn a wild horse into a champion.
  • Active in Hollywood until recent years, Rooney had a hilarious supporting role in the Ben Stiller vehicle Night at the Museum.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Flick Picks 4/1/14: Anchorman 2, 47 Ronin

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: Stay classy, Glencoe and get your hands on Anchorman 2, the latest adventures of Ron Burgundy, Brick Tamland and the rest of San Diego's top-rated news team, as they tackle the new world of 24-hour news. Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, David Koechner and Christina Applegate all return, though certainly Will Ferrell's Burgundy remains the eye of this comedy hurricane. Keanu Reeves and approximately 4 dozen other actors tell the story of masterless samurai out for revenge in the fantasy-thriller 47 Ronin. Andy Garcia and Vera Famiglia are parents who bond and explore their lives while dropping their kids off (one of whom is played by Vera's real life sister Taissa!) at college in the romantic-comedy At Middleton. Daniel Radcliffe continues to expand his post-Harry Potter repertoire in Kill Your Darlings, in which he stars as a young Allen Ginsberg. Finally, the little ones will insist on seeing The Pirate Fairy, a Peter Pan spinoff that follows Tinker Bell's battles against pirates in an attempt to rescue her kidnapped fairy friend.

SERIES: David Tennant moves beyond Doctor Who to play one of two detectives determined to solve a murder in a small English coastal town, in Broadchurch. This week also brings us season 6 of George Gently.

SUBTITLED: Easy Money: Hard to Kill is the action packed sequel to the Swedish hit that picks up the story of JW, the former drug smuggler who faces challenges in trying to regain a normal life. Juliette Binoche powerfully plays the artist of the title who was confined to a mental institution in Camille Claudel, 1915. Our latest Israeli import - Lost Islands - is set in the 1980s and follows twin brothers, one of whom joins the Israeli Army while the other stays home and takes care of his family. Finally, from Argentina comes Viola, about romance between actors playing Shakespeare in Buenos Aires.

DOCUMENTARIES: Is there something unique about the relationship between Jewish culture and comedy? When Jews Were Funny explores this topic, while interviewing comedians such as Shecky Greene and the recently deceased David Steinberg and providing classic comedy clips. On a more serious note, Let the Fire Burn takes a look at the Philadelphia police's attack on radical group MOVE, leading to the deaths of 11 people and the destruction of 61 homes.

All of our new and upcoming releases are available in Bibliocommons.

Talking Pictures
We will be screening Robot and Frank, starring Frank Langella, on Friday, April 4 at 1:00 pm in the Hammond Room. The film will be followed by a discussion led by Susan Benjamin. All of our screenings are free and open to everyone.

It's Springtime!
It looks like the brutal cold and snow is almost gone (knock on wood)...so it's time to start thinking spring! The following videos should help
  • It's baseball season and hope springs eternal. You can get even more excited about this upcoming season by watching 100 Years of Wrigley Field or White Sox Memories! You can also watch them again in a month when both teams are mathematically eliminated.
  • Start imagining your next garden projects (with help from Martha Stewart) by watching Martha's Spring Gardening.
  • If you think this winter was taxing for you just imagine how your house feels! Check out The Best of Ask This Old House or Dare to Repair for lots of good tips!
  • Perhaps this weather is inspiring you to get away for a weekend. Samantha Brown has lots of great ideas in her Passport to Great Weekends series.
  • Maybe you're stuck at home and you need a break. Be glad that you're not getting in trouble with the crew of Spring Breakers. Maybe you just need a Beach Party!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flick Picks 3/25/14: The Wolf of Wall Street, The Great Beauty

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: Another Oscar-nominated film rolls out this week as Martin Scorcese's exhilerating The Wolf of Wall Street hits our shelves on DVD and Blu-ray. This film, based on Jordan Belfort's memoir, features Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, who ran a corrupt investment firm in the 1990s. Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler and the surging Matthew McConaughey are also among the cast. Also this week, Vince Vaughn delivers us the comedy Delivery Man, based on the Canadian hit Starbuck about a man who fathers 533 surrogate children.

SUBTITLED: The first Italian film to win an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film since 1999 is The Great Beauty, a gorgeous look at a journalist as he journeys through Rome, reflecting on his life.

SERIES: There are two new subtitled series worth checking out this week. Based on a Henning Mankell novel, Kennedy's Brain follows a Swedish archaeologist as she tries to find out what really happened to her son who supposedly committed suicide. The Spider follows a crime writer in post-Nazi-occupied Denmark as he tries to get to the bottom of an organized crime ring. Also this week, season two of the Julia Louis-Dreyfus political comedy Veep and a 6th season of David Duchovny's Californication arrive.

DOCUMENTARIES: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes a journalist (and viewers) around his country in Israel: The Royal Tour, a PBS documentary.

All of our new and upcoming DVDs are available in Bibliocommons.

YA Movie Marathon
We will be hosting an epic film screening for 6th to 12th graders on March 31st from 1:30 to 7:30. We'll start with Warm Bodies, followed by The Way Way Back at 3:30 and Gravity at 6:00. Popcorn will be on hand for all showings. Kids can show up for their favorite movie or stay for all three! All of the movies are rated PG-13

Get Mad With Basketball on DVD!
March Madness is on and you probably need something to watch in-between games. Make it a DVD about basketball and you're sure to be pleased!
  • Gene Hackman leads his little town's basketball team to victory in the classic sports film Hoosiers
  • Texas Western University's coach starts the best players that he can find and it ends up being the first NCAA all-black lineup in Glory Road.
  • Coach Carter features Samuel L. Jackson as the title character, who teaches his high school basketball team that there's more to life than sports.
  • Hoop Dreams is the classic documentary about two Chicago high school basketball players pursuing a big season and a future as a professional.
  • A professional basketball floater learns about what life is really like in Iran when he gets picked up by an Iranian team in the recent documentary The Iran Job
  • More Than a Game follows Akron's St.Vincent-St. Mary's high school team, which featured five future NBA-ers, including LeBron James.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Flick Picks 3/18/14: Frozen, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: Don't let Frozen go...get your holds on it right away! Not only did this film win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, it is one of those animated films like Little Mermaid that ends up being loved by everyone in the family. Even if you haven't already seen it (multiple times) then you've probably heard the Oscar-winning soundtrack. The film is about a woman and her snowman companion fighting to save their kingdom from eternal winter. We have it on DVD and Blu-ray. American Hustle was shut out at the Oscars but it's one of last year's audience favorites, and it's easy to see why when it sports a crowd-pleasing cast of Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. The late-70s action involves a con man who ends up being enlisted by the FBI. It's availalbe on DVD and Blu-ray.

Tom Hanks gives us yet another incredible performance and Emma Thompson is no slouch either in Saving Mr. Banks, the story of the quest to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen. You can also get this one on either DVD or Blu-ray. The amazing Idris Elba portrays South African President Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which follows his youth, life in prison and eventual political success. A sensitive family drama about bullying produced by wrestling marketers World Wide Entertainment? Sure enough, that's what we get with That's What I Am, which stars Ed Harris as a popular teacher who helps a teased child overcome his fears.

PERFORMING ARTS: Did you catch The Dukes of September (Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs) when they played Ravinia a couple of years ago? Relive that tour with The Dukes of September Live, which features a rocking set list that includes hits like The Lido Shuffle, Peg and Takin' it to the Streets.

You can find all of our new and upcoming films in Bibliocommons.

St. Patrick's Day Films
There is something about Ireland that is so appealing to watch on film, even when not celebrating your Irish heritage. However, St. Patrick's Day gives you an extra impetus to check one of these Irish-set films out from your library!
  • Amy Adams travels to Dublin to propose to her boyfriend on February 29th because Irish tradition says that he must accept in Leap Year.
  • Academy Award winner Steve McQueen's first film is Hunger, which follows Michael Fassbender as an imprisoned member of the IRA who launches a hunger strike.
  • An Irish fisherman (Colin Farrell) finds a woman in his net who he believes is a mythical selkie in Ondine
  • The darkly comic The Guard features Brendan Gleeson as an Irish cop who teams up with an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) in order to investigate drug smugglers.
  • A woman (Glenn Close) poses as a man in order to find work at an Irish hotel in Albert Nobbs.
  • In Bloody Sunday, Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass gives us a dramatic reconstruction of January 30, 1972, when British troops fired upon unarmed Irish protesters.
  • The beautifully animated The Secret of Kells tells the story of a young boy who must pursue a quest in order to complete a magical book.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Flick Picks 3/11/14: Inside Llewyn Davis, The Book Thief

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: The Coen brothers bring their unique visual style and storytelling flair to the Greenwich Village folk scene in their latest film Inside Llewyn Davis. Like most of their movies it is funny, moving and atmospheric as it presents one week in 1961 in which struggling folk singer Davis (who is loosely based on Dave Van Ronk) wanders through a cold New York City with guitar in hand. The film features a colorful lineup of Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, F. Murray Abraham and John Goodman and is available on DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush star in the big screen adaptation of Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief, about a girl living with foster parents in Germany during the rise of the Nazis. A great cast of Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe and Zoe Saldana is featured in Out of the Furnace, which follows a steel worker (Bale) who takes justice into his own hands as he tries to find what happened to his missing brother. If you're still itching for action, ex-DEA agent Jason Stratham moves to a small town with his daughter where he faces off with meth dealer James Franco in Homefront. Sylvester Stallone's screenplay makes this movie feel like a flashback to some of his classic 80s hits.

SERIES: A professor is found dead and his daughter enrolls at the university in order to discover the truth behind what happened to him in the suspenseful and funny British import Trinity.

SUBTITLED: Like chocolate and peanut butter, bluegrass music and Belgian culture make a perfect pair in The Broken Circle Breakdown, which is about a couple whose relationship is tested by tragedy. The Algerian import The Patience Stone is set in an unnamed wartorn Middle Eastern country where a Muslim woman starts to open up to her comatose husband and discovers herself.

DOCUMENTARIES: Bryan Cranston narrates The History Channel's Big History, which attempts to show how everything in time and space is connected. Believe it or not baseball is right around the corner, which gives you the perfect excuse to celebrate 100 Years of Wrigley.

All of our new and upcoming DVDs are available through Bibliocommons.

Monday at the Movies
Our next Monday at the Movies program All Is Lost in which Robert Redford plays a man sailing alone across the Indian Ocean. Beset by damage to his boat and a violent storm, he must depend upon his ingenuity and resilience to survive. The film will be screened on Monday, March 17 at 1:00 and 7:00 at the Glencoe Woman's Club at 325 Tudor Ct. All of our programs are free and open to everyone.

Art on DVD
Did you attend our recent program about how to understand contemporary art? If that had whet your appetite for learning more about your favorite art and artists (or about new ones) then have no fear - your library will provide!