Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flick Picks 7/22/14: Transcendence, Heaven is for Real

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: Johnny Depp continues to show off his versatility as an actor by appearing both in the flesh and on a computer screen in the techno-thriller Transcendence. In this film, Depp is a scientist studying artificial intelligence who is targeted by a radical anti-technology group. His quest for his consciousness to move beyond his physical body raises ethical dilemmas that only becomes deeper as he begins to assimilate the world's knowledge. Rebecca Hall and Morgan Freeman costar. Also this week, Greg Kinnear and Thomas Haden Church star in the adaptation of the bestselling book Heaven is for Real, about a boy's trip to the afterlife. Our indie pick this week is the low budget noirish thriller Blue Ruin which follows a homeless man who returns to his hometown to avenge the death of his parents.

DOCUMENTARIES: If you like the idea of sitting down for a meal with great Hollywood comedy writers and directors like Sid Caesar, Monty Hall and Carl Reiner then you'll want to grab Lunch, which tags along for this very event! Eric Clapton, Bono and Carlos Santana are featured in the B.B. King: The Life of Riley, which illuminates King's long, successful career in music. For those of you who still have soccer fever, Next Goal Wins is a heartwarming look at an Dutch coach's attempt to create a competitive soccer team in American Samoa.

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

Blockbuster Teen Movies (With Pizza!)
Join us on Monday, July 28 for our first ever blockbuster double feature as we screen Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in the movie lounge of the library (aka The Hammond Room). Thor starts at 3:00, pizza will be served at 5:00, and Catching Fire shows promptly at 5:30. Please note that both movies are rated PG-13 and that this program is ONLY for those in 6th-12th grades. Enjoy the show(s)!

Elaine Stritch RIP
Broadway legend Elaine Stritch recently passed away at the age of 89. She won one Tony award and three Emmy awards and despite being recognized largely for her stage work she carved out a nice career in film and television as well. Here are some ways to get caught up on her work:
  • Shoot Me is a brand new documentary, with interviews from colleagues and friends who include Tina Fey and Nathan Lane.
  • At age 77 Stritch was still performing in a one woman show, captured in At Liberty From the Old Vic Theatre.
  • Woody Allen's casting of Stritch as a former movie star in September brought her critical acclaim.
  • Sondheim! The Birthday Concert brings together Stritch and many other Sondheim interpreters in a celebration of the man's 80th birthday.
  • Many people these days mainly know Stritch from her hilarious turns as Jack's mother in 30 Rock.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Flick Picks 7/15/14: Rio 2, Under the Skin

New on DVD This Week at the Library
ENTERTAINMENT: The World Cup is over and if it has helped stir your quest for all things Brazilian, you'll want to visit with the colorful avian denizens of Dreamworks' Rio 2. This sequel to the 2011 hit returns Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway as the happy couple who decide to take their family on a trip to find some endangered macaws. We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson gives a breakthrough performance in the visually stunning Under the Skin, which follows an alien as she travels through Scotland. A widow (Annette Bening) meets a man who resembles her late husband (Ed Harris) and rediscovers passion in The Face of Love. Finally, the made-for-BBC movie The Wipers Times stars Ben Chaplin in the true story of British soldiers who produced a satirical newspaper while on the front lines in the First World War.

SERIES: The Israeli series Prisoners of War, which was later adapted as the hit Showtime series Homeland, follows three soldiers released after being captured seventeen years earlier. The must-see BBC America sci-fi clone show Orphan Black returns for a second season as does the Kate Atkinson adaptation Case Histories, while western railroad drama Hell on Wheels is back for a third.

SUBTITLED: The complex relationship between an Israeli secret policeman and his young Palestinian informant is explored in Bethlehem.

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

Monday Night at the Movies
We will be screening Tim's Vermeer on Monday, July 21st at the Glencoe Woman's Club at 325 Tudor Ct. Intrigued by theories that Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer used some sort of camera obscura device to achieve an almost photographic quality of detail and presentation of light, Texas-based inventor Tim Jenison sets out to replicate the work of the old master. This involves not only the incredibly exacting process of painting, but construction of the room in which Vermeer’s “The Music Lesson” is set. The amazing results of Jenison’s experiment lead to a reappraisal of the very nature of artistic genius. The film runs 80 minutes and is rated PG-13. All of our film screenings are free and open to everyone.

When the Rain Comes...
It seems like we can't go more than a couple of days without rain. Since we have the weather on our minds, we assembled a list of rain related movies, set in torrential downpours, light sprinkles or places in-between!
  • It would be impossible not to start this list without the classic Gene Kelly musical Singin' in the Rain leading the way!
  • It seems like nearly every romance must feature a passionate kiss in the rain and that wet kiss is certainly one of the key moments of the Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams flick The Notebook.
  • Humphrey Bogart finds himself trapped inside a hotel with gangsters and a hurricane approaching in John Huston's Key Largo.
  • Tim Robbins finally escapes from prison and walks out into the rain in The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Another great kissing in the rain scene happens in Breakfast at Tiffany's after Holly finds her cat (and George Peppard too).
  • The rain in the climactic battle scene in Seven Samurai turns a muddy village into a classic action setting.
  • The gorgeous French musical Umbrellas of Cherbourg doesn't actually feature very much rain (though there is some beautiful snowfall at the end) but it never hurts to be prepared!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flick Picks 7/8/14: Bad Words, Le Week-End, Nymphomaniac

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: Jason Bateman's career renaissance continues with Bad Words, a ribald new comedy that Bateman not only stars in but directs as well. In Bad Words, Bateman finds a way to enter a a teen spelling competition and causes chaos as he ruthlessly attempts to crush the competition. Kathryn Hahn, Philip Baker Hall and Allison Janney co-star. Also this week, Le Week-End features Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as a married couple who revisit Paris in an attempt to breathe new life into their relationship. Provocateur Lars von Trier offers up Nymphomaniac, which actually consists of two complete films, as a first and second volume. The film, with a cast that includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Christian Slater and Stellan Starsgard, follows the title character as she explores the darker corners of her life. Finally, Wrinkles shows that animated films are not just for kids, as Martin Sheen and Matthew Modine voice the elderly characters who populate this made-in-Spain film's retiree home.

SERIES: Ian MacKellan and Derek Jacobi, who play a gay couple who have been together for nearly half a century, make the hilarious Vicious a must-see. Also arriving this week is season two of Inspector Morse's early years in Endeavour.

DOCUMENTARIES: Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempt to create a film of Frank Herbert's novel Dune in the mid-1970s is documented in Jodorowsky's Dune. It is a fascinating look at a filmmaker's single vision and the industry that he inhabited. Maidentrip is the story of a 14-year-old girl who battled Dutch authorities in order to launch a two-year solo sea voyage (accompanied by video camera). Finally, you can explore the relationship of humans around the world with water in the brilliantly shot Watermark.

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

Explore the Animal Kingdom
The best animal documentaries try to get inside the minds of creatures that we can never fully understand. Before you see the new Planet of the Apes film you should take home one of these great DVDs and get to know some cuddly, odd or dangerous animals!
  • Speaking of Planet of the Apes, Project Nim is the true story of a chimpanzee raised as a human.
  • One of Werner Herzog's best documentaries - Grizzly Man - follows a man who lived among grizzly bears, eventually meeting a tragic end.
  • Did you know that there's a yearly competition to crown the world's ugliest dog? Get all the details in Worst in Show.
  • French director Nicolas Philibert brings us a quiet, contemplative look at a 40-year-old orangutan in Nenette.
  • Academy Award winner The Cove is a difficult film to watch, as it follows activists trying to bring to light dolphin slaughter in Japan.
  • The plight of circus elephants is covered in the HBO documentary An Apology to Elephants.
  • Meet the people who are obsessed with Central Park's flying denizens in Birders.
  • The title character of Buck is a real life horse whisperer who trains horses using compassion.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flick Picks 7/1/14: A Young Doctor's Notebook, The Unknown Known

New on DVD at the Library This Week
SERIES: Take the autobiographical works of Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov and turn them into a miniseries starring two of our hottest actors and what do you get? The darkly comic British series A Young Doctor's Notebook, which features Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm as the younger and older versions of a doctor looking back on his early days in the profession while fighting with morphine addiction. Another new series this week is the dark Hinterland which follows a detective in Wales who investigates hate crimes.

DOCUMENTARIES: Errol Morris walks former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld through his long, controversial career in the intimate The Unknown Known.

SUBTITLED: Japanese parents discover that their six year old sons were accidentally switched at birth, raising questions of what it means to be a family in Like Father, Like Son.

PERFORMING ARTS: In case you were unable to make it to Las Vegas for Elton John's presentation of The Million Dollar Piano, you're in luck! This show features John performing songs from throughout his career on a very expensive musical instrument.

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

Talking Pictures
Our next Talking Pictures presentation, taking place on Monday, July 7 at 1:00, is the film Monsieur Lazhar, about an Algerian immigrant hired to teach elementary school in Montreal. Susan Benjamin will lead a discussion following the film. Our Talking Pictures films are screened in the Hammond Room and are open to everybody.

Some Red, White and Blue Movies
Had enough of fireworks? Spend your 4th of July watching one of these Independence Day worthy films, celebrating the creation of our nation and entertaining us along the way!
  • Mel Gibson is a farmer who joins the Revolution to get back at the Redcoat who murdered his son in The Patriot.
  • Perhaps the film is a metaphor for America's shot at independence or maybe it's best seen simply as an underdog story, but either way Rocky's fight against a stars-and-stripes clad champion in Philadelphia during the bicentennial is a fantastic choice for this holiday.
  • Why would you want to shut down the beach on 4th of July weekend? Because there's a massive shark in the water, that's why. See Jaws for more evidence!
  • Nearly half of the HBO series John Adams is set during the Revolution, as young lawyer Adams helps bring the country along the road to freedom from British rule.
  • John Ford directed Drums Along the Mohawk which features Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert and settlers who must survive attacks from both the British and Indians during the Revolutionary War.
  • The Disney kid flick Johnny Tremain follows the fictional title character's patriotic role in various events leading to the Revolution.
  • Pick up the documentaries in the Founding of America set to get the facts about the men and events behind the creation of this nation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Flick Picks 6/24/14: Winter's Tale, Enemy, Masters of Sex

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: Romantic and fantastical, the film adaptation of Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale arrives this week. Winter's Tale follows thief Colin Farrell through a century of New York as he attempts to save a dying woman with whom he has fallen in love. A fairytale with a love story at its core, Winter's Tale also features Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Will Smith. The director of the hard-hitting Prisoners reunites with the film's star Jake Gyllenhaal for Enemy. In Enemy, history professor Gyllenhaal meets his doppelganger (also played by Gyllenhaal) and their lives begin to intersect in strange ways. The follow-up to the Spartan blockbuster 300 is here, and 300: Rise of an Empire uses a similar bloody visual style to tell the story of a general who tries to unite Greece against the invading Persian army.

Clive Owen is a newly released prisoner, Billy Crudup is the upstanding brother who takes him in and James Caan is their father in the drama Blood Ties. Crudup hopes that Owen has cleaned up his act but unfortunately that path is never easy. The wonderful actress Shirley Knight leaves her retirement home to travel 80 miles by foot to attend her daughter's wedding (and see the ocean) in the heartwarming road movie Redwood Highway. Neil LaBute is back with another dark look at the relationship between men and women in Some Velvet Morning. This small film features Stanley Tucci as a man who shows up at the doorway of his mistress (Alice Eve), claiming to have finally left his wife.

The best man decides to make a documentary of everything that happens in the preparation for his brother's wedding in the British romantic comedy The Wedding Video. You will probably not be surprised to hear that nothing goes as planned. Rob the Mob is a crime comedy that features Andy Garcia, Ray Romano and Michael Pitt in the true story of a couple who decide to get rich by stealing from mob social clubs.

Finally, we have two indie picks this week, starting with A Short History of Decay, about a struggling thirtysomething New York writer who moves to Florida to be with his parents and get his life together. Linda Lavin makes a welcome return playing his mother. What Richard Did is a powerful film that tells the story of a privileged Dublin teen who makes a decision that ends up changing his life, as well as his relationships with his friends and family.

SERIES: The explicit, provocative and funny new Showtime series Masters of Sex features Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as sex researchers Dr. William Masters and Dr. Virginia Johnson, as they attempt to bring light to what typically happens behind closed doors. We just recently acquired the Danish series The Bridge and now we've got the American remake (also called The Bridge) for you to compare it with. In the American version body parts are found on the border between America and Mexico and cops from both sides must work together to solve the mystery.

We know that you can't get your fill of Scandinavian thriller series so we've got a couple more this week. From Norway comes a series based on the work of Unni Lindell and featuring a homicide detective in Oslo who must balance his home life with his difficult job. A Swedish series based on the works of Arne Dahl focuses on an elite team of Stockholm detectives trying to solve violent crimes. Finally, we've got season 2 of the adventures of Irish P.I. Jack Taylor.

SUBTITLED: A woman born to a Norwegian soldier and German occupier in World War II (a "war child") living peacefully in Norway comes to terms with her past and the lies of the government when she is asked to testify on behalf of other "war children" in Two Lives. A new Russian take on the story of Faust is a complex visual treat.

DOCUMENTARIES: Afternoon of a Faun looks at ballet dancer Tanaquil Le Clercq, one of the most brilliant dancers of her day who was struck down by polio at the age of 27. Revisit the Anita Hill testimony with Anita: Speaking Truth to Power, featuring new interviews with Hill herself.

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

World Cup Fever
It seems like the Brazil World Cup has taken the nation by storm. But what are we to do when there's not soccer being played? We'll have to watch a soccer film!
  • The classic soccer flick Bend it Like Beckham tells the story of an English Sikh girl who goes behind her parents' backs to pursue her soccer passion.
  • Closer to home, the comedy Kicking and Screaming features Will Ferrell as a competitive father who decides to coach his kid's soccer team.
  • The Israeli film Strangers takes a look at the relationship between an Israeli and a Palestinian in Berlin as the World Cup finals approach.
  • Another Israeli film,Vasermil, follows a group of kids of different backgrounds who try to come together as a soccer team.
  • A Colombian boy loses his soccer ball in a minefield in The Colors of the Mountain.
  • In front of the background of a previous Brazil-hosted World Cup, The Year My Parents Went on Vacation is about a Jewish child in Brazil who is left alone when his parents must evacuate Brazil.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Flick Picks 6/17/14: The Lego Movie, Grand Budapest Hotel, House of Cards season 2

New on DVD at the library this week:
ENTERTAINMENT: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME when it comes to new DVDs at the library this week! The Lego Movie not only succeeds as a clever and entertaining animated film but also takes us in new directions for the last part of the movie. It's a rarity in that it keeps the kids happy while also triggering nostalgia and resonating emotionally with parents. The figures are voiced by Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson and we've got it in DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, Wes Anderson's newest colorful project The Grand Budapest Hotel is a clever follow-up to his Oscar-nominated hit Moonrise Kingdom, with a cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, and many more. The Grand Budapest Hotel tells of a hotel concierge's relationship with a boy at a European hotel in the early part of the twentieth century. It's available in DVD and Blu-ray.

Every once in a while Nicolas Cage gets to sink his teeth into a quality role and remind us of what an excellent actor he can be. Director David Gordon Green's Joe is one of these instances. In Joe, Cage plays a Mississippi ex-con who ends up becoming the protector for a troubled 15-year-old boy. Adult World features Emma Roberts as a recent college graduate who wants to become a famous poet, and decides to spend her time hanging with "punk poet" John Cusack and working at an adult bookstore. Toby Stephens stars in the British sci-fi flick The Machine, which shows what happens when the government steals an inventor's artificial intelligence creation and attempts to turn her into a weapon.

French director Arnaud Desplechin's Jimmy P. features Benicio Del Toro as an illness-plagued World War II vet and Native American and familiar French face Mathieu Amalric as an anthropologist who tries to cure him. Finally, if you're already sick of hearing the song Everything is Awesome then instead of The Lego Movie you might want to show the kids Ernest and Celestine, a charming animated family film about the relationship between a bear and a mouse.

SERIES: The hottest series in the library right now is probably House of Cards and season 2 of Kevin Spacey's Washington D.C. adventures arrives this week! We've also got a bunch of new British imports this week starting with The Escape Artist, a miniseries featuring David Tennant as a lawyer who has a skill for freeing high profile clients from tricky legal situations. The lightweight Death in Paradise follows a British cop who is sent to the Caribbean to investigate the murder of a fellow officer. The gritty series DCI Banks is the follows up the premiere Aftermath, focusing on the inspector of the title and his assistant as they try to (surprise!) solve crimes. The professional and personal lives of two very different female constables in Manchester are the focus of Scott & Bailey. Finally, this week also brings us season 10 of the British unsolved crimes show New Tricks.

SUBTITLED: Based on a true story, a successful Korean lawyer takes on the case of a teenager falsely accused of a crime in The Attorney.

DOCUMENTARIES: Fans of the visually stunning Koyaanisqatsi and its sequels will be thrilled to know that director Godfrey Reggio is back with a look at humans' relationship with technology in the dreamlike Visitors.

All of our new and upcoming DVDs can be found in Bibliocommons.

Father's Day Films
Father's Day has passed but you can still celebrate it with these looks at onscreen dads. Some of them are models of fatherhood...and some, not so much.
  • The relationship between widower Atticus Finch and his daughter Scout is the centerpiece of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Kevin Costner gets one last chance to play catch with his departed father in Field of Dreams.
  • Will Smith is a salesman who struggles with homelessness while raising a son in The Pursuit of Happyness.
  • In Pixar's animated Finding Nemo, a father desperately searches for his son who is stolen from the ocean and imprisoned in a fish tank.
  • Would you be willing to wear a dress in order to spend time with your kids? Robin Williams is, in the classic comedy Mrs. Doubtfire.
  • Spencer Tracy is the Father of the Bride of the title who nervously awaits his daughter's wedding, while trying to pay for it as well.
  • OK, Homer Simpson might not be the ideal father but his relationship with his kids is the center of the long-running series The Simpsons. The Simpsons Movie follows Homer's attempt to save the town of Springfield from the Environmental Protection Agency, which seeks to destroy it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flick Picks 6/10/14: Non-Stop, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, True Detective

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: Someday perhaps the bad guys will learn to stop messing with Liam Neeson. Until then, we can be content knowing that movies like the action-packed Non-Stop are going to keep coming out and pushing us to the edge of our seats. In this film, the bad guys are going to start knocking off passengers unless Air Marshall Neeson can get them $150 million transferred. They obviously do not know who they're messing with.

If that doesn't provide enough action for you, you'll want to check out the latest in Tom Clancy's popular character's films, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. This film takes us to the dawn of Ryan's career as he becomes a CIA agent under handler Kevin Costner and uncovers a financial terror plot. Kenneth Branagh directed this baby and we've got it on Blu-ray and DVD.

Many of you are probably familiar with British actor Steve Coogan from his work in the film Philomena and man others. He finally brings his most famous character - pompous television broadcaster Alan Partridge - to the United States in the film bearing his character's name.

SERIES: The dark and violent but very compelling HBO series True Detective brought critical acclaim to its two leads, as Matthew McConaughey continues his career resurgences and Woody Harrelson returns to television. They play a couple of couple of troubled detectives who try to solve a serial killing that happened many years earlier. Another well-reviewed new series is Showtime's Ray Donovan, featuring Liev Schreiber as a "fixer" for wealthy clients, who faces his own personal life dilemmas. You may not have heard of Klondike, which is The Discovery Channel's first scripted miniseries, and which two adventurers who travel to the Yukon during the Gold Rush. This week also brings us season 4 of Rizzoli & Isles, season 2 of Major Crimes and season 3 of the AMC drama The Killing.

SUBTITLED: A Palestinian baker becomes a informant for the Israelis in the tense drama Omar. Also this week, famed director Costa-Gavras brings us the financial thriller Capital, about a young, newly appointed French bank CEO who must deal with various challenges, including a hostile takeover attempt by an American hedge fund (led by Gabriel Byrne).

DOCUMENTARIES: Neil deGrasse Tyson brings up an updated version of Carl Sagan's groundbreaking series in the critically acclaimed Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Monty Python funnyman and world traveller Michael Palin takes us to South America in Brazil With Michael Palin.

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

Monday Night at the Movies
We will be screening Still Mine at 1:00 and 7:00 on Monday, June 16 at the Glencoe Woman's Club at 325 Tudor Court. Based on an actual events, Still Mine is both a love story and a tale of one man stubbornly determined to build a new home for he and his increasingly infirm wife over the objections of his children and the local bureaucracy. James Crowell is moving and commanding as the fiercely independent husband while Genevieve Bujold makes a very welcome return to American film screens as Crowell’s ailing wife. The film is 102 minutes long and is rated PG-13. All of our film screenings are free of cost and open to everybody.

Theatre on Screen
Did you catch the Tony Awards on Sunday? Perhaps that whet your appetite for live theater. The good news is that you don't have to leave your living room and pay exorbitant prices to see some of the best theatrical performances! We've got a great performing arts collection that's available for free!