Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flick Picks 8/26/14: Blended, The Double, The Normal Heart

What's new on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT You say that you want more of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore after watching The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates for the 1000th time? Your wish has come true! In Blended, Sandler and Barrymore play single parents who coincidentally find themselves on the same African safari after a disastrous blind date. Will they find true love? Can their kids coexist without murdering each other? Will comic mayhem ensue? Watch and find out! Next, The Double takes a modern Dostoyevskian look at a downtrodden worker (Jesse Eisenberg) whose charismatic lookalike (also played by Eisenberg) becomes a coworker and begins to take over his life.

HBO's production of The Normal Heart, based on Larry Kramer's 1985 play, features a cast jam-packed with stars like Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Alfred Molina and Taylor Kitsch as it tells the story of the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York City. It won an Emmy Monday night so it will be in demand! Finally, Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson are a divorced pair who scheme to steal a diamond from the wealthy financier who was responsible for the loss of their retirement nest egg in The Love Punch.

SERIES There are a few new treats for British TV lovers starting with the BBC's new take on everyone's favorite skilled French 17th century fencers in The Musketeers. Also from England is Breathless, a doctor drama set in the early 1960s and season 2 of the P.G. Wodehouse series Blandings.

We've also got a couple of new Italian police shows this week. Donna Detective follows the title character as she leads an investigative squad in Rome while dealing with family issues. Seasons 1 and 2 of Inspector Manara give us a cop who makes a fresh start in a small Tuscan town only to find that an old girlfriend from the police academy is also on the force.

Back on this side of the pond there's not shortage of new series this week as we get season 2 of the modern take on Sherlock Holmes, Elementary, season 3 of the, um, revenge drama Revenge and more zombies with season 4 of The Walking Dead.

SUBTITLED: Based on a book by Jo Nesbo, Jackpot is a darkly comic bloody tale of Christmas tree factory supervisor who wakes up surrounded by a pile of corpses. In Young and Beautiful, acclaimed French director Francois Ozon gives us the portrait of a young woman who becomes a call girl.

DOCUMENTARIES: If you are interested in the people who are leading the push for green energy technology then you will want to check out the Discovery Channel special Earth: The Sequel.

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

2014 Emmy Awards
Monday night brought us another great crop of Emmy winners. Here are the big ones!

American Horror Story (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie - Jessica Lange; Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie - Kathy Bates)
The Big Bang Theory (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series - Jim Parsons)
Breaking Bad (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series - Bryan Cranston; Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Anna Gunn; Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Aaron Paul; Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series; Outstanding Drama Series)
Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Series)
The Good Wife (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series - Julianna Margulies; Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series - Dylan Baker)
JFK (American Experience) (Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special)
Louie (Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series)
Masters of Sex (Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series - Allison Janney)
Modern Family (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Ty Burrell; Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series; Outstanding Comedy Series)
The Normal Heart (Outstanding Television Movie)
Orange is the New Black (Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series - Laverne Cox)
Sherlock (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie - Benedict Cumberbatch; Outstanding Guest Actor in a Miniseries or Movie - Martin Freeman; Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special)
True Detective (Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series)
Veep (Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series - Julia Louis-Dreyfus)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Flick Picks 8/19/14: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Fading Gigolo

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: The rebooted Spidey returns to face not one, not two, but THREE villains in the blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Emma Stone plays the girlfriend while Green Goblin (Dane DeHaas), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) threaten to be formidable adversaries for Andrew Garfield's webhead. Will they defeat him? Find out by picking up the DVD or Blu-ray! Next, a rare acting-only turn by Woody Allen is just one of the reasons to see John Turturro's Fading Gigolo. Turturro wrote and directed this film while casting himself as a male prostitute who signs up with Woody Allen's "manager" in an attempt to pay the bills. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are perfectly cast as a pair of vampire lovers in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, a stylishly unique take on the supernatural genre.

SERIES: It's a good week to get caught up on some of your favorites as HBO's crime drama Boardwalk Empire hits season 4, while addictive legal drama The Good Wife is up to season 5. The always hilarious and meme-tastic Parks and Recreation is at season 6, Parenthood reaches season 5 and The Mindy Project offers up a sophomore season.

SUBTITLED: The Empty Hours brings us the 17-year-old manager of a small Mexican motel who becomes intimately involved with one of its customers who spends her time waiting for a lover.

DOCUMENTARIES: The slow-paced but hypnotizing Manakamana follows a series of rides in a cable car over a Nepalese jungle, focusing on both the landscape and the passengers.

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

The Legacies of Two Greats
The loss of Robin Williams last week was shocking and offers us a chance to assess a career in which he was able to do what very few comic actors are able to do, by transitioning into becoming a successful dramatic actor. Lauren Bacall's death was perhaps not as shocking and also lets us look back at the stunning quality of work that she produced.

Robin Williams
  • Perhaps Williams's greatest dramatic role, Good Will Hunting features him as the professor who encourages Matt Damon's working class characters to succeed.
  • You'd have to be a fool to fall for Robin Williams as an elderly housekeeper but as a comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire delivers the goods.
  • Williams and Nathan Lane are the gay couple who must play it straight for a wedding in The Birdcage.
  • Aladdin shows just how important voice casting can be, as Williams makes the genie his own creation.
  • Jumanji is crazy fun for the whole family, offering Williams where he belongs - in the center of chaos.
  • Williams made a number of thrillers including The Night Listener, in which he plays a radio talk show host who begins to question the identity of one of his callers.
  • The recent The Butler offers up some interesting stung casting in Williams as Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Lauren Bacall
  • Bacall will always be associated with Humphrey Bogart, to whom she was married for more than 10 years. To Have and Have Not, an adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel, was their first pairing. Bacall was 19 and Bogie was 44.
  • The Raymond Chandler adaptation The Big Sleep followed and was actually pulled from post-production so that new scenes with Bacall and Bogie could be added, as their chemistry was so visible.
  • Dark Passage and Key Largo were their third and fourth collaborations and are also worth seeing.
  • Oil company geologist Rock Hudson is secretly in love with Bacall, who happens to be married to his brother, in the melodrama Written on the Wind.
  • Bacall enters into a difficult relationship with jazz musician Kirk Douglas in Young Man With a Horn.
  • If you're interested in seeing Bacall do comedy, try Designing Woman, in which she marries sportswriter Gregory Peck.
  • Also worth checking out is Bacall's 2005 memoir By Myself and Then Some

Monday, August 11, 2014

Flick Picks 8/12/14: Muppets Most Wanted, The Railway Man, Locke, Hateship Loveship

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: Continuing their massive comeback, America's favorite movie star puppets find themselves embroiled in an international crime caper in Muppets Most Wanted. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ray Liotta take second billing behind Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the team. Based on the lead character's autobiography, The Railway Man tells the story of a man imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese during World War II. Years later, he and his lover (Nicole Kidman) discover that the lead tormenter is still alive and set out to confront him. The intense Locke is literally a one-man show that follows Tom Hardy during a single car ride during which he attempts to make potentially life-changing decisions about work and family.

Based on the appropriately named book by Irvine Welsh, Filth's James McAvoy portrays a corrupt, drug-addicted policeman who sets his colleagues against each other in order to pursue his own ambitions. Kristen Wiig takes a different kind of role in the drama Hateship Loveship, in which she plays a shy woman who is hired by Nick Nolte as a housekeeper. The household's granddaughter attempts to manipulate their relationship with unforeseen conequences. Fans of picturesque British soaps such as Downton Abbey won't want to miss Summer in February, about lovers in a pre-war art colony on England's coast. Finally, Felicity Jones is an exchange student who moves stays (and becomes romantically involved) with Guy Pearce in Breathe In.

SERIES: James Spader's new series The Blacklist arrives this week and it's a good one. Spader is a criminal on the FBI's Most Wanted list who turns himself in in order to partner with a profiler on terrorist cases.

DOCUMENTARIES: Dancing in Jaffa introduces us to a ballroom dancing instructor who moves back to the city of his birth in order to teach Palestinian-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli students his art.

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

Monday Night at the Movies
DUE TO THE DEMOLITION OF THE WOMEN'S LIBRARY CLUB BUILDING, ALL MONDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES FILMS WILL NOW SCREEN IN THE HAMMOND ROOM OF THE LIBRARY. Finding Vivian Maier, which we will screen on Monday, August 18th at 1:00 and 7:00,  is a portrait of the long-time nanny whose posthumous reputation continues to move her towards consideration among the best American street photographers of the 20th century. "More connect-the-dots detective thriller than traditional doc, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel's revelatory riddle of a film unmasks a brilliant photographer who hid in plain sight for decades." - Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly. The film runs 84 minutes and is not rated.

Quirky Lives, Interesting Documentaries
Some of our favorite documentaries focus on fascinating, quirky people who you may have not heard of. Give one of these a shot and you may find that truth is stranger (and sometimes more interesting) than fiction!
  • The Queen of Versailles looks at the changes that a billionaire family must go through following the popping of the real estate bubble.
  • A man builds a miniature World War II town and is accepted into the world of artists in Marwencol.
  • Stanley Kubrick's The Shining has spawned all kinds of crazy theories. Learn about a number of them in Room 237.
  • I'm Carolyn Parker tells the story of a woman who was the last to leave her Hurricane Katrina-threatened New Orleans neighborhood, as well as the first to return.
  • If you're not familiar with eccentric Cream drummer Ginger Baker, Beware of Mr. Baker takes a look at his career and inspired lunacy.
  • Errol Morris's Tabloid tells the strange story of the crazy world of a woman who pursued her man around the world and became a newspaper headline.
  • Learn about five bizarre homes and the people who inhabit them in Home Movie.
  • The Woodmans looks at artist Francesca's Woodman's whose photographs live on despite her tragic young death.
  • The various denizens of Southern California's Salton Sea are the profile of the dreamlike Bombay Beach.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Flick Picks 8/5/14: Divergent, Need for Speed

New This Week on DVD at the Library
ENTERTAINMENT: A futuristic Chicago is the setting for the film version of Veronica Roth sci-fi novel Divergent. In Divergent, newcomer Shailene Woodley portrays a young woman who discovers that she doesn't belong to any of the factions that the human race is divided into. This ends up being an issue when she finds that she is being targeted for assassination. What is it about her uniqueness that makes her so dangerous? Find out by taking out the DVD or Blu-ray! Kate Winslet costars and The Illusionist and Limitless director Neil Burger is at the helm. Also this week, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul gets a starring role in the video game adaptation Need for Speed. Paul plays a street racer who drives in a cross country race in a quest for revenge. Lots of cars move fast and get smashed.

SERIES: Season two of the charming Last Tango in Halifax, which follows the relationship between two elderly widowers, arrives this week. Also out are season five of wacky Community and season seven of David Duchovny's Californication

SUBTITLED: Two competitive actor pals bicker while trying to launch a production of The Misanthrope in the French comedy Bicycling With Moliere.

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

Movies on the Green
The hit Lego Movie is the next and final film in the Movies on the Green series. The film will screen at dusk on Friday, August 8th on Wyman Green. In case of inclement weather, the movie will move into the Council Chambers at Village Hall.

Israel and Palestine
The relationship between Israelis and Palestinians has been the subject of many enjoyable and moving films. Take a look at some of these movies which attempt to explore the complexity of the situation and the humanity of those involved.
  • Based on a true story, The Lemon Tree explores the relationship between a Palestinian woman and an Israeli defense minister who moves next door and insists that the woman's lemon grove be destroyed in the name of security.
  • A Palestinian woman refuses to believe that war is the answer and slips a message of peace into a bottle that is retrieved by a recent immigrant to Israel in A Bottle in the Gaza Sea.
  • The thoughts of two young Palestinian suicide bombers are explored in Paradise Now.
  • Strangers follows a love affair between an Israeli man and Palestinian woman who meet in Berlin.
  • An Israeli-Palestinian finds out that his wife was a suicide bomber in The Attack.
  • Inch'allah follows a Canadian doctor who lives in Jerusalem and works in Ramallah.
  • Ajami is a religiously mixed community in Tel Aviv and the film of the same name follows various characters who attempt to coexist.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Flick Picks 7/29/14: Noah, The Other Woman, Dom Hemingway, Cuban Fury

New on DVD at the Library This Week
ENTERTAINMENT: If you think this has been a rainy spring and summer, at least you haven't had to build a boat and fill it with animals. In Darren Aronofsky's Noah Russell Crowe plays the man with the plan, Jennifer Connelly is his wife and Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson fill out the cast in a retelling of the biblical story of the flood that wiped out (most of) humanity. Aronofsky's films are both visually and intellectually stunning and you should expect no different from this one. We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. Cameron Diaz seems to be popping up everywhere these days, and in The Other Woman she shares the screen with Leslie Mann and Kate Upton in the comedic story of three women who team up to plot revenge on their cheating man.

Jude Law is the rude and crude title character in Dom Hemingway, about a criminal who is released from prison and reenters the criminal world he knows best, while trying to reconnect with his daughter. Cuban Fury pairs the hilarious Nick Frost and Chris O'Dowd in the story of an out-of-shape former salsa dancer who decides to reenter the dance floor and win the love of his beautiful boss. Robert Duvall fans will want to catch A Night in Old Mexico, which follows a rancher who heads for Mexico for one last thrill before he retires to a trailer park. Finally, the charismatic pair of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton star in an adaptation of Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel about a love affair during the Nigerian-Biafran War during the late 1960s.

SERIES Gabriel Byrne plays the British Deputy Prime Minister who tries to discover the truth behind the connection between and industrial accident and the plane crash of the Prime Minister in the conspiracy-laden miniseries Secret State. The Danish series The Eagle follows a half-Icelandic half-Danish police officer charged with investigating international crimes. Finally, another week, another Midsomer Murders, bringing us up to set 24.

SUBTITLED: The Amazing Catfish is the debut film by a Mexican author-director about two women who bond while they are in the hospital. One woman moves in with the other's family and becomes a surrogate mother when the other one becomes more ill. The absurd and crazy world of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs as he breaks in a new speechwriter is hilariously portrayed in The French Minister.

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

Talking Pictures
Susan Benjamin hosts a screening of The Jewish Cardinal on Monday, August 4th at 1:00 p.m. The Jewish Cardinal tells the true story of the son of Jewish immigrants who converted to Catholicism while still maintaining elements of his Jewish identity. Eventually he became involved with a controversy involving Carmelite nuns who desired to build a convent within the walls of Auschwitz. The film runs 90 minutes and is free and open to everyone.

Bible Films
Noah is just the latest epic film based on the Bible to hit the big screen. Should you want to see more, the library will not let you down!
  • Charlton Heston carries the tablets and demands his people's freedom in The Ten Commandments.
  • Gregory Peck's King David enters into an affair with Susan Hayward's Bathsheba with tragic results in David and Bathsheba.
  • Director Mel Gibson takes on the final hours of Jesus Christ in The Passion of the Christ.
  • Though perhaps a little more melodic than the original story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat takes a fun and unique look at Joseph.
  • If you want the best of the Bible, The Bible: The Epic Miniseries, made for The History Channel, is a good bet.
  • Though not based on the Bible itself, the epic Ben-Hur tells of the life of a Jewish merchant turned slave during the time of Jesus.
  • The conflict between early Christians and the Roman Empire form the story of Quo Vadis.

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!