View My Stats

Thursday, December 31, 2009

To all my blog fans Happy New Year.
January's DVD list is here.
All About Steve Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Bullock, Howard Hesseman, Bradley Cooper. After going out on one date, an eccentric crossword puzzle creator follows a news cameraman across the country to convince him that they belong together.

Cheri Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend Based on the novels "Chéri" and "The last of Chéri" by Colette, The son of a courtesan retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with the older woman who educated him in the ways of love.

A Christmas Tale Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon. The Vuillard family is no stranger to mental illness, loss, and banishment. But when the matriarch becomes in need of a transplant, the whole family is forced to come together, emotional baggage and all, just in time for Christmas.

Departures Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue. After the orchestra he plays with breaks up, Daigo, a cellist, returns to his hometown and gets a job preparing the dead for their final resting place. Although his wife and family are disgusted by his new position, Daigo finds that by taking care of the dead, he is learning how to finally live. Japanese with English subtitles.

Easy Virtue Jessica Biel, Colin Firth. Based on the play by Noel Coward. John Whittaker is a young Englishman who falls madly in love with Larita, a sexy, glamorous American woman. The two impulsively decide to get married. He takes her home to meet his family, she arrives like a blast from the future. John's mother takes an instant disliking to Lairta and undermines her every move. But Larita will blow their entrenched British stuffiness right out the window.

Every Little Step Bob Avian, Ramon Flowers, Natascia Diaz, Marvin Hamlisch For over three decades, there's been one singular sensation: A Chorus Line. Now, the story comes full circle and offers a revealing, unprecedented look at the auditions for the Broadway revival of the perennial classic. The music, the moves and the real-life drama, bringing you closer to the footlights than you ever thought possible.

Extract Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman. Just as he is about to sell his successful flavor extract company and life seems to be going well, Joel experiences a series of personal and professional disasters.

Faubourg Treme: the untold story of Black New Orleans Long ago during slavery, Faubourg Tremé was home to the largest community of free black people in the Deep South and a hotbed of political ferment. Here black and white, free and enslaved, rich and poor co-habitated, collaborated, and clashed to create much of what defines New Orleans culture today. Shot largely before Hurricane Katrina and edited afterwards, the film is both celebratory and elegiac in tone.

500 Days of Summer Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel. Tom, a romantic greeting card writer, thinks that Summer is the girl of his dreams, but she does not believe that true love exists.

The Hangover Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis. A blowout Las Vegas bachelor party turns into a race against time. Three hung-over groomsmen awake after a night of heavy celebrating to find that the groom has gone missing.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson. Harry Potter and his friends struggle to keep Lord Voldemort away from Hogwarts while also learning how to handle new friendships and romance.

The Hurt Locker Guy Pearce, Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes. When a new sergeant takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amid violent conflict, he surprises his two subordinates by recklessly plunging them into a deadly game of urban combat.

Inglourious Basterds Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz. During World War II, a group of Jewish-American guerilla soldiers known as "The Basterds" spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. A movie theater in Paris is targeted by the soldiers and a plot is set in motion to kill the Nazis at the theater including Adolph Hitler.

Julie & Julia Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci . Julie Powell is a frustrated insurance worker who wants to be a writer. Trying to find a challenge in her life, she decides to cook her way through Julia Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' in one year, and to blog about it. Based on the books "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell and "My life in France" by Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme.

Lymelife Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon. Scott is 15 and growing up in suburban Long Island. While caught up in his first love, Scott watches the relationships of his parents and neighbors slowly crumble as they try to keep up with the changing times.

Public Enemies Johnny Depp, Christian Bale. No one could stop Dillinger and his gang. No jail could hold him. His charm and audacious jailbreaks endeared him to almost everyone, from his girlfriend Billie Frechette to the American public who had no sympathy for the banks that had plunged the country into the Depression. While the adventures of Dillinger's gang thrilled many, Hoover made Dillinger America's first Public Enemy Number One.

Surveillance Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman. Two FBI agent tracks a serial killer with the help of three of his would-be victims - all of whom have wildly different stories to tell.
Joan Allen, Brian Dennehy, Michael Douglas Documents the rise of Dalton Trumbo's career in Hollywood and his subsequent public humiliation for being among the 'Hollywood Ten' blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1940s for communist associations. Exiled and penniless, he wrote under various pseudonyms, and even won an Academy Award. Viewed by many as a moral and just man, Dalton stood for the American value and right of free expression.

Tulpan Tulepbergen Baisakalov, Ondasyn Besikbasov A young man returns home from the navy in order to become a shepherd and find a wife, and the only single girl for miles around turns out to be his neighbor. a sweetly comic coming-of-age story. Kazakh dialogue, English subtitles.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I love movies. I also love reading books that would make great films, (somethings acting as a casting agent as I read), books about great directors, or books about actors and the film industry. In other words any book about any aspect of film. There is a new book out that has been receiving a great deal of buzz. The Talented Miss Highsmith : The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar. Patricia Highsmith was the author who created Tom Ripley, the handsome, cunning sociopath and main character in 4 of her novels. The film adaption of The Talented Mr. Ripley with Matt Damon was released in 1999. Hitchcock also found her writing compelling and turned her first novel Strangers on a Train into a film in 1951 which turned out to be one of his greatest films. According to this biography "she was a horrible woman." Mean, foul-tempered and alcoholic, but a genius that wrote brilliant macabre novels.

Other Books to Consider.....

Lives of Leading Ladies
High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly
by Donald Spoto

How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood by William J. Mann

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

by J. Randy Taraborrelli

Lives of Leading Man

American Rebel : the life of Clint Eastwood

by Marc Eliot

Paul Newman : a Life

by Shawn Levy

Pieces of My Heart : a Life

by Robert Wagner

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I finally saw The Blind Side and, yes, it's a must see. I put it off concerned the acting might diminish the story. Not being a huge Sandra Bullock fan! But the Golden Globe nomination made me do it. I must say Bullock was convincing as Leigh Anne Tuohy but she reminded my a little bit of Kathie Lee Gifford. I was mesmerized by Quinton Aaron's performance however. His presence, lumbering sadness, and ability to move through each scene capturing the essence of his character Michael Oher, brought tears to my eyes. Jae Head as SJ Tuohy brings enthusiasm and comic relief to the story. He's a hoot. The film is an inspiring story about a lost boy and a loving family. The personal story of the real Michal Oher emerged as an example Michael Lewis highlighted in his book about football The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game. If you can't get to see it on the big screen, we will order it as soon as it is released on DVD.

Some DVD entertainment ideas.....

With the holiday season fast approaching, you may be getting ready to host overnight guests. If the weather forecast is right for Christmas weekend, we may all be stuck inside again. Be ready to entertain with some good films. For the younger set, we still have videos for that VCR player you still have hooked up to the old television in the guest bedroom or den. Stop by for some good titles: Shrek, Shiloh 2, Iron Will, Jack, Agent Cody Banks, Milo and Otis, Back to the Future, and for the musical lover try My Fair Lady and any of our Shirley Temple movies. For your grown children, try one of my favorite films Bottle Shock or Sideways. If they like wine, they will like these. If your daughter is home for a few days, share a film with her. I can recommend: Cinema Paradiso, Being Julia, or Enchanted April. In any case, enjoy the warmth of family and friends over the holiday season. Stay warm, stay safe and, of course, see a movie.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Everybody's Fine starring Robert DeNiro, Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale is a remake of a wonderful Italian film Stanno Tuti Bene, a 1990 drama directed by Giuseepe Tornatore which won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and nominated for a Golden Palm at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. It also won the David di Donatello Award for best film music and the Silver Ribbon for Best Original Story by the Italian National Syndicate of Fim. I don't think the current remake will win any awards but it may win some hearts. Robert DeNiro plays a Dad trying to keep in touch with his grown children after the death of his wife. Not at ease with this new role of a communicating father, he learns about his children's lives and their failures when he visits each in turn.

The race to the Oscar's has begun with the release of some wonderful films this month. So much hype about:

Up in the Air the new George Clooney film was released Dec. 4. Can't wait for it to open in Connecticut!

Crazy Heart opening Dec. 16 is the new Jeff Bridges film. He plays Bad Blake a broken-down, hard-living country musician and, after seeing him recently in The Men Who Stare at Goats, I can't wait for his new film to open.

Avatar the new James Cameron masterpiece will opening Dec. 18. This seems to be Cameron's newest tour de force, a combination of live action and anamation.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The December film list is ready and you can pick up a copy at the main desk of the Avon Library. Some great films are here this month. Get on the reserve list by clicking on the title
Angels and Demons, Four Christmases, My Sister's Keeper, Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The Ugly Truth and The National Parks series by Ken Burns. You get first crack at the list when you read my blog. The new list will appear on the Library home page on Monday. We've picked up some television series this month as well. Catch up on the most talked about shows this season.: Entourage, Mad Men, and Weeds.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Enjoy all the great things about Thanksgiving: visiting with family and friends, watching parades and fooball games and, of course, the traditional turkey dinner. If looking for a few film suggestions, the library has several with the Thanksgiving theme.

Desperate Crossing: the untold story of the Mayflower is the story of how the Pilgrims came to live and prosper in an unfimilian land. The film begins with their self-imposed exile in Holland, the perilous crossing of the Atlantic, to their first year in the new world.

Pieces of April Katie Holmes stars as the wayward daughter who invites her estranged and dysfunctional suburban Pennsylvania family to her apartmentin New York City for Thanksgiving dinner

Hannah and Her Sisters stars Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Michael Caine and takes a look at three sisters and the relationship they have with one another, and with the men in their lives.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Books into Movies

If you want a good film turn to a good book for inspiration. Over the next few months some wonderful books will appear as films. Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, is based on the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation. The Blind Side based on the book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis stars Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron tells the story of a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home taken in by a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a post-apocalyptic story of a father and son as they struggle to survive. Up In the Air, book written by Walter Kirn, film starring George Clooney, follows a traveler's quest to reach 5 million frequest flier miles. The Lovely Bones, book by Alice Sebold, stars Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz, is a story about a murdered girl who watches over her family from heaven, and Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley recreate Dennis LeHane's Shutter Island about life in a psychiatric hospital in the 50s.

Read the book ..... see the film.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Despite the glorious weather this weekend, I was able to see two films: one I really liked, the other was entertaining, but both were thought provoking. An Education, set in suburban London in the 1960s, explores a young girl's choice between the world of books and the world of glamous evenings and social affairs. How easily we can be swayed ! The cast is wonderful especially Carey Mulligan as Jenny, Peter Sarsgaart as David, and Alfred Molina as Jenny's father.

The second film The Men Who Stare at Goats is a quirky dark satire starring George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor. Based on a true story by Ron Ronson about the New Earth Army, a covert operation that turned Army soldiers into Jedi warriors trained to use paranormal and psychic powers to disarm the enemy. First envisioned during the Vietnam War, the story is told through flashbacks as the young newspaper reporter follows one of the resurrected Jedi to Iraq where they discover another New Wave Army. The cast handles the script written by Nick Hornby with easy and great fun.

Let me know what you think. But if you can't get to see them in the theaters, they will be available at the library as soon as they are on DVD.

The library's collection is growing with classics and new releases. Recently, I saw The Visitor and Bottle Shock and can recommend both.

The Visitor, starring Richard Jenkins, is a story about a disillusioned Connecticut economics professor and how his life is transformed when he finds a young couple living in his vacant apartment in New York City.

Bottle Shock chronicles the efforts of a small American winery that bested the exalted French wines of the time and sent the wine industry into a tizzy - putting California wines on the map for the first time in 1976. Told through the lives of father and son who sacrificed everything to realize their dream of creating the perfect hand-crafted chardonnay

Monday, November 2, 2009

Not many films to choose from this weekend except Michael Jackson's This Is It, but I'm waiting a bit to see that one. November will be a good month with the heart wrenching film Precious based on the novel Push by Sapphire and the new George Clooney film The Men Who Stare at Ghosts being released November 6th.

Also my November DVD list is ready and will be available at the
Avon Free Public Library or on line this week.

One film you should reserve is Away We Go starring John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal. A couple, expecting their first child, travel around the U.S. in hopes of finding a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DVDs from the Library collection ....

Iron Jawed Angels
The dramatized story of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, leaders of the suffragist women who fought for the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Love, Ludlow
Based on the play, "Finger Painting in a Murphy Bed" by David L. Paterson.
When Myra agrees to date the charming but vulnerable Reggie, her eccentric brother Ludlow sets out to destroy the budding relationship, forcing Myra to finally take charge of her own life.

Two Family House
A man who loves to dream decides he has a dull life and blames his wife and his friends. To change, he will have to risk it all.

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music
Archived footage of every performance filmed at this history-making event in the summer of 1969.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Gem from the Library Collection

Cherry Blossoms
Rudi's a stick-in-the-mud German civil servant whose life is suddenly turned upside down by the sudden death of his wife, Trudi, whom he realizes all too late he never quite knew. Rudi worked hard to avoid any variance in his day, while Trudi, a not-so-closeted Japanophile who takes dance classes alone and pines for travel and adventure. Receiving a terminal diagnosis, Trudi talks Rudi into visiting their children but going to Tokyo, even to see their doted-on son Karl, is just too much for Rudi. When Trudi dies, Rudi is left knowing that he kept her from the one adventure she truly wanted. German, English, Japanese. Starring Elmar Wepper and Hannelore Elsner.
Films in the Theaters Now ....

Coco Before Chanel with Andrea Tautou, Benoit Poelvoorde and AlessandroNivola. In French with English subtitles, this film explores the early life of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, from her father's abondonmnet, life as headstrong orphan, her cabaret years to the beginnings of her career. Her extraordinary journey and exceptional vision made her the legendary couturier who embodied the modern woman and became a timeless symbol of success.

Bright Star
A beautifully filmed drama based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Set in London 1818, the film explores a secret love affair between the English poet and the girl next door who is an out-spoken student of high fashion. They are an unlikely pair: he thinking her a stylish minx, she unimpressed by his poetry. A Screen Australia/BBC Film starring Ben Whisham and Abbie Cornish.