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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.