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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I am so glad summer is over...the heat, the humidity...and most of it all, not many good films. Fall, in all its brilliant color is here, and at last, so are some decent films. Only two films I saw this summer are worth seeing: The Kids are All Right with Annette Benning, Julianna Moore and Mark Ruffalo and Salt with Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber. I liked both; one for its portrait of modern life and the other for its all out unrealistic action and suspense.
Kids was the most talked-about movie at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and the winner of the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival. Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (High Art, Laurel Canyon) from an original screenplay that she wrote along with Stuart Blumberg (Keeping the Faith). The film is funny and poignant. A richly drawn portrait of a modern family and how bonds of trust and love can be tested.. Benning is outstanding.
Salt, an action adventure film cloaked in mystery and suspense, keeps you guessing nearly to the end. Salt, a victim of another type of family environment, is a CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy . She uses all her skill and training to elude capture and prove her innocence. If you prefer realism this is not for you. If you like action films with implausible plots that only
Hollywood can produce, you'll love it. How could anyone except Jolie withstand such a beating and run away in the end?
If you you missed them in the theater, call in you reserve. I will add them to the collection as soon as they are released. I have seen several cant miss films in September and October which I will write about next time. Hopefully I will be able to post recommendations more regularly as we approach Academy Award season.

Monday, September 13, 2010

.......... ...................... READ IT ........................THEN ...................SEE IT ........................
A Very Private Gentleman, a 1990 cat-and-mouse thriller by British novelist Martin Booth, was recently released as The American starring George Clooney and Violante Placido. Alone among assassins, Jack is the best. When a job ends badly he vows his next assignment will be his last. In a small Italian village tucked away in the countryside, Jack relishes being away from death. He seeks out the friendship of a local priest and pursues romance with a local woman. Put when next assignment comes, he is soon back in the fray. By stepping out of the shadows, will he be tempting fate!

The Romantics based on the novel by Pankaj Mishra will soon be released starring Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin and Josh Duhamel. Seven close friends reunite for the wedding of two of their friends. Problems arise because the bride and the maid of honor have had a long rivalry over the groom. During the course of the raucous night before the wedding, friendships and alliances are tested and the love triangle comes to a head. A love story that examines the camaraderie of youth.

The Town is a film adaption of the prize-winning book by Chuck Hogan Prince of Thieves which won the 2005 Hammett Prize for excellence in crime writing. The film, starring Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, will be in theaters soon. Men wearing masks with guns drawn make a bank manager open the vault. Their timing and execution is brilliant. It could be the perfect heist. But as the huge sum of cash is stolen, so is one man's heart, and that man is the Prince of Thieves, the brains behind the tough, tight-knit crew of thieves. The girl who has caught his heart has another admirer: FBI agent Adam Frawley, who is investigating the gang determined to bring them to justice.

Never Let Me Go this 2004 novel by Kazuo Ishiguro is adapted into a film starring Keire Knightly, Carey Mullligan and Andrew Garfield. The story is narrated by 31 year-old Kathy who reminisces about her childhood at the sheltered boarding school and her life after leaving the school. An idyllic life in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society as well. When two of her classmates come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory and the dark secret behind a nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood—and about their lives now. A tale of biomedical science fiction that asks the question "what makes us human."

The Social Network, a film starring Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, is based on Ben Mezrich's nonfiction book The Accidental Billionaires which uncovers the true story behind the founding of Facebook. A high-energy tale about two socially awkward Ivy Leaguers who are trying to increase their chances with the opposite sex end up creating Facebook. Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were Harvard undergraduates and best friends and clearly on the outside. Getting invited to join one of the Harvard's Finnl Clubs could be their ticket to social acceptance. Mark finds a way to stardom by hacking into the university's computer system, creating a database that rates all the female students on campus. At that moment, in his Harvard dorm room, the framework for Facebook was born revolutionizing the way hundreds of millions of people relate to each other.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the final book in Stieg Larsson's millennium trilogy, follows The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire with this exhilarating conclusion. Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant computer hacker who was shot in the head at the end of Fire, is alive and the prime suspect in three murders in Stockholm. While she convalesces under armed guard, journalist Mikael Blomkvist works to unravel the decades-old coverup surrounding the man who shot Salander: her father, Alexander Zalachenko, a Soviet intelligence defector and longtime secret asset to Sweden's security police. When able Salander will have to prove her innocence, denounce those in authority who allowed the attack on her life and seek revenge against the man who tried to kill her. Once a victim. now she's fighting back.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Check out what's on the August DVD list

According to Greta Hilary Duff, Evan Ross. A rebellious teen is sent to her grandparents for the summer. She soon begins a romance with a young cook who has a criminal past, confronts a tragic family secret, and just may discover the promising young woman hidden beneath her sarcastic shell.

Afghan Star In Afghanistan you risk your life to sing. After thirty years of war and five devastating years of Taliban rule, pop culture is beginning to return to the country.

Alice in Wonderland Anne Hathaway, Johnny Depp. Alice, now 19 years old, returns to the whimsical world she first entered as a child and embarks on a journey to discover her true destiny.

Amreeka Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem. Muna Farah, a Palestinian single mom, struggles to maintain her optimistic spirit in the daily grind of intimidating West Bank checkpoints, the constant nagging of a controlling mother, and the haunting shadows of a failed marriage. Everything changes one day when she receives a letter informing her that her family has been granted a U.S. green card.

The Bounty Hunter Gerard Butler, Jennifer Aniston. Milo, a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter, gets his dream job when he is assigned to track down his bail-jumping ex-wife, reporter Nicole.

The Boys are Back Clive Owen, Emma Booth. After the unexpected death of his wife, a sportswriter finds himself consumed with grief and completely unprepared to raise two boys. Determined to bring joy back into their lives, he takes a 'just say yes' approach to parenting and chaos ensues.

Brooklyn’s Finest Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke. After having endured extremely different career paths, the lives of three disheartened Brooklyn police officers will collide with destiny when they all wind up at the same fatal crime scene.

Disgrace John Malkovich, Jessica Haines. Professor David Lurie is a man whose world is shattered when he is fired for seducing a college student. He finds peace at his estranged daughter's modest farm in South Africa until a horrific incident of terror and violence forces Lurie to confront his beliefs and the disturbing racial complexities of the new South Africa.

Edge of Darkness Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone. After a bullet meant for him kills his daughter instead, Boston cop Thomas Craven's quest for revenge leads him into a shadowy world of political intrigue.

Flow: for the love of water or how did a handful of corporations steal our water? The documentary builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply and pose the question: Can anyone really own water?

Fourth Kind Milla Jovovich, Will Patton. Since the 1960s, Nome, Alaska, has seen a disproportionate number of its population being reported missing every year. Despite multiple FBI investigations of the region, the truth has never been discovered until a psychologist begins videotaping sessions with traumatized patients and unwittingly discovered some of the most disturbing evidence of alien abduction ever documented.

The Good Guy Scott Porter, Alexis Bledel. Ambitious New Yorker Beth wants it all: a good job, good friends, and a good guy to share the city with. But when she falls hard for a handsome young Wall Street hotshot, she discovers that the last one is trickiest of all.

Green Zone Matt Damon, Amy Ryan. During the U.S.-led occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller and his team of Army inspectors were dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover-up that inverts the purpose of their mission.

North Face
Benno F├╝rmann, Johanna Wokalek. An adventure drama, based on a true story about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps, the north face of the Eiger.

Phoebe in Wonderland
Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson. Phoebe is an imaginative but troubled girl with a desperate longing to be in her school's production of Alice in Wonderland. When she is cast in the lead role her parents believe her unusual behavior is due to her creativity, but soon realize that she is on the brink of falling through the looking glass herself.

The White Ribbon Christian Friedel, Ulrich Tukur, Leonie Benesch. In a north German village prior to the outbreak of World War I, strange events, accidents, and deaths are occurring. The village people are beside themselves with worry and can't figure out what to do. Trying to unravel this mystery, it is discovered that the children of the town may be guilty of the crimes and have formed a secret society with the local pastor's daughter the leader.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

With a long weekend ahead, think about borrowing DVDs from the library. The weather will be great, but after a long day outside, you may want to curl up and watch a great film. The new July list is out. Check the library web site for a complete list. Below are some favorable mentions. . . . .

I can recommend The Botany of Desire a PBS special based on the Michael Pollan book that examines the relationship between plants and humans.

Another film I can recommend is

A Single Man. Based on the Christopher Isherwood novel, it is brilliant. Colin Firth is the tortured professor who loses his longtime partner in a terrible accident. Dealing with his grief, he contemplates suicide while he struggles with the age-old question: is life worthwhile. It is an outstanding performance from Colin Firth. The role is a perfect match for his talent: withdrawn, pained, sensual, with sparks of wit and fun. He so perfectly depicts a man who cannot publicly morn because in the 1960s during the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the birth of youth culture, society would not permit him to grieve the death of his gay companion openly. Don't miss this poignant, deeply compassionate portrait.

Also on the list are: From Paris with Love, Invictus, Legion, The Memory Thief, Shutter Island, Valentine's Day and When in Rome. If you missed them in the theater this year, here's your chance.
Four foreign films have been add to the library collection this month

All French, each explores an issue as only the French can. Shall We Kiss?, a comedy about the consequences of intimacy, is an enjoyable, tender and tasteful romantic film. Adult in its appeal, it presents lessons that never grow old with time. Heart in Winter (un Coeur En Hiver) examines the complexities of a love triangle and rebirth. Only the French can create such wonderful characters. Is there anything as beautiful as love and anything as painful as deep sorrow and loneliness of the soul ? The Wedding Song (Le Chant des Mariees), an art house film because of one explicit scene, is set in Tunis on the cusp of World War II. It examines the lives of two 16 year old girls, one a Muslim, and the other a Jew, who struggle to maintain their friendship as politics and families threaten to undermine it. A fine example of contemporary French cinema, Summer Hours (Heure d'Ete) is a story of an estate that must be divided up by three siblings after the death of their mother. The film is understated and gently paced, evoking the changes brought on one family as they are forced to reevaluate heritage vs. their place in the increasingly globalized world.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The June 2010 DVD list has been posted to the library's web page. Check it out and add your holds. Some titles to reserve are: Avatar, Crazy Heart, It's Complicated, and Last Station. All are my favorites except Avatar. But, if you haven't seen it, you should. . . if not for the plot, for the film technique.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's been awhile since I posted. I've been busy enjoying my yard, planting perennials and planning improvements. Although a very small space, I seem to spend a lot of time fussing, planting and weeding. Having grown up in New York City without a sandbox or dirt to play in, I am relishing my new found love of gardening. This is all well and good because there have been very few films worth seeing. With that in mind, searching the library's DVD racks I found some old favorites.

Ninotchka(1939) with Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas is great. Garbo plays a stern Russian agent sent to Paris on official business and finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest. It was her first full comedy, and demonstrates her great talent. The film, written by Billy Wilder, deliberately criticizes the Soviet Union, depicting it as rigid and gray compared to the free and sunny life in Paris and the west. Much of the marketing surrounding Ninotchka played on Garbo's super-serious image, suggesting she had never laughed or played comedy on film before. Released in 1939 in the United States, the movie was released during WWII in Europe, where it became a great success. It was, however, banned in the Soviet Union and its satellites. Despite this, it went on to make $2,279,000 worldwide.

Woman of the Year (1942) with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy is another. Two newspaper reporters, Tess and Sam, working on the same newspaper take a dislike to one another but eventually find themselves falling in love and marrying. Tess, a very active woman and one of the most famous feminists in the country, is elected "woman of the year." Being busy all the time, she forgets how to really be a woman and Sam begins to feel neglected. The final scene in their kitchen is one of the funniest I've ever dialog, no music, just perfect timing. This is the first of nine films Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made together. They met for the first time on this shoot. In the 1993 documentary Katharine Hepburn: All About Me, Hepburn herself recalls she was wearing high heels at their first meeting with Tracy and producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and said "I'm afraid I'm a bit tall for you, Mr. Tracy". Mankiewicz then responded, "Don't worry, Kate, he'll cut you down to size."

The Apartment(1960) with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine should not be missed. They were both so young, so fresh, such bright just can't keep your eyes of them. Climbing the corporate ladder in an insurance company in New York City is easy particularly if you allow your bosses to use your apartment for extramarital affairs. This arrangement goes terrible wrong when love creeps in. A commercial and critical hit, grossing $25 million at the box office, the film was nominated for ten Academy awards, winning five, including best picture. Some funny tidbits : Wilder generally required his actors to adhere exactly to the script, but allowed Jack Lemmon to improvise in several scenes: in one scene he squirted a bottle of nose drops across the room and in another he sang while making a meal of spaghetti. In another scene where Lemmon was supposed to mime being punched, he failed to move correctly and was accidentally knocked down. Wilder chose to use the shot of the genuine punch in the film. He also caught a cold when one scene on a park bench was filmed in sub-zero weather.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The May list of new DVDs will be posted on the library website on Friday. Get a seek peek here.
My favorites Coco Before Chanel, Good Hair, Pirate Radio, Sherlock Holmes and The Young Victoria

DVD's May 2010
To place a reserve, just click on the highlighted titles.

2012 John Cusack, Danny Glover, Woody Harrelson. A geophysical team learn that the core of the Earth is heating up and warn the President of the United States. While the leaders of the world race to build 'arks' to escape the impending doom, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes of unprecedented strength wreak havoc all over the world.

The Beaches of Agnes Provides a reflection on art, life and the movies through a rich cinematic self portrait that touches on everything from the feminist movement and the Black Panthers to the films of Agnes Varda's husband, Jacques Demy, and the birth of the French New Wave.

The Blind Side Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron. Michael Oher is a homeless African-American teenager, from a broken home, is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential as an All-American offensive left tackle.

Brothers Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman. Captain Sam Cahill is embarking on his fourth tour of duty, leaving behind his beloved wife and two daughters. When Sam's Blackhawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains of Afghanistan, the worst is presumed, leaving an enormous void in the family. Despite a dark history, Sam's charismatic younger brother steps in to fill the family void.

Coco Before Chanel Alessandro Nivola, Audrey Tautou. Years after being abandoned at an orphanage by her father, Gabrielle Chanel finds a job in a tailor shop where she meets, and soon begins an affair with French millionaire Etienne Balsan. Through Baron Balsan she is introduced into French society and given the opportunity to design her own style of hats. Though her career takes off, her personal life becomes more complicated when she falls in love with Balsan's former best friend Arthur Capel.

Did You Hear about the Morgans Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker. The Morgans are a highly successful Manhattan couple with almost perfect lives. they have only one notable failure - their dissolving marriage. When they witness a murder and become the targets of a contract killer, the Feds, protecting their witnesses, whisk them from their beloved New York to a tiny town in Wyoming. A relationship that was on the rocks threatens to end completely, unless with their new Blackberry-free lives, the Morgans can slow down the pace and rekindle their passion.

Glass: a Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts For 18 months, award-winning
director Scott Hicks followed the legendary composer Philip Glass across three continents, creating a remarkable portrait of one of the greatest artists of all time. Allowed unprecedented access to Glass's working process and long time collaborators, Hicks provides a unique glimpse into the composer's life.

Good Hair Comedian Chris Rock tackles the very personal issue of hair, and how attaining "good hair" can impact African American's activities, relationships, wallets, and a self-esteem.

Paris Juliette Binoche, Romain Duris. While waiting for a heart transplant that could save his life, Pierre reunites with his sister and her lively children. This rediscovery of his family and observation of the teeming streets outside his window in Paris give Pierre hope, and a new sense of how he might spend the time still left to him.

Pirate Radio Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emma Thompson. A rogue band of DJs captivate Britain in the 1960s. The music they play defines a generation and the DJs stand up to a government that, incomprehensibly, preferred jazz. Radio rock is a pirate radio station situated in the middle of the North Atlantic that's populated by an eclectic crew of rock and roll DJs.

Private Lives of Pippa Lee Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin. After nearly two decades under the wing of an aging, avuncular husband, dutiful mother and housewife Pippa Lee undergoes a midlife breakthrough.

Sherlock Holmes Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law. After finally catching serial killer and occult 'sorcerer' Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. After his execution, Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, and Holmes must take up the hunt once again.

Surrogates Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchel. People are living their lives remotely from the safety of their own homes via robotic surrogates - physically perfect mechanical representations of themselves. It's an ideal world where crime, pain, fear and consequences don't exist. When the first murder in years jolts this utopia, FBI agent Greer discovers a vast conspiracy behind the surrogate phenomenon and must abandon his own surrogate, risking his life to unravel the mystery.

Up in the Air George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick. Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert, flies all over the world on business. On the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and meeting the frequent traveler woman of his dreams, his company grounds him. When Bingham goes on his last cross country firing expedition, he will learn that life isn't about the journey, but about the connections made along the way.

Whiteout Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht. U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko is the only law-enforcement officer assigned to Antarctica. Carrie is on the verge of shipping out before the really bad weather hits, when she is confronted with a mysterious murder that sounds like a riddle: how'd a lone corpse find its way to the middle of an ice field, as though dropped from a great height? And what does this have to do with the prologue about a Soviet fighter jet crashing some decades earlier? Along with other snowbound stragglers are a U.N. investigator, some cocky pilots, and a grizzled doctor.

The Young Victoria
Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend. Chronicles the life and times of Queen Victoria from her childhood to her early rise to power and the first turbulent years of her rule.

Television Series

Mad Men season 5
Weeds: 5th season

Saturday, April 10, 2010

See these two in the theaters:

Green Zone starring Matt Damon is based on the book by Rajiv Chandrasekaran "Imperial Life in the Emerald City." I love Matt Damon, he's such a capable actor. You believe in him and, even in a very action backed thin script, you believe in him. He's the perfect white knight who questions the intel locating WMDs in Baghdad in 2003. He doesn't want to risk his men and he wants to find out who's giving him such bad information. A bit light on script but heavy on nighttime street chases and firefighting. But it keeps you engaged. B-

The Ghost Writer starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Bronson is based on a Robert Harris bestseller. Ewan McGregor grabs and runs with his role as the writer hired to complete the memoirs of the unseated British prime minister taking refuge in America after being accused of war crimes. While working on the book, the ghost uncovers clues suggesting secrets may be hidden in the manuscript that puts his life at risk. The starkness of the sets, the grey cold atmospheric weather and the music only heighten the suspense. Polanski, despite his personal problems, is a gifted director. A-

Friday, March 26, 2010

Books and Films make wonderful bedfellows... Books into Film this March and April.
Read before you see

"You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation" by Susannah Gora. If you loved the films of John Hughes who died in 2009, you'll love learning more about him, a writer-director who portrayed teens with sensitivity
Book: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
Film: The Last Song with Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear
Ronnie Miller's 17th summer

Book: Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Film: Green Zone starring Matt Damon, Said Faraj and Yigal Naor. U.S. Army in search of WMDs uncovers government lies. Good but could have been great. B-
Book : The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The first of a trilogy about festering familial corruption, a vulnerable superhacker, a disgraced financial journalist and octogenarian industrialist. Nothing is as it seems. Don't mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.Film: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Book: The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia novel.
Film: Repo Man
Jude Law & Forest Whitaker
For a price, any organ in your body can be replaced. But it can also be repossessed.

Book and Film: The Losers CIA graphic novel by Andy Diggle

Book: "I Love you, Phillip Morris: a True Story of Life, Love, and Prison Breaks" about famous escape artist Steven Russell by Steven McVicker. Film: I Love You, Phillip Morris

Monday, March 22, 2010

With the Academy Awards and the rush to see as many as possible behind me, I can relax and spend some time with some favorite old friends. Remember
The Lion in Winter with Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole a film that examines the tragic relationship between King Henry II of England and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine as they battle over Henry's successor to the British throne in the 12th century. Wonderfully powerful performances by two icons of the silver screen. Next

Three Coins in a Fountain is pure unadulterated escapism. One summer in Rome and romance of three American women who throw money into a fountain wishing for love. Louis Jourdan and Rossano Brazzi at their romantic best. Anyone who has been to Rome has been to the Trevi fountain!

In this age of computers having all the answers, Desk Set with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn is a stand-out. Released in 1957, this classic Hepburn-Tracy romance between a head librarian of the reference and research department at a TV network and an absent-minded computer genius demonstrates that computers can be a great tool but the knowledge of a Reference Librarian cannot be denied.

The Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway was a favorite of mine when it came out in 1968 but seeing it again it was a disappointment. I love Steve McQueen but the film moves slowly, doesn't have the suspense and slickness of the 1999 version with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. How twenty years can color a memory!!!

Interested in classic films? The Thursday Matinee Movies series starts April 1 and continues every Thursday at 2pm until May 27 and will include such favorites as: The Pink Panther, Imitation of Life, True Grit, Charade, From Here to Eternity to list a few. For a complete list, check the library web site or pick up a list at the library. This series is cosponsored by the Friends of the Library and the Avon Center Center. Come enjoy some refreshments and a good movie every Thursday at 2pm.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's over and we know the winners. As each title is released on DVD we will buy, so place your reserves by calling the Reference Desk 860-673-9712.

The March DVD list is out as well. Check it out on our web site
Some titles on the March liscan recommend are:
Bright Star with Abbie Cornish and Ben Whisham in a film about poet John Keats' love for Fanny Brawne...wonderful sets.
The Cove an Academy Award winning documentry about Japanese fishermen using sonar to confuse and trap schools of dolphins, which are then slaughtered and sold fraudulently as whale meat.

Invention of Lying starring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer in a quirky comedy. Not for everyone, but funny.

September Issue If you love fashion you will love this film about Anna Wintour and the annual September issue.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's down to the wire and I have to pick my favorites. I'm not privy to the politics of Hollywood so my favorites may not win, but goes.

Best Picture: Inglourious Basterds
Although Avatar may walk away with everything, Inglourious Basterd has my vote. An incredible story, incredible script, incredible acting, incredible special effects. It just draws you in and doesn't let go. In my mind, it is an example of a best picture.

Best Actor: Colin Firth
Jeff Bridges is the hand's down favorite and that's okay with me but my favorite performance was by Colin Firth in A Single Man. He captured a man in the depths of grief that still haunts me.

Best Actress: Gabourey Sidibe
Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock are the odds on favorites but Sidibe's portrayal of an abused young woman is courageous and exceptional. Not a pleasant film, not an easy film to watch, it hurts a person's sensibilities to see such cruelty, and she brings that pain to the screen. Sidibe in real life is nothing like the character she plays. As a newcomer, she is not the stereotypical actress and her work is not stereotypical either. She demonstrates ability beyond her years. I hope we will see more of her in the near future.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Bigelow captures the story of an elite Army bomb squad unit in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb. Bigelow said recently: "I always want to make films. I think of it as a great opportunity to comment on the world in which we live . . . " She's a talented director, a daughter of a librarian (How could I not love that?) and would be the first woman to receive an Oscar for directing.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
Hands down winner for his role as the "Jew Hunter" Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick
Mo'nique will collect the Oscar on Sunday, but I think Anna Kendrick held her own against George Clooney in Up in the Air. She was captivating as a naive novice in the corporate downsizing game.

I can't wait for Sunday, March 7. . . what a night for movie makers and movie lovers from the red carpet parade and the exception speeches to the antics on stage. . . Oh, what a night!

Only following the Lady Huskie's in the East East and NCAA championships could be better.

Go Tina!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's been awhile since I posted anything on this blog. As they say "Not much to write home about." The last film I saw in the theaters was A Single Man. A trip to the Brainard Rd. cinemas was well worth the drive. This is one of my favorite theaters where you can always find a great film. I noticed A Single Man is showing locally this week and it is well worth the price of a ticket. Not for everyone, A Single Man the movie is based on A Single Man the book by Christopher Isherwood. The book is considered his tour de force and seminal novel about the modern gay movement. The film is beautifully crafted and impeccably staged. Colin Firth is outstanding as he works his way through the devastating loss of his companion of 17 years. The loss is so devastating that on this one day, he sees suicide as his only relief. Set in Los Angeles in 1962, the story is told in part through flashbacks sprinkled with moments of wit and fun. Normal moments in life are contrasted vividly with profound moments of loss. It's about love and loss in a world that will not allow his grief to be acknowledged. Hope is seen in the end but only for a moment. Colin Firth deserves his Oscar nomination.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

As we get closer and closer to Oscar night I've been trying to work through the list of nominees. Jeff Bridges' performance as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart is a must see. Although I had trouble with the story missing some critical parts, his performance is definitely Oscar worthy. He brought to life this lost country singer as he slips further and further into a world consumed by alcohol. The film is all about him, a country music musican and song writer pushed aside by his younger collaborator who finds himself unable to write and record. Left to singing in dives, he exists on drink, smoke, fast food and faster women. He's endearing, he's vulnerable, he's lost and we all love a character who saves himself and reaches his full potential. Jeff Bridges is the one to beat. See it! Oh what wonderful music, too.

Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer deserve the Oscar nominations for best actress and best supporting actor. The film The Last Station examines the last years of Tolstoy's life as his wife Sofya vies for control of his literary output against his Tolstoyan confident Vladimir Chertkov. The Last Station is based on the 1990 biographical novel by Jay Parini. Mirren displays her considerable talent playing Sofya, a sharp, well-educated, strong-minded, passionate and sensual woman deeply in love with her husband struggling to keep him while struggling to keep control of all his copyrights. Their marriage was filled with great passion at first and equally great rejection at the end. Fighting constantly over Chertkov's influence, the Tolstoyans adoration and Tolstoy's will, their marriage finally crumbles. Seeking peace and solace in order to write, Tolstoy, with a small entourage, creeps away in the dead of night fearing another of Sofya's emotional outbursts. Ill with pneumonia, he dies in a train station in Astapova Russia. The film captures the Russian wealthy, the Tolstoyan life and the paparazzi of 1910. See it. It's very well done.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Academy Award announcements this week were no surprise, but in a year of very few extraordinary films, why did the Academy decide to extend the best film category to 10? I have not see all the films yet but I am chipping away at the list. When I think of Best Picture films, I think the film must be the best example of American film making in any given year. It has to have the best story, the best acting, the best cinematography, the best editing, just the best in every category, not just the best hyped film. I do have my current favorites An Education, Inglourious Basterds and Up in the Air. Of these three, my vote goes to Inglourious Basterds. I liked the other two very much, but Inglourious Basterds is by far the most compelling. Tarantino is not my favorite director but this film was right on...compelling characters, compelling story, and compelling actors all lending their incredible talents to create an incredible story infused with palpable fear and riveting images. Christopher Waltz certainly deserves the accolades. It is a film that will stay with you for days. Don't miss it. It is really a big screen picture but a DVD will do the trick too.

I'm waiting to see The Hurt Locker on DVD. I missed it in the theaters. Films dealing with the current conflict in Iraq are not my favorite, so I let it slip by. The buzz has been incredible but Avatar seems to be stealing its thunder now. Of these two, my vote goes to The Hurt Locker, after all, if it gets the Best Picture award, it will be the first film directed by a woman to win. Kathryn Bigelow, once married to James Cameron from 1989 to 1991, has paid her dues with films like: Mission Zero, K-19: the Widowmaker, The Weight of Water. Her first full-length film was in 1982 and her films are all know for their kinetic action and technical dazzle. Get on the reserve list if you have seen it yet.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Avon Free Public Library's DVDs available in February 2010

Call the library 860-673-9712 to get on the list....

The Answer Man

Couples Retreat

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Herb and Dorothy

Il Divo

The Informant!

Law Abiding Citizen

The Longshots

A Moment in History: Inauguration of Barack Obama

My Dinner with Andre

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Paranormal Activity

Strangers on a Train

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail

Tyler Perry’s The Family That Prays

Valentino: the Last Emperor

World’s Greatest Dad
Well, we know who won the Golden Globes. I was not going to see Avatar, but I ran out the next day to see it. With all the accolades, it had to be fantastic. But, for me. it missed the mark. Am I the only one to think this way? Or did I miss the mark? My visual and auditory senses were overloaded and couldn't wait for it to end. Not being a video gamer, I now know what they must go through. I knew the story was a simple love story overlaid with themes of ecology, greed, colonization, with images of Native Americans, and space travel but the computer generated images were not very inventive relying on the familiar such as horses, leopards, and dinosaurs changing them only slightly. I encourage people to see it, because it is considered a landmark film, but I, for one, wont see it again.

This weekend I saw Sherlock Holmes. A bit light in plot but totally entertaining. Now this is a visual delight. The scenes, setting, costumes were so much better than Avatar....enough about Avatar. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law were great as Holmes and Dr. Watson. Perfect foils for one another. I would not say this is either a musical or comedy but I am so glad Robert Downey Jr. was honored with a Golden Globe. He was delightful. My recommendation is SEE IT ON THE BIG SCREEN.
Tomorrow I will list the new DVDs for February. Read it here first, then call in your requests.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Who will win!!!

Golden Globe nominees deserve the hype and deserve the viewing. Finally, after a dry spell, some great films have been released. Of the major categories, I've seen several of the nominees: A Young Victoria, Up in the Air, The Inglourious Barterds, The Blind Side, Julie and Julia, and It's Complicated, they all deserve the recognition. Each in its own way draws you in, gets into you cerebral cortex, makes you ask questions. One brings an historical figure to life, another makes a man's confusion real and test machine vs human touch, and another creates a riveting hellish world filled with palpable fear. We admire the courage of a giant of a boy who is rescued from poverty by a might woman, and we laugh out loud about the courage of a woman when dealing with her ex-husband or chopping onions while pursuing the elusive French cuisine. Who will win!