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To all our fellow movie maniacs

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

We hope you are able to get a break, grab a movie or two, and generally just have time to kick back and relax. We will be back next week with more recommendations, contests, insights and trivia. And for some great suggestions for Christmas viewing check out our previous recommendations under Christmas in TAGS, or the just published TEEN ZONE post.

So many movies

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Oh my ---there are just so many great movies hitting the theatres right now I don't know how I will see them all. This has actually been a very good year already, and they have saved a lot of the best for last. This is strategic planning on their part in order to keep the titles fresh in the minds of those doing the voting for all the up-coming awards ceremonies.

Currrently showing or coming very shortly are the following great choices:

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" -- This is the Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law franchise and if you saw the first you know how much fun it was. We have that on our shelves at CPL, as well as numerous other Holmes adaptations- see my previous post. Since that time we also now carry the excellent modern re-telling that has been showing up on PBS Mystery Theatre and starring the tremendously named Benedict Cumberbatch. These are intelligent, fast-paced and very well done---with Sherlock using an iphone instead of a magnifying glass!

"Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol", the fourth offering in this Tom Cruise franchise-it has made him mega millions---they are very popular and highly entertaining. We have 1 ,2, 3.

"Hugo"---a children's movie directed by Martin Scorsese? Really? Based on the wildly popular book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", a fellow Movie Maniac saw this and can't say enough good things about it.

"The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" starring Daniel Craig of 007 fame. This is the English remake based on the international smash trilogy. Already done by the Swedes in their native language, this is the highly anticipated release directed by David Fincher. We have all 1, 2, 3 of the sub titled Swedish releases and it will be interesting to compare the two.

"The Adventures of TinTin" -directed by Spielberg and featuring Peter Jackson's excellent skills at CGI and motion capturing. Also from Spielberg this season is "War Horse"---getting buzz as the best movie ever made about a horse! And if that sounds kind of corny to you, there are actually lots of excellent movies about horses.

"The Artist"- as Maclean's film critic Brian Johnson quips 'finally a French movie that doesn't need subtitles'. Silent and in black and white it is also generating lots of buzz.

And if like me you are waiting with baited breath for the as yet untitled Star Trek sequel, you'll have to wait till May 17,2013!

Hope you can take in some of these. And if you do, I would love to hear your opinion about any or all of them. Just drop us a line through 'comments'. Have a wonderful Christmas and check back here after the 25th for a great contest we will be running.

It's not just Christmas around the corner

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The Golden Globe nominations have just been announced and thus begins the awards seasons--- all which culminates with the 84th Oscars on February 26, 2012.

A lot of the nominees are very current releases, but you will likely recognize many of the titles- The Help, Ides of March, Moneyball, Bridesmaids to name but a few. Lot of the usual suspects for personal awards ---Clooney, Leo di, Meryl, Tilda, Brad, Scorcese and Branagh. For a full listing of the GG's follow this link- the awards will be given on Jan 15/12. Also just announced are the Critics Choice Awards (Jan 12/12) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards or SAGS on Jan 29th,2012.

It's actually been a great year for any movie maniac---lots of worthy nominees. I know what I am going to be doing on any days off over Christmas.

Great TV Part 1 - HBO

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Another excellent list of recommendations from guest blogger Trevor- and the good news is, as he has called this Part 1, we know that he already has more titles in mind for part 2. There are several 100's of hours of great viewing here........

Though MM traditionally highlights the great film collection here at the Calgary Public Library, our many movies are by no means the only draw. Regular customers will have undoubtedly come across a TV season or two whilst perusing the DVDs. In fact, a quick search of the collection gives over 2000 hits for television seasons on DVD. Choosing from such a large collection is a challenging task but this post will hopefully help you sift through the collection to find the standout gems most worth your time.

HBO – “It’s not TV, it’s HBO” is a very fitting tagline for the subscription TV service. In general, HBO series greatly surpass anything that you could find on regular stations (with the added benefit of being commercial free). Pretty much anything HBO touches turns to gold but here are a few of the most noteworthy.

Rome – An epic period piece that details the greatest empire the world has ever known. Rome’s splendour is emphasized nearly as much as its depravity. The first season chronicles Julius Caesar’s rise to power while the second focuses on his nephew Augustus.

In Treatment – The always excellent Gabriel Byrne plays a psychiatrist, struggling to balance his own problems as he grows increasingly invested in his patients. episode focuses on one of 5 patients, cycling through their appointments on each day of the week. The most interesting aspect is that Byrne is the 5th patient, seeing his own psychologist to deal with the pressures of his life. Absolutely riveting.

Big Love –Bill Paxton plays a righteous Mormon man, trying to raise his family just like any other man. A difficult task considering he has three households and three wives. There’s a surprising amount of excitement to be found in Big Love as Bill tries to protect the secret of his family while battling against the corrupt leadership of his former Mormon commune.

True Blood - For those of you who cringed from the Twilight series and its neutered portrayal of vampires, look no further than True Blood. With more sex, more gore, and more violence than any other show on this list it true-ly pushes the limits of what we consider TV. It’s also good campy fun.

The Sopranos - There’s a reason there are university classes based entirely around The Sopranos. It is the most profitable series in the history of cable television and is one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time. Traditional mob movie tropes are twisted and distorted as viewers delve into the psyche of emotionally troubled mob boss Tony Soprano. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Martin Scorsese film, The Sopranos should be a no brainer.

Six Feet Under - is perhaps the most ambitious television series I have ever seen. It’s not the big summer blockbuster type of ambitious, nor is it the type of trendsetting ambition found in experimental films. No, Six Feet Under is ambitious because it tries, and in my opinion succeeds, in answering a very difficult question: what does it mean to die? It’s humorous, depressing, heartfelt, and macabre in equal measure and it is well worth your time.

by Trevor

Location Location Location

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First we had numbers, then we had colours, now we are featuring movies with name places in the title. Oh there are SO many to choose from--- in fact I almost considered doing a post just on 'M's'. Some are classics that hardly need pointing out, yet I will-well, because that's what I do. Others are a little more obscure but all are worth a look.

Casablanca--- previously featured in its own post, it bares mentioning again. This is one of my all time faves- it's right up there with Ben Hur (did you follow my recommendation and go see it's re-release on the big screen?). To my mind, this is one of the world's most perfect movies- love, honour, self sacrifice-all set against the backdrop of WW 2. Best writer, best director and best picture for 1942. You won't believe the famous lines that came out of this movie. Bogart, Claude Rains, and Ingrid Bergman at their very best. And don't forget Conrad Veidt.

In Bruges--- this should be a controversial one- love it or hate it, but I doubt you will be ambivalent towards it. This is just really hard to pigeonhole into any specific genre. But it you like bizarre and unexpected this is the movie for you. A close second in the bizarre and unexpected category would be the Coen's brothers Fargo. Except having said that, if you are a fan of the Coen brothers, you know to expect the unexpected.

Philadelphia-with Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks in one of his back-to-back Oscar winning roles. This is an award worthy performance -also a sad and occassionaly difficult movie to watch. Not to be confused with its' polar opposite 'The Philadelphia Story'. With Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart (Oscar winner for Best actor) and Cary Grant--- from 1940. Light-hearted and easy to watch.

L A Confidential- from 1997 with Kim Bassinger, Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell, Guy Pearce. This is the film that really brought Russell Crowe to North American audience's attention. Dark, brooding, moody, excellent plot- very 'film noir'.

Munich- I've seen this Spielberg offering twice and I am still not sure what I think of it. Depending on your age you may be unaware of the back story. The 'Munich Massacre' is the name for the real events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. By the end of the ordeal, the kidnappers had killed eleven of the athletes and coaches and a West German policeman. Five of the eight members of Black September were killed by police officers during a failed rescue attempt. The three surviving kidnappers were captured, but later released by West Germany following the hijacking by Black September of a Lufthansa airliner. That part is true. This movie is the story of the aftermath of these events, and the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day. Being as it was a highly secret black op it remains for the viewer to determine the degree of reality. But that is the case with most movies based on 'true events'.

With the exception of Philadelphia Story, all these recommendations are dramatic offerings. So for something a little lighter in the location department try Brigadoon and An American in Paris---all you dance fans should enjoy these charmers with Gene Kelly dancing his feet off, wonderful music and lyrics by Lerner and Lowe, and Vincent Minelli's excellent directing.

(Nice map huh!)