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They're Back!

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

After a two month hiatus because of the flooding at Central, new DVDs are starting to arrive at the branches again. All 18 of our locations get new selections several times a week and we have lots of hot new titles like Oblivion (Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman), GI Joe: Retaliation (Bruce Willis and The Rock), What Maisie Knew, The Place Beyond the Pines (Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling), Olympus Has Fallen (Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman again), Broken City (Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe), and The Company you Keep (Robert Redford and Shia LeBeouf).

I've seen four out of the above seven with various results. The Place Beyond the Pines I ended up liking a lot more than I thought I would, given I'm not a big fan of either Bradley or Ryan.Trust me on this one—stick with it and you're in for a very good film.

Is there a film you would like to see in our collection? Do you know that you can make recommendations? We welcome suggestions on specific titles we might add to the Calgary Public Library's collections. Check our online catalogue, and if you don't see what you want, take a few minutes to tell us about the item. (We automatically consider all items on all popular best seller lists, so there's no need to let us know about those).

Is there something a little more obscure we may have missed? Something you haven't seen in years but remember fondly and would like to introduce to others? Feel like going a step beyond a recommendation? Why not consider buying a title and adding it to our collection for others to enjoy. Here's how.

And if you do sponsor a title, leave a comment, and let me know what you chose and why. I'd love to post your thoughts on your selection.

Summer of the Sequels

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

This summer every film seems to have the number two behind it—or three, or is a sequel, prequel or some such thing. Currently in the theatres we have Despicable Me 2, Red 2, Smurfs 2, Grown-Ups 2, Iron Man 3, Kick A** 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and Wolverine. Now if you remember the original story line and don't need catching up, just head off to the theatres. But if you want a refresher here are the links to the originals.

Despicable Me (I love this movie-fun for the whole family), Red (big big cast,, suspend logic and just enjoy—especially Malkovich), Smurfs, Grown-Ups (they aren't really), Iron Man 1, 2 (Robert Downey at his best), Kick A** (a different kind of Super hero Movie), Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief (the best Medusa ever), X-Men 1, 2, and 3 and X Men Origins-Wolverine.

 

 

Now as somebody who never needs encouragement to re-watch something I enjoy, I found this fact from a recent Ipsos poll very interesting: The average Canadian parent has seen their children's favourite movie about 33 times. And while I can rewatch Casablanca, Bridge on the River Kwai and To Kill a Mockingbird over and over, I blanche at the thought of how many times I sat through a taped Cirque de Soleil special with my daughter to watch the same clown climb out of the same box to get the same pie in his face. As I recall though it was very funny—at least the first 33 times!

From the same poll; with its release right around the corner, 27% of Canadians would most want to be in 'The Smurfs 2' if they woke up and found themselves to be an animated character.

The Ken Burns Effect — Part One

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Ken Burns has an impressive filmography to his credit. In the world of current film styles the camera seldom seems to rest on any one image for more than a nano second before it is off to the next blow-up, melt-down, gargantuan special effect or drooling miscreation. All while being punctuated by a strident soundtrack. Burns' style is so laid back that if you aren't used to it it can at first glimpse seem a trifle boring. But stick with it and you will be rewarded with superior documentaries and it won't take you long to get hooked on "The Ken Burns Effect "—slowly zooming or panning over vintage still photographs while in-depth research is narrated by a pleasing voice.

The Dust Bowl just aired last year on PBS as a 240-minute series. In it Burns documents the worst human-made ecological disaster in American history that was the result of the 'Great Plow-up'. Vivid interviews, dramatic photographs, and seldom-seen movie footage bring to life incredible stories of human suffering and perseverance. You'll be stunned by what you didn't know about this decade long event.

And after you watch the mini series, here are three excellent 'companion' feature films.Sinise and Malkovich

First up is the powerful Of Mice and Men, a John Steinbeck classic. It tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression. This is before the arrival of the Okies who Steinbeck vividly describes in The Grapes of Wrath. Required reading in many schools, Of Mice and Men regularly appears on the America Library Association's list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century. We have two versions and they are equally compelling. The 1939 with Burgess Meredeth and the 1992 made for television, with Gary Sinise and John Malcovich.

Secondly is Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize winning Grapes of Wrath (1940), directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda. In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

And the third offering is Places in the Heart, which won Sally Field her second Oscar for Best Actress in 1984. Also starring John Malkovich, Ed Harris and Danny Glover.

From the grapevine … Steven Spielberg is set to acquire the rights to The Grapes of Wrath, with a view to producing a new film adaptation for DreamWorks. There are many movies that I think were perfect the first time and don't need to be redone, and Grapes of Wrath is one of them. But having said that, if anybody can do it justice it would be Spielberg. However he is unlikely to direct the movie, and likely will oversee the project as producer.

Monthly Film Night at Crowfoot Library

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

Join us at 6:30 on Thursday August 15th for our latest offering of a new DVD release. As always we find something that did very well at the theatres, and therefore has a lot of holds on it. Avoid that wait, and come see it with other film lovers.

This month's film features Naomi Watts in an Oscar nominated role. The visuals are stunning, the story gut wrenching, and the acting well worth her nomination. If this isn't enough of a clue, phone as at 221-4122 for the actual title. And if any readers want to weigh in with their own clues, like "Jack" and "Tom" did last month, I'd be happy to hear from you. See you on the 15th.

Silver Linings - Nic Cage Special

by Trevor - 0 Comment(s)

I’ve written about movies with silver linings in the past. Mediocre or just plain bad movies that have one redeemable facet that makes them watchable. This time I’m going to talk about a silver lining actor.

Nicolas Cage is almost always the silver lining of the movie he’s in. This isn’t because of his amazing acting talent but rather because he truly does not seem to realize how bad most of his movies are. Yes yes, I know he’s won an Oscar but that almost doesn’t count when you compare it to his entire filmography. He picks ridiculous roles in ridiculous films with ridiculous plots. He unironically spouts off terrible dialogue with the commitment of a Shakespearian trained actor. He seems entirely oblivious to the fact that he has become not only a joke but an internet meme. He is entertaining however, whether or not in the way he intended to be. Here are some of Nic’s "silvery-est lining" roles.


Drive Angry – Cage, an undead felon, breaks out of Hell to avenge his murdered daughter and rescue her kidnapped baby from a band of cult-worshipping savages. Need I say more?

The Rock – Cage seems to enjoy playing the everyman turned hero and I can think of no better example than The Rock. Despite the generous helping of Michael Bay's moronic machismo, Cage’s trademark overacting makes this a perfectly watchable action flick.


Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – It’s well know that Cage wants to be a superhero (he named his child after Superman) and he finally got the chance as Ghost Rider. Spirit of Vengeance is the better of the two, mainly because Cage screams and flails maniacally (ie. hilariously) as he transforms into his fiery skulled alter ego.


Kick-Ass –Though this film doesn’t really qualify as a silver lining as it is excellent, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it. Cage very nearly steals the film in his Adam West-esque portrayal of the ruthless vigilante Big Daddy. Cage’s unique brand of unknowing campiness was finally put to good use!

There are few A-list actors that make as many bad movies as Nicolas Cage. There are even fewer who do so while remaining entertaining. Perhaps Nic deserves all the joking and ridicule the internet throws at him. Or perhaps he is an acting genius, deliberately reveling in mediocrity so that his future rise to greatness will be all the more unexpected. Or perhaps it is because he needs every penny he can get to escape from under the crushing debt he incurred in the 90's---buying among other things, two yachts, 18 motorcycles, 30 luxury cars, 7 worldwide residences, including a German castle and a private Bahamian Island, a Gulfstream Jet, a quarter million dollar dinosaur skull, shrunken pygmy heads, and a private tomb worthy of a head of state---all while somehow forgetting to pay about 6 million to the IRS.

Who's to say?