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What's All the Hoopla? Foreign Film Downloads!

by Melanie - 0 Comment(s)

In my first Hoopla-related post, I gave information on how to screen from your portable or tv and an overview of the site and app.

This time, I want to point out that Hoopla has added foreign films in their feature areas that you can browse directly. Simply go to "Browse." The three categories are French, Spanish, and Chinese films. There is an impressive assortment, including art-house, martial arts, suspense and comedy.

Since these are popular checkouts from most library locations, you'll enjoy accessing them through the Hoopla app or site. This type of content may not be available from other providers. Here it's readily and legally available!

Hoopla is free with your library card and is building up as we speak. Not only that, the collection available from Hoopla reflects the needs and tastes of Calgary Public Library Customers so you'll help shape it when you make your selections.

If you you just want to take a peek without making an account (yet!), access Hoopla in our Featured Digital Content link on the library's homepage and choose "Browse."

Orphan Black

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

In my recent Emmys post I mentioned the series Orphan Black. This Canadian offering first hit the airwaves in March of 2013 and we have seasons one and two---and it has been renewed for a third season. Filmed in Toronto and populated almost exclusively with Canadian talent, it does not necessarily take place in Toronto. Although it makes no effort to disguise its Ontario locales, Toronto is mostly intended to stand in as 'Generica'- any large modern city.

It has already been nominated for and won numerous awards but inexplicably isn't up for any Emmys. This is a head scratcher for me because Tatiana Maslany is easily as good as Claire Danes (Homeland) and Michelle Dockery (Downton), and way better than Robin Wright (House of Cards) and Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife), both of whom put me to sleep with their performances. And the series itself far surpasses Mad Men and House of Cards, and is as good as Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey (although the one to beat in the Outstanding Drama category still remains for me, True Detective). Now having said this, it won't appeal to as broad a base as some of the above mentioned, but I still strongly maintain it deserves some nods.

I can't tell you too much about Maslany's performance without giving stuff away, but if and when you do watch it you'll know why I choose hers as the best performance. This is a near-future Sci-Fi/ Thriller combo, with great pacing, lots of plot twists and very compelling characters. Many things here to keep even the most seasoned or jaded viewers guessing.

Film Night at Crow

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

On Thursday August 21st at Crowfoot Library we will be showcasing the movie Divergent. This brand new dvd release currently has hundreds of holds on it, so why not avoid the wait and come see it here.

Due to its running time of 129 minutes we will be starting it a little earlier than usual. Doors will open 5:45 and the movie will start promptly at 6:15. It is rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality.

Feel free to bring your own treats and settle in for this well rated film.

More Advanced Screening Passes

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)




As promised here we go with the second offering of advanced screening passes. These are for EXPENDABLES 3 which airs on Thursday August 14th at Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Theatre at 7:00. To claim your double pass log onto this external site and enter the exclusive Movie Maniacs code EX3Cal445318. Your voucher will be emailed to you for printing on your home computer. Remember to arrive at the theatre a little earlier and exchange this voucher for an actual ticket at the box office, which will then guarantee you a seat. In fact, for this one I would arrive close to 6:00 as interest will be very high---this time they have added Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer and Mel Gibson to the already testosterone fuelled flicks.

We have secured 25 double passes for our followers, but once they are gone, they are gone. Now remember to check back again because sometime in the next seven days I will release the last of the 25 double passes for another big summer release. And I'll keep you guessing on this title as well but give you a hint. This is also a sequel, one that is almost a decade since the original and is based on a very popular, albeit dark Graphix Novel.

Thanks again to our friends at entONE for the passes.

Free Advanced Screening Passes

by Moe - 2 Comment(s)



The first of three — yes three films for which Movie Maniacs has acquired advanced screening tickets

This first round is for THE GIVER which airs on Wednesday August 13th at Scotia Bank Theatre Chinook at 7:00. To claim your double pass log onto this external site and enter the exclusive Movie Maniacs code TheGiverCal665007. Your voucher will be emailed to you for printing on your home computer. Remember to arrive at the theatre a little earlier and exchange this voucher for an actual ticket at the box office, which will then guarantee you a seat.

We have secured 25 double passes for our followers, but once they are gone, they are gone. But check back in the next 48 hours when I will release a new set of 25 doubles for another big summer release. These passes are for — nah, I'm not gonna tell you — gonna make you keep checking back! Remember, sometime in the next 48 hours!

Thanks to our friends at entONE for the passes.

The 66th Annual Emmys

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

The 66th annual Emmys nominations came out last week, and while there really aren't too many surprises, there are a few glaring omissions. Many of the nominees have been up before and many are previous winners from established series like Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Modern Family, Homeland, Big Bang Theory, Luther, Orange is the New Black, Veep. We have blogged all of these excellent offerings more than once and there is something in here for everybody.

New this year is True Detective, (12 nominations) which I recommended in a Matthew McConaughey post a while back. This is dark, darker, darkest, but if there were better performances this year than Matthew and Woody Harrelson I don't know whose they were. They are both nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and are up against a lot of the usual suspects—Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Daniels. Jon Hamm keeps getting nominated but has never won, Bryan Cranston has already won three, Kevin Spacey has two Oscars, and Jeff Daniels won last year for The Newsroom. Harrelson won for supporting actor way back in 1989 for Cheers and I wouldn't mind at all if he took it home—he also was riveting in True Detective. But my money is on Matthew as his really is a brilliant performance and he is hot off his Oscar win earlier this year.

As far as omissions, to my mind the most egregious was Canadian Tatiana Maslany for Orphan Black. This is a powerful series and deserves its own post, so watch for this in the next few weeks.

The ceremony will be held on Monday August 25. The ceremony is one month earlier than usual due to NBC's conflicts with the broadcast of Sunday Night Football and the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. Comedian and late-night talk show host Seth Meyers will host the show for the first time.



by Moe - 2 Comment(s)

If you haven't started watching Borgen yet, you're missing out on an excellent series. This first aired on Danish television in 2010 and CPL now carries all three seasons. It follows the rise to power of the first female prime minister and her struggles to keep her feet on the shifting sands of a barely stable coalition government. The episodes revolve around the PM and her spin doctor as they try to navigate through the corruption, changing allegiances, scandals and political dilemmas. Counter this with a relentless female reporter who digs deep to get to the truth behind all the spin. A third recurring story line includes a former MP who has turned into a truly reptilian tabloid editor. Machiavellian political machinations abound, there's plenty of sex and scandal and fine, fine acting! The PM, Birgitte Nyborg, is one of the most finely crafted female characters I have seen in years.

One of the things I have always loved about British, European, and Australian television, is that their series tend to be populated with 'real' people. They are not all cookie-cutter perfect like the characters in North American television, with an overabundance of white teeth, chiseled physiques and just-returned-from-the-hair-dresser hair. Although having said this, all the main characters in Borgen are pretty fine looking—plus they can show you really great ways to wear big scarves! But it's not their looks that are going to keep you coming back for more. It's the great acting, the au courant storylines and a look at a political system that makes me so glad we don't have six parties from which to choose.

Unless you speak Danish you will be watching Borgen with sub-titles, but it's worth the effort. This is a BAFTA award winner for the Best International T.V. series, a win for Mrs. PM in the best actress category plus numerous other international awards. I wish it was more than three seasons long and I hope that the U.S. networks leave it alone and don't try to re-imagine it for a North American audience, as they did with the fine British series, House of Cards. The Kevin Spacey version has proved popular but falls far short of the original.

Thanks Sue for bringing this one to my attention.

Monuments Men

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

So the movie night has come and gone and thanks to those who attended. If you didn't make it, make sure to put it on hold.

Join us at 6:30 on July 17th at the Crowfoot branch for the very good 'The Monuments Men'.

Based on a true story, this flm features a tremendous cast of A-listers including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jean DuJardin, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett. It tells the story of an unlikely WW2 platoon, tasked with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces that the Nazis have stolen from private collections, museums and historical buildings.

There are lots of holds on this at the moment, so this is a really good way to avoid the wait. The film is rated PG 13 and runs 118 minutes.

What's all the Hoopla?

by Melanie - 0 Comment(s)

I've been meaning to screen shows on my TV via my phone, and Hoopla, the library's new provider of downloadable movies and music finally pushed me to get it done. All I needed was my smartphone, an HDMI cable, and an adaptor that allows the phone to connect to the cable and charge at the same time so the battery doesn't run down. If you are using a portable device, you will access Hoopla from the app which is a free download from the usual places.

Hoopla has a wide offering of movies, TV shows and documentaries. I was thrilled to see that a movie I'd seen a trailer for years ago but couldn't find anywhere, Grace of My Heart, was right there on the main page. Grace of my Heart has a cast of 90s all-stars (watch Bridget Fonda sing!) and features the always great Ileana Douglas as an aspiring 60s songwriter and the musical movements she influenced.

Almost everything you can imagine appears in the movie selection, and the documentaries offer everything from Lewis and Clark to Kim Kardashian. I checked out West Coast Modern, which had great architect and artist interviews.

Access Hoopla from the Featured Digital Content link on our main library page or via the Hoopla website or app.

I know, I know, there are other sources, but Hoopla is free with your library card and legal! Consider me hooked!


Talking Westerns

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)



Westerns have been a highly popular recurring theme here at Movie Maniacs. After all they are a bit of everything — morality play, cautionary tale, heroic epics, romance, adventure — more often than not set against glorious scenery that takes you back to when the earth was unblemished. And quite often filmed in Calgary and surrounds.

While Vancouver is often used as a location shoot because it can represent just about any large American city (only more beautiful), Cochrane, Longview and Kananaskis are filmed because they capture the unspoiled vistas we associate with a by-gone era. Often to the extent that the location is so powerful it can take on the importance of another character in a film. Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Ang Lee and Brad Pitt have all chosen local areas for westerns.

Some of the more famous are Legends of the Fall, still one of my favourite sagas; Little Big Man, way too campy, but it did have its moments, and the scenery was spectacular; Unforgiven, granddaddy of them all and a big Oscar win for Clint; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, very good performances, especially by Casey Affleck who turned puling into an art form; Brokeback Mountain, which will not be for everybody and is a 'western' only in the sense that they wore western clothes. Until they didn't. Open Range was filmed on the Stoney Reserve in southern Alberta and stars two perennial cowboys, Kevin Costner and Robert Duval.

Which brings us to Hell on Wheels. Filming of the first season took place in Calgary, and areas in central and southern Alberta. The T'suu T'ina Reserve was the location for most of the exteriors. Filming of the third season was suspended part way through when the location was included in the mandatory evacuation due to the 2013 floods. The fourth season's filming will also take place along the Bow and wind up around September 24, 2014.

The film and television industries are an important part of the Alberta economic landscape.The construction of a new $22 million Calgary Film Centre will include 50,000 sq ft of purpose-built sound stages, 20,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space and an additional 15,000 sq ft. for production, props, sets and wardrobes.

Have a wonderful Stampede! If you have visitors, watch one of these westerns and then try and show them the locations!

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