'Crocodile Hunter' killed by stingray

Steve Irwin, the energetic 'Crocodile Hunter' and wildlife warrior, died over the weekend after being stung by a stingray while snorkeling off the Austrailian coast. Irwin was filming pieces for a show called "Ocean's Deadliest" with Phillippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau.

What season are you watching?

According to Amazon.com's Top Sellers list, T.V. is tops. Check out these popular television series titles on DVD to find out what all the fuss is about or to catch up in time for next season.

1. Lost
2. Arrested Development
3. Grey's Anatomy
4. House M.D.
5. Desperate Housewives
6. Nip/Tuck
7. South Park
8. Rome
9. Veronica Mars

Great Shorts!

A discussion on the importance of short films in American cinema will take place here at AADL on Wednesday, August 30, 7-8:30 p.m. (check here for details). Meanwhile, AADL has several great collections of short films on DVD, including:

Franz Kafka's It's A Wonderful Life...and Other Strange Tales
More Treasures from the American Film Archives, 1894-1931
Shorts! 15 Award-winning Film Festival Shorts
The 75th Annual Academy Awards Short Films

And my personal favorite: Curly Classics

Idlewild

According to Sunday's Ann Arbor News, Idlewild, the new film opening this week, is named after the famous Lake County Michigan resort, otherwise known as the Black Eden of Michigan in the 1920s and '30s and the Summer Apollo of Michigan in the 1950s and '60s. Idlewild, Michigan, hosted great jazz acts in its day, including Duke Ellington, and was the vacation spot of choice for such black luminaries as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Even W.E.B. Du Bois owned a home there. But the film itself is set in Georgia and its "Idlewild" is a small-town speakeasy. It does take place during the same period and features the music of OutKast (a bit of a historical stretch, but oh well). So far, reviews are mixed but Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-.

You can read more about the real Idlewild in Idlewild: the Black Eden of Michigan by Ronald J. Stephens.

2006 Emmy Awards

Conan O'Brien hosts the Emmy Awards this Sunday, August 27, at 8:00 p.m. Here are a few of this year's contenders:
Made for TV Movies:
Flight 93 (on order, September)
Flight that Fought Back (not yet available)
The Girl in the Cafe
Mrs. Harris (on order, September)
Yesterday (on order, September)
Drama series
Grey's Anatomy
House
Sopranos
24
West Wing

Check out the Emmy Awards website or the Saturday Ann Arbor News for a complete listing.

Looking for a great documentary?

Tarnation is the true life story of Jonathan Caouette's childhood with a schizophrenic mother. Made up of snapshots, Super-8, answering machine messages, video diaries, and early short films, this film is unlike anything else I have seen. Visually, this documentary is amazing, especially knowing it was edited with Apple's free program "imovie". If you are looking for a change from traditional cinema, certainly, give Tarnation a look!

Fall Film Fever

Coming to theaters on October 20:
Fast Food Nation: Director Richard Linklater (Waking Life, Dazed and Confused) takes on the controversial 2001 book by author Eric Schlosser. Also, Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood, written by Paul Haggis (director of last year's Oscar winner, Crash), and adapted from James Bradley's book, tells the story of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima.

Coming to theaters on November 17: Bobby, directed by Emilio Estevez, follows the stories of 22 people who were at the Ambassador Hotel when U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on June 6, 1968.

New 4-star DVDs

Here are four 4-star titles recently purchased by the Library.

Windsor Castle: A Royal Year chronicles a year in the life of the world's oldest working castle. "A must-see for Anglophiles and royal watchers" (Booklist).

John and Abigail Adams is based heavily on the extraordinary correspondence between the second President and his wife. "Combining fine on-location shooting, solid dramatic recreations...this is highly recommended." (Video Librarian).

History of Black Achievement in America uses dramatic recreations, archival footage, stills and artwork to produce "an outstanding eight-part series that brings much-needed balance, highlighting the exemplary contributions of African Americans to U.S. society and culture" (Video Librarian).)

Castro on Film

On Monday, prior to undergoing major surgery, 79-year-old Fidel Castro handed the reins to his brother, Raúl, leading many to wonder if it will soon be Springtime for Cuba? Now seems a good time to look back at the man on film. The Library carries the following DVDs: 2005's Fidel Castro and Fidel Castro: El Comandante. For more flavor, there's 1974's Waiting For Fidel; El Che; and various films detailing the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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