Super Folk!

Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale and Mrs. Cruise, is now available on DVD at the library. Could this be the best movie based off a comicbook ever made? Maybe, but here are some others that were pretty good too: Spider-man, Spider-man 2, The X-men, Hellboy, and The Crow. Of course, the best ever might be the man in blue tights, who'll return in 2006.

Five 5-star Films for Veterans Day

My choice for the all-time best Veterans Day film would have to be the Academy award-winning Best Years of our Lives starring Frederick March and Myrna Loy. Here are a few other films to consider watching tomorrow night: Coming Home from the Vietnam War was a different experience altogether for Jon Voigt and Bruce Dern. The Deer Hunter, starring Robert DeNiro, captures the war's effect on four friends from a working-class Pennsylvania town. In Random Harvest, Ronald Colman plays a WWI shell-shocked amnesia victim with nowhere to go until he meets Greer Garson, and Paul Muni's plans of becoming a master architect evaporate in the cold light of economic realities following WWI in I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang.

National Geographic Awareness Week

The third week in November is National Geographic Awareness Week. To celebrate, check out National Geographic's Most Amazing Moments. Other National Geographic videos in our collection include classic programs such as Tigers of the Snow and For All Mankind, and recent productions such as the Be the Creature series; Welcome to Mars and Guns, Germs and Steel, left, based on the book by Jared Diamond. Coming soon: Inside 9/11 and Strange Days on Planet Earth.

Before you see Aeon Flux...

November is upon us and that can only mean that Hollywood will soon be rolling out its holiday lineup. Personally, I'm looking forward to the live-action version of Aeon Flux. Originally a series of animated short films created for MTV's Liquid Television, Aeon Flux tells the story of an extremely acrobatic female secret agent from a futuristic universe. Charlize Theron will play the title character in the film to be released in early December. We'll see if she can do justice to her animated counterpart. Meanwhile, if you want to take a look at other works by the original series creator, Korean American animator Peter Chung, check out Reign: The Conqueror and "Matriculated" in The Animatrix.

Is Wal-Mart Good For America?

Today on Talk of the Nation guests discussed Wal-Mart's recent efforts to improve its public image in the wake of criticism over treatment of workers and an apparently scathing new documentary titled Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (on order). While you're waiting for the new DVD, you may want to try the 2004 PBS Frontline title Is Wal-mart Good for America?, left.

Pride and Prejudice

Also coming soon, another adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, this time starring Keira Knightley. Surprisingly, this is only the second big screen version of the novel by Jane Austen (the first being the 1940 Hollywood classic starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier), but the Library owns both the 1985 BBC version and the wildly popular 1995 BBC miniseries, left, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. P&P was also the source for the 2004 Bollywood musical Bride and Prejudice.

Jarhead

According to Variety, Jarhead, Hollywood's take on the United States' initial offensive against the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein doesn't come close to David O. Russell's Three Kings. The book, however, written by Anthony Swofford in 2003, is "a witty, profane, down-in-the-sand account of the war" and "a worthy addition to the battlefield memoir genre." (Publisher's Weekly).

Scary movies

Once again, it's that time of the year when people actually want to be frightened out their minds. As far as scary movies are concerned, none are better than the suspenseful thrillers by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. Known as the "Master of suspense," Hitchcock understood better than anyone how to creation tension within a story and keep the viewer completely enthralled for the duration of a film. The library has a very good collection of Hitchcock films on DVD, including personal favorites Vertigo, Rebecca, Notorious, and Strangers on a Train.

Not Formatted to Fit Your TV Screen

As part of his "See What You've Been Missing" campaign, Martin Scorsese has compiled a list of what he considers the Top 10 Movies Best Viewed in Widescreen Format (the preffered format of AADL DVDs): 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ben-Hur (1958), Blade Runner, East of Eden, High and Low, Lawrence of Arabia, Lola Montes (on order), Once Upon a Time in the West, Some Came Running (not yet available on DVD), and Zulu. For more on widescreen vs. fullscreen click Read More, below.

A Brief History of Horror Film

Here are just a few of the high points in the history of cinematic horror...

1920: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: This German expressionist classic would go on to influence horror, science fiction, and film noir.

1922: Nosferatu: Actor Max Schrek, who took his role perhaps a little too seriously, is the creepiest vampire in film history. (Schrek's performance is memorably rendered by Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire.)

1925: Phantom of the Opera: Lon Chaney becomes the first major horror film star.

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