DVDs for Music Lovers

Films about musicians and their music always seem to fascinate audiences. The recent critical and box-office success of Walk the Line, the new film about Johnny Cash, is further evidence of this. The library has a number of great DVDs for music lovers, including Paul McCartney in Red Square, Ray, Bob Marley: the legend live, The Beatles in Washington D.C., Metallica: some kind of monster, Immortal Beloved, and a personal favorite, 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould. And let's not forget This is Spinal Tap. Did I miss any other good ones?

Beowulf: Coming to a theater near you in 2007!

Boy, just what we've been waiting for.

If memories of struggling through Old English epic poetry during your pimply adolescence aren't exactly causing paroxysms of anticipatory glee, consider this: A full-blown animated film about the struggle between Beowulf and the monster Grendel from a script written by Roger "Pulp Fiction" Avary and cult comic writer Neil Gaiman (Sandman), directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away), and starring--well at least the voices of--Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Crispin Glover, and John Malkovich. Does that help? Meanwhile, you might consider Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, left, by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, which includes both Old English and an English translation on facing pages. It's actually a ripping good yarn.

The 800-Pound Gorilla

Are you ready for King Kong? More to the point, is Peter Jackson? This week Entertainment Weekly features a behind-the-scenes look at Jackson as he races to fully and convincingly render his CGI Kong before the December 14 release. Much (including Adrien Brody's career) rides on Jackson's success, but after a little history-making trilogy known as Lord of the Rings, you can bet your banana he'll pull it off. Meanwhile, place your hold on the digitally-remastered 1933 version of King Kong, left, or 1998's Mighty Joe Young (both on order). The original 1949 version of Mighty Joe Young will be here in December.

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.


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).

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