Holiday Films For The Little Ones

This time of year the hold lists grow for certain movies and TV show episodes that many wish to view. The good news is that there are plenty of cheery holiday DVDs on the shelves sure to please the kiddies. Here’s a list of some currently available DVDs, including A Flintstones' Christmas carol, Madeline's Christmas & other wintery tales, Frosty's winter wonderland, Curious George: A very monkey Christmas, Thomas & friends. Merry Christmas Thomas, and Strawberry Shortcake: Berry, merry Christmas. For more titles, here's a larger list of youth and adult holiday DVDs that AADL owns.

December's Books to Film

Lay the Favorite (MPAA Rating: R) , Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn star in this adaptation of Beth Raymer's Lay the favorite: a memoir of gambling who transforms from a stripper in Tallahassee to gambler's assistant in Las Vegas,working for Dink, one of the most successful sports gamblers in the business.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (MPAA Rating: PG-13), yet another adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit : or, There and back again. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage star in this adventure of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

Jack Reacher (MPAA Rating: PG-13) is based on Lee Child popular thriller series featuring Jack Reacher, a drifter and a former US Army Police major with authority issues. This feature film is adapted from the novel One Shot. The selection of Tom Cruise to play Reacher has been highly controversial, and you don't want to know what I think.

When a gunman takes five lives with six shots, all evidence points to the suspect in custody. On interrogation, the suspect offers up a single note: "Get Jack Reacher!" So begins an extraordinary chase for the truth, pitting Jack Reacher against an unexpected enemy, with a skill for violence and a secret to keep.

Needing no introduction is the highly anticipated release of Les Misérables (MPAA Rating: PG-13) based on Victor Hugo's novel. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, it tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption --- a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Hugh Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's (Anne Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), their lives change forever.

Local Premiere: Indie Game: The Movie

Thursday December 13, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Indie Game: The Movie, the first feature documentary film about making video games, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and is a New York Times Critics' Pick.

This fascinating documentary profiles the underdogs of the video game industry - indie game developers - who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dream to share their visions with the world.

Four developers, three games, and one ultimate goal -- to express oneself through a video game!

The Hobbit Is Back Again

Are you ready?! J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic tale of The Hobbit is being released as a feature film trilogy, and this Friday the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opens in theaters. It’s amazing to think that The Hobbit was released in book form in 1937!

For some this means preparing by rereading the book, or watching film versions of the 3 books that followed The Hobbit known as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which includes The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King. Those 3 films were directed by Peter Jackson, and he’s back to direct The Hobbit Trilogy as well. It’s been a decade since Jackson last had us watching Tolkein on the big screen, so the new films have been highly anticipated. This film also features new technology! Films have been shot at 24 frames per second for 90 years, and now we have a mainstream film that at select theaters will be shown at the high frame rate (HFR) of 48 frames per second, and in 3D. There's debate over the quality of this format and as to whether or not it is actually a more complete film experience. I personally plan to see it the plain old-fashioned way of 24fps and in 2D.

What are we talking about? The Hobbit, Or There and Back Again is the story of a conservative hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who heads off on an epic quest to reclaim Lonely Mountain and its treasure from the dragon Smaug. Along the way is high adventure and many encounters with other creatures, namely the band of dwarves that he travels with. It is on this journey that Bilbo meets the creature Gollum, and where he first lays hands on “the one ring” that changes his life, and that of Middle Earth, for all time.

For the super fans there are some new informational books that accompany the film, including:

The hobbit: An unexpected journey : official movie guide
The hobbit : An unexpected journey : the movie storybook
The hobbit: The unexpected journey : the world of the hobbits
The hobbit: An unexpected journey : visual companion

Moonrise Kingdom, on DVD

Moonrise Kingdom, written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, is director Wes Anderson’s seventh film. Set on an island off the coast of New England in 1965, the film centers around twelve-year-old Sam Shakusky, an orphan who is attending scout camp for the summer. The previous year Sam met fellow twelve-year-old Suzy Bishop and she is heavily in his thoughts this summer. Both outsiders, they exchange letters as they begin to fall in love and eventually make a pact to meet. With Sam armed with camping gear and Suzy armed with a suitcase of stolen library books, the two meet and set off to run away together. Meanwhile, Suzy’s family and Sam’s scout troop are on the hunt to track them down. After many comedic adventures among all involved, a mammoth storm, and many twists and turns, the youths are found, and whimsical drama ensues.

For those familiar with Anderson’s film style, Moonrise Kingdom fits the bill for image, mood, and soundtrack. Other typical Anderson-isms include quirky characters, witty dialog, and a wonderfully charming story. This one piqued my interest because the main protagonists are children, while Anderson’s films usually feature dysfunctional adults. It is a rare treat to see him create the world of these sophisticated children. The film gets bonus points for starring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, and Frances McDormand.

Life Boats and Tigers and Boys - Oh My!

Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel that follows a young man through a perilous journey – both physically and psychologically – and shows that life, no matter how tragic and hopeless it can seem, is always worth fighting for.

Pi Patel, the title character in Yann Martel's 2001 novel, is not an ordinary teenager. He is a practicing Hindu, Muslim, and Christian, and grew up with his parents and brother in a zoo in Pondicherry, India. When Pi is sixteen years old, his family decides to sell the zoo and move to Canada due to political unrest in India. A few days into the journey the family's ship sinks, and Pi finds himself the sole human survivor on a life boat with an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Soon, Pi is left alone in the life boat with the tiger. The two set out across the Pacific on a journey that explores faith, strength, and the line between the truth and the stories we tell ourselves in order to cope with the tragedies and triumphs of life.

The much-anticipated film version of "Life of Pi" is scheduled for release in late November. Take a look at the film's website.

November's Books to Film

Anna Karenina, is the adaptation of the classic 19th century novel by Leo Tolstoy It explores the capacity for love. As one woman questions her happiness and marriage, change comes to all around her. Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson star in this holiday blockbuster.

Based on Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, Hitchcock is story of Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and collaborator, Alma Reville, during their most daring filmmaking adventure --- that of Psycho. The story of their love and marriage is interwoven with the trials and tribulations involved in changing the genre of horror forever. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson.

Director Ang Lee's new epic Life of Pi is based on the Man Booker Prize winner by Yann Martel in which Pi, a zookeeper's son finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sets them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

Steven Spielberg helms his long-in-the-making biopic of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, with Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. Tony Kushner penned this adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: the political genius of Abraham Lincoln which chronicles the President's time in office between 1861 and 1865 as he dealt with personal demons and politics during the Civil War.

Midnight's Children is the adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel. On midnight of the night India declares independence, two boys are born. One to a wealthy couple and one to a poor couple. However, when the boys are switched in the hospital, they are fated to live one another's lives tied in with the new life of India as an independent country.

Life doesn't always go according to plan. Pat Solatano has lost everything - his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother and father after spending eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat's parents want is for him to get back on his feet - and to share their family's obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Julia Stiles star in this adaptation of Matthew Quick's The Silver Linings Playbook.

The Pirates!: Band of Misfits

From the animation studio that brought you Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run is a new high-seas adventure for the whole family!

Based on a book by Gideon Defoe, The Pirates!: Band of Misfits is the story of Pirate Captain and his crew, and their unsuccessful attempts at winning the coveted Pirate of the Year Award. Loot is what they need, and they haven't had the best of luck at getting it, but that all changes when they mistakenly pillage the research ship of Charles Darwin. He doesn't have any loot, either, but he has something better: a plan!

Check it out on DVDor Blu-Ray!

Veterans Day Program - Oscar Nominated Film: Hell And Back Again

Tuesday November 13, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This Oscar-nominated documentary Hell and Back Again (not rated) expertly captures both the extraordinary drama of war and, for a generation of soldiers, the no-less-difficult experience of returning home to loved ones as a veteran.

The film covers a traumatic attack upon Sergeant Nathan Harris' unit and then follows his challenging return home. His agony deepens as he attempts to reconcile the gulf between his experience of war and the terrifying normalcy of life at home.

Film & Discussion: Encounter Point

Thursday November 8, 2012: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

Created by a Palestinian, Israeli, North American, and Brazilian production team, this award-winning documentary Encounter Point is the story of an Israeli settler, a Palestinian ex-prisoner, a bereaved Israeli mother and a wounded Palestinian bereaved brother who risk their safety and public standing to press for an end to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

For two years, the Just Vision film crew followed the stories of ordinary people who feel driven to work for an end to bloodshed and occupation in favor of peace.

A post-film community discussion will follow. This event is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars Program. This event is for Grade 9-Adult.

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