Cinema Night Special: Discover Something Different

Somers TownSomers TownLooking to discover something unusual in the world of film? Start your weekend off with something different!

From 7-9pm on Friday, January 18, at the Downtown Library, Cinema Night Special offers you a chance to catch a 70-minute feature, a shorter experimental film, and live music in between, along with free popcorn!

The evening will start with the area premiere of the suspense-filled 2012 German short film Pro Kopf (The Maid). Ann Arbor's No Excuses Band then take the stage to play a set of originals and covers ranging from classic rock to folk and pop.

2008's critically-acclaimed Somers Town, a Best Film nominee at the British Independent Film Awards, will round out the night. This warmhearted portrait of an unlikely friendship between two boys which Empire Magazine called "beautifully modulated" with an "improvised feel, sparky comedy and interest in the truth of youth (that) services a story that's both winning and winsome."

Don't miss this special evening of experimental film and live music!

Wonderful World Languages # 1

Movie goers, musical fans, and book lovers alike have fallen in love with the new film “Les Miserables,” which premiered on December 25 of this past year. Already “Les Mis,” as it is affectionately called by fans, has earned 8 Oscar nominations. To complement seeing the film, try checking out some related materials, including other movie adaptations, broadway performances, complete and abridged books, and sheet music. If you have the gift of understanding French, AADL even has the original novel and a French version of the movie.

For more information about the new movie, please visit their website for photos, production notes, trivia, videos, and more.

We're Not Broke and Other Free Streaming Films from Sundance

Whether it's discussion of the Fiscal Cliff or debates over local governmental priorities, money matters are on the minds of many citizens.

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival documentary, "We're Not Broke" argues that multibillion-dollar American corporations like Exxon, Google and Bank of America are making record profits via "non-taxation through extraordinary representation."

Variety calls this film a "well-researched, brightly presented and provocative argument that the U.S. isn't overtaxed and profligate, but rather a paradise for corporate tax cheats," and now Sundance's Artist Services Program and Hulu have teamed up to make the film available for free online.

The Sundance Artist Services site keeps an updated list of this and other "Now Playing" titles accessible for free via various streaming platforms.

Books in the Oscar Spotlight

The 2013 Academy Award nominations have been decided and it's clear that movies based on books are garnering a lot of attention this year. But which books will prove they are oscar-movie-making material? Many of the award categories have multiple book-based films running against each other. Best Picture nominees alone include Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook. That's some tough competition! How do you compare, Argo (a secret-ops/hollywood masquerade movie) with, say, Les Miserables (a musical version of Hugo's historical epic)? The selection of book adaptations on the ballot offers book-to-movie lovers a variety of genres to choose from. If CIA rescues and revolutionary France aren't your cup of tea, perhaps revisiting the timeless fairy tale, Snow White, sounds more appealing. The brothers Grimm classic is working double-time this year, with two separately produced films, Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, both appearing in the list of nominees.

2013 Oscar nominated movies based on books:

  • Anna Karenina - based on Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
  • Argo - based on Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History, by Antonio J. Mendez
  • The Hobbit - based on The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Les Miserables - based on Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
  • Life of Pi - based on Life of Pi, by Yann Marel
  • Lincoln - based on Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • "Mirror Mirror" & "Snow White and the Huntsman" - both films are based on Snow White, by the Brothers Grimm
  • Silver Linings Playbook - based on The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick
  • The Sessions is not based on a book technically. However, it is based on a short work published by Mark O'Brien in The Sun Magazine.
  • Last, but certainly not least, Skyfall is not based on a single work, like many of the other Bond films, but is nonetheless derived from the Bond series by Ian Fleming.

    For a complete look at Oscar nominees click here.

  • On This Day in History--January 8th: Elvis Presley was born in 1935

    Elvis Presley was born today on January 8th, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. Known to many as the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis got his start in the music industry singing for Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, in 1954. Phillips, who had hoped to find someone who could do justice to the songs and sound of African-American musicians and provide those songs with a broader audience, took Presley under his wing and had him record a few cover songs that made their way onto the radio. They were an instant and overwhelming hit.

    Elvis went on to become one of the most important artists in 20th century pop culture and the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music, releasing dozens of albums and singles, including From Elvis in Memphis and Elvis's Christmas Album. His unique voice, style, and his interpretations of songs from African-American sources made him a wildly popular and highly controversial figure. He made his film debut in Love Me Tender in 1956 and continued to appear in many other films in the years following. Nominated for 14 Grammys, he won three, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.

    Follow the links and you'll find many of Elvis's albums (and a few biographies!) in AADL's collection.

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    Amazon Teen Bestsellers: Life of Pi and The Hobbit

    If you check out the Amazon Best Sellers in Teen Books you'll see #5 is The Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien and #7 is Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I'm thinking that the popularity of these books on teens' Kindles may be fueled by their having seen the two new-ish movies by the same titles and then deciding to read the books. Hurray for reading the books!

    Being Flynn, on DVD

    In Being Flynn, Robert DeNiro and Paul Dano wonderfully portray Jonathan and Nick Flynn, father and son, both writers. Nick hasn’t seen his father in 18 years, then he calls one day seeking help. Nick is resistant, but intrigued and follows through. He finds that his father is still a difficult person to know, for many reasons. In his 20s, Nick is in a transitional phase of his life and finds work in a local homeless shelter. All is going well with his new job and new friends… until Jonathan walks into the shelter one night looking for a bed. Nick battles addiction, a failing new relationship, and trying to have a relationship with his stubborn con-man of a father who creates tension in his workplace. Behind it all, the two share the talent of writing.

    The film is an interesting portrait of the complicated relationship and bond that can exist between parent and child. Not a light story, but this limited release film is a worthy viewing. It is based on author Nick Flynn’s award-winning memoir, also available at AADL.

    On This Day in History--January 3rd: J.R.R. Tolkien was born in 1892


    Author of the incredibly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien was born on January 3rd, 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He died in Bournemouth, England on September 2nd, 1973.

    While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. Tolkien's works painted detailed, colorful images for his readers and his dedication to detailed imagery and his extensive imagination led him to create an entirely new world, now famously known as Middle-Earth. He also constructed fictional histories, detailed legends and intricate languages for his world.Tolkien, who has won countless awards throughout and after his lifetime, was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972. In 2008, The Times newspaper ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945" and Forbes magazine ranked him the 5th top-earning dead celebrity in 2009.

    Tolkien Week, an annual event that celebrates the works and legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien, will take place from September 22nd to September 28th in 2013. The Lord of the Rings series was later adapted into three popular films: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of The King. More recently, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released as the first of a new three-part film trilogy. Follow the links, and you'll find many of Tolkien's books and films in AADL's collection!

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    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows seven retirees who decide to chance their retirement to spending time in a less expensive resort community in India. They arrive expecting lavish amenities, but find that the Marigold Hotel is not quite up to par, and the young, energetic owner does what he can to keep his first guests happy and at the hotel. Many of the guests make the most of it and try to enjoy the life in India, while others yearn to get back home.

    The film features an all-star British cast of actors, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy, as the adventurous group whose lives are forever changed after their visit to India. It's full of laughter, warmth, and touching moments as the characters evolve and grow into new lives. While the film’s goal is to entertain, not necessarily to inspire or awe, it does go to show that life can begin at any age. To quote the young hotel owner, “Everything will be all right in the end and if it's not all right, then it's not yet the end.”

    Award-Winning Documentary: Becoming Santa

    Tuesday December 18, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

    Join us for the delightful 2011 documentary Becoming Santa. This hilarious 93-minute film tells the true story of one ordinary man's quest to become the perfect Santa Claus. Watch his transformation and training at the Professional Santa School!

    Follow stocky, middle-aged Jack Sanderson through his training and preparation and his different Santa gigs. Along the way, we meet many other ordinary people who are keeping alive the Santa spirit as professional Santas.

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