Oldies But Goodies

The library is always adding new “old” movies to the collection. In case you missed them, be sure to check out:

The Game (1997)
Directed by David Fincher, this thriller is worth a watch. Conrad Van Orton (Sean Penn) meets with his brother Nicholas (Michael Douglas) to give him his birthday gift: an open invitation to participate in a game hosted by a mysterious company. When Nicholas goes to enroll in the game he is rejected from participating due to his psychological profile. Soon afterwards increasingly alarming incidents begin to occur, pulling both brothers into a conspiratorial plot.

Death Comes To Town (2010)
Times are tough in Shuckton, Ontario: On a single day the town’s bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympics is rejected, their mayor is murdered, and Death arrives on a Greyhound Bus. Local citizens sleuth their way to find the mayor’s killer and in the process they unwittingly discover Shuckton’s seedy underbelly. This eight episode mini-series features the comedic genius of The Kids in the Hall.

Happy Birthday Penny!

Actress, producer, and director Penny Marshall turns 69 today! Marshall is probably best known for her acting role as Laverne DeFazio in the hit sitcom Laverne and Shirley, which followed a stint of acting in many other TV shows, some created by brother Garry Marshall. She went on to direct feature films such as Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Big, Awakenings, and A League of Their Own. Big was the first film directed by a woman to gross over $100 million.

My Mother Was Nuts is a new memoir written by Marshall, and it’s a hoot! The book chronicles her childhood, her life in the Bronx with her family, getting started in show business, motherhood, her acting days on Laverne and Shirley, the crazy 80s, her directing days, and her bout with multiple cancers. Marshall had help writing the book, but if you are familiar with her demeanor, it reads like Marshall speaks. It’s not the most in depth book, and it lacks the emotion you’d find in most memoirs. She name drops her celebrity friends like crazy, and after a while the voice of the book reads monotone, and you’re begging for more emotion and detail. But it’s Penny Marshall! So I had to keep reading, and I’m glad I did. This woman makes me laugh, and I enjoyed hearing stories about her “crazy” mother, her dancing days, and particularly the details in directing some of her films. Happy birthday!

Tiny Furniture on DVD

Lena Dunham is the director, writer and star of Tiny Furniture, an independent dramatic feature film released by The Criterion Collection. The film centers around Aura, who has recently graduated from college and returns home to New York to her mother’s house and now has the task of figuring out her life. She struggles with employment, and with her relationships with love interests, as well as her friends and family.

As is the trend of recent low-budget indie films, it is dialog heavy and features a young protagonist finding her way. Aura is deep in the dilemma of being young and aimless, but is also at the point where she knows responsibility should be taken; she just doesn’t know which direction to turn. The film also subtly focuses around her relationship with her mother, who is a grounded and successful artist. Interestingly, Aura’s mother and sister in the film are portrayed by Dunham’s real-life mother and sister, so there’s extra chemistry among the actors.

In addition to sharp dialog, Dunham also blesses viewers with great composition and visually appealing images on the screen. It’s a charming little film, and even though the subject matter is slow and heavy, it’s filled with witty dialog that keeps you amused, and it has a touching ending. As a bonus, The Criterion Collection DVD release also features Dunham’s first feature film, "Creative Nonfiction," and four of her short films.

Gary Collins, actor and host of the Miss America Pageant, has died

Gary Collins, TV and movie actor and longtime host of the Miss America Pageant, died October 13th in Biloxi, MS.

While serving in the Army, Collins was hit with the acting bug with performances on the Armed Forces Network.

During his long acting career, he had roles in such popular TV shows as The Virginian, Charlie's Angels, Perry Mason, The Love Boat and JAG. He a role in the nail-biting plane disaster movie, Airport (1970), starring Burt Lancaster and Jean Seberg.

From 1982 to 1990, Collins hosted the Miss America Pageant.

Mr. Collins, who is survived by his wife of 45 years, actress Mary Ann Mobley, was 74 years old.

Oldies But Goodies

The library is always adding new “old” movies to the collection. In case you missed them, be sure to check out:

The Fly (1986)
Starring a young Jeff Goldblum, this remake of the 1958 original is about an ambitious yet eccentric scientist that has an unfortunate incident involving a fly. This film is sure to please fans of 80's horror films as well as those looking for a good Halloween flick.

Pecker (1999)
Edward Furlong and Christina Ricci costar in this romp from Baltimore to Manhattan as an amateur photographer receives surprising attention from the metropolitan art scene. This John Waters gem covers everything from eating too much candy to exploitation of the homeless. (This is also one of my favorite movies.)

Mo Yan wins the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature

Chinese novelist, Mo Yan, has a huge new addition to his growing collection of impressive awards. The Nobel Foundation announced in Sweden this morning that Mo Yan is the recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature.

In bestowing the honor on one of China's most prominent authors, the Swedish Academy said this: "...[Mo Yan], with hallucinatory realism, merges folk tales, history and the contemporary".

Born in 1955, Mo Yan (which means 'Don't Speak") has an international reputation for his brilliant provocative writings. His 1987 novel, Red Sorghum: A Novel of China, which was translated into English in 1993, is set in the 1930s when Chinese peasants not only fought the Japanese invaders, but they battled each other as well. His movie treatment of this novel resulted in several impressive international awards.

The Garlic Ballads, written in 1988, translated to English in 1995, resulted in being censured by the People's Republic of China for taking the Communist party to task for its cruel corruption.

The New York Times particularly liked his Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, which appeared in the U.S. in 2006. It called this novel of magic realism "...harsh and gritty, raunchy and funny."

Mo Yan receives £741,000 along with his medal.

October's Books to Film

The Paperboy is based on Peter Dexter's novel, the enthralling story of two brothers (Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron) who investigate a case involving a death row inmate (John Cusack). Convinced by a mysterious woman (Nicole Kidman) that the inmate is innocent, the brothers embark on a journey that is filled with betrayal.

Pitch Perfect (PG-13) is based on Mickey Rapkin's Pitch Perfect:The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory. In this new comedy, Beca arrives at her new college, she finds herself not right for any clique but somehow is muscled into one that she never would have picked on her own: alongside mean girls, sweet girls and weird girls whose only thing in common is how good they sound when they sing together. "Loaded with new takes on old favorites to hits of right now that are seamlessly mixed together, mashed-up and arranged like you've never heard before" .

Starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Elizabeth Banks, Rebel Wilson, and directed by Jason Moore of the Broadway sensation Avenue Q, the musical.

Putting a new spin on the Emily Brontë classic, Wuthering Heights is the love story between Heathcliff, a boy taken in by a kind father and Cathy, the farmer's young daughter. This film adaptation promises to be beautiful and evocative, bringing a somewhat more modern take on an old favorite.

Fans of James Patterson's Alex Cross series will be pleased to see the young homicide detective/psychologist (Tyler Perry) coming to life and facing off with a serial killer (Matthew Fox). When the high-stakes game of cat and mouse gets personal, Cross is pushed to the edge of his moral and psychological limits in this taut and exciting action thriller, entitled Alex Cross (PG-13).

Filled with action, romance and mystery, Cloud Atlas (R rated) is a breathtaking adaptation of the novel (also in audio) by David Mitchell - six interwoven stories that leads up to a post-apocalyptic dystopian version of a Pacific Island nation. It explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future, how one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.

Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant.

Alex Karras, former Detroit Lions defensive tackle, and Hollywood actor, has died

Alex Karras, a Detroit Lion for twelve seasons and an actor for many years, died today in Los Angeles.

In 1958, Karras was a first round draft pick for the Lions. He was a member of the Lions' Fearsome Foursome (a term used in pro football to describe the frontline defense. The other Lions players were Roger Brown, Darris McCord, and Sam Williams. Karras was suspended in 1963 for one year when he was caught placing bets on NFL teams. He returned to the team in 1964 and played for seven more years.

In the mid-1970s, he called the plays, with Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell, on ABC's Monday Night Football.

His most memorable Hollywood role was in the the 1974 hit western satire, Blazing Saddles in which he played the Mondo.

He and his real-life wife, Susan Clark, who survives, starred in the TV sitcom, Webster (1983-1987) (the first season is on order), along with Emmanuel Lewis. Karras and Clark played the adoptive parents of the orphaned son of a pro football player.

Karras, who was 77, died from complications due to cancer and dementia.

Ann Arbor Korean Independent Film Festival Screening: Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild

Friday October 5, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The Nam Center and the U-M Screen Arts and Cultures Department, in association with the Museum of Modern Art and The Korea Society, presents the Ann Arbor Korean Independent Film Festival October 4 - 7. While many of the films will be screened on the UM Campus, this 2011 delightful animated film: Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild, (which made box office history by drawing the largest audience for a home-grown animated film in South Korea) will be screened at AADL.

Based on a popular children's book, the film (which is not rated) is the story of freedom, will and instinctive motherly love of a hen as she raises an adopted duckling.

Teen Books to Films

On November 16, 2012 Lionsgate will release the final chapter of the Cullen legacy to theaters with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, where Bella and Edward prepare for battle against the Volturi in order to protect their family. Fans have the next month to revisit their favorite vampire drama in The Twilight Series, including Breaking Dawn the book, as well as Breaking Dawn Part 1 on DVD and Blu-Ray, all of which are available in the AADL collection.

Another smashingly successful teen book that's getting the Hollywood treatment is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is currently being filmed in Hawaii. In this sequel, sharpshooting Katniss once again takes on the oppressive Capitol District, this time with a rebellion brewing around her. Fans have a bit more time to catch up on the action with the book versions of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, as well as the film version of The Hunger Games on DVD and Blu-Ray, for the film sequel isn't expected for release until November 2013. The third book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, now has a confirmed screenwriter, Danny Strong, who will be adapting the book into a Part 1 and a Part 2 to finish the film series.

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