Hitler's Children

This moving documentary tackles what it means to have a negative family legacy, and how different descendants strive to overcome the guilt they feel for what their ancestors have done. It follows the children and grandchildren of Goering, Himmler, and Frank. They reminisce about their childhood and reflect on memories they have of their relatives. Their stories are riveting and have much to teach those of us who are familiar with history but may not have as much of a personal connection to the narratives that spring from that history.

Some descendants exile themselves like Bettina Goering, who now resides in the Santa Fe desert. The film shows her throwing a get together for friends and neighbors where she celebrates German heritage with traditional German food and music. One gets the impression that she is desperately trying to reclaim the good aspects of her cultural history. Others such at Niklas Frank (son of Hans Frank and Hitler’s godson), have devoted their lives to passionately speaking out against the crimes of their relatives. Frank travels around speaking about the atrocities his parents committed and fervently admonishes them.

If you are interested in this topic and wish to discover more stories and psychological effects of growing up with such relatives make sure to check out Hitler's Children the book, as well as Born Guilty and Legacy of Silence. Also, if you are interested in discovering more about your own family history be sure to check out the ancestry.com library edition that is available at your local AADL branch.

Veronica Mars on the Big Screen

A long time ago, we used to be friends…

And it’s time to think about old friends again, because your favorite teenage detective is back! Yes, she happens to be a marshmallow.

After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the sassy Veronica Mars heads to the big screen on March 14 with The Veronica Mars Movie. The Kickstarter raised a million dollars in the first four hours it was open, and reached the $2 million goal in less than ten hours, leading to funding for the film’s production.

The film centers around Neptune Highs’ ten year reunion, and of course there’s a mystery to be solved. The day it comes out, the film will also be available to rent and buy through video-on-demand and online platforms. The Veronica Mars Movie will be the first film distributed in theaters and for home viewing at the same time in the United States by one of Hollywood's six major studios.

The Veronica Mars TV show, starring the adorable Kristin Bell, ran for three seasons. The show was set in the wealthy town of Neptune where the rich kids (AKA the 09-ers) rule the school. But the fearless and smart Veronica is always there to outwit them and even date them. The teen private eye is always into everyone’s business solving the town’s mysteries. Each season had a mystery that lasted the season, while at the same time featured additional weekly mysteries that needed solving. It’s such a fun show and I can’t wait to see the film!

Oscar Winners on DVD & Blu-ray

Last night was the 86th Academy Awards and Hollywood put on a big show as usual. Ellen DeGeneres hosted and ordered pizza while Brad Pitt passed out plates, Benedict Cumberbatch photobomed U2, Jennifer Lawrence tripped again, and Lupita Nyong'o was simply adorable as she danced to Pharrell William’s song Happy.

Top honor went to Twelve Years a Slave for Best Picture, which was one of three awards for the film, including best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay. Gravity won seven awards, the most of any film, including a Best Director win for Alfonso Cuarón.

Frozen won for Animated Feature, Twenty Feet From Stardom won Documentary Feature, The Great Beauty won Foreign Language Film.

Here’s a list of Best Picture Winners from over the years, as well as a list of 2014 nominees for Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, and Foreign Language Film that AADL has in the catalog.

Get on the hold lists and prepare for happy watching!

Film: "Going Blind"

Sunday June 15, 2014: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up

Documentary film of personal stories about coping with vision loss, and bringing awareness to low vision therapy. This film will be shown with the Described Video Service narration feature for people with low or no vision.

Mary and Max

When I read the news of Philp Seymour Hoffman’s passing I did a quick mental inventory of the movies I’ve seen that he is in, there are so many. The one that sticks out the most, and that I think he got the least amount of credit for, is the animated film Mary and Max. The film takes place from 1976 to 1998 and tells the story of the unlikely pen-pal friendship that lasts for 22 years between Mary (Toni Collette), a lonely 8-year-old girl who lives in Australia, and Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a 44-year-old, severely obese, secular Jew atheist with Asperger syndrome who lives in New York City. The central focus of the movie is the letters shared between Mary and Max and the stories behind their life and the lives of people around them. This dark comedy deals with very mature themes, such as death/suicide, mental health, and dark depictions of childhood innocence. It also deals with the themes of love, friendship and forgivness is a way that will leave you thinking about it long past the 92 minutes it will take to watch it.

Shirley Temple Black, America's Favorite Child Star, Dies at 85

Shirley Temple, Curly Girl

Shirley Temple sang and danced her precocious heart off for America in the 1930s and 40’s and is the single most popular child-star in film history. Shirley made 23 films during the Great Depression and made Americans smile through some very dark times.

She rose to international fame in 1934’s Bright Eyes and charmed the pants off audiences in a series of films where she was often an orphan with a plucky, “can-do” attitude about life. Shirley’s characters were always precocious with more common sense than any of the adults. Her most successful collaboration was with legendary African-American actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. They starred in four films together: The Little Colonel, The Littlest Rebel, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Just Around the Corner. Their staircase dance number in “The Little Colonel” stands out as a classic musical moment in film history.

Frances Ha on DVD & Blu-Ray

Directed by Noah Baumbach, and written and Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha follows the story of a twenty something New York woman, portrayed by Gerwig, who is a bit lost in life. Her best friend and roommate Sophie is moving on with her fella, leaving Frances to find an alternative. While working at a local dance company, she finds a new apartment with some friends, has money trouble, visits her parents, and heads back to New York. She continues to have fun while not quite accept the reality that is around her. In this Criterion Collection indie film Frances is a lively character and you can’t help but root for her as she fumbles through life decisions.

Austenland

Austenland is a new movie based on the novel written by Shannon Hale. The novel’s protagonist is Jane Austen obsessed Jane Hayes. Jane is in her 30's when her great aunt dies leaving her a large amount of money. The catch is that the money must be spent on a vacation involving an English resort that panders to the Austen lovers of the world. During her vacation Jane searches for a Regency era gentleman to fall in love with and hopes to rid herself of her dreams of Mr. Darcy by the end of the vacation. The goal is to return to her life without comparing all men to Mr. Darcy. Will she succeed or will the insanity of this absurd vacation only further her obsession?

The twelve year old girl living inside of me giggled manically when she saw the preview for this movie. It has received mixed reviews and the negative ones are generally written by significant others who were dragged to a screening against their will. It will most likely be overly cheesy, but what can you expect from a movie centered on Jane Austen obsession. At that point isn’t the cheesiness part of the fun?

Blackfish on DVD & Blu-ray

Blackfish is a controversial documentary on a dark and controversial subject matter. The disturbing, engaging and mainly one-sided film focuses on the danger of keeping wild animals, namely killer whales, in captivity and the danger is poses to trainers who work with the animals. Much of the film is about Tilikum, an orca held by SeaWorld, and the incidents that happened involving the animal, including three deaths. It exposes SeaWorld, a lack of communication within the organization, and harmful accidents and fatalities involving various staff working with orcas in captivity. The film tells the story using archival footage and interviews with former trainers. While critically acclaimed and a hit at Sundance, the film was not nominated last week for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Oscar nods to films based on books


This year's Academy Award nominations include 5 out of 9 best pictures that are based on books, all of them non-fiction.

Have a read while you await the award show on March 2 (and don't miss AADL's Academy Awards Preview on Wednesday, February 26 at 7 pm at the Downtown Library).

12 years a slave based on the book by Solomon Northrup
American Hustle based on the book, the Sting Man: inside Abscam
Captain Phillips based on the book, A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips
Wolf of Wall Street based on the book of the same name by Jordan Belfort
Philomena based on the book Philomena : a mother, her son, and a fifty-year search by Martin Sixsmith

Other award nominated movies based on books include:
Inside Llewelyn Davis based on the book Mayor of Macdougal Street : a memoir (nominated for cinematography & sound mixing)
Lone Survivor based on the book Lone survivor : the eyewitness account of Operation Redwing and the lost heroes of SEAL Team 10 (nominated for sound mixing)
Dirty Wars based on the book Dirty wars : the world is a battlefield (nominated for best documentary feature)

Lastly one play to film was nominated:
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Meryl Streep is nominated for best actress & Julia Roberts for best supporting actress)

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