Top of the Park

AASFAASF

Have you been to Top of the Park this year? If not, this week is a perfect opportunity to come on down and support the Ann Arbor Summer Festival!

This week's entertainment includes performances from The Dream Engine (Wednesday -Saturday this week only), enchanting aerialist performers that suspend themselves from a larger-than-life helium balloon, wonderful musical performances, and an ecclectic collaboration of movies at dusk for all to enjoy...and it's all for free!!!

You can view the entertainment schedule at the Festival Website.

Top of the Park is located at Ingalls Mall, directly in front of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies on Washington Street near the Burton Memorial Tower.

The Festival runs till July 6th, so come prepared to dance, sing along and have a good time!

Books to Movies

SpiderwickSpiderwick

The Spiderwick Chronicles is an adaptation of the book series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, that is full of wonder, magic and drama. Two kids are caught up in a parental divorce and find themselves in a spooky new residence where they soon discover surprising and strange things are happening in and around the house which eventually lead to danger and adventure.

Another “book to movie” is Cranford, starring Judi Dench, which is based on the 1851 novel of the same name, by Elizabeth Gaskell. The five episode BBC miniseries interweaves storylines featuring a few gossipy ladies through their daily dramas and happenings on life and love in a small British town in the 1800s. Judi Dench stated that the writing was "inspired" and "extraordinary".

Margot at the Wedding on DVD

MargotMargot

Margot at the Wedding stars Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh as estranged sisters who have a semi-love-hate relationship. Pauline is on the verge of getting married (to an emotional “slacker?” played perfectly by Jack Black) and Margot shows up with her teenage son in tow and has no qualms in speaking her mind on her disapproval of the union. Margot is keen on telling others what is wrong with them and how to live their lives while at the same time she is unstable herself and her own marriage is falling apart. Writer and director Noah Baumbach does a fine job of presenting the dysfunctional family with tenderness and reality. I find it both comforting and disturbing to watch films that showcase less-than-perfect lives and fragile emotional states. But that’s just me.

A Different Kind of Sibling Rivalry

I’m excited that The Other Boleyn Girl is coming out on DVD this Tuesday. Granted, it may not live up to expectations and can’t be nearly as good as the book its based on. Philippa Gregory wove an elaborate and lengthy tale that would be hard to compress into a film, but she explored such an intriquing idea. What if King Henry VIII first “courted” Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary? What if his relationship with both was engineered by Mary’s and Anne’s family? And of course, how do you escape the insanity? The question of how historically accurate it is is another story, but Gregory addresses the issue and speaks about her research on her website. Whether you think it is a good idea or not, Hollywood likes Gregory's novels enough to turn The Boleyn Inheritance into a movie.

Top Selling DVDs on Amazon are hitting AADL

RamboRambo

The summer blockbuster adventure movie season has begun! Wait, you're not caught up on the Holiday blockbusters yet? No fear! They're all hitting DVD about now. Just in time to switch the popcorn to ice cream cones and get watching. Some hot sellers at Amazon are available at AADL. There's a flavor for everyone, from adventure and romance to action or drama. Take a peek at what everyone's watching:
National Treasure 2 - Book of Secrets
P.S. I Love You
The Bucket List
Rambo - The Fight Continues
Cranford
The Great Debaters

New dvds from Amazon

great debatersgreat debaters

Following are dvds listed as "new releases" by Amazon that are currently on order at the Library. Get your name on the hold list now.

The Great Debaters is based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a poet and professor at the all African-American Wiley College in Texas who led his 1935 debate team to victory. Denzel Washington gives a riveting performance as Tolson as does Forest Whitaker as James Farmer Jr's father. Farmer was one of the members of the debate team who went on to found The Congress of Racial Equality.

The Thief of Bagdad. A new 2 disc set of the visually stunning animated film about Prince Ahmad who is exiled from Bagdad by the evil Jaffar. He meets Abu, the thief, and together they take back the kingdom and Ahmad wins back the heart of the beautiful princess.

The South Beach Super Charged Workout. Dr. Arthur Agatston, the creator of the famous South Beach Diet has designed a new exercise program based on the latest research in exercise science so that people can lose weight and stay fit.

Sam Spade will never die.

Today, May 27 is the birthday of two great mystery novelists, Tony Hillerman who was born in 1925 and Dashiell Hammett who was born in 1894. Hillerman, a former journalist and past president of Mystery Writers of America is best known for his mysteries about the Navajo in which Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn chase down culprits in the often brutal sun of the Southwest.

Hammett was best known for his hard-boiled detective novels that featured cynical, fast talking characters who got things done. Hammett based some of his stories on work he had done with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The movie, The Maltese Falcon was based on his book and starred Hunphrey Bogart as Sam Spade.

Director Sydney Pollack Dies at 73

Sydney PollackSydney Pollack

Sydney Pollack, the director, producer, and actor with a career that spanned six decades, died yesterday of cancer at the age of 73. Pollack's career was so varied and rich that few in Hollywood never worked with him and even fewer had less than the greatest of respect for him. Pollack is best known as a director, the guiding force behind such classics as Tootsie, Out of Africa, The Way We Were, and Three Days of the Condor (one of my personal favorites, about a bookish man whose very bookishness is the key to his survival). Pollack was often not just a director but a producer, even lending this talent out to other directors like Anthony Minghella and most recently Tony Gilroy, whose Pollack-produced directorial debut Michael Clayton earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

Pollack always seemed a little more human than most directors because of his willingness to act in films, both his own and others. I feel a little more like I know him from seeing his portrayals of Michael's agent George Fields in Tootsie and the mid-life crisis stricken Jack in Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives. Most directors who appear in their own movies fall somewhere between being like Alfred Hitchcock (silent) or Quentin Tarantino (who we all wish was silent). Pollack was one of the few whose acting equalled his direction and made everything he was in better. He will be missed by all movie lovers.

Not Quite a Mop, Not Quite a Puppet, But Oh, Man…

Catchy songs, cute characters, funny voices, good versus evil, a wonderful moral of friendship and never giving up on dreams: The Muppet Movie works perfectly as a kids’ movie. But when I watched again as an adult, the moral remained just as relevant, the humour just as funny, and the songs remained just as catchy (I like “Movin’ Right Along,” a Fozzie and Kermit duet, as well as “Can You Picture That?” a psychedelic freak-out c/o Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.) The Muppet Movie, though, despite coming out the year The Muppet Show ended, is not a continuation of the sketch comedy show within a show. The movie is indeed the story of Jim Henson’s rise to glory.

Indy is Back!

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens this Thursday, May 22nd, so you may want to start rewatching the old movies to get properly hyped! The library carries all three previous titles: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade. See you at the movie theatre!

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