Amazon DVD new releases now at Library

night at the museumnight at the museum

Following are three new dvds highlighted on Amazon's "Hot New Releases" that are available at the Library:

Night at the Museum. Ben Stiller stars as Larry Daley, who, low on funds, takes a job as night watchman at New York City's Museum of Natural History. What the soon-to-retire guards (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs) don't tell him is that an ancient pharaoh's tablet in the museum causes everything on display to come to life at night. (edited from Amazon).

A bit of Australian Cinema

Australian movies set in boarding schools! Who knew! (Both part of the Australian New Wave movement in cinema.) One of them is Flirting (1991). It’s set in 1965 where the laid back, brooding and edgy Danny is trapped in an oppressive “yes sir” boarding school. He is an outsider in his class and he soon befriends the beautiful Ugandan Thandiwe from the girls’ school across the lake. Sparks fly and they spend time sneaking rowboats across the lake to see each other, and soon their young love gets them into trouble.

A bit of a contrast, though also set at an Australian boarding school, is Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975). Peter Weir’s film is more quiet, mysterious and artistic in nature. A group of girls set out for a picnic at Hanging Rock on Valentine’s Day in 1900 and four of them go missing, never return and the mystery is never solved- which makes the film even more compelling. (This film is based on Joan Lindsay’s novel of the same name.) Need more Aussie films?

Wuthering Heights

Our gray rain filled skies bring to mind one of my favorite stories of all time...

Wuthering Heights, the only novel written by Emily Bronte, was published in 1847.

Generally considered a classic, this is a tale about a passionate, turbulent, and ultimately engulfing love affair.

The symbolic setting of the story, which takes place on the Yorkshire Moors, adds an air of apprehension and foreboding to the story. The continually turbulent weather, gives us a glimpse into the romance between Heathcliff and Catherine Linton.

The love affair between Heathcliff and Catherine is brilliantly illumated by Bronte to show us the power of true love. This power can bring about obession, destruction, and misery just as easily as it can bring about euphoria, lust, and bliss.

Neverminding the rain, make yourself a cup of tea, or pour a nice glass of wine. Snuggle down under the softest blanket you can find, and read the novel or watch the DVD. Don't be alarmed if you hear scratching at your window pane or see a beautiful rain soak woman looking in desolately.

Bergman films at Michigan Theater

The Michigan Theater presents another in the Great Director Series. This time up: Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. To quote Bergman, “Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”

The following films will be shown at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor: Wild Strawberries (1957) on January 14, Through a Glass Darkly (1961) on January 21, and Fanny & Alexander (1982) on January 29. See the theater’s website for film details and schedule. (The first film shown in the series, The Seventh Seal, was shown on January 7.)

Lost in...lack of translation

Three years after the birth of my son and I'm still trying to catch up on the great movies I've missed. So last week I sat down to watch two from last year--Volver and The Lives of Others--but after about 20 minutes, after realizing a good 30% of the dialog was missing, I gave up. You watch two characters talk for a full minute, with grand gestures, meaningful facial expressions, even a couple interruptions, and the translation ends up something like, "How are you?" "Fine." Gone are the days when I'd happily trudge to campus to squint through the faded yellow subtitles of a Bergman film; now we get to watch from the comfort of home on large-screen TVs and high resolution DVDs and they don't even give us something to squint through. Argh! I hope it's just an annoying characteristic of Sony Pictures DVDs and not an industry trend.

Amazon's new dvd releases


Following are several titles of dvd's now available at the Library that were recently listed on Amazon's new releases:

Bourne Ultimatum
High School Musical 2
Simpsons Movie

Put your name on the hold list now!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Treat yourself to some laughs during the holidays with some of the great comedies in the Library's dvd collection. Why not try some classic comedy with the likes of W.C. Fields in the two volume W.C. Fields Comedy Collection. In one sequence he plays the Great McGonigle, an unscrupulous manager of a theater company and in another a charlatan intent on charming and duping a rich widow out of her money.

For more comtemporary but not current films, check out Crossing Delancey, a 1997 film with Amy Irving who plays a young woman whose Jewish grandmother interferes in her love life by becoming her matchmaker.

For a skewed look at the upcoming caucus/primary frenzy, try Wag the Dog, a movie starring Dustin Hoffman as the desperate president who starts a war to divert attention from a scandal.

The Kite Runner Readalikes

Kite RunnerKite Runner

There is no doubt that one of the blockbuster films of this holiday season is the much anticipated The Kite Runner.

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) of the American Library Association has just compiled a list of readalikes (fiction and non-fiction) for the novel by Khaled Hosseini.

For 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos, and audio books for teens.

The Last Man Alive

I Am Legend starring Will Smith just opened. It's based on a story of the same name by Richard Matheson. In both the movie and story, Robert Neville survives a deadly disease that has wiped out most of mankind. Most, if not all of those remaining have been turned into Darkseekers, vampire-like creatures. Neville spends his time trying to find a cure for the disease as well as trying to survive in the hostile, post-apocalyptic world. This isn't the first time I Am Legend has been made into a movie. You can see Charlton Heston battles violent, light-sensitive albino mutants as he tries to find a cure for humanity in The Omega Man.

Actually, the story reminds me a lot of a book I'm reading by Max Brooks, World War Z. It's the oral history of those who survived a terrible virus that turned people into mindless zombies! The book is well writen and is very thought provoking.

A Christmas Carol

Well, it is that time of year again....

I am surrounded by versions of my favorite author, Charles Dickens, amazing tale of proverbial proportions, A Christmas Carol.

This is a wonderful story illuminating life, love, selfishness, and redemption.

Through a spiritually induced epiphany, Ebenezer Scrooge, a crotchety miser, is transformed into a life embracing gleeful fellow. Those who know him can hardly believe the overnight transformation, and declare it a miracle!

Tiny Tim's famous line, "God Bless Us, Everyone!", is whiskey sauce on the bread pudding!


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