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!


Superbad New to DVD

Following in the footsteps of Can’t Hardly Wait and Dazed and Confused, and inspired in part by Super Troopers, is Superbad new to DVD. Although it covers familiar territory, namely the adventures of high school friends at the end of their senior year, complete with untouchable, popular girl love interest and the requisite epic parents-are-out-of-town house party, it is still well worth checking out.

My Secret Addiction

For several years, I suffered from addiction. My poison came not in a bottle, but in the form of biopics about musicians. The cheesier and made-for-TV-ier, the better, I felt. Sure Walk The Line and Ray honoured Johnny Cash’s and Ray Charles’s musical legacy while making them appear as three dimensional humans, but these movies didn’t do it for me. In fact, the past few years, Hollywood has left my addiction far from sated. But good news for me and everyone else with this disease (that’s right, CDC, addiction is a disease; live with it!) Jake Kasdan, son of U of M alum Larry Kasdan, has teamed up with Judd Apatow and filmed Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

Books to Films - December Blockbusters

Ian McEwan’s Atonement on which the film is based recounts events in the unusually hot summer of 1935, when a privileged young woman’s vivid imagination and recklessness forever alters her life and lives of those she loves. Film critics are loving “the stunning landscapes and gorgeous camerawork”.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman is part of a trilogy called “His Dark Material”, set in a parallel universe. The series has often been compared to the Harry Potter novels. The movie is churning up some controversy on both sides of the border for its anti-Catholic bias. Be your own judge and check out the New York Times Review. Better yet, go see the movie.

At long last - the much-anticipated The Kite Runner is here. It's based on Khaled Hosseini’s popular novel that traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day. Read the latest news on what is happen with the young actors.

One Streetcar at least still exists

Today, December 3, is the 60th anniversary of Tennessee William's play, A Streetcar Named Desire. The play opened on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on this day in 1947. Jessica Tandy played Blanche Du Bois and newcomer Marlon Brando played Stanley. Streetcar was as successful as his previous play, The Glass Menagerie. It ran for two years and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Brando was an overnight sensation and the play's first performance received a twenty minute standing ovation.

Doctor Zhivago

This time of year always makes me think of the film Doctor Zhivago. The winter comes, and I have visions of fur bearing Omar Sharif standing alone with Julie Christie in a beautiful abandoned ice house.

This epic movie, based on the novel by Boris Pasternak, was origianlly released in 1965.

Doctor Yuri Zhivago, played by Omar Sharif, is a man torn between two women. Although married, Yuri meets nurse Lara, played by Julie Christie, and falls in love with her. The chaos and inhumanity of the Russian revolution add a tragic feel to this movie.

Doctor Zhivago was update in 2003 as a miniseries, starring Sam MacLintock as Yuri, and Keira Knightley as Lara. Check out this version as an updated alternative to the original.

Once banned in the Soviet Union, this film is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous love stories. It is a must see for your winter movie watching!

The official FFG rating of this film is a 10.

New DVD's

Following are a few of Amazon's new releases on dvd that we have at tthe Library: (Descriptions are from Amazon.com)

Ocean's Thirteen:
"It's bolder. Riskier. The most dazzling heist yet. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and more reteam with director Steven Soderbergh for a split-second caper that stacks the deck with wit, style and cool."

Amazing Grace:
"From the makers of Ray, AMAZING GRACE tells the inspiring story of William Wilberforce and his passion and perseverance to pass a law ending the slave trade in the late 18th century. Several friends, including Wilberforce's minister, a reformed slave ship captain who penned the beloved hymn Amazing Grace, urge him to see the cause through."

La Vie en Rose:

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