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!


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.

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