Short Stories to Films

Away from Her, a film by twenty-something, first-time director Sarah Polley is based on the story The Bear Came Over the Mountain in Alice Munro’s Carried Away : A Selection of Stories. Starring Julie Christie as Fiona, a woman whose Alzheimer’s disease devastates a long-standing marriage, it is a film not to be missed.

Jindabyne, starring Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne as a married couple, is based on Raymond Carver’s short story So Much Water So Close to Home, found in his Short Cuts: Selected Stories. This Carver classic opens with the discovery of a dead body on the river by a group of sport fishermen and the effects of one questionable decision made on their families and the Jindabyne community. This Australian import was filmed around New South Wales.

Both films open nationally early May. Check your local listings.

Charles Baxter's "Soul Thief" Coming Out Next Year

Former Ann Arborite and U-M creative writing teacher Charles Baxter has a short novel coming out next year, “Soul Thief,” about a person who slips into someone else’s personality. And a film based on Baxter’s novel The Feast of Love is due to be released in September, according to StarTribune.com. The article says Baxter, who lives in Minneapolis, is turning 60 next week. Happy birthday!

Hot Foreign Language Titles on DVD

Among the most popular foreign titles recently purchased by the Library are three Hindi language films, Baabul (not to be confused with Babel), Don, and Khosla Ka Ghosla; and the Spanish hit Volver. Currently on order--and also on demand--are: The Aura (Spanish) and The Petit Lieutenant (French).

To find other foreign language films in our collection, use the language as your keyword choice (e.g. "Italian language") and choose "DVD" under Material Field.

Now Filming

The movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis' Prince Caspian is schedule to come out on May 16, 2008. Be sure to check out our wide selection of Narnia books as you get ready for next year's movie release.

Raves for Jeff Daniels on Broadway

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A rave review from none other than Ben Brantley of the New York Times for Jeff Daniels performance in the Broadway play, Blackbird, "a drama that promises to be the most powerful of the season." The New York Times is available full-text online via the AADL Research database page.

Consider this: Christopher Guest + Documentaries = Funny

Forget your average documentaries. Documentaries + funny = mockumentaries. Christopher Guest has directed and co-written his way to perfecting the mockumentary. His latesty knee-slapper is For Your Consideration. The movie is about an indie movie that is being filmed and a buzz begins about one of the performers as a possible Oscar nominee. The film revolves around how the Oscar buzz effects the other members of the cast and production crew. More mockumentaries from Guest's hands, and also available at the library, are Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and Waiting For Guffman. For extra fun, check out This Is Spinal Tap. Guaranteed laughs!

"It Happened One Night" over and over

On February 22, 1934, Frank Capra's film, "It Happened One Night" was released. This screwball comedy starring Claudette Colbert as a spoiled heiress and Clark Gable as a cocky reporter was the first film to sweep the the Academy Awards which, by the way, are presented this Sunday, February 25 at 8 p.m. on ABC. The movie became a standard for other romantic comedies of the period like "Bringing Up Baby" with Katherine Hepburn and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Carole Lombard. And Capra became known as a master of the comedy genre.

DVD Top sellers on Amazon.com

Here are the latest Amazon.com Top Sellers available in our collection. The cast of The Departed looks pretty impressive, although a role for Robert DeNiro would have been icing on the cake. But I guess he can't be in every Martin Scorsese film. Drat! Speaking of which, maybe Scorsese will finally take the Oscar for Best Director home this year at the 2007 Academy Awards, which are scheduled to air next Sunday, February 25th. Who are you rooting for?

The Departed
Flags of our Fathers
An Inconvenient Truth
Little Miss Sunshine
The Illusionist
Marie Antoinette
Babel
The Guardian
The Prestige

DVD Titles for Black History Month

Here are just a few of the standout titles we've recently purchased for Black History Month.

Eyes on the Prize I: This landmark series is finally available on DVD. We also own Eyes on the Prize I and Eyes on the Prize II on VHS.

African American Lives: A compelling combination of storytelling and science, this series uses genealogy, oral histories, family stories and DNA to trace roots of several accomplished African Americans down through American history and back to Africa.

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till: The film that helped reopen one of history's most notorious cold case civil rights murders is the result of the director's 10-year journey to uncover the truth.

A History of Black Achievement in America: This eight-part series highlights the many contributions of black Americans that have influenced and shaped the history of the United States.

And the Nominees are...

The Oscar nominations came out Tuesday and, as usual, there were plenty of surprises, most notably the absence of Dreamgirls in the Best Picture category. Most titles are not yet available on DVD, but you can check out Little Miss Sunshine (on order) or Meryl Streep's nominated performance in The Devil Wears Prada. We also own this year's top contender in the Best Animated Feature category, as well as Monster House. My favorites for actress and actor this year are Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker.

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