Veterans Day Program - Oscar Nominated Film: Hell And Back Again

Tuesday November 13, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This Oscar-nominated documentary Hell and Back Again (not rated) expertly captures both the extraordinary drama of war and, for a generation of soldiers, the no-less-difficult experience of returning home to loved ones as a veteran.

The film covers a traumatic attack upon Sergeant Nathan Harris' unit and then follows his challenging return home. His agony deepens as he attempts to reconcile the gulf between his experience of war and the terrifying normalcy of life at home.

Film & Discussion: Encounter Point

Thursday November 8, 2012: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

Created by a Palestinian, Israeli, North American, and Brazilian production team, this award-winning documentary Encounter Point is the story of an Israeli settler, a Palestinian ex-prisoner, a bereaved Israeli mother and a wounded Palestinian bereaved brother who risk their safety and public standing to press for an end to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

For two years, the Just Vision film crew followed the stories of ordinary people who feel driven to work for an end to bloodshed and occupation in favor of peace.

A post-film community discussion will follow. This event is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars Program. This event is for Grade 9-Adult.

James Bond: Pushing 60 and Still Looking Good

Everyone's favorite suave secret agent, James Bond, is headed back to the big screen with the upcoming release of Skyfall. The new flick stars Daniel Craig in his third outing as Bond, alongside a killer cast including Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem as the newest Bond villain, and Ben Whishaw in his debut as the gadget-master Q. The flick, which continues to dig into Bond's origins as seen previously in 2006's Casino Royale, has been receiving early critical acclaim as one of Agent 007's best. Opening in theaters everywhere November 9, Skyfall happens to come out exactly 50 years after the original Bond movie, Dr. No, which starred Sean Connery in 1962.

But before Skyfall arrives in theaters, AADL's collection offers plenty of ways to celebrate Mr. Bond's big birthday--and another even bigger 007 milestone. WhilJames Bond: Daniel Craig as James Bond.James Bond: Daniel Craig as James Bond.e Bond may be 50 in movie years, he's existed on the printed page for almost 60. Casino Royale, the original Bond story by Ian Fleming, was published in 1953 and is available via the AADL catalog. Fleming went on to write 14 James Bond books. His final one, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, was published in 1966, two years after his death. Fleming's series has been followed by numerous additional Bond books by authors including Jeffery Deaver, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Charlie Higson (who wrote the Young Bond series for teens).

And for those looking to get caught up on the movies, AADL has Bond flicks from the original Dr. No to 2008's Quantum of Solace. For true devotees, try the original 1967 film adaptation of Casino Royale, a wacky spoof of spy films with an all-star cast including David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, George Raft, and Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Oldies But Goodies

The library is always adding new “old” movies to the collection. In case you missed them, be sure to check out:

Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)
Los Angeles, 2019: Rick Deckard of the LAPD's Blade Runner unit prowls the steel & microchip jungle of the 21st century. His job is to track down and eliminate assumed humanoids known as 'replicants.' Replicants were declared illegal after a bloody mutiny on an Off-World Colony, and are to be terminated upon detection. He wants to get out of the force, but is drawn back in when six "skin jobs," the slang for replicants, hijack a ship back to Earth. The city that Deckard must search for his prey is a huge, sprawling, bleak vision of the future. Fun fact: the production designer for Blade Runner also designed the set for the doomed filming of Super Mario Brothers, which starred a shell-shocked Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Based on Ira Levin's bestselling novel, Mia Farrow plays a young mother-to-be who grows increasingly suspicious that her over-friendly elderly neighbors and self-involved actor husband are hatching a satanic plot against her and her baby.

Russell Means, activist/advocate for Indian rights, has died

Russell Means, the Oglala Lakota Indian (Means said the designation "Sioux" was derogatory) whose controversial political activism on behalf of America's Indian tribes first became headlines in the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, died today on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Born on Pine Ridge in 1939, Means' transfer to a nearly all-white California high school resulted in daily relentless bullying. First Means fought back, then he fell into alcohol and substance abuse for several years before getting his footing in 1969 at the American Indian Center in Cleveland, OH. It was in Ohio that Means met Dennis Banks, co-founder of the new American Indian Movement.

In 1972, Means and other prominent Indian activists organized a mass demonstration on Washington, D.C. to coincide with the election. The housing they were promised by the Department of Interior was rat-iinfested and overcrowded so the demonstrators took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs and renamed it the Native American Embassy.They were evicted four days later when they were promised that investigations of programs that were supposed to help Indians would take place.

Three months later, Means and 200 armed supporters began a 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee where, in 1890, the U.S. military massacred more than 300 men, women, and children of the Sioux/Lakota tribe.Several weeks later, Means went to Washington, D.C. to try to broker an end to the siege. He was arrested and jailed when he rejected the unconditional surrender offer. The remaining protesters surrendered on May 8th, 1973. Means and other principles talked about this action in the 2005 documentary Wounded Heart: Pine Ridge and the Sioux.

His 1974 trial for his role in Wounded Knee ended after seven months when the Judge dismissed all charges after it was revealed that a member of Means' own defense team was an FBI informant who supplied information to the prosecution.

In 1994, Means sought the limelight on the silver screen. He played Chingachgook in the 1992 move, The Last of the Mohicans. Means' autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means, was published in 1995. He used this venue to rail against the term 'Native Americans' and the whole notion of Native American Heritage Month.

Means was just a few weeks shy of his 73rd when he died of esophegeal cancer.

Oldies But Goodies

The library is always adding new “old” movies to the collection. In case you missed them, be sure to check out:

The Game (1997)
Directed by David Fincher, this thriller is worth a watch. Conrad Van Orton (Sean Penn) meets with his brother Nicholas (Michael Douglas) to give him his birthday gift: an open invitation to participate in a game hosted by a mysterious company. When Nicholas goes to enroll in the game he is rejected from participating due to his psychological profile. Soon afterwards increasingly alarming incidents begin to occur, pulling both brothers into a conspiratorial plot.

Death Comes To Town (2010)
Times are tough in Shuckton, Ontario: On a single day the town’s bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympics is rejected, their mayor is murdered, and Death arrives on a Greyhound Bus. Local citizens sleuth their way to find the mayor’s killer and in the process they unwittingly discover Shuckton’s seedy underbelly. This eight episode mini-series features the comedic genius of The Kids in the Hall.

Happy Birthday Penny!

Actress, producer, and director Penny Marshall turns 69 today! Marshall is probably best known for her acting role as Laverne DeFazio in the hit sitcom Laverne and Shirley, which followed a stint of acting in many other TV shows, some created by brother Garry Marshall. She went on to direct feature films such as Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Big, Awakenings, and A League of Their Own. Big was the first film directed by a woman to gross over $100 million.

My Mother Was Nuts is a new memoir written by Marshall, and it’s a hoot! The book chronicles her childhood, her life in the Bronx with her family, getting started in show business, motherhood, her acting days on Laverne and Shirley, the crazy 80s, her directing days, and her bout with multiple cancers. Marshall had help writing the book, but if you are familiar with her demeanor, it reads like Marshall speaks. It’s not the most in depth book, and it lacks the emotion you’d find in most memoirs. She name drops her celebrity friends like crazy, and after a while the voice of the book reads monotone, and you’re begging for more emotion and detail. But it’s Penny Marshall! So I had to keep reading, and I’m glad I did. This woman makes me laugh, and I enjoyed hearing stories about her “crazy” mother, her dancing days, and particularly the details in directing some of her films. Happy birthday!

Tiny Furniture on DVD

Lena Dunham is the director, writer and star of Tiny Furniture, an independent dramatic feature film released by The Criterion Collection. The film centers around Aura, who has recently graduated from college and returns home to New York to her mother’s house and now has the task of figuring out her life. She struggles with employment, and with her relationships with love interests, as well as her friends and family.

As is the trend of recent low-budget indie films, it is dialog heavy and features a young protagonist finding her way. Aura is deep in the dilemma of being young and aimless, but is also at the point where she knows responsibility should be taken; she just doesn’t know which direction to turn. The film also subtly focuses around her relationship with her mother, who is a grounded and successful artist. Interestingly, Aura’s mother and sister in the film are portrayed by Dunham’s real-life mother and sister, so there’s extra chemistry among the actors.

In addition to sharp dialog, Dunham also blesses viewers with great composition and visually appealing images on the screen. It’s a charming little film, and even though the subject matter is slow and heavy, it’s filled with witty dialog that keeps you amused, and it has a touching ending. As a bonus, The Criterion Collection DVD release also features Dunham’s first feature film, "Creative Nonfiction," and four of her short films.

Gary Collins, actor and host of the Miss America Pageant, has died

Gary Collins, TV and movie actor and longtime host of the Miss America Pageant, died October 13th in Biloxi, MS.

While serving in the Army, Collins was hit with the acting bug with performances on the Armed Forces Network.

During his long acting career, he had roles in such popular TV shows as The Virginian, Charlie's Angels, Perry Mason, The Love Boat and JAG. He a role in the nail-biting plane disaster movie, Airport (1970), starring Burt Lancaster and Jean Seberg.

From 1982 to 1990, Collins hosted the Miss America Pageant.

Mr. Collins, who is survived by his wife of 45 years, actress Mary Ann Mobley, was 74 years old.

Oldies But Goodies

The library is always adding new “old” movies to the collection. In case you missed them, be sure to check out:

The Fly (1986)
Starring a young Jeff Goldblum, this remake of the 1958 original is about an ambitious yet eccentric scientist that has an unfortunate incident involving a fly. This film is sure to please fans of 80's horror films as well as those looking for a good Halloween flick.

Pecker (1999)
Edward Furlong and Christina Ricci costar in this romp from Baltimore to Manhattan as an amateur photographer receives surprising attention from the metropolitan art scene. This John Waters gem covers everything from eating too much candy to exploitation of the homeless. (This is also one of my favorite movies.)

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