hobbit-movie

Are you a fan of the Hobbit movies? Here are some of my favorites that might hold you over until the Battle of the Five Armies is released (Dec. 17, but who’s counting?). These are my picks for live action fantasy/fairy tale/adventure/romance movies that are pure escapism. And don’t forget, you can catch up on the first two movies on the big screen here at the NIles Library over Winter Break: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug.

Alice in Wonderland (2010, PG)

The Borrowers (1998, PG)

The Chronicles of Narnia series: Lion, Witch and Wardrobe (2005, PG), Prince Caspian (2008, PG), Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2011, PG)

Ever After (2002, PG-13)

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mike-nich

Film director Mike Nichols might be best known for his work on 1967′s The Graduate (which won him a Best Director Oscar), but that cult film is only the beginning of Nichols’ achievements behind the camera. From timeless classics like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to new classics like HeartburnWorking Girl and The Birdcage, Nichols could do it all. He also excelled in the theater world, directing such famed Broadway productions as 1964′s Barefoot in the Park and more recently a revival of Death of a Salesman with Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2012 as well as on the small screen with the acclaimed HBO miniseries Angels in America. He will be greatly missed to all arenas of entertainment.

Check out these Mike Nichols movies at the Niles Public Library:

Angels in America

Biloxi Blues

The Birdcage (also on Blu-ray)

Carnal Knowledge

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Sekret-Review

“An empty mind is a safe mind.”

This quote underscores the main theme of Sekret by debut author Lindsay Smith in describing Russia’s culture. With a flair of YA touch and the supernatural, Smith isn’t someone who is incapable of spelling. In fact, this is intentional. The setting of this book is in 1960′s USSR, and I suppose by spelling “secret” as “Sekret” it reflects the Russian language.

Prior to reading Sekret, I was very interested in Russian history with regards to my European history class. I noticed the innumerable controversies linked to Russian history (Rasputin? Romanov? Babushkas?). This book does a good job of incorporating Russia’s mysteries during its communist years into the story and giving the reader an intimate perspective on its dark history.

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all-this-talk

A strong, moving family drama set around an Italian-American family who has issues dealing with the outside world and with each other.

Spanning generations, the Grasso family has a lot going on amongst their own family, not to mention trying to get back to Italy for one last visit. The personalities of all of the family members are well-defined and strong in their own way and the way the characters interact with each other is timeless and is reminiscent of typical family relations. Each of the fully developed characters are realistic and engaging. Some family secrets that are hidden for years emerge and there is nothing phony or fake about the repercussions.

Not the best family drama story ever written, but a deeply-engaging story nonetheless.

The book is available for check out at the Niles Public Library!

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Gone Girl Review

Let me start out by saying I read this book over a year ago. And I liked the book…somewhat. Or more specifically, I thought the book was okay. Just okay. But I had heard that people who didn’t go crazy about the book in return LOVED the movie. So when I got around to seeing this film, I was optimistic. I’m not the biggest Ben Affleck fan but I do like Rosamund Pike, the British actress who got the main female role, as well as some of the supporting players in the movie, including Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris. So there I go, all prepared to like it, though not love it. And I would say it met my expectations but most definitely did not surpass them.

The plot revolves around a couple, formally happily married, who move from NYC to Missouri to be closer to his family. After the move, their relationship begins to slowly unravel. All of this does not help when the wife goes missing and the husband is less than upset. Is she dead? Where’s her body? Did he kill her? Why isn’t he more distraught?

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fandom-fest

There is only one day when Star Wars fans, Potterheads, Whovians, and Disney maniacs can all gather and mingle in fan frenzy bliss here at the Niles Library: Fandom Fest! Join us on Sunday, November 23, 2014 from 2 to 4pm for a day full of crafts, costumes, and tributes to your favorite movies, TV shows, and comics.

According to our Teen Underground poll, the top fandoms are:

- Anime
- Disney (including the series Once Upon A Time)
- The Hunger Games
- Marvel Universe
- Harry Potter
- Divergent
- Doctor Who
- DC Universe
- Star Wars

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stagecoach

By far the best western film of 1939, Stagecoach is a cinema treasure for a variety of different reasons, the most important being it was the film that put John Wayne on the movie map and also is the first major pairing of director John Ford and star Wayne.

Ford and Wayne made 14 films together. They were friends as well…buddies to the end. And, that friendship comes across on screen in each of their films. But, it all truly began with Stagecoach. I said earlier the pair had made 14 films together…well, that is not counting the seven films Ford made with Wayne as just an extra in the late 1920s/early 1930s.

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gone-with-the-wind

One of the most beloved and acclaimed movies of the 20th Century, Gone with the Wind is the winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Best Actress winner Vivien Leigh stars as Scarlett O’Hara, who is one of the most timeless characters in cinema history, not to mention one of the prettiest Southern Belles ever. From Margaret Mitchell’s iconic novel on life in the South before, after, and during the Civil War, Scarlett becomes engrained in the American consciousness as the epitome of beauty and selfishness. She spends most of her time pining over a man she can never have (Ashley Wilkes), and when she wins him over, she wants the man she has had all along (the infamous Rhett Butler). Her fickleness comes off mostly as charming – the men in her life understand that this is how she is. And every time she is let down by one of her beaus, her Mammy (Best Supporting Actress winner Hattie McDaniel) is right there to help Scarlett survive. After all, tomorrow is another day!

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ninotchka

Ninotchka might be the greatest unknown treasure of 1939. Many people have never heard of it, yet alone seen it. It is one of the finest comedies of the 1930s, and in my opinion, Greta Garbo’s best role.

Ninotchka is most famous and known for the fact that it’s a Greta Garbo comedy. Garbo was a well-known actress – iconic almost – so when she made her first comedy, I guess it was natural that the film’s tagline of “Garbo Laughs” revolves around only her and not around the movie, director, or other cast members.

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steampunk

What would the world look like if it were stuck in the late 1800s or “pre-World War I” 1900s? Steampunk is a response to that idea: Authors “freeze” society at a time when steam drives not just railroads and ships, but everything imaginable.

Electricity has not become dominant; airplanes (with fixed wings, anyway) have not been invented, and cars either have not been invented or are only owned by rich people. Instead, state-of-the-art gizmos include lighter-than-air ships (bigger cousins of the Goodyear blimps we see at NFL football games) and intelligent machinery (tank-like armored things that walk on mechanical legs).

That is what the books Airborn and Leviathan tell us: Airborn has worldwide air traffic sailing in high-altitude wind, while Leviathan has England and Germany butting heads with the help of artillery-toting “walkers” controlled by drivers inside. Society’s outlook sort of resembles Victorian England, with an emphasis on “class” (aristocrats rule – common folk serve), conformity (people think there is a “right way” to do things), and being an imperial power (making war on your neighbors helps).

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