Dark Passage:

A lesser-known Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall film that, despite an un-Hollywood ending, is one of their best (THE best in my opinion). The chemistry between the two has never been better. The film begins from the visual perspective of Bogart’s wronged-criminal character. The camera moves with Bogart’s eyes, so the audience only hears his voice and does not see his face for the first part of the film. Once we see Bogart, the film picks up its pace some, but throughout, this film is a strong thriller. Don’t look for everything to be resolved in the end – but aside from that, this one will keep you guessing.

Written on the Wind:

Melodrama at its finest! Directed by high-drama master Douglas Sirk, this film will make you run the gamut of all emotions. There is scandal, affairs, wronged love, unabated passions, alcoholism, miscarriages, infertility, guns, murder, etc. Sounds good, right? Well, it is. It’s like one big soap opera, but, don’t worry…it’s a top-notch soap…with Rock Hudson, Bacall, Kirk Douglas and Dorothy Malone, who won a Supporting Actress Oscar for her role.

Designing Woman:

A great romantic comedy with a twist. Here, the couple gets married first and then they decide to get to know each other. When they do, they find out how little they have in common. This would be just a typical run-of-the-mill rom com if it weren’t for the quick, super-sharp script (which won an Oscar) and the talents of Gregory Peck and Bacall, who have fabulous chemistry that translates perfectly on the screen. A must see for any romantic comedy fans!

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One of the last remaining classic actresses, Bacall was part of the Golden Age of Cinema…the 1940s-1950s. She was a screen siren from day one, with her sultry performance as the ultimate Femme Fatale in To Have and Have Not, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Humphrey Bogart. From that catapult to stardom in 1944, Bacall never looked back. She starred in three more movies with Bogart, who in addition to being her favorite leading man on screen, became her leading man off screen when they married in 1945.

Over the next few days, I will highlight some of my favorite Bacall movies. We have truly lost one of the greats.

Check out these Lauren Bacall movies at the Niles Public Library:

All I Want for Christmas (J)

The Big Sleep

Birth

Blood Alley

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robin-w

Known for both iconic acting performances, as well as highly physical stand-up routines, Williams was one of the most robust and lively comedians working today…from his early start as Mork in the cult TV show Mork and Mindy, to his famed performances as the title role in Mrs. Doubtfire, defiant teacher in Dead Poets Society and his Oscar-winning role as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting. Even after all of his acting notoriety, he never left his comedy roots, doing many successful stand-up shows as well as teaming with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg for Comic Relief, beginning in 1986.

Williams will always be remembered for his infectious humor and his over-the-top comic behavior. His death is a great loss to Hollywood and the entire world.

Check out these Robin Williams movies at the Niles Public Library:

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (voice)

Aladdin (voice)

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

August Rush

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roadtrip

If the increasing number of YA novels turned into movies is any indication, then Hollywood has suddenly remembered that teens (both male and female teens) go to the movies. Big shock, I know. This isn’t a  a post about movies, but about places in the movies (and the books they’re based on). Maybe we can’t go to fictional places like The Glade or Panem in real life (and really, who would want to?), but we can go to the real places that stand in for them. Here are a few literary/cinematic destinations, arranged by the time it would take to get there:

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little-authors

There’s nothing I love more than a good story. Luckily, as a KidSpace librarian, I spend a lot of time reading & telling to kids of all ages. This summer, I’ve decided to give preschoolers a chance to sit in the storytime chair in a story dictation program called Little Authors.

For decades, preschool teachers have been using story dictation methods developed by early childhood education luminaries like Vivian Paley and Carol Avery to help children put their ideas, experiences, and fantasies on paper. Story dictation is a deceptively simple early learning activity. All you need is paper, pencils, and your undivided attention. Ask a child to describe an event, idea or person; and write down the words exactly as the child says them. Then read the story back to her, and watch her face light up in pride & triumph!

Here are some of the fantastic stories written by a few of Niles’ homegrown little authors:

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Once again, the Niles Public Library is asking patrons (especially our youngest ones) to make visiting the Library part of their summer routine. And it’s working!

KidSpace patrons are racing the calendar in this, the eighth of nine weeks of the 2014 Summer Reading Program, to read (or be read to) and get prizes, prizes, prizes… Readers (who read independently, usually chapter-book fiction) are plowing through books, as are pre-readers (whose families count how many books are read to them). Readers win tokens (“wooden money” redeemable for prizes), while pre-readers who’ve had lots of Picture Books read to them (four books earn one game play) are winning bushel baskets of prizes.

At any given time, dozens of kids are crisscrossing KidSpace reading, redeeming tokens, and playing their games, (Readers roll huge dice and move characters they choose, while pre-readers choose from several games which involve “a pup tent,” “Guess Which Animal,” and digging through sand for buried treasures.). It’s a busy place, tied together under the theme “Paws to Read” (pun intended, and in which various woodland and other cuddly animals feature prominently).

And, for those readers who earn the right to play their game at least nine times, there is a prize package that includes fun coupons and a free book in a cool tote bag. All kids who visit 9 times by August 8 can enter the drawing for a grand prize.

GRAND PRIZES ARE HOT: a scooter, a bicycle, and a Family Pack of 4 passes to Six Flags Great America

Okay, to summarize, let’s do this by the numbers:
∙ Way over 1,000 kids signed up
∙ Thousands of fiction chapter books, pre-reader Picture Books, and other reading experiences generated
∙ Hundreds of books featured in readers’ “Share a Book” sheets (think of these as very simple, user-friendly book reports)
∙ Thousands of tokens won in the readers’ game or earned (from readers’ turning in completed “Share a Book” and “Reading Challenge” sheets)
∙ Thousands of prizes and toys purchased with tokens (by readers) or won outright (by pre-readers)
Impossible to calculate: improvements to kids’ literacy as a result of summertime reading
∙ Tons (number impossible to know) of fun had by participants, staff, and the teen volunteers without whom the Summer Reading Program could not take place

For more photos of our Summer Reading Club for kids, click here!

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book-recommend1

Emily Giffin’s new novel, The One & Only is her best in this reader’s opinion.

Shea has recently finished college in her hometown and works for the college press as a sportswriter. Her best friend’s father, affectionately called “Coach” is the college football coach and is recently widowed. He encourages Shea to aspire to something better and arranges for her to apply for a position at a city newspaper. Shea has recently split with her college boyfriend and after a brief relationship with a professional football player and then she begins to fall for Coach. The characters in this novel are well-developed and interesting. I like the language in this novel, particularly since I listened to the audio version. This is a compelling summer read.

The One & Only is available in book, audiobook, and Large Print formats.

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dramas3

Whereas all procedural shows are close ended episodes, serial dramas are the complete opposite. A show with an ongoing storyline where not all loose ends are tied up in a neat little bow by episode’s end. In order to sustain the longevity of the show, each episode ends in a cliffhanger and character arcs and multiple subplots take time to develop over the course of half (generally 12 or 13 episodes) or a full season (22-24 episodes). A binge viewing is recommended in order to fully comprehend the story as a whole. This type of TV requires viewers to watch the show from the very beginning in order to understand what is happening. If you missed an episode, it is advisable to view the previous episode before catching the newest one. To that end, this is what I refer to as appointment television.

Below is a list of SOME of the RECOMMENDED popular dramas available at the Niles Library!

24 (Though the 9th season has yet to be released on DVD, you can catch all previous 8 seasons here).

Set in real time, this popular action drama follows the adventures of counter-terrorist agent, Jack Bauer, as he thwarts terrorist attacks both foreign and domestic over the course of a day. If you enjoy intriguing mysteries, edgy and spectacular action, and high stakes drama, you will thoroughly enjoy this show! The twists and turns are a mile a minute.

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moneyball-march

The Ides of March and Moneyball are two relatively recent films in which Philip Seymour Hoffman did not star, but rather provided crucial, essential and, as always, very strong supporting performances.

The Ides of March is a film that George Clooney not only stars in but that he also co-wrote and directed. And, really, he’s not the star here. Like Hoffman, Clooney is just a supporting player here. At the heart of The Ides of March is the Ryan Gosling character, Stephen Meyers. Stephen is the crux of this story. He is the pivot which all of the other action and characters revolve around. Stephen is a deputy campaign manager for a presidential candidate (Clooney) who at first seems untouchable. But soon, skeletons appear peeking out of the closets. Stephen finds himself caught in the middle of a potential scandal that could bring down both the campaign and his own career. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the candidate’s senior campaign manager. His time on screen is limited, but as always with Hoffman, his performance is larger than life and full of passion and vigor.

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maxmary

I’m not that fascinated by contemporary animated films. I love what Aardman Animation does (Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep), but aside from that, most animation of today leaves me yearning for the non-computerized animation of the past…where tedious work was done all by hand to bring to life a spectacular finished product. This is why when a colleague recommended an animated film for adults and older kids entitled Mary and Max, I was highly skeptical. And, boy was I surprised at what awaited me.

Mary and Max is done in the “Claymation” style of animation, meaning CLAY animation. Claymation has advanced since the days of watching Davey and Goliath in grammar school (if you are not familiar with D&G’s stop-motion style of Claymation, don’t worry – it was not worth remembering). This movie’s animation, in addition to the sweet, touching story, is most definitely worth remembering, and even savoring. Mary and Max are both endearing characters that will stay with you for a long time. I do tend to gravitate towards holding “sad sack” characters in higher esteem…Eeyore was always my favorite Pooh character, as well as the Looney Tunes’ Elmer Fudd, and the ever-pathetic Dopey, the silent dwarf. Mary and Max both fall into that category…each being sad, lonely and lost in their own unhappy worlds.

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