elaine

Known for her caustic humor and rapier sharp wit, Stritch was an Emmy and Tony award-winning actress who, over the decades of her versatile career, reinvented herself many times, ending her life with a string of highly successful one-woman shows, one of which, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, won her a Tony in 2001. I had a chance to see Ms. Stritch on stage in that show and I will remember that experience fondly forever. She was a exceptionally powerful comedic voice and she will be greatly missed.

Check out these Elaine Stritch movies at the Niles Public Library:

Autumn in New York

Cadillac Man

Elaine Stritch at Liberty (DVD 792.7 E37)

Follies in Concert (DVD 782.14 F668)

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eli-wallach

Most remembered for playing hard-boiled characters in classic westerns The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and The Magnificent Seven, Wallach was much more than just a gritty character actor. He could play sensitive, as well as tough, sweet and compassionate, as well was strong and fearless. In later years, he turned to television and prize smaller roles in films such as The Godfather, Part III, The Holiday and, most recently, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Surprisingly, he was never nominated for an Oscar, so the Academy rectified that in in 2010 when they gave Wallach an honorary Oscar “for a lifetime’s worth of indelible screen characters.”

Check out these Eli Wallach movies at the Niles Public Library:

The Associate

Baby Doll

The Brain

The Executioner’s Song

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MOTION PICTURES

Best Drama
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Philomena
Rush

Best Musical/Comedy
American Hustle
Her
Inside Lleweyn Davis
Nebraska
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Best Actress in a Drama
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day

Best Actor in a Drama
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer’s Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo Di Caprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Best Screenplay
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jeff Pope/Steve Coogan, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, American Hustle

Best Foreign Language Film
Blue is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past
The Wind Rises

Best Animated Feature
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Frozen

Best Original Song
“Atlas,” The Hunger Games, Catching Fire
“Let It Go,” Frozen
“Ordinary Love,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
“Please Mr. Kennedy,” Inside Llewyn Davis
“Sweeter Than Fiction,” One Chance

Best Score
Alex Ebert, All Is Lost
Alex Heffes, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Steven Price, Gravity
John Williams, The Book Thief
Hans Zimmer, 12 Years a Slave

TELEVISION

Best TV Comedy or Musical
Girls
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
The Big Bang Theory
Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best TV Drama
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Masters of Sex

Best Actress in a TV Drama
Julianna Marguiles, The Good Wife
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best Actress in a TV Comedy
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Best Actor in a TV Drama
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
James Spader, The Blacklist

Best Actor in a TV Comedy
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Michael J. Fox, The Michael J. Fox Show
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best Miniseries or TV Movie
American Horror Story: Coven
Behind the Candelabra
Dancing on the Edge
Top of the Lake
White Queen

Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Rebecca Ferguson, White Queen
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie
Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luther
Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Show, Miniseries or TV Movie
Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge
Janet McTeer, White Queen
Hayden Panettiere, Nashville
Monica Potter, Parenthood
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Show, Miniseries or TV Movie
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Rob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Corey Stoll, House of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

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The time has come!  The time I have been waiting for decades for!  The time I might have been waiting for from the day I was born!  It is here!  Alfred Hitchcock has come back into the realm of popular culture with a vengeance!!!!
My family got their first VCR for the Bears’ January 1986 Super Bowl.  Shortly thereafter, I discovered Hitchcock.  Having died in 1980, six years prior to my discovery of him, Hitchcock was no longer “in the news,” so to speak.  I watched most of his movies and tried my best to find out everything I could about him, but most of the stuff I found was from ages ago.  Yes, the occasional article would be written, but for the most part, Hitchcock was history!
History NO longer!  There are 3…count them 3…new movies or television shows dedicated to the life and/or work of the Master of Suspense:  Hitchcock, the feature film starring Anthony Hopkins as the director and Helen Mirren as his devoted wife, Alma; The Girl, an HBO movie starring Toby Jones as Hitchcock, about the making of The Birds; and Bates Motel, an A&E TV show starring Vera Farmiga as Mrs. Bates and Freddie Highmore as young Norman, about the early life of the Psycho family.
In addition to that (as if that wasn’t enough!), many of Hitchcock’s films are coming out on Blu-Ray and getting a lot of press, not to mention the British Film Institute and their months-long celebration of all things Hitchcock, to cap off their year-long “Rescue the Hitchcock 9” fundraiser to help restore nine of Hitchcock’s early British silent works.  The event, appropriately titled The Genius of Hitchcock, was a full retrospective of his works plus guests and lectures speaking about all facets of Hitchcock. 
So, basically, I’m on cloud nine.  Finally, FINALLY, the masses are catching on to the brilliance and talent of Hitchcock.  It’s about time!

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Even though I am a sucker for British TV series, I had somehow skipped this one because I thought it would be too much like CSI for me. But, it most definitely is not…it’s a must see for anyone who likes crime shows. If anything, it’s unlike most crime shows because it focuses on cold cases…cases no one cares about anymore. And, yes, there is a certain CSI and Bones aspect to it…since one of the team members is an forensic pathologist. But, the show is much more than that. It’s about a people and the relationships between all of the team. They have to battle themselves and the past when looking into these past cases. All in all, a great, fascinating show that will keep you glued to your TV.

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I love movies and television.  And I love the ins and the outs of Hollywood (OK – honestly I love it mostly so I can make fun of it, but still…).  And usually when the two come together (meaning movies or TV shows ABOUT Hollywood), it rarely works.  I mean there are hits…like The Player, Sunset Boulevard, or The Bad and the Beautiful.  But, mostly there are misses.  And then there are the movies that are set in the world of Hollywood but are more about other storylines and not really entirely focused on the movie business, such as Singin’ in the Rain, Hugo, Extras (well, that’s not HOLLYWOOD, per se, since it’s set in London, but it’s still a TV show about the movie/TV industry). 

Episodes, like Extras, is a joint television presentation between Showtime and the BBC (Extraswas between HBO and the BBC).  And the cast is British/American too.  The two main characters, TV screenwriters from London who move to Hollywood to “re-do” their hit UK show there, are British (Tamsin Greig as Beverly and Stephen Mangan as Sean).  But, the “actor” who gets the part in the American version of the show is played by VERY-American actor Matt LeBlanc, best known for the iconic Joey on the iconic sitcom Friends.  Because LeBlanc is the complete opposite of the character in the British version of the show, the entire show has to be re-worked to cater to LeBlanc’s younger, more attractive character.  This, naturally, causes tension between Beverly and Sean since they know they have “sold out” for success and money. 
The writing is rapier sharp…in all the right places.  The humor is dark and sarcastic but super witty.  The “Hollywood” characters have just the right tone of dishonesty/falseness.  And the relationship between Beverly and Sean has just the right amount of homesickness, selfishness and pride.  If you know anything at all about the goings-on of Hollywood, you will love this show.  Even if you do not know about or even enjoy the “Hollywood” scene, I’m still thinking you will love it. 
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The overused word DYSFUNCTIONAL could have been coined about the Gregson family. The matriarch of this mess is Tara, who has several diverse and loony multiple personalities, including a teenage-like wild girl, a June Cleaver-esque housewife, and a MALE Vietnam Vet who smokes and drinks way too much. Her kids and husband are all very aware that this personality disorder is something their mother is afflicted with. Often, the personalities come out at the most inopportune times, causing havoc in the kids’ lives. Like I said, dysfunctional with a capital D! And, most times, I stay clear from families-in-crisis shows (like Married With Children, etc.) but this time, Tara and her antics make the show so appeal and fun. I also felt myself drawn to the kids’ plights and what their lives must be like with a mother like Tara . Their frequent frustration is believable and not overdone in anyway. But, I would have to say that Tara and her “alters” as she calls them is the reason to watch this one. Toni Collette has won raves and awards for her portrayal of Tara and I think she is key to the show’s appeal and quality. If Tara were not as believable as she is, the show would not hold together and the audience would lose interest fast. Collette’s strong acting and huge range allow this show to be a hit rather than a miss.

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Why, oh why, did I keep watching this? Maybe because I had no choice – it’s addicting…in a “bad girl” kind of way. What do I mean? Well, the main character, Jackie, is UNLIKEABLE in a rebellious, mean-spirited, devious sort of way. She is a compulsive liar when it suits her, is a drug addict, and almost has two complete different personalities…NURSE Jackie who is nice ONLY when she has to be and MOM/WIFE Jackie who is A LITTLE softer. And its hard to like either of the two Jackies. She has this close-to-idyllic family life…a loyal, hardworking husband and sweet kids…but she has a steady boyfriend and sex partner at the hospital where her NURSE alter-ego works. She pops pills on a regular basis…right before or after scolding others for even thinking of doing the same. She’s a warped, unholy mess of a woman, but somehow, she’s highly watchable. Maybe because you want to see her get caught (which she “kind-of” does at the end of season one (her hospital boyfriend (who did not even know she had kids must less was married) catches her with her husband). Maybe because the SOFT side she shows all too infrequently (a good mom, a compassionate (at times) nurse) is likeable and we cheer for GOOD Jackie to come out more often. All I know is that I really couldn’t stop watching. I think much of this has to do with Edie Falco, who, has in the past, taken unlikeable characters and made them tolerable. Even when Jackie is being bad, there always is a little humor behind her demeanor, which Falco allows the audience to glimpse. And, because of Falco, Jackie and all of her flaws becomes a watchable, interesting character that we need to keep tabs on. Considering how unlikeable Jackie is, that’s a very impressive mountain to climb.

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I have yet to see all of the 1959 film with Shelley Winters of the same title, based on the same diary, so I cannot compare the two. But, I can say, that this 2009 BBC production is heartfelt and striking. Anne here, played by Ellie Kendrick, is a robust girl (in personality, not in physicality). She’s no nonsense and has to be reeled in from trouble by her ever-attentive father and her nervous mother. And, trouble is not wise for a teenage girl living in an attic above her father’s former place of business…hiding ever-so-delicately from the Nazis in early 1940s Amsterdam. Trouble here could get her killed. And her entire family and the other family living with them killed. Trouble here is not just usual adolescent rebellion, as it is with most teenagers. Trouble, here, is strictly taboo. So, trying her best to stay out of trouble, Anne has to experience her coming of age without privacy, friends, or any of the outside world. She’s worse off than those around her since they are not restricted as much as she is. Anne is restricted from both the world and also from the natural process of growing up. Kendrick does a superb job of capturing the right amount of adolescent frustration and mixing it with anger at the entire situation. And, the other actors are all top-notch also, especially British TV regular Nicholas Farrell, who plays Albert Dussel, the only non-family member (from both families) in the attic. Dussel and Anne share a small room together and he does his best to deal with his own pain while Anne is acting out. Yes, we all know the ending here, but unlike most movies where the ending is inevitable, the filmmakers do an especially good job of focusing on the characters and not the plot. But, this also adds to the sorrow of the story: the characters, especially Anne, are fleshed out so vividly that when their sad fate comes to a close, it’s all the more poignant and heart-wrenching.

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An excellent Charles Dickens adaptation, given the full BBC treatment in mini-series form. Well acted, well shot and well written, this comes close to, if not surpasses, the wonderful Bleak House adaptation BBC did in 2005. The set designers, art directors, and costumers did such a good job that I really did feel as if I was transported to 1800s London. The story revolves around a young girl, nicknamed “Little” Dorrit since she is her family’s youngest, who holds the key to her family’s hidden potential. Nominated for a plethora of awards (Emmys, Golden Globes, etc.), this adaptation lives up to the long standard the BBC has set in filming famed classics for the small screen. A must!

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