true-detective

One of the most talked about new TV shows of 2013 had to be True Detective, HBO’s crime/buddy drama set in backwater Louisiana.

One reason it was so popular is that HBO has the magic touch when it comes to dramas (The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, etc.). Another reason is the cast – two actors (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) star in it, both of whom have normally stuck to feature film roles, especially McConaughey, who in 2013 was having a year actors only dream of, culminating in a Best Actor Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.

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hotel-review

Wes Anderson is not my favorite film writer/director working today. I find most of his movies pointless. They all seem to share a like vision but I guess I just do not understand or care about that vision. I can see what he is trying to do and I don’t want to bother. My favorite film of Anderson’s, The Darjeeling Limited, was less inane (in my opinion) than most of his films. But if there is one thing all of Andersons’ films share, it is that they are highly quirky. This might sound like I mean it as a bad thing – I do not. I like quirky. I just usually do not like Anderson’s brand of quirk. But in The Grand Budapest Hotel, the quirkiness works. Mostly everything works.

The best part of The Grand Budapest Hotel is the world Anderson creates. It’s unique, visually charming, and highly imaginative.

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Teen-Read-Week

Niles teens voted for the best summer 2014 movie!

During the month of September, 117 teens picked which summer movie was their favorite. Teens voted for their best pick with small movie poster ballots that were affixed to a wall in the Teen Underground. Out of a field of eighteen picks, there were four top choices. The largest number of votes was awarded to The Fault in Our Stars with 23 votes, Guardians of the Galaxy with 17 votes, Maleficent with 15 votes and If I Stay with 14 votes. Both The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay were adapted from Young Adult Fiction novels.

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dramas4

So here it is, the last of a four part series on popular dramas currently airing today.

Supernatural Dramas feature characters of supernatural origin such as zombies, vampires, werewolves, witches, and ghosts or have plot lines that deal with the supernatural or a combination of both. Shows such as The Walking Dead fall into the latter category, which feature human characters battling the titular creatures. Although the advent of these “walkers”, as they’re touted on the show, aren’t strictly supernatural in origin on the series, the definition of what they are is. Therefore, I have categorized them as such.

Below are several shows that are all available at the Niles Library.

*Indicates a show that has appeared on a previous list.

*The Walking Dead Season 1; Season 2 and Season 3

Get all caught up! Catch all three seasons of this hit series and be sure to place a hold on Season 4 coming soon!

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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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lauren-b

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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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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