music4dark

Well, we’ve arrived at the very darkest time of the year, literally. With just 9 hours, 7 minutes and 43 seconds of daylight, December 21 is the darkest day of our year. The one positive about this day is that we’ve finally hit bottom, and our days will grow gradually brighter and brighter for the next six months.

Aside from eating massive amounts of carbs (mmm … potato pancakes) during the winter months, I’ve found that listening to music — with the volume turned up LOUD — makes a huge impact on my mood when the sun is missing. Music also makes the time I spend in the gym working off those carbs bearable.

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holiday-music

Nothing brings people holiday cheer quite like turning on the radio and listening to holiday classics sung by various artists throughout the ages. But what happens when you have a particular song you want to hear that isn’t playing on the radio, or you want to listen to holiday music on your own time? This season the Niles Library is bringing you the gift of music, so stop in to pick up a CD (or six) of your favorite holiday tunes.

Here’s a small sample of the vast collection of holiday albums we have to offer:

1) Elvis’ Christmas Album

2) The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album

3) Christmas Portrait (The Carpenters)

4) A Charlie Brown Christmas

5) Merry Christmas (Mariah Carey)

6) A Motown Christmas (Jackson 5)

7) The Very Best of Bing Crosby Christmas

8) A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra

9) The Lost Christmas Eve (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)

10) Cole, Christmas, & Kids (Nat King Cole)

And as always, you can check out dozens of other music genres in our catalog here. Or you can download up to ten of your favorite Christmas carols this month onto your tablet, iPhone, or other mobile device using Hoopla, a new service that lets you instantly borrow movies, music and more 24/7 with your Niles Public Library card. Check it out at hoopladigital.com/home.

Have fun jamming out to your favorite hits!

snoopy
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Wanted-Man-Review

Spy thriller author John le Carre writes complicated, twisted tales of suspense and covert ops. In the 60s he wrote about the Cold War – now it’s the Middle East. First let’s go over some of le Carre’s past film adaptations: most recently Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011), The Constant Gardener (2005), The Tailor of Panama (2001) and The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1965). All of these films have one thing in common: they are dry and very confusing, at least to me.

Now let’s look at A Most Wanted Man, also based on a le Carre book. This film is fast-paced and filled with intensity and action, but easy to follow. Is it le Carre’s novel writing that has gotten less muddled and involved? Well, maybe. Is it because we, as an audience, are more prepared for convoluted plots, with more and more spy action thrillers being made (The Bourne series, the recent Bond movies, etc.)? Could be, but I think it has more to do with how the book is adapted…how expert the screenwriter is at adapting the twists and turns on the screen.

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elf

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a few classic holiday movies – and here at the Niles Public Library, we’ve got a plethora of tinsel-wrapped flicks to choose from. Stop in to pick up one of these DVDs and then hurry home, wrap yourself in a warm blanket, and sip hot cocoa as you enjoy some family entertainment.

1) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

2) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

3) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

4) Home Alone (1990)

5) Elf (2003)

6) A Christmas Story (1983)

7) The Santa Clause (1994)

8) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

9) Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1965 & 2000)

10) A Christmas Carol (1938)

11) Frosty the Snowman (1969)

12) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

This is just a taste of what the Library has to offer, so if your favorite isn’t on this list, browse through our catalog! Or you can download up to ten holiday music and movie favorites this month onto your iPhone, tablet, or other mobile device using hoopla, a new service that lets you instantly borrow movies, music and more 24/7 with your Niles Public Library card. Visit hoopladigital.com/home to sign up for this FREE service!

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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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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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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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