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Moving onto the 4th spot on the list…FRINGE.

While the series may have been popular amongst fans, Fringe did not garner enough viewers to warrant another season past its fifth and final one. Hence it is regarded as a “cult” series. Which basically means that there’s a large enough fan base that the show has spread beyond the medium which it was intended for.

The basic premise of the show involves members of the FBI “Fringe Division”: FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, son of Walter Bishop, an unhinged scientist whose condition will be explained during the course of the first season, and his assistant Agent Astrid Farnsworth investigating cases such as genetic mutation, psychokinesis, and parallel universes, which are known as “fringe science”. Although the series bears similarities to a certain popular FOX show from the 90′s, it differs in that the strange occurrences and unknown events are possibly rooted in actual science, primarily in the field of genetics and physics. However, these theories are not accepted as mainstream science and are outside the norm of what is considered science.

Read Elbert’s 5th Spot On His List of Underrated Show Here!

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When John Green writes, teens read. His novel, The Fault in Our Stars, has been on the New York Times Bestsellers list for 61 weeks and is currently No. 1 on the list. A “bring out the Kleenex story,” it relates the love story of two teenagers both in remission for cancer.

On January 26, 2014 the trailer for the movie adaptation of this novel directed by Josh Boone and starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort was released. The reaction has been heartfelt and huge. It features a series of scenes of Hazel Grace, oxygen tubes and all, and Augustus Waters as they meet and fall in love. The sounds of OneRepublic “What You Wanted” plays in the background.

Fans will have to wait until June 6, 2014 for the movie release in the theaters. In the meanwhile both the book and book on CD are available at the Niles Library. The audiobook of The Fault in Our Stars is fantastic and has won numerous awards.

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Prisoners

One feeling kept me going throughout the entire time I watched the film Prisoners: FEAR. At over two and a half hours, you would think that I could not possibly have been afraid for the entire film. Well, I was. And, most likely, you will be too.

In addition to instilling fear from minute one, Prisoners also continually surprised me. I thought it was going to be just a simple revenge movie. But, this is so much more than that. Filled with leaps and twists and unexpected turns around every corner, Prisoners is more than a thriller. It is an adrenaline ride.

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Veronica-Mars

In early December, one of my favorite shows aired its last ever episode that undoubtedly left an impression and a small hole in my heart.

Not to get all melodramatic, but there are certain shows no matter how trivial or ridiculous in its premise, will transport you to a whole different world. Which brings me to this five part blog series on shows that are must watch, that you may have missed, and that are sorely underrated (say that with a mouthful). Hopefully by the end, you will hopefully rush to the shelves or place a hold, some of which are available at the Niles Library. So let’s get started starting with the Number 5 show (available as an interlibrary loan): Veronica Mars

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brunomars

Bruno Mars became a household name last Sunday after his performance during the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show.

We’re used to watching music legends like The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and Prince perform during the Super Bowl Halftime, but this year was a little different. Hawaiian native Bruno Mars, who only has two studio albums, performed a few of his hits including Locked Out Of Heaven, Treasure, and Just The Way You Are. He was joined on stage by famous rock band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. At only 5 ft, 4 in tall, he brought the Super Bowl audience on their feet with his electrifying performance. According to reports, this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show was the most watched ever. That’s quite impressive considering the superstars that have performed in the past.

If you’ve never heard of him before, here are 3 quick facts about Bruno Mars:

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BEFORE-MIDNIGHT-stills

The third and last (?) in the Richard Linklater directed and Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke starring series, Before Midnight again features more dialogue and banter between characters than plot. But, after three movies, we are used to that and we know these characters so well, we pretty much know what they are going to say and do. Not that this is a good or bad thing…but it’s comfortable. Like an old pair of slippers, these films have charmed us, endeared us, and romanced us. A little refresher on the series: Before Sunrise (1995) is set in Vienna and has Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) meeting on a train and taking a risk by spending the whole day with each other. They talked and walked and laughed and talked and walked and laughed some more. As they fell in love, so did we with them.

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captain-phillips

I have issue with movies based on real stories where I know the ending…mostly because it kills the suspense. Titanic: No matter how much Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet love each other, the boat will still sink. Marie Antoinette: She tells the French people to eat cake and then she loses her head. Joan of Arc: She inspires France and gets burnt at the sake for her troubles. Now, I know Hollywood takes a lot of liberties with endings (adaptations rarely end exactly as they do in the book or on the stage, etc.) But, even the fickle movie industry would never be so brazen enough to change the ending of a real life tale, right? Titanic 2: It’s Didn’t Sink will never be produced, right? (Well, hopefully!)

So, in Hollywood’s latest string of based-on-real-life movies (Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave), one stands out for me, EVEN THOUGH I was pretty sure I knew how the movie was going to end. Captain Phillips is based on a book by, that’s right, Captain Richard Phillips. Chances are (and I’m just GUESSING here) if he was able to write about his death-defying experience, he most likely survived. Again, I’m JUST guessing. So, what does this tell us…that we know the ending. Darn, another Titanic. But, wait. Not this movie. Captain Phillips is a wild ride, a fast-paced, highly enjoyable thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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BlueJasmine

I have made no secret that one of a handful of my favorite movies of the 21st Century is Woody Allen’s Match Point. I liked Midnight in Paris (2011) a lot. I enjoyed Cassandra’s Dream (2007), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and To Rome with Love (2012). But, for me, 2005’s Match Point is Allen’s 21st century masterpiece.  Why?  Well, it’s not Allen’s usual depressed, anxious and, at times, tedious schtick.  That worked fine in his early films, ala Annie Hall (1977) and Manhattan (1979) but over time, it just got overdone and overused.  Also, Match Point is far from Allen’s usual comfort zone…it’s NOT set in New York and it’s not a comedy —in any way.  Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) also can be seen as an Allen drama, as could Interiors (1978) and September (1987), but those still have some of Allen’s trademark nervousness (Crimes and Misdemeanors even features Allen in a role where he acts in his usual Allenesque way).  Match Point does not feature any characters with serious neuroses. Yes, they are troubled but they are troubled in a calm, passionate way…not in a psychological, overly-emotional manner.

So, what do we have in Blue Jasmine, Allen’s latest film?

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Untitled-3

Well, they are finally here…the 2014 Oscar nominations.

Announced EARLY in the morning (7:30am CST) on Jan. 16, the Academy Awards nominations capped what has been a very competitive and very active film year, as they do every year.

We’ve already had the Golden Globes. Most critics from around the country (and the world) have given their “Best of” film lists. All major awards have already posted their nominations…the Screen Actors Guild, the British Academy of Film and Television, the Directors Guild of America, the Independent Film Spirit Awards. All we were waiting for was the Oscars. And now, they are here.

Who or what film was overlooked? Who or what film was a surprise pick? Did you want Tom Hanks to be nominated for Captain Phillips, not to mention for Saving Mr. Banks? Well, he was not…for either film. Did you want James Gandolfini to get nominated for Enough Said? Well, sorry, the late actor was also overlooked. But, if you are a fan of Sally Hawkins or Christian Bale, you are in luck since they both snagged nominations this morning, relatively unexpectedly. 

Who do you think will win on Oscar Night, Mar. 2?

Enter our “Pick the Winners” Oscar contest (starting on Feb. 1), where you will vote in eight of the major Oscar categories for your chance to win “A Night Out in Niles” with gift cards to Portillos and to the theaters in Golf Mill.

Stay tuned to this blog for more Oscar news over the next coming weeks!

Here is the complete list of nominations:

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