Category: Movies

American Sniper & American Wife

By , June 23, 2015

American Sniper

I’m not usually one for war movies. But every once in a while one will get me. Jarhead did it in 2005. And now American Sniper.

I first got pulled into this world when I saw Chris Kyle on Conan’s show, I think this was back when he was still on NBC Late Night. Kyle was interesting and he told a good story. This was back when Seal Team 6 books were big, and I knew I didn’t want to read one of those, but I thought maybe I could read American Sniper. Heck, Jethro Gibbs was a sniper and he was super cool.

American Sniper covers Kyle’s life as a Seal sniper, serving four tours in Iraq. It got pretty heavy in places, but it pulls you in and won’t let you go until the good guys bring it home. I enjoyed Kyle’s writing style. He might have portrayed himself as a dumb redneck, but the guy had some brains. So when his second book, American Gun came out I knew I had to read it. Here Kyle discusses 10 favorite guns and the roles they played in shaping our country. I even mentioned this one on the Popmatic Podcast (if you’re not listening, you should be).

Unfortunately, Kyle was killed while trying to help a fellow veteran with PTSD. But even before his passing a movie version was in the works staring Bradley Cooper. Cooper had a chance to meet Kyle and get to know him before any filming was ever done. Kyle’s wife Taya says that the movie version, while not entirely factual in portraying historical events, completely captures Chris’s spirit.

Taya shares her side of the story in her book, American Wife, which was recently released. I didn’t really plan on it, but I actually read most of her book and then watched the movie on the same day. Whew. Got kinda heavy there for a minute, but I don’t know if it would have been as powerful if I hadn’t experienced both in the same 24 hour period. I got to read Taya’s version of events and then go back and watch Chris’s side of the story. I’m not a big movie crier, but there were definitely tears, both when I read about the day Chris died as well as when I watched the movie version of his memorial. The book,  American Sniper, obviously ends before Chris dies, but both Bradley Cooper and director Clint Eastwood wanted to honor this fallen soldier in film, so they showed photos of his actual funeral and depicted his funeral procession.

Again, this is not a topic I usually seek out to read, but this trilogy of books was enjoyable and moving. If you are looking for something extra patriotic as we move towards our nation’s birth date, may I highly recommend any one of these works.

Thank you to all the men and women who serve and protect our homes and families. We wouldn’t be here without your sacrifices.

Happy Independence Day!

:) Amanda

 

Super hero? My heart belongs to the anti-hero

By , June 19, 2015

Super Hero? Not interested. My heart belongs to the Anti-Hero….always.

While Heroes are full of hubris and ring hollow after a time, the Anti-Hero brings spice, flavor, and dimension that an ordinary hero-villain cannot even fathom.

Literature and cinema are full of bad-boy Anti-Heroes. Some of the most consistently compelling portrayals of contemporary anti-heroes have been found in the performances of James Gandolfini.

His choice of roles –  from the ever so human and fatally flawed mobster Tony Soprano, to the hitman with a heart of, well maybe not gold but certainly hand tooled silver, in The Mexican  - gave viewers a glimpse into the world of flawed murderous anti-heroes.

One of  Gandolfini’s most human roles has to be that of the monster Carol in the Spike Jonze directed film adaptation of Where the Wild Things are. This performance mesmerized both the preschooler and the college freshman in my family of theatre goers in 2009. One ended up in tears by movie’s end.

So take that, suave and dashing leading men! My heart belongs to the spirited, grand gesture with a giggle anti-heroes of the world who get tangled up in their capes occasionally.

For the next week you can get an up close view of original artwork by Maurice Sendak. The Maurice Sendak Memorial Exhibition is a retrospective of original works by Maurice Sendak, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Where the Wild Things Are. This exhibit runs through June 28th in the  Courtyard Gallery – Main Library Second Floor

Good writing will bring you to places you don’t even expect sometimes. – James Gandolfini

-laurie

Movie review: British Prison Movies

By , May 28, 2015

Bronson

Bronson

Based on a true story, this oddly exhilarating film features an almost unrecognizable Tom Hardy as Britain’s most violent prisoner.  Its arresting visuals and operatic, strangely humorous tone would appeal to fans of A Clockwork Orange.  Instantly available on hoopla.

 

 

 

StarreStarred Upd Up

“Starred up” is British slang for the early transfer of a juvenile offender to an adult prison—in this case, to one in which his father is also imprisoned.  Completely different from Bronson, this is a grittier portrayal of prison life with great sympathy for its characters.

 

~Beth

 

Movie review: The Expendables

By , May 26, 2015

The Expendables (1, 2 & 3)

I can’t believe I watched these movies! Even more, I can’t believe how much I liked them!!

I’m trying to think of one movie I’ve ever sat and watched the whole way through that featured any one of these men. I’ve only seen parts of a few Rockys and about half the first Transporter. Oh wait, I did go to the dollar theater and see Parker, which stars Jason Statham. I would probably say he’s my favorite anyway (Terry Crews, you’re a close second).

But I’ve just heard a lot of good things about these movies so I thought I’d give them a try. And I wasn’t disappointed.

So the basic premise for all our under-the-rock dwellers is that Sly and pals are old dudes who like to save the world. They get their orders from a guy named Church (aka Bruce Willis) and then they’re off on their mission. In the first movie, The Expendables must deal with Dolph Lundgren a crazy good guy gone bad, along with a crazy South American dictator. The second movie sees us in Russia (who didn’t see that coming) and then for 3 we head to the magical world of Armenistan (I think) to track down Mel Gibson’s supposed-to-be-dead former Expendables character Stonebanks. No, Stallone doesn’t get to ask “How many times to I have to kill you?” and I think the movie is poorer for it.

My favorite scenes include Chuck Norris’s surprise cameo in #2 (oh wait, spoiler alert) and Bruce Willis’ taunt of Ah-nold – “Don’t worry. He just wants to be president.”

These movies are pretty gory, but I must admit there are some cool guns. I also liked how irreverent they are about the storied past of each actor. Famous lines are bandied about willy nilly. I am most disappointed that Harrison Ford, as he was flying in the evac copter, did not say, “Don’t get cocky” after saving the day. Sigh. Maybe in the next movie. There is a listing for The Expendables 4 on imdb.com, but there’s not much info available. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

Only time will tell.

Until then, enjoy the shoot’em-up-bang-bang fun of the three they’ve given us so far.

Happy watching…

:) Amanda

p.s. If these guys think we haven’t noticed that they’ve had some “work done” then they are on crack. You’d think, as tough guys, they’d be above this, but I guess Carly Simon was right. They are so vain…and I’m looking at you Stallone and Norris. Walker Texas Ranger had plastic surgery? Wrap your head around that!

Upcoming Movies from YA Books

By , April 7, 2015

Insurgent_poster Insurgent is based on the book by Veronica Roth Now out in theaters, Insurgent is attracting droves of fans, eager for the next installment in Triss’s quest for the truth. Reviews have been discouraging, and there are some significant changes from Roth’s book. Nevertheless, box office sales are through the roof.

 

 

 

 

Paper Towns Paper Towns  is based on the book by John Green The thing to know about this movie is that it is not TFiOS. True, there is a girl, Margo, played by Cara Delevingne. She’s fierce, beautiful, and utterly fascinating to the boy next door, Quentin. Quentin is played by Nat Wolff, who fans will remember from the movie TFIOS, although he wore sunglasses for much of the movie. Due out July, 2015.

 

 

 

 

Fallen is the first book in a series by Lauren Kate. Addison Timlin stars as Luce Price, who has been sent to the Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. Jeremy Irvine plays opposite her as the elusive Daniel Grigori. Also due for release in July, 2015.

 

 

 

 

The Scorch Trials is the second in James Dashner’s Maze Runner series. The big mystery of the Glade was answered at the end of the first movie…kind of. Now there’s more action as the Gladers confront a new situation and what it means for them. Look for this one in September, 2015.

 

 

 

Fifth Wave The Fifth Wave  is based on the book by Rick Yancey In Yancey’s thrilling novel, aliens have invaded Earth, leaving a bleak land that has been compared to the setting of Cormac McCarthy’s The RoadChloe Grace Moretz is lined up to play Cassie Sullivan, who lives by one rule: “Trust No One.” Projected release date: January, 2016.

 

 

 

ASA peregrine

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars is based on the book with a similar title by Ransom Riggs. Tim Burton will be directing a cast of adorably peculiar children, headed by Asa Butterfield,  who plays Jacob Portman. Currently in production, the release date is set for March 2016.

 

 

 

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone reportedly has a screen play written by author Laini Taylor. This one has been has been in the works for a while, with Michael Gracey set to direct. No news on casting or release date.

 

 

 

 

 

Grasshopper Jungle  is based on the Printz Honor Award-winning novel by Andrew Smith. Edgar Wright is set to direct this one – eventually. Aside from the heartwarming story of how Facebook brought Grasshopper Jungle to Wright’s attention, not much has come to pass. Should be worth the wait!

 

 

 

 

Diane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie review: Crafting a Nation One Craft Beer at a Time

By , March 30, 2015

bookcoverIE2652RI Crafting a Nation One Craft Beer at a Time

I really enjoyed this well shot documentary featuring several craft beer operations in cities like Denver,  Asheville and Saint Louis (in the shadow of Anheuser Busch, no less) as well as other locations in California, Texas, Minnesota and Delaware. It’s a visually appealing film, informative and sometimes down right inspirational – the entrepreneurial/American Dream in action!

The Asheville breweries (and there are many!) emphasize relying on using home grown ingredients and sources like the French Broad River, resulting in some wonderful, unique and seasonal brews. Of course, microbreweries have really proliferated over the last decade or so but it was noted that American consumers still go for the major brands and the little guys cut and scrape for about 5% of the market share.  But what an interesting and unique segment that is!

Also well depicted is the spirit, hard work and commitment shown by these brewers, often expanded family run operations.  The nervous run up to the opening of the Black Shirt Brewery  in Denver was particularly memorable after so much work (getting  codes approval, piping issues, construction work). It was also interesting to hear occasional commentary from the owner of one of the pioneering microbreweries – Anchor Steam in San Francisco as well as insights from Moonlight’s Brian Hunt.  The film does jump around a bit but it’s all good and worth watching for sure.

So next time you mix up a pack of unique beers at Kroger or down your favorite ale at Blackstone’s,  give a cheer to the dedicated, passionate folks who worked so hard to make it happen for us lucky consumers!

-Phil

 

Legends of Film: Peter Medak

By , March 28, 2015


The Hunchback of Notre Dame - movie posterDuring this episode of Legends of Film we talk to director Peter Medak. Mr. Medak’s film credits include The Ruling Class, The Krays, and the upcoming Movies @ Main feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Medak discusses working with notable actors such as Glenda Jackson and Helen Mirren, his experience directing episodes of two critically acclaimed TV series: Hannibal and Breaking Bad, and finally, his justification for making another film adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

See The Hunchback of Notre Dame on Saturday April 11, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at the Nashville Public Library, downtown.

Subscribe to Legends of Film podcast (feedburner).

Legends of Film: Steve Carver

By , February 21, 2015


Lone_wolf_mcquadeDuring this episode of Legends of Film we talk to director Steve Carver. Carver’s film credits include Big Bad Mama, Capone, and the upcoming Movies @ Main feature, Lone Wolf McQuade. Mr. Carver discusses working with the legendary filmmaker Roger Corman, and explains why it’s NOT a good idea to take over a film from another director.

See Lone Wolf Mcquade on Saturday March 14,2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Nashville Public Library, downtown.

Subscribe to Legends of Film podcast (feedburner).

Nashville & Selma

By , February 9, 2015

Poster for movie Selma

Watching the new movie Selma was like seeing Nashville’s Civil Rights “All Stars”: James Bevel, Diane Nash, C.T. Vivian, John Lewis, Bernard LaFayette are all depicted in the film.

To be sure, the Nashville movement was much larger than these five people. Many others who gained national prominence in the Civil Rights Movement also got their start in Nashville. But they couldn’t have done it alone. Countless ordinary “foot soldiers” – like the mass of marchers in Selma – took part in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins in 1960, often enduring beatings, arrests, and insults.

 

James Bevel in1960, at a protest in Nashville

James Bevel at a protest in Nashville, March 1960

 

What you may not have known – and what is not shown in the film – is that former Nashville activist, James Bevel, first proposed the Selma-to-Montgomery march. Prompted by the cold indifference of Alabama governor George Wallace to the killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson by state troopers, Bevel said:

“I’m going to go and talk to Wallace, and I’m going to walk all the way from Selma to Montgomery, because I want to think about what I want to say to him…. How many people you think … [will] walk with me?”

Listen to this excerpt of an oral history interview with Bernard LaFayette, where he tells more about Bevel’s role in initiating the march.

 

LaFayette on Bevel and Selma march

LaFayette on Bevel and Selma march

 

The Nashvillians portayed in Selma could march forward without fear, because they had already endured so much. They were, in the strongest sense of the word, veterans. In 1961, when some of them – including Diane Nash and John Lewis – left Nashville for Alabama to ensure that the Freedom Rides continued, they quite consciously knew they were risking death. These courageous men and women, most of them in their early twenties, made sure they had made out their wills before leaving town.

Now, it was four years later, and the Civil Rights campaign had focused on Selma. People who had gotten their training in non-violent protest in Nashville during the sit-ins were again at the forefront, and they were still risking their lives.

Learn more:

Books:

The Children by David Halberstam (tells the story of the Nashville sit-ins)

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault

In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma by Bernard LaFayette [Library Use Only]

Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement That Changed America by Frye Gaillard [Library Use Only]

Documentaries:

Nashville: We Were Warriors [available for individual viewing in the Main Library's Civil Rights Room]

Freedom Riders

4 Little Girls [Library Use Only]

Selma the City and the Symbol [Library Use Only]

Home of the Brave [Library Use Only]

Primary sources at Nashville Public Library:

Civil Rights Oral History Project

Civil Rights Collection

Civil Rights topics in our Digital Collections 

– Linda

Movie Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West

By , January 27, 2015

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Sometimes you just need a movie that will make you laugh. Sometimes you want to see Adam Sandler get in a fist fight with Bob Barker or Will Ferrell run around a Nascar track in his underwear. If you wholeheartedly agreed and want go watch one of these right now - you definitely need to see this movie. (If you ran screaming from the room at the mere mention of Adam Sandler – you might want to skip this one. But you don’t know what you’re missing…)

Written and directed by Seth MacFarlane – the guy who brought us Family Guy and TedA Million Ways to Die in the West takes MacFarlane’s trademark irreverence and moves it to where it belongs: The Wild West. The West was a rough place to live. If the Indians didn’t get you, the wild animals would. So many ways to die, so little time.

Seth MacFarlane plays Albert – a local sheep farmer who’s in love with Amanda Seyfried’s Louise. Unfortunately, she’s in love with the local mustache purveyor Foy (NPH himself). Will he get her back or will Charlize Theron have to climb down from her gold Dior tower to save the day? There were parts that were laugh out loud funny and parts that were scream out loud shocking. This movie is not for the faint of heart. My favorite character was Sarah Silverman’s “Lady of the Evening.”

Two notes of caution:

1) Even if he begs for it, DO NOT lend Neil Patrick Harris your hat. You won’t want it back when he’s done.
2) People die at the fair.

Happy watching…

:) Amanda

PS Does anyone else think Seth MacFarlane looks like Peter Brady? Just wondering…

  

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