Category: Movies

Book list: Movies that Made Me Want to Read the Book

By , April 9, 2014

Usually it works the other way around, but here are some films that left me thinking, “man, I bet the book was good.” Maybe only a librarian would ever think that.


Ryan Gosling in that satin scorpion jacket is the sexiest thing I’ve seen since… well, maybe it is the sexiest thing I have ever seen. Tension sears between golden boy (Gosling) and pretty girl’s husband (Oscar Isaac), between frenemy mob boss 1 (Albert Brooks) and frenemy mob boss 2 (Ron Perlman), and between golden boy and the born to lose mechanic (Bryan Cranston) that gets him gummed up with frenemy mob bosses to begin with. Christina Hendricks is in it too. That’s cast magic and pretty much the film’s appeal. High-on-sincerity-low-on-realism sultry silent type takes on mob for sake of pretty girl is territory we have all explored before. Nicolas Winding Refn’s style is all about absence and what’s left unsaid. It’s kind of like Hal Hartley (remember him?) directed a crime movie. What gets abstracted into silence on screen is more often than not potent interiority on the page – the kind of stuff that won’t translate without resorting to regrettable voice over. I desperately want to get inside James Sallis’ novel. There is always the possibility that Sallis’ prose are as stripped and spare as the script and the film is a worthy adaptation. I still want to read the book. Every time golden boy doesn’t say anything I’ll get to imagine Ryan Gosling standing there in that jacket.

The Paperboy

It would be hard to get more sexual but less sexy than Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy. With big hair, a bigger libido, and a fetish for prison inmates, her character Charlotte seems transplanted from a John Waters movie. Kudos to Kidman for not shying away from extreme roles in recent years; e.g., Rabbit Hole, Stoker. Though Charlotte is a car crash that is hard to ignore, I’m more fascinated by Ward (Matthew McConaughey) the “paperboy” in question. He’s a big city newspaper writer who comes back to his small town to break the story of a lifetime. In tow is his “associate” Yardley (David Oyelowo). Their relationship has sinister undertones. This backstory feels de-emphasized in favor of Charlotte’s Jerry Springer antics. Maybe their story is fleshed out more in Pete Dexter’s novel? I hope so. From a producer’s point of view I can see how Kidman going bimbo cougar is money in the bank but perhaps they should have heeded the words of Morrissey, “stop me, stop me, stop me, if you think you’ve heard this one before.” Oh yeah, what happens? All these people have weird Southern Gothic obsessions and everything blows up in their faces. I bet the book is great.

The Fellowship of the Ring

Just kidding. I read this a hundred times before I reluctantly saw the movie. Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy transcended everyone’s expectations but if for some unknowable, inexcusable reason you have not read J.R.R. Tolkien’s world changing fantasy classic you’ll get to experience the devilish wonderment that is meeting Tom Bombadil for the first time. Take a beloved character and cut them from the movie! Go Hollywood! Besides, this excellent book will take the bad Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey taste out of your mouth.

Have you ever watched a movie that made you want to read the book it was based on?


Jerry Schatzberg: Legends of Film Podcast

By , March 31, 2014

During this episode of Legends of Film we talk to Jerry Schatzberg, director of Scarecrow, The Panic in Needle Park, and Movie’s @ Main’s upcoming feature, Sweet Revenge. Mr. Schatzberg discusses casting Morgan Freeman in his breakthrough role, the importance of improvisation, and problems that occur when your lead actor is also your screenwriter.

Come see Schatzberg’s film Sweet Revenge on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the Main Library downtown.

Movie review: The Decoy Bride

By , March 14, 2014

The Decoy Bride

A refreshing rom-com starring the tenth doctor!

Hollywood starlet Lara Tyler (Alice Eve) is desperate to marry her fiance, the bestselling author James Arber (David Tennant) in a perfectly romantic ceremony, if only she could shake the dreaded paparrazi!  After a particularly ugly foiled wedding attempt which landed some unflattering photos of Lara in the papers, she decides to surprise her beloved James by pulling off an intimate ceremony on the Scottish island of Hegg (don’t call your travel agent yet, this is a fictional island) – the setting for James’ famous novel The Ornithologist’s Wife.  Guess what?  The paparazzi have made their way to the island too…

Lara’s team hires the island’s only “single lady” Katie (Kelly MacDonald), to be the decoy.  Katie has been rather unlucky in love, declaring herself a “man-vegan.”  When Katie steps in as Lara’s decoy, she quickly discovers James is a hack!  He knows absolutely nothing about Hegg!  In a totally expected, hilarious turn of events, Katie and James wind up married to one another.  How do they get un-married?  That my friends, is why you much watch this movie.  With a talented supporting cast, not to mention the beautiful Scottish landscapes, The Decoy Bride owes much to the classic Scottish film Local Hero.  See both movies for free, courtesy of your favorite library!

Legends of Film: Randy Jurgensen

By , February 24, 2014

During this episode we talk to retired New York City police officer Randy Jurgensen, technical advisor on the film set of this month’s Movies @ Main feature Report to the Commissioner. Jurgensen explains his role as technical advisor and talks about his on-screen part as the shooter of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and his work on the movie The French Connection (including the case that inspired the film.)

Listen to the complete interview to hear about Jurgensen’s encounter with Lenny Bruce!

Come see Report to the Commissioner on Saturday March 8, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the Main Library downtown.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day Like a Librarian…

By , February 14, 2014

Do you know how I can contact Sherlock Holmes?

Because I need to solve the mystery of  how to win

your heart…

It’s Valentine’s Day…   But let’s keep that Valentine’s vibe going all year long – treat your special sweeties (and all your fellow human beings) with respect and love every day!   Ever wondered how librarians celebrate Valentine’s Day?  Check out the popular materials department staff picks for favorite romantic movies and songs.


Amanda’s Picks:
romantic movie:  Something’s Gotta Give
love songs:   I Choose You by Sara Bareilles (download
on freegal), You’ve Made Me So Very Happy by Blood  Sweat and Tears (freegal) 

Bryan’s Picks:
romantic movie:  Silver Linings Playbook
love song:  Dirty Old Town by The Pogues

Cheryl’s Picks:
romantic movie:  Jane Austen’s Persuasion
love song:  At Last as sung by Etta James,What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong 

Karen’s Picks:
romantic movie:  The Time Traveler’s Wife, Pride and Prejudice
love songs:  Love is the Drug by the Bryan Ferry Orchestra, I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton
And finally, as for me, Crystal:
romantic movie:  Something New
love songs:  Unravel by Bjork, Bed of Nails by Wild Beasts


DVD review: First Position

By , February 11, 2014

 First Position

I’ve been on a nonfic reading kick here lately, so I guess it’s only natural that this extends to my viewing habits. With the cost of actually going to a movie hovering just this side of astronomical, I don’t get to see many – which is why it’s nice that the library can help me out with this.

I love watching documentaries about things that I have absolutely no aptitude for – ballet being one of them. When I was in music school as an undergrad, I had friends who were in the ballet program, and this movie made me nostalgic for my collegiate days.

The documentary focuses on 6 different students – all younger than college age – as they prepare for and perform at the Youth America Grand Prix competition. This competition could provide them with scholarships to continue their studies or may even result in a job placement with a dance company – but no pressure or anything.

I have nothing but respect for each of these dancers – as they gave up parties and junk food, while pushing through pain and poor performances hoping to grab their chance at fame. It was hard not to root for each of them to succeed – especially Michaela with her inflamed Achilles tendon. Even if you have no desire to ever dance Swan Lake, these artists will grab your heart.

And who knows – maybe someone out there will be inspired by this film and actually strap on some toe shoes. I’m almost completely mostly positive it won’t be me, though – which is kinda sad because I bet I could find some glittery ones.

Happy watching (and dancing)…

:) Amanda


In Memorium: Philip Seymour Hoffman

By , February 6, 2014

Great actors are always willing to play bad guys and creeps. Philip Seymour Hoffman was a great actor. He put it all on the table to embody characters that were morally exposed so we wouldn’t have to be. At least that is what I am thinking now as I reflect on a career that seemed to be filled with nothing but poison darts that you couldn’t pull out of your chest even if you wanted to. One such character was Lancaster Dodd, the supreme bluff artist of The Master, my favorite movie of 2012. That got me back on the Paul Thomas Anderson train. Anderson and Hoffman will always be linked in my mind. Like many, the first role I remember Hoffman in was Scotty J – the innocent but pitiful lurker of porn sets in Anderson’s Boogie Nights. That Hoffman could embody such conflicting traits in a single character is a testament to his special talent. Perhaps there is no better example than the did-he-or-didn’t-he priest Father Brendan Flynn in Doubt. Unless of course you think he did, then you just want to see him punished. The non-resolution of Doubt, a film Hoffman’s own company produced, was a much needed tonic to painfully predictable Hollywood endings much like Hoffman himself was a tonic for the interchangeable, square-jawed mannequins that count as “actors” these days.

Book review: Holiday movies with books in the supporting role

By , November 10, 2013

The Holiday movie season is about to begin. This year’s releases are rich with literary inspiration. Here are half a dozen new movies with outstanding books in the supporting role.

We begin with the November 27th release Philomena starring Dame Judi Dench. The true story is based on the  book by Martin Sixsmith, Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search. Get out the hankies.

Coming out on December 3rd is the movie Saving Mr. Banks. The supporting book is Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers  written by Valerie Lawson. Take that Mr. Disney!

December 20th brings two most of the season’s anticipated releases. The first being the new Joel & Ethan Coen release, Inside Llewyn Davis. This 1961 Greenwich Village snapshot is based on the book, The mayor of MacDougal Street : a memoir by Dave Van Ronk with Elijah Wald. The film stars Justin Timberlake and John Goodman. A music CD of the same name is also available.

The other December 20th release is the always classy, Anchorman 2. The supporting title for this soon to be classic is Let Me Off at the Top! My Classy Life and Other Musings by who else? Ron Burgundy.

If you have no other plans on December 25, you can catch the opening of the Wolf of Wall street written by Jordan Belfort with the film directed by Martin Scorsese. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey star in this modern morality tale.

Take a week to enjoy family and friends before you return to the theater on January 2nd for the adaptation of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama, August: Osage County by Tracy Letts.  The cast features, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard and someone named Benedict Cumberbatch.

A good movie stays on your mind when you leave the theater. A great movie brings you to the library for more details!

“I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” — Ron Burgundy




DVD review: Doctor Zhivago

By , October 24, 2013

Doctor Zhivago


I have been recommending this superb Masterpiece Theatre remake of Doctor Zhivago to everyone. Like the original film, this mini-series is long at 3 hours and 46 minutes and it is worth every minute.


Keira Knightley plays the beautiful Lara and Hans Matheson stars as Doctor Zhivago, the physician torn between love and duty. Sam Neil puts in a stellar performance as the cruel and powerful Victor Komarovsky.


The Russian Revolution provides the breathtaking backdrop for the story. The attention to detail in this movie is amazing. The costumes are mouthwatering, the set design is incredible and the cinematography is excellent.


This new version of Doctor Zhivago was nominated for Best Costume Design, Best Mini-Series and Best Director at the 2003 BAFTA TV Awards.


Don’t let the so-so reviews for Knightley’s Anna Karenina turn you off from seeing Doctor Zhivago.  This mini-series is outstanding and Keira Knightley is at her best.





Do I Dare? Night Film read-a-likes and watch-a-likes

By , October 14, 2013

Marisha Pessl’s Night Film features a cult film director whose creepy movies give you nightmares and maybe even drive you mad. If you liked Night Film, here are some books and movies that might tickle your cult-film-cybertext-twisted-mystery fancy.

Chronic City
by Jonathan Lethem
When ex-child actor Chase Insteadman befriends aging New York underground film critic Perkus Tooth, the line between fantasy and reality becomes increasingly blurred. Tooth’s grip on sanity becomes looser as Insteadman’s circle of NYC weirdos smoke more and more hash. Loneliness is abated but morals are compromised. And what did happen to Insteadman’s wife after all?

Pattern Recognition
by William Gibson
Cayce Pollard is a psychic that has intuitions about which logos and brands will catch fire. Her talents demand high fees in the corporate world. The catch is that her unique talent has rendered her allergic to most mediocre corporate logos. She enjoys lurking in message boards dedicated to a mysterious, anonymous online film series. When creepy millionaire Hubertus Bigend wants her to track down the films’ creators, Pollard reluctantly agrees.

Syndrome E
by Franck Thrilliez
Lucie’s Henebelle’s goes blind after watching a 1950s cult film. Could the film’s horrible subliminal messages be the cause?. With the help of Paris police Inspector Franck Shako,  Lucie discovers the film’s true power.

Room 237
One can’t help but think of Stanley Kubrick when reading about the obsessive, reclusive Stanislas Cordova. Much like the fictional Cordova, the real life Kubrick has a devoted cult of fans that read very deeply into his films. Room 237 chronicles five fans’ theories about “real” meaning of Kubrick’s icy masterpiece The Shining.

The Ring
American remake of the Japanese contemporary classic. You see the movie and you die. You get it? DON’T WATCH THE MOVIE!!! I mean the movie in the movie. Oh, you know what I mean.

- Bryan

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