Category: Movies

Popmatic Podcast December 17th, 2014: Best Movies of the Year

By , December 17, 2014


Your holds queue just gained a few holiday pounds. These are best movies of the year. Could Bryan’s favorite movie of the year be Amanda’s least favorite of the year? You’ll have to listen to find out. Tell us your favorites in the comments.

BEST MOVIES OF THE YEAR

Amanda
The Lego Movie1) The Lego Movie
2) Veronica Mars
3) Frozen
 
 
 
 
 

Bill
Chef1) Chef
2) A Most Wanted Man
3) Nightcrawler
 
 
 
 
 

Bryan
Maleficent1) Maleficent
2) The Congress
3) Jodorowsky’s Dune
 
 
 
 
 

Jeremy
We are the Best1) We Are the Best
2) Snowpiercer
3) Obvious Child
 
 
 
 
 

Mike
Grand Budapest Hotel1) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Under the Skin
3) Blue Ruin
 
 
 
 
 

TICKLING OUR FANCY

Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett

Text Me Merry Christmas” by Kristen Bell & Straight No Chaser

Holiday Wishes by Idina Menzel

Amanda’s holiday concert

Letterboxd – like GoodReads but for movies

Cutie and the Boxer

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three original 1974 version

Brick

Her

Birdman

Cat People

Captain American: Winter Soldier

Guardians of the Galaxy

A Field in England

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Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book review: A Christmas Memory

By , December 11, 2014

capoteA Christmas Memory

By Truman Capote

 

 

When writer Truman Capote was a little boy, he lived for some years with his eccentric aunt, Miss Sook in rural Alabama. Truman considered Miss Sook to be his very best friend and this book was inspired by their time together. A Christmas Memory centers around one of Miss Sook’s favorite Christmas activities, making fruitcakes. High jinks ensue when Truman and Miss Sook set out to make 30 cakes in time for Christmas. A Christmas Memory is a warmhearted and charming tale that celebrates love and simple blessings.

 

 

-Karen

 

 

P.S.       A Christmas Memory is available as a short story for adults, as a picture book for children and on DVD. You can read more about the adventures of Truman and Miss Sook in Capote’s short story collection entitled A Christmas Memory, One Christmas and The Thanksgiving Visitor.

 

 

 

 

 

DVD review: Chef

By , December 9, 2014

Chef

I have a secret guilty pleasure. I will watch any movie with John Leguizamo in it. From the Summer of Sam to Romeo + Juliet, Ice Age to ER, I always love his characters. They’re funny and smart and he usually leaves you wanting more.

So when I saw that he as going to be in a new movie, I was intrigued. And the fact that it was about a food truck? That just made it so much the better.

Jon Favreau actually wrote, directed, and starred in this movie. Favreau is the main chef at a struggling restaurant, who is not being allowed to explore his creative food talents by square boss Dustin Hoffman. Leguizamo is his sous chef and friend. After flipping out at a food blogger (played by the great Oliver Platt) in a video that goes ultraviral online, Favreau walks away from his head chef job in order to find his culinary voice.

While on a trip to Miami with his ex-wife and son to talk to his ex-wife’s ex-husband played by a manic Robert Downey, Jr. (did you follow that?), Favreau finds himself in possession of a run-down old food truck that he has no idea what to do with. With the assitance of his son and Leguizamo, who flies from California to Miami to work on the food truck with his old boss and friend, Favreau starts the road trip of a lifetime – selling Cuban sandwiches along the way as they drive El Jefe Cubanos from Miami to California.

I liked the aspects of the movie that were about the food truck, but the story had a lot of heart and a lot of humor. As one could expect, the life of a chef offers very little time for a solid family life, and the road trip was as much about building the relationship between father and son as it was about rebuilding a career.

My husband didn’t really want to watch this with me because I’ve made him watch the Food Network all the time, but he even admitted that it was a good movie. If you are looking for a good story, feel free to start here.

But I warn you, you will want a yummy Cuban sandwich afterwards. I’m just saying…

Happy watching…

Amanda :)

 

 

Best of 2014

By , December 1, 2014

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the season of Best Books lists.  This post contains my top three picks of the year in fiction, nonfiction, and film. Note that we were lucky enough to have three of these six authors here for this year’s Southern Festival of Books!

FICTION

We Are Not OurselvesWe Are Not Ourselves
by Matthew Thomas

Best book I’ve read this year, hands down. It reminded me of all of those great sprawling books from about ten years ago, like The Fortress of Solitude and Middlesex.

P.S. It would be much better to go into this not knowing anything about the plot!

 

 

EuphoriaEuphoria
by Lily King

Historical fiction for people who don’t like historical fiction, inspired by the life of Margaret Mead.

 

 

 

 

Funny OnceFunny Once: Stories
by Antonya Nelson

Best story collection of the year, full of failed ambitions and unfulfilled expectations.

 

 

 

 

 

NONFICTION

Under MagnoliaUnder Magnolia: A Southern Memoir
by Frances Mayes

Try this even if you don’t think you like Frances Mayes.  The most surprising thing about this memoir is that it reminded me a lot of my own childhood (also in rural Georgia), even though I’m almost 35 years her junior.

 

 

 

Ten Years in the TubTen Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books
by Nick Hornby

This is a compilation of Hornby’s “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column in The Believer and is the best book about books I’ve ever read (it helps that he and I have similar reading tastes, including a love of literary biographies). I could’ve kept reading these articles forever.

 

 

Art of the English MurderThe Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock
by Lucy Worsley

I enjoyed every page of this. I would almost call it “light” if that didn’t seem derogatory. Let’s just say it never felt like homework like some nonfiction does.

 

 

 

 

MOVIES

Blue RuinBlue Ruin
This revenge gem is for fans of the early Coen Brothers.

 

 

 

 

 


The Grand Budapest Hotel
Grand Budapest Hotel
IMHO, this is second only to The Royal Tenenbaums in the Wes Anderson oeuvre.

 

 

 

 

 

BoyhoodBoyhood
This movie amazingly transcended both its hype and the almost three-hour length. It makes for a memorable, nostalgic viewing experience.

CD review: Inside Llewyn Davis Original Soundtrack Recording

By , October 23, 2014

 Inside Llewyn Davis Original Soundtrack Recording

When the Coen Brothers write and direct a film you know two things, you’re going to see a really good movie and you’re going to hear a really fabulous soundtrack. The Coen’s latest film Inside Llewyn Davis does not disappoint.

The film, loosely inspired by the life of American folk singer Dave Van Ronk, “follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.” Oscar Isaac plays the lead character of Llewyn. Not only does Isaac’s do a great job acting he also does an amazing job singing. His voice is soulful and impressive.

 

Inside Llewyn Davis was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing.

 

The moment I finished watching the movie, I ran to the computer to see if the library had the soundtrack….they did … was it worth the wait? Absolutely.

 

 

 

- Karen

 

 

The Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack is available as a CD and digitally through Hoopla on the library’s website.

 

You may also like:

Inside Llewyn Davis DVD

 

Inside Llewyn Davis: the screenplay

By Joel Coen

 

Inside Llewyn Davis Movie Website

http://www.insidellewyndavis.com/home

 

 

 

 

Movie review: Enough Said

By , September 30, 2014

Enough Said_ Enough Said

This is a smart, funny and very enjoyable movie featuring the late, great James Gandolfini in a role you may not be accustomed to given his preeminence as Tony Soprano.  He plays Albert, a sweet divorced man whose ex-wife, Marianne, befriends Eva, played by Julia Louise-Dreyfus (of course, well known from Seinfeld, New Adventures of Old Christine and recently star of HBO’s Veep).

Eva, a travelling masseusse, begins a relationship with Albert and their woman in common leads to all sorts of plot twists where shared information creates uncomfortably real and thought provoking situations.  What to reveal; When?  Who knows what?  Can we go on like this and become an honest couple based on our true feelings for each other?

Definitely a charming, romantic situational comedy worth watching with excellent acting all around and lots to recommend it.

-Phil

 

 

 

Book review: Tara Road

By , September 23, 2014

 Tara Road
By Maeve Binchy

This book has sat and sat and SAT on my To-Be-Read pile for what seems like forever. Initially I grabbed it because I thought it might have something to do with Gone with the Wind. Even though it completely doesn’t, the book jacket grabbed me. A house swap? From Dublin to Connecticut and vice versa? Hmm…I liked The Holiday. Why not?

When I finally began to read Tara Road, I borrowed the audio. This was a lucky happenstance, because the reader (in this case, Jenny Sterlin) has a beautiful Irish voice and sets the story nicely. Starting in Dublin, we meet Ria Johnson. The first half of the book details how she meets Danny Lynch & how they build their family. I kept waiting for the house exchange part, but couldn’t possibly see how it would fit. I even went back and read the cover, just to make sure this was the same book. It was, and is. I just hadn’t read far enough.

Little by little, Marilyn Vine and her Connecticut world sneek into the story. She and her husband are estranged, having just suffered through some horrific tragedy and Marilyn decides she needs some time to get away. On a whim, she dials Danny’s number in Dublin, having met him on a previous visit several years prior. When Ria answers they both cook up this scheme to trade houses for two months.

Whew! That was a lot of backstory to get through for a house exchange. But, honestly, every minute and page and scenario was worth it. At this point, you may either continue reading Tara Road OR you may switch out at start watching the movie (or do both like me!).

The movie starts right before the house exchange, significantly truncating Ria’s backstory and stars Andie MacDowell as Marilyn Vine and Olivia Williams as Ria Lynch. (Just because I always have to find some Joss Whedon connection, Williams starred as Adelle DeWitt, the head of his short-lived Dollhouse.) The book version is almost 500 pages, so naturally several plotlines and characters get cut in the movie. I loved both Ria and Marilyn, but I thought that movie Danny Lynch was nowhere as good, or as handsome, as the written Danny and I wanted to punch Polly Calahan in the face in both versions. Definitely a decent film adaptation though.

This book was nothing like what I was expecting, but I so enjoyed reading it. I was sorry when I finally finished. I had not read anything from Maeve Binchy before, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last book of hers I read.

Happy reading…

:) Amanda

PS Today is my birthday (Da na na na na na). I’m gonna have a good time (birthday!)…

Comics review: Sin City

By , September 18, 2014

Frank Miller has become reclusive in recent years. Before going off the grid, he changed comics forever. Jeremy tells us how.

Daredevil Volume 1

Batman: Year One

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Sin City Volume 1: The Hard Goodbye

Sin City Volume 2: A Dame to Kill For

Sin City Volume 3: A Big Fat Kill

Sin City Volume 7: Hell and Back

Sin City (movie version)

music by Black Dice Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive

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Football Movies We love

By , August 28, 2014

With the 95th NFL season getting ready to kickoff on September 4th what better way to get into the mood for football season than with some of our favorite football movies……

 

The Blind Side

Based on a true story, “Michael Oher is a homeless teenager who with the help of his coaches and adopted family becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.”

 

Brian’s Song

“A drama about the deep friendship between Gale Sayers, black halfback for the Chicago Bears, and his white teammate, Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970.”

 

Friday Night Lights

“Odessa is an oil town in the western part of Texas that is home to the Permian High School Panthers, the football team with the best winning record. The city’s economy is in a tailspin, but football is the one thing that brings all the people of Odessa together.”

 

Invincible

“Vince Papale is a down-on-his-luck substitute teacher in Philadelphia who, at the age of 30, was out of work, abandoned by his wife, and biding time as a part-time bartender when he decides to answer an open call for tryouts on the Philadelphia Eagles NFL football team in 1976.”

Leatherheads

“Dodge Connolly is a charming, brash football hero. He is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his team. Dodge hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport finally capture the country’s attention.”

 

Radio

“The story of the relationship between a prominent high school football coach in a small South Carolina town and the illiterate, mentally-challenged man nicknamed Radio whom he mentors.”

 

Remember the Titans

“A drama of forced high school integration in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from Yoast as could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions.”

 

Rudy

“Although people have told Rudy all his life he’s not good enough, smart enough or big enough, nothing can stop his impossible dream of playing football for Notre Dame.”

 

Undefeated

“The inspiring and moving tale of three underprivileged student-athletes from inner-city Memphis and the volunteer coach, Bill Courtney, trying to help them beat the odds on and off the field.”

 

We are Marshall

“While traveling home after a football game in North Carolina, 75 members of Marshall College’s football team and coaching staff were killed in a plane crash. As those left behind struggled to cope with the devastating loss of their loved ones, the grieving families found hope and strength in the leadership of Jack Lengyel, a young coach who was determined to rebuild Marshall’s football program and in the process helped to heal a community.”

 

- Karen

 

 

Ebola: a primer

By , August 15, 2014

Ebola: the plague fighters
NOVA

Ebola Hemorragic Fever. If those three words did not send blood curding chills down your spine before the most recent West African outbreak, I bet they do now.

First identified in 1976, Ebola Hemorragic Fever appeared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. The latest outbreak is centered in Guéckédou, Guinea. The virus is believed to be zoonotic (animal-borne) spreading to humans once in contact with a diseased animal. Ebola Hemorragic Fever is severe and often fatal to humans and nonhuman primates. The symptoms are frightening so to spare the reader graphic details, focus on the word, “hemorragic.”

If you care to further investigate this virus from the safety of your Ebola secretion free home, we offer these horrifying reads and films beginning with the 1987  Robin Cook medical thriller, Outbreak.  A film by the same name followed in 1995 featuring “a take charge army virologist” played by Dustin Hoffman.  Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman also star. Cook followed up with the 1995 book Contagion (film by the same name in 2011).

In 1994 Richard Preston gave non-fiction audiences The Hot Zone. This book looks at the disease and the research behind the testing and the lab work involved in finding a treatment. If you wonder why no cure or treatment exists, it is because outbreaks are sporadic and occur mainly in Africa.

Finally for your viewing pleasure, the 2007 no-nonsense Nova production Ebola: plague fighters. The Nova film team was permitted into the 1995 Zaire Ebola “hot zone”. They spent four weeks in the quarantined city of Kikwit following medical specialists who traced and tracked the Ebola virus that dissolves internal organs and connective tissue. You can watch this one while donning a surgical mask. No one will blame you.

By visiting patients in their home, by helping them come to terms with their illness, I could heal when I could not cure.      Abraham Verghese

-laurie

 

 

 

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