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Archive for February, 2014

  • Thor: The Dark World – or -“You just can’t stop a man with a big hammer.”  When Jane Foster is possessed by a great power, Thor must protect her from a new threat of old times: the Dark Elves.
  • Nebraska – An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.  This is from the director Alexander Payne, who also did Sideways and The Descendants.  This movie has been nominated for 6 Oscars.
  • Gravity – Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness.  The entire cast is made up of 7 people and 5 are never seen on camera, only their voices are heard.  (See below for an interesting article about the challenge of portraying space physics in the movie.)  However, the credits for Visual Effects is HUGE.   This movie has been nominated for 10 Oscars.
  • Adventure Time, season 3 –  An animated TV series about a human boy named Finn and his best friend Jake, a magical, talking dog, and their adventures in the magical Land of Ooo. This is not a kid’s show. It just looks like it.
  • Pulling Strings – After a night of drinking, Rachel, a diplomat working in Mexico City finds her world turned upside down after she’s saved by Alejandro, a Mariachi singer whose visa was rejected the day before – by Rachel.  This movie has a nice soundtrack. So if you like your romance (yes, it is a romance) Mariachi style, this is the one for you.
  • The Secret Policeman’s Ball – USA – What has come to be known as the “Secret Policeman’s Ball” series had its roots in four Amnesty International benefit shows produced between 1976-1981 in England. Coinciding with the commemoration of Amnesty’s fiftieth anniversary, the 2012 edition of the show took place outside of the  United Kingdom for the first time on Sunday March 4, 2012 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The DVD is the film of this show.
  • Blue is the Warmest Color – (France) Adele’s life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself and ultimately finds herself through love and loss. This is a lesbian romance. This film has received numerous awards including Best Foreign Film from the Kansas City Film Critics Circle.

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Gravity – “For Cuarón (director and writer)  accuracy was paramount. He wanted the film to feel like a space documentary gone wrong and for everything to be rooted in reality wherever it could be. “There was an awful lot of research to be done in the way things look and the way things work in space, the way things move” says Webber. “We had to retrain the animators to an extent as they are so used to portraying weight. It’s one of the hardest things to portray and our animators have it in their blood. Then suddenly there is no weight. The physics of outer space are completely different, it’s not just the zero gravity, it’s the zero air resistance, so once something starts moving it will keep moving and it won’t ever slow down. Things like that. We had little physics lessons with a whiteboard and discussed the implications of the physics with Alfonso.” http://www.framestore.com/work/gravity

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Are you an audiobook fan?  I know that I am.  Listening to a book is a different experience that reading it and I truly enjoy a good story well told.  A good narrator fleshes out the story in a way I never get reading the book silently to myself.  For example, if you haven’t listened to the audiobook version of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, I highly recommend it.  This book is narrated by a cast of women that capture the Southern accent, cadence of the language and all the emotion perfectly.   It is theater in your ears.

Another recommendation?  Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series narrated by George Guidall. Walt Longmire is the sheriff of the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming.  This is a police procedural mystery series with great characters and humor.   Johnson is a very good writer and Guidall narrates the subtle humor and action of the story exactly right.  If Walt should ever come to life, he should sound just like George.

If you would like to read more about the appeal of audiobooks, here’s an article that appeared in the New York Times.

That’s it for today. I’ll see you tomorrow with the list of new DVDs.

Laura

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  • Austenland – a romantic comedy about 30-something, single Jane Hayes, a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with Mr. Darcy-as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice-is ruining her love life; no real man can compare. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined.  This movie is based on the book Austenland and the author, Shannon Hale, also wrote the screenplay.   We have the book and the sequel Midnight in Austenland.
  • Ender’s Game –  Young Ender Wiggin is recruited by the International Military to lead the fight against the Formics, a genocidal alien race which nearly annihilated the human race in a previous invasion.  The movie is also based on the Orson Scott Card book by the same name and Ender’s Game is the first in a series.
  • Grace Unplugged – This movie has received the Dove approval for family viewing.  Grace Trey is the ideal Christian teen who is also a phenomenal singer. But at the tender age of eighteen, after she gets the music break of a lifetime and is thrust into the “real world” – her faith is put to the test
  • All is Lost – After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face.  There is a single cast member, Robert Redford, and the film’s script is nearly dialogue-free and only 32 pages long.
  • The Counselor – A rich and successful lawyer, the Counselor, is about to get married to his fiancée but soon becomes entangled in a complex drug plot with a middle-man known as Westray. The plan ends up taking a horrible twist and he must protect himself and his soon to be bride as the truth of the drug business is uncovered and targets are eliminated.
  • The Jungle Book – Disney’s rather loose retelling of the Kipling story.
  • Khumba – Rejected by his superstitious herd, a half-striped zebra embarks on a daring quest to earn his stripes but finds the courage and self-acceptance to save all the animals of the Great Karoo.  Animated
  • The Americans, season 1 – Two Soviet intelligence agents pose as a married couple to spy on the American government. This was nominated for an Emmy and won the Television Critics Association award for Outstanding New Program of the Year.  The series stars Keri Russell whom can also watch in Austenland!
  • Best Man Holiday – When college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be reignited. This grossed over $70 million when it was released over the holiday season.  I wonder how the DVD will do.  Do you want to watch a Christmas movie in February?

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Don’t answer that.  We missed you.  Due to the snow Tuesday, our DVDs came out on Wednesday.  Hope you are able to get out and check out one, or more, of these.

  • The White Queen – The year is 1464, a most dramatic and turbulent time in English history. A story of love and lust, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, it is uniquely told through the perspective of three different, yet equally relentless women. This originally aired on BBC.
  • Romeo & Juliet – an new interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic. You know how it ends (not happily ever after), but it is still a great story.
  • Free Birds – Two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the holiday menu for good.
  • Escape Plan – Arnold’s back.  When a structural-security authority finds himself set up and incarcerated in the world’s most secret and secure prison, he has to use his skills to escape with help from the inside. Starring  Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Baggage Claim – “It’s not a man I need, it’s a husband, a potential husband in a month.”  Pledging to keep herself from being the oldest and the only woman in her entire family never to wed, Montana embarks on a thirty-day, thirty-thousand-mile expedition to charm a potential suitor into becoming her fiancé.
  • Wings – an animated children’s movie originally a theatrical release in Russia.  It has been re-voiced in English. Ace, a young aircraft fighter, is invited to take part in a prestigious airshow competition. Determined to be the next champion, he asks Colonel, a legendary retired air fighter to train him. But lurking in the wings of the flight training camp is another competitor, Cyclone, who will stop at nothing to win the title for himself. On the day of the big competition, Ace and Cyclone compete leaving only one brave aircraft fighter, not only the champion, but a hero.
  • Dallas Buyers Club – based on real events, it is the story of Ron Woodroof’s (Matthew McConaughey) personal struggles after being diagnosed with AIDS and his efforts to spread public awareness of the disease and help reduce the suffering and extend the lives of AIDS patients. This movie is nominated for 6 Oscars and has already won a number of other awards.
  • About Time – At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

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