The holidays are here and the library's Christmas and holiday films are flying off the shelves. Every year I go on a personal marathon of Christmas film watching. I set aside my Netflix que, put my TV watching on hold, with the exception of the Doctor Who Christmas Specials, and settle back to watch some of my favorite Christmas films. Below are the ones I must see or I feel like my holiday season is incomplete. Read more »
"Ghost Town" takes the M. Night Shyamalan movie," The Sixth Sense" and stands it on its head. The tagline for the film says it all; "He sees dead people ... and they annoy him." After a near death experience, Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) finds he has the ability to see dead people. The dead want his attention so that they can close out the incompleteness in their lives and move on. Pincus is a very good dentist but very inept as a human being and the type of character Gervais plays well. The role of a competent loser suits him. His sudden ability to see the dead doesn't leave him impressed nor does it fill him with fear. Instead, it seems to annoy him. He would much rather be left alone to be the perfect loser. Read more »
There is a legend about blues guitarist Robert Johnson- that he sold his soul to the devil for the ability to play blues guitar like no other. Is it true? Perhaps, perhaps not; it's a legend that surrounds other bluesmen and many a struggling musician has gone in search of "the crossroads" to see if they can also have the skills and influence of Robert Johnson. Crossroads is not about that search, Read more »
When compact discs first came out they were proclaimed to be almost indestructible. I still remember watching the Today Show and being amazed as the new media storage for music was demonstrated. Part of the demonstration was taking a small hammer and hitting the CD disc with it. A wonder of wonders; the disc still played. Looking back on this event today I wonder if the disc would have played all the way through. The Idea that digital disc storage was indestructible has been more than a little overblown. Digital discs need the same care and sometimes greater care than the old vinyl recordings. I would like to share with you some guidelines for caring for your digital discs. " Read more »
I lie back on my bed while listening to Janis Joplin's album Pearl. It contains one of many versions of the song "Me and Bobby Magee" that I've heard over the years. Janis is my favorite. I love how her grating bluesy voice sounds on this song, more than any other song she has recorded. As she sings the lines, "Windshield wipers slapping time, I's holding Bobby's hand in mine and we sang every song that driver knew," Read more »
It's 1961 and I'm six years old. I've rushed home from school to plant myself firmly in front of the TV to watch a puppet show. But not just any puppet show. This was Supercar; real science fiction. Never mind that the puppets, Marionettes really, were a little jerky and you could see the strings. I didn't really care about the story. I wanted to own Supercar and to fly it. Supercar was Gerry Anderson's first science fiction series filmed in Supermarionation; a fancy name for a show done with puppets. Supercar wasn't a car at all, but what we would today call a vertical landing and takeoff craft able to fly, go into space and undersea; there was not a single wheel on it. Supercar was a beauty to behold. Even today I still would love to own it. It's my dream car second only to the 1960's Batmobile. Read more »
Libraries can be an interesting place to find things. It's sometimes said that librarians think differently than other people. That of course isn't really true; our goal is to make things as easy to find as possible for as many people as possible. The end result however can be confusing. Why? Because librarians think differently than other people. The use of numbers in movie titles is a good example. Let's look at the movie "2012," (Two Thousand Twelve)
You might have noticed that in the above example I spelled out the title in parentheses. There is a reason for this. Libraries, unlike your home computer, place titles with numbers on the shelf as if they were spelled out. Why do we do this? Read more »
Growing up in the sixties I remember The Monkees TV show with fondness. The Monkees was a show about four musicians, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz, struggling to make ends meet and make it big. In the show they never did. In real life they became one of the biggest groups to hit the teen scene since The Beatles. When we think of the The Monkees we tend to think of three things. First that the show was a family show that appealed to the young people of the time. Second, they were, at first, primarily a vocal group. They added their voices to music tracks recorded by others. Even though there were many vocal groups around at the time that did just that because the show was about a band, we felt somehow betrayed when we found this out. By the time their third album came out and they had taken control and played their own instruments the damage had been done, the public had largely turned on them and the show was headed for cancellation. Third, a fact that falls in line with the second, they were manufactured. Prior to the show these four people did not know each other and they were hired to play a band with the hope that they would become one.
This brings us to the movie HEAD. The Monkees wanted to break out of their image and become more relevant. They joined together in a hotel room with show creator Bob Ralfelson and a then unknown actor by the name of Jack Nicholson and came out with the movie HEAD. Although the boys were very involved with the script history repeated itself and their names were not listed on the credits. By the time the movie came out the show had been off the air for a number of months and they had lost their standing as musicians. The film failed completely. It has since become a bit of a cult film and is worth seeing. Read more »
This BBC program from last summer (it aired last September on BBC America) follows the lives of three people who work for an newly created television news program at the BBC in 1956. While I did find it to be a bit slow in parts for a 6 episode series, I enjoyed watching the whole of it - especially the ending (no spoilers here, though). 'The Hour' is the name of the news program created within the show that attempts to challenge the then BBC standard of merely promoting the government's official viewpoint on current events. The plot also revolves around the mysterious death of a friend of the young journalist played by Ben Whishaw. He is, as usual, amazingly good in this, as are the two other leads; Romola Garai, who plays the head producer of the program, and Dominic West, the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time head anchor. If you are at all familiar with BBC programming, many of these shorter series can be standalone pieces, usually with all the episodes written by the same author (This one is actually coming back for a second series sometime later in 2012). The show creator here, Abi Morgan, seems to be an up-and-coming writer for theater, television, and film. Much of the newsroom work on the program gives some insight into Suez Crisis of the period, which I found interesting. For those not necessarily keen on a fictionalized history lesson, there is both a romance angle between several of the characters and some post-WWII, early Cold War espionage spy stuff going on here too. If you enjoy more modern-set period dramas of the BBC, give this one a try.
I will admit it, creating a list of foreign films using the library's catalog can be a frustrating experience for many patrons; however, it can be done and it is simpler than you might think. Here are some tips to help you generate a list of foreign films in various languages. Read more »