pixels  I admit, after watching this movie, I do not know if anyone that was born after 1985 would enjoy this movie.  Maybe they would if they like to play old arcade games when they come across one.  But playing an arcade version of Pac Man at Happy Joes is nothing like going to an actual arcade and being surrounded by various games and players. But I digress.

If you do remember going to the arcade and playing games such as Donkey Kong you will find the movie Pixels enjoyable.  No, it will not win any Oscars but it is a fun movie to watch.  Starring Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, Kevin James and Josh Gad, this fearless foursome were the some of the top arcade game players back in the day.  The movie opens in 1982 with Brenner and Eddie facing off for the championship.  At the time, a time capsule is launched into space containing various things including video games.

Fast forward to the present year.  Aliens attack a U.S. military base in Guam.  The attack came from creatures that looked similarly to the old video game Galaga.  Cooper is the current President of the United States and he calls his old friend Brenner for help.  The aliens have sent messages to Earth. They received the time capusle from 1982 and they viewed it as a declaration of war.  The aliens have sent video games in the form of pixels to attack Earth.  In order to survive, Earth has to win three rounds of classic video game attacks.  A second attack happens at the Taj Mahal in India before the U.S. is able to react.

Brenner and Ludlow train a group of soldiers to fight the video games.  The key to defeating the game is knowing the pattern.  When a third attack happens in London, the soldiers, Brenner and Ludlow fight off the alien video game version of Centipede. Even the soldiers tried, it is Brenner and Ludlow that save the day.  The fourth game is in New York City and the game is Pac Man.  In order to defeat this game, they are going to need four ghosts.  This is where Peter Dinklage comes into the movie.  The fourth ghost is played by Pac Man creator Toru Iwatani.  Watching a giant Pac Man chomp down the streets of New York is a visual experience I never expected to see.  Eventually Pac Man is defeated until the aliens send a message that one of the ghosts cheated.

The next attack is in Washington, D.C.  And this time, it is not just one game.  It is ALL the video game characters attacking Earth.  For Earth to win, the game Donkey Kong has to be defeated.  Even President Cooper joins the action and fights the aliens.

Before you watch Pixels, you should watch the documentary, The King of Kong: a Fistful of Quarters.  Unemployed school teacher Steve Wiebe has a Donkey Kong, Jr arcade game.  He spendkongs a lot of time playing it.  He looks up the high score for Donkey Kong, and thinks to himself that he can beat that score.  So Steve Wiebe goes after Billy Mitchell’s high score for Donkey Kong.  You may think that no movie about a Donkey Kong score could be interesting to watch.  But you would be wrong.  Apparently, those high scores still matter to a lot of people.  It is an intense experience watching Wiebe go after the high score.  I mention this documentary because you will quickly notice the similarities between these characters and the main characters in Pixels.

 

tomorrowlandDisney never seems to disappoint when it comes to instilling a set of values and convictions into any movie and Tomorrowland, a film starring George Clooney as disheartened former boy genius Frank and Britt Robertson as optimistic reckless science-geek Casey, lives up to the Disney promise of hope by showing viewers that anything is possible as long as you can dream it.

In Tomorrowland, we’re introduced to Frank Walker, a young genius who brings his idea for a jet pack to the New York World’s Fair in the 1960s where he bumps into the mysterious Athena, a child seemingly monitoring the inventions table in the hall, who slips him a pin with the letter “T” on it that ends up changing Frank’s life forever. Flash forward to present day and we see Casey Newton, a teenage girl with a quick mind and a NASA engineer father who will be put out of a job if NASA succeeds in the demolition of the rocket launch platform in Cape Canaveral. Discovering a “T” pin of her own, Casey finds herself on a journey to figure out where exactly this pin is taking her and why she was given one. Join Casey and Frank as they rocket through space and are transported to a place called Tomorrowland, where letting your imagination loose is encouraged and where adventure awaits as long as you believe anything can happen.

devil in the white cityA couple of months ago I heard on the radio that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio were going to collaborate yet again on what will most definitely be another blockbuster hit. The two have previously collaborated on The Aviator, Shutter Island, Gangs of New York, The Departedand The Wolf of Wall StreetEach film was nominated by the Academy of Motion Pictures for Arts and Sciences (aka the best award in film you can attain) for Best Film and Directing with DiCaprio getting the Best Actor nomination for 3 out of the 5 films. Scorsese won the Oscar for Best Director and Best Film of the Year for The Departed. When these two get together, everyone turns out to see what they have created, especially me! This film is 2 years away from its release, and I am already gearing up for it.

This time they are bringing you a film based on the 2003 book The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Erik Larson’s work is the story of the true events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. He tells this story in interweaving fashion, focusing on Architect Daniel Burnham and serial killer H.H. Holmes during the years leading up  to the World’s Fair. Both men shaped Chicago’s history in very different ways.

When I first heard about this novel, I wasn’t too excited to pick it up. My fear was that it would be too much about gruesome murders for me to enjoy. But it wasn’t. The book is about paramount history that happened just a few hours away from where we live. In fact, one of Holmes’ lovers and later victim was from Davenport, IA.

While there are a few murderous details, Holmes’ part of the book is more about how he was able to carry on his killings undetected for so long. Multiple accounts describe Holmes as an ideal individual that exuded charm and warmth. While I am eager to finish and read about Holmes’ inevitable demise, I have truly adored page after page of historical firsts. The World’s Fair was such a monumental occassion that everyone wanted to be part of it. Great inventions were first unveiled, historical figures rubbed elbows, heroes we have only read about preformed, and so..much..more.

I have no doubt that Scorsese will capture the essence of this time period and the innumerable historical particles sprinkled throughout the book. As for my all time favorite actor, Leonardo Dicaprio, I know he will deliver. It was a bit disheartening to learn that DiCaprio would encompass H. H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, but then I realized one cannot always play the hero. And in fact, many actors do their best work when playing the villain. I wouldn’t be surprised if DiCaprio gives his best performance ever with this new film.

Photos from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

More about the World’s Columbian Exposition.

dior and iChristian Dior. Chanel. Givenchy. These names are only some of the legendary haute couture houses. Haute couture has a strict definition, but literally means high or elegant sewing. The Paris Chamber of Commerce protects haute couture by law and says that in order to be haute couture, you MUST follow a set of rules, rules that are clearly delineated by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the association that approves you to be haute couture.

In Dior and I, viewers watch as, in 2012, the newly hired Artistic Director for Dior, Raf Simons, is given a short eight weeks to pull together his very first haute couture line. This documentary goes behind the scenes to show all of the intense labor and work that goes into making haute couture and how the introduction of a new Artistic Director, especially one with more of a ready-to-wear fashion background, added another level of difficulty to make sure the fitting for this new line would go smoothly. Dealing with a new Artistic Director who has his own ideas to bring to the table, juggling completing the line in time with the existing clients and their commissions, and working right up until the fitting brings stress and complications to the many pieces of the Dior fashion house that make sure everything runs smoothly.

Dior and I proves to be a stunningly beautiful documentary that provides a look into the history of Christian Dior through readings of his journals and also snapshots and film of the designer at work. This film is as much a homage to the fashion houses of old and the multi-talented seamstresses who have worked for Dior for years and who strive to bring the founder’s image and standards to life through every inch of fabric they touch on a day-to-day basis as it is also a glimpse into the future for the fashions to come. The combination of the classic and the new is a topic that runs throughout this documentary.

Watch along as all of the style elements from fashion to show design come together to introduce Raf Simons as the new Artistic Director of Christian Dior. (Interesting tidbit I found: Simons just announced he is leaving Dior leading to much speculation about why and who will replace him!)

cinderella1Reboots of classic fairy tales seem to be announced every other day with versions ranging from all-out musicals (Here’s to you, Into the Woods) to a new deluxe version being released from the Disney vault (Quick! Get your Aladdin fix!) to even focusing on the point of view of the villain (Poor scorned Maleficent). These new versions can conjure up sentimental feelings among older viewers and provide an opportunity for people to talk about their favorite classics and all of its reboots.

Disney just released a new version of Cinderella, which stars Lily James as Ella, a young girl being raised by her mother and merchant father when tragedy strikes leaving her father to raise Ella all by himself. Armed with her mother’s last words, “Have courage and be kind”, and her loving and strong nature, Ella sets out to find the good, and to most importantly, bring out the good present in the world all around her. Ella’s father remarries and soon a stepmother and two stepsisters are brought into the family. Tragedy strikes again with the sudden passing of her father and Ella finds herself having to dig deep within to deal with the bullying of her step-family as she struggles with her whole world turning upside down. She soon meets a dashing young man in the woods, decides to do everything within her power to see him again, and makes the ultimate decision to take her life back into her own hands.

This version of Cinderella does not stray far from the classic, but instead works to give more back story to the different characters present. You’ll learn more about what made Cinderella’s stepmother into the woman she is, how Cinderella’s relationship with her parents and strong connections to the people around her molded her into the woman she becomes, and how and why the Prince and his family behave the way they do. Add in a dash of Helena Bonham Carter as Cinderella’s quirky fairy godmother and this version of the classic Cinderella becomes one full of hope, imagination, and fun that will leave viewers relishing in the simple, life-changing wisdom of “Have courage and be kind”.


Interested in checking out some more movie reboots of Cinderella? Look below! If you’re interested in finding some book versions, contact us at the library.

ella enchanteda cinderella storyever after1cinderella2funny facecinderella3

 

 

x filesThe X-Files is coming back to television on January 24, 2016!  And October is the perfect month to re-watch the original series.  Why? Because the show is creepy. The perfect amount of creepiness to put you in the mood for Halloween.  If you never watched The X-Files, you may mistakenly believe that the show is only about aliens and UFOs.  While there are a lot of episodes that involve aliens, there are plenty of other episodes about creatures that go bump in the night. If you enjoyed shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the Twilight Show, you will enjoy watching The X-Files.

The show began airing in 1993 and it was on television for nine seasons for a total of 202 episodes.  The show is centered on a pair of FBI Special Agents, Fox Mulder and Dr. Dana Scully.  There are many times that it comes in handy that Scully is a medical doctor.  Along with keeping you healthy, she can perform autopsies.  Mulder is a talented profiler, but he was drawn to the X-files because of his strong belief in the supernatural.  As the series progresses, we learn that Mulder’s younger sister was abducted by aliens when they were children.  But as mentioned earlier, the show is not entirely based on aliens.  Agents Mulder and Scully investigate all sorts of different creatures such mutants, vampires, werewolves, and people with genetic abnormalities and psychic abilities.  A theme of the show is that the United States government is aware of a lot of the creatures and people that Mulder and Scully investigate.  Even after witnessing strange phenomenon first hand, Agents Mulder and Scully often find themselves being shut down by “someone” higher up in the government.  The thought that the government may be keeping secrets about strange life forms is an unsettling part of the show.

If you do not want to watch all 202 episodes of The X-Files, here is a list of the episodes you must watch before the new episodes air on January 24, 2016.

 

Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, recommends that you watch:

1. “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)

The one that introduced Mulder, Scully, their defining characteristics, their relationship, their world.

2. “Deep Throat” (Season 1, Episode 2)

This episode introduces the idea of a government conspiracy/cover-up of extra-terrestrial activity and a mysterious informant, code named Deep Throat

3. “Beyond the Sea” (Season 1, Episode 13)

The episode that sees Scully become the believer after the death of her father overlaps with the case of an allegedly psychic serial killermulder

4. “The Erlenmeyer Flask” (Season 1, Episode 24)

There’s a shocking death, and from this point forward, the conspiracy storyline becomes the driving narrative of the show

5. “The Host” (Season 2, Episode 2)

There’s something sinister lurking in the sewers in this classic monster-of-the-week episode

6.  “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (Season 3, Episode 4)

In one of the greatest X-Files episodes ever, Peter Boyle guest stars as a morbid psychic.

7.  “Memento Mori” (Season 4, Episode 14)

Though it features the usual alien rhetoric, this episode is best remembered as the one in which Scully learns she has cancer.

8. “Post-Modern Prometheus” (Season 5, Episode 5)

A Frankenstein-inspired tale about a lovelorn monster. It’s notable for its beautiful black-and-white cinematography.

9.  “Bad Blood” (Season 5, Episode 12)

The signature episode from a young Vince Gilligan, Mulder and Scully investigate a vampire case told in flashback from Mulder and Scully’s POV.

10.  “Milargo” (Season 6, Episode 18)

A favorite of the X-Files writing staff, Mulder and Scully contend with an author whose gruesome fiction becomes reality.

 

 

Top Ten (written by) Vince Gilligan Episodes: (fan favorites)

1. “Bad Blood” (Season 5, Episode 12)

Mulder and Scully investigate vampires from two very different POVs.

2. “Drive” (Season 6, Episode 2)

A man has a terrible headache and forces Mulder to drive him at high speeds.

3.  “Pusher” (Season 3, Episode 17)

A man with psychic abilities is able to make things happen just by saying it aloud.

4. “Folie a Deaux” (Season 5, Episode 19)

A man claims his boss is a giant cockroach.

5.  “Small Potatoes” (Season 4, Episode 20)

A man with a tail can morph into other men.

6. “X-Cops” (Season 7, Episode 12)x-files-unruhe

That’s right. It’s the show Cops starring Mulder and Scully.

7.  “Unruhe” (Season 4, Episode 4)

A killer lobotomizes women with an ice pick, but their images show up at a photo booth surrounded by ghosts.

8.  “Hungry” (Season 7, Episode 3)

A mutant with an insatiable appetite.

9.  “Je Souhaite” (Season 7, Episode 21)

A magic genie causes havoc.

10.  “Sunshine Days” (Season 9, Episode 18)

Murder at the “Brady Bunch house”

http://decider.com/2015/04/07/vince-gilligan-x-files-top-10/

 

x believe

The X-Files I Want to Believe movie

 

The library has the DVD sets of The X-Files as well as the film adaptations.  There are also books and graphic novels about The X-Files at the library.  Check them out today.

kill the messengerI don’t know about you, but my attention is always peaked when I start watching a movie and it says, “based on a true story” somewhere in the opening credits. I watch the movie trying to absorb as many of the facts as possible, so that when the movie ends, if I still find the topic and people the movie is about interesting, then I can go research more. My newest “based on a true story” movie is Kill the Messenger starring Jeremy Renner.

In Kill the Messenger, Renner plays Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb, an investigative reporter who worked for the San Jose Mercury News, who finds himself entangled in a political and drug war when he at first becomes tricked into helping a younger drug dealer get his charges dropped in trial. Webb inadvertently stumbles upon a huge life-changing story when he digs deeper into the initial story he was presented with and finds a connection between the U.S. government and a Central American war. Through investigative reporting and tracking down anyone that could possibly be tied to this case, Webb finds that a United States intelligence agency has linked themselves to a group of Central American drug smugglers. Webb’s story seems to only be getting better until he is dragged in front of operatives for the agency and is told, in polite terms of course, that if he does not stop, he will be unequivocally endangering his life, the lives of his family, and the lives of everyone he knows. Here is when everything starts going downhill for Webb. This movie can be described as a riveting suspense, an explosive race for the truth, and even a compelling political drama. I was intrigued by the suspense and the cover-ups that happen throughout and how everything you think you know, you actually don’t know at all. Check out this movie and let me know what you think!


If you’re interested in learning more about Gary Webb, the journalist who exposed the CIA, check out the books below. They contain essays written by Webb, while Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou is one of the two books that the move is based on.

ktm bookinto the buzzsawyou are being lied to

 

 

the crimson fieldIn The Crimson Field, viewers are introduced to the daily lives of doctors and nurses in a tented field hospital right on the front lines of France during World War I. Right at the start, you are introduced to three volunteer nurses, Kathleen, Rosalie, and Flora as they make their way to a field hospital on the coast of France close to the front lines of fighting. At this field hospital, they are the very first volunteer nurses; a fact that rankles the established medical team already in place. Kitty, Rosalie, and Flora must find ways to deal with the new world that they have been thrust into where they quickly realize that the training that they have received is nowhere near adequate for the job they must do. With their addition to camp, everyone’s lives start to shift and clashes quickly crop up between the way that things have always been done, the hierarchal structure within the camp, and a new way of thinking. While the girls quickly find out that they are underprepared for this new way of life, they also discover that they, just like the others around them, are able to use this as a new start and to break away from everything that held them back in their hometowns.

PBS and the BBC have found ways to make interesting a subject that would have been dreadful to read about in a history textbook. By illuminating such topics as World War I, the day-to-day life of people in front-line field hospitals, and the tensions between the Allied and the Central Powers, viewers realize just how tumultuous life was during World War I and how people had to be aware of even their smallest actions. This PBS television show has a unique way of pulling people into the lives of the characters while simultaneously making the events that they are going through a wide and layered character unto itself.

mcfarland, usaHave you ever watched a movie where you instantly find yourself cheering for and hoping that the main characters win? I do. I’m a sucker for underdog movies and especially sports movies with underdogs as the main characters. I checked out McFarland, USA not realizing really what this movie was about, except there was running involved, Kevin Costner was in it, it was based on the 1987 true story, and was also a Disney movie.

In McFarland, USA, Kevin Costner stars as Jim White, coach of a football team in a predominantly white, influential, and affluent neighborhood, until he has a falling out with administration and is forced to move to the only place where he can find a job, at McFarland, a primarily Latino high school in an economically challenged town in the Central Valley of California, where farms can be found everywhere. Here, Jim and his family are forced to live on a teacher’s salary where he makes less than usual when he is forced to get creative to make a cross country team when 1) he loses his job as assistant football couch and 2) he notices that the students in his P.E. class do not have cars, are running from the fields to school to home, and that they don’t actually mind running in class. Running long distances is very easy to them, so he decides to create a cross country team, the first in McFarland’s history.

With a first-time cross country coach and a first-time team, they meet adversity and are forced to band together to show their families and community that they can win and are actually on the same playing level as the rest of the teams they are competing against. This description may sound cheesy and like the classic underdog story, but I encourage you to check this movie out, as the directors make sure to flesh out and give lives to all of the people in Jim’s life, the people in his players’ lives, and in the community all around them, making this movie entertaining no matter what character you find yourself relating to the most.

emmy2

The annual 67th Primetime Emmy Awards will air on September 20 on Fox network. This is an award show that honors evening television programs. In total there were 567 nominations, with the HBO network nabbing 126 of them! The rest of the 441 nominations were split between 47 other networks. Game of Thrones leads the pack of individual programs with a whopping 24 nominations. Other noteworthy leading programs include American Horror Story:Freak Show19, Olive Kitteridge 13, Bessie – 12, and House of Cards, Mad Menand Transparent (Amazon Prime exclusive series-library does not carry) with 11 each.

Most fans are interested in the big awards like Outstanding Drama or Outstanding Actress/Actor. This blog is going to get down to the meat and potatoes of it all. Below is the list of nominees for some of the big Emmy categories, a few fun facts, and my Emmy predictions. The library carries nearly all these titles, just click the title to go to the catalog. The rest are not on DVD yet, but keep checking our catalog for the rest of these titles to appear.

Outstanding Drama Series: Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men, and Orange is the New Black. Traditionally, this category has been a love fest between Breaking Bad and Mad Men, with Homeland squeezing in the win in 2012. Does that mean that the new AMC series Better Call Saul will pick up where Breaking Bad left off? Better Cal Saul is a spin off prequel to Breaking Bad. Well I say let the new kid on the block pay some dues and make way for some of the other fantastic story lines in TV land.  Mad Men hasn’t won an Emmy in years and apparently no one can decide if Orange is the New Black is a comedy or drama so I think those two are out. That leaves four solid competitors. Game of Thrones is hands down the best thing on television. It should get the win. The other three shows are great and have consistently been highly entertaining, but they just aren’t Game of Thrones.

Outstanding Comedy Series: Louie, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and VeepModern Family has won this award every year since 2010. We get it! You’re the best, now can we please let someone else have a turn? At this point, it doesn’t matter to me who wins as long as it is not Modern FamilyI’d like to see Transparent take the win even though they are a new show. Rarely do I root for the new guy, but this show is unique. It is tackling a tough topic while being streamed through to a very limited audience via Amazon Prime. A win will mean big things for Amazon and hopefully more great shows like this to come.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Kyle Chandler in Bloodline, Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom, John Hamm in Mad Men, Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul, Liev Schreiber in Ray Donovan, and Kevin Spacey in House of Cards. Let it be Kevin Spacey, let it be Kevin Spacey, let it be Kevin Spacey. This is a great category full of amazing talent, its any man’s game. Kevin Spacey has won many awards in his career because he simply is fantastic. But he was, as they say, born to play Frank Underwood in the Netflix series House of Cards, and he has yet to win the Emmy. My fingers are triple crossed for you sir.

Outstanding lead Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Daines in Homeland, Viola Davis in How to Get Away With Murder, Taraji P. Henson in Empire, Elizabeth Moss in Mad Men, and Robin Wright in House of Cards. Viola Davis has been the Belle of the ball this award season for her outstanding work on the new show How to Get Away With MurderSorry ladies, I think she has this one wrapped up.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson in Black-ish, Louise C.K. in Louie, Don Cheadle in House of Lies, Will Forte in Last Man on Earth, Matt LeBlanc in Episodes, William H. Macy in Shameless, and Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent. Even if it doesn’t take home the win for Outstanding Comedy, I’m pretty sure Transparent will take home this award. Jeffrey Tambor is amazing in this role and has already won a Golden Globe for it. Tambor plays a 68 year old man with three grown children, who is finally living openly as a woman. As I watch this show, I believe every second of what I see. Tambor is so real in this role, which makes the acting all the more marvelous.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Edie Flaco in Nurse JackieLisa Kudrow in The Comeback, Julia Louise-Dreyfus in VeepAmy Poehler in Parks and RecreationAmy Schumer in Inside Amy Schumer, and Lily Tomline in Grace and Frankie. I feel like I’m taking a shot in the dark here. Julia Louise-Dreyfus has won this award for the past three years, so I just can’t pick her. It would be interesting to see Amy Schumer or Lilly Tomline to pull out the win with their first nominations for these roles. However I am going to go out on a limb and give it to Lisa Kudrow although she was my least favorite “friend”. Her show The Comeback had it’s first season in 2005 and  then went on a 9 year hiatus before returning to HBO in 2014. She’s out of the gate with an Emmy nomination, maybe even a win.

Outstanding Miniseries: American Crime, American Horror Story: Freak Show, The Honorable Woman, Olive Kitteridge, and Wolf HallWhat a great category. I highly recommend watching them all. I’ve narrowed this down to The Honorable Woman or Olive Kitteridge. It is a coin toss, but I’m going with The Honorable WomenI think Maggie Gyllenahl can be very powerful on screen and she hit her sweet spot with this.

Outstanding Television Movie: Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last CaseBessie, Grace of Monaco, Hello Ladies: The Movie, Killing Jesus, and NightingaleHBO and Queen Latifah can do no wrong. HBO’s Bessie will be the big winner here. This made for TV movie based on the life of blues singer Bessie Smith has been all the rage.

For a complete list of nominees visit 2015 complete list of Emmy nominations.

For more fun facts visit 2015 Emmy facts and figures.

For more 2015 Emmy predictions visit any of the sites listed below. I promise I didn’t look!

Indiwire

GoldDerby

AwardsCircuit

NY Times