DVDs for January

January 8

frankenweenieFrankenweenie – Winona Ryder, Martin Short

Young Victor conducts a science experiment that will bring his dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous consequences. Rated PG

houseattheendofthestreetHouse at the End of the Street – Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Shue

Newly divorced Sarah and her teenage daughter Elissa have just moved to the suburbs for a fresh start. But their hopes quickly shatter as they learn that, years earlier, a grisly murder took place next door when a deranged girl killed her parents and disappeared. The girl’s older brother Ryan still occupies the house, and when he befriends Elissa, his secretive past could become her worst nightmare. Rated PG

January 15

possessionThe Possession – Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgewick

Clyde and Stephanie Brenek see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a Dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host. Rated PG-13

to rome with loveTo Rome With Love – Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, Alex Baldwin

Clyde and Stephanie Brenek see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a Dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host. Rated R

taken 2Taken 2 – Liam Neeson, Famka Janssen, Maggie Grace

Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA operative who finds himself taken hostage along with his wife. To survive, Bryan must enlist the help of an unlikely ally and use his brutally efficient skills to take out his kidnappers. Rated PG-13

January 29

cold light of dayCold Light of Day – Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis

Will Shaw arrives in Spain for a weeklong sailing vacation with his family. The situation takes an unexpected turn when his family is kidnapped and Will gets tangled in an intergovernmental web of lies and secrets, with a briefcase in the center of the mystery. Will finds himself on the run and realizes that he must recover the briefcase and take down secret agents in order to get his family back alive. Rated PG-13

hotel transylvaniaHotel Transylvania – Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Molly Shannon

The Hotel Transylvania, run by Dracula, is a unique, high-end resort catering only to the finest monsters and their families. Dracula is preparing for an extra special weekend – his daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday – when trouble arises: a human has stumbled upon the resort for the first time ever! Even worse: the human has taken a liking to Mavis! Rated PG

DVDs for November

November 6

Arthur Christmas

On Christmas night at the North Pole, Santa’s youngest son looks to use his father’s high-tech operation for an urgent mission. Rated PG

 

 

Your Sister’s Sister – Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass

A year after the death of his brother Tom, Jack is having trouble coming to terms with his loss and has hit a wall. An intervention in the guise of his best friend Iris results in a planned week of solitude in the country at her family’s cabin. Iris’s sister Hannah has the same idea, and she and Jack inadvertently have a night of drunken confessions and shared experiences. Rated R

Rock of Ages – Tom Cruise, Alex Baldwin

Drew and Sherrie meet in LA while pursuing their dream of life in the big city. Will their love survive the challenges the city throws their way? This musical features songs by Journey, Twisted Sister, Starship, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, and many more. PG-13

 

November 9

Amazing Spider-Man – Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone

Peter Parker finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young. His path puts him on a collision course with Dr. Curt Connors, his father’s former partner.PG-13

 

November 13

Chernobyl Diaries – Devin Kelley,

Six tourists hire an extreme tour guide who takes them to the abandoned city of Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. During their exploration, they soon discover they are not alone. Posted R

 

Savages – Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta

Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben, a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon, a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry, raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia. Life is idyllic in their Southern California town, until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. Unrated.

Brave – Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson

Princess Merida, an archer and self-reliant young woman, makes a decision which defies custom and brings chaos to her kingdom. To restore her kingdom, she must rely on her bravery and archery skills. Rated PG

 

The Watch – Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn

There’s trouble brewing in peaceful Glenview, Ohio. That’s why four civic-minded citizens, armed with flashlights, walkie-talkies, and spiffy new jackets, have teamed up to safeguard their community. But the guys find more than they bargained for when they uncover an alien plot to destroy Earth, and now these bumbling heroes are Glenview’s only chance to save the neighborhood and the world from annihilation. Rated R

November 20

Magic Mike – Matthew McConaughey, Joe Mangteaniello

Mike, an experienced stripper, takes a younger performer called The Kid under his wing and schools him in the arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money. Rated R

 

Expendables 2 – Sylvester Stallone, Liam Helmworth

When Mr. Church decides to reunite the Expendables, and one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.Rated R

 

November 27

Lawless – Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy

The true story of the infamous Bondurant brothers: bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. In this epic outlaw tale, inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel The Wettest County in the World, the loyalty of three brothers is put to the test against the backdrop of the nation’s most notorious crime wave. Rated R

Step up : Revolution – Kathryn McCormick

Emily arrives in Miami with aspirations of becoming a professional dancer and soon falls in love with Sean, a young man who leads a dance crew called ‘The Mob’. When a wealthy business man threatens to develop The Mob’s historic neighborhood and displace thousands-of people, they all work together to turn their performance art into protest art, and risk losing their dreams to fight for a greater cause. Rated PG-13

The Campaign – Will Ferrell, Zach GalifianaKIS

In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEOs seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady by putting up a rival candidate. Their man, naive Marty Huggins, is director of the local Tourism Center. Rated R

 

November 30

Men in Black 3 – Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith

Agent J must travel back in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s and save his partner, Agent K, from being assassinated by an alien. Along the way, Agent J teams up with young Agent K and learns that there are secrets to the universe that Agent K never told him. Rated PG-13

Sparkle – Whitney Houston, Jordan Sparks

Set in the 1960s, Sparkle and her two sisters form a singing group and dream of becoming stars beyond the affluent Detroit suburb where they come from, and where they are already well-known. But as the sisters become more famous, the close-knit nature of their family begins to fall apart. Features the late Whitney Houston’s final screen performance. Rated PG-13

Amazing Audiobooks Part Two: Gargantuan Greats for Grown-Ups

For this segment of Amazing Audiobooks, I’m focusing on the behemoth novels that fill up disc after disc of listening material. These exciting, immersive *bugcrushers will eat up time spent on the road, on the treadmill, or doing chores – listen while you cook dinner or fold the laundry; listen when your knitting needles click or break out your headphones when you want to keep reading but your partner insists on lights out!

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, read for you by John Lee: A beloved gargantuan novel of the people building a cathedral in 1100s England – filled with mystery, suspense, rich historical detail, and captivating characters. This 32-disc novel is a winner! Its sequel, World Without End, is similarly enthralling.

 

A Game of Thrones, written by George R.R. Martin and masterfully performed by Roy Dotrice. This single novel takes up 28 CDs, or 33.5 hours. More than enough for the usual road trip! The four sequels to this novel are each around 30 discs of listening material, which would supply your listening needs long enough to drive from Davenport to Orlando Florida and back – three times!

 

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, written by Susanna Clarke and performed by Simon Prebble, is a fantasy novel that answers the question: what if a society of proper London magicians were around to magically assist the armies of England in the Napoleonic wars? And what if the leaders of that group were fighting against each other as well as taking on malevolent forces from the realm of Faerie? And what if all of this was written in a superb Jane-Austen-esque style that evokes all the sparkling wit and manners of the times without sacrificing the edge-of-your-seat action that modern audiences expect? Or, to put it more simply: This is an amazing novel and you should listen to it or read it right away. 32 hours of listening pleasure on 26 discs.

Some more excellent, lengthy novels:

*Bugcrusher: A book that is so big and heavy, you’d like to have it in hand to squish a scary bug.

DVDs for July

JULY 3

Journey 2 – Mysterious Island – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens

The new journey begins when young adventurer Sean receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist, a place of strange life forms, mountains of gold, deadly volcanoes, and more than one astonishing secret. Unable to stop him from going, Sean’s new stepfather joins the quest. Together with a helicopter pilot and his beautiful, strong-willed daughter, they set out to find the island. PG

JULY 10

Sherlock Holmes – Game of Shadows – Robert Downey Jr., Noomi Rapace, Jude Law

Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room, until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large, Professor James Moriarty, and not only is he Holmes’s intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may give him an advantage over the renowned detective. Holmes’s investigation into Moriarty’s plot becomes more dangerous as it leads him and Watson out of London to France, Germany, and finally Switzerland. PG

American Reunion – Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eugene Levy

The whole American Pie gang returns to East Great Falls for the first time since their legendary senior year to turn their reunion into the most unforgettable weekend since high school. Old friends will reconnect, old flames will reignite, and everyone will rediscover just how much fun you can pack into one outrageous reunion. Unrated.

JULY 17

Salmon Fishing in Yemen – Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Amr Waked

A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik’s vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.PG – 13

Friends with Kids – Jon Hamm, Kristin Wiig, Chris O’Dowd,

A daring and hilarious ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends whose lives change once they have kids. The last two singles in the group observe the effect that kids have had on their friends’ relationships and wonder if there’s a better way to make it work. When they decide to have a child together, and date other people, their unconventional ‘experiment’ leads everyone in the group to question the nature of friendship, family, and, above all, true love. R.

Three Stooges – Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso

The Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, Curly) are on a mission. Left on the doorstep of an orphanage run by nuns, the young trio grows up finger-poking, nyuk-nyuking, and woo-woo-wooing their way into trouble. Now years later, with the orphanage forced to close its doors, the Three Stooges embark on a wacky mission to save it. Hilarious mischief and mayhem ensue.PG 13

JULY 24

Wrath of the Titans – Liam Neeson, Sam Worthington

Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world. PG 13

 

 

 

 

DVDs for May

MAY 1

Haywire – Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender

After freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, Mallory is double-crossed and left for dead by someone in her own agency. Suddenly the target of assassins who know her every move, Mallory unleashes the fury of her fighting skills to uncover the truth and turn the tables on her ruthless adversary. R
MAY 8
Underworld – Awakening – Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy
Vampire warrioress Selene escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both vampire and lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species. R
 
The Vow –  Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum
A young couple has a car accident that puts the wife in a coma. After she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband sets his sights on winning her heart again.PG-13
 
MAY 15
Albert Nobbs – Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska
A woman passes as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland. Some thirty years after donning men’s clothing, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making.R
 
Grey – Lian Neeson, Dermot Mulroney
After their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness, a roughneck group of oil drillers is forced to find a way back to civilization. As Ottway leads the injured survivors through the brutal snow and ice, they are relentlessly tracked by a vicious pack of rogue wolves that will do anything to defend their territory. Adrenaline-fueled, action-packed and loaded with some of the most intense and brutally realistic attack scenes ever filmed. R
Chronicle – Dane Dehaan, Alex Russell
Seen through the lens of a troubled teen’s video camera, yet filled with eye-popping action and jaw-dropping special effects, Chronicle is as real as it gets. When three ordinary high school friends make an extraordinary discovery, they acquire amazing abilities beyond their understanding. But as their powers develop, so do their darker sides. Fun, harmless pranks soon lead to much riskier activities as the boys’ ‘gifts,’ and their lives, spin dangerously out of control! PG-13
MAY 22
Woman in Black – Daniel Ratcliffe, Janet McTeer
A young lawyer is ordered to travel to a remote village and sort out a recently deceased client’s papers. While he works alone in the client’s isolated house, he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman who is terrorizing the locals. This leads him on a desperate race against time when he discovers her true intent. PG-13
Red Tails – Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard.
Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky, even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, Red Tails is a breathtaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history. PG-13
MAY 29
New Year’s Eve –  Halle Berry, Robert DeNiro
A stellar ensemble cast celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances, and fresh starts in intertwining stories told amidst the pulse and promise of New York City on the most dazzling night of the year.PG-13
 
We Need to Talk About Kevin – Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly
Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.
 
 
 
 

DVDs for January

January 3rd

Hangover Part II – Bradley Cooper,   Zach Galifianakis,

Two years after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry. (R)

 

 

The Guard – Don Cheadle, Brendon Gleeson

An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring. (R)

January 10

Moneyball – Brad Pitt,  Johan Hill

The story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players. (PG-13)

 

 

January 13

Ides of March – George Clooney,  Ryan Gosling

During the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, an up-and-coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. (R)

January 24

Real Steel– Hugh Jackman,  Evangeline Lilly

Charlie Kenton is a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max to build and train a championship contender. (PG-13)

  

January 31

Drive–  Ryan Gosling,  Carey Mulligan

Driver is a Hollywood stunt driver by day, and moonlights as a top-notch getaway driver for hire in the criminal underworld. He finds himself a target for some of LA’s most dangerous men after agreeing to aid the husband of his beautiful neighbor, Irene. When the job goes dangerously awry, the only way he can keep Irene and her son alive is to do what he does best, Drive! (R)

 

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Like many of our patrons and staff members, I was very excited when library books became available for download on my Kindle. The best of all worlds – books that are free, digital, and recent! As a test run, I downloaded (and immediately loved) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

This fantasy novel follows the stunning exploits of the Gentlemen Bastards, a brazen group of expert con artists led by the singularly brilliant Locke Lamora, an orphan who’s been stealing, lying, and outwitting his betters since he was old enough to walk. His scheming is matched only by the mysterious Gray King, an infamous man who can kill with a touch and has an uncanny way of knowing things he shouldn’t know – much like Locke Lamora himself.

The setting of the novel is quite spectacular and fans of world-building prowess will not be disappointed by the invention of Camorr, a great city built on the ruins of an ancient alien settlement made of the beautiful, unbreakable, eerily glowing, and often deadly substance called Elderglass. It’s like Renaissance Venice through a looking glass: people travel via canal and drink plenty of fine wine in between practicing alchemy and dodging attacks from scorpion hawks. Women and men alike work in dangerous and deadly positions, whether in the criminal underworld, lofty upper classes, or the watery ring of female gladiators who use short javelins to fight 10-foot-long leaping sharks. The action is frequent but unsteadily paced; exciting scenes that would be the climax of any other novel are merely a bump on the road of this thrilling narrative. Lots of adult language and a high body count give this book a gritty, real-life flavor.

This book is great for fantasy fans who are sick of elves and prophecies as well as fiction readers who want to try fantasy for the first time!

October DVDs

October 4

Buck -Documentary

A richly textured and visually stunning film, follows Buck Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real-life ‘horse whisperer,’ he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. Buck possesses near magical abilities as he dramatically transforms horses, and people, with his understanding, compassion, and respect.

Fast Five – starring Dwayne Johnson, Van Diesel, Jordanna Brewster, Paul Walker

After Brian and Mia break Dom out of jail, they find themselves trapped in Rio de Janeiro and on the run from the law. Now one last job stands between them and freedom, but will they make it before the corrupt businessmen, or the feds, catch up to them?

Scream 4 – starring Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts

The newest installment in the acclaimed franchise that ushered in a new wave of horror in the 1990s. In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill. Unfortunately, Sidney’s appearance also brings about the return of Ghost Face, putting her friends and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.

October 11

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer – starring Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham

Feisty, fearless Judy Moody is looking forward to the most super-duper, double-rare summer vacation ever. The trouble is, her parents are called out of town and her BFFs are going away with their own families. That leaves Judy trapped at home with her pesky brother Stink under the watchful eye of Aunt Opal. But with a little playful planning, and a lot of imagination, Judy turns a snoresville summer into the way-not-boring adventure of a lifetime!

October 14

The Green Lantern – starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. When a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected.

October 18

A Better Life – starring Demian Bichir

Carlos Galindo always dreamed of a better life for his wife and newborn son when he crossed the border into the U.S. But when his wife left him, Carlos’s only goal became to make sure his son Luis was given the opportunities he never had. A story that follows father and son as they embark on a physical and spiritual journey where they discover that family is the most important part of the American dream.

The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

Recently, I met best-selling author Brad Meltzer in a Chicago book store.  Naturally, I picked up an autographed copy of his newest novel, The Inner Circle.  (He had a large following — I had to wait in line a long time!)

The book revolves around Beecher White, a young archivist who loves his job at the National Archives.  When his childhood crush, Clementime, shows up seeking help in tracking down the father she never knew, he takes her on a private tour, and even shows her the secret vault used only by the  President.  Within moments ( is it by accident or plan?) they discover a priceless artifact hidden under the President’s chair.  Minutes later, the security guard who admitted them to the vault is found dead.  In hours,  Beecher is on the run, unsure who he can trust,  yet frantically trying to stay one-step ahead of his pursuers by successfully decoding concealed messages.

This is a fast-paced read and those interested in political conspiracies or action-packed thrillers will be entertained with all the unexpected twists and turns.  Initially, I wasn’t certain about the ending, but then it made more sense when I read that  Meltzer has a sequel planned, using  Beecher again as the primary character.  He is a rather lovable archivist, after all.

For those who may be further intrigued by the mysteries of symbols and codes, check out the author’s show on the History Channel, Brad Meltzer’s Decoded.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde fits into a lot of different genres:  it’s a little bit sci-fi, literary fiction, humor and thriller.  In an alternate 1985 in England, Thursday Next is a LiteraTec working to solve literary crimes (typically small-time stuff like copyright infringement).  But her career takes a more drastic turn when criminal mastermind Acheron Hades steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens.    And so begins a game of cat and mouse between Thursday and Acheron in which she is constantly escaping death, though just barely.  Things take a turn when a character goes missing from Dickens’ novel:  it turns out that Thursday’s uncle has created a device that allows a person to jump into a literary work, and Acheron has found the device and kidnapped the character, changing the whole story.  And if his demands aren’t met, Acheron will take things to the next level and do the same to the beloved Jane Eyre herself, removing her from her classic novel and thus changing the face of classic literature forever.

It took me a while to really get into this book, but once Acheron has made the threat on Jane Eyre, it gets hard to put down (especially for a Jane Eyre fan!).  This is a very unique book, especially with the alternate history that is involved; it’s not the world that we know today, and this includes the ending to Jane Eyre itself.  If you’re into the classics and enjoy a little bit of a sci-fi edge to your books, I recommend picking up this book.