DVDs for March

March 2

2012 – John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover

A geophysical team investigating the effect radiation from other solar systems has on the Earth learns that the core of the Earth is heating up and warns the President of the United States. While the leaders of the world race to build ‘arks’ to escape the impending doom, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes of unprecedented strength wreak havoc all over the world.

Ponyo – Anime – Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship before Ponyo’s father forces her to return to the sea. Ponyo’s desire to be human upsets the balance of nature and only Ponyo’s mother can restore nature’s balance and make Ponyo’s dreams come true

Where the Wild Things Are – Chris Cooper, Max Records

Maurice Sendak’s classic story about Max, a rambunctious and sensitive boy who escapes to where the Wild Things are. Max lands on an island where he meets mysterious and strange creatures whose emotions are as wild and unpredictable as their actions.

March 9

Capitalism – A Love Story – Michael Moore

Michael Moore explores the root causes of the global economic meltdown and takes a comical look at corporate and political shenanigans. Along the way he tries to answer the question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism?

Precious – Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique

Oscar Nominated for Best Picture, Gabourey Sidibe for Best Actress and Mo ‘Nique for Best Supporting Actress.

Precious Jones, an inner-city high school girl, is illiterate, overweight, and pregnant…again. Naive and abused, Precious responds to a glimmer of hope when a door is opened by an alternative school teacher. She is faced with the choice to follow opportunity and test her own boundaries.

Up in the Air – George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick

Oscar nominated for Best Picture, George Clooney for Best Actor, and Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick for Best Supporting Actress.

Ryan Bingham is a corporate downsizing expert who flies all over the world on business. Just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and meeting the frequent traveler woman of his dreams, his company grounds him. When Bingham goes on his last cross-country firing expedition, he will learn that life isn’t about the journey, but about the connections made along the way.

March 16

Did You Hear About the Morgans – Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker

A very successful New York couple are at their wits’ end on how to solve their strained marriage. After they become the only witnesses to a brutal murder they are relocated to a small town in Wyoming as part of a witness-protection program. Now these diehard city dwellers will have to work together to survive the weather, bears, fresh air, and forced time with one another if they want to make it out alive

March 23

The Blind Side – Sandra Bullock, Quinton Bates

Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Sandra Bullock for Best Actress.

Based on the remarkable true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Touhys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own.

Brothers – Toby Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal

Captain Sam Cahill is embarking on his fourth tour of duty, leaving behind his beloved wife and two daughters. When Sam’s Blackhawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains of Afghanistan, the worst is presumed, leaving an enormous void in the family. Despite a dark history, Sam’s charismatic younger brother steps in to fill the family void.

March 30

An Education – Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard

Oscar Nominated for Best Picture and Carey Mulligan for Best Actress.

In the early 1960s, 16-year-old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in a London suburb. She is smart, pretty, and working toward her goal of being accepted into Oxford. Her life will take a big turn when she meets David, a man twice her age. Now she must decide if she will pursue an education at Oxford, or if she will choose to learn all that a charismatic, older man can teach her

Sherlock Holmes – Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law

This dynamic new portrayal of Sherlock Holmes sends Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson on their latest challenge. Revealing fighting skills as lethal as his legendary intellect, Holmes will battle as never before to bring down a new nemesis and unravel a deadly plot that could destroy the country.

DVDs for January

January 5

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

In a town where food drops from the sky like rain, a young inventor hopes to create something that will change everyone’s life. However, when the weather takes a turn for the worse, the residents of the town of Chewandswallow will find their eating habits have drastically changed.

January 12

Fame – Debbie Allen,  Charles Dutton

The inspiring story of a group of dancers, singers, musicians, and actors at the New York City High School of Performing Arts, and their spirited drive to live out their dreams of stardom. In an incredibly competitive atmosphere, each student must shine amidst the tumult of school work, deep friendships, budding romance, and self-discovery.

Big Fan – Kevin Corrigan,  Michael Rappaport

A diehard New York Giants fan meets his hero, the quarterback of the team, with disastrous results that impact his entire life and those around him.

Moon – Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey

Astronaut Sam Bell is completing a three-year contract with Lunar Industries to mine Earth’s primary source of energy, Helium-3. His declining health is causing headaches and hallucinations that lead to a near-fatal accident, rendering him unconscious. After recuperating, an unexpected discovery leads him to doubt his sanity, his identity, and the integrity of the company. Believing he is alone on his mission, his sole purpose is getting back home on his own.

January 19

The Invention of Lying – Jennifer Garner, Ricky Gervais

In a world where people speak the truth and have no concept of deception, a young man about to lose everything invents the ‘lie’ and goes on to not just change the nature of movie-making, but also creates the basis of religion. After much effort, he also gets the girl he loves.

January 26

Michael Jackson’s This is It

Presents a rare, behind-the-scenes look at Jackson as he developed, created, and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts at London’s O2 Arena. Drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind-the-scenes footage, the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, creative genius, and great artist at work is captured in raw and candid detail as he created and perfected his planned final London shows.

Surrogates – Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames

People are living their lives remotely from the safety of their own homes via robotic surrogates – sexy, physically perfect mechanical representations of themselves. It’s an ideal world where crime, pain, fear, and consequences don’t exist. When the first murder in years jolts this utopia, FBI agent Greer discovers a vast conspiracy behind the surrogate phenomenon and must abandon his own surrogate, risking his life to unravel the mystery.

DVDs for November

November 3

food incFood, Inc – Documentary

Reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it’s produced, and who we have become as a nation. Includes celebrity PSA’s, deleted scenes, and Nightline segment.  An eye-opening expose of the modern food industry, Food, Inc. is both fascinating and terrifying, and essential viewing for any health-conscious citizen.

pelhamTaking Pelham 1-2-3 – John Tavolta, Denzel Washington

Dispatcher Walter Garber’s day is turned upside down when he must face off against the criminal mind that is holding the passengers of a New York City subway train hostage after it is hijacked.

November 10

upUp – Disney Animated

Seventy-eight-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. He discovers too late that an 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell has stowed away.

November 17

anybodyIs Anybody There? – Michael Caine,

Ten-year-old Edward lives in his family-run retirement home. While his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat and his father copes with the onset of a mid-life crisis, Edward leads an increasingly lonely existence until he meets Clarence, a retired magician and grieving widower who refuses to give in gracefully to old age.

sisters keeperMy Sister’s Keeper – Alec Baldwin, Abigail Breslin, Cameron Diaz

Sara and Brian live an idyllic life with their young son and daughter. Suddenly, their baby girl falls ill, and her only hope for survival rests in her parents’ ability to find a compatible bone marrow donor. Their desperate decision to conceive another child raises both ethical and moral questions and begins to erode their relationship. Their actions ultimately set off a court case that threatens to tear the family apart.

star trekStar Trek – Eric Bana, Leonard Nimoy, Zachary Quinto

When the Romulan Nero comes from the future to take revenge on the Federation, the new recruits of the U.S.S. Enterprise will voyage through unimaginable danger to stop him from destroying everything they know.

November 24

angelsAngels & Demons – Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon discovers evidence of the resurgence of the most powerful underground organization in history, the Illuminati. Upon learning of an unstoppable terrorist act against the Vatican, Langdon travels to Rome and joins forces with Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra, and together they will follow the 400-year-old Path of Illumination that leads to the Vatican’s only chance for survival.

Banned Books That Became Classic Movies

lord of the ringsLord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien written between 1937 – 1949) it contains the three books : Fellowship of the Ring; Two Towers and Return of the King.

Burned in Alamagordo, N. Mex. (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic. Between 2001 – 2003 Peter Jackson created three epic movies based on these books. The films were nominated for and won many awards including winning 17 Oscars.

grapesGrapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

Burned by the East St. Louis, III. Public Library (1939) and barred from the Buffalo, N.Y Public Library (1939) on the grounds that “vulgar words” were used. Banned in Kansas City, Mo. (1939); Kern County Calif, the scene of Steinbeck’s novel, (1939). “Grapes of Wrath has been challenged through the years for among many things including using the name of God and Jesus in a vain and profane manner along with inappropriate sexual references. The has only been one film of this book, filmed in 1940. It starred Henry Fonda and John Carradine. The movie received 7 Oscar nominations in 1940, winning for best director and best supporting actress Jane Darwell.

to kill a mockingbird dvdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

This book has been challenged since 1977 for using profanity and being a filthy trashy novel. The most recent challenged was at the Stanford Middle School in Durham, N.C. (2004) because the 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel uses the word “nigger.” The movie was filmed in 1960. It starred Gregory Peck. It was nominated for 8 Oscars winning 3 including best actor, Gregory Peck.

purpleThe Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

Color Purple as been challenged since its publication mostly for “sexual and social explicitness” and its “troubling ideas about race relations, man’s relationship to God, African history and human sexuality.” The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983. The movie was filmed in 1984 with Whoopie Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. It was nominated for 8 Oscars.


My Favorite Banned Book — To Kill a Mockingbird

to kill mockingbirdMy favorite banned book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I loved this book; I loved the movie.  I can still picture (in black and white) Gregory Peck portaying the consummate Southern lawyer Atticus Finch, wiping his brow in the hot, segregated courtroom while his adoring daughter Scout, looks on from the balcony.

Set in a small Southern town in Alabama during the Depression, the book follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother Jem and their father, Atticus, who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.  Thus, the book covers many issues, but because it is told through the eyes of young Scout, it never comes off as judgmental or preachy.

I could never understand why someone would not want others to read this book.  It won the Pulitzer Prise, it’s been translated into more than forty languages and was voted the best novel of the twentieth century.  If somehow you got through school without reading this book, now is the time to do so.  Come to think of it, it may be about time for me to read it again — it’s that good!

DVDs for September

September 1

stateState of Play– Russell Crowe, Ben Affeck, Helen Mirren

When D.C. reporter Cal McCaffrey is assigned to investigate the murder of an assistant to an up-and-coming politician, he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to bring down the nation’s power structures. In a town of spin doctors and wealthy power brokers, he will discover one truth: when fortunes are at stake, no one’s integrity, love, or life is safe.

sugarSugar – Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino

After seeing the movie Field of Dreams, Dominican baseball star Miguel ‘Sugar’ Santos hopes to break into the big leagues in the United States to earn money to support his impoverished family. His dreams may become a reality when he is recruited to play for a minor league team in the United States. There is local interest in this movie as it was filmed in Davenport at Modern Woodman Park

“This is a wonderful film. “ — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

September 15

wolverineX Men Origins – Wolverine – Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds

Tells the story of Wolverine’s epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed, and the ominous Weapon X program. Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe whose appearances in the film series have long been anticipated.

September 22

ghostsGhosts of Girlfriends Past – Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner

A committed bachelor who thinks nothing of breaking up with several women on a conference call is visited by the ghosts of his former jilted girlfriends, who take him on a hilarious adventure through his failed relationships – past, present, and future.

September 29

awayAway We Go – John Krasinski, Maya Rudolf, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal

This heartfelt film explores the comedic twists and turns in one couple’s journey across contemporary America. Anticipating the birth of their first child, longtime couple Burt and Verona embark on an ambitious itinerary to visit friends and family in order to find their perfect home.

New DVD Releases for June

June 2

defiance1Defiance – Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber

The extraordinary true story of the Bielski brothers who turn a band of war defectors into commanding freedom fighters and motivate hundreds of private citizens to join their fight against the Nazi regime. Midwest Tapes

revolutionaryRevolutionary Road – Leonardo Dicaprio, Kate Winslett

Frank and April Wheeler are a young couple living in suburban Connecticut in 1955. On the outside their lives appear to be perfect, but they really aren’t happy. They decide to break away from the ordinary and move to Paris, but can they do it without breaking their marriage apart? Midwest Tapes

June 9

granGran Torino – Clint Eastwood

A Korean War vet stops a young Hmong teen from stealing his prized car, and reluctantly proceeds to reform the boy, learning about himself along the way. Midwest Tapes

June 16

madea1Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail – Reuben Cannon, Tyler Perry

After a high-speed freeway chase puts Madea in front of the judge, her reprieve is short-lived as anger management issues get the best of her and land her in jail. But Madea’s eccentric family members, the Browns, rally behind her, lending their special ‘country’ brand of support. Midwest Tapes

June 23

shopaholic1Confessions of a Shopaholic – Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy

Rebecca Bloomwood is a charming New York City girl who has a little problem that is quickly turning into a big problem: she’s hopelessly addicted to shopping and drowning in a sea of debt. While Rebecca has dreams of working for a top fashion magazine, she can’t quite get her foot in the door – that is, until she lands a job as an advice columnist for a financial magazine published by the same company. Midwest Tapes

DVDs for April

April 7

doubtDoubt – Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman

It’s 1964, St. Nicholas in the Bronx. A charismatic priest, Father Flynn, is trying to upend the school’s strict customs, which have long been fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-gloved principal who believes in the power of fear and discipline. When Father Flynn pays too much attention to a new student, Sister Aloysius sets off on a personal crusade to unearth the truth and to expunge Flynn from the school. 5 Oscar Nominations, SAG award to Meryl Streep for Best Actress.

April 14

reader1The Reader – Kate Winslett, Ralph Fiennes

A young man begins an affair with an older woman and learns years later about a secret she’s been harboring, when she must stand trial for Nazi war crimes. Golden Globe and SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Oscar for Best Actress for Kate Winslett.

April 21

frost-nixon2Frost/Nixon – Frank Langella, Michael Sheen

When disgraced President Richard Nixon agreed to an interview with jet-setting television personality David Frost, he thought he’d found the key to saving his tarnished legacy. But, with a name to make and a reputation to overcome, Frost became one of Nixon’s most formidable adversaries. 2 Oscar Nominations

The Wrestler – Micky Rourkewrestler1

A former superstar is now paying the price for twenty years of grueling punishment in and out of the ring. But he’s about to risk everything to prove he has one more match left in him: a re-staging of his famous Madison Square Garden bout against ‘The Ayatollah.’ 2 Oscar nominations.

April 28

bride-warsBride Wars – Ann Hathaway, Kate Hudson

Best friends Liv and Emma have shared a dream since childhood: Each yearns for the perfect June wedding at New York’s famed Plaza Hotel. When a clerical error puts them both down for nuptials on the same day at the same time, one of them will just have to switch the date, right? As if!