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

From Page to Screen: Winter 2012 Edition

More novels will be making their way to the big screen this holiday season!  Before you head to the theater, pick up the book version from the library.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: “Embracing a philosophy that life is a movie produced by God, neural health patient Pat Peoples endeavors to win back his estranged wife by making strategic sacrifices and coordinating their communications through a depressed widow.”  The film version starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is now in theaters.

Team of Rivals: The Poilitical Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin: “An analysis of Abraham Lincoln’s political talents identifies the character strengths and abilities that enabled his successful election above three accomplished candidates, in an account that also describes how he used the same abilities to rally former opponents in forming his cabinet and winning the Civil War.”  The film Lincoln, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis and covers part of this book, is now in theaters.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien: “Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.” The film, which stars Martin Freeman as well as many returning cast members from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is in theaters on December 14th.

One Shot by Lee Child: “Ex-military investigator Jack Reacher is called in by James Barr, a man accused of a lethal sniper attack that leaves five people dead, and teams up with a young defense attorney to find an unseen enemy who is manipulating events.”  The film adaptation, titled Jack Reacher, stars Tom Cruise and is in theaters on December 21.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: “Trying to forget his past and live an honest life, escaped convict Jean Valjean risks his freedom to take care of a motherless young girl during a period of political unrest in Paris.”  The film stars Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe and will be in theaters Christmas Day.

On The Road by Jack Kerouac: “This counterculture classic records the escapades of members of the beat generation as they seek pleasure and meaning while traveling coast to coast.”  Starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart, the film can be seen in theaters on December 21st.

*all book descriptions are from the publishers

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

Harry Potter: Page to Screen, the Complete Filmmaking Journey

If you adore Harry Potter, do yourself a favor and check out Harry Potter: Page to Screen, the Complete Filmmaking Journey. It’s a big, heavy, hardcover behemoth absolutely stuffed with photographs and text from all 8 Harry Potter films. Interviews with the cast and crew give insider information, and viewpoints from the set designers, costume designers, directors and actors show how meticulously the details of these movies were planned. From the small things – Hermione doesn’t wear red or green, as “those are Ron colors,” the story behind Harry’s blue eyes (a controversial change from the books’ oft-referenced bottle green), and the talon design of Bellatrix’s wand – to the big things: hours of makeup for dozens of actors cast as goblins; the complex design of the set for Snape’s final scene; the massive miniatures built to stand in for Hogwarts castle, and the equally massive undertaking of covering those miniatures with “snow” for the winter scenes (and then meticulously brushing and cleaning that “snow” away before the salt it was made of could corrode the material beneath).

Whether you’re into the boy wizard or just into movie magic, you’ll adore this book. It inspired me to re-read the novels and re-watch the movies, which of course launched a relapse of full-on Potter mania at my house! These are some of the other library items I’ve been checking out:

Broadcast News

Adam Sorkin’s new HBO series, Newsroom, brings to mind 1987’s Broadcast News starring Holly Hunter and William Hurt. Reading reviews of the show, it sounds as if the themes of this show are reminiscent of other great “news” movies.

Like Newsroom, the focus of Broadcast News is the integrity of the news anchors and producers. And, like Jeff Daniel’s anchorman, the William Hurt character yearns for the spotlight and big ratings, yet has his conscience  pricked by a woman with whom he has a quasi-romantic relationship with.

Network and Good Night, and Good Luck are much edgier films about television news, while Morning Glory  is on the other end of the continuum. Journalistic ethics are discussed, but the real fun of the movie are the sparring amongst Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams.

Take a history ride through tv news – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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

 

 

 

 

From Page to Screen: Summer 2012 Edition

Popular books being made into movies is nothing new, but it seems like there are a lot of them to get excited about this year.  Here are a few that have already seen theatrical release in 2012 and some more that will be coming soon to a theater near you!

Read these and then check out the new DVD from the library:

One For the Money by Janet Evanovich: A New Jersey bounty hunter with attitude, bail-bonds apprehension agent Stephanie Plum pursues a former vice cop, now on the run, with whom she shares a sordid history and a powerful chemistry.  Now available on DVD.

The Vow  by Kim Carpenter: Presents the true story of a couple who fell in love again after the wife, Krickitt, suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile crash and lost all memory of her previous life.  Now available on DVD.

John Carter (based on John Carter of Mars) by Edgar Rice Burroughs:  Presents the adventures of John Carter, a Civil War veteran who is mysteriously transported to Mars, where he fights a variety of enemies with the aid of the lovely Martian princess Dejah Thoris.  Coming soon to DVD.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill: Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor, travels to the north of England to settle the estate of Alice Drablow, but unexpectedly encounters a series of sinster events.  Now available on DVD.

 

Read these before they hit the big screen this summer:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith: Reveals the hidden life of the 16th U.S. president, who was actually a vampire hunter, obsessed with the complete elimination of the undead, and uncovers the role vampires played in the birth, growth and near-death of the nation.  In theaters June 22.

The Bourne Legacy by Eric Lustbader:  Former CIA agent David Webb leads a quiet life as a university professor until he becomes a target of an assassin and is framed for the murders of two close friends, and as he fights for his life, he finds himself under the control of his alternate personality–Jason Bourne.  In theaters August 3.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney:  In the latest diary of middle-schooler Greg Heffley, he records his attempts to spend his summer vacation sensibly indoors playing video games and watching television, despite his mother’s other ideas.  In theaters August 3.

Dorothy of Oz by Roger S. Baum:  With the aid of Lion, Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and Tugg the talking boat, Dorothy battles Jester, who is using the dead Wicked Witch’s magic wand to turn the citizens of Oz into porcelain dolls.  In theaters August 3.

(all descriptions from publishers)

Life Itself by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert is the best-known film critic of our time. He has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and was the first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. He has appeared on television for four decades, including twenty-three years as co-host of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies. In 2006, complications from thyroid cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career in Life Itself.

Roger Ebert’s journalism carried him on a path far from his nearly idyllic childhood in Urbana, Illinois. It is a journey that began as a reporter for his local daily, and took him to Chicago, where he was unexpectedly given the job of film critic for the Sun-Times, launching a lifetime’s adventures. In this candid, personal history, Ebert chronicles it all: his loves, losses, and obsessions; his struggle and recovery from alcoholism; his marriage; his politics; and his spiritual beliefs. He writes about his years at the Sun-Times, his colorful newspaper friends, and his life-changing collaboration with Gene Siskel. He remembers his friendships with Studs Terkel, Mike Royko, Oprah Winfrey, and Russ Meyer (for whom he wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and an ill-fated Sex Pistols movie). He shares his insights into movie stars and directors like John Wayne, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese. This is a story that only Roger Ebert could tell. Filled with the same deep insight, dry wit, and sharp observations that his readers have long cherished, this is more than a memoir – it is a singular, warm-hearted, inspiring look at life itself. (description from publisher)

DVDs for March

March 6

Footloose – Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid

Ren MacCormack moves from Boston to the small town of Bomont, where loud music and dancing are prohibited. Not one to bow to the status quo, Ren challenges the ban, revitalizes the town, and falls in love with the minister’s troubled daughter, Ariel. Rated PG-13

March 13

Melancholia – Kirsten Dunst, Alexander Skarsgard

In this beautifully filmed movie about the end of the world, Justine and Michael are celebrating their marriage. A planet called Melancholia is heading directly toward Earth and threatening to collide. Meanwhile, tensions are mounting and relationships are fraying as the family deals with their fears. Rated R

My Week with Marilyn – Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne

In the summer of 1956, Colin Clark worked as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that famously united Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. When his diary account was published, one week was missing. This is the story of that week: an idyll in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of work. Rated R

March 20

The Muppets – Jason Siegel, Kermit-the-Frog, Miss Piggy, Amy Adams

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary and Mary, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage the Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary, and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets. Rated PG

J Edgar – Leonardo DiCaprio

J. Edgar Hoover was head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly 50 years. Hoover was feared, admired, reviled, and revered, a man who could distort the truth as easily as he upheld it. His methods were at once ruthless and heroic, with the admiration of the world his most coveted prize. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career, and his life. Rated R

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo– Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig

Hoping to distance himself from the fallout of a libel conviction, journalist Mikael Blomkvist retreats to a remote island where the unsolved murder of a young girl still haunts her industrialist uncle forty years later.  Blomkvist’s investigation draws him into the secrets and lies of the rich and powerful, and throws him together with one unlikely ally: tattooed, punk hacker, Lisbeth Salander. Rated R.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Gary Oldman, Colin Firth

At the height of the Cold War, a precarious operation goes deadly wrong, and the head of British Intelligence wonders if a double agent is leaking vital secrets. Brought out of retirement to expose the potential mole, master spy George Smiley is the only one who can be trusted to expose one of their own. Or can he? Rated R

 

 

A Movie for Leap Year

February 29th will be here before we know it! Yay, we need more February, right?

The Proposal  doesn’t actually take place in a leap year as far as I know, but Sandra Bullock’s character, Maggie, does follow that holiday’s tradition of a woman proposing to a man.

The ruthless Maggie, in order to avoid deportation, forces her subordinate, (Ryan Reynolds), to marry her. Hilarity ensues when they visit the groom’s  family in Alaska. As is mandatory, Betty White plays a grandmother prone to mildly offensive insults and truth telling.

Alaska, Bullock and Reynolds are enjoyable to behold. You could do worse than pop this into the dvd player on your extra day of 2012.