Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tis the season!

Yes ‘tis the season! Everyone getting dressed up in their finest, going to parties, reveling in the excitement of each new event! Of course I am talking about the onset of the film award season! The National Board of Review, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Golden Globes, New York Film Critics and Los Angeles Film Critics have recently announced their picks for the best of 2010. The Golden Globes made some very interesting nominations…The Tourist for Best Musical or Comedy?? I believe it is neither, but what do I know……so what films seem to be at the forefront of the best of 2010 (and probably front runners for the big O – Oscar not Oprah):

The top two:

The Social Network:
(current DVD release date: Jan 11, 2011, although films that get heavily nominated often delay their release date until after the Oscars)
Winner Best Film: New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, National Board of Review; Nominated for Best Film: Golden Globes and Best Cast for the SAG’s.
National Board of Review named Jesse Eisenberg as the Best Actor of 2010 and he is nominated for a SAG award.
Director, David Fincher won Best Director from the New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, National Board of Review and is nominated for a Golden Globe. (The Directors Guild Awards will be announced on Saturday, January 29, 2011. I am sure he will get a nomination!)

Freaks and geeks and Oscar buzz. The Social Network follows Mark Zuckerberg (played in a delightfully juvenile way by Jesse Eisenberg) in the development of Facebook. As the tagline says, “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies”. Watching socially inept twenty-somethings getting back at each other has never been so fun (or disturbing). (In case you can’t tell…I really liked this film!)

The King’s Speech:
Nominated for Best Film: Golden Globes
Awarded Best ActorColin Firth: New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics; Nominated for Golden Globe and SAG award

Well, they had me at Colin Firth. Come on girls, can I have an “oh yeah”. Ever since he can out of that lake in Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Firth has had a loyal female following. What’s nice is that he can act as well. Last year he came close to getting his first Oscar for “A Single Man” and I would think that he has a very good chance of winning this year for “The King’s Speech”. The film follows the story of King George VI of Britain (Queen Elizabeth II’s father), who assumes the throne after his brother George abdicates to marry Mrs. Simpson. Unfortunately, the new king has a dreadful stutter and is not exactly and inspirational speaker to move the masses as WWII takes over Europe. In steps Geoffrey Rush as a therapist with unorthodox methods. Their hilarious and heartfelt interactions form the heart of this film as the King changes from a stuttering introvert to the leader of a nation.

Other top runners:
The Kids are Alright: (currently available on DVD at HBPL) (Awarded New York Film Critics Best Actress to Annette Bening and Best Supporting Actor to Mark Ruffalo. Bening is also nominated for Best Actress SAG and Golden Globes; Ruffalo a SAG. The film is nominated for a Golden Globe.)

The Fighter: (SAG and Golden Globe nominations for Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Leo, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Melissa Leo was awarded Best Supporting Actress from the New York Film Critics and Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor from the National Board of Review. The film is nominated for a Golden Globe.)

127 Hours: (Based on the book, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston; available at HBPL) (SAG and Golden Globe nominations for James Franco)

Toy Story 3:(currently available on DVD at HBPL) (Awarded Best Animated film from Los Angeles Film Critics and National Board of Review; nominated for a Golden Globe.

I hope your Christmas (and/or holiday)obligations don’t get in the way of seeing all the nominated films this year!
Have a wonderful celebration season (no matter what you choose to celebrate!)

Let the games begin!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The sun will come out tomorrow.....

Try as I may, it has been difficult to maintain my normal one to two posts a month. As you all probably know, we have had some BIG changes here at HBPL. As with services everywhere, we now have fewer staff doing the same work and everyone is taking on new responsibilities. So, my postings may be less often but I will still be maintaining this blog.

As we head into the holiday season, many aren’t feeling so merry. When times are hard, what do you need? Do we need traditional holiday movies?? Sure but what we need even more is uplifting cinematic fare! Try these to raise your spirits:

The Blind Side: Talk about a rags to riches story! The film is based on the life of Michael Other, an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens (a pro football team for those that don’t know!). As a young, homeless black man, Other was taken in by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy and given a chance at life in a loving, supportive environment. The Tuohy’s are as white and southern as they come. This could have been a stereotypical film that makes you wince but instead it is a heartfelt, inspirational film with an Oscar winning performance by Sandra Bullock (Leigh Anne).

Need more sport films to inspire you? Try Hoosiers (basketball and my all-time favorite for best sports film ever!), Cinderella Man (boxing), Rudy (football), Miracle (hockey) or The Rookie (baseball).

Places in the Heart: We like her! We really, really like her! I bet Sally Fields rues the day she made that statement to the world when accepting her Best Actress Oscar for this film. (Her first Best Actress Oscar was for Norma Rae, another uplifting performance.) But I DO like her in this heartbreaking role of a woman faced with the death of her husband and the hardship of keeping her cotton farm and life together. Her courage and tenacity is inspirational as she looks tough times in the face and stares it down; a lesson for our times. (Of course, with Danny Glover, Ed Harris and John Malkovich as her supporting cast....she had a lot of acting talent to support her). You go, Sister Bertrille!

Need more inspiration by strong women? Try Fried Green Tomatoes (which includes one of my favorite quotable scenes: “Face it girls, I am older and have more insurance!” and if you don’t know what that means…see the film! Tawanda!).

Apollo 13: The amazing thing about this film is that I know how it ends, and yet I waited in anticipation at the end of the film to learn the fate of the astronauts. I credit this anticipation to the film making skills of Ron Howard. Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon play the stranded Apollo astronauts who have us pulling for them every step of the way! This type of courage and ingenuity shows America at its best!

It’s a Wonderful Life: Egads, you say! What is this Christmas film doing in an uplifting movie list? Believe me….I didn’t want to include it but in my research one film just kept coming up as the most inspirational and uplifting (plus, I have a secret thing for Jimmy Stewart…shhhh…don’t tell!). Could there possibly be someone who hasn’t seen this film? After a turn of events, George Bailey (my boy, Jimmy) decides that his family would be better off without him. An intruding angel gives him the grim truth of life for his family and friends in a George-less world. (I mean really, without George in her life, his wife would have ended up a librarian! How tragic is that…hey wait! Maybe this film isn’t as uplifting as I thought!) Regardless, the feeling of good will and community that ends the film makes up for any slights on my profession.

So keep your chins up out there! Inspiration can come from movies, books and more often from each other. You don’t need to be a celebrity to make someone’s day!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You think the economy is scary…

We are coming into my favorite time of year (fall) that includes my favorite month of the year (October). Why do I love October? Other than the fact that it contains my birthday and birthdays of several awesome friends, I love it because it tends to be a crisper, cooler time of year (although this year seems to be rebelling). It is also the time for carving scary pumpkins, reading scary stories and watching scary movies. Who doesn’t love getting the popcorn, lighting a few candles, turning out the lights and getting creeped out by some celluloid ghouls??
Although HBPL Media does have a selection of horror/slasher type films like Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, I have never been a huge fan of this type of horror film. I prefer creepies like these:

Night Gallery: After Rod Serling gave us the Twilight Zone, his next endeavor was Night Gallery. True to Serling form, all these episodes are truly creepy. We have recently added the complete first and second season of this classic television show. Some of my favorite episodes are:
THE CEMETERY A black sheep nephew (Roddy McDowall) murders his ailing uncle for the inheritance only to find some disturbing changes in the old man's painting of the family graveyard.
THE ESCAPE ROUTE A Nazi war criminal (Richard Kiley) finds refuge from his pursuers - and a fitting justice for his crimes - by wishing himself into a painting.
THE CATERPILLAR A bored colonial (Laurence Harvey) on a Malaysian plantation finds himself the victim of a gruesome assassination plot he had planned for someone else.
DELIVERIES IN THE REAR A ghastly shocker about a surgery instructor (Cornel Wilde)who is unconcerned about the source of his cadavers.
THE SINS OF THE FATHERS In 19th century Wales, a devastating famine forces a young boy (Richard Thomas) to play the part of a sin-eater at a dead man's wake.
Watching this series is like watching a who’s who of 60’s and 70’s TV: Vincent Price, Bill Bixby, Larry Hagman, Burgess Meredith, Agnes Moorehead, Raymond Massey, William Windom, Leslie Nielsen, Michele Lee, Patty Duke, Bob Crane, Jo Anne Worley and the names go on and on. If you never saw this show while it was on, you now have an excellent opportunity to scare yourself all the way through October!

Nightmare Before Christmas: What’s this? What’s this? This is a brilliant bit of stop-motion animation that is a holiday classic in my household. Christmas has It’s a Wonderful Life, Halloween has Nightmare Before Christmas. Although Henry Sellick directed this marvelous film, the script came from the brain of Tim Burton. If the plot weren’t fun enough, every inch of the screen is packed with ghoulish delights that only become more evident with multiple screenings. Jack Skellington, the bony leader of Halloweentown discovers that other holidays exist when he stumbles upon Christmastown. Convinced that he could do Christmas better than they could, he takes over the holiday with scary, creepy (musical!)results.

The Frighteners: Before Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson directed this funny but frightening film. I saw this when it first came out in 1996 and search it out every fall to revisit. Micheal J. Fox plays Frank Bannister who, after a car accident in which his wife, Debra, was killed and he was injured, develops psychic abilities allowing him to see, hear, and communicate with ghosts. Devastated by his wife’s death, he decides to leave his job as a successful architect to join forces with his new ghost friends to con people out of their money. The ghosts go into people’s homes and then they pay Frank to get rid of them. All is going well until a deceased mass murderer comes back from Hell to continue his killing spree and starts targeting people important to Frank.

No matter what type of film gives you the willies, slasher horror, psychological horror, teen-age musicals… is the time of year to indulge in your darker cinematic side! Scare is in the air!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rule Britannia!

As Samuel Johnson once said: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”! I couldn’t agree more! I have had the good fortune to live in London and regularly go back for a visit. In fact I am headed there once again for friends, theater and fun! Over the year’s, the British have supplied us with some “terribly delightful” cinema! (Pip pip! Jolly good!) Here are a few of my favorites starring some of Britain’s finest actresses:

Calendar Girls: Before Helen Mirren was The Queen and before Julie Walters became Mrs. Weasley, they were both in a lovely little film named Calendar Girls. Every year, the Yorkshire County chapter of the Women's Institute, produces a calendar based around scenes of the Yorkshire dales. The funds raised are usually very meager but this year they are raising money for a hospital where one of their members husband died of leukemia. These “women of a certain age” decide that “sex sells” so decide to do the calendar in the nude. Based on true events, the calendar becomes a world wide sensation, bringing the ladies of Yorkshire not always appreciated fame and changes their lives forever. Move over Daniel Radcliffe…the continuation of Harry Potter cast nude scenes! Who's next?? I vote for Alan Rickman!

Bend It Like Beckham: Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is a teenager with only one real passion in her life: football. She daydreams of being a great soccer star and her hero is David Beckham. Unfortunately, she is the daughter of orthodox Sikh parents who are more interested in her learning how to cook Punjabi food so that she can attract a nice Punjabi husband. If you don’t know the name Parminder Nagra, you probably know the face. From 2003-2009 she played Dr. Neela Rasgotra on the TV show E.R. And if you don’t know her you will definitely know her co-star. None other than Keira Knightley joins Parminder as another football loving young lady who has aspirations of playing in the Women's United Soccer Association professional league in the United States. ♫Yo ho Yo ho a football star is she♫!

Iris: The true story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley (Jim Broadbent; another gem brought to us by the British Isles!), from their student days through her descent into the dark confusion of Alzheimer's. The older Iris is played by the ever-fabulous Judi Dench while her younger counterpart is Kate Winslet. Two of England’s finest ladies in one film!

Remains of the Day: Emma, Emma, Emma! Really girl, what are you thinking falling for that stodgy old butler!? Well, I guess because it’s Anthony Hopkins, I can (in a way) understand it. The Remains of the Day is based on the Booker Prize novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. The film is a Merchant/Ivory period piece that tells the tale of a rule bound head butler whose life is all about manners and decorum. Enter a new housekeeper (Emma Thompson) that disrupts the order of his world by falling in love with him. Being unable to show his feelings combined with the growing uneasiness with his master's cultivation of ties with the Nazis, puts a tear in the butler’s self-imposed world.

Settle in with a nice cuppa and enjoy one of these gems from across the pond. (All available on DVD from the HBPL Media Department)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Christopher!

Christopher Nolan was born in London on this day, forty years ago. Happy 40th b-day to Christopher! At the ripe old age of seven, he was making super 8mm films using his action figures as his stars. He graduated into 16mm films when he attended University College London, studying English Literature. In 1996, one of his short films was screened at the Cambridge Film Festival and that, as they say, was that! His career seemed to progress rather nicely from that point on. Of course he has been in the news a bit lately due to the release of his latest film, Inception. I haven’t seen it yet but hope to in the near future. Between the time of his Cambridge Film Festival success and the release of Inception, he has made some films that are worthy of your consideration:

Memento: Christopher Nolan was only 30 years old when he directed this amazing film. Nolan based Memento on a short story by his brother, Jonathan Nolan, who told it to him during a cross-country road trip. If you have seen it, you will know why the plot is difficult to describe. Basically, it is about a man who has lost his short termed memory after a violent incident where his wife is murdered. Oh and the story is told in reverse! The always brilliant Guy Pearce plays the man and although you have to pay attention during this film, it is indie film at its best and worth the brain cells!

Batman Begins: Finally! Someone got a Batman film right! I can’t say I was a big fan of this franchise until I saw Christopher Nolan’s vision of the caped crusader. Christian Bale was an unusual but genius bit of casting as the ever brooding Bruce Wayne. Instead of the Wham! Pow! cartooniness of the prior films, this one is intelligent and brings to the foreground the demons that haunt and drive Bruce Wayne versus just the escapades of the caped crusader.

The Prestige: Abracadabra! The brothers Nolan (Christopher and Jonathan) wrote this screenplay for Christopher to direct. Nolan, once again, uses Christian Bale to great effect. Bale and Hugh Jackman play magicians in turn-of-the-century London who engage in a devious and deadly no-holds-barred rivalry. As the illusions get more spectacular, these bitterest of rivals rage with enough fury to want to destroy each other's personal as well as professional lives. Look for another brilliant casting turn as David Bowie shows up briefly as Nikola Tesla.

All of these films are available on DVD in the HBPL Media department. So if you want to celebrate Nolan’s birthday tonight, get some cake, get some ice cream, get a DVD of one of his films and celebrate!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Celluloid for the patriot!

I was talking to some fellow library employees about their plans for the holiday weekend. Many have movies in their plans and the usual patriotic fare kept being mentioned: Independence Day, Born on the 4th of July, Saving Private Ryan…all fine films to watch on the 4th. However, the ones that I found most intriguing were the not so obvious ones….the ones that made them feel proud to be Americans without being conspicuously patriotic.

Musicals! How much more American can you get than watching people break into song at measured appropriate times! My favorite Independence Day musical is a very patriotic one: 1776. What fun to watch our Founding Fathers tell bawdy jokes, watch them sing and dance, watch them flirt, watch them fight with walking sticks! Independence has never been so entertaining! But the musical that kept getting mentioned as a 4th of July favorite, without being overly patriotic, was The Music Man. Younger woman, hanging out with older man, getting his wealth when he passed away….Anna Nicole?? No! Marion the Librarian (♫He left River City the library building but he left all the books to her!♫). A story of redemption, of love and most of all, catchy tunes and 76 trombones!

Jaws: When a colleague mentioned that he/she watched this every 4th of July for the last ten years, it only took a few seconds to think “but, of course!!”. What could be more appropriate than a day of fun in the sun at the beach with friends and family and going swimming on our nation’s day of independence? Throw a man eating great white shark into the mix and you have a fine slice of Americana! Man versus Wild has nothing on Roy Scheider as he shows good old American know how in dealing with this underwater nemesis!

Die Hard, Die Harder (aka Die Hard 2), Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard: I loved it when I asked my colleague what he/she was going to watch and the answer was: (paraphrased) I am going to sit around all day and watch stuff blow up. That’s right! It is our American right to watch things exploding on the big screen! And who does it better than Sgt. John McClane (Bruce Willis)!! In my past, I lived abroad for many years. After being away from the US of A for almost five years, I spent a month in Thailand on my way home. I stayed in the Khao San Road area of Bangkok and all along the streets were cafes that screened movies in the evening. Travelers would stream in to watch films, drink beer and eat delicious Thai food. Every night one of the cafĂ©’s would show Die Hard and for several nights I would be there watching it. It made me oddly patriotic and homesick; Stuff blowing up = America=Awesome!

Whether you will be grilling with friends and/or family, hanging out and relaxing, braving the ocean (see second film above) or watching a big old fireworks show (that’ll be me! I LOVE fireworks!), hopefully you will have a safe and sane 4th of July! Now get out there and do your patriotic duty – CELEBRATE!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Saturday Film Forum Going, Going, Gone!

Yes, the Saturday Film Forum will soon be Gone Baby, Gone…in more ways than one. June 26th will be the final film in our Watching the Detectives series and that film will be…Gone Baby, Gone! Come see Ben Affleck’s directorial debut on the big screen in the Library Theater! As usual, we will start at 2pm with a trivia quiz for prizes (the quiz this time will be about books that have been turned into films) and a short lecture about the film.
(Don’t worry, it will be light on the Bennifer references)
This film is R rated, so adults only please!
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Triumphant Thai!

This year’s Cannes Film Festival has come to a close and the awards have been announced. One could just imagine that by choosing Tim Burton as the head of the jury, we would be in for some interesting selections. Burton with his fellow judges (including Kate Beckinsale and Benicio Del Toro) have made the Thai people very happy by choosing one of their own to win the coveted Palme d’Or. This year’s top prize went to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives, a one-of-a-kind dreamy ghost story about a man who is on speaking terms with all sorts of supernatural entities. The runner-up for the Palme was Xavier Beauvois’ Of God and Men, which garnered the most buzz as a possible Best Foreign Film Oscar contender this year. (stay tuned for that one!)

The festival's jury prize went to A Screaming Man, directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, and the first film ever in the competition from Chad. It is a melancholy film that explores the relationship between a father and son during a civil war in Chad. Well done, Chad!

The top acting nods went to Javier Bardem (Biutiful) and Elio Germano (La Nostra Vida) who tied for best actor. Best actress went to the always wonderful Juliette Binoche (Certified Copy).

Not in competition but also present were Ridley Scott with Robin Hood, Woody Allen and his latest, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger and Oliver Stone with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

Having attended some major film festivals, I know that sometimes it is satisfying to see the big films before they open in the States. However the real joy in attending is discovering those hidden gems; the ones you know won’t ever get distribution here in America. If you haven’t already, give a film festival a try!! (see The Film festival Guide: for filmmakers, film buffs and industry professionals 791.43079LAN @HBPL or there are many websites online with film festival information.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown

Jake can forget but you shouldn’t! At least you shouldn’t forget to come to this Saturday’s screening of Chinatown! I have another informative talk to give you about the film and there will be a trivia quiz for prizes. The trivia this time will be on films of the seventies, so brush up if you want to win! And, of course, there will be candy! This film is rated R so adults only please! See you @ 2pm in the Library Theater!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Creepy but Cool

Roger Ebert said about this actor that he "seems to have become the latter-day version of Christopher Walken -- not all the time, but when you need him, he's your go-to guy for weirdness". I couldn’t agree more! He first came to my notice in the Green Mile. Who is this creepy but cool, Walken apprentice?? Sam Rockwell! He is slated to be in the upcoming Iron Man 2 with Robert Downey, Jr. But before he took on the super hero, he was delighting and creeping us out in these films:

Moon: See it, see it, see it, see it! Not since Tom Hanks did Castaway has a single actor been able to carry a film (almost) on his own. Rockwell plays Sam Bell, the only occupant of a Moon-based manufacturing facility. His only companion is the “HAL-like” computer, GERTY (voice by Kevin Spacey). He is just a few weeks short of fulfilling his three year contract when then most definitely start going awry!

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: Creepy and whiney at the same time! Rockwell plays Charley Ford, brother of Robert (Casey Affleck), who introduces him to Jesse James. As a member of the James gang, Rockwell is there to push his brother and ultimately ruin both of their lives. This film would not be as enjoyable without Rockwell’s performance.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: Whacky! This film is based on Chuck Barris’s autobiography of the same name. In his book, this once host of The Gong Show, claims to have been an employee of the CIA and assassinated 33 people on their orders. Rockwell’s portrayal of Barris strikes the perfect balance between geek, simmering menace, alluring personality and quirky humor.

Galaxy Quest: Rockwell plays Guy, an actor who was in episode 81 of the cult TV show, Galaxy Quest and died by the first commercial. This film is one of my favorites! Although Rockwell plays a supporting character, anyone who has watched any sci-fi series will get a laugh over his interpretation of the disposable cast member (you know who I mean guys with red shirts on Star Trek).

The Green Mile: Not a lead character but, once again, Rockwell creates a performance to remember. In this case I wish it wasn’t so memorable! He plays the psychotic and violent 'Wild Bill' Wharton who ultimately gets his due at the hands of the equally disturbing Percy Wetmore. Mainly I find the film interpretations of Stephen King novels decidedly lacking; this is certainly an exception. Moving and disturbing at the same time, made even more creepy by Sam Rockwell’s portrayal of Wharton.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

On the QT and Very Hush Hush!

How time flies!! It seems like I just screened the first film in my Watching the Detectives film program and it is already time for film number two! This Saturday,
April 10th, I will be talking about and showing the "noir that doesn't look like noir" detective film, L.A. Confidential. I say noir that doesn't look it because that was Curtis Hanson"s (the director) intent. The entire film has a very noir feel to it but it was shot with very contemporary lighting and staging. Come see for yourself! We will be in the Central Library theater at 2pm and since this one is R rated, adult's only please.

See you there!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Maltese Falcon comes to HBPL

Just a reminder...tomorrow, March 20th will be the start to our detectives film program. I will be screening the Maltese Falcon at 2pm in the Library Theater. I will start with a trivia quiz where you can win (but only with the right answer!) a free DVD rental from the media section and a DVD or book. After that a short talk about the film (by moi) and then on with the show!
Please join us for this fun afternoon.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

March Madness

No, not basketball…OSCARS! That’s my kind of madness. This Sunday brings us the 82nd Academy Awards. For more years than I care to admit to, I have made an Oscar bet with a friend. We usually cast our votes right before the telecast, after all the Guild awards have been announced. We also usually differ only on a few categories. This year we decided to vote right after the nominations were announced…it didn’t seem to work as we still only differed on a couple of categories. This is the long way of saying…and the winners are…

Best Film: The Hurt Locker
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique (Precious)
Best Animated Film: Up
Art Direction: Avatar
Cinematography: Avatar
Costume: Young Victoria
Documentary: The Cove
Editing: The Hurt Locker
Foreign Language: The White Ribbon
Makeup: Star Trek
Original Score: Up
Original Song: The Weary Kind (Crazy Heart)
Sound Editing: Avatar
Sound Mixing: Avatar
Visual Effects: Avatar
Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds

Am I right? Am I wrong? I will have to wait until Sunday to see if I have chosen wisely this year. Let the madness begin!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday Film Forum Returns (We’re Back!)

Yes, it’s true and I wanted those who read this blog to be the first to know! The Saturday Film Forum will return to the Huntington Beach Public Library on March 20th. The detectives will be resurrected and finally given their due. The film program will be as follows:

March 20th - The Maltese Falcon: After the murder of his business partner, private detective Sam Spade takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette, the jeweled Falcon of Malta.

April 10th - L.A. Confidential: 1950's Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Based on James Ellroy’s crime novel, the film follows three detectives that try to find the truth; each in their own way.

May 15thChinatown: In 1930 Los Angeles, private detective Jake Gittes, at the request of a beautiful bombshell, becomes entangled in a scandal of greed, depravity, and corruption surrounding L.A.’s water supply.

June 26th - Gone Baby, Gone: When a little girl is lost on the tough streets of Dorchester in Boston, two detectives must risk their sanity and even their lives to take on the case.

The program will be in the Library Theatre starting at 2pm. As before, we will start with a short talk about the film, then move on to the trivia quiz. There will be prizes for the quiz and candy for all! Three out of the four films are R rated so all patrons over the age of 17 are welcome!
Hope to meet all of you there!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Fabulous Foreign Film!

It’s about time! I have been waiting way too long to see last year’s winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Departures. This Japanese film shocked me by beating Waltz With Bashir in last year’s ceremony. It is finally available on DVD and, having seen it, I now get why it won.

Departures - Daigo Kobayashi is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and now finds himself without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life.

This film only had a very limited release here in southern California, but fortunately, you can now check it out from the HBPL Media Department. And check it out, you should! (Hmmmm I am sounding a bit like Yoda, but like Yoda, I am giving you very good advice!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Award Season!

For me, this time of year is better than the Christmas holidays. Film Award Season!! The awards actually start at the end of December with some of the critics groups giving their “best” lists. The New York Film Critics proclaimed the following: Best Picture - The Hurt Locker; Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; Best Screenplay - In the Loop; Best Actress - Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia; Best Actor - George Clooney - Up In The Air; Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds; Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique – Precious. (for a complete list of NYFC winners:

Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Film Critics announced their picks: Best Picture – The Hurt Locker; Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker; Best Screenplay – Up in the Air; Best Actor – Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart; Best Actress – Yolande Moreau (Who?) – Seraphine; Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds; Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique – Precious. (for complete list of LAFC winners:

After these awards, The Hurt Locker and Kathryn Bigelow seemed to be running away with the awards of the season. Then came the Golden Globe Awards. The big winner of the night was Avatar, taking Best Picture and Best Director for James Cameron. Even Cameron acknowledged that he thought Bigelow would win (although I am sure he is glad she didn’t!). (Golden Globe winners: Both are nominated for the Directors Guild award but we will have to wait until January 30th to find out who will win. (Director’s Guild nominees: The Guild award is usually the best indicator as to which director will win the Oscar. The Oscar front runners for the best screenplay awards (original and adapted) will become clearer after the Writers Guild announces it’s winners on February 20th. (Writer’s Guild nominees:

Tonight the actors will celebrate themselves (as they do so well!). The Screen Actors Guild Awards (full list of nominations: are entertaining and also an indicator of the Oscar favorites.

For those that didn’t get a chance to see The Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds in the theaters, they are currently out on DVD and available in our Media department.

Let the games begin!