Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sci-Fi Thriller? Oh yes, please.

The next film in our summer film series will keep all our sci-fi fans in absolute delight.  Not a sci-fi groupie, fear not.  This is still an incredible film that you will want to watch and be so glad you came to.  What is it?  Well, none other than Duncan Jones' Moon.
Wait, you've never heard of this movie before?  Well, you are not alone.  Many missed this films debut a couple of years ago and yet it is still a standout film in the sci-fi genre.  Moon stars the incredible Sam Rockwell as an astronaut whose sole job is to sit on the moon and harvest energy to be sent back to Earth.  Humanity has depleted its energy supplies.  With the help of a new technology, Rockwell's character is able to harness and transfer energy from the moon.  The problem is that this is a solo job.  He is there alone for a three year period.  His only companion is the computer AI named Gerty (voice by Kevin Spacey) who provides excellent dry and witty remarks that pepper the film with humor.  Unlike Kubrick's Hal in 2001: a Space Odyssey, Gerty emits a sense of concern and compassion towards Rockwell.  That is, until it begins to doubt Rockwell's sanity and begins to inform those back home about what it believes is happening to him.
The film starts at the end of Rockwell's time on the moon.  He has become a little stir-crazy...and perhaps a little crazy period.  And then things get really interesting...  

This film has been called a tour de fource, a rare gem, epic, superb.  And, we agree.  You will too. 

Join us this Monday, the 3rd of August at 7 p.m. for Moon.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dark City

This week's film fest feature is the film noir classic, Dark City.  It is your classic tale of deception, suspense, and romance.  Oh, yes, this movie has it all.  Beginning with your standard con job, Danny, our main character, spies a fellow at the bar next to him with a check for $5,000.  Thinking quickly, he soon has the man headed to a private poker game where all the players are Danny's buddies.  Before long, the audience will see the swindle unfolding until the poor unsuspecting fellow has lost everything.  Here's where it gets tricky. The next day, Danny learns that the man he cheated has committed suicide.  Racked with guilt, he and his pals are worried and waiting for the police to come knocking.  The drama comes in when they find out that the check they stole belonged to the man's brother who is now seeking vengeance.  When members of the poker game start dying, the action really picks up.
What makes this film interesting, is the role Lizabeth Scott.  She is the gorgeous lounge singer in love with Danny.  Scott's character is really why we chose this film.  Not only does she truly steal the screen in every scene with her expressions and dynamic appearance, but she brings something different to the typical noir film.  Audiences are used to seeing the woman, hopelessly in love with the bad boy who will never settle down.  They are used to seeing her become bitter, leaving the man, or settling for a half life as his side-arm.  Worse, films often show the female character becoming like the bad boy just to keep him.  Scott's character is different.  She shows us another side of love and the strength of what a woman can do.  I'd say more, but then I'd be giving it away in the end.  
Besides being beautifully shot, this is a great story and a good way to spend your Monday evening.  I hope that you will join us for this week's film.  A few more bits of fun trivia about Dark City...(just because)                                                                  This film was Charlton Heston's (playing the role of Danny) movie debut.  At the young age of 27 when he shot this, Heston was noted solely for his presence and beauty.  Critics at the time remarked that he may well become as famous as Alan Ladd, whose career he soon surpassed, after this performance.  
In Dark City, the world first sees the detective duo of Harry Morgan and Jack Webb before they were paired up as partners in TV's famous Dragnet series as Joe Friday and Bill Gannon.

Join us for Monday, July 27th, at 7 p.m. in the Science Building.  See you all there.

Thursday, July 23, 2015's summer already?

Okay, so somehow it is the end of July practically and we haven't even gotten some summer reading recommendations out to you all.  We are sure that you are all wondering what is going on. Well...fear not, we wouldn't dream of letting the summer go by without telling you all about the excellent new books we've got in and send you some spectacular titles to start reading.  And, for more than you'll find here, stop by and see us in the Library.  We have some great books picked out just for your reading pleasure on our summer book displays.  Really, there is a little bit of everything for anyone.
Adhering to our rules for summer book pics, we have compiled some simply fabulous and frivolously fun books.  Come check one out today.

But, this summer, we are doing something a little bit different.  We want to know what you are reading.  We want to know what you like, what's fun and thrilling on  your list.  So, to inspire your sharing, we are having a summer reading give-a-way.  Oh yes, there are prizes.  In fact, we have put together one awesome summer bag complete with beach bag, umbrella, picnic blanket, movies, books, and much more.  To win, tell us what you are reading and why you like it.  That's it.  You can comment here.  You can comment on our Facebook page.  You can Tweet us @LibraryTVCC #summerreads.  Or drop your book recommendations in at the Library.
Anyway you want to do it, let us know what you're reading today.  Oh, and you can enter as many times as you'd like.  We are here all summer.

And for our first reading recommendation of the summer, rather than pick a specific book, we are picking an all around great author that is well worth reading...and, fitting with our rules, is fun, easy to read, and highly entertaining.  That is the wonderful Mr. Bill Bryson, author of many books such as A Short History of Nearly Everything, A Walk in the Woods,
The Lost Continent: travels through small town America, and several others.  Bryson doesn't write fiction.  So, if you were hoping for the latest thriller, this is not your book.  However, don't dismiss Bryson yet.  Rather than made up tales, he writes very witty and often ridiculously humorous anecdotes about all kinds of things. The perfect kind of book for getting a kick start on your summer reading. 
All kinds of thing, you may ask...yes, all. 
For example, there is A Short History of Nearly Everything.  This is one of Bryson's best new titles.  In the last couple hundred years, the sheer volume of scientific discoveries and advances is astonishing.  And yet, as Bryson puts it, science and discovery is thrilling and exciting but the modern reader doesn't see that.  It's not the message but the messenger.  Most scientific texts are dry, full of terms the average person doesn't know, and become quickly uninteresting.  This book is not that at all. It stays true to Bryson's style and spirit.  To use John Waller's lines in an article written for The Guardian, this book is "The sheer improbability of life, the incomprehensible vastness of the cosmos, the ineffable smallness of elementary particles, and the imponderable counter-intuitiveness of quantum mechanics. He tells us, for example, that every living cell contains as many working parts as a Boeing 777, and that prehistoric dragonflies, as big as ravens, flew among giant trees whose roots and trunks were covered with mosses 40 metres in height."  Yep, not your typical science book.
And for the adventurer, A Walk in the Woods will leave you laughing out loud.  This is the account of Bryson's exploration of the most hiked trail in the United States, the Appalachian Trail.  There is an incident with a bear that is so fun, it's hard to read and keep the book in your hands.  There is the wisdom imparted to all nature fans, survivalists, etc. given while Bryson is shivering in his tent that will have tears on your cheeks you are laughing so much.  You will want to read this one and share it with a friend.

 Which one do we recommend?  Well....all of them.  Any of them.  These are fun, light, and guaranteed to make you smile.  And, they can be read all at once or in little bits at a time leaving you with a smile and a bit of adventure at every turn.  You may even find yourself reading them aloud to someone because you have to share what you are reading.  It is that good.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mystery Movie Night

This week's film is one you want to check out.  We are quite excited about it.  So what's the mystery about?  Well, let me tell you.  But first, let's start with why the Library hosts a summer film festival.  In part, we do this to for get together with all of you, meet new members of our local

community, and to share the experience together.  But we also do it to connect you with amazing and wonderful films.  Some you may have heard of but just never watched, some you may never have thought to watch but are well worth your time, while others may be new entirely.  Each film, we pick thoughtfully to provide you with the very best movie watching experience over the summer. And this week's film is just such a movie...except we aren't going to tell you what it is.

Why the mystery?

Well, because it is fun and because we can.  To add a little excitement and perhaps adventure to your week, join us for this Monday's mystery movie night.  Still uncertain if you want to come?  Here's a little bit about the film we are watching this week.  But you'll have to come watch it to know what it is.
This 2013 film, starring one of our favorite young actresses was not at all what it was advertised as. Movie goers probably scored it alongside so many other similar films only lacking in major star
power, and didn't watch it. In fact, that's what we did too...put it on a maybe-to-watch-on-DVD-when-nothing-else-better-is-available list, and thought nothing more of it. That is, until just such a moment came along. This is not your typical genre film. There is a little romance. There's some great comedy. There's the existential quest into the purpose of relationships and finding true happiness. But there is much more. It's not a movie about platitudes and and easy answers. It is about a man, the average gangly, slightly socially awkward man trying to navigate his way through life. He's not a hero. He is, however, a man who makes mistakes, tries to fix them albeit not always well, and somewhere along the way discovers what is good and rich about the world around him. And you, the audience, find the magic of this film when you realize at the end that you've discovered it too.
Sound too good to be true? It's not, we guarantee. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote about this movie that there is just such a magic that happens here.  In fact, he writes, "My level head might be saying 'No', but my lopsided heart cries 'Yes'" when watching this film.
Intrigued?  Have a guess what the movie is?  Come and find out.  7 p.m. This Monday.  In the Science Building.  See you all there.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Perfect murder?

Today, in film and television, crime writers are still trying to answer the question, is there such a thing as a perfect murder.  This age old question has captivated audiences for decades as characters across genres and for a host of reasons try to commit just such an act.  Today's shows are wrapped in forensic sciences and what can/can not be proven.  Yet, what it really comes down to is human nature.  It's always the human element (guilt, revenge, love, trust) that catches them in the end.  From Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-tale heart" whose murderer continues to hear the heart beat of his victim after killing him to Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth crying "Out damn spot" as she tries to get the blood stains from her hand, the best stories capture the human element of the crimes.
This week, the film explores this age-old phenomenon in the film noir classic, Double Indemnity.  This Hollywood remake of the Raymond Chandler classic has all the elements of your standard noir film.  There is the beautiful, bewitching, and not quite what she seems lady in distress and the man who gets seduced by her.  Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck) finds an initially unwitting accomplice in insurance sales man Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) when she convinces him to help her kill her husband.  Falling for the beauty and seeing a way to cash in doubly on the man's life insurance policy, Neff agrees to the crime.  The problem comes when, racked with guilt, the love fades and the two begin to distrust each other.
Plagued by doubt and the inquisitive insurance investigator, a wonderfully crafted tale ensues.  Stanwyck and MacMurray give one of the best performances of their careers is this tale of deceit and suspicion.

Using the lighting and shooting styles of what we now call noir, Double Indemnity shows audiences this story with some of the most visually stunning and captivating shots in the genre.
                                                 Join us this Monday evening for a film treat.
At 7 p.m. in the Science Building, we will watch this cinematic classic, enjoy some good company, and some movie snacks.   Everyone in our great community is welcome.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stories worth telling

Sometimes a movie is more than a movie.  Sometimes it connects the audience with an idea bigger and deeper than they've thought of before.  Sometimes it challenges the audience, making them think and wonder.  Sometimes it inspires the audience, allowing them to feel the emotions, triumphs, and struggles of the characters.  And sometimes, it tells a story that is powerful and very worth that leaves its audience reeling like they've been a part of something monumental and perhaps even honored to have been a part of it.
Unbroken is just such a story.  It is the true life telling of Louis Zamperini, an average American boy who began life in a small town in southern California.  His world is a bit aimless until he finds his true talent and passion, running.  Running through school and life, Zamperini finds himself launched into a world of national and international fame that led him to compete in the 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin. 
Though the fame and career he's building fills his life, so does the life that is the world around him as it falls into the depths of World War II.

Soon after, Louis Zamperini joins the military and finds himself on a plane crew.  What happens next?  Well, you will have to see it all to believe it.  There is fighting, sharks, crashes, POW camps, horrific life experiences, and unimaginable courage and camaraderie. 
Before ever watching this film, it was an easy choice for our summer film series.  Why, you may ask, would we think it was really that good.  The answer is, the book. 
Yes, the book. 
Ms. Hillenbrand has gracefully established herself as an incredible writer, each book showing her readers a new depth to the genre of literary non-fiction.  Unbroken is a prime example.  While reading this book, the quality of research and detail is astounding, but what happens to the reader is equally important.  It is the getting completely lost in another world and someone else's story, someone's life that makes this book what it is.  The acclaim around this title is well deserved.  Zamperini's story is told so completely and carefully that, as a reader, it is effortless to fall into his world, feel his heartaches, and champion his every moment of strength. The words on each page leave one praying for relief during his trials and whispering to the pages encouragement during the worst moments.  This kind of connection is not easy to find.
This powerful story translates wonderfully onto the screen.  It is one that you will not want to miss.  And, unlike many book-to-movie transitions, this one will leave the audience (whether or not you've read the book) with the same sense of awe and astonishment at the power of this story. 

Come join us this Monday evening for one of the best moments we can share with you this summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The classic spy tale?

Next week's film is not really your classic spy tale.  While it has elements of all the great spy thrillers, complete with mystery, exciting chases, intrigue, disguises, and a little romance, it is so much more than that.  For our second week in our summer film schedule, we will be showing Ronald Neame's fantastic classic film Hopscotch. 
This film, starring the great Walter Matthau in one of his best performances outside of The Odd Couple, Glenda Jackson, and Sam Waterston, will keep you laughing and guessing the whole way through.
Matthau plays CIA agent Miles Kendig who, after years in the field, has been relegated to a desk job under a ridiculous and incompetent supervisor.  Deciding that he's had enough of the bureaucracy, Matthau smuggles out documents and writes the letter to his supervisor on his way out.  The letter that many of us have wanted to write a time or two in life where you tell your boss just what you think of them and everything else you wanted to say but couldn't.  Yes, that letter.  And to make it worse, he announces that he is going to write his memoirs...basically telling all the CIA's secrets and actions that he has faithfully kept quiet about for decades.
What follows is a hilarious, cat-and-mouse chase as Matthau writes and moves from country to country and the CIA endeavors to track him down.  There is drinking vodka in a park with the head of the KGB.  There is wit, humor, slap-stick comedy.  The disguises are fun and perhaps a little ridiculous.  And of course, there is Walter Matthau singing Puccini throughout the whole affair giving the movie even more light hearted fun.  This is definitely a film not to be missed.

Join us on Monday, June 29th at 7 p.m. in the Science Building, Room 104.