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Movies and TV: Trashed

Trashed DVD coverThe Earth has the possibility of becoming a garbage heap. In the documentary Trashed, Jeremy Irons narrates the problems and solutions to modern waste management while he travels from open air heaps in Lebanon to modernized dumpsites in the U.S. Broken down into “Land”, “Air”, “Water”, and “Solutions”, Irons guides the viewer through issues like groundwater pollution, birth defects, and oceans becoming a slurry of toxins – all caused by the world’s lax landfill regulations. With easy solutions, like more stringent fines on those who fail to recycle, Trashed lays out not only problems, but attainable solutions. If you like Jeremy Irons’ golden baritone or movies that are good for watercooler talk in the morning, try Trashed.

By Readers' Advisor on January 16, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, Nonfiction

Movies and TV: Footnote

FootnoteFather-son relationships will never not be complicated. Add a measure of professional rivalry, and the drama is bound to entertain. Dr. Eliezer Shkolnik is a purist in Talmudic scholarship, one who for years has been largely unrecognized by his peers. His son, Dr. Uriel Shkolnik, enjoys popularity as a similarly dedicated but more personable academic. Uriel is selected to be the winner of the Israel Prize, a prestigious national honor, but the Prime Minister calls Eliezer by mistake, creating a tangle in which there is no clear way to correct the error without sacrificing one or the other. Footnote, a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film of the 2012 Academy Awards, features bittersweet humor, restrained camerawork, and exceptional understated performances.

By Readers' Advisor on January 13, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television

Staff Pick: The Ghost Army

Joyce Staff Picks photoThink you know WWII history? You might be surprised! The Ghost Army explains how the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops – made up of artists, sound technicians, and radiomen – created the grand illusion of American troops that held the line against German forces in major battles of the war. Amazing!

By Readers' Advisor on January 7, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Movies and Television, Nonfiction

Movies and TV: Bob Ross: The Happy Painter

Bob Ross the Happy Painter DVD coverAnyone who clicked through the TV channels from 1983 – 1994 surely crossed paths with Bob Ross. You know:  Bob Ross – the painter with the soft voice and the big afro. His 30-minute PBS show, The Joy of Painting, taught amateur artists how to landscape paint using the wet-on-wet oil painting technique. Ross brought a positive mental attitude, humor, camp, and easy-to-follow methods of art-making to the public. Bob Ross: The Happy Painter explores how Ross starring in a TV commercial for local painting classes turned into a 15 million dollar empire. Celebrities like Terrence Howard, Jane Seymour, and Brad Paisley discuss Ross’ life and legacy in this feel-good documentary.

By Readers' Advisor on January 2, 2014 Categories: Art, Movies and Television, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: The Happiest Millionaire

Cathleen Staff Picks photoThe Happiest Millionaire is a favorite lesser-known Disney musical that offers toe-tapping charm. Fred MacMurray is a wealthy father who keeps pet alligators in his mansion and hosts a Bible-and-boxing club in the stables. Lesley Ann Warren, Greer Garson, and the irrepressible Tommy Steele add to the family fun.

By Readers' Advisor on December 31, 2013 Categories: All Staff Picks, Humor, Movies and Television, Picks by Cathleen, Romance

Lists: Instructional Dance DVDs

Ballroom Dancing Made Easy DVD coverThe New Year is almost upon us and resolutions are on everyone’s brains. Maybe, just maybe, 2014 can be the year that you finally give yourself the time to learn how to dance. Watching Dancing With the Stars is ok…but what if you could dance like the stars?

Click here to see a list of instructional dance DVDs.

By Readers' Advisor on December 27, 2013 Categories: Lists, Movies and Television, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: Fargo

Cynthia staff picks photoWith its chilly upper-midwest setting (accents included), Fargo is the classic Coen brothers’ film. A botched kidnapping planned by a bungling William H. Macy is met with the polite, small-town-smarts of a pregnant police chief (Frances McDormand). This is dark humor at its best balanced with warm humanity.

By Readers' Advisor on December 24, 2013 Categories: All Staff Picks, Movies and Television, Picks by Cynthia

Staff Pick: The Beguiled

John staff picks photoBefore Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood and director Don Siegel teamed up to make the tense, gothic melodrama The Beguiled. Set near the end of the Civil War, The Beguiled tells the story of a Union soldier wounded in Southern territory, who finds refuge in a girls’ school.

By Readers' Advisor on December 17, 2013 Categories: All Staff Picks, Movies and Television, Picks by John

Movies and TV: Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present

Marina Abromovic: The Artist is PresentMarina Abramović is a New York-based performance artist. Her art examines bodily limits, passion, violence, and identity. Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present is a documentary that follows Abramović during her 2010 Museum of Modern Art installation. MOMA celebrated Abramović’s 30-year career by recreating her most famous performance art pieces and showcasing a new, 90-day installation. Over 750,000 people attended the show. Abramović’s performance art is not always easily understandable. Much of the time – especially early in her career – it seemed shocking…but through shock the artist forces us to engage, to pause, to question, to be in a moment. If you like art documentaries or movies that put you in a thinking mood, try Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present.

By Readers' Advisor on December 12, 2013 Categories: Art, Movies and Television, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: Winter’s Bone

Diane staff picks photoMy favorite film of 2010 was Debra Granik’s haunting Winter’s Bone. This unflinching reworking of Daniel Woodrell’s novel, with astonishing performances from Jennifer Lawrence as a 17-year-old struggling to save her family and John Hawkes as her meth-addicted uncle, deserves the many accolades heaped upon it.

By Readers' Advisor on November 26, 2013 Categories: All Staff Picks, Books, Movies and Television, Picks by Diane