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Movies and TV: The Garden of Words

Garden of Words DVD coverA chance encounter in a lush public garden brings two misunderstood souls together, and silent companionship becomes a refuge for both.  Takao is a teenage student eager to escape the classroom and begin a creative career.  Whenever it rains, he skips his morning class in order to sketch in a small botanic shelter.  It is there he meets Yukino, a young professional woman who cannot bear to go to work and who soon finds herself looking forward to their unplanned meetings.  In The Garden of Words, filmmaker Makoto Shinkai calls on a symphony of intense colors, stuttered time, and simple but expressive gestures to create an ode to unconventional friendship.

By Readers' Advisor on April 14, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television

Movies and TV: Blackfish

Blackfish DVD coverTilikum is a 12,000 pound bull orca. He is blamed for the deaths of three people. Blackfish is a hypercritical documentary against SeaWorld and other marine parks like it. It explores Tilikum’s story through trainers and whale experts with a notable lack of involvement from SeaWorld executives, who refused to participate. With commanding cinematography Blackfish doesn’t shy away from showing the bleeding, living situations, and mental distress that leads these highly social creatures to turn dangerous. Though SeaWorld denies Blackfish’s claims, this documentary will force viewers to choose between attending and supporting marine-parks or boycotting them for their alleged animal abuse. If you liked The Cove or movies that make you reexamine your beliefs, try Blackfish.

By Readers' Advisor on March 27, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: Endeavour

Larry staff picks photoEndeavour is a must-see movie for those who enjoy PBS’ Inspector Morse series. Young Endeavour Morse struggles with the naïveté of youth, his past, and learning hard life lessons while on his first detective case in this coming-of-age whodunit, full of twists and turns.

By Readers' Advisor on March 25, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, Picks by Larry, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: In the Mood for Love

John staff picks photoMr. Chow and Mrs. Chan are neighbors – his wife is having an affair with her husband. Frequently left alone by their unfaithful spouses, the two develop a bond that hovers agonizingly close to courtship. In the Mood for Love is an abstracted romance played out in the tiniest of gestures.

By Readers' Advisor on March 18, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, Picks by John, Romance, Staff Picks

Movies and TV: The Returned

Returned DVD coverA teenage girl clambers up a steep embankment and pulls herself over the guardrail of a twisty mountain road. She has awoken from a blackout, and the last thing she remembers is being on a school trip — a trip that ended in a tragic bus crash a full four years earlier. The Returned, a French series which emerges as a masterwork in eerie storytelling, purposely uncoils the accounts of those who mysteriously appear as if they have never been away. Inspired by the film Les Revenants, this fits easily in the current trend of stories which explore the dead returning, but none other does so with the same lyrical melancholy, the effect of which is enhanced by expert framing of tableaus and a haunting Mogwai score.

By Readers' Advisor on March 10, 2014 Categories: Horror, Movies and Television, Music, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Staff Pick: Gosford Park

Diane D.Are you hooked on Downton Abbey? Did you know the series was inspired by Robert Altman’s film Gosford Park? Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, won the Oscar for Best Screenplay for Gosford Park. Check out Maggie Smith as Countess of Trentham before she became Downton Abbey’s Countess of Grantham!

By Readers' Advisor on February 25, 2014 Categories: Historical Fiction, Movies and Television, Picks by Diane, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Family Tree

Barb-BIf you’re a fan of Christopher Guest movies (like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show), you’ll love his TV series, Family Tree. Tom Chadwick plays an Englishman who inherits a mysterious box from a great-aunt he has never met. This begins a splendid, funny adventure to find his roots.

By Readers' Advisor on February 18, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, Picks by Barb B., Staff Picks

Movies and TV: Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station poster On January 1, 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot in the back while being held down on the ground in the custody of transit officers. Several witnesses captured video footage on their cell phones, and soon the incendiary images were widely viewed across the nation. In the award-winning drama Fruitvale Station, we are given a new picture — that of a complex young man trying to make better choices than he had in the past so that he could provide both a present and a future for his young daughter. Lead actor Michael B. Jordan reaches deep to reveal the humanity of a name consigned to tragic headlines, and knowing the facts of that day in no way lessens the impact of watching them play out.

By Readers' Advisor on February 10, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television

Movies and TV: Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop the MovieIt’s 2071 and the entire Solar System is fair game through the use of hyperspace gates. Cruising through the black is the Bebop, a starship full of bounty hunters. Spike is a lithe, mod suit-wearing, martial arts expert with a dark past. Jet is a mech-armed, former cop as ready to cook noodles as clock ya one. Faye Valentine, well, she can steal or find anything, but somehow always ends up tied up. Finally, oddball Ed can hack any network, especially with the help of Ein, the ship’s data dog. If you like Firefly, James Bond, martial arts movies, or innovative soundtracks, try Cowboy Bebop, a 26-episode series that is an excellent entry-level step into anime.

(When you’re done with the series, watch Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, too!)

By Readers' Advisor on February 6, 2014 Categories: Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Movies and Television

Staff Pick: One Goal II: The Inside Story of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks by Bob Verdi

One Goal 2 book coverDiane of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends One Goal II: The Inside Story of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks by Bob Verdi:

From the streak to the Stanley Cup, One Goal II and the 53 minute long DVD 17 Seconds (which comes with the book) portray the inside story of the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks. The hardcover book and DVD provide an all-access pass inside the locker room party in Boston, the airplane ride home with the Cup following Game 6, and interviews with the players. Through full color photos, fans ride along on the players’ buses during the championship parade and follow the Blackhawks as they spend their Cup days with family and friends, sharing the greatest trophy in sports with their communities.

Additionally, the book contains an innovative, mini video screen. It plays the Blackhawks’ two goals in 17 seconds to win the Cup and a five-minute feature with interviews about those two goals and the ensuing celebration.

By Readers' Advisor on February 3, 2014 Categories: Books, Movies and Television, Nonfiction, Picks by Diane, Staff Picks