Looking for a hero? Find one here as Ioan Gruffudd portrays William Wilberforce – a man’s whose passion and perseverance over 26 years culminated in the abolishment of the slave trade in the British Empire. Benedict Cumberbatch plays his friend and ally, William Pitt, making Amazing Grace a sure bet!
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As Muhammad Ali said, “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.” Art is a powerful, eye-opening weapon to use against hate.
Ever wish your pet could speak? You may find that it understands more than you imagine. When The Rabbi’s Cat eats the family parrot, he is suddenly able to voice what he thinks about love, religion, and politics – and no one escapes unscathed. Based on Joann Sfar’s graphic novels, Le Chat du Rabbin mimics the independent wanderings and curiosity familiar to any cat owner, exploring an Algerian society in which Jews and Arabs compatibly coexist. Animated by way of color, line, and voice, the energy tickles even as it gently prods at beliefs and culture. Check out the brief trailer and consider this witty French film for your Have Book, Will Travel summer reading log.
Oh wait, no, it’s Brad Pitt fighting zombies in World War Z, the summer blockbuster opening this weekend based on Max Brooks’ first novel. If you don’t want to go to the theater on opening weekend, let the Library fill your zombie needs.
Dave Grohl, of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, has made his directorial debut with Sound City, a documentary on the L.A. recording studio where Nirvana made Nevermind – arguably the most groundbreaking album of the ‘90s. Grohl claims that the custom Neve soundboard at Sound City is what helped define Nirvana’s music and gave him his career. Grohl uses archival footage and contemporary interviews with bands who recorded at Sound City, like Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Rick Springfield, The Pixies, and Rage Against the Machine. Not only does Grohl chronicle the history of Sound City, he reunites famous musicians like Stevie Nicks and Paul McCartney with the Neve in a 24-hour marathon recording session of all new songs.
Addie ran away with one of her friends’ husbands. It may sound like a soap opera gimmick, but a first-class cast and a razor-sharp script make A Letter to Three Wives a classic. Skating the fringes of poignancy and black humor with ease, this picture has aged with remarkable grace.
Number 23 on the list of 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die, The Eyes of Tammy Faye offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of televangelist Tamara Faye LaValley Bakker Messner before and after her fall from grace. Check out this sympathetic portrait of the 80s pop icon.
Did the recent PBS broadcast of The Bletchley Circle pique your interest in World War II code-breaking? Enigma (2001), based on a novel by Robert Harris, is a thrilling story of secret service, cryptography, romance, and espionage. Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott star as those piecing together the disappearance of an alluring coworker who may have stolen sensitive information. Meanwhile, British intelligence officers must find a way to decode scrambled messages of the German military. Based on the true story of unlikely heroes and a technological breakthrough which changed the course of history, Enigma is a glimpse into the tense war waged in locked rooms with numbers and letters so that those on the fields, in the air, and on the seas could have a fighting chance.
When you are ready to expand your horizons, why not start with stories that are celebrated by other authors? The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America have announced the winners of the Nebula Awards, and it is an earth-shaking year for the imagination:
Best Novel: 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Finalists: Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, Ironskin by Tina Connolly, The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin, The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
Best Novella: After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress
Best Novellette: “Close Encounters” by Andy Duncan, soon to appear in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection
Best Short Story: “Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard, available online via Clarkesworld
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin
Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatization about the 10-year search for Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Maya is a young CIA officer who refuses to give up the search even when it involves torture. Maya and Seal Team 6’s efforts ultimately secure bin Laden in this engrossing film.