Blog: Flick Picks

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Flick Picks 10/14/2014: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Venus in Fur

New on DVD at the library this week!

ENTERTAINMENT: The X-Men of today meet the X-Men of yesterday (and who knows, maybe there are some X-Men of tomorrow thrown in as well) in the latest installment of the franchise, X-Men:Days of Future Past. In Bryan Singer's film, Wolverine must travel into the past to save the present (does that meant that it's the future?) and many new mutants are introduced along the way. James McEvoy plays a young Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender plays a young Ian McKellan and Hugh Jackman is, well, timeless! We've got this on DVD and Blu-ray. Also concerned with the subject of time travel is the animated Mr. Peabody and Sherman, a rethink of the old Saturday morning cartoon concerning a brilliant dog and his boy. Like the old series, this film is both fun for the kids and clever for the adults. Finally, single mother and Army medic Michelle Monaghan tries to reclaim her life when she returns from Afghanistan in Fort Bliss.

SERIES: There are some substantial changes from the film (no Margie!) but season 1 of Fargo received some great reviews as it uses the tone of its namesake Coen Brothers film to tell some new stories. The Honourable Woman is a BBC political drama about a woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who inherits her father's arms business and attempts to bring reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians.

SUBTITLED: Roman Polanski's latest is Venus in Fur, which is based on a Tony Award-winning show about a director (Mathieu Amalric) who is unable to find the right actress for his new play until Emmanuelle Seigner shows up, with the role seemingly made for her. The audition then becomes a perverse power struggle. Also, the true story of the relationship between writers Simone de Beauvoir and Violette Leduc is recounted in Violette.

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Flick Picks 10/7/14: Edge of Tomorrow, Million Dollar Arm

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Many films are released in extended cuts but this week we get a film with an extended title, in the critically acclaimed Tom Cruise flick Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. This action-packed sci-fi extravaganza brings us earth-invading aliens and inexperienced combat soldier Cruise who discovers that he can keep going back in time until he gets everything right. Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton are also around and Doug Limon, whose career includes gems like Swingers, The Bourne Ultimatum and Fair Game, directs with an eye towards both action and humor. We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, is Jon Hamm a mad man in importing cricket players to try to make it in baseball's bigs? Find out in the inspirational true story Million Dollar Arm.

Seth MacFarlane brings us his follow-up to Ted in A Million Ways to Die in the West, a cowboy comedy. Besides MacFarlane in the lead, the cast offers up Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson. The bitingly funny Obvious Child is an honest look at an unwed stand-up comic who must decide what to do about her unwanted pregnancy. Newbie writer/director Gillian Robespierre is a talent to keep your eye on. The charming Grand Seduction tells the story of a small Canadian fishing village that tries to keep a big city doctor in town. Taylor Kitsch is the doc and Brendan Gleeson is one of the scheming townsfolk. Fans of Louise Penny will want to pick up Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery, an adaptation of one of her books set in Quebec.

SERIES: The History Channel offers up the two-part miniseries Houdini, based on the life of the famous magician and featuring Adrien Brody in the title role. Another new miniseries this week is The Great Train Robbery, featuring Luke Evans and Jim Broadbent in a retelling of the infamous 1963 event. The newest season of American Horror Story (subtitled Coven) arrives this week and focuses on a pack of witches, while seasons 2 of Norman Bates origin story Bates Motel, Kevin Bacon psychothriller The Following, Canadian P.I. comedy-drama Republic of Doyle and The History Channel's Vikings all arrive this week.

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Flick Picks 9/30/14: Chef, Transformers: Age of Extinction

What's New on DVD at the Library This Week?

ENTERTAINMENT: Jon Favreau gets fed up with his restaurant job and decides to go food truckin' in the feel-good comedy Chef. Favreau also wrote and directed the film and went through his rolodex to fill a cast with names such as Dustin Hoffman, Iron Man costars Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr., Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo and Oliver Platt. Also this week, those toys turned movie stars are back in another epic adventure with Transformers: Age of Extinction. Their human colleagues are played by Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer and we've got it on DVD and Blu-ray.

Crash director Paul Haggis returns with Third Person, another film featuring intertwining stories, this time focusing on three couples in Rome, Paris and New York. Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Maria Bello, Kim Basinger and Adrien Brody are all on board. Up-and-coming director Jim Mickle serves up the seedy thriller Cold in July, about a man (Dexter's Michael C. Hall) who gets involved with some very dangerous people while trying to protect his family. Sam Shepard and Don Johnson co-star. Toni Collette is a journalist who teams with documentary filmmaker Thomas Haden Church in order to find out what happened to her rock star ex-boyfriend in Lucky Them. Finally, Decoding Annie Parker features Samantha Morton as the cancer surviving title character and Helen Hunt in the true story of the doctor who discovered the breast cancer BRCA gene mutation.

SERIES: Jack Bauer proves that you can't keep a good man (or series) down in 24: Live Another Day. New this week is the BBC's set-in-Glasgow crime drama The Field of Blood, about a young female reporter investigating murders. Also this week is season 4 of the Melissa McCarthy showcase Mike and Molly.

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Flick Picks 9/23/14: Neighbors, Scandal season 3

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: What would you do if a raucous college fraternity moved in next door? Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne must answer that question in the hilarious comedy Neighbors. Zac Efron and Dave Franco are among the partygoers in this huge hit. Director Nicholas Stoller has a pedigree of The Five-Year Engagement, Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall so you know that you're in for a good time! We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, The Rover is a rough film set in a future in which a loner (Guy Pearce) forces another man (Robert Pattinson) to help him track the gang that stole his car.

SERIES: There are two new hilarious series for you to get hooked on this week. Mom features Anna Faris as a single mother whose mother (Allison Janney) returns home. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the Golden Globe winning cop comedy that features Andy Samberg as a New York cop who frequently butts heads with his superior, played by Andre Braugher.

Back for more are seasons 2 of Nashville and Hannibal, season 3 of Scandal, season 5 of Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother ends its run with season 9.

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Flick Picks 9/16/14: Godzilla, The Fault in Our Stars

New at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: They say he's got to go go go Godzilla! The rubber suit is closeted but the big lizard is back in a big budget blockbuster starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron-Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen. In this new origin story Godzilla helps out humanity by fighting off some radioactive baddies while trying not to step on anything too important. We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray! Also this week, The Fault in Our Stars is the newest John Green adaptation, telling the story of a teenager diagnosed with cancer (Shailene Woodley) who falls in love with a young man at her cancer support group. It's available on DVD and Blu-ray.

SERIES: We are OVERWHELMED with new series this week! Take some out so our shelves don't collapse under their weight! We'll start out with some British imports. Based on the G.K. Chesterton novels, Father Brown is about a priest in a small 1950s English village who enjoys solving crimes. The miniseries 37 Days brings us the events following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, as the world powers attempted to avoid going to war. Also this week are the second seasons of Caribbean cop drama Death in Paradise, police procedural DCI Banks and the female cop story Scott and Bailey. Our other import this week is season 2 of Prisoners of War, the Israeli series that served as the inspiration for Homeland.

If you're a Garry Trudeau fan you've probably been wondering what he's been up to as Doonesbury remains on vacation. The answer is that he's been creating the John Goodman-fronted political comedy Alpha House, about four U.S. senators sharing a house in Washington DC. It's also interesting in that the show was produced specifically for Amazon's video service rather than an established network. A variety of chestnuts including season 6 of Castle, season 9 of Bones and season 7 of Big Bang Theory also appear this week.

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Flick Picks 9/9/14: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Homeland season 3

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Captain America is just getting used to life in the 21st century but trouble cannot seem to leave him alone! Luckily Black Widow, Nick Fury and Falcon are there to help him learn the identity of the mysterious assassin winter soldier. And hey, it's got Robert Redford too! Captain America; Winter Soldier is available in DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, the casting of Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche are two prep school teachers who become involved with each other is enough to ensure that you will want to see Words and Pictures.

Based on the darkly humorous Nick Hornby book, A Long Way Down brings together four suicidal strangers who meet on the roof of a high rise on New Year's Eve. The four, who include Pierce Brosnan and Toni Collette, form a loose-knit family trying to find reasons to keep on living. Renaissance man James Franco's story collection Palo Alto, about troubled California teens, comes to life onscreen in a film starring Emma Roberts, with direction by the newest Coppola director, Gia. Finally, John Turturro and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman star in the black comedy/drama God's Pocket, set in the mean streets of Philadelphia. Directed by Mad Men's John Slattery, the film involves a dead body that just can't be buried and the people who want to know the truth behind it.

SERIES: If you can't get enough of that superhero fun then you should check out season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which follows Captain American and Iron Man's support staff. The eagerly awaited season 3 of Showtime's Homeland also arrives this week as does season 4 of Tom Selleck's cop drama Blue Bloods.

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Flick Picks 9/2/14: Draft Day, Moms' Night Out, Night Moves

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Just in time for football season, Kevin Costner's Draft Day follows a team's general manager as he trades for the first draft pick in an attempt to bring a championship football team to Cleveland. Ivan Reitman directed the film, which is a must-see for any fantasy football lovers or anyone else interested in the ins and outs of the NFL. The top notch cast is rounded out by Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Ellen Burnstyn and Frank Langella. Maybe while dad is enjoying Draft Day in his man cave mom can catch the comedy Moms' Night Out, in which Patricia Heaton and friends attempt to find bliss in an evening's entertainment while their husbands manage the homestead.

Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard are three radical environmentalists from different backgrounds who must come to terms with the consequences of their motivations in Night MovesThey Came Together is a takeoff on the romantic comedy genre, with Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler portraying a couple facing various challenges on the road to true love. Finally, our indie pick this week is the Coen Brothers-esque Canadian film Whitewash, which follows the consequences when a snowplow operator (Thomas Hayden Church) accidentally kills a man while driving drunk.

SERIES: It's a big week for new episodes of your faves, with Grey's Anatomy hitting season 10, season 3 of both Person of Interest and New Girl, season 2 of Chicago Fire and the British police drama Line of Duty and the brand new Chicago P.D., the Chicago Fire spinoff.

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Flick Picks 8/26/14: Blended, The Double, The Normal Heart

What's new on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT You say that you want more of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore after watching The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates for the 1000th time? Your wish has come true! In Blended, Sandler and Barrymore play single parents who coincidentally find themselves on the same African safari after a disastrous blind date. Will they find true love? Can their kids coexist without murdering each other? Will comic mayhem ensue? Watch and find out! Next, The Double takes a modern Dostoyevskian look at a downtrodden worker (Jesse Eisenberg) whose charismatic lookalike (also played by Eisenberg) becomes a coworker and begins to take over his life.

HBO's production of The Normal Heart, based on Larry Kramer's 1985 play, features a cast jam-packed with stars like Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Alfred Molina and Taylor Kitsch as it tells the story of the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York City. It won an Emmy Monday night so it will be in demand! Finally, Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson are a divorced pair who scheme to steal a diamond from the wealthy financier who was responsible for the loss of their retirement nest egg in The Love Punch.

SERIES There are a few new treats for British TV lovers starting with the BBC's new take on everyone's favorite skilled French 17th century fencers in The Musketeers. Also from England is Breathless, a doctor drama set in the early 1960s and season 2 of the P.G. Wodehouse series Blandings.

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Flick Picks 8/19/14: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Fading Gigolo

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: The rebooted Spidey returns to face not one, not two, but THREE villains in the blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Emma Stone plays the girlfriend while Green Goblin (Dane DeHaas), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) threaten to be formidable adversaries for Andrew Garfield's webhead. Will they defeat him? Find out by picking up the DVD or Blu-ray! Next, a rare acting-only turn by Woody Allen is just one of the reasons to see John Turturro's Fading Gigolo. Turturro wrote and directed this film while casting himself as a male prostitute who signs up with Woody Allen's "manager" in an attempt to pay the bills. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are perfectly cast as a pair of vampire lovers in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, a stylishly unique take on the supernatural genre.

SERIES: It's a good week to get caught up on some of your favorites as HBO's crime drama Boardwalk Empire hits season 4, while addictive legal drama The Good Wife is up to season 5. The always hilarious and meme-tastic Parks and Recreation is at season 6, Parenthood reaches season 5 and The Mindy Project offers up a sophomore season.

SUBTITLED: The Empty Hours brings us the 17-year-old manager of a small Mexican motel who becomes intimately involved with one of its customers who spends her time waiting for a lover.

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Flick Picks 8/12/14: Muppets Most Wanted, The Railway Man, Locke, Hateship Loveship

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Continuing their massive comeback, America's favorite movie star puppets find themselves embroiled in an international crime caper in Muppets Most Wanted. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ray Liotta take second billing behind Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the team. Based on the lead character's autobiography, The Railway Man tells the story of a man imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese during World War II. Years later, he and his lover (Nicole Kidman) discover that the lead tormenter is still alive and set out to confront him. The intense Locke is literally a one-man show that follows Tom Hardy during a single car ride during which he attempts to make potentially life-changing decisions about work and family.

Based on the appropriately named book by Irvine Welsh, Filth's James McAvoy portrays a corrupt, drug-addicted policeman who sets his colleagues against each other in order to pursue his own ambitions. Kristen Wiig takes a different kind of role in the drama Hateship Loveship, in which she plays a shy woman who is hired by Nick Nolte as a housekeeper. The household's granddaughter attempts to manipulate their relationship with unforeseen conequences. Fans of picturesque British soaps such as Downton Abbey won't want to miss Summer in February, about lovers in a pre-war art colony on England's coast. Finally, Felicity Jones is an exchange student who moves stays (and becomes romantically involved) with Guy Pearce in Breathe In.

SERIES: James Spader's new series The Blacklist arrives this week and it's a good one. Spader is a criminal on the FBI's Most Wanted list who turns himself in in order to partner with a profiler on terrorist cases.

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