Blog: Flick Picks

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Flick Picks 10/28/2014: Begin Again, Wish I Was Here, Life of Crime

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Songwriter Keira Knightley is discovered by former record executive Mark Ruffalo and they set off together to launch both of their careers in director John Carney's Once follow-up Begin Again. Like Once, the film gently pulls together music and drama as it explores the relationship between the two leads. Zach Braff's second film as a director - Wish I Was Here - is another look at mid-thirties angst as a man (played by Braff) tries to get his life as a husband (to Kate Hudson) and father together. Elmore Leonard's books seem to consistently make good movies and Life of Crime is no exception. In this darkly comic adaptation of the book Switch, Jennifer Aniston is a kidnapped wife whose husband (Tim Robbins) refuses to pay the ransom. Finally, Child of God is the latest Cormac McCarthy book to be brought to film, with director James Franco telling the bleak story of a man trying to live outside of society.

SERIES: We've got a new Masterpiece Mystery this week in the P.D. James story Death Comes to Pemberley. In this unofficial sequel to Pride and Prejudice, a dinner party is interrupted by a dead body and the Darcys must investigate. Accused is an anthology series from England in which each episode tells the story behind a new defendant being led into a courtroom. Just in time for Halloween, the Showtime series Penny Dreadful brings together various fictional characters, like Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray, into a spooky Victorian setting. Finally, the Canadian crime series Murdoch Mysteries is up to season 7 and Vera reaches season 4.

SUBTITLED: Isabelle Huppert stars in the Italian Dormant Beauty, a film that takes on the topic of euthanasia as it follows three groups of characters dealing with the subject.

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Flick Picks 10/21/2014: Snowpiercer, Sex Tape, Mad Men Final Season

What's New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Korean director Joon-ho Bong's English-language debut Snowpiercer is a dystopian thriller where the remnants of humanity has been sentenced to life on a train in order to avoid climate change that has ravished the planet. An upper class and a lower class has developed and their inevitable conflict within this confined space makes for a unique action-packed film. Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris and John Hurt star. Next, what comic hijinks occur when a married couple's private video gets into the wrong hands? Take home Sex Tape, starring Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz, and find out! Finally, Earth to Echo is a modern take on E.T., in which kids must try to help an alien get back home.

SERIES: All good things must come to and end and unfortunately Mad Men has reached that point, with part 1 of the final season arriving. Also this week, the Danish crime series Unit One, which follows an elite police task force that helps local police solve crimes, arrives on our shores.

PERFORMING ARTS: Billy Crystal's funny and moving one-man show 700 Sundays, in which he talks about his youth before his father passed away, arrives courtesy of HBO.

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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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