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Blog: Flick Picks

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Flick Picks 12/23/2014: The Trip to Italy, The Equalizer

New on DVD at the Library This Week
It's the end of the year so the new releases are sparse, though the studios certainly saved some good ones for last.

Release date 12/23/14:

ENTERTAINMENT: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon's gutbusting impression showcase (disguised as a restaurant tour) The Trip has its sequel arriving this week in The Trip to Italy. Michael Winterbottom is back behind the camera. Based on a true story, the funny and uplifting Pride tells the story of British gay and lesbian activists who raised money to support striking mine workers in a tiny Welsh town in the 1980s. Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine star. Juliette Binoche is a war photographer whose husband asks her to quit the job that gives her life meaning in 1,000 Times Goodnight.

Release date 12/30/14:



Flick Picks 12/16/14: This Is Where I Leave You, Magic in the Moonlight

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: It's hard to imagine that a better cast could have been assembled for the film adaptation of the Jonathan Tropper This is Where I Leave You. With the lead roles filled by Tina Fey, Jason Bateman and Jane Fonda you are guaranteed a good time even had the film been directed by insane goats. The story concerns a group of siblings and their assorted spouses who must spend a week under the same roof (their mother's) after the family's patriarch dies. We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, another year, another Woody Allen film, with Magic in the Moonlight falling towards the whimsical end of the spectrum of Allen's works. Emma Stone is the woman who claims to speak to the deceased while Colin Firth is the magician brought in to debunk her who eventually falls for her charms.

It merely seems that Kristen Wiig has been in every independent film of the year, when in fact she has only appeared in half of them. The morbid Skeleton Twins pairs her with Saturday Night Live colleague Bill Hader in the story of a pair of twins trying to repair their relationship. Finally, we've got a couple of big budget tween films for the family to enjoy. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot pairs "heroes on the half shell" with Megan Fox to battle Shredder and his feared Foot Clan. The bestselling young adult novel The Maze Runner also hits the screen, telling the story of teens who wake up in a strange community surrounded by an inescapable maze. Some might feel that the film serves as a metaphor for how one must pursue an unknown future in order to experience success while a young critic in my house simply thought it was "really, really cool". It's available on DVD and Blu-ray.

SERIES: There was quite a delay before wacky Arrested Development was brought back from the dead for a fourth season - and then it was only available to Netflix subscribers - but now you can take home the DVD! Also this week brings us season 2 of the domestic Cold War drama The Americans.



Flick Picks 12/9/2014: Guardians of the Galaxy, Frank

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: This summer's surprise superhero blockbuster featured a group of misfits that most casual comic readers hadn't heard of. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy hits the right balance of action, humor and futuristic effects, which makes it the rare action flick that works well for audiences who want a little bit more. Chris Pratt is given the spotlight and the rest of the cast is filled with cast members who fit their roles perfectly, as well as a talking squirrel and an anthropomorphic tree. It's available on both DVD and Blu-ray. Our other big film release this week is the funny and off-the-wall Frank, which features Michael Fassbinder as a rock musician who wears a large fake head and Maggie Gyllenhaal as his bandmate. It's a little bit different but surprisingly clever and engaging.

SERIES: Woo hoo! There's a new Who for you as season 8 of Doctor Who brings Peter Capaldi aboard as the newest regeneration of the title character. Season 2 of the Stephen King series Under the Dome also arrives this week.

DOCUMENTARIES: Bahman Mohassess - the "Persian Picasso" - is profiled in Fifi Howls From Happiness. The film shows the challenges that Mohasses faced as a gay artist in pre-revolutionary Iran, and his eventual escape to Italy. A number of nursing home residents are profiled as they take a bus tour of Israel in Next Year Jerusalem.



Flick Picks 12/2/2014: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Hundred-Foot Journey

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Hey hey, they're the apes! The sequel to 2011's reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes comes home this week with the dark and thought-provoking Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, in which the intelligent apes are free but eventually come into conflict with a group of human survivors. The film's producers didn't monkey around with the first film's quality so you're sure to go ape over it. Gary Oldman and Keri Russell are the humans, Andy Serkis is an ape and you and I are the viewers, tossing popcorn into our mouths while laying on our couches. We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. The Hundred-Foot Journey is another feel-good food dramedy starring Helen Mirren as a restaurateur who becomes resentful of the Indian chef who moves his restaurant next door. Eventually they are brought together through their shared love of food. Finally, the sci-fi flick The Congress features Robin Wright as a version of herself, who decides to sell her digital image for future film use. Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm and Danny Huston beef up the cast.

SERIES: Guillermo del Toro's disturbing vampire virus novel The Strain has been adopted into a disturbing series for FX. Also, modern Kentucky cowboy show Justified hits season 5.

SUBTITLED: Eric Rohmer's A Summer's Tale, never released on DVD in the United States, finally arrives, telling the story of young people in a French beach town.