Blog: Flick Picks

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Flick Picks 3/25/14: The Wolf of Wall Street, The Great Beauty

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Another Oscar-nominated film rolls out this week as Martin Scorcese's exhilerating The Wolf of Wall Street hits our shelves on DVD and Blu-ray. This film, based on Jordan Belfort's memoir, features Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, who ran a corrupt investment firm in the 1990s. Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler and the surging Matthew McConaughey are also among the cast. Also this week, Vince Vaughn delivers us the comedy Delivery Man, based on the Canadian hit Starbuck about a man who fathers 533 surrogate children.

SUBTITLED: The first Italian film to win an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film since 1999 is The Great Beauty, a gorgeous look at a journalist as he journeys through Rome, reflecting on his life.

SERIES: There are two new subtitled series worth checking out this week. Based on a Henning Mankell novel, Kennedy's Brain follows a Swedish archaeologist as she tries to find out what really happened to her son who supposedly committed suicide. The Spider follows a crime writer in post-Nazi-occupied Denmark as he tries to get to the bottom of an organized crime ring. Also this week, season two of the Julia Louis-Dreyfus political comedy Veep and a 6th season of David Duchovny's Californication arrive.

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Flick Picks 3/18/14: Frozen, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Don't let Frozen go...get your holds on it right away! Not only did this film win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, it is one of those animated films like Little Mermaid that ends up being loved by everyone in the family. Even if you haven't already seen it (multiple times) then you've probably heard the Oscar-winning soundtrack. The film is about a woman and her snowman companion fighting to save their kingdom from eternal winter. We have it on DVD and Blu-ray. American Hustle was shut out at the Oscars but it's one of last year's audience favorites, and it's easy to see why when it sports a crowd-pleasing cast of Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. The late-70s action involves a con man who ends up being enlisted by the FBI. It's availalbe on DVD and Blu-ray.

Tom Hanks gives us yet another incredible performance and Emma Thompson is no slouch either in Saving Mr. Banks, the story of the quest to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen. You can also get this one on either DVD or Blu-ray. The amazing Idris Elba portrays South African President Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which follows his youth, life in prison and eventual political success. A sensitive family drama about bullying produced by wrestling marketers World Wide Entertainment? Sure enough, that's what we get with That's What I Am, which stars Ed Harris as a popular teacher who helps a teased child overcome his fears.

PERFORMING ARTS: Did you catch The Dukes of September (Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs) when they played Ravinia a couple of years ago? Relive that tour with The Dukes of September Live, which features a rocking set list that includes hits like The Lido Shuffle, Peg and Takin' it to the Streets.

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Flick Picks 3/11/14: Inside Llewyn Davis, The Book Thief

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: The Coen brothers bring their unique visual style and storytelling flair to the Greenwich Village folk scene in their latest film Inside Llewyn Davis. Like most of their movies it is funny, moving and atmospheric as it presents one week in 1961 in which struggling folk singer Davis (who is loosely based on Dave Van Ronk) wanders through a cold New York City with guitar in hand. The film features a colorful lineup of Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, F. Murray Abraham and John Goodman and is available on DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush star in the big screen adaptation of Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief, about a girl living with foster parents in Germany during the rise of the Nazis. A great cast of Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe and Zoe Saldana is featured in Out of the Furnace, which follows a steel worker (Bale) who takes justice into his own hands as he tries to find what happened to his missing brother. If you're still itching for action, ex-DEA agent Jason Stratham moves to a small town with his daughter where he faces off with meth dealer James Franco in Homefront. Sylvester Stallone's screenplay makes this movie feel like a flashback to some of his classic 80s hits.

SERIES: A professor is found dead and his daughter enrolls at the university in order to discover the truth behind what happened to him in the suspenseful and funny British import Trinity.

SUBTITLED: Like chocolate and peanut butter, bluegrass music and Belgian culture make a perfect pair in The Broken Circle Breakdown, which is about a couple whose relationship is tested by tragedy. The Algerian import The Patience Stone is set in an unnamed wartorn Middle Eastern country where a Muslim woman starts to open up to her comatose husband and discovers herself.

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Flick Picks 3/4/14: 12 Years a Slave, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: 12 Years a Slave picked up some big awards at this year's Oscars, walking away with Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o) and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley). It tells the true story of a free man in the mid-1800s who was kidnapped and made to work as a slave only to be freed years later. It's not an easy film to watch as it captures the brutal world that these slaves had to endure. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbinder and Brad Pitt and we've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. We move from the past to the future as the saga of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) continues in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Following her big win in the previous film, Katniss goes on a victory tour only to learn that rebellion is in the air. It's available in DVD and Blu-ray. In Spike Lee's remake of the Korean film Oldboy, Josh Brolin is a man who was kidnapped and eventually set free after 20 years of confinement and tries to discover the reason for this predicament. Finally, the late Paul Walker tries to keep his ventilator-dependent newborn daughter alive during the horrors of Hurricane Katrina in the thriller Hours.

SERIES: It's both sad and exciting when we face a new Doctor Who regeneration. Doctor Who: Time of the Doctor gives us both an epic story and the end of the Matt Smith Doctor Who, while bringing the Peter Capaldi Doctor Who onboard. Mr. and Mrs. Murder is an Australian comedy about a pair of crime scene cleaners who decide to use their accumulated knowledge to investigate mysteries.

DOCUMENTARIES: Provocateur Oliver Stone offers up the companion to the recent book Untold History of the United States, which offers a critical examination of the United States' growth as a military power in the 20th Century. Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett and more contribute to Girl Rising, about the 10x10 organization that seeks equality in education for girls around the world. Learn about Iranian politics from the perspective of a journeyman basketball player in The Iran Job, which follows American Kevin Sheppard's acceptance of a contract with an Iranian basketball team. Reportero shows what life is like for the media in Tijuana, Mexico where many reporters have been killed or vanished in the wake of their drug wars.

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