Blog: Flick Picks

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Flick Picks 4/29/14: Labor Day, Mr. Selfridge Season 2

New on DVD at the Library This Week:

ENTERTAINMENT: Jason Reitman, whose resume includes Juno, Up in the Air and Young Adult, is back with Labor Day, a film centered around the relationship between a reclusive single mother (Kate Winslet) and an escaped convict (Josh Brolin). It's both a thriller and a heartwarming romance as Winslet and her 13-year-old son must figure out whether Brolin's presence is a benefit or a threat. Geoffrey Rush leads the cast of the Hitchcockian The Best Offer which is about a solitary antiques dealer who becomes involved with a mysterious young woman. Our indie pick this week is the gritty British import The Selfish Giant, about two impoverished young friends who become increasingly involved with scrap metal theft, despite the dangers that they face.

SERIES: Jeremy Piven returns to the role of the department store owner of the title in season 2 of Mr. Selfridge.

SUBTITLED: A fantastic performance by its lead actress (and a 99% Rotten Tomatoes rating) make the Chilean drama Gloria a must-see. It's a sweet yet honest look at a middle-aged divorcee who enters into a romance with an older man. Also this week, a Laotian boy builds a rocket for a competition in order to prove that he's not cursed in The Rocket.

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Flick Picks 4/22/14: The Invisible Woman

New on DVD at the Library This Week

The Easter holiday means a very slow week for new releases. The good news is that this gives you more time to catch up on DVDs that you might have missed! Here's what's coming out this week:

Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Felicity Jones star in The Invisible Woman, based on Charles Dickens' love affair with the much younger actress Ellen Ternan. Fiennes performs double-duty by also directing this somber period drama.

The documentary The Trials of Muhammad Ali focuses on Ali's attempt to overturn a five year prison sentence after he converted to Islam and refused to serve in Vietnam.

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Flick Picks 4/15/14: Philomena, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

New on DVD at the Library This Week:

ENTERTAINMENT: One of the sleeper hits of the year is the must-see drama Philomena, based on the true story of a British mother who gave her son up for adoption (after signing an agreement that she wouldn't try to track him down) and later decided to discover his whereabouts. The film stars Judi Dench as the title character and the fantastic Steve Coogan is the reporter from the BBC who helps her out. Director Stephen Frears, whose steady hands held the camera for The Queen, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Dirty Pretty Things and many more, directs this one. We've got it on DVD and Blu-ray. Also this week, Ben Stiller offers up his take on the The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which his daydreams start to take his life's center stage. Stiller stars and directs and Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt and Shirley MacLaine try to bring him back to reality.

Anglophiles have some great options this week with some new British imports. Mike Newell, the director of Four Weddings and a Funeral, offers up a new take on Dickens' classic Great Expectations, with Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter leading up a talented cast. Murder on the Home Front is a mystery in which an early forensic scientist investigates murders taking place during the London Blitz of 1940. Also from the BBC, The Making of a Lady is an adaptation of a novel by The Secret Garden's Frances Hodgson Burnett about a woman who begins to fear for her life when her husband's relatives begin acting strangely towards her.

SERIES: There are two new releases from the UK, as we welcome seasons 2 of the World War II codebreaker drama The Bletchley Circle and the Victorian-age detective thriller Ripper Street.

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Flick Picks 4/8/14: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, August: Osage County

New at the Library on DVD This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: The epic tale of Bilbo Baggins and friends continues in part two of the The Hobbit trilogy: The Desolation of Smaug. In this one, Bilbo, Gandalf and the rest of the crew continue in their attempt to take the Lonely Mountain away from the control of the dragon Smaug, and we also learn more about a certain ring. Peter Jackson returns to direct, Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman are back and Benedict Cumberbatch voices Smaug. We've got it on Blu-ray and DVD. The other big release this week moves us from exotic Middle-earth to nearly as exotic Osage County, Oklahoma in the star-studded adaptation of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County. Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and the aforementioned Mr. Cumberbatch bring on the southern melodrama in this story of family secrets.

It's Stallone vs. DeNiro in Grudge Match, the story of two boxers who come out of retirement for one final bout, 30 years after their last match. The always interesting British director Michael Winterbottom offers up the drama Everday, in which Shirley Henderson portrays a mother raising four kids while her husband sits in prison. Our indie pick this week is A Field in England, a bizarre but captivating look at the English Civil War from up-and-coming British director Ken Wheatley. Fans of Ken Russell's hallucinogenic biopics might enjoy this one.

DOCUMENTARIES: Get a bird's eye view of the world with the BBC documentary series Earthflight. David Tennant narrates this gorgeous series that follows eagles, pelicans, geese and more on six continents.

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Flick Picks 4/1/14: Anchorman 2, 47 Ronin

New on DVD at the Library This Week

ENTERTAINMENT: Stay classy, Glencoe and get your hands on Anchorman 2, the latest adventures of Ron Burgundy, Brick Tamland and the rest of San Diego's top-rated news team, as they tackle the new world of 24-hour news. Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, David Koechner and Christina Applegate all return, though certainly Will Ferrell's Burgundy remains the eye of this comedy hurricane. Keanu Reeves and approximately 4 dozen other actors tell the story of masterless samurai out for revenge in the fantasy-thriller 47 Ronin. Andy Garcia and Vera Famiglia are parents who bond and explore their lives while dropping their kids off (one of whom is played by Vera's real life sister Taissa!) at college in the romantic-comedy At Middleton. Daniel Radcliffe continues to expand his post-Harry Potter repertoire in Kill Your Darlings, in which he stars as a young Allen Ginsberg. Finally, the little ones will insist on seeing The Pirate Fairy, a Peter Pan spinoff that follows Tinker Bell's battles against pirates in an attempt to rescue her kidnapped fairy friend.

SERIES: David Tennant moves beyond Doctor Who to play one of two detectives determined to solve a murder in a small English coastal town, in Broadchurch. This week also brings us season 6 of George Gently.

SUBTITLED: Easy Money: Hard to Kill is the action packed sequel to the Swedish hit that picks up the story of JW, the former drug smuggler who faces challenges in trying to regain a normal life. Juliette Binoche powerfully plays the artist of the title who was confined to a mental institution in Camille Claudel, 1915. Our latest Israeli import - Lost Islands - is set in the 1980s and follows twin brothers, one of whom joins the Israeli Army while the other stays home and takes care of his family. Finally, from Argentina comes Viola, about romance between actors playing Shakespeare in Buenos Aires.

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