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Movies

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The Long Goodbye (1973)

Nothing says goodbye like a bullet (as the tagline goes). And no one knows this better than Philip Marlowe. This particular incarnation of the famed ‘30s detective is Elliott Gould, and he’s now solving crime - and very out of place - in the free-spirited ‘70s. Directed by the great Robert Altman, this is a wonderful adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel, although much like the 1946 version of The Big Sleep, this retelling is fairly convoluted. Gould captures Marlowe’s world-weariness and casual coolness perfectly, and Sterling Hayden is pretty much playing himself.

Pacific Rim (2013)

There are only two movies I own physically, and this is one of them.  I don't often admit that one of my favorite movies ever has a plot that focuses on robots vs. aliens, but at the root of it, Pacific Rim is a story about humanity’s struggle to exist against an ever increasing tide of the most amazing aliens you’ll ever see on film. The illuminated pseudoscience behind Jaeger Technology (the robots) operated by drift compatible humans is something to be enjoyed, not dissected!

My Man Godfrey (1936)

What happens when a wacky nouveau riche family decides to take in a homeless man to be their butler? When that “forgotten” man turns out to be debonair William Powell, he may just teach this spoiled and snobby family a thing or two. He also turns out to be a savior of sorts - and a potential love interest to a few ladies in the household. This film, made in 1936 during the height of the Depression, doesn’t beat the viewer over the head with too many platitudes, but it does offer several laugh out loud moments.

Violette (2013)

A fictionalized portrait of French novelist Violette LeDuc, directed and co-written by Martin Provost. Illegitimate and unwanted by her mother, Violette grows into an intensely needy adult who looks for love in all the wrong places. Her tremendous talent for writing is recognized and nurtured by Simone de Beauvoir, with whom Violette falls in love (albeit unrequited). Violette funnels her self-loathing and pain into her confessional novels, which are groundbreaking works of raw emotion and taboo sexual depictions.

Big Fish (2003)

Tall tales told by his father have frustrated Will since he was a boy. So much so that he's barely spoken to his father in years, but when his father falls ill of course he goes home to help out. It all sounds like a maudlin drama about family but once Will's father, Ed, starts telling his stories from his hospital bed the movie opens wide, taking Will back through the adventures his father claims to have had. He met mermaids and giants and witches! He found mysterious hidden towns and accidentally robbed banks! He performed in the circus and saw werewolves!

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

What starts out as a ballroom dancing mockumentary soon becomes something more once the dancing actually starts. You know right from the beginning that this movie is going to feature some over-the-top hair and hysterics, thanks to main character Scott's mother crying into the camera, wondering just where she possibly went wrong! Scott, you see, is an up-and-coming star in the Australian ballroom dancing world, but he's bored with the same old dance steps and his partner just can't abide by his experimentation! If he doesn't follow the rules how will they win the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix?

Top Five (2014)

Written, directed, and starring Chris Rock, this is a genuinely funny film. Chris plays a comedian who acheived fame with several very stupid movies but is trying to break out and do a serious film about the Haitain revolution, while also preparing to get married to a reality television star. A reporter (Rosario Dawson) is tagging along and pines for his long-past days of stand-up. To say more would give too much away - and this is more than a funny movie. It is also satire and love story, all set in one incredibly long day in New York City.

Sons of Anarchy (7 seasons-2008-2014)

The critically acclaimed series came to its final, inevitably bloody conclusion this past December. Whether you were captivated from the start, hopped on part-way along the ride, or still haven’t ventured into this drama, every season is now available to watch on DVD, along with deleted scenese, gag reels, and more.

Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

Mistaken identities, mob bosses at war, bookies, assassins and righteous vengeance make up this 2006 thriller. Except thriller doesn't really do the job of describing this movie. Sure, it has all the hallmarks: a years-old murder case over a bet gone wrong and a young man caught in the middle of two crime bosses' bitter grudge. But Slevin Kelevra, who arrived in town to find his buddy Nick missing and mobsters - believing that Slevin is Nick - seems fairly upbeat about the whole situation.

The Drop (2014)

Bob is working at his cousin Marv's bar in a gritty part of Brooklyn, and you quickly realize tell they both have a shady past. The bar is one of many in the city used as a drop for dirty money and it turns out the bar itself is owned by a menacing Chechen gang leader. A couple of small-time thugs rob the bar, Bob finds an abused puppy in a trash can and meets a girl named Nadia, and a random crime turns out not to be so random.

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