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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.

Fargo, the Complete First Season (2014)

Fan’s of the original 1996 movie, rejoice! The Coen brothers gave their blessing to this fabulous return to the wilds of Minnesota. Billy Bob Thornton gives a stellar performance as a manipulative criminal mastermind who steps into a small-town insurance agent’s life, played by Martin Freedman (another great performance). Bob Odenkirk and Oliver Platt also contribute to the star power. Dreams, deceit, hard choices, and murder? You betcha! Winner of Emmy Awards for Outstanding Miniseries and Outstanding Direction, nominated for 15 additional Emmy Awards, and also winner of two Golden Globes.

Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The story begins in a grand hotel somewhere in Europe as World War II approaches. Concierge extraordinaire M. Gustave, a romancer of older ladies and mentor to recently hired lobby boy, Zero, becomes a suspect in the murder of one of his special guests. What ensues is a chase around a visually stunning landscape, featuring lots of bad guys (particularly the ultra creepy Willem Dafoe), hairy situations, and cameos from actors well known to fans of Wes Anderson's movies. If, like me, you never thought of Ralph Fiennes as funny, think again. He gives an absolutely amazing performance.

Broad City (2014)

Sarah Silverman crossed with Portlandia? Two women in their 20’s, living in NYC are the center of this Comedy Central series, based upon a web series of the same name that the stars produced from 2009 to 2011. Amy Poehler is an executive producer but don’t expect this to be like Parks and Rec - this is not network television! Ilana (22) works as little as possible and often takes naps in the company’s bathroom stall. Abbi (26) has a job at a health club and often has to clear the bathrooms.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Languid, introspective, and darkly funny, this vampire movie never outright mentions what its main characters are. Adam is a centuries-old musician going through a rough patch while living in seclusion in Detroit. Enter his long-time lover, Eve, thousands of years old and living in Tangiers until Adam calls. The quiet romance and midnight reflections on the rise and fall of lives and societies are at the center of this story, until Eve's uncontrollable little sister shows up, complicating things by doing what we all expect vampires to do.

Snowpiercer (2014)

Action film meets art film. Think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but set on a train and without the martial arts. Oh, and it takes place in a future after humans accidentally froze the entire planet and the only survivors are on an arc of a train that’s circumnavigating the planet. An arc-train? Yes - and the aquarium car is amazing! There are some fabulous fight scenes - but more like Gangs of New York meets the modern Korean police force in terms of the fighting style. In addition to fantastic visuals this film also provides some political fodder to keep you intellectually engaged.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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