Staff Movie & TV Picks

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Mar 28, 2016 by eileenf

One of Spike Lee's best films in years, Chi-Raq is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago. (The title's portmanteau refers to Iraq and that Chicago's violence rivals the Middle East war zone.) You may recall the plot from literature class - the community's women refuse to have sex with the men until violence is stopped. In this case the impetus for this standoff is a child's death by stray bullet. The cast is stellar - Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, and Teyonah Parris (who you may remember as Don Draper's secretary, Dawn, in Mad Men). The plot includes comedy, drama, sexual situations, and a number of theatrical interludes, so there's a bit of something for everyone. Check Our Catalog

Mar 14, 2016 by eileenf

For rabid Sherlock fans (of which I am one), this one-off special was touted as a standalone episode. The series' contemporary actors are magically transported to the late 1890s, solving a series of crimes with a feminist slant. The encounters with the bride antagonist are genuinely creepy, and seeing our beloved Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (as Holmes and Watson, respectively) in period costume is a hoot. I won't give away the twist, but it enhances and furthers the narrative of the series as a whole. Mystery fans who haven't gotten on the Sherlock bandwagon yet will still be entertained by the central story. Check Our Catalog

Feb 22, 2016 by eileenf

Movies about teenage girls’ sexual awakenings can be too cutesy or play it too safe. This movie, set in 1976 San Francisco, is having none of that. When 15-year-old Minnie begins having sexual urges, she takes care of things on her own - by having sex with her mother’s boyfriend. And when the adults in her life prove to be undependable, she learns hard lessons on her way to an independent life. This movie has gotten rave reviews; it’s genuine, fearless, and has a unique voice. If you’d like to read the book it’s based on, check it out here. Check Our Catalog

Feb 8, 2016 by claytonc

I found myself talking about this inspiring movie in a couple different unrelated conversations recently. This past weekend I sat next to a retired statistics professor from ASU for a 3+ hour airplane flight. She was personally involved in the efforts to fund the education of the students whose story is told in this movie. George Lopez is the substitute teacher who connects with a rag-tag group of immigrant kids (most, if not all without documentation) who enter an underwater robotics competition. The plot is similar to McFarland USA, but with brains instead of athletic prowess providing opportunities, and with a Latino in the lead role instead of Kevin Costner. Like McFarland, this is also based on a true story, and at the end there are photos of the actual kids who did this and short stories about what happened to them after high school. This was a good family movie, although I sure wish there were better parts for girls. Marisa Tomei and Jamie Lee Curtis were good, but the only high-school girl with any dialogue was purely a love interest. Check Our Catalog

Jan 15, 2016 by eileenf

Oh, Chris Pratt, you’re the most adorable superhero. As Peter Quill, a “Terran” making his way through the galaxy, he steals a powerful artifact precious to a fanatic named Ronan. After he teams up with a multi-species gang of misfits, he finds a sort of family and works to prevent Ronan from using this artifact to destroy planets. Like other Marvel comic book movies, this one is fast paced and action packed. The characters of Groot, a tree-like humanoid, and Rocket, a sentient raccoon, are particularly amusing and evocative. GotG 2 is in the works, scheduled for release in Spring 2017. I’m looking forward to more from Pratt, who proves to be a strong and likeable protagonist. Check Our Catalog

Jan 12, 2016 by theresat

This show is straight-up ridiculous, and I mean that in the best way possible. Styled as a parody of a far-fetched telenovela, the show follows Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez), a 23 year old virgin who is artificially inseminated accidentally after a routine doctor’s appointment goes horribly awry. As the season progresses, Jane has to decide how to handle her surprise pregnancy, and struggles to balance and define her relationships with her police detective fiance and with her baby’s father (a married hotel owner). We meet a crazy cast of characters along the way, including a Czech crime family, a Miami drug lord, and a self-centered telenovela star. The plot is wild, the characters are fascinating, and Rodriguez shines as Jane (she won a Golden Globe for her role). Check Our Catalog

Jan 12, 2016 by eileenf

Beginning this month, TCPL is starting a brand new adult program series. Called Grownups 20/30s, these events are especially for newish adults living on the South Shore. We’re starting with Classic Film Saturdays at 1 p.m. This Saturday, we’ll be showing Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. If you’d like to learn more about film from the 1920s through the 1970s, this is the place to be. Love games? Stop by and play with like-minded gamers on Monday nights. We’ll have such games as GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart and Cards Against Humanity.

We’ve got plenty fun programs in the works as well - stay tuned for information about our Fine Liquorature Book Club, Lib/ations Brew Series (with samples!), Date with the Debates, Crafternoons, and more. Keep an eye on our Events Calendar for future dates, find us on Meetup or give us a call at 617-376-1310. We’d be glad to tell you all about what we have in store.

Many of these programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Thomas Crane Public Library!

Jan 11, 2016 by claytonc

Many of the 2016 Golden Globe nominated films were shown here at the Thomas Crane Public Library. This list will be updated as more become available to borrow.

Dec 21, 2015 by eileenf

After the gifts are unwrapped and you and your family are enjoying some leftovers, may we suggest a relaxing holiday evening of festive movie watching? Our collection of holiday movies you can watch now would be the perfect way to get the kids settled in for the night after such an exciting day. The collection has more than 100 family-friendly streaming videos, including 1935's version of A Christmas Carol and Scrooge, A Muppets Christmas: Letter to Santa, Yo Gabba Gabba: Very Awesome Holiday Show, Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby, the Nutcracker, an Irish Christmas, and (my favorite) holiday-themed Kitten Party and Puppy Party. If you haven't watched any of our always available videos on demand, simply download the hoopla app from the apple or google store onto your device, log in, select Thomas Crane Public Library, enter your library card number and PIN and you're ready to go! Learn more here

Dec 7, 2015 by claytonc

I’ve been told the book is better (which is almost always the case, no?) but having not read it, I can’t personally say. Greg is the protagonist in this story. He likes to think that he coasts along on his own path and avoids getting involved in dramas by staying on the periphery of every group in his high school. He won’t even admit his friendship with Earl, who he refers to as his “co-worker”. Together Greg and Earl have created dozens of silly movie parodies and have eaten lunch together for years. Who is the dying girl? She has cancer and Greg’s mom makes him hang with her. The treatment of her disease is respectful and rings true to life. It is not super-sweet nor over-the-top bravado. Nick Offerman play’s Greg’s dad in a wonderfully different role for this fine actor. I also really enjoyed Molly Shannon as the sick girl’s mom. Check Our Catalog

Nov 30, 2015 by theresem

This mouth-watering film is a delicious blend of family, friendship and food. Directed and starring Jon Favreau, the movie follows LA restaurant chef, Carl Casper, as he embarks on a journey of rediscovery after a harsh review.  With the help of his son and best friend, he fixes up a food truck to use as a new venue, lovingly crafting the Cuban food he was meant to share.  Embarking on a cross-country journey, amassing Twitter followers along the way, this is charming, feel-good comedy not to be missed!  Check Our Catalog

Nov 15, 2015 by junet

Filmed in 28 countries over 4 years, Roger Ebert describes The Fall as an “extravagant visual orgy” and rightly so, as it magnificently captures the imaginations of a morphine addict and young child.  The stunning visuals tell the tale of 5 mythical heroes and their vows to take revenge on Governor Odious.  The tale is told by Roy, a stunt actor recovering from an injury, to another young hospital patient named Alexandria.  Dramatic, meaningful and absolutely beautiful,The Fall is a film that is worth experiencing over and over again. Check Our Catalog

Oct 26, 2015 by claytonc

A programmer (Caleb) wins a company contest and gets to spend a week with the eccentric CEO on his remote compound somewhere in the middle of nowhere (filmed in Norway). He is sworn to secrecy and then asked to judge the success of an experiment in creating artificial intelligence. Caleb spends days getting to know a seductive cyborg and the nights drinking with the boss. Brilliantly acted and beautiful to watch, this is a near-future thriller you don’t want to miss. Check Our Catalog

Oct 9, 2015 by eileenf

Sci-fi/fantasy fans with only a passing knowledge of the X-Men universe will still be drawn into this exciting, fast-paced tale of time travel, which sends Professor Xavier’s band of merry men (and women) back to the groovy ‘70s to stop the robotic Sentinels from becoming a holy terror to the world’s mutants. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, starring as the younger Magneto and Prof. X, respectively, provide solid acting, and Jennifer Lawrence gives the normally tough Mystique surprising vulnerability. Oh, and the action scenes. Yes, they’re pretty darn gratifying. This addition to the franchise has gotten better reviews than some of the its more recent predecessors, so director Bryan Singer is on a roll to make next year’s installment (X-Men: Apocalypse) great. Here’s hoping it compares favorable to this film. Check Our Catalog

Oct 6, 2015 by megana

Suffering from “Downton Abbey” or “Poldark” withdrawal? Watch this gorgeous period love story based on the classic novel by Thomas Hardy starring Carey Mulligan (“An Education”, “Drive”) as Bathsheba Everdene, the beautiful and strong-willed Victorian orphan torn between three suitors. When her uncle dies and leaves her his deteriorating farm, Bathsheba decides to run it herself and astound the doubters. Along the way, she manages to enchant a strong and handsome shepherd, a prosperous and handsome middle-aged bachelor, and a dashing, handsome soldier. Notice any pattern? This movie is worth watching for the cinematography alone (you’ll be dreaming of a trip to the Dorset countryside by the end of it) but the story is a lot of fun, too, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler alert to say you’ll feel happy at the end. Check Our Catalog

Sep 10, 2015 by junet

The lives of modern day vampires Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav aren't so different from ours. Like many of us, they also struggle with paying rent, doing chores and maintaining meaningful relationships (along with avoiding sunlight and not hitting main arteries when feasting on human blood). A project from the creative minds behind Flight of the Conchords and Boy, this mockumentary is delightfully creepy, refreshingly amusing and a vampire film like no other!  Check Our Catalog

Aug 19, 2015 by eileenf

If you love house cleaning montages and early ‘90s fashion, then this is the movie for you. If this seems like a pretty select set of criteria for the enjoyment of this film, then fear not! This movie also has the luminous Christina Applegate, who, as eldest sibling Sue Ellen, aka “Swell,” provides much needed spunk when the above-mentioned babysitter dies soon after the family’s mother goes on a summer-long vacation. (What mother of five, with all kids in school, does this?) She goes to work in the fashion industry and basically runs the joint for months, proving herself to be more together than every single adult she encounters. Swell for President! Check Our Catalog

Aug 10, 2015 by claytonc

The director who brought us District 9 (one of my favorite alien movies ever) as well as the other-worldly Elysium, returns to Johannesburg, South Africa for his latest provocative science fiction adventure. In the near-future the police force of Jo-Burg has added a new weapon to their arsenal - human-like robots. In the struggle to make these robots as effective as possible one engineer figures out how to make them self-aware and fully conscious - but has to do so on the sly, as he cannot get support from his employer, the weapons corporation. The nascent sentient robot falls into the hands of some bad people who train it to be a very powerful gangster - but the robot is conflicted by his relationship with his creator. Another engineer with a competing prototype is ethically opposed to sentient machines and sets out to sabotage his rival. This movie has action, humor, and some thought-provoking themes - and the special effects are amazing! Come see it on our big screen this Thursday (matinee at 1:00 p.m., evening showing at 6:45 p.m.). Check Our Catalog

Jul 29, 2015 by eileenf

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. As for the plot, it involves murder, theft, betrayal - and an unnerving scene of unexpected violence. Also, keep an eye out for Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his first on-screen appearances. Check Our Catalog or Watch Now (with hoopla)

Jul 16, 2015 by junet

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!  Brought to us by the genius that is Guillermo Del Toro, Pacific Rim is an homage to Japanese mecha, but in it’s own right creative, unique, and the most fun a movie could be.  Just writing this makes me want to watch it again! Check Our Catalog and/or Listen to the Soundtrack Now


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