Staff Movie & TV Picks

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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

Jul 8, 2015 by eileenf

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. This sophisticated screwball comedy is perfect for fans of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Carole Lombard is the leading lady in this film, and she is absolutely perfect. Check Our Catalog or Watch Now (with hoopla)

Jun 22, 2015 by galenc

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. Watch the trailer below and then Check Our Catalog to reserve the disc today, or simply Watch It Now (with hoopla).

Jun 19, 2015 by amandap

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! And maybe the stories are fanciful and embellished and not entirely true, but they are good stories, and they're not all lies. Check Our Catalog

Jun 9, 2015 by amandap

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? I can't tell you that this movie defies tropes or presents unexpected plot twists. Once Scott is paired with newcomer Fran you'll probably be able to guess where it's headed, but that doesn't take into account the fantastic dancing, flashbacks to the 1967 Grand Prix, Fran's family schooling Scott on the proper way to do the Paso Doble, or co-writer and director Baz Luhrmann's fantastic sense of humor. Check Our Catalog

May 21, 2015 by claytonc

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. Lots of star power joins the ride as well, including Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart, Cedric The Entertainer, Leslie Jones and many more. Check Our Catalog

May 11, 2015 by claytonc

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. Called Shakespearean and a cross between Easy Rider and The Sopranos, this is primarily the tale of Clay Morrow (played by Ron Pearlman, perhaps best known for his previous role as the Beast in the series dramatization of Beauty and the Beast) and his step-son Jax Teller (played by Charlie Hunnam, who I didn’t even realize was English until I heard him speak out of character). Clay is the president of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, an outlaw gang with ties to the Irish Mob. He was friends with Jax’s dad, but is now married to Jax’s mother, Gemma. (Katy Sagal is so captivating as Gemma that I didn't connect that she also played Peg Bundy on Married with Children until someone pointed it out to me). Jax has a young son and grapples with his family legacy and the violence that has surrounded him since his birth. Set against the backdrop of Eastern California, this is a very addictive show (if you can stomach the violence). Check Our Catalog

Apr 27, 2015 by amandap

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. A pre-Elementary Lucy Liu plays Nick's neighbor, Lindsey, and soon inserts herself into the mystery, wanting to use her amateur detective skills to help Slevin find out just what is going on. As you might hope, there are plenty of twists and turns and dangerous situations, but there's also humor and a tiny bit of romance and, as I mentioned, a tale of righteous vengeance, all played out by a fantastic cast. Check Our Catalog

Mar 13, 2015 by megana

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. This suspenseful and tightly focused movie about damaged people features beautiful, nuanced performances by Tom Hardy (Bob), James Gandolfini (Marv) and Noomi Rapace (Nadia). The movie is based on a short story by Dennis Lehane and it shows (even though the setting was changed from Boston to Brooklyn). Check Our Catalog

Mar 13, 2015 by claytonc

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. Watch the trailer,  Check Our Catalog

Mar 3, 2015 by deirdres

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. Check Our Catalog

Mar 2, 2015 by claytonc

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. Best friends, Ilana’s wild side plays well off of Abbi’s desire to be responsible yet stay fun and free-spirited. Ilana is very sexually liberated and is a serious marijuana enthusiast. Ilana has a roomate who is never seen, but her roomate’s boyfriend is always in their apartment - and he’s the bigest possible loser. Ilana also has a crush on a cute neighbor but is unable to connect with him. There are also lots of great guest appearances, including Rachel Dratch, Janeane Garofalo, Fred Armisen, and Seth Rogen. Check Our Catalog

Feb 20, 2015 by amandap

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. This movie doesn't bounce along on action scenes, instead it glides on meditation and tenderness. Check Our Catalog

Feb 5, 2015 by claytonc

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. Intrigued? Enjoy the preview below. Check Our Catalog

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