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  • Jul 19 - Borgen - "Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Jul 11 - Monuments Men - If you missed it at our showing, make sure to put a hold on it.
  • Jul 5 - What's all the Hoopla? - Check out the library's new source for downloadable movies
  • Jun 30 - Talking Westerns - Filmed in and around Calgary
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Attention All Teens

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Okay MM readers, this isn't the contest I have been promising you for Ruby Sparks tickets (see below), but check out the contest that the Teen Blog has put together for our younger demographic. If you are a teen, or have one in your life, or even know one for that matter, direct them here to enter for a chance to win this prize:

ONE GRAND PRIZE

  • Cineplex ROE passes (two admissions) for Step Up Revolution
  • StreetDance 2 DVD
  • Step Up Revolution ear buds
  • Step Up Revolution sunglasses

FOUR RUNNER-UP PRIZES

  • Cineplex ROE passes (two admissions) for Step Up Revolution
  • Step Up Revolution sunglasses

And as for RUBY SPARKS- they finally have a venue for the advanced screening and I will be releasing RSVP codes any time now. Likely on Wednesday August 1st. Thanks for hanging in there!!!

No Air Conditioner on this Train!

by Melanie - 1 Comment(s)

You might want to revisit this classic as a sort of antidote to Mad Men. Originally, scenes were cut from A Streetcar Named Desire due to censorship but Elia Kazan's full director's cut starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh is available at the library. There is a great production on Broadway now starring Blair Underwood as Stanley Kowalski. Now that I've lured you in with the good looks, here's a dose of reality...

In spite of all the parodies and over-quoted lines ("Stella!," "...the kindess of strangers") Streetcar is still a relevant and shocking stage play. Older sister Blanche is traumatized and manipulative, turning to an extreme femininity and aristocratic airs to make her way through life. On the other extreme, her sister's husband Stanley performs a stereotype of angry working-class masculinity. Blanche's sister, Stanley's wife, is caught between her duty to Blanche and her desire for Stanley, making the uncensored play not just about madness, as was often argued, but about dependence and the connection between restrictive gender roles and violence.

 

XXX Summer Olympics

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

I have to admit - I'm a bit of an Olympic junkie. There's just something very appealing about the entire world coming together to compete in fair minded play and to celebrate the efforts of all these hard working incredible athletes. Now having said that, we know that the reality often falls far short of the ideal; but for every doper trying to beat the system there are still hundreds of athletes playing their guts out for the love of their sport and country and these are the competitors that draw me back year after year.

If you are not watching the Olympics (CTV) (NBC) which start tomorrow, do the next best thing and watch a movie about the Olympics. Multi award winner Chariots of Fire is certainly worth your time and features the haunting score by Vangelis.

CPL has a great many titles that are not necessarily about the Olympics, but sports movies, and it is quite a mixed bag. Some of my faves are Invictus, Million Dollar Baby, The Natural, Bend It Like Beckham, Field of Dreams, and Iqbal. Or spend some time with The Flying Scotsman- you won't be disappointed. When We Were Kings is a compelling documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire between then champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali. Not my cup of tea, but it did win cutey-pie Sandra Bullock an Oscar---The Blind Side. Or from this year, Money Ball with Brad Pitt in his Oscar nominated performance. And even though the franchise did go steadily downhill afterward, there is no denying the original Rocky is still one of the best sports movies ever made. Try any of these: Pride of the Yankees, Eight Men Out, Raging Bull, Brian's Song (have the hankies ready), Remember the Titans and the original The Longest Yard. You will barely recognize Batman (Christian Bale) in The Fighter, more cautionary tale than true sports movie, but very good. Warrior earned Nick Nolte an Oscar nod for best supporting actor this year. The Wrestler helped resurrect Mickey Rourke's career and is a gut wrenching look behind the scenes of the wrestling world, just as Requiem for a Heavyweight looks at the underbelly of boxing.

There are numerous movies about equestrian sports and many more about golf. But I just can't bring myself to watch a golf movie- it's almost as boring as watching a golf game (with apologies to all you golfers).

For the younger crowd there is Ice Princess, Air Bud (at least 5 different ones), Sandlot, Space Jam, Bad News Bears (original only) and any of the Karate Kids- new or old.

Teens: Stick It, Rudy, and Whip It

Series: Friday Night Lights- we have all five seasons

Funny: It's been quite awhile since I've seen it but have a look at Cool Runnings- the story of the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Or Nacho Libre---Jack Black's take on Luchadors (Mexican wrestlers), and Will Ferrell in Taladega Nights and Blades of Glory.

The opening ceremonies are being produced by Danny Boyle, who you will know from such films as Slum Dog Millionaire, Trainspotting, The Beach, Millions and 127 hours. They held a dress rehearsal on Monday night and the word is ' unlike anything you have ever seen before'. I was dazzled by the Vancouver opening ceremonies in 2010 so am eager to see what Boyle has in store for the 80,000 in the stadium and the 100's of millions out here in tv land.

Let the games begin.........................

I Heart New York II

by Melanie - 0 Comment(s)

Fans of the city must see Bill Cunningham New York. Richard Press' documentary is for artists, documentary lovers and fans of street fashion. It follows the New York Times photographer to his Carnegie Hall studio and on the street as he shoots people whose style he admires. Cunningham invented the street fashion genre in the 70s when he added shots he had taken of women on the street to snap of reclusive Greta Garbo to a Times article that became a regular feature.

If you liked The September Issue, you'll still like this film but it's very different in tone. Cunningham's principled and democratic approach to shooting fashion as he rides around Manhattan on his bike well into his 80s is the focus. Cunningham only cared for clothes and style, whether worn by a bag lady or Lady Astor. The interviews with those who encounter him are loving and honest, not simply the type of quips you hear repeatedly on the weekly fashion shows. There's a tender glimpse into an old style of production for the paper.

Cunningham's opening remarks are never truer--the people on the streets of New York are really the most interesting aspect of the city.

Millennials versus Boomers

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Jilliane, our Cybrarian over in Teen Services sent me this great article which just appeared in the LA Times.

Perspective: Millennials seem to have little use for old movies

For young people, the focus seems to be on what can be talked about now — new movies serve an immediate social function. Old films are being forgotten. A lot of folks have wondered whether it is too soon, just 10 years after the release of the original film and five years after the third installment, to relaunch Spider-Man. When questioned, a producer of the new picture snapped that anyone who asked that is "too old." He may have been dismissively arrogant, especially to geriatrics over 30, but he may also have been right..................................................

Follow this link to read the rest of this very interesting article. And while you're at it make some time to drop in on the Teen Zone Blog---they offer excellent recommendations, contests, discussions, reviews and information on local events---all geared for teens.

And in case you are wondering, we have a HUGE selection of Spider-Man---over 100 items, including DVD's, graphixs, X's, J's, even electronic resources.

Heads Up

by Moe - 7 Comment(s)

I have quite a number of free double advanced screening tickets coming your way shortly for the movie "Ruby Sparks". This is by the same guys that brought you Little Miss Sunshine and the recent Safety Not Guaranteed.

To claim these tickets you must have a GoFoBo account set up. HERE'S HOW.

This part is important and you must judge your own comfort level. If you want to take advantage of this and other offers you will be redirected to an external site at http://www.gofobo.com/ and it is through them that you request your tickets. This will require that you set up a gofobo account and password and if you are okay with this, I would do so ahead of time. The register icon is small - it is up on the top right of the page along with login/ f/Connect/register. Click on register and set yourself up. They will send you a confirmation in the email you provide and then you can set your password up. Done- you are registered. Then when you read here on the Movie Maniac blog that passes are available you just go to gofobo, log on to your own account and enter the very specific RSVP code which I will provide for each movie.Then the tickets will be sent to your own computer for printing off.

We will have a designated number of double passes for advanced screenings held specifically for our readers. You don't need to worry about trying to find the right movie/page on gofobo- once you enter the rsvp code that I provide it will take you right to that movie. You will see our Movie Maniac name and Logo once you use the code. Don't worry that the image on GoFoBo looks different than this one below. You still put the rsvp code in the same place.

As with other advanced screening passes, you are not guaranteed admission UNTIL you redeem the pass at the box office for an actual theatre ticket.

Best Westerns

- 0 Comment(s)

You would be hard pressed to find a major star from the 40's, 50's and 60's who wasn't in a western and of course the 70's were full of Clint Eastwood and his 'spaghetti westerns'. But don't dismiss them because of what you think you might know about them- they are among the best. We have a huge assortment from which to choose so let us help you narrow it down a bit--- here is a recap of some of Moe and Mel's previously blogged faves.

My absolute favourite western of all time is the wonderful series Lonesome Dove. It is based on the 1985 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Larry McMurtry. The story focuses on the relationship of several retired Texas Rangers and their adventures driving a cattle herd from Texas to Montana. It has a huge cast including Robert Duvall (who has never been better), Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Robert Urich, Rick Schroeder, Angelica Houston, and Chris Cooper. It was the first in the series of the books to be put onto film, but was so successful that all the titles were done over the next several years. Return to Lonesome Dove is next, then Streets of Laredo, and finally the prequel Dead Man's Walk. The only weak one in the lot is Streets, but it is still worth a look. These are all mini-series, not movies, so you are going to have to set aside some serious watching time, but it is worth it. Even if you are not usually a fan of westerns, watch at least the original Lonesome Dove. You'll thank me for it. I think I have talked myself into watching it again- this will make the 7th time! And I may just have to reread the books as well.

High Noon---Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly trying to get away from it all on their wedding day. Well, maybe a little bit more happens.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. With two quintessential western stars- Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. Also with perennial favourite bad guy, Lee Marvin.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller---A gambler and a prostitute become business partners in a remote Old West mining town. From 1971 and directed by the wonderful Robert Altman---starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie.

Most Westerns are really morality plays that just happen to be set in the west. None are better at exploring the dark side of man's nature than The Oxbow Incident and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The first with Henry Fonda, and the later with Bogart.

Open Range- Robert Duvall again, and also another veteran of westerns, Kevin Costner. This was filmed in the Calgary area. Speaking of Costner, check out Silverado. I know this is on tv at least twice a month, especially as it has just had its 25th anniversary, but it's a good bet with a big cast, a more than solid story, and just rollicking good fun.

And if all this is just way more serious than you want, sit down for some good laughs from the delightfully irreverent mind of Mel Brooks---yes, I am talking Blazing Saddles.

 

Pierce Brosnan in a western? Are you kidding? In Seraphim Falls, he's nothing like his charming Remington Steele or 007 personae. In fact, he's believable as a craggy former army captain on the run from a man determined to catch him at all costs. Liam Neeson plays his tormentor, and Angelica Huston makes an enigmatic cameo appearance, and why not? Her grandfather made a great cameo in another great western, Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Seraphim Falls is a sort of "To build a Fire" meets "Mantracker," and that's just the beginning of the movie. Add the pacing of "Dead Man" and the humor of Leone, and that's the essence of this story of the folly of revenge.

Dead Man

Follow William Blake (Johnny Depp) through the wilderness with a group of no goods and a native guide. He just can't catch a break in this humorous and unconventional film from one of my favorite directors: Jim Jarmusch.

Englishman's Boy

Originally a made for tv short series, this is based on Alberta author Guy Vanderhaeg's novel. If you can stomach some violence, the story is worth it. Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci's Inquest) plays the protagonist driven by events to the edge of his tolerance and it's his best acting.

For pete's sake, if you haven't seen any of Sergio Leone's "spagetti westerns" made famous by Clint Eastwood, do so. These are westerns for people who don't like westerns...The cinematography is beautiful and atmospheric and really defined Western cinema after it.

Don't miss: Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Clint is always excellent as the quiet hand of justice (and sometimes comedy) in his encounters with the law and outlaws.

Tried to whistle the theme song didn't ya...heh heh heh

"Git" your holds on now for the Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936). It's a real tear-jerker at times, starring Spanky of Our Gang and Henry Fonda.

Redux: Shootout at the OK Corral

- 0 Comment(s)

We have three versions of this very popular story. I actually like them all for different reasons.

First up is the wonderful 1946 black and white featuring Henry Fonda and Victor Mature as the consumptive Doc Holliday- My Darling Clementine.

Next is the 1993 offering Tombstone with a really solid list of A-stars of the time- Val Kilmer, Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton and Michael Biehn. I have always been a big Kurt Russell fan-in my opinion he almost always hits the right note in his roles and I think he is spot on in this. You'll love the moustaches- I haven't seen this much facial hair in a movie since Planet of the Apes.

For some reason, only one year later it was offered again with Kevin Costner in the lead role as Wyatt Earp. This one focuses more on the man and his relationships and is supposedly a little more historically accurate. As I said, I like them all.

We also have an A & E production in our non-fiction titled Cowboys and Outlaws, which claims to tell "the real story" of this and several other western legends.

Just in time for Stampede

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Like a lot of you out there I am a HUGE fan of westerns and have been my whole life. As a result I have many favourites and would actually be hard pressed to narrow it down to even my top 30. So I had a look at some other sites to see what makes it onto other movie lovers lists. And I have to say some of them not only surprise me but actually flabbergast me--- but then if we all had the same tastes they would only need to make about 50 movies a year, instead of thousands. Some of the more egregious inclusions (to my mind at least) were The Quick and the Dead, Back to the Future Part 3, Brokeback Mountain, and City Slickers. Some of the better were Shane, Stagecoach, Unforgiven, High Noon, Tombstone, 3:10 to Yuma and Lonesome Dove. CPL has hundreds of westerns available and here's how you find them; in the classic catalogue head into advanced search and use a subject of 'western films' and change type to dvd; in the new catalogue search as 'western films dvd'. Both searches will bring up a truly impressive selection. A couple of the sites I visited were IMDB and AFI , so drop in to either of these and see what they have suggested. We have reviewed many westerns over the years so over the next 10 days I will re-release the posts so you can see some of our favourite previous recommendations.

And CPL has just received season one of the really excellent television series that just ran this past winter---Hell on Wheels. If you missed this one on tv put your hold on- you won't be disappointed. Like so many westerns of the past 20 years, this was filmed in Calgary and area.