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So Long Mike Nicols

by Moe - 3 Comment(s)

The film, television, music and theatre world has lost a major talent with the recent passing of Mike Nicols.

He is one of only 12 people who can lay claim to having achieved the highly conveted EGOT and only one of seven directors. This means you have won at least one in all of the four major entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. You can find the other winners here.

Two of his films are on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All time. They are Working Girl (1988) at #87 and Silkwood (1983) at #66. He has directed 17 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Elizabeth Taylor, Sandy Dennis, Richard Burton, George Segal, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, Ann-Margret, Meryl Streep, Cher, Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Cusack, Kathy Bates, Natalie Portman, CliveOwen, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

He won more Tony's for best direction of a play than any one else, a record six.

While paying tribute to Nichols during his 2003 Kennedy Center Honors, Meryl Streep and Candace Bergen read Nichols' "Five Rules for Filmmaking":

1: The careful application of terror is an important form of communication.

2: Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.

3: There's absolutely no substitute for genuine lack of preparation.

4: If you think there's good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.

5: Friends may come and go, but enemies will certainly become studio heads.

We don't have all of his films in the system at the moment, but our ace selectors have re-ordered Catch 22 and Biloxi Blues. Keep an eye out for them to turn up in the catalogue soon. Unfortunately Silkwood and Heartburn aren't avaialable at this time for us to order, so see if you can get your hands on them elsewhere. Especially Silkwood.

However we do have all of these...

The Last of the Oscar-Nominated Movies

by Moe - 2 Comment(s)


Well I finally made it through all of the 2014 Oscar-nominated films. With the exceptions of Wolf of Wall Street which I thought a waste of talent, time and my $13.00, and Gravity which I found only mildly engaging, I must say I enjoyed everything else and thought them nomination worthy.

The last one on my list and the one I just finished viewing was Nebraska. Starring Bruce Dern, who was up for a Best Actor Oscar, was wonderful. I have always liked Dern, who has had a long career spanning all the way back to the early 60's. IMDB says of him:

"Bruce Dern had established himself as the movies' premier heavy, playing sociopaths, psychotics and just plain criminals by the time he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Coming Home (1978). Some perceptive critics had noted that Dern was a finer actor than his roles generally allowed one to believe, repelled as one was by the neurotic persona that Dern was able to project..."

This is a movie that looks realistically at some of the difficulties of aging, family dynamics and a world that can be cold and mean spirited. Yet for all that this movie is also remakably poignant and endearing. I highly recommend this movie to anybody — very little bad language, compelling, well drawn characters that you really grow to care about, and as in the case of the air compressor, some very funny moments.

The 86th Oscars Have Come and Gone

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

The 86th Oscars are now in the record books and the awards season winds down for another year. If you were one of the tens of millions (I have always doubted their bloated world wide estimate of one billion viewers) who watched you by now have formulated your own opinions on wins, losses and near misses. I found the ceremony rather boring this year, but they may have been trying to gain back a little dignity after Seth McFarlane last year. Ellen is a fine host and there were some good but no great moments. I thought Glenn Close, Sally Field and Bette Midler very good---John Travolta, Goldie Hawn and Kim Novak scary and without exception all the major's speeches rambling and longgggggg.

Now on to what really matters which is what does CPL have and how can I get my hands on it? Here's a quick tutorial for you that will help you narrow your search in our catalogue.

From our home page go into either Catalogue or Search the Catalgoue and in the All Fields drop down menu choose Subject and then enter a category that you are looking for such as;

Academy Awards Best Actress; Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor; Academy Awards Best Cinematography; Academy Awards Nominations 1964 etc, etc etc. Any film that we carry that meets these search terms will be displayed.

So of course for this year you would look for Academy Award Nominations 2013. This is a dynamic list and changes as new fims are released to DVD and become available. Also the 's' on Award can be something of a moving target, so try it both with and without.

Sherlock, Downton and Selfridges

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)


If you are as rabid a fan as I am of the new Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman you will know that episode one of Season Three aired on January the 19th. If you need a reminder of what happened at the end of Season Two -- a whole two years ago -- grab it here. Not a fan yet? Start at the beginning with Season One and it won't be long before you're hooked. And would you believe you can already place holds on Season Three although it is not on our shelves yet?

I came across an interesting article on IMDB that says thanks to the incredible North American popularity of Sherlock, Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, PBS Masterpiece Classics has been pulled back from the brink. It lost its major funding and was close to the edge when Exxon Mobile withdrew. You know all those commercials with the incredibly thin beautiful women in the incredibly exotic beautiful gowns? And all those fantastic looking cruises? Well, thanks to Ralph Lauren and Viking Cruises, Masterpiece Classics is fully funded right through to the end of 2014. I might just have to buy one of those fur hats to wear while I cruise up the Volga to express my gratitude. Seriously, thanks Ralph and Viking!

And if you look around town you just might see Sherlock's co-star Martin Freeman as he is currently in Calgary shooting “Fargo” for FX. The original Fargo is one of the Coen brothers more quirky offerings and if you know the Coen brothers that's saying something. It is an extremely violent but nonetheless exceptional film that won two Oscars including Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Original Screen Play for the Coens.

And the Nominees Are...

by Moe - 2 Comment(s)

The Academy has announced this year's nominees. Find out who's in and who's out for this year's awards on their website. Everything Oscar can be found here: fun trivia, bloopers, gowns, glam shots, and all you need to get you ready for the show on Sunday March 2.

The event will be hosted by popular Ellen DeGeneres—her second time at the helm. The theme this year is movie heroes and I would hope that it's more than just super heroes—there certainly should be a lot of other iconic heroes from which to choose.

Of course a lot of the nominations are films that are currently just in theatres, but you can rest assurred that Calgary Public Library has you covered. As soon as they are available to order we will do so and once they are ordered and turn up in the catalogue they are ready for you to place your holds.

In fact, “Academy Award Nominations 2013” as a subject heading in our catalgoue will bring up all records of the current Oscar Nominations that we have in our collection (or on order).

And yes, I was sorry to see that Prisoners wasn't up for anything (other than cinematography), especially Jake G. But then I have a really lousy track record at guessing Oscars nominations and winners.

The Ken Burns Effect — Part One

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Ken Burns has an impressive filmography to his credit. In the world of current film styles the camera seldom seems to rest on any one image for more than a nano second before it is off to the next blow-up, melt-down, gargantuan special effect or drooling miscreation. All while being punctuated by a strident soundtrack. Burns' style is so laid back that if you aren't used to it it can at first glimpse seem a trifle boring. But stick with it and you will be rewarded with superior documentaries and it won't take you long to get hooked on "The Ken Burns Effect "—slowly zooming or panning over vintage still photographs while in-depth research is narrated by a pleasing voice.

The Dust Bowl just aired last year on PBS as a 240-minute series. In it Burns documents the worst human-made ecological disaster in American history that was the result of the 'Great Plow-up'. Vivid interviews, dramatic photographs, and seldom-seen movie footage bring to life incredible stories of human suffering and perseverance. You'll be stunned by what you didn't know about this decade long event.

And after you watch the mini series, here are three excellent 'companion' feature films.Sinise and Malkovich

First up is the powerful Of Mice and Men, a John Steinbeck classic. It tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression. This is before the arrival of the Okies who Steinbeck vividly describes in The Grapes of Wrath. Required reading in many schools, Of Mice and Men regularly appears on the America Library Association's list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century. We have two versions and they are equally compelling. The 1939 with Burgess Meredeth and the 1992 made for television, with Gary Sinise and John Malcovich.

Secondly is Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize winning Grapes of Wrath (1940), directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda. In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

And the third offering is Places in the Heart, which won Sally Field her second Oscar for Best Actress in 1984. Also starring John Malkovich, Ed Harris and Danny Glover.

From the grapevine … Steven Spielberg is set to acquire the rights to The Grapes of Wrath, with a view to producing a new film adaptation for DreamWorks. There are many movies that I think were perfect the first time and don't need to be redone, and Grapes of Wrath is one of them. But having said that, if anybody can do it justice it would be Spielberg. However he is unlikely to direct the movie, and likely will oversee the project as producer.

2013 Oscar Nominees and Winners

by Moe - 2 Comment(s)

Anna Karenina

With the single exception of Amour, CPL now has all of this year's major Oscar nominees and winners. Because there is always lots of cross over, even if it was nominated in more than one category, I've only listed it once here.

Best Picture: Les Mis; Argo; Life of Pi; Beasts of the Southern Wild; Lincoln; Silver Linings Playbook; Django Unchained; Zero Dark Thirty

Actor: Flight; The Master

Actress: The Impossible; The Sessions

Animated: Brave; Frankenweenie; ParaNorman; Pirates- Band of Misfits;

Wreck -it- Ralph;

Best Documentary Feature: Searching For Sugar Man.

Costume Design: Anna Karenina

The Impossible with Naomi Watts


And with the exception of the Animated films, there was actually a lot of really gritty adult themes / language / nudity / and violence in this year's nominees -- some more so than others. I'm thinking in particular of Django Unchained, The Master, The Sessions, and Zero Dark Thrity, so take the ratings seriously.




Daniel Day-Lewis

by Moe - 2 Comment(s)

LincolnDaniel Day Lewis as LincolnI took another look at Lincoln with Daniel Day Lewis recently. He was so good (he received his third Oscar for Best Actor) I wanted to savour his acting skills a second time round.

Roger Ebert called him the best actor of his generation, bar none. Sir John Guilguld said of him: "He has what every American actor wishes for: talent; and what every British actor wishes for: looks." He is considered by many to be the British Robert de Niro, but to me that is not an apt comparison. I like de Niro (especially the earlier years) but DDL to my mind is far superior.

A method actor extraordinaire he is well known for his total immersion into a character. For the role of Christy Brown (his first Oscar win) in My Left Foot he learned about his paralyzed character by taking up residence in a wheelchair, even off-camera,requiring the crew to move him around.

For the role of one of the most memorable and heinous of villains, Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York, he rarely got out of character and took actual lessons as an apprentice butcher. He could even be seen sharpening his knives at lunch. Yikes!

My Left FootDuring The Last of the Mohicans (1992) he built a canoe, learned to track and skin animals, and perfected the use of a 12-pound flintlock gun, which he took everywhere he went, including a Christmas dinner.

For the eight month shoot for Unbearable Lightness of Being, he learned to speak Czech.

In preparing for his role in The Boxer, he sparred a total of 350 rounds, acquiring a broken nose in the process. The consultant for the fight scenes was alarmed and told him, "Daniel, it doesn't have to be this tough." DDL replied "I want to understand what a fighter goes through. I want to in some way simulate what it has to be like." Along with the amazing boxing scenes watch for the scene where he is jumping rope.

Gangs of New York

He was repeatedly offered the role of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and repeatedly turned it down. Much as I love Viggo Mortenson in the role I would have loved to see DDL's perspective.

Following The Boxer, Day-Lewis took a leave of absence from acting by going into "semi-retirement" and returning to his old passion of woodworking. He moved to Florence, Italy, where he became intrigued by the craft of shoemaking, eventually apprenticing as a shoemaker. So if this whole acting thing doesn't work out for him, he's got a fall back career. But being the only person to ever win three Oscars for Best Actor I think his career is safe.

Watch him also in There will be Blood, his second Best Acting Oscar and a truly amazing performance. My Beautiful Laundrette, The Name of the Father, The Crucible are three more worth seeing. Well, actually everything he does is worth seeing.


There Will Be BloodThe Boxer



Who did Win the Oscar

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

There they go for another year and although I watched them I thought they lacked any real 'oomph'. Seth M was decent enough as host, better than I was expecting and certainly way better than James Franco and Anne Hathaway in 2011. He has some personality, a decent voice and a share of charm, but the writing was mediocre and the majority of the jokes were flat.

It was nice to see production numbers return, but having the orchestra in another building didn't work. It was supposed to be a tribute night to musicals, but really all they featured was Les Mis and Chicago, and Chicago went on far too long. Streisand was good- when is she not, and the same for Adele and Bassey. The Ted skit was just a nightmare and the sock puppets were lame. Notably missing from 'In Memoriam' was Andy Griffith. The Christopher Plummer skit was fine and I thought the intro with Captain Kirk and MacFarlane worked, but could become a self-fullfilling prophecy (MacFarlane worst host ever! one headline read). But when the biggest thing people are talking about the day after is Jennifer Lawrence tripping on the stairs, obviously they weren't terribly memorable. Best speeches of the night were Daniel Day-Lewis and Ang Lee but they really needed to bring in the hook to get Affleck and company off the stage. As for the Oscar pools I entered, I did well here at work, getting 18 of the 24, then 'rethunk' it all too much and only got 12 out of 24 for my next effort on Oscar night! Oh well, next year! For a complete listing of winners, follow this link.

Now, what does CPL have in the way of nominees and winners? Well as always, we've got you covered. Currently available or on order:

Argo; Skyfall; Les Mis; The Master; Flight; Zero Dark Thirty; The Sessions; Beasts of the Southern Wild; Life of Pi; War Witch; Brave; Frankenweenie; Paranorman; The Pirates! Band of Misfits; Wreck-it-Ralph; Mirror Mirror; Snow White and the Huntsman; 5 Broken Cameras; The invisible War; Prometheus; Marvels The Avengers; Moonrise Kingdom.

And of course as more titles are released to dvd and blu-ray, we will add them to our collection so check back regularly---holds are building even as I write. As soon as you see them in our catalogue they are available to hold, even if they are not yet in.

Who will win the 85th Oscars

by Moe - 5 Comment(s)

In spite of considering myself a movie maniac maniac and in spite of watching 100’s of movies a year, I have a pretty mediocre track record for picking Oscar winners and expect the same will hold true for the 85th’s. Probably because I eschew the pollsters and pundits and go with my gut, or said another way, what I hope will win. So this year I'm doing two choices---what I would like to see win, and what I think will win. Check back next week and we`ll see what actually happened....

Who I’d pick to win

Who I think will win


Les Mis



Spielberg for Lincoln

Spielberg- even though they nominate 10 films for Best Picture, they only nominate 5 directors and Affleck wasn’t one. Go figure.


Daniel Day Lewis----I don’t see them giving him a 3rd. There are 9 who've ever won 2 Oscars for Best Actor---nobody has ever won three.

Bradley Cooper-he is the ‘it guy’ of the moment


Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence


Tommy Lee Jones

Tommy Lee Jones.


Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway








Moonrise Kingdom-charming, original and sweet

Zero Dark Thirty-consider that they had to rewrite the entire script after OBLaden was killed.Please just anybody but Tarantino!


Skyfall- the big shoot out on the estate at the end was worth the price of admission alone

Skyfall-it deserves it plus they are dying to give the Bond Franchise an Oscar

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