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Speaking of Costume Dramas...

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)



There is no denying the huge popular and critical appeal of the granddaddy of all costume dramas, Downton Abbey. And with good reason: a tremendous cast, a glorious real life manor for a location, attention to period detail like you can't believe, costumes that leave you drooling, love, death, revenge, war, plague — I ask you, what's not to like!

For all those of you eagerly awaiting the start of Season Four on January 5, 2014 why not take the opportunity to catch up on the first 3 seasons. Haven't seen it yet? What on earth are you waiting for? Find out why people have been talking about this series for the past three years.

And because we here at CPL know how tremendously popular this series is, even though it has not yet aired, we have it on order and you can place your holds on Season 4 already! How's that for proactive?

Try to Watch all These Before Midnight

by Melanie - 2 Comment(s)

It is with anticipation that many of us awaited Before Midnight, the last in a romance trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Now as old as many of their viewers, they meet again to look back on their past romance and the current status of their lives.

Try to watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset first—it's not essential as each works as a stand-alone movie. In the first grunge-era film, Hawke and Delpy's characters meet by chance while backpacking in Europe, stay up all night and yes, fall in love but they go their separate ways. Before Sunset is a delight because the lovers meet again.

Now we get to enjoy them in Before Midnight, cast in the sober light of parenting and marriage (but now to each other). These are couples movies both will enjoy. Don't expect romantic comedy, however. This is "life, the universe, and everything" fare, and it's nice to see Richard Linklater's films shot roughly ten years between with the same actors, looking as good as ever. As a bonus, there's armchair travel!


Jumping on the bandwagon

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Everybody's talking about Downton Abbey: the manor house, the costumes, the romance, so why not?

CPL has it on blu ray and dvd so I decided to partake.

Maggie Smith plays the matriarch in this family saga that also features the household staff whose lives increasingly intersect with their employers' due to the changing social climate after the First World War. If you liked Upstairs, Downstairs and Gosford Park, you'll enjoy Downton Abbey.

Place your hold now and see what all the fuss is about...

The great thing about some of these historically based series is the tie-in research you can do just for fun...The Countess of Carnarvon has written in response, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey (coming soon), or if you just want to get caught up in the show, there's The World of Downton Abbey.

by Mel

Mrs. Gaskell

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Hormah, the outreach librarian at Louise Riley recommended North and South, the British mini-series starring Richard Armitage (the best looking spy from the recent seasons of tv series MI-5).

Based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, it's the now classic Victorian scenario of misunderstanding and stubbornness ending in romance (remind anyone of Austen's Pride and Prejudice?). A minister's daughter relocates to Milton, an industrial town rife with poverty and conflict. Gaskell herself lived in Manchester and was married to a minister and was best known in her time for her biography of Charlotte Bronte (see the Britannica Encyclopedia in our E-library).

We also have the adaptation of Gaskell's Wives and Daughters--a little more comic but it also deals with making choices about how to live and with whom. We also have a popular adaptation of Gaskell's Cranford, starring Judi Dench, which Hormah also recommended.

Love is in the ...collection

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We like our gritty realism, action and drama here at the blog, but we are not immune to cupid's arrow. Romance and romantic comedy dvds are some of the most popular requests at the information desk at many branches. Most are so well advertised that they need no introduction eg. Sleepless in Seattle, Ghost, An Affair to Remember, and The Notebook, but you may want to check out some of these other gems. Come to think of it, there's a bit of drama, action and gritty realism in these. Even the most macho won't mind:


An Irish vacuum repairman is a talented songwriter lacking confidence until a recently arrived Czech singer convinces him to pursue a musical career. A little sad, but ultimately upbeat. If you like singer-songwriter David Gray, you will really enjoy the soundtrack.

Punch Drunk Love

Don't be fooled by the casting of Adam Sandler as the lead in this unusual look at courtship. He plays a very subdued charcter intrigued by co-star Emily Watson's (Synecdoche New York; Angela's Ashes). You're never really sure which one of them/either/both is the crazy one.

Enchanted April

This period-period piece begins in London after the First World War. A widow, a elderly literary figure, a starlet and a extraordinarily visionary ordinary woman join forces to get to Italy for a holiday in a rented villa. Intrigues and romance occur when various spouses and the villa's owner turn up. Featuring Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, Michael Kitchen and Alfred Molina. The scenery is gorgeous and the movie really succeeds in conveying the relaxed feeling of a sun holiday.

The English Patient

It doesn't hurt that this stars Ralph Fiennes and Kriston Scott Thomas whose chemistry is compelling. Warning: Devastatingly sad. Just when the lovers can be together, all goes wrong. It just kills you. Based on Michael Ondaatje's novel, and set in World War II, a man terribly burned recalls the events leading to his hospitalization.


More Film Festivals in a box

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The Turner Classic Movie boxed sets have proved very popular---so much so that CPL has a whole bunch more headed your way. Each set comes complete with four thematic based movies. TCM has done a great job putting these together---there are hours and hours of excellent viewing here. All these sets are on order at the moment, so they aren't ready to take out quite yet. But they are coming and once they do they will fly off the shelves so get your holds on now and sit back and enjoy the anticipation. I can't wait to revisit them---my holds are already on. How about yours?

Westerns: Ride the High Country, Stalking Moon, Chisum, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

War: Dawn Patrol, Gunga Din, Operation Pacific, Battle of the Bulge

Sci-FI: Them, Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Satellite in the Sky, World Without End

Romance: Splendor in the Grass, Mogambo, Now Voyager, Love in the Afternoon

Marx Brothers: A day at the Races, Room Service, At the Circus, A Night in Casablanca

Family :Lassie, Flipper, National Velvet, Incredible Mr. Limpet

Hitchcock Thrillers: Suspicion, Strangers on a Train, The Wrong man, I confess

Comedy: The Long Long Trailer, Father of the Bride, Night at the Opera, Arsenic and

Conrad Veidt

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Who in the world you ask, is Conrad Veidt? As I was watching Casablancaon TCM for maybe the 40th time, I was reminded of the interesting story of Veidt, who plays the ruthless Major Strasser in the movie. If you don't already know his story this makes a fun bit of trivia to add to your repertoire. Incidentially, although not the star, he was the highest paid cast member, beating out Bogey, Bergman and Claude Rains, to take home the not inconsiderable salary of $5000 per week.

From 1916 until his death, he appeared in well over 100 movies. He starred in two of the most well-known films of the silent era: as a murderous somnambulist in director Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and as a disfigured circus performer in The Man Who Laughs (1928). Very versatile in the silent movies, when talkies came out he became limited in his roles because of his German accent. Well known and popular at home, he was also known in German theatrical circles as a staunch anti-Nazi. So much so that as his activities came under the scrutiny of the Gestapo, a decision was made by Hitler to assassinate him (1933). Veidt found out about the plot and managed to escape Germany just ahead of the Nazi death squad sent to kill him. When Britain went to war, Veidt by then a British citizen, gave most of his estate to the war effort. He also donated a large portion of the salary from each of his new movies to the British war relief. Money he made portraying Nazi's !

He is wonderful as Strasser and Casablanca should be seen by everyone, if not 40 times, at least once.