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The Charming Insanity That is The Muppets

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

I have always been a huge Muppet fan and during the 70's I went out of my way to make sure I caught the Muppet Show. I even have an original Fozzie and Gonzo coffee mug. Each week they brought on a new headliner, and put them in very silly skits into which they threw their heart and soul. Anybody who was anybody appeared on this show over the next five seasons.

The names of the headliners are a little faded now, but in todays terms it would be like having Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth as your fall line up — on a televison show — with puppets! It ran from 1976-81 and won many, many awards.

Although cancelled from syndication there were almost two dozen television specials plus theatrical releases in 1979, 1981, 1984, 1992, 1996, and 1999. This was followed by a serious dry spell until funny man Jason Segel, himself raised on the Muppets, decided to ressurect lovable Kermit and company. He wrote a tremendous script and introduced a whole new generation to the charming insanity that is the Muppets. For all things Muppet at the Library click here.

The newest offering is Muppets Most Wanted, and I have to say it has lost none of its charm over the years. Of course it helps that the characters don't age and you can just pop in your A-listers de jour, but the writing itself remains faithful to the original themes and gags we love—like Gonzo and his chickens, ways to explode Beaker and Miss Piggie's unwavering love for her Kermie.

On Thursday September 18th for our regular film night at Crowfoot we will be showing this absolutely delightful movie in the open area in the Kids Zone. No registration required, the movie runs 107 minutes and is rated Family.

Top Gear

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Not many series can stand the test of time like Top Gear has. This British series has remained at the top of its game for 21 seasons and shows no signs of slowing down. It is the most popular car show in the world.

Join the highly knowledgeable and thoroughly engaging hosts Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May as they explore 'everything car' and I do mean everything. Smart, fast paced, and often just hilarious, this BBC series has it all. They are joined by a steady stream of A-listers who drop by to try their luck on the test course and talk about their favorite cars.

Among some of their better stunts: contraptions they make themselves like a limo so long it requires a rope and pulley to get to the back end; their own versions of "Bond" cars with rocket launchers and flame throwers; being the only people to successfully drive to the magnetic North Pole.

You'll learn things you never thought you needed to know about cars, you'll gasp at some of the prices, and you'll laugh often at the absurdity of their stunts. What's not to like?

Redux- The Three Musketeers

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

The Three Musketeers novel by Alexandre Dumas was first serialized in March of 1844. It recounts the adventures of a young man named D’Artagnan after he travels to Paris to join the Musketeers of the Guard. The friends he makes are the musketeers for whom the novel is named- Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The book was incredibly popular at the time and has proved even more successful as a movie. The first film I could find was 1903 and since then there have been dozens of retellings, re-imaginings, sequels, prequels, serializations, mini series and cross-overs. Some of the ones I found include Tri Mushketyora from Russia, Los Tres Mosqueteros from Spain, El forsane el talata from Egypt, Se tofangdar from Iran and Long men san jian ke from Malaysia. Obviously a good story knows no borders

CPL has no less than 9 versions:

1)We have the 1921 silent with arguably one of the world’s greatest swashbucklers, Douglas Fairbanks. If you have never seen Fairbanks in action, don't let the non-talkie put you off. In fact embrace the lack of words and just enjoy his amazing athletic ability 2) the 1939 with Don Ameche and the Ritz Brothers;

3) 1948 with Lana Turner, Gene Kelly ,Vincent Price and June Allyson-not so much swashing here as dancing; 4) from BBC in 1966 with Jeremy Brett of Sherlock Holmes fame;

5) The 1974 release is likely one you are familiar with. This had a huge and impressive cast with the big names de jour including Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Lee and Charlton Heston. This one comes as a double and has the Four Musketeers sequel. These are great fun.

6) Another one likely on your radar is 1993’s release with young guns Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, Oliver Platt and Tim Curry.

7) 2004 from Disney- with Mickey, Donald and Goofy--- what inspired casting!!

8) Barbie and the Three Musketeers- animated of course. 9) and I can barely bring myself to mention this one- it’s with the Three Stooges.

A good cross over is The Man in the Iron Mask which blends two stories by Dumas. In this 1997 release the 4 amigos are trying to save the wrongly imprisoned “man” from the evil clutches of Louis the 14th. The dual role is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, in one of the few things he’s done that I didn’t care for. But I enjoyed the older, wiser, and more careworn Musketeers as played by Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich and Gerard Deparedieu.

Now of course all things aren’t created equal so I leave you to pick and choose for yourself- my money is on Michael York (it made him a star), and Douglas Fairbanks. This brings me to the newest version in theatres now. I just saw this at a sneak preview and I have to say it is absurd, over the top, improbable and the most fun I have had at a movie in ages! Take the kids, take the grandparents----spend the extra bucks for the excellent 3D, suspend disbelief and just enjoy......