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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.

Grand Budapest Hotel

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

Wes Anderson is one talented guy. In fact no less an icon than Martin Scorsese chooses him as his favourite director, and when pressed in an Esquire magazine article Marty says he may be the next Martin Scorsese. High praise indeed.

He started in his childhood writing plays and making Super-8 movies. While attending the University of Texas, where he majored in philosophy, he met Owen Wilson. They became friends and began making short films together. One of their shorts was Bottle Rocket (1994), which starred Owen and his brother Luke. The short was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was successfully received and from this he got funding to make a feature length version.

He frequently casts the same actors while also being able to draw upon the talents of many A listers. Like Woody Allen, it is becoming a feather in your cap to be chosen to appear in one of his films.

His most recent offering is the delightful The Grand Budapest Hotel. Starring among others, Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Saorise Ronan, and Jude Law, there are many more fine actors in it and half the fun of watching his films is spotting performers who are often on only for a very brief period. This movie is quirky, charming and original and is Fiennes' best role in years.

Among some of his others — and he takes his time in between films so they don't come out as fast as his fans might wish — are The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Darjeeling Limited. If you don't want to commit to a full retrospective of his films, treat yourself to Grand Budapest. It may be enough to hook you, and if it doesn't I don't think you'll regret the two hours spent.

Doc Martin Season 6

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

The surprisingly lovable misanthrope Doc Martin is back for Season 6 in this very popular Britcom of the same name. If you are not yet acquainted with the surly London surgeon forced to relocate to a Cornish fishing village give the early seasons a look, but do watch them in order.

If you are already a fan check out and see who could possibly be left for him to offend this time round. Like the jacket says it is sweet, stirring and completely addictive. It is also hilarious.

Gentle Viewing Part 1

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

There's no doubt that we here at Movie Maniacs can lean towards grittier fare—our murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, monsters, mutants and miscreants.

A co-worker made a great suggestion—how about some gentle viewing for people who want to avoid the language, the violence, the sex and the mayhem and just want a really good movie to watch. One usually thinks of the Classics for such fare, but there really is a lot from which to choose. Here are a few to start you off:Pride and Prejudice

Period Pieces: Versatile Emma Thompson is a good bet in any of these three: The Remains of the Day, Sense and Sensibility and Howard's End.

You can't go wrong with Pride and Prejudice. We have three from which to choose- the tremendous mini series with Colin Firth , before North American audiences really knew who he was; the excellent classic with Sir Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson- an absolute charmer; and the 2005 release with Keira Knightley. Why not watch all three and compare?

Rear WindowClassic Hitchcock: Murder, but not bloody or violent, just Hitchcock at his suspenseful best. Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and Witness for the Prosecution.

Bogart and Adventure: African Queen, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Casablanca, Caine Mutiny

Capers: The Sting

All of the movies are either Oscar winners or nominees and well worth your two hours; Colin Firth and company cleaned up on the Emmies that year. With the single exception of Keira K's P&P, I rate everyone of these in my top 50. Thanks for the suggestion Dawn!