Saturday, January 30, 2010

Check out the 2010 Grammy nominees from the library

The Grammys air tomorrow night at 7 PM on CBS. Here are some nominated albums and artists you can check out from the library (click on the album title).  I put the albums nominated for multiple awards at the beginning of the list. Note: if you're looking for a nominated album not listed here, you can still search ALL LIBRARIES in the catalog and request the material be sent to Dundee for you to pick up.

X by Trace Adkins
"All I Ask For Anymore"- Best Male Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song
I Am... Sasha Fierce by Beyonce
Album Of The Year, Best Contemporary R&B Album; "Halo"- Record Of The Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance; "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"- Song Of The Year, Best R&B Song, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
The E.N.D. by The Black Eyed Peas
Album Of The Year, Best Pop Vocal Album; "I Gotta Feeling"- Record Of The Year, Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals; "Boom Boom Pow"- Best Dance Recording, Best Short Form Music Video

Live From Madison Square Garden by Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood
Best Rock Album; "Can't Find My Way Home"- Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King by Dave Matthews Band
Album Of The Year, Best Rock Album

Sounds of the Universe by Depeche Mode
Best Alternative Music Album; "Wrong"- Best Short Form Music Video

So Far Gone by Drake
"Best I Ever Had"- Best Rap Solo Performance, Best Rap Song

Together Through Life by Bob Dylan
Best Americana Album; "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'"- Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance

Relapse by Eminem
Best Rap Album; "Beautiful"- Best Rap Solo Performance; "Crack A Bottle" (featuring Dr. Dre and 50 Cent)- Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group

Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3 - Africa Sessions by Bela Fleck
Best Contemporary World Music Album; "Throw Down Your Heart"- Best Pop Instrumental Performance

Intuition by Jamie Foxx
Best Contemporary R&B Album; "Blame It" (featuring T-Pain)- Best Male R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals, Best R&B Song

The Fray by The Fray
Best Pop Vocal Album; "Never Say Never"- Best Pop Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocals

21st Century Breakdown by Green Day
Best Rock Album; "21 Guns"- Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals; Best Rock Song

Ellipse by Imogen Heap
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical; "The Fire"- Best Pop Instrumental Performance

 The Blueprint 3 by Jay-Z
"D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)"- Best Rap Solo Performance, Best Rap Song; "Run This Town" (featuring Rihanna and Kanye West)- Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song

The Fame by Lady Gaga
Album Of The Year, Best Electronic/Dance Album; "Poker Face"- Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Dance Recording

BLACKsummers' Night by Maxwell
Best R&B Album; "Pretty Wings"- Song Of The Year, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song; "Love You"- Best Male Pop Vocal Performance; "Phoenix Rise"- Best Pop Instrumental Performance

Oracular Spectacular by MGMT
Best New Artist; "Kids"- Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

The Ecstatic by Mos Def
Best Rap Album; "Casa Bey"- Best Rap Solo Performance

We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. by Jason Mraz
"Make it Mine"- Best Male Pop Vocal Performance; "Lucky" (featuring Colbie Caillat)- Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals

Funhouse by Pink
Best Pop Vocal Album; "Sober"- Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Soul by Seal
"If You Don't Know Me By Now"- Best Male Pop Vocal Performance; "A Change is Gonna Come"- Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)

Working On A Dream by Bruce Springsteen
"Working On A Dream"- Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance; Best Rock Song

Twang by George Strait
Best Country Album; "Living For The Night"- Best Male Country Vocal Performance

Fearless by Taylor Swift
Album Of The Year, Best Country Album; "You Belong With Me"- Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance; "Breathe" (featuring Colbie Caillat)- Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals; "White Horse"- Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song

Paper Trail by T.I.
"Dead And Gone" (featuring Justin Timberlake)- Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song

No Line On The Horizon by U2
Best Rock Album; "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight"- Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals, Best Rock Song

Carnival Ride by Carrie Underwood
"Just A Dream"- Best Female Country Vocal Performance; "I Told You So" (featuring Randy Travis)- Best Country Collaboration With Vocals

Defying Gravity by Keith Urban
Best Country Album; "Sweet Thing"- Best Male Country Vocal Performance

Call Me Crazy by Lee Ann Womack
Best Country Album; "Solitary Thinkin'"- Best Female Country Vocal Performance; "Everything But Quits" (featuring George Strait)- Best Country Collaboration With Vocals

The Foundation by Zac Brown Band
Best Country Album; "Chicken Fried"- Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals; Best New Artist

19 by Adele
"Hometown Glory"- Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Breakthrough by Colbie Caillat
Best Pop Vocal Album

The List by Rosanne Cash
"Sea of Heartbreak" (featuring Bruce Springsteen)- Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals

Fantasy Ride by Ciara
"Love Sex Magic" (featuring Justin Timberlake)- Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals

All I Ever Wanted by Kelly Clarkson
Best Pop Vocal Album

Universal Mind Control by Common
Best Rap Album

R.O.O.T.S. by Flo Rida
Best Rap Album

The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again by John Fogerty
"Change in the Weather"- Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance

Evolver by John Legend
"This Time"- Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

Celebration by Madonna
"Celebration"- Best Dance Recording

Shine by Martina McBride
"I Just Call You Mine"- Best Female Country Vocal Performance

One of the Boys by Katy Perry
"Hot N Cold"- Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix
Best Alternative Music Album

LotusFlow3r by Prince
"Dreamer"- Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance

The Renaissance by Q-Tip
Best Rap Album

Circus by Britney Spears
"Womanizer"- Best Dance Recording

808s & Heartbreak by Kanye West
"Amazing" (featuring Young Jeezy)- Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group

It's Blitz! by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Best Alternative Music Album

Fork In The Road by Neil Young
"Fork In The Road"- Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jack Lemmon: Save the Tiger

"The government has a word for survival. It's called fraud."

- Jack Lemmon as Harry Stoner, Save the Tiger (1973)

Harry Stoner wakes up drenched in sweat, terrified. He takes a shower and puts on an immaculately tailored silk suit. He listens to an old Benny Goodman recording, much to his wife's annoyance, and launches into a weirdly passionate soliloquy on the glorious baseball pitchers of his youth. You don't need to be a baseball fan to understand what's going on in this scene; Harry Stoner is lamenting his loss of innocence, a loss so palpable that it seems to weigh him down physically throughout this hellish day of his.

Save the Tiger (1973) is exactly the type of movie that Hollywood doesn't make anymore: earnest, sympathetic, and sincere in its exploration of the American experience. Leading an affluent lifestyle, well beyond his means, Harry Stoner has reached a breaking point. To keep his business afloat and "survive" another year, he consults an arsonist on the possibility of an insurance fraud payout. Stoner's justifications for this course of action, directed at his business partner, are prolonged, heated, and disturbingly understandable. (In some ways, Save the Tiger can be seen as an updated and more subversive take on the 1956 film The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.)

Jack Lemmon's performance as morally fraught businessman Harry Stoner is without question one of the strongest in his filmography. Lemmon was an American every-man, an actor with whom audiences identified. And that intensely felt empathy is a major part of this film's success. We witness this character's compromises and transgressions, but we also see him as devastatingly vulnerable. It's difficult to remain unswayed by his justifications, even as we're repelled by his actions. It seems wonderfully appropriate that Jack Lemmon would give another outstanding take-no-prisoners performance as a broken businessman in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).

Jack Lemmon's 1973 Best Actor Oscar was hard-won. He was up against some real heavyweights: Marlon Brando (Last Tango in Paris), Jack Nicholson (The Last Detail), Al Pacino (Serpico), Robert Redford (The Sting). It's unfortunate that while Lemmon did win the Oscar that year, Save the Tiger is probably the least remembered of these five films.

Find it in the catalog!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scene stealer: J.K. Simmons

You've probably seen J.K. Simmons somewhere along the way because it seems as though he is in everything. Most recently he appeared in Up In the Air portraying one of many employees being let go by George Clooney and Anna Kendrick's characters. There are quite a bit of these scenes throughout the movie, but Simmons' was memorable, in particular, because it demonstrated why Ryan Bingham (Clooney) is good at his job of letting people go (however "good" one could be at that) and it showcased J.K. Simmons' brilliance once again.

He has guested on many popular shows (E.R., Everwood, Without a Trace, Nip/Tuck, Arrested Development . . .). He can do drama (Oz, The Closer, and Law & Order), he can handle comedy (I Love You, Man and Juno, in both of which he played the father of the main character to perfection), and he can be campy and over-the-top when it's called for (J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man 1,2, and 3). He's been around for a couple of decades and has really come into his own in the last. I find that his performances are nuanced and genuine. If you can't turn on the tv right now and find him on one channel or another, then check him out in one of the many DVDs we have here at the library.

Up In the Air (2009)
Now playing at a theater near you . . .

Jennifer's Body (2009)
Find it in the catalog!

Extract (2009)
Find it in the catalog!

I Love You, Man (2008)
Find it in the catalog!

New In Town (2009)
Find it in the catalog!

Burn After Reading (2008)
Find it in the catalog!

Rendition (2007)
Find it in the catalog!

Juno (2007)
Find it in the catalog!

Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Find it in the catalog!

Thank You For Smoking (2005)
Find it in the catalog!

Spiderman 2 (2004)
Find it in the catalog!

Ladykillers (2004)
Find it in the catalog!

Find it in the catalog!

Spider-Man (2002)
Find it in the catalog!

Season 1 Find it in the catalog!
Season 2 Find it in the catalog!
Season 3 Find it in the catalog!
Season 4 Find it in the catalog!
Season 5 Find it in the catalog!
Season 6 Find it in the catalog!

A Library Mixtape

The culture/news website Flavorwire recently featured a collection of songs on an interesting topic. Well, interesting for us anyway.

Mixtape: 10 Best Songs About Libraries and Librarians

It's a fairly eclectic mix, including such disparate groups as The Beach Boys, Green Day, and Of Montreal. I commend the mix-ologist for including the song "Swinging London" by the Magnetic Fields. And for not including that old Music Man number "Marian the Librarian." Seriously.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

DVDs out January 26th

Bright Star: A biopic of the 19th-Century Romantic poet John Keats and his tragic love affair with Fanny Brawne. Directed by Jane Campion (The Piano).
Find it in the catalog!

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell: This raunchy comedy stars Matt Czuchry (Logan from Gilmore Girls) as a womanizer who is banned from his best friend's wedding. Loosely based on the frat-centric (read: misogynistic) short-story collection by Tucker Max.
Find it in the catalog!

Michael Jackson's This Is It: A behind-the-scenes look at the preparations and rehearsals for what would have been Michael Jakson's 2009 concert-series at London's 02 Arena.
Find it in the catalog!

Saw VI: Another post-Jigsaw entry in the relentlessly gory Saw franchise.
Find it in the catalog!

Surrogates: A sci-fi thriller based on the comic book series by Robert Venditti. Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, and Ving Rhames.
Find it in the catalog!

Whip It: Actress Drew Barrymore directs this coming-of-age-story; Ellen Page (Juno) plays a teen who finds salvation through women's roller derby. Based on the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross.
Find it in the catalog!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Catch a movie for cheap at the Picture Show @ Bloomingdale

Do you want to enjoy the experience of watching a movie on the big screen without emptying your wallet? The Picture Show @ Bloomingdale is the movie theater for you. See a movie here and you pay $1.75, no matter the day or time. Actually, that's not true. See a movie here on Tuesday and the cost is only $1 per ticket! I know, I just blew your mind. When I told people I was going to an evening show for less than $2 they could hardly believe me. The Picture Show @ Bloomingdale is a recently renovated theater that shows second-run movies. While the theater doesn't have stadium seating, the seating areas for each screen are spacious and the seats are comfortable. You may have to wait for a particular movie to come to the theater weeks or months after its original release date, but even the wait can work in your favor. I recently saw Where The Wild Things Are here because it disappeared from the big chain theaters before I was able to get out to watch it. In the end, I saved more than $8 because I didn't see it at a first-run theater. Also keep in mind that movies that don't draw big numbers their first couple weeks in theaters are likely to show up at a second-run theater like the Picture Show sooner than the popular big-budget movies. In some cases, a movie plays at the Picture Show even after its DVD release, like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Check out the website for concession prices, which I also think are affordable. You can buy a ticket, popcorn, and drink with the same $10 you'd have to spend on a single ticket at AMC. One last tip: Fantastic Mr. Fox is currently playing at the Picture Show, and I recommend you go see it, if you haven't already!

Picture Show @ Bloomingdale Website
324 W. Army Trail Rd
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
Movie Line: 630-529-8603
Office: 630-529-7472

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What we're listening to: Gutter Tactics

Gutter Tactics (2009) by Dälek

Dälek (pronounced "dialect") is a Newark-based hip-hop emcee, partnered with DJ/producer Oktopus. Utilizing live drums, guitars, keyboards, sitar, and extreme electronic manipulation, Dälek create a gritty musical amalgam that upends any preconceptions you may have regarding rap music. (This duo have virtually nothing in common with contemporary mainstream rap artists, e.g., Jay-Z or Lil Wayne. Their nearest approximation would probably be New York's Antipop Consortium, who also released an incredible record in 2009.) These innovative soundscapes have permanently consigned Dälek to the underground, paradoxically freeing them to pursue their avant-garde experimentalism. Gutter Tactics is Dälek's fifth album. Lyrically, MC Dälek is as engaged and politically acerbic as ever. His political preoccupations are particularly well integrated on the track "Los Macheteros/Spear of a Nation," where his discourse on Nelson Mandela is backed by a South African choral group. The sonic complexity of this recording makes it a perfect listen for headphones, but, at just about the five-minute mark of the track "Who Medgar Evers Was..." you may start to feel a bit woozy. Hang in there until track six, "A Collection of Miserable Thoughts Laced with Wit," where the duo wisely allow for some breathing room and create a strangely intimate experience. Gutter Tactics may be the most artistically advanced hip-hop production since Public Enemy's collage-masterpiece It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, on which The Bomb Squad essentially created the genre's modern template.

Find it in the catalog!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Finding eBooks and eAudiobooks

If an audiobook is checked out at the library, your only option is to place it on hold and wait for another library to send it to Dundee, right? Not necessarily. We also have a collection of digital (or electronic) books, audiobooks, and videos that you can download to your home computer. You will need your library card number, personal computer, and free reader software (Adobe or Mobipocket Reader for eBooks, OverDrive Media Console for AV downloads) in order to download the titles. Loan periods vary for the titles, and at the end of the load period the file automatically expires on your computer. For help and frequently asked questions click here.

Browsing and Searching for eBooks
Just to give you an idea of what's available, if you do a search for electronic books you'll retrieve over 4,500 results because the search will return both books and audiobooks. If you only want to browse the digital collection of audiobooks (eAudiobooks), search electronic books and audiobooks. In order to browse the digital collection of videos (eVideos), search electronic videos. By the way, you only want to search Dundee's holdings. Do not select "All libraries" from the drop-down menu next to the search box.

To see which books by a particular author are available to download, search the author's name and electronic books. Ex: Charles Dickens and electronic books

Checking out eBooks

Click on Details to view the record for the eBook or eAudiobook you want to download. In this case I picked the eAudiobook of Bleak House. Click to download the audiobook; you will be taken to the North Suburban Digial Consortium - Digital Catalog and Download Center page.

As long as the item is not already checked out, you can add it to your BookBag:

The item record will also tell you what formats the audiobook will play on:

The BookBag is similar to your shopping cart. You are able to checkout up to 15 eBooks at a time. After you click on Proceed to Checkout you will select Dundee Township Public Library District from the drop-down menu and then enter your library card number.

Have fun! More to come soon on eVideos!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walter Matthau: Hollywood's Curmudgeon

"Why don't you kids go play on the freeway?"

- Walter Matthau as "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich, The Fortune Cookie, 1966

Hunched, taciturn, and perpetually unkempt, Walter Matthau was one of the most endearing American actors of the second half of the Twentieth Century. As New York Times theater critic Mel Gussow noted in his 2000 obituary: "...through a kind of reverse chic Mr. Matthau could make himself seem stylish. Without airs or affectations, he became a widely respected international star."

Perhaps best remembered for his many comedic pairings with life-long friend Jack Lemmon (notably The Odd Couple, The Fortune Cookie, and their later work as America's preeminent Grumpy Old Men), Matthau was a distinguished actor in his own right, utilizing his disheveled charm for comedic and dramatic roles.

Walter Matthau was born in 1920 in a tenement on New York's Lower East Side. His father left the family when the boy was three year's old. His mother worked as a seamstress in a sweatshop to provide for Walter and his brother. His earliest acting experiences were in the then-thriving Yiddish theater. Matthau was an Air Force radio-gunner during WWII, serving under Lt. James Stewart. (Yes, that James Stewart.) After the war, he attended the New School's Dramatic Workshop. Primarily a stage actor at this point in his career, he also took the occasional bit part in television. Matthau made his film debut in the little-seen 1955 backwoods adventure The Kentuckian - as a villain. He worked steadily in theater and film for over a decade, establishing a name for himself on the stage without making much of an impact in Hollywood.

The actor's breakout performance came in the 1966 Billy Wilder comedy The Fortune Cookie. This marked the first onscreen pairing of Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and audiences took notice. He played a morally - and financially - bankrupt personal injury attorney named "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich. The Academy awarded him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Lemmon and Matthau re-teamed in 1968 for the Neil Simon classic The Odd Couple; cementing their status as one of the great comedic duos. Matthau's almost uncanny gift for hilariously off-beat line-readings is on ample display in both these films.

Matthau's sole directorial effort was the 1960 melodrama Gangster Story, which would seem to indicate a personal interest in the crime genre. In 1973 he starred in two remarkable crime-centered pictures: Charley Varrick and The Laughing Policeman (based on the detective novel by Swedish writing duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö). The following year he appeared in the stellar heist film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

Matthau was twice nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar; Kotch (1971) and The Sunshine Boys (1975). But if there is one 1970s performance that best captured Walter Matthau's unlikely charm, that is undoubtedly The Bad News Bears. His portrayal of alcoholic pool-cleaner-turned-little-league-coach Morris Buttermaker is quite possibly the most enduring performance of his 5-decade career.

It's been argued - more or less fairly - that the quality of Walter Matthau's films had deteriorated by the 1990s. (The same has been said of Jack Lemmon's later work.) But it's worth noting that the actor himself is consistently engaged and entertaining throughout this late period, regardless of any script or directorial deficiencies. Matthau's performance in Grumpy Old Men (and its oft-maligned sequel) and the following year in I.Q. should be ample evidence that his unique talents were still intact. One of Matthau's final performances was in an aptation of Truman Capote's novel The Grass Harp (1996 ), directed by his son, Charlie Matthau.

Hanging Up (2000)
Find it in the catalog!

Out to Sea (1997)
Find it in the catalog!

I'm Not Rappaport (1996)
Find it in the catalog!

The Grass Harp (1995)
Find it in the catalog!

Incident in a Small Town (1994)
Find it in the catalog!

I.Q. (1994)
Find it in the catalog!

Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Find it in the catalog!

Dennis the Menace (1993)
Find it in the catalog!

Hopscotch (1980)
Find it in the catalog!

House Calls (1978)
Find it in the catalog!

Casey's Shadow (1978)
Find it in the catalog!

California Suite (1978)
Find it in the catalog!

The Bad News Bears (1976)
Find it in the catalog!

The Sunshine Boys (1975)
Find it in the catalog!

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Find it in the catalog!

The Front Page (1974)
Find it in the catalog!

The Laughing Policeman (1973)
Find it in the catalog!

Charley Varrick (1973)
Find it in the catalog!

Awake and Sing! (1972)
Find it in the catalog!

Kotch (1971)
Find it in the catalog!

Hello, Dolly! (1969)
Find it in the catalog!

The Odd Couple (1968)
Find it in the catalog!

A Guide for the Married Man (1967)
Find it in the catalog!

The Fortune Cookie (1966)
Find it in the catalog!

Fail-Safe (1964)
Find it in the catalog!

Charade (1963)
Find it in the catalog!

Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
Find it in the catalog!

Further reading:
Matthau: A Life by Rob Edelman and Audrey Kupferberg
Find it in the catalog!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

DVDs out January 19th

Gamer: Gerard Butler (star of 300) takes the lead in this sci-fi/thriller.
Find it in the catalog!

The Invention of Lying: Imagine being the only human being on Earth who knows how to tell a lie. Ricky Gervais (creator of The Office and Extras) plays just such a man in this comedy.
Find it in the catalog!

Pandorum: A science-fiction/horror film starring Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid as waylaid space-travelers.
Find it in the catalog!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ricky Gervais is the answer to your January blues

Hosting this year's Golden Globes Awards (airing tonight at 7 PM on NBC) is comedian Ricky Gervais, who first proved his brilliant comedic timing in the BBC series The Office and has since moved on to doing films. At past awards shows Gervais appeared as a presenter and lifted audiences out of their boredom with his funny, honest banter, so I can't wait to see what he says as host.  I recommend checking out his past TV and movie roles. His newest movie, The Invention of Lying, is out on DVD this Tuesday.

The Office (2001-2003)
Gervais plays David Brent, the boss at paper company Wernham Hogg's Slough branch. Brent considers himself a chilled out entertainer who likes to have a laugh with his employees. This is a workplace comedy of awkward moments and annoying co-workers at its best. Gervais is co- creater, writer, and director of this series along with Stephen Merchant.
The Complete First Series: Find it in the catalog
The Complete Second Series: Find it in the catalog!

Extras (2005-2007)
Gervais plays Andy Millman, a movie extra who dreams of bigger roles and getting his screenplay "When the Whistle Blows" produced. His friend Maggie (Ashley Jensen) is also a movie extra, and their friendship is a definite highlight of this series for me. Sample conversation starter from Maggie: "Would you rather have a bionic arm or a bionic leg?" Stephen Merchant plays Andy's inept, immature agent to hilarious effect. Each episode features a guest star who makes fun of his or her celebrity image. Written and directed by Gervais and Merchant.
The Complete First Season: Find it in the catalog!
The Complete Second Season: Find it in the catalog!
The Extra Special Series Finale: Find it in the catalog!

Ghost Town (2008)
Dentist Bertram Pincus (Gervais) is not a pleasant person. When Pincus actually dies for several minutes during a hospital procedure he develops the ability to see dead people. It turns out they want his help so they can take care of unfinished business and then be able to cross over, and the absolute last thing Pincus wants is to be surrounded by people who need his help.
Find it in the catalog!

The Invention of Lying (2009; released on DVD this Tuesday)
Set in an alternative universe in which people do not have the ability to lie, Gervais plays Mark Belleson. Belleson has just been fired from his job and needs to make rent when discovers that he can say something false that people accept as fact. He uses this discovery to withdraw more money than he actually has from his bank account, get his job back, and go on a second date with a woman (played by Jennifer Garner) who was not impressed with him the first time around. When his mother is dying and in pain, Belleson comforts her in the hospital by sharing that after she dies she goes to a wonderful place and gets to see all her old friends. This sets off a media frenzy, as everyone wants to know how he knows such information, and Belleson, talking about "the man in the sky," in effect introduces religion to the world. I highly recommend this movie; in the hospital scene Gervais displays some great dramatic acting.
Find it in the catalog!

Golden Globe nominees

Several of the movies nominated for Golden Globes tonight are available on DVD:

Inglourious Basterds has 4 nominations: Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director (Quentin Tarantino), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Christoph Waltz), and Best Screenplay - Motion Picture (Quentin Tarantino).

The Hurt Locker has 3 nominations: Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), and Best Screenplay - Motion Picture (Mark Boal).

(500) Days of Summer has 2 nominations: Best Motion Picture - Comedy of Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

Julie & Julia has 2 nominations: Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by and Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (Meryl Streep).

In the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical category, Sandra Bullock is nominated for The Proposal and Julia Roberts is nominated for Duplicity.

Three of the Best Animated Feature Film contenders are already out on DVD: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Coraline, and Up. Up is also nominated for Best Original Score - Motion Picture.

District 9 is nominated for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture and The Hangover is nominated for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical.

Download a ballot and pick your favorites in each category!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie night recap

Thank you to everyone who attended our free screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this afternoon! A great audience of 40 people came to watch the movie. This is the second highest audience turnout we've had since the library's renovation (the Monsters vs. Aliens screening in November currently holds the top spot)! For a two and half hour movie I thought people might start to get restless, but the action really held everyone's attention. I wish I could insert myself into the scene at Professor Slughorn's supper party where Hermione, Harry, and other Hogwarts students are eating ice cream out of glass goblets the size of soup bowls. Yum! I also think the library at Hogwarts is pretty neat: in one scene, as Hermione walks from one set of stacks to another, all she has to do is hold a book up and then it magically floats to its proper place on the shelf. And, of course, you gotta love Ron Weasley. Unlucky with love potions but awesome on the Quidditch pitch!

Have you seen Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? What did you think?

If you haven't watched the movie yet, or would like to see it again, put yourself on hold for a copy from the library:
Find it in the catalog!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gaga oh la-la: Lady Gaga at the Rosemont Theatre, 1/9/10

Over the weekend Lady Gaga was in town for three concerts of "The Monster Ball Tour" at the Rosemont Theatre. Performing songs from both The Fame (2008) and The Fame Monster (2009), Lady Gaga put on an incredible show. I attended the second concert on Saturday and had an awesome time. Before Lady Gaga even took the stage her fans enjoyed themselves dancing to the Michael Jackson songs being piped over the sound system after opening acts Semi Precious Weapons and singer Jason Derulo performed. Impromptu dance parties sprouted up all over the theater and soon a conga line of dancers snaked up and down the aisles. It was so fun listening and dancing to the music and checking out the dance moves of the other Gaga fans. I've never seen anything like that occur at a concert!

Gaga finally took the stage around 9:30. She began with "Dance in the Dark," performing behind a light display that made it appear as though the stage was caged in. For the next song, "Just Dance," Gaga emerged playing a keyboard slung over her shoulder standing on top of a giant transparent cube while the backdrop screens projected a ton of bright colors. The next group of songs came from Gaga's The Fame Monster: "Alejandro," "Monster," and the inspired-by-vampires "let's go to church" Southern stylings of "Teeth" ("Take a bite of my bad girl meat... Show me your teeth!").

Taking a break from the choreography, Gaga sat at the piano and sang a few bars of "Cell Block Tango" from the musical Chicago before singing the emotional "Speechless," at one point stopping to let the audience sing the lyrics. Remaining at the piano Gaga then playfully sang some of her hit "Poker Face," injecting the dance song with some undeniably powerful notes and soul. Returning to her dance songs, Gaga performed a big chunk of cuts from The Fame, including "LoveGame," "The Fame," "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich," "Paper Gangsta," "Boys Boys Boys" and "Paparazzi." "So Happy I Could Die" (from The Fame Monster) was also performed, but I can't remember which part it was in the set list. For "Paparazzi" two of her dancers held up a beam that was attached to Gaga's hair by two large hooks. She also performed the popular "Poker Face," this time with her dancers instead of the piano. She closed the show out with "Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" followed by the hit "Bad Romance."

Gaga changed costumes several times throughout the concert but didn't make the audience wait too long for her reappearance. She also talked to the audience quite a bit between songs, remembering how when she performed at Lollapalooza a couple years ago she had just been dropped by a major record label. Gaga often emphasized how much she appreciates her fans (Little Monsters, she calls us); she said that she doesn't exist until she steps on stage to perform. She also brought attention to the RE*Generation campaign to raise awareness and money for youth homelessness. Fans that volunteered through the FREE.I.P program received free tickets to her tour, and Gaga pledged to match each $1 donation at, up to $25,000.

During the entire concert Gaga continued singing live as she performed choreography for each song with her back-up dancers. She has a powerful voice and is a crazy-creative performer, and the high-energy of both Lady Gaga and her fans was constant throughout the concert. I felt the music vibrating on my arms, had a blast dancing the whole night, and really felt like I was a part of an extraordinary experience with all the other Little Monsters (insert monster claw hand here).

All photos by Danielle

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie's latest film may seem like something of a departure for the director, who is best knows for his high-testosterone London-centric gangster flicks. But his take on Sherlock Holmes is in keeping with the director's cinematic preoccupations. Virtually all of Ritchie's trademarks are on display in Sherlock Holmes; London setting, primarily male cast, discursive flash-backs, stylized boxing sequences, and heavy use of underworld slang.

Robert Downey Jr. plays the title character, and his hammy enthusiasm makes up for his half-hearted - and sometimes unintelligible - attempt at an English accent. (Ritchie claims that Downey's accent is "flawless." A claim that seems highly dubious given the fact that Downey sounds absolutely nothing like the English actors he's onscreen with.) Jude Law plays Dr. Watson; devoted friend, natty dresser, and reluctant partner in investigations. Both live and work at 221B Baker Street. Watson runs his medical practice in one flat, Holmes ruminates in another. The duo's most recent case concerns an occultist Parliamentarian named Lord Henry Blackwood, whose execution is only the beginning of his criminal machinations.

If you are a fan of the 1940s Basil Rathbone adaptations, then this is really not the adaptation for you. This is quite literally the Sherlock Holmes film for people who do not care for Sherlock Holmes. Downey's detective does not wear a deerstalker cap, his pipe-smoking is not demonstrative, and his violin-playing is basically a comic gag. He is a bohemian intellectual, and a somewhat more hard-boiled detective than we might have imagined. A bare-knuckled boxer who spends his time - between cases - drinking in his room and plotting the dissolution of his best friend's marriage. As it turns out, Sherlock Holmes is first and foremost a buddy film. In fact, it shares several themes with the 2009 comedy I Love You, Man. (Watson's impending engagement is continually undermined by his friend, who is threatened by this loss of male companionship.) The romance between Holmes and Watson is far more convincing than that with their respective female love interests, Rachel McAdams and Kelly Reilly.

Sherlock Holmes has over-the-top action sequences, stylish and highly entertaining protagonists, and appealingly dry humor. The film's denouement leaves the possibility of a sequel wide open, so we're likely to see another chapter.

DVDs out January 12th

Fame: A remake of the popular 1980 musical.
Find it in the catalog!

Halloween II: The second entry in director Rob Zombie's re-imagining of the Halloween horror franchise. Not for the faint of heart!
Find it in the catalog!

The Hurt Locker: Director Kathryn Bigelow's award-winning Iraq War film.
Find it in the catalog!

In the Loop: A spin-off of the British television comedy The Thick of It, directed by series creator Armando Iannucci. This political satire stars: Steve Coogan, James Gandolfini, and Tom Hollander.
Find it in the catalog!

Like Stars on Earth: This acclaimed Bollywood film tells the story of an 8-year-old dyslexic boy and his struggles at school.
Find it in the catalog!

Moon: Sam Rockwell stars in this psychological Sci-Fi film. Rockwell plays an employee who has reached the end of his rope after three long years on a moon-adjacent space station. Co-starring Kevin Spacey.
Find it in the catalog!

Post Grad: This romantic comedy has Alexis Bledel starring as a recent college grad, searching for work during the 2000s recession. Also on board: Carol Burnett, Michael Keaton, and Jane Lynch.
Find it in the catalog!

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself: Adapted from Tyler Perry's stage play, I Can Do Bad All By Myself marks stars R&B/Soul icon Mary J. Blige.
Find it in the catalog!

Monday, January 11, 2010

History repeats itself: Historical figures on TV and in the movies

The Young Victoria, currently playing in movie theaters, tells the story of Queen Victoria's early years on the English throne and her romance with Prince Albert. Emily Blunt gives a wonderful performance as Victoria, and Rupert Friend is a perfect match as Albert. Many other historical figures have been given the big-screen treatment, where their lives are portrayed by combining both fictional and actual events. Check out this selection of DVDs that deal with the life of a historical figure. This list provides only a fraction of what we have available at the library (see the Search Tip at the end of this post for more!).

Antonio Salieri, composer (1750-1825)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer (1756-1791)
Find it in the catalog!

Amazing Grace
William Wilberforce, British politician and abolitionist (1759-1833)
John Newton, clergyman and former slave ship captain (1725-1807)
Find it in the catalog!

The Aviator
Howard Hughes (1905-1976)
Find it in the catalog!

Sir William Wallace (d. 1305)
Find it in the catalog!

Buffalo Bill and the Indians: Or, Sitting Bull's History Lesson
Buffalo Bill (1846-1917)
Sitting Bull (1831-1890)
Find it in the catalog!

The Duchess
Georgiana Spencer Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806)
Find it in the catalog!

Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603)
Find it in the catalog!

Elizabeth, The Golden Age
Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603)

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Iron Jawed Angels
Alice Paul, suffragist (1885-1977)
Lucy Burns, suffragist (1879-1966)

John Adams
John Adams (1735-1826)
Abigail Adams (1744-1818)

Malcolm X
Malcolm X (1925-1965)

Marie Antoinette
Queen Marie Antoinette, consort of Louis XVI, King of France (1755-1793)

Mary of Scotland
Mary, Queen of Scotts (1542-1587)
Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603)

The Queen
Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain (1926-)
Tony Blair (1953-)

The Rosa Parks Story
Rosa Parks (1913-2005)

The Scarlet Empress
Catherine II, Empress of Russia (1729-1796)

Spartacus, gladiator (d. 71 B.C.)

The Tudors
Henry VIII, King of England (1491-1547)

Search tip!
To find movies that focus on a historical period or person like the ones listed above, try either of these keyword searches:

biographical films and dvd
historical films and dvd

You'll retrieve a long list of DVDs that you can browse through. As long as a DVD was indexed under biographical films or historical films it should turn up in the search.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Free movies in January at the library

Looking to get out of the cold? Come to the Dundee Township Public Library and catch a movie for free on the big screen! Several times a month we show movies downstairs in the Meeting Room. Free popcorn and refreshments are always served! To guarantee a seat at the movie pick up tickets before the date of the show at the Information Desk (847-428-3661, ext. 308). Walk-ins are also welcome as long as space is available (the audience is limited to 80 people). Check out what we are showing in January:

The Wizard of Oz
Tuesday, January 12 at 6 PM

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Saturday, January 16 at 2 PM

Julie & Julia
Wednesday, January 20 at 6 PM

Come join us! In February we will screen Fame (2009), Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and Casablanca.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Top 25 Albums of the Decade

The "best" albums of the Aughts? Nah. This is a list of the 25 albums that I have listened to and enjoyed and ultimately spent the most time with over the past ten years. I set out to make a modest list of 10 such albums, which quickly became 20, then inexplicably 26. After some deliberation, I sacrificed one and made it 25. (Apologies to Shellac's 2007 record Excellent Italian Greyhound.)

Many of the artists on my list had made waves in the preceding decade. Ghostface Killah had distinguished himself with the seminal Wu-Tang Clan records and his 1996 solo debut, but 2000's Supreme Clientele was still a shockingly advanced work of art. Sleater-Kinney had been indie stalwarts since the mid-'90s, and their 2002 album One Beat provided a stripped-down and cathartic sense of what the new millennium felt like. Modest Mouse had released records on the indie labels K-Records and Up before making their major-label debut with The Moon & Antarctica. Fugazi put the capstone on a stellar and incredibly influential career with their final album, The Argument. Bill Callahan bid farewell to his Smog alias in 2005 with what was quite possibly his finest work to date, A River Ain't Too Much to Love.

But some of the artists represented here were new faces in the '00s. The hip-hop duo Clipse hooked up with super-producers The Neptunes and recorded the incredibly self-assured debut, Lord Willin'. Emcee/musician/producer Madlib had his hands on more wax this decade than a candle-maker. His 2003 album Shades of Blue is a perfect example of the artist's ravenous - and yet somehow reverent - reinterpretation of classic sounds. And a young woman named Mathangi Arulpragasm, better known as M.I.A., introduced herself to a global audience with the endlessly inventive Kala. "No one on the corner has swagger like us..."