Saturday, October 20, 2018

An American Treasure

Gainesville, Florida celebrates the life and music of the late Tom Petty this weekend, today would have been his 68th birthday, with events all over town on both Saturday and Sunday. YOU can join the celebration anytime by checking out the recently released 4CD boxed set AMERICAN TREASURE that chronicles the music of an American rock legend. The music on the collection was culled from hours and hours of unreleased songs by Pettty's longtime producer Ryan Ulyate and his bandmates Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, and includes salvaged bits of unheard music as well as some of Petty's best known songs. For more info on the release check out this article and in the meantime have a look/listen to the video for an unearthed outtake "Gainesville"

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hoops and Dreams

Basketball season is back. Are you a Bulls fan? I am a fan, and in my family we are all Bulls' fans. With only one basketball team in the city, we don't have to endure the rivalry under our roof, like we do during baseball season. Check out the following eclectic mix of DVDs about our beloved basketball. Go Bulls!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Lesser Seen Horror Films

For a horror movie geek like myself, there's no better time of year than October. For the past four years now I've done a 31 Horror movies challenge and it has been quite the ride! I've seen some great movies, some terrible movies, some movies that are so bad they're really quite excellent, and some movies that are totally forgettable. If you're like me and seek out the weird, the uncanny, the scary, and the gory, look no further! Below is a list of horror movies: some you may have missed, some that are brand new, and some that deserve a revisit in the scariest month of the year. 

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Hereditary - Over the past several years, the horror genre has gotten at least one critical darling per year: films like The Babadook (2014), It Follows (2015), The VVitch (2016), and Get Out (2017). Hereditary is 2018's horror offering that has been eaten up by horror fans and critics alike. After the grandmother of the Graham family passes away, her daughter (Toni Collette) begins to unravel a sinister mystery about her family's past. Readers, I watch a lot of horror movies. I'm jaded. So believe me when I tell you I actually screamed out loud in the theater at this one. I slept with the dog in the bed and the lights on that night. 

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Phantasm (hoopla) - Discover your new favorite cult classic series. Phantasm follows young Mike as he and his friend attempt to unravel the mystery of a sinister grave robber who is responsible for the deaths of Mike's family. This series is full of strange, dreamlike imagery, but is particularly notable for keeping much of the original cast and crew from sequel to sequel. I couldn't really tell you what happens in most of the movies, but I can tell you I've highly enjoyed all of them for how inventive, strange, and fascinating they are.

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Bug - A collaboration between playwright Tracy Letts (August: Osage County) and director William Friedkin (The Exorcist), Bug was written for the stage but comes to live brilliantly on the screen. Ashley Judd plays a lonely waitress living in fear of her ex-husband when she meats an eccentric drifter, played by Michael Shannon. Then the bugs begin to arrive. The first time I saw this movie I expected something very different, but was treated to a film that spirals into insanity very subtly. This isn't a conventional horror film but it is as unsettling as they get. 

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Honeymoon (hoopla) - Newlyweds Bea and Paul head to the country on their honeymoon, but Bea begins to sleepwalk and act strangely. For some reason, this was the first film my wife and I watched after our wedding, so it has a special place in my heart. It's a compact little thriller with a small cast, and you might recognize Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones

Image result for suspiria letterboxdSuspiria (hoopla) - An American ballet dancer arrives at a prestigious dance academy in Germany, but very quickly senses that something sinister lurks within the old building. This over-the-top, colorful horror classic is as stylish as they come, and is one of the best entry-points to Italian giallo horror. Keep your eyes peeled for the remake by Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino, set to release this October.

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Carnival of Souls (hoopla) Mary ends up the sole survivor of a nasty car accident just before taking a job as an organist at a church across the country, where she is haunted by visions of eerie figures. I'm a big horror buff but only watched this film for the first time last year - and absolutely loved it. It's got an old school low budget charm and an awesome pipe organ score. This one is best watched late at night while the wind rattles your windows.

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Night of the Living Dead (hoopla)This year marks the 50th anniversary of this cinematic landmark, so there's never been a better time to revisit the zombie movie that started it all.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

News for Audiobook Listeners: The New York Times has a monthly audiobook bestseller list!

Due to the amazing rise in the popularity of audiobooks, this past spring the New York Times newspaper began publishing a monthly audiobook bestseller list. The list combines both physical and digital audio sales.

The October list will appear in the October 14, 2018 issue of the Sunday New York Times. This monthly bestseller list is a great resource for avid audiobook listeners. The list would also be a good place to begin for those just starting to navigate the world of audiobooks. The list typically has 15 fiction and 15 nonfiction titles.

Below is just a sample of some of the titles appearing on the October audiobook bestseller list that are available through the Glenview Public Library.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (available on CD)

A young woman who has survived for years alone in the wild North Carolina marsh suddenly becomes a murder suspect.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (available on CD)

Book 4 in the Cormoran Strike series. When a troubled young man asks him to investigate a crime he thinks he saw as a child, Cormoran Strike sets off on a twisting trail that leads from London's backstreets to a country manor house. (Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling).

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (available on CD and downloadable through OverDrive)

A New York woman spends the summer with her boyfriend's family in Singapore and is surprised by what she encounters.

Fear by Bob Woodward (available on CD and downloadable through OverDrive)

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist draws on interviews, diaries and other documents to describe the decision-making process in the Trump White House.

Educated by Tara Westover (available on CD, Playaway and downloadable through OverDrive)

In this memoir, Westover recounts her childhood growing up in a strict Mormon survivalist family in Idaho.

In Pieces by Sally Field (available on CD)

The memoir of Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Movies Have the Power to Transport

I recently saw the film, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018). Since I enjoyed the original
Mamma Mia! (2008) as well as the stage play I knew I would enjoy continuing the saga. What took me by surprise was that it made me want to abandon my prior vacation plans and hop a plane to Greece! I absolutely adored the beautiful scenery! So this made me think how movies have the power to transport - to sweep one away to the magical or sometimes harsh reality of travel to various locations through well-told stories. So, I have compiled a list of movies through the decades that evoke a strong sense of place:

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Call Me By Your Name (2018)
In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.

Carol (2015)
An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman in 1950s New York.

Wild (2014)
A chronicle of one woman's one thousand one hundred mile Pacific Crest Trail solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.

Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
The adventures of a legendary concierge at a famous hotel between the first and second World Wars, and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. It's a jaunt through old postcard Europe.

Midnight in Paris (2011)
While on a trip to Paris with his fiance's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s everyday at midnight.

Up (2009)
Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.

Into the Wild (2007)
A top student and athlete abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

Under the Tuscan Sun (2005)
A writer impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in order to change her life.

Before Sunrise (1995)
A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Out of Africa (1985)
In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Easy Rider (1969)
Through the open country and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A to New Orleans, and along the way, meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap they are unaware of.

Doctor Zhivago (1965)
The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences hardship during the First World War and then the Russian October Revolution.

Vertigo (1958)
No movie captured the allure of the City by the Bay better than Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 masterpiece. Hitchcock filmed famous landmarks - the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Ernie's restaurant - in a subjective, lyrical style, to heighten the growing romantic love obsession that James Stewart feels toward Kim Novak, whom he tracks around the city.

Roman Holiday (1955)
A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.

Hope you enjoy a little arm chair traveling!