Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Library Video of the Week, November 19, 2012

Sugar, starring Algenis Pérez Soto, Rayniel Rufino, Andre Holland, Ann Whitney, Ellary Porterfield, Jaime Tirelli, Jose Rijo, Michael Gaston, Alina Vargas and Richard Bull. Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Library Call Number: PN1995.9.B28 S84 2009.

A well-received indie film about a baseball player from the Dominican Republic named Miguel “Sugar” Santos, who wants nothing more than to make it in the Major Leagues and earn the money needed to support his impoverished family.  An ace pitcher drafted by the Kansas City Royals, he starts his career in the minor leagues in Iowa, hosted by a kind family of strangers.  Speaking little English, and unfamiliar with the wealth and workings of America, the 19 year-old Santos struggles with the culture of both country and professional baseball. But when an arm injury threatens his pitching career, the boy has to re-evaluate his life and make a quick transition into maturity.
Nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, an Espy Award and several others and winner of the American Film Institute’s Best Picture of 2009.

Browsing Area Book of the Week, November 19, 2012

Caught by Harlan Coben. Library Call Number: PS3553.O225C38 2010.
The author of The Woods and Hold Tight returns with another high-octane, contemporary thriller.
When a 17-year-old girl, a high school superstar, doesn’t come home one night and vanishes, the community assumes the worst. That’s when tabloid reporter Wendy Tynes gets involved; she identifies sexual predators via a news program called Caught in the Act, featuring elaborate, nationally televised sting operations. She targets a social worker, Dan Mercer, known to work with troubled teens, and labels him a sexual predator. But is he?
          “In a novel that challenges as much as it thrills, filled with the astonishing tension and unseen suburban machinations that have become Coben's trademark, Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can't trust her own instincts about this story-or the motives of the people around her.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Library Video of the Week, November 12, 2012.

Calder: Sculptor of Air, a film by Franocis Levy-Kuentz, written by Stephan and Francois Levy-Kuentz.  Library Call Number: NB237.C28 C35 2012.
From the Liner Notes: Unique modern artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976) revolutionized the art of sculpture with his distinctive modernism, freeing sculpture from its stand and adding movement to the art itself. He rose to fame in the 1930s with his renowned Miniature Circus, but his modernist creativity skyrocketed with his wire sculptures, an invention he dubbed "drawing in space". Contemporary, and friends with Duchamp, Miro, and Mondrian, who have greatly influenced his evolution, this genius tinkerer, too often limited to his Mobiles, was fueled by artistic renewal, creating such unexpected shapes as his huge stabile sculptures now exhibited worldwide. In light of the artist's life, this film retraces this unique quest and explores the masterpieces that have marked the history of 20st century art.” (In the 4th Floor collection.)

Browsing Area Book of the Week, November 12, 2012.

Kivalina: A Climate Change Story by Christine Shearer.
Library Call Number: E99.E7S463 2011.

Forcibly moved by the U.S Government in the early 20th century to a narrow island near the Arctic Circle called Kivalina, the Inupiat people endured the harsh conditions because of their traditional “understanding of and close connection to the cycles and rhythms of the land." As early as the 1950’s however, they noticed ocean storms were eroding the island at an alarming rate.  Now the permafrost is melting and the entire village is at risk, yet Government agencies “who contradicted their knowledge of the area,” are blocking their attempts to relocate.  With an estimated relocation cost of $400 million, the residents finally filed a climate change lawsuit, charging Big Oil with contributing to the loss of their homes. Shearer’s story shines a light on another David and Goliath story: the oil corporations who continue to dissemble and blur the real costs of climate change, their undue influence on American government  “and the cultural disconnect between Native Alaskans and American agencies whose clumsy, often patronizing management of Kivalina's dire situation has only exacerbated the community's problem.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Library Video of the Week, November 5, 2012

Happy, a documentary directed by Roko Belic. Library Call Number: BF575,.GH27H37 2012. 

Excepted from the website Paste: Signs of life in music, film and culture:   Inspired by a New York Times article [that] director Tom Shadyac shared with Belic [ranking] countries by the happiness of their citizens…despite the fact that America is one of the richest countries in the world, it’s nowhere near the happiest.”… Shadyac was so compelled by the contradictory correlation between material wealth and happiness, he funded the majority of Belic’s film out of pocket.
          After traveling [through many nations of the world, what] Belic and his crew discovered was astonishing. He spent a few weeks in the slums of Kolkata, India with positive psychologist Robert Biswas-Diener (“the Indiana Jones of happiness research”) and “the poorest of the poor,” and found a community whose dependence on one another transcended their poverty. “Despite the fact that they live in little huts made of bamboo sticks covered in plastic tarps and plastic bags; despite the fact that there’s open sewage running in front of where they sleep; despite the fact that they have no income for medical care or schooling or for anything in excess of subsistence living, they’re as happy as the average American,” Belic says. “What I saw in the slum that I see missing in many American neighborhoods is a real, genuine sense of camaraderie and a bond among the people who live there.”
          Winner of eight documentary awards.

Browsing Area Book of the Week, November 5, 2012.

They’re Watching by Gregg Hurwitz.  Library Call Number: PS3558.U695T47 2010.
          From the book jacket: Patrick Davis is a man with troubles. First his Hollywood dreams crumble and then his storybook marriage hits a snag. Now, DVDs start being delivered to his house, DVDs which show that someone is watching him and his wife, that the two of them are being stalked and recorded by cameras hidden in their house. Then someone offers to fix everything, to take the mess his life has become and make it all right. Patrick figures it's the offer of a lifetime. But Patrick couldn't be more wrong. With every step he falls deeper into a web of intrigue that threatens everything he values in this world. Before he knows it, he's in deep and his only escape is to outplay his unseen opponents at their own game.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Browsing Area Book of the Week, October 29, 2012.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.   Library Call Number: PS3608.A7436 D57 2011.
          Diana Bishop grew up an orphan and became a Yale scholar in history.  When she uncovers an enchanted text in Oxford’s ancient Bodleian Library, she’s forced to come to terms with her own past. Her parents both came from long lines of witches and wizards and, though she wants nothing to do with magic, the book she’s found leaves a trail soon followed by all sorts of demons, witches and vampires, anxious to get their hands on the magical tome full of potent alchemical spells. 
          With the help of a 1,500 year old vampire, Bishop is the only one who can stop the magic of the book from being unleashed into the world.  She has to come to terms with her family’s secrets and turn back the mystical evil threatening the world.
          Sub-titled all Souls Trilogy, this is the first in a projected series of books that may grow to pop status.

Library Video of the Week, October 29, 2012.

Howl’s Moving Castle, directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Featuring the voices of Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale and Billy Crystal.
Library Call Number:PN1995.9.F36H69 2004.
               Adapted from the Amazon Review by Charles Solomon:    Like a dream, Howl's Moving Castle carries audiences to vistas beyond their imaginations where they experience excitement, adventure, terror, humor, and romance. …The #3 film in Japanese history with a box office of $210 million, Howl is…based on a juvenile novel by Diana Wynne Jones…Sophie, a 19-year-old girl who believes she is plain, has resigned herself to a drab life in her family's hat shop--until the Witch of the Waste transforms her into a 90-year-old woman. In her aged guise…Sophie discovers her hidden potential in a magical environment--the castle of the title. Miyazaki creates a ramshackle structure that looks like it might disintegrate at any moment. Sophie's honesty and determination win her valuable new friends: Markl, Howl's young apprentice; a jaunty scarecrow; Calcifer, a temperamental fire demon; and Heen, a hilarious, wheezing dog. She wins the heart of the dashing, irresponsible wizard Howl, and brings an end an unnecessary and destructive war. The film overflows with eclipsing visuals that range from frightening aerial battles to serene landscapes, and few recent features--animated or live action--offer as much magic as Howl's Moving Castle.