I didn’t submit my suggestions in time to be included in the last post but I’ll throw a few out there now. I recently saw Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery , which was a lot of fun. Woody re-teams with his erstwhile muse Diane Keaton, and the inspired addition of Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston makes the whole thing even better. Carol and Ted (Keaton and Alda) are sure that their elderly acquaintance Paul (Jerry Adler) has committed the perfect murder. Hard-boiled author Marcia Fox (Huston) jumps into their bumbling investigation with both feet, but Larry (Allen) thinks they’re all nuts. Extra: before they were famous fun! Look for Zach Braff (aka J. D. Dorian) and Aida Turturro (aka Janice Soprano) in blink-and-you-miss-them roles.
Some of the old sitcoms make me laugh too, and The Dick Van Dyke Show has to be one of the best. The show features great writing (much of it by Carl Reiner) and an incredibly talented cast. Check out this clip for some crazy 60′s dancing by Buddy, Sally, and the rest of the gang, including a 25 year old Mary Tyler Moore. As for Dick Van Dyke’s performance, I have no words, only a question – how does he do that?
Last year I wrote about Irish books for St. Patrick’s Day. This year, it’s Irish movies. The country’s contributions to film are much less well-known than its literary achievements, but almost as noteworthy. I consider films to be “Irish” if they meet at least two of three criteria: an Irish cast, an Irish director or screenwriter, based on an Irish literary work or on Irish historical events.
Neil Jordan is best known for his 1992 shocker The Crying Game. I however am forever grateful for his utterly charming, almost completely unknown 1991 coming-of-age tale The Miracle. Teenagers Jimmy and Rose (Lorraine Pilkington) are best friends in an Irish seaside town. They use their overactive imaginations to make up stories about people they see, exercising a “command of repartee extraordinary even for the Irish” (The Baltimore Sun). But Jimmy is diverted from a life of sidewalk fictionalizing when he find himself drawn to a beautiful, older American woman (Beverly D’Angelo) he’s never seen before. And when the circus comes to town, Rose decides to live out a story of her own.
Arguably there’s no story more Irish than that of going to America. Sarah and Johnny Sullivan and their daughters Christy and Ariel do just that (illegally) in Jim Sheridan’s engrossing, touching tale of starting over, In America. Sarah and Johnny are still grief-stricken over the death of their son Frankie. The watchful Christy and Ariel try to ease their parents’ pain as they also adjust to life in a new country and befriend a reclusive painter. Sheridan’s stellar directing and the cast’s understated acting give In America the strange beauty of a latter-day fairy tale.
Towards the end of his life one of the best directors took on one of the best short stories ever written. John Huston’s The Dead (1987) is every bit as powerful as Joyce’s masterpiece. Donal McCann’s performance as the emotionally repressed Gabriel Conroy is flawless. And Anjelica Huston is…Anjelica Huston (which is to say, magnificent). This story of a Dublin Christmas party replete with gaffes and missteps and verbal skirmishes will astound you with its perfection.
In 1974 the IRA bombed two Guilford pubs, killing four British soldiers and one civilian. The public outcry for justice placed the police under extreme pressure to find and arrest those responsible. The police soon had three men and one woman in custody. In 1975 the four were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. However, they were all innocent. Their confessions had been coerced, and the police had suppressed evidence clearing those arrested of suspicion. It wasn’t until 1988 that the British public and judiciary began to suspect police wrongdoing. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Gerry Conlon, one of the “Guilford Four,” in Jim Sheridan’s In the Name of the Father. Emma Thompson provides a stellar performance as Conlon’s attorney, human rights lawyer Gareth Pierce. In the Name of the Father is a gripping, harrowing drama that will leave you emotionally exhausted.
Join us for a three-part film series showcasing the use of classical music in war movies. The series kicks off at the Central Library this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with Gallipoli. Live musical accompaniment for some scenes will be provided by members of the Cambridge Symphony Chamber Players for all three films.
1981; Starring Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Kerr, Harold Hopkins, Charles Yunipingli, & Ron Graham; Rated PG; 1 hour 52 minutes
Amazon.com says, “An outstanding drama, Gallipoli resonates with sadness long after you have seen it. Set during World War I, this brutally honest antiwar movie was cowritten by director Peter Weir. Mark Lee and a sinfully handsome Mel Gibson are young, idealistic best friends who put aside their hopes and dreams when they join the war effort. This character study follows them as they enlist and are sent to Gallipoli to fight the Turks. The first half of the film is devoted to their lives and their strong friendship. The second half details the doomed war efforts of the Aussies, who are no match for the powerful and aggressive Turkish army. Because the script pulls us into their lives and forces us to care for these young men, we are devastated by their fate.”
The next two movies in this series are:
Scent of a Woman, on Saturday, November 17th at 10:00 a.m.
1998; Starring Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell; Rated R; 157 minutes
Amazon.com says, “Hoo-ah! After seven Oscar nominations for his outstanding work in films such as The Godfather, Serpico, and Dog Day Afternoon, it’s ironic that Al Pacino finally won the Oscar for his grandstanding lead performance in this 1992 crowd pleaser. As the blind, blunt, and ultimately benevolent retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, Pacino is both hammy and compelling, simultaneously subtle and grandly over-the-top when defending his new assistant and prep school student Charlie (Chris O’Donnell) at a disciplinary hearing. While the subplot involving Charlie’s prep-school crisis plays like a sequel to Dead Poets Society, Pacino’s adventurous escapades in New York City provide comic relief, rich character development, and a memorable supporting role for Gabrielle Anwar as the young woman who accepts the colonel’s invitation to dance the tango. Scent of a Woman is a remake of the 1972 Italian film Profumo di donna. In addition to Pacino’s award, the picture garnered Oscar nominations for director Martin Brest and for screenwriter Bo Goldman.”
Platoon, on Saturday, December 1st at 10:00 a.m.
1986; Starring Charlie Sheen, Forest Whitaker, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Johnny Depp; Rated R; 120 minutes
Amazon.com says, “Platoon put writer-turned-director Oliver Stone on the Hollywood map; it is still his most acclaimed and effective film, probably because it is based on Stone’s firsthand experience as an American soldier in Vietnam. Chris (Charlie Sheen) is an infantryman whose loyalty is tested by two superior officers: Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), a former hippie humanist who really cares about his men (this was a few years before he played Jesus in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ), and Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), a moody, macho soldier who may have gone over to the dark side. The personalities of the two sergeants correspond to their combat drugs of choice–pot for Elias and booze for Barnes. Stone has become known for his sledgehammer visual style, but in this film it seems perfectly appropriate. His violent and disorienting images have a terrifying immediacy, a you-are-there quality that gives you a sense of how things may have felt to an infantryman in the jungles of Vietnam. Platoon won Oscars for best picture and director.”
The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra has worked with organizations that honor American veterans over 2012. The CSO has chosen these three war-themed films, and through an introduction with live chamber music, will spotlight how familiar classical music underscores the theme of war and its aftermath for veterans.
These programs are free and all are welcome. We hope you can join us!
If you were in the Boston area in the 70s or 80s, chances are you had a least a passing acquaintance with Channel 56′s Creature Double Feature. That beloved old series is the inspiration for our latest Community Curated film series, Saturday Morning Creature Show: Selections from WLVI’s Creature Double Feature. The series kicks off at the Central Library this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with Destroy All Monsters.
1968; Starring Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Manda, King Ghidora, and more!; Not Rated; 90 minutes
Everything seems secure on Monster Island until aliens use remote-control devices to command the monsters to destroy…New York, Moscow, London, and Peking find themselves under attack – yikes!
The next two movies in this series are:
Planet of The Vampires, on Saturday, July 7th at 10:00 a.m. 1965; Starring Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell, and Ángel Aranda; Not Rated; 88 minutes
Amazon.com says, “Italian horror master Mario Bava brought his considerable skills to bear on this hypnotic genre hybrid, creating one of the most eerily atmospheric science fiction films ever made. A spaceship is lured to a mysterious planet, where members of its crew are slaughtered, and their bodies possessed by a near-extinct alien race–a minimalist plot, to be sure, but in the hands of Bava and cinematographer Antonio Rinaldi, Planet of the Vampires (the best-known of this film’s many titles) is a near-masterpiece of style over substance. The simplest sets and backdrops are composed with a perfect eye for perspective and color, with sensible spaceship design and memorable costumes that look like they sprang from the futuristic fantasies of an S&M biker gang. Performances are secondary but effectively low-key, serving to enhance Bava’s painterly use of matte work and miniatures. With a surprise twist ending, POTV is an essential addition to anyone’s sci-fi collection.”
Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, on Saturday, July 21st at 10:00 a.m.
1968; Starring Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, and Barbara Ewing; Rated G; 92 minutes
A village trembles in fear; a priest forsakes his vows in the service of evil; young beauties fall victim to a mysterious seducer; and each night brings a new threat of death, all because Dracula has risen from the grave!
This film series is curated by Mike Piso, a filmmaker who studied film and video at Mass College of Art. Mike helped to found an art collective in Jamaica Plain in 2003 that put on regular film and video screenings. He has also programmed film screenings at the Aviary Gallery in Jamaica Plain and as part of the Mass College of Art Film Society series. Mike will offer brief introductory remarks before each film, and there will also be time afterwards for comments, questions, and discussion.
Now, on to the schedule. Dan has chosen three “Scary But Funny” films for this inaugural series. First up, this Saturday at 10:00 a.m.: Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis. When ghosts go on a rampage, only three men can save the world. Soon every spook in the New York City is loose and our heroes face the supreme challenge. If you want your spirits raised, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
Next up is Gremlins on May 5th and then Men In Black in May 12th. All will be shown at 10:00 a.m. at the Central Library.
This free film series is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and all are welcome. We hope you can join us! Look for more Community Curated film series in the weeks and months to come.
We’re excited to announce a new film series that is tentatively scheduled to begin in the Spring. Actually, this will be a string of mini film series, each curated by a different member of the community. For our kickoff, we want to get your input on what you’d like to see. Choices are below, so let’s hear what you think, and thanks in advance for participating! More information about this new program will be coming soon.
This time of year the mind turns naturally to feasting, but it’s always “turkey this” and “turkey that.” Pork simply does not get its due. As a corrective, we offer tonight’s Monday Night Movie, A Private Function.
Rovi (foremerly the All Movie Guide) says, “A British couple’s attempts to circumvent local food-rationing regulations trigger a chaotic series of events in this satirical comedy set in post-World War II England. The couple’s scheme centers on a massive hog which has been illegally raised by a local farmer. Seeing a chance to capitalize on pork’s scarcity, the ambitious Joyce Chilvers (Maggie Smith) convinces her mild-mannered husband (Michael Palin) to steal the pig. Unfortunately for the Chilverses, a vigilant food inspector is on duty and determined to stop all such illegal activity. The couple’s efforts to hide the pig provide much material for frantic and sometimes grotesque farce. Playwright Alan Bennett’s acerbic targets the British class system and the wife’s social ambitions.”
The movie will be shown at the Central Library at 7:00 p.m. We hope you can come!
We waited all year and now it’s here – the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale!
Don’t miss out on this chance to get great deals on new and used books, movies, music, and more – and show your support for the Library! Proceeds from the book sale help support library programs for adults and children, including the popular “museum membership” program which allows Somerville residents to visit local museums free or at a discount.
Friday, October 28th ~ 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 29th ~ 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 30th ~ 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
There will also be a preview for Friends who have joined at the $50 level or higher on Thursday, October 27th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The Friends Book Sale is always a lot of fun…meeting up with your friends and neighbors, hunting for bargains, helping to ensure plenty of excellent Library programs in the months to come, maybe even scoring a copy of that elusive book you’ve been searching for…what’s not to like? We hope we’ll see you there!
We’re starting an exciting new monthly film series for kids on 1/2 day Wednesdays! Movies and popcorn are free! We’ve picked the first three movies, but we want you to pick the rest, so let us know what you want to see.
October 19th: The Karate Kid Dre Parker finds himself in China after his mother’s latest career move. He and classmate Mei Ying immediately fall for each other, but cultural differences make this friendship impossible. Even worse, his feelings make an enemy of class bully, Cheng who is quite adept at kung fu. Dre turns to maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a kung fu master and learns that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm. However, Dre realizes that this may be the fight of his life.
November 16th: Speed Racer Speed Racer is a natural behind the wheel of his thunderous Mach 5. With the support of Pops and Mom Racer, girlfriend Trixie, younger brother Spritle and the mysterious Racer X, Speed takes on fierce competitors to save his family’s business and protect the sport he loves. When Speed steps on the track, it’s not just a race.
December 14th: Journey to the Center of the Earth Science professor Trevor Anderson’s radical theories have tarnished his reputation. While backpacking across Iceland with his nephew Sean, the two find a cave that leads them deep down into the bowels of the planet. They go on a quest to find out what has happened to Trevor’s missing brother, also a scientist. Trevor, Sean and their mountain guide discover a fantastic and dangerous lost world in the center of the earth. There, they discover a bizarre landscape filled with terrifying creatures.
Showtime is 1:00 p.m.
Also, don’t forget that you can also do your homework at the Library. We have:
encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and more
free Internet access and a KidsWeb page with links to great homework help websites
databases with information on science, history, current events, and more – they’re accurate, up-to-date, and better than Google
computers for typing and printing
quiet work space
friendly librarians to help you find what you need!