Tag Archives: DVD

Multimedia Roundup: Top Titles of 2017

Here are the most popular Multimedia titles checked out at Chester County Library and the Henrietta Hankin Branch this year!*

DVDs1
Moana
La La Land
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Sully
The Girl on the Train

Adult Books on CD
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Adult Music CDsblue-and-lonesome
25 by Adele
Blue & Lonesome by The Rolling Stones
Now That’s What I Call Music! 60
1989 by Taylor Swift
Now That’s What I Call Music! 59

eBooks
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Goldfinch by Donna TarttGoldfinch
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

eAudiobooks
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
1984 by George Orwell

 

 

*Source: http://chescolibraries.org/news/most-popular-titles-2017

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for November

Big Little Liesbig little lies

I love the fact that this is a miniseries and I am kind of hoping that they do not make a second season, as is rumored (though I’m sure I would watch anyway). Since it’s based on a book and the “first” season completely covers the material, there’s a concrete beginning, middle and end. No need to mess with something so perfect as this! The plot is enticing, and you will find yourself theorizing on the various mysteries going on amongst the children and parents of Otter Bay Elementary. The acting is fantastic; Nicole Kidman got a lot of attention for the series, but I found Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline to be the most compelling. The Monterey scenery with its beautiful bay views from these women’s luxury homes will make you want to get up and move there immediately (if only we could all afford it). The best part about this series, however, is the soundtrack and the innovative way the music is integrated into the action of the show. This was definitely one of my favorite TV shows of 2017.

The Ocean at the End of the Laneocean at the end of the lane.jpg
by Neil Gaiman

A fantastical and somewhat terrifying allegory for childhood. A small boy finds magic, wonder, and terror all contained within the country lane on which he lives. The story reminded me so much of how big a world the street that I lived on seemed as a child and the endless possibilities for adventure and discovery that my neighbors and I found there. I found myself believing that the narrator was truthful about what had happened to him, but at the same time… maybe it was just an elaborately imagined tale to cope with different things going on in his life, something that he convinced himself was real? Each scenario is somehow plausible, and the dual possibilities make the text even more interesting. I don’t think this story is extremely scary, but don’t be fooled by the fact that the protagonist is seven years old. This does not preclude him from danger, even from those who are supposed to protect him. A great tale for dark and cold winter!

Also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on OverDrive and Libby.

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for September

The Graveyard Bookthe graveyard book
by Neil Gaiman
Read by Neil Gaiman

Summary: Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

I think any Harry Potter fan would really enjoy this book. Orphaned boy? Check. Mysterious prophecy? Check. Magical underworld? Check. Someone out to kill said orphaned boy? Check. My only criticism is that I think Gaiman could go into more depth with world-building in this book, and I’m hoping he’ll eventually write a sequel (or sequels?) so that he can. I enjoyed Gaiman’s narration and the voices he did for the different characters; whenever I think of the name “Nobody Owens,” I now think of it in Gaiman’s British accent. There’s also something great about listening to characters express their lines in a book in the way that the author imagined it. Definitely worth checking out no matter what age you are!

Also available as an ebook and audiobook using the Libby and OverDrive apps here.

Episodesepisodes

Summary: Husband and wife writing team Sean and Beverly can’t wait to bring their successful British television series across the pond to make it big in America. But in true Hollywood fashion, it quickly becomes a laughable, cliched sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc who not only messes with their beloved show, but rocks the foundation of their relationship. So now, even if they survive the absurdity of show business, will their marriage survive Matt LeBlanc?

Matt LeBlanc must feel pretty vindicated that this show has gotten great critical reception after his disastrous Joey spinoff. He plays a fictionalized version of himself in a timeline where he just kept going from bad project to bad project after Joey, rather than taking a break and being more selective as he did in real life. He is driven by the desire to be taken seriously, but often finds himself accepting projects for the money. This version of LeBlanc is a less lovable Joey Tribbiani, and this show in general is far more cynical than Friends ever was. It really demonstrates that LeBlanc has great comedic range, however. Joey tended toward more bombastic and expressive outbursts, while the fictional LeBlanc is far more subdued but still funny. It also helps that the show is well-written and the other cast members are great– I was a fan of Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig from the excellent show Green Wing, and have also really enjoyed Kathleen Rose Perkins’ character Carol. Also, like all good shows, this one knows when to exit: the last season is airing now.

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for August

Veepveep

Summary: ” Former Senator Selina Meyer was a charismatic leader and a rising star in her party with her eye on the White House, then she became Vice President. VEEP follows the whirlwind day-to day existence of Vice President Meyer as she puts out political fires, juggles a busy public schedule and demanding private life, and defends the President’s interests, even as she tries to improve her dysfunctional relationship with the Chief Executive.”

A wonderfully irreverent, cringingly funny show about a power-hungry, self-absorbed politician and her bumbling staff. I was almost going to call Selina and her staff “inept,” but that doesn’t really describe it. In some ways they are surprisingly skilled, but I think they are all generally so busy trying to look good and one-up others, and get so caught up in the heart-racing insanity of running the country, that they make many, many, missteps. By the same token, though, they often find themselves bumbling their way to a win. Watching VEEP is sort of like tossing a coin to predict how these horrible people are going to come out of whatever predicament they are in. However, I think what really keeps me watching, other than the amazing performances and right-on comedic timing of this ensemble cast, is the colorful and creative insults that they throw at one another. This Office of the Vice President would be a terrible place to work if you were in it, but it’s oh-so-entertaining to watch.

If you like VEEP and are looking for something similar, we also have Armando Iannucci’s British political TV show, The Thick of It, and similarly-structured movie (which is great), In the Loop.

Southeasternsoutheastern
Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell has been quite open about his struggles with alcoholism, and this album seems to address those struggles, but not in an obviously autobiographical way. Each song tells the story of a different character, addressing different aspects of life that I think Isbell can relate to as he fights his daily battle to stay sober. If you enjoy the more alternative rock side of country music, then I highly recommend checking this album out.

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Jane Austen, 200 Years Later

July 18th was the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. Love her or hate her, she has had a profound impact on literature and pop culture. I am definitely in the “love” camp, and with all of the media coverage of the anniversary, I’m feeling inspired to go back and re-read and re-watch everything Austen-related. This being the Multimedia blog, I’m highlighting our ebooks, audiobooks, and movies related to Jane.

persuasionAudiobooks
If you would like to listen to Jane Austen’s books, we have a wide selection of audiobooks in various formats that you can check out. Pride and Prejudice will always be one of my favorites, but I think Persuasion’s heroine is one of Austen’s best.

Ebooksemma
If you prefer e-reading, we have a number of titles available via OverDrive/Libby that are either authored by Jane Austen or re-imagined renditions of her books, such as the modern retelling of Emma written by Alexander McCall Smith. Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern version of Pride and Prejudice, has been quite popular.

death comes to pemberleyMovies
Ah, the movie adaptations. I love watching movie adaptations after just having finished a book, particularly for period dramas. You can check out the DVD and blu-ray selections of various Austen-related titles here. Colin Firth with always be my Darcy, but I also thought the more recent version with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden was well done. Love and Friendship, the film based on Austen’s short novel Lady Susan, published after her death, was highly entertaining. P.D. James also put a murder mystery spin on Elizabeth and Darcy’s life as a married couple in Death Comes to Pemberley, and the miniseries version has some great actors: Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, Matthew Goode and Jenna Coleman. For something more modern, I highly recommend Clueless, where Emma is turned into a hilarious story about a Beverly Hills teenager. And for something completely different, check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I hope you enjoy getting acquainted or reacquainted with Jane! If you need a primer to get you in the mood, I really loved this compilation of notes from readers of The Atlantic on their experiences with Austen.

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for June and July

Apologies for the lateness of this post–with summer arriving, the library has been very busy! Better late than never…

The Descendantsdescendants_xlg

“Matt King is an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.”

I often refer to this movie as the male version of Steel Magnolias. It’s an emotional and touching drama dealing with family and death, but for the most part it’s funny and real. The first time that I watched this movie, I had never seen Shailene Woodley in anything before and I was extremely impressed by her performance. George Clooney, as always, is great.

Love & Hate005557654_500
Michael Kiwanuka

I checked out this album because I wanted to hear more after Michael Kiwanuka’s song “Cold Little Heart” was used as the opening credit song for Big Little Lies (which also has Shailene Woodley!). After listening, “Cold Little Heart” is definitely still a standout track amongst the highly-orchestrated retro-soul songs, but “Black Man in a White World” is a close second for its timeliness and loneliness even with its punchy hand claps. It might take a few listens to sink into this one, but it’s definitely worthwhile.

La La Land1

“A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. This original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing dreams.”

I saw this movie in theaters and I LOVED it. I’ve heard some people criticize it for being another movie where Hollywood is patting itself on the back, but I’m a sucker for the LA landscape (especially that view from the Griffith Observatory featured in the iconic scene on the poster), and I apparently can’t turn down a good “actor/musician tries to make it” story. I loved the songs and had them stuck in my head for days afterward. I also wept uncontrollably at the ending (but that also could be because I was nine months pregnant at the time…). It was heartbreaking and beautiful. I can’t wait to watch this movie again.

Pleasurefeist-pleasure-album-details
Feist

I think a lot of people expect all Feist albums to have the cutesiness of “1234.” Not that I don’t love “1234,” but this album definitely has a more dramatic, lonely vibe and I really enjoyed it. I also found it to be great for summer night listening. The tracks fade in and out with sounds of crickets and passing car radios which really set the scene. My favorite tracks are “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You” and “A Man is Not His Song.”

 

All summaries from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for May

Summer Heights HighSummer_Heights_High_DVD

“In this mockumentary series set in a real Australian high school, comedian Chris Lilley brings to life three hilarious characters: Jonah, a 13-year-old delinquent breakdancer from Tonga; Mr. G, an ego-driven drama teacher with delusional showbiz dreams; and Ja’mie, a spoiled private school girl on a student exchange.”

Probably the most well-known of Chris Lilley’s several forays into mockumentary, this series really established one of his signature characters, Ja’mie. Lilley effectively skewers several fixtures of school life that I think any student can relate to, Australian or no: the overly self-important teacher; the snobby and superficial bully; the disruptive class clown. If you enjoy shows like The Office or Seinfeld where the characters aren’t exactly the most lovable people, but their awkward antics are hilarious, you will enjoy this show (though you will probably develop a soft spot for Jonah, Lilley’s troubled 13-year-old boy from Tonga).

 

Youth Novelsyouth novels
Lykke Li

This album is great for both dance hits as well as more soulful, introspective tracks. Li’s voice oscillates from light and fanciful to low and mournful. I like that most of the tracks are simply-arranged– there’s definitely something to be said for going for the understated sound rather than something overly-produced. My favorite tracks are “Little Bit,” “I’m Good, I’m Gone,” and “Breaking It Up.”

 

All summaries from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for April

Hell or High Waterhell_or_high_water

“A divorced West Texas dad and his ex-con brother resort to a desperate money making scheme in order to save their family’s farm from foreclosure.”

This modern-day western features excellent performances by Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, and adapts the genre to themes that are common discussion points in this day and age: the generational conveyance of poverty, the shady dealings of financial institutions, the dying off of small towns that used to be brimming with farming and industry. Every single character in this movie is fully-conceived, whether it’s the bank-robbing brothers, the Texas Rangers tracking them, or the waitresses, bank tellers, or bank customers who only appear for one memorable scene. You won’t regret taking an hour and a half to sit down and watch this movie! One of the best to come out in 2016.

Volume One She_&_Him_-_Volume_One.jpg
She & Him

This album was Zooey Deschanel’s debut as a singer/songwriter in partnership with M. Ward, and it’s completely lovely. It’s full of romantic pop songs with a vintage feel, and her voice has a wonderful soulful crackleyness. As the weather warms up, this album would be great listening for gardening outside or having a backyard picnic.

All summaries from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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Movies for Spring

The weather is finally warming up! Let’s get out of the winter doldrums with some colorful, (mostly) happy movies for spring.

about timeAbout Time — “The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim’s father tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life, so he decides to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend. But as his unusual life progresses, Tim discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.”

Babe — “A piglet destined for eventual butchering arrives at the farmyard, is adopted by an old sheep dog, and discovers a special secret to success.”

Bride and Prejudice — “Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, with a Bride-and-prejudiceBollywood twist. In Ammritsar, the determined Mrs. Bakshi sets out to find matches for her four daughters. Second sister, Lalita, meets American Will Darcy – is it love?”

A Bug’s Life — “Journey inside the miniature world of bugs where an ant named Flik hires warrior bugs to defend his colony from a horde of freeloading grasshoppers.”

Emma — “Emma Woodhouse is a young woman who, having engineered the marriage of her companion, turns her attention toward making a match for the local vicar and her new protegée, Harriet Smith. Her one voice of reason and restraint is Mr. Knightley, who has known her since she was a child and who watches her behaviour with wry amusement and sometimes with real anger. Emma presides over the small provincial world of Highbury with enthusiasm, but she will find it is all too easy to confuse good intentions with self-gratification.”

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — “A high school student is determined to get a day off with his friends by outwitting his principal.”

happy_go_luckyHappy Go Lucky — “Poppy is a life-loving and irrepressibly cheerful primary school teacher.
She is thirty years old, single, and infinitely optimistic and accepting. She lives with her best friend and flatmate Zoe in London. She is tested by a repressed driving instructor with anger problems, and, in turn, she decides to test him. She has exciting flamenco lessons, an encounter with a homeless man, an argument with her pregnant sister, and a love-affair with the social worker guiding one of her students.”

House of Flying Daggers — “During the reign of the Tang dynasty in China, a secret organization called “The House of the Flying Daggers” rises and opposes the government. Leo is a police officer who sends officer Jin to investigate a young dancer named Mei, claiming that she has ties to the “Flying Daggers” organization. Leo ends up arresting Mei, only to have Jin break her free in a plot to gain her trust and lead the police to the new leader of the secret organization. But things are far more complicated than they seem.”

The Lorax — “In a place where the brown Bar-ba-loots frisk and the Humming-Fish splash around, you will find the Lorax. The Lorax speaks of the trees, which the Once-ler is chopping down as fast as he pleases. Will the Once-ler change his destructive ways and heed the wise warnings of the Lorax?”

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day — “In 1939 London, Miss Guinevere Pettigrew is a middle-aged miss pettigrew lives for a daygoverness who finds herself once again unfairly dismissed from her job. Now she must seize the day if she wants a job. She does this by intercepting an employment assignment outside of her comfort level as social secretary. Arriving at a penthouse apartment for the interview, Miss Pettigrew is catapulted into the glamorous world and dizzying social whirl of an American actress and singer, Delysia Lafosse. Suddenly, Miss Pettigrew finds herself swept into the world of high society.”

Moonrise Kingdom — “Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore, and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle.”

philadelphia storyThe Philadelphia Story — “A sophisticated romantic comedy about a rich, spoiled socialite who learns some things about who she is and what she really wants on the eve of her second marriage.”

The Secret Garden — “A young orphan named Mary is sent to live at the dark and foreboding English estate of her widowed uncle. She discovers a secret garden which was abandoned after a tragic accident. With the help of her crippled cousin Colin, and Dickon the country boy, her spirit is gradually reawakened as they bring the garden back to life.”

The Sound of Music — “Julie Andrews lights up the screen as Maria, the spirited young woman who leaves the convent to become a governess to the seven young children of Captain von Trapp, an autocratic widower whose strict household rules leave no room for music or merriment.”

All summaries from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

 

 

 

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for March

Roseanneroseanne

“‘Roseanne’ is the story of a working class family struggling with life’s essential problems: marriage, children, money, and parents-in-law.”

I’ve been on maternity leave for the last few months and during the long days that I spent trapped under a sleeping infant, I discovered that Roseanne reruns were on for half the day every weekday. I hadn’t watched the show in years, but I still found it to be so funny and relevant. I particularly love the relationship between Roseanne and Dan and the way that they find humor in every day challenges, and are able to make even the most mundane life details entertaining. I think a lot of families can relate to their brand of sarcastic, sardonic humor. The writing on the show is punchy and the jokes are fresh– is it any surprise that Amy Sherman-Palladino, of Gilmore Girls fame, got her start writing on Roseanne? I highly recommend putting this show on as a backdrop to your spring cleaning, or whatever other chores you’ve been putting off– it will make it a lot more fun.

 

Hunt for the WilderpeopleHunt_for_the_Wilderpeople

“Raised on hip-hop and foster care, defiant city kid Ricky gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec, and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run in the bush. As a national manhunt ensues, the newly branded outlaws must face their options.”

This was one of my favorite movies of 2016. Made by the director of another favorite movie of mine, What We Do in the Shadows, this movie features Taika Waititi’s oddball humor in an endearing buddy adventure.Sam Neill basically plays the same character that he plays in Jurassic Park— the grumpy adult who isn’t that into kids, but finds himself stuck with one anyway, and grows to enjoy his company– a role at which he excels. I also really liked Julian Dennison, who plays Ricky, a down-and-out kid with an attitude who starts to turn himself around when shown a little kindness and respect. A super funny and heartwarming tale!

All summaries taken from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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