Help us celebrate Ed Young's birthday today!
Mr. Holmes portrays the famous detective (Sir Ian McKellen) as an elderly man who has retired to a country estate where he keeps bees and is watched over by a housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her son, Roger (Milo Parker). Holmes’ powers of deduction are still sharp, but his memory is quickly failing. This loss and haunting memories of his final case have spurred him to try writing his own version of the case, rather than relying on the fictionalized story written many years before by Doctor Watson. Aided by the curious and clever Roger, Holmes attempts to recall the truth while simultaneously solving the mystery of his dying bees. The movie beautifully blends scenes of the present day - 1947 on the English coast - with flashbacks to London thirty years earlier. McKellen gives a brilliant performance in both timelines and the young Parker is a worthy sidekick. I particularly enjoyed a brief cameo by Nicholas Rowe who played the great detective as a teenager in The Young Sherlock Holmes. The last time McKellen starred in a film directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) both men were nominated for Oscars. It could happen again. Overall Rating: B+
Waiting by Kevin Henkes From Miss Heather at Butler Branch and Lucas Branch
This month's craft takes ordinary pinecones and turns them into super cute individualized owls!
Max is a highly trained military dog whose handler Kyle Wincott was killed during a nasty firefight in Afghanistan. Max is so traumatized by the event that he won’t let anyone near him--except Justin, Kyle’s younger brother. The Wilcotts find out that if they don’t take Max in, he will be put down. There are several scenes throughout the movie that will have you reaching for some tissues. An especially emotional event at the beginning of the movie happens when two Marines and Max come to pay their respects at Kyle’s funeral. The last part of the movie is action packed. Some of the situations that the teens and Max get out of are unbelievable. The dog on dog combat scenes had me on the edge of my seat. Even though the movie was predictable at times, it was still enjoyable to watch. Overall Rating: B
Celebrate recycling today (and everyday)!
Pixar’s newest animated film is Inside Out, an intelligent and moving story about a young girl, Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) and her emotional journey as she deals with a traumatic move to a new city. The movie’s other characters are Riley’s emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler); Sadness (Phyllis Smith); Fear (Bill Hader); Anger (Lewis Black); and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). These emotions run “Headquarters”, the place in all of us where our feelings guide us. At first, Joy tries to keep things positive and works hard to keep the other emotions in check while Riley adjusts to her new home, but soon Sadness gets involved, and a wild adventure through the inner workings of Riley’s mind begins. Although the many psychological references may go over young children’s heads, the film is an accurate metaphor that thoughtfully explains how emotions work in a way children can understand. There are a few painful moments to watch, but those scenes really convey the message that it’s okay to express your feelings, even your sad feelings. This is a great family movie that opens up many opportunities for discussion. It is very entertaining, and I predict it will become an all-time favorite of many. Overall Rating: A+
Pizza and pasta are yummy to eat, but are also fun to read about!
The Full Moon At The Napping House by Audrey Wood From Miss Heather at Butler Branch and Lucas Branch
Rusty Griswold (played by Ed Helms) returns in an all new comedy about a dysfunctional vacation featuring a new generation of the Griswold family. Rusty is all grown up and has a family of his own now – wife Debbie (played by Christina Applegate) and 2 sons, James and Kevin. The family is stuck in a rut, so as they are planning an upcoming vacation, Rusty takes it upon himself to plan a new adventure for them, by recreating a vacation from his past – the infamous trip to Walley World. If you are familiar with the Griswold family, you have come to realize that nothing they attempt to do ever happens easily – wild and crazy antics seem to follow this family everywhere they go! All this being said, I was not impressed with this re-creation of the classic movie. The nostalgia behind the film made me hope for something better, but unfortunately I did not find this version nearly as entertaining or funny as the original. I also was disappointed that Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) wasn’t a more prominent character in this movie. He is the head of the beloved Griswold family after all! Unlike its predecessor which has become a classic, I don’t feel this movie is worth watching again. Overall Rating: C
San Andreas is one of the best action-packed American Disaster movies of all time. From the opening scene to the ending scene, I was on the edge of my seat anticipating what was going to happen next! Dwayne Johnson sets off a remarkable performance portraying Ray Gaines, a LAFD search and rescue helicopter pilot that is in the midst of a divorce with Emma, his estranged wife (Carla Gugino). As Ray (Dwayne Johnson) sets out to go on a trip with his daughter (Alexandra Daddario) to San Francisco, the plans slightly change and she goes on ahead of him. He does not foresee that the largest earthquake recorded in history is on its way to cause massive destruction from Los Angeles to San Francisco! With this being said, Ray ends up using his LAFD expertise to bring his estranged wife and daughter back to him safe and sound no matter what the cost! If you love Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson like I do, and thriller, action-packed movies that keep you on the edge of your seat, well this is a great choice for you too! Overall Rating: A
Enjoy National Chocolate Day with fun facts and sweet treats!
The Flash stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, a 21st Century, Central City, forensic scientist who witnessed his mother’s death as a child. Barry’s father was incarcerated for his wife’s death, and Barry strives to find his mother’s killer. After exposure to a blast from Dr. Harrison Wells’ (Tom Cavanagh) laboratory, Barry becomes the fastest man alive. Afterwards, Barry uses his powers to fight crime as Central City becomes overrun with villainous, super-powered humans. This captivating DC Comic book film is fast-paced and includes several characters from the larger DC Universe. Overall Rating: A+
The Book That Ate My Brother by Michael Dahl From Miss Devin at Main Library
The 2013 album Same Trailer, Different Park won two Grammy awards and introduced Musgraves to the world as a new kind of singer-songwriter who uses traditional instruments and smaller arrangements while tackling subjects not often found in country music. On this new album, Kacey Musgraves is still intent on exposing the realities of life in a southern small town, while she champions the idea that each of us has to follow our own path in order to be truly happy. Whether she is poking fun at her lack of skill as a pageant girl (“It ain’t that I don’t care about world peace, but I don’t see how I can fix it in a swimsuit on a stage”) or writing a love song to her hometown (“You can take me out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of me”), Musgraves paints a clear picture of real life in small town America, and bucks the current trend of “bro country”. She dismisses the good old boys network of Nashville by singing “Another gear in a big machine, don’t sound like fun to me. I don’t wanna be part of the good ole boys’ club” which many see as a dig directed toward Taylor Swift’s Big Machine production company. It seems fitting that Musgraves ends the album with a duet with another unique country artist- Willie Nelson- that updates Willie’s song Are You Sure. She has a fresh voice that breathes new life into the country genre. Overall Rating: A
Miss Marisa teaches how to make a cute Halloween craft!
It's the time of year where we get to celebrate the change of the seasons!
What We Do in the Shadows is a fictional documentary that gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of Vlad, Viago, Deacon, Nick, and Petyr, five vampires living in the same flat in New Zealand. Despite the fact that they are creatures of the night, the quintet of vampires is surprisingly easy to relate to: They fight over chores, fret over what to wear, and enjoy visiting nightclubs. These common experiences become humorous, however, as the vampires explain how hard it is to get blood stains out of the couch cushions, to plan outfits without a reflection, and to attend parties when they can’t enter a building unless they are invited in first. The humor continues throughout the film, and I found both my husband and myself laughing out loud at various parts. Although none of the actors have many lead roles under their belts, each portrayed his assigned character wonderfully, and, I admit, I was a bit saddened when one of them met his demise. Even though it is more of a comedy than a horror flick, What We Do in the Shadows is perfect for the Halloween season. Overall Rating: A-
Today is National Squirrel Awareness Month! Celebrate these furry critters with squirrel related books!
From lavish costumes to elaborate sets, Sir Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Cinderella is quite magical. The film begins by introducing us to a very young Ella and her loving parents. Unfortunately, her mother becomes ill unexpectedly, and on her death bed she tells Ella to “have courage and be kind.” After a few years, her father decides to marry again. Enter the wicked stepmother and ugly stepsisters. Cate Blanchette gives a top-notch performance as the wicked stepmother. I found myself disliking the character more and more as the movie progressed. Lily James is marvelous as Ella as she portrays a kind young woman, without being sugary. Richard Madden is dashing as the handsome Prince, and he and Ella share a fascinating chemistry. In addition, Helena Bonham Carter is delightful as Ella’s Fairy Godmother. The special effects used during the transformation of the pumpkin to a carriage, mice into horses, and lizards into footmen were incredible. This live action Cinderella is a treasure to be enjoyed by all ages. Overall Rating: A+
A documentary about leaf cutting ants may not sound very interesting, but the BBC’s Planet Ant turned out to be an absolutely fascinating learning experience. Two scientists, entomologist George McGavin and leaf cutter expert Professor Adam Hart, team up to transport a colony of ants from Trinidad to a man-made habitat in Glasgow, Scotland. The habitat is similar to their own very large colony, with many chambers and caverns; however, this world is made of glass and allows for unprecedented views into the daily life of this very complex society. This film offers up-close observations of these tiny creatures and, through the use of time-lapse cameras, microphones, microscopes, and radio tracking technology, allows the viewer to get a better understanding of how these societies function. It is astonishing to realize that these creatures communicate, have a caste system, are farmers, and solve complicated mathematical problems. The cinematography is incredible, but if looking at ants and other bugs bothers you, then you may want to think twice about this one! I personally got over my squeamishness early in the film and quickly became very interested. This documentary makes you realize that humans are not the only civilized society on this planet. Overall Rating: A+
This month's craft comes from Miss Melanie; a splatter paint fall tree.
Where Hope Grows is an inspirational drama starring David DeSanctis as “Produce”, a young man with Down syndrome who works in the produce department at a local grocery store, and Kristoffer Polaha as Calvin Campbell, a former professional baseball player who is struggling to find his place in life. Calvin and Produce develop a friendship after meeting at the grocery store, and along the way, Calvin is reminded of the important things in life, including hope and faith. I thought this was a heartwarming, family-friendly movie with the underlying theme that hope can be found in the most unexpected places. The storyline was endearing, and for those not typically fans of the inspirational genre of movies, the religious message in this particular film is more subtle than most, with the plot focusing on overcoming hardships in your life versus trying to “preach” at the audience. This film is a pioneer in its own right by casting a young man with Down syndrome in a lead role, and raising awareness to #StopTheRWord. Overall Rating: B+
The Age of Adaline is a romantic drama about a woman named Adaline Bowman (played by Blake Lively) who amazingly remains the age of 29 years old for close to almost eight decades. Adaline Bowman has mostly had to live a lonely, mysterious life to keep her secret from everyone that she meets and gets close to due to the consequences that her timeless youth may cause. Adaline’s plan has seemed to work until she meets a handsome, charming, philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) that rekindles her love interest and passion to live again. As their romance begins to spark, they decide to take a weekend getaway together to meet Ellis’s parents and this encounter reawakens her past and leads to questions that may divulge the truth and can change Adaline’s life forever. The ending of the movie may appear somewhat predictable, but if you love romantic, nostalgic, heart-warming movies, like I do, then this movie is a great choice for you too! Overall Rating A-