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-
Today's author and illustrator birthday belongs to Betsy Snyder!
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli From Miss Mary at Main Library
The television show, The Last Ship, based on William Brinkley’s well-received novel, kept me on the edge of my seat. Eric Dane stars as Commander Chandler who heads the Navy Destroyer, USS Nathan James, through troubled waters, after humankind experiences a deadly pandemic. Doctor Scott, portrayed by Rhona Mitra, is a virologist on board who attempts to develop an antidote, to save humankind from the devastating virus. Watch for some great moments, when alpha Captain Chandler sounds amazingly similar to John Wayne. Although, the fact that the 316 sailors at sea for four months, with modern technology, did not know about the deadly pandemic is a major flaw, the rest of the drama was so entertaining that I could move on and enjoy the compelling drama. Overall Rating: A-
Book Review: A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
The Royals is the first scripted series produced by E! Television, the station that gives you the latest news about celebrity scandals and the continuing adventures of the Kardashians. It seems fitting then that this new series about a fictional British royal family is filled with characters who lie, drink, hook up with strangers, do drugs, plot murders, blackmail each other and the servants, and generally carry on like rock stars who can’t quite escape being caught on film as they misbehave. The queen (Elizabeth Hurley) and her younger children (William Moseley and Alexandra Park) are such a disappointment to the king (Vincent Regan), that he asks Parliament to dissolve the monarchy after the sudden death of his older son. King Simon is trying to save his family, but he throws their entire lives into chaos, and the queen aided by the king’s evil brother (Jake Maskall) plot to keep their royal lifestyle intact. This series combine camp and over-the-top drama for a fun rollercoaster ride of a show. Elizabeth Hurley is brilliant as the scheming queen and the casting of Joan Collins as her equally ambitious mother is the cherry on top of this royal sundae.Overall Rating: B
We have some cool crafts to make going back to school just a little more fun!
This month's story time is all about vegetables!
Before sitting down to watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, featuring Kevin James in the lead role, a friend said to me, “Hopefully, this is a good, old-fashioned, funny movie.” When the same friend leaned over later and whispered “Only 15 more minutes left!”, I realized I wasn’t the only person who felt a little let down by the film. Throughout the movie, James’ character could only be described as “over the top”. Every action and interaction was exaggerated to be funny, which actually made it less funny and more annoying. The storyline was too coincidental for my tastes (What are the chances that art thieves would be at the same casino at the same time as a Security Officers convention?) and there were enough gaps and inconsistencies to make me wonder how much the producers were really paying attention as the film came together. However, in spite of it all, the film did have underlying themes of loyalty and the importance of family, and the thoroughly PG humor would probably appeal to pre-teens. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 isn’t necessarily a movie I would recommend, but it might be a good choice for a family pizza night.Overall Rating: C-
Get ready to go back to school with some awesome books and resources!
Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton play Alex and Ruth Carver, an elderly couple who have decided at the urging of their niece, Lily (Cynthia Nixon), a real estate agent to list their apartment and move to another location with an elevator. Through the use of flashbacks, viewers get a look at life events that have shaped Alex and Ruth’s relationship. Claire van der Boom and Korey Jackson deliver a solid performance portraying a young Ruth and Alex. The chemistry between Freeman and Keaton is superb. Cynthia Nixon’s character, Lily is annoying as are many of the people who come through their open house. Zoe, a young girl whose mother drags her to all of the open houses in the area is played by Sterling Jerins and is the one bright spot in the parade of people. I expected more from a movie starring Freeman and Keaton, and was disappointed by the slow movement of the film. Overall Rating: C
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Home, the newest animated feature from DreamWorks Entertainment, is an adventure tale about a lovable misfit alien named Oh, (Jim Parsons) and his friendship with the lonely and courageous Tip, (Rihanna). Oh finds himself on the run from his own people, the Boovs, purple aliens who have taken over the Earth, while Tip, who managed to escape the invasion, is desperately trying to find her mother, Lucy, (Jennifer Lopez). The Boovs are led by the arrogant Captain Smek, (Steve Martin), who thinks the best way to solve any problem is to run away! The Gorgs, the aliens the Boovs are hiding from, are now threatening the Earth and only Oh can save the planet from destruction. The movie includes great music and teaches important lessons about loyalty, family, and being yourself. Kids will enjoy it, but I didn’t feel it was the kind of film that would draw in adults. Jim Parsons is great as Oh, his character is a lot like his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper but sweeter, and the character of Tip is refreshing, as she is much more realistic than your average animated heroin. All in all, it’s a fun family movie, not really memorable, but worth bringing home for the kids. Overall Rating: B
SLP has finished, but what else can you do this summer at the library? Find out here!
’71 stars Jack O’Connell as young British soldier Gary Hook who is accidentally abandoned by his unit during some intense, violent riots in Belfast in 1971. The movie takes place over the course of one night as you follow the soldier’s journey alone through the streets of Belfast, trying to figure out who he can trust – who is friend versus enemy, even among his so-called comrades. This action-thriller is intense at times, and depicts the real struggle between the Catholic and Protestant forces in Northern Ireland during a very troubled period in their history. (The storyline never picks a side though – it just shows the devastation caused when 2 groups are at war within the same town.) The movie can be a bit confusing at times though, as you try to keep characters straight and you yourself try to figure out who Hook’s friends and foes are. I would also recommend watching this with the subtitles turned on, as the dialogue can be difficult to understand at times. Overall Rating: B
Where has the summer gone? It's been a great summer here at the library!
Jalani and the Lock by Lorenzo Pace From Miss Melanie at Main Library
This sci-fi, thriller stars Jonny Weston who plays David Raskin, a high school senior who loves science and whose dream is to attend MIT. As he awaits for his dream to un-fold, David comes across an odd instance that he can’t explain from an old video camera in his attic. While trying to make sense of all this, him and his friends discover in his basement the blueprints to a secret time machine that his late father had been constructing but did not get a chance to complete. David and his friends have this genius idea to finish what David’s father had started. As the group begins to experiment with this mysterious time machine that they believe is amazingly going to change their pasts for the better, it inadvertently ends up making them fear the future. If you enjoy sci-fi, action, suspense, and romance this is a great movie to see! Overall Rating: B
Here is a great idea for making your own superhero comic!
In this provocative film, Kevin Costner stars as Elliot - a white, Los Angeles, maternal grandfather and recent widower - embroiled in a custody battle with a black, paternal grandmother, Rowena - played by Octavia Spencer - over his charming granddaughter that he has raised from birth. In the custody hearings, the granddaughter Eloise’s (Jillian Estell) opposing family members conspire to viciously air each other’s dirty laundry. Alcohol abuse, substance abuse, class differences, and stereotypes of people are brought to the limelight, both inside and outside the courtroom; not a soul comes out smelling like roses. Key family members face off, hours before the family court judge’s final decision. The early events in the movie were realistic; however, the ending was Hollywood.Overall Rating: B-