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 roller-coaster 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!
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-
This month's story time is all about vegetables!
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-
A century after she was imprisoned by the witch hunter Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), the evil Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) has regained her powers thanks to the rising Blood Moon. When she kills his apprentice, Gregory must begin training Tom (Ben Barnes), a farm boy, who has inherited certain powers as the seventh son of a seventh son. Together they will have to defeat not only a coven of shape-shifting witches who follow Malkin, but her half-human niece, Alice, who has fallen in love with Tom. This film has some great visual effects and gorgeous costumes, but the story, loosely based on a young adult book series, is rather predictable and flat. It’s still worth watching for the campy performance of Oscar winner Moore as Malkin, but her reunion with Bridges, her Big Lebowski co-star, is spoiled by his ridiculous accent (think drunken Gandalf with a mouthful of marbles).Overall grade: B-
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch by Chris Barton and Don Tate
I thought that Get Hard, a prison comedy starring Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell, looked like a funny movie, but all of my good humor was lost very early in the film. From the onset, I didn’t appreciate the sex, stereotyping, and various racist and homophobic remarks that the film seemed to showcase and, because the storyline was predictable, I found myself losing interest as the movie progressed. Throughout the film, Hart and Ferrell tried too hard to be funny, and I was disappointed to note that many of the funniest parts were shown in the two official trailers. In an effort to find a redeeming feature of the film, I searched the internet for someone with a higher opinion of Get Hard, but, somewhat unsurprisingly, I was unable to find anyone with a positive opinion of the movie’s content. All-in-all, I’m sure there is an audience for this film, but I’m glad I didn’t waste my money to see it in theaters. Overall Rating: D
Kevin Costner and cast do not disappoint in McFarland USA, a movie based on a true story about Jim White (Kevin Costner) a high school teacher & coach who takes a job at a predominately Latino high school in McFarland, CA. Hired as a PE teacher and Assistant Football Coach, he soon realizes the football team won’t amount to much, but sees potential in a handful of students who can run like the wind. One of the challenges facing Coach White is how to reach his students and their families. His wife and daughters face their own challenge in adjusting to life in a town where one of his daughters asks on moving day, “Are we in Mexico?” One of my favorite scenes in the movie takes place at the starting line of an invitational meet, when one of the competitors said to McFarland’s top runner Thomas, “Nice shorts Dude”. Thomas replied, “You play golf?” Competitor said, “Yes” to which Thomas replied, “This ain’t golf!” Be sure to watch the bonus features where Kevin Costner is joined by Coach Jim White and the men who were part of the first McFarland Cross Country Team. Overall Rating: A+