Kimberly C's blog

Teen Cupcake Wars

cupcake wars flyer

Hey teens! On Tuesday, decorate a cupcake inspired by your favorite book using supplies both normal and wacky, then defend it to a panel of judges! Supplies are available on a first come, first served basis and are for teens and tweens ages 10-18. Meet in the first floor Meeting Room on Tuesday, June 28 from 3:00-4:30 pm.

For more information, call the library at 832-559-4200.

Teen Sharpie Art

sharpie art flyer

The Teen Summer Reading Program is off to a great start! (If you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for?) On Tuesday, use colorful Sharpies and rubbing alcohol to create marbled patterns on tiles, then color pages from coloring books while they dry. All supplies provided. For teens and tweens ages 10-18. Meet in the first floor Meeting Room on Tuesday, June 21 from 3:00-4:30 pm.

For more information, call the library at 832-559-4200.

Teen Obstacle Course


obstacle course flyer

Hey teens! Can you beat the clock and make it through the library obstacle course? This course will feature challenges including a laser grid made of yarn, a box tunnel, library mini golf, and more! For teens and tweens ages 10-18. Meet in the first floor Meeting Room on Tuesday, June 14 from 3:00-4:30 pm.

For more information, call the library at 832-559-4200.

Giant Jenga for Teens

giant jenga flyer

You won’t want to miss the first teen program of the summer! Test your skills with Giant Jenga! How high can you stack the tower before it comes tumbling down? For teens and tweens ages 10-18. Meet in the first floor Meeting Room on Tuesday, June 7 from 3:00-4:30 pm.

For more information, call the library at 832-559-4200.

A Little Bit of Product Placement

reese's piecesIt’s impossible to escape advertising during a trip to the movies. From the cardboard standees in the lobby, to the commercials and trailers before the movie starts, we are inundated with advertisements the moment we walk inside the theater. And that advertising doesn’t stop when the opening credits role. Now, many movies make some of their profit product placement before the film even opens. Product placement is a technique that allows companies to promote their product or brand through unusual methods.

One of the most well-known examples of product placement in film is with Reese’s Pieces in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Originally, M&M’s were considered for the movie, but when Mars turned the offer down, it allowed a deal to be made with Hershey. After the movie hit theaters, sales for Reese’s Pieces, a less-popular candy at the time, went up dramatically.

Of course, not all product placement in movies is as subtle or as seamlessly integrated into the plot as Reese’s Pieces in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. There are some movies, like The Internship (a movie I enjoy but that is not universally appreciated), that feel too much like one long commercial for a product. Other movies blatantly force advertising into the script, like an awkward conversation about the Omega watch in Casino Royale, instead of subtly using it. And some movies, like Transformers: Age of Extinction, are so overrun with product placements that don’t fit the plot or that are targeted toward one market at the detriment of another that it actually detracts from the action.

Below I have listed some of the most well-known products or brands seen in movies. Are there any product and movie pairs that I left off the list? Let me know in the comments!

Library Closed on Memorial Day

memorial day closure

Each Memorial Day we honor the brave men and women who have fallen while serving in the United States Armed Forces. In observance of the holiday, the library will remain open regular hours Friday and Saturday, but will be closed this coming Monday, May 30. The library will reopen for business Tuesday, May 31 at 8:00 am.

However you might be celebrating, we wish you a safe Memorial Day, and extend gratitude to those who have given their lives in service to their country.

For more information, call the library at 832-559-4200.

After the Apocalpyse

maze runner character cardEarlier this week, I finally had the chance to watch The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the sequel to 2014’s The Maze Runner. Based on a bestselling Young Adult series by author James Dashner, these movies follow a group of teenagers with no memory of who they are as they try to navigate a post-apocalyptic world they don’t understand and stay one step ahead of the organization chasing them.

Novels like these have become increasingly popular over the past ten years, as have movies along the same theme. Some, like The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games, are based on popular YA books. Many, like Elysium and Mad Max: Fury Road, are original concepts dreamed up for the medium of film. Regardless of their origin, all movies in this genre seek to understand what compels humanity to survive and rebuild in the face of utter devastation.

If you’re in the mood for a post-apocalyptic or dystopian movie this week, check out the list below. I have also included a few TV shows that also fit the bill – just in case you’re in the mood to binge watch a series.

College Bound

New to movie theaters this April is Richard Linklater’s newest film, Everybody Wants Some!! (And, yes. The exclamation points are an official part of the title.) A sequel in spirit to his classic high school film Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! follows an incoming college freshman during his first weekend living on campus with the school’s baseball team. The film premiered earlier this month at South by Southwest to stellar reviews, and promises to be lighter and more humorous in tone than Linklater’s last film, Oscar-nominated opus Boyhood.

College has long served as a backdrop for movies. This is no surprise because it is generally a time of immense change. Freedom from parental figures allows teenagers to finally begin to grow up, reinvent themselves, and experience the world on their own. It also, as many movies set in college focus on, means new friendships, new relationships, and parties. The freedoms of college allow filmmakers to approach their movies from a variety of genres, whether serious (Good Will Hunting) or humorous (Animal House), animated (Monsters University) or empowering (Legally Blonde).

If you’re in the mood for a college movie and can’t wait for Linklater’s newest film to reach Houston’s theaters, browse the HCPL catalog and request something off the list below!

88th Academy Awards

OscarsLast night, this year’s movie awards season finally came to an end at the glitzy and glamorous Academy Awards. The proceedings were kicked off by a powerful, yet still funny opening monologue by second-time host Chris Rock, that addressed the diversity controversy that has shrouded this year’s Oscar nominees. His comments were insightful and set the tone of the rest of the ceremony.

Although perhaps not the most exciting of Oscar ceremonies, there were plenty of surprise wins to balance out the foregone conclusions. The Revenant did take home two of the top prizes with wins for actor Leonardo DiCaprio and director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. DiCaprio’s win, his first after previously being nominated 5 other times, made the Internet explode with glee, while Iñárritu’s win makes him the first director to win back to back Oscars since John Mankiewicz 65 years ago. However, in the end The Revenant couldn’t clinch the best picture win. That Oscar went to Spotlight, the highly-praised ensemble drama about the Boston Globe reporters who investigated reports of abuse within the Catholic Church.

Other surprises of the evening included Mark Rylance winning Supporting Actor over Stallone, the sentimental favorite; the visual effects team for the fairly low-budget Ex Machina winning over blockbusters like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road; and, in a musical upset, Sam Smith’s song for the newest Bond film winning over Lady Gaga’s documentary anthem, an earlier performance of which had prompted a standing ovation.

The big winner of the evening, taking home the most statues, was the post-apocalyptic film Mad Max: Fury Road, with six wins in technical categories. Highly rated by critics and audiences alike, it was nice to see the Academy voters honor such a high energy, big budget summer movie. I was disappointed that George Miller did not take home the Oscar for best director or picture, but it was lovely to see how much respect the winners in the technical categories had for Miller’s artistic vision.  

If you missed the ceremony last night, the official Oscars website has a complete list of winners, as well as videos of most of the acceptance speeches. There are also videos of Chris Rock’s opening monologue, performances of three of the nominated songs, and the In Memoriam accompanied by Dave Grohl singing “Blackbird.”

2016 Oscar Nominations: Best Actor & Best Supporting Actor

oscar statueWe are only two weeks away from the Academy Awards live telecast, which means it is time to take a closer look at the ten men nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Although there appears to be a clear front runner in each category, there could be surprises in store. I have not yet had a chance to see all of the nominated movies, but I still have my favorites. Who would you like to see win in each category?

This year, only three of the ten nominated actors (Matt Damon, Eddie Redmayne and Christian Bale) have previously won an Academy Award, and only two of those (Redmayne and Bale) in acting categories. This is also the first Oscar nomination for three of the actors (Bryan Cranston, Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance). Interestingly enough, all but two of the ten actors (Damon and Stallone) are nominated for portraying real people.

Most of the nominated films are still in theaters so not yet available in HCPL’s catalog, but make sure to check out previous works by the actors!

Best Actor:

Bryan Cranston (Trumbo): Although this is Cranston’s first Academy Award nomination, he is no stranger to the awards circuit with multiple wins and nominations for his television work (most notably for Breaking Bad), and a Tony win for Best Actor in a Play. In the biographical movie Trumbo, Cranston plays Dalton Trumbo, a famous screenwriter and one of the Hollywood 10, a group of 10 screenwriters who refused to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Matt Damon (The Martian): In The Martian, based on the book of the same title by Andy Weir, Damon plays Mark Watney, an astronaut presumed dead and stranded alone on Mars. A talented actor, Damon’s career spans genres with roles in critically-acclaimed movies (Saving Private Ryan, The Departed, Syriana) and box office hits (The Bourne Trilogy, Ocean’s 11). This is Damon’s third acting nomination at the Academy Awards, with previous nominations for actor in Good Will Hunting and supporting actor in Invictus. He previously won an Oscar, shared with Ben Affleck, for original screenplay for the movie Good Will Hunting.

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