Kimberly C's blog

The Hills are Alive...

music  notesIn 2004, the American Film Institute released a new list in their 100 Years series, this one celebrating iconic songs in movies. I have confessed my love for movie musicals many times on this blog, but there is something to be said for that one song that can define an entire movie. What would Dirty Dancing be without that final performance to (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life? How many of us still passionately sing along with Celine Dion and think of Jack and Rose when My Heart Will Go On plays on the radio? And is a Bond movie really complete without a new, killer theme song?

When AFI first released the 100 Years...100 Songs list, my college roommate and I were obsessed. It was our goal to collect all 100 songs and put them in one playlist and, by the end of the year, we had almost succeeded! Below, I have listed some of my favorite movie songs. Browse the entire list and let me know if your favorite song was included!

Space: The Final Frontier

full moonWe all know about fashion trends, but how often do we give thought to movie trends? One of this year’s most popular trends is movies set in space. This summer saw the release of a number of movies that fit this theme (e.g., Star Trek: Into Darkness and Elysium), and the trend continues with some of this fall’s most anticipated movies. Earlier this month, Gravity opened to high critical and popular acclaim and continues to smash box office records. And on November 1, Ender’s Game, based on the Orson Scott Card novel of the same name, hits theaters with a science fiction twist on the space trend. Whether the movie is a more realistic portrayal of space and mankind in space (e.g.,  Apollo 13) or a science fiction adventure that only tangentially reflects reality (e.g., Star Wars and Star Trek), it always manages to capture the imagination of Earthbound movie goers.

If you can’t make it to the theater this month, or want to see more cinematic adventures in space, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie today!

The Post-Apocalyptic World

wastelandThis month, Harris County Public Library, along with other libraries in the Greater Houston area, celebrates Gulf Coast Reads 2013. This year’s novel is The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. The Dog Stars follows the struggles of a man and his dog, taking refuge in a Colorado airport hanger after a flu pandemic wipes out most of the world’s population.

Novels depicting the world after apocalyptic events have always been prevelent, and television and movies are no different. Perhaps it is the conflicting emotions of the story that pull in readers and viewers: a fierce desire to survive and build a new civilization despite loneliness in the face of total devestation. The recent rise in popularity of books and movies about dystopian civilizations (e.g., The Hunger Games) feed this same desire to see a small group of people struggling together to overcome seemingly hopeless situations. Or maybe viewers just want to leave theaters knowing that no matter what happens, humanity will survive.

If you’re in the mood for a post-apocalyptic thriller this weekend, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie or television show today!

65th Primetime Emmy Awards

Emmy StatuetteLast night, the recipients of the Primetime Emmys were announced in a live telecast and, like many people, I tuned in to see what surprises were in store. Most awards shows are generally a mix of the expected and the unexpected, and this year’s Emmys were no different. Although the big winners of the night (Modern Family, Breaking Bad and Behind the Candelabra) were no surprise, the acting awards seemed to break every expectation. Even the winning actors often seemed surprised when their names were read! (Case in point: Merritt Wever’s four-word speech after her shocking, but deserved, win for her work in Nurse Jackie.)

Unlike most awards shows, last nights Emmys also had a more solemn tone than usual. In addition to the In Memoriam segment, the Emmys featured extended, more personal tributes to five industry greats who passed away this year. These, along with a somber tribute to Liberace and a segment on the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy contributed to the reflective feel of the Emmys. Fortunately, host Neil Patrick Harris was always there to lighten the mood with a witty aside or glitzy song and dance number. Overall, the Emmys may have verged on the depressing, but the excitement of the winners made it fun to watch.

If you missed the Emmys last night, check out a partial list of winners below and a complete list at the official Emmys website.

The Return of Fall TV

tvTo some people, the end of summer means the beginning of a new school year. To others, it means a slow drop in temperatures to something slightly more bearable. For me, the end of summer means the return of my favorite fall television shows. The steady rise in popularity of off-season TV means that, more often now, there are plenty of shows to keep viewers occupied during the summer months. However, my favorite TV shows are still the network dramas and sitcoms that air September to May.

There are always plenty of new TV shows ready to hook viewers and become a vital part of the weekly lineup, and this year is no different. But fall TV is more than trying out new shows. It’s about finally getting answers to last season’s cliffhangers and discovering more about favorite characters. That connection with TV characters and that willingness to set aside time each week to escape into someone else’s imagination is why so many shows come back season after season with familiar faces and fresh ideas.

If you’re out of the TV loop, or just want to catch up on previous seasons of current TV, browse the HCPL catalog and see what we have to offer! And if you’re still trying to prep the DVR for the upcoming seasons, check out this handy guide to all the primetime network shows.

Fall TV Picks:

Back to School

lockersAlong with the continued blistering heat, August brings with it the end of lazy summer days and the beginning of a new school year. But if movies have taught us anything, it’s that locker-lined high school hallways are teeming with drama, comedy and romance worth watching. Whether the story is about teenage love or social status, cut-throat sports or academia, the high school years have provided many popular movie topics. Even when these movies don’t seem anything like our own experiences, there are enough similarities to bring back memories of carefree teenage years and the feeling of being on top of the world.

And the 12th Doctor Is…

TARDISLast Sunday after much secrecy and speculation, the BBC finally revealed the actor cast as the 12th Doctor in the popular television show Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi. First airing in 1963, Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction show on TV. It is structured such that the Doctor, a traveler through time and space, regenerates after traumatic experiences, allowing new actors to take over the role. Regenerations and subsequent casting decisions are generally met with mixed emotions and widely varying opinions from fans of the show, and Sunday’s announcement was no different.

A Scottish actor, screenwriter and film director, Peter Capaldi has appeared in a wide range of television shows and movies since the beginning of his career in the early 1980s. He also directed a live action short film (Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life), for which he won an Academy Award in 1995. A multi-talented actor, Capaldi is perhaps best known for his role as the spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in the British TV show The Thick of It, and its spin-off movie In the Loop.

2013 Primetime Emmy Nominations: Comedy

EmmyLast week, the nominations for the 65th Primetime Emmys were announced. As always, they were met with excitement from some and disappointment from others. Every year, it seems that network comedies are less represented in the nominations, but standout favorites like 30 Rock, Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory continue to hold their own against the influx of cutting edge cable comedies. It will be interesting to see if Modern Family (the perennial favorite) or 30 Rock (which just celebrated its final season) can win voters over enough to take home trophies at this year's ceremony.

Below, I have listed all the nominees in the Comedy categories. Who would you like to win? Was your favorite snubbed in this year’s nominations? Let me know in the comments!

Outstanding Comedy Series:

A Robot World

robotThis weekend, Pacific Rim, the next big budget summer movie, hits theaters. Featuring giant robots created and powered by humans to fight an invading alien force, this is just the latest in a long line of films featuring robots. Robots have long fascinated screenwriters because they mirror all parts of the human condition, allowing for social commentary from a new perspective. Often created by man to accomplish tasks, robots can be sweet or terrifying, and can quickly progress from obedient to vindictive. Whether man made or alien, innocent or destructive, robots have captivated audiences for years. 

If you’re in the mood for a robot movie and can’t make it to the theater, browse the HCPL catalog and request a DVD today!

That's a Laugh

movie theaterIt should come as no surprise that moviegoers love a good laugh. So far this summer, three very different comedies have been released in theaters: The Internship (a buddy comedy starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn), This is the End (an apocalyptic comedy), and The Heat (a buddy action comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy). Even many of the big budget action films this summer have had enough funny moments and one-liners to keep audiences laughing. When real life is too overwhelming, we turn to movies for an escape into the light-hearted, the screwball and the gut-bustingly hilarious.

In 2000, the American Film Institute released their list of the 100 funniest American movies: AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs. Below, I have listed some of my favorite titles on the list. What are your favorites? What movies would you add from the years since the list was released?

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