Movies

Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and Folklore – Revisited and Retold

We all grew up with the stories, so we know them backward and forward.  But in the past few years, some writers have taken those stories and turned them inside out, upside down, and sideways.

Usually when Hollywood decides to make or remake (or remake and remake!) a fairy tale or fantasy novel or folklore, the story stays basically the same.  Walt Disney stayed close to original sources, though he softened some parts of the stories and even introduced some original characters.

Here, There Be Dragons

dragonOpening this weekend in theaters is a movie I have been looking forward to seeing for months: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the newest addition to the Harry Potter universe created by J.K. Rowling. This chapter in the franchise follows Newt Scamandar and his briefcase full of magical creatures through the magic community in 1920s New York City. This film not only gives Harry Potter fans a look at the magic community in the United States, but it brings focus to the magical creatures, some of which were not even introduced in the original series.

One of my favorite magical creatures to see on film is, of course, the dragon. Although there may not be dragons in Fantastic Beasts (I’ll report back once I’ve seen the movie!), these creatures did feature in three of the original Harry Potter films: with Norbert in Sorcerer’s Stone, during the Triwizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire, and at Gringott’s in Deathly Hollows: Part 2. Each of these dragons played a unique and crucial role in Harry’s journey.

Of course, dragons aren’t exclusive to Harry Potter films. In fact, dragons have featured in many films in the past 40 years. In some movies, like Reign of Fire, the dragon is decidedly the enemy of mankind, while in others dragons and humans work together. Often, the dragon is a serious or destructive force, as in The Hobbit. But, dragons also appear as humorous sidekicks or companions, as in Mulan. No matter the physical appearance or their role in the plot, dragons continue to be a popular magical creature in films.

If you’re in the mood for a movie featuring dragons this weekend, check out the list below and request a movie today! What’s your favorite dragon movie?

Politics and Elections and Comedy

On Tuesday, November 8, the United States will elect a new president.  It’s a big day for our country.  And it’s been a long, winding, doozy of a campaign this time.  No matter what happens, this election will make history.

But, as I said, this has been a long campaign.  Even though it will be over soon, maybe you can use a break from all the drama and -- inadvertent comedy -- of this past year with some actual real comedy about politics and politicians -- and sometimes their families.

What is Your Favorite Halloween Movie?

jack o' lanternsIt may seem hard to believe, thanks to the last lingering summer temperatures, but Halloween is only two days away! For many people the last few days before Halloween are always busily spent prepping costumes, attending parties, and buying (and eating!) candy for trick-or-treaters. They are also the perfect time to watch favorite Halloween movies.

Interestingly, Halloween movies come in all forms. Many of them are horror movies, but even those fall in different places along the scary movie scale. Some, like the version of Dracula from 1931, aren’t really scary at all, while others, like The Conjuring are far too scary to watch alone. Some movies, like Ghostbusters and Young Frankenstein, are more humorous than they are scary, and still others, like Monster House and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, are family friendly Halloween movies. No matter your level of appreciation for the holiday, there is a Halloween movie for everyone.

What is your must-watch movie for Halloween? Vote for your favorite in the poll below! Don’t see your movie listed? Share your pick in the comments!

Flickr CC: Jack-o’-lanterns Photo by: William Warby

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From Page to Screen in 2016

fantastic beastsOver the years, I have attended many Q&A’s with popular authors. No matter who the author or what type of book they write, they are nearly always asked to talk about where they find inspiration. This question can also easily be applied to screenwriters and, like authors, I am sure they find inspiration in everything around them. Whether in their own lives or in world events, complete fantasy or rooted in reality, screenwriters (and authors!) can turn even the most simple of ideas into a beautiful, complete story.

But screenwriters also find inspiration in the written word. In fact, movies based on books are so popular, that the Oscars have separated the screenplay category into two awards: original and adapted.  Each year there are more and more movies released in theaters that are based on books, and this year is no exception. 2016 has seen movies based on Young Adult novels, classic literature, literary fiction, genre fiction, and nonfiction.

Avid readers will understand why books are so often turned into movies. Some books are so stunningly descriptive that the words on the page are practically begging to be transformed into a visual format. And some books are full of so much creativity and imagination that turning them into a movie enhances the story.

The question then becomes, if a movie is made out of your favorite book, do you go see it? Personally, I have had this happen with a few books and, I admit, I haven’t had the courage to see the movie versions of all of them. On the other hand, there have been books I wasn’t particularly attached to that have become some of my favorite movies. Sometimes a difference in presentation makes all the difference.

Below, I have put together a list of some of the 2016 movie releases based on books. Click on the author to request a copy of the book and, when possible (because some of the movies aren’t yet out on DVD), click on the title to request a copy of the movie.

Watch a Banned Book today!

September 25, 2016-October 1, 2016 is Banned and Challenged Books Week. 

It is no surprise that many of these titles are well loved by many, and have been made into great films.  This list includes classic literature, children’s books and contemporary fiction titles. Treat yourself to a movie based on a banned or challenged book today!

There are many more movies based on banned books. Which one is your favorite?

The Great Gatsby In 1920s Long Island, a mysterious American millionaire's efforts to recapture the sweetheart of his youth result in tragedy.  There are two great versions of this film.  One released in 2013, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, and one released in 1974, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

Star Trek

Fifty years ago, a phenomenon was born.  A television series embraced and enjoyed to this day.

Star Trek.

There’s probably not much new about this series that I could relate here.  It’s known around the world.  But for those who may not be as familiar with the Original Series and its numerous spinoffs, here’s a bit of background.

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" 4:30 Monday Sept.12

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" movie on Monday, September 12 @ 4:30 PM in the Octavia Fields Library Meeting Room. All are welcome.  Free Popcorn from Deerbrook Movie Tavern.

Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

It doesn’t matter if there was a remake a few years ago.  For most of us there’s only one Willy Wonka. 

Gene Wilder.

I Am A Librarian!

librarianIn 1999, the action-adventure film The Mummy was released in theaters. It opened to middling critical reception, but, ultimately, was a box office success. I remember seeing it at the movie theater shortly after it was released and enjoying it immensely. Since then, it has become one of my favorite movies and is, in my opinion, a perfect genre film.

In The Mummy, Brendan Fraser plays Rick O’Connell, an erstwhile adventurer who agrees to lead Evelyn, a librarian and Egyptologist played by Rachel Weisz, and her brother to the lost city of Hamunaptra. Of course, things don’t go as planned – they never do when you accidentally raise a cursed mummy from the dead. One of my favorite pieces of dialogue in the movie occurs while Evelyn is talking to Rick:

  • Evelyn: Look, I... I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
  • Rick: And what is that?
  • Evelyn: I... am a librarian!

As a librarian myself, I have always loved this piece of dialogue. Librarians don’t often show up in movies, and when they do, they are generally written to the old stereotype: stuffy, staid, and grouchy. Evelyn isn’t like that at all, and it makes for a refreshing change of pace. While I don’t necessarily want to go off and battle reanimated mummies, I do appreciate that someone thinks that I could with my librarian know-how.

Below, I have put together a list of movies that feature a librarian or other library staff member. Some of these movies hammer straight through the stereotypes, while others embrace them. Either way, it is fun to see what Hollywood imagines my job!

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