Movies & TV

Cooling Off

It’s summertime in Houston.  And that means one thing: it’s hot.

It’s REALLY hot!

I’ve lived in Texas a long time.  Every year I'm probably like a lot of people who think, “I'll never get used to this!”  And, yet, we do seem to adjust – however little bit – to summer temps.

Of course, it’s nice to just get somewhere with air conditioning and have a cold drink and think cool thoughts.

67th Primetime Emmy Nominations

emmyLast week, the nominations for the Primetime Emmys were announced. Honoring excellence in primetime television, the Emmys are highly anticipated by those in the field and those of us who simply love television. As a self-professed lover of all things TV, the Emmys align perfectly with my interests.

Like most years at the Emmys, there are many familiar titles and faces nominated in the comedy and drama categories. Because of the multi-season nature of most television shows, this makes sense. This sort of repetitive nomination pattern is less likely to happen at, for example, the Oscars, where new movies are released in theaters each year, starring different actors and actresses, and written, directed and produced by different people. In television, a show might be nominated every year it runs, like Modern Family, or it might receive a nomination its first season, only to be replaced in future years by the next big show.

This year, however, there are a number of new names amongst the nominations. The Lead Actress in a Drama category is a prime example of this, with three new faces including Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson, both strong, talented actresses who made the switch from movies to television, and Tatiana Maslany, who is finally nominated for her third season of incredible work on Orphan Black. This year also sees an increase in television produced by streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon. It will be interesting to see how this new format of television continues to impact the field in years to come.

With such an eclectic group of nominees, I, for one, am curious how the votes might fall this year. Will the Emmys go to the familiar faces in television, or will the new shows and faces be recognized for their addition to Primetime television?

Below, I have listed the nominees in the drama and comedy categories for Outstanding Series, Lead Actor and Actress, and Supporting Actor and Actress. Who would you like to see win an Emmy this year?

Omar Sharif (1932-2015)

Last week saw the passing of fine actor.

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

sharkHappy Shark Week! In 1988, the very first Shark Week, an annual event that offers movies and documentaries that promote shark awareness, premiered on the Discovery Channel. Now in its 28th year, Shark Week is more popular than ever.

Of course, this fascination with sharks didn’t start with Shark Week. Thirteen years previously in 1975, Jaws was released to massive critical and fan acclaim. With masterful direction by Steven Spielberg, a script co-written by Peter Benchley (who wrote the novel the film was based on) and Carl Gottlieb, an ominous main theme by John Williams, and memorable performances by stellar actors and an often-faulty mechanical shark, Jaws has become not only a cult classic, but one of the greatest movies of the twentieth century.

Since that time, sharks have repeatedly served as the inspiration for movies – often in a slightly campy, yet terrifying capacity. In fact, many a sci fi creature feature has starred an outrageously unrealistic shark terrorizing beachgoers. But that’s not to say that sharks can’t be friendly. In Pixar’s Finding Nemo, for example, the sharks are learning that “fish are friends, not food!” No matter the role, sharks remain a familiar feature in movies.

If you’re in the mood for a shark movie or two, but missed some of this year’s Shark Week programming, the library has you covered! Check out the list below and request a shark movie today!

TEEN MOVIE TIME

Teens join us Monday, July 13, at 2:30 p.m. for a movie featuring a band of high-tech superheroes.  And, of course, there will be plenty of snacks.  For ages 10 and up.

American History and the Fourth of July

This weekend we Americans celebrate the birth of our country.  In fact, this is our 239th birthday.  I remember the excitement of the Bicentennial in 1976 and hope to be around for the Sestercentennial in 2026.  But, to tell the truth, I find every Independence Day to be exhilarating.

James Horner (1953-2015)

Music brings something special to movies.  Certain film scores bring memories of favorite movie scenes and the emotions those scenes evoked.  Think of Kevin Costner’s Ray Kinsella playing catch with his dad in Field of Dreams.  Or Sam Wort

Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

Last week, we lost a fine actor with the passing of Sir Christopher Lee.  During his long career, he gave us one outstanding performance after another.  We probably know him best for his villainous roles, from

Undercover

secretsEarlier this week, I finished watching the first season of Graceland, a current television show about a group of undercover federal agents living and working out of a government-seized beach house in California. The show is addictive, suspenseful and smart, with secrets and lies in every storyline. By the end of the season, my opinions about each character had changed so many times that I wasn’t quite sure who to trust. 

The world of undercover cops and federal agents has long been a source of inspiration for filmmakers. Audiences are fascinated by the idea of cultivating an undercover identity and infiltrating the criminal underworld. There is danger at every turn, secrets to guard and to uncover, and even the smallest misstep can lead to the very real possibility of exposure. Movies about undercover work not only give us a sneak peek into the criminal world, but into the psychology of what it might be like to live a lie. In nearly every undercover movie, there is a point where viewers worry the character might have crossed over the line and is in danger of becoming the very person they are trying to catch. It is this delicate balance between good and evil that invites filmmakers and audiences to explore the world of undercover cops time and again.

Of course, not every movie about undercover cops is dark and suspenseful. Some of them, like Miss Congeniality and 21 Jump Street, take a funnier, more light-hearted approach to undercover work. These movies may not delve as deeply into the psychology of undercover, but they certainly have their place.

If you’re in the mood for an undercover movie this weekend, browse the HCPL catalog and request one today!

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

San AndreasIn my years enthusiastically discussing movies with everyone I meet, I have noticed that even when people have wildly different tastes in films, they always (and this is a blatant generalization) agree on one thing: The Rock. Everyone loves The Rock. He is effortlessly cool and charismatic, imposing in stature, but an overall nice guy with a strong work ethic and a healthy appreciation for his fans.

Despite his immense popularity as an actor, Dwayne Johnson (better known as The Rock) didn’t start out in movies. In college, he played football for the University of Miami and had dreams of eventually going pro. But after a series of injuries left him benched, he turned to professional wrestling, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. The first third-generation professional wrestler for the WWF, Johnson quickly made a name for himself in the ring. 

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