Movies & TV

A Murder of Crime Dramas

I am a huge fan of TV - particularly of procedural crime dramas. For years, my favorite TV show has been Criminal Minds and I’ve watched the series so many times that I can pretty much place any episode within the first five minutes. (I honestly don’t know whether that’s a silly skill to be proud of, or if I need to find a better use for my time.) During the regular television season, I spend most of my TV time watching the whole gamut of network crime shows: NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, Criminal Minds, Person of Interest and Elementary. But once the season finales air, I have to explore new TV options to fill the summer hiatus.

Although crime dramas are hugely popular on TV, they don’t all fit the same mold. Some are fairly formulaic, yes, but many bring something extra to the viewing experience. Sometimes it’s a plot full of twists and turns or a case that lasts the whole season; at other times it’s a unique detective or interesting setting. Last night, in my quest, I started watching Longmire, which features a Wyoming county sheriff who solves major crimes. With its rural setting, sweeping landscapes, and a sheriff reminiscent of classic Westerns, it’s a compelling show that fills the gap in my TV schedule.

If you’re looking for a new show to watch this summer, I have listed out some non-network crime dramas below. Each of these shows has multiple seasons and would make for a great summer binge session.

When We Were Kings, a documentary film will be screened @ 6:30 pm on June 28th, 2016 in the Earl Elliot Room.

It's 1974, Muhammed Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Forman is ten years younger and the Heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a backer in Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire and the "Rumble in the Jungle" is set.

   

80 Years Ago...

A funny thing happened on my way to this week’s blog.  I was mulling over writing about some old movies, because I like to suggest/encourage/urge people to see more of the past treasures of Hollywood.  Whenever I tune into Turner Classic Movies, as long as the film is black & white, I’ll stop to see what it is, who is starring in it, and what it’s about.  And very often, I’ll find a new old treasure to enjoy.

Dogtown and Z-Boys, a documentary film will be screened @ 6:30 pm on June 21st, 2016 in the Earl Elliot Room.

Dogtown and Z-boys is a 2005 documentary about a group of kids who virtually revolutionized skateboarding with an aggressive style,  awe-inspiring moves and street smarts, and in the process, transformed youth culture forever. Captures the rise of the Zephyr skateboarding team from Venice's Dogtown, a tough "locals  only" beach with a legacy of outlaw surfing, who used abandoned swimming pools to sharpen their skills.

 

SHOWTIME

Partners in Crime

It should come as no surprise that I have a great fondness for mysteries and, particularly, cop shows and movies.  From lighter fare to dark thrillers, I’ve enjoyed watching the good guys take on the bad guys.  That might come from my earliest years watching Perry Mason.  Then moving on to The Streets of San Francisco, Dragnet, Adam-12, Columbo, the original Hawaii Five-O.  Of course all of those series have one big thing in common: all the crime solvers were men.

Undefeated, a documentary film will be screened @ 6:30 pm on June 7th, 2016 in the Earl Elliot Room.

 

No hope. No future. Until a football season united a team and revealed the character that turned them into heroes. Undefeated is the   inspiring and moving tale of three   underprivileged student-athletes from  Inner-city Memphis and the volunteer coach, Bill Courtney, trying to help them beat the odds on and off the field.

Date: June, 7th 2016
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Earl Elliot Room (1st floor)
Rating:  PG-13

 

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!

The Best at Being Bad

An odd thing has begun at the Disney theme parks.  More and more these days, there is a salute to the villains of Disney movies.  The Evil Queen.  Captain Hook.  Maleficent.  Ursula.  Gaston.  Mother Gothel.  Cruella de Vil.  Jafar.  Believe it or not, these bad guys have their own fans.  I’ll admit that I have a favorite: Ursula -- though Mother Gothel is a close second.  My best friend is a Maleficent fan.  We’ve even said how much we’d love to see the stage show of villains at Walt Disney World.

Adult Movie Mania

Join us on Monday, May 23, 2016 @ 1:30 pm for a recently released inter-galactic box office hit. This may or may not be your first time watching it, either way " May the Force Be With You".  For movie title please call the branch at 713-941-2385. Film is Rated PG-13, Duration 136 minutes. Program is recommended for adults only.

The Heart of the Game, a documentary film will be screened @ 6:30 pm on August 2nd, 2016 in the Earl Elliot Room.

This passionate and inspirational  documentary goes up close and personal to capture the Roosevelt Roughriders girls'  basketball team during six turbulent  seasons, taking us far beyond the court to the unbridled desire to make history.

SHOWTIME
Date: August  2nd,  2016
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Earl Elliot Room (1st floor)
Rating: PG-13

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