Movies & TV

A Comparative Look at the 2017 Movie Awards Season

oscarEarlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards. Honoring achievements in film, the Oscars are the culmination of the film awards season, following on the heels of the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA Awards), the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the various guild awards (Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild, and Directors Guild).

Below, I have compiled a list of movies, directors, actors and actresses who have been nominated for each of the awards listed above. Personally, I like breaking down the awards in this fashion because it allows me to easily see trends and make predictions for which movies might win at the Academy Awards in February. To make filling out my annual Oscar party ballot even easier, the winners for some of these awards have already been announced. In these instances, the award is noted in bold.

For a look at the entire list of nominations for each award show, visit the Academy Award website, the BAFTA Awards website, the Critics' Choice Awards website, the Golden Globe Awards website, the Producers Guild Awards website, the Directors Guild Awards website, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards website.

Best Film:

New Year’s Expectations…

It happens every year.  Somewhere or another you’ll find a cartoon depicting the old year as a very old man with a long beard – and the new year as a baby.

The idea of using a baby to represent a new year goes back to the 19th century.  Maybe even further back.  And it’s easy to understand why.  Babies are a new beginning.  A new life.  And for those involved in that life, a new way of looking at the world.  New joy.  And challenges.

Debbie Reynolds (1932-2016) and Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)


It was a shock to those of a certain age.  Maybe to everyone. 

Christmas is Here Again!

santaWe are days away from Christmas! I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for the holiday. For one thing, I haven’t watched nearly enough Christmas movies. I’ve been so busy with all of the other things associated with Christmas – decorating, baking cookies, attending get-togethers with friends and family, shopping for presents and wrapping presents – that I just haven’t had the time. Oh, I’ve watched some of my favorites (White Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Miracle on 34th Street – just to name a few), but I certainly haven’t reached my quota of cheesy Christmas romances.

Fortunately, even when the library is closed (as it will be this holiday weekend), there is always Hoopla, one of HCPL’s digital catalogs that allows customers to stream movies, music and eBooks to their computer or mobile device. Hoopla has a wide selection of Christmas movies to choose from. Some, like Holiday Inn and Babes in Toyland, are Christmas classics. Others, like The Snowman and How to Catch an Elf, are geared toward children. And there are plenty of Christmas romances to choose from for those who haven’t already seen their fill this season.

All of the movies listed below are available to stream through Hoopla. Check out Hoopla, and find a good movie to watch this holiday weekend. Make sure you also browse the Christmas tag on Hoopla and our other digital catalogs to find Christmas books and music, too!

Christmas Angels

It’s a moment we remember in the Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life.  Guardian angel Clarence Odbody laments the fact that he does not have wings.  And his big chance to earn his wings is by showing George Bailey that life is worth living, no matter what.  Clarence tells George, “Every time a bell rings, an angel get his wings.”

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.

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