Recently in Television and Film Category

So I Finally Got To See The "5th Wave" Movie!

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WAVE2.pngI'm going to assume that if you're reading this blog post, you've already read the Rick Yancey book The 5th Wave and have either seen the film, or haven't gotten to a theatre yet.  Partially due to poor reviews, and the snow storm we had two weekends ago, the film's box office outlook looks dire. Anyway, expect some spoilers.

The film wasn't bad.  The producers had to condense some scenes and eliminate others (like the backstories of the members of Zombie's squad, for example).  But the film pretty much captured the sinister, unsettling tone of Rick Yancey's book. 

The script is credited to three screenwriters, which isn't always a good sign.  The shifts in characters' POVs is a little more jarring than it was in the book.  But director J Blakeson keeps the film's pace  from slackening. (The sluggishness of the scenes at Evan's farm are pretty much similar in tone to the parallel ones in the book, though.)    

The cast, headed by the strong (if slightly one note) Chloe Grace Moretz as main protagonist Cassie Sullivan, is fine.  I especially liked Nick Robinson, who captured well the awkwardness of Zombie/Ben Parish's situation, having  himself suddenly ejected from his high school's BMOC status to one of a nervous (but ultimately resourceful), desperate soldier. 

Maika Monroe was terrific as Ringer, but Alex Roe as Evan was kind of blah. (His bathing scene in the woods, while Cassie secretly watches him, is unintentionally hilarious.)    And Liev Schreiber (Colonel Vosch) and Maria Bello (Sergeant Reznik) both perfectly captured their respective characters' slimy underhandedness. 

The film's climax is exciting (the aliens' army base blows up REAL good!) and sets things up for the hopefully forthcoming sequel.  Despite it's flaws, The 5th Wave is an exciting thriller.  Check it out!

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Did Anybody Get To See "The 5th Wave" Film Yet?

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The movie version of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave came out this weekend, right before Winter Storm Jonas hit.  Not surprisingly, it didn't do too great at the box office.  (I had an excuse; I was trapped in my apartment.) 

Anyway, how many of you were looking forward to seeing the film?  I thought the book was a solid science fictional/action/adventure thriller with a sinister undercurrent of danger.  So far I'm halfway through the second book in the trilogy, The Infinite Sea, and I'm looking forward to the new one, The Last Star, out this May. 

Click here  to reserve copies of the first two books from us if you haven't read them yet (or want to re-read them again).  Hopefully I'll have a review of the film soon. 

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Thanks to  the Fuse TV site, anybody wanting to know about the cast, crew, and overall production of this Friday's Star Wars: The Force Awakens can click here for info. It includes, stats, TV & movie trailers, AND a list of upcoming spin off and sequels!  This is something no true Jedi Knight can do without!

Now let's hope the new film's really good...

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WHOINLONDON.png(Above image is from our Twitter page. Click on it to see it more clearly.)  

Judging by the number of likes we get on our Teen Facebook page when we run something on a certain Time Lord, we find that there are a LOT of Doctor Who fans out there!  So you probably know that the new (12th or 13th?*) Doctor, Peter Capaldi, makes his debut on BBCAmerica tomorrow night (Saturday August 23rd) at 8:00 pm est.  Here's a preview.

Let us know what you think of the first new episode through our comments section or via our Facebook and Twitter pages..  Would you like us to have some more Doctor Who related programs here at the library?  And if you want us to get more episodes on DVD in our collection, click here

*Don't forget John Hurt's "War Doctor".

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Beautiful Creatures

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BCjacket.pngFebruary 14, Valentine's Day, is also opening day for a new film Beautiful Creatures.  Based on a book written for Young Adults by Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures tells the story of a Lena, a girl who moves to South Carolina with her family.  Lena's family are "Casters" who are all endowed with witch-like powers. On her upcoming sixteenth birthday, Lena will learn if she will become a creature of the darkness or a creature of the light.  Feeling like an outsider in a new town, Lena falls in love with a boy named Ethan, with whom she shares a psychic connection that spans back to the Civil War.  If you're a fan of Twilight or supernatural romance, be sure to  check out this award winning title and of course, see the film. View the trailer below.


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"Red Tails"

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2-3-2012 10-18-18 AM.pngJust in time for African American History Month, the recently released "Red Tails" is a terrific film based, somewhat loosely, on the exploits of the Tuskegee pilots  who fought the Nazi Luftwaffe (air force) during World War II.  The film, which uses John B. Holway's book "Red Tails Black Wings" as it's source, is about the 332nd Fighter Group, African American USAAF pilots stationed in Italy during 1944, as they, under the command of Colonel Bullard (Terence Howard) and Major Stance (Cuba Gooding Jr.), try to overcome such trials as outdated aircraft and racism from other squadrons, and see some actual combat. 

The film main focus is on the pilots, especially their squadron leader, Captain "Easy" Julian (Nate Parker), who has to cope with both his personal demons and the reckless behavior of his best friend and fellow flyer "Lightning" Little (David Oyelowo).  Meanwhile, Colonel Bullard has to deal with ignorant generals back in Washington who don't think "negro" pilots are competent.  Things look up when the squadron finally gets new aircraft and is ordered to support American bomber planes on their runs, but will internal conflicts (including one pilot's possible eye injury) tear the men apart?

Historical content aside, "Red Tails" has some genuinely exciting and suspenseful aerial battles that'll keep you on the edge of your seat.  There's a sappy romantic subplot between Lightning and an Italian woman (Daniela Ruah) that kind of slows down the narrative, but the main story of how the 332nd overcame the obstacles they faced is much more compelling, not just because it's true, but also because it highlights the actual bravery and heroism of these brave pilots.  Director Anthony Hemingway, screenwriters John Ridley and Aaron McGruder, and especially exec producer George Lucas (who may have reshot several scenes during post-production) are to be commended for bringing this inspiring story to the screen.

"Red Tails" (the title refers to the tails of the 332nd's planes, which they had painted red, to stand out) is still playing in Stamford and other areas.  Check it out if you get a chance. 

Comic Con 2011: Adventure Time & Regular Show

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Adventuretime2.pngHere's Everett's observations on the 2011 NY Comic Con:
 
One of my absolute favorite highlights from this year's New York Comic Con was attending the Cartoon Network panel featuring the creators behind Adventure Time and The Regular Show. Both shows represent a new breed of cartoon; one which combines an extreme, nearly lysergic amount of imagination while exploiting hip, popular culture references at every turn. In little over a year from their first being aired, they have developed rabid followings amongst the young and old. This was well represented by the crowd of hundreds of diehard fans (many in full costume) who waited over an hour for the panel to begin.
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"Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark"

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7-21-2011 4-25-08 PM.pngAfter so many months of hearing rumors and goofy stories about its troubled production, I finally managed to see the new musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" last night at the Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway.  And guess what?  It wasn't bad! 

In fact, SMTOTD is a fast paced, entertaining production with earnest performances, good dance choreography and inventive, if sometimes garish, set design.  Special thanks has to go to the nine stuntmen who doubled for the show's star Reeve Carney. They (and Carney during the climax) showed real bravery in literally swinging over the Foxwoods stage from great heights attached to a reasonably secure harness.  (And sitting in the balcony where I was, well, you haven't lived till you see someone in a Spider-Man costume in front of you dive off towards the stage below!)  Their important contribution to the show, bringing real honest suspense and excitement  to nightly audiences, cannot be overlooked.

The plot, taken mostly from the first two Tobey Macguire/Spider-Man films, revolves around young nerd Peter Parker (Carney) who gets bitten by a genetically enhanced spider and develops spider-like powers, which he uses to fight crime.  Meanwhile, harassed scientist Norman Osborne (Patrick Page) tying to save both his comapny and marriage, metamorphs into the Green Goblin and proceeds to spread terror around NYC. Osborne even creates his own badguy squad by mutating his former business enemies as the "Sinister Six".  Can Spider-Man stop these villians and still keep his girlfriend Mary Jane (played this particular evening by Kristen Martin)?  And what part does the fallen goddess Arachne  (Jodi McFadden) play? 

Carney, Page and Martin, along with Michael Mulheren as "Daily Bugle" publisher J.Jonah Jameson, give enthusiastic performances, both acting and musically-wise.  They've got great "pipes"!  As noted earlier, the production's pacing is fast, but there are some drawbacks, such as the goofy-looking costumes the Goblin and his creations wear.  The much-publicized  score by U2's Bono and The Edge is so-so; the instrumental passages are good in invoking suspense, but the songs, with maybe the exception of "Bullying by Numbers" in the first act, do not stand out.  (Also count the number of times a certain rock group's songs are referenced during the show.) And is there a really good reason why Spider-Man co-creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko aren't mentioned in the credits?  

Otherwise, "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" is a lot of fun.  Check it out this summer before heading back to school. 

"Green Lantern": The Review

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7-6-2011 12-14-10 PM.pngThis summer has seen three big Hollywood films (Thor; X-Men: First Class; Green Lantern) based on comic book superheroes released in theatres with a fourth one, Captain America, due out on July 22.  Greenwich Library will be showing the animated 2006 Ultimate Avengers film on July 21, one day before the Cap film opens (details here).  Face it, there's no getting away from the superheroes!

Of the films released so far this summer, Green Lantern was supposed to have made a big impact on the box office.  The projected first installment in a potentially long running movie series, based on this classic character, Green Lantern the movie just doesn't make the grade. 

 

In a nutshell, the film has way too much going on.  We got the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force run by the Guardians of the Universe (and possibly based on this classic science fiction series), that covers the 3500-plus sectors of the galaxies who lose some of their own when the evil Parallax (a former Guardian) wiped them out.  One of the dying Lanterns, Abin Sur, bequethes his power ring & lantern to an Earthman, cocky but lovable (I guess) test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), who has his own problems.  Later, part of Parallex's DNA from Sur's body is injected into the body of scientist (and Hal's rival for the affections of Carol Ferris, played by Blake Lively) Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) during an autopsy. Hector starts getting (and looking) weird.   

Meanwhile, Green Lantern Sinestro (Mark Strong) disses Hal, causing the latter to quit the Corps after a brief training session on the Guardians' home planet, Oa.  (For some reason, Hal gets to keep the ring & lantern.)  While Hal files around on Earth doing good & staring at his navel, Sinestro tries to rally the other members of the Corps to attack Parallex all together.  And where's Parallex during all this?  On his way to Earth, where... But I've said too much already.

Green Lantern the movie has enough plot for three or four films.  There was no reason, aside from making the fans of the character happy, to cram so much detail into the film.  The two leads, Reynolds and Lively, lack presence and charisma, there's too much busy stuff going on, and by the time you get to the end, you're worn out.  Director Martin Campbell, who's done better movies (GoldenEye; Mask of Zorro; Casino Royale) and the four (!) credited screenwriters never get a good handle on the characters and situations. If the producers hope this film will spark a long running series, they're mistaken.  Green Lantern has lots of neat special effects and an inherent sense of adventure, but it's overcomplicated storyline and rushed pace will turn off the average moviegoer and potential fan. Here's hoping the Captain America film does better.    

 

Thursdays are for Teens - Twilight the Movie

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twilight3.pngGreenwich Library will be showing Twilight (2008) on Thursday, August 26, at 2:00 pm in the second floor Meeting Room.  Director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter  Melissa Rosenberg's streamlined adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's first "Twilight Saga" novel centers on the initially hesitant but eventually passionate (within PG-13 bounds) romance between high school juniors Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and the strange, seemingly awkward/hostile/insightful Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).  As everybody knows by now, one (?) of the big complications in this budding but troubled romance is that Edward's been a vampire for the last two centuries.  Plus, in this installment, there's the little matter of strange, savage killings occurring outside the town of Folks, where Bella, Edward, and their family and friends reside.

 But underneath all that, Twilight is really about other stuff.  There's Bella, the new kid in town, trying to fit in, and Edward, because of his situation, who's always going to be the "new kid" wherever he settles.  There are all the various social structures (school; family) that teens, on the verge of adulthood like Bella, must contend with.  More importantly, there's the theme about how teens like Bella and Edward are able to meet whatever dangers confront them through their mutual love and support, as well as that from their families.  (Edward's family may be all vampires like him, but besides curbing their blood lust so nobody will be killed or "turned", they also stand up for each other plus Bella and the locals -and remember, Edward's adoptive dad is the town doctor.) 

 (BTW Did I mention how cool Edward's family is?  Imagine being able to play baseball at night the way they do!)

 Of course there's also Bella and Edward's attraction, sexual and otherwise, to each other.  For Bella, Edward is The First.  But Edward, fearful of losing control and spreading his "curse" to Bella, refrains from any kind of physical contact towards her.  (And although it's not mentioned directly here, I get the feeling Edward's been through this "first love" stuff before.) As a result, both are somewhat wary and awkward around each other, afraid to say or do the wrong thing.  If that isn't an obvious metaphor for adolescent first love, I don't know what is. 

 Despite all this heavy context stuff, Twilight is also a lot of fun.  There's humor (the kids at school and their various shenanigans are a lot like the ones I remember at that age), action (the scenes between Bella, Edward and the creatures responsible for the previous aforementioned killings outside town)  and horror (the various killings, also toned down for the PG-13 rating, plus the exciting climax).   There's also  genuinely poignant  moments  as well, like Bella's reconnecting with her dad, her meeting with Edward's  family, Edward risking losing Bella to save her during the climax, and Bella and Edward at the prom.  To this middle aged horror film fan, Twilight may skimp a little on the thrills, but what it doesn't lack is a genuine heart. 

 Please come and watch Twilight this Thursday at 2.  You won't be sorry. 

 

-Ed

Greenwich Library Teens

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