Category Archives: Jennifer

Cars (2006) G

As part of my “homework” for an upcoming trip to Disneyland, I finally watched Cars. I can see how this movie has become a favorite for kids and adults alike – with a combination of Pixar animation, talented voice actors (Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, and Larry the Cable Guy, to name a few), humor and action, plus a nostalgic Route 66 setting, there’s something for everyone.

Lightning McQueen (Wilson) is an up-and-coming talented racer with an attitude problem. When he ends up stranded in ramshackle Radiator Springs, he discovers there’s more to life than winning.

Argo (2012) R

Yes, sir. There are only bad options. It’s about finding the best one.

You don’t have a better bad idea than this?

This is the best bad idea we have, sir, by far.

I loved Argo so much that I’ve seen it twice in the past month. The film tells the story of the rescue of six Americans in Tehran who escaped the embassy at the start of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. Despite knowing the end of the tale, you’ll be on the edge of your seat throughout this engaging thriller. Quick-witted, snarky dialogue balances tense situations.

And if you’re wondering how true to real life the Hollywood version is, check out this NPR review from a former White House aide.

If you haven’t seen the Best Picture winner yet (or just want to watch Argo again), join us on Friday, March 15. We’ll start the movie at 7pm and follow with an optional discussion. Sign up here. It’s part two of our Movies & More series featuring Academy Award-nominated films (March 29 is Skyfall).

Trouble with the Curve (2012) PG-13

I loved Trouble with the Curve, a baseball journey featuring an all-star cast. Clint Eastwood is Gus, a stubborn, ailing scout with a job in jeopardy. Amy Adams plays Mickey, his estranged daughter on the fast track of a big law firm. The two embark on a road trip to find the next great baseball star and along the way, meet Johnny (Justin Timberlake) – a former ballplayer, a rival scout, and a love interest for Mickey.

I appreciated seeing another side of the baseball game, plus enjoyed the interaction between the actors (the three mentioned above as well as John Goodman). I’ll definitely watch this one again!

For other baseball movies at Indian Prairie, check out our list. And Spring Training is underway. Are you ready for another season of Chicago baseball?

Spotlight: European Travel

I love to visit Europe. And in between those rare trips, I enjoy learning more about a new place. So whether you’re an armchair traveler or planning your next vacation, we have the DVDs to get you started on the right path.

Samantha Brown hosted Passport to Europe on Travel Channel. Check out the DVDs on France & Italy or England, Ireland, & Scotland. Each set contains 22 minute episodes on different regions in each of the countries listed. As your guide, Brown presents a charming mix of history and entertainment.

And then, of course, there is PBS darling and European travel guru Rick Steves. For the past 40 years, he’s spent about one-third of each year traveling throughout Europe. Take advantage of his expertise by checking out one of the Rick Steves’ Europe DVDs. The 30 minute episodes from 2000 to 2012 traverse the continent from old favorites England and France to newer shows on Sweden and Croatia. See episodes arranged by country with this complete guide to shows.

Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2011)

The worldwide phenomenon dazzles in this live concert at the Royal Albert Hall in her hometown of London, England. Recorded on September 22, 2011, Adele shares stories of her childhood and recent life, discusses the origins of her songs, and flat out entertains the crowd.

You’ll also see behind-the-scenes footage of Adele throughout the day leading up to the concert. Adele has an amazing voice and it is apparent here during the concert as she sings the best of her two albums plus covers a few songs. I especially enjoyed “Rumour Has It,” “Someone Like You,” and “Rolling in the Deep.” And her tribute to Amy Winehouse with Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” was beautiful.

Find the DVD Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall at the library (it includes a CD of her live performances). You can also check out her CDs at the library.

Want more Adele? Tune into NBC on June 5 for an hour-long interview and concert special with Adele and Matt Lauer. Billboard.com previews the event.

Thompson Square by Thompson Square (2010)

This husband-and-wife duo’s debut album features catchy country rock songs. You may have heard their hit single “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” on the radio. Fun lyrics, great music, and complementary voices make Thompson Square a great album to listen to for summer.

They’ve drawn comparisons to Sugarland (and even beat them out for the 2012 Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Duo of the Year), but they have a sound all their own.

Check out a review of the album from The Washington Post. Visit their website for more on Thompson Square.

50/50 (2011) R

In 50/50, a serious topic gets a comedic twist. 27-year-old Adam’s world turns upside down after back pain is diagnosed as spinal cancer. From processing the diagnosis to the reactions of his friends and family, to his chemo treatments and therapy sessions, Adam is a sympathetic character who doesn’t lose his sense of humor. You will laugh and cry.

It’s based on a true story of Seth Rogen and his friend Will Reisern (who wrote the script).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen complement each other in this bromance. Also starring Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Anjelica Huston.

Check out interviews with Joseph Gordon-Levitt from Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post. Also visit NPR for a story on the film.

Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) PG

Set during the 1950s, this black and white film portrays the fear present during McCarthy’s witch hunt for communists. Television newsman Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and his crew of reporters strive to accurately portray the events in the United States. Murrow goes head-to-head with standout Senator Joseph McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee. Interestingly, McCarthy is not portrayed by an actor; instead, archival footage is used throughout the film.

George Clooney plays Fred Friendly, the producer of Murrow’s show. He also wrote the script and co-directed the film. It’s a mesmerizing film that makes you think. I highly recommend it.

Check to see if Good Night, and Good Luck. is on shelf.

Hanna

Hanna (2011) PG-13
Saoirse Ronan (Atonement and The Lovely Bones) shines again in this gripping thriller. She plays the title character Hanna, a 16-year-old girl raised by her father Erik (Eric Bana) in a remote area of Finland. Her entire childhood has been spent training to be the perfect assassin. When she decides she’s ready, Hanna makes her presence known to Marissa (Cate Blanchett), the agent who murdered her mother. In a cat-and-mouse game across Europe, Hanna is chased by Marissa who is followed by Erik. And things aren’t quite as they seem.

Great cinematography, music, and scenery. But beware – there’s a lot of graphic violence. For a more in-depth look at the film, visit the Focus Features website.