Spotlight: Stieg Larsson Films
Get your money’s worth with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. These must-see foreign movies capture the essence of Stieg Larsson’s “best of the bestselling books.” After thoroughly enjoying the Millennium Trilogy, I thoroughly enjoyed the movies. If you have read the books, the subtitles highlight the dialogue making it easier to follow. My only regret is there will not be another book/movie in this series.
Did you know? An American version of the film is in the works starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.
Spotlight: The Mighty Ducks Trilogy (1992, 1994, 1996) PG
I have to admit that my childhood hockey memories aren’t of the Chicago Blackhawks; instead, I remember the Mighty Ducks. Disney’s trilogy follows a ragtag group of kids from a Minnesota peewee league (The Mighty Ducks) to the international junior goodwill games (D2) to a stuffy prep school (D3). Starring Emilio Estevez and Joshua Jackson, the Mighty Ducks movies are fun for the whole family.
Wondering what happened to the actors from the original movie? Check out this slideshow. And if you’re wondering if the Blackhawks will repeat as Stanley Cup Champions, stay tuned…the season starts Thursday!
Spotlight: Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry, author of 29 novels, has also written more than 30 screenplays. Predominantly set in the American Southwest, McMurtry’s works are as much about the place as about the people who live there. The TV miniseries Lonesome Dove (1989) is McMurtry’s epic tale of a cattle drive full of action and unforgettable characters; the book won him the Pulitzer Prize. The story follows two longtime friends and former Texas Rangers, Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae (Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall) at the end of the 1800s. Their lives as cattle ranchers along the Rio Grande have lost the excitement of their younger lawman days so they set off on a long and difficult cattle drive to Montana.
At his best when he thoroughly removes romanticism of the American West, McMurtry’s immense talent takes the myth out of the cowboy legend. His ability to create believable and lovable characters, no matter what the setting, may be the reason his movies are so successful. And McMurtry’s explanation of this phenomenon? “I can write characters that major actors want to play, and that’s how movies get made.”
He is perhaps best known for the film adaptations of his work, especially Hud (1963) (from the novel Horseman, Pass By), starring Paul Newman and Patricia Neal; the Peter Bogdanovich directed The Last Picture Show (1971); and James L. Brooks’s Terms of Endearment (1983), which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1984).
In 2006, he was co-winner (with Diana Ossana) of both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for the screenplay of Brokeback Mountain (2005).
Spotlight: Graham Greene (Part 3 of 3)
Our final Graham Greene film is The Third Man. Also check out his other movies available at Indian Prairie.
The Third Man (1949)
An American writer of pulp westerns (Joseph Cotten) arrives in post-war Vienna to take a job with an old friend, but discovers he has been murdered. Or has he? This classic film noir thriller plays on national loyalties during the Cold War. Orson Welles is prefect as the manipulative Harry Lime, a black market drug dealer and Cotton does a great job as the quintessentially brash American. The underground sewer sequence is extraordinary. The film is scored with a haunting theme by Anton Karas on unaccompanied zither to an eerie effect.
Other Graham Greene films at Indian Prairie:
The Fallen Idol (1948)
This Gun for Hire (1942)
Spotlight: Graham Greene (Part 2 of 3)
Thanks for joining our spotlight on Graham Greene. The second movie we’re highlighting is The End of the Affair.
The End of the Affair (1999) R
During the Blitz of WWII, married Londoner Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore) unexpectedly ends her affair with writer Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes). After a chance meeting with her husband, Henry (Stephen Rea), Bendrix begins to believe Sarah is having another affair. His suspicion causes him to hire a detective (Ian Hart) to follow her, and Bendrix discovers her reasons for breaking off with him is her spiritual reawakening. Compellingly adult drama about love, faith, and moral dilemmas. This is a remake of the 1955 version produced in England with Deborah Kerr, Van Johnson, John Mills, and Peter Cushing.
Spotlight: Graham Greene (Part 1 of 3)
Over the next week, we’ll be highlighting three movies based on Graham Greene novels, plus present a selection of his other movies available at the library. First up is The Quiet American.
The Quiet American (2002) R
Set amidst the communist insurgence of Ho Chi Minh into French-held Indochina, this film is an examination of America’s role in the Vietnam conflict, and how it was perceived by the rest of the world. Michael Caine plays the role of a lifetime as the English journalist Thomas Fowler. He is an aging and cynical correspondent based in 1950s Saigon obsessed with his beautiful young Vietnamese mistress Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen). When she also becomes a romantic object for brash American Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser), Fowler becomes both suspicious and jealous of this do-gooder on a medical mission.
Check back on Tuesday for our next Graham Greene movie!
Spotlight: Katherine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy
The chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy delights viewers, old and new. Blue collar and blue blood ignite the screen still. These three movies stand alone and stand above the gold bar.
Adam’s Rib (1949) is courtroom comedy. It established their reputation as the wittiest, most brilliant couple on screen. It is even better in the light of some modern day duds.
Pat and Mike (1952) continues to illustrate this team in a totally different setting, on the links and off the links. They continue to complement each other like bread and butter.
Desk Set (1957) is the final movie. In their ongoing battle of the sexes, I’m happy to say, everybody wins. I think these movies represent the best of the “oldies.” Enjoy, my friends.
1939 – the most celebrated year in American film history – produced more outstanding films than any other 12-month period. It was impossible for the Academy to nominate or honor all the rich, outstanding films of the year.
Some of the movies that came out that year: Gone With the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Wuthering Heights, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Stagecoach, Destry Rides Again, Dark Victory, Ninotchka, Beau Geste, Gunga Din, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Of Mice and Men and many others.
Quite a list, isn’t it?
TCM commemorates the 70th anniversary of Hollywood’s greatest year with “39 examples of the great filmmaking that abounded in this golden era.” Visit their website for more on 39 movies from 1939.
Spotlight: Horton Foote
Horton Foote is an Academy Award, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning (and Tony Award-nominated) American author and playwright. Perhaps his best known work is his screenplay for To Kill a Mockingbird. Here are two of his other movies that you may enjoy:
Tender Mercies (1982) PG
Mac Sledge is a down-and-out country singer with his own demons. His ex-wife, Dixie, is now making popular the songs that Mac had written and sung. When he befriends a young widow and her son, the friendship provides the support he needs to find happiness and enables him to find the inspiration to resume his career.
A Trip to Bountiful (1985) PG
Set in 1947 Houston, A Trip to Bountiful is a quiet leisurely paced story that’s more character than plot driven. It revolves around Carrie Watt’s escape from the three-room Houston apartment she shares with her son Ludie and daughter-in-law Jessie Mae to revisit Bountiful, the small Texas town of her youth, which she still refers to as “home.” After several near-misses, Mrs. Watts makes a successful escape and her last trip home.
Spotlight: Tim Burton
The decidedly quirky talents of director Tim Burton bring a unique pop culture sensibility to his work. From his debut film (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) to his latest (Sweeney Todd), his movies have an engagingly bizarre look and humor about them. I appreciate his knack for visual wit. Some of the films have the added pleasure of feature scores by Danny Elfman or a performance by Johnny Depp. Try one or all of these: