Author Archives: Shows 'N Tunes

The Greatest Showman (2017) PG

greatestshowmanFrom start to finish, The Greatest Showman mesmerizes—from the kaleidoscope of colorful costumes and sets to the catchy musical numbers. It portrays the musical story of P.T. Barnum, magnificently played by Hugh Jackman. The extravaganza starts when he is a poor orphan who falls in love and then marries a girl from a well-to-do, snobby family, Charity (Michelle Williams) and starts a family. Then, he sets out to fulfill his dream of building the greatest show on earth. Barnum hires a dwarf, Tom Thumb, and others with physical abnormalities, such as a giant to attract audiences, but treats them with respect. The moving song, “This is Me”, performed by the bearded lady, Tony nominee Keala Settle, won the 2018 Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Also, “Rewrite the Stars” sung by Barnum’s business partner (Zac Efron) and an African-American trapeze artist (Zendaya) while performing their own aerial stunts reflects their budding romance in the face of prejudices. The Greatest Showman is pure entertainment for school-aged children and adults. There is also a sing-a-long version. Check out The Greatest Showman: original motion picture soundtrack to listen to the incredible songs again.

Spotlight: Fast & Furious Films

the_fast_and_the_furious_dvd_coverLAPD officer Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) has gone undercover to take down a team of street racers, but his loyalties are tested when he has to choose between his job and his love of racing. Throughout the eight movies (so far) in the Fast & Furious series, O’Connor and Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) sometimes race against each other and sometimes with each other, but always in the most tricked out cars possible. While the series may look like just a bunch of fast cars, it actually has a strong message about family and loyalty throughout—but there’s definitely fast cars, heists, shootouts, and everything else you could want from an action flick. My personal favorite is Fast Five, which brings together all of the best characters from the series and sets them on an Ocean’s Eleven style heist and has the best visual tricks. Tokyo Drift (third in the franchise) is a great movie if you don’t want to dedicate yourself to eight movies, but be warned, it’s going to pull at your heartstrings. F&F is infamous for its complicated naming sequence, so here’s a list of the movies in order, including the upcoming 2019 spin-off. Click on the titles to view them in our catalog.
  1. The Fast and the Furious
  2. 2 Fast 2 Furious
  3. Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift
  4. Fast and Furious
  5. Fast Five
  6. Fast and Furious 6
  7. Furious 7
  8. Fate of the Furious
  9. Hobbs & Shaw (in theatres August 2, 2019)

The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band (2010)

laurieberknerIf there is one children's music CD that I absolutely cannot live without, it is The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band. It contains great imaginative songs that kids can play with (Track 4: “We Are the Dinosaurs” and Track 13: “The Goldfish”); update songs with great tempos (Track 1: “Bumblebee” and Track 16: “I Know a Chicken”); and even a fantastic lullaby (Track 6: “Moon, Moon, Moon”). Laurie's website is a great resource to keep us with what she's currently working on. You might recognize her name if you attend our weekly Shake, Shimmy, & Dance program. Either way, make sure that you add it to your checkout list today!  

Aggretsuko (2018) TV-14

aggrestukoMeet Retsuko. She’s just your average red panda accountant, except for one thing. Retsuko has a secret. In order to release all the rage from her humdrum 9-5 job, she performs karaoke death metal. But shh, don’t tell. No one else can know. Experience Retsuko’s life with her and all her friends in Aggretsuko on Netflix! Check out one of our Rokus to use the library’s Netflix subscription.

The Greatest Showman (2017) PG

greatestshowmanA visually stunning original movie musical, The Greatest Showman stars Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. The story follows P. T. Barnum and the origins of the circus, but at its heart, the film is about acceptance and relationships and dreams. Oscar-winning lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the show stopping Oscar-nominated anthem "This is Me" along with so much other memorable music (such as redemption song “From Now On”). After you watch the movie, you’ll definitely want to check out the soundtrack on Hoopla. Check in next month for Mary S.’s take on the film.

Phantom Thread (2017) R

phantom_threadIn 1950s London, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) creates dresses for high society women. He is talented, self-centered, controlling, and oftentimes abusive. His sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) runs his empire and does his dirty work (dismissing his latest muse). After Reynolds meets waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps), she becomes his assistant, muse, and lover. What he doesn’t count on is that she has an iron will, and will do anything to get her own way. Alma makes a plan to gain the upper hand in their relationship. To make him more vulnerable and needy, Alma laces his tea with poisonous mushrooms. She makes him reliant on her, nursing him back to health. Phantom Thread won an Academy Award for costume design. The film was nominated in five other categories, including best picture.

The Florida Project (2017) R

Featuring a cast of mostly amateur actors, and a powerful performance from Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project tells an affectingly real and heartbreaking story. Taking its title from the original name for Walt Disney World, the film focuses on a six-year-old girl named Moonee and her mother Halley, who live just outside the confines of the amusement park. Willem Dafoe plays Bobby, the manager of the run-down motel that Moonee and her mother call home (a role that earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards). While there are moments of levity and humor throughout The Florida Project, the film is, at times, an uncomfortable watch. Not because of any poor directing, acting, or writing; in fact, it is uncomfortable for the exact opposite reasons. The Florida Project presents an unfiltered and amazingly true-to-life look into the effect poverty and dysfunctional family situations can have on young children. Audiences looking for realism, heart, and drama need look no further than The Florida Project, one of the best films of 2017.

Coco (2017) PG

coco_posterCoco is Disney/Pixar's newest movie out on DVD/Blu-Ray and it is spectacular! The animation is crisp and immediately grounds the story in modern-day Mexico before whisking viewers away to the Land of the Dead. The colors and details in the Land of the Dead were vibrant and truly captured the celebratory spirit of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. And this wouldn't be a true Pixar movie without its heart -- family and love and dreams. And bonus -- soaring music! Seriously, check out the CD (or Hoopla). If you're looking for a family movie, add Coco to your list. [Fair warning to those who get teary during movies, this was definitely a two-tissue movie for me!]  

Craft in America (2007-2017)

craftamericaThe PBS series Craft in America presents artists currently working in the U.S.: furniture makers, blacksmiths, weavers, jewelry makers, glass blowers, and more. Often times, artists have learned their craft from parents and grandparents, and it’s inspiring to see that these traditions can be kept alive from generation to generation—the way other skills such as cooking or gardening can be passed down. If you want an inside look at how a craft object is created—from the materials used, and the design process, to the workshop where it all comes together—you’ll want to check out Craft in America!

When We First Met (2018) TV-14

whenwefirstmetNoah (Adam Devine) has been in love with Avery (Alexandra Daddarrio) for three years, but unfortunately, she’s getting married to Ethan (Robbie Amell), the perfect, polite gentleman she met exactly one day after she met Noah. In the middle of a drunken pity party, Noah finds himself in the photo booth he shared with Avery on the night they met and with a quarter and some wishing, he wakes up three years earlier. He repeats this multiple times, a la Groundhog Day, each time changing an aspect about their first date and things go about as well as you’d expect. The only thing that seems to stay the same in each timeline is his friendship with Avery’s best friend, Carrie (Shelley Henning). Fans of rom-coms already know how this story is going to end, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable. Filled with lots of laughs, tender moments, regrettable hairstyle choices (frosted tips in 2017?), and photo strips, When We First Met is a great way to spend an evening. The movie is currently only available on Netflix, but you can watch it now without an account by checking out one of our Rokus from Tech Takeout, giving you access to Netflix, Hulu, and hundreds of movies for 7 days.