Shows 'N Tunes: Movie, Music, and Game Reviews

At First Sight

At First Sight (1999, rated PG-13) starring Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino is a slow-moving, tender love story that shows that blind people are not completely helpless. Virgil has been blind since early childhood. He meets Amy, who he likes and she reciprocates those feeling. Virgil has a new surgery to help him regain his vision, and his life changes drastically. He experiences unexpected problems of suddenly seeing and not knowing how to handle his new vision.

All and all, At First Sight is a feel-good movie worth watching. Place the dvd on hold or check it out on Hoopla today.


Coherence

Mike and Lee are having friends over for dinner tonight. It's also the night Miller's comet will pass near the Earth. Smartphones crack, the Internet goes out, and then all power is lost. Mike has a generator which restores the lights. The landscape outside is dark except for one house in the distance with the lights on. Despite having been warned by a physicist friend to stay inside during the comet event, two of the party take glow sticks and attempt to visit the other house.

Then it really starts getting weird. This is one of those movies you have to watch over again to notice the clues you missed the first time. Don't look for car chases, fiery explosions, or gunfights. Coherence (2013) is more of a thought-provoking suspense puzzle.

I really liked Coherence and always recommend it when I'm asked for a good movie: you can place a hold on the dvd or watch it on Hoopla today.

Amelie

This quirky French comedy very loosely parallels the plot of Jane Austen's Emma. The title character is a cute young waitress with a vivid imagination who comes to realize her joy at helping others. There is no end to the outlandish stratagems that Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is plotting, but will she be able to find love for herself ?

Amelie (2001, rated R) is a fun film with plenty of computer-generated visuals, giving it a unique and farcical feel. Watch the film on Hoopla today. In French with English subtitles.


Still Life

The little village in Quebec is the scene of an inexplicable murder of a beloved resident.  This murder leads police to suspect murder in an earlier death originally thought to be of natural causes.  The investigation fosters suspicion, recriminations, and attempted murders to hide the truth.

Still Life: a Three Pines Mystery (2013) is a bit slow, but a nice addition to the cozy cottage village mystery genre.  Watch the movie on Hoopla today.

The film is based on the bestselling series featuring Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny.  Listen to the audiobook on Hoopla or read the ebook on Overdrive.


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Parasite

Where do you start with Parasite?  The experience of watching it is so many things at once: funny, tragic, bold, engaging, unsettling, upsetting, shocking.  Somehow, director, Bong Joon Ho, has made the film's stomach-dropping shifts in tone and twists in plot feel seamless, and the result is one of the most memorable movie experiences I've had this year.

Parasite (2019, rated R), the first-ever South Korean film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, tells the story of a struggling Korean family.  The Kim family lives in a roach-infested, semi-underground apartment, surviving on odd jobs and borrowed wi-fi.  But when an old classmate of Ki-Woo, one of the Kim children, visits their luck changes.  The classmate works as a tutor for the wealthy Park family and wants Ki-Woo to replace him while he studies abroad.

Ki-Woo seizes the opportunity, not only for himself but for his struggling family.  As he is leaving his first tutoring lesson, Mrs. Park laments that her younger son has never been able to find a good art teacher.  It so happens that Ki-Woo knows an art student that may be interested.  She went to America to study, he explains, but is probably back in Korea by now.  The next day Ki-Woo's sister, Ki-Jung, accompanies him, introducing herself as "Jessica," the art therapist.  She diagnoses Mrs. Park's son with early signs of severe mental illness and prescribes several therapy sessions a week.  Ki-Woo's parents soon follow.  One by one, posing as distant acquaintances or professional contacts, each member of the Kim family claws their way into the household.  In their efforts to secure full-time employment, they can be crueleven ruthlessbut it's difficult not to root for them anyway.  The Kims do not play nice, but they are smart, resourceful, and determined.  With the few resources they have, they succeed in beating their competition and pulling the household's stringsuntil one fateful night, things go very, very wrong.

Many movies explore the ugly realities of class divide and inequality, but few are as vivid and clever as Parasite.  Watch it for free with a Hulu subscription (or one-month free trial), by placing a hold on one of the library's Rokus preloaded with Hulu, or placing a hold on a dvd or blu-ray.

Mr. Mercedes. Season 1

Having read and enjoyed Mr. Mercedes, the first novel in a trilogy by Stephen King,  I was curious to see how another of Stephen King's books was adapted into a TV series.

The story begins as a madman in a stolen Mercedes plows into a crowd of job seekers, killing eight people and injuring many others.  Several months later, we meet Bill Hodges, a now retired cop turned private detective whose life is deteriorating as he is haunted by the unsolved case of the Mercedes killer.  We then meet the psychopathic killer who starts tormenting Bill with letters and emails, taunting him with the promise of another evil act violence.  Only Bill and two new, unusual allies can stop the killer before he strikes again.

The casting of the series is great, led by Brendan Gleeson as Bill.  I thought Mr. Mercedes season 1 (2017, rated TV-M) was entertaining and thrilling.  I followed it by watching Season 2 which was the story of the third book, End of Watch.  I am eagerly awaiting the release of season 3, an adaptation of the story in book 2, Finders Keepers.

Stephen King fans can follow one of the characters introduced in this series, Holly Gibney, in the excellent adaption of King's novel, The Outsider, recently released on HBO.

Get started by watching season 1 of Mr. Mercedes on Hoopla today.


Millennium Actress

This Japanese anime movie is centered on the life of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a retired actress who is being interviewed about her career.  Chiyoko recounts the story of a man she tried to find throughout her life without knowing his name or face.  The story flows from the past and present when Chiyoko is telling the story, and it transitions beautifully from one scene to the next.

Millennium Actress (2019, rated PG) was directed by the award winning director, Kon Satoshi, who also directed Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers.

Watch Millennium Actress  on Hoopla today. In Japanese with English subtitles.



Online Teen Cooking Club on Sunday May 17

Teens looking to hone their culinary skills can join our online cooking club via zoom. This meeting will take place on Sunday  May 17 at  2 p.m. . To register click here  Or email Miss Michelle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bring your favorite sandwich for this meeting. We will debate what makes a sandwich a sandwich and what the best sandwich ever is and learn a new sandwich recipe. 



The War

If you are a history buff, you will enjoy this Ken Burns production.  The War (TV-14) is a seven-part documentary miniseries about World War II.  This excellent PBS series originally aired in 2007.  It was nominated for 12 awards, with eight wins, including three Primetime Emmy awards in 2008.  The story is told through the unique perspective of four towns in the United States, and how the war forever impacts the lives of the people living there.  You will follow the journey of the people who served in the military, and the people at home awaiting their return.

Watch The War on Hoopla today.


Comfort and Joy

Based upon real events, a local DJ gets involved between two rival families for the ice cream trade in Glasgow.  Bill Paterson, who plays DJ Dickie Bird, is in top form.  The introduction is rather long before you get into the reason for the film.  While it can be slow moving, it does have a good sense of humor.

Watch Comfort and Joy (1984, rated PG) on Hoopla today.


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Penelope

Penelope Wilhern is living a fairy tale. She is an heiress, living in a beautiful mansion, being pursued by a charming aristocrat…and she's tasked with breaking the curse she was born with that left her with a pig snout instead of a nose. Such a task seems hopeless when suitor after suitor run away in terror after seeing her, but when one of those suitors helps Penelope learn to take risks, she begins to see there is more to life than breaking the curse.

Penelope (2006, rated PG) is feel good, modern day fairy tale peppered with comedy, fantasy, romance, and charming performances by Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, and Reese Witherspoon. Watch it on Hoopla today.


The Vienna Berlin Music Club. Volume 2

I was delighted to discover a second album from Philharmonix.  This group is comprised of members of the Vienna and Berlin philharmonics (hence the name) and plays a charming and creative array of (mostly) instrumental music.

My favorite songs from The Vienna Berlin Music Club, Volume 2 (2019), include "Don't Stop Me Now" (from Queen),"Dances from Transylvania," and "Theme from Pink Panther."  These refreshing arrangements will help lift your mood. Listen to both Volume 1 and Volume 2 today on Hoopla

Check out my review of their first album. And don't just take my word for it—another review has a positive take on their latest album.


The Captive

In this psychological thriller, Ryan Reynolds plays Matthew Lane, a father whose 10-year-old daughter is taken from his truck. After the police have been searching for her for eight long years, they finally get a lead that she is still alive.  Matthew never gives up hope and helps bring down the ring responsible for her disappearance.  I really liked The Captive (2014, rated R).

Watch it on Hoopla today.


800 Words

I enjoy watching the TV series, 800 Words, which has both comedy and drama.  The recently widowed George tries raising his two teenagers while starting over in New Zealand.  There is plenty for family audiences to enjoy as George often begins an episode posing a dilemma, but by the end of the show discovers something about himself and being a father.  It is also filled with plenty of sunshine and beach scenery because they live in a beautiful seaside town and George likes surfing, or at least he tries.  Also, there are several beautiful single women vying for Georges attention.  What's not to like?

Binge watch 800 Words (2015-2018) on Hoopla. The complete series (3 seasons) is available.



Mystery Manor: Hidden Objects

Looking for an escape that will keep you focused?  Check out Mystery Manor: Hidden Objects, a fun game where you play the detective helping the residents of the manor find the owner, Mister X.  You'll investigate cases and search for hidden objects to clear up the crime.

There are many rooms full of hidden objects and dark secrets, plus multiple ways to explore any room, whether it be silhouettes, word, jumble, or a single item at a time.  There are side games, mini games, daily tasks, and prizes.  You can even join other players in a guild to accomplish tasks and receive prizes.

Download the game for free from the app store (Apple or Google) and start playing today.


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