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Thursday, January 4, 2018

January Film Club

Happy New Year everybody!  I hope you all had fun, safe holidays.

With a new year comes a new lineup of films for Film Club.  Most selections will probably be just as random as they have always been, especially with the limitations placed on me by the licensing, but, we'll get by, and I'll try to find films that I think you'll all enjoy.

So, for the month of January, I have decided to show J.J. Abrams' fun, nostalgia filled film from 2011, Super 8.

Super 8 is a 2011 American science fiction horror film written, co-produced, and directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg.  The film stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, and Kyle Chandler and tells the story of a group of young teenagers who are filming their own Super 8 movie when a train derails, releasing a dangerous presence into their town.  The film was well received, with critics praising the film for its nostalgic elements, visual effects, musical score, and for the performances of the cast, in particular, both Fanning and newcomer Courtney's acting was cited, while also being compared to such thematically similar films as E.T., Stand by Me, and The GooniesSuper 8 was also a commercial success, grossing over $260 million against a budget of $50 million.  The film received several awards and nominations, primarily in technical and special effects categories, Giacchino's musical score, as well as for Courtney and Fanning's performances.

Super 8 received positive reviews from critics.  It holds an 82% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 269 critical reviews.  Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5/4 stars and said this in his review, "It is a requirement of these films that adults be largely absent.  The kids get involved up to their necks, but the grown-ups seem slow to realize strange things are happening.  Here, the mystery centers on the cargo of the cars in the train wreck, and on the sudden materialization of U.S. Air Force investigators and troops in town.  If we don't instinctively know it from this movie, we know it from a dozen earlier ones: The authorities are trying to cover up something frightening, and the kids are on the case.  Abrams treats early adolescence with tenderness and affection.  He uses his camera to accumulate emotion, and he has the rural town locations right.  Super 8, is a wonderful film, nostalgia not for a time but for a style of filmmaking, when shell-shocked young audiences were told a story and not pounded over the head with aggressive action.

With all the recent success of the 1980s-stuffed Netflix series Stranger Things, I thought this would be a great film to revisit for those who have seen it, or to experience for the first time for those who haven't.  Either way, hope to see you there!

We will be meeting Thursday, Jan. 18th at 6:15pm.

Here's the trailer:

Monday, December 4, 2017

December Film Club

Hey everybody!

I can't believe it's already December, this year has flown by!  Hopefully the snow and deathly cold will hold off for a while and we'll have another mild winter, but, we shall see.

Let me start by thanking everyone who was able to make it out for Hacksaw Ridge, we had a good turnout, great food, and some compelling conversations afterwards.  You guys continually make my job fun!

On to business.  For the month of December, I've decided on another non-traditional Christmas film, that is, a film that occurs during the Christmas season but isn't actually a "Christmas movie".  For this year, I've decided on another of my favorite films: The Thin Man.

The Thin Man is a 1934 American Pre-Code comedy mystery film directed by W.S. Van Dyke and based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett.  The film stars William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles; Nick is a hard drinking, retired private detective, and Nora is a wealthy heiress.  Their wire-haired fox terrier Asta is played by canine actor Skippy.  The film's screenplay was written by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, a married couple.  In 1934, the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The film has a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars, adding it to his list of Great Movies.  He said this in his review, "William Powell is to dialogue as Fred Astaire is to dance.  His delivery is so droll and insinuating, so knowing and innocent at the same time, that it hardly matters what he's saying.  That's certainly the case in The Thin Man, a murder mystery in which the murder and the mystery are insignificant compared to the personal styles of the actors.  Powell and Myrna Loy co-star as Nick and Nora Charles, a retired detective and his rich wife, playfully in love and both always a little drunk.  Powell plays the character with a lyrical alcoholic slur that waxes and wanes but never topples either way into inebriation or sobriety.  The drinks are the lubricant for dialogue of elegant wit and wicked timing, used by a character who is decadent on the surface but fundamentally brave and brilliant.  The Thin Man was one of the most popular films of 1934, inspired five sequels, and was nominated for four Oscars (best picture, actor, direction and screenplay).  The movie is based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett, one of the fathers of noir, and it does technically provide clues, suspects and a solution to a series of murders, but in tone and intent, it's more like an all-dialogue version of an Astaire and Rogers musical, with elegant people in luxury hotel penthouses and no hint of the depression anywhere in sight."

We will be meeting Thursday, Dec. 21st at 6:15pm.  I hope you can join us for this wonderful film!

Here's the trailer:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November Film Club

Hey everybody!  First off, a big, gigantic thank you to everyone who was able to come out and enjoy Horror Fest with us, we had a lot of fun, and thank you especially to everyone who brought some food to share.  Once again, you went above and beyond, we had a regular feast!

Now, on to November.  For this month I've decided to follow suit from last year and show a war film in honor of Veteran's Day.  We will be watching Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge, based on the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious object combat medic whose bravery earned him the Medal of Honor.

We will be meeting Thursday, Nov. 16th at 6:00 pm (please note the slightly earlier start time as this is to accommodate the longer running time of the film).

Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 biographical war drama film directed by Mel Gibson and written by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan, based on the 2004 documentary The Conscientious Objector.  The film focuses on the World War II experiences of Desmond Doss, an American pacifist combat medic who was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, refusing to carry or use a firearm or weapon of any kind.  Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for service above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Okinawa.  Andrew Garfield stars as Doss, with Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths and Vince Vaughn in supporting roles.

Hacksaw Ridge was chosen by the American Film Institute as on of its top ten Movies of the Year, and has received numerous awards and nominations.  The film received six Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Garfield and Best Sound Editing, winning the awards for Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.
The film holds a certified fresh rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 242 reviews, and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said this in his review, “Thanks to some of the greatest battle scenes ever filmed, Gibson once again shows his staggering gifts as a filmmaker, able to juxtapose savagery with aching tenderness.  Hacksaw Ridge is being touted as Gibson’s comeback.  Is it also an atonement?  Who can say?  What’s clear is that Gibson has made a film about family, faith, love and forgiveness all put to the test in an arena of violent conflict-a movie you don’t want to miss.”

Hope to see you there!

Here's the trailer:

Monday, October 2, 2017

Crete Library 7th Annual Horror Fest

Wowee, October is already here.  The days of summer have wound down into the cool chill of fall and with it, the arrival of my favorite holiday and Film Club event: Halloween and Horror Fest.  Thank you to everyone who came out for our showing of Blade Runner.  We had a great turnout and a wonderful discussion afterwards.  Again, thank you to everyone who brought snacks, it's becoming a regular feast on Film Club nights!

Now, down to scary business.

For this year's horror fest, I've decided to show 4 more new horror films, but with the theme of "Unwanted Guests".  Each film has an element of someone being somewhere they are either not wanted, or should not be.  I think this will be a fun theme and we have some pretty creepy good films to watch.  So, without further ado, here is the lineup for Horror Fest 2017:

Come on over to the library and pick up one of the booklets.  They have a little blurb about each film and the times and dates.

Here are the trailers to pique your morbid curiosity! (Click the title to view the trailer)

The Guest
The Witch
Don't Breathe
Get Out

Monday, September 11, 2017

September Film Club

Hey folks!

Sorry for the delay, I thought I had already sent all this out but it appears I have not.  So here we go.

Thanks to everyone who was able to come out for our Summer Film Series: Space.  We had a great time, got to see a great spectrum of films from 1968 to Present day, and as always, a plethora of wonderful food!

For the month of September we will watching one of my all time favorite films: Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott. The sequel is going to be released next month so I figured we could all use a re-watch! (or if you haven't seen it, a watch!).

Blade Runner is a 1982 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. The screenplay, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicants—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as by other "mega–manufacturers" around the world. Their use on Earth is banned and replicants are exclusively used for dangerous, menial or leisure work on off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and "retired" by police special operatives known as "Blade Runners". The plot focuses on a brutal and cunning group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the burnt out expert Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down.

Blade Runner initially polarized critics, some were displeased with the pacing, while others praised its thematic complexity and visuals.  Blade Runner underperformed at the box office in North American theaters, but has since become a cult film.  In 1993 the film was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed, “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  Blade Runner is now regarded by many critics as one of the all time best science fiction movies.  It currently holds a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Roger Ebert awarded it 4/4 stars when he added it to his list of Great Movies, saying this in his review, “This is a seminal film, building on older classics like Metropolis or Things to Come but establishing a pervasive view of the future that has influenced science fiction films ever since.  Its key legacies are: Giant global corporations, environmental decay, overcrowding, technological progress at the top, poverty or slavery at the bottom-and, curiously, almost always a film noir vision.  I have never quite embraced Blade Runner, admiring it at arm’s length, but now it is time to cave in and admit it to the canon.  Ridley Scott is a considerable director who makes no small plans.  He has the gift of making action on a vast scale seem comprehensible.  I have been assured that my problems in the past with Blade Runner represent a failure of my own taste and imagination, but if the film was perfect, why has Sir Ridley continued to tinker with it, and now released his fifth version?  I guess he’s only….human.”

This is wonderful film and I hope you will be able to join us!

We will be meeting Thursday, Sept. 21st at 6:15pm

Here's the trailer:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer Film Club Series: August

Thank to you everyone who has attended the previous films in our Summer Series, you guys are the best!

Our films for the month of August are: Gravity and The Martian

Thursday, August 17th at 6:15 pm

Gravity (click for trailer)

Gravity is a 2013 British-American epic science fiction adventure film directed, produced, co-written and co-edited by Alfonso Cuaron.  It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts who are stranded in space after the mid-orbit destruction of their space shuttle, and their subsequent attempt to return to Earth.  Cuaron wrote the screenplay with his son Jonas.  At the 86th Academy Awards, Gravity received ten Academy Awards nominations and won seven, including, Best Director (for Cuaron), Best Cinematography (for Lubezki), Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Original Score (for Price).

Gravity received critical acclaim.  Critics praised the acting, direction, cinematrgraphy, visual effects, and use of 3D.  It currently holds a 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Matt Zoeller Seitz, writing for gave the film 4/4 stars, saying this in his review, "If Gravity were half as good as I think it is, I'd still consider it one of the great moviegoing experiences of my life, thanks to the precision and beauty of its filmmaking.  If anyone asks me what Gravity is about, I'll tell them it's a tense adventure about a space mission gone wrong, but once they've seen and absorbed the movie, they'll know the truth.  The root word of "gravity" is "grave."  That's an adjective meaning weighty or glum or substantial, but it's also a noun: the place where we'll all end up eventually.  The film is about that moment when you suffered misfortune that seemed unendurable and believe all hope was lost and that you might as well curl up and die, and then you didn't.  Why did you decide to keep going?  It's a mystery as great as any in physics or astronomy, and one we've all grappled with, and transcended."

Thursday, August 24th at 6:15 pm

The Martian (click for trailer)

The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on Andy Weir's 2011 novel The Martian.  Matt Damon stars as an astronaut who is mistakenly presumed dead and left behind on Mars.  The film depicts his struggle to survive and others' efforts to rescue him.  The film's ensemble cast also features Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Donald Glover, Aksel Hennie and Chiwetel Ejiofor.  The film received critical acclaim and has grossed over $630 million worldwide, becoming Scott's highest grossing film to date.  It received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for Goddard.

The film currently holds a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Matt Zoeller Seitz, writing for, awarded the film 3 1/2/4 stars, saying this in his review, "It is predictable, but that doesn't hurt its effectiveness.  The most fascinating thing about the film is how it leans into predictability rather than make a show of fighting it.  in the process, comes up with a tone that I don't believe anyone has summoned in this genre, certainly not at this budget level.  Of all the stories you've seen about astronauts coping with the aftermath of disaster-including "Mission to Mars" and the visually superior and more aggressively melodramatic Gravity, which is more a self-help parable with religious overtones, The Martian is the most relaxed and funny, and maybe the warmest.  Strangely like Alien, Scott's breakthrough 1979 thriller, and maybe his follow up Blade Runner as well, The Martian makes the future look at once spectacular and mundane.  For all its splendors, the world that enfolds the characters is simply reality: the time and space in which they happen to be living."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Summer Film Club Series: July

Hey everybody!  Our first month of our Summer Film series went quite well, thank you to everyone who was able to attend!

Our films for the month of July are: Aliens and Moon

Thursday, July 20th at 6:15 pm

Aliens (click for trailer)

Aliens is a 1986 American science fiction action horror film written and directed by James Cameron, produced by Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, and Bill Pa
xton.  It is the sequel to the 1979 film Alien and the second installment in the Alien franchise.  The film follows Weaver's character Ellen Ripley as she returns to the planet where her crew encountered the hostile Alien creature, this time accompanied by a unit of space marines.

It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Sigourney Weaver, winning both Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects.  Aliens is considered one of the best films in its genre.  Aliens received near universal critical acclaim.  It currently holds a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Roger Ebert awarded it 3 1/2/4 stars and said this in his review, "The ads for Aliens claim that this movie will frighten you as few movies have, and, for once, the ads don't lie.  Aliens is absolutely, painfully and unremittingly intense for at least its last hour.  I have never seen a movie that maintains such a pitch of intensity for so long; it's like being on some kind of hair-raising carnival ride that never stops.  Yet, I have to be accurate about this movie: It is a superb example of filmmaking craft.  The director, James Cameron, has been assigned to make an intense and horrifying thriller, and he has delivered.  Weaver, who is onscreen almost all the time, comes through with a very strong, sympathetic performance: She's the thread that holds everything together.  The supporting players are sharply drawn.  The special effects are professional.  I'm giving the movie a high rating for its skill and professionalism and because it does the job it says it will do.  I am also advising you not to eat before you see it."

Thursday, July 27th at 6:15 pm

Moon (click for trailer)

Moon is a 2009 British science fiction drama film co-written and directed by Duncan Jones.  The film follows Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-years solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the Moon.  It was the feature debut of director Duncan Jones.  Kevin Spacey voices Sam's robot companion, GERTY.  Moon premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  It was well received by critics and Rockwell's performance found praise as did the film's scientific realism and plausibility.  This is the first feature film directed by commercial director Duncan Jones (son of the late David Bowie), who co-wrote the script with Nathan Parker.  The film was specifically written as a vehicle for actor Sam Rockwell.  The film pays homage to the films of Jones' youth, such as Silent Running, Alien and Outland.

Moon was generally well received by critics and holds an 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 1/2/4 stars and said this in his review, "In an age when our space and distance boundaries are being pushed way beyond the human comfort zone, how do we deal with the challenges of space in real time?  In lower gravity, how do our bodies deal with loss of bone and muscle mass?  How do our minds deal with long periods of isolation?  Space is a cold and lonely place, pitiless and indifferent, as Bruce Dern's character grimly realized in Douglas Trumball's classic Silent Running.  At least he had the consolation that he was living with Earth's last vegetation.  Sam has no consolations at all.    What kind of man would volunteer for this duty?  What kind of a corporation would ask him to?  We, and he, find out.  Moon is a superior example of that threatened genre, hard science fiction, which is often about the interface between humans and alien intelligence of one kind or other, including digital.  The movie is really all about ideas.  It only seems to be about emotions.  How real are our emotions, anyway?  How real are we?  Someday I will die.  This laptop I'm using is patient and can wait."