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Saturday, December 3, 2016

December Film Club

Hey, everybody!  December is here.  Luckily, we've had some unseasonably nice weather thus far, let's hope the snow and bitter cold holds off as long as it possibly can.  Now, down to business.  I am not a fan of the traditional Christmas movies, as many of you know, so I've decided to show something a little different.  For December we will be watching Joe Dante's Gremlins

Gremlins is a 1984 American comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante.  The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil monsters.  This story was continued with a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, released in 1990.  Unlike the lighter sequel, Gremlins opts for more black comedy, balanced against a Christmastime setting.  Steven Spielberg was the film's executive producer and the screenplay was written by Chris Columbus.  The film stars Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, with Howie Mandel providing the voice of Gizmo, the main mogwai character.  Gremlins was a commercial success and received positive reviews from critics.  However, the film was also heavily criticized for some of its more violent sequences.  In response to this and to similar complaints about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Spielberg suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) alter its rating system which it did within two months of the film's release.

The film holds an 85% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Roger Ebert awarded the film 3/4 stars saying this in his review, "Gremlins was hailed as another "E.T.".  It's not.  It's in a different tradition.  At the level of Serious Film Criticism, it's a meditation on the myths in our movies: Christmas, families, monsters, retail stores, movies, boogeymen.  At the love of Pop Movie-going, it's a sophisticated, witty B-movie, in which the monsters are devouring not only the defenseless town but decades of defenseless cliches."

I hope you can make it out to this fun, oddball, alternative Christmas movie!

Here's the trailer:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November Film Club

Hey everyone!

I can't believe that October is already over...winter is getting closer every day.  A big thank you to everyone who came out to Horror Fest this year, we had a lot of fun.

For the month of November, I thought I'd try something a little different.  Since Veteran's Day is in November, I figured I would show a war film.  I may continue to do this for as many war films that are covered by our license.

For the month of November, I have decided to show Steven Spielberg's masterpiece of a film, Saving Private Ryan.

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic war drama film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II.  Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for its graphic portrayal of war, and for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which includes a depiction of the Omaha Beach assault of June 6, 1944.  It follows United States Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and a squad (Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, and Jeremy Davies) as they search for a paratrooper, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who is the last surviving brother of four servicemen.  The film received universal acclaim, winning several awards for film, cast, and crew, as well as earning significant returns at the box office.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated the film for 11 Academy Awards; Spielberg's direction won him a second Academy Award for Best Director, with four more awards going to the film.

In 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."  The film holds a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 130 critical reviews.  Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars saying this in his review, "Spielberg and his screenwriter, Robert Rodat, have done a subtle and rather beautiful thing: They have made a philosophical film about war almost entirely in terms of action.  Saving Private Ryan says things about war that are as complex and difficult as any essayist could possibly express, and does it with broad, strong images, with violence, with profanity, with action, with camaraderie.  It is possible to express even the most thoughtful ideas in the simplest words and actions, and that's what Spielberg does.  Saving Private Ryan is a powerful experience.  I'm sure a lot of people will weep during it.  Spielberg knows how to make audiences weep better than any director since Chaplin in City Lights.  But weeping is an incomplete response, letting the audience off the hood.  This film embodies ideas.  After the immediate experience begins to fade, the implications remain and grow."

Thursday, October 6, 2016

6th Annual Crete Library Horror Fest

The nights are getting shorter, the air a bit chillier, October is here, and with it, my favorite holiday  and Film Club event: Halloween and Horror Fest!  Over the past 5 years we've had a good selection of straight-up scary films, so I thought I'd mix it up a little bit this year and show 4 horror comedies.  For those of you unfamiliar with the genre, it's quite easy to explain.  Horror Comedies just take elements from both genres and mash them together into one film.  You get some funny with your scary.  I've picked 4 that I think are good representations of the sub-genre as well as just all-around good films.  Just like previous Horror Fests, we will have four films over the course of two evenings, back-to-back.  So, without further ado, here is your 2016 Horror Fest Line-up:

(click the titles for trailers)
10/19 @ 5:00pm-Slither
10/19 @ 7:00pm-Zombieland

10/20 @ 5:00pm-Shaun of the Dead
10/20 @ 7:00pm-Cabin in the Woods

October 19th at 5:00pm- Slither

Slither is a 2006 American science fiction comedy horror film written and directed by James Gunn in his directorial debut, and starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, and Michael Rooker.  The film has similar themes and concepts as the 1986 B movie Night of the Creeps.  Slither was a box office bomb which received generally positive reviews from critics and has since become a cult film.  Director James Gunn cites Night of the Creeps as well as Shivers and The Brood by David Croneneberg as two of the biggest influences on the film.  He also references the 2000 manga Uzumaki by Junji Ito, and pays homage to the studio Troma Films, where Gunn began his career.  Journalist Steve Palopoli said that the film was, "a tongue-cheek pastiche of at least a dozen '80s horror films."  Rotten tomatoes reports an 86% fresh rating and Scott Tobias of the AV Club said this in his review, "Slither may look like the undercard to a drive-in double feature, but it easily outclasses the solemn shockers that the studios crank out every week.  And it's scarier, too."

October 19th at 7:00pm- Zombieland

Zombieland is a 2009 American horror comedy film directed by Ruben Fleisher and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.  The film stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as survivors of a zombie apocalypse.  The films follows a geeky college kid making his way through the zombie apocalypse, meeting three strangers along the way and together taking an extended road trip across the Southwestern United States in an attempt to find a sanctuary free from zombies.  Zombieland was a critical and commercial success, grossing more than $60.8 million in 17 days and surpassing the 2004 film Dawn of the Dead as the top-grossing zombie film in the United States until World War Z in 2013.  The film holds an 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 3 1/2 stars saying this in his review, "I laughed more often, and harder, at the best gags here than I did with any number of other comedies this year.  It's a strangely high-spirited lark, giving all of its leading players plenty to eviscerate in between sweet nothings and wisecracks.  Is Zombieland for everyone? Uh, no...but humor is a funny thing, and occasionally a bloody thing, and now and then you find a comedy that offers some wit to go with the innards."

October 20th at 5:00pm- Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 horror comedy film directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost.  Pegg plays Shaun, a man attempting to get some kind of focus in his life as he deals with his girlfriend, his mother and his stepfather.  At the same time, he has to cope with an apocalyptic zombie uprising.  The film was marketed as a romantic comedy with zombies, or RomComZom.  Shaun of the Dead received critical acclaim.  The film has a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Keith Phipps of the AV club says this in his review, "Wright directs with an expert sense of rhythm but never lays his technical finesse on with Guy Ritchie thickness; he lets his characters take center stage even after he's shown he can frame them through a gaping hole in a zombie's stomach.  Mixing horror and humor is no mean feat, but Shaun of the Dead tightens throats in fear without making the laughs stick there in the process."

October 20th at 7:00pm- The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 American horror comedy film directed by Drew Goddard in his directorial debut, produced by Joss Whedon and written by Whedon and Goddard.  The film stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford.  The plot follows a group of college students who retreat to a remote forest cabin where they fall victim to backwoods zombies, and two scientists who manipulate the ongoing events from an underground facility.  Goddard and Whedon, having worked together previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, wrote the screenplay in three days, describing it as an attempt to "revitalize" the slasher film genre and as a critical satire on torture porn.  The film has a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 253 critical reviews.  Roger Ebert gave the film 3/4 stars saying this in his review, "Do horror characters make choices because of the requirements of the genre, or because of their own decisions?  And since they're entirely the instruments of their creators, to what degree can the filmmakers exercise free will?  This is fairly bold stuff, and it grows wilder as the film moves along.  Horror fans are a particular breed, the analyze films with detail and expertise.  The Cabin in the Woods has been constructed almost as a puzzle for horror fans to solve.  Which conventions are being toyed with?  Which authors and films are being referred to?  Is the film itself and act of criticism?  With most genre films, we ask, "Does it work?"  In other words, does this horror film scare us?  The Cabin in the Woods does have some genuine scares, but they're not really the point.  This is like a final exam for (horror) fanboys."

Horror Fest is my favorite film club even and it always ends up being a great time.  I hope you can make it out this year for a couple evenings of scary movie fun!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

September Film Club

Hey everybody!

Thank you for making our summer series: The Films of Christopher Nolan, such a success! 

Summer is sadly coming to its close and fall is slowly creeping in, so naturally I'm very excited to be planning our annual Horror Fest for October!  But, I'm getting ahead of myself here.  For the month of September I've decided to show one of my favorite films of 2010 (the film that should've won best picture, in my opinion).  David Fincher's masterful The Social Network.

The Social Network is a 2010 American biographical drama film directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin.  Adapted from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, the film portrays the founding of the social networking website Facebook and the resulting lawsuits.  It stars Jesse Eisenberg as founder Mark Zuckerberg, along with Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin and Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker.  The film was released in the US by Columbia Pictures on Oct. 1, 2010.

The Social Network received widespread acclaim, with critics praising its direction, screenplay, acting, editing and score.  Although several people portrayed in the film criticized its historical inaccuracies, the film appeared on 78 critics’ Top 10 lists for 2010; of those critics, 22 had the film in the their number-one spot, the most of any film in its year.  At the 83rd Academy Awards, the film received eight nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Fincher, and Best Actor for Eisenberg, and won three for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing.  The film holds a 96% Fresh rating on out of 290 critical reviews.  Roger Ebert placed it as his top film of 2010 and awarded the film 4/4 stars saying this in his review: “David Fincher’s film has the rare quality of being not only as smart as its brilliant hero, but in the same way.  It is cocksure, impatient, cold, exciting and instinctively perceptive.  It hurtles through two hours of spellbinding dialogue.  It makes an untellable story clear and fascinating.  The Social Network is a great film not because of its dazzling style or visual cleverness, but because it is splendidly well-made.  Despite the baffling complications of computer programming, web strategy and big finance, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay makes it all clear, and we don’t follow the story so much as get dragged along behind it.  I saw it with an audience that seemed wrapped up in an unusual way:  It was very, very interested.”

This is one of my favorite films released in the past decade so, naturally, I would love to share the viewing experience with all of you.  We will be meeting Thursday, Sept. 15th at 6:15pm.  Hope you can make it out!

Here's the trailer:

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August Film Club

Our two films for the month of August are Inception and Interstellar.

Inception will be showing Thursday, Aug. 11th at 6:00pm (please note the earlier start time to accommodate the longer running time)

Inception is a 2010 science fiction heist thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.  The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.  DiCaprio plays a professional thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets.  He is offered a chance to have his criminal history erased as payment for a task considered to be impossible: “inception”, the implantation of another person’s idea into a target’s subconscious.

The films currently holds an 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 325 critical reviews.  Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars saying this of the film in his review, “The story can either be told in a few sentences, or not told at all.  Here is a movie immune to spoilers: If you knew how it ended, that would tell you nothing unless you knew how it got there.  And telling you how it got there would produce bafflement.  The movie is all about process, about fighting our way through enveloping sheets of reality and dream, reality within dreams, dreams without reality.  It’s a breathtaking juggling act.  The movies often seem to come from the recycling bin these days: Sequels, remakes, franchises.  Inception does a difficult thing.  It is wholly original, cut from new cloth, and yet structured with action movie basics so it feels like it makes more sense than (quite possibly) it does.  I thought there was a hole in Memento: How does a man with short-term memory loss remember he has short-term memory loss?  Maybe there’s a hole in Inception too, but I can’t find it.  Christopher Nolan reinvented Batman.  This time he isn’t reinventing anything.  Yet few directors will attempt to recycle Inception.  I think when Nolan left the labyrinth, he threw away the map.”

Here's the trailer:

Interstellar will be showing Thursday, Aug. 18th at 5:30pm (please note the earlier start time to accommodate the longer running time)

Interstellar is a 2014 epic science fiction film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine.  The film features a crew of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for humanity.  Brothers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan wrote the screenplay.  Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, whose work inspired the film, was an executive producer and acted as scientific consultant.

The film holds a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 294 critical reviews.  Matt Zoller Seitz writing for gave the film 3 ½ /4 stars saying this in his review, “There’s something pure and powerful about this movie.  I can’t recall a science fiction film hard-sold to a director’s fans as multiplex-“awesome” in which so many major characters wept openly in close-up, voices breaking, tears streaming down their cheeks.  The movie’s science fiction trappings are just a wrapping for a spiritual/emotional drama about basic human desires (for home, for family, for continuity of bloodline and culture), as well as for a horror film of sorts-one that treats the star voyagers’ and their earthbound loved ones’ separation as spectacular metaphors for what happens when the people we value are taken from us by death, illness, or unbridgeable distance.  Here, more so than any other Nolan film (and that’s saying a lot), time is everything.  “I’m an old physicist” Brand tells Cooper early in the film “I’m afraid of time.”  Time is something we all fear.  There’s a ticking clock governing every aspect of existence, from the global to the familial.  Every act by every character is an act of defiance, born of a wish to not go gently.”

Here's the trailer:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

July Film Club

Thank you to everyone who made it out to the first two films of our Christopher Nolan Summer Film Series.

Our next two films for the month of July are Batman Begins and the sequel, The Dark Knight.

Batman Begins will be showing Tuesday, July 5th at 6:00pm (please note: It is a Tuesday, not Thursday, and will begin 15 minutes early to accommodate the longer running time)

Batman Begins is a 2005 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman, co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, and Morgan Freeman.  The film reboots the Batman film series, telling the origin story of the title character (Bale), from his alter ego Bruce Wayne’s initial fear of bats, the death of his parents, his journey to become Batman, and his fight to stop the villains of the film from plunging Gotham City into chaos.

The film holds an 85% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 267 reviews.  Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars saying this of the film in his review, “Batman Begins at last penetrates to the dark and troubled depths of the Batman legend, creating a superhero who, if not plausible, is at least persuasive as a man driven to dress like a bat and become a vigilante.  The movie doesn’t simply supply Batman’s beginnings in the tradition of a comic book origin story, but explores the tortured path that led Bruce Wayne from a parentless childhood to a friendless adult existence.  The movie is not realistic, because how could it be, but it acts as if it is.  I said this is the Batman movie I’ve been waiting for; more correctly, this is the movie I did not realize I was waiting for, because I didn’t realize that more emphasis on story and character and less emphasis on high-tech action was just what was needed.  The movie works dramatically in addition to being an entertainment.  There’s something to it.”

Here's the trailer:

The Dark Knight will be showing Tuesday, July 26th at 6:00pm (please note: It is a Tuesday, not Thursday, and will begin 15 minutes early to accommodate the longer running time)

The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan, the film is the second part of Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy and a sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins, starring an ensemble cast including Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman.  In the film, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Bale), James Gordon (Oldman) and Harvey Dent (Eckhart) form an alliance to dismantle organized crime in Gotham City, but are menaced by a criminal mastermind known as the Joker who seeks to undermine Batman’s influence and create chaos.  Nolan’s inspiration for the film was the Joker’s comic book debut in 1940, the 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke and the 1996 series The Long Halloween.

The film holds a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 314 reviews.  Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars saying this in his review, “Batman isn’t a comic book anymore.  Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy.  It creates characters we come to care about.  That’s because of the performances, because of the direction, because of the writing, and because of the superlative technical quality of the entire production.  The Dark Knight is not a simplistic tale of good and evil.  Batman is good, yes, The Joker is evil, yes.  But Batman poses a more complex puzzle than usual: The citizens of Gotham City are in an uproar, calling him a vigilante and blaming him for the deaths of policemen and others.  And The Joker is more than a villain.  He’s a Mephistopheles whose actions are fiendishly designed to pose moral dilemmas for his enemies.”

Here's the trailer: