How would you like to live in a town that basically has just two rules? Those rules being: 1) one must have the means to earn a living and 2) one must live in a place that has a roof overhead. There's a fictional town in Norway, at the tip of the Artic Circle, called Fortitude and it's also the name of a UK TV series that stars Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon.
Fortitude is the most northern city in the world. It claims to have no crime, because everyone living there is happy. Sounds like a nice place to live or visit. To attract more tourist is the primary the governor is trying to get investors to back an ice hotel construction project. All is proceeding nicely until something is found in the glacier that the hotel is to be built on that likely will jeopardize the chances for the building to ever reach completion.
A newcomer to the town is told that he must buy a warm hat with earflaps and purchase a rifle. The hat is to combat frostbitten ears. The rifle is combat all the polar bears that hunt this coastal town. Rifles are more prevalent in shopping carts than purses. We learn that once a polar bear attacks a human, that bear is eating the human. The bear isn't concerned with killing its prey, just devouring it. One gets the feeing that a rifle is a little more important than the hat with flaps.
The production is top-notch. The scenery is awesome. It's refreshing to watch brutal cold depicted on the screen when it's 90 degrees outside in reality. It might be cold outside in Fortitude, but the residents heat it up. Small towns are places where everyone knows everybody and their business. Dark days for half the year give way to a great deal of frolicking in Fortitude. The characters in this town are complex and believable. The actors playing these characters are so spot-on that not once did I think that I was watching actors.
Make no mistake. This is an adult TV series. What starts out as a dark, moody atmosphere, turns a lot brighter "red" by episode 9. Critics love this show. An option for a 2nd season was picked-up and will soon be available at our library.
I'm just a big, old kid. So sue me. In 1960 I saw on TV for the first time Peter Pan - starring the late Mary Martin as Peter and Sir Cyril Ritchard as Capt. Hook. I was hooked.
I'm still scared that if I hang a foot or arm off the end of the bed, a crocodile is gonna snatch it off while I'm sleeping. To date I've seen just about any and every version of this classic tale and of course read the novel by J.M. Barrie. I was gonna pan outta viewing this latest film adaptation until I brought it home and thought, what the heck, I'd give it a try.
Pan explores an interesting angle. . .that Hook and Peter once were friends and not always aversaries. It stars Hugh Jackman, who I enjoy his work. It also has refreshing newcomer, the 13 year old, Levi Miller, in the title role. His expressive eyes only adds to his charm.
Adding to the charm of this film is a score that is both lively and supportive. The CGI is okay. I liked the way the pirate ships float in space. Garrett Hedlun (of Friday Night Lights fame) shows some potential to play a more devious role in the obvious sequel.
It is rated PG and not that scary. I almost was able to let my arm drift off the bedside as I fell asleep the night I watched this film. Almost...
Wayward Pines is a suspense/thriller mini-series based on a 3-book series by Blake Crouch. I watched the DVD before I realized that the show was based on the books. The show was a little confusing and left me wanting more. Imagine my delight when I found that our library owned all 3 books. Needless to say, I checked them all out on
the same day and read them with the speed of Flash, trying to get to the studio in time to make a cameo appearance on the set of Arrow.
Wayward Pines has a very good cast which includes two Academy Award winners (Melissa Leo and Terrence Howard) along with Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis, Carla Gugino, and veteran character actor Toby Jones. The setting is a small town in Idaho that was "created" by a billionaire genius. Won't tell you any more. Don't want to spoil the surprises. Won't even suggest what you should do first - read the books or view the DVD.
This mini-series has been compared to Twin Peaks (1990-1991). Both are quirky. It basically comes down to what do you prefer: a fine cup of coffee and a damn good piece of cheery pie or a double-scoop of rum raisin ice cream?
I've been a composer for greater than 50 years. Over that time I've been asked a lot about my influences and what songs inspire me. Henry Mancini is probably my favorite composer and this song, Moon Dance, is quite inspirational.
It can be found on the CD, Down To The Moon, that won the Grammy in 1987. It was written by Andreas Vollenweider who is a Swiss harpist that's recorded 14 albums. Down To The Moon was his 5th album and it was re-released in 2005 and again in 2006. It's been written that his music ". . . evokes nature, magic and fairy tales. . . "
AHML will be hosting a library-wide exhibit on Fairy Tales (January-March 2016). Check this out if you want a head start getting into the mood.
What if Santa Claus was the real deal? What if Santa was real, but just not quite the person you were led to believe he was? If this premise interests you, then this Finnish coal black comedy is just what you need to fill your holiday stocking.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Taleis a film that was based on an award winning short film released in 2005 entitled: The Official Rare Exports Inc. Safety Instructions. That "shorty" is included in theDVD special features; however, please don't watch it until the film is over because it will be a spoiler.
Newcomer actor, Onni Tommila, plays Pietari Kontio. Pietari lives with his father near the base of the Korvatunturi Mountains in Lapland. It is a rough life, but the two have each other, which makes up for any shortcomings. The plot is fairly simple. Once a year the countryside men hunt to kill and dress beasts to last them through the bitter winter months. What the hunters are not prepared for is a very different kind of beast.
This film is rated R and a bit too intense for younger viewers. However, if you are looking for a holiday film that is off-center, yet still entertaining, check this one out. If you enjoy Onni Tommila's performance, you can catch him in his newest film which stars Samuel L. Jackson: Big Game.
What would you do if you were suddenly taken back in time 200 years?
Such is the dilemma for Claire Randall, the main character in Diana Gabaldon's epic novel, Outlander, published in 1991 and recently adapted into a TV mini-series. Claire is a WWII nurse in England who reunites with her husband, post-war, for a second honeymoon in Scotland. While visiting a historic hilltop, Claire is mysteriously transported back to 1743, where she must worry for her life, find the secret to her journey into the past, and somehow overcome immense odds to return to her husband, who is determinedly searching for her in 1945.
This series is well-written, keeping true to Gabaldon's suspenseful plot. The scenery is breathtaking and the soundtrack perfectly underscores the drama of the period. This series should be the first choice you make for date night with that someone who is special. It has a little bit of everything: action, romance, humor, history, and grown men in kilts!
Three vampires agree to let a film crew into their flat to capture the vampires' day-to-day activities...or more precisely, their night-to night ones. What follows in the next 85 minutes is near-genius. Bringing the undead to life is no easy task. This parody on horror films and reality shows will keep you laughing out loud. Be sure to watch through the credits, because this film wants the last laugh.
Below is a short clip highlighting "Stu" the trio's new found human friend, who they have all agreed not to eat!
What does one say about a film that was made for less than 2 million dollars and has grossed over 14 million to date? This film had an extremely limited opening at the theaters, but the buzz it created was passed quickly via word-of-mouth. Soon it was opening all over the USA and drawing packed audiences.
It Follows is a different kind of horror/mystery/thriller. There really isn't any blood or gore. Its subject matter is quite controversial on several social levels. It isn't fast-paced, but moves more at a zombie-like creep. What this film does have is goosebumposity. There were several times, while watching, that I got the whole-body-shivers and progressive goosebumps that began at my toes and rapidly moved north.
This film isn't perfect, but it's perfect to watch on a late Friday night. Just make certain that there are two exits from where you are watching it. Just in case.
Don't let the title throw you off. The story is not about zombies. It's about the temporal police and their ability to stop crime, before it happens, through time travel. I have always been fascinated by the concept of time travel mostly because there are no rules. The plot is simple--a temporal agent who is performing his very last assignment is trying to stop his nemesis through time...The Fizzle Bomber.
Looking for a new author? Tony Schumacher's first book, The Darkest Hour, is one of the most impressive first-time author's novels that I read all year.
The setting is London, 1946. The war is over. Unfortunately, the Germans won. John Henry Rossett was crowned by his king as "The British Lion" for his heroics during the war. He's a broken police detective with a tragic past. Rossett lost his wife and son to a terrorist bombing during the war. He's hired by the occupying forces to hunt Jews, place them on trains, and send them to France. What happens to his captives is not his concern.
What is concerning is that Rossett's no better than a machine . . . a tool. He does only what he's told. He has no idea that he's being used for SS propaganda by his country's sworn enemy. What's worse is that Rossett could care less. It doesn't matter that he has no respect from his fellow Englanders. He has even less from the puppet masters that pull his strings. He's dead inside.
Then one day, for no apparent reason, Rossett rises from the dead. He finds a young Jewish boy hidden in an apartment wall and slowly starts his path to redemption.
I couldn't put this book down. It's the fastest 400-page read for me in a long time; the beginning of a series that will rival Philip Kerr, has been born.
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