User Reviews

Reviews by Uncle Will
No Accounting for This
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What can you do in 39 minutes? Drive to downtown Chicago from Arlington Heights at 4 am? Paint a small closet? Plant 4 huckleberry bushes? How about watching this 2001 Academy Award winning "Best Short Film, Live Action" The Accountant?

Not to be confused with Ben Affleck's new thriller by the same name, this short film was written and produced by actors Ray McKinnon, Walter Groggins, and Lisa Blount. Groggins is best know for his 7 seasons starring in The Shield and in Justified, where he played Boyd Crowder for 74 episodes. Blount was the "pregnant" best friend of Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman.

This DVD's been in our collection since 2009. I can't remember, but I might've been the one that originally requested we purchase it. The film is funny, clever and thought provoking. It has a great tagline: "Can one man, one hard drinking, chain smoking, backwoods accountant, stop a national conspiracy, change the course of history, and save a way of life? It's do-able...but it ain't gonna be purdy." It is well worth the 39 minute investment. You can even watch it while the closet paint dries...
"For King & Country!"
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A great thing about high-definition (HD) is the ability to re-enhance older black & white films. The latest product is one of my all-time favorite films: The Devil's Disciple (1955). It stars 3 Academy Award Best Actors: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Sir Laurence Olivier.
The story takes place sometime during the middle of the American Revolutionary War. It's historic fiction. Lancaster plays the Rev. Anthony Anderson, a peace-loving pastor of a small village. His wife is young and very naive. She's played by British actress, Janette Scott, who was only 17 at the time. The heroic and well-preserved Lancaster was 42.
More heroic was Douglas' character, Richard Dudgeon, whose father is hung by the British troops for suspicion of treason against the Crown, at the beginning of the film. Douglas is perfect for the role of the sharp-tongued, rake and ramblin' guy.
Olivier plays "Gentleman Johnny" (true historic figure Gen. John Burgoyne). Through a couple Hitchcockian plot twists and mistaken identities, Olivier is placed in the position to hang one of his co-stars....for King and Country!
This historic romance is based on the 1901 play written by George Bernard Shaw. Each chapter of the film begins with a narration and Claymation war figurines, which are a cute touch for back in the '50's. This film only runs 83 minutes. My favorite scene is when the "trees fall." Enjoy!
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
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On Sunday, June 11, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm in the Cardinal Room, I will be leading a discussion of "What's Better: The Book or the Movie." That day we will be discussing a novella by Stephen King. 1982, Stephen King’s Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption was one of 4 novellas published in the book Different Seasons. It was adapted to film and released as “Shawshank Redemption” in 1994. The film was nominated for 7 Oscars. Today it remains No. 1 out of the 250 top-rated films of all time by the movie database: IMDb.

Tim Robbins stars as Andy Dufresne, a man arrested for murdering his wife and her lover. In 1948, Andy’s found guilty and given to 2-consecutive life sentences in the fictitious corrections’ facility: Shawshank Prison. There Andy meets Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding, played by Morgan Freeman. In time, the two convicts develop a life-long friendship.

I know that many have never read the book that the movie is based on. The novella is only 110 pages and a very quick read.
If you register for the program, there'll be a book discussion copy that can be checked out for 6 weeks and a DVD for one week at the Info Desk.

Our "What's Better: The Book or the Movie" discussions are usually a raucous event so please sign up and join us!
The Tide's About to Turn
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It's been a while since I ran across a good TV series that stars the U.S. Navy. The Last Ship is an action-packed, apocalyptic, tale told in the near future. A pandemic has occurred and billions of the world's population has been annihilated, save for one American warship.

The warship's commander has a crew of 216 - all who have been on a mission to the artic, observing strict radio silence, for 4 months. When a genius biologist and her lab partner are attacked by Russian helicopters, the "science data" mission changes radically. Eric Dane plays CO CDR Thomas Chandler, happily married, father of two. His character is somewhat like a cross between John Wayne and The Terminator. Rhona Mitra plays Dr. Rachel Scott, who is set on saving the world. Big, bad boy and former My Bodyguard, Adam Baldwin, rounds out a strong cast who are all dedicated, creative, and honorable. In a second season episode, I actually found myself standing up when our flag was raised on a front porch in a Norfolk neighborhood.

The episodes run about 46 minutes - so it's easy to speed through several at a sitting. Since they are located in the TV section of the DVDs, they each are a 2-week checkout. Five seasons are already planned for this TNT series. Currently, we own 3. With how the world is spinning these days, I found this series to be uplifting and hopeful.
The Fall Rises
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Nowadays there is a lot of competition among TV and filmmakers. Netflix and Amazon appear to be winning over more and more viewers from the 4 major American television networks. One of the problems for American series shows is that they never seem to know when to call it quits. Some shows keep dragging out the story-line until audiences get bored with the redundancy. Why do series from the BBC, Australia, Ireland, and Canada seem to know how to produce tightly written shows year after year?
I recently stumbled upon a gem from BBC Ireland called The Fall. It is a compact 17-show series that stars Gillian Anderson (from The X-Files' fame.) I know that this series has come and gone, but for those of you who missed out...it's not too late to jump aboard.
The story is about a police "huntress" who is brought to Belfast, from the London MET, to hunt for a serial "hunter" of women. The pacing is methodical. The suspense is earned by great scripts and acting.
Unlike most American shows, the key plot points are not described in detail repeatedly; since the producers don't think their audiences can add 2 plus 2 and get 4. The stars of this series spend a lot of time in deep thought before they speak. One might find this irritating; however, so much if left to one's imagination while they deliberate. Remember the "eyes are the window to the soul."
Season 3 (the final season) is now in our catalog with not to long of a waiting list. Season's 1 and 2 are ready on the shelves to be checked out. The ADULT thriller is dark and disturbing, but worth the watch.

 
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
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