News & More...

Posts Tagged DVD’s

Summer’s the Time for Blockbusters

by John Pecoraro,  Assistant Director

Movie buffs always look forward to summer anticipating the release of major motion pictures.  Summer blockbusters have often been record-breakers in terms of revenue generated for movie studios, but that’s not why the movie-going public loves them. For the chronic movie fanatic, the habitual Netflixer, or the active DVD and Blu-ray borrower, these movies are about pure entertainment.      The term “blockbuster” first made its appearance in the American press during World War 2 in reference to bombs with the power to destroy entire blocks of streets. The term was later applied to successful theater plays, then hit movies, best-selling novels, and computer games.  Movies such as “The Ten Commandments,” “Gone with the Wind,” and “Ben-Hur,” were the blockbusters of their times. In terms of summer blockbusters, however, and the concept of the blockbuster as a film genre, we have to look no further than Steven Spielberg’s 1975 hit “Jaws.” After the success of “Jaws,” Hollywood producers attempted to create similar “event films” with wide commercial appeal. The 1974 novel, “Jaws,” by Peter Benchley, was also a blockbuster, spending 44 weeks on the bestsellers list and selling millions of copies.

The summer blockbuster for 1977 was George Lucas’ “Star Wars” (the title we now know as “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”). The Star Wars saga also reached summer blockbuster status in 1980 with “The Empire Strikes Back,” 1983 with “Return of the Jedi,” 1999 with “The Phantom Menace,” and 2005 with “Revenge of the Sith.”   “The Amityville Horror,” was the hit of 1979. Based on the 1977 book “The Amityville Horror: A True Story,” by Jay Anson, it tells the story of Lutz family and the hauntings they endured in their house in Amityville on Long Island in New York.

Other successful books have made the transition to summer blockbusters. “Jurassic Park,” for example, was the hit of 1993. “Jurassic Park,” by Michael Crichton, was published in 1990, and spawned a series of books and movies. Is the latest installment, “Jurassic World,” the summer blockbuster of 2015? At grossing over a billion dollars worldwide already, it’s a pretty safe bet. Who can forget “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” the summer hit of 1982? Steven Spielberg again. In fact if you look at the list of top grossing films from 1975 to 2014, a third of them can be attributed to Lucas, Spielberg, or both.

It’s not a surprise that summer mega-movies are often of the action-adventure variety. There have, however, been exceptions. “Grease,” a musical, was the summer hit of 1978, while the romantic ghost story, “Ghost,” took those honors in 1990. Family rated movies have also made the summer splash. Disney’s “The Lion King,” made it big in 1994. “Shrek,” another hit based loosely on the book of the same title, by William Steig, was the blockbuster for 2001, followed by “Shrek II,” in 2004. In between, during the summer of 2003 we were watching “Finding Nemo.” While “Toy Story,” and “Toy Story 2,” were popular Pixar films, only “Toy Story 3” made it to top grossing summer movie status in 2010.

Superheroes have been popular with summer audiences. “Batman,” was the top grossing movie of 1989. “Batman Returns” took that honor in 1992, “Batman Forever” in 1995, and “The Dark Knight” in 2008. But the Caped Crusader wasn’t alone. “Spider-Man” made it big in 2002, and “Spider-Man 3” in 2007. The last few years of summer hits have belonged to Marvel comics: “Marvel’s The Avengers” in 2012, “Iron Man 3” in 2013, and “Guardians of the Galaxy” in 2014.

Other films that made the summer blockbuster list include “The Omen” (1976), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “Ghostbusters” (1984), “Independence Day” (1996), and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998).

You can find the complete list of the top grossing summer films from the past forty years at http://parade.com/398513/parade/what-movies-were-summer-blockbusters. Don’t forget that most of these titles are available in DVD and/or Blu-ray at your Manhattan Public Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column, News

Leave a Comment (0) →

National Geographic Society Resources – Food for the Mind

by Mary Newkirk, Adult Services Librarian

natgeoOn January 27, 1888 a group of thirty-three geographers, explorers, cartographers, teachers, and other professionals met at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, to discuss organizing “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”  We know that group now as the National Geographic Society, one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. What began as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel, has developed into a wealth of resources that reach over 600 million people monthly.

Manhattan Public Library patrons will find quite a number of National Geographic resources available at the library, ranging from books, ebooks, and videos to the iconic magazines.  A computer card catalog search for books shows a return of over 670 titles.  These are  divided between children’s books and adult books. Look for age-appropriate labeled books for children such as Prereaders – enchanting books for little ones just beginning their journey with books.  A quick glimpse shows beautifully illustrated books on the “Titanic”, “Saving Animal Babies”, “Race Day”, and “Dinosaurs” to name a few.  Every grade level can find something fun.

medicinalAdult books are also hugely varied… “Expeditions Atlas”, “Gypsies”, “Encyclopedia of Space”, “Medicinal Herbs”, “Tales of the Weird”, “Travel Gems”.  The incredible photographs are the real draw for perusing these books. In 1897, Alexander Graham Bell was elected president of the Society. He insisted on “pictures, and plenty of them….Leave science to others and give us a detail of living interest beautifully illustrated by photographs.” This was the beginning of their use of photography to show the common man the wonders of the world.

 

 

dawnAs I researched the books that our library offers to our patrons, I was surprised to find that a local Kansan is a prominent freelance photographer for National Geographic.  I was flipping through one of our newer books, “Dawn to Dark Photographs: The Magic of Light” and came upon a beautiful photo of fireflies taken in the Flint Hills by Jim Richardson. If you have ever dreamed of seeing your photos published, check out the FAQ’s on his website, www.jimrichardsonphotography.com.  He is very forthcoming about how to pursue your dream.

Most of us love to be entertained by great videos. Our library has 35 dvds that are fascinating looks at a myriad of subjects.  Try the set of programs called, “Thirty Years of National Geographic Specials for a great introduction to many of the topics the Society has covered. Climb Everest with the first Americans to conquer it, plunge into the incredible underwater world of explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and see animals of every kind in their natural habitats.  This is nature footage without editing, so your children may find it a bit raw as animals display their violence by fighting for their spot in the food chain.

 

warI have a profound appreciation for those who served in the Vietnam War after participating in this past Veteran’s Day Forum with the Flint Hills Veteran’s Coalition members. The National Geographic Society has produced “Brothers In War,” a video released last May about Charlie Company.  Reviewers on Amazon.com have praised this as the most authentic depiction of the hardships faced by young draftees in the Mekong Delta.  It is based on the book “The Boys of ‘67” by Andrew Wiest, which examines the experiences of a company from the only division in the Vietnam era to train and deploy together in similar fashion to WWII’s famous 101st Airborne Division. Of the 160 men, only 30 were not killed or injured by the time they came home in December 1967.  Wiest interviewed more than 50 officers and enlisted men of Charlie Company and had access to personal papers, collections of letters, a diary, an abundance of newspaper clippings, training notebooks, field manuals, condolence letters, and photographs from before, during, and after the conflict.

Additional titles of popular videos are: “In the Womb”, “Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West”, “Alien Deep”, “Titanic Revealed”, “Life in a Day”, and “Fundamentals of Photography.”

We subscribe to four different magazines published by the Society:  National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler.  I especially enjoy the latter for its peek into the best travel destinations, both domestic and international. These are available to be checked out for a week and enjoyed at home.

The library will be closed Monday, February 16, President’s Day, for an all-employee staff training.

 

Posted in: Adult Services, Mercury Column, News

Leave a Comment (0) →

It’s Academy Awards time!

by Judi, Adult Services Librarian

There are lots of awards shows for actors and films at this time of year, but the most sought-after award continues to be the Academy Awards, which will be televised this year on February 22. Many of us try to see as many of the Oscar-nominated films as possible. Manhattan Public Library can make it easier for you to choose your favorite film of the year as we have some of the Best Film nominees already in our collection! Most are very popular titles and are frequently checked out, but you can get on the hold list for the films with your library card. Some of the films, such as American Sniper, Selma, The Imitation Game, Whiplash and Birdman are still in the movie theaters and are not yet available on DVD or Blu-Ray.

The films now in our collection that have been nominated for this year’s Best Picture are:

  • boyhoodBoyhood: A story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a boy named Mason, who ages from six to eighteen years old on screen. The film was shot intermittently over a twelve-year period from May 2002 to October 2013, showing the growth of Mason and his older sister, Samantha, to adulthood.

 

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: The adventures of Gustave H., a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune.

 

  • The Theory of Everything: (released on DVD 2/17/15) Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones this is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of–time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed.

 

12Of course, Manhattan Public Library’s DVD and Blu-Ray collection has Academy Award-winning pictures from previous years, including The Sting (1973), West Side Story(1961), Out of Africa(1985), The King’s Speech (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2014) and many others.

The library also has many of the films in which outstanding Best Actor and Best Actress performances were given, including Dustin Hoffman for Rain Man, Tom Hanks for Forrest Gump, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Meryl Streep for Iron Lady, Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln and Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side. Stop in for a list of the Best Picture winners or to check out some of the outstanding Oscar-winning performances from past years!

 

 

 

Posted in: Adult Services, News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Happy Birthday to the Movies!

movies  by Janet, Adult Services

The Cinema has come along way since 1895. Today you can sit at home watching movies that you borrowed from the library, got from a red box or downloaded through the internet. The very first cinema began on this day 119 years ago. Two brothers, Louis and Auguste Lumiere, projected short films to paying customers at the Salon Indien du Grand Cafe in Paris, France. This history-making presentation featured ten short films projected with a hand cranked projector with each film running approximately 50 seconds. Find the newest videos in our collection to take home to your own personal home cinema viewing for free.  http://catalog.manhattan.lib.ks.us/polaris/Search/newreleases.aspx?ListingTypeID=27&ctx=3.1033.0.0.5

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

Leave a Comment (0) →

Relax with Holiday Books and Movies!

snowmanThe holiday hustle and bustle is upon us, with lists galore of things to do and shopping and baking to finish. It is often difficult to find time to sit down and just relax. A great way to escape the holiday rush is with a book or film about the holiday season.
Manhattan Public Library has an excellent selection of holiday-themed fiction from which to choose. Many popular writers publish a Christmas novel each year. Anne Perry, a popular mystery writer, has a series of Christmas mysteries, beginning with the title “A Christmas Journey.” Other authors with books in a holiday series include Richard Paul Evans and his Christmas Box Trilogy, and Donna VanLiere and her Christmas Hope series.

grisham
Known for his best-selling legal thrillers, John Grisham is the author of “Skipping Christmas” –“Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether… skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences-and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined. A classic tale for modern times, “Skipping Christmas” offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.” Another author known for his thrillers is David Baldacci, whose book “The Christmas Train” is popular at this time of year. There are many new holiday-themed romance novels, such as “What a Lady Needs for Christmas” by Grace Burrowes;  “By Winters Light” by Stephanie Laurens; and “Mr. Miracle” by Debbie Macomber. Other new titles include “Death of a Christmas Caterer” and ” All He Wants for Christmas”. Look for our display of holiday-themed fiction for books by these and other authors, in a display case on the first floor of the library. (more…)

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Sherlocked

Keri Mills
Young Adult Librarian

sherlockThe series, “Sherlock,” premiered in 2010 and has since gained legions of followers. If you are one of the many, like myself, who have been “Sherlocked,” then you were unhappy with the news that season 4 will not even begin filming until the winter of 2015. Having to wait two years for new episodes practically qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment! Other than watching reruns of previous seasons, what are Sherlockians to do? Here ae a few suggestions to get you started.

Try some classic Sherlock Holmes. Start with “The Sherlock Holmes Collection” by A&E Television. This collection presents the five surviving episodes of the classic BBC show that aired in the 1960’s with Sherlock played by Peter Cushing. Or, watch “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous Sherlock mysteries. This movie adaptation was created in 1983 and stars Ian Richardson as Holmes.

For a more contemporary take, there is the movie “Sherlock Holmes” and its follow-up “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” both directed by Guy Ritchie and released in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Holmes is played by Robert Downey, Jr. and Watson is played by Jude Law. These films diverge quite a bit from the classic Sherlock Holmes portrayal, in that Holmes and Watson are more like big blockbuster action heroes than intellectuals. However, Holmes is still arrogant, impulsive, intelligent, and of course, amazing at deductive reasoning. Another option is “Elementary,” a CBS TV series that debuted in 2012, with the third season slated to premier in October. Originally, producers garnered a lot of flak as they seemed to be riding on the coattails of “Sherlock’s” success, but this show can definitely stand on its own. Like “Sherlock,” it is set in the modern day, but, the setting is New York instead of London. And, while Holmes (Jonny Miller) still has a sidekick, she is now a woman, Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

expressBesides watching other adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, anything based on Agatha Christie’s mysteries is a good choice. One of the great classics is “Murder on the Orient Express.” This 1974 film is star-studded with such actors as Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, and Vanessa Redgrave. In the movie, the Orient Express, a luxurious passenger train, is stopped by deep snow, and passengers discover that a murder has been committed. Luckily, or not so luckily for the murderer, famous detective, Hercule Poirot, happens to be on board. He must identify the murderer before he or she decides to strike again or is able to escape from the train. Another option is “And Then There Were None.” In this 1945 movie, based on Christie’s book by the same name, ten people are invited to an island for the weekend by the mysterious Mr. U. N. Own. Left on the island by boat, and then stranded, the ten begin being murdered one by one. Will they discover the murderer before all ten are dead?

For something a little different, “Doctor Who” is a good alternative. For those of you unfamiliar with “Doctor Who,” it is a long-running British science fiction TV series (recently celebrating 50 years). The Doctor, who is a Time Lord, explores the universe in his TARDIS, a time-traveling space ship that resembles a blue British police box. Along with various companions, the Doctor travels throughout time to save civilization and right various wrongs. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, co-creators and writers for “Sherlock,” are also writers for “Doctor Who” (Steven Moffat is also the executive producer for “Doctor Who”).
If you just want to see more of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the library has several of their movies. To see the two of them together again, watch “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” See Martin as Bilbo Baggins, and hear Cumberbatch’s marvelous voice as Smaug, the fire-breathing dragon.

imagesRRCDMDWQWhile none of these movies can take the place of “Sherlock,” hopefully they will help to tide us over for awhile. All of the above titles can be found at MPL. And, while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the original Sherlock Holmes adventures by Sir Arthur Conan D

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column, News

Leave a Comment (0) →

SCREWBALL COMEDIES FOR EASY SUMMER VIEWING

indexQQVUNTAOIs it even too hot to READ?  As the dog days of summer arrive, look for effortless, lighthearted entertainment in the screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s.  These films characteristically feature nutty plot lines, witty repartee, a rapid-fire delivery style, a skillful blend of sophistication and slapstick, elegant settings, and battling but romantically-inclined main characters.  The films first appeared in the early 1930s, with mega-hits It Happened One Night and My Man Godfrey.  They came at a time when the nation was dealing with the fallout of the Great Depression, and they were movies that made people laugh and were guaranteed to have happy endings.  They showcased many of the greatest stars of Hollywood from that golden era.  These screwball comedy classics are all available from Manhattan Public Library. 

It Happened One Night (1934), Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable 

Twentieth Century (1934), John Barrymore and Carole Lombard

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur

My Man Godfrey (1936), William Powell and Carole Lombard

Topper (1937), Cary Grant and Constance Bennet  

The Awful Truth (1937), Irene Dunne and Cary Grant  

You Can’t Take It with You (1938), Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart

Holiday (1938), Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn 

His Girl Friday (1940), Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant

My Favorite Wife (1940), Irene Dunne and Cary Grant

The Philadelphia Story (1940), Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant

The Lady Eve (1941), Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda

indexZ5EIHXVLBall of Fire (1941), Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck  

The Palm Beach Story (1942), Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea

Woman of the Year (1942), Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy   

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Cary Grant, et al.

 

 

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

Leave a Comment (0) →

Longmire fans!! He’s Back!!

large_Spirit_of_Steamboat_Craig-JohnsonThe new Longmire television season (season 3) begins on A&E on June 2. The hit drama is based on the popular mystery book series by Craig Johnson. The newest and 10th book in the series, Spirit of Steamboat, is available at Manhattan Public Library. If you are not familiar with the series, start with the first title, The Cold Dish. You can also catch up on the series with the DVD of the first season.

Posted in: Adult Services

Leave a Comment (0) →

More Movie Viewing for Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Susan Withee, Adult Services Department Manager 

Whether you’re hosting a house full of company or hoping for some welcome time to yourself this holiday season, consider watching one of these endearing but often-overlooked popular films with Christmas or New Year’s Eve themes.  Modern comedies, sublime romances, and forgotten classics, they’ll help keep everyone cozy and entertained through the winter holiday season.   Oh, and P.S., they would also make great last-minute gifts.

 5th avenueIt Happened on 5th Avenue (1947).  This delightful screwball comedy from the post-WWII era is reminiscent of Miracle on 34th Street and stars Don DeFore, Ann Harding, Gale Storm, and Charlie Ruggles.

The Shop around the Corner (1940).  A forgotten Jimmy Stewart Christmas classic that was later remade as “You’ve Got Mail,” this film is a sometimes bittersweet romantic comedy set in a shop in Budapest, and co-stars Margaret Sullavan and a host of wonderful supporting characters.

(more…)

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column

Leave a Comment (0) →