Imagine Your Story – Movie Review

Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, and Alexandra Daddario in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is the sequel to Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. This film seems to take a different tone from the last one. While the last film could have been a self-contained adventure, this film works on world building to expand the Percy Jackson universe. There isn’t a third film though despite there being a third book called The Titan’s Curse, but there is also an announcement that Disney will make a series for their streaming service. I still found this film enjoyable though and it made me want more. However, I do feel like certain character growth regresses in this film.

The film starts off with a flashback to demigods fleeing from cyclopes. One girl gets struck down, and so Zeus turns her into a tree to protect the demigod camp. We then see that years later Chiron (Anthony Head) and Mr. D (Stanley Tucci) are surprised by a new demigod who made it past the barrier. When they ask if he knows who their parent is, he points to an image of Poseidon one of the big three gods. We then see that Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is struggling on an obstacle course against his rival Clarisse (Leven Rambin). Clarisse ends up winning, and we learn Percy has been doubting himself in comparison to Clarisse.

Percy gets called into Mr. D’s office and learns that he has a half-brother who is half cyclops called Tyson (Douglas Smith). Percy starts showing Tyson around when suddenly the barrier around the camp is attacked. A metallic bull breaks through and with help from others is defeated by Percy. Luke (Jake Abel) shows up explaining he survived the fight before and he is still seeking to overthrow the gods. Luke explains he poisoned the tree that creates the barrier around the camp and leaves. Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) figures out the only way to cure the tree is by finding the Golden Fleece which can heal anything. Clarisse gets chosen to go on this quest, but Percy and his friends decide to go on the same quest separately worried about the consequences of failure.

This film seems to develop many areas at once. One area that particularly bothers me is the introduction of Clarisse in respect to Annabeth. Annabeth was supposed to be the star at the camp, and Clarisse seems to take that role from her relegating Annabeth to mostly be support. The film does have several interesting scenes and keeps the idea of being an adventure with multiple locations used. With the introduction of two new characters, the franchise seems to be gaining momentum here. Which is the reason the ending almost feels too soon. While they resolve their main conflict, they strongly suggest there will be greater adventures to come. Rated PG.

Ryan

Streaming Film Festival

Earlier this year when the Cleveland Film Festival was still planning their 44th year, and a grand bon voyage to the original hosting venue, Tower City, Rocky River Public Library was excited to be a community partner for the film Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century. Based on the book by the same name written by French economist, Thomas Piketty.

Spoiler alert, the film fest was canceled. BUT!

The great news is that the movie is now available to stream for free on Kanopy with your RRPL card!

The CIFF website has a page dedicated to searching for alumni movies now available on a variety of streaming services. The call it CIFF ALUM STREAMS and it is awesome!

With the power of the CIFF Alum Streams database and a library card, you can spend the rest of the pandemic streaming 44 years of amazing cinema from around the world. Give it a try!

-Beth

Imagine Your Story – Movie Review

Logan Lerman in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

I somehow missed Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief when it first came out. I love Greek myths and fantasy adventures, so this seems like a great movie for me. I was recently able to watch it, and I enjoyed the film. It has great world building in that it makes you believe that there is magic hidden from the rest of us. Then the main characters really get to explore that world in a cross-country adventure.

The film starts off with Zeus (Sean Bean) talking to Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) about the fact that some child of the gods stole Zeus’s lightning. We meet Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) in a pool with his friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) timing how long Percy can hold his breath under water. We learn that Percy is a fairly average person who struggles with reading. We meet Percy’s mother Sally Jackson (Catherine Keener) and Percy’s mean stepfather Gabe Ugliano (Joe Pantoliano). Percy goes on a field trip to a museum with his teacher Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan) and Percy gets taken aside by a substitute teacher. The substitute teacher turns into a harpy and starts asking Percy where the lightning is. Mr. Brunner and Grover come in to rescue Percy revealing they’re there to protect him.

Grover takes Percy home and informs Sally that they need to get out of there now. Gabe starts grabbing Percy to which Grover defends Percy. As Sally, Grover, and Percy are traveling Percy asks questions about what’s going on only to learn he’s a demigod and they need to get him to a camp to be safe. While they’re driving they’re suddenly attacked by a Minotaur. Grover is able to help everyone get out of the car. The group avoids the Minotaur until Percy is safely past the barrier to the camp, but his mom can’t get in. The Minotaur grabs his mother making her disappear, and Percy learns that Hades has her to trade for the stolen lightning.

This movie was an interesting adventure. I like films with elaborate world building. It allows the imagination to run wild in that world and make the viewer question what it’s like to live in it. I’d imagine the book is much more thorough on expanding certain points. This film does a good job of telling an exciting tale and it feels like a Greek myth told in modern times. I’ll likely need to read the books myself now. Rated PG.

Ryan

Imagine Your Story – Movie Review

Judi Dench, Colin Farrell, Josh Gad, Nonso Anozie, Lara McDonnell, Tamara Smart, and Ferdia Shaw in Artemis Fowl (2020)

I’ve anticipated this film since its announcement. Artemis Fowl was a book that excited me since I saw a promotional video at a book fair, and eventually I got to read it from a library. I loved the books and thought it would make a great movie adaptation. When I saw the recent trailers, I was confused by the shift in tone they were going for. While many seem to not like this film, I do think it will do better with certain age ranges. The film certainly doesn’t seem to capture the tone of the books but is an imaginative story.

The film starts out with the press on the lawn of the Fowls. We receive narration from Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad). We see that Mulch has been taken into an interrogation room of some sort. We then start to learn about Artemis Fowl (Ferdia Shaw) and his rather dismissive nature of everyone except his father. Artemis Fowl Sr. (Colin Farrell) reveals he must go off on a business trip again. Soon after Artemis receives a call that his father has been abducted and that he must deliver an item called the Aculos to trade for his father’s safety.

We’re introduced to officer Officer Holly Short (Lara McDonnell). She has been trying to solve the mystery of the disappearance of her father for years. She is part of a police force for magical creatures known as LEP (Lower Elements Police). Holly goes to a tree to investigate only to have Artemis and Domovoi Butler (Nonso Anozie) ambush her. Holly wakes up in a cage. Artemis has a plan to find the Aculos that he can’t accomplish without Holly”s help. LEP launches a full-scale recon mission to retrieve Holly. The standoff escalates as Artemis attempts to meet the kidnapper’s deadline.

I did enjoy this film, but the changes that were made from the books are hard to handle. Since seeing the film I’ve seen old trailers that suggest they were going in a different direction at some point. They seemed to have decided between a PG-13 film and this PG rating. The characters likewise do things differently creating a different feel to the plot. If you know little to nothing about the books, I think you could enjoy this movie for the fantasy adventure it is.

Ryan

Imagine Your Story -Book vs Movie

How often have you had the discussion about which was better -the book or the movie? All the time, right? And how often do you pick the movie over the book? Not as often as you pick the book, right? Well, I’ve got a win/win for you this week! You can read the book *and* watch the movie, in any order, and walk away thinking, “that was great!” Are you curious yet?

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson blends his personal experiences and life journey with his drive to create social justice and encourage us all to get involved. I read this book when it first came out, and have enjoyed it as an audio book as well, and I think part of what makes Mr. Stevenson’s book so special is how a reader can emotionally connect to experiences, feeling his pain and his joy, while breaking down those systemic issues surrounding the inequality of our justice system. Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative leading force in the creation of the Legacy Museum as well as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Mr. Stevenson is changing our World for the better!

“But what about Just Mercy as a movie?” you ask. This movie focused in on how Mr. Stevenson became Mr. Walter McMillian’s lawyer over other experiences in the book. Sometimes it’s that trimming that can leave a reader feeling like something was missing, but I would be surprised to hear that after you watch this film. Instead, I’d guess you might also think of this as an additional chapter to the book?

I hope you read *and* watch Just Mercy, and then -please, let me know what you think!

Take care
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home- Must Watch Documentaries

Have you watched all the guilty pleasure reality television you can handle? Re-watched all of your favorite classic films? Caught up on all those Oscar-nominated movies that you missed? If you find yourself struggling to find great viewing at home, I’ve put together a list of five stellar documentaries that you can watch at home right now for free!

Faces Places

This utterly charming documentary was recommended to me a while back by Dori, our Adult Services Manager who always has a great film tip up her sleeve, and I finally got around to watching it last week. This delightful film follows 89-year old Agnes Varda, one of the leading figures of the French New Wave, and acclaimed 33 year-old French photographer and muralist JR in what is essentially a roadtrip movie through France. Winner of the Golden Eye at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Available through Kanopy.

13th

Netflix recently made a variety of educational documentaries available for free viewing on YouTube- you can view all of the free documentary offerings here. The amazing documentary 13th is one of these offerings and a definite must watch. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. This critically acclaimed film will leave you with much to think about.

Bombshell

Bombshell shares the inspiring story of Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr as she fled an oppressive marriage to create a name for herself as one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies in the 1940s. Viewers learn that behind the glamour and sex appeal was a very talented and inquisitive inventor who created a radio system that is now considered the basis of Bluetooth technology. Lamarr didn’t receive credit for this achievement but this film looks to give her recognition long past due. Available through Kanopy.

I Am Not Your Negro

Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this Oscar-nominated documentary explores the continued peril America faces from institutionalized racism. In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends–Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Sadly, the book wasn’t completed and consisted of only thirty pages at the time of Baldwin’s death. Filmmaker Raoul Peck utilizes archival footage and Baldwin’s own words to envision the book he never finished, providing an excellent introduction to Baldwin’s work and an intriguing look at racism in America. Available through Kanopy.

Geek Girls

Geek Girls looks at the “hidden half” of fan culture- women! Nerdy ladies open up about their personal experiences in the world of conventions, video games, and other pop culture circles that are burdened by widespread misogyny. While geek communities have recently risen to prominence, very little attention is paid to nerdy women. Filmmaker Gina Hara, struggling with her own geek identity, explores the issue with a cast of geeky women including a feminist geek blogger, a professional gamer, and a NASA engineer. Official selection of the Cleveland International Film Festival. Available through Kanopy.

I hope something sparks your interest from my list! Each and every one of these documentaries is thought-provoking and well worth a watch. I guarantee you will learn something too, which is always what I expect from a good documentary. What are some of your favorite documentaries? I’d love to hear your picks in the comments!

Happy viewing and stay well!

Your Library Staff At Home… Staff Highlight

Krista

Administration

What was your favorite book you read in the last year and why?

Dear Edward - ebook

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano.  It’s about a young man finding his place in the world after he becomes the sole survivor of a plane crash. It’s heartbreaking and uplifting and honest.

What book are you looking forward to reading next?

The Red Lotus - ebook

The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

What are you currently watching?

Re-watching some of my favorite movies like Notting Hill, Julie and Julia, and A Good Year. I just finished Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu and Better Call Saul on Netflix. Currently watching a clever tv series called Community on Netflix.

What are you listening to…music, podcasts?

Listening to classical music in the morning with my coffee. Podcasts: I’m keeping it light and staying away from true crime… Every Little Thing, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, Young House Love Has a Podcast

What are you doing to occupy your time during these uncertain times?

I’m walking a lot.  Playing Words with Friends (for the first time) with my daughters who live out of state.  Watching videos of my granddaughter. Cooking and baking more than I care to, only because I like to eat. I’m organizing old photos, cleaning out closets, and recently polished every single antique brass door knob in our house. My husband and I love to hike, and have been exploring all of the Metroparks.

The Cleveland Metroparks – CBS Cleveland

 

Your Library Staff at Home -checking in

Hello Friends! Let’s do a little figuring today, shall we? Maybe you can help me figure out why some days the snacks I eat are all crunchy but other days they’re sweet, or why -even though I cooked before March 16, 2020- I feel like I’m constantly making the next meal, or (maybe my favorite thing to ponder) why there’s still a toilet paper shortage -doesn’t everyone who was worried about this have a sizable stash by now, or why there’s so much dust despite daily cleaning?Let me know what you’re thinking -I’m ready to get some answers!

If you need a little background music to do your deep thinking -did you know the Library is now offering Freegal? Maybe you’ve seen something about this on the Library’s social media?

🕺Dance like nobody is watching!💃
Freegal® Music is our new FREE music streaming and download music service. You can download and keep 3 MP3 songs per week and stream 3 hours of music per day!
All you need is your library card number and PIN.

Start downloading or streaming now! 🎶https://www.freegalmusic.com/home
Freegal IOS App 
 https://apple.co/39lG42a
Freegal Android App 
 https://bit.ly/2WOZutX
*Search Rocky River as your location*

I’ve been enjoying! There even some pre-made playlists like: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees or Walk It Off : A Walking Playlist you might want to give a listen!

This week’s shop small adventure was a movie ticket to stream Capital in the Twenty-First Century at home and a snazzy hat to support CIFF44!

Looking ahead to what I can do this week? I’m going to “dine out” with a delivery or curbside pick-up (and future cooking me says, “thanks for the break!”) and I’m going to start reading one new book-either Florida Man by Tom Cooper or Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz, plus revisit a favorite children’s book -maybe something by Roald Dahl?

What do you think you’d like to try this week? Or maybe you want to revisit an old favorite (book, song, and recipe) too? All book title, song name, and reliable recipe suggestions are welcome!

Be kind to yourself

—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home- Classic Films on Kanopy

We all have films that we’ve always meant to watch, or meant to re-watch, but never seemed to have the time. For me, many of the films I’ve hoped to give another viewing were new and old classics that I wanted to share with my husband, who is very much not a film buff but enthusiastically watches my picks on movie nights.

One of my favorite digital library resources and an amazing place to find classic films is Kanopy. Using your RRPL library card you can get access to an amazing array of films- typically you are allowed 7 “play credits” per month (once you press play on a video, you will automatically use 1 play credit and have 3 days to watch it as many times as you’d like.) To help us all get through these long days of social distancing, Kanopy is currently offering a variety of viewing that is credit-free! You can take a look at all of the credit-free choices available to you here.

So what are some of my top picks for classics on Kanopy right now? Below you will find my top 5 recommendations!

Suspiria (1977)

Image from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076786/

This suspenseful Italian classic from Dario Argento is a must-watch for any horror fan. Highly stylized, with an amazing soundtrack and inspiring color palette in nearly every scene, this interesting film follows American ballet dancer Suzy after she arrives in Germany to attend a prestigious ballet academy. Murder, secrets, and the supernatural abound, and she soon discovers the school is much more than it seems. If you saw the 2018 remake of this film (which I also recommend!) make sure to watch the original.

Modern Times (1936)

Image from https://www.criterion.com/films/27526-modern-times

I love Charlie Chaplin movies, and my all-time favorite of his is the romantic comedy City Lights, but Modern Times is a joy to watch and currently available on Kanopy! (Unfortunately, City Lights is not at the moment.) This comedic film was Chaplin’s last time playing the iconic Little Tramp and depicts him working as a factory employee who falls for a woman, while also sliding in some Great Depression commentary amidst the humor.

Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Image from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038348/

This beautiful French film from Jean Cocteau adapts the classic fairy tale story into a piece of cinematic wonder. We all know the story of a beautiful girl whose love saves the heart and soul of a wild but gentle beast, but the gorgeous cinematography and wonderful performances in this black-and-white version is one of the best adaptations and is a stand-out piece of fantasy film history.

Ikiru (1952)

Image from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044741/

I watched this film for the first time two years ago and was astonished by this touching work from the always impressive Akira Kurosawa. Viewers will follow Kanji, an aging bureaucrat who reassesses his life and priorities after he discovers he has stomach cancer and not much time left. Told in two parts, this movie examines the human condition and will surely leave you with much to contemplate.

Metropolis (1927)

Image from https://rrpl.kanopy.com/video/metropolis-0

Metropolis is a very famous and influential film and warrants at least one viewing no matter where your film interests lie because of it’s historical importance. The movie takes place in 2026 (just 6 years from now!) and is an amazing science fiction film that looks at a divided future in which workers and the wealthy enjoy wildly different lives. Still entertaining, thought provoking, and visually striking, this silent film will not disappoint.

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 classics on Kanopy and that something strikes your fancy! What are some of your favorite classic films? Have you been watching treasured movies you’ve seen many times over or are you using this time at home to watch all the newer movies you’ve missed in recent years? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

Thanks for stopping and stay well dear readers.

Your Library Staff at Home – Making & Crafting

I have always bemoaned my lack of time to do many of the things that I really like to do, like knitting, drawing, sewing and baking. Now, during this challenging time, I’ve no excuse; I’ve got the time, plus making is soothing and helps with the anxiety.

First, I’ve got a shawl to finish. I started it, I’m embarrassed to say, about a year and a half ago for a trip to Iceland. My sister Barb and friend Lynn also began their shawls for our trip, but they completed theirs. Mine, on the other hand, is still on the needles. Here’s a shot of Barb and Lynn in their lovely shawls while we were in Iceland and a shot of my unfinished shawl with some bonus pet shots! The bright colors were to help i.d. our bodies in case we fell down a volcano or iceberg – lol. 

The pattern is a traditional Icelandic shawl called Skakki by Helene Magnusson and uses traditional Icelandic wool. I’ll share the finished product next week – I promise!

As I’ve been knitting, I’ve been watching TV, a few movies, and have been listening to books and podcasts. I’ve signed up for Acorn TV through RBDigital and watched all of Agatha Raisin, a funny, tongue-in-cheek murder mystery series set in a small town in England based on the books by M.C. Beaton. I’ve also started an Irish mystery series called Blood, which is much more serious, so I’m taking that one slowly. 

I’ve watched  Jojo Rabbit, which I liked a lot more than I was expecting to, and Ad Astra, which is a deep dive with Brad Pitt into outer space. 

Knitting and listening to audiobooks is an A+ combination. My latest listen is Himself by Jess Kidd, because I wanted an Irish narrator for the St. Patrick’s season. It’s available on the Libby app, which I’m addicted to! Don’t have a library card? It’s not a problem; you can create an instant digital card to access titles. 

As far as podcasts, I really love the BBC Series In Our Time which covers historical events, famous people, science and nature – it’s fascinating. For these times, I enjoy the soothing voice of Krista Tippet at the On Being Podcast and it’s many offshoots. 

creativebug

If you could use some crafting inspiration, check out Creativebug. Log in using your library card and you get access to all kinds of video tutorials. They’ve shared a 7-week Home Crafting Guide to provide inspiration to begin a variety of projects, from easy to complex, with projects for children and adults. Week 1 includes a Kid’s Weaving Lesson and Color Meditation. These suggestions, however, are just the beginning; sign up and explore Creativebug to find something that speaks to you!

I’d love to hear what you’re making, so comment below. Stay safe and stay home!

~ Dori