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Staff Recommendations

BG Staff Rec Banner

The Bennett Martin Public Library downtown maintains an ongoing “Staff Recommendations” display – Staff from throughout the library system are encouraged to submit book, audio, CD and DVD/video recommendations for items to be placed onto this display. Items on the display have bookmarks inserted, giving brief descriptions about the item’s appeal factors, and listing similar books, audios or videos that the reader might also enjoy.

This page on BookGuide is used to highlight some of the items that have appeared on our Staff Recommendations displays in the past, including our staff members’ descriptions of the books, plus links to any “official Web sites” for the books, authors or series, if they exist*. Items on both the display and on this webpage may be recent releases, or older titles that deserve another look. Hotlinks on titles or formats (downloadable audio, book-on-CD, Large Print) connect to the appropriate entry in our on-line catalog, so that you may check on the availability of the item.

INDEXES TO PAST STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: BY TITLE | BY REVIEWER | TV SERIES/SPECIALS ON DVD/VHS | AGATHA CHRISTIE | STAR TREK | STAR WARS

July 2017 Recommendations

Wonder Woman ’77 – Volume 1
written by Marc Andreyko with art by various artists [YA PB (Graphic Novel) Andreyko]

Following the recent success at DC Comics of a comic-book series recreating the style and town of the late 1960s Batman TV series, Batman ’66, this short-run comic book called Wonder Woman ’77 came out a couple of years ago. It features stories about Wonder Woman set during the 1977-1979 time period when Wonder Woman was being portrayed on television by Lynda Carter. The art faithfully recreates Diana Prince/Wonder Woman exactly as Carter looked, not to mention Lyle Waggoner’s version of Steve Trevor. The writer, Marc Andreyko deftly mixes comic-book villains from Wonder Woman’s “rogues gallery”, with the kind of “cops and robbers/international spy stories” that made up the bulk of the TV show’s storylines.

I grew up on Lynda Carter, and her trademark “sonic boom spin” to appear in her satin costume. The theme song is forever imprinted on my memory as a part of my youth. I loved the new Wonder Woman feature film, starring Gal Gadot, but MY Wonder Woman will always be rooted in the types of adventures shown on the small screen 40 years ago. This comic book is a marvelous time capsule, bringing that feeling back, but with superb art. Two trade paperback collections of Wonder Woman ’77 are already out, with a crossover “Wonder Woman ’77 Meets Batman ’66” coming shortly, and a “Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman” collection coming in the Fall of 2017.

This first volume also features a nice afterword “Waiting in Wonder” by editor Andy Mangels, and preliminary sketchbook art by a variety of the artists included in this collection. I particularly enjoy Nicola Scott’s beautiful cover designs!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the Batman ’66 compilations, by a variety of writers/artist, plus the other Wonder Woman ’77 titles.] [ DC Comics’ official Wonder Woman ’77 Volume 1 web page ] | [ Wikipedia page for Wonder Woman ’77 ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Moonglow
by Michael Chabon [Compact Disc Chabon]

As part of my goal to read all three of the 2017 One Book – One Lincoln nominees, I snagged this Michael Chabon title as a Book-on-CD, read by actor George Newbern.

It is a very nicely done audiobook production — Newbern manages to inject a variety of different vocal stylings for each of the different characters. Chabon’s writing is excellent…much of the book feels like free-associating. The story is an autobiographical retelling of elements from Chabon’s grandfather’s life, told in fictional style. There are moments of sublime pleasure, but I’ll have to admit that I found the structure of the novel — or perhaps I should say “lack of structure” to be a bit off-putting. None-the-less, the strengths do outweigh the weaknesses, and I do find myself recommending this particular title. I’ll have to admit, I’ve enjoyed other Chabon more, though (particularly alternate history novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union). The topics that the novel/biography touches upon would be worthy discussion topics for any One Book – One Lincoln book group: World War II, difficulties in communicating, manned space exploration, unreliable narrators, and more!

[ publisher’s official Moonglow web page ] | [ publisher’s official Michael Chabon web site ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


The Prisoner of Night and Fog
by Anne Blankman [YA Blankman]

1930’s Munich is a dangerous place for most, but Gretchen Müller has grown up in the National Socialist Party, and is protected from those worries by her “uncle” Dolf. Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler, who became Gretchen’s sort-of-guardian when Gretchen’s father traded his own life for Adolf’s, and she is now his favorite, his pet. When Gretchen meets a Jewish reporter named Daniel, who has crazy ideas about the Party and uncle Dolf, Gretchen does not want to listen, but in curious when some of Daniel’s stories seem to make more sense than what she has always been told. Gretchen must examine her heart, and decide who to believe.

I really appreciated this book, because most of the books which are based off the Holocaust are from the viewpoint of Jews, or those who were sympathetic to them. This book is different in that Gretchen is German, and part of the National Socialist Party. It gives an insight into what life may have been like for Germans who were not in agreement with everything that was done during that time.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, also by Anne Blankman, The Tyrant’s Daughter, by J.C. Carleson or Code Name: Verity, by Elizabeth Wein.] [ official Prisoner of Night and Fog page on the official Anne Blankman web site ]

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Recommended by Marie P.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Liberty Meadows: Volume 1: Eden
by Frank Cho [741.5 Cho]

Liberty Meadows is an animal sanctuary; Frank is the vet and Brandy is the animal psychiatrist. With what the animals get into, they need both a vet and a psychiatrist. Reading Liberty Meadows reminded me in a lot of ways of the Garfield comics I used to read. There are crazy animals that get into mischief while the humans go about their lives. Jon in Garfield tries repeatedly to get a date with Liz, and Frank in Liberty Meadows tries repeatedly to get a date with Brandy. The series was originally in newspapers and then collected into book volumes. This is book one of four and personally I look forward to reading the others. It’s a good laugh if you like Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes.

[If you enjoy this, there are four volumes of the Liberty Meadows series available to check out from the libraries.] [ official Liberty Meadows web site ] | [ official Frank Cho web site ]

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Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

See Scott S.’s review of this title in June 2004


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by C.S. Lewis [j Lewis]

Although unarguably a classic work of fantasy fiction, there is debate as to if it’s really the first in the Narnia series. Some say it is, while others claim ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ is the beginning. This was my second reading of it as I wanted to, at long last, read the whole series and refresh my memory of it of this one. The story is of Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy who find their way into Narnia by accident. They discover that the land is under rule of the Ice Queen and with Aslan’s help, they free the land, end the endless winter, and becomes kings and queens. In Narnia some animals talk and others don’t, Aslan the lion is basically God and as we find out in ‘The Magican’s Nephew’, he gave some creates this ability at the creation of Narnia. While there are more religious tones to this than say Tolkien’s Middle Earth series, I didn’t find it overly strong and it’s woven into the world and story nicely. I would recommend it to any age of reader, and even if you’ve read it before.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the other Narnia books, by C.S. Lewis, A Land Apart From Time, by James Gurney, Roverandom or The Hobbit, both by J.R.R. Tolkien] [ official Narnia page on the official C.S. Lewis web site ]

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Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library


Tough As They Come
by Travis Mills with Marcus Brotherton [Biography Mills]

The next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself or life is beating you down, think about someone who has overcome the odds of survival after a catastrophic injury, let alone the odds of being highly functional again. Think about someone who has regained a positive, caring, helpful attitude after going through extreme trauma. Think about Staff-Sergeant (Army, Retired) Travis Mills. Travis, not yet 25, was on his 3rd deployment in Afghanistan in 2012 when he became the victim of a buried IED and was gravely wounded. Born in small-town Michigan, he was an ‘average’ kid, big and happy and a bit mischievous. After a great high school experience, his football dreams didn’t pan out and neither did his higher education efforts, so he decided to enlist, and joined the renowned 82nd Airborne Division. Doing so eventually led him to meet his wife, the sister of one of his squad members, who demonstrated unshakeable support when the unthinkable happened. Their daughter was one of his main motivations to suck it up and get on with his life. Relive Travis’ experience as a soldier, and then officer, who was always looking out for his fellows, and always thinking of ways to make the circumstances bearable and even fun. When the bomb exploded and shredded his limbs, medics weren’t sure he would even make it to the nearest hospital via helicopter — on which ride he asked after the welfare of 2 of his men who were less severely injured than he! But he did make it to Kandahar and then Germany and then back to the US at Walter Reed hospital, becoming one of only 5 servicemen in the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict to survive a quadruple amputation. During his recovery/rehab time, Travis experienced a severe case of phantom pain and agreed to go into a Ketamine coma, with resultant bizarre side effects. That experience alone is just one of the gripping events he talks about freely. Travis’ motto, “Never Give Up, Never Quit” is simple but powerful. He has been able to see his handicaps as opportunities, and his limitations as challenges, with the support of doctors, nurses, therapists, family, friends, and faith. He drives, he goes downhill-biking, he cooks, he runs, he doesn’t let zippers get the best of him! – he lives his life without thought of whether it is “normal” or not. And he started a foundation to help other wounded/disabled veterans and their families, including providing sporting challenges and raising money to create an all-accessible, ‘smart home’ retreat. Tough, indeed, in the very best way!

[ official Tough As They Come page on the official Travis Mills web site ]

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Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library


The 100
by Kass Morgan [YA PB Morgan]

In this post-apocalyptic world, the human race now resides on spaceships. Enough time has passed that the leaders believe the earth may be inhabitable once again. They decide to send 100 juvenile delinquents to earth, to see if they can survive… if they can’t, no one’s going to miss the delinquents anyway, right? We follow Clarke- the girl who was arrested for treason, Wells- the chancellor’s son, who refuses to leave his girlfriend’s side, Bellamy- who fought his way onto the ship to protect his little sister, and a handful of others as they arrive on earth and attempt to establish some kind of order and life, while struggling to survive against the elements of this planet that they have never experienced.

The book was an enjoyable, quick read. Switching between perspectives of the characters gives insights and clues about what is happening elsewhere. The reader can become conflicted about characters, as they view them from other perspectives, and also hear the internal thoughts of the character, and the reasons behind certain actions. The book ends with a cliff-hanger that makes the reader eager for the next book of the series. This book also has a television show based off of it.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth, The Testing, by Joelle Charobnneau or Legend, by Marie Lu.] [ Wikipedia page for The 100 book series ] | [ Wikikpedia page for Kass Morgan ]

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Recommended by Marie P.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Sloshies: 102 Buzzy Cocktails Straight From the Freezer
by Jerry Nevins (of Snow & Co.) [641.874 Nev]

I saw this title appear in our “What’s Cooking” e-mail newsletter, as a new addition to the libraries’ culinary books section, and was intrigued. I’m not much of a drinker — don’t like either beer or most wines — but I do like the occasional cocktail or mixed drink, and the concept of an entire recipe book filled with “frozen drinks” was appealing.

Nevins, co-founder of Kansas City frozen cocktail bar “Snow & Co.”, brings a sense of humor and a desire for simplicity to his extensive list of recipes. He shows how ANYone can create frozen cocktails with ease — using expensive freezing/churning equipment, or simply mixing the ingredients in a ziploc baggie and freezing them for four hours! He definitely shows how the frozen drink world is NOT just limited to such traditional but unimaginative fare as Daiquiris, Pina Coladas and frozen Margaritas. He also emphasizes the use of fresh ingredients over prepared ingredients, especially with fruit juices and herbs.

I’m intrigued by almost ALL of the recipes included in the book, though the wide variety of alcholic ingredients would require a major expansion of my liquor cabinent! I may have to pick up my own copy of this, or make numerous photocopies to get all these recipes for myself in the long run. My only complaint is that I’m a visual learner, and I’d like to know what each of these drinks actually looks like — and, unfortunately, there are photographs of only a small sampling of the drinks, so the rest is up to our imaginations. The opening chapter of the book covers basic tools for assembling the drinks, including how to make both “basic syrup” and “infused syrups” (nearly every drink includes one of these two ingredients), as well as the benefits of different types of glasses for drink presentation. There’s also information on how to decorate your drinks — in fact, each and every drink recipe tells you what the ABV (alcohol by volume), recommended glass shape, and best garnish (some very simple and some fairly complex). Though the book is broken into chapters — Tart, Sweet, Spiced and Floral — I appreciate the index at the back that lists drinks by the alcoholic ingredient.

A fun read, with intriguing recipes. I recommend this one!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Booze Cakes: Confections Spiked With Spirits, Wine or Beer, by Krystina Castella.] [ official Sloshies web site ] | [ official Snow & Co. web site ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Star Wars ReviewsRebel Rising
by Beth Revis [YA Revis]

Rebel Rising is the story of Jyn Erso and what happened to her after her parents were taken from her. The story is told from Jyn’s point of view and details her growth from traumatized child to fanatical teen soldier and finally bitter, disillusioned adult. The story also gives us some more insight into Saw Gerrera and how he becomes the paranoid, ruthless warrior we meet in “Rogue One”. “Rebel Rising” is a good book overall. It does drag in some places and the ending is hindered that Jyn Erso’s character arc is incomplete by the end of the book. I would recommend the book as worthwhile, though not essential, read for older Star Wars fans.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Catalyst: A Rogue One novel, by James Luceno, Guardians of the Whills, by Greg Rucka or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, by Alexander Freed.] [ Rebel Rising page on Wookiepedia ] | [ official Beth Revis web site ]

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Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Star Wars ReviewsGuardians of the Whills
by Greg Rucka

Guardians of the Whills is a fun story that gives us a little more insight into Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe before they meet up with Jyn Erso in “Rogue One”. While opposites in just about every way, including their taste in tea, Baze and Chirrut are close friends who value and care about each other. Though the Empire has taken over the Kyber Temple, both are committed to helping the downtrodden citizens of Jedha, especially the orphans created by the Empire’s brutality. As they become unsure of how they can continue to help those in need, they meet up with someone who appears to be the answer to their problems. Saw Gerrera and his partisans have come to Jedha to organize the various resistance groups and strike back against the Empire. Saw promises to share his resources to help the orphans in return for Baze and Chirrut joining his partisans. Though initially a great help, Saw and his partisans soon escalate the battle into an never ending cycle of resistance and reprisal. Baze and Chirrut are left to decide if working with Saw is worth the cost and what they will do if it isn’t. “Guardians of the Whills” is a fun, straightforward story that moves at a brisk pace. It packs lots of action with some basic insights into the characters.

One of the more fun things about the book is including various quotes about the Force at the beginning of each chapter. It’s not an essential read, but most Star Wars fans of all ages will enjoy it and find it worthwhile.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, by James Luceno, Rebel Rising, by Beth Revis, or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, by Alexander Freed.] [ Guardians of the Whills (Novel) page on Wookiepedia ] | [ official Greg Rucka web site ]

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Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


hooplaWhere Late the Sweet Birds Sang
by Kate Wilhelm [Downloadable Audio from both OverDrive and Hoopla]

Classic science fiction novel set in a post-apocalyptic near future.

The survival of the human species seems in doubt, as both ecological and genetic disasters have lead to massive die-offs of the majority of the population, most of which has gone sterile. In an isolated scientific enclave, a group of desperate survivors believe the only solution is to clone the next several generations of human beings, in the hopes that the sterility gene can be bred out, and humans can return to normal biological reproduction.

The problem is…the clones don’t think the same way that we do…and what survives may not truly be human after all.

My science fiction club read this for a group discussion and there were strongly divergent opinions about the book. But most of us agreed that it was a fairly good example of early-to-mid-1970s “New Wave” science fiction, by one of the most prominent authors from that time period. I did enjoy this, and recommend it for most fans of “social science fiction” as opposed to “hard SF”.

[ Wikipedia page for Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang ] | [ official Kate Wilhelm web site ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Screening Room

formatdvdBackbeat

[DVD Backbeat]

This is a movie that was released in 1993–I believe I saw it when it first came out on VHS. I love the Beatles, and while I’m not a rabid fan (i.e. I’m not big into collecting things, I don’t know every little fact about the Beatles, etc.), I do consider them to be one of my top five favorite bands. I recently thought of this movie again, requested that we purchase it, and when it came in, I borrowed it. Stephen Dorff plays Stuart Sutcliffe, the Fifth Beatle. I had never known much about him at all–in fact, I’d always assumed Pete Best was the Fifth Beatle… I don’t know why. In fact, Pete Best was the drummer who was with the band for the first few years, right up until the time they made it big. (Unfortunately for him.) Stuart Sutcliffe, however, was really an art school chum of John Lennon’s. He plays bass in the band, mostly just “for a laugh”. It seemed like something fun to do, though painting was his real passion. He wanted to spend time with Lennon, and Lennon wanted him around as well, despite the fact that the band was carrying him. Once Sutcliffe meets Astrid Kirchherr, things begin to change for the whole band.

This entire cast is fabulous, in my opinion–I loved Stephen Dorff as Sutcliffe, and Ian Hart was amazing as Lennon. You might recognize Sheryl Lee, who played Astrid, as Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Doors, with Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan and Kyla MacLachlan, Dreamgirls, with Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Beyonce, Almost Famous, with Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand and Billy Crudup, or Rockstar, with Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston and Timothy Spall] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

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Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library


formatdvdBridge of Spies

[DVD Bridge]

If I had one regret in my life, it would probably be that I didn’t pay sufficient attention to my history lessons in school. Seeing movies like Bridge of Spies helps spark that interest in history that I never really had before.

Tom Hanks plays Jim Donovan, an insurance lawyer assigned to defend a man, Rudolf Abel, who is accused of being a Russian spy during the height of the Cold War. While Donovan is mainly chosen because he’s skilled and will do what he’s told, it never occurred to his boss and the Attorney General that he would actually go above and beyond the call of duty to not only Defend Abel in the original trial, but also to appeal and then to fight for a prison sentence, rather than execution. Despite the fact that it puts himself and his family in an unsavory position, Donovan gives it all he’s got–and then some!

Tom Hanks is brilliant in this movie, of course, and it was wonderfully directed by Steven Spielberg…. but my favorite person in the whole movie is Mark Rylance, who plays Rudolf Abel! I saw this in the theater and couldn’t wait for it to come out on DVD to have my husband watch it, as well. Being the son of a history teacher, I knew he’d appreciate it–and he did!!!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Big Short, starring Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale, Argo, with Ben Affleck, John Goodman and Alan Arkin, or The Wolf of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Facebook page for this film ]

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Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library


formatdvdThe Iron Giant

[DVD j Hughes]

The Iron Giant is one of my all-time favorite animated movies. It was directed by Brad Bird, who also helped adapt the story from a novel, “The Iron Man”, by Ted Hughes. This was Bird’s first turn as a feature-length director, and after Iron Giant, he moved to Pixar, where he became one of their most creative forces on films such as The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Released in 1999, The Iron Giant is set during the cold war period of the late 1950s. The Soviet Union has just launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik. So, when something approaches Earth from deep space and crash lands in the forest, a panic ensues. Except that what crashed is a semi-sentient giant robot, and the first person who finds it is a trusting young boy, Hogarth Hughes, who befriends the confused and lost giant.

This is an emotional and personal story, packed into a tense military adventure story. It features wonderful voice-actor work from Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston, John Mahoney, James Gammon and Cloris Leachman. The voice of the giant robot is provided by Vin Diesel, 16 years before he voiced “Groot” in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The field of animation has gotten progressively more sophisticated and impressive over the years, but for a film almost 20 years old, this has perfectly fine animated. I also love the score by Michael Kamen. This is a film that should appeal to both kids and adults, and has a message to share about trust and tolerance, which is just as valid now as it was in the time period of the film’s events.

This movie has been released in several different DVD or BluRay editions, with various different “special features”. The copy I’m reviewing had some real nice “extras”, including director’s commentary by Brad Bird, with several other department heads; and 13 branching minidocumentary segments that highlight key sequences from the viewpoints of Score, Character Design, Storyboards and Animation.

Definitely worth a full “10” rating…don’t miss it!

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official The Iron Giant web site ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public LIbrary


formatdvdKing Kong

[DVD King]

After watching the new Kong: Skull Island movie, I was curious about the original. It goes without saying that during the 85 years between 1932 and 2017 when the two movies were made, a lot has changed. However, I really enjoyed both. The story in this one is that a movie maker sets out to a tropical island with a large crew who know nothing of where they are going or why there are bombs on board. The director, the night before setting sail goes to the street of NYC to find a woman to star in his movie and brings her aboard the ship. Eventually the truth is revealed that they are going to an unknown island home to creatures no westerner has laid eyes on. Like in Skull Island there are natives on the island but in this movie they are not so hospitable to the newcomers. The woman to star in the movie in the movie, actress Fay Wray, is kidnapped and sacrificed to Kong who carried her around the island which proves to be home to dinosaurs too. Eventually they make it back to NYC Kong in tow and he proceeds from there to wreak havoc. I felt sorry for him being kidnapped and brought into civilization, so the ending was sad to me, but it was still a wonderful movie and I do recommend it to anyone. There’s a bit of everything here, mystery, adventure, action, romance, and a historical aspect that comes with being made so long ago. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to watch this or the new one to appreciate either, they both can stand alone, even though it’s fun to compare them.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Kong: Skull Island] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Wikipedia page for King Kong (1933) ]

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Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

See Scott C.’s review of this DVD in October 2009


formatdvdKong: Skull Island

[DVD Kong]

Fantastic. I loved this movie with the beautiful island scenery, strange beasts, native people, a stranded WWII soldier, a 1970’s exploration crew and junior King Kong. John Goodman’s character is member of a group who studys cryptids so he and his pal convince a congressman to grant them a military escort to an uncharted, unexplored island in the Pacific in the shape of a skull that they believe is home to the unknown. Approval is reluctantly granted just as the Vietnam War comes to an end. Samuel L. Jackson’s character, a military leader, is recruited to lead the expedition. Pleased to have another mission, he accepts. The crews with a huge military ship and multiple helicopters go in. Kong is there pretty much right away and he’s not a happy about having guests. The helicopters don’t last long, we’ll just say that. The expedition members and military personal are all scattered into small groups, one of which stumbles upon some ruins, then a group of natives, then John C. Reilly’s character, a WWII American pilot who’s plane crashed on the island during the war. He’s been there ever since so he’s gone a bit crazy and knows nothing of what’s occurred in the 25-30 years he’s been there. He explains, as they found out, Kong is not the only unusual creature on the island and decides to help them and himself escape. I don’t want to spoil anything because it’s just so fun to watch and there are so many dangers that people die in horrible ways all throughout the film and you never know who it’s going to be. Being a major character does not safeguard you against the perils of the island. Again I think it’s a really fun and fantastic movie, full of action, surprise, and humor; you should really watch it if you like that kind of movie. It’s not for everyone, but few things are.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try King Kong, the original 1932 film.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Kong: Skull Island web site ]

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Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library


formatdvdMel Brooks: Make a Noise

[DVD Biography Brooks]

This 90-minute episode of PBS’ American Masters series is a marvelous biographical snapshot of American humorist Mel Brooks, writer for such classic TV series as Your Show of Shows and Get Smart!, and legendary director of films such as Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, Life Stinks, The Producers and The History of the World, Part I.

Brooks, and many of his friends and co-stars, sat for freewheeling interviews with the documentary’s director, who intersperses their comments with clips from throughout Brooks’ career. This is a fast-paced show, but does have its quiet moments, especially as Brooks reminisces about second wife Anne Bancroft, and his work as a producer at Brooksfilms, where most of the movies he backs are serious dramas. But, it is when he is talking about his comic successes that the show really shines. I really appreciated the interview clips with so many of Brooks’ actors that had to be culled from other/earlier sources, since many of them have passed away — actors like Marty Feldman and Madeleine Kahn.

If you’re a fan of any of Brooks’ works, from his lengthy career, you’ll enjoy this. If you’re unfamiliar with Brooks and his films, I still recommend this biographical documentary…you’ll learn about a lot of films and TV series that are well worth your time to track down!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of Mel Brooks’ films, especially The Producers, Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles, or the TV shows he was involved with, including Your Show of Shows, Get Smart, and When Things Were Rotten.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this documentary ] | [ official Mel Brooks: Make a Noise (American Masters) web site ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


last updated July 2017
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