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Archive for the ‘2013’ Category

Gandolfini_PassedAway6202013

We were sorry to learn that James Gandolfini died Wednesday while on vacation in Italy. Lisle Library patrons have long been fans of the series that made him famous,The Sopranos. If you are interested in learning more about him, we’ve included links to what both the New York Times and CNN Entertainment have to say about Gandolfini and his career, as well as a link to IMdB’s entry on his career and films.

New York Times Link About James Gandolfini

CNN Entertainment link about James Gandolfini

Internet Movie Database link to James Gandolfini

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For this month, we will be running our special header to commemorate the life of legendary film critic, Roger Ebert.

As we meet here online and at the library as fans of film, I’m taking a moment here to provide links to the books we have by and about him at Lisle Library, and sites that pertain to Roger Ebert. I’d also like to encourage followers of Just Between Frames, to share their thoughts on Roger Ebert, his film critiques, Ebertfest, or other stories that show your connection to this great Chicago film fan.

Ebertfest, also called The [15th] Annual Roger Ebert Film Festival, will be going ahead this month from April 17th to the 21st, click the graphic below

Ebertfest - The 15th Annual Roger Ebert Film Festival to go to the web site for it. Perhaps you can attend — a great way to remember him and celebrate his love of the movies.

Lisle Library LogoLisle Library’s books related to Roger Ebert:

Awake in the dark : the best of Roger Ebert : forty years of reviews, essays, and interviews by Roger Ebert

Great Movie by Roger Ebert

Great Movies by Roger Ebert

Great Movies II by Roger Ebert

Great Movies II by Roger Ebert

Great Movies III by Roger Ebert

Great Movies III by Roger Ebert

A Horrible Experience...Movies That Suck by Roger Ebert

A Horrible Experience … Movies That Suck by Roger Ebert

Life Itself by Roger Ebert

Life Itself by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2012 by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2012 by Roger Ebert

Scorsese by Roger Ebert

Scorsese by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert link to his Sun-Times Reviews  Click to go to Roger Ebert’s reviews @ the Chicago Sun-Times

Wikipedia Link Click to read Wikipedia’s extensive article on Roger Ebert.

Tribute Articles
Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Tribune

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Pirate_LibAware_ShortFlyer_March2013The Pirate, our last film in the group’s American Musical series, was shown last night on JBF’s first Monday night meeting. Bringing our American Musical history forward from its start in the early 1930’s with Show Boat, The Pirate brought us into the golden age of MGM musicals. It was, in fact, Judy Garland’s second appearance in a color film. She could never have asked for a better director for taking advantage of color than her second husband, director Vincente Minnelli. He is known for creating great, colorful settings in his films, and the group agreed that The Pirate definitely demonstrates this with its lush visuals. Judy Garland has never looked more gorgeous.

We talked a bit about how her more grown-up, womanly role in this movie may have been one of the reasons audiences were split over liking this movie. Fans of the time, wanted Dorothy to stay a young girl, with only hints of romance in the film. The Pirate shows Garland as both the seduced and the seducer, which may have turned them off. The other point that came up in the featurette that we talked about was how 1940s movie goers were thrown off by having Gene Kelly play a pirate instead of his usual good-looking guy next door who just happens to dance. And while he dances up a storm in the movie (almost literally!) there’s no tap dancing – which was the mainstay of all musicals at the time. For these and other reasons, we felt critics were correct in seeing this film as being ahead of its time.

Some other innovations noted were: broadening the scope of the setting beyond the closed, “staged” feel one gets with earlier movies. The tradition of staged scenes is included in The Pirate but only within the troupe that Kelly’s character (Serafin) performs in. It also included a classic Kelly dream sequence where Judy is imagining what Serafin/Macoco would be doing on his pirate ship. We also talked about how this, and other scenes confirmed the idea that Fred Astaire dances with elegance, while Kelly is athletically acrobatic, a style seen as more more “manly” that would go over better in the 1950s musicals that were waiting in the wings… Everyone is interested in doing another short series of musicals to track the musical into the recent decades.

We talked about the careers of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, mainly centering on the timeframe of this film. We learned that Gene Kelly came to Hollywood in 1941 after making a hit in Pal Joey on Broadway. He’d only planned to make one film to fulfill his contract and then head back to Broadway. The “kindred spirits” at MGM convinced him to stick around. We contemplated what a loss it would have been had he not stayed: there would have been no American in Paris, no On the Town – and no Singing in the Rain!!

The Pirate was Judy Garland’s come back film after giving birth to Liza Minnelli. Still suffering from postpartum depression and drug-related illness, she was one of the factors that delayed the release of the film, which added to its costs. Still, members agreed she gave a superior performance in this film. Many film critics consider it to be one of her best as well.

Members also got a kick out of the tongue-in-cheek lines and pirate film spoofs that proliferate in this movie. There’s a reason why the most memorable song is “Be a Clown” and Garland’s “Mack the Black”. One highlights the humor while the other celebrates the adventures of pirates.

Another idea that looking at musicals inspired seems to have potential for our August meeting (where we pick out next year’s films) This theme is: The Soundtrack “Made” the Film. The idea would be to have films where the soundtrack plays a key role in how much you get or like the film itself. As part of the discussion we would identify key scenes that demonstrate the soundtrack’s support of the story, etc. and then play those scenes without sound.

One final moderator note: Patti would love to hear people’s opinions on and theories about why Judy Garland is dressed early in the film in a dark yellow polka dot dress with a red and white plaid hat? It was such a garish faux pas compared to all her other outfits… What do you think? Please share any other comments you’d like to make about the films, the starts, or our American Musical series!

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Pick The Oscar Winners” Contest – Our Five Winners!

OscarPrizes2013

In a hard-fought year of balloting, almost 100 brave Lisle patrons entered the contest – and no one got all five categories correct. This led to the folks who got 4 out of 5 categories correct. There were 14 patrons who achieved this, so Tatiana Weinstein, our director of Adult Services, helped us out by pulling 5 of the 14 names from a basket.

We are now proud to announce that the official winners of our 2013 Oscar Contest are:

Sandy Bergeron

Ron Chin

Thomas Cunningham !!! [a founding member of Just Between Frames (JBF)]

David Frost

Marie Jesionowski

2013 Oscar Contest Winner

OscarWinners2013_Chin

2013 Oscar Contest Winner 2013 Oscar Contest Winner

2013 Oscar Winners

Each will receive a bag of gourmet popcorn, a movie theater-sized box of candy, and their choice of one of the following DVDs: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Les Misérables, or Silver Linings Playbook.**

**Currently only Argo is out on DVD. Winners will receive special tickets to pick up their DVDs once they are released on DVD.

Congratulations to them, and thank you to everyone who participated – it was one of our best contest years yet!

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Top Hat Poster In contrast to Show Boat, our first musical, this classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film is a prime example of the song & dance-oriented musical. Several members commented on how everything about the visuals – whether they were dancing or not – moved to a rhythm of its own. One member pointed out how the young people of the ’30s and ’40s grew up with a culture that encouraged everyone to know different dances and dance steps. We also commented on how it seems that each human decade or so had its own rhythm and ways of moving both in terms of its dance styles and how people stand and move at different points in our culture. We talked about how that can affect how well – and how believably, the current generation’s actors can perform classic musicals of other eras; as well as how long an actor/dancer of a previous era can keep up with the changes of different generations. (We’re planning on getting into this more after we’ve seen Gene Kelly in “The Pirate” since his style and Astaire’s overlapped to some extent – but were very different.)


We also noted that sometimes Ginger Rogers gets short-shrift in talking about the pictures she made with Fred Astaire because he’s so mesmerizing when he’s dancing. We felt that this would not have been so true for him, if she hadn’t been able to both keep up with him and complement his style so beautifully. And while Astaire’s mastery of song and dance films is undeniable, Ginger Rogers was actually in more films than Fred, and a wider range of types of films (dramas, comedies, etc.) While we also admire Fred’s dancing with Rita Hayworth and particularly his tap dancing with Eleanor Powell, there’s just no denying there’s something special about the chemistry between Fred and Ginger.


Part of this magic we also attributed to the group of supporting characters who had recurring roles in their films, particularly: Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes (here as Italian clothes designer Alberto Beddini), Eric Blore (as Horton’s man Bates) and Helen Broderick as Horton’s comically pragmatic wife. These actors not only compliment the main characters and provide comic asides, they are just as fun to watch in scenes amongst themselves. We talked about how the art of the character actor seems to have slipped away in more current films and that we miss their wit and humor and the layering they gave to particularly comedic stories. In looking into this film we also learned that many consider it not only to be a fine musical comedy, but a prime example of the screwball comedies done as a musical. Another fun thing about the supporting cast is that they so often include brief appearances by performers who went on to become stars themselves. This was certainly true of “Top Hat” – Lucille Ball has an uncredited appearance as the flower shop girl. A scene we all enjoyed and appreciated how she came across as this character and not “Lucy”!


The film also showcased stunning numbers with strong dancing by the chorus groups doing variations on Busby Berkeley-styled choreography. Another member spoke about how influential and important a choreographer Hermes Pan was both in Fred Astaire’s movies and in this era in Hollywood. We talked about how the later, more balletic moves Fred uses probably were part of what caught the eye of a young Baryshnikov when he eagerly embraced American dance. Fred Astaire was his favorite performer to study. With the addition of Max Steiner as the director and Irving Berlin for the music, it’s no wonder this film had 4 Oscar nominations! The group was very pleased this was our lead-in to this year’s Oscar dance. Did we miss something about Top Hat? Please add your comments to this post! And don’t forget — The Pirate will be shown on Monday night March 25th at 6:00 p.m. It will be our last film in the American Musicals series this year.

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JBF Meeting Date Changes in 2013

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