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Friday, January 26, 2018

Oscars to Finish Off Awards Season

Written by Jon Williams

This time of year is traditionally awards season in Hollywood, when the best films of the past year are recognized. The season culminates with the most coveted awards, the Academy Awards, which will be handed out this year at the 90th annual ceremony, to be held March 4 in Hollywood. The nominees were named earlier this week, with the prestigious Best Picture category being populated by nine outstanding films.

The movie with the most nominations is The Shape of Water with a whopping thirteen, including Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), and Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins). Guillermo del Toro is up for Best Director, an award he won at this year’s Golden Globes, as well as Best Original Screenplay along with co-writer Vanessa Taylor. Behind The Shape of Water is Dunkirk with eight nominations. Most of them are in the so-called “technical” categories, although Christopher Nolan did score a Best Director nominations.

One of the most decorated films of awards season so far is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It will play a major part on Oscar night as it has seven nominations, including Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and two Best Supporting Actors (Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell). Three Billboards was already named Best Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes, where McDormand and Rockwell also took home their awards. With a SAG Award for Best Performance by a Cast under its belt as well, Three Billboards may have a big showing at the Academy Awards.

Following Three Billboards are two films with six nominations each. Gary Oldman has earned much acclaim for his portrayal of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, winning Best Actor at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Incredibly, if he won, it would be his first Academy Award; however, he faces stiff competition. Daniel Day-Lewis has won Best Actor three previous times, and is up for it again this year for his performance (in what he says is his last role) in Phantom Thread. Among that film’s six nominations are nods for Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson) and Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville).

Another film with a number of awards already this season is Lady Bird, which has five Oscar nominations. It won the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), and Saoirse Ronan won that same night for Best Actress, which she is up for at the Academy Awards as well. Among its other nominations are Best Director for Greta Gerwig—after many felt she was unjustly ignored for a Golden Globe nomination—and Best Supporting Actress for Laurie Metcalf.

Get Out is something of a surprise with its four nominations, if only because it at least nominally belongs to the horror genre, which rarely sees any awards season recognition. But the performance by breakout star Daniel Kaluuya demanded attention, which his Best Actor nomination delivers. The movie was also nominated for Best Director (in his directorial debut) and Best Original Screenplay for Jordan Peele, who is primarily known for his comedy work in television.

Call Me by Your Name also scored four nominations, including Best Actor for Timothée Chalamet. It is also the only Best Picture nominee to also be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, as it was based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman. And rounding out the nominees is the historical journalism film The Post, which, in addition to its Best Picture nod, also garnered a record 21st acting nomination for Meryl Streep.

That does it for this year’s Best Picture nominees, but there are plenty of other movies that have the potential to make some waves at the upcoming Oscar ceremony. Among them are Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Best Actor nominee Denzel Washington), I, Tonya (Best Actress nominee Margot Robbie and Best Supporting Actress nominee Allison Janney), The Big Sick (Best Original Screenplay), and the nominees for Best Animated Film (The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, and Loving Vincent). And for the film music buffs, don’t forget the nominees for Best Score (Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Best Song (Mudbound, Call Me by Your Name, Coco, Marshall, and The Greatest Showman).

So that’s a quick look at the upcoming Academy Awards. The ceremony is sure to drive a great deal of patron interest in the winners and nominees, so use the links above or SmartBrowse on our website to find these movies and others by these incredible performers and directors. In the meantime, let us know your picks for the night’s big winners!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Classic Novels Come to the Screen

Written by Jon Williams

Recently it was announced that the streaming service Hulu had picked up rights to a new six-episode adaptation of Joseph Heller’s classic Catch-22, starring and directed by George Clooney. First published in 1961, the novel is considered one of the most significant and influential literary works of the 20th century. About a group of United States airmen during World War II and their darkly humorous attempts to maintain their sanity (or prove their insanity), the novel was previously adapted into a 1970 feature film starring Alan Arkin as the main character, Yossarian, along with other such notable names as Art Garfunkel, Martin Sheen, Bob Newhart, Jon Voight, and Orson Welles.

Hulu, of course, has gained much acclaim lately for another series adaptation of a classic novel. Earlier this month, The Handmaid’s Tale won a Golden Globe for Best Drama Series, and Elisabeth Moss took home the award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, and it fared even better at last fall’s Emmy Awards, where it won those same two awards and six more. The show is based on Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s dystopian 1985 novel about a near-future society where declining birth rates have led to fertile women being indentured to powerful men as “handmaids” for procreation. Like Catch-22, The Handmaid’s Tale was previously adapted into a movie, released in 1990 and starring Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall, and Faye Dunaway. The show’s second season will debut in April.

HBO has a knack for bringing books to life—their Big Little Lies series, based on the novel by Liane Moriarty was a big winner in the miniseries category at this year’s Golden Globes, not to mention the runaway success of Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, among other examples. Their latest attempt will come this spring, with Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Referring to the temperature at which paper burns, the story deals with “firemen” who are tasked with burning any books they find, and one who goes rogue in hopes of reviving the wisdom of the past. A 1966 adaptation was directed by the legendary Francois Truffaut.

Since its initial publication in the late 1860s, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has always been a popular target for adaptation, with several movies and TV miniseries to its name already. This year, those totals will both go up by one, as the March sisters are coming to both the big and small screens. The film version, starring Lea Thompson as Marmee, the girls’ mother, does not have a firm release date yet. The three-part miniseries, on the other hand, is expected to air on PBS and the BBC during the Christmas season. Starring Emily Watson and Angela Lansbury, it will follow in a tradition of PBS/BBC period dramas, and as such, is highly anticipated.

Last year, Moonlight won Academy Awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay. This year, the writer and director of that film, Barry Jenkins, is bringing to the screen James Baldwin’s 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk. It’s the gripping story of a man unjustly accused of a horrific crime just after he and his fiancée learn she is pregnant, and their fight to prove his innocence. Despite being more than forty years old, it’s a tale with a great deal of resonance today. Another recent film based on a work by Baldwin, the 2016 documentary I Am Not Your Negro, has garnered much acclaim.

Of course, all of these adaptations are still a ways off. Much closer on the horizon is Disney’s movie version of A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay. Author Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel won the prestigious Newbery Medal for children’s literature, among other awards, and has been a beloved classic ever since. It follows the young Meg Murry as she searches for her father, a brilliant scientist who has discovered a method of traveling through both space and time. The movie, which hits theatres on March 9, is sure to reignite interest in L’Engle’s book, as well as further titles in the series, such as A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

Be sure you have these classic novels on your shelves for patrons as their adaptations come out, as they will surely be in demand even more than usual. Use the links above, or SmartBrowse on our website for other adaptations, more works by the authors, and plenty of other related materials.

Also, the OLA Super Conference is coming up very soon. If you’ll be at this year’s event, please come see us! We’ll be at Booth #413/415 on February 1-2. We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, January 12, 2018

2018 Preview: Audiobooks and Music

Written by Jon Williams

Last week we looked at some of the great moving coming out way in 2018, but that’s not all there is to look forward to. Here are some other great media titles the coming year has in store for us.

In publishing, the big question to start the year is the same as it has been for the past several years: will we finally see The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series? There’s no definitive word on that as of now (and we already know the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones isn’t coming until 2019), so all we can do is keep our fingers crossed. We do know, though, that Stephen King will follow up his packed 2017 with a new novel, The Outsider, coming in May. Other fiction titles for the year include Force of Nature by Jane Harper and Sunburn by Laura Lippman in February, Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion in April, and Lauren Groff’s Florida in June. Also, the Hogarth Shakespeare series, which sees popular contemporary authors update classic Bard tales, will have a new addition with Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth in April.

While her next novel isn’t coming until next year, a book of essays (including one on our collective love for public libraries) entitled Feel Free from Zadie Smith is part of a monumental year in non-fiction. A couple of social movements that gained steam as 2017 progressed will continue to demand attention and consideration. One is #MeToo and Time’s Up, highlighted at the recent Golden Globes ceremony. Rose McGowan’s Brave details her experience as an actress in Hollywood, while acclaimed author Roxane Gay compiles a series of essays by a number of women in Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. A co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, brings her struggle to light next week in When They Call You a Terrorist. In a related vein, a previously unpublished work from the late Zora Neale Hurston, Barracoon, looks at slavery’s effect on one man and the enduring legacy of the institution. But there are some books on less weighty topics as well, such as See What Can Be Done, a collection of cultural and media criticism from Lorrie Moore, and Creative Quest, a guide to creativity and inspiration from Questlove.

The world of music is already abuzz with the recent announcement of a new album forthcoming from Justin Timberlake. Man of the Woods comes out February 2, just two days before his performance at halftime of the Super Bowl. There’s plenty of other good music on tap, including a new album from platinum rockers Fall Out Boy, M A N I A, out a week from today. The anticipated Marvel movie Black Panther has an equally anticipated soundtrack that was curated and produced by Kendrick Lamar, who also performs on it, available February 9, a week before the movie debuts in theatres. An album featuring unheard recordings from the late Jimi Hendrix, Both Sides of the Sky, comes out March 9. Because of the nature of the music industry, nailing down future releases can be an inexact science, to say the least, but there’s a good chance of new album releases this year from such names as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Tool, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, and Migos.

As we said on last week’s movie preview, this is just scratching the surface of all the great content we can expect to see in 2018. Is there anything in particular you and your patrons are looking forward to? Let us know, and stay tuned to CVS Midwest Tape here on our blog as well as our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more information on exciting new releases as they become available.

Friday, January 5, 2018

2018 Preview: Movies

Written by Jon Williams

Happy New Year from all of us here at CVS Midwest Tape! We’ve hit the ground running in 2018, and we’re excited to continue to bring the best in media to you, your libraries, and your patrons. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the most anticipated movies to watch for the in the year to come.

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe kicked off ten years ago with 2008’s Iron Man, and it’s still going strong. First up, in February, is a solo adventure from Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, who first appeared in Captain America: Civil War. That leads into May’s mega superhero team-up flick, Avengers: Infinity War, which unites all Marvel’s standalone heroes and promises to bring the Guardians of the Galaxy into the mix as well. Then in July comes Ant-Man and the Wasp, the follow-up to 2015’s Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd. But that’s by no means all for comic book movies. Another Marvel favorite, the sequel to the acclaimed Deadpool is expected in June. In November, X-Men: Dark Phoenix will continue that franchise where Apocalypse left off. And the DC Comics franchise continues in December with Aquaman, the first installment since Justice League.

A big year for adaptations kicks off next month with Fifty Shades Freed, the third installment of the trilogy adapted from E.L. James’s hugely popular book series. A month after that, on the opposite end of the spectrum, comes a new version of A Wrinkle in Time, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved Newbery Medal winner. March will also see Steven Speilberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s rollicking near-future bestseller Ready Player One roll into theaters. In October, The Girl in the Spider’s Web goes from the page to the screen, picking up the Millennium Series where David Lagercrantz took over following Stieg Larsson’s passing. And although not technically an adaptation, the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, coming in November, will expand the wizarding world set forth in J.K. Rowling’s classic Harry Potter novels.

Then there are the sequels and reboots. One of the biggest will be May’s Solo, the second standalone Star Wars story after 2016’s Rogue One, this time detailing the backstory of everyone’s favourite scoundrel and scruffy-looking nerfherder, Han Solo. In June, Ocean’s 8 will bring an all-female crew to the beloved heist movies. Later that month, the long-awaited sequel to Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles finally arrives, and the next Jurassic World installment will wreak its havoc as well. The Purge horror series gets an origin story with The Purge: The Island, due in July. In October, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga feature in a new iteration of A Star Is Born. Michael B. Jordan returns for a second Creed film, an offshoot of the Rocky franchise, in November. Then, on Christmas Day comes Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 Disney classic starring Emily Blunt as the titular nanny and Lin-Manuel Miranda as her sidekick.

That’s just scratching the surface of all the big movies coming our way in 2018. Next week we’ll take a look at what else we have to look forward to in pop culture. In the meantime, let us know what you’re looking forward to the most, and count on us to keep you informed on when all these blockbusters—and everything else the new year has to offer—will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UHD.