Weekend Picks

Canadian Film Weekend

Northern lights, camera, action… eh!

Wednesday marked National Canadian Film Day, so let’s continue the celebration over the weekend with some choice Canadian films!

Enjoy,

Geoff

Dead Ringers

Elliot, a successful gynecologist, works at the same practice as his identical twin, Beverly. Elliot is attracted to many of his patients and has affairs with them. When he inevitably loses interest, he will give the woman over to Beverly, the meeker of the two, without the woman knowing the difference. Beverly falls hard for one of the patients, Claire, but when she inadvertently deceives him, he slips into a state of madness.

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Stories We Tell

In this inspired, genre-twisting film, Oscar-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that the truth depends on who’s telling it. Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets behind a family of storytellers.

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Rhymes for Young Ghouls

In 1976, a Mi’gMaq teenager plots revenge against the sadistic Indian agent who imprisoned her in a residential school where rape and abuse are common.

TrailerBarney’s Version

The picaresque and touching story of the politically incorrect, fully lived life of the impulsive, irascible and fearlessly blunt Barney Panofsky.

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Mommy

A feisty widowed single mom finds herself burdened with the full-time custody of her explosive 15-year-old ADHD son. As they try to make ends meet and struggle with their unpredictable ménage, the peculiar, new girl across the street, Kyla, benevolently offers her help.

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Monsieur Lazhar

During a harsh Montréal winter, an elementary-school class is left reeling after its teacher commits suicide. Bachir Lazhar, a charismatic Algerian immigrant, steps in as the substitute teacher for the classroom of traumatized children.

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Giant Little Ones

Two popular teen boys, best friends since childhood, discover their lives, families, and girlfriends dramatically upended after an unexpected incident occurs on the night of a 17th birthday party.

In the 90s, Laurence tells his girlfriend Fred that he wants to become a woman. In spite of the odds, in spite of each other, they confront the prejudices of their friends, ignore the council of their families, and brave the phobias of the society they offend.

Weekend Picks

Earth Day Ed.

Start celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this weekend with these worldly flicks about a place where we can all make a difference.

Enjoy,

Geoff

This Changes Everything

Directed by journalist and filmmaker Avi Lewis, produced in conjunction with Naomi Klein’s bestselling book of the same name, and filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, the film presents seven portraits of communities on the front lines. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.

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Birders: The Central Park Effect

Birders: The Central Park Effect reveals the extraordinary array of wild birds who grace Manhattan’s celebrated patch of green, and the equally colorful New Yorkers who schedule their lives around the rhythms of migration.

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Koyaanisqatsi

A motion picture essay which takes a revealing and shocking look at modern life and its imbalances. The first film in a trilogy which was followed by Powaqatsi.

Earth Days

Director Robert Stone traces the origins of the modern environmental movement through the eyes of nine Americans who propelled the movement from its beginnings in the 1950s to its moment of triumph in 1970 with the original Earth Day and to its status as a major political force in America.

Living in the Future’s Past

Academy Award-Winner Jeff Bridges shares the screen with scientists and profound thinkers going beyond politics and borders to look under the hood of humanity, revealing eye-opening concepts about ourselves and our past, providing the keys to a better future.

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Ghost Bird

A documentary about an extinct giant woodpecker, a small town in Arkansas hoping to reverse its misfortunes, and the tireless odyssey of the bird-watchers and scientists searching for the Holy Grail of birds – the elusive Ivory-billed woodpecker.

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A Will For The Woods

What if our last act could be a gift to the planet? Musician and psychiatrist Clark Wang prepares for his own green burial in this immersive documentary. While battling lymphoma, Clark has discovered a burgeoning movement that uses burial to conserve and restore natural areas, forgoing typical funeral practices that stress the ecosystem.

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Monday Evening Book Club April Selection

The Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, April 8 in the 2nd floor Training Room to discuss the best-selling memoir Educated by Tara Westover.

Tara Westover was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. Instead of traditional lessons, she grew up learning how to stew herbs into medicine, scavenging in the family scrap yard and helping her family prepare for the apocalypse. She had no birth certificate and no medical records and had never been enrolled in school.

Westover’s mother proved a marvel at concocting folk remedies for many ailments. As Tara developed her own coping mechanisms, little by little, she started to realize that what her family was offering didn’t have to be her only education. Her first day of university was her first day in school—ever—and she would eventually win an esteemed fellowship from Cambridge and graduate with a PhD in intellectual history and political thought.

A CBC radio’s The Current interview (with partial transcript)

A Guardian book review

A Book review by Bill Gates (includes a video interview)

Monday Book Club April Selection

Empress of Idaho

Our Monday Book Club meeting, originally scheduled for April 6, is being converted to a “virtual” discussion of the book The Empress of Idaho by Todd Babiak via email. Members are being contacted and can participate via email. Non-members are welcome to add their comments to the blog!

About the book …

Monument, Colorado, July 1989. Fourteen-year-old Adam Lisinski is mesmerized the moment Beatrice Cyr steps into his life. Adam has a lot going for him: he’s hoping to be a starter on his high school football team, he has a fiercely protective mom, a girlfriend, and a part-time job at Eugene’s Gas Stop, where he works with his best friend. But he neglects everything that matters to him after Beatrice, his neighbour’s enigmatic new wife, comes to town. Soon he finds himself alone with her–in the change room at Modern You, a clothing store on Second Street; in the back row of the theatre at Chapel Hill Cinema; in the front seat of her truck. He’s confused about who she is, what she wants, and where she comes from. Adam is desperate, caught between wanting to spend time with Beatrice–whose past is catching up with her–and lying to everyone he cares about. The guilt overwhelms him. And when Beatrice convinces Adam’s mom to quit her job and partner in a risky real estate venture, he has to do something before everything spins further out of control. The plan he comes up with tests his courage and leads him to an unshakable truth about loyalty and love.

By turns riveting and tender-hearted, The Empress of Idaho is a story about the vulnerability and confusion of adolescence at the moment when it slams against adulthood. It’s an unforgettable portrait of a boy’s difficult coming of age.

About the author …

Author website

A CBC Radio Next Chapter interview with Todd Babiak

An Edmonton Journal book review

A Quill and Quire book review

Discussion questions (Penguin Random House reading guide)

Research article on female sexual predators

Seniors Book Club April Selection

Empress of Idaho

Our Monday Book Club meeting, originally scheduled for April 6, is being converted to a “virtual” discussion of the book The Empress of Idaho by Todd Babiak via email. Members are being contacted and can participate via email. Non-members are welcome to add their comments to the blog!

About the book …

Monument, Colorado, July 1989. Fourteen-year-old Adam Lisinski is mesmerized the moment Beatrice Cyr steps into his life. Adam has a lot going for him: he’s hoping to be a starter on his high school football team, he has a fiercely protective mom, a girlfriend, and a part-time job at Eugene’s Gas Stop, where he works with his best friend. But he neglects everything that matters to him after Beatrice, his neighbour’s enigmatic new wife, comes to town. Soon he finds himself alone with her–in the change room at Modern You, a clothing store on Second Street; in the back row of the theatre at Chapel Hill Cinema; in the front seat of her truck. He’s confused about who she is, what she wants, and where she comes from. Adam is desperate, caught between wanting to spend time with Beatrice–whose past is catching up with her–and lying to everyone he cares about. The guilt overwhelms him. And when Beatrice convinces Adam’s mom to quit her job and partner in a risky real estate venture, he has to do something before everything spins further out of control. The plan he comes up with tests his courage and leads him to an unshakable truth about loyalty and love.

By turns riveting and tender-hearted, The Empress of Idaho is a story about the vulnerability and confusion of adolescence at the moment when it slams against adulthood. It’s an unforgettable portrait of a boy’s difficult coming of age.

About the author …

Author website

A CBC Radio Next Chapter interview with Todd Babiak

An Edmonton Journal book review

A Quill and Quire book review

Discussion questions (Penguin Random House reading guide)

Research article on female sexual predators

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Grace is Gone
By Emily Elgar

Meg and her severely disabled daughter, Grace, have been residents of the small town of Ashford in Cornwall, for many years.  Meg is admired by her neighbours for her selflessness in caring for her daughter and Grace is genuinely loved by all who know her.  

So when Meg is found brutally murdered in her bedroom and Grace is nowhere to be found, the townsfolk are shocked beyond belief.  Police immediately set out to find Meg’s estranged husband whom she always contended was abusive to her and Grace.

Meanwhile an unlikely pair team up to search for Grace:  Jon Katrin, a journalist, whose coverage of Meg and Grace’s story backfired, resulting in his shunning by the community, and Cara, a sometimes friend of Grace.

The suspense had been built up nicely to this point and then Elgar got sloppy.  Jon and Cara proceeded to carry out their search based purely on supposition and “what ifs”, which left me shaking my head in wonder.  I already had the mystery figured out by this point, but was sorely disappointed that Elgar left me questioning the credibility of her characters.

Grace is Gone is available in eBook format on Hoopla.

                                      Joanne gives this book 3 daggers out of 5

Weekend Picks

Long Weekend Long Plays

This weekend, enjoy a couple of flicks that tip the 2 hr run-time scale!

Blue is the Warmest Colour

Adèle’s life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself, finds herself.

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Serpico

A gritty drama about a cop (Al Pacino) whose revelations about the extent of bribery in the New York Police Department lead him down a dangerous path. Nominated for Best Actor (Al Pacino) and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards. Winner of Best Actor at the Golden Globes. Nominated for Best Actor and Best Director at the BAFTA Awards.

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Weekend Picks

Hello from Libraryland! Each week, I’ll be posting some fresh films and forgotten finds that are free and always available through our streaming movie services hoopla and Kanopy.

This week, I’m connecting you with a new isolation classic that’s a bit campy and a bit maddening, but overall a must-see, The Lighthouse. To get you viewers outside and enjoying the beauty… from the inside, I recommend the lush painterly scenes found in Renoir. 

Enjoy,

Geoff

The Lighthouse

A hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

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Renoir

Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, this atmospheric drama tells the story of celebrated Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his son Jean, who returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. When Andree, a free-spirited, beautiful young red-head enters their lives, they are both smitten.