Becky King

Becky King

 


You can find adult services librarian Becky King at both the Cook Park and Aspen Drive library locations.  She is a huge movie fan, loves reading mysteries and thrillers, and is currently hooked on the TV series The Good Wife.  


 

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Garner1We were sad to hear of the passing of actor James Garner this week -- he was 86.  In a career that spanned six decades, the Oklahoma native moved with ease between television and film, making his biggest mark in his starring roles in two iconic television series:  the classic 1960's western series Maverick, and the even more successful 1970's series The Rockford Files.  Although they operated in two different worlds, the characters Sheriff Brett Maverick and Private Detective Jim Rockford had much in common:  both were anti-heroes who oozed the same charisma and sly humor as the actor who portrayed them.  Garner was a tough guy with a tender heart. 

 

Garner2In film, the amiable actor proved equally at home in comedies, action films, and dramas.  Garner scored major film hits throughout his long career, with memorable romantic pairings with Doris Day, Julie Andrews, Audrey Hepburn, Sally Field, and Gena Rowlands -- thrown in with successful buddy outings with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and Jack Lemmon.  Garner published a charming, self-deprecating memoir entitled The Garner Files in 2011, in which he reviewed and rated his own films.  What better way to remember an actor than by revisiting projects he felt reflected some of his best work?  He cited the following films as his personal favorites:

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For so many of us, our love of movies began when we were young children.  What is the first truly special movie you remember seeing as a child?  Perhaps it was E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialToy Story Mary Poppins?  What movie will be the first "best" movie memory for today's kids?  The chances are very good that it may turn out to be one of the movies we remember so well from our own childhoods.  Whether our first favorite movies simply sparked our imaginations, filled us with wonder, scared us silly, encouraged us to sing-a-long, or perhaps even made us cry -- there is little doubt that certain movies over the years have proven they have the power to move or inspire generations of children like no others. 

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This week's edition of Entertainment Weekly magazine offers an amazing list of the 55 Movies Every Kid Should See before age 13.  To make it really easy for parents, the films are listed in recommended viewing order, and by the suggested age for initial viewing.  Just a quick scan of the list brought a smile to my face and brought back lots of happy memories of time spent in the wondrous company of some of the greatest family movies ever made. 

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"You're gonna need a bigger boat...."

 

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This week marks the Centennial of the start of World War I (1914-1918).  The Great War was triggered by the assassination in Sarajevo of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by a Yugoslav nationalist.  The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's southern Slavic provinces to combine them with the Kingdom of Serbia, forming a new Yugoslavia.  The major powers were soon at war, with England, France, and Russia forming an alliance against Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey).  The United States entered the war in 1917, after Germany resumed submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.  The war proved to be one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with over 9 million killed.

 

Although WWI has not been the subject of as many movies as conflicts such as WWII, there are several outstanding films that are certainly worth re-visiting.  A few of our favorites are highlighted below:

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Periodically, the Cook Library Cinema Club will shine the Spotlight on Directors -- where we'll highlight the work of some of the greatest directors of American films.

 

billy-wilder-1We'll start with the late, great Billy Wilder -- one of the most versatile and successful directors of Hollywood's Golden Era.  In a career that spanned over 50 years, 60 films, and included six Oscar wins, the Austrian-born filmmaker was a true triple-threat who wrote, directed, and produced everything from heavy drama to broad comedy.  The Jewish Wilder began his career as a screenwriter in Germany, but emigrated to the U.S., via Paris, as the Nazi Party gained power in the 1920's.  He first gained attention in Hollywood for his screenplay of the classic comedy Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo.  Early directorial assignments soon followed, with Wilder directing his own screenplays for such classic dramas as The Lost Weekend and Double Indemnity.  After the huge success of those films, there was no stopping his particular brand of genius, and his filmography is studded with some of the most successful movies of all time, in every genre imaginable.  You will find a great selection of Wilder's best films here at the library.  So many wonderful films to choose from!  Three of our favorites are highlighted below.

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June weddings are a great tradition, and weddings have been at the heart of some wonderful movies over the years.  Weddings always seem to generate an emotional response, whether it be laughter, tears, or even heartbreak -- and movie weddings are no exception. This week we'll feature a sampling of films where getting to the altar proves to be something of a challenge! 

 

New Wedding Covers

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Last week marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the massive Allied invasion of Normandy during WWII, which liberated France and helped turn the tide of the war against Germany.  The human toll resulting from the largest sea-borne invasion in history was staggering, with casualties among Allied forces exceeding 10,000, and over 4,400 confirmed dead.

 

LongestDay200How better to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day than by showcasing both the book and movie versions of The Longest Day.  Author Cornelius Ryan's bestselling, narrative account of the first day of the historic invasion of Normandy was published in 1959 to critical acclaim, and remains an authoritative work on the subject today.  Producer Darryl F. Zannuck was determined to bring Ryan's work to the screen, and in 1962 he succeeded in creating what is still considered one of the best movies ever made about the historic battle.  John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, and Sean Connery are among the many stars of the classic film, which chronicles the events leading up to and following the invasion from both the Allied and German points of view.  Both the book and the movie are available at the library.

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Jolie as Maleficent 2Actress Angelina Jolie turns 39 this week!  After a fairly quiet year in which she dealt with a major health issue, the popular star is back with two high-profile projects in 2014.  She gets a chance to show off her dark side through her starring role in the just-released Disney Studios film Maleficent, which focuses on the self-proclaimed "Mistress of All Evil" of Sleeping Beauty fame -- and tells the fascinating tale of exactly why she became so rotten. Elle Fanning co-stars as the innocent Princess Aurora.

 

Jolie also served as producer and director of the highly-anticipated film version of Laura Hillenbrand's monumental bestseller Unbroken, which relates the inspirational, true story of Louie Zamperini, Olympic runner turned Army Air Corps bombardier, who survived tortuous conditions in a POW camp after his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean during WWII.  The project boasts a screenplay by the Coen brothers and is scheduled for release in December. 

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Can it be true that spring has finally arrived?  It's hard to believe that the month of May is almost over when temperatures for the month have often more closely resembled those of December!


BogartBacallSpeaking of May and December:  May-December romances have been an integral part of the plots of many fine films over the years.  For example, who doesn't love the magnetic pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall?  The chemistry between the pair is obvious in each of the four films they made together.  The couple met and fell in love on the set of the 1944 movie To Have and Have Not, which marked Bacall's film debut.  They married a year later, when Bacall was just 20 and Bogart was 45.  They remained married until Bogart's death from cancer in 1957. 

 

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'Tis the season for college graduations!  Now is the perfect time to revisit the classic film The Graduate, which provides an especially entertaining look at the confusion that can reign at such a significant time in life.  Dustin Hoffman plays recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock who, after becoming involved in a complicated affair with a woman twice his age, finds himself falling in love with her beautiful daughter.  Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross co-star in the 1967 film by legendary director Mike Nichols.  The movie also features an outstanding soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel, showcasing their songs Mrs. Robinson, The Sound of Silence, and Scarborough Faire/Canticle.

 

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GeorgeActor George Clooney has reason to celebrate this week!  The famous bachelor turned 53 on May 6th -- and also just announced that he is officially off the market.  Yes -- he's engaged!  Sorry, ladies!  So much for all those claims over the years that he would never get married!  The lucky woman is 35 year-old Amal Alamuddin, a lawyer specializing in international law and human rights issues.

 

Clooney spent many years working in television before finally hitting it big on the silver screen in the mid-1990's, co-starring in such popular TV series as ER and The Facts of Life.  These days, the talented actor is able to pick and choose his film projects, and often writes, directs, and produces them as well.  Clooney has been awarded two Oscars thus far in his career:  the first for his supporting performance in the intense thriller Syriana, and most recently for his role in producing the 2012 Best Picture winner Argo

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SinginintheRainCoverNeed cheering up on a gloomy day like today?  The exuberant performances of Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face in the classic 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain -- a charming spoof of Hollywood's transition from Silent Films to the Talkies.  Singin' in the Rain has the distinction of being one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for its National Film Registry, and is now available at our library in beautiful new DVD and Blu-ray editions.

The great Gene Kelly, one of Hollywood's premier song and dance men, choreographed and directed all of the musical numbers in the film, including his own iconic solo turn to the title song.  Kelly choreographed and/or directed many other films over the course of his long career, including such classic musicals as On the Town, An American in Paris, and Hello, Dolly!  

 

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24

 

Fans of the long-running TV series 24 have reason to celebrate:  Jack Bauer and his team at the U.S. government's secretive Counter Terrorist Unit are returning to save another day!  Kiefer Sutherland will reprise his Emmy Award-winning role as CTU agent Jack Bauer in twelve new episodes of the popular series beginning Monday, May 5th.

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This week marks two important anniversaries in our nation's history:  the start of the American Civil War on April 12, 1861 -- and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln four years later on April 16, 1865.  The Civil War has been the subject of many Hollywood dramas over the years.  Most recently, the critically-acclaimed 2013 film Lincoln provided a potent reminder of the heavy personal toll the Civil War took on our country's 16th President as he attempted to heal a nation in crisis, and featured a riveting performance by Daniel Day Lewis.

 

CivilWarTrio

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We're introducing a new component to the Read! Watch! Listen! blog:  The Cook Library Cinema Club will offer regular postings focusing on the library's vast DVD and Blu-ray collections.  If you followed us previously through the library's Tumblr blog -- we're glad you found us here!  If not -- welcome!  We hope you'll check in regularly for features on movie and television news, DVD releases, film recommendations, classic movies, and hidden gems in the library's film collection.  Let's get started!

Chances are you've never heard of back-up singer Merry Clayton, but we'll bet you've heard of The Rolling Stones!  One of our favorite new films is this year's Oscar winning documentary -- 20 Feet From Stardom -- a fascinating look at the talented singers who back-up some of the biggest and best bands in the world.  This entertaining film shines a well-deserved spotlight on the wonderful performers you hear but rarely see.

Take a moment to watch the trailer for the film below -- and then reserve a copy to watch at home!

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