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Monday, December 15, 2014

Hot This Week: December 15

Three new titles join this week's DVD listing, with Tammy coming up just short of last week's #1, 22 Jump Street. Rock legends AC/DC are back on the music charts with their latest release, Rock or Bust. The fiction and non-fiction lists both saw little change from last week, with the only new title on either list being Full Force and Effect, Mark Greaney's continuation of Tom Clancy's popular Jack Ryan series.

DVD
  1. 22 Jump Street
  2. Tammy
  3. Maleficent 
  4. The Expendables 3
  5. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas
  6. The Giver 
  7. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  8. The Purge: Anarchy
  9. Sex Tape
  10. Hercules
CD
  1. Taylor Swift, 1989
  2. Pentatonix, That's Christmas to Me
  3. AC/DC, Rock or Bust
  4. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  5. One Direction, Four
  6. Idina Menzel, Holiday Wishes
  7. Garth Brooks, Man Against Machine
  8. Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions
  9. Frozen Soundtrack
  10. Ed Sheeran, X
Fiction
  1. Hope to Die, James Patterson
  2. Gray Mountain, John Grisham
  3. The Escape, David Baldacci
  4. Revival, Stephen King
  5. Tom Clancy's Full Force and Effect, Mark Greaney
  6. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  7. The Burning Room, Michael Connelly
  8. Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult
  9. Flesh and Blood, Patricia Cornwell
  10. Edge of Eternity, Ken Follett
Non-Fiction
  1. Killing Patton, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  2. 41, George W. Bush
  3. Yes Please, Amy Poehler
  4. What If?, Randall Munroe
  5. Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
  6. The Andy Cohen Diaries, Andy Cohen
  7. You Can't Make This Up, Al Michaels and L. Jon Wertheim
  8. As You Wish, Cary Elwes and Joe Layden
  9. The Innovators, Walter Isaacson
  10. Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham

Friday, December 12, 2014

Grammys More Than Just Music

Written by Jon Williams

In case you missed it somehow, the Grammy Award nominations were announced last week in an all-day event that culminated in a concert special that came with the Album of the Year nominees. The artists and albums up for that coveted award are Beck’s Morning Phase, Beyonce’s self-titled surprise, Pharrell’s GIRL, Ed Sheeran’s X, and Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour. You can find these CDs, along with all the others up for awards in all categories, in our collection of 2015 Grammy nominees.

When you hear about the Grammys, your mind automatically turns to music—which is only natural, as the awards honor the best and brightest in the music industry, and at the ceremony the awards themselves take a backseat to some of the most notable performances of the year. With that in mind, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that not all Grammy Awards are given out for music. One such award is that for comedy album, which has a stellar lineup this year. Here are the nominees for this year:

Louis C.K. – Oh My God: Even if you don’t know Louis C.K. by sight, chances are excellent that you know his work. In addition to his standup, he has a long and successful comedy writing career, including for Letterman and Saturday Night Live. He has been nominated for several Emmy Awards, winning in 1999 for The Chris Rock Show, and again just last year for his own show, the acclaimed FX series Louie.

Jim Gaffigan – Obsessed: If there’s one overarching theme in Jim Gaffigan’s comedy, it’s that he likes to talk about food. A lot. He has authored two books of humor: Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story; the titles should give you some idea. As such, his humor is generally pretty clean and family-appropriate. Although he doesn’t maintain a steady presence in Hollywood, it’s certainly not out of the ordinary to see him on film or TV, with roles in Super Troopers and That ‘70s Show, to name just a couple.

Patton Oswalt – Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time: Patton Oswalt, on the other hand, is all over the place. Performing as a comedian for over twenty years, he has also gotten regular Hollywood work. He does a fair amount of voice work, most notably starring as Remy the Rat in Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille. Most recently he’s had a recurring role on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s also frequently found on Twitter, where he’s been known to experiment with the form as a method of delivering comedy.

Sarah Silverman – We Are Miracles: Like Louis C.K., one of Sarah Silverman’s first jobs was writing for SNL, although she had little success and was fired after one season. Obviously, that hasn’t deterred her, as she has gone on to become one of the biggest names in comedy. She, like Patton Oswalt, has done some voiceover work, such as in Wreck-It Ralph, and plenty of other acting work besides. She has appeared on Louie, and most recently was in the Seth MacFarlane comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Weird Al Yankovic – Mandatory Fun: Okay, so this one actually is musical in nature, as well as being hilarious. Al took the Internet by storm earlier this year with the release of this, his fourteenth album, releasing a video per day for a week, including parodies of Pharrell’s “Happy” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” We wrote about him and his career at the time, but one thing we failed to mention (specifically) is that he won a previous Grammy for Best Comedy Album in 2003 for Poodle Hat.

All of the nominees have plenty of hilarious material available; SmartBrowse each of their names on our website for their films, audiobooks, and standup specials on DVD and CD. Who do you think is the funniest of the bunch?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hot This Week: December 8

The action comedy 22 Jump Street, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, debuts atop this week's movie listing, with three other new titles showing up as well. In music, it was a week of resurgence, with Taylor Swift reclaiming #1 and the ever-popular Frozen soundtrack climbing back onto the chart, along with Ariana Grande and Maroon 5. The fiction list grows even more top-heavy with James Patterson joining Baldacci, Grisham, and King, while the non-fiction list remains largely the same from last week.

DVD
  1. 22 Jump Street
  2. Maleficent 
  3. The Expendables 3
  4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  5. Neighbors
  6. Sex Tape
  7. Hercules
  8. The Purge: Anarchy
  9. Earth to Echo
  10. Edge of Tomorrow
CD
  1. Taylor Swift, 1989
  2. Pentatonix, That's Christmas to Me
  3. Various Artists, ShadyXV
  4. One Direction, Four
  5. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  6. Rick Ross, Hood Billionaire
  7. Ariana Grande, My Everything
  8. Frozen Soundtrack
  9. Maroon 5, V
  10. Garth Brooks, Man Against Machine
Fiction
  1. Hope to Die, James Patterson
  2. The Escape, David Baldacci
  3. Gray Mountain, John Grisham
  4. Revival, Stephen King
  5. The Burning Room, Michael Connelly
  6. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  7. Prince Lestat, Anne Rice
  8. Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult
  9. Flesh and Blood, Patricia Cornwell
  10. Blue Labyrinth, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Non-Fiction
  1. 41, George W. Bush
  2. Killing Patton, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  3. Yes Please, Amy Poehler
  4. What If?, Randall Munroe
  5. The Andy Cohen Diaries, Andy Cohen
  6. You Can't Make This Up, Al Michaels and L. Jon Wertheim
  7. Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
  8. Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham
  9. Choose Your Own Autobiography, Neil Patrick Harris and David Javerbaum
  10. As You Wish, Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hot This Week: December 1

Welcome to December! The news after the long holiday weekend is that Taylor Swift has been bumped from #1 by One Direction. Likewise, in fiction, the latest from thriller-meister David Baldacci debuts at the top, moving Stephen King to #2. In non-fiction, on the other hand, the top titles remain the same, with Brooke Shields's new memoir being the only newcomer at #10.

DVD
  1. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  2. Hercules 
  3. Edge of Tomorrow
  4. Neighbors
  5. Maleficent
  6. Sex Tape
  7. A Million Ways to Die in the West
  8. Mr. Peabody & Sherman
  9. The Fault in Our Stars
  10. Godzilla
CD
  1. One Direction, Four
  2. Taylor Swift, 1989
  3. Pentatonix, That's Christmas to Me
  4. Nickelback, No Fixed Address
  5. Garth Brooks, Man Against Machine
  6. Pink Floyd, The Endless River
  7. Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways
  8. In This Moment, Black Widow
  9. Idina Menzel, Holiday Wishes
  10. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
Fiction
  1. The Escape, David Baldacci
  2. Revival, Stephen King
  3. Gray Mountain, John Grisham
  4. The Mistletoe Promise, Richard Paul Evans
  5. The Burning Room, Michael Connelly
  6. The Cinderella Murder, Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
  7. Flesh and Blood, Patricia Cornwell
  8. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  9. The Job, Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
  10. Prince Lestat, Anne Rice
Non-Fiction
  1. 41, George W. Bush
  2. Killing Patton, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  3. Yes Please, Amy Poehler
  4. Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
  5. The Andy Cohen Diaries, Andy Cohen
  6. What If?, Randall Munroe
  7. Small Victories, Anne Lamott
  8. Dreamers and Deceivers, Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe
  9. Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham
  10. There Was a Little Girl, Brooke Shields 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

True Detective Season 2 Cast Announced

Written by Jon Williams

Early in 2014, HBO continued its string of buzzworthy hit shows with the original series True Detective. The first season of the show featured Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as the detectives in question, and its eight episodes followed their 17-year hunt for a serial killer in southern Louisiana. The series was received well by audiences and critics alike, garnering ten Emmy nominations and five wins, including Outstanding Casting.

That outstanding casting is on display once again as the stars for Season 2 have been confirmed. As an anthology series, each individual season will tell an entirely new story, and so McConaughey and Harrelson will not return in their roles. Instead, a completely different cast of characters will focus on another case, set this time somewhere in California.

One of the early casting announcements, and one that raised some eyebrows, was Vince Vaughn as a criminal kingpin. Vaughn, of course, is known primarily for screwball comedies like Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball, which are at odds with True Detective’s dark, gritty tone. Despite this perception, he’s no stranger to dramatic (and often dark) roles, having starred in such films as Clay Pigeons and Domestic Disturbance—not to mention his portrayal of one of the most iconic villains of all time, Norman Bates, in the 1998 remake of Psycho.

Playing Vaughn’s character’s wife in True Detective will be Kelly Reilly, who was just confirmed earlier this week. This English actress has had quite a variety of roles in a career that dates back to the mid-1990s. Most prominent among them might be as Mary Morstan, paramour of Dr. John Watson in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and its 2011 sequel. She also starred as detective Anna Travis in three seasons of the British television Above Suspicion, and has been seen recently in films like Cavalry and Heaven Is for Real.

Another early announcement, confirmed in September at the same time as Vaughn, was Colin Farrell. Farrell will play one of the cops, but one that also owes allegiance to Vaughn’s criminal mastermind. First and foremost a movie star, Farrell actually got his start in television, appearing in Series 4 and 5 of the BBC’s Ballykissangel. Shortly thereafter he made his way to Hollywood with roles in films like Hart’s War with Bruce Willis and Minority Report with Tom Cruise. He’s been involved in several high-profile remakes, including Miami Vice, Fright Night, and Total Recall, and he won a Golden Globe for In Bruges.

Playing another troubled cop will be Taylor Kitsch, who burst onto the scene playing Tim Riggins, the much-loved high school football player at the heart of the Friday Night Lights TV series. From there he jumped into effects-laden blockbusters, starring in Disney’s adaptation of John Carter and as part of the Battleship group. Toning down the bombast, he recently appeared in another HBO production, the critically acclaimed drama The Normal Heart, whose ensemble cast drew rave reviews across the board.

And finally we come to the last member of True Detective’s main cast for Season 2. Rachel McAdams, like Reilly and Kitsch, was just confirmed this week, signing up to play a straight-laced detective (some descriptions list her character as a sheriff) in charge of the investigation. Also like Reilly, McAdams is an alumna of Sherlock Holmes, although she is probably most recognized for earlier roles in Mean Girls and The Notebook. McAdams has a bit of television background, with a role in the Canadian series Slings & Arrows among her first acting jobs.

With a cast like this, it’s easy to assume that the second season of True Detective will be just as big a hit as the first. Make sure you have that first season on your shelves for patrons who may have missed it on TV, and don’t forget all these other great movies and TV shows from these talented actors.