News Home RSS Feed

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Keaton Fits Right into Birdman

Written by Jon Williams

You’ve heard about all the films hovering near the top of the box office—highly publicized films like John Wick, Fury, Ouija, and Gone Girl. But there’s another film out right now that you may not have heard much about, which is garnering critical acclaim and doing quite well for itself in a limited theatrical release. That film is Birdman, about an actor whose career goes off the rails after a successful turn starring as a wildly popular superhero.

That actor is Riggan Thomson, played by Michael Keaton. It’s not hard to see the parallel between the plot of Birdman and Keaton’s own career. Keaton went through a period of immense popularity in the mid to late 1980s, culminating with his portrayal of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, the Caped Crusader, in 1989’s Batman and its 1992 follow-up, Batman Returns. He was originally set to play Batman a third time, but he opted to drop out of the production when director Tim Burton did.

Batman has done fine since Keaton’s departure, with the cape and cowl being taken up by Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale, with Ben Affleck on deck to wear it next. Keaton, on the other hand, has been relegated, for the most part, to Hollywood’s background. While his IMDb page will show you that he has remained active, he has certainly not had the same degree of prominence he did prior to his stint as Batman.

Keaton’s birth name is actually Michael Douglas; as he began working in show business in the late ‘70s, he took an alternate name to avoid confusion with the other Michael Douglas, who was already well known. After a couple of one-shots on sitcoms like Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Maude, he got a chance to show off his comedy chops against Jim Belushi in the show Working Stiffs. That then led to a role in the 1982 Ron Howard comedy feature Night Shift, and the rest is history. From there he became a sought-after comedic actor, starring in such films as Mr. Mom and Johnny Dangerously, and topping it off with a transcendent performance in the classic Tim Burton film Beetlejuice.

From Night Shift to Batman Returns was a period of ten years, with a number of notable starring roles for Keaton in that timespan. In the 22 years since, they’ve been fewer and further between, but there are definitely some gems. In 1994, he re-teamed with Ron Howard for The Paper, and in 1996 he played several versions of the same character in Multiplicity, directed by the late, great Harold Ramis. He starred in the 1998 holiday film Jack Frost and the 2005 horror movie White Noise. He’s also done some voice acting for Disney/Pixar, voicing characters in Cars and Toy Story 3. More recently, he appeared as the sinister OmniCorp CEO in the RoboCop reboot, bringing a sinister energy to the role.

Birdman features an all-star cast that includes Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, and Emma Stone, but the movie undoubtedly belongs to Michael Keaton. We’ll have info on its upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release as soon as it becomes available; in the meantime, make sure you have plenty of other Keaton movies on your shelves for your patrons to enjoy. SmartBrowse his name on our website to see everything we have to offer.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hot This Week: October 27

In a battle of giants, Transformers edged out newcomer Godzilla to keep the top movie spot for a third week. In music, it was a great week for new albums, as seven new releases make the list, led by the first chart topper from country superstars Florida Georgia Line. Jodi Picoult debuts atop the fiction list, which also sees the Man Booker Prize winner by Richard Flanagan make it for the first time. In non-fiction, Hollywood stars Cary Elwes and Neil Patrick Harris make the list with their new titles.

DVD
  1. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  2. Godzilla
  3. Blended
  4. The Fault in Our Stars
  5. Brick Mansions
  6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  7. The Other Woman
  8. Think Like a Man Too
  9. Million Dollar Arm
  10. Divergent
CD
  1. Florida Georgia Line, Anything Goes
  2. Jason Aldean, Old Boots, New Dirt
  3. Bob Seger, Ride Out
  4. You+Me, Rose Ave.
  5. Barbra Streisand, Partners
  6. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  7. The Game, Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf
  8. Hoodie Allen, People Keep Talking
  9. U2, Songs of Innocence
  10. Jessie J, Sweet Talker
Fiction
  1. Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult
  2. Deadline, John Sandford
  3. Edge of Eternity, Ken Follett
  4. Burn, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  5. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, Jan Karon
  6. Lila, Marilynne Robinson
  7. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  8. Personal, Lee Child
  9. Some Luck, Jane Smiley
  10. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan 
Non-Fiction
  1. Killing Patton, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  2. Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham
  3. As You Wish, Cary Elwes and Joe Layden
  4. Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
  5. The Innovators, Walter Isaacson
  6. Choose Your Own Autobiography, Neil Patrick Harris
  7. Worthy Fights, Leon Panetta 
  8. What If?, Randall Munroe
  9. Stop the Coming Civil War, Michael Savage
  10. Rocks, Joe Perry and David Ritz

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hot This Week: October 20

This week's movie listing remains mostly the same, with Brick Mansions, starring the late Paul Walker, being the only newcomer at #4. The music chart, on the other hand, has six new titles, led by country star Jason Aldean's new release. John Sandford edges out James Patterson to take over the fiction list, while five new titles shake up this week's non-fiction group.

DVD
  1. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  2. Blended
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  4. Brick Mansions
  5. Think Like a Man Too
  6. The Other Woman
  7. Divergent
  8. Moms' Night Out
  9. Draft Day
  10. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
CD
  1. Jason Aldean, Old Boots, New Dirt
  2. Hozier, Hozier
  3. Barbra Streisand, Partners
  4. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek
  5. Weezer, Everything Will Be Alright in the End
  6. Blake Shelton, Bringing Back the Sunshine
  7. Stevie Nicks, 24 Karat Gold
  8. Alex & Sierra, It's About Us
  9. Keyshia Cole, Point of No Return
  10. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
Fiction
  1. Deadline, John Sandford
  2. Burn, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  3. Edge of Eternity, Ken Follett
  4. Lila, Marilynne Robinson
  5. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, Jan Karon
  6. Personal, Lee Child
  7. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  8. Some Luck, Jane Smiley
  9. Paris Match, Stuart Woods
  10. The Children Act, Ian McEwen
Non-Fiction
  1. Killing Patton, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  2. Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham
  3. Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
  4. The Innovators, Walter Isaacson
  5. Stop the Coming Civil War, Michael Savage
  6. Worthy Fights, Leon Panetta
  7. What If?, Randall Munroe
  8. Rocks, Joe Perry and David Ritz
  9. Jesus on Trial, David Limbaugh
  10. 13 Hours, Mitchell Zuckoff

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beyond Gone Girl

Written by Jon Williams

After being released into theaters on October 3, Gone Girl has won the domestic box office for two consecutive weekends. The story of a wife who disappears on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary and the possible guilt or innocence of her husband, the film has struck a chord with moviegoers, who have spent upwards of $80 million to see it so far. When it is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the coming months, it will no doubt prove to be just as popular with library patrons as its source material, the book by Gillian Flynn.

Flynn adapted the screenplay of Gone Girl from her own novel, which was then brought to the screen by acclaimed director David Fincher, known for Seven and The Social Network, among many others. The ill-fated husband and wife are played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Everyone knows all about Affleck, of course; Pike is probably best known for her role as a villain in the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day, and has also appeared in such movies as Pride and Prejudice and The World’s End. The cast of Gone Girl also benefits from performances by such well-known actors as Neil Patrick Harris (who recently published his autobiography) and Tyler Perry (of Madea fame).

While Gone Girl is Flynn’s third and most recent novel, it is the only one of her works to be adapted for film so far. That will not be the case for long, however. Coming to theaters in 2015 will be Dark Places, adapted from Flynn’s second novel by writer/director Gilles Paquet-Brenner (who also adapted Tatiana de Rosney’s Sarah’s Key). It tells the story of Libby Day, who survives a massacre and testifies against her younger brother, and then, years later, must face suspicion that he wasn’t the culprit after all. Charlize Theron will star as Libby in this dark thriller.

Flynn’s first novel, published in 2006, was Sharp Objects, the tale of a troubled journalist charged with covering a series of brutal murders in her old hometown, and then must deal with ghosts from her own past. Previous attempts to adapt this novel have not panned out, but it was announced recently that it is being turned into a limited TV series. Not many details have been announced, such as casting or networks, but the showrunner will be Marti Noxon, who has worked on such series as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Glee.

Make sure you have all three of Gillian Flynn’s audiobooks on your shelves for your patrons as they wait for Gone Girl and her other adaptations. In the meantime, what have you been recommending to patrons who enjoyed Gone Girl and are looking for something similar? Let us know in the comments section.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hot This Week: October 13

The summer blockbuster that was Transformers - the fourth movie in the giant robot franchise - takes over this week's DVD list. It's a big week for country music on the charts, with new titles by Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum debuting at 1 and 2; both new Prince discs show up as well. The fiction list is largely familiar, with the latest thriller by James Patterson jumping to the top. In non-fiction, Lena Dunham's memoir can't quite leap over Bill O'Reilly for the #1 spot.

DVD
  1. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  2. Blended
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  4. The Other Woman
  5. Think Like a Man Too
  6. Moms' Night Out
  7. Divergent
  8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 
  9. Draft Day
  10. Transcendence
CD
  1. Blake Shelton, Bringing Back the Sunshine
  2. Lady Antebellum, 747
  3. Barbra Streisand, Partners
  4. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek
  5. Prince, Art Official Age
  6. Kenny Chesney, The Big Revival
  7. Maroon 5, V
  8. Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL, PLECTRUMELECTRUM
  9. Chris Brown, X
  10. The Script, No Sound Without Silence 
Fiction
  1. Burn, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  2. Edge of Eternity, Ken Follett
  3. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, Jan Karon
  4. Personal, Lee Child
  5. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr 
  6. The Children Act, Ian McEwen
  7. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
  8. The Lost Key, Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison
  9. The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters
  10. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
Non-Fiction
  1. Killing Patton, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  2. Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham
  3. What If?, Randall Munroe
  4. How We Got to Now, Steven Johnson
  5. The Sense of Style, Steven Pinker
  6. 13 Hours, Mitchell Zuckoff
  7. Jesus on Trial, David Limbaugh
  8. World Order, Henry Kissinger
  9. This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein
  10. Rebel Yell, S.C. Gwynne