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Monday, May 21, 2018

Hot This Week: May 21

The final installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy tops this week's movie list. Post Malone holds on for another week at #1 in music as well as another week with two albums on the chart, while Leon Bridges has the week's top newcomer. Likewise in fiction, James Patterson stays strong at the top, with new novels by Mary Kay Andrews, Dean Koontz, and Michael Ondaatje making their debuts. In non-fiction, three new titles include a political examination by Jon Meacham and a long-long book on slavery from acclaimed author Zora Neale Hurston.

Movies
  1. Fifty Shades Freed (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. 12 Strong (Blu-ray)
  3. Peter Rabbit (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. Den of Thieves (Blu-ray)
  5. Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Blu-ray | 4K)
  6. The Greatest Showman (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. The Humanity Bureau (Blu-ray)
  9. The Commuter (Blu-ray | 4K)
  10. Winchester (Blu-ray)
CD
  1. Post Malone, Beerbongs & Bentleys
  2. J. Cole, KOD
  3. Leon Bridges, Good Thing
  4. Shinedown, Attention Attention
  5. The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
  6. Lake Street Drive, Free Yourself Up
  7. Black Panther: The Album
  8. Migos, Culture II
  9. Post Malone, Stoney
  10. Jason Aldean, Rearview Town
Fiction
  1. The 17th Suspect, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  2. The Fallen, David Baldacci
  3. The High Tide Club, Mary Kay Andrews
  4. Twisted Prey, John Sandford
  5. The Crooked Staircase, Dean Koontz
  6. Warlight, Michael Ondaatje
  7. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
  8. The Hellfire Club, Jake Tapper
  9. The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
  10. The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn
Non-Fiction 
  1. The Soul of America, Jon Meacham
  2. Barracoon, Zora Neale Hurston
  3. A Higher Loyalty, James Comey
  4. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara
  5. Educated, Tara Westover
  6. The Light Within Me, Ainsley Earhardt and Mark Tabb
  7. Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright and Bill Woodward
  8. The Best Cook in the World, Rick Bragg
  9. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  10. The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ron Howard Brings a Steady Hand to Solo

Written by Jon Williams

We’re now just a week away from the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story into theaters. This will be the second non-trilogy, standalone film in the Star Wars saga, following the huge success of Rogue One in 2016. Like that film, Solo will also dive into the period of time leading up to the events that take place in the original 1977 Star Wars. It will detail the early life of Han Solo, the smuggler turned rebel originally played with such swagger by Harrison Ford, as he meets Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian and embarks on his life on the fringes of society. An impressive lineup fills the cast, and bringing it all together from the director’s chair is Hollywood veteran Ron Howard.

Although he’s just 64 years old, Howard’s career spans nearly six decades itself. It began in front of the camera, of course, including two very high-profile television roles. He began playing Opie Taylor, son of the title character on The Andy Griffith Show, in 1960, when he was just six years old. That ran for eight seasons, and he also played the character in single episodes of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and Mayberry R.F.D., as well as a 1986 reunion movie that was his last significant acting role. In 1974, he began playing Richie Cunningham on Happy Days and served as the main character of that series for most of its run. As with Opie Taylor, he also crossed the role of Richie Cunningham over to Laverne & Shirley.

Those are his long-running and best-known roles, but as a young actor he also made appearances in a number of other popular shows, including The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Dennis the Menace, The Fugitive, M*A*S*H, and The Waltons, among many others. And those are just his television roles. He also appeared in a number of films, such as The Music Man, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and The Shootist, John Wayne’s final film. In 1973, a starring role in the teenage comedy-drama American Graffiti was Howard’s first encounter with George Lucas’s then-burgeoning Lucasfilm company. He also starred in the 1979 follow-up More American Graffiti, but by then his acting career was winding down.

In 1977, Howard got his first chance to direct a feature film with Grand Theft Auto, a rollicking car chase adventure that he also wrote (with his father Rance) and starred in. His big break in directing was 1982’s Night Shift, a buddy comedy starring Michael Keaton in his first major role and Howard’s Happy Days co-star Henry Winkler. He then went on to bring Tom Hanks to the big screen for the first time in the 1984 romcom Splash, and later directed Steve Martin in Parenthood. While his first few films were comedic in nature, in 1988 he returned to the Lucasfilm fold by directing George Lucas’s fantastical Willow (currently unavailable).

Howard’s career has only continued to grow from there. The 1990s saw him direct such box office hits as Backdraft, Far and Away, Apollo 13, and Ransom. In 2000 he brought the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas to the big screen, and then followed that up in 2001 with A Beautiful Mind, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Director. He was nominated again for 2008’s Frost/Nixon but lost out to Slumdog Millionaire’s Danny Boyle. Other notable directorial outings include the boxing drama Cinderella Man, the Jay-Z music festival documentary Made in America, and the trilogy of Robert Langdon films based on Dan Brown’s bestselling novels: The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Inferno.

Many fans still recognize Ron Howard from his earliest roles as Opie Taylor and Richie Cunningham; more currently he may be known as the narrator for the comedy series Arrested Development, which he also produces. But whether it’s in front of or behind the camera, his vast Hollywood experience made Howard the perfect choice to take over the reins of Solo when the film’s original directors departed, bringing his practiced eye to bear on the latest movie from a galaxy far, far away. His most high-profile project to date will have patrons excited to check out more from his filmography, which is well worth exploring in its own right. Click any of the links above to add these movies to your collection, or SmartBrowse his name on our website for a more complete collection of his acting and directing roles.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Hot This Week: May 14

We hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend! There are four new movies on this week's list, led by the war drama 12 Strong. In music, Post Malone brings his new album to the top of the chart, where it joins his debut album, Stoney, which is still holding strong at #7. There are also four new novels on the fiction list, where James Patterson and Maxine Paetro debut at the top, while the non-fiction list remains largely the same from last week.

Movies
  1. 12 Strong (Blu-ray)
  2. Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Den of Thieves (Blu-ray)
  4. Peter Rabbit (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. Winchester (Blu-ray)
  6. The Commuter (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. The Greatest Showman (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. Hostiles (Blu-ray | 4K)
  10. Paddington 2 (Blu-ray)
CD
  1. Post Malone, Beerbongs & Bentleys
  2. Keith Urban, Graffiti U
  3. J. Cole, KOD
  4. The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
  5. Janelle Monae, Dirty Computer
  6. Godsmack, When Legends Rise
  7. Post Malone, Stoney
  8. Jason Aldean, Rearview Town
  9. Migos, Culture II
  10. Black Panther: The Album
Fiction
  1. The 17th Suspect, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  2. The Fallen, David Baldacci
  3. Twisted Prey, John Sandford
  4. The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner
  5. The Perfect Mother, Aimee Molloy
  6. The Forgotten Road, Richard Paul Evans
  7. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
  8. The Hellfire Club, Jake Tapper
  9. The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn
  10. The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
Non-Fiction 
  1. A Higher Loyalty, James Comey
  2. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara
  3. Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright and Bill Woodward
  4. Educated, Tara Westover
  5. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  6. The Light Within Me, Ainsley Earhardt and Mark Tabb
  7. The Best Cook in the World, Rick Bragg
  8. Russian Roulette, Michael Isikoff and David Corn
  9. The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
  10. Chasing Hillary, Amy Chozick

Monday, May 7, 2018

Hot This Week: May 7

The first hot list of May brings with it a wealth of new titles your patrons will be clamoring for. In movies, four new titles are led by the thrilling heist film Den of Thieves at #1. Rapper J. Cole's new album lands atop the music chart, where it's joined by new albums from A Perfect Circle and Lord Huron. John Sandford and Jake Tapper bring new novels to the fiction list, while fully half of the non-fiction list is new with a wide variety of great new titles.

Movies
  1. Den of Thieves (Blu-ray)
  2. The Commuter (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Hostiles (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. The Greatest Showman (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. Paddington 2 (Blu-ray)
  6. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Forever My Girl (Blu-ray)
  8. The Post (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. Thor: Ragnarok (Blu-ray | 4K)
  10. Father Figures (Blu-ray)
CD
  1. J. Cole, KOD
  2. A Perfect Circle, Eat the Elephant
  3. The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
  4. Jason Aldean, Rearview Town
  5. Migos, Culture II
  6. The Weeknd, My Dear Melancholy
  7. Lord Huron, Vide Noir
  8. Black Panther: The Album
  9. Post Malone, Stoney
  10. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
Fiction
  1. Twisted Prey, John Sandford
  2. The Fallen, David Baldacci
  3. The Hellfire Club, Jake Tapper
  4. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
  5. I've Got My Eyes on You, Mary Higgins Clark
  6. The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer
  7. After Anna, Lisa Scottoline
  8. The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn
  9. The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
  10. Circe, Madeline Miller
Non-Fiction 
  1. A Higher Loyalty, James Comey
  2. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara
  3. Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright and Bill Woodward
  4. The Light Within Me, Ainsley Earhardt and Mark Tabb
  5. Educated, Tara Westover
  6. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  7. The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
  8. The Best Cook in the World, Rick Bragg
  9. Chasing Hillary, Amy Chozick
  10. Edge of Chaos, Dambisa Mayo

Friday, May 4, 2018

MCU Going Strong with Infinity War

Written by Jon Williams

Last week, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War thundered into theaters across the country to the tune of a nearly $258 million opening. That total pushed it past 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time. Going into its second weekend, it looks likely to dominate the box office once again, and in fact may continue to do so until the next Marvel movie, the much-anticipated Deadpool sequel, opens on May 18.

We last checked in on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) nearly two years ago, with the release of Captain America: Civil War. That movie kicked off Phase 3 of Marvel’s ongoing interconnected movie universe, and the post detailed the films that made up the first two phases. Phase 3 continued in 2016 with Doctor Strange, which brought Benedict Cumberbatch’s reality-bending sorcerer into the mix. The following year saw three MCU blockbusters, starting with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in May. The action returned to Earth with Spider-Man: Homecoming in July, the webslinger’s first solo outing since Civil War introduced him to the Avengers team. Then, in November, Thor: Ragnarok showed the exploits of the two Avengers (Hulk being the second) who weren’t around for the events of Civil War. And 2018 has really brought the power: before Infinity War’s incredible opening weekend, Black Panther, which opened in February, became the third highest-grossing film of all time in North America. That movie, which is still showing in many theaters nearly three months later, comes to video on May 15.

So where do the Avengers go from here? For those that have seen the movie (no spoilers!), that is a very pressing questions. The immediate answer is Ant-Man and the Wasp, which comes to theaters on July 6. It’s a sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man (Phase 2), which saw Paul Rudd’s character Scott Lang get the suit that allows him to shrink or grow at will. However, the film is set in the time period between Civil War and Infinity War, so don’t expect too many answers as to what happens next. From there, fans will have to wait until next March, when Captain Marvel is set to be released, with Brie Larson in the title role. Likewise, though, there isn’t likely to be any closure here, either, as it’s set in the 1990s. No, for that, everyone is just going to have to wait for the as-yet-untitled fourth Avengers movie, currently slated for release on May 3, 2019. That will bring the curtain down on Phase 3 and lead into Phase 4, about which little is known at this point.

A year is a long time to wait for the next Avengers, but on the bright side, it’s also plenty of time for patrons to relive or get caught up on all the incredible movies that have brought us to this point—starting, of course, with Iron Man, which kicked off the MCU when it was released almost exactly ten years ago, on May 2, 2008. And for those who want to dig a little deeper, we have curated a collection of Infinity War-related comics on hoopla, as well as a wealth of other Marvel titles.