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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Film Preview: Part Two

Temperatures and leaves may be falling, but the race for awards season is just heating up. Last week, I detailed what entertaining blockbusters and awards season contenders you should be sure to check out. In part two of my fall preview, I turn my focus to funnies, families, and the offbeat.

Chucklesome Comedies
50/50—based on the true story of Seth Rogen and his friend Will Reiser—is a touching yet hilarious buddy comedy that takes place during Reiser’s extensive cancer treatment. In the flick, Rogen essentially plays himself, but Reiser, who wrote the screenplay, is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

In What’s Your Number?, Anna Faris is a down-on-her-luck thirty-something who revisits all her past relationships in the hopes of finding true love—and not increasing her number of partners—with the help of Captain America, I mean, her neighbor, played by Chris Evans.

What’s funnier than competitive bird watching? Why, a movie about it starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin, of course! The Big Year, a comedy based on a nonfiction book about the 1998 Big Year bird watching competition, hits theaters October 14th.

Lastly, heist-comedy Tower Heist has quite the all-star cast and, even though it’s been in the works for over five years, the film is still as timely as ever. A group of employees at a Trump-esque apartment complex decide to steal $20 million from one of the residents when that Bernie Madoff-ish resident loses all their pension funds in a Ponzi scheme.

Off the Beaten Path
Martha Marcy May Marlene was the all the rage at this past Sundance Film Festival. This is writer-director Sean Durkin’s first feature, and many have labeled it “this year’s Winter’s Bone.” While Martha Marcy May Marlene does star John Hawkes, the female lead is not Jennifer Lawrence. Instead, Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, plays the title character who struggles to adapt to a normal life after she escapes a cult.

Are you ready for a mix of melodrama and horror? Then be sure to check out Antonio Banderas in The Skin I Live In. In director Pedro Almodóvar’s first film since Broken Embraces, “Banderas plays a plastic surgeon haunted by the deaths of his wife and daughter and obsessed with creating an indestructible synthetic skin.”¹ Elena Anaya plays his test subject, a woman he’s holding captive in his home.

Did Shakespeare really pen his famed plays? This is the question director Roland Emmerich addresses in Anonymous, which presents Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford (played by Rhys Ifans), as the true Bard. Initial reaction to this flick has been mixed with many questioning the directorial choice: “Roland Emmerich (2012, The Day After Tomorrow) and period drama go together like oil and water.”² However, as Metacritic explains, “if you like a good conspiracy theory and British costume dramas, this one might be right for you.”

Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Like Crazy is an atypical love story. It isn’t about the first kiss or first intimate moment. It’s about an L.A. guy and a London lady who fall madly in love during college and then must navigate a long-distance relationship when her visa expires and she’s sent back to Britain. While some worry the premise may produce something hokey and contrived, others are predicting it to be “a genuine and moving love story for a new generation.”² If the trailer is any indication, the stars of this film will certainly validate the initial praise.

Controversial director Lars Von Trier returns in November with Melancholia, a film about two sisters (Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg) who find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with the Earth. Dunst apparently hits it out of the park, which may be this film’s saving grace after Trier’s Cannes hullabaloo.

Family-Focused Features
It’s been 18 years since Free Willy, so we were definitely due for a heartwarming boy befriends/saves marine mammal feel-good family flick. And while Dolphin Tale doesn’t have a quintessential Michael Jackson jam as its theme song, it does outdo Free Willy in two ways: 1.) It’s based on a true story and 2.) It stars Winter, the actual dolphin the story is based on. It has faced some stiff-competition at the box office, squaring off against Lion King 3D, but the film has been well received by audiences and critics alike.

While some see Puss in Boots as merely an opportunity to further milk the Shrek franchise, others see it as this fall’s most anticipated film. It has a family-friendly PG rating, the Shrek style of humor and offbeat fairy tale appeal, and Antonio Banderas teaming up with Desperado costar Salma Hayek for an on-screen feline romance. Plus, it’s Puss. He pretty much made Shreks 2-4. Just watch the trailer:

The Muppets are returning. Yes, you read correctly. The Muppets are back, and in this re-launch, Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller of Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame have penned a hilarious script replete with “all of the song and dance numbers, celebrity cameos, and offbeat Muppet humor fans have come to expect from Kermit and the rest of the gang.”³ In this adventure, Segel and Amy Adams team up with their Muppet friends to save the Muppet Theater from being demolished by an oil tycoon.

Martin Scorsese is literally bringing the bestselling book The Invention of Hugo Cabret to life—it’s in 3D! Staring Hit Girl from Kick-Ass (Chloë Moretz) as well as Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Jude Law, Hugo is about a 12-year-old orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris train station in 1931 and, when he inherits an automaton from his late father, commences a wonderfully fantastical adventure. This film is quite the change of pace for Scorsese, “master of gritty urban dramas,” but he is a master nonetheless and books-to-film are all the rage, so why not? It may just surprise us all this holiday season.⁴

That wraps up part two of News & Views’ fall film preview. Now it’s your turn. What films are you, your library, and your patrons looking forward to most?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lion King Still Reigns Supreme

Seventeen years after its original release, The Lion King hit theaters for a limited release and this time in 3D. The first weekend it topped the box office at $29.3 million. And in its second weekend, no Moneyball or heart-warming Dolphin Tale or Taylor Lautner ab-extravaganza (Abduction) could dethrone the King, who pulled in another $22.1 million. According to Entertainment Weekly, “the 1994 Disney classic dropped only 27 percent [over its first weekend]—an incredibly impressive hold considering this is the re-release of a 17-year-old film…The 3-D version has now grossed $61.7 million, bringing The Lion King‘s cumulative tally to $390.2 million.”

With such box office success, Disney is now planning “to extend what was originally intended to be just a two-week release, although details are still being ironed out” (EW). To bolster the excitement surrounding the 3D film re-release, Disney has also released The Lion King home video from the vault. The diamond editions release shortly after the theatrical run with the Blu-ray hitting shelves October 4th and the DVD on November 15th.

Like the 3D film, both the Blu-ray and the DVD are only available for a limited time. Be sure to strengthen your DVD collection with this quintessential classic. Click the image below to shop The Lion King now.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hot This Week: September 26

All lists see numerous changes this week as several chart toppers tumble. No artist has manned the CD chart quite like Adele. Will Lady Antebellum be the new contender? How long will the Jacqueline Kennedy interviews hold the number one spot? And will Thor be the top rental of the fall?

  1. Thor
  2. X-Men: First Class
  3. Hanna
  4. Everything Must Go
  5. Something Borrowed
  6. Paul
  7. Rio
  8. Madea's Big Happy Family
  9. Priest
  10. Limitless
  1. Lady Antebellum, Own the Night
  2. Adele, 21
  3. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV
  4. Brantley Gilbert, Halfway to Heaven
  5. Staind, Staind
  6. The Beatles, 1
  7. George Strait, Here for a Good Time
  8. Dream Theater, A Dramatic Turn of Events
  9. Jay Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne
  10. The Devil Wears Prada, Dead Throne 
Fiction Books
  1. New York to Dallas, J.D. Robb
  2. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
  3. Kill Me If You Can, James Patterson and Marshall Karp
  4. Abuse of Power, Michael Savage
  5. Killing the Blues, Michael Brandman
  6. The Race, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
  7. A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin
  8. How Firm a Foundation, David Weber
  9. The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach
  10. Goddess of Vengeance, Jackie Collins
Nonfiction Books
  1. Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
  2. That Used to be Us, Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
  3. In My Time, Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney
  4. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  5. A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
  6. Pearl Jam Twenty, Pearl Jam
  7. In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson
  8. Here Comes Trouble, Michael Moore
  9. The Black Banners, Ali H. Soufan with Daniel Freedman
  10. Arguably, Christopher Hitchens

Friday, September 23, 2011

Midwest Tape Now Offers Zumba Fitness DVD Experience

Midwest Tape now offers Zumba® Fitness’s Exhilarate Ultimate Zumba Fitness DVD Experience (stock number: ZUMBAFITNESSD). This highly-requested product includes seven DVD discs, a Program Guide, and Zumba Toning Sticks.

Because this fitness program includes special packaging and other items besides DVDs, Midwest Tape will not offer any processing for this product. The product will ship in its original packaging only.

Questions? Leave a comment below or contact customer service at 1.800.875.2785. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Film Preview: Part One

Temperatures and leaves may be falling, but the race for awards season is just heating up. Last week I detailed what albums you should look forward to this fall. In this preview, I tackle the topic of film. For part one, let’s discuss blockbusters and Oscar bait.

Entertaining Blockbusters
Two films already out in theaters begin this preview. One film, Contagion, which follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days, made News & Views’ list of top 25 films for 2011.  The other, Drive, which is about Ryan Gosling driving cars, was relatively unknown until trailers started popping up in late summer. Both, though, are making quite the splash this fall.  Listed in pretty much every fall preview—from Entertainment Weekly to Us Weekly—these two flicks have both received rave reviews and performed exceptionally well at the box office.

If a high-speed noir thriller about a driver named Driver can do really well, then why not a flick where Hugh Jackman trains real, live Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? In Real Steel, director Shawn Levy takes us to the not-so-distant future where the sport of human boxing has been replaced with remote-controlled mechanized brawls. The story is truly about a father-son relationship, though, as robot controller Jackman works with his son, whose mother has just died, to turn an underdog robot into a champion. Every fall preview is pretty pumped about this flick even if the premise seems slightly silly. As iO9 puts it: “If you can take both ‘robot boxing’ and ‘father-son bonding over robot boxing’ seriously, this might be a fun romp.”

Not into Ryan Gosling (yeah right) or robots? There are plenty of other action-packed flicks to satiate your cravings this fall. Taylor Lautner breaks from his werewolf pack to star in Abduction, an actioner about a high school senior struggling to discover his true identity.

Justin Timberlake continues to not make music and instead headlines In Time, a trippy sci-fi thriller set in a future where humans cannot age past 25. To prevent overpopulation, people are only allowed to live one year after their 25th birthday. After that, they have to either earn or steal additional time. Guess who just inherited a century’s worth of time and a giant target on his back? J.T.

Like your action to be psychologically thrilling? Look no further than Dream House starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. In this horror flick, a couple and their two young children move into a quaint New England home with a grisly past. Lots of folks have said the trailer (see below) reeks of spoilers, but film execs swear that’s not the actual plot twist.

Like your action in the form of boot-scootin’? Look no further than Footloose.  No, we didn’t time travel back to 1984. Hollywood has remade the cult classic. Starring Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald, this new Footloose has updated choreography and a more racially diverse cast. However, the rest of the story remains relatively the same. Call me a skeptic—or just a realist—but I don’t have much faith in this endeavor. Still, the music and choreography should at least be entertaining.

By now you either love or hate the Twilight series, so you’re either really excited for Breaking Dawn: Part 1 hitting theaters on November 18 or you’re quite miffed that there are not one, but two films remaining. Either way, this movie has three things that will pique interests across the board:
  1. Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) is directing.
  2. Bella and Edward get hitched and get down.
  3. The star-crossed lovers have a human-vampire baby in what is sure to be a memorable birthing scene. (Think Alien.)
Awards Season Contenders
Awards season hits after fall, so traditionally autumn is laden with contenders. This season is no different as several heavy-hitting pictures step up to bat.

Remember how much everyone liked The Blind Side? Well, get ready to like Moneyball, another film based on a book based on a true story by Michael Lewis (who wrote The Blind Side). If that isn’t reason enough, Moneyball also combines two things America loves: baseball and underdog success. The film “centers on Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), who takes over as general manager of the cash-strapped Oakland Athletics baseball team and, through analysis and a new, nontraditional Sabermetric approach to scouting players, creates a competitive baseball team.”² Add Philip Seymour Hoffman and the comedic relief talents of Jonah Hill and you’ve got Oscar bait, my friends.

Ryan Gosling and George Clooney have teamed up—and it isn’t just to stand there and look pretty. They’re starring in a political thriller entitled Ides of March. “Besides directing, co-writing, and producing, Clooney plays Gov. Mike Morris, who is making a run for the Democratic presidential nomination…Gosling portrays his spokesman; Philip Seymour Hoffman his campaign manager. Paul Giamatti is a rival campaign manager,” summarizes the Denver Post.

Based on the book, My Week with Marilyn is the true story of Colin Clark, an assistant working on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, who documents the tense interactions between his boss, Sir Laurence Olivier, and Marilyn Monroe. Oscar Nominee Michelle Williams—who Screen Rant applauds as “one of the most talented actresses working today”—plays the bombshell in all her platinum glory and is rumored to be a knockout in the part.

In J. Edgar, Leonardo DiCaprio plays FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, sporting brown contacts to hide his baby blues and adorning prosthetic makeup to portray the man in his elderly years. Clint Eastwood directs and Dustin Lance Black (Milk) scripts this biopic, tracing Hoover’s life from his childhood in D.C. to his 50-year reign over the FBI.  According to Us Weekly, the film “also examines his private life as an alleged closeted homosexual.”

If Ryan Gosling can put out two films this fall, then why can’t George Clooney? In The Descendants, he plays a Hawaiian land baron and father whose life is upended after his wife slips into a coma and he learns that she was having an affair. According to The Denver Post, “director-writer Alexander Payne understands pain and poignancy. And few directors move so seamlessly between those two moods.” And as proven in his acclaimed Sideways, he can ably walk the line between comedy and drama. Here, in his film The Descendants, he apparently does just that with great results.

That wraps up part one of News & Views’ fall film preview. Stay tuned for part two where we turn our sights on family flicks, comedies, and the offbeat and quirky. In the meantime, we’d love for you to share your thoughts. What films are you looking most forward to and why?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hot This Week: September 19

A Stolen Life and Unbroken finally fall from the top of Nonfiction. Meanwhile, well-reviewed action flicks X-Men and Hanna top DVD. Adele struggles to dethrone Lil Wayne in CDs, and James Patterson is fairly untouchable at the top of Fiction.

  1. X-Men: First Class
  2. Hanna
  3. Priest
  4. Something Borrowed
  5. Paul
  6. Madea's Big Happy Family
  7. Everything Must Go
  8. Rio
  9. Limitless
  10. Blitz
  1. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV
  2. Adele, 21
  3. George Strait, Here for a Good Time
  4. The Beatles, 1
  5. Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'm With You
  6. Jay Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne
  7. Maroon 5, Hands All Over
  8. Now That's What I Call Music 39
  9. Beyonce, 4
  10. Foster the People, Torches
Fiction Books
  1. Kill Me If You Can, James Patterson and Marshall Karp
  2. The Race, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
  3. Dark Predator, Christine Feehan
  4. A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin
  5. Prey, Linda Howard
  6. The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach
  7. Pirate King, Laurie R. King
  8. The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta
  9. Flash and Bones, Kathy Reichs
  10. The Paris Wife, Paula McLain
Nonfiction Books
  1. In My Time, Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney
  2. That Used to be Us, Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
  3. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  4. A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
  5. In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson
  6. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  7. 1493, Charles C. Mann
  8. Willpower, Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
  9. Just My Type, Simon Garfield
  10. After America, Mark Steyn

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Music Preview

As the weather cools down, so do the sunny musical sensations of the summer. Last week we scoped out what audiobooks to look forward to this fall. Now, let’s set our sights on music.

The Much-Anticipated
No release is more anticipated than Blink-182’s. The pop-punk band that defined late ‘90s teen rock has reunited to release their first studio album in eight years. Entitled Neighborhoods, the album is self-produced and mixes the more mature approach to songwriting they took with their 2003 self-titled release with “tunes that hew closer to the band's origins,” according to Metacritic.

The only upcoming release that made as many fall previews as Blink-182’s Neighborhoods was that of legendary performer Tony Bennett. In a sequel to his 2006 Duets, Duets II features the 85-year-old crooner teaming up with everyone from Lady Gaga to Carrie Underwood to “reinterpret classics like ‘The Lady Is a Tramp’ and ‘It Had to Be You.’”³ The most anticipated track on the album—and one of the reasons the album itself is so highly anticipated—is Bennett’s duo with the late Amy Winehouse. The track “Body and Soul” was Winehouse’s final recording before her death this past July.

Landing eight years after Strays, new album The Great Escape Artist from alt-rock group Jane’s Addiction is only the band’s fourth studio album since 1988—which is one of the reasons this new release is so hotly anticipated. Another reason? TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek and bassist Chris Chaney have teamed up with original members Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, and Stephen Perkins.

This fall will introduce us to music’s first app album as Björk releases her seventh full-length album, entitled Biophilia, October 11th. This truly multimedia album features an already available iPhone/iPad app that enables listeners to “explore each song’s themes through a constellation-filled universe.”⁴

Other long-awaited releases? The BanglesSweetheart of the Sun is their first studio release in eight years. Post-punk band Blondie just released Panic of Girls, and thrash-metal band Anthrax unleashes their first album since 2003. The big deal about this release is that it marks the return of vocalist Joey Belladonna, last heard on their 1990 album Persistence of Time. Two other major releases from famed ‘90s bands: Bush’s The Sea of Memories and Primus’s Green Naugahyde.

Radio-Ready Releases
So what albums are sure to burn up the charts? Well, there’s Drake’s Take Care. The Toronto rapper’s sophomore album made just about every fall preview list, most likely because his debut release has only been out for about a year and has performed amazingly well.

Avant-rock supergroup Coldplay, who could simply shatter dishes and somehow turn it into a number one single, will release their fifth studio album on October 25th. Entitled Mylo Xyloto (pronounced MY-lo ZY-letoe), the album is said to be something of a rock opera, and if their first single, the cheesy-named "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall,” is any indication, methinks this shall be a fine opera.

Kelly Clarkson returns stronger than ever before with her aptly named fifth studio album, Stronger. According to Clarkson (and the Atlantic), the album is “‘influenced by Prince, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, [and] Radiohead.’"

It’s been five years since Goth-rock band Evanescence released an album; lead singer Amy Lee is the only original member still with the group. On October 11, the band will release a self-titled album that apparently is more aggressive, both musically and lyrically.

In the realm of country, three albums are expected to perform very well on the country charts and quite possibly on the pop charts as well. Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night has already spawned a hit single, "Just a Kiss." Miranda Lambert’s fiery fourth album Four the Record features many guest spots, including one from husband and Bilboard chart topper Blake Shelton. And LeAnn RimesLady & Gentlemen features famous country songs by men reinterpreted from a woman’s perspective.

Demi Lovato is proving there’s life after Disney with her third album, Unbroken. This is her first release since entering an Illinois treatment facility last October for self-mutilation and eating disorders. Her first single, “Skyscraper,” is already quickly climbing the digital songs chart.

Mary J. Blige adds to her already impressive catalog with the release of My Life II...The Journey Continues, the sequel to her heartbreaking 1994 album. Expect this album to exude more maturity and hope than its predecessor: “‘On the first My Life album, we all were depressed and wanted to die,’ Blige told MTV News. ‘This one, we want to live and we understand with living, life still comes with challenges and triumphs and good times and bad times.’”⁵

Fresh Faces and Up-and-Comers
American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina will both release debut albums within the country genre. Both have teamed up with heavy-hitting producers—Scotty with Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts) and Lauren with Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw)—and both leave me wondering when Haley Reinhart is going to release her debut album.

When Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump decided to go solo, he really meant it. Not only does he explore “eclectic, post-emo avenues” and infuse R&B into his debut album, Soul Punk, but he also plays every instrument.¹ USA Today reports the album will be “a decidedly drastic change of pace from Fall Out Boy.”

Apparently, if there’s one thing you need to know about Dev—as proven in her 2010 single—it’s that she likes her beats fresh and her bass down low. First discovered by the production duo The Cataracs, Dev went on to sing the hook for the Far East Movement’s “Like a G6.” In her debut full-length album, Night the Sun Came Up, she infuses pop with dubstep to produce a dance-igniting playlist.

If we were in Europe, Martin Solveig wouldn’t be considered a “fresh face” as he’s “been flooding dance floors with his rock-infused brand of Big Beats for more than a decade.”² However, here in North America, he’s only made a splash recently with his major summer jam, “Hello,” featuring Dragonette. Thus, it’ll be interesting to see how his November release Smash will perform.

It’s no surprise that hip-hop rising star J. Cole—the first artist to sign to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label—has landed on fall music previews for Billboard, USA Today, Metacritic, and The Insider. We’ve been waiting more than two years for his debut to land. Cole World: The Sideline Story hits shelves September 27th and features guest appearances from Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Trey Songz, and Drake

Hipster Beats
The following albums shone brightly on numerous previews, convincing me that fall might just be the season of indie rock.

In The Whole Love, Chicago alt-country rockers Wilco escape suspicions of “dad-rock complacency”³ and offer a reinvigorated “culmination of the band’s twangy yet experimental discography.”⁵

Grammy-nominated and Canadian singer-songwriter Feist is “both a member of Broken Social Scene and a one-time collaborator with Elmo on Sesame Street.”⁶ If that isn’t reason enough to get excited about Metals, then perhaps this rave review from Spin will: "…[a] gorgeous collection of overtly poppy tunes, cinematic art-rock, and strummy ballads." And according to the Atlantic, “Happily, Leslie Feist's mercurial, lush voice remains at its deserved place—the center of the songs.”

Other highly anticipated indie albums? Florence + the Machine’s second album Ceremonials has been slated for release in the UK. No word on North America yet, much to my dismay.

St. Vincent follows up her successful 2009 Actor and her much-applauded track with Bon Iver on the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack with Strange Mercy. In Girls’ Father, Son, Holy Ghost, “the San Francisco indie rockers go big…trying out genres ranging from soul to metal and even enlisting a gospel choir on several tracks.”⁴

Post-modern punk-poppers Los Campesinos! continue to entertain with Hello Sadness, and electronic-pop group M83’s Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is a double album that plays like a soundtrack to a big-budget, heart-rending, high speed film.

So there you have it: News & Views’ fall music preview. Now, it’s your turn. What fall releases are you and your patrons anticipating the most?

Additional Previews

¹ “Fall’s Biggest Albums.” Entertainment Weekly, September 2, 2011, 40-42.
⁵ “Most Anticipated.” Billboard, July 30, 2011, 24-28.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Tempest Slated for December Street Date

After having its street date pushed back three times, Midwest Tape cancelled all orders for The Tempest starring Helen Mirren until a more firm street date was available from the studio. The title was recently re-announced with a street date of December 20, 2011 for the DVD (THV106588D). You can re-order the title at

The Tempest is a modern retelling of William Shakespeare's final masterpiece. Exiled to a magical island, the sorceress Prospera conjures up a storm that shipwrecks her enemies and then unleashes her powers for revenge. The fantastical film was a 2011 Academy Award Nominee for Best Costume Design and grossed one million dollars at the box office.

If you have questions regarding this title, please contact customer service at 1.800.875.2785.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hot This Week: September 12

New releases in CDs, fiction, and nonfiction shake up their respective lists. And while the DVD list sees only minor changes, Tyler Perry's latest release snags the number one spot from vampire action flick Priest.

  1. Madea's Big Happy Family
  2. Priest
  3. Something Borrowed
  4. Rio
  5. Paul
  6. Limitless
  7. Blitz
  8. Your Highness
  9. Soul Surfer
  10. The Lincoln Lawyer
  1. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV
  2. Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'm With You
  3. Adele, 21
  4. Jay Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne
  5. David Guetta, Nothing But the Beat
  6. Jake Owen, Barefoot Blue Jean Night
  7. Beyonce, 4
  8. Game, The R.E.D. Album
  9. Barbara Streisand, What Matters Most
  10. Now That's What I Call Music 39
Fiction Books
  1. Kill Me If You Can, James Patterson and Marshall Karp
  2. The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, Charlaine Harris
  3. A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin
  4. A Trick of Light, Louise Penny
  5. Flash and Bones, Kathy Reichs
  6. The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta
  7. Only Time Will Tell, Jeffrey Archer
  8. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
  9. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
  10. The Omen Machine, Terry Goodkind
Nonfiction Books
  1. In My Time, Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney
  2. A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
  3. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  4. In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson
  5. The Greater Journey, David McCullough
  6. 1493, Charles C. Mann
  7. After America, Mark Steyn
  8. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  9. Rafa, Rafael Nadal
  10. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, Alexandra Fuller

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall Audiobook Preview

The weather is cooling off, the leaves are changing color, and the kids are back in school. That means it’s time to put away the beach books and take a look at what’s coming this fall.

For fiction lovers, there is a lot to look forward to this fall.

First up, a number of series are scheduled for new installments. Among the notables: Lee Child brings Jack Reacher back for another investigation in The Affair, due September 27. John Grisham returns to the courtroom on October 25 with The Litigators. On November 1, Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp is back in Kill Shot. Detective Alex Cross is back in James Patterson’s Kill Alex Cross on November 14. Stephanie Plum returns on November 22 in Janet Evanovich’s Explosive Eighteen. Nora Roberts also begins a new trilogy on November 1 with The Next Always.

Of course, there are also plenty of standalones coming from popular authors. Neal Stephenson spins a tale of an online gaming world that spills into the real world in Reamde, releasing September 20. Marisa de los Santos offers Falling Together, a story of old college friends reunited, on October 4. Stephen King takes a shot at rewriting history with 11/22/63, which drops on November 8. That same day, Umberto Eco releases The Prague Cemetery and Don DeLillo offers nine short stories in The Angel Esmeralda. And Michael Crichton’s posthumous novel Micro comes out on November 22.

Beyond the bestseller shelves, quite a few exciting works are coming out from new or under-the-radar authors. First up, Erin Morgenstern debuts with The Night Circus on September 13. It’s a tale of magic and love in a circus that opens only at night, which Library Journal says, “will be big.” Man Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga’s new novel Last Man in Tower explores a battle of wills in modern Mumbai, and will be available September 20. Amitav Ghosh follows up the critical darling Sea of Poppies with River of Smoke, the second installment of his Ibis Trilogy, on September 27. On October 4, look for music critic and essayist Chuck Klosterman’s novel The Visible Man, in which a therapist gets drawn into a patient’s delusions. 1Q84 is an epic ode to George Orwells’ 1984 from Haruki Murakami, available October 25.

There’s just as much to be excited about in the nonfiction arena.

Up first is a memoir from former Vice President Dick Cheney, In My Time, which comes out August 30. Sticking with the political theme, Joe McGinniss’s profile of Sarah Palin, The Rogue, will be available September 20. And in That Used to Be Us, available September 5, Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum examine four major problems facing the United States.

Moving on from politics, Dave Ramsey offers advice to business leaders in EntreLeadership on September 20. Popular journalist and author Michael Lewis examines world finance in Boomerang, available October 4. And Joan Didion offers Blue Nights, a heartbreaking account of losing her daughter, on November 1.

If this all sounds a little heavy, how about we check out some entertainment profiles? September 20 sees the release of Pearl Jam Twenty, a chronicle of the band’s twenty years in the music business. Also on September 20, Jeopardy! powerhouse Ken Jennings offers Maphead, charting his and others’ love of geography. On October 4, the stories of two iconic female stars arrive. My Week with Marilyn tells of the week Colin Clark spent with Marilyn Monroe in 1956; and popular comedian Ellen DeGeneres presents her memoir, Seriously…I’m Kidding. Not to be forgotten just because he was a dog, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend comes out that same day.

Children’s and Young Adult
One of the biggest publishing events this fall comes with the long-awaited conclusion to Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle when the fourth book, Inheritance, comes out November 8. There are several other upcoming titles that kids will want to get their hands on, though.

For sheer star power, it’s going to be hard to beat The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, a collection of short stories by such authors as Walter Dean Myers, Lemony Snicket, Kate DiCamillo, and Stephen King. That comes out on October 25. Model and television personality Tyra Banks tries her hand at writing for young adults with Modelland, available September 13.

Kids will be lining up for the latest books in some of their favorite series. On August 30, the 39 Clues series moves into a new mode with Cahills vs. Vespers Book 1: The Medusa Plot. Then Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series continues with The Son of Neptune on October 4. James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy reaches its conclusion in The Death Cure on October 11. And Diary of a Wimpy Kid carries on with Cabin Fever on November 4.

As with adult fiction, there are quite a few standalone books to be excited about as well. One is Perfect by Ellen Hopkins, the story of four teens struggling to be perfect. Look for that one on September 13. Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, available September 27, is a tale of dark fantasy. Maggie Stiefvater’s latest, The Scorpio Races, comes out October 11.

Keep Up With What’s Coming!
Obviously, this is just a small sampling of the rich offerings in store for us this fall. To stay current with everything that’s coming, keep an eye on the calendar feature on our homepage. And for more fall reading previews, check out these links:

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Publishers Weekly

What titles are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below.