Shows 'N Tunes: Movie, Music, and Game Reviews

Never Look Away

Kurt, a young art student, falls in love with Ellie, a fellow student. Her father Professor Seeband, a famous doctor, is not happy with the match and is out to destroy it. What none of them know is that their lives are already connected through the terrible crime Seeband committed during the war. Never Look Away (2018, rated R) is a stunning story, matched with outstanding cinematography.

In German with English subtitles.

For fans of The Reader, Black Book, Frantz, Tulip Fever, and The Exception.


Molly’s Game

Molly's Game is high speed and high stakes, just like its source material: the true story of "poker princess" Molly Bloom, who ran an exclusive underground card game for the rich and famous—until the game's ties to the Russian mob entangle her in a federal indictment. Rapid-fire dialogue, interesting characters, and a standout performance from lead actress Jessica Chastain all come together to make a movie that feels just as energetic and dynamic as each game.

Check out Molly's Game written and directed by Aaron Sorkin on dvd or blu-ray. To learn more read Molly's Game: from Hollywood's elite to Wall Street's billionaire boys club, my high-stakes adventure in the world of underground poker by Molly Bloom or Billion Dollar Hollywood Heist: the A-list kingpin and the poker ring that brought down Tinseltown by Houston Curtis.


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Everybody Loves Raymond. The Complete Series

This American sitcom was the best show ever on TV. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005, rated TV-PG) features the comedic happenings of the Barone family. Starring Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, and Peter Boyle, the casting is right on.

The writing was superb. I've watched all of the seasons over and over again, and I laugh so hard every time. Check out all nine seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond from the library today.


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Spotlight: Netflix Shows

Here are a few TV shows I've enjoyed streaming on Netflix. No worries if you don't have your own subscription—borrow one of the library's Rokus to use ours!

  • Virgin River: In season 1 of this contemporary romance, a nurse practitioner moves to the small California town of Virgin River. Bonus: It's based on the bestselling series by Robyn Carr (and you can read all the books via Hoopla).
  • Grace and Frankie: In this adult comedy, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as friends brought together after their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. The women are forced to live together—and there are six seasons to enjoy so far.
  • Dirty John: In this drama based on a chilling true story, follow a successful woman who falls for a conman. It has lots of twists and turns and stars Connie Britton and Eric Bana. So far, season 1 has been released.

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Honey Boy

With the arrival of Disney+, many of us are reliving our tween years by watching old favorite shows like Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens. Perhaps this is what makes the release of Honey Boy (2019, rated R), a film based on Disney star Shia LaBeouf's childhood experiences as a rising actor, all the more irresistibly jarring.

Fans of  Shia LaBeouf first fell in love with his class-clown act in Even Stevens and continued to admire his work as it took on a more serious note in films like Disturbia or Fury, or even a more commercial note in films like Transformers or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Somewhere along the way, however, it became clear that LaBeouf was battling some inner demons and the persona he was putting into the world didn't always line up with what fans expected to see.

Honey Boy tells the brutally honest story of what life looked like for LaBeouf behind the scenes. LaBeouf plays his father in the movie, exposing the abuse he suffered in his care. Noah Jupe, who plays a young LaBeouf, expertly depicts the longing for emotional support that is so often masked by humor. The screenplay was written by LaBeouf during his time in rehab as a form of therapy and now his story is shedding light on the ways we can all so easily bury our past, giving no thought to the damaging weed that will one day sprout through the surface as a result.

Watch Honey Boy today on Amazon Prime, or stick to the lighter side of Shia LaBeouf's career and enjoy all episodes of Even Stevens on Disney+. Borrow the library's Roku with Amazon Prime or Roku with Disney+.


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Greatest Hits 2 by Bob Seger

After listening to Greatest Hits 2, you will know why Bob Seger is one of the bestselling artists of all time. This compilation album released in 2003 contains some of his best music, including "Katmandu," "Tryin' To Live My Life Without You," and "Rock And Roll Never Forgets." Once you've heard this album, it will be obvious why Bob Seger has a career spanning six decades and has sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

Listen to the album on Hoopla today.



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Avatar: The Last Airbender

In Avatar: The Last Airbender the world is filled with war and chaos as the Fire Nation tries to continue its conquest of the Earth and Water Nations. The main tool for war are benders who control the various elements of fire, water, earth and air, and only the avatar can use all of them, but he is missing. The story follows Katara and Sokka from the Southern Water tribe who find Aang, a young airbender who is also the avatar, trapped in an iceberg. Aang needs to learn to master all the elements so he can stop the Fire Nation and restore order to the world.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008) is a great animated series for all ages. There is something for everyone in the story, with fun memorable characters and fantastic fight scenes. Binge watch season 1 (2005-2006) on Hoopla today or check out seasons 1 - 3 on dvd. You can also read the comics!

And check back soon for my review of the sequel, The Legend of Korra. 

Teslafy Me

Watch this 90-minute documentary about the story of Nikola Tesla and his achievements from the early 1900s. He was overshadowed by many famous inventors in his day and was never given the recognition he deserved—to this day. He was considered the inventor that kick started the Industrial Revolution.

In Teslafy Me (2019), I learned his patents and ideas are still being used today and remain unchanged. He believed in renewable energy and that energy should be provided to the world for free. His technologies were ahead of their time. He believed in free wireless power transmission and had ideas for cell phones and internet. He was definitely a genius and we are only finding out about him today.

Watch Teslafy Me on Hoopla today. If you are interested in this subject, read or listen to books about and by Nikola Tesla on Hoopla.


Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful (1997, rated PG-13) is just that, a beautiful movie about a father who will do anything in his power to keep the horrors of WWII away from his son. I love how Roberto Benigni invents the whole game scenario for his boy and humorously wings it with every turn for the worse in their prison camp.

The ending is nothing short of brilliant, loving, and courageous. For those movie fans who shy away from foreign films because of the subtitles, I encourage you to watch this wonderful movie that proves how love will always be victorious in the end.

Watch three-time Oscar winner (actor, foreign film, original score) Life is Beautiful on Hoopla today. In Italian with English subtitles. Roberto Benigni wrote, directed, and acted in this excellent movie.


Shazam!

An orphan in search of his mother unexpectedly obtains superpowers while at yet another foster home. Shazam! (2019, rated PG-13) is an odd mix of low-brow humor combined with typical superpower action scenes and a dramatic storyline that is ultimately very touching.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys superhero movies and silly comedies. Starring Zachary Levi as Shazam and Asher Angel as his alter ego Billy Batson.

Place a hold on the DVD or Blu-ray for pickup. Also, read Shazam! comic books on Hoopla.

Crime Scene Cleaner

This TV show is classified as a comedy, but it's much, much more than that. Heiko Schotte works with, but not for, the police, cleaning up blood and gore at the scenes of violent crimes. While he works, he becomes involved with homeowners and people visiting the places he's cleaning. Schotty, as he calls himself, doesn't get much cleaning done. Most of the episodes are Schotty and someone else just talking. It's philosophical with really thought-provoking observations on humanity and life—all with some laugh out loud moments.

There are ten 25-minute episodes in season 1. Crime Scene Cleaner (2011-2018) has some adult situations and is not for children.This series is worth a look. Start with season 1 on Hoopla. So far, Hoopla has the first two seasons of this interesting sophisticated seriesIn German with English subtitles.


Bluey (2018-)

Join Bluey, a blue heeler puppy, along with her Mum, Dad, and little sister, Bingo, for delightfully simple and charming mini adventures. Each 22-minute episode contains three separate stories, demonstrating the joys and challenges of childhood, siblings, and friends. One of the best parts of this show is the dynamics between the characters and how well the parents play and interact with their children.

Bluey's Mum is active and athletic and works a job outside the home, while her Dad stays home with the girls, often playing imaginative games together, and often both are home for family time. Bluey and Bingo appropriately represent 6-and 4-year-olds through the series, in their struggles to share and take turns, and in their sweetness, creativity, and sometimes just silliness.

Bluey (TV-Y) is perfect for little kids and grownups to enjoy and laugh along with together. Check out one of the Family Rokus with Disney+ to watch the series.

Promare

Combine part mecha anime, part social commentary on equality and justice, and add sharp visuals and vibrant colors to get Promare (2019, PG-13). The Burnish are a group of people that control fire and are seen as a terrorist group of people by the public. They are opposed by the freeze force and rescue squad who use ice to cool them down when they cause fires. The two sides collide ideologically throughout the film with a multitude of actions scenes throughout.

For better or worse, it follows the similar Trigger/Gainax studio style show/movie where its characters are somewhat one dimensional, but it makes up for it with its action scenes and outstanding visuals.

Watch Promare on Hoopla today. In Japanese with English subtitles.


Spotlight: Musicals

You can't go wrong with Julie Andrews singing and acting in these classic movie musicals.

The Sound of Music (1965, rated G) is such a great romantic and comedic movie! This is a movie for all ages. It's one I enjoy watching over again even though I first watched it at a very young age. The underlying music is quite enlightening. The young children in the movie were superb in their performances.

Mary Poppins (1964, rated G) is a childhood classic that you will remember when you grow up. The story is great, the music is wonderful, and this movie is amazing. Listen to the soundtrack on Hoopla.

Watch both films on Disney+ by borrowing one of the library's Family Rokus with Disney Plus or placing a hold on the DVDs or Blu-rays today. Want more Julie Andrews? Listen to her sing her favorite Broadway showtunes on Hoopla today.


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Slowhand by Eric Clapton

Originally released in 1977, Slowhand is considered to be one of Eric Clapton's best. This is still one of my favorite albums, and I never get tired of listening to it. There are the hits that we all remember, such as "Cocaine," "Wonderful Tonight," and "Lay Down Sally," but don't overlook the rest of the songs.

This 35th anniversary edition contains a total of 27 songs, and there are some hidden gems. I recommend "Next Time You See Her," "May You Never," and "Knocking on Heaven's Door" to name a few. By the way, did you know that the title of the album is Eric Clapton's nickname?

Listen to Slowhand on Hoopla today.


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