Was 1993 the Greatest Year in the History of Rap & Hip Hop?

NPR will be highlighting the year 1993 marking what some believe was the greatest year in the history of rap and hip hop. The first piece was on today focusing on the reaction to the LA Riots: ‘The Chronic’ 20 Years Later: An Audio Document Of The L.A. Riots.

Our collection includes sources that explore the nature of the music, philosophy, and social context around the music.

Film Blog: Martin Luther King Jr.

I thought I’d highlight Martin Luther King Jr.’s most memorable speeches. Kennedy and King: Promises and Dreams (2005) is part of a series called Great American Speeches: 80 years of political oratory. King’s moving “I have a dream” (1963) and “When a man has already died” (1965) speeches are featured in the film. Included in the DVD are also Kennedy’s inaugural address and maybe one of his most famous speeches where JFK ends with “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

For more great speeches, check out Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches (2005), which includes King’s Lecture from the New School for Social Research (1969) and his last speech “I’ve been to the mountaintop” (1968) along with 23 other great speeches. There are 2 CDs to accompany the book, so you can actually hear the speeches.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a trailer to show, but no fear. The clip below is a short biography on Martin Luther King Jr. For more information on MLK, check out Bio.True Story.

 

Film Blog: Before the Nickelodeon (1982)

Please note that this film isn’t about the network Nickelodeon, but rather about about nickelodeons, which were early motion picture theaters. Nickelodeons got its name simply for the fact that they typically cost a nickel for admission. Can you believe that?!

Before the Nickelodeon: The Early Cinema of Edwin S. Porter centers around the years from 1894 to 1908, which is just slightly before silent films became a huge industry. Included in the DVD are a documentary, 16 Porter short films and 3 additional Porter shorts. Porter’s film The Great Train Robbery (1903) is “credited with establishing realistic narrative, as opposed to Méliès-style fantasy, as commercial cinema’s dominant form. The film’s popularity encouraged investors and led to the establishment of the first permanent film theaters, or nickelodeons, across the country” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Typical films during this time averaged only about 15 minutes.

The video below is Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903). It’s in black and white, but Porter also uses a technique called tinting, so there are bits of color in the film. Tinting involves manually coloring each frame, which, as you can imagine, is incredibly time consuming.

As always, here is a short trailer to the film to entice you.

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“nickelodeon.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2013. <http://0-www.britannica.com.library.morainevalley.edu/EBchecked/topic/414336/nickelodeon>.

“Edwin S. Porter.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2013. <http://0-www.britannica.com.library.morainevalley.edu/EBchecked/topic/471087/Edwin-S-Porter>.

Film Blog: Nanny McPhee (2005)

Looking to unwind with some family fun? Nanny McPhee is part Mary Poppins film, part fairy tale. In this modernized yet still Victorian England era, Nanny McPhee (played by the lovely Emma Thompson) comes to help a newly widowed Cedric Brown (played by Colin Firth) and his seven children.

Emma Thompson, who is mostly known for her remarkable award-winning acting skills, plays governess Nanny McPhee and is also responsible for adapting the story (originally written by Christianna Brand) into a screenplay. Most recently, you might recognize Emma Thompson’s voice in Disney’s Brave (2012) as the Scottish queen. Princess Merida is played by Kelly Macdonald, who also stars in Nanny McPhee as Evangeline, the family maid.

 

“Emma Thompson.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.

Film Blog: I.O.U.S.A. (2008)

Now that the whole business of the election is behind us, congress and the POTUS are back to work solving the financial crisis. If you have been following the news of late, you know that it’s quite a crisis. The featured film of this post is about just that.

Consider I.O.U.S.A. as a great resource for background information about the national debt. Take into account that the film is a little behind (the film came out in 2008), but filled with useful information to bring you up to speed. Included in the documentary are candid interviews with Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan, Paul O’Neill, Robert Rubin, Alice Rivlin and Paul Volcker, along with David Walker of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition.

If you’re interested in reading a book about the fiscal crisis, it will interest you to know that the documentary was inspired by the book The New Empire of Debt: The Rise and Fall of an Epic Financial Bubble by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin.

As always, here is a short trailer about the film.

The tagline reads, “One Nation. Under Stress. In Debt.”

Film Blog: Adaptation (2002)

Today in Filmblogland, I bring a semi-autobiographical story about Charlie Kaufman’s (played by Nicholas Cage) struggle to transform the non-fictional book The Orchid Thief into a screenplay (hence the film title). Now, I know what you’re thinking, “what do you mean by semi-autobiographical?”

The screenplay writer for Adaptation (also available on Bluray) Charlie Kaufman, writes himself and his fictional twin brother Donald into the story. And although there is no Donald Kaufman (in real life), Charlie gives his fictional brother credit for co-writing the screenplay Adaptation. Well, the joke’s on Charlie when he and Donald are both nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2003.

If you’re a fan of Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman is responsible for those screenplays as well.

For a preview of Adaptation, look at the trailer below.

“Charlie Kaufman.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Film Blog: Training Day (2001)

Looking for a thriller about crime? Training Day is about a rookie cop (Ethan Hawke) and a corrupt veteran narcotics officer (Denzel Washington) set in Los Angeles. Although the film only covers 24 hours of a day in the life of a narcotics detective, quite a lot happen including numerous fights, drug busts, attempted murder, attempted assault, and a standoff. Denzel Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor for Training Day, and became the second African American actor to win an Oscar for Best Actor. On an unrelated note, the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Actor was Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field, which came out in 1963.

“Denzel Washington.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

“Sidney Poitier.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Film Blog: Toy Story (1995)

Originally produced in 1995, Toy Story was the first entirely computer-animated feature film. The film also won its director, John Lasseter, an Academy Award for Special Achievement. After Toy Story‘s success, Lasseter went on to direct other great animated films like A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2 and co-directed the film Cars. He also went on to produce Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. Lasseter moved on to become the chief creative officer at Disney and Pixar when the film Up (also my personal favorite) come out in 2009.For more information about John Lasseter and Toy Story, look at the book 100 Animated Feature Films.

We currently have two copies of Toy Story in the collection along with a Bluray version. In addition to Toy Story, we also have the sequel Toy Story 2, but it’s only available in VHS. For a preview of Toy Story, look at the trailer below.

“Pixar Animation Studios.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Film Blog: 127 Hours (2010)

Would you like to see a film that’s truly inspiring? 127 Hours is a true story about climber Aaron Ralston whose arm was crushed under a fallen boulder while hiking alone in the canyons of Utah. The film follows Ralston’s journey as he amputates his own arm, climbs back through the canyon, and hikes the eight miles back to civilization. For more information about the film, go to http://www.foxsearchlight.com/127hours

Also in our collection is Aaron Ralston’s autobiography about the experience, which is appropriately titled Between a Rock and a Hard Place. If you’re not yet sold, please view the full trailer below.

Film Blog: The Hunger Games (2012)

If you’re looking for a movie to unwind with this break, consider The Hunger Games. This movie is action packed and filled with suspense. Although I’m sure Hunger Games needs no introduction, I’ll just say that is a dystopian tale about twenty-four adolescents fighting to the death in a yearly televised production. There may be a little love triangle involved, but that is definitely a smaller part of tale.

The author, Suzanne Collins, was inspired by reality television and classic mythology. Her father is a military historian and Vietnam veteran, which also influenced her to write about survival and fighting. Although The Hunger Games is a young adult book, its adult themes make it accessible to adults as well. If you like the film, be sure to check out The Hunger Games trilogy at the library.

For a preview of film, just press play on the video below! Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

“Suzanne Collins.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 07 Dec. 2012.