by Larry Grieco, Librarian

We rarely highlight a movie in this weekly column, but we’ve got two that are the first two-thirds of a trilogy. I’m talking about The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire, which was just released on DVD and Blue Ray. The library has both of these movies in the DVD format. These are film adaptations of the best-selling novels of Suzanne Collins. (The third book, Mockingjay, will no doubt find its way onto the big screen next year.) The story takes place in a murky future world, “the ruins of what was once North America,” where every year a teenage boy and girl from each of the twelve districts of the nation of Panem are forced to compete the in “Hunger Games.” These games are really battles to the death for each of the participants.  Katniss Everdeen is the teenage girl from District 12, played by Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence. Katniss and her male counterpart, Peeta, survive the competition in the first film. The sequel begins with them taking a victory tour around all the districts of Panem.  Much to the chagrin of the powers that be, a revolution seems to be in the works among the country’s poor and oppressed populace, and it seems that Katniss and Peeta’s victory has sparked new life into the insurrection. Both these movies are well-made, and boast impressive cast members. Besides Lawrence, Woody Harrelson is outstanding in the role of a veteran survivor of a past hunger game, who counsels Katniss and Peeta. Snow, the president of Panem, is played by Donald Sutherland, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman has a pivotal role in one of the last films he made before his death. We highly recommend both the book trilogy, and the two films that have been made to date.

Film critic Walter Chaw and I have been putting together the next library film series, to start April 19th. The theme is “Fathers and Sons,” and includes the following films:

The Great Santini, starring Robert Duvall and Blythe Danner, is an intense film about a competitively aggressive father, and a son (played by Michael O’Keefe) who strives for his approval. Both Duvall and O’Keefe were nominated for many awards for this film, for  best actor and best supporting actor, respectively.

In A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Kevin Costner, a kidnapped boy strikes up a friendship with his captor (Costner), an escaped convict on the run from the law.

Next will be our first excursion into the works of Shakespeare, with the 2000 version of Hamlet, which takes place in a modern setting, directed by Michael Almereyda, and starring Ethan Hawke in the title role.

The Royal Tenenbaums is an outrageously funny movie about an estranged family of former child prodigies who re-unite when one of their members announces he has a terminal illness.  Directed by Wes Anderson, it stars Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Anjelica Huston.

Another first will be represented by The Return, a film in Russian with English subtitles, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, and nominated for countless “best film” and “best director” awards—and winner of many—at film festivals around the world.
Watch this column or stop by the library for specific dates for each film showing. Walter Chaw, an outstanding movie critic and historian, will be on hand to introduce each film and lead discussion afterwards. Admission is free, as is the popcorn. All of this is made possible by a generous grant from the Friends of the Gilpin County Library.