Words of Wisdom from Fathers in Film

Where would we all be without our Dads? They helped keep us on the right track and guided us through the difficulties in life.  Father’s Day is Sunday June 19, so you better have a great book, fishing lure or even a tie ready for him to say thank you for all he has done. You know he gave you lots of good advice. Being the resident movie buff, Father’s Day makes me think of all of the great advice we got from some of the best movie Dads on the silver screen. Here is some of their most memorable advice.

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in To Kill A Mockingbird

“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Mac MacGuff (J.K. Simmons) in Juno

“Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.” Continue reading

Books: Read the Movie, Your Summer Guide to Movies Based on Books

HPBBlog-ReadTheMovie_Summer2016

Summer will be here before we know it and that means summer blockbusters coming to the big screens. Maybe you aren’t interested in turtles that know karate or the latest alien invasion, so how about some great summer reading to get the jump on some other movies hitting theaters soon.


Me-Before-You-Jojo-Moyes
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark knows a lot of things, but what she doesn’t know is that she is about to meet and fall in love with the most unexpected of men, Will Traynor, a man suffering from a motorcycle accident who falls for Louisa and now has a reason to live. Me Before You stars Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Look for Me Before You in theaters June 3.

 

Max-Perkins-Editor-Genius-Scott-BergMax Perkins by A. Scott Berg

The movie will be titled Genius. This is the story of Max Perkins, who was a book editor at Scribner and oversaw the works of Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. A very promising film staring Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce, Colin Firth and Jude Law. Look for Genius on June 10.

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And the Oscar goes to, Kevin Bacon!

Hooray for Hollywood! The 88th Academy Awards will be giving out their most coveted statue, the Oscar, in less than two weeks. Of course, many predictors have the Best Actor Oscar going to Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant, but we want to make a case for, you guessed it Kevin Bacon. Here is a fun graphic taking all the lead actors and actresses and connecting them to Kevin Bacon. Maybe you can do one using all Oscar winners! Leonardo DiCaprio was in Catch Me If You Can with Tom Hanks (a two-time Oscar winner), who was in Apollo 13 with… Kevin Bacon. Who are you predicting to win? The safe bet is DiCaprio and Brie Larson in the Lead categories. Enjoy the Oscars on Sunday, February 28 at 7e/4p on ABC.

Half Price Books 2016 Oscar Nod Kevin Bacon Connection

Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.

Seeing Music and Hearing Pictures: Walt Disney’s Fantasia Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary

It all began in 1937, at a chance meeting between Walt Disney and Leopold Stokowski while having dinner. Mr. Disney was already planning a short film to be called The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The short was going to combine animation with a live orchestra. Stokowski quickly agreed to conduct the orchestra, and three years later, with hundreds of artists at the helm, Walt Disney Pictures released what is now one of the best animated films of all time, Fantasia.

Leopold Stokowski was a huge part of the collaboration with Disney and offered many ideas that made the film what it is, including the title, Fantasia. The title was suggested because it is a musical term for a composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. Stokowski also had the idea of recording all the music in the film  stereo-phonically, which would become a cinematic first. While recording, they also separated out the soloists and mixed them back in later. This idea lead to Fanta Sound, which is the first incarnate of surround sound. Unfortunately, most cinemas could not reproduce Fanta Sound, and theaters that were able to show the film in Fanta Sound had to be equipped with 30 to 80 speakers behind the screen, around the perimeter and on the ceiling of the theatre. Fanta Sound did not last, but the very groundbreaking idea lead the cinema experience to where it is today.

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Music was just one part of Fantasia. Fantasia needed visuals, and Walt Disney gave his animators complete freedom, something unheard of at Disney Studios. Les Clark worked on the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies and was in charge of the Dew Drop Fairies, for which he had the idea of having them hover like hummingbirds. Disney was so pleased with the results that Clark was given the task of animating Tinkerbell in the opening of the Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in the 1950s.

The Rite of Spring was another example of groundbreaking animation. Josh Miller, the supervising animator for special effects, was tasked with developing the lava in the volcano scenes. Miller mixed oatmeal, mud and coffee in a large bucket. He then placed air hoses in the bucket and photographed the bubbling with a high speed camera. Each photograph was processed into a film cell and and dyed with red and yellow backgrounds, thus producing the lava effect.

Of course, the most memorable of the Fantasia sequences is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Walt Disney originally considered Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for the piece, but he instead opted for Mickey Mouse, who he wanted to get back in the public eye after losing popularity to Donald Duck. Around the studio, the Sorcerer was given the name Yen Sid, which is Disney spelled backwards. The animators even saw the Sorcerer as Mr. Disney, giving him Disney’s nose and cocked eyebrow at the end of the scene, something Walt was known to do when he was displeased. There was also a concern that Mickey Mouse chopping up the broomstick was too violent. Animators helped save Mickey Mouse’s character by reanimating that scene where Mickey chops the broomsticks indirectly, with the scene done in shadows.

What started off as a box office bomb is now heralded as one of the greatest animated films of all time. Even Steven Spielberg has proclaimed it as his favorite animated feature. See the music, hear the pictures, immerse yourself and re-watch Fantasia today.

Bond, James Bond: Top 5 Villians in Bond Films

OK, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars fans, move over and make way for the longest running film franchise there is…James Bond! The new Bond movie, SPECTRE, comes out this Friday, November 6, and is the 23rd official James Bond movie. As many Bond fans already know, SPECTRE is the organization of criminals in the first several bond movies, which just begs the question: Who are the best Bond villains ever? Here are my top 5.

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Le Chiffre
OK, some of you might disagree with me on this one. But, I have to give a nod to the new Bond films, and Le Chiffre played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, is a perfect foe for Bond in Casino Royale. Le Chiffre and Bond throw down at a marathon poker game reminiscent of the climactic gambling scenes in the Ian Flemming novels.

jaws-james-bond

Jaws
Probably the most memorable Bond villain of all time is from The Spy Who Loved Me. Richard Kiel’s Jaws was bigger than life and almost a comic book villain, with his huge stature and steel teeth. I would have ranked him higher, but he just had to come back and make a lackluster appearance in Moonraker and have a very contrived romance.

scaramanga-christopher-lee-1

Francisco Scaramanga
Who can forget The Man with the Golden Gun, Scaramanga, charmingly played by Christopher Lee. Lee was considered by his step-cousin, none other than Ian Fleming himself, to play Dr. No in the first Bond film, but Joseph Wiseman had already been cast. Lee made a great foe with his makeshift Golden Gun and classic pistol duel at the end of the film.

Gert Frobe plays Auric Goldfinger in

Auric Goldfinger
“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” When you speak the most memorable line of any Bond villain, you have to make the list. Goldfinger was played by German actor Gert Fröbe, who ironically did not speak a word of english and had to be dubbed in after filming. Still, Fröbe gives a wonderful performance, and with a henchman like Oddjob, how can you not be one of Bond’s baddest villains?

Ernst-Stavro-Blofeld-007

Ernst Stavro Blofeld
No matter how popular and iconic any Bond villain is, none can compare to the notorious leader of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Played by many actors in different films, the most notable performances are given by Telly Savalas in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Donald Pleasance in You Only Live Twice. Remembered for his iconic white cat, Blofeld will always be Bond’s ultimate villain.

Who are your favorite Bond villains? Enjoy SPECTRE this weekend.

Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.

Read the Movie: Your Fall Guide to Movies Based on Books

This is an exciting time to talk about books being made into movies! It is the fall season, which also means…Oscar season. Every book mentioned here has a chance to bring home some gold next February and change the Oscar race in some way. Here we go.

TheMartianBookThe Martian by Andy Weir
Ridley Scott, who brought you the sci-fi blockbusters Alien and Blade Runner, directs what is sure to be another classic in The Martian. Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney, who is presumed dead and left behind, stranded on Mars. Watney ingeniously finds a way to survive on the hostile planet. The Martian hits the big screen on October 2. The Martian is also our HPB Book Club selection this month! Join the discussion here! 

DanishGirlBookThe Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
Based on the remarkable love story of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, including their marriage and groundbreaking journey as Elbe becomes one of the first-known recipients of transgender surgery. Eddie Redmayne portrays Lili Elbe in what will surely be an Oscar-nominated role and a chance for back-to-back Best Actor Oscars. The Danish Girl is directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and starts November 27.

HeartofSeaBookIn The Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) always seems to be a player during Oscar season, and we expect nothing less from him this year, as he tells the tale about the Essex, which was sunk by a whale in 1820, leaving all aboard stranded at sea for more than 90 days. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Charlotte Riley and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) as Herman Melville. Opens December 11.

TheRevanantBookThe Revenant by Michael Punke
Frontier trapper Hugh Glass is mauled by a grizzly bear and then left for dead by thieves. He then embarks on a path of revenge. Glass is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and early buzz has him in the already-crowded Best Actor category for an Oscar. Look for this film to be a player for more awards as well, being directed by last years winner for Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu. The Revenant has a release date of Christmas Day.

It is going to be a very exciting Oscar movie season. Go ahead and get the jump on things by reading some of the great movies hitting theaters this fall!

Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.

5 Movie Remakes That Are Better Than The Originals

July 29 marks the return of Rusty Griswold in the “sequel” or “reboot” of one of the funniest films ever made, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983). With so many remakes these days, it made me wonder if a film this classic should be remade? After seeing the recent releases of Godzilla and Poltergeist, my initial thought was absolutely not. But, after giving it some thought, there have been many remakes that I have thoroughly enjoyed and actually thought were an improvement on the original. So maybe there is some hope for Vacation (2015). Here are my top 5 movie remakes that worked!

The Birdcage (1996)

A remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Those two names alone should justify this as a must see, but add in the fact you get to see Gene Hackman in drag  makes this a classic remake.

 

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Read the Movie: Your Summer Guide to Movies Based on Books

It’s summer time, and that means summer blockbusters on the big screens. Maybe you aren’t interested in being chased by dinosaurs or being swallowed up by an earthquake, so I would like to suggest some great summer reading to get the jump on other really great movies hitting theaters in the near future.

Paper Towns by John Green 

Paper Towns is a very good coming of age story about a young man, Quentin, who sets out with his friends to find a missing girl, his next door neighbor Margo. Margo leaves clues and leads Quentin leading him and his friends on a wild adventure. Look for Paper Towns in theaters July 24.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Thomas and his fellow Gladers face their biggest challenge yet, searching for clues about the mysterious organization known as WCKD. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s superior forces and uncover the truth about the shocking plans for them all. The next film in the Maze Runner saga starts September 18.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

The true story about a group of climbers that get stranded on Mt. Everest due to a storm. Everest, the movie adaptation,  has a top-notch cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright and Josh Brolin. Everest will also be presented in 3D, which should make this a real cliffhanger. In theaters September 18.

Black Mass by Dick Lehr & Gerald O’Neill

Black Mass tell the story of the most infamous violent criminal in U.S. history, Whitey Bulger. Johnny Depp is almost unrecognizable portraying Bulger and has a lot of early Oscar buzz that might earn him his fourth Best Actor nomination. Black Mass opens September 18.

That should be enough reading to keep you ahead of the game at the movie theatre!


Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.

It’s summer time and that means summer blockbusters on the big screens. Maybe you aren’t interested in being chased by dinosaurs or being swallowed up by an earthquake, so I would like to suggest some great sumer reading to get the jump on some other really great movies hitting theaters in the near future.

 

 

Paper Towns by John Green 

 

Paper Towns is a very good coming of age story as a young man, Quentin, sets out with his friends to find a missing girl, his next door neighbor Margo. Margo leaves clues and leads Quentin leading him and his friends on a wild adventure. Look for Paper Towns in theaters July 24.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4olpTxktM4

 

 

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

 

Thomas and his fellow Gladers face their biggest challenge yet, searching for clues about the mysterious organization known as WCKD. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s superior forces and uncover the truth about the shocking plans for them all. The next film in the Maze Runner saga starts September 18.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-44_igsZtgU

 

 

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

 

The true story about a group of climbers that get stranded on Mt. Everest due to a storm. Everest has a top notch cast with Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightly, Robin Wright and Josh Brolin. Everest will also be presented in 3D, which should make this a real cliffhanger. Everest start September 18.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZQVpPiOji0

 

 

Black Mass by Dick Lehr & Gerald O’Neill

 

Black Mass tell the story of the most infamous violent criminal in U.S. History, Whitey Bulger. Johnny Depp is almost unrecognizable portraying Bulger, and has a lot of early Oscar buzz that might earn him his 4th Best Actor nomination. Black Mass opens September 18.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE3e3hGF2jc

 

 

That should be enough reading to keep you ahead of the game at the movie theatre. 

 

Much Ado About William Shakespeare: Best Movie Adaptations

What better birthday to celebrate than one of the best storytellers in history William Shakespeare? Of course, everyone thinks of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet when thinking of Shakespeare, but his play still inspire and are the basis of many movies. Being a movie buff, here are my top 5 picks of movies based on Shakespeare. 

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Based on a play of the same name, this is really a fantastic comedy film about mistaken identity and suppressed affections with an all-star cast. On the British side, we have Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson and Kate Beckinsale. On the American side, Michael Keaton is perfect as the bumbling Dogberry and Denzel Washington plays a noble Prince. 

West Side Story (1961)

Romeo and Juliet turns to the streets of New York for the retelling of this classic Shakespeare story. Maria and Tony fall in love, despite being a part of rival gangs. The ending does change a bit with this adaptation, but not enough to keep it from winning the Oscar for Best Picture in 1961.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)


It is easy to see where this one comes from, The Taming of the Shrew. Bianca and Cameron are forbidden to date until shrewish older sister, Kat, is dating as well. Kat, played by Julia Stiles, gets set up to date “bad boy” Patrick, portrayed by Heath Ledger. Cameron even disguises himself as a language tutor, just as Lucentio did in Shakespeare’s original play.

Ran (1985)

Based on Shakespeare’s work King Lear, Ran, is the story of two sons that are battling over the division over their father’s estate. This is a film everyone should see and is masterfully directed by Akira Kurosawa. One of the greatest epics of all time.

Forbidden Planet (1956)


That’s right, one of the truly classic sci-fi films is based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Instead of being stranded on an island, the story here takes place on a planet with a utopian society. As with the play, the planet’s ruler, Morbius, sees his daughter fall in love with one of the outsiders, despite his objections. This film also gave us one of the most-recognizable robots in film history, Robby the Robot. A must see for everyone.

There were so many great stories to choose from. Big Business and Throne of Blood were close to making the list. What are some of your favorite Shakespearean works being retold today?

Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.

Prepare for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I may be showing my age here, but anyone who grew in the 70’s remembers camping out in lines that went around the block just to see Star Wars for a fifth time. As a movie buff, few things make me feel like a kid again, but with this new Star Wars trailer out, I can’t wait to see this movie. It should be exciting, with director JJ Abrams behind the camera, who is known for rebooting the Star Trek franchise. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be in theaters December 18. That gives you plenty of time to drop by Half Price Books and pick up the original other Star Wars movies on Blu-Ray or DVD. Also, take home a few comics and books to get yourself prepared for this fall release. If you come by on Saturday, May 2nd, you can take home a comic book free with any purchase as part of Comic Book Day!

   

Check out the trailer!

What is your favorite movie in the Star Wars saga?


Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.