A librarian on The Librarian

I was asked by Larra Clark, Media Relations Manager for ALA’s Public Information Office if I would consider writing a review of TNT’s made-for-tv movie,“The Librarian: Quest for the Spear.� I had no plans to watch it, as it didn’t seem very interesting, and seemed to be a cheesy morphing of other movies: Buffy vs. Tomb Raiders of the Lost Ark or something like that. But, I gave two hours to the home team to have a look at this stanky-*ss movie. ALA got my much briefer, more tempered (although no less negative) review.

The difficulty in reviewing this is that I was focusing on the portrayal of librarians. If I’d taken it as the campy fun for which it was, hopefully, intended, I might have enjoyed it more. I suspect that this will become a librarian cult classic, alongside Desk Set and Party Girl. As is, I groaned and smacked my forehead throughout the movie. My 13-year-old joined me as a co-reviewer.

What follows is a blow-by-blow running commentary. If you didn’t watch the movie, be glad you didn't.

Okay...I've softened a bit. Go ahead and watch it. Don't take my word for it. It's like Velveeta...a guilty pleasure, and pretty cheesy.


Review of new documentary PHILOSOPHER'S PARADISE

InfoWhale writes "Philosopher's Paradise
Reviewed by Steve Fesenmaier, Nov. 30, 2004
Pawel Kucynski, a Polish-American filmmaker, has created a very nice film about contemporary philosophy. Mixing personal documentary, as in Ross McElwee's works - "Sherman's March," now "Bright Leaves," and a sense of drama as in the Canadian feature, "The Barbarian Invasions," this super-home movie is about a father and son and the family, as are McElwee's films.
There is a paradise in the film - a religious community with that name. But it also refers to the philosophy/religion his father, the founder of "universalism" wants to create. It is important to know that the father decided to create this philosophical religion after the collapse of Communism and the Berlin Wall. Apparently there are now believers from around the world, and we get to meet several of them.
The crisp, often beautiful images are combined with ethereal music That definitely puts the viewer into the proper mood. It is also nice that after a few minutes of it, the director returns to more mundane realities. At the end of the film, we see the philosopher father in the hospital, as the professor is in "The Barbarian Invasions." Luckily, the film doesn't spin off into a melo-drama about 9/11 even though there is one 9/11 scene in the film. All of human life post-9/11 does have some direct link to it - even in Poland.
I found this wonderful little film on the International Documentary Association website - and within a few days the director sent it to me from Poland. What a great reality the web can be - and I thank Pawel for sending it to me so quickly so I don't have to lose my passion for such an interesting sounding film.
Has there ever been a philosopher's paradise? I like to think that philosophers keep their distance from each other so they have room to create their own paradises. I know that while I was at a giant university with two dozen philosophers I certainly did not feel like it was a paradise - I thought that the students and even the professors were minimally interested in anything but their jobs and careers. Plato's Republic also was not a paradise.
Maybe I should learn more about "universalism"?

For more info on the film -"


National Movie Library Opening in 2006 in VA

The Culpeper (VA) Center is the current name of the future repository of America's film history, and a part of the Library of Congress. The library will be "a mega-Blockbuster" with 56 miles of shelf space for America's film library."

Films include original negatives of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman from the movie `Casablanca,"' said Greg Lukow, chief of the library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. "We have film shot by Thomas Edison."

Construction of the first phase of the project at the old Federal Reserve Bank site east of Culpeper began in August 2000. The Federal Reserve storage area, which was all underground, was unearthed and refurbished. This will become the Collections Building, which will store nearly 3 million sound and radio recordings and more than 1 million films. Story from WTOP News .


Book vs. Movie: The Polar Express

Anonymous Patron writes "Book vs. Movie: The Polar Express While the book is already a Caldecott Medal winner and a Christmas classic destined to be read and re-read by children of all ages, the movie is equally appealing. It's a warm, blissful Christmas celebration that obviously comes straight from the heart. The story is captivating and engaging for all ages, but even more importantly, the film feels as ageless as the book does. Both the book and the movie could have been as special to readers and audiences in the 1930s as they are today."


San Diego Library Won't Show Farenheit 911 Before Election

San Diego (CA) Library Director Anna Tatar has decided at the last moment to postpone a scheduled screening of Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 due to (some) patrons dissatisfaction. She's decided that the political atmostphere is just too intense right now (before the election), and has confirmed that her decision to postpone was due to "bad timing."

Both Farenheit 911 and FarenHYPE 911 will be shown the weekend following the election. Story from Sign On San Diego .


MD Library Will Discontinue Showing "Uncovered" Film

Members of the board of the Ocean Pines and Pocomoke Libraries (MD) have called a halt to the fourth and final showing of Robert Greenwald's film, "Uncovered: The War On Iraq", described here.

Board members say that the showing of the film violates their meeting room policy (even though they've already shown it three times out of four). Library patron and Ocean City resident George Benton disagreed with the board that the film was not a documentary. He described it as "non-partisan" and that library officials "made a political issue out of it because (the film) did not agree with their political beliefs."

Benton said discussion before and after the film was encouraged and that he wanted to present the film to give "people a chance to finally talk about this (war) thing together." Delmarva Now .


Rolling Stone review "The Librarian"

madcow writes "Here's the review of The Librarian, about one of our own who cracks a right-wing plot to overthrow democracy.

"I wanted my action hero to be a very ordinary guy...and librarians were the first people in this country to stand up and resist the forces of ultra-patriotism.""


Interesting Flicks @ Your Library

Multnomah County Library (Portland OR) is presenting and lending a variety of very interesting movies to patrons, sponsored by the Human Rights Video Project. The first of the films, "Books Not Bars" (about the growth of the prison industry), was shown last Saturday, and this Saturday the library will show "State of Denial" about the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

Created by National Video Resources and the American Library Association, the goal of the project is to distribute 13 award-winning films selected by filmmakers and human rights workers free of charge to 300 public libraries across the nation.

Here's the story , and here's the Human Rights Video Project site.


More Mad About Monsters

How much time do you spend thinking about GODZILLA?

Well Bill Tsutsui, a history professor at the University of Kansas and author of the book "Godzilla on My Mind," thinks about him quite a lot, and has planned a three day scholarly conference at the University of Kansas for the 50th anniversary of the first Godzilla film. He's been collaborating with Japanese studies librarian Michiko Ito.

The conference begins Oct. 28 and offers speeches, panel discussions and free screenings of Godzilla films, including "Gojira," the Japanese movie that started Godzilla's career in November 1954. Atop the movie theater will be an inflatable 28-foot Godzilla balloon.

The notion of a serious Godzilla conference drew puzzled looks on campus.

"It's kind of odd," said freshman Kathleen Schafer said. "I didn't think scholars would be interested."

But they are...and they're coming from Duke, Harvard and Vanderbilt. More here .


Mad About Monsters

Librarian and film archivist Steve Frederick is putting together a film series for his favorite time of year...Halloween, in his favorite locale, Hawaii.

Long a buff of the most popular horror movies of the 20th Century (Frankenstein--and House of, Bride of, Son of and Meets the Wolfman among them), Frederick's program is called "It's Alive!" and is slated to run at the Kailua Public Library next Thursday. Patrons from eight and up will enjoy such stars as Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr., in "The Mummy" and the five previously mentioned Frankenstein films.

Be prepared for some blood-curdling thrills and chills...Honolulu Star Bulletin .



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