- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
In 1966, three Mossad agents return from a mission to East Berlin and announce to the world that they've assassinated an infamous Nazi war criminal. For decades they're celebrated as national heroes, but someone has appeared claiming to be the man they killed and the press is about to find out. The Debt stars Helen Mirren and has a 65 percent rating at Metacritic.
A Nigerian doctor finds himself stranded in London as a political refugee. Without a work permit, he's forced to take a menial job at a hotel where some very sinister things seem to be going on. A film by Stephen Frears, Dirty Pretty Things stars Audrey Tautou and has a 94 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
In 1815, Jane Austen is 39 and a bit of a celebrity, surprised when others quote her novels back to her and bemused by lovelorn young women seeking her advice. More ominously, she's not in the best of health, money is tight, and she's beginning to wonder if she's made the right choices in life. Included with a recent version of Sense and Sensibility, Miss Austen Regrets stars Olivia Williams in the title role; you can read more here and here.
Steven Spielberg's most recent film, War Horse, is a grand Hollywood epic that depicts the losses and agony of war in a sweeping historical drama. Though the film stays true to the plot of the 1982 young adult novel on which it's based, the book and movie are sharply different in tone and mood. The film boasts Spielberg's signature lush cinematography, stirring musical score, and high drama.
The book, on the other hand, is a small, simple tale that approaches the same subject in its own original way. The book is narrated by the horse Joey, whose innocence and loyalty carry him from his early years as the beloved companion to English farmboy Albert, to the muddy trenches of World War I, after he is sold to the British army by Albert's destitute father. Part of the beauty of the book is seeing the events unfold through the horse's eyes, as he finds kindness and cruelty on both sides of the battlefield. Middle school and high school teachers might want to initiate discussions with their students, comparing the two very different treatments of the themes of war, loss, and the bond between man and horse.
For a third take on this story, theater lovers can look forward to the summer arrival in the Bay Area of the award-winning Broadway production.
Listen to an excerpt from the novel read by the author by selecting this LINK. War Horse is number 17 in the list of audio files.
An aging governess has problems holding down a job during the Depression. Her last hope of gainful employment involves a ditzy young actress with an impossibly complicated love life. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day stars Amy Adam and has a 77 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Jack is having trouble writing his first novel. To pay the bills, he deals cards in a slightly shady casino, a job he's good at but loathes. When someone points out a way he can defraud his employer, he's sorely tempted. Croupier stars a young Clive Owen and has a 98 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.