Shows 'N Tunes: Movie, Music, and Game Reviews

The Office. The Complete Series (2005-2013) TV-PG

Are you looking for some cringe-binge?  Finished Parks and Recreation and have a gaping hole in your life?  Already seen The Office?  If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then watching The Office may be right for you!

While the first season starts off a little slow and awkward, it really comes into its own by the end of the season.  It's funny, irreverent, and strangely heartwarming.  You will laugh, cry, and facepalm along with the characters as each of their stories unfold over its nine seasons.

Check it out today!

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) PG

Miles Morales, a New York teen just starting out at a new school finds himself bitten by (yes) a radioactive spider...but this isn't your typical Spider-Man origin story.  From there the Spider-verses collide and an eclectic cast of characters comes together from multiple realities.  Readers of the comics will definitely appreciate this merge, but all can enjoy the superhero action and sparks of humor we are used to throughout most of the Marvel Universe.  So join Miles as he learns to have confidence in himself and figures out his Spidey senses to save not only his dimension but also everyone else's!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.  Did you miss Jez's review of this Oscar winner? Check it out!

Resident Evil 2 (2019) M

Raccoon City is under attack. A mysterious outbreak has transformed the population into ravenous zombies.  The story begins a week into the outbreak, most of the police are already dead, and supplies are few and far between.  Play as rookie police officer Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield as they try to survive the night.

Each character has their own gameplay and storyline that unfolds as you explore the game.  The zombies are relentless, clever, and never as dead as they seem.  The majority of the game takes place in the Raccoon City police department and despite the relatively small map; it never feels repetitive or cramped.

Like many, I'm suffering from zombie fatigue, but this game reignited my fascination with the undead.  Originally released in 1998 for PlayStation, Resident Evil 2 is a staple in survival-horror video games.  Now remade, it is even better than before.  The graphics elevate the suspense and the updated mechanics allow for more control and realism. The puzzles are as tricky as ever and just as satisfying to solve as the first time around. Unfortunately, it still takes a ridiculous amount of ammo to take down zombies, so make sure to use it wisely!  Resident Evil 2 is available for checkout for PS4 and Xbox One.

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Pick of the Litter (2018)

In Pick of the Litter, follow a litter of five adorable Labrador puppies from birth through two years old on their incredible journey to become guide dogs for the blind.  The whole family will delight in seeing the lively puppies, each with their unique personalities, go through their rigorous training.  "Only the best will make the cut."

Experience the joy and sadness of the dedicated first time and experienced puppy raisers and trainers.  Meet the blind individuals who hope to be matched with a guide dog companion.

If you enjoy Pick of the Litter, you might also be interested in the Japanese film, Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog.  Here is additional information on the organization, Guide Dogs for the Blind, featured in the film.

The Vienna Berlin Music Club by Philharmonix (2018)

I recently had the chance to see Philharmonix live—and what an experience!  Listening to the album is the next best thing—and you can do so via Hoopla.  The Vienna Berlin Music Club is an eclectic mix of classical, jazz, and pop music.

The ensemble features two violins, a viola, a cello, a double bass, a clarinet, and a piano (from the Vienna and Berlin philharmonics).  Primarily instrumental, the album also features a singing violinist (in German).  Songs I particularly enjoyed include "Russian Overture," "Bohemian Rhapsody," and "A New Satisfaction."  Watch the YouTube video to get a behind the scenes look from the group (and samples of their music).



LEGO House: Home of the Brick (2018) TV-G

Do you have kids in your family who love LEGOs?  Are you, yourself an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGOs)?  This Netflix documentary follows the creative development and build process of LEGO House in Denmark, also tying in some of the LEGO company's history.  LEGO House was designed to offer visitors a LEGO experience like no other.  After watching, you'll definitely want to add Billund, Denmark to your travel bucket list!

This documentary is available on Netflix via the library's Roku devices.

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Father Brown. Season 1 (2013) TV-PG

If the show Father Brown can be summed up in one word, and one word only, it would be "delightful."  At first glance, it's hard to realize most episodes revolve around murder!  With the gorgeously quaint 1950s English countryside, the overall tone is upbeat with plenty of banter between characters.  Mark Williams plays Father Brown as a boyish scamp sticking his nose anywhere and everywhere to the police's chagrin.  He won't rest until the latest mystery is resolved. Wherever Father Brown is found, Mrs. McCarthy and Lady Felicia will not be far behind.  The series is based on the stories of G. K. Chesterton.  Won't you help them save some souls and check this out today? 

If you enjoy Father Brown, try our list of books featuring Murders in an English Village.

The Wife (2017) R

The Wife is the bittersweet tale of the life of Joan Castleman and her husband, Joe, a beloved, acclaimed novelist.  The movie begins with what seems to be a relatively ordinary marriage, but a quiet tension builds in the days leading up to Joe's receipt of the Nobel Prize in literature.  Joan, played by Academy Award nominee Glenn Close, looks back on their forty-year marriage with a mixture of love and regret.  As she examines the consequences of the compromises she has made, the film takes on a palpable urgency which is driven not just by the storyline, but by Close's amazing performance as well.

The Wife expertly presents the husband-wife dynamic in all its complex glory.  From the mundanity of daily life to the once-in-a-lifetime joys to the oh-so-often-overlooked betrayals, this is a movie chock full of drama not to be missed!

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Colette (2018) R

Young Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) marries an older writer, nom de plume Willy (Dominic West), who takes her from the countryside to cultural, sophisticated Paris.  They lead an extravagant lifestyle, always having bills to pay.  He convinces her to ghostwrite stories for him, and she does turning out a semiautobiographical novel of a bold, young girl that becomes the new sensation in Paris.  She continues to write as she explores her sensual side and Willy takes all the credit for the rage of Paris. Colette is visually a beautiful movie and definitely an adult story because of her sexual appetite.


A Wrinkle in Time (2018) PG

This 2018 movie adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's 1963 Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time was highly anticipated by many book fans.  I was not one of those book fans. I distinctly remember reading the first chapter of the book during a thunderstorm and getting too frightened to read any further.  I was probably in third grade.

When the movie was announced, I was excited to finally go back to the story that I had paused on so long ago.  The movie met every one of my expectations: a little bit strange, a lot of CGI, and a huge heart -- driven mostly by actress Storm Reid.  I would recommend this to families who want a gentler fantasy adaptation for younger children.  As for fans of the books, I have heard that the movie was less than perfect, but isn't that always the case with movie adaptations? (Don't get me started on Remus never telling Harry who the Marauders were in Prisoner of Azkaban...)  Check out A Wrinkle in Time and decide for yourself.

The Toys That Made Us. Seasons 1-2 (2017-2018) TV-14

Children of the 80s and 90s, this show is especially for you!  Full of nostalgia, fun facts, and original commercials, this 8-part (so far) documentary series details iconic toy brands including Star Wars, Barbie, Transformers, and more.  Even though each episode features one brand, my favorite part was seeing the connections between brands throughout the series.  Relive your childhood through The Toys That Made Us, available on Netflix via the library's Roku devices.

Dumplin' : original motion picture soundtrack

I have always liked Dolly Parton's voice and after watching the movie, Dumplin', on Netflix I had to listen to the soundtrack.  There are three new versions of classic Dolly songs "Here You Come Again", "Two Doors Down" and "Jolene".  She sings with various well-known artists including Miranda Lambert, Sia, Elle King, Macy Gray, and Alison KraussDumplin' is must listen for true Dolly fans. 



Edge of Tomorrow (2014) PG-13

Set in the future, Edge of Tomorrow is an action-packed movie about humankind fighting off an invasion of seemingly invincible aliens.  After upsetting his superior officers, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is sent on a suicide mission.  Having no combat experience whatsoever, Cage dies within minutes of stepping foot on the battlefield.  His death triggers a time-loop, and he is sent back to the previous morning to relive his last day and his death over and over again.  Each day and death teaches him new skills, and he eventually becomes a skilled warrior who realizes that to stop the time loops, he must defeat the invincible enemy.

This movie surprised me.  I went in thinking it would be just another action movie that I'd forget in two weeks.  I ended up discovering a movie that I have enjoyed watching again and again.  The witty humor and relationship between William Cage and Rita (Emily Blunt) fit perfectly against the background of intense battle scenes and horrifying aliens. After Groundhog Day, I hadn't found a movie that could pull off the time-loop cliché but this movie does a great job of executing it without making the story seem predictable or cheap.

Timeline: Diversity (2013)

A quick game and simple to play, Timeline: Diversity is easy to carry along in a small bag.  It goes great with car rides and vacations.  The cards depict an invention, discovery, or historical event on both sides, with the year in which the invention was created on only one side.  Players take turns placing a card from their hand in a row on the table.  After placing a card, the player reveals the date on it.  If the card was placed correctly with the date in chronological order with all other cards on the table, the card stays in place; otherwise, the card is removed from play, and the player takes another card from the deck.  The first player to place all of their cards correctly and eliminate their hand wins. 

Timeline: Diversity takes about 15 minutes to play and is good for ages 8 and up.  Check out Timeline: Diversity or other board games today.


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Crazy Rich Asians (2018) PG-13

When Rachel Chu goes with her boyfriend Nick to a wedding in Singapore, she is in for a myriad of surprises.  It turns out that Nick's family is rich, Like...super rich.  Everyone in Singapore is gossiping and wanting to know everything about the girl that Nick is dating.

Crazy Rich Asians is based on the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan.  This movie is so wonderful.  I loved the acting, the story, the costumes, and the scenery.  This is a perfect rom-com and one that I will watch over and over again on DVD.

But in addition to how great it is, it's also a record-breaking movie: the first movie in 25 years starring a majority Asian cast AND it's the highest grossing studio movie rom-com since 2009.  I hope that producers and executives take note that people are hugely interested in diverse casts and stories and give us the two sequels to the book.