Astronaut Mark Watney is one of the first humans to land on Mars, and may now be the first human to die on Mars. After his spacesuit is compromised during a Martian dust storm, and his crew leaves him for dead, he wakes up on the red planet first bewildered that he is still alive, and then grappling to figure out how to survive alone in a hostile environment where just about everything that can save him can also kill him.
Based on the novel by Andy Weir, the motion picture adaptation of The Martian follows Watney (played by Matt Damon) as he attempts to survive until the next mission to Mars can pick him up – scavenging all the abandoned equipment at his disposal to establish shelter, water, and food to last him over a year – alone – on Mars. As he combats his own hopes and fears about survival, Watney methodically establishes a water supply, a potato farm, and listens to enough disco to drive him insane. But with each success comes a new challenge, and soon Watney and NASA are racing against time to prevent his rescue mission from becoming a recovery mission.
The Martian is a riveting space adventure tale told from the point of view of the all too human people who find themselves in the most impossible of situations. Staying true to Weir’s original wit, and featuring breathtaking landscapes of the red planet, director Ridley Scott brings the novel to life. The Martian by Andy Weir, and the movie on DVD, are available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.
*Originally published February 18th, 2016 in the Minden Times.
Fifteen year old Sarah would rather rehearse plays in the park and immerse herself in fantasy books than babysit her stepbrother Toby. But when she’s chastised by her stepmother for being late home to do just that, finds her beloved teddy bear Lancelot in Toby’s crib, and Toby just won’t stop crying, she wishes the goblins from her favourite book would spirit her little stepbrother away. She never thought that is exactly what would happen. Toby’s cries fall silent, and the Goblin King gives Sarah 13 hours to find her way to the centre of his great labyrinth before he turns Toby into a goblin. As she races to find Toby before time is up, Sarah will encounter false passages, riddles, illusions, and strange creatures that may be friend, foe, or both. Along the way she’ll learn that her fantasy world isn’t as friendly as she thought it was.
Labyrinth is a Jim Henson film starring Jennifer Connelly as Sarah and David Bowie as the Goblin King. It is available to reserve on DVD at the Haliburton County Public Library.
*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo on January 19, 2016.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1
In the penultimate installment of The Hunger Games film adaptations, Katniss Everdeen is taken to the mysterious District 13. The District has been lying in wait, unbeknownst to the Capital, ready to strike when a revolution could be successful. But they need a face for their side to galvanize the districts of Panem, their Mockingjay, and they want Katniss to be that person. But as Katniss finds her wings as the Mockingjay, she must also face the destruction of District 12, guilt over Peta being used as the Capitol’s puppet, and the ever watchful President Snow.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. It is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library, along with more Hunger Games titles in print, audio, and DVD.
*Originally published in the Minden Times on December 24, 2015.
In the headquarters of 11-year old Riley’s mind, five emotions are hard at work, led by the lighthearted Joy. Alongside Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness, Joy aims to keep the hockey loving Midwestern girl Riley happy. However, when Riley’s parents uproot and move to San Francisco Sadness comes to the forefront. In Joy’s efforts to isolate Sadness and limit her influence, Riley’s emotions become unbalanced and threaten to isolate her from friends and family. Will Riley ever get used to her new home and become happy again?
Inside Out stars Amy Poehler as Joy and Phyllis Smith as Sadness, and has been hailed by parents and critics alike. It is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.
*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo on November 17, 2015.
If eyes are the windows to the soul, then Margaret Keane’s were very troubled. While her husband Walter basked in the fame of the runaway success of his portrait series featuring big eyed waifs, Margaret harboured a secret – the paintings were really hers. Spending up to 16 hours a day painting in a locked studio, Margaret suffered under the weight of her secret. Coming out as the true artist of the wildly popular big eyes which were now everywhere from the walls of Hollywood stars to bargain bins at Woolworths, she would still face an uphill battle proving the waifs were her creation.
Big Eyes on DVD is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.
*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo/Minden Times
In 1965, Brian Wilson began work on Pet Sounds, an ambitious album that brought us instantly recognizable tunes such as “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “Sloop John B”, “God Only Knows” and would ultimately lead to the iconic summer anthem “Good Vibrations”. In the lead up and aftermath of Pet Sounds – by many considered to be the best album of all time – Brian Wilson was plagued by auditory hallucinations and panic attacks. In Love & Mercy, we see a young Brian Wilson (played by Paul Dano) at the height of his career creating the signature sounds of the Beach Boys, then fast forward to the 1980s with a middle-aged Wilson (played by John Cusack) struggling with mental illness and under the thumb of therapist Eugene Landy. When Wilson meets Melinda Ledbetter at a Cadillac dealership, she becomes determined to save him from the manipulative Landy.
Love & Mercy is a snapshot of one of modern music’s most influential and tortured geniuses. It is available to reserve on DVD at the Haliburton County Public Library.
*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo.
Bombs and guns weren’t the only weapons used during the Second World War, information gathered by spies was critical in determining the military strategy on both sides, and much of the key information needed was hidden in coded messages. At Bletchley Park a team of British engineers and mathematicians worked tirelessly to break the code of the German Enigma machine, a nearly perfect encryption device that hid German military secrets from prying eyes. Among those brilliant minds was Alan Turing, now credited as being the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.
Inspired by the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, The Imitation Game is a dramatization of Alan Turing’s time at Bletchley Park starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing and Kiera Knightly as fellow code breaker Joan Clarke. Both the biography and the film are available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.
*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo on July 14, 2015.