For armchair movie watching, use guides at library

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 1, 2007

By Betty Moore

Rowan Public Library

Watching more movies at home these days?

Whether you’re nesting at home during cold weather or saving money while paying off Christmas bills, you may be looking for good movies to watch.

Rowan Public Library has plenty of DVDs and videotapes for movie buffs, and there are movies to rent from video stores and Netflix. With hundreds of movies out each year, how can you learn which ones are worth your time? The library has many sources of information.

Look at the library for standard movie review guides such as “Leonard Maltin’s 2007 Movie Guide” and “Videohound’s Golden Movie Retriever.” Each gives a brief summary of movies alphabetically, and indexes by movie title and author.

Both include ratings for quality and MPAA ratings from G to NC-17 for age suitability, as well as a list of mail order and online sources for home video.

Videohound has additional indexes for alternate titles, awards, writers, cinematographers, composers and others, plus an extensive list of related Web sites.

“1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” (Revised Edition), edited by Steven Jay Schneider, contains recommendations for top quality films plus others with historical or popular importance. It is arranged chronologically from “A Trip to the Moon” (1902) to “Million Dollar Baby” (2004). Movies are indexed by film title, director and genre. Entries are a half to a full page each and many include a still photo. All list major creative contributors and leading actors.

In addition to these general sources, RPL has books on many specific film topics. “Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film and Culture” is a look at Hollywood through the eyes of Christian writers, producers and executives living out their faith on movie sets, in studio offices and at TV networks. “The Philosophy of Neo-Noir,” is a collection of essays edited by Mark T. Conard. The book explores the philosophical implications of films such as “Blade Runner,” “Chinatown,” “Memento,” and the films of the Coen brothers

New at RPL is Roger Ebert’s latest book, “Awake in the Dark: the Best of Roger Ebert: Forty Years of Reviews, Essays and Interviews.” In addition to presenting reviews of the best films of each of the past 38 years, he also looks at foreign films, documentaries and overlooked films.

He writes on topics such as colorization and the movie-ratings system, among others. The book ends with his 2004 article about how watching and writing about movies had a healing effect on him as he recovered from cancer.

RPL carries two magazines that focus specifically on film: “Film Comment” and “Premiere.” Each features interviews with actors, directors and other industry figures. Critics look at upcoming movies and recommend classics available on DVD. The January/February 2007 issue of “Film Comment” contains “Best Films of 2006,” 10-Best lists from many film critics, and “Movies That Mattered,” plus reviews of books on films.

Movie lovers will also enjoy exploring Internet Movie Database (, a vast collection of movie information. “We try to catalog every pertinent detail about a movie, from who was in it, to who made it, to trivia about it, to filming locations, and even where you can find reviews and fan sites on the Web. We then do our best to present this information in a manner that is easy to search and access,” they say in their site.

One can find songs from old movies, the authors of books that were made into movies, where a movie was filmed and whether a certain movie is available to buy on videotape or DVD, among many other things.

Children’s programs: February through April, programs for children are scheduled as follows: Baby Time — Wednesday, 11 a.m., headquarters; Toddlers and Twos — Tuesday, 10 and 11 a.m., headquarters; Wednesday, 11:30 a.m., South; Three to Fives — Thursday, 10:30 a.m., headquarters; Monday, 10:30 a.m., South; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., East. Two to Fives — Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., East. Noodlehead — Thursday, 4 p.m., headquarters; Monday, 4 p.m., South. School Age Adventure — second Tuesday each month, 4 p.m., South.

Library program: Let’s Talk About It!, a reading and discussion program, will focus on “Tar Heel Fiction: A Second Look” at headquarters library on Thursdays at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 and March 8 and 22. Books will be provided. Call 704-216-8228 for more information.

Computer classes: Headquarters, all 9:15-10:45 a.m. — N.C. Live, Thursday; Basic Word, Feb. 15; Intermediate Word, Feb. 22. South, Intermediate Excel, Feb. 13, 7-8:30 p.m.; Digital Photography, Feb. 22, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Displays: Headquarters — Black History by Paulette Maugham. East — Piggy Banks by Faye Hill. South — bobbin and lace by Pat Rigsby.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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