Movie Reviews: Before Midnight

Movie Reviews: North By North LesBefore Midnight

Five stars.

2013, 109 mins., directed by Richard Linklater.

The sequel to Before Sunrise (1995) which, in turn, was the sequel to Before Sunset (2004), this is another  intelligent film about love, marriage, and romance  co-written once again by the director and the two leads, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Set this time in Greece, the couple ruminate about their relationship, and their perceptions (or misperceptions) of each other over the course of time; it is painful to watch at times, as souls are bared, and truths uncovered. The film succeeds largely due to the naturalistic dialog in long, extended scenes. Even the pauses, and cadences of the conversations had to be scripted. Never boring, the film revisits the couple and the evolution of their relationship. Highly recommended.  See the record for Before Midnight.

Les Kong, Coordinator of the Library Multi Media Center (PL-5005), and longtime Alfred Hitchcock fan, reviews movies from the library’s collection.  The opinions expressed are his alone.

Posted in Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews: This is the End

Movie Reviews: North By North LesThis is the End

Three-and-a-half stars.

2013, 107 mins., written and directed by Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen.

Apocalyptic comedy set in LA for fans of  James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, and Jay Baruchel (the latter two served as producers). Loaded with in-jokes, poking fun at the actors’ public personas and their relationships.  Numerous cameos by stars such as Rihanna, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, et al. The film begins with one huge party at Franco’s house, when an earthquake hits, and blue beams of light from the skies wreak havoc and destruction.  Includes a satiric send up of Cera as a sex-crazed, coke-addled, and misogynistic star, as well as a paranoid, party-crashing Danny McBride, and Emma Watson in a cringe-worthy scene involving the guys discussing rape scenarios. Outrageous, puerile humor throughout, but somehow it all works. See the record for This is the End.

Les Kong, Coordinator of the Library Multi Media Center (PL-5005), and longtime Alfred Hitchcock fan, reviews movies from the library’s collection.  The opinions expressed are his alone.

Posted in Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews: Moneyball

Movie Reviews: North By North LesMoneyball

Five stars.

2011, 133 min., directed by Bennett Miller.

 

Co-written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and Steve Zaillan, and based on the best-selling book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. On one level, one could say this is a film about baseball, but on another level it’s about David taking on Goliath – how small-market teams evaluate talent in new and different ways to exploit market inefficiencies, in order to survive and compete against larger-market teams with far greater resources. View the record for Moneyball.

Billy Beane (portrayed by Brad Pitt), the general manager of the Oakland A’s, has just watched his team lose in the 2001 playoffs to the New York Yankees. Beane has lost three key players to other teams in free agency. During a visit to the Cleveland Indians, he spots a young Ivy Leaguer there, Peter Brand (portrayed by Jonah Hill), who displays a talent for evaluating players using statistical analysis (Sabremetrics). Beane hires Brand to assist him in reshaping the A’s.

They encounter resistance from the scouts and coach, who cling to the traditional ways of evaluating baseball talent. Beane wheels and deals during the 2002 season, making trades to acquire players who are seemingly undervalued, but who excel at getting on base. The A’s go on to set an American League record for consecutive wins, winning 20 games.

The film does oversimplify and overplays the sabremetrics angle, as it fails to focus on these real life facts – the A’s were fortunate to have an MVP year from shortstop, Tejada, a stellar year from third baseman, Chavez, and phenomenal years from their big three starting pitchers (Zito, Hudson, and Mulder). Nevertheless, the success of the A’s Moneyball approach has proven to be highly influential, as most Major League teams today employ statistical experts on their staffs to evaluate talent. The screenwriters perform the unthinkable, in successfully transforming a potentially dry story into one with drama and wit.

Les Kong, Coordinator of the Library Multi Media Center (PL-5005), and longtime Alfred Hitchcock fan, reviews movies from the library’s collection.  The opinions expressed are his alone.

Posted in Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews: Rampart

Movie Reviews: North By North LesRampart

Four stars.2011, 108 min., directed by Oren Moverman.

 

Co-written by the director and James Ellroy, this is an uncompromising character study of a rogue cop, “Date Rape Dave” Brown (played by Woody Harrelson in a tour de force performance), in L.A.’s Rampart Division. His nickname originates from the fact that he had supposedly murdered an individual suspected of committing date rapes. Dave is a street cop who is racist, alcoholic, womanizing, and brutally violent in his crime fighting methods. His problems escalate further when he is caught on video beating up a man after an auto accident – this takes place during the infamous Rampart corruption scandal. Backed up by a stellar cast, including Ben Foster, Robin Wright, Steve Buscemi, Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon, Brie Larson, and Sigourney Weaver. Recommended for fans of hard boiled, no-holds barred crime stories.  View the record for Rampart.

Les Kong, Coordinator of the Library Multi Media Center (PL-5005), and longtime Alfred Hitchcock fan, reviews movies from the library’s collection.  The opinions expressed are his alone.

Posted in Movie Reviews

Summer Movie Screenings News!

Do you want to learn more about our upcoming FREE movie screenings??

Read more at the CSUSB newsletter.

The John M. Pfau Library will present free movie screenings on the Cal State San Bernardino library lawn when it kicks off its Free Summer Movies series with “Divergent” on June 26.

Movie showings begin at 8:30 p.m. and will continue once a month throughout the summer. This free event is open to the public and will feature the following movies:

  • June 26: “Divergent”
  • July 17: “Rio”
  • Aug. 28: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
  • Sept. 18: “Maleficent”

Bring a blanket and enjoy a fun night on the lawn with friends and family. Parking is complimentary on movie nights in Lot D.

For more information on Free Summer Movies, contact Iwona Contreras at (909) 537-3447 or icontrer@csusb.edu.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.

Posted in Community Events, Movie Screenings

Summer Quarter Hours 2014

Our Summer Quarter hours continue through Sept. 7:

Monday-Thursday 8 AM – 10 PM

Friday-Sunday CLOSED

Holiday closures: Monday, Sept. 1, for Labor Day.

Posted in Hours & Closures

Movie Reviews: The Place Beyond the Pines

Movie Reviews: North By North LesThe Place Beyond the Pines

Four stars.

2012, 141 min., written and directed by Derek Cianfrance.

Luke (played by Ryan Gosling) works the carnival circuit in New York as a motorcycle stunt rider, and on a visit to occasional lover, Romina (played by Eva Mendes), discovers that he has fathered a baby son. In order to support his family, he decides to use his superior motorcyclist skills in several bank heists. After a heist gone bad, he is eventually cornered, shot, and killed by Avery (played by Bradley Cooper), an ambitious rookie cop, working in a small city corrupt police department. This triggers a series of events (having implications for both families and careers), and after some years, Avery advances through the ranks, becoming the Troy Attorney General, and is in the midst of a political campaign. Meanwhile, his estranged and troubled son, AJ, befriends Jason (who it turns out is the son of Luke), as they deal with their haunted pasts and legacies. A bit long, but a rewarding experience! View the record for The Place Beyond the Pines.

Les Kong, Coordinator of the Library Multi Media Center (PL-5005), and longtime Alfred Hitchcock fan, reviews movies from the library’s collection.  The opinions expressed are his alone.

Posted in Movie Reviews

Free Summer Movie Screenings

Free Summer Movie Screenings!

movie screening

On the CSUSB Library Lawn

All Screenings stat at 8:30 p.m.

Join us for a series of free movie screenings on the CSUSB Library Lawn! Bring a blanket and a friend, and enjoy some of these great shows!

Free parking available in lot D

South Library Lawn: 5500 University Pkwy. San Bernardino, CA 92407

DIVERGENT:

Thurs. June 26 (*Cotton Candy Sales Available)

 

RIO 2:

Thurs. July 17 (*Cotton Candy Sales Available)

 

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2:

Thurs. August 28

*Dress in your favorite superhero attire!

*Donate a book to the library and have your picture taken in the photo booth with the characters

*Family First/Pastrami Sandwiches

 

MALIFICENT:

Thurs. September 18

*Family First/Taco Stand

 

If you have questions or would like to know more about the upcoming event, please contact Iwona Contreras at (909) 537-3447 or icontrer@csusb.edu.

 

Posted in Community Events, Movie Screenings

Movie Reviews: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Movie Reviews: North By North LesThe Perks of Being a Wallflower

Five stars.

2012, 103 min., written and directed by Stephen Chbosky.

Based on the best selling book by Chbosky, this film stars Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson, in a sensitive coming of age story about high school teens, coping with child abuse, homophobia, and unrequited love. Miller’s portrayal of a gay teen rings true, and Watson shows her acting chops beyond her Harry Potter role. See this one!  View the record for The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

 

Les Kong, Coordinator of the Library Multi Media Center (PL-5005), and longtime Alfred Hitchcock fan, reviews movies from the library’s collection.  The opinions expressed are his alone.

Posted in Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews: Pitch Perfect

Movie Reviews: North By North LesPitch Perfect
Five stars.

 

2012, 112 mins., directed by Jason Moore.
 
Hilarious story about a cappella vocal singing competitions between colleges. Beca (portrayed by an excellent Anna Kendrick) is an alt-girl new to campus and looking to find her niche, and make friends. She eventually decides to try out for the all-female a cappella group, which, of course, features the all-American blond lead singer, the shy Asian, and others looking to break out. Notable to the group is Fat Amy, played by Rebel Wilson (Brides Maids), who, seemingly, enjoys the majority of the punchlines. There is an ongoing competition and rivalry with the all-male group, the TrebleMakers, as well as sexual tension between Beca and one of their members. Rousing choreography and numbers, along with some gross-out vomit scenes! Elizabeth Banks (Hunger Games) serving as one of the producers, also has a bit part as a commentator at the competitions.  View the record for Pitch Perfect.
 
Les Kong, Coordinator of the Library Multi Media Center (PL-5005), and longtime Alfred Hitchcock fan, reviews movies from the library’s collection.  The opinions expressed are his alone.
Posted in Movie Reviews