Happy Women’s History Month!

women's history month

Today begins Women’s History Month, and we want you to help us celebrate here on Off the Shelf.  We’d like to know who you think is one of the most influential women in history and why it’s important for people to know about her.  She can be from ancient history, recent history, or modern times.  She can be an activist or an artist, a politician or a physician, a local hero or an international icon.  We just want to know about the impact she’s made, and how she’s inspired you.  Please let us know at EPL Celebrates Women’s History Month, and then check back with Off the Shelf throughout March as we celebrate the important women chosen by you and your EPL neighbors.  Stay tuned.

 

EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Picture

We’re almost there.  We’ve got one final EPL Oscar to award, and it’s the big one.  The one for all the marbles, all the bragging rights, and all the EPL glory.  Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, please allow us to present the EPL Oscar for Best Picture.

The Nominees Are…

Bridge of Spies

“I think Bridge of Spies was a very underrated movie and deserves to win.”  — Bob Meyer

“Great acting and a great story!”  — Judith Damin

 

 

Brooklyn

“I absolutely loved Brooklyn. There was something so relatable about the story, and I felt her journey to find “home” very deeply.  Saoirse Ronan  and her adorable love interest were fantastic.” — Gena Johnson

Brooklyn has more heart than any film I’ve see in years.”  — Anonymous

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

“There were some good films this year, but Mad Max: Fury Road was an adrenaline-fueled jolt of pure cinema and it ought to win everything.”  — Joshua Corey

Mad Max: Fury Road was amazing, and it is not the kind of movie that usually wins Best Picture.”  — Elizabeth Sanderson

 

big shortThe Big Short

crickets chirp…

crickets chirp…

 

 

the martianThe Martian

“A well-done, well-acted, beautiful science fiction action flick… Ooh la la!  It is a rare and beautiful thing.”  — Bridget Petrites

The Martian was fun to watch, and the Chinese saved the day.”  — Scott Kelly

 

the revenantThe Revenant

“The scenes in The Revenant were incredibly shot and created an intimate feeling even in vast landscapes.”  — Carley Pernokas

“The cinematography was stunning. The complexity and multidimensionality with which it portrays Native American culture has been little commented on but is commendable.”  — Hilde Kaiser

 

roomRoom

“It’s got good buzz.  Plus, it’s a smaller film and sometimes the Academy goes for that.”  — Heather Plank

 

 

 

spotlightSpotlight

Spotlight is in many ways the most ‘important’ movie nominated, highlighting a huge story.”  — Pablo Rajczyk

“I could have watched this movie for another 4 hours.  It was that good.  I was completely immersed and on the edge of my seat.”  — Heather Ross

 

And the EPL Oscar goes to…

Continue reading “EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Picture”

EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Director

Tonight is the night for the “official” Academy Awards, but before the red carpet comes alive, we have some business to finish.  EPL Oscar business.  So, please mute E! and allow us to present our award for Best Director.

The Nominees Are…

Adam McKay, The Big Short

“I’d give Adam McKay the prize for the risks he took in subject matter and narrative technique. Who knew a story about the financial meltdown would be so interesting, funny and aggravating?  And having well-known personalities break down the 4th wall to explain financial concepts? Ballsy!”  — Hilde Kaiser

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

“A bravura, berserk and inspired work of filmmaking.  I’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will again.  The vision, movements, rhythm, and design of the film are all inspired.  It brings to life action comics in a way no movie ever has, something which Miller has said he aimed to do.”  — Jarrett Dapier

Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

The Revenant is big, very difficult to recreate, and captured the characters’ state of mind and the challenges they faced.  Inarritu is the Best Director for pulling it off.”  — Doug Plank

 

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

“Lenny Abrahamson kept Room from devolving into sentimentality; horror and angst resided in the mundane, which was brilliant.”  — Lin Berryman

 

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

“Of the nominated films, this story was the most engaging and well told.  McCarthy made it an excellent film, well worth my time to go out of my way to see.”  — Julianna Kahn

 

 

And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Actress

We’ve reached the midpoint of our EPL Oscars extravaganza and now is a perfect time for a brief intermission.  Stretch your legs, grab a beverage, and then hurry back.  Next up, we have the award for Best Actress.

The Nominees Are…

carol-cate-blanchett-01Cate Blanchett, Carol

“Cate Blanchett was just plain stellar in a stellar film that should be on the best pictures list.”  — Lin Berryman

 

 

brie larsonBrie Larson, Room

“Brie Larson’s portrayal of her character was very multidimensional – maternal, creative, depressed, petulant, angry, and ultimately resourceful and resilient.  What a ‘wow’ performance.”  — Hilde Kaiser

 

j lawJennifer Lawrence, Joy

“I couldn’t vote for Charlize Theron so…”  — Joshua Corey

 

 

charlotte-rampling-45-yearsCharlotte Rampling, 45 Years

“I want a classy older lady to win.  She’s an amazing actress who has somehow never won.  Also, she’s looked better on the red carpet than starlets half her age.  Have I mentioned she’s a boss older lady?”  — Bridget Petrites

 

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

“Before seeing Brooklyn, I read the book and figured that there was no way I would like the movie as much as I liked the book.  Saoirse Ronan really brought the book to the screen.  She was totally believable.”  — Heather Ross

 

And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Actor

Best Supporting Actor?  Check.  Best Supporting Actress?  Check.  Now, ladies and gentlemen, please allow us to present the EPL Oscar for Best Actor.

The Nominees Are…

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

“Bryan Cranston brought Trumbo to life for me.  Although I had known the topline events, I didn’t know all the details that make a story and a person so compelling.”  — Judith Damin

 

Matt Damon, The Martian

“A nuanced, dramatic role that – while serious – didn’t take itself so seriously.”  — Bridget Petrites

 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

“DiCaprio became Hugh Glass.”  — Doug Plank

 

 

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

“Jobs is an iconic American figure, and Fassbender’s performance shows his genius and nuance.”  — Pablo Rajczyk

 

 

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

“Eddie Redmayne was INCREDIBLE in this movie.  He was able to achieve a sensitivity about this topic that made me feel he became the character.”  — Carley Pernokas

 

Write-In:  Michael B. Jordan, Creed

“Michael B. Jordan… was robbed of a nomination.  I find it outrageous.  He is devoted on all levels and never once breaks character, while managing to make a very difficult role appear effortless. Thrilling stuff. But, alas: #OscarsSoWhite.”  — Jarrett Dapier

 

And the EPL Oscar goes to…

Continue reading “EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Actor”

EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Supporting Actress

Yesterday we announced the EPL Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and now it’s the ladies’ turn.  Here is the award for Best Supporting Actress.

The Nominees Are…

jenn jason leighJennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

“I don’t think she’s ever won or even been nominated.  She’s a veteran who’s been on the back burner of our collective consciousness for a long time, but Tarantino has a knack for giving forgotten actors career-reviving roles.”  — Heather Plank

 

rooney maraRooney Mara, Carol

“Rooney Mara became a different character than I’ve seen her play before:  a reserved, sympathetic woman just trying to find her way.  She was able to capture the essence of first love and first heartbreak all at once.”  — Carley Pernokas

 

mcadamsRachel McAdams, Spotlight

crickets chirp…   crickets chirp…

 

 

aliciaAlicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

“Good work in a powerful film, and she held her own with last year’s best actor.”  — Jeff Balch

 

 

winsletKate Winslet, Steve Jobs

“Kate Winslet should actually get Best Actress but must not have met the criteria for screen time.  She was outstanding.”  — Bob Meyer

 

 

And the EPL Oscar goes to…

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EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Supporting Actor

This Sunday the “official” Oscars will be presented at the 88th Academy Awards, but here on Off the Shelf, it’s time to unveil the winners of an honor arguably equal in prestige.  That’s right, Evanston movie buffs.  You’ve cast your ballots and beginning tonight, we’ll be announcing the 2016 winners of the EPL Oscars.  First up, we have the award for Best Supporting Actor.

The Nominees Are…

christian baleChristian Bale, The Big Short

“I chose Christian Bale because I absolutely love everything about him and his ridiculous talent.  I wish they would just give him the award every year, regardless of if he’s actually in any movies that season.”

— Gena Johnson

tom hardyTom Hardy, The Revenant

“Tom Hardy made you hate him as a perfect sleaze weasel.”

— Doug Plank

 

ruffaloMark Ruffalo, Spotlight

“Mark Ruffalo deserves it not only for his performance but for much of his under-the-radar career”

— Pablo Rajczyk

 

rylanceMark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

“Mark Rylance is my pick because he made a Russian spy the most lovable character in a movie that also featured Tom Hanks as an idealistic Jimmy Stewart-type lawyer, so that’s saying something!

— Hilde Kaiser

sylvester 2Sylvester Stallone, Creed

“Sylvester Stallone’s performance made the older Rocky as lovable as the up-and-coming one so many years ago; and I’m a sucker for Rocky.”

— Lin Berryman

 

And the EPL Oscar goes to…

Continue reading “EPL’s Oscar Picks 2016: Best Supporting Actor”

EPL Goes to the Oscars!

oscar

Calling all Evanston movie lovers and likers!  The 88th Academy Awards are less than one week away, and here on Off the Shelf, we need your help.  You see, we want to know who you think should win the big six Oscars of 2016 and why.  We’re not asking who you think WILL win but who you think SHOULD win, and please don’t worry if you haven’t seen all or even most of the nominated films.  Even if you only saw one movie, don’t be shy and please let us know what you thought by filling out our EPL Oscar Picks 2016 Survey.  After that, make sure to check back with Off the Shelf throughout this week for all the results.  Stay tuned.

“11/22/63” Is Coming 2/15/16

You read it, you loved it, you want some more of it!  And now Stephen King fans, you’ve got it.  This Monday, February 15 King’s fantastic alt-history novel 11/22/63 comes to television as an 8-hour miniseries airing on Hulu.  Directed by J.J. Abrams of recent Star Wars fame, the TV adaptation stars multi-hyphenate James Franco as Jake Epping, a lonely high school teacher who travels back in time to stop the assassination of JFK.  Check out this great Rolling Stone article to get the whole scoop on the project and don’t miss the Vice essay that landed Franco the starring role.  You can also whet your appetite with the trailer above.  If you’ve yet to read King’s breathtaking novel, don’t fret and don’t delay.  It’s so good you’ll burn your way through all 850 pages of brilliance by Monday with time to spare.  This wintry weekend should be perfect for some binge-reading.

 

Literary Road Trippin’

roadtrip

Summertime is humming along at full tilt, and if you’re anything like us, you can hear the open road beckoning in the July breeze.  That’s right, ’tis the season for the great American road trip, and luckily it’s never been easier to blend your warm-weather wanderlust and year-round bibliomania into one amazing August adventure.  Atlas Obscura – the “definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places” – has undertaken the “painstaking and admittedly quixotic effort to catalog the country as it has been described in America’s road-tripping literature.”  The result is an “obsessively detailed” interactive map that charts the cross-country routes of 12 books including Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.  For those short on vacation days or gas money, it’s a great way to take a literary road trip from the comfort of your couch or cubicle.  But if you can… live a little.  Roll down your windows, crank up the tunes (or – in this case – the audiobooks), and hit the actual highway with Atlas Obscura as your guide.  You can’t let Sal Paradise have all the fun.