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Check It Out

Courier Articles by Sandy Schultheis
Sunday, March 21, 1999

Central Library's Audio-Visual Dept. Downtown's Best Kept Secret

Central Library's Audio-Visual Services has undergone a facelift. We've enlarged the public space and now have our popular videos out on spinner racks for customers to select. We also have new carpeting.

One of our customer's said "your video's are the best kept secret in town", and she's right. We have hundreds of feature films, foreign films, classics and documentaries; and they are free to library card holders. You may check out up to three videos and keep them for three days. Of course, the branch libraries also have videos, cd's and tapes, but Central Library has the best selection in town –bar none.

This week I have asked Scott Lehman, our new Audio-Visual Supervisor to select and write about some videos, both new and not-so-new, that demonstrate the wide range of outstanding titles available through your public library. Please come and visit us next time you are downtown. Saturday is ideal because parking is easy. We also stay open on Monday nights until 8p.m.

The Truman Show (Paramount, 1998)

My favorite film of last year. Truman Burbank slowly begins to realize that his entire life has been a television show. Jim Carrey proved he can do more than just make silly faces, winning a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Truman in this dark comedy.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (New Line, 1997)

It wasn't a box-office hit, but if you like Mike Myers films (So I Married An Axe Murderer is one of my favorites), this comedy does stand up to repeated viewing. Myers spoofs James Bond, spy films, and British dental hygiene as he takes on dual roles as swinging '60s super agent Austin Powers and his dark nemesis, Doctor Evil.

Hercules (Walt Disney/Buena Vista, 1997)

Another Disney animated epic, with Tate Donovan providing the voice of young Hercules and James Woods bringing the comic relief as hot-headed Hades. Danny DeVito is perfectly cast as Hercules' mentor, a satyr named Phil.

The Usual Suspects (PolyGram, 1996)

An extremely twisted story (the screenplay won an Oscar) of five criminals who attempt a major heist at the bidding of a mysterious gangster named Keyser Soze. Most of the tale is told in flashback, as "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey) is interrogated by a tough cop (Chazz Palmintieri).

VeggieTales: Dave and the Giant Pickle (Lyrick Studios, 1996)

Animated vegetables Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber re-enact Bible stories, and Larry sings silly songs. The creators somehow manage to thrill kids with the unique animation and songs, and still enamor adults with a witty script and inside jokes (I own three Veggie videos myself, and I don't even have any kids).

El Mariachi (Columbia TriStar, 1993)

Director Robert Rodriguez found an American audience with this tale of a Mexican guitarist who, because of mistaken identity, must battle a gang of criminals. Rodriguez wrote, shot, directed, and edited this feature for about $7000, then went on to direct Desperado (the sequel with Antonio Banderas), From Dusk Till Dawn, and The Faculty.

The Godfather (Paramount, 1972)

If you haven't seen The Godfather, then you don't understand half the references made in films today ("I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse"). Francis Ford Coppola's saga of the Corleone family won Oscars for Best Picture, Screenplay, and Actor (Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone). Al Pacino also stars in this classic that has spawned two sequels and numerous rip-offs.

Dr. Strangelove: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (TriStar, 1964)

At the height of the Cold War, Stanley Kubrick directed this satire, often considered the best dark comedy in film history. Peter Sellers stars as nearly half the main characters, including the maniacal Doctor Strangelove, the wheelchair-bound bomb-maker with quite a nervous twitch.

Some Like it Hot (MGM/UA, 1959)

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are two buddy musicians who witness a gangland massacre in Prohibition-era Chicago. To escape certain death, they dress in drag and join an all-female band headed to Florida. Billy Wilder directed this comedy, which still stands up as one of the best. Marilyn Monroe is the object of affection as the sweetly singing Sugar Kane.

Sandy Schultheis is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.