What kind of movie do you feel like?

Ask Movie Mom

Find the Perfect Movie

A Virtual Festival for Librarians, Book Nerds, and Fans of Graphic Novels, SF, and Fantasy

Posted on October 21, 2019 at 11:08 am

Copyright Library of Congress 2019

Join Library Journal and School Library Journal for our third annual LibraryCon Live! We’re excited to offer a day-long celebration of fandom-beloved stories and characters, featuring the creators behind mind-bending speculative fiction, innovative comics, and fan-favorite graphic novels. You’ll also learn from librarians and industry insiders on how to plan and host your own Comic Con-style event.

Plus, network online with other fans and explore our virtual exhibit hall where you’ll hear directly from publishers about their newest books and engage in live chats with featured authors. Whether you’re a public or school librarian, an educator of teens and young adults, or a superfan of graphic novels and sf/fantasy, don’t miss this chance to meet and interact with some of your favorite stars across these genres.

LibraryCon Live! is a free, completely virtual conference—no traveling and no cost!

Register now! We look forward to seeing you on November 6th. Can’t make the live date? No problem! All the sessions will be archived, and the virtual environment will be accessible for three months.

AGENDA

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Opening Keynote

Sam Maggs and Delilah Dawson in Conversation: Two comics writers discuss crafting narratives and characters for Marvel Action, writing for middle grade and YA readers, and being on both sides of the “fangirl” experience. Sam Maggs is the author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History. She is also currently writing a middle-grade “Marvel Action: Captain Marvel” series for IDW. Delilah Dawson, a NYT bestselling author, writes the “Marvel Action: Spider Man” series and is currently penning a YA series for IDW called “Star Pig.”

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM | Panel 1 | Fantastic World-Building

Mystical Viking warriors. China in 484 A.D. A ruthless galactic empire. A modern Gothic nightmarescape. A secret society of black magicians. While wildly different, each of the works highlighted by the authors and artists on this panel share a common trait: exemplary world-building. Creators discuss how they construct intricate and believable fantastic worlds.

Natasha Alterici, Heathen, Vol. 2 (Diamond)
Hannah Templer, Cosmoknights; GLOW vs. the Star Primas (Top Shelf/IDW)
Brandon Thomas, Excellence, Vol. 1 (Image)
Sherry Thomas, The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan (Lee & Low)

12:15 PM – 12:30 PM | Break

12:30 PM – 1:00 PM | Lunch Keynote

Henry Barajas, La Voz de M.A.Y.O Tata Rambo (Image)

In La Voz de M.A.Y.O.: Tata Rambo, Henry Barajas tells the true story of how his grandfather, Ramon Jaurigue (a.k.a. Tata Rambo), co-founded the Mexican, American, Yaqui, and Others (M.A.Y.O.) organization, which successfully lobbied the Tucson City Council to improve living and working conditions for members of the Pascua Yaqui and led to federal recognition of the Yaqui tribe.

1:00 PM – 1:45 PM | Panel 2 | Stories That Engage Young Readers (and Beyond)

Relatable heroes, adventure-filled journeys, and laugh-out-loud truisms define these narratives for middle grade and teen readers. In this panel, authors and artists will discuss how they craft the highly engaging stories that young readers crave.

Drew Brockington, “CatStronauts” series; Hangry (Little, Brown)
Will Henry, Snug Harbor Stories: A Wallace the Brave Collection (Andrews McMeel)
Lucy Knisley, Stepping Stones (RHCB)
Sarah Kuhn, Shadow of the Batgirl (DC)
Christine Taylor-Butler, The Lost Tribe: Trials (Move)
Jen Wang, Stargazing (Macmillan)

1:45 PM – 2:15 PM | Fast Learning Session 1: How the Arlington Public Library Does Their ComicCon Program

Thinking about hosting a ComicCon-style event at your library? Hear Tamera Miller, Program Specialist at the Arlington Public Library (TX), discuss her library’s highly successful model, and learn how to plan, market, and run your own Con.

2:15 PM – 2:45 PM | Fast Learning Session 2: Comics Nerd Expert Picks

Nicholas Allen, comics writer and co-founder of Rexco Comics, will talk about some of the must-have, under-the-radar new and forthcoming comics titles librarians need to know about, including his favorite web comics.

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM | Break

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM | Panel 3 | Portrait of the Artists

Though their styles and techniques vary greatly, the artists on this panel share a commitment to excellence in visual storytelling. This panel will offer a behind-the-scenes deep dive into their artistic processes.

Erin Nations, Gumballs (Top Shelf/IDW)
Becky Cloonan, Reaver; By Chance or By Providence (Image)
Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key series; Tales from the Darkside (IDW)
Koren Shadmi, The Twilight Man: Rod Sterling and the Birth of Television (Humanoids)

3:45 PM – 4:15 PM | Closing Keynote

James Tynion IV, Something Is Killing the Children (BOOM! Studios)

Best known for his work on the “Batman” series with DC Comics, GLAAD Award-winning writer James Tynion IV now delves into horror with a brand-new limited series, Something Is Killing the Children, about “staring into the abyss to find your worst fears staring back.”

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Posted on October 17, 2019 at 5:30 pm

B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and brief scary images
Profanity: None
Nudity/ Sex: Kisses
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Extended fantasy peril and violence, characters injured, cursed, and killed, disturbing images
Diversity Issues: A metaphorical theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters: October 18, 2019

Copyright Disney 2019
Come on, Disney. You can do better than this. “Mistress of Evil” makes Maleficent sound like she is hosting cheesy old horror movies on late night television. Maleficent, of course, is the wicked fairy from the classic animated Disney version of “Sleeping Beauty” who was so angry she wasn’t invited to Princess Aurora’s christening that she cursed her to eternal slumber after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. She could only be awakened by true love’s kiss, and ultimate her fury is so great she turns into a fire-breathing dragon. All because she felt she should have been on the palace guest list.

On the 60th anniversary of that film’s release, we get this sequel to the 2014 “Maleficent,” with Angelina Jolie as a villain more sinned against than sinning. It turns out it was more than a social oversight that made her angry. She was a fairy cruelly betrayed by the human man she loved, who ruined her so he could become king (the severing of her wings was a deeply disturbing scene). Basically, she was Glenn Close from “Fatal Attraction” with horns and magical powers. Who needs to boil a bunny when you can just zap people?

But then she could not help loving the darling little Princess Aurora. The famously maternal Angelina Jolie — formerly the famously wild child Angelina Jolie — was well cast as the fairy whose anger was cooled by the love of a child. Everything ended up pretty close to happily ever after, but that doesn’t help the box office so here we are again.

Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) is now queen of the Moors, which is fairy territory, and everyone loves her, from little pixies to Groot-like tree creatures. She floats around in hippie chick finery, and everything is blossoms and butterflies, kind, and peaceful. She accepts a proposal from Prince Philip (now played by Harris Dickinson), son of the king and queen who rule over the neighboring human country. Like so many brides before her, she implores her family, meaning Maleficent, to behave at the meet-the-prospective-in-laws dinner. And like so many meet-the-prospective-inlaw dinners, it does not go as well as the young couple hoped. Maleficent feels insulted, she lashes out, the king (Robert Lindsay) collapses, Maleficent is blamed (after all, she does know how to curse people into perpetual sleep), Aurora feels betrayed. And so, the princess stays with her new family, and Maleficent is banned again.

This time is different, though, because Maleficent finds for the first time, her own community, with horned and winged creatures like herself, though none with her magical gifts. They are outcasts, living in a secret underground community. The film’s best moments are those that make the most of the fabulously inventive visual designers and effects crew, and the “It’s a Small World”-style tour of the many variations within this group will make audiences wish for a pause button.

Unfortunately, some of the rest of the film will make them wish for a fast-forward button, including some very oddly off-key moments that give the movie a disconcertingly inconsistent tone. “I see what you did there” is not a line that belongs in what is otherwise a straightforward fantasy, not a post-modern, air-quotes, meta-take. The title character is intended to be complex, but she is just inconsistent as well. Nearly as emaciated as Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker,” with sepulchral skin and red red lips over dainty white fangs, she has heightened cheekbones that could cut glass and make Jolie look like she ate a coat hanger.

And then there is the political overlay, with messages about welcoming immigrants. non-violence, and justice for minorities that are lovely thoughts but not conveyed with any special insight or depth. More attention is given to some nonsense about creating a powder that is instantly deadly to fae folk, which is then deployed in mass quantities, but to keep the PG rating the amount of carnage is left unclear. Michelle Pfeiffer is the most vital element of the film as Philip’s mother (and her gowns and jewels are stunning), but she is not given enough to work with in the messy script, over-plotted and under-written. That’s the real villain in this fairy tale.

Parents should know that this film includes fantasy/action peril and violence much more intense than a typical PG with some very disturbing images including dissolving magical creatures, betrayal by a parent, curses, and a very sad death.

Family discussion: Why did Boora and Conall disagree? How are the issues in the movie similar to conflicts in the news? Why did Conall say we should not use our anger? Why did Aurora ask Maleficent to cover her horns and why did she apologize?

If you like this, try: the first “Maleficent,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Stardust”

Zombieland: Double Tap

Posted on October 17, 2019 at 5:25 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content
Profanity: Constant very strong language
Nudity/ Sex: Sexual references and non-explicit situations
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol and marijuana
Violence/ Scariness: Extremely violent and gory zombie peril and action with many characters injured and killed and many gruesome images
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: October 18, 2019

Copyright Columbia 2019
Start lining up the cast for part three; we’re going to need another one of these every decade or so. The original Zombieland was a brash, grimly funny story about a post-apocalyptic world in which characters who would otherwise be unlikely to meet, much less spend time together, identified only by their home towns, form a kind of family in the midst of zombie attacks. They are the high-strung but determined Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), the tough, peppery cowboy Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), and two survival-savvy sisters who are skeptical of anyone else, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone).

As this movie opens, the group is moving into the White House, now surrounded by fields of overgrown vegetation. It makes a good fortress and there are lots of cool things to play with, from a Twister game to Presidential portraits and gifts given by dignitaries over the years. Columbus and Wichita are a couple, but there is a problem. In this era of chaos and unpredictability, everyone has different ideas about what makes them feel safe. Columbus keeps making lists of his rules for survival (humorously displayed on screen) and wants to make the relationship official by proposing — with the Hope Diamond, which, like everything else, is up for grabs. But Wichita feels safest not having any connections, except for her sister, and Little Rock, now a teenager, wants to find someone her own age. So they leave.

On a “retail therapy” expedition to a shopping mall, Tallahassee and Columbus meet Madison (Zooey Deutch), who has been living there. Deutch just about steals the movie with one of the truly great comic performances of the year as the perfectly ditsy girl whose understanding of what is going on may be dim and who may not be willing to shoot zombies, but who has a knack for survival on her own terms. Just as she and Columbus get together, Wichita returns. Little Rock has run off with a guitar-playing pacifist named Berkeley (Avan Jogia). So, the group goes on the road to find her, running into some new characters, including many zombies, now faster, stronger, and smarter than before, an Elvis fan near Graceland, and a duo who seem uncannily parallel to Columbus and Tallahassee (Thomas Middleditch and Luke Wilson, both terrific).

Like the original, the zombie attacks and shoot-outs are punctuated with deadpan (maybe the correct term is undead-pan) humor, brilliantly delivered by the powerhouse cast. From the opening Columbia logo showing the lady using her torch to bash some zombies, the film moves briskly along with a gruesomely delightful mix of mayhem, romance, and humor. It’s a story about family, resilience, courage, and staying limber — with a great scene over the credits featuring a not-too-surprising guest star.

Parents should know that this film includes constant zombie peril and violence with many graphic, bloody, and disturbing images, characters injured and killed, constant very strong and crude language, sexual references and non-explicit situations, and alcohol and marijuana.

Family discussion: Why did Wichita say no to Columbus? What rules do you follow?

If you like this, try: the first “Zombieland” and “Sean of the Dead”