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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Kung Fu Classics

Posted by Jacob D.

In Warriors Two, Casanova Wong plays a humble cashier who discovers a plot to kill his small town mayor. Some of the villains are a bit goofy with the humor bordering on cornball, but Casanova Wong, Sammo Hung, and the rest of the cast give us some of the best fight scenes committed to film. There are some interesting fighting styles featured near the end, including a villain using a flying praying mantis style. You’ll just have to see it to understand. Warriors Two definitely makes me wish Casanova Wong had more roles like this.

You’ll find Sammo Hung in The Prodigal Son as well, but Yuen Biao and Ching-Ying Lam are the real stars here. Yuen Biao plays a spoiled rich kid who is convinced that he’s the best kung fu practitioner in his village only to find out that his father has paid off all the thugs in town to go easy on him. During the existential crisis that follows, the young man finds an unlikely and reluctant teacher in a Peking Opera performer.

Based on the story of butcher Lam Sai-Wing, student of legendary folk hero Wong Fei Hung, Magnificent Butcher is the third classic kung fu film I’ll recommend from our collection. In case you haven’t noticed the running trend, every film mentioned here prominently features Sammo Hung, and here he is in a starring role. You can tell Sammo never missed a meal, yet he’s just as acrobatic and skilled as the likes of Jet Li. He’s really a joy to watch in his 1970s and 1980s kung fu films, and in the tradition of Hong Kong films from that era, all of the films mentioned here avoid all of the quickly, flashy editing and tight camera close-ups. The films just let you sit back and watch a master like Sammo Hung do his thing.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

We're Reading Banned Books!

Posted by Staff

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is September 27 - October 3, 2015 . The American Library Association has held this event annually since 1982 "in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2014, and many more go unreported." (

We've decided to each pick a frequently challenged or banned book and read it before September 27.  Below is a list of what we'll be reading. We'd love for you to join us. Just pick a book and read it.  When we're done, we'll be reporting back on our experience. You can let us know what you thought of the experience in the comments section.

Zach H. is reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Evan E. is reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Kelcey H. is reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Joyce D. is reading Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Melissa P. is reading Sophie's Choice by William Styron

Jacob D. is reading Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Katherine R. is reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin

David R. is reading Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Megan J. is reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Kristen R. is reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Megan P. is reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Mason S. is reading Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Need More Animals in Your Life?

Posted by David R.

The PBS program Nature, gives you an amazing look into animal behavior and allows you to see animals in their natural environments. Nature DVDs are a great way to learn about animals and amazing places all over the world.  If you ever want to get away, but aren't able to take a vacation, try a Nature DVD!  Listed below are some recommendations to get you started.

Fascinating exploration of the animals that live “down under” with great episodes involving koalas and marsupials.

Animal Odd Couples
Enter stories of the most unlikely cross-species relationships imaginable: a chimp bottle-feeding a tiger cub; a giant tortoise snuggling a baby hippo; a black crow parenting a meerkat. This film will look at these remarkable relationships first hand, and through caregivers, biologists and animal behaviorists, explore what they suggest about the nature of animal emotions. 

The story of two remarkable and extremely rare white lion cubs on their journey to adulthood. Both are female, sisters born as white as snow in May 2009 in South Africa s Kruger Park. Growing up on the savanna, they must not only overcome the same survival challenges that all young lion cubs must face, they must also overcome the threats their high visibility brings.

The “lioness of two worlds” is explored in this endearing documentary that examines the legacy of the star who captured the world’s imagination in 1966’s major motion picture Born Free.