Post-Turkey Viewing: Holiday Movies on hoopla – And Don’t Forget Your Bonus Borrows!

With Thanksgiving Day nearly upon us, we here at the Abbot Public Library are beginning to think about our post-prandial plans. Wash the dishes—tick. Take a long walk—tick. Eat pie—tick, tick. And after that? Get cozy with some films that’ll help get us in the mood for the rest of the holiday season—big tick. If you’d like to join us, read on!

Thankfully, hoopla has anticipated our cravings and has curated a collection of 62 “Best of Holiday” titles. There’s a smorgasbord to choose from. Of course, there are the romances: some from Lifetime, and at least one from Harlequin (A Very Country Christmas). Kids’ options abound, with everything from Caillou’s Holiday Movie to the family-friendly, dog-centered Alone for Christmas—which is also a Bonus Borrow title through the end of this month! You can also catch some of the BBC series Christmas specials you may have missed: Call the Midwife: Christmas Special 2018, The Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclass, and Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays.

Indulge in some classics like the 1955 Miracle on 34th Street and The Snowman, or watch the likes of Katherine Hepburn and Henry Winkler in One Christmas, which is based on an autobiographical short story by Truman Capote.

And if, after the tribulations of 2020, you just need a holiday-themed laugh, we have you covered. For ex-con shenanigans, try All Is Bright, starring Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, and Sally Hawkins. Or join a New Zealand family as they attempt to return Santa to the North Pole in Kiwi Christmas.

If you’re running low on borrows this month, don’t forget that you can watch, read, or listen to anything in hoopla’s special Bonus Borrows collection through the end of November—without using any of your monthly allotment!

If you’re new to hoopla, you can visit our FAQs page to get started. If you do not have a library card, go here.

Happy holiday watching to you and yours!

Celebrate Shark Week with Abbot Public Library!

Every summer, Discovery Channel hosts a week full of new films and documentaries about carnivorous Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes), a celebration known as Shark Week. Featuring a range of subjects, from Great Whites breaching to catch seals, to the little-known species of the deep, every year there are new surprises to learn about these long-feared creatures.

If you don’t subscribe to Discovery Channel, or if you want even more than what Shark Week can provide, Abbot Public Library can help! Check out the following selections from our collections in physical format through the library catalog, or online through Overdrive and hoopla

You’ll find a curated collection of Shark Week movies on hoopla with a few family-friendly titles such as Sea Level and Shark Lady (also in print format); to selections geared towards mature audiences, like the horror movie Shark Lake or the action/adventure Swamp Shark, two movies about shark attacks which give these peaceful creatures their bad reputation. But if you watch documentaries such as Tiger Shark: Predator Revealed, you’ll find that sharks don’t seek out humans as prey, but prefer their natural appetite of fish, seals, and other sea creatures. The documentary Sharks shows how many shark species are becoming extinct and need our help in order to survive. 

IndieFlix has a few shark videos you can stream as well, including Sharks in My Viewfinder, about an underwater photographer who went around the world to film sharks; and the short, The Shark and The Can, in which a shark tries to find acceptance from the other ocean creatures who are scared of him. Log into IndieFlix via Abbot Public LIbrary’s RB Digital Services to access these and more IndieFlix videos. 

You can check out even more shark movies in DVD format! While Abbot Public Library is offering curbside service, there will be no fee to check out DVDs. Reserve them online for Curbside Pickup and make an appointment to pick them up from the rear entrance of the Abbot Public Library. Read these instructions for the full details. There are kid-friendly titles like Finding Dory and Wild Krats: Shark-tastic! to the adult thrillers Jaws and The Shallows. For something realistic, try the documentaries Oceans, which features other sea creatures as well, or Shark Dive

If you’d rather read about sharks than watch them (some of these shark attack movies can be pretty gruesome and scary), check out Abbot Public Library’s print, Overdrive, and hoopla collections for all ages!

Some feature fiction titles for kids include Swimming with Sharks by Heather Lang, about how Eugenie Clark saw a shark at the aquarium when she was young and grew up to be a scientist who studied them; Shark Baby by Ann Downer, about a lost baby shark trying to find out what kind of shark he is; and Fins by Randy Wayne White, about three kids who help a marine biologist research the local endangered sharks. 

Adults can enjoy titles such as the horror classic Jaws by Peter Benchley, which you can reserve in print format for Curbside Pickup or listen to with no wait as an audiobook on hoopla. You can also reserve the movie based on the book. The Shark Club by Ann Kid Taylor features a woman who is attacked by a shark and grows up to be a marine biologist. 

To learn true facts about sharks, check out some of these nonfiction titles on hoopla! Discover The Truth About Great White Sharks, learn 101 Amazing Facts About Sharks, and find out about Deepwater Sharks and the World’s Weirdest Sharks. You can also learn about individual species such as the hammerhead, Great White, thresher, bull, tiger, goblin, whale, and more!

Between the Abbot Public Library’s online collections and digital resources, you’ll learn everything there is to know about sharks!

Best of British: Watch UK Telly on hoopla!

Perhaps you’ve heard Noël Coward’s comic line “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” The dog days of summer might just as well tempt you indoors, though, and if so, there’s plenty of British television fare to keep you sane while you stay in shade. Did you know that, while you have access to excellent programming via Acorn TV, the Abbot Public Library also offers access to British TV and movies through hoopla? Brilliant!

Tune your telly (oops–laptop/Smart TV/mobile device) to hoopla’s curated British Drama list for 45 feature-length films you just may not have seen yet, or perhaps might like to see again. Here, you’ll find modern, book-based classics like Wolf Hall and Rebecca rubbing shoulders with historic crime drama Gunpowder (starring Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington as Guy Fawkes) and spy thriller Page Eight (with Rachel Weisz and Bill Nighy). You’ll get to sample some TV series openers, too. Another category that might tempt you is hoopla’s Masterpiece Theatre collection, 99% of which hails from the British Isles!

No one does a TV series quite like the Brits, and they’re available in abundance on hoopla if you just know where to look. For strictly BBC content, try this search, and–blimey–152 results! There’s Absolutely Fabulous, a pop culture touchstone with guest appearances from the likes of Elton John and Naomi Campbell (this one’s not currently available on Acorn TV). You’ll also find cozy favorites like Father Brown (also available only on hoopla), ready to whisk you away from current stresses to a country parish brimming with murder and mayhem.

So settle in with a cuppa, flick on the AC, and get your British on with hoopla!

Oh, and by the way, if you’d like access to our ample collection of British DVDs, they are once more available to you! Please see the post “What You Need to Know for Curbside Pickup” for all the details. And — good news – during Curbside Service, there is no fee to borrow DVDs!

If you’re new to hoopla, visit our FAQs page for an easy how-to. If you don’t currently have a library card, you can get started here.

Enchanting Eccentrics Part 2: Watch on hoopla and Acorn TV

Summer blockbusters are all well and good, but if you’re not really in the mood for a creature feature or epic save-the-world adventure, take heart: the Abbot Library may just have some congenial viewing for you! Charming-oddball flicks may not always have quite the box-office stamina of superhero films, but they’re sure to reward the discriminating viewer who’s not afraid to take some cinematic chances on unlikely heroes.

So, if you’ve got a good sense of humor, quite a bit of heart, and are up for the challenge, have a look at our newly-curated collection on hoopla–2020 APL Enchanting Eccentrics (Film). Here you’ll find French, British, and Swedish films with protagonists ranging from a piquantly mischievous ingénue to a suicidal curmudgeon to an entire village-worth of stubborn Welshmen and women. 

Amélie captured hearts and tickled funnybones on both sides of the Atlantic when it was first released in 2001, and it has certainly lost nothing of its appeal. Sweetly off-kilter since childhood, the title character toggles between an emotionally distant father, a reclusive but wise old painter, and the amour she worships from afar–a misfit like herself with a peculiar photographic obsession.

A Man Called Ove brings Fredrik Backman’s beloved book to life, rendering the world-weary Ove with striking–often heartbreaking, but never sentimental–precision, all the while pitting the  dark humor of his perspective against the irrepressible liveliness of a neighboring young family. 

For something a bit more frothy, yet with an abundance of World War I-era period charm, you might turn to one of film history’s longest-titled movies: The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. Starring a youthful Hugh Grant and sparkling Tara Fitzgerald, this mock-epic romp showcases idiosyncratic British (excuse me, Welsh) local pride at its best. 

If you listened to the previously-recommended book The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (yet another candidate for longest title!), you might want to judge for yourself how well it translated to the big screen.

Other offerings will quietly break your heart (Still Life, starring Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey), have you rooting for a gang of Baby Boomers-turned-bank-robbers (Golden Years, also available on Acorn TV), and revive your belief in happy endings–even for the most cantankerous and neurotic of characters (This Beautiful Fantastic–see also a previous review of the film).

If you’re ready to commit to a bit of bingeing, check out 2020 APL Enchanting Eccentrics (TV), on hoopla, featuring two BBC series that just about wrote the playbook for unconventional character-based comedy.

Over the course of three captivating seasons, The Detectorists follows the travails and triumphs of two endearing geeks (played by Toby Jones of The Hunger Games and Mackenzie Crook of Pirates of the Carribean) who are forever hoping that their next metal-detecting session will uncover a hoard of Saxon gold. Doc Martin (starring Martin Clunes)–all nine seasons of which are also available on Acorn TV–introduces an apparently opposite protagonist, a high-flying London surgeon whose suddenly-developed hemophobia sends him to a Cornish backwater. But his social awkwardness, essential loneliness, and refusal to suffer fools gladly somehow render him irresistible. 

Acorn TV offers a wealth of similar fare, a standout of which is Kingdom, starring Stephen Fry as a surprisingly sympathetic solicitor. Unlike Doc Martin, the main character is the sanest of the bunch in his Norfolk town, and he finds himself disentangling clients’ problems while coping with his own dysfunctional family. You’ll be tickled and captivated by his adventures.

Here’s hoping you find plenty of eccentric enchantment to while away the summer hours!

Library of Congress Historic Film Archive

While responsibly staying at home and keeping abreast of developments, we can choose to focus some of our attention on other pictures and other times. It might actually be healthy to do so! One of the constants in the last century or so of American history has been our fascination with moving pictures. And now, we have unprecedented access to one of our nation’s most revered archives of film documentation–the Library of Congress

According to a recent article in The New York Times featuring this exceptional streaming option, “the astonishment of riches includes up-close looks at our history in hundreds of films. And they’re all free.” That’s right! You can dip into snippets of life at the turn of the last century at no cost. Escape today’s pressures with some lighthearted film shorts here–you’ll find everything from a glimpse of the America’s Cup defender in 1899, to a fanciful “life drawing” session, to a spirited clip of women on horseback in full-on Victorian riding gear. Explore the LOC’s 7000+ film offerings (ranging from the 19th century to more recent times) and exist in a different world for a while! If you like, you can also sample the collection at the LOC YouTube channel.

Or perhaps you’d just like to hark back to the relative “normalcy” of last spring. If so, you’re in luck! Some of the top most-circulated films at the APL in March and April 2019 are currently available to watch or re-watch on hoopla. Take a privileged peek at the life of a storied hotel with Always at the Carlyle. Watch Emma Thompson do her best for justice in the complex, suspenseful film The Children Act. Visit the streets of Tokyo with a look at the Academy Award- nominated Shoplifters.Or try one of our library’s own 2020 “Oscar nominees” set in another of history’s dramatic moments: 1945.

So if you like your escapism tempered with a dash of past reality, you might just grab some popcorn and give these options a whirl!

Comfort Food TV

Are you craving a little cinematic culinary comfort? Longing to savour a sumptuous series? The Abbot Public Library has curated a select menu of foodie-approved film and television fare just for our patrons! If you’re in the mood for a side of romance with an at-home dinner date, you may just try Ang Lee’s Eat, Drink, Man, Woman or Chocolat (this one starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, and Judi Dench). Or perhaps you’d like to escape our troubled present and time-travel to a Victorian dining room with Christopher Kimball in Fannie’s Last Supper, a recreation of one of Fannie Farmer’s decadent 12-course meals. We invite you to sample all of these films and more from our library-curated film collection on hoopla2020 APL Comfort Food Cinema

For some tasty kitchen-sink drama, you might also try Acorn TV’s series Delicious or Pie in the Sky; to sample menus from great British country houses of the past, take a look at Lords and Ladles. Just open your RBDigital app and search for the titles!

If your tastes run to food-filled adventure, then tune in to another of the library’s special hoopla collections: 2020 APL Comfort Food TV. Here, you can sink your teeth into some food/travel documentaries like Paul & Nick’s Big American Food Trip or No Passport Required. If tea is, well, your cup of tea, travel round the world to learn all about it with Victoria Wood’s Nice Cup of Tea on Acorn TV (again, search the title in your RBDigital app). Or get in the kitchen and get your hands messy with the pros of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country–further selections to be found in the hoopla 2020 APL Comfort Food TV collection. Your culinary quest awaits!

If you’re eager to tickle your tastebuds with these offerings (and much more) but have not yet signed up for hoopla or Acorn TV, please take a look at our FAQ page to get started. Bon appetit!