Looking to take in a free flick? The Kansas City Public Library is offering three different film series, each consisting of handpicked films around a theme. A Presidential Perspective comprises movies inspired by the careers of JFK and Richard Nixon. Statuesque Spaniards features films starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. And Animated Horror brings a quartet of cartoonish frights.
A Presidential Perspective
Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. in October at the Central Library
While Hollywood is often more captivated by idealized fictional presidents than actual presidents, this film selection offers cinematic depictions of both John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. This film series is part of our Great Debates Revisited program of special events and book discussions.
Ron Howard directs this dramatization of the much-heralded interviews conducted by British talk-show host David Frost with President Nixon, three years after his resignation. Starring Frank Langella and Michael Sheen. Rated R. (122 min.) Review.
Thirteen Days (2000). Kevin Costner stars as Kennedy aide Kenny O'Donnell, a close advisor who helps President Kennedy and "co-president" Robert Kennedy negotiate the Cuban Missile Crisis. Review
PT 109 (1963). This Kennedy biopic film focuses on his time as a Navy officer aboard a PT boat assigned to the Soloman Islands during WWII. Starring Cliff Robertson with Robert Blake. Based on the book PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II by Robert J. Donovan. Not Rated. (140 min.) Review
Nixon (1995). In this controversial biographical film, Anthony Hopkins stars as the only American president ever to resign under the threat of impeachment. Acclaimed filmmaker Oliver Stone directs an all-star cast in this powerful depiction of the life and times of one of America's most infamous leaders. Rated R. (191 min.) Review
The Fog of War (2004). Master documentarian Errol Morris directs this film, focused on interviews conducted with Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and a lead architect of the Vietnam War. Rated PG-13. (95 min.) Review
Sundays at 2 p.m. in October at the Plaza Branch
Newlyweds Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are the only two Spanish actors ever nominated for Academy Awards – and both have won Oscars for supporting roles. This film series spotlights their performances outside of Hollywood productions. All films in Spanish, with English subtitles. Co-sponsored by the Seville Sister City Committee, in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Belle Epoque (1992). During the Spanish Civil War, a young soldier deserts his post and subsequently falls in love with all four daughters of an old farmer. Starring Penelope Cruz. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Rated R. (109 min.)
Boca a Boca (1995). The only acting work that the unemployed Victor (Javier Bardem) can find is as the voice for an adult 1-900-phone operation, which connects him to the woman of his dreams – and her husband. Rated R. (106 min.)
Los Lunes al Sol (2002). A group of shipyard workers lament the lot that life has given them, as their unofficial leader (Javier Bardem) tries to rally their spirits to make a change. Rated R. (113 min.)
Volver (2006). This drama stars Penelope Cruz as an assertive and self-reliant young mother whose fearful family seeks reconciliation. Directed by Pedro Almodovar. Rated R. (121 min.)
Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in October at the Central Library
A certain breed of animated film offers the best of the horror film genre – increasingly creepy story lines and sinister atmospherics – without the violence and gross-out images that now dominate live-action productions.
MonsterHouse (2006). Three teens discover their neighbor's house is really a living, breathing, scary monster – but no adult will believe them. After they disturb the creepy house, the kids must save the neighborhood. Rated PG. (91 min.)
Coraline (2009). Coraline is a curious young girl who unlocks a mysterious door in her family's new home and enters into an adventure in a parallel reality that eerily mimics her own life. Rated PG. (100 min.)
The Secret of NIMH (1982). A timid field mouse must summon the courage to defy man, beast, and nature in her search to cure her ailing son. Based on Robert C. O'Brien's award-winning children's book. Rated PG. (82 min.)
The Dark Crystal (1982). Created by Muppet masters Jim Henson and Frank Oz and featuring designs by fantasy artist Brian Froud, THE DARK CRYSTAL is the age-old tale of good vs. evil in a magical, mystical land peopled with the most marvelous creatures. To spin this tale of myth, mystery, and adventure, astounding special effects combining electronics, puppetry, make-up, hydraulics, and craft are used to create a fantastic world. Rated PG. (94 min.)