May 26

Throwback Thursday: Easy Rider

easy riderEasy Rider recently got remastered and released by Criterion. We didn’t own a copy so we added the newly minted classic to our collection. From Roger Ebert’s website,

But it’s hard to identify with the Fonda and Hopper characters. So Hopper and his co-writers Fonda and Terry Southern write in a brilliant character, Old George (played magnificently by Jack Nicholson). And when this alcoholic, tragic ACLU lawyer from a small Southern town enters the picture, suddenly that’s us there on the bike with Fonda. And the movie starts to work.

If you follow the story closely in “Easy Rider,” you find out it isn’t there. The rough-cut of the movie reportedly ran over three hours, and Hopper edited it to a reasonable length by throwing out the story details and keeping the rest. So the heroes are suspended in an invisible story, like falcons on an invisible current of air. You can’t see it, but it holds them up.

All of this divests a motorcycle movie of its weak point (the story) and develops its strong point (the role of the self-proclaimed rebel in a conformist society). It’s not just bike freaks who get in trouble when they challenge the establishment — it’s everybody, even Old George.

And yet, “Easy Rider” suggests, it’s not as simple as that. We almost forget that the Fonda and Hopper characters have also sold out.

Does it hold up? Are you watching it for the first time?
Find Easy Rider in the library’s catalog.

May 23

The Mine Wars

mine wars

From PBS,

In the first two decades of the 20th century, coal miners and coal companies in West Virginia clashed in a series of brutal conflicts over labor conditions and unionization. Known collectively as the “Mine Wars,” the struggle included strikes, assassinations, marches, and the largest civil insurrection in the United States since the Civil War.

Coal was the engine of American industrial progress at the beginning of the 20th century. It powered locomotives, factories, and home furnaces, and it helped to purify the steel used in erecting skyscrapers all over the U.S. Nearly three quarters of a million menacross the country spent 10 to 12 hours a day in coal mines blasting, hand-picking, shoveling, and loading the indispensable rock onto railway cars bound for destinations across the country. Miners everywhere suffered deplorable working conditions, but between 1890 and 1912, miners in West Virginia suffered the highest death rate in America. Local business management was also not favorable to the miners; coal operators ran both the mines and the local towns, or camps, and often paid workers in company currency, forcing mining families to shop exclusively at the local company store, where operators set the price of everything to assure a profit.

Find The Mine Wars in our library catalog.

May 17

In Defense of Food

defense of foodMichael Pollen’s incredible and accessible documentary, In Defense of Food for PBS on how to eat. No diets, no fasting, no starving. Just eat: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  From PBS,

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With that seven-word maxim, US-based journalist Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) distills a career’s worth of reporting into a prescription for reversing the damage being done to people’s health by today’s industrially driven Western diet. In Defense of Food debunks the daily media barrage of conflicting claims about nutrition. Traveling the globe and exploring the supermarket aisles to illustrate the principles of his bestselling “eater’s manifesto,” Pollan offers a clear answer to one of the most confounding and urgent questions of our time: What should I eat to be healthy?

Find In Defense of Food in the library catalog.

May 10

Deadpool

Deadpool drops today on Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming. I know, I know… another super hero movie. But even if you’re not a fan, Deadpool is the one to watch. Think Guardians of the Galaxy humor delivered in a HBO environment. Lots of trash talk, lots of violence, and lots of fun. No wonder it’s the highest grossing R-rated film of all-time. From Rotten Tomatoes,

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Find Deadpool on both formats in both libraries.

deadpool

 

May 05

Throwback Thursday: Y Tu Mamá También

y tu mama tambienFor Cinco de Mayo, may we suggest a contemporary Mexican film, Y Tu Mamá También (2001) directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men) and starring Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle, The Motorcycle Diaries), Maribel Verdú (Pan’s Labyrinth), and Diego Luna (Milk). From Rotten Tomatoes,

Alfonso Cuarón directed and co-wrote this sexy art-house hit from Mexico. The funny and moving coming-of-age story centers on two immature teens who get an education in love when they take a sexy road trip with a liberated, unhappily married woman

Check out Y Tu Mamá También from the library’s catalog.

 

Apr 29

New Television

GreatTVonDVD-Banner2

DVDs continue to be our #2 most circulated item and television series help keep that number very healthy. Here is a sampling of some recent television on DVD including releases from the U.S., Britain, and Ireland,

Archer, Season 6
Doctor Blake Mysteries, Season 1
Doctor Who. Series 9
Fargo, Season 2
Grace and Frankie, Season 1
Hannibal, Season 3
Last Kingdom, Season 1
Leftovers, Season 2
Luther, Season 4
Manhattan, Season 2
Mr. Robot, Season 1
Peaky Blinders, Season 2
Place to Call Home, Season 3
Silk, Season 2
The Americans, Season 3
The Fall, Season 2
TURN, Season 2
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 1
VEEP, Season 4

If you see a series you’d like, you can always call us and have it held for you:
Main Library Reference Desk: 203-256-3160
Fairfield Woods Reference Desk: 203-255-7308

Apr 26

The Kennedy films of Robert Drew & Associates

kennedy filmsCriterion recently released The Kennedy films of Robert Drew & Associates. From Criterion,

Seeking to invigorate the American documentary format, which he felt was rote and uninspired, Robert Drew brought the style and vibrancy he had fostered as a Life magazine correspondent to filmmaking in the late fifties. He did this by assembling an amazing team—including such eventual nonfiction luminaries as Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker, and Albert Maysles—that would transform documentary cinema. In 1960, the group was granted direct access to John F. Kennedy, filming him on the campaign trail and eventually in the Oval Office. This resulted in three films of remarkable, behind-closed-doors intimacy—Primary, Adventures on the New Frontier, and Crisis—and, following the president’s assassination, the poetic short Faces of November. Collected here are all four of these titles, early exemplars of the movement known as Direct Cinema and featuring the greatest close-up footage we have of this American icon.

Check out The Kennedy Films from our library catalog.

Apr 21

Victoria

victoriaMany filmmakers have attempted to create a film using only one cut. Hitchcock managed only ten edits in Rope. Alexander Sokurov mastered one 96 minute take in his 2002 Russian Ark. Alejandro Iñárritu created the illusion of one take in Birdman. And now we are treated with Sebastian Schipper’s German film, Victoria who ups the ante in his 2 hour and 20 minute epic film all shot in one take. From the film’s website,

A movie shot in a single take about Victoria, a runaway party girl, who’s asked by three friendly men to join them as they hit the town. Their wild night of partying turns into a bank robbery.

Love the film’s tag line: “One city, one night, one take.”
Check out Victoria from our library’s catalog.

Apr 16

The Revenant

The Revenant revenantwhich won Leonardo DiCaprio his Oscar gets its’ release this week on DVD and Blu-ray. We have copies at both Main and Woods. Find out what all the fuss is about or watch The Revenant for a second time. If you’re brave, you might want to pair this with a venison dinner. From Fox,

 Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT is an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption. THE REVENANT is directed and co-written by renowned filmmaker, Academy Award (R) winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, Babel).

Find The Revenant in our library catalog.