In case you thought the Oscars left a little to be desired – in other words, where were all the other amazing films that have been released in the past year – we thought it would be a good idea to list nominees for The Film Independent Spirit Awards and Boston’s Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film. If you’re hungry for something a little less slick and a little more gritty, check out some of the nominees from these two independent film awards organizations,
The Act of Killing
All is Lost
As I Lay Dying
Blue is the Warmest Color
Kill Your Darlings
Much Ado About Nothing
Short Term 12
The Spectacular Now
Stories We Tell
The Way Way Back
The Oscars winners were announced last night and we’ve got the films either already on the shelf or on order:
12 Years a Slave (on order – releases March 4, 2014)
Dallas Buyers Club (on order – releases March 4, 2014)
Frozen (on order – releases March 18, 2014)
The Great Gatsby
20 Feet from Stardom
And yes, we’ve also got American Hustle coming on March 18, 2014.
Sweeping many film festivals last year, Short Term 12 lives up to the hype. Brie Larson dazzled as the snarky older daughter Kate on Toni Colette’s series, The United States of Tara. Larson plays Grace, a supervising member of a foster care facility staff who balances the kids, her boyfriend who works and lives with her and as the film progresses – her own troubled, unresolved past. This is Brie Larson’s film and she shines as Grace – no make-up, lots of close-ups, this isn’t a polished, pretty film. Short Term 12 exposes some awful truths about its characters. Boyfriend Mason in his own quiet way shows nearly everyone they have a shot at a happier life. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture at SXSW last year.
See Short Term 12 in our catalog.
Library staff member Barbara Slack takes us back to 1946 with one of the most outstanding classic films of all time,
In my opinion, The Best Years of Our Lives is one of the best movies ever made. It may even be number one on my top ten list. I saw it for the first time when I was in college, long before the large flat screens. In fact, I think that about eight of us watched this film on a TV about a foot wide. Even on that small screen, the movie hit me like a ton of bricks.
If I had to use one word to describe the movie it would be poignant — incredibly moving without being sentimental. There is an amazing realism to the movie, every scene rings true. The scene where the parents speak with their daughter late at night about their marriage, is one of the most accurate and affecting scenes I have ever seen in any movie. When I watch it, I almost feel as if I am in that room.
This movie was made in 1946 and is often summarized as soldiers returning home from the war to civilian life. If that was all I knew about this movie I would probably flip right by it. Although it is about three soldiers who meet on a flight home, it is also a movie that profoundly touches on the subjects of love, family and friendship in a way that makes it timeless. It touches on socially sensitive subjects including post traumatic stress and the complexity of relationships in a way you wouldn’t expect for the time period.
The casting of the movie is perfect — led by stars like Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo and Dana Andrews. But even minor characters in this movie are crucial to the film. It is the kind of film you could see many times, yet find additional nuances with each watching. If you are an old movie buff and haven’t seen this film, you need to see it as soon as possible. It will rock your world. And if you aren’t an old movie buff, this is one of the black and white movies that may change your opinion about classic films.
Find The Best Years of Our Lives in the library catalog.
For better or worse, Woody Allen’s been in the news these past few weeks. His personal life has been all over social media and this past weekend he came out of seclusion to refute 20 year-old claims of abuse. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Golden Globes. His new film, Blue Jasmine has just released on DVD and most agree it’s his best work in years. Cate Blanchett is nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Jasmine.
Find Blue Jasmine in the library catalog.
Browse all of Woody’s films and books in the library catalog.
The acting world lost a giant this past weekend. Philip Seymour Hoffman died on February 2, 2014 at the age of 46. Hoffman amassed a daunting list of incredible character performances in film and on stage in his 20 year career. The following are a few of our personal favorites,
A Late Quartet
Check the library catalog for over 30 films on DVD from Hoffman’s illustrious career.
Nicole Holofcener creates dark, introspective comedies that are never light weight but nearly always make you wake up and notice her characters. Her previous films include Lovely & Amazing, Friends with Money, and Please Give. She casts Catherine Keener in every one of her films. Her latest, Enough Said is worth seeing for many reasons but the one most people are familiar with is that it’s James Gandofini’s final performance. See Gandofini and Julia Louis Dreyfus in Holocener’s newest film, Enough Said.
Find Enough Said in our catalog.