Lots of wonderful forces collide to bring to life the adaptation of Elizabeth Stout’s best-selling novel Olive Kitteridge. Frances McDormand (Fargo) executive produced and stars in the title role for HBO along with Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under). Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), explaining this film can be a pretty hard sell. McDormand’s Olive is a feisty, no-nonsense – ok I’ll say it – nasty woman who barrels through life taking no prisoners. That said, the nuance in performances especially with Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins is nothing short of spectacular. Yes, she is a hard-shelled woman, but there is humanity underneath her rough exterior. She pays attention to life and people around her get second chances as a result. Olive Kitteridge proves once again what a dynamic and versatile actor McDormand is.
Every mean snowstorm has its silver lining. Not only did we get spared yesterday from 30+” of snow, Downton Abbey‘s fifth season was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Yes, you can binge watch the entire season before it airs on PBS. That’s a full 3 1/2 weeks before the final episode airs on February 22, 2015 and more than a month before the extra holiday episode airs on PBS March 1, 2015. So Downtonians take note – your favorite public library has you covered for all your British Costume Drama binge watching. Just be careful what you say around Violet. She might stab you with her retort!
Ira Sachs’ love story stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as long-term partners who finally get married in New York City after the state recognizes marriage equality. Love is Strange won rave reviews boasting a 94% average critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes,
After nearly four decades together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot in an idyllic wedding ceremony in lower Manhattan. But when George loses his job soon after, the couple must sell their apartment and – victims of the relentless New York City real estate market – temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home. While George moves in with two cops (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez) who live down stairs, Ben lands in Brooklyn with his nephew (Darren Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei), and their temperamental teenage son (Charlie Tahan), with whom Ben shares a bedroom. While struggling with the pain of separation, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements.
What’s not to love about a new film from Hollywood legends Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer? Elsa & Fred follows the story of a recent widower moving into a new complex and meeting a woman who helps him savor life again. From Rotten Tomatoes,
Elsa & Fred is the story of two people who at the end of the road, discover that it’s never too late to love and make dreams come true. Elsa has lived for the past 60 years dreaming of a moment that Fellini had already envisaged: the scene in ‘La Dolce Vita’ at the Fontana di Trevi. The same scene without Anita Ekberg in it, but with Elsa instead. Without Marcello Mastroianni but with that love that took so long to arrive. Fred has always been a good man who did everything he was supposed to do. After losing his wife, he feels disturbed and confused and his daughter decides that it would be best if he moves into a smaller apartment where he ends meeting Elsa. From that moment on, everything changes. Elsa bursts into his life like a whirlwind, determined to teach him that the time he has left to live — be it more or less — is precious and that he should enjoy it as he pleases. Fred surrenders to Elsa’s frenzy, to her youth, to her boldness, to her beautiful madness. And this is how Fred learns how to live. When he learns about Elsa’s terminal illness, he decides to make her dream come true and takes Elsa to Rome to reenact with her the famous scene at the Fontana di Trevi.
What else could we possibly feature as a Throwback Thursday film the week before Christmas other than the warm and wonderful Barbara Stanwyck classic, Christmas in Connecticut. Stanwyck stars with Dennis Morgan in a tale of mistaken identity. Stanwyck’s character Elizabeth Lane is a Martha Stewart type journalist who poses as a married suburban woman when in fact she is single and lives in NYC. An invite for a war hero (Morgan’s handsome Jefferson Jones) from the publisher to her Connecticut home turns into madcap bedlam as Morgan falls for the “married” woman. Not to be missed is the supporting performance from S.Z. Sakall as the wacky Uncle Felix who is the real mastermind behind Elizabeth’s skills. As with most films from the 1940’s, this concludes with a very happy ending. Christmas in Connecticut is a must-see for anyone interested in warm-hearted classic holiday films and an absolute must-see for those of us living in the nutmeg state.
Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)
Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, we present Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas) a 2005 French film about the World War I Christmas truce of December 1914, depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish and German soldiers. Joyeux Noel was written and directed by Christian Carion and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards. Daniel Brühl, Benno Fürmann, and Diane Kruger star in this heartwarming and truly international holiday event based on a
true WWI story.
In English, French, and German with English subtitles.
Looking for a new romantic comedy? Hard to believe Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is now old enough for this genre, but he is. Starring along with Zoe Kazan the pair have great on-screen chemistry in What If. From CBS Films,
WHAT IF is the story of medical school dropout Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), who’s been repeatedly burned by bad relationships. So while everyone around him, including his roommate Allan (Adam Driver) seems to be finding the perfect partner (Mackenzie Davis), Wallace decides to put his love life on hold. It is then that he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan) an animator who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall). Wallace and Chantry form an instant connection, striking up a close friendship. Still, there is no denying the chemistry between them, leading the pair to wonder, what if the love of your life is actually your best friend? The ensemble romantic comedy costars Megan Park and Oona Chaplin.
One of the first French films to address the issue of collaboration during the German occupation, Louis Malle’s brave and controversial Lacombe, Lucien traces a young peasant’s journey from potential Resistance member to Gestapo recruit. At once the story of a nation and one troubled boy, the film is a disquieting portrait of lost innocence and guilt.
Find Lacombe, Lucien on DVD in the library catalog.
In French with English subtitles.
Fans of Mad Men will want to catch the new indie The One I Love starring Elizabeth Moss who plays Peggy on the popular series. From Rotten Tomatoes,
The highly anticipated debut feature from acclaimed author Charlie McDowell, THE ONE I LOVE is an original tale that continues to showcase McDowell’s keen observations of human relationships with a distinct and comedic voice. THE ONE I LOVE, written by Justin Lader, was produced by Mel Eslyn and executive produced by Mark Duplass who stars opposite Elisabeth Moss. On the brink of separation, Ethan (Duplass) and Sophie (Moss) escape to a beautiful vacation house for a weekend getaway in an attempt to save their marriage. What begins as a romantic and fun retreat soon becomes surreal, when an unexpected discovery forces the two to examine themselves, their relationship, and their future.
In honor of Netflix acquiring the entire Gilmore Girls television series this week, let’s take a look back at a classic mother-daughter film for Throwback Thursday. Douglas Sirk’s remake masterpiece, Imitation of Life captures the interracial friendship between two women and the awkward love/hate relationship between the women and their daughters. From IndieWire’s The Playlist,
Not enough handkerchiefs in the universe for this one—Douglas Sirk’s unbelievably manipulative and luscious “issues movie” is an extraordinary example of a film that so completely defines its genre (the “women’s picture”) that it practically transcends it. Of course Sirk has been thoroughly and rightly reclaimed in recent years as an absolute master of the form, (our Sirk Essentials can be found here) imbuing syrupy melodrama with honest depth of feeling, and clothing it all in such dazzling, skilful technicolor photography that his films become so much more than the maudlin, chocolate box confections they were initially dismissed as. And “Imitation of Life,” the director’s last Hollywood picture, is certainly one of his masterpieces, and fits our purposes here entirely, dealing with not one but two mother/daughter relationships as central themes, but using them to highlight gender and race issues in a remarkably fearless and, certainly at the time, provocative manner.
Find Sirk’s Imitation of Life in our library catalog.
For more diabolical mothers check out the original Carrie with Piper Laurie or John Waters’ Serial Mom with Kathleen Turner.