German director Christian Petzold’s Phoenix releases on DVD today. From IFC,
A spellbinding mystery of identity, illusion, and deception unfolds against the turmoil of post-World War II Germany in the stunning new film from acclaimed director Christian Petzold (Barbara, Jerichow). Nelly (Nina Hoss), a German-Jewish nightclub singer, has survived a concentration camp, but with her face disfigured by a bullet wound. After undergoing reconstructive surgery, Nelly emerges with a new face, one similar but different enough that her former husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), doesn’t recognize her. Rather than reveal herself, Nelly walks into a dangerous game of duplicity and disguise as she tries to figure out if the man she loves may have been the one who betrayed her to the Nazis. Evoking the shadows and haunted mood of post-war Berlin, Phoenix weaves a complex tale of a nation’s tragedy and a woman’s search for answers as it builds towards an unforgettable, heart-stopping climax.
Find Phoenix in the library’s catalog.
Easy 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.
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
Many 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.
The Revenant which 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.
From The Wire creator, David Simon comes a 6-part mini-series, Show Me a Hero based on former New York Times reporter Lisa Belkin’s nonfiction book. From Rotten Tomatoes who clocks the series at a 97% rating,
A bitter dispute over federally mandated public housing divides Yonkers, N.Y., in the late 1980s in this six-part miniseries.
Find Show Me a Hero in our library catalog.
New Year’s Eve is the perfect night to queue up some great classic film and steer clear of the maddening partying crowds. Our suggestion for you this year is ring in 2016 with Alfred Hitchcock. And why stop with one? Why not have a double feature or a marathon? We have 33 of Hitch’s films on DVD at the library.
Refresh your memory with two great Hitchcock film lists and an online exposition,
Indiewire’s Alfred Hitchcock’s Top 25 Films, Ranked.
The Telegraph’s From Topaz to Psycho: top 52 Hitchcock films.
Explore all things Hitchcock at the British Film Institute.
Find Alfred Hitchcock films on DVD in our library catalog.
New indie charmer, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl on DVD at both locations. From Fox Searchlight,
Winner of the 2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is the story of Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann), an awkward high school senior whose mom forces him to spend time with Rachel – a girl in his class (Olivia Cooke) with whom he hasn’t spoken to since kindergarten – who was just diagnosed with cancer.
Find Me and Earl and the Dying Girl in our library catalog.
David Oyelowo (Selma) stars in the HBO film Nightingale. AV Club gave solid marks to the film calling it, “David Oyelowo’s bravura performance anchors HBO’s unsettling drama Nightingale.” From Rotten Tomatoes,
A man’s mental health deteriorates at a rapid pace after an unspeakable tragedy inside his mother’s home on a quiet suburban street.
Find Nightingale in our library catalog.
Robin Williams final film has been released on DVD. Boulevard is a small indie filmed in Nashville, although the city is never named. Williams portrays a closeted gay man who has been married to a woman for his entire life. They have companionship and predictability if not passion. But Williams character Nolan feels like something is missing. One day he encounters a young hustler and pays him to only talk. Nolan obviously wants intimacy. The boy wants money. Williams plays Nolan with a delicate sadness that makes you wonder how much he was able to mask him own personal depression during the filming. Boulevard co-stars Kathy Bates as Nolan’s wife ironically named Joy and Bob Odenkirk as Nolan’s seize the day, mid-life crisis loving best friend Winston. Boulevard isn’t a big blockbuster film. It’s not going to be remembered as Robin’s best work. But it stays with you in a quiet way and ends on an upbeat note. Boulevard is a calm, reverent swan song to a gigantic talent.
Find Boulevard at both Woods and Main.