Award-winning cinematographer Gordon Willis passed away this week leaving a canon of outstanding films. His signature dark shots can be seen in such classics as The Godfather, Annie Hall, Manhattan (remember the Planetarium scene?), and All the President’s Men. From NPR,
He shot a total of eight films for Woody Allen and was dubbed the “Prince of Darkness” by fellow cinematographer Conrad Hall for his use of shadows.
But today, let’s focus on the brilliant Klute which won Jane Fonda an Oscar for Best Actress in 1971. Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland star in this 1971 suspense drama about a high-class call girl in New York City who gets reluctantly dragged into a missing person’s investigation. An outstanding plot with lots of interesting choices like the taped phone calls being repeated throughout the film and Jane’s confessions to her therapist. Incredible outdoor shots of NYC in the early 70′s. This is a classic for sure. Klute is a top-notch thriller!
Find Klute in our library catalog.
Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) new feature Her starring Joaquin Phoenix garnered mixed reviews from the staff at the library. Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave it a 94% rating which is impressive. Some of the glow,
Delightfully entertaining (Tom Long)… An abundantly earnest look at the pain of loss and the rebirth of new love (Brad Keefe)… Her is a wistful, wonderful meditation on where we are and where we might be going (Steven Rea)… It’s an incredible technological tale about love, human connection, and a question of a higher power (Felix Vasquez, Jr.).
Decide for yourself. Check out Her from the library today.
From 2000 – 2005 HBO graced the world with the darkly funny and excruciatingly well-written drama Six Feet Under. Based on The Fishers – a family in the funeral business, each week someone would die in the opening credits and the family would busy themselves preparing the final tribute as well as learn hard and serious life lessons and manage to play and have fun. Created by Alan Ball who wrote the script for American Beauty and went on to helm True Blood, Six Feet Under captured a certain kind of family dynamic previously not explored on American television. The Fishers spent the five years trying desperately to break through their buttoned-up way of living life. We watched them each week experience triumphs and heartbreaks as they stumbled through life searching and often finding beauty and wonder. Featuring a stellar cast including Michael C. Hall, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Krause, Frances Conroy, Rachel Griffiths, Matthew St. Patrick, Freedy Rodriguez, Jeremy Sisto, Justina Machado, James Cromwell, Lili Taylor, and Richard Jenkins, Six Feet Under taught us how to grieve as well as live each moment out loud. Six Feet Under also ushered in a new renaissance of American television along with The Sopranos and The Wire.
Check out all five seasons of Alan Ball’s award-winning Six Feet Under in the library’s catalog.
Perhaps no other director in the history of cinema captured the hearts and scared the wits out of movie goers more than Alfred Hitchcock. Beginning with his first British film in 1925 and continuing through an illustrious career including Shadow of a Doubt, Suspicion, Spellbound, Notorious, Rope, Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, and Marnie, film goers marveled at his expertise for nearly a century. In total Hitchcock directed 58 films spanning most of the 20th Century through his death in 1980. To this day, no one can match the suspense of Hitch nor can they elicit the fright of an audience simply by implying rather than showing the terror or gore. Alfred Hitchcock was one of a kind and his films really are timeless classics.
Check out our list of Hitchcock films and books in the library catalog.
from Matt Zoller Seitz at Vulture,
Joe Weisberg, creator of The Americans, worked at the CIA for four years in the early nineties. There are just enough real-world spycraft details woven into the action to sell the show’s more ludicrous conceits, chiefly that the former Soviet Union would breed certain men and women from adolescence onward to pass for Americans, then plant them among us to wreak havoc. But make no mistake: This is a dark fantasy, not just of espionage but of domestic life; it operates as much by dream logic as actual logic, placing its main characters — married spies-assassins-seducers Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) — in suspenseful situations, then having them switch gears and deal with the house or the kids.
Read the entire review at Vulture.
Check out the first season of The Americans in our catalog.
Director Stephen Frears’ Philomena starring the incomparable Judi Dench finally gets released on DVD today! From Rotten Tomatoes which by the way gave Philomena a 92% rating,
Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee, mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock – something her Irish-Catholic community didn’t have the highest opinion of – and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow for any sort of inquiry into the son’s whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith, a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son.
Find Philomena in our library catalog.
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Italy’s The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) from director Paolo Sorrentino is available now on DVD in our collection. From distributor Janus Films,
Journalist Jep Gambardella (the dazzling Toni Servillo, Il divo and Gomorrah) has charmed and seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades. Since the legendary success of his one and only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city’s literary and social circles, but when his sixty-fifth birthday coincides with a shock from the past, Jep finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the extravagant nightclubs, parties, and cafés to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.
Bilge Ebiri from Vulture writes about Sorrentino,
Great new indie film just out on DVD, Kill Your Darlings focuses on the Beat poets as they meet in and around Columbia University in the early 1940′s. The film focuses on Lucien Carr who introduced William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac to each other and eventually the world. Carr was arrested in 1944 for the killing of David Kammerer. Kill Your Darlings takes place during the time right before the killing. Daniel Radcliffe permanently sheds his Harry Potter persona as a young and impressionable Ginsberg and Ben Foster has his best role to date as a perfect embodiment of Burroughs. Kill Your Darlings is fun, entertaining and serves a glimpse into the early lives of the Beats.
Find Kill Your Darlings in our catalog.
We’ve added a number of classic films to our growing Blu-ray collection such as,
Panic in the Streets (Elia Kazan)
Ben-Hur (William Wyler)
Gigi (Vincent Minnelli)
North By Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock)
Mrs. Miniver (William Wyler)
Maltese Falcon (John Huston)
Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1962 – Lewis Milestone/Carol Reed)
Casablanca (Michael Curtiz)
Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan)
An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli)
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Irwin Allen)