Seeing Ourselves in Film continues a conversation we began last Fall during the John Sayles’ Independent Director series: “what does it mean to be an American?”
This Winter and Spring we will look at one film from each decade 1940’s – 2010’s. We will ask ourselves:
How does Hollywood depict Americans in this film?
What happened during this decade which helped create this film?
Does Hollywood influence or reflect changes in culture? Or both?
Need an escape from the cruel world? Nothing better than tapping into a 21st Century version of the Archie Comics. The CW’s Riverdale boasts the original cast of characters with a decidedly murder-mystery bent. Join Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead, Josie (and her Pussycats), and Kevin Keller as they tackle the mysteries of their small town. Oh and the parents are all played by known actors – many from 90’s TV shows. Lots of fun.
In the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, nothing is quite as it seems. Doting moms, successful husbands, adorable children, beautiful homes: What lies will be told to keep their perfect worlds from unraveling?
Told through the eyes of three mothers – Madeline, Celeste and Jane – Big Little Lies paints a picture of a town fueled by rumors and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors.
Based on the New York Times number-one bestseller of the same name by Liane Moriarty, this seven-part limited series is a subversive, darkly comedic drama that weaves a tale of murder and mischief as it explores society’s myth of perfection and the contradictions that exist beneath our idealized façade of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship.
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, for which he received an editing Oscar nomination; Wild; Demolition), Big Little Lies is written for television and created by David E. Kelley (seven-time Emmy winner for Picket Fences, LA Law, The Practice and Ally McBeal; Goliath).
The stellar cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Santiago Cabrera, P.J. Byrne and Virginia Kull.
Cohen Media Group reissued a brand-new 4K version of Merchant Ivory’s classic, Howards End for theaters this past year. Cohen released a new (non-4K) DVD version of the film which the library carries. From Hal Erickson’s All Movie Guide,
One of the best Ismail Merchant/James Ivory films, this adaptation of E. M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel shows in careful detail the injuriously rigid British class consciousness of the early 20th century. The film’s catalyst is poor relation Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson), who inherits part of the estate of Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave), an upper-class woman whom she had befriended. The film’s principal characters are divided by caste: aristocratic industrial Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins); middle-echelon Margaret and her sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter); and working-class clerk Leonard Bast (Sam West) and his wife (Nicola Duffett). The personal and social conflicts among these characters ultimately result in tragedy for Bast and disgrace for Wilcox, but the film’s wider theme remains the need, in the words of the novel’s famous epigram, to only connect with other people, despite boundaries of gender, class, or petty grievance. Filmed on a proudly modest budget, Howards End offers sets, spectacles, and costumes as lavish as in any historical epic. Nominated for 9 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, the film took home awards for Thompson as Best Actress, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s adapted screenplay, and Luciana Arrighi’s art direction.
Howards End is being adapted once again for the screen by Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea).
Until then, find the glorious Merchant Ivory Howards End in our library collection.
It’s not often the stars align to take two icons of entertainment in two days. Taking Carrie Fisher one day and her mother, Debbie Reynolds the next is astonishing. Our hearts break and thoughts go out to the Fisher family. We could easily tell you to sit down and watch the original Star Wars or Singin’ in the Rain, but that might be too obvious. Better yet, consider watching one of Carrie and Debbie’s hidden gems to honor their passing:
Hannah and Her Sisters – Carrie Fisher has a supporting role in this Woody Allen ensemble cast about a family of sisters in NYC during the 1980’s.
Mother – Debbie Reynolds stars as Albert Brooks crazy mother in this laugh out loud comedy from 2000.
Click on the titles above to find the films in our library catalog. Mother and daughter shall be greatly missed.
Discover Carrie Fisher, author in many formats in our library catalog.
Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory not only follows up the huge hit, Finding Nemo. It literally blows its competition out of the water. With over 1 billion dollars grossed domestically, watch it for the first time or watch it again and again. It’s adorable, it’s Disney, it’s a modern classic.
Discover Finding Dory in our library catalog.
An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed three years after her untimely death, brings her eldest son Jonah back to the family house – forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years. With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently.
Two new high-profile documentaries are out on DVD. ESPN’s O.J.: Made in America and the Anthony Weiner political scandal documentary, Weiner. Both films touch on race, scandal, and the media’s role in how stories are shaped in our culture.