Aug 17

Clouds of Sils Maria

clouds of sils mariaHeralded by critics, Clouds of Sils Maria starring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart explores the sensitive topic of aging for women in entertainment. From Sundance Pictures,

Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is an actress at the peak of her international career who is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years earlier. Back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young woman who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, that of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant (Kristen Stewart) to rehearse in Sils Maria, a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal (Chloë Grace Moretz) is to take on the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself.

Find Clouds of Sils Maria in our library catalog.
(In English, French, German, and Swiss German with English subtitles)

Jul 20

While We’re Young

while we're youngNoah Bambach has been making heady films about modern life since his 1995 debut, Kicking and Screaming. Library favorites from his film career include The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, and the brilliant Frances Ha. From Rotten Tomatoes,

Noah Boaumbach’s comedy While We’re Young stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as Josh and Cornelia, a childless New York married couple in their mid-forties. As their other friends all start having children, the couple gravitates toward a young hipster couple named Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried). He’s an aspiring documentary filmmaker, a vocation Josh already has. Soon the older couple begins enjoying the energy they feel haging out with the younger generation, but eventually Josh begins to suspect his new best friend might not be as straightforward and trustworthy as he thought. While We’re Young screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Watch While We’re Young on DVD from either branch.

Jul 16

Throwback Thursday: The Lady Eve

lady eveNever seen a Preston Sturges film? Boy are you are in for a rare treat! From American Masters,

Considered the father of the screwball comedy, Preston Sturges was recognized as one of the great early writers in Hollywood… Sturges, however, had been consistently dissatisfied with director’s interpretations of his work, and in 1939 convinced his employers, Paramount Pictures, to let him direct his own script. For the opportunity to direct, Sturges sold “THE GREAT MCGINTY”, his newest script, for $1. The film earned him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (the first time this award had been handed out). Sturges followed this by writing and directing a handful of other big hits including “CHRISTMAS IN JULY” (1940) and “THE LADY EVE” (1941). The success of these films set the precedent for other writers to become directors.

In The Lady Eve,

Charles Pike is the son of a beer magnate who becomes the target of the father-daughter team of card sharps ‘Colonel’ Harry and Jean Harrington. Their plan to rob the naive man blind hits a snag, however, when Jean falls head over heels for an equally-smitten Pike.

And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t get much better in the classic movie world than the pairing up of Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.

Find The Lady Eve in our library catalog.

May 14

Still Alice

still aliceWe are nearing the end of the DVD release dates for Oscar winners. Still Alice was released last week. American Sniper – the final big film gets released on Tuesday, May 19th. Julianne Moore won the coveted Best Actress award for her portrayal of Alice Howland, a linguistics professor who is diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s at age 50. Based on the novel by Lisa Genova, Still Alice is Moore’s tour de force. She is reflective, nuanced, and brave as we watch her mind and world diminish. Alec Baldwin and Kristin Stewart play Moore’s husband and youngest child. Stewart in particular holds her own beautifully next to a powerhouse Moore. A beautiful, tragic film that will linger with you for days.

Find Still Alice in our library catalog.
Read Lisa Genova’s book also in our library catalog.

Apr 13

Borgen: S1

Borgen S1Danish television focused on the government and media? Are you serious? Yes, we are. Borgen is one of the best television shows released in any country in the past five years. Based on historical facts, Borgen begins with the election of the first female Prime Minister. Featuring powerhouse performances from Sidse Babett Knudsen as Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg Christensen and featuring Pilou Asbæk as spin doctor Kasper Juul, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as news anchor Katrine Fønsmark, Mikael Birkkjær as Birgitte’s husband Phillip Christensen and Søren Malling as Torben Friis, editor-in-chief for TV1 News, Borgen has you on the edge of your seat. You’re certain to finish Borgen wishing our political system worked a little more like Denmark’s – who knew politicians and political parties could actually work towards common good? Inspiring, exciting, full of intrigue and suspense, Borgen is sure to please anyone interested in contemporary international politics and the media’s role in our society. Oh, and it just happens to be author Stephen King’s favorite television series.

Find Borgen in our library catalog.

Mar 12

Throwback Thursday: My So-Called Life

my so-called lifeBefore Claire Danes starred in the outstanding Homeland. Before Jared Leto won the Oscar last year for Dallas Buyers Club, there was My So-Called Life. The series debuted in 1994. It lasted only one season. 20 years later it’s considered a modern classic paving the way for more realistic portrayals of teenagers in television. From Wikipedia,

It was the first teen drama that didn’t feel like an after-school special. No one ever learned a very important lesson or uttered the phrase ‘I love you, Dad.’ Angela acted like a real 15-year-old, with all the crying jags and Buffalo Tom concerts that implies. What’s even more impressive is that anyone who watched the show back in the ’90s, when angst and Manic Panic felt totally of the moment, can now enjoy it on a very different level. Suddenly, Angela’s parents are relatable.

Find My So-Called Life at both library locations in our catalog.

Mar 06

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1

mockingjay dvdThe Hunger Games continues its franchise with the first part of the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay. From Lionsgate,

The worldwide phenomenon of The Hunger Games continues to set the world on fire with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a nation moved by her courage. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is directed by Francis Lawrence from a screenplay by Danny Strong and Peter Craig and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The novel on which the film is based is the third in a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins that has over 65 million copies in print in the U.S. alone.

Find The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 in our library catalog.
Read The Hunger Games books located in our library system.

Nov 07

Maleficent

maleficentAll Hail the Queen – Queen Angie that is. Angelina Jolie deliciously morphs into Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent for Disney’s live action film available on Blu-ray and DVD at both branches. From Rotten Tomatoes,

“Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

Find Maleficent in our library catalog.

Oct 02

Throwback Thursday: Imitation of Life (1959)

imitation of lifeIn 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.

 

Aug 28

The Awful Truth (Throwback Thursday)

awful truthAre you a lover of Romantic Comedies? Did you know The Awful Truth starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne is considered the very first Rom-Com? From Rotten Tomatoes,

Leo McCarey directed this classic screwball comedy in which Cary Grant and Irene Dunne play Jerry and Lucy Warriner, a couple whose marriage is starting to fall apart. Jerry informs Lucy that he’s taking a vacation alone in Florida; instead, he holes up with his buddies and plays poker for a week (while sitting under a sun lamp so he’ll have an appropriate tan). Lucy concludes that Jerry was never in Florida just as Jerry discovers that Lucy was spending her time with Armand Duvalle (Alex D’Arcy), a handsome voice teacher. Both Jerry and Lucy believe the other was unfaithful, so they agree to a trial divorce, with a bitter battle fought over custody of Mr. Smith, the dog (Lucy gets the dog, but Jerry has visitation rights). Determined to make Jerry jealous, Lucy continues keeping company with Armand while also dating Daniel Leeson (Ralph Bellamy), a wealthy oil man from Oklahoma. Convinced that turnabout is fair play, Jerry starts going out with Dixie Belle Lee (Joyce Compton), a brassy nightclub singer, as well as socialite Barbara Vance (Molly Lamont). However, Lucy has belatedly decided that she wants Jerry back, and she hatches a plan to win him back by making a spectacle of herself at a party. The Awful Truth was based on a play which had been filmed twice before, but McCarey gave his superb comic cast free reign to improvise and add new business, and the results were splendid; you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Irene Dunne attempt to sing “Home on the Range.” ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

If you’ve ever heard anyone say, “they just don’t make them like they used to,” check out The Awful Truth and watch the original screwball comic genius of Irene Dunne and Cary Grant – and be prepared to laugh a lot.

Find The Awful Truth in our library catalog.