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.

Jul 17

Gloria

GLO.PL_RZ.inddChile’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars finally gets released on DVD. We’re guessing this film will resonate with a lot of our patrons. From Indiewire,

“Gloria,” Chile’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category has swiftly attracted widespread critical acclaim for offering an honest, comically-driven portrait of your not-so-typical 50-something year old single woman.

When fun-loving Gloria (Paulina Garcia) steers her way through the trappings of loneliness and into Rodolfo’s (Sergio Hernandez) arms, his limbo-like affair with his (ex)wife forces her to retreat from her sudden romantic glow. Gloria, however, drags herself heart break to happiness and shines brighter than ever as an emotionally reborn woman in her golden years.

Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria” is at first glance the antithesis to a conventional sorrowful break-up drama ripe with shouting matches and teary monologues. What is presented to us instead is a refreshingly optimistic “look on the bright side” tale of a character for whom age and relationship status could not be more irrelevant.

Watch the trailer for Gloria.
Find Gloria in our library catalog.

Jun 03

Happy Pride: June 2014

pride flag

June is Gay Pride Month around the country celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. Locally Norwalk has a wonderful event Pride in the Park sponsored by the Triangle Community Center Saturday, June 14, 2014 from 12-5pm in Mathews Park. 75 minutes away by Metro North come celebrate where it all began 45 years ago in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City for Heritage of Pride’s March on Sunday, June 29, 2014.

Great LGBT movies come in all shapes and sizes. We decided to highlight one for each letter of the acronym:

L: The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko’s movie about two lesbian Moms raising teenage kids broke all kinds of barriers and box office records.  Annette Benning and Julianne Moore star.

G: I Do – David W. Ross’s indie script digs deep into the issues of transnational same-sex relationships and immigration. Glen Gaylord directs this heart-felt, feel good love story.

B: Kissing Jessica Stein (2002) – A woman searching for the perfect man instead discovers the perfect woman in this romantic comedy written by Heather Juergensen, Jennifer Westfeldt and directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld.

T: Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – Hillary Swank won the Oscar. Kimberly Peirce directs. Based on the true story of transgendered youth Brandon Teena who convinces himself he can survive amongst bigoted, small-minded people after transitioning from female to male.

And if you’d like to do some reading may we suggest the seminal work on LGBT characters in film, Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet available in the upper stacks of the main library.

 

May 22

Throwback Thursday: Klute

 

gordon-willis-klute

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.

May 16

Orange is the New Black

OrangeIsTheNewBlack_S1_DVDOut this week is season one of Netflix’s outstanding new television series based on Piper Kerman’s women’s prison memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. OITNB – get with the acronym already – broke a lot of records over at Netflix before the DVD release. From techcrunch.com,

Orange is the New Black has been a tremendous success for us. It will end the year as our most watched original series ever and, as with each of our other previously launched originals, enjoys an audience comparable with successful shows on cable and broadcast TV.

OITNB follows the life of a privileged young white woman who after laundering drug money gets sent to federal prison for a year. Mixing intense drama with hysterical comedy and revolving the show almost completely around a female cast (refreshingly for once the male characters are either vehicles, fluff or eye candy), Orange raises the stakes for binge watching television. We warn you once you start, you may need to cancel what you’re doing for the next few hours. One episode of this wonderful show is just not enough.

Find Orange is the New Black: Season 1 DVD and the Kerman’s memoir in various formats in our catalog.

Apr 17

Mad Men and Nurse Jackie

Will Don ever grow up? Will Jackie finally get sober? Will Don’s daughter Sally and Jackie’s daughter Grace time travel and become best friends? As brand new seasons of Mad Men and Nurse Jackie gear up this week on AMC and HBO, you may want to start at the beginning or refresh yourself with a couple of teaser episodes from last season. Either way, we’ve got both series up-to-date in our DVD collection.

Find Mad Men in our catalog.
Discover Nurse Jackie in our catalog.

mad men s7nurse jackie s6

Apr 15

Philomena

philomenaDirector 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.

Feb 18

Pussy Riot : A Punk Prayer

pussy riot dvd 2

If you’ve been keeping up with the human rights news from Russia, you’ve probably already heard of the band, Pussy Riot.  Two of the young women from the band were arrested and imprisoned for 21 months.  After their release in late 2013, they spent time in the States touring prisons and meeting with human rights activists.  This past weekend the women were detained again by Russian police.

We’ve got the new DVD, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer for you to check out as well as the new book, Words Will Break Cement : the Passion of Pussy Riot written by Masha Gessen.

Follow news on the band through U.K. newspaper The Guardian.
Read the band’s bio on Wikipedia.
See both the DVD and new book in our catalog.