May 21

Wolf Hall

wolf hallAdapted from Hilary Mantel’s best-selling Booker Prize-winning novels: Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, BBC and PBS Masterpiece release the mini-series Wolf Hall on DVD. From PBS,

A historical drama for a modern audience, Wolf Hall tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night)—a blacksmith’s son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster, and deftly picks his way through a court where ‘man is wolf to man.’ Damian Lewis (Homeland) is King Henry VIII, haunted by his brother’s premature death and obsessed with protecting the Tudor dynasty by securing his succession with a male heir to the throne. The cast also includes Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) as the future queen Anne Boleyn.

Told from Cromwell’s perspective, Wolf Hall follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this accomplished power broker who must serve king and country while dealing with deadly political intrigue, Henry VIII’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn, and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.

Find Wolf Hall in our library catalog.
Join us for two library program events in June, The World of Wolf Hall: Two Women, One King with our resident historian, Dr. Mona Garcia:
Register for Part 1.
Register for Part 2.

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 07


grantchesterEnter the post-WWII world of Grantchester, a bucolic village in England pairing a detective and a vicar who solve murders. From PBS,

Set in the English countryside’s most idyllic village, Grantchester follows two unlikely allies as they solve a series of cases that reveal the dark side of early 1950s England.

Handsome, young vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) shares his spiritual duties with a love of jazz, complicated relationships with women, and an enthusiasm for amateur sleuthing. When the concern of a parishioner compels him to dig deeper into a grisly suicide, he gets on the nerve of a tired, local law enforcement officer—Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green). Fortunately, the cleric and the cop bond over their war service, their love of a good pub, and their competitive instincts—in this case, for backgammon.

Grantchester is based on the acclaimed novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, which was called “the coziest of cozy murder mysteries” by the New York Times Book Review. Runcie styled Sidney after his late father, Lord Runcie, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s. Like Sidney, the elder Runcie was a war hero before he entered the ministry, and he was a compassionate and amiable parish priest. Unfortunately, he never took up crime-solving. Grantchester corrects that oversight.

The series stars James Norton (Chambers), who recently appeared on MASTERPIECE’s Death Comes to Pemberley as the underdog defense lawyer, and was also seen as the psychopathic villain in Happy Valley. Co-star Robson Green (Keating) is already revered for a number of MASTERPIECE starring roles, including the seductive hero opposite Francesca Annis in the runaway hit Reckless. Also featured are Morven Christie (Case Histories) as Amanda Kendall, Sidney’s first love and soul mate; Tessa Peake-Jones (Poirot) as Mrs. Maguire, the vicar’s morally judgmental landlady; Al Weaver (Sherlock) as Leonard Finch, the church’s new assistant curate; and German actress Pheline Roggan as Hildegard Staunton, the strikingly beautiful widow of the series’ first victim.

Find Grantchester at both locations in our library catalog.

Mar 24


rosewaterJohn Stewart’s (The Daily Show) feature film directorial debut is finally out on DVD. From Open Road Films,

Rosewater is based on The New York Times best-selling memoir “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival,” written by Maziar Bahari. The film marks the directorial debut of “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, and stars Gael García Bernal. Rosewater follows the Tehran-born Bahari, a broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship. In June 2009, Bahari returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mousavi’s supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad’s victory declaration hours before the polls closed, Bahari endured personal risk by sending footage of the street riots to the BBC. Bahari was arrested by police, led by a man identifying himself only as “Rosewater,” who tortured and interrogated him over the next 118 days. With Bahari’s wife leading an international campaign to have her husband freed, and Western media outlets keeping the story alive, Iranian authorities released Bahari on $300,000 bail and the promise he would act as a spy for the government.

Find Rosewater in our library catalog.
Read the book Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival by Maziar Bahari in our library 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.

Feb 06

Olive Kitteridge

olive kitteridgeLots of wonderful forces collide to bring to life the adaptation of Elizabeth Stout’s best-selling novel Olive Kitteridge. Frances McDormand (Fargo) executive produced and stars in the title role for HBO along with Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under). Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), explaining this film can be a pretty hard sell. McDormand’s Olive is a feisty, no-nonsense – ok I’ll say it – nasty woman who barrels through life taking no prisoners. That said, the nuance in performances especially with Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins is nothing short of spectacular. Yes, she is a hard-shelled woman, but there is humanity underneath her rough exterior. She pays attention to life and people around her get second chances as a result. Olive Kitteridge proves once again what a dynamic and versatile actor McDormand is.

Find Olive Kitteridge in our library catalog.
Read the book that inspired the mini-series.

Sep 18

Throwback Thursday: Queen Margot

queen margotThe 20th Anniversary DVD of Queen Margot arrived in the library this week. From Rotten Tomatoes,

The historical novel by Alexandre Dumas was adapted for the screen with this lavish French epic, winner of 5 Césars and a pair of awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Isabelle Adjani stars as Marguerite de Valois, better known as Margot, daughter of scheming Catholic power player Catherine de Medici (Virna Lisi). Margot is an heiress to the throne during the late 16th century reign of the neurotic, hypochondriac King Charles IX (Jean-Hugues Anglade), a time when Protestants and Catholics are vying for political control of France. Catherine decides to make an overture of good will by offering up Margot in marriage to prominent Protestant Huguenot Henri of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), although she also schemes to bring about the notorious St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, when tens of thousands of Protestants are slaughtered. The marriage goes forward but Margot doesn’t love Henri and takes a lover, the soldier La Mole (Vincent Perez), also a Protestant from a well-to-do family. Murders by poisoning follow, as court intrigues multiply and Catherine’s villainous plotting to place her son Anjou (Pascal Greggory) on the throne threatens the lives of La Mole, Margot and Henri.

Find Queen Margot in our library’s catalog.
In French with English sub-titles.

Sep 03

The Normal Heart

normal heartRyan Murphy’s (Glee, American Horror Story) HBO mini-series The Normal Heart gets released on DVD today. The Normal Heart is based on a 1985 play by AIDS activist Larry Kramer. A bit of trivia – Kramer’s husband’s brother and sister in-law live here in Fairfield. The story revolves around the very earliest years of the AIDS crisis before there was even a language to discuss the disease. Starring Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks (the Kramer character), Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts – The Normal Heart acts as a history lesson for those too young to remember the horror of the 1980’s and early 90’s and a stark reminder to everyone else who lived through it. The film has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve got copies at both locations for you to check out.

Find The Normal Heart in our library catalog.

Jul 31

Throwback Thursday: In the Heat of the Night (1967)

in the heat of the nightReady for a suspenseful, murder mystery, police crime drama? How about kicking it up a notch where it’s 1967 in the deep South and the real drama centers not around the murder itself, but whether the African-American police detective from Philadelphia will be killed by local bigots? Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger star in Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night based on the novel by John Ball. Heat reminds us of the racial tensions and violence which were a constant threat to most during the 1960’s and unfortunatelystill haven’t disappeared. Edge of your seat suspense with outstanding performances from Poitier and Steiger. In the Heat of the Night is a must-see, classic American film.

Find In the Heat of the Night in our library’s catalog.

Jun 30

Doc Martin

DocMartin_S6Our branch library, Fairfield Woods is all about British television series. You’ll find many different worlds just an ocean away in the television stacks over at Woods. For example Doc Martin, Series 6 just arrived. From PBS,

Doc Martin stars Martin Clunes as the brash “Doc” Martin Ellingham who finds himself back home in a Cornish village after his illustrious medical career in London goes awry. The townspeople are not used to the doctor’s blunt opinions and insensitive manners, often leading to mayhem in the town of Portwenn. Caroline Catz plays school teacher Louisa Glasson for whom Doc Martin finds it difficult to express his romantic feelings.

Find Doc Martin DVDs in our library catalog.
And be on the lookout for the fantastic post-WW II female-driven mystery The Bletchley Circle, coming soon to Woods.