Apr 25

Camille Claudel 1915

Camille_Claudel_1915_posterfrom Roger Ebert’s website,

Cinema can be one of the most empathetic of arts. When done well, its immediacy, its sense of experiencing another life (fictional or not) can bring about an expansion of understanding, an overwhelming telescoping of consciousness. “Camille Claudel 1915″, the latest by French director Bruno Dumont, is that kind of cinema. It tells the story of three days in the life of Camille Claudel, gifted sculptor and one-time protege and lover of Auguste Rodin. Claudel was committed to an asylum in 1913 by her brother, poet/diplomat Paul Claudel, following the death of their father (a man who had always been in her corner). Dumont uses only Claudel’s medical records and the letters that Claudel and her brother wrote to one another, as the material for his script. The result is a story pared down to a bone-white gleam, a grim portrait of monotony and silence broken by unrelieved despair, and an almost suffocating sense of claustrophobia and entrapment. It’s a harrowing film, made even more so by the raw performance of Juliette Binoche as Camille Claudel. By the end, you are left with a feeling of helplessness, rage, and a kind of abstracted bafflement. How did this happen? You want to intervene (the key sign of a classic tragedy). All credit to Dumont and Binoche here, who approach their difficult subject without blinking.

Read the full review.
Discover Camille Claudel 1915 in our catalog.

Apr 10

Throwback Thursday: Donnie Darko

donnie darkoJourney back to the 1980′s in RIchard Kelly’s 2001 cult indie masterpiece, Donnie Darko. The film put Jake Gyllenhaal on the map, sports a killer 80′s soundtrack, and features amazing celebrities in minor roles including Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Noah Wylie, Beth Grant, Seth Rogan,and Katherine Ross. From IFC Center,

“This unclassifiable but stunningly original film obliterates the walls between teen comedy, science fiction, family drama, horror, and cultural satire — and remains wildly entertaining throughout. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Donnie, a borderline-schizophrenic adolescent for whom there is no difference between the signs and wonders of reality (a plane crash that devastates his house) and hallucination (a man-sized, reptilian rabbit who talks to him). Obsessed with the science of time travel and acutely aware of the world around him, Donnie is isolated by his powers of analysis and the apocalyptic visions that no one else seems to share. The debut feature of writer-director Richard Kelly, DONNIE DARKO is a shattering, hypnotic work that sets its own terms and gambles — rightfully so, as it turns out — that a viewer will stay aboard for the full ride.” – Tom Keough

Check out Donnie Darko from our catalog.

Apr 03

Throwback Thursday: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

willy-wonka-dvdIn anticipation of Easter’s imminent chocolate arrival and Gen X-ers forcing their children to watch the films they loved from their own childhoods, we thought it might be fun to revisit 1971′s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder in the title role as the secretive chocolatier who awards five lucky children with a peek inside his factory. Packed with post-60′s psychedelic sets and more than one nod to The Wizard of Oz, Wonka continues to delight audiences as much today as it did upon its release over 40 years ago. Wonka is based on the Roald Dahl children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and was remade by Tim Burton in 2005 using the book’s original title and starring Johnny Depp as Wonka. Which version do you prefer? As long as you’ve got a big chocolate bar sitting next to you, we’ve got the book and both film adaptations for you to compare.

Find Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in our catalog.
Read Charlie & the Chocolate Factory from our collection.
Compare Tim Burton’s remake to the book and film.

Mar 27

The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza)

great beautyWinner 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,

Sometimes, movies need to move. Sorrentino’s cinema, with its rapturous camera moves, its bursts of music, and its almost naïve belief that the screen can still evoke bold emotions, is the antidote to the Cinema of Lack.

Find The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) in our catalog.

Mar 14

Classic films on Blu-ray

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)

voyage

Mar 10

Beyond the Oscars (Spirit and Chlotrudis)

In case you thought the Oscars left a little to be desired – in other words, where were all the other amazing films that have been released in the past year – we thought it would be a good idea to list nominees for The Film Independent Spirit Awards and Boston’s Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film.  If you’re hungry for something a little less slick and a little more gritty, check out some of the nominees from these two independent film awards organizations,

56 UP
The Act of Killing
All is Lost
As I Lay Dying
Before Midnight
Blue is the Warmest Color

Concussion
Don Jon
Enough Said
Frances Ha
Fruitvale Station
Hannah Arendt
The Hunt
Kill Your Darlings
Laurence Anyways
Much Ado About Nothing
Mud
Nebraska
Philomena
Short Term 12
The Spectacular Now
Spring Breakers
Stories We Tell
The Way Way Back
Upstream Color

chlot

 

 

 

independent-spirit-awards-ifc-film

Mar 03

Oscar winners are here!

The Oscars winners were announced last night and we’ve got the films either already on the shelf or on order:

12 Years a Slave (on order – releases March 4, 2014)
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club (on order – releases March 4, 2014)
Frozen (on order – releases March 18, 2014)
Gravity
The Great Gatsby
20 Feet from Stardom

And yes, we’ve also got American Hustle coming on March 18, 2014.

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

Feb 13

Throwback Thursday: The Best Years of Our Lives

best years of our livesLibrary staff member Barbara Slack takes us back to 1946 with one of the most outstanding classic films of all time,

In my opinion, The Best Years of Our Lives is one of the best movies ever made. It may even be number one on my top ten list. I saw it for the first time when I was in college, long before the large flat screens. In fact, I think that about eight of us watched this film on a TV about a foot wide. Even on that small screen, the movie hit me like a ton of bricks.

If I had to use one word to describe the movie it would be poignant — incredibly moving without being sentimental. There is an amazing realism to the movie, every scene rings true. The scene where the parents speak with their daughter late at night about their marriage, is one of the most accurate and affecting scenes I have ever seen in any movie. When I watch it, I almost feel as if I am in that room.

This movie was made in 1946 and is often summarized as soldiers returning home from the war to civilian life. If that was all I knew about this movie I would probably flip right by it. Although it is about three soldiers who meet on a flight home, it is also a movie that profoundly touches on the subjects of love, family and friendship in a way that makes it timeless. It touches on socially sensitive subjects including post traumatic stress and the complexity of relationships in a way you wouldn’t expect for the time period.

The casting of the movie is perfect — led by stars like Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo and Dana  Andrews. But even minor characters in this movie are crucial to the film. It is the kind of film you could see many times, yet find additional nuances with each watching. If you are an old movie buff and haven’t seen this film, you need to see it as soon as possible. It will rock your world. And if you aren’t an old movie buff, this is one of the black and white movies that may change your opinion about classic films.

Find The Best Years of Our Lives in the library catalog.
Thanks Barbara!

Feb 11

Woody Allen

woody allenFor better or worse, Woody Allen’s been in the news these past few weeks.  His personal life has been all over social media and this past weekend he came out of seclusion to refute 20 year-old claims of abuse.  He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Golden Globes.  His new film, Blue Jasmine has just released on DVD and most agree it’s his best work in years.  Cate Blanchett is nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Jasmine.

Find Blue Jasmine in the library catalog.
Browse all of Woody’s films and books in the library catalog.