Joe Weisberg, creator of The Americans, worked at the CIA for four years in the early nineties. There are just enough real-world spycraft details woven into the action to sell the show’s more ludicrous conceits, chiefly that the former Soviet Union would breed certain men and women from adolescence onward to pass for Americans, then plant them among us to wreak havoc. But make no mistake: This is a dark fantasy, not just of espionage but of domestic life; it operates as much by dream logic as actual logic, placing its main characters — married spies-assassins-seducers Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) — in suspenseful situations, then having them switch gears and deal with the house or the kids.
from 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.
from Rotten Tomatoes,
Twilight author Stephanie Meyer makes her first foray into film producing with this romantic comedy about a 30-something woman whose lifelong obsession with all things Jane Austen lead her to an eccentric theme park based on the author’s writings, and into the company of a handsome young suitor. For as long as she can remember, Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) has treasured the writings of the author behind such literary classics as Emma, and Pride & Prejudice. For years, Jane had been stashing away funds in hopes that someday she would be able to afford a trip to Austenland – a place where the die-hard fan can be completely immersed in the elegant world of the beloved author. When Jane finally manages to save up enough, she excitedly packs her bags and books a room. Upon arriving, Jane quickly discovers that Austenland is everything she had ever imagined. Every detail is exquisite, save for one small exception: Jane’s limited funds mean that she can’t enjoy the same luxury experience as the other, wealthier bachelorettes who currently populate Austenland, but she decides to make the most of her trip regardless. Later, when Jane falls into a romance with a dashing young servant, a lifetime of dreams suddenly begin to come true. Jane Seymour, James Callis, and Jennifer Coolidge co-star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
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.
Director 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.
Journey 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
In 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.
A quick scan of the library’s Express Non-fiction DVDs – our new documentaries reveals the following diverse subjects,
History (Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl)
Food/Drink (Crafting a Nation)
Politics/Human Rights (Pussy Riot)
Judicial System (West of Memphis)
Science (Last Days of Man)
Climate Change (Chasing Ice)
Cities (London: The Modern Babylon)
Civil Rights (Bridegroom)
Click on any title above in print to be taken to each film in our catalog.
Stop by today and see what’s on the shelf in our Express (New Release) section.