The Lost City of Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as “savages,” the determined Fawcett – supported by his devoted wife, son and aide de camp returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.
We added a number of the very popular Great Courses series from the Teaching Company this past month. New titles include,
International economic institutions: Globalism vs. nationalism
America’s founding fathers
The Irish identity: independence, history, and literature
English in America : a linguistic history
Mastering tai chi
How to boost your physical and mental energy
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” meets “The Stepford Wives” in “Get Out,” in which a white girl brings her black boyfriend home to meet her parents, whose superficially warm welcome masks an unthinkably dark secret. Blending race-savvy satire with horror to especially potent effect, this bombshell social critique from first-time director Jordan Peele proves positively fearless — which is not at all the same thing as scareless. In fact, from the steady joy-buzzer thrills to its terrifying notion of a new way that white people have found to perpetuate the peculiar institution of slavery, “Get Out” delivers plenty to frighten and enrage audiences. But it’s the fact that Peele doesn’t pull a single one of his punches that makes his Blumhouse-backed debut a must-see event.
Legendary director Nicholas Ray began his career with this lyrical film noir, the first in a series of existential genre films overflowing with sympathy for America’s outcasts and underdogs. When the wide-eyed fugitive Bowie (Farley Granger), having broken out of prison with some bank robbers, meets the innocent Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell), each recognizes something in the other that no one else ever has. The young lovers envision a new, decent life together, but as they flee the cops and contend with Bowie’s fellow outlaws, who aren’t about to let him go straight, they realize there’s nowhere left to run. Ray brought an outsider’s sensibility honed in the theater to this debut, using revolutionary camera techniques and naturalistic performances to craft a profoundly romantic crime drama that paved the way for decades of lovers-on-the-run thrillers to come.
Forced to leave their apartment due to a dangerous construction project in a neighboring building, a young Iranian couple moves to the center of Tehran where they become embroiled in a life-altering situation involving the previous tenant. Directed by Asghar Farhadi, who also helmed the Oscar-winning feature A Separation.
The Salesman takes an ambitiously complex look at thought-provoking themes, and the well-acted results prove another consistently absorbing entry in writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s distinguished filmography.
Find Iranian film The Salesman in our library catalog.
In Persian and English with subtitles.
Need a break from the intensity of the world these days? We can’t think of a better antidote than the BBC import, The Great British Baking Show, originally aired as The Great British Bake-Off in England. Yes, this is a reality show. Yes, this is a competition show. But what makes this gem rise to the top is the camaraderie between the contestants. They actually care and help each other. It’s a feel-good, food lovers, sweet tooth lovefest. Find the first two seasons at our branch, Fairfield Woods. Season 3 will be coming in June.
p.s. You don’t have to bake to watch.
Raoul Peck’s timely and must-see documentary, I Am Not Your Negro gets its DVD release this week. From Magnolia Pictures,
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends – Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material. I Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.
The Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this year went to Germany’s Toni Erdmann. From Sony Pictures Classics,
Winfried doesn’t see much of his working daughter Ines. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It’s an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn’t help the two to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What’s worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy “Toni Erdmann”: Winfried’s smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn’t hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all.
Find Toni Erdmann in our library’s catalog.
In German with English subtitles.
The newest Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is finally here on Blu-ray and DVD. The Star Wars franchise continues to be extremely popular with library patrons. And lovers of all things Star Wars consider the newest film to be one of the best in the canon.
From Star Wars Wikia,
Approximately six years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, research scientist Galen Erso is forcibly recruited by Imperial Director Orson Krennic to complete the design of the Death Star, a space station capable of destroying entire planets. Galen’s wife, Lyra Erso, is killed when she shoots and injures Krennic to stop him from taking her husband. Their daughter, Jyn Erso, goes into hiding.
Thirteen years later, Bodhi Rook, a defecting Imperial pilot, smuggles a holographic message from Galen for the Rebel Alliance. An adult Jyn is freed from Imperial captivity and brought to rebel leaders by Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor. They convince her to rescue Galen so that they can learn about the Death Star. However, Cassian is covertly ordered to kill Galen, rather than extract him to prevent the weapon from being built.
Cohen Media Group reissued a brand-new 4K version of Merchant Ivory’s classic, Howards End for theaters this past year. Cohen released a new (non-4K) DVD version of the film which the library carries. From Hal Erickson’s All Movie Guide,
One of the best Ismail Merchant/James Ivory films, this adaptation of E. M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel shows in careful detail the injuriously rigid British class consciousness of the early 20th century. The film’s catalyst is poor relation Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson), who inherits part of the estate of Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave), an upper-class woman whom she had befriended. The film’s principal characters are divided by caste: aristocratic industrial Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins); middle-echelon Margaret and her sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter); and working-class clerk Leonard Bast (Sam West) and his wife (Nicola Duffett). The personal and social conflicts among these characters ultimately result in tragedy for Bast and disgrace for Wilcox, but the film’s wider theme remains the need, in the words of the novel’s famous epigram, to only connect with other people, despite boundaries of gender, class, or petty grievance. Filmed on a proudly modest budget, Howards End offers sets, spectacles, and costumes as lavish as in any historical epic. Nominated for 9 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, the film took home awards for Thompson as Best Actress, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s adapted screenplay, and Luciana Arrighi’s art direction.
Howards End is being adapted once again for the screen by Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea).
Until then, find the glorious Merchant Ivory Howards End in our library collection.