May 28

Throwback Thursday: Wet Hot American Summer

wet hot american summerIn honor of the official start of summer this week, let’s throwback to 2001’s camp classic ode to the 80’s, Wet Hot American Summer. Netflix loved it so much they decided to create a newly rebooted Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp which will hit the streaming service July 17. But for now, let’s focus on the original since it’s Throwback Thursday. From Rotten Tomatoes,

The setting is Camp Firewood, the year 1981. It’s the last day before everyone goes back to the real world, but there’s still a summer’s worth of unfinished business to resolve. At the center of the action is camp director Beth, who struggles to keep order while she falls in love with the local astrophysics professor. He is busy trying to save the camp from a deadly piece of NASA’s Skylab which is hurtling toward earth. All that, plus: a dangerous waterfall rescue, love triangles, misfits, cool kids, and talking vegetable cans. The questions will all be resolved, of course, at the big talent show at the end of the day.

Find Wet Hot American Summer in our library catalog.

May 25

Last Days in Vietnam

last days in vietnamIn honor of Memorial Day, we recently acquired this year’s Academy Award nominated documentary, Last Days in Vietnam for our film collection. From Indiewire’s Best Documentaries of 2014,

You probably peripherally remember the story of the U.S.’ mass exodus out of South Vietnam in 1975 from history class, and you’ve maybe seen some iconic photography resulting from the exit. But you’ve never seen the story told as wrenchingly as in “Last Days Of Vietnam.” Like a thriller moving to the sound of a ticking clock, director Rory Kennedy’s gripping documentary sets the stage for a heartbreakingly clear-eyed account of a betrayal of ideals and of people: with Gerald Ford in office cleaning up Nixon and Kissinger’s mess, political concerns shift and the U.S. evacuates, abandoning the defense of the South Vietnamese from their Northern communist invaders. As the various aspects of that occupying force pack up to leave, it’s with the full knowledge that thousands of citizens now designated as collaborators will likely be killed or imprisoned. What ensues are the firsthand recollections from soldiers, officers and civilians from both sides of the war, recounting how several key figures disobeyed direct orders in order to save as many South Vietnamese citizens as they could. Kennedy constructs an utterly spellbinding story that ultimately provides context instead of pointing fingers. The Vietnam war has been covered ad nauseum by movies and documentaries, and this is another chilling memento of the cost of war, but it’s also a reminder of the exceptional humanity, bravery and honor of some men and women on the ground in that ugly, fucked up war, of human decency revealing itself in the most indecent of circumstances. A must-watch, up there with greats like “Hearts & Minds

Find Last Days in Vietnam in our library catalog.
We gratefully thank all our patrons who served their country.

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 18

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

a girl walks home alone at night

This isn’t your grandparents’ foreign film. From distributor Kino,

The first Iranian Vampire Western ever made, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype, and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave.

Two thumbs up from librarian Adrienne, find A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night in our library catalog.

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 23

Throwback Thursday: Mad Max

mad max thunderdome

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome fan art: https://fanart.tv/movie/9355/mad-max-beyond-thunderdome/

The new Mad Max movie comes out May 15, 2015. Until then, catch up on the original franchise starring Mel Gibson. We have Max Max, Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome in the library’s movie collection.

Check out Mad Max, Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome in our library catalog.

Apr 13

Borgen: S1

Borgen S1Danish television focused on the government and media? Are you serious? Yes, we are. Borgen is one of the best television shows released in any country in the past five years. Based on historical facts, Borgen begins with the election of the first female Prime Minister. Featuring powerhouse performances from Sidse Babett Knudsen as Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg Christensen and featuring Pilou Asbæk as spin doctor Kasper Juul, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as news anchor Katrine Fønsmark, Mikael Birkkjær as Birgitte’s husband Phillip Christensen and Søren Malling as Torben Friis, editor-in-chief for TV1 News, Borgen has you on the edge of your seat. You’re certain to finish Borgen wishing our political system worked a little more like Denmark’s – who knew politicians and political parties could actually work towards common good? Inspiring, exciting, full of intrigue and suspense, Borgen is sure to please anyone interested in contemporary international politics and the media’s role in our society. Oh, and it just happens to be author Stephen King’s favorite television series.

Find Borgen in our library catalog.

Apr 09

Throwback Thursday: Nine Queens

nine queensArgentine cinema began exporting some remarkable films in the 1970’s starting with 1974’s The Truce and continuing over the next 40 years including the 1985 Oscar winning film The Official Story, nominated film Son of the Bride, second winner The Secret in Their Eyes, and last year’s nominated Wild Tales. In 2000, Argentina sent us the delectable con artist film Nine Queens. From Rotten Tomatoes,

Early one morning Juan is pulling a bill-switching scheme in an all-night deli when Marcos, an apparently innocent bystander, pretends to whisk him off to the police. But Marcos is a con artist, just helping out a new recruit, and he enlists Juan in a plot that he claims will set them up for early retirement. Juan is skeptical at first, but agrees to work with Marcos after he impresses him with a few sophisticated cons. A once-in-a-lifetime scheme then seemingly falls in their laps–an old time con man enlists Juan and Marcos to sell a forged set of extremely valuable rare stamps–The Nine Queens. The tricky negotiations that ensue bring into the picture a cast of suspicious characters including Marcos’ beautiful sister Valeria, their innocent younger brother, Frederico who idolizes Marcus–as well as a slew of thieves, con men and pickpockets. As the action moves from humble barrios to luxury hotels, it soon appears that the city itself is part of an elaborate plot.

Find Nine Queens in our library catalog.
Find The Official Story in our library catalog.
Find The Secret in Our Eyes in our library catalog.

Apr 07

Grantchester

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.