Jun 23

Omar

omarNominated for Best Foreign Language Film this year at the Oscars, Palestine’s entry Omar is director Hany Abu-Assad’s follow-up film to his hugely suspenseful Paradise Now (2005). Omar finally got released on DVD last week. From Rotten Tomatoes,

A tense, gripping thriller about betrayal, suspected and real, in the Occupied Territories. Omar (Adam Bakri) is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl Nadja (Leem Lubany). By night, he’s either a freedom fighter or a terrorist-you decide-ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military with his childhood friends Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. So begins a dangerous game-is he playing his Israeli handler (Waleed F. Zuaiter) or will he really betray his cause? And who can he trust on either side? Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) has made a dynamic, action-packed drama about the insoluable moral dilemmas and tough choices facing those on the frontlines of a conflict that shows no sign of letting up. (c) Adopt Films

Find the highly anticipated Omar in our library catalog.
Discover Hany Abu-Assad’s previous film, Paradise Now in our library catalog.

Jun 20

True Blood

HBO’s sassy, sexy and gory True Blood returns for its final season this Sunday on HBO. For those of you out there who call yourselves Trubbies (True Blood fans), I have a little “degree of separation” treat for you:

1) You are a patron of The Fairfield Public Library.
2) I work at The Fairfield Public Library and write for this blog.
3) I have two good friends in New York City.
4) They are good friends with Audrey Fisher, the costume designer for True Blood.

That makes you my friend three degrees of separation from your favorite cast or crew member of True Blood.  Pretty cool, huh?  If you still need to catch up on last season, Season 6 just got released on DVD and we have it at both locations.  Or if you’re new to the screen adaptation of the very popular Sookie Stackhouse novels, start with Season 1 of Alan Ball’s hilariously morbid, sexy vampire television series True Blood.

Check out all the seasons of True Blood in our library catalog.
Read the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris which were adapted to become True Blood.
Or whip up some recipes from the True Blood inspired cookbook, True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps by Karen Sommer Shalett, Marcelle Bienvenu, Alan Ball, and Gianna Sobol.
alex fangs

Jun 12

Throwback Thursday: The Remains of the Day

Are you going through Downton Abbey withdrawal? Consider quenching your thirst for gorgeous British costume drama with a trip down memory lane – Merchant Ivory’s The Remains of the Day.  Before Carson and Mrs. Hughes, 1993 introduced us to Anthony Hopkins’ Stevens and Emma Thompson’s Miss Kenton.

remains of the daySynopsis from Rotten Tomatoes,

Filmed with the usual meticulous attention to period and detail of films from Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, The Remains of the Day is based on a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. Anthony Hopkins plays Stevens, the “perfect” butler to a prosperous British household of the 1930s. He is so unswervingly devoted to serving his master, a well-meaning but callow British lord (James Fox), that he shuts himself off from all emotions and familial relationships. New housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson) tries to warm him up and awaken his humanity.

New York Times film critic Vincent Canby’s original 1993 review tells us all we need to know,

Taking this rather arcane story, adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s award-winning novel, Ismail Merchant, the producer; James Ivory, the director, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the writer, have made “The Remains of the Day,” a spellbinding new tragi-comedy of high and most entertaining order. Here is an exquisite work that could become a quite unlikely smash.

In the way that “The Remains of the Day” looks grand without being overdressed, it is full of feeling without being sentimental. Here’s a film for adults. It’s also about time to recognize that Mr. Ivory is one of our finest directors, something that critics tend to overlook because most of his films have been literary adaptations. It’s the film, not the source material, that counts. “The Remains of the Day” has its own, securely original cinematic life.

You really owe it to yourself to embrace the subtly and beauty of one of Merchant Ivory’s masterpieces.

Find The Remains of the Day in our library catalog.
We also have the complete Upstairs Downstairs for more British class costume drama fun.

Jun 09

Alan Partridge

alan partridgeNew this week on DVD is Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge.  From Rotten Tomatoes,

The character Alan Partridge first appeared over twenty years ago as a BBC sports reporter on the radio show, On The Hour. Since then, this wonderfully conceited, petty, anal, idiosyncratic comic creation has flourished across virtually every medium you can think of. He’s been a sports reporter (again) on the seminal TV news spoof, The Day Today, host of his own TV chat show, Knowing Me, Knowing You, star of the fly-on-the-wall sitcom I’m Alan Partridge, and most recently Mid-Morning Matters.

(In this current iteration,) Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) has had many ups and downs in his life. National television broadcaster. Responsible for killing a guest on live TV. Local radio broadcaster. A nervous breakdown in Dundee. His self-published book, ‘Bouncing Back’, subsequently remaindered and pulped. ALAN PARTRIDGE finds Alan at the center of a siege, when a disgruntled fellow DJ (Colm Meaney) decides to hold their station hostage after learning that he’s getting sacked by the new management.

Discover Alan Partridge in our library catalog.

 

 

Jun 03

Happy Pride: June 2014

pride flag

June is Gay Pride Month around the country celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. Locally Norwalk has a wonderful event Pride in the Park sponsored by the Triangle Community Center Saturday, June 14, 2014 from 12-5pm in Mathews Park. 75 minutes away by Metro North come celebrate where it all began 45 years ago in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City for Heritage of Pride’s March on Sunday, June 29, 2014.

Great LGBT movies come in all shapes and sizes. We decided to highlight one for each letter of the acronym:

L: The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko’s movie about two lesbian Moms raising teenage kids broke all kinds of barriers and box office records.  Annette Benning and Julianne Moore star.

G: I Do – David W. Ross’s indie script digs deep into the issues of transnational same-sex relationships and immigration. Glen Gaylord directs this heart-felt, feel good love story.

B: Kissing Jessica Stein (2002) – A woman searching for the perfect man instead discovers the perfect woman in this romantic comedy written by Heather Juergensen, Jennifer Westfeldt and directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld.

T: Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – Hillary Swank won the Oscar. Kimberly Peirce directs. Based on the true story of transgendered youth Brandon Teena who convinces himself he can survive amongst bigoted, small-minded people after transitioning from female to male.

And if you’d like to do some reading may we suggest the seminal work on LGBT characters in film, Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet available in the upper stacks of the main library.

 

May 22

Throwback Thursday: Klute

 

gordon-willis-klute

Award-winning cinematographer Gordon Willis passed away this week leaving a canon of outstanding films. His signature dark shots can be seen in such classics as The Godfather, Annie Hall, Manhattan (remember the Planetarium scene?), and All the President’s Men.  From NPR,

He shot a total of eight films for Woody Allen and was dubbed the “Prince of Darkness” by fellow cinematographer Conrad Hall for his use of shadows.

But today, let’s focus on the brilliant Klute which won Jane Fonda an Oscar for Best Actress in 1971. Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland star in this 1971 suspense drama about a high-class call girl in New York City who gets reluctantly dragged into a missing person’s investigation. An outstanding plot with lots of interesting choices like the taped phone calls being repeated throughout the film and Jane’s confessions to her therapist.  Incredible outdoor shots of NYC in the early 70′s.  This is a classic for sure.  Klute is a top-notch thriller!

Find Klute in our library catalog.

May 16

Orange is the New Black

OrangeIsTheNewBlack_S1_DVDOut this week is season one of Netflix’s outstanding new television series based on Piper Kerman’s women’s prison memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. OITNB – get with the acronym already – broke a lot of records over at Netflix before the DVD release. From techcrunch.com,

Orange is the New Black has been a tremendous success for us. It will end the year as our most watched original series ever and, as with each of our other previously launched originals, enjoys an audience comparable with successful shows on cable and broadcast TV.

OITNB follows the life of a privileged young white woman who after laundering drug money gets sent to federal prison for a year. Mixing intense drama with hysterical comedy and revolving the show almost completely around a female cast (refreshingly for once the male characters are either vehicles, fluff or eye candy), Orange raises the stakes for binge watching television. We warn you once you start, you may need to cancel what you’re doing for the next few hours. One episode of this wonderful show is just not enough.

Find Orange is the New Black: Season 1 DVD and the Kerman’s memoir in various formats in our catalog.

May 14

Searching for Sugar Man

Malik-Bendjelloul-199x300Tragic news today. Oscar winning Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul died yesterday at the age of 36. The cause of death was suicide. Bendjelloul won Best Documentary for his film, Searching for Sugar Man in 2013. From Sony Pictures,

Searching for Sugar Man tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest ’70s rock icon who never was. Discovered in a Detroit bar in the late ’60s by two celebrated producers struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics, they recorded an album which they believed would secure his reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation leads them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez.

Bendjelloul’s film won in a year packed with outstanding films including How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War, 5 Broken Cameras and The Gatekeepers.

Check out the award-winning Searching for Sugar Man in our catalog.
Find library resources on suicide.

May 13

Her

herSpike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) new feature Her starring Joaquin Phoenix garnered mixed reviews from the staff at the library. Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave it a 94% rating which is impressive.  Some of the glow,

Delightfully entertaining (Tom Long)… An abundantly earnest look at the pain of loss and the rebirth of new love (Brad Keefe)… Her is a wistful, wonderful meditation on where we are and where we might be going (Steven Rea)… It’s an incredible technological tale about love, human connection, and a question of a higher power (Felix Vasquez, Jr.).

Decide for yourself. Check out Her from the library today.

May 08

Throwback Thursday: Six Feet Under

Six Feet Under

From 2000 – 2005 HBO graced the world with the darkly funny and excruciatingly well-written drama Six Feet Under. Based on The Fishers – a family in the funeral business, each week someone would die in the opening credits and the family would busy themselves preparing the final tribute as well as learn hard and serious life lessons and manage to play and have fun. Created by Alan Ball who wrote the script for American Beauty and went on to helm True Blood, Six Feet Under captured a certain kind of family dynamic previously not explored on American television.  The Fishers spent the five years trying desperately to break through their buttoned-up way of living life. We watched them each week experience triumphs and heartbreaks as they stumbled through life searching and often finding beauty and wonder. Featuring a stellar cast including Michael C. Hall, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Krause, Frances Conroy, Rachel Griffiths, Matthew St. Patrick, Freedy Rodriguez, Jeremy Sisto, Justina Machado, James Cromwell, Lili Taylor, and Richard Jenkins, Six Feet Under taught us how to grieve as well as live each moment out loud.  Six Feet Under also ushered in a new renaissance of American television along with The Sopranos and The Wire.

Check out all five seasons of Alan Ball’s award-winning Six Feet Under in the library’s catalog.