May 02

Director spotlight: Alfred Hitchcock

hitchcock iconPerhaps no other director in the history of cinema captured the hearts and scared the wits out of movie goers more than Alfred Hitchcock. Beginning with his first British film in 1925 and continuing through an illustrious career including Shadow of a Doubt, Suspicion, Spellbound, Notorious, Rope, Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, and Marnie, film goers marveled at his expertise for nearly a century. In total Hitchcock directed 58 films spanning most of the 20th Century through his death in 1980. To this day, no one can match the suspense of Hitch nor can they elicit the fright of an audience simply by implying rather than showing the terror or gore. Alfred Hitchcock was one of a kind and his films really are timeless classics.

Check out our list of Hitchcock films and books in the library catalog.

Apr 29

The Americans – Season 1

The_Americans_season_1_DVDfrom Matt Zoller Seitz at Vulture,

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.

Read the entire review at Vulture.
Check out the first season of The Americans in our catalog.

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 22

Austenland

austenlandfrom 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

Find the DVD Austenland in our catalog.
Find Jane Austen books and related Austen items in our catalog.

Apr 17

Mad Men and Nurse Jackie

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.

Find Mad Men in our catalog.
Discover Nurse Jackie in our catalog.

mad men s7nurse jackie s6

Apr 15

Philomena

philomenaDirector 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.

Find Philomena in our library 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.

Apr 01

New documentaries

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)
Sports (Knuckleball)
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.

doc selection 03 2014

Stop by today and see what’s on the shelf in our Express (New Release) section.

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.