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.

 

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.