Acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and executive producers Martin Scorsese (The Departed) and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) present LIFE ITSELF, a documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert – a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful, and transcendent. Based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, LIFE ITSELF, explores the legacy of Roger Ebert’s life, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times to becoming one of the most influential cultural voices in America. (C) Magnolia
The Oscars are upon us this weekend. You may be wondering when we will be getting your favorite films on DVD at the library. Here is a run down of the nominated films and their video release dates on DVD and Blu-ray:
Already in our collection:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
3/6: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
3/17: The Theory of Everything
3/24: Into the Woods
3/31: The Imitation Game
4/28: Wild Last Days in Vietnam
Coming Soon (no release date yet): American Sniper Mr. Turner Selma Still Alice Two Days, Two Nights Unbroken
All around us buzz of genre-bending, genre-busting, genre mash-up, genre-mooshing abounds. You definitely see it in our One Book One Town (OBOT), Station Eleven. In film it’s often difficult to give a movie just one description – hence the term dramedy for a comedy with drama or a drama with comedy. First time director James Ward Byrkit gives us just that – a genre mash-up of Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Drama in his indie film Coherence. From Rotten Tomatoes,
On the night of an astronomical anomaly, eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of reality bending events. Part cerebral sci-fi and part relationship drama, COHERENCE is a tightly focused, intimately shot film whose tension intensely ratchets up as its numerous complex mysteries unfold.
Lots of wonderful forces collide to bring to life the adaptation of Elizabeth Stout’s best-selling novel Olive Kitteridge. Frances McDormand (Fargo) executive produced and stars in the title role for HBO along with Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under). Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), explaining this film can be a pretty hard sell. McDormand’s Olive is a feisty, no-nonsense – ok I’ll say it – nasty woman who barrels through life taking no prisoners. That said, the nuance in performances especially with Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins is nothing short of spectacular. Yes, she is a hard-shelled woman, but there is humanity underneath her rough exterior. She pays attention to life and people around her get second chances as a result. Olive Kitteridge proves once again what a dynamic and versatile actor McDormand is.
Every mean snowstorm has its silver lining. Not only did we get spared yesterday from 30+” of snow, Downton Abbey‘s fifth season was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Yes, you can binge watch the entire season before it airs on PBS. That’s a full 3 1/2 weeks before the final episode airs on February 22, 2015 and more than a month before the extra holiday episode airs on PBS March 1, 2015. So Downtonians take note – your favorite public library has you covered for all your British Costume Drama binge watching. Just be careful what you say around Violet. She might stab you with her retort!
Many critics and film review sites have said The Lego Movie got robbed of an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film. From The Guardian, to Rolling Stone, to Mashable, the critics and the public have weighed in. We have copies of The Lego Movie at Main and Woods in the Adult DVDs (for families) and in the Childrens’ Libraries. Check one out today and decide for yourself.
Ira Sachs’ love story stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as long-term partners who finally get married in New York City after the state recognizes marriage equality. Love is Strange won rave reviews boasting a 94% average critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes,
After nearly four decades together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot in an idyllic wedding ceremony in lower Manhattan. But when George loses his job soon after, the couple must sell their apartment and – victims of the relentless New York City real estate market – temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home. While George moves in with two cops (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez) who live down stairs, Ben lands in Brooklyn with his nephew (Darren Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei), and their temperamental teenage son (Charlie Tahan), with whom Ben shares a bedroom. While struggling with the pain of separation, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements.
Heads up The Princess Bride and House of Cards fans – Robin Wright’s got a new indie out and it’s getting great reviews. The Congress might be thought of as a female version of Birdman with a sci-fi twist. From Rotten Tomatoes,
More than two decades after catapulting to stardom with The Princess Bride, an aging actress (Robin Wright, playing a version of herself) decides to take her final job: preserving her digital likeness for a future Hollywood. Through a deal brokered by her loyal, longtime agent (Harvey Keitel) and the head of Miramount Studios (Danny Huston), her alias will be controlled by the studio, and will star in any film they want with no restrictions. In return, she receives healthy compensation so she can care for her ailing son and her digitized character will stay forever young. Twenty years later, under the creative vision of the studio’s head animator (Jon Hamm), Wright’s digital double rises to immortal stardom. With her contract expiring, she is invited to take part in “The Congress” convention as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema.
What’s not to love about a new film from Hollywood legends Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer? Elsa & Fred follows the story of a recent widower moving into a new complex and meeting a woman who helps him savor life again. From Rotten Tomatoes,
Elsa & Fred is the story of two people who at the end of the road, discover that it’s never too late to love and make dreams come true. Elsa has lived for the past 60 years dreaming of a moment that Fellini had already envisaged: the scene in ‘La Dolce Vita’ at the Fontana di Trevi. The same scene without Anita Ekberg in it, but with Elsa instead. Without Marcello Mastroianni but with that love that took so long to arrive. Fred has always been a good man who did everything he was supposed to do. After losing his wife, he feels disturbed and confused and his daughter decides that it would be best if he moves into a smaller apartment where he ends meeting Elsa. From that moment on, everything changes. Elsa bursts into his life like a whirlwind, determined to teach him that the time he has left to live — be it more or less — is precious and that he should enjoy it as he pleases. Fred surrenders to Elsa’s frenzy, to her youth, to her boldness, to her beautiful madness. And this is how Fred learns how to live. When he learns about Elsa’s terminal illness, he decides to make her dream come true and takes Elsa to Rome to reenact with her the famous scene at the Fontana di Trevi.
It’s going to be cold outside this New Year’s Eve here in Fairfield. Why not stay in and catch up with some great films from 2014? We are open until 5pm on Wednesday, December 31st. Our Express DVD section has popular and critically acclaimed titles from the past six months. If you need help, here is a list compiled from several end of the year favorite film lists. Copies of all of these films are in our catalog:
Best of 2014: (selections from Indiewire, Wired, Rolling Stone, Metacritic, and The Atlantic)
A Most Wanted Man
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Cold in July
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dear White People
Ernest & Célestine
The Fault in Our Stars
Finding Vivian Maier
Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Normal Heart
Only Lovers Left Alive
The Skeleton Twins
Venus in Fur
We are the Best!
Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy new year.