If you are looking for an antidote to the Hunger Games mania, as I was this past week, this less-action-oriented Young Adult dystopia might be worth a read. A 2004 Printz Award and British Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winner, the story is written from the perspective of Daisy, a 15 year-old girl from a not-too-distant future set New York City, who is sent to live with her cousins in the English countryside to get away from her father, her unliked stepmother, and their newborn child. Almost as soon as she is there, the country is invaded and war breaks out, leaving Daisy and her cousins to fend for themselves in what can only be said, without spoiling the plot, to be a truly harrowing experience. Read more »
Halloween is over, but, of course, that doesn't mean you have to stop watching horror movies. Do you like weird, creepy movies that aren't necessarily traditionally 'scary'? If not, you can skip this one. Antiviral is the debut film of Brandon Cronenberg, the son of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg. If you are familiar with the father's work, this one fits right in. If not, he is most well known for what is termed the "body horror" film. Read more »
I always like it when the holds queue runs out on good, recently released movies. What Maisie Knew might be one of the better ones I've seen so far this year. The story concerns a child who is shuttled between caregivers as her parents pay more attention to their careers and bitter custody battle than their own daughter. Based on the 1897novel by Henry James, the film has been updated to present-day New York City (with a few other things changed as well, but it retains the core of the story). The movie is shown mostly from the little girl Maisie's perspective. Though, since she is a young child, the film centers itself around what we as the audience perceive as so-called mature viewers and what she innocently "knows". We don't really know anything about these people outside of what is shown to us, but we come to make judgments about their actions because of how they effect the child. It is an emotional film, constructed in a way to make you feel angry, sad, and hopeful toward the situations the child is put in. Read more »
This is a movie that came out last year about the last days of the court of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI as seen through the eyes of one of her servants. It is based on the bestselling book from 2004. For those of you that like costume dramas, this has plenty to look at (costumes and occasionally what's underneath them), but the film is really concerned with showing the complete lack of organization among those involved at Versailles during the chaotic beginnings of the French Revolution. Read more »
Steven Spielberg's Lincoln currently has more hold requests than any other title in our collection! Whether you are waiting, have seen it already, or just want something else to watch, we have some other movies featuring our 16th President that might be of interest: He is featured briefly in D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, Henry Fonda plays him as a younger man (without the beard) in John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln. Sam Waterston also portrayed him as President in an adaptation of Gore Vidal's Lincoln. If you are specifically interested in the aftermath of his assassination you could try Robert Redford's The Conspirator. And, for some time-travelling non-seriousness, there's always Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure!
Read below for some more films about other U.S. Presidents Read more »
Sound of Noise is an odd, quirky Swedish comedy about 'musical terrorists' (with ideas taken from this Futurist manifesto). I remember missing it at the Ryder film series awhile back, so it caught my eye when I found it on a cart here. The film revolves around a collective of misfit musicians who decide to stage forced public performances for each of the four movements of their 'genius work' entitled "Music for Six Drummers and One City". The plot involves a tone-deaf policeman (from a family of musicians) trying to catch them. This involves a lot of hard-to-believe situations with a lot of amusingly not-quite-laugh-out-loud moments, but the interesting part comes from the choreographed performance pieces. These are all made with found objects as instruments (an oxygen tank, a paper shredder, a bulldozer, etc.). The musician characters have the same names as the actors playing them, presumably because they really performed the music. If you enjoy the clip below, you might like the movie. The DVD extras include several other short performances made outside of the film.
This BBC program from last summer (it aired last September on BBC America) follows the lives of three people who work for an newly created television news program at the BBC in 1956. While I did find it to be a bit slow in parts for a 6 episode series, I enjoyed watching the whole of it - especially the ending (no spoilers here, though). 'The Hour' is the name of the news program created within the show that attempts to challenge the then BBC standard of merely promoting the government's official viewpoint on current events. The plot also revolves around the mysterious death of a friend of the young journalist played by Ben Whishaw. He is, as usual, amazingly good in this, as are the two other leads; Romola Garai, who plays the head producer of the program, and Dominic West, the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time head anchor. If you are at all familiar with BBC programming, many of these shorter series can be standalone pieces, usually with all the episodes written by the same author (This one is actually coming back for a second series sometime later in 2012). The show creator here, Abi Morgan, seems to be an up-and-coming writer for theater, television, and film. Much of the newsroom work on the program gives some insight into Suez Crisis of the period, which I found interesting. For those not necessarily keen on a fictionalized history lesson, there is both a romance angle between several of the characters and some post-WWII, early Cold War espionage spy stuff going on here too. If you enjoy more modern-set period dramas of the BBC, give this one a try.