Some new DVDs to arrive at the library this month include the film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel ‘The Help’, as well as two new comedies that take a skewed look at romance & dating ( Friends With Benefits’ & ‘Crazy Stupid Love’). Also on our list for February: a new adaptation of the classic ‘Jane Eyre’, a documentary on the New York Times and the changing face of media, and the new Michael Winterbottom movie ‘The Trip’. Enjoy!
Page one: inside the New York Times.
“With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source and newspapers going bankrupt, Page One chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. Writers like the salty but brilliant David Carr track print journalism’s metamorphosis even as their own paper struggles to stay vital and solvent. Meanwhile, their editors and publishers grapple with existential challenges from players like WikiLeaks, new platforms ranging from Twitter to tablet computers, and readers’ expectations that news online should be free. Page One skilfully paints a nuanced picture of journalists continuing to produced extraordinary work – under increasingly difficult circumstances. At the heart of the film is the burning question on the minds of everyone who cares about a rigorous press: what will happen if the fast-moving future of media leaves behind the fact-based, original reporting that helps to define our society?” (Container)
“Charlotte Brontë’s Victorian romance is no stranger to the silver screen, but Sin Nombre director Cary Fukunaga’s affecting and beautifully mounted adaptation is among the best. Sometimes, casting can make all the difference. In this case, Australia’s Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) plays the determined Jane Eyre opposite Ireland’s Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank) as the world-weary Edward Rochester (neither actor betrays their country of origin). Fukunaga begins with Jane’s escape from Rochester’s High Gothic Thornfield Hall before flashing back to the days when the plainspoken orphan lived with her cruel and resentful aunt (an unsympathetic Sally Hawkins). The aunt ships her off to a loveless charity school, where she still manages to receive a fine education, after which she lands a position as governess for Rochester’s ward, Adèle. Though his housekeeper (Dame Judi Dench, excellent) makes Jane feel welcome, the brooding Rochester attempts to mock and demean her, but the quick-witted 19-year-old can hold her own…(Adapted from Amazon.com description)
Crazy, stupid, love.
“Crazy, Stupid, Love is a romantic comedy with a big heart — a refreshing change from its Hangover-laden compatriots, and almost a throwback to a golden era of romance. For Crazy, Stupid, Love relies on the sharp writing by Dan Fogelman (animated hits like Bolt, Tangled) and the sparkly chemistry of its cast, led by Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and the emerging superstar Emma Stone. It’s not that the plot is ground-breaking — maybe, in fact, the appeal of Crazy, Stupid, Love is that it’s all too relatable. Cal (Carell) is long married to Emily (Moore), until one day she drops divorce on him, out of the blue. Stunned, Cal tries to reassemble his life as a woefully unprepared single guy. Enter Jacob (Gosling, who’s never been better) as a happy bachelor whose tips for Cal will be ones that even the most happily wed female viewers will secretly want their mates to hear. Marisa Tomei has a hilarious turn as a temptress who’s way out of Cal’s league. And Stone is the fresh-faced, fearless young woman who shakes the confident Jacob’s supposedly solid world view…(Adapted from Amazon.com description)
Friends with benefits.
“Much like his earlier Easy A, Friends with Benefits is a clever, just-this-side-of-painfully-hip relationship comedy that knows when to linger over a punch line and when not to break stride…The story in a nutshell: frustrated by the lack of viable dating options in their vicinity, two platonic friends (Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake) decide to embark on a casual, no-strings-attached physical relationship. However, as a briefly glimpsed clip from Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice foreshadows, things don’t stay simple for very long. ..As in Easy A, Gluck has assembled a fantastically game supporting cast, including Woody Harrelson, Jenna Elfman, and especially the great Richard Jenkins and Patricia Clarkson as two vastly different parental figures, but it’s really the two leads’ show. Whether arguing the virtues of the band Kriss Kross or engaging in activities unprintable on an all-ages website, Timberlake and Kunis display the snappy back-and-forth of a classic cinematic coupling. When they’re cooking, you don’t want to be anywhere else…(Adapted from Amazon.com description)
“Based on the book by Joe Dunthorne, Submarine is a terrific British coming of age drama, with an outstanding central performance by relative newcomer Craig Roberts. The film tells the story of Roberts’ character, Oliver Tate, a 15-year old who’s something of a social outcast. However, he’s a social outcast who appears to have attracted the attention of Jordana, played by Yasmin Paige. Naturally, things aren’t quite that simple, and their story is played out engagingly over the ensuing hour and a half. It’s refreshing that the path of the characters doesn’t tread predictable lines, too. What’s remarkable about Submarine isn’t just the performances, though. For it’s hard not to be won over by the confidence and skill of first-time writer-director Richard Ayoade. Ayoade is, of course, best known for playing Moss in The I.T. Crowd, but he’s got an even brighter future behind the camera on this evidence. It’s a terrific piece of work. The characters are believable, the story well done, and there are welcome dashes of humour, too, not least from Paddy Considine’s small but impactful role in the film. Submarine is, ultimately, a diligently balanced comedy drama, and a special one at that. Warmly recommended. (From Amazon.co.uk description)
“An improvised tour of the north of England reunites comedy favourites Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. In the style of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the story is fictional but based around their real personas. When Steve is commissioned by the food supplement of a Sunday newspaper to review half a dozen restaurants, he decides to mix work with pleasure and plans a trip around the north with his food-loving American girlfriend. But when she decides to leave him and return to the States, Steve is faced with a week of meals for one, not quite the trip he had in mind. Reluctantly, he calls Rob, the only person he can think of who will be available. Never one to turn down a free lunch (let alone six), Rob agrees and together they set off for a culinary adventure. Over the course of six meals at six different restaurants in and around the Lake District, Lancashire and the Yorkshire Dales, the ultimate odd couple find themselves debating the big questions of life, such as how did I get to be here and where do I go next, over a series of culinary delights. (From Amazon.co.uk description)
How I ended this summer.
“Set against the spectacular, otherworldly landscape of the windswept Arctic Circle, writer/director Alexei Popogrebsky’s multi-award winning psychological drama How I Ended This Summer is an immersive and compelling morality tale of isolation and survival against the elements. Russian heartthrob Grigory Dobrygin stars as Pavel, a young graduate posted to a remote meteorological station over the summer months. His gruff, non-communicative co-worker Sergei (Sergei Puskepalis) takes pride in the repetitive work and is rattled by Pavel’s youthful carelessness and complacency, but the two go about their shared day-to-day lives, albeit with a heavy dose of mutual distrust. But when Pavel receives a gravely urgent radio message that out of panic, fear and intimidation he fails to pass on, he inadvertently triggers a series of events that spin inexorably out of control…” (Adapted from container)
“There are male viewers who will enjoy The Help, but Mississippi native Tate Taylor aims his adaptation squarely at the female readers who made Kathryn Stockett’s novel a bestseller. If the multi-character narrative revolves around race relations in the Kennedy-era South, the perspective belongs to the women. Veteran maid Aibileen (Doubt‘s Viola Davis in an Oscar-worthy performance) provides the heartfelt narration that brackets the story. A widow devastated by the death of her son, she takes pride in the 17 children she has helped to raise, but she’s hardly fulfilled. That changes when Skeeter (Easy A‘s Emma Stone) returns home after college. Unlike her peers, Skeeter wants to work, so she gets a job as a newspaper columnist. But she really longs to write about Jackson’s domestics, so she meets with Aibileen in secret — after much cajoling and the promise of anonymity….leading to a book that scandalizes the town — in a good way. Not since Steel Magnolias has Hollywood produced a Southern woman’s picture more likely to produce buckets of tears (and almost as many laughs). (Adapted from Amazon.com description)
”Two-time Academy Award® winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with two-time Academy Award® winner Mel Gibson in The Beaver – an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track…until a beaver hand puppet enters his life.” (From Amazon.co.uk description)
”Beautiful Boy is an unconventional love story that explores the journey of a married couple on the verge of separation, who must live with unimaginable heartbreak, and find healing through the darkest days of their lives. Bill (Michael Sheen) and Kate (Maria Bello) hopelessly try to find some hint of an explanation after finding out that their only son committed a mass shooting at his university before taking his own life. They struggle numbly through the funeral, the media onslaught, and the awkward pity from relatives and friends. Their already strained marriage is tested as they realize all they have left with each other is their shared grief and confusion – and the unfortunate legacy of their son. This life-altering event forces Bill and Kate to face their feelings of guilt, rage, blame, self-discovery – and ultimately hope – so that they can finally see each other and their chance for happiness again with clear eyes.” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)