Music and Movies Newsletter for April

We are sure our selection of the latest music and movies to hit the collection will help keep you entertained over the wet season, enjoy!

Library News

DVDs

New DVDs for April include the acclaimed documentaries Blackfish and The Human Scale, the latest entry in the Hunger Games franchise, White House historical drama The Butler, and a biography of popular singer Jeff Buckley.

Cover imageBlackfish.
“A mesmerising psychological thriller with a killer whale at its centre, Blackfish is the first film since Grizzly Man to show how nature can get revenge on man when pushed to its limits. Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the mulit-billion dollar sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.” (Publishers Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageThe hunger games. Catching fire.
“When it comes to blockbuster franchises, the first sequel frequently offers pumped-up versions of the initial thrills–to diminishing results. Catching Fire, however, the second adaptation drawn from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, defies that trend with more finely drawn relationships. Despite her best efforts to feign romance with her co-competitor and to keep posttraumatic stress at bay, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) fears that Katniss’s defiant nature will incite rebellion, so he takes a tip from new gamemaker Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and launches a Quarter Quell in which past champions, such as the hilariously bitter Johanna (Jena Malone) and the deceptively arrogant Finnick (Sam Claflin), will fight to the death. Not all tributes are quite so young, like Mags (Lynn Cohen), a senior citizen who suits up for battle and establishes a touching bond with Finnick (Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer play the craftiest teammates). Until the cliffhanger ending, director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) serves up an array of splendors, from killer baboons to the ever-amazing outfits of Effie and Caesar (Stanley Tucci). Most significantly, the script from cowriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) strengthens the bonds between Katniss and Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who prove themselves more worthy than ever of Katniss’s affections.” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageThe butler.
The Butler tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man’s life and family. Forest Whitaker stars as the butler with Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, and many more. Academy Award® nominated Lee Daniels (Precious) directs and co-wrote the script with Emmy®-award winning Danny Strong (Game Change).” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageGreetings from Tim Buckley.
“In 1991, Jeff Buckley rehearses for his public singing debut at a Brooklyn tribute concert for his father, the late folk singer Tim Buckley. Struggling with the legacy of a man he barely knew, Jeff forms a friendship with an enigmatic young woman and begins to discover the powerful potential of his own musical voice. Filled with stirring musical performances and the memorable songs of a father and son who were each among the most beloved singer/songwriters of their respective generations.” (From Library Catalogue)

Cover imageAlan Partridge: Alpha papa.
“Steve Coogan’s legendary chat show host and broadcaster finally receives the big screen treatment in this comedy directed by Declan Lowney. Occupying a career stasis-defining role as a mid-morning DJ on North Norfolk Digital Radio, Alan Partridge (Coogan)’s hopes for one last shot at the big time suffer a severe setback when it emerges that his employers have been taken over by a giant media conglomerate. Alan soon finds himself back in the spotlight, however, when newly-sacked fellow DJ Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) returns to the studio with a shotgun and begins taking hostages. Called in by the police to act as a hostage negotiator, can Britain’s most famous Toblerone addict turn the tables and finally save the day?” (Library catalogue)

Cover imageDetachment.
“Still best known for American History X, a film he tried to have his name removed from, director Tony Kaye’s work has remained consistent and interesting ever since. It’s been a lot lower profile too. Detachment is a case in point. Whereas American films about teachers taking on an unruly class in a trouble school generally end with either Oscar nominations or a hit single, Detachment is a lot more serious, and consequently more interesting, about its work. It follows a brilliant teacher, played by Adrien Brody, who goes from school to school as a substitute, rather than committing and getting attached to the one place. That inevitably changes, but the film’s viewpoint on life doesn’t. There’s no gloss here, rather a superbly acted, down to earth drama, that has as much to say about the school system it’s portraying as it does its individual characters. It’s a shame that Detachment got such a low-key cinema release, something reflected in the straightforward disc debut too. There are a few extras here, but nothing that adds a great deal to the package. That’s a pity too, as the film is superb, courageous, and quite brilliantly acted. Brody is as good here as he was in his Oscar-winning turn in The Pianist, and Detachment deserves all the exposure it can get.” (From Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageThe human scale.
“50 % of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050 this will increase to 80%. Life in a mega city is both enchanting and problematic. Today we face peak oil, climate change, loneliness and severe health issues due to our way of life. But why? The Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl has studied human behavior in cities through 40 years. He has documented how modern cities repel human interaction, and argues that we can build cities in a way, which takes human needs for inclusion and intimacy into account.The Human Scalemeets thinkers, architects and urban planners across the globe. It questions our assumptions about modernity, exploring what happens when we put people into the center of our planning.” (From Syndetics summary)

Read more

Film and television books

This month our selection of new books includes how to make and market your own web series, the first in the new “If you like…” series that collects more than 200 movies you’ll like if you love the Terminator movies.

Syndetics book coverIf you like the The Terminator– here are over 200 movies, TV shows, and other oddities that you will love / Scott Von Doviak.
“Here is the first book to explore the spectacular array of films, television shows, and other works that helped inspire The Terminator , as well as those that have drawn inspiration from it. If You Like The Terminator … delves into the history of science-fiction cinema, from its earliest days to the golden age of the 1950s and beyond, encountering killer robots, time travelers and postapocalyptic wastelands along the way. This turbo-charged journey through time also reviews the improbable career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, revisits the action heroes of the 1980s, and reevaluates the films of James Cameron, before touching down in the computer-dominated realm of today’s science fiction cinema and projecting the future of the Terminator franchise. From Metropolis to The Matrix , from Frankenstein to RoboCop , from H. G. Wells and Harlan Ellison to Roger Corman and Roland Emmerich, you’ll find them all here in If You Like The Terminator.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverWeb TV series : how to make and market them / Dan Williams.
“Online distributors – such as YouTube, Hulu, and Funny or Die – are interested in acquiring web series (episodic digital entertainment, like mini-TV shows) that attract audiences and appeal to advertisers. Web TV Series… How to Make and Market Them provides advice and expertise to help readers create their own original, successful online shows – projects that can be profitable, potentially developed into film or television properties, and help to start a career in the industry. Readers will learn how to develop characters and stories designed for new media platforms, and find tips for planning, shooting, and editing that are tailored specifically to web series production. This book also extensively covers the latest distribution platforms and social media marketing strategies.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComedy by the numbers : the 169 secrets of humor and popularity / [edited] by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren.
“Being funny is hard work: just ask Gary Rudoren and Eric Hoffman. Like many people, they once believed that comedy was simply a matter of coming up with “zingers” and “jokes.” But after countless hours of painstaking research, they’ve discovered that true creativity is derived from simple formulas and the memorization of data. Their groundbreaking new book makes the secrets of comedy accessible to all, not only to the naturally funny, but to those who lack the ability or talent to be funny.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSexbombs. Golden boys. Vol. 1, Sexiest men ever / [authors, Paul G. Roberts … [et al.]]
“In this edition (the first of four) we revisit the compelling mystery of the male sex symbol in a lavish fashion. The lives and legends of Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Elvis Presley, Harrison Ford, Clark, Gable Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Rudolph Valentino, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Jim Morrison, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Tom Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, George Clooney, Mick Jagger.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverSexbombs. Sirens. Vol. 2, Sexiest women ever / [authors, Paul G. Roberts … [et al.]].
“Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Jane Russell, Jayne Mansfield, Ursula Andress, Mata Hari, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Ann-Margaret, Bettie Page, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Mae West, Betty Grable, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Madonna, Lauren Bacall. To be a star you need to rouse the senses, but to be a siren you must touch the heart. The intensity of human beauty concentrated in the most famous female sex symbols of the twentieth century is matched by their vulnerability, their daring and their sheer courage.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverTales from development hell : the greatest movies never made? / David Hughes.
“A compulsively readable journey into the area of movie-making where all writers, directors and stars fear to tread: Development Hell, the place where scripts are written, actors hired and sets designed… but the movies rarely actually get made! Whatever happened to Darren Aronofsky’s Batman movie starring Clint Eastwood? Why were there so many scripts written over the years for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s fourth Indiana Jones movie? Why was Lara Croft’s journey to the big screen so tortuous, and what prevented Paul Verhoeven from filming what he calls “one of the greatest scripts ever written”? Why did Ridley Scott’s Crisis in the Hot Zone collapse days away from filming, and were the Beatles really set to star in Lord of the Rings?” (description from Amazon.com)

Read more

Popular Music

New CDs for March include the critically acclaimed return of Beck; new albums from Rosanne Cash & St. Vincent.

Cover imageThe river & the thread.
“Produced by and co-written with John Leventhal, this album marks Cash’s Decca/Blue Note debut. ‘The River & The Thread’ is Rosanne Cash s first album in more than four years. Cash wrote the album s 11 original songs with her longtime collaborator (and husband) John Leventhal, who also served as producer, arranger and guitarist. With The River & The Thread , Cash turns her attention to American lives and locations. The album richly evokes the Southern landscape physical, musical, emotional and examines the indelible impressions it has made on our own collective culture and on Cash. The River & The Thread is sweeping in its breadth, capturing a unique, multi-generational cast of characters, from a Civil War soldier off to fight in Virginia to a New Deal-era farmer in Arkansas to a contemporary Mobile, AL couple. While Cash and Leventhal found inspiration in the many musical styles associated with the South swampy Delta blues, gospel, Appalachian folk, country and rock, to name a few this is a completely contemporary collection. ‘If I never make another album I will be content, because I made this one’, says Cash of The River & The Thread , which is a marked departure from her earlier works.” (Abridged from publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageSt. Vincent.
“St. Vincent – aka Annie Clark — is releasing her self-titled fourth album which follows her last solo release, 2011’s Strange Mercy. The record’s 11 tracks showcase Clark at her most assured and gripping, as she meshes distorted, aggressive electric guitars and ethereal vocal and synthesizer arrangements on top of an infectious rhythm section and relentless percussion. “I knew the groove needed to be paramount”, Clark says of the album, which she arranged and demoed extensively in Austin before heading into the studio in Dallas to record. She enlisted Dap-Kings drummer Homer Steinweiss and frequent collaborator McKenzie Smith of Midlake to share percussion duties, while she returned to producer John Congleton to take the sonic potential they’d only just begun to tap with Strange Mercy into dramatic new territory. “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.”” (Publishers description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageMorning phase.
“Morning Phase is true to its title: the beginning of yet another amazing chapter in Beck’s peerless career and catalogue. Featuring musicians who have backed him on many of his most acclaimed albums, as well as the current live shows widely hailed as the best of his career (Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Jason Falkner), Morning Phase harkens back to the stunning harmonies, song craft and staggering emotional impact of Beck’s most classic ballads, all the while surging forward with undeniable optimism. “…one of his best: a tenderly stunning song cycle of languid, prairie-dusted psychedelia that recalls Beck’s reflective 2002 classic, Sea Change.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

Read more

Buyer’s Choice

New on the Buyer’s radar this month includes a couple of up-coming kiwi works including Richard Jackson’s (who we recently interviewed) Confessions Of A Terrorist.

Syndetics book cover
Cairo affair
Wow, this one sounds exciting! Espinonage, romance, drama, set in Egypt. With the CIA, assassinations, secrets and love affirs. It’s about the shooting of an American diplomat in Hungary and the repercussions from this, leading all the way to Cairo. And then it starts to get complicated. Described as a ’spy procedural’ and John Le Carre-esque. It was an ‘Amazon Best Book of the Month’ in March.

Syndetics book coverPurgatory
Rosetta Allan is an Auckland based writer, who has already published two books of poetry. This is her first work of fiction and it is a ghost story of sorts. John Finnegan was murdered, along with his brothers and mother, and they were buried in the family’s garden. They are all stuck there to watch life unfold around them, including the life of their murderer James Stack. (The story is based on the gruesome true crime that occured in Otahuhu in 1865). I think it sounds great!

Syndetics book coverConfessions of a terrorist
Richard Jackson is a bit of an expert on terrorism – he’s Deputy Director at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University and has written several academic books about terrorism. This is also his first work of fiction. It’s a gripping psychological thriller centred around a terrorist and his interrorgator, a British intelligence officer. Looks good, and Jackson’s knowledge of the subject lends it a depth and drama.

Read more