Staff Picks DVDs for December

Have a browse of some new Staff Pick DVDs for the end of the year. Watch out for our picks for the Best Library DVDs of 2015 in January!

Cover imageRevenge. The complete fourth and final season.
Emily Thorne’s, (aka Amanda Clarke) cycle of revenge is coming to an end or is it? Season four of Revenge opens six months after the events of the season three finale. Emily is living in Grayson Manor and Victoria is committed to a mental hospital desperately trying to escape. For the past three years, Emily has worked to take down all of the people that played a part in framing her father. She has finally taken down the Grayson’s only to discover that her father is alive. The problem is that Victoria gets to him first and takes her own revenge by feeding him lies about Emily and leaving him in the dark that she is actually his daughter. The question on everyone’s lips is: Will father and daughter reunite? Will David finally see through Victoria’s lies? Can Emily’s soul be saved? and where has David been most of Emily’s life? Watch the gripping and final conclusion to this amazing series, where Victoria and Emily embark on the mother of epic showdowns where countless lives are ruined and destroyed and that finally ends in a bloodbath, where only one victor will remain standing. Overall I thought Season Four was a good finish to the series. I think people who are a fan of the show will be happy with the overall conclusion. (Katie)

StaffPicksDVDs7Bosch. Season one.
One of the original Amazon series pilots that debuted in 2014 was this adaptation of Michael Connelly’s popular series of crime novels featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch. The show adapted Bosch’s character somewhat, and also takes the unusual approach of merging plots from 3 separate Connelly novels (City of Bones, Echo Park, and The Concrete Blonde) into one narrative which, as you might expect, feels a bit forced at times. The first few episodes are pretty rough and some characters aren’t how you imagine them from the books. But it settles down a bit after that and delivers a solid procedural as Bosch (Titus Welliver) investigates the discovery in the woods of the bones of a small boy who was horribly abused and beaten. Meanwhile, creepy serial killer Raynard Waits uses his supposed knowledge of the crime to his own advantage…Unfortunately not as great as it could have been but still worth a watch if you are a fan of the books. The series was renewed for a second season, which will take inspiration from Connelly’s novels Trunk Music, The Drop, and The Last Coyote. (Mark)

Cover imageSan Andreas.
This is an action movie starring The Rock, (Dwayne Johnson). The story is about The Rock who is an ex-army helicopter pilot who has separated from his wife and family. They struggled after the loss of another daughter. The wife has a new partner. Their other daughter has gone up to San Francisco when a huge earthquake hits. A 9.plus. Lots of shaking and special effects. The race is on for Dwayne and his ex-wife to race up and find their daughter from Los Angeles to San Francisco, whilst battling earth’s shakes, Tsunamis. This is a movie where you need to forget reality to watch. The plot does have some resemblance to 2012. Really good though if you enjoy disaster movies and like Dwayne Johnson. (Brigid)

Cover imageKingsman. The secret service.
We recently watched ‘The Kingsman’ with Samuel L Jackson and a very thin Colin Firth. It is a good spoof of the Bond movies. Fantastic scene at the end. Anyone in customer service would probably like some chips for difficult customers. (Pru)

Cover image’71.
Gripping UK thriller set in the time of the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland. The story begins with young British soldier Gary Hook training with his platoon, about to be sent into the ‘deteriorating’ situation in Belfast. Almost as soon as he enters the fray, however, he is separated from his unit during a Belfast riot. Unarmed and injured in hostile territory, he’s got to survive the night and find a way back to his HQ. Those hostile to the British are pursuing him, those sympathetic to his cause are scared to help him because of reprisals, and certain forces on his side are playing both ends against the middle. Who can he trust & how will he survive the night. A gritty, tense, extremely exciting thriller. Recommended. (Mark)

Cover imageOutlander. Season one, Volume two.
This is the 2nd part of the first series which makes up the entire book of Cross stitch or ‘Outlander’. Diana Gabaldon (author was involved in this series). It is true to the book. The story of Clare and Jaimie’s love and marriage carry on. Clare learns that the expectations on her in the 1740’s marriage are very different from the 1940’s. The series starts with Jamie looking at his life and love for Clare and he soon realises that They need to treat each other differently than his own parents treated each other. Both of them face different consequences of living in a country which is occupied by the British and live through horrific torture common of the time. Jamie has a great sacrifice to make to save Clare. There are some very brutal scenes including rape scenes. Not for the faint hearted and definitely an R.18. Some very dark and haunting parts. Also available in a Complete First Season edition. The second series is out in 2016. (Brigid)

Cover imageLove & mercy.
Excellent music biopic from director Bill Pohlad on famed ‘Beach Boys’ vocalist Brian Wilson, one of the most iconic and apocryphal figures in 20th century popular music scripted by Oren Moverman, who had previously found success with the impressionistic Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There. The film, deriving its title from a 1988 song by Wilson, is presented in a parallel narrative covering two specific time periods in Wilson’s life: the 1960s and the 1980s. In the mid-60s young Brian (Paul Dano) begins a slow mental collapse as the voices and sounds in his head begin to take over his life & destroy his creativity. Meanwhile in the 1980s old Brian (John Cusack) is alone and isolated from his family, under the control & guardianship of his corrupt therapist Dr. Landy (played by Paul Giamatti). But he then meets a woman (Elizabeth Banks) at a used car dealership who begins to change his life. The more knowledge you have of The Beach Boys and Wilson the more you will enjoy this film, but its structure is deliberately set up so that even if you know little about the man or his music it’s still a fascinating and highly enjoyable film, and a unique way to approach this type of story. (Mark)

Cover imageDeathgasm.
Deathgasm is a newly-released kiwi heavy metal comedy-horror directed by Jason Lei Howden. The story centres on teenage metalhead Brodie and his misfit mates who unintentionally summon an ancient demon after discovering a satantic riff from hell! Chaos ensues and with the help of his bandmates and love interest Medina, Brodie must defeat the evil and end the demonic zombie apocalypse. Can he win the girl? Will they even survive?? Jam-packed full of great laughs and a fantastic soundtrack featuring Wellington’s own ‘Bulletbelt’, ‘Razorwyre’ and ‘Beastwars’ – this hilarious splatter-fest is awesome fun and well worth checking out! (Theresa)

Cover imageMarshland.
Excellent Spanish thriller directed by Alberto Rodríguez, that won ten Goya Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor (Javier Gutiérrez). Set in Spain’s deep south in 1980, as the Fascist government has recently been replaced by a new democracy, two ideologically opposed detectives are sent to a small town to investigate the disappearance of two teenage girls during the town’s annual festivities. With the discovery of more missing girls the film soon evokes comparison to the Korean classic Memories of Murder & also to Season 1 of True Detective, though the film began shooting at the same time as that show. Full of brooding suspense and atmosphere with amazing cinematography of the rural region – including some amazing aerial shots that show the scope of the natural environment. Definitely recommended to anyone who enjoyed the first season of ‘True Detective’. (Mark)

Cover imageInside out.
Produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures. ‘Inside Out’ is set in the mind of a young girl, Riley Andersen (Kaitlyn Dias), where five personified emotions—Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling)—try to lead her through life as her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) move the family to a new city. Overall a cute movie that provides a very funny interpretation of what happens in the human mind when emotions set in, what roles each our emotions play in our personalities, how we communicate and form relationships with people. Some very funny moments in the film, especially when Anger loses his temper, Disgust’s sarcastic and cynical behaviour and finding what role, (Spoiler: Very important role), Sadness plays. Rated: 8/10. (Katie)

Cover imageEx_machina.
Intelligent sci-fi flick which marks the directorial debut by 28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go, and Sunshine writer Alex Garland, Young programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a competition at his bosses company to take part in the experiment. When he arrives at the remote facility he meets Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the eccentric tech genius behind the world biggest search engine. He learns that Nathan’s next project is the creation of an Artificial intelligence, and that he has been brought there to evaluate the human qualities of a female A.I called ‘Ava’ (Alicia Vikander). The scenes shift from room to room as the tension ratchets up between the characters, even though they are never all together in the same place. Intelligent & tense, exploring similar themes to other recent UK shows such as Black Mirror & Humans.(Mark)

Cover imageNot suitable for children.
This is a darkly funny story about a young Australian man in his 20’sish who is busy living the party/ music lifestyle when he discovers that he has testicular cancer. He cannot store his fertility so has a month to find someone willing to have a child with him. Here comes the soul-searching challenge for him. It is a very unusual story. In parts it was very funny and thought provoking. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of testicular cancer in the world. But Testicular cancer is also one of the more survivable cancers. This movie is worth a watch. Contains sex scenes. (Brigid)

Cover imageThe affair. Season one.
A man (Domenic West) and a woman (Ruth Wilson) are being separately interviewed in a police interrogation room. Someone is dead, though no details are given. Slowly the policeman draws from them the details of how they first met and began an affair some years previously… Noah (West) is an ostensibly happily married man with a wife (Maura Tierney) & 4 children, a blue collar New York city schoolteacher who has published one novel some years previously to little acclaim. However he is stuck on his second book and resents the wealth of his in-laws who support his lifestyle and children. While vising at their house in the resort town of Montauk on Long Island, he meets waitress Alison (Wilson) who is stuck in a disintegrating marriage to Cole (Joshua Jackson), the leading son of a prominent local family, and locked in an endless cycle of grief over the loss of a child. The story of ‘The Affair’ is told separately, complete with deliberately distinct memory biases, from Noah’s and Alison’s perspective – with the ensuing police investigation explored in brief future scenes at the end of most episodes. With superb acting from the two leads, ‘The Affair’ is an adult drama that deals with the pressures of marriage and responsibility, and the cost of desire and betrayal. Season Two will expand the shows ‘perspectives’ to include those of the betrayed spouses Tierney & Jackson. Recommended. (Mark)

Cover imageThe Fisher king.
The DVD that I recently watched was an old one of Robin Williams’s called ‘The Fisher King’. Great, funny and poignant. (Maxine)

Cover imageMan up.
This is the latest from Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Paul, Hector & the search for Happiness) fame. It is a comedy. Story is about Jack who is in his 40’s recently divorced has a date with a young woman whom he thinks has been arranged for him by a match-maker friend. The woman he meets (36 year old Nancy) ends up there by a big mix-up. But pretends to be who he thinks she is. This is a really funny relationship comedy. Worth a watch. (Brigid)