News Blog > DVDs

New DVDs this month

Some classy crime among the new DVDs as Rowan Atkinson takes on the role of the classic Detective Maigret, the BBC version of Sherlock Holmes returns for another season, and Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano is back for one last season. New movies also include the latest edition of the Star Wars franchise, the old fashioned romantic drama of ‘Allied’, and the acclaimed Ken Loach film ‘I, Daniel Blake’; while new TV includes the 2nd season of the critically acclaimed FX series ‘The Americans’ which has finally been released here.

Maigret.
Maigret sets a trap – Montmartre, Paris. A serial killer is stalking the streets. Five women are dead and the people are afraid to go out after dark. The newspapers are rife with speculation. And Chief Inspector Maigret is without a lead and under great pressure… Maigret’s dead man – One February morning, an agitated man calls the Police judiciary asking for Maigret. He claims he’s being followed by someone trying the kill him. The night, his body is found, his face badly beaten, stabbed to death. Ridden with guilt for not having ‘saved’ his dead man, Maigret is determined to find the murderer.” (Syndetics summary)

Sherlock. Series four.
“Sherlock returns with three brand-new feature length episodes, promising laughter, tears, shocks, surprises and extraordinary cases. The eagerly anticipated fourth series, produced by Hartswood Films, begins with the nation’s favourite detective, the mercurial Sherlock Holmes, back once more on British soil. Meanwhile, Doctor Watson and his wife, Mary, prepare for their biggest ever challenge – becoming parents for the first time. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman reprise their iconic roles as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in the hit drama written and created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” (Mightyape.co.nz)

Fantastic beasts and where to find them.
“It opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.” (Syndetics summary)

Inspector Montalbano. Volume 7.
“The brooding and moody yet somehow magnificent Luca Zingaretti returns for one final series. This time around, the new Montalbano films will be released in 2 segments Volume 7 will feature 2 films, A Delicate Matter and The Mud Pyramid.” (Syndetics summary)

I, Daniel Blake.
“From acclaimed director Ken Loach comes this astonishing story of triumph and adversity in modern day Britain. Daniel Blake has worked as a joiner for most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with single mother Katie who is battling to keep her two young children fed. Daniel and Katie find themselves in a no-man’s land, striving to pull themselves out of the welfare bureaucracy of modern day Britain. Award winning and critically lauded, I, Daniel Blake is the vital film for our times.”–eOne.

Little men.
“Jake (Theo Taplitz) is a quiet, sensitive middle schooler with dreams of being an artist. He meets the affably brash Tony (Michael Barbieri) at his grandfather’s fu­neral, and the unlikely pair soon hit it off. The budding friendship is put at risk, however, when a rent dispute between Jake’s father, Brian (Greg Kinnear), and Tony’s mother, Leonor (Paulina Garcia), threatens to become contentious.” (Mightyape.co.nz)

Rogue One : a Star Wars story.
“In a period of great conflict, a group of unlikely heroes led by Jyn Erso, a daring fugitive, and Cassian Andor, a rebel spy, band together on a desperate mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAllied.
“The story of intelligence officer Max Vatan, who in 1942 North Africa encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Reunited in London, their relationship is threatened by the extreme pressures of the war.” (Syndetics summary)

The Americans. The complete second season.
“Technological advances have escalated Cold War tensions to an all-time high, and undercover KGB operatives Elizabeth and Philip Jennings face the growing threat of discovery. As their assignments grow more deadly, their family is in more danger, and their loyalties are tested like never before.” (Syndetics summary)

Humans. 2.0.
“Humans is set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘synth’–a highly–developed robotic servant eerily similar in appearance to humans. These incredible machines share our homes, our jobs and our lives and so become the objects of our fear, hatred, lust and even love. The Hawkins family struggles to put past events behind them. Their efforts are complicated further when they are unexpectedly drawn into battles being waged by their old conscious synth friends. As their emotional capabilities expand, the synths are pushed to the limit as they confront huge moral questions about their place in the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Music and Movies Newsletter for April

Coming up soon is ComicFest, our big comic and cartoon event! Plus, there are now tablets you can borrow from the library.  Also check out the hand picked recent DVD, music CDs and book selections.

Library News

DVDs

New DVDs include Bryan Cranston in the autobiographical ‘The Infiltrator’, an adaptation of the hugely popular novel ‘The Girl on the Train’, new seasons of ‘Elementary’ & ‘Wayward Pines’ and a new quirky Italian mystery series.

The infiltrator.
“Bryan Cranston stars in this crime drama based on US Customs official Robert Mazur’s autobiography. The film follows Mazur (Cranston) as he goes undercover to infiltrate the money laundering operations of drug lord Pablo Escobar. Assuming the identity of successful businessman Bob Musella, Mazur promotes himself as the man who can turn dirty cash into clean. By laundering money for the drug cartels he hopes he will be led directly to the most powerful men at the top of the chain. In his new role as an undercover agent, Bob sets up complex networks of investments to protect the drug dealers’ money and as he works his way up Escobar’s organisation he is forced to go to new lengths to protect his cover and continue his mission.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)
The girl on the train.
“Rachel, devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasising about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds. The Girl On The Train is a darkly addictive thriller based on the international publishing phenomenon.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)
Blood father.
“After her drug kingpin boyfriend frames her for stealing a fortune in cartel cash, 17 year old LYDIA goes on the run, with only one ally in this whole wide world: her perennial screw-up of a dad, JOHN LINK, who’s been a motorcycle outlaw, and a convict in his time, and now is determined to keep his little girl from harm and, for once in his life, do the right thing…” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)
Wayward Pines. The complete second season
“Season two finds the residents of Wayward Pines battling for the survival of the human race against the iron-fisted rule of the First Generation. As the mysteries of the remote town deepen, secrets are unearthed and horrors discovered. Who will survive the civil war in Wayward Pines?” (Syndetics summary)

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Film and television books

New books on movies and TV offer a great summer read in a wide variety of topics. They include the lovely biography about Bill Murray and the official guide book of the much-loved TV series Outlander. A Star is Born and The Fashion of Film can be fantastic coffee table books. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover The Tao of Bill Murray : real-life stories of joy, enlightenment, and party crashing / by Gavin Edwards ; illustrations by R. Sikoryak.
“People love Bill Murray movies, but even more, they love crazy stories about Bill Murray out in the world. For The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing, best-selling author Gavin Edwards tracked down the best authentic Bill Murray stories. People savour these anecdotes; they consume them with a bottomless hunger; they routinely turn them into viral hits. The book not only has the greatest hits of Bill’s eye-opening interactions with the world, it puts them in the context of a larger philosophy (revealed to the author in an exclusive interview): Bill Murray is secretly teaching us all how to live our lives.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The making of Outlander : the series : the official guide to seasons one & two / Tara Bennett ; introduction by Diana Gabaldon.
“Get an exclusive look behind the scenes of the first two seasons of Outlander with this official, fully illustrated companion to the hit Starz television series based on the bestselling novels. Best of all, The Making of Outlander offers a veritable feast of lavish photographs–including an array of images spotlighting the stars in all their characters’ grandeur and up-close personal portraits. Featuring an introduction by Diana Gabaldon herself, this magnificent insider’s look at the world of the Outlander TV series is the companion all fans will want by their side.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A star is born : the moment an actress becomes an icon / George Tiffin.
“Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve… Feted, adored and desired, successful movie actresses are icons of modern culture. But what was it that made them true stars? Was it looks, talent, drive, personality – or just plain luck? What was the first captivating image or unforgettable line that etched them indelibly on our collective memory – and transformed the screen actress of the passing movie credit into the screen goddess of eternal legend? In a sequence of elegant pen-portraits, George Tiffin takes a microscope to the movies and the moments that established 75 female icons of cinema. These penportraits are supplemented by quotes, notes and anecdotes, including script excerpts from key scenes. A STAR IS BORN is a seductive celebration of the eternal feminine at the heart of the movie business – and an informal and engaging history of cinema itself.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The fashion of film : how cinema has inspired fashion / Amber Butchart.
“The Fashion of Film is the perfect book for the fashion fan. In it, fashion historian Amber Butchart takes a journey through the last 100 years of cinema style and its influence on the catwalks. With beautiful imagery and thoroughly-researched text, she looks at how our most iconic movies have transformed the world of high fashion. Karl Lagerfeld was influenced by the dystopian vision of Metropolis, the picture-perfect world of Wes Anderson’s films are echoed in the collections of Miuccia Prada, and Audrey Hepburn was key to Hubert de Givenchy’s work. Fashion designers have long taken their inspiration from silver screen idols, and continue to do so today.” (Syndetics summary)

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Books on popular music

New books on popular music feature some Aussie stuff; intriguing inside stories of Midnight Oil and The Go-Betweens, and Dig: Australian rock and pop music, 1960-85 would be the perfect accompaniment to them. As always, fantastic biographies, this time about legends such as Brian Wilson, Phil Collins and Johnny Marr, have been added. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover Dig : Australian rock and pop music, 1960-85 / David Nichols ; foreword by Dave Graney.
“A comprehensive and highly readable history of the first quarter-century of Australian rock and pop music, Dig appeals to everyone with more than a passing interest in rock ‘n’ roll. Those whose knowledge of Australian rock and pop does not extend far beyond the Easybeats, AC/DC, Little River Band and Nick Cave can discover a wealth of music beyond those star names; while even those familiar with the work of the Missing Links, Pip Proud, Radio Birdman and the Moodists learn much about the scenes and connections that produced these bands and dozens of others.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Midnight Oil : the power and the passion / Michael Lawrence.
“Midnight Oil are one of the most ‘Australian’ rock bands this country has produced. Born from the Australian pub rock scene that gave us AC/DC, Cold Chisel and INXS, the Oils were able to break out of that scene without compromising themselves in any way. Indeed, their breakthrough overseas record was the most Australian album they made. But it wasn’t just the subject matter that made them fiercely Australian; it was their stubborn independence, and their refusal to play the rock’n’roll game and respect its rules and masters.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover I am Brian Wilson : a memoir / Brian Wilson ; with Ben Greenman.
I Am Brian Wilson reveals as never before the man who fought his way back to stability and creative relevance, who became a mesmerizing live artist, who forced himself to reckon with his own complex legacy, and who finally completed Smile, the legendary unfinished Beach Boys record that had become synonymous with both his genius and its destabilization. Today Brian Wilson is older, calmer, and filled with perspective and forgiveness.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Not dead yet : the memoir / Phil Collins.
Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’s candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. This is Phil Collins as you’ve always known him, but also as you’ve never heard him before.” (Syndetics summary)

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Classical Music

This week we throw the spotlight on some new Bach arrivals, some astonishing pieces of great Baroque music.

Goldberg Variations, J. S. Bach. Performed by Beatrice Rana.
“In the wake of unanimous critical acclaim for her recording debut in concertos by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, Beatrice Rana responds with a courageous solo outing, exploring Bach’s masterwork in the variation form with a rewarding, personal journey through the composer’s incredible contrapuntal writing and the range of the emotional worlds distilled in each of the Aria’s 30 permutations” (cover).
Organ Works, volume 2, J. S. Bach. Performed by Masaaki Suzuki.
“For [this volume], Suzuki returned to more familiar ground – the chapel of the Kobe Shoin Women’s University where the great majority of his recordings with Bach Collegium Japan have taken place. The chapel houses a French classical organ built in 1983 by Marc Garnier, and on it Suzuki performs a highly symmetrical programme with the large-scale chorale partita BWV 768 at its centre. The work is known as ‘Sei gegrüßet, Jesu gütig’, although the chorale text that it is structured upon most probably is that of ‘O Jesu, du edle Gabe’. On either side the partita is flanked by an arrangement by Bach of concertos by Vivaldi, and a chorale prelude on ‘Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier’. The album opens and closes with a Prelude and Fugue, in G major and C major respectively” (amazon.com).
New Era, Stamitz, Danzi, Mozart. Performed by Andreas Ottensamer.
“Andreas Ottensamer’s third solo album is dedicated to the Mannheim School: the 18th century melting pot of revolutionary musical experimentation. Attracting the best musicians from all over Europe, Mannheim became the birthplace of the modern orchestra and the source for the first great clarinet concertos. Featuring duets with his outstanding Berliner Philharmoniker colleagues Albrecht Mayer and Emmanuel Pahud, Andreas celebrates this new era of explosive, colourful and virtuosic music” (cover).
The Four Seasons, Christopher Simpson. Performed by Sirius Viols.
“Antonio Vivaldi was not the only composer of the Baroque who used the idea of the seasons to write his most popular work, they also inspired Christopher Simpson, the best viola da gamba virtuoso of the early English Baroque to use the theme for composition. Now Hille Perl and her ensemble, Sirius Viols, have recorded this colourful piece, a work abounding in dynamism, virtuosity and experimental verve. They guide the listener on a musical tour of icy winter, burgeoning spring and sultry summer all the way to multi-coloured autumn” (cover).

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Sight and Sound eNewsletter

Now you can read eBooks or listen to eAudiobooks on library tablets. Check out the link below! Featured in this month’s Sight and Sound eNewsletter are documentaries on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history, King Edward VIII at war, organ compilations and much more.

Library News

DVDs

This month’s new DVDs feature a doco on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history; new comedy with David Brent & Bridget Jones; real life drama with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger; unconventional parenting with Viggo Mortensen; female investment banking with Anna Gunn; a Detective Superintendent’s journey to exact justice for the victims’ families with Gillian Anderson; and Western action with seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns.

cover image The first Monday in May.
“The First Monday in May follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history, China: Through The Looking Glass – an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Andrew Rossi captures the collision of high fashion and celebrity at the Met Gala, one of the biggest global fashion events chaired every year by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. Featuring Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence as well as fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)
MyLibDVDs3 Sully.
“On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.” (Editorial Reviews, amazon.com)
MyLibDVDs4 Bridget Jones’s baby.
“After breaking up with Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)
cover image The legend of Tarzan.
“It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Margot Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.” (Syndetics summary)

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Audiobooks

Choose your favourite story to listen to while you are doing other things. Browse through some of our latest books on CD, featuring history, crime, romance and more… Have fun!

Syndetics book cover Princes at war : the bitter battle inside Britain’s Royal family in the darkest days of WWII / Deborah Cadbury.
“The personal lives of the British Royals were successfully kept out of the public eye by mutual agreement of the press and royal family, but this all changed in 1936 when King Edward VIII abdicated the throne and spurned his responsibility for the sake of the glamorous American socialite and divorcee, Wallis Simpson. In Princes at War, Deborah Cadbury reveals evidence that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor colluded with Hitler to take back the British throne from Edward’s younger brother, King George VI, should Germany prevail in the War. Drawing on new research and recently released files, Deborah Cadbury shows that not only did George VI have to battle to lead his country but battle constantly to keep his brothers, and especially his older brother, in check.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A spool of blue thread / Anne Tyler.
“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . . This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Delicious! [sound recording] / Ruth Reichl.
“Billie Breslin has travelled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious , the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is suddenly shut down, the colourful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine’s deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the “Delicious Guarantee”–a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries–until further notice. What she doesn’t know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The art whisperer / Charlotte and Aaron Elkins.
“When art conservator Alix London spots a forgery, she knows trouble will follow. So she’s understandably apprehensive when her connoisseur’s eye spots something off about a multimillion-dollar Jackson Pollock painting at Palm Springs’s Brethwaite Museum, her current employer. Alix is already under fire, the object of a vicious online smear campaign. But it s only when a hooded intruder attacks Alix in her hotel room that the real trouble begins. And when FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth with whom Alix had inadvertently, but thoroughly, botched a budding relationship just a year prior turns up to investigate the Pollock, Alix knows she s about to have her hands full. In her third mystery, Alix London must see through mirages in the desert to uncover the knotted history of the painting and save herself in the process.” (Syndetics summary)

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eAudiobooks

What do exorcisms, flesh-eating ants and nuclear weapons disguised as dumplings have in common? They all feature in this selection of new fiction eAudiobooks from Overdrive! If you think a few flesh-eating ants might come in handy, be sure to sign up with Overdrive here.

Overdrive cover Fields Where They Lay, by Timothy Hallinan
“It’s three days until Christmas and Junior Bender, Hollywood’s fast-talking fixer for the felonious, finds himself hired to solve a shoplifting problem at the run-down Edgerton Mall. But Junior’s surveillance operation doesn’t go well: two people are dead and it’s obvious that shoplifting is the least of the mall’s problems. To prevent further deaths, Junior must confront his dread of Christmas, both present and past.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)
Overdrive cover The Gentleman from Japan, by James Church
“Under the guise of machinery for making dumplings, a Spanish factory is secretly producing a key component in the production of nuclear weapons. When information finds its way to Western intelligence agencies that this “dumpling maker” is meant for North Korea, orders go out that the shipment must be stopped. Inspector O is recruited to assist, leading him into a maze of cracked mirrors and deadly double blinds in his most elaborate mystery yet.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)
Overdrive cover The Drowning Lesson, by Jane Shemilt
“The Jordan family thought they would return from their gap year abroad enriched, better people, a closer family. Not minus one child. A year on, Emma remains haunted by the image of that empty cot, thousands of miles away, the chasm between her and the rest of the family growing with each day that Sam remains missing. Is her son still out there? Will the mystery about what happened that night ever be unravelled?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)
Overdrive cover Peaches for Monsieur le Curé, by Joanne Harris
“When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she has no choice but to follow the wind that blows her back to Lansquenet, the village in south-west France where, eight years ago, she opened up a chocolate shop. But Vianne is completely unprepared for what she finds there. Women veiled in black, the scent of spices and a minaret. Father Reynaud, Vianne’s erstwhile adversary, is now disgraced and under threat. Could it be that Vianne is the only one who can save him?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

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Classical CDs

This week among the new additions we found these interesting gems.

Rafał Blechacz, Johann Sebastian Bach.
“Rafał Blechacz, ‘a superlative pianist’ (BBC Music Magazine), further demonstrates his versatility in his first album devoted to Bach. Among the highlights of his wide-ranging programme are the Italian Concerto, one of Blechacz’s signature pieces (‘His reading was, above all, a model of textural transparency’ – Portland Press Herald), and the Partita No. 1 (‘It was immediately clear from the first sweet, liquid notes that Blechacz is a musician in service to the music, searching its depths, exploring its meaning and probing its possibilities’ – Washington Post)” (cover).
Flute Quartets, Mozart. Performed by the Brodsky Quartet and Lisa Friend.
“Members of the Brodsky Quartet meet the internationally famous flautist Lisa Friend in an album of key works of the flute repertoire: Mozart’s flute quartets. Highly praised for previous recordings, her own compositions, solo recitals in Europe, the US, and Asia, as well as appearances with prestigious orchestras, Lisa Friend devotes her very first recording on Chandos to witty, colorful interpretations or Mozart. The flute quartets of Mozart are central to the classical flute repertoire – and deservedly so: the composer’s characteristic charm, wit, beauty, and elegance are in evidence throughout” (amazon.com).
Voyages: Orgue de la Philharmonie de Paris. Performed by Olivier Latry.
Organ compilations are unique in that they are a recording of a specific instrument installed in a specific space. Olivier Latry says, “A space within a space, bonded for all time with the environment in which it is housed, the inherent rapport between the organ which we are about to hear and its surroundings means that it is without a shadow of doubt the soul of the Philharmonie. May the listener relax and be transported to rediscover universal music illuminated by an instrument with so many attributes” (cover).
ClassicalrecentJanb2 Symphonies 4, 5, 6, Tchaikovsky. Performed by the Arctic Philharmonic.
The final three of Tchaikovsky’s variously-flavoured symphonies together on a 2 CD set, performed by the Arctic Philharmonic, who are indeed based within the Arctic circle (and are in fact the world’s northernmost orchestra).

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New DVDs received this month

New DVDs include Bryan Cranston in the autobiographical ‘The Infiltrator’, an adaptation of the hugely popular novel ‘The Girl on the Train’, new seasons of ‘Elementary’ & ‘Wayward Pines’ and a new quirky Italian mystery series.

The infiltrator.
“Bryan Cranston stars in this crime drama based on US Customs official Robert Mazur’s autobiography. The film follows Mazur (Cranston) as he goes undercover to infiltrate the money laundering operations of drug lord Pablo Escobar. Assuming the identity of successful businessman Bob Musella, Mazur promotes himself as the man who can turn dirty cash into clean. By laundering money for the drug cartels he hopes he will be led directly to the most powerful men at the top of the chain. In his new role as an undercover agent, Bob sets up complex networks of investments to protect the drug dealers’ money and as he works his way up Escobar’s organisation he is forced to go to new lengths to protect his cover and continue his mission.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)

The light between oceans.
“As beautiful as it is heart-breaking, the light between oceans features an incredible cast including michael fassbender, alicia vikander and rachel weisz. this breath-taking story is set to remind us all of the infinite power of love, the overwhelming fear of loss and the complexities of human nature that bind the two. when lighthouse keeper tom sherbourne (michael fassbender) and his adored wife isabel (alicia vikander) discover a baby adrift in a boat off the remote coast off western australia, they must make a choice. when they decide to raise the child as their own, the shattering consequences of this choice will change their lives forever.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

Elementary. Fourth season.
“In Elementary: The Fourth Season, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), re-ignite their unique chemistry – a relationship that allows them to solve an increasingly complex series of crimes in the Big Apple. But the worm in the Apple makes itself known when Sherlock’s father, Morland Holmes (John Noble), arrives in NYC to live full-time. His apparent concern with his son’s increasingly intense behavior and addiction relapse does nothing to temper Sherlock’s suspicions and mistrust regarding his arrival. With new cases materializing and emotional crises building, it’s the most electrifying season of Elementary yet!” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

Louder than bombs.
“Three years after her untimely death, an upcoming exhibition celebrating famed war photographer Isabelle Reed brings her eldest son Jonah back to the family home, forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years. With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently. A funny and poignant drama starring Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne and Isabelle Huppert.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

The girl on the train.
“Rachel, devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasising about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds. The Girl On The Train is a darkly addictive thriller based on the international publishing phenomenon.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)

Blood father.
“After her drug kingpin boyfriend frames her for stealing a fortune in cartel cash, 17 year old LYDIA goes on the run, with only one ally in this whole wide world: her perennial screw-up of a dad, JOHN LINK, who’s been a motorcycle outlaw, and a convict in his time, and now is determined to keep his little girl from harm and, for once in his life, do the right thing…” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

Harry & Snowman.
“Dutch immigrant, Harry deLeyer, journeyed to the United States after World War II and developed a transformative relationship with a broken down Amish plow horse he rescued off a slaughter truck bound for the glue factory. Harry paid eighty dollars for the horse and named him Snowman. In less than two years, Harry & Snowman went on to win the triple crown of show jumping, beating the nations blue bloods and they became famous and traveled around the world together. Their chance meeting at a Pennsylvania horse auction saved them both and crafted a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Eighty-six year old Harry tells their Cinderella love story firsthand, as he continues to train on today’s show jumping circuit.” (Syndetics summary)

Murders at Barlume.
Murders at Barlume is a colorful new series of quirky mysteries based on the novels by Marco Malvaldi. Set in the idyllic beach resort town of Pineta on the beautiful Tuscan coast, the show stars Filippo Timi as Massimo Viviani, the recently-divorced owner of the local watering hole, Barlume. Massimo loves puzzles of all kinds, and his sharp mind comes in handy as he frequently finds himself moonlighting as an amateur detective, solving strange crimes along with the gossipy gang of eccentric septuagenarians who frequent his establishment. Filmed on the magical island of Elba, Murders at Barlume is an irreverent mix of twisty mystery, outlandish comedy and Italian charm.” (Editorial Reviews, Amazon.com)

Wayward Pines. The complete second season
“Season two finds the residents of Wayward Pines battling for the survival of the human race against the iron-fisted rule of the First Generation. As the mysteries of the remote town deepen, secrets are unearthed and horrors discovered. Who will survive the civil war in Wayward Pines?” (Syndetics summary)

Music & Movies March Newsletter

Are you thinking about getting a tablet this year? With Wellington City Libraries, you can now loan a tablet for three weeks and enjoy all the benefits for just $5. Click on the link below for more details! Also enjoy this month’s pick of music, movies, books and much more.

Library News

DVDs

This month’s new DVDs feature a doco on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history; new comedy with David Brent & Bridget Jones; real life drama with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger; unconventional parenting with Viggo Mortensen; female investment banking with Anna Gunn; a Detective Superintendent’s journey to exact justice for the victims’ families with Gillian Anderson; and Western action with seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns.

MyLibDVDs3 Sully.
“On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.” (Editorial Reviews, amazon.com)
MyLibDVDs4 Bridget Jones’s baby.
“After breaking up with Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)
cover image Equity.
“A female investment banker, Anna Gunn, fighting to rise to the top of the corporate ladder at a competitive Wall Street firm, navigates a controversial tech IPO in the post-financial crisis world, where loyalties are suspect, regulations are tight, but pressure to bring in “big money” remains high. Equity is a unique Wall Street drama about women who thrive on competition and ambition to stay equal in the game.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)
cover image The fall. Series 3.
“At the climax of the last series, audiences were left reeling as Spector, critically injured in a devastating ambush, lay bleeding in the arms of Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson. Moments before, the intense and single-minded investigator thought she had her man; now, shocked and desperate, she’s losing him. Bringing a killer to book is going to take much more now than simply catching him. In the emotionally charged aftermath of the shooting, Gibson’s personal journey to exact justice for the victims’ families must begin with the blood-soaked fight to keep Spector alive. As the Fall reaches its inexorable conclusion, it’s clear that the rules of this deadly game of cat and mouse are set to shift once again.” (Syndetics summary)

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Film and television books

New books on movies and TV offer a great summer read in a wide variety of topics. They include the lovely biography about Bill Murray and the official guide book of the much-loved TV series Outlander. A Star is Born and The Fashion of Film can be fantastic coffee table books. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover Last girl before freeway : the life, loves, losses, and liberation of Joan Rivers / Leslie Bennetts.
“Joan Rivers was more than a legendary comedian; she was an icon and a role model to millions, a fearless pioneer who left a legacy of expanded opportunity when she died in 2014. Her life was a dramatic roller-coaster of triumphant highs and devastating lows: the suicide of her husband, her feud with Johnny Carson, her estrangement from her daughter, her many plastic surgeries, her ferocious ambition and her massive insecurities. But Rivers’ career was also hugely significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for her gender and pushing the boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life. A juicy, intimate biography of one of the greatest comedians ever-a performer whose sixty year career was borne, simply, out of a desire to make people laugh so she could feel loved-LAST GIRL BEFORE FREEWAY delves into the inner workings of a woman who both reflected and redefined the world around her.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The making of Outlander : the series : the official guide to seasons one & two / Tara Bennett ; introduction by Diana Gabaldon.
“Get an exclusive look behind the scenes of the first two seasons of Outlander with this official, fully illustrated companion to the hit Starz television series based on the bestselling novels. Best of all, The Making of Outlander offers a veritable feast of lavish photographs–including an array of images spotlighting the stars in all their characters’ grandeur and up-close personal portraits. Featuring an introduction by Diana Gabaldon herself, this magnificent insider’s look at the world of the Outlander TV series is the companion all fans will want by their side.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A star is born : the moment an actress becomes an icon / George Tiffin.
“Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve… Feted, adored and desired, successful movie actresses are icons of modern culture. But what was it that made them true stars? Was it looks, talent, drive, personality – or just plain luck? What was the first captivating image or unforgettable line that etched them indelibly on our collective memory – and transformed the screen actress of the passing movie credit into the screen goddess of eternal legend? In a sequence of elegant pen-portraits, George Tiffin takes a microscope to the movies and the moments that established 75 female icons of cinema. These penportraits are supplemented by quotes, notes and anecdotes, including script excerpts from key scenes. A STAR IS BORN is a seductive celebration of the eternal feminine at the heart of the movie business – and an informal and engaging history of cinema itself.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The fashion of film : how cinema has inspired fashion / Amber Butchart.
“The Fashion of Film is the perfect book for the fashion fan. In it, fashion historian Amber Butchart takes a journey through the last 100 years of cinema style and its influence on the catwalks. With beautiful imagery and thoroughly-researched text, she looks at how our most iconic movies have transformed the world of high fashion. Karl Lagerfeld was influenced by the dystopian vision of Metropolis, the picture-perfect world of Wes Anderson’s films are echoed in the collections of Miuccia Prada, and Audrey Hepburn was key to Hubert de Givenchy’s work. Fashion designers have long taken their inspiration from silver screen idols, and continue to do so today.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The real James Dean : intimate memories from those who knew him best / edited by Peter L. Winkler ; foreword by George Stevens.
“In the decades following his death, many of those who knew James Dean best–actors, directors, friends, lovers (both men and women), photographers, and Hollywood columnists–shared stories of their first-person experiences with him in interviews and in the articles and autobiographies they wrote. Their recollections of Dean became lost in fragile back issues of movie magazines and newspapers and in out-of-print books that are extremely hard to find. Until now. The Real James Dean is the first book of its kind: a rich collection spanning six decades of writing in which many of the people whose lives were touched by Dean recall their indelible experiences with him in their own words.” (Syndetics summary)

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Books on popular music

A lot of intriguing books on popular music have been added to our collection. They include Total Records, which is a wonderful art book about album covers, and Uproot: travels in twenty-first-century music and digital culture. Fantastic biographies about Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog round out a great reading selection. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover Fashion + music : fashion creatives shaping pop culture / Katie Baron.
“As twin agents of creative expression fashion and music have long shared a powerful mutual attraction: from the Sex Pistols to Madonna, Kylie Minogue to Lady Gaga, fashion has consistently amplified our understanding of the band (and in many cases the brand) – fuelling the fantasy, giving context to the sound and adding depth to artists’ wider agendas. From pop videos to editorial shoots, via the evolution of some of the industry’s most significant and era-defining pairings/collaborations this book will focus on the power of fashion as a make-or-break tool within the music industry’s creative process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Uproot : travels in twenty-first-century music and digital culture / Jace Clayton [aka DJ Rupture].
“In 2001 Jace Clayton was an unknown DJ who recorded a three-turntable, sixty-minute mix and put it online to share with friends. Within weeks, Gold Teeth Thief became an international calling card, whisking Clayton away to play a nightclub in Zagreb, a gallery in Osaka, a former brothel in Sao Paolo, and the American Museum of Natural History. Just as the music world made its fitful, uncertain transition from analog to digital, Clayton found himself on the front lines of creative upheavals of art production in the twenty-first century globalized world. Uproot is a guided tour of this newly-opened cultural space. With humor, insight, and expertise, Clayton offers an unparalleled understanding of music in the digital age.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Born to run / Bruce Springsteen.
“In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs. He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Agnetha Fältskog : the girl with the golden hair / Daniel Ward.
“Her iconic blonde looks, stunning voice and songs of loneliness and melancholy have endeared her to millions, yet Agnetha Fältskog remains an enigmatic and distant figure. From her success as a teenage singer and songwriter in Sweden in the late 1960’s to her years of global superstardom with pop giants ABBA and beyond, Agnetha has fascinated generations of fans. Agnetha Fältskog–The Girl With The Golden Hair is the first full-length biography dedicated to the life and career of the one of the most beloved and successful performers in music history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Paul McCartney : the biography / Philip Norman.
“The first biography written with McCartney’s approval and with access to family members and friends closest to him. Covers Paul McCartney’s life from his boyhood and the death of his mother – the formation of the Beatles – the creative relationship between Paul and John Lennon resulting in so many of their hit songs – the Band’s success and the resulting fame – the breakup of the Beatles and it’s impact on Paul and his relationship with the other three Beatles – Linda and the formation of Wings – his life with Linda and his family – Linda’s death – through to his romance with Heather Mills and their well publicised divorce.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Classical Music

This time among the new additions we found these interesting gems.

Rafał Blechacz, Johann Sebastian Bach.
“Rafał Blechacz, ‘a superlative pianist’ (BBC Music Magazine), further demonstrates his versatility in his first album devoted to Bach. Among the highlights of his wide-ranging programme are the Italian Concerto, one of Blechacz’s signature pieces (‘His reading was, above all, a model of textural transparency’ – Portland Press Herald), and the Partita No. 1 (‘It was immediately clear from the first sweet, liquid notes that Blechacz is a musician in service to the music, searching its depths, exploring its meaning and probing its possibilities’ – Washington Post)” (cover).
Voyages: Orgue de la Philharmonie de Paris. Performed by Olivier Latry.
Organ compilations are unique in that they are a recording of a specific instrument installed in a specific space. Olivier Latry says, “A space within a space, bonded for all time with the environment in which it is housed, the inherent rapport between the organ which we are about to hear and its surroundings means that it is without a shadow of doubt the soul of the Philharmonie. May the listener relax and be transported to rediscover universal music illuminated by an instrument with so many attributes” (cover).
Piano Trios Op. 65 & 90, Dvořák. Performed by Trio Wanderer.
“The Trio Wanderer pays tribute to Dvořák and his last two trios, including the rarely played no. 3 in F minor, heartfelt and sombre. The famous Dumky Trio… opens this new recording. Passionate and melancholy by turns, it is also the most innovative and the freest of Dvořák’s trios…” (cover).
ClassicalrecentFeba3 Rostropovich Encores. Performed by Alban Gerhardt and Markus Becker.
“For the young Alban Gerhardt, Rostropovich was ‘a reason to become passionate about the cello.’ In the liner notes he recalls being ‘blown away’ on first hearing Slava play live in Berlin. This splendid follow-up to his program of Casals Encores sees Gerhardt paying homage to his great predecessor with an eclectic program of shorter works, including two by Rostropovich himself” (amazon.com).
ClassicalrecentJanb2 Symphonies 4, 5, 6, Tchaikovsky. Performed by the Arctic Philharmonic.
The final three of Tchaikovsky’s variously-flavoured symphonies together on a 2 CD set, performed by the Arctic Philharmonic, who are indeed based within the Arctic circle (and are in fact the world’s northernmost orchestra).

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Staff Pick DVDs – Best of 2016

We’ve been watching a wide variety of films & TV shows so here are some of our favourites from last year. Plenty of different genres, so hopefully you will find something to enjoy that you may have missed the first time around.

Katie’s Picks:
Cover imageBlindspot. The complete first season.
A new crime/drama/thriller TV series that focuses on a mysterious tattooed woman dubbed Jane Doe who has lost her memory and possesses unique hand to hand combat skills. She then works with the FBI when they realize her tattoos hold the key to solving certain crimes that take place throughout the series. However the question on everyone’s lips throughout the series, is who is Jane Doe and whose side is she on. I think she is the most mysterious, unique and captivating character I have ever encountered. Just when she learns something new about herself and her identity, and you think you have her figured out, something new always arises and leaves you wondering. This is an amazing series that will have you glued to the screen, that will keep you on the edge from start to finish, with a gripping season finale that will encourage you to watch season two.

Cover imageEye in the sky.
A unique and heartbreaking thriller that provides insight into the moral implications and the cost of modern warfare. What should sound like a walk in the park for the military minds in the US and the UK when they together to capture terrorists in Nairobi goes pear shaped when a girl enters the kill zone. This then triggers an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare over whether the girl should be sacrificed to save the lives of many and prevent imminent disaster. This film will leave you crying tears of frustration and agony, as well as hanging in moral knots and pondering over questions such as “Does conscience still figure in modern warfare?”, and perhaps make you think twice about people working in military roles. I was particularly by the late Alan Rickman’s performance, especially during the last scene where he gives a touched by a passionate and moving declaration about what a military man really knows of war, that will also get you thinking. Overall, a fantastic film worth watching!

Mark’s Picks:
Cover imageBillions. Season one.
In this Showtime drama about power politics in the world of New York high finance Damian Lewis is hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, while Paul Giamatti is the shrewd & ruthless U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades who is out to bring him down – a task made more complicated by the fact that Rhodes’ wife (Maggie Siff) works for Axelrod’s company as an in-house therapist. Rhodes believes that Axelrod & his Wall Street associates are nothing but criminals who are destroying America and and soon the two alpha-males are on an explosive collision course, with each using all of his considerable smarts, power and influence to outmanoeuvre the other. Fast paced and full of complex shady financial & political dealings and fantastic performances from the three main leads.

Cover imageMr. Robot. Season 1.
‘Mr. Robot’ stars Rami Malek as Elliot a socially-awkward cyber-security engineer by day and vigilante hacker by night, who finds himself approached by the enigmatic ‘Mr. Robot’ (Christian Slater), the mysterious head of an underground hacker collective who want to bring down the major corporation that Elliot’s company provides security for. However Elliot is also a very troubled young man with a ‘history’ of breakdowns, is currently undergoing court-mandated therapy, & has recently stopped taking his medication. ‘Mr. Robot’ pushes zeitgeist buttons on everything from wealth inequality, the power & control of corporations, social media, data breaches & hackers in new & interesting ways. The cast is uniformly excellent, especially Malek & Slater.

Cover imageOccupied. Series 1.
Set in the near future, where a catastrophic hurricane fuelled by climate change, has led to the rise of the Norwegian Green Party into political power. Idealistic Prime Minister Jesper Berg, has plans for thorium-based nuclear energy, and cuts off all fossil fuel production. With the Middle East in turmoil, Europe is suffering an energy crisis, and in retaliation the EU asks Russia to initiate a ‘velvet glove’ invasion of Norway. Russian special forces kidnap Berg, insisting that he submit to EU demands or face a full-scale invasion. What follows is told from the perspective of several characters as the effects of a ‘non-violent’ occupation begin to insidiously colour the lives and undercut the political processes of the Norwegian people.

Cover imageThe night of.
Critically acclaimed HBO drama starring John Turturro and Riz Ahmed. New York student Naz (Ahmed) embarks on a wild night of drugs and sex with a mysterious woman after picking her up in his father’s cab. The next morning he wakes to find her stabbed to death in her bed. With no recollection of the previous night’s events, Naz flees the scene but is quickly brought in by the city’s police and identified as the main suspect for the murder. Scuffling precinct- crawling defence lawyer John Stone (Turturro) finds himself in the right place at the right time to take Naz’s case, and after initially thinking of it as a way to lift his own fortunes, he comes to believe in his clients innocence. Based on the UK series Criminal Justice.

Cover imageThe night manager. The complete series.
British-American television miniseries adaptation of the 1993 novel of the same name by John le Carré, adapted to the present day starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, and Olivia Colman. Hiddleston is the titular ‘Night-Manager’, a loner and former soldier who crosses paths with the beautiful mistress of a powerful man in the Cairo hotel where he works. After she passes some documents to him for safe keeping, he in turn passes them onto a contact in the British Embassy & thus on to British Intelligence. A leak ensues, and blaming himself after she is killed, he drifts through several courtiers, eventually ending up 4 years later in a small hotel in Zurich. One night he learns a guest is coming to stay, an English arms dealer (Laurie) whom he believes was one of the people responsible for the death of the woman years ago. Seeing a chance for revenge he re-instigates a contact at British Intelligence (Coleman) and thus begins a plan to infiltrate Laurie’s organisation.

Shinji’s Picks:
Cover imageTehran taxi.
Iranian master director and activist Jafar Panahi has been banned from making films since 2010. However, he is somehow still doing what he is genius at. In this film, the director himself drives a taxi through the city of Tehran and picks up various passengers, and cleverly turns the taxi into a mirror of Iranian society, social morals and politics. The message implied in the film is powerful and serious but he does it with a droll, playful manner. Ingenious.

Cover imageCarol.
In the painting of Edward Hopper’s like milieu, Douglas Sirk-esque gorgeous melodrama unfolds. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, Todd Haynes weaves an impeccable love story of two women in the 50s. The milieu of the era is exquisitely recreated and every element shapes the film, such as cinematography, art design, wardrobe and music, contribute marvellously to this forbidden but distained encounter. Divine. (Shinji)

Cover imageThe assassin.
This meticulously crafted film is better to be watched on a big screen, but Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first wuxia (martial hero) film in his long career is a sublime, breathtakingly beautiful film in which every scene is a work of art. The story is told in ‘read between the lines’ style and it may be a good idea to go into the film with some prior knowledge of the plot. Nevertheless, it’s a bliss. (Shinji)

Cover imageOur little sister.
With the exquisite tempo and the graceful camera work, Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda crafts an intimate, slowly savoured family drama about four Japanese sisters, one of whom has been adopted by the other three. One of the most consistent filmmakers of today, Kore-eda offers beautiful tenderness and emotion though successive small moments of everyday life. Maybe everything is too nice and a little soppy, but this ‘sweet and loveliness’ is hard to resist. (Shinji)

Sandy’s Pick:
Cover imageSoundbreaking : stories from the cutting edge of recorded music.
This is an 8-part documentary series about the evolution of music production and recording, mainly in the form of interviews with people from the industry – artists, writers, and producers (the unsung heroes!). Fascinating and informative, it tells how various innovations led from one recording method to the next and covers genres from disco to hiphop to rock – a trip down memory lane for us older music lovers and for the younger ones, a real eye-opener, I would imagine. I particularly enjoyed listening to well-known musicians talking about the artists who influenced them.

Brigid’s Picks:
Cover imageOutlander. Season two.

CoverimageLondon has fallen.

Cover imageThe BFG.

cover imageStar wars. The Force awakens.

Axel’s Picks:
Cover imageThe witch: a New-England folktale.

cover imageGreen room.

Cover imageKubo and the two strings.

Cover imageThe jungle book.

Cover imageHail, Caesar!

Cover imageHunt for the Wilderpeople.

Cover imageSausage party.

Cover imageTickled.

Cover imageMr. Robot. Season 1.

Cover imageThe big short.

Cover imageThe revenant.

Cover imageVictoria.

Monty’s Picks:
Cover imageHail, Caesar!

Cover imageThe returned. Series two.

New DVDs for January

This month’s new DVDs feature a doco on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history; new comedy with David Brent & Bridget Jones; real life drama with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger; unconventional parenting with Viggo Mortensen; female investment banking with Anna Gunn; a Detective Superintendent’s journey to exact justice for the victims’ families with Gillian Anderson; and Western action with seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns.

cover imageThe first Monday in May.
“The First Monday in May follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history, China: Through The Looking Glass – an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Andrew Rossi captures the collision of high fashion and celebrity at the Met Gala, one of the biggest global fashion events chaired every year by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. Featuring Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence as well as fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)

MyLibDVDs3Sully.
“On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.” (Editorial Reviews, amazon.com)

MyLibDVDs4Bridget Jones’s baby.
“After breaking up with Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageCafé society.
“Woody Allen writes and directs this comedy drama starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell. Set in the 1930s, the film follows Bobby (Eisenberg), a young New Yorker who travels to Los Angeles to work for his uncle Phil (Carell), a prominent Hollywood agent. In L.A. Bobby meets and falls for Phil’s secretary Vonnie (Stewart), who, unfortunately, is already taken. Returning home, Bobby gets a job at his gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll)’s nightclub where he becomes enthralled by New York’s high society. The cast also features Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Jeannie Berlin and Ken Stott.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

MyLibDVDs6Captain Fantastic.
“Unconventional family drama from writer-director Matt Ross. Viggo Mortensen stars as Ben, a father raising his six children Bodevan (George MacKay), Kielyr (Samantha Isler), Vespyr (Annalise Basso), Rellian (Nicholas Hamilton), Zaja (Shree Crooks) and Nai (Charlie Shotwell) in the isolated forests of the Pacific Northwest. As a result of their rural location the children have been sheltered from popular culture supplemented with Ben’s rigorous homeschooling which imparts to them a left-leaning education in which Noam Chomsky’s birthday is celebrated as if it’s Christmas. When a tragic event propels the family unit into reality, they find themselves much at odds with their fellow citizens and Ben’s parenting methods are scrutinised. The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Mortensen) and a BAFTA for Best Leading Actor (Mortensen). (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageDavid Brent : life on the road.
“Ricky Gervais writes, directs and stars in this documentary-style comedy, reprising his role as ‘The Office’ character David Brent. Taking place 15 years after the British sitcom, the film follows the former office manager as he takes time off from his day job as a sales rep to tour with his rock band Foregone Conclusion. Leaving behind his job at Slough cleaning products supplier Lavichem, for a holiday at least, Brent takes to the M25 on a self-funded tour, with bandmates who can’t really stand him, to play to disappointing crowds across the country in one last attempt at breaking into show business. Joined on the road by talented young rapper Dom Johnson (Doc Brown), David is followed by cameras, for what he believes will be a successful film, eager to catch up with him since his documentary appearance.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageRams.
“In a secluded valley in Iceland, brothers Gummi and Kiddi live side by side, tending to their prized ancestral sheep. But a long-term grudge means that they haven’t spoken to each other for four decades, passing messages via the sheep dog. When a lethal ovine disease suddenly appears in the valley, the authorities move in to cull all of the livestock. But Gummi and Kiddi don’t give up easily and each brother tries to stave off the disaster in his own fashion: Kiddi by using his rifle and Gummi by using his wits. As the authorities close in the brothers will need to come together to save the special breed of sheep passed down for generations – and themselves – from extinction.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageEquity.
“A female investment banker, Anna Gunn, fighting to rise to the top of the corporate ladder at a competitive Wall Street firm, navigates a controversial tech IPO in the post-financial crisis world, where loyalties are suspect, regulations are tight, but pressure to bring in “big money” remains high. Equity is a unique Wall Street drama about women who thrive on competition and ambition to stay equal in the game.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageThe fall. Series 3.
“At the climax of the last series, audiences were left reeling as Spector, critically injured in a devastating ambush, lay bleeding in the arms of Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson. Moments before, the intense and single-minded investigator thought she had her man; now, shocked and desperate, she’s losing him. Bringing a killer to book is going to take much more now than simply catching him. In the emotionally charged aftermath of the shooting, Gibson’s personal journey to exact justice for the victims’ families must begin with the blood-soaked fight to keep Spector alive. As the Fall reaches its inexorable conclusion, it’s clear that the rules of this deadly game of cat and mouse are set to shift once again.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe daughter.
“Christian returns to his family home for his father Henry s wedding to the much younger Anna. While home, Christian reconnects with his childhood friend Oliver, who has stayed in town working at Henry s timber mill and is now out of a job. As Christian gets to know Oliver s wife Charlotte, daughter Hedvig and father Walter, he discovers a secret that could tear Oliver s family apart. As he tries to right the wrongs of the past, his actions threaten to shatter the lives of those he left behind years before.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageThe magnificent seven.
“Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ and Columbia Pictures’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. With the sleepy town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople, led by Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

Community & Languages Newsletter

Enjoy the season with New Zealand stories about friendship, adventures and family secrets; relax by watching a movie from the library’s latest DVD collection; or start a new craft project. Enrich your summer cuisine with delightful recipes from around the world and read romantic sagas in Spanish.

Library News

New Zealand

Always eclectic, new additions to the New Zealand Collection this month feature stories from a museum curator, a kiwi sanctuary, photography, poetry, the sad history of post war state care of children and lastly a murder mystery. The new book shelves of the NZ Collection have something to interest everyone.

Syndetics book cover The unburnt egg : more stories of a museum curator / Brian Gill.
“Museum natural history collections have been called libraries of life. In The Unburnt Egg Brian Gill continues his spellbinding stories from more than thirty years as a curator. Some tales are so bizarre they read like fiction: a population of ship rats decimating the entire wildlife of an island and then collapsing; birds leaving their young to be raised by other birds; frogs and lizards living in trees and flying. Others reveal the painstaking detective work involved in solving mysteries presented by police, biosecurity agencies, government departments and members of the public. Frogs’ legs on sale as chicken, a feather hidden in a bag of sugar, a live boa constrictor on a street in snake-free New Zealand–it’s all in a day’s work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Through the eyes of a miner : the photography of Joseph Divis / Simon Nathan ; with assistance from Les Wright and Brendon Wilshire.
“Joseph Divis (1885-1967) photographed life in New Zealand mining towns where he lived and worked between 1909 and 1935. His images provide a unique record of life in some small communities, especially the now-abandoned town of Waiuta, near Reefton.” (Introduction)
Syndetics book cover Mister Hamilton / John Dickson.
Mister Hamilton, John Dickson’s first collection in eighteen years, is an appealing, questioning mix of elements. Over a base of South Island bedrock (granite, schist, greywacke), Dickson has peopled this quietly fiery collection with day-to-day working voices and narratives, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes charged with a political consciousness and lyrical intensity. Shot-through with veins of jazz, rock and blues, quizzical religiosity and a streak of the absurd, this book takes a fresh look at the streets and lawns and people of urban and suburban ‘Pig Island’ and offers some thoughtful, wisely pitched and immensely likeable poems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover My father’s ears / Karen Goa.
“When an Italian immigrant’s harsh but intriguing past catches up with him, his skeptical daughter Sophie sets out to discover the truth about her father, his affair with a Romanian trapeze artist and a mysterious New Zealander claiming to be his son. This twisting tale of secrets and social dilemmas is set against a remarkable and moving history of Italian immigration.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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DVDs

As always, a wide variety of DVDs have been added to our extensive collection. They include recent smash hits such as Florence Foster Jenkins, Me before You and our very own Hunt for the Wilderpeople. As for TV series, check out very popular Peaky Blinders. Season three.

florence Florence Foster Jenkins.
“Despite lacking pitch, rhythm and tone, Florence Foster Jenkins became one of America’a best-known sopranos. Born in 1868 to wealthy Pennsylvanian parents, Florence was a talented young pianist but her life was thrown into turmoil when she eloped with Frank Jenkins, a man twice her age. The marriage proved a disaster and Florence was forced to abandon her dreams of a musical career. Then her father died in 1909 and, newly installed in New York, she used her considerable inheritance to fund her passion, setting up a prestigious music club. Many young singers owed their start to Florence, but she too yearned to perform and began giving regular recitals that quickly attracted a cult following. And yet nothing could prepare the world for the astonishing climax of her career when, at the age of seventy-six, she performed at the most hallowed concert hall in America.” (Back cover)
cover image Peaky Blinders. Season three.
“Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) is drawn into a maze of global intrigue in the electrifying third series of Steven Knight’s acclaimed family saga.Approached by a secret organisation on his own wedding day, Tommy finds himself at the centre of an international arms deal that could change the course of history. In a sphere where no one reveals their true intentions until the game is up, Tommy has to contend with a White Russian exile whose brutality knows no bounds, a priest with a killer dog, a beautiful Duchess even more manipulative than him, and a powerful entity at the heart of the British establishment that will stop at nothing to accomplish its reactionary aims. The pressures they inflict upon Tommy are carefully chosen and exquisitely unpleasant.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Me before you / New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures present a Sunswept Entertainment production.
“Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark lives in a quaint town in the English countryside. With no clear direction in her life, the quirky and creative 26-year old goes from one job to the next in order to make ends meet. Taking a job at the local ‘castle’ she becomes caregiver and companion to Will Traynor, a wealthy young banker who became wheelchair bound in an accident. Embarking together on a series of adventures, both Lou and Will get more than they bargained for.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Eye in the sky.
“London-based military intelligence officer Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is remotely commanding a top secret drone operation to capture a group of dangerous terrorists from their safe-house in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission suddenly escalates from a “capture” to a “kill” operation as Powell realizes that the terrorists are about to embark on a deadly suicide mission. From his base in Nevada, American drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is poised to destroy the safe-house when a nine year old girl enters the kill zone just outside the walls of the house. With unforeseen collateral damage now entering the equation, the impossible decision of when to strike gets passed up the “kill chain” of politicians and lawyers as the seconds tick down.” (Product description, amazon.co.uk)

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Community Languages

Enjoy our latest additions to our Spanish collection featuring romance, suspense, family sagas and more.

Syndetics book cover Cinco esquinas / Mario Vargas Llosa.
“«Él había pensado que, después de todo, un periodista puede ser a veces útil. “Y también peligroso”, concluyó. Tuvo el presentimiento de que nada bueno saldría de esta visita.»
La idea de esta novela comenzó con una imagen de dos señoras amigas que de pronto una noche, de una manera impensada para ambas, viven una situación erótica. Luego se fue convirtiendo en una historia policial, casi un thriller, y el thriller se fue transformando en una especie de mural de la sociedad peruana en los últimos meses o semanas de la dictadura de Fujimori y Montesinos. Me gustó la idea de que la historia se llamase Cinco esquinas como un barrio que, de alguna manera, es emblemático de Lima, de Perú y también de la época en la que está situada la historia.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Cicatriz / Juan Gómez-Jurado.
“Simon Sax is a lucky guy. He’s young, smart and is about to become a billionaire by selling a great invention. And yet, he feels lonely. His success contrasts with his lack of social skills. He joins a dating site where he falls in love with Irina, with the inexperience and passion of a teenager. But she has an enigmatic scar on her cheek, and carries a dark secret…” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Divorcio en el aire / Gonzalo Torné.
“La tercera novela de Gonzalo Torné.
Divorcio en el aire empieza cuando Joan-Marc y Helen se marchan a un balneario para tratar de salvar su matrimonio. Ese espacio se convierte en el eje de una historia que relata el origen de su relación con Helen, primero en Madrid y luego en Barcelona, así como la biografía del propio Joan-Marc: su educación, su iniciación al sexo, las desastrosas relaciones con su familia, sus problemas financieros y el reencuentro, ya a las puertas de la madurez, con antiguos compañeros de clase, a los que la vida ha situado en posiciones insospechadas.
En este sentido , Divorcio en el aire habla de una cuestión fundamental: la dificultad de asumir el paso del tiempo y su irreversibilidad.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Guía astrológ̤ica para corazones rotos / Silvia Zucca.
“¡Bienvenidos al club de las desdichadas intergalácticas! Me llamo Alice y hasta hace unos meses mi autoestima estaba por los suelos. Mi ex estaba a punto de ser padre y un hombre imposiblemente sexy acababa de aparecer en la oficina, lo que no me ayudaba demasiado. Entonces a mi vida llego Tio, mi entrenador astrológico personal, para explicarme que mis problemas no eran debidos a un complot cósmico sino a la posición de los planetas en mi carta astral. Así que lo único que podía hacer era ponerme en manos de la obra y averiguar qué sorpresas me tenían reservadas las estrellas. Y os aseguro que lo que descubrí fue mucho más que eso y, sobre todo que, cuando se trata del amor, el destino no está escrito en el cielo.” (Syndetics summary)

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Cooking

With delectable recipes and dishes for every meal and occasion, this is a collection of cookbooks from around the globe.

Syndetics book cover Spain : the Cookbook / Simone and Inés Ortega.
“The world’s best selling Spanish cookbook and the indispensable bible of traditional and authentic Spanish home cooking.” (Book Jacket)
Syndetics book cover France : the cookbook / Ginette Mathiot.
“With more than 1,400 recipes, Mathiot guides the reader through all the classic recipes and techniques of French cooking… with a clear and authoritative voice. The recipes, which have been fully updated by Clothilde Dusoulie, author of the popular Chocolate & Zucchini blog, prove that authentic French food doesn’t have to be complicated, heavy or too rich.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Greek : Heart-warming Traditional Recipes / [food director, Pamela Clark.]
“From the delicious dips and little morsels they call Mezze and eat with a glass of ouzo before dinner to the super-sweet honey-drenched baklava they eat with their coffee after dinner, Greek food is a culinary delight. Seafood is plentiful in Greece and there are recipes included here for prawns, sardines, squid and octopus. Peasant dishes such as moussaka, slow-roasted lamb, and dishes made from rabbit and goat are an important feature of the cuisine too. And there are celebration dishes – especially for Easter. And along with the beautifully photographed recipes, there are several beautifully photographed landscapes of Greece.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Eat to Stay Young : ingredients & recipes to rejuvenate your body & mind / Gill Paul ; nutritionist: Karen Sullivan
“Growing older is natural, but eating the right foods can slow the process down and keep your body’s stores of age-fighting nutrients topped up. Featured in this book are the key foods that have been proven to increase the feeling of youthfulness in our minds and bodies – cranberries, aubergines, guava, tuna and cinnamon to name a few. A clever problem-solver helps you choose the ingredients that address your symptoms, whether thinning hair, dry skin, poor circulation, joint pain or forgetfulness. With over 60 easy-to-follow, quick-to-prepare, completely delicious recipes and weekly meal planners, Eat To Stay Young is the perfect way to turn back the clock and achieve optimum health.” (Syndetics summary)

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Craft

Give your creativity a fresh start with gorgeous ideas from this selection of our latest craft books. Discover some glorious designs for quilts, inspired by the rich colours of the terracotta walls and the white churches of the Mediterranean. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book cover Knit together, share together : simple knitting for all the family / Marja de Haan ; translated by Barbara Mee.
“Knitting can bring generations together. This practical and beautifully illustrated book, which contains step-by-step knitting instructions and patterns, was inspired by a granddaughter knitting a simple doll’s sweater, her grandmother knitting the doll itself, and the girl’s mother knitting a matching sweater for her daughter. Even young children can learn to knit the basic stitches, and this book features projects suitable for every age and stage of experience. Knitting not only stimulates the mind and develops motor skills and dexterity but is also a way of creating something useful, with love, which can be cherished.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Knitting for the outdoors : merino handknits for active Kiwis / Gillian Whalley-Torckler ; photography Darryl Torckler.
“Merino wool is the best for warmth and comfort, especially in garments for active outdoor people. This book features quick knits in modern designs and includes hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, hoodies and vests which look good anywhere and appeal to men and women, girls and boys.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Bible sampler quilt book : 96 quilt blocks inspired by the Bible / Laurie Aaron Hird.
“Devotion meets design in a stunning sampler quilt honoring both the Old and New Testament! Evoke the spirit of favorite Bible passages in fabric with this gorgeous how-to guide from renowned sampler-quilt author Laurie Aaron Hird. In The Bible Sampler Quilt, Laurie pairs scripture with beautifully pieced blocks representing significant people, themes and events from The Bible. Inspired by well-loved Bible passages, The Bible Sampler Quilt invites you to create a quilt that is both beautiful and spiritually uplifting.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Kaffe Fassett’s quilts in Italy : 20 designs from Rowan for patchwork and quilting.
“Che bella! Kaffe’s inspiration for the 20 new quilts in this book was drawn from the exquisite, richly colored villages of Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. The region, with its terracotta walls and handsome black and white churches set off by jewel-like glimpses of the Mediterranean, is beautifully reflected in the colors and patterns created by Kaffe and his team of designers. In addition to the gallery of quilts, the book provides detailed information on how to make each featured quilt, along with general practical patchwork and quilting information and a visual summary of Kaffe’s latest fabrics.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Staff Pick DVDs – Dec/Jan….

Some staff DVD picks to round out the year- an acclaimed HBO drama, Italian comedy, Japanese animation, German horror, and an in depth examination of the Cimemax oeuvre. We will be back early next year with the picks of our favourite DVDs of 2016.

Cover imageThe night of.
Critically acclaimed HBO drama starring John Turturro and Riz Ahmed. New York student Naz (Ahmed) embarks on a wild night of drugs and sex with a mysterious woman after picking her up in his father’s cab. The next morning he wakes to find her stabbed to death in her bed. With no recollection of the previous night’s events, Naz flees the scene but is quickly brought in by the city’s police and identified as the main suspect for the murder. Scuffling precinct- crawling defence lawyer John Stone (Turturro) finds himself in the right place at the right time to take Naz’s case, and after initially thinking of it as a way to lift his own fortunes, he comes to believe in his clients innocence. Based on the UK series Criminal Justice, it had initially been a passion project of James Gandolfini, who was to play the part of lawyer Jack Stone before his untimely death. However Turturro steps up instead and delivers a knockout performance. Scripted by novelist Richard Price, it succeeds on every level. Recommended. (Mark)

Cover imageOur kind of traitor.
A civilian couple (Ewan McGregor & Naomie Harris) on vacation in Marrakesh to work on their marriage befriend a flamboyant and charismatic Russian named Dima (Stellan Skarsgard), who, unbeknownst to them, is a financial wizard/money launderer for the Russian mafia. When Dima confides to his new friends that he plans to escape from the mob, they agree to be the go-between for him with MI6. He promises the accounts and names of prominent British Politicians receiving bribes to open a new London based bank that will be a front for Russian Mob money, in exchange for asylum for himself and his family. But with MI6 officer Damien Lewis running an operation unsanctioned & opposed by his political bosses, how can they get Dima and his family out? While it perhaps lacks the gravitas of The Constant Gardener, or A Most Wanted Man, this is a solid adaptation of the John Le Carré novel from 2010. McGregor & Harris are good as the ordinary couple, Skarsgard chews scenery as the larger than life Dima, and Damien Lewis is excellent as the clinical upper-crust MI6 agent. Definitely worth a watch. Perhaps the main issue it has, is that it had the misfortune to be made/released around the same time as the excellent The Night Manager, which showed just how much Le Carre’s tales benefit from a longer running time and a more detailed approach. (Mark)

Cover imageMy Mother = Mia madre.
Margherita is a renowned film director but struggling to complete her latest film. She’s broken up with her partner and doesn’t have the slightest idea what her daughter has been up to. Her life is in tatters, and furthermore and most importantly, her beloved mother is dying. Italy’s leading film maker Nanni Moretti (The Son’s Room, We have a Pope)’s new film is about facing mortality. The theme is naturally sombre but Moretti, who is one of the unique auteurs of today, shows his flair of comedy and ingenious skill to make it a tender, charming family drama. It’s a perfectly constructed film in which every detail is in the right order, and has a beautiful balance of melodrama and comedy. Before we know it, we share the story rather than watching it. After all, we are all someone’s children. (Shinji)

Cover imageGoodnight mommy.
Eerie German ‘horror’ film sees 9 year old twins Lukas & Elias living in an idyllic isolated summer cottage waiting for their Mother to return from having plastic surgery. When she returns her face is covered in bandages, and slowly little things emerge about her seem that seem off. Gradually their suspicions increase… Is that really their mother under the bandages? Some have criticised that the twist is telegraphed far too early & easy to guess. Maybe so, but the film isn’t really about the twist, it’s about the insular nature of the world of ‘childhood’ , the slow build of tension & atmosphere. More for those who are into the new ‘wave’ of non-slasher horror films as represented by films like It Follows, Babadook & Under The Skin. (Mark)

Cover imageGreen room.
Down-on-their-luck punk rockers ‘The Ain’t Rights’ agree to a last-minute gig in a backwoods Oregon roadhouse. The gig soon takes a sinister turn as the band members stumble upon a grisly murder scene and find themselves trapped in the Roadhouse, targeted by a ruthless club owner and his associates, determined to eliminate all witnesses. Effective indie thriller sees the talented Anton Yelchin in one of his final roles, and a nasty turn from Patrick Stewart as the leader of a bunch of Neo-Nazi’s. Makes the most of its claustrophobic setting. Definitely worth a watch. (Mark)

Cover imageThe tale of the Princess Kaguya.
Watching at home last week, I found ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’ to be an absolute revelation. The film retells one of the earliest recorded Japanese folk-tales, a story of love and obligation which plays out between humans and the denizens of other realms. It blends the fantastic with the everyday, and handles both with deftness and great emotional charge. Coming from the famous Ghibli studios, its elegant design and thoughtful storytelling are a cut above even its famous stable-mates; the animation style is particularly striking, drawing on traditional modes of brush painting and contemporary digital techniques to produce some startlingly expressionistic and charged moments. The sound design is likewise exceptional, building an elegiac mood of dreamlike fantasy around the film’s stunning images. I have rarely been more moved by any film than by ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’, which manages to draw memorable moments of great lightness, sublimity and humour, and weighty human realities, into one perfectly formed whole. Due to the film’s length, I wouldn’t recommend it for the smallest people, but it’s excellent for the thoughtful older child who loves a strong story, as well as adults of all ages. (Alex)

Currently riding high with the success of the adaptation of Max Allan Collins’ gritty Quarry crime novels which is getting favourable comparisons to the first season of True Detective, the following reviews are a look at the guilty pleasure of some of Cinemax’s (or ‘Skinemax’ as it is better known) attempts at legitimate TV programming…
CoverimageHunted.[Series one].
Melissa George helms this Spy drama, created by X-Files alumni Frank Spotnitz, a joint production between the BBC & Cinemax. George plays Sam Hunter an operative for a private Intelligence/Security firm called ‘Byzantium’, who is ambushed after a rescue operation in Tangiers. Barely managing to survive she recuperates for a year in secret before returning to Byzantium, where her new assignment is to infiltrate the family of a wealthy British criminal who has leveraged his entire fortune into winning the bid on a Dam construction project in Upper Khyber. Paralleling this, Sam attempts to uncover which of her Byzantium colleagues was behind her assassination attempt, and why it seems to tie into a traumatic incident from her childhood. At only 8 episodes this slick spy show throws in a lot of plot, sometimes becoming overly convoluted, and most of the secondary characters don’t make much impact. However it’s entertaining enough if you’re looking for a post-Spooks spy fix with plenty of action. Dropped by the BBC after this series.

Cover imageStrike back. Cinemax season one.
Two things are clear from then first moments of Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’ Season 1. The first is that it has incredibly high production values, and the second is that it has almost zero intellectual content. The Cinemax series is technically Season 2 of this show, as it was originally a BBC Sky 2010 UK mini-series entitled Chris Ryan’s Strike Back (Reviewed here) which starred Richard Armitage in the lead role as John Porter, a member of Section 20 a secretive branch of the British Defence Intelligence service. Supposedly envisioned as a continuing role, that idea came to an end when Armitage left to work on the Hobbit movies. However American channel Cinemax decided to continue the series, rebooting it as a joint US/UK production with two new leads, Philip Winchester (an American playing a Brit) & Sullivan Stapleton (an Australian playing an American – who would later turn up as the lead in Blindspot). When Porter is kidnapped & killed by mysterious Pakistani terrorist Latif, who is masterminding a upcoming terror plot, Michael Stonebridge (Winchester) is tasked to find dishonourably discharged Delta Force operative Damian Scott (Stapleton), who is the only other person who can positively identify Latif. Scott is soon recruited into Section 20, and the five stories (10 episodes) are essentially stand alone, but all connected by the unifying search to find Latif. Sort of 24 minus the moral questions & hand-wringing, and with more gun fights & gratuitous sex scenes. Strike back would go on for 3 more Cinemax seasons: Cinemax Season Two, Cinemax Season Three & Cinemax Season Four before wrapping up.

Cover imageBanshee. The complete first season.
Of the Cinemax series’ before Quarry ‘Banshee’ was the most critically & commercially successful. Created by writer Jonathan Tropper & produced by Alan Ball (creator/EP of True Blood) ‘Banshee’ is, if anything, more lurid and violent than ‘Strike Back’. It begins with a thief (Kiwi Antony Starr) just released from jail after serving fifteen years of hard time. He persuades his foul mouthed drag queen/computer expert friend (a hilarious Hoon Lee) to track down his ex-flame and partner-in-crime Anna (Ivana Milicevic), and the diamonds she got away with. Arriving in a crooked Pennsylvania town called Banshee he soon finds her living under an assumed name and married with 2 children, one of which could be his. Seeking solace in a bar on the outskirts of town he and bartender and ex-con Sugar (Frankie Faison) witness the brutal death of Banshee’s incoming sheriff Lucas Hood, whom no one in town knows. He then decides, while burying the body, that assuming Hood’s identify is this best way to disappear off the grid and stay near his ex-girlfriend [No spoilers, as this all takes place within the first 30 minutes]. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the show: in that it’s somewhat preposterous, but also addictive & incredibly intense. Each episodes is stuffed full of action, with brutally realistic fight scenes, gratuitous sex and intense character interactions. The arrival of ‘Hood’ causes decidedly mixed feelings in Milicevic’s Anna (now married to the local D.A) in that she still harbours feelings for him but is scared his presence will cause the mysterious Mr. Rabbit, the Ukrainian mob boss whose diamonds they stole, to find her. In turn Hood finds that the corrupt town, controlled by Amish overlord Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) is the perfect vehicle to dilute his barely contained anger, and proceeds to dispense some distinctly non-by-the-book Policing. Starr is excellent as Hood, his wounded countenance the perfect balance to the American Gothic hardboiled noir of the story. The hidden secrets, relationships, shifting alliances between the characters, Hoods Deputies, the local Indian Tribe, the Amish community & criminal factions all provide enough backdrop & character arcs for Banshee Season Two, Three & Four.
For more Cinemax see also The Knick Season 1 & Season 2, and the upcoming release of Robert Kirkman’s Outcast. (Mark)

More new DVDs this month

Here are some new DVDs in our collection. This month is a bit of everything with Louis Theroux’s humorous look at the mysteries of Scientology; kids hit Finding Dory; new big budget remakes of 80s classic Ghostbusters & the story of Tarzan; critically acclaimed coming-of-age music comedy Sing Street; and the latest entry in the Star Trek franchise. With TV there is the newest season of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander saga; the final episodes of the BBC version of Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell’s Wallander series; and acclaimed new HBO crime series The Night Of.

cover imageMy Scientology movie.
“With a lifetime of experience dealing with eccentric, unpalatable and unexpected human behaviour, the unassuming Theroux won’t take no for an answer when his request to enter the Church of Scientology headquarters is turned down. Inspired by the Church’s alleged techniques, and aided by former Scientology members-turned-whistleblowers, Theroux uses actors to recreate incidents people claim to have experienced as members in an attempt to better understand the way it operates. However, in a bizarre twist, it becomes clear that Louis is not the only one making a documentary… Suffused with a good dose of humour and moments worthy of a Hollywood script, MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE is as outlandish as it is revealing.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)

cover imageFinding Dory.
“When Dory, the forgetful blue tang, suddenly remembers she has a family who may be looking for her, she, Marlin, and Nemo take off on a life-changing quest to find them, with help from Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Bailey, a beluga whale who’s convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark! Dive into the movie overflowing with unforgettable characters, dazzling animation, and gallons of fun!” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe legend of Tarzan.
“It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Margot Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageSwiss army man.
“A wholly original, enormously entertaining, and deeply heartfelt look at what it means to be human, SWISS ARMY MAN is the feature film debut of acclaimed music video directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (collectively known as DANIELS). Bursting with limitless creativity in both form and content, SWISS ARMY MAN goes from the absurd to the emotional to the whimsical to the profound and back again. Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island, having given up all hope of ever making it home again. But one day everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore; the two become fast friends, and ultimately go on an epic adventure that will bring Hank back to the woman of his dreams.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageGhostbusters.
“Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return with Director Paul Feig’s unique and hilarious take on the classic, supernatural comedy, led by the freshest minds in comedy today. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. Together they team up to save Manhattan from a sudden invasion of spirits, spooks and slime that engulfs the city.” (Synopsis, amazon.co.uk

cover imageSing Street.
Sing Street takes us back to 1980s Dublin where an economic recession forces Conor out of his comfortable private school and into survival mode at the inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious and über-cool Raphina, and with the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band’s music videos. She agrees, and now Conor must deliver what he’s promised – calling himself “Cosmo” and immersing himself in the vibrant rock music trends of the ‘80s, he forms a band with a few lads, and the group pours their hearts into writing lyrics and shooting videos. Sing Street is an electrifying coming-of-age film that will resonate with music fans across the board.” (Product description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageThe night of.
“Eight-part crime drama starring John Turturro and Riz Ahmed. New York student Naz (Ahmed) embarks on a wild night out with a mysterious woman after picking her up in his dad’s cab. The next morning he finds her stabbed to death in his bed. With no recollection of the previous night’s events, Naz flees the scene but is quickly brought in by the city’s police and identified as the main suspect for the victim’s murder. After he is denied a legal representative, defence lawyer John Stone (Turturro) steps in to help Naz prove his innocence. As he awaits prosecution on Rikers Island, Naz adapts to the politics of life on the inside while his legal team try to piece together what happened on the night of the crime.” (Product description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageOutlander. Season two.
“Claire and Jamie arrive in France, hell-bent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart, and stopping the battle of Culloden. With the help of his cousin Jared, a local wine merchant, Jamie and Claire are thrown into the lavish world of French society, where intrigue and parties are abundant, but political gain proves far less fruitful. Altering the course of history presents challenges that begin to weigh on the very fabric of their relationship. However, armed with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Claire and Jamie must race to prevent a doomed Highland uprising and the extinction of Scottish life as they know it.” (Product description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageWallander. The final chapter.
“All three feature-length episodes from the third series of the BBC crime drama starring Kenneth Branagh as the Swedish detective. Inspector Kurt Wallander (Branagh) and his team at Ystad police station investigate a number of violent and terrifying murders in the beautiful setting of Skane County, Southern Sweden. In this instalment, Wallander must investigate the disappearance of a Swedish citizen while attending a conference in South Africa. After returning home, the detective struggles with the onset of Alzheimer’s whilst trying to solve his final cases.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageStar trek. Beyond.
“Dispatched on a rescue mission to the farthest reaches of space, the USS Enterprise is ambushed by Krall, a ruthless enemy sworn against the Federation. Crash-landing on an uncharted hostile world, Captain Kirk, Spock, and the crew are separated with no means of escape. Only Jaylah, a rebellious alien warrior, can help them reunite and find a way off the planet in a race against time to stop Krall’s deadly army from triggering all-out galactic war.” (Syndetics summary)


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