Recent DVD arrivals

New movies include popular Biographical adaptations ‘Lion’, ‘A United Kingdom’ & ‘Jackie; award winning drama with ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Fences’ & ‘Paterson’ & new critically acclaimed TV with the latest season of ‘Un village français’ & ‘The Americans’.

Lion.
“In LION, five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train travelling away from his home and family. Frightened and bewildered, he ends up thousands of miles away, in chaotic Kolkata. Somehow he survives living on the streets, escaping all sorts of terrors and close calls in the process, before ending up in an orphanage that is itself not exactly a safe haven. Eventually Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple, and finds love and security as he grows up in Hobart. Not wanting to hurt his adoptive parents feelings, he suppresses his past, his emotional need for reunification, and his hope of ever finding his lost mother and brother. But a chance meeting with some fellow Indians reawakens his buried yearning. With just a small store of memories and his unwavering determination, Saroo embarks on one of the greatest needle-in-a-haystack quests of modern times.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

A united kingdom.
“Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s. When they decided to marry, just as apartheid was being introduced into South Africa, it caused an international uproar. However, their passionate romance triumphed over every obstacle and changed the course of African history.” (Syndetics summary)

Un village français. Vol. 6.
“And so, after years of war, the peace has arrived, and with it comes the court cases, the public hearings that will attribute blame. The divisions that damaged Villeneuve so very much are brought to the surface. Daniel Larcher and Sub-Prefect Servier are first in the dock. And out in the village, people jockey for positions in the new order. We will see characters who disappeared during the war return, we will see characters making deals to avoid execution. The war may be over, but the struggle for dignity continues.” (Syndetics summary)

Jackie.
“A searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The film places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of a “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.” (Syndetics summary)

Fences.
“In 1950s Pittsburgh, a Black garbage collector named Troy Maxson–bitter that baseball’s color barrier was only broken after his own heyday in the Negro Leagues–is prone to taking out his frustrations on his loved ones.” (Syndetics summary)

Manchester by the sea.
“A man returns to his hometown and faces his past when he unexpectedly becomes the guardian of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.” (Syndetics summary)

Moonlight.
“A young black man struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.” (Syndetics summary)\

Paterson.
“Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey – they share the name. Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer. He goes home to his wife, Laura. By contrast, Laura’s world is ever changing.” (Syndetics summary)

The Americans. The complete third 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)

Collateral beauty.
“Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.” (Syndetics summary)

Passengers.
“Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are two passengers onboard a spaceship transporting them to a new life on another planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination. As Jim and Aurora try to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction… only to be threatened by the imminent collapse of the ship and the discovery of the truth behind why they woke up.” (Syndetics summary)

The founder.
“Tells the true story of how Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers’ speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire.” (Syndetics summary)

Settle in for Winter nights with new library DVDs

New DVDs for June include the Tina Fey produced comedy ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, the return of crime favourite ‘Broadchurch’ for a final season and the lads from ‘Trainspotting’, acclaimed drama about an interracial marriage in 1958 Virginia with the Biopic ‘Loving’, the feel-good story of ‘A Street cat named Bob’, the remake of an NZ classic with ‘Pork Pie’, and the final chapter in the story of Marvel superhero Wolverine.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Season one.
“From the executive producers of 30 Rock (Tina Fey and Robert Carlock) comes the “wise, wicked comedy” (Jeff Jensen, EW), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Rescued after fifteen years in an underground doomsday cult, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) decides to rebuild her life in New York City armed with only a fifth-grade education and a firm belief that truly anything is possible. She quickly finds a roommate, Titus Andromedon (Primetime Emmy nominee Tituss Burgess), a job working for a spoiled Manhattan mom, Jacqueline Voorhees (Primetime Emmy nominee Jane Krakowski), and a new beginning. Watch season one of the Primetime Emmy-nominated series on these shiny discs that Kimmy is only now just learning about! That’s all thirteen episodes, back-to-back and uninterrupted, of the show critics rave is “packed liked 30 Rock with surreal zingers” (Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker).” (Editorial Reviews, Amazon.com)

Broadchurch. Series 3.
“Ellie and Hardy are called out to attend to a woman who has reported a serious sexual assault. They take the woman – Trish Winterman – to the SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) where she is examined. There’s no doubt she’s been raped – but where, and when, and by whom? Hardy and Ellie tell Trish that an ISVA, (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) will be in touch soon. This person will help and guide her through the legal and investigative process that will now unfold around her. Working on a clue found at Trish’s house, Hardy and Ellie discover the crime scene and call in SOCO to gather evidence. But it is an unusual and difficult crime scene – will they find anything useful? The initial forensics report confirms Hardy and Ellie’s earlier suspicions – this was not an opportunistic attack, it was planned. Hardy concludes that they have a serious sexual predator at large in the town, someone who may strike again.” (Syndetics summary)

Red Dog : true blue.
“Every legend has a beginning. When eleven year old Mick is shipped off to his grandfather’s cattle station in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia, he prepares himself for a life of dull hardship, but instead finds myth, adventure, and a friendship with a scrappy, one-of-a-kind dog that will change his life forever.” (Syndetics summary)

Aquarius.
“Clara, a 65 year old widow and retired music critic, was born into a wealthy and traditional family in Recife, Brazil. She is the last resident of the Aquarius, an original two-story building, built in the 1940s, in the upper-class, seaside Boa Viagem Avenue, Recife. All the neighboring apartments have already been acquired by a company which has other plans for that plot. Clara has pledged to only leave her place upon her death, and will engage in a cold war of sorts with the company. This tension both disturbs Clara and gives her that edge on her daily routine. It also gets her thinking about her loved ones, her past and her future.” (Syndetics summary)

Lovesong.
“Neglected by her husband, Sarah embarks on an impromptu road trip with her young daughter and her best friend, Mindy. Along the way, the dynamic between the two friends intensifies before circumstances force them apart. Years later, Sarah attempts to rebuild their intimate connection in the days before Mindy’s wedding.” (Syndetics summary)

T2 trainspotting.
“First there was an opportunity; then there was a betrayal. Twenty years have gone by. Much has changed but just as much remains the same. Mark Renton returns to the only place he can ever call home. They are waiting for him: Spud, Sick Boy, and Begbie. Other old friends are waiting too: sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, diamorphine, self-destruction and mortal danger, they are all lined up to welcome him, ready to join the dance.” (Syndetics summary)

Pork pie.
“Jon, a charming but out-of-luck novelist, musters the bravery needed to try and win back the love of his life by surprising her at a friend’s wedding. One problem: he’s in Auckland and the wedding is in Wellington. After a failed attempt to make the journey south in his bomby Holden, Jon hitches a ride with Luke, a sparky young dude driving a fancy new (and unbeknownst to Jon, stolen) yellow MINI Cooper….Soon after, undercover vegan-activist, Keira, climbs through the fast food drive-through window into the MINI bound for Wellington and the Blondini gang of three are formed. As they journey south, the most epic road trip of their lives ensues. To add to Jon’s romantic struggles, he and his two new mates become accidental outlaws on-the-run and soon have a frenzy of police and media hot in their pursuit…” (Description, Mightyape.co.nz)

Miss Sloane.
“In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price.” (Description, Mightyape.co.nz)

A street cat named Bob.
“Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.” (Description, Mightyape.co.nz)

Loving.
“In 1958, in the state of Virginia, the idea of interracial marriage was not only considered to be immoral to many – it was also illegal. When Richard and Mildred fall in love, they are aware of the eyes staring at them and the words said behind their backs. It is when they get married, however, that words and looks become actions, and the two are arrested. The couple decide to take their case all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for their love in this passionate and gripping drama from acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols.” (Syndetics summary)

Logan.
“His Time Has Come. In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
Logan is a 2017 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. The film is the tenth instalment in the X-Men film series, and the third film focused on Wolverine. This final chapter follows a past-his-prime Logan embarking on a road trip across America for one final mission.” (Description, mightyape.co.nz)

 

New Books on Movies and TV for June

We have received a wide variety of new books on movies and TV programmes, including beautifully designed visual guidebooks for Rogue One, The Jungle Book and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Must-read titles are the biography of much-missed actress Carrie Fisher, as well as a history of Wellington’s iconic theatre BATS by Ken Duncum and Rebecca Rodden.

Syndetics book coverBats plays / Ken Duncum & Rebecca Rodden.
“Six seminal plays from Ken Duncum and Rebecca Rodden, whose playwriting partnership powered the vibrant theatre scene round Wellington’s BATS Theatre in the 1980s and 90s. Boldly inventive, darkly comic and ceaselessly imaginative, the plays collected here present a chilling one-woman vision of alienation (Polythene Pam); the comic and tragic impossibility of human connection (Truelove); an irresponsible punk couple horrified to find they’ve become parents to the Messiah (Flybaby); conjoined twins plunged into an off-kilter world of rampant advertising, animal terrorism and a perfume made from monkey semen (cult-classic JISM); a real-life 20th-century martyr tested to his limits in the afterlife by a vengeful gang of defrocked saints (The Temptations of St Max); and the not-so-quiet desperation of a fearful hoarder fighting to survive the night hours (Panic!). Supporting the plays are introductions and selected images from the writers and other BATS practitioners which vividly recapture a crucial time and place in New Zealand’s theatre history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe princess diarist / Carrie Fisher.
“With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time–and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Rogue One, a Star Wars story / written by Josh Kushins ; forewords by Doug Chiang, Neil Lamont, and Gareth Edwards.
“This book is a visual chronicle of the Lucasfilm art department’s creation of new worlds, unforgettable characters, and newly imagined droids, vehicles, and weapons for the first movie in the Star Wars Story series — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In the same format and style as Abrams’ The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the book gives readers unprecedented access to hundreds of concept paintings, sketches, storyboards, matte paintings, and character, costume, and vehicle designs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of The jungle book / written by Ellen Wolff ; foreword by Jon Favreau.
“Beautifully designed and packed with behind-the-scenes details, The Art of The Jungle Book provides an in-depth look at Disney’s latest film. In this finely crafted book, dazzling concept art, behind-the-scenes photography, CG designs, and more come together to highlight the visual spectacle of the film. Delving into the film’s interpretation of iconic Jungle Book elements, from beloved characters such as Baloo and Bagheera to the jungle itself, the book features full-color images and gorgeous double-page spreads to illustrate the magic behind the art of the film.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFantastic beasts and where to find them : the art of the film / Dermot Power ; foreword by Stuart Craig.
The Art of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, edited by Dermot Power, concept artist on the film, takes you on a magical journey through a design process every bit as wonderful as that encountered by Newt Scamander in the wizarding world. Bursting with hundreds of production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints and matte paintings, and filled with unique insights about the filmmaking journey from Stuart Craig and the artists themselves, this superb book – officially licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products – presents a visual feast for readers, and will welcome fans of Harry Potter films into the world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn a crime : stories from a South African childhood / Trevor Noah.
“Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTim Burton : the iconic filmmaker and his work / Ian Nathan.
“Tim Burton is one of the most popular and remarkable filmmakers of the last 30 years, being responsible for such films as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland. He is famed for the visually arresting style of his films that combine with highly original storylines. A truly international filmmaker, Tim Burton has carved a reputation as one of the world’s greatest creative directors. This stunning treasury explores the influences on his development as a filmmaker and assesses how he has captured the fruits of his imagination on screen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGeorge Lucas : a life / Brian Jay Jones.
“On May 25, 1977, a problem-plagued, budget-straining independent science-fiction film opened in a mere thirty-two American movie theaters. Conceived, written, and directed by a little-known filmmaker named George Lucas, the movie originally called The Star Wars quickly drew blocks-long lines, bursting box-office records and ushering in a new way for movies to be made, marketed, and merchandised. It is now one of the most adored-and successful-movie franchises of all time. Now, the author of the bestselling biography Jim Henson delivers a long-awaited, revelatory look into the life and times of the man who created Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Indiana Jones.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI loved her in the movies : memories of Hollywood’s legendary actresses / Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman.
“In a career that has spanned more than sixty years Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both media. During that time he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day. Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two women whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John.” (adapted from the book jacket)

Syndetics book coverTelevision : a biography / David Thomson.
“In just a few years, what used to be an immobile piece of living room furniture, which one had to sit in front of at appointed times in order to watch sponsored programming on a finite number of channels, morphed into a glowing cloud of screens with access to a near-endless supply of content available when and how viewers want it. With this phenomenon now a common cultural theme, a writer of David Thomson’s stature delivering a critical history, or “biography” of the six-decade television era, will be a significant event which could not be more timely. With Television, the critic and film historian who wrote what Sight and Sound’s readers called “the most important film book of the last 50 years” has finally turned his unique powers of observation to the medium that has swallowed film whole.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe platinum age of television : from I love Lucy to The walking dead, how TV became terrific / David Bianculli.
“Television shows have now eclipsed films as the premier form of visual narrative art of our time. This new book by one of our finest critics explains–historically, in depth, and with interviews with the celebrated creators themselves–how the art of must-see/binge-watch television evolved. Television has triumphantly come of age artistically; David Bianculli’s book is the first to date to examine, in depth and in detail and with a keen critical and historical sense, how this inspiring development came about.” (Syndetics summary)

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)

New DVDs to watch out for

New DVDs include Marvel Studios hit ‘Doctor Strange’; a new documentary directed by a Kiwi & another about one of our most famous pop songs; the Golden Globe nominated true story ‘Hacksaw Ridge’; the latest Tom Cruise adaptation from Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ series; the new Tom Ford thriller ‘Nocturnal Animals’; and heartfelt Spanish drama ‘Truman’.

A flickering truth.
A Flickering Truth documents the remarkable true story of exiled filmmaker Ibrahim Arify as he returns to his native Afghanistan. Tasked with restoring 8000 hours of lost Afghan films, his job is all the more formidable considering the medium has been outlawed by the Taliban government for many years. Unearthing dusty reels of film, some dug out of collapsing barns, others hidden in ceilings and many discovered by pure chance, Ibrahim must also deal with people too scared to act after so many years of oppression. Directed by respected New Zealand documentary filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly (Maori Boy Genius), A Flickering Truth explores a war-torn world in search of the truth, elusive as it has been for Afghanistan, highlighting the significance and power of film preservation.” (Syndetics summary)

Poi E : the story of our song.
“In 1984, ‘Poi e’ reached Number 1 on the NZ Pop Charts and broke every musical record. It remained in the charts for 34 weeks. It outsold ‘Thriller’, ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’ and every other hit of 1984. It has been in the Top 10 in New Zealand, every decade for the past 30 years. It was also the first Number 1 song written and released entirely in Te Reo Māori. To put it simply, this small song changed New Zealand, forever. ‘Poi e’ has become New Zealand’s unofficial national anthem. With humour, energy and emotion, the movie Poi e is the story of how that iconic song gave pride to generations of New Zealanders.” (Syndetics summary)

Doctor Strange.
“From Marvel Studios comes “Doctor Strange,” the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing-and hope-in an unlikely place: a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange-armed with newly acquired magical powers-is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.” (Syndetics summary)

Jack Reacher. Never go back.
“Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher in this sequel based on Lee Child’s bestse­lling novel Never Go Back, which finds the itinerant problem-solver accused of murder, and learning that he may have a child he has never met.
JACK REACHER returns to the headquarters of his old unit, only to find out he’s now accused of a 16-year-old homicide. Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.” (Description, mightyape.co.nz)

Hacksaw Ridge.
“Directed by Mel Gibson and with 9 AACTA award wins and 3 Golden Globe nominations, this Australian production is an extraordinary true story. Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun.
Doss was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic he single-handedly rescued the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was injured by a grenade and hit by snipers.” (Description, mightyape.co.nz)

Sunset song.
“SUNSET SONG is an epic, award-winning film set in Scotland from acclaimed filmmaker, Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea, Of Time and the City), starring Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan (My Name is Joe) and Kevin Guthrie (Sunshine On Leith).
Based on Lewis Grassic Gibbons novel, widely considered the classic Scottish novel of the 20th century, SUNSET SONG is the story of Chris Guthrie, a young women, living on a working farm who must battle tradition, change and societys expectations to forge her own voice. As World War One looms, and with moments of heartbreak and pain, celebration and joy, Chris stands strong, drawing from the ancient land in looking to the future.” (Description, Mightyape.co.nz)

The accountant.
“Christian Wolff is a math savant who works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division starting to close in, he takes on a legitimate client, a robotics company where an accounting clerk has discovered a discrepency involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, the body count starts to rise.” (Syndetics summary)

Truman.
“TRUMAN is a funny, heartfelt portrait of friendship, and life’s unexpected ups and downs. When theatre actor Julián receives an unexpected visit from his childhood friend Tomás, the encounter is bittersweet. This reunion is their first meeting in many years, triggered by Julian’s failing health. Tomas is baffled by his friend’s decision to forgo treatment and instead focus on putting his affairs in order: distributing possessions, reconciling past disputes, and, most importantly, finding a home for his beloved Boxer, Truman. It’s this task that is causing Julián the greatest concern. A witty, moving and hugely entertaining reflection on human connection, and a reminder that the best friendships are, indeed, forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

La belle saison.
“1971. Delphine, a twenty-something farm girl of humble means, takes a huge step by packing up and moving to Paris, searching for independence and a life beyond the duties of her rural upbringing. It’s not long before she is drawn to dynamic thirty-something Carole who is actively involved in the emerging feminist movement. Carole lives with her boyfriend, but the two women quickly fall head over heels, and become inseparable. Their bliss is interrupted, however, when a family emergency forces Delphine back to the farm and to her mother, and Carole decides to follow her. There, the couple has to face a far different reality…” (Syndetics summary)

Nocturnal animals.
“Susan (Amy Adams) is living through an unfulfilling marriage when she receives a package containing a novel manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The Novel is dedicated to her but its content is violent and devastating. Susan cannot help but reminisce over her past love story with the author. Increasingly she interprets the book as a tale of revenge, a tale that forces her to re-evaluate the choices that she has made, and reawakens a love that she feared was lost.” (Syndetics summary)

Billy Lynn’s long halftime walk.
“The film is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions.” (Syndetics summary)

Thursday night films in April – Hitchcock

Syndetics book coverEveryone loves Hitchcock and so do we. One of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock died in April in 1980. He would have been 117 in 2017 and we will celebrate his achievement by showing a selection of his films. The line-up includes one of the most beloved of his works starring Grace Kelly, an early classic spy movie, and a biographical movie about him starring Anthony Hopkins.

Sessions begin at 6pm on the Ground Floor of the Central Library. These screenings are free to attend. To avoid disappointment reserve your seat by telephoning 801-4068 during library opening hours.

Remember: We have special permission to screen these films for free in public libraries as long as we don’t advertise the film name online (plus other conditions). Please call the information desk (801-4068) to get more details.
Note: reservations not taken up by the starting time at 6pm may be reallocated to customers waiting, as numbers are limited

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)