Staff Pick DVDs: July Part Two

With the closure of the Cemtral Library our AV loving staff haven’t been sitting idly by. Our first pop up at Arapaki has been open a couple of months and we have been digging into the DVD collection there, watching some old favourites and checking out some new releases. There is a bit of everything here, from modern classics to new docos and TV shows, as well as some brand new titles hot off the processing trolley. Our staff have been watching so much that we’ve had to split it into two lists, part one is here!


Shoplifters
One of the most consistent filmmakers of today, Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda has never made a bad film but his latest work is an exceptional work even by his standard. He questions what family really means by gracefully portraying vulnerable people who live in a shabby house in the edge of society. The narrative is gentle and atmospheric but it’s, in fact, almost Ken Loach-like social realism drama. (Shinji)

Kusama : infinity : the life and art of Yayoi Kusama.
The history, evolution and development of Kusama’s core themes, concepts and the ideas behind her work are well covered. While her conservative upbringing and her life story are covered in this documentary, for me this is one of the film’s weaker elements. By end of this well made and highly informative movie we know a lot about Yayoi Kusama’s art and practice and her position in the modern art world but perhaps a little less about the artist herself. (Neil J)

Ngati
Director Barry Barclay theorised a “fourth cinema” that would be made by indigenous film-makers, from an indigenous perspective with the primary intended audience being indigenous peoples. He achieved his goals with the beautiful Ngāti, the story of a young Australian doctor exploring his Māori heritage. The first feature film to have a Māori writer and director is one of the masterpieces of New Zealand cinema. (Joseph)

Bohemian Rhapsody
This is the biographical story of the life of Freddie Mercury from his youth through to Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance (of which this movie contains the entire performance). As a matter of course, this has all the wonderful Queen music that we know and love. Giving a wonderful ‘behind the scenes’ look at how they came to write their songs, Raimi Malek is wonderful as Mercury. (Brigid)

Informer
Tense drama as Raza Shar, a young charismatic second generation Pakistani from East London, is coerced by a Counter-Terrorism officer’s DS Gabe Waters (Paddy Considine) and DC Holly Morten’s into going undercover as an informer. As the stakes get higher Raza’s life slowly spins out of control, while Considine’s new partner begins to probe his undercover past and drag up some secrets he’d prefer to stay buried. (Mark)

Annihilation.
The husband of an ex-soldier now biologist goes missing on a deep secret mission in the Shimmer (a mysterious part of the world where strange things happen). Lena’s husband suddenly returns sick and minus his memory, so she and her team must enter the Shimmer to find out what happened. A good story. and reminiscent of The Fog. (Brigid)

Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde isn’t just set in cold war Berlin. It’s set in the end of days of cold war Berlin. Which is different. Something is about to happen. I can’t remember if this movie actually features the song Atomic by Blondie. But it doesn’t matter because the whole situation oozes Blondie and Atomic and crumbling trust, following crumbs, spies, hair follicles and sun bleached Charlize Theron as the most powerful American spy. (Tim)

Instant family
A great comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, and Rose Byrne, a professional couple who suddenly realise they are missing something in their lives. Children. After a discussion and doing a course they are all set to become foster parents! When matched with a Spanish-speaking rebellious teenager, they find out she has siblings and Pete and Ellie suddenly go from 0 to 3 children overnight. (Brigid)

The little drummer girl.
Adaptation of the novel by John le Carré, set in the ’70s in which Charlie is recruited by charismatic agent Gadi, to play a part in operation to ensnare a serial bomber for Mossad spymaster Kurtz. A Palestinian terror cell has been responsible for the killing of a number of prominent Jews in western Europe, and the aim of the mission is to embed Charlie within the cell so she can draw out its elusive leader. (Mark)

You were never really here
Lynne Ramsay is a poet of the visual cinema with a distinctive vision – You Were Never Really Here is a real departure in some ways from her previous films. In places it feels like a modern day Taxi Driver and as such it is a powerful, brutal, visceral and violent watch not for the faint hearted. Yet Ramsay’s trademark visual style is still there, only this time it’s the harsh neon city or the sheen of light on blood. (Neil J)

American honey
Shot on warm, saturated film, the viewing experience is an absolute pleasure. The soundtrack rattles with dance pop, 21st century hip-hop and country. The narrative rises and falls, resembling life; full of risk, sorrow and joy. Sasha Lane proves her acting chops in the lead role and Shia LaBeouf delivers his best performance. Director Andrea Arnold has bottled the spirit of youth in these economically precarious times. (Joseph)

The old man & the gun
Based on the story of Forrest Tucker, who had a unique leisurely style of bank robbery and escaped from prison 16 times, director David Lowery turned it into a witty laid-back outlaw tale. The centre of the movie is, of course, Redford who plays Tucker, and it is obvious that he loves playing this character. The chemistry between Redford and legend Sissy Spacek, who plays his love interest, is simply wonderful, and lifts the whole thing to another level. A perfect swansong. (Shinji)

The Happytime Murders
Melissa McCarthy stars in this Brian Henson alternative production about a place where puppets and people live and work together. A detective (McCarthy) is teamed with her ex-partner, a puppet, to investigate a series of murders of puppets from the Happytime movie series. Don’t be fooled by the puppets as this movie is very definitely R rated – most definitely NOT Sesame Street. (Brigid)

Bad times at the El Royale
A group of mysterious strangers show up at a once posh but now slightly run down hotel in the late 1960’s, but it soon becomes apparent that not everything or everyone are who or what they seem. There is much to be enjoyed about ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ as it has a twisty, compelling plot, it is very stylishly filmed and sports a stellar cast. (Neil J)

Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen brothers are always a directing duo to watch, and this Oscar Isaac starring feature is one of their finest. Set in the early 60s folk music scene in Greenwich Village, the snow and solemn environments provide the backdrop to the road rambling of a failing folk musician. (Joseph)

Staff Pick DVDs: July Part One

With the closure of the Cemtral Library our AV loving staff haven’t been sitting idly by. Our first pop up at Arapaki has been open a couple of months and we have been digging into the DVD collection there, watching some old favourites and checking out some new releases. There is a bit of everything here, from modern classics to new docos and TV shows, as well as some brand new titles hot off the processing trolley. Our staff have been watching so much that we’ve had to split it into two lists!


Unforgotten. Series 3.
When human remains are found on the central reservation of a motorway near London, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker), DI Suni Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and their team of detectives are assigned the case. A doctor, a television presenter, a failing salesman, and an artist are a close-knit group of old school friends who hold the key to what happened. (Mark)

First man
First Man is a film centred round the build up to the Apollo moon landings and in particular Neil Armstrong. It is a film that both aims to show simultaneously how we touched the stars through these missions and also be a close examination of Armstrong’s personal life. These two cleverly interwoven threads show that his domestic life and his historic role as first man on the moon are in fact part of the same thing. (Neil J)

Wildlife
“I feel like I need to wake up, but I don’t know what from or to”, a housewife named Jeanette, played by Carey Mulligan who is the anchor of the film, tells her son. The actor Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) has turned director, and his debut feature ‘Wildlife’ is a quiet portrait of the painful process of an idyllic young family gradually falling apart. (Shinji)

Broken
This is based on an early Maori story from the 1800’s when a young girl was murdered by a marauding tribe. The girl always carried the gospel of Luke with her and the book was stolen by the murderer, who read it and was then filled with remorse. Our story starts in present day New Zealand with an ex-gang leader who has pulled out to raise his daughter after the death of his wife. (Brigid)

Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a marvellously sensitive portrait of teenage-hood, self-discovery, friendship and family. Saoirse Ronan performs excellently in the lead role of a disaffected high-schooler who dreams of going to college in New York. One of the greatest coming of age films to be made, whilst never falling into the traps and tropes of the genre. The dialogue is true; believable, relatable and piercing. (Joseph)

Counterpart. Season one.
Howard Silk is a low-level bureaucrat in a Berlin-based UN agency called the Office of Interchange, where he works exchanging coded call-and-response messages with another agent. However one day all this changes, as he is drafted into an urgent meeting… and finds himself face to face with his double. The ‘other’ Howard now needs this worlds Howard to help with a new mission. (Mark)

The breaker upperers
This is a funny New Zealand movie starring Madeleine Sami and Jackie Van Beek. It is set in Auckland and features many cameos of famous New Zealand actors. The two ladies in question discover they are being two timed by a man, but instead of getting bitter they become friends and set up a company which helps people break up with each other. Great for a laugh. (Brigid)

Vice
If there was ever a movie award for the most perfectly named film then Vice must be a strong candidate to take that prize. It is the story of the unassuming Vice president Dick Cheney and his terrifying and amoral pursuit of power, money and influence ably assisted by his wife Lynne Cheney (the Lady Macbeth of the piece). It is described as a comedy and if you like the darkest type of satire that holds but for many people it will watch as a shocking indictment of American politics. (Neil J)

Summer 1993
Watching the Catalan writer-director Carla Simon’s debut feature ‘Summer 1993’ is like watching the most exquisite home video; very personal yet universal. Based on Simon’s childhood experience, it follows 6-year-old Frida who is moved from Barcelona to Catalan countryside to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother’s death. Avoiding dramatization, it’s a sensitively crafted, beautiful filmic memoir. (Shinji)

Searching
After David Kim’s (John Cho) 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened. 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet…online. A thriller told exclusively via screen shots seems like a total bore, but this hyper-modern thriller utilises character dialogue recorded through webcams, apps, security camera footage, as well as key moments portrayed through YouTube clips to generate as much suspense as a traditional narrative. (Mark)

Finding your feet
Great movie with a superb cast including Celia Imrie, Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Joanna Lumley. When Lady Sandra Abbot discovers that her husband has been having a long term affair with her best friend she leaves and renews her friendship with her sister (Celia Imrie). These two make an unlikely pair and with time, love and lots of laughs Lady Sandra starts to discover herself and life and love again. It is a funny movie but does have some sad and poignant moments in it. (Brigid)

Ryuichi Sakamoto : CODA
How do great artists face their own mortality? These huge questions rather than a career overview is what you get in this poignant documentary about the iconic Japanese musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto. This film is almost a meditation on Ryuichi Sakamoto’s current creativity, a powerful and moving piece delivered in a gentle and sad way. (Neil J)

Lean on Pete
This film is about a 15-year-old boy, Charlie, who lives in poverty and runs away with a racehorse he takes care of to save it from the slaughterhouse. Blending a human-animal special bond story with a road movie and a coming of age tale, the movie shows a harsh slice of America; a dysfunctional family, poverty, placelessness etc., and a lot of events – mostly unfortunate, tormenting ones – unfold. (Shinji)

Sorry to bother you
This is an unusual story set in an alternative reality version of Oakland, where a poor but ambitious salesman starts working as a telemarketer. Cassius Green finds he has a real gift for sales and has a meteoric rise in the company. However, Cassius discovers his workplace is not what he thinks it is when he accidentally enters the wrong door. A very unusual story. (Brigid)

Frances Ha
Greta Gerwig stars as the loveable and exasperating Frances as she rambles through New York, facing technical homelessness and creative frustration. A tale of optimism in the face of adversity. The black and white cinematography is virtuosic and deeply satisfying. (Joseph)

The guilty
Alarm dispatcher and sidelined police officer, Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) answers an emergency call from a woman, that he soon ascertains has been kidnapped. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman, but soon realises that there is more to the situation that first appears. (Mark)

Our most recent DVDs

New DVDs for July include dramatizations of the lives of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and war journalist Marie Colvin, as well as female-fronted Marvel action, a romance told through famous New Zealand songs, and a remake of Norwegian black comedy In order of disappearance.

A private war
“In a world where journalism is under attack, Marie Colvin is one of the most admired war correspondents of today. After being hit by a grenade, she wears a distinctive eye patch and is still as comfortable with London’s elite as she is confronting dictators. Her mission to show the true cost of war leads her, along with war photographer Paul Conroy, to embark on the most dangerous assignment of their lives.” (Catalogue)

Pick of the litter : a dogumentary.
“Meet Patriot, Potomac, Primrose, Poppet, and Phil – five determined puppies who, from the moment they’re born, begin an incredible journey to become guide dogs for the blind. It’s a rigorous two-year process that will take them from the care of selfless foster volunteers to specialised trainers to, if they make the cut, a lifelong human companion.” (Mightyape.co.nz)

Captain Marvel
“Set in the 1990’s, the film revolves around Carol Danvers, a crack air force pilot. Her membership in the Kree military team puts her in danger when Earth becomes hopelessly stuck in battle between two other alien worlds, forcing Danvers to take on the role of Captain Marvel and use her new powers for the greater good.” (Catalogue)

Cold pursuit
“Nels Coxman is a family man whose quiet life with his wife is upended following the mysterious death of their son. Nels’s search for justice turns into a vengeful hunt for Viking, a drug lord he believes is connected to the death. As one by one Viking’s associates ‘disappear,’ Nels goes from upstanding citizen to ice-cold vigilante, letting nothing, and no one, get in his way. (Catalogue)

On the basis of sex
“Inspired by the powerful true story of a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg, On the Basis of Sex depicts a then-struggling attorney and new mother facing adversity in her fight for equal rights. When Ruth takes on a ground-breaking case, she knows the outcome could alter the courts’ view of gender discrimination.” (Catalogue)

Marjorie Prime
“In the near future, a time of artificial intelligence: 86-year-old Marjorie–a jumble of disparate, fading memories–has a handsome new companion who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember and what would we forget, if given the chance?” (Catalogue)

Daffodils.
“Leaving her dying father’s bedside, singer Maisie rushes to perform at an indie music gig in town. But as she sings the opening song, it’s hard for her to ignore the heartfelt story she’s just been told – the story of how her dad met and fell in love with her mother, and how it all devastatingly fell apart.” (Catalogue)

Five feet apart
“Life as a teenager is hard. Life gets even harder when you’re a teenager suffering from a life-threatening illness. Compound illness, adolescence, and the fact that you’re spending most of your time in the hospital; life can get very lonely. When two critically ill teens met at a hospital, only time will tell if they will become friends or even fall in love?” (Catalogue)

Wajib : the wedding invitation
“This movie explores the lives of Palestinians living in Israel and stars real-life father and son Mohammad and Saleh Bakri. The title of Wajib translates as duty and it is duty that brings architect Shadi (Saleh Bakri) from Rome back to Nazareth, where his sister Amal (Maria Zriek) is to be married. Local tradition dictates that Shadi and his divorced dad, Abu Shadi (Mohammad Bakri), must drive around town delivering wedding invitations. Friction is in the air even before the duo clamber into Abu Shadi’s beloved and beaten-up old Volvo. Shadi thinks the exercise is outdated and meaningless. For his father, it’s about maintaining important community rituals.” (Catalogue)

First reformed
“From Golden Globe® Nominee Director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, Affliction), FIRST REFORMED is a brooding, thriller-drama centred around Ernst Toller (Academy Award® Nominee Ethan Hawke), a troubled priest of a small, historical church in upstate New York, who starts to spiral out of control after a soul-shaking encounter with Mary (Amanda Seyfried) and her husband Michael, an unstable environmental activist. Consumed by thoughts that the world is in danger and motivated by the church’s lack of action, Toller embarks on a perilous self-assigned undertaking with the hope that he may finally restore the faith and purpose he’s been longing for in his mission to right the wrongs done to so many” (Summary from Amazon.UK)

The Clovehitch killer
“A shocking revelation turns a teenage boy’s world upside down in this chilling look at the evil that can lurk below even the most wholesome surface. Tyler Burnside is a Boy Scout, a volunteer at his local church and the dutiful son of an upstanding community leader. Only one thing troubles the quiet town he lives in – the unsolved murder of ten women who were brutally tortured and killed by a psychopath known as Clovehitch. When Tyler discovers a cache of disturbing images in his father’s possession, he begins to suspect that the man he trusts most in the world might be Clovehitch, and that his deadly rampage may not be over. With unrelenting tension, director Duncan Skiles crafts a picture-perfect vision of the all-American family–and then piece by piece rips it to shreds.” (Catalogue)

The split.
“Hannah Defoe is a brilliant divorce lawyer. With her formidable mother Ruth and headstrong sister Nina she takes on cases for London’s wealthy and well-known. Following a bitter argument, Hannah leaves the family business to begin a new job at a rival firm, where she unexpectedly reconnects with the only other man she could have imagined her life with. And when Hannah’s estranged father returns after 30 years, the toxic feud between her parents is re-ignited. As the Defoe family is forced to confront their fractured past, Hannah begins to question her own marriage. As a lawyer, Hannah always gets what she wants for her clients but can she get what she wants for herself? A powerful series that explores family, love, loyalty and the messy business of divorce.” (Catalogue)

Transit
“In Christian Petzold’s brilliant and haunting modern-day adaptation of Anna Seghers’s 1942 novel, Georg, a German refugee, flees to Marseille assuming the identity of a recently deceased writer whose papers he is carrying. There he delves into the delicate and complex culture of the refugee community, becoming enmeshed in the lives of a young mother and son and falling for a mysterious woman named Marie.” (Catalogue)

Online movie streaming has arrived at Wellington City Libraries

Two streaming platforms — Kanopy and Beamafilm — are now available for you to watch a huge selection of indie and world movies, film festival favourites, award-winning documentaries, classic cinema and kids movies!

On our website, you can access both of these streaming platforms from our eLibrary homepage.

You’ll find some introductory information below, but if you’d like to compare the two services and find out more, we’ve created this handy comparison chart — see how both Kanopy and Beamafilm work and what features they offer. (Plus, both the Kanopy and Beamafilm websites have comprehensive help pages if you need more information.)

About Kanopy

Access Kanopy

What is Kanopy? What kind of movies does it have?

Kanopy is a streaming platform that focuses on thoughtful entertainment, including some of the world’s best cinema.  They offer over 30,000 movies, with new titles added every month.

It will also give you access to Kanopy Kids, for kids’ content, and The Great Courses collection for lectures from top scholars around the world.

Who can access it?

It’s available to Wellington City adult residents, ratepayers and workers — access it with your library membership. Not a member? Find about more about joining.

How many movies can I watch?

You’ll get 6 movie credits per month, which means you’ll be able to watch 6 movies for free, and those credits will reset at the beginning of each month.

(Every movie you start watching with Kanopy counts against your play credits, with the exception of Kanopy Kids content and The Great Courses collection.)

How do I use it?

To watch movies:

  • Visit either wcl.kanopy.com, or go through our eLibrary homepage and choose ‘Kanopy’
  • Create a Kanopy account — you’ll be prompted to select your library (Wellington City Libraries), and confirm your library card details – then away you go!

Films can be streamed from any internet connected device including computers, phones or tablets and on TV’s via Chromecast, AppleTV or HDMI.  There’s also an app for Android and IOS devices.

Beamafilm

Access Beamafilm

What is Beamafilm? What kind of films does it have?

Beamafilm is a streaming platform that has a curated collection of international movies and documentaries, with a strong Australasian focus.  They have over 500 movies to choose from and new titles are added regularly. 

Who can access it?

It’s available to anyone who holds a Wellington City Libraries’ adult membership card (any adult membership card type). Just login using your library card details, then create a Beamafilm account to start watching movies.

Not a member? Find about more about joining

How many movies can I watch?

Unlimited! There are no monthly limits on how many films you can watch.

How do I access it?

Unlike Kanopy, with Beamafilm you’ll need to authenticate that you’re a Wellington City Libraries borrower every time you access the site:

  • Visit our eLibrary home page and click on Beamafilm, or visit wellingtoncitylibraries.beamafilm.com. Enter your library card details
  • Once you’ve authenticated, you’ll be able to either set up your Beamafilm account or log in to your existing Beamafilm account and start watching

Please note, using your Google or Facebook account to log in is currently not available as an option — we’re working on this.

Films can also be streamed from any internet connected device including computers, phones or tablets and on TV’s via Chromecast, AppleTV or HDMI.

From Award Winners to Popular Detectives: New Arrival DVDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued DVDs, including new detective series based on much-loved books such as Grantchester and Agatha Raisin. The award winning movies Green Book (Oscar for the Best Picture) and Shoplifters (The Cannes’ Palme d’Or) have also arrived. They are must-see!


Green book
“When Tony Lip, a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley, a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on The Green Book to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger, as well as unexpected humanity and humor, they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. Inspired by a true friendship.” (Catalogue)

Colette.
“After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as “Willy”, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel, about a brazen country girl named Claudine that becomes a bestseller and a cultural sensation.” (Catalogue)

The happy prince
“In a cheap Parisian hotel, Oscar Wilde lies on his death bed and recalls his past with wit and irony. Was he once the most famous man in London? He reviews the failed attempt to reconcile with his long suffering wife, the ensuing reprisal of his fatal love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas and the devotion of Robbie Ross, who tried and failed to save him from himself.” (Catalogue)

Shoplifters
“After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces. Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets.” (Catalogue)

The little drummer girl.
“This six-part miniseries, based on John le Carré’s best-selling novel of the same name, is a passionate love story set in the late 1970s that weaves a tale of espionage and international intrigue. It follows young, idealistic actress Charlie, whose relationship with the mysterious Becker, an Israeli intelligence officer, leads her into a complex, high-stakes plot devised by spy mastermind Kurtz.” (Catalogue)

Agatha Raisin. Series two.
“Ashley Jensen reprises her role of city PR turned country sleuth in six new episodes of Agatha Raisin. Adapted from the bestselling books by MC Beaton, the first series was an instant hit on Global TV creating a strong fan base around the world.” (Catalogue)

The alienist. [Season 1]
“The Alienist opens when a series of haunting, gruesome murders of boy prostitues grips New York City. Newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt calls upon criminal psychologist (aka alienist) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler and newspaper illustrator John Moore to conduct the investigation in secret. They are joined by Sarah Howard, a headstrong secretary determined to become the city’s first female police detective.” (Catalogue)

Grantchester. Series 3.
“Still unresolved from last season is Sidney’s love life. Handsome, worldly-wise, and virtuous, he should be an ideal catch. And at least one very promising female companion turns up in the new series. But will Sidney scare her away with his unconventional taste for jazz, blood-splattered crime scenes, and a married woman? The new season’s cases include a shocking charge of sexual assault that turns into a homicide investigation implicating a pillar of the community; an apparent suicide from the college spire that takes on Cold War overtones and more.” (Catalogue)

Better call Saul. Season four.
“His brother’s death catalyses Jimmy McGill’s transformation into “Saul Goodman”. Now Jimmy steps into the criminal world, putting his future as a lawyer–and his relationship with Kim Wexler–in deep jeopardy. Meanwhile, Mike Ehrmantraut’s work for Gustavo Fring throws the cartel into chaos with tragic results.” (Catalogue)

New DVDs at the Libraries

Glass DVD cover

DVDs at our new Arapaki branch and across the library network for May include Peter Jackson’s acclaimed WWI documentary as well as his adaptation of ‘Mortal Engines’ by Philip Reeve, M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up to 2001’s classic ‘Unbreakable’, a new horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse, historical drama with ‘Mary Queen of Scots’, the award winning ‘The Favourite’, and some female centric sci-fi with ‘Annihilation’.

They shall not grow old
“Marking the centenary of the First World War, internationally renowned director Peter Jackson uses the voices of the veterans combined with original archival footage to bring to life the reality of war on the front line for a whole new generation. Footage has been colorized and transformed with modern production techniques to present never-before-seen detail.” (Catalogue)

Aquaman
“An action-packed adventure that reveals the origin story of half-human, half- Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on the journey of his lifetime–one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but also to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be: a king.” (Catalogue)

Glass
“For one special security guard, tracking people down is a paranormal sort of hobby. Able to use his rare abilities to find people, David Dunn is suddenly given a job that seems more daunting than all the others before it. He’ll need to find Kevin Wendell Crumb, and time is of the essence. But part of the problem is that Crumb is an extremely disturbed man and with 24 personalities, he’s a lot more complicated than the others Dunn has found.” (Catalogue)

Castle Rock. The complete first season.
“A psychological horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse, it is an original story that combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland. The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in King’s literary career: Cujo, The Dark Half, IT and Needful Things, as well as novella The Body and numerous short stories such as Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption are either set there or contain references to Castle Rock.” (Catalogue)

Mary Queen of Scots
“Queen of France at sixteen, widowed at eighteen, Mary Stuart defies pressure to remarry and instead returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. By birth, she also has a rival claim to the throne of Elizabeth I, who rules as the Queen of England. Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth’s sovereignty. Betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within each court imperil both Queens, driving them apart, as each woman experiences the bitter cost of power.” (Catalogue)

Mortal engines
“Hundreds of years after our civilization was destroyed, a new world has emerged. A mysterious young woman named Hester Shaw leads a band of outcasts in the fight to stop London, now a giant predator city on wheels, from devouring everything its path.” (Catalogue)

The favourite
“Early eighteenth-century England is at war with the French. A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne, and her friend Lady Sarah tends to her ill health. When a new servant Abigail arrives, Sarah takes her under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become time-consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps in to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their growing friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions, and no one will stand in her way.” (Catalogue)

The mule
“Earl Stone, a man in his 80’s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. Easy enough, but, unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. He does well – so well, in fact, that his cargo increases exponentially, and Earl is assigned a handler. But he isn’t the only one keeping tabs on Earl; the mysterious new drug mule has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates. And even as his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on him, and it’s uncertain if he’ll have time to right those wrongs before law enforcement, or the cartel’s enforcers, catch up to him.” (Catalogue)

Annihilation.
“Biologist and former soldier Lena is shocked when her missing husband comes home near death from a top-secret mission into The Shimmer, a mysterious quarantine zone from which no one has ever returned. Now, Lena and her elite team must enter a beautiful, deadly world of mutated landscapes and creatures, to discover how to stop the growing phenomenon that threatens all life on Earth.” (Catalogue)

Movie Nights @ Wadestown

Thursday Movie Nights are back and they’re at Wadestown Library; the nearest library to the CBD. They are every Thursday starting from the 6th June, and the theme of this month’s movies is ‘Night with the Stars’, showing movies starring some of the biggest names in the business.

Wadestown Library may be small but is the hub of a lovely community. It takes only 10~15 minutes by the #14 Bus from lower Lambton Quay or Molesworth Street. The movies start at 5:45pm every Thursday night and the seats are limited (about 15 seats available) so please contact us for more details on the screenings and to book your seat to avoid disappointment, at  Wadestown : 04 4735211.

Branch libraries at Karori, Newtown, Johnsonville and Tawa also show movies (once a month). Please contact them for further information on their screenings.

From thrillers to family dramas – latest DVD arrivals

Sudden closure of the central library is a shock for everyone but a lot of DVDs are still available throughout our branches and new DVDs keep coming. New additions in March/ April feature from new ‘Doctor Who’ to some of the film festival favourites such as ‘You Were Never Really Here’ and ‘Lean on Pete’. Check out also Robert Redford’s swan song ‘The Old Man and The Gun’.

She shears
“”In the gruelling world of competitive sheep shearing there is no women’s section. Women and men compete together. SHE SHEARS is the story of passion, purpose and determination and five women for whom shearing is not just a job”.–Production company website.” (Catalogue)

Beautiful boy
“A deeply moving portrait of a family’s unwavering love and commitment to each other in the face of their son’s addiction and his attempts at recovery. As David’s son repeatedly relapses, the family are faced with the harsh reality that addiction is a disease that does not discriminate and can hit any family at any time.” (Catalogue)

The old man & the gun
“At age 70, Forrest Tucker infamously made his escape from the tough San Quentin prison. Once he had gained his freedom, he embarked on a new set of heists that left investigators scratching their heads and the public fascinated by the story. This true story details Tucker’s life which includes a detective wrapped up in the case, and a female who takes a liking to Tucker despite the criminal path he’s on.” (Catalogue)

You were never really here
“A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.” (Catalogue)

Custody
“A broken marriage leads to a bitter custody battle with an embattled son at the center, a domestic thriller that will keep audiences guessing and leave them with their hearts in their throats. Miriam and Antoine Besson have divorced, and Miriam is seeking sole custody of their son Julien to protect him from a father she claims is violent. Antoine pleads his case as a scorned dad whose son has been turned against him by his vindictive mother.” (Catalogue)

The Children Act.
“Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London ruling with wisdom and kindness over ethically complicated cases of family law. Fiona is tasked with ruling on the case of Adam, an exceptional boy who is refusing a life-saving blood transfusion. He is three months from his eighteenth birthday and legally still a child. Fiona visits Adam in the hospital and it has an extreme emotional impact on them both.” (Syndetics summary)

Puzzle
“A closely observed portrait of Agnes, who has reached her early 40s without ever venturing far from home, family or the tight-knit immigrant community in which she was raised by her widowed father. That begins to change in a quietly dramatic fashion when Agnes receives a jigsaw puzzle as a birthday gift and experiences the heady thrill of not only doing something she enjoys, but being very, very good at it.” (Catalogue)

The seagull
“One summer at a lakeside Russian estate, friends and family gather for a weekend in the countryside. While everyone is caught up in passionately loving someone who loves somebody else, a tragicomedy unfolds about art, fame, human folly, and the eternal desire to live a purposeful life.” (adapted from catalogue)

Together.
“A husband fights to be with his wife after she is hospitalised and taken to a nursing home.” (Catalogue)

Doctor Who [2005]. The complete eleventh series.
“The dazzling Thirteenth Doctor falls out of the sky just in time to thwart an alien huntsman who is stalking human prey. With little time to spare and the population of Sheffield (and Earth!) at risk, the Doctor recruits three new friends – gentle Ryan, no-nonsense Yasmin and Ryan’s step-grandfather Graham – who soon feel more like family than companions. Join the foursome in ten fresh enormously thrilling roller-coaster adventures across time and the universe.” (Catalogue)

Bumblebee
“Cybertron has fallen. When Optimus Prime sends Bumblebee to defend Earth, his journey to become a hero begins. Charlie Watson, a teenager trying to find her place in the world, discovers and repairs the battle-scarred robot, who’s disguised as a Volkswagen Beetle. As the Decepticons hunt down the surviving Autobots with the help of a secret agency led by Agent Burns, Bumblebee and Charlie team up to protect the world.” (Catalogue)

Lean on Pete
“Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray, both of them eager for a fresh start after a series of hard knocks. While Ray descends into personal turmoil, Charley finds acceptance and camaraderie at a local racetrack where he lands a job caring for an aging Quarter Horse named Lean On Pete. The horse’s owner Del Montgomery and his jockey Bonnie help Charley fill the void of his father’s absence–until he discovers that Pete is bound for slaughter.” (Catalogue)

Recent DVDs from December & January

The Breaker Upperers DVD cover

December and January saw the addition of all these great DVDs including the 2nd season of the hugely popular The Crown; book adaptations with Crazy Rich Asians, Ladies In Black & On Chesil Beach; as well as an acclaimed documentary, cold case crime, some Sci-Fi adventure & a classic NZ comedy.

McQueen.
“A personal look at the extraordinary life, career, and artistry of Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, it is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary.” (Catalogue)

Ant-Man and the Wasp.
“Set after the events of Captain America: civil war, Ant-Man and the Wasp functions as an origin story. Dr. Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, sends Scott Lang on a mission to run down information about Pym’s earliest exploits. Most importantly, Pym wants to know whether his original superhero partner, The Wasp, is still alive. At the same time, Lang, the current Ant-Man, has to make the life balance between being a superhero and a dad work.” (Catalogue)

Unforgotten. Series 2
“When the remnants of a body are found hidden in a river, DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan are faced with an impossible investigation. There are four suspects – they are the pieces of the jigsaw Cassie and Sunny must solve. But the harder they try to put this picture together, the more blurred it becomes. It’s a case that will test their relationship in unexpected ways, and question their assumptions about the most damaged and destructive in society. When a victim becomes a criminal, is punishment the same as justice?” (Catalogue)

The Crown. The complete second season.
“As a new era begins, Queen Elizabeth struggles to navigate her while preserving both the monarchy and her marriage. Beginning with soldiers in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces fighting an illegal war in Egypt, and ending with the downfall of her third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan after a devastating scandal, the second season bears witness to the end of the age of deference, and ushers in the revolutionary era of the 1960s. This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.” (Catalogue)

Book Club.
“Four friends’ lives are turned upside down to hilarious ends when their book club tackles the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey. From discovering new romance to rekindling old flames, they inspire each other to make their next chapter the best chapter.” (Catalogue)

Crazy Rich Asians.
“A native New Yorker Rachel Chu accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors.” (Catalogue)

Christopher Robin.
“The young boy, who loved taking adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with a gang of spirited and lovable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into that world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.” (Catalogue)

Ladies in Black.
“Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, Lisa, aged sixteen, takes a holiday job at the prestigious Sydney department store, Goodes. There she meets the “ladies in black,” when she is assigned to assist sales ladies Patty and Fay. Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion boutique Model Gowns, Lisa is awakened to a world of possibilities. As she grows from a bookish schoolgirl into a glamorous and positive young woman, the impact they have on each other will change all their lives.” (Catalogue)

The Breaker Upperers.
“Fifteen years ago, Mel and Jen discovered they were being two-timed by the same man. Bitter and cynical they became fast friends and formed’ The Breaker Upperers’, a small-time business breaking up couples for cash. Now they’re in their late-thirties and business is booming.” (Catalogue)

On Chesil Beach.
“It is summer 1962, when we first encounter Florence and Edward, a young couple in their early twenties, on their wedding day. Now on their honeymoon, they are dining in their room at a stuffy, sedate hotel near Chesil beach in Dorset. From a series of flashbacks, we learn about the differences between them–their attitudes, temperaments and their drastically different backgrounds. Out on the beach on their fateful wedding day, one of them makes a major decision that will utterly change both of their lives forever.” (Catalogue)

Star Trek Discovery. Season one.
“An odyssey that unfolds a decade before the era of Star Trek: The Original Series. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green – The Walking Dead), formerly one of Starfleet’s most respected first officers – and now its first mutineer. A human raised as a Vulcan, Burnham learned early that “all life is born from chaos”. Her defiance of a direct order resulted in an all-out war with the Klingon Empire and she was sentenced to life in prison – until Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs – Harry Potter) recruits her aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. Joining her on this dramatic, epic journey are First Officer Saru (Doug Jones – The Shape of Water), Chief of Security Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif – Penny Dreadful), Chief Engineer Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp – Rent) and Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman – Longmire). Together, their powers of logic, science and compassion will meld on their quest for victory, survival and ultimately, peace in the universe.” (Catalogue)

Mandy.
“Red, a lumberjack living in the depths of the woods, has sequestered himself and his doting girlfriend, Mandy, from the world. Though Mandy is a gentle woman who spends most of her time immersed in a book, she finds herself in a life-threatening situation after being kidnapped by an ill-intentioned cult leader. When stripped from her home by a group of malicious cult members, Red sets out to avenge Mandy’s abrupt and inexplicable disappearance.” (Catalogue)

A Simple Favour.
“A mommy vlogger seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s sudden disappearance from their small town.” (Catalogue)

Staff Picks DVDs: Best of 2018

Some more of our favourite Films & TV Shows from last year. Hopefully you will something you missed the first time around.

Shinji’s Picks:
Faces places.
This is a celebration of people and places as well as creativity. A legend of French new wave cinema, 88 year old Agnes Varda teams up with a photographer and muralist JR, who is 55 years her junior, to hit the road on a tour of rural France. On the way, they learn the histories of communities, some of which are long abandoned, and of people they encounter, and bring new lives to them with gigantic mural photos. This odd couple makes a great team and their friendship, curiosity and vision make it wonderfully charming. Life is beautiful.

Leave no trace.
A remarkable new film from an American indie filmmaker Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), ‘Leave No Trace’ is a subtle but powerful portrait of a post-traumatic-stress-disorder father and his teenage daughter, who cut themselves off from the world and have been living in the forests. Featuring the superb performances by Ben Forster and our very own Thomasin Mckenzie as the father and the daughter, Granik carefully presents just enough information and gracefully brings out deep emotions between them. This haunting tale will be remembered one of the best father-daughter relationship films in years to come.

The other side of hope
Seeing just one frame of a film, you can tell whose work it is. It doesn’t happen very often but Finnish veteran auteur Aki Kaurismaki is such a filmmaker. ‘The Other Side of Hope’, which nicely integrates stories of a Syrian refugee and a Finnish restaurateur, is his response to the humanitarian crisis in Europe. It treats the serious topic with warm humanism; it’s presented with his distinctive style; deadpan characters, droll humours, unique texture and hue based on blue, bluesy nostalgic rock played by old men etc. This is another memorable work but what is believed to be his final film. What a shame.

Sweet country.
The new Australian auteur Warwick Thornton’s marvellous ‘Sweet Country’ dominated the Australian Academy Awards (AACTA) of 2018, winning 6 awards including the best film, director, cinematography and actor. In the typical western-like setting, this manhunt drama exposes the dark side of Australian history; racism. It’s uneasy to watch at times but taking the majestic outback scenery as a part of narrative, it offers lyrical, mesmerising moments as well. Unique flash-forwards are also very effective. Poignant.

Lady Bird.
Actress-turned-writer/director Greta Gerwig’s first feature is a lovely adolescent tale.
With the mother-daughter relationship as its core, it’s about a17-year-old Christine ‘Lady Bird’ (dazzling Saoirse Ronan) who is eager for an escape to a big city after graduating from a Catholic school. Gerwig’s smart screenplay and unique aesthetic make it a charming, beautifully layered coming-of-age drama. It’s sweet, funny and affecting.

Blackkklansman.
Ironically the current state of the divided America seems to get Spike Lee; arguably the most important African-American filmmakers of our time, back in top form. This, his finest film in years, tells the incredible true story of the first black detective in the Colorado Spring, who infiltrated the KKK in the early 70s. This is heavy stuff and not surprisingly, it contains chilling moments, but Lee masterfully put them into a comedic narrative, and makes it a gripping yet entertaining drama. Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington shines as the detective. Invigorating.

Twin Peaks: a limited event series.
David Lynch’s ground-breaking series is back after 25 years’ absence, and it’s a much larger scaled extraordinary journey, which offers everything Lynch has made for cinema. At times it’s almost impossible to comprehend and mysteries bring more mysteries, but there are always humours. This nearly 1000-hours marathon epic can be challenging and demanding to consume, but gives you a joyous, rewarding watch. It’s another landmark work by this one-and-only filmmaker.

Neil J’s Picks:
Lucky.
Lucky was Harry Dean Stanton’s last work, it’s a wry and very deceptive piece. On the surface nothing that much happens it’s just a couple of days in the life of a fictional Harry Dean Stanton; true they are quirky, laconic and slightly strange days . However whilst the film is slender in narrative it is large in underlying meaning and through this strange domesticity of the main characters life the movie becomes a poignant meditation on life, memory, loss, accepting fate and coming to terms with one’s impending demise, all done in a light offbeat fashion. It is a truly marvellous performance by Harry Dean Stanton it might even just be his career best and all made the more remarkable since he was aware that this would probably be his last film. Which it turned out to be.

Lady Bird.

 

 

 

The death of Stalin.
Caustic, pitch black humour of the highest calibre is delivered in Armando Iannucci latest comedy. Set around the events and chaos surrounding the death of Stalin this star studded movie was so controversial that the Russian government banned it. Its wicked, hilarious, merciless and definitely not for the faint hearted. However if you enjoy satire of the very darkest and blackest in nature then this movie is a must watch. And the ever wonderful Jason Isaacs is mercurial as Field Marshal Zhukov.

Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.
The starting point and in a strange way the catalyst for all the action in the film are three billboards by a road put up by a grieving mother with messages demanding justice for her murdered daughter. This multi award winning movie is occasionally funny, but more often it’s a bleak, raw look at loss, grief and vengeance. It boasts several fantastic performances from the lead Frances McDormand as well as Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage and several other cast members. It doesn’t take the easy path plot wise and contains several unexpected twists and turns. All in all the plaudits that have been heaped on it are well deserved.

Faces places.

 

 

 

McQueen.
McQueen is a career spanning but intimate documentary exploring the life and work of the iconic British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Mc Queen rose from humble beginnings to become the enfant terrible of the fashion world his initial rise was I through hard work, native ability, desire to shock and raw talent. ( Though he did get more formal training as he went along ). He was the bright burning super star of the fashion world creating his own fashion house and courting controversy everywhere he showed, His fashion work was often closely inter linked with his own inner demons which were eventually rise up and tragically destroy him. The documentary makes for a fascinating, riveting watch and is a real insight into what drove and created one of the most important and controversial fashion designers of our time.

She shears
It goes without saying that in some areas of New Zealand sheep searing is an obsession, but historically this obsession has always been a very male dominated one. She Sears is a fabulous compelling documentary about a very small group of women shearers trying to break that mould. However what really makes this film work is the fact that it transcends its subject matter the film is far more than just a look at female shearers, it’s more about the shearers as complex individuals, as fully rounded people who shear for a whole range of different reasons, their back stories, their motivations, their drivers both as shears and beyond and the reasons they do what they do. It’s a great watch, a really well-crafted film and like any good documentary less about shearing and more the individuals involved.

Mark’s Picks:
The Good Place. The complete first season.
What actually happens when you die? For Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) she finds the afterlife is a shiny happy friendly neighbourhood of frozen yogurt shops, amazingly accomplished people and pre-determined soulmates, all run by the super nice immortal architect Michael (Ted Danson). However the only problem is that she is the wrong Eleanor Shellstrop, and is in fact a very bad person, who scammed old people for a living and generally lived a completely reprehensible life. As she struggles to hide her true self from all around her and cope with her ‘soulmate’, university ethics professor Chidi, her true nature starts to affect the cosmic balance at play. Currently the funniest show on TV. Just genius.

Radius.
A man (Diego Klattenhoff, Homeland, The Blacklist) wakes from a car crash with no memory. Seeking help he soon discovers that anyone who comes within a certain radius of him instantly drops dead. Retreating to his home he attempts to avoid all contact until a woman (also suffering from amnesia) finds him. She is immune to what is happening and they soon realize that she can nullify the effect he has on others – but ONLY if she remains within 50 feet from him at all times. Together they attempt to get help and find out what has happened to them. The best indie Sci-Fi of the year proves that all you need is a really intriguing idea and a good script. Continue reading “Staff Picks DVDs: Best of 2018”