New books about movies

Ink and Paint

New books on movies feature a variety of fascinating books including All the things I lost in the flood; the comprehensive collection of Laurie Anderson’s works, and the unique movie guide by Gordy LaSure (a.k.a Richard Ayoade). Check them out!

Syndetics book coverAll the things I lost in the flood : essays on pictures, language, and code / Laurie Anderson.
“Laurie Anderson is one of the most revered artists working today, and she is as prolific as she is inventive. She is a musician, performance artist, composer, fiction writer, and filmmaker. A few years ago, Anderson began poring through her extensive archive of nearly forty years of work and she brings together the most comprehensive collection of her artwork to date.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInk & paint : the women of Walt Disney’s animation / by Mindy Johnson.
“In this glossy volume, featuring never-before-seen photos, artwork, and detailed accounts, the process, techniques, and contributions of the women – and men – who defined the Walt Disney Studio’s legendary Ink & Paint Department over the years are carefully explored, preserved, and shared for future generations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJim Henson’s the Dark crystal : the ultimate visual history / Caseen Gaines ; foreword by Cheryl Henson ; introduction by Brian and Wendy Froud.
Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History is the definitive collection of rare artwork, interviews, and on-set photos from the beloved Jim Henson fantasy classic. This deluxe coffee-table book contains an in-depth look at the day-to-day production of the film and showcases a huge range of incredible visuals, including candid set photography, previously unseen concept art, storyboards, production notes, and more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe grip of film / by Gordy LaSure (a.k.a. Richard Ayoade)
“Gordy LaSure’s passionate about film. He eats film, he drinks film, and sometimes he’ll even watch a film. But most of all he loves talking to people about film: whether a comely student with low confidence and a father complex, a Studio ‘development’ exec who doesn’t trust his own judgement, or the countless people Gordy LaSure’s encountered in his capacity as the web moderator on an Excessive Sweating Discussion Forum. Gordy LaSure’s always talking about films and how they’d be a shit ton better if only people would pull their asses out of their ears and listen to Gordy LaSure.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrom the third eye : the Evergreen review film reader / edited by Ed Halter and Barney Rosset ; additional research by Matt Peterson.
“For the first time ever, Evergreen Review’s important contributions to film culture are available in one volume. The book presents writing on the films of Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Passolini, Ousmane Sembene, Andy Warhol and others. Offering incisive essays and interviews from the late 1950’s to early 1970’s, From The Third Eye explores politics and revolution in cinema, underground and experimental film, pornography and censorship and the rise of independent films against the dominance of Hollywood.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSense of occasion / Harold Prince.
Sense of Occasion gives an insider’s recollection of the making of such landmark musicals as West Side Story , Fiddler on the Roof , Cabaret , Company , Follies , Sweeney Todd , Evita , and Phantom of the Opera , with Prince’s perceptive comments about his mentor George Abbott and his many celebrated collaborators, including Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander, Boris Aronson, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Throughout, he offers insights into the way business is conducted on Broadway, drawing sharp contrasts between past and present.” (Syndetics summary)

Snuggle up with these new DVDs on cold days

Borg vs. McEnroe

New DVDs include the return of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan for another trip, this time to Spain; the Borg/McEnroe tennis rivalry which came to a head during the 1980 Wimbledon final; LGBT dramas Call Me By Your Name and God’s Own Country; the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman in Wonder; and the acclaimed TV adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel The Handmaid’s Tale.

The trip to Spain : the 6-part series.
“From acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom comes the follow up to the BAFTA winning first series The Trip and The Trip to Italy. Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan are back. Six meals in six different places on a road trip through Spain from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast, visiting Cantabria, the Basque region, Aragon, Rioja, Castile La Mancha and ending in Andalucia. Included are all six episodes from the Sky television series with a full course of deleted scenes.” (Syndetics summary)

Borg vs McEnroe.
“Borg/McEnroe tells the story of the epic rivalry between Swedish tennis legend Bjorn Borg and his greatest adversary, the brash American John McEnroe, which came to a head during the 1980 Wimbledon Championships.” (Syndetics summary)

Les hommes de l’ombre. Season 3.
“Six months before the Presidential elections, the leader of the extreme right party who is ahead in the opinion polls, is assassinated before the eyes of Simon Kapita, President Marjories closest advisor. This attack creates disruption in the political spectrum and presages a bloody race for the Elyse. Throughout the final months of his Presidency, both right and left wing parties are involved in political manoeuvring, backstabbing and betrayals, while in his private life, his relationship with Elisabeth is tearing apart and becomes the target of the tabloids. For Simon Kapita, this last campaign becomes the one of all dangers..” (Syndetics summary)

Call me by your name.
“It’s the summer of 1983 in Italy, and Elio, a precocious 17-year-old, spends his days in his family’s villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading and flirting with his friend Marzia. One day, Oliver, a charming American scholar arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father, an eminent professor. Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.” (Syndetics summary)

God’s own country.
“Spring. Yorkshire. Young farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.” (Syndetics summary)

Only the brave.
“Only the Brave, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, is the heroic story of one unit of local firefighters that through hope, determination, sacrifice, and the drive to protect families, communities, and our country become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country. As most of us run from danger, they run toward it–they watch over our lives, our homes, everything we hold dear, as they forge a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire.” (Mightyape.co.nz)

Wonder.
“Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to find their compassion and acceptance, Auggie’s extra­ordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.” (Mightyape.co.nz)

Peaky Blinders. Season four.
“Thomas Shelby heads up one of Birmingham’s most feared criminal organisations. But when he sees an opportunity to move up in the world, it becomes clear that his ambition knows no bounds.” (Syndetics summary)

The handmaid’s tale. Season one.
“A religion-based autocracy has taken over most of the United States, renaming the country Gilead. In this country women are second-class citizens. Anyone trying to escape is punished. One such person is June, who is captured while trying to escape with her husband and child and is sentenced to be a handmaid, bearing children for childless government officials. As a handmaid, June is renamed Offred.” (Syndetics summary)

Star Wars. The last Jedi.
“The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure. Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.” (Syndetics summary)

The killing of a sacred deer.
“Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon presiding over a spotless household with his ophthalmologist wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and their two exemplary children, 12-year-old Bob (Sunny Suljic) and 14-year-old Kim (Raffey Cassidy). Lurking at the margins of his idyllic suburban existence is Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless teen who Steven has covertly taken under his wing. As Martin begins insinuating himself into the family’s life in ever-more unsettling displays, the full scope of his intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long-forgotten transgression that will shatter the Murphy family’s domes­tic bliss.” (Mightyape.co.nz)

Staff pick DVDs for the year so far

Loving Vincent

Plenty of gritty police drama in this lot of Staff Pick DVDs for the first few months of the year. Also featured is the adaptation of James Corey’s Expanse novels, a unique film that uses thousands of original oil paintings based on Vincent Van Gogh’s works to create an animated feature about the artist, the Italian social critique Perfect Strangers, and historical drama from books by Peter Ackroyd & Thomas Cullinan.

The expanse. Season one.
It has vastly superior production standards, it looks fabulous and is way better acted, but for many reasons ‘The Expanse’ reminds me of Babylon 5 . They both take a little while to get going but they eventually lead somewhere and once they get there they both deal with really intriguing ideas, they both contain a big secret plot device not immediately apparent for the outset and perhaps most noticeable they both contain complex Chandleresque characters. If these elements appeal to you then ‘The Expanse’ is well worth checking out. [Based on the novels by James Corey]. (Neil J.)

The sinner. Season one.
‘The Sinner’ follows a young mother (Jessica Biel) who, while on a day trip with her husband and son to a public beach, stabs a man to death has no idea why. She confesses immediately and is charged with murder, but dogged investigator (Bill Pullman) finds himself obsessed with uncovering the woman’s buried motive, and together they travel a harrowing journey into the depths of her psyche and the violent secrets hidden in her past. The story is tense and intriguing, a different and surprising take on a crime story. Biel is excellent. Based on a novel by a little translated German female crime writer. (Mark)

Baywatch.
If you were a fan of Baywatch back in the 90s and you miss that level of action and cheese you will not be disappointed! Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron are a ridiculously hilarious combination of abs and humour that will have you shaking your head with laughter. This movie is exactly what it claims to be utterly outrageous and funny. (Jess)

Loving Vincent.
Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s ‘Loving Vincent’ is clearly a labour of love a seven year labour of love at that. The film is unique in that it uses thousands of original oil paintings based on Vincent Van Gogh’s works to create an animated feature about the artist. The film skilfully avoids just being a swirling, visually stunning piece of Vincent Van Gogh eye candy (which it is). By examining different perspectives on Vincent’s life from his close friends, family and colleagues and the many questions surrounding his death. (Neil J.)

Bosch. Season three.
The 3rd season of this American police-procedural adapts Michael Connelly’s novels The Black Echo and elements of A Darkness More Than Night. The story involves multiple plot lines as Bosch is involved in the upcoming trial of a wealthy movie director accused of murdering a woman during sex, as well as investigating the death of a homeless Military Vet that takes on a greater complexity. In his personal life his daughter is now living with him and, having solved his mother’s murder in the preceding season, he now struggles to contain the anger that has always fuelled him. The added characterisation of the supporting cast has strengthened the show beyond the tropes of the first season, and while there may be nothing that is really innovative about the show, or the plots, it is all so expertly acted and written (helmed by Eric Overmyer — who worked on the final two seasons of The Wire and then co-created Tremé) that it sets a new benchmark in TV Cop shows. (Mark)

The Andromeda strain.
Just recently the very welcome rerelease on DVD of the 1971 alien virus Robert Wise, Michael Crichton science fiction classic The Andromeda strain occurred. Despite its age and slightly corny 70’s fashion sense this film remains a flawlessly acted, brilliantly scripted, chillingly realised and thoroughly engaging work. And what’s more there isn’t a CGI effect anywhere to be seen as they were at that point just a glint in George Lucas’s eyes. (Neil J.)

Line of duty. Series four.
If ‘Bosch’ is currently the best US Police-procedural on TV, then ‘Line of Duty’ is certainly the best English one. An anti-corruption drama it follows the exploits of AC-12, a unit that investigates suspicious activities within the Police itself. In a career-defining case, DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton), is under intense pressure from her superiors to apprehend a serial murderer after months of fruitless investigation. When a young man is charged doubts around his guilt lead the chief forensic investigator to AC-12. Is Roz ignoring forensic evidence that might prove the young man’s innocence? As AC-12 pile on pressure from the outside, Roz is forced to act to stop her life from unravelling, but just how far will she go? Totally gripping crime drama, with Newton in top form. Highly recommended. [Note: Season 1 of this show was released in NZ, and we were able to have Season 4 cross-rated from Australia due to its lower classification Rating. However Seasons 2-3 have not been distributed for release in this country]. (Mark)

Murder on the Orient Express.
Kenneth Branagh’s recent remake of Murder on the Orient express had many admirers and made a ton of money (and is available to borrow here). However for me the 1974 Sidney Lumet version (recently rereleased ) is the definitive celluloid adaptation of this much loved classic. It features a truly Stella cast including amongst others Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman and Sean Connery it positively glitters with Hollywood glamour. It’s a warm, friendly, comforting, old fashioned kind of a film that reminds me of lazy Boxing day afternoons with my family. (Neil J.)

Perfect strangers.
Sharing cell phone messages and calls with others doesn’t sound like a good idea but at the eclipse night, seven friends (three couples and a man whose new partner is not able to attend) agree to do it over the course of dinner party, because they are long-time best friends and have nothing to hide. Italian director Paolo Genovese’s loquacious ensemble comedy is a study of morality in the iPhone era. Inevitably their ‘secrets and lies’ are revealed one after another and their relationships are severely tested. Genovese’s clever plot, together with fantastic performances by all actors, makes it a funny yet touching, wonderfully entertaining drama. Brilliant. (Shinji)

The tunnel. Series 2, Sabotage.
The Anglo-French adaption of the Danish/Swedish series ‘The Bridge’ was the first series in British and French television to be bilingual, a collaboration of British broadcaster Sky and French broadcaster Canal+. The first season (essentially a remake of the Swedish/Danish production) is still enjoyable, if you have watched the original, due to the quality of the production and the talent of the 2 leads, Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy as British and French police detectives Karl Roebuck and Elise Wassermann.
Season 2 of ‘The Tunnel’ however is where the series diverges with a completely different storyline. Following the events of the first series, Karl & Elise are reunited to investigate the kidnapping of a small child from the Channel Tunnel train, which soon evolves into a domestic terrorist investigation after a planes autopilot system is hacked, forcing it to crash into the English Channel, killing all on board. The 3rd and final series of the show has just been completed. An overlooked show, perhaps due to the ‘remake’ nature of the first season which can’t really compete with the Swedish/Danish tour-de-force, but this is quality TV and deserves to be judged on its own merits. Recommended. (Mark)

The Limehouse Golem.
There is no sign of restraint in Juan Carlos Medina’s adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s fantastic book Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem. This is a lurid, melodramatic and gory retelling of this Victorian, gothic, murder, mystery tale. If however you are a fan of the theatrical bloody period piece epitomised by some of the best Hammer Horror films, or enjoyed the more recent Crimson Peak then there is much to be enjoyed here in this Grand Guignol over the top production. (Neil J.)

The beguiled.
During the American Civil War, a wounded Union Army corporal is brought to the seminary for young ladies in the enemy territory Virginia, leading to sexual tension and crushes. Sofia Coppola’s latest work is a Civil War setting period drama based on Thomas Cullinan’s novel, and it’s a subtle study of shifting the power balance in a closed environment. Although it’s bleak and rather atmospheric, Coppola still offers her characteristic aesthetic; gorgeous – if Vogue featured ‘Southern Gothic’ it would be like this – production design, costume and camerawork elegantly using both natural and artificial lights, with a starry cast (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell). This is Coppola’s most low-key work but it proves that she is one of the best American auteurs today. (Shinji)

Cardinal. The complete first season.
Another strong police-procedural, this one differentiated by its setting of Algonquin Bay in rural Ontario, Canada. This six episode Canadian TV crime drama is an adaptation of Giles Blunt’s award winning novel Forty Words for Sorrow, the first entry in his series about Police Detectives John Cardinal and Lise Delorme. Demoted Detective John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) is brought back into Homicide when the hunch he wouldn’t let go is proven correct, and a young Native American girl is found encased in ice. Now, as he relentlessly tracks a serial killer who preys on missing young people he must keep a watchful eye on his new partner, Detective Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse), who he believes may have a secret agenda that leads back to one of his past cases, while coping with his wife being institutionalised after a bi-polar episode. Atmospheric, intense and intriguing. Definitely something different. Recommended. (Mark)

New movies and shows for you to enjoy!

These new DVDs have a biographical theme with TV show The Durrells, Goodbye Christopher Robin (about children’s author A. A. Milne), Battle of the sexes (featuring the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King and ex-men’s-champ Bobby Riggs) & A Quiet Passion (Emily Dickinson); NZ tinged Hollywood blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok; acclaimed animation with My Life as a Zucchini; and the latest season of historical romance Outlander.

The Durrells. Series two.
“The Durrells sees impoverished but sparky widow Louisa Durrell make the radical decision to seek out a new destiny for her family when her options in late 1930’s England seem to be limited to struggling on or marrying a wealthy but dreary older man. Concerned that the lives of her four ‘children’, ranging in age from 11 to 21, are heading down the wrong track, she relocates her reluctant brood to a dilapidated house in the Greek sun.” (Syndetics summary)

Justice League.
“Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes it may already be too late to save the planet form an assault of catastrophic proportions.” (Syndetics summary)

Thor. Ragnarok.
“Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.” (Syndetics summary)

My life as a Zucchini.
“After losing his mother, a young boy is sent to a foster home with other orphans his age where he begins to learn the meaning of trust and true love.” (Syndetics summary)

A quiet passion.
“The story of poet Emily Dickinson, whose genius, wit, intellectual independence, and pathos only came to be recognized after her death.” (Syndetics summary)

Battle of the sexes.
“In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles.” (Syndetics summary)

Goodbye Christopher Robin.
“A rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne, and his nanny Olive, Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?” (Syndetics summary)

Madame.
“Adding a little spice to a waning marriage, Anne and Bob, a wealthy and well-connected American couple, move into a manor house in romantic Paris. While preparing a particularly luxurious dinner for sophisticated international friends, our hostess discovers there are 13 guests. Panic-stricken, Anne insists her loyal maid Maria disguise herself as a mysterious Spanish noble woman to even out the numbers. But a little too much wine and some playful chat lead Maria to accidentally endear herself to a dandy British art broker. Their budding romance will have Anne chasing her maid around Paris and finally plotting to destroy this most unexpected and joyous love affair.” (Syndetics summary)

Detroit.
“Amidst the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, with the city under curfew and as the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel.” (Syndetics summary)

Outlander. Season three.
“The third season picks up right after Claire (Caitriona Balfe) travels through the stones to return to her life in 1948. Now pregnant with Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) child, she struggles with the fallout of her sudden reappearance and its effect on her marriage to her first husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies). Meanwhile, in the 18th century, Jamie suffers from the aftermath of his doomed last stand at the historic battle of Culloden, as well as the loss of Claire. As the years pass, Jamie and Claire attempt to make a life apart from one another, each haunted by the memory of their lost love. The budding possibility that Claire can return to Jamie in the past breathes new hope into Claire’s heart… as well as new doubt. Separated by continents and centuries, Claire and Jamie must find their way back to each other. As always, adversity, mystery, and adventure await them on the path to reunion. And the question remains: When they find each other, will they be the same people who parted at the standing stones, all those years ago?” (Syndetics summary)

Stranger than fiction: New DVDs

Image from mightyape.co.nz

New DVDs this month include the stranger-than-fiction true story of James Bond actor George Lazenby, an adaptation of the popular Harry Hole novels by Jo Nesbo, acclaimed NZ film Waru and historical drama with Lady Macbeth from the novella by Nikolai Leskov.

Becoming Bond.
“The stranger-than-fiction true story of George Lazenby, a poor Australian car mechanic who, through an unbelievable set of circumstances, landed the role of James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), despite having never acted a day in his life. Then after being offered the next seven Bond films and a one million signing bonus, he turned it all down …” (Syndetics summary)

Brigsby Bear.
“Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children’s TV show that James has carried with him into adulthood. When the show abruptly ends, James’s life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story himself.” (Syndetics summary)

The snowman.
“When an elite crime squad’s lead detective investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit, the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.” (Syndetics summary)

Lady Macbeth.
“Rural England, 1865. Katherine is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age, whose family are cold and unforgiving. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her, so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.” (Syndetics summary)

Waru.
“Eight female Maori directors have each contributed a ten minute vignette, presented as a continuous shot in real time, that unfolds around the tangi (funeral) of a small boy (Waru) who died at the hands of his caregiver. The vignettes are all subtly interlinked and each follow one of eight female Maori lead characters during the same moment in time as they come to terms with Waru’s death and try to find a way forward in their community. In Maori, waru means eight.” (Syndetics summary)

The dinner.
“It is a dark psychological thriller about a fierce showdown between two couples during the course of an ornately prepared meal at a fancy restaurant. When Stan Lohman, a popular congressman running for governor, invites his troubled younger brother Paul and his wife Claire to join him and his wife Katelyn for dinner at one of the town’s most fashionable restaurants, the stage is set for a tense night.” (Syndetics summary)

Maps, Middle-Earth & Miss D: New film and TV books

Cover from Syndetics

Take a journey through your favourite movies with the gorgeously illustrated Cinemaps: an atlas of great movies. New books on movies and TV shows also feature the intriguing Movie Geek and The Girl in the Show. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverCinemaps : an atlas of great movies / maps by Andrew DeGraff ; essays by A. D. Jameson.
“This beautifully illustrated atlas of beloved movies is an essential reference for cinephiles, fans of great films, and anyone who loves the art of mapmaking. Acclaimed artist Andrew DeGraff has created beautiful hand-painted maps of all your favorite films, from King Kong and North by Northwest to The Princess Bride , Fargo , Pulp Fiction , even The Breakfast Club –with the routes of major characters charted in meticulous cartographic detail.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMovie geek : the Den of Geek! guide to the movieverse / Simon Brew with Ryan Lambie & Louisa Mellor ; foreword by Mark Kermode.
“Movie Geek is a nerdy dive into popular movies, brought to you by the hugely popular entertainment and pop culture fan website Den Of Geek. Discover hidden stories behind movies you love (and, er, don’t love so much), and find out just why the most dangerous place to be is in a Tom Hanks film.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl in the show : three generations of comedy, culture, and feminism / Anna Fields.
“For fans of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer–and every other “funny woman”–comes a candid feminist comedy manifesto exploring the sisterhood between women’s comedy and women’s liberation. At its heart, The Girl in the Show captures the urgency of our continued struggle towards equality, allowing the reader to both revel in–and rebel against–our collective ideas of “women’s comedy.”” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI’ll have what she’s having : how Nora Ephron’s three iconic films saved the romantic comedy / Erin Carlson.
“A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy– When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle –which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham. In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiss D & me : life with the invincible Bette Davis / Kathryn Sermak with Danelle Morton.
“For ten years Kathryn Sermak was at Bette Davis’s side–first as an employee, and then as her closest friend–and in Miss D and Me she tells the story of the great star’s harrowing but inspiring final years, a story fans have been waiting decades to hear. Miss D and Me is a window into the world of the unique and formidable Bette Davis, told by the person who perhaps knew her best of all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiddle-Earth from script to screen : building the world of The lord of the rings & The hobbit / foreword by Peter Jackson ; written by Daniel Falconer – additional writing by KM Rice.
“For the first time ever, the epic, in-depth story of the creation of one of the most famous fantasy worlds ever imagined–an illustrious compendium that reveals the breathtaking craftsmanship, artistry, and technology behind the magical Middle-earth of the blockbuster film franchises, The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar Trek beyond : the makeup artistry of Joel Harlow / Joe Nazzaro.
“With the release of Star Trek Beyond in 2016, viewers were given a spectacular visual treat as a whole host of new aliens made their appearance for the first time in the rebooted franchise. At the heart of the process of bringing these breathtaking intergalactic species to life was Academy Award-winning make-up artist Joel Harlow. Star Trek Beyond – The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow presents the extraordinary work done by Harlow and his crew. Featuring fascinating pencil sketches, stunning concept art and beautiful photography, this visually arresting book gives fans a unique in-depth look into the remarkable work that went into this immensely popular movie.” (Syndetics summary)

New films and TV shows to feast your eyes on!

New DVDs feature ever popular TV series such as The Crown and the Game of thrones seventh season and recent hit movies American Made and Victoria & Abdul. Exciting DVDs keep coming. Click here to check them out.

The crown. The complete first season.
“The British Empire is in decline, the political world is in disarray, and a young woman takes the throne … a new era is dawning. Queen Elizabeth II is a 25-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.” (Syndetics summary)

An inconvenient sequel : truth to power.
“Former Vice President Al Gore presents evidence that the negative effects of global warming have increased since the release of the film ‘An inconvenient truth’ a decade earlier.” (Syndetics summary)

The dark tower.
“The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.” (Syndetics summary)

Hampstead.
“Living on the edge of Hampstead Heath, Emily Walters can’t quite focus on the things that need attention in her life, like her lovely old apartment, her diminishing finances or even her son. Everything changes when she meets the eccentric, unkempt Donald, who has lived harmoniously on the Heath for 17 years in a ramshackle hut. Now. property developers are attempting to evict him. As Emily steps up to defend Donald in the escalating battle, she soon finds that, despite his gruff exterior, there is something special about this gentle and unconventional man.”–Container.

Gilmore girls : a year in the life.
“The revival of the series is set about ten years after the finale of the original series.” (Syndetics summary)

Legion. The complete season one.
“David Haller is a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter, he discovers special powers that will change his life forever.” (Syndetics summary)

Taboo.
“London 1814. Taboo follows James Keziah Delaney (Tom Hardy), a man who has been to the ends of the earth and comes back irrevocably changed. Believed to be long dead, he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father’s shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father’s legacy is a poisoned chalice, and with enemies lurking in every dark corner, James must navigate increasingly complex territories to avoid his own death sentence. Encircled by conspiracy, murder and betrayal, a dark family mystery unfolds in a combustible tale of love and treachery.” (Syndetics summary)

Victoria & Abdul
“Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.” (Syndetics summary)

American made
“The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair.” (Syndetics summary)

The trip to Spain
“Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on another deliciously deadpan culinary road trip. This time around, the guys head to Spain to sample the best of the country’s gastronomic offerings in between rounds of their hilariously off-the-cuff banter. Over plates of pintxos and paella, the pair exchange barbs and their patented celebrity impressions, as well as more serious reflections on what it means to settle into middle age.” (Syndetics summary)

The expanse. Season one
“A thriller set two hundred years in the future, after mankind has colonized the solar system. A hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain come together for what starts as the case of a missing young woman and evolves into a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.” (Syndetics summary)

Game of thrones. The complete seventh season
“The long winter is here. The penultimate Season 7 of this blockbuster hit series focuses on a convergence of armies and attitudes that have been brewing for years.” (Syndetics summary)

Our favourite DVDs in the final leg of 2017

Our last lot of Staff Picks DVDs for the year has plenty to keep you entertained over the Christmas period. Our picks feature blockbuster visuals with ‘Atomic Blonde’, ‘Baby Driver’ & ‘Valerian and the city of a thousand planets’; foreign drama with ‘Land Of Mine’ & ‘Things to Come’; noir-ish crime with ‘Wind River’ & ‘A Conspiracy of Faith’; and quality foreign television shows with ‘Trapped’, ‘The Frozen Dead’ & ‘Salamander’.

A conspiracy of faith.
Another solid entry in the Department Q series from the novel by Jussi Adler-Olsen, that is setting Danish Box Office records. An old note is found in a bottle in Jutland which has been in the sea a long time, but its suspicious nature leads it to land on the desk of Department Q. The note is hard to decipher, but analysis seems to suggest it is a note from a kidnapped child who went missing 14 years before. Carl & Assad track the missing child to a remote Religious community, and with the disappearance of another pair of siblings realise they are tracking a killer who targets the faith of others. Intense, gripping and dark. Recommended for fans of the Sandi-noir genre. (Mark)

Valerian and the city of a thousand planets.
I loved the Fifth Element Luc Besson’s previous Science Fiction mega blockbuster science fiction movie I loved its quirky, idiosyncratic, humorous distinctly non Hollywood style. And like that movie Valerian and the city of a thousand planets is chock full of bonkers, wildly inventive, weird candy coloured neon eye popping visual effects. Besson has stated it’s his labour of love movie and it shows. On its release it got very mixed reviews and fared poorly at the box office largely due to its weak script and the lack of chemistry between the lead actors. For me though it has a very 30s/40s Flash Gordon serial style and feel and at its core is basically an innocent, good natured, action packed romp with a truly unique French comic book sensibility and stunning stylish visuals. (Neil J)

The wrong girl. Season one.
Probably one of the funniest Aussie comedies to date! The Wrong Girl is Bridget Jones’ Diary for Aussie TV! Poor Lily Woodward is approaching 30 and can’t seem to catch a break whether it is climbing up the career ladder, finding Mr. Right and is the epitome of a walking disaster. My favourite moment is her mad dash across Melbourne to intercept a hate email slamming the new hot chef on her TV segment that she sent to her boss in the heat of ‘burn out’ moment – Hilarious! Further complications arise when she has to ‘make nice’ and work with the chef, Jack and ends up falling in love with him! Another moment is when she talking to her best friend about how she feels about Jack… while the microphone is on, hence all her work colleagues know! Haha! Lily is adorable, lovable and relatable to women. She is the type of character that women feel better about themselves. So if you are interested in drama-based show with spice of a comedy, but which highly focuses on emotions and emotional conflict, this show is for you! (Katie)

Atomic Blonde.
From director David Leitch (John Wick) based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City this action spy-thriller is set in Berlin in 1989 against the backdrop of the rising chaos that preceded the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Charlize Theron is a lethal MI6 agent sent on a covert mission to recover a microfilmed list with the identities of all Western agents operating in Berlin. Theron is nothing short of fantastic and the gritty action sequences rival anything from the Jason Bourne series. Super stylish fun. (Mark)

Baby driver.
Edgar Wrights slick, smart and incredibly cool film Baby driver watches in a way like one of car chases that are central to its plot. One moment it’s the still before the storm the next full pedal to the metal adrenalin .It also sports an ace soundtrack that is central to the storyline. In many ways it’s also a homage to films like ‘Vanishing point’ or Walter Hill’s 1978 film The Driver both well worth checking out but that for me and a lot of other people is in itself no bad thing. (Neil J)

Things to come.
A leading young French auteur Mia Hansen-Love has dealt with ‘devastating loss’ in a variety of stages of life – loss of a father (Father of my Children), first love (Goodbye first Love), creative young days (Eden) – in her works. It continues in her latest effort and a 50-something female philosophy teacher is the subject this time. Nathalie (played by delightful Isabelle Huppert) has what appears to be a good life which suddenly becomes turmoil; her long-time husband leaves her for a younger woman, she is confronted with professional setbacks and her mother’s death. Showing her fine aesthetic and intelligence, Hansen-Love tackles this potentially melodramatic material in a modest manner, just subtly constructing small moments of everyday life, and thanks to its light tempo and Huppert’s effortless performance, it appears that almost nothing happens while everything happens. In fact, in her film’s ‘loss’ is the starting point of ‘new hope’, and this film ends with the lovely scene; Nathalie cradles her new born grandchildren, accompanied by The Fleetwoods’ ‘Unchained Melody’. Life goes on. (Shinji)

The frozen dead.
Adaptation of French crime writer Bernard Minier’s debut novel, which became a bestseller, the first in his Commandant Servaz series. A thoroughbred horse is found hanging from a cable car station in a Pyrenees town, St Martin de Comminges. The horse belongs to Eric Lombard, one of the richest men in France and so Commandant Martin Servaz is sent from Toulouse to investigate. He is not happy to be there, and things gets progressively worse as the dead horse is just the beginning in a complex set of crimes that lead back to a mysterious mass suicide in the towns past and one of his former colleagues, a murderer now housed in a local asylum for the criminally insane near the town. Servaz is perhaps a bit too much of a typical hard drinking, ruffled middle aged cop with a messy personal life, but the story is a tense and the location atmospheric. Shades of Hannibal Lector echo in the shows manipulative villain. Worth a watch. (Mark)

Broadchurch. Series 3.
UK crime/drama, Broadchurch ends with a bang with the third and final season! Three years has passed since the last season of Broadchurch. The peace and tranquillity of the town is disrupted once again when a gruesome crime, (Sexual assault) has been committed. Once again Hardy and Miller, (David Tennant and Olivia Coleman), are on the case, where they will both be tested, professionally, personally and emotionally. This season was heart-breaking. It will leave you emotionally wrecked and paint a vivid picture of modern masculinity gone wrong. However there were humorous moments in the form of playful banter between Hardy and Miller. As always their partnership, banter and bickering, mainly on Hardy’s part, is funny, entertaining and the embodiment of mutual trust and respect. It was nice to see a different of Hardy in this series. Normally portrayed as an emotionally unavailable, rigid, by-the-book police detective, you get see a loving, empathetic and emotional side. I loved the moments where he takes the “initiative” of “instructing” teenage boys on how to treat young women after they ‘disrespected’ his teenage daughter and comforting Miller when they finally catch the culprit, gently telling her that the rapist is an aberration and does not represent all men. Overall this season was a great to finish an entertaining and gripping crime series. (Katie)

Continue reading “Our favourite DVDs in the final leg of 2017”

Plan your next movie night with our latest DVD picks

New DVDs include Robert De Niro’s return to form as financial swindler Bernie Madoff, medical comedy/drama ‘The Big Sick’, a crime heist with ‘Logan Lucky’, action with a great soundtrack with ‘Baby Driver’, and new TV with the missing season of ‘Un village français’ & sci-fi reboot ‘Westworld’.

The wizard of lies.
“It is the headline-making true story about the deceptions, lies and betrayals of Bernie Madoff, the man who masterminded the most heinous financial swindle of our generation.” (Syndetics summary)

The big sick.
“Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.” (Syndetics summary)

Un village français. Vol. 5.
“It’s August 1944. Much of France is liberated, but the Germans remain in Villeneuve. The abuses by the militia continue, and this swells the ranks of the resistance, and the struggle continues, even if life after the war is so close. The characters are impatient, and driven to their wit’s end as they wait out a war that can only end one way. Then, they switch to “Liberation” a world that no-one could imagine.” (Syndetics summary)

Logan lucky.
“Trying to reverse a family curse, brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. In a fun twist, six NASCAR stars pop up in non-driver cameo roles in the film.” (Syndetics summary)

One thousand ropes.
“One Thousand Ropes is a story of a father reconnecting with his youngest daughter and together putting to rest the ghosts that haunt them. She arrives vulnerable: badly beaten and heavily pregnant. He struggles with the inner temptation and the encouragement from the men in his life, to take revenge in the way he knows best on one hand and on the other, to build the new family and companionship so desperately missing from his life. (Syndetics summary)

Baby driver.
“A talented young getaway driver relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss, he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love, and freedom.” (Syndetics summary)

Westworld. Season one.
“A dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin — exploring a world in which every human appetite, not matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged. Exploring what it means to be human through the eyes of the lifelike AI “hosts” in the park, the series investigates the boundaries of an exotic world set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past. Meticulously crafted and artfully designed. Westworld offers its guests an unparalleled, immersive world where they have the freedom to become who they’ve always wanted to be — or who they never knew they were. No rules, no laws, no judgment. Live without limits.” (Syndetics summary)

Personal shopper.
“Olivier Assayas, the internationally-acclaimed director of Clouds of Sils Maria and Summer Hours, returns with this ethereal and mysterious ghost story starring Kristen Stewart as a high-fashion personal shopper to the stars who is also a spiritual medium. Grieving the recent death of her twin brother, she haunts his Paris home, determined to make contact with him.” (Syndetics summary)

War for the planet of the apes.
“Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.” (Syndetics summary)

Land of mine.
“In the aftermath of World War II, a group of surrendered German soldiers are ordered by Allied forces to remove their own land mines from the coast of Denmark.” (Syndetics summary)

There’s movie guides galore in these new film & tv books!

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on movies and TV shows, including the historical side stories of the very popular TV series; Game of Thrones and Doctor Who. A variety of movie guides such as The Bad Movie Bible should not be missed.

Syndetics book coverYou win or you die : the ancient world of Game of Thrones / Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.
“In this essential sequel to Carolyne Larrington’s Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones, Ayelet Haimson Lushkov explores the echoes, from the Summer Islands to Storm’s End, of a rich antique history. She shows how the wanderings of Tyrion Lannister replay the journeys of Odysseus and Aeneas. She suggests that the War of the Five Kings resembles the War of the Four Emperors (68-69 AD). She also demonstrates just how the Wall and the Wildlings advancing on it connect with Hadrian’s bulwark against fierce tribes of Picts. This book reveals the remarkable extent to which the entire Game of Thrones universe is animated by its ancient past.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBBC Doctor Who : a brief history of Time Lords / Steve Tribe ; original illustrations by Richard Shaun Williams ; design by Richard Atkinson.
Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time Lords tells the story of all of this ancient, legendary civilization, of notable historical figures, of Gallifrey itself, of the Time War and much more. The planet Gallifrey. The Shining World of the Seven Systems. Often to be found in the constellation of Kasterborous. Birthplace of one of the oldest civilizations in the universe: The Time Lords. Featuring full-color, never-before-seen illustrations and a beautiful interior design, this is a highly collectible in-world companion no Whovian can be without.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMonty Python’s Flying Circus : hidden treasures / Adrian Besley ; foreword by The Pythons ; artwork by Terry Gilliam.
“This is the story of Monty Python, one the most popular and influential forces in modern comedy–and of their TV show–told in words and images. This celebratory book includes 22 facsimiles of rare memorabilia from their official archives, including hand-scribbled scripts, cue sheets, character lists, posters, and animation artwork. Written with active input from the Pythons themselves, the book recounts the adventures of all six members and their TV show, from early days in the Cambridge Footlights through early appearances on the BBC, global stardom, the inevitable fights, and their triumphant reunions.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTalking pictures : how to watch movies / Ann Hornaday.
“In Talking Pictures, veteran film critic Ann Hornaday walks us through the production of a typical movie-from writing the script and casting to the final sound edit-and explains how to evaluate each piece of the process. How do we know if a film is well-written, above and beyond snappy dialogue? What constitutes a great screen performance? What goes into praiseworthy cinematography, editing, and sound design? And what does a director really do? Full of engaging anecdotes and interviews with actors and filmmakers, Talking Pictures will help us see movies in a whole new light-not just as fans, but as film critics in our own right.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMovies of the 2000s / ed. Jürgen Müller.
“Through the gripping stories, insightful dramas, and thrilling, mindless escapism, Movies of the 2000s gathers the best of the best round the globe, from the blockbuster Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings installments to cult classics Lost in Translation, Inglourious Basterds, and No Country For Old Men, The Lives of Others, and Y Tu Mama Tambien. Each movie masterpiece is profiled with stills and production photos, a synopsis, analysis, and movie-buff trivia, as well as cast, crew, and technical listings.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bad movie bible / Rob Hill.
“Most movies aren’t very good. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. But nor should it be a surprise that some are so bad they possess a unique appeal arising specifically from their inadequacies. This book is a celebration of, and guide to, those movies.
– Analysis and reviews of 101 of the best good-bad movies of the last fifty years
– Exclusive interviews with heroes and villains
– First-hand accounts from genre legends who explain what went wrong, and why it isn’t their fault
– Unique behind-the-scenes images
– Future classics are exposed, old mysteries solved
Whether you realize it or not, you probably enjoy bad movies.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRogue One, a Star wars story : the official mission debrief.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – The Official Mission Debrief presents an all-encompassing guide to the hugely successful movie, with unprecedented access to the making of the film, its stars, its crew and its stunning landscapes. Relive the latest movie in the world’s biggest franchise over and over again. A must for any fan of Star Wars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnne Bancroft : a life / Douglass K. Daniel.
“In the first biography to cover the entire scope of Bancroft’s life and career, Douglass K. Daniel brings together interviews with dozens of her friends and colleagues, never-before-published family photos, and material from film and theater archives to present a portrait of an artist who raised the standards of acting for all those who followed. Daniel reveals how, from a young age, Bancroft was committed to challenging herself and strengthening her craft. Her talent (and good timing) led to a breakthrough role in Two for the Seesaw, which made her a Broadway star overnight. The book offers new insights into the life and career of a determined actress who left an indelible mark on the film industry while remaining true to her art.” (Syndetics summary)