New Books on Films/TV Shows

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on Film and TV Shows. They include the amazing looking movie companion book to Elton John’s biopic Rocketman and Game of thrones : the storyboards which definitely impresses all fans of this groundbreaking series.

Rocketman : inside the world of the movie
Rocketman: The Official Movie Companion contains a wealth of amazing photographs from throughout the development and shooting of the movie as well as quotes and interviews from the cast and crew. The book will provide a fascinating insight into how the film was made, including locations, choreography, costumes and – of course – the music. In May 2019, audiences are invited to discover the fantastical story of Sir Elton John’s life, from his yers as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music, to global superstar, through his influential and enduring partnership with his songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin.” (Catalogue)

Becoming Superman : my journey from poverty to Hollywood with stops along the way at murder, madness, mayhem, movie stars, cults, slums, sociopaths, and war crimes / Straczynski, J. Michael. (eBook)
“In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, and Marvel’s Thor reveals how the powers of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth in a dysfunctional family haunted by a terrible secret to become one of the most successful writers in Hollywood. For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has told hundreds of stories and forged multiple careers in movies, television, and comics. Yet there’s one story he’s never told before: his own.” (Catalogue)

Game of thrones : the storyboards / Simpson, Will
“Go behind the scenes of HBO’s global television phenomenon with Game of Thrones: The Storyboards – an official collection featuring striking storyboard art. In this deluxe art collection, Game of Thrones storyboard artist William Simpson shares the brilliant and painstaking work that is an integral part of assembling each episode of the award-winning series. This unique collection is housed in a finely crafted, deluxe slipcase and is a must-have for all fans of this breathtaking show.” (Catalogue)

I like to watch : arguing my way through the TV revolution / Nussbaum, Emily
(eBook)(eAudiobook)
“A collection of new and previously published essays from The New Yorker‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic.” (Catalogue)

The nice and accurate Good omens TV companion / Whyman, Matt
“The ultimate TV companion book to Good Omens, a massive new television launch on Amazon Prime Video and the BBC for 2019, written and show-run by Neil Gaiman and adapted from the internationally beloved novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Based on the cult classic novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens is one of the most hotly anticipated TV shows of 2019.” (Catalogue)

The art of Solo, a Star Wars story / Szostak, Phil
“Examines the development of the fantastic worlds, characters, and creatures of “Solo” through concept art, costume sketches, storyboards, blueprints, and exclusive interviews with the filmmakers.” (Catalogue)

Best.movie.year.ever. : how 1999 blew up the big screen / Raftery, Brian. (eBook)
“From a veteran culture writer and modern movie expert, a celebration and analysis of the movies of 1999–“a terrifically fun snapshot of American film culture on the brink of the Millennium….An absolute must for any movie-lover or pop-culture nut” (Gillian Flynn). In 1999, Hollywood as we know it exploded: Fight Club. The Matrix. Office Space. Election. The Sixth Sense. Being John Malkovich. American Beauty. The Virgin Suicides. Boys Don’t Cry. The Best Man. Three Kings. Magnolia. Those are just some of the landmark titles released in a dizzying movie year. It’s “the complete portrait of what it was like to spend a year inside a movie theater at the best possible moment in time” (Chuck Klosterman).” (Catalogue)

Afrofuturism in the world of music

Afrofuturism is an intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation. ‘I generally define Afrofuturism as a way of imagining possible futures through a black cultural lens,’ says Ingrid LaFleur, an art curator and Afrofuturist.”

― Ytasha L. Womack, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture

One of the most exciting genres emerging in science fiction, film, art and music at the moment is Afrofuturism. But whilst this dynamic and rather fabulous genre is having a real explosion of creativity, it’s by no means new. Indeed especially in the world of music Afrofuturism has a long and distinguished past, commonly accepted as emerging in the music world in the 1950s. This blog is a very brief look at some of Afrofuturism’s key musical proponents both old and new.

One of the first musical explorers in this universe was the legendary jazz musician Sun Ra. In the late 1950s Sun Ra created his own new synthesis of jazz, designed to reflect and link both the leading edge of the space age and African culture–especially that of African Egypt.

His ideas were taken up in the 1970s in the funk world by George Clinton’s funk outfits Parliament and Funkadelic. Reggae and hip hop also embraced these ideas, with artists like Lee “Scratch” Perry, Scientist and Afrika Bambaataa. And in the world of rock, Jimi Hendrix was also regarded by some reviewers as an Afrofuturist.

In the 21st century artists as diverse as Solange, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, Missy Elliott, Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus and the Wu-Tang Clan have been influenced by this movement, with perhaps  Janelle Monáe the best known for embracing the genre. Enjoy!


Flamagra. / Flying Lotus
“Fire’s positive and negative associations are referenced by many of Ellison’s other collaborators here. While the album begins with a crackle and ends with a poetic epilogue about its lasting effects, fire’s role in the album elsewhere is either nonexistent or negligible.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Dirty computer. / Monae, Janelle
“Monáe and her Wondaland partners twist and flip new wave-leaning pop with booming bass drums and rattling percussion. They transmit defiant jubilance in response to those ‘from the traphouse to the White House who make the lives of little brown girls so damn hard.’ Almost every track is densely packed with quotables delivered in approaches that shift from easygoing elegance to hard-fought, triumphant conviction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rainford. / Perry, Lee
“‘Inclues Cricket on the moon’, ‘Run evil spirit’, ‘Let it rain’, ‘House of angels’, ‘Makumba rock’, ‘African starship’, ‘Kill them dreams money worshippers’, ‘Children of the light’ and ‘Autobiography of the upsetter’.” (Adapted from catalogue)

New Books on Popular Music

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on popular music, including the unique study of the influence of Beyoncé (Ain’t I a Diva?) and the history of the much-loved pop festival Glastonbury (50 years of Glastonbury). Also, two photographic books from Aotearoa music; Where’s My Room and Shhh … the music is talking should not be missed.

Where’s my room : the Neil & Liam Finn summer 2018 tour of Aotearoa / Jorgensen, Ian
“Documentary photographic book of the 2018 Neil & Liam Finn Where’s My Room tour as photographed on 35mm film by promoter and tour manager, Ian Jorgensen. 304 pages, softcover, A Low Hum publishing (ALH056). More information about the project can be found below the sample photos.” (Catalogue)

Shhh … the music is talking / Hallag, Alexander
“A photographic record by Alexander Hallag. It shows the here and now of musicians, who are deeply passionate about creating the unique sound and shape that is New Zealand music. This book features exclusive never before seen photos of some of New Zealand’s contemporary top selling recording artists and newer recording artists that have also made an impact locally.” (Catalogue)

A fabulous creation : how the LP saved our lives / Hepworth, David
(eBook) (eAudiobook)
“The era of the LP began in 1967, with ‘Sgt Pepper?; The Beatles didn’t just collect together a bunch of songs, they Made An Album. Henceforth, everybody else wanted to Make An Album. This is the story of that time; it takes us from recording studios where musicians were doing things that had never been done before to the sparsely furnished apartments where their efforts would be received like visitations from a higher power. This is the story of how LPs saved our lives.” (Catalogue)

Ain’t I a diva? : Beyoncé and the power of pop culture pedagogy / Allred, Kevin
“A pedagogical primer on integrating black feminist thought, critical race studies, and America’s most beloved pop star. In 2010, Professor Kevin Allred created the university course “Politicizing Beyoncé” to both wide acclaim and controversy. Combining analysis with classroom anecdotes, Allred attests that pop culture is so much more than a guilty pleasure, it’s an access point–for education, entertainment, critical inquiry, and politics.” (Catalogue)

50 years of Glastonbury : music and mud at the ultimate festival / Croft, Malcolm
“From its humble beginnings as a folk festival (where £1 would get you a ticket and a pint of milk) to becoming one of the biggest global music events, Glastonbury is a festival like no other. Hundreds of the world’s biggest acts have played the iconic Pyramid Stage in Somerset, tickets sell out within minutes, and more than three million people have attended in the festival’s 50-year history. 50 Years of Glastonbury celebrates the mud and mayhem that makes the festival one of the most popular musical events in the world, for fans and artists alike.” (Catalogue)

Lunch with the wild frontiers / Savidge, Phill
“Phill Savidge is widely credited as being the main instigator of the Britpop music movement that swept the UK in the mid-1990s. Savidge was co-founder and head of legendary public relations company Savage & Best, the company that represented most of the artists associated with the scene, including Suede, Pulp, The Verve, Elastica, Kula Shaker, Spiritualized, Menswear, The Auteurs, and Black Box Recorder. His unique experience at the epicentre of Britpop led to many intimate, not entirely self-congratulatory encounters with a who’s who of popular culture — including Brett Anderson, Damon Albarn, Roy Orbison, David Bowie, Joe Strummer, among others.” (Catalogue)

Grime kids : the inside story of the global grime takeover / DJ Target
“A group of kids in the 2000s had a dream to make their voice heard – and this book documents their seminal impact on today’s pop culture. DJ Target grew up in Bow under the shadow of Canary Wharf, with money looming close on the skyline. The ‘Godfather of Grime’ Wiley and Dizzee Rascal first met each other in his bedroom. They were all just grime kids on the block back then, and didn’t realise they were to become pioneers of an international music revolution. Household names were borne out of those housing estates, and the music industry now jumps to the beat of their gritty reality rather than the tune of glossy aspiration.”(Catalogue)

Recent Picks from Naxos Music Library

Check out our recent picks form Naxos Music Library including the third Elgar album from Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. If you haven’t started streaming, please check our guide to streaming.

Cover from Naxos SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Piano Concertos Nos. 3, 4, 5 (A. Kantorow, Tapiola Sinfonietta, J.-J. Kantorow)
Performed by: Kantorow, Alexandre; Kantorow, Jean-Jacques; Tapiola Sinfonietta
“Composer, piano virtuoso, conductor, teacher Camille Saint-Saëns was all of these things, but also a keen archaeologist, astronomer, botanist, historian, illustrator, poet, playwright A seasoned traveller, he was the most famous French musician in his own lifetime. Jean-Jacques Kantorow and the Tapiola Sinfonietta have championed the music of Saint-Saëns on a series of acclaimed albums, and are now joined by the young Alexandre Kantorow son of the conductor for a survey of his works for piano and orchestra.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover from Naxos MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 3 (Mingardo, Cologne Cathedral Children’s Choir, Schola Heidelberg, Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra, F.-X. Roth)
Performed by: Cologne Cathedral Children’s Choir; Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra; Mingardo, Sara; Roth, François-Xavier; Schola Heidelberg, female section
“The work calls for enormous forces (large orchestra, women’s choir, boys’ choir and contralto soloist) and, at each hearing, leaves an unforgettable impression on the audience. Such was the case in October 2018, when François-Xavier Roth led the esteemed successors of the work’s first interpreters.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover from Naxos HAYDN, J.: Symphonies, Vol. 7 – Nos. 9, 65, 67 (Haydn 2032 Project, No. 7. Gli impresari) (Basel Chamber Orchestra, Antonini)
Performed by: Antonini, Giovanni; Basel Chamber Orchestra
“Under the title Gli impresari, The Impresarios i.e. the directors of the theatre troupes that Nikolaus I, Prince Esterházy engaged to perform in his opera houses this CD gathers together some of the orchestral works by Joseph Haydn linked by their origin and their reception; they were originally conceived as theatre music, before their metamorphosis into symphonies(…).” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover from Naxos ELGAR, E.: Enigma Variations / In the South Overture, “Alassio” / Serenade (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, V. Petrenko)
Performed by: Petrenko, Vasily; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
“The third Elgar album from Petrenko and the RLPO , a critically acclaimed team of Elgarians, brings together three masterpieces, In the South, a vibrant and colourful depiction of the Southern Italian coast, the Serenade for String Orchestra, and the Variations on an original theme, know as the Enigma Variations.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New DVDs for August

New DVDs for August include comedy, foreign drama and mystery, some great female fronted television, and the re-imagining of a classic family story.

Call the midwife. Series eight | Christmas special
“It is now 1964 and it’s evident how the times are changing: from the beacon of the contraceptive pill and the shadow of the 1967 Abortion Act, to the introduction of a new cancer-screening programme. The nuns and nurses continue to face a variety of challenging issues including interracial adoption, cleft palate, sickle cell and cot death. And for one of the team, romance could be on the horizon.” (Catalogue)

Stan & Ollie
“One of the world’s great comedy teams set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As the charm and beauty of their performances shine through, they re-connect with their adoring fans. The tour becomes a hit, but Stan and Ollie can’t quite shake the specter of Laurel and Hardy’s past.” (Catalogue)

Swimming with men
“Faced with a full-blow mid-life crisis, accountant Eric joins an all-male group of synchronised swimmers, discovering that making patterns in a pool can, for a couple of hours at least, smooth out the bumps in his work and marriage. Initially keeping their personal lives in the locker, the ramshackle squad and coach Susan slowly learn to reveal their inner lives, as well as their paunches. But can they get their lives and routines in sync as they embark on an unlikely journey to Milan to compete in the World Championship?” (Catalogue)

Thunder road
“It tells the story of flawed police officer Jim Arnaud, who lives a shambolic life that’s somehow made even worse by his mother’s passing. His only stability comes in the shape of his daughter, Crystal, who he tries to father, amidst messy divorce proceedings with his estranged wife, Roz, as best as he can.” (Catalogue)

The Bletchley circle: San Francisco. Complete series.
“A pair of British female codebreakers formerly at Bletchley Park help American cryptographers solve murders overlooked by the police in San Francisco.” (Catalogue)

Good girls. Season one.
“When three suburban moms get tired of trying to make ends meet, they decide it’s time to stick up for themselves by robbing the local grocery store. But when the manager catches a glimpse of one of them and the loot is far more than they expected, it doesn’t take long for the three best friends to realise the perfect getaway will be harder than they think.” (Catalogue)


Capernaüm
“After fleeing his negligent and abusive parents, a hardened, streetwise twelve-year-old boy sues them to protest the life they’ve given him.” (Catalogue)

Inspector Montalbano. Volume 10.
“The two newest films mark a high point in the journey of Salvo Montalbano. The tales by Andrea Camilleri quite seamlessly blend issues critical to Sicily in 2019 with issues critical during WW2. As Inspector Montalbano and his team face a challenge in tracing historical crimes as well as baffling contemporary ones. Bravo maestro!!” (Catalogue)

If Beale Street could talk
“A timeless love story set in early 1970s Harlem involving newly engaged nineteen-year-old Tish and her fiance Fonny who have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream.” (Catalogue)

Dumbo
“Circus owner Max Medici enlists former star Holt Farrier and his children to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere, who recruits the Dumbo for his newest entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.” (Catalogue)

New CDs at Arapaki

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs, including new albums by Thom Yorke and Bruce Springsteen. A couple of box-sets; the 50th anniversary version of Woodstock and the Scottish independent music story is simply fantastic. Come on down to Arapaki at 12 Manners Street and to check them out!

Woodstock : back to the garden : 50th anniversary collection.
“Summer 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the defining event of a generation and one of the most iconic moments in popular music history. Between August 15-18, 1969, more than 400,000 people converged on Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in upstate New York for Woodstock. This box set features 42 tracks performed during the legendary festival.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Big gold dreams : a story of Scottish independent music 1977-1989.
“BIG GOLD DREAMS documents the vibrant independent music scene to emerge in Scotland across the late 70s and 80s. Initially ignited by punk, labels sprang up in Glasgow, Edinburgh and elsewhere to give a voice to the explosion of new acts across the country.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Western stars. / Springsteen, Bruce
“Bruce Springsteen’s first new studio album in five years takes his music to a new place, drawing inspiration in part from the Southern California pop records of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The 13 tracks on ‘Western Stars’ encompass a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Let’s rock. / Black Keys
“Lighter and leaner than Turn Blue — and, ironically, considerably more colorful, too — Let’s Rock doesn’t so much find the Black Keys trying new recipes as revisiting old favorites with fresh, elevated ingredients. Blues, garage, and old soul remain at the foundation of the group’s sound, but they’ve swapped jammy excesses for over-saturated fuzz guitars and stacked vocal overdubs.” (Catalogue)

Anima. / Yorke, Thom
“Third solo album from the Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke. Produced alongside Nigel Godrich, ‘Anima’, sees Yorke experimenting with electronic sounds once again.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The book of traps and lessons. / Tempest, Kate
“Third studio album by the acclaimed British poet and rapper. The album was crafted with Rick Rubin and Dan Carey over the course of the previous five years. Since her emergence in 2011, Tempest has redefined what it means to be a wordsmith in the Modern Age and, to date, has published three poetry collections and staged three plays.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Years to burn / Calexico
“Calexico and Iron & Wine first made an artistic connection with ‘In the Reins’, the 2005 EP that brought Sam Beam, Joey Burns and John Convertino together. The acclaimed collaboration introduced both acts to wider audiences and broadened Beam’s artistic horizons, but it was the shared experience of touring together in the tradition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’ that cemented the bond. Their metaphorical roads diverged in the years that followed, but they kept in touch and cross-pollinated where they could.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Shepherd in a sheepskin vest. / Callahan, Bill
“Eighth solo studio album by the American singer-songwriter. Bill’s gentle, spacey take on folk and roots music is like no other; scraps of imagery, melody and instrumentation tumble suddenly together in moments of true human encounter.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New Classical CDs at Arapaki

We have recently added some new classical CDs to our small collection at Arapaki (Manners Street). Come in and flick through them the next time you’re in town! The new additions include some compilations by notable singers.

Lise Davidsen. Songs and arias by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Performed by Lise Davidsen.
“‘The young Norwegian soprano’s voice, silken at the top, rich with deep mezzo colours, pours forth flawlessly as if in one clear, stupendous breath. It’s one of the greatest voices I have heard'” (Observer review, printed on CD cover).

Si j’ai aimé. Performed by Sandrine Piau with Le Concert de la Loge.
“[Sandrine Piau’s] new project is a recital with orchestra celebrating French songs from the period when they moved from the private salon to the concert hall. Planned in partnership with the Palazzetto Bru Zane, this programme evokes all the vagaries of love experienced by a romantic heroine.” (amazon.com)

Lieder, Brahms, Schumann, Mahler. Performed by Renée Fleming.
“Four-time Grammy winner Renée Fleming presents her first full-length Lieder album in almost two decades, featuring a selection of favorite songs from Brahms, Schumann, and Mahler, including Brahm’s “Lullaby” and a breathtaking performance of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with Christian Thielemann and the Munich Philharmonic.” (amazon.com)

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)