Stumped for something to watch this weekend? Here are some DVDS and Blu-Rays that our library staff have enjoyed watching recently, featuring a range of new arrivals and deep-cut classics from the collection.
She said – Maria Schrader
The banshees of Inisherin – Martin McDonagh
Both sides of the blade – Claire Denis
The passengers of the night – Mikhael Hers
Triangle of sadness – Ruben Ostlund
Wheel of fortune and fantasy – Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Paris, 13th district – Jacques Audiard
Pearl – Ti West
The velvet queen – Marie Amiguet, Vincent Munier
Accident – Joseph Losey
Puss in Boots : the last wish
An all-round excellent movie in all aspects: gorgeous animation, witty humour, fun characters, great action, and a great twist on the fairy tale mythos. Fun for the whole family.
Sympathy for lady vengeance
The final film in Park Chan-Wook’s ‘Vengeance Trilogy’, Lady Vengeance follows Geum-ja, an ex-convict seeking revenge against the criminal who made her take the fall for a kidnapping gone wrong. While the name promises something like a Tarantino movie, it’s actually a much weirder and bittersweet take on the ‘revenge flick’, finding a completely novel tone between magical realism and dour grittiness. It won’t be for everyone, but it really worked on me.
Mad men (Seasons 1-7)
Considered one of the best shows in the 2000s-10s ‘Golden Age of Television’, Mad Men follows the lives and families of an American Madison Avenue advertising agency across the turbulent 1960s. Revisiting it this year reminded me of how much it deserves all the praise it gets; its sharp writing, impeccable costuming and set design, and making the most of its premise to examine themes of wanting versus having, self-interest versus social expectation, and comfort versus growth.
Ocean’s 11, 12, 13
Steven Soderbergh’s heist caper trilogy continues to impress over two decades later. Ocean’s Eleven, in my opinion, remains the standard to which all modern heist movies should be measured. I’ve never bought into the hate for the much-maligned Ocean’s Twelve; I’ve always liked its novel premise of the heist crew facing the inevitable consequences of robbing a man of millions. Thirteen is the most conventional of the three, but its choice of villain in the distinctly Trumpian casino mogul ‘Willy Bank’ has made it age all the better.
A remake of the 1952 Japanese film Ikiru, starring Bill Nighy as a government worker in post-WWII England who examines his life’s purpose after receiving a terminal diagnosis. A smartly adapted remake of a classic that achieves its modest aims, with Nighy giving an all-time great performance as a man making the most of his life in the time he has left.
What’s up, doc?
The 1972 screwball comedy classic starring Ryan O’Neal (Barry Lyndon) and Barbra Streisand (A Star is Born), What’s Up, Doc? features an ensemble cast of criminals and academics who converge on a San Francisco hotel and mix up their co-incidentally identical bags. Hilarity ensues. One of the funniest movies ever made on a minute-to-minute level, chock full of slapstick, mistaken identity, groan-inducing puns, and outrageous stunts, hung together on a tightly written screenplay.
Cool hand Luke
A film for the rebel in all of us, Cool Hand Luke chronicles the incarceration of one Luke Jackson in a Florida chain gang circa 1950. As Luke is gradually broken down by the unforgiving bosses of his Southern gaol, he never loses his contempt for authority, and through his resistance he wins the hearts and minds of his fellow prisoners. Paul Newman perfectly captures the cool discontent of a certain class of men who fell through the cracks after the Second World War; it’s clear to see how this film became an American classic.
Director Stephen Chow perfectly blends the underdog sports movie with the Hong Kong kung-fu flick in Shaolin Soccer. Through clever use of wire-work and minimal CGI, Chow turns ordinary training montages and soccer matches into gravity-defying martial arts battles that are a joy to watch. For my money, it also has the best use of Carl Douglas’ one hit wonder ‘Kung Fu Fighting’, one that genuinely transforms the song from ‘hey, let me tell you about this cool movie’ into something communal and celebratory.
Pride is one of my all-time favourite movies! Based on a true story and set in 1984 during the British miner’s strike and the AIDS epidemic, it follows a group of young queer activists standing in solidarity with a community of Welsh coalminers. It never fails to make me both laugh and cry, and the soundtrack is excellent.