“It’s only forever, not long at all.” The films of David Bowie

The truth is, of course, that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.”
― David Bowie

Its been five years since David Bowie passed on the 10th of Jan 2016. Commonly regarded as one of the most important musicians of the 20th century his albums gaining ten platinum certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and sold in excess of 100 million albums. Following his death Rolling stone declared him the “Greatest Rock Star Ever”.

We have a very substantial collection of Bowie CD’s in our collection click here for the full list.

However, Bowie was much more than just a rock star his interests were rich and varied and covered just about every cultural field imaginable including books, he was a voracious reader (click here to see the blog we did about Bowie’s love of books); art he collected; he wrote about and exhibited art; theatre both as an actor in productions such as Elephant man and as a playwright in one of his last creative endeavours Lazarus, and also, of course, film.

And it is his career in film we are going to briefly look at in this blog.

All the films below are in our catalogue and available to borrow. Enjoy!


The prestige
“Still arguably Christopher Nolan’s best film. The prestige is set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century London. Two magicians share an intense rivalry with each other and leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy. The rivalry is so intense that is will be full of obsession, deceit and jealousy, with both dangerous and deadly consequences. From the time that Robert angier and Alfred Bordon first met, the two were competitors. However, their once friendly competition evolves into battle for each other’s trade secrets.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

Basquiat
“Bowie plays Andy Warhol to a tee (who famously hated the song Bowie wrote about him) in this film based on the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a young American unknown graffiti artist who lived on the streets of New York City in a cardboard box. Jean-Michel was “discovered” by Andy Warhol’s art world and became a star. Basquiat is a brilliant artist whose success came at a high price.”(Adapted from Catalogue) 

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
“Bowie plays Major Jack Celliers (alongside fellow musician Ryuichi Sakamoto as his Japanese counterpart) in this powerful wartime drama where the story focuses on a battle of wills and philosophies fought between Major Celliers as the prisoner of war, and the camp commander, Captain Yonnoi. Captain Yonnoi is mystified by the new prisoner that he fails to intimidate and believes he is evil spirit. In a desperate attempt to restore his sense of power, he provokes Celliers into a final act of defiance which seals both their fates.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twin Peaks : Fire walk with me
“Bowie plays the Hawian shirted enigmatic agent Phillip Jeffries in Fire walk with me and used unused footage of Bowie from the film in the 2017 Television series Twin Peaks: the return. The film traces the week leading up to Laura’s death, Fire Walk With Me explores the darkness engulfing her soul and lays bare her downward spiral into drug abuse and sexual depravity. It’s a journey filled with symbolism, dream imagery, bizarre characters and a startling new interpretation of the Red Room. “(Adapted from Catalogue) 

Zoolander
“Bowies brief but memorable role in Zoolander is really just a cameo where he plays himself judging a fashion runway ‘walk-off’ in the zany fun and outrageous fashion comedy starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Director Ben Stiller later admitted he was ‘in shock’ when Bowie agreed saying that it was ‘the high point of his career’.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

Labyrinth
“Bowie plays the creepy and sexy evil Jareth king of the goblins in this Muppetastic 80’s Family favourite, which was met with mixed reviews on its release and is now regarded as a firm family favourite. When young Sarah cavalierly wishes that goblins would take her crying baby brother away, she gets her wish. Now, she must confront Gareth – ruler of a mystical world one step removed from reality, master of the goblins who abducted her brother… and creator of the treacherous labyrinth that Sarah must solve in order to make things right.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

The man who fell to Earth
“In many peoples opinion including Bowie himself his was his best film. He liked it so much he bought the rights to the book and co wrote the play Lazurus as a sequel not to mention using elements from his abandoned soundtrack in Low . The Polymesmeric, non linear plot added to the films unique strangeness. The film loosely revolves around Thomas Jerome Newton a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. But director Nicolas Roeg’s aims for the film are far loftier and highbrow than any basic plot creating a labyrinthian maze of interlocking visuals, concepts and ideas. A truly stunning film in many ways way ahead of its time and also strangely slightly dated ” . (Adapted from Catalogue) 

New DVDs at Te Awe

Here are some new movies & TV Shows recently added to our collection and available at our CBD Te Awe Library and selected Branch locations.

Laurel Canyon
Mulan
Treadstone. Season one
The crown. The complete third season
Where’d you go, Bernadette
Military wives (Television)
Westworld. Season three, The new world
Between two worlds. Season one
Monos
Radioactive
Cosmos : possible worlds
Inspector Montalbano. Volume 11




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Picks CDs & DVDs

Staff Picks are back, with a completely random selection of new & old material that Library Staff have been watching & viewing recently!


Punisher. / Bridgers, Phoebe
When I reminisce about the apocalyptic hellscape that has been 2020, this album makes a fitting soundtrack. Flitting between jubilant and despondent, edgy and soft, this is a sophisticated offering which will appeal to those who spent their adolescence in the grip of emo pop rock, but who now prefer a bit more nuance. (Cassie)

Ghosts of West Virginia / Earle, Steve
Singer/Songwriter/Activist Steve Earle is involved in a project concerning a coal mining explosion that killed 29 miners. He wrote the music for this public theatre project in conjunction with documentary playwrights, who interviewed the families of the dead and the few survivors. He has a distinctive voice and writes powerful lyrics. Also includes 3 songs not in the play, but of a similar theme. I particularly liked Black Lung. (Greg)

The shocking Miss Emerald. / Emerald, Caro
Dutch chanteuse Caro Emerald’s Retro, Big Band singing style will get your toes tapping and your mood uplifted! These jazzy pop songs may be the Perfect hot (Hopefully) summer) soundtrack. (David)

Baduizm. / Badu, Erykah
I’ve been doing a deep dive into the murky waters of the music of my adolescence lately. There are so many classic records in the 90s and any deep drive into this decade brings you to the glory that is Erykah Badu’s “Baduizm”. Released in 1997, this record was Badu’s debut album that crowned her the high priestess of neo-soul. This record is uniquely Badu, mixing the singing style of Billie Holiday with soul, R&B, jazz and hip-hop. It’s songs of heartbreak speak of higher issues than a first listen can provide so is worth a good listen. (Dani)

England is a garden. / Cornershop
I hadn’t listened to the band for many years, but Cornershop came back into my life right after my family and I moved to New Zealand in late 2019. Those days were joyous, yet at the same time some of the most tiring moments that I have ever lived through, immigrating to a new country and getting adjusted to a very different way of life. Cornershop squeezed its way back in during all of this, when they announced a new album coming out in March 2020 titled “England Is A Garden”. In the time of Covid-19, I can’t think of a better band and album to spend lots of my time with. From start to finish, “England Is A Garden” is a gem to listen to, but it also makes you feel good things. You think about your place in the world as you listen to the album, you realise just how wonderful and special it is to be alive, no matter what is going on all around you. Certain music connects you to things happening, while at the same time providing an escape, and “England Is A Garden” is a perfect example of this. (Justin)

The kingdom. / Bush
Supposedly inspired by being the only Rock band playing at a bunch of Metal Festivals, ‘The Kingdom’ is a surprisingly heavy return to form for the English post grunge-rockers. Frontman Gavin Rossdale brings ex-Helmet guitarist Chris Traynor up in the mix for a twin near-metal attack that showcases an album of hugely catchy riffs and soaring vocals, anchored by some of his best song-writing in years. If you enjoyed the pummelling track ‘Bullet Holes’, that played out over the credits of John Wick 3, then you’ll enjoy the sound of this follow-up album. (Mark)

American head / Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips are a bit wacky, an acquired taste, sort of cosmic, ethereal, spacey and this latest is no different to previous albums like Yoshimi battles the pink robots. So that’s good because they offer a mix of light and heavy sounds filled with simple melodies and complex noises. The lyrics on this album can teeter on the simplistic, but there are a lot of lovely harmonies and rhythms with eclectic patterns. So, something both soothing and slightly offbeat at the same time, which is great! (Martin)

The new abnormal / Strokes
The Strokes return after 7 years with one of those great albums that rewards after repeated listens; revealing a new level of emotional maturity and shifting musical contours, that play off their previous trademark style while adding in new elements. Diverging from the shorter pop ‘verse/chorus/verse’ construct of previous albums, the songs stretch out for longer and it takes a few listens before all the inherent melodies sink in. Julian Casablancas’ lyrics are more political and mature, befitting someone now in their 40s, the songs more brooding and reflective. The band sounds more together and focused than on the last couple of albums, and you once again marvel at the level of musicianship they provide to underpin Casablancas’ vocals, culminating in the epic closing track ‘Ode To The Mets’ which ranks as one of their best tracks ever. (Mark)

Endeavour. Complete series seven.
This is a great series and has kept us captivated since season 1. This latest series is set in the ’70’s and takes me back to the fashions and foibles of my childhood. Another set of Oxford murders to solve as well as an intriguing new relationship for Endeavour Morse keeps you guessing. (Raewyn)

Mystery Men. 
Oh the 90’s, what a time for movies! Possibly one of the most 90’s movies ever made (it’s soundtrack even has Smash Mouth’s All Star), this ridiculous tale of ridiculous superheroes is lots of silly fun. All the usual names are there, Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Paul Reubens, Janeane Garofalo but you also get bonus Tom Waits (a mad scientist who builds non-lethal weapons, like the Blame Thrower) and Eddie Izzard (one of the villainous Disco Boys henchmen). Not to mention that the villain is named Cassanova Frankenstein. Yes, you read that correctly, Cassanova Frankenstein. It’s camp, it’s silly, Hank Azaria throws forks at people and there’s an invisible boy who can only be invisible when nobody is looking. It’s just lots of fun. (Kath)

This town
So this film was promoted as a comedy, which it sort of is… but it’s dark. Really dark. I did laugh, but more often I found myself drawing a sharp breath and thinking “Oh no!” Written, directed and starring David White, this recent New Zealand film is the story of Sean (White), a man with a troubled past searching for love. He meets Casey (Alice May Connolly), a sweet local girl and they fall for one another. But the spanner in the works of their romance is ex-cop Pam (Robyn Malcolm) who is determined to put Sean behind bars for a crime he has already been acquitted of. There is something sweet and gentle about Sean and Casey’s relationship that I found endearing, even if they are both a bit on the gormless side. It has a really good solid twist at the end that I never saw coming. (Kath)

Velvet goldmine
If you’re a fan of 70’s glam rock, like Bowie, Marc Bolan, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop etc, this film is a fictional story made up of a lot of glam rock legends… that might be true, or they might not. Christian Bale plays a young English journalist Arthur Stuart (the biggest flaw of the movie – I found him terrible and his English accent even worse) chasing the story of what happened to glam rock superstar Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) whose career failed after he faked is own assassination on stage. Interviewing the people closest to Slade, like his ex-wife Mandy (Toni Collette, brilliantly doing her best Angie Bowie impersonation) and reported ex-lover American glam rocker Curt Wild (Ewan MacGregor, who steals the movie in every scene he appears) finds himself disappearing down a rabbit-hole of sex, drugs and rock n roll which never quite brings him any closer to Slade’s whereabouts. Don’t let Christian Bale’s performance put you off, the rest of the cast more than make up for it. Fantastic costuming and make-up, the soundtrack is glam rock heaven and it’s one of the iconic alternative films from the late 90’s. (Kath)


The Lost Aviator A Beamafilm Documentary (Australia)
Against his families wishes Documentary maker Andrew Lancaster unveils his pioneer aviator’s uncle’s life of adventure, obsessive love and involvement in a sensational murder trial. An intriguing story with a curiously moving and haunting ending. (David)

Queens of mystery. [Series 1]
Newly promoted Detective Sergeant Matilda Stone investigates offbeat murders in a quaint English Village. Her 3 crime-writing aunts lend her their expertise, as well as unwanted dating advice. They may solve the murders, but the unexplained disappearance of Matilda’s mother 25 years ago will be harder to crack “a quality production- Very well written and acted. The whole family enjoyed it”. (Roseanne)

Neil P’s Picks:
As the WCL CD Cataloguer, these are some of my favourite new CDs…
Andy Bell – The view from halfway down
Thurston Moore – By the fire
Drab City – Good songs for bad people
Dead Famous People – Harry
Magik Markers – 2020
Heliocentrics – Telemetric sounds
Hen Ogledd – Free humans
Garcia Peoples – Nightcap at wits’ end
Fenne Lily – Breach

Shinji’s Picks:
DVD’s:
Queen and Slim
Sorry We Missed You
The End of the Golden Weather
For Sama
Homecoming (TV show)

CD’s:
Blue Nile – High[Bonus Disc]
Sault – Untitled (Black is)
Bela Fleck – Throw Down Your Heart
Julianna Barwick – Healing Is a Miracle
Aaron Parks – Little Big II: dreams of a mechanical man


New DVDs at Te Awe

Here are some new movies & TV Shows recently added to our collection and available at our CBD Te Awe Library and selected Branch locations.

Why didn’t they ask Evans?
This town
Doctor Who [2005]. The complete twelfth series.
The hunting. Season one.
Pain and glory.
Partners in crime. The complete collection.
The high note
Yellowstone. Season 1.
A million little things. The complete first season.
Love Sarah
Watchmen
El camino : a Breaking bad movie

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Fear Factor: DVDs for Halloween

Test your Fear Level (Low, Moderate or High) with this selection of classic & lesser known Horror films & TV shows from our DVD collection at Te Awe & our offsite Storage Branch Te Pataka.

Halloween (1978)
Fear Factor: Moderate
Mark: Moody. Tense. Created its own cult & changed modern Horror forever.
Neil: John Carpenter‘s low budget masterpiece spawned a million imitators, but none as good as the original.

 

 

Gremlins (1984)
Fear Factor: Low
Mark: Great family fun that never dates.
Neil: One of the Halloween at Christmas movies. Hugely entertaining fun in a twisted & dark way.

 

 

Near dark (1988)
Fear Factor: High
Mark: Grimy & violent with Vampires as soulless spree killers. The anti-Twilight.
Neil: Kathryn Bigelow‘s genre redefining Vampire movie set in the American Midwest is a joy to watch for Horror film fans.

 

The hole (2009)
Fear Factor: Low
Mark: Intelligent YA film has 3 teens discover a mysterious bottomless pit, unleashing something that forces them to confront their own deepest fears.
Neil: No idea. Joe Dante usually makes a great film.

 

 

The cabin in the woods (2011)
Fear Factor: Moderate
Mark: A meta tribute to Horror films. Great fun. Helped to launch the career of Chris Hemsworth.
Neil: Joss Whedon reverses every horror trope in this twisty film. Super clever.

 

 

The birds (1963)
Fear Factor: Moderate
Mark: Hitchcock works out more issues.
Neil: Daphne du Maurier’s short story is given the Hitchcock treatment in this dated but truly disturbing movie which utilises Tippi Hedren‘s real life fear of Birds.

 

The descent (2005)
Fear Factor: High
Mark: The caving is super scary even before the true horror begins. Tips the whole female-bonding trope on its head.
Neil: Do not watch this if you suffer from claustrophobia!

 

 

Eden Lake (2008)
Fear Factor: High
Mark: Brutal ‘Hoddie-Horror’ sees Kelly Reilly on the run from local nasties.
Neil: A frightening version of Deliverance set in the British countryside.

 

 

The evil dead (1981)
Fear Factor: High
Mark: Sequels. A TV Show. Bruce Campbell. Enough said.
Neil: Classic schlock horror. If you’ve seen it, go back and watch it again. If you haven’t, watch to to understand the DNA of horror films.

 

 

Fright night (1985)
Fear Factor: Low
Mark: Another inspiration for Stranger Things. Teens fight monsters that adults don’t believe are real.
Neil: If you want to see mainstream American Horror was like in the 80s this is a great place to start.

 

The haunting of Hill House. (TV Series, 2018)
Fear Factor: High
Mark: Gripping. Atmospheric. Psychological. One of the best Horror TV shows ever.
Neil: Shirley Jackson‘s reputation as a master writer of Horror makes this a TV show worth watching.

 

The wicker man : the final cut (1973)
Fear Factor: Moderate
Mark: A classic inspiration for the recent Midsommar.
Neil: This was Christopher Lee‘s favourite performance. The detailed pagan ritual & rural Scottish setting give it a truly unsettling atmosphere.

Films from the Big Apple

I’m staying! You hear that, New York? THE FROG IS STAYING!

― Kermit the Frog, The Muppets Take Manhattan

We recently did a small blog on books set in New York City – but as well as fiction, New York City is one of the most filmed locations on the planet.  The city was first committed to celluloid in 1901 just a few years after the birth of cinema. It’s a vibrant, unique, melting pot, and its multi-cultural population coupled with its iconic skyscrapers and historic monuments  make it a perfect setting for so many tales.

The films stretch from the Jazz Singer (the world’s first talkie) to films that are regarded as all-time classic films such as Citizen Kane,  and The Godfather. There are also legions of films that are loved for different reasons such as  Escape from New York, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Crocodile Dundee. The good news is that many of these iconic New York films are available to borrow from our extensive DVD collection – for our small selection read on – and enjoy.


Frances Ha
“A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The warriors
“The Warriors are a street gang from Coney Island, trapped in the Bronx when a city-wide truce explodes. What follows is non-stop suspense and violent action as they try to get through 28 miles of “enemy territory” with 100,000 gang members after them!” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Breakfast at Tiffany’s [videorecording]
“An eccentric New York City playgirl is determined to marry a Brazilian millionaire, but her next-door neighbour, a writer, changes her plans.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

3 Spike Lee joints [videorecording].
“Do the right thing” – Traces the course of a single day on a block in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. It’s the hottest day of the year, a scorching 24-hour period that will change the lives of its residents forever. Also included in this collection “Jungle fever”and “Clockers”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

King Kong [videorecording].
“An expedition exploring a remote island capture a gigantic ape and bring him back to New York for exhibition. A beautiful actress who accompanies them is menaced, when the monster’s love for her causes him to break out” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ghostbusters ; plus, Ghostbusters II. [videorecording] The original “Ghostbusters” and its sequel teamed comedians Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis with director Ivan Reitman, to tell the story of a trio of paranormal investigators who must save the world from the evil clutches of the supernatural.

Taxi driver [videorecording] “Vietnam vet Travis Bickle works as a loner night-shift cabbie in New York. Roving the streets, he kills time by keeping a diary, popping pills and hanging out in porn theatres. A series of frustrations and his encounters with a 14-year-old prostitute compel him to clean up the sordid milieu in which he operates.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Once upon a time in America [videorecording]
” Spanning four decades, the film tells the story of David “Noodles” Aaronson (Robert De Niro) and his Jewish pals, chronicling their childhoods on New York’s Lower East Side in the 1920s, through their gangster careers in the 1930s, and culminating in Noodles’ 1968 return to New York from self-imposed exile, at which time he learns the truth about the fate of his friends and again confronts the nightmare of his past.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New DVDs at Te Awe

Here are some new movies & TV Shows recently added to our collection and available at our CBD Te Awe Library and selected Branch locations.

New Movies:
Photograph
“A struggling street photographer in Mumbai, pressured to marry by his grandmother, convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée. The pair develop a connection that transforms them in ways they could not expect.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Why didn’t they ask Evans?
“During a round of golf on a cliff-top course in Wales, Bobby Jones discovers a man lying gravely injured on the rocks below. His last words, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?,” leads Bobby and his friend on a quest to find out what happened to the man.” (Catalogue)

 

 

A White, White Day
“The powerful new film by Hlynur Plmason centres on a grieving police officer in rural Iceland (Ingvar E. Sigursson) who turns his vengeful sights on a neighbour he suspects may have had an affair with his now-deceased wife.” (Catalogue)

 

 

New TV Shows:
Shakespeare & Hathaway : private investigators. Season one.
“Private inspector Frank Hathaway has always worked alone. But Frank isn’t doing so well. He’s out of shape and low on cash. Frank needs a partner. Frank needs ex-hairdresser and people-person Lu. He just doesn’t know it yet. The two eventually join forces and form a highly unlikely and hugely entertaining detecting duo. Frank and Lu quickly discover that all is not as peaceful as it seems in their pretty theatre town. The mayor is murdered, vengeful lovers stalk the streets and a magician’s trick fatally misfires. Welcome to Stratford-upon-Avon, where low life criminals get caught up in deliciously high drama.” (Catalogue)

Ray Donovan. Season seven.
“While Ray makes progress in therapy, there are dangers from the past that require the Ray Donovan of old. Between NYC mayor Ed Feratti, an unrelenting NYPD officer hunting for the truth and clients old and new, Ray struggles to find the balance between fixing for clients and fixing himself. And when Feratti’s corruption brings a piece of Mickey’s past back to New York, Ray is forced to seek answers to long-buried questions.” (Catalogue)

 

Occupied. Series 3.
“A new parliamentary election is due, and the campaign reignites old conflicts between the Norwegians. Seeing himself as the liberator of Norway, interim Prime Minister Jesper Berg is confident of winning the election. But the public is divided. Who are the real liberation heroes? How should traitors be treated? How will relations with Russia develop? And has Russia actually withdrawn from Norway? To complicate matters, Jesper is confronted by a group of young eco-scientists desperate to remind him of his original reason for entering into politics: His deep commitment to clean energy. Ambassador to Norway, Sidorova is torn between her wish to start a new life in Norway and her loyalty to Russia. Security Services Director Hans Martin Djupvik investigates the assassination of former Prime Minister Anita Rygh. And Bente takes her daughter to Moscow to escape the prosecution of traitors.” (Catalogue)

Homecoming. Season one.
“Good intentions. Erratic bosses. Mounting paranoia. Unforeseen consequences spiralling out of control. Heidi (Julia Roberts) works at Homecoming, a facility helping soldiers transition to civilian life. Years later she has started a new life, when the Department of Defense questions why she left Homecoming. Heidi soon realises there’s a whole other story behind the one she’s been telling herself.” (Catalogue)

 

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Season two.
“In the second season after tracking a potentially suspicious shipment of illegal arms in the Venezuelan jungle, CIA Officer Jack Ryan heads down to South America to investigate. As Jack’s investigation threatens to uncover a far-reaching conspiracy, the President of Venezuela launches a counter-attack that hits home for Jack, leading him and his fellow operatives on a global mission spanning the United States, UK, Russia, and Venezuela to unravel the President’s nefarious plot.” (Catalogue)

His dark materials. The complete first season.
“A young girl is destined to liberate her world from the grip of the Magisterium, which represses people’s ties to magic and their animal spirits known as daemons.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The boys. Season 1.
“The Boys is an irreverent take on what happens when superheroes – as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as gods – abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. It is the powerless against the superpowerful as The Boys embark on a heroic quest to expose the truth about “The Seven” and their formidable Vought backing.” (Catalogue)

 

Belgravia. Season one.
“On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, two young lovers forge a legacy that will create scandal for generations to come. Years later, when the humble Trenchards (Tamsin Greig and Philip Gleinster) move to Belgravia, they find themselves mixing with the venerated Brockenhursts (Harriet Walter and Tom Wilkinson). The families share a history that threatens inheritances and reputations and there are those who would do anything to ensure secrets remain buried. Pride and loyalty will be tested as forbidden love blossoms amongst the rivalry and lives hang in the balance.” (Catalogue)

Good girls. Season two.
“Good Girls Season 2 opens with Beth (Christina Hendricks) dealing with her failed plan to get Rio (Manny Montana) arrested, while evidence about their crimes end up on Agent Turner’s (James Lesure) desk. Throughout the season, Ruby (Retta) and Beth deal with the new status of their relationships with their husbands Stan (Reno Wilson) and Dean (Matthew Lillard), now aware of their secret criminal life; meanwhile, Annie (Mae Whitman) and her daughter have a hard time getting along. However, with the threat of a conviction looming over them, they can’t afford to make any mistakes with any of their activities.” (Catalogue)

Striking out. Complete series one & two.
“Tara Rafferty is a high-flying solicitor living an apparently charmed existence with her good-looking law-partner fiancé Eric. But when she discovers Eric is cheating on her with a colleague, she decides to go it alone and start her own law firm.” (Catalogue)

 

 

New Amsterdam. Season two
“Inspired by the oldest public hospital in America, this unique medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director, who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care. How can he help? Not taking “no” for an answer. Dr. Goodwin must disrupt the status quo and prove he will stop at nothing to breathe new life into this understaffed, underfunded, and underappreciated hospital.” (Catalogue)

Elementary. The final season
“Having lied and confessed to a murder he did not commit in order to protect Watson, Holmes moves back home to London in order to avoid jail time, so Watson follows.” (Catalogue)

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on…”

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

― William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Ever since the Bard put quill to parchment he has inspired artists from every artistic sphere and from every point in time.  The richness, complexity and universality of his characters, coupled with the variety of locations and plots, give rise to an almost endless resource of inspiration to draw from.

The fictional world is no exception, just recently Maggie O’Farrell’s remarkable, extraordinary and profound novel about the death of Shakespeare’s son Hamnet was released. There is a rich seam of other novels that are connected to Shakespeare or his works in some way or another. From Margaret Atwood’s Hag-seed,  to Jane Smiley’s re-imagining of King Lear A thousand Acres.

So we thought it would be an interesting idea to highlight just a few of the books and films that we like  that draw direct inspiration from the bard’s works. Enjoy!


Hamnet / O’Farrell, Maggie
“Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hag-seed : The tempest retold / Atwood, Margaret
It’s got a thunderstorm in it. And revenge. Definitely revenge.’ Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge.” (Catalogue)

Miranda and Caliban / Carey, Jacqueline
“A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe.We all know the tale of Prospero’s quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows listeners the other side of the coin-the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Another radical re imagining of the Tempest is the fifties science fiction classic film Forbidden Planet available as part of our essential viewing collection. 

Forbidden planet [videorecording]
” A dutiful robot named Robby speaks 188 languages. An underground lair offers evidence of an advanced civilization. But among Altair-4’s many wonders, none is greater or more deadly than the human mind.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Macbeth / Nesbø, Jo
” Set in the 1970s in a run-down, rainy industrial town, Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth centers around a police force struggling to shed an incessant drug problem. Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic and visionary, a dream to the townspeople but a nightmare for criminals. The drug trade is ruled by two drug lords, one of who is a  master of manipulation named Hecate has connections with the highest in power, and plans to use them to get his way. ” (Catalogue)

Macbeth
“This visually stunning film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s famous play, which focuses on a Scottish lord named Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) and his power-hungry wife (Marion Cotillard). After Macbeth hears a prophecy that he will become the king of Scotland, he becomes fixated on taking throne and decides to murder the current king to do so. Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Harris, David Thewlis, and Jack Reynor co-star. Directed by Justin Kurzel .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A thousand acres : a novel / Smiley, Jane
“This powerful twentieth-century reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear centers on a wealthy Iowa farmer who decides to divide his farm among his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will, which sets in motion a chain of events that brings dark truths to light. Ambitiously conceived and stunningly written, A Thousand Acres spins the most fundamental themes of truth, justice, love, and pride into a universally acclaimed masterpiece.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

There is also Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s classic retelling of King Lear set in 16th century  Ran. 


Ran [videorecording]
“In 16th century Japan, an aging ruler attempts to divide his kingdom among his three sons, who turn against each other and betray their father, triggering events that ultimately shatter the kingdom, destroy the family, and drive their father insane.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Or  how about Gnomeo & Juliet  for a fun lighthearted, irreverent  introduction to the  Bard’s work ?


Gnomeo & Juliet [videorecording]
“Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingoes and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness?” (Catalogue)

And finally in this very small selection of Shakespeare inspired books and films how about Star Wars retold in a Shakespearean style ?

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars : verily, a new hope / Doescher, Ian
“Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ” (Catalogue)

New DVDs for December

New DVDs for December include the new Fast & furious spin off; the true life story of famed Manchester United goalkeeper Bert Trautmann; a hit Amazon Prime show starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant, based on the Book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman; a remake of the classic Lion King story; and the critically acclaimed mini-series Chernobyl.

Fast & furious. Hobbs & Shaw
“Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs, a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw, a former British military elite operative, first faced off, the duo have swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down. But when anarchist Brixton gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever, these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves.” (Summary, Catalogue)

The keeper
“While visiting a PoW camp near Manchester at the end of WWII, Margaret Friar, the daughter of the manager of the local football team, notices young German soldier Bert Trautmann. Her father is so taken by Bert’s prowess as a goal-keeper that he gets him out of the camp to play for his local team. Margaret and Bert’s love blossoms despite local hostility and resentment of the German PoWs. In the meantime, Bert’s heroics in goal are noticed by Manchester’s City Football Club. Rather than going back to Germany like nearly all the other camp inmates, Bert marries Margaret and signs for Man City.” (adapted Summary from Catalogue)

Good omens
“Aziraphale is a fussy angel. Crowley is a loose-living demon. They’ve both been on Earth for over 6,000 years. During that time they’ve grown quite fond of it, and, against all odds, each other. But there’s a problem – the Antichrist has arrived here on Earth, which means the world they have become too fond of will end in flames, if they don’t manage to save it. This wildly imaginative and gloriously funny drama follows Aziraphale and Crowley as they join forces in an attempt to find an 11-year-old Antichrist (and his dog) and avert the Apocalypse. Armageddon is coming – but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

Late night
“After almost 30 years, legendary talk-show host Katherine Newbury suspects she may soon be losing her spot on late-night television unless she makes a game-changing transformation. Making gender equality her goal, she impulsively hires Molly Patel, a chemical plant efficiency expert, as the first and only female on her writing staff. Molly urges her to make the show more contemporary, authentic, and personal, a move that could make Molly’s career or send her back to the chemical plant for good.” (summary from Catalogue)

Garage sale mystery. Murder in D minor.
“Jennifer Shannon has a gift for finding rare treasures hidden in garage sales that she can resell at her consignment store, Rags to Riches. But her keen eye for finding valuables also gets her involved in the criminal investigations that happen at the very second-hand sales she frequents. In “Murder in D Minor”, Jennifer wins the bid on a vintage self-playing piano at an estate auction. The piano was owned by the late Carl Deats and Jennifer discovers that this wealthy philanthropist has a dark history.” (Catalogue)

The lion king
“After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.” (Catalogue)

Chernobyl : a 5-part miniseries.
“Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men), Stellan Skarsgård (Breaking the Waves, Good Will Hunting) and Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Apple Tree Yard) star in Chernobyl, the critically acclaimed five-part mini-series. On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukrainian SSR suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and Western Europe. Dramatising the true story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, Chernobyl shines a light on the brave men and women who fought an unprecedented war against an invisible enemy, and who suffered and sacrificed, saving millions of lives, often at the cost of their own.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)

Little Woods
“Ollie is barely getting by in Little Woods, an economically depressed fracking boomtown in North Dakota. She has left her days of illegally running prescription pills over the Canadian border behind, eying a potential new job that would finally break her out of the small town. But when her mother dies, she is reunited with her estranged sister Deb, who faces a mounting crisis: the combined effect of an unplanned pregnancy and a deadbeat ex.” (Catalogue)

High life
“Monte and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to deep space. The crew, death row inmates led by a doctor with sinister motives, has vanished. As the mystery of what happened onboard the ship is unraveled, father and daughter must rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole.” (Summary from Catalogue)

Game of thrones. Season 8.
“The final season depicts the culmination of the series’ two primary conflicts: the great battle at Winterfell against the Army of the Dead, and the final battle in King’s Landing for control of the Iron Throne.” (Mightyape.co.nz)

The farewell.
“In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding.” (adapted from Description, mightyape.co.nz)

From blockbusters to local documentaries: new DVDs

Check out some of these new arrival DVDs, from our favourite film festival documentaries (Yellow is forbidden and Celia) to blockbuster movies such as Rocketman and Avengers: Endgame. New series of some of the beloved TV shows (Outlander, Shetland etc.) have also arrived.

Yellow is forbidden : a film about Guo Pei
“Recognition from Paris’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is considered the apex of the fashion industry, and Chinese designer Guo Pei is determined to reach it. A brave designer chases the dream – to be crowned haute couture. But she comes from China, the land of knock offs and production lines. Will her Cinderella story end at the Met Ball?” (Catalogue)

Celia
“Celia Lashlie was a fearless, impassioned and charismatic advocate for the at-risk and vulnerable. In this documentary, she lays it all out in an honest and heartfelt way that inspires us all to make a difference in our own lives and to the communities that surround us. The film’s director and producer, former TV current affairs journalist Amanda Millar followed Lashlie’s career over 15 years and captured the crusader as she confronted bureaucracy and challenged the establishment. When Lashlie received a terminal cancer diagnosis in late 2014, she invited Millar to film the final year of her life so that her uncompleted work could continue after her death. The end came much sooner than expected. Celia Lashlie’s final interview, filmed just two days before she died, provides the heart of this inspiring portrait.” (Catalogue)

Avengers. Endgame
“The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured their ranks compels the remaining to take one final stand in the grand conclusion to twenty-two films.” (Catalogue)

Godzilla. II, King of the monsters
“The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.” (Catalogue)

Top end wedding.
“Successful Sydney lawyer Lauren and her fiance Ned are engaged and in love, they have just ten days to pull off their dream Top End Wedding. First through, they need to track down Lauren’s mother, who has gone AWOL somewhere in the Northern Territory.” (Catalogue)

Once upon a time in London
“For the first time ever, the violent reign of two of London’s most notorious gangsters, Jack Spot’ Comer and Billy Hill, is grippingly brought to life in ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON – charting the epic rise and legendary fall of a criminal empire that lasted for three decades and paved the way for the notorious Kray twins to exert their dominance over the London’s gangland realm.” (Catalogue)

The kindergarten teacher
“Stuck in an unsatisfying marriage and with teenage children who ignore her, 40-year-old Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) treads water by teaching kindergarten with quiet dispassion. One day everything changes when Lisa discovers that Jimmy, a five-year-old boy in her class, may be a gifted poet and sees him as a ticket out of her mundane life. When Lisa presents some of Jimmy’s work at her poetry class as her own work, and receives praise from her teacher (Gael Garcia Bernal), her desire to mentor the child genius grows. As fascination turns into obsession, Lisa spirals downward on a dangerous and desperate path to channel her unfulfilled creative dreams into the protegee.” (Catalogue)

Brown boys
“”Brown Boys is a comedic coming of age film about six Samoan men in South Auckland. Their world is changing and they must move past the stage of going out, drinking and womanising.This is a story of brotherhood, growing up and love. The Brown Boys spend their weekends drinking, partying and chasing girls. Peter the Player, Kiligi the Bad Influence, Magele the Tough Guy, Luka the Drunken Master, Siaki the Weird Guy and Mickey the Baby – they are family by blood and by choice.When one of the boys expresses a desire to settle down, it causes reactions among the group that could rupture their bonds of friendship and family forever”–https://www.mightyape.com.au.” (Catalogue)

Gloria Bell
“Gloria is a free-spirited divorcee who spends her days at a straight-laced office job and her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around Los Angeles. After meeting Arnold on a night out, she finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance, filled with both the joys of budding love and the complications of dating, identity, and family.” (Catalogue)

Outlander. Season four.
“Season Four continues the story of Claire and Jamie Fraser as they try to make a home for themselves in colonial America. The Frasers in North Carolina are at another turning point in history, the edge of the American Revolution. Along the way, the Frasers cross paths with notorious pirate Stephen Bonnet in a fateful meeting that will haunt the family. Meanwhile, Brianna and Roger grow closer in the twentieth century but make a shocking discovery that has them following in Claire’s footsteps.” (Catalogue)

Lost in space. The complete first season.
“Set thirty years in the future, this epic reimagining of the original family space adventure finds the Robinsons torn off course en route to what they hoped would be a fresh start on a distant space colony. Against all odds, but with endless hope and extensive training, the family bands together to survive on a dangerous alien planet.” (Catalogue)

The hummingbird project.
“Cousins from New York, Vincent and Anton, are players in the high-stakes game of High-Frequency Trading, where winning is measured in milliseconds. Their dream? To build a straight fiber-optic cable line between Kansas and New Jersey, making them millions. But nothing is straightforward for this flawed pair. Anton is the brains, Vincent is the hustler, and together they push each other and everyone around them to the breaking point with their quixotic adventure.” (Catalogue)

Westwood : Punk. Icon. Activist.
“With exclusive, unprecedented access, this is the first film to encompass the remarkable story of Vivienne’s life, her fashion, her personality, her activism and her cultural importance. Since igniting the punk movement with ex-partner and Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren, Dame Vivienne Westwood has been redefining British fashion for over 40 years, and is responsible for creating many of the most distinctive looks of our time.” (Catalogue)

American gods. Season 2.
“This is the story of the traditional gods of mythological roots, steadily losing believers to an up start pantheon of gods that reflect modern society’s obsession with money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs.” (Catalogue)

Rocketman
“Discover how a shy, small-town boy becomes one of the most iconic figures in rock and roll-the international superstar Elton John. As he blazes a trail to the top, Elton creates a larger-than-life persona, while battling his own personal demons and the challenges the world throws at him.” (Catalogue)

Shetland. Series 4.
“Follows DI Jimmy Perez and his DS, “Tosh” MacIntosh, as they investigate how the cold case of a teenager’s murder is linked to their current investigation of a journalist’s murder.” (Catalogue)

Wire in the blood. Season one.
“Robson Green and Hermione Norris (‘Cold Feet’) star in this 3 part television drama adapted from 2 best selling novels by Val McDermid. In ‘The Mermaids Singing’, considered quirky and eccentric, Tony Hill (Green) is asked by Carol Jordan (Norris) to help her track down the serial killer of young men in and around Bradford. In ‘Shadows Rising’ another multiple killer is stalking teenage girls. Whilst in ‘Justice Painted Blind’ an 11-year-old girl is abducted and a young woman is strangled. Hill and Jordan investigate all of these crimes.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)