Kath’s Reviews: Film and Television

Kia ora!  I’m Kath, one of the branch librarians and I’m an avid film and television viewer.  I’m regularly diving deep into the excellent DVD collection we have in Wellington City Libraries, as well as content from Beamafilm and Kanopy — the two streaming platforms available to Wellington City Library customers.

In this new series of posts, I’m hoping to share some of the gems I come across each month with Pōneke film and television enthusiasts! Some of the excellent viewing I’ve seen recently include:

Ghostbusters Afterlife (2021) DVD

DVD Cover of Ghostbusters: AfterlifeIntended to be a sequel to the original 1980’s films, Ghostbusters Afterlife certainly captures the flavour of action-packed comedy from the original 1984 movie, which I saw at the drive-in when I was 13 years old! 

Connected through the original by the character of Egon Spengler, his estranged daughter and her kids move to his old farmhouse after his death.  Egon’s grandaughter Phoebe (McKenna Grace) has inherited her grandfather’s scientific curiosity and stumbles into his plans to save the world from an occultist determined to bring back Sumerian God Gozer.  Between Phoebe, her brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and friend Podcast (Logan Kim), the race is on to work out the vintage Ghostbusters technology and save the world.  Also stars Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon, with cameos from most of the original 1984 Ghostbusters cast.

Best bit: Paul Rudd walking through the Walmart.  If you know Paul Rudd at all, you’ll know why this is the best scene.

Poppy (2021) DVD

This is a sweet new New Zealand film, the story of Poppy (Libby Hunsdale), a young woman with Down Syndrome who has the same hopes, dreams and ambitions of any young woman of her age.  She wants to get her drivers license, an apprenticeship as a mechanic and a sweet boyfriend.  However, her older brother Dave (Ari Boyland) is very protective of her and keeps her from the independence she seeks.  Poppy meets up with a former school friend, Luke (Seb Hunter) who needs his car repaired to enter the local burnout competition, a relationship that begins to open many doors of independence for Poppy.

Best bit: The burnout competition.  It’ll bring out the revhead in you.

Beaches (1988) DVD

The classic film from 1988 starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.  Sometimes you just need a good cleansing cry and this is the film to do it.  After a chance meeting as girls, polar opposites CC and Hilary strike up a friendship that is kept alive over the years by letter writing.  They meet again as young adults and have a fractious relationship until Hilary learns she has a terminal disease.   If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must see classic.

Best bit: Any time Bette Midler sings.

Sweet CountrySweet Country (2017) Beamafilm

I am a big fan of director Warwick Thornton’s work, so I was thrilled when this one came to Beamafilm.  Starring New Zealand’s own Sam Neill, along with Australian acting legend Bryan Brown, and new talent  Aboriginal actors Hamilton Morris and Natassia Gorey-Furber.  The story of Sam (Morris) and Lizzie (Gorey-Furber), who go on the run after Sam kills a white station owner in self defence, and are hunted by Sargeant Fletcher (Brown) and his team.  Sam Neill plays kindly preacher Fred, who tries to help the couple find justice in an unjust world.

Best bit: Every moment that Hamilton Morris is on screen.  He is absolutely magnetic.

Temple Grandin (2010) DVD

DVD cover of Temple GrandinThis is the biopic of American scientist and animal behaviourist Temple Grandin, who has also become an advocate for autistic people in more recent times.  Growing up in a culture that doesn’t understand her autism, Temple (played by Claire Danes) is determined to forge a path in university as a young scientist.  Bullied by her mostly male peers, teachers and employers, Temple uses her gift of engineering and understanding animal behaviour to prove her worth as a talented scientist.

Best bit: Any of the scenes with Temple finding solace with horses or cows.  If you have a tender spot for animals, you’ll love just how she finds peace in their company.

Sing. 2 (2021) DVD

DVD Cover of Sing 2All the team are back in this sequel to the 2016 film of the same name.  Matthew McConaughey voices Buster Moon, the talent spotting koala determined to put on the best shows possible.  He takes his diverse team of talent to the big smoke to lay on an extravaganza, only to have to promise to get reclusive star Clay Calloway (a lion voiced by Bono) to join the show.  Each of the Sing crew have their own adventures and troubles in the big city and all have to work on their confidence before such a big audience.  Except perhaps Gunter (a pig, voiced by Nick Kroll) who never seems to have that problem.  A perfect movie for the whole family, it’s funny and entertaining while also having some amazing music.

Best bit:  The show-stopper at the end of course!

Venom. Let there be Carnage (2021) DVD

Eddie Brock and his symbiote Venom (both Tom Hardy) are back in this sequel and both seem to be in a downward spiral until they meet serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson, who is super creepy in this role) and accidentally infect him with symbiotic DNA as well, which creates the titular villain, Carnage.  If you enjoyed the first film, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one, it’s full of all the same kind of action and humour with a little extra Carnage thrown in.

Best bit: Venom’s relationship with bodega owner Mrs Chen.

My name is Gulpilil : this is my story of my story (2021) DVD

DVD cover of My Name is GulpililAn autobiographical documentary of late Aboriginal talent, David Gulpilil, created soon after his diagnosis with terminal lung cancer.  Right from the opening sequence, you’re treated to some beautiful cinematography and the enthralling story of the phenomenal life of Mr Gulpilil, who passed away in 2021.  Never one to shy away from the difficult topics, Mr Gulpilil covers his life on screen and off, his traditional upbringing in Arnhem Land, his years of addiction and his difficult relationships professionally and personally.

Best bit: That opening sequence as Mr Gulpilil walks with the emu is breathtakingly beautiful.

If you’d like to know what’s in our collection, you can go to our new DVD’s here, or check out Beamafilm and Kanopy.

I’d also love to hear your recommendations of films, TV series or documentaries from our collection in the comments below.

Wonderland and Legendary Icons: New fashion & beauty

Iconic fashion legends dominate our latest batch of new fashion and beauty titles, with new books about Maurizio Gucci, Karl Lagerfield and Wonderland; a beautiful new book featuring the work of legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz. We also have screen buffs covered this month with Fashion in Film, chronicling the contributions of fashion designers to cinema, as well as an in-depth look at the costumes worn in Emmy Award-winning series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Our beauty edit rounds off our selection with a beauty and style guide for men, plus a new look at mindful beauty and skincare.

The house of Gucci : a sensational story of murder, madness, glamour, and greed / Forden, Sara Gay
“The sensational true story of murder, madness, glamour, and greed that shook the Gucci dynasty, now fully updated with a new afterword. On the morning of March 27, 1995, four quick shots cracked through Milan’s elegant streets. The Gucci story is one of glitz, glamour, and intrigue—a chronicle of the rise, near fall, and subsequent resurgence of a fashion dynasty. Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and widely acclaimed, The House of Gucci is a page-turning account of high fashion, high finance, and heartrending personal tragedy.” (adapted from catalogue)

Karl : no regrets / Hourcade, Patrick
“The artist Patrick Hourcade met Karl Lagerfeld in 1976, sparking a friendship that would last more than twenty years, strengthened by their shared passion for eighteenth-century art. Patrick Hourcade recounts the story of their aesthetic complicity, through previously unpublished documents and a unique biography in which he reveals Karl Lagerfeld in all of his splendor as well as his weaknesses. This intimate story introduces the colorful cast of characters who were important to the designer, and, most importantly, the two great loves of Karl’s life: his mother Elisabeth and Jacques de Bascher.”–Provided by publisher.” (adapted from catalogue)

Wonderland / Leibovitz, Annie
“Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz’s surprising account of her encounters with fashion over five decades. Includes 350 extraordinary images (many of them previously unpublished) featuring a wide and diverse range of subjects: Nicole Kidman, Serena Williams, Pina Bausch, RuPaul, Cate Blanchett, Lady Gaga, Matthew Barney, Kate Moss, Natalia Vodianova, Rihanna, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Karl Lagerfeld, Nancy Pelosi. With a foreword by Anna Wintour.” — Provided by publisher” (adapted from catalogue)

Fashion in film / Laverty, Christopher
“A beautiful compendium of famous fashion designers, their gorgeous creations and the film stars that wore them. Fashion designers have been involved in movies since the early days of cinema. Fashion in Film celebrates the contributions of fashion designers to cinema, exploring key garments, what they mean in context of the narrative, and why they are so memorable. Illustrated with beautiful film stills, fashion images and working sketches, this book will appeal to lovers of both fashion history and cinema.” (adapted from catalogue)

Silk : fibre, fabric and fashion
“Silk has long captured the imagination of peoples round the globe, inspiring creativity in the making of luxurious textiles. This major new survey draws on the exceptional collections of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and explores tradition and innovation across the history and geography of silk production, celebrating the ingenuity and skill of designers and makers. This compendium showcases a rich variety of artworks, furnishings and clothing, including fashions from recent designer catwalk shows in North America, Asia and Europe. In association with the Victoria and Albert Museum.” (adapted from catalogue)

Madly marvelous : the costumes of the marvelous Mrs. Maisel / Zakowska, Donna “Step into the wardrobe of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning series from Amazon Prime Video set in the late 1950s about a young Manhattan housewife whose life taken an unexpected turn when she discovers she has a gift for stand-up comedy. Costume designer Donna Zakowska reveals her early sketches, fitting photos, and finished costumes in this survey of spectacular looks from the show’s initial seasons. With a nuanced color palette and bold style, Zakowska’s award-winning costumes pop onscreen and off the page, and set a fashionable tone for this witty, brash, and poignant comedy.”–Back cover.” (adapted from catalogue)

Face values : beauty rituals and skincare secrets / Batliwalla, Navaz
“Discover the new skincare secrets, wellness rituals and beauty philosophies from those redefining modern beauty. Face Values is packed with insights and inspiration on skincare, make-up, haircare, fragrance and wellness. Delve inside the bathroom cabinets and make-up bags of fashion designers, beauty writers, make-up artists, perfumers and eco-entrepreneurs, and discover their skincare secrets, beauty philosophies and essential daily rituals. Embracing modern values of understated style, sustainability and anti-perfectionism, this book reveals the benefits of a positive and mindful approach to beauty, wellness and self-care.” (adapted from catalogue)

Vain glorious : a shameless guide for men who want to look their best / Langmead, Jeremy
“Should I tint my eyebrows? How can I get a squarer jawline? Which style of trouser would make my legs look longer? Leading lifestyle columnist and magazine editor, Jeremy Langmead, has men constantly asking him for answers to these questions and more. In Vain Glorious , he teams up with Harley Street aesthetic doctor David Jack to lift the lid on all the anti-ageing and beauty secrets now available for men, from Botox to hair thickening treatments. Vain Glorious is an honest and practical guide to help men feel comfortable in their own skin”–Publisher’s description.” (adapted from catalogue)

Vale Indigenous Australian Actor David Dalaithngu

Sad news from across the ditch that Indigenous Australian actor, dancer and didgeridoo player David Dalaithngu has lost his battle with lung cancer at age 68.

Warning: This story contains the name and images of a deceased Indigenous person.

Born in  approximately 1953 in Arnhem Land in the far north of Australia,  Mr Dalaithngu was raised in the traditional culture of his Yolgnu people, not encountering white people until he was about 8 or 9.  Most famous around the world for his role in Crocodile Dundee and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, Mr Dalaithngu has been a stalwart of the Australian film industry since his film debut at 18 in the 1971 film Walkabout.

You can read more about his life in his biography, Gulpilil by Derek Rielly (eBook).

To mark his passing and celebrate his life, we’ve put together a list of his films available through our collection and/or Beamafilm and Kanopy.


Walkabout – watch on Beamafilm
“Nicolas Roeg’s mystical masterpiece chronicles the physical, spiritual, and emotional journey of a sister and brother abandoned in the harsh Australian outback. Joining an Aboriginal on his walkabout – a tribal initiation into manhood – these modern children pass from innocence into experience as they are thrust from the comforts of civilisation into the savagery of the natural world.” (Description from our Catalogue)
DVD on our catalogue or watch Walkabout on Kanopy

Mad Dog Morgan – watch on Beamafilm
“Set in gold rush-era Victoria, and based on a true story, this violent, rollicking portrayal of infamous Irish outlaw Dan Morgan, a bravura performance from an intense Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now) is a classic of Australia’s ’70s cinema renaissance. A prospector who turns to crime and opium after failing at gold mining, Dan Morgan spends six brutal years in prison before terrorising country Victoria with a young Aboriginal, David Dalaithngu (Walkabout, The Tracker). Having escaped into NSW, the bush ranger and his accomplice easily dodge the police and mercilessly intimidate the wealthy land owners but wracked by madness and a lust to avenge an earlier attack from an irate squatter, the notorious Mad Dog makes a perilous journey back into Victoria.” (adapted from Beamafilm description)
Or, watch Mad Dog Morgan on Kanopy

Storm Boy – watch on Beamafilm (1976)
“Storm Boy lives with his recluse father on South Australia’s lonely and beautiful coast. Here his free spirit roams with his pet pelican Mr. Percival and his secret Aboriginal friend Fingerbone Bill. He knows no other world. Suddenly there are intruders, the local school teacher who wants him to take lessons, a resentful wildlife ranger, duck shooters… Storm Boy, growing up is forced to choose between a life of continued isolation and the challenges of the outside world.” (Description from our catalogue)
DVD on our Catalogue, or watch Storm Boy on Kanopy

The Last Wave – watch on Beamafilm
“Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Peter Weir explores a startling world on the brink of apocalypse in The Last Wave, a time and place where Mother Nature and human nature are destined to collide in catastrophic disaster. When lawyer David Burton is assigned a case to defend a group of indigenous Australian men, he is unprepared for the nightmares and dreamscapes ahead. Accused of murdering one of their own, the men stand trial amidst suspicious circumstances and, as Burton becomes plagued by unsettling visions, he is drawn to the mysterious Chris Lee (AFI Award winner David Dalaithngu, Storm Boy, The Tracker) for answers to his torment. As the erratic climate turns dangerous, Burton senses a greater power at play, where tribal customs and the ancient ideas of Dreamtime may be more than just an ominous warning.” (adapted from Beamafilm description)
DVD on our Catalogue or watch The Last Wave on Kanopy

Crocodile Dundee I [&] II (DVD)
“The adventures of Crocodile hunter Michael J. Dundee, in the wild outback of Australia and the wild streets of New York City.” (Catalogue description)

Rabbit-proof fence (DVD)
“In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a trek across the Outback.” (Catalogue description)

The proposition (DVD)
“A story of class, race, colonisation and of one family’s violent destiny played out against the searing backdrop of Australia in the 1880s.” (Catalogue description)

Ten canoes (DVD)
“Ten canoes tells the story of the people of the Arafura swamp, in their language, and is set a long time before the coming of the Balanda, as white people were known. Dayindi covets one of the wives of his older brother. To teach him the proper way, he is told a story from the mythical past, a story of wrong love, kidnapping, sorcery, bungling mayhem and revenge gone wrong.” (Catalogue description)
Or watch Ten Canoes on Kanopy

Australia (Blu-ray)
“In northern Australia at the beginning of World War II, an English aristocrat inherits a cattle station the size of Maryland. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn stock-man to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country’s most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier.” (Catalogue description)

Charlie’s country (DVD)
“Blackfella Charlie is getting older, and he’s out of sorts. The Government Intervention is making life more difficult on his remote community, what with the proper policing of whitefella laws that don’t generally make much sense, and Charlie’s kin and ken seeming more interested in going along with things than doing anything about it. So Charlie takes off, to live the old way, but in so doing, sets off a chain of events in his life that has him return to his community chastened, and somewhat the wiser.” (Catalogue description)

Goldstone (DVD)
“Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons enquiry. What seems like a simple light duties investigation opens a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.” (Catalogue description)

Cargo (DVD)
“An ecological collapse has seen the human population take to an orbital existence aboard a fleet of intergalactic space stations. Rumour had it that a distant habitable planet exists in the outer realms and CARGO concerns the intense and atmospheric journey one crew embarks on in order to find paradise”–Container.” (Catalogue description)

Storm boy (2018) (DVD)
“A contemporary retelling of Colin Thiele’s classic Australian tale. When Michael Kingley, a successful retired businessman starts to see images from his past that he can’t explain, he’s forced to remember his childhood and how, as a boy, he rescued and raised an extraordinary orphaned pelican, Mr Percival.” (Catalogue description)

Gulpilil – One Red Blood, watch on Kanopy
“GULPILIL – ONE RED BLOOD takes us from the world of cinema to Dalaithngu’s homeland and back again. It charts his career from his origins as a strictly tribal man who spoke no English, through his transformation to a jet-setting movie star. The film traces how Dalaithngu’s acting work declined during the 80s and how he was overlooked for over a decade. With his latest roles in Rabbit Proof Fence and The Tracker, Dalaithngu is once again back in the spotlight.” (Description from Kanopy)

Note: In many Indigenous Australian cultural practices, those that have died are not referred to by their name as a mark of respect.  Mr Dalaithngu’s family have requested that he be referred to as David Dalaithngu.  We have left the title of his biographical book and film with the original name so that they can be found in the library collection.

Black Lives Matter: Fiction & Film Resources

Omaha, Nebraska, 1915. A young postal worker named George Johnson quits his job to found the Lincoln Motion Picture Company with his brother Noble. Just over a year later the brothers have moved to L.A., where they go on to make six films before winding down in 1923. Today, the Lincoln Motion Picture Company is recognised as not only America’s first all-black movie production unit, but the first to “showcase African-American talent in the full sphere of cinema.

Two years after the closure of the Lincoln Motion Picture Company, another series of stories exploring the black experience in America is being assembled, this time in print. They emerge not from the Midwest but New York, in the pages of The New Negro: An Interpretation, under the editorship of Howard University professor Alain Locke. The New Negro will go on to become the key text of the Harlem Renaissance.

Film and fiction have been two particularly powerful mediums for exploring the black experience in America since the work of the Johnson brothers over one hundred years ago. Below you’ll find a selection of contemporary films and novels that continue this exploration, including the award-winning works of Spike Lee, the genre-expanding novels of N.K. Jemisin and the experimental movie-making of Cheryl Dunye. For equally powerful non-fiction examples, visit our Black Lives Matter: Non-Fiction Resources blog.


FICTION

Sing, unburied, sing : a novel / Ward, Jesmyn
“Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Nickel boys : a novel / Whitehead, Colson
“Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. But one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But fellow inmate Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Such a fun age / Reid, Kiley
“Alix is a woman who gets what she wants. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler in their local supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping. Alix resolves to make things right, but both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about each other.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The fifth season / Jemisin, N. K
“This is the way the world ends…for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Red at the bone / Woodson, Jacqueline
Red at the Bone opens with Melody celebrating her 16th birthday at her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Melody’s mother never did get her own 16th birthday party, and therein lies a tale of two families separated by class, ambition, gentrification, sexual desire, and unexpected parenthood.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 


FILMS

The Watermelon Woman
Year: 1996
Director: Cheryl Dunye

Watch the full film here.

“Cheryl Dunye plays a version of herself in this witty, nimble landmark of New Queer Cinema. A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker, Cheryl becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character she sees in a 1930s movie. Determined to find out who the actress she knows only as the “Watermelon Woman” was and make her the subject of a documentary, she starts researching and is bowled over to discover that not only was Fae Richards (Lisa Marie Bronson) a fellow Philadelphian but also a lesbian.” (Kanopy)

Fig
Year: 2010
Director: Ryan Coogler

Watch the full film here.

“Directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Black Panther), Fig is a this sympathetic look at the life of a working class mother, a prostitute named Candice wants nothing more than to provide a good life for her daughter Kyla. One night that she is unable to find a babysitter for Kyla, Candice takes her to the corner where she picks up johns and leaves her in the car. When Candice is with a john, Kyla is found alone by the police and is taken into emergency foster care. When she finds out, Candice does everything in her power to convince the social worker in charge of Kyla’s case that she really does love her daughter very much.” (Kanopy)

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
Year: 2014
Director: Spike Lee

Watch the full film here.

“Spike Lee’s stylized thriller Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is a new kind of love story. Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He, however, is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he enters into a dangerous romance with Ganja Hightower that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status in our seemingly sophisticated society.” (Kanopy)

From thrillers to family dramas – latest DVD arrivals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How films can lead you to comics: Annihilation

Image from amazon.co.uk

Next in our series about films that can lead you to comics is Alex Garland’s Annihilation, adapted from the critically acclaimed novel by Jeff VanderMeer, which tells the story of a team of scientists who venture into “The Shimmer”, a strange zone in the American southwest where the laws of physics and biology are altered. Several comics share visual and thematic similarities with the film, which is acclaimed for it’s mesmerising visuals, alien environments full of eerie creatures, and an exploration of the divide between man and nature.


Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book one / Moore, Alan
“With modern-day issues explored against a backdrop of horror, SWAMP THING’s stories became commentaries on environmental, political and social issues, unflinching in their relevance. Moore takes over as writer with the story “The Anatomy Lesson,” a haunting origin story that reshapes SWAMP THING mythology with terrifying revelations that begin a journey of discovery and adventure that will take him across the stars and beyond.” (Catalogue)

Animal Man. Volume 1, The hunt / Lemire, Jeff
“Animal Man Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? As these new abilities continue to terrify Buddy and his wife Ellen, things take a turn for the worse as Buddy begins a startling transformation of his own that will lead him on a journey into the heart of The Red.” (Catalogue)

Izuna / Tenuta, Saverio
“Since the dawn of time, the Izuna wolves have been entrusted as guardians against Japan’s evil spirits. From time immemorial, the spirits of nature created the Kamigakushi, a magical veil that hid them from the impure eyes of man. But the mysterious birth of a wolf cub in the shape of a young girl threatens to upset the delicate balance between the two worlds and plunge both sides into chaos.” (Catalogue)

Sweet Tooth [1] : out of the deep woods / Lemire, Jeff
“After an apocalyptic pandemic, an ailing father lives deep in the woods with his child, a little boy with deerlike antlers. When his father expires, the boy soldiers on. One day, bounty hunters looking for mutant children beset him. A big man rescues the boy and leads him out of the forest to a refuge for kids like him, he says.” (Adapted from Booklist summary)

Trees. Volume one, In shadow / Ellis, Warren
Trees looks at a near-future world where life goes on in the shadows of the Trees: in China, where a young painter arrives in the “special cultural zone” of a city under a Tree; in Italy, where a young woman under the menacing protection of a fascist gang meets an old man who wants to teach her terrible skills; and in Svalbard, where a research team is discovering, by accident, that the Trees may not be dormant after all, and the awful threat they truly represent.” (Catalogue)

Star Trek books & DVDs

If you are enjoying the brand new series Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix, then you might want to check out our collection of Star Trek books and DVDs. If you’d like to get out and about, there’s also Summer Star Trek being performed in Aro Park tonight and tomorrow – fun for the whole family!

Syndetics book coverStar Trek beyond : the makeup artistry of Joel Harlow / Joe Nazzaro.
“With the release of Star Trek Beyond in 2016, viewers were given a spectacular visual treat as a whole host of new aliens made their appearance for the first time in the rebooted franchise. At the heart of the process of bringing these breathtaking intergalactic species to life was Academy Award-winning make-up artist Joel Harlow. Together with his team of amazingly talented creatives, Harlow set to work on creating aliens from over 50 different races for the film and documented the entire creative process for each one in exhaustive detail, from preliminary sketches to final make-up application.” (Syndetics summary)

Image from Amazon.co.ukStar Trek. Beyond / Paramount Pictures and Skydance present ; a Bad Robot/Sneaky Shark/Perfect Storm Entertainment production ; a Justin Lin film.
“Dispatched on a rescue mission to the farthest reaches of space, the USS Enterprise is ambushed by Krall, a ruthless enemy sworn against the Federation. Crash-landing on an uncharted hostile world, Captain Kirk, Spock, and the crew are separated with no means of escape. Only Jaylah, a rebellious alien warrior, can help them reunite and find a way off the planet in a race against time to stop Krall’s deadly army from triggering all-out galactic war.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSet phasers to stun : 50 years of Star Trek / Marcus Berkmann.
“Forty-seven years after NBC killed it off, Star Trek celebrates its half-century in a state of rude health. Boldly going where several other people have been before, Marcus Berkmann tells the story of this sturdy science fiction vehicle from its first five-year mission (rudely curtailed to three), through the dark years of the 1970s, the triumphant film series and The Next Generation, to the current ‘reboot’ films, with a younger cast taking on the characters of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and co.” (Syndetics summary)

Image from Amazon.co.ukStar Trek. Into darkness / Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions present a Bad Robot production ; a J.J. Abrams film.
“When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find that an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving the world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fifty-year mission : the complete, uncensored, unauthorized oral history of Star Trek : the first 25 years / Edward Gross & Mark A. Altman.
“This is the unauthorized, uncensored and unbelievable true story behind the making of a pop culture phenomenon. The original Star Trek series debuted in 1966 and has spawned five TV series spin-offs and a dozen feature films. The Fifty-Year Mission is a no-holds-barred oral history of five decades of Star Trek, told by the people who were there. Make no mistake, this isn’t just a book for Star Trek fans. Here is a volume for all fans of pop culture and anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of a television touchstone.” (Syndetics summary)

Image from Amazon.co.ukStar Trek [videorecording] / Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment present a Bad Robot production ; a film by J.J. Abrams.
“On the day of James Kirk’s birth, his father dies on his ship in a last stand against a mysterious alien vessel. He was searching for Ambassador Spock, who is a child on Vulcan, disdained by his neighbors for his half-human nature. Twenty years later, Kirk has grown into a young troublemaker. He is inspired by Capt. Christopher Pike to fulfill his potential in Starfleet, even though he annoys his instructors. Suddenly, there is an emergency on Vulcan when the Romulan Nero comes from the future to take revenge on the Federation. The newly commissioned USS Enterprise is crewed with promising cadets like Uhura, Sulu, Chekov and even Kirk himself thanks to Leonard McCoy’s medical trickery. Together, this crew will travel to the final frontier where the old legend is altered forever.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar Trek costumes : five decades of fashion from the final frontier / Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann ; introduction by Robert Blackman.
“This deluxe book showcases the unique costumes of the Star Trek saga, taking in fifty years of iconic and hugely influential designs. Drawing on the entire franchise, including all twelve films and six TV series, Star Trek: Costumes explores the creation of some of the most memorable garb in the galaxy, telling the complete story of how Star Trek’s outlandishly chic wardrobe has been expanded in increasingly thrilling ways throughout the years. From the classic Starfleet uniforms and daringly provocative outfits of The Original Series to flowing Vulcan robes, flamboyant Ferengi fashions, and formidable Klingon wedding attire, Star Trek: Costumes explores how these designs have played a key role in transporting fans to distant worlds and alien cultures over the last five decades.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Image from Amazon.co.ukStar Trek : stardate collection.
“The Stardate collection includes all ten of the original Star Trek motion pictures: Star Trek: the motion picture (132 min.) (1979) / — Star Trek: the wrath of Kahn (113 min.) (1982) / — Star Trek: the search for Spock (105 min.) (1984) / — Star Trek: the voyage home (119 min.) (1986) / — Star Trek: the final frontier (106 min.) (1989) / — Star Trek: the undiscovered country (110 min.) (1991) — Star Trek: generations (110 min.) (1994) / — Star Trek: first contact (111 min.) (1996) / — Star Trek: insurrection (103 min.) (1998) / — Star Trek: nemesis (116 min.) (2002)” (Amended from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar Trek cross-stitch / by John Lohman.
“Live Long and Cross-Stitch! Ever wondered what Spock would look like on a baby’s onesie? Well, now you can see, in this fun collection of thirty cross-stitch projects made with love by Star Trek fans. If you’re looking for ideas for putting your favorite character on a tote bag or pillow–or perhaps hanging a lovely framed “Qo’noS Sweet Qo’noS” in the entryway to let everyone know that a Klingon-speaker lives here–then look no farther. Whether you’re a lifelong Trekkie or just a Starfleet cadet, you can show your Star Trek pride by decorating your home, your clothes, and your children with cross-stitched Star Trek quotes and iconic images.” (Syndetics summary)

Thursday night films in April – Hitchcock

Syndetics book coverEveryone loves Hitchcock and so do we. One of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock died in April in 1980. He would have been 117 in 2017 and we will celebrate his achievement by showing a selection of his films. The line-up includes one of the most beloved of his works starring Grace Kelly, an early classic spy movie, and a biographical movie about him starring Anthony Hopkins.

Sessions begin at 6pm on the Ground Floor of the Central Library. These screenings are free to attend. To avoid disappointment reserve your seat by telephoning 801-4068 during library opening hours.

Remember: We have special permission to screen these films for free in public libraries as long as we don’t advertise the film name online (plus other conditions). Please call the information desk (801-4068) to get more details.
Note: reservations not taken up by the starting time at 6pm may be reallocated to customers waiting, as numbers are limited

Māoriland Festival

The Māoriland Film Festival kicks off in Otaki later this month and we think you will want to be there!! Running from 23-27 March, the festival is the largest indigenous film festival in the Southern Hemisphere and will feature films from the Marshall Islands, USA and Canada, while also showcasing Māori cinema from Aotearoa. You can see the list of feature films and the film schedule here and follow the festival blog here. My pick for the festival is Three Wise Cousins; check out the trailer below!

Well-known New Zealand films The Dark Horse and The Deadlands both featured in the 2015 Māoriland festival and are both available at the library:

The Dead LandsThe dead lands / a Matthew Metcalfe production ; a Toa Fraser film.
After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, Hongi, a Maori chieftain’s teenage son, must avenge his father’s murder in order to bring peace and honor to the souls of his loved ones. Vastly outnumbered by a band of villains, Hongi’s only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious Warrior, a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.

The Dark HorseThe dark horse / Four Knights Film in association with The New Zealand Film Commission [and six others] present ; a film by James Napier Robertson.
The Dark Horse is an emotionally-charged and inspiring drama about a man who searches for the courage to lead, despite his own adversities – finding purpose and hope in passing on his gift to the children in his community.

Win tickets to National Theatre Live’s War Horse

War Horse

In anticipation for National Theatre’s War Horse we have TWO seats to Wellington’s preview screening on Monday 17th March, 6:00pm at Penthouse Cinema. This includes a meal break at the intermission.

For your chance to win just share this post on Facebook or retweet it on Twitter! The winner will be announced on the morning of Friday March 14th.

War Horse is in New Zealand cinemas from Wednesday March 26th.

Since its first performance at the National Theatre in 2007, War Horse has become an international smash hit. Based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel and adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford, War Horse takes audiences on an extraordinary journey from the fields of rural Devon to the trenches of First World War France. At its heart are astonishing lifesized puppets by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.

Click here for more information on the National Theatre film or here to view Wellington City Libraries holdings of Michael Morpurgo’s book.