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

More new DVDs this month

Here are some new DVDs in our collection. This month is a bit of everything with Louis Theroux’s humorous look at the mysteries of Scientology; kids hit Finding Dory; new big budget remakes of 80s classic Ghostbusters & the story of Tarzan; critically acclaimed coming-of-age music comedy Sing Street; and the latest entry in the Star Trek franchise. With TV there is the newest season of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander saga; the final episodes of the BBC version of Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell’s Wallander series; and acclaimed new HBO crime series The Night Of.

cover imageMy Scientology movie.
“With a lifetime of experience dealing with eccentric, unpalatable and unexpected human behaviour, the unassuming Theroux won’t take no for an answer when his request to enter the Church of Scientology headquarters is turned down. Inspired by the Church’s alleged techniques, and aided by former Scientology members-turned-whistleblowers, Theroux uses actors to recreate incidents people claim to have experienced as members in an attempt to better understand the way it operates. However, in a bizarre twist, it becomes clear that Louis is not the only one making a documentary… Suffused with a good dose of humour and moments worthy of a Hollywood script, MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE is as outlandish as it is revealing.” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)

cover imageFinding Dory.
“When Dory, the forgetful blue tang, suddenly remembers she has a family who may be looking for her, she, Marlin, and Nemo take off on a life-changing quest to find them, with help from Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Bailey, a beluga whale who’s convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark! Dive into the movie overflowing with unforgettable characters, dazzling animation, and gallons of fun!” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe legend of Tarzan.
“It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Margot Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageSwiss army man.
“A wholly original, enormously entertaining, and deeply heartfelt look at what it means to be human, SWISS ARMY MAN is the feature film debut of acclaimed music video directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (collectively known as DANIELS). Bursting with limitless creativity in both form and content, SWISS ARMY MAN goes from the absurd to the emotional to the whimsical to the profound and back again. Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island, having given up all hope of ever making it home again. But one day everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore; the two become fast friends, and ultimately go on an epic adventure that will bring Hank back to the woman of his dreams.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageGhostbusters.
“Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return with Director Paul Feig’s unique and hilarious take on the classic, supernatural comedy, led by the freshest minds in comedy today. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. Together they team up to save Manhattan from a sudden invasion of spirits, spooks and slime that engulfs the city.” (Synopsis, amazon.co.uk

cover imageSing Street.
Sing Street takes us back to 1980s Dublin where an economic recession forces Conor out of his comfortable private school and into survival mode at the inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious and über-cool Raphina, and with the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band’s music videos. She agrees, and now Conor must deliver what he’s promised – calling himself “Cosmo” and immersing himself in the vibrant rock music trends of the ‘80s, he forms a band with a few lads, and the group pours their hearts into writing lyrics and shooting videos. Sing Street is an electrifying coming-of-age film that will resonate with music fans across the board.” (Product description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageThe night of.
“Eight-part crime drama starring John Turturro and Riz Ahmed. New York student Naz (Ahmed) embarks on a wild night out with a mysterious woman after picking her up in his dad’s cab. The next morning he finds her stabbed to death in his bed. With no recollection of the previous night’s events, Naz flees the scene but is quickly brought in by the city’s police and identified as the main suspect for the victim’s murder. After he is denied a legal representative, defence lawyer John Stone (Turturro) steps in to help Naz prove his innocence. As he awaits prosecution on Rikers Island, Naz adapts to the politics of life on the inside while his legal team try to piece together what happened on the night of the crime.” (Product description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageOutlander. Season two.
“Claire and Jamie arrive in France, hell-bent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart, and stopping the battle of Culloden. With the help of his cousin Jared, a local wine merchant, Jamie and Claire are thrown into the lavish world of French society, where intrigue and parties are abundant, but political gain proves far less fruitful. Altering the course of history presents challenges that begin to weigh on the very fabric of their relationship. However, armed with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Claire and Jamie must race to prevent a doomed Highland uprising and the extinction of Scottish life as they know it.” (Product description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageWallander. The final chapter.
“All three feature-length episodes from the third series of the BBC crime drama starring Kenneth Branagh as the Swedish detective. Inspector Kurt Wallander (Branagh) and his team at Ystad police station investigate a number of violent and terrifying murders in the beautiful setting of Skane County, Southern Sweden. In this instalment, Wallander must investigate the disappearance of a Swedish citizen while attending a conference in South Africa. After returning home, the detective struggles with the onset of Alzheimer’s whilst trying to solve his final cases.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageStar trek. Beyond.
“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)

New DVDs for July

New DVDs for July include a fascinating doco on art collecting socialite Peggy Guggenheim; a new TV adaptation of ‘War & Peace’; critically acclaimed films such as ‘Song of Saul’ & ‘The Revenant’; Alan Bennett’s story of ‘The Lady in The Van’; a gripping look at the financial crisis of 2008 in ‘The Big Short’; and the latest Quentin Tarantino.

cover imagePeggy Guggenheim : art addict.
“Filmmaker Lisa Immordino Vreeland examines the life of Peggy Guggenheim, the wealthy socialite who amassed a world-class collection of modern European and American art. Vreeland does a good job of examining the different sides to Guggenheim’s life and cohering them into some sort of whole by the end of this cradle-to-grave account. She was blessed by a stroke of incredible good fortune: the discovery of audio tapes, thought lost, of interviews between Guggenheim and her biographer Jacqueline Weld.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageWar & peace.
“Russia 1805. When we first meet Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, their youthful ambition, despite their privileged circumstances, is to find meaning in their lives. Kind-hearted but awkward Pierre, the illegitimate son of Russia’s richest man, wants to change the world for the better. The beautiful and spirited Natasha is searching for true love, while handsome and gallant Andrei, frustrated with the superficiality of society, seeks a higher purpose. At the same time Napoleon’s army edges ever closer to Russia’s borders. As everthing they thought they knew is thrown into question, Pierre, Andrei, and Natasha find themselves in a time when Russian lives are about to change forever.” (Container)

cover imageSon of Saul.
“October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe revenant.
“Inspired by true events, an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald. Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe lady in the van.
“The film tells the true story of the relationship between Alan Bennett and the singular Miss Shepherd, a woman of uncertain origins who “temporarily” parked her van in Bennett’s London driveway and proceeded to live there for fifteen years.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe Danish girl.
“The remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe big short.
“The financial meltdown from the perspective of a number of players: Michael Burry, a bizarre autistic-like stock-picking genius, and the first to realize that the market’s housing boom is based on a “house of cards” sham; Mark Baum, self-loathing fictional character whose firm picks up insider trading information from a wrong number phone call; Jared Vennet, a smart-aleck broker who confirms the ominous suspicion; and Charlie Gellar and Jamie Shipley, small-time players who hit it big.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageOrange is the new black. Season three.
“A new regime has arrived at Litchfield and with it comes new business interests, spiritual movements, and parental problems that turn life behind bars upside down and ignite power struggles among Litchfield’s residents and guards.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageSteve Jobs.
“A biopic of Steve Jobs that takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution in order to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe h8ful eight.
“A stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. Bounty hunter John Ruth and his fugitive Daisy race toward the town of Red Rock, where Ruth will bring Daisy to justice. Losing their lead on the blizzard, they seek refuge at Minnie’s, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageDeadpool.
“Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, the film tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.” (Syndetics summary)

New DVDs in the Libraries in June

New DVDs for June feature Biographies & real life dramas with the Jennifer Lawrence biopic ‘Joy’; the Catholic Church investigative drama ‘Spotlight’; and the life of ‘blacklisted’ 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Other films include adaptations of books by Patricia Highsmith & Colm Tóibín, and new TV shows include the second season of the anthology crime drama inspired by the 1996 film ‘Fargo’ & an update of Agatha Christie’s famed sleuthing duo Tommy and Tuppence Beresford…

cover imageJoy.
“A wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageSpotlight.
“Led by Walter “Robby” Robinson the team of investigative journalists at The Boston Globe known as ‘Spotlight’ pride themselves on their relentless dedication to exposing the truth of society’s ills and bringing the guilty to account. Under the direction of new editor Marty Baron the team begin to uncover a scandal revolving around allegations of child abuse within the Catholic Church and the wilful ignorance of those in power who have done nothing to stop it. Facing political opposition and resistance from the far-reaching influences of the Church, the reporters put together an explosive exposé revealing that the truth is much darker than they could have ever imagined.” (Product description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageTrumbo.
“The successful career of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) comes to a crushing end when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. TRUMBO (directed by Jay Roach) tells the story of his fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom, which entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageFargo. Year two.
“The complete second season of the anthology crime drama inspired by the 1996 film directed by the Coen brothers. Set in the town of Fargo, North Dakota, the series follows beautician Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst) and her butcher husband Ed (Jesse Plemons) as they endeavour to cover up a fatal hit-and-run that killed Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin), the son of organised crime family matriarch Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart).” (adapted from Product description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageCarol.
“When Carol (Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth) walks into a New York City department store and meets Therese (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara, Her, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) an unlikely friendship sparks. Carol is an elegant socialite going through a bitter divorce while Therese is just starting out in life; unsure of who she wants to be. Mesmerized by each other, they face a choice: deny their hearts desires or defy society’s conventions but in doing so, risk life as they know it. From director Todd Haynes (I’m Not There, Far From Heaven) and based on the best-selling novel, Carol is a powerful romance fueled by the danger and exhilaration of forbidden love.” (Product description. amazon.co.uk)

MyLibDVDs6Brooklyn.
Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson star in this romantic drama adapted from the novel by Colm Tóibín. Set in the 1950s, the story follows young Irish woman Ellis Lacey (Ronan) as she travels to New York City in search of a better life. Initially homesick, she begins to adjust to her new surroundings with the help of Italian-American Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen) with whom she becomes romantically involved. After news of a family crisis, Ellis returns to Ireland where she enjoys spending time back in her hometown and becomes acquainted with a young man, Jim Farrell (Gleeson), finding herself torn between two very different paths. The cast also includes Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture and won the BAFTA Award for Best British Film. (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageNina forever.
“Holly wants to save Rob and has fallen in love with him. She is training to be a paramedic and works a dead end job in a supermarket where Rob is the only remarkable thing; lost and angry since the death of his girlfriend Nina. Drawn into a relationship, the first time they’re in bed together so is Nina. A tangled and bloody mess of broken limbs, she is very much dead but still here, still talking, still angry… However Holly doesn’t freak out and run – she is determined to be the one who heals Rob’s wounds. She can deal with the dead girl sharing their bed, their lives, their minds. If it’s what Rob needs, it’s what Holly will do, whatever the consequences…” (Syndetics summery)

cover imagePartners in crime / an Endor Production in association with Agatha Christie Productions, an RLJ Entertainment, Inc. Company for BBC ; w.
“Agatha Christie’s famed sleuthing duo come to the screen in an exciting all-new BBC T V adaptation starring David Walliams and Jessica Raine as Partners in Crime. Set in the leafy suburbs of 1950s London, Partners in Crime finds Tommy and Tuppence Beresford in need of some adventure in their lives. With Tommy undertaking a variety of business opportunities, and Tuppence trying to dissuade him, the couple find themselves in the wrong place at the right time to solve a mystery – or two – and perhaps save someone’s life. They are about to enter a world of espionage and skulduggery guided by Tommy’s mysterious Uncle, Major Carter. It is a world which will prove easier to enter than to leave. This six part drama draws on two classic novels by Agatha Christie: The Secret Adversary and N or M?” (Product Description, Amazon.co.uk)

cover imageUnforgotten. Series one.
“You can bury a body. You can’t hide the truth. This crime drama focuses on a cold case reopened after 39 years. When the body of a young man is discovered in a derelict building, DCI Cassie Stuart — one of the Met’s smartest detectives — is called in to investigate. There are four suspects: a clergyman, an eminent entrepreneur, a community worker and a wheelchair-bound husband caring for his wife. Each has a secret to hide. As their lies unravel, the people they love most begin to wonder what else they might be capable of. Nothing in this case is black and white. Can you ever really know the people closest to you? What secrets have they buried?” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageBlack work.
“Leeds police constable Jo Gillespie (Sheridan Smith) is devastated when her husband, undercover officer Ryan (Kenny Doughty), is killed in suspicious circumstances. As she battles to stay strong for the benefit of daughter Melly (Honor Kneafsey) and stepson Hal (Oliver Woollford), Jo is urged by her bosses, DCI Will Hepburn (Douglas Henshall) and Chief Constable Carolyn Jarecki (Geraldine James), to leave it to her fellow officers to find the killer. But when the murder enquiry starts to uncover some dangerous secrets about Ryan, Jo’s faith in the police family of which she has been a part for so long is severely tested. No longer sure who to trust, Jo embarks on her own investigation with the help of friend and colleague Jack Clark (Matthew McNulty), but as they close in on the identity of Ryan’s killer, Jo’s hunt for the truth will put her own life in danger.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

New DVDs for May

A lot of fantastic DVDs have been added to our extensive collection. They include the blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Dressmaker and Suffragette. The long awaited Scandinavian production The Bridge Series Three is also here now. You can find more new arrival DVDs here. Check them out!

cover imageThe lobster / an unconvential love story by Yorgos Lanthimos.
“In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe bridge. The complete series three.
“The critically acclaimed Danish-Swedish crime drama delivers a spectacular Series 3 with Sofia Helin returning as the iconic Swedish police detective Saga Noren. When a famous Danish gender activist and owner of Copenhagen’s first gender-neutral children’s nursery is found murdered in Malmo, Saga is assigned to the case, together with a new colleague. The murder sparks the beginning of a series of spectacular crimes reaching back into Saga’s own past. With her career at risk and the question of personal responsibility haunting her, it looks as if she might be pulled from the case. When her mother unexpectedly re-enters her life, Saga must also cope with unforeseen–and unwanted–demands from her.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe dressmaker.
“The Dressmaker is a bittersweet, comedy-drama set in early 1950’s Australia. Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet), a beautiful and talented misfit, after many years working as a dressmaker in exclusive Parisian fashion houses, returns home to the tiny middle-of-nowhere town of Dungatar to right the wrongs of the past. Not only does she reconcile with her ailing, eccentric mother Molly (Judy Davis) and unexpectedly falls in love with the pure-hearted Teddy (Liam Hemsworth), but armed with her sewing machine and incredible sense of style, she transforms the women of the town and in doing so gets sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageSuffragette / Pathé, Film4 and BFI present in association with Ingenious Media ; a Ruby Films production.
“Inspired by true events, a moving drama exploring the passion and heartbreak of the women who risked everything in their fight for equality in early 20th century Britain. The story centers on Maud, a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she is secretly recruited to join the U.K.’s growing suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst, Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageYouth / Nicola Giuliano Francesca Cima and Medfusa Film present ; a film by Paolo Sorrentino.
“Two longtime friends are vacationing in the Swiss Alps. Fred, an acclaimed composer and conductor, who brings along his daughter and best friend Mick, a renowned filmmaker. The two men reflect on their past, each finding that some of the most important experiences can come later in life.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe end of the tour.
“The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, after the publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky’s critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace’s 2008 suicide.” (Adapted from Editorial Reviews, amazon.com)

cover imageThe program.
“Ben Foster and Chris O’Dowd star in this sports drama about the Lance Armstrong doping scandal which was the subject of David Walsh’s book ‘Seven Deadly Sins’. Irish sports journalist David Walsh (O’Dowd) grows suspicious of professional cyclist Lance Armstrong (Foster)’s success, certain that he has been taking performance-enhancing drugs. As Walsh investigates, looking for evidence to prove his theory, Armstrong continues to deny his consumption of banned substances. The cast also includes Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman and Guillaume Canet.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageUn village français. Vol. 3
“Since June 1941, and the opening of the Russian front in WW2, paranoias have increased about Communists in the village of Villeneuve. Arrests are made by mistake at the school, the mayor is having difficulties with supply, and the townspeople are cutting their own deals with the Nazis.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageYoung Montalbano. Volume 2.
“Inspector Montalbano is back with six all new, richly Sicilian episodes drawing on the novels and short stories of Andrea Camilleri. Operating in his childhood home of Vigata, the young Inspector is joined by the characters that will support him all his life: Fazio Senior and Fazio Junior, Domenico Mimi Augello and the young and exceedingly eager Officer Catarella. In a Sicilian world of close-knit families, deception, great passion and cool-minded murder, Michele Riondino stars as Young Montalbano in the second series of this acclaimed TV drama.” (Product Description, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageCreed.
“Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), son of deceased world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, has boxing in his blood. Looking to win his own title, Adonis heads to Philadelphia and convinces his father’s rival-turned-friend, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), to train him – even as Rocky battles his own deadly opponent outside the ring. Now Adonis has a shot, but first he must develop the heart of a true fighter in this new chapter of the Rocky story from critically acclaimed director Ryan Coogler.” (Product Description, synopsis, amazon.co.uk)

cover imageIn the heart of the sea.
“In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. This story reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageBorn to dance.
“Tu Kaea has the chance to audition for K-Crew, the best hip hop crew in the country, but he has to go behind the backs of his home crew and his best friend Benjy. Things get even more complicated when he starts falling for Sasha, the girlfriend of K-Crews leader. When Tus old crew and new crew clash, he has to make a decision that will change his life forever. Caught between who he is and who he wants to be, Tu must find the strength to make his own breaks.”(Container)

cover imageStar wars. The Force awakens.
“As Kylo Ren and the sinister First Order rise from the ashes of the Empire, Luke Skywalker is missing when the galaxy needs him most. It’s up to Rey, a desert scavenger, and Finn, a defecting stormtrooper, to join forces with Han Solo and Chewbacca in a desperate search for the one hope of restoring peace to the galaxy.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageThe Wrecking Crew!
“Profiles the group of Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, who played on many rock and pop hits during the sixties. Gifted, versatile, and possessing the knack for turning a simple tune into something memorable, the Wrecking Crew were the players who turned the Wall of Sound in Phil Spector’s head into a reality, and helped Brian Wilson create the musical vision that would redefine California pop. The Wrecking Crew also backed up everyone from Sonny and Cher and the Monkees to Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, but while they became legends in the music business, they were all but unknown to the millions of people who made their records some of the biggest hits of the day.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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.