Kath’s Reviews: Film and Television

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

In this 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 those I’ve watched recently include:

DVD cover for Moonage DaydreamMoonage Daydream (DVD)
This gorgeous documentary is narrated by Bowie himself, taken from archival footage and recordings.  Covering his professional life from his early days as a teenage saxophone player through to his final magnificent work Black Star, released on his birthday in 2016, two days before he passed.  The viewer is given an insight into his life, philosophy and incredible artistic talent.  I’ve been a fan since my teenage years and had a good cry by the end, I only wish there would be more of his work come to light in the future.

Best bit: snippets of unseen interviews with Bowie himself.

DVD cover of The Lost CityThe Lost City (DVD)
A delightfully silly movie.  Think Romancing the Stone starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas, but a modern version.  Sandra Bullock is at her comedy best, and Channing Tatum is a perfect partner for this duo adventure-comedy.  I found myself absolutely guffawing with laughter in some parts and there’s just enough heart to the story to keep you invested.  Daniel Radcliffe has lots of fun chewing the scenery as the villain, and Brad Pitt has a cameo as the cheesiest character ever.

Best bit: Look for the wheelbarrow and Brad Pitt’s hair.

Ans WestraAns Westra (Ans Westra – Private Journeys / Public Signposts) (Beamafilm)
I actually watched this a few weeks ago, before the sad news of Ans Westra’s passing.  This one is available on both DVD and through Beamafilm.  Being relatively new to Aotearoa, I was not aware of Ans Westra’s work until recently.  On viewing her amazing photographs through Wellington City Recollect, I was curious to find out more about this talented photographer.  I found this short documentary fascinating and it’s chock full of her work, as well as stories about the controversies some of her photographs have stirred over the years.

DVD Cover for Nude TuesdayNude Tuesday: A Comedy in Gibberish (DVD)
Another fun, silly film, but one done very cleverly.  This New Zealand film was created with gibberish dialogue which was then subtitled by British comedian Julia Davis.  I’ll watch anything with Jemaine Clement in it, but I can assure you the whole cast does a fantastic job in this film.  Couple Bruno and Laura find themselves in a retreat to attempt to save their marriage, and of course the “guru” leading the retreat is Jemaine Clement as Bjorg.  Lots of laughs and a story that has heart.  I loved how beautifully the nude scenes were handled in this film, there was something magical about them after all the silliness of the first two thirds of the film.

Best Bit: ICY POOL!

DVD cover of Good Luck to You Leo GrandeGood Luck to You Leo Grande (DVD)
An intimate film that feels like a stage play.  Emma Thompson plays Nancy, a widowed school teacher who is looking for intimacy, adventure and sex.  She hires sex worker Leo Grande, whom she meets in a hotel room.  Nancy is nervous, but Leo knows how to put people at ease.  This film explores womanhood, pleasure, regret, secrets, family and  so much more.  Both Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack give fantastic performances and it’s a refreshing perspective we don’t often see in film.

Best bit: How can anyone go past Emma Thompson?  She’s one of the best in the business!  Mind you, Daryl McCormack is talented and also very easy on the eyes.

DVD cover for Gloriavale: New Zealand's Secret CultGloriavale: New Zealand’s Secret Cult (DVD)
This is a sensitively made documentary into the Gloriavale community and how those in power have treated the vulnerable members of the sect.  Told from the perspective of those who have left the community and the people in the regular world who are supporting the leavers, this documentary film is bringing the injustices of the organisation into light.  It is compelling viewing and many of the participants are telling their stories for the first time.

DVD cover for Everything Everywhere All At OnceEverything Everywhere All at Once (DVD)
What can I say about this movie?  Let’s start with it being the best film I’ve seen in quite some years.  It’s currently sweeping all of the awards in Hollywood for it’s cast, directors and the film itself.  Beautifully acted, lots of twists and turns and what you think is an absurd storyline all comes together beautifully and breathlessly.  The entire cast is incredible, the martial arts scenes are mind blowing and there is a deep heart to the story.  Do not miss this film.

Best Bit: Ke Huy Quan’s fight scene with the bum bag.  Or perhaps Raccacoonie.  Or the googly eyes.  Or hotdog fingers.  Wait, maybe the fight with the tiny dog.  Oh don’t make me choose!

What have you been watching from our collection of late?  Recommend a documentary or film for us in the comments below.



Show-stopper movie theme songs: scores from films & Broadway

This blog collects sheet music from the big screen. If you are a music player, don’t miss the original theme song scores from the movies Avatar, James Bond and the all time classic Forrest Gum, Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Anastacia the Broadway show,  to Disney favourites and the Simpsons.

“James Bond : the ultimate collection : featuring music from all 24 films : piano, voice, guitar.
“With all songs presented in expert arrangements for guitar, there’s never been a better way to experience the glamour and suspense of some of the greatest songs ever written for film. The James Bond theme (Dr. No) — Thunderball — You only live twice — Diamonds are forever — Moonraker — For your eyes only — All time high (Octopussy) —  You know my name (Casino Royale) — Skyfall — Writing’s on the wall (Spectre).” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The ultimate James Horner film score collection / Horner, James “Selections from The Amazing Spider-Man, An American Tail, Apollo 13, Avatar, A Beautiful Mind, Braveheart, Legends Of the Fall, The Mask of Zorro, The Perfect Storm, Star Trek II, and Titanic. With an introduction. The amazing Spider-Man (Promises/End titles) —  Avatar (I see you) — Braveheart (For the love of a princess)  — Legends of the fall (The Ludlows) — The mask of Zorro (Zorro’s theme) — The perfect storm (There’s no goodbye only love) —  Titanic (My heart will go on).” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

First 50 movie themes you should play on the piano.
“(Easy Piano Songbook). Have you learned enough piano to feel ready to start playing from a songbook? Then this songbook featuring contemporary and classic movie hits should be perfect for you. It features 50 simply arranged, must-know favorites in easy piano notation. Songs includes: Forrest Gump Main Title (Feather Theme) — Gabriel’s Oboe (from The Mission ) — He’s a Pirate (from Pirates of the Caribbean ) — Theme from “Schindler’s List” — Star Wars (Main Theme) and more.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Anastasia : the new Broadway musical / Flaherty, Stephen
“For one or two voices and piano, with chord symbols.
Based on the composer’s music for the 1997 animated film. Songs include: A rumor in St. Petersburg — In my dreams — Learn to do it — My Petersburg — Once upon a December — Stay, I pray you — We’ll go from there — Still — Journey to the past — Paris holds the key (to your heart) — Crossing a bridge — Close the door — In a crowd of thousands — Everything to win.  “(Adapted from the catalogue)

Moana : music from the motion picture soundtrack / Miranda, Lin-Manuel
“This sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who is inspired to leave the safety and security of her island on a daring journey to save her people. This souvenir folio features nine easy-to play piano songs from the soundtrack by Hamilton ‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda. This souvenir folio also includes beautiful full-colour scenes from the film. Songs include: Where you are — We know the way — You’re welcome –Know who you are — I am Moana (Song of the ancestors).” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The library of Disney songs.
“(Piano/Vocal/Guitar Songbook). There are songs for everyone in this collection of over 50 popular hits arranged for piano, voice and guitar from Disney movies past and present. It features classics from Cinderella and Peter Pan as well as modern favorites from Coco and Tangled and much more. Also includes songs from the movies: 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, The AristoCats, Frozen, Lady and the Tramp, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty, Toy Story, and more.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Theme from the simpsons sheet music / Elfman, Danny
“(Piano Solo Sheets). Piano solo sheet music for the opening theme to the longest running prime time cartoon, composed by Danny Elfman. This score can be downloaded onto iPad for eco-friendly sheet music.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)


Short historical films available on our website!

Check out our new Heritage Films page for a selection of films from Wellington City Archives we have digitised.

The films were made to document council activities and at the time were only shown to a small audience. These short videos are an insight into some of Wellington’s history and include scenes from the opening of Khandallah Library in 1953, the Queen’s visit in 1954, the “Festival Of Wellington” in 1959 and a five minute film from 1947 about Wellington’s milk supply.

Alongside the videos on the Heritage films page you’ll find information on the Festival Of Wellington, publicity materials and photos.  We’ve also added the films to our WCL YouTube channel – check it out for storytimes and other videos we have created. We’d love your feedback!