It’s ‘Noirvember’ on Kanopy

Ready for cynical heroes, intricate plots, and underlying existentialism? Sounds like you’re ready to get moody with Kanopy’s Noirvember collection.

Following the end of World War Two, French publishing house Gallimard started publishing translations of American crime novels through its Série noire imprint: including authors such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and David Goodis. The following year, French critic Nino Frank wrote the earliest essays identifying a new departure in American film making, the ‘film noir’- though the term itself did not come into ‘official’ use until the publication of Raymond Borde & Etienne Chaumeton’s study ‘Panarama du film noir americain’ in 1955, and wasn’t widely adopted in America until the 1970’s. According to Borde and Chaumeton, the ‘noir’ cycle officially begins with John Houston’s The Maltese Falcon (1941) and ends with Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955) – though the style can be traced back as far as Fritz Lang’s M (1931), and forward to films like Memento (2000).

Characterised by fear, mistrust, bleakness, paranoia, fatalism, disillusionment, existential plots and confessional voiceovers, they provided a distinctly pessimistic view of post-war America. However, while the view was American, the ‘feel’ was distinctly European with shadowy expressionistic lighting, stark and skewered camera angles, jarring editing and deep shadows. Due to this style, the best noirs are in black and white – with key European directors such as Fritz Lang, Robert Siodmak, and Jacques Tourneur. Noir protagonists were typically anti-heroes: crooked cops, down and out private eyes, war veterans, petty criminals, gamblers and killers; while the women were often unloving, mysterious, duplicitous and manipulative – but always gorgeous.

While the style dropped out of favour after the late 1950’s, its elements were present in several standout films of the 1960’s, from The Manchurian Candidate (1962) to Point Blank (1967). It made a resurgence in the 1970’s, and an even stronger one in the 1990’s. Films from this period on are referred to as ‘neo-noir’ and, while some are merely an affected stylism, enough original ‘noir’ runs through them to satisfy purists. Since then, these influential cinematic works have grown in popularity as modern filmmakers use similar aesthetics.

Whether you’re looking to dive into the dark world of the classic genre, or want to see what updates have been made to keep the concept fresh, you can explore Kanopy’s well-rounded collection here.

Continue reading “It’s ‘Noirvember’ on Kanopy”

A Nineties Deep Dive on Kanopy

Among the abundance of great content available on the film streaming site Kanopy (available through our eLibrary) are a number of gems from the Nineties. Spanning a wide variety of genres, here is a sampling of what is available.

Glengarry Glen Ross
1hr 40min
Adapted from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross shows David Mamet at his searing, profane best. A group of Chicago real-estate salesmen-cum-con artists live on the edge. Life is good for the one on a roll. For the rest, life hangs in the balance. There is no room for losers. A-B-C: Always Be Closing, sell or go under, is the salesman’s mantra. With the pressure on, so begins a rainy night of cutthroat business and shattered lives. (Adapted from Kanopy).

Night On Earth
2hr 08min
In one night, across the world, five taxi drivers experience five very different rides. In LA, a flustered agent recognises star quality in her driver, while New York in all its glory defeats a new American. A Parisian taxi driver learns the real meaning of discrimination, and a rollicking ride through Rome has repercussions for the clergy. And finally, a trio of drunken Finns make a typically humorous end to their night. (Adapted from Kanopy).

Continue reading “A Nineties Deep Dive on Kanopy”

Kanopy’s play credits are having a revamp from November!

In the past, when you used the Kanopy streaming movie service available via our library subscription, you had a monthly allocation of six play credits. From November 1st “credits” became “tickets”, and the amount allocated monthly to you changed to 18 tickets. Just like with credits, on the first of each month, you’ll receive a new allocation of tickets.

The big change Kanopy has made is the way your allowance can be used, meaning you have more control how you spend (redeem) your tickets. In the past, one movie view, or a TV series view, used one or two of your play credits. With the revamped ticket system, each movie or TV series is labelled with the amount of tickets needed to watch it. This will depend on the movie’s or series’ run time (the length of the feature in minutes). This is clearly indicated in the information about the title.

Also changed is the time you have to view the feature you’ve chosen. A regular length film, costing two tickets, can be viewed within 72 hours of you starting to watch (up from the previous 48 hours!) All of this information is under the title of each movie, giving you a better understanding of how long you’ll have to view what you’ve chosen.

What hasn’t changed is the thousands of feature films, documentaries, and bingeable series that are available for free on Kanopy. This includes some great new movies like the 2022 Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness (also available on DVD & Blu-Ray) and some excellent new BBC TV series (our pick, Call the Midwife ).

Want more information about this change? When you visit Kanopy’s website or app there is a pop-up which will take you through the changes and how they’ll work. If you have further questions, please email us at


Spend Halloween on Kanopy!

Mark & Neil’s guide to Halloween on Kanopy. From the cult to the classic, the good to the bad, and from the bad to Nic Cage. A relentless playlist of the best and worst horrors you can imagine…


1922. Classic. A horror masterwork. Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath. Benjamin Christensen’s legendary film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. Banned by the Catholic church for many years. Based on Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th-century German guide for inquisitors, Still creepy as…


1987. Clive Barker’s best horror film done on a tiny budget. the sequel is OK, but sadly from then it was downhill all the way. Prepare to travel beyond dreams and nightmares, into the realm of darkness and the furnaces of Hell as imagined by celebrated maestro of the macabre Clive Barker…

The Babadook

2014. Excellent modern Horror that pays tribute to some of the older B&W horror films mentioned here, especially the pioneering Horror Work of F. W. Murnau. Where there is imagination, there is darkness and from within that darkness lurks a being of unfathomable terror…

Only Lovers Left Alive

2013. Very stylish indie cult horror. Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE tells the tale of two fragile and sensitive vampires, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), who have been lovers for centuries…

The Fog

1980. John Carpenter mini classic. Hammy as. According to legend, six sailors killed when shipwrecked 100 years ago in Antonio Bay, California, will rise to avenge their deaths when a strange glowing fog appears…


1977. Lots of Hitchcockian touches. Widely considered to be the most shocking and hallucinatory horror movie in history, and described by director Dario Argento as “an escalating experimental nightmare”…

Colour Out of Space

2019. One of two totally bonkers Nick Cage entries in this list. And then there’s the Llamas… A cosmic nightmare from the minds of H.P. Lovecraft (Re-Animator) and cult director, Richard Stanley (Hardware)…

Carnival of Souls

1962. Surrealist cult-classic. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) mysteriously survives a car wreck. In an effort to put this traumatizing incident behind her, she moves to Utah where she takes on a job as a church organist. However, her fresh new start is interrupted by the haunting, relentless presence of a strange man (Herk Harvey) who seems to follow wherever she goes. As her sightings of the man increase, she finds herself drawn to the dilapidated carnival on the outskirts of town…

White Zombie

1932. Considered Hollywood’s first full length zombie film, WHITE ZOMBIE follows Murder Legendre (horror legend Bela Lugosi), the menacingly named zombie master of Haiti. Still creepy with nods to German expressionism…

Willy’s Wonderland

2021. So bad it’s good. A totally guilty pleasure pick. A quiet drifter is tricked into a janitorial job at the now condemned WILLY’S WONDERLAND, however mundane tasks suddenly become an all-out fight for survival…

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:

Belfast (2022) DVD

The DVD cover for the film Belfast written and directed by Kenneth BranaghActor, writer, director Kenneth Branagh’s biopic of his boyhood in Belfast in the 1960’s during The Troubles.  Shot almost entirely in black and white, except for a few tiny colour highlights, Belfast is Branagh’s love letter to the city of Belfast. Starring newcomer Jude Hill as Branagh (nicknamed Buddy by his family), the supporting ensemble is a feast of British talent – Judi Dench, Ciaran Hinds, Jamie Dornan, Catriona Balfe to name a few.  It is a charming film, highlighting the difficulty faced by many people of Belfast at the time, who loved their home city but could not avoid the troubles growing around them.

Best bit: during the credits Branagh himself returns to the streets of Belfast.  Well worth sticking around to watch.

Bob’s Burgers, the Complete First Season (2011) DVD 

With the new Bob’s Burgers: The Movie hitting streaming services, I thought it was worth going back to revisit one of my favourite animated series.  I had forgotten how funny it was right from the first series and that the character development has been great all the way through.  Created by Loren Bouchard, Bob’s Burger’s is an animated sitcom about the Belcher family.  Dad Bob (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin), Mum Linda (John Roberts), eldest daughter and butt enthusiast Tina (Dan Mintz), Casio enthusiast middle child Gene (Eugene Mirman) and the real brains of the family, little sister Louise (Kristen Schaal) make up the core cast of characters, but there are many fun repeat characters voiced by the likes of Kevin Kline, Megan Mullally, Sarah Silverman, Ken Jeong and more.  Well worth diving back into even if you’ve watched them before.

Best bit: so hard to choose.  I swing wildly as to which character is my favourite at any given time.

True Grit (2010) DVD

DVD cover for 2010 version of True GritThe Coen Brother’s remake of the John Wayne classic, True Grit stars Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, Jeff Bridges as Reuben Cogburn, Matt Damon as Texas Ranger Le Boeuf and Josh Brolin as the villain they’re pursuing, Tom Chaney.  In this clever Western, fast thinking and talking Mattie, aged 14, hires crusty bounty hunter Rooster Cogburn to track down the man who killed her father, (Chaney).  Accompanied reluctantly by Le Boeuf who has little respect for either Rooster or Mattie, the trio face adventures, adversity and the need to work together to get their man.  Steinfeld shows her brilliance as an actress at an early age alongside the long established talents of the men in the cast.

Best bit: I love the scene when Mattie is “negotiating” the price of her father’s horse and ponies.  Or Mattie’s first meeting with Le Boeuf in the boarding house.  Of course there is also the immortal Rooster Cogburn line “Fill your hand you son of a b****!” at the climax of the film.  Don’t make me choose a best bit!

My Neighbour Totoro (2005) DVD

DVD cover of the English edition of My Neighbour TotoroFirstly, if you have never watched any of the Studio Ghibli films, now is the time to rectify that.  My Neighbour Totoro is as good a place to start as any!  My Neighbour Totoro is the story of Satsuki and Mei, two girls who move to the countryside to be closer to their ailing mother.  They soon encounter the forest sprites known as Totoros and go off on magical adventures.  Mei gets lost and her big sister Satsuki enlists the help of the Totoro to find her.

Best bit: Satsuki and Mei waiting in the rain at the bus stop for their father is so evocative that you can almost feel the raindrops.  It’s also the scene where we first meet the iconic CatBus!

Continue reading “Kath’s Reviews: Film and Television”

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.