Brandon R.'s blog

Farewell, My Queen

ISBN: 
741952738091

This is a movie that came out last year about the last days of the court of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI as seen through the eyes of one of her servants. It is based on the bestselling book from 2004. For those of you that like costume dramas, this has plenty to look at (costumes and occasionally what's underneath them), but the film is really concerned with showing the complete lack of organization among those involved at Versailles during the chaotic beginnings of the French Revolution. Read more »

While you wait for...Lincoln

Lincoln DVD imageSteven Spielberg's Lincoln currently has more hold requests than any other title in our collection! Whether you are waiting, have seen it already, or just want something else to watch, we have some other movies featuring our 16th President that might be of interest: He is featured briefly in D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, Henry Fonda plays him as a younger man (without the beard) in John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln. Sam Waterston also portrayed him as President in an adaptation of Gore Vidal's Lincoln. If you are specifically interested in the aftermath of his assassination you could try Robert Redford's The Conspirator. And, for some time-travelling non-seriousness, there's always Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure!

Read below for some more films about other U.S. Presidents
Read more »

Sound of Noise

ISBN: 
876964004671
Sound of Noise is an odd, quirky Swedish comedy about 'musical terrorists' (with ideas taken from this Futurist manifesto). I remember missing it at the Ryder film series awhile back, so it caught my eye when I found it on a cart here. The film revolves around a collective of misfit musicians who decide to stage forced public performances for each of the four movements of their 'genius work' entitled "Music for Six Drummers and One City". The plot involves a tone-deaf policeman (from a family of musicians) trying to catch them. This involves a lot of hard-to-believe situations with a lot of amusingly not-quite-laugh-out-loud moments, but the interesting part comes from the choreographed performance pieces. These are all made with found objects as instruments (an oxygen tank, a paper shredder, a bulldozer, etc.). The musician characters have the same names as the actors playing them, presumably because they really performed the music. If you enjoy the clip below, you might like the movie. The DVD extras include several other short performances made outside of the film.

The Hour

ISBN: 
0780676815

This BBC program from last summer (it aired last September on BBC America) follows the lives of three people who work for an newly created television news program at the BBC in 1956. While I did find it to be a bit slow in parts for a 6 episode series, I enjoyed watching the whole of it - especially the ending (no spoilers here, though). 'The Hour' is the name of the news program created within the show that  attempts to challenge the then BBC standard of merely promoting the government's official viewpoint on current events. The plot also revolves around the mysterious death of a friend of the young journalist played by Ben Whishaw. He is, as usual, amazingly good in this, as are the two other leads; Romola Garai, who plays the head producer of the program, and Dominic West, the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time head anchor. If you are at all familiar with BBC programming, many of these shorter series can be standalone pieces, usually with all the episodes written by the same author (This one is actually coming back for a second series sometime later in 2012). The show creator here, Abi Morgan, seems to be an up-and-coming writer for theater, television, and film. Much of the newsroom work on the program gives some insight into Suez Crisis of the period, which I found interesting. For those not necessarily keen on a fictionalized history lesson, there is both a romance angle between several of the characters and some post-WWII, early Cold War espionage spy stuff going on here too. If you enjoy more modern-set period dramas of the BBC, give this one a try.


The Artist

ImageSo, The Artist won big at the Academy Awards.
You can get on the already long holds list for its June 26th release on home video, but while you are waiting...
You might check out OSS 117, Cario Nest of Spies and its sequel, both directed by and starring new Academy Award winners Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin, respectively (Bérénice Bejo even co-stars in the first one). These films are playful spoofs that show a bit of the same homage to filmmaking as the Best Picture winner, just set in a later time period and genre, and with color and sound (French with English subtitles). They are parodies of a set of spy books and movies from France in the 1950s and 1960s that are supposedly similar to Ian Fleming's James Bond series. The two newer films are full of intentionally kooky sight gags and constant mugging by Dujardin (that he does so well). The jokes are hit-or-miss depending on your own personal taste, but the films are definitely nice to look at. And they've got stupid Nazis.
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