Blair Recommends: DVDs

Blair Recommends: DVDs

Sewickley Public Library staff member, Blair, has great recommendations! Whether it’s books she’s personally read, movies she’s watched, or rave reviews she’s noted from patrons – she collects lists of both popular and underrated materials you may have not yet checked out. We’re featuring these titles in a new series we’re calling “Blair Recommends.”  Up first: DVDs!


Foreign

Cover ImageAsh is the Purest White [2018]

In an industrial city in China, a young dancer named Qiao falls in love with a mobster named Bin. When a fight breaks out between rival gangs, Qiao uses a gun to protect Bin and is sent to prison for five years. When she is released, she seeks Qiao out to renew their relationship.

 


English Language

Cover ImageThe Public [2018]

An act of civil disobedience turns into a standoff with police when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold.

 

 


Documentary

Cover ImageKen Burns American Lives

This collection presents seven episodes of Burns’ American Lives series, which delves into the biographies of historical figures whose accomplishments helped shape the fabric of America: Thomas Jefferson (1996), Lewis And Clark: The Journey of the Corps Of Discovery (1997), Frank Lloyd Wright (1998), Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (1999), Mark Twain (2001), Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip (2003), and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise And Fall Of Jack Johnson (2004).

 


Cover ImageHondros [2017]

Photojournalist, Chris Hondros, sought to reconcile peerless beauty with unfathomable atrocity, and Greg Campbell’s film follows suit. Hondros covered every major world event from behind the scenes since the late 1990s. Greg Campbell’s documentary tells the untold stories of many of Hondros’s most iconic photographs.

 


Cover ImageLast Men in Aleppo [2015]

The year is 2015. Syria’s brutal civil war has been ravaging the country since the government responded with force to civil protests during the Arab Spring in 2011. Regime, Kurdish, ISIS and rebel forces all occupy various parts of the city of Aleppo in northwestern Syria. A volunteer group called the White Helmets provides emergency services to traumatized residents in the rebel-occupied areas of the city. A crucial part of their efforts is rescuing survivors: After air attacks reduce buildings to rubble, the men of the White Helmets dig through the debris and pull survivors to safety. They are nothing short of heroes. The White Helmets are the subject of Last Men in Aleppo, the searing documentary directed by Feras Fayyad that won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.


Cover ImageThe Nightmare [2015]

What is so striking is the similarity of the stories. People describe lying in bed, awake, unable to move. There is a tingling sensation, like static, like nerve endings shorting out from overuse. People describe a feeling that something is approaching, from behind them, or towards them. Along with that approach comes an overwhelming sense of evil. Dark amorphous shadow figures appear, somewhat human-like, leaning over the person lying in bed, appearing at the door frame. Sometimes the dark figure wears a hat. Something terrible is going to happen and the person is unable to move or to react. This is the experience commonly known as “sleep paralysis” and is the subject of Rodney Ascher’s engaging horror-film-like documentary, “The Nightmare.”

LGBTQ+ Movies

LGBTQ+ Movies from Kanopy & Hoopla

Kanopy, the library’s newest streaming service, offers a wide variety LGBTQ+ themed feature films and documentaries including:

The surprise Oscar winner for Best Picture (2016), Moonlight  is a multi layered coming-of-age story, depicting the struggle of growing up black, gay, impoverished, and living with addiction. Tender, lyrical and raw, the movie portrays three chapters in a young black man’s life as he comes to terms with where he came from and who he is.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post tells the story of a young woman who is sent to gay conversion therapy center by her conservative guardians. Although subjected to dubious therapies there, she also finds a community of people like her. Based on the popular novel by Emily M Danforth, and winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018.

Wise Kids follows three childhood friends during the transitional summer after high school graduation. While preparing for their Baptist church’s passion play, one deals with a crisis of faith, another coming to terms with his sexuality, and the last with the fact her friends may make different choices than she expected.

Longtime partners Stella and Dot make a run to Canada to get married after Dot’s granddaughter places her in a nursing home due to her declining health. Along the way, the pair picks up a hitchhiker heading home to see his dying mother. Cloudburst poignantly explores the themes of aging and marriage equality with humor and grace.

A gay couple takes over the care of a teenage boy with Down’s Syndrome in the 1970s and provides a loving home. However, when authorities become aware of the situation, they are forced to prove to a biased system that they are fit custodians. Based on a true story, Any Day Now asks compelling questions about the true nature of love and family.

Vito is a compelling portrayal of prominent gay rights activist Vito Russo from the time of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 until his death from AIDS in 1990. Russo’s book The Celluloid Closet revealed that the way gay people were depicted in film exacerbated society’s biases against them. With archival footage and interviews, this documentary provides a history of gay rights in America during that time period.

Unlike much of the Western World, Russia has made few steps toward gay equality. Documentary Campaign of Hate shows the threats, verbal abuse, and violence that the Russian LGBTQ population endures. The passing of the 2013 “Gay Propaganda” law legitimizes the bias towards this community, and the film makes the case that the government does so for its own political gain.

Hoopla also offers movies and documentaries with LGBTQ+ themes, such as:

Charlize Theron won an Oscar for her portrayal of real life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the docudrama Monster. The survivor of an abusive childhood, Aileen prostitutes herself to pay the bills for herself and her girlfriend. After killing a client in self defense, she finds that she has a taste for it.

Approximately 1% of the U.S. population identifies as asexual, or experiencing no sexual attraction. The documentary A(sexual) explores this unique sexual orientation, using interviews with researchers as well as people who identify as asexual.

In Other People, David has broken up with his boyfriend and his career isn’t going well, but he doesn’t want to burden his mother with the sad tale since she’s got an even bigger problem: terminal cancer.

The Freedom to Marry documentary focuses on the movement to make same-sex marriage the law of the land. It reveals the history of the movement and profiles key leaders as they present their case to the Supreme Court.

Being black, poor, and gay can be risky in more ways than one, so the young people in Check It banded together to form their own gang in inner-city Washington, DC. This documentary highlights the lives of several gang members as they try their hands at an unlikely way out of gang life: fashion.

With changing societal norms and advances in medicine, it has become possible to transition genders at a younger age. The documentary Growing up Trans reveals the struggles and choices that several young people and their families face as they do so.

Hidden Gems: Spectacular Documentaries in the Library Collection

The non-fiction film collection at the Sewickley Public Library is easy to miss, mostly because the DVD’s are shelved in the reference area with the rest of the library’s non-fiction, separate from the location for television and movies. Next time you visit us at the library, take a peek at our non-fiction DVD’s and see if there’s anything that catches your eye. If you’d like some suggestions, here are some exemplary documentaries available in the Sewickley Public Library collection.

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Staff Picks: Best of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we wanted to look back on the great books and films that were released this year. Many big news sources like GQ, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly have announced their picks for the best of 2018, but how do these lists measure up to the favorites of our staff? Here are some of the Sewickley Library staff’s favorite books and movies from 2018!

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New DVDs – July 2015

New Feature-Length Films, Foreign Films, and Classics

5 flights up
American sniperas
Blaze
Cut Bank
The last metro
Druid peak
Ex machina
Focus
Get hard
Goonies
Jupiter ascending
Jurassic Park ultimate trilogy
Kill me three times
King of hearts
Last knights
Longest ride
Maggie
Mr. Turner
Paul Blart, mall cop 2
Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Seeds of yesterday
Shoot the piano player
Stand up guys
The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie
While we’re young
Woman in gold
Yesterday, today and tomorrow

New Television Series

Bitten
House of cards. The complete third season
Incredible journey of Mary Bryant
Mystery science theater 3000 XXXIII.
The office. Season four
Witches of East End. Season 2.

New Non-Fiction DVDs

History of Christian theology
Masters of photography: learn photography from 12 National Geographi masters.
Maya to Aztec: ancient Mesoamerica revealed.
Moms Mabley

New DVDs – June 2015

New Feature-Length Films, Foreign Films, and Classics

Adventures of Priscilla, queen of the desert
American graffiti
Carlito’s way
Chappie
Clerks
Duff
Earth girls are easy
Focus
Forger
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
I love you to death
If there be thorns
Jupiter ascending
Kingsman, the secret service
Lazarus effect
McFarland, USA
Memento
Moulin Rouge
Of human bondage
Old fashioned
Project almanac
Relatos salvajes
Reservoir dogs
Run all night
Serena
SpongeBob movie, sponge out of water
Survivor
The French connection
Timbuktu
Unfinished business
Velvet goldmine
Wait until dark
Welcome to Me

New Television Series

Falling skies. Season 4
Graceland. The complete season 2
Justified. The complete final season (season 6)
The newsroom. The complete third season
Parks and recreation. Season seven
Pretty little liars. The complete fifth season
Ripper Street. Season three
Rizzoli & Isles. The complete fifth season
Teen wolf. Season 4
Transporter: the complete second season.
Two and a half men. The complete eleventh season
Two and a half men: the complete twelfth and final season
Workaholics. Season five.

New Non-Fiction DVDs

A midsummer night’s dream
Concerto inaugrale
Die Fledermaus
How Jesus became God
King Arthur: history and legend
Raising emotionally and socially healthy kids
Red army
The science of mindfulness: a research-based path to well-being
The skeptic’s guide to American history
The Wrecking Crew!
Through the wormhole. Season 5
Tosca
What remains

Movies Recently Added for March 2014

Take a look at a selection of movies Sewickley Public Library has recently added to its collection. Click the titles to view the item in the library catalog, where you may submit a request for pickup.

 

Fiction Films

 

DON JON – A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, and Julianne Moore.

ELYSIUM – In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. Starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Also available as a Blu-Ray.

ENOUGH SAID – A divorced woman who decides to pursue the man she’s interested in learns he’s her new friend’s ex-husband. Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, and Catherine Keener.

FRUITVALE STATION – The purportedly true story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008. Starring Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, and Octavia Spencer.

IN A WORLD… – An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father and his protégé. Starring Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, and Michaela Watkins.

INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED – A man who has made a new life for himself and the daughter left on his doorstep 6 years ago finds his family threatened when the birth mother resurfaces. Starring Eugenio Derbez, Karla Souza, and Jessica Lindsey. In Spanish with English subtitles.

RUNNER RUNNER – When a poor college student who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur. Starring Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, and Gemma Arterton. Also available as a Blu-Ray.

RUSH – The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Starring Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, and Olivia Wilde. Also available as a Blu-Ray.

SHORT TERM 12 – A 20-something supervising staff member of a residential treatment facility navigates the troubled waters of that world alongside her co-worker and longtime boyfriend. Starring Brie Larson, Frantz, Turner, and John Gallagher Jr.

 

Documentary Films

GOOD OL’ FREDA – A documentary in which Freda Kelly looks back at her career as lifelong secretary for The Beatles. Featuring Freda Kelly, Tony Barrow, and the Beatles (archive footage).

TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM – Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now. Featuring Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, and Lisa Fischer.

All synopses from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com).

Recently Added Films for January 2014

Click the links to find and request new fiction and nonfiction films at Sewickley Public Library.

FICTION

BARBARA – As punishment for applying for an exit visa from 1980s East Germany, a doctor working at a prestigious post in a Berlin is banished to a small country hospital. In German with English subtitles.

THE CONJURING – The Conjuring tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives. Also available as a Blue-Ray.

GETAWAY – Brent Magna is a burned-out race car driver who is thrust into a do-or-die mission behind the wheel when his wife is kidnapped. With Brent’s only ally being a young hacker, his one hope of saving his wife is to follow the orders of the mysterious voice who’s watching his every move through cameras mounted on the car Brent’s driving.

JOBS – This inspiring and entertaining film chronicles Jobs’ early days as a college dropout to his rise as the co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. and forced retirement from the company. More than a decade later, Jobs returns and single-handedly sets a course that will turn the once-tiny startup into one of the world’s most valuable companies. His epic journey blazes a trail that changes technology–and the world–forever

MAN OF STEEL – A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind. Also available as a Blu-Ray.

RED 2 – Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses rejoins his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. Also available as a Blu-Ray.

2 GUNS – DEA agent Bobby Trench and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman are working undercover for a narcotics business. After a distorted attempt to infiltrate the drug cartel, they soon learn the secret of their dubious affiliation.

THE UNINVITED – A pair of siblings from London purchases a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price–and soon they’re caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave.

WE’RE THE MILLERS – David is a pot dealer in need of a fake family to use as a cover story in order to smuggle drugs from Mexico into the U.S. He is in major debt with his supplier and is desperate for the money to pay him back. He hires a stripper to be his fake-wife; a runaway as his pretend daughter; and a goofy counterfeit son. Adventure ensues as this faux-family attempts to cross the border with the loot.

THE WOLVERINE – Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, Wolverine becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons.

THE WORLD’S END – Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival. Also available as a Blu-Ray.

 

NONFICTION

BLACKFISH – Examines the practice of keeping orca whales in captivity through the story of Tilikum, the notorious performing whale who, unlike any orca in the wild, has taken the lives of several people while in captivity.

THE BOOK OF MANNING – A father-and-son story written into the pages of football folklore, it can be argued that no family has had more influence on a sport than the Mannings.

 

New DVDs January & February 2013

Alex Cross – A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled serial killer who specializes in torture and pain. Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox (PG-13, 101min) Release 2/5/13

Anna Karenina – Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (R, 129min) Release 2/19/13

Argo – A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran. Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman (R, 120min) Release 2/19/13

The Awakening – Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the ‘missing’ begin to show themselves. Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton (R, 107min) 1/29/13

Chasing Mavericks – When young Jay Moriarity discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home, he enlists the help of local legend Frosty Hesson to train him to survive it. Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler, Elisabeth Shue (PG, 116min) Release 2/26/13

Cosmopolis – Riding across Manhattan in a stretch limo in order to get a haircut, a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager’s day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart. Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche (R, 109min) Release 1/1/13

Downton Abbey Season 3 – Beginning in the years leading up to World War I, the drama centers on the Crawley family and their servants. Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern Release 1/29/13

End of Watch – Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves. Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña (R, 109min) Release 1/22/13

Flight – An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling. Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle (R, 138min) Release 2/5/13

Game of Thrones Season 2 – Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Maisie Williams (TVMA) Release 2/19/13

Here Comes the Boom – A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school. Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler (PG, 105min) Release 2/5/13

Hotel Transylvania – Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter. Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg (PG, 91min) Release 1/29/13

House at the End of the Street – A mother and daughter move to a new town and find themselves living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. When the daughter befriends the surviving son, she learns the story is far from over. Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue (PG-13, 101min) Release 1/8/13

The Master – A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams (R, 144min) Release 2/26/13

The Paperboy – A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate. Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack (R, 107min) Release 1/22/13

Paranormal Activity 4 – It has been five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, and a suburban family witness strange events in their neighborhood when a woman and a mysterious child move in. Stephen Dunham, Matt Shively (R, 88min) Release 1/29/13

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller (PG-13, 102min) Release 2/12/13

Robot & Frank – Set in the near future, an ex-jewel thief receives a gift from his son: a robot butler programmed to look after him. But soon the two companions try their luck as a heist team. Peter Sarsgaard, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon (PG-13, 89min) Release 2/12/13

Searching for Sugar Man – Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock ‘n’ roller, Rodriguez. Rodriguez, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman, Dennis Coffey (PG-13, 86min) Release 1/22/13

The Sessions – A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest. John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy (R, 95min) Release 2/12/13

Seven Psychopaths – A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu. Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell (R, 110min) Release 1/29/13

Skyfall – Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris (PG-13, 143min) Release 2/12/13

Taken 2 – In Istanbul, retired CIA operative Bryan Mills and his wife are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed while rescuing his daughter. Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace (PG-13, 92min) Release 1/15/13