More From Page to Screen

Books continue to inspire both large and small screen adaptations. Here are several added to the SPL collection during the past year.

Call of the Wild

The story of a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s.

Based on the classic novel by Jack London, this 2020 feature motion picture stars Harrison Ford.
Available on DVD and Blu Ray Combo.


News of the World

Five years after the Civil War, Captain Kidd moves from town to town as a storyteller. In Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna, a ten-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier. She is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.

Based on the 2016 novel by Paulette Jiles.
Available on DVD and Blu Ray Combo.


Nomadland

Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.

This Academy Award winning 2020 film is based on the 2017 nonfiction book by Jessica Bruder.
Available on Blu Ray only.


The Secret Garden

Mary Lennox is a prickly and unloved ten-year-old girl, born in India to wealthy British parents. When they suddenly die, she is sent back to England to live with her uncle, where she begins to uncover many family secrets, particularly after meeting her sickly cousin Colin, who has been shut away in a wing of the house. Together, these two damaged, slightly misfit children heal each other through their discovery of a wondrous secret garden.

Based on the classic children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Available on DVD.


The Turning

Newly appointed nanny Kate is charged with the care of two orphans, Flora and Miles. Quickly, she discovers that both the children and the house are harboring dark secrets and things may not be as they appear.

This 2020 motion picture is based on Henry James’s novella, The Turn of the Screw.
Available on DVD.


The Undoing

From writer David E. Kelley, this HBO limited series focuses on Nicole Kidman’s Grace Fraser, a successful therapist, and her devoted husband, Jonathan (Hugh Grant), and their young son who attends an elite private school in New York City. A chasm opens in Grace’s seemingly perfect life: a violent death, a missing spouse, and a chain of terrible revelations.

Based on the novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz (2014).
Available on DVD.


His Dark Materials

This HBO series follows Lyra Belacqua, a brave young woman from another world. Lyra’s quest to find her kidnapped friend leads her to uncover a sinister plot of a secret organization, encounter extraordinary beings and protect dangerous secrets.

Based on the beloved trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman. Seasons 1 and 2, following the arcs of the first two novels, have been released so far. A third and final season is expected, probably in 2022.
Available on DVD.


Defending Jacob

An assistant district attorney and his wife’s comfortable life is turned upside down when their son is accused of murder. Part thriller, part courtroom drama, this series explores the lengths parents will go to protect their child.

Based on the 2012 novel by William Landay, this AppleTV+ limited series stars Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery.
Available on DVD.

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.”

Memorial Day Movies

This Memorial Day, remember the fallen with award-winning movies that show the human cost of war.

American Sniper
The story of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and the struggles he suffers both as a sniper in Iraq and as a family man back at home. Based on a true story. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper. 2014


Apocalypse Now
A United States Army officer/trained assassin is sent into the depths of a southeast Asian jungle to seek out a renegade colonel and terminate his command during the Vietnam War. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola; starring Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando. Available in the original 1979 version, and the extended version, Apocolypse Now Redux, released in 2001.


Courage Under Fire
When Lt. Col. Nathaniel Serling is asked to review the posthumous candidacy of the first woman to receive a combat-related Medal of Honor, he finds himself plunged into an apparent cover-up surrounding the actions that led to her death. Starring Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan. 1996.


Dunkirk
Set during the early days of World War II, the story follows the harrowing evacuation of Allied troops from the French city of Dunkirk before Nazi forces can take hold. Directed by Christopher Nolan; featuring Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, and Tom Hardy. 2017.


Full Metal Jacket
This film crystallizes the experience of the Vietnam War by concentrating on a group of raw Marine volunteers, first in training and then in the field. Based on Gustav Hasford’s novel The Short Timers. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Featuring Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, and Vincent D’Onofrio. 1987.


Fury
In April, 1945, as the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, they face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. Starring Brad Pitt and Shia Labeouf. 2014.


Glory
A fictionalized account of the Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry, the first regiment of northern black soldiers to fight in the Civil War. Starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, and Morgan Freeman. 1989.


MASH
The personnel of a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea develop a lunatic lifestyle to cope with the military bureaucracy and the horrors of war. Based on the novel by Richard Hooker. Starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, and Robert Duvall. 1970.


Memphis Belle
This fictionalized version of a true story depicts the final flight for the crew of the Memphis Belle, the first group of B-17 crewmen to fly 25 successful missions. The ensemble cast includes Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeney, Billy Zane, Sean Astin, Harry Connick, Jr., and John Lithgow. 1990.


1917
At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers are given a seemingly impossible mission to cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers. Directed by Sam Mendes; featuring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman. 2019.


Platoon
The story of a naive Army recruit who faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man during the Vietnam War. Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Charlie Sheen. 1986.


Red Tails
Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky, even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard. 2012.


Saving Private Ryan
In the last great war, the greatest danger for eight men… was saving one. Captain John Miller must lead his men deep into enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers died in combat. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, and Matt Damon. 1998.

Mom Movies

Celebrate motherhood with these DVDs from SPL!

Bad Moms
When three overworked and underappreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long-overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self indulgence.

Featuring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Christina Applegate. 2016.


Show (281×400)The Blind Side
Taken in by a well-to-do family and offered a second chance at life, a homeless teen grows to become the star athlete projected to be the first pick at the NFL draft in this sports-themed comedy drama inspired by author Michael Lewis’ best-seller.

Featuring Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, and Tim McGraw. 2009.


Freaky Friday
A single mother and her teenage daughter Anna couldn’t be more different, and it is driving them both insane. After receiving cryptic fortunes at a Chinese restaurant, the two wake up the next day to discover that they have somehow switched bodies.

Featuring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. 2003.


The Joy Luck Club
Based on the novel by Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club explores the stories of four women who were born in China and emigrated to America, as well as their often fraught relationships with their Chinese American daughters.

Featuring Rosalind Chao, Lauren Tom, Tamlyn Tomita, and Ming-Na Wen. 1993.


Juno
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child in this charming comedy.

Featuring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner. 2007.


Lady Bird
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mother, a nurse working tirelessly to support her family after Lady Bird’s father loses his job. Here is an affecting look at the relationships that shape use, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

Featuring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Tracy Letts. 2017.


Life As We Know It
When their goddaughter’s parents both perish in a tragic accident, Holly and Eric are informed that they were singled out as her caretakers in the event of an unforeseen disaster. Now, in order to raise her right, this bickering pair must put their differences aside while mastering the fine art of parenthood.

Featuring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. 2010.


Lion
Five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of kilometers across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.

Featuring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. 2016.


20th Century Women
The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.

Featuring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig. 2017.

2021 Oscar Nominees

Time is running out to watch the 2021 Oscar nominees before the April 25 ceremony. There are 41 feature films nominated across twenty categories, plus the shorts. To see the nominees by category, visit www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2021, or download a ballot here.

The burning question is: How can we view the nominees? Some are only available through streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, while others are available on DVD and/or Blu-Ray; some can be streamed PVOD (premium video on demand), and some are currently in theatres. See the table below for notes on where to find the feature films that are nominated.

Feature Film Nominations Availability
Another Round International Feature Film
Directing (Thomas Vinterberg)
DVD 3/30
Better Days International Feature Film DVD
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm Actress in a Supporting Role (Maria Bakalova)
Adapted Screenplay
Amazon Prime
Collective Documentary Feature
International Feature Film
DVD
Crip Camp Documentary Feature Netflix
Da Five Bloods Original Score Netflix
Emma Makeup & Hairstyling
Costume Design
DVD
Eurovision Song Contest Original Song (Husavik) Netflix
Father, The Best Picture
Actor in a Leading Role (Anthony Hopkins)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Olivia Colman)
Adapted Screenplay
Production Design
Film Editing
In Theatres
DVD on order
PVOD 3/26
Greyhound Sound Apple TV+
Hillbilly Elegy Actress in a Supporting Role (Glenn Close)
Makeup & Hairstyling
Netflix
Judas and the Black Messiah Best Picture
Actor in a Supporting Role (Daniel Kaluuya)
Actor in a Supporting Role (LaKeith Stanfield)
Original Screenplay
Original Song “Fight for You”
Cinematography
In Theatres
DVD & Blu Ray 5/4
PVOD 4/2
Love and Monsters Visual Effects DVD
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Actor in a Leading Role (Chadwick Boseman)
Actress in a Leading Role (Viola Davis)
Makeup & Hairstyling
Costume Design
Production Design
Netflix

 

Man Who Sold His Skin, The International Feature Film N/A
Mank Best Picture
Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Oldman)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Amanda Seyfried)
Directing (David Fincher)
Original Score
Sound
Makeup & Hairstyling
Costume Design
Cinematography
Production Design
Netflix
Midnight Sky, The Visual Effects Netflix
Minari Best Picture
Directing (Lee Isaac Chung)
Actor in a Leading Role (Steven Yeun)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Yuh-Jung Youn)
Original Screenplay
Original Score
In Theatres
PVOD 2/26
DVD on order
Mole Agent, The Documentary Feature DVD
Mulan Costume Design
Visual Effects
DVD & Blu Ray
My Octopus Teacher Documentary Feature Netflix
News of the World Original Score
Sound
Cinematography
Production Design
DVD & Blu Ray 3/23
Nomadland Best Picture
Actress in a Leading Role (Frances McDormand)
Directing (Chloé Zhao)
Adapted Screenplay
Cinematography
Film Editing
Hulu
In Theatres
Blu Ray 4/27
DVD N/A
One and Only Ivan, The Visual Effects Disney+
One Night in Miami Actor in a Supporting Role (Leslie Odom Jr)
Adapted Screenplay
Original Song “Speak Now”
Amazon Prime
Onward Animated Feature DVD & Blu Ray
Disney+
Over the Moon Animated Feature Netflix
Pieces of a Woman Actress in a Leading Role (Vanessa Kirby) Netflix
Pinocchio Makeup & Hairstyling
Costume Design
DVD 3/16
Promising Young Woman Best Picture
Actress in a Leading Role (Carey Mulligan)
Directing (Emerald Fennell)
Original Screenplay (Emerald Fennell)
Film Editing
DVD & Blu-Ray
Quo Vadis, Aida International Feature Film VOD or Digital purchase
Shaun the Sheep Movie, A: Farmageddon Animated Feature Netflix
Soul Animated Feature
Original Score
Sound
DVD
Disney+
Sound of Metal Best Picture
Actor in a Leading Role (Riz Ahmed)
Actor in a Supporting Role (Paul Raci)
Original Screenplay
Sound
Film Editing
Amazon Prime
Tenet Production Design
Visual Effects
DVD & Blu-Ray
The Life Ahead Original Song “Io Si (Seen)” Netflix
Time Documentary Feature Amazon Prime
Trial of the Chicago 7, The Best Picture
Actor in a Supporting Role (Sacha Baron Cohen)
Original Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin)
Original Song “Hear My Voice”
Cinematography
Film Editing
Netflix
United States vs Billie Holliday, The Actress in a Leading Role (Andra Day) Hulu
White Tiger, The Adapted Screenplay Netflix
Wolfwalkers Animated Feature Apple TV+
You may notice that of the Best Picture nominees, two are available only on Netflix (The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Mank), and another, The Sound of Metal, is available only on Amazon Prime. Don’t expect these to be released on DVD or Blu Ray until long after the ceremony.  Nomadland, on the other hand, is available for streaming on Hulu, but it’s still in theatres, and reportedly will be released on Blu-Ray two days after the ceremony. For a review of the Best Pic nominees, along with a description and where to watch, The Today Show list is a good resource.
Of course, the library has or will acquire copies of the nominated films on DVD and/or Blu Ray as they become available. Currently, the only Best Picture nominee available on DVD/Blu Ray is Promising Young Woman, although there are nominees in other categories available in those formats.
If a film availability is “DVD on order,” it means the library has preordered copies, and the release date is not yet known. Availability is as of the publication date of this post, and is subject to change.

Native American Heritage

November is Native American Heritage Month. Celebrate by exploring works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and film by indigenous American authors from the SPL collection.

An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo (2019)
Check out the current Poet Laureate’s latest collection of poems, entwining reflections on her personal history with the history of her tribe.
“Rich and deeply engaging, An American Sunrise creates bridges of understanding while reminding readers to face and remember the past.”
Elizabeth Lund, Washington Post, 8/13/2019. Available in print and eaudiobook.
Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation.

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (1984)
Erdrich’s groundbreaking debut novel tells the interconnected stories of the Kashpaw and Lamartine families on a Chippewa reservation in Minnesota. Told from various points of view and spanning generations, it is recommended for fans of magical realism and character driven novels. Available in print only, but other titles by Erdrich are available in ebook and eaudio format from Hoopla and Overdrive.
Louise Erdrich is member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

There There by Tommy Orange (2018)
Preparing for the Big Oakland Powwow is no small feat. Orange effortlessly weaves together the distinct voices of his large cast of characters in this debut novel, illustrating both the diversity and commonality of experience of First Nations peoples through the various threads of story. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Available in print, cd audiobook, ebook, and eaudiobook.
Tommy Orange is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma.

Winter Counts by David Weiden (2020)
In this gritty thriller set on South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation, Virgil Wounded Horse is paid to dispense justice when the law can, or will, not. When his teenage nephew becomes involved with drugs, the issue becomes personal, and Virgil is drawn into a battle with the cartel that supplies the reservation. Compelling characters and the authentic portrayal of native life make this more than your standard vigilante hero fare. Available in print, ebook, and eaudiobook.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer (2019)
This nonfiction book provides a much needed counternarrative to the standard European American view of Native American history. A finalist for The National Book Award. Available in print, ebook, and eaudiobook.
David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota.
Also recommended: Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian, available in ebook and eaudiobook. “A deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact”–Overdrive description.

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie (2017)
Alexie, who won a National Book Award for his bestselling young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, processes the complicated relationship he had with his mother in this poignant and raw memoir. Available in print, cd audiobook, Playaway, ebook, and eaudiobook.
Sherman Alexie is a A Spokane/Coeur D’Alene Indian. 

Indian Horse (Film, 2017)
Saul Indian Horse is sent to a Canadian residential school as a young boy. Despite the deprivations and abuse he endures there, he discovers ice hockey and becomes a star player. The film is based on the 2012 novel by Richard Wagamese. Available in DVD.
Richard Wagamese was an Ojibwe from the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations.

Funny Scary Movies

Like some laughter with your suspense? Some giggles with your frights? Check out these quirky horror comedies from the SPL collection.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
A slacker must man up to save his friends and family from a zombie invasion. (DVD)

Ready or Not (2019)
To fit in with her husband’s family, a new bride must first survive her wedding night. (DVD and Blu-Ray)

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Five friends in a secluded cabin. What could go wrong? (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Coraline (2009)
A girl discovers a door into an alternate existence, but will she be able to find her way back home? Based on the book by Neil Gaiman. (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Happy Death Day (2017)
A college student is doomed to relive the day of her murder until she solves the identity of her killer. (DVD) Sequel alert: Happy Death Day to You (2019) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Get Out (2017)
When a young black man visits his white girlfriend’s family for a weekend, the meeting takes a terrifying turn. (DVD)

Young Frankenstein (1974)
Made more for laughs than frights, this film spoofs the Frankenstein story. (DVD)

What We Do In the Shadows (2015)
This mockumentary documents the “real life” of a group of modern day vampires. (DVD or stream through Hoopla)

From Page to Screen: Recent Book to Movie Adaptations

Everyone knows that the book is almost always better than the movie, but it is still compelling to see how the original is brought to life on the screen! Whether you prefer literary or classic fiction, young adult or horror, detective stories or thrillers, there is something for everyone in this list of movie adaptations from the last year or two. To read or to watch first? It’s up to you.

People who love heartwarming dog stories will enjoy Garth Stein’s 2008 bestselling novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain. Canine Enzo narrates the ups and downs in the life of his favorite human, Denny, an aspiring race car driver. Much of the story is told in flashbacks from the perspective of an aging Enzo, who believes he will be reincarnated as a man (and hopefully a race car driver) once he dies. The well-received 2019 film stars Milo Ventigliamo and features Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo.

The long-awaited follow up to Stephen King’s The Shining (1977), Doctor Sleep picks up many years later with an adult Danny Torrance, who has struggled with alcoholism in the wake of the traumatic events of his childhood at the Overlook Hotel. Now a hospice worker, he meets with a teen who shares his paranormal gifts. The two unite to fight a cult who would exploit their gift in order to achieve immortality. The 2019 film was directed by Mike Flanagan (creator of The Haunting of Hill House) and stars Ewan MacGregor.

A perennial favorite, Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma has made the journey from page to screen before, perhaps most memorably in 1995’s Clueless. The story of a rich, clever young woman who tries to act the matchmaker with her less fortunate friend, it combines witty social commentary with romantic tension and a comedy of manners. The 2020 version, directed by Autumn de Wilde, depicts a world of unconscious privilege for a select few that seems oddly contemporary, despite the Georgian England setting.

Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2013 novel The Goldfinch tells the story of Theo Decker, who loses his mother in a museum bombing at the tender age of thirteen. During the chaos of the event, he steals a painting (the titular Goldfinch), which he keeps as a physical reminder of his loss. The bestselling novel was adapted for the big screen and released in 2019. If you haven’t read the book yet, you may want to do so before watching the movie, as many who did not found the plot confusing.

In the engrossing thriller The Good Liar, a career con artist gets more than he expected when he attempts to swindle a wealthy widow. Nicholas Searle’s 2016 debut novel generated buzz when it was published in 2016. It was released as a motion picture in 2019, starring veteran actors Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen.

In Just Mercy, lawyer Bryan Stevenson recounts his real life experiences representing clients, most of whom are black and poor. His bestselling 2014 book exposed the injustices of the system, bringing much needed attention to the issues of systemic racial bias, mass incarceration, children being convicted as adults, and more. The 2019 movie (starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx) focuses on the wrongful conviction of Walter McMillan, who spent six years on death row for a crime he did not commit.

Another beloved classic that recently found its way to the screen once again, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women tells the story of the four March girls in the years following the Civil War. The appeal of the book has always been the strength of the book’s central female characters. Although they choose different paths, they are not relegated to the sidelines.  The critically acclaimed 2019 film, adapted and directed by Greta Gerwig, emphasizes the message of female empowerment. Nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay); won for Best Costume Design.

In Jonathan Lethem’s atmospheric detective story Motherless Brooklyn, private detective with Tourette’s Syndrome investigates the murder of his mentor/boss, a small time mobster.  The book was adapted for screen by Edward Norton, who also directed, produced, and starred in the 2019 motion picture. Set in 1950s New York, it’s a modern day film noir reminiscent of L.A. Confidential.

In Postcard Killers, NYPD detective Jack Kanon is on a tour of Europe’s most captivating cities, but he’s not just any tourist. Kanon is hunting his daughter’s killer, who has left a string of corpses through Europe. Bestselling authors James Patterson & Lisa Marklund teamed up for the 2010 novel, later adapted for screen as The Postcard Killings, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Famke Janssen.

The 1981 book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz is a collection of terrifying tales retold from American folklore. Illustrated with macabre drawings by Stephen Gammell, it served as a gateway to horror for generations of children and spawned two sequels. The 2019 movie, directed by Guillermo del Toro, brings to life six interwoven tales inspired from the original book collection. Bonus watch: Aficionados of Schwartz’s books will enjoy the documentary Scary Stories, which focuses on the history and impact of Schwartz’s books.

Natasha, a pragmatist whose family is in imminent danger of being deported to Jamaica, meets Daniel, son of immigrant parents, in The Sun is Also a Star. Is their meeting fate or coincidence, and which of the infinite possibilities that follow will come true? For fans of thoughtful romance. The 2016 bestselling young adult novel by Nicola Yoon was followed by the screen adaptation in 2019.

Bee’s mother has disappeared, and she is determined to find her. Maria Semple’s popular novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette?highlights the tension between women’s opposing roles in life, and shows the lengths one women will go to rediscover herself. The 2019 film was directed by Richard Linklater, and stars Cate Blanchett in the title role.

 

 

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.

Memorial Movies: War Films to Check Out for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day, previously known as Decoration Day, is widely thought to have begun after the Civil War as a means of remembering fallen soldiers. Over the years, the holiday has evolved, and is now widely considered the beginning of summer vacation. However, the holiday’s true meaning remains the remembrance and honoring of those who have died in the United States Armed Forces. In honor of those who have lost their lives protecting their country, here are a collection of films that offer tribute to these soldiers, and give an important glimpse into our past.

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