Staff Picks for DVD/Video
Watching the award-winning, visually beautiful documentary Buck is a great way to spend 90 minutes. It tells the real-life story of horse trainer Buck Brannaman, who is the inspiration for the main character in the novel by Nicholas Evans (and the Robert Redford movie) ĎThe Horse Whispererí. The film is rich with footage of his numerous clinics conducted all around the country. Itís interesting to hear about and watch his technique with horses. Brannaman had a very sad childhood; the fear he felt as a child enables him to identify with the fear a horse feels when being trained. Not only is this a great movie about horses, it reaches deep into Buckís life, showing the audience how he was able to take deep personal wounds and transfer those hurts into a positive beautiful life. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Recommended by Nila
This series, which first appeared on television in the UK in 2005, is an eclectic look at history, geography, culture, economics and natural sciences, built on the framework of the coastline of the British Isles and surrounding countries. Multiple enthusiastic hosts travel a section of coastline in each episode, and the places they visit inspire mini-lessons on a wide variety of topics, often with the help of local experts. I learned several new things when I watched this series, and got more background on some topics I only knew a little bit about. Given how much coastline we have in Alaska, it would be great if someone would do the same thing here.
Recommended by Catherine
|George R. R. Martin|
This series is an original HBO production based on the first book in a fantasy series by the author George R.R. Martin. Elements of a medieval kingdom combine with fantasy to produce a story of courtly intrigue and civil war. King Robert Baratheon is fighting to maintain control of his kingdom, while across the Narrow Sea the heirs of the former king plot to invade and overthrow him. King Robert chooses Ned Stark, an old friend, to be "The Hand of the King", doing his bidding and controlling his subjects. The story takes place in a massive territory stretching from the North, where The Wall protects the kingdom from the dark forces of White Walkers and Direwolves, to the South, where plots and intrigue are bred in the heat, to the savage lands of the Eastern kingdom. Threatened on all sides, will the Kingdom stand or fall? Great characters, an intriguing story and a glorious production combine to make this a must-see! If you want to know what happens next and can't wait for the next season, try the books by George R.R. Martin. The library has them all!
Please be aware, as in many HBO productions, this series contains a fair bit of sex and violence, and may not be suitable for all audiences.
Recommended by Suzi
The famous director Akira Kurosawa produced several internationally renowned films, and Rashomon is one of his best works. Set in feudal Japan, a woodcutter, priest, and commoner shelter beneath the Rashomon temple gate to keep out of the rain. To pass the time, the woodcutter tells a story about when he had found the body of a murdered samurai a few days before. Both he and the priest had been called to testify at the trial, where a bandit and the samuraiís wife were being held. The problem is that the bandit, the samuraiís wife, and the ghost of the samurai himself, summoned by a medium, all admit to guilt for the samuraiís death. The farmer himself also proves to be more involved in the situation than he had let on, as a plot twist at the end shows. The film takes a deep look at human nature, especially focusing on the determination of guilt and innocence and how personal viewpoints complicate otherwise straightforward situations.
Recommended by Jenna
What do British Historian Arnold J. Toynbee, the Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a short play by David Mamet, 4 A.M, have in common?
Join artist and DIY sleuth Justin Duerr in this offbeat documentary to uncover the origin of the Toynbee tiles; cryptic messages secretly implanted on the streets of the United States and South America.
I enjoyed this documentary for the suspense of watching the mystery unfold and my fascination with eccentric people.
Recommended by Lynn
On Thanksgiving day, 1976, The Band, which may be best known for touring and recording with Bob Dylan during the '60s and '70s, gave a farewell concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Martin Scorsese filmed that concert, as well as several studio recordings and interviews with band members, and the result is this amazing film, which is practically a who's who of mid-20th century rock and roll (and blues and country) musicians, featuring performances by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris and many more. If you like this, check out Scorsese's most recent concert film, Shine a Light, featuring the Rolling Stones.
Recommended by Catherine
Two thumbs way up! Drama set in post Katrina New Orleans featuring great music and great cast.
Recommended by Suzi
The stories in this DVD are based on the Henning Mankell books featuring Swedish detective Kurt Wallander. Dark, atmospheric murder mysteries that will keep you guessing to the end. Wallander, played by Kenneth Branagh, struggles with his relationships with both his daughter and his father, against this background, he solves some of Sweden's most heinous crimes. If you read and liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I would recommend this series. The DVD contains 3 different episodes.
Juneau Public Library also has several of the original Henning Mankell books featuring Wallander available.
Recommended by Suzi
Wilby Wonderful is a film from director, writer, playwright, and actor Daniel MacIvor. This web-of-life drama with a dark comedic edge takes place in a small town on the fictional island of Wilby, somewhere off the coast of Nova Scotia. The film follows a cast of characters (played by a veritable who's who of Canadian cinema) over the course of a single day.
I first watched the film because Callum Keith Rennie is in it. I have an enduring crush on him and have watched a lot of films he's in which I won't be recommending. The film is really more a series of character sketches than a narrative, all put together and tied with quiet Canadian irony.
I like this film, it entertains and makes you care about the characters. There are even actors known in the States, like Sandra Oh and Ellen Page. And there's Callum who is doing a rare sweet romantic role. Pop some popcorn and enjoy.
Recommended by LouAnn