Thursday, July 5, 2012
What the Librarian Saw -- Or, Some Recent DVDs You Can Find at the Library
by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Have you been staying out of the heat? We’ve been hearing from quite a few people that they have been checking out books and movies because they’d rather sit still in the house than go outside and do anything in the heat and humidity. We get new movies and TV series on DVD at the library all the time. I’ll tell you about a few of them that I’ve watched lately, so that you might get some ideas about ones you’d like to watch.
Over the 4th of July, my husband and I watched the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. Neither of us has read the books, which have been wildly popular. I wanted to watch the movie to get a feel for the characters and the story. We knew going in that it is a gritty and dark story, and we did find it uncomfortably violent at times; in fact, sometimes we skipped ahead. The mystery was interesting, as were the characters, almost all of which are quite emotionally detached and damaged in some way. Lisbeth Salander appears to operate with a goal of revenge rather than justice. But even with the action, I felt it dragged on too long at the end. It would be interesting to compare it to the Swedish version, which the library also has on DVD – but I’m not interested enough to watch the story again. The movie is rated R.
I recently watched another movie based on another bestseller we haven’t been able to keep on the library’s shelves for many, many months: The Help. It looked like a chick flick, so I watched it with my daughters on a rare occasion when my husband was out of town. I’d heard that it is very mild for a PG-13 rating, and I agree that language was really the only issue. My preteen daughter did enjoy it. I have to admit that this is another book I’ve not read but, after watching the movie, I want to. The characters are wonderful (and in some cases, horrible), the relationships between the women are interesting, and the civil rights story is compelling. It brought tears to my eyes several times. I guess that does sound like a chick flick. It has an all-star cast, including Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson, and Sissy Spacek. You can find the DVD at our library.
I find it difficult to watch a movie without staying up too late, but we like to veg out in front of the television at the end of the evening. I don’t know if I should admit this when I work at the library, but most of what I watch is television series, streamed on Netflix. One of the things I like about Netflix is its recommendation engine. It has led us to TV shows that we wouldn’t have watched that we’ve enjoyed very much. One of those series is Eureka, which is available on DVD at the library. This Syfy channel series is about a hidden scientific community of geniuses in the Pacific Northwest, and the ordinary law enforcement officer who stumbles upon them and stays. Sheriff Jack Carter, played by Colin Ferguson, is always solving the wacky situations that arise when the cutting edge technology inevitably malfunctions. It’s a pretty lighthearted, goofball show most of the time, with some surprisingly serious moments. It's rated TV-14.
A British period soap, a fantasy epic, a science fiction comedy, a civil rights drama focused on women’s relationships, and an edgy Swedish mystery: is there anything here for you? You can find these and many more at the library.