by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
It’s bound to get hot again, though, and sometimes it’s nice to lie around indoors and watch a movie or a TV series. The Litchfield library has a number of new DVDs for you to check out in the dog days of August.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert was aired on NBC on Easter Sunday, and now it’s on DVD. It has been nominated for thirteen Emmy awards. This was a live, concert-like version of the musical, with an enthusiastic audience that helped add to the show’s theme of celebrity. Brandon Victor Dixon gave an exceptional performance as Judas, showing his stage prowess in both acting and singing. Sara Bareilles was also outstanding as Mary Magdalene. John Legend’s acting disappointed some viewers, but the pop singer certainly sang it well. If you like musicals but can’t stand to watch the dated 1973 movie version (I've tried - I just can't), I’d encourage you to try watching this one. My daughters and I greatly enjoyed it, and now I listen to the soundtrack regularly.
The Magicians is a fantasy television show based on the book series by Lev Grossman. It airs on Syfy. Our library just added the third season, but you can start at the beginning since we have all three. The concept is as if Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books were a college, with all of the rowdy behavior that can go along with that. Quentin is an ordinary grad student who is a lifelong fan of a series of books that bear a strong resemblance to the Chronicles of Narnia, and when he is accepted to the secret, magical Brakebills University, he discovers how real (and dangerous) those books are. Despite the echoes of Narnia and Harry Potter, this is definitely a show for adults who don’t mind an edgy story.
Ready Player One is the movie adaptation of the sci fi novel by Ernest Cline. In the near future, the world is a bleak place, so people spend much of their time in the virtual world called the OASIS. When the creator of OASIS dies, he leaves behind clues to a puzzle, and the person who solves it will inherit his fortune and control of the OASIS. Poverty-stricken orphan Wade attempts to beat the corporate forces also trying for the prize, while he connects with others in the virtual world. When I watched this movie, I was afraid at the beginning that it was only going to be about playing video games, which I don’t do. But the plot is broader and more entertaining than that, although the movie is as fast-paced and visually-busy as a video game.
Chappaquiddick is a new movie about an infamous event in the life of Ted Kennedy: the drowning of political strategist Mary Jo Kopechne that happened when Kennedy drove off a bridge in 1969. Based on accounts documented in the investigation of Kopechne’s death, the movie examines not only the events but the people involved. Critics mostly liked it as a character study and a look at how powerful people influence public opinion.
Other new DVDs you can check out at the Litchfield library include Final Portrait, a Geoffrey Rush movie about a portrait artist in the ‘60s, Civilizations, a PBS documentary series about the history of art, Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs about a group of quarantined dogs, and the popular religious film, Paul, Apostle of Christ.