New DVD List: Everything Everywhere All at Once & More

Posted on Friday, August 12, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

Everything Everywhere All At Once dvd cover
Website / Reviews
Evelyn Wang, a flustered immigrant mother, is contacted from a parallel universe and told that only she can save the world. The unlikely hero must learn to channel her newfound powers and fight through the splintering timelines of the multiverse to save her home, her family, and herself in this big-hearted and irreverent adventure. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert co-write and co-direct this adventure-comedy. Continue reading “New DVD List: Everything Everywhere All at Once & More”

New DVD List: Hacks, the Northman, & More

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.


Season 1 
Website / Reviews 
In this series a waning comedy legend (Jean Smart) and an entitled young writer (Hannah Einbinder) must put aside their differences to save their careers. The reluctant pact for mutual professional survival and the generational friction that follows fuels this engaging HBO comedy-drama. Continue reading “New DVD List: Hacks, the Northman, & More”

New DVD List: Licorice Pizza, Kurt Vonnegut, & More

Posted on Friday, June 10, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

Licorice Pizza dvd cover
Website / Reviews 
This Oscar-nominated drama is the story of Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973. Written and Directed by heralded filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, this potent coming-of-age drama tracks the treacherous navigation of first love. Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper, Tom Waits and Benny Safdie also star. Continue reading “New DVD List: Licorice Pizza, Kurt Vonnegut, & More”

New DVD List: “C’mon C’mon,” “Attica” & More

Posted on Friday, May 20, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

C'mon C'mon dvd cover
Website / Reviews 
In this drama from writer-director Mike Mills, radio host Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) receives a call from his sister Viv (Gaby Hoffman), asking him to temporarily take care of her son Jesse (Woody Norman). They forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown together in this delicate and deeply moving story about the connections between adults and children, the past and the future. Continue reading “New DVD List: “C’mon C’mon,” “Attica” & More”

New DVD List: West Side Story & More

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

photo of Tony and Maria from West Side Story holding hands while members of each group stand behind them in a V formation

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

West Side Story dvd cover
Website / Reviews 
Directed by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tony Kushner, this musical tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love. Love at first sight strikes when young Tony spots Maria at a high school dance in 1957 New York City. Their burgeoning romance helps to fuel the fire between the warring Jets and Sharks — two rival gangs vying for control of the streets. Continue reading “New DVD List: West Side Story & More”

New DVD List: Summer Of Soul, King Richard, & More

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.


Website / Reviews 
Playing at last year’s True False Film Fest, this music documentary is part music film, part historical record created around an epic 1969 event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, it features unpublished footage of performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension, and more. Continue reading “New DVD List: Summer Of Soul, King Richard, & More”

The Dark Mirror: A Documentary Look at Horror Film

Posted on Friday, March 11, 2022 by Abbey Rimel

In honor of the “documentary season” that now rolls around every March thanks to the T/F Film Festival, I give you some well-documented horror. In addition to documentaries available freely through the library, I include some things from other sources, just because there’s so much out there (and it’s so darn fun). A few of these titles were hard to find, might only be available on Amazon or Hulu. One pleasant surprise is that the library’s free streaming service, Kanopy is a rich resource for horror documentaries, so avail yourself of that service immediately!

100 years of horror

100 Years of Horror

Hosted by my daughter’s favorite Count Dracula, Christopher Lee, this horror documentary television series provides a healthy dose of footage and commentary from well known horror actors, producers and directors like Roger Corman, Robert Wise, Bela Lugosi, Jr. and Sara Karloff (speaking for their fathers). I’m still puzzled as to what Playboy Magazine publisher Hugh Hefner is doing in this documentary, but maybe I’m missing something?

“78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene” 

Available through Hulu, this is an exhaustive, frame by frame film nerd’s look at how Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror film “Psycho” changed the history of film. All the little details, from the Bernard Herrmann score, to the chocolate syrup running down the tub drain, are discussed in extreme detail. From the time the shower scene began, the audience would see 78 shots, cut 52 times, carefully chosen to show a convincing and viscerally affecting murder. Something audiences had never seen before. 

I grew a little weary of listening to mostly men talk at length about the on screen murder of a naked woman. If there had been a few more women to explore this aspect of the scene and how the film further opened the door to sexualization and objectification of women in pop culture, I would consider it a well rounded documentary. Still, it’s worth hanging on to the end for the wildly diverse montage of shower scenes paying homage to Hitchcock and his iconic scene.

Birth of the Living Dead - Wikipedia

Birth of the Living Dead

Did you know that “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” played a part in the genesis of “The Night of the Living Dead”? Shocking as it may sound, this and many other fun facts are revealed in “Birth of the Living Dead,” the story of the low-low-low budget horror film that spawned a worldwide zombie obsession. This documentary features commentary from many of the original cast and crew as well as the highly engaging and potty-mouthed director, George Romero himself.

In 1967, inspired by the novel “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson, Romero wrote a zombie movie script and raised about $6,000 with 10 of his closest friends to go shoot a horror film in Pittsburgh, PA. Many of the actors/zombies in the film also served on the crew as investors, producers, make-up artists and the like. The amateur crew were all-in and willing to do whatever it took to make the film, including chomping on raw animal entrails and getting set on fire without any protective gear. The social and political backdrop at the time of the filming gets a fair amount of air time, specifically how audiences reacted to the black protagonist. Hop on Kanopy and enjoy this fascinating treatment of an equally fascinating part of horror history. 

Watch Fury Of The Demon | Prime Video

Fury of the Demon

The compelling opening of this documentary features eye-witness accounts of the events surrounding a film screening in 2012 at the Musee Grevin. The unknown film is rumored to be the work of cinema pioneer, Georges Melies, “La rage du Demon.” A select group of film industry luminaries arrive, only knowing that this mysterious silent film had long been lost to history and and rediscovered by reclusive American film collector Edgar Allan Wallace. When the film rolls, all hell breaks loose. Ushers, museum workers and spectators describe horned skeletons and other terrible images on the screen, people attacking each other and running from the auditorium. One unfortunate soul even dies of a heart attack. In the aftermath, the film reel disappears, never to be seen again. Truly, this sounds like the greatest horror film ever made.

The twist, which you will quickly suspect, is never openly revealed to the viewer. I won’t tell you here, because I think you’ll enjoy figuring it out for yourself. In the meantime, director Fabien Delage provides a highly engaging film history. Georges Melies, famous for his film “Trip to the Moon,” was a French illusionist of the late 1800’s who turned to the nascent medium of film as a logical extension of his creative endeavors. The question of whether “La rage du Demon” is even his creation or perhaps the creation of his occultist protege is debated throughout. How does this film have such power over the viewing audience? What was the fate of the film reel itself? I bet you’re googling it already!

 

“Hail to the Deadites”

This Amazon 99 cent rental is an energetic and fan-driven tribute to the Evil Dead franchise. Once upon a sleepover, my best friend and I asked the video store clerk for the scariest movie in the store and he handed us “Evil Dead.” We got home, waited for her parents to go to bed, turned out the lights and popped it in the VCR. Hapless young people all set for a fun stay in a remote cabin play a tape recording of a passage from the Necromonicon, the book of the dead. (Of course.) Evil demons are summoned and then the real fun begins. I can remember my girlfriend finding it stupid and not that scary, but I loved watching our hero Ash kick demon butt and make snarky comments. I suppose a lot of people had a similar experience and somehow connected to the relentlessly gory trilogy. For many fans, the films inspired imitation, cosplay and even film careers. Just remember, there’s no point in coming to the library and requesting the Necronomicon. It doesn’t exist … right?

 

Horror Noire

Horror Noire: a History of Black Horror

Popular culture is a reflection of attitudes about race. Horror is no exception. Over the history of horror, roles played by people of color were often trivialized or objects of derision, however we learn in this documentary that horror has begun to serve as a representational space for Black people to challenge the more negative, or racist images seen in other media. “Night of the Living Dead,” the Blacula franchise of movies and “Candyman” were all notable films that featured a powerful black lead. While many of these films were still problematic, they served as starting points to show people of color images of themselves that didn’t fit into the old tropes of “the first character to die,” “the best friend but never the lead” or relegate them to caricatures and negative stereotypes. The evolution continues with many Black filmmakers taking creative roles and producing films that tell Black stories from an authentic Black perspective.

 

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy

“Never Sleep Again” is available on YouTube. It goes into painstaking detail of each “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie sequel and even that terrible t.v. show they did in the late 80’s (“Freddy’s Nightmares”). This is a very “warts and all” approach to the franchise that also makes it evident that making a horror film is a wild ride of special effects experimentation and inventing exciting new ways to kill characters, including Freddy. I enjoyed the first two or three sequels, myself, so I could get into it. Unfortunately, just like the never-ending sequels, the documentary becomes rather tiresome. If you try to watch this all the way through, you may never sleep again, because it’s 4 hours long!

 

Nightmares in red white and blue

Nightmares in Red White and Blue” 

This survey of American horror film from the early 20th century to the first decade of the 21st is available in our collection and also via Amazon Prime with commercials. Interviews with horror film luminaries like George Romero, Guillermo Del Toro, John Carpenter and Roger Corman provide insights into how these films reflect the fears of the day. My favorite quote: “Stephen King is the horror version of Norman Rockwell.” (What?) Watch this documentary and dazzle/annoy friends with your encyclopedic knowledge of the horror genre. Fun fact, Kevin Bacon starred in the first “Friday the 13th” in 1980. That guy is everywhere!

 

Room 237

Room 237

I include this title more as a disclaimer than an endorsement. If you pick up “Room 237” in the hopes that it might provide some “making of” insight into Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” you will be greatly disappointed. What you will find instead is a voice over narration of footage from “The Shining” and several other Kubrick films, accompanied by a few pretty far-out theories about what the movie was really about. These enthusiastic Kubrick fans’ main objective seemed to be proving that “The Shining” wasn’t really a horror film, it was instead a grand statement about the very nature of existence, it was about the holocaust, or it was about the brutal treatment and systematic destruction of native American peoples and their culture. Spotting a German typewriter or a can of Calumet baking powder in the background was all these folks needed to back up their theories and while I don’t doubt that Kubrick was a very intentional and extraordinary filmmaker, I think he has the last laugh in this instance. If only he were here to see people drive themselves to distraction over the placement of a chair or the appearance of a cartoon character sticker on a child’s bedroom door. Yeah, it’s an award winning documentary, but it just felt a little high on style and low on substance.

 

woodlands dark and days bewtiched

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

This extraordinary documentary can be found on Kanopy. It’s like a doctoral dissertation on folk horror. Punctuated throughout with atmospheric illustrations and poetic narration, the film starts with an overview of the three movies first considered folk horror “The Witchfinder General,” “Blood on Satan’s Claw” and “The Wicker Man.” As we explore English, American, and world folk horror, various experts (and I had no idea how many there were) take stabs at defining what exactly is this thing we call folk horror? Is it the revenge of a bloody history beneath the facade of civility? Does it always focus on the people’s relationships to the land? One thing many of them seem to agree upon is that folk horror plots often hinge upon a clashing of old and new culture:  the indigenous vs. colonial, urban vs. rural, pre-Christian vs. Christian faiths. All the while, footage from hundreds of examples of folk horror roll across your screen. Even if you’re not a big fan of folk horror and all of its witchy-weird paganesque elements, you may find this documentary a very interesting lens through which to see human history.

New DVD List: Dune, Brian Wilson, & More

Posted on Friday, February 18, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.


Website / Reviews 
Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Blade Runner 2049”) directs part one of this adaptation of Frank Herbert’s bestselling book. Paul Atreides must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive. Continue reading “New DVD List: Dune, Brian Wilson, & More”

New DVD List: One Night in Miami, Tina, & More

Posted on Monday, January 24, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.


Website / Reviews
This feature film is a fictional account of February 25th, 1964, where four icons at the forefront of Black American culture, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural turmoil of the ’60s. Adapted by Kemp Powers from his acclaimed play, this film is the feature directorial debut of Academy Award–winning actor Regina King. Continue reading “New DVD List: One Night in Miami, Tina, & More”