Scary movies

Once again, it's that time of the year when people actually want to be frightened out their minds. As far as scary movies are concerned, none are better than the suspenseful thrillers by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. Known as the "Master of suspense," Hitchcock understood better than anyone how to creation tension within a story and keep the viewer completely enthralled for the duration of a film. The library has a very good collection of Hitchcock films on DVD, including personal favorites Vertigo, Rebecca, Notorious, and Strangers on a Train.

Not Formatted to Fit Your TV Screen

As part of his "See What You've Been Missing" campaign, Martin Scorsese has compiled a list of what he considers the Top 10 Movies Best Viewed in Widescreen Format (the preffered format of AADL DVDs): 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ben-Hur (1958), Blade Runner, East of Eden, High and Low, Lawrence of Arabia, Lola Montes (on order), Once Upon a Time in the West, Some Came Running (not yet available on DVD), and Zulu. For more on widescreen vs. fullscreen click Read More, below.

A Brief History of Horror Film

Here are just a few of the high points in the history of cinematic horror...

1920: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: This German expressionist classic would go on to influence horror, science fiction, and film noir.

1922: Nosferatu: Actor Max Schrek, who took his role perhaps a little too seriously, is the creepiest vampire in film history. (Schrek's performance is memorably rendered by Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire.)

1925: Phantom of the Opera: Lon Chaney becomes the first major horror film star.

A Decade Under the Influence

For those of you who are tired of the films Hollywood is cranking out these days, you might want to look back to the films of the 70s for something refreshing. A good place to start would be watching A Decade Under the Influence, a recent documentary about these ground-breaking films and the people who created them. Even for those of you who already know your film history, it should be fun to watch interviews with legends like Scorsese, Coppola, Hopper, and Bogdanovich. Also coming soon to the library is the documentary based on Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: how the sex-drugs-and-rock 'n' roll generation saved Hollywood. So, what's your favorite film from the 70s?

Two new documentaries on Iran

10 is a portrait of contemporary Iran as seen through the eyes of one woman as she drives through the streets of Tehran over a period of several days. Her journey is comprised of ten conversations with various female passengers, and sheds light on the lives of women whose voices are seldom heard. In Mystic Iran: The Unseen World, Aryana Farshad explores the religious rituals and traditions of her native Iran that have fascinated the Western world for centuries.

American Graffiti

Brother from Another Planet, starring Joe Morton and directed by John Sayles, comments on stepping outside color and observing culture simultaneously. This engenders the process that allows one to fully identify with what society deems adequate behavior. Even though the main character of the movie is unfamiliar with his new environment he quickly learns how to dress according to community standard and the consequences of reacting inappropriately. The most interesting part of the story includes the background graffiti. Harlem's graffiti allows the main character to exhibit his voice through tagging.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast cancer ribbon

Here are some of the titles available on VHS and DVD: Breast Cancer Journey, a PBS film which explores the emotional journey of 17 women who have had breast cancer; Breast Self Exam and Breast Health; Will Mom Be OK? Families Talk about Breast Cancer; and Fighting For Our Future, which features the stories of young women in their 20's and 30's battling breast cancer who are often misdiagnosed and are determined to make changes.

Is it safe? Is it safe?

Do you really hate going to the dentist? Well, I guarantee that you don't hate it as much as Dustin Hoffman's character in The Marathon Man. Directed by John Schlesinger, who also directed Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, this thriller features one of the classic torture scenes in all of film history. After experiencing it, you'll definitely be yearning for the sound of silence.

Go to the head of the class

Make sure you've read the book before you see the movie. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe opens on December 9, 2005. This is sure to be popular.

Functional Filmmaking

When is a film more than just a movie? When the subject is portrayed in a way that the audience is forced to rethink their opinions? Try again. Randall Adams would contend that The Thin Blue Line had more of an effect on the world than any other. Adams was pardoned and released from Death Row as a direct result of this film by legendary documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. TBL was recently released on DVD as part of The Errol Morris Collection. Original music by Philip Glass.

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