Welcome to the DFL's new go to blog about music and movies! Here at the Duxbury Free Library we have a wide array of movies in all genres from Action and Adventure to Comedy and Horror. We also have a ton of television shows including new seasons of True Blood, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and of course Downton Abbey. So if anyone is like me and is saddened by the demise of movie rental stores, fear not! The DFL is the place for all your video rental needs. As if a great selection of DVD's wasn't enough, the DFL also has a fantastic selection of CD's covering all styles of music from all eras. Be sure to check in and see reviews and write ups on some of the best music and movies, new and old, that the DFL has just waiting for you to take out

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Terminator Genisys is a Successful Return to Form

What year is it?  Who’s aware of Skynet?  Is it still called Skynet?!  Just some of the questions that were flying through my head as I dove head first into the new Ahhnold action flick Terminator Genisys.  Initially I thought the film was going to be a straight remake.  The movie opens with John Connor leading a resistance army against the Skynet mainframe in an attempt to destroy to the sentient machines once and for all.  Having acknowledged its potential impending destruction, Skynet activates a time machine and sends a brand new T-800 (that’s young Arnold) back in time to murder Sarah Connor in an attempt to prevent the birth of John.  John’s right hand man Kyle Reese promptly volunteers to follow suit and protect Sarah.  This is essentially how the first Terminator film begins and as such I thought we were getting a remake. 
However, because there has been so much time traveling over the course of the franchise, the film took an interesting route. The space time continuum is so altered, that when Reese returns to the 1980’s to save Sarah she is already aware of Skynet and is waiting with an aging T-800 (current, post Governator Arnold) at her side as a reprogrammed bodyguard.  The three then have to decide how best to take out Skynet in the past (or the future?) whilst interpreting alternate time line visions in Reese’s dreams and running from a T-1000 (liquid metal baddie from T2).  More advance Terminator models later join the pursuit culminating in an interesting twist. 
Overall, I felt the film was very successful.  I was skeptical that Arnold was going to feel out of place and overly campy and yet he pulled off his role incredibly well.  Treating him as an aging T-800 was a brilliant ploy and fit nicely with the rest of the cast of characters.  Additionally, the film truly hearkened back to the originals which is something Terminator 3 and Terminator: Rise of the Machines failed to do. As such, those last two felt more like stand-alone films and less a continuation of the Terminator timeline.  Jai Courtney’s rendition of Kyle Reese was fine but took a back seat to Swartzenegger and Emilia Clarke’s Sarah Connor.  Clarke was a pleasant surprise as I felt her role as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones would be hard overlook despite her change in hair color.  But she was a totally believable Sarah Connor.  In the end, the film was a nice return to form and saw many aspects acting as homages to the original 1980’s classics.  While there are obvious questions, like why the machines would send back an easily destroyed T-800 to kill Connor when significantly more advanced units are available,  the film should be taken for what it is: an classic style action flick with Arnold Swartzenegger kicking ass and taking names…and some other stuff thrown in there too.  With an open ending courtesy of a surprise mid credit scene (wait for it!) it is safe to say that this franchise….will be back. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Today's Playlist

1. Womb Gold - Stickers
2. Born Good - IAN
3. It's Nice - Screaming Females
4. Don't Lose Touch - Against Me!
5. Before Your Time - INFJ
6. Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth - Teenage Cool Kids
7. Tech Bro - Childbirth
8. Rain - Ava Luna
9. The Funeral - Band of Horses
10. Ride Your Heart - Bleached

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

25 Best Horror Movies Since 2000

Horror has long been a genre that has captivated humankind.  We like to be scared, there's no way around it.  The rush, the jump, the hands over your eyes, the edge of your seat; all are sought after feelings which keep many people coming back for more.  If you're one of those people who doesn't like horror movies because they scare you then you are missing the point entirely.  That is what they are supposed to do! You wouldn't say, I don't like comedies because they make me laugh right?  At the end of the day, a horror movie that doesn't scare you or at least leave you feeling a little uneasy is a BAD HORROR MOVIE.  That being said, there have been quite a few INCREDIBLE horror films over the course of the last 15 years since we left the slasher flicks of the 80's and 90's behind in favor of more subtle, nuanced fright fests.  AV Club has compiled their picks for the 25 best horror films since the year 2000 and I have to say, the list is pretty great.  Many are foreign, because in case you didn't know, they are almost always better than American made horror as they rarely conform to the intense capitalist agenda that holds sway over everything in this country.  My point is their focus isn't as entirely set on making the next breakout hit.  From zombie sleeper hits like 28 Days Later and it's sequel to period pieces like The Others (Nicole Kidman's best film in my opinion) to monster movies like The Host the list is a comprehensive overview of the best of the best.  Yes, hits like SawInsidious, and Paranormal Activity are left off but that is purposeful.  The point is that while those films are great, there is gold out there beyond what Hollywood spends millions on to market.  So check out some of these sleeper hits and obscurities.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Best Horror Films Since 2000

Modern Horror Trends

As is the case with anything, movies are about making money.  As such, after the commercial success of one or two films that adhere to a certain genre, there is inevitably a trend which develops as Hollywood tries to cash in on whatever is popular.  As we approach Halloween this weekend it seemed only appropriate to have a couple horror themed posts the first of which is an article which I've linked to below from AV Club which details the extent to which horror trends are representative of not just the current generation, but of society as a whole.  The essay uses The Babadook and It Follows as examples of a current trend of horror in the 2010's.  One of hopelessness and a never ending sense of doom and dread.  It's an interesting read and gets you thinking about all the scary flicks from past and present that you'll no doubt be gorging on in the coming days.

New Age of Horror

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hoopla Has Novels Too!!

Beyond the outstanding catalog of music and movies on Hoopla, there is also an ever expanding catalog of books, audio books, and graphic novels.  For some suggestions of where to start, check out the DFL's book blog From Austen to Zusak!!!

From Austen to Zusak

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hoopla Highlights - Music

Hoopla is only 5 days away from launching here at the DFL and I’m already planning my first checkouts.  Last week I highlighted some of the great films Hoopla has in their ever expanding catalog and today, I’ll pick out five albums currently available in their massive music library.  While the albums I’ve chosen today are all new, one of the best aspects of Hoopla is their back catalog.  There are some truly unique, bizarre, and hard to find albums available on the streaming service and while the albums below are fantastic, definitely take advantage of the long list of older albums as they would be hard to find anywhere else.

Honeymoon – Lana Del Rey (2015)

The latest from moody, ethereal alterna-pop star Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon is a tad more uplifting than here previous efforts drawing influences from an eclectic range of genres including jazz and hip hop.  While coming under fire for some controversial comments about suicide earlier this year, the singer is no doubt a talented force in the diluted pop landscape of the 2010’s.

Dodge and Burn – The Dead Weather (2015)

Everyone has heard of Jack White, and the majority are familiar with his most successful foray into the world of rock music as half of the powerful duo The White Stipes in the early aughts.  Fewer people are familiar with some of his side projects, including the roots rock fueled Dead Weather whose third album Dodge and Burn was finally released this year.  White takes a back seat to the other three members and takes on multiple duties playing both guitar and drums as well as providing vocals on some tracks.  If you’ve ever questioned White’s musical flexibility and prowess, look no further than The Dead Weather.

23 Live Sex Acts – Against Me! (2015)

Against Me! is no doubt one of my favorite “modern” punk bands.  They’ve never sacrificed their genuine love and appreciation for the genre while still taking classic sounds and transforming them for a new generation of punks.  This album which compiles live tracks that span the bands career and were recorded at a variety of venues is a MUST LISTEN for fans of the band, or punk music in general.    After coming out as transgender, singer Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gable) defied the musical landscape of which she was a part and became a beacon of hope for women and LGBTQ supporters in a scene which has been largely unaccepting in the past.  In that way, she reminded us all of what the genre is really about.

1989 – Ryan Adams (2015)

Ryan Adams is certainly an anomaly.  Having performed songs which span a wide array of genres, the singer songwriter decided to descend into the world of pop music for his latest release.  The album is a track by track cover of Taylor Swifts critically acclaimed album “1989”, albeit with a much harsher tone.  The country fueled alternative rock interpretations of Swifts songs highlight almost every genre Adam’s has been associated with in the past and in that sense, covering Swifts songs seems almost too easy for the 40 year old rocker.  Released to widely positive reviews, this is an album for fans of so many kinds of music and may be just what Swift haters need to acknowledge the young songwriters talents.

Beyond the Pale – Jim Gaffigan (2006)

While not a music album, I felt it important to highlight Hoopla’s variety of comedy albums which are interfiled with their music selection.  Nearly a decade old, Jim Gaffigan’s Beyond the Pale was the comedians sixth to date and certainly one of his funniest.  In the dry, soft, often sarcastic tone which has come to define the comedian’s sets, Gaffigan offers insights into a wide array of topics including hot pockets, vegetarians, and heaven.  If you’re not familiar with him, this is a fantastic intro to his catalog.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Today's Playlist

1. My Mother Tells Me - Haybaby
2. Skin - Pinkwash
3. Rocket Man - Elton John
4. I Don't Care - Grave Ideas
5. Parenthetical Press Kit - ESH the Monolith
6. Rudderless - The Lemonheads
7. Green Eyes - Coldplay
8. Pop Punk Mutiny - Arm Candy
9. Better Bet - Gravel
10. Perfect Love - Radio Control

Hoopla Highlights - Movies

Hoopla is set to launch here at the DFL on October 19th!  There are SO MANY amazing films to see and with no holds or waiting, you can watch wherever you want, whenever you want.  Below is a small sampling of the large selection of movies in all genres that will be available to all DFL library card holders.  Next week I'll profile some of the incredible music selection available just before we go live.  Time to get excited!


Nominated for several Academy Awards, this incredible true story about a mothers half century long search for her adopted son will make you laugh and pull at your heartstrings all at once.  Judy Dench and Steve Coogan have a magical chemistry and provide us with a film that transcends the medium.

Django Unchained

This Quentin Tarantino directed “Western” stars Jamie Foxx as escaped slave Django who enters into an agreement with bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in an attempt to rescue his wife from the clutches of an evil slaveholder named Calvin Candie.  The supporting roles by Christopher Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio are stupendous and the films storyline is both unique, refreshing, and action packed.  Tatantino’s style is easily recognizable and makes the 2 hour+ timeline fly by.  You find yourself anxiously awaiting the next turn of events throughout each and every scene; truly a cinematic triumph.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

The life of Nelson Mandela is a difficult one to portray.  His story was one marred by tragedy and wrongful persecution.  And yet his triumph is an uplifting ray of hope amidst so much suffering.  Idris Elba’s portrayal of the South African president before, during and after the horrors of apartheid is an incredible achievement.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

This heist movie gone rogue has achieved a level of cult success since its initial release in 1998 and has an intriguing and unqiue plot which keeps you guessing up until the very end.  While the sheer number of characters and complex storyline leave you confused at times, all is made clear by the films climax.  The movie feels like a dirty, British version of any number of more mainstream crime films albeit with a grittier aesthetic.  Jason Statham is in his element, long before he was the heartthrob with an accent in The Italian Job.

Return to the Wild

The story of Christopher McCandless is one of tragedy and inspiration.  It’s a tale of life itself and what it means to be alive.  This documentary film examines the popular book “Into the Wild” which tells the tale of the young McCandless’ trek into the Alaskan wilderness and subsequent death from starvation.  With new interviews, letters, and personal accounts, the film sheds new light on the life of a young man who in the words of Henry David Thoreau, just wanted trek into the woods and live deliberately.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mad Max Fury Road Was a Major Disappointment

Let me just say that if I ran Barter Town, I wouldn’t trade half a dirt clod for the abomination that is the Mad Max reboot Fury Road.  Before we break down all the things this movie did wrong, I just wanted to make that clear.  Let’s get the one positive thing straight up front; the movie’s effects were great and the post-apocalyptic vehicles they constructed were indeed, very cool and a great homage to 1981’s The Road Warrior.  But the nice comments stop there. 
The film was completely devoid of plot, dialogue, and subtext. It was essentially one, long (two hour!!) continuous car chase.  I wish that was an exaggeration.  Tom Hardy’s rendition of Mel Gibson’s titular character was appalling.  He came across more like an escaped, mumbling convict with brain damage than the heroic waste lander with a devastating past I was hoping for.  While his past is checkered as evidenced by random flashbacks he has of some traumatic experience and a girl whom we assume Max couldn’t save, the details end there.  We never get any background or context or explanation of what these visions represent. 
On top of that, Charlize Theron’s character has some sort of standing with the evil warlord who runs a solitary, desolate community by controlling the only water source for miles, but we don’t ever find out what their relationship is.  He allows her to drive his massive war vehicle full of water to trade for fuel and bullets (a very important duty) despite the fact that she has admittedly tried to defy him in the past.  On this particular run (the one which takes up the entirety of the film) she decides to attempt to rescue the young women who essentially serve as the warlords baby factories.  Upon the discovery of her treachery he sets out with all of his forces to safely apprehend his "wives" and kill Theron.  After initially being captured by the evil, mutated(?) army of the warlord, Max manages to break free during the beginnings of the chase and join up with Theron’s motley crew of blond, scantily clad escapees. Once the rulers of Bullet Town and Gas Town (two places we never get to see or learn about) realize their water has been high jacked, they also set out in pursuit of the war rig and now ladies and gentlemen the plot is set.  Explosions, screaming, shooting, and lots of fire are all that follows with a disappointing climax and even more far-fetched conclusion. 
What I’m saying is, and I can’t make this clear enough, don’t go in to this film thinking that it’s anything more than a glorified car chase.  Hardy Tom Hardy’s Mad Max has approximately 15 lines, most of which are grunted and mumbled in an indiscernible slurry that dribbles out of his always concerned looking visage beneath an annoying and permanently furrowed brow.  He is essentially a cave man!! 
If you were a fan of the original films which have since become cult classics and arguably made Mel Gibson’s early career and turned him into the 80’s action star he became, than you will be so incredibly disappointed with this film.  I was so excited when I heard of this movie last year and was anxiously awaiting a new chapter in the story of Mad Max but what I got was a ridiculously extended PORTION of a complete movie; a chunk of what could have been a well-developed, well-acted sci-fi powerhouse. Now I’m left wishing I could go back to the before time, to the long long ago when I hadn’t wasted two hours of my life watching this atrocious excuse of a reboot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Song's From This Morning

1. I Was a Teenage Anarchist - Against Me!
2. I Can't Keep the Tears from Falling - Nude Beach
3. Get Over It - OK Go
4. Creep - Radiohead
5. Mad World - Tears for Fears
6. If You Could Only See - Tonic
7. Pizza Day - Aquabats
8. Adam's Song - Blink 182
9. Nu Punk - Ovlov
10. Casper (1995) - Speedy Ortiz