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, February 10, 2016

Hot New Movies!

The Duxbury Free Library carries the newest,
most popular films - typically right as they come out!
If you're a movie lover it's crucial you keep an eye on
our "NEW" section as it is updated regularly.  Get on
the hold list early for some of Hollywood's biggest flicks
by signing up for DVD bookletters!  We'll email you
when all the great new titles arrive in the catalog.
For now, check out some of these great new titles!

Poldark: Season One

This dark, Colonial period drama from the BBC stars Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) as Ross Poldark.  The shows 8 episodes chronicle his return to his small Cornish town after years away fighting in the American War for Independence.  If you're disappointed that there aren't more episodes, fret not! Season two is on its way.

Ted 2

Seth MacFarlane's sequel to his hysterical live action debut starring a crude stuffed bear magically brought to life by the love of his owner sees much of the same humor and jokes.  That being said, it's certainly got it's laugh out loud moments.  Mark Wahlberg is so unbelievable in comedic roles his time on screen is almost funny in and of itself.  If you're a Family Guy fan than odds are you enjoyed the first Ted and odds are you will enjoy the second.

Diary of a Teenage Girl

This fabulous coming of age drama is one part funny, two parts creepy, and three parts brilliantly emotional.  Based on the graphic novel memoir of the same name by Phoebe Gloeckner, the film stars Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), and introduces Bel Powley as protagonist Minnie Goetze.  Minnie's middle teen years and her sexual awakening at the hands of her mothers boyfriend (Skarsgard) paint an interesting portrait of mid-70's San Francisco in the wake of the hippie movement.

The 88th Annual Academy Awards Approaches!

It's February and that means one thing (besides Valentines Day)...the Academy Awards are approaching!!  I have high hopes for this year and maintain the belief that the Oscars is the LAST truly sensible award show.  After the farce that was this years Golden Globes (see my post on The Martian) I'm really hoping the Academy can pull it together to make some wise, multicultural, intelligent picks this year.  Though it seems popular opinion has continuously found it's way into the mix with movies like Mad Max Fury Road getting a nom for Best Picture....give me a break!! That being said there are some truly amazing films and actors up for awards this year.  Best Picture noms include Spielberg's Bridge of Spies and the Boston based Catholic Church drama Spotlight.  Leo is up for Best Actor again for his emotional role in The Revenant who's mastermind Alejandro Inarritu is also up for Best Director.  Jennifer Lawrence is quickly establishing herself as a core part of the next generation of iconic Hollywood actresses and is nominated for her role in Joy.  As far as animation goes, there is only one film in the category in my opinion; Pixar's fabulous Inside Out.  Other things to watch for include whether John Williams will take home his sixth Oscar for Best Original Score for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and whether or not The Martian will win Best Adapted Screenplay (it should!).  In the weeks leading up to the film industries biggest night, stop by the DFL and pick up a Best Picture winner from years past!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Some Songs from this Morning

1. See More Glass - Total Control
2. In My Eyes - Minor Threat
3. Big Me - Foo Fighters
4. Everywhere I Go - Mini Dresses
5. Ironic - Alanis Morissette

I Should Have Paid More Attention to METZ

When Canadian noise punk trio METZ released their eponymous debut in 2012 I was indifferent.  I thought it was good, but never thought it was anything revolutionary or radical.  The albums 10 songs were straightforward grungy noise rock with a hardcore twist.  An amalgam of other Sub Pop releases from the last 20 years.  However, I recently gave their new LP simply called "II" a listen and I was floored.  The power and sincerity I never noticed on their first album was readily apparent on their sophomore effort.  Sharp, jagged opener "Acetate" sets the tone for the rest of the album with it's shaky vocals, whiny guitar strings, and a bass line that feels more like a kick to the face as it drives the music forward.  Other stand out moments include the adrenaline fueled "I.O.U" and the sporadic tempo shifts of "Spit You Out".  METZ finishes strong with "Kicking a Can of Worms"; a song that builds and builds before erupting like the violent volcano it is.  You're hypnotized by the repetitive droning noise as the band leaves you with a farewell letter that shows they are more than just your average rock band.  It ends up representing what makes METZ great.  Using a variety of musical building blocks, the band incorporates the influences of 90's Seattle in a way that doesn't sound forced or overexposed.  Their live show is supposed to be a smorgasbord of whipping hair, metal riffs, and a sludgy rhythm section which lets be real, is the perfect cocktail for mind altering rock and roll.  A recent stop in Boston at the Sinclair saw the band playing with 2015 breakout band Bully and up and coming Seattle rockers So Pitted.  Really wish I had been paying more attention to this band but they've certainly hooked me now.  It's what rock is supposed to sound like in 2015.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Today's Playlist

1. Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
2. Lazarus - David Bowie
3. Oh, Me - Nirvana
4. Sleep Talk - Diet Cig
5. Too Tough - Bully
6. I Hate the Weekend - Tacocat
7. Look Alive - Titus Andronicus
8. Paperback Writer - The Beatles
9. Carry On My Wayward Son - Kansas
10. Rock and Roll Forever With the Customer in Mind - Pile

The Martian Was Sci-Fi Perfection

      The Golden Globes died for me this year.  Science fiction director extraordinaire Ridley Scott's adapation of Andy Weir's critically acclaimed novel The Martian won Best Comedy.  BEST COMEDY!!! Are you kidding me??  Now, I never read the book...but any idiot with half a brain could tell you just from reading the back cover that it is decidedly NOT a comedy.  What it most certainly IS is a fabulously acted SCI-FI film with gorgeous environments, accurate science, and stunning visuals.
      Matt Damon plays protagonist Mark Watney, a botanist and mechanical engineer working on Mars as part of the Ares III mission to the red planet.  After a suprisingly violent sandstorm forces the crew to make an immediate departure from the planet's surface, Mark is struck by debris and believed dead.  The crew retreats to the Hermes orbital station and begins their return voyage to Earth.  Mark wakes up after the storm subsides and makes his way back to the HAB where the astronauts had been living on the surface.  Faced with immeasurable odds, Mark must overcome each obstacle one at a time if he ever hopes to survive long enough to make it home alive.
      Damon's portrayal of Watney is superb.  It's always dangerous when you put such a recognizable and iconic actor in such a role because it can be hard to immerse yourself in the film.  It's so important to be able to sympathize with the plight of the survivor in films such as this and the added variable of survival in space makes it all the more harrowing.  As such, prominant actors can often be more of a distraction than an enhancement and make it harder for the viewer to put themselves in the protaganists shoes.  This is not the case in The Martian.  Damon is superb.  Supporting actors were also on their game, most notably Jeff Daniels as the Director of NASA and Jessica Chastain as Ares III mission commander Melissa Lewis.
      While the film certainly utilizes a heavy amount of comedic relief, mostly from Watney as he talks to his video log, it is meant to help keep Mark and the viewer sane as the notion of years alone on the red planet begins to sink in.  It's important to make light of any dire situation to avoid panic and ultimately failure.  The fact that this sarcastic, comedic relief was misconstrued as outright comedy by the motion picture elite is downright embarrassing.  I'll leave it at that.
      The films visuals are brilliant and showcase the beauty of the Martian surface.  Large rock formations, sweeping dunes, and a glowing orange sky serve as the backdrop to Mark's survival activities.  They are a constant reminder of the perils and beauty of space.  While the film certainly had its pitfalls, overall I can't speak highly enough about the acting, script, and visuals.  When combined, they do exactly what science fiction is supposed to do: inspire, intrigue, and continually tempt humanity to open the Pandora's Box that is deep space travel.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Space Oddity Returns to the Stars: RIP David Bowie (1947 - 2016)

      Celebrities die all the time.  I'm sorry if that sounds morose but it's true.  They are just people like you and me and eventually, we all succumb to death's frigid grasp.  However, every once in awhile we lose a true icon; someone who is not a celebrity, but instead an immortal being whose presence on this planet shaped generations. They're more than just another "rock star" and leave us all in a state of cultural shock at the mere IDEA of their loss.  It's almost incomprehensible that they could be gone and yet we are all left in the wake, attempting to make sense of it all.  Such was the case this past weekend when the world lost a true social, musical, and cultural legend: David Bowie.
      To condense the life of such an incredible human being down into a few words hardly seems like an appropriate gesture.  Sure we all had a Bowie that meant something to each of us.  Some had Ziggy Stardust, some had the Duke and still others knew him only as Jareth the Goblin King.  The point is that David Bowie transcended his earthly shell and will join an elite group of people who have truly become immortal.  His music will continue to inspire, provoke, and mystify future generations with each and every listen.  His progressive beliefs on gender, fashion, art, film, and music are the stuff of legend.  Up until the very end, Bowie never stopped creating and in the days after his untimely death we're left with his final message - Blackstar.  An album whose meaning is now abundantly clear.  Faced with his imminent demise, Ziggy left us with a message of hope and of confidence.  He tells us not to be afraid, not to mourn, not to dwell on the sadness but instead embrace the future.  The release of his final record, accompanied by his final birthday, and followed by his crushing death lead us all to reevaluate his last words and listen closely as the man himself speaks to us about his final months - from whatever dimension he now calls home.
      People always look back on history, culture and particularly music and say man, I wish I could have been alive in the time of John Lennon, in the time of Jim Morrison, of Darby Crash, Kurt Cobain, Lou Reed...people who established themselves in the pantheon of human civilization as true musical trendsetters and revolutionaries.  As the dust settles around this terrible loss I'm left with a sense of pride... pride that I got to live in the time of David Bowie.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Best Albums of 2015!!!

In a ritual as old as time (or at least as old as Neanderthals playing rudimentary bone flutes) it is time once again for a year end list.  It's almost a requirement, as if necessary to prove you've been listening all year.  Everyone's list is different, and if you read my list from last year you'll know that my picks certainly fall into a certain category/niche.  But nevertheless, here are the albums I thought were the best this year and deserve your attention.  Some above ground, some underground, and some in between (in no particular order).

1. No Cities to Love - Sleater Kinney
      -It's been 10 years since Washington based 90's riot grrrl powerhouse Sleater Kinney released an album but the trio came through in 2015 with a new full length which is just as relevant and raw as any of their previous releases.  Seeing them live was one of my best shows of 2015.

2. The Race for Space - Public Service Broadcasting
      -Definitely the outlier on my list, this ambitious indie electronic album was unlike anything I've ever heard.  Using actual audio recordings from both the the US and Russian space programs of the 1960's, the band captures both the era itself and a unique sound all their own.  It's hypnotic.

3. Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit - Courtney Barnett
      -Universally hailed by fans and critics alike, Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett released what many are calling the best alternative rock record of the year (maybe even the decade).  Her intricately crafted lyrics reflect the angst and disillusion of the millennial generation better than most this year.  The album is both complex and accessible at the same time making it a top pick for most who hear it.

4. First Demo - G.L.O.S.S.
      -Transgender punk band G.L.O.S.S. from Olympia, WA put out one of the most important hardcore releases of the year (maybe THE most important).  The albums lyrics are confrontational, brutally honest, and frighteningly important at a time when LGBTQ and Trans rights are at the forefront of the modern progressive movement.  Despite all the progress, their songs remind us that we still have a long way to go.  Definitely the most goose bump inducing release of the year in my opinion.

5. Predatory Highlights - Tenement
      -Wisconsin based punk band Tenement has been around for 10 years now but this year saw the release of their most formidable album yet.  The records 25 tracks spread across a double LP jump between hardcore thrashers, post punk compositions, and poppy lullaby rock.  It's as sonically diverse as it is powerful and has been compared to such iconic double albums as Husker Du's Zen Arcade and The Minutemen's Double Nickles on the Dime for it's complex style and original structure.  It's an album for the history books, no question.

6. A Distant Fist Unclenching - Krill
      -As the band sings on the first track from their second album "Krill, Krill, Krill forever".  Unfortunately, that dream came to an end this year as the beloved Boston trio called it quits after 5 incredible years.  But that didn't stop them from putting out their best album to date.  After garnering extensive praise from both underground and mainstream critics alike, the band packed things in just weeks after the albums release.  Listen and be jealous you weren't along for the ride.

7. Time to Go Home - Chastity Belt
      -Chastity Belt's second full length is light years ahead of their first album.  While the bands initial recordings suited the party rock, collegiate comedy punk they were going for at the time, the quartet got serious in 2015 and put out a decidedly modern, stringently feminist piece of ethereal, rain drenched pop rock.

8. Full Communism - Downtown Boys
      -Besides the G.L.O.S.S. demo, the other cataclysmic punk release of the year was Downtown Boys debut full length.  As the title suggests, the album is staunchly political and confrontational in the best way possible.  Lead singer Victoria Ruiz is in your face with every word as she stares down the gaze of the straight white male and declares this the time of the disenfranchised, of the people of color, and of the middle class.  Like a jazz fueled battle cry this album is certain to be looked back on as an historic precedent.  It reminds us all of what punk can do.

9. Rose Mountain - Screaming Females
      -Screaming Females are probably my favorite band playing music today.  When lead singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster became ill at the end of last year, fans waited anxiously to see the band return to their former selves.  At times, it seemed as though it might be the end of the furious DIY basement trio.  But the band stayed true to their name and came screeching into 2015 with one of their best records to date.  The songs take on new lyrical depth without sacrificing an ounce of their signature shredding guitar solos and weighty bass fills.  The album is highly confessional and paints a picture of the uncertainty the band dealt with looking towards the future.

10. Women's Rights - Childbirth
      -Childbirth's first release It's a Girl made the honorable mention section on my year end list last year and their follow up in 2015 sees the band honing their style and developing beyond the side project they started out as.  The members are all actively involved in other fabulous Seattle bands including Chastity Belt, Pony Time and Tacocat but that doesn't slow them down.  Each song oozes feminine power and dictates Childbirths view of the modern world while not losing their lighthearted, catchy rhythms.  While not as stripped down as their first release, the album is just as raw and intense as anything that came out this year.

Honorable Mentions

Sun Coming Down - Ought
      -Ought's first album More Than Any Other Day made my list last year so their follow up full length was naturally on my radar in 2015.  I picked it up from the band when they came through town this year and played at Great Scott where their post punk fury translated even better in a live setting.  The new record doesn't see too much musical growth but that's OK.  The bands blend of poetic lyrics, wiry sporadic guitars, and complex song structure create the perfect rock cocktail.  Why fix it if it ain't broke.

The Most Lamentable Tragedy - Titus Andronicus
      -Anytime someone puts out a record about their mental health and extreme anxiety, you have to question the sincerity.  Don't we all get a little depressed and anxious at times?  But lead singer Patrick Stickles truly is about as mentally unstable as they come.  The result is an album which comes straight from the heart and is a powerful confession from one man to the world.  Having been around for 10 years, the bands latest is their most ambitious to date.

Feels Like - Bully
       -The alternative rock world fell in love with Bully this year.  This young band, still in it's infancy, released a harsh, earnest album which recalls the best elements of 90's indie rock.  While many bands seem to want to skirt the "90's revival" tag that gets thrown around a lot these days, Bully seem to embrace it.  Their songs are hard enough to head bang to and poppy enough to keep fans of lighter fare bobbing along as well.  Critics will no doubt be anxiously awaiting their sophomore effort so jump on their debut train while it's caboose is still at the station.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Testament of Youth Was Brilliant

I’m a self-proclaimed HUGE fan of period dramas.  Being a total history nerd, I love immersing myself in a well filmed, well-acted, well written historical drama and 2014’s Testament of Youth was just that.  Based on Vera Brittain’s memoir of the First World War; the film stars Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina, Ex-Machina) as Vera and Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) as her fiancée Roland.  Focusing less on the battles and violence and more on the emotional weight of the conflict, the film manages to instill the fear of the unknown in the viewer as the men and women at home in England wait with bated breath for news of their loved ones.  Vera’s fiancée, brother, and childhood friends are all sent off to the front which inspires her to abandon her long sought enrollment at Oxford to become a nurse with the Voluntary Aid Detachment at the Front.  As she spends time waiting for news of her loved ones Vera helps to heal both allied and German soldiers.  This humanizes the conflict and shows how the Great War was not just a war between countries but a war humanity faced against itself.  Testament of Youth shows how close we came to the brink of destruction and how despite all the tragedy and suffering endured by those who were there, we still managed to emerge on the other side with hope for the future.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mr. Holmes Was a Triumph

                Sherlock Holmes is such an iconic character that the role is a difficult challenge to take on.  Add variables like retirement, extreme old age, and the onset of dementia, and the detective’s dry wit and immeasurable powers of observation become even harder to get across.  However, Sir Ian McKellen manages to embody the character; simultaneously capturing his youthful abilities while keeping things in perspective.  Mr. Holmes provides a glimpse into the future of a character that the world has come to recognize as the definitive sleuth. 
                It’s 1947 and Sherlock Holmes, now in his mind 90’s, is living a quiet life having retired from Baker Street after a final devastating case.  His old partner Watson, who has since passed away, wrote of his adventures with Sherlock and despite his personal experience embellished the tales to a great extent.  As a result, Holmes begins to try desperately to fend off his increasing memory loss long enough to recall the true story of his last case so he can remember why it was he left his beloved profession behind.  Flashbacks to 1912 provide glimpses into the reality of that case in which Holmes was hired by a husband to find out why his wife had changed so much since her second miscarriage.  These brief snapshots put the viewer in the old man’s shoes as he frustratingly attempts to piece together the story.  In the present, Holmes befriends his housekeeper’s son Roger and the two form an unlikely bond as Roger’s curiosity intrigues Sherlock.  Roger’s inquisitive nature helps him start to remember the forgotten case as things slowly become clearer.
                The film was brilliantly emotional and just complex enough to provide an air of mystery.  This is a Sherlock Holmes story isn’t it!  Holmes’ relationship with Roger provides a lovely end to the detectives life and presents a perspective he’d often not considered: that love and the personal relationship we form are the most important element of a well lived life and are quite literally ALL that matter as we near the end.  As a result, Sherlock is humbled in his twilight hours and is able to reflect on not only his mysterious final case, but his life in its entirety.  After struggling for years with regret and guilt, the man is finally able to come to terms with his life and embrace however much of it is left with excitement and hope.