Helvetica (686.224 HEL) Yes, this IS an entire film about a font, but it’s also a fascinating look at graphic design and noticing the intersection of words and signage and space in the world around us.
Mad Hot Ballroom (793.3 MAD) This film about eleven-year-old New York City public school kids learning how to ballroom dance is both fun and inspiring.
Searching for Sugar Man (781.66) This recent winner of the Academy Award for Documentary Feature about a nearly forgotten folk singer from the 1970s grabs your attention and doesn’t let up until the heartwarming ending.
The September Issue (746.92 SEP) Sure you’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada and/or episodes of Ugly Betty, but this is the REALbehind-the-scenes look at U.S. Vogue magazine and editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
If you were quick, you could still see the animated short film, Paperman, online during the Oscars, but now it seems the online versions of ALL the nominated shorts have been removed from the Internet. Wired ran an interesting piece on why they were removed; if you’re not fortunate to catch them at a theater, hopefully they’ll be back online in the future.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy short films. PBS is hosting the 2013 Online Film Festival , running through March 22, showcasing 25 short films on a diversity of subjects. Viewers can vote for their favorites.
Pixar Short Film Collection, Volumes 1 and 2 Short films that changed the face of animation and entertainment. Volume one shows all of Pixar‘s short works from 1986 to 2006, plus an early short from when Pixar was still the computer department at Lucasfilm. Volume 2 features 12 shorts that were released from 2007 through 2012.
StoryCorps Animated Shorts [DVD] Based on the StoryCorps series on NPR which was started by former documentary filmmaker Dave Isay 2003. The shorts are based on three-minute excerpts of interviews from the show.
The story of late Brooklyn Dodgers star Jackie Robinson gets the big-screen treatment in ’42, with Chadwick Boseman as Robinson.
BlackShortFilms.com. Short films featuring black directors, actors, writers, and themes. Twenty-four short films are currently featured at the website.
BlackClassicMovies.com offers a Top 100 collection of the best black American classic movies available today. The list covers over 80 years of films dating back as early as 1920.
Hollywood Black Film Festival. Dubbed “The Black Sundance,” the Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF) is an annual four-day celebration of black cinema drawing together established filmmakers, popular film and TV stars, writers, directors, industry executives, emerging artists, and diverse audiences from Hollywood and around the world.
The HistoryMakers. A video oral history archive of the untold personal stories of both well-known and unsung African Americans. The archive includes more than 2,000 interviews.
Many of us were saddened to hear of Nora Ephron’s death. From movies with such unforgettable lines as “I’ll have what she’s having” (When Harry Met Sally) to her best-selling books, Nora Ephron was a funny, insightful writer who will be greatly missed. Below are some of her many works available in our collection.
I wish I could recall the film that really got me hooked on documentaries. It might have been American Harmony, which I saw at a film festival in 2009. (It’s an amazingly interesting film about teams that compete in barbershop quartet competitions! I have included the trailer below.) Documentaries may be slower-paced, but I find the fascinating personal histories and the loving craft of the documentary makers (sometimes the “making of” feature is as good as the film itself) to be an irresistible combination. Here are a few that I have really enjoyed over the past year:
Being Elmo – A charming look at the man behind the famous Muppet.
Leonard Cohen: Bird on Wire – My introduction to the charismatic poet and singer (and not to be confused with the documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man which is still on my “to see” list). This film is based on footage taken while Cohen toured Europe in 1972.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil – I don’t know anyone who has taken me up on my frequent recommendations of this movie, but I stand by it! Sure, it’s about two guys chasing success as a heavy metal band way into middle age, but the heart of the film is their enduring friendship and belief in following your dream.
Louder Than A Bomb – I think this is my “new favorite” documentary! It follows several different high school students/schools from Chicago as they prepare and compete in a poetry slam. The creativity of these young artists blew me away.
Two news stories related to movies caught my notice in recent days and I thought I’d pass them along:
First is the announcement that Roger Ebert is bringing a new weekly 30-minute movie review program to television called “Ebert Presents At the Movies.” It will air on PBS stations starting later this month and will feature two co-hosts plus many other respected contributors, including Ebert himself. You can find out more from Roger Ebert’s Journal. I’m looking forward to the return of the “thumbs up, thumbs down” movie review, not to mention the new website that will be created to go with the program.
It’s almost that time of year again when we start making our lists and checking them twice. No, I’m not still writing to Santa; the annual film award season is revving up, and it kicks off with the Golden Globe Nominations. I used to work very hard keeping track of the nominated films and saw most, if not all, in the theater. Faced with cost and time issues, though, I am increasingly willing to wait for the DVD to arrive at the Library. There are always exceptions, however, and his year I did make time to see a few including Inception
(three words: Joseph Gordon-Levitt). I am also looking forward to viewing the The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth (see preview below) which garnered the most Golden Globe Award nominations when they were announced yesterday. Any movies you will insist on seeing on the big screen this year?