Tag Archives: film

Valentine’s Day on Kanopy!

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers! For those who observe, this awkward placement of a holiday right smack in the middle of the week might mean low-key plans. Take-out, sweatpants, maybe bingeing Netflix’s new adaptation of David Nicholl’s One Day (and sobbing into your tea, if you’re me). If you’re planning on a cozy night in, movie streaming platform Kanopy has got you covered with some prime Valentines films in their new Reel Romance in February collection. They’re got tons of classics like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Moonstruck, and Shakespeare in Love, but you can also find some more obscure gems. Below are some lesser-known films to check out with your VPL card on this day celebrating all things romance.  

Mr. Malcolm’s List 

For the Bridgerton fans looking longingly towards the new season in May! Mr. Malcolm’s List is a tasty little cake pop of a movie: short, sugary, covered in pink frosting. The plot is basically a series of Shakespearean-style hijinks, set in Regency England (aka Jane Austen time). Julia Thistlethwait is a vivacious young woman out on the Regency dating scene, but finds her charms thwarted by one Mr. Malcolm when she fails to meet his wifely criteria—his titular “list.” Determined to get revenge for this public embarrassment, Julia enlists her more docile friend Selina to ensnare Mr. Malcolm and then reject him. Of course, things don’t go according to plan, and soon enough real feelings are involved. Not a serious movie by any means, but perfect for those looking for an easy, breezy watch while munching on heart-shaped chocolates.  

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A Sofia Coppola Retrospective

The virgin suicides DVD cover

With Priscilla now out in theatres, I felt the urge to revisit director Sofia Coppola’s work. Coppola has been criticized copiously throughout her 25-year career, first as a nepo baby descending from directorial royalty (her father is Francis Ford Coppola), and second as prioritizing style over substance. My take? Being a nepo baby is fine if you acknowledge your privilege and (crucially) you are talented, and sometimes style is the substance. Or, more accurately, style reflects the substance. It takes skill to have your own visual style, and Coppola, as head Sad Girl of the cinematic world, has that in spades. She is also always reliable for a killer soundtrack, the songs not only exhibiting enduring cool-girl taste but selected for their ability to enhance a specific mood or theme. Priscilla is a continuation of Coppola’s dependable style and music choices, only missing Lana Del Rey, who styles herself after Priscilla Presley (reportedly Del Rey was approached for the soundtrack but turned it down. Too busy working shifts at Waffle House, I guess).  Below is a look back at Coppola’s most iconic work.

Coppola cemented her brand early with her 1999 directorial debut, an adaptation of the Jeffrey Eugenides novel The Virgin Suicides. It’s about as on-the-nose Sad Girl as Coppola gets, which makes sense owing to her youthful age at the time (28—which translates to about 12 in director years). The story follows a group of boys who reminisce about the enigmatic Lisbon sisters, who all die by suicide in the year 1975. The girls are young (teenagers), lithe, blonde, pretty, and incurably sad—Coppola trademarks. Her other trademarks are also fully-formed in this debut: a dreamy, hazy atmosphere combined with a controlled and even sparse sensibility, along with an impeccably curated soundtrack whose every song is deliberately used to evoke either Coppola’s dreamy style (such as the score by French dream pop/space pop band Air) or the film’s location in place and time (such as songs by Heart and Styx).  

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P.D. James and the Literary Legacy She Left Behind

Cover image for the detective murder mystery series Dalgliesh.

As has already been discussed on this blog here and here, P.D. James is the best. What has previously been commented upon succinctly by my colleagues, will now be expanded upon heartily.

In my house, we have fallen in love with the television adaptation of James’ excellent mystery novels. The show is simply titled Dalgliesh, after the central Detective Chief Inspector figure. Each novel is covered by two episodes; therefore, each mystery is given an hour and a half of introduction, development, and resolution. The stories have that shimmer of reality because of the complex detail James devotes to them. More than that, our detective Dalgliesh feels real as well. Slowly, the audience is told that he is a somewhat famous poet, a widower, and a fully-fledged person with emotions and friendships.

I suppose it’s somewhat backwards to have started with the TV show and now gone back to the novels it’s based on, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. There are 14 Adam Dalgliesh murder mysteries to gorge yourself on. Woefully, there are only four print books and two audiobooks in our collection. But if you are intrigued, fill out a Suggest a Title form, and we will try to borrow a copy for you from another library system!

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