The DVD Shelf Review

“The DVD Shelf” Columnist Marianne Darragh is a Whitehorse-based writer who enjoys reviewing movies available at the Whitehorse Public Library.

Trainwreck

A flawed character struggles to unravel the threads of a pivotal event, though hobbled by some impediment – amnesia, maybe, or being stranded in a foreign country where everyone speaks an unfamiliar language. It’s a dramatic device of my favourite genre, but suspense thrillers are few and far between these days. In The Girl on …

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King of Chicago

The mayor of Chicago is mad as a hatter, but the trains run on time. Having been mayor for a couple of decades, Tom Kane is the ultimate power player; he has a lot to say about which councillors get elected and he wields that power like a mace to get them on board with …

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Epiphanies

“It’s like everybody knows the story,” muses a reporter to her colleague. “Except us.” The journalists of “Spotlight,” a legendary investigative unit at the Boston Globe, won a Pulitzer for a series of revelatory articles on the cover-up of child abuse in the Catholic Church, published in 2002. But as one of the characters ruefully …

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Laughter, Tears, Curtain

It was the short, sharp shock heard round the world – eventually.  But in the world of Topsy-Turvy, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado is being staged for the very first time, and there’s a lot at stake. Before Topsy-Turvy, released in 1999 and available on DVD at Whitehorse Public Library, Mike Leigh was a respected …

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About arrivals and departures

The epic saga of immigration is brought to human scale in Brooklyn, a critically acclaimed film based on the novel by Irish writer Colm Tóibín, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Released in 2015 and available on DVD at the Whitehorse Public Library, Brooklyn follows a young woman who finds herself part of the Irish …

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Future Past

Young Alex DeLarge and his gang of droogs aren’t choosy about whose lives they wreak mindless havoc on. From the down-at-the-heels to the well-heeled, the young thugs attack indiscriminately, mercilessly and irrationally. One thing leads to another and Alex is charged with murder and sentenced to prison. He’s selected for the fictional Ludivico technique, a …

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Ah, Salander

Did Stieg Larsson know his character Lisbeth Salander was destined to achieve the iconic status of a Marvel superhero? Maybe not.   In the 2011 American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, available on DVD at Whitehorse Public Library, director David Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zaillian elegantly adapt Larsson’s sprawling Swedish noir to …

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Wonder Dog

In 1918, a young American soldier emerged from the ruins of a military kennel with a frantic, famished German Shepherd and her five newborn pups. Their survival on the battlefield in France was almost miraculous; Lee Duncan, their saviour, kept two of the puppies and named them after dolls worn as lucky talismans – Nanette …

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All for One

They stayed in the game … They’re the most-famous musicians you’ve never heard of. Merry Clayton’s performance in the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” is the exemplar of the memorable riff by the unknown singer at the back of the band – it’s their parts you hum. From manufactured girl groups, to David Bowie; and from the …

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Love, Ambivalently

Many beloved Christmas films had inauspicious debuts. It’s a Wonderful Life lost money for the studio when it was released in 1946, but television viewings turned it into a bona fide classic 30 years after its release. Similarly, Love Actually has unexpectedly become a Christmas staple in some quarters. Admittedly, I belong in that group, …

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Soldiering on in the Cold War

No gadgets, guns or trophy girl in sight – John le Carré’s spy universe is stripped of glamour, but all the more fascinating for his intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the inner circle that fought for nebulous ground in the Cold War. The film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, released in 2011 and available …

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