You are here: Home > Blogs > Movie Maniacs

Latest Posts

On Line

Feeling Mutinous?

- 0 Comment(s)

Based on the true story -- albiet a heavily flavored Hollywood retelling -- of Captain Bligh and his crew, Mutiny on the Bounty tells the wonderful story of the harsh life in the British navy circa 1780. It has gone through several big screen reimaginings, going as far back as a silent offering from 1916. Version two 'In the Wake of The Bounty' from 1933 starred Errol Flynn but did not amount to much at the box office. CPL has the excellent 1935 version with the incomparable Charles Laughton as Bligh and Clark Gable as First Mate Christian Fletcher. Sent on a two year mission to bring breadfruit plants from Tahiti, the two protagonists lock horns from the beginning. Dangerous assignments, reduced rations, floggings and an horrific keel-hauling, set the stage for the mutiny. It took home Oscars for Best Picture and Best director in 1935 and was nominated for many others.

For a little different retelling there is the 1962 version with Trevor Howard donning the captain's hat, and a young and intense Brando bringing a completely different take than Gable to the role of Fletcher. For a fifth take on the story there is the 1984 version with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson, that actually stands up quite well. I would have to say that I have never been able to decide whether I like the 1935 or 1962 version better---they are both among my favorite movies and I watch them again and again.

Although Captain Bligh has come to be synonomous with the cruelty of the duty-obsessed, he was thought by his superiors in the British Navy to be only slightly harsher than he need have been. In fact, the real life Bligh was quite well regarded by his peers and his superiors thought enough of him to decorate him. This was for what is still considered to be one of the most exceptional feats of survival ever. With only a sextant and a pocket watch (no charts, no compass and certainly no GPS !) he successfully navigated across 3600 miles of open ocean in a 23 foot launch, bringing to safety himself and 17 of the 18 members set adrift by the mutineers.

Still feeling mutinous ?

The Caine Mutiny with Humphry Bogart, Van Johnson and Fred McMurray. This tells the modern day tale of another first mate who wrests power away from his captain. In my opinion, one of Bogart's best performances.

Horatio Hornblower: Mutiny I previously reviewed this under Pick of the Week for December 7 2008. It's a good enough series to warrant two mentions.

Damn the Defiantfrom 1962 with Sir Alex Guinness, Dirk Bogarde and yet more cat o' nine tails and navy battles.

And although not about mutiny, but a good swashbuckling tale nontheless, try Master and Commander with Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany from 2003.

To boldy go...

- 0 Comment(s)

Just in case you aren't in the habit of regularly searching our catalogue to see what's new, this is to let you know that CPL now has the entire Star Trek collection. This includes Star Trek: the Original Series (1966-69), The Next Generation (1987-94), Deep Space Nine (1993-99), Voyager (1995-2001), and Enterprise (2001-2005). We also have all 10 of the feature length films that have been released to date---being Star Trek the Motion Picture (79), Wrath of Khan (82), The Search for Spock (84), The Voyage Home (86), The Final Frontier (89), The Undiscovered Country (91), Generations (94), First Contact (96), Insurrection (98), and Nemesis (2002).

If you are a die hard fan you may be eager to rewatch them all, although to do so you will have to set aside an astonishing 716 hours for just the series (by my calcualations this Trekkie has logged 1.3 years of her life watching Trek!!). If you are new to the whole Star Trek phenom due to the recent theatrical release, I'd suggest any of TOS (the Original series), TNG (The Next generation) and Voyager. For the feature length films go with Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, First Contact (how I love to hate those Borgs! ) and Nemesis.

Star Trek is one of the most successful franchises ever, and is a multi billion dollar industry. In addition to the various series running from 1966 to 2005, and movie productions from 1979 up, there are also books, games, comics, cartoons, fan clubs, conventions and websites galore. In May of this year the latest movie was released (actually a prequel)- one of its tag lines is 'this is not your father's Star Trek'. They hoped it would appeal not just to its old fan base, but to a new generation, and it has done a great job. It has proved the most financially successful Star Trek release to date, and will bring in a gazillion more once the movie hits DVD (date unknown at the time of this post). There are two more sequels planned with this new cast and as someone who cut her teeth on the franchise, I can't wait! Keep an eye on the catalogue so you can get your hold placed for this one- the demand will be out of this world!!


Desert Island Classic

- 0 Comment(s)

Dersu Uzala

Our desert island image really represents the polar opposite of the subject of this film but what better movie to watch when you are stuck on the hot sand than one that takes place in the cold? Akira Kursawa's Dersu Uzala makes viewers feel as if they are really in the frozen landscape of Russia.

There is only one copy of this dvd at the library, but try to see it. It is in our Russian dvd collection but is subtitled in English. Dersu Uzala won an academy award in 1975. Another great from the Japanese director of our previous desert island classic, it was filmed in the Soviet Union when Kurosawa's career had stalled in Japan.

Dersu Uzala tells the story of two men who develop a mutual respect and friendship while Dersu, a man who lives off the land, leads the other, socially rising army captain Arseniev on a journey through the remote, extreme climate of Russia. This is one of the great survival stories, and fans of storytellers such as Jack London will enjoy the narrative and 19th century setting. Maxim Munzuk's embodiment of the Russian native Nanai (or "Goldi") scout warms and then breaks your heart.

CPL's multilanguage dvd collection offers many fantastic films, most subtitled or captioned in English...Try one!

Planet Earth

- 0 Comment(s)

I almost broke my thesaurus trying to find enough superlatives to describe this remarkable BBC series. Four years in the making, and with a budget in excess of 16 million pounds, this epic series spans 204 locations in 62 countries on all 7 continents. No mountain was too high, no location too remote, no insect or animal too obscure for this award winning production. Filmed in HD, each episode runs about 50 minutes and at the end is another 10 minutes showing how they got the footage. Normally I eschew bonus material as I would rather just 'stay in the moment', but I found here that it only added to the impact of what I had just viewed. They captured species, locations and animal behaviour never before put on film. Watch them in any order, just watch them all. Planet Earth as you have never seen it. One last superlative---stunning!!!

Episode 1: From Pole to Pole

Episode 2: Mountains

Episode 3: Fresh Water

Episode 4: Caves

Episode 5: Deserts

Episode 6: Ice Worlds

Episode 7: Great Plains

Episode 8: Jungles

Episode 9: Shallow Seas

Episode 10: Seasonal Forests

Episode 11: Ocean Deep