Please note: All Library branches will be closed on Monday, May 27, in observation of Memorial Day.

Reel Recs

Every week, staff from the Monroe County Public Library recommend favorites from the collection

You can request DVDs online by logging in to the catalog and choose from more than 30,000 streaming films and TV shows from the Kanopy app – and you get unlimited plays on Kanopy Kids! If you don’t have a card, you can visit your local branch or register online to get one. Questions? Email info@keyslibraries.org.

 

Fargo (1996)

Why: The Coen brothers have made a lot of excellent movies and “The Big Lebowski” is the cult classic everyone loves to quote, but for my money, “Fargo” is their best work. It’s the story of sad sack Jerry Lundegard (William H. Macy) and his idiot plan to have his own wife kidnapped to raise ransom money from his wealthy father-in-law. Everything goes wrong for him, especially when cop Marge Gunderson (the magnificent Frances McDormand, who won an Oscar for her role) is on the case. The writing is brilliant – there’s a line from Fargo that applies to almost any situation in life. And even if the plot seems initially cartoonish, you wind up caring about these characters and wondering who will survive this mess – and how. Almost 30 years after it first blew me away in a theater, I’m still thinking about this movie. The TV anthology series it inspired is also pretty good – but it wouldn’t exist without the original text.

Where: This is available as a DVD from the Monroe County Public Library

Recommended by: Nancy Klingener, Community Affairs Manager

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Why: Forty years later, this first sequel to the legendary “Raiders of the Lost Ark” has been reappraised by viewers given the controversial sequels that have come since. The very reason the PG-13 rating was invented, it’s the darkest and most violent entry in the series. But don’t let that scare you away. You’ve got the charmingly funny Ke Huy Quan (now experiencing a resurgence himself) as Short Round keeping Indy in check. Plus, the minecart chase is one of the most thrilling setpieces in the franchise. We completely understand, however, the necessity to mute your screen whenever Willie goes into her signature shriek.

Where: This movie is available as a DVD from the Monroe County Public Library system.

Recommended by: Kelvin Cedeño, Library Assistant, Islamorada Library Branch

Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Why: Don’t watch silent movies? “Sherlock Jr.” is the perfect gateway. At a brisk 45 minutes, this film doesn’t wear out its welcome nor does it rely on too many title cards for dialogue. Instead, it packs in a great many gags and visual trickery all done in-camera. The story of a projectionist who wants to be a sleuth is a simple one, but it’s just the thing on which to hang enough death-defying stunts by the great Buster Keaton to make you ask, “How did they do that?” Celebrating its 100th anniversary, this still holds up as hilarious and creative. 

Where: This film is available on Kanopy.

Recommended by: Kelvin Cedeño, Library Assistant, Islamorada Library Branch

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

Why: Every Earth Day, people are reminded of their responsibility in stewarding the resources given to them. “FernGully” to this day remains one of the most relevant and effective arguments for conservationism. Essentially the film James Cameron redressed and called “Avatar,” it offers the same message and same outsider’s journey but with one extra key ingredient: Robin Williams. Williams recorded his role as Batty before taking the world by storm as the Genie in “Aladdin” a few months later, and he brings that same manic energy here. And with rumors of a live-action remake on the horizon, what better time to catch up?

Where: This movie is available as a DVD from the Monroe County Public Library system.

Recommended by: Kelvin Cedeño, Library Assistant, Islamorada Library Branch

Matilda (1996)

Why: We recently marked National Library Week, and what better way to celebrate than with the patron saint of literacy – Matilda Wormwood? You may have fond memories of Roald Dahl’s classic book as well as this film adaptation directed by Danny DeVito. We’re happy to say it not only holds up, but there are layers to unpack in it as an adult. The film has a dark streak that offsets any potential saccharine qualities you might expect from any story dealing with young children. It also has a quirky sensibility that effectively renders it both funny and timeless.

Where: “Matilda” is available as a DVD from the Monroe County Public Library.

Recommended by: Kelvin Cedeño, Library Assistant, Islamorada Library Branch

Jazz On A Summer’s Day (1959)

Why: Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with this legendary concert filmed at Rhode Island’s Newport Jazz Festival in 1958. Directed by world-renowned photographer Bert Stern, this isn’t a run-of-the-mill concert film. Stern’s eye for interesting subjects means bold colors, dynamic camera angles, and many shots of the attendees on their boats and at the fairgrounds. These cutaways not only keep things visually interesting, but they cement a specific time and place that can no longer be captured. With jazz powerhouses like Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, Dinah Washington, and Anita O’Day, this is both the perfect introduction to the genre if you’re new or the definitive celebration if you’re already a fan.

Where: This film is available on Kanopy, the Library’s streaming app.

Recommended by: Kelvin Cedeño, Library Assistant, Islamorada Library Branch

 

 

Categories:

Film