1. Incendies by Denis Villeneuve, who is releasing Prisoners on 9/20
Coming on 9/20 is the much-buzzed film Prisoners, which I heard great things about at Telluride. Before that came Villaneuve’s Oscar-nominated French Canadian film Incendies, a melodramatic investigation with stunning visuals. I remember seeing this at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in the spring of 2011. My friend and I left the theater shaken, and discussed it for hours that Sunday until the local coffee shop closed.
Before Cuarón was directing major Hollywood films like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Gravity, he did the beloved Mexican independent film Y tu mamá también, a sexual road trip film about two boys and an older woman. This October brings the release of the rightfully much-anticipated film Gravity, which I loved at Telluride.
Famed auteur Martin Scorsese will be releasing the film The Wolf of Wall Street this year, which has one of the most buzzed trailers from the summer. Scorsese is one of the filmmakers that any film nerd must be familiar with. Scorsese options at the library include Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Aviator and Shutter Island.
Alexander Payne can be a controversial auteur. Many, including myself, have a fairly negative reaction to his recent work, including The Descendants and new film Nebraska. Still, most people, including myself, love his wine country comedy Sideways. If you don’t already have a position on The Descendants, you should check it out to see if you might like Nebraska. Sideways is also available at Snell.
Like Scorsese, classic filmmaker Lee has a large selection of great films in the library including Bamboozled, Do the Right Thing, He Got Game, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Mo’ Better Blues, Passing Strange, and School Daze. All are strong examples of Lee’s signature style (except Passing Strange, which is a very cool experiment). This fall Lee releases his adaptation of the Korean revenge film Oldboy. Starring in the film is Josh Brolin, who kills it in Labor Day coming out a little later in the year. Other Lee films I’m not as crazy about that are available are Crooklyn, Get on the Bus, and When the Levees Broke.
The Coen brothers are film gods and this year they have a new film called Inside Llewyn Davis. Snell has older classics such as Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, Fargo, The Hudsucker Proxy, Miller's Crossing and O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?, as well as newer efforts like No Country for Old Men, A Serious Man and True Grit. All are worth watching, but my strongest recommendations are Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man.
David O. Russell is a filmmaker that has changed significantly over the years. He has a lot of great early indie stuff including one of my all time favorite films I Heart Huckabees. Unfortunately, the library only has the modern hits Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter, which are great but a little too Hollywood. Silver Linings is particularly skilled at balancing serious drama and laugh out loud comedy, like 50/50 was in 2011. This December O. Russell releases American Hustle which brings back Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
Spike Jonze is my personal favorite director, so naturally I implore you to explore his catalog of films. This one is about a writer’s attempt to adapt a book to a film. The story turns on its head and the film becomes what the screenwriter is writing, as we explore genre and adaptation. This December Jonze releases Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a man in love with his new operating system.
Coming this December is Asghar Farhadi’s tremendous film The Past, which blew me away. In 2011, he won many awards, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, for A Separation. In my personal opinion, this is one of the best films of the 21st century, if not of all time.
Another personal favorite, Up in the Air is the story of a man’s journey to realizing the value of human connection, and attachments. This is Reitman’s best film, as it combines a sharp entertaining story with three dimensional characters, whose story trajectory subverts Hollywood norms (despite the audiences expectations). Reitman's upcoming film Labor Day is a departure, veering away from comedy and relying more on the visual prowess he displayed in Up in the Air. Labor Day is fantastic, and second only to Up in the Air in Reitman's impressively strong catalog. Reitman’s intriguing but flawed film Thank You For Smoking is also available at Snell.
In 2014, Aronofsky brings us his first blockbuster in Noah. Before that, came sexy but disturbing thrill ride Black Swan for which Natalie Portman won the Oscar for Best Actress.
A Separation: The Hub
A Serious Man: PN1995.9.C55 S355 2010
Adaptation: PN1995.9.C55 A32 2003
The Aviator: The Hub
Bamboozled: PN1995.9.C55 B343 2001b
Barton Fink: PN1995.9.C55 B37 2003
The Big Lebowski: PN1995.9.C55 B535 1998b and The Hub
Black Swan: The Hub
Blood Simple: The Hub
Crooklyn: PN1995.9.C55 C76 1994
The Descendants: PN1997.2 .D47 2012
Do the Right Thing: PN1997 .D63 2001
Fargo: PN1995.9.D4 F37 1996b or The Hub
The Fighter: The Hub
Get on the Bus: PN1995.9.H5 G48 2000
Goodfellas: PN1995.9.G3 G66 2004
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Snell Favat Children’s Section - PN1995.9.C45 H374 2011
He Got Game: The Hub
The Hudsucker Proxy: PN1995.9.C55 H83 1999
Incendies: PN1997.2 .I53 2011
Jungle Fever: The Hub
Malcolm X: PN1995.9.B55 M35 2000
Mean Streets: PN1995.9.G3 M43 2004
Miller’s Crossing: PN1995.9.G3 M55 2003
Mo’ Better Blues: PN1997 .M6353 1990
No Country for Old Men: PN1995.9.S87 N6 2008
Passing Strange: PN1995.9.M86 P37 2010
Raging Bull: The Hub
School Daze: The Hub
Shutter Island: The Hub
Sideways: The Hub
Silver Linings Playbook: The Hub
Taxi Driver: PN1995.9.S87 T39 1999
Thank You for Smoking: The Hub
True Grit: PN1995.9.W4 T74 2011
Up in the Air: The Hub
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in four acts - HV636 2005.L8 W54 2006
Y tu mamá también: The Hub
In order to use the library, you just check out films with your Husky Card, and you receive them for one week. You can search online for other films, or for availability, using http://onesearch.library.northeastern.edu. I use the library extensively, so please reach out with any (super simple or complex) questions and I’d be happy to answer them! Seriously, I'm a huge nerd and I love to help in nerdy pursuits.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @BrandonIsaacson.