Tag Archives: dvd

Locke and the Brilliance of the One-man Show


Last night I took home the movie Locke, starring Tom Hardy, and it’s one of those movies that makes you want to share it with people around you, if only just so they can feel the same way you did while you were watching it.  The still frame above is pretty much the only visual you get throughout the movie, as it consists primarily of Ivan Locke (Hardy) driving away from his normal life to address a certain other situation.  That situation, and the people it impacts, is revealed to us over a series of phone calls made and received over the course of the trip.

That one actor, alone, in one setting, can arouse the level of anxiety, worry, relief, tension again, joy, pain, and so many other emotions that the watcher experiences with Locke, got me thinking about other movies we have in the collection that primarily feature one actor or actress throughout.  If you decide to pick up a copy of Locke, or if you’ve seen it and liked it, you might be interested in these others:

Gravity (Sandra Bullock)
Dr. Ryan Stone is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky. On a seemingly routine spacewalk, the shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left, and the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

All is Lost (Robert Redford)
An open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling, and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.

127 Hours (James Franco)
The powerfully uplifting true story of one man’s struggle to survive against mountainous odds. Aron Ralston has a passion for all things outdoors. But when a falling boulder traps him in a remote Utah canyon, a thrill-seeker’s adventure becomes the challenge of a lifetime. Over the next five days, Ralston embarks on a remarkable personal journey in which he relies on the memories of family and friends as well as his own courage and ingenuity to turn adversity into triumph!

Buried (Ryan Reynolds)
Paul Conroy is not ready to die. But when he wakes up six feet underground with no idea of who put him there or why, life for the truck driver and family man instantly becomes a hellish struggle for survival. Buried with only a cell phone and a lighter, his contact with the outside world and ability to piece together clues that could help him discover his location are maddeningly limited. Paul has only ninety minutes to be rescued before his worst nightmare comes true.

Moon (Sam Rockwell)
Astronaut Sam Bell is completing a three-year contract with Lunar Industries to mine Earth’s primary source of energy on the dark side of the moon: Helium-3. His declining health is causing headaches and hallucinations that lead to a near-fatal accident, rendering him unconscious. After recuperating, an unexpected discovery leads him to doubt his sanity, his identity, and the integrity of the company. Believing he is alone on his mission, his sole purpose is getting back home on his own.

Cast Away (Tom Hanks)
Chuck Noland is a FedEx systems engineer whose personal and professional life are ruled by the clock. He has a girlfriend, Kelly, with whom he is deeply in love with and family he hardly sees. When work intrudes on Christmas Eve, Chuck has a quick gift exchange in the car and kisses Kelly goodbye. He boards a delivery plane going overseas which gets caught in a horrendous storm and crashes onto the shores of a deserted tropical island in the Pacific. First, frustration gets to him and then he realizes how little his chances are to ever get back to civilization. After four long years, Chuck has learned very well how to survive on his own. He even has a way of predicting the weather with a self-made calendar. When Chuck finally sees his chance, he rafts out onto the ocean and fortunately is spotted. After a bittersweet welcome-back reception, Chuck finds Kelly has married another man. For four years, it was survival. Now Chuck is compelled to live.

Life of Pi (Suraj Sharma)
A young Pi Patel, overcoming a cataclysmic shipwreck, finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with the last survivor, a ferocious Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Non-Fiction DVDs Ordered (week of 2/24/14)


Starting in January, I went through and discarded a huge amount of non-fiction DVDs that hadn’t checked out in forever and were taking up space that could be used for some things that would be useful.  Since then, I’ve been building up a collection of award-winning and though-provoking documentaries and other educational DVDs.  Here’s this week’s order:

  • After the End – A documentary about the effect of loss in each of our lives.
  • America Revealed – Take to the skies for a bird’s-eye view of how this vast and complex country actually works.
  • The Amish – Explores the insular religious community, whose intense faith and adherence to 400-year-old traditions have by turns captivated and baffled Americans for more than a century.
  • Big Cats – Explore the hidden lives of three of the most dangerous predators on the planet with NATURE’s Big Cats.
  • The Botany of Desire – Shows how human desires are an essential, intricate part of natural history.
  • Bridegroom – On May 7, 2011, a young man, tragically lost the love of his life, to an accident. Because they were not legally married or prepared for the unexpected, his partner, lost all legal claims to him after he died.
  • Call Me Kuchu – In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay man, and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo work against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia.
  • Collapse – Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter, From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial.
  • Dark Girls – Go underneath the surface to explore the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world.
  • Digital Nation – Over a single generation, the web and digital media have remade nearly every aspect of modern culture, transforming the way we work, learn, and connect in ways that we’re only beginning to understand. Frontline reports from the front lines of digital culture. 
  • Dogs Decoded – Dogs have been domesticated for longer than any other animal on the planet, and humans have developed a unique relationship with these furry friends.
  • The Fabric of the Cosmos – Based on the book by physicist and author Brian Greene, this film takes us to the frontiers of physics to see how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time, and the universe.
  • Gasland Part 2 – In this explosive follow-up to his Oscar-nominated film Gasland, filmmaker Josh Fox uses his trademark dark humor to take a deeper, broader look at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil, now occurring on a global level (in 32 countries worldwide).
  • George Harrison – Living in the Material World – Inter-cut with archive material, friends, family and associates of the musician tell the story of his life and how spirituality became such a major part of it. Directed by Martin Scorsese.
  • Gonzo – The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson – Traces Dr. Thompson’s life, from his travels with the Hell’s Angels through his various Wild Turkey and drug-infested episodes in politics and righting the wrongs of society.
  • Greedy Lying Bastards – An investigation of the climate change misinformation campaign waged by the oil industry and its funded think-tanks. Exposes how a small number of well paid spokespeople have worked to confuse the public and lawmakers on the issue.
  • Greenwich Village – Music that Defined a Generation – Between 1961-1973, musicians in the Village banded together to sing about the radical social upheaval of the time, sparking everlasting political, social, and cultural changes.
  • Hava Nagila – Hava Nagila is instantly recognizable and musical shorthand for anything Jewish. But as audiences will discover in the film, the song is much more than a tale of Jewish kitsch and bad bar mitzvah fashions.
  • Hawking – The film features exclusive access to Hawking’s life story, told largely in his own words.
  • Inside the Actor’s Studio – Leading Men – Features Robert De Niro (recorded Jan. 1999), Al Pacino (recorded Oct. 2006), Sean Penn (recorded Feb. 1999), and Russel Crowe (recorded Jan. 2004).
  • Inside the Actor’s Studio – Robin Williams
  • JFK – This film explores Kennedy’s childhood years as the privileged but sickly son of one of the wealthiest men in America, his early political career as a lackluster congressman, his successful run for the U.S. Senate, and the game-changing presidential campaign that made him the youngest elected president in U.S. history.
  • Lady Gaga – The Monster Ball Tour – The 130 minute concert video, ‘Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden’.
  • Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky – This film explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist.
  • My Amityville Horror – For the first time, child eyewitness Daniel Lutz recounts his version of the infamous Amityville haunting that terrified his family in 1975.
  • No Place on Earth – In October 1942, Esther Stermer, the matriarch of a Jewish family in Ukraine, leads her family underground to hide from the pursuing Nazis and stays nearly a year and a half.
  • Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism – This documentary reveals the secrets of former Fox news producers, reporters, bookers, and writers who expose what it’s like to work for Fox News.
  • The Persuaders – Examine the persuasion industries: advertising and public relations.
  • The Poisoner’s Handbook – In the early twentieth century, the average American medicine cabinet was a would-be poisoner’s treasure chest.
  • Red Obsession – A film about power, passion and the fine wine game.
  • Somm – Takes the viewer on a humorous, emotional and illuminating look into the mysterious world of the Court of Master Sommeliers and their massively intimidating master sommelier exam.
  • Tutu Much – A story of what it takes to become a dancer, through the eyes of nine young girls from around the world.
  • The Waiting Room – A character-driven documentary film that goes behind the doors of an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients.
  • West of Memphis – True story centering on the new investigation surrounding the 1993 murders of three 8-year-old boys in the town of West Memphis, Ark.

As always, check the catalog in the next few weeks as we catalog these items.  Some movies may still be in theaters and may not be released for weeks or months, so please be patient and keep checking the catalog for availability.