Check It Out Category: Movies and TV

Black History Month: Must See Black Cinema

Must See Black Cinema

In honor of Black History Month, we gathered some of the best-reviewed recent Black films for you to enjoy all year round. Featuring a wide array of thrills, drama, and great story, all of which have garnered applause, there’s something for every viewer. Find your match below, or contact us for a personalized suggestion.

Sorry to Bother You DVD cover

 

Sorry To Bother You

When telemarketer Cassius Green discovers the key to professional success, he finds his life at work becoming more and more bizarre.

 

 

Tangerine DVD cover

 

Tangerine

It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.

 

Fast Color DVD cover

 

Fast Color

Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman with supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers are discovered. With nowhere else to go, she flees back to her family and the farmhouse she abandoned long ago. There, while being pursued by the local sheriff, she begins to mend the broken relationships with her mother and daughter.

 

Us DVD cover

 

Us

Haunted by trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway: doppelgängers of themselves.

 

Harriet DVD cover

 

Harriet 

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, the movie tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

 

Pariah DVD cover

 

Pariah

Alike is a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry, and is a good student at her local high school. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity–sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.

 

Queen & Slim DVD cover

 

Queen & Slim

While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman, are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly becomes a symbol of trauma.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco DVD cover

 

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation.

If Beale Street Could Talk DVD cover

 

If Beale Street Could Talk

A timeless love story set in early 1970s Harlem involving newly engaged nineteen-year-old Tish and her fiancé Fonny who have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream.

Best Films of 2020

best films of 2020

2020 was a very different year for films, but we scoured through the Best Films of 2020 rankings that have been circulating and spotlighted the more frequent fliers on this Best Films of 2020 list. Featured below are some of the movies that our staff have heard rave reviews about as well as those consistently on multiple Best Of indexes!

For Best Of streaming-only options (not featured here), you can look into checking out one of our Rokus.

 

First Cow DVD cover

 

First Cow

A loner and cook has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds a connection with Chinese immigrants. The men collaborate on business, although its longevity is reliant upon the participation of a wealthy landowners prized milking cow.

 

The Assistant DVD cover

 

The Assistant

One day in the life of Jane, a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who has recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. As Jane follows her daily routine, she, and viewers, grow increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colors every aspect of her workday, an accumulation of degradations against which Jane decides to take a stand, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always DVD cover

 

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Written and directed by Eliza Hittman, the film is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin Skylar embark across state lines to New York City on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery, and compassion.

 

Beanpole DVD cover

 

Beanpole

1945, Leningrad. WWII has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Two young women search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.

 

The Whistlers DVD cover

 

The Whistlers

Not everything is as it seems for Cristi, a police inspector in Bucharest who plays both sides of the law. Embarking with the beautiful Gilda on a high-stakes heist, both will have to navigate the twists and turns of corruption, treachery and deception. A trip to the Canary Islands to learn a secret whistling language might just be what they need to pull it off.

 

Bad Education DVD cover

 

Bad Education

The beloved superintendent of New York’s Roslyn school district and his staff, friends and relatives become the prime suspects in the unfolding of the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in American history.

 

 

Sorry We Missed You DVD cover

 

Sorry We Missed You

Ricky and his wife Abby, who lost their home in the 2008 financial crash, are desperate to get out of their economic distress. When Ricky gets the opportunity to be his own boss as a delivery driver, they trade in their only asset, Abby’s car, for a new white van and the dream that Ricky can work his way up to owning his own franchise. But the couple find their lives are quickly pushed further to the edge by an unrelenting work schedule, a ruthless supervisor, and the needs of their children.

Instant Holiday Viewing!

Instant Holiday Viewing

Access holiday spirit instantly with our selection of digital seasonal movies! Whether you’re in the mood for a holiday classic, heartwarming endings, or perhaps some festive pups, our curated lists will help add a little more holly jolly to your celebrating.

All you need is your library card and a digital device (computer, streaming stick, smart TV, smartphone, or tablet). Titles are always available–no holds, no wait!–via Hoopla or Kanopy and offer the added convenience of never having to leave your couch.

Browse a sampling of movies below or click the links to our Instant Holiday Viewing lists for even more festive cheer.

 

Nothing like the Holidays DVD coverNothing Like The Holidays

The far-flung members of the Rodriguez family are converging on their parents’ home in Chicago, to celebrate the season and their brother’s safe return from combat overseas. For Jesse, coming home has rekindled feelings for an old flame, though she won’t forgive him for leaving in the first place. Jesse’s sister Roxanna has been chasing her dreams for years with little to show for it. And to the dismay of their mother, eldest brother Mauricio brings home a high-powered executive wife who would rather raise capital than a child. But when the Rodriguezes learn that one of their own is facing a true crisis, all resentments are forgotten and familial bonds are re-affirmed.

Browse more from Instant Holiday Viewing: Dysfunctional Families

Girlfriends of Christmas Past DVD cover

 

Girlfriends of Christmas Past

Expecting a proposal, Livvy gets dumped instead. She finds two more women her ex wronged and the trio decide on payback. Meanwhile, Livvy meets Carter and sparks begin to fly. Can she forget about revenge and let a Christmas romance bloom?

Browse more from Instant Holiday Viewing: Rom-Coms

 

A Bennett Song Holiday DVD cover

 

A Bennett Song Holiday

Mrs. Song is expecting a baby to add to their diverse roster of 14 adopted children and the family will team up to stop a developer who wants to close down the community center. Love, teamwork, and holiday magic are sure to save the day!

Browse more from Instant Holiday Viewing: Music-Filled Movies 

 

Happy Christmas DVD cover

 

Happy Christmas

When Jenny, a hard-partying 20-something, moves in with her brother’s family to get over a breakup, she and her friend’s carefree perspective causes Jenny’s sister-in-law to question her career and relationship, comically turning the family’s everyday life upside down. A comedy from the director of Drinking Buddies.

Browse more from Instant Holiday Viewing: Adult Comedy

 

Better Watch Out DVD cover

Better Watch Out

When you think the suburbs, you think safety, but this holiday night the suburbs are anything but safe. Ashley thought this babysitting job was going to be an easy night, but the night takes a turn when dangerous intruders break in and terrorize her and the twelve-year-old boy, Luke, she’s caring for. Ashley defends her charge to the best of her ability only to discover this is no normal home invasion.

Browse more from Instant Holiday Viewing: Not Your Average Holiday

 

Browse More Instant Holiday Viewing Lists: 

Instant Holiday Viewing: Christmas Pups

Instant Holiday Viewing: Fantastical Scenarios

Instant Holiday Viewing: Holiday Classics

Instant Holiday Viewing: Lifetime Movies

Instant Holiday Viewing: Romance

Instant Holiday Viewing: Uplifting Endings

tiny red and white dots on a turquoise background

What to Watch from Home – Staff Digital Picks for Chilling Drama

Staff Video Picks Chilling Drama image

There are times when the most satisfying tension release is to lose ourselves in someone else’s (fictional) drama. To help escape our own strain, it can feel cathartic to be swept away in dark thrills, mystery, action, or espionage. If a flair for the dramatic sounds good to you right now, check out these staff suggestions available to watch from home on Hoopla and Kanopy with your library card.

First Reformed video image

 

First Reformed

If you like dark suspense, unstable characters who are navigating their purposes in life, and those who become attracted to the opposite of what they might preach. ~Chelsea

 

Fall TV series image

 

The Fall

This psychological thriller had me on the edge of my seat all season long! The story follows a serial killer and the detective intent on bringing him down. As the story progresses, the two become obsessed with each other. Will he or won’t he be caught? You’ll have to watch and find out. ~Al

 

Down the Shore video image

 

Down the Shore

Starring James Gandolfini. The lives of three childhood friends begin to unravel when a deadly secret from their past is revealed. ~Denise

 

Hidden TV series image

 

Hidden 

Who knew that Wales could hold its own against Scandinavia with moody, can’t-look-away noir? This limited series has all the hallmarks, including baggage-laden investigators and immersive sense of place. ~Cathleen

 

 

Leave No Trace video image

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace follows a veteran and his teenage daughter who live in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. It follows their lifestyle, their bond, and how unsustainable their lifestyle becomes and how both of them try to adapt. ~Chelsea

 

 

Still Life DVD cover

 

Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery

Based on Louise Penny’s novel. Gorgeous scenery and a fascinating mystery. ~Denise

 

 

Charade video image

 

Charade

This classic may be remembered for moments of stylish banter, but it also boasts multiple twists on whom can be trusted. Director Stanley Donen’s playful mix of light and dark is a cross-generational favorite. ~Cathleen

 

 

Gunpowder video image

Gunpowder

Who doesn’t miss Kit Harington from Game of Thrones? Get your next fix of him in Gunpowder, a historical drama set in the 1600s based on the Gunpowder plot to assassinate King James I of England. With striking visuals, a stellar score, and top-notch acting, this will surely please fans of historical fiction ~Al

 

 

Gone Baby Gone video image

 

Gone Baby Gone

Expertly portraying the gritty depths and darkness of human nature, this adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel wisely plants the compelling bleak-yet-determined qualities of the characters at the forefront.  ~Cathleen

 

 

 

Pandemic video imageDenise recommends
Pandemic
Keeping Faith TV series imageKelda recommends
Keeping Faith
Winters Bone video imageCathleen recommends
Winter’s Bone

 
 
Still looking? Check out earlier installments of Staff Movies and TV Picks available from home or contact us for suggestions personalized to your mood and taste.

Staff Hoopla Picks: Comfort TV

Staff Comfort TV Picks collage

When everything becomes too much, we look for comfort in different forms of escape television. Sometimes we want to lose ourselves in gentle or dramatic history; other times we want contemporary and edgy. You have access to hundreds of streaming programs through Hoopla Digital with your library card, and below are a few recommendations courtesy of your friendly Advisory Staff. Other viewing suggestions are available here and here, and you can also contact us to ask for titles hand-picked to match your personal taste!

Absolutely Fabulous video imageChelsea recommends
Absolutely Fabulous
Series 1-6
UK comedy
Wolf Hall video imageLaura and Cathleen recommend
Wolf Hall
Miniseries: 6 episodes
UK historical drama
Story of Cats video imageAl recommends
The Story of Cats
2 episodes
US nature documentary

 

Call the Midwife video imageAl recommends
Call the Midwife
Seasons 1-7
UK historical drama
Rick and Morty video imageChelsea recommends
Rick and Morty
Season 1
US animated comedy
Great British Baking Show video imageChelsea, Al, and Cathleen recommend
The Great British Baking Show
Seasons 1-5
UK reality competition

 

Dickensian video imageCathleen recommends
Dickensian
Series 1
UK historical drama
Key and Peele video imageAl recommends
Key & Peele
Season 1
US comedy
Robot Chicken video imageChelsea recommends
Robot Chicken
Season 1
US animated comedy

 

Librarians video imageAl recommends
The Librarians
Seasons 1-4
US action-adventure, science fiction/fantasy
Cranford video imageChelsea recommends
Cranford
Seasons 1-2
UK historical drama
Search Party video imageCathleen recommends
Search Party

Season 1
US dark comedy, mystery

 

Coroner video imageThe Coroner
Seasons 1-2
UK crime drama
Scott and Bailey video imageScott & Bailey
Series 1-5
UK crime drama
Seasons 1-6

US comedy, science fiction/fantasy