Posts Tagged ‘Oswego Public Library’


Guest Curator Series Begins: “Bone Tomahawk”

26 January 2016
23bonetom-master675photo: Scott Everett White/RLJ Entertainment

We’re starting the new year with a new series, Guest Curator. The first guest to choose a film to screen is our friend Adam Sweeney. His choice (which screens Sunday, January 31 at 1:30 pm in the Oswego Public Library’s Community Room) is Bone Tomahawk. Here’s Jeannette Catsoulis’ review in The New York Times:

In “Bone Tomahawk,” an old-timer, an invalid and a gunslinger set out across the blistering desert to rescue three innocents from a band of savage cannibals. Their mission seems beyond futile, but don’t count them out too soon: Their leader is Kurt Russell.

Yet Mr. Russell is far from the only reason to see this unexpected low-budget treat, a witty fusion of western, horror and comedy that gallops to its own beat. That rhythm is dictated entirely by the writer and director, S. Craig Zahler, a novelist and musician who flips genre conventions upside-down and cares more about character than body count. As a result, he has given us a horror movie whose monsters are withheld until the tail end of its 132 minutes, and an action movie whose longest section involves mostly walking and talking.

But what talking! Listening to the wonderfully weird and off-kilter dialogue, you can see why actors with the heft of Patrick Wilson and Richard Jenkins were moved to join Mr. Russell in his trek. (“It’s like a tree fell on you,” a bartender remarks to a less-than-coherent patron. “A redwood.”) Even Matthew Fox, whom I have always found underwhelming, is terrific as the worldly gunslinger with a creamy wardrobe and an itchy trigger finger. Rising to the bait of the movie’s meandering asides and pithy one-liners, the actors never oversell, instead using their bodies to convey the weight of responsibility (Mr. Russell’s sheriff), the vanity of the professional killer (Mr. Fox) and the bone weariness of a deputy who’s too old for this posse nonsense (Mr. Jenkins).

For sheer physical endurance, though, Mr. Wilson bests them all as O’Dwyer, a cowboy whose wife has been kidnapped by the deviants and whose broken leg threatens to stall the rescue mission. The kidnappers — helpfully described as inbred cave dwellers, or “troglodytes,” lest we think that Native Americans are being depicted as people eaters — lurk a three-day ride from the little town of Bright Hope, where the abductions occurred. For some, this interlude will be a richly rewarding highlight as veteran performers gnaw on their roles and Benji Bakshi’s arid photography adds gravity and grandeur; for others, it will be a longueur to be endured before the splatter commences.

When it does, Mr. Zahler doesn’t disappoint with scenes that are swift, sure and shockingly brutal. Right to the end, the movie’s idiosyncratic sensibility doesn’t flag, with villains who sew animal bones into their throats to facilitate their bloodcurdling battle cries, and a victim who meets his end in the manner of a wishbone at Thanksgiving dinner. Even the song that plays over the end credits — a frontier-ditty parody by Mr. Zahler and Jeff Herriott — is worth staying seated for. Grisly and offbeat, “Bone Tomahawk” may boast abysmal racial politics, but they’re also true to the terrors of the time. Of all the things we can expect from an Old West picture, cultural enlightenment isn’t one of them.

“Bone Tomahawk” is not rated. Running time: 2 hours 12 minutes.

A version of this review appears in print on October 23, 2015, on page C11 of the New York edition with the headline: A Scary Western That’s Funny, Too.

A discussion follows the free screening.


OFG Presents Its Halloween Feature: “The Wicker Man” 10/27/14

20 October 2014

The film group returns (finally!) with its Halloween offering, the British cult film The Wicker Man. The 1973 feature has weathered rocky distribution, the release of versions of varied lengths, and an misbegotten 2006 remake to have established itself as a eccentric classic. The Wicker Man has inspired documentaries, novels, websites, fanzines, a music festival in Scotland, a Burning Man-type event in Pennsylvania, and the occasional sing-along. Dubbed the “Citizen Kane of horror” (Cinefantastique), The Wicker Man was ranked by The Guardian as the fourth best horror movie of all time.

Directed by Robin Hardy, the movie’s screenplay was by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth, Frenzy). Edward Woodward stars as a straight-arrow police officer who travels to a remote Scottish island to search for a missing girl. There, he’s disturbed to find a community still tied to ancient pagan ways. Also starring Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, and…Christopher Lee.

This is the short (88 minute) version. Rated R.

The film screens at 6 pm, Monday, October 27 in the Oswego Public Library’s Community Room (120 East 2nd Street). As always, free and open to all. A discussion follows the screening.


OFG Presents “The Devil’s Backbone” Oct 29

25 October 2013

devilsbackboneThe film group presents its Halloween feature, The Devil’s Backbone on Tuesday, October 29 at 6:45 pm in the Oswego Public Library’s Community Room (120 East 2nd Street).

One of the most personal films by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the tale of a twelve-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro expertly combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish mélange that, like his later Pan’s Labyrinth, reminds us the scariest monsters are often the human ones. (Criterion)

Check out the essay “The Devil’s Backbone: The Past Is Never Dead…” by Mark Kermode at the Criterion site:

We hope you’ll join us!


Update on Available NCLS DVDs

20 September 2013

Keeping you up-to-date on notable additions to the North Country Library System DVD collection…here are some 2013 releases now available: Ginger and Rosa  / Mud / To the Wonder / What Maisie Knew / White Elephant

From 2012:

Arbitrage / Amour / Beasts of the Southern Wild / Bernie / The Central Park Five / Certified Copy / Chico & Rita / 5 Broken Cameras / How to Survive a Plague / Hysteria / Jeff, Who Lives at Home / A Late Quartet / Margaret / The Master / Monsieur Lazhar / Moonrise Kingdom / Neighbouring Sounds / Never Stand Still / Not Fade Away / On the Ice / The Place Beyond the Pines / The Queen of Versailles / Rampart / A Royal Affair / Ruby Sparks / Safety Not Guaranteed / Salmon Fishing in the Yemen / Searching for Sugar Man  / The Secret World of Arrietty / A Separation / Sleepwalk With Me / Take This Waltz / We Need to Talk About Kevin / Your Sister’s Sister


“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Screens Wed, March 6

15 February 2013

beasts-of-the-southern-wild02It seems scores of folks (from the First Lady on) have been talking up this drama mixed with fantasy. Beasts of the Southern Wild has been nominated for four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and–the youngest nominee so far for–Best Actress). Set in a remote corner of the Louisiana bayou, this is the story of

Hushpuppy, played with feral eloquence by 6-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis. When not warming up cat food for dinner—lighting the stove with a blowtorch!—the dandelion-haired heroine ministers to her pig, chickens and rough-but-loving father, Wink (Dwight Henry—a New Orleans baker by trade), who’s grievously ill.

Alone in her tumbledown trailer, Hushpuppy ponders the nature of time and her place in the cosmos. “The whole universe depends on everything fittin’ together just right,” she says. Her fervent imagination fills the screen with magic, from the motes glowing in the air to visions of aurochs, fearsome prehistoric behemoths that will reclaim the earth as ice caps melt. She’s convinced that animals and her absent mother—who she’s told “swam away” years earlier—talk to her, sometimes in code.

Zeitlin auditioned several thousand Gulf Coast girls for the role of Hushpuppy, initially conceived as age 9 to 12. “Of the 20 callbacks, half were white,” he recalls. Wallis, who’s black, showed up “looking like a warrior. She wasn’t exactly how we had imagined the character, but her spirit was the spirit of the movie.”

Though Wallis had never acted before, she handled direction and her director like an old pro. After one take, Zeitlin sidled up to her and said, “That was good. I just need a little more subtlety.” Wallis put him in his place. “I said, ‘I’m 6 years old!’” she recalls. “‘Do you really think I know what subtlety means? Come on! Gimme a kid word!’”

(“How Behn Zeitlin Made Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Franz Lidz, Smithsonian Magazine) Read more:

This film screens on Wednesday, March 6 at 6:45 PM in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library (120 East 2nd Street). The event is free and open to all and, as always, we’ll follow the film with a discussion. For more information on the film, please visit its website:

(Yet Again) Update of Library DVDs (Fall 2012)

25 September 2012

DVDs you can order through the North Country Library System:*

From 2012: Friends With Kids; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; Margaret; Never Stand Still (doc); Rampart; Salmon Fishing in Yemen; The Secret World of Arrietty; We Need to Talk About Kevin

From 2011: The Artist; Being Elmo (doc); A Better Life; Carnage; Coriolanus; A Dangerous Method; The Elephant in the Room (doc); Everything Must Go; Hell and Back Again (doc); If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (doc); Into the Abyss (doc); The Last Mountain (doc); Martha Marcy May Marlene; Melancholia; My Week With Marilyn; Project Nim (doc); Rejoice and Shout (doc); The Skin I Live In; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Trollhunter; The Way; Young Adult

*Includes the Oswego Public Library


OFG and OPL Present 6/25 Event: “Senna” + “The Art of Racing in the Rain”

9 June 2012

Formula One legend Ayrton Senna is the subject of the documentary that screens Monday 6/25

OFG is teaming up with the Oswego Public Library (OPL) for a new endeavor; Intersections: Screen + Page.

At the suggestion of librarian Edward Elsner, we’ll explore the life of the Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna (in the award-winning documentary Senna)–the hero of one of the main characters (a race car driver himself) in the bestselling novel by Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain. Everyone is invited to read the book in anticipation of the event Monday, June 25 in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library (120 E 2nd St).

At 6:30 PM, we’ll screen Senna. Directed by Asif Kapadia, the documentary won the World Cinema Audience Award for Documentary Film at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Rated PG-13, the film runs 1 hour, 44 minutes.

After the screening, we’ll discuss both the film and the novel, exploring their common themes. The event is free and open to the public.