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Archive for September, 2012


Friday, September 28th, 2012


                Pusher is a precautionary tale of the risks of ambition and the descent from power. The film focuses on a drug-dealer named Frank whose life is in complete disarray when he botches a deal and owes his supplier an enormous amount of money. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong, with possible mortal consequences for Frank. This subtitled film was the first of a trilogy, shot on a low budget in Denmark and was released in 1996.

This is the first film directed by Nicholas Winding Refn who also co-wrote the screenplay. If the name sounds familiar then you may have seen a little movie called “Drive” last year. This was the newest film by the director that met moderate success and a small cult following. Since then Refn and “Drive’s” star, Ryan Gosling, have finished another film not yet released called “Only God Forgives” and another Refn/Gosling collaboration is in the talk of making a remake of the 1976 film “Logan’s Run”. I’m a really huge fan of this director and see him as a great talent on the rise that may someday have the respect as a director comparable to Stanley Kubrick or Martin Scorsese as he gets deeper into his career. If you liked “Drive” and also dug up this older work by him then check out other great films he has under his belt such as “Valhalla Rising” and “Bronson”. All of these films hit hard with graphic brutality and can be gritty but have fantastic drama and characters that are great contributions to the spectacle of cinema.

This film shows the world of drugs without glorifying or romanticizing it (don’t expect a film like Blow with Johnny Depp). It captures the dangerous and grizzly aspects of addictive substances and has a lot of similarities to “Requiem for a Dream” in how its character falls prey to substance and his own ambition, and then we watch his life collapse. The film has a kind of grainy low budget look to it; but that just feeds into the grittiness of the world that Refn builds, where the surroundings are just as dark and brutal as the thugs and low-lifes that inhabit it. The language is extremely vulgar and the violence can make you grind your teeth but it all has purpose in making a great tragedy about an anti-hero protagonist.

So if you liked “Drive”,  see the roots where it’s great director emerged from, and look into the rest of his work. If you like “Pusher” and want more street-romping, teeth-shattering urban-excursions, check out films like Snatch (2000), Layer Cake (2004) and La Haine (1995).


Link to CATQuest record

Outcasts and Rebels

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Fleming Museum curator Aimee Marcereau DeGalan selected four books from UVM Special Collections to include in the museum’s current focus exhibition, Outcasts and Rebels:  Prints by William Blake and Leonard Baskin.  The books, all from Baskin’s Gehenna Press, include Blake’s Auguries of Innocence A Letter from William Blake, Caprices and Grotesques, and Demons, Imps and Fiends.

The exhibit can be seen in the Fleming Museum’s East Gallery Annex from September 25-December 14, 2012.

New Books: Animal Prints

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

These works can be found on our New Book shelf in Bailey/Howe, an ever-rotating sampling of things we’re adding to our collection. You can also review all our newest books online, and subscribe via RSS to receive alerts about acquisitions, by discipline.

Black Rhinos

The Black Rhinos of Namibia: Searching for Survivors in the African Desert, by Rick Bass

Rick Bass first made a name for himself as a writer and seeker of rare, iconic animals, including the grizzlies and wolves of the American West. Now he’s off on a new, far-flung adventure in the Namib of southwest Africa on the trail of another fascinating, vulnerable species. The black rhino is a three-thousand-pound, squinty-eyed giant that sports three-foot-long dagger horns, lives off poisonous plants, and goes for days without water. Against the backdrop of one of the most ancient and harshest terrains on earth, Bass, with his characteristic insight and grace, probes the complex relationship between humans and nature and meditates on our role as both destroyer and savior.

An Orphan Seal

The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species, by Terrie M. Williams

When a two day-old Hawaiian monk seal pup is attacked and abandoned by his mother on a beach in Kauai, environmental officials must decide if they should save the newborn animal or allow nature to take its course. But as a member of the most endangered marine mammal species in U.S. waters, Kauai Pup 2, or KP2, is too precious to lose, and he embarks on an odyssey that will take him across an ocean to the only qualified caretaker to accept the job, eminent wildlife biologist Dr. Terrie M. Williams.

We All Had Gills

Once We All Had Gills: Growing Up Evolutionist in an Evolving World, by Rudolf A. Raff

In this book, Rudolf A. Raff reaches out to the scientifically queasy, using his life story and his growth as a scientist to illustrate why science matters, especially at a time when many Americans are both suspicious of science and hostile to scientific ways of thinking. Noting that science has too often been the object of controversy in school curriculums and debates on public policy issues ranging from energy and conservation to stem-cell research and climate change, Raff argues that when the public is confused or ill-informed, these issues tend to be decided on religious, economic, and political grounds that disregard the realities of the natural world.