DPL Movie Staff Picks: December

Just in time for the holidays, presenting Denver Public Library's Staff Picks for December! From Shakespeare to Grace Kelly to the Queen of Soul, you'll find something in this list to satisfy heart and mind.


Woman at War (2019) Not rated, 101 min., Iceland, CC
Halla is a 50-year old choir director during the day -- and an environmental activist (read that eco-terrorist) by night.  Everything changes when she receives a life-changing letter. This charming, intense, relevant, and sometimes humorous film presents dire issues facing our global community.  Woman at War is profound and moving with a stunning use of music.  And the landscapes are breathtaking. (From director Benedikt Erlingsson)      


The Straight Story (1999) G, 112 min., CC
Yes, director David Lynch partners with Disney with magical results. Actor Richard Farnsworth stars as Alvin Straight, whose real-life trip on a John Deere lawn mower inspired the film. Join the upcoming screening at Central Library


To Catch a Thief (1955) PG, 106 min., Streaming on Kanopy
Suspense and glamour collide in Hitchcock’s star-studded classic featuring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly about a cat burglar in the French Riviera trying to clear his name and save a budding romance. Who better to catch a thief than another thief? Join us for the upcoming screening at Sam Gary Branch


How To Survive a Plague (2013) Not rated, 109 min., CC
December is AIDS and HIV Awareness Month. This documentary is a thorough examination of the activism that helped force medical breakthroughs when governments and doctors wanted to ignore the worldwide healthcare crisis happening. It gives heartbreaking accounts detailing how the LGBTQ community came together and eventually organized one of the most successful movements in modern history. 


Much Ado About Nothing (2012) PG-13, 109 min., CC
While filming The Avengers in 2012, director Joss Whedon decided to take a break and invite some of his favorite actors and friends to his home in Santa Monica, California. Over the course of only 12 days, they filmed a black and white, visually stunning, albeit slightly unusual version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. While the script is true to the original play, Whedon modernizes things by adding some gender swapping and mafia involvement. 


Edward Scissorhands (1990) PG-13, 105 min., CC
A small suburban town receives a visit from a castaway unfinished science experiment named Edward. (From director Tim Burton)


Anna and the Apocalypse (2018) R, 93 min., CC
What better way to celebrate the holiday season by watching a British zombie apocalypse horror/comedy movie… That’s Christmas-themed… AND a musical!  Taking place during the holidays, high schooler Anna and her friends have to survive a zombie apocalypse, singing/dancing along the way. The music/songs are good, the humor/dialogue is pretty funny, and for those that like the zombie genre, it does not disappoint on the blood/gore zombie movie elements.  Yes, it is pretty cheesy at times, but the movie is aware of that, making it all the more fun!


Obvious Child (2014) R, 83 min., CC
If, like me, you’re excited about actor/comedian/writer Jenny Slate’s new Netflix special Stage Fright — or her new book Little Weirds — you’ve got to watch this first-of-its-kind rom-com, starring Slate as Donna Stein, a recently dumped stand-up comic who ends up sleeping with a sweet graduate student, Max (Jake Lacy), who’s definitely not her type… and getting pregnant. As Donna navigates her decision to have an abortion, Max turns up unexpectedly and subverts her every expectation. All this, plus Paul Simon’s eponymous song, makes for a feel-good film that challenges stigma.

Kristen A.

Amazing Grace (2019) G, 89 min. , CC
Take a trip back in time and spend an evening with the Queen of Soul! In 1972, Aretha Franklin returned to her gospel roots and performed a 2-night concert at a church in the Watts neighborhood of L.A.  Technical difficulties at the time kept the film that was shot those nights from being released along with her Amazing Grace album, but thankfully today’s technology has finally transformed the film into this delicious treat we can all savor. (Keep an eye out for some other well-known guests in the audience, too!)

Written by Dodie on December 20, 2019