DPL Staff Movie Picks: July

We are officially halfway through summer already, can you believe it?!

Nearly all Denver Public Library locations are open for walk-in services (Central will be officially open to the public beginning this Sunday—yay!), but if you’re not yet comfortable coming out to public spaces, we still have so many services available! We have Kanopy, which is always updating with new, awesome films ranging from documentaries to indie films and classics to blockbusters, all for at-home streaming. We also have a great virtual program going for all my movie lovers out there called What We’re Watching, where you can meet up and have discussions with the Denver Cinema Club about movies and television series. Be sure to check it out! 

Also, as you know, so many great movies are adapted from great books, so if you’re looking for your next great read, feel free to try our Personalized Reading List service, in which our librarians will review what you have loved to read in the past and create a list of new titles specifically designed for you. We’ll also make you a Curbside Bundle full of surprises, if you’d like!

See you next month, stay safe, sane, and watch a movie!

Promising Young Woman (2020)

This Oscar-winning movie is marketed as a revenge thriller in a candy coating, but it would be more accurate to say it’s about trying to live with trauma by making the world safer, one person at a time. The movie defies expectations, including switching tone midway through, but the tragic end will shock you. Don’t miss the soundtrack, full of pop hits, including an instrumental version of “Toxic” that fits perfectly.

Spontaneous (2020) DVD

In this outrageous coming-of-age love story, students in their high school begin inexplicably exploding (literally). Seniors Mara and Dylan struggle to survive in a world where each moment could bring them closer to growing up or blowing up. (From director Brian Duffield.)

Mary Janes: The Women of Weed (2020) DVD

In the 1980s, it seemed that every Saturday morning cartoon ran ads featuring Nancy Reagan telling kids to “just say no.” Filmmaker Windy Borman heard it as the imperative intended: don’t fry your brain like an egg. In Mary Janes: The Women of Weed, Borman, now all grown up, challenges why she listened and whether she should join America’s burgeoning pot party, never having partaken herself. Almost immediately in this solid feature documentary, Borman discounts the myth of marijuana as a gateway drug despite the government’s stance that it should remain a Schedule I substance along with heroin, peyote, ecstasy, and LSD. However, under the broader umbrella of cannabis, it can serve as a gateway to examine harder issues: gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Borman covers a lot of ground in just 85 minutes.

Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) French, DVD

Celine and Julie are ’70s Parisian strangers who share a mysterious, near mystical bond that transforms into a friendship of coincidences in an almost Alice in Wonderland-style worm-hole. Their story is oddly connected to a soap opera taking place on repeat in a seemingly haunted house. This movie is playful and strange and seems to ask: What is female friendship without a little bit of witchcraft, excessive amounts of laughter, and the surreal whimsy of the French New Wave?

But I'm a Cheerleader (2000) Kanopy

“Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is a teenager passionate about cheerleading. However, her conservative parents suspect she is more interested in the other girls on the team, despite the fact she has a boyfriend—albeit one she refuses to be intimate with. Filled with horror at the thought of having a lesbian daughter, her straight-laced parents (Mink Stole and Bud Cort) ship her off to a summer school that aims to turn kids straight. Determined to get back the summer of fun she had planned, she decides to go along with the camp’s rules, that is until she meets the beautiful Graham (Clea DuVall) and finds herself questioning her sexuality for the first time.”

Kristen A.
Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games (2017) French, DVD 

These fun French remakes of Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries, set in Paris the 1950s, feel fresh and a little bit campy. Each episode feels like un petit voyage à la Ville-Lumière of yesteryear, complete with a mystery to solve—such a pleasure! 

Lupin III: The First (2021) Japanese, DVD

Whether new to the Lupin III (Lupin the Third) manga world created by Monkey Punch, or a newbie who has yet to be introduced to the titular character—grandson of the iconic gentleman thief who bares his grandfather’s same name—this new Lupin III movie is great for both groups. This tale is a mystery/spy story reminiscent of Indiana Jones meets James Bond, involving a mysterious diary holding clues to treasures of a lost civilization. Unlike the anime, however, this movie is done in 3D animation style, and surprisingly it still also keeps the basic look/design of the anime.

Written by lhall-nance on July 15, 2021