Phantom Thread is set in London in the 1950s. It is about Reynolds and Cyril Woodcock, a brother and sister team who design high fashion clothing for the wealthy and elite. Reynolds, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is the artist of the two, but is a very demanding and exacting man whose behaviours and adherence to routine are difficult for those around him. By chance he meets Alma, played by Vicky Krieps, who captures his attention. Soon she is living with Reynolds and his sister, and becoming a bigger part of their business. She does not conform to his lifestyle, and the bulk of the movie portrays the struggle for the three of them to co-exist.
This film is reportedly the last Day-Lewis will appear in, and he certainly delivers with an excellent performance. Krieps and Lesley Manville, who plays Cyril, are quite good as well. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn’t match the standard set by the leads. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but nothing of note beyond the acting. Although, Anderson has a reputation for directing “quirkier”-type films, and if his approach was to mute the other elements so that his stars can shine, he has succeeded brilliantly in that respect. For me though, the acting is only one element of a film and no matter how good, I need a little more to consider the movie better than just okay.
In a nutshell: the three leads in Phantom Thread deliver standout performances, but the rest of the film just can’t keep up and makes the whole thing feel average.
The Binti trilogy (Binti, Binti: Home, Binti: The Night Masquerade) is a series of novellas about acceptance, challenging the status quo, and true bravery. Binti is a young girl of the Himba tribe, a desert people who do not leave home. Their land is their life, and it is unheard of for anybody to leave their territory. Until Binti leaves for outer space. She is a math prodigy and a Master Harmonizer at the age of 16, and has been invited to the most prestigious university in the galaxy. Binti leaves behind everything she has ever known to make the longest journey any of her people have ever taken. She encounters a lot of judgement from humans and aliens alike about her culture on her way to Oomza Univeristy. Before she arrives there, she first has to survive the journey after tragedy strikes.
This was my first time reading a book by Nnedi Okorafor, and she has lived up to her reputation. She integrates African culture into science fiction to present a truly unique story. Told in the first person, the writing really lets readers connect with Binti and experience things through her eyes. This was especially effective when she encountered prejudice, allowing me to really empathize with her situation. Later on in the series, it comes to light that Binti has some prejudices of her own. I really enjoyed how it allowed readers a view of both perspectives in that social dynamic.
While the Binti series is primarily about the people, it is also a work of science fiction. Characters can use math to ‘harmonize’, creating connections and currents between things to make them work. It is a science that feels almost like magic. While there are some descriptions of math and equations, you don’t need to know math to understand what is happening. Okorafor does an excellent job at showing that these characters are experts in their field, while making it accessible to those of us who aren’t mathematicians. The books also address post-traumatic stress disorder, which is something I haven’t seen very much of in fiction.
Nnedi Okorafor has written a series that is unique and has a vast applicability. We get to experience the personal journey of an incredible character as she learns about acceptance, challenging the status quo, and how a change in perspective can change everything.
It's Kidspark time again! Our 30th anniversary event takes place on August 19th from 11:00-5:00. At Victoria Park, Kitchener Public Library and the City of Kitchener will be providing a day of fun and learning for the entire family, at the very reasonable price of FREE!
Included in the fun will be the chance to meet and take photos with Star Wars characters, birthday themed activities to celebrate the 30th birthday of Kidspark, a selfie station to snap some fun pictures, train rides, rock climbing, inflatables, STEAM activities, and musical performances by guest Erick Traplin!
Victoria Park is located at 80 Schneider Ave., Kitchener ON, N2G 1K9, and the fun will be happening rain or shine!
- Cassidy, Information Services
directed by Francis Ford Coppola
When I think about films that were formative for me as a person, I always harken back to the The Godfather. As a young girl, I remember sitting with my father, eating chips on our old worn couch as he explained the phrases “sleeping with the fishes” and “going to the mattresses” to me as the 1970s film was replayed on television. As an adult, I revisit the Godfather series every four or five years as they are classic Italian mob movies that stand up to the test of time.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola with a screenplay written by Coppola and Mario Puzo (the book series author), The Godfather is the quintessential exploration of a gangster family in 1940-50s New York. Don Vita Corleone, played by the temperamental and iconic Marlon Brando, is the head of a large Italian family: Sonny (James Caan), Fredo (John Cazale), Michael (Al Pacino) and Constanzia “Connie” (Talia Shire). Like all families to some extent, their lives are complex and a hot mess of drama. When the rival Tattaglia family branches out into narcotics and Vito Corleone refuses to come on board, it sets of a chain reaction after the attempted assassination of the Don. Michael, who is trying to stay on the straight and narrow for his non-Italian girlfriend Kay Adams (Diane Keaton), is drawn into dangerous acts of revenge to protect his family that will send him fleeing to Italy. The family will “go to the mattresses”; a term for an all-out war between the mob families, and no one will be untouched by the end of the film.
The Godfather has been lauded for years for amazing performances in a dramatic period piece, a fantastic Italian inspired film score from composer Nino Roto, and beautifully directed by Coppola. To watch this classic film, click here.
- Amanda, Information Services
The Fine Art of Cosplay
Cosplay, or 'costume play' is the activity of dressing up like your favourite television, movie, book, or video game characters. For many cosplayers, this involves actually making these costumes...sometimes even from scratch! Cosplay preferences vary from person to person, but a cosplayer can make their costume as simple or as complicated as they would like. Some people, for example, might wear a t-shirt printed with a pattern that resembles a favourite superhero's costume. Others can spend years and thousands of dollars hand crafting movie-realistic costumes which make them nearly indistinguishable from the character they're portraying. Most cosplayers, however, fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
I personally find myself closer to the simpler end of things, but have many good friends who are incredibly talented and create much more complex costumes. I will often scour thrift stores for pieces I can alter for what I need, and I'll create from scratch what I can't find. Mostly my costumes are made of different fabrics, with some accessories made from things like clay, craft foam and 3D printed plastic. Others use thermoplastics and heat guns to create impressive and detailed armour; will spend days dying, combining, and styling wigs; and will get up at 4AM to make sure intricate makeup or body paint is perfect.
What's important in cosplay, however, isn't how much time, skill, or money you have. It's about learning new things and, most of all, having fun celebrating the characters and stories that make you happiest! Cosplay is for everyone, and a great way to make new friends and express yourself.
Did you know that Kitchener Public Library's 3D printers can help you cosplay? Design your own pieces or download an object from thingiverse.com to make the perfect addition to your costume. (A reminder though, that weapons and weapon parts cannot be printed using our 3D printers.)
Why not use our 3D printers to create one of these great props?