What to check out at the UW libraries
DVDs, by Nathan Taft
“Total Recall,” dir. Paul Verhoeven
Not to be confused with the awful remake released earlier this year, the original “Total Recall” was released in 1990 and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Set in 2084, the film follows construction worker (or is he a secret agent?) Douglas Quaid (Schwarzenegger) as he tries to determine whether he is living his real life or a fake one formed by implanted memories. While the movie’s logic is sometimes laughable — characters survive on the surface of Mars without a mask for even a small period time, for instance — it’s well worth the time of anyone who enjoys science fiction, suspense, and the talents of the best action hero/governor this side of Ronald Reagan.
Media Reserve / ENGL 345
“Dirty Harry,” dir. Don Siegel
Filmed during the heyday of Clint Eastwood’s action-star phase, “Dirty Harry” can be over the top at times, but highly enjoyable to watch. Set in San Francisco, Clint Eastwood plays a cop with his heart in the right place, but who doesn’t always play by the rules. The movie follows Eastwood as he tracks down a sniper who is terrorizing the city with random shootings. And while the track-down is certainly entertaining, what makes this film stand the test of time is the final segment, when Eastwood takes matters into his own hands after the sniper is released due to a lack of admissible evidence. Those who don’t understand the popular “Feeling lucky, punk?” line would do well to watch this one.
Media Browsing / DVD WHV 301
CDs, by Kali Swenson
“Strange Mercy,” St. Vincent
The third album from Annie Clark under her stage name, St. Vincent, sounds exactly as its title suggests — very weird, but compassionate. Guided by a voice that’s at once beautiful and terrifying, St. Vincent is like Regina Spektor on acid. “Strange Mercy” is full of unbridled energy, most explicitly seen on the tracks “Cruel” and “Northern Lights.” With perpetual guitar-shredding and the mid-album proclamation, “I don’t want to be your cheerleader no more,” St. Vincent’s “Strange Mercy” feels like finally sticking it to the man and getting back at all the people who ever called you weird. And, all the while, Annie Clark maintains her wonderful strangeness.
Media Center / Cd FAD 010
“3 Rounds and a Sound,” Blind Pilot
Hailing from Portland, Ore., Blind Pilot has a sound that has come to be quite emblematic of the Pacific Northwest. Crooning vocals, lulling acoustic guitars, and occasional horns root “3 Rounds and a Sound” in the pleasurable melancholy of indie folk music at its finest. The band is often compared to The Shins and Iron & Wine, and this album proves that comparison apt. The standout tracks “One Red Thread” and title-lending “3 Rounds and a Sound” offer the thoughtful comfort expected of this genre. “3 Rounds and a Sound” is the perfect soundtrack for a sweatered, solo bike ride on a crisp autumn day.
Media Center / Cd EXPR 001
Books, by Jasmine Kim
“The House of the Spirits,” by Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende’s dramatic yet captivating “The House of the Spirits” centers on the triumph and downfall of the Trueba family amid the backdrop of the Chilean revolution. Esteban Trueba, the head of the household, is an ambitious conservative leader whose personal issues and political decisions splinter his family. In the same vein as Laura Esquivel’s “Like Water for Chocolate,” love and familial conflict are topics that run rampant in “The House of the Spirits.” Much speculation has surrounded the characters and events in Allende’s novel, as Allende herself is Salvador Allende’s niece. Whether politically informed or not, however, this cultural story is not one to ignore.
Odegaard Stacks / PQ8098.1.L54 C313 1985
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood
Arguably one of the best dystopian novels, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a chilling read. Offred, whose real name is never revealed, is a handmaid to one of the most powerful men in the new republic that overthrew the United States. She is valued solely for her ovaries and her ability to produce a child. In a male-dominated society, where women are forbidden to read or be even remotely independent, Offred and many of the other women in this novel suffer, and the hope of rebellion incites a swarm of upheaval. With strikingly vivid scenery and singular jargon, Atwood explores the ideas surrounding female oppression in a society that isn’t as implausible as it seems.
Odegaard Stacks / PR9199.3.A8 H3 1986
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