12 Years a Slave (2013) – Steve McQueen

What kind of species are we that we can enslave our fellows? There are two scenes in McQueen’s masterpiece 12 Years a Slave, that shook me to my core. The first was a scene in which Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Solomon Northup is left to hang, while life goes on around him, and another when Solomon is…

The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) – Anthony Mann

An incredible cast fills out this recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book for my screening of Spartacus. Alec Guinness is Marcus Aurelius, whose death begins the downfall of the great empire, as his son, Commodus (Christopher Plummer) assumes leadership, and is unwilling to let anything stand in his way. They…

Morning Star (2016) – Pierce Brown

  Pierce Brown’s epic science fiction trilogy comes to an explosive, and emotionally satisfying conclusion with Morning Star, this week’s title on The Book Shelf. After the stunning cliffhanger of Golden Son, I was left to wonder what Brown would do to finish off the story, and what would the cost be to characters I’ve…

Ride with the Devil (1999) – Ang Lee

  We get a look at the other side of the Civil War, as we join a Confederate guerrilla campaign in Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil, the next recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book following my screening of The Red Badge of Courage. With a top tier cast including…

Star Wars: Lost Stars (2015) – Claudia Gray

  Another step towards Star Wars: The Force Awakens… Claudia Gray’s novel, positioned as a Young Adult title, is highly enjoyable book, and a welcome addition to the new canon of the Star Wars universe. Starting just before the beginning of the original trilogy, and ending shortly after it, at the much rumored about Battle…

Turn: Washington’s Spies – Season 1

  The third title releasing from Anchor Bay today is  AMC’s first season of the smart, tightly paced character drama set during the American Revolutionary War. Taking its cues from actual historical figures and events, the series charts the creation and implementation of a spy ring that served as Washington’s source of information on the British. Leading…

Cabiria (1914) – Giovanni Pastrone

The first recommended title following my screening of Intolerance for the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film is this epic tale set during the Punic Wars. Apparently the director of Intolerance, D.W. Griffith, was highly influenced by this film when he saw it, and created Intolerance to tell his own epic. The film follows…

Doctor Who (Patrick Troughton) – The Krotons

The next journey of the TARDIS is this four-part story written by Robert Holmes that ran from 28 December, 1968 to 18 January, 1969. The Doctor, Zoe (Wendy Padbury) and Jamie (Frazer Hines), find themselves on a planet inhabited by the Gond, who seem to be in some sort of slavery to machines known as…

Captain Blood (1935) – Michael Curtiz

The 101 Action movies moves into the age of the talkies with this high-seas adventure starring Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland. Flynn plays Peter Blood, an Irish doctor who is wrongly convicted of treason against King James, and in lieu of hanging is shipped off to Port Royal in the Caribbean as a slave…