Monday, April 14, 2014

See Let's Be Cops TONIGHT!


We're a little last minute on this one, but if you're looking for something to do this evening, consider seeing a new movie!

We have advance passes to see Let's Be Cops, an upcoming action-comedy starring some very funny people. The ensemble includes Jake Johnson from New Girl, Damon Wayans Jr. from Happy Endings, Rob Riggle of The Daily Show, and Keegan-Michael Key from Key and Peele. These are all very funny people, and we're very excited about the idea of them all in a cop movie.

The screening goes down tonight at the AMC Loews 14 in Georgetown at 7pm. (Again, a little last minute, but maybe you're heading down there!) If you want a ticket, follow this link here and print one out! We also have a few print copies left in Media Services, so feel free to visit us in person too.

Again, this is happening TONIGHT at 7pm! We hope to see you there!

(As always, remember that this pass is not necessarily a guarantee that you will get into a screening.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How much food do The Goonies eat? Analysis says: a lot


One of the most fun things about movies, television, and really any entertainment medium is the way in way people break them down and uncover all sorts of weird trivia. Just like when someone recently figured out when Ice Cube had a "Good Day," people across the Internet are always figuring out unusual facts about pop culture. This time, it's The Goonies.

An enterprising blogger from Bon Appétit (AU's former food service provider) has calculated how much Chunk eats over the course of The Goonies. Needless to say, it's not healthy. Over the course of the film, he consumes (or is implied to consume) close to 3,000 calories, and he has over 20 food-related moments. That leaves only about 5 minutes to breathe between each time Chunk shows up with some food. That's impressive commitment to a one-off character trait.

There's really not too much academic about this factoid, but we love seeing people break down movies like this. We're sure someone out there could write a terrific essay about The Goonies and its thematic use of food. Maybe Chunk has been the key to the movie all along!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Welcome to Television Bubble Month!

As we enter the middle of April, we enter the month of the television bubble, that dreaded period when television shows teeter on the edge of renewal or cancellation. Many unsuccessfully shows are canceled after a few weeks or even one really bad episode, but others manage to get through a whole season without knowing if they'll be back for round two. This has led many shows, including How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs, to set up for potential emergency twist endings which were later abandoned. It's an interesting vagary of a production process that hinges on unpredictable factors.

Deciding whether to bring back a television series for another season is a harrowing process, one that often elicits letter-writing campaigns and grassroots attempts to keep beloved but unsuccessful shows from getting the axe. This year is no different; popular but iffy shows like Hannibal and The Mindy Project could go either way.

In honor of this sort of scary and expectant season, we'd like to celebrate a number of shows that were canceled before their time. Some have seen a revival in movie form or an additional season, but these are classic cases of the television bubble bursting. Come check out these shows from the library, and be warned that your favorite struggling series might be next to join this list!

Freaks and Geeks, The Complete Series – HU DVD 3441
Arrested Development, The Complete Series – HU DVD 4871 - 4873
Firefly, The Complete Series – HU DVD 5301
    (Revived in Serenity – HU DVD 5317)
Deadwood, The Complete Series – HU DVD 7101 - 7129
Pushing Daises, Season 1 – HU DVD 10251
Carnivale, Season 1 – HU DVD 10287
Sports Night, The Complete Series – HU DVD 10611 - 10612
Twin Peaks, The Complete Series – HU DVD 14069 - 14070
    (Revived in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me – HU DVD 5760)
Luck, Season 1 – HU DVD 14098

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The tool for the job



You probably know that Lynda.com has tutorials on all the latest software and cutting edge technology. But sometimes the simple tool is the best one for the job. Learn how to get the most out of Microsoft Excel with Excel 2013: Managing and Analyzing Data. Two hours of tips so you can hit that nail on the head - sorting and filtering data, creating subtotals, and advanced analytics.

As a current AU student, faculty or staff, you have access to all of Lynda.com's tutorials and resources. First, go to www.american.edu/lynda and log in with your AU credentials. Enjoy.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Looking back on ten decades of Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney's death this week passed by surprisingly unheralded. For a man once considered one of the biggest movie stars in the world, this is not a judgment on the quality of his work. Instead, it reflects how shockingly long ago Mickey Rooney was in his heyday and for how long after he continued his craft.

Rooney began his acting career in the 1920s and achieved international fame in the dozens of movies in which he appeared across the 1930s and 1940s. He was a song-and-dance man who acted in tandem with other famous faces, especially and notably his collaboration with Judy Garland. Even after his career highs, Rooney regularly star in films through the end of his life. To today's viewers, he is perhaps best known for his appearance in Night at the Museum (at age 85!) and his unfortunate, much-criticized turn as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Mickey Rooney may not hold the same iconic status of the other superstars of his era, but make no mistake: he was a legend of his time. We have a number of his most successful films in our collection, including a number of documentaries and compilations about the era and his work.

Quicksand – HU DVD 203
Breakfast at Tiffany's – HU DVD 501*
National Velvet – HU DVD 5483
That's Entertainment! – HU DVD 5671
That's Entertainment, Part II – HU DVD 5672
That's Entertainment! III – HU DVD 5673
Golden Age of Television. Disc 3 – HU DVD 7093
Babe: Pig in the City – HU DVD 7222
Babes in Arms – HU DVD 7871
Strike Up the Band – HU DVD 7872
Babes on Broadway – HU DVD 7873
Girl Crazy – HU DVD 7874
Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection, Bonus Disc – HU DVD 7875
Beach Blanket Bingo – HU DVD 10337
Beast of the City – HU DVD 11071
When the World Breaks – Streaming video

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Bon voyage to Todd Chappell

We wanted to take a break from our normal programming to wish a fond farewell to our colleague Todd Chappell. Todd has been with the AU Library and Media Services since 2010, and his tenure as New Media Center Coordinator led to a customer service boom. Todd is departing the AU Library to further his career in web development, and we wish the best of luck on his new adventures.

In deference to Todd's sensibilities, we present a 23-minute montage of 80s cartoon intros. Godspeed, Mr. Chappell!



Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Same as it ever was? Neurological study explains why we miss film goofs


Spotting continuity errors can be both one of the most fun and one of the most annoying parts of the film-watching experience. Sometimes, odd mistakes and slip-ups are amusing and add an extra wrinkle to the appreciation of the film's craftsmanship (Black Dynamite, HU DVD 8479, is based almost entirely around these sort of mistakes). But finding too many noticeable errors can potentially ruin an otherwise great movie. It's understandable if some people don't want to know what their favorite films got wrong.

As it turns out, our brain doesn't want us to find that out either. Last week, UC Berkeley released a fascinating study on our perception of visual change and continuity fields. Essentially, human brains are wired to smooth over discontinuous images and stimuli, allowing us to perceive that objects are changing. If a person smiles, for instance, you understand that their face has simply moved and was not instantly replaced.

This has an unusual side effect when we watch movies. Our brain automatically smooths over small changes between takes and scenes, so long as the image appears largely similar, we won't call foul. We've let our brains tune us out of seemingly huge goofs, like Julia Roberts eating a pancake in Pretty Woman (above). Way to let us down, lizard brain!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Learn about the AU's Cinema Studies program TODAY!

AU's Cinema Studies program is the source of the university's most exciting film happenings. If you're unfamiliar with their work, each year, the Cinema Studies program organizes a public film festival that's held here in the AU Library. This year, their morbid food-themed series has gone swimmingly, with movies like Troll 2 and Chicken Run gathering big crowds. This is on top of providing a close-knit community of film students and scholars.

If you have been interested in pursuing degrees in literature or film, you may want to stop by the Cinema Studies information session today at 5pm! Swing by the Battelle-Tomkins Atrium at 5pm to learn about what this program offers and have a few cookies.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Filmmaker IQ whets your appetite with a history of movie trailers


We love Filmmaker IQ and their video crash courses on the history of film. In the past we're posted about their lesson on aspect ratios. This time around, they've prepared a history of movie trailers.

You can either follow along in the video (embedded above) or read the article for roughly the same content. Trailers started as interstitial ads that played after short films, but thanks in large part to companies like the National Screen service, they soon became their own thriving industry.

We won't re-iterate too much more, because the video from Filmmaker IQ is exhaustive and worth watching. If you've ever been curious about when the first trailers started to make it big (would you have guessed as early as 1913?), this lesson is for you. Take 15 minutes out of your Sunday and give it a watch!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Are DVD pirates curating culture?

The film industry has waged an uphill war against piracy for many, many years. Even in parts of the world with sub-par Internet access, physical piracy and reproduction of DVDs continue to dog Hollywood's bottom line. But the continued spread of piracy in developing countries has an unusual cultural effect as well: bootleggers are becoming cultural gatekeepers.

A fascinating article from Vice details how Peru's most active film pirates have become the country's "culture dealers," offering Peruvians access to thousands of films that not have seen international distribution or are otherwise difficult to get. Vice explains that slow Internet speeds in Peru hamper access to movies obtained through both digital piracy and legitimate channels. In that void, brick-and-mortar piracy has taken on a new life, leaving pirates to play the role of studios and sell films to the masses.

There are of course multiple sides to this story: many studios claim that these pirates have run them out of business, and the link between film piracy and gang activity is often very strong. Even so, it is fascinating to consider that for either distribution or competition reasons, piracy is often the only choice for millions of people to experience film.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moviegoers still give critical reviews a thumbs-up

Social media word-of-mouth isn't much of a punchline anymore. Positive reaction from friends is a strong factor in people's media choices, and with no one to fill the critical void left by Roger Ebert's death last year, some in the blogosphere have speculated that social media is replacing film critics as the go-to source for information about films.

New studies show that it might be too early to write an obituary for the film critics. According to a recent Nielsen survey, 80 percent of Americans read movie reviews and follow that judgment when deciding what films to see. This is nearly double the number who take cues from social media. That said, Hollywood Reporter's breakdown of the same study finds that most of these filmgoers at least use social media, and in the case of the youngest generations, friends are overtaking critics as the most trusted source. In any case, reviews from critics and friends remain more important than in driving viewer opinions than trailers or ads – at least according to a self-reported survey.

We might not have a singular figure anymore whose film criticism is valued throughout the country, but websites like Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and MRQE ensure that film reviews are still taken seriously across demographics. It seems we don't yet need someone to step in where Ebert left off. (Sorry, Gene Shalit.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

RIP James Rebhorn, "that guy"

We've had to eulogize legendary directors and filmmakers all-too-frequently this year, but this time, we want to turn attention to a famous and well-loved actor who you might not even recognize by name. James Rebhorn, who died last week at age 65, is the ultimate "that guy," an recognizable actor who appeared in seemingly everything without ever having a starring role.

His career included appearances successful dramas, comedies, and action movies – an incredible feat. You could know Rebhorn best for his work in Independence Day as the headstrong Secretary of Defense Albert Nimziki. You might also recognize him as Dr. Kaplan, Liz Lemon's frustrated dentist/matchmaker on 30 Rock. Rebhorn was a chameleon, appearing in 125 works since the late 70s, from soap opera bit parts to recurring role on Showtime's Homeland.

James Rebhorn may not have had the same following as some celebrities and big personalities, but that reflects the lower profile he kept and the way he blended into the many memorable roles he portrayed. No doubt we'll miss Rebhorn's work, if only because he was a familiar face.

If you need an indication of how much diverse work this guy participated in, look no further than his unusual collection of films and television shows he appeared in that are available at Media Services:

Snow Falling on Cedars – HU DVD 99
Cold Mountain – HU DVD 857
The Talented Mr. Ripley – HU DVD 1447
Carlito's Way – HU DVD 1483
Silkwood – HU DVD 1647
The Game – HU DVD 2246
Independence Day – HU DVD 3111
Lorenzo's Oil – HU DVD 3324
North & South – HU DVD 3660
White Squall – HU DVD 5530
Basic Instinct – HU DVD 5729 
Baby Mama – HU DVD 8626
30 Rock, Season 4, Disc 2 – HU DVD 8930
Homeland, Season 1 – HU DVD 10348
Homeland, Season 2 – HU DVD 10349
My Cousin Vinny – HU DVD 10487
Seinfeld, Season 9: "The Finale" – HU DVD 14140, Disc 4

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Transportation coordinator"? How film industry changes affect local businesses

The film industry is very expensive. Big movie budgets often run above $200 million, and even smaller films like Nebraska can cost about $10 million. Where does that all go? Once you remove all the big expenses like actors, special effects, advertising, and various studio fees, much of that budget goes to the crew and affiliated services. These aren't necessarily people employed by studios – it's often local craftsmen, caterers, and propmasters. These small businesses often depend on the film industry for income, but with film credits moving the centers of production, many of these companies are struggling to stay afloat.

The Los Angeles Times ran a sad but insightful article today about the fates of many "industry-dependent" outfits in the Hollywood area that are now downsizing, moving, or closing shop. For all the good news and industry growth that state-sponsored film credits generate, it's worth recognizing that when something as massive as the film industry relocates, it creates economic ripples. This isn't to suggest that the film industry should never move – but it's worth recognizing the parts of the industry that are struggling the most with these changes.

The next time you're watching the credits of a movie, don't ignore the "payroll master" or "assistant chef." These folks have to make a living too!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Acquisitions - March 2014

Welcome back from spring break! Since you've been gone, we've been very busy. The AU Library is now home to many of the year's biggest award nominees, including Captain Phillips, Blue is the Warmest Color, 12 Years a Slave, Lee Daniel's The Butler, Prisoners, and Gravity. And if you're feeling something lighter, we now also have Catching Fire, The World's End, and National Treasure.

It's really been a great few weeks for our collection. Come see what we have! Read on for a full list...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Alternative programming: the NCAA's equity problem


As you may have heard, American University's men's basketball team beat Boston University yesterday, winning their first Patriot League title in five years and earning a coveted spot in the March Madness tournament bracket. Go Eagles! This is crazy exciting for AU, but let's step back for a minute. March Madness has become a formidable industry that generates roughly $1 billion ever year. Who actually makes that money? Do the players ever reap the benefits of participating in a billion-dollar sports phenomenon?

The folks at Frontline have provided free access to Money and March Madness, a documentary about the financial inequities of what is arguably still an amateur sporting event. This is an important subject to think about as we head into the most exciting week of AU's comeback season. The entire AU community will almost certainly be watching at home and possibly buying spirit wear, but we should never stop being curious about the effects of what we like and do.

(This is just one of the many documentaries from the Frontline series that has been released for free online. Their full catalog is worth exploring.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SXSW continues to promote original voices in film


South by Southwest , a cultural festival held every March in Austin, may have grabbed headlines this year for its keynote speech from whistleblower Edward Snowden. But SXSW is much more than a soapbox. Each year, the SXSW Film Festival hosts upcoming independent talent, debuting feature films and documentaries from newcomers in the industry. Not all of the highlighted filmmakers go on to big careers and future successes, but the talent is always worth checking out.

It's far too early to say whether any this year's films are the next big thing, but SXSW has a good track record. Many successful movies, including the first work by Girls creator Lena Dunham, debuted at SXSW. Many of the selections, like Best Worst Movie and Winnebago Man, err on the edgy, unusual side that SXSW specializes in. But if that means that this festival has become a haven for new, alternative voices in film, all the better.

The AU Library's film collection includes a number of notable world debuts from SXSW, from war crimes documentary War Don Don to nerd anathema outlet The People vs. George Lucas. Come check them out before SXSW ends this Sunday!

Brooklyn Castle – HU DVD 2826
Beware of Mr. Baker – HU DVD 4400
Kumaré – HU DVD 6716
Garbage Dreams – DVD 7149
I Love You, Man – HU DVD 7778*
 Best Worst Movie – HU DVD 7880
Marwencol – DVD 8347
Barbershop Punk – HU DVD 9245
Tiny Furniture – HU DVD 9713
War Don Don – DVD 10095
The People vs. George Lucas – HU DVD 10241
The Cabin in the Woods – HU DVD 10724
Where Soldiers Come From – DVD 10604
Winnebago Man – HU DVD 11171
Short Term 12 – HU DVD 11178
Wikileaks: Secrets and Lies – Streaming video

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

12 Years a Slave now available

A quick FYI: newly minted Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave is now available in Media Serviecs in the AU Library. The DVD for this film was just released yesterday, and given its current critical acclaim, we've made a point of getting this item onto the shelf as quickly as possible. It is available under the call number HU DVD 11176.

Expect it to be checked out almost immediately, but know that we do have a copy available.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The film event of the year: We update our Best Pictures Pinterest!

Tonight, nine films will battle for the ultimate honor in cinema: a place on our Best Picture Winners Pinterest board.* This esteemed list contains 83 of the greatest films of all time, as voted on each year by the film community. From modern successes like No Country for Old Men to classics like Gone of the Wind and Ben-Hur, this highly prestigious Pinterest board is a Who's Who of a century of quality films. Controversy abounds in this list, such as the decision to pin How Green Was My Valley in 1941 over Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon, but this Pinterest board is still widely regarded as the standard-bearer for film acclamation.

Each films on this list of available for checkout in the AU Library. Follow the links on each pin to see whether it's available.

*Additionally, movies added to this Pinterest board are also presented with an Academy Award.

Friday, February 28, 2014

On The Road With Lynda


Lynda.com has many courses about using your new skills in the real world. These are all taught by professionals in field - like professional photographer and author Ben Long. One of Lynda's newest courses is Travel Photography: Geologging and Journaling on the Road. Ben Long gives you tips on journaling while you are traveling - including shooting to document your trip, importing GPS data, workflow and tagging. Lynda.com has some other great courses in this series, all produced out in the real world. Travel Photography: Desert Road Trip, Travel Photography: Seaside Road Trip, and Shooting on the Road from Gear to Workflow.

As a current AU student, faculty or staff, you have access to all of Lynda.com's tutorials and resources. First, go to www.american.edu/lynda and log in with your AU credentials. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What you won't see at the Oscars this Sunday


We love the Oscars, but we admit that they're imperfect. With the ceremony only three days away, it's time to be a little critical. The Academy frequently overlooks specific types of films that, in retrospect, we often consider to be some of the greatest.

Comedies, for the most part, are rarely nominated and win even less frequently. There are countless articles belaboring this point, but we'll let this summary from The Atlantic do the talking. With the exception of the occasional quirky dramedy, comedy films almost never receive nods for the top awards. Of the nine films nominated for Best Picture this year, only American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street could be considered comedies – and that's pushing the definition. While we would never expect something like The Hangover to go home with Oscar gold, classic comedies including Blazing Saddles, Airplane!, and This is Spinal Tap have all left the Oscars without any recognition. This is arguably the Academy Awards' greatest repeated oversight.

Relatedly, the Academy also has a habit of overlooking films about youth. This year's acting snub for Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha is part of a long tradition of ignoring coming-of-age stories. Outside of perhaps The Graduate and American Graffiti, it is difficult to find a single film about young people that the Academy loved; now-legendary director John Hughes was never once nominated for his filmography that includes The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Truffaut's groundbreaking The 400 Blows was not nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film award. Considering how often the Academy tips its hat to out-of-the-way gems like Nebraska, the repeated omission of youth stories is conspicuous.

These are perhaps another indication that the Oscars are never a good indicator of long-term acclaim. Or maybe it's just easy to be bitter that Mel Brooks only won a single Academy Award.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Who was Oscar? The story of Emilio Fernández

Once again, as the Academy Awards are less than a week away, Oscar fever is reaching a frenzy. This time, we turn our attention to the statuettes themselves. Who was Oscar? Why is he naked and holding a sword?

Pop culture radio website Studio 360 recently unearthed the story of the man on which the award is based. His name was Emilio Fernández, and he was a notable Mexican actor whose tumultuous life led him from rebellion during the Mexican Revolution to directing the Cannes-winning María Candelaria. His close work with film star Delores del Río put him in contact with Cedric Gibbons, the artist who designed the Oscar. Fernández modeled for the award, and after the design was sculpted by George Stanley, Fernández's contribution was largely forgotten.

This doesn't explain the name Oscar or the sword-wielding nudity, but it is a fascinating story that's well worth a listen. We look forward to watching the Fernándezes this Sunday!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis: The defining comic voice of the 80s


Harold Ramis unexpectedly and heartbreakingly died this morning at age 69. Though best known as the awkward and orderly Dr. Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters, Harold Ramis is one of the unheralded contributors to some of the most successful and acclaimed comedies of the 1980s.

As a writer and director, Harold Ramis played a critical role in the production of Stripes, Meatballs, National Lampoon's Vacation, Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, and Animal House. His films essentially invented the slob-vs.-snob genre, a comedy staple throughout the decade and beyond. Even through the the 90s and 2000s, Harold Ramis helmed famous comedies including Analyse This, The Ice Harvest, and even highly acclaimed episodes of the American version of The Office.

Harold Ramis's death is more than just a sad note for Ghostbusters fans. It marks the loss of one of the pioneering voices of comedy in modern film. In commemoration of Harold Ramis's career, we encourage you to check out his greatest films from the library.

Groundhog Day – HU DVD 2325
National Lampoon's Animal House – HU DVD 4913
Caddyshack – HU DVD 5038
Analyze This / Analyze That – HU DVD 8019
The Ice Harvest – HU DVD 8509
Ghostbusters – HU DVD 8591
Bedazzled – HU DVD 8692

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jason Bateman fan? See Bad Words early this Thursday!

Is February already ending? That was fast. We still have about six days left until March, so there's plenty of time for exciting events before we close the book on the second month of the year.

This week, we have advance passes to see Bad Words, the directorial debut of Arrested Development star Jason Bateman. In this very R-rated comedy, Bateman plays a school dropout to takes advantage of a loophole to participate in a middle school spelling. Fittingly, the event it sponsored by Urban Dictionary, everyone's favorite web dictionary of words that we probably should not repeat here.

The screening goes down this Thursday, February 27th, at 7:30pm at the AMC Loews 14 in Georgetown. As with all advance screenings, passes are not guarantees for screening; you are advised to show up early to ensure that you get a seat. Come to Media Services to get your pass!

(This screening had been previously scheduled for two weeks ago but was delayed because of the snow. If you picked up a pass then and did not attend, you have another chance!)

UPDATE: To clarify, passes are only being handed out in-person at the Media Services desk in the AU Library. We're unfortunately unable to offer digital passes for this event.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Today's Tom Sawyer Is Learning Online



This is one of the more unusual selections from Lynda.com. Learn sound engineering through a backstage look at the most recent Rush tour. Live Sound Engineering Techniques: On Tour with Rush with Brent Carpenter. I have to believe that there are few audio tasks more challenging than putting on a concert tour with the monsters of prog rock. Lynda.com has dozens of training courses like this, taught by professionals in the field.

As a current AU student, faculty or staff, you have access to all of Lynda.com's tutorials and resources. First, go to www.american.edu/lynda and log in with your AU credentials. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

We'd like to thank the Academy for this infographic

The Oscars are almost upon us, and with only a little over one week to go (!), the floodgates have opened on Oscar trivia. Every year we find a new batch of unusual award-related studies, like last year's breakdown of trailer lengths.

This year, Slate has analyzed twelve years of actors' and actresses' Academy Awards acceptance speeches and determined who gets thanked the most. Industry organizations, companies, and agents received the most praise, though most nominees immediately thanked the Academy upon receiving their statue. A decent number of winners thanked their role's namesake, but only one (Javier Bardem) thanked a specific country. It's a fun breakdown to see who appears most in the Oscar spotlight.

And yes, as the article title mentions, Meryl Streep has been thanked more times than all religious entities. This is what happens when you get nominated every year.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Worried about a snowy Valentine's Day? Browser our Romance Pinterest!


If you're paying attention to the local news, you are no doubt aware that a big snowstorm is bearing down on DC, comparable to the last one that hit us. We've been burned too many times in the last year to expect this storm to have too significant of an impact, but there's a chance that you might have a reason to stay in and drink hot chocolate this weekend.

Friday is also Valentine's Day. You might be left in the cold without anything for your mandatory romantic movie marathon. Take no chances!

For those looking for romance, we've assembled a Pinterest page of our best romantic films. Anyone wanting a good movie for this weekend might pursue the obvious choices – Pride and Prejudice, 500 Days of Summer, etc. – but our list contains over 190 films that might strike your interest and spark up the evening. Please be advised that this list also contains non-comedic films about romance: you are advised to read a description for each movie beforehand so you don't watch Blue Valentine expecting something quirky and zany.

Be sure to come by and pick up a few romantic movies for the weekend just in case you won't get a chance later.

For everyone else, the remake of RoboCop opens tonight.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Celebrate 50 years of The Beatles with a video retrospective


Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was a landmark moment in pop culture and arguably the start of The Beatles's legacy as one of the biggest musical acts in history. It would be silly to repeat their accomplishments here, but suffice to say, The Beatles had a large impact on global culture.

Though perhaps best known for their music, The Beatles achieved fame on the screen as well. Apart from the four feature films, The Beatles appeared repeatedly in televised performances and inspired documentaries, parodies, and dramatizations. We have a surprisingly large collection of Beatles films and video collections at the AU Library, including a lengthy retrospective of behind-the-scenes footage. It's all highly worth watching if you can't get enough of the recent Beatles commemorations.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon - HU DVD 3078
The Hours and Times - HU DVD 4360
The Beatles Anthology - HU DVD 4386
A Hard Day's Night - HU DVD 5740
Magical Mystery Tour - HU DVD 6663
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - HU DVD 6725
Backbeat - HU DVD 6733
The Ed Sullivan Show Featuring The Beatles and Various Other Artists - HU DVD 7339
Help! - HU DVD 8594
Yellow Submarine - HU DVD 8983
The Rutles - HU DVD 10187
George Harrison: Living in the Material World - HU DVD 11076

Monday, February 10, 2014

New Acquisitions - February 2014

It's been a while, hasn't it? After a relaxing winter break, we're back in at full steam with a bounty of great DVDs.

Looking for something critically acclaimed? Fruitvale Station, Behind the Candelabra, and Breaking Bad will itch that scratch. Mindless entertainment? Pacific Rim and Man of Steel. Need some AU pride? History professor Peter Kuznick's Oliver Stone-directed miniseries The Untold History of the United States is now available. Something off the beaten path? We have a documentary about the history and culture of the falafel. Really!

It's all at the AU Library. Read on for a full list...

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Movie real estate does not come cheap, even in Lego form


The Lego Movie, hitting theaters this week, is no doubt the result of an elaborate product placement or marketing deal. Still, Legos are very fun, and we can't help but be excited whenever we have a chance to play with them. As someone who has been to a Lego retail store and played with the Back to the Future set, I can personally attest that few things are more fun than combining movies with Lego.

We tip our hat to real estate blog Movoto for having some fun with this idea. Using a handy algorithm and the work of some enthusiastic fans, Movoto estimated how many Legos it would take to build famous movie homes, including everything from the Beetlejuice house to Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Surprisingly, some buildings such as the palace from Aladdin and Howl's titular moving castle would cost more when made from Lego. But for the most part, Lego is a much cheaper way to build than brick and metal: you'd save almost $100 million building Hogwarts that way.

For the record, it would take 286,756,745 Lego bricks to build the American University Library. That's $28,675,675 of Legos!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

See a future without books TODAY at library film screening


As a part of the library that frequently deals with streaming video, we understand hesitations about the transition to from physical to digital media. This is a concern that isn't just limited to films; the rise of tablets and e-readers has led libraries to also reconsider the acquisition of expensive and bulky books when their digital alternatives are available. This opens a whole mess of sticky issues, including preservation, digital rights management, and the like.

Today, we're tackling this challenge head on. The AU Library will be holding a screening for Out of Print, a documentary about the pros and cons of the transition away from hardcopies. Notable figures in the publishing world weigh in, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury. The filmmaker, Vivienne Roumani, will be in attendance and will hold a Q&A afterwards. This is a very exciting event that we're proud to sponsor.

The screening begins at 3pm in the Butler Board Room (sixth floor of the Butler Pavilion). No RSVP is required, and the event is free. We hope to see you there!