Thursday, March 31, 2011

Google Takes on Facebook with Latest Social Tweak

Check out this article about Google's latest endeavor, which happens to directly compete with Facebook.

(Reuters) - Google Inc will begin allowing users to personally endorse search results and Web pages, its latest attempt to stave off rival Facebook Inc while trying to jump onboard a social networking boom. Read more..

Happy Birthday to Al (63), Chris (68), and Ewan (40)!

Today is the birthday of Al Gore, Christopher Walken and Ewan McGregor. Check out one of these films in honor of their birthday!
Ewan McGregor

The Ghost Writer—HU DVD 8010

The Men Who Stare at Goats—HU 7125

Pillow Book – HU DVD 8037

Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace—HU DVD 1640

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones—HU DVD 1641

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith—HU DVD 1642

Big Fish – HU DVD 4712

Trainspotting—HU DVD 1002

Black Hawk Down—HU DVD 346

Moulin Rouge—HU DVD 297

Shallow Grave—HU DVD 1910

Emma—HU DVD 2820

Life Less Ordinary—HU DVD 5318

Velvet Goldmine—HU DVD 687

Christopher Walken

Hairspray —HU DVD

Batman Returns— HU DVD 4702

The Milagro Beanfield War— HU DVD 2167

Catch me if you Can— HU DVD 698

Basquiat— HU DVD 5830

Pulp Fiction— HU DVD 1244

Scotland, PA— HU DVD 2435

Deer Hunter— HU DVD 1706

Heaven’s Gate— HU DVD 4307

Annie Hall – HU DVD 126

Al Gore

An Inconvenient Truth — DVD 2360

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

5 Movies That Changed Hollywood

Entertainment Weekly did a short piece highlighting their picks of "5 movies that changed Hollywood." Here they are:

5 Movies that Changed Hollywood
“Our picks for the flicks of the past 20 years that infused filmmaking with a new spirit.”
By Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum

Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – HU DVD 1792

Steven Soderbergh wasn’t the first fluky wunderkind director to cross over to the corporate Hollywood of the blockbuster era (that would be Tim Burton, with 1989’s Batman). But in this exhilarating, star-packed shell game of a heist comedy, he was the first to prove that you could be a popcorn entertainer by making more than a comic book. –OG

Pulp Fiction (1994) – HU DVD 1244

In his famous tale of talk-happy hoodlums, Quentin Tarantino flipped time and wove the hippest pop references of the century into his filmmaking DNA. What it all added up to is that he reinvented the primal pleasures of screen narrative. -OG

Toy Story (1995) – HU DVD 7768

Pixar’s first feature length movie demonstrated the potential magic of CGI with such brilliance that the light is still being reflected back to us today. And in that explosion of enrgy, we glimpsed a timeless trtuth: Technology is great, but story is even greater. –LS

Hoop Dreams (1994) – HU DVD 1890

Two high school basketball players come to embody a giant complex portrait of American society in this magnificent documentary. Today’s audience for nonfiction films can thank it for profoundly changing the game. -LS

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – HU DVD 24

A horror film that seemed almost real. For a decade it was an anomaly, but the influence of Blair Witch is just starting to be fully felt, as the faux-documentary drama becomes a touchstone of the reality age. -OS

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big surprise. Online video viewing up from last year

"According to a recent release by Nielsen, online video usage in the U.S. is up considerably from the same time last year, as time spent viewing video on PC/Mac/laptops from home and work locations increased by 45%. Although the number of unique online video viewers only increased by 3.1% from last January, level of activity was up as viewers streamed 28% more video and spent 45% more time watching. Total video streams also saw significant year-over-year growth, up 31.5% to 14.5 billion streams."

Link to article including usage data.

Most of this viewing is popular movies and YouTube videos but there's a growing amount of educational content available too. At American University you can access over 10,000 documentaries and other curriculum-oriented videos via the online catalog. Our holdings currently include Films On Demand, American History on Video, Ethnographic Film Archive, and Television News Archive. Soon we will be adding Shakespeare plays and many titles from Media Education Foundation and California Newsreel. These videos are accessible to individuals with current valid AU IDs though and require a login.

The quickest way to check what streaming videos we have in your area of interest is to do a keyword search using the Media Services catalog interface.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I AM Preview Screening and Q&A with Tom Shadyac - Thursday at 2:10pm in Wechsler Theatre!!

You are invited to a special preview screening of I AM and Q&A with director Tom Shadyac on Thursday, March 24th at 2:10pm in the Mark Wechsler Theatre (Mary Gradon Center #315) at American University.

Tom Shadyac’s writing/directing career was launched in 1994 with the Jim Carrey smash hit Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. In the years that followed, Shadyac would establish himself as one of the most prolific comedy directors in Hollywood while working with some of the biggest names in the business as writer/director of huge hits such as Liar Liar, The Nutty Professor, Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams,Accepted, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Most recently, Tom wrote and directed I AM, his first documentary feature, and an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what's wrong with our world, and what we can do to make it better? The film is just beginning its theatrical run, and opens at E Street Cinema the day after this special sneak preview screening and Q&A at AU.

More about the film including a trailer is at:

A recent interview with Tom on MSNBC about I AM:

Visiting Filmmaker: Tom Shadyac

Read the Entertainment Weekly article here.

From the director of Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor, and Ace-Ventura: Pet Detective comes a surprisingly powerful and inspirational film.

The shift is about to hit the fan.

I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.”

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor (1932 - 2011)

Elizabeth Taylor, a voluptuous violet-eyed actress who lived a life of luster and anguish and spent more than six decades as one of the world's most visible women for her two Academy Awards, eight marriages, ravaging illnesses and work in AIDS philanthropy, died Wednesday at age 79. Read more from the Washington Post

Check out one of her films from the Media Services Home Use Collection:

Cat on a hot tin roof - HU DVD 4949
Cleopatra - HU DVD 5226
Conspirator - HU DVD 6387
Doctor Faustus - VHS 1846
Giant - HU DVD 4099
A place in the sun - HU DVD 4095
Taming of the shrew - HU DVD 2745
That's entertainment! - HU DVD 5671
That's entertainment, Part II - HU DVD 5672
Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? - HU DVD 3017