Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Graphic designer breaks films down by color

For those with an interest in film and composition (which probably describes most of our audience), this is the coolest thing you'll see all day. Roxy Radulescu, a graphic artist from Los Angeles, started Movies in Color, a blog that breaks iconic film stills down by color.

In addition to showcasing the most prominent and notable colors in each shot, the blog also shows the light and dark tones that make up most of the image. It's remarkable to see how some filmmakers and cinematographers work in almost monochromatic palettes, while others use certain colors sparingly to highlight different parts of the scene.

Right now there's 7 pages of content, plus an index by cinematographer. And since the blog's only been around since February, it's growing rapidly fast. Bookmark this one for later if you don't want to lose a whole afternoon to it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Media Services at the Movies: Iron Man 3

The summer blockbuster season is here! "Media Services at the Movies" will look at what big movie is coming out this week, then offer a few movies like it from our collection.

Even though AU is just entering finals season – and even though spring doesn't end until mid-June – the first sign of summer has arrived. Yes, another Marvel movie has come to roost. After last year's massive success with The Avengers, Iron Man 3 (in theaters this Friday, May 29th) sees billionaire Tony Stark going solo. It's the first movie in Marvel's post-Avengers "Phase 2," in which they hope to recapture the box office magic they reaped the first time around.

We have many (though not all) of the earlier titles in the Marvel series, as well as a number of other movies based on Marvel properties. Plus, we have Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the first collaboration between Iron Man 3 director Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr. Take a gander at these movies before setting off to the skies once more with Tony and Pepper.

X-Men – HU DVD 1441
X2: X-Men United – HU DVD 1442
X-Men: The Last Stand – HU DVD 1443
Blade: Trinity – HU DVD 1972
Iron Man – HU DVD 2763
Iron Man 2 – HU DVD 2764
The Amazing Spider-Man – HU DVD 6493
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – HU DVD 6736
Spider-Man – HU DVD 7121
Spider-Man 2 – HU DVD 7122
Spider-Man 3 – HU DVD 7123
Blade – HU DVD 8111
Blade II – HU DVD 8112
Captain America: The First Avenger – HU DVD 10147
The Avengers – HU DVD 10501
Thor – HU DVD 10965

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sick of super heroes? 10 low-key movies to watch for this summer

Summer movie season unofficially kicks off this coming Friday with Iron Man 3. We have four months of slam-bang action and high-budget adaptations to look forward to, with a new major blockbuster coming out seemingly every week (the upcoming Iron Man-Great Gatsby-Star Trek trifecta looks like it'll wreak havoc on the box office).

But a season loaded with big hits doesn't exclude smaller films too. In fact, it might encourage people to look for something a little quieter and smaller. Entertainment news site HitFix compiled a list of 10 tinier movies coming out this summer that deserve your attention. Included are the new film from Noah Baumbach, director of The Squid and the Whale; an unusual Paul Rudd comedy with Icelandic roots; and a hit Sundance documentary about backup singers.

It's definitely worth a read. When you're in line to watch The Lone Ranger come July, consider looking up a local theater that'll be showing one of these sleeper hits.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New resource: Films for Teaching School of Communications Topics

Our Media Librarian, Chris Lewis, has been hard at work on a new sources for faculty (and students!) in the School of Communication. His new subject guide, "Films/Videos for Teaching School of Communication Topics," compiles lists of useful films on over a dozen communication topics, including political communication, public speaking, and dissident media.

This is a valuable new resource for faculty looking to add films to their courses, but it's also useful for students who want to use films as a resource for their papers or projects. A number of SOC classes require students to watch documentaries of their choosing, and this as a great way to find a relevant movie.

If you aren't in SOC, don't fret: We also have a broader index of filmographies which go more in-depth about specific subjects other than communications

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hot Docs: Human Geography

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we've recently added to our collection.

Human Geography: Making Sense of Planet Earth (DVD 10629) is a four-disc series that introduces the new and developing field of human geography. Human geography fuses traditional geographic studies with the social sciences, developing an understanding of how human population spreads, transfers, and develops in relation to space. It's all a little confusing to wrap your head around, which is why a series like this comes in handy. At 215 minutes, Human Geography covers everything from an overview of how the field works to the nitty-gritty about economic development and culture.

Official description from container:
As the human population marches toward 10 billion people, understanding where people live, how they are connected, and how they are shaping different parts of the planet is essential. Host Dr. Alexander B. Murphy opens the door to the field of human geography, a vital perspective for making sense of the rapidly changing, increasingly interconnected world of the 21st century. He shows us that if we cannot think geographically we are bound to fail in confronting future challenges.
View a trailer on Ambrose Video's website.

So it's come to this: Prepare your wallets for the Music Library's massive LP sale

Interested in collecting vinyl? Clear your calendar for this Friday. The Music Library has in the process of filtering out its LP collection, and Everything. Must. Go.

From 10am–2pm on Friday, April 26th, the Music Library will be selling LPs by the bagful outside of Bender Library. The prices will go down over the course of the day: first picks will cost $3 per bag, but by the last hour, everything is free!

$3 for a full bag of vinyl is an absolute steal. This is the sort of deal that you'd expect someone to joke about. If you're looking for new records, this is a sale you won't want to miss.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Forsooth! Happy Talk Like Shakespeare Day

Today is William Shakespeare's 449th birthday, and accordingly, today is also Talk Like Shakespeare Day. This is an actual holiday that has been proclaimed in Chicago. We see no reason why it can't be celebrated at the AU Library too.

To celebrate the bard's birthday on this most unusual but completely real holiday, consider coming to Media Services and watching some of Shakespeare's plays. We have a fairly extensive collection of Shakespeare performances: we have separate Pinterest boards for his comedies, tragedies, and histories.

Barring that, you could also just watch She's the Man (HU DVD 4379).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Movies passes available NOW: This Is the End

This Is the End is a surreal comedy film featuring celebrities, playing themselves, coming face-to-face with the apocalypse. The movie doesn't open until June 12, 2013, but you can see it next week!

We have free passes for a screening of This Is the End for Wednesday, April 24th. The film will screen at the Regal Gallery Place theater at 7pm.

Come down to Media Services for a free pass. Note that seating is on first-come first-serve basis, and having a pass is not a guarantee that you'll get in. Show up early!

(As a disclaimer from the Media Librarian: having passes for this movie is not a guarantee that we'll add it to our collection.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Collection highlight: Global Lens 2012

As the academic year comes to a close, we've acquired an interesting film collection that's worth a special mention.

In their own words, the Global Film Initiative "promotes cross-cultural understanding through the medium of cinema." Their board includes such esteemed filmmakers as Pedro Almodóvar and Lars von Trier. Each year, the GFI chooses a selection of narrative feature films from around the world for special presentation as part of their traveling Global Lens series.

This week, we added the Global Lens 2012 series to our collections. It features ten films from across the world, including Albania, Brazil, and Rwanda. If you're interested in world cinema, these films are certainly worth a look.

(And if you're looking for something to screen for a club or event, our copies of the films have public performance rights. Please consult with us in advance.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We're on Google+ now!

Hey everyone – we just opened shop over at Google+. Thanks to wonderful Google integration, our Google+ page will feature all of our wonderful blog content.

If you're subscribed to our RSS feed and will miss Google Reader once its gone, or if you're just looking for something new to spice up your feed, add us to your Circle!

(This is also a test to see how the Blogger cross-posting works. Hopefully this'll show up on Google+ too!)

Happy Earth Month! Take a tour, see WALL-E, and more

If you've noticed all the mulch and plants on campus today, you're probably aware that it's Campus Beautification Day. In coordination with Office of Sustainability's Earth Month, members of the AU community spent the morning recycling old electronics and prettifying campus. It's part of a month-long series of events to celebrate AU's commitment to going green.

We're big on sustainability at the AU Library, so we wanted to let everyone in on the events happening this month. You can find a full list at the AU Earth Month website.

Most relevantly to Media Services, the University Center will be screening the eco-conscious Pixar hit WALL-E next Tuesday, April 23rd, in MGC 200 (time TBD). This is a great, fun way to celebrate the environment through film.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hot Docs: The Uprising of '34

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we've recently added to our collection.

The Uprising of '34 (DVD 10617) tells the story of a massive but largely unremembered textile worker strike from 1934. It was at the time the largest labor strike in the history of the United States and lasted for nearly a month, greatly impacting the South's textile industry and ending in a major, lasting defeat for the unions in the South. This documentary interviews participants in the strike and explores the strike's lasting but forgotten effects on the current state of labor unions.

Official description from the publisher's website:
In 1934, Southern textile workers took the lead in a nationwide strike that saw half a million walk off their jobs in the largest single-industry strike in the history of the United States. For a time, these new union members, in response to New Deal legislation, stood up for their rights and became a force to be reckoned with in the South. Then management moved in and crushed the strike. Some mill workers were murdered, thousands more were blacklisted, and many were so intimidated that "union" became a dirty word in Southern communities for decades to come.

Barely publicized, rarely acknowledged in history books, the General Textile Strike of 1934 remains a stirring yet amazingly forgotten chapter in Southern history. The Uprising of '34, a film by famed documentarian George Stoney and independent filmmakers Judith Helfand and Susanne Rostock, examines this hidden legacy of the labor movement in the South and its impact today.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sorry, VHS players. The Blu-rays are in!

For the longest time, Media Services has helped patrons view movies on-site with over a dozen DVD-VHS combo players. Sadly, they're falling apart and hard to maintain, and fewer patrons are using VHSes now than even a few years ago.

We've future-proofed ourselves by replacing the majority of our stations with new Blu-ray-DVD players. They're smaller, faster, and have a number of built-in "smart" features (like Netflix playback) should we ever need those. Don't worry: we're keeping a couple VHS players around for those hard-to-find movies and special cases.

Come see them for yourself if you haven't had to watch a movie recently. They're pretty nice!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Finals approach, and it's too hot out, so have a free movie!

It's 86 degrees in Washington right now. Wasn't it just snowing a few weeks ago? As the semester rolls to a close and summer is bounding over the horizon, you probably need an excuse to stay in and relax.

You're in luck: we're giving away another batch of digital copies of movies! This time, you could win...

To enter the giveaway, tell us your favorite summer movie in the comments. We'll randomly select five winners next wees from our social media and in-person entries.

Good luck, and stay cool!

EDIT: The giveaway is now over.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

New Acquisitions - April 2013

We're at the end of our purchasing season, so we're adding one more batch of new titles for the semester. We have a couple Oscar nominees (Les Misérables, Anna Karenina, Life of Pi, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), a few enlightening documentaries (including biographies of famous composers and an economist), some movies we probably should've had by now (the first Ice Age and The Ring), and a few... weird ones. Anyone up for Pocahontas II?

Point being, it was an interesting month.

Read on for a full list...

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Media Services joins the library on a Muslim Journey

As part of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, American University is participating in Muslim Journeys, part of the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf program. In addition to a number of new book acquisitions and a series of discussions from AU professors and scholars, Media Services has acquired three new titles in conjunction with the program.

We encourage you to check out these new films that present, in the words of the Bridging Cultures program, "new and diverse perspectives on the people, places, histories, beliefs, practices, and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world."

Prince Among Slaves – HU DVD 4049
Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World – HU DVD 11013
Koran by Heart – HU DVD 11014

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Invisible War screening on campus tonight at 8pm

The Invisible War, the 2012 documentary about sexual assault in the US military, has made significant waves in the military community since its release; then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta used the film as a starting point for broader program to address sexual assault in the military. It's a powerful documentary. It may be emotionally difficult to watch (trigger warning), but there's a reason it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary this year.

Tonight, in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Wellness Center (in sponsorship with many on-campus groups) will screen The Invisible War in the Ward Circle Building, Room 1 at 8pm. The film will be preceded by a panel discussion about institutional responses to sexual assault at 7pm.

This is an important if difficult film that deserves to be watched. Use this opportunity on campus if you're able.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

After a busy semester, what's new from Media Services?

We've hit the end of the fiscal year, so we've temporarily stopped ordering new films. We've gotten many, many other interesting titles in the past month, so you can expect another New Acquisitions post shortly.

In the meantime, we wanted to alert you to some of the big new titles trickling into our collections. Patrons frequently ask us what recent movies we've purchased, and although we try to post our newest titles once a month, the last month or two have been particularly busy for big new movies.

Here's a rundown of the big movies we've purchased since the start of the semester. If you're looking for something new and exciting in our collection, it's probably one of these:

Les Misérables – HU DVD 254 (is it available?)
Les Misérables – HU BLU 254 (is it available?)
Skyfall – HU DVD 5001 (is it available?)
Argo – HU DVD 5555 (is it available?)
Argo – HU BLU 5555 (is it available?)
The Dark Knight Rises – HU DVD 10792 (is it available?)
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry – HU DVD 10873 (is it available?)
Killer Joe – HU DVD 10876 (is it available?)
Looper – HU DVD 10899 (is it available?)
Flight – HU DVD 10946 (is it available?)
Flight – HU BLU 10946 (is it available?)
Holy Motors – HU DVD 11008 (is it available?)
The Master – HU DVD 11009 (is it available?)
Snow White and the Huntsman – HU DVD 11015 (is it available?)
Snow White and the Huntsman – HU BLU 11015 (is it available?)
Brave – HU DVD 11021 (is it available?)
Anna Karenina – HU DVD 11022 (is it available?)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits – HU DVD 11024 (is it available?)
ParaNorman – HU DVD 11030 (is it available?)
The Intouchables – HU DVD 11040 (is it available?)
Life of Pi – HU DVD 11046 (is it available?)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – HU DVD 11048 (is it available?)