Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Acquisitions - May 2013

After a month-long hiatus, we've once again started receiving new movies. We're in the process of playing catch-up. In addition to rounding out our collection of Best Picture nominees (now including Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained), we've updated our collection of Frontline and 30 for 30 episodes, added the last of the Twilight movies, and started collections of two cult hit TV shows. Plus, you don't want to miss intriguing new documentaries about scrap metal foragers and a "lesbian twin sister yodeling act."

Read on for a full list...

See the counterterrorism documentary Dirty Wars before it hits theaters

Dirty Wars is an upcoming documentary by investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill about the highly secretive and illegal counterterrorism operations carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command. This is riveting material, and it's a heavyweight film too: Dirty Wars was screened at Sundance and won an award for cinematography.

Dirty Wars is out on June 4, but you can see it today.

Tonight at 7pm, in association with IFC Films, Scahill will present a free screening of Dirty Wars and answer questions at Landmark E Street Cinema in downtown DC. This is an exclusive event that you won't find publicly listed! Media Services is one of the only places you'll be able to find passes to this event. Come to the library and get your passes while they're still available.

(Passes are available in-person at the desk only. Seating is available on a limited basis. Get there early!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Celebrate outlaws on film in NoMa TONIGHT!

The passing of Memorial Day marks the start of a few arbitrary customs of summer. Pools have opened, white pants are socially acceptable, and outdoor film screenings can begin in earnest.

Many local film festivals don't start until later in the summer (we'll get back to those), but there's one already going on that you can attend tonight. The NoMa Summer Screen series kicked off last week with an "Outlaw Heroes" theme. Tonight, it continues with the 2009 reboot of Star Trek. Starting at 7pm, Loree Grand Field will be converted into a veritable block party, complete with food trucks, DJs, and quality movie watching. It's a great way to be outside with friends and get in some free movie-watching.

The series continues at 7pm each Wednesday for the rest of the summer, featuring such movies as The Goonies, The Fugitive, and Moonrise Kingdom.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Media Services at the Movies: Now You See Me

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.

We really have no idea what to expect from Now You See Me. It's the type of intrigue we haven't really seen building up to a movie since Inception. We're never ones to shun a high-concept heist movie, and the A-list cast certainly inspires confidence in the project. But the plot has been kept in close secrecy despite an advertising blitz, and there is little-to-no advance word about its quality. Even the basic concept raises a few questions: how can you create a compelling movie about magic tricks when audiences are used to CGI trickery? You might say it's a... wild card.

Now You See Me has a lot going on at once. It's a heist-thriller-puzzle movie about magicians set in Las Vegas with a strong supporting cast. If that sounds like a good time, we can think of a dozen movies that share some of those qualities that might be up your alley.

The Usual Suspects – HU DVD 1671
The Illusionist – HU DVD 1779
The Prestige – HU DVD 3831
Casino Royale – HU DVD 4999
Casino – HU DVD 5308
The Hangover – HU DVD 8147
21 – HU DVD 9078
Snatch. – HU DVD 9416
Ocean's 11 (1960) – HU DVD 10483
Ocean's Eleven (2001) – HU DVD 10484
Ocean's Twelve – HU DVD 10485
Ocean's Thirteen – HU DVD 10486

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Normally on a big event like Memorial Day, we would take this opportunity to show you some relevant movies in our collection or a related local screening. However, we will be closed on Monday, and a military holiday in DC means that there are very few film-related events happening. So this time, we've got nothing to say!

Have a fun Memorial Day! We'll see you again on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cancel your afternoon of nothing: It's Arrested Development (again!)

Back in 2006, fans of Fox's underground hit Arrested Development thought they had said goodbye to the series for the last time. Despite its acclaim, many branded it a flop; the mere fact that they called it that tells us that they weren't ready for its unusual, forward-thinking brand of comedy. Following a long hiatus, most people assumed that rumors of a fourth season were just a trick. But it's not a trick or an illusion. If there's one thing we've learned from the continual success and revival of niche hit shows like Futurama and Family Guy, it's that there's always money in cult TV.

After years of lobbying from the show's growing fanbase (there are dozens of us! We didn't see you at the convention), Netflix is indeed premiering a new season of Arrested Development this Sunday, and it's easily the most anticipated TV event of the year. Suffice to say, Netflix is gonna get some log-ons. Say "Annyong" to the future of television!

Most people excited about the new season have probably watched the original multiple times and memorized its crisscrossing in-jokes and interconnected structure. But if your uncle-father and hermano have never seen Arrested Development before, they've made a huge mistake. And that's why you need to come to Media Services!

We have the first three seasons available for checkout. Be sure to have a dry run with the original series before watching the new one. Unless you're a chicken! Coo-coo-ca-cha!

Arrested Development, Season 1 – HU DVD 4871
Arrested Development, Season 2 – HU DVD 4872
Arrested Development, Season 3 – HU DVD 4873

Monday, May 20, 2013

Media Services at the Movies: Before Midnight

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.

In a week overloaded with all sorts of explosive, insane sequels (Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, etc.), the film that stands out the most to us is the third part of Richard Linklater's minimalist romance-drama series, Before Midnight. It's an unusual choice for a second sequel, made even stranger by the nine-year gap between each movie. But early buzz from Sundance says it's the best one yet. But if you want to see it, you might have to look in a smaller local theater.

In honor of Before Midnight's debut, try these other films from Richard Linklater and star Julie Delpy.

Waking Life – HU DVD 364
Before Sunrise – HU DVD 1098
Before Sunset – HU DVD 1099
Slacker – HU DVD 1347
2 Days in Paris – HU DVD 10793

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Office clocks out

After an impressive nine-season run (a rarity for modern scripted sitcoms), NBC's surprise hit The Office will close shop tonight at 9pm. For a sitcom with an inauspicious start as a sure-to-fail remake of a British TV classic, The Office became a staple of Thursday night television for the last decade. The audience's interest in Dunder Mifflin's unhinged work ethic and Jim Halpert and Pam Beesley's ultimate will-they-won't-they relationship kept the show a mainstay of American popular culture and dorm room posters. The success of The Office can be seen as one of the biggest factors behind the rise of the single-camera sitcom and the "mockumentary" format aped by Parks and Recreation and Modern Family.

Though the past few years have unarguably been weaker, in part because of the departures of Steve Carell and early showrunner Greg Daniels, the show looks to close out on a high note that pays reverence to its long history and ensemble cast. Pop culture website HitFix put together a great article about how The Office beat the odds and weathered a few sparse years; it's worth a read before Scranton Business Park hits the lights one final time.

If you want to catch up on The Office, we have the first seven seasons on our shelves, as well as the British series.

The Office: Season 1 – HU DVD 4011
The Office: Season 2 – HU DVD 4012 - 4015
The Office: Season 3 – HU DVD 4016 - 4019
The Office: Season 4 – HU DVD 4020 - 4023
The Office: Season 5 – HU DVD 4024 - 4028
The Office: Season 6 – HU DVD 4029 - 4033
The Office: Season 7 – HU DVD 4034 - 4038
The Office: Series 1 (UK) – HU DVD 8581 - 8582
The Office: Series 2 (UK) – HU DVD 8583
The Office: The Special (UK) – HU DVD 8584

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Big names in cinema compete at Cannes 2013

Today marks the start of the Cannes Film Festival, widely considered one of film's most elite and prestigious events. Despite some concerns about the festival's secrecy, ballooning size, and demographics, Cannes is still the gold standard for festivals, and its top prize, the Palme d'Or, remains one of the highest awards a filmmaker can receive.

Appearing in competition at Cannes is an honor in itself. It's also great for a film's publicity: you might recognize some of last years entrants, including Amour, Holy Motors, Moonrise Kingdom, Cosmopolis, Killing Them Softly, and On the Road. This year holds some interesting surprises, including the next films from the Coen brothers and Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn.

Given Cannes's storied seven-decade history, we have a large number of the festival's winners. Read past the break for a full list of our Cannes-winning DVDs.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dig in: A comprehensive list of film's greatest greasy eats

For a university community, the end of the academic year means more time to relax, stay outside, and giving in to some less-healthy foods. There's nothing wrong with indulging once in a while.

We wouldn't have guessed that there's a particularly great history of greasy food-related moments in film, but lo and behold, pop culture website ShortList has found some. In the past few decades, movies have apparently been more liberal about showing characters eating, their go-to foods of choice being pizza and burgers. Award-winning classics like Do the Right Thing and Pulp Fiction have memorable food scenes, but even odd choices like Grease and Back to the Future have choice moments with fatty foods.

These are probably the most inconsequential lists of all time, but hey, we're in the first week of the summer session. Enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Media Services at the Movies: Star Trek Into Darkness

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.

Get out of your Jeffries tube and adjust your Heisenberg compensators: it's Star Trek season again! Four years after J. J. Abrams gave new life to the storied but creaky space adventure franchise, the director-producer has returned with a new chapter that promises to be darker, more exciting, and possibly featuring even more fan service (Does Benedict Cumberbatch play the evil Khan? Does it matter?). But don't boldly go just yet: early reviews indicate that the movie's slam-bang action might've taken some of the heart out of the venerable series.

A number of us in Media Services are self-professed Trekkies, so we're understandably a little excited. We have a big chunk of Star Trek's 47 year history in our collection. If you've never watched any before, make it so.

Trekkies – HU DVD 744
Star Trek: The Original Series – HU DVD 6201 - 6203
Star Trek: The Next Generation – HU DVD 6401 - 6449
Star Trek (2009) – HU DVD 7084
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – HU DVD 9731
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – HU DVD 9732
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – HU DVD 9733
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – HU DVD 9734
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – HU DVD 9735
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – HU DVD 9736
Star Trek: The Captains' Summit – HU DVD 9737

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Salute to our senior staff

Today's the last day of the academic year, which is both exciting and sad for us. On the one hand, we're all looking forward to the summer. But it also means we have to say goodbye to our senior student staff members who are graduating.

Media Services, the New Media Center, and the AU Library are nothing without the staff, and our graduating seniors have provided the highest quality of service we could ask for. A big thanks to those leaving us this week:

Media Services
  • Eliza Madden (3 1/2 years)
  • Nameir Abbas (2 1/2 years)
  • Anthony DeSalvatore (2 years)
  • Anya Crittenton (1 year)
New Media Center
  • Kady Buchanan (2 years)
  • Yi Chen (2 years)
  • Adam Curtis (1 year)
Our staff members are tremendously skilled, and based on their post-graduation plans, we have no doubt that they've got good things ahead. Good luck out there guys!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Media Services at the Movies: The Great Gatsby

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.

Baz Luhrmann isn't the first director to adapt The Great Gatsby for the screen, but he might be the last. Where previous film versions of F. Scott Fitzgerald's great novel were criticized for their staidness, Luhrmann's Gatsby has drawn equal parts attention and scorn for its flamboyant, colorful aesthetics (shot in 3D nonetheless). Some are now questioning if the novel is even filmable. But in a way, the Golden 20s are the perfect fit for Luhrmann: it's all about the style.

Luhrmann's Gatsby has us thinking about the 1920s, Prohibition, and over-the-top extravagance. If you can't make it to the theaters this weekend, one of these movies might scratch the same itch.

Romeo + Juliet – HU DVD 75
Moulin Rouge! – HU DVD 297
Chicago – HU DVD 626
The Great Gatsby (1974) – HU DVD 722
Strictly Ballroom – HU DVD 882
Prohibition – DVD 9121 - 9123
Boardwalk Empire, Season 1 – HU DVD 9421
Boardwalk Empire, Season 2 – HU DVD 9422

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Hot Docs: The Light in Her Eyes

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

The Light in Her Eyes (DVD 10782) tells the fascinating story of a Muslim preacher whose school has led to more women taking active involvement in the Islamic community. The filmmaker notes that western feminism tends to be secular; in contrast, the women here use their religious education as a backbone for their own movement. It's an interesting juxtaposition of a religion that is typically not associated with strong feminist tendencies with the burgeoning women's movement inside it.

Official description from the film's website:
Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus 30 years ago.

Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is under way—women are claiming space within the mosque.
Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Watch Steven Soderbergh's extra-long speech about the state of film

It looks like filmmaker Steven Soderbergh wasn't kidding when he said he was retiring. A few day ago, Soderbergh gave a keynote speech at the San Francisco Film Festival. It was exactly as upbeat as you might expect from an auteur who left Hollywood in disillusionment. For nearly 40 minutes, Soderbergh delivered a rambling assault on the film industry, piracy, and other societal ills.

Thankfully, despite the requests for no video recording, the San Francisco Film Society has provided a complete video of Soderbergh's "State of Cinema" speech. It's sort of breathtaking to watch. If you can find the time, or even if you want to put it on in the background, it's worth listening to one of the most prolific independent filmmakers of the era talk about what he finds wrong with the industry.