Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What else did Mrs. Peacock from Clue do?

Longtime actress Eileen Brennan died yesterday at age 80. Though perhaps best known to modern audiences as Mrs. Peacock from the 1985 movie Clue, Brennan had a rich career on stage and screen. She got her biggest early break in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show, followed closely by a supporting role in the Best Picture-winning The Sting.

If you enjoyed Brennan in Clue, consider seeing her other notable film roles. We're even lucky enough to have two streaming videos of her stage performances!

Boys Life 2 – HU DVD 286
Texasville – HU DVD 1119
The Sting – HU DVD 5116
Scarecrow – HU DVD 5503
Texasville – HU DVD 5811

Star Wagon (stage performance) – Streaming video
Working (stage performance) – Streaming video

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bradley Manning documentary streaming via library

Given the recent controversy surrounding the Bradley Manning trial verdict, it seems appropriate to link to The Forgotten Man, a streaming documentary about Manning's story and his role in the Wikileaks scandal. The 43-minute video is an excellent primer for those wishing to learn about the Manning case.

The video is viewable through the ALADIN catalog for AU students, staff, and faculty.

Media Services at the Movies: 2 Guns

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.

As we drift towards the traditional end of summer movie season, the deluge of notable new releases has slowed down. This week, we're left with the high-profile, regrettable release of The Smurfs 2. Who better to cure the late July doldrums than Denzel and Marky Mark?

2 Guns probably won't win any big awards, but it looks to be a taut, fun thriller starring two of the most rough-and-tumble leading men in Hollywood. It's still pretty hot outside, and it's an original movie with no Smurfs in sight. What more can we ask for?

In honor of Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg hitting the big screen together, here's a list of a few other down-and-dirty dramas from two men who know the genre best.

Three Kings – HU DVD 89
Training Day – HU DVD 403
Courage Under Fire – HU DVD 1904
Inside Man – HU DVD 2337
The Departed – HU DVD 2473
The Manchurian Candidate – HU DVD 2885
American Gangster – HU DVD 6514
The Pelican Brief – HU DVD 7936
The Fighter – HU DVD 8360
Shooter – HU DVD 8776
The Italian Job – HU DVD 10374
Flight – HU DVD 10946

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

See The World's End early and attend a Q&A WITH SIMON PEGG! Seriously!

Once in a while, we offer passes to advance screenings of movies big and small. But this is by far the biggest and most exciting we've ever had.

On Monday, July 29th, you are invited to an advance screening of Edgar Wright's new comedy, The World's End, with a Q&A with the director and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost! And it gets better: before the movie, attendees 21 and over are invited on a bar crawl that, should you complete it, will allow you to skip the lines and go straight into the movie!

We have no idea how we ended up with passes to this, but it is unspeakably awesome. The World's End is probably the most anticipated comedy of the summer – and the closing chapter to a beloved film comedy trilogy – and we cannot imagine a better way to spend next Monday than grabbing a pint and talking to Shaun himself.

The screening will take place at the AMC Georgetown at 7pm; the mini-bar crawl will run from 5pm to 6:30pm. As with all of our advance screenings, these passes do not guarantee seating. The movie theater is intentionally overbooked, so you'll have to get there really early (or do the bar crawl) to get in.

Passes are available in-person at the Media Services desk in the AU Library. Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Media Services at the Movies: Blue Jasmine

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.

Truth be told, we don't know much about Blue Jasmine. All the plot descriptions available are vague at best, only explaining that the movie follows a housewife having a midlife crisis. What we do know is that Blue Jasmine includes an incredible cast and crew. Directed and written by Woody Allen, the film stars notables including Louis C.K., Alec Baldwin, and Cate Blanchett among others.

Though incredibly prolific, Woody Allen has had a mixed record recently, jumping from the largely reviled You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger to the beloved Midnight in Paris. But his involvement is always worth special attention. Early reviews are positive, giving us hope that Woody Allen is on another hot streak.

Given Woody Allen's prolific filmmaking career, we have most of his movies in Media Services. Be sure to rewatch them – well, the good ones – before seeing Blue Jasmine.

Bananas – HU DVD 122
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) – HU DVD 123
Sleeper – HU DVD 124
Love and Death – HU DVD 125
Annie Hall – HU DVD 126
Interiors – HU DVD 127
Manhattan – HU DVD 128
Stardust Memories – HU DVD 129
Everyone Says I Love You – HU DVD 142
Deconstructing Harry – HU DVD 148
September – HU DVD 248
The Front – HU DVD 343
Hannah and Her Sisters – HU DVD 1065
Husbands and Wives – HU DVD 1300
Crimes and Misdemeanors – HU DVD 1648
Zelig – HU DVD 2082
The Purple Rose of Cairo – HU DVD 2155
Vicky Cristina Barcelona – HU DVD 4776
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy – HU DVD 5353
Small Time Crooks – HU DVD 5354
Broadway Danny Rose – HU DVD 5357
New York Stories – HU DVD 5370
Take the Money and Run – HU DVD 5371
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion – HU DVD 5372
Manhattan Murder Mystery – HU DVD 5374
Match Point – HU DVD 6592
Whatever Works – HU DVD 6593
Midnight in Paris – HU DVD 9410*
Cassandra's Dream – HU DVD 10482
Celebrity – HU DVD 10492
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger – HU DVD 10494
Anything Else – HU DVD 10497
Melinda and Melinda – HU DVD 10505
Another Woman – HU DVD 10510
Hollywood Ending – HU DVD 10511
Scoop – HU DVD 10514
The Rome with Love – HU DVD 10926

Monday, July 22, 2013

E.T. kicks off Screen on the Green

Of the many film screenings happening around the DMV area this summer, none has a stronger pedigree and brand than the HBO- and Universal-sponsored Screen on the Green. Every Monday for the next four weeks, HBO will screen a classic film on the National Mall at sunset, around 8pm. This year's festivities begin tonight with a crowdpleaser, E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial (HU DVD 5175). Future weeks include Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Tootsie.

The movie will be screened on the Mall between 7th and 12th Streets – roughly across from the Museum of Natural History. Picnicking is strongly encouraged!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Netflix overshadows Emmy nominations; the future of television is here to stay

Remember how excited we were about the Oscars? After a few months, we finally managed to get over it and stop talking about Argo. But now award fever has hit once again: this morning, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its nominees for this year's primetime Emmys. Many of the nominees are exactly what you'd expect. Modern Family and Louie lead in comedy, Homeland, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men, are in contention for drama, and HBO original movies continue to lead the miniseries category.

But there are a few notable shockers on the list, primarily the inclusion of programs debuted on non-television services. Netflix's House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Arrested Development all received nominations, and the Xbox-exclusive Halo 4: Foward Unto Dawn miniseries received a nod. Even Zack Galifianakis's low-budget web series Between Two Ferns got a nod. For the first time, the distinction of "television" is no longer just confined to what's broadcasted on-air. It can be available through a service or exclusively via a certain platform. Soon it might be silly to call these awards "primetime."

Consider that a film must be played in a Los Angeles theater for one week to be Oscar-eligible. By comparison, the television industry is quickly recognizing new trends in consumption and technology. If television is really in a golden age, as many critics and filmmakers suggest, then this marks a turning point for television as a truly modern medium.

The Los Angeles Times has a complete, easy-to-navigate list of the nominees on their website. We can't wait until September 22 to see who comes out on top.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DC Digital Commons opens, offers powerful media resources

We're very proud of the services and equipment available at the New Media Center; our training sessions and studio spaces had great attendance last year, and users are walking away with finished projects and greater knowledge of multimedia software. We're always very happy when we see other universities and libraries offering these services too.

Color us excited that now DC Public Library is getting into the game! Today, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library is opening the Digital Commons, a state-of-the-art multimedia lab available for all DC residents. The Digital Commons offers a plethora of services, including:
  • Smart room meeting space for small businesses and independent groups
  • Skype stations for videoconferencing
  • Computers loaded with the Adobe Creative Suite
  • A 3D printer and book printer for creative types (seriously!)
  • Tutorial sessions on popular software and services
  • A "Digital Bar" for test-driving the latest devices
We love to see these types of services available throughout the city. If you're a recent alumnus who wants to continue using cutting-edge multimedia resources, the Digital Commons is a great new resource.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Media Services at the Movies: Ryan Week

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.

Of the five notable movies coming out this week, three of them feature a Ryan in the lead role. Specifically, Ryan Reynolds appears in R.I.P.D. and Turbo, while Ryan Gosling stars in the Drive follow-up Only God Forgives. That's a statistical anomaly.

Without further ado, we hereby declare this Ryan Week at Media Services.

Though both only in their 30s, the Ryans Gosling and Reynolds already have very full careers. If you can't get enough of either of these guys, we have plenty of movies from their careers.

Blade: Trinity – HU DVD 1972
Half Nelson – HU DVD 2630
The Ides of March – HU DVD 2884
Lars and the Real Girl – HU DVD 4598
Fracture – HU DVD 4815
The Notebook – HU DVD 4924
The Nines – HU DVD 5108
Adventureland – HU DVD 6464
Coming Soon – HU DVD 6536
Blue Valentine – HU DVD 8296
Crazy, Stupid, Love – HU DVD 9213
Drive – HU DVD 9664

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Acquisitions - July 2013

The summer rolls on, and in-between our trips to the theater and the beach, we've picked up some new movies. There are a few big crowd-pleasers, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Pitch Perfect, and the first season of The Newsroom. But also a number of interesting smaller titles. Learn about youth chess prodigies in Brooklyn Castle, or revisit one of the first major disaster movies with The Towering Inferno. We also acquired a large set of videos produced by the Audubon Society, courtesy of AU professor Chris Palmer.

It's all here for the watching. Read on for a full list...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Excellent! AFI Silver starts righteous 80s film series

We've posted in the past about summer film screenings, but this one takes the cake. Throughout the next few months, AFI Silver, located close to the Silver Spring metro stop, will be showing original prints of great films from the 1980s. These aren't just DVD copies: you get to see the original things, as they appeared in theaters 30 years ago!

The first movie in the screening, staff favorite Videodrome, shows again tomorrow at 9:45pm. The series continues with films such as Return of the Jedi, Risky Business, and The Last Unicorn. This is a tremendous opportunity to see some great movies in a beautiful, local theater.

AFI Silver has a number of other events running this summer as well, including a Hitchcock retrospective and a Scandinavian crime drama series. Check their website for full details.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Media Services at the Movies: Playing catch-up

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.

Phew! We already promoted the super-great robot beat-em-up Pacific Rim last week, so this time around, it's time for a breather. There are a number of good movies you might not have watched yet, like This is the End, Much Ado About Nothing, World War Z, The Heat, and Despicable Me 2. Take a break in the middle of the week and go see a movie that you haven't considered!

(Alternatively, you can watch Sharknado when it premieres on Thursday.)

In honor of clearing our backlog for a week, the Media Services staff each picked one out of our favorite older summer movies. You've probably seen them, but there's nothing like a good classic. If you don't feel like watching what's in theaters, give these a try!

Apollo 13 – HU DVD 529
Jurassic Park – HU DVD 4901
Animal House – HU DVD 4913
Big Trouble in Little China – HU DVD 6518

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

AU Library closed tomorow; get Independence Day for Independence Day

Just a reminder: the American University Library will be CLOSED for Independence Day tomorrow, July 4th. We close at 6pm today in preparation for the holiday. If you're planning on taking out any movies for the holiday, please do so today.

Shockingly, we have two copies of Roland Emmerich's Independence Day still available (HU DVD 3111). Grab it while you can!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Cosby revisits his sweaters, asks fans to pick the best

Time for some great non-news: Bill Cosby's official website has opened a poll for fans to vote on the best of the now-legendary "Cosby sweaters," the weird and colorful garments worn by Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Starting with the "Crew 32" and working down to the "Warmest 4," Cosby's sweater bracket is by far the most entertaining Cosby-related development in some time.

The first round of polls ends on Wednesday. We're hoping that the
argyle track runner one (pictured) goes all the way.

This has made us really nostalgic about The Cosby Show. Luckily, the first two seasons are available in the library! (HU DVD 10200-10201)

Entertainment Weekly crowns Citizen Kane, The Wire the greatest

Many organizations – Sight & Sound, the AFI, and IMDb to name a few – have created lists of what they consider the greatest films of all time. Now add Entertainment Weekly to that list. On Sunday, the weekly media magazine published a list of, in the view of its editorial staff, the greatest movies and television shows of all time.

The top choices are no surprise. Citizen Kane and The Wire were voted the best in their respective categories; The Godfather, The Simpsons, Casablanca, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, et al. round out the top ten. But their lists gave a few wild cards too, like the inclusion of the lost 1950 variety hour Your Show of Shows as the tenth best television program. Entertainment Weekly's site also includes an article about how the publication went about choosing their list.

Though EW's website does not produce the lists in full outside their print edition, they're worth seeking out. Though imperfect, Entertainment Weekly's lists are a complete critical assessment of the history of two mediums, stretching from their earliest days to the present.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Get advance passes to see Pacific Rim THIS TUESDAY!

A number of high-profile movies come out this week, including the kid's mega-hit Despicable Me 2 and Gore Verbinski's big-budget gamble, The Lone Ranger. Those are all fine and well. But our real excitement is reserved for next week's Pacific Rim, a tribute to Japanese kaiju monster movies from Guillermo del Toro.

So why post about it now, you wonder? We're giving out advance passes to see Pacific Rim this Tuesday! The film is playing at the AMC Mazza Gallerie in Friendship Heights at 7pm. Come down to Media Services in the AU Library to get passes. (Sorry, we can't distribute them online.)

Please keep in mind that these are not tickets. The theater is intentionally overbooked, and some people will be turned away at the door. This is a big, big summer movie, so space will be limited. Show up early to make sure you get in!