Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Recognizing Elmore Leonard's contributions to film

Last week, acclaimed novelist and screenplay writer Elmore Leonard died at age 87. Though perhaps not a household name, Leonard's significant contributions to the film world should not be ignored. Leonard's stories formed the backbone for a number of big movies and television shows, most notably the crime-comedy series Get Shorty and Be Cool.

You might recognize a number of the following movies and television shows, all of which were inspired by an Elmore Leonard work or directly written by Leonard himself. Consider watching one if you're curious to see where his reputation comes from.

3:10 to Yuma (1957) – HU DVD 7654
3:10 to Yuma (2007) – HU DVD 7655
Get Shorty – HU DVD 5393
Jackie Brown – HU DVD 2988
Justified, Season 1 – HU DVD 6215
Out of Sight – HU DVD 4817

Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy National Dog Day! Avoid animal tragedies with Does the Dog Die

Evidently, August 26th is National Dog Day, a holiday we can all agree with. The holiday's goal is to raise awareness for local Humane Societies and the adoption process, which is a great thing, but it's unclear how the average person should celebrate. Surely this is the right day to watch a few dog movies.

But as anyone who watched Marley & Me knows, many movies about pets end with the animals dying. However, some viewers are sensitive about seeing animals dying, or at least they aren't looking forward to that. Does the Dog Die? is a new spoiler-filled website just for them. DtDD rates movies exclusively by whether the animals in the movies are killed or injured. Old Yeller, for instance, receives a thumbs down, while Legally Blonde gets the site's seal of approval.

This is perhaps not the best way to evaluate the quality of a movie, but it's a nice quick reference for people who aren't in the mood for heartbreak. Well done to whoever came up with the idea!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fall 2013 hours start tomorrow

The inevitable march of time has led, once again, to the end of summer. The Fall 2013 semester officially begins tomorrow, and with it, we go back to our normal semester hours:
  • Monday – Thursday: 8am – midnight
  • Friday: 8am – 9pm
  • Saturday: 9am – 9pm
  • Sunday: 10am – midnight
Here's hoping everyone has a good semester!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Have $35,000 to spend? The ultimate streaming device awaits

With the rise of the Roku, Xbox, and Chromecast, streaming devices have become one of the most popular ways to consume media. Nearly every major movie eventually ends up on Netflix, Amazon, or iTunes. It has become easier than ever to watch any movie at any time, but you have to wait. New releases still take months to hit these streaming services.

This is no longer the case if you are incredibly, incredibly rich. The new PRIMA Cinema device is the ultimate home theater upgrade for the truly crazy and enthusiastic. The box, which costs a staggering $35,000, allows owners to watch new-release movies in their home for $500 per viewing. For installation, your home theater needs a stable Internet connection and has to pass inspection from a PRIMA dealer. Then, to watch films, you need to input a PIN and swipe your fingerprint.

This is not something you pick up at Best Buy. PRIMA is the Tiffany & Co. of home streaming devices. This is a gadget intended for Jeff Bezos so he can watch Despicable Me 2 at home instead of going to a movie theater. Chances are that you will never own or even see one.

Early reviews indicate that the quality is outstanding, easily outclassing Blu-rays and other media boxes. Plus, its ability to pre-load movies allows you to watch them the minute they come out in theaters. But is the cost worth it? This is clearly not intended for the average consumer. The day may come when college students can watch Elysium in their dorms, but for now, that's still the territory of the extravagant.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Early Orson Welles film uncovered!

Everyone knows Orson Welles best for his directorial debut, Citizen Kane. Though Welles had dabbled in some film work and shorts before Kane's debut, few of those early works have seen the light of the day. Perhaps Welles's most famous lost work is Too Much Johnson, a series of vignettes originally designed to screen alongside a stage play of the same name. The play never took off, and Welles never finished editing Johnson, leaving it to languish in a box somewhere for decades.

You probably know where this is going. Last week, a pristine copy of Too Much Johnson was found in Italy, and a restoration is already in progress. It seems that every year, another landmark film is being uncovered, whether it's an extended copy of Metropolis or a missing Hitchcock. Finding an old Orson Welles film is easily on par with these other discoveries; we can't wait to see the apparently unusual film once it premieres in October.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Library closed Saturday and Sunday

The AU Library will be closed this Saturday and Sunday, August 10th and 11th. We'll re-open on Monday, August 12th, with shorter operating hours (9am-6pm). Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Breaking Bad's final stretch premieres Sunday; anticipation can't get higher

At this point, Breaking Bad rests among the greatest television shows ever aired. Walter White's harrowing transformation from mild-mannered teacher to complete monster has captivated audiences for the last five years – and on Sunday, we get to see how it wraps up.

Promotional materials for Breaking Bad's final eight episodes imply a disastrous turn for Heisenberg's meth empire, a dismount that fans have anticipated for some time. Fans expected to watch in droves to see what happens to the White family, whether Jesse is redeemed, and how showrunner Vince Gilligan is going to wrap this mess up. Needless to say with three days to go, we've reached peak excitement.

Vulture has been counting down to the season premiere all month. Their calendar is worth a look, if only for all the parody videos and fan-tributes.

But if you really want to get inside the world of Breaking Bad, head up to Flagship Carwash Center the Rockville. Tomorrow, AMC will be turn it into A1A Car Wash, the business that Walter White uses for money laundering. Show up for a free cleaning a free Breaking Bad memento! (While supplies last.)

We can't wait for the last episodes to air, and hopefully you're along for the ride as well. If you aren't yet acquainted with the series, now is the perfect time to meet the one who knocks. The first five seasons are available for checkout in the AU Library (HU DVD 14048 - 14052)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Totoro house is real, wonderful

My Neighbor Totoro is among the most beloved animated films of all time. Often considered director Hayao Miyazaki's masterwork, Totoro is renowned for its child-like sense of wonder and magic. It's the sort of whimsy that many people wish they could capture in their own lives, so naturally, Studio Ghibli decided to rebuild the sets in the real world.

This recently unearthed blog post reveals the work of Miyazaki's son, GorĊ, and the lavish detail he heaped into this replica of the house from Totoro. Everything is there, from the worn-down exteriors to the hidden doors and acorns. To the uninitiated, the Totoro house might seem like an odd, old house in the middle of the woods. But to fans, a chance to visit the world of the movie is positively thrilling. It's a testament to the continued enthusiasm for one of the great children's films.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Celebrate Shark Week and win a copy of Jaws!

Shark Week, the Discovery Channel's annual celebration of all things sharktacular, kicked off yesterday. We're all fans of Shark Week (and for that matter Sharknado), so wanted to celebrate somehow.

To commemorate the occasion, we're giving away a digital copy of Jaws, indisputably the greatest of all shark movies. For a chance to win, leave a comment on this blog post (as well as some way to contact you). We'll randomly pick a winner from our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and desk at the end of the week!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Kick off August with a sneak preview...or two!

We already have more advanced screenings for you! Just in time to welcome you early birds back to DC for the fall semester, you could go to one or BOTH of these upcoming sneak previews.

Tuesday, August 6th you're invited to see You're Next, one of the more terrifying horror films you'll see this year. When killers begin to attack an unsuspecting family reunion, they are shocked to realize one of the house-guests has some tricks up her sleeve.  The screening is at 7pm at the AMC Loews Georgetown. Check out the trailer here.

If horror is not your thing, or if you're looking to see two movies in a row, The Spectacular Now is screening at Landmark's E Street on Wednesday, August 7th at 7pm. This is the new indie-romance from the writers of (500) Days of Summer, and starring Shailene Woodley (The Descendants). If that's not enough reason to want to go, it also won a Special Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Watch the trailer here.

As with all of our advance screenings, these passes do not guarantee seating. The movie theaters are intentionally overbooked, so you'll have to get there really early to get in.

Passes are available in-person at the Media Services desk in the AU Library. Don't miss being the first to see these hot new films!