Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Acquisitions - December 2016

The library is closing up for winter in about three hours, and much like a student submitting a paper on Blackboard at 11:59, we're going to publish our final new acquisitions for the year!

You might notice a ton of new television shows this month. We've been catching up on television shows – recent (like HBO's Enlightened) and much older (the original Mission: Impossible series and Columbo). Our favorite oddity is the full run of The Munsters, which includes an unaired pilot filmed in color.

On the front for big movies, Captain America: Civil War and How to Train Your Dragon 2 are also both now available.

If you can read this in the next few hours, you can check out any of these films until we re-open on January 3rd. Get to it!

Home Use Collection:

Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – HU DVD 37
More Business of Being Born – HU DVD 216
Higher Learning – HU DVD 5748
How to Train Your Dragon 2 – HU DVD 7802
How to Train Your Dragon 2 – HU BLU 7802
One-Eyed Jacks – HU DVD 10236
Underground New York – HU DVD 13490
Captain America: Civil War – HU DVD 13538
Bayou Maharajah – HU DVD 13547
To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar – HU DVD 13548
Code : Debugging The Gender Gap – HU DVD 13556
Food Choices – HU DVD 13558
The Gunman – HU DVD 13559
Céline Et Julie Vont En Bateau – HU DVD 13560
Ella Enchanted – HU DVD 13562
Ella Enchanted – HU BLU 13562
Dracula Untold – HU DVD 13563
Dracula Untold – HU BLU 13563
Choice 2016 – HU DVD 13565
School Of The Future – HU DVD 13566
Subprime Education – HU DVD 13567
Hooligan Sparrow – HU DVD 13568
The Day Of The Jackal – HU DVD 13582
The Deadly Affair – HU DVD 13584


Nurse Jackie, Season 1 – HU DVD 14350
Malcolm in the Middle, Season 1 – HU DVD 14351
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 1 – HU DVD 14485
Vicious, Season 1 – HU DVD 14486
Columbo, Season 1 – HU DVD 14487
Enlightened, Season 1 – HU DVD 14488
Enlightened, Season 2 – HU DVD 14489
Big Love, Season 1 – HU DVD 14490
The Fall, Season 1 – HU DVD 14491
Mission: Impossible, Season 1 – HU DVD 14492
Everybody Hates Chris, Season 1 – HU DVD 14493
Everybody Hates Chris, Season 2 – HU DVD 14494
Everybody Hates Chris, Season 3 – HU DVD 14495
Everybody Hates Chris, Season 4 – HU DVD 14496
The Munsters, Season 1 – HU DVD 14497
The Munsters, Season 2 – HU DVD 14498
F Troop, Season 1 – HU DVD 14499
That Girl, Season 1 – HU DVD 14500

In-Library Titles:

A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy – DVD 13484
Just A Gigolo – DVD 13557
From These Roots – DVD 13561
The Last Colony – DVD 13583

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

One of David Bowie's first films is a fascinating mess

As we prepare to close up shop for winter break, we have a very strange new acquisition highlight.

We've mentioned before that David Bowie had a surprisingly robust acting career, starting with the titular role in the classic The Man Who Fell to Earth. Two years later, he returned to film in Just a Gigolo, where he plays a Prussian soldier forced into prostitution in post-World War I Germany. Notably, Marlene Dietrich briefly appears in her last credited role.

Reception for Just a Gigolo was all over the place. Reviews at the time were scathing, and Bowie considered it an embarrassment. "Listen," he told one film critic, "you were disappointed, and you weren’t even in it. Imagine how we felt." An author over at Dangerous Minds found it "actually pretty wild to watch" and visually enticing.

This film hasn't been available in America in basically any format for decades. We recently acquired a VHS, and as part of our long-term archiving project, we've digitized it and created an archival DVD copy. You can watch the strange mess of Just a Gigolo yourself in the AU Library.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Breakfast Club rounds out this year's surprising National Film Registry additions

Yesterday, the Library of Congress named 25 new films to add to the National Film Registry, a permanent archive of the most "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" American films. As usual, the selections span almost a century of film, including drama, horror, comedies, documentaries, and animation.

We're pleasantly surprised by some of the popular movies added this year. The Lion King was inevitable given its legendary stature in animation, but The Breakfast Club, The Princess Bride, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? are unexpected newcomers. Deadline's write-up has good descriptions of each movie, including a breakdown of the unusual history behind the 1903 short Life of an American Fireman.

The National Film Registry will take care of these movies for generations hundreds of years from now, but if you just want to watch them right now, we have copies of most everything on this list available for checkout. In fact, you can watch Life of an American Fireman via streaming right now!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

14,000 copies of Jerry Maguire to be built into a desert pyramid, because why not

For several years, the online group Everything is Terrible has searched through ephemeral videotapes to find some truly weird art, much like the Found Footage Festival. But they've also had an even stranger side project to collect every known VHS copy of the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire. We still don't really understand why they've undertaken their project. With over 14,000 tapes collected, EiT has more copies of Jerry Maguire than all of our old VHS collection combined.

To commemorate the film's twentieth anniversary, Everything is Terrible is building a video store that only has VHS copies of Jerry Maguire as part of an art exhibit in Los Angeles. This isn't even their final resting place: all proceeds from the show will go towards building a Jerry Maguire pyramid somewhere in the desert.

There's basically no reason for either video store or the pyramid to exist... except as monuments to late-90s consumer excess. Maybe that's as good of an excuse as any.

Sadly, we don't have our own copy to give to the pyramid.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy Birthday Kirk Douglas!

December 9th was the 100th birthday of Kirk Douglas.

According to TCM:
"The archetypal Hollywood movie star of the postwar era, Kirk Douglas built a career with he-man roles as soldiers, cowboys and assorted tough guys in over 80 films. His restless, raging creations earned him three Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and one Golden Globe win for his portrayal of Vincent van Gogh in "Lust for Life" (1956). But besides his lasting mark as a seething strong man with a superhero-like head of hair and the most famous dimpled chin this side of Shirley Temple, Douglas was a Tinseltown innovator and rebel. As one of the first A-listers to wrest further control of their career by founding an independent production company, Douglas also effectively ended the 1950s practice of blacklisting Hollywood talent suspected of communist ties when he insisted on crediting famed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo for his script adaptation of "Spartacus" (1960). Douglas maintained his position as a perennial favorite - often opposite fellow tough guy Burt Lancaster - in Westerns and World War II films until the early 1970s, when changing tastes edged the timeworn genres into the wings. He began a second career as a writer and focused on the philanthropic efforts of The Douglas Foundation, occasionally surfacing throughout the 1980s and 1990s to portray irrepressible old firecrackers in made-for-TV movies and the occasional feature."

Unfamiliar with his work? Check out one of his films from the Media Services Home Use Collection:

Arrangement - HU DVD 2212
Bad and the beautiful - HU DVD 7257
Champion - HU DVD 211
Is Paris burning? - HU DVD 12861
Lonely are the brave - HU DVD 12168
Lust for life - HU DVD 5808
Out of the past - HU DVD 2403
Paths of glory - DVD 3271
Seven days in May - HU DVD 326
Spartacus - HU DVD 3272

Friday, December 09, 2016

The best movies of the year – spliced into one video

Every year, film critic David Ehrlich puts together a montage of what he considered the 25 best films of the year. Ehrlich's tastes tend to lean towards interesting visuals, but we're not complaining. His montages are visual feasts, so he gets to pick whatever he wants. Moonlight tops the list, understandably given the praise we've heard.

This year's supercut has a few surprising selections, including Beyonce's Lemonade and the ESPN documentary series OJ: Made in America. We also love Ehrlich's choice of using music from other notable movies this year. There are a few bonus movies thrown in at the start, too. Ghostbusters wouldn't make the top 25, but we're happy to see the Holtzmann dance again.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

New blood or old blood? What experienced directors bring to big movies

You might have missed that a new Steven Spielberg movie came out this year. The BFG was a bit of a flop, a surprise considering the beloved director at the helm.

As movie studios are learning, director choice holds less and less sway over audiences as studios recruit new talent to headline their films somewhat anonymously. Take Colin Trevorrow, who directed Jurassic World after only a few small independent successes. He was affordable, it brought new blood into Hollywood, and frankly, he nailed it. So why would studios hire a marquee name?

Kevin Lincoln suggests in a new Vulture article that the cracks are finally showing in this model. The last two years have been filled with stories of blockbuster movies delayed by reshoots or production troubles, and often, the fingers point to inexperienced directors not accustomed to working with massive budgets under studio control. The horror story behind last year's Fantastic Four reboot is an extreme case (extensive reshoots, the director openly fighting his producers, and a barely coherent final product), but the benefits of confident directors are becoming clearer in their absence.

Don't expect Martin Scorsese to direct the next Star Wars movie. But maybe by the next Fantastic Four movie, the director will have more experience under their belt.