Thursday, February 23, 2017

The weather is nice. Let's all stay inside.

What's your favorite DC movie theater? Here are a few places to see movies in DC that you might not have heard of!

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

AFI, which is on the Red Line in Silver Spring, often shows award winners, has international film festivals (sometimes in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution), and runs series that celebrate a variety of themes. Some of their special programs include films with live accompaniment and horror nights with Count Gore de Vol.

Suns Cinema

Suns Cinema is a truly weird theater, with wallpaper ripped from the Royal Tenenbaums and a carpet straight out of The Shining, not to mention seats cobbled together from chairs and couches. This theater shows a wide range of cult and older films, with screenings often thematic to the season.

The Avalon Theater

The Avalon Theater, located in Chevy Chase, is "an independent, historic, nonprofit cinema in Washington, DC, offering first-run commercial movies, independent and foreign films, and special programs," as they describe themselves. They offer a convenient location, a great selection of films, and have a nice cafe to boot.

Angelika Pop Up

Angelika Pop Up is located in a warehouse near NOMA-Gallaudet on the Red Line. They often show blockbusters, but also run anime movies and show live theater performances. They often have special deals, including Student Tuesday, where a student ID gets you a discounted Student Ticket and a complimentary popcorn!


Landmark Theaters is a national chain, but they're known for their interesting programming. Whether it's Ghibli films or Oscar nominees, they're a comfortable bet for a variety of films at any of their locations. They have many special events, including midnight showings of cult and classic films.

What's your favorite movie theater in DC? Comment below!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You can now watch Jean-Luc Godard's first narrative film

Once in a while, a lost film appears, delighting film buffs and historians. In the past few years, we've seen a lost Méliès film, a Hitchcock, and a Star Wars-related short all turn up after decades of absence. But this weekend, someone uploaded the Holy Grail: Jean-Luc Godard's first narrative film.

Une Femme Coquette (embedded above) was suddenly and unexpectedly uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday. Although it's not a masterwork, it's enormously historically significant. As The A.V. Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky says, you can see some of Godard's early tics and style that would eventually become influential in the French New Wave.

We're stunned that more and more films continue to be unearthed, especially such important ones. Come on, The Day the Clown Cried!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Celebrate Valentine's Day with one of AFI's 100 Passions

Did you know that in addition to their 100 Greatest Films list, AFI also has a list of the top 100 romantic movies of all time?

Here are AFI's top 10 romantic movies in our collection:

6THE WAY WE WERE (HU DVD 3087)1973
9LOVE STORY (HU DVD 9090)1970
10CITY LIGHTS (HU DVD 3801)1931

Pair with a cookbook for the perfect Valentine's day with AU Library.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A lament for DVD commentary

When Fox decided to stop publishing The Simpsons on DVD, one thing we lamented (apart forcing you to get a cable subscription to watch the show) was the fate of the show's audio commentary. The creators of The Simpsons recorded in-depth, insightful discussions for every episode of the show, and although you can still access the commentary through the official streaming app, it's significantly more hidden than it was on the DVDs. And we'll probably never have commentary for shows and movies released through Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming platforms.

On the bright side, maybe we've been spared. As D. K. Holm at Crooked Scoreboard points out, the quality of movie commentary tracks has plummeted recently.

When the Criterion Collection first devised commentary tracks, the concept attracted film scholars and served as an useful outlet for behind-the-scenes stories. As more DVDs included them, the tracks became more and more obligatory and less enthusiastic. Although it's over a decade old, I still remember the commentary track for the action movie Ultraviolet, where star Milla Jovovich plays with her cats for an hour and doesn't really say anything.

But we'll also miss out on the occasionally deeply entertaining track, like an example Holm gives of a low-budget action movie where the director is completely frank about its doomed production.

If they're going to be phoned in, they may as well not exist. It's a shame that the good ones may as well not exist now either.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Here, have an R2-D2 bird

We've been posting here a bit less frequently while we handle start-of-the-semester business, but  with the understandably rising national stress levels, we wanted to send out the week with something positive.

So, please enjoy this bird that sounds like R2-D2. Happy Friday!