New Gen Games at Wells Media Center

As of last semester, Spring 16’, the Media Center has started collecting games for the more recent consoles. While we intend to bolster our current collection, you can find out about the ones we currently have below. This is spoiler free info session.

Playstation 4

ps4-until-dawnOur first game for the PS4 is Until Dawn. It’s a decision based horror game that follows the idea of the butterfly effect. If you didn’t know, the butterfly effect is the idea that the tiniest decision has a large effect on possible outcomes in the future. Until Dawn captures this beautifully as you play through the game with complete power over every action the characters take and witness the consequences first-hand. The object of the game is help the characters survive until dawn. You will help seven teenagers get through a night atop a snowy mountain where they are most certainly not alone. Build or break friendships and relationships with the decisions you make all the while knowing that these relationships can be the until-dawn-screenshot-03-ps4-us-07aug14difference between each character making it to the end or dying along the way. Until Dawn has a high replay value and is definitely recommended for those who enjoy horror and decision making.
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Xbox One

We acquired two award winning open world games that are sure to give you plenty of hours of gameplay.

cover_large Fallout 4 honestly needs no introductions, but for those who may be new to the franchise, this game takes place in a world a bit different from the other Fallout installments. The world is at war again and the use of nuclear arms has only escalated the world to the point of eminent nuclear Armageddon. Your avatar has been selected to enter one of the many Vaults, underground bomb shelters that were created just for this predicament. After the bombs go off you emerge and are confronted with a battered land. Joining factions, visiting cities and surviving within this new land are just a few of the things your avatar has to worry about in this gorgeous sandbox. If you like first/third person 2889263-fallout4_deathclawattack_1434390891shooters, open world
games, and decision making then this is definitely the game for you as it wraps it all up in a neat bow.2962545-gameplay_fallout4_108060ferals_11082015site
XO62Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is another open world game for Xbox One. You play as a woman named Laura Croft who is on an exhibition to find ancient artifacts when her ship wrecks. Separated from the crew, Laura has to survive in a wilderness where she quickly realizes that she isn’t alone. Create a character that fits your play style. Whether you use stealth with a bow or want to go in guns blazing, getting to the end of story will be quite the thrill. Unlike most games where most of the action intensive moments are in the cut scenes, Tomb Raider puts you in the thick of these moments and forces you to get her out them or earn a gruesome end. This cinematic finesse Tomb Raider earned an M rating for that reason. If you enjoy stealth, open world, and hunting, this game is definitely for you.

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3DS

While the 3DS isn’t as new as the other consoles, we have acquired our first game for it only just recently.
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If you enjoy turn based strategy than the Fire Emblem franchise has you pegged. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright is the most recent installment the series. Your prince or princess strives to prevent all-out war between the kingdoms of Nohr and Hoshido. This installments has three possible outcomes that branch off at the point where you are forced to pick a side. In the Birthright edition, you fight for Hoshido. Along the way, your avatar and their army’s characters can fire-emblem-fates-birthright-screenshot-04develop relationships with one another that strengthen bonds in battles and even produce children! The choices are yours! Enjoy gaining skills and creating powerful children who will also fight alongside you in your quest.maxresdefault

We look forward to letting you know what games we’ll get ahold of next! Till then, in case you were wondering what consoles we have games for…

Playstation 1, 2, 3 & 4 PSP

Xbox 1, 360 & One

Gamecube, Wii, 3DS & Wii U

Gensis & PC (prior to Steam)

Till next time, TL

 

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The Mid-’90s Female Bildungsroman, Part 3 : “Clueless” and Supratextual Intertextuality

Every tumblr girl’s favorite cult film “Clueless” turns 21 years old this very week! Some ragin’ celebrations are in order, of course, but first and foremost, I’d like to raise a toast to the film’s writer/director Amy Heckerling, without whom we may never have uttered a single “whatever.” Much has been written about the enduring influence of “Clueless” on popular fashion and language (ranging from outfit listicles and .gif recaps to academic papers in film studies and linguistics)–rather than retread these stylistic grounds, I’d like to take a look at how these lasting influences turn “Clueless” into a locus for a supratextual* intertextuality†.

Now, of course, Heckerling isn’t the only author responsible for the genesis of “Clueless”; indeed, the film’s central conceit and characters are themselves reinterpretations from Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma, whose titular character shares the same affably scampish spirit of Heckerling’s Cher Horowitz (played by Alicia Silverstone). Austen wrote Emma as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like” (see her memoir here); she wrote Emma for herself, for her own titillation, perhaps for a therapeutic literary companionship. The personal nature of this character creation evokes a sense of the autobiographical, a personification of the ego specific to Austen, or at the very least an idealized confidante or partner.

One-hundred and eighty years later, Heckerling picks up the thread of Emma through Cher and extends the same affection for Cher that Austen held towards Emma: though our protagonist may be ostensibly superficial, “Clueless” is entirely compassionate and demonstrative of Cher’s essential goodness. In developing Cher, Heckerling invokes not only Austen’s Emma, but her own Emma; Cher is constituted through the crossing paths of each author’s interpretation of Emma. And since Cher is borne from Emma–an entity that always already contained the constituting signifiers of Cher–when Austen created Emma, she also created Cher. So then both authors are continually in the process of creating both images of the Emma/Cher persona–this persona is not static but is instead continually constituted through her relationships with her authors and with the audience that simultaneously consumes and produces specific personal inflections of her. So when we see Cher, we see double: we see her, we see Emma, we see Heckerling, we see Austen, and we see ourself constituted within her, all done up in Fred Segal.

Beyond this constitution-via-reception, we also embody and deploy the multitudinous persona of Emma/Cher when we adopt the most salient of Cher’s sartorial and linguistic signifiers. Just as Heckerling reconstituted the Emma persona through Cher, when we send off a dismissive “As if!” or wear coordinating plaids, we reach back through Cher to Heckerling, through Emma to Austen, re-re-constituting the image of Emma/Cher by way of these non-textual “texts.” In this way, “Clueless” serves as an intertextual crossroads, whereby any number of casual watchers enter into a personal dialogue with one of English literature’s greatest figures. We are active participants in the present-day continual development of Austen’s and Heckerling’s protagonist–her bildungsroman becomes ours.

-wm

* As in, beyond a literal or narrative text proper. As discussed with “Party Girl,” clothing can serve as a sartorial text; similarly, neologism and slang can serve as a non-narrative linguistic text.

Intertextuality, as discussed by Julia Kristeva, acknowledges that any text does not exist as essentially separate but instead is an intersection of other texts, is not fixed in meaning but instead dialogic. All texts are inherently (at least) “double” in meaning by nature of their intertextuality.

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Disney’s Long Awaited Sequels and Prequels

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Who doesn’t love a good Disney movie?! I know I do! In case some of you were wondering, YES the rumors of their movies are in fact true. I’m sure many of you are well aware of Finding Dory, the sequel to its 2003 Finding Nemo (PN1997.2 .F49 2003b), hitting theaters this Friday. However, this is only the beginning of some of your Disney favorites making a comeback.

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Over the next four years or so, Disney is set to release many more movies including live action films, such as the Jungle Book released April of this year, sequels, and prequels. This list includes Cars 3, a live-action Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story 4, and the Incredibles 2 which is rumored that the characters will have aged real-time and will be centered around Jack-Jack Parr, the baby of the superfamily during its first movie.

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A Closer Look at The Princess and the Frog

The-Princess-And-The-Frog-posterIn 2009, Disney released The Princess and the Frog, which had a lot of pressure from unprecedented anticipation, as this was to be the first Disney Princess film with a black princess. Most audience members were extremely happy with the film, and critics were as well; the film scored an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 73 on MetaCritic, both of which are impressive scores. While it had success as an animated film, a Disney film, and a princess film…how does it stand as a black film? I recently took AAAD A278 “Contemporary Black Film” which sparked a lot of interest for me to explore The Princess and the Frog, using “black film” as a magnifying glass to inspect it. Really, the one thing that this film should have done is appeal to young black girls as the white princess did for the young white audiences, but taking away all sense of #BlackGirlMagic loses it’s appeal to a large portion of the black audience who came to see The Princess and the Frog – not A Tale of Two Frogs. A lot of people remember this film as “the one where the black princess got to be a frog for the whole movie,” but it’s even more than just that. One article we read, titled “Black Film as a Genre,” defines them as “motion pictures made for theater distribution that have a black producer, director, and writer, or black performers; that speak to black audiences or, incidentally, to white audiences possessed of preternatural curiosity, attentiveness, or sensibility towards racial matters; and that emerge from self-conscious intentions, whether artistic or political, to illuminate the Afro-American experience,” and in using this definition, how does the film hold up? Without further ado, let’s break this down.

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By my count, there are 13 princesses in the Disney Animation and Disney/Pixar films: 1. Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1950), 2. Cinderella inCinderella (1950), 3. Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (1959), 4. Ariel in The Little Mermaid (1989), 5. Belle in Beauty and the Beast (1991), 6. Jasmine in Aladdin (1992), 7. Pocahontas in Pocahontas (1995), 8. Mulan in Mulan (1998), 9. Tiana in The Princess and the Frog (2009), 10. Rapunzel in Tangled (2010), 11. Merida in Brave (2012) and 12 and 13. Elsa and Anna in Frozen (2013). Based on the acquisition of their status of “princesshood”- I divided into these 13 girls into two categories: those who became princesses by birthright, and those who became princesses by marriage; there are only four of these 13 girls who were not princesses at birth, and were instead had to work for their crown (disclaimer: when mentioning “royalty” or “princesshood,” I do not always mean that these girls were actually royalty in the traditional sense, but rather at the top of their respective hierarchy in their kingdom, whatever that may be). In this way, The Princess and the Frog differs from all other films moreso than just the inclusion of the first black Disney “princess”; this movie actually contains a white princess who was meant to marry the prince, Naveen, but was unable to do so as the prince was turned into a frog by the antagonist in the film. Because of this occurrence, Naveen hops into the window of the princess’ room and tries to kiss the girl to break the spell. Alas, he kisses Tiana instead of the real princess, at which time Tiana turns into a frog and must discover a way to turn back into a human in order to fulfill her father’s dream. Side note: A classmate of mine, David, noted that her father told her at the beginning of the movie that food brings people together and makes people happy, which is important. Tiana misses the point completely as she only literally takes his advice, which is to make people food but doesn’t understand that it’s the purpose of the food and not the food itself that’s important: the sense of community that comes with sharing food with friends.

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Tiana’s transformation insulted, or at the least disappointed, many people who were looking forwards to seeing Disney’s first black princess, and were instead given a film about a frog who used to be a girl (skin color really isn’t touched upon in this film). “Black Girl Magic is a term used to illustrate the universal awesomeness of black women. It’s about celebrating anything we deem particularly dope, inspiring, or mind-blowing about ourselves” is how Julee Wilson defined the social media “#BlackGirlMagic” which has become extremely popular. The Princess and the Frog should have at least made young black girls proud of the character who was supposed to have been their first representation in the Disney princess series, but instead they were left with a slimy- I’m sorry, “mucus-y”- frog to portray the character. The only other princess who transformed in the films I mentioned was Ariel in The Little Mermaid, but by transforming, she became a gorgeous human with legs instead of a mermaid with a tail fin: quite literally (as in, in the dictionary definition sense) this transformation sexualized Ariel. I’m not sure how mermaids reproduce but I see no obvious genitalia, so if I had to assume, I’d say asexually. Because of Ariel’s transformation, she was literally sexualized by becoming a woman who could mate with a man- not a transformation to complain about. Tiana on the other hand, was desexualized when becoming a frog (even though they reproduce sexually) she is now unattractive to the male population (I assume), except for the one “male” whom she’s stuck with. While Prince Naveen seemed to be attracted to her upon first meeting her (when they first kissed in the house), he seemed to be quite the womanizer, and only seemed to want to kiss her out of necessity to turn back into a human. So, is Prince Naveen actually attracted to Tiana as the person she was before turning into a frog? The world may never know.

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Towards the end of the second act of the film, we find out that Prince Naveen wants to propose to Tiana while they’re still frogs (how he got the engagement ring, I’m not sure but I believe it was from when he was going to marry the other girl instead of Tiana…and now just wants to marry Tiana because he really doesn’t have any other options, right?). Anyway, upon marriage, Tiana becomes a princess finally! Disney’s first black princess is finally a princess… however, she is from New Orleans, and they don’t have princesses there. Here’s another huge difference from all of the other Disney Princeses: she can’t be the princess of where she was born. By marrying the prince, she became the princess of where Prince Naveen is from, Maldonia (who’s main language is based off of Italian, so I’m guessing it’s an imaginary European country), and she still has no royalty in New Orleans. The only other Disney princess who becomes a princess of another land besides her own is Ariel, who marries Prince Eric… but she is still the princess of King Triton’s undersea kingdom as well (Tiana got swindled in pretty much every aspect of this film). This first “black Disney princess” is missing all sense of #BlackGirlMagic, and from the definition from “Black Film as a Genre,” this hardly even qualifies as a Black Film in any sense of the definition. However, this is just one man’s opinion: what do you think if you’ve seen this film? How do you think it compares to the traits of the other princess films? Were you let down by Disney’s story involving their first black princess? Be sure to head to Media Services to check out this movie and all other great animated films in our collection! /BS

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Classic Films in the Age of Blockbusters

the-avengers-battle-in-cool-concept-art-for-captain-america-civil-warWith the releases of major blockbusters such as “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “X-Men: Apocalypse,” etc., I thought it would be fitting to take a step back into some old school cinema. Over Christmas break, I picked up the Steve McQueen collection on Blu-ray at Best Buy on sale, and I watched them all to try to appreciate some “classic” films. Admittedly, they don’t all hold up to my spoiled, CGI-ridden expectations, but I could definitely find things to enjoy in them. One of these films we have at IU Media & Reserve Services, and the most recent film I watched from this collection was called “Bullitt,” which IMDb describes as “an all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.” Here are my thoughts on the film…

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I watched this movie about 3 days ago, but wasn’t sure exactly what to think of it for the first few days. Recently, I’ve thought about this film a lot and many aspects of it have now been made clear to me. I won’t lie to you, I was slightly disappointed while watching it because I was told this is “one of the best car-chase films ever” (thanks, Dad). That statement could not have been more misleading. Don’t go into this film expecting a car chase movie; actually, don’t go into this movie expecting anything at all. In this little review, I will discuss the film in-depth without spoilers, and talk about why this film may just be a masterpiece. As I mentioned, I was initially disappointed with this film because it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I wasn’t really able to follow the story and I’m still wondering exactly what all happened; I also asked myself at the end “what was the point of that?” After watching it, I knew that there were things that I was missing (not just in regards to the story itself, but the film as a whole) and I wouldn’t feel right writing an “okay” review for this. The more that I think about this film, the better it gets and now I want to talk about why. “What was the point of that?” Like I did, you may also ask yourself after watching the film… and the point is that there really isn’t a point; more specifically, the point is just to show what police officers do on a daily basis. This film isn’t meant to be an action-packed extravaganza, but rather just to show a day in the life of a cop with extreme realism (I suppose… I’m not a cop so I can’t assume it’s super realistic but I definitely got that vibe). This wasn’t obvious to me until I thought about it a lot and even did some research online. To make this film seem real, the doctors and other extras in the movie weren’t actors but real people. There is a scene in an Operating Room, which feels very real and not like your average film because they hired real doctors to perform here to emphasize the realism.

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There is one scene in which Bullitt’s wife sees a murder victim in a house and freaks out about it, confronting Bullitt, commenting on if seeing this everyday is making him numb to everything else. One of the things that stood out to me here is the camera angle. Simple over-the-shoulder shots are common in films; they allow you to see one person’s face while recognizing the position of the other. In this scene, an over-the-shoulder shot was used, but the camera was so low that Steve McQueen’s shoulder blocked the mouth of his character’s wife. As I watched this, I was bothered because the cinematography/directing here seemed so lazy and misplaced, but as I thought about it I realized how brilliant it was. During that whole scene, the actress’ eyes (and voice) were the only things that showed us her emotion. We couldn’t see her mouth, so like Tom Hardy’s Bane, the emotion in her eyes is all we could perceive. This is actually a recurring “theme” throughout the film; Steve McQueen didn’t have much dialogue in the film at all, thus he had to use body language and facial expressions (especially with eyes) to convey emotion. The character of Bullitt is a stone-cold, tough-as-nails cop because he deals with these hard cases every day, like his wife mentions. He has become accustomed to seeing death and dealing with it like any other thing in life without making a big deal out of it, which makes this day not stand out to him at all, even though his wife is beside herself at what she saw. Remember what I mentioned about the eyes when we didn’t see the mouth? There is a saying in writing and in film to “show, don’t tell.” The scene with the wife and the strange but brilliant camera angle exemplifies this saying- literally in the fact that we can see her eyes but not her mouth. The whole film is a “show, don’t tell” example because we see so much more than we hear, as far as dialogue goes.

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There is very little talking, but a lot to be seen (not even to mention the absolutely gorgeous cinematography and directing which far surpasses many films these days), which immediately reminds me of “Drive.” If you’ve seen Drive, you know what I’m talking about. There is hardly any talking in Drive, and everything that you can take from the movie is what you see. Many people also went into that movie with the wrong expectations: wanting a “car chase” movie as well only to end up receiving a movie that was smarter than they were (but no offense if you didn’t like it. I’m mainly talking about the lady who tried to sue for her lack of enjoyment…). Also like Drive, the emphasis on character and not just story gives this film a very intimate feel to it, which allows the audience to feel for the main character on a more personal level. By common definition, this may not be the most “entertaining” or “enjoyable” film to watch; it’s one of the few that I’ll sit down and expect not to be merely “entertained” while watching it, but will be amazed while thinking about how well-made it was afterwards. Not comparing the film with this other material (as to not offend anybody), but like Holy scripture, many people don’t just sit down and read it for light reading or entertainment. They read to be able to take something away afterwards and I think there’s a lot to be taken away from this film- more so than what just meets the eye for sure.

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Many may pass this film off as a simple cop drama, but it’s so much more than that. This is one of the best cop dramas I’ve seen- not for the story, but for the filmmaking genius. The part of the film that really drove the main idea of realism home for me was one of the last shots of the movie, of a bumper sticker that read simply “Support Your Local Police.” This reemphasizes the idea of realism in the film, that the people in the film *are* your local police in what they do every day- which is what this film represents. To me, the story was good, and the acting was great but the directing was incredible. Now go watch this film and come back and read this again and think about the movie and I hope it grows on you as much as it did for me. I hope you can have as great of an epiphany as I did! Thanks for reading and be sure to check this film out at IU Media & Reserve Services. /BS

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Deadpool at the IMU!

If you were unaware, our very own union board hosts film screenings Thursday-Saturday at 8 PM and 11 PM during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. The screenings are shown in the Whittenberger Auditorium on the first floor of the Indiana Memorial Union (that’s the floor with Starbucks) and are FREE to IU students! This week, UB will be showing Deadpool, a film adopted from Marvel comic books. It’s about a former Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary. He undergoes an experiment which gives him accelerated healing powers, transforming him into Deadpool. The film was released in theaters about  2 months ago and received outstanding reviews. If you have any extra time and want some free entertainment before taking on dead week and finals, swing by for a viewing!

-QN

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the Mid-’90s Female Bildungsroman, Part 2 : “Party Girl”, Adornment, and the Sublimation of Femme Intelligence

“Party Girl” (1995), Parker Posey’s feature debut, has the dubious honor of being the first commercial comedy-drama film to be broadcast in its entirety over the internet. Over twenty years later, deep in the internet age, it still provides plenty of #inspo fodder for blogging aesthetes and fashion magazines due to the remarkable work of its costume designer Michael Clancy. Indeed, Clancy’s genius (in conjunction with Posey’s performance, the ‘90s house soundtrack, and the high school existentialism)
is what draws me back to this movie every few months: his intentional design work creates readable surfaces throughout the film–the clothes become a text, in a (tactile?) sense.

Posey’s character Mary is epitomized in reviews as a wayward girl whose only preoccupations are amassing a couture wardrobe and attending “it” functions. That is, until she’s arrested for hosting an illegal rent party and must pick up a clerk job at the library to cover bail. She’s a reluctant worker, but finds over time–through acknowledging the potential Sisyphean value of the drudgery–that she may have an innate skill for library work. She also strikes up a romance with the falafel vendor on the corner, all the while turning look after look, in the stacks or at the club. Continue reading

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Once, The Film and Musical

MV5BMTEwNjExOTc2MTJeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDYzODQ3NDE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_ This week at the IU Auditorium, the Tony Award winning musical, Once will grace the stage. The musical is actually based on the Academy Award-winning film which was written and directed by John Carney, Once. The film and musical take place in Dublin, Ireland and tells the love story of an Irish man and a Czech-immigrant woman as they write and record music together. The films soundtrack is filled with songs written and performed by the actors themselves, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. If you are looking for a film that tells a captivating story, and is both beautiful on the eyes and the ears, then Once is the film for you.

At Media Services we have two copies available for checkout in our Browsing section! http://www.iucat.iu.edu/catalog/7510725

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Regardless of if you have seen the film or not (you definitely should, it is phenomenal), from someone who has seen the musical before, it is definitely worth going to see. Once is a very unique musical, in that all the actors and actresses play their own instruments on stage, so there is no band or orchestra accompanying their singing—it is quite impressive. Additionally, the entire musical takes place on one set—a bar, which is actually operating so that before the show or during intermission, those seated on the ground floor can buy a drink on stage and actually see the set up close. If interested in seeing this musical, tickets can be purchased through the IU Auditorium. Once will be in Bloomington Tuesday April 19th, and Wednesday April 20th this week. For more event details visit: http://www.iuauditorium.com/events/detail/once.

MV5BNjAxMTI4MTgzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTAwODEwMjE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Once you have seen Once, either on stage or from watching the film, if you are looking for another musically-centered movie, also written and directed by John Carney, then check out Begin Again. It stars Keira Knightly, Mark Ruffalo, and Adam Levine, and tells the story of a struggling music producer who discovers a talented singer at a bar. They then decide to collaborate together on an album they record outdoors, all over New York City. Media Services also has two copies of this film available for checkout! http://www.iucat.iu.edu/catalog/14784096

 

-Sammy

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The First Annual IU Day!

 

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Break out the cream and crimson gear and show some pride for your school! For the first ever IU Day, there will be a 24-hr live broadcast of all IU events, so you can celebrate wherever you are! Share your support and IU spirit on social media and add your name to the IU Day map. Spread the word!

IU Day events will be held on the Bloomington and Indy campus, so be sure to take part in the scavenger hunt going on from 11am-3pm on both campuses! Clues for the IUB hunt can be found here. IUPUI clues can be found here. You can download the clues from either link or pick them up on campus at any of the IU Day stations! You definitely don’t want to miss this! There are prizes at stake here! You could win anything from t-shirts and sunglasses to the grand prize: a 2016-17 IU parking pass! (Where was this scavenger hunt when I lived on campus?)

Come by the WIUX Station House on the IUB campus and grab all the free CDs you want! They are giving them out from 1-5pm, so be sure to stop by and share your finds on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #IUday. Don’t forget to tag WIUX in your post!

On campus isn’t the only place you can celebrate in Bloomington. From 5:30-7:30pm, you can stop by and try some beer samples or just come for some IU swag.

Show and share your IU spirit! Take part in the events on campus and share your Indiana University experiences with your family and friends on social media. Let’s make the first annual IU Day one to remember!

 

-kacie

**For more info, visit https://iuday.iu.edu/**

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The Challenge Continues!

As some readers may remember, back in early February I wrote about attempting the Doug Loves Movies Challenge by watching 366 movies this year (being a leap year), of course the pace to ideally be watching one film per day.  At the time of my last post, I was a few behind this pace, but I really kicked it into high gear in March and am currently coming out ahead of schedule.  This entry like my last will highlight some of my favorite movies that I’ve watched as part of the challenge in the last 2 months, all of which can be checked out right here at Media Services!

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James Franco has become an interesting figure in Hollywood in the last few years to say the least.  Between his growing list of acting credits, his seemingly everlasting academic career, and his disastrous stint as Oscfars co-host with Anne Hathaway, it can be puzzling to know where his head is at times.  Knowing this, and having only seen him in less serious roles like Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man trilogy and as himself in This Is The End, I was curious to see his critically-acclaimed performance in 127 Hours.  Franco stars as Aron Ralston, an adrenaline-seeker who on one of his regular climbing excursions finds himself between a rock and a hard place – quite literally (a lame joke, I know, but it’s the truth!)  The film largely follows Ralson’s struggle to preserve his precious few resources, including his sanity, long enough to survive.  Though there are some notable appearances besides Franco, like a young Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, and Lizzy Caplan, the majority of the film relies on the performance of one person (Franco).  While films that rely so heavily on one person can often swing and miss, the musings and struggles of Franco keep you engaged from the very start and never let go.  After hearing the award-season hype of this film years ago and only seeing it now, I can honestly say it lived up to and exceeded expectations.  If you’re a fan of Franco, but would like to see his serious acting chops, I suggest renting this film today.

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In the last couple of years, I’ve learned something about myself.  I am a HUGE Jake Gyllenhaal fan.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “There’s no way I can take the dude from Bubble Boy seriously.”  To that person I say watch PrisonersEnd of Watch, and Nightcrawler and get back to me (all of which are phenomenal, by the way, and I highly recommend them).  Given this fact, and seeing an ensemble of him, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. on the Browsing shelf here in the movie Zodiac, I knew I couldn’t go wrong.  Zodiac follows the case of, well, the Zodiac Killer, a serial murderer who ran rampant in Northern California in the late 60s and early 70s.  The unknown killer sent encrypted letters to Paul Avery (Downey Jr.) and the staff at the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper to toy with the media and the criminal forces that were after him.  Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal), a cartoonist at the Chronicle became obsessed with these coded letters and catching the killer himself.  After years of trying to piece evidence together and annoying Avery with his seemingly crackpot theories, he seeks out Inspector David Toschi (Ruffalo) himself to finally catch the Zodiac.  Even knowing now that the case of the Zodaic was never completely solved, the directing style of David Fincher kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time.  If you’re a fan of some of Fincher’s other films like Gone Girl or Fight Club, or just love a good crime thriller, this movie is a must-watch.

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Finally, I’d like to end this article on a lighter note.  Based on the above picture that may not make sense, but hear me out.  Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil may look like your typical forest slasher flick, but in reality it is a hilarious send-up of that very genre.  This film stars Alan Tudyk (Tucker) and Tyler Labine (Dale) as two redneck friends who buy a “vacation home” deep in the woods of West Virginia, which is a fixer-upper to say the least.  When a group of college spring breakers’ camping trip goes awry and a string of hilariously unfortunate accidents leave the college group dwindling by the minute, Tucker and Dale must fight to clear their name and, in Dale’s case, fight for his dream girl.  If you enjoy spoof movies like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (which I mentioned in my last post), and have an affection for the slasher genre, you should definitely check out Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil at Media Services.

I implore you all to do as I am and fully take advantage of the vast selection of quality films that Media Services has to offer.  You’re probably in the Wells Library anyway, so come on over to the East Tower and visit us!  And wish me luck in the challenge!  Ninety-eight films down, 268 to go! (oh boy…)

-MJH

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