Animated Films: Not Just Simply for Kids

While at first glance, animated films are generally biased towards young children; however, many of them use their light-hearted approach as a medium to depict deeper meanings that are more likely to be appreciated by an older audience. This trend of portraying an omnipresent theme throughout the entire film is exemplified by numerous major animation studios, including Pixar, Disney Animation, and Studio Ghibli. These themes are often times inspiring and are comprised as an effort to educate the viewer, regardless of age, with an uplifting message or life lesson. The expressions of these messages are normally illustrated through the representation of ubiquitous issues, symbolized within the film. Listed below are notable examples of children’s films with deeper meanings, and are available for checkout and Media Services…. Continue reading “Animated Films: Not Just Simply for Kids”

Get Out: A Terrifying Commentary on Racism

If you’ve been living under a rock for all of 2017, you might have missed how amazing, controversial, and successful Jordan Peele’s Get Out is. The film, which recently dropped to a 99% from a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, is a horror film in which the antagonist is not another person or “monster” but a concert. Racism. The rest of the blog does contain spoilers so proceed with caution. Like racism, some of the messages in the film are not explicitly laid out for its viewers to pick up on. Here are some of the subliminal messages you may have missed. I’ll be discussing five topics/themed that were displayed throughout the film: the “Black Buck”, African Americans and Law Enforcement, Separation, Slavery, and Conforming to Society…  Continue reading “Get Out: A Terrifying Commentary on Racism”

How to Celebrate National Panic Day

As I’m sure none of you are aware, Thursday, March 9th is National Panic Day, a day devoted to embracing the underlying panic that fills many of us on a daily basis, and in celebration of the constant fear we all live in, we here at Wells Library Media Services present to you the following horror flicks, so you can at least give your fear a name… Continue reading “How to Celebrate National Panic Day”

Films to Enlighten Regarding Refugee History

From the heartbreaking scenes of Syrians fleeing their war-torn home countries for Europe to President Trump’s controversial ban that briefly prevented refugees from entering the United States, refugees have dominated the news over the last few years. Displaced persons, asylum seekers, and forced migrants have also served as the subjects of riveting dramas and documentaries about refugeedom. For deeper insight into their fraught and often dangerous journeys, check out the following films available at IU Media Services…

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Changing Fate: The Power Dynamics in ‘Stranger Than Fiction’

The movie Stranger Than Fiction plays with the idea of fate, the unknown, and the inevitability of death. Harold, the main character, has to contemplate these in his adventure to uncover the one pulling his strings to his preordained death. Throughout the movie, I kept wondering about the power dynamics between Harold and his writer Karen in the grand scheme of Harold’s story. Considering that the story doesn’t in fact end with Harold’s death, questions began to arise about how preordained each scene and action is up to the final moments where Harold should in fact die. I personally argue that while Harold may feel that Karen is controlling his every step that she is in fact guiding him to a conclusion that she wanted. I don’t think fate had anything to do with the death that had been outlined for him…

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Some Past Oscar Winners to Catch Up On!

With the 89th Oscars showing on February 26th, people are trying to see all the nominated films before the big ceremony! While most of the films nominated for Best picture are still in theaters, there are 88 other years of great films for you to watch! Here is a small selection of wonderful films that are available at Media Services in Wells Library, so maybe you could have an old-fashioned Oscar party while watching these films! Continue reading “Some Past Oscar Winners to Catch Up On!”

ALA VRT Notable Videos for Adults 2017 Winners

The American Library Association (ALA) Video Round Table Notable Videos for Adults Committee has compiled its 2017 list of Notable Videos for Adults, a list of 15 outstanding films released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults.  Its purpose is to call attention to recent video releases that make a significant contribution to the world of video.  The list is compiled for use by librarians and the general adult populace.

The Notable Videos for Adults Committee selected 15 outstanding titles from among 67 nominees for this year’s list of Notable Videos for Adults.  The availability of closed captions (CC) and/or subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) is preferred; inclusion and exclusion of the same is indicated below.

3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets (2015) 98 minutes. HBO Documentary Films. DVD.  Ro*Co Films.  Subtitles.  Invoking the controversial “Stand Your Ground” defense, a Florida man opens fire on unarmed African-American teenagers, killing Jordan Davis. [Available for checkout from Media Services]

Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2016) 120 minutes; Firelight Films. DVD. PBS.  CC & SDH.  An historical overview of the rise and fall of a radical social movement that sought to empower African Americans and change the capitalist system.

Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare(2016) 114 minutes. Sternal Entertainment. DVD. Kino Lorber. Subtitles.  Desperate African and Middle Eastern refugees arrive by boat to the Italian island of Lampedusa and residents respond.

The First Monday in May (2016) 91 minutes. Relativity Media. DVD. Magnolia Home Entertainment. SDH.  A fundraiser for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s fashion wing makes multicultural connections between East and West.

Heart of a Dog (2016) 76 minutes. Abramorama. DVD. Criterion Collection. SDH.  Experimental artist Laurie Anderson projects the canine perspective in this non-linear meditation on fear, loss, and love.

How to Change the World  (2016) 110 minutes. Sky Films. DVD. Kino Lorber. CC.This history of the developmental phases of Greenpeace serves as a primer for environmental activism and political organizing for social change.

Last Day of Freedom (2016) 32 minutes. Grasshopper Film. DVD. CC.  His image altered by the animation technique of rotoscoping, the sibling of a death row inmate recounts the military service and PTSD leading up to his brother’s crime and punishment.

Long Story Short (2016) 45 minutes. Icarus Films. DVD. CC.  Based on interviews with residents of California homeless shelters, the filmmaker uses creative audio and visual techniques to distill hundreds of stories of poverty into a single message.

Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine (2015) 89 minutes. Logo Documentary Films. DVD. Available from various distributors. CC.  Friends of the Wyoming student and hate crime victim remember his life while also revealing the depth and longevity of their grief. [Available for checkout from Media Services]

OJ: Made in America (2016) 520 minutes. ESPN Films. DVD. CC.  An encyclopedic analysis of the sociological impact of the murder trial of OJ Simpson, as seen through the lens of race, celebrity, and class. [Available at IUB Law Library]

Sembene! (2016) 89 minutes. Impact Partners. DVD. Kino Lorber. CC.  Ousmane Sembène, a laborer and son of a fisherman, becomes a pioneering and controversial African filmmaker.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry  (2016) 93 minutes.  Music Box Films. DVD. Cinema Guild. SDH.  The women who raised consciousness, organized, and demonstrated for equal rights, tell the history of second wave feminism. [Available from IUPUI Library]

Under the Sun  (2016) 110 minutes. Icarus Films. DVD. Subtitles.  Officially sanctioned footage demonstrates the mesmerizing, pervasive power of rhetoric, repetition, and propaganda in North Korean life. 

Welcome to Leith  (2015) 86 minutes. First Run Features. DVD. SDH.  Residents of Leith, North Dakota, struggle with democratic principles when a white supremacist buys property and moves to their small town. [Available via online streaming]

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2016) 116 minutes. Netflix. DVD. Eagle Vision. Subtitles.  The complex and emotionally charged life of legendary musician and activist Nina Simone is chronicled. [Being cataloged, ask staff]

Be sure to check with Media Services for availability of titles.  “We Like to Watch!” (an old ALA VRT motto!)

~ Monique Threatt

Shameless: A TV Show for Everyone

Recently, the show Shameless has become a household name recently as its popularity has skyrocketed. The story is set in Chicago and follows a dysfunctional family who runs into trouble wherever they go. The plot will keep you guessing and always has you on your toes as the surprises are endless…

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