A Very ‘Super’ Spring!

A Very Super Spring!

As most of you probably already know, Batman Vs. Superman has been released into theaters. The synopsis is basically the two heroes having an action packed, cinematic clash about how the city should be protected. Both Batman and Superman are respective super heroes in their areas. Both Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent know that there lies a greater evil that is bigger than them, which is Lex Luthor. Definitely a movie worth scoping out with some buddies!

Another ‘super spring’ title coming out this May is Captain America: Civil War.
With a similar plot, we have Captain America and his compatriots in an all out ‘war’ against Iron Man & Co. The basis behind the civil war is Bucky, a friend of Captain America, who has become a national danger. The government feels that super heroes should be monitored and contained while others believe in free will. Till then, we shall see who wins.

For all of you fans of the DC and Marvel Universe fans, this will be a spectacular spring.

Make sure to check out our media library titles from the Marvel and DC Universes!

The X-Men Trilogy
The Dark Knight Trilogy
Captain America                                                                                                                                        Iron Man Trilogy
Spider-Man Original and Reboot
And More!

 

-JTB

Can “Terminator” be Great Again?

The Terminator

Over the past 32 years, the world has received five different Terminator films, vastly ranging in quality. The first film, known simply as The Terminator was released in 1984, written and directed by the legendary James Cameron and is hailed today as one of the greatest science fiction films anybody has every seen. It had thrills, romance, action, story, and actually make the audience think rather than serving all plot points to them on a platter. The Terminator was a genius piece of cinema and stands as one of the greatest films, period. Terminator_2_posterSeven years later, the second film came out. Titled Terminator 2: Judgment Day, this project marked the return for writer/director James Cameron in one of the best received and successful sequels of all time. As the highest grossing movie of 1991 (and my favorite movie of all time), T2 followed in the spiritual footsteps of The Godfather Part II or The Empire Strikes Back in showing how to be a great sequel: deepen the characters, expand the story, and improve on all aspects of the original and NOT just rehash what made the original good (ahem, all horror sequels ever). Terminator 2 isn’t just a run-and-gun, loud-and-dumb, smoking-barrel and empty-shell of a movie at all; it’s smart, romantic, heartfelt, profound, and inspiring in just about every way. That’s how you make a good sequel, or a good movie in general.Terminator_3_posterIn 2003, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines happened- I mean, was “released.” Honestly, T3 is one of my least favorite movies of all time right next to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Alien: Resurrection and is the textbook example of how NOT to make a great sequel. Lead by an annoying cast, penned by lazy writers, and directed with such bland taste, Terminator 3 would be a pointless movie even if it was a good one- which it was far from. All timeline contradictions with the other films aside, this movie can’t even stand on it’s own as a smart movie because of it’s own plot holes. This film tried to up the ante of villainy by combining the two villains from the first two movies into one, so instead of a terminator with just a metal endoskeleton OR an entirely shape-shifting body, this one had shape shifting metal over a metal endoskeleton…which was actually an embarrassing downgrade all-in-all, topped off with a supermodel body, for the appeal, I guess. Terminator 3 is a mess of a film, but somehow, the franchise kept moving.

MV5BODE1MTM1MzA2NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQ5MTA2Mg@@._V1_SX640_SY720_In 2009, the franchise made yet another unnecessary return with Terminator: Salvation, which isn’t a “bad” movie- but it doesn’t feel like a Terminator movie at any point in the film which makes it bad for the franchise. And the plot-twist in the middle of the movie really just didn’t make sense as far as the plot of the saga goes; nothing in the movie adds anything to the series. This one can be skipped.

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And then, the return of the series to its roots: Terminator Genisys. For some background information: in order to make The Terminator back in the ‘84, James Cameron had to sell the rights to the movie and all of it’s characters for just $1 to a producer who allowed Cameron to make his pet project. After T2, the rights to the franchise bounced from studio to studio, which explains the varying cast, tone and plot holes that the third and fourth films had. However, Paramount Pictures bought the rights to the franchise and decided to make a trilogy, before the rights return back to James Cameron in 2019. James Cameron has devoted himself to his Avatar series, but the amount of time he needs to allow for the special effects he requires to advance is enough to make another Terminator film if he desired after getting the rights back. So, back to Terminator Genisys; this film was the beginning of Paramount’s new Terminator trilogy- which they decided to make in a hurry before losing the rights to the franchise. Paramount’s film completely ignored Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and Terminator Salvation, which made fans (including myself) extremely happy; the fact that this film would respect the roots of the franchise. Before release, James Cameron got to see the movie and told the press that fans would “love this movie!” I thought the film highly respected the originals and was a very fun movie in itself, but critics and audiences didn’t love it, and the film didn’t make as much money as was projected, so the other two films in the trilogy were cancelled. Now, the Terminator franchise has no fate.
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How can the franchise be made to be great again? Well, by learning from the mistakes of the most recent 3 films. A few things that Genisys did well was the villain which- like the second film- was “bigger, badder, and better” than the first. This film paid astounding homage to the original and even expanded the story in surprising ways- which the third and fourth films failed to do. However, the film lacked conviction and was all-around forgettable, mostly because of the confused tone… and the fact that now it’s a cliffhanger without any resolution. So, the best thing a studio could do to make the franchise great again is to hire people who care about the project, even if the last three films in the series have not been loved by audiences- and all three of them aren’t official Terminator films anymore. A studio doesn’t need to pick up where the second movie left off in order to continue the franchise, but the biggest thing to make sure of is that the crew behind it is trustworthy and passionate. Like Predator or Alien, the franchise could be returned to after a few bad movies and still be great (I’m referencing the upcoming The Predator movie written and directed by Shane Black who was in the original, and Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, both directed by Ridley Scott who directed the first). I just hope James Cameron is the next person who says “I’ll be back.”

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However, that is unlikely since he is filming Avatar 2, Avatar 3, and Avatar 4 back to back… to back. So, my dream Terminator 3 would actually be directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity) since he can make great, original films like Children of Men, but also direct great sequels which respect the source material as he did with Azkaban (a movie also involving time travel like Terminator). The best reason I have for Cuaron is Gravity, which swept the technical awards at the 2014 Academy Awards, was nominated for Best Picture, and impressed James Cameron who raved about how much he loved the film. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) or Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) would also be good choices. I would pick Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Sunshine) and Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: Episode VIII) for the screenwriters since they have penned some genius and entirely original scripts which have amazed audiences and critics alike. As far as the story goes, I think it’s been too long since T2 to try to continue that plot with those characters, but rebooting and recasting would be absolute sins, so a new team of characters should be introduced for a soft sequel but with a heart of it’s own like Mad Max: Fury Road or Creed last year. As far as the rest goes, I think I’ll leave that to the professionals! Come to IU Media Services in Wells Library to check out The Terminator, Terminator 2, and Terminator Genisys (or many of the other films I’ve mentioned) to see what you think can be done to save the iconic series!

 

Thank you for reading!

-Blake Schwarz

Two or Three thoughts on “Gay Film”

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The English language abducted the word “queer” from the Germans around the time English became an entity of large scale language abduction in the 16th century. It was a word that meant some Derridian amalgamation of strange, odd, peculiar, and eccentric as well as referring to something suspicious or “not quite right” and a person with a “mild derangement” exhibiting “socially inappropriate behavior.”

As a verb it meant to spoil or ruin. Continue reading “Two or Three thoughts on “Gay Film””

The Mid-’90s Female Bildungsroman, Part 1: “Muriel’s Wedding” and the Poles of Female Embodiment

When I first saw the film “Matilda” with my family in 1998, my brothers insisted that I looked just like her. Though they meant it as a gendered taunt, I was all too happy to accept it–”maybe,” I thought, “that means I have powers, too.” Matilda became for me my first model of feminine power: as a young queer boy unsure of my place in the sexual social order, I considered her telekinesis to be a gift bestowed upon her, a manifestation of her hyper-intelligence coupled with a blatant disregard for the (gendered) status quo. Since then, I’ve continued to find myself in women’s stories.

Like most other queers I know, I have a soft spot for media that utilizes grand aesthetic, artifice and exaggeration: give me a strong look and a flashy dance number and I’m in. To me, it’s a refusal to play by patriarchy’s cultural game–what good are limiting notions of realism and reason when they’re aggressively masculine and heteronormative? When asked to list some of my favorite movies (whether it be for a class icebreaker or a dating site), I can quickly rattle them off : “Muriel’s Wedding,” “Party Girl,” “Clueless,” “The Craft,” “Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion.” All comedy-dramas, all female protagonists, all brimming with women exhibiting themselves boldly. As with “Matilda,” I watch and see these characters dressing/expressing themselves in ways I wish I had the nerve to (silk blouse, faux leopard jacket and red hotpants? Sign. me. up.).

Continue reading “The Mid-’90s Female Bildungsroman, Part 1: “Muriel’s Wedding” and the Poles of Female Embodiment”

Inventory Discoveries

Here at Media Services in Wells Library at IU Bloomington, we’re in the midst of an inventory project. Its not fun, but it will help our patrons more easily access our collections and find the films they want.

Combing through our entire inventory has the upside of revealing some hidden gems from our foreign film collection. Below are a few foreign language finds you can check out today at Media Services!

Tiny_Times_posterIn this fun mix of Gossip Girl and The Devil Wears Prada, four friends venture into the glamorous world of Shanghai high fashion in this 2013 offering. Based on the novel by Guo Jingming, who also directed the film. It may not have received the best reviews, but who can resist the beautiful clothes?

 

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After an experiment with human hibernation goes wrong, two Polish men wake up in 2044 to discover that they are the last men in a post-nuclear matriarchal dystopia in Sex Mission. They must fight to restore balance to humanity. This cult hit (1984) is actually one of Poland’s most popular and successful films and is widely read as an allegory for the oppressive Soviet regime. (NB: Never Google image search Sex Mission on your work computer).

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Maybe its the Czechophile in me, but I cannot resist this sweeping romantic epic set during the German occupation of the former Czechoslovakia. This 2003 offering is one of the more serious entries on the list.

 

 

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A dog-loving gang hires a masterless samurai to kill a local cat. The samurai, played by Kazuki Kitamura, finds that he cannot kill the cat, thus causing conflict with the dog-lovers in the appropriately-titled Samurai Cat. Who could blame him! Even if you don’t understand a word of this 2014 Japanese film, you’ll be enchanted by the gorgeous white cat at the center of the film.

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This 1984 Hong Kong film is called Wheels on Meals. You read that right– after a string of bombs starting with “M,” superstitious studio execs switched the title around to avoid another stinker. This martial arts comedy film, starring Jackie Chan, revolves around the antics of two men who run a food truck in Barcelona.

 

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The darling of the 2005 New York Film Festival, this Japanese film concerns a group of film students making a movie and pondering Albert Camus’s classic novel, The Stranger.

 

 

Check out these great foreign language titles and more at IU Media Services!

-Meghan

Harper Lee’s Legacy

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Many of us were required to read her novel as a part of our middle school curriculum and fell in love with its main character, little Scout Finch. However, few people know of her passing away last week. Harper Lee is the woman responsible for the award winning To Kill A Mockingbird. The novel was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. In 1962, the movie version was released on Christmas Day. Lee, herself, was the film’s producer.
For those of you that have never had the pleasure of reading the novel or watching the film (which I highly recommend), it is based around the Finch family. Atticus Finch, the father, is a lawyer in the story’s town of Maycomb, Alabama. The town is like many in that area during 1930s, racially divided. He agrees to defend an African American man who has been accused of raping a Caucasian woman. He is encouraged by many not to defend the man but does so anyone.
If interested, come down to Media Services and check it out for yourself, it’s part of our collection! (http://www.iucat.iu.edu/catalog/4160236)
-QN

A Brief Review of Under the Skin (2013)

Source: http://le0pard13.com/2014/10/15/best-album-covers-under-the-skin/
Source: http://le0pard13.com/2014/10/15/best-album-covers-under-the-skin/

This film was directed by Jonathan Glazer, and is loosely adapted from Michel Faber’s 2000 novel by the same name. The key is “loose” adaptation. I was personally excited to watch this film as the novel was part of what made me decide to become vegetarian, however, this aspect is eliminated in the film.  It tells a story of a mysterious woman who drives along the Scottish highways picking up lonely men. The mysterious woman is also helped by a mysterious man riding a motorcycle? The film follows the woman closely as she invites many men into her very creepy looking van. Mysterious.

I can admire the film for it’s beautiful scenery and camera work , however, I was a little disappointed that this film was even tied to the novel at all. By using the same title, many strong themes and messages are called to the surface that were not delivered clearly for the same audience. Themes dealing with factory farming, environmental decay, and big business don’t seem to be covered here. Michel Faber has a talent for creating complex, moving works of fiction that deal with a lot of meaningful issues under the surface (or under the skin) so I was disappointed this film didn’t share the same messages as the novel. However, it does move beyond the novel in an interesting way that took a few viewings to completely etch out.

By choosing to focus on an alien’s perspective of the human world, and only through a female protagonist, Jonathan Glazer was able to touch on themes of sexism and isolation in a very unique way. The film dives deep into personal questions about humanity and mercy, explored through long, slow, shots of each scene and an ambient, beautifully destructive soundtrack perfectly capturing the terrifying emotions experienced in the film. The role of sound in this film is very important to creating the type of experience I think the director was aiming for, especially if it were an alien interpreting the human world for the first time. Both works of Under the Skin are simply a different side to the same dice, and in my opinion, still worth experiencing.

*This film will be available in Media Reserve Services to check out

best wishes,

kl

The Phases of Marvel

Super hero movies have been heavily dominating the box offices as of late and have made a considerable amount of money, often breaking records within their respective release years.  Yes, they are ripe with explosions and witty banter, but does any of it mean anything? Normally, one might consider these traits and come to the conclusion of, no—that action heavy movies rarely have a redeemable plot outside of what is happening in that moment of that one movie.  If you have any ideas like this or are just curious about what Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (DMCU for short) is up to, you’ll pleased to know that there is a lot yet to be seen.

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DMCU is made up of several ‘phases’ that started as far back as the first Iron Man (2008) and is still going strong with the newest upcoming feature being Captain America: Civil War (2016).  There are three phases which are made up of specific Marvel movies seen below.

You may be wondering: “Why all the phases and Movies?” or “Wow I missed a lot a movies!” And possibly, “Where’s Deadpool?”

Do not fret, if you are behind on movies, you can find a great many of them at the Wells Media Center. As for the phases, think of them as a convenient way to organize over twenty movies created over the expanse of eighteen years.  Whatsmore, each movie isn’t mutually exclusive. Characters pop up within other character’s movies whether it be through a well-placed possession, end of credits cameo or in movie cameo.  More often than not, they are there to lay some ground information for the DMCU projects. And if you’re wondering why Deadpool isn’t here, that’s because he isn’t part of the DCMU but rather a character currently owned by FOX.

 

As you can see, we are now in phase three with Captain America: Civil War coming out this May.  This movie is sparking quite a bit of debate as fans are wondering whether or not Disney will adhere to the comic this movie is based on.  For those who don’t know, the premises of this movie is the idea that superheroes should be held accountable for their actions regardless of their identities through the Superhero Registration Act.  Lines are drawn aggsdgmongst the established characters within the movies so far and it only escalates from there with the ending result of a dead Captain America.  Fans wonder if Disney will end it this way as the comic did or go their own way, so we wait.

 

TL

 

Image citations

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Catching Up for Lost Films

Like many people today, I am often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of quality media being released seemingly daily.  If I had a nickel for anytime someone has said to me something along the lines of, “you haven’t seen The Martian?!” or “why haven’t you caught up on The Walking Dead?”, I’d have enough money to actually pay for movie tickets so I wouldn’t miss anything.  This is why I took on a challenge.

Last year, Doug Benson of the “Doug Loves Movies” podcast and various Netflix stand-up comedy specials issued himself a challenge to watch 365 movies (that’s a movie a day, folks).  In an effort to catch up on some critically-acclaimed (and some not so critically-acclaimed) movies I’ve missed, I’m attempting this challenge for 2016.  So far, I’m 33 films in (admittedly 6 films behind, but nothing some elbow grease and shirking other responsibilities can’t fix), and I’ve encountered some great films that can be found in the Browsing library here at Media Services.

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Now I was way behind on this one, but between hearing the hype about how brilliantly a young Leo Dicaprio portrays a mentally-disabled teenager, and the desire to see a young Johnny Depp playing a more down-to-earth character, I had to finally watch What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.  This film mainly follows the relationship between Gilbert (Depp) and his disabled brother Arnie (Dicaprio).  Between having to be the main breadwinner for his brother, two sisters, and shut-in mother, struggling to keep the curious (often to a dangerous extent) nature of Arnie in check, and pining for the affection of a young lady (played by Juliette Lewis), Gilbert does a lot of growing up in the time the movie takes place.  Wonderfully acted by the whole cast, especially Dicaprio, who earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination at just 19 years old, and beautifully shot in a rural Iowan setting, I highly recommend this film.

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Now for a slight shift in tone, another film I’ve finally watched recently was Hot Fuzz.  Being a big fan of Shaun of the Dead, the involvement of stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and director Edgar Wright was an immediate draw for me, I just hadn’t gotten around to seeing it.  This movie, like Shaun before it, is a send-up of a popular movie genre, this time being the buddy-cop movie.  While the adventures of the perfect record-having Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Pegg) and the screw-up son of the town’s chief inspector Danny Butterman (Frost) poke loads of fun at numerous buddy-cop tropes from over the years, it does it from a place of affection and appreciation of those films, much like the spoof pioneers Mel Brooks and the Zucker Brothers.  If your a fan of films like Airplane! and Blazing Saddles, and you don’t mind explosions either, this film is right down your alley.

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In perhaps my biggest mistake of 2015, I missed out on seeing the masterful Interstellar in theaters.  Initially I wrote this film off as a clone of 2014’s Gravity, and didn’t have much interest to see it.  But after hearing critics sing the praises of Matthew McConaughey and seeing that Christopher Nolan, who directed my all-time favorite movie The Dark Knight, was also attached to this, I decided to give it a shot.  I was not nearly prepared for the heartfelt, visually stunning, and blood-pumping saga that I was in store for.  In the not-so-distant future, Earth is ravaged by sandstorms, and food is more scarce than ever.  In a last-ditch effort to save humankind as we know it, Cooper (McConaughey), a former pilot, must lead a space mission to find other inhabitable planets in our galaxy…or outside our galaxy.  With an epic score by Hans Zimmer of Inception fame, a stellar (pardon the pun) supporting cast including Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, and Jessica Chastain, and elements of adventure, suspense, and even sci-fi, this film is not to be missed.  I missed this film for over a year, and after watching it once it instantly got on my short list of favorite movies.  Do yourself a favor and pick it up from Media Services today.

If your interested in widening your film horizons, or even taking the 365 movie challenge like me, stop in Media Services in the Reference Reading Room at the Wells Library today!  If you feel so inclined, leave comments below telling what movies you’re adding to your list and how for into the 365 you are!  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check out numbers 34 and 35 on my list right now.

-MJH

The Sixth and Final Season of Downton Abbey

With many tears of sadness, the British TV show, Downton Abbey began airing its sixth and final season, with it finally reaching the U.S. on PBS this January. For those of you unfamiliar with Downton, the TV show is a period drama about the aristocratic Crawley family and the lives of their servants, who live in the lower level of their estate, Downton Abbey. The show takes place in Yorkshire, England, and begins the day after the sinking of the Titanic, proceeding through the early 20th century. The story lines show how historic British and world events affect the lives of the Downton residents and British social hierarchy. Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, leaves no ounce of drama out of this captivating TV show.

If you like history, drama, romance, an aesthetically pleasing TV show, snappy one-liners from Maggie Smith, and British accents, then Downton Abbey is the show for you. Luckily at Media Services, we have the first five seasons ready for you to check out and binge watch before season six ends, and the lives of our beloved characters are only left to our imagination.

The Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith), suggests starting a little faster.

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*Listing of Downton Abbey DVDs at Media Services: http://www.iucat.iu.edu/?f%5Bformat%5D%5B%5D=DVD%2C+Videodisc&f%5Blibrary_facet%5D%5B%5D=Bloomington+-+Herman+B+Wells+Library&highlight=n&q=Downton+Abbey&search_field=title

 

-Samantha Hanzel