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

 

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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

5 TV shows you need to be watching

With the rise of online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, it seems that we have to put extra effort into not streaming and binging on TV. The question is where to begin? In the process of figuring this out for myself, I have listed below the top 5 of my favorite shows to binge watch.  I have attempted to create some diversity here, even if politics is not your thing; House of Cards still offers some dark humor, drama and lots of mystery.  So here are five ways to spend your valuable time, without actually wasting your valuable time. Happy Binging 🙂

americans The Americans (FX): This drama stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Soviet KGB spies who pose as a regular married couple living the American Dream at the height of the cold war in the 80’s. All the while trying to raise their two unsuspecting children and navigate their way around their FBI agent neighbor who works in counterintelligence. The fourth season will be back on FX March 16, so there is still time to get caught up.

shamelessShameless (Showtime): This “dramedy” features the Gallagher family who live on the south side of Chicago and are constantly inundated with hardships. It follows Frank, a dead beat father who seems to have no care in the world, except where his next drink is coming for and Fiona the eldest daughter who has taken it upon herself to care for her younger siblings. The sixth season is currently on air.

orphanOrphan Black (BBC): This show is a mix of everything there is to love in a TV show. It’s at times funny, dark and mysterious, all the while keeping you at the edge of your seat. It starts with Sarah (the main character) assuming the identity of her clone Elizabeth after witnessing her suicide. Sarah soon realizes there are more clones out in the world and that she is a part of a bigger conspiracy. The fourth season will be premiering on BBC America in April.

thronesGame of Thrones (HBO): Based on the fantasy series  written by George R.R. Martin, it is set in the fictional land of Westeros and Essos and follows seven families fighting for the Iron Throne. It has multiple interweaving plot lines that you have to keep up with, but once you get the hang of it you won’t want to stop watching. The 6th season will air beginning April 24th.

House of Carhouseofcardsds (Netflix): This is one of the first Netflix original programs. It follows a power-hungry and ruthless democrat Frank Underwood who along with his wife constructs an elaborate plan to gain greater power in Washington D.C. As the nation is currently in full swing of presidential campaigns, this is a fun show to keep up with.  The entire fourth season will begin streaming on Netflix on March 4th.

-PE

The Life of Pi. A Beautiful Story Worth Revisiting.

 

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The 2012 heartwarming film takes place on a shipwreck that was en route to Canada from India. A young boy, Pi, lost his entire family on that one night. They were transporting a zoo which only left one animal survivor; A Tiger (Bengal). The story goes on as an uplifting triumph of man and animal learning to trust one another, lost at sea, in order to survive. What I took away from the film was that mankind must learn to live with animals instead of treating them as worthless. Their sole purpose of wanting to survive is in conjunction with us humans.

Not only does this movie portray unity with animals, it also shows that teamwork is a vital key to living. Without working together to achieve a certain goal, it has a higher percentage of failing. As I have heard in a famous quote; “United we stand, divided we fall.” Later in the film when the tiger fell ill, Pi took it upon his hands to try and help the tiger. They had developed an unspoken bond that captivated the audiences attention.

This movie is indeed a great watch, rather long, but nonetheless a family movie that teaches valuable lessons.

Movie rating: 9/10

-JTB

Aqua Something Blog Post Whatever


WARNING: ADULT SWIM MAY CONTAIN MATERIAL THAT PARENTS MIGHT NOT FIND SUITABLE FOR VIEWERS UNDER THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN.

I will not use this blog as a way to prove I have psychic powers. In fact, I don’t believe that such a thing is really possible of myself or any person I’ve met to date. This is chiefly because I imagine if people could read my mind they’d risk all the alarmed exits as a means of escape. No, I am not psychic. But I bet you’re wondering why anyone would waste time writing a blog post about Adult Swim cartoons. Continue reading “Aqua Something Blog Post Whatever”

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Here in Media Services at Indiana University Bloomington, we’re getting ready to celebrate the holidays with some of our collection’s Christmas films! Check out some of our favorites below, and then check them out from Media Services!

 In this Gen X Christmas classic, all nine year old Indiana boy Ralphie wants for Christmas is a genuine Red Ryder 200-shot carbine action air rifle. All his parents tell him is, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Relive the holiday dysfunction with A Christmas Story, located in our browsing collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every member of the family, from grandparents to anti-capitalist hipster grandchildren, will enjoy Charlie Brown and the gang’s rediscovery of the true meaning of Christmas. Find it in our browsing collection.

 

 

 

Celebrate the season with nine intertwined love stories set around Christmas and starring some of the UK’s biggest stars. Some call the relationships the films follows wildly romantic; others call them wildly unhealthy. Regardless, check it out in our browsing collection.

 

An unconventional choice, this classic is nevertheless set on Christmas eve and offers an action-packed alternative to countless other treacly holiday films. Ask for it at the Media reference desk. Yippie-ki-yay!

 

 

 

 

Will Ferrell is an optimistic human raised as an elf at the North Pole, Zooey Deschanel is the manic pixie dream girl who steals his heart, and James Caan is his gruff, Grinch-like father in this endlessly quotable modern holiday classic. Grab it in our browsing collection.

 

 

 

 

Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby lead an all-star cast in Irving Berlin’s Christmas favorite. Check it out from our browsing collection and enjoy it over winter break.

 

 

Of course, this is not all of our Christmas movies: search iucat.iu.edu to see if we own your favorite, or stop by and browse our collections. Happy Holidays!

Meghan R.

5 Documentaries to Inspire

“Whatever human endeavor we choose, as long as we live our truth, it is success.”
― Kamal Ravikant, Live Your Truth

Documentaries allow people to view worlds different from their own and learn something valuable from them. Especially in an academic setting, there is a lot of thought put into what one would like to do for the rest of their life, and how to accomplish it.

In this list of documentaries you will find extraordinary individuals who prove themselves to be outstanding examples of what it truly means to live your own truth. All share what it means to pair passion with an occupation, and how success manifests itself to them. There is no set experience or background required to find success, it’s really just all about what makes you tick.

1. Encounters At the End of the World, Werner Herzog, 2007

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Follow Werner Herzog to Antarctica where he explores this stunning icy continent and the small group of people (and penguins) who call it their home.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Jiro Dreams of Sushi, David Gelb, 2011

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Learn what it takes to be one of the best sushi masters in the world, and how terrified you’d be to visit the restaurant and have an 83-year old sushi master stare at you while you ate each work of art one-by-one in front of him.

 

 

 

 

3. Man On Wire, James Marsh, 2008

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Philippe Petit performed a daring but illegal high-wire act between New York City’s Trade Center Towers in 1974. Imagine having an occupation that you love deeply, but could kill you at any second-this is where Philippe steps in…

 

 

 

 

4. Maidentrip, Jillian Schlesinger, 2013

MV5BMTc2MDg5MzUzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTE4NTg3MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Witness a 14 year old girl set the record for the youngest person to sail the world solo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre, 2012

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Enter the world of an artist discussed and revered by many, performance artist Marina Abramovic. Learn about her life spent challenging and reflecting on the human psyche and what makes art so provocative and intriguing.

 

 

 

 

 

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All of these titles are available at Media Services!

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Best Wishes,

Kate L’Heureux