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


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



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!



Two or Three thoughts on “Gay Film”


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?



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).


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.





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.


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.



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!


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,


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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.







All of these titles are available at Media Services!


Best Wishes,

Kate L’Heureux





German Films Available in Media Services

If you are in the market to expand your knowledge of the German language then look no further.

Das Experiment
This film released in 2001 was inspired by the Stanford Prison Experiments conducted in 1971. Das Experiment gives a glimpse on the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The film does have scenes of brutality and psychological torture therefore; watch at your own discretion.

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days

This film released in 2005 is about the last days of Sophie Scholl. Sophie Scholl born in 1921 was a member of the anti-Nazi resistance group White Rose. White Rose was founded by students at the University of Munich whom used non-violent means to oppose the Third Reich. The Last Day has superb acting and should not be missed.

Click here for additional German films in the Wells Library Media collection.