Insecure: A Cultural Milestone

Since its debut last October, the HBO series Insecure has been a hit. Following the dating adventures, work fiascos, and overall personal struggles (and successes!) of LA-native Issa Dee, played by co-creater of the show Issa Rae, it is hilarious and dynamic, with a talented cast and a seamless music selection to support its complex plotline. However, what makes the show so hard-hitting is how authentic it is in its depiction and support of black American culture and black womanhood, in particular. Continue reading “Insecure: A Cultural Milestone”

How “It” Reinvigorates The Horror Genre

The horror genre is one that catches a lot of negativity for it’s inherently evil subject matter and it’s necessity to adhere to traditions that are often written off as clichés, but I’m here to discuss why horror movies are on the rise and how It (2017) may just reinvent the entire genre… Continue reading “How “It” Reinvigorates The Horror Genre”

Five Dystopian Films to Put on in the Background While You Plan the Revolution

8776Media Beat Blog HeaderEarly Wednesday morning, it was announced that the American public unpopularly chose to elect Donald Trump as their 45th commander-in-chief, ushering in a demagogic nightmare period wherein people are already being attacked and assaulted for their difference (TW: racism, misogyny). Many people are understandably responding with grief, fear and general anxiety to the symbolic (and soon to be material) victory of a racist, misogynist Grand Ole Party monster, and some are even … organizing! Protests are springing up across the nation in the wake of Trump’s election. After the public demonstration of your disturbed sentiment, though, you may be thinking “now what? How are we going to navigate this potential dystopian future?” Well, we here at Media Services have prognosticated your pleas and prepared for you our list of five dystopian films to play in the background while you and your friends gather ‘round the holiday hearth and plan the revolution…

Continue reading “Five Dystopian Films to Put on in the Background While You Plan the Revolution”

Some Foreign Films You Won’t Want to Miss

2Media Beat Blog HeaderThere are so many movies released in theaters each year, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount to choose from- even more so since you can’t always know if they’re good or not. Sometimes, it’s easy to look over a great film, and this goes for foreign films especially. Many people are disdainful to the idea of watching foreign movies, as they must either deal with reading subtitles or watching a poorly done dub.  Not only that, but often times, foreign films have names that make little to no sense to viewers who only speak English; and are sometimes difficult to find.  Although there are many obstacles when it comes to finding a foreign film to watch, in the end, many times the struggle is worth it…

Continue reading “Some Foreign Films You Won’t Want to Miss”

2016: The Fall of Film, the Rise of TV?

Media Beat Blog Header12016 has now become, to many, a terribly disappointing year in cinema. There are only a handful of films that have genuinely (and positively) surprised people, as well as garnering a respectable amount of buzz… but of all the films that have had a lot of excitement surrounding them… almost all of them have either flopped or been seen as just “bad movies”.

On the other hand, it seems that television shows, mainly streaming shows on Netflix or other original series, have grown to become popular and well-received, even after just one season. It’s almost as if TV is surpassing film in quality of story this year. Of course, there are, and always will be, exceptions to any rule, but I’d say there have been many more disappointments in film than TV this year, and many more surprises in TV than in film…

Continue reading “2016: The Fall of Film, the Rise of TV?”

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

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

 

 

 

 

Video Game Collection at Media Services

One of the lesser known collections in Media Services at the Wells Library is our great selection of video games.  From the original Xbox, to Xbox 360, to Nintendo Gamecube and Wii, to all kinds of Playstation systems, our collection has something to offer for casual and hardcore gamers alike.

In my case, growing up on the Super Nintendo shaped my taste of video games that I enjoy today.  Here’s a few of my classic favorites, and their modern-day equivalents in our collection.

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Tetris Attack

This fast-paced puzzle game is similar to its original namesake Tetris in that the object is to clear as many lines as possible.  However, unlike the original, this game allows you to switch single blocks back and forth in order to line up with blocks of the same color.  This game has unlimited replay value, with the single-player Puzzle Mode and Vs. Mode, along with Multiplayer Mode which allows players of all skill levels to jump in.  Whether you’re a beginner playing on Easy Mode or an expert who needed to unlock Super Hard Mode for an adequate challenge, Tetris Attack requires lightning-fast thinking and decision making and is both challenging and fun.

If you like this and other problem-solving games, Portal 2 for the PS3 from Media Services is a must-play for you.  Like Tetris Attack, the Portal series requires critical thinking skills to go far, but in a more modern twist, Portal also adds the element of the Portal gun, creating, well, portals to jump through in order to land on your next platform to move on in the game.  When you add this element of precision, and not to mention the wise-cracking GLaDOS, you have yourself a game that will bring hours and hours of fun…and frustration, but in a good way.

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Goof Troop

Another lesser-known SNES title that took up some would say too much of my childhood was Goof Troop.  Based on Disney characters Goofy and his son Max, this game follows the tandem on another wacky adventure which involves, as you may be able to guess from the game’s cover, pirates!  What this game lacks in number of levels, it more than makes up for in charm, and if you’re even remotely a fan of Goofy and the gang, you would love this game.

If you like to blend your love of all things Disney with your love of video games like I do, you would love Kingdom Hearts II for the PS2 system in our collection.  This game is a unique crossover between the Disney universe and the vastly popular Final Fantasy universe.  Like Goof Troop, Kingdom Hearts is an adventure RPG series and in this installment Sora, the series’ main protagonist, must go on a quest with Donald Duck and, you guessed it, Goofy to find his missing friends.  Though Kingdom Hearts II is said to have a somewhat darker tone than its predecessors, the nostalgia of the Disney elements mixed with the fantasy elements brought into play will make you wish you were on the journey with them.

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Super Mario World

And of course, what would any 90’s childhood be without the inclusion of Super Mario World for the SNES.  This installment of the Mario lore has the essential elements of the side-scrolling mission to beat the baddies and save Princess Peach, which is pulled off as creatively and masterfully as ever, but with fresher elements added in as well.  For one thing, this is the game that introduces Mario’s dino-esque friend Yoshi to the world, and I think we can all agree that the world is better for it.  Not only does Yoshi make this game a classic, but the addition of the Leaf powerup that enables Mario to fly, and the seemingly countless amounts of hidden passageways and secrets will enthrall you.  Heck, I’ve been playing this game off and on for upwards of 14 years and still have yet to unlock all the game’s secrets.

If you are a big fan of saving the Princess (even though let’s face it, she’s probably in another castle), you can continue the quest with one of my modern favorites, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, from Media Services.  Even though this game also follows the plot of Mario and friends attempting to save Princess Peach, this version brings all new tools to the table.  By utilizing the motion-sensitivity of the Wiimote, you can helicopter up into the air, shoot the classic fireballs, and help out your cohorts all with the shake of the wrist. This leads me to the other aspect of this game that sets New Super Mario Bros. apart: the introduction of multiplayer action.  No more waiting until your brother finally loses a life to get handed the controller (well that was my experience anyway)!  For the first time in Mario Bros. history, this game allows you to play up to 4 players at a time on the same level.  The real fun in this is to decide whether to use these extra players as a team exercise in saving the Princess, or as a race to see who can get to the flag fastest, and in the process, how many of your friends can you knock out?  And, like Super Mario World, there are also countless secrets and side level to play as well.  Whether you’re a social gamer or prefer to defeat Bowser in solitude, this game is a wild ride from beginning to end.

If any of these games pique your interest, or whether your into sports games, first-person shooters, or fighting games, we’ve got games for all tastes here at Media Services!  Hope to see some fellow gamers stop by soon.

-Mike Horan