DocuSeek2: A Cultural Kaleidoscope

 

“The Last Angel of History,” a film about Pan-African culture, science fiction, intergalactic travel, and Afro-Futurist music. DocuSeek 2, 14 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/if-angel

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

When it comes to streaming, IU has an embarrassment of riches. The university has long recognized online streaming access as a valuable resource and, to the good fortune of the IU community, has committed to maintaining and increasing that access as new resources become available. In December, 2015, the Media Studies department announced the addition of the DocuSeek 2 streaming database to the family of resources available at IU Bloomington.

As noted on the Media Services web page, “[t]he DocuSeek 2 online streaming platform hosts over 700 films in over 20 subject areas from such renowned distributors as Bullfrog (Environment), The Collective Eye, Fanlight (Health Sciences), Icarus (award-winning feature and documentary films), Kartemquin, National Film Board of Canada, Scorpion, Terra Nova, and more.”


Viva la Causa. DocuSeek 2. 12 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/cart/product/384. For more Mexico Remixed-related films, see list at bottom of post.

The DocuSeek 2 website is well designed and user friendly, whether you are  searching for something specific or just casually browsing. The home page has a slide show featuring new releases, plus scrollable ribbons for popular films and featured subjects like sustainability, as shown below. It also has a list of its distribution partners—Icarus Films, Bullfrog Films, Media Storm, etc.—and the top subjects in which they specialize.

Popular films and top subjects list. DocuSeek 2. 12 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/

Pro tip: When using the DocuSeek 2 search box, start with general terms: after the first search, users are given the option of filtering by subject, distributor, date range, etc., so you can narrow it down later. 

DocuSeek 2 is a great place for discovering fascinating documentaries from filmmakers all over the world. Many of the titles run about an hour long, but in that short time you can be completely transported into a microcosm of life experience, often in a subject area you never knew could grip you!


Mind: Blown (aka, what do disco and the atomic bomb have in common?)

One advantage of DocuSeek 2’s ever-growing documentary film library is that you can get wildly different perspectives on a single topic. As just one example, using the search term “atomic,” I happened upon a wide variety of films pertaining to atomic energy, the history of the atomic bomb, and cultural histories of the “atomic age.” One of these films, Hiroshima Bound, explores the various narratives that linger in the American imagination about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Filmmaker and visual artist Martin Lucas examines the role of archives, photography, and oral histories in shaping a “counter-history to the official record” of events. A child of the atomic age, Lucas also seeks to understand the “trauma and myth surrounding the culture of Hiroshima representation.”

Hiroshima Bound. DocuSeek 2. 14 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/if-hb
Disco and Atomic War. DocuSeek 2. 14 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/if-disco

In contrast to the profound and personal nature of Hiroshima Bound, Disco and Atomic War takes a more whimsical approach to a serious topic, exposing the absurdity of repressive regimes’ attempts to control human curiosity and spirit, and their ultimate failure to do so. The film won Best Documentary at the 2009 Warsaw Film Festival and was featured in many other festivals.

Disco and Atomic War. Rotten Tomatoes. 14 February 2019, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/disco_and_atomic_war/pictures

With great care and humor, filmmakers Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma create a highly entertaining picture of their youth in 1980s Estonia. After neighboring Finland erects a powerful television antenna, many Estonians begin to secretly access forbidden Western television programs like Dallas. Quickly hooked on the glitz and intrigue, and their colorful contrast with the drab propaganda on late-Soviet television, Estonians begin to imagine different futures for themselves, something beyond Cold War hardships and threats of nuclear apocalypse. The film provides a wild and wacky look at how transnational cultural exchange—even with dubious ambassadors like J.R. Ewing—can help ignite movements for human rights and expressive freedom.

Disco and Atomic War. Rotten Tomatoes. 13 February 2019, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/disco_and_atomic_war/pictures

There are so many talented filmmakers creating thoughtful and entertaining films that it can be overwhelming: What to watch? Where to start? DocuSeek 2 gathers up some of the best and brightest from all over the globe. This unique streaming service helps you connect with people and perspectives that will stimulate, challenge, and inspire you to engage with the cultural kaleidoscope that is Planet Earth. And who knows? You might even up your disco game in the process! HS

Heather Sloan is the Media Services and Maps Assistant at Wells Library. Her research is focused on exploring interdisciplinary connections between popular culture, media, social justice, gender, and the environment. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance and is currently pursuing an MLS degree with a specialization in Digital Humanities.

In celebration of Mexico Remixed at IU Bloomington (Spring 2019), here is just a sampling of the wide array of Mexico-related documentaries available via DocuSeek 2*:

Borderline Cases. DocuSeek 2. 15 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/bf-bc

Borderline Cases (social justice/environment): “…investigates the environmental impact of the nearly 2,000 factories – maquiladoras – that have been built in Mexico at the US-Mexico border by multinational corporations from the US, Asia and Europe.”

 

Tina In Mexico. DocuSeek 2. 15 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/bf-tina

Tina in Mexico (arts/culture): “…follows the tumultuous and epic story of Tina Modotti, revolutionary, bohemian spirit and renowned photographer, acclaimed for her innovative and impassioned depiction of social issues.”

 

The Hand That Feeds. DocuSeek 2. 15 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/bf-hand

The Hand That Feeds (migration studies/social justice): “…[b]ehind the scenes…of a popular bakery cafe…undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers…Mahoma Lopez…convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back.

 

The Monarch. DocuSeek 2. 15 February 2019, http://docuseek2.com/bf-mon

The Monarch (nature): The monarch butterfly is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious butterfly in the world. It amazes us for what we know about its life and it tantalizes us for the secrets it still holds within its delicate frame – secrets that scientists and lay people in North America have been trying to unravel for decades.

* Synopsis text courtesy DocuSeek 2 website—see individual title links above.

 

Technology in Movies: Real vs. Reel

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

Technology in Movies: Real vs. Reel

In recent years, Hollywood has taken a shine to technology. Whether it’s hackers appearing in almost every heist or mystery movie now, artificial intelligence taking control of the world, or maybe robots that will eventually turn against us – we see its influence in almost every movie these days. But how realistic are these movies, anyway? Sure, it’s Hollywood – an industry that doesn’t shy away from exaggeration – but it’s still an interesting concept. In fact, some movies have even predicted the future pretty accurately.

In this post, we look at a few examples of technology seen in movies and their counterparts, if any, in real life. The post concludes with ways to explore technology, both the “reel” and the “real,” using Media Services’ online streaming platforms.

THE MATRIX (1999)

Let’s start with the big one – artificial intelligence, or AI. The best example of AI seen in movies is probably The Matrix, which is a phenomenal movie (when you finally understand it). In the movie, the world we live in is actually a computer program created by AI machines in the future.

The Matrix. IMDB. Jan 17 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/mediaviewer/rm2119179520

It’s the year 2190, where the machines are farming humans as their primary energy source and placing human consciousness in the Matrix so that we don’t rebel. Obviously an unrealistic scenario, or maybe we are all in the Matrix and the machines want us to think that….

AI in real life – SIRI

Every single iPhone these days has Siri, our very own AI virtual assistant, and other personal devices have their equivalents. Helpful and intrusive, they can also be destructive, like when you ask it to find the best local restaurant but it texts your ex instead.

Siri. CNET, Oct 4 2018, https://www.cultofmac.com/447783/today-in-apple-history-siri-makes-its-public-debut-on-iphone-4s/

BLADE RUNNER (1982) 

The Harrison Ford movie showcases the future “2019” as a dark, dystopian world with humans crammed into cities and living with genetically engineered android robots that look exactly like humans.

Blade Runner. IMDB. Jan 17 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/mediaviewer/rm388984064

The city is saturated with technology, with huge screens blasting advertisements and news in every corner.

REAL LIFE

Well, it’s 2019 and there’s no sign of androids that look exactly like humans (then again, Jennifer Aniston hasn’t aged at all in like 50 years), but the movie was pretty spot-on in terms of the direction in which our infrastructure is going.

Times Square, April 23 2015, https://www.aroundtheworldl.com/2015/04/23/times-square-nyc/

Digital billboards are everywhere now, replacing traditional posters and paper advertisements. Even daily news is delivered right to our smartphone. Unfortunately, Blade Runner was also accurate in predicting the overpopulation in cities today.

I, ROBOT

If the movie ends up predicting the future correctly, in 20 years we’ll have robots available to us to do whatever mundane task we order them to do.

I, Robot. IMDB. Jan 17 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0343818/mediaviewer/rm1498926080

That would be really cool, until they decide to rise against us with the destruction of the human race as their only goal. I mean, I would understand though – I would not want to be the robot in charge of cleaning the toilets in Taco Bell.

REAL LIFE

Robots are already a reality in 2019, from automated factory machines to humanoid robots that can do whatever tasks humans can do, but better. As technology continues to progress, we might actually see ourselves living the plot of I, Robot soon.

Humanoid Robot, NASA, 11 Dec 2013, https://www.rt.com/usa/nasa-valkyrie-texas-robot-076/

A sampling of Media Services streaming documentaries on the subject of human/robot interaction is available here. (The link takes you to an IUCAT results page for streaming video sources; from there, simply click on any title and then click on the Bloomington url in the item record. If not already logged in, you will be prompted for your IU login to begin viewing.)

Interested in learning more? Check out the 25 best tech movies of all time. Many of these titles are available at Media Services!

CONCLUSION

Movies haven’t been that far off in predicting the future. While the potential prospects of technology are exciting, it does lead to certain concerns as well.  Applications of AI like Siri are undoubtedly convenient but little thought is given to what we are willing to sacrifice for that convenience. It’s well known that companies aggregate user data to track everything about us, from preferences to personal information and interests. Besides companies, governments have used advancements in technology to increase surveillance power on citizens as well. It can be challenging to keep up with developments in the privacy sphere, but being informed can help protect you, and IU Libraries offer lots of resources to do just that.

Nothing To Hide. IMDb. Jan 17 2019. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7330532/mediaviewer/rm2865374208

Nothing To Hide is a great documentary that questions the growing and confusing public acceptance of corporate and governmental intrusions into individual privacy rights. Access the book on which the film is based here, via IU’s subscription to E-Book Central.

Another great documentary is Zero Days (available through our Films On Demand streaming database), which covers malicious activities like computer viruses that can be perpetrated by unscrupulous people with bad intentions.

Streaming databases and other access options at IU: Spotlight on Alexander Street Press

There are a lot of ways to access these titles and more at IU. Alexander Street Press (ASP) is an online database for use by current IU students, staff, and faculty to stream a wide variety of learning, teaching, and research titles. Users can search ASP directly or via IUCAT (IU Libraries’ main catalog search tool—see instructions below*). ASP provides access to 30 online streaming databases containing music, film, documents, and more. Subject areas include, but are not limited to:  Anthropology, Art & Architecture, Black Studies, Dance, Education, Fashion, Health, American and World History, LGBT, Music, News Archives, Nursing, Opera, Psychology, Theatre, Silent Film, Sports Medicine and much more. In other words, it’s a major (but useful!) rabbit hole, the Matrix “red pill” of online databases. Do you dare? DM

Dhruv Madappa is a Media Services student staff member pursuing a Masters in Cybersecurity at IU.

*IUCAT search instructions for online resources: Using IUCAT, you can search by title, subject area, etc., and then use the search limit menus (located on the left-hand side of the screen) to narrow your format to “streaming video.” If you prefer to see all online media options (such as digitized text, audio files, photographs, video, etc.), you can use the more general “online resource” category. Further tips, including a link to the Knowledge Base IUCAT entry, can be found here.

Mexico, Literally Remixed*

*This blog post is one of several that will focus on topics relating to IU’s Mexico Remixed activities.

I love Hip-Hop. I also love Mexican food (both the authentic and the Taco Bell). My appreciation for these things grew as I searched our catalogs and online streaming databases for something I could write about. One of those databases, Alexander Street Press (ASP), has a nearly overwhelming amount of information on both Hip-Hop and Mexican food (yes, even Taco Bell). So, using ASP, I decided to search for things that contained both. At first, I found mostly documentaries on different aspects of Mexican culture, along with CDs of Mexican folk music (Alexander Street Press contains items in different media). After some digging, I discovered a documentary on the Mexican Hip-Hop group Spanish F.L.Y.


Spanish F.L.Y – Soy 18 With A Bullet. Digital Image. Discogs. 10 Jan. 2019, https://www.discogs.com/Spanish-Fly-Soy-18-With-A-Bullet/release/1522424

The documentary starts off in a typical manner, setting up some background, with snippets of the group’s DJ and emcees elaborating on what hip-hop meant to each member, and how the culture was different for them as Mexicans in the rap game.They talk about being humiliated or experiencing prejudice based on their families, the way they sounded, etc. The (original) members of Spanish F.L.Y—DAZ, Rich Roc, and DJ Tricks—persevered. As lovers of music, they would hang out, write, produce, and perform just because. Although money and fame always seems to be an interest of young and budding artists, these guys stayed true to their roots and their sound.

And people loved their sound. Paramount decided to pick up Spanish F.L.Y to produce their debut album. However, the album never came. Instead, their story was cut short by the mysterious disappearance of the group’s front man, Rich Roc. The documentary lasted only about twenty minutes, and in it we do not hear the story behind Spanish F.L.Y’s drama and Rich’s exodus. I was left with a desire to know more about this group and Mexican hip-hop in general.

I took to our own collection and found the movie Piñero, a film about the Latino icon Miguel Piñero. I don’t want to spoil the film, but I do want to say that as a poet and a lover of hip-hop, I can see authentic connections between his art and the early styles of hip-hop and rap.



There are great moments in the film depicting Latino culture, as well as the artistic influences of Piñero’s work. For any hip-hop lover, or anyone trying to start the season of Mexico Remixed off right, Media Services has just the resource or film for you. DH

Duncan Hardy is an IU Bloomington sophomore looking to pursue dual degrees in Arts Management and Creative Writing. His favorite musical artists are Frank Ocean, Kanye West, and Andre 3000. Favorite movie: Robots. Any music or movie recommendations can be sent to duhardy@iu.edu.

More about Alexander Street Press. One advantage of the ASP service is that there is an incredible number of resources to choose from, and if you use the Advanced Search fields, you have lots of options for narrowing the results to exactly what you want, from time period to title to genre and beyond. Or, you can keep the results broad and discover something interesting that you weren’t looking for…. HS

 

 

 

Three Holiday Comedies to Watch This Season

Winter Break is finally here! It’s time to relax and spend some time with family. After such a long semester, we all deserve it. If you find yourself twiddling your thumbs with nothing to do, check out some of the comedic holiday movies below!


OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY (2016)

Office Christmas Party. IMDb. 20 Dec 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1711525/mediaviewer/rm4027319296

Summary: CEO (Jennifer Aniston) of Zenotek threatens to shut down her brother’s (T.J Miller) branch. In order to keep the branch open and save his employees, branch manager, Clay, throws a wild Holiday party to try to impress a potential client.

Watch if: You enjoy movies about partying or love SNL’s Kate McKinnon as much as I do.

Available at residential libraries on the IUB campus.

A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS (2017)

Bad Moms Christmas. IMDb. 20 Dec 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6359956/mediaviewer/rm3031707136

Summary: This sequel to Bad Moms (2016) follows Amy, Kiki, and Carla through the stress of the holidays when their moms come into town. They attempt to create the perfect Christmas for their kids while trying to keep a stable relationship with their own mothers.

Watch if: Your family is a little crazy or you relate to an imperfect mother-daughter relationship.

Available at residential libraries on the IUB campus.


 DADDY’S HOME TWO (2017)

Daddy’s Home Two. IMDb. 20 Dec 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5657846/mediaviewer/rm1994743296

Summary: Father (Dusty) and Stepfather (Brad) are determined to give their children the perfect Christmas. That is, until their own fathers show up. They end up in a luxury cabin with their families after a sudden change in plans and have an adventurous holiday.

Watch if: Your dad never let you touch the thermostat in your house growing up.

Available at residential libraries on the IUB campus. IS

Also, holiday classics and art films abound at the Media Services department! Here’s a list of selected titles (links will take you to IUCAT records):

It’s a Wonderful Life

Charlie Brown Christmas

Nattvardsgasterna (Winter Light)

Winter Solstice

Frozen

Miracle on 34th Street

Isabella Salerno is a sophomore studying Political Science, American Studies, and Sociology. In her free time you can probably find her in a coffee shop around Bloomington.

Dogs helping humans; humans helping dogs

The relationship between humans and animals is indescribable. The bond created between humans and animals is mutually beneficial and dynamic to the health and well-being of both.  This bond can be traced back between 15,000 and 20,000 years, ever since humans began living in groups (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-wolves-really-became-dogs-180970014/). Today in the United States, over 48% of households have a pet dog (https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/07/17/1047437/0/en/United-States-Pet-Population-and-Ownership-Trends-Report-2017-Focus-on-Dogs-Cats-and-Other-Pets.html). Dogs become attached to their owners, creating a special bond between the two. Have you ever heard the saying, “A dog is man’s best friend?” Well, in addition to being popularly held as true, science increasingly backs up the saying as factual: dogs have a huge impact on the emotions of a human, as well as giving humans a healthy lifestyle (http://time.com/5028171/health-benefits-owning-dog/.

With this in mind, whether you own a dog or not, there are plenty of films in Media Services that allow you to see the special relationship between humans and dogs. Here are just two examples:

Marley and Me (2008)   

Marley & Me. IMDb. 5 Dec 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0822832/mediaviewer/rm2261816576

 

Max (2015)

Max. IMDb. 5 Dec 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3369806/mediaviewer/rm1081402368

These are just a few that I would recommend, but there are many more films pertaining to human and dog relationships. When something bad happens in life, it is often reflected in the behavior of both the humans and their dog(s). Humans and dogs rely on each other for happiness, and having that relationship can get both through some tough times.

Want to learn more? Check out this list of the Top 15 Best Dog Movies Media Services has many of these titles! KG

Kayla Greenwald is a Media Services student staff member pursuing a BFA in graphic design, with a minor in creative advertising. 

Lilo and Stitch: Untold Disney Masterpiece?

When most people think of Disney movies they tend to think of the classics such as The Lion King, Aladdin, and films of that variety. The company’s decade of filmmaking from 1989-1999 is commonly known as The Disney Renaissance. This name derives from the view that there was a renewal of the Disney identity and that the “Renaissance” period was the source of their best works to date. While this may be true, I think that there is a real underdog that outshines a good portion of these films: Lilo and Stitch. To place this movie on the Disney timeline, Lilo and Stitch was released in the post-Renaissance era, when there was a definite lull in animation box-office successes. However, to me this film is a diamond in the rough.

Lilo & Stitch. IMDb. Nov 26 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0275847/mediaviewer/rm4048525568

Lilo and Stitch is the story of a young girl being raised by her older sister—and trying to find her own place in the world—and a hyper-intelligent, little blue alien, bent on destruction, trying to escape capture while masquerading as a dog. While dealing with an intergalactic force closing in and a deadline set by a strict social worker, the misfits seem to find something that neither had had before: true friendship. This is a tale filled with all the makings of a great story: action, comedy, drama, and suspense. Audiences deeply relate to the character Nani as she scrambles to apply for jobs all over the city, and is willing to go to hell and back for her sister. *SPOILER ALERT* There are not many dry eyes when Stitch is being led off to the ship and he says, “This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It’s little, and broken, but still good. Yeah. Still good.”*END SPOILER*

Lilo & Stitch. IMDb. Nov 26 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0275847/mediaviewer/rm4212390656

Disney is known for their great classic romances, so for them to create such a refreshing, relatable (other than the aliens!), feel-good film, makes this one of their best that, to me, beats out any of “the greats” any day of the week.

What’s your favorite Disney movie? Character? Soundtrack? Find a list of Media Services Disney titles here!

Sydney Morrow is a Junior majoring music education with an emphasis in choral education. In her free time, she likes reading ebooks on her phone and singing with the Singing Hoosiers on campus.

Being Human

In life, we all make mistakes. We all have misjudgments and harbor less-than-perfect behaviors. At the end of the day, however, we can all use this trusty phrase to exonerate ourselves: “I’m only human, after all.”

But what if this isn’t the case? What if you had to grapple with all of the terrible actions and thoughts you have executed but not even have that comforting phrase to turn to? What if, in fact, you’re not human?

The ideas of humanity, guilt, and evil are explored in the show Being Human (2011-2014). The series follows a vampire (Aidan), a werewolf (Josh), and a ghost (Sally) as they struggle with their humanity in their shared Boston apartment. Like anyone else, they make errors and fall victim to their own impulses, but considering their individual monstrous natures, the effects of such normal (human) missteps can be dangerous and even deadly.

Being Human. IMDb. 14 November 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1595680/mediaviewer/rm902899968

Each of the main characters in Being Human has a unique backstory, an expansive community, and undeniable capability to commit evil acts. Aidan is a veteran (of the Revolutionary War) who runs with the most powerful and dangerous vampires in town, although no longer by choice. Josh was on track to attend medical school and marry his high school sweetheart until an attack in the woods, leaving his friend dead and Josh as a werewolf. Both work as nurses in a hospital in Boston and decide to room together as part of an “experiment,” with the ultimate goal of restoring their humanity. Upon move-in, the two meet Sally, a ghost who recently died in the apartment, and the rest is history.

Phillippe Bosse/Syfy. BEING HUMAN, Episode 102. IMDb. 14 November 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1595680/mediaviewer/rm1946256384

Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and all supernatural creatures enjoy some sort of separation from human laws and customs. However, whenever Josh, Aidan, or Sally do something evil, the act is never simply accepted by the others. What makes these three unique is a consistent moral compass. Certainly, each of the roommates falls prey to their supernatural nature more than once, from committing mass murder to using black magic. However, the cohabitation experiment certainly yields positive results for all of those involved, especially Josh, the most troubled of them all.

I found Josh’s story to be the most interesting, and ultimately the most uplifting, among the three original roommates. According to legend, a werewolf is an otherwise normal human until the full moon is risen. Only then do they morph into wolves and act on their purely animal, often violent instincts. Josh, however, carries the guilt of his wolf (the werewolves of the show treat lycanthropy almost as an alter ego) all days of the month. Unlike Aidan and Sally, Josh had some degree of separation from his supernatural identity and yet felt that he was the ultimate monster among them. Perhaps such close proximity to humanity makes him feel guiltier for his actions, although of the three he has the least control over his actions. As the series goes along, he begins to understand himself better, and even though he makes major mistakes along the way, he maintains a great amount of personal accountability. Only once he grapples with this personal struggle can he open himself up to the wonders of human life, such as having a werewolf wife and werewolf children.

Being Human. IMDb. 14 November 2018, http://beinghuman.wikia.com/wiki/File:Being-Human-Wedding.jpg

Amazingly, the three maintain the same accountability and goals as when they first moved in, even when things go catastrophically wrong. Although they make tragic mistakes, Aidan, Josh, and Sally are all aware of the impact of their actions and never stop trying to make up for and ultimately change their ways. And isn’t that what being human is all about after all?

The first three seasons of Being Human are available at Media Services, in the basement of the Herman B Wells Library. If you are interested in shows that explore both self-reflection and the supernatural, I highly recommend it!

Click the links below for the IUCAT records for Seasons 1 through 3:

1 2 3

Leah Ashebir is a business major at the Kelley School. She speaks German and spent last summer gaining valuable business experience through an internship at a firm in New York City. She is scheduled for a return engagement in NYC during Summer 2019, after participating in a study abroad program this spring.

Halloween’s Over, But Things Are Still Scary: Five Halloween Films to Watch This Weekend for the Weak Minded

Why do people like to get so scared? Where is the fun in that? I never understood people that can just purposefully push themselves to their limits by tricking their brains into experiencing pure fear. However, that does not mean I do not like Halloween movies.

Halloween movies are among my favorite genre of movies, but people too often associate Halloween with scary movies that make you want to pee your pants with fear, either literally or figuratively, depending on how much of a scaredy-cat you truly are. If you are like me and would prefer to be able to sleep comfortably this weekend without worrying about childhood traumas (I’m looking at you, Chucky!) slinking into your room in the middle of the night, literally manifesting as your worst nightmare, then I have the perfect list for you. These are five movies that I consider absolute necessities for this year’s post-Hallow’s Eve “Halloweekend.”

  1. Coraline
Coraline. IMDb. 2 November 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0327597/mediaviewer/rm419596800

Based on the novella of the same name, this mysterious 2009 film has gotten raving reviews from multiple critics, and was one of the American Film Institute’s AFI Movies of the Year for 2009. If you have not already delved into the crawlspace to see for yourself, Coraline takes place in an odd house with a strange past. Bored with her new home, Coraline explores the Crawling Space, an alternate world where all her desires are possible, all thanks to her Other Mother. However, when Coraline realizes this ethereal world is not what it seems, she needs to make it out in time to save herself and her parents. If you are looking for action, fantasy, and a little bit of childlike imagination, then this is the film for you.

  1. Coco
Coco. IMDb. 2 November 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2380307/mediaviewer/rm2374917632

Arriving in theaters in 2017, this feature film was perfect for a cultural shift with just the right amount of spooky. Nominated for over 20 awards, and winning 12 of them, this touching film follows the story of a boy set in a small town in Mexico. This young man, Miguel, was raised in a family of shoemakers that forbade music, even though music is Miguel’s passion. On Día de los Muertos, Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where he discovers an opportunity to prove to his family that they are the descendants of the famous late singer Ernesto de la Cruz. A touching tale about family, loss, and heartbreak takes you on a magical journey through the Land of the Dead for a compelling and heartwarming story. I would watch this film during any season! Who says you have to wait until scary season to enjoy a good movie about the dead?

  1. Over the Garden Wall
Over The Garden Wall. IMDb. 2 November 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3718778/mediaviewer/rm517732608

Deviating from the trend of films, this Cartoon Network serial is a must-watch. This series was animated in 2015 as part of a 10-episode Cartoon Network Halloween special. Full of trademark CN absurdist comedy, the show takes place in another alternate world following two stepbrothers, trying to remember where they came from and how to get out. Each episode has a different story—following a town of pumpkin folk, a witch with a secret, or even a steamboat musical number. The setting, a rural 19th century landscape, teleports you to a world of mystery and charm with warm colors to remind you of fall, and adorable music reminiscent of classic jazz. If you would rather enjoy something spooky in fragments while being able to sleep the same night, then this is the show for you!

  1. The Corpse Bride

Did you really think Tim Burton wasn’t going to make this list? You were wrong. The Corpse Bride, a morbid musical Claymation by Tim Burton, stars Johnny Depp and yes, you guessed it, Helena Bonham Carter. Dive with Victor into the gates of hell, where an arranged marriage quickly takes a turn for the worse. When Victor accidentally marries a vengeful dead bride, he must discover a way to return to the mortal world for good…or will he stay? This animated film has a catchy soundtrack, vivid colors, and poses the question, “How often can love change?”

Corpse Bride. IMDb. 2 November 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121164/mediaviewer/rm1216384000
  1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show. IMDb. 2 November 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073629/mediaviewer/rm3983063808

The oldest on this list, the classic Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), is, if you haven’t seen it, one of the most musically powerful and strange films in American cinema, debuting the iconic number “Time Warp” written by Richard O’Brien. Although the film does feature a bit of blood in one of the musical numbers, it is muted and barely noticeable so your stomach can rest easy. The story is sometimes hard to follow, but paying close attention to the things the characters say in between scenes will help in plot comprehension. There are often live performances or late-show cinema showings of Rocky Horror throughout the year, including Halloween of course, and I suggest experiencing the movie in that atmosphere if you ever get the opportunity. Traditionally, there is a high degree of audience participation—the crowd comes with their own film-related props, and on cue everybody shouts out favorite lines.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. IMDb. 2 November 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073629/mediaviewer/rm2540223232

For instance, in the opening wedding scene, it is the audience’s responsibility to throw rice at the stage/screen to create the setting of a happy wedding amongst the audience. Watch and immerse yourself in a musical comedy full of diverse characters and stellar performances in this cinematic monument!

 

 

 

 

 


At the end of the day, whether you aren’t in the mood, can’t stand jump scares, or just simply don’t enjoy scary movies, just know you have other options! There are tons of spooky movies for people that don’t care for the blood and gore of the mainstream horror genre. Coraline,  Coco, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show are all available for check out in Media Services in the ground floor of Wells Library (links go to item IUCAT records).

Yours Truly,

Media Services (BC)

Brandon Carr is a sophomore majoring in psychology, with minors in Japanese and counseling. Brandon enjoys walking around campus and getting chai lattes with friends.

Pokemon: Where the Relationship You Have with Your Pets Actually Matters

Pokemon The First Movie. IMDb. 19 October 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0190641/mediaviewer/rm1090388992

The name Pokemon can refer to a video game, a TV show, a movie, a card game, a toy, and probably something else I haven’t heard about yet. Pokemon is huge! It has been capturing the minds of kids since before I was even born. I’ve been a fan since my introduction to the Pokemon world with the GameBoy game Pokemon Sapphire. Since then, I have stayed up to date on games, special collector’s events, Pokemon news, and sometimes the Pokemon movies, too.

How Pokemon Sun and Moon are Improving the Pokemon Formula. Kallie Plagge. www.ign.com, 12 October 2016, https://www.ign.com/articles/2016/10/12/how-pokemon-sun-and-moon-are-improving-the-pokemon-formula

For those of you that don’t know what it is, Pokemon started out as a video game where you capture animals in the wild, train them, and use them to fight other powerful trainers, and even bordering-on-terrorist groups (look up Team Rocket). The world’s fascination with the original games Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green sparked the start of an anime craze in Japan. The Pokemon TV series began in 1997 and still continues to run today. I believe they are on their 21st season now.

Adorable Switch Bundle and New Moves Revealed for ‘Pokemon: Let’s Go’. Liz Lanier. variety.com. 10 September 2018, https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/switch-bundle-moves-revealed-pokemon-lets-go-1202934739/

Surprisingly, the childish world of Pokemon sometimes strikes a profound chord. Without diving too deeply into the powerful relationships and thoughtful dynamics of pairing wild animals with humans in Pokemon, I’m going to elaborate on one shining moment in the Pokemon series.

To set the scene, I had just beaten my very first Pokemon game, was feeling proud of my team of six Pokemon, and got invited to my best friend’s house to watch the Pokemon movie with him.

The movie starts out like any other children’s show, but quickly develops into this tense scenario. As a child expecting to see bubbly characters bounce around in bright primary colors (the stereotypical kid’s TV show), I was surprised to hear the profound lesson of the movie. In the midst of a fight between a dragon Pokemon and a synthesized Pokemon-weapon thing, a quote is slipped in: “I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”

I certainly wasn’t expecting it. Neither was the friend watching with me. Forever ingrained into us was this very important lesson: Don’t judge someone because of their situation, respect them for how they make use of it. All that from a kid’s TV show.

Media Services has a number of Pokemon games available to play on our Nintendo game consoles (GameBoy, DS, Nintendo 64), including Pokemon Sapphire Version, Pokemon Y, and Hey You, Pikachu! Come in and play your favorite! If you are new to the Pokemon world, come discover what it takes to be a Pokemon trainer. DH

Duncan Hardy is an IU Bloomington sophomore looking to pursue dual degrees in Arts Management and Creative Writing. His favorite musical artists are Frank Ocean, Kanye West, and Andre 3000. Favorite movie: Robots. Any music or movie recommendations can be sent to duhardy@iu.edu.

Themester Continues! Animal/Human: The Role of Animals in Film

The Thin Man, featuring dog character “Asta.” TV Tropes. 19 October 2018, https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheThinMan

Animals have played a big role in film and media for as far back as most of us can remember. It is easy to “take the over” on a bet that every American who enjoys movies, TV shows, or videogames has seen an animal in some capacity with an integral role. It is important to step back from time to time and think about why animals are used in media and what they give to a narrative, whether it be live-action or other.

Upon hearing “animal” and “film,” adults’ minds may not jump to animation. However, especially where Disney & Pixar are concerned, animated films are teeming with animals. This is because one the most effective uses of animals in film is as replacements for humans.

Zootopia. IMDb. 19 October, 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2948356/mediaviewer/rm623073280

Animation has the ability to approach various topics with a flair that live-action film cannot. For example, Zootopia managed to present racism, sexism, and stereotypes in a manner that was not seen as offensive, or an attack, and was overall perfectly appropriate for a younger audience. Other movies, including Finding Dory, Monsters, Inc., and Megamind, discuss persons with disabilities, achieving dreams without a college degree, and the boxing-in of individuals based on appearances, as well as the effects of incarceration and education. If these movies had been created with people in the roles, they would likely have received a heavier rating and a harsher critic’s gaze. It is also important to mention that when a film that touches on these topics is made with people, there often tend to be more adult themes attached to it, which also prevent them from being viewed by a younger audience. Though the research is still catching up to current filmmaking trends, overall, it seems that animals make tough topics much easier to approach.

Megamind. IMDb. 19 October 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1001526/mediaviewer/rm1592142848

Another reason animals are great in film is the emotional response they elicit. If you want to make a gruff character more lovable, give them a kitten. Even better, construct the story line so that he lives next to a bunch of dogs and takes care of them. Sure, the character may have been a bit rude on the elevator ride up. But look! There are puppies! So the guy cannot be that bad. On the other hand, there is this approach: if you want the audience to know the person is the bad guy, make them cruel to animals. The animals might even serve as plot devices, a means of moving from one scene or struggle to another. Either way, animals in these scenarios—especially pets—can elicit responses and help establish a character’s alignment with good or evil, or a little of both.

I Am Legend. IMDb. 19 October 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0480249/mediaviewer/rm1563858944

In other films, there are animals whose role is more important than simply telegraphing the character traits of humans. A few films representative of this genre would be Old Yeller, Life of Pi, Stuart Little, and I am Legend. In these movies, we have animals who are pivotal to the story or are actors in their own right. In I Am Legend, Will Smith’s character (Robert) has a dog named Sam who plays a crucial role. Sam is as much a partner to Robert as any human would be in a world ravaged by some form of zombie, and *SPOILER* when Sam dies, the audience is left all the more heartbroken for it. *END SPOILER* Life of Pi presents the audience with a very unlikely pair, a Bengal tiger and a person. The film provides an interesting take on the role of the animal in film as well, especially because tigers are not a typical everyday pet.

Life of Pi. IMDb. 19 October 2018, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454876/mediaviewer/rm1770238976

These are just a few of the many types of roles animals play in film. Animals are in our everyday lives, and to leave them unrepresented in the media we consume would result in films missing something many feel is an important part of the human experience. The next time you watch a movie and see an animal, consider what they are doing for the scene. Are they there to establish a character, or is it something more? Are they talking? If so, how would you feel if a person were saying the words instead of the animal in question? The Animal/Human relationship is complex, and you may find some compelling points to ponder.

TL

Tamara Lane is an IU Bloomington senior majoring in Japanese Education, with a minor in Studio Art. In her spare time, she reads and plays video games. Current media obsession: Monster Hunter: World.