New Titles — November 17th, 2014

Feature Films

the hole

The Hole

Liz Dunn and three of her prep school friends decide to hide in a long-abandoned bomb shelter to party and hang out. But when someone locks them in, anxious hours turn into desperate days and their spontaneous adventure turns into a bloody fight for survival.

Foreign Films

asha bhosle

Asha Bhosle: Golden Collection

Songs from popular Hindi motion pictures.

actrius

Actrius ; Amic/amat ; Un berenar a Ginebra

Actrius: A young drama student interviews three great actresses: an international diva, a television star and a dubbing director, and she discovers, in their memories, the grandeur and the misery of theatre.

Amic/mat: A mature and ill man, a medieval literature professor, has gone over his personal life and has decided, amongst his doubts, what he wants to leave others once he passes away.

Un berenar a Ginebra: In 1973, towards the end of the Franco regime, the famous Catalan writer Mercè Rodoreda bumped into the literary critic Josep Maria Castellet in Geneva where she lived exiled and she invited him to tea at her house. The writer was a most discrete person and maintained everything that concerned her wrapped in secrecy. Indeed she herself had become a secret or perhaps, even a maker of secrets. However that afternoon, strangely, she opened up and shared many intimacies.

Continue reading “New Titles — November 17th, 2014”

Weekly Quiz

What could the producers of Gossip Girl buy if they didn’t spend all their money on clothes?

This weeks game is hosted by “Consumerism, isn’t it grand.”

1) Blair Waldorf’s standard dress-bag-shoes ensemble costs between $1,850 to $4,800. The headbands she wore in the first few seasons cost upwards of $200 each. (all prices come from buddytv.com)Let’s say, on average, she wears 2.5 ensembles per episode. There were 121 episodes. So, in total, GG spent ~$1,005,812 on Blair’s costumes. What could they buy with that money?

what-s-it-cost-to-dr

–348,032 Crunchwrap Supremes from Taco bell

–3,364 iPhone 6s (64 GB) from the Apple Store

–112,130 copies of Fifty Shades of Grey from Amazon

–41 Students’ In-State tuition at Indiana University

2. Serena van der Woodsen’s standard outfit combination costs between $800 and $6000 (information from wornontv.net). On average, it would seem like her clothes cost ~$1800. Just one of her dresses in a “casual clothing” scene cost $895. Let’s say on average, she wears 2.5 ensembles per episode. So, in total, GG spent ~$544,500 on her clothes. What could they buy with that money?

what-s-it-cost-to-dr

–1364 50 inch RCA flat screen TVs from Walmart

–108,900 foot long Subway tuna sandwiches

–22 Students’ In-State tuition at IU

3. Lily van der Woodsen spent on average $2,234 on her dress-bag ensembles (information from buddytv.com). Lily also appeared in all 121 episodes (according to IMDB). So on average (not including shoes or jewelry), GG spent ~$675,785 on her clothes. What could they buy with that money?

what-s-it-cost-to-dr

–4,223,656 slices of Kraft American Singles from Walmart

–2,252 Bose Noise Cancelling headphones from bose.com

–27 Students’ In-State tuition at IU

 

Don’t have that type of money? Me neither. But,  you can still come down to M&RS to check out movies for free. Why not check out Boardwalk Empire or Freaks and Geeks to see how people used to dress. Or check out Heathers, the original insiders/outsiders high school movie (that last sentence is probably not a fact, but it is still a great movie!).

New Titles — November 10th, 2014

Feature Films

death wish

Death Wish

Bronson is an urban liberal who becomes a vigilante in search of the gang of thugs who raped his daughter and raped and murdered his wife.

hidden city

Hidden City

In London, a journalist and a picture researcher uncover a secret from the past and discover hidden aspects of the city.

romance with a double bass

Romance with a double bass

Smychov, a double-bass player, is on his way to play at the betrothal ball of a princess. Arriving at the palace too early on a hot summer’s day, he decides to take a quick skinny-dip in the royal lake. Unbeknownst to him, the Princess has decided to do the same

Continue reading “New Titles — November 10th, 2014”

Original or Sequel: Redux

Every year people complain that Hollywood is releasing too many sequels. While the lack of original content can be disheartening there exist a ray of light. Every few years a sequel comes a long that actually lives up to the hype. This post will look at two more sequels that kept the brand alive.

clerks

Clerks 2

Verdict: 50/50

Clerks 2 released in 2006 is a comedy film created by Kevin Smith. This long overdue sequel brings back the two classic duos. Randal and Dante pictured right are now in their thirties and are still clerks. Jay and Silent Bob left have somewhat cleaned up their act but are still up to no good. This film like the original released in 1996 has stood the test of the time. So what is the verdict sequel or original? That’s hard to say. You should check both titles out and decide for yourself.

Star Trek 2

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Verdict: Sequel

Star Trek the Wrath of Khan is the second film in the original Star Trek franchise. I was advised to skip the first Star Trek film entirely and instead view Wrath of Khan. I watched Khan with no prior knowledge of anything Star Trek and was extremely impressed with how little that mattered. The film gravitates viewers with its intricate plot lines and likable protagonist. To write about the plot would lead to spoilers.  That being said I can still comfortably say that Khan is worth the watch.

That wraps things up for this segment of sequel or original. Tune in next time for more great films you should watch. Possibly.

*All films discussed are located at Media Reserve Services and available for checkout*

Why I Won’t Date A Guy Who Hates Skyler White

I’ve ignored a lot of red flags over the course of my dating career: Not having a job so he could work on his novel. Being really, really, really into frogs. Cheating on me with my roommate (on more than one occasion). I’ve dated an embarrassing number of guys who wore wolf shirts. One thing I’ve learned, however, in my eight years of playing the dating game is to never date someone who hates Skyler White (Walt’s wife on Breaking Bad, played by the incredible Anna Gunn).

There’s a difference between dislike and the visceral, almost violent hate that’s a big turn off for me. If you don’t like Skyler because you disagree with her choices in a measured way, or you don’t like her particular character arc, that’s cool; we can talk about it over beers at the Vid. I’m talking about the level of frothing-at-the-mouth hate than many in the Bad fandom hold towards Skyler and that seemed to transfer over to Gunn, eventually inspiring her to write an article in the New York Times about the extreme animosity directed towards her character.

A common refrain among those who hate Skyler is that she’s a witch-with-a-“b” because she doesn’t immediately and unquestioningly support Walt in his drug empire-endeavors. Her responses to her husband’s profession run the gamut: she challenges him, hates him, reluctantly goes along with him, cheats on him, and eventually tries to stab him. Even when she is helping him launder money and expand his meth empire, she never fully supports him and is always disgusted by his behavior. One guy I dated disliked Skyler because Walt was so “cool” and Skyler was always trying to drag him down. Of course, Walt does have his moments of epic Heisenberg, Say-My-Name coolness, but we shouldn’t forget that by the end of the show he’s no longer the mild-mannered chemistry teacher just trying to support his family. Over the course of the show, he lies to his family, breaks the law countless times, lets Jane choke to death, regularly screws Jesse Pinkman over, poisons a kid, conspires with neo-Nazis on a series of prison hits, turns on almost everyone who ever helped him, indirectly causes the death of a family member, and, oh yeah, creates and sells a huge amount of a horrible, deadly drug. No wonder Skyler is a bit exasperated with him. Wouldn’t anyone be?

So why the intense level of hatred for Skyler? Anna Gunn hits the nail on the head when she attributes the Skyler-hate to our culture’s latent misogyny. Skyler doesn’t meekly stand by her man, and she doesn’t fit the mold of the submissive, adoring wife. Whether you agree or disagree with her choices, she makes those choices as a fully-developed character, not as the type of one-dimensional paper doll that the most virulent Bad fanboys seem to think women should be. At the end of the series, she recognizes what the audience is supposed to have recognized: that Walt is the bad guy, and that we shouldn’t be rooting for him.

So, ladies, a quick litmus test going forward: ask your date what he thinks about Skyler White. If he launches into a tirade about her witchiness-with-a-“b” perhaps its best to move on to someone whose a little less misogynistic and a little more appreciative of the stellar writing and acting that went into Skyler’s character.

And don’t worry about your newly-abandoned date; I’m sure there’s an episode of Two and a Half Men on that he can watch.

Have no idea what I’m talking about? Come check out all five seasons of Breaking Bad at IU’s Media & Reserves Services.

Original or Sequel?

Every year I hear complaints that Hollywood is releasing too many sequels. I have heard many times that a sequel cannot possibly be better than the original. In most cases I would certainly agree but every now and then a sequel outshines its predecessor. This post will look at two original movies that have been outclassed or out favored by their original.

empire-strikes-back-poster

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back                                                                                                  Verdict: Outclassed

Star Wars has a large cult following. Any fan of the trilogy will not acknowledge that the prequels happened. That being said the best Star Wars film in my eyes is Empire. The original film A New Hope ended on a high note and gave everyone grand illusions that all was right with the galaxy far far away. Empire successfully expands on the Star Wars franchise giving fans more of what they want. That means more lightsaber duels, more unique characters, and more Darth Vader. As the film Clerks puts it, “Empire ends on such a downer.” But it’s a good sort of downer the one that reminds you fairy tales are only children stories.

The-godfather-part-ii-1974-3e490

The Godfather: Part II                                                                                                                              Verdict: Out favored

The Godfather Part I & II are often cited as two of the best films ever made. If you have watched either film then you wholly accept the above sentence as a universal fact. Part II shows the aftermath of Michael Corleone assumption to power and his vetted interest in legitimizing the family business. The sequel also gives viewers a taste of Vito Corleone’s rise to power in early NYC. Personally I feel that Part I is better than the sequel but hey beggars can’t be choosers.

That wraps things up for this segment of sequel or original. Tune in next time for more great films you should watch. Possibly.

*All films discussed are located at Media Reserve Services and available for checkout*

New Titles–September 30th

Features

Purple Rain

Purple Rain

Prince stars as “The Kid,” a Minneapolis club musician, who struggles with both a tumultuous homelife and his own smoldering anger while taking refuge in his music and his steamy love for sultry Apollonia Kotero. Semi-autobiographical.

gideon's trumpet

Gideon’s Trumpet

The story of Clarence Earl Gideon and his fight for the right to have publicly funded legal counsel for the needy.

the gang's all here

The Gang’s All Here

Eadie Allen is a chorus girl who dreams of becoming a star. While working at a New York nightclub, she meets Sergeant Andy Mason, they fall in love but he is shipped off to war. Eadie finds out Andy is unofficially engaged to another woman.

Continue reading “New Titles–September 30th”

New Titles – September 24th

Features

anastasia

Anastasia

The last surviving child of the Russian Royal Family hooks up with two con men to reunite with her grandmother, the Dowager Empress, while the undead Rasputin seeks her death.

Jay and Silent Bob

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

The comic ‘Bluntman and Chronic’ is based on real-life stoners Jay and Silent Bob, so when they get no profit from a big-screen adaptation they set out to wreck the movie.

teeth

Teeth

Still a stranger to her own body, a high school student discovers she has a physical advantage when she becomes the object of male violence.

Continue reading “New Titles – September 24th”

Binge-Watch: The Walking Dead

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If you’ve come into Media & Reserves Services the last two nights (and of course you have), you may have noticed your friendly circulation desk staff staring like zombies* at our TV. That’s because we’ve been watching season one of The Walking Dead; the AMC post-apocalyptic drama still manages to frighten, shock, and captivate the viewer, even after multiple viewings– and with subtitles and no sound.

As you’re probably aware, the show, which starts its fifth season in October, begins at the end of the world as Georgia policeman Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) awakens from  a coma to the sights and sounds of the zombie apocalypse. Civilization has collapsed as reanimated corpses mindlessly search for human flesh; a bite from a “walker” can turn you into a zombie, and the only way to off a walker is with bullet or arrow through the brain. As you can imagine, the special effects are great (and gory).

Rick, eventually reunited with his wife and son, joins up with a ragtag group of survivors, including most notably Daryl (Norman Reedus), the rugged-crossbow-wielding-redneck-my-mom-is-really-attracted-to whose general badassery sustains the show during some of its duller stretches. Some have criticized the show for its slower, somewhat meandering pace-in later seasons, but every season still delivers riveting action sequences and breathtaking plot twists. At the very least, its first season is supremely binge-watch-worthy, and the show is the highest-rated basic cable series ever.

Come see for yourself what all the hype is about at Media & Reserves Services, where you can rent seasons 1-4– that is, of course, after we’re  done watching.                                                                                                     imgres

 

*Pun initially unintended, but we’re going with it.

An end to irony or: How I learned to love sincerity.

As visitors to this blog, I assume that you are a) interested in the happenings of Media and Reserve Services, b) trying to find the hours or c) here by accident. But as long as you are here, and reading this, I want to suggest something that might make your life better. In this era of eschatological uncertainty (you know—like apocalyptic stuff) and high anxiety, we too often seek out distractions, whether it be the internet (most often), TV (fairly often), magazines (less often), or contact with people in the real world (almost never).

 

How did it get this way and are distractions appropriate responses to the craziness of the real world? To answer these questions, I want to discuss our misuse of the term “irony.”

 

Now you are probably going to say, “Come on, Alex. What do you have to say that David Foster Wallace and/or Chuck Klosterman haven’t said before, better, and did we already say better?”And I would respond, “You are right. I can talk the talk, but it is probably stolen verbatim from someone wiser than I.”And since we both recognize this, we can move on without having to go into too many details.

 

Merriam Webster defines irony as: “the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think especially in order to be funny.”You and everyone you know has a favorite book or TV show that they claim they watch “ironically.”“Why would I, an educated young liberal dare to watch the complete series of Gossip Girl?”Why, because it is great. When I was younger I wrapped everything I said in seventy-seven layers of irony. No one could understand if I was being sincere. It was a defense mechanism, and a crappy one at that. What I have come to realize is that I like a lot of things that on paper I should not. And at the end of the day, who cares? We all need distractions. This is the difference between hipsters and pop culture lovers. Hipsters do things “ironically,”meaning they do things they would do anyway but have the added bonus of making fun of it to their friends. Ain’t life an infinite jest (get it? Foster Wallace reference, boom!). Pop culture lovers love the same things that hipsters love, sincerely. Both are fine. One is not better than the other, especially since both groups love the same things sincerely for the same reasons: A) because it is entertaining and B) it serves the purpose of distracting people from real things like jobs, taxes, picking up cat litter, etc.

 

This is my revolution. To end the misuse of the term irony. Stop saying you are watching a movie or playing a game ironically. You are just supporting the Alanis Morissette misuse of words. You are doing something that you either sincerely enjoy (so go enjoy it, unless it is bad like not wearing deodorant or murder) or you are doing something you sincerely dislike (which you should stop doing, unless it is you know, like paying attention to your kids or recycling or whatever…). Go ahead, watch Gossip Girl AND Pretty Little Liars, you 320 lb linebacker. Or go ahead, watch Dirty Jobs AND Mythbusters, you Tri-Delt. It is OK. It will all be OK.

 

Sincerely,

Alex