Happy Birthday Frank Marshall: A Californian Everyone Should Know

by Kevin Yates

Frank Marshall was born on September 13th, 1946 and is known as one of the greatest directors/producers of all time. He frequently collaborated with his wife Kathleen Kennedy as well as Steven Spielberg. His rise to fame started from some friendships in college that led to some volunteer positions on set. One of the first sets he volunteered on was for Bogdanovich’s film “Targets.” From there he started working with bigger names like Martin Scorsese and Walter Hill. Some of you will unanimously know one of his most recent films “Jurassic World” which was captivating and adventurous, just like some of his other hits. He is a world class director/producer/actor who is well known in the film world but can fly below the radar if you’ve never heard of him. He tends to get less attention than the Spielberg’s and Scorsese’s of the world, but his top hits are nothing short of greatness. 

  • The Color Purple (DVD 5426) 
  • Back to the Future (DVD 7840)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (DVD 3251) 
  • The Bourne Identity (DVD 4951) 
  • Seabiscuit (DVD 7265) 
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (DVD 5917)

Happy Birthday Michelle Yeoh

by Asanat Odeyale

Michelle Yeoh, a Chinese-Malaysian actress, was born on August 6, 1962. She rose to fame in the 1990s by starring in Hong Kong action films. However, she gained international recognition when she played Wai Lin the 1997 James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies and other martial arts films,

By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59614089

such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 

Yeoh is both a literal and figurative symbol for strength and womanhood. As a former pageant queen and ballet dancer, she traded in her tiara and pointe shoes for air-kicks and became a profound martial artist for her early rolesShe countered the stereotype of women being powerless while also solidifying how women of color also have a place in Hollywood. You can read more about Yeoh’s lifetime achievements and amazing roles in her Elle interview: 

https://www.elle.com/culture/a26238927/michelle-yeoh-crazy-rich-asians-star-trek-discovery-interview/  

Happy Birthday Michelle Yeoh! If you want to watch Yeoh’s work, you can find these popular movies that she has starred in the AU Media Collection: 

  • Tomorrow Never Dies (DVD 6423) 
  • Crazy Rich Asians (DVD 16221) 
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (DVD 480)  
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (DVD 1898) 

Happy Birthday Mindy Kaling!

by Jason Wieder

Mindy Kaling was born on June 25, 1979. She is a comedian and actress.

By Claire Leahy – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=95164042

While Kaling has acted in several movies and television shows, she is most known for her character in The Office. Along with her role as Kelly Kapoor in the show, she also was a writer, producer, and executive director of this sitcom 

Recently, Kaling created a Netflix series titled “Never Have I Ever.” Kaling wrote and produced this series, which is based on her own childhood and young adult life. “Never Have I Ever” details the life of a teen named Devi as she comes of age as a first-generation Indian American. This show, important for its representation of Indian Americans and first-generation immigrantsquickly became popular and was Netflix’s #1 Show of the Day in several countries within a few days of its debut. Kailing celebrated this accomplishment on her social media through an Instagram post capturing the show’s stats on Netflix, and even dressed up as Devi this Halloween.  

Here are some films we have with Mindy Kaling in our collection: 

Happy Birthday to Dev Patel and Dev Patel Only

by Emily Walsh

Oh, it’s also your birthday today? Well, that’s too bad because today we’re only celebrating Dev Patel.  

Known for his roles in Slumdog MillionaireLion, and that Avatar the Last

By Gordon Correll – Dev Patel, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52454230

Airbender live-action remake we all collectively decided not to talk about, Patel has conquered our hearts and screens for over 10 years. Patel was the first-ever actor of Indian origin to win a BAFTA after clinching the title for Best Supporting Actor in Lion.  He was also nominated for an Academy Award and Oscar for the same role.  

Patel is set to star as Sir Gawain in The Green Knighta fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of the same name. The movie release was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is unknown when Patel with grace our theatres and home televisions again.  

If you’re like me, and you can’t wait for The Green Knight to get your fix of Patel, here are some of his most well-known films and television series available at the AU Library you can watch to celebrate his birthday: 

Happy Birthday Gurinder Chadha!

by Andrew McCarthy

Photography by Neil Grabowsky

Happy birthday to director Gurinder Chadha! Chadha was borJanuary 10th 1960 in Nairobi, Kenya. Her family later moved to the UK, and she studied at the University of East Anglia and the London College of Printing. Throughout her career, she’s worked in the radio industry, the news industry as a BBC reporter, as well as directed award-winning documentaries for the BBC. 

While she gained notoriety for the film Bhaji on the Beach, where she became the first British Asian woman to direct a full-length feature film, she has also gained a lot of popularity as the writer and director for many feature films including: Bend it like Beckham and Blinded by the Light.  

Many of the films that she has written and directed help tell her own story; someone who wants to become their own person despite their parent’s objections. She works within that space in order to find the drama for each of her films. It allows the characters to find each other’s perspectives and grow and develop as characters through that journey of discovery. As an umbrella theme, this is very common in film, but Gurinder makes it her own by applying it to her own life; an immigrant’s journey growing up in the western world.  

“Once the movie starts, I make it for myself. The film has to be your own.” 

-Gurinder Chadha 

You can find many of Chadha’s films in the Media Services collection:

Bend it Like Beckham (Available online; DVD 672)

Bhaji on the Beach (DVD 4958)

Blinded by the Light (DVD 16765)

Bride and Prejudice (DVD 1784)

Paris, je t’aime, “Quais de Seine” (DVD 3378)

What’s Cooking? (DVD 251)

Random Movie Monday — The Pianist

Today’s random movie is DVD 1794, The Pianist. It’s a fitting random movie for this week leading up to the Academy Awards, since this heartbreaking and at times gut-wrenching film was nominated for six awards, and won three, including Best Actor (Adrien Brody). Brody is still the youngest man in history to win the Best … Continue reading “Random Movie Monday — The Pianist”

Today’s random movie is DVD 1794, The Pianist. It’s a fitting random movie for this week leading up to the Academy Awards, since this heartbreaking and at times gut-wrenching film was nominated for six awards, and won three, including Best Actor (Adrien Brody). Brody is still the youngest man in history to win the Best Actor statuette. Here’s our summary of the movie:


Based on the memoirs of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jew, who was a brilliant pianist. He watched as his family was shipped off to Nazi labor camps. He managed to escape and lived for years in the
 ruins of Warsaw, hiding from the Nazis.

This movie is, of course, supposed to make the viewer think about the Holocaust, but not in a black-and-white, good versus evil sense. Instead, the film’s director, Roman Polanski, highlights the shades of grey and the frailty and strength of human nature in the worst of situations.

While this film is definitely a one of the best of the 21st century, I always feel a little guilty about watching it. It’s personally hard for me to wrestle with how powerful this film is, and how good it is, with the character of its director, Roman Polanski. He has been a fugitive from justice since 1977, when he plead guilty to sexual assault of a minor, and has faced multiple allegations of sexual assault since then. How can you separate the art from the artist?

A Tribute to Albert Finney

Last week, we lost an icon of 20th century cinema. The actor Albert Finney, who personified the “angry young man” of British cinema of the 1950s, died on February 7th at the age of 82. Finney was born to a lower-middle class family in Salford, England, just outside of Manchester, in 1936. After attending the … Continue reading “A Tribute to Albert Finney”

Last week, we lost an icon of 20th century cinema. The actor Albert Finney, who personified the “angry young man” of British cinema of the 1950s, died on February 7th at the age of 82.


Image from Getty.

Finney was born to a lower-middle class family in Salford, England, just outside of Manchester, in 1936. After attending the Royal Academy of Drama (RADA), Finney had a name for himself as a stage actor before taking film roles. His first film, The Entertainer, was one of the first “kitchen-sink dramas”: films that explored the lives of working class Britons with unrelenting realism, and tried to force British society at large to deal with social problems in the wake of WWII. Since Finney came from a lower-middle/working class family from Northern England, he was an ideal fit for many of the “angry young man” roles that dominated these films. In addition to The Entertainer, he also starred in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

Despite his affinity of these working class roles, Finney managed to avoid being typecast. In 1963, just three years after the release of his first two kitchen sink films, Finney earned his first Oscar nomination for his titular role in Tom Jones, a film based on the raunchy 18th century novel. However, he famously scorned the Oscars and other awards, and he never attended the ceremony, despite being nominated a total of five times.

Finney worked consistently between 1956 and 2002, appearing in plays such as The Cherry Orchard, movies like Erin Brockovich and Big Fish,a tv show like the Winston Churchill drama The Gathering Storm. and  After fighting cancer in the mid 2000s, he returned to theaters with small roles in the Jason Bourne trilogy, as well as the James Bond film Skyfall.

We’ll miss Albert Finney’s arresting presence in new films, but the nice thing about DVDs is that you can go back and watch actors like Finney forever. Here are Finney’s films in our collection:

  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (DVD 359)
  • Tom Jones (DVD 8107)
  • Erin Brockovich (DVD 306)
  • The Playboys (DVD 6817)
  • Miller’s Crossing (DVD 2457)
  • A Good Year (DVD 3959)
  • The Dresser (DVD 4790)
  • Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (DVD 4201)
  • Skyfall (DVD 5001)
  • Under the Volcano (DVD 8807)
  • Annie (DVD 221)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (DVD 4953)
  • Amazing Grace (DVD 3420)
  • Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (DVD 13291)
  • Two for the Road (DVD 4562)
  • Big Fish (DVD 4712)

Random Movie Tuesday — American Experience: Cold War Roadshow

Привет! This week’s random movie documents one of my personal favorite historical happenings– Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s 1959 road trip across the United States. DVD 11777 is one of PBS’ American Experience documentaries, and let me tell you, it’s a good one. Here’s our summary: The story of one of the most bizarre episodes in … Continue reading “Random Movie Tuesday — American Experience: Cold War Roadshow”

Привет! This week’s random movie documents one of my personal favorite historical happenings– Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s 1959 road trip across the United States. DVD 11777 is one of PBS’ American Experience documentaries, and let me tell you, it’s a good one. Here’s our summary:


The story of one of the most bizarre episodes in the annals of modern history: the unprecedented trip across America in 1959 by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the world leader of communism and America’s arch nemesis. The visit was an opportunity to halt the escalating threats of the Cold War and chart a new course toward peaceful coexistence. For the American press, it was the media story of the year.

This was the tour that blessed us with all the great images of Khrushchev staring adoringly at ears of corn. With this DVD, you’ll get to learn about the story behind those iconic photos.

The cover of Life magazine features a photograph of Russian Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev (1894 – 1971) as he holds an ear of corn aloft during a US tour, October 5, 1959. (Photo by Hank Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Random Movie Wednesday

Apologies for the late random movie, friends. We had a snow day on Monday, and we were too busy frolicking in the snow and napping to post a random movie. This week’s random movie is DVD 677 — Punch-Drunk Love. Here’s our summary: Struggling to cope with his erratic temper, novelty toilet plunger salesman Barry … Continue reading “Random Movie Wednesday”

Apologies for the late random movie, friends. We had a snow day on Monday, and we were too busy frolicking in the snow and napping to post a random movie.

This week’s random movie is DVD 677 — Punch-Drunk Love. Here’s our summary:


Struggling to cope with his erratic temper, novelty toilet plunger salesman Barry Egan spends his days collecting frequent-flyer-mile coupons and dodging the insults of his seven sisters. The promise of a new life emerges when Barry inadvertently attracts the affections of a mysterious woman named Lena. But their budding relationship is threatened when he falls prey to the swindling operator of a phone sex line and her deranged boss.

And this summary doesn’t even mention the pudding. Check it out!

Susan Zirinsky & Broadcast News

On March 6, Susan Zirinsky, an alum of AU’s School of Communications, will become the President and Senior Executive Producer of CBS News: the first women in that position. Zirinsky comes to the role with an impressive resume. During her decades-long career at CBS, she’s covered the Watergate Scandal, the White House, and won one … Continue reading “Susan Zirinsky & Broadcast News”

On March 6, Susan Zirinsky, an alum of AU’s School of Communications, will become the President and Senior Executive Producer of CBS News: the first women in that position. Zirinsky comes to the role with an impressive resume. During her decades-long career at CBS, she’s covered the Watergate Scandal, the White House, and won one Emmy and two Peabody Awards for her work.

Zirinsky also served as the inspiration for Jane Craig, the news producer protagonist in Broadcast News. Zirinsky had an incredible amount of input on the creative direction of the film, and she also served as its executive producer. She even gave Holly Hunter, the actress who portrayed her in the film, some of her own clothes to wear as costumes.

We want to congratulate Zirinsky for her most recent achievement, and we know she’ll do well as the President of CBS News. For all you aspiring journalists and producers out there, we highly recommend Broadcast News, which you can borrow from Media Services. Just ask for DVD 3504.