The New York Times breaks down Oscar trailer timelines

The art of the crafting a movie trailer has recently become a science. Every smash cut, cliffhanger, fade to black, and fancy shot of an actor’s name has been reduced to a formula that seemingly every studio follows. The New York Times adds a new wrinkle to that analysis by splitting apart trailers for this … Continue reading “The New York Times breaks down Oscar trailer timelines”

The art of the crafting a movie trailer has recently become a science. Every smash cut, cliffhanger, fade to black, and fancy shot of an actor’s name has been reduced to a formula that seemingly every studio follows.

The New York Times adds a new wrinkle to that analysis by splitting apart trailers for this year’s Best Picture-nominated films based on when its scenes appear in the movie. A basic formula seems to exist: follow the movie chronologically to introduce the characters and plot, then end with a series of quick cuts through the middle and end to show the major action. With some variance, Silver Linings Playbook and Beasts of the Southern Wild follow this outline fairly closely.

Then there’s ones like Lincoln and Amour that skip around wildly with seemingly no attention to the film’s timeline. Stephen Garrett, a trailer producer that the Times interviewed, suggests that these trailers focus less on the plot than the tone of the movie. They don’t need to follow the plot order if they’re just suggesting a mood.

It’s interesting to see how filmmakers choose to portray their works. Argo is about a story. Amour is about a feeling.

Burning question: Does Best Picture matter?

With all the Oscar hullabaloo (of which we’re guilty as well), it’s easy to accept that the Oscars matter, that the acting winners represent the fines that Hollywood offers, and that an institution as venerated as the Academy is the official tastemaker. Take a step back and read this interesting and controversial opinion from Rob … Continue reading “Burning question: Does Best Picture matter?”

With all the Oscar hullabaloo (of which we’re guilty as well), it’s easy to accept that the Oscars matter, that the acting winners represent the fines that Hollywood offers, and that an institution as venerated as the Academy is the official tastemaker.

Take a step back and read this interesting and controversial opinion from Rob Lowman of the L.A. Daily News. Lowman rightfully argues that past Best Picture winners have not stood the test of time and greatness compared to other nominees. Everyone has an example they can point to. 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example, was not even nominated for Best Picture and lost to a largely forgotten Oliver Twist musical. Lowman calls out Rocky – a fine film – for beating legendary directors Sidney Lumet and Ingmar Bergman for Best Director.

Awards voting is always subjective, and Lowman seems to have a particular axe to grind with Oscar frontrunner Argo, but his point is valid. Flavors of the moment and popular consensus do tend to cloud judgment, and the Academy’s track record is spotty. But the Academy gets it right more often than not: there’s good reason Patton won over Love Story.

Cozy up with some romantic films

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and there’s no avoiding it if you’re in any center of commerce. If you’re one of those people who likes this annual, culturally mandated celebration of love and greeting cards, we’re got you covered. Our Pinterest page has a section for romantic films and … Continue reading “Cozy up with some romantic films”

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and there’s no avoiding it if you’re in any center of commerce. If you’re one of those people who likes this annual, culturally mandated celebration of love and greeting cards, we’re got you covered.

Our Pinterest page has a section for romantic films and romantic comedies. Right now we have 160 in our collection, ranging from Nicholas Sparks movies (The Notebook, HU DVD 4924) to Hollywood classics (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, HU DVD 501).

Come grab them before they’re gone. You don’t want to end up a Blue Valentine (HU DVD 8296).

Soderbergh calls it a day

Steven Soderbergh’s next film, Side Effects hits theaters tomorrow. But if the director can be believed, it will also be his last film. In recent interviews, Soderbergh has made clear his distaste for the Hollywood system and its treatment of directors. Although Soderbergh still has a film in the can waiting to be released (an … Continue reading “Soderbergh calls it a day”

Steven Soderbergh’s next film, Side Effects hits theaters tomorrow. But if the director can be believed, it will also be his last film. In recent interviews, Soderbergh has made clear his distaste for the Hollywood system and its treatment of directors. Although Soderbergh still has a film in the can waiting to be released (an HBO movie about Liberace), he plans to retire from filmmaking after Side Effect‘s release and focus on painting instead.

It’ll be a shame. Soderbergh leaves behind a prolific body of work with a startlingly wide range. The director has helmed films from the star-studded blockbuster caper Ocean’s Eleven and male stripper opus Magic Mike to taut political satire series K Street. You might recognize several of his movies without knowing that he directed them.

Given Soderbergh’s abundant and quality filmography, we have quite a few of his films in our collection. Come watch a few to send out a film career for the ages.

Erin Brockovich – HU DVD 306
Sex, Lies, and Videotape – HU DVD 383
Traffic – HU DVD 432
Eros – HU DVD 2627
K Street, The Complete Series – HU DVD 4700
The Good German – HU DVD 4705
Out of Sight – HU DVD 4817
Full Frontal – HU DVD 5382
Schizopolis – HU DVD 5389
Solaris – HU DVD 5398
Underneath – HU DVD 5400
Bubble – HU DVD 5447
The Girlfriend Experience – HU DVD 6770
The Informant! – HU DVD 7054
Che (Parts 1, 2, and supplementals) – HU DVD 7061 – 7063
The Limey – HU DVD 9077
Contagion – HU DVD 9596
And Everything is Going Fine – HU DVD 10006
Ocean’s Eleven – HU DVD 10484
Ocean’s Twelve – HU DVD 10485
Ocean’s Thirteen – HU DVD 10486
Magic Mike – HU DVD 10653

Alternative programming: Are you ready for some football?

Super Bowl XLVII, the biggest American sporting event of the year, kicks off tonight. No matter where you go, the big game will probably be playing on the nearest display device, and there will be pizza. (There’s even pizza here for the Media Services staff!) Since the Super Bowl draws such massive ratings, any television … Continue reading “Alternative programming: Are you ready for some football?”

Super Bowl XLVII, the biggest American sporting event of the year, kicks off tonight. No matter where you go, the big game will probably be playing on the nearest display device, and there will be pizza. (There’s even pizza here for the Media Services staff!)

Since the Super Bowl draws such massive ratings, any television program run opposite the Super Bowl is doomed to fail. This hasn’t stopped shows like the Puppy Bowl from getting a large audience. There’s a certain slice of the country that doesn’t want to watch football.

If you’re the type of person that would rather not watch the Super Bowl, there are still some alternatives in the same vein. Consider watching these movies in our collection about football and football history:

Fictional:

Any Given Sunday – HU DVD 101
Horse Feathers – HU DVD 1128
The Simpsons, Season 3: “Lisa the Greek” – HU DVD 6590
The Blind Side – HU DVD 8312
Friends, Disc 10: “The One With the Football” – HU DVD 8510
Remember the Titans – HU DVD 9133
Community, Season 1: “Feminism, Football and You” – HU DVD 10001, Disc 1
Roll Tide/War Eagle – HU DVD 10055

Documentaries:

Go, Tigers! – HU DVD 815
The Band That Wouldn’t Die – HU DVD 7901
Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL? – HU DVD 7901
The Best That Never Was – HU DVD 7912

For Those Who Call It “American Football:

The Damned United – HU DVD 7058

Aw, nerds! Catch up on 30 Rock as it comes to an end

There’s some bad news on our mind-grapes today. After seven years of “claps-giving yay ha-rade,” NBC sitcom 30 Rock is airing its final episode tonight. Though 30 Rock struggled to break out from the shadow of bigger NBC hits like The Office and MILF Island, it was an enormous critical success, winning a whopping 14 … Continue reading “Aw, nerds! Catch up on 30 Rock as it comes to an end”

There’s some bad news on our mind-grapes today. After seven years of “claps-giving yay ha-rade,” NBC sitcom 30 Rock is airing its final episode tonight. Though 30 Rock struggled to break out from the shadow of bigger NBC hits like The Office and MILF Island, it was an enormous critical success, winning a whopping 14 Emmys, scoring a Peabody Award, and pushing the boundaries of the single-camera sitcom format. We love 30 Rock so much, we want to take it behind the middle school and… well, you know the rest.

In preparation for tonight’s series finale, grab a bag of Sabor de Soledad and rewatch the first four seasons from our collection:

30 Rock, Season 1 – HU DVD 8921 – 8923
30 Rock, Season 2 – HU DVD 8924 – 8925
30 Rock, Season 3 – HU DVD 8926 – 8928
30 Rock, Season 4 – HU DVD 8929 – 8931

Is J. J. Abrams the right man for the job? See for yourself

The entertainment world went nuts this weekend over news that filmmaker J. J. Abrams will be helming the next installment in the Star Wars franchise. Apart from the sci-fi conflict of interest with his work on Star Trek, the biggest question is whether Abrams’s work gives him the chops and wherewithal to take on, arguably, … Continue reading “Is J. J. Abrams the right man for the job? See for yourself”

The entertainment world went nuts this weekend over news that filmmaker J. J. Abrams will be helming the next installment in the Star Wars franchise. Apart from the sci-fi conflict of interest with his work on Star Trek, the biggest question is whether Abrams’s work gives him the chops and wherewithal to take on, arguably, the biggest brand name in entertainment.

Abrams has a longer history as a producer than as a director, but his distinct, complex style has influenced every production he’s touched. If you want to get a better idea of what “far, far away” will look like in a few years, dig into our collections and watch some of the works that Abrams has influenced.

The Office, Season 3: “Cocktails” – HU DVD 4018
Lost, The Complete Series – HU DVD 4501 – 4537
Star Trek – HU DVD 7084
Fringe, Season 1 – HU DVD 7981 – 7987
Super 8 – HU DVD 9288
Mission: Impossible III – HU DVD 10699
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – HU DVD 10699

Website reveals widespread movie screener piracy

Movie piracy is a major issue, but it can be easy to attribute it to overzealous hackers or teenagers who sneak cameras into theaters. Turns out this isn’t the case: even members of the film community are prone to leak new movies onto the Internet. An amazing new spreadsheet compiled by the author of Waxy.org … Continue reading “Website reveals widespread movie screener piracy”

Movie piracy is a major issue, but it can be easy to attribute it to overzealous hackers or teenagers who sneak cameras into theaters. Turns out this isn’t the case: even members of the film community are prone to leak new movies onto the Internet.

An amazing new spreadsheet compiled by the author of Waxy.org tracks the history of Academy Award screener leaks. Essentially, distributors will give free movies to voting members of the film community for consideration during awards season. These copies are usually branded with some sort of watermark indicating that they should not be released or distributed. Still, it happens. Bigger movies with widespread appeal, such as The Hobbit and Lincoln, have already had screener copies leak, but niche movies (including Argo and Beasts of the Southern Wild) have yet to see preview copies hit the Internet.

This spreadsheet is another interesting piece in the ongoing puzzle of piracy. Nobody, it seems, is immune.

Oscar nominations: What can you watch right now?

The Academy Award nominations are out! There are a few surprises this time around, most significantly the inclusion of Beasts of the Southern Wild and Michael Haneke’s Amour. You can view the full list on the official Oscars website. As much as we would love for you to watch these movies, most of them aren’t … Continue reading “Oscar nominations: What can you watch right now?”

The Academy Award nominations are out! There are a few surprises this time around, most significantly the inclusion of Beasts of the Southern Wild and Michael Haneke’s Amour. You can view the full list on the official Oscars website.

As much as we would love for you to watch these movies, most of them aren’t on DVD yet. That said, we do have a few movies that were nominated, as well as Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is quickly becoming the dark horse in the Best Picture race.

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay) — HU DVD 10813
  • Inocente (Best Documentary Short) — DVD 10637
  • The Invisible War (Best Documentary Feature) — HU DVD 10567
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (Best Visual Effects) — HU DVD 10567
  • Prometheus (Best Visual Effects) — HU DVD 10496

Get ready for Oscar nominations with Wings

Tomorrow, the Academy will announce its nominations for the 85th Academy Awards. We can probably expect the likely nominees (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, etc.), but given the widespread critical acclaim for these films, it will probably be a contentious and exciting contest. Last year, many were taken aback by the success of The Artist, the … Continue reading “Get ready for Oscar nominations with Wings”

Tomorrow, the Academy will announce its nominations for the 85th Academy Awards. We can probably expect the likely nominees (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, etc.), but given the widespread critical acclaim for these films, it will probably be a contentious and exciting contest.

Last year, many were taken aback by the success of The Artist, the first silent film to win the Academy’s highest honor since the 1920s. Here’s the thing: very few people have seen that movie. Wings, the first winner of the Outstanding Picture award (as it was known at the time), was only ever released on VHS. The original negatives are long lost, preventing a proper redux for decades.

That finally changed in 2012 when Paramount released a retouched version of Wings on DVD and Blu-ray. I can’t imagine how time and work went into the restoration process, but the fruits of their labor are finally available for public consumption.

Brush up on your Academy Award history by checking out Wings from Media Services (HU DVD 10854).