CNBC catches up with The Queen of Versailles subjects

The Queen of Versailles (HU DVD 4553) is one of the more popular and unusual documentaries in our collection. It chronicles the lifestyle of Florida billionaires Jackie and David Siegel as they attempt to build an impossibly massive mansion during the height of the recent economic downturn. As the film explains, a variety of economic … Continue reading “CNBC catches up with The Queen of Versailles subjects”

The Queen of Versailles (HU DVD 4553) is one of the more popular and unusual documentaries in our collection. It chronicles the lifestyle of Florida billionaires Jackie and David Siegel as they attempt to build an impossibly massive mansion during the height of the recent economic downturn. As the film explains, a variety of economic and hubristic factors prevented the French-inspired Versailles House from reaching completion.

Apparently the Siegels have doubled down, vowing to complete the mansion within the next few years. For those who came out of The Queen of Versailles deeply intrigued, a recent tour from CNBC shines light on the current state of the project. The piece, featured on the show Secret Lives Of The Super Rich, is by no means a critical exposé, but it does provide an interesting follow-up to see how the Siegels are still pursuing their dreams of elaborate grandeur.

“Fitzcardboardaldo” will make any Herzog fan’s week

This might be best to share without much context. Experimental artist and puppeteer Robin Frohardt recreated Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo in cardboard. We see creative tributes to movies all the time, but the sheer audacity of this project and its unusual choice of subject are laudable. And ironic, given Herzog’s tendency to make movies about impossible … Continue reading ““Fitzcardboardaldo” will make any Herzog fan’s week”

This might be best to share without much context. Experimental artist and puppeteer Robin Frohardt recreated Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo in cardboard. We see creative tributes to movies all the time, but the sheer audacity of this project and its unusual choice of subject are laudable. And ironic, given Herzog’s tendency to make movies about impossible dreams and struggles against nature.

Watch Steven Soderbergh’s extra-long speech about the state of film

It looks like filmmaker Steven Soderbergh wasn’t kidding when he said he was retiring. A few day ago, Soderbergh gave a keynote speech at the San Francisco Film Festival. It was exactly as upbeat as you might expect from an auteur who left Hollywood in disillusionment. For nearly 40 minutes, Soderbergh delivered a rambling assault … Continue reading “Watch Steven Soderbergh’s extra-long speech about the state of film”

It looks like filmmaker Steven Soderbergh wasn’t kidding when he said he was retiring. A few day ago, Soderbergh gave a keynote speech at the San Francisco Film Festival. It was exactly as upbeat as you might expect from an auteur who left Hollywood in disillusionment. For nearly 40 minutes, Soderbergh delivered a rambling assault on the film industry, piracy, and other societal ills.

Thankfully, despite the requests for no video recording, the San Francisco Film Society has provided a complete video of Soderbergh’s “State of Cinema” speech. It’s sort of breathtaking to watch. If you can find the time, or even if you want to put it on in the background, it’s worth listening to one of the most prolific independent filmmakers of the era talk about what he finds wrong with the industry.

A salute to “breaking the fourth wall”

“Breaking the fourth wall” is one of the riskiest tools in a filmmaker’s bag. As recently exemplified in Netflix’s version of House of Cards, taking a moment to recognize the audience or the limitations of the visual medium can work like gangbusters for comic or dramatic effect. It can also backfire and distract the audience … Continue reading “A salute to “breaking the fourth wall””

“Breaking the fourth wall” is one of the riskiest tools in a filmmaker’s bag. As recently exemplified in Netflix’s version of House of Cards, taking a moment to recognize the audience or the limitations of the visual medium can work like gangbusters for comic or dramatic effect. It can also backfire and distract the audience from an otherwise internally consistent work.

But as history has proven, a solid landing from a fourth wall break can create some of the most memorable moments on film. This supercut of famous winks, nods, and metahumor brings together some of the most disparate works of film into a well-edited 8-minute montage. Everything from Horse Feathers to Michael Haneke’s Funny Games gets a shoutout. (Don’t worry: the video breaks the fourth wall on its own too.)

There are far, far too many films featured in this video to mention individually. Stick through the credits for a full list.

Learn Photoshop like a preschooler — with puppets!

The end of the semester is upon us, which means that term projects and presentations are rearing their ugly heads. If the activity in the New Media Center is anything to go by, professors from across campus are now expecting students to use media in their presentations. This is expected for graphic design, film, and … Continue reading “Learn Photoshop like a preschooler — with puppets!”

The end of the semester is upon us, which means that term projects and presentations are rearing their ugly heads. If the activity in the New Media Center is anything to go by, professors from across campus are now expecting students to use media in their presentations. This is expected for graphic design, film, and communications classes, but for a political science student who’s never touched Photoshop, it can be intimidating.

If you’re new to the world of media software and need someone to explain it to you like you’re a toddler, look no further than “Fafa’s Photoshop Tutorial,” a video tutorial on the basics of Photoshop as presented by puppets. It’s equal parts adorable and informative for first-time users.

Remember that if you need personal, human help with media software, the New Media Center staff are available to help out whenever we’re open.

Teddy gets his own documentary

[UPDATE: Oh no, the video is down! It looks like it was put online without permission.] Poor Teddy. As Nationals fans are keenly aware, Teddy Roosevelt has not won a single Presidents Race since the mid-game event event started in 2006. We can all agree that this is a terrible injustice to the legendary Rough … Continue reading “Teddy gets his own documentary”

[UPDATE: Oh no, the video is down! It looks like it was put online without permission.]

Poor Teddy. As Nationals fans are keenly aware, Teddy Roosevelt has not won a single Presidents Race since the mid-game event event started in 2006. We can all agree that this is a terrible injustice to the legendary Rough Rider… but is it a conspiracy?!

ESPN produced this short documentary about Teddy’s heartbreaking losing streak as part of its E:60 miniseries. They went all out, going as far as interviewing Senator John McCain and featuring the narration of noted baseball fan Ken Burns. The production level that ESPN put into this one-off video is really remarkable.

And who knew there was such a loyal, fervent Teddy following?

The Criterion Collection, abridged

The Criterion Collection is an assemblage of some of the most significant films of all time, preserved in great quality with exceptional special features and commentary. Their collection is as prestigious as it is large; assuming each movie is about two hours long, it would take nearly two solid months to work through all of … Continue reading “The Criterion Collection, abridged”

The Criterion Collection is an assemblage of some of the most significant films of all time, preserved in great quality with exceptional special features and commentary. Their collection is as prestigious as it is large; assuming each movie is about two hours long, it would take nearly two solid months to work through all of them.

Let’s be honest, not everyone has that much time. Luckily, film enthusiast Jonathan Keogh has spliced clips from all 637 Criterion films (current and future) into a two-and-a-half-minute montage. That’s a 99.997% reduction in length!

If you want to take the extra hours, Media Services contains many of the full-length films in this montage.