Posted by & filed under Media Library, Movie Recommendations.

Written By Nathan Williams, UNT Media Library Student Staff

I love Film Noir. Not only that, but I think you do too, and you may not know it yet. Even for those of us that have never seen a Film Noir, the term itself is so synonymous with certain visual techniques and thematic underpinnings in films (and other properties) the style has inspired, it’s easy to feel like one has a good sense of the term “noir” without experiencing it first hand. People’s expectations on what to expect from noir may understandably vary, based on how those early noir films have inspired such a vast array of art from Se7en, Sin City, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Bioshock and Memento.

More than a few people I have encountered just assume that film noir means the movie is in black and white. Nonetheless, the true definition of a film noir will change depending on who you ask. There’s a contingent of people (that the scientific community often refers to as kill-joys) that insist that “noir” can only refer to films that were made during a specific time frame during the 1950’s. Regardless of the semantics, within the noir style you will often find crime, healthy amounts of cynicism, backstabbing intelligent/seductive women, and a hard nosed male lead (who’s usually involved with some form of law enforcement) in the plot.

From a visual standpoint, low key lighting and exaggerated camerawork is used to sew these stories together. Because of those loosely defined parameters, there can often be debates about whether a film is really and truly a noir. However, the more noir you watch, the more you can identify when a director is trying to either reference a visual or narrative motif of the style, or play on the style more generally.

Here are some of my favorite film noirs through different eras in film history that you can find in our collection at the UNT Media Library.

The Third Man: 1951 (DVD 14409)

Holly Martins is a pulp fiction writer who travels to post WWII Vienna to see his old friend Harry Lime, only to find that he died in an accident just before his arrival. Holly comes to find out that his friend maybe wasn’t who he thought he was. Harry was a big player in the criminal underground of war-torn Vienna. Resultantly, law enforcement there want his cooperation in an investigation to find the mysterious third man who was at the scene of Lime’s accident.

There are several reasons why you should stop what you’re doing and watch this film immediately. First of all, this film was shot masterfully on location in Vienna and you can still see the real rubble from WWII bombings piled next to the street. The entire city breathes with its own life and existed, at the time, at the cross section of several different cultures and law enforcement entities, which gives the film a very unique crucible for its plot to take place in. Orson Welles gives one of his best performances as the alluring but dangerous Harry Lime with a role that’s wickedly dark for its time. I could be overly effusive about it for several pages, but in short, it would be at the very least one of the most visually arresting films you’ve ever seen if you took a chance on it. Beyond that, it’s a sparkling example of the noir aesthetic that even those aforementioned kill-joys wouldn’t argue with.

The Long Goodbye 1973 (DVD 1693)

Elliot Gould plays Phillip Marlow, a seedy private eye that’s hired to investigate a murder/suicide that the police are all too keen on dropping. Based off of a Raymond Chandler novel, like a panoply of its noir predecessors were, the set up for the plot could not be more quintessentially “noir.” And while there are certainly some shocking plot points and visuals in early noirs, creators were hampered by the censorship codes in what they could portray. Leave it to 70’s “film brats” such as Robert Altman to take the inherent cynicism of the artform and explore where it could go with the new boundaries on what was deemed appropriate to portray on screen.

Altman portrays both L.A. and his main character as total roving sleaze bags. This is not to give the impression that the film is somehow melancholic or dower, because this fact is often played for laughs, as Altman has a sardonic and matter of fact way of showing you the setting in which these people operate. Much like The Third Man, this version of L.A. that Altman creates for his characters to inhabit is incredibly distinct and almost a character unto itself.  And, yes, you’re with some unsavory characters throughout the film, but the way that Gould plays Marlow really keeps you invested. And, his stoicism is often comical in relation to the extreme events he’s experiencing. The film itself is definitely a love letter to the noirs of old, but you don’t have to be literate in those references to enjoy it by any means. It’s almost equally funny as it is intriguing, provided you have a darker sensibility, which makes for a really engaging watch. It’s one of the true gems of the 70’s, in my opinion. But, if you’re not sold yet, it also contains Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first film role. So…there.

The Last Seduction 1995 DVD 1756

Linda Fiorentino plays Bridgette, a woman who just stole half a million dollars from her husband and leaves New York City to lay low. When she gets to a smaller town she uses her skills as a sexual manipulator to trick a man into help keeping her cover. When her husband finds her she tries to use those same skills to convince her new boy-toy to murder her husband.

The femme fatale has been a staple of the noir style since its inception, a cunning and ultimately evil woman that uses her beauty to manipulate men into doing her bidding. That said, where this film is able to go with that initial idea, through the stellar performance of Fiorentino, the change in censorship laws since the 50’s, and the great script, really capitalizes on that entire idea and puts that character in the driver’s seat. I’m just gonna say it, this film is brimming with sexuality. That being said, it’s not in an exploitative or unnecessary way. Bridgette uses it as a tool in the same way a hard nosed cop from the noirs of old like Sam Spade would use their brawn to smack someone around to get information. She’s an incredibly compelling anti-hero to propel the viewer through this film. It’s a morbidly pleasurable experience to watch these men constantly fall into her web and meet their tragic ends. Much like The Long Goodbye, there are some laughs to be had here amongst this dark and labyrinthine plot, which makes for a pretty breezy viewing experience. It stands as a true accomplishment in the noir style and the 90’s independent film movement as a whole. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Posted by & filed under Halloween, Media Library, Uncategorized, Video Games.

Written By Julia Parkinson, UNT Media Library Student Staff 

With COVID-19 still sticking around for the fall, this Halloween is shaping up to be a holiday devoid of the usual tricks and treats of the season. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a spooky night spent at home! There’s nothing better for getting in the Halloween mood than enjoying some scary video games—and when it comes to inducing good old all-consuming dread, the survival horror genre is where it’s at.

Survival horror is a genre defined by what it lacks; rather than facing enemies head on as players do in action adventure games, survival horror encourages you to run, save resources, and hide whenever possible by limiting the availability of weapons and other ways to fight back against your foes. In good survival horror, this lack of control over your surroundings creates an ever-present atmosphere of fear and dread. You’ll approach every corner and doorway with caution, knowing that your end might be getting a little closer with each step your character takes.

The UNT Media Library has a fantastic selection of games to make 2020 your spookiest Halloween yet. If you’re looking to spend the rest of the month peeking over your shoulder for ghosts and ghouls, check out some of these great titles in our online catalog!

 

   

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (Game 603 PS4/Xbox One)

“The fates of Resident Evil past and present meet on an abandoned island facility. Will they be able to survive the madness that awaits them?”

The Resident Evil franchise is often considered a cornerstone of the survival horror genre, and Revelations 2 is no exception. Switching between protagonists Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, you must try to survive and escape your imprisonment on the remote Sejm Island. Faced with monsters, and mad scientists, this task proves much easier in theory than in practice.

And don’t worry, you don’t need to have any prior experience with the Resident Evil franchise to enjoy this game! If you like it, though, you should definitely give the series’ other titles a shot.

 

 

Until Dawn (Game 709 PS4)

“When eight friends return to the isolated mountain lodge where two of their group disappeared exactly one year ago, things quickly turn sinister.”

If you’ve ever wanted to control the events of a slasher film, Until Dawn is your game. In this tale of love, lies, and betrayal, you decide the fates of eight young adults vacationing at the mysterious Blackwood Mountain lodge. Each of your choices causes a butterfly effect that will change the events of the game, meaning that who survives or who perishes is entirely up to you.

 

 

The Evil Within (Game 588 PS4/Xbox One)

“After witnessing the slaughter of fellow officers, Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead.”

Made by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within hits every high note of the horror genre. With limited supplies and a host of disturbing monsters following your every move, you must unravel the mysteries of Beacon Mental Hospital and the cause of the horrible tragedy that took place there. The Evil Within will make you question your grasp on reality as you progress, leaving you to wonder whether anyone or anything is more capable of evil than power-hungry human beings.

 

 

Little Nightmares (Game 790 PS4)

“Confront your childhood fears in this dark, whimsical tale. In this super-sized world, even the smallest doubt can lead to a fatal end.” 

In Little Nightmares, you play as a young girl named Six traversing a dangerous, impossible landscape with a lighter as your only tool. While the game appears lighthearted and whimsical on the surface, this aesthetic only masks a much darker, twisted tale. As a combination puzzle-platformer and survival horror game, Little Nightmares is unique, haunting, and incredibly fun to play.

 

 

Dead Space (Game 90 PS3)

“A massive deep-space mining ship goes dark after unearthing a strange artifact on a distant planet. Engineer Isaac Clarke embarks on the repair mission, only to uncover a nightmarish bloodbath.”

Dead Space is a few years older than the other games on this list, first released in 2008 for the PS3. However, don’t let its age dissuade you from giving it a try, as Dead Space was quickly realized as a genre-defining game. In this sci-fi horror adventure, the murderous alien Necromorphs aren’t your only enemy—you must also battle the emotional toll of total isolation in deep space. The Media Library also has both of the game’s sequels, Dead Space 2 (Game 213 Xbox 360) and Dead Space 3 (Game 284 Xbox 360)! If you’re looking for a game whose sense of subtle, creeping terror will stick with you, the Dead Space series is sure to deliver.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

summerofgames-blogroll-1588679258380

 

The Gaming Industry During COVID-19

 

With the unexpected rise of COVID-19 and lack of time to prepare for it, many events around the world have either been postponed or canceled, including a majority gaming eventsThese gaming events usually consist of new game announcements, tournaments, LAN parties, and a place where people from around the world can gather to show their love for gaming. 

While the timetable for the return of physical gaming events is unknown, many companies in the gaming industry have decided to convert and create digital events to replace the canceled ones. We’ve already seen this happen in the past few months with the Guerilla Collective, Nordic Game Conference, and a few others that  

 

July Events 

 

GameSpot’s Play For All – (Summer) 

Throughout the summer, GameStop is partnering with Direct Relief (a humanitarian aid organization whose mission is to improve the health and lives of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, many of which are affected by poverty and emergencies.) to celebrate video games and raise funds for healthcare workers battling the global pandemic. This event will feature let’s plays, gameplay marathons, gaming challenges, and interviews with special guests across the games industry. 

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/introducing-play-for-all-gamespots-summer-gaming-c/1100-6476548/ 

 

Nacon Connect – (July 7) 

Publisher, Nacon, is hosting a stream to show off a wide range of announcements, gameplay videos, and surprises featuring its suite of studios. Some games you can expect to see are Werewolf and WRC 9! 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6CGQMMnnUwwjeK0ujkeF6Q 

 

Tennocon 2020 – (July 11) 

If you’re a fan of the popular MMO, Warframe, you’ll want to tune into this conference for an update from Digital Extremes on the future of its popular game. 

https://www.twitch.tv/warframe/ 

 

Ubisoft Forward – (July 12) 

Expect this digital presentation to be extremely similar to previous E3 press conferences that Ubisoft has traditionally done. Look for updates and announcements surrounding all the upcoming Ubisoft titles. 

https://www.ea.com/ea-play-live  

 

Day of the Devs – (July 20) 

Double Fine Productions, iam8bit, and The Game Awards creator, Geoff Keighley, will be holding two separate developer showcase events. Both events will be livestreamed and feature gameplay, news, and musical performances. The list of confirmed developers and publishers to appear so far include Akupara Games, Annapurna Interactive, The Behemoth, Finji, Kowloon Nights, Longhand Electric, MWM Interactive, Panic, Sabotage Studio, Skybound Games, Team17, thatgamecompany, Tribute Games, and ustwo games. 

http://dayofthedevs.com/ 

Posted by & filed under Movie Recommendations.

These 10 timely documentaries provide context and information for understanding both current events and the history of civil rights in America. UNT students, faculty and staff can access each through the Media Library streaming collection. 

I Am not your Negro 

https://unt.kanopy.com/node/542401

I Am Not Your Negro explores the continued peril America faces from institutionalized racism. It is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond, confronts the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and challenges the very definition of what America stands for.

3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets 

https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/3-1-2-minutes-ten-bullets

On Black Friday 2012, four African-American teenagers stopped at a gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. One of them, Jordan Davis, argued with Michael Dunn, a white man parked beside them, over the volume of music playing in their car. The altercation turned to tragedy when Dunn fired 10 bullets at the unarmed boys, killing Davis almost instantly. The seamlessly constructed, riveting documentary film 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws by weaving Dunn’s trial with a chorus of citizen and pundit opinions, alongside the wrenching experiences of Jordan Davis’ parents.

Negroes with Guns

https://unt.kanopy.com/video/negroes-guns

Robert F. Williams was the forefather of the Black Power movement, and he broke dramatic new ground by internationalizing the African American struggle. Negroes with Guns is not only an electrifying look at an historically erased leader, but also provides a thought-provoking examination of Black radicalism and resistance, and serves as a launching pad for the study of Black liberation philosophies.

Quest

https://unt.kanopy.com/video/quest

Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, Christopher “Quest” Rainey, and his wife, Christine’a “Ma Quest” raise a family while nurturing a community of hip hop artists in their home music studio. Epic in scope, QUEST, is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a testament to love, healing and hope.

Do Not Resist 

https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/do-not-resist

Do Not Resist is an urgent and powerful exploration of the rapid militarization of the police in the United States. Starting on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, as the community grapples with the death of Michael Brown, DO NOT RESIST, the directorial debut of DETROPIA cinematographer Craig Atkinson, offers a stunning look at the current state of policing in America and a glimpse into the future.

Strange Fruit

https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/strange-fruit

Strange Fruit is the first documentary exploring the history and legacy of the Billie Holiday classic. The song’s evolution tells a dramatic story of America’s radical past using one of the most influential protest songs ever written as its epicenter. The saga brings viewers face-to-face with the terror of lynching even as it spotlights the courage and heroism of those who fought for racial justice when to do so was to risk ostracism and livelihood if white, and death if Black. It examines the history of lynching, and the interplay of race, labor and the left, and popular culture as forces that would give rise to the Civil Rights Movement.

The Murder of Emmett Till

https://unt.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2ec63fc0-c072-4dcc-94cf-aafe01160ced

The shameful, sadistic murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, a black boy who whistled at a white woman in a Mississippi grocery store in 1955, was a powerful catalyst for the civil rights movement. Although Till’s killers were apprehended, they were quickly acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury and proceeded to sell their story to a journalist, providing grisly details of the murder. Three months after Till’s body was recovered, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began.

Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible

https://unt.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=0ccb4abc-648e-4c23-b93b-aafe011008d0

This film advances the argument that with transformative learning, a dialogue for learning, changing, healing, and undoing race-based oppression can begin. It features the experiences and stories of white women and men who are social justice advocates. They have worked to gain insight into what it means, as white people, to challenge notions of race, racism, culture and white identity development in the United States. Their shared reflections speak to the denial, defensiveness, guilt, fear and shame often related to these issues and show how these responses can be replaced with solid commitments towards racial justice.

In Search of Justice

https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/in-search-of-justice

In Westchester County, New York three unarmed black men were shot and killed by the police between 2008 and 2012. This is the story of one of those killings, and of the fight for justice for all the victims who came before and all who have come after.

Whose Streets

https://unt.kanopy.com/node/1852479 

Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters.

 

By Erin DeWitt-Miller & Lindsay Duke 

Posted by & filed under Board Games, Gaming, Media Library, Mental Health, Video Games.

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we at the UNT Media Library would like to take a moment to highlight the benefits that games, gaming, and play can have on mental health and general well-being.

Whether it be relaxing by playing your favorite adventure game, staying active and challenging your brain by solving a difficult puzzle, enjoying a new or classic boardgame, or even hopping on your phone to play a few minutes of a mobile game when you finally have a moment away, many of us utilize games and gaming in some form or fashion to relax and unwind or, alternatively, to stay active and engaged. Each of these activities can be a great resource to de-stress, spend time with friends, and visit other worlds, all the while unlocking rewards, completing goals, or earning achievements. 

For some, the best way to decompress is by participating in a solo, single-player adventure at your own pace and at your own will. For others, the most freeing thing about playing a game is the ability to engage in a multiplayer setting while continuing to foster camaraderie and support connection with others, even during times of social distance. 

There are times that games can support mental health and well-being even just by watching your favorite esport or seeing your favorite streamer play through a game you enjoy (or a game you can’t beat) while you sit back and relax with a bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning 

Gamification, the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts, is also often utilized in various forms during counseling sessions. 

When playing a game, the player can create a set of goals or have those goals provided, complete objectives they set their mind to, and gain a sense of accomplishment when these goals are completed; the rewarding sensation of progressing beyond a milestone and earning a reward for doing so can at times be almost unrivaled. The player can explore, experience, and create worlds. They can encounter and discover characters of all kinds and can even build bonds with these characters and live through the countless stories presented. 

There are numerous games that are great resources for developing positive mental health and well-being. Some games which are said to foster and support well-being include titles like JourneyHollow KnightAbzu, and Animal Crossing. However, there are even games known to have accurate or positive in-game representations of mental health as well, such as HellbladeLife is Strange, and Celeste. For example, in Celeste, the game is structured in a way that allows the player to gain a better understanding of what they may be dealing with in their own lives, with personified problems that allow the player to address things in the game or within themselves. 

Regardless of the delivery method, whether it be playing video games, playing tabletop and board games, watching others play games, rooting for your favorite team or player, or even just making a game out of something that wasn’t initially a game to begin with, games and gaming have the tremendous ability to allow us to relax, unwind, and enjoy ourselves truly however we see fit.  

For more information on mental health and games for well-being, as well as a comprehensive list of games which can support mental health, head over to CheckPoint to read more about the psychological benefits of video games: https://checkpointorg.com/games-for-health/ 

You can also access and join CheckPoint’s pro-mental health gaming community, GamerMates, here: https://checkpointorg.com/gamermates/ 

For more mental health and well-being resources located on the UNT campus, head over to the following link here: https://studentaffairs.unt.edu/speak-out/mental-health-resources 

Be well and game on.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

 

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. To learn more about how these rich heritages intertwine with American history, we invite UNT patrons to check out some of the films on this list, all of which are available to stream.

 

In Football We Trust

With unprecedented access and shot over a four-year time period, this feature length documentary intimately portrays four young Polynesian men striving to overcome gang violence and near poverty through American football. Viewed as the “salvation” for their families, these young players reveal the culture clash they experience as they transform out of their adolescence and into the high stakes world of collegiate recruiting and rigors of societal expectations.

Watch “In Football We Trust” online here

Pilgrimage

Two young Japanese Americans set out to find an obscure place called Manzanar in the California desert, in 1969. This was one of ten sites where over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated during World War II. This rediscovery then became a ‘pilgrimage’ and the first public event in the U.S. that called attention to the reality of these camps. 

Watch “Pilgrimage” online here. 

You Don’t Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story

A pioneer for Asian American actors, Jack Soo was the first Asian American cast in a lead role of a television series. In this documentary, friends, family, and peers recount stories from his life, from his experience as an internee during World War II, to rising nightclub star, Broadway performer, and eventually television regular. 

Watch You Don’t Know Jack online here. 

Videofashion Designers: Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang is a prominent Asian American fashion designer whose designs rose to fame in 2007, attracting the attention of luxury retailers and celebrities. Videofashion Designers takes the time to look into the brand and the popular designer behind it who rose to prominence over the last decade. 

Watch Videofashion Designers: Alexander Wang online here

How to Be a Writer: Between the Lines, Celest Ng

Celest Ng is the best-selling novelist behind the hits “Everything I Never Told You,” and” Little Fires Everywhere,” which has been adapted into a television series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. Her awards include being the author of a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, and her first novel was named best book of the year by over a dozen publications. 

Watch How to Be a Writer with Celest Ng online here.

Soh Daiko: Taiko in New York

This is the story of a collective drumming community and an empowering Asian American art form, from it beginnings in the basement of the New York Buddhist Church in 1979, as told by its founders and its former and present members.

Watch Soh Daiko: Taiko in New York online here.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

A spring of social distancing has made life complicated, especially when it comes to last minute changes to plans for large events. From sports games, to concerts, to simply going to the movies, everyone has been forced to make sacrifices and postpone things they were looking forward to. We all know it’s not just about seeing a show live in person. It’s about sharing the experience with other people. These are things that are hard to replicate.
 
However, as being in a thunderous, excited crowd isn’t an option at the moment, the UNT Media Library wants to help. Below, patrons can browse several services and collections of streaming theatrical performances from world renowned productions. It may not be the same as sitting side by side a fellow theater goer. Nonetheless, feel free to giving a standing ovation in your living room when the curtain falls and the credits roll. 
 

The National Theatre Collection:

Want modern visions of classics with star studded casts? NT Live’s is your best bet. “NT Live brings the stage to life through access to high definition streaming video of world-class productions and unique archival material offering significant insight into theatre and performance studies. Through a collaboration with the U.K.’s National Theatre, this collection offers a range of digital performance resources never previously seen outside of the National Theatre’s archive.”

Watch Now

National Theatre Collection | Alexander Street
 

Alexander Street’s Ballet Collection: 

Being cooped up for weeks is hard. It’s normal to feel a little stir crazy. Get out that energy by dancing out that feeling while you watch these beautiful ballet performances. Or, just sit back and enjoy the show. We don’t need any sprained ankles, folks. 

Watch Now

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

 

Kelsey Recommends:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (DVD 13616): 

An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.

Kelsey Recommends:

Your Name (DVD 18135):

Two strangers find themselves linked in a bizarre way. As a connection forms, will distance be the only thing to keep them apart?

Erin Recommends:

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (DVD 779): 

Three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

Erin Recommends:

Pump Up the Volume (DVD 4347): 

Mark runs a pirate radio station and causes an uproar when he speaks his mind and enthralls fellow teens.

Chris Recommends:

Hotline Miami (Steam): 

A surrealist video game that dives into the mind of an assassin living within the neon gloss of the late 1980’s of Miami.

Stuart Recommends:

The Fountain (DVD 7314): 

A scientist struggles with mortality, desperately searching for the breakthrough that will save the life of his sick wife.

Maya Recommends:

Outlander Season 4 (DVD 18893): 

An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743 Scotland.

Maya Recommends:

Moonlighter (Game 926): 

Moonlighter is an RPG that shows two sides of the coin, revealing the routines of a shopkeeper that secretly dreams of becoming a hero.

Maya Recommends:

Abzû (Game 909 PS4): 

A nameless scuba diver explores the depths of the ocean.

Laramie Recommends:

Annihilation (DVD 18508): 

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.

 

What are some of your favorite scores and soundtracks? Sound off in the comments below.

Posted by & filed under Movie Recommendations.

 

This February, in honor of Black History Month, the UNT Media Library would like to spotlight six documentaries that examine the complex intersection of race in the worlds of art, business, entertainment, education, and industry. The figures in these films not only offer inspiration to rise above outstanding odds, but engage the audience in the ongoing discussion of identity challenges in American society. 

“A Ballerina’s Tale” follows the rise of ballerina Misty Copleland, the first African American principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater. The film discusses the difficulties women of color have historically faced in the world of ballet, and how Misty’s work has inspired change. Her inspiring story details the performer’s struggles, from injuries to systemic prejudice, while also documenting the health risks and challenges ballerinas across the globe face to pursue their dreams. (DVD 17391).

“Boss: The Black Experience in Business” from PBS tells the stories of black entrepreneurs, covering 150 years of American history. Often forgotten or overlooked, these figures are given their due, showing their affect on American industry. “Boss” examines the prejudices and challenges that tried to hold these industrious leaders back from the American Dream. (DVD 18738)

 

“Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” acts as an illuminating portrait of an legendary writer. “Pieces” follows Morrison’s life from childhood to her rise to narrative success. Her works were not only award winning and highly regarded; they challenged readers to examine humanity, race, and the history of America itself. (DVD 18767).

In “Good Hair”, Chris Rock takes the audience through the complex history and culture of hair in the African American community. A lighthearted take, but a serious examination, “Good Hair” looks behind the scenes of the multi-billion dollar beauty industry, and allows for an honest look at how hair affects black people, especially black women, in their professional and personal lives. (DVD 11540).

 

“Hoop Dreams” is considered one of the best documentaries ever made. The film follows two talented African American teenagers who are recruited to play basketball for a mostly white high school, and the struggles these students and their families met in order to make it work. The film examines race, sports, and economic division all through the lens of sports, leaving critic Roger Ebert to call it “one of the best films about American life I have ever seen.” (DVD 4697).

 

“Tell Them We are Rising” showcases the history of HBCUs, or “Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” These institutions have had major influence over the last 150 years in America, yet their story remains largely untold. From pre-slavery to today, “Tell Them” showcases the important history and evolution of the education system for African Americans. (DVD 18293). 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Movie Recommendations, Television Recommendations.

The San Diego Comic Con is notorious for many things – fans camping in long lines to be the first to see new trailers, spotting celebrities in the delirium-inducing Exhibit Hall, and more cosplayers than there are multiverses in the Marvel canon. It is pretty much Christmas in July for fan boys and girls across the globe, where the Pop Culture industry comes out to share a slew of projects set to delight the masses over the next few years. “SDCC” is how we find out winter is coming, who will next pilot the Tardis, and where the Avengers assemble. However, it’s easy to get lost in the avalanche of news and hype — which is why we made this special news roundup of all the biggest announcements.

  

 

 

  1. Marvel’s “Phase 4” – There is no Endgame in sight for Marvel movie fans as the MCU’s producer Kevin Feige announced their next phase of stories coming to screens soon. The next two years will bring us five Marvel films and five television series, which will be exclusive to Disney’s new streaming service. Out of these titles, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow will finally get her long begged for solo film. The first Asian lead in a superhero film will be introduced with “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” And, not only is “Thor 4” confirmed with Taika Waititi directing, but Natalie Portman is back as Jane Foster, and wielding Thor’s hammer no less. If that amazing batch of news wasn’t enough, the Marvel panel had one more surprise – the character of Blade is coming back to the big screen, with Oscar winner Mahershala Ali taking up the mantle. 

 

  1. Boldly going forward, CBS All Access previewed season three of “Star Trek: Discovery,” throwing its characters into a whirlwind of new adventures. But, it can’t be universe-altering drama all the time, which is where the new animated comedy “Star Trek: Lower Decks” comes in, following “the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships”. Maybe it will be “The Office” in space! However, the most hype surrounded the trailer for the release of the new series “Star Trek: Picard.” It follows Patrick Stewart reigniting the character of Jean Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” considered by many to be the best captain of the franchise.

 

  1. Trailers, trailers, trailers! There were so many trailers released, it’s impossible to talk about all of them at once. You have to see them to believe. You can watch the biggest SDCC trailers here. Just a few included are “IT: Chapter 2”, “His Dark Materials”, “Snowpiercer”, and HBO’s “Watchmen.” 

 

  1. Lastly, in one of the more plot-twisty plot twists of the convention, news broke that Brandon Routh will once again don the red cape of Superman on “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” an Arrowverse crossover event. “Arrow”. Yep – that Brandon Routh, star of the 2006 film “Superman Returns,” which received a tepid response from critics and moviegoers alike. Few outright blamed Routh for its problems, leaving a question as to what he could have done with the role long term. With the final season of The CW’s “Arrow” television show pulling out all the stops for its conclusion, both Brandon Routh and Tyler Hoechlin’s versions of Superman will be featured in what we can only assume is a “Into the Spider-verse”-esque send off the series.

 

What are you most excited about in the upcoming year? We’d love to know. And remember, the UNT Media Library has all sorts of pop culture films and shows like the ones featured at SDCC every year. Browse our catalog online to find your next favorite. 

 
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