Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Blockbuster Season at Magazines and Newspapers Center

Maybe you want to get away for a bit this summer, but with the cost of gasoline reaching record highs and the cost of just about everything else rising along with it, this may seem like a great time to take part in the time-honored American tradition of taking in a summer blockbuster at the local cinema.

But hang on -- have you been to the movies lately? Tickets are pricey! And by the time you grab some popcorn and a soda (you are, after all, treating yourself to a night out), a night at the movies may not be quite the budget-friendly option you thought it would.

When you take into account the effect a trip to the multiplex can have on your wallet, it can really hurt if you're unfortunate enough to catch a lousy film. It's wise to go to the box office prepared, and here at the Magazines and Newspapers Center there are just the materials you need to make an educated pick.

Let's start with the old Hollywood standbys:

Entertainment Weekly will generally print reviews for most of the big-budget movies opening during that week, plus will feature a handful of reviews of independent or foreign films that will be shown widely. Particularly useful if you're in a hurry to catch the matinée is Critical Mass, a chart showing grades (using the old academic A-F model) given to current releases by a dozen critics.

For most of the 20th century, Hollywood insiders relied primarily on two daily newspapers to report on the latest news and trends from within the the film industry. In recent years, these papers -- Variety and the Hollywood Reporter -- have broadened their focus to cover what is now called the entertainment industry, but happenings in the film world are still a major focus of these dailies. If your interest is up-to-the-minute knowledge of what's going on in the film industry, check here first.

Big budget blockbusters aren't for everyone, though, and with many multiplex theaters devoting one or two screens to independent, classic, and foreign movies, access to these films is no longer limited to those of us lucky enough to live close to a good "arthouse" theater. Trying new things can be intimidating, I know, but with the help of some of the titles we have in our collection, anyone can become a beret-wearing, Bergman-interpreting film aficionado.

You could try, for instance, Filmmaker. Aimed at readers interested in independent, smaller-budgeted films, this quarterly magazine “presents an insider's look at the business and creative aspects of independent film.” Each issue features insightful profiles on current lesser-known films accompanied by interviews with independent filmmakers.

If you long for Hollywood's golden era, then Classic Images is the magazine for you. Focusing on classic films, film personalities, and film history, this monthly newspaper features articles accompanied by black-and-white production and publicity stills for the enthusiast or connoisseur of older classic films. Includes video and DVD reviews, film festival announcements, book reviews, music in film, obituaries, and a “This Month in Movie History” column. This will be a good way to prepare for screenings of classics, or to pick something out from the library’s collection of DVDs.

For animation aficionados whose interests vary from Disney films to Japanese anime, Animation Magazine covers traditional as well as computer-generated animation used in feature films, games, and television. Includes columns by industry professionals, film reviews, upcoming events, news, and industry trends. People in the U.S. and abroad are doing very exciting things with this medium; this magazine is sure to turn you on to something you haven’t yet experienced.

Once you're in the know, celebrate your entry into the movie buff subculture by reading Geek Monthly. Packed with articles and reviews on the latest toys, anime, DVDs, movies, and television shows, Geek Monthly covers pop culture and life style for people who are passionate about what they love. This magazine includes interviews with movie stars, film festival highlights, action figure reviews – plenty of fodder for conversations with other people waiting in line at the local premier of that film that had them talking at Cannes or Tribeca.

This is just a small sample of our collection, so we’re sure to have titles that appeal to the inner cinemaphile in all of us. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday we hope you’ll stop by the Magazines and Newspaper Center to check out our selection of cinema titles.

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