Maddy: 5 Best Boston Movie Theaters Where You Can See A Star Is Born

Well friends, I’m happy to report that the most important movie of the year, A Star Is Born, is available for viewing at several fabulous locations in the Boston area. As a COM student, you absolutely need to check out these theaters and, more importantly, ugly-cry over Bradley Cooper’s sultry voice and Lady Gaga’s sheer perfection. So here are the 5 best movie theaters where you can see A Star Is Born, because if you don’t see it, what are you even doing?

1. Regal Fenway

regal fenway

Just a ten-minute walk and one scary intersection away from Comm Ave, Regal Fenway is the perfect movie theater for you to enjoy the third and best iteration of A Star Is Born. Barbra Streisand who? This theater offers comfy reclining seats so you can relax as you violently shake when Bradley Cooper pulls Lady Gaga onstage in that scene from the trailer and she hits that one sustained note and your soul escapes through your eyes.

2. AMC Loews Boston Common

amc boston common

Get on the green line, hop off at Boylston Street, and you’ve reached this extravagantly huge theater that happens to be playing A Star Is Born TODAY at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:45, 3:45, 6:00, 7:00, and 9:15! Also, check out AMC Stubs A-List, Moviepass’s slightly more expensive but economically sound sibling. It’s $20 a month to see three movies per week…. which means–you guessed it–you can see A Star Is Born three times every week!

3. Coolidge Corner

coolidge corner

This historic theater has been around since 1933, and it’s been showing A Star Is Born since October 5th! You can also check out their “After Midnite” showings of inferior movies like The Exorcist and Scream in their original 35mm prints. Lame! Here’s a link to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thecoolidge/.

4. AMC Assembly Row

amc assembly row

If you’re ever in the Somerville area, hit up this awesome movie theater! Like all AMCs, it is unnecessarily large, and therefore perfect for bringing your entire friend group to see A Star is Born. Not only that, when you need comfort food after Bradley Cooper makes you puke out your heart and then swallow it again, there’s a Trader Joe’s right next door! Amazing.

5. Kendall Square Cinema

kendall square

Travel to Cambridge and check out this awesome theater, where A Star Is Born is actually not playing but I couldn’t think of a fifth movie theater . Actually, I changed my mind. This theater might be located in a really cool spot in Cambridge near some brunch places and vintage thrift stores, but it’s not playing A Star Is Born, so you should boycott this theater.

 

 

 

Malaika: Made in Massachusetts- 5 Film & Television Inspired Adventures to Experience While Living in Boston

Storytelling. It’s our brand, our livelihoods, and the basis of our education. Beyond the mediums of print, television, film, etc., the best stories transcend words on a page or images on a screen. They engulf our thoughts, and pull at our heart strings.

Massachusetts, and more specifically Boston, is the location of thousands of movie and television scenes. It is home to centuries of history, love, triumph, and wisdom; a true calling ground for narratives of every design. So while you’re living here in Boston, why not sightsee the inspiration behind some of film and television’s most iconic scenes?

Here are my 5 recommendations to experience Hollywood magic in the City of Champions:

  1. Boston Public Garden Bench – “Good Will Hunting”

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Who doesn’t love a classic Boston movie? The Good Will Hunting bench at the Boston Public Garden was home to Matt Damon and Robin Williams’ famous conversation scene (pictured above) in the 1997 Oscar-winning film.

Visit on a sunny day, sit on the bench, and watch the swans float by as you ponder life. “Your move, Chief.”

2. Bull and Finch Pub “Cheers” 

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The Bull and Finch Pub, an iconic Boston landmark, was the inspiration behind NBC’s Cheers (1982-1993). Located directly across from the Boston Public Garden on Beacon Street, the bar’s exterior was used in the television series’ exterior shots. Fans may also visit an exact replica of the set, as well as the Cheers gift shop at Faneuil Hall.

Stop by and snap a picture of the place where “everyone knows your name” (and check out their Norm Burger Challenge).

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4. The Castle “Ghostbusters (2016)”

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The castle from the opening scene of Ghostbusters (2016) may seem a little familiar to you… in fact it should, because it was filmed at Boston University’s very own Dahod Family Alumni Center, aka “the Castle.”

On your way to class, stop by to tour the newly renovated space, and later, for dinner, go to Kaze Shabu Shabu, a restaurant in Chinatown, to see the inspiration behind the Ghostbusters’ headquarters.

5. 4 Ocean Avenue, Salem, MA – “Hocus Pocus

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Since it’s the month of  October, take a day trip to Salem and visit this quaint beachfront home, Max and Dani’s house, in the Halloween classic, “Hocus Pocus”.

Happy Exploring,
CA Malaika

 

Alex T: 10 80s Flicks You Need to See Before “Ready Player One”

Let’s face it: it’s pretty hard to find people who love pop culture more than COM students. So, no matter how much it pains you to admit it, you’re probably going to end up seeing Ready Player One in a few weeks. And whether you’re just there to hang out with friends, or you’re the kind of person who openly weeps by the end of the film (my deepest apologies to everyone in the theatre with me last Saturday), you’re gonna want to brush up on the films your parents always made you try to watch as a kid.

 

1. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)

downloadOkay, even if you’re not trying to catch Spielberg’s latest blockbuster this weekend, Back to the Future is still a must if you want to maintain any semblance of geek street cred you think you possess. Marty McFly is a classic 80s protagonist who always seems to be running out of time…until he goes back in time and is tasked with ensuring his parents fall in love so he can continue to exist. This story coupled with killer score and design (his name is Marty McFly…of course he’s going to rock the freshest outfit known to man) makes for a film that defined a whole generation of nerds.

2. The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985)

download-1For a little change of pace, (or if sci-fi, retro awesomeness isn’t really your jam) The Breakfast Club is another classic not to be missed. Five strangers, all stuck in Saturday detention, form an unbreakable bond by the end of the day. We’ve all heard the tagline: “They only met once, but it changed their lives forever.” Not only did it change their lives, it changed the lives of young audiences across the country. If you didn’t fall in love with the brain, the beauty, the jock, the rebel, or the recluse, I have to question whether or not you even have a heart in the first place.

3. Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)

download (1)This might seem like a strange choice to those who have never even seen the original Evil Dead, but you’ve just gotta trust me on this one. While it does rely on a lot of plot points and characters laid out in its predecessor, Evil Dead II is in a class of horror all its own. Ash and the gang are back at it again, slaying zombies and fighting curses in the same, gory style that’s a hallmark of all of Raimi’s films. However, where Evil Dead II stands apart is in a very unexpected place: its comedy. Most horror films do have the one off, snarky jokes made by the protagonist to keep the momentum up, but Evil Dead II makes fun of the form itself; Raimi admits that his story is ridiculous, and takes it a step further by acknowledging that fact in the film. It’s a parody and a love letter to the slasher horror genre, and a love letter we can still learn lessons from today.

4. Say Anything (Cameron Crowe, 1989)

download (2)We’ve all been there: a bright eyed, bushy tailed high school student, hopelessly in love with someone who won’t even give us the time of day.

…well, maybe that’s only me, BUT, this film still holds up, even if that isn’t your truth. John Cusack plays Lloyd, an unassuming recent high school grad who lands (and eventually loses) Diane, the girl of his dreams, played by Ione Skye. Written and directed with aplomb by Cameron Crowe, it’s hard not to fall in love everytime Cusack holds that boombox over his head. Because, at its core, Say Anything is about risking everything for someone or something we love; now, that’s a story that we can all relate to.

5. Tron (Steven Lisberger, 1982)

download (3)We’ve all been there: a bright eyed, bushy tailed high school student, hopelessly in love with someone who won’t even give us the time of day.

…well, maybe that’s only me, BUT, this film still holds up, even if that isn’t your truth. John Cusack plays Lloyd, an unassuming recent high school grad who lands (and eventually loses) Diane, the girl of his dreams, played by Ione Skye. Written and directed with aplomb by Cameron Crowe, it’s hard not to fall in love everytime Cusack holds that boombox over his head. Because, at its core, Say Anything is about risking everything for someone or something we love; now, that’s a story that we can all relate to.

6. Star Wars, Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (George Lucas, 1980)

download (2)Though it’s technically just on the cusp of the 80s, I would be remiss if I didn’t include what is, objectively, the best Star Wars film in the franchise (I will actually fight anyone who disagrees). The George Lucas train was just picking up steam with the release of A New Hope in 1977, but he really hit his stride with The Empire Strikes Back. It marks a deeper dive into the extensive universe he created, and a more meditative look at the characters we all grew to love in the previous film. George Lucas set the precedent for transmedia franchises with Star Wars, and it’s easy to see that Episode V was the beginning of his reign over late 20th century pop culture. Also, Lando Calrissian. Need I say more?

7. Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986)

download (6)Looking at films today, it tends to become a little difficult to see why, as a whole, we’re so obsessed with Tom Cruise. However, after taking a look at his breakout success in the 80s, we’re reminded of what he used to be and what he represented in a time when actors weren’t just pigeonholed into one type of character. That being said, he really did make a damn good action star, and there’s no better example of that than his performance in Top Gun supported by an incredible cast (Val Kilmer ftw) and a truly radical soundtrack (also Kenny Loggins ftw), Cruise led this movie to mainstream success and a lasting place in our hearts.

8. Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)

download (7)I’m just going to come out and say it: Die Hard is the best Christmas movie of all time. I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I’m okay with that. Facts have rarely been popular opinions. The story is about an off duty cop, played by Bruce Willis, fighting a gang of terrorists that take over a CHRISTMAS EVE party he’s attending. What defines a Christmas movie if not time of year? In all seriousness, though, Die Hard is a masterclass in storytelling both visually and verbally. Even though it’s obviously not the Citizen Kane of 80s cinema, it is an all around good time for any occasion, but especially Christmas. Oh,and the definitive list of best Christmas films is:

1. Die Hard

2. Step Brothers

3. Gremlins

9. The Karate Kid (John G. Avildsen, 1984)

43266c1fe9eb27ef7c08fff88d5420e9Oh man, it looks like we’ve reached peak coolness. The Karate Kid is the template for any quality movie you can remember from the 80s: a lonely underdog (Ralph Macchio) learns karate from his elderly neighbor (Pat Morita) to beat the high school bully (William Zabka) and win the heart of the girl of his dreams (Elizabeth Shue). Throw in sharp dialogue, nuanced performances, and the best featured song in movie history (You’re the best…AROUND!!!), and you’ve got the classic that we all know and love today.

10. Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985)

download (8)I’m bringing it all full circle with our last film on the list. Based on a story by Steven Spielberg, Goonies tells the story of a group of friends trying to find a hidden treasure so they can keep their houses from being destroyed to make room for an incoming country club. This movie holds a special place in my heart; it’s one of the few that I truly loved as a child. I remember watching it over and over for hours on end (and my parents were surprised that I’m a film major…), and that’s why I think we still love it now. It reminds us of what it was like to grow up. In reality, the Goonies are trying to save their innocence from being lost by losing the only group of friends they’ve ever had to a country club, the EPITOME of adult-ness!!! They’re just a group of outcasts and misfits (not unlike the group of outcasts and misfits most of us were a part of growing up) simply trying to spend what could be their last few hours together going on an adventure. And if that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.

Alex: 7 Movies You Have To See (Or At Least Pretend to Have Seen) If You’re a Film and Television Major

I know what most of you are thinking, “What? Alex Tuchi, of all people, writing an incredibly niche blog post?” Well, set your ridicule and derision aside for the moment and realize what I’m trying to do here: save you! You know what they say: jobs in communication are always won and lost based on who you know. But to know people, you need to talk to them. And before you enter the harrowing world of small talk with Film and Television majors (dun dun dun), you’re going to need to be equipped with these seven films just to keep you from looking like the sweet, simple fool you’re pretending not to be (don’t worry; 90% of Film and Television majors haven’t seen these either).

1. 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini)

8 1:2Everyone has heard of this semi-autobiographical masterclass in storytelling and cinematography by Italian director Federico Fellini. But has anyone ever really seen it? Doubtful. When talking about it, though, you can be sure to bring up a few key plot points to trick your friends into thinking you have. Just talk about the steam bath, Guido’s love triangle, and that weird sequence where he meets a prostitute when he’s eight years old. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make a lot of sense either; you’re much more likely to see Marcello Mastroianni’s ugly mug (with a jawline that could cut glass) on your roommate’s poster than in the actual film. The beauty of 8 1/2 is the universal fact that no one has seen it, which means no one really wants to talk about it. So as long as you practice your “Oh yeah, I’ve totally seen that one,” nod, you should be good to go!

2. E.T. (Steven Spielberg)

ETWe all know the broad strokes of this Spielberg classic: an alien crash lands in this kid’s hometown and, for some reason, it’s this literal child’s job to help an extraterrestrial being to return home, possibly altering the future of humanity in irreversible ways. Also his bike flies? Anyway, the Big Thing™ to remember when discussing this movie is that you can never say it’s bad. No matter how hamfisted that acting is, how hackneyed the writing is, no matter how insanely bad the CGI is in the 2002 re-release, it is a masterpiece for it’s time. It is a genre defining, convention breaking powerhouse that should be treated with nothing but the utmost respect. And if you disagree…be sure to keep that to yourself. Hell hath no fury like a scorned Spielberg nerd.

3. Thunder Road (Jim Cummings)

Thunder RoadThere’s really no reason to have skipped this one. It’s a short film that won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2016. Following a snapshot in the life of a small town police officer after his mother passed away, Thunder Road is the kind of film that gives us all hope. After debuting it at Sundance, filmmaker Jim Cumming was given $150,000 to keep making short films in the same style. What Film and Television major isn’t searching for a deal that sweet?!? Its success story isn’t the only reason to watch it though. It paints a nuanced portrait of a broken man and toes the line between tragedy and comedy perfectly. It is, at its core, a reflection of the human existence. And that’s the whole reason we fell in love with movies, right?

4. Tangerine (Sean Baker)

TangerineEspecially after the recent success of critical darling The Florida Project (talk about an Oscar snub, @WillemDafoe), Sean Baker has been en route to become one of those filmmakers that comes once a generation. So it only makes sense that we pay homage to his 2015 breakout film, Tangerine. Other than a stellar script, outstandingly diverse cast in terms of racial and gender identity, and brilliant performances from a host of talented actors, it also holds the distinction of being the first mainstream film to make it into the box office while being shot on an iPhone. It looks like we’re living in the future, kiddos, and the future is a place where the next blockbuster could be shot all on the little camera in your pocket. Baker deserves a round of applause for showing us that it can be done.

5. Brick (Rian Johnson)

BrickA trend that we Film and Television majors love to brag about is the fact that more and more “arthouse” filmmakers are being signed on to make big budget flicks with some of the biggest studios in Hollywood. The biggest example of this occurrence in recent memory is Rian Johnson hopping on the Star Wars train to write and direct Episode VIII. While it’s easy to think that Johnson is a filmmaking prodigy, handpicked from obscurity by JJ Abrams himself, we can’t let ourselves forget that, not that long ago, he was just a kid with a camera (like most of us). This is best seen with his first feature, Brick. Made on a shoestring budget, Johnson directed breakout stars like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his neo-noir film set at his old high school. Even if the genre isn’t your jam, it’s still worth a watch simply for its aesthetic beauty; every frame is a glorious, indie painting.

6. The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Desiree Akhavan)

Cameron PostI’m calling it early; this film is the John Hughes, coming of age story that’s going to speak for all of those geeky film kids growing up in the 2010s. Adapted for screen by Desiree Akhavan (a gifted actor in her own right), The Miseducation of Cameron Post tells the story of a young girl being sent to a gay conversion camp at the suggestion of her aunt. While we may have been placated by the bland, albeit charming, adventures of a few teens just trying to make it through Saturday detention, we need to address the problems of sexuality and racial identity in this day and age. And while you might have to wait a hot minute for wide distribution, do yourself a favor and catch this one; I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.


7. This is John (Jay and Mark Duplass)

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The Duplass brothers


The only suitable way to end this list is with a Duplass Brothers film. Built on the brand of distinct characters placed in perilous situations, Mark and Jay Duplass have been a household name of indie startup filmmaking since their first foray into the medium with This is John. The entire film is literally a man trying to record a new outgoing voicemail message (sorry, spoilers). The equipment is shoddy, the premise is narrow; everything in us as filmmakers tells us that it shouldn’t work. And yet, miraculously, it does. This is one film I believe to be almost perfect. It fills me with a creative spirit I only get when watching films I love, and it reminds me that I don’t need millions of dollars to make something that touches people. It reminds me that if I’m not out every weekend, shooting, writing, editing, that time is time wasted. Because every filmmaker on this list came from humble beginnings. Every single one was just a kid in the movie theater at one point in time, seeing their lives played out on screen in front of them, thinking, “Hey, someone gets me.” Films aren’t made by beautiful cinematography, or genius scripts, or breathtaking performances. They’re made by the little imperfections we, as humans, all share. This film, as all films should, remind me that I’m not perfect, but that’s okay. Because no one else is either.

Jon O: Looking to See Movies? I Got You Covered.

I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a movie nut, and nothing compares to watching film on the big screen. I frequented my hometown theater back in New Jersey so much that they knew me by name, and as soon as I got to Boston I knew I had to find my spot for the next four years. But what I didn’t realize was that there are so many different ways to go see movies in Boston. So if you’re like me and are sick and tired of watching movies on your tiny laptop screen, here are some different ways to get out and see films in Boston.
If you enjoy the big multiplexes with huge screens, nice chairs, and tons of food options, then you got some options. AMC Loews Boston Common is the biggest theater in town and is located right in downtown Boston. It pretty much shows every big hit thats in theaters at the time so you can always find something to watch. Its also super easy to get to from campus; you just hop on the green line and get off at the Boylston stop and its right across the street. Regal Cinemas Fenway is very similar to AMC only a little smaller, but its within walking distance from BU’s campus so its a great spot to go to as well.
Boston is also full of theaters that show independent, international, classic and films.  If you’re trying to get away from the big blockbuster flicks, these are the spots for you. Check out the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline if you want to feel like you literally walked into an old black and white film. The theater has been around since 1933 and has been maintained to look exactly like it did when it first opened for business. They are always showing really interesting selections and do a ton of special screenings for classic movies (just this past year I’ve seen midnight specials of Donnie Darko and The Shining) and host a ton of other unique events. They also have some screening in their main theater on 70mm, which is really cool if your a film geek like I am. If you’re feeling like adventuring out of the BU area for a cool showing like this, check out the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, which is a one-screen theater that airs classics and independent movies as well.
If you really don’t want to go off-campus to catch a movie (or don’t want to pay for one), don’t worry, BU can always hook you up. The university occasionally does special screenings for in-theaters movies for free, so make sure you keep a look out for those when they come up. If you’re ever free on a Friday night, you can also go down to Cinematheque, which is a series of screenings, meetings and talks with film-makers that is open for all BU students and totally free. Cinematheque happens every week at 640 Commonwealth Ave.
With all the screening going on around the city, you’ll never have a night where there isn’t something you want to watch in theaters. Happy movie-going!
– Jon

Jimmy: Moviepass, and the Art of Moviegoing Bad Films

For me, The Oscar’s season is my “most wonderful time of the year.” I love going to the box office to see all of the year’s most critically acclaimed movies. But there’s also a pleasure of going to the movies to see something you know you’re not going to like.
I swear I’m not sponsored, but Movie Pass was the best investment I’ve made in a while. For only $9.99 a month, you get to see one movie a day for a month. Most large chain theaters participate (Regal, AMC, and the Brattle Theater in Cambridge do too). For me – a snobby, snobby film boy – I would have never paid money to see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in theaters. But since I felt like I wasn’t paying for it, it was one of my favorite movie going experiences of the season! It’s cool when spending too much isn’t a factor in what you want to see.
That said, I had a good time watching some pretty bad movies. Here are some of my top clunkers. By the way, it’s only fun if you go with a friend. Save your alone movie theater experiences for something like The Florida Project (which was excellent!):
Justice League
Personally, I haven’t been following superhero movies for a while because they’re not my taste. But this is, like, CRAZY misguided. Henry Cavill’s CGI mustache looked pretty bad. Batman is kind of a psychopathic murderer. The color palette of this movie looks like when your friends were at an Applebee’s and mixed all of the condiments together in a cup. And who were Ezra Miller’s jokes supposed to be directed towards? Crazy
Loving Vincent
The concept seems cool, right? A biographical piece about Vincent Van Goh in which every different frame is an impressionist painting. But the gimmick wears down quickly when the canvass thin, Nancy Drew Mystery Computer game plot goes in circles. Also, the motion of the paintings looks really weird!
The Greatest Showman
Some really cringe-ey dance sequences (one in particular set in a bar) and non-musical theater music with ultra-generic lyrics. If you had a hunch that Hollywood romanticized Hugh Jackman’s character, check out this Entertainment Weekly Article. (tl;dr: P.T. Barnum was not a good dude).
The Room
Okay, while technically bad, The Room is really exceptional work of film. Most live screenings have a similar atmosphere to a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening, where audience members yell at the screen, dress up, and dance around. I used my Movie Pass to go see it and it was a blast. People were throwing spoons!

Kevin: My Top Movies for 2013

In the midst of awards season and with the Oscars right around the corner, it seems like all the talk around COM has been about movies, so I thought I should be a good film student and make my “Top 5 Movies of 2013” list.

5. Captain Phillips

Pretty much anything with Tom Hanks gets my stamp of approval, but this movie really stands out. Going in, I was a little worried the story was going to get the Hollywood treatment and seem too over the top. I was surprised though; while Tom Hanks does come off as a hero, they don’t make him a saint, and I actually even felt bad for the pirates at some point. Barkhad Abdi makes his film debut as the leader of the pirates, and gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. The director Paul Greengrass’ shaky-camera style from the Jason Bourne movies is in full effect here, and it works perfectly with the cramped shots inside the boat. For a movie where you know the ending going in, there’s an incredible amount of suspense.

4. Inside Llewyn Davis

I’m usually not a huge Coen brothers fan. I liked True Grit but beyond that, I feel like I just don’t get their movies. Inside Llewyn Davis was another pleasant surprise for me. The music alone is great, featuring Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Marcus Mumford. Some of the tracks are depressing (fair warning, the whole movie is pretty depressing) but some are a lot of fun, like “Please Mr. Kennedy,” JT’s protest song asking JFK not to send him to the moon (yes, it’s as strange as it sounds). The movie is slow, but I was never bored. Personally I feel like it got shorted at the Oscars and deserved to at least be nominated in a lot more categories, if not win them.

3. Frozen

Frozen is fun. There’s no other way to put it. The songs are catchy, the characters are goofy, and I haven’t talked to a single person who didn’t like it. It’s a new take on the Disney princess formula, and the characters are all so quirky and odd instead of being fairy tale perfect, and they completely pull it off. I guarantee you’ll walk out of the theater with a smile on your face, and at the end of the day, that’s what movies are about.

2. American Hustle

I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about American Hustle, people seem to either love it or hate it. I thought it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. The dialogue was quick and funny, a lot like David O. Russell’s last movie, Silver Linings Playbook. The cast is a who’s-who and everybody does a great job, most of them taking on roles that completely contradict their usual roles. (When’s the last time you saw someone go from Batman to a potbellied comb-over wearing con man so well?) There are lots of twists and turns, and the movie moves so quickly it doesn’t give you time to try and stop to figure out who’s conning who. Think Ocean’s 11 with goofier 1970’s hair.

1. Much Ado About Nothing

Ok so I know putting a black and white Shakespeare movie as my number 1 looks really pretentious but hear me out. Joss Whedon is about the only guy who could go from writing and directing the Avengers to a small project like this, and have both of them be so great. The story behind the movie is almost as good as the movie; coming off the Avengers, Whedon wanted to make a movie with some friends, so he got together with actors he had worked with before and in 12 days they shot the entire movie at his house. The whole movie feels like that too, it just seems like everyone is having a lot of fun instead of worrying about making a nose-in-the-air Shakespeare movie. I’ll be honest, I had to look up some Sparknotes at the beginning, but once it gets going it’s actually really easy to follow and a great movie.

Sarah: Production 1

Now a first semester junior, I have been putting off Production I for some time. I’ve had quite a bit of experience with production in the past, but always as a production assistant. I observed first-hand how much work goes into directing your own film. I’m currently enrolled in Production I and shot my final film this past weekend. It was even more difficult than I thought it would be, but in the end, it was a totally gratifying experience.

Originally, I thought the class was about learning all the technical aspects of making a film. But really, it is about learning to make a film, start to finish. While the technical side of the class is important, the biggest take-away for me will be learning how to coordinate a production. There is an incredible amount of planning that goes into it. Unlike most films you will ever make, Prod I requires you to make them on your own. Well, not entirely on your own. If you’re lucky like me, you’ll have a few stellar friends and classmates willing to help you out. But, you will call all of the shots. Literally.

A note for anyone taking a production class next semester – pre-production is key! I dealt with a million and one problems before I started shooting –actors dropping out, locations falling through and unavailable equipment, just to name a few. I found out 5 days before I my shoot that one of my actresses was a union member. Using her in my film would require paperwork, signatures and a $50 deposit – all due one week before filming. Oops!  Luckily, I settled things with a very understanding woman at the SAG office. Because I was able to deal with these problems beforehand, the actual shoot went smoothly.

That’s not to say production won’t yield its own complications. Murphy’s Law is in full effect on most film sets. A pair of socks I bought as the focus of my film ended up being too dark to be seen on camera. My crew spent an hour in one scene trying to light them. My advice is to schedule yourself plenty of time to shoot. As my professor always says, shooting will take you three times longer than expected. I scheduled using this rule, plus added an hour in between location changes. I expected to be ahead of schedule all day, but I barely maintained it.

So even though I don’t plan on continuing with production, this class was an invaluable lesson in planning and budgeting (time, not money). I hope you all get the chance to get out there and make some movies!

 

Jon: How to Beat the Cold

New England is an amazing place, in part because of its seasons. There are few other places where you can get a real four-season year like you can in the northeast. But, with short days, cold winds, and huge amounts of snow, the winter season can seem long and unbearable to some.

However, a cheery fire and a steaming mug of hot chocolate can make all the difference in combating these mid-winter blues. So, with the toughest season of the year just beginning to show its signs, I’m going to have a go at listing the top five ways to get a break from the Boston winter.

1) Cozy up in a Coffee Shop. It may seem a bit obvious, but bringing a good book and some free time to a toasty coffee shop and relaxing is a great way to make the winter a little brighter. Between the wafting smells of freshly baked pastries, and the comfortable, low key atmosphere, your winter blues will float away like the steam coming off your mocha-soy latte. An on-campus favorite is the Espresso Royale Café –for a filling breakfast try their bagel sandwiches!

2) Catch a Flick. Boston doesn’t have the most theaters per capita, but it does have some of the nicest art house and independent venues I’ve been to. Spending a dark winter afternoon or evening in the supple ambience of an art deco theater can be a great way to brighten your week. The local Brattle Theater (Cambridge) and Coolidge Corner Theater (Brookline) are both accessible by public transit, and frequently screen old favorites, new indie pictures, foreign gems, and even a cartoon marathon from time to time.

3) Go Shopping. I’m sure I’m not the only one among us who suffers from a minor-to-severe case of retail therapy. While I might take out my stress by making questionable purchases (I don’t care what my roommate says – that $200 Japanese tea set was TOTALLY necessary), I’m actually recommending some light mall-crawling because of the locations rather than the stores. The Prudential Center, a popular shopping mall in the Back Bay, is brilliant in the winter, decked out from floor to ceiling in shiny holiday cheer. The Galleria Mall in Cambridge is similarly resplendent during the holiday season. Sometimes during the winter, a healthy dose of bright lights, shiny ornaments, and old fashioned consumerism is just what the doctor ordered.

4) Get to the Gym. I might be sounding like a broken record, but I can’t recommend exercise enough. Getting your heart rate up is clinically proven to elevate mood and help you stay positive and upbeat. Long winters can take quite a toll even on the most hardened of lifetime New Englanders. Some daily exercise is a great way to make those grey skies seem a little bit brighter. For those who have a phobia of exercise machines (“I’ve only been running for HOW long!?”), the FitRec offers classes, rock climbing and pick up sports, all fun ways to stay active without the repetitiveness of working out.

5) Embrace the Cold. It may sound funny at first, but sometimes the best way to beat the winter is throw the reigns over it and turn it into your own personal joyride. From sledding, skating and skiing, to getting in a free-fire snowball fight on Bay State road, the red noses and frozen fingertips can help you find the winter as a source of fun, rather than dreariness. Getting good and drenched in melted snow makes the hot chocolate that much more satisfying as well. Local mass transit means woods and sledding areas out of the city are just a train ride away – just be sure to bundle up!

If you haven’t experienced a New England winter before, you’re in for an extraordinary few months. Tackle it head on, stay on top of your work, and try to have some fun! Winter cheer really does exist, and like the blizzards and snow banks, it can be found in New England like no other place.

Until next time, stay warm and dry!

 

Sarah: Free (and legal!) Movies on Campus

Sarah ImageWe all love free stuff, and as college students, we have plenty of it available. At any given campus event, you might walk away with flip cam, a gift card or, best of all, a free t-shirt. While I welcome all free things, there is nothing quite as satisfying as a free movie. Here are a few (legal) ways to catch a free flick right here on campus.

Krasker Film Library

This place is Mugar’s hidden gem. In the basement of the library hides a secret stash of over 18,000 movies on DVD, Blu-ray and the ever-popular VHS. Krasker has every film from Citizen Kane to Superbad, and plenty in between. All of the films are catalogued and can be reserved online. You can’t take films out of the library, so head here on a rainy day when you have an afternoon to kill.

Geddes Language Center

This is the Krasker of foreign films, housed on the fifth floor of the College of Arts and Sciences building. There are thousands of films in nearly 30 different languages, including Russian, Korean, Italian, ASL, Creole and Yiddish. Language professors typically use this facility for class screenings, but individual students can also reserve films. All you need to watch a film is your BU ID. These films must also stay at the center.

Cinematheque

If anyone knows the worth of a good movie, it is BU’s Film & TV department. Each semester, several writers, directors, producers and actors visit COM as a part of the department’s Cinematheque series. Our guests typically screen a movie or TV episode and then hold a Q&A session afterwards. Sometimes we’re even lucky enough to get COM alumni who have struck some success in the business. Last month, Jennifer Getzinger was here to screen an episode of Mad Men that she directed. Pretty cool, huh?

Redstone Film Festival

Another department event, this film festival is all about student work. All COM students are invited to submit their original work, which is judged by a panel of industry professionals. Once a year, they roll out the red carpet in front of the Tsai Performance Center to screen the top films and announce the winners. It feels like a Hollywood movie premiere right on campus. The theater always sells out, so show up early!

Programming Council Events

BU’s Programming Council hosts more campus events than I can ever keep track of. From open skate to comedy shows to semi-formal dances, PC does it all. My favorite PC events, of course, are free movie screenings. They host “drive-in movie” nights throughout the semester at different locations. When the weather is nice enough, they even project movies on jumbo screens on the BU Beach or Nickerson Field. The usually show double features, like Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses, and serve free popcorn!

And if you just love the ambiance of the traditional movie theater, check out the GSU ticket office on the second floor for discounted tickets to Regal Cinemas. Being a BU student has its perks – take advantage of some of them!