Flux | February 8, 2012
Volume III Issue VII | Editor & Layout - Sinead Brennan
“It’s just a Spring clean for the May Queen” Sinead Brennan rambles about the holidays, coming back to college and the joys of Spring
ell, Flux is back for the first issue since the very long Christmas break. Yay. Whether you were one of those poor unfortunates to have exams, or a luckier journalism or communications student with nothing but free time, I’m sure a part of you is more than happy to be back to the daily grind, while the other part is groaning at the thoughts of being in class at 9am…a time that just isn’t seen at Christmas for most of us. Proper order too. They’re the holidays for a reason and when it’s so cold and wintery and blah out, mornings spent in bed are just the best, especially if you have someone willing to bring you tea in bed… or toast as well if you’re REALLY lucky. Sadly my mom isn’t big into the whole breakfast in bed thing so I was not availing of this special treatment, but the late mornings were still fairly great while they lasted. We’re already in February which is just mental and if you go to page 5, Laura has written a funny thing about all things February – Valentines Day, Pancake Tuesday, the LOT. She’s a hoot and a half. I love this time of year for many reasons, it’s cold enough to wear a jacket without
doesn’t appeal to me. There is nothing quite like the moment you find something amazing, in your size, and with a great reduction. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen enough to motivate me. When the sales are over that means the shops are filled with new stock again and if you have any Christmas money leftover we can indulge in some slightly more expensive, but lovely and new pieces. Personally I seem to be at a serious loss with clothes at the moment, I have wardrobes filled with clothes but absolutely nothing to wear. You might think that makes no sense but it does, promise. I know I’m not alone on this one, most of us complain about lack of clothes before every single night out. It’s just how it is and no amount of shopping can stave off the pangs of hunger for new clothes for too long. Awards season. Win. The Golden Globes provided a good variety of dresses with the range of getting it oh-so right (a la Sarah Hyland) and oh-so wrong (a la Madonna) ever wide. The Oscars are around the corner so hopefully some of the less-amazingly dressed will up their games…or out do themselves in the badness stakes for some light entertainment. Well, that’s it for this week. Good day.
needing to wear a million layers to retain any kind of body heat, the January sales are coming to an end and it is finally awards season. The January sales should be the best friend of students and bargain hunters but I hate them. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bargain and I love when something is reduced but I hate trolling through shops while they’re on. The disorganisation kills me inside and I am far from a neat freak. It also baffles me where some of the clothes even come from at this time of year because I can assure you some of the things you see on the bargain rails have not been out in the shop front in the months running up to it… and for good reason. It’s like a last desperate attempt to shift some out of season, hideous and gaudy garments that nobody in their right minds would even try on, not to mention buy (even for the super reduced price tag). Obviously not all sales are filled with crap, but the effort of going through rail after rail just
5 songs to listen to as you cry on the bathroom floor this Valentine’s Day
Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye
This song has been clogging up my newsfeed for far too long at this stage but it’s some song. “But you didn’t have to shut me out, make out like it never happened and that we were nothing.” Breakups suck for many reasons and this song sums the many emotions up very well. Make sure to check out the Walk off the Earth cover too. Sad face. 2
Someone Like You Adele
I chose this Adele song because it’s definitely the most depressing and the one most likely to make you cry if you’re feeling in any way down. Even if it’s not about a ‘someone’. For a particularly bad ‘Crying in the bathroom listening to Adele’ session shtick on the whole album, by the time you hit Rolling in the Deep you’ll be graaaand.
Many of Horror Biffy Clyro
Great song. Ignore the Matt Cardle version, it’s shit. Stick to the original for a really really beautiful story of broken hearts and unrequited love. “I still believe, it’s you and me ‘til the end of time, when we collide we come together, if we don’t we’ll always be apart...” Between that and the talks of broken fairytales it’s quite the bathroom floor tune.
Cornerstone Arctic Monkeys
First off I don’t know how any woman could leave Alex Turner. Secondly I don’t know how she could leave him in such poor emotional form but my God did he produce something great from it. “Thought I saw you in the Battleship, but it was only lookalike, she was nothing but a vision trick, under the warning light.” The poor guy.
Pitseleh Elliott Smith
Well, it’s always bad when Elliott Smith is being cracked out but desperate times...if you reach this point in your bathroom tear sesh I recommend that you call a friend and avoid the wine. It won’t help at this point. “I’m not whats missing from your life now, I could never be the puzzle pieces” and “Before you do as the devil pleases, give up the things you love.” Sniff. Flux | February 8, 2012
Catherine Dennehy talks to some of Ireland’s stand-up talent about what makes people trek the path of comedy
A laughing matter “W
hen I was training to be a solicitor, I was always interested in theatre. I was always writing, acting, directing, and producing. I was never good enough to do any one of those things but comedy, weirdly, is all four of these things.” Cork comedian, Keith Farnan, took an unusual route to a career in stand-up. Farnan trained as a solicitor, worked for several years before packing in his steady job to pursue a very different passion. “I knew Des Bishop from college,” he said, “and he asked me to MC The International a couple of nights after he got his big break. I had about a year of that before I left law”. Far from being unhappy in his job, Farnan said he left his “really nice firm”, because there was “something more” he wanted to do. “A key point for me,” he explained, “was when a friend of mine got a promotion and got a car park space, and I thought to myself, ‘is this what I’m working for? I’m giving up my life for a car park space?’ I don’t even have a car!” “It started getting quite hectic,” he said, “I was trying to juggle the two”. After months of trudging around the country several nights a week for gigs, Farnan finally made the decision to concentrate on comedy full-time. Since then Farnan has toured in Ireland and abroad with his shows, usually flavoured with social issues, including sex
Flux | February 8, 2012
trafficking, racism and the death penalty. Farnan recently produced his first project with RTE, ‘Keith Farnan: Money MoneyMoney’, a humorous look at the Irish recession. “We invented the format,” said Farnan, “you get a lot of light entertainment where comedians go off something and do something silly, but this was the first time we were actually dipping in, doing interviews with historians and economists and making people laugh at the same time”. While Farnan that he has been hugely lucky with his career change, he admits that comedy success it is a difficult goal to obtain. “You’d probably name the same ten Irish comedians that have had all the success for the last twenty years.” One group of young comedi-
ans, trying the luck to maintain a career in entertainment are Sean Finegan, ConorMcKenna and Sean Flanagan, collectively known as ‘Foil Arms and Hog’, a sketch comedy group. The trio met in UCD’s drama society and has stuck together for the last three years. They have been working full-time as a group for the last six months, turning away from their university degrees in engineering, genetics and architecture. “We all have that theatre background,” explained Finegan, “so we’ve adapted ourselves for the comedy circuit. Because there’s three of us though, it’s a load hard to be self-sufficient, we
need to get a lot more gigs.” The trio work on their stand-up routines, which have taken them around the country and received praise at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, as well as radio sketches and pitches for television projects. Finegan stated that daily work varies drastically, and that tours and festivals will dominate the summer. “We’re doing the Brighton Festival in May and Edinburgh again, which is the massive one, in August, so the closer we get to that the more we’ll be concentrating on it.” “We’re just trying to keep it fun,” he said. While it’s not the most financially stable environ-
ment to be working in, Finegan and his comedy partners are trying hard to keep riding on the wave of their recent success, and hope that they can make a solid living out of doing what they love. “Can anyone be funny?” mused Keith Farnan before leaving. “It is quite a unique set of skills that you need. When you go to the English circuit, you meet guys that have been doing this for 20 years that you’ve never heard of. In Ireland, in every pub you’ll find a table of people and everyone has a story to tell. So if you’re going to be a comedian here, you better have a pretty good story to tell.”
You’d probably name the same ten Irish comedians that have had all the success for the last twenty years. 3
From blogs to bookshelves... Emma-Louise Hutchinson talks about the book versions of blogs that are worth the read and the ones that should stay on the web where they belong
t used to be that getting a book deal took sending out manuscript after manuscript, tons of rejection letters, some hard work, a way with words and ultimately, some luck. Or a connection in the publishing world, that worked too. Now though, it seems blog fame or popularity is enough to secure a book deal. All kinds of blogs are now being converted into print versions, eliciting reactions ranging from ‘why the
f does that need a print edition?’ to those who view them more favourably. But why pay for something that you can already get online, and for free? First there’s Tumblr blogs, most of you will probably have seen the blog Look At This Fucking Hipster. Tapping into people’s love for making fun of hipsters, the pictures of the most exaggerated and extreme examples of the hipster stereotype are amusing for at least a
few minutes. And then there’s Dealbreaker. Ever stopped dating someone for their taste in shoes? What about for being a bad dancer or hating your dog? People will tell you that you’re too picky, you should lower your expectations but here, here you don’t have to feel ashamed. This Tumblr blog will show you that not only are you not alone, there are people with far more fickle reasons to dump someone. Another Tumblr blog, Newspaper Blackout, is a compilation of poems created by ‘blacking out’ words in a newspaper article, the words left forming the poem. The poems, created by artist and writer, Austin Kleon, are often funny, sad and oddly insightful. The website is one that involves readers as it contains work by both Austin himself and reader submissions. One of the most successful of the lot so far with three books, a calendar and an app stemming from the website, 1000 Awesome Things is basically a countdown of, you guessed it, a thousand awesome things and reasons to be happy. It doesn’t sound much
but daily reminders of just how great your childhood car, clean public toilets and classic board games (Hungry Hungry Hippos and Connect 4 anyone?) really are does actually brighten your day. Arguably similar to Dealbreaker in that it’s really just a list of everyday, and slightly better than everyday, things, but you’re unlikely to find quite as many people spouting awesome reasons to be happy throughout your day. Then there’s Letters of Note that contains hundreds of letters, telegrams and memos that the site’s creator thinks the public should see. This one is both a Tumblr blog and an independent site. Want to see a letter from Hunter S Thompson ripping into the movie exec. making a movie of The Rum Diary? Or one from a freed slave to his old master in 1860s Tennessee? This is the place for you. So, why pay for them? Honestly, when it comes to those like Look At This Fucking Hipster and Dealbreaker, I don’t really get the appeal. The time and money used to look through the
Is beige the new colour of pop music? Valerie Loftus discusses the influx of “real musicians” and the boredom that has ensued as a result
he Guardian published an article recently about “The New Boring” in pop music, mentioning acts like Ed Sheeran, Birdy and Mumford & Sons; 4
artists who are happy to stand back and let the music do the talking. The article cites Adele’s now famous performance at the Brit Awards, where she sang
200 pages of Hipster pictures or reading what’re essentially dating moans that you can probably hear from your friends, could be better used seeing similar people in their natural habitat somewhere in town as you pass through on your way to have actual fun. The others I’m more convinced of, reading a substantial number of great reasons to be happy that you’d normally overlook is, well, awesome, and the amount of care, detail and work gone into Letters of Note and the inclusion of letters that never appeared on the website make it all the more appealing. I can actually imagine sitting down to really savour these books and, isn’t that the point of a book really? The likes of Look At This Fucking Hipster and Dealbreaker would probably make some pretty good coffee table books but, we’re students, how many of us actually have a coffee table? They’re like the books you pick up in Urban Outfitters; fun to look and laugh at but not worth the price tag. “Someone Like You” stripped back to the bare essentials of vocals and piano, as the moment where the floodgates opened to let in a wave of “beige music”. I’ll admit it freely - as much as I love “real” music (ugh), there’s nothing better than a great pop song. And I don’t mean LMFAO or Pitbull or whatever is the newest craze on the dance floor. I mean basically anything Beyonce releases, Katy Perry’s “E.T.”, even Ke$ha - yes! Ke$ha! Say what you want, but “Tik Tok” is one catchy song, and it sounds just as good today as it did on its release two years ago. You have to give these people kudos; they’re producing the music that we want to sing along and dance to, and they’re doing a damn fine job of it! But this new invasion of “beige” musicians is trying to make us feel bad about liking catchy pop music. Ed Sheeran Flux | February 8, 2012
blah-est month of the year is here Laura Cronin rambles about February; why we love it & why we hate it ...trust me it’s more entertaining than it sounds
keeps up a constant bleat of “I’m real” and “I write my own music”. That’s great and all, but listening to said music makes me want to punch wee Ed repeatedly in his smug “real” face. “The A Team” contains a lyric that pronounces a drug addict’s face as “crumbling like pastries”. Hmm. He even raps in “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”- an infuriatingly dumb “up yours” to his haterz. No Ed, I definitely do not need you. Probably the worst part of all this is beige musicians taking my favourite pop tunes and turning them into beige songs. Take Boyce Avenue, who performs an acoustic cover of “Only Girl (In The World)”. Isn’t that the saddest, most depressing thing you’ve ever heard? He takes a feisty song about sexy sexy sex and turns it into this horrifying, sycophantic ode to a steady girlfriend. The line Flux | February 8, 2012
“Want you to take it/like a thief in the night” becomes “And when you’re lonely/I’ll keep you company.” He’s probably a very talented musician but Lord, you couldn’t make anything more boring if you tried. Beige, beige, beige. True, music is becoming an increasingly visual art form. there’s a high pressure on musicians to maintain a zany public image, with costumes, alter egos and extravagant production becoming just as (if not more) important than the songs themselves. Sheeran and Co. may feel as if their music is a fitting response to this, but to be honest I’d take a million Lady Gaga’s in meat dresses singing a million awful songs over one guy with a guitar singing one mediocre song. If you’re going to get away from the big productions and let your music do the talking, at least make sure it’s up to scratch.
gh...it’s February. The month of February may seem like an extension of January’s ugly Christmas hangover, but when you think about, it’s the start of all the good things to look forward to in the year. First, you have St. Bridget’s Day. Now that you’re no longer in primary school, you don’t get the feeling of joy/ dread when you see your teacher coming in the door with rushes and you have to pretend that you remember how to make the crosses, panic, then staple a few rushes together in a cross-like fashion(that’s just a terrifying window into my childhood). February is a month that can really only be enjoyed by college students, because the majority of RAG weeks take place in February. As Dublin doesn’t really do RAG week, take this opportunity to see how the other half lives in Galway, Cork and sure why not head to some God forsaken IT like Carlow or Sligo? Discover Ireland and support local economy, all in the name of being patriotic. Finish your lectures, fill up a few carloadsfew naggins, be grand. So, you’re exactly halfway through the shortest month of the year and you’re broke/ hungover and feeling a little unloved and lonely. Just in time for some self-hatred on St. Valentines Day then; a day when couples all over the world will pay over the odds for congealed dinner, vomit-inducing cards and impractical, oversized teddy bears. If you’re single, you can go to Toxic Tuesday, kiss as many frogs as you want, and then have the mother of all duvet days on Wednesday. You can wear your fluffy jammies, eat Dominos, refuse to take your crap-ass eye
If you’re single, you can go to Toxic Tuesday, kiss as many frogs as you want, and then have the mother of all duvet days on Wednesday
Rolling around in shame is all the more satisfying when you have caster sugar stuck to your face, post pancake binge
make up off and watch every romantic comedy you own, all the while wondering what man wouldn’t want a piece of this? Assuming you didn’t manage to snag a man on Valentines, you have one of the high points of the Catholic Church’s calendar to look forward to one week later. Yes, it’s that time of year... Pancake Tuesday! On the 21st, there will be a mad dash to Spar for lemons, sugar or your toppings of choice. Instead of going to the Nubar that night, you can flip pancakes to your heart’s content, and then indulge your food baby in the comfort of your own home. Rolling around in shame is all the more satisfying when you have caster sugar stuck to your face, post pancake binge. Lent is always a bit more craic starting off the forty days unable to move. If, by some absolute miracle you’ve managed to retain a boyfriend or girlfriend-shaped person throughout the disastrous messy, hungover, unromantic, fatty month that is February, you’ll be delighted to know that 2012 is a leap year, so ladies - get those engagement rings ready! Even though Amy Adams gave the tradition a bad name in the dodgematic film that was “Leap Year”, why not try it out for yourselves and propose on the 29th? Who doesn’t love an impromptu wedding with the budget of two college students? Coppers and Maccy D’s anyone? February isn’t so bad if you give it a chance. As Amy Huberman recently tweeted, it’s like the Danny de Vito of months, short but fun. Even if this short-arsed month has nothing to offer you, March is just around the corner with Paddy’s day. Don’t hate, just celebrate. 5
Conor Donohoe picks the games of 2012 with the most potential, in what may well be our last year in existence...
nother year, another packed release schedule in the games industry. In what may very well be the last major year for this current generation of consoles (and our last year on earth, if you believe the apocalyptic prophecies), some big names are tipped to return to our control. The question is, will the releases amount to a satisfying swansong year, or will our old friend ‘bitter disappointment’ strike and tarnish our memories of 2012? Let’s take a look at some of the major titles coming out, and a few of my own preferences...
Mass Effect 3 Our first stop is a March 9th release and the hugely anticipated Mass Effect 3. Whether your version of Commander Shepherd bedded all of his crew but the alien engineer, or saved them all from death during Mass Effect 2’s swashbuckling ending, you’re going to want to get your hands on this. With an arsenal of new moves and weapons for Shepherd, the return of some of the sorely missed RPG elements from the first game, and what’s sure to be an epic conclusion to the beautifully crafted plot, Mass Effect 3 has it all to lose. Expect it in a plethora of Game of the Year shortlists. Hitman: Absolution Everyone’s favourite assassin, Agent 47, makes a welcome and long overdue return to our consoles this year. While the two preceding games, Contracts and Blood Money, were solid if patchy, Square Enix is looking to overhaul the series and give it an injection of modernity. Gone is the all-seeing map of previous titles where one could sit and watch every NPC in the level to their hearts content. What we’ll see instead is something similar to the Detective Mode from the Batman: Arkham series. It’s sure to add an extra layer of difficulty and challenge to what I believe to be one of the most fun premises for a game out there. Where 6
Contracts and Blood Money thrilled, Absolution should tidy up significantly – or even perfect. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance *Sigh* Konami. What are they playing at? They tease us Xbox gamers with a new Metal Gear, only to reveal that there’s little to none of the stealth gameplay that made the Metal Gear Solid series reach legendary status. Then, the project is shelved, only to be resurrected, set in a different timeline than originally intended, with the director of Bayonetta (of all games) on board. With each passing month it sounds less and less like a Metal Gear game, but only time will tell what it will entail. Still, if Vamp makes an unlikely return to the series, it may all be worth it if we get to go sword-to-sword with him as a cyborg Raiden. Halo 4 Despite my near-loathing of the Halo series, I feel it needs to be included on any list of this sort. With seemingly another trilogy for die-hard fans to look forward to, Halo is the gift that keeps on giving, and with the return of Master Chief as a playable character, this is guaranteed to be a popular stocking filler next Christmas. The only question mark is whether new developers 343 Studios will be able to pull it off to a satisfactory level. Max Payne 3 The series that patented the famous ‘bullet-time’ game mechanic is back this year for a third bite at the cherry, and with Dan Houser at the helm, the man behind most GTA plots as well as Red Dead Redemption, there’s every reason to be excited with the direction the series is going in. Add the inclusion of the Euphoria physics engine, and we’re looking at possibly one of the most interesting games Rockstar has released to date, let alone a solid addition to the famous series.
Any colour you like? W
e all know that the fashion industry is in a different time zone to the rest of the world. This week in New York designers are showing their AW12-13 collections where, like every other season, certain trends will be common through the lines. These are picked up by the magazines and heralded as ‘in’ for a few months and soon knock-offs appear on the high street. But how is it that designers always fall into line when it comes to colours and fabrics? It isn’t some divine coincidence’ the main trends for each season have already been locked-in years in advance by fashion forecasters. It’s nice to imagine the life of a designer as one of total freedom to express themselves through their designs, hired because of their artistic talent and trusted to bring some level of individuality to the fashion house. But the reality is much less rose-tinted. The UK fashion industry is worth £21 billion a year, it does not rely on guesswork and designer whims. There are actual agencies that collect facts about everything from customer buying patters and their priorities to the probability of a trend reoccurring and they combine all this fascinating information and come up with future trends. That’s maths I can get on board with! Like every other industry, fashion relies more on money than creativity and when forecasters decide on the ‘hottest’ colours, the fabric production begins. The more there is of a particular colour/texture the cheaper it is and no fashion house will argue with that; and so a trend is born. The really amazing thing is that this process is carried out seasons in advance. Want to know the colours for AW ’13? They’re available! It’s not just anFlux | February 8, 2012
“That blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.” - The Devil Wears Prada casting Katie Clinton talks about colour fore and how colour trends develop other case of fashion being too ahead of itself ’ think how early designers begin their collections, often it is at least a season early. Fabric and textile producers have to be able to supply design houses with materials needed and so production must begin about two years in advance. So, right now the fabric we’ll be wearing in 2014 is being produced. Weird, huh? The great thing about this is that we can identify what colours/fabrics are going to remain in trend. That way mere students such as ourselves can avoid spending our pittance on a fleeting fad and get real value
Flux | February 8, 2012
out of our clothes; it also reduces the chances of you looking back at photos and saying ‘What was I thinking?’ So what can we expect in the next few seasons? Well apparently the neon trend is going to continue, according to Port Washington, the New Yorkbased market research firm. The reason is simple enough; they say that designers recognise that dramatic change is what drives growth. When we first heard a recession was coming designers tended to go conservative and black was a staple colour. Now that we are firmly in the middle of the recession, designers are
beginning to introduce bold changes. That’s coming through in the serious amount of neon we’re seeing, well, everywhere! Look at the perfect striped and feather piece from Peter Som’s SS’12 collection, or the colour-blocking at Nanette Lepore for fashion forward inspiration. This goes against the ‘stranglehold’ that black has had on fashion for the last thirty years, according to David Wolfe of the Doneger Group, a New York based fashion forecaster. Fashion fell for black in the early 80’s when Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto came to Paris with collections made up entirely of black pieces. Then came the 90’s and Heroin Chic, which cemented black as the colour of ‘cool’. “When the general public finally latched on to the notion that everybody can be cool, black was locked in”, Wolfe said. But he believed that us fashionconscious are suffering recession blues and we, like everyone else, need a lift so bright colours have risen in the Pantone Colour Institute’s top-10 colour ranking since 2009. You’re never going to read an article on the season’s ‘hottest’ colour the same again are you? I suppose this whole forecasting thing can be beneficial if you’re really going to dedicate your time to following it. Maybe in your most financially challenged moments, after spending a fortune on orange, sequined hot pants, you might consider following the forecasts. But if you manage to stay away from the bargain bins then it’s much more fun to wait for the Fashion Weeks. Basically, you get the same information but you also get some drama, lots of tiny people in giant sunglasses and at least one disaster of a show. I know which I’d pick. 7
Director: Alexander Payne Starring : George Clooney, Shailene Woodley & Amara Miller
Director: James Bobin Starring : Jason Segal, Amy Adams & Peter Linz
The Woman in Black
Director: James Watkins Starring : Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds & Janet McTeer
“You’ll laugh and you’ll cry”. This cliché is actually a pretty accurate summary of The Descendants’ viewing experience. You’ll feel that lump in your throat all too often, and some genuinely heart warming and funny moments break up what would be otherwise unbearable and crippling tension. The plot revolves around a reluctant father and lawyer Matt King (Clooney) coming to terms with his wife’s coma, and attempting for the first time to be a real father to his two daughters Alex and Scotty. On top of this, Matt is the sole trustee of hundreds of acres of unspoiled Hawaiian paradise, which his family is intent on selling before the trusteeship expires. So, does it live up to hype? It
does and it doesn’t. First of all, the endless stream of praise for Clooney’s performance is completely justified. I don’t consider myself an expert on his portfolio, but it’s easily one of the most engaging and wide-ranging acting performances of the last year or so. Praise should also be reserved for young Shailene Woodley, easily the most consistent member of the supporting cast. As stated above, the balance struck between the comedy and the depressing is exceptional for most of the film, but the comic relief definitely descends into the ridiculous on occasion. The character of Sid (Nick Krause) is easily the most inappropriate character imaginable for a film in this mould. He
serves as Alex’s emotional crutch, and he hangs around the grieving family like a bad smell for almost the entire film. The entire basis of his comedic input is his baffling stupidity, which interrupts some of the film’s most tender moments. Every time he speaks it’s reminiscent of a poor 90s ‘dude’ comedy. It’s rare that one character can completely ruin and warp what a film is trying to do emotionally, but Sid’s characterisation is baffling. It throws what could potentially be a perfectly harmonised film way off key. The character is somewhat redeemed, and even justified, during the climax but the damage is already done at this point. Yet, apart from this one (massive) flaw, there’s very little
else to dislike about The Descendants. The pacing is spot on, the story twists nicely, the soundtrack is completely appropriate and, at its most serious, it is genuinely heartbreaking. Special mention must be made for the scene in which Matt’s youngest daughter, Scotty (10) is finally told her mother is dying – a sure-fire tearjerker for even the most stonehearted. The Descendants is definitely worth a look, and is by no means a ‘chick flick’. My one main criticism of the film may not annoy anyone else, but some other fairly weak members of the supporting cast spoiled it slightly for me also. Still, Clooney’s performance alone should draw audiences in their masses.
“It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights...” While it has been a long time since The Muppets have been in the spotlight, they’ve still got it. In the film itself they speak about how they’re not cool anymore and how a comeback might be challenging; something that in reality is true. Selena Gomez admits to them in the film that, “I’ve never heard of you, my agent just told me to be here.” The generation of people that loved The Muppets the first time around are old enough now to have families of their own, with children who may not have even heard of The Muppet Show. I’m someone who did miss the era of The Muppets but I loved this film, it
was laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish. Gary ( Jason Segal) and his brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), are two die-hard fans of The Muppets who travel to LA in the hopes of visiting the famous Muppet Studios, only to find them empty and desolate. Their trip however was not in vain as Walter overhears the evil Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) planning to demolish the studios in search of oil. A quick visit to see Kermit the Frog later and they embark on a Blues Brotheresque mission of “getting the band back together” to hold one last show to raise money and save the studio. The mission itself provides some of the best comedy of the
whole film with Fozzy Bear now in a Muppets tribute band “The Moopets” (Dave Grohl playing their drummer ‘Animool’), Miss Piggy in Paris editing Vogue, Animal in an anger management class with Jack Black and Gonzo now a successful construction tycoon. The songs are another hilarious aspect of the film and they also bring forward some very important questions we must ask ourselves, I mean, are you a muppet or a man? Maybe a very manly muppet? Or a muppet of a man? This ballad is possibly one of my favourite scenes in the whole film with Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper, Big Bang Theory) appearing as the human version of Walter. I just love
Sheldon so having him in the film brought it to a whole other level of greatness for me. Whether you were there at the beginning, or this is the first you’ve heard of them, this offering is one that should ensure the legacy of The Muppets will live on. It’s a cliché but there really is something in this film for everyone. The Muppets always had famous guests on their show and nothing has changed in that respect with the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Zach Galifianakis, to name but a few, also showing their support. The film really has brought The Muppets into the 21st Century. LOVED it.
A haunted house, creepy children and Victorian costumes; on the surface, The Woman in Black has all the classic ingredients of a clichéd, dated horror movie. Daniel Radcliffe tackles his first post-Potter film role, playing young solicitor Arthur Kipps. Kipps is struggling financially, his wife has died and he is caring for his son. His impatient employer gives him one last chance to prove himself and sends him to the remote village of Crythin Gifford to look after the old mansion of a recently deceased woman. Despite the worn-out premise of ‘the haunted mansion’, the scares kick in as soon as Kipps lands in his new, temporary home. The locals are immedi-
ately hostile towards him and it’s unclear as to whether it’s just because he’s a solicitor or if there’s something more sinister going on. They slam their doors in his face, hid their children from him and refuse him shelter. After befriending one straight-talking local, Mr. Daily (Ciaran Hinds), and his dotty wife ( Janet McTeer), Kipps begins exploring the remains of the mansion, discovering that a lot more than legal paper has been left behind. Mr. Daily, the only inhabitant not to buy into the villagers’ superstitions, encourages him to keep poking through the mysterious estate. After he spots a strange figure at the house, the locals start blaming Kipps as their children
start dying. Determined to stop the natives’ tragedies and find some peace of his own, he faces off against the shadowy character terrorising the village. There’s one noticeable ghost missing from The Woman in Black, that thankfully being the pesky spirit of Harry Potter. Radcliffe has chosen wisely, moving into adult roles with ease, avoiding resorting to controversial roles. He shakes of the shackles of his famed role and takes on Kipps convincingly. Kipps is a heart-broken, cold character that is still struggling to cope with reality after the death of his wife. He finds himself caught between Mr. Daily’s consoling, rational thoughts, and wanting to believe the supernat-
ural, if just to bring him closer to his late wife. The Woman in Black isn’t a terrifying movie and it avoids gory episodes. What it does do is keep you on edge. From the startling first scene to the very last moment, there are enough turns to keep Radcliffe and Co. jolting through the scares. The real star of the show is the dark, gothic world of Ell Marsh House with its locked doors, peculiar footsteps and of course the eerie spectacle that is the lady herself. The Woman in Black opens in cinemas February 10th, and is worth a watch for curious Potter fans and horror enthusiasts alike.
Catherine Dennehy Flux | February 8, 2012