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Friday December 6 2013
short fuse. comments and rants on entertainment news.
The return of Monty Python
H Fans, don’t fear the Reaper
n November 24, the writers of Family Guy came through on their promise that a member of the main cast would be killed off. What no-one was expecting was that it would be Brian, the Griffin family dog and arguably the most popular member of the show, who would end up biting the bullet: being hit by a car in the first act of the episode. It’s one of the most shocking twists to happen in animated television since the death of Maude Flanders on The Simpsons way back in 2000, and the internet reacted to it with predictable amounts of quiet dignity and grace. Online forums exploded, and a petition on Change.com to revive the character now carries over 25,000 signatures. Personally, though, I kind of like it. I’m as devastated (or at least as close to that as one can get about a fictional character) as anyone else; Brian was a great character. But I also agree with the Family Guy writing staff – not the manatees, the actual writers – who say that the show needed to be “shaken up”. Doctor Who figured the secret out
early; regeneration is the key to success. Having a protagonist whose appearance completely changes every time the main actor leaves is a stroke of genius. And if your script can’t contain any immortal aliens, then death is another great way to ensure things constantly stay fresh. Game of Thrones fans may not appreciate author George RR Martin keeping them in eternal suspense, but that fear that our favourite characters won’t survive week to week has turned the show into a phenomenon. Whether or not Brian Griffin really will stay dead remains to be seen, but for now his passing has done exactly what it promised to do; it’s made the future of the show, at least for the time being, infinitely more interesting. I can’t wait to see where they take things, even if it is all undone by this time next year.
aving not performed on stage together in over 30 years, the remaining members of Monty Python, one of Britain’s most beloved comedic institutions, have announced that they are to make a grand return to the stage in their time honoured capacity in July 2014. Tickets for the show, initially planned as a one-off event at London’s O2 Arena, sold out in a mere 43.5 seconds after becoming available to the public, prompting the addition of five further dates across the UK. Perhaps this is unsurprising; it has been over 40 years since Michael Palin, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones appeared as Monty Python in the UK. Regardless of the announcements undeniable popularity with Python fans however, I’m a tad sceptical; nostalgia, perhaps the biggest drive behind the overwhelming demand for the Python reunion, is quite of-
ten a product of highly selective memory. Despite having grown up with, and loved Monty Python’s Holy Grail and Life of Brian, with complete adoration for their previous works, whether or not it is a good idea for five old men to return to being silly, at the risk of perhaps tarnishing their previous triumphs, is not yet clear to me. At the press conference announcing their belated return to live comedy, Terry Jones admitted that the group were eager to see if they “were still funny”. Despite the almost overwhelming allure of “some of Monty Python’s greatest hits, with modern, topical, Pythonesque twists”, considerable questions are raised in my mind about the ability of the five, now all over the age of 70, to do justice to their former, and no doubt more energetic, selves. Despite my scepticism, needless to say I’ll be looking out for Monty Python next July. Dale Callaghan
erry almost-Christmas everyone! While you have all been slaving away in the I.C, us Fuse folk have been crammed in the Media hub making 2013’s last offering of Fuse. Sob. We’ll be uploading exciting articles and reviews all through the Christmas break and exam season in January, providing great reasons to procrastinate! We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this huge 20-page Christmas issue of Fuse, including your favourite albums and the best antagonists and protagonists of the year. And if you haven’t been involved with Fuse yet and wish you had then it’s not too late! Just send us a cheeky email email@example.com and we’ll find room for you in our big Fuse family. Have a fab Christmas break, and we’ll see you in the new year. Lots of love, Amelia Heathman Kaz Scattergood
Our festive Fuse cover is brought to you by the lovely Phillipa Spottiswoode.
ester Manchs Markets ristma
James Arthur – Is it ‘Impossible’ to bounce back?
n the last couple of weeks James Arthur, X Factor’s latest money making machine, has been hitting the headlines for his less than friendly comments. Not only did he insult the entire LGBT community via his senseless homophobic slurs, but he also entered into wild Twitter arguments with fellow contestant Lucy Spraggan and controversial comedian Frankie Boyle. To make matters worse, X Factor bosses were deciding whether to ban Arthur from performing on an X Factor show following a petition from over 6,000 people. Could this be the start of a messy decline for
Arthur? Last December, after winning the X Factor 2012, James Arthur showed promise as an artist. He seemed full of potential, original and had the support of thousands of voters, including myself. Almost a year on and it all seems to be heading anywhere but in a good direction for the star. He’s unleashed homophobic comments, there have been reports that his record label are fearing for his mental health and angry fans have demanded refunds for his album from iTunes. No wonder James Arthur was giv-
en a diagnosis of ‘acute exhaustion’ last weekend. It’s hard to comprehend how the artist has gone from having a Christmas number one, to having mountains of hate mail, queues of angry fans and demands for him to be removed from Saturday night television. With all the controversy that now surrounds him, it’s hard to see a way out for this latest X Factor product. The damage has been done and love has been lost. Unfortunately, you really are nobody until somebody loves you. Joss Woodend
Sun Dec 15 10am - 5pm Bar One, £10
ake a break from all that revising and take a magical Christmas trip to the Christmas markets in Manchester! With Sheffield being so close to the Rainy City, you’d be hard pushed to find an excuse not to go to such a festive event. Indulge in Bratwurst and sip
on German Glühwein as you browse the excellent gift offerings avaliable to you in the idyllic wooden huts. Why waste your time going to Berlin when you have all this almost on your doorstep? Meet at the Glossop Road entrance to Bar One. Bring a bottle of water.
Friday December 6 2013
q&a. Ex-students Jack, Ash and Chris are all directors of their own company, Scrapbook Ltd. We talked to them about their games, including their addictive iOS title, Gravoor. How would you best describe your company? Jack: Kind of a side project that turned into something serious. It started out as a bit of fun, me and Ash worked at the same place and weren’t too happy, thought we could do something better with our whole range of skills, it just seemed to make sense. Why games, are you big gamers? Jack: They are! Chris: Yeah, me and Ash are! I’ve been working in games since I was about 13 years old, I used to make flash games which I’d distribute online, and Ash has always had an interest in games as well. Ash: I studied games software development at Sheffield Hallam, and that quickly turned into a lot of heavier console development. We had a lot of time to experiment with PlayStation 3 development, through that you acquire enough confidence to think “yeah, I could build something like this on my own”. What does the new console generation mean for you guys? Jack: A lot of paperwork!
Ash: I think the new console generation is really bridging that gap between independent and triple-A games development. I don’t think it’s going to be about a rise of indie and a fall of triple-A, I think it’s going to be them shaking hands. I think it’s going to be an interesting time over these next 10 years. What’s your favourite project that you’ve worked on so far? Jack: For me, it’s probably the first one, Jailbreak. We had that nice naivety that it would be easy! It was the first thing we ever did and it was a nice sort of team bonding sort of exercise, you’re full of hope – not that we have no hope anymore! – aspirations are limitless. Also, it was just doing something new, after doing a law degree and a masters it was a nice change. Chris: Anything in regards to working under a Sony banner is always more exciting. It was good to see on an actual games console too, if it comes out on a Vita you know it’s good! Sony are really strict with what goes out on their console, so to see your own work on their console, you know you’ve done well. What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve faced so far? Ash: You have to realise, there has to be structure otherwise the wheels won’t turn, the biggest hurdle is finding the balance between creativity and discipline. Too much creativity means a lot of great ideas that never get finished, and too much discipline means a lot of things that get finished that aren’t interesting and innovative. I think finding that balance is, even now, the biggest hurdle. I noticed that your business ideas started in the Fat Cat (Kelham Island) which made me happy! What are your favourite places in Sheffield? Jack: Hillsborough! I’m liking Kelham Island, it’s the closest thing Sheffield has to Williamsburg. It’s a nice blend of everyone, you can have a chat with a pretty lass or a 65-year-old bloke. It’s nice. I’ve always loved Eccleshall Road, some great pubs down there, nice tree lines streets, it’s beautiful. I love Crookes as well, I’d love to move back there. I feel like I have to walk around with a Human League album on in Crookes. What are your favourite games?
Ash: The one I really can’t stop talking about is The Last of Us. It shows us that games are maturing and we should really take them seriously. Jack: LA Noire is the only cool game I like… other than that it’s just Fifa! LA Noire was quality, it’s like playing a film. Chris: I’m big on Red Dead Redemption, I that was one of the best games of the previous generation. Everything about that game was really good.
Ash: I’m a Metal Gear Solid nut, and Uncharted. I can tell you’re a PlayStation player! Ash: I am like, the biggest PlayStation fanboy there is! Jack: We could lock you in a room of Xboxes… Ash: I think I’d just cry. Have you ever seen that advert for Heinz ketchup and all the sailors are starving because there’s no Heinz left? That’d be like me with gaming. Jack: I’d still say my favourite console ever was the Sega Megadrive. Kaz Scattergood
Available from the SU box office
Road House: Fri Dec 13 19:30
Only God Forgives: Sat Dec 14 19:30
About Time: Sun Dec 15 19:30
Friday December 6 2013
Niki Lauda - Rush
hat makes Lauda (Daniel Brühl) one of the best antagonists to have come out of 2013 is that we’re never really sure whether he is one. Director Ron Howard constructs the film in a manner that allows us greatest sympathy for James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). At first. However, as we progress through the plot and their relationship makes a gradual (and incredibly believable) transformation from enemies to friendly rivals, by Lauda’s accident we’re unsure whether he is in fact the antagonist. Whereas Hunt is the golden, alluring Brit, Lauda is the waspish, brusque Austrian. It’s easy to see him as the villain of the piece – especially when he’s insulting Hunt and irritating the mechanics by outclassing them with his knowledge. But as we approach the climactic accident and the increasingly graphic scenes that follow, Brühl’s impressive performance allows us to see the humanity of Lauda. The only thing he loves more than his wife is driving, and this is communicated to us on a very personal level, meaning that little by little our sympathy for his character grows. So while we enter the film certain of his malevolence, we leave it with a feeling that he’s far less of an antagonist than we thought. And for an actor to be that convincing takes skill, which is why Brühl’s Lauda makes the list. Kate Lovatt
laying the role of the erratic, chicken-loving Mexican restaurant owner with the bulging belly, Eduardo Perez, Benjamin Bratt creates a character that children and kids-at-heart can love. But Eduardo’s dark secret eventually reveals him to be the elusive El Macho, a super-villain thought to have died while riding a shark wrapped in dynamite into an erupting volcano. An ealy scene shows El Macho skipping away with a truck full of money carried casually on his shoulders, right after drinking snake venom shots. Even the poor snake’s left baffled. Eduardo’s sidekick chicken, El Pollito, provides yet another level of hilarity to the ridiculous character, making El Macho one heck of a badguy. He even has a secret lair, and gulps down a mutation formula, turning him into a giant, monobrowed purple bear, in order to fight Gru and his minions. For a fat man with the Mexican flag tattooed to his gut, he dances like the devil, and manages quite impressively to re-live his criminal youth, using the cute little yellow dudes the world fell in love with in 2010. This guy is cool, funny, and sure is macho.
The Rider - Metallica: Through the Never
erhaps not from one of the biggest films of the year, the Rider is definitely one of the most awesome baddies to be seen in 2013. Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Through the Never sees Trip, a young Metallica roadie, on a mission to collect a package for the band. Along the way, the Rider appears leading a band of lynch mobsters, lobbing molotov cocktails and hanging riot police from lamp posts. The rider wears a creepy gas mask, and weilds a mighty hammer atop his horse, and simply causes absolute havoc. As a representation of the allegorical Pale Rider from legend, this monstrous warrior lets everyone in his way know who’s boss, and feels no remorse for the lives he takes. His powerful stance and destructive abilities earn him some recognition. Will Ross
El Macho - Despicable Me 2
The Mandarin - Iron Man 3
hane Black’s take on the Iron Man franchise started out well, but it felt like standard Marvel movie fare. Throughout the film we are led to believe that Ben Kingsley is playing an elusive terrorist mastermind who will push Tony Stark to his very limits, only to find out that he’s a red herring. The rug is pulled out from under us and we learn that this villain is nothing more than an idiotic, cockney actor. Although controversial to hardcore comic fans, this side-splitting twist is a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre, which is constantly on the brink of becoming stale. Joe Brennan
Loki - Thor: The Dark World
y far the saving grace in all of Thor’s movies, Loki earns himself a spot on this list for being the witty, mischievous comic relief that’s needed. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is arguably still an antagonist in Thor: The Dark World, as a kidnapped prisoner of his own brother, the eponymous norse thunder god. His cunning knowledge of Asgard’s secret passages and ability to trick even the most evil of villains get Thor and his team out of plenty of sticky situations. His true colours shine through at times, showing that even demi-gods can show emotional weakness; however the final few cuts of this film leave audiences wriggling with excitement for the next instalment, simply for the pleasure of watching Hiddleston act. Without Loki at the forefront of these movies, they would undoubtedly be left limp and comedically inept, like so many superhero movies do nowadays. Will Ross
Friday December 6 2013
We had a look back at the great films of 2013 to decide on the best characters that have blessed our screens this year, split simply into goodies and baddies
Adéle - Blue is the Warmest Colour
Carol Solomon - In A World
aving only been recently released, there is still no doubt in my mind about how good of a character Adéle is. Whilst Mako resolves her issues in the film via an over-the-top flourish, everything about Adele is understated, and her issues are never resolved. She is a middle-class teenager, who at first struggles with her sexuality. After starting a relationship with art student Emma, she seems to have found happiness, but this turns out to be temporary, as their union starts to disintegrate. Adèle Exarchopoulos deserves recognition when Oscar season comes rolling round for her paradoxically quiet and powerful performance.
espite something of an average name, Carol is certainly not your average protagonist. Lake Bell brings her to life as a fumblingly charming, wordy and witty young woman whose father has overshadowed her for most of her adult life. Her motivation to become a successful voice-over artist, rather than her current profession as a vocal coach, and love for all things language-related gives her a magnetism that audiences can’t ignore. Despite her father’s lack of belief in her and his self-centred attitude, she remains loyal to him – even running after him, rather than accept an award when she beats him to the prize. She extends this kindness to others around her, and creates some wonderfully subtle comedic moments when she attempts to secretly record conversations in the laundrette for her accent archives. But most importantly, she values her talents and refuses to let a male-dominated industry squash her dreams and aspirations. Her understanding of the power of language shines though, and we could all use a little of Carol’s spiritedness in chasing our own dreams. Kate Lovatt
Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
atniss is an inspiration for women everywhere - and probably men, too! It’s refreshing to see a female protagonist with such strength, determination and realistic emotions, particularly when portrayed by an actress as wonderful as Jennifer Lawrence. The poor districts of Panem are kept in their place by an annual event, the Hunger Games, in which children from each district must fight to the death. The first film brought this character from book to screen and to be honest, didn’t quite do Katniss justice. However, the second iteration, Catching Fire, does her proud. Lawrence portrays a broken Katniss, damaged from her experiences but undeniably powerful in her will to protect her family and fight against the Capitol. Her emotions are honest - there’s a love triangle building between her old friend Gale and her partner from the games, Peeta, but she’s understandably traumatised and these emotions aren’t her priority. Katniss becomes an icon for change - a woman who will rebel against the Capitol without thinking twice, for the protection of her family and her people. She’s a hell of a role model, and a badass protagonist. Kaz Scattergood
Gary King - The World’s End
nfairly, comic actors are never given the same regard as their dramatic counterparts. Simon Pegg’s performance as Gary King, an alcoholic loser who desperately tries to cling to his teenage years is a revelation for the actor. Pegg has always been funny, but in The World’s End he successfully juggles comedy with tragedy to create an uncompromisingly ardent protagonist. There are times when you aren’t sure whether you should laugh at his antics or worry about him. For instance, when he downs three discarded pints, it is both humorous and troubling. It’s not all dark, though. King is at the centre of a scene that simultaneously creates the funniest comic moment and the most visceral action sequence of the film. He tries to finish his drink, but all the robots keep attacking him, which only makes him more exasperated as he smashes their skulls in. Shaun was a bit sheepish, Nicholas Angel was slightly uptight, but Gary King is just brilliant. Joe Brennan
Marshall Pentecost - Pacific Rim
his list wouldn’t be right without Idris Elba. He takes the bland, gruff general stereotype seen in so many movies and makes it memorable, when playing Pentecost. He wouldn’t have to lift a finger to convince us of Pentecost’s badassery. He wouldn’t even need to speak. He does though, of course, and one of his best moments comes when main character Raleigh desperately tries to change his mind about something or other and resorts to shoving him. Silence falls. Then: “First: don’t ever touch me again. Second: Don’t ever touch me again”. It’s a rare moment when a screen performance commands such stillness among the audience and it makes a truly awe-inspiring scene. Equally jaw-dropping is Pentecost’s speech before the final battle. It may be the most thrilling battle speech since Aragorn bid you “Stand! Men of the West!” except here the final line is: “Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!” It’s a spine-tingling moment that earns him yet more respect. Joe Brennan
Artwork: Annie Mullineux
Friday December 6 2013
The next generation We take a look at Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles, which will be going on your Christmas list? Well it’s finally here, two agonising weeks after our friends over the pond got theirs. It is with great anticipation I bring you my experiences with Sony’s new gamer-centred console, the epic PlayStation 4. Let’s make no bones about it, the PS4 is the best looking home console ever made. It’s astonishingly small and slim for such a powerhouse, even slimmer than the latest (super-slim) iteration of the PS3, yet still manages to squeeze in the power supply into that sleek box too (meaning no offensive power brick sitting halfway down the power cable). Photos don’t do this thing justice but there are a few drawbacks of the aesthetics that you only notice once you start to use it daily. The power and eject buttons are so small you need fingers with the girth of cocktail sticks to press them, and the light strip across the top might be straight out of Tron but it’s offensively bright when you’re trying to settle down to a blu-ray with the lights off. First thing you notice out the box is that the PS4 is simple, fast, and streamlined to get going. Everything about the user interface is snappy, responsive, and minimalist. I miss the control of the old PS3 (XMB) menu, but for simply getting around the vitals of the PS4 (games, friends’ parties, and the store) it’s rapid. Sony’s Spotify rival, Music Unlimited, is currently the only way to listen to your music during games; it works well and gives you a massive library but it’s a pricey subscription (£5-10/mo) and at launch the PS4 has no support for your own MP3 files which is a horrible omission that will be hopefully rectified soon. But when everything is working well and you’re flicking instantly between a video on Netflix and blowing people’s heads up in Killzone online with Music Unlimited trance playlist in the background, it’s a smooth gaming experience like you’ve never had before. Now about the much hyped controller, the Dual Shock 4 - it’s bloody fantastic. The pad is bigger, smoother, and more substantial than PlayStations of old. I have to admit, I was one of the minority that loved the PS3’s controller, however the complaints across the gaming community about trigger and analog stick shape have been thoroughly addressed in the new DS4. The new triggers bend outwards to hold your fingers in place, and the sticks have a rim around the central convex surface to stop your thumbs slipping. Plus there’s a built-in speaker now and even a touchpad. According to some ex-360 users, the DS4 feels even better than the old Xbox game pads, which speaks volumes for the evolution from the last controller. The camera is nothing on Xbox’s Kinect yet, it’s rarely used and the only proper game for it so far (The Playroom)
is really just a tech demo, so I wouldn’t shell out for one just yet. One of the PS4’s best unique features is its replaceable Hard Drive; it ships with a 500GB unit but if you feel the need (and I do) you can fit any 2.5” laptop drive in there (as long as it’s no thicker than 9.5mm) which means you can get yourself a 1.5TB drive and shove it right in, it doesn’t even break the warranty. Exclusive launch game highlights are the beautifully brutal Killzone: Shadow Fall, thrilling Resogun, and eerie Contrast. The latter two are both downloadable and completely free with a PS plus subscription (£40/yr) and for that you get all the usually online functionality but Sony also throw in tons of free games. Some are usually £15 or so, like the ones above, but others are full £50 retail games sometimes only half a year or so old, it’s a great service and shows Xbox Live up in the value for money stakes. I have been testing Amazon’s PS4 ‘Mega-Bundle’ consisting of the console, two controllers, the PS4 camera, and two games, all coming to £470. Base console price (one controller but no camera) is £350, it’s all very reasonable especially compared to similarly powerful PCs and the console’s rival, Xbox One. Keep in mind that in the next few months many high budget, mightily anticipated games are coming out such as inFamous: Second Son, Driveclub, and Watchdogs, so unless you want to be behind the curve I wouldn’t wait around. The PlayStation 4 is the most together console at launch I’ve ever witnessed, it works amazingly well, quickly, and it’s power (best shown through Killzone) will require someone to standby for jaw retrieval. It’s future proof, great value, and most problems will be sorted with a patch a few weeks down the line, I wouldn’t bother waiting for a price drop, it’s already sold at next to no profit so just go for it. If you can get hold of one, that is.
Friday December 6 2013
of console gaming After a long year of press releases, demonstrations, announcements and the occasional PR-nightmare, it’s kind of weird to see the Xbox One actually sat in your bedroom. And for all of the scepticism about this console, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised. Here we have a real ‘next generation’ machine, Star Trek style. I’ve always been convinced that voice command is an idea that would never appeal to me, from watching my Dad bark orders to his wireless carphone to getting totally freaked out by Siri, it’s not something I thought would actually be useful or necessary. But the integration of Kinect with this console means it’d be really silly not to use it. Browsing through menus is slower than telling your Xbox to “Go to...” something, so you’ll find yourself doing just that, all the time. Lost your TV remote down the side of the bed? No problem, ‘“Xbox - volume up”. It’s startling at first and weirdly futuristic, but it works, so why the hell not? Kinect’s facial recognition is noticeably intelligent, too, it’ll sign you in and even say hello to your guests if they’ve signed into your console before. Seeing Kinect’s capabilities just for simple things like signing in and controlling menus provokes thought on its uses within the games - surely the possibilities are enormous. We can expect to see this develop in the future but even the release games out now show impressive integration with Kinect. While arguably using Kinect isn’t much of an improvement from just clicking on something yourself, occasionally it really does save a lot of time. For example, you can now make substitutions, change formations and adjust your team mentality on Fifa with voice commands. This saves a timely procedure of pausing your game and clicking through menus, creating a much more fluid experience. Your voice is a useful device in Dead Rising 3, with the ability to capture the zombies’ attention by shouting them over. While you can live without these features, they work well in giving a little more life to your gameplay experience. Another new feature is the ability to run several things at once. Truly a sign of a more powerful machine, the console can run a game and another app, such as Netflix, simultaneously. This could be really handy in a game which requires a wait for respawn, you can ‘snap’ Netflix, Youtube, whatever, to the side of your screen and watch while you wait. You can even keep in touch with loved ones at all times by keeping Skype snapped while you play. This also speeds things up in general when going from one thing to another, and it’s a change that wouldn’t have been possible on a less powerful console. Here you’ve got three operating systems, a constantly noticeable feature affecting the way you move between apps (and use them at the same time).
I can totally see where Microsoft were going with the whole digital-games-only plans, ideally scrapping discs entirely. The public cried out, loudly, for their right to physical copies, but now they’re honestly annoying. You’ll find yourself wanting to just say “Xbox, go to Call of Duty” then realise you have to put the disc in, massively slowing down the process (not to mention, forcing you to get out of bed). The world wasn’t ready for such a change - but now I find myself pitying Microsoft for having to back down. It was a good idea. Change isn’t always a good thing, though. Some of the new features can be frustrating, particularly in comparison to what we had before on the 360. For example, looking through your achievements is a more difficult task. The menus are visually appealing, but the information you really want to see - for example, what your achievement was actually for - requires another clickthrough. This is a long slog if you’re one to regularly check up on your achievement progress. You can’t ‘snap’ achievements either - which seems like a total no-brainer in the snap feature. Imagine how cool it would be if you were achievement hunting, and could ‘snap’ your progress to be on screen all the time? It’s a wasted opportunity for a great feature that I hope will be added later. Overall, the console is super impressive. It’s powerful, as multifunctional as promised, and there’s a lot of potential. Design-wise, it isn’t always great. The tiled menus are pretty much just Windows 8, with that awful font Microsoft insist on using everywhere, and a colour scheme that is a little brash even after customisation. It’s a good looking machine, too, and the controllers are still, in my opinion, far superior to PlayStation’s Dual Shock pads, feeling more rounded and fitted to the hand. While some features are flawed, there’s a system and structure in place for something that I can only assume will get better and better with time. But, it’s the next generation and you can tell. The technology is future-proof and the games look great, I’m excited for what is already set to be an incredible console generation. Kaz Scattergood
Friday December 6 2013
Time for the Oh yes I
t’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the singularly English phenomenon of pantomime originated. Some believe it to have evolved from the theatre of ancient Greece, where ‘pantomime’ meant to ‘mimic all’, though it is more widely thought to have been inspired by ‘Commedia dell’Arte’, the Italian slapstick theatre of the sixteenth century.
Residual conventions in modern pantos give us a good idea of its long history. An example of this is the custom that ‘good’ characters e.g. Widow Twankey and her son Buttons (the ‘village idiot’ who manages to pop up in pretty much every pantomime) enter from the right, whereas ‘bad’ characters such as the wicked witch enter from the left. This tradition dates back to medieval times, when the right side of the stage represented Heaven and the left represented Hell.
“One of Christmas’ less materialistic forms of entertainment” Regardless of their provenance however, pantomimes continue to attract hundreds of thousands of people every year, maintaining their status as one of the most popular forms of Christmas entertainment. For those who find pantomime dated or feel the industry is on the wane, there is persistent evidence that it is still developing to keep up with the times. This year, eBay has combined the two quintessential Christmas traditions of buying presents and going to the theatre to produce the first ever ‘shoppable pantomime’, ingeniously entitled ‘Cinderella: An Inspirational Fair-Retail’. For a £6 ticket, the proceeds of which go to charity, audience members at London’s Charing Cross Theatre will be able to enjoy the festive show while using iPads to browse and purchase the items exhibited onstage as props and costume. Though this has been heralded as a revolutionary marketing ploy, it strikes me as a little sad that ‘the world’s online marketplace’ has managed to get its commercial claws into what is usually one of Christmas’ less materialistic forms of entertainment. After all, pantomimes aren’t meant to be watched with one eye fixed to an iPad and the other flitting enviously between Sleeping Beauty’s heels and Dick Whittington’s waistcoat. They’re supposed to be a bit naff, and absolutely must be watched while surrounded by
Friday December 6 2013
pantomime? it is! hundreds of wide-eyed children jumped up on e-numbers and Christmas cheer. It’s the only time of the year when it’s deemed acceptable for parents to take their little ones to watch a beer-bellied man in drag prancing around a stage, pretending to be the mother of a young girl who is dressed as a boy and wants to marry another young girl. It’s a time for parents to chortle knowingly at the mild sexual double-entendre while their children boo, hiss and ‘It’s behind you!’ their throats raw. Or, in some cases, cry and cower from the evil stepmother who is likely to haunt their dreams till she’s chased away by visions of sugarplums on Christmas Eve. I personally have rather scarred memories of being the latter type of child, cowering in my seat while children all around were perched on the edges of theirs, dreading Buttons’ call for audience participation when my mother would unfailingly push me towards Christopher Biggins’ open arms, his stubbly yet powdered face and gaudy outfits looming in my nightmares for weeks after. But however traumatising my first experiences of panto may have been, they have provided me with what are in hindsight fond memories. I truly believe that everyone should experience a Christmas pantomime at one point in their lives, so if you’ve not yet seen one make this the year you do!
“Surrounded by wide-eyed children jumped up on e-numbers” After the success of last year’s Cinderella, Sheffield’s Lyceum will be putting on Jack and the Beanstalk this year from Friday December 6 - Sunday January 5, starring pantomime dame Damian (surely not a coincidence) Williams. Whether you’re planning on taking children, nostalgically fancy enacting a second childhood, or simply want to cross pantomimes off your bucket list, it’s bound to be lots of festive ‘Fe-Fi-Fo-Fun’.
Friday December 6 2013
Your favourite albums of 2013 DAVID BOWIE - THE NEXT DAY
Bowie surprised us all at the start of this year when he announced he would be releasing new material 10 years after he’d supposedly retired from the music business. What followed was The Next Day, an album that saw him return to his rock’n’roll roots (‘You Will Set The World On Fire’) and embrace his softer side (‘Where Are We Now’). The Next Day showed that at 66, David Bowie is as magisterial as ever. Rachel Smith
MILES KANE DON’T FORGET WHO YOU ARE In a world of complicated experimental genrechanging indie-pop-rock, its refreshing to have a straightforward record full of simple, fun, sing-a-long, rock’n’roll anthems. And at this present moment, nobody delivers this better than Miles Kane. Murray Jones
JOHN GRANT - PALE GREEN GHOSTS In Grant’s second album, Pale Green Ghosts, no topic is too personal to put into lyrics. Grant’s musical confessional explores heartbreak (‘Vietnam’) and struggles with sexuality (‘Glacier). Heart-breaking and life-affirming, Grant’s mix of genre creates a hauntingly beautiful album. Corrigan Lowe
PARQUET COURT - LIGHT UP GOLD Parquet Courts in 2013 succeeded where others have failed for years. In little over half an hour they have created a near perfect punk record. It’s lyrically witty and in parts laugh out loud funny, whilst musically being more exciting than Barry Scott in a dirty kitchen. Michael Raymond
CHVRCHES - RECOVER It’s almost impossible not to listen to the intro to Recover and automatically be drawn in by Lauren Mayberry’s delectable voice and the hypnotic beats of Chvrches. The minute their debut dropped this year, Chvrches stood out as a top contender for the best album of the 2013. From ‘Gun’ to ‘Under the Tide’, this album is an intense journey you’ll want to repeat again and again. Amelia Heathman
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Friday December 6 2013
We asked our contributors for their verdict on some of the best albums of this year MY BLOODY VALENTINE MBV Kevin Shields and co. have released a true follow up to their shoegazing masterpiece Loveless with a series of songs characterised by swirling guitars swamped in distortion and ethereal vocals. This is an album with a distinctive sound, unlike any other released this year. Sam Forsdick
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE ...LIKE CLOCKWORK ...Like Clockwork is an astounding return to form from Queens of the Stone Age. An immaculate body of work highlighting QOTSA’s heady mixture of heavy rock with psychedelic textures, it includes an element of vulnerability that was not previously heard in their music. This is the best record from a true rock band. Thomas Sloman
ARCADE FIRE - REFLEKTOR Why do we relate how we’re feeling to a song or a book? Is it only ever a reflection of ourselves? What exactly is ‘normal’? Is this the end of the CD era? Amongst others, these are the philosophical questions Reflektor poses. While Win Butler seamlessly bellows out beautifullycrafted songs one after the other you’ll attempt to answer the questions, find you can’t, and set the album to repeat. Nicky Crane
LORDE - PURE HEROINE Lorde took the Twitter sphere by storm this summer and had everyone talking about her debut, Royals. The Kiwi, who’s only turned 16, has a lyrical ability far beyond her years with her debut album gone to number one across the world. There’s definitely a new Queen B in town. Toby Varian
THE KNIFE - SHAKING THE HABITUAL Get this: It’s 2013, but Lorde being a feminist is still a big deal. Meanwhile, The Knife clued up on Foucault and released a fiercely passionate album about gender and society that defies instant gratification. Who needs lame singalong hooks when you’ve got an entrancing postmodern clash of nightmarish beats and the otherworldly beauty of Karin Dreijer Andersson’s voice? Martin Bottomley
PEACE - IN LOVE From the first psych guitar swirl, In Love takes the listener on a rollercoaster through the heady heights of overwhelming love. Recreating every desperate heart wrenching moment with each jangly note and crashing beat. The albums fierce reality and infectious tone means no list of 2013’s gems would be complete without it. Becca Lewis
ARCTIC MONKEYS - AM Sophisticated, dark and just a tiny bit risqué, Arctic Monkey’s AM is by far one of the best albums of the year. Josh Homme inspired riffs with sultry vocals contribute to an altogether heavier work from the band. Alex Turner’s insightful lyrics and irresistible hooks on popular singles such as ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ arguably make this their most impressive album since their debut. Josie Kirk
Friday December 6 2013
Fuse. games killzone: Shadow Fall PS4 8/10
illzone: Shadow Fall is the best looking game ever to come to consoles; it’s fluid, tight, and oh so brutal. Sony’s exclusive first person shooter franchise Killzone has been around since the PS2, and every iteration has been overly ambitious, resulting in spectacular screenshots but janky controls and low frame rates. With the arrival of the PS4, this spectacular series has finally the right hardware to do it justice, Shadow Fall plays just as good as it looks and it’s online multiplayer is an absolute blast. First things first - this game looks spectacular. For the first time in a Killzone game the colour palate extends beyond desolate grey and brown, it heavily uses piercing blues, greens, whites to portray a gorgeous futuristic world with a cyberpunk art direction similar to Deus Ex - if someone gave everything a clean. Draw distance is huge, even when zooming in on distant areas with a sniper rifle, it still looks fantastic. The visuals suffer only slightly from the move to the 24 player online battles (with high-
dead rising 3 Xbox One 7/10
eing one of the few exclusives able to keep up with the release of the ‘next-gen’ consoles means Dead Rising 3 has been met with fierce scrutiny. But, despite a few issues holding it back from becoming a ‘Game of the Year’ contender, Dead Rising 3 is a solid release game and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Set 10 years after the events in Dead Rising 2, you play Nick Ramos, an everyday mechanic who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, when a zombie outbreak devours the city of Los Perdidos. He then discovers a plot to destroy the city, survivors and all, and only has seven days to save as many people as he can and escape. Even more so than the two previous games, the player is then left to their own devices. Do you want to be a man of the people who uses misdirection and subtlety to combat the undead and save as many survivors as possible? Or would you rather put on a banana hammock, high heels and cut through hordes with a laser sword? It’s up to you. While this choice exists, you will often be confused about which direction the game wants to steer you in. In cutscenes, Dead Rising 3
seems like a serious (albeit clichéd) zombie survival story. However, the most powerful weapons in the game are hilariously over-the-top combo weapons, that in order to beat the game you will inevitably have to use. And you would be a fool not to, one of the most fun elements of Dead Rising 3 is discovering, crafting and using these deadly delights. But it is hard to take emotional cutscenes seriously when you’ve just spent the last 10 minutes using a weapon called Jazz Hands (think Wolverine with machine guns). Visually, Dead Rising 3 is at the lower end of the next-gen scale during actual gameplay, but where it succeeds is in quantity, not quality. Never before have you seen so many zombies on screen at once. The first time you see an undead horde, you will not only realise just how outnumbered you are, but you will instantly understand why Dead Rising 3 wouldn’t have been possible on last-gen consoles. Couple this with the size of Los Perdidos (vast compared to the previous Dead Rising games), and you have a terrifying, bustling metropolis that you can easily spend hours in. Kinect integration allows you to use voice command shortcuts and SmartGlass allows you to turn your smartphone into the in-game phone, recieving calls from other characters and viewing the in-game map. Both are fun additions that work
resolution textures loading in when you get within 50m or so), but it does very little to detract from the experience. Following the events of Killzone 3, the planet Vekta has been split down the middle like a huge Berlin Wall with Helghast on one side and Vektans on the other, and the game events centre around the Helghast trying to attack. But to be fair, the story in Killzone games has always been fairly loose.
“Killzone finally has the hardware to do it justice” In the past, gameplay has never been able to keep up with the likes of Call of Duty. With Shadow Fall, gone is the immense heaviness, the slow reactions, and the blurrily slow frame rate. The game feels fast, it’s easily on par with Call of Duty games for tactile feedback and makes you feel much more connected to the game. Where it shines though is in the sheer gameplay diversity, unlike Battlefield games you don’t get constant personal use of massive vehicles but you never feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again like other infantry shooters. The future is hard to make interesting, it’s easy to have it feel sterile and
well, but they are entirely optional if that’s not your thing. If you enjoyed the previous Dead Rising games, then you will find this one bigger and better in pretty much every way. It would also be a good point to enter the series, your experience will not really suffer from not playing the previous games, except for a few nods to previous titles towards the end of the game. However, if you have had problems with some of the core mechanics of Dead Rising, such as the race against time element of the story, then this instalment will probably not change your mind. Overall Dead Rising 3 is a good release game, an exciting sign of things to come with the next generation and a must for any zombie fan. Reece Nunn
dead, but Shadow Fall has managed to maintain the franchise’s epic brutality. A melee attack isn’t just a limp wristed slap with a blade, it’s running up to a soldier and ramming a knife into their eye socket, twisting side to side before unsheathing the blade from their face and pushing them to the ground. That’s just one example of all the contextual melee kills possible, even in multiplayer they carry through. There’s no rankings, and all the innovative weapons are available from the get go, but there’s plenary to unlock and that’s how your progress is compared with other players. There’s no other game where you can be so bad but enjoy it so much. There’s a steep learning curve simply because there is so much on screen. When playing as an invisible scout sneaking around, you feel genuinely unique, the gameplay is completely different to running around with a rifle. Crucially the online multiplayer in Shadow Fall is fun, so much fun, ludicrously so, once you’ve had a free hours to get your head around how it all works. As it’s a launch game, Shadow Fall can only be compared to last generation’s games, and I’m that respect it represents a massive leap forward. It’s fast, beautiful, aggressive, and fun. Killzone: Shadow Fall deserves your attention. Christopher O’Grady
Friday December 6 2013
Ratchet and Clank: Into the nexus PS3 7/10
n end of an era. The Ratchet and Clank Future series has now ended. What, you thought it was finished with A Crack in Time? Don’t be so foolish. Ending there was clearly not good enough and left so many questions unresolved that thousands upon thousands of fans cried out in unison to fix such a defective ending of what was a brilliant saga. So Insomniac has acquiesced to their demands and they have created Nexus which once and for all solved the many plot holes from the previous game. Into the Nexus appears to be a frivolous expedition into their last truly successful exploit from the Ratchet and Clank series, with All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault filling the gap. But now having played the game, it honestly surprised me and has perhaps brought me round to its side. As usual, the graphics are brilliant in their cartoony manner and, as is obvious with Ratchet and Clank games, the humour is beautifully woven into the gameplay and cut-scenes which is half the reason you buy the game. The other half
is weapons, and they do deliver on weapons. Most of them are revamped from older games like the ‘Winterizer’ which turns enemies into snowmen which, although merely another remake of the ‘Morph-o-Ray’, is still fresh and fun to use. Yet strangely, even with the small but cool core of weapons, the armour upgrades, the ever present quests for Golden Bolts, RYNO schematics and Tournament challenges, you can find yourself finishing the game before completing any of these as the game is so damn short. The story, brief as it is and polished to a shine, still lacks a certain punch that even the equally short Quest for Booty had. But then again it was designed to be short. It brings some interesting mechanics in the Clank minigames, some well-done cameos and, dare I say it, heart-rending moments early on. The game does enough to endear it to the player. It’s got charm, fun and action packed fight scenes and for £20 for a brand new game, it’s worth it. And who knows, perhaps this is just a small taster for more Future series fun to come?
CULT CORNER The stanley parable PC
he Stanley Parable, the recent HD rerelease of a Half-Life mod, is one of the most exciting and hilarious interactive stories of the year, and is the only game you will ever need to play twice. At least, that’s what the narrator would say. You are Stanley, a lovable every-man, who arrives at his standard office cubicle one day and after a full hour of waiting not a single command appears on his computer monitor telling him what to do. Incidentally, all of his co-workers are gone. And then things get a little strange. The kindly narrator guides Stanley down the corridors of the building while Stanley tries to locate his missing colleagues. On this path, Stanley comes to a very special room, which is where the plot spoilers in this review end. Suffice to say, things then get a little strange. The Stanley Parable’s hook is repetition. After a plot arc has been completed - or gets hopelessly stuck in a paradox - the game restarts itself, sometimes very jarringly. The main storyline takes a surprisingly short amount of time to complete on your first run-through and feels incredibly lacklustre. That is, until it becomes apparent that the main story has nothing to do with the game. And then things get a little strange.
The Stanley Parable is based wholly on the story, and how your actions change the game around you. Every decision the player makes diverts the story down a different plotline, with immediate and satisfying feedback from the world you inhabit. Every decision creates such a strong and noticeable difference to the gameplay that even in such a self-referential game the sense of immersion is fantastically held throughout. Stanley’s primary interaction with the world is through the Narrator, via the honeyed tones of Kevan Brighting. The writing in The Stanley Parable is rock solid – shoulder to shoulder with titans of interactive storytelling such as Bastion and Silent Hill 2. The tone is consistently entertaining, funny and totally engaging - unless you ever have to kill Stanley. The voice-acting, combined with such strong writing, is the main reason you’ll come back to the game again and again. The demo, still avaliable on Steam, tours you around the metaphorical factory where the game was ‘built’, introducing you to the tongue-in-cheek humour the game does so well. Spoiling nothing about the main plot, the demo captures the exact same feel and comedic tone of the actual game. The Stanley Parable is a mind-blowing addition to the interactive-storytelling genre, and with over seven hours of play, the game is still engaging, funny and well worth checking out if you have an hour to spare. Will White
the legend of Zelda: a link between worlds 3DS 9/10
hree decades later and The Legend of Zelda series is famous for dancing between a host of immersive settings and emotive themes. Within the space of a few years we witnessed Link face his darkest adversaries as he adventured through the tragic apocalyptic world of Termina, to only, a few years later, set sail for fairer waters and coast between the vibrant, Celtic inspired, wind-swept islands which dotted The Wind Waker. Nintendo’s will to take the series into bold and controversial directions has never been a question of what if, but instead, where next? Set six generations years after the events of A Link to the Past, Link’s first 3DS adventure has him return to Hyrule and face the challenges being presented by the dark parallel world Lorule and its suspicious sorcerer Yuga.
“The old formula has been shaken with vigor”
Where thematic evolution has been swift, the rigid veterancy behind the series’ game design have proved reluctant to alter the formula of dungeon crawling linked by careful guidance through its overworlds. It will come as a breath of fresh air then, to longtime fans of the series, that this new iteration has shaken the formula with enthusiastic vigor and have opted to have all items in Link’s potential arsenal available immediately from the game’s opening. Instead of obtaining each item once at a time in a dungeon, Link can now opt to purchase (or rent) all of his items at the beginning of the game, and whereas beforehand dungeon design would be dictated by items found within dungeons. Link can now work to explore the world and conquer dungeons in any order he pleases, as long as he owns the required items he needs to reach them. This simple, yet sig-
nificant change in the game’s design has a dramatic impact on greatening the sense of freedom adventure this title provides. Rupees, the in-game currency, had long become superfluous in the series, but with the emphasis of buying items being key, they have found new life within the series. Death has now become consequential as well, with rented items being lost when a player gets too careless. With Sony and Microsoft’s own next generation titles struggling out of the gate, it is heartening to see that Nintendo’s own software is upholding the aggressively high standards they helped define this industry with. Conor Lynch
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Friday December 6 2013
Fuse. arts If chosen carefully and with a slightly cheesy, but thoughtful, message scribbled inside the cover, a book has the potential to be the best present of all. I, Partridge
The Fault In Our Stars
Alan Partridge 9/10
John Green 10/10
David Nichols 8/10
lan Gordon Partridge, “son to a dead father, father to a living son”, released a very amusing autobiography over two years ago. However, this autobiography is fictional, Partridge being the jewel in the crown of comedian Steve Coogan’s catalogue of characters. This book was sandwiched between various television placements in the narrative of Alan, and the recent move up to the big screen, Alpha Papa. I, Partridge charts the life of Alan from birth through to adulthood. This includes shooting and killing an interviewee live on his chat show, asking a former classmate if he was “still French kissing eight year olds?” in Halfords, and other such superb anecdotal tales. The humour in Partridge is often found in his hilarious depictions of the most mundane of things, which is no different in this book. In the Halfords story, for example, Alan explains that he bumped into this peer who had previously bullied him, due to them both returning faulty kettles at the store, their respective reasons being “him - faulty filament, me didn’t like colour”. Partridge doesn’t shy away from stating cold facts either: “Like a good looking John Merrick, mine was a face that looked really shit”, he says, demonstrating the textbook shallow, tasteless Alan we know and love. Throughout the book, a central character from the TV series, Lynn, is exclusively referred to as “my assistant”, and is humorously half-cropped out of many of the included photographs. Alan’s borderline bullying of this character provides another avenue for humour. As clichéd as ‘laugh-a-minute’ sounds, this book really does do justice to that phrase. Coogan manages to cleverly transpose witty cringe comedy into written form, through the character of Partridge, in an account which is also helpful in drawing together the snippets of Alan’s past into a chronological narrative. Although hearing this in Partridge’s voice would undoubtedly be great if in possession of the audio book, if you are familiar enough with the character, you can hear the fantastic retorts in his voice anyway, and may even find yourself breaking into fits of laughter, Alan-style. As if this wasn’t all brilliant enough, there is even a footnoted selection of apt songs throughout the book, to soundtrack Partridge’s life along the way. This would be a great Christmas present for dads. Marcus Raymond
hen One Day by David Nichols arrived in bookstores in 2009 anybody and everybody was gripped by the enthrallingly familiar love story of Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley. Two years later, Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess starred in an adaptation of the successful novel and once agian a thoroughly enjoyable novel was tainted by a slightly less fantastic film adaptation. The book itself is a perfectly unconventional romantic novel. Dexter and Emma’s characters are realistically flawed and their relationship is as unpredictable as the relationships of their readers. Each chapter of the novel covers the lives of the two protagonists on July 15 for twenty years. These snapshots of their lives, both together and apart, reveal the many everyday complications behind the closed doors of British relationships. You will be absorbed by this fantastically smart and illuminating love story. Beginning at their graduation from Edinburgh University in 1988, their friendship begins after impulsively spending the night together. Although a number of coincidences prevent their friendship from becoming romantic, their longing for one another entices the reader further. Almost like Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events for adults, the reader stands by while the fate of the characters is infuriatingly interrupted again and again. The brilliance of Nichols’ love story comes from this subversion of the classic romantic novel as the reader never gives up hope on Dexter and Emma, that is until the abrubtly exasperating ending. Despite the slightly odd casting choice of the almost too beautiful Anne Hathaway, Emma in the novel represents every woman and Dexter every man. The book is impossible to put down and I defy anyone not to shed a sneaky tear or two. Although the novel has already had the immediate success it deserved and been tainted by the underwheming film, it should not be a book allowed to gather dust. So, if you are someone who hasn’t read the book, perhaps didn’t enjoy the film and wants a new book for the Christmas holidays then give One Day one more chance. Lizzie Hyland
he Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a book intended for young adults but it is a story that will touch the heart of all who read it, regardless of age, gender and emotional capacity. It is the story of teenage cancer patient and intellectual, Hazel, whose life is changed when she meets Augustus Waters, a boy with infinite love, sharp wit and a prosthetic leg that he calls Old Prosty, at a cancer support group. It might sound like a hard sell as a book about dying teenagers but that isn’t really what The Fault in Our Stars is about at all. The Fault in Our Stars is about life and love and in particular, love’s persistence even through death. It is not an exaggeration to call this book life-changing. Green poses important questions that might seem too sophisticated for a book about teenagers, but this is not true. Hazel and Augustus are exceptionally bright but they never seem anything more or less than two teenagers in love. Their lives are not shown to us as a lesson of strength or morality; rather, these are two kids who happen to have cancer and have to struggle to find meaning in life, in the same way that everybody else does, though they must do it sooner. Green proves with exquisite ease that a long life does not have to mean a good one, putting a value on youth that so few acknowledge; some infinities are bigger than others, and Hazel and Augustus are given their own. In short, this book is a masterpiece. Also, a quick tip: Don’t read this book on public transport. It is likely you will cry and be forced to wear sunglasses to hide your tears from fellow passengers. Take it from someone who knows. Laura Stanley More reviews online Read more reviews online at Forge Today
Friday December 6 2013
inherit the wind Drama Studio 6/10
fictionalised account of the 1925 trial in which an American science teacher was tried for teaching the theory of evolution to his students, Inherit the Wind is a play written against the backdrop of communist witch hunts in America. For their final production of the semester, SuTCo attempts to update the play to a modern setting, in order to make it relevant in a world where biology textbooks are still censored. Unfortunately, the show seems unable to shake itself free from the past. Most of the costumes establish an early-to-mid twentieth century look. References to the 2008 election and the presence of a modern TV news crew are therefore incredibly bizarre. The use of electronic music between scenes also feels out of place, eliminating any sense of
immersion. The lighting is also peculiarly lacking. For instance, the flashes of light when the Reverend becomes increasingly hysterical in his preaching are meant to signify the terrible, almost biblical, power this man possesses over his community but are so underwhelming that they feel unneeded. The acting of this production fortunately holds the experience together. Nathan Spencer is excellent as Bert Cates, the man persecuted for teaching evolution. Spencer already has the audience on his side before the play begins, but his nervousness onstage is so affecting that he speaks volumes without saying a word. Bethan Ratcliffe is wonderfully vile as the super-cynical journalist E.K. Hornbeck. It takes great restraint not to boo her character as she walks off-stage after delivering her final, venomous speech. The fact that this atheist character comes
across as so unlikeable, in a play where the religious characters do not come across well, is an impressive feat. Additionally, Sam Allan as the hilariously inept Sheriff Meeker offers a refreshing reprieve from all the serious courtroom drama. It is the character of Matthew Harrison Brady that truly stands out however. Played with remarkable restraint by Dominic Corfield. He starts out as an arrogant politician, only to be turned into a laughing stock by his opponent, Henry Drummond (Richard Agar). His character arc is the most compelling of the play and the way he and Drummond duel with words is the highlight of the show. Still, the unsuccessful attempt to set the show in present day damages the overall experience, meaning that SuTCo finish the semester with neither a big bang, nor a whimper, but something in-between. Joe Brennan
Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat Lyceum 9/10
heffield’s wonderful Lyceum theatre is currently home to the biblical spin-off Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The show was originally created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (formerly theatre production’s ‘dream team’) and cunningly combines the Old Testament story of Joseph and his brothers with modern culturural references. The show has enjoyed massive praise in the past, so naturally there was a buzz as the audience took to their seats. The buzz, however, soon subsided when the show failed to begin on time. After the
A Christmas Carol Lyceum 6/10
orthern Ballet is continually filling our theatres with exciting new ballet adaptations, from The Great Gatsby earlier this year to Cleopatra next March. For this holiday season, they have attempted an adaptation of the age-old Christmas tale, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. With the success of Northern Ballet’s previous adaptations the show promised to be as classy and innovative as the rest. A Christmas Carol, such a famous and adaptable story, seemed to be the perfect choice for their Christmas ballet. However, as it turned out, the somewhat complicated plot prevented the dance company from really exhibiting their usually incredible balletic talent. The flaws in the show seemed to come from the restrictions placed on the dancers by the
adaptation. It is not surprising to discover that the character of Scrooge doesn’t lend itself well to the lead role in a ballet. The production portrayed a man who hates dancing through dance, a slightly confusing characterisation to behold. The chorus especially seemed to suffer because of the choice of story. Although the group dance scenes were as spectacular as always, the period costumes seemed very restricting. Instead of the innovative style of ballet we usually see from Northern Ballet, the dancing was more safe and traditional. It cannot be said that the company weren’t trying to produce an original style of the ballet. With not a single tutu in sight, the ballet itself wasn’t traditional. However, the incorporation of Christmas songs, probably included to be different from other Christmas ballets, backfired. Throughout the performance it became clear why ballet dancers don’t normally sing.
Nevertheless, there were some dancers and scenes that deserve praise. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come showed strength and skill despite their extravagant costumes. They managed to keep to the complicated plot while dancing with impressive control and elegance. The children in the show were as adorable as ever, with a song by Tiny Tim melting the hearts of the audience, men and women alike. Despite these flaws, the show was still a success due to one single, spectacular dance. The duet between a young Scrooge and his fiancée, Belle, showed Northern Ballet at their very best. The beautiful combination of the music and choreography portrayed not only the characters love for each other but the dancers’ love of ballet. The principal duet is the highlight of any ballet and in the end, this one didn’t disappoint. Lizzie Hyland
curtain finally lifted, the audience was soon relieved as Joseph burst into colour and light. After a slow start, the audience became captivated by a show containing stunning choreography from Henry Metcalfe, impeccable performances from all cast members and remarkable stagecraft. Although the story is set during Egyptian biblical times, the show had a multi-cultural vibe, with song and dance being influenced from around the world. From hoedown cowboys to solemn Parisians, the show had it all and managed to transform a tale thousands of years old into an enjoyable and exciting story for all. Joseph himself was portrayed by the outstanding Rob Wilshaw. His comedic timing and impressive vocals, combined with the vision of loveliness himself, contributed to the overall splendour of the show.
The show’s climax was a magnificent encore which unified the audience into a wonderful chorus of the vocal highlights from the show, along with cheering, clapping and some even standing up to dance. At one point, some of the cast members came down from the stage and into the audience to encourage their participation, which added to the beaming smiles and camaraderie already present within the theatre. A show that is impossible to not get your foot tapping, hands clapping, or face smiling, Joseph was a technicolour dream show. Jo Gallacher
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Friday December 6 2013
Fuse. music SUMIE SUMIE 7/10
is the season for cutesy adverts and kitsch singersongwriters. Christmas presents don’t sell themselves and nor do records these days, so artists of Sumie’s quality are lucky to forge a living without the help of advertising bucks. You can see how the mellow young Swede might suit a wintery night spent wrapped in blankets and drinking wine, but she’s got better
things to do. To start with, her self-titled debut is exceptionally quiet. A brittle voice, an acoustic guitar and the warm hum of the room are all there is to hear. Each chord is stripped to its three essential notes and thumbed out gently, mindful of breaking the calm. The quasi-folksy style was born at her home in Gothenburg, where louder sounds would have woken her two children. The songs have the reflective -and sedative qualities of lullaby, but what comes through in the lyr-
ics is that Sumie sings for adults. Read between the lines and ‘Hunter’s Sky’ and ‘Never Wanted To Be’ tackle some difficult issues, and behind the crystalline voice and professional delivery are pockmarks of profound hurt. However, she does hide it well. There’s a cliché about the notes you don’t play (and she certainly doesn’t play many) but Sumie is more about the words left unsaid. Many thoughts are left to the imagination to complete. Appealing though that may be, it does soften the impact of what are otherwise
TEENGIRL FANTASY NUN EP 8/10
ogan Takahashi and Nick Weiss met while studying at Oberlin College in Ohio. They’ve been known as Teengirl Fantasy for the past four years - a set-up that creates ambient and explorative dance music to get lost in. In fact, their latest four-track EP, titled Nun, could quite easily be the dictionary definition of ‘ambient’. And ‘explorative’. You might as well throw ‘dark’ in there too. Spanning only 13 minutes in total, it’s an interesting and immersive piece of dance music, but it certainly isn’t multi-purpose. In fact, unless you’re incredibly drunk or high, Nun might be one of the most unnerving experi-
JAKE BUGG SHANGRI LA 8/10
t’s safe to say that the last year or so of 19-year-old Jake Bugg’s life will make you feel very old indeed. Barely old enough to buy himself a drink to celebrate his debut album reaching Number 1 last autumn, he found time between festival slots this summer to jet off to California to record a rapid follow-up with none other than Rick Rubin. The question now, of course, is whether he’s managed to sustain the momentum afforded by an excellent first album. Shangri La certainly bursts out of the blocks – opener ‘There’s A Beast And We All Feed It’ takes little over 100 seconds to leave its mark, and is followed by the two decidedly up-tempo
WHAT’S ON YOUR PLAYLIST?
singles that you’ve probably heard by now. ‘Slumville Sunrise’ in particular is a cracker – full of attitude, and with a brilliant soaring chorus that’s just waiting to replace ‘Lightning Bolt’ as a staple of the top floor of Corp on a Wednesday night. The melody of ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ doesn’t stick quite as readily, but Rubin’s crisp production ensures that it doesn’t really matter. While this opening trio feels almost deliberately urgent, the rest of the album sees Bugg slow down and stretch out – in total Shangri La is longer than his debut despite being two tracks shorter, due to three songs in the second half clocking in at around five minutes. Of these, both ‘All Your Reasons’ and ‘Simple Pleasures’ are both brilliant demonstrations of the singer’s growing maturity – ambitious beyond anything else he’s attempted,
neatly packaged and emotionally rich pieces of music. If you desperately need this compared to something before you’ll consider buying it for your mum, sister or quiet coursemate then think Laura Marling after a year in a cold, remote cabin. This is a serious, sombre album and there is substance for those who wish to uncover it. For others, however, it may be wisest to lie down, switch off and let the quiet take you where it will. Duncan Geddes
ences music can provide. That’s not to write this off as bad music. Nun is highly effective and also highly affecting. Its synths and samples swirl like calm water while subtle drums and bass thud and grind beneath the surface, slowly threatening to pounce. The joy is in the build-up here, as the undercurrent of low-register instruments looms and looms, without ever quite reaching a climax. It’s effective and intimidating stuff, sealing off Nun as a well-finessed, extremely stylish piece of dance. Arguably, Takahashi and Weiss trip themselves up by making each of the four tracks almost indistinguishable from the next. Title track ‘Nun’ and its counterpart ‘Nun Beat’ both mill and lap lightly, while ‘Eric’ is a little more frantic, but they’re all built on the same bits of trickling synth and growling bass.
Johnny Guy Politics and Philosophy Favourite Christmas track: ‘A Snowflake Fell (and it Felt Like a Kiss)’ - Glasvegas
Kate Waters English Literature and Biblical Studies Favourite Christmas track: ‘Fairytale of New York’ - The Pogues and Kirsty Mccoll Its uniformity can also be its strength, though. When considered as some kind of extended song, even a dancesymphony of sorts, Teengirl Fantasy’s EP manages to achieve its objective haunting, fascinating dance music. And there’s a lot to be said for turning the bass on your speaker system all the way up while you listen to it. Rhys Handley
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engaging and so well-written that Neil Young (whose ‘My My, Hey Hey’ Bugg covered at Glastonbury) would be proud. Said Young song famously proclaimed: “it’s better to burn out than to fade away”, but on this evidence Jake Bugg doesn’t look like doing either any time soon. Charlie Mayer
UPCOMING: KELE:HEARTBREAKER/ CHILDISH GAMBINO:BECAUSE THE INTERNET / BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN:HIGH HOPES X
Friday December 6 2013
Monday December 2 The Harley
rankie Rose’s gig at the Harley, the first of her European tour, immediately brings one sole word to mind: calamity. She comes on stage following a disappointing support performance from Weekend, a Brooklyn shoegaze band, who play a convincing but ultimately uncharismatic set. Their music feels like a jab at being the Horrors or the Cure with more restrictions and less edge. Frankie Rose begins with perhaps her best known song ‘Know Me’. Rose’s dreamy sound – much more like a mix between Beach House and DIIV than Rose’s past
projects Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls – is initially undermined by the Harley’s poor sound engineering. You can barely hear Rose sing while the drums and bass blare over everything. The Harley is also practically empty with perhaps 30 people in the whole venue. It feels like the Harley have let Frankie Rose down. However, as the set progresses, and as the Harley gradually acknowledges and then ratifies its balance issues, Frankie Rose becomes more and more of a joy to watch. Playing songs mostly from her 2012 debut Interstellar, Rose delivers compelling music with bustle and vigor. Rose achieves a strong balance between the melancholy of the song’s content and the dynamism of her performance.
Saturday November 23 Plug
renched in cloudy electronica, punctuated by clinical beats and powered by enormous bass energy, Justin Martin, T.Williams and resident DJ Squarehead put on a set of the heaviest house music to hit Sheffield this year. Dark and smoky, with obscure Japanese style cartoons playing on mounted monitors, Plug is the perfect location for this kind of night. The crowd is a mixed one, with student aficionados and local house veterans looking up at the mounted desk on the stage. First on the decks is Justin Martin from San Francisco. This is garage house in its most traditional form; heavy samples, sporadic structure and a distinct style. The music covers a wide variety of moods; it’s bouncy and fun, dark and moody and even haunting at times. The bass is the star of the show here, complemented perfectly by the astonishingly complex drum patterns. Martin is a master of crowd control it seems, with long pauses and slick changes
The performers are honest with their audience: Rose admits how they arrived in England only hours before the gig from NYC, both jetlagged and suffering from illness. Considering this, Frankie Rose has played pretty stellar. Yet she could have been so much more. Poor work from the Harley’s technical staff means Rose’s best songs are her most disappointing. A strong catalogue of music – her new album Herein Wild equally excellent – is unfortunately made to feel like a very mediocre one.
for each new track. It has an instant effect on the dancefloor, which is transformed into a sea of nodding heads and flowing limbs. His performance is sharp and excellent, and truly shows his Dirtybird Records pedigree. Next on is British DJ T.Williams. His offering is decidedly more minimalistic, relying less on manipulated samples and more on the basic components of tech house set-ups. The swingy, and occasionally African flavoured drums, are the perfect backdrop for the various harmonies on display. T.Williams maintains a constant groove which keeps the music alive and kicking. This provides a more
Friday November 22 Greystones
ith electronic music all over the charts, Moulettes are a breath of fresh air. A band who actually play their own instruments is sadly becoming more and more of a rarity these days. And they don’t just play your usual instruments - violin, cello, double bass, bassoon and the glockenspiel are among the many weird and wonderful instruments that feature on the Moulettes’ own brand of indie folk. Another fun fact about Moulettes is that they feature a member of Mumford and Sons, but don’t let this put you off. During the show they utilise their assets to great effect - the hauntingly beautiful voice of Hannah Miller can evoke any emotion she chooses. ‘Some Who You Love,’ which, like the majority of the set, is taken from their 2012 album The Bear’s Revenge, is a mesmerising example of the power her voice commands, as it renders the entire room
silent in awe. The group vocals that feature on many of the evening’s songs somehow make the gig feel even more intimate than it already is. We get a real sense of a group and family ethos to the band, with every element and instrument being integral to the song as a whole. ‘Circle Song’ shows off the violin to its full potential, adding an incredible depth of sound to the noticeably rather darker and heavier song. The audience participation with the band definitely demonstrates their clearly dedicated fan base; the room was full to the brim with fans of all ages passionately singing along to every word. By the end of the gig, the audience leave with a renewed sense of faith in the power of music and lyric, the ideal outcome of a gig. Zoe Antell
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organic feeling to the night, and the dancers retain the same vigour for Williams as the night winds down. Plug’s Squarehead brings the night to a close with an efficient and bouncing selection of funky garage tracks which draws to a close a fantastic night of slick and suave house music. Jack Stacey
Justin Martin: Lanty Zhang Studio
UPCOMING: 65DAYSOFSTATIC:O2 ACADEMY JAN 20 / LINDI ORTEGA:HARLEY JAN 21/ OUTFIT:LEADMILL JAN 24
Friday December 6 2013
Fuse. screen Carrie
Dir: Kimberly Peirce 4/10
t is a fact widely alluded to that most horror fans will recognise the name Carrie and shudder at their grisly memories of either Stephen King’s acclaimed novel, or Brian De Palma’s 1976 film. In this much anticipated remake of Carrie, the story of a teenage girl who learns to fight both the bullies at school and her insanely religious mother at home using her psychic powers, we were all wondering what this version would do differently. Unfortunately, the answer is nothing. Kimberly Peirce directs a film with so much resemblance to the original that the question can’t help but be raised: was there any point? Of course, it wouldn’t have been a wise idea to move too far away from the atmosphere Carrie fans enjoy,
Blue is the Warmest colour
Dir: Abdellatif Kechiche 9/10
es, it may be in French, and yes it may be three hours long, but Blue is the Warmest Colour is a terrific film that deserves to be seen. The film follows Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) from adolescence to adulthood. Central to the story is the highly sexual relationship she has with art student Emma (Léa Seydoux). The film is smart in that it shows Adèle’s life before the relationship starts and after it ends, which allows her character to be fully fleshed out. There’s really no escaping character development as Adèle is in every single scene. Being around a character for such a long time means that the actor needs to be on top form throughout. Thankfully, Exarchopoulos delivers one of the best performances of the year. Her
main strength is expressing so much through her facial expressions. Director Abdellatif Kechiche (another big name in this production) takes advantage of this by frequently framing Adèle in close-up shots. Seeing her reactions to the fluctuating condition of her relationship with Emma provide the most arresting moments in the film. Much has been made of the long, explicit scenes of lesbian sex, with discussions of the film being about whether such scenes are ethical. This does Blue is the Warmest Colour a massive disservice though, as the best moments of the film are forgotten. One such scene is when Adèle’s school friends question her about Emma in an increasingly homophobic tone. Watching Adèle squirm as classmates swarm around her is tortuous. Blue is ultimately a film about young relationships, more so than lesbian relationships, and the audience experiences every emo-
but Peirce’s lack of ability to give her version at least a little twist of something new leaves us with a tame film we’ve all seen before. However, for a fan seeing the new Carrie as a first time affiliation with the story, it may be just as gripping as the original was. For a fan seeing a remake so close to the original that all the scare and surprise was removed, it becomes difficult for the mind not to wander to thoughts such as ‘boy this film is essentially a twisted version of Matilda’. In short, not a harrowing success. Even expectations of the cast, including Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, fell short. Both actors are admirable in many other roles yet neither brought anything new to the characters of Carrie and Margaret respectively. Moretz, while adept at playing the fragile ‘ugly’ teen, did not match up to Sissy Spacek’s haunting interpretation of Carrie in the original version; her
vulnerability was upsetting, but not disturbing. Even Moore didn’t seem to bring any real terror to the fantastic role of Margaret White; she was essentially too nice- at least until the film’s finale. It isn’t until the end of Carrie that any remote sense of fear begins to set in. Yet this film conveys sadness better than fright. Of course, the ominous prom scene, for those familiar with the movie (and even those not) cannot help but be cutting. Though it isn’t scary, it does manage to convey an unyielding pity for a girl who through no fault of her own has come to such a fate. It’s disappointing to admit that Carrie was an unenthusiastic, mediocre film remake which is only mildly entertaining. If you want a real scare read the book or watch the original. Rosie Whitcombe
tional shift that Adèle does. All of the pain, joy and ecstasy that she shares with Emma are conveyed so vividly on-screen that it feels as though the audience is the third person in the relationship. This is what makes the film so watchable, despite its length. Even scenes that do not advance the narrative feel vital because the emotions are portrayed so powerfully by the actors. The cinematography is rarely showy, which some may argue makes the film visually dull. Plus, the sex scenes will forever be divisive, but Blue is the Warmest Colour still a tremendous achievement, particularly in terms of the lead actor’s amazing performance. The film cements its exalted status by offering a brilliant and ambiguous ending that leaves a lasting impression. It is not only the warmest colour, but also one of the finest films to be released this year. Joe Brennan
the truth about demons Dir: Glenn Standring
he list of what The Truth about Demons does well is a very short one. 1. Karl Urban. 2. Katie Wolfe’s blue eyeshadow. 3. Soundtrack. The script, plot, costumes and monsters that should also fall under this list to make it a successful horror film are sadly lacking in realism and sense. The film follows Harry Ballard (Urban) as he researches demonworshipping cults and tries to uncover what his brother found out about them that led him to commit suicide. Unfortunately, he ends up on the radar of these worshippers, who turn out to be real demons. After being kidnapped by them and escaping, Harry’s only option is to go on the run with mysterious blue eyeshad-
ow-sporting Bennie (Wolfe), while figuring out how to stop head demon Le Valliant (Jonathon Hendry), who apparently wants his soul. This New Zealand-based horror gets steadily darker as Harry’s friends and loved ones are murdered by the demons, who want to segregate him from anyone he’s remotely close to. The gruesome scenes are some of the most effective, including one in which Le Valliant tries to make Harry eat cockroaches. Delicious. But as the scenes get darker, the plot rapidly unravels, making less and less sense as director Glenn Standring decides to give us increasingly random pieces of information that should have been present from the outset to be coherent. Urban and Wolfe are the only credible performances throughout, with Wolfe excelling in her role as jaunty, schizophrenic Bennie. Hendry succeeds in adding some
menace, but ultimately has far too many clichéd lines and becomes laughable. The costumes and fake blood are equally as amusing, particularly the wonderfully ineffective eye makeup that most of the demons wear. The actors playing said demons seem to think it’s the height of drama to shriek their lines hysterically. And let’s not even begin discussing the CGI monsters; it’s a good job they’re in the shadows throughout. With some better direction and a more structurally-sound plot, the film could have made a name for itself as a cult classic. As it is, it will go down as one of the early pieces of work in Karl Urban’s career, that should probably be shelved at the back of your DVD collection. Its title was originally The Irrefutable Truth about Demons, but the only irrefutable things about it are the imperfections. Kate Lovatt
Friday December 6 2013
Dir: Francis Lawrence 9/10
et the games begin. The Hunger Games returns with its sequel Catching Fire, originally written by Suzanne Collins and directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend). The film encapsulates Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark’s (Josh Hutcherson) struggle as their survival of the 74th Hunger Games causes problems for the Capitol, and leads to a rebellion throughout the districts of Panem. It tells the story of a dystopian society living under an oppressive regime after losing a rebellion 75 years ago. Much to the delight of the book fans, the sequel lives up to the promised hype with dynamic fight sequences and its portrayal of the will to survive. Lawrence gives an emotional yet convincing performance as the sullen heroine. Hutcherson as Peeta is the caring boy-next-door, complimenting Lawrence’s image as the desirable protagonist. We are also met with the icy yet witty character of Johanna Mason (Jena Malone). In the bleak depths of the obvious oppression, Malone’s character breaks up the aura of a dictatorship with her feisty attitude, giving Kat-
saving mr banks Dir: John Lee Hancock 7/10
T SMALL SCREEN Day of the Doctor: 50th Anniversary Creator: Steven Moffat
ans of Doctor Who have been waiting months for the day of the 50th Anniversary special and finally, ‘The Day of the Doctor’ arrives, promising laughter, tears and enough excitement to fill time and space itself. It certainly delivers. Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) is working as a school teacher and finds herself summoned to the TARDIS, where the Doctor (Matt Smith at this point) is waiting to steal her away. However, UNIT have other ideas when they pick up the TARDIS only to drop it off at headquarters, AKA the Tower of London. This is where things get complicated. There’s a painting, left to the Doctor by Queen Elizabeth I to serve as a warning against the subplot; a race of monsters known as the Zygons. Significantly, the painting is Timelord art, a slice of time itself frozen in 3D glory, and it depicts the fall of Gallifrey on
the day the Doctors destroyed it. With all the morality of a Dickensian Christmas tale, it becomes clear that the Doctor must face his future in order to change his past (and vice versa) and ultimately, save his home planet from annihilation. Writer Steven Moffat is once again demanding a lot of his cast in order to portray the Doctor in his darkest hours. Luckily, Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt are all fantastic in the title role and manage to develop a consistency between their generations while still maintaining the nuances that will keep fans as divided as ever on favourite incarnations. An unprecedented appearance from Tom Baker makes audiences gasp and grin in equal measure as he taps his nose towards Smith in typically enigmatic Doctor style. Additionally, the sight of all 13 Doctors (including a tantalising glimpse of Peter Capaldi’s formidable eyes) as they battle to save Gallifrey is truly moving, giving viewers a sense of the history behind this undeniably institutional show. Laura Stanley
elling the story behind the uneasy process of turning Mary Poppins into the Disney movie is done neatly in Saving Mr. Banks, thanks to the great casting. The film begins at the time when P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), author of the book Mary Poppins, has finally agreed to meet Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), who has been requesting the rights to translate Travers’s book into a movie for 20 years. The central conflict running through the movie is tension between the two main characters in the production process, as they both have different perspectives and motivation for making Mary Poppins. In telling this story through the lens of the tough and critical Travers, we can almost feel the reason why she holds her book so dear. Thompson undoubtedly gives a magnificent performance and is always enjoyable to watch. Disney is also wonderfully portrayed by Hanks, without overdoing it, and he adds a surprising amount of dimension to the
niss a run for her money. Although Katniss is rebellious and disagrees with everything to do with the Capitol, Johanna (an older contestant) takes it further. Instead of hiding her dislike for the Capitol, Johanna openly voices her opinion, which often results in humorous breaks from the otherwise serious tone. This motion picture is a cocktail of love, tragedy, alliance and courage. With The Hunger Games falling into the genre of teen fantasy, where would we be without a love triangle? Peeta is in love with Katniss, who loves Gale but also loves Peeta— you get the idea; it’s confusing. However, the romantic confusion is downplayed while the characters are all trying to save their skins. It is debatable whether Liam Hemsworth’s performance as Gale Hawthorne has much substance in the film. Having appeared for no more than 10 minutes in the first instalment, high hopes were held for his character to be developed in the sequel. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, Hemsworth (dare I say it) appears to act as though he is starring in a teen vampire film. With a larger budget this time round, the special effects are bigger and better in Catching Fire. This is down to effects being one of director Francis Lawrence’s
19 strong points. The use of CGI definitely isn’t overdone, making for an excellent big screen experience, and the exquisite costumes (especially Katniss’s dresses) are enough to make any designer’s jaw drop. The demographic for this film may be teenagers, but there’s no doubt it’s suited for a wider age range as well. It warrants high praise as we come to the end of 2013, having been one of the best films of year. It’s explosive, and you’re able to empathise with the characters, before witnessing an ending that will make you desperate to travel forwards in time and see the third installment. May the odds be ever in its favour. Evie Shaw
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character. The dramatic moments he and Thompson create in the film also help to overcome the fact that the audience knows the ending of this story: Mary Poppins would become one of the most successful, wellloved films Disney has on offer. A number of supporting roles, such as Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) the screenwriter of the Disney classic, also did a good job in showing the hard time people had working with Travers. Many of the comedic elements here come from showing how various characters interact with Travers, who is very critical towards Disney’s cartoonish and fanciful movie style.
Saving Mr. Banks successfully delivers the untold story behind the making of Mary Poppins, although sometimes it tries too hard to assert deeper meaning to certain scenes. Unquestionably, there are some moving and breathtaking cinematic shots, but some other flashbacks of Travers and the way they’re presented to the audience are too deliberately arranged. In general, the film is an entertaining and well-developed, even if you’re not a big fan of Mary Poppins. Vienna Lee
FORGE’S WINTER WONDERLAND Every fortnight, we ask a couple of our editors to pick their Fuseesque winter wonderland necessities. This issue we ask our screen editors which items they couldn’t survive without.
tt: Kate Lova
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: The S Shineoduond of Madness wn GAMES : Gear s of War ARTS: To Kill a Mockingb SCREEN Lee ird - Har :M per oulin Rou ge