Thursday April 3 2014
short fuse. editorial.
elcome to our final issue as a Fuse team. It’s been an amazing year, and we’d like to thank all of you for reading, writing, drawing, painting, watching films for us, playing games for us, listening to bands for us and going to shows for us. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. If the next issue lacks the sass, wit and style that we’ve delivered all year, blame our new editors. This fortnight has been a blur of Varsity scores and scrabbles to meet deadlines. Our days in this lovely academic year are becoming numbered (unless you’re an MA student like me, and you’re here until the end of time) and we’re dreamily fantasising about how many Easter eggs we can eat this year. This issue we’ve got loads of great content for you, including a look at music’s more inspirational ladies and a unique look at life-drawing. Have a great Easter!
comments and rants on entertainment news.
Kate comes out of the Bush
here’s something admirable, almost noble, about teasing our ravenous, vulture-like media. In an age where being famous means you’re expected to flaunt everything you’ve got to the public, privacy is a luxury. Kate Bush has bravely subverted this media expectation, and continues to do so. She decides when she is interviewed. And, she’s touring this year because she can. She’s put off touring for a few years (35 to be precise), much to the dismay of her doting fans. But surprisingly artists are people - not our play-things, puppets, or dancing monkeys and they have as much right to decide as any other human being when they will or will not perform. This romantic ‘unpredictability’ is part of the beguiling enigma that is Kate Bush, giving her a longer lasting legacy than the many has-been singers of the late seventies. What is more shocking about Bush’s ‘weird’ recluse life (her attempt at normality), is how sharply it makes our own times seem more and more Orwellian. Yet being a modern artist, would this be possible, or is it now socially unacceptable to keep anything to ourselves? We are living in a society which believes we have the right to scrutinise everyone else’s lives in detail, affirming our own superiority. Kate Bush doesn’t want to be judged on her children or her personal life; she wants to be judged on her art, which she alone has control over. Is that really too much to ask for? Izzy Hadlum
Amelia Heathman Kaz Scattergood
Phillipa Spottiswoode = Queen of Fuse covers. We love ya.
Thurs April 3, £2 Meet at SU Ampitheatre, 3pm
oin the Lemon Fresh society on their quest for chocolate! Were you deprived of the childhood joy that is easter egg hunts? Well don’t worry, because despite popular opinion the Easter bunny does in fact exist, and has kindly decided to visit our surrounding parks and fill them with
chocolate eggs. Team up on the most challenging thing you undertake during your university career and hunt down those eggs. You’ve been kindly reminded to ‘dress appropriately for the weather’, and we recommend you bring a bottle of water. Egg hunting is thirsty work, guys.
Bringing art into the mainstream
he BBC are currently in talks to increase their arts programming, to try and make the subject seem less elitist, more accessible, and to make sure arts aren’t “at risk of becoming marginalised for future generations unless more is done to get children and young people engaged.” For many young people the arts can seem elitist and expensive to access. Although, many art galleries in the larger cities are actually free, and large theatres such as the Royal Opera House offer heavily discounted student tickets, the main issue is raising awareness and interest. In recent years, schools have put a heavy focus on promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, and while this is a good cause, it shouldn’t be at the expense of other subjects. In many schools it can be quite obvious where the funding is going, and very often school arts departments are underfunded and undervalued. There was an attitude when I was
at school that STEM subjects practically guaranteed you money and a job, and arts studies were the route to low odds of success and a low paid, undesirable job. Although neither of these statements are entirely true, these attitudes can only push young people away from the arts. If schools cannot adequately start rebuilding interest in the arts, then media outlets such as the BBC can; what is shown in the media can influence people’s awareness of subjects and their relative importance. Heavier arts coverage could help inspire the next generation, as long as the coverage is neither too patronising, nor too ‘snobbish’. The BBC has done well in recent years to reinvigorate public interest in the sciences with programs like Wonders of the Universe, so with similar focus and approach to promoting the arts, they could also revitalise interest in the arts through increased programming and exposure. Emma Ripley
Digital gaming still a pipedream for consoles
t’s the ‘next generation of gaming’. The digital age is supposedly upon us, but, it’s failing. When the new consoles were announced, one of the main sources of backlash on the Xbox One was the intention to go all-digital, ridding the necessity for disc-based games. But, I would argue that it’s a natural progression for us to have all-digital libraries. Who even uses physical stuff anymore? Our music has been digitised for ages. People have had downloaded libraries of films - perhaps not legally - for years. Gamers are comfortable with having a Steam account full of digital games. Why should our consoles be any different? The issue is the price. The cost of digital downloads is considerably higher than the cost of physical copies. For example, the newly released Titanfall sets you back £37.99 at release from
Amazon. The digital copy straight from Microsoft costs £54.99. So even gamers keen to go digital probably aren’t going to. The problem lies with the retailers: obviously they make tons of money from thousands of people flocking to stores to grab the latest games - they don’t want Microsoft stealing that market with digital downloads. But why can’t the retailers sell the digital copies? What’s wrong with ditching the plastic cases and expensive discs and retailing download codes? That’s win-win right? The console gaming industry is surprisingly lagging behind in the digitisation of media, and we’re going to continue losing and putting our most expensive entertainment in the wrong box. Total BS. Kaz Scattergood
Thursday April 3 2014
q&a. interview: MARIKA HACKMAN ever write”. Which is actually ridiculous, but there is a pressure there and it’s quite a challenge to ignore that pressure and just trust in yourself and the song will happen.
Marika Hackman is the (unofficial) poster girl for cool folk music. Her song, ‘Here I Lie’ was chosen for the Burberry Eyewear campaign and curated by Christopher Bailey, so you’d forgive her for having an ego. Instead, Marika is chilled out and quite simply, all about the music. Duncan Geddes caught up with the Brighton-bred singer to chat about hangover food, shredding guitars and bad musical habits.
D: Would you do that if you could?
D: What is your biggest challenge when you make something or play something, creatively?
D: People haven’t heard the EP yet but what can they expect from the live show because your new music is very different from earlier on in your career?
D: Before we start, can I ask you what you have eaten today?
M: One of the biggest challenges is trusting that if I just sit down and play, I have to trust that another song will come because you always think, “that could be the last song I’ll
M: The only song we’re playing live from the new EP is ‘Deep Green’ at the moment. It does slightly stand out from the other songs just because of that huge, heavy tribal opening riff.
M: Today, I’ve had chips with pulled pork on top of them. They were very tasty, but there was a bit too much cheese sauce and I was a little bit hungover this morning so I was like ‘Wooah, was that a good idea?’
M: Not at my shows but maybe I’d start a secret other band where I could just go and shred. That would be fun.
D: What are you doing live with it now? M: Well, it’s exciting as this is the first tour that I have a band with me. Before, I’d be going out on the road and I’d be by myself with a guitar, so it would sound different to the records. It was nice in one way because it was a different vibe, and I think its nice for people to see the different sides. But yeah, now I have a band which is capturing the feel from the record in an organic live setting. It’s only our fourth show tonight, together.
D: Haha a bit heavy. Anyway, you’re here today to promote your new EP Deaf Heat which is out in a few weeks. How has your new material been? From hearing you previously, you’ve been saying that you’ve been flailing around trying to get things together. Do you have favourites? M: I don’t think I’m particularly good at any instrument but in a way I think that adds to the sound because it’s also me working out the instrument as I’m playing. It gives it this naive, almost slightly clunky feel and I think that adds a sort of slightly weird, abstract style that I’m going for.
D: You say it’s your fourth show, is it coming along nicely? M: Yeah it’s been great, we’ve all gelled together really quickly. The boys did a lot of prep before we started working together, which made my life very easy and we all get on really well. The shows have been easy actually, and I think people have been enjoying it. Well, I hope they have!
D: Do you worry that the longer you go on you’ll settle into habits which inhibit that? M: Well I already have with the guitar, cause I only use my thumb and my forefinger to pluck which is a very, very bad habit and kind of stops me from playing a lot more technical stuff ‘cause it’s very hard to move them that quickly. But then people have said that when they listen to me play, they can hear its a slightly different style and it’s unique. So I guess I wouldn’t change that. But yeah, I’ve already slipped into bad habits there, so I’m sure the more I play around with other instruments I’ll slip into bad habits with those too. D: So you can’t go out there and shred, is that basically what we’re saying? M: I wish!
Maricka Hackman’s new EP Deaf Heat is out for release on April 14. If you can’t wait that long, check out her 2013 release, That Iron Taste, also avaliable on vinyl.
Available from the SU box office
Blue is the Warmest Colour: Fri May 2 19:30
American Hustle: Sat May 3 19:30
Frozen: Sun May 4 12:30
Thursday April 3 2014
Lauren Mayberry, Chvrches Lauren Mayberry, front woman of Glaswegian band Chvrches, spoke out against music industry sexism in September last year. In an article written for the Guardian, she detailed her experience of online abuse and sexism on social networks, mostly received on the band’s Facebook page. Mayberry asked why this kind of abuse is so commonplace, and more often than not directed at women in the public eye, stating, “objectification, whatever its form, is not something anyone should have to ‘just deal with.’”
Grimes “I don’t want to have to compromise my morals in order to make a living” wrote Grimes early last year, in a Tumblr manifesto that rallied against molestation at shows, harassment and infantilization, a post now considered ‘required reading’ for, frankly, everyone. The short statement works as a whistle-stop tour of the BS Grimes (AKA Claire Boucher) has had to put up with whilst making and touring her unusual brand of experimental electronic/ pop, and succeeds in dumbfounding anyone who deems sexism dead. This, together with Grimes’ unapologetic ‘feminine’ image and unprejudiced love for pop music, is something we can all learn from.
Swedish singer-songwriter Robyn has been writing self-affirming, body and relationship positive songs since she first emerged in 1994. 20 years on and eight albums later, Robyn owns her own record label, Konichiwa Records, and has collaborated with Britney Spears, Diplo and Royksopp. The best thing about Robyn is her incredible lyrics, which never fail to evoke emotions. Whether a break up (‘Call Your Girlfriend’), unrequited love (‘Be Mine’), or flying solo triumphantly (‘Dancing On My Own’, ‘Dancehall Queen’), Robyn’s got the whole set.
Assumptions are quickly made when an all girl band take to the stage, a problem Haim have encountered over and over again. In a series of interviews, Haim have called out not only on photoshoot sexualisation, but the audience themselves; Alana described one ordeal when a gig goer threw a bottle of water at her while she was performing, declaring he was so “wet right now so you should be wet also”. Being confronted with weird, sexual (and quite frankly, gross) abuse is something no one should have to put up with, and it’s great to hear that the ‘wolf-pack’ that is Haim aren’t.
Angel Haze caught on over here in 2012 with the release of her debut EP Reservation. Haze has never been shy of speaking about difficult subjects, in fact her past forms the basis for most of her material. She’s also massive on the LGBT scene, and identifies as pansexual. With the recent emergence of several female rap acts onto national radio playlists this year, Haze is setting a precedent for facing topics few have confronted before, and is actively redefining how we listen to, and think about, rap music.
Swedish electro duo the Knife, composed of siblings Karin and Olof, combine their political interest with making music in a weird and wonderful way that would get any gender and queer theorist excited. The video for a ‘A Tooth for an Eye’ has been regarded as one of the few videos of 2013 ‘that actually pushed feminism forward’, deconstructing notions of maleness, power and leadership. Whilst the Knife’s views can get a little confusing for those not read up on Judith Butler and Michel Foucault, the fluidity of gender in both their videos and lyrics is something to be admired: “see it slip and slide / Not just one answer ‘cos it’s working like parallel lines / it’s not that easy.”
The sound of feminism
Music editors Nicky and Rachel handpick current artists that are pushing feminism forward
Thursday April 3 2014
Samantha Fielding heads to Plug for some social gaming
ike most of the gaming world, LANs (Local Area Networks of gamers) often have a stigma. Why sit in a dark room when there’s a whole world outside? Why play games with friends when you could have a good old-fashioned chat, face to face? In fact, why play games at all? Well, actually, on March 23 outside of GravityLAN.01 was wet and freezing cold, so the gamers inside didn’t miss much. And in a venue like Plug, there are much less social things they could have been doing-drunkenly falling into people and shouting to be heard over painfully loud music, perhaps. Although a LAN seems to run itself once the internet is up and running, the team behind GravityLAN are hardworking, passionate and really know their stuff. The project is a labour of love; studying Computer and Network Engineering at Sheffield Hallam, the team behind GravityLAN are not only avid gamers, but have invested themselves academically into the field. GravityLAN is the first project they have ran outside of the university course, and GravityLAN.01 aimed to get any teething problems out of the way so that the next one can run even smoother, and on an even bigger level. Talking to co-ordinator Luke Betterton, it looks as if each one of the boys brings an individual strength; “I like to know everything that’s going on all of the time, and sort problems out as soon as they arise. “ Alex Disney is good at the tech (he used 650 metres of cabling that day), and Dougie Steers is a ‘Linux God’. Chris
Maric is also on the scene, busy talking to every attendee and hopefully enhancing a sense of community. They���ve put a lot of emphasis on getting the atmosphere right, and although the glitter balls create a juxtaposition, the futuristic lighting in Plug does give the LAN an air of intensity, without it seeming intimidating. The team are passionate about accommodating everyone, from the hard-core tournamenter, to the casual console gamer. And only three hours in, most of the tables are filled. The GravityLAN crew had a stroke of luck in securing Plug; personal connections helped the LAN to go ahead, despite not being a profitable event. Regardless Plug seem to see a bright future for the Sheffield LAN, and are willing to help fund the enterprise for the first year. So why is the LAN in general seen to have a future? As Conor states, “playing games sat next to each other as multiplayer has died. And the reason for that is broadband”. As multiplayer games now work online, the element of physically sitting next to friends is deminishing. With this, the LAN works in rejuvenating the ‘human’ element of gaming, gathering together the people behind the machines, and thus breaking through the prejudice that the gaming world is horrifically isolating and anti-social. Conor is also very opposed to the world of television; “TV is the worst. I’ve cut it out of my life. You can sit there for countless hours in silence, whilst now I have fun with my friends”. For
Alex, the social element of the LAN is just the same as “going to the pub with your mates and watching the football”. The sense of community is undoubtedly there, and GravityLAN.01 is one such event that aims to display and heighten the interaction between like-minded people. A bright future for the Sheffield event is certain, but the group will be considering changing to a bigger venue to allow it to expand. Nonetheless, Luke Betterton is still emphatic that the atmosphere needs to be right; “we don’t want to overdo the numbers, because you lose the community”. Conor agrees, finding events such as Insomnia, that host over 2,000 people, to be too big to feel a part of. Evidently, the social side of gaming is something that the group don’t want to compromise, even if it means more popularity and ticket sales. And the community focus doesn’t stop there; in putting on GravityLAN.01, the group have been approached by other LAN groups, such as the Frag Factory in Barnsley, who have offered to help out at later events. As the world of gaming is adapting away from the local multiplayer mode, the existence of LANs remind us of what is really important within the gaming industry. It seems there will always be a community focus, and GravityLAN proves to be a positive backlash to those who deny this. As GravityLAN grows, it’s certain that the events will possess the perfect balance between a variety of gamers and a close-knit network.
Photography: Marsida Gashi
Thursday April 3 2014
US TV spin-offs: Godsend Chris Hedges relects on whether spin-offs
f 2013 was the year of the selfie then 2014 is set to be the year of the spin-off. “How can humanity get any worse?” we cried last year. Well, now we know. Hardcore fans generally scratch at their own eyeballs when TV networks announce that they’ll be making a new show based on characters from previous shows, and for good reason, it seems. We only need to think back to when Joey from Friends got his own show to realise why people are so averse to spin-offs, but is this the right attitude? If so, why do production companies insist on making more? It’s starting to get tough on the bigger businesses that churn out popular culture for us to continue doing with so such originality. When the likes of Netflix and Lovefilm started popping up, it was a joyous occasion for them because these companies would pay to have old shows. Only now, they’re making their own, and they appear to be of a much higher quality than what we get from Fox or HBO – with the exception of Game Of Thrones, of course. Lovefilm’s productions have gained little attention, but Netflix has turned out the fantastic Orange Is The New Black, the Golden Globewinning House Of Cards; and now the archaic modes of TV production need to use every trick in the book to remain on top. This year will see the beginning (or continutation) of spinoff shows from Arrow, Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Supernatural, and even How I Met Your Mother. This new craze of extending the world of fantasy/ sci-fi fiction is a bold move, for we all know how
dangerous it can be to upset a fandom (hence the comment about Game Of Thrones earlier). TV production has a tendency to remain as conservative as possible when it comes to investing in new shows. It is probably in part to do with the rate at which Marvel is expanding its universe on to screen that companies have started thinking they can cash in with a similar scheme. But many of these new shows seem more tenuous than what Marvel have produced. Supernatural: Bloodlines is going to be based on a character who only features in only one episode (which hasn’t even aired yet), and with a large online cult following, one wrong decision with the plot could ignite Tumblr into anarchy (Blogging site Tumblr is where fans can go to unite in joy or unadultered rage over everything from cats to fourth wave feminism). Even if the new shows do stay true to the worlds of the originals from which they spring, the expectation will always be too high for die-hard fans not to be disappointed. In principle, a spin-off is a good idea. Using characters from programmes that have proven to be successful and that audiences are already comfortable with sounds like a safe bet to make. But the track record of successful spin-off shows is pretty grim. It isn’t enough to put a minor character into a leading role and assume everything will be fine simply because the same number of people will initially be interested. This process creates a completely different kind of show, and always runs the risk of clashing with the audience’s
ideas of what would happen in the scenarios set forward. Perhaps what we find most interesting about television is character development, and in the past studios have made the mistake of choosing characters or stories that can’t be extrapolated any further, such as in Joey, Saved By The Bell: The College Years, or After M*A*S*H, all of which died deaths in less time than it took us to do A-levels. A pilot is currently in the making for How I Met Your Father, a spin-off based around Ted Mosby’s eventual wife. It’s come about just as production for How I Met Your Mother finishes forever. Most will agree that the original show got boring and repetitive a long time ago, so this seems like a smart way of propagating interest in the old show for the purpose of DVD sales, while being able to create a completely fresh and different programme. The trouble is, however, that the spin-off is exactly the same premise, and will presumably contain similar jokes and similarly mild and ridiculous scenarios involving goats. We may find that what was actually needed for the show to continue being popular was new lead writers. Still, let’s not be overly cynical. The Simpsons actually started out as a spin-off and that’s been running successfully longer than most of us have been alive. Mork and Mindy was also a spin-off which, like Supernatural: Bloodlines, came from characters appearing in just one episode, only this was on Happy Days rather
Thursday April 3 2014
can ever be as successful as the original shows. than a CW sci-fi drama. These, of course, are old shows, but there’s nothing to say that current spin-offs can’t be as successful as these previous programmes have set the benchmark to be. Of course, we’ve neglected to discuss anything that wasn’t produced by Americans, and when you think of British spin-off shows the mind, or at least the more geeky mind, generally skips straight to Torchwood. This sci-fi drama was an incredibly well received show that switched to a completely different demographic from its parent show, Doctor Who. It managed to run alongside Who in a way that also encouraged adult viewers of the heavily violent and sexual Torchwood to become more engaged with its origins, which they may have originally have dismissed as ‘for children.’ It isn’t illogical to dismiss any upcoming spin-off shows, although the vast majority of them culminate in disappointment. We must admit, however, that there are quite a few genuinely good ones, and that for every bad spin-off there are dozens of bad original programmes as well. So perhaps we shouldn’t be laying our cynicism at the door of fictional extrapolation, but at that of the production companies who produce such bad television in general. There seems to be no discernable formula for creating a hit spin-off show, but if there’s anything that can help you, it is to employ previous Doctor Who writer Russell T. Davies, and incorporate as much blood and sex in it as you possibly can.
Thursday April 3 2014
Exposing Joscelin Woodend dicusses the liberating experience of life drawing classes, and how they help us to appreciate the ‘real’ human form
hen you see a poster advertising a life drawing class, it’s easy to pretend you didn’t see it and look the other way. Why is it that, in a society that is growing more open by the day, we feel the need to shy away from life drawing classes? When you think about it, it’s only drawing a naked body. We see ourselves naked every day, and yet we don’t shy away from our bodies in the same way that we do with life drawing. So, why is it not done and appreciated more? Going to a life drawing class can be both a liberating and frankly terrifying experience. During my first life drawing class, I can remember how shocking it was to see someone else’s naked body and being expected to do a half decent job of drawing them. All I could think about was how embarrassing it would be if the model could see the absolute rubbish I was drawing.
“You don’t even have to be good at drawing” In truth, I was overly nervous about the whole experience and I shouldn’t have been. Going to a life drawing class is a fantastic experience, despite the first-time nerves, and is incredibly liberating. You don’t even have to be good at drawing. What’s important is that it gives you an opportunity to appreciate the ‘real’ human form, for all its wonderful quirks. We all have them, let’s not lie, so why are we so afraid of appreciating them? Being able to appreciate our bodies is something that needs to happen more. Within the media, there is always a constant, unnecessary harassment of celebs that look like they may or may not have put on a bit of weight. Christina Aguilera is a perfect example of this. We all remember her figure in the music video for ‘Dirty’, but lately she’s been on the receiving end of constant abuse for her apparent ‘weight gains’. All Aguilera has done has become comfortable with herself and
accepted her body’s quirks. She deserves praise for this, not abuse. Although it isn’t all doom and gloom for body image. Even if the media are a long way off accepting ‘real’ body shapes, that doesn’t mean some fashion retailers haven’t started too. Last April, Debenhams revealed their new Diversity Campaign, in which they used ‘plus-size’ and disabled models in their fashion brochure, and last November the store began using size 16 mannequins in window displays. As the average clothes size in the UK for a woman is a 16, it’s sad that more retailers don’t embrace this in their displays. If Debenhams are willing to reflect the ‘real’ body, then other chains should do this too. Even more astonishingly, there has finally been a real life proportionate Barbie created in the United States. Designed by the American Artist Nickolay Lamm, ‘Lammily’ has been built from the average measurements of a 19-year-old American woman in an attempt to tackle the ill-proportioned Barbie dolls currently on the market. Anyone can take one look at a Barbie doll and realise that nobody looks anything like one. Lamm’s decision to produce a proportionate doll is a revolution in the toy industry, especially as it will expose more people to a true human figure. So, how does this all link to going to a life drawing class? When you view a naked body, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, you are exposed to the raw, natural human form. If more people experience this, then perhaps there will be a greater acceptance of body image within society.
“Both a liberating and frankly terrifying experience” Life drawing classes are a wonderful way of getting people to accept the ‘real’ body. However awkward it may seem, you
Artwork by Eloise Eddy
should be able to look at a naked form and draw it for all it’s worth. There is no reason why we should be so afraid. We’re all naked at some point. However candid that sounds, it is the complete truth. We all have an irrational fear of the human form, most probably as a result of an unprecedented fear of what we all ‘should’ look like. I myself am not a perfect size 10. In fact, I’m far from it. But why shouldn’t I be able to appreciate my body? We should all appreciate the naked form of any person, no matter their size or shape.
“Perhaps there will be a greater acceptance of body image within society” There is no such thing as perfection. No amount of gym sessions or photo editing can beat the natural beauty of the real human form. There is no better way to experience the human form at work than during a life drawing class. The prospect of looking a naked stranger in the eye and drawing them may seem daunting, but once you get past the fear of it all, it’s a liberating experience once you get past the fear of it all. It
is definitely an experience to be added to everyone’s bucket list. Next time you walk past a poster for a life drawing class you should stop, look at it, and consider going. It could open your eyes to another perspective on body image and help you to appreciate the human form in a new light.
Thursday April 3 2014
Thursday April 3 2014
Fuse. games Deadlight
Xbox 360/PC 5/10
eadlight, a side-scrolling survival-horror platformer, is Tequila Works‘ first foray into the gaming world, and where they could have been imaginative and aweinspiring for their first game, they decided to go for the tried and tested zombie apocalypse genre that seems so prevalent in gaming nowadays. What with Telltale’s The Walking Dead, the Dead Rising franchise, and ‘Nazi Zombies’ in Call of Duty, Deadlight doesn’t seem to be treading new ground here; rather, they are walking through a chasm created by the stampede of zombie games thrust upon us. Deadlight centres on Randall Wayne, a Canadian park ranger who is searching for his family in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. He, fellow park ranger Ben, and a few other survivors who won’t really be expanded upon, set out to Seattle after hearing radio messages of a
“Safe Point”. Convinced his wife Shannon and daughter Lydia are there, Wayne and his group of companions set off for Seattle, however upon arrival not everything is as is appears. Oh and there’s zombies. Lots and lots of zombies. One thing that Tequila Works does, which bodes well for their future as game creators, is make astonishingly good scenery. The sidescrolling mode of play really allows the game designers to create a real depth which is awesome to look at. You can look back to the mass of zombies tearing up a corpse or just appreciate the detail gone into the background aesthetic. Visually, this game ticks all the boxes. While the graphic novel style has already been done by Telltale’s The Walking Dead, it has its own feel which allows it to find its own niche artistically without giving the feeling of having copied everyone else. But then comes the reality of gameplay and, I’m sorry to say, that it misses its intended target of horror and glances generic shooter instead. As a survivalhorror game it completely fails,
Gunpoint PC 9/10
here’s a certain type of gamer for whom stealth games are anathema the slow-witted, the easily spooked and those with a general inclination to blast their way through most obstacles. For those of us who fall into all three categories, it therefore makes the occasional good stealth game worth all the more. Gunpoint is an independent 2D stealth game, developed by one man in his spare time, which concerns the adventures of a private detective who spends most of his time leaping through windows. Through the course of the game, he discovers an industrial conspiracy and makes it his mission to reveal it. Gameplay consists of sneaking through buildings and avoiding or neutralising patrolling guards who are authorised to shoot on sight. This is not remarkable in itself, but the main draw of
coming closer to generic shooter than anything else. The game credits itself by giving you a small arsenal of weaponry, but enemies are never in significant numbers for this to become too much of a problem. Also, Deadlight finishes too early, leaving what may have been at least a promising game to be more of a disappointment. Although this is Tequila Works’ first game, they appeared to have focused too much on the art and have left the actual gameplay to be at times interesting, but overall, mediocre. Kieran Dean
the game lies in its rather clever ‘rewiring’ mechanic. All electrical circuits in a building are able to be hacked and connected to other devices. At the basic level, this usually results in puzzles based around turning off the lights to sneak past guards, or locking them in small rooms and uncoupling the key card reader to stop them escaping. At its best, it involves multiple levels of circuits and an admirable level of intricacy, including in advanced stages, rewiring guns and motion-sensitive cameras. The player is scored on their finesse, speed and level of violence, and achieving a perfect run has a brilliant satisfaction to it (although on frustrating levels there’s something to be said for booting in every door and pummelling guards to death). Stylistically the game makes great use of 2D sprites and modular level design (allowing for a surprisingly robust level editor), which makes gameplay relevant objects easier to discern and lends a nice retro air to proceedings. The game’s music completes the noir setting and definitely helps build tension and immersion. Gunpoint slipped under most radars on its release last year, but it’s cheap, addictive and endlessly replayable. Even if you think you hate stealth games, it’s well worth giving Gunpoint the chance to change your mind. Robin Wilde
CULT CORNER civlisation V PC
o be honest, Civilisation V is not a cult, it’s an institution. Sid Meier’s legendary series takes a turn for the better with this fifth installment, modernising the wartime mechanics and rendering one of the best looking turn-based strategy games of all time. Unlike previous games in the series, Civilisation V is accessible to new players without dumbing down the game’s core mechanics for veterans. The enemy AI is better than previous Civilisation games but that’s not saying all that much. With the exception of Gandhi – who still retains his inexplicable lust for combat once democracy sets in – all of the political leaders have distinctive ways of managing their lands and dealing with you. Most of the time the AI is logical and a player can usually follow the series of events that led to them being bombarded by Napoleon’s cavalry, but the AI follows distinct rules and those rules don’t always seem to make much sense. After a few plays, you might be under the impression that the AI can’t actually play Civilisation V all that well. This problem is dealt with for the most part during multiplayer games, which is an extensive part of this series’ remit. The game smartly presents the option to play shorter games – which, admittedly, still last a few hours – that are more conducive to a hoard of friends play-
ing in the same flat. The game offers both sequential and simultaneous turns which allows for a fast-paced playthrough which doesn’t leave friends waiting around for armchair Hitlers to finish their turns. The game’s considerable complexity, even in normal difficulty, means that each playthrough provides enough challenge to feel fresh each time. Despite a few bugs that might shatter the immersion, Civilisation V deserves its recognition as the ultimate turn-based strategy game. Joanne Butcher
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Thursday April 3 2014
Fuse. arts Cleopatra Lyceum 8/10
orthern Ballet bravely have taken on the portrayal of one of the most famous women of all time, Cleopatra. The ballet’s original debut was in 2011, and now it’s back for another tour to welcome new audiences into the mystique and wonder of an age-old tale. Combining the musical genius of Claude-Michel Schönberg (Les Miserables, Miss Saigon) and award winning choreographer David Nixon OBE, Cleopatra is an impressive work of art which left the audience enraptured with her power, lust, and intrigue. Northern Ballet effortlessly tell the somewhat complicated tale of the legendary Queen in a simple and easy to follow manner. After she kills her husband, Ptolemy (who, incidentally, is her brother) Cleopatra then claims the throne of Egypt. The plot jumps between Ancient Egypt and Rome to explain Cleopatra’s complicated relationships of lust, extravagance and intrigue with two Roman statesmen: Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
Nixon manages to connect each of these powerful and strong-willed characters through a sublime form of movement that is fluid and essentially beautiful. The integral role of worship within Egyptian culture is captured throughout the ballet, with Cleopatra first appealing to the God Wadjet, the protector of the Pharaohs, in the Prologue. During the story, Wadjet takes on the form of a snake and performs multiple duets with Cleopatra which capture the sense of aggression, dominance and power of the infamous Queen. The sheer strength and stamina necessary to become a professional ballet dancer is made obvious to the audience through the impressive and complex nature of elevations and intricate footwork. At some points the entire cast appear to move as one flowing motion: a testament to the professionalism of Northern Ballet as a dance company, and the dedication of its dancers. Martha Leebolt, the original Cleopatra from its 2011 debut, was naturally the star of the show. Leebolt’s physical strength as a dancer contributed to the characterisation of the strong-willed nature of Cleopatra. Her ability to capture
the enigmatic charm and power of the Queen within her many solos was a visually striking display for the audience to experience. The passion to which all members of the company danced created a unity believable to all. The show did have its awkward moments during transitions between scenes. During Act I, the male dancers are required to take away the bath where Ptolemy, Cleopatra’s murdered husband, lies. Not going exactly according to plan, the bath didn’t move as gracefully as anticipated, and required (to put it simply) a good push. Although receiving sniggers from the audience, Northern Ballet got away with it, but this unanticipated difficulty did take away the magic of the story for a few moments - and arguably took a while to recover. Adapting the classic tale of Cleopatra was always going to be challenging, yet the majestic balance of a strong score and stunning choreography guarantees Nor thern Ballet’s well-deserved success and ensures the tale of the insatiable temptress will never be forgotten.
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BOOK CORNER Falling Man Don DeLillo 6/10
The University Drama Studio 9/10
fter performing two Early Modern plays, SuTCo finishes the semester with this work by contemporary playwright Jez Butterworth: and it is tremendous. Set in Wiltshire, Jerusalem follows the eccentric drug dealer John ‘Rooster’ Byron (Josh Finan). This middle-aged outcast attracts the teenagers of the town with promises of drugs, alcohol, and a good time. But Byron is about to be evicted from his caravan in the woods, and so his whole life unravels over the course of a fateful St. George’s Day. The stellar set design by Lewis Colson and Abbey Bursack creates a good first impression. The iron fences and discarded bottles lend the space an air of authenticity. The set and costumes use lots of green colours that make the visual
experience distinct from the blackand-white of past productions this semester. The show continues to impress with a fantastic opening, where one of Byron’s young acolytes (Katherine Farquhar) recites the William Blake poem that inspired the play’s title. But, she becomes visibly distressed as the sound of the Prodigy steadily overwhelms her voice. It’s a memorable beginning to an unforgettable play. Sadly, it is impossible to give each individual performance the credit it deserves in one review, everyone was fantastic and made the most of every moment onstage. Will Taylor is hilariously dorky as the geriatric Professor, who finds himself in Byron’s company. The performance once again showcases his talent for playing offbeat characters, as previously seen in Enron. Thomas Lodge is also memorable as Wesley, a relatively more mature version of Byron who still cautiously enjoys the daredevil life of his wild counterpart.
The play would not be half as good as it is without Finan though. His Byron is an absolute joy to watch. He imbues the role with such incredible magnetism; it makes a character, who is quite unrelatable to many, one of the most likeable characters to have come out of SuTCo this year. In his director’s note, Jack Burkill recalls advice he had been given: “create strong images and build the rest of the scenes around them”. He has followed this advice to the letter, creating some of the most striking moments in SuTCo, and finishing the year off with supreme confidence. The closing, defiant image of the play, with Byron and his collapsing world, is an incredibly powerful conclusion to the year that also promises more quality theatre from SuTCo for the foreseeable future. Joe Brennan
eptember 11 2001 was a day that drastically changed the United States of America, when two planes crashed into the twin towers in New York. 9/11 is rarely explained so fully anymore; it is such a well-known event that people rarely feel the need to, or they feel they can’t describe the trauma caused by such an event, because trauma often goes beyond the limits of language. In Falling Man DeLillo attempts to address 9/11 in its social complexity, where the simple to say, simple to assimilate label ‘9/11’ fails. He somewhat succeeds, but his fascinating ideas are dampened by other plot elements. The fragmented narrative complements the characters’ painful memories, and the placement of a specific traumatic experience at both the start and end both shocks and elucidates, but the characters themselves often fail to muster empathy. Their disconnected, faltering blandness may represent trauma, but can be off-putting for those wanting to become immersed in the story, or relate to the characters. The most interesting parts involve the Falling Man, a street artist who crassly imitates those who jumped off the twin towers by hanging off buildings, and the scenes with Katie’s dementia group tie in well with the novel’s explorations of
memory and trauma. The overall plotlines involving Katie, her estranged husband Keith and their son Justin, however, come far short of gripping. Unfortunately, they dominate the novel. One of the best things Falling Man does is boldly question the US – for example, Justin mishearing ‘bin Laden’ as ‘Bill Lawton’ westernises the Al-Qaeda terrorists, and the followers of Islam wrongly implicated by their extremism, in an uncomfortable but thoughtful manner. DeLillo wisely explores 9/11 in various contexts, instead of as a lone-standing event. It’s just a pity that the main characters were too dull to let his ideas resonate. Camille Brouard
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Thursday April 3 2014
Fuse. music Liars Mess 9/10
t’s always difficult for a band to be so brazenly open to shifting musical direction and be able to pull it off . Liars manage to do just that, especially after 2012’s dazzling voyage into electronic territory with WIXIW. Mess, then, is the band’s seventh musical conception, and cements many of the foundations that WIXIW put into place. Stark, aggressive and at times manic, this album screams out to be noticed – from the lyrics of the opening track ‘Mask Maker’ (“Take my pants off/ Use my socks/ Smell my socks/ Eat my f a c e off”) to the raucously frantic dizziness of ‘On a Mission’. Of everything that Li-
ars achieve on Mess, perhaps the most significant and successful is the band’s ability to combine the impulsive and repetitive beats of electronica with a dirty, driving chorus. On ‘Vox Tuned D.E.D’, we hear ominously high pitched screeching synths layered over the vocals to frightening effect. This sublime balance is perfected on ‘I’m No Gold’, with over six minutes of beautiful timed interludes between music and vocals. Arguably the best track on the album, and the first single to have been released, is ‘On a Mission’, which is something of a lesson in hypnosis. Both unbelievably catchy and really quite sinister, it has you listening over and over, becoming quite perturbed by it, and then listening again. It’s not, at times, a particularly ‘pleasant’ album- the sounds are coarse and harsh, the vocals warped, and as we have seen, the lyrics darkly assertive. It is, however, ferocious and sonically captivating. On first listen, you won’t quite know how to make sense of it; it’s confusing and almost repulsive in it’s audaciousness. Give it a few more goes, and it might just suddenly click, becoming one of the most fearless albums in quite a while. Rachel Bell
josh taERk Josh 6/10
f you were looking for something to listen to on a lazy summer afternoon, then Josh Taerk’s debut album Josh would be the perfect choice. The 22-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter hasn’t quite entered the spotlight in the UK yet, but his self-penned album is a subtle push in the right direction to stardom. Josh draws his inspiration from artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Counting Crows, both of which have clear influences throughout the album. What it lacks in its mediocre title (Josh is lackluster even by self-titled standards), the folk/rock album makes up for it in ten soft, acoustic-based melodies, all of which are easy on the ear. Although at times some tracks flit dangerously close to being too soppy (note the repetition of “I’m hopelessly in love with you” in ‘Hopeless’) the majority of lyrics showcase Taerk’s mature, talented songwriting, which detail
his journey in the music industry so far. Stand out track ‘Smell the Roses’ was the first song Josh ever wrote, and it has clear lyrical influence from a young Springsteen. The radio friendly song begins soft, but picks up towards the chorus, introducing a heavy beat alongside Josh’s trademark acoustic guitar, producing a combination that would be difficult for the harshest critic to fault. The album also includes four acoustic bonus tracks, including previous singles ‘Casie’, and ‘Grace’. The additional tracks allow Josh the opportunity to reimagine some of his songs and the result brings a raw and fresh edge to the album, allowing the listener to appreciate Josh’s vocal talents and powerful lyrics. As a whole, Josh doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking. However, the album is a pleasant listen with plenty of memorable riffs, and there is definite potential for massive commercial success in the future. Rebecca Stubbs
WHAT’S ON YOUR PLAYLIST? future islands Singles 9/10
ccording to Future Islands’ chest beating frontman Samuel T. Herring in an interview with the Skinny: “let’s be open to each other again. Let’s care about our fellow man, instead of living in a world of computer screens.” Without prior knowledge, Herring’s quote would activate every discerning music fan’s inbuilt Bono or ‘bigger than Jesus’ alarm. However, after hearing Future Islands magnificent fourth album Singles, even the hardest cynic’s scorn would be demolished by the uplifting synth driven sound Future Islands create. Much is made of Herring’s frankly astonishing approach to being a frontman with the visceral power of a boxer, but one with a yearning expression that looks for something more than a prize fight. This contrast is also mirrored in his lyrics, which allows the delivery of these simple yet effective words to be deceptively touching. “Looks like winter/ but it’s the heart of summer” (taken from ‘Back
in the Tall Grass’) is the kind of contrast that Herring’s lyrics on Singles deal in and, with a lesser frontman, might come off as cheesy. However, due to his magnetic and unconventional vocal performance, it feels like someone has turned the Yellow Pages into the collective works of Dickens. What is also phenomenal about this album is the immaculate song writing from bassist William Cashion and multi-instrumentalist Gerrit Welmers. It is easy to forget about this while Samuel T. Herring is doing his best to upstage everyone else with his tender primal force, but without Cashion and Welmer’s strong performance, even Herring would have been left in the dark. Cashion’s bass lines are propulsive and allow the synth work of Welmer’s to glisten- such as in the standout track ‘Sun in The Morning.’ Singles is a stunning album, if you can handle Herring’s vocal delivery, and is completely rewarding. This record deserves to played over and over again. Tom Sloman
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Louise Moist Japanese Studies Favourite artist: Crossfaith Favourite track right now: ‘We Hit A Wall’ - Chelsea Wolfe
Liz Wormald Japanese Studies Favourite band: Weezer Favourite track right now: ‘No Twerk’ - Apache
UPCOMING: SHONEN KNIFE:OVERDRIVE/THE AFGHAN WHIGS: DO TO THE BEAST/EMA:THE FUTURE IS VOID/SZA: Z X
Thursday April 3 2014
tropic of youth Saturday March 22 Sheffield Cathedral
here is something inescapably joyful about Tropic of Youth’s EP launch party at the Sheffield Cathedral. Perhaps it is because the launch of their debut EP Sun City in their own city and their own Cathedral seems like a rite of passage. Or maybe it’s because, while concerts at churches or cathedrals can often seem like novel ideas, many prove to be the perfect setting. This is a certainly encouraging trend – think of Anna Calvi and St. Vincent playing the Manchester Cathedral, or the Slow Show planning a concert at an old church in Ancoats. However, the main reason for
such abundant cheeriness tonight is probably the music and the band themselves. With their irresistible mix of self described “soft rock world beat”, Tropic of Youth follow the path of the Drums with sweet, jangling guitar riffs, and perhaps more obviously Vampire Weekend, with a clear interest in Afro rhythms and beats. The first single to be released from the EP, ‘Poa Kichizi Kama Ndizi’ (roughly translating, in Swahili to ‘crazy cool like a banana’), beautifully blends this African direction with hints of calypso in the melody and vocals that compliment rather than dominate. Another highlight of the set is the effortlessly summery ‘Hot Season’, with such wonderfully uplifting lyrics as “I want to walk in the summer light/ Where the faces
the book club Saturday March 29 Plug
he Book Club are a weird and wonderful indie quartet, hailing from Sheffield. According to themselves, they “aren’t what you want, and aren’t really what you need either.” With catchy sing-along choruses, groovy keys and some seriously funky basslines, the Book Club redefine what it means to be indie, bringing their own twist to the genre. They offer a big sound (and bigger hair). Opening with ‘Boy On A Promise’ and flowing straight into ‘Drone’, The Book Club get the crowd moving. As well as some toetapping favourites, t h e crowd is
glow with happiness”. It’s refreshing to see a band that focuses on the music just as much (if not slightly more) as the lyrics or vocals, and for this to work so well in their favour. Equally refreshing is how, with the arrival of spring, Tropic of Youth give a performance that is so chronically positive in nature. It seems like Tropic of Youth are determined to turn Sheffield into the ‘Sun City’. Rachel Bell
treated to a sneak peak of several new songs to be featured on their up and coming second album. After their new song ‘Hill’, three quarters of the band disappear, temporarily leaving the stage to Joe Carnall and his guitar. The audience begins to chatter but quietens as Carnall shifts the tone with the slow and acoustic ‘Mr Melancholy’, followed by ‘Oxford’ and a request to “be cool”. Soon after, the rest of the band return and the crowd sings along with ‘The Silent Type’ and ‘We Built The Dancefloor’. After the penultimate song ‘We The People’, Carnall raises his drink in the air to address the crowd; “we’ve played a lot of new songs tonight, here’s to the future!” The crowd responds with chants of “Book Club! Book Club!” and the night is closed with favourite ‘Dads Army’, where mass singing and dancing ensues. Despite what they say, the Book Club are definitely what the crowd wanted and, in the somewhat stale indie scene of this city, perhaps they are exactly what Sheffield needs. Katherine Hodgson
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The Book Club: Katherine Hodgson
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Saturday March 22 Plug
escribed by Reverend and the Makers’ Jon McClure as an “ace new local band”, indie-rock four piece the Sherlocks play an exciting homecoming gig to a packed out Plug. The two pairs of brothers met when Andy and Josh Davidson moved next door to Kiaran and Brandon Crook’s grandparents in Bolton on Dearne, and in late 2010 become the Sherlocks. Since then they’ve played upwards of 400 gigs and festivals across the country supporting the likes of Reverend and the Makers, the Buzzcocks and the Enemy. Quitely walking on stage to a soundtrack of ‘Reach Up’ paired with chanting fans, the Sherlocks plunge into ‘Live For The Moment’, followed by ‘One Of A Kind’. The few seconds of quiet between each song are filled with the crowd’s chorus of ‘Sherlock Army! Sherlock Army!’, as bassist Andy plays off them with the ‘Reach Up’ riff. Though influences such at the Courteneers and the Libertines can be heard, the overall sound is firmly their own and their songs boast a maturity beyond their years. The energy in the room is immense, the crowd singing and dancing along as the Sherlocks blast through their penultimate song ‘Chasing Shadows’. The disappointment that their set it drawing to an end is audible. As good a show as these Yorkshire lads give, it’s hard to shake the feeling that they were overshadowed slightly by their support act, the enigmatic foursome the Darlingtons. It’s a wonder that they didn’t knock themselves out, roaring around the stage totally engrossed in their music. They’re definitely one to keep an eye on. Despite this, the Sherlocks’ talent
is clear and the hype deserved. With rapidly growing success and a loyal and vocal following, their future is looking bright. Katherine Hodgson
The Sherlocks: Katherine Hodgson
UPCOMING: THE DUNWELLS: PLUG APRIL 5 / BRITISH SEA POWER: LEADMILL APRIL 12 / PEGGY SUE: THE HARLEY APRIL 12
Thursday April 3 2014
Fuse. screen Yves saint laurent Dir: Jalil Lespert 7/10
his biopic of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is undoubtedly and outlandishly stylish, and given the life, lasting impact, and talent of the famous designer, it makes arresting viewing. We see 21-year-old (and painfully shy) Yves (Pierre Ninney) ushered into the limelight upon Christian Dior’s death in 1957, when he was appointed artistic director of the house. It is at this time he meets Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne), a figure who is to become the designer’s long term business partner, friend and lover - a relationship that is central to the film. The film is a convincing portrayal of Laurent’s struggle with himself – the enormity of his creative gift, his addictive personality and
manic depressive nature, and most importantly, an ode to a career that resulted in the creation of a fashion empire. While Pierre Ninney is physically well suited to the role of Saint Laurent – bearing a strong resemblance to the designer in his younger years – and certainly offers a sound p e r f o r m a n c e, it is Gallienne, as Bergé who shines. A s something of Saint Laurent’s
salvation, we see Bergé steadfast faith in his partner delivered by Gallienne with both sharp tenacity and acute sensibility. “I may not have principles” we hear Bergé, as the narrator say, “but I am a man of my own world”. Gallienne is not the sole strength of the film, however. Much of it relies upon exuberant imagery – the couple’s first embrace while walking the soaked streets of Paris, the dazzling, wild nights at their house in Marrakesh, and the catwalks themselves are all captivating visions; a real treat for audience’s eyes. Saint Laurent’s creations almost take on a life of their own in the film, defiant yet demure, and all astonishingly beautiful.
Fans of the designer himself and the fashion industry in general, who know his story, his turbulent personal life and of the scene surrounding him, will delight in the lush cinematography and in the beautiful detailing of his artistic vision as a pioneer of women’s attire. Perhaps too much emphasis has been placed on the style of the film, but it is about the life of a fashion designer, after all. Those with less of an interest, or knowledge of the man, his work or fashion itself, will still be able to make something from the film. Its forays into the darkness of mental illness and self-destruction, and Bergé’s unfailing belief in Saint Laurent takes it beyond the grips of fashion and into a moving tale of passion, talent and insight.
of the few times the audience is afforded some genuine insight into why one of these characters would want to kill themselves. Paul definitely has the most interesting role as pizza delivery driver, J.J., who lies about having cancer because he doesn’t know what’s wrong with him. Again the quieter moments of the film allow Paul to perform this character relatively well. These tiny fragments of quality are ultimately washed into a sea
of blandness. This middle-of-theroad piece of tat offers no meaningful insight into depression, suicide or loneliness. It can’t even do humour competently. The actors, despite being a talented bunch are often terrifically transparent. A film that deals with depression and suicide has a duty to do it well, and this is the film’s greatest sin. Make a pact with your friends to avoid this stinker at all costs.
a long way down Dir: Pascal Chaumeil 3/10
ere is a film that screams mediocrity. This Nick Hornby adaptation about four suicidal people meeting on the roof of a London tower block offers virtually nothing of interest. The group form a pact to commit suicide on New Year’s Eve and in that time they form a unique bond that weathers press intrusion and their own personal demons. The four main characters, played by Pierce Brosnan, Toni Colette, Imogen Poots and Aaron
CULT CORNER Requiem for a dream Dir: Darren Afronofsky
he story centres on the protagonists’ lives being driven by their addiction, which leads them all to an unsettling experience. To fund their monetary struggle in buying drugs, Harry (Jared Leto) and his friend, Tyrone (Marlon Wayans), start engaging in drug dealing. This doesn’t help them become grounded and accomplish their life goals, and Harry’s mother (Ellen Burstyn) is upset when her son tries to resell her television for money. She is addicted to sugary food and television, and the twist of her rather lonely but calming life comes when she receives a phone call
Paul are often boring to watch. The actors do not gel together and their characters are forgettable. Brosnan opens the film with a big dump of exposition about how he was a day-time TV host, struck by scandal. Not a great first impression, given the lazy method of storytelling and Brosan’s own lack of screen presence. The worst performance though should be awarded to Imogen Poots as Jess. She’s explosive and
expected to offer comedic relief, but the only relief comes when she shuts her mouth. It’s eye-gougingly bad acting because the character’s personality is awkwardly fake. There are, however, glimmers of hope in this otherwise empty film. These rare moments are courtesy of Toni Colette and Aaron Paul. Colette plays a mother who must look after her adult disabled son. The scenes she shares with him are moving, but momentary. It’s one
inviting her to her favourite reality show. Despite being upsetting to watch, the film is an excellent piece of cinema. It shows the audience the indulgent life style of these characters, who are off the rails from the very beginning. The story essentially illustrates how their destructive and escapist behaviour makes them deteriorate physically and mentally. Through this, the audience can understand their emotion and difficulties and it’s hard not to sympathise with them. The film is relatable for a wider audience, as it not only touches upon the issue of addiction to drugs, but also topics like dieting and fame. Director Darren Aronofsky’s filming style is entirely unique. Close up shots of the actors show the damaging psychological dimension of the characters in an intimate
and delusional way. For example, a shot of Harry’s girlfriend, Marion (Jennifer Connelly), walking through the corridor, with disconcerting and tension-building music in the background, has become an iconic scene. Aronofsky has delivered this compelling story with an interesting mix of realistic but illusionary cinematography. After 14 years, Requiem for a Dream is still a moving and exceptional film in its own right. This is the one of Leto’s performances that you shouldn’t miss. Vienna Lee More reviews online Read more reviews online at Forge Today
Thursday April 3 2014
Captain America: The winter soldier Dir: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo 9/10
ollowing our shield-spinning hero’s first outing in Captain America: The First Avenger and Avengers: Assemble, we see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) trying to adjust to modern day New York after being frozen for decades. Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D, who comes under attack after he uncovers a conspiracy regarding the three drones that are supposedly being released by intelligence to stop crime before it happens. Captain America is given the task of discovering the truth behind Fury’s attack, along with the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and new ally, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie). The Falcon is technically Marvel’s first African-American superhero although his role in this film does seem like that of a sidekick. The most interesting casting is probably Robert Redford who plays Alexander Pierce, a senior leader of S.H.I.E.L.D and an old comrade of Fury. Avid fans of the superhero world will know that this second
shoot-up in broad daylight, and this film offers just that. When Captain America tries to escape from the Winter Soldier, the audience feels a great sense of urgency and suspense as innocent people are put in harm’s way. The special effects are amazing, and in-keeping with the genre; the use of Falcon’s mechanical wings provides a thrilling watch for 3D viewers. It’s been suggested in the past that Captain America is one of the dullest superheroes Marvel has to offer, but screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have done an impressive job in moulding the storyline to make the character more likeable. Johansson provides a refreshing female role within the film and, surprisingly, isn’t reduced to being simply Evans’s love interest. Instead the two share a quirky friendship where Johansson teases Evans on his relationship status. While she provides excellent support in battle, she’s even
instalment of Captain America is trying to allude to the conspiracy films of the 1970s, and Redford’s role in All The President’s Men certainly hammers this point home. There are plenty of action scenes in the film, as you would expect, but the co-directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, haven’t attempted to be too fancy with slow motion, Matrixstyle shots. The Russo brothers are best known for their television work, in particular the hit comedy show Community, and this style is made apparent by their ability to let the action speak for itself, rather than attempting anything edgy. Everyone loves a good car chase and
Dir: David Mackenzie 7/10
SMALL SCREEN Believe
Creators: Abrams, Cuarón 5/10
iewers had high hopes for new Sci-fi drama Believe given the big names attached: co-creator Alfonso Cuarón and producer J.J. Abrams. Unfortunately, the pilot is a disappointingly mixed bag. The show revolves around young girl Bo (Johnny Sequoyah), who’s a superpower cocktail made up of one part telekinesis, a dash of mind reading, a couple of premonitions, and she can summon pigeons by screaming at them. Evil business mogul Roman Skouras (Kyle MacLachlan) and his lackey (Sienna Guillory) are trying to seize Bo in order to use her gifts. To combat this, a team of self-declared “good guys” bust out death-row inmate Tate (Jake McLaughlin) and forcibly appoint him as Bo’s guardian. The odd relationship between Tate and Bo is the show’s highlight. McLaughlin’s better scenes involve lots of humorous bickering with
his child co-star. He treads the line between hero and antihero uneasily, all the while desperately crying out for a haircut. There’s action aplenty but the main problem is the story, in particular working out what’s at stake. MacLachlan should prove eerily sinister, but doesn’t get enough screen time to show off any overarching plans. He’ll also need to address problems within his recruitment department if they’re only hiring one pretty naff assassin. The backstory details are lacking; having Bo be genetically modified, like River in Firefly, would’ve got the audience more invested. Instead we’re presumably expected just to “believe”. Cuarón’s direction plasters over some of the cracks, and while a long way from being the small screen version of Gravity, there are some visually attractive moments in the super-powered set pieces. It’s not as impressive as it should be, especially considering the starstudded crew, but if these issues are ironed out it might at least become watchable like Revolution or The Tomorrow People. Sam Russell
he film’s title, Starred Up, refers to the premature upgrading of a young offender to an adult prison. This is exactly what happens to high risk nineteen-year-old convict, Eric Love (Jack O’Connell). As luck would have it, his estranged father (Ben Mendelsohn) happens to be serving time in the same prison and is determined to perform his fatherly duties and protect his own flesh and blood from the brutal realities of life on the inside. He insists that Eric keeps a low profile and stays under the radar, but with Eric’s fiery temper and hatred of authority he ends up attracting a lot of unwanted attention from inmates and guards alike. The overall plot is hardly ground-breaking, maintaining the ‘mixed up protagonist rebels against The Man’ mantra that we’ve seen before. The father-son dynamic, however, provides a fresh take on the usual conventions. Eric is trying to prove himself as a force to be reckoned with, but his dad continuously telling him what to do makes it e v e n
more apparent how young Eric really is. At times it’s as if the two are making up for all those years apart and Eric is the stroppy teenager arguing with his embarrassing father. Eric’s embarrassment creates some unexpected comedic instances in an otherwise dark film and the chemistry between O’Connell and Mendelsohn delivers some really poignant scenes that delve beneath the hard-man exteriors they both maintain. Starred Up is a harsh slice of gritty realism at its best. Scriptwriter, Jonathan Asser, worked as a voluntary therapist at HM Prison Wandsworth, and his experience with some of the country’s most violent crimnals has aided him in writing
15 more fiercely independent and cunning on her own. For those who do enjoy a good superhero romance, there are notable hint of a love interest blossoming. Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) also known as Agent 13 is Steve Rogers’ neighbour, and the two appear to have a little chemistry blossoming. We know from the comics that they do eventually share an on-off relationship, so it’s easy to see the seeds being planted here. If you’re already a fan of the Marvel films you’ll not be disappointed. If this is the first one you choose to watch, you may be confused by the significance of certain characters, but all in all it’s a very enjoyable movie. The film ends with its usual Marvel-style cliffhanger after the first section of credits. There is also an additional 10 second clip after all the full credits have finished rolling, so make sure you follow the golden rule of Marvel and stay till the very end. Jaskiran Shergill
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something ruthless and tough but also shockingly natural. The film paints a graphic and realistic picture of what it’s really like in prison and the tension never drops. Eric spends every day of his life fighting to survive and imminent threat is always there; as the camera shadows him as he walks around the wings you’re always expecting somebody to jump out on him. The closing sequence is particularly horrific and it seriously questions the way prisoners are treated. Eric’s crime is never actually revealed and perhaps this makes it easier to like him, but he’s dangerous and psychologically unhinged. He’s had a hard upbringing and shows potential for change in group therapy sessions. It encourages a more idealistic approach to prisoners, rather than hard-line brutality. Starred Up isn’t perfect; the ending leaves audiences with a lot of unanswered questions. The script also seems contrived at times, particularly the never ending string of swear words. The acting, however, is impeccable. On the whole it’s a macho, thrilling, and grossly entertaining piece of independent British cinema. Laura Heffernan
FORGE’S DESERT ISLAND Every fortnight, we ask a couple of our editors to pick their Fuse-esque desert island necessities. This issue we ask our coffee break and letters editor which items she couldn’t survive without.
a Pa t i R e s a c t from a Sui
ies r o t S : C I S MU onored h s i D : S E GAM wor th r e t t u B z e -J ARTS: Mojo erfect P h c t i P SCREEN: reak : Coffee b n o s p o C Lucy editor and letters