18 WHEN ART MEETS ART
WHEN ART MEETS ART
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE C WORD police caution for common assault.
PHOTO CREDIT: VANITY FAIR
KALEY CUOCOSWEETING AND THE FEMINIST CONTROVERSY Elisabeth Mahase Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, star of hit American comedy show The Big Bang Theory, has been making headlines recently as a result of her controversial comments in the magazine Redbook. During her interview she was asked if she considers herself a feminist, to which she replied, “Is it bad if I say no?... I cook for Ryan five nights a week: It makes me feel like a housewife...I like the idea of women taking care of their men.” After reading her article for Redbook and the response posted on her Instagram account, I’ve realised that the main reason why I felt upset by her comments was her complete lack of understanding of what feminism actually is. Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, feminism simply refers to ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.’ It’s the fundamental belief that men and women should be treated equally. Therefore, in saying that she does not consider herself a feminist, she is suggesting that she does not believe she should be treated equally to her male counterparts. However, this lack of understanding isn’t unique to Miss Cuoco-Sweeting. Comments under the article shared on Facebook revealed that many people share the mistaken belief that a woman cannot be both a feminist and a stay at home mother or housewife. But the reality is that these two things are not mutually exclusive. Where does it say that someone cannot believe in the equality of the sexes and look after their children at
the same time? The point of feminism is that women have the choice. The choice to have children, with someone they choose, when they are ready; the choice to work and the choice to be a house wife. A comment made under one of the E! Online articles sums this idea up perfectly: “guuuurl feminism is about doing what you love because you love it, even if that’s “pretending it’s the 1950s” – Alyson” Although there was another quote from Cuoco’s article that really struck a nerve: “It’s not really something I think about.” In a time where the news is filled with girls being kidnapped and killed in Nigeria by Boko Haram for trying to get an education, and amazing young women like Malala Yousafzai who are standing up and fighting for equality, even after being shot in the head by the Taliban, to say that “It’s not really something I think about” suggests the highest level of ignorance. It may be easy for me to say this, as someone looking in at the world of Hollywood, but with other actresses like Emma Watson, who is now the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, campaigning alongside Malala in the HeForShe solidarity campaign, it seems hard to make excuses for this actress.
Jennifer Lawrence is hot, right? She’s hot and she’s famous and she speaks her mind, and she’s not afraid to flip off the camera if the person behind it is out of line. Guys like that kind of stuff. Girls like that kind of stuff. But even though people like her so much, maybe even because people like her so much, people violated her by looking at and sharing photos of her naked body released without her consent. And in the wake of the assault that took place in the Celebrity Big Brother house this month, it is clear that there a still a lot of disturbing issues concerning sexual consent in the media. For those of you who’ve spent the last few months living under a rock, someone hacked the phones of more than a hundred celebrities and released their private photos online through 4chan, an internet forum site. Hundreds of celebrity nudes went viral, including J-Law’s, and the internet dubbed it ‘the fappening’. Earlier this month, Big Brother viewers saw first-hand what happened to model Chloe Goodman when she tried to help fellow housemate Jeremy Jackson while he was hung-over and throwing up in the bathroom. When they wound up alone in the room, and away from the cameras, he tried to undress her, and exposed her breast without her consent. While the assault wasn’t captured on camera, viewers could clearly hear her say “Seriously Jeremy, that’s not ok,” before she left the room in tears. Jeremy has since been removed from the house as a penalty for his actions, and, according to the BBC, he has also been given a
But hey, what’s the problem here? I mean, if the celebrity victims of hacking didn’t want their pictures to be seen, they shouldn’t have taken them right? They were willing and eager when they took the pictures, so why do they care who sees them now? And people like Chloe Goodman don’t pose for page three if they care about their privacy, right? WRONG. None of these statements are even slightly ok, but unfortunately, not everyone agrees. So let’s talk about the C-word. Consent is not, nor has it ever been, something to be taken lightly. Calling the phone hacking incident ‘the fappening’ trivialises it when in fact the issue far from trivial. J-Law herself said in an interview with Vanity Fair that the hacking was “not a scandal. It (was) a sex crime.” She added that “Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offence. You should cower with shame.” And she’s right. Her body, or any other body for that matter, isn’t public property just because she makes her living in the public eye. And the same goes for Chloe Goodman. She consented to have her picture taken for page three, and that is perfectly fine. That was her choice and she was in control. But what is not fine, and what she certainly did not consent to was to having her breast exposed by a man she barely knows. That is what makes the incident entirely different from posing for page three. That is what makes the incident assault. And women are not the only ones who aren’t having their sexual consent taken seriously. Indeed, male victims
are often expected to see issues involving the violation of their consent as a joke, or as merely unimportant. Former ‘Doctor Who’ actor Matt Smith was among the men also targeted by the anonymous phone hacker last year, and yet, in comparison to other victims, the press barely touched on it, as if the violation of his privacy was a non-issue. Even in fictional television, all too often the concept of male sexual consent is made into a joke. A prime example of this can be seen in an episode of the massively successful T.V. drama ‘House’, in which the character Chase finds that a doctored nude photo of him has been shared online, along-side his phone number, without his consent. He spends the entire episode trying to track down which of his recent sexual partners is ‘pranking’ him. When he finally does find the culprit, they have a flirtatious conversation where she playfully tells him off for being shallow and promiscuous, and then he asks her out on a date. Because apparently men are supposed to think that people who violate their right to their naked body are just feisty and sexy. Sexual consent is vital, but there is a real danger that many people are clearly not taking it seriously. It is the people who don’t take consent seriously, who think that it is acceptable to publish private photos or videos, or even in some cases, phone numbers and addresses, on ‘revenge porn’ websites without the consent of both parties. This is the kind of thinking that leads to people believing that they are entitled to take whatever or whoever they want without asking. This is the kind of thinking that needs to stop.
For those who haven’t heard of the HeForShe campaign, check out Emma Watson’s speech on YouTube or head to www.heforshe.org/. It’s definitely worth a look.
PHOTO CREDIT:HUFFINGTON POST
IN DEFENCE OF FOXES David Bennett What is it about the humble fox that draws so much negative attention? Surely there are enough troubles in the world without worrying about which creature emptied the contents of someone’s bin bag across their garden? It is an ongoing power struggle between those compassionate types who see foxes as beautiful, industrious creatures worthy of nothing but admiration, and the types who like nothing more than dressing up in weird costumes, straddling horses and shooting foxes for the fun of it. In late 2014, the power struggle was reignited as fresh calls to lift the Labour party’s ban on fox hunting were made. Starting with UKIP, and then followed, unsurprisingly, by the Conservatives, pledges were made to scrap the Hunting Act in the eventuality of either party gaining power in 2015 elections. Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, said in an interview with the Express last year that ‘I personally would vote in favour of allowing fox hunting. I think it was a mistake, the Hunting Act, and I would vote for repeal.’ Truss is also responsible for the latest round of badger culls across parts of the country. These culls have been largely ineffective according to wildlife experts, and labelled as inhumane for the methods of slaughter used. But why has the call for fox hunting reared its ugly head again? Well, it is no coincidence that a general election is just around the corner. The Conservatives face losing countryside voters who want the hunting ban lifted and, with UKIP pouncing on every vote they can, it seems that the Conservatives have had their hand forced.
The same piece from the Express stated that ‘Sir Barney WhiteSpunner, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, warned that the [Conservative] party risks losing half a million votes if it fails to include a pledge to repeal the ban on fox hunting in its manifesto.’ So the pledge to repeal the fox hunting ban is a result of lobbying from people who enjoy murdering foxes in the countryside, and politicians scared of losing power in the capital; yet, it is the urban fox which receives the most bad press. Indeed, a great deal of public opinion about the urban fox boarders on the edge of hysteria; supported by unfounded information and designed to instil fear in the public. This ironic quotation from the Guardian in 2013 summarises the irrationality of fox misinformation: ‘Urban foxes are marauding giants that feed on takeaway curries, cats and babies.’ As hilarious as that extract is, the worrying thing is its closeness to other, decidedly not ironic, news reports. The Edinburgh Evening News, also in 2013, reported of ‘foxes attacking pets, raiding bins and dragging rubbish including chewed bones and the remains of takeaways into the street, and leaving “particularly foulsmelling” faeces in people’s back yards.’ I spoke to Trevor Williams, founder of the Fox Project – an organisation dedicated to the protection and wellbeing of foxes in the south east of England – who had this to say on the importance of defending foxes: ‘It is important on our overcrowded island to defend all species of wildlife as it forms a well established ecosystem. Foxes are one of our most important controllers of rats and mice and offer no threat to humans in terms of disease or aggression.’
Cases of foxes attacking humans are extremely rare, and only see the light of day in the media due the shocking nature of such an occurrence. On the subject of the proposed lift on the fox hunting ban, Mr Williams added that ‘Excuses that it is necessary in terms of ‘control’ are spurious. In order to ‘control’ the fox population [by hunting] one would need to kill 75% of the post-breeding population each year, a figure amounting to 450,000. Hunting has never killed more than 1.5% in any one year.’ Foxes are territorial animals, and as such there will never be more than a certain number in any one area; thus if foxes appear to be rising in number they are merely becoming bolder and more visible which is invariably caused by humans. Mr Williams concluded that ‘Hunts have always relocated foxes into areas where ‘insufficient’ numbers of foxes exist for viable hunting. Hunting is nonsense at every level.’ In Britain, there is an estimated 33,000 foxes in urban areas according to the League. org.uk website, and these numbers are relatively unchanging as population ‘control’ among foxes generally deals with itself. Around 50% of all urban foxes are killed by cars, and rarely live to see adulthood. In the country, fox hunting appears to be purely for the enjoyment of killing. The only way to deal with that kind of mentality is to make sure hunting is always illegal, by voting against parties who choose votes over morals. All in all, if you don’t want your rubbish strewn across your garden by a fox, maybe a better idea would be to fasten the lid of your bin properly.
IN DEFENCE OF FOX HUNTING Panny Antoniou Fox hunting has been banned in the United Kingdom since 2005, but there are many arguments in favour of fox hunting and some believe that it should be legalised again. The main reasons for this are that it is a form of pest control and conservation for other species. Most large predator species were made extinct in Britain as a result of human activity. Animals such as bears previously kept the fox population in check, however, as a result of their local extinction and the lack of fox hunting since 2005 the fox population has exploded and
they adversely affect the ecosystem due to their large numbers. Fox numbers have been rising since 2005. There are approximately 250,000 foxes in the UK and a further 425,000 are born every year. Urban foxes especially have become a menace and have been known to attack people and rip open bin bags, causing unhygienic and unnecessary mess. In addition, rural foxes often prove problematic to agriculture. They kill livestock including poultry and lambs, and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has estimated that around 2% of otherwise viable lambs are killed by foxes every year. This reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of
our agriculture and is symptomatic of the bigger problem of fox large populations. DEFRA further states that foxes “may cause localised problems to freerange poultry interests”. This means that it becomes significantly more difficult to farm free range animals and results in cruelty to the chickens which are kept inside for their whole lives until slaughter. The manipulation of our environment with industries such as agriculture razed swathes of forest, and heavy hunting drove many large predator species to extinction. This extinction of predators has therefore meant that the fox has no natural threat bar man, which results in the fox population exploding and affects the diversity of
PHOTO CREDIT: JANS CANON
our ecosystem. Animal habitats are very finely balanced and any changes to the food chain can result in devastating effects for the ecosystem at large. As such, it is our duty to maintain this fragile balance and keep the population of foxes to the level that they would be that if we had not killed all their natural predators. Large fox populations mean that they eat more prey species such as white rabbits and hares, which recent studies have found are declining in numbers in Britain.
otherwise be kept inside its whole life. However, many argue that the methods of killing are cruel to the foxes, although it is worth pointing out that hunting with dogs is still one of the most effective methods of finding where foxes’ dens are due to their superior noses.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why fox hunting should be legalised again. It helps keep the environment balanced and results in better living environment for poultry which would
Bringing a touch of magic and fantasy to every child’s life, C.S Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe has always enthralled with its promise of magic and adventure. Now adapted for the stage by Theresa Heskins, the story of the Pevensie children Lucy, Susan, Peter and Edmund and the all-important wardrobe unlocking a path to the kingdom of Narnia is a glorious, musical adventure bringing festive fun for all ages. An all-singing, all-dancing cast with pitch-perfect harmonies opened the production and very quickly moved to Lucy opening the wardrobe. The much-anticipated unveiling of Narnia was not disappointing - for the price paid, I viewed a rather beautiful, icy blue set complete with glaring trees, a cute glowing lamppost and an equally endearing portrayal of Mr Tumnus by James Gillan. The paper snow showering the audience (which sent both kids and adults into a flurry) was a beautiful sight to see, and one of the more memorable moments in the adaptation.
PHOTO CREDIT: LYRIC THEATRE
Martha Salhotra A sound rendition of Othello cradling the dark turns of desire. Frantic Assembly’s revival of Othello originally adapted, directed and choreographed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett is a gripping 21st century take interweaving gang culture influences, northern accents, contemporary costume and a pulsating music score that compliments the action to rigorous effect. The rapidly changing set
paced reworking of Othello which is current and executes the more finer parts of the play masterfully. Othello (Mark Ebulue) is a commanding and vigorous presence with a loving intensity in his eyes during the romantic scenes with Desdemona (Kirsty Oswald). The passion of the lovers is hinted at so as not to become too lustful for the audience and the influx of jealousy and paranoia smears across Ebulue’s face at just the right moments. One such highlight is the tender and playful dance that occurs between the lovers on top of the pool table, where bathed in a romantic purple glow, Othello and Desdemona caress each other’s body
in a sensual and provocative manner and bring the lover’s passions to the public eye. The pool table is significant in its suggestion that love is indeed a game in this play. Steven Miller portrays the devilish Iago to near-perfection and renders true the image of the serpent who lurks behind the ear and poisons each character with his acid tongue. Miller is particularly good when in dialogue with other characters but weaker during his monologues, which could have been performed with more passion and dexterity. As his demise comes near, Miller appears on stage with an almost humorously bloodstained ‘Just Do It’ t-shirt, summing
up Iago’s entire essence throughout the play. Leila Crerar, who plays Emilia, also gloriously peaks towards the end of the play and evokes the more feminist connotations of her character. Frantic Assembly’s Othello explores issues of friendship, love and betrayal and race and gender within a modern and explosive framework. This is a well-paced. and visually stimulating production worth seeing for its thrilling opening sequence and terrifying ending.
Annie Lewis played a loveable, compelling Lucy with the character nailed from the onset, while Edmund (played by Jack Hardman) performed the traitorous, Turkish Delight-loving teenager with brilliant charm and authority. The standout character was indeed the White Witch, played by the captivating Kate Tydman. Adopting just the right high-pitched, animated squeaky-ness and some rather funky headgear, Tydman’s White Witch was immediately a negative and commanding presence that was just the right kind of naughty for Christmas, and certainly not too frightening for a younger audience. Aslan on the other hand weaved in and out with a rather loud roar and for me, was easily forgettable.
Rob Marshall was tasked with recreating the magnificence of Stephen Sondheim on the big screen, and I can only imagine the pressure to be mounting. But, with an ensemble cast, including the wonder of Meryl Streep, the classic Brothers Grimm stories to fall back on and the original songs of Sondheim’s own composition, it was going to turn out good anyway. With three Golden Globe nominations, and one Screen Actors Guild - all for the actors’ performances and the film itself and over a $120 million worldwide gross, the fantasy drama film has blown all musicals out of the water, creating a bar so high for the future.
Heskins creates a believable, magical otherworld in a fast-paced and relevant style, using a brilliant cast that captivates and entertains. The production is a commendable revival of Narnia and particularly good for families with children, or simply those who are still children at heart. A delightful festive treat for those who always hoped to find their Narnia beyond the wardrobe.
TV: THE WALKING DEAD Panayiotis Antoniou
THEATRE: OTHELLO is used exquisitely and is subject to constant change; it fluctuates effortlessly between an old, murky pub to the dark and dangerous streets where violence and bloodshed occurs. The set therefore creates the brilliant suggestion of constantly moving towards a more tempestuous end and mirrors the restlessly shifting emotions of the characters on stage. The choreography is a stunning visual compromising dance and slowmotion movements which slow down the action within a blink of an eye and bring audiences back to the present almost immediately. The play has a run time of 1 hour and 40 minutes and combined with these brisk changes, it makes for a brilliantly
FILM: INTO THE WOODS
THEATRE: THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
After one of their most successful seasons ever the Walking Dead has ended and will not be back until midFebruary. From the first episode it has been an action packed series from escaping Gareth (Andrew J. West) and his troupe of cannibals to the tragic end of Beth (Emily Kinney) in the last episode. It was a fitting end for such a heart-wrenching and emotionally charged series which also developed minor characters excellently into people who we could relate to and empathise with. We saw a lot more scenes which examined the relationships between the different characters including looking at Sasha (Sonequa MartinGreen) and Bob’s (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) relationship and the effect his death had on Sasha. MartinGreen’s performance was excellent and portrayed the emotion of her
character’s role perfectly. Another excellent actress was Lauren Cohan whose portrayal of Maggie perfectly encapsulated the elation and joy of discovering that her sister was alive and then the grief of finding out she was – in fact – dead all in the space of a single episode. All the cast played their respective roles well and there was little to complain about, Beth’s scenes in the hospital were played beautifully and Dawn (Christine Woods) was an excellent and multilayered character – impressive given the few episodes she was in. The plot was also incredibly strong and was not too far-fetched, if this is possible, when the show in question is about a zombie apocalypse. We were allowed an insight into Gareth’s cannibal group and to what drove them to such extreme lengths. This is we did not see during the comics and gives more perspective as to what would drive ordinary people to such extreme lengths. In addition, the Grady Memorial Hospital group objectives of “just holding on” until help arrives showed the conflict which people face in a great crisis – do they attempt to carry on as normal or become more primal like the
So what does the future hold for the show? We left them at a crossroads – the group was once again reunited but after discovering that there was no cure from the zombie apocalypse as Eugene (Josh McDermitt) was lying they are back to square one. Will they still continue on to Washington despite knowing that there is no cure? It seems like the most likely scenario as it is where they go at this stage in the comics. Although the show has deviated massively from the comics, they depict the cannibals differently and completely invent the Grady Memorial storyline as Beth has no counterpart in the comics. However, a trip to the US capital remains the most likely scenario and is what I predict will happen in the second half of this season.
With films based around an adapted screenplay, or an actual play for that matter, it is hard to discredit the content, because it has already been in our midst for some time. In that case, it can only shine through its execution, and the element most exemplifying of this notion is the cast. I had my reservations about James Corden, most known for British comedy Gavin and Stacey, as the baker, but his performance proved me wrong, especially his and Emily Blunt’s chemistry as husband and wife. Their shy romantic awkwardness made their relationship seem real, rather than the highly unattainable charm one dreams of in Disney, which leads onto the Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, Emily Bunt dynamic. The straying Prince, scorned woman and timid wife triangle of love, infatuation and deceit returns the audience to a sense of dark Disney through the intensity of the true Grimm tales. Pine plays into his role of the ‘prince Casanova’ rather than ‘charming’ excellently, with his suave demeanour highlighted through the way he walks, talks, sings
and even the mere aspect of his hair. You can just tell by his first appearance he could portray the role to a tee. The youngsters of the crop, Daniel Huttlestone and Lila Crawford, could have stolen the show from the big Hollywood stars, piercing the viewers with their perfectly held notes and tone, a successful follow-up from their respective roles in Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables (Huttlestone, as Gavroche) and James Lapine’s 2012 Broadway revival of Annie (Crawford as Annie.) Meryl Streep does wonders as the scary, blunt, formidable and quite comedic Witch who sets her sights on the baker and his wife to revoke their own curse, as well as hers, in order for her beauty to be restored. From Mamma Mia to this musical, she excels in all regards. Looking so grotesquely dangerous, she epitomises the message of charm, beauty and happiness faltering at the hand of the ill-fated destructive setting of the wood. And lets not forget the majestic re-creation of Rapunzel’s tower, the Witch’s face and Cinderella’s new and improved golden slipper, garnering the make-up, costume and set design teams with Bafta, and among other film associations, nominations. Marshall has been praised and commended with critics lauding this movie his best yet, after his previous productions of Chicago and Nine. He definitely has a knack for the glitz and glamour of musicals, and if you throw in the darkness of the Brothers Grimm, well we have an all-rounder. As I said before, we can’t really knock the story, unless you absolutely hated the original play, but the film shines through its ensemble cast and their exceptional performances, as they are actors before they are singers, and that is what they producers were looking for.
FILM: THE INTERVIEW Izzy Khatkar
In early 2000s, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg first brought about the idea for this film but they put it on hold upon the announcement of King- Jong il’s death. In October 2013 that didn’t stop them from starting the principal photography then the release onto the internet and other platforms on Christmas Day. However in June 2014 when an unofficial spokesmen stated that ‘there is a special irony in this storyline as it shows the desperation of the US government and American society,’ the North Korean government promised to take ‘stern’ action against the USA government affirming that this film was an ‘act of war’.
Remaking a classic musical such as Annie is never an easy thing to do, and yet that is what this revamped version of the play based on Harold Gray’s comic ‘Little Orphan Annie’ aims to do. When it was first announced that Will Smith wanted to put a new spin and urbanise this much-loved Broadway show, the public jumped on board with anticipation. Despite the fact that most remakes are being done just for the sake of making a movie, one can’t help but feel tempted to watch Smith’s take on Annie and that’s simply because it’s a childhood memory brought to life. The film, as a whole, is not the greatest production to come from Will Gluck [Easy A] or from Village Roadshow, which released hits like The Great Gatsby, the Matrix and the Ocean’s Trilogy. The film lacked the remake spark; no oomph factor that really set it aside from the original. Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis do bring something new to the table as the new slick and fresh Daddy Warbucks and the free-spirited Annie but it just tends to fall flat in terms of story execution. It never really reaches the heights of pomp and flair expected of it. Having said that, what is commendable is the music, the cinematography and
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the costumes. Gluck left no stone unturned in creating a picturesque New York City musical, from the rhythmic banging of mops and brooms in “It’s a Hard Knock Life” to “MoonQuake Lake” where Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis play starcrossed lovers who cry luminous blue tears and trust sea-human creatures with their lives. It’s an effective parody of almost every fantasy film released in the past five years. The soundtrack is the production’s best quality. It’s a fresh R’n’B / Hip-Hop take on the 1930s original music, courtesy of Jay Z’s Roc Nation, Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and a few other famed music production companies. The story may be lacked in comparison to the freshness of the filmmaking but it does succeed in bringing back to life a classic Broadway musical in the modern-day era with a versatile and talented ensemble cast. It caused a few hearty laughs and struck a few nerves in the audience but all in all, it reignited memories. I’m sure many 11-year-olds (and probably a few of the older audience who grew up on the 1982 adaptation) loved singing along to the much-loved songs. Musicals may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but they will never go out of style, so you might as well just sing along.
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The computer networks for Sony Entertainment Pictures were hacked by an anonymous group called ‘Guardians of Peace’ on November 2014. Various employee details and internal emails were leaked, with the most interesting being between Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton and RAND Corporation defense analyst Bruce Bennett. Bennett suggested toning down the death scene of Kim-Jon Un in the hopes it would start some ‘real thinking’ in South Korea and hopefully even in North Korea when the DVD leaks into the country. The suggesting being that this film could lead to some kind of uprising in North Korea seems highly unlikely but it does provoke the question. Could this film lead to a revolution? To be honest I doubt it would have done much. But what made this whole situation more serious is when ‘Guardians of Peace’ threatened to attack the New York premiere, but they later stated that Sony has ‘suffered enough’ and that they could release the film if they made the death Kim-Jong Un ‘not too happy.’ It seemed that this group had
won, they finally got their way and the film was cancelled for release as well as the stars of the film cancelling all public appearances. But it all changed when the film was released on 25th December in selected independent cinemas, art house theaters and online. In the first week it made $18 million dollars with just online sales and box office sales were out of the roof. America took this as a declaration of defiance against North Korea and Kim- Jong Un. Even Obama took to adding more sanctions against North Korea for hacking Sony. The Interview follows the story of entertainment chat show host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogan) as they land the interview of a lifetime with North Korean dictator Kim Jong- Un (Randall Park). However they are instructed by the CIA to ‘take down’ Kim Jong- Un. If you loved Pineapple Express and This Is The End then you will understand the humour of James Franco and Seth Rogan. This film is not any different with crude jokes and lots of gun fights, this film is full of laughs for those who love the Rogan/Franco partnership. Scenes between Dave Skylark and Kim- Jong Un are hilarious as they sing Katy Perry’s Firework in a tank and smoke cigars. It is odd seeing a strangely compassionate side of the character of Kim-Jon Un but that does not last long. This film is no revolutionary piece of cinema. The disillusion between the seriousness of the issues in North Korea and the comedy at some points does make slightly hard to watch, if you don’t understand the humour. However, I would suggest this film to anyone maybe with a slight caution of not taking the film too seriously as I can imagine some people might fall into that trap.
THEATRE: COMPANY Yasmin Simsek I chose this life, I chose this band, I choose to be here with you, I choose to drink when I’m at work – my choice” says the character of Joanne in the musical Company. The classic musical from 1970 by Stephen Sondheim has been adapted to modern day by Broderick Chow, lecturer in Theatre at Brunel. This production is performed by third year theatre students’ final performance in Musical Theatre. And if it was up to me they should all have A’s!
Filled with laughter, ‘American’ accents and beautiful singing, it tells the story of single Robert on his 35th birthday. A life full of married friends and prospective partners, who are all worried about his status and tries to make him realise that he needs someone to take care of. Making a contemporary version has added both humour and stronger characters, e.g. in the form of confident Joanne, who despite having some alcohol issues, chose that life. Also, in this updated version, Paul is now Polly” or “a particularly strong character is Polly, who was ‘Paul’ in the original. Theatre student Alex Oram says about the show: “The acting skills are absolutely incredible – in general in the Theatre
TV: GALAVANT department. The show blew me away, being funny, entertaining and with a fantastic vocal range.” Company was overall fantastic and was well adapted, not only to the time, but especially to the cast differences and abilities. It had a beautiful balance between solo and ensemble numbers and already at the very beginning, when they were singing happy birthday to Robert, I was thinking: Never have that song sounded better!
Arsalan Jawad Disney movies are such that they capture the attention of almost everyone. More than often, they break the barriers to gender and age. With revolutionary movies like Tangled and Frozen, animated films have entered a complete new era, creating a brand new interest in them from all over the world. And of course, who doesn’t love Game of Thrones. Not sure where I am going with this? Well let me explain. Imagine a brand new season, which could possibly be the best mash-up of a Tangled-
like fairy tale but set in a Game of Thrones surrounding. Or if I dare must say, imagine Game of Thrones as a comedy musical. Sounds cheesy but surprisingly it works. At first the name makes it sound like some sort of Cirque du Soleil inspired series, which would certainly not appeal to the masses, “Galavant”. But once you start watching, the first few minutes hold a certain fire, and then the tale moves on to trouble for a youthful couple and then a sudden heartbreak of Galavant, played by British actor Joshua Sasse. It comes as no surprise that the music in the series is absolutely brilliant and down right
amusing; the series is the mastermind of Dan Fogelman, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, the people behind the success of Tangled. But it is not just Galavant, the hero of the series, whose role attracts the audience, but it is the wannabe evil King Richard, played by Timothy Omundson and the ambitious sexy temptress, also the love of Galavant’s life, Madalena (Mallory Jansen), who make the series an interesting watch. Madalena not only has the King wrapped around her finger, but also knocked the brave warrior Galavant off his feet, becoming the reason for his bad drinking habits and his decision to
renounce from the world of fighting crime. It is not until Princess Isabella (Karen David), shows up at his door to ask for his help in saving her kingdom from the evil King and informing him of Madalena crying and longing for him every night, that Galavant decides to fix his life. Meanwhile, King Richard tries again and again to capture Madalena’s attention and make her forget Galavant. The series continues to follow the adventures of Galavant, on his way to save his one true love once and for all. Released in January 2015 and filmed mainly in the United Kingdom, Galavant has already become Yahoo’s most searched for new show of the month premiered
Galavant has all the right ingredients for a successful show; the perfect cast, gorgeous setting, the right amount of comedy and pain, flawless music and a brilliant story line. The show is a must watch for anyone looking for something fresh and different. It is very easy to fall in love with every character, each actor doing a brilliant job at playing a solid and believable role. The show is warm, colourful and happy, adding life to anyone who watches it. The naughtiness, amorousness and the clowning in the script of the show make it absolutely worthwhile.
GIG: COASTS AT HEAVEN David Bennett In recent years, Coasts, the Southampton-based, Indie six-piece, have made impressive strides towards the realm of public awareness, perhaps finding what may be a ‘gap in the market’. However, this apparent ‘gap in the market’ may have been left by the fact that the Indie scene has moved on, and is no longer a ‘scene’ at all, thus making Coasts a nostalgic nod to a bygone era, as opposed to an Indie band worthy of a place in public awareness. Nevertheless, I went to check them in London. Coasts were performing at Heaven, although one of London’s most celebrated gay clubs for the majority of the year round, tonight Heaven – situated directly below Charing Cross station – would play host to throngs of excitable fourteen-year-old girls, and seemingly one, solitary, out-of-place journalist. By nine o’clock the crowd were sufficiently warmed-up by the warm up acts, and the mood was buoyant. We took up position at the front of the stage, just to the side, under one of the large archways which separated the bar from the dancefloor – a prime, journalistic location. The band came on, the crowd cheered, and we looked on with stoic indifference. A friend had seen Coasts at some festival or another and she wasn’t too impressed with their live performance,
so I was pleasantly surprised to hear them start up en sync and as tight as a six-piece could be; their instrument levels were as one would hope, and Heaven’s sound system was not quite as angelic (pun intended), but it did them justice (perhaps an accidental side-effect of building a nightclub around the archways of a massive train station, is those archways make for acoustic sweet-spots like no other; bonus). Coasts decided to play what is perhaps their best song, ‘Stay’, third in their set; I don’t know why that seemed odd, but it did. However, they had a large chunk of the crowd bouncing like something out of a mobile phone advert, and when Paul Eastham (lead vocalist) signalled for the crowd to clap along, a large part of the crowd dutifully clapped, too. It was all very nice, but what does ‘nice’ mean? They had nice, uniformly structured Indie songs; they all dressed like (nice) Indie band members; their guitars were distinctly (nice and) Indie-sounding; and their monosyllabic name is as (nice and) Indie as it gets. With all due respect, Coasts are a perfectly formed, ideological Indie-invariant cliché and, in my opinion, ten years too late to be of any significance.
Party had Kele’s unique lyrics and the Indie-Electro crossover; Razorlight had uber-arrogant Johnny Burrell not giving a single f*ck about anything or anyone; and Babyshambles had Pete Docherty trying to perform his guttersnipe poetry (and I use that term with affection) whilst lying on his heroin-induced back. Coasts have no such idiosyncrasies, and we are ten or more years into that Dalstonite skinny-jeaned revolution.
Sophie Bredbere Following my review of the newest release in ‘the Hunger Games’ franchise, I decided to review the accompanying album; it is being the compilation of songs from a variety of different genres that ‘fit’ the mood of the film. At least, I think that it is meant to be the purpose. The original companion album in 2012 had the subtitle ‘Songs from District 12’. This instalment has no such thing, only proclaiming it “the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”. Immediately, I can see this as a bit of false advertisement, as if it was the soundtrack, surely it would be the score by James Newton Howard.
The thing which killed their gig at Heaven, from a personal perspective, was their announcement that ‘This is our new song… never played live before’ – okay, I was momentarily intrigued – ‘and it’s called “Modern Love”!’ – WHAT?! Unfortunately for Coasts, and this review, Bloc Party happen to be my favourite Indie band, and their song entitled ‘MODERN LOVE’ happens to be my favourite Bloc Party song (as well as one of my favourite songs of all-time (and yes, I do have a list)). I’m not saying Coasts ripped off Bloc Party, I’m just saying one should never name something without first Googling it – otherwise, like here, one may end up stepping on haloed ground (and I’m not talking about the stage of Heaven in Charing Cross).
The album has a variety of different artists, from Lorde and Ariana Grande to Tove Lo and Bat for Lashes. Lorde features quite heavily on the album, which does make some kind of sense as she did help produce the album. One of her entries, “Yellow Flicker Beat”, the film’s chosen credits song, while dark and apt for the film itself, is just as good as her contribution to the ‘Catching Fire’ soundtrack, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”.
4 out of 10
The first half of the album certainly
ALBUM: FALL OUT BOY AMERICAN BEAUTY/ AMERICAN PSYCHO
The boat Coasts missed: In the heydays of Indie music, the post-Brit pop era, from the mid-2000s onwards, the most important Indie groups were much more then just ‘Indie bands’ or people who mucked about with guitars in Dalston and Camden. Bloc
Jasmin Nahar It’s been less than two years since Fall Out Boy made their return to music with ‘Save Rock And Roll’, an album that reaffirmed that the Chicago four-piece are no longer a pop-punk band who are what one would imagine what sarcasm would sound like if it were music. ‘Save Rock and Roll’ largely eschewed guitars in favour of synths, pianos and far too many guest appearances. Out of touch as it may have been, ‘Save Rock And Roll’ seemed to be them finding their feet after a few years out of the game, and now their latest release ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ is undoubtedly a more cohesive album. They’ve still largely ditched the guitardriven sound that launched them into the stratosphere in the early noughties. While some will despair that they’re not returning to their roots any time soon, those who take a leap of faith will be rewarded with an album that largely manages to exceed expectations. Patrick Stump’s voice; powerful, a bit sassy but never straying into self-indulgent diva territory, carries the best songs and elevates a few
PHOTO CREDIT: BBC
to ‘anthem’ status. ‘Centuries’ is a big sing-along tune and is proof, not that it was needed, that Fall Out Boy can write arena-conquering songs like few others can. With its uplifting hook of “You will remember me for centuries” it’s a slick bit of rock steeped in pop sensibilities, and one of the highpoints of the album. Elsewhere, ‘Immortals’ is a blinder that’s fitting of soundtracking a blockbuster film. They’ve managed to create one of the catchiest choruses ever with essentially, just the word “Immortals”. Of course, with hits comes a few misses. Title track ‘American Beauty/ American Psycho’ is as hyperactive and annoying, as a kid who’s eaten too many Haribo, and ‘Favourite Record’ starts with a promising riff before deteriorating into something more forgettable. Thankfully, the great outweighs the bad on this latest effort, and they’ve succeeded in making a fine album of catchy, danceable rock. This might not be their finest work, but it’s a welcome return to form that proves Fall Out Boy are still relevant and have far more to offer than a nostalgia trip back in to your teen years.
is the stronger half – “Meltdown” and “Scream My Name” were two of my favourite songs on the album. “Scream My Name” in particular fitted the atmosphere and the plot of ‘Mockingjay Part One’, while “Meltdown” had a catchy hook and refrain, provided courtesy of Lorde. I felt “Meltdown” had a Capitol-esque feel to it with frequent references to some of the themes within the film. The digital extended version comes with “the Hanging Tree”, with vocals provided by Jennifer Lawrence; I think that this is a good move – the song was powerful to read in the books, and having the song on the digital album really secured the album’s link to the franchise. It was haunting and empowering at the same time, as more vocals and music, provided by James Newton Howard, are added to the track as the song progresses. Overall, even though it is a good album, it feels as if it lost its way. Some of the songs choosing style over substance – “All My Love”, Ariana Grande’s contribution with Major Lazer, stood out in this sense. While some of the songs were clearly linked to the film, and thus making it apt, others just seemed to be there for the sake of it. My favourite may still be the first one, but the newest addition is still worth a listen to
2014 ALBUMS IN REVIEW Ellis Davies With 2015 looming ahead of us all, let’s take a look back over 2014 and 10 stand out musical releases of the year! The Grand Scheme of Things - Beans on Toast. 1st December, 2014 The Grand Scheme of Things is the 6th studio release from the self titled ‘drunk fold singer’ Beans on Toast. After a busy 2014 of stadium tours as support for Frank Turner, this release marked the closing of a fantastic year for a brilliant artist. What’s more, this album does not disappoint at all. True to form, Beans on Toast has yet again delivered a charming, clever, and charismatic album! Certainly a career highlight, as well as one of the best releases of 2014. It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol - The Retrospective Soundtrack Players. 24th November, 2014 It’s not often a ‘Christmas’ themed album becomes a stand out album of the year, but in this case we can make an exception. With their third release, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players have written something that combines both A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol into one concept album. The result is truly brilliant. This is not just a Christmas themed album, it holds its own against
any other release of the year, and surpasses many. Although the theme is Christmas, this is an album that can be played all year. With guest vocals from Frank Turner, Chris TT, and Ben Marwood, It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol is a delight to listen to, as well as being wonderfully written. Hozier - Hozier. 19 September, 2014 2014 was an exceptional year for Irish singer-songwriter Hozier, with the release of his debut self-titled album sparking a surge in popularity, accompanied by sold out shows across the country. The album itself is a well crafted series of haunting songs, with Hozier’s outstanding voice really becoming a force to carry the lyrics. Stand out songs such as Cherry Wine, From Eden, and the Grammy Nominated Take Me to Church became immediately popular on release, and deservedly so. If 2014 is anything to go by, the only way is up for Hozier in 2015. The Third Three Years - Frank Turner. 24th November, 2014 Although perhaps not a ‘real’ album release in the traditional sense, Frank Turner’s The Third Three Years was still a great addition to the releases of 2014. As a compilation album, The Third Three Years features covers such as American Girl and Somebody to Love, along with some unreleased original songs and alternative versions of previously released material. Altogether this release is a fantastic
collection of previously unheard material, as if we could expect anything less from Frank Turner. How to Train Your Dragon 2 Soundtrack - John Powell. 13th June, 2014 As well as becoming a hit at the box office this year, How To Train Your Dragon 2 also produced one of the best musical releases of 2014. The soundtrack, composed by John Powell and performed by the Dreamworks Orchestra under the baton of Gavin Greenaway, is a traditional celtic influenced release, incorporating the use of traditional celtic instruments. The music is a huge part of the films success, and continues to impress on its own. Beautifully written and performed, the How to Train Your Dragon 2 Soundtrack is the instrumental release of the year. Carry on the Grudge - Jamie T. 26th September, 2014 2014 saw the long awaited return of the sharp-mouthed Jamie T after a 5 year absence from music. Carry on the Grudge displays a new side of Jamie T, one that is very reflective and dark. The release also displays a growth in Jamie’s writing, with a greater range of style being shown than on previous albums. Song such as Peter and Zombie really stand out in this release, showing that Jamie T certainly has not lost his touch. With a highly successful tour to follow up the release, of which the shows were
absolutely mad, things are looking good for the future of Jamie T. Royal Blood - Royal Blood. 22nd August, 2014 Royal Blood have taken 2014 by storm with their self-titled debut release! The two-piece band have managed to produce a thoroughly unique sound that seem greater than the sum of their members, resulting in a stand out album and sold out shows. Royal Bloods ruthless style is the power behind this album, with the use of a bass guitar along with a series of pedals giving the songs a menacing, creative sound. After this debut, we can expect big things form Royal Blood. The B-Sides— The Gaslight Anthem. 27th January, 2014 In August of 2014 The Gaslight Anthem released their newest album Get Hurt. However, this may not have been their best release of the year. The B-Sides, a compilation of acoustic versions of previous releases, as well as other alternative takes on older material, stands out more than Get Hurt mainly due to lead singer Brian Fallon’s voice taking extremely well to more stripped back tracks. The Gaslight Anthem have managed to create excellent, simple versions of their brilliant releases, making this album an extremely enjoyable listen, and a great release to have kicked of 2014. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades Billy the Kid. 8th September, 2014 Billy the Kid is an artist I personally
stumbled upon at a Chuck Ragan show, and was blown away. Billy’s beautifully songwriting along with her powerfully sweet voice brings such character to her performance and recordings, making her an artist that deserves far more attention than she currently receives. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades delivers Billy’s talent perfectly, making it an excellent addition to the music of 2014. Having said this, if you want to really enjoy Billy’s music, live is the place to do it! Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker. 19th August, 2014 Yet another outstanding debut of 2014. Benjamin Booker’s unique voice and sound gives this release an energy that courses through each song, as the album’s versatility is apparent with each fade. Violent Shiver, the first track of the album kicks it off with force. Unforgettable riffs, coupled with Bookers gravelly voice make his music an excellent listen, and definitely a release to remember from 2014.
THIS MONTH... ATHLETICS B RU N E L U N I V E R S I T Y ’ S S T U D E N T N E W S PA P E R
BRAZIL LOOKS TO BRUNEL FOR FOOTBALLING INSPIRATION
MULTI EVENTERS SWEEP NATIONALS
INTRAMURAL NEW PROGRAMME IS HUGE SUCCESS
BRUNEL APPEARS ON ‘RUGBY TONIGHT’
Ryan O’Donovan The Brazilian Football Federation have taken inspiration from Brunel University to further the country’s footballing pedigree. Professor Mark Williams, Head of the Department of Life Sciences at the university, was invited by state legislators in Belo Horizonte to talk on the subject of ‘Changing Football in Brazil.’ Prof. Williams and the University’s Centre for Sports Machine and Human Performance work is regarded to be world leading in its field, and this prompted the Legislative Assembly of the State of Minas Gerais to invite Prof Williams to the debate.
Brazilian football is looking to science for answers on how to improve after the country’s embarrassing 7-1 defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup. In the speech, which was broadcast on Brazilian state television, Prof. Williams detailed how sports science is having an influence on how instruction, feedback and practice scheduling affect skill development in the Premier League. Speaking about the difference in the implementation of sports science in Brazil compared to the UK, he said, “The environment in Brazil is very different to the UK in the sense that although it is a growing economy, the structures and systems are not as well developed as in the UK, so sports science is a relatively new thing over there.
“What Brazil does have, however, is a natural resource and passion for football and of course if you went back 50 years that in itself was enough to have a significant advantage over other countries. “But with the increase of professionalism of sport and the advent of sport science and sport medicine over the last two and three decades some of the Western countries in particular have been able to benefit from that progression moving forward.” He is also of the belief that the main obstacle facing sports science’s progression in Brazil is breaking down the mental barriers that coaches in Brazil have towards to the science. “That’s probably the thing that takes
the most time, breaking down those barriers and clubs and organisations becoming open-minded enough to appreciate the fact that sports science has a part to play. “We also need to accept the fact that football is an art form but there’s no reason why art can’t be informed by science.”
SNOW CLUB WINTER TOUR REPORT
“Science isn’t going to totally revolutionise the game but it is going to be able to support and optimize the development of training and potentially the identification of elite players at different stages of their development.”