RECORD VOL. 1 • ISSUE NO. 1 JANUARY 9-15, 2013
The News Record
BEST AND WORST
OF 2012 Woodrow Goldsmith takes a look at the honorable and dishonorable ﬂicks that graced the silver screen p. 4-5
CONCERT PREVIEW Upcoming shows in the Cincinnati area p. 6
2012’S BEST ALTERNATIVE ALBUMS Pg. 3
YEAR IN GAMING
Tyler Bell disects the year in video games p. 2
To see the video of UC President Santa Ono giving up his hair for a good cause, check out newsrecord.org.
The beginning of the end of video games as we know it TYLER BEll | Senior REPORTER The end of the November video game launch cycle for 2012 will be remembered as the beginning of the end for currentgeneration consoles. Graphically, video games hit their fever pitch a little more than a year ago with the launch of gorgeous titles like “Battlefield 3” and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” There have been prolific PC titles as well, but only boring people play PC games and I’m relatively sure they aren’t any of the twenty people who read my column. Regardless, the PS3 and Xbox 360 lost some of their momentum. Industry publications are beginning to field questions with next-generation systems in mind for development cycles exceeding spring 2014 launch dates. It is very likely 2013 is going to be the last great year of the 360 and the PS3. When Microsoft and Sony (Nintendo also came out with a system, but it’s objectively terrible and I’m not going to validate its existence here) released the Xbox 360 and PS3, they became the benchmark for a new generation of gamers. The end of the silver age of 3-D games came when the two new systems instated a golden era of connectivity and innovation, creating a common ground between life-long fans of gaming and the casual gaming crowd. The gaming world itself is gaining legitimacy as it changes from serving kinds and immature tennagers to its first tentative steps into artistic expression. What this is going to mean for the next generation of consoles, and the next calendar year of gaming is hard to say. “Far Cry 3” was the last 2012 release I played, and the only AAA release of the last quarter. It made me realize the current generation of games could aspire to be art while remaining playable and accessible to people outside the art-house crowd (who would purchase enough copies to keep the title fiscally viable). The game follows Jason Brody, a privileged white boy trying to save his friends from the non-descript generically evil people of some southeast-Pacific island. The vague racism is played up throughout the game, to the point that it’s
MEI-CHUN JAU | DALLAS MORNING NEWS
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE Games like “Far Cry 3” provided a ray of light for the future, proving video games can function as art without forgetting to entertain. essentially Rudyard Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King” in interactive form. This is essential because it directly addresses the inherent jingoism permeating the FPS genre right now, thanks to the AAA “Call of Duty” titles — which have gone significantly downhill since “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” revolutionized first-person gaming. Essentially, every title in that franchise takes the gamer to a third-world country to kill the non-white peoples for democracy, only to then fly away in a helicopter. This whole white man’s burden slant has been a stain on gaming, until games like “Spec Ops: The Line” and “Far Cry 3” started pointing out how ridiculous the notion of affluent and uninvited white people fixing other countries problems through gunfire really is. “Far Cry 3” does it by making all the accomplishments look so ridiculously impossible it’s like the gamer is being made fun of. Even the character bio page has a picture of the protagonist, Brody, absurdly holding an oversized rifle and beaming a goofy smile like the tourist he is.
Hopefully, the final years of the golden age consoles will usher more games like “Far Cry” that remain fun while being poignant and self-aware. If so, maybe lame ducks like “Halo 4,”“Assassin’s Creed 3,” “Resident Evil 6,”“Hitman: Absolution” and
“Dishonored” will be slowly swept under the rug. Good storytelling, even if it’s not gripping social commentary, is what brought games out of the dark ages in the mid-nineties, when every school-shooting and maladjusted youth was blamed on
the evils of 64-bit graphics. The New Year might see games like “The Last of Us” (May 2012) and “Beyond: Two Souls” (2013) weave narratives that define storytelling for the current generation of gamers. But it will also likely see the re-release of previously mentioned lame ducks, only with a higher number. It is very Gaming is likely 2013 inarguably becoming is going to more than just a household concept. be the last Games have begun great year to shape the national conversation — of the 360 politically and interpersonally. and PS3. More people are picking up their first controller year after year. Decades from now it’s possible video games will be a larger part of common media consumption than basic television. I’d settle for Gabe Newell and Valve finally releasing the last installment of “Half-Life.”
Best alternative albums of 2012 TOM SEIPLE | SENIOR REPORTER
atmospheric listen. Perhaps what makes Paper Route so enjoyable is their lack of a distinct lead or rhythm instrument. 1. Imagine Dragons “Night Visions” — In a Not a single musician dominates a single mere 9 months, Imagine Dragons went spot in the mix. The record instantly from a small band in Las Vegas, to an grabs the listener’s attention and makes international rock group with a worldevery track a unique experience. The wide tour schedule. The record peaked most impressive part of “The Peace of at No. 2 on Billboard 200 and No. 1 Wild Things” is its ability on Billboard Alternative. to take dense songs and Their acoustic performance Bringing folk- convert them to folk-acoustic of “It’s Time” became an renditions. Internet phenomenon in rock to the June. Since going viral, their mainstream 4. Mumford and Sons “Babel” record has been featured in Fans anticipated new commercials internationally, isn’t an easy — music from Mumford and lead to headlining tours in Sons since the release of task, but Of Europe and a DVD featuring No More” in 2009. the making of the album. Monsters and “Sigh “Babel” meets, if not exceeds Musically the record has Men succeed. expectations as another been labeled stadiumgreat success for the band. rock that is also friendly Their signature style is heard and down to earth. The on this record with a few song writing is unique and instrumentation experiments accessible, making it a great such as a full drum kit on listen for fans of pop music “Lover of The Light” and electric guitars along with fans of more complex works. on “Below My Feet.”This record has been wildly successful internationally and 2. Of Monsters and Men “My Head Is An generationally. It includes sentiments of Animal” — All the way from Iceland records like U2’s “The Joshua Tree” or comes one of the most prolific albums The Clash’s “London Calling.” The band of the year. Bringing folk-rock to the and the album will find itself labeled mainstream and succeeding is not an timeless by many. easy task, but Of Monsters and Men has been wildly successful in doing so. 5. A Lion Named Roar “Foreign Land EP” “My Head is an Animal” is the band’s — A Lion Named Roar is the best first studio album and a unique example underground band of 2012. Their sound of their work. Using almost entirely combines everything loved about the acoustic instruments, this album can pop-rock scene with the harmony of be compared to what Arcade Fire does country-rock and the song writing of on “The Suburbs.”The common thread folk-rock. The band consists of three through the entire record makes it a very guitars, which is a bit unusual, but mixes cohesive listen. This record will entice extremely well. Songs like “All I Know toe tapping and singing and may go is Changing” and “Desert Wind” show down as one of the best records of the the talent of the lead guitarist, Tyler decade. Anderson. The quiet complexity of their song writing only compliments their 3. Paper Route “The Peace of Wild Things” broad appeal and rock fans will enjoy — Paper Route is not a new name in the the solos and tasteful riffs heard on the alternative music scene, but “The Peace album. Vocally, no one rivals them. Lead of Wild Things” is a break-through record singer, Chris Jackson, gives Bruno Mars for them. Paper Route takes everything a run for his money. Overall, A Lion listeners love about new-era Coldplay Named Roar has what it takes to appear and blends it with heavier electronic somewhere on a top 100 artist list, keep work and sleepier songs. This is certainly an eye out for them in 2013. a rock record, but also a very easy and
Best movies of 2012
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY/ WARNER BROS./UNIVERSAL PICTURES
HOLLYWOOD RISK-TAKING Hugh Jackman (right) didn’t have the assurance of prerecorded vocals in “Les Miserables,” but turned in an Oscar-worthy performance. Director David O. Russell took a somewhat generic romantic comedy “Silver Linings Playbook” (left), and made it into the best film of the year. Ben Affleck (middle) directed another winner with “Argo.”
1. Silver Linings Playbook — Mental illness and romantic comedy don’t typically go hand in hand, but writer/ director David O. Russell balances the two in the sweet, touching “Silver Linings Playbook.” Bradley Cooper shows his acting chops as the mentally unstable Pat, just released from the hospital after an emotional breakdown. Jennifer Lawrence shines as Pat’s love interest, Tiffany, who is also mentally unstable. With a poignant and perceptive script, as well as top-notch performances from Cooper, Lawrence and Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook” breaks the mold and stuns as the best movie of the year. 2. Argo — “Argo” proves (again) that Ben Affleck is a talented force in Hollywood. Directing and starring in this tense but entertaining historical rescue story, Affleck cements himself as one of the most competent and gifted filmmakers in recent times. Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin shine in the amazing true story of a declassified CIA mission to rescue American diplomats from war-torn Iran. 3. Les Misérables — Few films took as big of a risk this year as “Les Misérables.” Without the safety of pre-recording music, the filmmakers and actors had to rely on the raw emotion of the songs. Sure, the singing may not have been perfect, but the never-better performances of Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway
and Eddie Redmayne give the film the intensity and realness the filmmakers intended. It would be difficult to find a movie more rousing and emotional this year than “Les Misérables,” which only proves that the higher the risk, the higher the reward. 4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower — As faithful as it is touching, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is well casted, well executed, and surprisingly identifiable. The unbelievably talented trifecta of Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller provide the framework for what is certain to become a favorite for teens and adults alike. 5. Your Sister’s Sister — Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass all shine in this quiet indie about friendship and love. As ludicrously simple as that sounds, “Your Sister’s Sister” is so much more sophisticated than any other romantic comedy this year. The “mumblecore” genre doesn’t always work, but when there’s an excellent cast and a nostalgic script, this style of filmmaking can be both affecting and entertaining. 6. Seven Psychopaths — Following up his brilliant “In Bruges” was going to be difficult, and though writer/ director Martin McDonagh’s “Seven Psychopaths” isn’t quite as good as the 2008 film, it’s pretty close. The always under appreciated Colin Farrell leads an all-star cast in an incredibly dark comedy about a writer trying to survive in a sea of psychopaths. McDonagh’s
script is sharp and witty, and with outstanding supporting performances by Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken (among others), this “In Bruges” follow-up is unexpectedly brilliant. 7. Beasts of the Southern Wild — A riveting look into a subculture of America that typically is ignored, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is the fascinating story of Hushpuppy (newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis) and her friends and family in the Louisiana bayou. Wallis is unbelievably captivating for her age and carries the movie completely through its wild points and quieter moments. Writer/director Benh Zeitlin creates a world that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, and the results are extraordinary. 8. Moonrise Kingdom — One of writer/ director Wes Anderson’s many talents is that he can transpose his style onto any script. “Moonrise Kingdom” is typical of Anderson in many ways, but the use of relatively unknown child actors and a hilariously touching script made for an enjoyable movie watching experience. Add some regular Anderson players (like Bill Murray) and some atypical
choices (like Bruce Willis), and “Moonrise Kingdom” ranks as one of Anderson’s best. 9. Lincoln — With an almost too-good pedigree of director (Steven Spielberg), writer (Tony Kushner), and actors (Daniel Day-Lewis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), it seemed that “Lincoln” was destined for greatness. Straying from the traditional biopic formula and focusing solely on the debate over the 13th Amendment, the award winning cast and crew of this film made political hodgepodge into a rousing look into the life of the 16th President of the United States. 10. Pitch Perfect — In terms of pure enjoyment, no movie this year can match the sheer absurdity and hilarity of “Pitch Perfect.” Future superstar Anna Kendrick and an excellent ensemble cast turned what could have been a “Glee” rip-off and turned it into something charming and sweet, with a bevy of toe-tapping musical numbers to boot. It may not be the best movie by traditional standards, but it had the most laugh-out-loud moments of the year. And that’s saying something.
Honorable mentions Smashed Marvel’s The Avengers 7The Hunger Games Chronicle
WOODROW GOLDSMITH | Senior REPORTER
Worst movies of 2012
Sacha Baron Cohen’s shtick starts to wear thin WOODROW GOLDSMITH | Senior REPORTER 1. The Dictator — Sacha Baron Cohen may have been funny at some point, but his shtick no longer works. In a story of a dictator coming to America, Baron Cohen elicits groan after groan in a disgusting, annoying, not to mention unfunny role. He may believe he is doing something clever and cute, but his act has long worn out its welcome. 2. Casa de mi Padre — Will Ferrell hasn’t made a good movie in a long time, and speaking Spanish didn’t help in this send-up of bad telenovelas. The question is: who was asking for a send-up of bad telenovelas? Perhaps Ferrell’s return to “Anchorman” this year will make up for this annoying, precious comedy. 3. Safety Not Guaranteed — Though certainly not the worst movie of the year, “Safety Not Guaranteed” is absolutely
the most disappointing. An insincere romantic comedy about cynical journalists looking for a could-be crazy time traveler, “Safety” hits all the wrong notes and misuses its talented cast. 4. Ted — “Family Guy” mastermind Seth MacFarlane makes one of the most overrated movies of the year in “Ted.” As unfunny and scattershot as MacFarlane’s shows, “Ted” takes the story of a magical talking bear and adds cursing, drug use and child abuse just because he can. Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis are wasted in this disgusting and rude attempt at humor. 5. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 — It doesn’t seem fair to include the last installment of “The Twilight Saga” in this year’s worst of the worst. Why keep picking on a series that has received relatively no critical support and an overwhelmingly inappropriate amount of money? Because it deserves it.
TOO MANY BONG HITS Seth s, of “Family Guy” fame, made his directorial film debut with “Ted,” a movie one would need to be high to enjoy.
Lionel Hahn | ABACA PRESS/MCT CAMPUS
GOOD MOVIE ... NOT Sacha Baron Cohen delivered one of the all-time great comedies with “Borat,” but his shtick might have worn out because his new movie “The Dictator” is among the worst films released in 2012.
Winter concert preview drop of a hat. His lyrics often reflect a sense of unrest, both in relationships and society. Sheeran has been nominated for breakthrough artist awards around the world, and at such a young age, his show at Bogart’s will provide the first opportunity for Cincinnati to get a glimpse of what looks to be a promising career.
FAT POSSUM RECORDS
HEARTLESS BASTARDS Fresh off of its tremendous “Arrow” release, the Cincinnati band Heartless Bastards will perform its blend of guitar-based blues at the Southgate House Revival Friday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 26. Bolstered by one of the premier female vocalists in Erika Wennerstrom, this show shouldn’t be missed. GEOFFERY DANIELS | STAFF REPORTER Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Friday, Jan. 11 Taft Theatre — Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ rise to success was gradual, but well deserved. They do an extensive amount of touring, both on the road and on the music festival circuit. The band’s evolution ranges from indie rock to blues, folk and even hard rock. Their 2012 album “The Lion the Beast the Beat” included appearances from music mainstays like Willie Nelson and Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys). A first-rate performance is to be expected of the band, which is a tried and true veteran of the road. Plume Giant with The Happy Maladies Thursday, Jan. 17 at MOTR Pub — MOTR Pub is a reliable and invaluable resource for Cincinnati bands, and as underground acts from around the country, to meet wider audiences. The Over-the-Rhine venue will host New York City’s Plume Giant on Jan. 17, with opener (and Cincinnati legend) The Happy Maladies. Plume Giant’s latest album, “Callithump,” showcases the group’s ability to mix oldies-style sensibilities with more modern folk music tendencies. They will take the stage after the Happy Maladies, who are a staple of the Cincinnati music scene. The Maladies demonstrate touches of classical music, folk and jazz. The band
creates music that compares to Grizzly Bear or The Books. Plume Giant and The Happy Maladies are sure to complement each other on stage. A night spent at one of Cincinnati’s most exciting pubs along with excellent live music is crucial to experiencing the rapidly developing OTR nightlife. Ed Sheeran - Friday, Jan. 25 at Bogart’s — It is amazing what a hit song can do for a young musician. At 21, Ed Sheeran is likely to be younger than many of those in attendance at his Bogart’s performance. “The A Team” is the song that gained his recognition and introduced him to the top 10 in over 10 countries. The tune was recently nominated for a Grammy Award in the Song of the Year category. All the way from England, Sheeran is a folk-soul hybrid, often switching tempos at the
Heartless Bastards- Friday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 26 at The Southgate House Revival — Heartless Bastards are steadily working their way onto the national stage. The 2009 breakthrough of “The Mountain,” and last year’s “Arrow” brought them even closer to the limelight. Perhaps it’s the vocal abilities of frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom, but Heartless Bastards have been able to set themselves apart from the slew of guitar-based rock bands and are making a mark in the indie-rock landscape. Heartless Bastards will no doubt provide an especially energetic performance, in what is sure to be an enjoyable experience for jam-happy concertgoers. Flogging Molly- Sunday, Jan 27 at Bogart’s — Flogging Molly garnered a legendary status due to their Celtic-inspired punk intensity, a trait that translates into their live act. While they haven’t released a record since 2011, “Speed of Darkness,” the punk rock icons are still likely to put on a show that is as boisterous as ever. Make sure to go in well hydrated and prepared to move. Flogging Molly shows prove to last well over two hours, and the crowd is usually worked into frenzy by the energetic seven-piece band. Crowd surfing and moshing are inevitable at any Flogging Molly show, but the band does make it a point to work in a few quieter, more introspective numbers - usually in the form of acoustic protest songs - to give the crowd a quick rest before tearing through some of the more rowdy entries in their impressive set. Matisyahu- Thursday, Feb. 7 at Taft Theatre — Mark Paul Miller (known professionally as Matisyahu) made a name for himself by crafting melodic reggae with a touch of beat boxing. The Taft Theatre will host the 33-year-old Pennsylvania native as he supports his 2012 album, “Spark Seeker.” In the past, his alternative-rock and reggae style found him touring and performing with
Umphrey’s McGee, Citizen Cope and Phish. However, a departure from his signature vibe is apparent as he embraces a more straightforward pop sound enlisting the help of producer Kool Kojak on his most recent effort. (Kojak works with mainstream heavyweights such as Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj.) The shift in style is sure to make for an interesting show as Matisyahu will highlight the older material that his reputation was built with, while also showcasing the vision for his musical future.
YOUTHFUL UPSTART The 21-year-old Ed Sheeran will likely be younger than many of the fans attending his Bogart’s concert, but that doesn’t mean he won’t impress. WHY?- Friday, Feb. 8 at Taft Theatre — Feb. 8 marks the homecoming for indie rock/hip-hop act WHY?. Despite being based out of Berkley, Calif. founding members/brothers Josiah and Jonathan “Yoni”Wolf were born in Cincinnati. The brothers typically incorporate a hip-hop vocal delivery with instrumentation that leans toward indie-rock or folk music in lieu of beats or the work of a traditional hip-hop producer. The result is a truly unique sound, and has proven largely successful since 2004, when the project began. Their show at Taft Theatre finds them in support of their fourth studio album, “Mumps, Etc.,” which further broadened the scope of their genrebending collection of sound. WHY? performances are known for the brothers’ showmanship, often showcasing their flair for humor, in contrast to the abstract lyricism of Yoni Wolf. WHY? is likely to deliver both charismatic stage presence and an expansive, distinct set.
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