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NYU’s Daily Student Newspaper

WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS Vol. 41, No. 100

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2013

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University recognizes outstanding faculty By ANDREW SPOHN

NYU President John Sexton and Provost David McLaughlin hosted a private faculty honors reception in the Silver Center’s Hemmerdinger Hall on Nov. 25 to honor faculty for receiving distinguished awards in 2013. This is the second year for the reception, but the university plans to make it an annual event. “The heart of any university is its faculty,” university spokesman John Beckman said. “We congratulate them on their well-deserved honors.” Regina Drew, deputy director for Strategic Initiatives at University Relations and Public Affairs, explained that the reception is designed to highlight honors from non-NYU organizations. Some university awards are included, such as the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award.

CUNY PSC protest Board of Trustees The CUNY Professional Staff Congress hosted a rally outside Baruch College against a policy proposal and other university matters.

STORY ON PAGE 3

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HONORS continued on PG. 3

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

EMILY BYRSKI/WSN

Enjoy New York City Thanksgiving

Oldboy remake offers fresh take

Nets still contenders for postseason

If you’re spending the holiday away from home, the city has plenty of great spots to eat.

Spike Lee’s version of the renowned Korean film excels thanks to performances and Lee’s work.

Despite some struggles this season, the Brooklyn Nets should not be dismissed as contenders for the playoffs and beyond.

story on page 4

HILARY BRONWYN GAYLE

story on page 5

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story on nyunews.com

‘Frozen’ warms audiences with animation, charming characters By IFE OLUJOBI

There are countless examples of how the bad press machine can steamroll a film into complete obscurity or ridicule, whether warranted or not. But to those who have already written off “Frozen” because of controversial comments made by animator Lino DiSalvo or because of a now-notorious GIF comparing the faces of Rapunzel from “Tangled” with Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” it is in one’s best interests to reconsider — Disney really does hit a homerun with their latest animated feature. Directed by Chris Buck and assisted by both a pitch-perfect screenplay and co-direction from Jennifer Lee, “Frozen” is

loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” The film follows the story of two sisters, Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel), who are the daughters of the rulers of the Kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa happens to be born with a special power — she can create snow and ice with her hands. As a little girl, she uses the power while playing with her younger sister Anna. One day, when Elsa makes a mistake, her parents decide they must lock her away until she can learn to control her powers. This solution works, however, only until their parents die and Anna is named the ruler of Arendelle. Elsa loses her temper again and casts a permanent winter on the kingdom, forcing Anna to find a way to

reunite with her sister. The animators know how to make the best of the unique cold setting — the many depictions of ice in the film are beautifully rendered and add to the story’s comedic and dramatic beats. In particular, the sequence set to Elsa’s musical number “Let It Go” is stunning and a real emotional high point for a character who delicately walks the line between loving and hating, but whose heart is in the right place. Kristen Bell’s Anna, on the other hand, elicits sympathy even when we know she’s being naïve or wrong simply because of her undeniable charm. Her relationship with Kristoff the Mountain Man (Jonathan Groff) is just as adorable, though Jennifer Lee knows how to use it to surprise

and subvert traditional Disney princess expectations, especially in an emotional final act. As charismatic as Anna is, the undeniable show-stealer is Olaf the Snowman, a childhood creation Elsa brought to life with her powers. All of his spoken lines land wonderfully, whether due to their content or Josh Gad’s committed vocal inflections, and he is one of Disney’s best comic sidekicks to date. Despite the constant presence of ice, “Frozen” is a heartwarming tale of sisterhood, isolation, sacrifice and true love — although not in the way you might think — that is sure to quiet any naysayers. Ife Olujobi is a staff writer. Email her at film@nyunews.com.

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Editor-in-Chief JONATHON DORNBUSH Managing Editor

JORDAN MELENDREZ By JAKE FOLSOM

Web Managing Editor

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MICHELLE PARK @meechellepark

Guy on #NYU bus has “Gym @ 7am” written on his hand. I need his determination.

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KALEEL MUNROE

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news EMILY BELL, NICOLE BROWN,

On Sunday, Nov. 24, many tuned in to the American Music Awards, which honored pop artists for their accomplishments over the past year. Like most music awards shows, there were plenty of stunts, showmanship and blog fodder on display. The AMAs featured performances by some of the biggest names in the business. This playlist highlights standout moments from the show, as well as hits from select award-winning artists.

MICHAEL DOMANICO arts JEREMY GROSSMAN features JONATHAN KESHISHOGLOU sports FRANCISCO NAVAS multimedia JONATHAN TAN copy CASEY DALRYMPLE social media GENTRY BROWN senior editors VERONICA CARCHEDI, TONY CHAU, DAN HINTON, MICHELLE LIM, STEFAN MELNYK, SAM RULLO, WICY WANG

STEPHANIE REVERING @StephRevs

Watching #HouseHunters and realizing that I could rent a 2br w/ a pool in the Caribbean for less than my #NYU dorm...

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news KEVIN BURNS, NEELA QADIR,

BILLY RICHLING books/theater DYLAN JARRETT film ALEX GREENBERGER entertainment ISABEL JONES music JAKE FOLSOM the highlighter blog VALERIE NELSON features MARINA ZHENG beauty & style ARIANA DIVALENTINO dining DANIEL YEOM sports CHRIS MARCOTRIGIANO multimedia RACHEL KAPLAN, JOON LEE video ALEX LINZMEIER copy THOMAS DEVLIN social media SYMONE WILLIAMS

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” — Taylor Swift “Baby I” — Ariana Grande “Mirrors” — Justin Timberlake “Sunshine” — Avicii and David Guetta

GRETEL SKYWALKER @gretelr0se

“Suit and Tie” — Justin Timberlake

Forever a loan #nyu

“Stay (feat Mikky Ekko)” — Rihanna

OPINION PAGE opinion editor

RAQUEL WOODRUFF deputy opinion editors

EDWARD RADZIVILOVSKIY, PETER KEFFER

“Payphone” — Maroon 5 Take Me Home” — One Direction “Wrecking Ball” — Miley Cyrus

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“Waterfalls” — TLC

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Playing kings cup as part of an art installation #nyu

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SALES REPRESENTATIVES

ARIANA DIVALENTINO, ETHAN JACOBS

ADVISING DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

NANCI HEALY

NOELE FLOWERS @noelemarvin11m

Using the NYU library in a way it was never intended to be used: to read a novel

Shadow the cat curls around the leg of a WSN editor after a long evening of production.

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EDITORS-AT-LARGE

JAEWON KANG, DAVID LIN, AMANDA RANDONE, EMILY YANG

About WSN: Washington Square News (ISSN 15499389) is the student newspaper of New York University. WSN is published Monday through Thursday during NYU’s academic year, except for university holidays, vacations and exam periods. Corrections: WSN is committed to accurate reporting. When we make errors, we do our best to correct them as quickly as possible. If you believe we have erred, contact managing editor Jordan Melendrez at managing@nyunews.com or at 212.998.4302.

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CUNY faculty, students community protest policy By SCOTT MULLEN

Protesters gathered outside Baruch College, one of 10 schools in the City University of New York system, to speak out about the right to protest, Gen. David Petraeus’ visiting professorship and the shutdown of a student and community center in Nov. 25. The primary focus of the rally was to highlight and oppose a draft of a policy titled The City University of New York Policy on Expressive Conduct. The policy sets guidelines for those who wish to publicly demonstrate on CUNY campuses and outlines consequences for violations. CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress, a union for faculty and staff, was one of the primary organizers of the protest. On Nov. 8, the PSC posted on its website that it had passed a resolution for the CUNY Board of Trustees to withdraw the draft from consideration. Protesters said the Board of Trustees was supposed to hold a vote on the policy during its meeting, which began about an

hour and a half into the protest. But protesters also said it was rescheduled as a result of pressure from dissatisfied groups. However, CUNY spokesman Michael Arena said the vote was not on the Board’s agenda. The protest, which began at 3 p.m., included a march and performances by a small musical ensemble. Members of various organizations and members of the community at large made call-andresponse speeches and handed out flyers, which engaged a crowd of about 200. People affiliated with other CUNY schools were also present. “We’re here to demand that draconian crackdown on student protest be withdrawn and stopped,” CUNY-Hunter College professor Sandor John said. Another supporter, Joykilo Moran, a sophomore at Baruch College, gave an impromptu speech about the need for a more widespread student response to the policy. “The Board of Trustees is planning to pass this [policy],” Moran said. “We have to start fighting it now. We can’t wait and

then deal with it on their terms.” Kelly Garcia, a junior at Baruch College, said she did not know what was going on outside of her school, but was supportive of the cause when she learned of the reasons for the protest. “They’re basically trying to censor us,” Garcia said. “I heard that they were trying to do this, but I didn’t know that it was actually happening.” In addition to opposition to the Policy on Expressive Conduct, the protesters also spoke out against the naming of Petraeus as visiting professor at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, the role of university security forces in allegedly violent suppression of dissenting voices and the shutdown of the Morales/Shakur Student and Community Center at CUNY’s City College of New York. Arena never said whether the Board of Trustees was planning to vote on the policy discrepancy. Scott Mullen is a contributing writer. Email him at news@nyunews.com.

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A protester holds a sign denouncing the CUNY Board of Trustees.

HONORS continued from PG. 1

University administration honors faculty at second annual ceremony

However, the event focused on external recognition. “It’s just a way to congratulate our faculty and also a really nice way to highlight the range and the diversity of the different faculty expertise,” Drew said. At the reception, both Sexton and McLaughlin gave brief remarks. McLaughlin lauded the faculty for their varied accomplishments. “Among you are winners of awards as diverse as the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, both awarded by President Obama, a Grammy, an Emmy, a Pulitzer and awards that span fields as disparate as applied mathematics, ceramics, architecture, philosophy and engineering, only at NYU,” McLaughlin said.

College of Nursing professor and winner of the Rosemary Ludden Award for Innovative Nursing Practice Wendy Budin said the scope of awards was impressive. “Hearing John Sexton speak and hearing all of the incredible accomplishments of the other faculty, or not faculty, colleagues is just amazing,” Budin said. Steve Koonin, director for the Center for Urban Science and Progress and winner of Crain’s New York Business People to Watch in Higher Education award, said he appreciated the recognition. Koonin also said he was surprised to be honored because he thought he was at the ceremony to support a colleague. “It’s always nice to know people are watching,” Koonin said. Susanne Wofford, the dean of

VIA NYU.EDU

Steve Koonin won an award from Crain’s New York Business. the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, attended to support her school’s honorees in architecture, literature, teaching and the history of science. She said she ap-

preciated how the reception drew attention to each NYU school. “It’s easy for faculty to get cordoned off into their own little academic bailiwick,” Wof-

ford said. “And we struggle always at NYU to build as many ties across those boundaries.” She also appreciated Sexton’s support and said that the president gave his famous “elevator advice,” which is to make elevator conversation by bringing up the fact that in one year, NYU faculty won a Pulitzer Prize, a Nobel Prize and a Tony award. “I’ve probably heard him say it three times a year for seven years,” Wofford said. “[Sexton is] very proud of it. He thinks that it’s distinguishing NYU, not just that we have great researchers, but we have great performers.” Additional reporting by Ann Schmidt and Nicole Brown. Andrew Spohn is a staff writer. Email them at news@nyunews.com.

Jezebel founder, alumna talks website, ‘Book of Jezebel’ By ANJANA SREEDHAR

Students gathered to hear Arthur J. Carter Journalism Institute Professor Alexis Gelber interview jezebel.com founder Anna Holmes on Nov. 25. Holmes, a NYU alumna, is an acclaimed writer whose website, jezebel.com, was launched in 2007. The site is known for commentary on mainstream women’s magazines and gender politics. In addition to her website, Holmes was recognized by Time Magazine as having one of the best Twitter feeds of 2013. Holmes has also recently released “The Book of Jezebel,” an encyclopedic book that includes significant moments from Jezebel’s history and also features important women. Audience member Angela Flynn, a third semester journalism graduate student heard about the event in Gelber’s class and wanted to learn more about Holmes’ experience in creating the Jezebel website and book. “If I want to start up a website, this will help me know what I need to know beforehand,” Flynn said. Holmes began by discussing her career

trajectory, which started at Entertainment Weekly. She began a path in celebrity gossip and women’s fashion, but she said she thought women’s magazines were too patronizing in offering advice to women. So Holmes said she strove to make jezebel.com different. “We had to define ourselves from the get-go,” Holmes said during her interview with Gelber. “It felt like women’s magazines got worse and worse with sex-relationship advice and the consumption of material goods. It was cathartic to give the finger to women’s magazines … Women’s magazines are creating insecurities and purportedly solving them.” An opportunity to create change arose when Gawker Media assembled a print media team to run websites and paid its employees competitive salaries. Holmes was originally supposed to start developing the website with a friend, but after her friend left Gawker, Holmes’ created jezebel.com by herself. After running the website for three years, Holmes said she developed the idea for her book.

“I couldn’t run the website anymore, but I didn’t want to leave it behind,” Holmes said after the event. “There was some discussion about a book, and one of my ideas seemed to make it work. I could have ended my association with the website, but someone within the company suggested doing the book. That way, I can still feel attached to the Jezebel readership in a healthier way.” “The Book of Jezebel” is a collection of important terms, people and concepts related to jezebel.com, and Holmes compiled content and wrote some entries herself. Gelber said Holmes spoke at one of her classes last spring about how a publication is created. “My students were enthralled by her, so when her book came out, I thought it would be great to have her speak again,” Gelber said. “Anna is a great editor and journalist, and it is inspiring for students to hear from someone like her.” Anjana Sreedhar is a contributing writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com.

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NYU alumna Anna Holmes poses with her book, “The Book of Jezebel.”


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WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2013 | NYUNEWS.COM

DINING

5

P O T

By HELEN OWOLABI

EDITED BY DANIEL YEOM DINING@NYUNEWS.COM

Affordable places to Enjoy vegan alternatives for spend Thanksgiving Thanksgiving at upscale, in New York City college-friendly spots

Being away from home during the holidays is never easy. Here is a list of affordable New York City restaurants open during Thanksgiving this year.

The Cardinal | 234 E. 4th St. (between avenues A and B) This cozy, Southern-style restaurant is offering a family-style Thanksgiving meal for $30 per person. Owner Curtis Brown said meals are traditional and use only high quality ingredients like heritage turkeys. Brown recommends making reservations between the times of 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Their meal includes traditional favorites, such as mac ‘n’ cheese, green bean casserole sides and sweet potato, pecan or mincemeat pies for dessert. The Cardinal gives you a taste of home with satisfying Southern-inspired dishes. As Brown said, “It’s a pile of food and everyone is gonna get filled up.” Mile End Delicatessen | 97A Hoyt St., Boerum Hill

For those celebrating Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, as both holidays fall on the same day this year, Mile End’s Hanukkah-Thanksgiving Special is perfectly catered for this holiday combo. Offering traditional favorites, such as roasted turkey with gravy or braised brisket, and dishes with a Hanukkah twist like sweet potato and butternut squash latkes or challah and pumpernickel stuffing. Reserve a spot soon, as orders are quickly filling up. Pricing is $7 to $15 for starters, $25 for mains and $12 for sides. They also offer delivery for $40.

Miss Lily’s | 132 W. Houston St. For those of you looking to add an extra cultural flare to your Thanksgiving meals, Miss Lily’s is a great option. This Caribbean-style restaurant is offering Thanksgiving turkey and sides for $25 per person, and meals are available for order by Nov. 28. With tasty jerk turkey and callaloo and cornbread stuffing, the Jamaicaninspired dishes should definitely provide restaurant-goers with a unique Thanksgiving

By ILONA TUOMINEN

dining experience.

Pippali | 129 E. 27th St. This Indian cuisine restaurant has a la carte Thanksgiving specials by chef and owner Peter Beck. Beck adds an Indian flare to traditional Thanksgiving dishes including turkey pantra, turkey sikandri kabab and masala kofta. Appetizers are priced at around $9, mains $15 to $17 and dessert $9. Pippali will be open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fishtag | 222 W. 79th St. Head uptown for a Greekstyle Thanksgiving. Fishtag, Chef Michael Psilakis’ casual seafood parlor will offer a three course fixed price menu at a moderate $35. A roasted turkey breast main course will be accompanied by herb and chorizo stuffing, sauteed kale and cranberry sauce. For dessert, try their pumpkin and maple custard for classic fall flavors. Wine or beer pairings will be available for $18. Helen Owolabi is a staff writer. Email her at dining@nyunews.com.

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Pippali’s cooks add a unique Indian flare to traditional Thanksgiving fare.

Thanksgiving for the vegan is tough. Fortunately, New York City has some of the best vegan options at upscale restaurants and at more affordable, college-budget friendly alternatives that you can make yourself.

For the stay-at-home-and-cook vegan Gather friends and floormates who are also staying in their dorm this Thanksgiving and introduce them to a vegan styled dinner. Roasted sweet potatoes and vegetables 1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Wash and cut the sweet potatoes into wedges. Add a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. 2. Put wedges on to baking sheet skin side down and cook for 25 minutes. 3. Turn saucepan on to medium heat with some oil and add onions, chili, peppers or even figs. Add any crunchy vegetables and fry for 4-5 minutes. Add to the sweet potatoes and serve. Butternut squash soup 1. Turn stove to medium heat and drizzle some olive oil into a large pot. Add onions, salt and pepper to season. Add squash, broth, coriander and any other spices, and bring soup to a close boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 20-25 minutes. 2. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Then return to pot and cook to thicken for about 15 minutes. Serve hot. For vegans dining out If you plan on dining out with friends during the break, make sure you book reservations. The chance of eating at the cheapest of restaurants on Thanksgiving is low. Unfortunately, most Thanksgiving meals begin at around $30, there are plenty of wellacclaimed vegan hot spots that will be worth the price. Cafe Blossom is offering its regular vegan menu at the starting price of $20 as a Thanksgiving special. Located in

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Peacefood Cafe will be serving fixed price or a la carte options. the Upper West Side, at 446 Columbus Ave., Blossom is a nice and affordable place to enjoy an atmospheric Thanksgiving-like meal. Blossom also offers a four-course fixed price option for $68 if you are willing to spend more on something more traditional but still vegan. Peacefood Cafe is serving a vegan Thanksgiving meal for $30 as a fixed price or a la carte option. Better known for their location in the Upper West Side at 460 Amsterdam Ave. (at 82nd Street), Peacefood can also be found more locally at 41 E. 11th St. (at University Place). Peacefood is a vegan kitchen and bakery, so you can also satisfy your sweet tooth. Angelica Kitchen has a five-course meal for $60. Located at 300 E. 12th St. (between First and Second avenues), Angelica Kitchen is 100 percent vegan. The restaurant does not deliver, but it has a separate entrance for take-out. For the big spender, Pure Food and Wine offers a Thanksgiving special at $79 for its fixed-price menu with an added $29 for a wine pairing, Pure Food and Wine, known as an upscale raw vegan restaurant, is located at 54 Irving Pl. Ilona Tuominen is a staff writer. Email her at dining@nyunews.com.

Cook up delicious Thanksgiving meals in dorm kitchens By VANESSA KARALIS

While cooking your own Thanksgiving dinner seems like an overwhelmingly terrifying concept, don’t let your small dorm kitchen discourage you. These quick and incredibly easy recipes can rival your mom’s dishes.

One-Pan Turkey Stuffing Casserole 2 turkey breast tenderloins (about 1 ½ lbs. total) 1 loaf white or french bread (cubed) 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup chicken broth 1 ½ cups celery, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and toast the bread cubes. Saute the garlic in a pot with butter and vegetable oil. Add in celery and onion and cook until tender. Add salt and pepper as needed. Remove cubed bread from the oven when slightly toasted and mix it into the saute. Coat a large baking pan with butter or cooking spray and transfer the stuffing mix into it. Lay the turkey breasts on top

of the stuffing and pour chicken broth over the entire pan as thoroughly as possible. Sprinkle turkey breasts with salt and pepper. Coat a piece of aluminum foil with butter or cooking spray and place on top of the baking pan. Bake for 50 minutes before uncovering and cooking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Slice turkey breasts over stuffing before serving.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie 1 can pumpkin puree 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 package premade pie crust (refrigerated)

2 eggs 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon 2 tablespoons maple syrup ¼ teaspoon salt Whipped cream

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon, maple syrup and salt and mix well. Coat an aluminum pie dish with butter or cooking spray. Disposable pie dishes can be bought at any grocery store. Line the dish with the pie crust and pinch the edges of the crust against the lip of the dish. Pour the pie mixture into the crust. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 45-50

minutes. The top should be slightly brown. Cool pie in the refrigerator and serve with whipped cream. Vanessa Karalis is a contributing writer. Email her at dining@nyunews.com.

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NYUNEWS.COM | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2013 | WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS

ARTS

EDITED BY JEREMY GROSSMAN ARTS@NYUNEWS.COM

Dan Bejar destroys language barriers on ‘Five Spanish Songs’ By JAKE FOLSOM

Dan Bejar is over English. “It was 2013. The English language seemed spent, despicable, not easily singable,” the Canadian singer said in a press statement. “It felt over for English. Good for business transactions, but that’s about it.” Bejar’s solution — record his music in the only other language he knows — Spanish. His band, Destroyer, has a new EP simply titled “Five Spanish Songs.” An album of covers, it marks a major departure for Destroyer, as the previous songs in their catalogue have all been sung in English. Usually, Spanish-speaking artists try to cross over by singing songs in English. Unusual as Bejar’s choice may be, it is a fitting one considering Destroyer’s recent direction. The band’s earliest successes came with more experimental music. “Streethawk: A Seduction” was the band’s critical breakthrough, and its standout tracks were intricate, staccato constructions — far from easy listening. Fast forward to the band’s most recent critical success, 2011’s LP,

“Kaputt.” The songs on this album echoed ’70s cheese music. The songs sounded lush and full, but soothed with the occasional mellow saxophone or delicate guitar. “Songs” picks up where “Kaputt” left off. The tracks are smooth and delicate listens, representing a far cry from the jarring art rock of earlier albums. “Songs” is also an even more pronounced step in the direction of lite rock. The album is smooth sailing throughout, whereas “Kaputt” had rhythmic wordplay that broke things up. The lyrics on “Chinatown,” for example, are “You can’t believe/Though I’m sure somebody said it before/I know you and I know the score.” Admittedly, for this reason, it will be a bit more difficult for non-Spanish speakers to differentiate tracks. What makes a Destroyer song memorable is a particularly surreal couplet or curious rhyme. But still, for those who enjoyed the sound of “Kaputt,” “Five Spanish Songs” is good music in any language. Jake Folsom is music editor. Email him at jfolsom@nyunews.com.

ACTION THRILLER ‘HOMEFRONT’ DISPLAYS SURPRISING LEVEL OF DEPTH

JUSTIN LUBIN

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Jason Statham and James Franco go head-to-head in the Sylvester Stallone-penned “Homefront.” While these big names may turn away nonaction fans, the film offers fascinating character portraits of its main players. For more on “Homefront,” be sure to log onto nyunews.com.

Spike Lee teaches ‘Oldboy’ new tricks with American remake By BOB TEOH

When Hollywood attempts to remake foreign classics, such projects often raise eyebrows among fans and critics alike. Filmmakers who sign on to these projects are stuck in a difficult position, as viewers will inevitably draw comparisons between the old and new versions. However, experienced directors with vision and control have made successful adaptations in the past. Spike Lee’s adaptation of the 2003 Korean thriller “Oldboy” certainly falls into the category of remakes done right. The original film, directed by Park Chan-wook, was one of the few Asian films to enjoy a fanbase in the United States. Although numerous filmmakers have expressed interest in remaking the film since its debut, the shocking subject matter and gruesome violence that defined the masterpiece proved too much for most directors. However, under the direction of visionary Lee, “Oldboy” proves to be a gripping adaptation that undeniably stands out on its own. Penned by veteran writer Mark Protosevich, “Oldboy’s” plot stays true to the original, with a few adjustments made for American audiences. Advertising executive Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is kidnapped and held captive for 20 years. After his sudden release, he goes on a mission to uncover the mystery behind his imprisonment. Unlike its plot-based Korean counterpart, Protosevich’s screenplay places heavy emphasis on character development, allowing viewers to see Doucett transform from an unsympa-

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Josh Brolin’s Joe Ducett goes on a quest for revenge. thetic failure into a weapon of vengeance during his solitary confinement. Doucett’s relationship to the female lead, Marie (Elizabeth Olsen), is also much more developed than in the original, giving the film a more humane dimension. Much of the film’s success, though, is owed to the daring and unapologetic Lee, who does not shy away from taking “Oldboy” to the next level. To truly emulate the original’s eerie mood, Lee employs unconventional cinematic choices. Long, overhead shots enhance the feeling of despair, while fast editing strings together flashback sequences that slowly reveal clues, all of which ultimately lead to a horrifying ending. While the original film built suspense through extensive use of dark colors, Lee opts for bright, contrasting colors that are outlandish and sinister. Fans will certainly be waiting for the infamous hammer scene, and Lee definitely nails it. In his in-

novative vision, the high-octane, single-shot action sequence that defined the original now spans three stories. In some ways, it’s even more impressive. The cast must also be lauded for the commitment to their roles. Brolin is outstanding as the stoic Doucett. To portray the passage of 20 years, the actor made huge sacrifices by first gaining 35 pounds and then dropping 19. Olsen serves as a great foil to the male lead. With a freakish charm, Sharlto Copley is simply excellent as the main antagonist Adrian Pryce. The cast has a wonderful chemistry that brings Lee’s vision to life. While “Oldboy” might still attract criticism for the changes Lee has made to the original, his rendition entertains in its own right. Diehard fans and audiences who have never seen the Korean film will find the film equally enthralling. Bob Teoh is a staff writer. Email him at film@nyunews.com.

Coogan, Dench showcase fantastic chemistry in ‘Philomena’ By BOB TEOH

In the hands of any other actor or writer, Stephen Frears’ “Philomena” could have easily been overly sentimental. However, with outstanding performances from both Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, the film is an honest and heartwarming exploration of faith, redemption and family. Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, “Philomena” follows Philomena Lee (Dench), a devout Catholic who conceived a son out of wedlock and gave him away for adoption in the United States. Years later, Philomena has started a new family when BBC reporter Sixsmith (Coogan) appears to remind her of her long-lost son, and the pair team up to find him. The plot is entertaining enough, but the interplay be-

tween the extremely religious Philomena and the intellectually pragmatic Martin evokes the story’s heart. Serving as perfect foils to each other, the two characters represent the old and the new, the religious

and the skeptical. Defined by her faith, Philomena is loyal to the ultraconservative rules her Catholic community follows. Martin, alternatively, is an enthusiastic doubter and cynic, and frequently questions

ALEX BAILEY VIA THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

Philomena and Martin do not always agree during their search.

Philomena’s beliefs. The pair’s witty banter invariably leads them to subjects of faith and family, as they accidentally step into each other’s world. Though the film occasionally touches on darker matters, its benevolent, loving heroine reminds viewers that forgiveness can heal all wounds. “Philomena” deftly alternates between lighthearted fun and loaded sentimentalism. Writers Coogan and Jeff Pope produce both heartwarming and thought-provoking dialogue. Frears also plays an instrumental role in the film’s success — he clearly knows the strength of his cast and relies heavily on the realism of the characters. Nevertheless, he employs subtle techniques, such as a dissolve into a flashback of Philomena’s past, to convey important themes about loss and obligation.

It is hard to imagine anybody other than Judi Dench playing Philomena. With a soft voice and a melancholy expression, Dench is incredible and successfully portrays the warmth hidden behind Philomena’s mask of stoicism. Shedding his usual goofball personality, Coogan excels as Martin. Their chemistry adds substance to the relationship between the characters and emulates the warmth of the true story. Buoyed by an outstanding cast and touching script, “Philomena” is a humane story about two worlds colliding. Even though Frears’ film is the kind of story made to win Oscars, it never feels saccharine. Instead, like the film’s protagonist, “Philomena” has heart to spare. Bob Teoh is a staff writer. Email him at film@nyunews.com.


WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2013 | NYUNEWS.COM

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Crossword ACROSS 1 Now, in Acapulco 6 Like a college course labeled “101” 11 551, once 14 One using Yelp or TripAdvisor, perhaps 15 Prefix with biology 16 Suffix with planet or fact 17 Overcome an unpleasant misunderstanding 19 Fall mo. 20 Bit of crew equipment 21 ___ tai 22 Actor Milo 24 Left-brain activity 29 “Anderson Cooper 360°” channel 30 Asimov and Newton 31 March honoree, for short 34 “And ___ bed”

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NYUNEWS.COM | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2013 | WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS

OPINION

EDITED BY RAQUEL WOODRUFF OPINION@NYUNEWS.COM

TECHNOLOGY

STAFF EDITORIAL

Facebook app makes online interaction insincere By MARCELO CICCONET

If you use Facebook, you might have noticed in the past few weeks a number of bizarre posts from an app called What Would I Say. Implemented by a team of grad students during a hackathon in Princeton less than three weeks ago, it is the latest Internet trend. What Would I Say is yet another addition to the non-seriousness of online social networks. But worse yet, it highlights a technology that could finally delete the possibility of genuine online interaction. In a nutshell, What Would I Say is a bot that screens your Facebook posts, builds a few probabilistic models for a sequence of words and then outputs the most likely sequence. The idea is not new — there is an equivalent for Twitter called That Can Be My Next Tweet. So far, these apps have mainly been a source of entertainment, producing ironic sentences such as “We can’t do it” from Barack Obama’s posts, but there are already attempts to use the technology seriously. According to a

BBC article published last week, Google just patented a bot to mimic a person’s behavior in online social networks. That’s disappointing. While the technology behind social bots does have high scientific value — mainly in the context of natural language processing — attempts to seriously turn these ideas into products are repugnant. Not only are these models still in rudimentary stages, they threaten to make the Internet much less humane than it already is. Few people discuss important issues with their friends online. In conversations with strangers on web forums, interactions can often be hostile. These factors make it difficult to engage in any meaningful online interactions. In the future, if we begin to see these

interactions created by a computer algorithm, the possibility for genuine online conversations will be eroded further — to the point where there is none. Twenty years ago, Peter Steiner published a cartoon in The New Yorker in which one dog says to another “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” On tomorrow’s Internet, nobody will know if they are talking to a bot. How good would it feel to discover the nice birthday message sent by your crush on Facebook was actually written by a bot? Automatic birthday emails from local businesses are already annoying enough. Even now, insincere conversations are carried out by the same people who speak this way in the real world. We don’t need bots to further erode genuine conversations. The technology should be used to find and organize data. Having it mimic our social behavior online will only cause the social aspect of the Internet to vanish. Marcelo Cicconet is a staff columnist. Email him at opinion@nyunews.com.

ECONOMICS

Businesses profit despite underperformance By ADAM FAZLIBEGU

Long lines and savage shoppers are replacing family gatherings and turkey dinners this Thanksgiving, as Walmart and other superstores start their Black Friday sales earlier than usual. Large retailers are starting their online promotions up to a week early and offering discounts on Thanksgiving to increase their end-of-year profits. While many consumers may believe that these sales are aimed to help shoppers have more time to purchase products, nothing could be further from the truth. These corporate giants care less about the customer and more about increasing their revenue, even if it means pressuring consumers to spend their Thanksgiving Day shopping for the best deal instead of spending time with their families. The day after Thanksgiving has traditionally marked the beginning of the holiday season. The Philadelphia Police Department coined the term “Black Friday” in 1966 because of the traffic congestion that arose from shopping. It was not until years later that corporate CEOs de-

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cided to use the term in reference to their black, or positive, margins for the holiday season. But in recent years, Black Friday shopping has spun out of control. Sleeping in tents outside of stores to score the best discounts has become commonplace among diehard shoppers. Even more disturbing, there have been numerous shopping injuries over the past decade, ranging from a woman pepper spraying fellow shoppers to store workers being trampled to death by massive crowds. Now, the craziness encroaches on the day reserved for turkey and family. Companies need every possible sale this holiday season since Thanksgiving is as late in November as possible and consumer certainty is lower than past years. Matthew

Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, points out consumers are wary of the “stability of our economy, our government and their own finances,” especially due to the recent gridlock in Washington, D.C. This has caused many companies to underperform this quarter. Best Buy, Kohl’s, Target and Toys “R” Us have all experienced negative earnings-per-share growth over the past year and thus are staying open on Thanksgiving to maximize their holiday sales. On the other hand, retailers like Costco and Nordstrom that have had positive EPS growth are closing their doors during the holiday. Unfortunately, businesses will likely turn a profit on Thanksgiving. If shoppers are willing to trample people to death for a sale, they are certainly willing to skip a family meal to be the first in line. Now that Thanksgiving has been monetized, who knows how businesses will profit off of American culture next. Adam Fazlibegu is a contributing columnist. Email him at opinion@nyunews.com.

Hobby Lobby threatens integrity of Obamacare

Two years after a small majority in the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Affordable Care Act was constitutional, the incessantly controversial piece of legislation has returned to the highest court in the land. Hobby Lobby, a privately held retail chain selling arts and crafts, has argued that the federal government has violated its religious freedom rights by forcing the corporation to provide insurance that covers certain types of contraception. The Supreme Court is expected to intervene and hear oral arguments in what will be a second test of the legal stability of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. In a previous ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit cited Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission as legal precedent. The Citizens United case affirmed that corporations have the right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Judge Timothy Tymkovich concluded that he sees “no reason the Supreme Court would recognize constitutional protection for a corporation’s political expression but not its religious expression.” But even if this right is granted, it remains unclear — and somewhat doubtful — if the Affordable Care Act violates it. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which Hobby Lobby has used to justify its case, states the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” The requirement to provide contraception within a comprehensive health care plan does not “substantially burden” Hobby Lobby. As the dissenting minority of the Court of Appeals noted, the respondents “are, in effect, imposing their religious views on their employees.”A ruling against Hobby Lobby would actually preserve the religious freedom of the employers, as they have no complicity in the use of the contraception. A ruling in favor of the company would set a precedent for other religiously affiliated corporations to refuse certain coverage to employees. While Hobby Lobby refuses to provide coverage for contraception it considers equal to abortion, it accepts coverage for other forms of contraception, including condoms and specific types of birth control drugs. However, other corporations could use this ruling to challenge even a basic level of coverage for its employees. The Supreme Court should rule against Hobby Lobby. A decision supporting the plaintiff’s cause undermines Obamacare’s legal stability and would prove detrimental to the already fragile Affordable Care Act.

Email the WSN Editorial Board at editboard@nyunews.com. EDITORIAL BOARD: Raquel Woodruff (Chair), Edward Radzivilovskiy (Co-chair), Peter Keffer (Co-chair), Harry Brown, Marcelo Cicconet, Christina Coleburn, Omar Etman, Nina Golshan, Nickhil Sethi

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