forthvalleycollege student magazine March â€˜11 . issue 12
in association with Forth Valley College Student Union
march 2011 | fusion | 1
news JAY WALKING FOR A GOOD CAUSE
Falkirk student Jay Sutherland hopes a new gym training programme at Forth Valley College will help him to walk the walk and raise money for the Help For Heroes charity. HNC Electrical Engineering student Jay (22) from Avonbridge, Falkirk, hopes to walk the 168 miles from Milngavie to Inverness – incorporating the 96 mile West Highland Way as he goes – in just five days from 11–16 April. To help him prepare for the gruelling expedition Forth Valley College’s Leisure Facility Co-ordinator Wai Mun Lee has set up a unique 12 week training schedule for him to follow which will tone and strengthen the areas of his body which will come under the most stress during the hike. Jay, was briefly in the RAF Regiment, but still sees his future in the military with the Royal Navy. He said: “I have walked the West Highland Way before, but that was a more relaxed experience and I am now setting
my sights firmly on completing this route to Inverness in five days. "I just can’t wait to get started on the walk and raise a few thousand pounds for the Help For Heroes charity.” FVC Leisure Facility Co-ordinator Wai Mun Lee said: “His hips and lower legs will be very important to build up as will his upper body as he will have a 20kg pack to carry with his tent and provisions. But Jay is very determined and I am confident he will reach his goal.” Anyone who wishes to sponsor Jay should contact: email@example.com. Alternatively Jay is short of two walking poles for his quest and would be very grateful if anyone had a pair they could donate to the cause.
SEMINAR TO TACKLE VIOLENCE AT HOME
Home Sweet Home – a seminar covering violence at home and barriers faced by ethnic minority women and children – will be held on Friday 11 March between 9.30am and 1.00pm in the Assembly Hall in Falkirk This event will explore issues of violence and domestic abuse faced by black and ethnic minority women and children and other migrant communities. Topics include: forced marriage, honour violence and FGM. There will be a drama performance by Shabana Bakhsh (of BBC’s Waterloo Road and River City) and contributions from Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid, the UK Forced Marriage Unit, and the Dignity Alert Research Forum (DARF). If you’d like to register to attend please email Alicia.firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 | fusion | march 2011 >>>>>>>>follow us on
SPONSORED MALAWI STUDENT PASSES EXAMS Forth Valley College Business students have been inspired by the academic achievements of a Malawian student they recently sponsored as part of a two-year funding drive. Evyness Chiwaya (19) from Lilongwe was among four female students who received some funding for tuition fees and living allowances while studying at colleges in the African nation’s capital. However, Evyness progressed so well that one of her lecturers put her forward for advanced Microsoft accredited IT exams – recognised across the world – at the well respected private Don Bosco College in the capital. With funds raised by FVC students and staff still available, the college was only too happy to send money to Don Bosco to pay for Evyness to sit her exams and pay for a few items she may need for her studies. Iris Aitchison Depute Head of the Business Department and one FVC’s main driving forces behind the Malawi link, said: “We recently received an email from Malawi to say that Evyness, one of our sponsored students, had passed her examinations. We have been told by academic staff at Don Bosco College that passing these examinations will provide Evyness with a life changing opportunity which will be of great benefit to herself and to her family. “Without the hard work of our lecturers, learners, and those who support the learners in their fundraising efforts, students like Evyness would not get the opportunity to sit such examinations to pull themselves out of the poverty trap. “Our goal was to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves. This is what we worked towards and we should all feel a little glow of happiness that we helped Evyness to enjoy her best Christmas ever.”
What's inside 04 05
Game On David Harley with his regular view on gaming.
forth valley college
What are FVC students listening to Dani Gibson wants to know.
super Moodle Moodle proves to be positive tool for students. Front Cover Who’s behind our new marketing strategy?
Bookworms Book revews from Fusion correspondents.
Film reviews.. and previews.
K eep Fit with Zumba Colin Spiers shows off his moves.
Letters... and Competitions.
NUS: CAMPAIGNING Summer Term ON YOUR BEHALF Student bursaries were a major talking point during the recent Scottish Parliament budget and there was a little good news for Scottish students.
It has been announced that a total of £15 million in funding will be earmarked for bursaries over the coming year. In addition a further £8 million will be targeted towards finding more college places. Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said: “This is great news and testament to the hard work of thousands of college students across Scotland. Students across colleges and universities have mobilised fantastically well, with over 32,000 letters and emails sent to MSPs on this issue." So if you are interested in finding out more then why not visit the NUS website on www.nus.org.uk?
An NUS Scotland demonstration will take place on Tuesday 22 March outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on its last full working day before it breaks up for the election campaign. The ‘Reclaim Your Voice’ demo will be followed by a rally and will be protesting against any reintroduction of tuition fees in Scotland and will also call for improved student support.
Hello everyone, hope you have had a good start to the new block and are adjusting to your new timetables. At the Student Union, we are aiming to make 2011 a year to remember for our students. There are many fun packed events planned from now until May to improve the student experience. Firstly we have the Student Council which all class representatives will be invited to. This gives students the chance to give any feedback they have about the College and how we can help improve. As a student union we are here to provide a voice for students and
we have a passion for bringing about a positive change to our learning environment and to our local area. Our Principal, Linda Mckay, will be present at all the Student Council meetings, so this is a good chance for class reps to see a Principal’s view of the college and also a chance to see how enthusiastic she is about Forth Valley College students. As I said earlier we have many events coming up, such as the LGBT event, Red Nose Day and Daffodil Day. Look out for
FVC students on non advanced courses have had their Summer Term extended by two weeks due to a number of factors. The recent bursary announcement from the Scottish budget, feedback from departments, a Progress Review and recent discussions with Student Representatives particularly in relation to issues from the snow closures in December, have resulted in the original closing date being changed from Friday 13 May to Friday 27 May. Anyone requiring further information should contact Student Finance.
posters and adverts on the plasma screens and on our new Student Union website www. fvsu.org.uk for more information on these days or feel free to talk to one of the Student Union team. I and the rest of my team look forward to getting to know all of you and being able to have a chat about any issues that you may face while at Forth Valley College. We would also love to hear any comments that you may have on the union itself. If you would like to get involved with the union then please pop into one of the offices and see the team.
march 2011 | fusion | 3
by David Harley
Small Fish in the Big Pond Kicking Butt Originally, this article was going to feature the top games that are due to come out in 2011 and maybe a look back at 2010... but then something dawned on me. Two of the most talked about games of the last 12 months weren’t big-budget games like Dead Rising 2 or Black Ops. They were cheap games that are so addictive they require way more game time before they are put away for several months and will ensure your other games will remain unloved for a while. I am of course referring to the launch-em-up ‘Angry Birds’ and ‘Minecraft’ – which is essentially digital Lego. If you haven’t played these yet, shame on you. If you have, then give yourself a cookie. Angry Birds was originally designed based on the little red bird puffball that features prominently in the promotional art work for the game. It seems that they saw the artwork of angry-looking birds with no arms and legs and thought “Yeah, they should have a game.” The premise is simple enough, you get a bunch of suicidal birds who have special powers dependent on the colour of their plumage. They think nothing of being launched out of a catapult into wood and stone buildings which house some sickly looking pigs (a reference to the Swine Flu epidemic that was floating around during the game’s development perhaps) who stole the Angry Birds’ eggs for an omelette. I know that this is a game, but you can’t help but wonder if the people who came up with it were possibly on some form sugar rush when they thought “Dude, red birds should totally explode,” or “Wouldn’t it be sweet if the blue birds, like...split into three mini birdies?”
Then again, I come from a generation where our main heroes were an Italian Plumber who fought mushrooms and turtles and a Hedgehog who hasn’t made a good game since the addition of a third dimension. As much as the game is totally illogical, and you can’t help but mock it...or again, that may just be me...it is a game where just five more minutes will turn into “Why is the alarm going off, and why is the house smelling of burnt toast?” Now, Minecraft has been around since 2008, but only came to prominence over the last few months Minecraft is less a game, and more a simulator – it forces you to gather the resources to build your fortress and makes you appreciate it that much more. But, it seems the internet is bulging with people showing off their mighty creations, be it a replica of an old 8-bit hero, a badass castle with a lava moat or even what most gamers think of late on a Friday night which seems like a good idea at the time. There are two modes – Peaceful, where the joy of exploring, and digging and crafting are there for you to enjoy and share. Then there’s the other one that introduces monsters that blow your stuff to Walla Walla, Washington. You can guess which mode I prefer to play. There’s also the ability to play with your friends, and work together to build a hangout...or pour buckets of lava (yes, that is an option) onto each other. It’s hard to accurately describe this game – it’s like a pool of infinite possibilities, the only way to truly know is to jump in for yourself.
Now, do me a favour, and send me your Minecraft creations. To find these two games, remember – Google is your friend. Till next time!
4 | fusion | march 2011
Listen up Fusion correspondent Dani Gibson is on a quest to find out just what FVC students are listening to on their i-pods, MP3s, Walkmans, transistors radios, eight-track stereos, record decks and gramophones. She starts with her own musical tastes, but wants to hear from you about the tunes that you’re getting down to or the ones that have you bopping your heads off at any opportunity. E-mail email@example.com with your musical tastes and short reviews and Dani will be in touch. My musical tastes generally lean towards rock, punk or indie, but if I like a song it doesn’t matter what genre it is. I will also be reviewing the top two albums in the charts, but first I will review my own favourite albums right now. Biffy Clyro Only Revolutions (2009) After their 2007 breakthrough album ‘Puzzle’ it was kind of hard to believe that the Ayr trio could do any better. But with an opening song like ‘The Captain’ I'm a believer. It’s a very dramatic opening for the album and you fear the worst for what’s to come. But the track is distinctively upbeat and it’s refreshing to see Biffy Clyro having some fun with their work. One line in the track sums this up perfectly `Line up your soldiers one final time, we’re gonna have a ball’. While this may not add up to their usual standards it is everything you’d want from the opening track. The track that stands out though has to be ‘Many of Horror’ and for a rock band it did well in the UK charts – making it to number eight. It makes you think about the lyrics, with a
lingering idealistic edge, polished melodies and amazing orchestral collaboration as it nears the end. The album reached number three in the charts and gained platinum certification. It’s no wonder why this album is a deserved follow up to ‘Puzzle’, maybe not a giant leap, but still my favourite after a year and a half. Bruno Mars Doo Wops and Hooligans (2010) Although not my usual taste when it comes to music, Bruno Mars has caught my attention. Starting out in the music industry as a songwriter and producer he has moved into performing himself. With songs like the number one slush-fest ‘Just the way you are’ the album shows off a lot of tracks that will soar in the charts. The album is very soulful with several well written and refined tracks that made me feel like I’d just been flirted with. To sum this album up in just two words, I would say it’s a ‘pick up’ ploy. It seduces the women and pulls in the men with tracks like ‘Runaway Baby’ and ‘Kaching’. Wow, women, money and success in the charts.
By dani gibson
Chart Review Adele – 21 (2011) Current Number One (6 February) ‘21’ is the second album by English singer-songwriter Adele and the first track released ‘Rolling in the Deep’ shows the overall dark and soulful tones. Her vocals are very hard hitting and make this piece even better. Her cover of The Cure’s ‘Love Song’ is also delightfully different from the original. Like any cover song it should be the artist's own interpretation and Adele does this very well by using her soulful bluesy vocals and an acoustic guitar. ‘21’ was certified platinum in the UK after four days of sale and then made it to number one in the UK Albums Chart and has stayed there for two weeks.
Chase and Status No More Idols (2011) Current Number Two (6 February) For those with a wide ranging taste in music this album is simply for you. But you might be better off downloading the singles if you are more picky. The stand out tracks are: ‘Let You Go’, ‘Blind Faith’ and ‘End Credits’, but this is probably due to the band becoming more mainstream. But why not? Their previous album ‘More Than A Lot’ released in 2008 only reached number 49 in the chart and as long as they please the masses it shouldn’t really matter. There are many guest appearances in particular from Sub Focus, White Lies and Maverick Sabre. The only track that didn’t seem to go with the album was ‘Midnight Caller’, featuring Clare Maguire, which might have been better suited on her own album. As a whole the album seemed safe and didn’t push any boundaries from the previous release.
march 2011 | fusion | 5
Book Reviews Welcome to Fusion's book review page.
Fan Mail By PD Martin
Our correspondents are avid readers and we encourage them to write up reviews of their favourite books as soon as they've turned the last page. It could be the latest best seller or even a classic that they've not read before – we're not bothered – just as long as their reviews can inspire readers to think about picking it up for themselves. And that is where you come in. If you feel compelled to tell us how much you enjoyed or hated a book you've just read then send your short reviews in to us on a Word document at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll use them in future editions. Good reading!
By J. R .R .Tolkien
6 | fusion | march 2011 >>>>>>>>follow us on
Sophie Anderson is back! In her latest book Fan Mail FBI special agent Sophie now lives in LA, where she is trying to catch the killer of several popular authors. One of the only clues is a calling card letter left at all the murder scenes – sealed by a lipstick kiss! As more and more authors end up as victims, each individual crime scene seems to lead to another. Will Sophie save the next intended victim? Or will the crazed killer slaughter another author? The things that I enjoyed about PD Martin’s book is that the killer was very methodical and precise and the author makes the killer very, very believable in today’s society. Each letter is written in a different style and each one is more gripping than the next. But for once with Martin’s stories there seemed to be a lack of connection between the characters and there didn’t seem to be an ‘interlocking relationship’ between them. Another cosmetic point was that the actual text was just a bit too small for me and it did start to make my eyes go ‘cock-eyed’ if I’m honest! It is a good book but just not that gripping for me!
J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings is an enthralling story. It tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a bold hobbit who is encouraged to travel with 13 dwarves on a journey to defeat the evil dragon Smaug and reclaim the Lonely Mountain and an almighty treasure. Aided by the wizard Gandalf the Grey,
Kiss and Die By Lee Weeks
Kiss and Die by Lee Weeks is about a serial killer on the loose in China, but this time it’s a woman, and her name is ‘Ruby’. She is on the hunt for the blood of rich, adulterous businessmen and picks them up in sleazy hotels and bars by wearing a schoolgirl like outfit. But before she leads them to their doom she plays and toys with them. Meanwhile, hero Johnny Mann is trying to deal with his father’s legacy of being a triad leader. He stumbles upon Ruby’s horrific crime scenes in hotel rooms and is compelled to catch the killer. Ruby is a much more interesting character than Johnny Mann. You really want to find out why she is carrying out such grizzly attacks on these men. Lee Weeks has certainly done her research and goes into so much detail that you can just imagine what the killer is doing and what it would actually feel like. Johnny could have been given more of a backbone in my opinion. Johnny could be tougher and full of spirit rather than a miserable middle-aged man who is trying to run away from his past all the time. For me the author sets the tone of the book in Ruby’s own home where she has a man tied to her bed. She then takes a chainsaw to his face and bursts out laughing while he’s lying there in agony. While in her kitchen, a massive cooking pot boils away full of human ribs. This book is a terrific read, and it is one for all those people who enjoy a thrill.
the group journey from the Shire after Bilbo reluctantly agrees to leave his much adored home in Bag End. They set off for Smaug’s lair, travelling through Rivendell, Mirkwood and Lake Town. The group reach the mountain and Smaug is defeated by Dale of nearby Lake Town. Then the War of Five
Armies erupts after it is learned there is an immeasurable treasure to be won. The armies of Men, Elves and Dwarves defeat the Orcs and Wargs with help from Gandalf, Beorn and the Eagles and Bilbo happily goes home after becoming a rich and wise hobbit. By David Chalmers
By Dawn mclaren
Presumed Guilty By Tess Gerritsen
Presumed Guilty by Tess Gerritson is about a young woman named Miranda who arrives home one night to find her married lover lying cold, still and bloody in her bed. Miranda is framed for the murder of her lover, but when she ends up in court her £100,000 bail money is paid for by a mysterious donor, but who? The murderer? A secret admirer? Perhaps it could be someone who wants her out so they can kill her to make it look like a guilt ridden suicide, in order to protect another. The book itself has a romance/thriller theme – which work hand-in-hand with each other, but I felt that it was very predictable. In one instance, Miranda’s dead lover’s brother, Chase, enters the story and you could easily predict there was going to be an ‘automatic-fatal attraction’ between them. However, the relationship did add a bit more spice to the story. There was also one other thing that I really didn’t like about the book – the length of chapters which at a minimum of 30 pages each, seemed to be never ending! But I liked the character Miss St John – an OAP who goes out her way to make everything her business. She actually added some humour and the interaction with her and dog Ozzy was very enjoyable – especially when she investigates a break in to her neighbour’s cottage and is bopped on the head by the thief, but gives the dog and earful when she comes to.
Forth Valley College’s fingerprints are all over a new course which is testing the limits of science students. “Obviously the very successful TV crime shows which delve into forensics have opened up science to a wide section of the public and there is now a lot of interest in what it’s all about. “What you see on the TV is fairly sound science, though the timescales are a bit off as they seem to get the test results back the same day they are done! We hope to tap into this interest by offering a unique insight into this field using tests such as fingerprinting and DNA identification. Anyone interested in forensics and science should find out more about this Wednesday night course.” may run again in there is a possibility this course info rmation further ing august, anyone wish on Sweeney l Pau should contact eeney@fo rthvalley.ac.uk. 01324 403168 or e-mail paul.sw
Falkirk may not be in Florida but the town’s FVC campus are trying to emulate CSI: Miami after launching an official certified (Level 5 – Level 6) Forensic Science evening class for the first time in January. The 18 week 36 hour course is pitched at Access Level which means it will be a great introduction to learners interested in studying science at a higher level. Science Lecturer Paul Sweeney (above) who is teaching the course, said: "Up to now we have been running something similar as a leisure course, but it didn’t have any recognised certificate.
march march2011 2011| |fusion fusion| |77
oves Colin shows off his m
It is a fitness and dance class that makes you really work hard without realising as you are so busy laughing
ZOOM IN TO If you’re looking for a new way of keeping fit why not give Zumba classes a try at Forth Valley College? A cross between keep fit and Latin American dance all set to music, it could well be the ideal activity to tone your body and have fun at the same time.
8 | fusion | march 2011 >>>>>>>>follow us on
Fusion correspondent Colin Spiers – who is also the FVC Student Union Sports and Recreation Officer – went down to the Falkirk campus games hall to find out more. Colin said “Walking into the gym where the class was being held, I have never been so nervous in my life – wondering what people would think seeing a male taking part in a zumba class. “However, once I had settled down and got on with it I felt amazing. The class worked on every muscle in my body and made me feel good. The work out seemed easy at first but once the music got going I realised just how hard it was. “The music really helped me to focus on the class and less on what people would think of me. The instructor Kirsty was brilliant, she continually motivated everyone, and most of all made sure the class were all smiling and having a good time. “I really enjoyed participating in the class. I didn’t expect zumba to be such a great work out but within the first 10 minutes it had rid
me of all my doubts. I would recommend zumba to every student in Forth Valley College for it being not only a fantastic work out but also a great experience. “The best part of the class has got to be actually participating and getting the most out of the work out. The worst part had to be the nerves going into the class just thinking what people would say and the fact I have no rhythm! See you there next week!” HND Health, Fitness and Exercise student Kirsty Docherty (25) from Kilsyth is the instructor in charge of the classes which usually take place on a Tuesday from 1.15pm–1.45pm. She said: “We started the classes just before Christmas and they are really starting to pick up now and people really seem to be enjoying them. “It is a fitness and dance class that makes you really work hard without realising as you are so busy laughing, that’s why it is for absolutely everyone of any age and level of fitness. Why not come and give it a try, you’ve got nothing to lose except maybe a few pounds in weight and your inhibitions.”
SUPER MOODLE IS A WINNER WITH STUDENTS FVC’s online Moodle facility is proving to be a winner with more and more students.
forth valley college
RAISING THE FUSION PROFILE Two Belgian university students – currently on an Erasmus work experience placement at Forth Valley College – are aiming to raise awareness of what your student magazine is all about.
Since its launch in August 2009 it has gone from strength to strength helping students and lecturers alike to share vital classwork, feedback and information to keep users up to date with course progress. Jasmin Hodge, FVC Organisational Learning Coordinator, said: “The feedback we are getting from students is overwhelmingly positive and we are confident that Moodle will become a major part of the learning experience for its users. “Staff have also welcomed the facility and we are excited about Moodle's continuing improvement and development over the coming months.” Amanda McEwan (26) from Clackmannan, (pictured above left) who is studying a Degree Foundation Course in Art and Design, said: “Moodle has been extremely useful to me as a student. If you are off sick or if for example the college is shut due to bad weather, as it was before Christmas, you don’t miss anything.
“You can keep up to date with online assignments, get feedback from your lecturer and the homepage has a layout that is simple to navigate. The pictures and graphics really help me as I have dyslexia. “The Accessibility App is also very useful and anyone can use it. My student experience would have been much more difficult without Moodle." Dennise Carmichael (48) from Sauchie, (pictured above right) who is on the same course as Amanda, added: “I have used Moodle and can see real potential in its use amongst students. Sometimes it seems a bit fast for me to pick it up, but the lecturing staff are great at helping me with what I need to use it for, so I am getting there. “It is easy to access my lessons as the icons and text are all a reasonable size and this helps me an awful lot as I have dyslexia. I also like it as you can use it in class, at the library or at home."
As part of their working brief, Sophie Schiaratura (23) (back) and Helene Hofbauer (20) from Mons near the French border, have been developing a marketing strategy for Fusion. They have been looking at publicity, distribution, advertising and also carrying out market research to see what FVC students want to see in their very own free mag. This edition’s front cover shows the cool and funky new publicity posters – designed by Sophie and Helene – which we will be putting up across all campuses. Look out for more developments soon, and please let us know what you think on email@example.com.
WORLD CUISINE COMES TO FVC Staff, students and families are invited to attend an International Café Event which is being held on Monday 14 March from 12noon until 2pm in the Falkirk Campus Assembly Hall. Lisa Gow FVC International Support Coordinator, said: “We are looking for all the support we can get from our students and staff
and if you feel you would like to dress in your countries traditional clothes then this would be most welcomed.” It is expected that stalls covering at least 10 countries and offering information and food from that country will be on display for people to sample and enjoy. march 2011 | fusion | 9
We all like a good movie, and that’s especially true when we need a break from studying. So just as well then that Cineworld in Falkirk are happy to continue with their fantastic discount offer to Forth Valley College students. All you need to do is present your NUS discount card to Cineworld counter staff. These cards are available for £10 at Forth Valley College Student Union and will entitle you to £2.20 off your ticket at Cineworld Falkirk.
The Fighter (15)
Starring: M ark Walberg, Amy Adams, Christian Bale Director: David O. Russell
Fighter packs a punch
Never Let Me Go (12A)
Starring: C arey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield Director: Mark Romanek
Get to grips with this Plot Kathy, Ruth and Tommy spend their childhood at an idealistic English boarding school. As they grow into young adults they find that they have to deal with feelings they cannot understand, while preparing themselves for the haunting reality that awaits them. Verdict: The trailer depicts the film as a love story set in our world which it is not. It is a dystopian drama and although set in a world like our own, it is very different. The main cast are part of a group of children who were cloned to grow up and have their vital organs used to help ‘regular’ people. The acting in the film was on the whole good, but I felt that the performances of Mulligan and Knightley were significantly different. Mulligan suited her role of Kathy well and showed a full range of emotions to great effect.
Courtesy of Cineworld in Falkirk
10 | fusion | march 2011 >>>>>>>>follow us on
Whereas it seemed to me that Knightley was playing a role that was too big for her. Despite this she personifies Ruth’s crass selfishness and her longing and wasted dreaming. Also, despite having little screen time during the first half of the film, it is to her credit that she was able to reveal the character’s personality as well as she did. Garfield gave a stellar performance as Tommy by being able to show his character’s anguish and the uncertainty of his emotions, especially when he breaks down and lets it all out. The screenplay was initially said to have a little bit of everything from Kazuo Ishiguro’s 300 page book. What came of this was an abridged version of the novel that allowed the time to realise the love between the characters, the strained relationship between Kathy and Ruth and how they have difficulty understanding their emotions. The dark tones of the film allow an unsettling creepy vibe to continue throughout. Overall the film was a dramatic and unnerving portrayal of unrequited love in an uncertain world, where the characters are second class citizens who do not realise their feelings are normal and not just because they are clones. By Dani Gibson
Plot In this first film in seven years from ‘I Heart Huckabees’ director David O. Russell, Mark Walberg plays aspiring boxer ‘Irish’ Micky Ward. At the start he is struggling to make his break in the sport and escape his workingclass hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, where he works laying roads. His brother, Dickie Eklund, a former pro himself, now balances his time between crack cocaine addiction, reliving his one former glory in the boxing ring, and starring in his own HBO documentary – which he believes is about his impending comeback. When Micky is given a last chance at success, involving a move to Las Vegas with a new promoter, he must decide between the wishes of his new girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams) and his over-zealous and protective family. Verdict The plot of this film is nothing new, and most of the acclaim has been laid on the three leads (all of whom have been Oscar nominated; the film has received eight overall including Best Picture). Walberg and Adams are both good, but Bale steals the show with yet another brilliant performance, which looks set to win him his first, overdue Oscar. Dickie Eklund, the former ‘pride of Lowell,’ has been reduced to a has-been stumbling around the town – more like Bez than Rocky – becoming a liability to his younger brother, who he still trains. He seems unaware of the path he is following and too idealistic to notice the true aim of the documentary team that is following him around. The film could perhaps be of more interest to fans of the sport, but to the casual observer it has little more than the central performances in its corner. By Nicholas Reid
>>Future Film Releases – february/march Drive Angry
Nicholas Cage tends to have two acting styles. He earns the reputation as an actor who is miraculously still able to get work on big-budgeted Hollywood movies (see The Wickerman and National Treasure.) Occasionally though, he pulls off a fantastic performance, laced with a manic persona and – more often than not – an Elvis accent. This appears to be one of these films, which sees him playing a protagonist who breaks out of hell to save his granddaughter from a satanic cult.
Tom Shadyac is famous for directing films such as Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor and other films in which someone makes a funny face. However, after a biking accident he suffered a near-death experience, acquired a healthy dose of existentialist angst and gave up his fortune, mansion and career to make this documentary. In it he explores mankind’s relationship with materialism and where it all went wrong.
Richard Ayoade – famous for playing the impossibly nerdy and socially awkward Moss in The IT Crowd, as well as roles in The Mightly Boosh and Gareth Marenghi’s Darkplace – makes his directorial debut with this film. It’s a coming of age story about a disillusioned teenager who only has two things on his mind – keeping his parents together and losing his virginity. It has received universally good reviews after screenings at film festivals and has already seen Ayoade compared to Wes Anderson.
Mel Gibson’s agent must have had a tough job picking a film that could resurrect his client from the mire of bad publicity he has been suffering from of late. The film he picked is The Beaver, where Mel is trying to win back his wife and kids. However, the only way he can communicate is through a titular hand puppet. Despite a plan that would lead to loneliness and social ruin if practised in the real world, he tries to revive his marriage.
Battle: Los Angeles
In 1941 an air-raid siren sounded in Los Angeles warning of impending attack from enemy forces. The troops on the ground responded with constant antiaircraft fire for an hour, but it turned out to be a false alarm. This real event came to be mockingly known as ‘The Battle of Los Angeles’. Battle: Los Angeles asks the obvious question: What if – instead of non-existent Japanese aircraft – the US was being attacked by alien aircraft? Just to add to this seal of quality, it’s directed by a guy whose main claim to fame is a Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and features the actor Ne-Yo.
Currently doing the viral video rounds on the internet, the makers of this sciencefiction film are keeping their cards close to their chest. Apparently shot in documentary style, it dramatises the reasons why mankind never ventured to the moon again. Rather than a less than exciting documentation of a NASA accountant saying ‘We really can’t afford this guys’ it’s based around a theory that aliens were behind the whole thing.
march 2011 | fusion | 11 MARCH 2011 | fusion | 11
CINEWORLD FALKIRK COMPETITION Fusion have teamed up with Cineworld in Falkirk to offer a goody bag as a prize in our easy to enter competition.
The question is: What is the new Harry All you have to do is answer this Potter film called?: simple question and e-mail it to our Fusion magazine e-mail address along with your name, age, course and A. Harry Potter and the Horse that was where you are from. Flogged to Death Part 1 B. H arry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 C. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prisoner in a Chamber Pot Part 1 Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on 14 March.
@ E -mails to the U Editor Fusion Magazine is looking to start an E-mail letters page for the next edition. We want to hear from Forth Valley College students with all their comments, queries, facts and figures, questions and answers, pictures, jokes, fascinating stories and trivia.
CAPTION COMPETITION: Comic Relief is set to benefit from this year’s I’m a Student Get Me Out Of Here Challenge organised by the FVC Hospitality Department for Friday 18 March. “I’ll drink to that!” Said Zoe Mackie last year’s winner, “Mmmm this frog and pea smoothie is really delicious.” Can any student suggest an alternative funny caption for this picture? There's a £15 gift voucher in it for the best one chosen by the Fusion Editor... though remember to keep it relatively clean! Please send your caption suggestions to fusion@ forthvalley.ac.uk by 12 noon on Monday 14 March.
12 | fusion | march 2011 >>>>>>>>follow us on
We are also now running competitions in this new page and are looking for everyone to get involved. Please send your e-mail letters and competition entries to email@example.com and we will use as many as we can in the next issue. There will also be a £15 gift voucher for the best e-mail we receive. So if you’ve got a bee in your bonnet or your knickers in a twist over something – it doesn’t even need to be student related – then let us know from now until 12 noon on Monday 28 March. Fusion Magazine is also looking to recruit new correspondents to help with the writing and production of the magazine. So if you have any ideas on how to contribute or want to report on college sport, interview people on the important issues in the college today, fancy taking some pictures or perhaps even reviewing a blockbuster movie – then get in touch as soon as possible on the e-mail address above. Kind regards, Stuart Hall, Fusion Editor