Movie Channel Entertains Students: New Films Shown Each Month

Southwestern has its very own movie channel, channel 44, dedicated to showing a varietyof different movies every month.

The movies are a mix of new releases and seasonally appropriate films.

Around Halloween, there were more horror movies on the roster, while for the rest of this year they’ll lean towards a more festive theme.

Movies run every three hours beginning at 9 a.m., with the last showing of the daystarting at midnight. In between movies the channel displays a list of the movies currently on rotation, as well as the movies coming next week. You can also find out which movies are showing, as well as their individual show times, at my.southwestern.edu under thecommunity tab.

This week’s movies are “Green Lantern”, “Apollo 13”, and “Planes,Trains, and Automobiles”. If you have a movie that you would like to see on the SU Movie Channel, you can contact Jason Chapman, assistant director of student activities. However, it is important to keep in mind that the movies are ordered two months in advance, so be ready to wait if you want to see your favorite film on the channel.

Superhero Movies Swooping In Influx of Superhero Movies to Create a Profit or for Fans’ Benefit

Superhero movies based on comic-book superstars have become some of the most popular movies on the market, as well as with products and games that are marketed out as well. They have been gaining more and more financial success over recent years, and have also been released in much greater numbers as more and more filmmakers seek to profit from the massively growing fan-base.

Although some fans complain about critics’ disdain for superhero movies, more superhero movies receive positive reviews than ones that receive negative reviews. However, some critics are also beginning to identify films such as “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” as the peak of the golden age in superhero cinema of the past decade, and expect somewhat of a decline in interest.

However, this summer alone, the box office successes were dominated by movies like “Thor” and “Captain America” with each movie gaining millions of dollars in publicity and merchandising. Many fans are excited for these products, although it is sometimes unclear whether it is hype for the heroes themselves or for “The Avengers” film Marvel has scheduled for next summer.

Marvel needed to release these movies in order to introduce major players in “The Avengers” plot so that fans will be familiar with them before next summer.
Rival comic company DC is also cashing in on the superhero fan base. While not receiving a great response this summer to “Green Lantern,” they are preparing for greater success next summer with the planned release of “The Dark Knight Rises” the long awaited conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy.

In 2012 the box office will be filled with superhero movies. The most highly anticipated are “The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” a third “Iron Man” movie and a new reboot by Marvel of the “Spiderman” franchise.

Superhero movies are definitely popular in today’s growing economic climate.

“I think superheroes can give people hope that there is still good out there in the world even though in reality they don’t exist.” one student said. “I think superheroes represent a lot out in the world today and I don’t see them going away anytime soon.”

Students Anticipate “Inheritance” Release

Curtesy Google Images.

The final and long-awaited installment in Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance” series will be released November 8,
after years in hiatus following the 2008 release of “Brisingr”, the third book. As students and other fans of all ages line up at Barnes & Noble stores both in Austin and across the world, midnight release parties are expected to be in full swing before the first copy is sold.

“I really look forward to the book release,” first-year student Jon Sigurdsson said. “It’s been a long time coming. I started the series when I was about fourteen and the last book has been over three years in the making.”

Paolini has announced that the fourth novel, named “Inheritance” after the series features a new, male green dragon with an unknown rider and various deaths. He has also teased readers with spoilers like “a one-sided game of knucklebones, an evil assassin, bags of flour, a water-born battering ram, streets lined with lead and a knife in the back.” The book will also feature the alchemist, Angela, who will play a more prominent role than in previous stories.

“There is a lot more to Angela than meets the eye,” Paolini said. “If you like her, you’re in for a treat with Book Four. Angela gets several crowning moments of awesomeness therein.”

Readers will also finally meet Galbatorix, along with multiple new characters.

“I’m excited for both fresh characters and reappearing familiar ones. Considering the gap between the books, anyone is going to seem fresh at this point either way,” first year Hallie Harrison said. “The long time it’s taken to release the fourth book could just be attributed to writers block, or perhaps he wanted to build suspense. Who knows?”

Paolini began writing at age 15 and self-published the first book years later.

Students Anticipate the Release of New Skyrim Game

Tonight at midnight, students waiting anxiously in line at Gamestops everywhere will see the first sales of what may just be the Game of the Year, as Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is finally released.

“I’m getting it as soon as it comes out,” first-year Marion Clendenen said. “It’s been years in the making, so Bethesda has taken so long to develop Skyrim’s storyline that I have faith the game will be awesome.”

That storyline centers on civil war in the mountainous land, as its empire falls and dragons return to destroy its cities. Five of these are large, main areas, while 15 minor villages can also be explored.

“The game play and the graphics are going to be unreal,” sophomore Jake Balderama said. “But I’m most excited for the storyline and the vastness of the world that Bethesda built for the sake of the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls.”

This installment features multiple improvements from earlier Elder Scrolls games, like Morrowind or Oblivion. Dual wielding is a new ability, where each hand can equip its own weapon. Fresh combat advantages like this are complimented by a new, simpler leveling system and journal interface.

“The game is definitely a complex of improvements from Oblivion, a game that was great in itself,” first-year Nick Kellogg said.

The graphics of the new world of Skyrim were a main focus for the Bethesda team, and their hard work shows in everything from the falling snow of the mountaintops to the multiple new options for facial structure when designing a character.

“I got to play a version of the game early on xBox Live,” Kellogg said. “The graphics are astounding. Looking up at the sky in-game is just like looking up when you’re outside.”

Despite so many changes Bethesda has made to improve the style of the series, its tried-and-true ‘open-world’ theme has not been tampered with.

Skyrim offers the familiar freedom of choice and open-ended game play that the company is famous for, as in the Fallout series and previous Elder Scrolls releases.

“Bethesda’s progress in the Fallout games speaks for their potential to keep improving, so I know the graphics of Skyrim will be even better than Oblivion’s. The snowy mountains of this new land should be much more engaging than summery Oblivion, because the harsh weather is more realistic. The map is expected to be much easier to navigate, as well.”

Any place on the map is open to exploration, any rumor available to be chased—the main quest does not hamper a player’s freedom to wander, as so many students will do when they get their hands on the anticipated game at 12:01 Friday morning.
Many students are excited for the midnight release of this highly anticipated game.

“Skyrim is going to be the Game of the Year,” Balderama said. “It encompasses over 250 hours of game play, and the fact that you can face dragons in their entirety is awesome. I’m very excited about the release.”

Theatre Department to Perform “The 1940’s Radio Hour”

November 16 through the 19, Southwestern students have the opportunity to come experience mid-century America re-created in our theatre department’s production of “The 1940’s Radio Hour”.

“If you don’t like having fun, you shouldn’t come,” junior Robert Frost said.
Frost is serving as the musical director for the production. He said that audiences are sure to enjoy the authentic look and feel of the play, which is set, as the title might imply, at a radio station in New York during the year 1942.

“Audiences will have the chance to see us re-create an era in a very accurate and realistic way,” Frost continued.

The process of putting on this play has included many accommodations to historical accuracy. Efforts to help audiences feel as if they are living during another decade include a live band which will be playing during the show.

“It’s been a blast,” Frost said, “We’re actually working with someone who played on Broadway during the 1940s and 50s, and who has worked with many shows like ours.”

The band and cast will be performing many of the musical numbers that make up the Dec. 23 holiday broadcast of the New York radio station WOV, the main focus of the plot. The story follows the station’s attempts to put together a live broadcast which will be heard by audiences at home and by the troops fighting overseas.

“This show is mainly character driven, as people see we’re putting on a radio show as soon as they walk in the door,” assistant stage manager Kristen Samuelson said.

“I think what’s really interesting about the show is the fact that it’s mainly focused on relationships between characters and not on the plot. These relationships are really interesting to watch.”

The play will be showing in the Jones Theater, beginning Wednesday, Nov. 16. Wednesday and Thursday there are showings at 7 p.m. and Friday Saturday the show starts at 8 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday there will be afternoon matinee performances at 3 p.m.

Students are entitled to one free ticket each, which can be collected at the box office in the FAB.

Spotify

Spotify is the newest trend for streaming music. Image Curtesy Google Images.

Established in 2008, but only recently available to U.S. customers, Spotify is one of
the newest online music streaming services. It’s compatible with a good deal of the current
electronic market, including most mobile phone services, PC and Mac. Spotify has some
extremely intriguing features such as a searchable music catalogue of 15 million songs, a playlist
maker that allows you to share your favorite songs with your friends and even do collaborative
editing of which songs are in the list, and compatibility with last.fm, where you can upload your
favorite songs and last.fm makes recommendations as to what other artists you might like.

Spotify also includes a radio service that plays random songs in a selected genre
or musical era. This feature is similar to Pandora but unfortunately less customizable than
Pandora because of Spotify’s inability to rate songs. However, Spotify’s radio service includes
biographical information of the artists being played and allows users to skip as many songs as
they so choose.

There are three types of subscriptions: Open, Unlimited, and Premium. Open does not
have monthly fees and has a limited amount of music listening time per month (about 20 hours).
Open also has advertisements that interrupt your music.

Unlimited and Premium are $4.99 and $9.99 per month, respectively, and each allow
users an unlimited amount of listening time per month. Premium users gain access to their
premium services, which include Offline mode, mobile device support, enhanced sound quality,
and exclusive content. All these features would seem to mark Spotify as a major player in the
online music player scene, provided you are willing to shell out $9.95 a month.

 

3D Movies

The Lion King goes 3D. Courtesty Google Images.

Movies in 3D have been a part of motion picture cinema ever since the 1950’s, but
haven’t been mainstream until recently, with movies such as “Avatar”, “Alice in Wonderland”,
and “How to Train Your Dragon” gaining massive audiences. It raises the question of whether
watching a 3D movie really makes it that much better of a movie and whether it is appropriate to
convert 2D movies to 3D.

“They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the
adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product,” director James Cameron said
about the recent reaction to the success of “Toy Story 3”. His thought is that too many movies
now are based solely on making them 3D rather than on characters, story, and cinematography.
He’s not the only one, though. Many movie critics including Roger Ebert and Mark
Kermode are also criticizing 3D movies for being distracting and only being an expensive
element added to a film which doesn’t actually add much to the movie-going experience.
Further, in many cases, it seems that audiences would rather watch the movie in 2D. For
example, only 46% of the opening ticket sales were for the 3D version of the recent “Pirates of
the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”.

Some people find the nuisance of having to wear colored glasses throughout a full-length
movie both annoying and disorienting, ultimately distracting from the enjoyment of a movie.
However, the statistics show that 3D movies do sell. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
received critical acclaim for its 3D filming techniques. Furthermore, “The Lion King” was
number one at the box offices when re-released into theatres in 3D.

It is not clear whether one form will win out over another, or whether a new form (4D?
) will replace them both. For now, it seems that the value of 2D versus 3D movies is a matter of
personal preference.

ACL Review

This year’s Austin City Limits festival, which spanned Sept. 16, 17, and 18, featured a lineup that, although thought by many to be weaker than normal, did not fail to perform. With a diverse lineup of artists from every genre imaginable, there were shows throughout the three rain soaked days to please any musical palette.Friday featured two standout hip hop artists, Big Boi and Kanye West, bo

th who performed on the main Bud Light stage and pulled out popular songs from their hit filled catalogs to keep their massive crowds tapping their feet and singing along. Another standout performance of the day was the popular act Foster

the People, who crowded the area surrounding the small Google+ stage and performed almost their entire album “Torches” to thousands of ravenous fans.
Saturday featured the massive pop performer Stevie Wonder who played to thousands but unfortunately experienced issues of overpowering sound from the My Morning Jacket concert that was taking place on the opposite side of Zilker. Drawing crowds to the Google+ stage to rival the previous day’s Foster the People concert, Sonny Moore, popularly known as the dubstep DJ Skrillex, worked the crowd into a bass fueled

dancing frenzy. On the opposite of this hyper dance dubstep, Iron and Wine put on a mellow set that provided an entertaining show to compliment the much needed rain that the Austin area saw on Saturday.

Ending the festival on Sunday, the most underrated day of the festival, Death From Above 1979 played one of their first shows in the past five years which only added to the excitement of their performance on the Honda stage. As a capstone to the weekend, Arcade Fire finished off ACL in their with a two hour long performance, culminating perfectly in “Sprawl II”. Surpassing the expectations of many, this year’s ACL was another successful weekend in the history of a festival that is known for its incredible headliners and perfectly chosen supporting artists.

2011 awards season: a recap

This year’s award season will draw to a close with the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 27. Throughout this season, the winners have stood proud, while some have been shocked by the results. The Grammys this year was no exception.

The most shocking of the results was that the seemingly unstoppable force of tween idol Justin Bieber did not achieve the covetous Best New Artist award.

He lost to a new jazz artist, Esperanza Spalding, who has played at the Peace Prize Ceremony.

Another surprising win was the Album of the Year going to Arcade Fire for “The Suburbs.” The band beat out hopefuls such as Eminem’s “Recovery” and Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster.”

Unsurprising were Lady Antebellum’s wins in six different categories, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

Lady Gaga took home Best Female Pop Vocals, Best Pop Vocal record, and Best Music Video (Short Form) for “Bad Romance.”

Cee-Lo Green won Best Urban/Alternative Performance for F*** You and Eminem won Best Rap Solo Performance.

The SAG Awards are taken as major hints for how the Oscars will play out. Best Actor went to “The King’s Speech” for the performance given by Colin Firth, while Natalie Portman won Best Actress in “Black Swan.”

The movie “The Fighter” claimed both Best Supporting Actor and Actress. The TV show “Boardwalk Empire” won Best Dramatic Actor and Best Ensemble in a Drama.

Best Actress in a Comedy went to Betty White in “Hot in Cleveland” and “Modern Family” won Best Ensemble in a Comedy. “Glee” and “The Big Bang Theory” surprisingly did not win anything.

Usher and Justin Bieber also perform a duet at the Grammy's. Courtesy of Google Images.

The Golden Globes is another useful way to predict the Oscar wins. Some of the Golden Globe winners were winners at the SAG Awards, too, yet others managed to squeeze their own victories.

“The King’s Speech” took home Best Dramatic Actor and “Black Swan” won another Best Dramatic Actress. “The Social Network” swept the board with four wins including Best Motion Picture.

“The Kids are All Right” won Best Comedy and Best Comedic Actress. “The Fighter” again took the two Best Supporting Awards and “Toy Story 3” won Best Animated.

In the realm of television, “Boardwalk Empire” took home two notable wins in Best Dramatic Series and Best Dramatic Actor.

“Glee” made itself known as it took Best Comedy/Musical Series and Both Supporting Actors for Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer.

The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons won Best Comedic Actor for Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Robert DiNero won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Golden Globes were most notable this year though for the host, Ricky Gervais, and his somewhat biting humor that many of the actors and critics took offensively. Halfway through the special, they began cutting more of his airtime to deter any more snide remarks.

The Oscars are sure to cause a stir this year. Who will win Best Picture? “The Social Network” or “The King’s Speech”?

Will Collin Firth and Natalie Portman keep their reigns on Best Actor? Will “The Social Network” make a clean sweep or will there be an unexpected victory from “127 Hours” or “True Grit”?

The fashions on the red carpet and the stars who will parade in them promise new splendors. And Helena Bonham Carter has promised a fashion scandal when she appears that everyone will remember. Whatever happens, it will definitely be interesting.

Rai$e your firework, ’cause we r born this way

Pink and Ke$ha. Courtesy of Google Images.

Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R”, Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Pink’s “Raise Your Glass,” and Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” all have a common theme: self-confidence.

In response to the string of suicides in the LGBT community, many of the reigning pop queens looked to inspire youth to be themselves in the face of adversity.

This clearly is a message that many were hoping to hear as all of the songs found major success in sales on the Billboard Top 100 Chart.

In fact, each song has reached number one during its time on the chart, and they all currently remain in the top 20.

However, these songs fail to fully separate themselves from stereotypical, cookie-cutter, sexualized pop music.

“We R Who We R” urges the listener to “live it up” while looking “sick and sexified.”

Someone should explain to Ke$ha that those are two terms that simply do not mesh.

That aside, the song is about independence and being true to yourself rather than listening to the opinions of others, or, as in the case of previous songs, brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack. Still, the message is slightly mixed.

Sending even more of a mixed message is Pink, with “Raise Your Glass.” Again, the song is mostly about getting as drunk as possible and having a rocking good time – not the greatest message to send to the world.

But she certainly sends a message of independence with, “All my underdogs, we will never be anything but loud and nitty gritty dirty little freaks.”

Pink seems to encourage her listeners to drink heavily to celebrate everyone’s differences. Maybe individualism can be accepted without substances?

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Courtesy of Google Images.

“Firework” sends a clean, simple message.

The video addresses topics such as self-image, domestic violence and cancer, while Perry says, “You don’t have to feel like a waste of space. You’re original, cannot be replaced.”

All in all, the lyrics are not exactly quality material. It sounds like she took a stack of Hallmark cards and picked a line from each. But the song does have a very inspiring and powerful message, even if it’s trite.

The music video, however, pushes barriers that are not so common by featuring two men kissing. Perry’s video definitely pushed her song to the top of the charts by making her message of inspiration to the downtrodden perfectly clear.

Gaga’s “Born this Way” reads like a proclamation for individualism. “I’m beautiful in my way,” she says, “I’m on the right track, baby – I was born this way.”

She also is the most blatant in addressing LGBT issues in possibly the most controversial way

The chorus of her song says, “A different lover is not a sin, believe capital H-I-M.” Gaga states that she does not believe that God thinks homosexuality is a sin.

Gaga also sings, “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I’m on the right track baby. I was born to survive.”

Lady Gaga clearly takes a stand for the LGBT rights, and uses her song to encourage the community and others to accept themselves for who they are.

Other than encouraging confidence and independence, all four songs are lacking one of the most common components of pop- love.

All four artists leave out any mention of romance or relationship entanglements. Given that the vast majority of radio hits focus on romance in some way, this is a refreshing change of pace.

It seems that the queens of pop want us to love ourselves and accept others. These songs will hopefully spread a message that influences the youth of America.

Chatroulette: Entertaining or disturbing?

Occasionally you can find interesting things on Chatroulette. Courtesy of Google Image.

Occasionally you can find interesting things on Chatroulette. Courtesy of Google Image.

There is a hot new website that “all the cool kids” are using. It connects random people for a brief video, audio or instant message chat. This international collection of users is able to cross cultural and national barriers to engage in mutually enlightening, deeply personal communication that people cannot usually achieve with people they know.

Yeah, right. Chatroulette is a website that people use for mindless entertainment and/or sexual gratification. It was started by a Russian high school student, Andrey Ternovskiy, who still runs the company out of his childhood bedroom. During two 10-minute sessions, I saw many groups of people who appeared to be under the influence of some mind altering substance or another, a few girls who seemed to be taking directions from people off-screen, two foreigners (from Italy and Norway,) and a cat. While these were mildly entertaining, if a little repetitive, the vast majority of users I encountered seemed to be males who were using alone and deriving sexual gratification from showing their genitalia to anonymous strangers.

Well, not all of them showed their genitalia, but many of them either “nexted” me as soon as the video started, or opened with the cryptic message “tits or GTFO” before then nexting me. “Nexting” refers to the action of clicking the Next button, ending the current chat and initiating a new one. In the world of Chatroulette, part of the game is to next before you get nexted.

Often the most entertaining thing you can hope for during a Chatroulette round is finding a man pretending to be Lady Gaga, a puppet show, or someone dressed as an alien.  Overall, most users are rarely that creative.

This website has been so successful as to have been lampooned by such television shows as “The Daily Show” and “South Park,” and has been championed as the next “Facebook.” While I don’t think this will be true, it will certainly provoke questions as to what is acceptable online, and offer ways for people to express themselves to new audiences. By “expressing themselves”, everyone knows I mean “self-pleasuring”, and by “new audience”, I mean “horrified 15-year-olds”, right?

PAA plans events for Asian American Heritage Month

A map of Asia.  Courtesy of Google Images.

A map of Asia. Courtesy of Google Images.

This semester at Southwestern University, April is Asian American Heritage Month. Previously ASIA Club (Association for Students Interested in Asia), Pan Asian Association is revamping its mission and activities along with its name.

“We changed at the end of last semester,” said sophomore Simon Tian, president of the organization. “We felt that the name ASIA wasn’t accurate for where we were going any more. We are less of a student interest group for entertainment purposes, aiming more towards social awareness and social justice.” Pan Asian Association hopes to have activities that reflect this change. “It’s not just about entertainment any more,” Tian said. “[We want] to educate people about the Asian-American community and make people more aware of the issues that affect the Asian-American community.”

The Pan Asian Association hopes that the name change will encourage new membership and activism on our campus. “We needed a term that was more inclusive, because some people did not identify with our previous name,” said Tian. “Pan Asia can be perceived as all of Asia – the whole continent of Asia. This name just fit in more with the new direction we’re moving in, and we hoped this could be a catalyst for change within the SU community regarding these social justice issues.”

Each Thursday of this month, Pan Asian Association is hosting an event to bring awareness to these social justice issues.

Guest Speaker: Smita Ruzicka

When: Thurday, April 15th

Where: Olin 105

Time: noon

Smita Ruzicka is a woman from South Asia, and will be speaking about issues pertaining to South asians.

Movie Showing: Vincent Who?

When: Thursday, April 22nd

Where: Olin 105

Time: 5 p.m.

Vincent Who? is a documentary about the murder of Chinese American Vincent Chin. In 1982, Chin was murdered in Detroit by two white autoworkers at the height of anti-Japanese sentiments. Following his assassination, Asian Americans around the country joined forces to form a true community in America. This documentary is based on a series of town hall meetings organized by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress on the 25th anniversary of the murder, features interviews, and presents a perhaps little known history of civil work in the Asian-American community.

Guest Speaker & Stress Reduction Workshop

When: Thursday, April 29th

Where: TBA

Time: TBA

The guest speaker is a professor from UT who will likely be speaking in the evening, and the lecture will be titled, “Asian-Americans 101.” The stress relief workshop will likely be occurring during lunch hours. “SU Peer Health Services does a stress reduction workshop, and starting last semester we collaborated,” said Tian. “We’re continuing with that this semester. We’ll have some stress reduction tips, some brain food, and a message therapist.” Yes, you heard me correctly, folks: a message therapist. What better way to go into finals week than with some helpful stress reduction tips and a free message? Come on. Awesome.

Keep an eye out for times and places of events this month through campus notices and advertisements. For more information about Pan Asian Association, contact Simon Tian at tians@southwestern.edu.