Gargoyle guide to the week in entertainment, Sept. 27-Oct 2
Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 11:16am
If you have anything resembling free time left, we applaud you. however, despite our packed schedules, we're making time this weekend to see the curious new horror film "Let Me In," with a (hopefully) less sugary take on vampire relationships. The rest of the field is pretty bland however, with a disappointing new Sufjan Stevens release, and no games of particular merit. Check below for more.
movies in theaters this week
“Let Me In”
Rated R, dir. Matt Reeves
Nationwide release: Friday, October 1
"Let Me In" is an English adaptation of the Norwegian cult classic, "Let the Right One In." The plot revolves around a young boy in grade school who meets a strange girl living next door. She has to drink blood to survive, and her guardian has to kill people for her at least once a month. They develop a strange friendship as they help each other overcome the stresses every youth faces. It had a very foreboding atmosphere, which brings me to the modern adaptation. I’m afraid it might scrap the atmosphere for jump scares. I’m also not sure how the vampire/human relationship will work in this twilight era of film. The original was seriously lacking in English subtitles, so I am willing to give this a chance, but if there’s a werewolf with washboard abs, I’m leaving.
Rated R, dir. Deon Taylor
Nationwide release: Friday, October 1
You know it’s October when the nonsensical horror movies start pumping out. Horror has degraded to the point that producers will accept a one sentence premise to green light a movie. This is evidenced in movies like "FearDotCom" (If you visit the website…you die!) and "The Mangler (a laundry folding machine possessed by a demon). This brings us to "Chain Letter"’s brilliant premise. Rambunctious youngsters start receiving chain letters. You know the kind: “Hey guys! Send this to twelve friends and you meet your true love, if you don’t you will die tomorrow”. Well long story short, the kids actually start dying when they don’t forward the spam. This premise seems stupid enough to be made into a film, but oh no, it doesn’t stop there. This killer is determined to stick to the chain theme by only killing when it involves some sort of steel chain contraption. If you can’t see the inherent idiocy yourself, you deserve this movie.
“The Social Network”
Rated PG-13, dir. David Fincher
Nationwide release: Friday, October 1
I’m not sure how to react to the "Social Network." It’s the story of deception, lies, and greed that leads to the invention of Facebook. Mark Zuckerburg is a well to do Harvard attendee who invents Facebook to gain entrance into the school’s more elite clubs. He sells out his friends and colleagues to gain power and wealth, but eventually his ego grows too large and starts to get him in trouble with the law. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this kind of story (aside from the fact that I couldn’t care less), but what worries me more is its accuracy. It seems unfair to make a film about someone’s life without their input or their side of the story. Even Zuckerburg himself seems upset by it, saying "I just wished that nobody made a movie of me while I was still alive". Considering the claims this movie intends to make, I would prefer to see more of this young man’s life before we jump to demonize him.
Will’s Pick: If Let Me In is at all like the original, it will be more worth a look than the others.
video games in stores this week
"Dead Rising 2"
Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, and PC
Zombies are the quintessential video game villain. They are human enough for people to let out their aggressions on, but they are not human enough to feel guilt for their death. This gives the "Dead Rising" series a terrific premise: you are stuck in a closed area with thousands of zombies…survive! The only problem I had with the original was that everything you did was on a timer. The game almost required you to play through part of the game, restart, and repeat if you wanted to build up your experience points and gain enough skills to rescue all the survivors. Although the "Dead Rising 2" appears to embrace this old tactic, it does allow you to play the campaign cooperatively with a friend, which may alleviate most of my problems. In the past, the series has embraced its sillier nature, which seems present here as well, considering you can strap chainsaws to a motocross bike and fly through a horde of the undead. Although it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, this game should give zombie fans more than enough of what they love
Developer: EA Sports Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and PC
I doubt anything I say will convince you one way or the other about "FIFA 11". Sports games always find a consistent audience that seems to buy the new addition every year, regardless of whether it has improved anything substantial. "FIFA 11" does appear to still be trying to advance however, as much as you can advance with a soccer simulator. This new edition brags a new “personality simulator” that allows you to create a complex player that will react differently in different situations. For example, there may be a player you design that is less energetic on offense, but becomes significantly more aggressive while on defense. Other subtle differences like ball handling styles allow for a whole new level of complexity. The annual visual touch-ups and a few vuvuzelas round out the final package in this surprisingly complex sports title.
"Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock"
Systems: Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3
Music games have gotten pretty stale at this point, meaning that companies need to keep finding new hooks to sucker in the old buyers. For "Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock," that hook is a new campaign called “Quest Mode” that takes the old characters from the previous games and equips them with ancient mystical powers of rock. You are attempting to find a mythical guitar which will endow you with rock god status. To me, this sounds like a rejected script for a "Tenacious D" movie. All this really constitutes is an add-on that attempts to make the series fresh and new. At this point I think it might take something more innovative and all-reaching to fix the music game industry, but until then, we can still rock out to “Twisted Sister” while pretending to be a werewolf with a guitar.
Will’s Pick: I can’t speak for sports fans, but "Dead Rising 2" has the most bang for your buck.
cds in stores this week
Eric Clapton has been lauded, entirely appropriately, as one of the greatest musicians of our age. A three time inductee to the rock n' roll hall of fame, winner of multiple Grammy awards, and Order of the British Empire for services to music, the self-titled "Clapton" represents his 19th studio album discounting myriad live and compilation albums, as well as his time with the bands the Yardbirds and Cream. Featuring a mix of new material and covers, the album ranges in tone from country to rock, but always with a touch of Clapton's signature blues. Though hardly a revelatory piece in such a large body of work, "Clapton" is sure to be a solid buy--solid composition, strong vocals, and, of course, that smoky, smooth Clapton guitar.
"Age of Adz"
Asthmatic Kitty (leaked)
Though not due for release until next month, Sufjan Steven's new LP "The Age of Adz" has found its way onto the internet in a quasi-official NPR stream as well as a number of file share sites, and from what I've heard, it's... not great. it's hard for me, as a long time Sufjan fan, to dislike any part of his already-extensive body of work, from the glitchy " A Sun Came" to orchestral suite "the BQE," but "Adz" seems to be composed of all that is wrong with his previous works, from the fluttering flutes of "Movement IV: Traffic Shock" to the meaningless, too-long jams of "Djohariah." I'm just not feeling it.
Phil Collins, an English drummer, keyboardist, and singer songwriter just released his 7th album. In it, he tries to pay a tribute to the Motown artists he listened to as a child. He does this by covering some Motown classics, such as the Temptations “Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue),” and Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright).” Collins brings his own twist to the songs, something that is not always the best. In my opinion, a few of the songs are ear bleeders, but there are a couple that aren’t… so bad.
Katy and Katie's Pick: Well then. Clapton is safe, if not brilliant. Sufjan and Collins disappoints.
local shows and events
"Masculinities: Manhood, Gender and Violence"
Date: 7:00pm - 8:00pm, Tuesday, Sept 28
Venue: Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana
You might have met Jimmie Briggs two years ago when he visited school to talk about his investigative journalism. Currently in residence at Allen Hall, he'll be presenting his work as an advocate and activist on preventing gender violence.
Date: 6:00pm - 9:00pm, Thursday, Sept. 30
Venue: Canopy Club, 708 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana
Must be 18 or accompanied by a parent
Wiz Khalifa is one of the best mixtape rappers of the age. Though pre-sale tickets are sold out, a small number of tickets will be available day of. I'd recommend going early.
Katy's Pick: I've been to a lot of concerts recently, and anyway, Jimmie Briggs is just more interesting.