Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

[promoslider category=”Arts and Entertainment”]

Paranormal Activity, does it live up to the hype?

I am a monstrously huge fan of horror movies, but I have not seen one in years that scared me to the point of screaming in horror. “Paranormal Activity looked like the answer to my petrifying prayers. This was a movie I have been looking forward since I first saw the TV spot a couple months ago. I even went online to demand it be released nationwide. Well, 1 million demands later, there was a nationwide release planned. Paranormal Activity” has been said to be one of the the scariest films of the year, perhaps even the decade. Could be true? Could this finally be the movie that can make audiences squeal in terrifying, horrific delight?

Not quite.

Plot Summary

Everyday, average couple Micah and Katie buy a video camera to record the not-so-average paranormal phenomenon that seems to be following Katie. At first, it is only noises and slamming doors waking the couple at night, but It quickly progresses into more violent and creepy happenings like footprints made in flour on the floor. Finally, Katie calls a physic who informs the couple that the entity in their home is very aggressive and he can do nothing for them. Micah then takes matters into his ownhands by going around the house cussing out the demon spirit (bad call) and then proceeds to borrow a Ouija board in an attempt to make contact. Unfortunately, his plan not only upsets Katie (who wants to take the smart approach to the situation and leave the evil spirit alone), but also causes even more disturbances, including possession. Katie is filmed doing things she can not remember in the morning, such as standing beside the bed for 3 hours like a creeper, staring at Micah while he sleeps. Katie begins having more blackouts and strange behavior, and Micah is lost on what to do. He suggests they leave the house (one of the view good ideas this guy has) and Katie agrees at first, but then changes her mind, saying “everything will be okay now.” That should have been a big red flag, and the audience can sense that something is about to go down, and we all know who it’s going to be. The end is sad, slightly reminiscent of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Exorcist , and too sudden. Paranormal Activity beats comparable films, like The Blair Witch Project, all to crap, but there could still have been more done with it if they had actually had a decent budget.

Is it worth your time?

The “home-video” feel to the movie makes the story seem more realistic, as Katie and Micah could be your next door neighbors. It actually puts me in the mind of Ghosthunters on the Scifi channel, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, that kind of approach can make the audience feel a little let down in the special effects department, but that’s part of the fun of this movie.

As with any film, “Paranormal Activity” comes with its share of problems and goofs. There are times you can hear the main characters call each other by the wrong names, but the viewers would be to engrossed in the situation to even notice the first time around.

What this movie does bring to the table is something different, a change of pace from the usual serial killer/monster movie we are starting to see a trend of. If you’re a fan of the psychological horror, this film can mess with your head if you let it. But, if you walk in not looking for the thrill of becoming scared, you probably won’t find this movie very threatening in the nightmare department.

See it or Skip it?

See it. I admit, I was caught up in all the hype surrounding this movie and expected to have to sleep with the lights on for a night or two, but I was a little let down. Maybe I expected too much and my standards are too high. I know this film would have scared a lot of my friends, so this is why I’m saying, give it a chance. This might be a film for you. As a viewer, you need to let yourself get into the story, and that’s when you can really enjoy its subtle terror. On the other hand, you might find this film funny (I did), and even that is worth some entertainment points, but it still does not live up to the hype.

Final Result: See it or wait to rent it (with a big group of people at night. That might make it more fun.)

Check out the trailer:

Photo courtesy of Blumhouse Productions

Video courtesy of YouTube.com

The greatest legend that ever played guitar!

Probably one of the best guitar players of Rock and Roll was a man by the name of Randall William Rhoads. He was an amazing guitar player and there were really no others quite like him. Ever since he was a kid all he wanted to do was play guitar. He began playing at a very young age. It didn’t take long at all for his talents to show when he had his first lesson. A very short time later, his guitar instructor told his mother, (“I’ve taught the kid everything I know and he’s mastered it flawlessly. If he keeps seeing me he’ll have to start teaching me soon.”) Randy’s mother was quite amazed by this.

When Randy was in his early twenties, the famous Ozzy Osbourne, who had been kicked out of the band Black Sabbath and was looking to start a new band, was holding tryouts to look for a guitar player. Randy had no interest in trying out, but his mother told him that he should because Osbourne was someone who really knew the buisness. After his tryout, his mother said that it was the only time she had ever seen him angry. It wasn’t even for the reason that you would expect. When he came home, he said (“Ozzy didn’t even let me finish warming up and he said I could be in his band. Now he doesn’t even really know what I can do!”)

Osbourne was later interviewed about this, and the reason he accepted Rhoads so quickly was actually pretty funny. (“I didn’t really care how good the kid was,”) Osbourne said. (“Everyone else who came to the tryouts was showing off and playing random shit as fast as they could, they thought that was the best way to impress me and it didn’t even sound all that good. I could tell that none of them were actually all that good and I was wondering if I’d ever be able to really get a good guitar player. When the kid came and began to audition, I didn’t care how good he was simply because he bothered to warm up.”)

Osbourne had no idea that the kid he accepted into his band was quite possibly one of the best guitar players in the world at that time. He was in for quite a surprise. He and Rhoads did some pretty amazing things together as they went on tours and gave performances. Osbourne’s band made a substantial amount of money and earned many fans. Rhoads was really incredible, and he made Ozzy’s band so well known.

Unfortunately, Rhoads only lived to be 26 years old. Shortly before his death, Rhoads told Osbourne that he planned on quiting the band to become a guitar teacher because he didn’t want the fame. He never had the chance to quit, however, because he died in a plane crash. The reason for the crash was none other than the fact that the pilot was being an idiot. Osbourne was asleep on his bus when Rhoads got on the plane. The pilot of the plane thought it would be funny to fly the plane around the bus just to make Osbourne mad. He flew the plane near the bus again and again, and one of the times that he came near the bus, one of the plane’s wings hit the bus, was cut off, and the plane flew into a mansion.

Osbourne’s band suffered a terrible loss when that happened, as did the world of music. Rhoads was truly one of the greatest guitar players who ever lived. He was so naturally gifted that even when he was a little kid it was as if god created him specifically for the purpose of playing guitar. There will really never be another guitar player as amazing as he was. To this day, modern rock is missing him, but the things he did in his lifetime made his name truely immortal.

Photo courtesy of www.rudysarzo.com, www.geocities.com

Video courtesy of YouTube

The Proposal: Sandra and Ryan propose an okay movie

This Summer was packed with some of the most exciting movies of the year (“Transformers,” “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” “Star Trek” and the list goes on,) and somewhere lost in the middle of the cinematic awesomeness was “The Proposal,” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

I’ll admit that I am a fan of the romantic-comedy genre, and this film delivers some cute, good laughs. But that is about it.

Plot Summary

The story begins with Margaret Tate (Bullock); a successful, uptight and generally hated editor-in-chief of a publishing company, who is told she is being deported back to Canada. To save her life in America, she forces her assistant who despises her, Andrew Paxton (Reynolds), to marry her in exchange for a promotion. To make the engagement seem legitimate, Andrew drags Margaret to a secluded Alaskan town that his family owns. Yes, Andrew’s family is filthy rich, and yet it is his goal to become an editor without the financial help of his family. He wants to make it on his own. He’s the touchingly typical good guy.

Upon reaching Andrew’s hometown, Margaret meets his family, including sweet, eccentric Grandma Annie, played by Betty White. The family buys into the fake romance. Margaret is treated to all the bridal festivities, including a very strange striptease from the town waiter/evangelist/wannabe Chippendale’s dancer. This is when Margaret starts feeling the consequences of her actions. She grows a heart and feels guilty for lying to Andrew’s entire family, all the while falling in love with him. And, surprise surprise, Andrew begins falling in love with her; only he does not realize it until Margaret leaves him at the altar (and it takes a strong woman to leave Ryan Reynolds, even if it is for the right reasons). But never fear, Andrew has a revelation and flies back to New York City just in time to save Margaret’s job and love. It’s disappointing that real life can’t be this way, but that’s what Hollywood is for.

The Pros and Cons

Let’s be honest here, the main characters are gorgeous. That’s attention grabbing in itself (no girl is going to say that seeing an almost naked Ryan Reynolds would not make their day, and even the guys wouldn’t mind a little peek at Sandra Bullock). Bullock and Reynolds are an easy-to-love comedic pair. Reynolds is likable with his easy sarcasm, while Bullock has to work for the audiences love in such an uptight role, but she pulls it off well. 1 point for Pros.

While there are some good comedic moments, such Grandma Annie (White) encouraging Margaret and Andrew to have premarital sex with the uber-gross family “baby maker” blanket or Margaret singing “Window to the Wall” with said grandma in the middle of the woods, there is really nothing new or fresh. The acts will still get a chuckle, but it is still nothing special. It’s the same jokes, puns, and stunts audiences have seen before. 1 point for Cons.

Perhaps the saving grace of this movie is, of course, the romance. It’s totally unbelievable that Andrew, who hated Margaret so much for a number of years, could fall in love with her in such a short amount of time. Some could argue that’s true love, I say that’s crap. But it is still a sweet thought and I’m a complete sucker for happy endings. The audience will know how this story ends before the previews even start, but the truth is, that’s just fine. It’s a typical, expected ending viewers will eat up. 1 point for Pros.

The Final Score

Pros: 2

Cons:1

This movie, however stereotypical, is still enjoyable. It’s as cute and sugary sweet as chocolate bunnies at Easter, and everyone could use some candy once in a while. Viewers probably won’t believe the ending, but they’ll still feel better knowing it ended correctly.

See it or Skip it?

See it. It’s not wonderfully awesome, but it is worth renting (since it is now out on DVD and Blue-ray). I would suggest renting before buying, however, because some of you may not be suckers like I am. It’s a perfect date movie or for a night-in with friends. For this movie, expect the expected and you’ll come out happy.

Photo from TouchStone

Video from YouTube

Big Trouble in Little China; big lame in big cinema

The movie “Big Trouble in Little China was clearly made for one specific reason: the makers wanted to have a film filled with lots of corny Chinese action. The action scenes in this movie are so obviously fake that even a preschooler would be able to tell the difference. However, the movie does have its laughs at certain points. But while it had a very interesting storyline behind it, the plot was not very well developed. The movie stars a truck driver named Jack Burton who takes his best friend to the airport to meet his fiance. His best friend is a young Chinese man who is eager to see the woman that he loves because he hasn’t been able to see her in a long time.

Things turn sour really quickly. When they arrive at the airport to meet her, she’s kidnapped by three mysterious suspects who tie her up, throw her in their car and take off with her. If I were her, I’d be thinking something like “Jesus Christ, I’m never going to that airport again!” So Jack and his friend set off on an adventure to save her and make a few new friends along the way. The two of them get involved in something thats much bigger than their rescue adventure and must fight numerous enemies along the way.

The action scenes in this movie, as mentioned earlier, are obviously fake. The sorcerers that Jack and his friends must battle are clearly being lifted by cables in the scenes where they fly. Also, in some of the fighting scenes, when the fighters are jumping around like in The Matrix and sword fighting midair, the effects behind it could have been much better. This movie was either extremely low budget or the makers of the movie were just extremely lazy. There were also monsters in this movie that were kind of scary but not very convincing.

As you get more and more into this movie, it becomes obvious that it’s nothing but a movie with Jacki Chan-style action. If the writers had taken a little more time with the story and made a better effort with the special effects, this would have been a pretty cool movie. Even though this is a movie that came out in the 80s, the special effects still could have been much better. A lot of cool sci-fi series were out at that time, like “Star Wars” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation and Terminator.”

This movie is a pretty good comedy. It has some pretty clever jokes here and there, and seeing how corny the special effects are, it can easily make you laugh. The ending to this movie was sort of creepy, when the monster was hiding on Jack’s truck. This ending was clearly designed to leave the audience with a little bit of fear. The movie had the potential to be great. While it was still ok, the makers should have made a better effort with it.

This is another featured story from Life Manager, Peter Mason, reviewing (or demolishing), older films. Enjoy; along with this video from the film.

Photos from of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

Video from of YouTube.com

Zombieland: giggly gruesomeness

The season of horror movies is officially here, and what better way to start the gorefest of October than with some zombie bashing like what you would find in “Zombieland”? While the number of zombie films has fallen in the last few years (replaced by movies like the millionth “Saw” and anything with vampires), this film shows all the promise of reigniting the fresh-eating frenzy all over again, even if it is with kicks and giggles.

I have never been one for horror/comedies, but I could not pass this one up. There was something about it that compelled me to see it. And it was totally worth it.

Plot Summary

The story starts with Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a multi-phobic, shy college student giving a monologue of his survival rules and a brief history of the apocalypse. The story is as follows:

Flo Rida visits Radford!

Radford is usually a quiet little town in Virginia. Provided, Radford definitely has its moments, like when the Highlanders won the Big South NCAA Basketball Tournament and traveled out to the NCAA tournament last year. There’s always Quadfest, which rolls around every year. Well, now Radford University will play host to one of the biggest events in the state. At the Dedmon Center on Saturday, October 17, Flo Rida will be performing live. It’s an event that if you’re a Radford student who’s really into modern music you won’t want to miss.

The first thing to understand about this guy is that he is a rapper. So if you don’t like rap, this may or may not be the concert for you. However, you may want to consider attending anyway, due to how many people will probably be in the crowd. It’ll be a good chance to meet new people and you can say you went to the concert that some of your friends at home may be jealous of. Ask any of your friends if they’ve ever heard of Flo Rida, and it’s almost certain that they have.

Flo Rida has had several big recent hits. His first single was the song “Low” featuring T-Pain, which was very successful when it was released. Other hits he had that were released include “In the Ayer”, “Elevator”, and one of the most successful songs, “Right Round”. All of these hits are songs you can expect to hear on October 17. If they’re songs you remember singing along with or dancing to, you’ll want to make sure you get a ticket to this concert. Tickets for students are $20 and $25 for everyone else. While they’re currently still on sale at the Hurlburt Student Center, there’s a good chance they’ll run out quickly if you wait too long. If tickets are still available, they’ll be on sale on the night of the concert, but waiting that long would be unwise if you’re able to obtain tickets at an earlier time.

Two of Flo Rida’s most well known albums include “Mail on Sunday” and the more recent “R.O.O.T.S.”, which are albums that many students at Radford probably own. If you’re considering going to the concert but are unsure of whether or not you’ll enjoy it and have never really listened to any Flo Rida songs before, you may want to borrow one of these CDs from a friend and see if you like any of the songs.

This concert is undoubtedly going to be one of the biggest events in Radford this year, and it’s not something you’ll want to miss if you’re an R.U. student. There are probably many young people around the state right now who are jealous that Radford is getting the chance to host an event like this. Tickets are still on sale so take advantage of being able to say you were there because odds are you won’t end up regretting it!

Pictures from:

http://www.rap-up.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/flo-rida-right-round4-475×315.jpg
http://free-mp3-lyrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/flo-rida-right-round-mp3-lyrics-video.jpg
http://gossiboocrew.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/flo-rida-right-round.jpg

Video from: blacktreemedia on Youtube

A massacre to horror films everywhere: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

In essence, the title of this article is about the best way to describe the movie, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. This movie has almost no noticable positive aspects. It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t very suspenseful, the acting in the movie was extremely shitty and the pattern of events in the movie allowed the viewer to easily predict pretty much everything to happen next through the entire movie. Provided, many different versions of the movie have been made, so maybe one of them is scary, but not the version that I saw. Even if you’ve never seen a horror movie before in your life, you could sit down and watch this movie and it probably wouldn’t really scare you one bit.

In the movie, five teenagers, or college students (the movie doesn’t specify), are on a roadtrip. They pick up a strange man who’s walking on the side of the road and offer him a ride. The man turns out to be completely insane, and when he attacks the characters with a knife, they immediatly stop and kick him out of the car. The man leaves a strange mark on their car with his own blood as they drive off. The teenagers stop at a gas station a little bit further down the road, and discover that the gas station has no gas, and the owner tells them to come back the next day. They drive over to an old house and decide to stay there. As they end up finding out, the man who owns the house just next door is a psycho maniac who kills people with his chainsaw and one by one as they visit his house, be picks them off until Sally, the only one of the five teenagers left alive, is forced to run from this killer when he’s eliminated the rest of her friends. Sally ends up uncovering a conspiricy going on between this killer, the owner of the gas station, and the strange man they picked up on the road, and she’s forced to fight for her life against all three of them.

The story sounds pretty cool, but when it needed to be made into a movie, the idea was definitly put into the wrong hands. All throughout the movie, the actors act like they have no experience at all. Also, the way that the killer pops up and takes out all the main characters isn’t frightening at all. In fact, the way it happens is like a pattern that eventually becomes extremely predictable. The first character who dies enters the house of the killer, and the killer comes out and hits him, knocks him out and cuts up his body with his chainsaw. The next character goes in to find him because she was with him when he entered the house, and she’s also killed. So naturally, another one of their friends comes looking for them, and when he comes to the killer’s house well, gee, what do you think is going to happen? Sure enough, he dies in the exact same way that his first two friends did.

The reason this move was so shitty was mainly because of the acting, and how predictable it was. There are some rather gruesome parts of this movie, but nothing in this movie is really all that scary. Also, there are too many things in this movie that weren’t explained in the end, or at least, if they were explained, they definitly weren’t explained very well. If you’re really into good horror films, this definitly isn’t a movie for you. Actually, if you’re really into good movies at all, this isn’t a movie for you.

Editor’s note: Peter Mason is our Life Manager and an avid watcher of film; mainly those made in this decade. So keep an eye out for his reviews as we give him old classics and watch him get bored. So check out the trailer for this film as well:

Fight Club: A model for God

The following is an in-depth discussion of the book: Fight Club.

“If you’re male and you’re Christian and living in America, your father is your model for God. And if you never knew your father, if your father bails out or dies or is never at home, what do you believe about God?” What do you believe about God? We believe what we are told about God. But look at your relationship with your father; the lack there of, the past, and the present. Now look at your relationship/view of God. See the similarities?

In Fight Club, both Tyler Durden and the unnamed narrator have no relationship with their fathers, due to both a complete absence and a bail out. Because of this misfortune neither Tyler nor the narrator grew up with a strong masculine figure in their life, which impacted both differently. The narrator seemingly becomes the guy who settles for things, the guy who works 9 p.m to 5 p.m, never questioning, never changing. On the other hand Tyler appears to be more of a macho, masculine man and this is what draws the narrator to him upon their meeting.

After a business trip the narrator arrives at his apartment only to find it blown to smithereens; his perfect life seemingly ruined. Everything he had worked for and paid for was burnt, shattered and sprinkled all over the block. Upon seeing this, he calls Tyler, thinking “deliver me, Tyler” hoping for an escape; for a savior. Just as he had hoped for, Tyler pulls through and offers to meet the narrator at a bar and offers him shelter with one stipulation: “I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” The narrator punches Tyler, and Tyler punches back … soon enough a crowd is drawn and the beginnings of fight club is seen as well as a bond between the narrator and Tyler.

“The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club … the second rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.” Tyler quickly steps up as leader of this group and is soon recognized as more than another member, but almost a deity. To all of these average, 9 to 5 working men, Tyler is something they all long to be; someone they can look up to. Tyler does becomes their god, despite the relationship how good or how bad any of them have with their fathers. Tyler is their fight club father, he is their leader, and their dictator.

After the narrator moves in with Tyler the bond between the two is strengthened all the time. Tyler begins by teaching the narrator how to make soap, explaining “with enough soap … you could blow up the whole world.” From that day on the narrator seems to become more and more involved with Tyler’s life; going to work with him sabotaging fancy dinner parties, going to fight club and admiring Tyler’s leadership. Soap making becomes more than just a hobby; it is now a source of income.

While Tyler seems to be nothing but a good guy, things begin to get out of control. While the narrator is finally able to overcome his insomnia and sleep more, Tyler is out causing trouble. Fight clubs spring up all over the U.S., and Tyler becomes this mysterious figure. Then, from the various fight clubs, Project Mayhem emerges with the goal to “blast the world free of history.” When the narrator discovers this, his insomnia returns and is often unable to find Tyler. The narrator discovers the mayhem and mischief that is being caused by Tyler’s deadly project, but is still confused about what exactly is happening. To figure out what Tyler has done, he asks many of the project members, but all of them refuse to tell him anything stating “the first rule about Project Mayhem is you don’t talk about Project Mayhem.” While from a religious sense God is not trying to make us all his monkeys in the destruction of the world; Project Mayhem reflects often what life is. We are educated and trained in a specific field, but for what? To those unknowing — which is most everybody — the big picture is unclear and only the small, minuscule details are in focus. “The fifth rule about Project Mayhem is you have to trust Tyler.”

While the Project Mayhem members seem content with their mindless jobs and assignments, the narrator isn’t. He has to know where Tyler is, and then sets out on a nationwide search for him. The narrator’s search for Tyler is much like many religous people seeking God. He was seemingly there at one time and everything made sense, but we fall asleep for a few hours and everything is gone, everything is a mystery; Tyler … God, doesn’t make sense anymore. After an exhausting search, the narrator finally finds relief from his insomnia in Seattle, only to finally find Tyler.

The discovery of Tyler would seem to be the end of the narrator’s journey, but it is not. Tyler then reveals more and more about what he has done while the narrator was sleeping. When we finally “find” God, we think it’s finally over, but more questions and more events unfold that begin to baffle us even more. It’s only in the end are we able to haggle and come to terms with God; it’s only in the end we are able to haggle and come to terms with our inner demons.

If our idea of God is similar to that of our fathers … what about those with no fathers? They will eventually find a male figure in their life, and suddenly, they are God. Everything they’ve ever wanted to be, they are. Tyler Durden proved to be a willing candidate for a father figure, a model for God, perhaps; a spokesperson for change and action. Tyler Durden became the epitome of perfection for the members of fight clubs around the nation, and the selfless Project Mayhem members. To the narrator, Tyler was the father figure he never had … a model for God he never had.

Check out a pivotal scene from the film “Fight Club”, based on the above book:

“Air Force One”: remembering the ride

Surely you must have seen this movie at some point; if you haven’t, check it out. It’s an amazing thriller from beginning to end. The story takes place on the president’s plane, Air Force One (of course). On the plane, a band of terrorists high-jack the plane in an attempt to get the United States government to comply with their demands. Harrison Ford, who plays the role of the president, single-handedly faces the terrorists on board to retake his plane.

The movie has some pretty good fight scenes, some good shoot-out battles, as well as a cool airplane fight in the end. The whole story has a pretty good plot behind it. If something like this ever happened in real life, it’s unlikely the president would be able to get away with staying on the plane when he should evacuate. As cool of a movie as this is, when the terrorists attempted to take over the plane in the very beginning, the president’s Secret Service agents attempted to evacuate him from the plane. He managed to get out of the pod to stay on board, which probably isn’t possible–there shouldn’t be any way to get out of a pod like that when it’s about to be dropped from the sky, and if there is a way to get out, then you may not want to get into the pod in the first place.

Also, the terrorists took over the plane with help from one of the president’s own Secret Service agents. Why would a Secret Service agent want to betray the man he took a vow to give his life to protect? Not only would that provide a great deal of guilt to live with, but Secret Service agents probably make more money than most people can ever hope to see in their lifetime. What could anybody possibly offer a Secret Service agent that would convince them to do something like that? It’s extremely unlikely that anyone would have that much money, especially if they weren’t American.

One final flaw in the plot is the fact that the president should never risk his life the way he did in this movie. If something like that ever really happened and the president didn’t end up getting killed, he’d probably be impeached as soon as he returned to the White House. The only reason he stayed on the plane was because the terrorists had his wife and daughter. Quite frankly, when the president makes a trip to another country to deal with issues concerning terrorists and things like that, if there’s even a chance that something like this could happen, his family should have no place being there with him. If his family wasn’t on the plane, he would have been evacuated and the terrorists’ whole plan probably would have been foiled.

The movie is definitely worth watching. If you’ve never seen it, try and find it sometime; it’s a great action movie. There are many ways you can look at this movie and compare it to something that can actually happen in real life, but it’s not very likely.

Interested yet? Check out the trailer: