Tag Archives: Entertainment

Local artists diversify music scene

Lizzie Martinez

Senior reporter

Music at Linfield is going local. The Seattle-based Blue Scholars kicked off this year’s with a rousing concert in the Oak Grove on Sept. 5. The Portland band Weinland followed up the successful act with an indoor jam Sept. 11.

From professional to student concerts, the theme for the year is keeping it local.

“Blue Scholars set the tone,” senior Kasey Richter, ASLC vice president of programming, said. “Outdoor concerts are challenging because you need a lot of people to make it a great event, but it was very well-attended.”

Richter estimated 400 people gathered on the lawn to enjoy the hip-hop beats of the local duo. Stretching across the lawn, the students danced to the rhythm of the band throughout the concert.

“I’d never heard of [Blue Scholars], but it was a good time,” senior Julia Barrett said. “I’d like to see more outdoor concerts.”

The duo was the first of four professional bands to come to Linfield this semester as part of the once-a-month professional Cat Cabs. As the Linfield Activities Board Musical Events Chair, senior Renata Tirta has been working since last semester to find new bands to play at Linfield. Drawing from college conferences and local talent around Portland, Tirta has lined up a diverse fall schedule.

On Sept. 11, the Portland band Weinland entertained audiences Fred Meyer Lounge with their folk-rock sound. On Oct. 9, solo artist Kristin Diable will perform.

“We’re going for a different sound,” Richter said. “Not the usual Jack Johnson.”

This year, Tirta is focusing on inviting local bands from the Pacific Northwest who will showcase a variety of sounds. Though the first concert was hip-hop, the next four months will be a mix of folk-rock, blues and more. She said she is trying to escape the pattern of only bringing in singer/songwriters who tend to fall in the same genre.

“Overall, I want to provide a variety of music that would appeal to the whole student body,” Tirta said. “I’m trying to bring in more bands that fuse different genres
together.”

Local music has its benefits. When students find a band or musician they enjoy, they also have the chance to attend other concerts in the Portland or Seattle areas.

Tirta also coordinates the weekly student Cat Cab performances. Coming performances will feature junior Joy Nelson, sophomore Patrick Stauffer and the improv club, Awkward Moose.

On Sept. 18, Nelson will perform a completely new set. Playing acoustic guitar and piano, she will debut a set of original songs she has written.

Nelson said she prefers to play original songs and draws her inspiration from interactions with friends, experiences and heartache. She encourages students to hear what their fellow students are producing and enjoy her music.

“[Cat Cab] is really one of the only midweek events,” Tirta said. “It’s a good way to relax.”

Several slots this semester and next semester are still available for performers. Freshmen and sophomores are particularly encouraged to apply, Tirta said. E-mail rtirta@linfield.edu for more information.

Because Tirta cannot accommodate every student’s preference in music, she is also trying to revive the practice of offering low-cost concert tickets through LAB.

“It’s a good way of providing opportunities for music not offered on campus,”
Tirta said.

Loss of words not a problem for ‘Wanted’

Kyle Anderson

For the Review

Whoever said that “actions speak louder than words” was clearly the driving force behind “Wanted,” a film profoundly based in pumping adrenaline and surreal movement. There is really little need for words in a film like this, one that tells its story through series of gunshots, car chases and lots of blood spilled on lots of pavement. “Wanted” takes place in a movie world where nothing is sacred unless Morgan Freeman says it is. Cops are no match for the cunning characters and justice is defined by Angelina Jolie’s extremely large lips. “Wanted” is a take-no-prisoners action flick that starts fast and never stops, letting the action do all the talking.

What little is said is spoken by Wesley Gibson (played by James McAvoy), a 21st Century anti-hero who’s amid an existential crisis and takes medication for his constant anxiety. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend, he never knew his father, he works in a dead end job and he spends quite a bit of time googling himself, only to find that his search did not match any results. Wesley’s world gets turned upside down when he meets Fox (played by Angelina Jolie), who narrowly saves him from a shootout at Walgreens, of which he seems to be the focal point. He is then told that his late father was an assassin in their elite group of killers known as “The Fraternity,” and like his father, Wesley is able to do really cool things like curves bullets, control his own heart rate and take hits like a champ. This is all to Wesley’s surprise, and it is Fox’s mission to train him to follow in his father’s footsteps, avenging the man who killed him. Morgan Freeman plays the Fraternity’s leader who tells Wesley that their job is to control fate “killing one, saving a thousand.”

Even within the confines of the gratuitously violent action genre, “Wanted” is quite a lot to handle. The film opens with a bang and never looks back. It is filled with your clichés typical of a film like this, all knowing old man, wisecracking main character, sexy lady who is a total badass, and yet it finds some credibility by carving out some originality. The camera work is quite superb, some scenes even upping the ante on The Matrix-like style. Instead of having a score that utilizes only synthesizers and electric guitars, this film makes room for a great orchestral work that is surprisingly effective in such an action film. The chases are stunning, the colors are bright, the narration is quirky and funny, and the locations are out of this world. Oh yeah, and the fights are REALLY cool too.

“Wanted” takes some big risks with its cartoon-like storytelling, edgy action sequences on trains, and its liking for shocking the audience, (has Morgan Freeman ever said “mother fucker” on screen?) but the reward is substantial. The film does take itself a bit too seriously towards the end, but overall, “Wanted” is a fun, fast, and slick movie that doesn’t slow itself down with details, but instead favors kicking action into overdrive. Grade: B+

‘Express’ soars high

Ryan Gerdes

Graphic/ads designer

Fans of “Superbad,” “Knocked Up” and “40 Year Old Virgin:” A new assignment has been added to your jam-packed syllabus. Homework materials required: $7-$9, driver’s license and a pair of Depends. Really though, I suggest you take a few hours from your studies and see “Pineapple Express”.

Seth Rogan has written and acted in yet another film littered with crude jokes, foul language and enough marijuana to choke a horse.

Rogan’s character and his dealer, played by James Franco, witness a police officer and drug lord commit a murder and spend the length of the film running from the cops, all the while trying to clear their names. Rogan is his usual comical self; the real surprise is how Franco breaks from his trend of serious roles in order to play a stringy-haired pothead. He pulls it off well: It’s as if he was meant to play a stoner all along. Another surprise is the introduction of a new bulletproof actor, Danny McBride.

This unseemly comedic trio of motley nitwits create fantastic on-screen chemistry.

Although the film is made up of many crude and funny bits, the glue that holds it together is the underlying theme of growing up and accepting one’s age. I’m hoping, however, that you don’t just take my word for it. Grade: B

‘Mamma Mia’ drowns

Kyle Anderson

For the Review

I felt like Scrooge while watching “Mamma Mia!” It’s one of those films that looks like it was so much fun to make, and I’m sure that everyone involved with the project was confident that their enjoyment would float into the audience as well. Instead, I felt like the displeased kid at the party who everyone else tries to make smile. There’s so much fun and laughter on that beautiful Grecian island that “Mamma Mia!” is indeed a party; I just wasn’t invited.

Unlike the beautiful blue water around it, “Mamma Mia!” doesn’t flow well. The pace never slows down to give time to develop any characters or plotlines. The plot is the same as the stage show: girl plans wedding, girl invites her three possible dads to her wedding, girl’s mom freaks out and hilarity and singing ensues.

As a stage show, the story is already a bare-bones vehicle to get from one great ABBA song to another, but unlike the plot in the stage show, the film completely breaks down. The fact that the story is so dismembered makes the moral seem stupid.

Meryl Streep sings well and tries to act her way out of a limiting script while looking like she is having a great time. Amanda Seyfried is probably the most surprising cast member. She makes the annoyingly fickle Sophie a lot less annoyingly fickle. The men in the film, who are merely pillars that the women dance around, don’t shine like their female counterparts. This is particularly true for Pierce Brosnan whose attempt at singing is the basis for many of the film’s not-supposed-to-be-funny-but-I-laughed-anyway sequences.

It’s the songs that are truly the stars, and most of them are good and fun to watch performed. Phyllida Lloyd, who directed the stage version, infuses a lot of great energy and visuals into the musical sequences, which look amazing on location in Greece. While Lloyd does well with these scenes, it was probably a mistake to let her direct the film. The show, which was made for the millions and millions of people who loved ABBA, is a great piece of musical theater that is a good two-and-a half-hours of mindless fun. The film is a watered-down version. Sloppy direction and writing in the dialogue-centered scenes makes the film vapid and incomplete. While I’m sure Lloyd had an amazing time directing this movie, but she forgets that how the party looks might not be as important as how the party came to be, thus leaving cinema-goers still waiting for their invitations. Grade: C

‘Zohan’ misses cut

Amber McKenna

Editor in chief

From the beginning I didn’t want to see it, but the urge of a family member and the unfortunate situation of busy theaters on a Saturday night made it happen. I can tell you that from the start, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” starring Adam Sandler, was a waste of time, production efforts and $9.

Sandler poses as Zohan Dvir, an Israeli government intelligence specialist who fakes his death. He comes to New York City in an effort to escape his war-plagued country and pursue his true passion: dressing hair in over-the-top ’80s styles.

The other “theme” of the movie is that the Zohan gets it on as much as a dog in heat and with the same reckless disregard for whom he does the deed with. Some other comedy veterans such as John Turturro, Lainie Kazan, Nick Swardson and Rob Schneider, make appearances as Zohan’s family, friends and enemies.

I will say this: The message the movie tries to get across is a good one. That is, in war there is no winner, and specifically in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it should end. However, middle-eastern stereotypes flourish and my once strong love for hummus has been put on hold. A strange cameo by singer Dave Matthews as a racist, redneck terrorist confirms that this movie was unnecessarily bad.

Shockingly, this movie was nominated for a Teen Choice Award. What the teens were thinking, I’m not quite sure. A friend of mine who is a hairdresser did enjoy this movie, but obviously the inside jokes of the stylist trade were lost on me.

There were a few good laughs to be had, but all in all I recommend not “messing” with the Zohan. I’m just glad I snuck into “Iron Man” afterward and got my $9 worth. Grade: D