Recess' guide to this year's movie trailers

Special to The Chronicle

Tusk Special to The Chronicle

If you, like me, are often in search of new and exciting modes of procrastination, then likely you have found yourself in the positive feedback loop of watching movie trailers on YouTube. You begin with wanting to just catch a glimpse of the new Hunger Games trailer and, before you know it, you’re watching the trailer for the next Nicholas Cage film destined to flop.

The movie trailer as a form is almost as old as the movie itself. The first trailer was made in 1918 in order to advertise for an upcoming musical, but soon the idea caught on as a riveting and new stunt for advertisers. Before long, trailers for films were being shown at the theaters. For many decades, the production of movie trailers was not in the realm of the studio, but actually outsourced to the National Screen Society... Read more

A student's odyssey through Geer Street

Emily Feng

Emily Feng

Recently, I spent an evening with a rotating cast of friends on Geer Street to answer the question: what do you do with too much time on a Saturday night in Durham?

Just north of the heart of downtown Durham, the area around West Geer Street and Rigsbee (hereby “Geer Street”) mixes Durham’s signature brick warehouse thing with the occasional barbed wire fence. Its clientele, restaurant goers and resident barflies, are a mixture of cute and tough.

A quick geography lesson: on the corner of Foster Street and West Geer (think Cocoa Cinnamon, Manbites Dog Theater, King’s Sandwich Shop), we find the epitome of cute. Think wholesome family brunches, spontaneous games of volleyball and Duke kids in their yoga pants. As you turn the corner onto Rigsbee, things become edgier: plaid and facial hair make an aggressive comeback at Fullsteam Brewery, but nearby restaurant The Pit maintains a family-friendly vibe. At Motorco, the atmosphere takes a turn for the eccentric (in a good way)... Read more

The ethics of representation in American Horror Story

Special to The Chronicle

Special to The Chronicle

Record numbers of viewers tuned in to watch the season premiere of the fourth season of American Horror Story. With the largest audience in FX’s history, the first episode of “Freak Show” did not disappoint. From the initial onset of the murderous clown with a torn-away face, the horror of the show was truly brought to life, and yet—in true Ryan Murphy form—nothing could be a simple, surface-level plot, as the clown goes on to try and please his captives, potentially foreshadowing the torrid history that has led him down the road to torture.

The immediacy of the fear in the fourth season was reminiscent of the original “Murder House” season, which so captivated audiences before the sharp drop of the plot and fear-inducing elements of “Coven.” But perhaps what sets this season apart from any of its predecessors is its central cast of freaks. Set primarily in 1950’s Florida, this season follows a performing freak show—with a cast composed of some actors with physical disabilities and others with disabilities induced through CGI technology... Read more

Super or substandard?

Age of Ultron
Special to The Chronicle

Age of Ultron Special to The Chronicle

I feel like nowadays all I seem to write about is superheroes. To be honest, I can’t deny my passion for caped crusaders and escapism. Nonetheless, the true reason I continually capture the superhero genre in my pieces is that superhero films are becoming more popular and more frequent. So as DC has just recently released their new film slate, I’d like to consider whether the number of superhero films in the next five or so years is exciting or excessive

2015 is what we'll call the calm before the storm. We will be treated to the highly anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron, which, for any fanboy, sounds like it will be a grand ol’ time. The original Avengers film contained whip smart dialog, action-packed sequences and everything anyone could want out of a superhero film, so why not look forward to the sequel helmed by the great Joss Whedon. But then come Ant Man and the Fantastic Four reboot, two films no one asked for... Read more

The Comeback of DC

Special to The Chronicle

Special to The Chronicle

Do you remember a time when Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy changed the face of superhero films through its gritty, realistic reboot? DC was at the top of its game, and many argued that it had the upper hand over Marvel. But then something miraculous happened: Marvel shot out exceptionally witty and adventurous films such as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the promise of an unbeatable team-up called The Avengers. On the other hand, DC rebutted with misfires like Green Latern–-jeez, does that film reveal DC’s nonexistent sense of humor. Even Man of Steel was too serious for its own good.

Many would argue that DC can no longer compete with the movie-making machine that is Marvel Studios. But I propose an alternative theory.

While Marvel has undoubtedly captured the cinematic universe, DC has slowly edged its way back onto the map through a different route: the small screen. For a while, live action superhero TV shows had been put on the back-burner... Read more

Rise of the Planet of the Prequels

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Special to The Chronicle

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Special to The Chronicle

It all began in 2010 with the release of Iron Man 2. For me, it was the first reminder of a disease that existed throughout the vast cinematic universe: sequelitis. Sequelitis can be defined as a film sequel that not only is far worse in quality than its predecessor, but, often, destroys a franchise. Sure, there are the occasional successes like The Godfather Part II or Spiderman 2, but more often than not you get films like Grease 2, Staying Alive and, my personal (least) favorite, American Psycho II: All American Girl. Unfortunately, it is a malady that still continues to plague our contemporary society.

But now a whole new monster seems to be on the rise: The Prequel. Just look at the past few years with films like Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the three Hobbit films–okay doesn’t three films just seem excessive for a three hundred page long book?! And it’s not just films... Read more

Recess visits Girls Rock NC Rally

Special to The Chronicle

Special to The Chronicle

The morning of the Girls Rock NC concert as I ate breakfast in Au Bon Pain, I sleepily half-watched an infomercial for a “wheelbarrow for women.”

"It’s the easiest way for women to move heavy material!,” a man said.

“We don’t need men anymore!” His wife smiles, baring pearly white teeth. “Well, we still need them for some things…”

I feel the rising panic of someone uncertain of if they’re observing a satirical commentary.

Yet, when I think about the ridiculous indignity of fobbing off a poorly designed wheelbarrow on women, it becomes only one of those minor provocations dissected in Jezebel and Buzzfeed articles; an alarm buzzer that screams "misogyny!" for us without ever addressing the real issues.

I can write endless articles on microaggressions: on those Bic pens for women, “Science with a Sparkle” workshops for Girl Scouts, and the fact that every time I ride the C-1, I sit across from a Blue Rose Society sign that legitimately tells me “An intelligent man will open your mind. However, only a gentleman will open your heart... Read more

A visit to the Duke Gardens

Stephanie Wu / The Chronicle

If you ever find yourself in need of a place to escape the stresses of exam week, a place to lose track of time and experience relaxation in its purest form, then let Sarah P. Duke Gardens soothe your eyes with the beauty of Helianthus tuberosus and cushion your back with a thick bed of Paspalum notatum.

Stephanie Wu / The Chronicle

It is nearly impossible to spend “too much” time here—the concept of time is simply not applicable to a place where a miniature sundial is the sole physical reminder of a day flying by (that is, as long as you can resist the temptation of checking any electronic devices)... Read more

Reflections on the 2014 Duke Arts Festival

Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle

Just another typical day at the Duke Arts Festival:

“So, what’s your vision for next year’s festival?” I ask the Visual Arts Showcase curator Justin Sandulli after the exhibition's opening reception. Before Justin can answer, a question arises from one of the many circulating DUU Arts students.

“Wait, do we need to cover up the pianos for the night?”

The moment is wonderful for me, as it speaks to one of the Arts Festival’s signatures–the beautiful, whimsical hand-painted pianos at the West Campus bus stop, as well as the incredible amount of work put in by VisArts and DUU Arts students for this year's festival. They’re especially commendable since this year’s Duke Arts Festival, which runs from the 29th to the 4th, is completely student-run for the first time in its history... Read more

Namely, Muscles...but first, the spine

Special to The Chronicle / Olivia Zhu

Special to The Chronicle / Olivia Zhu

“Did you know that muscles only pull? You think they push but they can only pull.” As if seizing the space with her arms, extending them from side to side, Kate Trammel, dancer and choreographer, acted out the mechanisms of muscles in a short monologue excerpted from the upcoming performance of Namely, Muscles on Saturday.

She increased the intensity of her arm movements as she shouted out, “left, right, the agonist and the antagonist, acting like a couple but never touching.” Thus demonstrates the complexity and harmony of the human body. Sharon Babcock, who got her PhD in anatomy from Duke, and Trammel explore this phenomena in two workshops that explore anatomy through movement and dance. The first workshop focused mostly on the spine and the second workshop will focus on the heart, lungs and diaphragm. In each workshop, they discuss the roles of each of these parts of our body in life processes like breathing.

An enthusiastic amateur in dance and a stranger to human anatomy, I came to the workshop expecting a yoga session involving numerous backbends... Read more