The independent news organization of Duke University

Recess | Culture

"Krampus" tells the tale of the Engel family and their battle with an ancient spirit who punishes those who have lost the Christmas spirit.
RECESS  |  CULTURE

Making the case for 'Krampus' as a modern holiday classic

For the most part, my family’s taste in Christmas entertainment is laughably generic. We listen to the holiday radio station and soldier through a thousand wincingly pitchy covers of “Jingle Bell Rock” in the hopes of catching Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s rendition of “Carol of the Bells.” 


Stan Lee, creator of numerous popular Marvel comic book characters, died Nov. 12.
RECESS  |  CULTURE

Remembering Stan Lee, Marvel titan

When I was young, I was obsessed with my dad’s action figures. He had worked at a comic book store during graduate school, and the memorabilia he collected during his employment now covered nearly every flat surface in our spare room, where I would sit on the floor playing with the Spidermans and Silver Surfers.


Marielle Heller's "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" follows unemployed biographer Lee Israel as she attempts to regain her former success.
RECESS  |  CULTURE

‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ evokes sympathy for estranged author Lee Israel

In Marielle Heller’s film “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” 90s era Manhattan possesses a melancholy that seemed to seep out of its very being. In an ever-damp and ever-cloudy setting, we are introduced to the now-unemployed Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy), a foul-mouthed and cynical writer known for her biographies of Dorothy Kilgallen and Estee Lauder. The film is an adaptation of the real Lee Israel’s terminal publication by the same name, one that she published late in her career before succumbing to cancer.  


Mumford & Sons, pictured performing in 2012, released their fourth studio album "Delta" Nov. 16.
RECESS  |  CULTURE

Mumford & Sons show little change on the sprawling 'Delta'

I sat in the back row of the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, N.J., steady rain showering the fans on the lawn behind me. Marcus Mumford had been pouring his soul into the brooding climax of “White Blank Page” when dark clouds rolled overhead and thunder and lightning sent the band running offstage. For 45 minutes the storm repeatedly teased its retreat until, finally, the sky parted. As quickly as they had left, the band returned to the stage and, as the last sunlight of the day peeked through the grey, Mumford & Sons launched into their soaring anthem “Lover of the Light.”


"Beautiful Boy" explores the relationship between father David Sheff and his son Nic, who suffers from addiction.
RECESS  |  CULTURE

'Beautiful Boy' is an honest depiction of addiction and loss

What “Beautiful Boy” lacks in finesse, it makes up for in heart. The film, helmed by Swedish director Felix Van Groeningen, chronicles the true story of journalist David Sheff’s (Steve Carell) desperate attempt to salvage his deteriorating relationship with his son, Nic (Timothée Chalamet), who is addicted to methamphetamines.