DVDs, By Kristen Steenbeeke
“Rosemary’s Baby,” dir. Roman Polanski
In proper October fashion, this week’s films will be of the horrific variety. We’ll start with “Rosemary’s Baby,” Polanski’s 1968 film that goes from normal to horror very, very slowly. It begins with a couple — happy and normal, by all appearances — moving into a new apartment in New York. They’re preparing to have a child. But once Rosemary gets pregnant, things go slightly — almost unnoticeably — awry. Her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Castevet, are overly invested in the pregnancy. Her husband gets quite inexplicably buddy-buddy with them after at first wanting to avoid them. Rosemary is having strange dreams involving creepy cult rituals. All signs that build to the frightening crescendo of a horror movie done right: without cheap scares and an unbelievable plot.
Media Reserve / SLAV 223A
“Antichrist,” dir. Lars von Trier
Known mostly for its disturbing female circumcision scene (really, you probably want to close your eyes for that one), “Antichrist” follows an unnamed couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) coping after the death of their only child. Like “Rosemary’s Baby,” the terror builds slowly: The grief-stricken Gainsbourg and stoic Dafoe go on a retreat of sorts to a remote cabin to recuperate. Soon, though, Dafoe finds that his wife has been working on a thesis positing that women are inherently evil. The rest of the film details her descent into insanity and, let me tell you, has some of the most horrifying scenes I’ve ever witnessed on screen. Happy Halloween!
Media Browsing / DVD CRIT 480
CDs, By Joseph Sutton-Holcomb
“Scary Monsters,” David Bowie
David Bowie has switched identities — sonically and personally — like most of us change hairstyles. After the single “Space Oddity” electrified his solo career in 1969, Bowie became, in turn, glam-rock alien Ziggy Stardust, an Orwellian doomsayer for 1974’s “Diamond Dogs,” and dapper funk rocker The Thin White Duke before embarking on the cocaine-fueled stint in Germany (1977-79) that led to his famous “Berlin Trilogy” of albums produced by Brian Eno. And then came “Scary Monsters” in 1980, bringing together all the fragments. The title track “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” retains the droning vocals and edgy riffs of “Berlin Trilogy,” but Ziggy’s glitz is conspicuous in the six-minute epic “Teenage Wildlife,” and the Duke’s plucky bass lines are present in “Ashes to Ashes.” The album is a catalogue of Bowie’s work up to that time and a giant leap forward.
Suzzallo Media Center / Cd VIR 052
“Fashion Nugget,” Cake
When discussing music, it’s easy to tell if the person you’re talking to plays an instrument. They’ll dwell on the arrangements, taking the track apart piece by piece. Then there are the literary types — the big-picture people who scrunch up their eyes to catch a song’s lyrics and have Songmeanings.net bookmarked on their browser. “Fashion Nugget” is for the latter group. Front man John McCrea has one of the most emphatic voices in modern rock. On “Race Car Ya Yas,” when he sings, “The land where fuzzy dice still hang proudly like testicles in rearview mirrors,” the consonants whistle by like bullets. His brash lyrics are backed by the catchiest of horns, vibraslap, and shakers. It’s an album you can understand and enjoy on the first listen.
Suzzallo Media Center / Cd VOLC 001
Books, By Andrew Rodgers
“The Name of the Wind,” by Patrick Rothfuss
Chronicling the start of a warrior lutist’s rise to fame in a medieval fantasy setting, this is a story about being willing to fight to survive and finding joy despite taking a beating. Rothfuss tells most of the story in the hero’s own voice as he recounts his history, and the prose in those parts is the best I’ve ever read. Some sections are a bit wordy and he never reigns in his plot digressions, so it’s a somewhat long book at about 660 pages. It’s definitely worth the time it takes to read, though.
Odegaard Good Reads / PS3618.O8685 N36 2009
“The Art of War,” by Sun Tzu
Thousands of years old, this Chinese military treatise is more of a general treatise on competition, critical thinking, and how to be prepared for what other people will do. Strategies, such as making your opponent think you’re doing something you’re not, can be applied to everything from business to paintballing. Sun Tzu said in the book that “victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Read this book before you go to war in order to do that.
Odegaard Stacks / U101 .S932132 2006
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