Wednesday, July 23, 2014  
The Charger Bulletin

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

Anyone who knows me knows my love for the Transformers movies. I am the unapologetic defender of the Michael Bay Transformers films. Of course I acknowledge the flaws, but as a member of the targeted audience, I was able to happily walk out of the theatre every single time.

Mark Wahlberg, as Cade Yeager, Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager, and T.J. Miller as Lucas Flannery, in Transformers: Age of Extinction. (AP Photo)

Mark Wahlberg, as Cade Yeager, Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager, and T.J. Miller as Lucas Flannery, in Transformers: Age of Extinction. (AP Photo)

With that being said, I absolutely hate Transformers: Age of Extinction. I generally keep these reviews spoiler free, so details will be excluded. Throughout the entire film I turned to my friends once at least every 90 seconds and point out something that either bothered me, or did not make any sense. By time the film ended, I was beyond bored, angry, confused, and disappointed.

Here’s why: the Transformers films usually have a recipe. I am not referring to the plot formula that each film followed; instead, I’m talking about the pieces in the film that kept me wanting more. The recipe was as follows: a simple plot that can get me from start to finish, likable Autobots who I can get on board with, very attractive females and over the top explosive action.

This film’s first sin is the two hour and 45 minute time span. The second is its plot. The plot tried so hard to be complex, convoluted and intertwining that it quickly gets lost in its own madness and tangles like a slinky. By time the climax happens, you begin to ask yourself, “what exactly are the two sides, and what exactly are they fighting over?”

The Autobots are brand new, aside from returners Optimus (a post-Vietnam Optimus), and the severely underused Bumble Bee. The rest of the Autobots get no introduction, and are the most unlikable robots ever put on film. They are annoying, and you simply do not care for any of them.

There is one hot female, who the movie constantly reminds you is 17-years-old, yet continues to shove her butt on screen in crystal clear definition. This girl is accompanied on-screen by the most annoying and pointless human character out of all four movies, Mark Wahlberg, who clearly looks out of place.

The action is great as always; it just gets exhausting after being stretched out for so long. Even about a third of the computer graphics look unfinished, which is aggravating.

What’s good about this movie? Lockdown: a bounty hunter from Cybertron who identifies as neither Autobot nor Decepticon. I tell you, every second this guy was on screen I was glued. Other than that, there isn’t much to like about this film. And as I said, this is coming from a Michael Bay supporter, so I was not waiting to hate this film. It’s just unfortunate that’s what happened by the end. Please, Paramount, get someone else to direct the fifth movie!

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

For the first time since X2 (X-Men United), Brian Singer returns to the franchise and promises to give us one for the books with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Does this film hold up to the hype? Goodness yes! And I say that with enthusiasm and satisfaction.

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past. (AP Photo)

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past. (AP Photo)

The reason why this film is so monumental is for the same reason The Avengers was: this was the big crossover film where all characters from each previous movie were included and relevant.

Like The Avengers, X-Men does a great job balancing out screen time, and making everyone seem relevant and significant. The pacing is quick and to-the-point, and characters are all memorable. It was a big worry that Wolverine would be forged as the centerpiece of the film, but I am glad to say that is not true. Wolverine is the medium through which the audience views the events, but the true centerpieces of the film are young Professor X and Mystique.

Like any good comic book film, action scenes are memorable. The opening sequence is reminiscent of the climactic battle in Thor: the Dark World, and I say that with the greatest respect to both.

Like any good X-Men story (film or comic book), the villains are fascinating. There are multiple villains in this film and each is understandable. There are no black/white bad guys and clear answers. Each villain has legitimate motivation no matter how violent their plan is. To me, the greatest villains are the ones where I can shamefully agree with, and this movie has that.

What gives this movie the satisfaction level it has is it’s ending.

SPOILER (kind of): Anyone who knows the X-Men franchise knows how X-Men: The Last Stand is universally hated for its unpopular decisions and deaths. The ending of this film erases all of that. All things you didn’t like are now undone. All time inconsistencies and plot holes have been reduced to a clean slate. And when a certain character walked in at the final moments, I had no shame screaming the “F” word in a sold out theatre. The ending alone is worth the ticket price.

I recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in a thriller with characters who you can invest in. Like Winter Soldier, it’s not just a good comic book film; it is a great film in general.

There is, in fact, word floating around involving a Best Picture Nomination (of course we need to finish off the year to know for sure). Just make sure you see the previous films in the serious. Ditch the Wolverine films, all you need are X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men: First Class. Enjoy!

Godzilla Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

With Pacific Rim proving to be an overall success, it’s no wonder why Warner Bros. would invest in yet another giant monster movie. This time, they decided to invest in the cinematic icon of Godzilla.

Scene from Godzilla (AP Photo)

Scene from Godzilla (AP Photo)

Immediately, this film had skeptics, considering the last (and only other) American-made Godzilla film was one of the worst films of the past 20 years. Could this second chance be America’s redemption? I am happy to report: yes.

For those that haven’t read my reviews before, I usually keep my reviews spoiler free in order to encourage others to see the film and make their own determinations, so plot details will not be included. I will not say this movie is my favorite of the summer, because it’s not. But I will say it’s on the upper tier so far.

This movie thrives on the build up of Godzilla’s presence. You don’t see his full shot until about a third of the way into the film. When you do see him, you don’t see him fight until the end. This may sound boring to hear, but it’s not. The film does a fantastic job building up the viewer’s appetite for destruction.

And boy does it deliver at the end. Godzilla’s victory easily claims the Kill of the Year thus far in 2014. Clearly, build-ups and visuals are the strength of this film. However, I will say it does have some weaknesses that weigh it down just a bit.

The main character, Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor Johnson, is simply boring. The middle drags out when they try to emphasize him and his family, and you really don’t care that much.

Brian Cranston, who plays Joe Brody, gives us a great, but short, performance in the first third of the film. Other than that, the characters aren’t really what keep you in your seat. It’s not terrible, but not on par to what it should be.

I recommend this to anyone who wants a fun summer blockbuster for a Friday night. It’s definitely worth the ticket price, so I encourage everyone to see it.

Photo of the Week

by The Charger Bulletin | May 7, 2014
By: Caitlin Duncan, freshman Taken October, 2013 Location: Bronx Zoo

By: Caitlin Duncan, freshman
Taken October, 2013
Location: Bronx Zoo

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | May 7, 2014

Lenny Kaye’s Positive and Optimistic Outlook for the Future of Music

I write about music all the time. Whether it is an article for the paper, a post for my blog, or a Facebook status pointing out an awesome new song, I feel the constant need to share my opinion on the music happening around us today. That is why it was enlightening for me to attend the lecture hosted by Murray Krugman of The University of New Haven music department, featuring Lenny Kaye.

Lenny the Kaye (Obtained via Lennykane.com)

Lenny the Kaye (Obtained via Lennykane.com)

Kaye has worked as a musician alongside the great Patti Smith, a songwriter, a record producer, and a music journalist.

“I’ve never been told to have a certain opinion for an album review,” he said in response to a question asked during his round table discussion this past Monday in the Seton Art Gallery on campus. “I just try to be positive. There is always a secret to an album, you just have to figure it out. I used to pin point certain songs I liked and just focus on them, because out of 12 songs an album, there’s bound to be one you can relate to. I soon realized though that it’s not about the song, it’s about the atmosphere of the album, just like it’s not about a tree, but the forest.”

As someone who is constantly trying to be positive in my album and show reviews, I know how hard it can be to focus an entire piece around a key song; however, I have never really thought about the atmosphere.

“There are certain artists today that are Jello artists,” he said. “There are those generic, just-add-water artists who simply perform into a mold. Then there are artists like Patti.”

Kaye had nothing but great things to say about his good friend and band mate, Smith. He described her as a strong-minded woman who would hold her ground in the toughest of situations, always fighting first for creative freedom when it came to making deals with record labels.

Smith grew up down the street from me in my hometown in South Jersey. Therefore, when he spoke of forming his strong with her over doo-wop music based on where she was from, I could really relate. Growing up right outside of Philadelphia, you are constantly influenced by Philly Soul, be it Hall & Oates or The Stylistics. I had always seen this as a disadvantage for my own career, as if I was born in the wrong decade. That is, until I heard Kaye’s perspective.

“You have to look at artists like Suzanne Vega or Lorde,” he suggested. “When Suzanne was coming about in the 80s she was surrounded by larger-than-life acts, the same as Lorde coming about with the likes of Katy Perry or Pink. This is a time where the audience is in need of a change, even if they don’t know it yet, and when they hear that unique difference from the musical norm at the time, they will push that artist and help them elevate to new heights. I think that’s how Suzanne went platinum.”

It was hard to sit through Kaye’s speech and not feel inspired. He had such a positive, almost spiritual, outlook on music and it’s evolution. This makes him, as he self-proclaimed, a musical historian. He is the co-author of Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings and is currently working on an album for Waylon’s wife, Jessi Colter. Kaye proved himself in just a few hours, to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Most artists from his generation express the feeling of fear when they look at the music industry today and what it’s become, but Kaye was optimistic. “You all grew up with computers,” he said. “That’s so cool. You have such an advantage and a myriad of technical skills. It will be amazing to see what you all do in the industry and how music evolves in the next fifteen years. I can go down to my basement today and make an album. That is so strange to me, but you virtually have everything at your fingertips. I’m taking a trip to Boston today for a meeting on Colter’s album, and I don’t have to carry ten reels of tape with me to play the tracks. It’s strange, but it’s great.”

Kaye contiuned to say, “I think Rock N’ Roll has ended and I’ll tell you why. Everything that can be done as far as rock music has been done. Now we’re at this new place where bands like The Black Keys are forming. Years ago it would have never been possible for a band to form with only two members unless they were folk with guitars and their voices. It’s exciting for me to see this change.”

It was clear that after

Kaye’s chat with UNH students, they all left feeling positive about their futures and the future of music. This is a man who was born in 1946, and has experienced over four decades of music changes and challenges. I think if there is any opinion I’m going to trust on the forthcoming music industry, it’s Kaye’s. With his Encyclopedia-like knowledge on the decades of music he has lived through, his empathetic personality, and portfolio of music industry involvement, Kaye is a force to be reckoned with.

“You have to look at music like writing about it would confine it. If everything you heard could be described in words, you wouldn’t have music. Chopin’s ‘Nocturne in E-flat Major’ is just a hit single of the 1800’s,” said Kaye.

 

The Charger Battery

by Patricia Oprea | May 7, 2014

Positives:

+ Summer is right around the corner! Remember to stay safe and enjoy these few months without school. Don’t spend it all wishing you were back at UNH, because that will come all too quickly.

+ Congrats to the cast of Spring Awakening for putting on such an emotion-laden and thought-provoking musical with maturity and grace. The set, lights, music, and acting combined to make quite a moving performance.

 

Negatives:

- The workload at the end of every semester. Although we know it is coming, it is rare to plan for it. We say we won’t procrastinate, but every semester eventually brings an all-nighter (or several).

- People on this campus are fiends when it comes to free food, it is always gone so quickly! When organizations advertise in huge print about food at an event, they might as well include “For the first five minutes only.”

 

The Battery Charge:

What an amazing Spring Weekend! From the comedian Loni Love, to the music-themed carnival and the Krewella concert, to the drive-in movie Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, this weekend couldn’t have been better. Thank you SCOPE for putting together such a fantastic few days!

Postcards from Prato

by Samantha Higgins | May 7, 2014

Time in Prato coming to an end.

Riomaggiore, one of the little towns that makes up Cinque Terre (Samantha Higgins/Charger Bulletin Photo)

Riomaggiore, one of the little towns that makes up Cinque Terre (Samantha Higgins/Charger Bulletin Photo)

Well, this is it. By the time you read this we will be more than halfway through Finals Week; our journey here in Prato is coming to an end.

Last week we finished classes and reviewed for finals, students went to Venice, Genoa and Germany, and I personally took a last minute trip with friends to Cinque Terre. This last minute trip was a perfect way to celebrate the end of classes and beginning of finals for me. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The water was gorgeous and the colors of the buildings were so vivid I took as many pictures as I could, but they, like all others, do no justice to the absolute beauty of the location.

We finished Conversation Exchange this week and had a photo contest where each student was able to enter photos they have taken throughout the semester. Categories of the contest included People, Nature, and Places. Once entered everyone came together for pizza and we all got to vote on the winners in each category. It was a great way to not only get everyone together, but to get a chance to see where everyone else has been throughout the semester.

The Food Quality class also took its last trip last week to a frozen pizza factory called Food Italia. We got to see the machinery and the preparation process of the pizza and sandwiches, and all the care that goes into making sure there is no contamination. Each student had to wear hair nets, a jacket over their clothes and plastic on their shoes and wash their hands before entering. It was a very interesting experience!

This week we have finals and Prato Campus Week, finally. We have been hearing about it all semester. We have our last week of Soccer Monday, then Prato Campus Week begins Tuesday with events at Monash, the Australian college that is also in Prato. Events throughout the week include a “speedy” conversation exchange, an Australian Barbeque, lectures about various topics, a band that will go through the streets playing music, concerts, and Saturday there is the run/walk for everyone. In addition to all these activities and finals, Thursday night, after finals are completed, we have our Farewell Dinner. If it is anything like the Welcome Dinner, it will be yet another amazing meal full of wonderful memories for everyone here.

Studying in Prato has been the best experience of my life. Having the opportunity to study here is a wonderful chance for everyone at UNH. After being here I think that everyone should study abroad, it doesn’t have to be here, but the things I’ve seen and done here have been amazing. The campus, trips, meal plan, classes, and staff are all great aspects of Prato. Anyone who never considered it, or who has, but got nervous, and those who have been on the fence about it should just take the leap and hand in an application to study abroad. Don’t worry about money, classes, or anything; hand in an application then work with the staff to figure things out so it works for you. For every step of the process there are people who can help you with everything you need.

All in all, I haven’t even left Prato yet and I already want to come back. I want to plan my next semester or trip to Italy, or maybe just Europe, but somewhere. The experiences I have had here have been more than everything I ever imagined, I took more than 1,000 pictures just to remember and try to share the experience with everyone I can. I highly encourage everyone to study abroad, go outside their comfort zones and experience another culture, language, food, and life.

 

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | April 30, 2014

Blake Morgan respects the music

“Sometimes what looks a lot like ‘inspiration,’ later is really just ‘desperation’ or ‘necessity’ at the time,” said Blake Morgan when I inquired about his inspiration to start up his own global music company.

Blake Morgan (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Blake Morgan (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Morgan is a musician, singer-songwriter, producer, and owner of the record label, ECR music group. “I had to make a difficult decision to free myself from my long-term major-label record deal, with Phil Ramone and his N2K/Sony label. I thought I was going to be with that label my whole career, but when it became clear to me that that label was going to do more harm to my career in the end than help it, I had to get out,” he continued. “Phil and I remained friends right up until the end of his life, and it turned out to be the right decision. Emotionally, I was out of options––I couldn’t do what I’d done before with another major label deal––so it was really necessity more than anything.”

As a musician, I was shocked by Morgan’s continuation on the subject. “I swore that the first rule of the label would be that all the artists would own their own master recordings 100 percent. And they always have. Since I launched the label on my laptop all those years ago, we’ve grown and flourished to become a global music company, ECR Music Group, distributed in 110 countries around the world.”

Allowing an artist to own their own master recordings 100 percent is unheard of and something that I believe has set Morgan apart from every other music company and label in the world. I felt it had to be difficult for an artist to release an album under their own label for the first time when they are used to so routinely releasing music under a label they basically “work for.” Therefore, I inquired about Diamonds in the Dark, an album that was released in 2013 under ECR Music Group.

“For me, it was the fulfillment of a dream; that I could make the record of my dreams, for the label of my dreams. I guess all I had to do was build that label myself, in the end!” Morgan said. And being the selfless man that his background story proves him to be, he finished by saying, “I feel this way about each and every one of our records. We have two new records coming out very soon, by Melissa Giges and Janita, and I’ve worked on each of them for almost two years. Each! So these albums really mean a lot to us, every one of them.”

When I asked Morgan about his largest musical and personal influence he said, “There’s no artist or band that’s meant more to me musically or personally than The Beatles, ever since I was a kid.”

And here it is! The best piece of advice I think I have ever included in any of my articles, especially if you are a music major here at the University of New Haven desperately searching for a “practical” career in the industry that you love.

“The world is going to tell you that the profession you want to pursue, being an artist, isn’t ‘practical.’ It isn’t realistic or maybe even worthwhile. I hope you don’t listen to those voices, and instead, listen to your own. I hope you go for it, wholeheartedly,” said Morgan, “Being a musician is just as challenging and rewarding as any other profession. I believe that artists should be paid for their work the same as other professions. I wrote an article about this very phenomenon for the Huffington Post last December, following an experience I had in returning to my own high-school for Career Day.”

An inspirational response like this coming from such a respectable music mogul in the industry was enlightening for me to say the least, and I can only hope that many of you take the same amazing outlook on the career you have a passion for from this man’s experienced opinion.

Morgan is currently running his I Respect Music campaign, aiming to get music recognized as a real profession rather than the hobby our world still unfortunately sees it as. “Congress hasn’t passed that bill yet and in fact, Pandora has (at least for the moment) abandoned their own signature legislation that would lessen artists’ royalties. This is, in my opinion, 100 percent because artists and musicians rose up and stood together to say, ‘enough is enough.’ I truly think the folks at Pandora were not expecting to be called out on their ‘smoke blowing,’ and didn’t expect musicians to be as vocal and courageous as they have been,” Morgan explained to defend his campaign.

“My email exchange with Mr. Westergren [Pandora’s founder] was the moment when I personally decided that enough was enough, and I saw my chance to speak up about what Pandora was trying to do. I’m glad I did it. Check out www.IRespectMusic.org. Add your name to our historic petition to Congress. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see the amazing photos people have been posting and Tweeting by the thousands, each holding up a sign that has the #IRespectMusic hashtag. So add your own!” Morgan suggests for students who believe it is right for artists to get paid for Internet radio play the same as any other medium.

With such an amazingly busy schedule, it is hard to figure out what keeps Morgan so motivated. But is there really a difference between motivation and lack of alternatives? “Honestly, what’s the alternative? Give up? Give out? Give in? These are not options. And not every step is an amazing stride by the way; it’s just the next step,” he explained. “I find that the harder I work, the better I get at each of these steps, and before I know it, I’m closer to where I want to get to.”

So there you have it. Sometimes doing the “right thing,” because you’re following your gut is the hardest thing, and your motivation really comes from not wanting to fail more than it does from wanting to succeed.

“Well, I wonder if this actually might be it right now: this period of my life where I get the chance to talk to a student just like you about these things,” Morgan flattered me by stating when I asked him to state an event that really made him feel like he belonged in the crazy world of the music industry. “These last months trying to do my small part in fighting this fight alongside artists and musicians has been extraordinary, and inspiring. I think I’ve connected now with a different term, ‘music profession,’ and become deeply willing to fight for that.”

I will leave you with the most inspiring and thought provoking response, one that, especially if you are a music student here at UNH looking to pursue a career and wondering where to start, will inspire you for sure.

When I asked Morgan if he had any advice for those wanting to get involved in the entertainment industry he said, “Don’t go into the entertainment world. Go into the music world, or the art world, or the painting world, the writing world, the sculpting world, the comedy world, or the choreography world. The only person I’d recommend you try to ‘entertain’ is yourself.”

 

Photo of the Week

by The Charger Bulletin | April 30, 2014

Photo of the week frame in frame

“Winter Wonderland”

 

By: Kara Zavaglio, junior

 

Taken on the Freedom Trail, 2014

 

Location: Trumbull, Conn.

 

 

 

The Charger Battery

by Patricia Oprea | April 30, 2014

Positives:

+ Good use was made of the German Club this past week with events. On Thursday, Marine Biology club had their annual Marine Carnival (complete with a mechanical shark), LAU had a rollerblading night with glowing lights and a DJ, and on Friday the Nerdlympics finale dance event was held.

+ CSA’s Fashion show never fails to impress. Congratulations to all students involved with this event, and of course amazing job to the models!

 

Negatives:

- When club members go to meetings, but don’t attend any of their clubs events, much less stop by to sign a point sheet; what is the point of being in a club if you don’t actively participate?

- Being the minority of students at UNH that still have 100+ dining dollars (or even 200+). Starting with 800 at the beginning of the semester may seem fine, but with few food options for certain diets, it becomes nearly impossible to get your money’s worth.

 

The Battery Charge:

Boredom was the last thing possible this weekend with trip after trip sponsored by various clubs. SCOPE sponsored a trip to see Cinderella on Broadway and a trip to Six Flags, while Marine Biology club had a whale-watching trip, Paintball Club had a trip to Skirmishland USA, and the Green Team had a trip to the New York Botanical Gardens.

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