Top 5: Things To Do If You’re Staying Home This Summer

Feeling like you’re the only one not hopping around Europe or doing an exciting internship this summer? You’re not alone – but you still deserve to enjoy the time off! While we’re already well into the holidays, there’s still plenty of time left to make the most of.

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What To Do When You’ve Got Nothing To Do

I haven’t been in a car crash, but I always feel like I’m in one after a period of intense studying. University is over for a bit and suddenly I have nothing to do. It’s like when the car suddenly stops and your body still thinks it’s moving, and well, it just goes on. You either fly through the windshield or – as you should – get stopped by the safety belt. My body and mind just think they should go on with that crazy speed and work, work, work. But, there’s nothing to do.

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2016: A Summer For Reading

Summer is here, accompanied by freedom and bliss. I think we all know the feeling. After months of stretching our thinking to its furthest abilities, aided only be energy drinks, coffee, sugar and exorbitant amounts of take out, we all require different treatments for recovery. Over the course of the summer’s recover period it may well be that new approaches are required, as our moods and needs change. The perfect method is reading: whether magazines, novels, manuals or poetry, there is something out there for everybody at any time. And the upshot? It is incredibly cheap.

Continue reading

2016: A Summer For Reading

Summer is here, accompanied by freedom and bliss. I think we all know the feeling. After months of stretching our thinking to its furthest abilities, aided only be energy drinks, coffee, sugar and exorbitant amounts of take out, we all require different treatments for recovery. Over the course of the summer’s recover period it may well be that new approaches are required, as our moods and needs change. The perfect method is reading: whether magazines, novels, manuals or poetry, there is something out there for everybody at any time. And the upshot? It is incredibly cheap.

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Facebook Fibs

Ever fibbed on a Facebook status about what you really got up to that Saturday night? Or maybe you’ve Tweeted from “Bamboo” only for the reality to be that you’re eating cheese in bed and crying at The Help? Well, don’t bother taking a second to look long and hard in the mirror – evidence suggests you’re in good company.

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Never Seen The Dark Knight

Before I even try to talk about the Dark Knight trilogy, I would like to open with a disclaimer. I freaking love Batman. I really do. I’ve been watching the cartoons since the age of three. Poison Ivy was one of my earliest childhood idols. I definitely still own a Batman mask, and I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t occasionally wear it while I’m doing the washing-up or going out to buy milk. It’s just that – when it came to actually watching the biggest blockbuster of the summer – I never quite got round to it. I totally saw Avengers about eight times, though, so lay off me.

I’m mostly just going to focus on The Dark Knight Rises, the most recent of the three films. Let’s not pretend that any of you can remember anything from the previous two, aside from Christian Bale’s voice getting progressively more ridiculous, and Heath Ledger hissing “Why so serious?” at various points that may or may not actually be relevant to the storyline. I think there was something to do with boats at one point too, and humanity turning out to be inherently good and inspirational, but who actually remembers that? We’re all in it for the punching and the things going ‘boom’.

While talking to friends (read as: lurking around groups of people conversing in public places and pretending to be their friend), I picked up some hugely mixed reviews of Dark Knight Harder. They ranged all the way from “Oh my God, it’s the greatest cinematic masterpiece of our generation and perhaps of all time!” to “It was four thousand hours long and what the fuck is wrong with Tom Hardy’s voice?”. This, almost without exception, led into an intense argument, at which point I would back away and go back to standing alone in the corner. If I know nothing else about students, I know that they take their superheroes seriously.

Despite not actually seeing it, I’m pretty sure there was a point when I was super excited about The Dark Knight Strikes Back. It was around the time when they kept rumouring that various people were going to be playing the Riddler. Johnny Depp was going to be the Riddler, and then David Tennant was going to be the Riddler, and then male Zooey Deschanel was going to be the Riddler, and then we ended up with no Riddler at all, but instead got Tom Hardy with a hilarious accent playing that one creepy guy with the Hannibal Lecter thing on his face who nobody’s really heard of. I’ve heard he was pretty good, but I’ve also heard that he was terrible. Then again, no matter how good he was, he never had a hope of living up to Jack Nicholson, poor guy.

And then, of course, there was Anne Hathaway, who is apparently no longer just that girl from The Princess Diaries, but is now, to our collective shock, quite good at her job. Of course, we were all very concerned that she wasn’t going to live up to the… ahem… high bar that previous Catwomen (I’m talking, of course, about Halle Berry) set for her, but she was wonderful. Spectacular. You’d almost think she was a trained actor. In fact, Anne was the only aspect of The Dark Knight Goes Forth that didn’t have confusing mixed responses. Everyone loved her. She’s our leather-and-spandex-clad sweetheart. Well done Anne. You rocked them cat ears that weren’t actually cat ears.

Bizarrely, despite spending so much time listening to people talking about The Dark Knight Two: Pig in the City, I have heard absolutely balls-all about the storyline. I could honestly tell you zero things about what actually happens in those ninety two hours of film, aside from a lot of punching and angst. Considering I usually get the storyline of any film I haven’t seen screamed in my ear by people who are deeply, intensely offended by the fact that I haven’t seen it, I’m starting to suspect that, like The Godfather, most of you haven’t actually seen it either.

[Susie Rae]

Five Year Engagement

Following the release of The Muppets in February, I’ve had a soft spot for Jason Segel, and I saw a poster for The Five Year Engagement a while ago, so it’s been on my mind for some months. With its release a week ago, it moved swiftly to the top of my must-see list.

Segel plays Tom Solomon, a skilled sous chef in San Francisco, who met his girlfriend (and soon to be fiancée), Violet Barnes, at a New Year’s Eve party. Emily Blunt fills the role of Violet, and acts as an interesting pairing to Segel’s eccentricities.

After a proposal of sorts, the two settle into engaged life together, and begin to plan their wedding. There are a few formalities first, such as the engagement party, where we meet family and friends of the stars. Community‘s Alison Brie crops up as Violet’s little sister, and for the rest of the film demonstrates the life you expect Tom and Violet to live together.

Violet’s ambition to work in academia leads the film towards its name, as the couple put off their wedding for the sake of their careers… or at least the career of one of them. The pair move to accommodate Violet’s new job, and Tom’s life descends into chaos as he meets local househusbands and tries to find his feet in a new town. Tom’s misery and mishaps provide some decent laughs, but the oddities are interspersed with some weak scenes of Violet at work.

The film seemed to take longer than necessary to progress, as only halfway through I found myself shifting in my seat, bored as the jokes dried up and the story seemed to slip away.

It did come back for the finale, as the cast pull together for a whirlwind finish. The standout scene of the film was Blunt and Brie arguing about family and marriage, but in the voices of Cookie Monster and Elmo respectively. It seems Segel, a co-writer of the film, just can’t clear his head of those cuddly fiends.

Overall, with a number of good laughs, I would consider re-watching this film on DVD, if not at the cinema. The scenes with Segel were the most fun, and when joined by Blunt, the film delivered a much needed alternative to big summer blockbusters.

[Euan Murphy]