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Issue 21, 2016

Feelings

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News

  • VUWSA President Interviews

  • Candidates forum

  • Day of Silence strikes a chord

  • Rating the mayoral candidates

  • Lincoln University on life support

  • PM won’t pay on the first date

  • TEU vs. VUW

  • Jimmy Neutron on campus

  • Fun News

  • Features

  • finn

    Why You Can’t Kiss Your Mates (spoiler: it’s because of rugby)

    Nearly six years ago, at the stupidly young age of eighteen, I spent three summer months wandering around South America with a few mates in hopes of stumbling across some kind of bargain ‘life experience’ I could don and show off back home like a cool leather jacket. In addition to the number of super […]

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  • faith

    The Privilege of Them Feels

    Who else can’t stand Angela from The Real Housewives of Auckland? From the moment I watched her interact with the other women, I knew that she was a snake underneath that fucking killer fake smile. I literally felt like vomiting after watching her attack Gilda at Michelle’s dinner party on the second episode: I could […]

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  • laura

    Talking Is Doing

    “I think the key thing with anything is to always seek help. Not just professional help, but tell somebody. Coz they might easily tell you that’s normal, I get it all the time. And if it’s not, then you know you need to escalate…”   When my eldest sister sent this message to me and […]

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  • finn

    Why You Can’t Kiss Your Mates (spoiler: it’s because of rugby)

    Nearly six years ago, at the stupidly young age of eighteen, I spent three summer months wandering around South America with a few mates in hopes of stumbling across some kind of bargain ‘life experience’ I could don and show off back home like a cool leather jacket. In addition to the number of super […]

    by

  • faith

    The Privilege of Them Feels

    Who else can’t stand Angela from The Real Housewives of Auckland? From the moment I watched her interact with the other women, I knew that she was a snake underneath that fucking killer fake smile. I literally felt like vomiting after watching her attack Gilda at Michelle’s dinner party on the second episode: I could […]

    by

  • laura

    Talking Is Doing

    “I think the key thing with anything is to always seek help. Not just professional help, but tell somebody. Coz they might easily tell you that’s normal, I get it all the time. And if it’s not, then you know you need to escalate…”   When my eldest sister sent this message to me and […]

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  • Arts and Science

  • glass refugee

    in a dream, i am born with wings. i keep telling my mother about this dream but she’s talking about the outside again. i see flickers of it sometimes in the gaps between my fingers. nowadays, my mother covers my ears as well so the sound of gunshots turn fuzzy and it’s almost like my brother is calling me through the clouds. when this happens, i softly whisper back to him and my mother looks at me with her mouth pulled tight.

    i have this other dream where i buy my mother a castle. i don’t know where i get the money from and it doesn’t matter. maybe in this dream, sand is a currency that everyone has. so this castle is made out of glass and there is a turret right up at the top and i run and run up to it. my brother is running with me too and the glass reflects in all directions so there is a rainbow across my eyes and skin. when i reach the top, i see land stretching out in all directions. it is like the world is a compass and my glass castle is at the centre and for the first time in my life, everything is quiet.

    my brother died in the water. i was only twelve. my mother came home sobbing and i asked her what was wrong. she just said his name over and over again and i stared at the floor. they had gone out across the ocean trying to find somewhere like my castle. i sat there trying to remember what the last thing my brother said to me was. it felt like the most important task in that moment even as my mother lay there, eyes filling with rain. after a while, i gave up on remembering and settled on, goodbye. i slept with the taste of salt in my mouth.

    in a dream, my wings are like eagle wings. they are a proud tawny shade of brown. i spread out my arms and my fingers but even then, i cannot touch the edge of my own wings. they are that great, that grand. my feathers are softer than anything i have ever touched and the wind whispers through them like a slow dance. they are even better than glass; they do not break. and when it is time to fly, my brother says to me, fly, little bird. and i fly and i fly and i never fall.

     

    i imagine many other parallel versions of me are not so lucky

    in my dreams we go swimming

    there are fireflies in the water and they spark and fizzle like shooting stars

    i watch them till the earth tilts backwards and suddenly i am the sky and the southern cross the ocean

    for once i am not scared of drowning

     

    i keep making wishes on the same dark sea

    we lie there breathing in the condensation on our skin as if we have more time

     

     

     

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  • Bad reviews and failed ideas

    Last month I visited Melbourne and I set about trying to visit every goddamn gallery within walking distance of the CBD. The result: I needed a foot massage, bought a pair of sneakers, and saw more art than I thought was possible in just over a week. I keep threatening to write more on my binge session but I haven’t been able to bring myself to sort through the stack of exhibition catalogues and show texts sitting on my desk. Instead, I’ll start with just two.

    For the exhibition Title is important, at BLINDSIDE, curator Laura Couttie invited seven artists to re-consider moments of failure, revision, and self-censorship from within their own practise. Taking inspiration from David Critchely’s 1979 video Pieces I Never Did, the artists remade or reworked ideas that, for a variety of reasons, had never quite made it. Having previously exhibited a list of ideas at another gallery earlier in the year, Sean Whittaker decided one of those worth realising: he installed a series of convex security mirrors in the corners of the room, exposing both the blindspots of the gallery as well as  placing the viewer in a position of voyeuristic uncertainty. Catherine Clayton-Smith’s painting wow (2015) was endearingly underwhelming as the composition of a cursive ‘wow’ trailed across a purple background was a successful gesture, but the application of oil stick (a kind of fancy pastel) on oil paint had caused the surface of the work to crack. On an enlarged smartphone (rotated tv screen) Jarrah de Kuijer’s work, #ideas_never_made (2016), played. On the screen the artist’s Instagram account scrolled along, rolling past renders of possible works. This was more interesting as a commentary on the social currency of the app than as a double layered ideas-of-art-works-as-an-artwork. In an effort to expose the ironies of constructing a porn film with a narrative, David Attwood set about downloading the world’s biggest budget pornographic film, Pirates II, just so he could make a version without the sex scenes. During his research he discovered someone else has already made a clean version, only to later find that it had been retracted. In the gallery only the DVD case was presented. Whether he remade the edited version was never specified.

    It could be argued that some of the work should never have left the studio, even for this exhibition. For every good idea an artist has, there are many more that are not; the reasoning being as intuitive and rational as they are economic and practical. Title is important laid bare this reasoning, exposing parts of artistic production usually reserved for notebooks and studios, for individual thoughts and tentative exploration. I wish I had a better metaphor here than to say it was like reading someone’s diary, but it felt invasive. Exhibitions are presumed to be a definitive, cumulative point of an artist’s practice, yet here I was looking behind the curtainall while being stalked by security mirrors.

    Across town at Westspace, Isabelle Sully’s project Guest Book addressed failure of a different kind. The exhibition brought together artworks that had previously received negative reviews in the mainstream press and included works by Martin Creed, Hany Armanious, and Juan Davila. Were these works truly radical, or, as the newspaper criticisms declared them, a waste of taxpayers money? In framing the newspaper review as a site of productive tension, Sully questioned the role of criticism, where it occurs, and the polarities between art and non-art audiences. Do works like Martin Creed’s Work No.312 (which is literally a lamp going on and off every second) offer a common ground of uncertainty or just further isolate a more general audience? Who has the authority to speak and who are we speaking to? If newspaper reviews are the most public forum of discussion, what then is the relationship between negative reviews, a lack of public faith in the arts, and decreases to arts funding? It’s a thin line between a terrible idea and a great artwork, and between good press and a bad review, but, as these two shows proved, there is productive ground to be found in the space between.

     

    Whats On

    The tech-savvy golden child of the art world is back and in our national museum. If you (obviously) missed it out on seeing it in Venice, Simon Denny’s Secret Power is now showing at Te Papa.

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  • Top five saddest TV episodes

    “The Body”—Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Along with The Lion King, the episode of Buffy where her mom dies was super formative in my understanding of death and mourning. This episode is so heart breaking, from the jarring absence of a soundtrack to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s frantic sobs and complete emotional collapse (especially when she screams, “we’re not supposed to move the body!” and covers her mouth in shock as she is forced to deal with the reality of her mother’s death). The scene when Anya, ex-demon turned mortal, expresses her inability to comprehend mortality breaks me every time.

     

    “The Ties That Bind”—The OC

    The OC was my everything in high school and Seth Cohen was my dream babe. I distinctly remember being inconsolable for months when Seth sailed away on his yacht at the end of the first season, running away from his cushy California life after hearing that Ryan was going back to Chino. What if he never came back? Who would be my new alt crush? Who else would name drop Death Cab for Cutie every week? Spoiler: he came back. Spoiler: Marissa dies in season three, but it wasn’t that sad because she was honestly the worst.

     

    “Marge Be Not Proud”—The Simpsons

    There are a lot of sad episodes of The Simpsons, especially in the early seasons, but as someone who owes everything to my amazing mother this episode gets me super hard—nothing is as crushing to me as even the mere thought of letting my mum down. When Bart gets caught shoplifting it is the full emotional nightmare that the words “I’m not angry, just disappointed” create. Marge has always been one of my favourite characters because she reminds me of my own mother, and even the end of this episode with Marge getting Bart the wrong video game makes me teary because mothers try so damn hard all the time and don’t get nearly enough credit for their endless love and support.

     

    “Go West Young Meowth”—Pokemon

    In this episode we get Meowth’s backstory and an explanation of how he learned to walk and talk—Meowth grew up as a stray on the streets of Hollywood and was initiated into gang life when he was young as a means of survival. One day he met a pretty female Meowth with a wealthy owner and tried to woo her, only for her to tell him that he was and always would be beneath her because of social status. In an effort to impress her he learns to speak Japanese and walk upright, only for her to reject him once again for being “a freak.” Distraught and heartbroken Meowth joins Team Rocket and returns to a life of crime. Shiiiet.

     

    “Jurassic Bark”—Futurama

    Maybe the saddest piece of animation ever? Even in .gif form the end of this episode is brutal. When Fry finds his old dog fossilized and on display in a museum he petitions for access to the body and asks Professor Farnsworth to clone his pet. During analysis the Professor notes that Fry’s dog, Seymour, would have lived another twelve years after Fry was initially frozen. Deciding that Seymour would have lived a long and fulfilled life Fry puts a stop to the cloning process. In flashback, we find that Seymour lived the rest of his life patiently waiting outside Fry’s work for him to return, eventually dying alone of old age. Someone put this on at a party once and I’m still angry.

     

    Special Mention: “Losing My Religion”—Gray’s Anatomy

    Not for me, but my flatmate rewatched all of Gray’s Anatomy lately and Denny dying really affected him—the sobbing was audible through the wall and he went on a low-key bender to deal. Sorry for your loss, Connor. We are all here for you.

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  • Getting Involved with Theatre in Wellington: Fringe Festival 2017

    What is it?

    The New Zealand Fringe Festival is an open-access, non-programmed festival—anyone at all can enter a show. If you pay the registration fees and the show is (basically) legal, you’re in!

    Does it cost?

    There is a one-off compulsory cost with Fringe and this is the registration fee and refundable bond. The fees differ depending on the type of show that you enter. Beyond this fee it is up to you how much you spend on a show, it could be $0.

    What are the benefits of participating?

    Participating in Fringe means that your event will be listed in 25,000 copies of a printed programme and included on the Fringe website. You are provided with a platform to launch your work and the festival atmosphere allows you the chance to wow audiences. This is the biggest and longest running Fringe in New Zealand and all Fringe staff are available to offer one-on-one advice. A series of free workshops are also held on a range of subjects including production and marketing, budgeting, and front of house.

    At the end of the festival there is a chance to win Fringe awards for outstanding work.

    When do I need to apply by?

    The deadline for applications is OCTOBER 10, 2016.

    How do I apply?

    Step One: Go to fringe.co.nz and everything you need is on their home page.

    Step Two: Click on the “Artists Information” tab which gives you information regarding fee information, a sign-up cheat sheet, and funding guide.

    Step Three: Click on the “Register Now” tab which will take you to the registration page (this page explains everything you need to know about signing up and has a step-by-step registration guide).

    Quote from the Fringe Festival director, Hannah Clarke:  

    “I’ve just spent time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe sleeping on a sofa and submerged in the greatest art and it was wild, intense, and inspiring! The whole time I couldn’t stop thinking about Wellington’s Fringe and all the great art we have here. NZ Fringe Artist Services Manager Sasha Tilly has been seconded to one of the biggest venues in Edinburgh, the Pleasance, and together we’ve been working through everything you need to register for Fringe 2017. Check out our artist resources on the Fringe website—fringe.co.nz/artists—and get in touch with any questions or for advice, we’re keen to help you find the right venue for the best Fringe time in 2017. Looking forward to hearing from you! Rock on Fringe 2017!!!”

     

    Coming Up

    Short + Sweet Festival

    When: October 19–22, at BATS Theatre

    Book tickets: bats.co.nz

    Another groovy festival to look out for is the annual big-little Festival called Short+Sweet. The programme consists of ten ten-minute works which cover a range of styles and subjects. Each performance concludes with the audience being asked to vote for their favourite work to help determine the top productions that make it to the Gala Final of each genre.

    PlayShop Live

    When: Every Friday night until October 28, 9pm, at BATS Theatre

    Book tickets: bats.co.nz

    Live is late-night improvised comedy without limits—fast, physical, and unpredictable. A team of four skilled actors and a musician create spontaneous theatre with nothing but each other, the audience, and their fiendish imaginations.

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  • Salient picks of Laneway

    The lineup for the 2017 St Jerome’s Laneway Festival was announced last week with a new venue for the festival, Auckland’s Albert Park. The lineup features emerging local and international talent, as well as some established headline acts like Tame Impala. Salient is excited so we thought we would share some of the acts we are looking forward to.

     

    Tim the Sub Editor: Clams Casino (United States)

    2011 was the year witch-house met hip-hop: Clams Casino dropped the mixtape Instrumentals in March (which included tracks produced for Lil B and Main Attrakionz), his debut EP Rainforest in May, and somehow by October he’d produced nearly half of the tracks on Live. Love. A$AP—the first, and I would say best, release from the A$AP Rocky. The hazy instrumentals stood so well on their own, as fusions of hip-hop rhythms and drums to the melancholy witch-house aesthetic, and a five year younger A$AP Rocky gave them an unforgettable energy—I was 17, impressionable, and this was the cusp of a new sound. Yet in listening to these releases again, for the first time in a while, the awe resurfaces. You might catch me floating in the sun, enjoying the atmospheric Clams Casino at Laneway.

     

    Kate the News Editor: Car Seat Headrest (United States)

    Bringing some authenticity to the indie-rock genre that has in recent years been tarnished by indie-pop crossovers desperate for some more street cred, Car Seat Headrest fill a void you didn’t even know existed. Frontman Will Toledo is incredibly self-aware for such a young musician and has subsequently acquired a knack for producing music that is close enough to what’s current to be palatable for a wide audience, while still situating the band just ahead of the curve. The band’s latest release Teens of Denial will have you longing for experiences you haven’t had, remembering ones you’d rather forget, and feeling a bunch of emotions all too familiar for 20-somethings getting meta and figuring out life. They’re the garageband you fangirled over when you were 15 and brought back to life in your twenties, and I have no doubt they will deliver an absolutely kick arse set.

     

    Jayne the Co-Editor: Julia Jacklin (Australia)

    If my friends were to describe my music taste to you it would be “female singing to guitar,” so it only fits that I am most excited about Julia Jacklin coming to Laneways. She’s one of those artists with slashes between the genres she sort of fits in. She’s folk, she’s alt, she’s country, she’s even a bit grunge. From Blue Mountains in Australia, she is like Aldous Huxley meets Courtney Barnett with some Angel Olsen mixed in. Slurring and dreamy vocals, smooth beats, and wistful lyrics—her music is like a sleepy afternoon nap, those naps you don’t want to wake up from. Her album Don’t Let the Kids Win comes out October 7 and, if her first single “Pool Party” is anything to go by, this album will be on repeat this summer.

     

    Emma the Co-Editor: Whitney (United States)

    Whitney’s sound is smooth and indulgent, like driving with the windows down on a summer’s day. Made up of former members of Smith Westerns (Max Kakacek) and Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Julien Ehlrich), Whitney are not afraid to be earnest in their lyricism, and their debut album Light Upon The Lake is an easygoing but powerful work centred on love, loss, and tinges of hope. With sombre tracks such as “No Woman” that starts and ends with “I left drinking on the city train,” the nostalgic “Golden Days” that laments a lost relationship, and the more upbeat like “No Matter Where We Go” with lyrics like, “I wanna drive around with you with the windows down,” Whitney will have you smiling through sappy tears about the tribulations of your non-existent relationship.

     

    Robert the Salient FM manager: White Lung (Canada)

    “I will give birth in a trailer.

    I’m not actually the biggest fan of punk. It just feels too messy. But White Lung released one of my favourite albums this year, Paradise, and I won’t lie I’m super stoked to be able to see it performed live. The album carries an energy and aggression that feels like it will be incredibly visceral and potent when they’re right there in front of you. With the knowledge that frontwoman Mish Barber-Way quite literally tore her vocal chords on her last tour, you know they don’t pull any punches. While I wish I could see them perform in a dirty dingy garage, I’m certainly more than happy to see them performing at Laneway next year. I just hope the acoustics are good.

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  • Peanut Butter Wolf at San Fran

    THE EDITORS OF YOUR HUMBLE STUDENT MAGAZINE HAD THE CHANCE TO GET FREE TICKETS TO SEE THE INTERMINABLE, THE INIMITABLE, THE VIVACIOUS, THE DOWNRIGHT DANGEROUS MR. PEANUT BUTTER WOLF: THE FOUNDER, THE CREATOR, THE INSTIGATOR OF STONES THROW RECORDS. OF JAY DEE DILLA, OF JONWAYNE, OF MADLIB. BUT THEY DIDN’T RECOGNISE THE NAME. THEY. DIDN’T. KNOW. WHO. HE. WAS. GODDAMN.

    So with sadness, you have me telling you how the man’s show was two Sundays ago. A Sunday gig is a thing in and of itself to negotiate. Getting out the door at the end of a weekend is an unlikely thing, and once you’re there everyone else is as tired as you are—they don’t really want to be sardined next to you, trying / failing to dance.

    On this occasion, however, most everyone was enamored by the presence of a hip-hop legend; a feeling demonstrated as the crowd erupted in the few silences of the hour and a half set. Luckily, no one really cares how you look boppin at a gig like this. I needed this reminder as the set began and continued on a disco / funk / dance bent, as one Diana Ross number, in perfect obscurity, faded into another Prince-esque guitar track. Only a disco aficionado—which I am not—would be able to list the many more tracks played here. PB Wolf was on a mission to highlight those early influences on Grandmaster Flash-era DJs and the burgeoning hip-hop scene of the 80s—an education that fell on the deaf ears of the drunk boys up front.  

    The night was a one man sideshow at the start of a larger Stones Throw 20th anniversary tour of Australasia with names like J Rocc, Mndsgn, and Egyptian Lover, whose ingenuity continue to make Stones Throw relevant even after the success / death / moving on of the bigger names of the 2000s and early 2010s. Earlybird tickets were a ridiculous $10 (the Stones Throw gig in Melbourne is going for $55) which made for a busy Sunday night at the bar.

    PB Wolf moved initially through said disco and funk, towards outright hip-hop tracks like Big L’s classic “Put it On” and Dilla and Madlib samples—their inclusion obligatory. And I haven’t had tingles down my spine like when Madvillain’s “All Caps” beat hit in like, forever. It is the closest I will get to these artists.

    The night felt like it wound down slowly. Of the few words he spoke, Wolf questioned what the fuck we were doing: “Don’t you all have school? Work? Drugs to sell? Y’all are going to have to leave, because I can keep going for hours.” Up until this point I wasn’t sure if he was enjoying himself: he had come on stage and, while he was killing it, he hadn’t said a word. Wanting to play all Sunday night to a crowd at the bottom of the world shows just how gracious PB Wolf is.

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  • Reigns

    ★★★★

    Developer: Nerial

    Publisher: Devolver Digital

    Platform: PC, Mac, iOS, Android

     

    I’ve never been a very big fan of Tinder or anything of its ilk. It’s probably killed any chance I had of a love life, but, to me at least, the idea of instantly judging someone based on a (probably fake) picture of themselves just cheapens the process of dating—I’d prefer to just meet someone at random and hope there’s a spark there. If I ever need to make an instant decision, it had better be for a life and death situation.

    While that probably won’t happen, Reigns is a fantastic way to simulate that experience, with an entire nation’s fate at stake. You are a newly-installed king in a medieval land and everyone is coming to you for help. You are tasked with imposing your will upon the kingdom, fulfilling (or ignoring) requests from your court, keeping the peasants happy (or crushing them for their insubordination), and just trying to stay alive with your enemies knocking at your door. You can crawl through dungeons, fight monsters, wield magical powers, and establish a dynasty that can literally never end.

    And how do you do all this? By swiping left and right, just like Tinder!

    I cannot believe how engaged I was with such a simple concept. The world-building that would take an experienced Age of Empires player many hours to pull off takes just minutes in Reigns, and with far less stress on your fingers. Each decision has weight that can affect one of four areas: the church, the peasantry, the army, and the treasury. The key to staying alive is to balance each of them. There is quite a lot of fun to be had in trying out different tactics each time a king dies, but you will have to be careful, because the actions of previous kings can help to influence the outcome.

    While the swiping can get a bit old, much of the real meat of the gameplay is in fulfilling the different objectives and unlocking everything from new citizens and members of your court, to experiencing the numerous ways that you can die. On that front, the old standbys of overthrow, assassination, and choking on your pie are there, and you’ll probably get these more than anything else, but I’ve enjoyed trying to find new and interesting deaths. That said, the gameplay is at its best in short bursts; it’s what I call a ‘loo game’.

    I appreciate the visual design quite a lot, as well. The game lays out its propositions for you much like a deck of cards, giving further credence to the gamification of power and absolute control. With a minimalist art design, perhaps inspired more by the technology that influenced it rather than the period it is set in, it certainly is not difficult to look at. The weird language spoken by the characters adds a bit of eeriness to the intrigue, as does the music.

    Reigns is ultimately just a fun, simple game that will no doubt make you hungry for power and eventually go mad, before dying a violent death at the hands of the peasants, before doing it all over again. It’s good to be the King, indeed.

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  • Demolition

    ★★★★★

    Director: Jean-Marc Vallée

     

    The director of Wild and Dallas-Buyers Club, Jean-Marc Vallée, brings us the latest addition to his critically acclaimed collection of films—Demolition. Opening at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 Demolition was highly acclaimed on the festival circuit, and was released in New Zealand in April. The film, written by Bryan Sipe, is a recycled ensemble of all the cliché parts of drama films you’ve seen before (there’s even a moment lifted straight from Sean Penn’s The Crossing Guard towards the end). Despite all this, Demolition managed to captivate me from start to finish.

    The story follows Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), an investment banker, living his day-to-day life in the same, lacklustre routine. Made numb by the mercurial nature of society and the untimely death of his wife, Davis falls into a spiral of despair from which the reality of the state of his marriage boils to an unpleasant head.

    Vallée submerges us in the plot with a scene between Davis and his wife Julia (Heather Lind). Julia, immersed in an unhappy conversation with Davis who has failed to fix their leaking fridge, is cut short by a dramatic side on car collision that leaves Davis a widower. Unable to deal with his grief, Davis tries to escape his bleak reality by purchasing a packet of peanut M&M’s from a hospital vending machine, only to find that the candy becomes stuck after he has deposited his coin. Understandably distressed, Davis writes to the company’s customer services team and explains his dire situation. Rather than stating that the machine had simply failed to deposit his candy, Davis writes a lengthy letter explaining every event that had happened in his life up until this point.

    Karen (Naomi Watts), an employee of said vending machine company, receives Davis’s letters and becomes strangely attached to him. After exchanging numerous letters, Davis manages to track Karen down and so begins a strange but wholesome friendship. Davis also starts an unlikely friendship with Karen’s eccentric son Chris (Judah Lewis). Chris, suffering from societal pressures as a young homosexual teenage boy, relates to Davis’s troubles, and the pair embark on a journey in which they demolish everything in their lives and examine it from within in an attempt to start afresh.

    What makes this film so gripping is a foreboding sense of chaos. Gyllenhaal expertly captures a sense of loss within his character and his mixture of sadness, rage, helplessness, and loneliness sets up a nail-biting plot from start to end. When, and if, Davis will “break-down” is completely unpredictable as he approaches life after Julia’s death.

    Gyllenhaal’s performance is only aided by Vallée’s vision for the film. As clumsy and metaphorical as the plot is (“if you want to fix something, take it apart”), Vallée is able to produce something that is not only watchable, but grotesquely funny and at times touching. Cinematographer Yves Bélanger’s artistic camerawork is essential to the rollercoaster of emotions that unfold within the plot.

    If you’re stuck for something to watch this weekend, and want a film you can’t find at Reading Cinemas, give Demolition a go.

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  • Bad Moms

    ★★★

    Directors: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

     

    Bad Moms is an American comedy about upper middle-class moms and their ‘first world’ problems.

    Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (the guys that brought us the cinematic wonders known as The Hangover, The Hangover II, and more recently The Hangover III), Bad Moms will inevitably be 100 minutes of laughs.

    The film stars overworked, overtired, and overcommitted ‘bad mom’ Amy played by mega-babe Mila Kunis, wet-fish bad mom Kiki played by Kristen Bell, and the mouthy, slutty bad mom Carla played by Kathryn Hahn. We follow the efforts of the ‘bad moms’ in their battle against PTA control freak Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate). The three band together to stay out past bedtime, take store bought doughnuts to the school bake sale, and eat fruit loops—without buying them first!

    There are husbands in it too—although they’re all pretty useless (apart from the widowed hottie) and don’t get much screen time (apart from the widowed hottie). The general moral of the story is that all parents are just doing their best (aw) and they don’t always get it right (no kidding), but they really do love their kids (aw again). Did you need to hear any more clichés or are you good? It’s basically a middle aged Mean Girls written by dudes who think “punch her in the tit” is a comedy highlight.

    Despite all this it does manage to be funny at times, usually when Kathryn Hahn is allowed a break from pashing girls or punching tits and gets in a line about her atrocious parenting. If you tune out a bit and just accept that it’s trashy, mildly funny, and reasonably feel-good I suspect you’ll thoroughly enjoy it. Not to mention Mila Kunis is effing hot. If only it were written by Tina Fey.

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  • Star Trek Beyond

    ★★★★

    Director: Justin Lin

     

    Like finding out you had one more beer left than you originally thought, Star Trek Beyond is one of those pleasant surprises. Not to incite a feud with the other ‘Star’ franchise, but similar to The Force Awakens this film is essentially a modern update of original material, with better effects and pacing, that manages to work as a standalone. The film follows the USS Enterprise crew who find themselves marooned on a hostile world inhabited by vengeful forces, a world which they seek to escape.

    Unlike the previous two Star Trek films where a fresh start was promised, but only a vehicle for Benedict Cumberbatch’s burgeoning film career was produced, this film makes an effort to do more.

    The main cast other than Kirk and Spock are allocated more screen time, and actually have roles in the story as opposed to being there simply because it’s Star Trek. The action feels more scaled back this time despite the inevitable final showdown at the end, which works because the movie doesn’t end with the Earth being threatened like the previous two. There’s even some actual trekking this time round, among the stars too.

    Inevitably there are setbacks in the story: the villain isn’t particularly memorable nor are his motivations, and a scene involving a certain Beastie Boys song feels a little out of place. Overall, however, it’s pretty fun. Check it out.

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  • What are Vic Books reading?

    This week Salient asked the folk at Vic Books, who have the delight of getting advance copies of new releases, if they would tell us about the books they’ve been reading. Pop into Vic Books Kelburn or Pipitea to reserve or buy a copy of any one of these books.

     

    Juliet is reading…

    The Atomic Weight of Love

    Author: Elizabeth J. Church

    Publisher: Harper Collins

    A debut novel from Church, set in the 70s in New Mexico. The narrative follows Meridian Wallace, who sets her dreams of being an ornithologist aside after falling in love a professor 20 years her senior. Meridian grows oppressed by the marriage, yearning to study birds. At times the novel feels a bit cheesy, and it definitely feels like a debut. But it still overcomes itself: this is a great book of women’s liberation, and makes a great weekend read.

     

    Marion is reading…

    Beck

    Author: Mal Peet

    Publisher: Walker Books

    This is an epic story for YA readers, older teens, and adults, from the award-winning author Mal Peet. Beck is a sweeping coming of age story that reads softly about hard issues. This is Peets’ lost novel; he died before it was finished, but had asked his good friend Meg Rosoff, another well-loved YA author, to finish it for him. Set in the Depression, as experienced by a black man, it is a story of survival and romance.

     

    Luke is reading…

    The Nix

    Author: Nathan Hill

    Publisher: Penguin RandomHouse

    Sitting at 620 pages, this is an epic novel spanning decades of American history from 1968 to 2011. This is also a debut novel and an ambitious one. This book is funny and self deprecating. There are many threads and the narrative pulls you through the book, with enjoyable and accessible writing.

     

    Jayne is reading…

    Swing Time

    Author: Zadie Smith

    Publisher: Penguin RandomHouse

    Her first novel since 2012, Smith says it focuses on “two brown girls [who] dream of being dancers.” They live in the projects in Britain and Smith paints the toughness of this world well. The children are obsessed with the vaudeville—taking tap dance classes after school. The novel is 400 pages long and spans decades over which the characters grow, and, as things become more politically fraught around them, their once strong friendship slowly breaks apart. The characters are in many ways a vessel to take a look at the time they grow up in.

    by

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    Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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    I, Daniel Blake and the Welfare State

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