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January 25, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-25

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2011- 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, January 25,2011 -7

The 'Social'generation

Kids loses its edge

The entire "Social Net-
work" team is celebrating
its triumph this winter as
circles of film critics and awards
shows make it rain statuettes
over the film.
It's the rare
critical suc-
cess that not
only scores
high points in
every part of
its production'
- directing, ANKUR
writing, act- SOHONI
ing, music,
cinematogra-
phy and editing - but scores the
highest points.
Receiving the utmost praise
from among the cast and crew is
writer Aaron Sorkin, well known
for his TV success with "The
West Wing." Sorkin has a Golden
Globe in his pocket and an
almost-guaranteed Best Adapted
Screenplay Oscar waiting for him
in about a month.
But the film has been seen as
more than just a critical success.
It's more than a film - it's an
artistic achievement in the social
realm. What makes "The Social
Network" important?
The 49-year-old Sorkin, along
with 48-year-old director David
Fincher, has made a film more
current and fresh than perhaps
any mainstream competitors,
and they have, at the same time,
created a discourse both for and
concerning people half their age.
"The Social Network" isn't mere-
ly a good film, but it's one that
makes social waves far beyond its
release and will continue beyond
this awards season.
"The Social Network" interacts
with the contemporary world
unlike any other film; as unique as
Facebook itself, so too is the film
that depicts its founding.
Almost every major film
release has a Facebook page these
days - even the neglected films
dumped into the January-April
film release doldrums - and each
one seeks to use online buzz to its
advantage. "The Social Network"
had the unique opportunity to
both capitalize on Facebook's
success and make ironic the site's
graphic presence in its logo and
posters while promoting the film
among online film fan circles. A

first gl
Netwo
the me
awkwa
and ac
return
Social
film's F
Sor
Univer
up the
people
realist
"The S
Facebo
people
ings -
were ci
take to
friends
its mer
scope i
someb
separa
book g
sents i
reactio
users h

ance may see "The Social Zuckerberg, "plugged in" to the
rk" as rather opposed to site's operation as if separated
ga-site. As such, it was from the world around him, is
ard and uncomfortable - peacefully oblivious to Saverin's
tually somewhat eerie - to rage, lost in his digital experi-
home after seeing "The ence. Saverin grabs Zuckerberg's
Network" and visit the computer and smashes it to the
Facebook page. floor, breakingthrough the digi-
kin, when he visited the tal wall Zuckerberg has set up for
sity in September to talk himself. No matter how Zucker-
film, noted the intrigue berg tries to talk his way out of
felt with the new sur- this one, the unexpected look of'
ic double-experience that pain as he loses his only friend
ocial Network" was for is remarkablytelling, a poignant
ok. He realized that many lesson on the worst effects of see-
who attended pre-screen- ing friendship as nothing but a
a large number of whom digital connection.
ollege students - would But perhaps that morality
Facebook to tell their tale - the danger of the de-per-
s about the film and discuss sonalization of friendship - is
its. Perhaps the trend's something our generation already
s an exaggeration from has. Current college-aged people
ody like Sorkin, who is well - those who grew up largely
ted from the true "Face- before AIM and other forms of
eneration," but it repre- instant messaging, and those who
n principle a self-conscious remember when cell phones were
n that many Facebook still rare - are actually the ones
sad to the film. who best understand the down-
sides that "The Social Network"
wants to infer about Internet
interaction. It's the people even
'ace-to-face younger, those who know noth-
ing before online communication,
th Facebook. and the people older than the
phenomenon who mistake the
nature of that communication.
Perhaps that's why many
ny figured that the "true" describe "The Social Network"
f Mark Zuckerberg's rise asa niche film, and something
onaire-dom would hurt unlikely to appeal outside of
ok's brand and tarnish its mature or adult audiences. The
r's reputation. It seemed film is remarkably relevant to
'hat inevitable given some our generation, but it is, at the
ilm's media coverage, but same time, somewhat imitative of
measured performance something we personally know
e Eisenberg and subtle far better.
on to detail, the film placed I think "The Social Network"
rberg sympathetically is fascinating. And with Facebook
en genius and loser. His going full-steam ahead and pos-
:he film represents the sibly becoming a publicly traded
ning prevalence of Face- company in the coming years,
ver the past seven years, the film will likely be called upon
er for good or for bad. repeatedly in reference to the
ckerberg of "The Social company's successes and failures.
rk" shows how the digital But I'm not really going to be
nteraction isborn from thinking too much about it when
in the tangible and physi- I check my Facebook profile. If
rld. you use the social network, you
he film's climactic scene, probably know why you do. A
cebook crew celebrates its film doesn't really do anything to
th member as Eduardo change that.

Cold War Kids
slick but slippery on
'Mine Is Yours'
By ELLIOT ALPERN
DailyArts Writer
For those expecting a con-
tinuation of the blues-inspired,
natural Cold War Kids of Rob-
bers Et Cow-
ards, prepare
for a marginal
letdown - Cold War Kids
the band has
changed. The Mine is Yours
characteristic
rough edge, Dswntswn
which had
previously drawn comparisons
to the likes of Spoon and the
White Stripes, has been blunted
and, in some songs, removed
entirely. In its place, there is a
feel of post-production studio
refinement, of a band that has
worked and reworked each song
until it has either been polished
to a careful sheen or has become
overwrought. Cold War Kids, in
a sporadically fruitful pursuit
of precision, stripped away the
subtle imperfections that made
the music engaging.
The saving grace for Mine Is
Yours - as has always been the
case with Cold War Kids - is
the voice of lead singer Nathan
Willett. Though the instrumen-
tation may be stale at times,
those soulful vocals can add
just enough variability to make
a track worth listening to. For
instance, without Willet's voice,
"Finally Begin" would sound
like something picked up from
the floor of the Kings of Leon
recording studio. Even with
unoriginal lyrics ("Finally open
my arms wide / Finally I let
you inside"), Willett manages

"Wait, wasn't there an American Apparel here?"

F
Wi

Mat
story o
to billi
Facebo
founde
somew
of the f
with a
by Jess
attenti
Zucker
betwee
arc in t
burgeo
book o
wheth
The Zu
Netwo
social i
failure
cal wot
In t
the Fa
million
Saverir
Other]
office t
been k

to unleash astonishing prowess,
creating a viable hit single.
The album starts out strong
with the title track and picks
up steam with three more solid
songs. It begins to falter only
when it reaches "Out Of The
Wilderness," a building piece
that eventually comes out flat. At
this point, Mine Is Yours slumps
and never really recovers. Later
in the album, "Sensitive Kid"
relies a little too heavily on Wil-
lett to stand on its own. Though
he skillfully dictates the dys-
function of a teen with a single
mom, the song is too downcast
to sound vexed, and awkwardly
resides somewhere in between.
Luckily, the first half of Mine
Is Yours provides the listener
with glimpses of the rocking-
yet-restrained Cold War Kids of
old. "Louder Than Ever" com-
bines crashing cymbals and
subtle guitar to produce what
is clearly the best track on the
album. Willett provides poetic
verse ("All my windows were
barred, the sun made stripes of
shade") and a chorus that can

leave listeners humming it well
after the song has ended. Imme-
diately following it is "Royal
Blue," an impassioned composi-
tion with an irresistibly upbeat
mood. Though the track has
a new sound, it works, and it
shows what Mine Is Yours could
have been.
Cold War Kids's latest effort is
a risky departure from what gave
it a small amount of success in the
past. Nathan Willett continues
to shine as a singer, and his foray
into soul only adds to the depth
of his ability. However, Mine Is
Yours is top-heavy, leaving the
album fairly disjointed. The note-
worthy tracks are strong enough
to warrant a second or third lis-
ten, and even though some songs
are skippable, the first-half hits
manage to outweigh the busts.
Cold War Kids has shown that it
has the ability to produce creative
and talented music, but instead
of completely revamping its pre-
vious style, the band must find
the middle ground between edgy
melodies and carefully manipu-
lated music.

-

n (Andrew Garfield, "The
Boleyn Girl") comes to the
o discover he's essentially
icked out of the company.

Sohoni is confused about
social networking. To friend him,
e-mail asohoni@umich.edu.

Creativity wins in 'Planet 2'

By SHIN HIEFTJE
DailyArts Writer
The original "LittleBigPlanet"
was a platformer that let play-
ers create their own levels with
a robust
in-game *
toolset and
then share UitlgPnet 2
those levels
easily with PS3
the rest of Sony
the world.
At first
it may seem like few concepts
have changed in the sequel, but
the deeper into it a player gets,
the more wrong that impression
becomes.
The game's new level creator
is the star of the show, allow-
ing players to create a lot of new
genres and gametypes - and
what some people have created
is just short of mind-blowing.
Whereas only platformers could
be made in the original, now both
developers and the community
have created racing games, side-
scrolling shooters, RPG combat
systems and tower defense.
Some of the user-created dual
joystick shooters are more fun
than the core platforming ele-
ments the game has been known
for. Since each level has a rating
and description, those that are
more creative and interesting rise
to the top and are easy to find.
Over 3 million levels have been
made so far, so the playability of
"LittleBigPlanet 2" is virtually
limitless. But with so many lev-
els available, the loading times
online can sometimes be slow.
The level creator is remark-
ably rich - letting players com-
bine and manipulate objects,
fabrics, stickers and more - and

allows for literally limitless cus-
tomizability. The game even
allows players to create music for
their levels. Inventing full game-
types and quality levels takes an
extraordinary amount of dedica-
tion and ingenuity, so patience is
required when approaching that
aspect of the game.
Despite the new gametypes
players are making, "Little-
BigPlanet 2" is still primarily a
2-D platformer, and a good one
at that. Most platforming levels
have a clever design that can
become challenging but never
overly frustrating. New game
mechanics, like the grappling
hook, have been introduced that
open up the level design in both
the story mode and online.
The story mode is delightful.
Stephen Fry's English-accented
narration is incredibly endear-
ing, and the dialogue is cheeky
and silly. Visually, the game is
absolutely beautiful, with realis-
tically textured fabric and wood,
making the game world look like
a giant diorama come to life. The
music is eclectic, ranging from
orchestral scores to thumping

techno to female a cappella.
There is a host of combative
multiplayer game types for two
to four players, and many are a
blast because of how frantic they
are. Some of the story mode lev-
els have cooperative aspects in
them as well, which are inventive
and well implemented.
LittleBigPlanet,
big big fun.
The only major complaint that
can be lobbied against the game
is that the controls are not ideal.
The grappling hook allows more
variation in the gameplay, but it
can often be unwieldy when try-
ing to be precise. The jumping
in the platforming sections feels
a little too floaty and slippery,
which can be slightly annoying at
times. It's far from a deal breaker,
but it's one of the few things hold-
ing "LittleBigPlanet 2" back from
perfection.

Cutest staring contest ever.

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