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February 25, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-25

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8A - Monday, February 25, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Monday, February 25, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


"Just checking out the new Animal Collective video."
No scares 'Skies

Accidental comedy
rehashes hollow
horror tropes
For the Daily
"Dark Skies" is really a cross
between "The X-Files," "Close
Encounters of the Third Kind,"
and "Paranor-
mal Activity,"
but without C
any of the good
parts. It's a hor- Dark Skies
ror movie with- At Quality16
out the horror, a and Rave
thriller without
the thrill, the Dimension
kind of movie
that will have
you asking, "Was there really
nothing better to see today?"
Yet it's mildly entertaining and
appealing enough that you won't
walk out of the theater,
The film stars Keri Russell
("Waitress") and relative new-
comer Josh Hamilton as Lacy and
Daniel Barrett, withDakotaGoyo
("Thor") and newcomer Kadan
Rockett as their two sons, Jesse
and Sam. They live in a quiet, sub-
urban town and are faced with
some economic issues but seem to
be doing alright. Then, one night,
Lacy awakens to a strange noise,
ventures downstairs and... all her
cans and silverware have been

stacked meticulously in the form
of unusual symbols. Then there
are instances of the lights flick-
ering, the house alarm going off,
mysterious bruises appearing -
nothing you haven't seen before.
There's also a side story about
Daniel not being able to find work
and Jesse having some pre-teen
experiences (like his first kiss);
neither ofthese threads have any-
thing to do with the plot and are
only modest attempts at charac-
ter development. Anyway, more
odd events occur, like hundreds
of birds fly into the windows.
Speaking of that bird scene, it's
an issue when an intended scary
moment elicits laughter from the
audience. Seriously, the entire
theater was laughing at the mass
bird suicide. That pretty much
sums up the scares in this movie:
They were timed correctly, but
executed poorly, and you can't call
yourself a horror movie, certainly
not a good one, when nobody
As far as characters go, Rus-
sell and Hamilton have only
a little chemistry and simply
aren't fit to play these charac-
ters. The audience should fear
what they fear, but we end up
looking at blank faces that can't
convey any anxiety or emotion.
One brief yet standout cameo
performance comes from J.K.
Simmons ("Burn After Read-
ing") as that one man whom
everyone thinks is crazy but

actually knows the truth. He
plays Edwin Pollard with defeat
and resignation, a man with all
the answers but who lost the
fight a long time ago. He knows
the Barrett family's situation is
hopeless, he's seen this plight
before. "You're not special," he
tells them.
Indeed, neither is this movie.
The always-necessary final stand
against the unknown menace is...
well, it's better than the rest of the
movie; certainly it adds more ten-
sion and has some heart-pound-
ing moments. It starts to turn
into a psychological thriller, but
then snaps right back into already
tread horror territory.
"Dark Skies" manages to
keep your interest somehow,
maybe by not really showing
what the aliens look like, maybe
by teasing you into thinking
that it'll finally scare you. But
then the credits roll, and you
leave unsatisfied. It could have
been better, the talent is there
in Russell, but writer/director
Scott Stewart ("Legion") sim-
ply cannot figure out what he
wants this movie to be.There's
a story to be told about aliens
having been around for cen-
turies, abducting people when
they see fit. "Dark Skies" is not
that story. But maybe the alien
abduction film has just run its
course - it has been around
since the 1950s. At this point,
it's nothing special.

Let it burn.
Latest Usher track is
'Missin' 'lyrical, nuance

ManagingArts Editor
For the second year in a row,
Usher and Diplo released a col-
laboration on Valentine's Day.
Though it lacks the emotional vul-
nerability and nuance of its elec-
trifying predecessor "Climax,"
the new "Go Missin' " is without
a doubt the most vocally intricate
number currently playing on pop
After a few too many club-
ready, clap track-laden appeals to
Top-40 conformity on Looking 4
Myself (by
no means a First seen on
bad album, -the filter
but "Cli-

max" is the very clear, ahem, cli-
max, and little else comes even
close to its level of originality), on
"Go Missin'," Usher reminds us
all he can sing. His lilting vocals
entice, backed by perfectly placed
drum machines and bouncing
synths. Usher's peculiar har-
monies make the track tonally
intriguing and a truly smooth lis-
ten. The intonations pulsate, cre-
ating an eerie sound that sways
But no, listening to "Go Mis-
sin"' for the first time won't at all
feel like the first time you heard
"Climax",- mainly because that
raw, intense honesty isn't any-
where to be found. In fact, for the
entirety of the song, Usher is just

trying to get you to cheat on your
man with him. Sexy - am I right,
It's no


Usher's oscillating falsetto and
the Diplo-helmed beat seduce in
style, but with cornball, sleazy
lyrics, it just feels like "Missin"'
has something missing.
- The original version of this
article was published on The Fil-
ter, the Daily Arts blog, on Feb.

Tweet through the sadness.


Nerd Nite concocts blend of
fun, intellect and alcohol


Daily Arts Writer
on the evening of Feb. 21 at
The Last Word, a basement bar
on the corner of West Huron and
First Street, there were plenty of
thick-framed glasses, plaid and
cocktails. Suspended lights cast a
golden glow over a sea of thirsty
Ann Arborites as they swarmed
to the bar, waiting for the night
to begin. This was Nerd Nite, an
event proving that drinking and
being a nerd are not mutually
The evening began around 7
p.m. when the coordinator, or
"boss" of Nerd Nite Ann Arbor,
Liz Lamoste, gave a short history
of the organization and welcomed
over 100 guests to the monthly
event that debuted in January.
Nerd Nite started around 10
years ago in New York and has
since spread to 52 other locations
throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Self-publicized as "The Discovery
Channel (TM) with Beer!," -the
evening usually consists of three
15- to 20-minute Powerpoint pre-
sentations, with a short question-
and-answer period after each
speaker presents.
"You've got a bunch of diverse
people from all over your city
who are all interested in learning
something new," said Lamoste, a
third-year law student at the Uni-
versity. "It doesn't matter what
the presentations are about; these
are just smart people who want
to have a couple drinks and learn
In mid-2012, Lamoste decided
that Nerd Nite would be a great
addition to the Ann Arbor com-
munity, so she contacted the head
bosses to start a chapter.
"I thought, 'there are a lot of
nerdy people in Ann Arbor who
would really like something like
this. Why isn't there one here?' "

she said. "So, I emailed them and Nevada. She explained the process
we debuted last month." of creating each sculpture to her
January's event was held at "nerdy" audience.
Braun Court and was such a hit "When you've got pressurized
that Lamoste and her co-bosses methanol, shit gets completely
had to turn people away. bananas," Davis said to an erup-
Though February's event was tion oflaughter from the crowd.
at a larger bar, the venue quick- Next, Becky Bloom, a Ph.D. stu-
ly reached capacity and many dent in the department of Asian
patrons remained standing for the Languages and Cultures, spoke
entire evening. about passion in her presentation,
Titled "Nerds Like it Hot," "Coitus and Curry: The Divine
the February presenters spoke Sexy Times with Lord Krishna."
about a range of topics, all loosely The third act of the night was
related to the Valentine's Day - or "Cupid Wasn't Aiming for Your
Single Awareness Day, as Lamoste Heart: The Neuroscience of Love."
noted - theme. Presented by Dr. Tiffany Love,
the talk originally attracted many
nerds, like Silva and Barnes, to the
mixingdrinks even"
Mixn d n ev e getting people together
w ith science from all different types of disci-
plines to talk about ideas, which is
why Nerd Nite is such a cool idea,"
said Love, who is also a researcher
"Everyone loves love, right?" at the'U.'
asked Nicholas Silva, a first-year The idea of bringing people
Ph.D. student. together from a broad range of
Though Silva had never been to fields is what Lamoste loves most
Nerd Nite before, he was excited about the Nerd Nite community.
to hear the presenters speak. "I really like being surrounded
"Drinks and science seemed by intellectually dynamic people
like a good combination, so that's who look atthe world in different
why we're here." ways than I do," Lamoste said. "It
Erica Barnes, a 'U' alum and can be hard to engage with other
self-dubbed "hardcore nerd," nerds in a non-academic setting,
heard about Nerd Nite through a and this is such a perfect place
friend and thought it was a perfect for that."
fit for the Ann Arbor community. Though Lamoste will be mov-
"Because of the University, ing to Detroit after she gradu-
knowledge is always going to ates from law school, she still
thrive here, and sharingitisgreat." plans on being a part of the Nerd
Jane Davis, a second-year grad- Nite community. She is one of
uate student at the School of Infor- two bosses launching Nerd Nite
mation, was the first speaker of the Detroit, which will debut March
night, and she gave a presentation 28. Ann Arbor Nerd Nite will
called "Kill it with Fire." Before return on March 21.
coming to the University, Davis With the way things are going,
was a member of Flaming Lotus, Lamoste expects Nerd Nites in
a team of women who make giant Michigan to continue success-
metal art that they light on fire at fully as long as people follow
the annual Burning Man Festival, one simple rule: Be there and be
held in the Black Rock Desert of square.



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