Culture

Friday’s media round-up

fun-l-2

Shelby Shaw
Perhaps you know of Whit Stillman. He isn’t the man behind the boxes of predictable Whitman’s Sampler chocolates you may have indulged in this past Tuesday. He’s the man behind the films that have influenced, among many others, filmmakers such as Wes Anderson (whose new release, Moonshine Kingdom, is coming soon) and Noah Baumbach. Stillman’s mastery of the satire around upperclass-bourgeois values (think debutant balls, Ivy League schools, and dinner parties where politics or philosophy are usual topics) came to us first via his fantastic 1990 debut Metropolitan, followed in 1994 by Barcelona and then in ’98 by The Last Days of Disco (a novel, penned by Stillman, accompanying after this last title). And now, finally, over a decade after his last theatrical release, Stillman brings to us his latest creation: Damsels in Distress. Technically the film debuted already last year at the Venice Film Festival – but now you can actually watch the trailer and think up all sorts of ways in which you might get to see it at some independent theatre, unless its release is bigger than anticipated. Watch the trailer. Adore. Watch again and spot the cast which includes Greta Gerwig (remember her in No Strings Attached?) and Aubrey Plaza (remember her in Portlandia?).

Ben Kessell
Mass Effect gets launched into space – Earlier this week I received an email from EA games telling me that because I beta tested Battlefield 3, I would get early access to the Mass Effect 3 demo. Normally, I would be delighted, except they sent this blast email after the Mass Effect demo had been released. Nice going EA, you guys have a talent for fucking your customers until they love you. Then they demand that I use their terrible “Origin” PC platform. Look guys, I already paid $80 for the collectors set. You cant make me use your terrible software.

Then this happened. It put a kind of childish wonder into my heart. Take the epic space opera of our time (sorry Lucasfilm, putting a busted wagon in 3D doesn’t fix it) and put in space. I remember being younger and reading about how high weather balloons went. That some end up freezing slightly and drop in elevation as a result. The idea made my 10 year old persona want to attach a bunch of birthday balloons to my neck and see what happened. Put the game I’ve been waiting three years for into space and you might just have calmed my burning hatred for a publisher. So a few copies are headed around the globe on balloons and you can track it on the games website. Effectively allowing you two weeks early access.

I can wait, honestly, I’ve waited this long. I can wait long enough to rub my own purchased copy on my sweaty basement-dweller body. The real treat of this stunt is that it actually made me hate EA less. With an amazing track record of dog-fucking customers and developers whenever they feel like it, it’s hard not to hold a grudge against these guys. When you get my grizzly, jaded man child to smile and remember his dreams of being an astronaut/superhero/space cop with a dash of Spaceman Spiff/Commander Keen, you’re doing it right EA.

Mike Haverty
Fun. is now streaming their newest album Some Night via SoundCloud. Finally there is a band that realized more music should sound like Queen.  Some bold choices pay off and some are weird auto-tuned pop anthems. Still, it’s a great album that I’ve been playing on repeat all week long.

Amy Dittmeier
I think I’ve watched Nathan Barnatt’s dance video for Madeon’s “Pop Culture” 20 times this week. This is not an exaggeration. Madeon’s mash-up of all his favorite tracks is incredible (check out the live video of him performing it and you’ll see this kid has some skill). And Barnatt’s dance moves are glorious.