Burn after Reading fire extinguished

“What did we learn, Palmer?” barks the supervising government intelligence officer. “I have no idea sir,” replies the lower ranking officer. This is a small taste of the conclusion of Joel and Ethan Coen’s newest film, Burn After Reading. It finishes with two somewhat educated and respected men who are left sitting in bewilderment, urging one another not to repeat whatever it is they just did. The Coen brothers, who are famous for displaying the dark side of humor through their writing and directing style in such films as O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), The Big Lebowski (1998) and Fargo (1996), continue that pattern in the new release. Having just come off the success of the award winning movie, No Country for Old Men (2007), the Coen brothers decided to combine success in  their action/thriller film with their old standard, comedy. The result of this merger left movie goers less than satisfied and many film critics scratching their heads. It features a star studded cast, with leading names like George Clooney,  Brad Pitt and John Malkovich. It opens with a scene from the  CIA headquarters in Washington, D.C.  In the scene, seasoned CIA analyst Osborne Cox (Malkovich) is terminated from his job at the agency. His superiors list his alcohol abuse as the reason for his firing and stated it as a security risk. Cox’s reaction to the news sets the tone for the rest of the film. He begins with a string of obscenities and insults, all the while denying any responsibility for his current situation in a self-absorbed fit of rage. Each character is found to be an ignorant, selfish individual looking out only for himself. Each new one has his own role to play in this unfortunate series of events. Murder, infidelity, theft, fraud and deception all run rampant throughout the movie. Not one character in the film is motivated beyond anything but pure, selfish ambition. The film received an R rating for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence. Though this rating will be enough to ward off many students wishing to watch the movie, for those still planning on seeing the film — beware. While the rating system is often slightly off target, this one is right on. Burn After Reading boasts more than 60 obscenities as well as 30-plus instances of profanity in its 96- minute run time. Also, characters frequently change sex partners as if it were a handshake to be given to anyone they meet. Some will find the film enjoyable and ironic in a dark sort of way and will get pleasure in watching the pure, uninhibited stupidity of...

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Hispanic independence culture draws awareness
Sep30

Hispanic independence culture draws awareness

By Krystle Danuz “La fe mueve montanas”; faith moves mountains. With this message in mind, El Grito, the Mexican cry of independence from Spanish rule was yelled out in 1810. Beginning in mid-September and running through Oct. 15, Hispanics all around the world are celebrating independence, freedom and justice. A cultural event on campus hosted by Professor of social work, Dr. Jose Martinez, honored the president for the Heart of Texas chapter of The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and community leader, Jose (Joe) Landez for his contributions to the Hispanic public. Also honored was director and treasurer of the Multi-Ethnic Cultural and Arts Association (MECA), Dr. Daniel Kott, for his continuous work in cultural music and dance education. Martinez spoke of Hispanic holidays that are integrated into the American culture and thus have created a unity between Spanish and Texas customs.( Of the main Hispanic cultures that are unified with the state is that of Mexico.) Martinez said that Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican national holiday that commemorates victory over the French army, for example, is celebrated throughout Mexico and America because 60% of all Hispanics are Mexican-American. The celebration is received all over the world because “We (Latinos) recognize each other as far as our heritage is concerned. We appreciate each other,” Martinez said. But Cinco de Mayo is more than an anniversary of independence. “The significance is … the idea that some people that are poor, sometimes powerless, can accomplish and can achieve,” he said, “in particular, against those who are powerful.” Joe Landez is helping to educate individuals about Spanish cultures and expose the contributions, which he feels have often gone unnoticed, made by Latins in American history. “I do have a story, and I do have a passion,” Landez said. “As I was growing up down the Rio Grande Valley (in) McAllen, we felt, I felt, we were not Americans. We refer to other folks that are not Mexicans as Americanos. … with that negative self-esteem, we were conditioned to believe that we were not part of the system. I thought of myself as a non-Americano.” Landez soon came to the realization that he, too, was American, but his Hispanic culture that was a part of his identity was being underrepresented in society. Mexican stereotypes were abundant, and he thought he was looked at negatively. “My passion began to ignite about me and my “raza,” my race,” he said. After spending 18 years in the Army, Landez was drafted into the race relations field where he learned a great deal about Hispanics and their largely overlooked participation in American history. “We were...

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Performances to feature faculty and special guest
Sep30

Performances to feature faculty and special guest

By Krystle Danuz See the music. Hear the artwork. Great artists are known to captivate and intrigue audiences with their ability to represent ideas in ways many cannot express. On Oct. 2 and 3 the English, art and music departments are going to be on center stage that also includes a guest performance by 2008 Texas Poet Laureate, Larry D. Thomas. The event is free of charge and open to the public. The art department is hosting a show displaying a few of the campus’ most creative professors and guests from the area. Called a “cross-discipline arts event,” the production will combine poetry, music and visual pieces. “It’s going to be fun,” chair of the music department, Dr. Lon W. Chaffin, said. “This is a unique event—something we’ve never tried before … that will become a regular event for the College of Visual and Performing Arts.” Since last spring, he has been working with artists, musicians and writers to develop the event. In the program, the title “Faraway Nearby” is described as “something (that) can be distant but remain close; foreign, but near at hand; long gone, but ever present.” The art exhibit will begin at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in Hughes Recital Hall. Immediately following, the concert will commence with a screen displaying images to illustrate music and readings, as others perform. The reading will feature new and original poetry from three English professors: Assistant Professor Dr. Brady Peterson; Professor Dr. Cleatus Rattan; and English Chair Dr. Audell Shelburne. Musical accompaniment is composed by Chaffin and Justin Raines and performed with the assistance of special guests from New Mexico State University, Celeste Shearer, James E. Shearer and Martha Rowe. Visual images will be provided by six art professors: College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean,  Ted Barnes; Associate Professor,  Helen Kwiatkowski; Professor Phil Dunham; Associate Professor John Hancock;  Art Chair Hershall Seals; and Associate Professor Barbara Fontaine-White. Serious consideration went into the creation of each piece of art. Each poem describes a scene which is brought to life by music and art. “The objective of the series was to work from a piece of music and interpret it as a story in a nonobjective manner with a beginning, middle and an end,” Fontaine-White said. “The music I chose for inspiration was from the movie Fantasia. The colors work in harmony because they are complementary. Together the colors and shapes are meant to flow from panel to panel much as music would.” Acting as a guest poet in the production, is Larry D. Thomas. On Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. in Hughes he will read from his latest book, Larry D....

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