A Lens on Capital Punishment

BY ALEX MILNE // MAY 7, 2014 //

The number of Americans supporting capital punishment is on the decline. According to the Pew Research Center, 37 percent of U.S. adults oppose it—up 6 percentage points from 2011.

A majority of people (55 percent) still supports the death penalty for people convicted of murder. But given the recently botched execution of a convicted murder and rapist late last month in Oklahoma, capital punishment is a topic many people are now discussing.

For those interested in a bit of entertainment—as opposed to debate—check out “The Green Mile.” It’s the 15th anniversary of the film, directed by Frank Darabont and based off the novel by Stephen King. It has an all-star ensemble cast that includes Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, Sam Rockwell and Bonnie Hunt.

The film tells the story of Paul Edgecomb, who was a prison officer in charge of death-row inmates at Cold Mountain Penitentiary in 1935 during the Great Depression. John Coffey, a black man who had been convicted of raping and killing two young girls, reveals that he has supernatural powers by resurrecting a dead mouse, curing Edgecomb’s urinary tract infection, and healing the warden’s wife.

The night before his execution, Coffey requests to watch the film “Top Hat,” which came out that year and starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It’s the first and last “flicker” movie he saw.

As he is being prepped for execution, Coffey asks Edgecomb if he could keep the black hood off his head because he does not like the dark. Edgecomb agrees, they shake hands, and Coffey is killed.

Ultimately, the movie asks the question of whether the price of capital punishment is simply too great for those involved.

Get Up and Find Your Fun

BY MATTHEW GLEASON // OCT. 10, 2013 //

I was sitting in my dorm room on a recent Friday afternoon and couldn’t help but notice student after student leaving campus to go home for the weekend. I turned to my roommate in disgust. “This school is so lame!” I said.

To which he casually replied: “You just got to make your own fun, bro.”

Legacy Place in Dedham offers good food options, shopping, a movie theater and a bowling alley/bar.
Legacy Place in Dedham offers good food options, shopping, a movie theater and a bowling alley/bar.

Good old Curry does have social activities for those who choose to stay all weekend. On Thursday nights—for most college students, Thursday night is the start of the weekend—there is a shuttle bus that will bring you to and from South Shore Plaza in Braintree. On Friday nights, Curry offers its services to Legacy Place, an outdoor shopping mall. This is a good mall, which also features a great movie theater and a bowling alley/bar, but like most malls it gets old after awhile.

Now, one of the main reasons I came to Curry was its close proximity to Boston. So, it’s only fitting that on Saturdays the college shuttles people to and from Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. Keep in mind, the bus to Faneuil Hall leaves the Student Center at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., with return rides at 6 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Make sure you plan accordingly or you’ll be ponying up for cab fair back to campus.

Sure, all these activities are off campus. And there are occasionally dances and comedians on campus.  Not to mention, a lot of sports teams to cheer on and intramurals to take part in. So I think my roommate might have been right. You really do need to make your own fun.

From Paperback to Big Screen

BY CHRIS WILSON // OCT. 1, 2012 // 

We all know about “The Hunger Games” book series that has been turned into movies. From “Harry Potter” to “Lord of the Rings,” teen- and young adult-oriented books have led to big box office business. Make no mistake, more are on the horizon.

Books are starting to be converted into movies more often. // STOCKVAULT.NET

One series of popular books is the Millennium series by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. This is better known by the name of the first book, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and its sequels, “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” The primary character in these three crime novels is Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant hacker with a photographic memory and a deeply troubled past.

Larsson, who incorporated his hate of violence against women as a theme in the books, had written the series with the intention of it having 10 books to it. Unfortunately, his sudden death of a heart attack only allowed the first three to be published posthumously.

A Swedish film company, Yellow Bird, has already turned all three books into films. MGM and Columbia Pictures recently released an English-language film version of the first novel. Featuring Rooney Mara as Salander, the film has grossed $232.6 million and received numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Film Editing. Film versions of the other books are currently in the works.

Another notable series is Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” series. Originally a novelette, Card expanded it into a full novel and followed with several sequels, side stories, and prequels. Its main character, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, is a child prodigy chosen and trained by a future Earth’s military to lead against an upcoming alien invasion. After he unknowingly wipes out the entire alien race, Ender travels the universe in exile, struggling to maintain the balance between the human colonists and the native inhabitants.

Currently, Lionsgate Entertainment is working on a film based on the first book, “Ender’s Game.” The plot is to be a combination of the book and its parallel counterpart, “Ender’s Shadow.” Staring Asa Butterfield as Ender, the film is expected to come out in November 2013.

These films, along with other movies based on books, stand as a testament to the popularity of their original sources. As more written works continue to capture the interest and imagination of readers, more will attempt to recreate the words into color and sound. The telling of these stories in both mediums demonstrates the versatility and power of the human imagination.

I Want All the Channels, and I Want Them Now

BY SEBASTIAN HUMBERT // FEB. 23, 2012 //

I don’t watch a lot of TV. It’s not necessarily because my roommate and I have never gotten around to hooking the cable up, or because I’m taking more credits than I know what to do with. At the end of it all, it’s just easier to watch the shows I want to watch from the ease of my laptop.

I want to watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it and without restrictions or payments. I want to be able to pause a show or a sports game and then go back to it. I want to watch indi flicks, and sometimes crave a dose of b-movies. But none of this is possible through the Curry cable plan or on most student-budget television sets anywhere.

While most people have a site they rely on for popular movies-on-demand—and feel free to tout the one you use, below in the comments section—a good, reliable source is Movie2k.to. Based out of the tiny island nation of Tonga, the massive database of TV shows and flicks old and new, popular and clandestine, is completely free and totally legal.

But if you feel more comfortable exchanging money for goods, then there are sites for old-fashioned Internet explorers. Netflix.com is the classic, and at this point in the semester, you could stream movies and shows legally for the rest of the year for a little more than $20. I have access to an account here, but I’m not too happy with it. Netflix doesn’t update access to the new seasons of all the TV series I want, and they still don’t have access to any Criterion Collection film…the last straw for me. Hulu Plus, an online streaming service like Netflix, but better, is better. They have all the popular films plus Criterion Collection films. Like Netflix, it is $7.99 a month.

But if you crave the live-TV feel of cable, and still want the laptop convenience, then hit up Veetle.com. The online service works more like cable or satellite than an online streaming service. The site relies on users to stream live feeds of networks like ESPN and CNN, as well as their own content. So, if you crave watching the Tennis Channel, and then want to take a break and watch back-to-back “Two and a Half Men” or “Friends” re-runs, you can. Users also provide themed movie channels, like the Action Movies, 2011 movies or the Horror channel.

We’re all busy, and most of us are living on student budgets. Watching video online is the easiest way for me to get the content I want while still being able to spend my money on the things I really need.