Meaning That Matters: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road

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Mad Max: Fury Road is the best political film of 2015. The pleasure I take in saying that is more immense than I can explain coherently. My father raised me, cinematically speaking, on the masterpieces of the 1970s—All the President’s Men, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dog Day Afternoon—and if nothing else, what is apparent in those films is a steadfast political atmosphere. Today, for better or worse, the films we see on screen are politically noncommittal. One either has to dig for any political subtext, or it exists as middle ground between two more devoted extremes. George Miller, the veteran filmmaker (of the previous Mad Max films, as well as both Happy Feet—fun fact), directs Fury Road, whether he admits it or not, fully aware of the feminist charge that electrifies the entire film.

The film begins with the eponymous hero, Max (Tom Hardy). He provides us with expository detail, and as soon as we understand the post-apocalyptic context, he is appropriately done away with—captured, branded, and turned into a human blood bag, used to energize the War Boys, who do the bidding of the savage patriarch Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).…

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Thoughts on Force Friday

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A little over a month ago, a huge bomb went off in the Star Wars community, as merchandise for the newest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, hit stores a whopping three month in advance, an event lovingly called “Force Friday.” Shelves were flooded with action figures, board games, apparel, and even notebooks, all for a film that hadn’t even been released yet. Stranger still, is that Force Friday was a huge success. Crowds of people showed up, waiting in lines and saving spots, all to buy merchandise for characters, vehicles, and worlds they don’t even know much about. In fact, much of what was released hadn’t even been seen until that day. Being both a fascinated scholar and a huge nerd, I realized I’d have to investigate.

Much like Black Friday, stores opened at midnight with freshly stocked shelves and a hoard of shoppers lined up at the doors. Being located in Carlisle, far from urban shopping epicenters, I believed that going after class during the day would be adequate for both finding people to interview as a scholar and stuff to buy as a fan.…

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Reiss Clauson-Wolf and Julian Silver

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Reiss Clauson-Wolf (2013) and Julian Silver (2012) are graduates of Wesleyan University living in Los Angeles and striving to carve out screenwriting careers in the film industry. Right now, they are developing independent creative projects while working full-time industry jobs.

This interview took place on April 1, 2015.

MIKE: What was the inspiration to move out to Los Angeles?

REISS: For me, it was something that I always sort of knew I wanted to do: screenwriting specifically. The more I talked to people about that and discussed those ambitions, one of the things that kept coming up was the idea that LA is the only place you can do that professionally with any sort of degree of success. I mean, New York is always an option because there is the television community and, in terms of production, the writer’s room. A lot of New York writers work for television shows, but the big screenwriters live in LA. So at the end of the day, the process of elimination drew me here.…

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London

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Every year Dickinsonians make a journey around the globe, whether it be for a semester or year, to continue working on their liberal arts education and cultivating a better global perspective. Lead by David Strand, Professor of Political Science and East Asian Studies, a group of juniors including myself managed to navigate the thousands-year-old city of London. Departing each day from our hotel in Bloomsbury we set out on daily adventures to places like St. Paul’s Cathedral and poet John Keats’ house in Hampstead. For someone studying photography, it is difficult to resist taking photos and coming across as an obvious tourist with their lens clicking at every possible opportunity. Fortunately, my self-imposed restraint created an opportunity. Rather than taking photographs of everything I saw, I had to look with earnest, selecting only a few objects or areas.

Walking around London there is something extraordinary on almost every corner, such as an incredibly fat pigeon or a tavern from the 16th century, but when you are trying to document the city you have to think about what images work with each other.…

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Shaping Sound, Shaping Minds

Shaping Sound

I have been a mighty admirer of the dance scene especially since I started dancing when I was young and haven’t stopped since. In my opinion, So You Think You Can Dance is one of the greatest television series that has been invented. They attract many talents who audition and get challenged by the show, not only in their genre, but in other genres too. The show first debuted in 2005 and is on their 12th season currently.

In particular, I’ve admired Nick Lazzarini and Travis Wall, the winner of season 1 and runner-up of season 2 respectively. They are both contemporary dancers and have since found fulfilling careers in the world of dance. Just recently in 2012, Wall and Lazzarini founded their own dance company Shaping Sound with Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson. They have recruited wonderful talents who have helped make their national tours a reality.

The four founders had heard many of their dancer friends speak about the lack of opportunities and career prospects that they decided to build their own company.…

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