Weekend Warriors: Homebodies Edition Volume II

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The final weekend of SBI is upon us, but let’s face it; you have a test Monday and the CE presentations on Wednesday, and you’re not going anywhere this weekend. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take an hour or two to unwind. Here are a few more movies worth checking out on Netflix for when you need a break. Background information, including quotations, awards, casting, and content advisory, courtesy of imdb.com

Airplane! (PG, 1980, 87 Minutes): There’s a reason that even 30 years after its release, this film is consistently ranked as a comedy classic. When food poisoning incapacitates the crew of a jumbo on a cross-country flight, passenger Ted Striker (Robert Hays), a rattled ex-pilot, must step up and save the day. A ludicrous script, written by Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers, meshes with the cast’s deadpan delivery to create comedy gold. Recommended. Contains nudity and sexual situations.

The King’s Speech (R, 2010, 118 Minutes): Thrust onto the British throne by the unexpected abdication of his brother, King George VI (Colin Firth) finds himself in an unenviable position. Threatened by the looming shadow of Nazi Germany, England is badly in need of a king who can provide strong symbolic leadership, yet a persistent stutter makes public speaking all but impossible for the King. With the help of an unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) and his Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), King George sets out to conquer his impediment and to become the strong voice that Britain needs. Powerful acting and an inspiring plot netted The King’s Speech eight Academy Awards, including the Oscar for best motion picture. Recommended. Contains strong language.

Out of the Furnace (R, 2013, 116 Minutes): Russell Baze (Christian Bale), a steel worker in a dying Pennsylvania mill town, is trying to put his life back together after a prison sentence when is brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), falls into the hands of gangster Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson).  Russell’s search for Rodney and DeGroat takes him across moral boundaries and into DeGroat’s stronghold, an insular community nestled in New Jersey’s Ramapo Mountains. The premise sounds like any of a dozen cookie-cutter action movies that have come out in the past few years, but Out of the Furnace is something far more thought provoking, a character-driven drama that only sounds like another Taken clone. As menacing as Harrelson makes his thug, it is the Baze family’s demons, not DeGroat, that serve as the primary antagonist. Recommended. Contains violence and strong language.

The Untouchables (R, 1987, 119 Minutes): “You wanna know how you get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!” Better than anything else, this quote captures the essence of The Untouchables, an account (albeit one that takes substantial historical liberties) of the law enforcement unit that set out to destroy Al Capone’s criminal empire. Kevin Costner plays Eliot Ness, the federal agent tasked with assembling a team of men who could not be bribed or intimidated, “Untouchables”, and with building a case against Capone (Robert De Niro). An outstanding cast is rounded out by Andy Garcia, Sean Connery, and Charles Martin Smith as fellow Untouchables and by Billy Drago as Capone’s lieutenant, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti. The Untouchables is an action movie at heart with a classic good versus evil plot, phenomenal acting, and a compelling, Oscar-nominated score. In case you can’t tell, this is one of my personal favorites. Contains strong language, violence, and (lots of) blood and gore.

 

Weekend Warriors 11-13 July

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Congratulations on making it through your first applied economics exam; we hope our meme helped! Uwishunu.com has brought to our attention a few exciting ways you can spend the upcoming weekend (besides studying for Tuesday’s CE exam, that is).

The small town of Phoenixville, roughly a half-hour drive from Villanova, has secured for itself a place in movie history as the setting for the classic 1950’s B-Movie The Blob. Phoenixville will celebrate this kitschy, yet noteworthy part of its heritage during this weekend’s Blobfest. Tonight’s events at the Colonial Theater have already sold out, but admission to other events are still available. These include a street fair on Saturday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM (admission is free), and a series of B-Movie double features; each showing pairs The Blob with another classic monster movie, including Mothra and King Kong vs. Godzilla. Admission for the screenings ranges from six to ten dollars.  Related events in Phoenixville this weekend include a trivia contest, a coffee house storytelling session, and a 1950’s hot rod car show. Driving directions from Villanova to Phoenixville’s Colonial theater are available here.

A hot rod show will be included in Phoenixville’s blob fest this weekend.

The PECO mulitcultural series continues at  Penn’s Landing (Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut Street) this weekend with the Hispanic Festival. From 2:00 to 8:00 both Saturday and Sunday, visitors can take in traditional Latin American food, music, and dance. The McDonald’s Fiesta Bus will also be on site to broadcast all of the world cup games, so you won’t have to worry about missing Sunday’s Germany-Argentina game. Admission is free, and public transit directions from Villanova to Penn’s landing are available here.

On Saturday the 12th, Eastern State Penitentiary and the surrounding neighborhood offers a chance to celebrate Bastille Day (officially held on July 14th), which commemorates the storming of Paris’s infamous Bastille Prison in 1790, an event that marked the beginning of the French Revolution. With the imposing walls of Eastern State serving as the Bastille for the day, visitors can take part in a festival held in the streets surrounding the prison A comedic cabaret show outside the walls of Eastern State The Bastille will commence at 5:30 PM. After the show, local establishments will hold after parties, and Eastern State will offer twilight tours of its grounds at a reduced rate. Public transit directions from Villanova to Eastern State are available here.

 

4th of July Weekend Warriors

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If you’re looking for something exciting to do this 4th of July weekend, don’t forget that your dorm room is just minutes away from the city where American independence began. Here are a few opportunities to celebrate the holiday from Uwishunu.comEditor’s Note: A tropical storm, expected to become the season’s first hurricane, will be moving along the eastern seaboard over the next few days. The current weather.com forecast anticipates nothing more serious than scattered showers in Philadelphia on the 4th, but please keep abreast of the situation as it develops, and please use caution if you will be traveling. 

An outstanding opportunity to commemorate the American struggle for liberty will occur at the corner of 6th and Chestnut streets for the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, which will begin at 10:00 AM. The ceremony will commemorate not only the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. The ceremony will include music, a reading of excerpts from  the Declaration of Independence, and remarks from a list of notables that includes Martin Luther King III, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and Vice President Joe Biden. The ceremony will be followed by a parade at 11:00.

The Super-Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival will run at Penn’s landing from Friday the 4th through Sunday the 6th. For only $7, you buy access to all the ice cream and water ice you can eat; vendors include Ben and Jerry’s Haagen-Dazs, the Philadelphia Water Ice Company, and more. Even better, proceeds from the event will go to the Joshua Kahan Fund, which seeks a cure for pediatric leukemia.

If you’re looking for a party and concert, head to the Eakins Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Party on the Parkway. The festivities commence at noon with food, fun, and music from local acts. The party kicks into high gear at 7:00 PM with the “July Jam”, a free concert featuring performances from the Roots, Nicki Manaj, Ed Sheeran, Jennifer Hudson, and Ariana Grande, among others. Fireworks, starting at around 10:30 and running until 11:00, will close the day out. Did we mention that admission is free?

 

Weekend Warriors: Homebodies Edition

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With the FMR final fast approaching, a day out on the town likely isn’t a part of your weekend plans. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take a study break. Here are our thoughts on some movies that you can take in without leaving your dorm room or apartment; all of the following are currently available on Netflix. Secondary research was conducted on imdb.com.

popcorn

Devil (2010, PG-13, 80 Minutes)

A group of strangers are stranded in an elevator, and they soon find themselves in mortal peril; as it turns out, their predicament is the handiwork of none other than the devil itself. A solid, suspenseful, horror film that makes the most of a limited setting, Devil is one of  M. Knight Shyamalan’s better films (he is credited as the film’s story writer, but John Erick Dowdle directed). If nothing else, take a few minutes to watch one of the more memorable opening sequences of the past few years, a vertigo-inducing shot of the Philadelphia skyline flipped upside-down. Recommended. Contains violence and some gore.

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000, G, 78 Minutes)

Everything’s groovy for the spoiled, hard-hearted Emperor Kuzco (David Spade), until a botched assassination plot concocted by his devious adviser Yzma (Eartha Kitt) and her less than devious henchman Kronk (Patrick Warburton) turns him into a llama.  Kuzco proceeds to team up with kindly peasant Pacha (John Goodman), and sets out to regain his human form. First and foremost a kid’s cartoon, this film will be a trip down memory lane for those who enjoyed this movie as children, but its witty, ludicrous sense of humor should appeal to first-time viewers as well. Recommended.

The Usual Suspects (1995, R, 106 Minutes)

A drug heist has gone wrong, and dozens are dead. Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), a small-time crook and the only surviving member of the crew responsible, recounts what happened to the police in exchange for immunity. A well-written whodunit that, unfortunately, loses much of its punch if you’ve already been told the answer. Contains violence, gore, and strong language.

World War Z (2013, PG-13, 116 Minutes)

Millions of zombies try to turn UN special investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) into yet another zombie, who does his best not to get zombified. Rinse, lather, repeat. The movie starts off strong with a genuinely scary zombie attack (set in Philadelphia, no less), but soon gets repetitive. The plot is too silly to be taken seriously, yet not quite silly enough to be enjoyed ironically. Contains violence and gore.

Zoolander (2001, PG-13, 89 Minutes)

Superstar model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) has hit a rough patch; his signature look has gone stale, a newer, hipper model is stealing his thunder, and his roommates have just died after a gasoline stop gone horribly wrong. To add to Derek’s worries, a corrupt fashion mogul (Will Ferrell) is trying to brainwash him into assassinating the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Can Zoolander team up with rival model Hansel (Owen Wilson) to save the day, and can he revive his career in the process? Fairly typical of the absurdist brand of humor one expects from Stiller, Ferrell and company, Zoolander will appeal to fans of the genre. Contains drug use, strong language, and sexual situations.

Weekend Warriors: June 21-22

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Happy Friday, and congratulations on completing the second FMR exam! If you were planning on staying in and watching the World Cup, consider a change in plans; this Saturday offers a watch party in the heart of Philadelphia. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of your weekend from Uwishunu.com  

Ben Franklin Parkway

If you didn’t make it out to last weekend’s recommended events, or if they only whetted your appetite for Philadelphia street fairs, make your way to Eakins Oval, 2609 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for It’s A Small World At the Oval on Saturday the 21st. The day starts at 9:00 AM with a free, two-hour yoga class. A World Cup Watch Party will be held for both of the afternoon’s games; Argentina and Iran face off starting at 12:00, and the Germany-Ghana game kicks off at 3:00. The day’s final event runs from 8:30 PM to 11:00 PM with an outdoor screening of The Italian Job. A BMW mini rally will also be held. Food trucks, music, cornhole toss, and giant chess and checkers boards will be available throughout the day. Admission is free.

Looking for some intellectual stimulation that doesn’t involve spreadsheets? Those with an interest in the story behind stories, or those who were fascinated by Where the Wild Things Are as children, might get a kick out of Sendak in the Sixties, an exhibition running at the Rosenbach Museum and Library through November 2nd. Maurice Sendak’s work as an author and illustrator, which left an indelible mark on children’s literature, was heavily influenced by the political and social turbulence of the 1960’s.The Rosenbach exhibition tells this story through  Sendak’s letters, illustrations, and personal reflections. Admission is $5 for students, so bring your wildcard.

Weekend Warriors: 14-15 June

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Jealous of your friends who are traveling this summer? This weekend offers several excellent opportunities to soak up some culture, and they’re all only  a train-wide away. Here are some events worth checking out, courtesy of uwishunu.com. Also, don’t forget that Father’s Day is this Sunday, so plan accordingly.

Street Fair

American history buffs can take in Philadelphia’s first-ever Stripes and Stars Festival on Saturday, June 14th. The festival commemorates the anniversary of the Revolutionary War-era 13 star flag (of Betsy Ross fame) and of the United States Army. The festival starts out at 9:00 AM with a flag raising at the Betsy Ross house, and continues throughout the day with a 10:00 AM parade, a 1:30 PM naturalization ceremony, and a 5:00 PM concert. Furthermore, visitors can take advantage of reduced admission rates for the Betsy Ross House and the National Constitution Center (both $5 for the day). Admission for most other events is free.

Also occurring on the 14th is the Islamic Heritage Festival  a part of PECO’s Multicultural series. The day begins at 1:00 PM with a  parade running from the corner of 5th and Market Streets to Penn’s landing, where the festival will be held from 2:00-8:00 PM. Activities include live performances, games, giveaways, and an outdoor bazaar selling food, goods, and services from dozens of vendors. Admission is free.

The PECO Multicultural series continues on Sunday at 1:00 PM with the Portuguese Heritage Festival, also at Penn’s landing. Live music, including acts from Angola and Brazil (both Portuguese-speaking countries) will be performing all day. Additional activities include art exhibitions, dance performances, and a blessing of the fleet aboard the Portuguese tall ship Gazela. Also available, both for sampling and for purchase, will be traditional Portuguese food, including grilled sardines, Portuguese sausage, and grilled chicken and pork. Admission is free.

Weekend Warriors: May 31-June 1

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Now that you’ve completed your first few days of SBI you may find yourself in search of a way to kick back and relax this weekend. This weekend is also a fantastic opportunity to get to know the people you’ll be living and working with this summer, so grab a few new friends and do something fun! Here are two suggestions, courtesy of uwishunu.com and mainlinetoday.com

The Roots Picnic will be held Saturday at Festival Pier, Penn’s Landing. The festival is headlined by The Roots and will include Snoop Dog, Emily Wells, and Electric Wire Hustle. As of this posting, tickets are still available at $64, and can be ordered online at http://www.ticketmaster.com/the-roots-philadelphia-pennsylvania-05-31-2014/event/02004C63BE198A01

If you’re looking for something closer to campus, consider a Sunday screening of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The London National Theater’s rendition of Mark Haddon’s acclaimed novel. Both funny and poignant, the play tells the story of a teenage math genius who, by investigating the death of his neighbor’s dog, finds out more than he had ever bargained for. The screening starts at 1:00 PM Sunday at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute (824 West Lancaster Avenue, only 1.5 miles from Villanova’s campus). Admission is $10 with a student ID, $20 without. http://www.brynmawrfilm.org/films/?id=1049