End of Spring Break Best Bets

The Host with the Mostby Phillip Valys

It’s not unnatural anymore to see an endless cascade of films taking veiled shots at U.S. Government (and really, why shouldn’t they?). Next up to bat is Bong Joon-ho’s sleeper hit Gwoemul (The Host), which dares to whip its slimy tentacles angrily at democracy.

The overnight sensation, recently deemed the highest-grossing South Korean film of all time, shuffles a crack team of antiquated 1950’s monster movie references. Such influences seemed so flagrant, that as the amphibian/rodent sea creature leapt mightily from the murky waters of the Han River, this reporter actually thought, like clockwork, some Asian dude was gonna rear his head from behind a rock and shriek “Godzilla!”

Alas, that didn’t happen. Fortunately, The Host is more an exercise in deadpan comic flippancy than as a nostalgia-laden homage to the “Golden Age” of cinema. Lead Korean actor Song Kang-ho portrays a doltish, narcoleptic father named Park Gang-Du, who’s left to manage a by-the-sea convenience kiosk despite his tendency to uncontrollably doze off as passersby pilfer a few snacks under his nose.

Meanwhile, an American scientist demands his lab assistant empty several dozen gallons of super-toxic formaldehyde into the nearby river, which proceeds to mutate the surrounding marine life. A mucous-drenched, porcine sea creature emerges, gobbling up the local urbanites like a frenzied Shamu on crack. Local and U.S. government intervene to mitigate the crisis, stumble over their own ineptitude, and leave the bumbling Seoul-ites to fend off the ravenous Sea-zilla. Think FEMA and Hurricane Katrina, minus the slobbering mutant thing. Are we sensing satire yet?

For further evidence, check out the scene where a ragtag gang of biohazard suit-wearing local scientists corral a group of frightened civilians into a holding room. Outraged, one citizen shouts, “shouldn’t you start explaining what’s happening here?” The scientist darts to a nearby TV and replies, “to save time, we’ll let the local news serve as explanation!” Thankfully, these blundering individuals are the sort of enlightened people worth saving.

If nothing else, catch the bevy of cutting-edge CGI-animation, most of which is sleekly rendered from the sea creature itself. But really, The Host is best viewed as an often glib probe into the oftentimes hazardous policies of democratized government.

Now that sounds like a real monster movie.

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Tey-Marie AstudilloLesbian Comedy Grey Delivers Laughs, But Rings Contrived

Over the past couple years, it seems there’s been a rising audience for lesbians. Perhaps it began with actress/comedienne Ellen DeGeneres’ “coming-out”; however, over time the lesbian craze has slowly merged into mainstream entertainment with such hit series as The L Word and now the recent release, Gray Matters.

Gray and Sam (Heather Graham and Tom Cavanagh), are the ideal pair of siblings. For 30 years they’ve been each other’s best friends, but this inseparable brother-sister bond has put a damper on both love lives. They repair this problem by agreeing to “partner shop” for the other.

Gray spots a beautiful female suitor for her brother, Charlie (Bridget Moynahan), with whom Sam falls deeply in love. At first, Gray’s jealous of Sam’s quick matchmaking, since she’s unable to find her own significant other. After one impromptu yet passionate night with her soon-to-be sister-in-law, however, the situation changes.

The steamy moment when Gray and Charlie first kiss is first invoked by an artificial sequence of drinking, flirting and partying at the Karaoke Bar. The final lip-lock at the hotel, which arrives after much cheek-kissing, feels forced and somewhat disingenuous. The moments that precede and follow this star-on-star action are unconvincing, leaving the audience to question the authenticity of Gray’s newfound “lesbian” identity.

To balance this equation, the film exquisitely inserts hilarious moments between Gray and best friend Carrie (Molly Shannon). The two work together and ridicule American society with priceless conversations and lively body language.

The whole journey of Gray experimenting with another woman, realizing she’s gay, and becoming secure in her sexuality in such a brief time, rings hollow and contrived. It seems more a breezy adventure for Gray than a realistic one for viewers. However, this is an uplifting comedy, not a discouraging romance. If you’re looking forward to a good laugh despite the glaring flaws catch Gray Matters this Friday at Miami’s Regal South Beach and Ft. Lauderdale’s Sunrise Gateway.

Ashley GabrielFashion – The Black Mystique

In a girl’s closet, black will always be in style, classic, and noticeably slimming for the figure. But more specifically, it’s the accessories and style of the black dress or top that make the color once again a hot trend.

Tinseltown is teeming with celebrities, the slimmest of which oftentimes choose black. There’s a mystique to black; the wearer will give the illusion of a taller and slimmer figure. For any female college student who doesn’t feel at her lightest, the classic black is a quick fix for a first date or a night out in Fort Lauderdale or Boca Raton.

Back to the accessories: if you felt askance at any time about wearing red or deep plum lipstick, now’s the perfect opportunity. With other colors, a dark lip looks overdone and dramatic. However, while sporting a black dress or top, the red lips look sultry yet polished. Since red lips are considered an accessory in themselves, opt for something light: heavy make-up everywhere else resembles a gothic look.

When going a natural bronze with make-up, bright shoes or bag look great with black. Since any color- from lime green to red- blends well with black, make the outfit pop and eclectic with your choice. However, stick to one bright color accessory or shoe to keep the outfit from looking too busy.

While shopping for great black pieces, try Forever 21, Nordstrom, or even Marshall’s. Stores such as Aldo, Forever 21, and Salvation Army also carry bright shoes and accessories.