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A History of Delivering ViolenceCronenberg’s thriller Eastern Promises is gripping and gorgeously graphicby Phillip Valys Entertainment Writer

Veteran Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg’s gore-charged drama Eastern Promises unfolds not just a scientist mutating into a fly or amid head-exploding Scanners – no, the aging director ditched his science fiction addiction last decade. But his lingering fascination with dismemberment and violent excess remains – just in smaller spurts.

Anna Ivanovna (Naomi Watts) a Russian-born British midwife who delivers the baby of a 14-year-old mother that dies mid-childbirth. The deceased leaves behind a diary bursting with fiery confessions that compromise the Russian mob; namely, of prostitution and drug trafficking.

Unwittingly, Anna has the diary translated by cordial restaurateur Semyon – his lavish joint (they serve a mean borscht) is, of course, a front for the notoriously cutthroat Russian mob Vory V Zakone. Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen), a one-man cleanup crew for disappearing unwanted enemy corpses, is dispatched to disillusion Anna – and kill her if necessary.

This is Mortensen’s second collaboration with Cronenberg after A History of Violence, but this doesn’t make the callous Nikolai any less unflinchingly savage. Mortensen is just mesmerizing: taciturn yet burning with fierce intelligence, he more closely resembles some half-lidded, swamp-dwelling reptilian beast coolly prowling for quarry than an actual human.

From the extremely unsettling first act – an excitable barber carving a ruby smile in someone’s neck – to a climactic showdown in a male bathhouse, Cronenberg expertly brandishes his taste for gritty bloodlust. He excels the most when the mundane is suddenly flipped topsy-turvy, such as when Nikolai’s relaxing stint in a steaming room segues into a visceral melee involving two Chechnyans, exposed flesh, and a razor-sharp pocketknife.

Cronenberg crafts a wickedly taut, oftentimes macabre, thriller, with sparkling performances all around.

Hookah Lounge What’s all the buzz about Hookah Lounges? by Meagan Perle Staff Writer

This weekend go out and try something new and exciting. Venture out to a hookah lounge. A hookah is a single or multi-stemmed water pipe devised for smoking herbal fruits or tobacco.

Usually hookah lounges serve wine or beer and have really chill settings. At a typical hookah lounge you sit on pillows at floor level around a low table where the hookah sits. It’s an awesome way to wind down the week and just hang out and talk with your friends. There are a few Hookah lounges off Federal Highway, which I highly suggest. There is Hookah Hut, which features a Moroccan setting with numerous flavors of tobacco. My personal favorite and suggestion to everyone is cherry.

A mile down from Hookah Hut is Sultan Café, which also features different types of pastries and an outdoor setting with tables and chairs. It is very reminiscent of a café in the middle of Manhattan.

Not only is smoking hookah relaxing it is not only for the traditional smoker. Many of my friends, who do not smoke cigarettes, love to smoke hookah. When my friends and I go to the hookah lounge between four of us we can spend $40 and that includes one drink per person, that’s cheaper than the average night out. You can’t lose.

Dashboard Confessional The Shade of Poison Trees by Keith Odle Staff Writer Teenage girls everywhere are rejoicing. FAU alum Chris Carraba a.k.a. the lead singer from Dashboard Confessional a.k.a. the guy that wrote the story of everyone’s freshman year in high school, is back to share more tales of broken hearts and broken promises in his latest offering, The Shade of Poison Trees. On album number five, Carraba trades in the drums and electric guitar for a shiny new acoustic in an attempt to return to the softer, more personal roots that made him famous. Dashboard Confessional’s 2006 release, Dusk and Summer, left many old school DC fans ‘high and dry’ in that the heart-on-the-sleeve acoustic ballads that became Carraba’s trademark were exchanged for full band arena rockers that you AND your parents would enjoy. Carraba seems to have delved deep inside of his chest to pull out an older sense of heartbreak, giving hope to a fan base yearning for tear-jerkers reminiscent of DC’s second album, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. He hasn’t run out of new ideas though: Throughout Shade, Carraba experiments with a few new things such as different guitar layers that can be heard on the opener “Where There’s Gold…” as well as some drum and bass electronica beats as heard on “Fever Dreams”. Another aspect Carraba has brought back from the past is the shorter song length. While many of songs from D&S were droning on for almost five minutes, the songs on Shade are cut down to nearly half of that, packing a concise, prompt punch. Basically, this is another solid release from Camp Carraba and will be eaten up by anyone who’s ever enjoyed the music of Dashboard Confessional. Bring tissues! Make Sure to Listen to These Standout tracks: Thick as ThievesThe RushFever Dreams Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Video Game Review: Halo 3

by Daniel Alexander Nigro Game Reviewer

So, by now, I’m assuming that people are either on the Halo 3 bandwagon or wondering what the big fuss is. Well, let me tell you, there is a reason why Halo 3 is good, and it involves the combination of good game play, storytelling elements and great multiplayer. The story should be familiar to those in the know, but if you’re new to the game, just know that an alien race has invaded Earth, there are a series of alien superweapons that threaten to eradicate all life in the galaxy, and you, the player, are the last hope for humanity. Well, sort of: you have the strength of an army on your side, as well as several vehicles to drive, but it’s mostly you. If this sounds like something you’ve heard before, just know that the main characters are interesting enough to keep you emotionally invested in the game. The game play, of course, is sublime. Once you get used to controlling a first person shooter with a gamepad, things just come naturally, as you’ll be shooting, jumping, driving and the like with ease. The driving controls do take getting a little used to, but once they click, they click. And the multiplayer, well, it’s why people are buying this game. There’s plenty of variety, too, with campaign co-op multiplayer for up to four players, multiple death match modes, clan support, map modification tools, and stat tracking. All of this combines to keep the multiplayer deep enough to make players keep coming back. Overall, if you’re not on the Halo 3 bandwagon, get on it. You’ll understand why it’s a cultural phenomenon rather quickly. Halo 3 $60 Xbox 360 Out now