Conspiracy Theories: From Marilyn to Malaysia Airlines

It seems that the media loves a good conspiracy theory, and they love even more when the public believe them. Some, such as the theory of Marilyn Monroe’s death, are solid theories with evidence to support them; however, there are so many outrageous, stupid and completely unnecessary conspiracies that make me want to throw my laptop at someone.

For example, the new conspiracy theory of the Malaysian MH370 flight that went missing a few days ago. There has been all this fuss because after three days the passengers phones continue to ring despite the authorities stating the plane is “underwater” somewhere. There are some believable theories, such as a terrorist attack, but then there are ones that say the plane spontaneously exploded and disintegrated? Really?

It gets worse. Apparently, it is possible that the crew and passengers are being held hostage at an abandoned airport in Vietnam. If this was actually a possibility, why haven’t these ‘abandoned airports’ been searched? I’m sure someone would have seen a giant plane land.

Oh, but hold on a moment. They could have been abducted by aliens! When in doubt, assume they were abducted. Or, instead, it was a Hollywood promotional stunt for the remake of Lost. Yes! That was it! Let’s hijack a plane, make it completely disappear, reappear and announce it was just a hoax to announce the remake of a TV series.

I’m pretty certain there are hundreds of other conspiracy theories regarding the missing Malaysian flight. If you know any, comment below.

– Amber

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How Hay Day is the devil in the form of an app

Have you ever played Hay Day? It’s a cute little game available on iOS and Android that allows you to build your own farm, sell and grow crops, harvest things like milk and eggs… It seems relatively harmless. I hear you ask, “so, why is it the devil in the form of an app?”

Addiction. It is literally the most addictive game I have ever played. You feed your chickens and pigs so they produce eggs and bacon, and then by the time you’ve done that your wheat is ready to be harvested. There is no escape from this never-ending cycle!

Not only this, it traps you further by allowing you to sell your produce to other players online. I have probably wasted days, weeks and my degree on this thing. First Farmville, now this.

I urge you all to avoid this game if you value your precious social life and have high ambitions. If not, go ahead and indulge!

– Amber

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The Wolf of Wall Street: Critical Review

Do you have three hours to spare? Do you want to analyse and judge the morals and lifestyles of some of America’s most disturbingly revolting and outrageous Wall Street brokers? Watch this.

The story of Jordan Belfort’s rise and fall in Wall Street, combined with the raw unveiling of the shadowed American capitalist society makes this a must watch film for 2014.

With The Wolf of Wall Street impressively setting a new record for the most occurrences of the F-word in a non-documentary film – with 506 uses of the word – the movie has been highly criticised for its lack of ‘moral centre’? Let’s be honest, who really cares? It’s a film that depicts the immoral, perverted life of a Wall Street stockbroker and is portrayed just as it is in Jordan Befort’s memoirs, so to those critics, I ask: “what’s the issue?!”

Although it’s evident that The Wolf of Wall Street does celebrate villainy, it’s an exhilarating rollercoaster of a film, taking us through the life of the foul-mouthed, hilarious stockbroker who marvellously transforms a small group of losers into an enormous company of millionaire brokers. Jordan Belfort founded a “boiler room” brokerage firm in the 90s under the misleading name Stratton Oakmont and hit the big bucks by his ingenious but criminal “pump and dump” scheme. Continuing this lifestyle until 1996, Belfort was imprisoned for fraud and money-laundering; however, through ratting out his colleagues, Belfort served just 22 months and was ordered to pay back $110 million.

It was not until Belfort was encouraged by Tommy Chong whilst in prison that he decided to write his memoirs, which were published in 2008. Many who read the book understand how he became such a charming, money-sucking broker, as well as noticing how the autobiography is never apologetic. The movie pays respects to the book, never straying far from the true story. Rather than the film being about Belfort, it is more Belfort’s film.

DiCaprio hooks us with his absorbing performance. DiCaprio gives his all and ensures he does not restrain himself at all, something that we can thank director Scorsese for. His impressive performance of the effects of drug-use are worthy of all awards. Combine this with his outstanding acts of rage and angry energy, you have one heck of an actor!

It may appear as though DiCaprio is the one carrying the film, but upon further reflection it’s evident that his seedy sidekick Donnie (Jonah Hill) is just as outrageous and revolting as Belfort. This film is definitely a must-see if you’d like to explore the corrupt, disturbingly outrageous minds of 20th Century Wall Street brokers (and you have 3 hours spare).


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Robocop, or Roboflop?

I know that perhaps my title was a little bit harsh, but it’s half-justified. The over-the-top in-your-face speed of the film takes away the story of  the movie; and, combine this with the unnecessary gore that comes with the unveiling of Robocop’s “body”, you’re left with a confused and disgusted audience in some parts.

Admittedly, the film captures your attention with the intensity and anxiety that comes with all action thrillers; however, I’m still uncertain on my stance on this film. These days, action movies generally follow suit and throw in some black humour, and a sprinkle of satire – Robocop doesn’t.

Despite these things – and despite the fact that the movie is not classified as “ground-breaking” – it was created by someone who understood the true Robocop. It appears to be a crowd-pleasing film, rather than a critically genius, amazing, perfect, “best movie ever”, sort of film.

Just have a watch, it’s a pleasing film.

– Amber

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The inevitable death of Flappy Bird

I’m not sure if you have heard, but the creator of ‘Flappy Bird’, Dong Nguyen, announced on various social networking sites that he is removing the game and discontinuing its sale.  I doubt this will really do much, seeing as all those who have the game installed on their device can still play it freely.

What did this spawn? Idiots. It spawned rich idiots. Rich idiots who are buying standard iPhones and Android phones for thousands of pounds simply because it has ‘Flappy Bird’ installed on them.  I wish I was joking, but I actually found an iPhone 5 with ‘Flappy Bird’ installed being sold for £3,500. Who is buying these?!

For the sake of humanity, everyone should just agree to delete ‘Flappy Bird’ forever and move on with their lives. It’s time to face reality and leave the world of the disabled bird.

– Amber

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Flappy Bird is ruining my life!

I need an intervention. “Flappy Bird is the easiest game I’ve ever played” – said no-one ever.

It’s frustrating, it’s maddening, and it’s somewhat wonderful; but what is it about it that makes it so god damn addictive? I would one hundred percent like to clarify that it actually is ruining my life, mainly by causing me to procrastinate and avoid all work. At one point or another, everyone who has played this game as thrown their phone. Whether it’s against a wall, out the window, down the toilet – you’ve all thrown it. Admit it!

Yet, it is still dominating the App Store and Google Play. What is wrong with humanity? Do we just enjoy torturing ourselves and damaging our smart phones/tablets? Despite its deceptive appearance as an easy Mario-like game, it’s possibly one of the most difficult games you will come across.

There is no story to the game. Here is a scenario I have made up for the love-to-hate Flappy Bird:

One day, Flappy the Bird was rolling around in Mario-World thinking that his entire life will be dedicated to the art of rolling, wondering what his life will become: “will I be a bowling ball? Or perhaps I’ll be a football?” After contemplating this depressing lifestyle, Flappy rolled upright (you see, he has no legs) and decided he wanted to fly. Unable to fly like normal birds, he flapped and flapped as hard as possible and raised one inch off of the ground. Astounded, he continued to do this and work his little wings as hard as possible until he was flying!…

What a thrilling possibility for a story. Anyway, for those who love the feeling of disappoint and feeling as though you can never accomplish anything, this game is for you suckers. After playing the game around two hundred times, I am still only achieving a score of 5.


Mandela: Long (very long) Walk to Freedom

Mandela-Long-Walk-to-Freedom-2013-MovieThe perfectly-timed movie based on the South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, released only months after his death, chronicles his education, fight for freedom, 27 years in prison and his presidency.

The film appears to have a tendency to blast through his entire life at lightning speed, but it still takes two and a half hours? Still, a good attempt at condensing 96 years into one film! Director and filmmaker Justin Chadwick does a fantastic job at depicting the challenges Mandela faced, beginning at his family roots in the South African countryside and ending with his election to President and the end of black oppression.

Other than teaching us the importance of Mandela and what he did for his country, it teaches the audience something that not many knew unless they were present at the time: the impact of the revolutionary Winnie Mandela. The film offers an insight into his personal relationship with his hard-core wife and the many marches she led and the people that followed her. Naomie Harris is an excellent Winnie Mandela, showing the strength and the violent actions that the real Winnie experienced herself. Whilst Nelson is in prison, the film begins to become Winnie’s story as her tale becomes fiercer, depicting the burden of politics that she endured and the nastiness of activism and racism.

What the movie does fail on, however, is the depiction of Mandela. In reality, Mandela was no saint. He did in fact belong to a “terrorist group”, the ANC, and they did take many innocent lives for their cause. Despite this, it does pay homage to the dedication and suffering that Mandela endured and has been described as a film that is a “decent, respectful and respectable account of Nelson Mandela’s life”.

Chadwick does a good job at squashing in all important events of Mandela’s life, but still manages to miss so many aspects of his life that would have influenced the film entirely. One that many critics have mentioned is the tender love story of his third wife, Graça Machel. Perhaps another film should be made based on the later part of his life? To offer an opinion, I would say that it is an excellently acted movie, a well-written story with only a few major events cut out. I would highly recommend this film if you think you can handle the 139 minutes!

By Amber Standring