At first, “Side Effects” looks like another jab at the pharmaceutical industry. Coping with her husband’s release from jail, Emily (Rooney Mara) finds herself sliding deep into depression. Following a public meltdown and a suicide attempt, she begins to receive treatment from Dr. Banks (Jude Law), who prescribes some medications, but to no avail. Dr. Banks contacts Emily’s former psychiatrist Dr. Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who suggests that she try a new antidepressant: Ablixa. The drug seems to work for Emily: she is happier and regains her sex drive, though she begins to sleepwalk.
It’s that time again: Time for me to have an excuse to talk about the Oscars without complaining about how meaningless they are! But seriously, the Oscar nominations proved me wrong this year by taking some interesting chances and meting out some snubs which, whether I agree with them or not, at least show the Academy is perfectly willing to upset the public if it wants to. There are surprisingly few locks this year, especially in comparison to recent years, and I can honestly say I’m not 100 percent on most of these picks.
In the past few months, much has been written about “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow’s dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden through the eyes of fictional CIA officer Maya (Jessica Chastain). By a wide margin, it’s the best-reviewed film in what was generally a pretty good year for films. It’s been praised as a more than worthy follow-up to director Bigelow’s and screenwriter Mark Boal’s Oscar-winning previous release, “The Hurt Locker,” and was at one point all but assured to win throughout the year’s round of awards.
Going in, I was fairly skeptical about “Lincoln.” Naturally, the desire to see Daniel Day-Lewis in one of his patented live-as-the-character method roles excited me, but the potential for a movie about one of our greatest presidents to be little more than a waxworks show was undeniable, and the presence of Steven Spielberg at the helm left me even more ambivalent. Don’t get me wrong: Spielberg has made several of the greatest films of the modern era, and his ability to craft equally compelling films aimed at both pure escapism and hard-hitting drama is unparalleled.
A common question that we all ask ourselves here at Amherst College deals with the purpose of a liberal arts education. Why liberal arts? Why are we here? We come to answer this question from a variety of perspectives as time goes by. Through our daily experience, we regularly redefine what it means to us. We redefine it after a very exciting class that we would have never taken if not for Amherst, after attending a poetry society meeting in the Mead Art Museum, or after cheering for our school during a game.
You’d think that after “Inception” the creative teams in Hollywood would come up with new tricks and twists on the omnipresent themes of dreams, double-identity and exploration of self. That is not the case. Continuing the genre’s legacy of optional innovation, most Hollywood action films remain just like your old computer: changing your desktop picture won’t give you a new machine.