Ringu: A Horror Movie Review

Horror fans and movie buffs alike are likely to have come across or know of The Ring (2002), but not all know that it is a remake of a Japanese horror film by the same name. Ringu (1998)  (also known in English as Ring) is a Japanese film based off of the book series of the same name by Koji Suzuki.  

If you aren’t aware of the story, it’s simple:

You watch a cursed video tape, you get a creepy phone call from the spirit of a dead girl saying you will die in seven days, and in most cases, that’s exactly what happens. 

A journalist named Reiko Asakawa (played by Nanako Matsushima) and her clairvoyant ex-husband Ryuji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada) discover the cursed tape. The one integral thing they have to bear in mind? If they don’t figure out where the tape came from, Asakawa, Takayama, and their son will all die within a week.

As a film, it’s a pretty solid example of what the horror genre should truly be. It’s engrossing and builds the right amounts of tension and suspense as the two main characters try to uncover the mystery behind a cursed video and who exactly created it and for what purpose. The tone throughout the whole movie is solidly tense and never really gives the audience member room to breathe. The opening scene is a good example of this, with two teenage girls gossiping and discussing local lore only to have their innocent conversation shift to one of seriousness as soon as the phone rings. Shifts like this occur frequently throughout the film, keeping the viewer on their toes. That acts as a far better tool to elicit fear or unease than a jump scare. 

That being said, Ringu is a good horror movie with a great story and is an enjoyable weekend film. To make your viewing even more enjoyable, pair and compare with the American remake The Ring, which is a much more stylized and eerie version than its Japanese counterpart.  Though be careful, if you watch both of these movies you may feel the urge to unplug your television. Don’t know what I mean by that? After you see the first twenty minutes of Ringu, you’ll know.

Watch it on Kanopy today!

The Inventor: A Kanopy Documentary Review

If you’re looking for an interesting documentary to break through the quarantine boredom, why not utilize Kanopy? As Ben has mentioned in his most recent blog post, Kanopy is a great resource for any presently-affiliated  UM persons and completely free. So what better way to kill some time than by giving The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley a view? 

Directed by Alex Gibney, “The Inventor”, outlines the intense rise to success and chaotic decline of now inoperative health technology company Theranos. Theranos, the brainchild of Stanford drop-out Elizabeth Holmes, was touted as the answer to a world where big needles and diagnostic companies stand as the only way to efficiently collect and test blood samples. Created out of Holmes’ fear of needles, Theranos’ claim to fame was a machine called “The Edison”, or miniLab. From this machine, blood from a single finger prick could be collected in a vial called the “Nanotainer” (another Theranos creation), and run within The Edison. Theranos then claimed that they could produce a variety of results from this incredibly small sample; a feat only previously managed by industry standard blood tests. 

The problem was that Holmes kept many secrets as CEO and founder of Theranos. One of the biggest secrets was that her prized invention, The Edison, didn’t exactly work. Though, she wouldn’t tell any of her investors, or customers, that fact. 

“The Inventor” is a companion piece to John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup  (which we have in the library for your reading pleasure). Carreyrou, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal was not the first to write about Theranos and its issues, but he wrote a comprehensive and explosive article that brought the nation’s attention to Holmes and her problematic promises. 

I won’t spoil all of the documentary for you, but do know that The Inventor: Our for Blood in Silicon Valley is an interesting, informative, and attention-grabbing documentary that illustrates how a billion dollar health tech corporation was able to go from notable to notorious in just a few short years. 

Watch it tonight on Kanopy, or check-out John Carreyrou’s book for an in-depth read. 

Happy Benjamin Franklin Day!

GPO’s “Ben’s Guide” Ben!

On this day in 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin was born. Franklin was, and still remains as one of our nation’s most notable and foundational figures who contributed to the successes of America while it was in its infancy.   He was a renaissance man; an inventor who sought solutions to many problems, and chased great ideas all throughout his lifetime. Today is his 314th birthday, and as a tribute, Government Publications wanted to share a small offering of resources that reflect his own work, and talks about the man himself.

The Government Publishing Office (GPO), has used Ben’s likeness for quite some time in the form of “Ben’s Guides”. Found here, it’s a resource available to anyone, and it’s a great place to learn or refresh your memory of facts relating to the United States Government, with Franklin as your personal guide. Suitable for ages of all kind, Ben’s Guide makes for an eye-catching, and interactive resource for classrooms and personal use.

If a biography is what you’re looking for, Life of Franklin is another great resource to pour over for information about the personal life of the Founding Father.

One more fabulous resource is Poor Richard’s Almanack, written by Franklin himself. Gov. Pub’s very own Benjamin has his own words to share on this publication!

Ben Franklin’s Literary Legacy
Written by Benjamin Clanton, Government Publications

Benjamin Franklin, along with other historical giants such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton, is often considered one of our nation’s more important Founding Fathers. Continue reading

Exploring Government Publications for Native American Heritage Month

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we here at Government Publications wanted to take some time to showcase a few documents pertaining to Native American culture. All of these items are currently available for check-out and can be found here in McWherter Library in the Government Publications department!

Written by Benjamin Clanton:

  1. The Smithsonian Institute and the Handbook of North American Indians

The Smithsonian Institute has provided a rich variety of resources that would be helpful in the historical and anthropological study of Native American tribes in North America. Perhaps the best example of their work is the Handbook of North American Indians, a multivolume encyclopedia covering a myriad of topics and fields of study. Spearheaded by ethnologist and anthropologist William Sturtevant, this proposed 20 volume work began publication in 1978 as a hope to replace other outdated studies. Sadly, the project has yet to reach completion, due largely to the combination of funding issues and the death of Sturtevant in 2007. Nonetheless, this exhaustive synthesis of Native American studies is an impressive collaboration between renowned historians, anthropologists, and linguists, among others. Growing up in Mississippi, I have always had an interest in the tribes of the Southeast such as the Choctaw, Creek, and Cherokee; this made Volume 14 on North America’s Southeast region of special interest. Like the other volumes exploring specific regions, it does a wonderful job covering studies on prehistory up to modern day, while also discussing the progression of research on Native American studies over the years. Other volumes dedicate themselves to general topics such as languages, contemporary society, and the complex history of Indian-white relations. Though incomplete overall, the individual volumes that are accessible would provide a wonderful complementary piece or starting point for Native American research of almost any kind.

Continue reading

National Voter Registration Day at The Ned!

One of the greatest but most underutilized privilege we have as Americans is our right to vote. The ability to go to a local polling station and place a vote for a candidate you believe in is infinitely important. Voting is something you can do to contribute to your community, city, and country. Having your own say in who you want to represent you is invaluable, and you should take advantage of it! If you want to be registered to vote but are unsure of where to start, don’t worry.

The Ned has you covered.

If you’re on campus on September 24th, come on over to the McWherter Library. From 9am until 6pm there will be a registration table with prizes, library staff volunteers, and representatives from the Shelby County Election Commission available to answer all your questions. Unable to wander over to the library? No worries! From 1pm until 3pm we will also have a table in the University Center ready to help you register too. To make it even easier for you to become a registered voter, we will have iPads and laptops fired up and available to help you! It’s as easy as that.

If all of this sounds wonderful to you, we’re ready for and look forward to seeing you on the 24th!

Have questions? Here are some voting related resources for you: