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Articles by Jillian A. Berry

August 8, 2008
In the last few years, musicals have been created by compiling multiple songs from popular artists to tell a story. One of the first, and most successful, of these musicals is Mamma Mia! which uses songs from the palindromic Swedish pop group ABBA. It comes as no surprise that Hollywood has decided to make a movie of this long-running musical.
April 25, 2008
Ever since Briton John Oliver appeared as a correspondent on The Daily Show, I’ve wanted to see more of his work, and have hoped to some day be able to talk to him. Thanks to a Comedy Central special, I got to do both this past week. On Sunday, Mr. Oliver starred in his own one-hour stand-up special, “Terrifying Times,” in which he discussed the scariness that is world politics. Instead of crude humor, Mr. Oliver made intelligent observations about serious situations put in a comedic light. A few days before “Terrifying Times” aired, I was able to talk to Mr. Oliver by phone about his transition into comedy, his work on The Daily Show, and his new comedy special. Below is an excerpt.
April 4, 2008
In 2002, Ben Mezrich released his bestselling non-fiction story, Bringing Down the House, about a group of MIT students who counted cards to win millions playing blackjack and beat the house in Vegas. Now, the story has taken a new form in the recently released movie 21.
March 21, 2008
A few weeks ago, I sat down with the charming Jim Sturgess, the up and coming 26 year old British actor best know for his role as Jude in the Beatles musical, “Across the Universe.” In the upcoming film “21,” (based on the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich) Mr. Sturgess plays Ben Campbell, an MIT student who uses his math acumen to win millions playing blackjack in Vegas. During our conversation, Mr. Sturgess talked about what it was like playing a character who is based on a real life MIT alum, Jeffrey Ma ’94, filming in Las Vegas, and working with Kevin Spacey. Below is an excerpt:
March 14, 2008
In 2002, Ben Mezrich released Bringing Down the House, the story of how a group of MIT students counted cards to win millions playing blackjack. Later this month, 21, the movie based on the book, will be released. Recently, The Tech sat down with Mezrich and Jeffrey Ma ’94, who is the real life basis for Ben Campbell in the film. Below is an excerpt from the conversation.
February 8, 2008
I decided to graduate from MIT a semester early so that I would have a few months off before graduate school, and now that my break is here, everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do. Travel? Here’s the thing: I’m not a huge traveler. Sure, I like going places, but I usually get so stressed about planning the trip and how much it’s going to cost that I avoid it. And I think wherever I go, I need to spend enough time there to make it “worth” it, thus adding to the expense and hassle. Well, it turns out I’m not alone: James Samans has written a new travel guide called Spontaneous Tourism: The Busy Person’s Guide to Travel, for people like me.
January 30, 2008
Romantic comedies may be formulaic, and they may not bring anything new to the art of cinema. The plots may be contrived, and the people in them may be so good-looking that even if the plot were realistic, you would know it is still a fantasy world. And all of life’s major moments may be compressed into a two-minute montage set to pop music. But at the end of the day, romantic comedies can be entertaining. Sure, I like it when a film makes me think and contributes to my understanding of the world, but I’m also perfectly happy when a film entertains. Just like people watching sports want to see others fulfill their dreams in an amusing manner, romantic comedies are a girl’s (and sometimes a guy’s) dream romance played out on the big screen. “27 Dresses” is certainly entertaining.
January 9, 2008
Go see “Juno.” You can read my review about it first (which would be nice), but at the end of it, you should drop this paper and whatever else you are doing so that you can go and see this movie.
November 9, 2007
John Cusack is one of those actors who doesn’t quite fit in with Hollywood. And that’s a good thing. Getting his start as a teen actor in movies like “Sixteen Candles” and “Say Anything,” he transitioned into adult roles without a sex scandal or a stint in rehab. Even more impressive, he has continued to choose projects where he plays quirky, off-beat characters who are more lovable because of their flaws. In “Martian Child,” Cusack follows this trend with an emotional performance that had me laughing, crying, and just plain rooting for him in the theater.
October 23, 2007
MIT held its first annual Head of the Zesiger Cardboard Boat Regatta Friday, Oct. 19. The event, held one day before the 43rd annual Head of the Charles Regatta, took place in the Zesiger Center Pool and ended with only one boat afloat.
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