It was an unforgettable weekend for actress, Sandra Bullock. On Saturday she collected the Golden Raspberry Award for the worst actress, and the next day, she got the Oscar award for the role in football drama, The Blind Side.
The Razzie awards are held in Los Angeles to celebrate the worst films of the year. The last big star to get the award was Halle Berry in 2005.
Bullock arrived with hundreds of copies of the DVD, All about Steve, “the worst film of the year” to give to the audience.
She joked with the audience, “I will show up next year if you promise to watch the movie and really consider if it was truly the worst performance. If you’re willing to watch, I’ll come back next year and give back the Razzie”.
In All about Steve, Bullock plays a character called Mary, who is a shy crossword-writer. The “terrible” plot includes her joining a protest group, getting hit by a tornado, falling down a mine and meeting a deaf girl at the bottom of it.
The leading actor in All about Steve, Bradley Cooper, also won an award. Together with Bullock they were voted the worst screen couple.
The Razzies was started by American, John J.B. Wilson, in 1981. He was involved in the media and entertainment industry. Wilson used to have dinner parties at his house in Los Angeles on the night of the Academy Awards. One year, after watching a very bad film win an award, he decided to ask his dinner party guests to vote for the worst films of the year, and this began to be a formal, annual event. Now, anyone can register on the website, to vote for award winners. For the 29th Golden Raspberry Awards in 2009, about 650 journalists, cinema fans, and people in the film industry voted. They came from 45 states in the United States and 19 other countries.
b. Because All about Steve was voted the best film.
c. Because she starred in the worst film.
d. Because she starred in the best film.
2. What did Sandra Bullock think of the audience’s vote at the Razzies?
a. She knew they had watched the film
b. She didn’t think they had watched the film.
c. She didn’t think they knew anything about films.
d. She knew they all wanted a DVD of the film.
3. What makes the plot “terrible”?
a. It’s full of unbelievable, dramatic events.
b. It’s boring and dull.
c. It’s about football.
d. It’s about a shy girl.
4. What made John J.B. Wilson start the Razzies?
a. He was tired of watching the Oscar Awards.
b. He couldn’t believe that a bad film had been chosen for a “best film” award.
c. He didn’t know what to do with his guests after dinner.
d. He wanted to start a formal awards ceremony of his own.
5. Which is NOT true?
a. You can only vote for a Razzie award winner if you go to a special dinner party.
b. Even famous film stars can win Razzies.
c. Sandra Bullock didn’t mind winning a Razzie.
d. The Razzie’s isn’t a recent award ceremony.
FACEBOOK CREATOR IS TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR 1. Read the text about Mark Zuckerberg. Five sentences have been removed from the article.
Time magazine has named Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, as and their Person of the Year 2010. Zuckerberg, 26, is the second-youngest winner of the accolade. 1. ___________________. This is an impressive statistic considering the site has yet to make any impression in China. Mr Zuckerberg said on Wednesday, naturally on his Facebook page: "Being named as Time Person of the Year is a real honor and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected. 2. __________________________." The young entrepreneur owns a quarter ofthe shares of Facebook and is a multi-billionaire.
3. ____________________________________________________. Readers voting in the online poll chose the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as the winner.
4. __________________________________________. Time’s editor Richard Stengel explained they chose Zuckerberg because he was a more positive figure than Assange and because he changed “how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic”. He wrote on Time’s website: "There is an erosion of trust in authority, a decentralizing of power and at the same time, perhaps, a greater faith in one another…" he said. Mr Stengel continued: “Zuckerberg sees the world as filled with potential friends.” 5. ________________________________________________. 2.Choose the most suitable sentence from the list A – F for each part (1 – 5) of the text. There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use.
A. We have entered the Facebook age, and Mark Zuckerberg is the man who brought us here.
B. I'mhappy to be a part of that.
C.He won the award for connecting 12 percent of the planet on his social networking site.
D.Perhaps only the Facebook creator himself knows how much more he can do.
E. However, Time panelists chose Mark Zuckerberg.
F. It was uncertain for a while who would win Time’s annual honour.
Level B 1 THE LIFE AND WORK OF J. TOLKIEN
1. Read the article.
Many authors become masters of a particular genre of fiction. But very few can claim to have had such an effect that they virtually have created the genre for themselves. One such author is J. R. R. Tolkien. From his prolific imagination was created not only Middle Earth; the stage for his giant fantasy The Lord of the Rings, but also a whole genre of fantasy fiction which has since become known as "sword and sorcery". B. ______________________________
Before Tolkien's work was published, fantasy was set in what was very near to the present for the authors. Also, the genre was very close to horror, and authors such as Lovell and Bram Stoker moved easily between the two. The great American writer Edgar Allen Poe had recently brought out a work of what we would today call horror stories, but he had entitled it Tales of Mystery and Imagination, suggesting that he thought of it as fantasy. C. ______________________________
Tolkien's distinctive contribution was to create a pseudo-medieval world and to populate it with wise wizards, bold knights, and a massive cast of other characters, including dwarfs, elves, and most of the other creatures of our folk memory. He also created his own contribution, the hobbit. Hobbits were small people, who had distinctive hairy feet. They were characterised by honest common sense and rather complex social lives. In all his works, it is evidently the hobbits with whom Tolkien sympathises the most. D. ______________________________
What made Tolkien's work so compelling was that it was a perfectly realised work of fantasy. Every detail in his stories rings true. This is because Tolkien spent so much time working and thinking about Middle Earth that the actual part which we have on paper is only a fraction of his research. His later books show clearly to what extent he had created this entire world, complete with detailed maps and even the languages of the major protagonists. E. _____________________________
However, although Middle Earth is a towering work of fantasy, it has roots in reality. The Middle Earth of Tolkien is close to his own native Oxfordshire, both in the landscape of the Shire, and above all in the reactions and behaviour of its characters. The ethos is that of pre-war England, possibly because Tolkien could conceive of no other mode of behaviour, but more probably because his book can be read on many levels, and in only the most basic of the levels is the great struggle between light and darkness completely. F. ______________________________
It must be remembered that Tolkien was writing in a time when one Great War had just finished, and another was about to begin. In his book, he stresses the bravery, and endurance of the small people without whom victory is impossible. This was the lesson that Tolkien felt had to be learned from the horrors of the Great War – the decisions which shape the destiny of nations are taken by an elite group, but they are implemented by the common people of the country. G. ______________________________
Though his book brought him world-wide fame, Tolkien continued to live modestly at Oxford University, where he worked. He was a close friend of another great writer of his day, C.S. Lewis, who also taught there. However, while Lewis was more relaxed about his fame, Tolkien never really got used to it, and he was quite embarrassed by the admiration of the many tourists who came to see him. 2. Match these chapter headings 1 – 8 with the appropriate parts of the article, marked A – G. You do not need one of the chapter headings.
1. How to make fantasy seem real. _______ 5. A quiet man. _______
2. A new best-seller. _______ 6. The real Middle Earth. _______
3. Fantasy before Tolkien. _______ 7. A new fantasy creature. _______
4. The Master of Middle Earth. _______ 8. The experience of war. _______
WHY PEOPLE GET TATTOOS
1. Read the essay.
Jack lay, quiet and unmoving, for thirty minutes while a stranger repeatedly stabbed him with sharp needles, causing blood to pour steadily out of his leg. Jack was getting a tattoo. His friend Tony had recently gotten a tattoo, and Jack was so impressed by Tony's bravery and his tattoo that he decided to get one too. Getting a tattoo because your friends and peers have them is just one of the reasons why a lot of young people in North America get tattoos. Peer pressure, media influence, and personal expression are some of the common reasons for wearing tattoos today.
The desire to be part of a group, to be accepted by one's friends or peers, can have a great influence on what a person does. Sometimes, wearing a tattoo can be a sign that you belong to a certain group. Gangs often use special clothes and tattoos to identify their particular group. For example, in one gang all the members may wear green army jackets and have large 'Xs' tattooed on their arms. It is not only gangs that have this type of special 'uniform'. Young people often belong to a certain group of friends. Some of these groups wear only brand-name clothes. Some wear only black clothes. Others wear tattoos. When a person's friends are all doing something, such as getting a tattoo, that person is more likely to do the same thing, and get a tattoo too.
The media is another big influence behind the popularity of tattoos in North America. A wide variety of media images show tattoos. Tattoos can be seen on people appearing in commercials selling expensive cars. Famous sports heroes with tattoos are shown in magazines. Fashion models are often seen in magazines and on TV wearing designer clothes that show their bodies tattooed with detailed and colourful patterns. These media images link tattoos to ideas of wealth, success, and status. As a result, many people decide to get a tattoo for its fashion and status value.
It is not always the influence of other people or the media that results in a person getting a tattoo. Many people decide to wear tattoos in order to express their artistic nature, their beliefs, or their feelings – in other words, to show their individuality. A musician in a rock band may get a tattoo of a guitar on the arm. Some environmentalists may tattoo pictures of endangered animals on their shoulders. Lovers may tattoo each others' names over their hearts. A tattoo can be a public sign to show what is important in a person's life.
As you can see, there are many reasons why young North Americans get tattoos. A tattoo can be part of a group's uniform. It can be a sign of fashion. It can be an expression of individuality. The decision to get a tattoo is most often a result of the influence of friends or media or the desire to express oneself. For Jack, it was a mixture of all three. 2. Choose the correct answer.
1. What are the three most common reasons why a person gets a tattoo?
a. Pressure from their peers.
b. It is healthy.
c. Influence from the media.
d. A way of personal expression.
2. Which of the following are common ways that people show they belong to a certain group?
a. Wearing a tattoo.
b. Wearing special clothes.
c. Wearing a special uniform.
d. Wearing a special kind of socks.
3. Which of the following are ways that the media uses tattoos in advertising?
a. To sell cars.
b. By using fashion models.
c. By using sports stars.
d. By using endangered species.
4. According to the essay, media images are linked to _____________. Choose all that apply.
5. Which of the following are possible artistic reasons for getting tattoos?
a. To show membership in a band.
b. To show a lover's name.
c. To show pictures of animals that may become extinct.
d. To show which language you speak.
6. Jack was stabbed for thirty minutes with a needle because _____________
a. he was getting a tattoo.
b. he was getting acupuncture.
c. he was getting his ears pierced.
d. he was getting a nose ring.
7. Some people get tattoos because ____________
a. they think it is fashionable.
b. they like pain.
c. they think it will wash off in the bath.
d. they are religious.
8. Jack thinks people who get tattoos are ____________
c. old fashioned.
9. The reason Jack wanted to get a tattoo was ____________
a. the influence of friends.
b. the influence of the media.
c. a desire to express himself.
d. all of the above.
LIFESTYLES 1. Read a magazine article about Sarah Bryant, an acupuncturist. Seven sentences have been removed from the article.
I’ve done a lot of travelling in Europe and Asia throughout my adult life and it was whilst I was teaching in China that I became interested in acupuncture.
It was after returning from China and witnessing how successful it had been that I reached the decision to become an acupuncturist myself. I was lucky to discover that the town where I lived had a famous and well-reputed college of traditional acupuncture.
Alternative medicine is particularly important for me because I firmly believe that it works on the level of body, mind and spirit.
Of course this medicine is very powerful and can consequently have powerful side effects. Alternative medicine like acupuncture on the other hand is aimed at treating the person as a whole. When a person’s ill, there’s something in their life which is putting their energy levels out of balance. What alternative therapies try to do is help to gradually push that energy back into balance. The result is that any disease present might naturally disappear as it cannot survive when energies are balanced.
The treatments consist largely of balancing the energy between the different meridians of a person’s body.
There’s another woman who suffers from arthritis of the hip and at the moment I’m treating an old lady who has several health problems, one of them being Parkinson’s Disease. All these people have found that acupuncture has made them feel more balanced in themselves and they have certainly benefited from the treatment.
To date I currently own the Licentiate in Acupuncture. This course lasted three years and I had to go to the college about one weekend in three.
I had a large amount of homework to do and practical work, which I did two or three evenings a week. This entailed locating points on different people. As you can imagine, this isn’t straightforward as people are different sizes and have different shaped bodies.
In the future I hope to set up an alternative health clinic which will involve myself as an acupuncturist but perhaps other people as well.
I’d like to set this up somewhere in a rural setting, where people could enjoy coming not only for the treatment but where they would be able to sit and enjoy the scenery, go for walks and basically feel free from the stresses of life. 2. Choose the most suitable sentence from the list A – H for each part (1 – 7) of the article. There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use.
A. These are twelve acupuncture channels along which energy travels in the human body.
B. Also on a physical level I’ve treated a woman for problems with eczema.
C. I'd like to work with practitioners of homeopathy, reflexology, aromatherapy and perhaps counselling.
D. There was a lot more to it than that though.
E. It is common for people there to have acupuncture treatment, not only if they’re ill but also to prevent the onset of diseases.
F. Contrary to popular belief, having the needles placed in your body is quite painless.
G. I’ve had a lot of acupuncture treatment and found it particularly useful.
Level B 2 THE HOLIDAY MAKER 1. Read the text.
Here's something else to put on your list of things to get once your rich uncle Fred dies and leaves you all his money, or when you win the lottery – your own holiday consultant. Our travel reporter, Jane Wiggs interviews Billy Andower who has been a holiday consultant for seven years now.
Billy strongly denies that he is just a fancy travel agency. 'Every individual is different, and deserves a different kind of holiday. Before I even think of planning a destination or an activity for my clients, I spend several days with them observing their lifestyle, and discussing possible alternatives for the holiday. Often what I suggest is very different from what they had in mind. For example, I had a client, Mrs. Brecon, who had suddenly come into a lot of money. She was planning to spend her holiday lying on a beach in Bermuda. But I could see at once that she was a very active person, and she had not been working for a while and was getting restless. So I sent her on an eco-tourism trip to the Galapagos islands. She loved it.
On the other hand, I had another client, Dave Darmak. Dave's internet company had made him a lot of money, and he wanted to go snowboarding and hang-gliding in the Alps. But he really needed to wind down and recharge his batteries, so I recommended a farm in Tuscany not far from the sea, where there was lovely scenery and lots of time to relax. Of course, that's also the best thing for people who have recently been ill or injured, though I don't recommend Tuscany for them in mid-summer. It's just too hot.'
Not all of Billy's holidays cost the earth. He once sent Mike Harman and another executive from the same business on a cycling holiday in Holland as a bonding exercise, and even recommended to one would-be holidaymaker – Terry Balt, an assistant manager at Vernion Electric – that he spend his holiday at home.
'He had just finished a big project, and was really tense. The last thing he needed was travel to a foreign country and have the hassle of trains, planes and taxis. So I told him to use all the money he was saving on travel and accommodation for eating in the best restaurants in his home town, and taking taxis to see the local sights. He's lived in the town for ten years, and never had time to relax in the park or see a show in the local theatre.'
The biggest challenge, says Billy, is families. Especially when the children and adults want different things. Fortunately, Billy knows many places where child-minding is an art. He suggested to our reporter 'We might take you to see cathedrals and art galleries in Paris, while the children go to Disneyworld, for example. With some recent clients, the Bellway family, the mother, Sally, wanted to spend all day, every day on the beach. I knew her son, Joe, would go crazy with boredom, as it was quite an exclusive place without many other kids about. So I arranged for him to take sky-diving lessons. Once Sally stopped worrying, everyone had a great time!'
When a Professor Lember came to Billy, he wanted something really unusual to impress his friends. Billy arranged for him to spend a holiday in a scientific undersea habitat near Florida. He could only do it because Prof. Lember is a distinguished marine biologist, whose contribution to research in the habitat was so useful that he did not even have to pay for his vacation.
But what about Billy himself? Billy laughs. 'To tell you the truth, I've been so busy these last five years, I have had time for one break. But I'd been so many exotic places researching holidays for other people, that I took week off at home watching football on the telly!' 2. Write the name of the person next to each extract on the right. Sometimes two answers are possible.
1. was sent on holiday to get to know someone better?
2. worked while he was on holiday?
3. needed a holiday without travel?
4. was recommended for a cultural holiday?
5. learned something about the environment?
6. had no chance to meet other people of the same age?