Category Archives: Movies

Netflix is the new black

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TIM PEPPER
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Being a college student can be hard, especially when it comes to studying for exams and doing homework and struggling through whatever else these vigilant students must go up against in their stressful daily lives. But it is important to remember that taking some time to relax is key to keeping motivation high. The naps, spending time with friends and going to the beach when weather permits are all great ways to rest, but another source of stress relief that has become exceedingly popular is Netflix.
If you somehow haven’t heard of it, Netflix is an incredibly popular Internet television service that has over 44 million members worldwide. With this service, users are able to rent either movies or television shows online, which are sent to them in their mail, or they are able to stream movies or television shows directly from the Netflix website. This method of watching television has become very popular in recent years and is Netflix’ s main source of income, earning them more than 3 million of their total 4 million dollars of revenue in 2013.
This Web service hosts many shows and movies from many different companies, but in the last few years, Netflix has also begun to host their own original series. These series have become very popular and include, but are not limited to, ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Hemlock Grove’ and ‘House of Cards,’ which is currently the eigth highest-rated series on Netflix by the International Movie Database rating scale.
“I really liked ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ said senior Ashley Hill. “It was interesting and I always felt a sense of anxiety after watching it, which really drew me in.”
‘Orange Is the New Black’ was first released as a Netflix original on July 11, 2013. This show tells the tale of Piper Chapman, who has been sentenced to fifteen months in an all-woman’s prison after being convicted ten years ago for smuggling drug-money to her drug dealing girlfriend. This show has received good reviews. It is rated at 8.6 out of 10 on IMDb.
“I also watched ‘Hemlock Grove’ and liked the show,” said Hill. “It was different, but not my favorite. I felt like the acting wasn’t that strong, but I did like the creepy feel it gave off.
‘Hemlock Grove,’ a show that premiered on April 19, 2013, is quite popular and tells the tale of a fictional town, Hemlock Grove, in which two characters, Roman Godfrey and Peter Rumancek, attempt to shed light on recent murders in the town as well as on the secrets within their own lives. This show has gotten more mixed or negative reviews from critics than ‘Orange is the New Black’ did, but still holds a fairly good score of 7.3 out of 10 on IMDb.
“House of Cards,” a political drama, is an incredibly popular Netflix original series that holds a 8.9 out of 10 review on IMDb. This show premiered on February 1, 2013 and recounts the story of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), who decides to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him. This show is highly acclaimed and has received multiple Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominations as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. ‘House of Cards’ is also the first show to receive awards for an online-only television program.
Hill has yet to watch ‘House of Cards,’ but states that she intends to in the future.
These shows are incredibly popular and show that it is possible for online streaming services such as Netflix to successfully hold their own programs online. This recent move towards online streaming television is impressive and points at many possibilities for the future of television.
If you are interested in ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ ‘Hemlock Grove’ and ‘House of Cards,’ all three have new seasons planned for the upcoming year as well as more planned for the future. Definitely take the time to check them out if you are bored or procrastinating or doing whatever you happen to be doing in your free time.

“Catching Fire” takes flight

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Emily Gibson
Staff Writer

The phenomenon continues to build strength as the sequel is released and audiences across the world are engulfed and amazed

“This is not a fairy tale; it’s a war, and in war, there are tragic losses that must be mourned,” said Suzanne Collins of her “Hunger Games” book series. The wildly popular trilogy was published in 2008, and in just five years the first two novels have already been adapted into films, the latest of which premiered on Nov. 22.
The “Hunger Games” trilogy centers around a corrupt government that supresses its citizens by making two children from each of the twelve half-starved districts participate in a competition called the “Hunger Games”.
During the competition, the 24 participants fight to the death, leaving a lone, victorious survivor. While the novel also explores themes of power, class, identity and love, many people remain shocked at the brutality and violence of kids killing kids.
“I think a franchise about violence of any kind is popular because people are curious to know the consequences of such violence,” said freshman Lauren Aktug. “People also relate to the good guys of such a story, so they feel a sort of bitterness toward the antagonists, and even sort of wish this sort of violence upon them.”
The first “Hunger Games” film and its recent sequel, Catching Fire, were both rated PG-13. Since the movie makers were targeting teenagers and preteens to see the film, they adapted the movies to be less violent than the books, which if strictly followed would be rated R due to the level of violence and gore involved during the killing of children.
Still, the “Hunger Games” movies have been applauded for true to the books main plotline.
“I watched the first Hunger Games movie before I even read the series. And, although there were one or two differences between the two, I enjoyed them both the same. I was able to read the book as the movie played in my head,” Aktug said.
But more than portraying the violence of the war, the “Hunger Games” series has underlying themes of division, unity, and strength. The series’ protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, proves that women can be strong in a non-stereotypical or overkilled way, and the complexity and depth that she is written with has led fans to hail her as one of the most refreshing contemporary female characters.
“Katniss represents the women in the world who may live in terrible conditions yet have the ability to use their voice to change the world,” Aktug said.
The world of the “Hunger Games” is broken up into twelve districts by the government in the Capitol. With this concept, Collins makes a point about the powerlessness that comes with disunity, and the importance of overcoming class and race divisions to create a more equal society.
The “Hunger Games” world, though futuristic, highlights the way society is today,” Aktug said. “The gap between the wealthy and the poor is growing larger every day. [The series] represents how a community can come together to overcome corruption.”
When William Golding published his child violence novel, Lord Of The Flies, no one made #TeamRalph or #TeamPiggy T-shirts. But since its publication in 1954 to the beginning of “The Hunger Game’s” fad, society has not lost its interest in the brutal yet oddly fascinating situations in which children become savages. And such stories prompt young people to think about how they would handle a desperate situation like the Hunger Games.
The “Hunger Games” phenomenon has spread so far that the novel is beginning to replace “Lord Of The Flies” in school curriculums because of its contemporary look at gender, class, race and power, as well as desperation and violence.
As “Catching Fire” hits the box office, fans around the globe are pouring into theaters to see the highly anticipated sequel. The film has thus far received positive reviews and is expected to surpass the first installment of the trilogy in earnings and reviews.
As the film is released, fans flock to the movies with high expectations and visions of the book fresh in their minds. This movie promises more plot development, deeper interactions between the characters and some serious fight scenes involving apes, poison mist and trident wielding pretty boys.
“The Lord Of the Flies” has been a part of the American school curriculum for 59 years, yet that position is being threatened by the growing popularity of the “Hunger Games”. Whether or not the trilogy will last like Harry Potter or sink into obscurity like Twilight is unclear, but the odds are looking “ever in its favor.”

Horror movie classics reborn for new scares

Sophomore Doug Hardman is an avid horror movie collector and viewer, and shows incredible enthusiasm for classic titles such as “Evil Dead” and “The Shining.”

Andrew Mullen
Arts & Entertainment Editor

There is a commonly held belief that sequels ruin good movies. There have been sequels that have ruined some franchises or have gone completely unknown. The horror genre is no different, what with the “Scream” franchise being numbering four movies, and “Friday the 13th” pushing close to nine different spin offs that nobody seems to care about.
Critics love to hate sequels, as do fans. However, in recent years the horror movie has been reimagined in more than a few ways. Movies like “Paranoral Activity,” “Insidious,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “The Conjuring” have all brought some new aspect of horror to the table that audiences and critics seem to be drawn to. The recipe for a good scare has changed, and along with it so have the movies.
In lieu of these shifts in trends, old classics have been revamped and re-released under their old monikers but with a 21st century facelift.
One of the more notable remakes is “Scream 4” which popped up in 2011. The movie received underwhelming reviews, but was the start to something bigger. The “Scream” franchise started in 1996 and suffered through many sequels until going dark for a while. The movie series was picked back up and given a modern twist, and started a trend for other classics.
The movie “Maniac” took the classic story of a psychotic murder obsessed with scalping his female victims and revamped it with updated visuals and big-budget names like Elijah Wood. Originally released in 1998, the remake graced the silver screen in 2012 and received decent reviews for its creepy atmosphere and powerful lead role.
Casting Elijah Wood as the maniac came as a surprise to some people, but who better to play a mass murderer than an unassuming, oftentimes meek-tempered man?
In 2008, director Tomas Alfredson released his Swedish cult-masterpiece “Let the Right One In,” featuring a young girl as a secretive and somewhat kind hearted vampire that befriends a coy, bullied young neighborhood boy. The atmosphere of the original movie was unmatched and led it to receive high praise in America as well as Sweden. Being a cult classic, many fans were disheartened to hear of the plans to remake it in 2010 as an Americanized version of this Swedish tale, starring the young Chloë Grace Moretz. However, many audiences were happily surprised with how close to the original the story the movie stuck and how well Moretz was able to portray her role as a blood-thirsty yet simultaneously misunderstood and lonely vampire child.
Perhaps one of the most prolific remakes to date is the 1981 film “Evil Dead.” Hailed as a horror classic, this movie was left untouched for years in order to preserve its position in the franchises unspoken hierarchy. However, in 2013 director Fede Alvarez reanimated the story and cultivated the plot into something fresh and new. By adding a metric ton of fake blood and keeping the classic and most iconic scenes from the original, Alvarez was able to capture the essence of the film while adding something new and twisted to the tone and story.
Most recently, Chloë Grace Moretz has resurfaced in the horror scene by claiming the eponymous role of Carrie in “Carrie.” Originally released in 1976, the story is based on a Stephen King novel of the same name and has one of the most iconic scenes in any horror movie ever filmed. The remake, which just recently hit theatres on Oct. 18, has revamped the story and kept all of the old favorites features intact. There is also a theatrical version of this terrifying tale currently touring the nation.
As movies age and styles come and go, there will always undoubtedly be the sequels that fans wish had never been released, such as “The Blair Witch Project 2.” However, with the emergence of new remakes of old favorites, the horror movie business shows no signs of stopping the remakes. The reimagining and reawakening of cult classics and forgotten films breathe new life into old scares. It seems that every Halloween there is a slew of new titles put into theatres to stir old fears and scare audiences once again.

“The Walking Dead” rise again this fall

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GLENN ROSE
Staff Writer

We all like to talk about what we would do if the zombie apocalypse happened. It is fun to think that you would stay alive until they fixed it, and turns into a battle hardened piece of awesome with those bullet belts they wear in war movies and maybe some badass scars. Then you like to think about who else would make it. You just sit in class scanning the room, silently judging your classmates on whether or not they would survive.

“He’d survive, he’d survive; he wouldn’t survive, she would totally survive. Haha, he totally wouldn’t last a day; she still wouldn’t date me if I was the last guy alive from this horrible zombie attack.”

When it comes to “The Walking Dead,” the name speaks for itself. The show began on Halloween 2010, which gave me a different idea of what the show’s general focus would be. When I first heard about this show and its release date I thought, “Oh okay, AMC is doing an hour long Halloween Special. I guess it’ll be scary, action packed, and super poorly acted like 99% of scary movies and shows that come out now.” So Halloween passes and I start to see commercials for this show again. “Ok that’s a strange thing to do, running a Halloween special’s reruns a week after Halloween.” Come to find out it is a super intense drama that is set in this Instagram filled wasteland that really dives into human nature and relationship drama, but with zombies.
Let’s talk about the characters that seem to be in a constant state of dying in this very popular zombie apocalyptic drama. Do not worry readers, I am not writing about every character, just the ones that the International Movie Database, also known as IMDB, say are important. First, there is Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, who is a cop from some cow town in Georgia. Rick plays the role of leader for the people seeking refuge from the zombie onslaught. Next there is Glenn Rhee, played by Steven Yeun, and I would have to say he is my favorite character since he’s got such a cool name, “Glenn” just has a really nice ring to it, right? But really, Glenn was a pizza delivery boy before all this stuff happened and has taken up the responsibility of the gatherer of supplies and food, so he is keeping it close to his original job. The last character I will mention is Carl Grimes, and I know what you’re thinking, but he is Rick’s son. He does not just happen to have the same last name. He has all sorts of weird stuff going on ever since his dad got put in a coma. His family keeps trying to hide him from the horrible world he lives in now, but it is difficult. Having this character that allows seeing this insane situation through a child’s eyes is a very interesting addition.
This show seems to be very popular with its viewers. When I went to ask people if they watched it the “noes” were few and far between, and whenever the answer was “yes,” the people pretty much screamed it at me. Freshman Amanda Baxter told me that she would not change anything about the show. Sophomore Austin VonVille, on the other hand, did have a change in mind.
“There’s too much drama! I want more zombie attacks,” said VonVille, “There’s a lady who’s pregnant and they won’t shut up about it.”
So the drama is not for everybody, but everyone I have talked to who watches the show loves it. So if you’re looking for something engaging and exciting to watch I believe most episodes are on Netflix, so you can go catch up after you study.
Walking Dead returns Sunday Oct 13 at 9 PM on AMC.

Silver-Screen stocking stuffers

Morgan Stroyeck
Copy Editor

The big screens have been kind to moviegoers this winter, offering films filled with hostage diplomats, mentally unstable romantics and singing revolutionaries—thankfully, not all in one. The much-anticipated movies that hit theaters ensured something for everyone, and showed quite a few actors departing from their standard roles.
Early to theaters, was Ben Affleck’s film “Argo.” Despite the lack of press, it definitely proved itself a worthy recipient of both viewer and critical acclaim. The movie revolves around a real-life secret operation to retrieve six Americans from Iran in 1979.
“[The movie] I 100% suggest is ‘Argo,’” said junior Kyle Austin. “It’s original, has a great cast and yet is very educational and effective. I was not expecting it to be as well-crafted and interesting as it was. I am not one that often goes to the movies as it is so expensive, but I would definitely pay to see it again.”
“Argo” has already claimed Golden Globe Awards for Best Drama-Film and Best Director-Film, making it a major win for third-time director Ben Affleck.
“Django Unchained” graced theaters on Christmas day as a thrilling western following a freed slave setting out to rescue his captured wife in the Old West. As fans of Quentin Tarantino’s work have come to know, the action is bold and attention-grabbing, with the finishing touch of more than a little blood. The film has had its share of critical accolades, earning a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay-Motion Picture with the Best Supporting Actor-Film award going to Christoph Waltz.
“I thought the acting was great,” Austin said. “Christoph Waltz’s Dr. King Schulz stole the show for me.”
If action and the promise of some good ol’ shoot-outs do not grab your attention, the musical and emotional epic “Les Misérables” is there to help you use up that box of tissues.

“‘Les Misérables’ kept me very invested up until the last 30 minutes,” said Austin, “It wore me out a bit with it being such an emotional film at its length…[but] the heart and dedication of the cast and crew showed through ‘Les Mis’ as a film.”

Should you not fancy crying your eyes out, there was always the option for laughs. The romantic “dramedy” of the season is “Silver Linings Playbook,” starring the refreshing pairing of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.
Both stars are beloved in their own right from fan favorites like “The Hangover” and “The Hunger Games.” In this film, having Cooper as a diagnosed bipolar ex-teacher dealing with his wife’s infidelity and Lawrence as a newly widowed, recovering sex addict, they supply a non-stop energy to these peculiar characters.
“Lawrence just shouts ‘I’m crazy and it is perfect’ in this role,” said sophomore Anjali Updhyaya. “You don’t expect her to be funny right away, but she owns this character and it’s so fun to watch.”
In a similar way, this is a departure from the typical for Cooper. His unusually developed character Pat is mentally and emotionally complicated, but Cooper carries this across with little struggle.
“Bradley Cooper did a great job with this different kind of funny,” said Upadhyaya. “He really got the drama, comedy and romance all in one and is amazing opposite Jennifer Lawrence.”
The film, described as “cute, touching, and original” by Upadhyaya, has already received 12 awards and counting, making it a must-see title of this past year.
last but not least, the newest Bond movie, “Skyfall,” boasted unbelievably gorgeous cinematic visuals paired with high-octane action and drama, all topped with the excellent performances of Daniel Craig and Judi Dench.
With so many movies to choose from, movie-lovers should be able to survive the film drought until the summer blockbusters. Scrounge up your change, splurge on that box of Sour Patch Kids and catch these films while they are still in theaters, or get to the nearest Redbox and rent them as they are released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Same stars, new wars

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Tim Pepper
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Lo and behold! A director has finally been chosen for the newest installment in the Star Wars movie franchise and his name is J.J. Abrams.
Abrams is best known for co-creating the hit television series “Lost” and “Fringe,” as well as directing movies such as “Mission: Impossible III,” “Star Trek” and “Super 8.” Abrams has also produced films including “Cloverfield” and written screenplays for movies such as “Armageddon.” Judging from this list alone, it can be seen that he has quite a bit of experience in the science fiction genre. This will hopefully allow Star Wars fans everywhere to breathe a large sigh of relief.
“He has a certain vision of the sci-fi genre that could breathe new life into an awesome series,” said senior Andy Brown.
But what will Abrams have to do to live up to the standards of episodes: IV, V and VI while following current movie trends? The expectations of current Star Wars fans are so astronomically high that the smallest mistakes could make or break the new additions to the franchise.
“This will probably be one of the most harshly judged movies in a long time,” says junior Ashley Hill.

“Fans want to have the old Star Wars feel to the movie, but movies are now catering to the flashy trends that are shaping movies today. For the standards of this movie to be met, they are going to have to cater to the fans enjoying the old film feel as well as intertwining the flashy film style of today.”

Although the new series of Star Wars films will be created and owned by the Walt Disney Company, George Lucas will still be involved with the creative planning of the films.
Lucas has failed many fans as a director with his most recent movies, but his input will likely keep any unwanted Disney influence out of the films.
“I’m not thrilled with the idea of Disney having ownership, though I am glad George Lucas is still involved,” said Hill. “He has played a major part in the Star Wars franchise and it just wouldn’t make sense for him to not be involved.”
Despite the original 2015 release date for “Star Wars Episode: VII,” it is no longer clear when exactly the movie will be released.
“It goes without saying that we’d prefer Abrams to take his time and get Star Wars off on the right foot rather than rushing his schedule to hit a predetermined release date,” said Sean O’Connell, author at Cinemablend.com. “We’ve waited this long for a great Star Wars movie. Let’s give Abrams his time to develop the right sequel.”