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Film Reviews

Black Swan. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, and written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John J. McLaughlin. A psychological horror film with Natalie Portman portraying our main character, Nina Sayers. Nina is extremely dedicated to Ballet and it’s her whole life. Her devotion drives her into a deep hole of madness that she can’t climb out of. This takes place at the New York Ballet Company. It starts with a dramatic dance between Nina and another dancer. Nina is one of the best dancers and gets constant compliments from her dance instructor. We are introduced to a story where a beautiful and sweet girl is trapped in the body of a swan. The swan desires to be free, only true love can break the spell—very cliche— and she meets this man and falls in love with him, and her wish to be free is almost granted. But before they can be together her lust-filled twin sister, the black swan, successfully seduces him. Heartbroken, the swan jumps off a cliff. The ballet troupe is told to perform the story for their Season. Someone needs to perform as the swan and the black swan. You can see that Nina wants to be chosen and all of the soloists have a chance. And of course, Nina is a soloist and is determined to get the part. She is so desperate to get the part that she would do anything, and I mean anything. Nina goes home and practices until her feet bleed and she still looks unsatisfied with her dance. The next day Nina goes to speak to Thomas, the dance instructor, to ask about the part. She is told that another dancer, Veronica, got the part. Instead of the instructor assuring her that she did good or telling her that she is a great dancer, he tells her “You’re not going to try to convince me?” She is taken aback by his statement and is told that she is only the white swan, not the black swan. She then grabs her instructor and kisses him to see if she can get the part. Of course, it doesn’t work. At least that's what she thinks. It's revealed she gets the part, but I don’t think kissing her instructor is what got her the part of the swan queen. She starts to practice non-stop and it’s obvious that she's worn out and desperate to be the best dancer. But another dancer also wants to part since the director thinks Nina can’t be the evil twin, the black swan. This is where she really starts to go insane. Seeing things, hearing things, feeling things that aren't there. As we get deeper into the movie, Thomas seems to be trying to seduce Nina. He then says after he tries “You’re supposed to be seducing me, not me seducing you.” He says this because the black swan needs to seduce the white swan's love interest. Nina continues to spiral deeper and deeper into insanity until she can’t take it anymore. She sees another dancer, Lily, trying to get the part. She can do a better job at being the black swan since she sabotaged Nina by getting her high, drunk, and slipping something into her drink the night before a rehearsal. Nina starts to have hallucinations from all the substances. She only agreed to do this to be outgoing and “bad”. She feels like she needs to prove to herself that she can be like the black swan. Her hallucinations start to be more severe and scary as she works nonstop. Nina's mother notices that her daughter is sick and needs help but Nina refuses. Eventually, she passes out and her mother says she can't make it. Nina attacks her mother and runs out of the house to make it to the show. She performs as the white swan and Lily as the black swan. Nina attacks her too and stabs her. But then Lily congratulates her on doing so well. Blood starts pouring out of Nina during the show. The thing about this movie is, you never know if anything is really real or if it's just Nina’s imagination. The cinematography is amazing throughout the whole movie, showing how Nina slowly loses her grip on reality. You will never know if anything in the movie is real or not. It will have you thinking and searching for answers. Many theories and debates have happened in this movie. Many think that when she stabbed Lily, she actually stabbed herself, and people think this led to her death. I think that she stabbed herself, yet still performed thinking that it was just a hallucination. I would recommend this movie to people who like movies about mental health and psychological horror. But also to whoever wants to try a new genre of movies! It’s a great movie to watch with friends and a good conversation starter that can turn into a heated debate. For me, this movie is a 9.5/10.  Though it only won one Oscar, I believe it deserved many more for Natalie Portman's amazing portrayal of Nina Sayers. 

Black Swan - A Spiral into Insanity

By: Jesse Barshop

 Klaus, A Christmas Classic of Friendship and Change 

By: Elena Flores

  Every year, during the holiday season new movies are released which tell the story of individuals whose life changed during this period of time. The 2019 academy award nominee animated movie Klaus by Sergio Pablos is no exception. Klaus follows the story of a young postman, Jesper Johanssen, as he is forcibly sent to an isolated island called Smeerensburg by his father as a consequence for his spoiled, bratty and unhelpful attitude. He is tasked with the mission of stamping 6,000 letters in one year, otherwise he will be cut off from his family’s riches. Jesper unwillingly makes the treacherous journey to Smeerensburg, where he discovers that the island is inhabited by two clashing clans; the Krums and the Ellingboes. The clans have distinguished hair colors, for example the Krums all have dark hair while the Ellingboes are all red-heads. Everyday the clans fight violently and even the children are involved.  


After a fateful meeting with a woodsman and toymaker named Klaus, who appears to be cold on the outside but is actually a sweet and kind person, he and Jesper deliver a present to a young boy. This sparks a trend of many other children wishing for a present from this mysterious Klaus. Jesper uses this as a business opportunity, if a child wanted a gift, they would need to write a letter to Klaus, telling him what they wanted. Over the course of the story, Jesper and Klaus team-up to deliver presents to the children of Smeerensburg. We also get glimpses of the relationships between the clashing clans changing for the better. This catches the attention of the main antagonists, the leaders of both clans, who attempt to ruin all the happiness the duo are bringing to their communities. There is also a little bit of romance in the movie between Jesper and Alva, who sold fish before she returned to her old profession of teaching when kids began coming into her classroom to learn to read and write for their letters. 


An interesting element I liked in the movie was the change in the island’s colors throughout the story to represent the mood. For example, when Jesper arrives, the island is dull, but at the end it is vibrant. It shows how the atmosphere of Smeerensburg changed after the introduction of Jesper and Klaus. Another element of the movie that I loved were the character developments, especially Jesper's. Jesper went from being a spoiled brat to a caring person, who was actually willing to help people and bring them happiness. Another great element was the 2D and 3D styles, which blended perfectly with each other, and created a unique viewing experience for the audience. Lastly, I liked all the origin stories of the characters because they explained perfectly why they acted the way they did; the clans have been fighting for hundreds of years, resulting in a generational conflict, which explains why they all despised each other. 


I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet. The film does a great job of incorporating different Christmas traditions in a refreshing, unique way. Jesper and Klaus' relationship was so heartwarming, as well as their great impact on the people of Smeerensburg. There are many amazing and heart-warming quotes such as, “A true act of goodwill. Always sparks another.” If you haven’t watched Klaus yet, I definitely recommend adding it to your holiday movie list! 

Home Alone: a Classic Christmas Movie

By: Maddisyn DaSilva

Home Alone (1990)  is an iconic Christmas movie following the McCallister family who leave their son, Kevin McCallister, at home while they go on a family vacation to Paris. Home Alone is the first movie in a 6-movie-long franchise, but the first two, starring Macaulay Culkin, are the most famous. I decided to review the first Home Alone after the movie was recommended by my two friends Karen Perez and Yaretzi Ayala. I watched Home Alone many years ago but I was young and only focused near the end of the movie. 

Home Alone starts off with the McCallister family in chaos. Kevin’s brother, Buzz, teases him which leads to Kevin being put in the attic. Kevin was forgotten and left behind at home while his family went to Paris. When I first watched this, I hadn’t noticed how many details were in the movie. For example, the reason why the McCallister family didn’t realize Kevin wasn’t there was because of a miscount. A neighborhood kid had been hanging around the family, so during their initial count they included the kid. Since they had the right count of people, they never realized Kevin was missing. Another detail that I discovered was that even if they remembered to bring Kevin, the McCallister family had accidentally thrown out Kevin’s ticket so either way Kevin couldn’t fly to Paris. 

Overall, I enjoyed Home Alone. It was enjoyable to watch and made me smile. To me, a movie is good when it makes you happy, which is what happened to me when I watched this. Seeing Kevin McCallister live alone, his mother in distress trying to get back home, and the whole storyline with the evil neighbor next door never fails to keep you engaged. Even if you’ve already seen this movie, Home Alone will always be an enjoyable movie to watch this winter season. 

Film Reviews: Movies To Watch
         This Spooky Season

Movie Review: Rosemary’s Baby
By: Leo Cepeda

Rosemary's Baby is an interesting film. This movie takes place in the 1960s and starts with a married couple moving into a new apartment to start a new life and was planning to have a baby. The married couple is Rosemary Woodhouse and Guy Woodhouse, played by Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes, respectively. All was well until they witnessed the death of a person that Rosemary knew. Shortly after, new characters were introduced and Rosemary had this strange dream. 


What I like about this film is when Rosemary is dreaming. We see shots of different people, different places, and different moments. Music plays an important role as it creates suspense inside her dream. One specific dream that Rosemary had is where there are characters surrounding her and one interesting character did something to her. Rosemary thought this was a dream but later thinks it might not be a dream. This created suspicion, which will later become important. 


As the couple prepare for the baby, Rosemary is pregnant and we get to see what life is like as a pregnant woman. Not only pregnancy changes someone physically, but also mentally. Rosemary experiences extreme pain losing weight, changes in appearance, and her emotional state has altered. Everyday, she is in pain whilst getting judged because of weight gain during pregnancy. 


Throughout the movie, we now see Rosemary’s suspicions becoming a reality. She has to accept the reality that Guy is not the father, but Satan himself is. In my opinion, the true horror of this film is that everyone was planning to have Rosemary’s baby to themselves, Rosemary trusted these people only to be backstabbed by them for other purposes. The fact that the spawn of Satan must be taken care of by Rosemary herself. After all, she is the mother. It shows the journey of Rosemary's suspicions consuming her by avoiding everyone, her friends, her husband, and seeking help. Her anxiety was increased and shown through the film with suspense. 


What I don’t like about the film is that it is slow at the beginning and we never get to see Rosemary’s baby. The movie only mentions the baby. However, we never see the baby and how terrifying it is. I believe that it is a crucial part to show the baby because the title is misleading being called “Rosemary’s Baby” without showing the baby. Overall this movie is very interesting and should be watched, especially around Halloween or if anyone is interested in watching some old classic movies.

Child’s Play, is it Worth Watching?
By: Maddisyn Da Silva

October, the month known for horror, is the perfect time to indulge in some spine-tingling films. For many, horror movies are associated with excessive gore and the sole goal of terrifying the audience, which isn’t everyone's preferred genre. However, one classic horror movie that isn’t too terrifying and boasts practically no gore is the original "Child’s Play" (1988). The film follows a young boy who eagerly wishes for a 'My Buddy' doll for his birthday. This doll, advertised as a child's best friend forever, is named Chucky. Once he receives the Chucky doll, many strange incidents start to unfold.


Personally, I found "Child’s Play" to be quite enjoyable. Despite having prior knowledge of the film's premise, I had never actually seen it until this month. So, I rented the movie and watched it for the first time. During the viewing, I appreciated many of the scenes featuring Chucky and the development of the main characters. However, I must admit that some scenes were a bit frustrating to watch, thanks to the sometimes annoying 80s movie tropes. Nonetheless, most of the movie was engaging. The jump scares and gore didn't seem too excessive to me; the jump scares weren't overly frightening, and the gore was mostly limited to non-graphic depictions of dead bodies.

While the majority of people are familiar with the character Chucky, many might not see the point of watching the film due to its widespread fame. However, as I mentioned earlier, experiencing it for myself made it much more enjoyable. In the end, "Child’s Play" is a good horror movie that strikes a balance between being suspenseful without being overly terrifying. I would recommend it to those who prefer their horror with less gore. For those who prefer a heavier dose of gore, you might want to consider something else for your movie night.

Carrie (1976), Odd but Strangely Enjoyable
By: Yaretzi Ayala

It’s the time of the year when everyone decides to watch Halloween movies, but many struggle with which movie to watch, mainly because of how large and broad the genre of horror itself is, some prefer more thriller and mystery while others prefer more gore instead. A movie I would recommend for the Halloween season is a classic horror film named “Carrie”, specifically the 1976 version based on the Stephen King novel, a famous author who is also responsible for “IT” and “The Shining”. Now although the movie “Carrie” does fall under the horror genre, it’s more uncomfortable to watch than terrifying so it's easier to watch for those more easily spooked. The movie itself centers around a teenage girl, Carrie, who is an outcast to the rest of her peers and even to her extremely religious mother once she discovers her telekinesis abilities. 


I enjoyed the movie “Carrie” as it doesn’t rely on jumpscares or excessive gore to unease the viewer like many modern horror films nowadays but instead uses how unusual and weird the character Carrie acts around her surroundings as a girl who has been sheltered all her life and doesn’t know of the world or even her own body due to her extremely religious and abusive mother who constantly manipulates Carrie into thinking the way her body grows is from her sins. I also really enjoyed the acting of Sissy Spacek who plays the main character of Carrie as she portrays so much emotion mainly through her eyes, with them being nearly wide open for most of the film it expresses how unfamiliar she is with the life all around her, usually the main emotion being portrayed through her being fear and uncertainty. Not only through her eyes but also in body language she shows Carrie as a weird and antisocial girl like how she always lowers her head down to be unseen or how she hides her face with her hair.


The movie does a great job of making the audience both disturbed and sympathetic towards Carrie, as yes she is weird and slightly creepy, you can’t help but feel bad for her and want her to have a happy ending. And if you enjoy plot twists this is a great option for you as especially in the ending many twists occur constantly leaving you shocked with your jaw dropped. Although I did enjoy this movie it isn’t perfect either. At times there were a bit too many unnecessary montages or scenes that played longer than needed, and the effects of course are dated from being from the 1970’s. Another flaw of this movie is the sexual scenes and nudity scenes that also last for a bit too long but I wouldn’t worry about them as they are few and far between each other. But just because of its flaws, it shouldn’t discourage you from at least giving the classic horror movie a watch this Halloween season.

Film Reviews

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: A Battle For Love

By: Cesar Reyes

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a movie based on the Scott Pilgrim comic series, written by Bryan Lee O’Mally. The series follows Scott Pilgrim, a 22-year-old man who plays in a band with his friends and is also in a relationship with a 17-year-old high school student, Knives Chao. One day, he meets Ramona Flowers and falls in love with her, but the only way to be with her is to fight her seven evil exes. The movie follows the same plot, but it takes place over the course of a week instead of a year as the books do.

This is my favorite movie for a couple of reasons. What I like about it is how it stays true to the books, yet it still stands out as its own, separate piece of media. Another great thing about it is the way the movie is directed and shot. The director Edgar Wright is known for his cinematography because of the unique style he uses. He employs background elements and cuts to other scenes in interesting ways. You can see this in the movie, with how he cuts between Scott’s dream sequences and real life.

Additionally, the cast is perfectly suited for each character and feels like they came to life from the book. There is some controversy surrounding it, most prominently Scott’s relationship with 17-year-old Knives. Throughout the movie, many characters scold and make fun of Scott for dating a 17-year-old. The relationship was really made to show how Scott’s life was, noting that the only reason Scott is with Knives is because of a past relationship that broke his heart. This doesn't affect the movie’s plot as Scott breaks up with Knives within the first thirty minutes of the movie. So, because of the great casting, cinematography, and humor, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is a very good movie. I would recommend it to anyone, and rate it a solid 10/10. 

Dead Poets: An Emotional Story

By: Jesse Barshop

‘Dead Poets Society’ Directed by Peter Weir and written by Tom Schulman, released June 2nd, 1989. Dead Poets Society is a coming-of-age drama film about a group of boys set in 1959 at Welton Academy, an elite boarding school in America. It starts off showing a new student, Todd Anderson, arriving at the school expected to live up to his older brother's name. We are introduced to his roommate Neil Perry, and his friends Knox Overstreet, Richard Cameron, Steven Meeks, Gerarad Pitts, And Charlie Dalton. They are quickly Drawn in and shocked by the teaching of their new teacher, John Keating, an Alumnus of Welton. Keating uses poetry to show his students how to express themselves through words and shows them how to make their own, creative poems. The boys find out he was in a group at Welton called Dead Poets Society, hence the title. 


As the movie goes on, they revive the Dead Poets Society. Keating shows them and encourages them to follow their own path and not the one built for them by their parents. Neil decides to listen to Keating's words and join the school play even though his father would disapprove. Neil performs and his father is outraged and decides to force him to go to military school to try and “straighten” him out. He is forced back on the path that his father set him on and is being pushed through it. The movie has you feeling motivated and happy for the characters as they find themselves and their passions. You can't help but feel as if you are connected to them and feel for the boys. Neil can’t accept that he has to live by his father's rules and ends up killing himself to escape the life that was built for him. 


This movie is an amazing story and has lots of meaning behind it and has touched people's hearts and broken them at the same time. We see that it goes right for some characters and for others not so much, especially Keating and Neil. Although Keating is upset to leave he is happy he made an impression on these young boys and knows that they will never forget each other. Although this movie was rated an 8.1/10 on IMDB, I think it deserves a 10/10 for the creativity but also the realism of the movie. We see how miserable these boys really are even if they go to the most prestigious school in America and their families are wealthy, they are never truly happy. They want to do what they want, not what everyone expects them to do. I feel like this is an amazing fall/winter seeing as it takes place during the fall and winter. This is a movie that always has you on your toes waiting to see what will happen next. It has a nice flow and really makes you happy towards the end but then it's ruined in a matter of seconds. I think this should be a movie everybody should watch at least once in their life and I 100% recommend watching this movie.

Rapunzel, The Last Original Princess

By: Anika Chowdhury

With newer Disney movies coming out, there is a decline in interest as production seems to not meet the standards of Disney viewers. There has been extreme controversy around the latest movie coming out called Wish, a movie that centers around a Disney princess making a wish that goes differently from how she wants it. 


There has been a decline in creativity among Disney princesses, specifically in personality. Many state that Disney princesses have not been the same since 3D animation came out, however, I disagree. I believe that the passion for newer movies, especially Disney princesses has decreased solely due to the main characters' personalities. 


Films created in 2D do have a nostalgic feeling, but 3D films can also encapsulate that. A hidden gem that displays this is Tangled, a movie about a kidnapped princess who wishes to see the entirety of the world but has to accept the harsh reality that her past life was a lie. This demonstrates a strong example of personality being stripped from newer movies in a well-versed fashion. The show follows the main character, Rapunzel, who is cheerful, bubbly, and curious. She radiates positive energy and strings us along as she continues her adventure. The reason that film was popular was not only because of its unique storyline but also how Rapunzel had dealt with the challenges she faced in a light manner. 


Now why bring this up when discussing Disney’s newest projects? This acknowledges the lack of creativity and how newer generations growing up on these films will never be able to experience the truly magical feeling past films targeted. The nostalgia that was once relatable with each new movie has been replaced with the humiliation each film takes from older audiences criticizing the works. 


It could be argued that the various films created after Tangled did meet the standards of what the public wanted, but the beloved personalities that Disney once put in the effort to create are now replaced with similar generic main characters. Moana, Anna, and Mirabel, from the movies Moana, Frozen, and Encanto respectively are perfect examples of great films just void of newer personalities. The plot and characters hold great meaning and when one lacks, it can be shown as the company develops. 


Tangled, the last original concept of a main character has influenced the newer films made and as a whole has ruined what diversity we could've had despite the beauty of the film.

Lift (Honest Movie Review)

BY : Kelsang Chyapa

          It's the beginning of the year and people are looking forward to the new films coming out, with celebrities and famous actors starring in the films, this catches people’s attention to watch the film. A movie I want to review is Lift starring the famous actor Kevin Hart. I was looking forward to his new movie expecting it to be interesting, but was very disappointed. Although the cast had appealing actors it didn’t help with the poor script. The movie’s plot focuses on a collection of con artists planning to steal half a billion worth of gold from a commercial airliner flying from London to Zurich. 

          In the beginning, we see the leader Cryus (Kevin Hart) rob a high-end art auction in Venice by working with his team. Interpol agent Gladwell, upon orders from her boss, recruits Cyrus and his team to steal the gold from a wealthy bad guy Jean Reno who is transferring the gold to a terrorist group to create disasters from which he can profit afterward. The whole movie is about the team pulling off a robbery by transferring the gold to their plane. However, they are caught by Reno’s team and forced to fly the gold to Reno’s villa, while nearly getting killed in the air. In the end, Interpol catches Reno and the team succeeds, but they secretly keep the real gold and give Interpol fake gold. 

          Honestly, this movie was not as exciting as I expected it to be, even though there were action scenes, it was very predictable. The plot did not have a big effect on the movie nor did it make much sense. It felt random to add such a plot to the movie when it was starting well with the robbery in the auction. The transitions in the movie were pretty lame and were not smooth. Overall this movie was written and was a big waste of my time. If Kevin Hart was cast in a movie, the expectations would be much higher than whatever this movie was.

Acting so Old, Yet Still so Young
By: Jesse Barshop

          Catch Me if You Can. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Jeff Nathanson, Frank Abagnale Jr., and Stan Redding. It starts with our main character, Frank Abagnale Jr. It shows us what seems to be a lineup between 3 men on a TV show. They reveal That Frank is a con man, committing many fraudulent acts, from fake checks to stealing identities. He is the youngest con man, doing all of these things before he turned 19. It cuts to a French prison where Frank is being held. He is extremely ill and weak and looks like he's about to die. Frank comes from a privileged background, it's first shown when his father, Frank Sr. gets an award from what seems to be some important people or something else. Frank Sr. is also being investigated for tax fraud which kind of seems like foreshadowing. It’s then revealed that Frank Sr went broke and has no money anymore. His first taste of fraudulence was pretending to be a substitute teacher for his new school. He wanted to embarrass the guy who pushed him in the hallway. This goes on for a week before he gets caught. This is where he starts to like being someone he isn't.

          Frank comes home early and sees that his dad's friend is having an affair–or it's speculated–with his mother. It cuts to a new scene and it's revealed that his parents are getting a divorce which causes him to run away. He starts making fake checks and trying to convince people in different ways to give him money. Flirting, fake being sick, begging, and more. He sees a pilot and gets inspired to become one, but not the legal way. He's committing all these crimes and he seems to mature and grow but all he wants is his parents to get back together. Showing that he is just a kid.

          He ends up in LA where is almost caught but escapes because he posed as a secret service agent to get away. Eventually, he gives up being a pilot and becomes a doctor, of course again not the legal way with the FBI chasing him. But he is always 2 steps ahead. He gets engaged to a nurse there too, trying to keep under the radar even though they know his name, face, and age. Now he wants to be a lawyer. I mean, he's all over the place. He becomes a pilot again. He is changing so much that it's making my head spin! He flies all over the place until he lands in France where he gets caught. He wants to make a run for it but can't. He's trapped and eventually gives up, he accepts his fate. It cuts to him on the plane to the U.S. and he wants to speak to his father but The FBI agent, Carl Hanratty reveals his father died. He breaks down, running to the bathroom. Remembering all the moments with his father he's sobbing. He then climbs through the back of the toilet and escapes out the bottom of the plane. Supporting the name. But of course, he gets caught again because he goes to his mother's house. He spends years in jail until he gets an early release to work for the FBI to point out fraudulent checks. Until he decides to go back to his old ways. But then on Monday, he shows up for work again.

          This movie has a great thrill to it and has you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. I personally really like this movie and recommend it to you if you want a movie full of anticipation! I’d say this movie deserves a 9.6 out of 10. This movie never failed to bore me and I was wide awake watching it. I think it shows how someone can act so grown up but be so young. All Frank wanted was for his parents to be together and to impress his father. I could watch this movie again and still not get bored. The ending ties everything together, really showing Frank's true maturity.

The Great Gatsby
By: Jesse Barshop

The Great Gatsby. The book was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1925. The movie was directed by Baz Luhrmann. Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Magiure, is a new stock broker in the roaring 20s. Carraway rents a little cottage in West Egg, a new money part of Long Island. He gets intrigued by his millionaire neighbor who throws lavish parties and buys all these cars, boats and other things for his friends. He then gets invited to his cousin Daisy’s house, who lives across the bay in East Egg, the old, elegant money part of Long Island. He gets reunited with Daisy’s husband, Tom Buchanan. Tom is a douchey guy, who has multiple affairs all the while flashing around his money and awards as well as how he has met all these important people because he is heir to an extremely wealthy family. Carraway then meets Jordan Baker, a famous golf player. Nick is hesitant to greet her because of how frightening she looks. Jordan questions Nick on West Egg saying she knows someone there by the name of Gatsby. This catches Daisy’s attention, her eyes sort of widening, to which Tom gives her a look and she pretends to not know the name. As dinner is being served, we can see Daisy with sort of a soft smile on her face, obviously thinking about Gatsby. To me, Tom is a character that I dislike already. He pretends to be a know-it-all by rambling about stuff that makes everyone uncomfortable. The phone rings and it turns out, one of Tom’s affair partners is calling. This causes Daisy to get mad at Tom which is completely reasonable. Daisy and Nick look at the other side of the bay while talking about Tom and his infidelity. Tom didn't show up because he was with another woman and this had an extremely negative effect on Daisy. Women were classified as nothing but beautiful fools, and that is how Daisy saw herself. Nothing but a fool. As Nick arrives home, he sees Gatsby on his dock, looking out at the water. But, he is looking at something specifically. Reaching out for something. Daisy’s house.


We then see Tom and Nick go to the Yale club but on the way there, they stop at a mechanic where one of Tom’s partners is. They go back to her place and Tom and her do things. They throw a party but Nick doesn't want to be there because Daisy is his cousin and it's disrespectful. As they party, it starts to get tense, and Myrtle, the affair partner, mentions Daisy. Tom doesn’t like that so he hits her. Taken aback, Nick sneaks out through the fire escape. I also want to mention the choice of music. They used a modern party song instead of music from that time. That really stuck out to me. While Nick watches Gatsby, Gatsby watches back. Nick knows this because he gets invited to one of Gatsby’s parties without ever seeing his face. Only ever seeing the shining ring on his pinky finger. The parties seem very coordinated yet very chaotic. No one has ever seen Gatsby, at least the real one. They have met the spy, the murderer, and the prince. He keeps himself a secret. And this is where we meet Owl Eyes. A man who lives there. Unknowingly, Nick meets him and talks to him, thinking he’s a server at the party. He then reveals himself as Jay Gatsby, who is played by Leonardo Dicaprio. Gatsby and Nick go to lunch and he is explaining his past when he says to Nick that there is something that he can't say. But Jordan can. As they go through the city, there is an underlying truth about Gatsby that he isn't disclosing to Nick. This has been bugging him a lot. Tom runs into Nick, and Nick introduces them but they obviously already know each other but also dislike each other.


Nick then goes to tea with Jordan and he's mad that Gatsby is hiding something from him. Jordan tells him that he wants Nick to invite Daisy to tea. Jordan tells the backstory on them and, long story short, they were in love with each other and seem as though they still are. Gatsby only moved to West Egg to be directly across from Daisy. Just to feel connected to her. He was throwing lavish parties hoping she would show up. Constantly asking Jordan about her. Eventually, Nick invites her for tea at his house with Jay. He is extremely nervous and wants to leave. Right as Daisy comes in, Jay leaves. But of course, comes back. They eventually warm up because Nick leaves and they talk, and even though you can’t hear what they are saying, it's obviously something about them because they can’t take their eyes off each other. They have a beautiful relationship which they cannot pursue. It's sad to watch knowing they can’t be together. Nick starts to narrate about Jay and that his real name is James Gatz and he is from a dirt poor family. Later through the movie, Daisy tells Gatsby she loves him in front of Tom. All he says is let's go into town. Things start to get heated as Tom gets mad about his wife having an affair with the man she was originally with. He's being hypocritical. Jay and Daisy leave and they hit Myrtle, Tom's mistress when she runs out on the street. They try to swerve but she runs into the car still. She dies and Tom comforts her husband and says for him to basically kill Jay, that's what he was implying. It’s then revealed that Daisy was driving and when Jay tried to swerve, Daisy swerved back to kill her. 


I think this movie was amazing. A great representation of the book. One of the few good examples of books being turned into a movie. If you love a good romance movie, this is for you. A great star-crossed lover example. IMDB gives this movie a 7.2/10. I think it deserves a 9.3/10. I would give it a ten if the movie was shorter. Two hour and 22 minute long movie is a bit of a stretch compared to the length of the book. The music choice for the movie is a bit odd seeing as they played modern music for a movie set in 1925. Nonetheless,  I recommend this movie to any and all romance lovers.

20th Century Girl, a Film of Heartbreak and First Love
By: Elena Flores

Right at the end of the 20th century, a young high school girl, Kim Yeon-doo, leaves her best friend, Na Bo-ra, in charge of keeping tabs on her crush in her stead while she is away in New York to receive heart surgery. From that day onward, Bo-ra makes it her mission to learn as much about Yeon-doo’s crush, Baek Hyun-jin, as possible and report it back to her friend while she recovers via email. In order to stay close to him, Bo-ra tries out for her school’s broadcasting club in hopes of getting accepted alongside him. To her disappointment however, he does not get in. Instead, Hyun-jin’s best friend, Poong Woon-oh, gets accepted. Bo-ra sees this as an opportunity to learn more information about Hyun-jin, so as they work together, she asks him questions about his friend. 

As the days go by, Bo-ra and Woon-oh end up spending more time with each other and begin to develop feelings for one another. Throughout their many interactions, Woon-oh documents their meetings with his camera as he aspires to major in film. There is also a love triangle, in which both Woon-oh and Hyun-jin liked Bo-ra. Halfway through the movie, Yeon-doo comes back from New York, and both girls are thrilled to see each other again. However, this happiness does not last long, when a major reveal and plot twist is unfolded, leaving Bo-ra in a dilemma between friendship or love. Bo-ra ultimately chooses to prioritize her life-long friendship with Yeon-doo. Bo-ra decides to keep her distance from Woon-oh with no prior communication as to why, leaving Woon-oh confused as to her sudden change in emotions.

Later on in the film, Woon-oh reveals to Bo-ra that he will be moving away soon to New Zealand, and although heartbroken, Bo-ra pretends that she is unfazed by the sudden news. When Yeon-doo learns of what really happened, she tells Bo-ra to chase Woon-oh before he leaves. Though hesitant at first, Bo-ra runs to the train station, right before Woon-oh boards the train. In these brief yet meaningful moments, the pair reveal their true feelings for one another. With tears in her eyes, Bo-ra apologizes for pretending she did not care about his departure when she truly had. With little time to spare before the train leaves, both share one last tearful hug. Though separated by two different time-zones, Bo-ra and Woon-oh remain in contact with one another and email each other constantly. However, a truly unexpected reveal at the end of the movie is bound to leave almost anyone in tears. 

20th Century Girl is directed by Bang Woo-ri and runs for 2 hours and 1 minute. It was released in 2022, and because I had already seen a spoiler of how it ended, I knew I was probably going to cry once I finished it. Nevertheless, there were many quotes from the movie which added to the heartbreaking ending. Another element that made the last moments of the film so impactful was Han Hyo-joo, the actress who plays older Bo-ra, and her amazing acting. Most of the movie takes place when the main characters were high schoolers, but the film begins with an older Bo-ra and ends with her as well. One thing I did not like about the movie, however, was the fact that we did not see a longer scene in which Bo-ra, Yeon-doo, and Woon-oh cleared up their misunderstandings. Also, the miscommunication trope played a great role as one of the character obstacles. Either way, I would recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of romance films, films that have bittersweet endings, or for anyone that enjoys shock-factor. Be warned though, there is a high chance that you will cry at this movie’s ending.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Donkey Kong

By Jesse Barshop

            The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Directed and written by Seth Gordon. Recommended by Mr. Jampol. The documentary starts with a clip of Billy Mitchell, a huge fan of video games, talking about how video games are meant for relaxing after a tiring day. He then goes on about competitive gaming and how you have put a lot on the line to win. It then cuts to Steve Wiebe, another gamer, who talks about how gaming is his escape from reality, where he has control. We then see another man who talks about how gaming is a healthy addiction. Which it is not. We then see Walter Day, a video game referee. He proceeds to talk about how he just wanted attention from people, and that's why he started gaming. It cuts to the author of The Master’s Guide to Donkey Kong and what he says about the games that caught the public's eye. He explains that if you want to be the center of attention, you have to be the best at a game like Donkey Kong. We see more people just talking about why they like video games and how they became famous. It then gets revealed that in the 1980s, Billy Mitchell was one of the best video game players at the time. Steven Sanders, another gamer, was also there as a contestant, but he lied about the score he had gotten. Billy and Steve become friends after this, and then Billy makes Steve confess to lying. He goes on to say that Steve is the way he is today because of him. I think Billy has an extremely high ego and sees himself as better than everyone else because he was a really good Donkey Kong and Centipede player. A lot of people feed into his ego by just overly praising him. 

One day, Steve Wiebe wants to beat the high score of Billy Mitchell. He was very close to beating it, with a high score of 829,700, while Billy's was 874,300. Billy, Steve, and another man talk about how much skill it takes to make it past the harder levels; I won't disagree with that. I have played my fair share of video games, and most are hard to beat. I just think they are stretching it a little too much. For the next 10 minutes or so, they just talk about how video games have been their whole life and that this is what they were born to do. Then, Steve finally beats the high score that Billy made. In my opinion, I don’t like either of them. Steve ignores his kids and wife to play video games, and Billy is just very cocky and has a big ego. Now, of course, Billy is upset and angry about this because the only reason he was famous was because he held the Donkey Kong world record. Now he doesn’t. Billy Mitchell had a big fan named Robert Mruczek. He was also a video game referee. Robert went to Steve's house and took apart his arcade game. He took pictures of the inside and tried to disprove Steve's world record by proving he was cheating to give back Billy’s title. When Robert can’t find a way to give Billy’s title back, he says we can't accept the score because it was at his house and not an arcade. So now Billy has the title back. For now, at least.

We are now introduced to Fun Spot. Fun Spot is a huge arcade museum where all the guys who have a high score in a video game go to make their record official. Steve challenges Billy for the world record at the fun spot to see who truly is the best video game player. Billy doesn’t come, and so Steve just plays Donkey Kong, and a friend of Billy is there who is another referee. He keeps an eye on Steve, which he does by literally breathing on Steve's neck. Steve doesn’t let it distract him, so he keeps playing, and he is close to taking the high score again. And he does. Steve gains the title back, and Billy can’t do anything about it. Billy isn't happy about this at all. So he sent in a tape where Billy got a million points—which I don't believe one bit that he did—and Steve now needs to beat that. Robert noticed that when the tape glitched, the score jumped up. Which means he is cheating, but they don't want to believe it. Now if I say anything anymore, Billy will probably sue me for everything I have. So if you want to find out what happens, watch the film! This is something I wouldn’t normally watch on my own, but I liked the film. IMDB gives the film a solid 8/10. I think that fits perfectly. This is all about the rise of video games. Even if you don’t like Billy Mitchell, he was still a huge help in the rise of video games. This film is something that I thought at first was weird, but it turned out to be good. It shows you the games that influenced all of today's big games. I think if you are interested in video games, this film would be 100% for you.

La La Land

By Kelsang Chyapa

                “My favorite movie is La La Land, it’s a wonderful movie,” said Ms. Castillo from Manhattan Hunter Science. La La Land won six Academy Oscar awards; I watched it and here is my honest review. The movie, La La Land, follows Sebastian, a struggling jazz pianist playing a gig at a restaurant, and Mia, an aspiring actress overhearing Sebastian playing as she passes by. She enters the restaurant observing Sebastian being fired for obedience, she attempts to compliment him but he brushes her off. Months later they meet at a party, they get to know each other that night. Sebastian arrives at Mia’s workplace where she explains her passion for acting. Then Sebastian takes Mia to a jazz club, describing his passion for jazz and desire to open his jazz club. Sebastian and Mia go to the theater to watch a film but end up having a romantic time at the Griffith Observatory.


Eventually, they move in together and Mia decides to write a one-woman play, while Sebastian gets invited to a Jazz fusion band to earn a steady income. However, Mia knows their music is not the type Sebastian wants to play. Mia accuses Sebastian of abandoning his dreams while stating she liked him better when he was unsuccessful because it made her feel better. Sebastian misses Mia’s play which goes terribly wrong to the small audience comments, so she moves back to her hometown. Sebastian receives a call from Mia to be invited to audition for an upcoming film, then he drives to her hometown to convince her to audition. During the audition, Mia sings a story about her aunt being a stage actress and dying from alcoholism inspiring her to chase her dreams. Sebastian encourages Mia to devote herself to acting. The two realize they will always love each other no matter what occurs in their relationship. 


Five years later, Mia is a famous actress and married to a different man, with a daughter. One night, she realizes she has come across Sebastian's jazz club, the couple enters the club where Sebastian notices Mia in the crowd. He starts playing their love theme song on the piano. A dream of Sebastian and Mia having a thriving relationship with their successful careers. Once the dream is over, Sebastian and Mia acknowledge each other with a slight smile and go their separate ways. 


Overall, this movie was an absolute masterpiece and a favorite of mine. The movie resembles a very important and sad fact of people having to achieve their dreams. Pursuing one's dreams even if it costs their relationship. Even though they both loved each other and supported each other’s dreams, their career came first. They truly deserve their happy ending, but if you haven’t watched this movie you definitely should. In my opinion, this was a love story with a horror ending. 

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