You Ask, We Answer

Advising worried seniors and giving underclassmen the how to’s of surviving high school

By Eliza Brown & Evelyn Maxey

Dear Eliza & Evelyn,

“I’ve been working on college applications and I’m feeling overwhelmed! After going on countless campus tours and looking into colleges, I’ve selected my top schools. I want to go to these schools so bad and if I don’t get into them, I don’t know what I’ll do. How do I handle waitlist and rejection letters?”

Sincerely, 

A scared senior

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Movie Reviews April 2018

The beginning of the summer movie season
provides some big hits and catastrophic flops

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

While cheesy, this teen comedy provides laughs and a heartfelt story that many will enjoy. Blockers follows three parents as they try to prevent their teenage daughters from having sex on prom night. This plot is absolutely ridiculous and has you questioning the logic and the behavior of the characters from start to finish. However, the film’s comedic elements and the stellar chemistry from the cast provide a very enjoyable experience. Most of the jokes were clever, and the non-stop pacing keeps you engaged throughout. Additionally, there are some very moving moments that both parents and students can relate to. The biggest surprise is the strong social commentary presented about how girls lose their virginity vs how guys do. John Cena proves to be a future star in Hollywood and is the film’s crowning star. The biggest flaw is the choppy editing in some scenes. In the end, Blockers is a fun theater experience that will enjoyed for years to come.

Rating: 3.5/5

This unique sci-fi horror provides one of the most unique films of 2018 thus far. A Quiet Place follows the Abbott family, and the struggles they face while trying to hide from sound sensitive monsters in a post-apocalyptic rural landscape. John Krasinski does a fantastic job at building suspense in his directorial debut, as well as acting alongside his co-star and real life wife Emily Blunt. The child actors are great as well, and provide a great sense of family. The film is a non-stop thrill ride with very few breaks,  and fits perfectly with the short runtime. The film’s only flaw is its lack of development. There are only subtle hints as to how the world becomes this way and leaves a lot to the imagination. Overall, A Quiet Place is a scary, yet intriguing film that will go down as one of the best films of 2018.

Rating: 4.5/5

The 19th entry into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is a change of form for the franchise and is its darkest film yet. Avengers: Infinity War follows the Avengers and their impossible task of defeating the powerful Thanos before he can conduct a universe wide genocide. The standout of the film is Josh Brolin’s portrayal of Thanos, giving fans easily one of the best MCU villains to date. The actions scenes are epic, and the set designs are mesmerizing. The characters work well with each other, and the chemistry built throughout the previous films become apparent. However, the big cast does not come without its flaws with many of the characters taking sideline roles rather than being front and center. The ending, while controversial, is a gamble that paid off for Marvel and will be talked about for years to come.

Infinity War is a great film, but should and will not receive an official rating until part two comes out next year.

Not even Dwayne Johnson can make this abysmal video game adaptation into a fun blockbuster hit. Rampage follows primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), and his attempts at stopping three genetically mutated animals from destroying Chicago. Right off the bat, this film can barely be called an action film as the only action happens in the last 20 minutes of the film. The characters all act cartoonish and provide no sense of realism whatsoever. The plot is extremely predictable and relies too much on too many improbable results all happening perfectly. Dwayne Johnson is always enjoyable to watch and the final action scene does have some moments, but the film provides little more than that. Rampage is a B-rated monster film that is taking away valuable ticket sales from better low budget films.

Rating: 1.5/5

The Garden Review

On Friday, April 13th, the relatively niche indie rock band The Garden found its way to The Shelter in Detroit. It’s small, dirty, and dark — exactly the kind of place a band like The Garden would play in.

I arrived late, and I missed the first opener (Cowgirl Clue), but judging by her music available online, she’s an ideal complement to The Garden: not only does her music sound just similar enough to them without being a copy of it, she’s openly inspired by The Garden, occasionally quoting them in songs.

I did arrive in time for the second opener, Tijuana Panthers. While their style is less similar to The Garden than Cowgirl Clue’s is (it’s more smooth and quiet), their overall mood was great and got the crowd excited for the main act. Continue reading “The Garden Review”

February/March Movie Reviews

February and March provide the best and worst the film industry has to offer

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

The 18th film in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) provides an amazing story, and the best cast the franchise has seen to date. Black Panther follows T’Challa, the king of the technologically advanced and isolated country of Wakanda, and the events that arise after he takes the throne from his recently deceased father. Chadwick Boseman does a perfect job of bringing T’Challa to the big screen, and Michael B. Jordan gives a near-perfect performance as the film’s villain, Erik Killmonger. The world-building is solid, and you feel as though you really know the world of Wakanda by the time the film ends. The ties to other MCU movies are subtle and don’t bog down the film whatsoever. The only thing the film suffers from is some below average visual effects throughout, however, this does not take away from the experience as a whole. Black Panther is one of the best superhero movies to come out in recent years and is one of the crown jewels of the MCU.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Oscar Recap

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony provided a fun yet predictable night of film appreciation

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

The 90th annual Academy Awards occured last night crowing the best Hollywood had to offer in 2017.

The Shape of Water became the night’s champion after winning four Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score. Dunkirk should also be noted as it came in second with three Oscar wins: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and  Editing. Tied for third with two Oscar wins were Blade Runner 2049, Coco, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Darkest Hour.

The most notable winners were Roger Deakins’ win for Best Cinematography after 13 previous unsuccessful nominations, Kobe Bryant winning the Oscar for his short film Dear Basketball, and Jordan Peele winning Best Original Screenplay for Get Out. Frances McDormand and Gary Oldman were both hailed as the best actors in a leading role, while Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney won Best Actors in a supporting role. While there weren’t any major surprises or upsets this year, Lady Bird didn’t receive a single award from its five nominations, shocking many.

Jimmy Kimmel gave an average job as the ceremonies host, a disappointment to his hilarious performance last year. The Moonlight fiasco from last year was an enjoyable running gag, as well as bribing winners with a Jetski to try and make acceptance speeches shorter.

The MeToo Movement and racial inclusion were focal points of the night, with moving speeches from Jordan Peele and Frances McDormand respectively.

“Get Ready,” Peele said. “You’re about to see a lot more Get Out’s, and a lot more Black Panther’s.”

Overall, it was an enjoyable ceremony, but not anything groundbreaking as expected of award show’s 90th anniversary.

Top Five Super Bowl Ads

In a year of bland Super Bowl ads, these five commercials stood out as the most memorable and enjoyable to watch

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

#5 Austrailian Tourism Trailer

Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth shine in this Crocodile Dundee spoof trailer. Leading up to the Super Bowl, trailers featuring Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe, and several others made audiences believe that a Crocodile Dundee sequel was in the works. However, everyone was fooled when it all turned out to be an elaborate advertising campaign for Australian tourism. Bravo indeed.

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Oscar Movie Preview

Here’s a look at what could go down at this year’s Oscars

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

Best Picture

There’s a trick to figuring out the best picture category. Any of the best picture films that are nominated for best director, editing, and screenplay, is an automatic frontrunner to win the Oscar. The only film that qualifies into all three of these categories this year is The Shape of Water. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri may have won the Golden Globe, but The Producers Guild went to The Shape of Water, a more accurate predictor of who will win. Also, it suffers from not having a nomination in the best director category. Lady Bird, Get Out, Dunkirk, and Call Me By Your Name could all be possible upsets as well and deserve some merit. Darkest Hour, The Post, and Phantom Thread were all great films, but have little to no chance at winning the Best Picture  award. While I would love to see Lady Bird win the night, The Shape of Water looks to take its place in cinema history.

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November/December Movie Reviews

The end of 2017 provides excitement in an otherwise bland year for movies

By Jimmy Fortuna-PeaK

The fifth entry into the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) provides fun action and witty humor, but fails to provide a memorable story. Justice League follows Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, The Flash, Aquaman, and Superman as they team up to keep the evil Steppenwolf from destroying the world. In one word, this movie is a mess; however, there is a lot of fun to be had. Seeing all these iconic characters together on screen for the first time is an extremely satisfying feeling and the cast chemistry is, for the most part, solid. The film’s original length was three hours, but was cut down to two hours for the theaters. Because of this, the film feels like it’s constantly rushed, and lacks the proper development needed to give characters motivation. By the end of the film, there are many unresolved plot holes and loose ends. Justice League failed to live up to the hype, but its ending provides excitement for what the future of the DCEU has to hold.

Rating: 3/5

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