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

Phone Off!

Phone use in the movie theater is out of control

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

You’re sitting in the theater, as the lights dim down and the film starts. It cost $10 to get into the show, but that’s okay. The big screen, the atmosphere, and the surround sound makes it worth the price. Just when things are all set to begin, someone in the front row pulls out their phone and starts scrolling through their Facebook and Twitter feed, completely distracting you from what’s being shown on the big screen.

In recent years, cell phone use in the theater has grown significantly, and it seems to still be rising. Whether before or during the show, you are almost always guaranteed to see a phone screen light up at one point or another.

The price of a night out at the movies has skyrocketed in recent years. The cost of tickets along with concessions can add up to about $20-$25 per person in some situations. This price alone has caused fewer and fewer people to go to the theater, and having someone make the movie unwatchable by using their phone makes people avoid the theater all together. 

Theater attendance in 2017 was the lowest it’s been in 25 years. To counteract this, some theater chains have tried to improve the theater experience by implementing reclining seats and gourmet food. However, this solution misses the root of the problem.

Some critics claim declining theater attendance to be an effect of the lower quality films that have been coming out in recent years, while others believe it is because of newer, better home video options. Both contribute to theater attendance, however, I believe the biggest reason is the inability of people to be able to stay off their phones for two hours. People go to the theater to get the most immersive movie experience possible. Phones tamper with and downgrade this experience, causing people to be less likely to go to the show. That is why theaters should start focusing on ways to prevent phone use rather than better seating and food.

Some theater chains in London have talked about creating phone detecting devices that would shine a laser in the face of someone using their phone during the show. Others have talked about distorting cell phone connection inside the theater’s premise. However, both methods have serious flaws such as eye damage and the inability to contact help in an emergency. Both are just in discussion and shouldn’t be anticipated any time soon.

If cell phone use is to be stopped, it needs to be enforced by the movie-going public. Using your phone before the show and during the opening previews is acceptable, but once the lights dim and the logos appear, the phone needs to be silenced and put into the pocket. If you absolutely need to use your phone during the theater, walk out, do what you need to do, then re-enter the theater. If you see someone on their phone during the show, don’t be afraid to tell them to turn it off. Everyone else in the theater will thank you for it.

Going to the movies is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be two hours of pure escapism where you can laugh and/or cry at the story in front of you. Phones have ruined this experience.If you can’t stay off your phone for two hours, then you have a serious addiction and should seek help immediately. It is up to us to stop this and make the theater an escape once again. Just sit back, relax, enjoy the film, and turn your phone off!

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.

Grades Vs. Learning

Getting the perfect grade has become a priority over learning new information among DHS students

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

What do you want get out of high school? is a common question DHS students receive on their first day of their freshman year. Many will have different answers to this question such as an athletic scholarship, great memories with friends, finishing with academic honors, etc. While these are all important, very few actually care about learning the information taught in class.

A recent survey discovered that more than 60 percent of DHS students care more about the grade they receive in class than learning the new information being taught. While this news may be puzzling, being that the point of going to school is to make us smarter, there are some factors that have led students to think this way.

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The Power of Iron Dread

The arrival of Coach Jacobs and Coach Whittaker breathes new life into Dexter athletics

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

The beginning of the new football season brought two new faces to DHS, Head Coach Phil Jacobs and assistant coach Chris Whittaker, who took roles as coaches and DHS faculty members. Their initial goal was to rebuild the football program by getting the players in shape and making them physically stronger. Now, they’re expanding this weight room mentality to the rest of Dexter athletics.

While Jacobs and Whittaker are both primarily football coaches, their goal is to create better athletes throughout the school with the Iron Dread program. The four main factors are strength, speed, size, and weight. Both coaches noticed an overall lack in strength when they first arrived at the school.

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Social Media’s Flaw

Unfortunately, social networking has begun
to divide us more than unite us

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

It’s everywhere. No matter where you go, what you do, or who you talk to, the craze of social media is there to follow you. Programs like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat were originally meant to help bring people closer together, but as these sites have grown, they have begun to tear their user’s personal relationships apart.  Continue reading “Social Media’s Flaw”

Movie Reviews for October and November

October and November prove to be bland for filmgoers everywhere

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak




This murder mystery adaptation of the popular Norwegian novel, The Snowman, starts off with an intriguing and  suspenseful first act, but fails to keep its excitement and credibility throughout the runtime of the film. The Snowman follows Oslo Police homicide detective, Harry Hole, and his investigations into the mysterious murders and disappearances plaguing the city. The film, overall, has decent pacing, and there are great scenes of suspense that will keep you at the edge of your seat. However, the movie confuses the audience on what it wanted its tone to be. The film’s tone is a mix between a modern day crime thriller and a neo-noir, but it never fully commits to one side. The acting is very bland, and Michael Fassbender, who is usually one of the better actors in the business, gives a rare honed in performance as Harry Hole. There are many plotlines that don’t seem relevant to the overall story arch, and the ending is unsatisfying and, quite honestly, uncomfortable. The Snowman is an extremely disappointing adaptation that fails to give a fluid and coherent story.

Rating: 2/5 Continue reading “Movie Reviews for October and November”

Underrated Movies

Here’s our picks for some of the most under-watched and under appreciated films of the past two decades

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak and Joe Ramey

The Kings of Summer follows three unhappy high school friends who decide to run away from home and live out their high school summer in the middle of the woods. This 2013 coming-of-age comedy has a stellar cast, a creative and genuine script, witty humor, and is quite possibly one of the most underrated films from the past decade. While the film contains incredible leads such as Nick Offerman, Nick Robinson, and Moises Arias, the true star of the film is its comedic, yet heartfelt script.

Screenwriter Chris Galletta creates a story that will have you laugh in some scenes, and on the verge of tears in the next. The main protagonists Joe, Patrick, and Biagio are likable characters in that they are perfect representations of different high school archetypes. Continue reading “Underrated Movies”

Movie Reviews (October 13, 2017)

Here’s a look at some of the most notable films that came out in the past month

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

This unique murder mystery provides an intriguing story that gives light to some of the forgotten social issues plaguing America today. Wind River follows Corey Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a veterantracker, as he investigates the murder of a young Native American girl in a Wyoming Indian reservation. Make no mistake, this is a dark film. Both the script and cinematography contribute to the terror and discomfort of this realistic situation.  Jeremy Renner is stellar as the main protagonist, and gives one of the best performances of his career. The true star of the film, however, is the script, which could be looking at a Best Original Screenplay nomination at the Oscars next year. The social injustice the Native American community goes through on a daily basis is touched upon as well, shedding light on an otherwise overlooked issue. Wind River is, unfortunately, very slow and it takes awhile for the story to fall into motion. Around 10 to 20 minutes of the film could have easily been cut to improve this. While in the midst of a very unoriginal year in film, Wind River provides a breath of fresh air and originality to the theater.

Rating: 3.5/5 

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