In honor of Stephen Hawking: The Theory of Everything (2014)- Review

by Nevin Hooper

Unfortunately, on March 14th, the famous theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author, Stephen Hawking, passed away. I thought in order to remember his accomplishments, and me being a movie buff, I would review the biographical film, The Theory of Everything, starring the excellent Eddie Redmayne as Hawking.

The film follows Stephen (Eddie Redmayne, in a touching performance that earned him a worthy Best Actor Oscar), as he falls in love with a college friend, Jane (Felicity Jones, in a phenomenal performance that got her a nomination for Best Actress). All seems great until he gets diagnosed with his debilitating condition that will haunt him for the rest of his life, though he is still determined to figure out the answer to the universe, and struggles to keep his relationship with Jane.

First, let’s talk about the best part of this movie, Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne totally disappears into this character, and is unbelievably great as Hawking, portraying his physical appearance, and his little moments of intelligence and kindness perfectly. I never saw Redmayne throughout the entire movie, I only saw Stephen Hawking, and his performance must be seen to believe.

Felicity Jones never gets talked about for her performance in this movie. She is so overshadowed by Eddie Redmayne’s exceptional performance that Jones never seems to be mentioned for her equally phenomenal performance. While, yes, she didn’t have to do as much as Eddie Redmayne, her emotional strength is still extremely powerful, showing her emotional imbalance for Stephen perfectly, and very much earned that Best Actress nomination.

The music in this movie was stunning. I loved everything to do with music in this movie; it was quiet, yet at times it was grand and wondrous. It was sad, yet it was mesmerizing, and was just fantastic.

The direction was very calm, yet fast paced, which contributed to the mood of the film, also helped by the excellent.

I love this movie, it was emotional. It was powerful It resonated with me. Enough to give it an 11/10.

Top 5 Jim Carrey performances

By Brandon Matzke

Well, today is beloved comedian Jim Carrey’s 56th birthday. Despite rarely appearing in major blockbusters anymore, there was a time when this man ruled the world; from his comedy hits like Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber, to his more dramatic roles in his later career. And he is one of my favorite comedians ever, so I just had to celebrate his long career with my picks for his best performances. Honorable mention: Lloyd Christmas in Dumb And Dumber; sure, it’s definitely not Oscar-worthy, but for playing a total idiot, he nails the role. Just avoid the sequels and you’ll be fine.

5. The Mask (The Mask)

This must’ve been Carrey’s dream come true: a living cartoon character! Very loosely based on the comics by Dark Horse (which are capable of traumatizing anybody who reads them), this film follows Stanley Ipkuss, a man with a vivid imagination and a dull life until he discovers a mysterious mask, which turns him into the powerful yet zany…. Mask. Clever name, I know, but he nails this role. He’s so much fun to watch as the Mask, from his exaggerated movements to witty remarks, I could tell this was a role he could only dream of. My only problem with Carrey’s performance is the Stanley Ipkuss; compared to the bouncing ball of energy known as the Mask, he’s so… dull. I mean, would you rather watch the banker Stanley Ipkuss, or the walking too-nuts-for-Looney Tunes (yes it is spelled like that) Mask?

4. Ace Ventura (Ave Ventura: Pet Detective)

Ace Ventura is a film that either you love or hate, but I personally believe Carrey gives his best purely comedic performance in it. When the dolphin mascot of the Miami Dolphins is kidnapped, it’s up to the off-the-wall nuts pet detective Ace Ventura to find her. Carrey here is a character who’s both insane and smart; beneath the weirdness is a rather intelligent man who truly cares for his animal clients, and will do anything to protect them. Even if it means playing the role of a crazed former football player, complete with a tutu. The movie absolutely hysterical to watch, and most of which is because of Carrey.

3. Truman Burbank (The Truman Show)

A blend of Carrey’s comedic and dramatic performances, Truman Burbank is an unknowing star of the world-famous Truman Show: which chronicles his life on a day-to-day basis. However, by the time he celebrates his 30th birthday, he notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Carrey was 100% right for being angry at the Oscars for not a single mention: he basically plays two versions of this character; the “Carrey-ism” Truman, the wacky guy he pretends to be in public, and the “human” Truman, a man confused about his place in the world. The rest of the film is great too, from the believable world of the Truman Show to the world around it, it might not be 100% realistic but you can believe it could happen. And Carrey helps this too, with his relatable performance as Truman which made people question if they were secretly on TV for decades. If I haven’t made it clear enough, I recommend this one to anyone interested. Along with the next two…

2. Joel Barish (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind)

This is my personal favorite film Carrey’s been in, but Carrey isn’t the only reason this gem stands out for me. Eternal Sunshine follows Joel Barish, a man who recently suffered a harsh breakup. Of course, breakups are hard. But this is the not-too-distant future, where you can get memories erased overnight. When Joel decides to use this procedure, things get weird and emotional as he tries to hold on to memories of his former lover. Carrey nails the role of an introverted man, who has no clear idea as to what’s going on. His interactions with Kate Winslet’s Clementine are purely heartfelt, as he tries to hold onto the woman who’s being erased from his entire memory. Carrey isn’t the best part of this movie; he’s merely the icing on a delicious cake, from it’s amazing oscar-winning script, to the breathtakingly bizarre visuals and talented cast. I thought this would be number one, until I discovered the next pick.

1.  Andy Kaufman (Man On The Moon)

What I consider to be one of the most underrated movies ever made, Man On The Moon is based on the life of the famous comedian Andy Kaufman: a comedian now considered ahead of his time, from his strange pranks on his audience, to his tragic death at only 35. About ten minutes into this movie, I completely forgot I was watching Carrey. He completely absorbed himself into this role, mastering all of Kaufman’s mannerisms and humor. I looked up Kaufman’s original skits to see how close Carrey got, and he perfectly nailed them. He also keeps heart into this role, something that could’ve been completely swept under the rug with almost any other actor. My personal favorite scenes of the film are details of Kaufman’s more hidden life, from his romance with his eventual wife to his final goodbye to everyone close to him in a scene which… made me cry….

Review- Kingsman: The Secret Service

by Brandon Matzke

Rating: TV-14

Isn’t this movie rated R? Well, yes and no. When it was released in theaters, it was rated R. But when it was released on television, it was toned down (slightly) to a TV-14. And seeing as the sequel comes to theaters September 22, it seems like the perfect time to review this modern cult classic. Now, with that out of the way, let me review this movie…. like a gentleman.

The plot of Kingsman is rather simple, yet crazy. A rebellious teenager (played by Taron Egerton) is forced into joining the Kingsman: a tailor shop famous across Britain. Of course, there’s more to it than that; the Kingsman is actually a secret agent agency, protecting the world from whatever threats approach. Mentored by the famous Harry Hart (played excellently by Colin Firth), the rookie agent must take on the maniacal Valentine (played by Samuel L Jackson), and his evil henchwoman Gazelle (a woman with literal blades for legs). Believe me, that’s the easiest way to describe the zaniness in this film.

For one, the action is amazing. I loved every action scene, and each one was filmed perfectly. Especially the church sequence. That may be one of the best fight scenes I have ever seen on film. I promise not to spoil it, but trust me when I say that it’s breathtaking.

This is a goofy movie. The film has a great lack of self-seriousness, despite what the trailer promoted. From start to finish, there isn’t a single scene that takes itself too seriously. And that’s for the best.

It is supposed to be a love letter to campy spy movies of the 1960s. Well, a very violent love letter, but still a love letter. And apparently, that was the intent. Matthew Vaughn (the director) once had a discussion with comic book legend Mark Millar about how spy movies had become way too serious, and he wanted to do a type of film that payed homage to the classic 60’s campiness, but to “give it a modern spin”. As a result, a 60’s inspired “take over the world” plot is mixed with modern technology, some brutal yet jaw-dropping action scenes, and some pretty fun performances to watch (especially from the usually dramatic Colin Firth). Kingsman isn’t perfect, but it’s still a ton of fun for spy movie genre fans, and gets a 10/10. Is it the best spy movie ever? No. Nothing can beat Casino Royale (2006). But it still is a blast.

What the critics say:

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

IMDb: 7.7/10

Music genres by class and artist recommendations

by Miggy Guzman

Music is everywhere we walk.

It is in the hallways.

It is in the classroom.

It is a part of us in this generation. Living in this generation where there are so many genres of music, we get stuck listening to what we always listen to daily. Here is what some of your peers and classmates grades are listening to.

Freshman Class

The freshman class is fresh and new to high school. They bring new ideas and new music, but Robert Keen, Isaac burns, Conner Kelly and Kyle Henning like to bring it back old school. They listen to metal and classic rock like the great rock bands Nirvana and Motorhead but they also listen to some new music like Kendrick Lamar.

Sophomore Class 

Knowing the school pretty well by now, sophomores Sam Brooks, Cierra Roberts, Zane Peltier, and Elise Misner are more into hip hop, country, and pop. They are listening to the to singers and bands like 21 pilots, Florida Georgia Line, and Luke Brain.

Junior Class

More experienced students at this school are juniors like Kadden Russell, Devin Zwiers, Caleb Price and Erik Acevedo who are more into what today’s up and coming rappers have to say. The likes of Lil Pump, XXXTENTACION, and $ucide Boy$ are rappers coming up from the underground scene.

Senior Class

During their last four years of listening to music in high school and going through music trends as they change, Seniors Talin Dudley, Cameron Ranta, and Christian Ruff  listen to all types of music from ultimate rock to hip hop and pop. They listen to bands like Hollywood Undead, Lincoln Park and 90’s alternative rock bands. These seniors also listen to EDM artists like Mashmello and rappers like NF and Kaydo.

Walking down the halls we see different faces all the time. One thing we all have in common is music. We may not listen to the same artist, but we share a love of the same genres in music.

All students need to be open to listen to new music and explore new options.

Review- The Sixth Sense (1999)

by Nevin Hooper (guest classic movie reviewer)

Hello (again), fans of classic movies! I am back after reviewing the Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I had no idea what to review next until I realized that the new movie IT just came out, which is about a bunch of kids who are troubled with frightening visions of their fears. So, why not review the film that started that genre…. The Sixth Sense.

If you are new to my reviews, we should get caught up on my grading system for movies. I rate movies on a range from 0/10 (movies that are so horrible that they should have never been made), to an 11/10 (movies that are so great, so amazing, that you just can’t give the average 10/10 grade). Now that you are caught up with that, on to the review!

Considered one of the best films of the year 1999, The Sixth Sense is still the best and most successful film by M. Night Shyamalan. Shyamalan nowadays has given himself a reputation of some great movies (The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable), but then started to really drag and made a lot of terrible films (The Happening, The Lady in the Water, The Last Airbender), and now has started to redeem himself in making some more better films (The Visit, Split). So let’s talk about the first film that gained him an incredible reputation: The Sixth Sense.

This film tells the story of acclaimed child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis, in a fascinatingly underrated performance) who, after a frightening encounter from one of his last patient’s, tries to figure out the troubled 8-year-old, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment, in one of the best child performances ever that got him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor), but once Malcolm delves deeper into the mind of the frightened Cole, more secrets are revealed, which come with some frightening consequences.

Being one of my favorite films, The Sixth Sense has phenomenal performances from all, especially from the young Osment, but do not forget the brilliant performance by Willis, who is really the heart and sole of the film. But, what this film is most noted for is it’s unpredictable twists and turns in the story that are better left unspoiled. Shyamalan’s spooky script also does something that is very unusual for this type of film: it doesn’t focus on the horrifying secrets that Cole is revealing, but focuses on the personal drama between boy and psychologist. The relationship between them is fantastic, but the fact that the film is more of an emotional drama than a spooky story is what makes the film phenomenal. With amazing direction, subtle hints of what is to come, and brilliant use of the color red, it is just one of those must see films that I have to give an 11/10.

Review- IT (1990, the classic adaptation)

by Brandon Matzke (guest modern movie reviewer)

Rating: TV-14

Since the newest version of the terrifying Stephen King novel is coming out this week (I have seen the movie, it’s a 10/10), I thought it would be fun to look back at the TV mini-series that “scared a generation”; IT (starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the dancing clown). So, after days of searching Goodwills for a copy (and finally buying one on VHS for a dollar), and 3 and ½ hours of watching, I finally decided to review it. So, how was the classic mini-series? Well… I honestly have no idea. I’m gonna have to do something unusual for me: divide this into positives and negatives. But before I tell you my thoughts, I have to explain the structure. IT uses what I like to call the “Nolan formula”, where it often switches between past and present (this film’s present is 1986). So, half of the series follows the characters as children growing up in the town of Derry during the 50s, while the other half follows them as adults re-entering Derry to combat a childhood fear: Pennywise. Make sense? Well, let’s get this started!

Positives

1. The child actors

Believe it or not, but the kids in this movie are surprisingly talented. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that a young Seth Green was cast, but for the most part, they did pretty well. Sometimes, even better than the adults! The kids brought emotion into the film, and if the entire film was focused on the kids, I would’ve enjoyed it much more.

2. Tim Curry as Pennywise

I feel kind of strange about Curry’s iconic take on the child-devouring clown; part of me loved every second of him on screen, while another felt he was in the wrong movie. Let me explain. Curry was surprisingly a laugh riot; every joke he made had me cracking up. He truly stole the show. But at the same time, he was supposed to be scary. And the rest of the film took itself very seriously, so it felt rather jarring. Welcome, but jarring.

3. It’s surprisingly tame for a “scary movie”

This is probably the tamest Stephen King adaptation I’ve ever seen, despite the fact that it’s based on one of his most disturbing works. There’s nothing too gory, and it never gets too creepy. If you’re curious about scary movies, but aren’t exactly ready for Alien (my personal favorite scary movie), then this one is a great place to start.

Now onto the negatives. Oh boy…

1. The adults

Nothing against these people, but sometimes the acting from the adults feels rather bland. I don’t if it’s because their child counterparts did such a great job, but I found myself dreading seeing the adults’ stories. They were kind of predictable.They definitely dragged down the second half, since it was almost entirely focused on them.

2. The plotholes

Some plot points make zero sense at times, and I wouldn’t mind if they weren’t so “in your face” about some of them. For spoiler’s sake, I will not cover them, but they do annoy me. If you’re there for Tim Curry though, then it won’t be much of a bother.

3. The stop-motion

Listen, I used to make stop-motion films; I know how hard it is to use it properly. But the stop-motion in the film has not aged well. It looks extremely dated, and feels very out of place. But, again, it won’t be much of a bother to those there for a good time.

4. The Stephen King cliches I don’t know if these are as abundant in the novel as they are in this movie, but they do get on my nerves. If you don’t know them, then you’re going to have a lot more fun than I did. Trust me when I say that.

Final Thoughts

So, those were my personal thoughts on IT, a mini-series I sadly did not enjoy. But, for a few reasons, I still recommend it in a weird way. Tim Curry’s take on Pennywise is something you need to see to believe. This man was clearly having the time of his life doing this, and it shows. The childhood half of the movie works well acting as a sort of “supernatural coming of age” story. And, again, it’s a decent introduction to those who are curious about scary movies. Plus, it’s a great watch with friends.

I had a great time getting through this thanks to a very close friend, and I highly recommend getting as many of your pals together to watch this. It might not have been my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some enjoyment to be had. I personally give it a 6/10, but it’s clear that others can enjoy this more. Is it the best Stephen King adaptation? Not even close (nothing can beat The Shawshank Redemption). Is it the worst? As someone who has seen most of the worst (never watch Maximum Overdrive, Dreamcatcher, Sleepwalkers, etc. ), I can gladly say no. It’s somewhere in the middle. You either adore it, think it’s OK (me), or hate it.

Other reviews:

62% on Rotten Tomatoes

6.9/10 on IMDb