Category Archives: Arts and Entertainment

Flappy Bird

Your hands are sweating as your eyes are fixated on the screen. Your heart pounds with every green Mario pipe you pass through. Then it all ends with heartbreak. Your screen flashes “game over” and the bird you have been controlling lies motionless on the ground. This is when the real rage sets in and the urge to smash your phone is almost overwhelming. But how can an app cause you to feel like this? A game, something that is supposed to be fun, has made you question your life’s meaning with your high score of 9.

The app “Flappy Bird” is simple in design. You maneuver a small bird through an endless onslaught of green pipes. Just tap your screen to make the little bird fly up and remove your finger to watch it fall. You are awarded with one point and an encouraging chime with every pipe you successfully fly through. Seems easy enough, but you’re wrong. Let your little friend touch anything and it’s game over. You have to direct your bird through the tiny openings in the pipes to survive. The worst part is that there is no end to the game. You are only left with rage and the desire to beat your highscore at the end of each game.

So, where can I get my hands on this frustrating game, you might be asking. Well if you haven’t already downloaded it with the 100 million rest of us, then I’m afraid it is too late. Game creator Nguyen Ha Dong as removed the app from both the Apple App Store and the Google Android Play Store. With the game collecting over $50,000 a day in ad revenue many people questioned Dong’s decision. Dong denied the rumors of legal troubles causing the games downfall (it shares many similarities with other popular games) simply stating that he “cannot take this anymore.”

For whatever Dong’s motives were, Flappy Bird will be missed.  And for those of you “lucky” enough to still have the game on your phone, my high score is 28 if you’re looking for a challenge.

Flappy Bird creator Dong Ha Nguyen's tweets.
Flappy Bird creator Dong Ha Nguyen’s tweets.

2014 Oscars Recap

By Luke C.

Another year of cinema has passed by, and with the help of the academy we can look back on 2013. The highs and lows. The new stars and the fallen actors and directors. We await the show, to see the best films of the year, to see our favorite stars and to see what hidden gems we might have missed.

The 2014 Oscars were hosted by Ellen Degeneres, who I thought did a good job.  The constant musical numbers provided by last years host, Seth MacFarlane, were replaced by tongue in cheek  comedy, often at the expense of actors present at the show. She offered a few memorable moments, such as ordering pizza for the acts and taking the world’s most popular selfie.

The films that won the awards may have surprised you, like they did for me. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both took home Oscars for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for “Dallas Buyers Club”. “Her” won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. “Frozen” won an Oscar for Best Original Song and “12 Years A Slave” won Best Picture, but that’s not the film that surprised me.

The film that surprisingly swept the Oscars was the film “Gravity”. “Gravity” won 7 Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and finally, and not surprisingly, Best Special Effects. While I really did like “Gravity”, I didn’t expect this. I personally feel like it should have won all seven of the awards, but it definitely deserved the visual awards, like Best Special Effects and Best Cinematography.

Overall, the 2014 Oscars were very memorable and surprising. From Ellen Degeneres’ humor, to John Travolta’s mispronunciation of Idina Menzel, Leonardo DeCaprio not winning an Oscar he deserved (once again) and “Gravity’s” seven Oscars. Another year of waiting begins till the next Oscars and I am excited to see what films will be nominated and what we have to await in 2014.

Frozen: Anything but Cold

Frozen Promotional Poster

Frozen Promotional Poster

One of the most raved movies of this year is undoubtedly Disney’s new movie Frozen. It’s the heartwarming tale of Elsa and Anna, two sisters, whose tale defies many of the stereotypical “Disney scenarios.” “You can’t marry a man you just met,” Elsa says to Anna. To avoid spoilers, I won’t say more, but there is no evil sister, which Elsa was initially was meant to be. These are two good sisters- both misguided in their own ways but eventually find their paths with each other’s love.

This movie is absolutely hilarious. The snowman, Olaf, has some positively precious one-liners. For example; “Oh, look at that. I’ve been impaled,” and “I don’t have a skull… or bones…” He is a loveable character whom the viewer instantly adores him. Olaf, along with the reindeer, Sven, are the cute, non-human Disney characters we know and love.

Our male friends, Hans and Kristoff, are definitely different than the typical love interests we see in “kids” movies, one being much more preferable than the other. One nice thing about Frozen, though, is that it doesn’t place a huge emphasis on a romantic relationship, focusing more of sisterly love.

This movie, in my esteemed opinion, was absolutely, completely, one-hundred percent fantabluous. It is probably now one of my favorite movies. I’m am going to buy it in one of those Blu-Ray, DVD, electronic copy bundles as soon as it comes out (Mid-March). The music was excellent. Idina Menzel and Kristin Bell, Elsa and Anna respectively, voiced their characters beautifully. I already have the songs and I saw the movie three times in theatres, one of them being the sing-along version and you can bet your sweet behind I sang along.

Basically, see it, if you haven’t. I don’t know a single person who saw it and didn’t like it. If they didn’t like it, Satan is with them. Stay warm!

 

 

Pompeii Movie Review

Pompeii, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, is a movie based on the well-known destruction of the ancient city of Pompeii. The movie itself is not actually based on any specific events, but is based on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii is 105 minutes long and did not have the best results in the box office, but I personally enjoyed the movie.

Pompeii follows a celtic man, Milo, after his village was destroyed by Romans and Milo is sold into slavery as a gladiator. The gladiator aspect of the movie was exciting, and unexpected. The gladiator fights are action packed and exciting, making for a healthy dose of violence. Yet of course Pompeii must add a romantic story for the theatres; the beautiful princess, Cassia, is introduced as Milo’s love interest. She sees him for the soft, sensitive gladiator, that I suppose he is. The main conflicts in Pompeii (besides the civilians’ impending doom), are the gladiators who fight to the death/hope for freedom and Pompeii’s political troubles with keeping Rome at bay. The overall plot of Pompeii wasn’t as bad as expected, but also wasn’t anything too original. There were a few plot twists, and the ending was somewhat satisfying (I mean we all know that everyone dies in the end, right?), even with an inevitable end.

Pompeii was wonderful visually, which definitely surpasses the plot. The costumes were great, I don’t know if they were accurate, but they were nice to look at. The scenery was beautiful and the erupting volcano believable. The eruption was even accurate, with people dying of rocks hurdling from the sky or ash enveloping Pompeii. The characters were pretty loveable, portraying a great bromance and a princess who wasn’t a damsel in distress the entire movie, there was also a little humor here and there.

Overall, Pompeii was a good movie that I do not regret seeing, with it’s intense graphics and relatively well written plot. Although I will say this: I don’t think it’s a movie one needs to prioritize seeing. It may be worth just waiting for it’s appearance on netflix.

Pompeii Promotional Poster
Pompeii Promotional Poster

 

Her Movie Review

By Luke C.

“Her” is a romantic drama about a lonely writer who falls in love his his Artificial Intelligence equipped operating system. Yes, that is the plot. While it sounds odd, which it is, it is actually one of the best and most original romance movies I have seen in years.

“Her” is the latest film of Spike Jonze, a newcomer to mainstream cinema. Although, he has been part of other successful projects such as the “Jackass” tv show and movies and the comedy “Being John Malkovich”. Spike Jonze wrote and directed this movie and its success will most likely lead to more good movies like this.

I personally like this movie, but it’s not for everyone. Its mood and pace can be slow for some people. Its length, two hours, can be long for some people with a short attention span. Some viewers would describe it as boring, or dull, but if you have the patience, you won’t be disappointed.

Pros:

Its humor. This movie has a great sense of humor that constantly pokes fun at modern technology, such as the internet, video games and most obviously, Artificial Intelligence programs, like Siri on the Iphone. It also has a very tongue-in-cheek attitude to online dating, which leads to a very awkward, but hilarious scene early in the movie.

The acting in the movie is phenomenal and completely lifelike. Joaquin Phoenix is great in his role as the lonely writer, Theodore Twombly. His acting is awkward, quirky and extremely believable. The person who steals the show acting wise is Scarlett Johansson, as the voice of the operating system, Samantha. Even though you never see her, her voice acting is amazing, as her emotions of curiosity, sadness, happiness and hope are really well portrayed.

Cons:

Now, while this movie is very good, it does have its flaws. As mentioned before, it can be a little boring. Since the movie is basically composed of people talking to each other or their operating system, it is short on action. While the humor and drama keeps your attention, it does have moments where nothing is happening.

The second major con in this movie, that goes hand in hand with the last con, is the length. It feels long and everyone I’ve talked to about this movie agrees with me. It runs slow and long towards the end of the movie. The ending is another flaw of the movie. I’m not gonna spoil it, but I’m just gonna say the ending is very sudden and will leave you feeling confused. This is not the good “Inception” kind of confused, but an aggravated type of confused.

All and all, “Her” is a good movie worth seeing and definitely recommended, but not necessary to see in theaters. It would make a good rental, or a movie to see on a rainy day, but not a movie you see on a Friday night. Even though its romantic, it isn’t really a date movie, unless you are dating a computer, which in that case, go see it.

Editor’s Note: “Her” won one of the five Oscars it was nominated for, Best Writing – Original Screenplay, at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014.

Captain Phillips Movie Review

By Luke C.

“Captain Phillips” is a action drama film that follows true story of the crew of MV Maersk Alabama, a freighter ship, which is hijacked by pirates near the coast of Somalia. It follows the raid of the ship and the kidnapping of Captain Phillips, the titular character, who is brilliantly portrayed by Tom Hanks.

This movie is my personal Oscar pick for best drama. I love this movie. I think it’s one of 2013’s best dramas and one of its most exciting action movies. It doesn’t feel like a traditional action movie, but don’t get me wrong, it has plenty of heart pounding action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Pros:

The acting in this movie is amazing and best of all, extremely lifelike. While many actors can play ‘characters’ well, these actors, specifically Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, play real people extremely well. They both are understandable characters; both are doing what they are to help their families.

As I previously mentioned, the action in this movie is great. The pirates’ raid on the ship is extremely lifelike and exiting. The rest of the movie slows down a bit after this, but the action near the end of the movie is so suspenseful, it’ll make you hold your breath in anticipation.

Cons:

I have difficulty finding cons for this movie. It’s really that good. If I were to make one complaint, it would be the length. The movie is two hours and ten minutes long which can be long for some people, but the length is fine for me.

“Captain Phillips” is a great action drama; the lifelike drama and acting make it one of the best of 2013. Some theaters are still showing it, even though its release was five months ago. I’d see it in theaters if you can, but it’ll also make a great rental movie. I highly recommend the seeing this movie.

Editor’s Note: “Captin Phillips” did not win any of the six Oscars it was nominated for at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014.

Hook Play Review

Image from Maddie N.
Image from Maddie N.

By Maddie N.

You have probably heard about the student directed play, Hook, that has recently finished its last showing. The play tells the story of Peter Pan, now known as Peter Banning, who has decided to grow up and settle down with a family. Being a grownup has proven to be so stressful for him that he has become overprotective to his kids and his other loved ones leading to him losing his inner child. Then, in an exciting twist, Hook, Peter’s old nemesis, decides to kidnap his children in order to bring Peter back to Neverland to fulfill his own destiny in defeating the great Peter Pan.

The directors of the play, Emma Brashear and Celia Hallan, have been dreaming about this moment since their freshman year. They were so excited to finally direct their own play. Emma and Celia, and the rest of the cast and crew, worked with dedication and speed to perfect their play, and they did just that. In terms of quality, the actors were great and really embraced their inner child. The tones of voice and the facial expressions really added to the effect. Though, I’m probably a bit biased, since two of my best friends were in the play.

Overall, the play was wonderful. It was entertaining, funny, suspenseful, and more. If you weren’t able to see the show, be sure to visit one of the other upcoming shows such as Thoroughly Modern Millie starting March 13th.