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    Daisy Ridley on Ahch-To Courtesy of Disney-Lucasfilm

    by Elizabeth “Buffy” Cautela

    I walked into the theater greeted by grown men dressed up as Wookies and Jedi Masters. It was finally the moment I had been waiting for for two years — the premier of Stars War: The Last Jedi.

    The Last Jedi is one of the most divisive films in the franchise — some people love it. Some people hate it. I loved it. Yes, like every film, the movie has its problems, but I believe that the good in this film outweighs the bad. The Last Jedi picks up immediately where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) on Ahch-To with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), while Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) remain with the Resistance. On Ahch-To, Luke reluctantly trains Rey just as Yoda trained him on Dagobah in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

    Back at the Resistance base, Finn meets Kelly Marie Tran’s character Rose. Both characters team up on mission to save the Resistance while they wait for Rey’s return.

    The Last Jedi is unlike any Star Wars movie. To put it frankly, expect the unexpected. I loved that aspect of the film. It kept the audience on the edge of their seat wanting to know what was going to happen next. With a few exceptions, the film was believable, sucking me fully into the universe.

    Another aspect of the film that I loved was Rey’s storyline, I was emotionally invested in her journey as if I was training on Ahch-To with her.

    I didn’t care, however, for the Finn and Rose storyline. I felt like the movie spent too much time on a storyline that wasn’t as important to the plot as Rey’s story. For example, the movie has you on the edge of your seat on Ahch-To, but then cuts to a bland storyline with Finn and Rose, allowing you to slouch back into your seat feeling relaxed.

    In my opinion, relaxation is not what you should feel while watching a Star Wars movie. But, the intense and firy Rey moments overshadow the dull Finn and Rose moments and make The Last Jedi worth the watch. There is one Rey scene in particular that I believe is arguably one of the best scenes in any Star Wars movie, playing a role in making this movie as awesome as it is.

    The acting in this film is great. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is more vulnerable than ever, taking me to emotional places that I never thought I would happen with his character. Carrie Fisher’s last performance as Princess Leia is gripping, and at some points is even a tear jerker. The last actor’s performance that I think deserves endless recognition is Daisy Ridley. Her chemistry with her fellow actors (especially one specific one) is so believable, it’s literally scary. If you are looking for a well acted film, The Last Jedi is a film to turn to.

    The Last Jedi is a movie that I believe everyone can take something away from after watching, which is why I recommend it. I loved what The Last Jedi brought to the table — a fresh take on the Star Wars universe. I appreciate it when a film is able to emotionally take me both to dark and hopeful places, and The Last Jedi does that for me. I laughed, I cried, and most importantly I had one heck of a time. The Last Jedi was something that I wasn’t expecting, but in the end enjoyed tremendously.

    On my review scale, I give Star Wars: The Last Jedi a 91%. Below you can see the five categories I used and will continue to use to rate movies in the future. Please do yourself a favor, go see The Last Jedi. You’ll thank me later.

    Rating System


    Film Techniques: 20/20

    Immersiveness in the Story: 18/20

    Overall Enjoyableness: 19/20

    Total: 73/80 or 91%


    Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Directed by Rian Johnson and is in theaters now.

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      Courtesy of CBS/Lionsgate

      by Dakota Antelman

      Four years after the events it dramatizes, Peter Berg’s portrayal of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed succeeds almost as much on its restraint as it does on its actual cinematic structure.

      Patriots Day follows fictional Boston police officer Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) as he finds himself caught in the middle of several key events throughout the week of the 2013 bombing. The movie traces a linear path through the events, committing to film the bombing, the early hours of its investigation, the shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking), the Watertown shootout and the subsequent lockdown of the city of Boston to find the then fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff).

      In its timing, Patriots Day walks a fine line between honoring the victims of terrorism and pouring salt in their still fresh emotional wounds. Luckily, the movie’s star and producer Mark Wahlberg, a Boston native, knows this line well and follows it admirably.

      While the bombing obviously plays a major role in the film, Berg takes few factual or visual liberties in his portrayal of it. Most notably, he turns to shots from ground level that emphasize the anguished faces of the bombing victims alongside the bloodied ball bearings and nails that wounded them. He uses few pyrotechnics and lets the aftermath of the bombings speak for itself.  In showing these shots and the cries of people watching their loved ones wheeled away on stretchers, Berg humanizes the people often reduced to figures in a crowd of nearly 200 who were physically harmed by the bombs.

      Nevertheless, he does not sanitize the bombings. While his bombing sequence is marked by quick cuts between faces and tangled masses of victims, the hospital scenes that follow confront the gore of the attack head on. These shots are gut wrenching, fixating on doctors performing chest compressions, making decisions to amputate limbs, and working in hallways because emergency rooms are already filled to capacity.

      In the early moments of the movie, Berg resists making the bombing seem stripped from an action movie and resolves to simply focus on its emotional and physical impacts.

      As the movie continues, Berg’s development of two groups of characters on opposite sides of the story’s conflict further ensures that Patriots Day does not become an action movie rooted in reality. The movie offers a view of law enforcement as heroes, using characters like Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (JK Simmons) to show the risks officers took to apprehend the bombers. Likewise, Berg highlights the sacrifices men like Wahlberg’s character made by having him (Saunders) walk with a limp due to a swollen knee even as he breaks down barricades on Boylston St. and ducks bullets in Watertown.

      Opposing law enforcement are the bombers themselves who Berg casts not as one-dimensional villains but human men who did terrible things. Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Themo Melikidze) is the mastermind behind the attacks and solicits the help of his brother Dzhokhar. Dzhokhar does, at times, question his brother, their intentions, and their methods, leading to one violent fight in a darkened roadway. At another point, Berg highlights Dzhokhar’s youth, including a scene where he tries to buy armfuls of snack food before a road trip — to bomb New York City.

      Berg does not attempt to glamorize the brothers or what they did. Indeed, in humanizing them, he keeps true to the true story itself. The victims of the Boston Marathon bombing were not attacked by supervillains — they were attacked by mortal terrorists.

      But Patriots Day is far from perfect. While Berg succeeds in his portrayal of the bombing, his restraint lapses when he portrays the Watertown shootout. While the shootout was chaotic, with hundreds of rounds of gunfire and several bombs thrown by the Tsarnaev brothers, Berg fictionalizes pieces of the confrontation. In reality, witnesses say, the brothers threw three bombs at officers. The movie would have viewers believe they threw more than that.

      Additionally, in trying to include many voices in the story, Berg and his co-screenwriter Matt Cook delay the plot.  They weave the lives of officer Sean Collier, alongside those of Saunders, the victims, the Watertown police officers, and the Tsarnaev brothers. It would have taken a work of literary magic to weave these concurrent stories into a seamless screenplay. Patriots Day lacks that magic.

      Nevertheless, Patriots Day remains a fantastic movie about a dense and difficult topic. The Boston Marathon bombing, the Watertown shootout and the decision to lock down the entire city of Boston changed the world. Notably, in the short four years since the bombing, more attacks have taken place around the world. Xenophobia has continued to find a safe haven in corners of our society, and the police, often idolized after these tragedies, have come under literal fire in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

      Patriots Day is an imperfect but respectful reminder of the week that changed American lives. It is a must see.

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        by Rebecca Shwartz

        The musical Once ended its run at the Hanover Theater on February 5. Enda Walsh adapted the hit movie Once, which premiered in 2007, into one of the most popular musicals of all time. The musical alone has won over 5 awards. The show draws the audience in from the very first moment . With a new cast and songs that stick with you days after watching the musical, the show is not to be missed.

        The story is based on two nameless musicians. They meet by chance in Dublin after the guy (Sam Cieri) prepares to ditch his guitar on the side of the street. The girl (Mackenzie Lesser-Roy) convinces him to continue with his dream. After stealing a piece of music from Cieri, Lesser-Roy performs the song, forces Cieri to perform and sing along, and manages to make him perform in front of an audience. Following their dreams, they pursue a record deal in hopes of a possible career in music with a ragtag group of other struggling musicians.

        One of the most powerful songs performed at the beginning and end of the musical is “Falling Slowly.” The song’s inspirational lyrics – “Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice/you make it now” – showcase stunning harmonies from Lesser-Roy and Cieri that raised goosebumps on my arms.

        Cieri and Lesser-Roy are a wonderful duo on stage, sharing intimate moments that keep the audience on the edge of their seats as Lesser-Roy whispers in Czech that she loves Cieri, yet she betrays her own words. She doesn’t accept Cieri’s love when he asks for her to stay in Dublin and make music with him.

        Once Instagram Photo

        One of the best parts in the musical is how the ensemble is always on their toes, working as stage crew to move the props, but also waiting in the wings playing their own personalized instruments (cello, drum set, and ukelele) with the song the main actors are performing. Their instruments shine through the first song called “The North Strand” with a violin acting as the female voice and the drums playing a mesmerizing beat beneath the other instruments.

        The show is appropriate for an adult audience, with strong language and crude jokes scattered throughout scenes. Though the music played throughout the musical is directed towards all audiences, a majority of the songs are related to the guy’s love life and how he misses his lover.

        The musical included a wonderful storyline that focused on struggling musicians, unreciprocated love, and different nationalities coming together in the melting pot of Dublin. I highly recommend this show.


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          by Thomas Freeman


            0 876

            by Jacob Hayes

            Directed by the Russo brothers, Captain America:Civil War features a powerful story line anchored by an amazing Chris Evans.

            Taking place shortly after the fall of Sokovia in Age of Ultron, the film follows the Avengers to Wakanda where they finally track down Crossbones, a mercenary hell-bent on ruining the Avengers. Crossbones and his men are quickly disabled by Scarlet Witch and Falcon, the newest members of the team. Crossbones begins making a run for it when Captain America confronts him. Cornered, Crossbones charges Captain America and pulls the pin on his vest of explosives. Scarlet Witch contains the explosion using her telekinetic powers and throws the explosion upward; unfortunately, it’s too close to a building, and it causes multiple casualties. The remainder of the film focuses on the Sokovia accords and whether the Avengers should sign them. Captain America decides not to sign because he doesn’t want to be controlled by an organization. He believes that organizations have agendas, and agendas can change at any time. Tony Stark, however, wants to sign after a mother blames the Avengers for the death of her son who died in the Wakanda accident while studying abroad. Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Bucky Barnes and Ant-Man join Captain America as he fights against Tony, who demands they sign. War Machine, Black Widow, Vision, Black Panther and Spider-Man support Tony as he tries to make Captain America sign the accords.

            The film juggles everything perfectly and leaves nothing in the air. It handles a massive cast, extends the character arcs of our veteran Avengers, and informs the audience about its newest members. Iron Man and Wanda are both broken from the events in Wakanda. Falcon and War Machine follow their friends no matter what decision they make. Black Panther sides with Iron Man after “Bucky” destroys the building where the accords were going to be signed, and it killed Panther’s father.

            Panther shows the most growth among the new Avengers; he spends a large portion of the film hunting Bucky for killing his father. When Panther finds the man who really kills his father, he spares him because he’s made peace with his father’s death and will leave him to the justice system.

            In the second act, Captain America’s team makes a rush for the wing jet, but not before Tony and his team confront him. A battle ensues, and the fight does a terrific job of balancing great action sequences while utilizing the Ant-man’s always funny Paul Rudd. Rudd does an excellent job of giving fan service to those who love the Avenger comic books. He sits on the end of Hawk Eye’s arrow and even grows to 20 feet in height.

            In the end the focus of the film is still Captain America as it features him struggling to help his war buddy, even if it means taking down Tony to do so.

            +Comic book references

            +Massive cast

            +Black Panther


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              by Jacob Hayes

              While Allegiant features great digital effects,scenery and props, the film doesn’t develop the characters any more than the last installment did.

              Allegiant picks up a few months later with the aftermath of the war between Jeanine and the factionless. The movie opens with Tris and Four climbing a crumbling building and deciding to leave the city. Evelyn,the new leader, forces important members of Jeanine’s group to go on trial, which results in immediate execution. Tris breaks her brother out of prison before he takes the stand, and each one of her friends tags along. Together they escape over the wall and into the unknown. From there they travel through a Mars-like landscape till they come in contact with an invisible force field. Behind the force field is a civilization known as the Bureau of Genetic Warfare, the ones responsible for the message hidden in the box from the last installment.

              Tris meets with the head of the bureau, David, who tells Tris she is the only one in the world that is “genetically pure” and that they need her to fix those who are damaged. For the remainder of the film Tris learns more and more about the bureau.

              Although its digital effects were cool, the film struggled conceptually due to the lack of character development and its predictability. Let’s start with the negatives, and try to end on a positive note. When the group is escaping the city, Tori’s death felt brushed over, and the director didn’t give enough time for Tris to mourn the death of her friend. Tori played a major role in teaching Tris about the importance of Divergent and deserves something more than two minutes of crying. Letting Peter join them on their trip out of the city was a dumb move by our protagonist due to the fact that he has betrayed her twice. He even goes three for three by sneaking into Chicago and being the one that releases the serum onto the citizens.It is hard to believe that Peter would gain their trust again,and then betray them (again).Based on past encounters, it’s also hard to believe that they would be so willing to trust in another corrupt government. The spectacle of the film and its excellent use of digital effects covers up these flaws in the story. 


              +Cool Tech

              -Character Development



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                SHADES OF BLUE -- "Good Cop, Bad Cop" Episode 108 -- Pictured: Jennifer Lopez as Det. Harlee Santos -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC)

                by Pat Reynolds tv-review (1)

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                  by Jacob Hayes

                  Zootopia conveys the powerful message of the importance of individuality. This film is driven by a strong story line while providing plenty of jokes to keep all ages involved.

                  Judy is a bunny who lives in in Burrowsville, a place filled with carrot farms run by rabbits.Judy sees her friends being bullied by a fox demanding lunch money. She stands up to the bully only to be scratched on the face and told she will never be anything else but a farmer. To prove her bully wrong, she works hard and eventually becomes a police officer in Zootopia, the main setting for the remainder of the film. Being the only prey to ever get on the police force, she’s immediately restricted to parking duty. Judy ends up wanting more, and when the rest of the force struggles to complete a missing persons case, she jumps at the chance to really help someone. She gets the case by promising the wife of Emmett (the only prey to have gone missing) that she’ll find her husband. Chief Talbot is angry at Judy for taking the case when he specifically gave her parking duty because she was brand new to the force. As a result, Talbot gives her 48 hours to find Emmett, or else she has to quit her job. Judy enlists the help of Nick Wilde, a condescending fox who gets hustled into helping her to find Emmett or else she’ll blackmail him for reselling a giant popsicle he previously hustled from her. The rest of the film explores each district of Zootopia.

                  The overall message is to be yourself and not let words or labels define you. In Judy’s case she went against the stereotype that she would be a carrot farmer and grew up as the first ever prey on the force. In terms of Nick, his flashbacks revealed he too was bullied for being a sly fox who would never fit in with the Boy Scouts who were completely composed of preys. In return, Nick conformed to what the prey had said he should be and wasn’t truly happy till he joined forces with Judy to do something right for a change, instead of hustling on the streets of Zootopia.

                  As Judy and Nick search for clues, each interaction is funnier than the last one, starting with the naturalists(animals who don’t believe in wearing clothes) to the DMV entirely consisting of sloths.

                  In terms of scoring this film, I’m having an extremely hard time finding something negative to talk about. It conveys a strong message, plenty of funny jokes for all ages and attention to detail. Overall, the film does a great job of giving each character plenty of reasons and flashbacks to help us understand who they are today. The attention to detail in this film is impeccable, from accurate stereotypes to a miniature city designed for the rodents of Zootopia. Every animal has specific needs, and Zootopia does a great job of filling these needs. For example, the train that Judy first arrives on has miniature doors next to the normal doors to help provide access for the rodents of Zootopia. Zootopia forces its audience to smile because it’s chock full of cultural references that will entertain all ages. Zootopia is by far Disney’s strongest movie since The Lion King and has definitely raised the bar for other movies looking to take home the Oscar for best animated picture. (P.S- Disney won last year).

                  +Jokes for all ages

                  +Attention to detail

                  +Conveys a Strong Message
                  10/10 Outstanding!

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                    TBGSacha Baron Cohen’s latest film features graphic jokes and an obvious storyline. The film features two brothers who are separated at an orphanage and grow up to live very different lives. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Dobby Butcher, a family man living in Grimsby, England.His counterpart, Mark Strong, plays his brother Sebastian who grew up to be an M16 Agent after he was adopted. After a disastrous reunion, Dobby and Sebastian are forced on the run by the agency that Strong works for all while trying to catch the assassin Strong was initially supposed to kill. This sequence of events is all due to the fact that Dobby blew Sebastian’s attempt at protecting Rhonda George (an actress wanting to raise money to eradicate disease).

                    The movie does a good job of sharing the comedy and action scenes between both characters, but not all the jokes necessarily land. For example, in one scene Cohen is forced to assault an enemy base to gain information. The choreography is great until Cohen picks up a pistol and proceeds to kill the rest of the guards on site.This scene doesn’t work because you would have to have years of training to kill three or four let alone the entire group of guards. Scenes like these are definitely redeemed when it comes to Sacha Baron Cohen’s interactions with an elephant. This scene is way too graphic to describe in this review, but it resulted in bringing tears to my eyes and to other audience members around me.

                    While some jokes landed and others missed, the movie’s storyline was too obvious as to who the real bad guy was and his intentions.The jokes kept me involved, but any form of seriousness was lost because of the obvious storyline.

                    The only storyline that was handled well was the flashbacks of their separation at the orphanage. The idea that the parents who adopted Sebastian only wanted one kid was heartbreaking due to the fact that every previous flashback showed the brothers’ unbreakable bond. The scene that won me over was when Dobby, who was not adopted, led Sebastian onto a train only to sneak off and leave his brother with a chance at living a normal life. The child actors did a great job and having a younger brother myself I would have made the same choice myself.

                    The storyline was easy to predict, and the villain was extremely one dimensional, but Cohen has definitely mastered the concept of family.The film gets the message across that family is all that matters, no matter what.

                    +Emotional flashbacks
                    +Makes-your-stomach-hurt comedy
                    -Predictable plot
                    -One-dimensional villain


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                      by Jake Hayes

                      4 Star Wars Battlefront


                      Star Wars is known for being one of most popular franchises of all time, and this makes Battlefront the most profitable game this year. EA Dice released Battlefront on November 17, 2015, earning the company 12.5 million dollars.

                      The game features massive online lobbies that can hold up to 40 players at a time. While in-game, players can earn the ability to play as iconic characters, such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, allowing them to cut through the competition with ease. If a light saber isn’t your specialty, then hop into the legendary Millennium Falcon and annihilate the competition in Fighter Squadron.

                      Another element Dice excelled on in the process of making this game is the map design. Planets such as Hoth give off a life-like feel as you run through the trenches on this snowy planet while avoiding the massive AT-ATs.

                      While the characters, game modes and maps are great, the game lacks any sense of customization. Not all players can play as Luke the entire lobby, which leaves players as either one of the rebels or stormtroopers. There are options to change the head of the character, but nothing worth the high prices of that item.

                      3 Call of Duty:Black Ops 3


                      Activision’s Black Ops franchise reaches its third installment on next gen consoles. Black Ops 3 features three options for its players including campaign, multiplayer and Activision’s specialty, Zombies.

                      This year’s campaign leaps into the year 2065, featuring a chilling theme as the player navigates throughout a world of advanced technology with the DNI at its helm. The Digital Neural Interface allows any person with one planted inside their brain to communicate telepathically and hack systems within seconds. The DNI can be very dangerous though, as you watch your friends succumb to mind control and robotic modifications to the point where the soldier is more machine than man.

                      Multiplayer has been featured in every Call of Duty title since 2004, but this doesn’t hurt Activision. Activision handled the issue of multiplayer this year exceptionally well, with dedicated internet servers and its new addition, specialists. Every Call of Duty multiplayer section to date has featured earnable killstreaks to help enhance the gameplay. Specialists are similar to killstreaks by allowing players to earn even more kills through fun new weapons and abilities for a short amount of time.

                      The only thing hindering Activision from a perfect score is its poster child, Zombies. Zombies this year featured only two maps, a fan favorite remake, and a cityscape featuring a noir theme. Shadows of Evil, the only new addition to the Zombies franchise, places players on the congested city streets with a lengthy easter egg not worth the reward.

                      2 The Witcher 3


                      Out of the four games, The Witcher 3 has the best next gen graphics, with lifelike monsters and landscapes that generate a mythical environment. The monsters in The Witcher are not only beautifully designed, they are also terrifying. The first monster you face is a griffin hunting villagers out of anger because they killed his wife.The dangers presented by these monsters are very apparent, and if the player is not properly prepared, there’s a low chance of survival.

                      After slaying the griffin I decided to challenge a wolf I found in the woods. This seemed like an easy target, until its five brethren arrived. I was surrounded quickly and died almost immediately.

                      On one hand, it shows a unique way to defeat every beast rather than attacking head on. This idea added creativity to every battle, but it can cause frustration in new players. I ran into that same pack of wolves four more times until I realized I was going to need a weaker opponent.

                      Monsters aside, the environment mirrors a mythical version of our own. There are massive fields, forests and lakes that each harbor their own monsters. Included in The Witcher is its decision-based gameplay, which makes each interaction a major decision about who you are and how others see you.

                      A final feature that keeps calling me back to the game is its leveling system. Leveling up to prepare for the next monster by using monsters that I defeated previously feels very rewarding.

                      The game struggles with its timing. It takes too long to level up to the point where you are able to take on the bosses seen in the trailers and that players are always raving about.

                      1 Fallout 4


                      After six years of anticipation, the series returns with a dedicated storyline about a father searching for his son during a nuclear apocalypse. This decision-based story is fully surrounded by thousands of items, craftable weapons, and armor to help you defend yourself from mutants and other survivors. While venturing through the wasteland, players can decide which group of survivors to side with in hopes of finding your son. Each group you encounter offers their own philosophies about how to handle the new world.

                      Another option worth putting time into is rebuilding your old neighborhood into a fortress where you can store items and sleep through the night without worrying about mutants. While Fallout features an objective to guide you throughout the wasteland, the game has hundreds of side quests to earn you all kinds of sweet loot to enhance your gameplay.

                      The looting and storylines alone make this game worth the $60, and the only issue was the power armor. Power armor is a post-apocalyptic version of the Ironman suit that allows you to handle the bigger bosses with ease. The issue with the armor is its fuel source, which is extremely rare to find in the wasteland.

                      Another issue with the power armor is its location and the time it takes in between loading screens. If you encounter a boss that requires the armor, you have to have fuel, then fast travel to your gear, put it on and fast travel back to the boss. This process becomes very tedious considering how hard it is to find the fuel in the first place.