Category Archives: Entertainment

The Walking Dead Disappoints Comic Book Readers and Series Fans

by Alicea Alford – Staff Reporter

It’s safe to say The Walking Dead has steadily lost fans and viewers since the Season 7 premiere, when Glenn was killed off the show. The Season 8 mid-season finale, has set the show up for yet another unjustified death.

Carl Grimes, played by Chandler Riggs, was set up to be killed off The Walking Dead. The show has a history of writing characters dying for shock value, rather than character development and an interesting plot the show has not recycled. The only way the show knows how to develop one character is by killing another. The show has killed characters to develop Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, many times before, but Carl has always been safe from dying, until now.

The death surprised the entire cast, Lincoln most of all, to Vanity Fair he said, “I always thought that the kid would be the future, and that was the whole point of this—that I was going to hand over the revolver and let him walk off into the distance… you can’t write a character like Rick Grimes—whose engines are his wife and his son—and you take away the wife and you’re left with the son…that got him off his deathbed in the first-ever episode, and you take that away.”

Carl’s death has not happened yet, but is inevitable. He was bit by a walker, or zombie, in the stomach. The bite is barely noticeable in the scene it occurs. If he must be killed off the show it should be a substantial moment, not a hastily written in walker-bite. He has survived too much to be killed from one bite viewers could hardly see happen.

There is no way Carl can get out of this, like some fans have theorized. Riggs had been fired by showrunner Scott Gimple. Gimple confirmed Carl’s bite will play out the way bites have in the past, meaning Carl will die. Before Riggs read the midseason finale script, Riggs he had been told his job was safe for 3 years, so he purchased a house in Georgia where the show is filmed. Then he was fired 3 days before his 18th birthday through messy writing in the midseason finale script.

Carl was the future of the show, and killing him off kills more of The Walking Dead’s fanbase and future plot points where he played a major role in the comics.

Music and Artists Success in 2017

by Elijah Monuteaux – Staff Reporter

To put it simply, 2017 has been one of the hottest years for music with popular artists like Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, Lecrae, and Sam Hunt all releasing some of their biggest records. Across the board all the artist did exceedingly well with the records they released. Some artist even found 2017 as the year they would blow up and gain millions of fans. It makes the anticipation for 2018’s music build up with many musicians announcing drop dates for their upcoming albums.

Some of the hits for the hip hop world came when Migos released their album Culture in late January including hit single Bad and Boujee with the bouncy sound of trap music capturing all who listened. Later in March Drake dropped his album More life fallowed by Kendrick Lamar’s album DAMN. Around a month later which quickly became one of the best albums of the year. Later in the Year a quieter artist, Lecrae let out his album All Things Work Together with hit single Blessings which features Ty Dolla sign.

R&B gave us a few surprises as well with a good amount of releases through the year. A few of the top releases were seen by SZA when she released Ctrl, Miguel when he dropped War and Leisure and Jhene Aiko showing off her style with Trip Although there are many more R&B artists who put out songs and Albums through 2017, these are the ones to highlight.

In The genre of pop, there were more singles that grabbed attention than the albums themselves. Such as ex-fifth harmony member Camila Cabello’s single Havana which featured young thug, and Imagine Dragon’s singles Thunder and believer. This is not to say that the albums were not artistic and hit worthy, but rather that the singles seemed to captivate listeners more than the album released afterwards.

Finally let’s of course peek at country music’s top releases! With hits Like Backroad by Sam Hunt, You Broke Up with Me by Walker Hayes, Five More Minutes by Scott McCreery. Country music shows us it’s typical sound with stories of past relationships, big trucks, and females. Although 2017 was a big year for other genres such as Hip-Hop and Pop, country seems to be up there with these artists hits.

Jelena Rekindles Relationship

by Symantha Edwards – Staff Writer

Anyone who grew up in the late 2000s knows that the ultimate couple that those years were famous pop stars Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. Both rose to fame in the early 2000’s, but were first linked to each other in 2010, when spotted holding hands in December of that year. Now, following Gomez’s breakup with longtime boyfriend Abel Tesfaye known as ‘The Weeknd’, reports began to circle after the two stars were seen together many times in the following weeks. Let’s look back to their rollercoaster of a history together.

After first being linked on a date at a local IHOP, paparazzi caught the two kissing on a yacht in St. Lucia, essentially proving what fans already suspected—they’re an item. After ten months of a seemingly happy relationship, the two broke up. Conflicting schedules, and their young ages were rumored to be causes of the split. For the next year and a half, the two made it their personal mission to confuse the public, from throwback pictures on Instagram to songs about each other, Selena finally opened and revealed to Ellen DeGeneres “Everybody was talking about the same thing: my relationship,” she remembers. “I was so exhausted”.

Don’t fret Jelena fans, all is not lost. This last October Bieber and Gomez are seen hanging out together again, but multiple sources say it’s just as friends. Allegedly their church, Hillsong, as well as Gomez’s kidney transplant caused to two to reconnect. And The Weeknd, Gomez’s then boyfriend was reportedly fine with it. A week later however, Gomez and The Weeknd announced their split, leaving the media wondering if Bieber was the cause.

In the weeks following Gomez’s breakup with The Weeknd, she’s been spotted with Bieber. . . again and again and again. On Nov. 15, they kiss at his hockey game—fueling tabloid speculation that they are back together and better than ever.

Although nothing has been confirmed, and looking at past evidence, there is no guarantee that anything will last, fans wait in anxious anticipation to see if true love is in the cards for these two stars.

The Punisher, Slow Starting Thriller

by Alicea Alford – Staff Writer

Avenging the murder of his family, Frank Castle (The Punisher), played by Jon Bernthal, uncovers dark truths about his time served in the Marines as part of project Cerberus in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He hunts down those who ran the project with the help of an unlikely friend, David Lieberman (Micro), played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach. All the while, Homeland Security Agent, Dinah Madani, played by Amber Rose Revah, is searching to solve the murder of her partner in Kandahar.

The episodes seemed to drag on. I found myself checking how much time was left in the episode to know how close it was to ending, every episode. The pace of the show was faster than Iron Fist, but even that is not saying much. The thin plot stretched out over 13 episodes may have not been the best decision, there was more down-time than expected from how the audience saw Castle in season 2 of Daredevil. The slow build is worth it in some respects, there show held more focus on the relationships between characters and their interactions than in found in faster-paced non-stop action.

Relationships, romantic or not, seemed to be the focus of the show when murder and government conspiracy was not. One relationship in particular was wildly out of character for Castle. The will-they-wont-they with Micro’s wife, Sarah, and Castle would never be in the picture. Castle would never think of looking at the person his friend is married to. He has a strong sense of honor and the writing of this relationship just seemed off character-wise.

Aesthetically, the show was pretty to watch. The use of color and camera angles created something more interesting to watch when most of the show was just people talking until the last few episodes. The Punisher fits seamlessly into the other Marvel Netflix shows like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, The Defenders, etc.

Overall, the slow pace was a set-back but once you look past it the show was great. Billy Russo, played by Ben Barnes, was a major highlight. He perfectly captured what Billy Russo is. How the show set-up him becoming Jigsaw, The Punisher’s archenemy, was perfectly heartbreaking. Russo’s looks are the most important thing to him, and when that is taken away by Castle pushing his face into broken mirrors, it leaves Jigsaw-puzzle like scars. The audience saw Russo as a trustworthy friend to Castle and the shift to enemy was handled well.

Given the thin plot stretched out for 13 episodes, The Punisher is meant to be watched for the characters and fight-scene choreography. It leaves an opening for a second season where Jigsaw will presumably be the main antagonist. If you are looking for a fast-paced, non-stop, action superhero show, this is not it. However, if you are interested in a show that has well developed characters and interesting turns, this is it.

Animal Crossing Struggles Financially

by Evan Williamson – Staff Writer

Nintendo recently released the newest addition of the video game series, Animal Crossing. However, the amount of revenue brought in by the game is failing to meet expectations.

Animal Crossing is a community simulation video game series developed and published by Nintendo. In the game, the player lives in a village inhabited by animals, as they carry out various activities including fishing, bug catching, fossil hunting, etc. The series is notable for its open-ended gameplay and its use of the game systems’ internal clock and calendar to simulate real passage of time. In the series, the gameplay is open-ended. The players have no defined objectives, but are instead encouraged to spend their time in the village performing activities, which include collecting items, planting plants or other items, and socializing with the village’s residents.

Nintendo’s newest addition to the Animal Crossing series was released Oct. 25, 2017. It is available on mobile devices on both IOS and Android. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has gained over 15 million downloads in its nine days since launch, but according to new analysis from Sensor Tower, the game has only made $10 million from its players. This number is far less than what we saw from Fire Emblem Heroes over the same time period with $34 million,

and also Super Mario Run with $24 million. If we look at where Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’s revenue is coming from so far, we find that Japan is responsible for about 86 percent of player spending to date. The second largest share of revenue for the game this far has come from the United States at about 11 percent of the total. In Japan the average player spends $4.16 while the average player in the United States spends $0.12.

Keep in mind it is still early on in the game’s life. The developer is beginning to launch campaigns for more in-game content which could help boost Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’s revenue. It will be interesting to see if Nintendo will try and extract more revenue from it, or like Mario Run, they’ll just let it underperform their expectations and move on to the next project. It’s not like it’s making them nothing at all.

Justice League Receives Poor Reviews

by Nicholas Runyon – Artist

“Justice League” continues where “Batman V. Superman” left off in 2016. Superman is dead, the Earth no longer has an alien protector, and Batman (Ben Affleck) is worried about a new threat. With the database taken from Lex Luthor, Bruce and Diana/ Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) attempt to recruit exceptional individuals to the cause. He meets Barry Allen/ Flash (Ezra Miller), in a scene that feels a lot like when Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.) recruits Peter Parker/ Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Bruce also tracks down Arthur Curry/ Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Diana tries to convince Victor Stone/ Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to join them. All of the would-be Justice Leaguers have their own reasons for initially refusing to join, except Barry, who was excited to join. The nature of that apocalypse will make a lot more sense to fans of the comics who are more familiar with the Darkseid lore than it will to casual viewers. The main villain of the film is “Steppenwolf”, who threatens to achieve total dominion over everything, once he has gathered three ancient boxes of pulsating energy known as Mother Boxes. The film is a clash of multiple different visions and multiple corporate ones: original director Zack Snyder stepped down from the film after a loss in the family, and Joss Whedon stepped in to complete the movie, stitching together Snyder’s footage via months of extra reshoots to add character-building and comedy. And Warner certainly had to be aware that Snyder’s grand scheme for the DC Extended Universe. DC’s rushed attempt to catch up with Marvel’s nearly decade-old movie franchise has not been very popular with critics and fans. Wonder Woman however was amazing, director Patty Jenkins was able to create a film that matched the color scheme of Snyder’s films, but also had a lighter tone.

Basically, what happened was; After the Dark Knight trilogy, WB wanted Christopher Nolan to do “Man of Steel”, but Nolan refused and instead pushed for Snyder (a family friend). During “Man of Steel” and “Batman vs Superman”, Warner Brothers execs didn’t even read Snyder’s notes on the films, because they “trusted him”. The President and The CEO of WB hated BvS so much that they wanted to fire Snyder from JL, but it was set to begin filming the following week so they kept him. Warner Brothers hated the direction JL was going and kept trying to get Snyder to change things, which he would but it was difficult and stressful for him. Snyder was about to quit or get fired when the tragedy happened with his family. Huge pressure from WB execs at this point who were understanding of what Snyder was facing in real life, but they were very against the movie. They called it a Frankenstein movie and said it was incoherent and made no sense and way too dark. Snyder quits to attend to his family.

Instead of delaying the movie until 2018, WB CEO and President decide to bring in another director and throw in $100m studio money for reshoots for a quick turnaround (This includes things like Henry Cavill’s awful CGI removed mustache, because they didn’t have the time/ resources) and to keep the release date because if the movie was released in 2017 they would be able to apply it to their bonus checks for the year and get way more money, but they were both sure they wouldn’t have a job in 2018 so if the movie released then, they wouldn’t get the bonus.

WB execs made a conscious decision to release a poor product which they acknowledged would be bad- simply because it would mean more money for them. They used a director they knew was going to put out a lower quality product, and then wouldn’t let that director even make the movie like he wanted. They then chose instead of fixing it properly, to rush it out and force it simply to get paid.

Some of the main problems with “Justice League” was the bad CGI, many people described it as “watching a videogame”. Another thing was the forgettable villain, although that seems to be a common problem with superhero movies according to critics. Unfortunately, another disappointment was Danny Elfman’s Soundtrack. Besides his use of the original John Williams’s 1978 Superman theme, His Batman theme from the Tim Burton Batman films, and Wonder Woman’s Hans Zimmer theme, the soundtrack was not only very forgettable, but also had parts taken almost directly from his “Hulk” (2003) soundtrack, Spider-Man (2002, 2004, 2007) soundtrack, and the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) theme.

The Snowman, A Chillingly Awful Movie

by Taylor Bailey – Staff Writer

The movie, The Snowman is about a crazed serial killer who is obsessed with snowmen and the detective determined to stop him. The Snowman horrified the world with its presence on Oct. 20 and has been making viewers wish it did not exist ever since. Directed by Tomas Alfredson, this movie features Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer, and J.K. Simmons who should be sad because of this awful movie.

The story takes place in Oslo, a very cold city in Norway, which follows Harry Hole (played by Fassbender), a divorced detective as he sleeps on the streets because his house is being de-molded and he’s a drunk. When he returns to work, he meets a new detective named Katrine Bratt (played by Ferguson). After reports of a missing woman come up, Hole and Bratt team up to go investigate. They arrive at the scene and investigate, asking questions to the daughter of the woman and the person who reported her missing. Strangely at the crime stands a frowning snowman. Later more reports come in on another missing woman, however, when they arrive at the scene, the woman is there in a chicken coop. They leave and then get another call that the same woman is missing, they go back to investigate. The run to the chicken coop to find the woman beheaded. Hole then looks around for the head and finds it in a hole attached to the body of a snowman. Bratt then suspects that the snowman is a lunatic doctor who she saw assaulting a woman. She arrives at his house only to find him and the original missing woman dead. Hole then speaks to the original missing woman’s husband where he gives him the final piece to figure out the snowman.

The reason that this movie does not work is because it is all over the place. The movie constantly throws you everywhere, to the present, back in time, to a random party, and back to the present again. The parties few purposes were for loud music to cover up the screams of a murder, to give Bratt a reason to speculate that the doctor was a murder, and to have J.K. Simmons in the movie. Halfway through the movie, Bratt stated that they were getting close to figuring out the snowman even though all that they have done was get leads that end up being nothing and establishing that the snowman was the murderer. The flashback made no sense at all. It only showed past experiences of a detective’s experience with the Snowman that didn’t help them at all.

The only acceptable parts of The Snowman were that the music was good, the scenery was nice, and the way the explained the murderer made sense. However, this movie was not worth money and time. The title was boring, stupid, and barely had a plot. There was only five other people in the theatre and at one-point snoring could be heard. In the end The Snowman just couldn’t live up to what it wanted to be, a good movie.

Lord of the Rings Series on Amazon Confirmed

by Alicea Alford – Staff Writer

Amazon struck a deal with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line to produce a Lord of the Rings television series with a multiple season commitment, as well as potential for a spin-off series.

The rights to Lord of the Rings alone, cost Amazon around $200 million. When adding in production budget, cast, writers, producers, visual effects, etc. the series is most likely to cost more than $1 billion. The series is on track to become the most expensive show of all time.

The series would be based on the Lord of the Rings novels and the hobbits, wizards, and dwarves. It would take place before The Fellowship of the Ring, making it a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, giving fans a new journey to love. Though a cast or story line has not been set, the deal gives Amazon space to establish new characters and expand the stories Middle Earth, rather than use the story and characters audiences know and have seen previously.

A representative for The Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperColins says, “The team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

With creating this Lord of the Rings series Amazon’s goal is to distance themselves from their niche series’ and move towards large-scale shows with a wide audience, as directed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. They are looking to plant themselves with a strong fantasy franchise, with Game of Thrones ending soon audiences are going to need their fill of the genre.

There is still a lot up in the air about the specifics of the series, since the deal has just been made. Conceptually, there are many things Amazon can do relating to The Lord of the Rings given the language used in the deal where they are not required to use specific characters and have some free-reign in their series. They will have to find a balance between making it stand apart from the Peter Jackson movies while still making a cohesive connection between them aesthetically.

Artistically Accurate Display in Loving Vincent

by Elizabeth Gerken – Staff Writer

The worlds first fully painted feature film, Loving Vincent, is a triumph in both story and visuals. Taking place one year after Vincent van Goh’s death, the film depicts the son of Vincent’s postman, Armand Roulin played by Douglass booth, going to deliver the final letter from Vincent to his beloved brother Theo. He learns that Theo had died a few months after Vincent from his old paint supplier Père Tanguy. However, during their discussion Vincent’s old doctor, Dr. Gachet, prompting Armond to travel to Auvers-sur-Oise to visit the doctor and deliver the letter. During his stay he learns more about the mysterious circumstances of Vincent’s supposed suicide and learns what people thought of the mysterious and eccentric painter.

The film works in two distinct styles, a style reminiscent of van Goh’s work to portray the story of Armond and the events that take place in the present, and a black and white realistic style that depicted the life of van Goh leading up to his death and any events that took place near the time of his death. By using these styles, the film creates a stunningly effective divide from what is real and what is rumor, a divide often missed or blurred in live action media. Rumors and first-hand stories are the primary way that we learn about Vincent’s life and death in the film and while this lead to inconsistencies, they feel purposeful seeing as everyone who knew him viewed him differently. Apart from word of mouth, we know little about his personal life or early childhood events that may have lead to his mental decline. The black and white scenes we see and the stories the characters tell also give us insight onto the different aspects of his life such as the friendship he had with Dr. Gachet and his life hanging around with the young rebellious socialites of the era. Loving Vincent isn’t just a film with an incredible story though, the visuals are the shining star of this feature.

As previously stated, Loving Vincent is the worlds first fully oil painted feature film and this is no small feat. Despite having over 100 separate artists working on creating each frame, the style is unbelievably consistent and stays true to the brushwork of van Goh’s work. Environments are sometimes hard to read, and some distant forms are lost but this is all reminiscent of Van Goh’s works witch occasionally lost details in the broad and colorful strokes of paint. All of the characters in the films appearances are based off of Vincent’s paintings and sketches and are often introduced by placing them in the environment of the painting they were featured in creating beautiful callbacks to his work and demonstrating how his life and the people he knew influenced his art. Overall, Loving Vincent is a true labor of love that is visually stunning and hosts a compelling story that will surely go down as one of the greatest technical achievements in modern film.

History of Star Wars

by Katharine Valerio – Staff Writer

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away… or in 1973 in Mill Valley, California a young George Lucas had just finished directing the low budget American Graffiti and wanted to create a space opera that no one had ever seen before. He began the idea with his partner Gary Kurtz.

The now world-famous Star Wars Saga began as a 12-page script that even the most die-hard Star Wars fans wouldn’t notice iconic Star Wars characters such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. This whole idea of Star Wars was objected by many production companies, but 20th century fox sought this after the early success of Lucas’s last film American Graffiti. As Lucas began to write more and more, the script began to improve, and by 1977 the film world had been changed forever.

On May 25th, 1977 Star Wars had come out, and was an instant box office success, making over $513 million dollars worldwide. Then came the second installment of the saga The Empire Strikes Back and then finally the third and final one of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi. These films centering the idea of Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader, Rebellion versus The Empire and the charm of characters that are household names across the world. However, after Return of the Jedi, Lucas took a step back from directing and was said to be done with Star Wars.

After losing almost all the money that Lucas had made with the original trilogy in a divorce, he had decided to go back to the Star Wars franchise, and the new technological advances such as new CGI had fascinated Lucas. The now titled A New Hope the first stars Wars had created and international phenomenon which also compelled Lucas created the prequel trilogy.

The prequels were meant to show the parallels, connections, history and backstory of the original trilogy. The main plot was to follow the journey of Anakin Skywalker and his path to the dark side and the fall of the galactic republic that became known as the galactic empire. The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, followed by Attack of the Clones and the finally Revenge of the Sith. The prequels were films that allowed for a complete 6 movie saga that has had the world in shock since the first release.

However, in 2012, 7 years after the release of Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas sold the star war franchisee to Disney franchise for $4.05 billion dollars. Disney had mentioned that they were going to continue the Saga and on December 18th, 2015 a new star to Star Wars had begun with The Force Awakens” introducing new characters and old favorites like Han Solo and C-3PO. Disney has also created an animated series called Star Wars Rebels which shows in between episodes 3 and 4. Episode 8 is coming out in a week and Disney continues to add on to trilogies as well as creating Star Wars stories such as Rogue One which came out in 2016.

Star Wars began as a dream of a young man in California, and 12 pages. Now it had developed as a household name all over the world and will continue to stay that way for another 40 years.