Category: Entertainment

Autistic teenager navigates through college in Netflix series, ‘Atypical’

by Desiree Lopez

A freshman college student living on the spectrum wants to navigate himself through college alone. But he soon realizes that it’s harder than he thinks.

Atypical

The Netflix series “Atypical” is a comedy-drama created by Robia Rashid. Its first season was aired on Aug. 11, 2017, and its third season was recently released on Nov. 1.

The show focuses on teenager Sam Gardner, played by Keir Gilchrist, who is on the autism spectrum. He has lived all of his life dependent on his mom, Elsa Gardner, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, his dad, Doug Gardner, played by Michael Rapaport, and his protective younger sister, Casey Gardner, played by Bridgette Lundy-Paine.

In season three, Sam starts his first year as a college student and is faced with the challenge of figuring out what success means for him while adjusting to the changes that come with growing up.

While Sam is on his funny and emotional journey of self-discovery, the rest of his family also must deal with the changes in their lives.

Sam’s high school experience was full of ups and downs. His mother had an affair, his sister changed schools, his favorite therapist could no longer see him, and he got his first girlfriend, all during his junior and senior years of high school. Sam thought that these few changes were difficult to go through. If only he knew how much different college would be.

During one of Sam’s group therapy sessions, he learned that four out of five students on the spectrum drop out of college. This statistic really freaked him out, but it encouraged him to try really hard and he prepared himself thoroughly.

Sam’s mindset for college was to learn to adapt and do it on his own. And he did, for a few days.

At orientation, he met people who thought he was funny, and it made him feel cool. Soon he realized that they were only temporary friends.

When it came to classes, the professors spoke too fast for him and he couldn’t take any notes. This made him stress, and he began to doubt himself.

Sam’s mother frequently encouraged him to talk to his college’s disability office, but he was determined to be independent. As he struggled more, he came to the conclusion that he couldn’t do the college life alone and that he needed help. He got the help he needed and was finally feeling at ease with college.

“Atypical” depicts the life of autistic children and provides a point of view to viewers who have never been able to understand what it feels like to live life on the spectrum. This series also shows those with autism that they can conquer anything they set their minds to, just like Sam.

Many viewers complained that Atypical(1)there were not enough autistic characters in the first two seasons, so more were added in the third season. This gave those with autism a bigger voice, and it provided a broader insight for the viewers.

They also didn’t like the fact that Gilchrist, who plays Sam, wasn’t actually autistic in real life.

I feel that Gilchrist did a really good job of showing what it’s like to be autistic. I would have never noticed the difference if it was never mentioned.

The show does a really good job of conveying what it’s like to live on the spectrum. It opened my eyes to what some people actually have to deal with on a daily basis.

A lot of the time, I felt like I was a part of the Gardner family. Anytime I saw trouble lurking around the corner, I would get frustrated that the characters didn’t see it sooner. The fact that I felt a part of the show proves that “Atypical” really does captivate its audience.

‘Inkheart’ characters come to life in blur of reality with fiction

by Abi Hernandez

The smell of the old books bring Meggie comfort in her library, by the big window, covered with little water droplets. The letters on the pages speak to her, taking her on a journey with an untold future.inkheart review pic

“Inkheart,” by Cornelia Funke, is the story of a “book doctor” named Mo and his 12-year-old daughter, Meggie, whose normal lives take an unusual turn. Mo has a special gift that allows him to be able to read animals, objects, people, or sometimes magical things, out of books.

One day, when Meggie was still a baby, Mo was reading to his wife Resa, and all of a sudden Resa disappeared. When a character from a book is read into the real world, the book takes a human being, which is what happened to Resa.

The book Mo read from is called “Inkheart,” and he reads a malicious character out named Capricorn. Since that night, Mo said he would never read aloud ever again. Years pass by, and Capricorn is still on the hunt for Mo so he can read Capricorn’s evil monster out of the book to do his dirty work.

One day, Meggie and Mo go book searching at an old bookstore. While Mo is inside the store, Meggie is confronted by Dustfinger, a character who was read out of “Inkheart,” who supposedly was there to warn Mo about the bad guys waiting for him to get home. Dustfinger also asks Mo to read him back into the book, so he can go home to his wife. But Mo refuses and runs away.

So they flee to the house of Meggie’s great aunt to seek shelter. Dustfinger follows them to the house and brings Capricorn’s men to help him get Mo, Meggie, and her aunt Elinor. They grab the three and take them to Capricorn’s castle in the middle of nowhere.

Capricorn first introduces Darius, another gifted reader who is not that good because he has a stuttering problem and only half reads them out of the character’s story. So he forces Mo to read out gold from the book “Treasure Island,” and he accidentally reads out Farid. Capricorn then throws the last copy of the book in the fire. Dustfinger tries to pull it out of the flames, but he is unsuccessful and burns his hands. Then they are all held hostage in the dungeon.

inkheart review pic #2Dustfinger then goes to get his burns treated from trying to grab the book from the fire, by a servant girl, his friend Resa, who cannot talk because when she was read out, the book took her voice. He is talking to her, and she shows him a picture of her family. He quickly realizes that Mo and Meggie are her family. He figured out that Mo read her into the story, and Darius read her out the second time, but it cost Resa her voice.

Meggie and the others are discussing a plan to go find the writer of the book, because he has the last copy of it. Dustfinger then surprisingly helps them escape, because Capricorn lied to him about helping him go home. They all go to track down the writer, Fenoglio, and he accidentally tells Dustfinger how he dies at the end of the story. Then they find the original transcript. Just when Mo was about to read Resa, his wife, out of the book, Dustfinger tells Mo the truth about her being at Capricorn’s village. Mo then promises he will read Dustfinger back into the book once he has Resa back.

While Mo and Dustfinger are gone rescuing Resa, Fenoglio has to “babysit” Meggie and Farid. As Fenoglio falls asleep, Meggie goes to her room and starts reading aloud from the book, “The Wizard of Oz”, and reads out Toto, the little black dog. She then realizes she has the same reading gift as her father. During this, one of Capricorn’s best men, Basta, and another come and steal Meggie and Fenoglio, taking them to the village.

They are all taken hostage, except for Mo and Farid. Meggie finally meets her mother after so many years. Capricorn is going to make Meggie read out “The Shadow” monster from the book, or he is going to kill her mother. So Meggie and Fenoglio plot and write up a different story so the Shadow will kill Capricon, all the characters will go back in the book where they belong, and Dustfinger will return to his family.

At the ceremony, when she reads out the Shadow monster, she pulls the paper from her sleeve and reads the new version. It works, then Elinor comes in to save Meggie from being eaten.

All of Capricorn’s men disappear, all the creatures go back to their books, Fenoglio gets read into his own book, Capricorn then gets eaten by the Shadow monster, Resa gets her voice back, and Meggie is reunited with her family.

For a fiction story, I would give “Inkheart” a 10 out of 10.

‘Twisted’ leaves audience surprised after series comes to abrupt end

by Desiree Lopez

A troubled high school student has just been released from juvenile detention after five years. He hopes to make amends with his childhood friends, but his past keeps haunting him.

“Twisted” is a teen drama, mystery, and thriller television series. It came out in 2013 on the television network, Freeform. The show follows teenager, Danny Desai, played by Avan Jogia. When he finally gets to come home, he soon realizes that things are not the way they used to be in his hometown of Green Grove, New York.

Danny was convicted of murdering his aunt by strangling her with a jump rope when he was 11 years old. His best friends were in the backyard when the crime occurred, so they saw the aftermath and were then scarred for life.

His two childhood best friends, Lacey and Jo, have since parted ways and are no longer friends. Jo Masterson, played by Maddie Hasson, is a social outcast who is still haunted by the past. Lacey Porter, played by Kylie Bunbury, has a high popularity status that she tries to contain.

Throughout the series, Danny tries to earn back the trust of Jo and Lacey. Jo easily forgives him, mostly because she is in love with him. She is also his only friend. Lacey and Danny eventually begin to talk to each other in private, but strong, romantic feelings between the two interrupt their friendship. Lacey hides the relationship so that the news won’t hurt her social status, and Danny does also because it is what Lacey wants.

Things were going well for Danny. He was fitting in and his two best friends were on speaking terms with him. But then Lacey’s best friend, Regina Crane, played by Karynn Moore, is found murdered in her own house after a house party she hosted. Danny instantly becomes the prime suspect.

Danny denies the accusation, but he is in possession of Regina’s necklace, which is the only thing missing from the crime scene. Later, a murder weapon is found with Danny’s fingerprints on it.Twisted_intertitle

After all the evidence comes to light, Jo and Lacey become skeptical of Danny and question whether he killed Regina.

During this time, Danny’s mother, Karen, played by Denise Richards, seems to be the only person who truly believes that her son did not commit the crime he is being accused of.

Karen used to be very involved in her community and was very social. But after her son was convicted, her status plummeted. She’s gotten to the point where she no longer cares what others think of her. She loves her son and will stand by his side, no matter what.

Danny’s father passed away six months before Danny was released. Danny praised his father and thought nothing less of him. But as the series continues, speculation that Danny’s father may be alive comes to light.

“Twisted” is full of dramatic twists and turns that the audience would have never expected. The changes from drama to romance to mystery keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The show easily can captivate the viewer’s attention.

One thing I began to notice while watching the series is that Jo seems to become more of the main character than Danny. She has more roles and lines, and the plot somehow begins to revolve around her. It eventually takes the spotlight away from Danny, which makes one question whether the show is about a boy who murdered his aunt or about a girl who is in love with a murderer.

Another thing that disappoints me is that the show only has one season. The show was canceled after ratings crumbled. It went from having more than 1.5 million viewers when it first started to less than 800,000 viewers by the season’s finale.

The fact that the series ended with a huge cliffhanger devastated me and left me with so many unanswered questions. I guess you can say that the rest is up to my imagination.

For these reasons, I give “Twisted” a 7 out of 10.

‘Mixed-ish’ shows challenges of growing up in biracial family

by Victoria De Souza

The life of bi-racial a girl in the 1980s takes place in the television world in “Mixed-ish,” with the conflicts that her family went through in new life journey.

“Mixed-ish” is a prequel spin-off from the two series “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish.” The “ish” world of Kenya Barris is introduced through the childhood story of Rainbow Johnson, or “Bow”, played by Arica Himmel.

Created by Barris, Peter Saji and Tracee Ellis Ross, the story presents a closed look at how Bow’s life as a child with a Black mother and a white father in a society where interracial marriages were not very common.

The story is narrated by Ross, who plays the grown-up version of Bow in “Black-ish” when she is a doctor who is married with five kids. Bow tells her story to her kids, So that they know how challenging it was being biracial in the 1980s.

In 1985, when Bow was 12 years old, her life was turned upside down. She was happily living in a perfect world in a hippie commune where there was no racial differences and every one prays, eats and sleeps together. To her, this life was perfect. But to the government, it was a radicalized cult that violated more than 47 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) regulations.poster

After Bow’s parents, Alicia, played by Tika Sumpter, and Paul Johnson, played by Mark Paul Gosselaar, moved to a suburban area to be able to provide a safer and better life for their family, Bow finds herself trying to find her identity.

Being a child of mixed race leads to Bow and her siblings, Santa Monica, played by Mykal-Michelle Harris, and Johan, played by Ethan William Childress, trying to find where they belong.

To Bow’s brother, Johan, the transition to the “real word” is one big adventure in discovering everything around him, from learning how to use a toilet to playing with the ice machines.

On the first day of school, the children find themselves in a situation about not fitting in with any group, since they are half Black and half white. In 1985, these two groups had a very determined separation. The journey to adapt to this new life begins for all three kids, but it is challenging for Bow to choose what side she is part of.

Living in the city, the family has more contact with Grandpa Harrison, played by Gary Colle, and Aunt Denise, played by Christina Anthony, who help the family to feel more included.

“Mixed-ish” brings a point of view not really explored much in “Black-ish,” when Bow is always mentioned to be the hippie and not considered to be fully Black. Also, it adds an extra cultural view into what it was like growing up in a mixed racial family in the 1980s, which was not considered normal.

The series has a lot of potential to grow to become as big as “Grown-ish,” since the mixed race family and children are vast parts of our society. With the changes of time, the multiracial marriages and a different perspective on the stereotypes of a traditional family, where the mother stays home and the husband is the provider, became more accepted.

Episodes are released weekly on the ABC Network and Hulu, offering a little bit more insight into Bow’s childhood.

I give “Mixed-ish” 7.5 out of 10.

Shorts, feature films screened at Flatland Film Festival

by Autumn Bippert

Lights, Camera, Action.

The 16th annual Flatland Film Festival, which took place on Sept. 19 through Sept. 21 at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock, aims to create an appreciation for film and video, while also supporting artists creating these films.

Jonathan Seaborn, a South Plains College graduate, served as chair of the festival.

“It means a lot to the community,” Seaborn said. “Our sponsors that make this possible are LHUCA, Texas Film Commission, Texas Tech Public Media, Texas Tech Department of Journalism & Creative Media Industries, Thomas Jay Harris Institute for Hispanic & International Communication, Noah David Wakefield Studio, Texas Commission on the Arts, Pioneer Pocket Hotel, Premiere Cinemas, City of Lubbock, Civic Lubbock Inc. Griffin Wink, Advertising, Two Docs Brewing Co., Tech Star Graphics Inc., McDougal Realtors, and Walk On’s Bistreaux & Bar.”

Seaborn also explained that David Wakefield made the awards for Judge’s choice and Audience choice.0Q6A7370

“They are more than we could have asked for,” Seaborn said. “He did an amazing job and are very appreciative of him.”

Day 1 of the festival included a red carpet and filmmaker meet-and-greet in the LHUCA Firehouse Theatre. Following was the screening of the first feature film and a Q&A, in the Firehouse Theatre, “Building the American Dream,” written and directed by Chelsea Hernandez.

Hernandez said that the film took five years to complete. “Building the American Dream” is her first full-length feature film.

“Building the American Dream” tells the story of several immigrant workers in the Texas construction industry who face hardship and are taking action to change the political system in order to protect workers.

“The idea for the film came in 2010,” Hernandez explained. “I grew up in Austin and was going to school at the University of Texas, and on campus, there was a student luxury condominium being constructed and three workers had fallen to their deaths when the scaffolding they were working on collapsed. That was when I recognized that the people who were building the new buildings that were changing the Austin skyline were experiencing exploitations within the construction industry.”0Q6A7421

Day 2’s events began at 6 p.m. at Premiere Cinemas with the first block of short films for the short film competition. The films competed for the Judge’s choice and the Audience’s choice awards. Block one included “Nightshift Screensavers,” “Texas Snow,” “The Beach,” “Hearing the Homeless,” “Abscessed,” “Horrorscope,” “Overnight,” “Revival,” “Made in Heaven,” “As Through Fire,” “Tightly Wound,” “Chicle (Gum),” and “Xctry.”

Following the short films was a screening of the feature film, “Extra Ordinary,” directed by Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern. “Extra Ordinary” is about a woman who has supernatural abilities and must save a possessed girl. A driving instructor, Rose, has a love-hate relationship with her abilities. But she decides to help Martin and his daughter Sarah. The movie was originally released in Ireland, where it was made, and is planned for release in the United States theaters on Sept. 27.

The evening of Day 2 ended with a special screening of the film, “Make Out Party,” and a Q&A with director and writer, Emily Esperanza. “Make Out Party” is a no-budget, high-style comedy that follows three vibrant characters through a day of misadventure as they set out to attend hostess Mary Woah’s Make Out Party.

“I wanted this film to give you an eye cavity,” Esperanza explained about her film. “I wanted it to be so sticky and sweet. I wanted you to feel like you need to brush your eyes afterward.”

Esperanza also explained during the Q&A that she only uses technology for her films that are mid-90’s or older. She also discussed her film inspiration, timeline of the film and how she hopes to one day teach a class on how to make DIY gorilla films.

The final day of the festival began at 11 a.m. at LHUCA with a screening of the feature film, “Jaddoland,” directed by Nadia Shihab, in the Firehouse Theatre. “Jaddoland” explores the meaning of identity and home across three generations of the director’s Iraqi family in Texas. After the screening, there was a Q&A with Shihab.0Q6A7368

The third day continued at 4 p.m., with block two of the short films, including, “Studio,” “Dreams and Visions from the Llano Estacado: Salt/Permeable Earth,” “Rosalind,” “Creeping Autumn,” “Dance With Me, Mija,” “Potential,” “No. 19,” “Origin,” “Now You See Me,” “Chrome Girls,” “Tonight,” and “Panic Attack!” shown in the Firehouse Theatre.

Seaborn served as moderator for a Q&A for the short film makers after the second block. The short film makers answered questions about their film inspiration, casting process, their criticism on their final products, and future plans.

Following block two was a panel discussion on Women in Filmmaking, which was moderated by Casey Ellingson. Panelists included Angela Patters, who was the co-editor of “Seadrift,” Emily Esperanza, Shelby Knox, who starred in “The Education of Shelby Knox,” Nadia Shihab, and Lisa Barrera, writer and director of  “Chicle (gum).”

Some of the topics that the panel discussed was how they got into their filmmaking career, the difference between being in front of the camera and behind the camera, intended audiences and when beginning a new project begins and ends.

They also gave advice for other women wanting to get into filmmaking.

“To up-and-coming documentary filmmakers, tell the story that is most authentic to you, not the one that you think is going to be the most sensational or the next social justice subject,” said Knox, who attended Lubbock High School. “Stories are what connects us as humans. And if you don’t have sort of a personal stake in the story that you’re telling, it’s going to come off as inauthentic. No matter who you are, where you live, what your identities and identifications are, there is a story that is authentic and is it important to you. Why not tell it? All the people in the world who are saying, ‘Well, why would you be the one to tell it?’ It’s probably oppressors telling you not to. So why not? You be the one to tell that story.”

The final feature film, “Seadrift,” is a documentary about the fatal shooting of a white crabber in 1979 in a Texas fishing village that ignites a maelstrom of hostilities against Vietnamese refugee communities along the Gulf Coast.

The three-day event wrapped up with a closing reception and awards party in the LHUCA Plaza.

The winner of the Judges’s Choice Award for the short film competition was “Tightly Wound,” which is an animated short about a woman recounting her experience living with chronic pelvic pain and how health professionals have failed her, men have rejected her, and shame, anger, and hatred have plagued her body.

There were two winners for the Audience Choice Award,  “Made in Heaven” and “Dance With Me, Mija.”

‘IT: Chapter Two’ highlights aspects of community, friendship in horror film

by Kendall Rainer

With the looming threat of “IT,” the “Losers Squad” must re-assemble to take down the monstrous clown once and for all.

“IT: Chapter Two,” directed by Andy Mushietti, is a sequel to “IT,” the cinematic iteration of the Stephen King novel.

“IT: Chapter Two” follows heroes Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), and Stanley Uris (Andy Bean), who make up the “Losers Squad.”MV5BYTJlNjlkZTktNjEwOS00NzI5LTlkNDAtZmEwZDFmYmM2MjU2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg2NjQwMDQ@._V1_

The second film picks up 27 years after where the first ended. In “IT,” the group defeated the killer clown, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), a demonic entity that has taken the shape of a clown, in an intense battle in “IT’s” storm drain hideaway under the city of Derry, Maine. Or so it seemed that they had defeated him.

The town is hit again 27 years later by the clown’s torment, as mysterious disappearances, murders, and dismemberments wreak havoc on the town of Derry. Mike Hanlon is the only member of the “Losers Squad” who stayed in the small town after the first encounter with the entity. For 27 years, Mike has stayed in waiting for the beast’s return, and that day has finally arrived.

Mike begins the task of reuniting the losers, which proves to be more difficult than it seems. The remaining members have little to no recollection of the events that occurred 27 years prior. The one thing that they all definitively remember is the blood oath that they made to return if the beast ever made an appearance again, and to kill it once and for all.

The heroes reunite in their hometown of Derry with one exception, Stanley has not returned.

Once the Losers are back in Derry, their memories of the events begin to return. Fear, anxiety, and anger all come flooding back to their minds. Mike urges them to join him in defeating the monster once and for all, like they promised they would 27 years ago.try this one 2

Mike takes the group to the forest, to their old hide-away Ben made for them all those years ago. He tells them that in order to defeat Pennywise, they would all have to collect “artifacts” from the one time the group wasn’t together in their first showdown with the clown.

Mike tells them that he learned of a ritual from the Shokopiwah people, the people who first encountered the being millions of years ago, which would lock Pennywise away forever.

Each member of the group re-lives an encounter with the beast that they experienced on their own and retrieved an item from that “revisitation.”It-Chapter-Two-Review

After Bill’s encounter, he runs into a boy who lived in his old house and reminded him of his younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) who was killed by the clown in the first movie.

After reuniting with the group at the Inn where they were staying, Bill realizes that Pennywise was going to go after the boy. In a clown-themed house of horrors, Pennywise consumes the boy in front of Bill, which was the last straw for him. He knew there was only one thing left to do.

The band of losers charged the beasts’ hideaway and charged deeper into its depths, farther than they had ever traveled, to the “crash site,” where the entity had first made contact with the Shokopiwah tribe.

Mike leads the group in a ritual, which proved to be doomed from the start. The ensuing battle against the giant demonic entity proves to be too much for the team, and heavy losses ensue.

With what remains of the group, they discover that in order to defeat the beast, they have to make it small. They begin belittling the clown, which shrinks its size, eventually making the entity so small it is all but a husk.

The heroes prove to be victorious and finally defeat the being once and for all.

“IT: Chapter Two” proves to be everything I expected it to be. It was a visually stunning, scary, gut-wrenching, adrenaline-pumping horror film.itchaptertwo_slide-d30ab3ec3159129bac2953ee59c5538bcb3f0d6a-s1600-c85

However, the story is more than just pure terror. There is a deeper meaning to the film than just a scary clown.

It highlights aspects of self endearment and persistence. It proves that no obstacle, whether it seems larger than life or not, is insurmountable.

The film provides the jumpy, horrifying action that was evident in the first film. It is what is expected of a horror film. However, it is intertwined with a deeper meaning and a story that is, at times, loving and empathetic to a feeling of friendship and community that we all strive to have. For this reason, I give “IT: Chapter Two,” a 10 out of 10.

Romance novel highlights separation of lovers, distrust

by Abi Hernandez

As Madeline picks her bathing suit on this forbidden trip, Olly gazes at her beauty and stares in awe. They walk on the beach and jump into the water as Madeline has her first beach experience.

“Everything Everything” by Nicola Yoon takes readers on a romantic and twisting journey. Madeline Whittier was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). The 18-year-old has a nonexistent immune system, so her mother seals her off inside their house. The only other person who has contact with her is her nurse, Carla.

Every day, she lives the same life on repeat with the same routines over and over again. She wears the same white t-shirts and the same color of clothes. Madeline has lived indoors her entire life, passing time by reading books and doing her school work. All this changes once a teenage boy and his family move in next door.

Oliver, also known as Olly, tries many times to get Madeline’s attention and become friends with her. Eventually, they exchange emails and begin communicating via email. As they communicate more, they arrange little face-to-face meetings with the help of Carla, with the condition of no touching. But eventually, the two teens end up kissing each other and falling deeply in love.everything3

One day, Olly’s dad is abusing him and they start fighting in the front yard. Madeline hears this and leaves the safety of the house without a second thought, going out to protect him. Then her extremely overprotective mother finds out about the two teens and their face-to-face meetings and fires Carla after finding out that she allowed it. She then forbids Madeline from emailing or talking to Olly in any kind of way.

Madeline decides to leave with Olly so she can finally live and be with him, even if that means risking her life. They go to Hawaii, where they jump off a cliff, snorkel, and eat Hawaiian food on the first day. Soon after, they prove their love to each other verbally and physically. The second day, Madeline wakes up with a bad fever and her heart stops. She is rushed to a hospital in Hawaii, where she is revived.

A few months pass and Madeline tries to tell herself just to go back to reality in seclusion. Then she gets an email from the doctor in Hawaii who treated her. He explains to Madeline that she does not suffer from SCIDs. Madeline then goes and sees a local SCIDs specialist, who confirms the suspicions.

Madeline then confronts her mother. Her mother explains how she invented her diseases to protect her, and because she doesn’t want to lose Madeline like she lost Madeline’s brother and father in a car wreck. Since Madeline was sick as an infant, she used that to keep her in a sterile environment to “protect her.”

Madeline is frustrated that her mother has basically stolen her life from her, even though she said she was doing it in the best interest of Madeline. She then flies to New York, where Olly and his family went to escape his abusive father. She meets him in an old book store to fix things. She leaves a copy of the book, “The Prince,” and Olly sees it, recognizes it and smiles.

This book ends beautifully and peacefully with the two reuniting. I would definitely recommend that anyone read this heartwarming book. This book received a lot of backlash from parents concerned about their kids reading it because of the little sex scene between Madeline and Olly in Hawaii. I would recommend that 15 and older is an appropriate age range to read this book.

For a love story, I would give “ Everything Everything” a 10 out of 10.

‘Jane the Virgin’ captivates viewers with final season

by Desiree Lopez

An aspiring writer is faced with an unfortunate predicament. But as time goes on, her world changes for the better.

“Jane the Virgin” follows the exciting saga of Jane Gloriana Villanueva, a young woman in her 20s, raised by her mother and grandmother, who was accidentally inseminated by a heartbroken and distracted gynecologist.

This show has so many twists and turns, from kidnappings to murders to maimings, the threat of deportation and so many crushing breakups that I almost wept to death. But thankfully, everything ended just as I had hoped, with even more excitement and tears than I had anticipated.

“Jane” first aired in 2014 on the television network, The CW. The actress who plays Jane, Gina Rodriguez, is the reason why this show comes together so perfectly. She played Jane with absolute originality. The show also takes into consideration every side character, background design, and literally every detail from costumes to one-liners. This made the show so meaningful and well thought out. It proves that there was so much work put into this show to make it just right.list_page_p10781393_b_v9_af

The American telenovela takes place in present day Miami, Florida. Jane is 23 years old and enjoying her life as she studies to become a teacher. She is engaged to a handsome detective.

After a routine visit to a clinic, Jane is told that her gynecologist accidentally inseminated her. The news becomes more intense when she finds out that the unintentional sperm donor is her boss. Once the news comes out, Jane’s life begins to fill with many complications.

The show’s director, Jennie Snyder Urman, played around with different kinds of format, tone, and form. It utilized different styles that worked together perfectly to create such interesting content. Because of its dramatic style, the show was a true telenovela. Even the characters – Jane, Xo, and Alba –  loved to watch telenovelas, and they even implemented them into their lives on the show.

Jane is all about family, love, and romance. The whole concept of the show is how the ways of childhood affect the ways of adulthood. It is also about how many people create patterns in their day to day lives, but they’re not always healthy ones. There are many lessons learned by the characters, and even the audience, because of this series.

I cannot think of any other show that I love so much. It’s so sustaining and comforting, as well as dramatic, that it’s easy for it to capture the audience’s attention and keep it for the entire 45 minutes of each episode. There are other series to watch to get this kind of hype and content, but “Jane” is the show that gives the audience what they want… eventually. It is the show where family is a priority, love is in every corner, and romance is essential.merlin_158606955_d147d142-ef3e-4580-8700-03968bef3727-articleLarge

The series finale was, as most people would say, “straight out of a telenovela.” I was so worried that somebody would die, or that Michael would die again, or that Rafael’s discovery of his biological parents would ruin something or everything. I wasn’t expecting to be so unscathed by this finale, but I was. That is how every telenovela should end, and I enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

I definitely will miss Jane’s strong will, Rogelio’s tenderness, and Rafael’s sense of hope. I will miss Alba’s advice, Xo’s adaptability, and Petra’s loyalty. I will really miss how much the show’s director loves television.

I will forever treasure “Jane.” Maybe the reason “Jane” is so easy for me to love is because it’s the rare kind of show that made me feel like it actually loved me back.

‘This is Where it Ends’ tells story of mass shooting from four perspectives

by Autumn Bippert

Many see the effects of mass shootings. But only those who live through them know what it is like to experience the horror that has occurred in front of them.

“This is Where it Ends,” written by Markeke Nijkamp, tells the story of a school shooting from four different points of view of those who experienced the atrocity. This emotional story is told by characters Claire, Toḿas, Autumn and Sylv during  the course of 54 minutes.0Q6A7421

The book was #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list, on the National Indie bestsellers list, and several other acclaimed listings.

The book begins with the normal everyday mornings of  students in the small town of  Opportunity, Alabama, the setting for the story. The principal of Opportunity High School calls a beginning-of-term assembly, which gathers the entire school into the auditorium.

“10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open. 10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.”

A gunman, outcast Tyler Browne, uses the occasion to lock the auditorium doors from the outside, using the room as a personal “shooting range” to settle his scores with his classmates.

Autumn, Tyler’s younger sister, wants to leave Opportunity, Alabama, and follow in her mother’s footsteps of dancing around the world. She also wants to be far away from her abusive father. She wants her girlfriend Sylvia, or Sylv, to come with her, but she’s torn between her dreams of the future with Autumn and the need to stay behind and care for her sick mother.

Tomás, Sylv’s twin brother, is the school prankster, which is why he isn’t in the auditorium for the assembly. He is sneaking around the school instead. 

Claire, Tyler’s ex-girlfriend, has a last-minute track practice in the morning. She and her teammates are running outside in the cold January air when the first shots are fired. Claire and Tomás decide to help their trapped friends and family, even if it puts their own lives in danger.

The author uses the four characters to tell the emotions from different perspectives – the family of the shooter, those who used to be close to them, someone from the other side desperate for their loved ones to be safe, and a first-hand witness. There are many secondary characters involved as well, which gives a truer feeling to the story. There are many students at a high school and many people who are affected by mass shootings. Telling the story as only happening to one person wouldn’t be an accurate account.

“This is Where it Ends” is an emotional narrative that pulls the reader into the pages. This story is more than fiction. It is reality, a reality that many have been affected by.

This book draws attention to a major problem in our society that seems to be continually overlooked. With so many mass shootings, it has become the norm to see a story on the news and then forget about it the next day. This book put people in the shoes of students who experience this every month and tells the untold effects of school violence. Hopefully it will help increase awareness, helping prevent more mass shootings at schools.

This is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. It is sad and terrifying, yet somehow inspirational and relatable. “This is Where it Ends” is more than action and horror.

I truly could not put down this book until I was done reading it. I give “This is Where it Ends” a 10 out of 10.

Controversial series ‘13 Reasons Why’ not as far fetched as critics claim by AUTUMN

By Autumn Bippert

With the mysterious disappearance of one of their classmates on the minds of Liberty High School students, everyone is trying to figure out what happened to Bryce Walker.

The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why,” based off of the Jay Asher book, premiered its third season, which takes its own liberties from the original story. 

The series follows a group of students at Liberty High School as they deal with issues including suicide, sexual assault, substance abuse, bullying, and more, following the suicide of a classmate.

Season 1 focuses on the death of Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, and the effects on her friend, Clay Jensen, played by Dylan Minnette, as he tries to figure out the events leading up to her passing based on tapes she left behind.

In Season 2, as Hannah’s friends and family process her death, the Bakers, played by Kate Walsh and Brian d’Arcy James, file a lawsuit against the school for not protecting their daughter.  More sexual assaults that occurred at the high school come to light, and everyone learns that the sexual assaults of Hannah and Jessica Davis, played by Alisha Boe, by Bryce Walker, played by Justin Prentice, weren’t isolated incidents 

Season 3, like Season 2, is loosely continued from the book. The story is picked up eight months from where Season 2 ended, at the Spring Fling where Clay stopped his classmate Tyler, played by Devin Druid, from shooting students at the dance. 

The show flashes back and forth between to different time frames, before and after Bryce Walker is murdered. The whole season is focused around who killed the former antagonist. 13-reasons-why

The new season is told by a new narrator, Ani Achola, who’s played by Grace Saif. Ani’s narration is actually an interview with the police. The audience is left to wonder which crime she is being interviewed about, and how is this new character a part of it?

ani-947b294The 13 episodes show the two timelines and how the prior events affect the current timeline. Once word spreads of Bryce’s murder, everyone is on edge, wondering who could have killed him. Was it Tyler, who had planned to shoot his fellow classmates? Was it Clay, who had shown hatred for Bryce because of what happened to Hannah Baker in Season 1? Or was it anyone of the other people who were also apart of the tapes Hannah had sent out?

What’s visually appealing about the series is the use of lighting to tell the story. In Season 3, when the show was depicting before Bryce’s murder, the scenes were very vibrant and had a light, airy feel. After Bryce’s murder, the scenes were dark, almost monochromatic, with a heavier feel. I really appreciate how the show tells the story with more than one aspect. The best part of the series is the visual storytelling.

Most of the media critiques of the series call the show ridiculous and over the top. However, being out of high school for only two and a half years, a lot of the issues and situations do have parallels to what some high school students do go through. The show is, of course,  dramatized and exaggerated situations.freepressjournal_2019-08_44a645dc-8e8c-40ea-933d-5c7b0f4be260_62394601_491186448377461_1863770294769341367_n

I do believe that the show does a good job of portraying how high school students interact with each other and respond to conflict, which is a breath of fresh air. A lot of shows have such an artificial view of high school and young adults. I always felt that other shows didn’t draw my attention because they were so fake and not close enough to what it’s really like to be 16 to 18 years old. 

Not everyone in high school, or even later in life, will go through some of the serious situations, such as rape, suicide  and abortions, but a lot of people do go through these things. It was more true to real life than most shows that depict high school life.

For its visual storytelling and its ability to show more than a cookie-cutter portrayal of high school, I give “13 Reasons Why: Season 3,” a seven out of 10.

‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ tells life journey of young women through poetry

By Danisha Lewis

A young immigrant girl has moved to the United States in hopes of living a better life.

In reality, she goes through the torment and bitterness of society while trying to make a lifestyle in this new state of mind. “The Sun and Her Flowers,” a novel by Rupi Kaur,  is every young girl’s key to serenity. 

Kaur emphasizes the everyday challenges of a young immigrant girl and her family, while expressing major factors of the life of a young adult woman. Throughout the book,  the chapters are perceived as different stages of life. Through these different stages, any young lady reading this book can relate or who has even felt the emotional pain and suffering that is being expressed. 

1501175262This book connects to any perspective on love and reliance. Kaur shows that it is OK to get hurt and feel the way one feels at times,  while also giving insight into how to heal from such instances. The stages also resemble a sunflower’s journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. I was not expecting Kaur to pierce my soul with such impurity and realization.  Personally,  I could connect with so many points described in this book. Many women my age can as well. 

This book covers many aspects of society and how women are treated today. I strongly suggest any avid reader, young adult women and or men read this book and get a grand view of how women as a whole feel, and what men should think about the next time they commit such neurotic acts on women.

Kaur is a poet who some might despise, while others worship the ground she walks on. She is a poet who is not for everyone, due to her erotic writing style, and the bluntness of what she talks about throughout all of her works. The thing that I did notice is that if you are an avid reader, like I am, you’ve come across a lot of similar poets, and sometimes originality can fall short of those. Some people might think she is inappropriate due to her lack of sugar coating and her authenticity in what she writes. 

This book may or may not be suitable for younger readers under the age of 16, as their brains are still developing and they are not fully sure what the meanings in the book are. The book also contains graphic illustrations to describe the poem and what she feels as she is writing the poems, so those images may not be suitable for the eyes of young teens. 

I love Rupi’s style of writing, as it is so relevant in today’s society, while helping and healing those who feel that they are not heard. She points out that women are not alone, and that we all stand together in whatever we go through. 

That truly is the message that should be getting passed around to everyone, no matter if you are a man or a female. She has other books such as “Milk and Honey” that actually connect to the soul while being a tad bit more appropriate for young readers. 

I would suggest you take part of your day to read a small section of this book or sample to get the realization or Kaur. 

I would rate “The Sun and Her Flowers” a 9.5 out of 10. 

Disney Studios ruining good franchises with greed

By Kendall Rainer

Disney Studios holds the largest film franchise on the planet and is still growing, with new stakes in entertainment companies arising every year.  

The familiar family-friendly company has made its mark with some of the most profitable movies that have hit the silver screen. However, they are steadily ruining some fan-favorite film series. 

Disney purchased Lucas Films in 2012, which subsequently gave them the rights to the “Star Wars” franchise. Shortly after the purchase, Disney Studios began production of the first installment of a sequel trilogy set to take place after “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.” Star-wars-9-plot-reveals-guerilla-war-1013044

In December 2015, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was released. The film grossed more than $245 million on opening weekend. That figure makes it sound like it was a big hit. However, the film was lackluster in both story and the overall action that fans have come to expect from a “Star Wars” film. Although the visual effects were quite stunning and done well, there was still something missing that didn’t quite make it feel like a “Star Wars” film.

Disney continued to produce “Star Wars” Universe films such as “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in December 2016, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” in December 2017, and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” in May 2018. All of these movies hit it big on opening weekend but seemed to be missing a lot of the traditional “Star Wars” feel that came with the original six movies.  

Since Disney has taken over the “Star Wars” film franchise, the films have suffered. If George Lucas had not sold his company, “Star Wars” films would be significantly better. The fan base of the films would be growing continuously instead of shrinking as it has been since the release of the first “Star Wars” film Disney produced. 

Lucas Films isn’t the only film franchise Disney has ties with. Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and has helped Marvel produce the most successful film series to hit the big screen, grossing more than $18 billion worldwide. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has 28 films in the series. Some of the highest-grossing films from the series include: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (July 2014), “Doctor Strange” (October 2016), “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2” (April 2017), “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (April 2017), “Thor: Ragnarok” (October 2017), “Black Panther” (February 2018), “Avengers: Infinity War” (April 2018), “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (July 2018), “Captain Marvel” (March 2019), “Avengers: Endgame” (April 2019), and “Spider-Man: Far from Home” (July 2019). cover

However, Disney did not ruin any of these films. They were actually a huge success. The film that began to round out phase three of the MCU, “Avengers: Endgame,” was one of the most highly anticipated films of the year and grossed $1.2 billion worldwide on opening weekend, breaking the record for highest-grossing opening weekend film. 

The following film, “Spiderman: Far From Home,” completed phase three and was a pivotal part of the MCU linking the past 10 years of films with what comes next in the MCU, phase four. 

However, Disney’s destruction of the MCU came after “Spiderman: Far From Home.” Everyone’s favorite “Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman” will no longer be a part of the Marvel Universe, as Disney burned their bridges, at least for now, with Sony Pictures, which owns the rights to the Spiderman films.

The reason for the two cutting ties is the fact that Sony did not agree with Disney’s proposition to increase the financing of the Spiderman films, with Disney receiving 50 percent of the profit from the films. Sony was also disappointed in Disney’s proposal to scale down Marvel President Kevin Feige’s involvement in the films. 

Feige has produced all of the films within the MCU and acted as an executive producer in the Spiderman films within phase three.  

The split, for which Disney was largely to blame, has ruined the future of the MCU, as Spiderman plays a crucial role in phase four and is a favorite character in the Marvel films.

Phase four will still continue to be produced and will garner some amazing movies and television shows. However, Marvel will have a hard time trying to write out Spiderman from the plans. Subsequently, some films may suffer. 

Unleash shinobi warrior justice in ‘Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice”

A bloodied shinobi warrior is struck down, stabbed to death by a group of Ashina clan soldiers.

As the shinobi lays dead in the street, the Ashina turn their backs from the bloody mess. The shinobi rises to his feet, ready to finish his fight by executing the Ashina warriors.

“Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is FromSoftware’s new action-adventure game. It features historical parallels with a re-invented 16th-century, Sengoku-period Japan.

Sekiro_04The game’s high-skill ceiling is synonymous with FromSoftware’s other games, such as “Bloodborne” and the “Dark Souls” series, that has triggered countless controversial online discussions about difficulty in video games. Some people claim that game difficulty is an “accessibility” issue.

“Sekiro” had more than 108,000 concurrent players on the “Steam” gaming platform on release day, making it the most popular game launched between January and March 2019. Within 10 days of its release, more than 2 million copies of the game were sold Sekiro-Shadows-Die-Twice (1)world-wide.

“Sekiro” is the first game I’ve played by “FromSoftware.” The “try and try again” idea has never appealed to me until now. The difficulty of “Sekiro” is refreshing. I enjoy a challenge, and it has been a while since I have experienced one. Most games that are being released lately are impossible to lose at. “Sekiro” may not feature a “Game Over” screen, but some might say certain areas of the game are exceedingly difficult, making some players feel stuck.

The mechanics are fluid. The game emphasizes sword play that shadows every game before it that has attempted this. While playing as Wolf, a young prince’s shinobi bodyguard and the main protagonist in the story, the player is given options for how to encounter and execute every fight. Players have options to stealth, distract, flee, or fight, or even combine these tactics to make challenging encounters conquerable.

To avoid spoilers, I will not explain much of the plot. Every event for as far as I’ve gotten in the game (near the end of Ashina Castle) seems to be very significant. The basis of the story seems to revolve around the kidnapping of the young prince who Wolf is taskedDmusKlqUYAAgwoZ.0 with protecting. There are secrets about Wolf’s heritage that get uncovered later, such as why he is able to resurrect after death, and the effects that his resurrections have on his body and on others around him.

I have loved every hour I’ve spent in “Sekiro” so far. The frustrations and challenges that the game presents are not staggering enough to dissuade me from moving forward. I admit that I am tempted to look up guides every once in a while. But the temptation is often curbed when I actually find the answer to something significant on my own.

“Sekiro” is an absolute pleasure of a video game. Every respectable gamer should include “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” on their bucket list of games to beat. I give “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” a nine out of 10.

Experience provocative universes in ‘Love, Death, & Robots’

In a world where a bowl of yogurt takes control of the United States government and charges its leaders with fixing the economy via a strict, but perfect plan, the only fallacy, as it is in real life, is human greed.

“Love, Death & Robots” (or “LDR”) is a collection of animated short stories that reach into different genres such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comedy. Each episode debuts its own art style, actors, and universe, which kept me at the edge of my seat for witness2every episode.

The first episode in the Netflix series, “Sonnies Edge,” is a sci-fi, cyberpunk action episode where a female gladiatorial protagonist takes control of an alien to fight in what seems to be an underground arena for sport and money. “Sonnies Edge” is also a story about vengeance and strength. The visuals are stunning, with an incredible amount of attention to detail. Each character and monster has its own unique style that clearly sets them apart from the rest.

In the second episode, “Three Robots,” there are three sentient, deadpan robots exploring post-apocalyptic Earth trying to learn more about how the humans lived while on a vacation. Each robot has their own personality, and the humor between them is dark, unattached, and inquisitive. The truth about the end of the world is hilarious and plausible.

From the first episode, “LDR” makes it very clear that some of the episodes are going to be very risqué. The third episode, “The Witness,” is a complete mind-bender that tells the story of an exotic dancer who witnesses a murder. The entire episode is a thrilling chase through a city with lots of blood, nudity, with an intense twist at the end.

The rest of the episodes include anything from stories of Dracula, how Yogurt came to rule Earth, alternate histories where Adolph Hitler died at a younger age, mech suits, cyborgs, and an immortal robot artist searching for the most beautiful thing imaginable. By the end of the show, expect to have seen full frontal nudity of male, female, and infernal bodies alike, and copious amounts of blood, red or otherwise.

Episodes range from 6 to 17 minutes. You can watch a handful of episodes in the time it takes to watch the new “Game of Thrones” (Who wants to pay for HBOgo anyway?), and there is so much more to enjoy.

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Some episodes are adaptations of popular stories such as a rendition of “127 Hours,” titled “Helping Hand.”

The show sports different directors and artists for most works, and differ greatly from one another. The two Alastair Reynolds adaptations, “Zima Blue” and “Beyond the Aquila Rift,” are both solid sci-fi stories. With good twists and beautifully-realized plots, both of these episodes rank among my favorites in the series.

“Love Death & Robots” is the quintessential series to watch in 2019. It’s raunchy, beautiful, intense, scary, and filled to the brim with strong messages that relate to the world around us.  I give “Love, Death & Robots” a nine out of 10.

Anitta impresses with trilingual album

Looking to build a successful career internationally, Anitta is bringing a new trilingual album to the world.

Larissa de Macedo Machado, better known as Anitta, is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and businesswoman. After building a strong, big national career in Brazil, Anitta started promoting herself internationally in 2017. Now she is having more success in Latin America and parts of the United States as she brings an album full of diversity in rhythm and languages.

rs_300x300-160805202343-600.Caetano-Veloso-Anitta-Gilberto-Gil-olympic-rio.tt.080516“Kisses” is the newest album Anitta brings to her fans. It features all the different versions of Anitta and her different personalities. The album, released on April 5, contains 10 songs followed by 10 videos. It is a shocking marketing move by the singer. The switching of languages between Portuguese, Spanish and English during the songs definitely calls a lot of attention and teaches a couple words to those listening.

“Atención” (Attention) is the first song on the album that is in Spanish. This music brings a version of Anitta as a strong, independent woman with a lot of attitude who is not afraid to do what she wants and believes in the empowerment of women

“Banana,” the second track of the album, is a more funny and dancing song in English and Spanish, featuring Becky G. With a really playful beat, the music makes you stand up and move.

To represent her Brazilian funk roots, Anitta brings the song “Onde Different” (Differente Wave), with participation from Snoop Dogg, Ludmilla and Papatinho. The funk beat mixed with American Rap turns into a very fast dancing song with such great party vibes.

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The same can be found in the song “Sin Miedo” (No fear), which features Dj Luian and Mambo. It shows a more impulsive version of Anitta, someone who is not afraid of the consequences her actions can bring.

The tracks “Poquito” (Little Bit), “Tu y Yo” (You and I), and “Rosa” (Rose) are more romantic songs. They are slow dance songs that bring a young idea of love. The Anittas in those songs are more mysterious, a woman who knows how to use her ingenuity as her invisible weapon in the seduction game.

The last song on the album is definitely one of the most interesting on the album. “Você Mentiu” (You Lied) is the representation of the MPB (Brazilian Popular Music), with the incredible voice of Caetano Veloso. The slow song talks about the disappointment of Anitta with inhuman attitudes and her hopes of living in a better world. It is definitely a very sweet melody, which makes the song an amazing way to close such a diverse album with a lot of information.

As someone who has followed Anitta’s career since the beginning, I believe this new album brings her closer to her fans, and she nails it on that.

The album leads you through happy and dancing songs to explore the seduction and corporal beauty presented in each person. It also brings more human and sentimental music that will make you remember an old story or an old love.

I give “Kisses” a 9 out of 10.

‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ adds depth of minor characters

Having to choose between her two worlds, Sabrina Spellman stands her ground against the Dark Lord in the second part  of  the Netflix original “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”

In part 2, Sabrina is devoting herself to her studies at the Academy of Unseen Arts, after signing her name in the Book of the Beast. Despite the dismay of Father Blackwood, played by Richard Coyle, she remains eager to do things her way. Challenging the status quo of how things are done at the Academy, or as she sees how they should be done, Sabrina is more powerful and self-assured than she has been before. So she is seen as a threat by the patriarchal forces that control her world.

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The episodes pick up right where they left off at the end of Part 1, with Sabrina trying to take down the Dark Lord from inside the Church of Night. It does not go particularly well, however. Part 2 also picks up with her power and popularity increasing, while her mortal friends have really complicated, mostly negative, feelings toward her.

This season, the writers and directors have added depth to characters who were previously almost one dimensional. Cousin Ambrose, played by Chance Perdomo, benefits the most from this, getting a tragic story arc that compels him to reveal what it is that he truly wants in the process. Madame Satan, played by Michelle Gomez, Harvey, played by Ross Lynch, Roz, played by Jaz Sinclair, and Susie, played by Lachlan Watson are also granted a newfound multi-dimensionality that catapults them into the narrative spotlight and forces viewers to recalibrate their perspectives on who these individuals are.

With Sabrina’s life getting increasingly dark as she learns more about the Path of Night, she still finds time to try to be an ordinary teen. Harvey, Sabrina’s ex-boyfriend, is still reeling from finding out that not only is his girlfriend a witch, she used her abilities to resurrect her dead brother. That wasn’t outweighed by that fact the she also helped his father stop drinking via a magic potion. While he understandably needs some space, he sees a potential love interest in Roz, who is one of Sabrina’s closest friends.

Sabrina has also moved on with a warlock, Nicholas Scratch, played by Gavin Leatherwood. But can a young warlock truly be as honorable and trustworthy as Nick in a society where men worship the Father of Lies?

Sabrina learns some hard truths in part 2 of the series about who to trust and how to stand up for herself despite her worries.

Part 2 takes the good parts of part 1 and adds more depth to characters and a better story arc. The show has amazing visuals throughout both parts. It also has actors who are amazing at portraying their characters with emotional depth, which keeps viewers invested.

I give part 2 of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” a nine out of 10.

‘La Llorona’ modern retelling of Latin folklore

A cursed family is face to face with an evil entity. A widowed mother will do anything to protect her children from this force and remove the woman from her house.

She will be faced with many obstacles as she tries to overcome this paranormal situation.

MV5BMTkxODk1MTM3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDUxNzg0NzM@._V1_“La Llorona,” Curse of the Weeping Woman, recently was released to theatres as the latest addition to the conjuring series.

This twisted spin on an old-fashioned ghost story is made Hollywood-style.

This movie brings to life the curse of the weeping woman, an ancient Mexican ghost story.

There are many versions of “La Llorona,” but the key parts of the story are how a beautiful woman who is heartbroken by her husband after he leaves her with two children goes into a jealousy rage, wanting to take something away from the man who left her.

In her range of anger and jealousy, she drowns her two children in the nearby river. After her children are dead and her anger rage is over, she then realizes the damage she has done and is consumed with guilt. She becomes known as the weeping woman who eventually dies in the same waters as her children.

Her tortured soul wanders the rivers and different bodies of water, crying for her children and taking any children that come in her path or hear her cry.

This story has been passed down to many families and is a well-known story around the river cities of south Texas. Its purpose is to keep young children away from the river, and to make children obey their parents, or “La Llorana” is waiting around for you and will drown you.

In this movie, Linda Cardellini plays working widowed mother Anna Garcia, who has two children. She is a social worker and has been struggling with the death of her the-curse-of-la-lloronahusband as she is trying to do the best she can for her family.

The curse is introduced in the film with flashbacks about the old ghost story of the deadly weeping woman who wears a white dress. Anna is working on a case where she becomes introduced to the words she doesn’t understand but will soon become her reality.

While Anna was working on a case with a mother who has been in hiding with her children, she yells, “it’s La llorona” at Anna. At the time, she doesn’t understand what this means. But she will find out once her children become the new target of this evil spirit who drowns children. Anna will be face to face with “La llorona.”

Searching for help to get rid of this curse, she turns to Raymond Cruz, who plays a curandero, Spanish for a healer, who heals in traditional native ways, like a shaman. His decision to help this family will help Anna’s family fight against the aggressive evil woman who wants the two young children.

I actually enjoyed this movie. I’ve heard many different versions of this ghost story, and being able to see it in theaters was pretty cool. I liked the story line.  It was interesting how the old Mexican ghost story became a Hollywood movie.

I liked how this scary movie attempted to tie in Mexican traditions with the curandero. That was a nice touch. I enjoyed the jump scares and even screamed once or twice. I rate this film a 9 out of 10.

‘Unplanned’ tackles ethical issues with true story

by DEBRA MONTANDON

One of the youngest directors of Planned Parenthood, Abby Johnson was a part of more than 22,000 abortions, and she counseled women on their choices.

Abby’s deep conviction for a woman’s choice led her to speak out for Planned Parenthood. She also fought for legislation for something she deeply cared about. Then one day she saw something that made her change her mind.

“My story isn’t an easy one to hear,” Johnson said at the beginning of the movie, “Unplanned.” I think I probably ought to warn you of that up front.”

It was released April 4 and sold out more than the Marvel movie.

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This is a true story done in the form of a documentary showing how Abby used to be a director for Planned Parenthood for many years. This movie is not an easy one to watch. It does makes you look at views on abortion and rethink the whole thing.

This story starts out with Abby at college at Texas A&M University. She was from a little town, but that did not stop her from being a “small-town super achiever,” as Abby calls herself.

When she started college, she soon became the “party girl.” When she found herself pregnant and tells her boyfriend, he is quick to suggest that she abort it.

Abby does not want her parents to find out that she had sex and got pregnant. She quickly gets a new credit card and was able to pay the $500 for the abortion. She also decides to marry Mark.

When Mark cheats on her, Abby gets a divorce. While the divorce is going on, Abby finds out she is pregnant once again. But this time she gets the RU-486, the “morning after” pill.

When Abby is at a job fair during her junior year at college, she meets a woman who is with Planned Parenthood.

Scn-146-13-resized“It’s hard to believe that there are still people who want to tell us what we can and can’t do with our body,” Abby says in the movie.

This led the woman to ask Abby if she would like to help out by volunteering at the clinic.

“I left the campus that day as a proud champion of women in crisis,” says Abby.

Little did she know where this volunteering would lead her. At one point, Abby says, “Never trust a choice you make you don’t want your Mom to find out about.”

She was offered the directorship of Planned Parenthood, and she accepted it. Her family is not happy with her job choice, nor is her second husband, Doug.

But Abby is convicted that she is helping women who are in a crisis pregnancy. That is, until she is asked to help with an abortion. She had worked almost eight years without ever helping with one before. What she saw on the ultrasound changed her heart.

In the beginning of the movie, there is a scene with Abby, involving a question she is asked a lot. Were you really that “gullible, foolish and naïve” in reference to Planned Parenthood’s view on abortion? Her reply is a simple, “Yes.” She believed that the tiny fetus is just a blob that doesn’t feel anything.

Abby’s parents and husband are members of the Coalition for Life. They pray that Abby will change her mind. They talked to her about It, but they never push in a bad way. Patience and kindness are felt as Abby changes her mind.

“Planned Parenthood’s own statistics show that if someone’s praying out there, it (the abortion appointment no-show rate) can go as high as 75 percent,” Abby says.

As much as I would like to tell you more about the film, I hope that you will see it for yourself. I rate it a 10 out of 10.

Students showcase talent in ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’

by DEBRA MONTANDON

If you ever feel down and out, you aren’t alone. Just watch Charlie Brown.

Students in the South Plains College Theater program presented “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” on March 28-March 31 in the Helen Devitt Jones Theater on the Levelland Campus.

55698477_2586188038076972_6859128050919931904_nThe opening of the play has each character describing some of Charlie Brown’s previous failures, before they sang “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

In the next skit, Charlie Brown points out his flaws that he sees in himself. Justin Fraley from Hobbs, New Mexico, did a remarkable job of portraying Charlie Brown. Even when he sings, you can hear as if Charlie Brown is doing the singing himself.

Throughout the play, you do feel bad for Charlie Brown because bad things just happen to him a lot. He even asks at one point, “When do good things start?”

In another scene, Charlie Brown notices the little red head sitting alone, but he doesn’t have the guts to go and sit with her. He refers to himself as a coward.

“Lunch time is one of the worse times for me,” said Charlie Brown.

The vocal talent in this play was impressive, and they harmonized very well. They also were supported by a small orchestra of five musicians, under the direction of Dr. Debbie Gelber

Each of the actors did a super job of portraying the characters. Dalynn Beck, from Vera, 55462936_2586189104743532_3029532504529829888_nplayed the part of Sally. A sophomore at SPC, Beck said that that she loves stepping into the shoes of a character and seeing things from their perspective.”  She would like to be on Broadway one day and plans on a career in acting.   

Christina Johnson played the role of Snoopy. A freshman at SPC, Johnson said that she loves acting because “you can create a new world,” and she also hopes to make it a career.

Schroeder was played by Brendyn Rodriguez, who is in his first semester at SPC. He was influenced to come to SPC by the theater program. Rodriguez, who was in One Act plays while in high school in Brownfield, says he enjoys acting because you “get to be someone else.” He added that he loves performing for an audience and making them think he is someone else. He does not plan a career in acting, but would like to teach drama.

Joel Palma played the role of Linus. A sophomore at SPC, Palma was a part of several plays in high school in Denver City. He said he likes to “escape from reality and concentrate on the character.” He plans a career in acting.

“It was a great experience working with this cast,” Palma added. “It was awkward at first, but we became a family in the end.”

Tiffany Martinez, from Lubbock, played the role of Lucy.

Serving as the director for the play was Dr. Dan K. Nazworth, chairperson of the Fine Arts Department at SPC.

He says that he picked “Charlie Brown” because he knew he wanted to do a musical this 55949843_2586178954744547_6038206968538071040_nsemester and the cast size would fit. Dr. Gelber, who served as music director, also liked it.

Rehearsals started the first week of the spring semester, and students had to audition for their roles.

Dr. Nazworth first gathered the students around a piano so he could find out who could sing. Then he gave them a script to listen to them read, before he and Dr. Gelber figured out who should get each part.

“Theater is a factory, not just an art form,” said Dr. Nazworth.

The orchestra was directed by Dr. Debbie Gelber, who also played the keyboard. Sesha Wallace played the woodwinds, with Robert Meinecke on violin. Dustin Pedigo played the Bass, and Dr. Al Gardner played percussion.

I was pleasantly surprised by the small number who made up the orchestra, as they did an amazing job throughout the performance.

Assisting with the production were: Kelly Duval, who served as stage manager; Kodee Scott, who assisted with sound; Tracie Boyd, who assisted with lights; and Kennedy Walling, who assisted with the Box Office.

New ‘Dumbo’ movie revives Disney classic

“The amazing Dumbo” are words that echo as the circus conductor introduces the newest act, a baby elephant standing on top of a ladder high above the crowd shaking nervously while looking down.

The crowd will soon discover how talented Dumbo really is.

6864-11704-Dumbo“Dumbo,” a film by Tim Burton, was released on March 29. The live action film, based on the original 1941 “Dumbo” animated movie, opens with the same classic circus train song as the original, which was a lovely touch to introduce the opening scene. As the music is playing while the train whistle is blowing, the audience is reeled into the setting of the movie.

The spin on the film is interesting, as it focuses on the circus business and the hardships that can come with it. The movie introduces a family who is in charge of the elephant pen. The family has been through losses and depends on the circus as a way of living.

The film has an amazing list of actors, such as Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton and Eva Green. Danny DeVito plays the circus conductor, Medici, who manages the circus. He buys an elephant that is pregnant and will deliver him just in time to attract people for his circus. He is depending on it.

The family working with the elephant falls in love with the baby elephant that is born with an interesting feature. The circus conductor stresses how important he needs the baby elephant to be perfect and be out on display as an attraction.

This film brings together a family who has suffered through hardships and are brought together by the amazing Dumbo, who was stripped away from his mother to perform with a special talent that will be discovered.

Dumbo’s innocent character and personality are captured throughout this movie.

He doesn’t speak, but his actions speak for him. He opens up to the children who are partDumbo.jpg of the family working with the elephants. Dumbo earns his keep at the circus when the kids discover exactly how unique the elephant really is.

The family is put in an extremely stressful situation when Dumbo’s act for the circus will determine if the business will survive. The combination of characters and what they believe in is expressed in this film. The ideas expressed in this movie are very heartfelt and relatable.

There are also new and exciting scenes in this live action film that bring importance to topics relevant for this time. The characters bring out the family ideas in this movie, and it shows because this film focuses on embracing your differences and owning who you really are. No matter how different someone might look, people are brought together in this film. It shows all kinds of people being kind and supportive to one another.

“Dumbo” is a great movie to watch with your family, as it is a movie for all ages. I went to see “Dumbo” with my family. I enjoyed the live action remake of the original Disney movie.

This film had emotional scenes and eye-catching special effects. I rate this movie an 8 out of 10. This movie was really interesting to watch, and the story line was great.