• Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Review

    Posted by Angelica Dy on 1/11/2019 7:30:00 AM

    When I saw memes on Twitter about Netflix’s latest addition, ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’, I knew I had to check it out. I wasn’t very familiar with the show ‘Black Mirror’ even though Netflix recommended me it. On Wednesday night, I decided to turn on my XBOX 1 and click on Netflix to start up my adventure. I read the plot synopsis and it said,” A young programmer starts to question reality when he adapts a mad writer’s fantasy novel into a video game.” The plot was interesting, so I decided to give it my all and sit through an hour and a half for this movie.


    ‘Bandersnatch’ is an interactive film where you choose the options on how you want it to go. It’s quite like games such as ‘Detroit: Become Human’ and ‘Doki Doki Literature Club!’ I found this new feature from Netflix to be intriguing because in some cases, we want to choose things for the character instead. It ranges from simple life choices such as choosing what to listen to and breakfast options to extreme choices such as destroying the computer and or committing a crime. The choices you make will affect the outcome of the movie, and progressively get harder to make as well.


    I really liked the whole “choose your own adventure” concept ‘Bandersnatch’ portrayed. It reminds me of this game I have on my phone called ‘Episode.’ However, most stories on there have a set ending while ‘Bandersnatch’ is a different story. For example, while I was going along with ‘Bandersnatch’, whenever it was time to make a choice, my controller would vibrate, and I had to choose the best option available under 10 seconds. Sometimes I would get options that seem to be beneficial to the protagonist, Stefan, but I would get a scene with two TVs next to each other indicating that I took “the wrong path,” which made me frustrated at some point.


    As I went back multiple times to choose different options, I noticed a pattern. After a few choices, you would pull up to a scene (spoiler alert) with two game reviewers and their take on the game, ‘Bandersnatch.’ If they didn’t like it then you would have to redo the previous scene. I, personally, had to redo my choices for about 4 or 5 times. This kind of made me think about what choices I had to make so Stefan’s creation of the game was appeasing to the reviewers. My choices ended up giving him a review of 0 out of 5 stars, 2.5 out of 5 stars, then 5 out of 5 stars.


    I got to explore many options throughout my adventure of “controlling” Stefan. I got to see why he visits a therapist. His relationship with his dad. As well as his childhood. I felt I did help the story progress in little bits.


    Yet, my choices that led him to the perfect score resulted in to him to being arrested for murder. Initially, I wanted Stefan to make moral and clean choices but when it came down to the downfall of one of my options, I had to go on the dark side. But this movie is a production from Black Mirror so I shouldn’t expect a happy-go-lucky option in the first place.


    Overall, I enjoyed the various aspects of the movie. The loose plot yet still centered at the concept of Stefan’s awakening of the reality he’s currently in. Colin, who also acknowledges the viewer controlling them and the redo that Stefan makes in the beginning of my journey. The creator of the movie making choices that makes me question myself,” Did I choose the better option?” As well as the little promotion Netflix put themselves as one of the options and the out of the ordinary fighting scene (spoiler alert, again).


    I do enjoy the interactive direction of this movie. Although, I am concerned about how Netflix will be introducing it to other movies and or shows on their streaming service. The concept of interactive movies seems new to me, but the idea of interaction is not. I see the impression of it already placed in video games and in real life as well. Will this be the new big thing that Netflix has to offer or not? That’s my only worry about ‘Bandersnatch.’

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  • 'Dumplin'' Review

    Posted by Ar'riel Caguimbal on 12/19/2018 8:00:00 AM

    Netflix is becoming the ultimate streaming service releasing movies and T.V. shows that are exclusive to Netflix. Netflix releases specials for anyone who is looking for something new to delve into and possibly binge watch.


    Over the weekend, Netflix had released a new Netflix special called Dumplin’. Directed by Anne Fletcher, Dumplin’, is a movie that will have your emotions all over the place. Make sure you have a tissue box accessible but also get ready to be doubled over laughing. This movie revolves around Dolly Parton who is the inspiration for the plot. Dumplin’ is a very cute country inspired movie with above average acting and dialogue sequence. The movie is rated PG-13 for some brief foul language but nothing that is too vulgar.


    Main character Willowdean Dickson (Danielle MacDonald) enters a local pageant in Texas that is run by her ex-beauty queen mother Rosie Dickson (Jennifer Anniston) to show and prove a point to her mother that anybody can join a pageant no matter what you look like. Willowdean has a love interest whose name is Bo (Luke Benward) who helps Willowdean become more confident with herself.


    Over the course of the story of Dumplin’, we see that Willowdean vies for her mother’s attention after a close family member has passed away. Willowdean, who also is known as Will, has an estranged relationship with her mother since she was never around because beauty pageants seemed more important than her daughter. To get back at her mother, she joins the local pageant that her mother is putting together along with some friends to try to ruin it. As the plot thickens, we see that Will starts losing people that she has been close with her whole life because she is so determined to ruin the pageant. Towards the middle of the movie, we start seeing Will wanting to win the pageant and she gains back the people that she had lost.


    Dumplin’ is a good break from typical chick flics and adds a new freshness to the movie scene. I personally really enjoyed the movie because it had a good message, but it was something I had not seen before. I highly suggest anyone looking for a new movie to watch, to watch this one. The acting was not too cheesy, and the plot had unexpected twists and turns that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. “Perfection is nothing more than a phantom shadow we’re all chasing,” is just one inspirational quote pulled from the movie. This gives some insight into the vibe of the movie.

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  • 'A Night at The Opera' Review

    Posted by Nicholas Monroe on 12/18/2018 9:00:00 AM

       A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock band, Queen, released on November 21, 1975 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen. Although Queens previous album, Sheer Heart Attack, had had two hits, reached number one in the UK and even gone gold in the US it's a testament that EMI were prepared to let them then create what was, at the time, the most expensive album ever made, A Night at The Opera.


         The aforementioned, Sheer Heart Attack, had seen their patent methodology of multi-layered recording producing a lush and yes, operatic, ambiance produce something that had never been heard before. Combining these bits of Freddie Mercury and the bands vocals (both Brian May and Roger Taylor's Zeppeline-esque drums had crossed the pop/rock divide with ease. This was a band with ambition in spades. Sheer Heart Attack had hinted at working knowledge of 19th century parlour balladry, 20s ragtime and Jimi Hendrix. A Night at The Opera was to add opera, trad jazz, heavy metal and more to the mix.


         Opening with a thinly veiled attack on their previous manager, “Death on Two Legs” the album then careens through a gamut of styles. With the writing divided fairly equally between Mercury and may it veers between high camp and west coast rock. Mays “the prophet's song” serves up a slice of high concept sci-fi but overall the album was constructed very well and is very diverse and lyrical as well as instrument heavy, great album for the all-aroundA music listener who doesn't discriminate between music genres.

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  • Band MPA Review

    Posted by Mia McNeil on 12/17/2018 8:00:00 AM

    On Saturday Nov.3 at Fernandina Beach High School, First Coast High School ranked ‘Superior’ in this year’s Music Performance Assessment, MPA, the “equivalent to the Florida Standardized Assessment”, as the Instructor would say.


    The First Coast Marching Band performed along with many other Duval County high school marching bands to a panel of judges that categorized their visual/ appearance and musical ability. Visual appearance was determined by sharpness, cleanliness, and organization. Musical ability was based off balance, tone production and clarity.


    Ranks were based off five titles: Superior, A; Excellence, B; Good, C; Fair, D; Poor, F.


    Instructor of the jazz, symphonic and marching band, Kenneth Solomon and his composed marching band managed to break a six-year streak of ‘Excellences’ and win a title that hasn’t been won since 2002 for First Coast High School.


    Solomon explained, notable differences on how he made the improvement to a higher honor. One was implementing an attitude with a relaxed perspective on the scoring and more emphasis on the enjoyment and hard work of the sport. “I just told them to have fun and that we’re going to do it our own way”, says Solomon.


    Solomon also studied the effective ways previous bands have received a ‘Superior’ and listened to the equality in sounds from each group of instruments. “I would look up high school marching band performances and listen to the rhythmic balance of the sounds that come from them”, said Solomon. Solomon noted that this year, one goal was not to assume loudness equaled the level of energy projected, but to come to a sound that balanced each musical section part.


    Flag dancers were also a part of his concept, he wanted the First Coast Band dancers to draw inspiration from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, FAMU, along with a mixture of the Bethune Cookman University Band dancers.


    “The dancers never let me down, it’s like we’re all connected with one brain, they understand my vision”, says Solomon.


    Aside from the differences he implemented from past years, he also continued to emphasize on the value of their hard work. “Yeah they got tired of playing…but their motivation came through when it was time to preform…they were so excited when they heard their score…”, says Solomon.


    Practice for MPA started in mid-July (one week earlier for 13 students practicing at FAMU) and didn’t stop till August.


    Continual practice occurred in the classroom, afterschool, as well as at the high school football games.


    Although, the band proved their skill and ranked ‘Superior’ in the district, Solomon claimed the marching band was having troublesome efforts near the final day. “We faced so much adversity the past two weeks before our performance”, Solomon said. Prior to the engagement, two members of the band were in a car accident and couldn’t preform. He also explained that a select number of students didn’t show up to the event. But despite it all, the marching band prevailed.


    Solomon explained, that a lack of gradual effort slowly weighed on past generations due to racial tension and a lack of recognition from band MPA officials.


    Solomon makes it known that although it takes hard work and dedication to succeed in being in one of his bands, he welcomes students ranging from 9-12th grade who show an interest in music. From an early age, he attributed musical talent that continually reflects onto his students. He has created all of the music performed in this year’s event and the past six years for MPA.


    With tactics employed this year and new one’s next school year, First Coast Marching Band plans on succeeding with another ‘Superior’. 

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  • Christmas Chronicle Review

    Posted by Keaira Wright on 12/13/2018 8:30:00 AM

    The Christmas Chronicles, a Netflix Christmas original, is a family film released just in time for the holidays. The filmmaker, Chris Columbus, is also the creator of the famous films Harry Potter, Home Alone, and Pixels so it would be unlikely to disappoint. This Netflix original movie consists of Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) being nice with a little twist of naughty as well.   


    The set of siblings Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis), are having a hard time finding their spirit of Christmas after a family tragedy the previous year. Teddy and Kate decide to work together to catch Santa in the act of giving presents. When they find him, they sneak aboard Santa’s sleigh, at which point the night begins to go horribly wrong.


    The two siblings cause all the toys and even Santa’s hat to fall out of the sleigh, and they even end up crashing the sleigh. Santa, Kate, and Teddy then have to work together to find the missing toys and hat before sunrise or the world may lose its Christmas spirit. Of course, the retrieval is not easy as all the reindeer have come undone from the sleigh as well. 


    Columbus did an outstanding job on the movie. Families will enjoy the movie because of the slight naughtiness that Russell adds to his portrayal of Santa, which creates a more interesting Christmas movie. Christmas Chronicles will get the kids excited as well with the animation of the reindeer and some of the fun action scenes. The movie also includes appearances by Santa's helpers the elves and even a "special guest appearance" by Mrs. Claus, in addition to many others which makes this movie a new Christmas classic.


    If you are looking for a new Christmas movie to watch, this is the movie for you. You can kick back and relax with your loved ones and even enjoy some laughs as well.  

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