Movies of 2010-2011

by Shakeel Madhav

1. The Commendable- True Grit: True Grit is a story that is truly as memorable as the original John Wayne classic of years past. True Grit’s strengths rely on that element in itself; the grit, or realism. Hailee Steinfeld, the primary protagonist who is on a mission to kill her father’s murderer, brings a surprisingly in depth and believable performance, pulling off the self-taught maiden archetype without going overboard to the point where she becomes unlikable. Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon’s characters serve as ideal foils of one another, as a lawless official drunk and aged past his time in contrast to a young, disciplined ranger who wishes to fulfill the best wishes of the law. Speaking of realism, the story manages to waver away from common clichés and in turn places the protagonists in situations that are suspenseful as they are believable. The Coen Brothers, makers of action films like No Country for Old Men and comedic films such as Burn After Reading manage to bring all that they’ve learned to the table, and in the end, we get a rich, satisfying film that leaves us begging for more.

2. The Generic- Skyline: Surely there must have been some meeting of directors that I wasn’t informed of where they saw reruns of Independence Day, because it feels like every director and his brother is making an invasion film; Invasion Los Angeles, Monsters, Transformers 3, it’s just a wave of popcorn films that is creating a blurred effect of generic films, each as forgettable as the next, with Skyline being the threshold of forgettable films. Skyline is an independent film shot in the big-budgeted Hollywood style, primarily about your typical run-of-the-mill protagonists that spend their time opening and closing blinds for a living. However, when If it wasn’t obvious by my tone, the good guys offer no stance of morality or anything of that manner to draw the audience in and I felt indifference to whether or not they got out alive or not, a trait absolutely essential to any effect-heavy alien invasion film. You know you dun’ goofed when a giant alien behemoth crushes the protagonist’s car flat, and you are more concerned about the stunt car’s condition than the actual characters.

3. The Unexpected- The Green Hornet: It was inevitable that many of the fans of the original that featured Bruce Lee would be antagonized when the archetypal neck beard Seth Rogen behind Superbad and Knocked Up would be chosen to attempt to mimic possibly the greatest fight choreography of all time. However, with famed Taiwanese musician and actor Jay Chou at his side, Seth manages to pull off the ambitious task in a likable manner with little fault. Speaking of the characters, both compliment each other quite well and the plot is built firmly around this relationship; a risky yet successful move. We can connect to the struggle of Britt Reid, a slacker that earnestly wants to impress the world but is patronized in the process. He finds himself in situations outside of his understanding or influence, similar to a child that wants to help out without the tools to do so. On the other hand, Kato is quite capable, being well versed in the best qualities of life; Muscle Cars, heavy weaponry, Kung Fu and tea. He feels just as imprisoned, but more along the lines of lack of place, rather than ability. Thus, each companion helps elevate the other, pr
oviding a diverse partnership rarely seen in cinematography. If only some of the other characters were as refined, then this film would have been truly great, but for what it is, The Green Hornet packs quite a sting.

4. Get this thing off me please it’s tearing at my flesh why did I even- Little Fockers: I never really did understand how the “Fock” the series has flourished as much as it has today; the entire series lies on the fact that Ben Stiller’s character is named Gaylord Focker. The films are entirely reliant on the hope that some immature kid in the audience will laugh at one of the films’ “hilarious jokes” and that will cause a chain reaction of laughter, consequently resulting in the trilogy becoming a listing of unfunny jokes. However, with Little Fockers, nobody laughed. There was no joy, no care, and with that the audience saw the true rotten core of the series, with a vapid plot that was parasitic in thought. Oh, and as soon as the inevitable next mutilation of Murphey’s Law that is the Fockers comes out, my suggestion: Stay the “fock” away, before I have to use that line again.

Modern Family

by Avery Bass
Staff Writer

What is your idea of a perfect family? Is it like the new show, ABC’s Modern Family? This show is a part of ABC’s Wednesday comedy block. It’s not about a animated fat guy who makes references to things that don’t relate to the story. Instead, it’s about a normal family in realistic situations. The families consist of eleven people and three households. In a past episode,Claire one of the mothers, played by Julie Bowen, challenged her three children to give up cellphones and other technology for as long as they could. This showed the technological dependency of our modern youth. The writers try to incorporate modern problems that families face into the plot. Families can expect an enjoyable and comedic way to examine what problems they may be facing. If you look at the show in a very critical and harsh point of view you may not find it pleasant. To enjoy this show, you have to approach with a open mind as it addresses topics like homosexuality, under age drug use and self confidence.

What is excellent about the show is the use of the actors. Sofia Vergara’s accent makes it hard to understand what she says and the writers are very good with playing on the idea of miscommunication. The child actors on Modern Family are also excellent. The relationships and troubles they have. Nolan Gould plays Luke and is the youngest of Claire’s children. His character has many funny lines. On the down side you may have to watch the show to get one laugh but it is still worth watching.

As an ABC show, Modern Family is appropriate for most people. Parents should judge whether their child should watch the show because of the topics the are present in some episodes. This is a funny show and I would recommend that readers watch it if they have not already.

Winter Wonderland Comes to ESHS

by Jack Li

A collaboration between our high school and the El Segundo Community Band has produced a sensational new event. Winter Wonderland will be bringing all the charm and excitement of winter right to our own high school. This event will be a festival that takes place on Saturday, December 2010 from 3-8 PM right in our south quad. Wonderland will be a bazaar that features a multitude of food booths, activities, and live music performed by our very own community band.

The ESCB is preparing a special repertoire of holiday music to perform for the event. The ensemble is led by Maestro Steven Allen Fox, a highly acclaimed composer and conductor. Winter Wonderland will be highlighted by a world premiere of ‘Tis The Season, a holiday program put together by Fox. Overall, it will be a unique festival and a musical experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

This event will raise money to support the high school band. Our school is receiving limited funding from Sacramento to support music and extracurricular programs. Our band program has no funding from the school and is completely supported by fundraising.

Winter Wonderland will be the biggest highlight of El Segundo’s holiday season. As a musical experience and as a festive celebration of the holidays, it promises a spectacular and exciting night that will support our music program. This festival will be fun for the whole family and can’t be missed.

The Best and Worst Films, June to November

by Shakeel Madhav
Staff Writer

The films released from summer through fall are considered the prime time in the movie making business. Here, viewers can watch the best and the worst, the most complex and the most insulting movies Hollywood has to offer. Each film selected has been chosen for their connotation in the season. They range from the unanimously loved to the unanimously despised, the underrated to the plain random. They go as follows:

1. The Favorite- Toy Story 3:
When was the last time you remember a great trilogy producing a fantastic third film? Jaws 3 was terrible. Jurassic Park III was terrible and the Matrix Revolutions was terrible. But once again, Pixar proves that they are first and foremost the exception with what I would honestly call the most dynamic film of the series. It moderately slips on the nostalgia goggles but it feels extraordinarily fresh simultaneously. Even the core plot and the fundamental themes are ideally separate from their predecessors, feasting rather on a charming revisit into the classic jail break genre and exploring the realm of growing up.

2. The Abomination- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
The plagues that have afflicted humankind read as follows; First, there was the Bubonic Plague. Then, there was influenza virus. And now there’s The Last Airbender. The adaptation of the story is akin to squeezing the Empire State Building into a 4 inch box. Only the exposition and anything that explains the dropped material remains, leaving the fan base and the newcomers detached from the characters, leaving an overall feeling of boredom and indifference. We do not get the chance to experience the emotions that the characters are feeling; but instead we have to be told so. When guy-that-reminds-me-of-Kamina falls in love with the water queen, we never actually see it, we are told by the narrator that “the two grew fond of each other rather quickly.” The action is overly choreographed and consists of boy band-esque posing, and overly elaborate breakdancing just for mundane tasks, so much that the whole film feels like a tai-chi routine. Speaking of action, it consists of the following: Fire person throws fireball, person throws up a shield. Fire person throws another fireball, same person throws up a shield. Fire person throws mega fireball, person falls off screen. Sounds like fun, right? The whole thing feels like the creators were “bending” it, and I don’t mean water bending either.

3. The Belittled- Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World:
Considering both this and The Expendables came out near the same time, it is actually ironic considering how similar both premises are. Both are loud action movies that liberally used crazy scenes filled with shenanigans for the sake of having crazy scenes filled with shenanigans. They both delve into the nostalgia appeal, with Scott Pilgrim being reminiscent of the hipster culture of the 80s-90s while Expendables played off the action films of the 90s. Of course, like Expendables, the reason why this film either excels or bombs for certain people is that you truly have to be in the right mindset when watching it. In fact, the protagonist’s depiction of a dopey, underdog character, and the defensive kung fu all seem reminiscent of a Jackie Chan flick, and when you look at it from this perspective, it truly achieves its purpose, but add a very tightly written script, crazy but still believable action scenes, and interesting visuals make this film quite underrated.

4. The Overreckoned-Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole:
Ever since their presence in cultural icons like Ocarina of Time, it has been a well known fact that owls are cool, the common symbol for intellect and magical prowness. But nope, here comes Legend of the Guardians to ruin it all. The movie is animated exactly like my screensaver; it’s a series of overrendered wallpapers bound by awkward transition effects. The story was based on a novel I’ve never heard of but judging by that, the story felt extremely condensed and was lacking depth and balance. It is a common theme for animated films such as Up to have dark tones in order to contrast with the sense of adventure and discovery, but Guardians seems to lack such balance, although it does have said extremes. Consequently, the film flips from Nazi-Owl-Zombie-Hordes to sickening close-ups of baby owls that cover a 60 foot range and whose lens flare have been known to blind, all of this happening in a period of two minutes. There is little reason to see this film unless you are looking for a new wallpaper.

5. Random- The Borrower Arrietty:
Hayao Miyazaki has always been considered the master craft in his field, being the visionary mind behind Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Princess Monoke, and other such films that often rank up as some of the greatest animes of all time. In other words, it is quite a big deal when a film from his department is released, and The Borrower Arrietty is no exception. The film follows an optimistic narrator by the name of Sho who finds a race of tiny people that live in his garden. They display a common curiosity as seen in many of Miyazaki’s works but they are each bound by the human element which makes them more idealistic to human fear. This is displayed when Arritetty, the first of her species that Sho finds, is bound to him in curiosity while her father, Pod, is more reluctant to have the two meet. The animation is top notch and is varied in its color pallet while the writing is decent enough to support it. Overall, it is a great watch to any fan of animated films or children, although it may not be recommended for any other demographic.

The Borrower Arrietty

Music’s in the Air

by Tiana Austel
Staff Writer

The dreaded hours of studying and those nauseating amounts of time trying to stay awake are upon us. Luckily, music is there to help ease the pain of trudging down those hallways and help boost the ability to keep awake at midnight finishing a project. Here are some lesser known songs to help keep those tired eyes awake and focused.

For fans of Alternative Rock
1) The Man Who Can’t Be Moved
by The Script

From the same genius’ that brought you Breakeven comes a heart-wrenching story of a man waiting for that one day in which his ex lover will come back to him. He crones that he will not move from where he is right now because one day she might wake up and go back and find him in the place where they first met. Sung by Danny O’Donoghue and Mark Sheehan this song is so catchy that you will be singing the chorus for days to come.

2) Jar of Hearts

by Christina Perri

Here is another song that is just painfully beautiful. With just her voice and a piano Perri’s vocals shine brilliantly throughout the whole song. The simplicity of the song makes it so genuine and heartfelt that it speaks to the soul. She speaks of the pain her boyfriend had caused her and of the never ending scars that cover her heart. The lyrics seem to effortlessly flow one after another as if Perri as tells a simple story of a lost love.

3) All The Same

by Sick Puppies

From the popular Youtube video “Free Hugs” comes another song full of perseverance and love. The lead singer Shimon Moore speaks of everlasting love and forgiveness and shows his love that he will take her just the way she is. She leaves him time and time again but Moore says that he will always be there for her when their true love brings her back for him. This song is a blend of alternative and rock all rolled up into one.

4) Miserable at Best
by Mayday Parade

Mayday Parade is personally one of my favorite artists in the world and I highly recommend checking out the rest of their album. My favorite song on the album is Miserable at Best, which is a song about a guy thinking about his ex lover with another man. He reminisces about all the times that they had together and thinks about what they were doing at that exact second. Although a slower paced song it strikes a cord deep within the soul and shows an example of raw unrequited love.

For fans of Pop

1) Gettin’ Over You

by David Guetta ft. Chris Willis

Filled with head bobbing repetitive beats Gettin’ Over You is the perfect song to lift your tired spirit from the books. Infectious beats fill this song and make you have an intense urge to get up and start dancing. Guetta and Willis sing about getting over a woman and basically partying their worries away. This song will make you want to dance guaranteed.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

By Kristy Lee
Staff Writer

For those of you who have read The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins does an excellent job in pulling the readers into her extraordinary world in this series. The Hunger Games centers around Katniss Everdeen, a strong and independent sixteen year old living an impoverished life where survival is a struggle everyday. She lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the nation of Panem which is divided into 12 districts. As punishment and to remind the people that the Capitol is all-powerful, the nation holds the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live television. One boy and one girl are chosen as “tributes” from each district to participate in the games. When Katniss’s sister is selected, she volunteers to take her place out of love. In this brutal yet thrilling series there exists an underlying theme that the government has the capability to control and force the people into ruthless situations. The idea of “big brother” is also hinted throughout the book as well as love and friendship that exists even through perilous journeys.

The themes and horrors in The Hunger Games are very deep and allow you to think about our society and the similarities between the book and the real world. They force you to recall the malevolent government described in the books and the brutality being forced upon the people under it.

Many are anxious to see who the cast will include and who will be directing the movie in 2012. Rumors have been circulating the web that Chloe Moretz, Kaya Scodelario, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Malese Jow are interested in the role. Nevertheless, the movie will be highly anticipated by its numerous, devoted fans.