The Rocky Comedic Adventures of ‘Solo’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Easily one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2018, Solo had a lot to prove. It definitely didn’t help that most people went into the movie assuming it was going to be bad. I can’t blame it for trying to prove everyone wrong.

In this Star Wars Story, a young Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich, ) is in the initial stages of becoming a smuggler with his best buddy Chewbacca while trying to balance an unfortunate relationship with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones). He meets Beckett (Woody Harrelson, The Hunger Games, Now You See Me) along the way as well as a very intelligent robot named L3-37 and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover, Atlanta).

As expected, all of these characters affect the story in some way or another, whether it be for entirely comedic purposes or actual damage. The comedy in this is, unfortunately, going to have to be one of my negatives.

Star Wars has gotten into this habit of trying to make every single droid as successful and hilarious as K-2SO in Rogue One, when it’s just not going to happen. L3-37 makes some decent jokes (one being about equal rights for droids), but it feels so obvious that the writers are forcing it.

To future Star Wars Stories writers, stop trying to make the droids as funny as K-2SO, it’s not going to happen.

The movie itself wasn’t the most fun to sit through of the Star Wars franchise. In fact, it may be one of the least enjoyable yet. I had never found myself so bored for the majority of a Star Wars movie than I did with this one.

Luckily, it made up for that with its last 20 minutes which were actually pretty entertaining to watch. I say this because it’s in the last 20 minutes that anything wildly important happens, including a plot twist and introduction of a familiar character that I was saying, “uhm… what?” to.

The cinematography was beautiful, as it is in a Star Wars movie. It was beautifully made, even the camera work wasn’t nauseating like some movies have become nowadays. There were plenty of oddly named planets and several mentions of Tatooine, which I thoroughly enjoyed being a hardcore Star Wars fan myself.

Honestly, I have very mixed opinions regarding Solo. I don’t think it was bad, but it’s definitely in the bottom five of Star Wars movies. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it shouldn’t have been made because at the end of the day, it told a story about a character we all loved that we all wanted to know a little more about.


My Rating: 84%

Acting: 3.4/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.4/4

Enjoyability: 3.2/4

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‘Breaking In’: A New Kind of Movie Mom

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner

Happy Mother’s Day! Today, we celebrate and praise all of the matriarchs in this world which also includes our movie moms. Coming in on time for the holiday is the new action and thriller Breaking In where we live through a mother’s worst fear and realize that they are (literally) unstoppable.

Warning to all moms: don’t see this movie unless you’re stable in your own paranoia.

Breaking In features Gabrielle Union as the dedicated mother who is locked out of a house while three possible killers hold her children hostage. The film wastes no time in getting to this point, as it happens almost 10 minutes in.

Aside from the intensity, let’s talk about how refreshing it is to see a mother single-handedly be the hero. Let’s be real, we all know that if this happened to any other mom then they’d fight until their own last breath, but to have it shown in a film makes you appreciate all of the little things she does for you.

Gabrielle Union pulls off the revenge-driven performance we all hoped for based off of the trailer. Cinema always depicts mothers as fragile, soft-spoken, and gentle. Well, this mom doesn’t mess around. She kicks ass and refuses to be manipulated. Union’s character definitely takes the cake this year as best movie mom.

But, Union herself is one of the only women this year whose acting doesn’t consist of using her sexuality as a weapon. Though it does make for an interesting character, its overplayed. Watching a movie use her actual strength, wits, and motivation as a weapon is a good change that I wish the rest of Hollywood would take notes on and use.

Breaking In is fresh in story and exhilarating in action. It proves that actresses are more than just their stereotypes and that being a mother is more than just its title.

‘Dude’: Netflix Is Killing It

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Netflix has returned with Dude, a movie about drugs, prom, high school, death, and everything else involving the teen lifestyle. Don’t be afraid though! This movie is far from stereotypical. It’s a completely unique blend of acting and a story worth paying attention to.

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Truth or Dare) stars as Lily, the Student Council President who is just trying to get through her life with her three best friends, Chloe (Kathryn Prescott, Finding Carter), Amelia (Alexandra Shipp, Love, Simon), and Rebecca (Awkwafina, Ocean’s 8). On top of that, she finds the rest of life’s pleasures in prom planning and PCP.

Hale is not new to the four best friends whole shebang as she became very experienced in Pretty Little Liars. Even being a huge fan of that show myself, I confidently believe that she plays the best friend role at her best in Dude.

Along that, she gets to stand aside such outstanding actresses who all know what they are doing. Seeing Shipp play such a badass teen character (which is nothing new, she did the same thing in Love, Simon) was so much fun and just added to the performances of everyone else. Prescott and Awkwafina also did this well, providing to the environment and story as a whole.

Aside from that, shoutout to Alex Wolff who gave an incredibly good performance as Hale’s almost counterpart, Noah.

The acting was obviously one of my favorite parts of this movie, but it wasn’t the only good thing.

The preppy school girl with her friends taking several types of extreme drugs was another interesting plot point to look at. The girls made their way through tons of PCP and several Donkey Bongs full of weed. Not every class president you see in a movie is going to be that wild, so it’s important to give movies like these a chance. Several of the characters in the movie were dealing with the death of another character at the beginning of the movie, and it gives an underlying tone to the message at the end of the movie.

Regardless, all of that returns to the cliché high school movie where everyone has to decide what they want to do after high school. What college to go to, what boys to go off to college with, but most of all; who are your true friends?
Dude was my favorite Netflix movie of the year so far. There’s tons of lessons that you can pick and choose, whether it’s about what you want to do after high school or just how many drugs you should – or should not – do by the time of your senior prom.


My Rating: 92%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.4/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

L.A. Noir ‘Gemini’ Lives in Shades of Neon Blue

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

From the successful new production company NEON (I,Tonya, Ingrid Goes West) comes the modern noir, Gemini, where beautiful women, L.A. nightlife, and murder is observed through blue-tinted glasses.

Troubled by the murder of her best friend and reckless starlet (Zoë Kravitz), a young woman (Lola Kirke) finds herself on the search for the killer while trying to prove her own innocence. So far, it seems like a vintage murder mystery. Once you’ve ever heard the soundtrack it sounds like one, too.

But what makes this so unique are the contemporary spins on a genre that has long been forgotten. Instead of the deep shadows in a black and white film, you see a contrast of blues under a neon light. And instead of the light and mysterious sounds of the sax, you get the calming electronic version. To add onto how modern this is, it’s set in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles.

Taking an old genre like film noir and turning it into something modern is a challenge that only risk-takers would subject themselves to and could be comparable to making a Shakespearean play seem relatable to everyday audiences. This seems to be mastered by the director, Aaron Katz, who effortlessly shows how easy it is to do so. By skillfully using cinematography and production design, any filmmaker can achieve the seemingly impossible.

Throughout the film, the most striking aspect that you notice is how blue it is. In every single scene, there is a bluish tint or something in the frame that is blue. It makes you wonder the meaning of it. Maybe it’s symbolic of something much deeper (i.e. American Beauty’s use of red) but my conclusion is that it makes the film overall stylish.

What made the film noir genre so intriguing is how elegant and fashionable it looked with the high contrasts of black and white. In order for Gemini to modernize this, they made it vibrant in a specific color – blue. Whether it is a neon sign or the wall of a late-night diner, if it’s blue then it stands out. This cooler tone is there to contrast with the warmer toned colors, such as pink, rather than have them bleed together. It takes the “not everything is black and white” idea to a colorful approach which Katz uses to paint L.A. as an alluring town filled with dangerous secrets hidden in plain sight.

Gemini proves it’s strength in this reemerging genre by combining the old with the new while reviving an audience’s interest in a long-lost friend of the film industry.


My Rating: 78%

Acting: 2.5/4

Cinematography: 4/4

Story: 3/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘The Basketball Diaries’: A Change In Coming of Age

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Coming of age has always been a popular genre among film but it tends to always be about the same thing. A light hearted drama about a suburban teen who struggles to find their identity while exploring the many aspects of growing up. Occasionally, you’ll find a darker approach to this subject such as Girl, Interrupted and The Virgin Suicides. But those films were made possible because of the unconventional 1995 film, The Basketball Diaries.

It centers on a young basketball player Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) who lives in the rough neighborhoods of New York City with his single mother. After the death of his best friend, Jim soon spirals into the dangerous world of drugs, prostitution, homelessness, and theft.

Jim’s story is one that many would rather not tell when it comes to adolescents. He doesn’t come from a middle-class home and doesn’t have the same opportunities as other kids. He’s poor and comes from a neighborhood that is infested with drugs and crime. Kids, like himself, have dreams and goals but sometimes their environment swallows them whole and they’re pressured into the life that they wanted to escape.

Jim wanted to be a writer and he was obviously gifted, which is evident through the narration of his diary entries. Unfortunately, he gets caught up in the rough scene of New York City and his dreams become non-existent.

But that isn’t all that the film shows. It also gives us a look at the coming of age story for boys, which we don’t often see. Girls and boys have different versions of growing up, that is a known fact.The Rumspringa of a boy’s life is especially unique as it consists of rebellion and proving your manhood through sex and violence. Jim deals with these complexities while also having an addiction that leads him to stealing and selling his body for the money that pays for it.

So, why is this important?

Well, this story changes what being a teenager means. It doesn’t always involve a first car, dating, prom, or graduation. For most teens, it’s darker and more life-altering. They don’t get to grow up like the rest of us. For them, growing up is more like a shortcut to adulthood. Jim Carroll is of the many teens that these things happen to and they don’t just exist in 1995. They exist here and now in 2018.

The Basketball Diaries forced the industry to look at and tell the stories of people who aren’t as privileged and give the Jim Carroll’s of the world a voice. It affected the coming of age films to follow and proved to everyone that they could be just as successful as a John Hughes movie.