My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier

I was assigned to read this in my Social Studies class. Since we where learning about the American Revolution it was a fitting read for this topic.

The book was about Tim Meeker. His brother Sam Meeker was enlisted in the American Revolution. The only problem was that his family disagreed with him. The Meeker’s were Tories which meant they where on the side of the British. The whole story is about how the war affects people.

I thought the first part of the book was a little boring. But just like all great books they pick up in the end. That is exactly what this book did. At the end of the book I realized it was a true story. Most of the things in the story where real.

Early in the book Tim was a young boy. In the first chapter he got so excited when he was going to milk Old Prue which was a cow.  Since his brother did it he thought it was so cool when he saw Sam do it. Of course it wasn’t as cool as he thought it was. I thought this sequence showed how little brothers always look up to there older brothers.

Later in the book Tim was working in the family tavern and sometimes he would get unsurprising visits from Sam. Sam wouldn’t come all the time of course. He would just come once or twice in about two years.

When you picked up the book from the start to end you could really see how much Tim progressed from a child into a adult. You could really see him take charge after his brother was gone off into the war. Another main theme in the book was violence. Readers are really opened up how the war just doesn’t affect the soldiers it affects everybody.

The town of Redding (which is the town Tim is from) is affected a lot because they have a lot of cattle and the soldier need it because there hungry.

-Max U.

My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Kong Skull Island

Kong Skull Island was about a government organization called Monarch that discovered an island. This island was believed to have very mythical things such as giant animals.

The head of Monarch wanted to go to that island but of course they needed a team of scientists and a military escort. This all took place after the Vietnam War just as the Americans where pulling out. They also needed someone who could help them find their way around the island, which was Tom Hiddleston character. They also got a war photographer who would take pictures on that island.

There plan was to drop seismic charges across the island so they could map the island. The only problem with that was they where attacked by Kong. In addition to that, they woke up the skull crawlers who are the real bullies of the island.

The commander of the military escort Colonel Packard was really mad at Kong because Kong killed most of his men. One of my favorite things in this movie was the attachment to Colonel Packard and his men. I mean he will go so far for his men that he would take on a giant ape just to get revenge. After the several crashes everyone was split up in different sections of the island. One of Packard’s men was on the other side of the island. Now this was just one guy. They could have made left him on the island to die but, they went for him because that was the man he was.

I thought Samuel L Jackson was a great antagonist in the movie. He didn’t seem like a bad guy. He just wanted to get revenge on a giant ape who killed them. I thought he played his role right in every way.

We were also introduced to John C. Reilly’s character who has been stuck there since WWII. He was a very funny character and he knew a lot about the island. Since he was been isolated from the world he had a lot of funny questions about history and sports.

The cool thing about Kong Skull Island was that it was all attached to the last Godzilla movie. They are going to try to make a universe out of the next movies which i thought was pretty cool.

I thought this movie was great and is a must see.

-Max U.

Film Review: Coco

Coco was a wonderful film for everyone. It was about a young boy named Miguel who decided he wants to be a musician. The only problem was his family is against music.

I liked the movie really much. I thought it was visually stunning and told a very great story. It had basically any Pixar movie standard that you would see in other Pixar movies.

In the movie Miguel finds out that his hero is his great great grandfather. He then was inspired to go and compete in a music contest. He then takes his great great grandfather’s guitar and is sent to the Land of the Dead. In order to get back to the ordinary world Miguel has to get a family blessing. The only problem is that he wants to be a musician and all his relatives didn’t like music. He then realizes his great great grandfather could get him a blessing. In the story Miguel meets a man named Hector. Hector helps him go on his journey in finding his great great grandfather. In the process of finding his great great grandfather Miguel has many crazy encounters with many crazy characters.

The movie was very enjoyable. I thought it was both visually stunning and had a good story. The moral of the story was that in order to be a family you have to support one another and you shouldn’t force a life on your son or daughter that they don’t want.This movie reminded me a lot about The Book of Life. Which was another movie set in Mexico about the Day of the Dead. I liked The Book of Life which helped me like this movie.

There was one scene in the movie that needed so much detail to make it the scene it was. If I know one thing it is that Pixar tends to overdo a lot of their scenes which is always a good thing. There was also very bright colors that made the visuals even more better than they already where.

I really enjoyed Coco and would recommend seeing it.

-Max U.

Film Review: Suicide Squad

I re-watched this movie again and had a better opinion on this movie than I did the first time I saw it. The movie wasn’t still that good as I hoped it would be.

The story as it goes in the comics. In the comics Amanda Waller assembles a team of criminals who would go on missions that where considered suicidal. They planted little bombs inside there heads so, if they try to escape there heads would be blown right off.

I thought the costumes where great. It made every one look very flashy and cool. It definitely deserved a Oscar for the costumes.

The main thing i didn’t like was the Jokers and Harley Quinn’ s relationship. The Joker doesn’t actually love Harley. It was a perfect example of a abusive relationship. But of course they had to take that away. It just didn’t make any sense to me. I also didn’t like the Joker himself. He just didn’t seem to crazy for the big screen. If you look at the Joker in the comics he has style If you look at the Joker in Suicide Squad he is barely wearing a shirt and has tattoos all over him

Then there where other characters that i thought didn’t do anything major. For example Captain Boomerang. I thought he was a funny character to the squad. He just didn’t do anything cool that effected the mission in any way.

One thing i liked about it was that it set up a bunch of more movies. I think DC is going to use Suicide Squad to introduce more villains. Maybe something like another villain hires Deadshot to kill someone and big shocker its Gorilla Grod.

One thing that i didn’t like was that it just was simply too long. I thought it could’ve been shorter. They also tried to do flashbacks like Deadpool did. That didn’t turn out good for them because the flashbacks didn’t make sense. Another complaint was of course dialog that some people couldn’t understand but I understood it fine.

Even thought I watched Suicide Squad again I was still a little lost. If you like action movies then you should probably go see it.

-Max U.

Suicide Squad is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Justice League

Justice League wasn’t as good as Wonder Woman but it was a solid film that was funny and dark. I thought that it had a solid line that draws comedy and seriousness, which made it a fun film most DC fans could enjoy.

My one problem with the movie is that why have the movie now? They had this movie a year after Batman v Superman. Which is nothing Marvel had to do to build up their cinematic universe. This made it seem like that Warner Brothers were just cramming in whatever they had into a film like the Avengers. The only thing Marvel did was space out each movie. I’m just saying I thought Warner Brothers should’ve introduced their characters first.

But without a doubt I liked the film. It filled my heart with joy and laughter. They kind of introduced each character in the start of the film which made me a little happier. During the movie Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman is faced with a extraterrestrial threat. He decided to assemble a team. This team is composed of many unique individuals. I was very shocked when i learned that Josh Whedon would be doing the film. Since he has been doing the Avengers movies it made sense why he helped with Justice League.

The important thing to have in mind with DC movies is that it’s always a dark aspect. For example: Batman v Superman. The movie wasn’t a happy movie. It was a very new concept to me. I thought the dark aspect was good in the DC films. It really divides the Marvel movies and DC films apart from each other. It divides the fun filled movies with the dark and depressed movies.

If you are very interested in a different aspect then the Avengers, then Justice League is the movie for you. I liked that it at least had some comedy in there. A fan favorite character would be Barry Allen or the Flash. He was very funny in the movie which might have boosted the score up on this movie. You could have seen that this was the work of Josh Whedon. His very funny creativity with the Flash was the very many things i liked in the film.

My honest opinion of the film is a thumbs up.

-Max U.

Film Review: Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji was a excellent film about thinking who you really are. Without a doubt the movie is hilariously funny. The movie had jokes coming at you left and right.

In Jumanji the game is no longer a board game. It has been adapted to a video game with the same world and rules as the board game but instead. The cool thing about the movie is that the four teenagers choose the characters that they are the exact opposite of in real life. This comes back to the theme of the movie which is thinking about who you really are.

The main character in the movie was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He played his role well as a Indiana Jones type character. He basically played the role he plays in most movies. The main two characters who stole the show were Kevin Hart and Jack Black. Kevin Hart was hilarious as Kevin Hart always is. I think this might have been one of his best performances. Jack Black played his character perfectly. He got the concept of a teenage girl trapped in a man’s body. I don’t think there could’ve been any one else to play his role better than Black did. Another character in the movie was played by Nick Jonas. This film may make him known to many filmmakers even though he was a last minute character. The movie was very good so directors might look at him a little closer. I definitely liked the movie. I thought it played out excellent. The movie was most definitely a action comedy. Almost every time Kevin Hart or Jack Black spoke it was a new joke.

The movie also starts out with the four teenagers against each other. In my head I saw it like two of them hated each other and the other two hated each other. I loved this because this was a pathway to character development. Each and every main character in this movie received character development. My honest opinion is that the movie was great. It had the perfect combination of action and adventure. The acting was amazing in the movie also.

-Max U.

Film Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a really great film, but as a classic Star Wars film it really didn’t strike me. That’s the problem with many fans. They are torn between whether they should like this movie or not, which is why I’m writing this review. After I saw the movie, I was a little confused. The whole point of the movie was about admitting your mistakes and finding yourself. They where the two big main ideas that made an impact on the story.

Other people were mad with the choices that director Rian Johnson made. Fans where stating that The Last Jedi didn’t live up to The Empire Strikes Back‘s name. Which they where right. It was a perfect film to have in the middle of a trilogy. Even more fans just wanted to see J J Abrams direct the movie. He was wonderful with The Force Awakens and I wouldn’t mind if he directed the next trilogy. If there are any J. J. fans out there don’t worry, he is directing the next movie.

Rian Johnson changed Luke’s character a little bit to be very funny on the big screen to balance his inner conflict. People were still having trouble understanding Luke’s character in the movie. Even Mark Hamill didn’t understand why Johnson put him in the position he made for the movie. Fans strongly disagreed with Luke in The Last Jedi. Ryan Johnson also made the planet that Luke was on with a lot of detail. For example in the background you could hear the Porgs do their little cry.

But hands down it was an excellent film. I just wonder what Rian will do with the next trilogy considering the events that close out the movie. This was the longest Star Wars movie we have gotten but if you’re patient and a huge fan of the franchise, then I recommend you see it.

-Max U.

Film Review: Thor Ragnarok

The movie Thor Ragnarok left a hilarious taste on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have always found the Thor movies of the Marvel universe to be very boring. This movie really put the Thor movies back on the map. In the last two movies, Thor has always been a more serious character. Instead of keeping the serious state going, Marvel turned him into a funny character.

One person who stole Thor’s spotlight was the rock man Korg, a warrior held captive in The Grand Master’s arena. Many critics and fans thought this rock alien stole the spotlight from Chris Hemsworth. Even though Korg stole the show, Thor was still a star. Every line that he spoke was hilarious.

Then there was Bruce Banner, or the Hulk if you want to call him by that. He was also a funny addition to the team. It was a great idea to have the Hulk associated in the movie. The main idea of adding the Hulk to the movie was that he wasn’t going to have a stand alone movie of his own. Marvel decided to have Hulk in Thor’s movie so there wouldn’t be any problems with Universal. In my opinion, making Hulk into a Thor Movie was a great idea. Thor and Hulk have always been close together. Putting them into a movie showed how their bond progresses from movie to movie.

The last of the “Revengers” in Thor Ragnarok is Valkyrie. She was a great addition to the movie because, in the Thor comics she was a very big character. She was involved in so much in Thor’s life she could be his sister.

But of course how could we forget Loki. He was another funny character in this movie. Tom Hiddleson has always been a standout attribute to the Marvel Universe. Whether is was being a villain or being a complete good guy until he betrayed Thor. Loki and Thor’s relationship was strong and funny in this movie. Besides Korg stealing the spotlight, Loki and Thor where an amazing duo whether it was telling a joke or fighting along side each other.

My honest opinion of Thor Ragnarok was that it was hilarious but, it could use some more advanced feelings. Thor Ragnarok was a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and i hope you go see it.

-Max U.

Film Review: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho

Psycho is an amazing piece of both horror and suspense. One day when my mom and my little brother where at Sea World, I took advantage of the time to watch some good, old classic horror movies with my dad. At first we watched Apocalypse Now, a movie about a soldier in the Vietnam War. Then we stumbled upon Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, a movie about Norman Bates and his crazy relationship with his mother.

At first the movie was kind of slow and didn’t reach the suspense fast enough to call it the first slasher film in film history. Then as the movie kept on going and going it got to the part that made it so famous. The stunning thing about it was that you never would have seen any of these parts in the movie happen.

If I went to see Frankenstein or Dracula I wouldn’t see anything I saw in Psycho. For this review I really had to put myself in someone else shoes. It made me think how this film would make me feel if I was alive in the 1960s. This film would shock me because there was so much suspense in the film. For example, the music–an excellent job by Bernard Herrmann–had me at the edge of my seat because it was so suspenseful.

In general, the entire movie was outstanding a real master piece of both suspense and horror. This film earned this title “the first slasher movie ever”. In my mind this film put Alfred Hitchcock on the map in my opinion. This film not only was remarkably successful but, this film inspired a lot of films like it. This movie has a perfect score in my mind.

-Max U.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

My English teacher assigned Of Mice and Men book to my whole grade to read. When I first opened the book i felt like this would be a good book and it was.

After reading a little into the first chapter I was very excited about what would happen next. Will George and Lennie’s dream ever come true and will Lennie ever get to tend the rabbits?. These are questions I asked myself after reading about migrant workers George Milton and Lennie Small.

Then I progressed to the middle of the story where things started to heat up. I was beginning to like the story even more and developed an unending love that wouldn’t stop until the book ended.

The ending of the book was really shocking to a lot of people in different ways. Some people might have had there jaw still hanging from suspense. Others maybe very confused about what happened.

My evaluation of the book is a completely outstanding 10/10. John Steinbeck really knew how to make you feel about the lives of these migrant workers. Steinbeck used many literary tools in the story such as foreshadowing, symbolism, and of course alliteration. These where used in the story because, without such vocabulary we might not have accurately pictured the lives of the migrant workers in real life.

In general the whole idea of the book was the American Dream. Think about it: George and Lennie’s dream was to be there own boss. There was also many other migrant workers who wanted this dream too. I strongly recommend this book to anyone in general.

-Max U.

John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive