Film Review: A Star is Born (2018)

So, I know I’m late to the A Star is Born party, but I do see what all the buzz was about. Before I get into the thick of this review, there are a couple warnings I need to distribute. First, this movie is R-Rated, and if you’re uncomfortable with that, then you should stop reading now. Additionally, if you are triggered by mentions as well as depictions of suicide, this review is not for you; people who are triggered or uncomfortable with detailed depictions of alcohol/drug abuse should also stop reading here.

A Star is Born (2018) is the third remake of a film released in 1937. The other remakes were released in 1954 and 1976. While they all have pretty similar storylines, there are slight differences and variances between all of them. The story itself is seemingly cliche: seasoned and successful musician/actor accidentally meets struggling young musician/actor, the seasoned artist helps young artist gain fame and success. The seasoned artist’s career dwindles due to drugs and alcohol, which he abused due to deeply rooted issues stemming from an alcoholic absentee father; meanwhile, the young artist’s career skyrockets, and she is ecstatic, until tragedy strikes.

The decline of his career becomes too much for the seasoned musician/actor, and he falls deeper and deeper into the pit of drug abuse. His young lover does her best to dig him out and help him, but it becomes a bigger and bigger problem, until he can’t take it anymore, and ends his own life. This begins a new chapter for the young star, who now has to navigate the cruel world of the elite on her own, all while heartless things are being said about her late lover.

Overall, this movie was an emotional roller-coaster, and I strongly recommend it if you want to vent some of your own emotions by crying and blame it on a movie. However, if you don’t really feel like being emotionally wrecked over a movie, I would not suggest watching A Star is Born (2018). But nonetheless, I loved it. Also, I love Lady Gaga. Her performance was absolutely stunning.

-Arushi S. 

A Star Is Born, starring Bradly Cooper and Lady Gaga, is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Even Recap: San Diego Comic Con International 2019

On July 18-21st, the San Diego Convention Center hosted its biggest and arguably most fun event of the year: Comic Con. And this year, for the first time, I was fortunate enough to attend. SDCC is acclaimed for is fantastic Hall H panes, its fabulous stands of fan-made art and official merchandise, its booths of magical colorful posters and pins. Over 150,000 people attend this legendary event this year, and, as one of those lucky people, I’m going to tell you how it went down.

Now, while SDCC actually occurs in July, tickets are bought in early November and December, and are extremely difficult to get your hands on. The actual Convention takes place at the San Diego Convention Center and the Marriott next door to it. It consists of hundreds of rooms and halls in which the legendary panels and game shows are hosted, including the magnificent Hall H. On the ground floor, the huge event hall takes up the majority of the space, and this is where you will find various stands, official and fan-run, selling anything and everything fan-related.

I myself didn’t attend many panels, only 2, but both of them were fantastic. I spent most of my time doing two things: loitering around the official Marvel booth, and wandering around the event hall. Even so, it was an amazing experience. Although tickets can be expensive, I honestly think the experience is worth it if you’re a fan of anything present at the Con. And there is no shortage of options, either. The booths and panels range from superhero to anime to video games. It’s truly a place for all kinds of people to come together and celebrate the one thing they all share: obsession.

Overall, I couldn’t have had more fun at SDCC 2019. It’s truly one of the most entertaining events of the year, and I’m super excited to attend next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that… But in all seriousness, if you’re a superfan of almost anything at all, I recommend going to SDCC.

-Arushi S.

Film Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

All right–first things first. THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME AND SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME. DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THESE FILMS.

Second things second. Avengers: Endgame has surpassed Avatar and is now the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide! So, cheers to that! But all that aside, Marvel recently released its final movie for 2019, a beautiful sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, and that’s going to be my main focus.

Firstly, allow me to express my insurmountable appreciation for the titles for the last two Spider-Man movies, and explain the symbolism behind them. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker has been recognized as Spider-Man by Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, and he’s being given the resources to become the hero he was always meant to be. He’s harnessing his powers, bonding with the beloved Mr. Stark, and his superhero alter ego is giving him an excuse to get even closer to his best friend, Ned. His powers and alternate persona are allowing him to become more comfortable with himself and his surroundings. The movie, at its core, depicts his homecoming, his arrival at where he was always meant to be. I just find that beautiful. Cut to Spider-Man: Far From Home. Not only is Peter literally far away from Queens (as he’s touring Europe), but everything he thought he knew is being refuted. Tony Stark, his mentor and father figure, the man who metaphorically brought him home in the previous film, is dead. The original Avengers are all either dead or retired. The world is in the midst of a rebirth, dealing with the aftermath of the Snap and the tentative formation of a new team of superheroes. Peter Parker isn’t just an Avenger-in-training anymore. He’s a legitimate hero, and he is beginning to realize that he has a brand new set of obstacles to maneuver. He has, at no fault of his own, strayed far away from the home he built for himself in Homecoming.

Enter Mysterio (played by the marvelous Jake Gyllenhaal). He seems like the perfect new leader of the Avengers, the perfect new hero for this broken Earth. His story is barely plausible, but nothing is unbelievable to the citizens of a planet whose population was just cut in half, then restored. He claims to be from another universe when his true intentions are to steal away Tony’s legacy from Peter. Spider-Man himself is gullible enough, after the falling-apart of his world, to willingly hand over Tony’s tech to Mysterio.

The world proceeds to fall apart yet again, this time at the hand of a false hero who the world mistakenly trusts. Peter has to come to the rescue, all by himself this time, only for Mysterio to throw one final punch. Even though he’s dead, the villain manages to get a video of himself onto the screens in Times Square, stating that Spider-Man is the real villain, and revealing the masked hero’s identity.

The movie is an emotional roller coaster. The audience feels everything Peter does, and that’s where the true beauty of the film lies. This movie is an artfully crafted masterpiece, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I ardently recommend it.

-Arushi S. 

Places to Visit in San Diego during Spring Break

Recently, my school got out for spring break so my family and I decided to take a trip down to San Diego. For some reason, I thought it took at least four hours to get from Mission Viejo to San Diego but it only took 1 hour and 20 minutes (and that was with pretty bad traffic!)

Before we left, I looked up some places to visit that my family would enjoy and I was satisfied with what I found. Some fun places to visit are: San Diego Zoo, San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley, Balboa Park, Downtown San Diego, Old Town San Diego, USS Midway Museum, La Jolla Beach, and more!

For the San Diego Zoo, adult tickets (ages 12+) are $56 and child tickets are $46 for 1 day-passes. Prices for the San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley are $42 for adults (12+) and $25 for kids ages (4-12). Tickets for children under 4 years old are free!.

For Balboa Park, the One-Day Explorer Pass allows you to visit up to 5 of any museum in the park. For adults (ages 13+), the cost is $46 and for children (ages 3-12), the cost is $27. Just visiting for the day? Choose the One-Day Explorer Pass, which allows you to go to as many as five of the park’s participating museums. The cost is $46 for adults (ages 13+) and $27 for children (ages 3-12). 

Most of the tourist spots in San Diego do not require admission to get it like Downtown and Old Town San Diego, but some locations do.

Overall, I loved visiting the wonderful city of San Diego and I cannot wait to go back! I hope that this article was helpful to those who would like to visit San Diego one day!

-Phoebe L.

Opera, Opera, Opera!

Would you pay $26 to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton on Broadway, live?

I know few Orange County friends who love opera, let alone are willing to see one. This may be because Orange County has few operas. I’ve been looking! The Segerstrom Center for the Arts has some performances, but Costa Mesa is pretty far. Moreover, it only has concert performances (full shows done without staging or costumes in front of an orchestra).

Recently, I discovered my favorite opera, Carmen, broadcasted live for free on the Santa Monica Pier from the LA Opera. The LA Opera is the grandest local opera house, and witnessing something this professional live was moving. Dancers were hired from the depths of Spain for a genuine Spanish vibe, and costumes shimmered and poofed in all their Spanish glory. Tickets are at least $90 for a “cheap” theatre seat, in which performers can barely be seen or heard; free showings are unheard of!

My friends and I zoomed to the pier and fangirled over the huge stage and thick French accents. The music can be found in our playlists; we hummed along the whole time. The opera is risqué, funny, and dazzling. If more people had access to opera in Orange County, I’m sure we could love and appreciate it the way this crowd did on the Santa Monica Pier. It was so enjoyable!

The Live at the Met series is broadcasting full operas live from the Metropolitan Opera House in most Regal movie theatres. This is the best opera house in the country! I’ve never seen a bigger stage, and the cameras show so much detail I can see reflections in the characters’ eyes. Tickets are around $26, with over 10 operas this year! More than the average movie ticket, but very cheap compared to live tickets, often at Hamilton prices ($855+). Only internationally famous and experienced singers have been cast! If you’re an opera fan like me or are ready to behold these regal performances, please come and support the art by attending. Few people know about it, but more should.

This is the same as $26 to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton live on Broadway, in the movie theatre!

The Orange County School of the Arts is also doing L’Enfant et Les Sortilèges in the spring, so look out for that!

Meanwhile, I will be hunting down local operas. I’m determined to find performances in Mission Viejo! Operas can be expensive, but I’m working on finding deals so teens can experience this difficult and powerful art form at an accessible price. I’ll keep you updated!

What local opera productions do you know of? Please comment to let me know!

-Jessica F.

Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck

OfMiceAndMenLennie Small, a tiny name that symbolizes a big and tough man. His ultimate dream was to have innocent rabbits as loyal companions. But his obstination opposed the characteristic of a rabbit’s falter and agile. He consumed trouble instead of dinner, he didn’t want to, but that’s all he could afford.

George Milton wasn’t as big as Lennie, but he obtains the stupefying ability to brush the trouble off of his glistening teeth. Suppose he was the best hypocrite ever. Always reprimands Lennie for dumping a laundry of trouble on him, but never saddened him, for he would praise this act as a wonderful dissimulation of their trail and scent.

The versatile Slim whose solemn stipulation was only upon a lick of air can give the entire farm a nice and tender pat. The crude but righteous Carlson, hideous Crook who fades himself inside his self-abasement, and Candy, his bitter age really outrun his chocolate-like personality. You see the boss’s omnipotent son? Yes, that is Curley, he roars at people quietly but deadly. He is efficient but not smart, who knows how he married that abominable woman.

Curley’s wife was nameless because she doesn’t deserve one. She was seditious and the voluptuousness buried herself underground. Lennie will definitely be basting her in the face just like he did to her neck when they are both sent to the grinning hell for inspection.

Towards the end of the story, George, Lennie’s “legal guardian” shot him to redeem for his sins. Lennie never mean to suffocate the poor puppy, break Curley’s wrist or even kill Curley’s wife. He often trances to and fro between the angel and devil. They were the one who vexed him, you should blame them people. He can neither be responsible to the gallantry that the supreme angel offered him nor he can be responsible to the malice that the devil fed him. And George, the person that never flicked a finger against him, pushed Leenie’s soul into hell. He can never murder the devil, but the cherubic angel can’t be harmed.

Time is the medicine that heals the wound and that’s for both the smiling Lennie and the weeping George. Lennie finally gets his adorable rabbits, congratulations.

-April L.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

New Hip Hop Class will have Students Moving to The Beat

photo by flickr user bobbievie

photo by flickr user bobbie vie

Local middle school students listen up: If you’re interested in learning the latest hip-hop moves, then sign up for the new 6-week Hip-Hop class that’s part of the Middle School Enrichment Program at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center.

More than 40 years old, hip-hop dance became widely known after the first professional street-based dance crews formed in the 1970s. Led by Artist Director Sharon Sandor of Sol Dance Academy, the hour-long class, which starts February 26 at 3:45 p.m., will teach students an array of cool moves, and they’ll be invited to show off their newfound skills at this year’s Arts Alive Festival and Street Painting event on May 3.
Along with hip-hop, the Middle School After-School Enrichment Program features a cornucopia of courses like print making, guitar, pottery, financial basics for teens, Algebra, chess club and art.

Participants must be in grades 6 – 8 to take part in the courses that each cost $25. Register online at econnect.cityofmissionviejo.org or call 949-470-3062.

The Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center is at 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA.