Friday, December 5, 2014

Taylor Swift Refuses to Release 1989 on Spotify

Bella Dougherty
Staff Writer

 Taylor Swift is leaving many of her fans confused and disappointed by not releasing her new album, 1989, onto spotify. Swift used the same strategy upon the release of her previous album, Red, by waiting months after it’s official release to allow it to be released on spotify. After selling, Swift stated that she believes her music is valuable art which should be paid for. Taylor Swift’s album sold over a million albums in its first week, which may have been as a result of her unwillingness to release her album to popular streaming sites such as Spotify and Pandora.
 Taylor Swift has had remarkable success in terms of album sales for the last three albums she released. She sold over one million albums in the first week, being the first female artist to achieve this since 1991. Swift reportedly stated that she attributes part of her success to her marketing strategies and her refusal to allow her album to be streamed from free music websites.
 1989 has received almost entirely positive feedback from large labels, magazines, and critics. To promote her album release, Swift appeared on Ellen, was on the cover of Time magazine, and had been self promoting her album release for weeks prior to the event. Many individuals were anxiously awaiting the release, and many were disappointed by the lack of access to the album.
 Swift has two million active followers on Spotify who pay a monthly membership to listen to music. She has many more followers who actively listen to her music, but do not subscribe to the site. Many of her followers on Spotify, myself included, were frustrated by her decision to not release her album on Spotify. Her response to the public regarding this issue was that she believes music is an art form, which is valuable and should be paid for. I do not disagree with this; however, I would argue that I am paying for Spotify, and that I believe her music should be accessible to all of her fans. After two weeks of waiting for her album to be released on Spotify, I gave up and purchased her album. I was not disappointed with my choice to do so, because I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the album; however, I was disappointed that I had to spend the $13.00 on it.
 After having purchased the album, I am happy to have supported Swift in her album release and her successful endeavor to sell record breaking number of albums. While her marketing strategies were viewed as annoying to many, they proved to be successful by how many albums she sold. Her fun, pop, upbeat album was not only loved, but also purchased by a majority of her fans. Her tremendous success is not only attributed to her incredible musical talent, but also her ingenious marketing strategies.

Dumb and Dumber To Doesn't Live Up

Marc Verwiel
Staff Writer

  Many fans were very excited for the release of Dumb and Dumber To, the sequel to the popular 1994 movie Dumb and Dumber starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.
  Unfortunately, the movie did not receive the same warm welcome that the original movie did, receiving a score 38% lower from critics and 24% lower from readers on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the original movie. Both movies feature the same starring cast and the same director, so seeing the second movie fail was a large surprise to most viewers, however there is one major difference between the two movies; two decades. Many critics and fans blame the slacking reviews on the twenty years of evolved comedy and changing senses of humor. The things that made the original movie the comedy legend it was and still is today are not nearly as successful now. Furthermore, many people say that they were trying to replicate the original movie, making some of the well-known gags and quirky, unexpected plot that had people laughing out loud in 1994 boring and overused.
  Despite the blow of the less-than-stellar reviews, Dumb and Dumber To still made $38.1 million, blowing past Big Hero 6, another big movie that was released in the same weekend. Reviewers from both The Boston Herald and the National Post both gave it positive reviews, showing that despite the mass consensus, there are still redeeming qualities about the movie. Overall, however, the movie fell short of the comedy legend that was it's predecessor, but most people will agree that those shoes were too big to be filled by a sequel.

Christmas Movies to Make Your Holiday Season

Katie Hunt, Bernadette del Prado, & Hannah Goulding
Staff Writers

With the holidays approaching quickly and saying goodbye to the fall season, it was decided to kick off the holiday season with your favorite movies! Based off a poll, 100 students gave us their votes on their Top 3 favorite Holiday films out of 13 choices to watch during this Winter Break.

#1 Elf with 67 votes
#2 Home Alone with 52 votes
#3 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas with 34 votes
#4 Polar Express with 31 votes
#5 Santa Clause (with Tim Allen) with 23 votes
#6 A Christmas Story with 22 votes
#7 Charlie Brown Christmas with 21 votes
#8 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with 18 votes
#9 Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer with 9 votes
#10 Frosty the Snowman with 8 votes
#11 A Christmas Carol with 6 votes
#12 It’s A Wonderful Life with 5 votes
#13 Jack Frost with 4 votes

Box Office Hits To Come for Winter Season

Elizabeth Both

  After the closing of the autumn Film Festivals, the winter movie season comes in with a bang. Leading up to the highly anticipated televised award ceremonies in the heart of winter, movies that have been praised at the fall festivals are now glowing in the spotlight. A major blockbuster that audiences have been waiting for a year is the first installment of the Suzanne Collins rave, Mockingjay Part 1. On its opening weekend it made a record this year with 123 million at the box office. The winter movie season is always packed, especially with all the holiday school breaks, the head honchos in the movie business know our schedules and school holidays mean more movie going time. The all star Brit, Benedict Cumberbatch, has critics screaming over a possibility of an Oscar nod for his Nazi code-breaker film The Imitation Game, hitting theaters late November. December 5th breaks the barrier with the release of Reese Witherspoon’s in Wild and Chris Rock’s Paramount comedy Top Five.
 Following the next Friday of hit films, Ridley’s Scott’s cinematic experience starring Christian Bale, Exodus: Gods and Kings is sure going to be box-office buster (Even though Charleton Heston did a pretty decent job of this story before in 10 Commandments). Paul Thomas Anderson of Boogie Nights lowers the cinematic spectrum a little with his Indie based-off-a -book flick, Inherent Vice. On December 17th, the long awaited final installment of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien franchise, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is setting up to be emotional and a CGI effect mania. Two days later the family fun movie Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb starring Ben Stiller and the beloved Robin Williams,takes on its third installment since its sequel in 2009. On the same day the classic movie of Annie is now a modern remake starring Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx and the youngest Best Actress nominee in history: Quvenzhane Wallis. Another old school remake is the 1974 drama-thriller,The Gambler, starring Marky Mark himself and American Horror Story’s Jessica Lange, also hitting theaters on the 19th.

 Close to setting up a worldwide craze; on this years’ Christmas Day, six potential Oscar contending movies are being issued and the catch is that the four of them are based off a true story. Clint Eastwood’s staying strong with his based on a real-life thriller biopic of Chris Kyle-one of the deadliest marksman in U.S Military History- in the adaption of the late Navy SEAL’s popular 2012 memoir titled American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. Tim Burton’s film Big Eyes, with Amy Adams and the praised Christoph Waltz, is telling the true story of Margaret Keane and her famous paintings that her husband, Walter Keane, proclaimed that he actually painted her loved art. Funny guys, James Franco and Seth Rogen stir up trouble with the comedy The Interview, about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. A different take on things is the artistic, fairy tale film Into the Woods, starring Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp as the big bad wolf. The faithful film Selma takes on the interesting concept of the 1965 Selma in Montgomery, Alabama voting right marches with Martin Luther King. Angelina Jolie is taking the ropes of being a director with the fact-based drama chronicles of the life of an Olympian athlete-turned-WWII hero who survived Japanese POW camp called, Unbroken. Winter is when some of the years best movies come out into the screen scene, setting up higher and higher landmarks for other films in different seasons to follow. On that next snowy wintery day, head over to the theater to see some of the best movies of the year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Top 10 DJs/Producers of 2014

Justin Batra
Staff Writer

 Recently, the “DJmag Top 100 DJ” list was released. There has been some controversy with their choices, and I agree on some level. This is why I’m going to make a list of my top ten favorite DJs/Producers. I will mainly be focusing on their quality of production, and for this reason a few of the top producers that I have selected aren’t even on the DJmag top 100 DJ list. However, keep in mind that this is purely opinion based on the genre of Electronic Dance Music, so if you’re into it I recommend you check all of these artists out!
10. Borgore
9. Steve Angello
8. Jayden Parx
7. Deadmau5
6. Krewella (Despite the controversial break-up)
5. Aero Chord
4. Dillon Francis
3. Riggi & Piros
2.  Zaxx

1.  Junkie Kid

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Michael Keaton Reaches New Heights

Elizabeth Both
Staff Writer
Michael Keaton is not Batman anymore but, the one and only Birdman. The Alejandro González Iñarritu film (Babel, 21 Grams-both received Oscar nominations) is revitalizing Michael Keaton’s career with a black comedy that tells the story of an actor, Riggan Thomson-famous for portraying a superhero known as Birdman - tries to direct his own Broadway play. Mostly known for being the first Batman in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Keaton went down a shoddy spiral having small roles in not-so-impactful films into the 2000’s. Besides the beloved Batman franchise directed by the one and only Tim Burton, Keaton starred in the acclaimed comedy-horror flick Beetlejuice (also directed by Burton), the old Christmas based story Jack Frost in the late 90’s, having a part in the hit-Pixar movies Cars and Toy Story 3, and a role in the Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell comedy;The Other Guys. Now its 2014, and Birdman is a chance for Keaton to finally prove to the Academy and audiences all over, that he has been here all along, waiting for the perfect chance to pounce at a fantastic role.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Keaton stated how “in terms of the parallels, I’ve never related less to a character than Riggan”, noting how since he has already played a superhero over twenty years ago, that now he can’t relate to Riggan’s sweaty, “I’m hearing voices from an old movie superhero” attitude. The actor now sixty-three, said in the Entertainment magazine that he doesn’t mind talking about Batman at all; he’s proud of it. Asked if he would do another Batman movie again he said,”If Tim Burton is directing, then in a heartbeat.” After the sequel in 1992, Warner Bros. asked for a new director, bigger and badder supervillains, and a lighter look. Keaton didn’t like the aspect that Batman wanted to be looked at in lighter way, since he believed it was a complicated, brooding character; he finally just said no. Keaton also replied with how since he was the first ever Batman, “Once you get in those suits,they really know what to do with you. It was hard then; it ain’t that hard now.”
Now who would think that Michael Keaton could be a potential Oscar contender twenty years ago? It is, after all, Michael Keaton who was Mr. Mom in 1983. Besides Keaton having revived stardom, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, and the admired Emma Stone are all being praised for their performances in the film. Having filmed Birdman in Spring of 2013 with only thirty days to shoot, the film took on the visual challenge of meaning to appear seamless (one intentional cut in the two hour film). The director,Iñarritu, comments in Entertainment Weekly about that certain way of filming, “I wanted it to feel like reading somebody who’s writing without commas or periods.” The movie flows like water, keeping the audience engaged.  Birdman hits the Hollywood spectrum hard on with showbiz clichés and backstage antics. Oscar nominations are definitely in the works between the spot on cinematography, soundtrack and of course-acting. No need to re-watch Batman Returns again, enjoy the new Michael Keaton; as a bird.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mask & Zany Preps for Productions

Marc Verwiel
Staff Writer
The upcoming weeks are very busy for the New Hope-Solebury Mask and Zany theater clubs as they prepare and rehearse for one play and one musical scheduled for release within a month.
The musical Little Shop of Horrors, directed by NHS senior Emily Adar, comes out October 30th to celebrate halloween. The show is based on a 1960 low-budget film that was adapted into an off-Broadway musical, which was then re-adapted into a more successful movie in 1986. When asked about the show, Mrs. Pittner said "It's a real halloween treat. Its a sci fi parody about a cannibalistic plant that’s fun for the whole family!" The spectacular show has one run on Thursday, October 30th and two shows on Saturday, November 1st and features a cast including Joshua Searle, Abby Bultemeier, Teddy Carroll, Natalie Russo, Mikey Iverson, and Fiona Male, along with many other actors and actresses from New Hope-Solebury. Tickets are currently available for pre-order from Mrs. Pittner and will also be available at the door.

Along with this fantastic musical, the Mask and Zany club is also working on a Midsummer Night's Dream scheduled for a release in late November. To those who are worried that this play will not be exciting and entertaining, Mrs. Pittner assures it will be a pumped up version of the original , making it exciting for all ages. This show will also have three performances spread over three nights. These two shows will later be accompanied by another play or musical in the spring that is yet to be announced.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gone Girl Review

Arian Behpour
Staff Writer
 At its heart, Gone Girl is social commentary disguised as a well-crafted murder-mystery. The film starts with the mystery of a missing woman, Amy Dunne. As the film goes on, it takes a turn from the straight and narrow and slowly builds the tension as the story becomes more distorted. Gone Girl attempts to challenge the viewers perception of relationships, media, and the attitudes of the police. All the while trying to keep the tone of a quirky mix of humor and drama. Even before its release the film was reported to be in the running for an Oscar, but it was in no way overhyped.
 Ben Affleck’s character, Nick Dunne, starts off his anniversary by finding his wife missing and his living room trashed. The more the film goes on, the more Dunne becomes a suspect in Amy’s disappearance and possible murder. Gone Girl shows how the media can misrepresent a person and end up ruining their life. Also, the film touches on how the police can make predetermined judgments based on personal prejudices. As the film begins, the mystery seems straight forward, but by the halfway point the film takes a U-turn and never looks back. Some films build to one single twist that limits the ability to re-watch the film, but Gone Girl is re-watchable due to a major twist being placed in the middle of the film and it doesn't even stop there with the twists. The writing is spot on. Gillian Flynn writes a fantastic adaptation of her own book of the same name. David Fincher elevates the story and then some with his precise framing and excellent directing. Until the end, the film doesn't drag on since the story engulfs you in its mystery. The ending is fitting, but it runs too long once it becomes predictable.
 The story is successful due to its strong ensemble cast. Ben Affleck pulls off a great performance as a character stuck in a nightmare that may be partly his own making. Even Tyler Perry jumps out of his Madea films to finally show his acting chops. Neil Patrick Harris however brings a great performance. Due to Harris mostly starring in comedies, some viewers might find it hard to take him serious at first, but he soon proves his worth as the film goes on. Even with all the good performances, Rosamund Pike blows away everyone else. Her range is off the charts. She dominated every scene she was in with perfect handling of her character. If not an Oscar winner, she is definitely an Oscar nominee.
 Surprisingly, Gone Girl had a prominent amount of humor that never got in the way of the drama. This film was created under a magnifying glass just like Fincher’s other films. More than most films, everything has parallels, meanings, symbolism. This might be due to the film originally being a book, but it’s great to be able to analyze a film and get to that secret layer underneath. Gone Girl digs up hard topics and explores them to a great extent. Overall, Gone Girl passes the barriers of storytelling and becomes something else, something beautiful.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Devices Come With Flukes

Kathryn Hunt
Staff Writer

 With the start of a new school year, comes new beginnings. This year, all of the students attending the New Hope-Solebury High School have received brand new computer-laptop hybrids. With this new upgrade, students have to be cautious about how they treat their new device. Here are the top 7 things that can go wrong with your new school device, according to the high school tech department.
#7 Scratches
 Scratches happen more often than not but they are no major threat to your device. Although they may be unappealing, there is no fix for scratches. If you have not yet scratched your computer, you may want to buy a slip to protect your computer from future damage.
#6 Slow Internet
 Slow internet is a pain but it seems to be happening more frequently. Normally, when the internet is slow its because too many people are on one site. There really isn’t any quick fix to this problem except to log off the site and try again later.  
#5 Connection Issues
 Sometimes the tablet and the keyboard won't connect properly. Either the keyboard won't sink with the tablet or the tablet will freeze and everything comes to a hault. Luckily this problem has an easy solution: detach the keyboard from the tablet then reattach it or you can just restart your computer.
#4 Mouse Pad Jams
 Some people at NHS have experience mouse pad jams or when your mouse just disappears off your screen. Just like #5, there is a simple fix. The mouse seems to only disappear when using Chrome, so simply just exit out of Chrome then open it back up and your mouse should appear again.
#3 Screen Cracks
 1% of the new NHS devices have been either received cracked or have been cracked since the beginning of the school year. This is probably the hardest and most time consuming problem you could have but the high school tech department is working on ways to have your device fixed in 5 days instead of the normal 2 weeks its been taking for most people to get their devices back. The main way to prevent your computer from getting cracked is to buy a case or a slip to protect it from damage when its in your school bag.
#2 Audio Glitches
 Audio glitches are a driver issue and are becoming a more common issue among many students at NHS. Unlike the other problems you may face, there is no simple fix that you can do yourself. The tech department can restore the sound through the driver and will be returned to you in about 30 minutes.  
#1 Sticky Keys
 Keys getting stuck is the number 1 most common problem the tech department has seen all year. 10% of the new devices tended to have “sticky keys”. Although hitting your keys hard may unjam them, most of the time you will need to turn it into the tech department for repair. On average, if you turn your keyboard in the morning, you would get it back by the end of the day.

Back To School Night Kicks Off 2014-2015 Year

Chloe Verwiel
Staff Writer

On the night of September 17, it was not students going to class: it was their parents! New Hope-Solebury High School held its annual back to school night. Parents from all four grades came to the high school and followed their child’s schedule. It was a successful night as parents met the teachers and walked the halls their children wander daily.
  The night started at 6:30 when the parents met in the theater for an assembly with Mr. Malone, who described the upcoming year. Soon after, they were released into the hallways. Each parent went to each of their child’s classes for 10 minutes. Teachers got the chance to meet the parents and talk about what they are planning to teach this year.
  It was in between classes when it got crazy. Many adults did not know where to go or how to get to their next class. Luckily, National Honor Society members were there to help guide the way.
  During the night, parents could also go to the library to learn about what kids do outside of the classroom. The Future Business Leaders of America, Key Club, Mask and Zany, and Positive Student Interaction Club had set up tables. They explained their club and encouraged parents to get their children to join. In addition, student government leaders were selling school gear to fundraise.
 Overall, it was a very successful night. Parents got to see what their children do five days a week from September to June..

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rap Albums

Garrett Lemmons and Kevin Lupo
Staff Writers

  This fall and upcoming winter the world of hip hop will be blessed with a variety of new music. The amount of artists that will drop albums is significantly higher than in recent years. Some of the biggest names in the ‘game’ like Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar are set to put on the biggest album releases of the year. The headlining names for this quarter of the year are enticing but they aren’t the only rappers that are making waves. Tyga, DJ Khaled, The Game, Wale, Rick Ross, J Cole, Logic, Chief Keef and Philly’s very own Meek Mill are also supposed to be dropping projects.
  “I’m excited to hear the new music from some of my favorite artists” said respected sophomore Nolan Curran.
  Some of these albums have been anticipated for awhile now. Tha Carter V is rumoured to be the last Carter of Lil Wayne’s career. Tha Carter series has been one of the top-selling group of hip-hop albums of all time. Nicki Minaj’s “The Pinkprint” is expected to round out the big year she’s had. Nicki has run the radio this year with hits like Pill N Potions, Anaconda, Danny Glover Remix, Bang Bang and a few features that has established her as arguably the best female rapper.  “I love Meek, his raps are fire” says an excited Spencer Tinkel.
Kanye West has finished his album and when he was in Paris played it three times for a listening party. The good news is that the album is done and West is very confident about this album, the bad news is he has not said when he will release the album. Kanye being Kanye he will probably not tell anyone and just do a surprise drop and let the people find out for themselves.
This year could be one of the greatest years ever for the rap and hip/hop music industry. In the last decade last year for the music industry hip/hop and rap can be argued 2013 was the best. Artists such as ASAP Rocky, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Drake, J Cole, The Weekend, and many more all dropped huge albums and mixtapes. This year could be even better. Just as 2014 is coming to a close big artists are getting ready to close the year with a bang.

Toronto Film Festival Over but the Race has Just Begun

Elizabeth Both
Staff Writer

The famous Toronto International Film Festival,(TIFF) took place Sept. 4 through Sept. 14. Founded in 1976, the festival provides ten crucial days of movie debuts. This Canadian festival has become notorious for setting the screen scene for the very likely Oscar Nominations and Oscar winners for the US. Keep your eyes and ears open for these already marked hits:The Imitation Game, Foxcatcher, Wild and The Theory of Everything. These and dozens of others are all ready to hit our theaters in the next three months. All of them signed, sealed reviewed and judged.
 TIFF broadcasted over three hundred films from over sixty countries. A rather large fuss was made about Benedict Cumberbatch’s role in the impending film, The Imitation Game. This tale of the Nazi code-breaker Alan Turing took home the festival’s prominent prize the “Grolsch People’s Choice Award” this year. Other potential Oscar bait is Foxcatcher, based on a true story,”Steve Carell received kudos for not being funny at all,” says Chris Knight from The National Post, and takes a dark turn, dragging familiar stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo into the mix.
 Jake Gyllenhaal stars in a “neo-noir” crime fiction called Nightcrawler, reaching new levels of creepiness as a sociopath. Andrea Mandell from USA Today says: “Another burning question: whether Bill Murray, as a wonderful curmudgeon-turned-reluctant babysitter in St. Vincent, will be headed back to the Oscars at the Dolby Theater in February.”  Sweeping in on the sidelines is the story of the one and only Stephen Hawking played by Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. Reese Witherspoon makes a landmark in the film Wild, a story of personal discovery as she tries to escape from her demons by hiking the Pacific Coast alone, one step at a time. Funny guy Jon Stewart makes his directorial and writing debut with his film, Rosewater, based on the true story of a journalist who was detained in Iran for more than a hundred days in 2009, regarding an interview during the country's’ election.
 The feast of films has not ended, this is just the beginning. The International New York Film Festival started late September to mid October and is planning to bring hundreds of more films to the Oscar bait podium, all of which leads up to one goal-who gets the Gold Man in February.


Monday, October 6, 2014

"Assassin's Creed Unity" Review

Max Charney
Staff Writer

 Assassin’s Creed Unity is an upcoming sandbox action adventure game from Ubisoft that will be released on Nov 11, for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC for North America. On Nov 13, it will see its  Europe and Australia release. The game will only be available for next generation consoles.
 As fans of the Assassin’s Creed series know, Assassin’s Creed Unity is a sequel to Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. The game is set during the French Revolution. The player follows the story of nobleman Arno Dorina, who joins the Assassin order after the murder of his adopted father to investigate further. The game will include a co-op mode with up to four players. Many fans were also disappointed  to hear that Assassin’s Creed Unity was not going to take place in an Asian country: many were hoping for an Assassin’s Creed game where gamers could be a Samurai or in China. Well, those fans will be delighted to hear that Season Pass holder for Unity will be have free access to a DLC called Dead Kings,  storyline takes place in China with a whole new story and an all new cache of weapons.  
 Originally scheduled to release on Oct. 28, Assassin’s Creed Unity is delayed due to more time the developers needed to polish for release. Unity will require a Day One patch in order to play the game, development for Unity began when Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood concluded its development in 2010. Ubisoft Montreal team along with nine other studios worked together to complete the game.

 Assassin’s Creed Unity is  exclusive to next gen consoles and PCs, including for the the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. There will be Assassin’s Creed Rogue which will be released on the same dates as Unity. Assassin’s Creed Rogue has a big twist in it that no other Assassin’s Creed games have had: the game follows the story of a Templar Shay Cormac, who once was an Assassin and is now determined to kill every last one of them. Rogue takes place between 1752 and 1761, during the Seven Years War and closes up the chapter for the Kenway saga. Rogue is much like Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, the game involves a lot  of sailing except this time , this time you sail through the icy water of the North Atlantic Sea, not in the tropical Paradise of the Caribbean Sea. Players will be able to visit New York, the River Valley and the North Atlantic Ocean with returning character from Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.