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.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chris Pratt to Star in New Jurassic Park

Heather Borochaner
Staff Writer

 Chris Pratt, who recently played the character Peter Quill, better known as Star-Lord in the worldwide hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy, will have the leading role as the character Owen in the new Jurassic Park installment tentatively entitled Jurassic World.
 Pratt will be playing a raptor observer who works at the park, which has now been opened to the public for quite a while, despite the earlier problems that plagued the island. Remember, this movie takes place 22 years after the events of the first movie. Since dinosaurs have been once again walking the Earth in the park for a while now, the crowds in the park are beginning to thin, which leads geneticists in the park to create a new dinosaur, the Diabolus Rex, better known as D-Rex.
 D-Rex is a genetically modified dinosaur with the genes of T-Rex, Velociraptor, different species of snakes, and cuttlefish. With this new star test tube dinosaur, the owners of Jurassic World are convinced that this new attraction will bring back the crowds. Until, due to its unpredictable behavior, the D-Rex escapes and causes trouble. Oops!
 It was rumored that there will be a fight between the D-Rex and Pratt, but no spoilers or details have been given, and that’s probably for the best. “It’s going to be awesome,” was all Pratt revealed to an interviewer about his role in the movie. Jurassic World is set to air in theaters on June 12th, 2015.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a Summer Hit

Arian Behpour
A&E Editor
To the surprise of many, a movie about a green alien, a living tree, and a raccoon made from computer-generated imagery can become the biggest movie of the summer. It seemed this film was too unconventional to succeed, but some how it came out on top. The movie set out to blend together jokes alongside action and drama, a feat that is hard to accomplish. Guardians of the Galaxy was a step into new territory by Marvel.
The movie starts off great by getting us interested in the film’s story and tone. The jokes in the film had the all of the theater roaring in laughter. The characters all have their own type of humor. One of the funniest characters is Rocket Raccoon, who spouts out hilarious one liners right after eachother. This aspect of the film is interesting, because the way the characters talk to one another really makes them feel diverse and alive. The tear jerking moments are there too and they work just as well as the humor. 
While this film isn’t trying to win any oscars for acting, the acting is great all around. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill was a great casting decision. Even Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper give their characters that little edge with their voice acting. Michael Rooker, who you might know as Merle from the walking dead, is a great side character. John C. Reilly and Glenn Close barely show up more than five minutes combined, so you might be disappointed if you expected to see more of Reilly’s character. The most controversial casting choice might be Dave Bautista as Drax. Bautista, who is more known for his wrestling in the WWE than for his acting, gives a decent performance. I think he is not much of an actor but due to his characters lack in a  sense of humor, he seemed to fit the quirkiness of the character perfectly. The cast of Guardians is well rounded and makes for an eclectic range of characters.  
Aside from the humor, Guardians adds  a bit of action into the mix. The action is great and the CGI really complements the set pieces rather than demeaning them. Sometimes the action and humor go hand in hand. This works well and fits into an Indiana Jones and Star Wars vibe. There is a scene, not as good as the others,where the main characters fight in flight pods but you don’t feel like they are in the pods themselves. Yes, the action might be cool, but there is no sense of tension. 
The biggest issue that the movie presents is the villain, Ronan the Accuser. Ronan is the equivalent to Darth Maul from Star Wars. He looks cool, does evil stuff, and fights without mercy, but he is nothing new. His characteristics end at evil, and there  no redeeming factors or character development to his character. Ronan works under Thanos, an even bigger villain that is working in the background of the film. It seems like they did not care about Ronan and just wanted to build Thanos up more. In the end, Ronan felt like another cool costume with nothing to fill it up with.
This film deserved to have done so well in the box office due to its ability to mesh the genres together so perfectly. While watching the movie, I felt an array of emotions; happy, sad, and most of all, I had a great time watching this movie. Guardians of the Galaxy is up there with other sci-fi action comedies like Ghostbusters. If you want a good time with the friends, family, or by yourself, watch Guardians of the Galaxy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Film Club

Tyler Brennan and Marc Verweil
Staff Writer

At New Hope-Solebury High School, film appreciation has experienced a renaissance under the newly appointed President of the NHS Film Club, Anthony Lagana, and the Mask and Zany Club.  
Last year, the Film Club hosted two film festival events showcasing talented New Hope-Solebury students who submitted videos to compete for prizes and awards. Students showed excitement and enthusiasm for the competition, writing scripts and making short films for submission. In prior years, the club had been limited to just film festivals.The club originated in 2004 when former students Jared Mancuso and Griffin Horn began hosting film festivals with the help of Mrs. Pittner. Between 2004 and 2005, the school held three film festivals with avid participation from the class. This recent activity came after six-year hiatus. Mrs. Pittner described the issue: "After the first batch of kids graduated, the film club drifted away. It really depends on having a motivated group of students and that’s what we have this year."
Many of the members are very excited for the promising future of this club. Anthony Lagana said: "I think it’s a great way to explore the different kinds of film. I think it’s a thing a lot of students have been interested in and there hasn't really been an outlet and I'm excited that its starting back up again and I'm excited for a great year."
The new president hopes to bring focus to obscure films, showing a different short at every meeting. The club’s next film festival will be open to students from other schools with South Hunterdon of New Jersey and Solebury school in mind. The NHS Film Club meets every other Tuesday during lunch in room 117.