All posts by Simon

Why We Love Les Misérables

Les Mis is the best movie I have seen in a very long time. It started off with prisoners doing slave work and pulling ropes. At the end of that scene, Jean Valjean, the protagonist, gets freed from jail after nineteen years. Javert, the police officer that told him he was free, warned Jean Valjean that he would always be a criminal and that he would have to report in his location every month. Jean Valjean then tried to steal from a priest who was being nothing but kind to him. The police caught Jean Valjean and when they asked where he got all the silver, Jean Valjean lied and said the priest had given it to him. When the priest was questioned about it, not only did he say that he had given the silver to Jean Valjean, but he also added in two candlesticks. From that moment on Jean Valjean realizes that he has become a real criminal, and since God saved him, Jean Valjean decides to give his life to God. Hugh Jackman, the actor who plays Jean Valjean, gives a very heartfelt performance “What Have I Done?” that brought many tears to my eyes. This was in my opinion one of the best moments of the movie. The singing was amazing and it felt like it was beyond acting, it felt like it was real.

Summary: After Jean Valjean breaks parole, he creates a new and honest life. He adopts Cosette, the daughter of a single mother, and vows to protect her, which proves difficult during the French Revolution.

Genre: A dramatic musical.

Gore: Not a gory movie, but a couple of battle scenes with many deaths. One character commits suicide.

Character List: Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is the main character, who starts as a criminal, but becomes the owner of a company and the mayor. Javert (Russell Crowe) is an officer who devotes his life to finding and locking up Jean Valjean. Fantine (Anne Hathaway) is a factory worker who gives her child to Jean Valjean. Cosette (Amanda Seyfried, Isabelle Allen) is Fantine’s daughter who is brought up by Jean Valjean. Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen) is a drunken shopkeeper who used to pretend to take care of Cosette, and only cares about money. Madame Thénardier (Helena Bonham Carter) is his wife, who also only cares about money. Marius (Eddie Redmayne) is one of the leaders of the French Revolution and falls in love with Cosette. Enjolas (Aaron Tveit) Is Marius’s best friend who fights in the French Revolution. Époninde (Samantha Barks, Natalya Wallace) is Thénardier’s daughter who is in love with Marius. Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) is a child street urchin who fights for the French Revolution.

Caution: Spoilers Ahead 

Plot: Jean Valjean steals bread for his starving nephew and spends 19 years in jail.  Javert releases him on parole. He is homeless and must find shelter, so he goes to a church/ Convent and meets the Bishop (Colm Wilkson). He steals all the silver from the Bishop and leaves at night. He is caught by the cops, and is taken back to the Bishop. He says that the Bishop has given him the silver, even though he has stolen it. The Bishop says he has given him the silver. The cops leave and the Bishop tells him to use the silver to become a good man. Valjean rips up his parole agreement shouting, “Jean Valjean is Dead.”

Montreuil 8 years later

Jean Valjean has bought a new identity and has become a mayor and proprietor. He runs into Javert for the first time. He expects Javert to arrest him immediately, but is shocked to see that Javert is his soldier. Javert sees Valjean lift a cart off a man and immediately recognizes him as Valjean, but says nothing. Meanwhile Fantine is working in the factory that Valjean owns, but is thrown out on the street when they discover she has a child, and isn’t married. When Cosette falls ill, Fantine must make money by selling her teeth and hair and doing many other desperate things for money to support her daughter. She is discovered by Valjean, and he brings her to a hospital. Javert confronts Valjean and apologizes for mistaking him for Valjean. Valjean goes to the hearing of the fake Valjean and confesses that he is the Real Valjean. Javert goes after him and finds him in Fantines hospital. She dies, her last wish being that Valjean take care of Cosette. Valjean and Javert get in a fight and Valjean flees. He goes to the innkeeper, Thénardier, and buys Cosette and they flee to Paris. Javert vows to find and lock up Valjean.

Paris 9 years later

Marius and Enjorlas are leading a rally against the French government, outside of General LeMarque’s house (The People’s General), and Gavroche is wreaking little kid havoc on the rich people. A grown-up Époninde is in love with Marius. Marius sees a grown-up Cosette and Valjean, and he immediately falls in love with Cosette. Javert shows up and Valjean flees. Thénardier, is quick to jump up and offer himself as a victim for Valjean’s crime of ‘Stealing Cosette.’ Marius asks Époninde to find out where Cosette lives for him. That night, Enjorlas is rallying the people in a café. Someone notices that Marius is out of it. They learn he is in love with this ‘Mystery Girl.’ Gavroche bursts in saying that General LeMarque is dead. Enjorlas starts to plan the start of the revolution at General LeMarques memorial the next day. Eponinde leads Marius to Cosette’s house and they meet. Thénardier shows up and sees Eponinde and tells her to leave. She doesn’t want him to find Valjean, because he would turn him in to the police. She yells and draws the attention of the cops. Valjean thinks the cops are coming for him and flees. Cosette leaves a note for Marius, but Eponinde steals the note. The next day, at General LeMarque’s memorial, the revolution starts. They set up a barricade of furniture that was thrown out of windows. Javert goes undercover and pretends to be a fighter for the revolution. He learns the plans of the revolution and pretends to go steal the French’s plan, but is actually tell the French, the revolutionary’s plan. He makes up a plan that the French are going to wait to attack the next day. Gavroche calls him out on being Javert, and they lock him up. The first battle begins and Eponide dies for Marius and she gives him the note from Cosette. Marius sends Gavroche to Cosette’s apartment. Valjean intercepts the note and goes to the battle to see this ‘Marius.’ They are suspicious of Valjean but he kills some French waiting to attack on the rooftops nearby. They say he can kill Javert. Valjean takes Javert out back and pretends to shoot him, but lets him free. When Marius is wounded, Valjean takes him from the front line and hides with him in a pipe. He tries to hold on, but he falls and they land in a sewer. Valjean falls hard and passes out. Thénardier comes by and takes Marius’s ring and sees Valjean. Valjean wakes up and gets Marius out of the sewer. When he gets out he is confronted by Javert, and pleads to just have enogh to time take Marius home. Javert lets him go. Javert commits suicide because his life was in debt to a criminal. The French win at the Barricade and Everyone, including Gavroche and Enjorlas, die. Marius and Cosette reunite and are in love. Valjean confesses everything to Marius, and tells him to keep it a secret from Cosette. Valjean goes to the Convent he went to in the beginning and is ready to die. On Marius and Cosette’s Wedding day, Thénardier shows up and tells Marius that Valjean has killed someone the other night. Thénardier talks about a ring he got from the victim. Marius realizes the Valjean saved him. He and Cosette go to the convent, just in time to say goodbye to Valjean and have an amazing Finale with the whole cast singing at a grand barricade, reuniting the dead with the living.

Rating: 4 out of 4 stars. The best broadway musical movie we’ve ever seen, hands down.

By Simon Rabinowitz and Alex Pear

Five Funniest Holiday Movies Ever

Every year since movies have been around, holiday specials on TV and movies based on holidays have been made: Some funny, some serious, and some animated. In our esteemed opinions, here are the top five funniest Christmas or winter holiday movies or TV specials ever made.

  1. Home Alone:  An extremely                                                                                                                funny movie that is appropriate for the whole family. Almost every child can relate to the joys and fears of being left home alone. It is a movie about a young boy who is accidentally left at home by his parents.  His parents went far away on vacation and couldn’t get back to him.  While he was home alone, two robbers attempt to rob his house.  The young boy defends his house with booby traps and creative solutions to prevent the robbers from hurting him or his house.  Ultimately, his family is able to get back home in time to see the robbers getting arrested.  Overall, it is a very funny and entertaining movie.
  2.  Elf :Will Ferrell “kills it” as Buddy the Elf, a human baby who was raised by Santa at the North Pole. When he grows taller than the average elf, his past is revealed to him and he journeys to New York to find his real family. As you might imagine, New York is not like the North Pole in the slightest. Both children and adults can’t help laughing as they watch Buddy unmask a mall Santa, get into a massive snowball fight in Central Park, and answer his real dad’s phone with “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”
  3.  Eight Crazy Nights : A movie about an alcoholic named Davey Stone (Adam Sandler) whose parents died when he was young. At some points this movie can be funny.  This is a good holiday movie because it is a humorous movie about a Jewish person around the time of Hanukah. I recommend seeing Eight Crazy Nights because it shows how emotions can change you. Also, Adam Sandler is in it, which makes it automatically hilarious. This is a movie that I like to label as “stupid but funny”. I call it stupid because there are some pointless parts in this movie. I label it funny because it just is. I also recommend this movie for children ages 11 and up.
  4.  Rugrats Chanukah:   A hilarious TV special about the true meaning of Chanukah.This special is fun for the whole family as it is complete with morals and friendship plus  a dash of humor. Tommy’s grandfather, Boris, is staring as Judah Maccabee in a local production of the story of Chanukah. But his old childhood nemesis, Shlomo, is starring as King Antiochus. Tommy, Chucky, Phil and Lil, must stop the ‘Chanukah Meany’, before he doesn’t play nice with grandfather Boris.
  5. Charlie Brown Christmas :  The most serious Christmas movie on our  list, Charlie Brown is feeling depressed and is told he ‘doesn’t participate’ in Christmas enough. Lucy decides that Charlie should direct the local Christmas Play. But when everything goes wrong, he must listen to Linus’s voice on the true meaning of Christmas. Without any commercialism.

by Simon Rabinowitz, Alex Mirage, Gabe Goldberg and Graham Arms

USB Flash Drives: The Good, The Bad and The Corrupted!

Every day, we see flash drives. They come in all shapes, sizes and designs.

What is that?: A USB Flash Drive is a type of storage that transfers data from computer to computer. They can be very pretty and have a large amount of storage.

Who made that: The answer is three men from Israel. Amir Ban, Dov Moran and Oron Ogdan worked for the Israeli company M-Systems. They filed a patent in 1999 on a flash drive that had a cable connecting the USB to the memory drive. Later that year Shimon Shmueli had a patent for a similar flash drive. IBM and M-Systems partnered together  bring the flash drive to life. Many companies claimed to have invented it first. Trek Technology and Netac Technology have fought against it. But still evidence proves that M-systems had the first patent on the USB Flash Drive.

How does it work: The USB Flash Drive works with flash memory and integrated Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface. In English Flash Drives are stored on electrical storage, and can be reprogrammed.

When was it made: The first filed patent from M-Systems was filed in April 1999. IBM’s was filed in september that same year.

Where was it made: The first Flash Drive was made in Israel by M-Systems.

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‘Marvels The Avengers’ Movie Review

Summary: When Loki attacks the earth and steals the Tesseract, a dangerous energy source, the Avengers must assemble and work together to defeat him.

Genre: A superhero action movie, with a dash of comedy.

Gore: Not a lot of gore, more sci-fi deaths. One scene involves a man getting his eyeball stabbed by a sci-fi laser-drill, but this is done partially off screen.

Character List: Captain America (Chris Evans), Steve Rodgers, is the leader of the Avengers. Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.), Tony Stark, is the uncooperative billionaire. The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Bruce Batter, is the mild mannered scientist who can change into a huge green monster fueled by rage. Thor (Chris Hems worth) is the demi-god from Asgard and Loki’s brother. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Natasha Romanoff, is the amazing spy and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Clint Barton, is the amazing archer and agent of S.H.I.E.D. who is turned evil by Loki. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is the upset younger brother of Thor, who wants to steal the Tesseract and take over Earth. Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is an agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. who helps bring the Avengers together. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. who manages the Avengers. Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) is an agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. who is Nick Fury’s assistant. Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is Tony Stark’s wife. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is a scientist who works with the Tesseract and is turned evil by Loki.

Spoilers Ahead

 

Plot: When Loki steals the Tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D. and turns Hawkeye and Selvig evil, Nick Fury must find a solution to save the world. Black Widow and Agent Coulson help get Hulk, Ironman, and Captain America together on Nick Fury’s gigantic plane. Hulk is only brought on for his genius and familiarity with Gamma Rays. Meanwhile, Hawkeye, Loki and Selvig are starting an underground Tesseract lab and assembling the parts needed to bring Loki’s army to Earth. When Loki is captured, Thor arrives he takes Loki and, Captain America and Ironman have to fight to get him back. They finally get Loki locked up on the plane, but he seems happy. In the planes lab, where Ironman and hulk are working, all of the Avengers are fighting one another. Loki’s staff in the lab is helping the Avengers find the Tesseract. Loki gets Hulk to attack the plane and all of the Avengers to split up. They reunite in New York, after Hawkeye turns good again. Loki unleashes his army and the Avengers finally work together. They do their best, but can’t close the portal releasing the army. The government sends a nuke into New York, but Ironman intercepts the missile and sends it into the portal just as Black Widow closes it, destroying that army forever. All the Avengers go their separate ways and ready to assemble in the future.

Top Ten Worst Movies of All Time

by Simon Rabinowitz., Gabe Goldberg and Alex Mirage

There have been thousands of movies that have been considered undesirable or just plain horrible. Here is a list of the top ten that we feel should not have been made.

  1. Shorts. This movie is pretty much a 1st graders CGI computer camp project. Most movies should have an, at least, loosely defined plot, but not shorts. This movie actually has its own genre and standards.
  2. Drive. I really liked the first half hour. But they got their hands on 17 gallons of fake blood and didn’t want to waste it. They couldn’t afford to buy Ryan Gosling a new jacket, so throughout the movie it becomes extremely bloody. Not only does he curb stomps a guy, he also can transform from a criminal driver, to a mass assassin, to a completely good guy. Don’t even get me started on the acting. They say an average of 10 words an hour.
  3. The Last Airbender Movie. This stunk. M. Night Shyamalan never actually watched, or even read a plot summary for the original T.V. show. I can barely even look at any of the characters from the original. Nice try, M. Night, but please no more failed reboots.
  4. Home Alone 4. I don’t remember much from this movie. Mostly because there was no acting talent. It looked like a last minute presentation of how to fend off a burglary. I mean who is this actor; he has been in one other movie and a couple episodes of random T.V. shows.
  5. Open Season 3. I couldn’t even finish the trailer.
  6. Dinner for Schmucks. Steve Carell wasn’t ‘funny’ just extremely annoying. He plays with dead mice? He thinks Nelson Mandela is Morgan Freeman? And did the creators even try to Google the word schmuck (do not Google the word schmuck)?
  7. Shrek Forever After. They tried to incorporate life lessons and animation. Rumpelstilsken looks like Sarah Jessica Parker.
  8. Never Say Never. It makes the Biebs look like a total cocky, stuck up, Canadian kid.
  9. Hangover Part II. The jokes were hilarious. Unfortunately, they can’t come up with a different plot from the original movie with a bachelor party. And why did they make the mistake of getting married twice? Sorry Stew. You shouldn’t have to go through that (if you haven’t seen this movie, don’t. There is no reason why you should).
  10. Coraline. A. It was insanely scary. B. They tried to rip out eyeballs and sew buttons in the person’s eye. C. It was just all out weird. D. It had Emo cats (watch the trailer and you will see).

Phantom Menace Review

Summary: A space movie about the battle between The Evil Trade Federation and the natives of the planet Naboo.

Genre: Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

Gore: Not any gore, although there is one Lightsaber (blades of light) where one person chopped in half and another gets stabbed.

Rating: 2 out of 4 stars. Not a very good movie with bad acting (except Darth Maul) and even worse special effects.

3-D: One thing that really killed it was the ‘3-D’ that did absolutely nothing to the movie. The only 3-D parts were the trailers before the movie started.

Character List: Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) is the Main Jedi Knight. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is his apprentice. Padme (Natalie Portman) is one Queen Amidala’s servants who follows Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan on their adventure. Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) is their young friend who Qui-Gon senses the force in. Darth Maul (Peter Serafinowicz) is the evil Sith apprentice.

Caution: Spoilers Ahead

Plot: When the Trade Federation (CIS) tries to take over the planet Naboo, a battle over the planet starts. Two Jedi Knights must rescue and protect the queen of Naboo. But their ship breaks down and they must stop for parts. With no money they must gamble on pod races and they free Anakin from his slavery at the auto shop. When they return to Naboo, the Trade federation has already taken over. They must join forces with the underwater Gungan people and attack the Trade Federation.

 

 

 

Fetterman vs. Gondi

An interview with Jeff Fetterman (teacher), Lily Zukin (current student), and Joseph Block (former student). In the past few years, there has been a sort of “rivalry” between the 6th grade classes of Jeff Fetterman and June Gondi. We recently spoke with Jeff, Lily and June in an effort to get to the bottom of this.

Simon: How long has this been going on?

Jeff: Several years.

Simon: Who will win?

Jeff: We will win with wit (and) without warning.

Simon: Who started it?

Jeff: Maybe us. It originated from June’s fear of snakes.

Simon: Do you think this will continue?

Jeff: As long as I can crawl down the hall and June has a class to interrupt.

Simon: How do you feel about this rivalry?

Lily: I think the rivalry is fun and exciting for both classes.

Simon: How has (the rivalry) affected your friendships.

Lily: I think that (my friendships) are the same, but one person says “Fettermans,” and then sneers.

Simon: Do you feel you could pull a prank on the Gondis?

Lily: One second (to plan) and ba-bam!

Simon: Will the rivalry continue?

Lily: Definitely.

Simon: Were there any major pranks last year?

Joseph: No.

Simon: Will this rivalry continue?

Joseph: No.

We wonder if this really is the end or just the beginning?

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Summary: What happens when apes outsmart humans? Following the Ape, Caesar’s 8 years, you find  how he changes from cute baby to intelligent ape to violent simian. After a violent outburst, Caesar is transported to a sanctuary and mistreated. Then he Rises and the action really begins!!!

Genre: Sci-Fi. What can a cure for Alzheimer’s do to chimps?  Thriller. These are apes. Not monkeys.

Gore Level:   In one scene, Caesar bites off a man’s finger and you see the blood. The entire movie is very dark and scary; One man is electrocuted.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 4. Not a violent movie, but as the motto says ‘Evolution becomes Revolution.’

Character List: Will Rodman (James Franco) is trying hard to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Caroline Aranha (Freida Pinto) is a vet who helps Will care for Caesar. Charles Rodman (John Lithgow) is Will’s father and  Will’s  inspiration to find a cure. John Landon (Brian Cox) is the owner of the ape sanctuary. Dodge Landon (Tom Felton) is the bully of a zookeeper.  Franklin (Tyler Labine) is a chimp handler who gets infected. Caesar (Andy Serkis) is the extremely smart ape. Hunsiker (David Hewlett) is their neighbor.

CAUTION: SPOILER AHEAD

Plot: Bright Eyes was tested with A-112, the supposed cure for many brain diseases. After passing many tests, she had proven the chimp tests to be a success. But on the day she was going to be presented to the board, she went crazy and was killed. Franklin realizes she was only  being protective of her new baby, Caesar. Will brings little Caesar home and realizes he has the A-112 in his genes. He gives a dose to Charles, his father, and he is cured over night.

3 years pass. Caesar is becoming increasing smarter, so Will teaches him sign language. Caesar gets injured and is taken to Caroline. Charles, Will, Caroline, and  Caesar go to Muir woods.

5 years pass. Charles Alzheimer’s gets worse and fights off the A-112. Will realizes he needs to make a more aggressive cure. A-113. This works on chimps but kills Franklin after he is exposed. Charles crashes Hunsiker’s car and Hunsiker yells at Charles. Caesar sees this as attacking and bites off Hunsikers finger. He sent to chimp sanctuary immediately gets bullied by other apes and Dodge. He steals a knife from one of dodges friends, releases the gorilla and gains the respect of the main chimp. He goes to Will and Caroline’s house and takes some A-113. He infects all the chimps and they escape, takeover San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and take Muir woods.

Franklin had sneezed on Hunsiker, A pilot, and the disease spreads around the world. Making Earth The Planet of the Apes

Contagion Review

Contagion

Summary: Vaccines, looters, mass graves, and a star scientist emerges.

Genre: Though elements of Sci-fi, Thriller and straight up Horror may have crept in, Contagion stayed true to what ,would and might happen. Following many plotlines you get the sense that everyone in the world is affected.

Gore: Director Steven Soderbergh wasn’t afraid to show seizures, bus accidents, looters attacking people, and blood.

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars. An all-star cast leads human civilization through, what could possibly be, the next apocalypse. This is easily the best movie of 2011 (after Harry Potter, of course), and one of the best Thrillers ever.

Character List: After Mitch (Matt Damon) gets exposed to Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) he is put in isolation and found to be immune. Alan (Jude Law) is a blogger who first finds the disease, gets exposed and finds the vaccine. Dr. Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) is a disease doctor who is highly classified and gets caught up in telling his wife about the disease. Dr. Orantes (Marion Cotillard) gets kidnapped and is forced to save her assistant’s village. Dr. Mears (Kate Winslet) is an adventurous field doctor and who tries to find the vaccine and help sick people. Dr. Hextall (Jennifer Ehale) is a lab scientist who exposes herself to the disease in an attempt.

CAUTION: SPOILER AHEAD

Plot: Beth goes to Hong Kong and catches the disease. She and her group of friends go back to their corners of the world. Instantly China, Japan and the U.S.A. are all affected. This disease is amazingly fast at transmitting itself through any physical contact. No one is immune (besides Mitch). The disease can kill by seizures, confusion, and just plain old sickness. Fear leads ordinary people to steal from and kill others. The first vaccine is found by Alan, but proven a scam. The second vaccine is found and a horrible lottery is started. Characters get the vaccine when their birthdays are called from a lottery.