Category Archives: Arts + Entertainment

Movie Review: Creed II Comes Out Swinging

by Nick Hernandez

Creed II is a boxing masterpiece, released on November 21st of this year, the film received major support from fans and critics alike. Their immediate responses gravitated towards overall astonishment and gratitude for the truly breathtaking performances by the actors on screen.

When reviewing the critique given by Rotten Tomatoes – an accredited website that certifies movies based on their appeal to both experienced critics and the average moviegoer – it’s obvious that the film did very well, receiving an 85 percent rating overall and a Certified Fresh rating.creed-ii.jpg

Creed II begins by introducing its antagonist Viktor Drago, and the harsh life that he and his father live in Russia. Together, the two train for Viktor’s first fight, where that night he destroys his opponent within the first 2 rounds.

The film then jumps to fight-night where Creed is preparing for a bout of his own. In turn, he wins and receives the title of Heavyweight Champion.

From this point on, the world’s of the two fighters draw closer together until they finally meet for the first time in the ring. Drago challenges Creed, but when he considers the offer, those closest to Adonis begin to doubt him and his abilities, ultimately discouraging him from accepting the fight.

It’s with this self-conflict that Creed goes into the fight and loses, badly, resulting in the destruction of Creed’s body and spirit. This is partly because of unpreparedness, but also relies on the fact that his trainer, Rocky, was not in his corner to support him.

Creed thereafter is stuck recovering from the physical trauma of the fight, but more importantly working to fix his relationship with Rocky.

The intensity picks up again when Rocky and Creed train for the rematch against Drago. Adonis pushes his body to the limit, working to overcome all obstacles and toughen himself in every way possible.

Finally, on the night of the boxing match, Creed struggles to stand up for himself in the early rounds but proves his worth throughout the fight. In the 12th round, Drago is knocked down and after a barrage of blows from Creed, Drago’s father forfeits the fight and Creed maintains his title as champion, showing the world that he’s got what it takes.

The film ends with Drago Senior consoling his son after their loss and showing the pair back in Russia training together.

As a whole, Creed II was an astounding film, filled with action and emotions that made the viewer feel and live through the experiences seen within the movie. Together, screenwriters Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker created a screenplay that emphasized the importance of relationships. Without them, you will not perform to the best of your ability.

While there are more moments in feature that reveal a greater sympathetic and emotional appeal, such as the scene with Creed’s fiancé and daughter, the film does a good job of applying what is experienced in this instance throughout the picture in its entirety.

Creed II in it’s current state is perfect and in no need of a third movie to the add to the series.

Actors Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson and those supporting have built upon a franchise that was already successful and created a story that adds to that fame, ultimately proving that ‘Creed’ is flawless and in need of no change (add-ons). 

 

Game Review: Fallout 76

by Joshua Blake

Fallout 76 dropped worldwide today, as a role-playing game and the first in the series to be playable online. Fallout 76 is the ninth game in the Fallout series and serves as a narrative prequel to the series.https---blogs-images.forbes.com-insertcoin-files-2018-06-fallout-76-2.jpg

Just like all Fallout games before it, Fallout 76 takes place in post-nuclear America in the year 2102, which is the earliest year that has been playable in the Fallout series. Fallout 76 takes the same RPG elements that it has been known for and moves it to an online setting.

Since Fallout 76 creates an online experience, the games developer – Bethesda – has announced that the only people you will encounter in a game will be other online players. Therefore, there are no friendly NPCS to speak of within the game and according to IGN this decision makes the game feel eerily quiet and dead, even for a world that has experienced nuclear devastation.

IGN also reports that they have experienced a lot of glitches and bugs that are game- breaking throughout their play testing. With the beta that was released, a lot of IGN’s criticisms were still present. Through my play-through of the beta the world felt truly utterly dead.

The decision to have no NPCS in the game makes the game feel extremely isolated. The graphics are also subpar, as there are constant frame rate drops and crashing. As the beta stands, right now Fallout 76 is a very mediocre game.

The reason I say it is mediocre is because there is fun to be had exploring the wasteland with your friends, but that feature is overshadowed by its many flaws. The lack of NPCS not only hinders the open world experience, but it also kills the game from a narrative standpoint, if you can even say there is one.

This beta is not like other betas, because the full game is available to play for a limited time. This means that someone, if dedicated, could complete the entire game if they wanted to. Since the full game can be played, I have spent some time playing through the main story and the narrative is very poorly told.

With no NPCS, the only way you can complete quests is to get the from different terminals you find across the world. This is because the quest is given by a terminal from a person who we don’t even know is instructing us to do some task, but the problem is that the character who wrote this is long gone and gives the player no reason to complete the quest.

To put it simply, there is no desire to complete quests because there is nobody to help. In previous Fallout games, the player had desire to complete quests because they centered around player choice and they are given the option to either help the person in need or to look out only for themselves. Fallout 76 doesn’t give the player that option because of the lack of NPCS.

Fallout 76 is a highly anticipated game that finally brings the franchise to an online setting. The game is extremely fun to play with friends and to explore the wasteland together, but there are elements missing from previous Fallout games that hinder the overall experience. The lack of NPCS and the subpar graphics ruin the game and completely change the Fallout 76 experience.

As the game stands right now, I would say that this game is not worth the $60 that the game is selling for. There are too many problems with the game that are apparent in the beta that make it hard to justify the $60 asking price. The game has many problems that are seen in the beta that ruin the overall experience, but hopefully the correct changes are made that can make Fallout 76 the Fallout game we want to experience with our friends.

Game Review: Red Dead Redemption 2

by Kyle Moats

Red Dead Redemption 2 was released this past Friday to the masses as one of the most highly-anticipated games of the past year. I had the pleasure to sit down and really dive deep into this massive game this weekend.

Throughout my play-through, I was taken aback by how much this game had to offer and how many activities there are to explore. I could not take my eyes away from the screen, as every little detail kept adding another dimension to an already expansive game.

As you enter into the game, on of the first things you notice is how beautiful and eye-appealing this game is. Whether it’s the vast desert plains of New Hanover, the swampy marsh lands of Saint Denis, or even the snow filled mountains of the Grizzlies, the attention to detail is stunning.

Another selling point for me was how historically accurate the protagonists fill out their roles as gang members in a dying business. Whether it’s having to change into different styles of clothes depending on what the weather will be or just the trees blowing in the rough wind, Rockstar Games wanted to not just make you feel as you were just playing the game, but were in the game.

Another amazing thing about this game is the customization features. You can customize everything from your hats, shoes, shirts, pants, jackets, facial hair, hair, and even your holsters. The combinations are endless, and you keep unlocking more as you progress through the game. I found myself toying with this mechanic for hours, just seeing what my character looks like in different outfits.

In addition to all this, eating, bathing, and self-grooming comes into play. If you do not eat enough, you will become underweight, which negatively affects your health. If you eat too much you, will become fat and overweight, which greatly affects your stamina.

Horse grooming is also a huge deal. If you do not regularly brush and feed your horse, it’s health will slowly decline and your bond and relationship with the animal will greatly decrease.

Moving on from these features, the plot is utterly fantastic. The characters are portrayed beautifully, and all have very unique attitudes and characteristics that set them apart from anyone else in the game. Even characters with little roles still impact what goes on throughout the story and in side missions. They also look world-weary, as they are fully accustomed to life in the 1890s.

Their grammar and slang is spot on with the time, as well as their problems. Many of the problems in the game can be directly correlated to what it is like to live a life of crime at this time and the pitfalls and benefits of it.  

So far, I have had no concerns or issues with this game. Every time I sit down and play I know I am going to be in for a good time. For those of you who are still on the fence about buying this game, I would say it is completely worth it and definitely a brand new experience even to the most veteran of gamers. 

 

Bosco Theatre: A Great Experience

by Victor Curiel

Some of the qualities our school tries its best to instill in each of its students are those of leadership, empathy, teamwork, and compassion for others. It is the Salesians’ mission to make certain that all young men who pass through St. John Bosco leave with these lessons ingrained in their character.

Here at St. John Bosco, students are provided with various opportunities and pathways to learn and practice these skills. However, while some may argue that this is best accomplished in clubs such as youth ministry or ASB, there is nowhere that this is better exemplified than in St. John Bosco’s and St. Joseph’s theater departments. 

I’ll be honest, when I first came to St. John Bosco 4 years ago, the last thing I expected to catch my interest was the theater program. I assumed that it would be either subpar or that it’s content just wouldn’t interest me, but after much consideration, I decided to find out for myself and auditioned for the 2017 spring musical.

What I ended up finding was not just an engaging extracurricular but a family, one that John Bosco himself would be proud of. I feel confident that this realization is not just something I alone experienced but rather that it’s an inherent quality of the Bosco-Josephs theater department.

“I would say acceptance and like uniqueness. Everyone gets to shine and everyone gets to show off their uniqueness and their personality or their characteristics and it’s not always about physicality like in sports,” said Bosco junior Joshua Dreyer.

There is something truly special about the program, anyone can tryout, anyone can join and they’ll be accepted regardless of what sport they previously played, their beliefs, or their grade level. 

“Don’t be afraid at all because really everyone in theater is just accepting, that’s what I’ve seen at least. And it’s not only accepting, it’s like you’re encouraged to show your weird side,” said Dreyer.

“The journey you go through from auditioning for a show to putting it on and going through closing night is amazing, and when you go through that with a big group of people you bond with them. I think that’s pretty great,” said Veronica O’Connor, a current senior at St. Joseph’s. 

Another appealing quality of theater is the level of comradeship it allows between St. John Bosco students and their female counterparts at St, Joseph’s. The program has prided itself for being part of two schools yet remaining one program for years, a fact that members from both school’s enjoy and support. 

“I think it’s a great way to connect both the schools because it’s difficult with sports and stuff. You get to connect through the arts, which is a very wholesome way of connecting the two schools and you produce something in the end. So it’s not like fruitless interaction, you’re interacting for a purpose or for a goal. I think we could definitely use more programs like this,” said O’Connor. 

“I think it’s actually pretty fun to work with the girls because opening that up to women as well is a really good way to find people that are like you,” said Bosco junior Ryan Jones. 

Theater is accepting and it provides an opportunity to grow closer to our sisters at Joseph’s, but what does it do for students personally? Aside from the obvious public speaking skills, theater helps foster an environment where one can learn confidence and how to find empathy in others. 

“I think that theater does help me a lot with confidence and I think that theater helps me a lot with my social skills because I feel that I’m never necessarily a bad person socially because theater has taught me that you can talk your way out of all things,” said Jones. 

If you’re looking for an environment that will provide a challenge and a family, look no further than the Bosco-Joseph’s theater department. If you’re nervous about auditioning for roles or are unsure of whether it’s for you, don’t worry, it’s something all theater kids have gone through. 

“I feel that theater is something that some people see as just a hobby, that’s not as high or as important as sports. But theater is something that’s just as challenging and if you want to do it, don’t be too scared about it but at the same time realize how challenging it can be and don’t scare yourself because of it,” said Jones.

Don’t be afraid to try out for the next play or musical. You may not get the position you want, there’s not always enough roles unfortunately, but tech and crew positions are always available and are just as important and appreciated as lead roles.

It all really comes down to this, if you’re interested in finding a high school family full of people who will happily support you and your quirks all while participating in engaging, challenging, yet appealing work, the Bosco-Joseph’s theater program might just be the answer. So why not give it a try? 

Movie Review: “Venom”

by Nick Hernandez

“Venom” was released on October 5th and quickly received a 31% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Stating that the movie was confusing and screenplay lacking, reviews given were not in favor of the anti-hero.

An early look at “Venom” showed that critics didn’t like it one bit. Venom’s first incarnation on the big screen was trashed across social media and dreams of a 3-series franchise were crushed by what was determined in early screenings of the movie. Despite the outlash, the movie still saw an incredible turnout, grossing over $80 million from its opening weekend in the U.S. alone, breaking the October domestic box office record. 

Tom Hardy playing the protagonist, Eddie Brock, who acquires the Venom symbiote, and the two save the day in an action filled adventure. Full of fight scenes, romance and evil plotting; the movies’ basis revolves around Eddie, his fiance-(soon to be ex) and an evil mastermind with plans on “helping” the human race. 

While elements like side-characters and antagonists usually help the plot of a movie, in this instance the direct opposite occurs. Eddie’s love life – almost as fast as it was introduced – is quickly thrown out of the window, and the villian, Carlton Drake never does anything to prove his worth. This applies to basically the entire cast, with characters written for the sole purpose of advancing the plot; Their roles, while small, do not affect the movie in any sort of way, making it practically boring to watch. 

With all its malfunctions taken into account, the writers were effective in one aspect, that being creating an awesome and entertaining main character. This small success within the film has the greatest payout, as the movies’ creators have your attention and finally make what you watch intriguing.  

Together Eddie and Venom steal the show, immediately bringing action and fight scenes along with them, but also a humorous aspect as well. Their bond portrays a friendship that has developed for years, where their dialogue although not intentional, comes off as funny. These two are the reason why fans and moviegoers alike loved the movie. Despite its areas of bad development, the true masterpiece evolves when the couple is added into the mix. 

Their success becomes obvious when looking at fan feedback that the movie received. On the same website that crushed it, Rotten Tomatoes’ fan review shows that 88% of viewers like the film. It’s evident that these members of the audience were not deterred because of “Venom’s” early reviews; in a sense those judgements are valid, but it does not take away from the work of art that was Venom.  

Halloween: How To Make The Most Out Of Spooky Season

by Samuel Rodriguez

Halloween is around the corner, which means that there are a lot of fun new activities to enjoy in Los Angeles for all of October.

The Halloween season brings scary fright fests at various amusement parks, scary mazes throughout the city, and festive pumpkin patches. Such events include Universal Studios Horror Nights, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbour, Knotts Scary Farm, and Six Flags Fright Fest.

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Knotts Scary Farm

These places are sure to include scary and twisted mazes, giving you chills but still offering a good time with friends and/or family. These amusement parks also keep their rides open in case you had enough scare for the night and need a different kind of rush. Students that have went to these events report a great time and would like to go again.

“I went with the homies and some girls from Joes [St. Josephs] and it was pretty chill. The mazes were actually kind of scary, and it takes a lot for me to get scared. Overall, it was super fun and I would recommend going,” said senior Andro Labastida about Universal’s Horror Nights.

Amusement parks’ special Halloween events offer a general admission price between $60-$100 depending on the day and park. Although it is a little pricey, the amusement parks offer lots to do and start early around 7 PM and end around 2 AM to provide enough time for you to experience everything.

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Universal Studios Horror Nights

Other Halloween special events include the Los Angeles “Haunted Hayride,” pumpkin patches, and “Boo at the LA Zoo.” These events offer safe family festivities while still giving a scare to each person. The LA Haunted Hayride is located at the old Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park and their attractions include their famous hayride which “transports you into the unknown” and 3 other mazes that you can go to. The general admission, which grants access to all attractions, is $40 a ticket.

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LA Haunted Hayride

Pumpkin patches are another desirable destination for families, friends, and couples. Pa’s Pumpkin Patch, located in Long Beach, offers a variety of rides, games, and pumpkins to choose from to take home, not to mention the petting zoo and pony ride along with fresh cooked food and a pumpkin wonderland. General prices for this pumpkin patch are $20 for 10 tickets, $50 for 30 tickets, or individual tickets for $2.50. Many people who came to this pumpkin patch report a good time with a family friendly atmosphere that is fun for all ages.

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Pa’s Pumpkin Patch

“I went with my friends last week and it was pretty fun. It was a great place for everyone to get together and just relax and chill. We bought a few tickets and went on a couple of rides, but the best part was probably the pumpkins and getting to fool around and take pictures with it. The patch is also aesthetically pleasing and looks really pretty,” said St. Joseph’s senior Olivia Maxwell.

The Boo at the LA Zoo is another popular spot during the Halloween season. Boo at the Zoo offers special shows, a spooky stroll filled with various games and activities, and allows you to get up close with some zoo animals. Ticket prices for this vary, but the most expensive is for adults at $21.

“I went with my family and had a good time. It’s actually super cheap and worth it. We got to see two shows and they were actually kind of cool. At first I didn’t think I would like it, because I was with my family and stuff but ended up having a really good time,” said St. John Bosco senior AJ Castillo.

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LA Boo at the Zoo

This Halloween season offers many events and festivities that you can do with your friends and family. Be sure to keep your eyes out and check out the coolest events that are happening near you to make the most of the season.

 

Movie Review: “First Man”

by Matthew Ruiz

“The Eagle has landed. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

This is the most famous quote in space travel history. The recent blockbuster movie, “First Man” tells the story of famous astronaut Neil Armstrong’s life before and during the space race and during the United States’ Cold War against Russia.

This movie takes you through the life and journey of Neil Armstrong. The movie starts off showing him running a test flight, scratching the atmosphere in a rocket-powered jet. He is constantly running test flights, but this one was his last one because he couldn’t control the stability of the flight.

Throughout this movie we see how Neil Armstrong feels about death and how it affects him mentally and physically. Armstrong also is affected by depression and loss of hope for all the people he has lost in the past. This depression not only affects him, but the people around him, such as his family members, friends, and even co-workers.

During the first 15-25 minutes of the movie, Armstrong experiences one of his hardest losses, as his baby daughter Karen is diagnosed with a malignant tumor which was in the middle of her head. She passes away and Armstrong loses the youngest of his two children. The tumor had affected her ability to walk and talk, and she died ultimately from pneumonia, which related to her weakened health.

During the reception, Armstrong held onto his daughters bracelet and placed it in his office, closing himself off from everyone. He goes back to work and is told the program is interviewing brilliant engineers for a space exploration. When Armstrong gets the job, he learns in the meeting room that the Russians have already beaten the Americans to space with four satellites.

The astronauts alongside Armstrong move now into basic training, where they are put in to machines that spin them and simulate life in space. Most of the trainees throw up their guts, and then move on to learning about rocket physics, which is considerably long. After years of training and studying test flights to get into space, they now plan their takeoff to the moon.

Unfortunately on his mission, Armstrong loses his two best friends on space test flights. On the Apollo 11 flight, he takes his daughters’ bracelet up with him and leaves it on the moon along with the American Flag in her honor.

The movie is a heartwarming and family-orientated tale about a man having good morals and being rewarded with arguably one of the greatest accomplishments in American history.

 

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