Noah Movie Reviews Presents:

A Look at Lala Land

by Noah Beaver

 

Something that surprises me nowadays is that musicals are hated by many. Which is surprising since (movie) musicals have been an American tradition since 1927. But nowadays, I keep hearing more people say that they ‘hate musicals’. Now, I have no problem with differences in taste; I am aware that not everyone will like the exact things I do. It’s people hating on genres that I can’t stand. It’s too broad to hate a genre, and there are different musicals for different tastes. This one, La La Land, is a romantic musical.

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This movie starts with a grand musical number taking place on a L.A. freeway. There are people singing and dancing on their cars while stuck in traffic. It’s not only a great song, or great choreography, but it has amazing camera work. The whole scene is about 3 minutes, and it’s all taken in one shot. We see people singing, dancing, and the camera keeps moving to different locations while still rolling. It was definitely the most impressive shot of the film; the people making it not only had to spend hours for this beautiful shot, but they had to make sure the sun was at the right spot because they were shooting on location on an L.A. freeway. The musical number itself is amazing, but it doesn’t serve much purpose, it does not reveal any emotions or plot, but it did do one thing: it prepared me. After going for years without musicals it prepared me for all the singing and dancing by showing it. And it was a beautiful song; I was humming it while walking out of the theater.

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The story focuses on a man and woman: Mia and Sebastian. Mia is a barista at a Starbucks in the Warner Bros studio lot in Hollywood. She goes to movie auditions in her free time because she wants to be a star. Sebastian is a Jazz pianist who’s stuck with playing simple piano jingles for cash; but his dream is to open his own jazz club, even though they’re rare nowadays. Both of them meet each other, and although they both have different tastes for entertainment: they fall in love.

With my description and a glance at the movie poster you may be thinking: although this is a musical, this is no more than a generic love movie between 2 generic straight white folks, the absolute scum of the Earth. Well, this may be the kind of romance we’re all used to, but this movie does it’s best at giving them both a connection, and not just with a song; we see them communicating and spending time together. We’re not told we want them to be together, we actually want them to be.

The music is beautiful, and not one song is out of place (with the exception of the first act). I re-listened to every single song in the movie at home.

Are there cons? Unfortunately yes, this is one that movie companies have made so many times before: actors aren’t singers. Musical movies before have made this same mistake, having big-name celebrities play lead singing roles, even though they’ve had no previous practice. This is most apparent when Mia is singing with her roommates. We see the other girls breaking out into sprints and twirls, singing about love in falsetto, and at the end, we see Mia strutting, barely able to squeak out the notes. She and Sebastian aren’t necessarily bad, I’d call them…average. They get good stage direction, they can sing just about good enough, and luckily they don’t get too many songs. In fact, that makes them seem more modest. But still: actual singers would still definitely make much better main characters and, with the hit this movie has become, maybe other movie musicals will get that treatment. But, I wouldn’t hold my breath for Hollywood.

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But compared to the rest of the movie, it’s just one sour note in the orchestra. The rest is top notch with zany music, fantastic camera work, and an ending you won’t expect. I wouldn’t say this movie is built up to what it has been built it up to be by some other critics, but I still had a wonderful experience watching it. Whether you’re a fan of musicals or just a casual one, I say give this movie a watch.

 

Article written by Noah Beaver, posted on January 31st, 2016.

 

DEAR CARTER,

The Schwammkopf Scare

Dear Carter,

They canceled SpongeBob and it isn’t on Netflix. I want to watch it in German, but I can’t find any whole episodes. Help!

 

Hey reader! I hear your cries, I too have wanted to watch many shows on Netflix, only to find that they weren’t there. To find your oh so precious episodes of SpongeBob, one might suggest Hulu. And while that is a great option, it is a paid service and I strongly believe in sharing things for free. So I am going to point you towards this German website that I found. I believe that this suits all of your needs. Thank you for the question and have a dashing day!

 

Time Travesty

Dear Carter,

What time is it?

 

10:33

 

Project Prognosis

Dear Carter,

What are some ways to stay focused on one project and not start 50 at once?

 

Dear Reader, ideally in a perfect society, everyone could do what they wanted, and everyone would supply everyone else’s needs. However, that is not the case as of current. For now, these tips must suffice.

Unless you don’t have a choice to do the project, be selective. Choose to do something that will be enjoyable, and is reasonably accomplished. Find something that you know you will be enjoying when you are halfway through.  

Second, make a timeline, and figure out goals that you want to accomplish in steps. Don’t try to do everything at once, and don’t get overwhelmed by a lot of things that need to be done. Plan your actions before executing them.

Finally, commit to your goals, and don’t be a perfectionist. If you are caught up on something because it isn’t exactly how you envisioned it, work around what you have, or come back to it later. Don’t let one small thing deter you from your goals.

As a wise man once said, ‘In proportion therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases’ Just do whatever feels fit that will give you enjoyment, and give it your best work without struggling. Thank you for the question, and have a paramount present.

 

Falling Philosophy

Dear Carter,  I have two questions. First, if you could be any type of dinosaur, what would you be? Second, how did Sherlock survive the fall?

Dear Reader, I am baffled at the thought that you were in such a mindset to be of the belief that you could submit two questions in one ‘answer’ on the form. However, I am not opposed to this, and like the way you impugned the system with that clever trick.

To answer your first question, a giraffatitan.

As for your second, I looked at all the details and evidence I could find, and came to this conclusion: Sherlock Holmes is actually a fictional character, and the fall that he suffered was just a plot point in the hit BBC television series Sherlock. There, in fact was no ‘fall’, and I am willing to bet that they had a crane with ropes and a harness attached to the actor who plays the protagonist in this television show.

However, to play into your silly game, I think that the TV show is just a hyper extended heroin high. I believe that the parts of the show where Benderdatch Cumberthacth is high in are set in reality, while the crime fighting hero is all a crazy trip.

Thank you for your question, and have an insane instant.

***

Hey all you curious minds, don’t forget to send in your questions. Whether it be about your cat or your garden or anything else, send them in.

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Article written by Carter Bearden, posted on January 31st, 2016.

Chasing Knowledge Presents: A Closer Look at Oragami

 

by Chase Mitchelson

Origami: the art of folding paper. Origami is an art that requires you to fold paper in different ways to create something completely different.

One of the most famous origami designs is the crane. The crane is a symbol of peace in Japanese culture. Legend says anyone who folds 1000 cranes will have their heart’s desire come true. The crane has become a symbol of peace because of this, and because of the young Japanese girl Sadako Sasaki.

Sadako was exposed to radiation from the Hiroshima bombing, and was suffering from leukemia when she was twelve in 1955. Her classmates told her of the legend and so she decided to make 1000 cranes so she could live. When she finished, and saw all the other the other children in her ward, she realized she wouldn’t survive, and wished for world peace and an end to the suffering.

Fun Facts

  • The word “origami” comes from the two Japanese words “ori” which means folded, and “kami” which means paper.
  • The Samurai of Japan gave each other gifts known as “noshi” paper folded with a strip of fish and were considered good luck.
  • An ancient Japanese legend says that if you were to fold one thousand cranes you were granted a wish.
  • Traditional origami uses a piece of paper 75 × 75mm (about 3 × 3 inches), 6-inch squares and 10-inch squares, and does not permit the use of cutting.
  • The largest number of origami cranes was created as part of the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. A total of 250,000 paper cranes were folded and displayed in a large memorial in the city. Each had a person’s name on it and a short, peaceful message.
  • A paper crane is a symbol for world peace.
  • Modern origami is quite different than what it once was. Instead of the single square sheet, making animals or things of the natural world, and no cutting or wet-folding, nowadays people are coming up with intricate designs and 3D shapes.
  • Wet-folding is dampening the paper somewhat so the product holds its shape better
  • Until recently, not all forms of paper folding was considered origami. Before that, paper folding was known by lots of different names, including “orikata”, “orisue”, “tatamigami” and others.
  • Japanese origami began sometime after the Buddhist monks brought over paper in the 6th century.
  • In 1797 the first known origami book was published: Senbazuru orikata.

 

Here is an instructional video on how to make a paper crane.

 

Paper crane:                                                        Paper crane instructions: image00                image03

 

Paper dragon:                                    Flower patterned origami paper:

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Very small paper crane:                                         Paper rose:

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Article written by Chase Mitchelson, posted on January 31st, 2016.

Lola’s Reviews Presents:

A Few Late Thoughts on Adventure Time‘s “Preboot” and “Reboot”

by Lola Burris

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Since around season 3 I would definitely make the claim that Adventure Time is one of the best shows on TV. It has the richest and most diverse world-building of any show I’ve seen, and it is able to build on that would while still remaining in the confines of what we’d expect from it. The season 7 finale just goes to solidify that. Since this is a season finale take this as your official Spoiler warning.

       image04 Adventure Time has been hinting at the plot of these episodes for quite a while, with people in Ooo living as cyborgs – Bmo’s creator especially. In this episode we meet Doctor Gross who has been making hybrid animals (monsters?) in her lab, and an old friend, Tiffany, is there too. Finn is always looking to meet someone who appears to be human, and Doctor Gross seems to fit the bill until she reveals the array of mods she has installed in her body. “Evolution’s too slow.” She claims. Doctor Gross and her nightmare menagerie seem to hold a lot of lore as to what happened to all the humans, but while Finn, Jake, and Susan are escaping they destroy the lab and everyone inside of it, seemingly, except for the hybrids. The death of Tiffany is very interesting for Adventure Time because it introduces an idea of killing off characters that we’ve had slight, or even major, attachment to. This happens a few times in the episode and I’ll touch on it more later.

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        The episode “Reboot” focuses heavily on Susan Strong. In the previous episode it is revealed that she has a chip implanted in her head, and that that chip is now malfunctioning, or maybe finally functioning the way it was meant to. Either way, Susan is now set on destroying Finn and Jake. In the early battle Rattleballs, another old friend, leaps out of hiding to try and save Finn and Jake. He is destroyed, his final words being “Yabba-dabba-dabba-dabba.” Which, I promise, is important. Everything leads up to a battle between Finn and Susan, which Finn totally doesn’t want. Susan is his friend, right? Finn and Jake form the Jake suit, yet another callback, and try to body slam susan, which basically does nothing. During the whole fight Finn is pleading with Susan to stop, and telling her that he doesn’t want to hurt her. Finn throws Susan into the ocean, but she emerges carrying a very large anchor. Susan throws the anchor and it lands on Finn and Jake, Finn manages to crawl out unharmed thanks to the protection of the Jake suit. Jake, however, is looking really bad; he mutters out a “Yabba-dabba-dabba-dabba.” Finn manages to destroy the chip on Susan’s head, which returns her back to normal, and he seems to be done fighting, his grass sword (which is attached to his body) however, is not. The sword takes control of Finn’s body, and starts to beat up Susan. We get this amazing shot where the grass from Finn’s arm slithers over the Finn sword, out of frame, and then back to wrap around it which tears it off off Finn, causing Finn to lose his arm for the second time in this series. The grass and sword form a sort of Grass Finn, and that is where we’re left this season, with no implication of whether Jake, Tiffany, and Rattleballs are really dead.

image00 The idea of a cliffhanger this heavy is new to Adventure Time, in fact, killing off characters is new to Adventure Time. I think this episode really proves how much Adventure TIme has matured from an episode where Princess Bubblegum continued to clone a Candy Kingdom citizen because she couldn’t stand to see him go, which was very representative of the series, at the time. The fact that Rattleballs was so clearly shattered and said the same thing as Jake before his death is really scary, I don’t know if Adventure Time could really ever kill off Jake, but the fact that they’ve even allowed us to think it is monumental for them.
It looks like the eighth season of Adventure Time is shaping up to be pretty incredible. The Adventure Time crew tends to use finales to set up the mysteries of the next season, so it seems like we may finally get to find out about what happened to the humans. With the end of Adventure Time nearing this seems like a major possibility for a season arch, and that is very exciting. It seems like everything has been leading up to this season, with all of Finn’s character development included. So, here’s to season 8 – whatever that may bring.

Article written by Lola Burris, posted on January 31st, 2016.