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Documentary Review | Journal for People: Takagi Masakatsu

An artistic collection of Takagi Masakatsu’s work, tastefully put together and edited in beautiful meant for fans and fellow music lovers to enjoy. It’s organized in such a way that allows the viewer to put emotion with the music. While there is no narration the melodies and sounds speak for themselves in this wonderful project.

Honestly I was expecting a look into Masakatsu’s work and inspiration but instead it is literally just a very long music video. The music was extremely calming and made me feel reminiscent of the minecraft soundtrack. I gave it 4 stars because I was a little disappointed with no narration but truthfully speaking, chill vibes only with this movie/music video.

Written by: Thomas Barriga

Documentary Review | Senna

A documentary about Ayrton Senna and his career in Formula 1, the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). A Brazilian icon that was a champion to his country and his people. He exploded onto the F1 scene in 1984 and quickly rose to fame as one of the best. Take an inside look at his amazing performances and charismatic nature that won the hearts of millions.

This film does a great job of showing Senna’s life on the track and off.  Especially his drive to be the best and consistently perform at the highest level. I had heard of Ayrton Senna many times and the love that many had for him but it wasn’t until I watched this film that I was truly converted and shown the person that Senna was. I would rate this film 5 stars.

Written by: Tomas Barriga

Movie Review | Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland (PN 1995.9 .F36 A45 2016) is a twist on the classic fairytale that we know and love. Alice, during a trying time in her life, is reunited with her band of bizarre, but loveable friends including the Mad Hatter, the White Queen, the Cheshire Cat, and more. As an adult, Alice must re-learn that Wonderland is not just a childish dream, but a real world that she is very much a part of. She is called upon to fight to protect her beloved friends, and return Wonderland to its proper, happy state.

This movie has a classic Tim Burton feel to it that may be hit or miss depending on who is watching the movie. I thought that the movie was a fun twist on the classic story and I enjoyed watching it. I only gave it three stars because I found the beginning of the movie a bit slow and forgettable. I did, however, find the plot to be much more captivating near then end as it continued to unravel. This movie may not be the most enjoyable movie I have watched, but I would recommend watching it at least once.

Written by: Jeff Stolk

Movie Review | Cars 2

Cars 2 is a fast paced, action packed, fun film. In it Lightning McQueen sets out once again to prove he is the best racer, but this time the best racer of the whole world. McQueen is reluctant to allow Mater to come with him to the race, because of how Mater acts in public. Mater does end up causing some problems for Lightning, but more importantly gets caught up in thwarting a secret plot. We watch as mater works to figure out this mystery as well as figure out who he is and how he fits in with everyone else.

I thought this was a good, action packed, animated film. There were a lot of funny parts because honestly, Mater is pretty funny.  There weren’t any really dry moments in it, but it was very fantastical though. It was as if there were no more limits for what cars could do, which kind of made the conflict and story line not real. Overall I thought it was a good film though and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Written by: Aaron Conrad

Movie Review | The Seventh Seal

In a era of Restoration and in a valley where those truths are practically common knowledge, it may be initially difficult, for some, to understand Antonius Block, the protagonist of Swedish Filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s classic The Seventh Seal.  As the film begins, Block, a knight returning from the Crusades of the Middle Ages is approached by the personification of Death who agrees to play a game of chess for his life.  This sends him on another crusade only this time it is within his soul, as to him the very existence of God comes into question. Yet, within his spiritual plight, there is a revelation of something deeply human that, to one degree or another, encompasses the path of searching for God that we all must walk. And while The Seventh Seal is indeed a difficult and uncomfortable film, full of otherworldly imagery, challenging themes, and several tragic moments, there is ultimately a redemption that comes in the end, especially through the supporting characters Jof and Mia (not coincidentally named Joseph and Mary).

The film’s merits cannot be understated or neglected. Legendary actor Max Von Syndow gives a stirring performance as Antonius and is matched by the supporting cast, especially Bengt Ekerot as Death.  The cinematography is beautiful and the editing drives the themes forward potently.  Like Citizen Kane in the US, the contemporary films of Kurosawa in Japan, or even Soviet follower Andrei Tarkovsky’s pieces, The Seventh Seal is a masterpiece regardless of its viewers particular enjoyment level.  However, enjoyment is not really the right word to describe the process of watching the picture. Anyone approaching The Seventh Seal should be aware of its difficult themes and dark, even depressing, narrative, but should also realize its great power.  It is true that The Seventh Seal is meant to challenge us, work with us, yet in the end, for me, it ultimately reminds us that even in the darkness, there is a Light.

Written by: Parker Gehring

Documentary Review | Julia Child! America’s Favorite Chef

Julia Child! America’s Favorite Chef (PN 1995.96 .F65 J84 2004) tells the charming story of legendary Julia Child’s beginnings and unexpected rise to fame. Julia went from a housewife who could barely boil an egg to a television star who taught all of America the art of French cooking. Julia spent the beginning part of her life without much of a purpose, until she tried a delicious and inspiring French dish and decided she wanted to learn to cook. After that, she decided she wanted to help America learn to cook as well.

The most interesting part about Julia Child’s career was that her cooking television show grew popular during the second wave of feminism, when women were empowering themselves and tended not to want to stay home and cook. Yet Julia showed that you can empower yourself and be proud of your cooking talents. It was super cool to learn about Julia Child’s life outside of the kitchen, and I would recommend this movie to anyone who loves food and sweet old ladies.

Written by: Michelle Greenwood

TV Show Review | Napoleon Dynamite: The Complete Animated Seires

Napoleon Dynamite : the complete animated series (PN 1992.8 .A59 N37 2014) is an animated television series based off the hit film Napoleon Dynamite. It includes the original cast for voicing and creates new stories to follow the characters. Simply, it is about the misadventures of a quirky teenage boy and his interactions with other social misfits of the town. His closest friends and enemies—Pedro, computer-nerd Kip, Deb, and Uncle Rico—keep the small town of Preston, Idaho interesting.

To be completely honest, this film was a total disappointment to me. After growing up watching the movie with my siblings, I expected this show to live up to the film, but was thoroughly disappointed. Although it it stays true to the characters, it does not compare to the awkward humor and plot line of the original.  If you are looking for something nostalgic and yet painfully cheesy at the same time, I would recommend this show. But for lack of creativity and living up to the mastery of the original film, I rate this show 2 out of 5 stars.

Written by: Hannah McBride

Movie Review | Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PN 1995.9 .A3 P75 2010) is a captivating Walt Disney action  picture that takes you through the mysterious lands of Persia and the adventure of a rogue prince who is played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Dastan, the rogue prince, discovers the secret of a magical dagger that turns back time. He battles enemies and teams up with a rival princess in order to protect the daggers power and his kingdom.

I really enjoyed the casting of this film and how the actors portrayed their roles. Overall this film does an excellent job at captivating its audience and drawing the viewer into the action packed scenes and aspects of the movie. However, the story line is a little predictive and does not stick with you in the long run. The Prince of Persia is defiantly a movie that can be enjoyed with friends or by yourself if you are looking for a fun, entertaining movie to sit down and watch.

Written by: Mallor Meng

Documentary Review | The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is a documentary that tells the story of Mark Bittner and how he has come to be a part of this extraordinary flock of parrots in San Francisco. Mark is similar to a caretaker for these birds and Mark has dedicated his life to it. He manages to be their caretaker by relying on the kind donations of others. Throughout the documentary we learn about individual birds from the flock , and in the end we see that Mark must leave when they remodel where he lives. It is hard for him to leave the flock but he leaves believing that everything will work out.

The fact that there is a flock of parrots living in San Francisco is interesting, and if you are a bird lover then I definitely recommend this film to you. It is not a particularly fast paced film, but I think it was a well made documentary. It probably won’t really grab your attention unless you are really passionate about birds or nature. Overall a solid film; I give it 4 stars.

Written by: Aaron Conrad

Documentary Review | In Search of Beethoven

In Search of Beethoven (PN 1995.96 .B55 I57 2010) provides an in-depth look at the life and works of one of the greatest composers of all time. This biographical documentary gives the audience a glimpse into Beethoven’s world view, giving much more context and meaning to the profound and compelling works that he composed.  Ranging from the beginning to the end of his life, this documentary seeks to rid the viewer of the stereotypical view of Beethoven as an angry, contemptuous, and tormented man, and brings to light his complicated, yet hopeful view of the world and mankind.

This documentary was impactful and compelling. For lovers of Beethoven’s genius, this film provided even more meaning to the music, allowing you to feel on a deeper level what Beethoven was trying to say. It provides you with a great taste of all the styles and pieces he created, and leaves you inspired and hopeful, just as Beethoven would’ve intended. Highly recommend it!

Written by: Brandon Orullian

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Students: Audiobooks can be checked out for three weeks; DVDs can be checked out for seven days.

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