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Movie Review | Scoop

Scoop (PN 1995.9 .M27 S36 2006) is an interesting mix of romance, comedy, mystery, and darkness. The film is about a young aspiring journalist, Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson), who falls head-over-heals for the subject of her investigation, a dashing businessman (Hugh Jackman) who has a dark secret. Pransky is torn between trying to solve the dark mystery and wanting to believe in the innocence of her new love. She has a few interesting encounters with other characters, some who help her find the dark truth, and some who make her fall more in love.

The film has a few funny moments, but I had a very hard time staying interested in the story. I was a bit let-down by the performances of these two big-name actors after having loved so many of the other movies that they have starred in. I had a hard time understanding when the film was intended to take place—it had an older feel about it, but some parts seem to take place in modern times. The plot was all over the place and I could not find interest in what was happening. I would not recommend this movie.

Written by Jeff Stolk

Documentary Review | Why We Fight

“Why we fight” is a thematic documentary of our business in international countries, mainly, our military there. Director Eugene Jarecki is not afraid to express his views concerning our business in the middle east. He does this through this documentary. As many Americans believe we are at war in the Middle-East to fight terrorism, or to maintain our freedom and defend our country, he believes that we are there only for the corporate increase of our economy. He shows us his opinion through this democracy.

I would give this documentary a 3/5. I’m not sure if it was just me, but it was hard for me to find out what the director was trying to express until the end of the documentary. It did change my thinking however. It did inform us of many facts that the government was hiding. It shed some light on unexpected facts as well. To my distaste, it was also very thematic. There were random bursts of bad language. It included many images which were unexpectedly thematic. I think the main point of what I’m trying to say is that my expectations for the movie were met in different ways than I thought.

Written by Jeshua Osorio



Documentary Review | Tradition, Spirit, Honor

“Tradition, Spirit, Honor” is a documentary that explains the nature of BYU football, and how Coach Bronco Mendenhall changed the program. Although it may be difficult to hold high standards in a college sports program, Bronco Mendenhall enforces the Honor and Commitment that comes with being at BYU. This documentary shows the changes that Coach Mendenhall made. He changed BYU football for the better.

I really liked this documentary. These young men are playing college football, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t still keep their standards. It’s really cool seeing that the football program at BYU is different than other Universities’ football teams. Its unique, and its special. This changed my thinking by helping me realize how important it is to stand in holy places. It helps me know that wherever I am, it is possible to stand in holy places and keep my standards.

Written by Jeshua Osorio

Movie Review | Rescued

Rescued (PN 1995.98 .D65 R47 2008) follows the story of Megan Hughes, a member of the Church who’s become inactive and stopped living her standards. On a business trip with the most popular guy from work (Mark) and a coworker (Chris) who’s a stout believer in the gospel, their plane crashes, stranding all three on a deserted island. Tensions flare as they struggle to survive and as Megan deals with her embarrassment of the rules of her church. Chris must also learn how to face his fears and express his feelings.

The cinematography of this movie is low budget, making for low quality special effects and awkward scene changes, but the story runs smoothly enough. The main character, Megan, is shallow and thoughtless to Chris when he’s being truly helpful, and blatantly ignores Mark’s arrogance and selfishness. Still, her dilemma conveys a relatable, worthwhile message, and her journey of learning to appreciate and become proud of her beliefs is hopeful. The survival tricks that they learn and the drama of the love triangle were entertaining. Further, the ending is beautifully cheesy, so I give this film four out of five stars.

Written by Starla Eckhardt

Documentary Review | Crossing The Line: Seeking Haven

Another documentary of the dangerous journey many North Koreans take to escape the poverty they face in their home country. This documentary follows the story of two sisters through their escape to China and onto South Korea with the help of Revered Chun. After 5 years of being separated, they are reunited in China, but only for a short while. One sister, Youngsoon embarks on the journey through Laos to Thailand where she can gain refugee status, leaving her sister behind in China. The journey takes over a week and is very dangerous. If caught in Laos she would be repatriated back to North Korea.

Upon making it to Thailand she learns of the devastating news that her sister was caught by Chinese authorities and repatriated back to North Korea. Youngsoon makes it to South Korea and continues to find ways to support her family in the North. She attends university and works to save money that she can send back to them to secure her sister’s freedom. After sending money to help her family she loses contact with them and is forced to find a middle-man that can regain contact. The road blocks are endless, but maybe things can work out in the end.

Written by Mikela Rindlisbacher

Documentary Review | Planet Earth II

Planet Earth II is a documentary that takes place in some of the most beautiful places on earth. The documentary takes watchers to places like deserts, forests, and the highest mountains. The film-makers battled the elements in order to get breathtaking footage of animals in their natural habitats.

Planet Earth II is an incredible animal documentary that leaves watchers in awe as they witness things they have never even imagined. It takes us into the unknown, and gives us the wonderful opportunity to leave the world behind for a moment. The film makers have a way of bringing personality to each animal that is watched and watchers feel emotions (like humor) that do not often accompany documentaries. I loved watching the planet earth series as a child and I love watching it today. This documentary is for any person of any age.

Written by Jeff Stolk

Documentary Review | After Newtown: Guns in America

An overview of the competing opinions on guns and gun control in the United States. It goes over the founding ideals with the culture around guns, but the modern dilemma today. From the founding of America, to with the National Firearm Association—which was founded in 1871 by Civil War veterans who wanted to train civilians in the effective use of firearms—to the 1920’s and the Tommy gun (the gun that made the 20’s roar), to modern day Chicago, where no guns are legally sold, and their culture of violence and the government’s reaction and attempt to regulate.

The quality of the video was a little blocky in some points, but overall the video is good. The documentary has a fair view of both sides of the gun conversation. It was very informative and a good short summary of guns and the history of them in America. I would recommend this to everyone who wants to know more about the situation in our country in regards to firearms and violence.

Written by Ashley Shaw

Documentary Review | Dancing on Dangerous Ground

Dancing on Dangerous Ground: Irish Dance Sensation (PN 1995.96 .M86 D36 2004) is the stage recording of an Irish dance performance based off of an ancient Irish myth. Grania is engaged to Finn McCool, a general in the army, but his best friend, Diarmuid comes between them and creates an exciting, dangerous dynamic. Jean Butler stars as the beautiful Grania, while Colin Dunne and Tony Kemp portray the two rivals. The performance is separated into segments as the editing skips over scene changes and instead gives a title to each dance in order to help the audience understand it’s significance to the story. Butler and Dunne, who choreographed this show, also star in Riverdance (MLL VHS 373). Also included on the DVD is a documentary on the making of the show titled Dare to Dance, which basically documented the tensions in the studio during rehearsals.
Everything about this show is visually appealing. The costumes are sleek, bright, and gorgeous. The lighting creates visual effects that match the mood of the music and story. Most importantly, the dancing and footwork are clean, crisp, and full of emotion, making the performance truly entrancing. I’ve seen Lord of the Dance with Michael Flatley live and on DVD, and I’m currently taking Beginning Irish Dance here at BYU. Because of this, I noticed that at the beginning, it seemed that the ensemble’s arms were a little weak, swinging around without direction, but as the performance went on and they got into character, the arms were more together and less distracting most of the time. Jean Butler was radiant and powerful, and all of her steps were precise and full of character. For the beauty and skill of this fascinating story, I give this movie five out of five stars.
Written by Starla Eckhardt

Movie Review | October Sky

October Sky (PN 1995.9 .D65 O28 1999) is a film based on the touching true story of Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal), an ambitious high school student from a small mining town called Coalwood. The film takes place in 1957 and the story begins when Homer sees the first satellite, the Soviet-launched Sputnik. By witnessing this amazing feat, the small coal-mining town started dreaming bigger than they ever had before. With the help of a supportive teacher and some other ambitious friends, Homer overcomes the many obstacles surrounding him and begins to build his very own rockets.

This film is an emotional ride as watchers experience everything from laughing to crying. The story was laid out so well and was so fun to follow. Because this movie teaches the audience to dream big and then follow those dreams even in the face of great opposition, I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for something fun-filled, emotionally-packed, and inspiring.

Written by Jeff Stolk

Movie Review | Monk Season 5 Episode 3

Monk: Season 5, episode 3 (PN 1992.8 .D48 M66 2007) is one of my favorite episodes of this TV show. Monk, an incredible detective with OCD and many other phobias, works with the San Francisco police to solve homicide cases. In this episode, his nurse Natalie’s daughter and her teammates are grieved to find that their basketball coach has died. But they don’t believe it was just an accident, they suspect murder. Monk helps them solve the case, while simultaneously coaching the team.

This episode, like the others, is very entertaining to watch. It’s a great combination of murder mystery and comedy, perfect for relaxing or a good laugh. The plot and cinematography in this episode holds up the polished and masterful regard of the show. I would recommend this to any and all above a certain age, as it does include some violence. Because of it’s outstanding actor performance and endless entertainment, I rate this film a 5 out of 5 stars.

Written by Hannah McBride

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