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Movie Review | The Cup

Every four years, the World Cup brings the entire world into soccer fever, and the monks at a remote Himalayan monastery are no exception. Many of the young monks are Tibetian refugees, and the hopes of seeing a soccer game are one of the precious items they hold on to. As such, the youths are desperate and willing to do anything to watch the final game of the tournament, even if the older monks in charge don’t quite understand what the big deal is.

The Cup is a charming story about how the monastery becomes united in friendship and loyalty. Even though all the monks look the same at first glance, they are all very different. One thing I liked about this movie was how the main characters sacrificed their most valuable possessions for the sake of helping each other, and the lessons they learned about friendship along the way. I also liked the insight the film had on the culture of the monastery. I don’t know much about Buddhism, but it was super cool to see what life is like for Buddist monks.

Written by: Michelle Greenwood

Movie Review | MUD

MUD is a unique drama about two boys, Ellis and Neckbone, and their encounters with Mud, a man on the run after killing someone to save the woman he loves (Juniper). Intrigued by his rugged but accepting character, the two boys agree to help Mud fix up a boat and get back in touch with Juniper. By agreeing to help Mud, the boys unwittingly end up in a lot of danger as they are confronted by bounty hunters out for Mud’s blood. The boys must work together and trust each other as they struggle to find out the truth and help their new friend.

I really enjoyed this move. It is an intriguingly different drama than I am used to which made it fun to watch all the way through. The boys are a couple of classic, adventurous kids just trying to find the fun in life and they are very likeable and relatable. Though they have faced more trials than most kids their age, the boys have a certain innocence that makes you root for them from start to finish. I would have liked to see just a little more plot development which is my main point of criticism. Despite the want for further plot development, I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes a classic story of adventure.

Written by: Jeff Stolk

Streaming Documentary Review | Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness

Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness (Kanopy.com) is a documentary about some of the fittest cross-fit athletes in the world and their journey in the cross-fit games. The cross-fit games is a competition where cross-fit fanatics come together to compete against each other and earn the title of “the fittest man and woman on earth.” After many cuts and tryouts, 40 men and 40 women are placed in divisions where they perform multiple workouts and challenges. After a week of insane, various competitions, the individual with the most points claims the win.

I personally really enjoyed this documentary. It was interesting to see how devoted these individuals were to the cross-fit lifestyle. The athletes talked about how they had sacrificed their jobs, social interactions, and normal diets in order to accomplish their fitness goals and stumbling blocks. For example, one athlete talked about their daily schedule which included working out 5 times a day, eating only rice and chicken, and then sleeping the remainder of the day. They would repeat these activities every day without a break. It was eye opening to see how passionate these individuals were about working out and achieving their goals. I personally was inspired to make my own goals whether that be in fitness, my education, or in my career. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes America Ninja Warrior or Wipe out. It was also very motivating to see these individuals in outstanding shape, and has made me want to start working our more and stop eating cookies every day.

Written by: Mallory Meng

Movie Review | Of Gods and Men

This film is based on the true story of a group of monks living in Algeria. The community surrounding the monastery contains a large Muslim population, though both religions coexist in peace as they demonstrate the best that humans have to offer. Their quiet lifestyle begins to change however when radical Islamic groups threaten, and even begin to kill, anyone who does not conform to their extreme rules.

This film is worth watching for the historical context of what transpired. Although the plot is intriguing, the movie has few other redeeming aspects. The actual dialogue is very limited with random scenes meant to tie the story together. The climax is also lacking due to the fact that the world does not know what happened past a certain point. Overall, it feels longer than it is and I would give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Written by: Spencer Bradford

Movie Review | How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

In the third movie of the series we resume the adventure with Hiccup and Toothless as they again must protect the residents of Berk. Hiccup and Toothless are leading raids to free dragons from trappers and everything seems to be going well, until Grimmel shows up. He is a dangerous villain who threatens the peace that has been established in Berk. As the story unfolds we find out what happened to the night furys, and Toothless meets another night fury. Hiccup and Toothless must again work together along with the others to defeat Grimmel and protect the dragons.

I thought this was a fun movie to end the series. I really loved the first How to Train Your Dragon and thought the second one wasn’t as good, but this one is better than the second in my opinion. The animation was great in this film; the colors and pictures were amazing. I felt like the plot was kind of predictable, but it was still fun to watch. There were also some funny parts, more so than in the first two movies. Overall I think they did a good job and I would recommend it!

Written by: Aaron Conrad

Documentary Review | Deep Water

Deep Water documents the true story of Donald Crowhurst and his experiences as a participant, with eight other sailors, in the challenge to make the first solo, non-stop trip around the world in a sailboat. Crowhurst is the least experienced of the sailors and has only dabbled in sailing, but is very motivated and is looking for a big adventure. The documentary focusses on Crowhurst’s experiences; however, the experiences of the other sailors are also shared and are unique to each one.

My favorite part of this documentary is the insight into the different physical and psychological ways that the different sailors cope with the fatigue, stress, and solitude that they all face on their tremendously long and dangerous solo voyages. The documentary makers did a good job at presenting the story in a way that kept me interested and wanting to see what would happen next. While this is not my favorite documentary, the story is definitely interesting enough to watch the documentary. I would have liked to learn some more about the other sailors and that is the main reason I did not give the documentary a higher rating.

Written by: Jeff Stolk

Streaming Documentary Review | The Mask You Live In

The Mask You Live In examines the effects of society’s definition of masculinity on adolescent boys as they grow into men. From an early age, most boys are taught to not show emotion and to compete with each other to be the most masculine of all. Boys who show any sort of “feminine” traits are bullied and cast out by others because of the unspoken rules of society. As a result, many boys grow up to become depressed, violent, and have identity issues.

I thought that The Mask You Live In was very insightful in addressing the problem of toxic masculinity in the world. The men that they featured offered inspirational stories on how to overcome the pressures of society and live freely as themselves. I would recommend that everyone, not just men, watch this documentary to learn about masculinity and its effects.

Written by: Michelle Greenwood

Movie Review | Gattaca

Gattaca is the story of a man who is born in a world where your genetics determine everything, from your social class, to your career, your diseases and how you will eventually die. Vincent, an invalid, has one dream, which is to make it to the stars. He wants to go to space as an astronaut, but only the best of the best can go and Vincent has numerous medical issues. This movie is the story of how he must change everything in his life every day in order to pursue his dream.

This movie is really well made. The cinematography is fascinating, and the acting is really good. The music adds to the movie in a really positive way, and the story is original. However, it isn’t one of those fast paced astronaut movies. It is slow moving, and more of an inspirational, thinking movie, rather than an action sci-fi movie. There is some strong language and brief sexual content to be aware of, but other than that, the movie is rather clean.

Written by: Jeshua Osorio

Documentary Review | Zero Days

Zero Days (PN 1995.96 .C66 Z47 2017) is an important documentary that focuses on the issue of cyberwarfare, specifically a case study of the Stuxnet attack. Stuxnet was not designed to invade your home or office computer, but to attack the industrial control systems that manage critical infrastructure. These systems make sure trains and airplanes don’t crash, control car and truck traffic, maintain oil and gas production, and give people access to the internet. Cyber-attacks on these systems cause real-world destruction.

This documentary covers the discovery and the development of the virus, as well as the political developments that caused it to spiral out of control. The director, Alex Gibney, does a good job of explaining the technical aspects of the computer virus, as well as the political context that spurred the United States and Israel to develop the computer virus. He assembled a good cast of interviewees from various perspectives on the issue. Although Gibney has a definite viewpoint, he does a good job at showing both sides of the story.

Written by: Tiffany Chao

Movie Review | Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2 (PN 1995.9 .A53 I522 2018 DVD) is the second installment of The Incredibles franchise and picks up right where the first movie left off. It follows the story of the Parr family as they try to restore the public’s trust in superheros while also balancing family life. All the old characters are brought back for this hilariously witty animated film.

This movie can easily be a family favorite! The animation is exquisite and when combined with the music and humor this movie has something to offer people of all ages.  Unlike other superhero movies Incredibles 2 puts more focus on the dynamic of family life rather than just superhero work. It is a great movie for a family night or just a fun movie night. I would recommend this to every one.

Written by: Mikela Rindlisbacher

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