‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is weird

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is Charlie Kaufman’s latest directorial, as well as written, work, and it is, as the title suggests, weird. This is to be expected with Kaufman’s work, as the weird, dream-like, and ethereal style of his writing often becomes a main figure in his films.

This film however is particularly odd, even for a Kaufman film.

The dialogue, as usual, is masterfully written, yet almost feels as if it is a one-sided jumbled mess of thoughts, and it is intentionally done so. The cinematography is equally as odd and off putting, and yet in it’s own way strangely inviting and familiar. Once again, both of these are staples of Kaufman’s work.

‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ revolves around the relationship between Jake, played by Jesse Plemons, and Lucy, played by Jessie Buckley. Specifically, it focuses more so on Lucy’s thought of ending the relationship. However, there is clearly a connection between her and Jake, and so she is having difficulty ending the relationship.

The film takes place on a road trip through a blizzard to Jake’s childhood home to visit his parents. However, once they get there things become extremely unsettling and it seems as if multiple timelines are merging together. From here, the film continues to spiral and spiral into delusion until the viewer is ultimately left extremely confused and most likely also very pleased with the film.

The film is an extremely slow burn, once again, intentionally so. ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ lasts just over two hours, however, it feels as if it is four hours or longer. Normally, this would be detrimental to a film, however, in this film’s case it is the highest of compliments.

The world which Kaufman creates is so engrossing and atmospheric that it essentially doubles the length, complexity, and enjoyment of the film simply due to how mind-boggling it is. The length, or at least the perception of the length, could turn some people away from this film which I completely understand.

In addition to this, the film is extremely confusing from start to finish and after finishing the film, if any film were to require a second viewing, this would be the film. This confusion and practically necessary second viewing most likely will deter most viewers from ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things.’ This is an unfortunate issue which plagues many of Kaufman’s films as they are all deeply cerebral and often require deep thought into even the most basic of elements.

I highly recommend this film despite how hard it may be to consume for the average viewer. However, if you are looking to expand your tastes and your perspective on life and media, you will find a deeply emotional and atmospheric tale of regret, aging, time, and consumption as a society in ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ which will likely have a profound effect on your life in some way or another.

Since ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is a Netflix production, it’s likely readily available for your consumption, so please give it a shot.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ AKA, the best film of all time

By: Ayane Jarso

Image taken from: theIndianexpress.com

‘Avengers: Endgame,’ directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, was released into theaters April 26, 2019 (USA). I believe that this is the best superhero film- neigh the best film, of all time.

We start off with Tony Stark, a very loved character in the Marvel Universe adrift in space. He makes his way back to earth with a lot of assistance from Captain Marvel, who is played by the magnificent actress Brie Larson.

From there on, there are plot twists, major death scenes that will go down in film history, and so many parts that will leave your heart aching, guaranteeing there’s not a dry eye in the house by the time you finish this movie. There might be a lot of loss in ‘Avengers: Endgame’, but it is action packed with plenty of laughable scenes.

The plot of ‘Endgame’ is truly like no other. *SPOILER ALERT* The Avengers try to find a way to reverse the snap through time travel that Thanos did previously, in the third Avengers movie (‘Infinity War’).

What I think is truly incredible is the way that they show scenes from past movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and they show some of the Avengers confronting their past selves. It really kept me on my toes. I was never bored; one minute you could catch me crying, another you could catch me with my eyes boggled out of my head during a fight scene.

The cinematography in some of the shots is really beautiful, and I think everyone should see it with their own eyes.

According to Newsday.com, Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ made a whopping $2,797,800,564, making it the highest grossing movie of all time!! I personally think that this movie made such a huge profit because it’s the end of an era that meant so much, to so many people. Even those who weren’t huge Marvel fans thought of this movie as a must see.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe had many movies, but none made an impact this worldly. Saying I enjoyed this film wouldn’t give it enough credit, it’s a must see!

Xbox X Series overview

By: Jalalaisa Geleto

The Xbox X Series is the latest Xbox to be released by Microsoft. The Xbox X Series will join the PlayStation 5 in being the first consoles of the 9th generation.

The Xbox X Series and PlayStation 5 are going to be competing this holiday season. I’ll give you an overview of the Xbox to help you make an informed purchase of either console.

The Xbox X Series has better specs than the PlayStation 5 and It’s the most computer-like gaming console yet.

According to the official Microsoft site, these are the specs of the Xbox X Series:

  • Processor:
    • CPU – 8X Cores, 3.8GHz, Custom Zen 2 CPU
    • GPU – 12 TFlops, 52 CUs, 1.825GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
  • Memory and Storage:
    • Memory – 16GB GDDR6 Memory Bandwidth – 10GB@ 560GB/s, 6GB@336 GB/s
    • Storage – 1TB Custom NVME SSD

Microsoft claims that their console can run all games at 4K 60fps. They also claim that the console could run games up to 120 fps. These claims have been tested by early reviews, by testers like Austin Evansand, have been proven true.

Though the real question is: Can the Xbox X Series keep this up with future games, or can it only do this with 8 gen games?

The Xbox X Series is also a multimedia platform that allows for the highest quality streaming and video play. The Xbox X Series can play videos in 8K. 8K screens aren’t even available for the general public.

The Xbox has a lot of consumer friendly programs like, Smart Delivery and Game Pass, that allow people to spend a lot less money playing video games on any platform and on Xbox.

The Xbox X Series is coming on November 10, 2020. Hopefully, this quick overview can help you make your decision on whether you want and Xbox or a PlayStation.

Why are oranges the king of all fruits?

By: Ayane Jarso

Image taken from: Wikipedia

Oranges. Not referring to the plural form of the color, but the juicy citrus that is of the same name.

The second the outer layer of the fruit is peeled back, the distinct aroma fills the room.

The popular fruit is known to originate from southern China, northern India and Myanmar. According to Healthline.com, the citrus fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, fight free radicals that cause cancer, and can reduce the stress hormone “cortisol”.

The delicious fruit can also improve your skin, as vitamin C supports collagen production. Collagen production can improve skin health and help wounds heal.

You may have heard about the internet trend where people will take hot showers and bring an orange with them to snack on because it’s supposedly the most liberating act of food consumption ever, and will bring you pure unbridled joy. On pure wow.com you get a more detailed explanation as to why that is. The scent of citrus is thought to have calming properties, the smell of the sweet orange helps when you’re feeling anxious. When you’re taking a hot shower, the heat from the water makes the orange smell even more strong because heat can amplify smell. So, the orange becomes much more fragrant in the shower.

Oranges are loved by so many people all over the world and for good reasons too! There are many health benefits that come with the consumption of a delicious orange. It’s good for the state of your mind, helps when you’re anxious. You get an excellent source of vitamins and overall a good experience when you eat this fruit. The juicy citrus has a marvelous texture with little bubbles of juice that you bite into, it’s a wonderful fruit, I say it’s the best out there!

Six reasons to read ‘Six of Crows’

By: Annika Getz

‘Six of Crows’ is a fantasy fiction novel written by Leigh Bardugo, with a sequel called ‘Crooked Kingdom’. It’s an amazing book, and there are a lot of things I love about it.

One thing I adore about this book is the dialogue and banter between the characters. It’s entertaining and interesting to read through their interactions. It also keeps the book a bit more light-hearted and fun. This is not to say that the story is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s deliciously dark, and filled with malice, which is why the witty banter and joking dialogue is so refreshing.

Another great thing about this book is how lovable the characters are. Each one is relatable and easy to connect with. I found myself immediately attached to them, which made the book all the more enjoyable.

Sticking with the topic of characters, I have to say that another thing I loved was the development each character went through throughout the duology. They ended up being well rounded and flawed characters. This made them feel more real, and engulfed me further into the story.

Something else I loved was simply how amazing the plot was. It was entertaining and captivating. Once the story really took off (since the first bit is just set up obviously), I was never bored while reading. It kept me entranced throughout the whole book.

This brings me to my next point, which is that the book really keeps you on the edge of your seat. The suspense is wonderful, it keeps you captivated and really brings you into the story. It’s almost like you’re really there with the characters, going on their adventures with them.

My final point, and perhaps my favorite thing about the book, is that there is so much representation. There are POC characters, LGBTQIA+ characters, characters with disabilities, characters who struggle with addiction, and so much more. But one thing that I loved about the representation was that most of it wasn’t a big deal. The entire characters weren’t based around their sexualities or their disabilities, it was just a part of them. It was refreshing to see characters who faced no invalidation whatsoever.

So there you have it. Six reasons I’d suggest reading the ‘Six of Crows’ duology.

Why ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ is the best movie of the year 

By Teah Henry

‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ is a movie that came out the summer of this year. It’s the third Bill and Ted film to come out, nearly thirty years after the previous two: ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ and ‘Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey’ came out in 1989 and ‘91, respectively. 

The films feature two California Valley boys, played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, who are told their music will unite the world and create peace. Bill and Ted don’t seem to have a problem with this destiny in the first two movies, however, the third one shows a middle-aged Bill and Ted who haven’t written the song that will create world peace yet, and time and space is collapsing because of it. 

‘Face the Music’ is one of the best movies to come out to in 2020, even if it doesn’t have much competition due to the coronavirus. It’s a solid comedy and manages to capture the heart of the original movies, despite coming out decades later, something that a lot of later released sequels struggle with.

The Bill and Ted movies appeal to any age group, and ‘Face the Music’ appeals to older and newer fans. Part of that is due to their daughters, Billie and Thea (yes they named their kids after each other), played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving, who serve as a younger generation Bill and Ted while also being their own unique characters. 

The movie also features some LGBT+ representation. Billie’s actor, Brigette Lundy-Paine, is non-binary, and has said they played their character as such. Alex Winter has also been vocal in his support of his character, Bill, being interpreted as a trans man. Non-binary and transgender representation is fairly sparse in media, so it’s always nice to see. 

Not only is ‘Face the Music’ just an excellent movie, but it’s also a very positive experience to watch, and that’s what we all really need in 2020. This year has just been bad news after bad news, so it can be nice to lose yourself in a fun film with good vibes. 

The first two films are available on Starz, while the third one is only available to rent or buy. If you’re able to, it’s totally worth the money to buy, or rent, all three. 

The effects of social media on its users

By Irene Cohen and Ellie Mulvaney

In this day and age, it’s no secret that social media takes up most of our time. People of all ages are devoting so much of their lives to scrolling and posting that it has become second nature to the majority of the population. However, now that entertainment is just the click of a button away, what happens to our patience to be interested in real life situations? Technology may be very detrimental to our attention spans, especially as its use becomes more and more ingrained into society.

To put this effect into perspective, let’s look at just how big social media is. ‘Statista’ reports that, in America alone, 244 million people used social media as of 2018. That’s approximately 79% of our total population helping to rake in roughly a $6.7 billion dollar revenue for last year. This industry is obviously thriving, which means that more and more users are affected by it.

A California University study, conducted by Larry D. Rosen, l. Mark Carrier, and Nancy A. Cheever, exemplified the obstruction of attention by social media in a group of students. They were reported to study, on average, for only 6 minutes before switching to technology, and, further, the students on Facebook were even recorded to have lower GPAs than their counterparts.

With the addition of social media for mainstream consumption, it’s become a staple distraction for people performing tasks like homework, as exemplified in the aforementioned research. People have become used to quickly moving visuals and easily changed subjects at their fingertips, leaving a need for breaks and distractions during longer and more tedious activities.

Students who need to complete their studies are finding it harder and harder to concentrate, as they are so used to social media, and therefore, a generation with lower attention spans and work ethic is being made.

The sheer amount of information that social media can provide for one single person is more than any piece of media has been able to in the past. Since there is so much information packed into small frames of people’s time, those who consume a lot of social media have trained themselves to focus on things for a shorter amount of time so that they can ingest more content. In fact, according to ‘Griffin Webstudios’ the average attention span of someone in the year 2000, was 12 seconds, compared to now where it has dropped all the way down to 8 seconds.

That’s not the only place we can acutely measure this decrease in attention span among social media users. Studies have shown that those who use different social media for short bursts of time, alternating between them, have actually been shown to have less grey matter in the brain in areas associated with attention and concentration.

Social media platforms and influencers are fighting hard to maintain viewer retention when their viewers have gotten used to such a quick delivery of information. Many people suspect this factor has been a great help in popularizing the social media app, TikTok. These bite sized videos are easy for someone to watch quickly and in huge volumes.

Social media’s influence has shortened the attention span of its users, and this can be shown in many different scientific studies. This decrease in attention span has affected many areas of people’s everyday lives. However, this relationship is not a one way street. This decrease in attention span has forced social media platforms to alter their formats so they can maintain viewership for a longer amount of time.

How to make better burritos 

By: Quentin Miller

Image taken from: Jason Bolte

So, you want to make a better burrito, well I’m here to explain the best ways to improve the way you craft it. This isn’t a specific recipe, think of it more as an overall guide of how you’re doing a lot of things wrong. 

Well, the first thing you’re probably doing wrong is the tortilla. If I had to guess, you’re using a really thick doughy tortilla, stand up right now and go look at the brand of tortilla you’re using, if it’s Mission you’re already not doing good.

You’re going to want to start with a much thinner tortilla with more fat; it makes it stretchier and easier to fold. If you’re homemaking tortillas, first, good luck, and second, just experiment with flour and fat combinations until you get something that feels right for you.

Next thing you’re probably doing wrong, you’re probably just making hamburgers wrapped in a tortilla judging off how much spice there is.

Now, I’m not going to judge anyone for using store bought taco seasoning, because truth be told it actually isn’t that bad. But, it’s far from perfect.

So, you’re going to start with chili pepper as the body of your seasoning, from there, you’re going to add the following ingredients to your preference 

  • Cumin
  • Garlic/onion powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper (you can add a lot of salt if you’re into that)

Also, you’re going to want to add cayenne for extra spice. If you’re too weak to handle some spice, substitute for extra black pepper.

Finally, if you want even more spice, add some hot sauce. You’re going to want something very spicy because if you drown your pan in hot sauce it’s going to be too wet. My personal favorite choice is “Desert Creatures: Black Widow’s Kiss.” I add about 6-8 drops of this into my pan while I mix the seasoning and meat (full disclosure, I have an extremely high heat tolerance and should not be the standard for how much spice should be in your food).

We’re almost done here, only two steps left.

So, the filling of the burrito is surprisingly not important. You can use any meat you want really, chicken and ground beef are really the only options people consider and that’s for good reason.

For ground beef, make sure you brown it to your preference, you’re going to want it pretty much 100% brown.

Next, for vegetables, just do whatever you want. I like just onion, but any pepper isn’t bad and some weirdos like avocado, just do what you want and make sure it fits comfortably in the tortilla.

Once again, cheese is just a preference thing. I love myself some ghost-pepper jack but cheddar is just fine. Really, any cheese with cheddar-like properties (ability to melt and texture/consistency) works fine. 

Last step, folding your burrito.

Now, I’m not going to actually tell you how to fold it; if you don’t know how to I don’t know why you’ve read this far on a burrito improving guide – you need to go back to the basics.

Now, after you folded the burrito in a stable way, you’re going to get the pan you warmed your tortillas on. Get it very hot and sear the top and bottom of your burrito, this’ll seal the fold and add a mouth watering light crunch to the tortilla.

Congrats! You’re done now, if you followed every step you will now have the most spicy burrito possible. If you wussed out on a few of the extra spicy steps, you’ll still have a considerably better meal.

A lot of these techniques require a lot of trial and error, so don’t expect to get the perfect burrito first try! Just keep trying and eventually you’ll be making burritos like a pro.

Females in the rap industry

By: Irene Cohen and Ellie Mulvaney

From the start of the rap scene in the early 1970’s, the genre was catered almost exclusively towards men. Even to this day, women aren’t taken as seriously as their male counterparts despite the skill that they bring to the table, due to the lack of representation.

These women have historically used their influence to speak out on issues that prevail as unjust in our society, and to this day, work to shed light on the unspoken voices of other women, and black people, around the country.

A recent example of the media predominantly failing to consider women as serious artists was the Nicki Minaj versus Cardi B “feud” that sparked roughly 3-4 years ago. Over and over, the two were painted as temperamental and petty, though these misconceptions majorly came to be under the false standard that there may be only one true queen of rap. A fellow female in the rap scene, Megan thee Stallion, told ‘Billboard’, “Us women have always been talented. But it was a thing where there could only be one woman at a time.”

Because of the lack of mainstream female rappers, fans and consumers put these women under the type of scrutiny many men don’t have to deal with. They are less seen for their talents than for their rumored competition and scuffles, despite how true they may be. Cardi B herself said, in an interview with ‘Complex’, in 2017, “I feel like people wouldn’t even be satisfied if me and [Nicki] was making out on a freaking photo, I feel like people just want that drama because it’s entertaining.”

Regardless of the relationship of Nicki and Cardi, they were charged by the pressure to dominate female rap, rather than encouraged together, simply because of their gender and the lack of credibility given to their craft.

Certain female rappers have voiced their thoughts on the inequalities that many of them face being black women. Queen Latifah’s song “U.N.I.T.Y.” showcases this by speaking on issues such as sexism in the rap industry’s culture, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.

However, that was not the only song in which she used her platform to speak on important issues. On her song “Ladies First”, she collaborates with rapper Monie Love to advocate for the union of women, and to not be pitted against each other. They also expressed their pride and love for being women.

Queen Latifah is far from the only female rapper to speak out on social issues. More recently, Megan Thee Stallion has spoken about the injustices black women face all around the country. Megan spoke out on SNL about how Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron did not bring justice in the death of Breonna Taylor.

She later on went to say in a ‘New York Times’ opinion piece that “When women choose to capitalize on our sexuality, to reclaim our own power, like I have, we are vilified and disrespected.” She says this in reference to many judging her choice of clothing claiming she’s doing it for male attention. She says much more in this article, such as how black women’s bodies are constantly being put under a lens by the public and the media. This opinion piece covers an array of issues black women face, the title of it embodies the article very well: “Why I Speak Up for Black Women.”

Women in the rap industry have had to, and continue to, face many hardships and discrimination both in their career and in their lives. Despite this, these women rise up to become successful. Their success is incredibly inspiring to so many, especially since they are able to use their platforms to spread their beliefs and advocate for the change, for equality, not only in the rap industry, but for black women everywhere.

Gruesome revenge: ‘I Saw the Devil’

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

‘I Saw the Devil’ is a Korean film which was released in 2010, and was directed by Kim Jee-woon. In my previous reviews, I’ve often gone into detail on the director, cast, release, and plot in general. However, I find myself wanting to avoid describing this film as much as possible. This does pose some problems as a review is, well, a review.

‘I Saw the Devil’s’ plot is something I will try to avoid spoiling or detailing as much as possible, however, the central point is hard to not talk about. The film revolves around the gruesome murder of Kim Soo-hyeon’s fiancé. Kim Soo-hyeon, a heavily trained secret agent, makes it his duty to track down the killer and avenge his fiancé. However, the vengeance isn’t as simple as one may assume. In films like ‘John Wick’, the plot is simple; a character important to the protagonist is killed, and so the protagonist tracks down and kills or catches the antagonist. ‘I Saw the Devil’ takes a different route.

It does not take Soo-hyeon long at all to catch the killer, and whilst brutally assaulting this man, Soo-hyeon decides to let him live. He places a tracker into Kyung-chul, the killer, and repeatedly attacks him for the rest of the film. Another monster has been created by a monster.

But, this film is not as simple as following the creation of a monster thanks to revenge. No, the film chronicles nearly constant violence. When I say that this film is not for the faint of heart, I mean it. Many films pose as such and yet barely reach an R-rating. However, ‘I Saw the Devil’ more than earns its R-rating. This film is one of the most brutal and disturbing films I’ve seen, and yet it somehow manages to not be in poor taste, and not go over the top into absurdity.

Once again, I must stress the disgusting and deeply disturbing events that continually happen practically one after another with very little down time. There is constantly blood and violence, however, this is barely the tip of the iceberg. Depictions of cannibalism, severed bodies, decapitation, attempted rape, mutilation, and torture are all on-screen multiple times throughout the film. This is why I find myself unable to recommend this film, despite the fact it is an incredible film with an enthralling and action-packed story.

However, if you believe you can handle the violence, or even get a kick out of it, then I’d advise caution, but would urge you to see the film. ‘I Saw the Devil’ somehow manages to use its continual gruesome violence to teach a valuable lesson on the dangers of revenge, and the horrid lengths humans will attempt to reach just to inflict pain on another.