Beauty and the Beast Review

Title: Beauty and the Beast

Rating: PG

Runtime: 2 hours and 9 minutes

Release Date: March 17th 2017

Grade: A-

Reviewed by: AIDAN GLENDON

 

Beauty and the Beast is a live-action remake of a Disney classic, with just a few slight changes. It still maintains the bone-structure of the original animated classic musical/romance/fairytale epic, but is a little darker and goes much deeper with the characters in its additional 45 minutes.

 

For the few who have never seen the original (shame on you), Beauty and the Beast is about a girl named Belle (which means Beauty) who is tired of her small town life. After her father goes missing, she races to find him in the forgotten castle of a long-withdrawn prince, who has been cursed to live as a beast. She takes her father’s place in the castle and must spend time with the creature. The beast must learn to love another, and another must love him back in order to break the curse, which has also turned all of his house staff into animate objects.

 

The movie is directed by Bill Condon who – unknown to me at the time – unsurprisingly helmed the Twilight movies. He brings a certain gloominess to the movie that is not present in the original, but he knows that his true audience is for all ages, not just the kids. This is evident in many ways, such as how the curse effects the castle, and in some song changes (said song changes add some much needed pathos). His style really drives up the stakes, making slight alterations to the beloved characters, which make them feel just a bit more real.

 

Emma Watson (Harry Potter franchise) starts as the titular beauty, with Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame as the titular Beast. The cast is rounded out by: Josh Gad playing Lefou; Kevin Kline as Maurice; and Ewan McGregor, Ian Mckellen, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, and Emma Thompson as the beast’s cursed servants. And of course, the cast’s true MVP, Luke Evans playing Gaston.

 

For me, sitting in the theater watching my favorite childhood movie be redone in an inventive and interesting new take was amazing. It was just as good, if not better, than the original. It might be the extra run time, but the 2017 version seems to flow better. This one also boasts some new songs such as Days in the Sun, and my personal favorite, the beast’s heart wrenching Evermore. My only real problem with this movie is that it abandoned one of my all-time favorite songs from the original, Human Again, in favor of the more somber Days in the Sun.

 

All in all, this movie is absolutely fantastic, and one that I will most definitely see again (although probably not as many times as I saw the original as a child).

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Conflict Over Unfair Pay Leaves U.S Women’s Hockey Team Threatening to Boycott World Championships

By EMILY RUBINO

“We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect,” Meghan Duggan, team captain of the United States women’s national hockey team, announced this Wednesday after conflict with USA Hockey.

 

According to Stephen Whyno, with ABC News, the team is currently threatening to boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation world championship over wage disputes.

 

The women’s team has won seven gold medals and ten silver medals in the world championships dating back to 1990 and have also achieved one gold and three silver Olympic medals, TeamUSA.com notes.  

 

The reigning team was supposed to arrive at training in Plymouth, Michigan on March 21 before the beginning of the tournament on March 31. However, according to ESPNW, “players said they believe meaningful progress was not being made in the pay negotiations and, as a result, informed USA Hockey on Wednesday that unless that happens, they will not report to Michigan.”

 

Captain Meghan Duggan asked the USA Hockey group to “fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought,” Stephen Whyno reports in the LA Daily News.

 

The team’s concerns stem from USA Hockey only giving the female athletes financial support “during the months leading up to the Olympics” despite their year-long training. According to Camila Domonoske of NPR, players were only paid $1,000 a month “for six months every Olympic cycle” with “virtually nothing else” for the years in between the games.

 

Chris Kuc further reveals in the Chicago Tribune that the group has been bereft of payment for “equipment, staff, meals, travel expenses, transportation and publicity.”

 

The hockey team is currently being represented by the Ballard Spahr law firm as they pursue a contract with USA Hockey for better pay that all players feel “is appropriate compensation” ESPNW states.

 

Many players have commented on the unequal treatment they receive compared to the U.S men’s hockey team, even in 2017. Captain and forward Meghan Duggan says that their training time and dedication to the sport year round is not being supported fairly and justly. She recently voiced that the team wants USA Hockey to support their wishes and to “stop treating us like an afterthought,” Whyno reports in LA Daily News.
Works Cited:

Domonoske, Camila. “U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Boycotting World Championships To Protest Low Pay.” NPR. NPR, 15 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

Kuc, Chris. “U.S. Women’s Hockey Players to Boycott World Championships over Wage Dispute.” Chicagotribune.com. N.p., 16 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

“U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Threatens to Sit out World Championships.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

Whyno, Stephen. “US Women’s Hockey Players Threaten Boycott over Wages.” ABC NewsABC News Network, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

Whyno, Stephen. “US Women’s Hockey Team Threatens Boycott over Wages.” LA Daily NewsLA Daily News, 15 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

“Women’s Teams.” Team USA Hockey. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

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Has Wearing a Fitness Device Made Americans Healthier?

By JULIA REMO

Some of the hottest gifts for 2016 include smart watches and fitness trackers, but are these health devices just a fad?

Maybe someone you know received the new “Fitbit” for Christmas or you might have even received an Apple watch, which has similar health tracking features. These companies have made a variety of affordable products that contain different features that are meant to help promote a healthy lifestyle.

The more expensive trackers have better features and to appeal to all ages, they also come in a variety of colors. Displaying features, such as steps and stairs climbed, encourages people to have the desire to reach a certain goal. Consumers can also compete with each other in regards to steps walked in a week or other similar activities promoting health, which makes that hassle of taking a few more steps all the worthwhile.

These companies are making millions off consumers to help them achieve a healthy lifestyle, but is it really helping?

Although these products make the buyers feel and seem fit, Dr. Cody B. Clinton of the Courier-Post explains that people who wear Fitbits and other health devices “did not show any statistically significant changes in blood pressure or weight.” Understanding this, why do people still have the desire to buy these trackers?

The answer to this is because it is a fad.

Over time, the trend of buying these health trackers will diminish and some new health device will come about.

The trackers are fun to have and challenge friends to achieve the goals set. For now, these are moving America towards a healthier future because the fitness trackers encourage people to want to be more active; but, as far as weight loss for individuals, it does not do much.
Works Cited

Clinton, Cody B., Dr. “Wearable fitness tech: Fad or healthy trend?” Courier-Post, 2 Feb. 2017, www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/health/2017/02/02/wearable-fitness-tech-fad-healthy-trend/97407978/.

Jaspen, Bruce. “Wearable Fitness Devices Attract More Than The Young And Healthy.” Forbes, 11 July 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2016/07/11/wearable-fitness-devices-attract-more-than-young-healthy/#705fb5f557df.

 

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Are Gummy Vitamins Effective?

By ARIANA RICH

Children everywhere consume gummy vitamins daily. Parents assume that by giving their children these vitamins, the children are receiving the proper nutrition supplements that they should be receiving at their young age.  

 

However, in order for the kids to actually eat the gummies, they have to taste good. What people forget about before feeding kids these healthy treats is the reason why they taste so good: from the amount of the sugar they contain, rather than enough nutrients.  

 

It is proven that the excessive amount of sugar in these gummy vitamins can actually deprive the body of the nutrients parents are actually trying to give their children.

 

Here are a few of the reasons that gummy vitamins may not be the best choice for your child:

  1. They are like candy so are easy to overdose on
  2. Most are not regulated by the FDA
  3. They contain unnatural ingredients
  4. Gummy vites actually  have too much sugar which make them bad for your teeth

 

However, there is a silver lining – natural and organic gummy vitamins can be a sufficient way for children to receive a variety of vitamins. Organic and natural gummy vitamins are typically easy to digest and also delicious; more importantly, they are not as bad as the unnatural ones.
Sometimes gummy vitamins are simply supplements for the people who cannot take pills for various reasons.  But the bad outweigh the good; therefore, I feel that parents should reconsider the type of gummy vitamins they are giving to their children – go for the natural and organic instead of the sugary vites.

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Power Rangers Review

Title: Power Rangers

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours and 4minutes

Release Date: March 24th 2017

Grade: B+

Reviewed by: AIDAN GLENDON

 

Power Rangers is the latest in a long line of both superhero movies and studios mining past successful franchises (TV or movie) and rebooting them for new audiences, while tapping into the old ones for the nostalgia factor. Based off of the EXTREMELY long running show (834 episodes, to be exact), with many variations of the name, Power Rangers tells the same old and tired superhero of finding powers, training, and battling an enemy that is both way too strong to defeat and way too evil to be interesting at all. But, this movie does it better than most.

 

Most superhero flicks take a way too underdeveloped character and spend more time on powers, gadgets and fighting, leading up to a spectacularly choreographed final fight with amazing special effects. Power Rangers does the opposite, delicately taking the time to introduce us to each character. Over the first hour and twenty minutes or so, the audience gets to intimately know each main character and see how this burden of power and responsibility weighs upon them. It is in the 3rd act where the movie begins to fall flat, with a final fight that seems a little too rushed.

 

The main team of rangers is made up of 5 teens, all of whom do their part to reflect the world we are living in today, not the world of 1993, when the show first aired. The main cast is rounded out by: Bill Hader as the goofy and borderline irritating sidekick; Bryan Cranston as the ancient mentor; and Elizabeth Banks as the villain. And credit to her, because her role may not be written well, but Banks does as much with it as she can. You can tell that even though she could be phoning it in, she is really doing her best to make her character interesting, a difficult task since her villain has no explained motivation and very little backstory.

 

Everything in this movie is very well done. The cast is so dynamic and fun to watch, the music perfectly sets the mood, and the effects and design are much better and smoother than the predecessor. Not to mention the small-town vibe perfectly sets the mood for the teenager-experience of the movie.

 

While a feature length Power Rangers movie was never really asked for, nor necessary, this film certainly proves relevant and fun. I went in expecting Transformers-level entertainment, but got so much more. And obviously, since this is a superhero movie, there is a mid-credits scene setting up a sequel, but it is one that I hope to see soon. I would be disappointed if this first installment were to be the last.

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The Importance Of Protecting America’s Disabled Children and Adults

By EMILY RUBINO

Throughout the United States’ history, various efforts have been made to assist people with physical, mental, intellectual, and other disabilities and aid them in the workforce, in schools, and in society.

Although more acceptance towards the disabled population has been seen in recent years, the work of many prominent leaders, like President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s signing of the Social Security Act and Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s founding of the Special Olympics, has led to an advancement in other laws to protect those with a disability.

According to the US Department of Education, Section 504, an amendment of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, prohibits discrimination based upon disability “under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

In 1990, the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, was passed which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places, as noted in the article, “What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?”

Some argue that the most significant law for disabled children, however, is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA, passed in 1975. As mentioned in “IDEA,” this act provides “services to children with disabilities throughout the nation” and has paved the way for the future freedoms and educational possibilities many disabled children have today.

These laws, in addition to other health services and amendments, continue to ensure equal treatment and equal opportunity for the handicapped public. However, in recent months, it seems the fundamental rights for people with disabilities seems to be dwindling, especially disabled children and their school rights.

Tom Price, the nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and many others of President Trump’s cabinet picks refuse to support the Affordable Care Act, which secures insurance and other forms of protection for disabled persons.

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for Attorney General, wrote a speech in 2000 regarding education discipline and IDEA. He stated that the act helps children, “if they have a hearing loss, or a sight loss, or if they have difficulty moving around, in a wheelchair, or whatever” and “the school system must make accommodations for them,” Tara Haelle, contributor for Forbes quotes. Haelle also notes that on the floor of the Senate, Sessions then claimed he asked teachers about the act and “was told in every school that this is a major problem for them. In fact, it may be the single most irritating problem for teachers throughout America today.”

The indifference to disabled children is not only seen in Sessions’s and Price’s views, but also by the controversial pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. According to Kate Zernike of the NY Times, during her hearing for her position, she responded that enforcing the federal IDEA “is a matter best left to the states.” When questioned by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Senator Maggie Hassan, Democrat of New Hampshire, DeVos confessed she “may have been confused” on whether the act is a federal law, Zernike reports.

According to Andrew Lee, 1 out of 8 children receiving special education services and protection from IDEA, almost 6.5 million students across the country; considering this, many feel that the services provided to these children will be weakened and/or revoked by Trump’s chosen executive branch members.

IDEA’s role in giving disabled children more educational opportunities has shown its significance and importance over the course of its 41-year existence.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the article, “Children and Youth with Disabilities, in 2010 – 2011, “about 95 percent of school-age children and youth ages 6 – 21 who were served under IDEA…were enrolled in regular schools.” The remaining 5 percent of disabled students were either “enrolled in separate schools (public or private)” or “were placed by their parents in regular private schools,” NCES adds, as well as, the fact that less than 1 percent were in “correctional facilities, separate residential facilities, homebound or in hospitals.”

Years earlier, according to “Children and Youth with Disabilities,” in 1995-1996, only 46% of disabled children attended general classes. The article also notes, in the 2010-2011 school year, 86 percent of students with speech or language impairments, “65% of students with specific learning disabilities and 64% of students with visual impairments” all served under IDEA, spent most of their school day in general classes.

Children and adults within the disabled population should not be fearful regarding their education and health services. Basic civil and educational rights should extend to all people, regardless of gender, race, sexuality or disability, and the progress made over the past 40 years needs to supercede the views of America’s new department heads.

Works Cited:

Haelle, Tara. “Would Special Education Rights Be Safe With Jeff Sessions As U.S. Attorney General?” Forbes. 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

“IDEA.” US Department of Education. US Department of Education (ED), n.d. Web. 27 Jan.

Lee, Andrew. “How IDEA Protects You and Your Child.” Understood.org. 2014-2017 Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

“Children and Youth with Disabilities.” National Center for Education Statistics, Web. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/Indicator_CGG/COE_CGG_2013_01.pdf. Accessed 27 Jan. 2017.

 

“The Rehabilitation Act.” US Department of Education. n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

“What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?” ADA National Network., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

Zernike, Kate. “Nominee Betsy DeVos’s Knowledge of Education Basics Is Open to Criticism.” NY Times. 18 Jan. 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

 

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Patriot’s Day Review

Title: Patriot’s Day

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours and 13 minutes

Release Date: January 13th 2017

Grade: A-

Reviewed By: AIDAN GLENDON

 

Patriot’s Day is drama/action movie about the Boston Marathon Bombing of April 2013. It tells the story of the tragic event, tracing the lives of those involved immediately before and during the bombings, and the manhunt following the act of terrorism. The story is based off of the accounts of all involved parties.

 

The movie stays very true to the events of the bombings and the aftermath, even cutting in real security camera footage. The biggest diversion from the true events are Mark Wahlberg’s and Michelle Monaghan’s characters. They are surrogates, representing all of the members of the Boston Police Department during the events. The cast for this movie is perfect. Every actor looks overwhelmingly similar to their real life counterpart. No one in the cast feels overused, but there are some who feel underused, although it is understandable that at times, their situation was not important to the real life story.

 

Examining the movie from purely a movie standpoint (as if the events hadn’t happened), it is one of the most exciting movies ever made. There were parts where I could barely breathe in my seat and could feel my heart pounding in my chest. But, knowing that all of this really happened made it that much more devastating and nerve-wracking. There were events that I didn’t know occurred. After looking them up online, I found that the events portrayed in the film were extremely close to reality.

 

The movie’s one major flaw is that in the beginning, the focus shifts too much (I mean before the bombings). In an effort to introduce all of the main characters, the movie overexerts its exposition before getting into the actual story. But, it is a flaw to be overlooked, considering the final product.

 

This movie has plenty of heart, probably because Mark Wahlberg, Boston born and raised, had lots of say. And this movie showcases exactly what the tragic events of April 2013 show: Boston is strong. Not many other cities could’ve survived an event like this, but Boston shows just how great humanity can be, especially in the face of terror.

 

In a month crowded with too many bad sequels (Resident Evil, Underworld) and cheap money grabs (The Bye Bye Man), this is truly a movie to see. It is gripping, it is emotional, and it is real. And it is worth every cent.

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Top New Year’s Resolutions of 2017

By LAUREN SCHNEIDER

The making of New Year’s Resolutions is a tradition practiced all around the world. It derived back during the time of the Babylonians, over 4,000 years ago, and still carries over into today. People often use the idea of New Year’s as a time to close the door on a certain chapter in their lives, and begin fresh with a new one, which is where the resolutions come in.

New Year’s Resolutions are typically a decision to do, or not do, something in order to accomplish a personal goal or break a habit. Usually almost everyone makes them, so we figured it would be an interesting idea to ask the students of Westlake High School what their New Year’s Resolutions are.

Here are the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions of 2017:

  1. Be Happy
  2. Eat Healthier
  3. Dress Nicer
  4. Get Better Grades
  5. Get Better at Organization
  6. Workout
  7. Surround Myself with Positive People
  8. Time Management / Less Procrastination
  9. Lose Weight
  10. Stay the Same / Not Change Myself

Whether people stick with them or break them, New Year’s Resolutions are a positive, happy trend that will live on through history. Hopefully reading some of these will inspire you. What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

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La La Land Review

By ARIANA RICH

Sebastian, role played by Ryan Gosling, and Mia, role played by Emma Stone, are two characters who both aspire to do what they love, although they face many hardships.  Mia, whose hopes are to become a successful actress, is subjected to rejection, and Sebastian, who strives to keep the love of Jazz music alive, barely manages to make a cent.  

 

As they begin to make their way into each other’s lives and their successes begin to peak, they are faced with decisions that eat away at their growing love.  The two must decide whether they should go their separate ways or reject life changing opportunities to remain with each other.  
La La Land is truly inspiring and simply makes your heart sing. It is an extraordinary film that is definitely worth a trip to the movies!

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Westlake Indoor Track and Field 2016-2017

By MANNY CORONA

As the winter sports season draws to a close, the Westlake Track and Field team is extremely happy with all the results from the season. However, with the League and Westchester County meets behind us, there are still more challenges to come, such as Class B and State Qualifiers to follow.

 

Nonetheless, the team has once again grown together to become one big family made of strong individuals who always leave their best efforts on the track and jumping mats and in the throwing circle and sand pit. Although we are the only team to practice outside in the dead of winter, we are not worn ourselves, as we tackle old standing records and bring titles and hardware home.

 

Each meet has been looked forward to; maybe not the one happening on the day of Super Bowl Sunday, but the will to compete and compete with our very best is there. Led by amazing coaches, Devon White and Martin Rodriguez, and by great leaders on the team, it is almost impossible to think that any dream is out of our reach.

 

The team likes to showcase the hard work that’s being put in, to show off the dedication in numbers, color, athleticism and to make those who believe in us proud.

 

Thanks to those who put in the hard work and made everything possible, we were able to put together an amazing team that makes the future look bright. As long as the athletes gave it their all, continue to give it their all, and left it all on the track, there was never disappointment on any of our coach’s faces.

 

There have been many results throughout the season and records broken that are inspiring:  

 

Girls at the League Meet:

 

Nicole Izzo, advanced to the 55m dash finals

Mary Lyons, 2nd overall in the 600m

Alexandra Leitch, 3rd overall in the 1000m

Joelle El Hamouche,5th overall in the 1000m

Arianna Edwards, 2nd overall in the 1500m

Faith Summers, 2nd overall in the 3000m

Julia Remo, 1st overall in shot put

Julianna Castellano, 2nd overall in shot put and 3rd overall in weight throw

Cynthia Briggs, 3rd overall in shot put

 

Guys at the League Meet:

 

Eric Nieves, 2nd place overall in 55m dash

Kane Lyons, 3rd place overall in 55m dash

Kane Lyons, 2rd place overall in the 300m

Manny Corona, 2nd place overall in the 3200m

4x200m team (Eric Nieves, Brian Kelly, TJ Policarpio, and Kane Lyons), 1st overall

Peter Vogel,1st place overall in high jump

 

Records Broken:

 

The girls 4×400 school record relay time was broken at the Ridgewood Winter Games – Faith Summers, Mary Lyons, Colleen Bradley and Arianna Edwards

 

Mary Lyons broke the 600m school record at the League meet
Julianna Castellano broke both the shot put (section 1 kickoff meet) and weight throw (league meet) school records

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