Must watch of the week: “Narcos”

Alec Ematrudo-A&L Editor

It seems like Netflix has several hit television shows premiere each year. They can’t be stopped and if you’re like me, all the options can be quite overwhelming. I’ve been searching for a show to watch on Netflix for some time now but couldn’t quite land on one. Recently, I decided that I finally needed to choose and landed on “Narcos.” The show has been on Netflix for the last three years and I’ve always heard great things about it. After binging the show’s three seasons, I can say, with a grin on my face, that “Narcos” is in fact phenomenal.

The show is centered around the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar as he navigated his way through the drug trade in Colombia during the eighties and early nineties. While the show does have fictionalized elements, it is based heavily on the very real and often horrific events that took place in Colombia during that time period.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

What I really love about the show is that while the show’s two main characters are Drug Enforcement Agents tasked with catching Escobar, the show often spends a large portion, if not most of the episodes centered on Escobar and it really gives the viewer an intimate look into how the man worked and his relationship with his family. That angle is incredibly interesting from a narrative perspective, and I really appreciated those scenes.

While the show does have some extremely intense and nail biting scenes, it is more of a slow burn for most of its runtime. The show also doesn’t shy away from violence and features several graphic scenes per episode. Those of you who aren’t into shows with lots of realistic violence may not be too into this one. That being said, the acting is superb from the entire cast, and especially from Wagner Moura who portrays Pablo Escobar.

All in all, I definitely recommend checking out Narcos if you haven’t already. Season Four has already cast Michael Pena and Diego Luna, who are both big actors, so that should be interesting to see how they factor into the story.  

Rating: 4.5/5 Alec Heads

“Star Wars” newbie starter guide

Alec Ematrudo-A&L Editor

Photos courtesy of medium.com

It is an incredible time to be a “Star Wars” fan. With a new movie out every year and a plethora of books, comics, videogames and television shows, fans can keep themselves very busy. All of this new content also makes it a very good time to join the fandom and experience what you’ve been missing out on. At the same time, tackling such a massive and well established franchise forty years after its birth can seem daunting.

When Disney bought the rights to “Star Wars” a few years ago, they opted to take the ongoing narrative in the direction they wanted and, by doing so, hundreds of stories from books and videogames are no longer considered canon to the story. With the impending release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” this coming May, I deem it appropriate to compile this guide on the best ways to catch yourself or a friend up in time. While there are several ways you could watch these films,  I’ve narrowed it down to one method that I feel will work. It may not be the correct way to watch according to some fans, but it will get the job the done.

The creator of the franchise has gone on record several times over the years since the prequel trilogy premiered, and has said that he believes that the definitive viewing experience is to watch the films in episodic order, meaning viewers should start with “Episode One: A Phantom Menace” and conclude with “Episode Eight: The Last Jedi”. While this isn’t what is considered the right way to watch by many fans, I personally believe that in today’s day and age, most of the big narrative reveals in “Star Wars” have been spoiled by the internet, so there isn’t a need to try and preserve them anymore. If you do go with this method, here is the complete list of films in viewing order.

Episode One: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Episode Two: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) Animated Film

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014) TV Series

Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Star Wars: Rebels (2014-2018) TV Series

Episode Four: A New Hope (1977)

Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Episode Six: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) Videogame

Episode Seven: The Force Awakens (2015)

Episode Eight: The Last Jedi (2017)

This list is what I believe will properly prepare you for the release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” as well as Episode Nine which should premiere sometime next year. I have gone through and bolded the major films in the franchise. These are like the chapter titles in a big book where the other titles are the words in between.

If you insist on being a purist, feel free to ignore my advice and simply watch the films and television shows in the order of which they were released. Either way, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

May the force be with you.

“Call Me by Your Name” sparks critical acclaim

Mary Ellen Fernandez-Anchor Staff

Hollywood has struck gold this Oscar season, with several truly amazing nominated films. However, none are as powerful or provoking as the critically acclaimed “Call Me by Your Name.” The film, which was directed by Luca Guadagnino, features a dreamy Northern Italian backdrop and a summer filled with teenage romance, blunder and excitement. With a breakout performance from Timothee Chalamet and an impeccable soundtrack, this film reaches high levels of excellence.

Photo courtesy of imdb.com

The film is set in the mid eighties, and centers around the character of Elio, who begins to grow more and more fond of his father’s summer intern Oliver. The two begin an awkward companionship that blossoms into a friendship and romance. They both become engulfed in the excitement of the newfound relationship. Timothee Chalamet shines in his portrayal of a teenager who spends six weeks of his life attempting to connect and understand the special bond he forms with Oliver. The chemistry he shares with Armie Hammer on screen is delightful and extremely natural. Both actors create an extremely sincere experience of love and friendship.

The soundtrack to the film melts magically into the story. featuring some oldies but goodies such as “Love my Way” by The Psychedelic Furs and new original scores by Sufjan Stevens that add an element of raw emotion. Director Luca Guadagnino understands the importance of good music in a movie, and he does not fail to help create memorable scenes involving just that – good music.

Although long in runtime, the film keeps you captivated with the spirit of summer and daydream  aesthetics. The story is not just about teenage love and confusion, but about discovering one’s self and understanding the importance of connecting. The story of a bisexual teenage boy who is eager to learn and love, is a light-hearted coming of age film that will remind you of sunnier days that seemed to last forever. The film has received four Oscar nominations including Best Actor and Best Picture.

Rating: A+

Remembering the holocaust: a review of Schindler’s List

Alec Ematrudo-A&L Editor

Holocaust Remembrance Day is an extremely important day and is observed all around the world. At this point, we all know about World War Two and the holocaust and the terrible loss of life. These history lessons have been taught to us countless times by now. However, as detailed as our history professors may get, there simply is nothing like experiencing these events through an incredible film.

While there are many great movies, television shows and even books about the holocaust, none can quite compare to Schindler’s List. The film, which was directed by Steven Spielberg, premiered in 1993. It stars Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, and tells the true story of Schindler, who was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.

At over three hours long, the film is admittedly a lot to take in. The material is very emotional and dark, and can weigh heavily on viewers. While those may sound like critiques, I assure you they are not. They are a testament to how historically accurate and intense this film is. Spielberg and his excellent cast keep you deeply invested throughout the three hour runtime. While the film is in no way an action film, it still has an intensity about it. That is all due to the way Spielberg directed the film and to the amazing performances of everyone in the cast.

This was Spielberg’s first real serious film that dealt with real events and he handled it masterfully. Schindler’s list went on to win seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. To anyone who hasn’t seen this film yet, I highly encourage you to watch it. Let Spielberg help you remember the holocaust this year on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Reading for remembrance: “The Devil’s Arithmetic” turns 30

Britt Donahue-Asst. A&L

In 1988 Jane Yolen published the historical fiction novel, “The Devil’s Arithmetic.” This National Jewish Book Award winner has taught countless children about the importance of history, family and remembrance.

In the novel, 13-year-old  Hannah Stern is bored by her family’s stories of the past and the Jewish faith in general. When she opens the door for Elijah during Passover Seder, Hannah is brought back in time to the year 1942 and experiences first-hand life in a Polish concentration camp.

“The Devil’s Arithmetic” remains as powerful and relevant today as it was 30 years ago, especially as a way to introduce children to this history. I am not Jewish myself, so my family was not directly affected by the trauma of that time. Yolen’s book was one of the first Holocaust Novels I read, and it has stayed with me for over 20 years.

In honor of the book’s 30th anniversary, here is a list of a few more novels I can personally recommend  for further reading on World War II and the Holocaust.

  • Anne Frank: “The Diary of a Young Girl”
  • Elie Wiesel: “Night”
  • Art Spiegelman: “Maus”
  • Lois Lowry: “Number the Stars”
  • Louise Murphy: “The True Story of Hansel and Gretel”
  • Diane Ackerman: “The Zookeeper’s Wife”
  • Markus Zusak: “The Book Thief”
  • John Boyne: “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”

If you have a book you would like to recommend, share it with us on Instagram!

Playing it safe: The latest “Call of Duty” tackles the holocaust

Alec Ematrudo-A&L Editor

Grounded realism isn’t something that the Call of Duty franchise has concerned itself with over the course of its last several games. Between the space battles, robots and laser guns, these games have been looking more and more like a knock-off of Star Wars. However, this past November, Call of Duty went back to its roots and gave players a grounded, mostly historically accurate story set during World War II.

The game does a pretty decent job of showing players the horrors of war and specifically the horrors of that particular war. I appreciated that even though the franchise is built on the shoulders of war, this game doesn’t glorify it. The developers were dealing with real events that caused real devastation and trauma. What impressed me most about the game was the risky move of dealing with the holocaust within the game. Obviously, by making the game set during World War II, the creators were putting themselves on thin ice. You can’t really make a game set in that era, specifically set in Europe, and not mention or deal with the holocaust in some way. In a sense, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

In an epilogue to the main story, the player finds themselves walking through a recently abandoned concentration camp and through a series of voice over lines, we’re reminded of the horrors of what took place behind the walls. The game, in my opinion, handles the scene/level in good taste and is respectful. However, I do have my gripes.

While some may view this as nitpicking, I personally feel that the game didn’t go far enough to do justice to what really happened. We never once see a prisoner or any aftermath at the camp in this level. The player simply walks though in search of a friend and the level essentially ends. At that point, it just felt like the scene was in there just to be there. HBO’s Band of Brothers had that iconic episode where the characters stumble upon a camp and end up liberating the survivors. It’s an incredibly emotional and powerful scene. “Call of Duty: WW2” had the chance to really step up and deliver something that hit home more than just a shoot-em-up game. That being said, it is a video game that people are meant to enjoy playing, so I understand if horrific and realistic representation of a concentration camp may have been too much for some.

All in all, I do applaud the game and it’s developers for including the scene and attempting to do justice to the real life horrors that millions of Jews faced. Call of Duty could have handled things poorly and simply used the camp as another source of spectacle for the game, but it handled things with grace. That’s rare for a game such as “Call of Duty,” whom no one relies on for compelling storytelling. I just wish they had done more.

Magneto: hero, man, villain, holocaust survivor

Sara Massa-Anchor Staff

In a previous article, I had discussed reality-based events being portrayed in comics; things like 9/11, the Watergate Scandal and portrayals of Donald Trump. The Holocaust was no exception, and even affected one major Marvel character significantly. Magnetom, from the “X-Men” comics, was a child who was forced into work camps like Warsaw and Auschwitz. When he was young, Magneto, whose real name was Max Eisenhardt, and his family were captured in Poland during Germany’s invasion and put into the Warsaw Ghetto. They tried to escape only to be captured, and his mother, father and sister were executed.

He survived and tried to flee only to be captured again and sent to Auschwitz. There, he was given the job of Sonderkommando, which were groups of Jews who were forced to dispose of bodies in the gas chambers or crematoria. It was at Auschwitz where he met his future wife Magda. After surviving the Holocaust, they were married and had a daughter named Anya. Anya die later and, after Magneto scares Magda by using his magnetic mutant ability out of rage, she runs away only to have twins: Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, also known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

In the “X-Men” films, we are heavily introduced of Magneto’s past in “X-Men: First Class” where we see Magneto get separated from his parents in the death camp and accidentally use his powers on the fences surrounding them. This attracts the attention of Sebastian Shaw, a Nazi contributor who tries to get Magneto to use his powers to move a coin. When he cannot, Shaw kills Magneto’s mother right in front of him, unlocking Magneto’s powers fully in rage. Later in “X-Men: Apocalypse” the villain of the film, Apocalypse, brings Magneto back to Auschwitz to reignite that rage he felt when he was there as a child. Ultimately Magneto uses his magnetic powers once again and destroys Auschwitz.

Last year, many fans became upset at Marvel when a cover for a future comic came out and it showed Magneto and HYDRA together. This was upsetting because fans speculated that Marvel was aligning Magneto, a Holocaust survivor, with the Nazi-formed organization HYDRA. It was almost as bad as when Marvel revealed in the comics that Captain America was also working with HYDRA. It was later revealed that Magneto was not connected to HYDRA, but a conversation he had with Captain America reminded people of a conversation Hitler had with Stalin in the early 1900s and many think the connection is now with Stalin.

I hope that they keep Magneto’s Holocaust history in the comics, and if Marvel decides to redo the X-Men films now that Disney has bought the rights to X-Men and the Fantastic Four, I hope they keep it in the films as well. It is a big part of Magneto’s character and his rage, which helps him use his powers and to take that away would be terrible.

How to stay healthy while dining out

Sophie Costa-Anchor Staff

Eating out can be either a fun experience or a daunting one. When you are trying to lose weight or obtain a certain fitness goal, it can often be very hard when friends and family want to go out to dinner and you are trying to stay on track with your meal plan. It’s inevitable that you will find yourself in this position sooner or later so here are some healthy tips and tricks that you can use when eating out!

Ask for a half order – Asking for a half order for your entrée is a smart choice because, more often that not, restaurants actually give you double of what the normal portion size is. Keep in mind that a closed fist is a serving size of pasta and an open palm is a serving size for meat. Typically, chain restaurants give a higher quantity and upscale restaurants serve a smaller size. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask the server!

Ask for sauces or dressing on the side – If you order a salad, ask for your dressing on the side. This gives you the freedom to put less than what the restaurant would normally put on the salad. Or do the fork dip, as it’s much easier to control how much dressing you use if you dip your salad in the dressing bite after bite. 1 tablespoon of olive oil is 119 calories, which is the same amount of calories in 3.5 cups of kale. 3.5 cups of kale would fill you right up whereas 1 tbsp of olive oil does nothing for your body and is empty calories and extra fat.

Read between the lines of the menu – Not only is it helpful to look up the menu beforehand, but you should know the keywords to look for. Creamy, buttery, breaded and stuffed are all important words to look out for when browsing a menu. These words really mean high in calories and high in fat. Many restaurants often have a low carb section on their menu, but just because it’s low carb doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Most low carb options are loaded in highly calorific sauces and subsequently pack a serious punch in the fat and or saturated fat department. Healthy terms to look for are broiled, grilled and baked; these words indicate that the restaurant is cooking the dish in a healthier way. They still may use butter or sauces but don’t be afraid to ask that they skimp on it.

Think about your whole diet – If you are eating healthily for most of your diet and don’t often steer away from your meal plan, you can indulge every once in a while. Don’t deprive yourself but know yourself and be mindful of what you’re eating.

Revival: Can Eminem’s career be revived?

Alec Ematrudo-A&L Editor

After a four year hiatus, Eminem finally released his ninth studio album on Dec. 15th, 2017. There had been rumors about the album over the course of the year. It also had been hinted at by several members of Eminem’s management, as well as by some of the featured artists from the album.

Eminem resurfaced online on Oct 10th because of his performance in a cypher at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. In the cypher, his fiercest bars are a roast of Donald Trump. In this cypher, Eminem set up the basis for the most of his album’s tracks without officially announcing so. A few days after this, a viral marketing campaign was launched to promote the upcoming release of Revival. The ads were meant to parody the countless medicine ads we see on our television on a daily basis.

In terms of the actual content of the album, I really enjoyed this album. Revival was met with a mixed reaction from fans and critics, ranging from love to hate. However, there is enough variety of songs to please fans of all of Eminem’s phases, from old school Slim Shady, to the more recent humbling and self reflective work he’s put out.

Eminem is fueled by his hatred for Donald Trump throughout the album and often calls out the whole Trump family by name in several songs such as “Like Home” and “Nowhere Fast.” Other songs on the album such as “Walk on Water” and “River,” deal with some deeper material and are not as lighthearted as some of Eminem’s earlier work.

Photo courtesy of xxlmag.com

All in all, I would say Revival was an entertaining album that falls somewhere in the middle of Eminem’s best and worse work. There’s at least one song for everyone in the album and it’s definitely worth the listen. Eminem has fallen out of the spotlight over the last few years and while some may argue that his decline in popularity is due to a lack of good songs, I’d argue it’s merely because he isn’t putting out work often enough to keep up with the current generation of rappers. That being said, Eminem’s politically fueled album comes at an interesting time in our country and I believe this ninth studio album will leave a lasting impact on listeners.

Superhero Central – Guess Who’s Back?

Sara Massa-Anchor Staff

Graphic by Andre Glover

The ever sarcastic, 4th-wall breaking, mercenary in a bright red suit is back. If you guessed Deadpool, then you’re right! Over the past couple of months, more and more talk about “Deadpool 2” has been spread around the internet with help from the man who made the character come alive: Ryan Reynolds. A teaser trailer came out around April of last year, and in November we got another tiny look into the crazy mind of Deadpool. Another teaser was later released, in which Deadpool dressed up as the late Bob Ross to copy his show “Joy of Painting,” which was called “Getting Wet on Wet with Deadpool 2.”

In the teaser, Deadpool has an array of paintings, oddly named like “Clockwork Orange,” “Soylent Green,” “Betty White,” and “Mennen Black.” The teaser shows him painting on his easel, all the while, making innuendos and talking about how he is “high as a kite.” This is further pushed as the scenes change and his blank canvas turns into a snowy landscape and then a log cabin surrounded by wilderness. Just as he accidentally flings his paintbrush across the room, the canvas shows an odd red, almost blood-looking- paint over the picture of the log cabin.

Photo courtesy of twitter.com

This makes Deadpool shoot away from the easel and there is a harsh cut with “technical difficulties”, which turns into a montage of scenes from the upcoming film. We get to see mostly chaos, with old characters like Negasonic Teenage Warhead flipping someone off and the taxi driver Dopinder, and the shadow of some new characters like Domino; another mercenary who becomes a part of Marvel’s “X-Force” in the comics.

This trailer stands with over 2 million views on YouTube, and had gotten around with the help of Twitter. More recently, Ryan Reynolds has posted a picture on Instagram of him in the Deadpool suit holding Deadpool’s swords. But what catches most fan’s attention are two things; one being that the swords are named, one is Bea while the other is Arthur, which fits with Deadpool’s personality. The second is the text from the post, “May 18. #MaximumEffort” finally giving us a date for the film. With that in mind, I only know that the mayhem will progress from here, especially when we get a look at the official trailer hopefully coming out soon.