The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)

Francis Lawrence directs the first installment in the conclusion of the Hunger Games trilogy. The movie picks up shortly after the ending of its predecessor, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen of District 12. Unbeknownst to Katniss she has been appointed as the primary leader of a district-wide rebellion. In addition, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) was left behind in the escape from the 75th Hunger Games. Like the second movie, Katniss continues to suffer from post-traumatic episodes. Read More…

Kim Kardashian West poses for Paper Magazine

Kim Kardashian West has done it again. Kim posted a photo of her cover shot on Paper Magazine last night on her Instagram account alongside with the comment #BreaktheInternet. The photos immediately drew outrage and criticism from people who thought that they were not only lewd but inappropriate for a mother. The controversy consumed nearly every media and “news” outlet the next morning. Read More…

Brittany Maynard dies on November 1st

Over the weekend, Brittany Maynard decided to exercise Oregon’s Death with Dignity Law by consuming lethal drugs that ended her battle with terminal, brain cancer. The 29-year-old made headlines in early October when she revealed that she had decided the day she was going to die, November 1st. Maynard had been diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and was given 6 months to live. After consulting with many doctors she was told that not only was her form of cancer incurable, but it would be extremely painful in the end stages.  Maynard said she didn’t want to let the cancer decide which day she’d die. Read More…

The Ebola Virus- should we be concerned?

For several weeks this has been the main topic of conversation in the news media as well as in the households of millions of Americans who have become skeptical that the Ebola virus is something they should be concerned about catching. The Ebola virus is not a newly discovered disease, but rather a hysteria that has infiltrated the psyche of American minds the moment a citizen contracted the disease on American soil. While I will not concede to such mass frenzies, I will admit that despite statements from the government urging me I have nothing to fear any foreign disease can cause a threat to national security, albeit a likely, remote and diminutive one in that respect. Read More…

Ellen DeGeneres sends Andy and Jacqueline to Dracula Untold Maze

Last year talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sent producers Amy and Andy to a Haunted House. The end result was pure fun. This year’s trip was no different. Ellen sends Andy and his assistant, Jacqueline, to a Haunted House. Here is what happened:

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Gone Girl (2014)

Gone GirlDavid Fincher directs the movie adaptation to Gillian Flynn’s critically-acclaimed and best-selling novel. The mystery-thriller delves into the whereabouts of Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) after her husband, Nick (Ben Affleck), comes home on his 5th wedding anniversary to find broken furniture and his wife nowhere to be found. While the investigation to learn what happened to Amy begins as a peaceful vigil it quickly escalates to a social media bonanza when Nick’s side of the story begins to unravel. Read More…

Boyhood (2014)

Mason Jr.- BoyhoodRichard Linklater directs a film chronicling a 12-year period in the life of Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane). Astonishingly the original cast was filmed over that period of time and as a result the characters age as the story progresses. Mason Jr. lives with his mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), and Samantha (Lorelei Linklater). His father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), is a sporadic presence in his life. The film not only chronicles the life of Mason Jr., but indirectly shows the life trajectory and progression of Mason’s family. Read More…

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

James Gunn directs the latest movie in the Marvel franchise. Here, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) partners with a group of criminal misfits in preventing Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) in destroying a planet inhabited by billions of extraterrestrial beings. Peter teams up with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). While the team’s initial meeting at a prison for high level criminals isn’t exactly a pleasant encounter, their desire to escape is what essentially fuels and propels the characters in uniting and forming the goofy, yet formidable “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Read More…

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Shailene WoodleyJosh Boone directs the latest addition to the YA genre. The movie is adapted from the highly acclaimed and best-selling book, of the same name, written by John Green. Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is a precocious and rather normal 16-year-old girl who has Stage IV thyroid cancer. To appease her parents and doctor, Hazel agrees to attend a cancer support group meeting at a local church. There she meets Augustus “Gus” Waters (Ansel Elgort). Waters is a cancer survivor who is attending the meeting in support for his best friend, Isaac, who has a tumor in his one remaining eye. Read More…

Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Cover of "Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1)" by Leigh Bardugo

Cover of “Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1)” by Leigh Bardugo

Fresh off ending my love affair with Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunters, I needed a new fantasy to get lost in this summer (although it was hard to say goodbye). Although I’m a little late to the party, Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy was just the ticket, taking me on a journey through Ravka, a fictional Russian-esque land torn in two by an ominous “swath of near impenetrable darkness” where carnivorous monsters dwell called the Shadow Fold.

An action-packed page-turner, Shadow and Bone takes some common YA themes–isolation, trust and betrayal, self-acceptance, and even love triangles–to a deeper level. The story opens with a girl and boy at an orphange being tested for powers by the Grisha, Ravka’s “magical elite.” Neither are found to be very promising. Fast forward a dozen or so years and our orphan heroine, Alina Starkov, is an all-grown-up but lonely mapmaker in the Ravkan Army. Her best friend, Mal (Malyen Oretsev), has grown into a handsome and well-liked tracker, who also happens to be very popular with the ladies. (Womp, womp for our leading lady.)

While entering the Shadow Fold, their regiment is attacked by the volcra (monsters), and Mal is hurt. In response, Alina unknowingly unleashes pillars of light to fight off the volcra, giving the regiment enough time to retreat. Turns out Alina’s power is unique. She is then taken to the Darkling (what’s in a name, indeed), the leader of the Grisha. He tells Alina he wants her help in destroying the Shadow Fold and the volcra, and decides to send her to the Ravkan palace to train with the other Grisha.

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