Category Archives: A&E

‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ excites movie fans

Art by Shelby Pennington

By Reagan O’Farrell

A final group of people bustles into the already packed theater just as the lights go down, signaling the beginning of the film. People shift in their seats, turning off their phones as their focus now turns to the large screen before them.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts off with a bang, paralleling its predecessor of Kingsman: The Secret Service by instantly throwing moviegoers into the heat of the action. Taron Egerton returns as “Eggsy,” one of the two latest recruits to join the Kingsman, a spy organization created with the intention of upholding peace without the use of the government. Mark Strong, who plays “Merlin,” also returns, bringing with him a good portion of the comedy that makes the Kingsman movies so popular. The much-anticipated Colin Firth also returns as Harry Hart despite the seemingly fatal gunshot through the eye in the last movie.

This particular movie centers itself around a group known as The Golden Circle led by Julianne Moore as Poppy, who is the head of a major drug organization that plans on making its practices legalized by any means necessary.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle delves further into characters of whom little was really known about. Harry’s past, in particular, is subject to more scrutiny than previously, and more of Merlin’s personality is revealed through his excursions with Eggsy.

New characters are also introduced in the storyline, including Channing Tatum’s ‘Tequila,’ Halle Berry’s ‘Ginger,’ and Pedro Pascal’s ‘Whiskey.’ These players still did not quite overshadow the original characters, but Ginger and Tequila especially had fairly large roles throughout the movie. Channing Tatum did not appear in the movie nearly as often as one may have expected based on the trailers, but his presence as Tequila still impacted the actions of many characters whether or not he was on the screen.

Kingsman continues its trope of fantastical spy technology, even including a bionic arm that looks straight out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This comes as no surprise, though it did often lead to several easy wins that would never be possible without their presence. That being said, it did not hinder the movie: there are many battles that could not be solved by a nicely timed container of goop, and multiple resounding losses are faced.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle has been popular since its release on Sept. 22, possibly signaling the rise in popularity of movies that include a combination of action, adventure, and comedy. This movie blended all these genres together seamlessly, occasionally hardening back to The Secret Service in parody.

As with the first film, this movie was clever. Just like in The Secret Service where the “world ending” plot was radical though had its fair amount of reason and logic behind it, The Golden Circle has characters doing bad things for what they believe to be just reasons. While some aspects were more outlandish than others, with one of the main antagonists even bringing about some Hannibal-istic concepts, most of it was in no way entirely unheard of.

This movie does not appear to signal the end of the series: the tail end teases another sequel that may allow Kingsman to continue.

While this movie is certainly rated R for a reason, with its language, violence, and sensual content nobody can rightfully argue, it is certainly something worth seeing for the more mature audiences.

Fidget spinner fad creates distractions for some, focus for others

By Savannah Schroering

The characteristic whirr of the popular device echoes from classroom to classroom. It spins effortlessly between two fingertips, supposedly helping students focus on their work more. As they have become more mainstream, the fidget spinner has slowly converted into a toy.

“I think it probably varies from child to child, and from situation to situation. For most students, probably distracting, because it’s something else they have to focus on and pay attention to. Instead of maybe being fully focused and fully engaged on what we’re talking about in class,” said psychology teacher Chad Clunie. “There are some psychologists and psychiatrists and doctors out there that are prescribing [fidget spinners] to those young kids who have ADD or ADHD, because it help them when it comes to fiddling or fidgeting. By fiddling or fidgeting with something, it helps them focus.”

Some students are annoyed by the fact that they have become popular.

“I feel that people just sit there and spin it the entire time and do not listen to the teacher, because they’re trying to figure out how long their fidget spinner will spin,” said sophomore Carter Blessing. “I believe that people who don’t have problems with focusing started using them as a distraction instead of a tool.”

Blessing also does not believe there is a psychological effect to using the spinner. “I’ve used one, and I’ve noticed no psychological effect for me, I just thought “oh, it spins.”

Science teacher Michelle Harbison agreed with Blessing. “I would be interested in seeing the person who is claiming that it helps people focus. I would like to see their empirical evidence to support the claim.”

Harbison offered some alternatives to using fidget spinners, which can make a lot of noise. “I honestly believe that there are probably alternatives to the spinners that would be useful and helpful to an individual student but not be distracting to others around. I would be a fan of looking for those alternatives. You know, stress balls and things that don’t make noise.”

Carter also expressed how noisy they can be in the classroom. “I don’t see them as much as last year, but last year they got pretty annoying. They began to rust and get dirty so they made a lot of noise in the classroom.”

While the original fidget spinners were made with the intent of helping people focus, they have turned into toys in the classroom and even memes.

“I get that they’re kinda cool, but I would like to see the empirical evidence that they are actually helping people,” said Harbison. “I really do think if you’re helping one person and distracting somebody else, that’s not a great solution. There are probably other things people can use if you’re going to claim that is what somebody needs. Toys are fun, but not in school.”

Senior Libby Sobieski argued for the side of fidget spinners being helpful. “This is where it gets to where the adults have to decide ‘should they be allowed’, and I think that people should have them if they do have ADD or anxiety.”

Clunie explained how fidgeting is an often occurrence with students that has certain disorders, and how these spinners could potentially help.

“We don’t have a cure for ADHD, but there was some research in the past that shows that manipulation of objects in the hands helped, so that’s where the fidget spinner came from. However, now you’ve seen it explode from there.”

The spinners can be distracting to a student’s selective attention, but there has been research that spinning the, can help students with some mental disorders focus. “And so, for most students, the more you have going on, the more you’re thinking about, and the more you’re messing with, the more difficult it is to have selective attention,” said Clunie. “Now, students who have ADD or ADHD, there is some research that shows that when they can manipulate things with their hands, that helps them focus a little bit more.

The focusing aspect of the fidget spinner attracted a lot of people to use them.

“I think that’s where the concept came from. Obviously it’s become more of a pop cultural popular thing than what it is for a more medical purpose,” said Clunie.

In order to market a product to everyone, it must be generalized to a wider audience. This has made the fidget spinner become more of a toy, and it has received negative attention for that.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with them if people weren’t misusing them as much,” said Blessing.

Sobieski agreed with Blessing. “That’s what most people think about them these days. ‘They’re just toys to have fun with’, and that’s not the case. They’re a tool to keep you in line to help you focus. To not play with an object like a pencil. Fidget spinners should be used properly as what they were made to be.”

Avid readers anticipate release of Sarah J. Maas’s ‘Tower of Dawn’

Art by Ky Haney

By Reagan O’Farrell

A teenager tightly grips the hardbound pages of the book, opening up to the dog-eared spot from where she last left off. Flipping her hair from her face, she sinks her nose into the book, immediately becoming fully engrossed and incidentally ignoring the miffed stares of the people she nearly runs into.

Since the first installment of the Throne of Glass series was released in 2012, these books, written by bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, have become a hit among young adults all across the nation. The sixth book, Tower of Dawn, was released on Sept.5.

This series is set around notorious assassin Caelena Sardothien as she finds herself exonerated from slavery by boy prince Dorian Havilliard, only to be trained by Captain of the Guard Chaol Westfall with the intention of becoming a personal operative for the ruthless king. As she battles against fellow thieves and killers, she must also discover the forces that have been brutally killing her competitors before it finally attacks her while simultaneously feigning as a mild-mannered lady at the glass castle. Despite her initial intentions, Caelena finds herself befriending Dorian and Chaol alongside the mysterious yet clever princess Nehemia Ytger.

Throne of Glass is deep within the epic fantasy genre with Sarah J. Maas having built a world entirely of its own making littered with the minute details that make readers feel as though they live there themselves. Stabs at romance can be found throughout the series, though more often in its latter half, and all of the books contain several action sequences written in enough detail to seem as though the fights are taking place on the physical earth.

While the writing is extraordinarily done, many critics have risen to the front in objection to the series’ applauded nature. Many of these criticisms are founded upon the characteristics of the protagonist, Caelena. She is a typical anti-hero: parallels can be drawn between her and other radical characters such as Deadpool. Some people develop bad tastes in their mouths when they hear too much of Caelena’s snarky attitude and are forced to understand what she has done to earn her title as a famous assassin. However, a number of these critics fail to note her development as one book evolves to the next. Her cynical nature becomes far less biting and sour and instead turns into an odd form of affection, and she addresses her own behaviors with a critical eye.

Others find more objection in the narrative style itself. They are none too fond of Maas’s thorough explicitness of both violent and sensual scenes, balking at the idea that children in the fifth grade could be found engrossed in the novels despite the fact that the intended audience is people in their later teens.

Throne of Glass is not without its faults, but Maas exhibits her natural talent in regards to wielding prose with her profound descriptions of both individuals and scenery. She also manages to leave seemingly irrelevant pieces of information throughout the books only to bring those details up later and express their weighty significance. Her characters are compelling, and despite the various number of them, they each receive adequate attention and development, all of whom connect back to Caelena herself.

The next book, Tower of Dawn, differs from the rest of the books in the series. Originally intended to simply be a novella, Maas became so invested in the book that it became a crucial component to the series. It is to be told from a perspective unlike the previous, with Caelena no longer being the forefront of the novel, instead being replaced by a male lead and female secondary character. This could bring an interesting change in the dynamic of the plot, but most readers have enough faith in Maas’s abilities to eagerly anticipate the installment.

For readers already invested in the series, Maas recommended in one of her newsletters to read her previous novella collection, The Assassin’s Blade, before proceeding to read Tower of Dawn.

Throne of Glass has been revving up in popularity these past few years, enough so for HBO to decide to create a television show based upon these books known as Queen of Shadows. While the characters may not find their way on screen for a little while, fans can look forward to reading the original ink and paper.

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