Entertainment

by -
0 660

lemontree entrance2Lemon tree1

    In downtown Downers Grove, small community shops line Main Street with brightly colored awnings and a variety of offerings–from candy stores to clothing boutiques. But right off of Main there is a small shop that is the focus of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible – a television show that takes the original design of a restaurant and totally revamps its image in 48 hours. Upon hearing that Zest Bistro, a restaurant that is part of the Lemon Tree Grocer, had been redesigned, I was eager to check out their offerings and see the new corner cafe that adorned Lemon Tree.

   I visited on a Sunday, and the daily special at Zest is brunch that runs from nine in the morning to three in the afternoon. Their menu has a great mix of breakfast and lunch foods, with meals ranging from eggs benedict and pancakes to burgers and panini sandwiches.

  Sitting in the restaurant, it has a very homey feel. The casual aspect of grocery shopping on half of the store mixed with the small cafe setting in the bistro makes Zest a comfortable neighborhood place. The bistro is separated by large wooden dividers painted yellow and white that open vertically like windows, making the space more open.

  The center of the restaurant is a display of wooden crates filled with lemongrass, giving a fresh feel to the atmosphere of the cafe. Booths and tables surround this structure, and full length windows pull light into the bistro and through the spaces between crates, highlighting the springtime essence of the yellow and white walls and other accents. Overall, the restaurant makes you feel right at home.

  The host was very friendly while seating us, and our waitress was attentive to get us drinks right away, including a complimentary water carafe for the table to share. I ordered the freshly squeezed orange juice, and it definitely had a certain character that is not present in other fresh juices at different breakfast places. It was very tangy with just the right amount of pulp.

    I ended up ordering their half pound original burger, which comes with hand-cut fries. The burger was cooked exactly to my specifications (medium well) and had a generous slice of American cheese sitting on top of the perfectly seared burger. The char was just right, and the fresh tomato, lettuce and onion complemented the buttery brioche bun–which was the icing on the cake. The fries were seasoned very well, and really didn’t need any ketchup to add flavor–it was all there.

    I also sampled some meals from my family, and each was above my expectations. I tried Suzie’s lemon ricotta pancakes, which had blueberries sprinkled in the batter and was served with maple syrup on the side. The pancakes themselves were sweet enough with just blueberries, but plain portions of the pancake were served best with a topping of either lemon curd or syrup. Another dish I sampled was the chicken panini, which was topped with spinach artichoke spread that was surprisingly tasty. this dish was served with homemade potato chips, and they were a great complement.

Overall, the bistro surpassed my standards for this type of restaurant. I really enjoyed the atmosphere overall, and the selection of foods made Zest a oneof a kind experience.

 

by -
0 2071

unfriended 2

The phrase “careful what you wish for” just turned into “careful who you stab in the back.” “Unfriended” gives a unique new look to horror films all around, using social media as a tool of terrifying destruction.

The film is all based around six friends, Blaire (Shelley Hennig), Mitch (Moses Storm), Jess (Renee Olstead), Ken (Jacob Wysocki), Adam (Will Peltz) and Val (Courtney Halverson). All who, according to Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman) had something to do with her suicide for posting an inappropriate video on YouTube that caused her to be bullied.

“Unfriended” starts off a little dull and boring, with Blaire searching away on her computer and skyping her boyfriend Mitch, but soon after the gore begins and, dare I say, the laughter. The comedy and unpredictable angle the film is what makes it highly interesting. Laura’s rather twisted spirit does give a few laughs and of course some disturbing yet creative deaths.

Like any other horror film, you can predict who’s going to die, but you can’t predict how angry the film will leave you–which is the best part of the film and a genius act by the director Levan Gabriadze. The anger is produced from both teenage angst and teenage drama.

With both angst and drama, Gabriadze had to add selfishness to the mix, which will have your undivided attention with how perfectly mastered the characteristic added fits the film. The film is definitely special with this mix; it makes you feel better about yourself and think twice about messing with someone who’ll hold a grudge even beyond the grave.

There is something rather distinct about the film, there seems to be no plot holes. The movie holds not a single hole in the story, it stay straightforward and to the point. Laura’s ghost really means business.

Now to the actors, who might I add did an exquisite job acting as egocentric teens.  They played their part and not once did they fail to deliver fear, anger and tears, making both the acting and creative presentation of the film not falter in any sort of way.

Although “Unfriended” did have it’s star worthy moments, it did fail to present an enthralling ending. The last scene betrayed the concept of what was so great during all the imaginative deaths, making you feel cheated of what could have been a better conclusion

This R rated film may not be for all, but it is certainly a refreshing new look at 21st century horror. The film is bearable and it is most definitely a must experience more than a must watch, Laura would approve.           

by -
0 1555

paul

     Hardcore rapper Wiz Khalifa and newly found Youtube star Charlie Puth have come together to release a new single on the “Fast and Furious 7” soundtrack as a tribute to Paul Walker. 

 

     “See You Again” starts off with a soft serene piano making you feel comfortable and almost at peace. But, what will give you chills is the chorus sung by Charlie Puth. Puth’s voice seems to echo and vibrate as he hits both high and low notes.

 

     With such great vocal control, Puth dominates both chorus and the bridge of the song. What seemed strange was the choice to let Khalifa rap in this single. The lyrics themselves hold a lot of meaning, but Khalifa doesn’t compliment this tribute.

 

     Khalifa’s inability to clarify and execute the lyrics seem to make him the odd man out. Khalifa’s contribution to the song just makes it awkward and strange, mostly because he is mainly a mainstream rapper who seems out of his element when singing a song dedicated to a fallen cast member of the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

 

     Regardless of Khalifa’s involvement in the song, the lyrics are powerful and you can deem an exception for the young rapper.

 

     What helps the most in carrying out the message of the lyrics is the slow yet upbeat tempo. The beat has a sort of pull on the heart and will keep you hypnotized until the very end of the song. But the amazement doesn’t stop there, half way through the song Puth has a dramatic vocal crescendo which sends a pang of sorrow, sadness, happiness and hope all at once and in that order.

 

    It seems as if “See You Again” wasn’t enough of a tribute for the “Fast and Furious” crew, there had to be a music video. The music video is as equally mind-blowing as the song. They do an awesome job in emphasizing the growth of a family during the music video, seeming as how it’s all scenes of Paul Walker interacting with the rest of the cast in all “Fast and Furious” films.

 

     The video does feature both Khalifa and Puth, but the only difference is that both artists seem to show a lot of sincerity and raw emotion. You don’t feel awkward seeing Puth singing and playing the piano while overlooking Los Angeles, or even when Khalifa is standing in multiple beautiful scenic settings. 

 

   Both song and music video seem to have some emotional pull, and together they are a dynamic duo. The powerful pair definitely do a good job in sending out Paul’s message, “If one day the speed kills me don’t cry because I was smiling.”

 

 

by -
0 587

 

Binge watching is the act of watching a whole season of a TV show from beginning to end in a quick succession. Since Netflix is accessible to so many, the trend of binge watching has reached a peak and is becoming a serious addiction to many people in America.

According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, 61% of people who have Netflix binge watch every few weeks. Has this trend become a part of DGS students and teachers lifestyle?

English teacher Zack Kuhn binge watches shows like “Breaking Bad,” “The Wire” and “Deadliest Catch.” The only show he regrets watching for five seconds was “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“If you have enough time to binge watch a show, it’s a glorious experience. I recommend lots of junk food,” Kuhn said.

Sophomore Jori Tyler is someone who enjoys watching Netflix, but has some regrets regarding binge watching shows.

“Only some nights [I regret binge watching, like] when I didn’t get all my homework done and stayed up too late,” Tyler said.

Tyler has binge watched seasons of “One Tree Hill” and “Glee” and she is now onto watching “The Vampire Diaries.”

“It took me a month and a half to get through 187 episodes of ‘One Tree Hill’,” Tyler said.

“The most recent findings on binge-watching associated people who binge on television with depression, loneliness and an inability to control their behavior, but no one is actually diagnosing frequent watchers with depression,” According to National Public Radio (NPR).

Social Studies teacher Elaine Marinakos watches shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Blacklist.” Marinakos also described how a lot of teachers watch Netflix because it helps them keep up with their favorite shows.

“Most of the year I have very little time to indulge in watching much of any television.  Furthermore my kids usually monopolize whatever little TV time there is.  So during school breaks and especially summer break, I am able to catch up on shows and TV that colleagues and friends recommend or tell me they love,” Marinakos said.

Senior Nick Kersting claims to always binge watch TV shows on Netflix. Shows that he enjoys watching include “Marco Polo,” “Friends,” “Archer” and “Criminal Minds”. Kersting doesn’t see binge watching as a wasteful time or having less time for homework or other school activities.

“Not at all, I don’t regret it,” Kersting said. “I have nothing better to do at the time.”

At the end of the show, it all comes down to the person with the remote control in their hand to stay and watch the next episode or to break free from the screen.

 

by -
0 686

Olivia WildePredictability mode activated–”The Lazarus Effect” takes the cake. Yet the film did have interesting characters/cast and plot, which made the basic storyline bearable and quite a unique watch.

 The story begins with a group of scientists who are trying to play God, which all started with the accidental discovery of the Lazarus serum. This serum is supposed to bring the dead back to life, sort of like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.

 Just in like any other horror/thriller film, something has to go wrong. They are playing God, are they not?

 The movie had an interesting mix of religion and science, making people question whether or not Zoe (Olivia Wilde) was possessed or was just using more than 10 percent of her brain. It just so happened that the clash was between Dr. Zoe and her fiancé Dr. Frank (Mark Duplass). These two together seemed to have more of a casual look and feel than a heartwarming relationship.

 The first resurrection was a random success when they brought back Rocky the dog (played by Cato). This is where it gets predictable and you start to call out what’s going to happen next, but the film still leaves you a little interested. Who doesn’t want to pay attention to a dog being brought back to life?

 That sneaky director, David Gelb, certainly knew what he was doing throughout the film. Gelb wasn’t exactly mixing it up, he was just playing on people’s emotions by in a way wanting them to predict the movie. That’s one of the reasons why the viewers eyes will stay glued to the screen.

 The plot seems a little like “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson mixed with “Frankenstein,” but the story stays true to its nature and brings in the eerie feeling of there being a dark supernatural force at play. It all falls on what the viewer believes most, the scientific evidence or the Lazarus syndrome (A Bible story on resurrection).

 Besides the clash of religion and science, the movie itself holds that creepy reality feel to it *cough cough* “Paranormal Activity.” With its weird camera angles and the classic flickering lights and sound effects, the movie was more of a thriller as opposed to a horror movie.

 But what made the movie interesting was the lack of character intimacy. It had a strange vibe of “I know you, but I’m going to treat you like a stranger” which surprisingly made the movie captivating. You can feel the character attraction and relatability, but not the actual familiarity between all the actors, which were Donald Glover, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, Mark Duplass, and Olivia Wilde. 

 The film leaves you feeling strangely more on Dr. Zoe’s side, which is doing all the killing. She is also the only one who had more character development than the rest, but oddly enough it all works out.

 Even if this PG-13 film wasn’t over the top awesome, it wasn’t flat out horrible. It had just the right amount of interesting sci-fi mixed with horror to make it a mediocre watch.    

 

 

  

 

by -
0 582

astronautThe 1990’s was a golden age for cinematography. A string of great and powerful movies such as Schindler’s list, Saving Private Ryan and Shawshank Redemption seemed to be premiering left and right. Recently, the film industry has fallen victim to cheap scares, cheesy jokes and unnecessary action.

In the last decade, it seems as if we lost all of that passion and glory that Hollywood once held. However, with his newest hit, Interstellar, Christopher Nolan once again proves that this golden age isn’t dead quite yet. In Interstellar Earth is dying and Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, is forced to leave his family in order to lead one final mission attempt to find a new home planet for humanity.

Going in, I was looking forward to seeing a thrilling tale of space exploration, as was most of the film’s audience, but I was blinded sided by the deep scenes of ardent emotion provided by the secondary tale of father-daughter relationships that Nolan slips seamlessly into the main plot. Nolan gets his audience to develop genuine compassion for his fictional characters whose stories lead me to genuinely question my emotional values in life. After my first viewing of the film, I was surprised when the audience wasn’t greeted with warm tea and blankets upon exiting the theatre.

McConaughey’s performance in this film was more than just alright alright alright; it was a performance that seemed to put his work in Dallas Buyer’s Club to shame. The veteran actor’s performance easily gained the homage of the audience and added true emotional weight to the film’s more emotionally gripping scenes. McConaughey is joined by other Hollywood superstars such as Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Casey Affleck, whose performances seemed to compliment their roles flawlessly.

 Nolan’s never-ending attempt to add new ideas and depth to his plot unfortunately led the story to encounter some scientific anomalies that, while not considered wrong, were generally regarded as a bit of a stretch by scientists and movie-goers alike. This was where the role of fiction played into this sci-fi film; after-all, there’s a reason why scientific papers aren’t made into movies. While these moments didn’t spoil too much of the movie going experience that was Interstellar, it did leave me scratching my head in a little bit of confusion.

Although the science of the film was a bit of a stretch, it did provide us an unforgettable visual experience. This is not a movie that people should wait to see at home. Even though I-MAX tickets are probably now worth their weight in gold, the visual goodies that dominate the film make Interstellar one of the few films that I can justify spending the extra money to see.

The things we can accomplish with CGI in today’s day and age never fail to leave me in awe, but Interstellar takes things to a whole new level. Multiple times throughout the film, I truly felt dwarfed by wonderfully artistic scenes that flashed across the massive movie screen time and time again.

Furthermore, no film would be complete without its soundtrack. Hans Zimmer proves to us why he should be considered among the elite composers by providing Interstellar with what are easily some of the most imaginative and inventive scores of his lengthy career. Every intense and colossal scene that Nolan throws at the audience is accompanied harmoniously by an equally intense score that makes this film seem even more colossal than it already is.

 Interstellar gives us relief from the seemingly never endless wave of Hollywood remakes and series piggy-backers whose razor thin plots never seem to hold any emotional weight with the audience–*cough cough Avengers cough cough. I just hope that the movie going audience hasn’t yet been completely fooled by the modern day hits and can still recognize the greatness of a film such as Interstellar.

by -
0 515

burger jointBurgers are a timeless meal that nearly all Americans love. According to CNN, they’re the second most popular food in the U.S. and there are countless burger joints in our area. It’s always difficult to decide which one to go to. The newest addition to the plethora of burger places is That Burger Joint, which opened at the beginning of November at 860 E Boughton Road in Bolingbrook, IL.  Connected with the new Oberweis and dairy store, this restaurant offers just four foods and their simplicity is what makes them so good.

When I first arrived at That Burger Joint I was impressed by the rustic vibe it gave off. The lighting was dim, which made it feel like this was place that I had come to a hundred times before, as though I personally knew the employees working behind the counter.

It was clean and well-kept; the station for the ketchup, napkins and other necessities were impressionable and well organized. The service was prompt and friendly. The menu, which contains your basic burger place foods such as fries, drinks, burgers and chicken sandwiches, was easy to decipher.

That Burger Joint offers a choice between single and double burgers, a chicken sandwich and a hot dog. Burgers can be made on a plain pretzel bun, and any option can be topped with a variety of free toppings which include lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms and bacon. It costs about $12 for a meal which is a decent price for a quick lunch.

 I ordered a single cheeseburger on a regular bun with lettuce, and I got my food after a short wait. My fries seemed to be slightly overcooked, but they were crispy and delicious. The burger was about as good as one from Culver’s. It was cooked just right and it wasn’t sloppy, which made it easy to eat. It filled me up, and I walked out of That Burger Joint happy.

Overall, That Burger Joint was a quick, satisfying meal that was fairly average. It was cheaper than portillos or Five Guys, and it was just as good both of those fast food chain’s burgers. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and quick burger that’s a lot nicer than a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s, check out That Burger Joint.

by -
0 889

BigHeroSixAfter a film like Frozen built up a mountain of fans, financial revenue and song covers, it seemed like Disney would have to pull something completely out of the dark to please audiences of all ages and still maintain a profit. The result was Big Hero 6.

Based on the Marvel Comic series, the film takes a modernized look at child science prodigy Hiro Hamada, who is more interested in training robots to fight than he is in going to college. Hiro’s brother Tadashi decides that Hiro needs some persuasion and brings him to meet Baymax, a life size inflatable robot programmed to deliver internal and external health care. When a masked creature begins terrorizing his hometown, Hiro realizes he could upgrade Baymax and his friends to fight off crime and do right by his brother.

What makes Big Hero 6 so outstanding as a children’s movie is its ability to display a heavy amount of emotion in a way that it is perceptible to both younger and older audiences alike. It demonstrates the ability to emotionally connect with children on the same level as adults. Early on in the film, tragedy strikes Hiro’s family and an entire funeral and mourning scene is played out to a longer and arguably stronger extent than say, Bambi or even Frozen.

The film also conveys the importance of family and attachment to things without getting too complicated, making it easy for children to comprehend and harder for adults not to tear up.

However, Big Hero 6 doesn’t let the heavy heart cast a dark cloud over the film. Humor is hiding around every corner in the form of Baymax, who is adorably helpful but virtually clueless when it comes to being out in the real world. Hiro’s team of science-obsessed friends act like real people.

They make mistakes, don’t understand everything right away (even though they are labelled as geniuses) and have their own quirks that make them not only hilarious but evidently more relatable.

What was also refreshing was having no elaborate musical number. Instead, Fall Out Boy debuts their dynamic ballad ‘Immortals’ as the cover of the film and composer Henry Jackson works wonders with an orchestra that compiles electronic tunes on strings. Having no random song bursts about finding your true love was a breath of fresh air from Disney.

I won’t lie: I was not excited to see this film at first. Unlike past films, Disney didn’t dive into a massive marketing campaign so Big Hero 6 was completely unknown to me. I let my brother drag me into it because he had been dying to see it after seeing Baymax, who appears as a marshmallow-type-balloon-bot and was pretty adorable.

The film left me nearly in tears, both from laughs and being rocked to the core by the emotional context. Big Hero 6 lifts your sense of humor, imagination and your heart off the ground and into the world of robotics for an adventure you won’t want to miss. 

by -
0 591

call of duty computer pic Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is fast-paced, thrilling and jaw dropping–it definitely delivers. The games’ single-player story mode takes place in the year 2054, the main character Mitchell is a U.S Marine who enlists with his best friend Will Irons. Their first mission is in Seoul, South Korea, and just like in any other call of duty game it has a tutorial feel to it.

But for once it is all worth it, the graphics are amazing, making it seem like it’s more of a movie than a game. The explosions and gunfire are beautifully mastered to have a spine tingling realistic sound, you feel like you’re really there. Unfortunately, the mission goes awry causing Mitchell to be discharged due to an injury.

This is where we meet Jonathan Irons, owner of Atlas, an international warfare company, which is bigger and more effective than the U.S government itself. Although the story is predictable the game makes up for it with the weapons. A lot of the weapons are similar to past COD games but the only difference is that they have attachments that allow you to see the enemy and gun them down easily.

Of course you also have your tactical and lethal grenades, but the difference in these explosive beauties is that when you throw a tactical grenade it reveals the location of your enemies allowing you to shoot them through some walls and objects. Your smart grenade is your lethal grenade, which hones in on your enemy and blows them up, accompanied by your regular grenade and an EMP grenade that takes down drones.

 But the most exciting advantage by far in advanced warfare has to be the exo-suit. The exo-suit allows the player to boost jump, run faster and more. What’s not exciting about this is that for every mission in story mode you don’t get to experience everything the exo-suit has to offer you only get three exo-suit abilities.

But have no fear online gaming gives you the mind-boggling option to use the exo-suit’s full capacity. Yes, this does make playing online a little difficult, but it is highly enjoyable and rewarding.

Call of duty: Advanced warfare has proven its worth, and I feel no remorse in paying $60 for it. Grab your gear and get ready for a mind blowing futuristic experience.

by -
0 508

Many movies that are made today have a purpose–teaching a life lesson or shedding new light on a situation. They can be feel good movies, comedies, dramas or a combination. “Before I Disappear” does not follow the norm of having one or two main genres, it instead falls into four or five genres.

 “Before I Disappear” is based on the short film “Curfew” that came out in 2012 and had been entered in countless film festivals and had won 57 awards from those film festivals. Shawn Christensen also won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 2013 for “Curfew” which is what prompted him to make it into a 93 minute movie.

 The movie starts out with the main character Richie, played by the writer and director Shawn Christensen, giving us a view of his life, which feels sad and pathetic to viewers.

 Richie is the type of character that if you were to see him in real life you would feel sorry for him and would want to give him a shower and a home cooked meal. He is a janitor at a dirty club that a biker gang wouldn’t be caught at. It takes you through this horrible night club where he finds a dead girl who died of a heroin overdose. From this point on, the movie just gets more depressing and confusing.

 The next scene is him in a bathtub with water up to his shoulders that is tinted red. He is once again trying to commit suicide, the keyword being trying.

 While lying there trying to die, the phone rings. Most people would not answer the phone in a situation like this, but Richie does. It’s his sister wondering if he can pick up his niece Sophia from school because she’s too busy.

 The rest of the movie is an extremely forced bonding situation between Richie and Sophia. They, like many other movies, have made the two main characters complete opposites so the bond between them is a bigger deal than man landing on the moon for the first time.

 At first I enjoyed how the movie jumped around from the different interactions that Richie had. It made it look interesting enough that it kept you guessing as to what was going to come next. But then after about 25 minutes of that I was so confused on what the main story line was I didn’t like it anymore.

 As a whole, the movie was something that I did not enjoy watching based on the on the fact that there were different little story lines and details that made the movie very boring. They were things that could happen to anyone and to me, that does not make the best movie.

 From all the awards that this film had won already based on a short film, I thought it would be a movie worth comparing to Casablanca. I was wrong.

 Bottom line, I would skip this movie as a whole and see it in its original short film version. The plot was better off left sweet and simple there was no need for a lot of details.