Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the gang made a comeback in the 2011 film “The Muppets”. The movie brought in $29.2 million in its release weekend alone and trails behind Twilight in the box office charts as the #2 movie in the nation. “How I Met Your Mother” star Jason Segal stars as the older brother of Muppet Walter, who is the biggest Muppet fan in the world. In this film, Gary (Jason Segal) and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) and Walter (the newest member of The Muppets) from Smalltown,USA, go on a trip to Los Angeles to visit the Muppets' Studio. While on their trip, they discover the plan of oil tycoon Tex Richman to take over the Muppets' studio and tear it to the ground. The three of them all try to reunite Kermit with Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Gonzo and attempt to form a Telethon to raise enough money to save the studio. The 2011 edition of the Muppets has found most of the magic in a form not seen in theaters in a long time...an actual Hollywood Musical. Amy Adams and Jason Segal are wonderful as the lead live actors, but it is the Muppets themselves who are the stars of the film. In this film you see many cameos including Jack Black, Whoopi Goldberg and James Carville.
The story itself is not all that fresh and original, but all the signature behaviors of the original Muppet Show were present throughout the movie: bad jokes, self-aware humor about the show, the subtle jokes that appeal to the older audience, and the madness that was a joy to watch for many. Despite the 12 year gap between the Muppets releases, I would say that with this musical film, the Muppets are 90% of the way there to making a full return to the game.
There is a lot of humor thrown into this new hit show, Grimm, which puts a new twist on the classic fairy tale stories of the Brothers Grimm. It is set in modern day Portland, Oregon.
The main character is Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), a homicide detective who learns he is a descendent of a long line of hunters known as “Grimms”. Grimms are set out to fight and keep humanity safe from these supernatural creatures in the area.
Burkhardt is determined to keep this a secret from the most important people in his life, like his fiancée Juliette Silverton (Bitsie Tulloch) and his partner Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby). Throughout this new found journey Burkhardt is forced to discover all the dark secrets behind the Grimm world. He is now up against creatures such as Hexenbiests, Blutbads, and Ziegevolks. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and abilities the others do not attain. They transform before your eyes from normal human beings to deformed creatures with great power.
Burkhardt gets a lot of help in each case from a new friend, named Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell). Monroe is a Grimm creature himself, but has changed his ways to act more humane, unlike his fellow species. But what Burkhardt soon finds is the intense power that Monroe really has when he gets angry.
Reggie Lee is also a star of the show, and plays Sgt. Lee, a man who works with Burkhardt and Griffin, although you will usually only see him in the office.
Along with Lee, actor Sasha Roiz plays Captain Renard. Throughout these first few episodes, Renard seems to already have many secrets of his own. While seeming to be clueless on some cases, he happens to know much more about the Grimm world then Burkhardt.
In January of 2011, NBC announced that they ordered a series entitled Grimm. The filming process for the pilot began in March in Portland, Oregon. Then in May of 2011, NBC announced they had picked up the series. All of the episodes are filmed either on location or around Portland. In September, NBC decided to delay the premiere of Grimm by moving the date from October 21 to October 28, 2011. This way it was closer to Halloween day. Then on November 21, 2011, NBC picked up the series for a full 22-episode season which would let it go on for a second season premiere. I am sure new viewers are already pleased with this.
The idea of an average person robbing one of the most heavily-guarded buildings in a city that‘s always under watch in the most ridiculous way possible boggles the part of your brain that uses logic. However, if you can accept that the process is not so much important as the time wasted to get there, then this film will offer simple and satisfying enjoyment.
Tower Heist is a comedy, directed by Brett Ratner, running at 104 minutes.
Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead an all-star cast in Tower Heist, which follows hard-working employees who are looking for revenge because the man they invested their retirement money with stole their money.
Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller), a manager of a central park condominium was fired because he destroyed Arthur Shaw’s (Alan Alda) car because he stole everyone’s money. Kovac, in turn, decides to come up with a plan to steal it back.
One problem, though, is that Arthur Shaw is now the number one criminal in New York, who is on house arrest till he gets a court date. Shaw’s pent house is guarded by two FBI agents and cameras all though out. However Kovac is not a crook. He seeks out to get a real crook help do the job, Slide (Eddie Murphy).
Overall, Tower Heist is a movie that succeeds in being funny and is very enjoyable, so long as you don’t look too hard at the plot and all the plot holes.
The newest game to the Elder Scrolls saga was released on Nov. 11 and I must say the game is phenomenal.
First off, the art team did an amazing job. The gap between the graphics of Oblivion and Skyrim is immense and it made the game more pleasant to look at. From the alchemy ingredients such as snowberries to the fur on a Khajiit's hand, the art was very realistic and I really loved it. The terrain was also a great thing the art team did. Rugged mountains with snowy weather made Skyrim seem almost as if it really was near our own north pole.
Next, there is the music and sounds. The music was very well placed in the world and changed when getting in and out of combat that made it easier to slip in and out of. It almost started creating lore in my own head of why these songs could have been created by the Nords (the prominent race of Skyrim). The sounds were also magnificent. The wolves sounded like they were viciously attacking you and even the wind sounded like it was just softly blowing through in areas.
Now, I was never a big fan of the character creation in Elder Scrolls because I always managed to make my characters look ugly no matter what I did. Well this time around, Bethesda did it right. With realism and the pre-set models I found it much easier to create a character I actually liked as well as being able to change a few things I wanted. Now that is what character customization should be like.
Finally, dragons: the central creature of this game. Seeing as they were enormous creatures that were fighting you through the air and on the ground, you might think they may look robotic or clumsy looking, right? Wrong. These creatures looked both graceful yet dangerous as they yelled at you in the "Words of Power" they know (and yes I did say yell). The fighting between the character and the dragon is amazing and it makes me want to fight them almost all the time. Well, after I defeat one of course.
This game was no less than amazing. It did have a few glitches and bugs here and there, but Bethesda is pretty known for that one. Thank you to the entire developing team for releasing a great game.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a highly anticipated game that is near perfect other than a few flaws.
Bethesda Games Studios has made its fair share of open-ended RPG games and they've had a few re-occurring errors. Skyrim is filled with thousands of NPCs or Non-Player Characters, due to it being a solely single player game. In Bethesda games, NPCs have had a habit of certain shenanigans like: turning invisible, sinking into surfaces, getting lost or trapped when following you, and etc.
Skyrim is no exception for this problem, but this is understandable considering that it happens to 1 out of 100 characters.
Another glitch that I wasn't the only one to experience was, flying horses.
Yes, horses would be sent flying off into the sunset (even with you on them) if they were rubbed the wrong way and while this can be hilarious to some, it really hurts an important factor of the game.
Lastly, something that will only affect computer gamers: the menu interface is very hard to use with a mouse. As it was designed with consoles in mind, trying to click on any of the menu options is very frustrating due to the font and size of the words. This constantly causes menus to close on accident and slowly building frustration. Although these few flaws really stick out, they are not enough to ruin the game.
The highly anticipated action/romance Breaking Dawn Part 1 was released at midnight, on Thursday, November 17th.
The film is based off of part of the fourth book of The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, released in 2008.
The Twilight Saga tells the classic tale of a boy and a girl from two different worlds that against all odds end up together. In the novel, Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, marries her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson.
The plot of this movie is very unrealistic but that is what attracts people to the series. The movie did a good job of trying to do things that related to both the book and reality.
The acting was not the best. In the first movie, the actors chosen to play Edward and Bella never understood their characters. In this movie, they are starting to do a better job of playing their roles, but they still have a long way to go.
The area that they chose to film in is naturally beautiful, so they didn’t need to do much because the nature spoke for its self. However, they needed to do a better job of making their computer graphics smoother; they need to gently work in computer graphics to help create the whole image instead of just BAM, computer graphics.
They did a good job of making Bella look like she was actually having the life sucked out of her when she was pregnant. She looked as if she was a minute away from the grave. They needed to put Bella in more realistic clothing because at one point she was wearing jeggings and it didn’t fit with the scene or her character.
This movie had many more graphic parts in it. During the birth scene you felt as if you were Bella and you were going in and out of consciousness with her. You could see Edward biting into her and you could hear the screams of pain. It was almost hard to watch because you were watching her die.
In this movie, they tried use more humor. They showed Bella’s awkward confidence more and we got to see Edward and Bella naturally interact, which we didn’t get to see a lot of in any of the other movies.
This was a good movie in comparison to the rest of the Twilight Saga. I wouldn’t suggest seeing it unless you are a Twilight fan. If you are, then you will enjoy it. If you aren’t, you will be confused and it won’t be a great experience.
League of Legends is a completely online RTS, played in 3 vs. 3 or 5 vs. 5 matches. There are two game modes, Classic and Dominion. In the much more popular Classic game mode, each team is trying to reach and destroy the enemy base, or “nexus”. In order to do this, each team tries to fight through the characters controlled by the enemy team(champions), waves on oncoming minions, easily-defensible enemy turrets, and enemy inhibitors. Each of these provide some reward when destroyed; gold and experience for killing enemy characters and minions, a massive gold boost for destroying turrets, and substantially stronger minions for destroying inhibitors.
In the newest game mode, Dominion, the objective is to capture and control as many turrets as possible in teams of five. Teams are given 500 points at the start of the game and whoever runs out of points first loses. Points are lost by either having less turrets controlled than the enemy or by the enemy killing a team's champions. Respawn times in this game mode are much shorter, champions are empowered, and gold and experience are much more easily gained.
Of the two game modes, it’s highly unlikely that Dominion will ever meet competitive play. Given the short respawn times, it’s very easy to go into a fight not caring about whether or not you die, so long as your team doesn’t all die at once. Champions are meant to be of roughly equal strength in Classic mode, and because of the change of objective in Dominion, certain champions are often much stronger than others.
After choosing game mode, players can choose to play custom games, normal games, or ranked games. Custom games don’t make use of the built-in matchmaking system and players are able to arrange matches against friends. Normal and ranked games use a matchmaking system where you are placed in a queue against with players whose performances are statistically similar to yours. The differences between normal and ranked games are that ranked matches use a draft pick system for champion selection,(explained later) and a modified ELO system to match players.
The ELO system is a system to rank players relative skill levels. Everyone starts out at 1200 ELO score, and loses or gains ELO score according to who they play against and how well they play. The ELO system is overall pretty functional, but there is an unofficial point range determined by the community known as “ELO h***” that is notorious for being extremely difficult to get out of due to the fluctuation in skill level of the players in that point bracket. The main frustration of the ranked system is that the starting point for all players is in “ELO h***”.
As I briefly mentioned, players select champions to play as. You do not start out with all of the 87 champions unlocked. There is a free champion list that changes on a weekly basis. These champions can perform different roles in the game, from healer, to mage, to fighter. Once players have been matched with players of similar skill, they select the champions they want to play and tweak some statistics to maximize their character for their play style. In blind pick mode, neither team can see what the other has chosen as their champions. In draft mode, teams take turns banning six champions from being played, then the teams alternate in picking champions to be played. Champion selections can be seen by both teams, so strategy and careful selection are important.
There are, at the time of this writing, 87 champions available to play. Most of the time, the community keeps up to date with the pro gaming circuit and copies strategies used and champions chosen. Many players subscribe to one form or another of ranking champions from best to worst in tiers. In my opinion, some champions really are overpowered or underpowered. For example, games can be decided solely by which team has more crowd control (champion-disabling) effects available to them. Some champions just don’t compare to others overall, despite the best attempts of Riot Games to keep champion power levels equal. However, there is enough variety to keep things interesting.
Champions are purchasable by using Influence Points (IP) or Riot Points (RP). IP is gained in-game by playing and finishing games and is earned based off of the time played and if the game was your first win within 24 hours. Riot Points are paid for with real money and are used to purchase champions and a variety of premium content such as skins (alternate outfits) for champions. Though the Riot Points can give a player an edge early on, players eventually gain enough IP so that there is no inherent advantage to having spent real money on the game. The RP prices on items in the shop are high enough to deter most people looking to get that edge at the early levels. Most champions cost 975 RP, with $10 via credit card getting a player only 1380 RP. Most of the more popular skins are priced at 975 RP, and legendary skins (with new animations and sound packs) are double that at 1850 RP. That being said, I highly suggest that if you decide to buy Riot Points, save up and buy one of the large champion bundles priced at about 4000 RP. You’ll save a lot of money that way, as opposed to buying champions individually at what might as well be ten bucks a pop. Otherwise, just choose your favorite champion(s) and buy a skin. The only things that are RP-only are skins, name changes, and IP/EXP boosts.
In addition to the traditional DotA-based gameplay, players, also known as summoners, can gain levels outside of individual matches. Player levels determines the extent to which one can tweak their statistics, using “runes” and “masteries”, and which extra abilities(summoner spells) they have access to. Some summoner spells are essentially never used (rally) while others are seen in almost every game (flash, ignite). Runes are bought using IP and are used to augment champions in-game. Summoners have rune pages that they can rearrange as they please. Some spots on the rune pages are blocked off until the summoner levels up by playing games. Mastery trees also augment champions but don’t cost anything to use. Summoners can allocate points in different attack, defense, and utility masteries equal to their summoner level. Though these all give the player a large degree of flexibility and individual choice, most people end up using popular setups that they see in the pro gaming circuit.
A large amount of the LoL community is terrible, some of it is average, and very few are exceptional. Often times the community is just a massive mob that spouts nonsense in a lemming-like fashion. This doesn’t apply strictly to gameplay or balance suggestions.
There are four versions of LoL: North America, Europe, Asia, and Southeast Asia. Players from other regions can’t play with or against each other except in global tournaments, in order to reduce language barriers and keep server latency at similar levels. However, there are always some people who get past the system or aren’t blocked, and they are significant pests to the other communities.
Graphics and Music:
Even though the graphics are cartoon-y, they’re not dreadful. Most computers should be able to run the game just fine.
League of Legends doesn’t have many musical tracks, but for the most part, they’re the intense orchestrated kind, like what you’d see in a movie’s battle scene. I personally end up tuning out most of the music, but Dominion has a track that somehow manages to stand out every now and then. Overall, I enjoy the music when I notice it.
If you intend to play League of Legends for the community, you’d be better off elsewhere. This game is infinitely more enjoyable when you play with a team of a couple of close friends. The technical imbalances in the game don’t ruin it if you’re just playing the game casually. If you’re looking to play competitively, however, your options of play style go down. Overall, this game is hit-or-miss depending on your personal preferences.
League of Legends (LoL) is an award-winning, free-to-play action RTS (real-time strategy) game that was released on October 27, 2009. It is based off of DotA (Defense of the Ancients), a custom scenario of Warcraft III. Many DotA developers broke off to create League of Legends. With over $5,000,000 in prizes for tournaments in the upcoming LoL “season”, LoL is shaking up the world of competitive gaming.
The Mesa Marching Band and Color Guard earned an overall third place in their tournament on Saturday, November 12 in Huntington Beach.
Before each tournament the band members share a fun tradition. They like to call it, “Secret Buddy”. This is where one person gets a gift for another person and secretly gives it to them. It is a way to cheer people up and motivate them as a group to do well in the tournament.
The CMHS Marching Band and Color Guard really looked forward to another successful tournament and that is just what they got. Their show was entitled “A Modern Tale of Love”. The performance was a portrayal of the tale of Romeo and Juliet. Some of the well-known songs incorporated were “Somewhere”, “The Time of my Life”, “Just the Way You Are”, and “Uprising”.
Many students may recognize these selections from Friday night football games. “A Modern Tale of Love” has been their half time field show for many weeks now.
The marching band and color guard has traveled to many nearby cities, including Capo Valley High School in Mission Viejo, Bellflower High School in Bellflower, Huntington Beach High School in Huntington Beach, and along with those they have hosted their own tournament open to other high schools at Jim Scott Stadium.
With the marching band season coming to a close, a few students reflected on some unforgettable moments throughout their years. Senior drum major, Chris Henrriquez, really enjoyed his eighth grade year where they won first place at almost every competition with their Africa [themed] field show. The other drum major, senior, Everett Brown, remembers going to San Francisco for championships.
The pit section leader, junior, Kayla Javier, had a hard time pin-pointing one memory. “Gosh I have so many. I would have to say rookie night where the officers surprised the [new band members]. We basically had a lock-in and sleepover in the band room all night.”
She goes on to say how it felt so good to interact with the upperclassmen as they were just being “so cool” with her and her “fellow rookies”.
The band director, Mrs. Sandy Gilboe, wants to come away from this season remembering all the good moments shared with everyone and also knowing what could have been done differently.
“Of course there are some frustrations and some funny moments to take away,” Gilboe stated, “but mostly I am so proud of how well the students worked towards our goal. I really try to make marching band a ‘student driven’ endeavor as much as possible. They have really risen to the challenge. Chris and Everett were definitely the right choice for drum majors this year and I thank them for surpassing my expectations.”
No matter what you do, there is always a lesson to be taken away from it. Henrriquez knows this is his senior year and he stated, “It feels so surreal knowing that this is my last marching band season ever, but I am glad to be ending it the way I have.”
Lastly, Gilboe shared how she wants both the tournament and the championship performance to turn out. “Mostly, I want the students to have an awesome last performance at the marching band championships. By that I mean I want them to feel they put out their best. There is no better feeling in the world than to perform at your best. That is the reward.”
Terraria is an indie side-scrolling action and role-playing game. It was released on May 16, 2011 and is available on Steam for $9.99.
As the genre suggests, Terraria is a 2D game. Players create customized characters, select a difficulty, select a world size, and begin playing.
Gameplay consists of exploration, attacking hostile monsters, and building. These basic concepts have caused people to draw comparisons between Terraria and Minecraft, another indie game. You run around your world collecting materials to build a house, create furniture, make clothes, craft armor, smith weapons, and mix potions. The game has a night and day system, where most of the hostile creatures appear during the night, forcing most building to happen during the daytime. There are certain areas where creatures spawn during the day, but those are for you to find on your own if you decide to buy the game. In addition to these basic aspects of gameplay, there are dungeons and boss monsters that you can fight to get more powerful items.
Multiplayer is also available on Terraria. Players can host Terraria servers so that their friends can join and play on the same world map. The only issue with this is that you would need a strong internet connection to host a server for several people. If you decide to play multiplayer, you can switch onto a player-vs-player mode and try to best each other in combat; choosing to fight for one of four teams or to stay neutral.
Graphics and Music:
Though the graphics of Terraria aren’t the greatest, they are nice and clean considering it is 2D.
The music is catchy as well. Search “Terraria day theme” somewhere and you’ll understand.
Terraria is a nice time-burner. If you’re interested in a 2D alternative to the popular game Minecraft, this game could be for you. Even if you don’t play with friends, you can always build your own fort playing in solo mode. The game is arguably worth the approximate ten dollars you have to pay for it. After all, it’s about half the price of Minecraft.
PK is comprised of singer Travis Hawley, lead guitarist Matt Depauw, guitarist Nick Fotinakes, bassist Mikel Van Kranenburg, and drummer Rico Rodriguez. The band is based in San Luis Obispo. Most of the band members grew up in California, but the singer, Travis, is from Woking, England.
PK has been named one of the top 16 unsigned bands in the nation by Rolling Stone Magazine. Their first album, "Into the Roaring," was released on January 1st, 2010. “Into the Roaring” has received high acclaim, including the "Album of the Year" in San Luis Obispo County. PK recently self-produced and directed the music video for their song "London" and it has received over 36,000 views.
This enthusiastic young band shows a lot of potential. PK is slowly making itself known in the music business, having recently opened for Aerosmith, and continues to play at high school events.
Mesa got a nice taste of the rising rock band PK at lunch on Wednesday. Despite only being able to play a few songs, PK undoubtedly gained a number of new fans from our campus.
The beautification process going on around Mesa continues with murals being painted around school; specifically by the library, by the dome, and in the cafeteria.
The news murals are being added to the collection of art that has been in process for about two or three years.
“The last mural done by the library was by Francisco Reyes and Ralf de la Torre, both seniors…seniors to do it as their farewell to mesa- usually they are the kids I have had for at least 2 to 3 years,” art teacher and coordinator of the murals, Mrs. Kelli Marchbank stated after being asked about past and future murals.
Marchbank went on to explain the reason behind the murals as “… just always wanting to involve the students in beautifying the campus,” while she also explains it as allowing the students to be “...a part of the creative process,” while “elevating” their ideas and“[being able] to see the drawing of their idea presented on [a] wall.”
The purpose of the newest mural on the library wall, as far as Marchbank and head artist for the mural, Cynthia Diaz, are concerned, is to represent the students of CMHS; not necessarily just the Mesa Mustang mascot.
Marchbank believes in allowing the students of her art classes to come up with creative, original ideas and having them describe their work and why they want to showcase it.
“I like for my kids to shine, I open the door, they get to speak for their art, they should be the advocates for their ideas, and they should be able to articulate what their work is about and what their intention is because in the real world they will need to speak about it. It allows them to be a part of [the entire] process and to feel like they’re leaving their thumbprint on the school and that you can never take away,” says Marchbank.
All of her art students are welcome to participate in the ideas and be “the creators” while “art 2 and 3 students who have experience with painting or the art 1 students who have aptitude” are also usually the students that are most involved.
“It allows them to build self-esteem and find a way for them to express themselves on public wall with permission, instead of writing on walls and getting in trouble for it, because it is very liberating, very powerful.”
Students present their ideas to Dr. D’ Agostino, as well as Mr. Peralta and Mr. Petersen and school wide faculty/council once Mrs. Marchbank approves the ideas. Then they work on them either by themselves or occasionally, when time permits with Mrs. Marchbank after school, on Saturday afternoons, and during tutorial periods.
For now, the main focus of the Art department is the mural on the wall near the library, being the sole creation of passionate artist Cynthia Diaz, with the vision that it will represent the students of Mesa completely with a big trophy in the center, with mustangs as handles, holding green sparks that are shooting out overshadowing the figures of football players, cheerleaders, and other students at CMHS.
She adds, “[Though it] has been mostly me I will have to ask people to help me out. Either those that need community service hours or those that are in art three and are more experienced.”
In the future Diaz hopes to contribute to the Battle of the Ball as well. Diaz is also planning to ask the cheerleaders if she can join in on decorating by drawing the annual competitive chalk drawing depicting the Mesa Mustang beating down on the Estancia eagle.
“We always have the competition… I want to contribute to that since Estancia has been winning,” comments Diaz on the question of future murals she would like to do before graduating.
One thing that is becoming an increasing issue though, is the future of these murals due to the construction that has been going on lately and continues to progress further into the CMHS/CMMS campus. “We’re losing a lot of room to construction.” The mural on the lyceum is coming down because the lyceum will be coming down, but in the future I am trying to be in tandem with principals, administration and district changes as far as permanence of some these murals.” “It is definitely a bigger concern now, [then when my] first mural was done behind my own building.”
Mrs. Marchbank continues by describing the great passion the students have in creating these murals as well as her passion in working with them.
“A big thing with the students is enthusiasm; enthusiasm is always there I love that about our students. It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of all of this, I love it, I’m doing what I love, not very many people can say that,” Mrs. Marchbank comments as a closing statement with a satisfied chuckle. And closes with saying to those that would like to contribute, that have art and painting skill, “You don’t have to grow up being an artist to represent yourself on our wall, you just need to represent CMHS.”