Friday, August 25, 2017

A book review on “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon. A review by Reegan Burke

How would you feel if you were allergic to everything? I can tell you I would be miserable.

 “Everything Everything” is a young adult novel written by Nicola Yoon. It is about Madeline, a girl who is diagnosed with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), a rare disease that causes her to be allergic to everything. Maddie, as she is referred to, cannot leave her house and can’t have any human contact. 

That is, until the new boy moves in next door. But, don’t let that fool you, as this is far from a regular boy next door story. 

Maddie soon learns the boy’s name is Olly who has dark hair, wears dark clothes and sparks the curiosity in Maddie. The two soon learn ways to talk without being anywhere near each other. But is that really enough for either of them? Will Maddie really risk her health for some boy she just met? 
Would you? 

Olly and Maddie IM (instant message), so when they instant message one another, the page looks as a phone screen does when people text. 

Overall “Everything, Everything” is just amazing and is one of my favorite contemporary books. If you love a good contemporary novel, this is the book for you and I encourage you to read it to discover how it all turns out.

The next time you are browsing your local bookstore or visiting the Windham Public or Raymond Village Libraries, pick up this book. You won’t regret it.

Reegan Burke is an eighth grade student from Windham Middle School

Friday, August 18, 2017

Movie review: Christopher Nolan movies ranked by Daniel Kilgallon

"Dunkirk” marks the tenth full length feature for director Christopher Nolan, one of the most acclaimed names in all of Hollywood and my personal favorite filmmaker. Of course, this all creates a great excuse to put together a list ranking his first ten movies to date. Many of his films are similar, totally in terms of big time special effects, which are typically accompanied by an epic Hans Zimmer score. Additionally, non-linear storytelling is a recurring theme throughout much of Nolan’s work. On top of that, he also likes to reuse his actors, including names such as Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, and the legendary Michael Caine. All things considered, this list alone illustrates that Christopher Nolan has had a phenomenal career thus far and I truly hope that it will be expanded to an even more impressive top 20 and beyond in the years to come.
10. “Following” (1998)
Run Time: 69 mins.

My Rating: 7/10

Too long to be a short film, at just over an hour, Nolan’s impressive debut was shot on a shoestring budget of $6,000 – unbelievable!
9. “Memento” (2000) 
Run Time: 113 mins.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Many re-watches are necessary to fully unravel this absurdly complicated debut thriller that is told primarily in reverse order.

8. “Insomnia” (2002) 
Run Time: 118 mins.

My Rating: 8/10

A powerhouse cast featuring: Al Pacino, the late Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank; they all blow it out of the park in this underrated thriller.

7. “Interstellar” (2014)
Run Time: 169 mins.

My Rating: 8/10

This is breathtaking science fiction, which is Nolan’s boldest film in my opinion, but at the same time, his most overrated project.

6. “Dunkirk” (2017)
Run Time: 106 mins.

My Rating: 8/10

With very limited dialogue and little to no characterization, Nolan still provides an incredible, unique, experience of a war film.
5. “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)

Run Time: 164 mins.

My Rating: 8.5/10

The weak-link of Nolan’s signature “Dark Knight” trilogy is an epic conclusion that stomps just about any other film of the genre.

4. “The Prestige” (2006)
Run Time: 130 mins.

My Rating: 9/10

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are outstanding as highly competitive, 20th century magicians in this severely underrated gem.

3. “Batman Begins” (2005)
Run Time: 140 mins.

My Rating: 9.5/10

In my opinion, this character re-boot and near-perfect origin story, remains the best pure Batman film ever made.

2. “The Dark Knight” (2008)
Run Time: 152 mins.

My Rating: 10/10

There have already been over fifty superhero films made since the release of Nolan’s highest grossing movie, but in my opinion, this year’s “Logan” is the only one in the same league as this monumental project. “The Dark Knight” remains the best comic book film ever made and helped make the genre into the box office king that it is today.

1. “Inception” (2010)
Run Time: 148 mins.

My Rating: 10/10

Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece is easily one of my favorite movies ever and in my opinion, the best film of the 2010s to date by a wide margin. The mind blowing visuals can match any great science fiction film made before or since; but the fully original and intriguing story brings this movie to a whole different level. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

"Dunkirk" - Movie review by Danile Kilgallon

Written, co-produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk” marks the tenth full length feature for the acclaimed filmmaker as well as his first historical project. A few members of the cast are Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, and “One Direction’s” Harry Styles. Additionally, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance are featured in supporting roles alongside Nolan-regulars Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy. Speaking of Nolan-regulars, Hans Zimmer once again provides the soundtrack here, following the collaborations of “Interstellar”, “Inception”, and “The Dark Knight” trilogy. As a huge fan of all of Christopher Nolan’s work, I just couldn’t wait to see what my favorite film director would bring to the table with this epic war project.
Clocking in at a run-time that is surprisingly under two hours, “Dunkirk” is one of Nolan’s shortest movie to date. Nonetheless, the film finds enough time to portray a tragic event of the Second World War that is not too well known here in America. Between May 26 and June 4 of 1940, the Allied forces of Belgium, Britain, and France became surrounded by Germans and trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. Providing three intertwined story-lines from the perspectives of land, air, and sea, “Dunkirk” chronicles the epic battles and massive evacuation that took place in the titular harbor.

“Dunkirk” is truly unlike any other war movie that I have ever seen, largely due to the fact that there is very limited dialogue and little to no characterization. Personally, I found that to be a bold, effective form of storytelling that made for a totally immersive film experience. It felt like I was a part of the tragic history I was viewing and in my opinion, illustrated the oftentimes dehumanizing effects of a large group of people fighting for survival. However, others may feel differently, as it can be hard to follow a story like this without being placed in the shoes of a fully fleshed out main character.

While the character and storytelling decisions of “Dunkirk” may be controversial, there is no denying the technical expertise on display in this movie. The film is shot beautifully, with some incredible wide shots that ground the settings in reality. While there are enough well-paced battle sequences to keep the plot moving, there is a seemingly endless amount of pure tension moments to supplement all of the action. On top of that, Hans Zimmer delivers yet another epic soundtrack for director Christopher Nolan that takes the film to a whole new level. Overall, I think that “Dunkirk” was a necessary story to tell and a fresh take on war movies that fans of the genre can’t afford to miss.

Friday, August 4, 2017

“Wrath and the Dawn” by Renee Ahdieh. A book review by Reegan Burke

I watched a book review of this amazing young adult novel (age 14 and up), and instantly wanted to read it. When I picked up the “Wrath and the Dawn”, the first of a two-book series that combines elements of the “1001 Nights” (Or “Arabian Nights”) by Renee Ahdieh, I was instantly hooked.

I was on the edge of my seat while reading and almost shaking with anticipation. This book was indeed a masterpiece with a beautiful Persian setting and wonderfully written characters - there is magic, mystery and romance. 

The main protagonist, Sharazad, is strong, independent and in need of revenge. Her best friend is murdered at the hand of the boy-king whom every night takes a new bride and at dawn the next day, he kills them with a silk cord wrapped around their neck. 

Will Sharazad succeed with her yearning for revenge? Or will she start to fall in love with this monster who killed her best friend. Will Sharazad choose revenge or love?

Reegan Burke is an eighth grade student from Windham Middle School