Who says the sequels never match up to the first movie?
On November 19, fans decked out in Twilight t-shirts, shoes, and posters, waited in line for as long as seven hours for the premiere of the highly anticipated hit The Twilight Saga: New Moon. As soon as the gates opened, the excited fans pushed, shoved, jumped, and hurdled through the narrow space to sprint into their assigned theater to get the best seats.
In case you have been living in a closet for the past couple of years, Twilight started off as a book series that grew into a million dollar movie franchise with an extremely large fan base.
In the first movie, Twilight, vampire Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson) meets Bella (Kristen Stewart), the average teenager, in the small, rainy town of Forks, Washington. The two fall in love, yet it is extremely difficult because Edward simply cannot resist the smell of Bella's blood.
In the second novel, New Moon, Edward realizes that it is not safe for Bella to be around him, so he leaves Forks (and Bella) and convinces her that he does not want her anymore. His absence is extremely hard for Bella to handle and she goes through a temporary insanity. She is "healed" however, when her friend Jacob Black starts to hang out with her. But Edward isn't the only one with a secret; Jacob turns out to be a werewolf, an enemy of the vampires.
(NOTE: this isn't a spoiler, since the trailers clearly show Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob Black, transform into a werewolf.)
This smash sequel was completely sold out at the AMC Tyson's Corner, where all 16 theaters were open for this memorable night. The concession stands were selling Twilight memorabilia, such as cups with the characters faces on them.
New Moon has gained the title of third best weekend opening of all time, almost beating out The Dark Knight, with $140.7 million from 4,024 theaters, and a worldwide opening total of $258.8 million.
So what did devoted Twi-hards have to say about the hit sequel?
"I thought it was good, just a little slow in some parts," said freshmen Kelly Ready, who saw the movie on Saturday, November 21, the day after the film opened.
"I thought it was better than [the first film] Twilight, but it wasn't what I was hoping for. Jacob was really hot," said freshman Kylie Englander.
Araba Ankuma agreed. "I thought the best part of the movie was Taylor Lautner's abs," said the freshman.
"I almost died!" said junior Veronica O'Rourke. "It was better than the first one, but not an absolutely amazing film."
So does this mean all twilight fans have switched to "Team Jacob"?
"NO! Team Edward all the way!" said junior Sarah Johnson.
The alarm clocks of the students who enrolled in contract chorus may ring earlier than most students, but that does not stop the George Mason morning chorus from rising up to meet the day.
These students start practice at 7 a.m. sharp as Lauren Glass, the contract chorus instructor, starts off the group with a singing warm up.
One girl said, "Should we move into our alto one and alto two groups?" For being so early, I found that most of the singers knew exactly what they were doing.
As the group began to sing "Poor Man Lazarus," Glass instructed them to sing like they were shouting, then retreat back lower as if to tell a secret which gave the singers visualization on what they needed to do.
"I think Ms. Glass is a really great teacher," said freshman Caroline Stahley. "She really inspires me to do the best I possibly can."
"The chorus students are currently practicing for a winter concert scheduled for December 15 at 7:30. We hope to see lots of people in the audience," said Glass.
Every once in a while, I read a book that when I'm finished with it, I sit back, sigh, and take a new look at the world. Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, is one of these books that makes a reader sad when it's over.
The book follows the story of a Jewish girl named Liesel Meminger who lives during the Holocaust. Her father is dead and her communist mother is trying to find a better place for her to live.
Told from the point of view of "Death," this book gives a new perspective on what we think of as death. Leisel's brother dies at the very beginning of the book and when he is being buried, a book falls out of the grave digger's pocket and she picks it up. This is the beginning of Liesel's career as the book thief. The book is her last connection to her brother and throughout the book, she carries it with her.
At her new home, she meets her new mother and father. Her mother is a screaming fury of a woman and is always getting mad at Liesel. Her father is a soft spoken, kind man who never gets mad. Together, they teach Liesel to read. She also meets a boy named Rudy who later becomes her best friend.
Throughout the book, reading is very important to her and her foster father spends a lot of time teaching her how to read. Every book she acquires is very precious to her.
The Book Thief is an amazing book. It is one of the only books that has ever actually changed the way I have looked at things. Markus Zusak paints a picture of loyalty, intensity, and love for books in a seemingly grey and horrible environment. Every sentence is like a punch in the gut. I recommend this to all young adults.
Over the past two weeks, many seniors around the country have submitted applications early to their various colleges of choice in the hopes of getting a reassuring letter even earlier. I was one of those seniors, as I clicked the Submit button on the common application website last Sunday to apply to the University of Chicago.
I am really happy I decided to apply Early Action there because I think college applications are a stressful thing; since I will find out whether or not I got accepted into the university in early December, hopefully some of my worries will be lifted as I enter the holidays.
While I applied Early Action, which is non-binding to the university, many other seniors applied Early Decision, which means if they are accepted, they are legally obligated to attend that university.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of applying early, which makes it a great option for many people, but just not right for others. People applying early get to find out if they got in earlier, get preferences for living arrangements on campus if they decide to attend, and learn about scholarship opportunities sooner.
On the down side, seniors have to prepare their application sooner, and for early decision, they are bound to that one university- there's no going back. Also, and this one could be good or bad, the first semester grades of senior year are not factored into admittance; however, even if they might not matter for acceptance, if one's grades slip too much his or her acceptance could be revoked.
For me, Early Action was the best choice. I will get to hear whether or not I got in before the holidays, which will hopefully put me in a good mood, and I'm not bound to the university if I decide it is not where I want to go. I will have just as much time to decide whether or not I wish to attend as if I applied regular decision, which gives me a good amount of time to figure out just the right college for me.
Junior IB Higher Level students recently read and are in the process of analyzing Albert Camus's The Stranger, a French novel set in Algeria about an ordinary man who becomes unwillingly drawn into an extraordinary predicament. Mrs. Karin Tooze encourages her students to examine the text through an existentialist lens, emphasizing the process of humans shaping their own destinies through their actions.
Matthew Ward's recent translation of the novel from French to English remains true to Camus's original intent, yet it is also renowned for its clarity. While other translations are criticized for extracting only the bare meaning of the words from the original work, Ward's translation Americanizes the novel while giving the readers the opportunity to be "...as close to the original as another language will allow" (Library Journal).
Recently Tooze's block two class took part in a "fishbowl discussion," during which half of the class participated in an open conversation with literary questions as prompts while the other half of the class took notes and observed. Tooze describes the unique class format as a fun way to conduct discussions that "gives students that are more shy opportunities to participate."
Opinions flared, hot topics included which character the title refers to as well as whether Mersault, the protagonist, is a cold-blooded killer or an innocent man caught up in a severe situation.
While most students enjoyed the quick read, the novel consists of 123 brief pages, after having to read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, over 400 pages of sheer density, some resented not having more insight into the lives of the characters. Nonetheless, Camus's work of fiction is regarded as both a classic for its portrayal of existentialism and a significant representation of French literature. Camus called it, "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."
Saturday, November 7 provided a room filled with snakes, fireworks, ballerina dancing, sex plays, and some serious jail time as Albert Einstein High School put on their performance of You Can't Take it with You.
The play follows the story of two star-crossed lovers, Alice and Tony, forced apart by the vast dissimilarities in their families.
The set was skillfully constructed, providing many levels for the actors and creating a 1930's atmosphere and also making the audience feel like they're somehow part of the madness. The show opened with a pleasant song reflecting the time period and showcasing the musical talent of Reshma Crawford.
Essie (Rory Beckett) and Penny (Emily Bragg) immediately grabbed focus as Essie pranced and danced about while her husband, Ed (Jason Guerrero), played the xylophone. While the first act did seem a bit slow, the comedic timing was spot on. As the chaos grew, the actors stayed true their characters with consistent body language. For instance, Mr. De Pinna, played by Aaron Fellows, was always hunched over, making his enlarged baldhead the focus of his character, and provided the audience with quite a few laughs. Also, Grandpa was physically extremely slow, which made many of the scenes funnier.
As soon as Reba and Donald were introduced, there was an atmosphere of love folded into the play. The relationships between Penny and Paul, played by Giovannie Bellafiore, Donald (Shaquille Steward-Merritt) and Reba (Lena Ayechemi), and Essie and Ed, were tremendously realistic. In the first act, Essie often stole focus, prancing around upstage in a somewhat awkward manner, which was perfect for her character.
Grandpa had a clear voice that demanded attention, especially while everything else was going on during his scene with Mr. Henderson. While the role of Mr. Kolenkhov (Miguel Resendiz) seemed random in the beginning, he truly lit up the stage in the second and third acts.
Alice, played by Zoe Goozner, brought the first act up to tempo and closed it nicely with a lovely scene between her and the ever so charming Anthony Kirby, played by Awate Serequeberhan. Their physical chemistry had the audience saying, "Aw."
As the second and third acts resumed, the energy picked up and the Sycamores displayed excellent comedic timing. The audience giggled away when Paul played with his toy boats and when Penny led the game, revealing entirely too much about Mr. and Mrs. Kirby. What was nice about the Kirbys was that in the chaos of the Sycamores, they stood out by not really saying much. There is so much commotion going on around them that Mrs. Kirby's silence shows just how different that family is.
During their scenes, Donald and Reba seemed comfortable on stage, and were able to bring naturalness to the play, as well as Mrs. Ellington (Alexandra Martinez) when she arrived. Also, Olga Katrina had quite the impression on the audience when she entered, making an awfully silly face every time she wasn't speaking, to distract from her so-so Russian accent.
The transitions with the radio singer were well executed and a brilliant idea. The tech work was done well, ensuring that the radio would go off and on at the right times. The physical effects of the play greatly added to it, like the smoke coming from the staircase every time Paul and De Pinna were working on the fireworks. Also, the light changes to signify nighttime made things more clear.
Overall, the play was impressive, with excellent comedic timing, naturalness on stage, and great body language. The audience was at home with the Sycamores and their lot, and bravo to that.