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Review: Figuring It Out by Cal Campos

Our review of Cal Campos’ web series for Humber College’s Student Life.

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Staff | Review

It’s real, it’s helpful, it’s all about life in Figuring It Out, by Cal Campos.

The web series is produced by Campos and is published in their role as a content producer for Student Life at Humber College. It walks you through their life, sometimes light-hearted, sometimes intense, but all with great, snappy production quality.

Why am I writing “their”? That’s on Campos’ request. Watch episode six of the series on YouTube and you’ll understand. Episode six is the best one, but watch it all, including the introduction.

Campos asks real questions. How do I prepare for midterms? Am I job ready? What’s my identity? Was that offensive? You already know there’s no magical, one-sentence answer for these things, but Campos arguably shows you how to tackle them.

The views on the videos don’t match the quality content, so share it if you think more people should get engaged.

As a side note, a lot of the other content created by the digital production team at Student Life is also engaging.


Our rating

9/10


Image of the show from YouTube. ■

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Opinion

The rise brings an end to Skywalker

The end is here, but it’s the future that is exciting.

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Marketing photo still from The Rise of Skywalker.

OPINION

The ninth film of a ninology and the third in a trilogy has the massive task of concluding the space opera epic of Star Wars — a task harder than any that has come before in the world of film.

Spoilers ahead. I also recommend watching the movie before reading this.

Unlike Avengers: Endgame or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — other franchise-ending mega blockbusters — there is no comic book or novel to follow or be inspired by. When Disney rightfully destroyed the pre-2014 chaotic, but much-beloved canon, they set out alone in the galaxy to, for the first time in forty years, create new Star Wars films that could go any direction and take on any form.

Disney wanted it fast. Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, as well as many others, admitted as such. George Lucas handed the Star Wars IP to Disney and it was go time. So here we are four years later with another trilogy and the end of the Skywalker Saga. Did we get what we wanted?

The best part about the ending is that it exists. Now, Lucasfilm is free to move on without being held to the bedrock of a franchise and explore new stories, places, beings — untethered to the expectations of legions of fans worldwide. It’s an exciting time, the future has arrived.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve read other reviews already as well as seen the film and made your own decision. This was originally intended to be a spoiler review of Episode IX — and while below you’ll find a summary with some commentary — it’s mostly a look to the future and what will come next, because that is the best part of this film. 

Sure, the redemption and sacrifice of Kylo Ren — who turned out to be the most interesting character of this trilogy — and the eventual defeat of Emperor, were quite predictable. But it was the relationship of Rey to the Emperor and the truly fun adventure of Poe, Rey and Finn that were pleasant surprises.

Some critics are taking issue with Rey being related to the Emperor as it takes away from her independence as a woman and her identity as a “nobody” that could still have impact in a galaxy where everyone powerful is related to someone.

I dispute this for two reasons.

One is that, yes, this is the Skywalker Saga and these movies are about the Skywalkers and the influence of Palpatine. It’s not like you need to be related to someone to be powerful. Yoda is arguably the most powerful and wisest being and is not related to the two families. Ashoka is a woman, independent and strong as well as unrelated to the families.

Secondly, Rey, after growing in herself in the last two movies and casting aside doubt to fight the First Order without hesitation because she knew what was right, found out she was from the worst possible thing — a dark Sith who had committed atrocities across the galaxy — and yet still held strong to defeat him, giving her own life in the process.

It was Ben Solo, played by Adam Driver, that was the most interesting in the end. Despite a movie that aimed to fix the middle of the trilogy — which only happened because of poor advanced planning and not because of the risks Rian Johnson took — Kylo was one of the few characters that felt like a complete, coherent story arc from start to end.

And he was interesting. His turn from the dark side back to the light was sparked by a sacrifice of Leia — a powerful, respectful end to her character if there ever was one — and a memory of Han Solo.

All-in-all, The Rise of Skywalker was a strong, vibrant conclusion that, for me, remained true to the Star Wars I loved — fun, adventurous, new and epic — and presented a satisfying conclusion to a story 42 years in the making.

You can read our entertainment editor’s review for a more robust critic of the film, along with our official rating of 7/10, but it was here that I wanted to make the point that the final film was good, but it is the excitement of a new frontier in this galaxy far, far away that I already have begun to anticipate. ■

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Entertainment

Review: ‘El Camino’

Pinkman seeks to tie up loose ends.

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© Netflix

Vince Gilligan’s epilogue to one of the greatest shows of all time brings the story of Jesse Pinkman to a close.

9/10

Trailer for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie from Netflix

It’s been over four years since the hit series Breaking Bad left television, and it would be accurate to say that very few shows have filled the gap for thrilling and tension-filled television.

Series creator, writer and producer, Vince Gilligan, teamed up with Peter Gould to produce the spin-off show Better Call Saul with Bob Odenkirk reprising his role, detailing the beginnings of the criminal lawyer leading up to his fateful encounter with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.

While that show certainly kept fans content, the question remained: What happened to Jesse Pinkman? Freed from captivity by White in the series finale, Pinkman sped off in an El Camino with tears streaming down his face from joy, but what came after? This movie answers that question.

We pick up exactly where the series ended with Pinkman speeding away from Uncle Jack’s compound. From here, he seeks to gather enough money to buy his way out of New Mexico and towards a new life.

What really helps this movie along is Aaron Paul’s performance. By this point in the Gilligan universe, he is a broken, tortured man, and Paul is able to channel the character flawlessly even after the five year gap.

Returning characters include Badger (Matthew Lee Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) who get a chance to bid their close friend farewell before cutting ties with him completely, and while the roles are short and minimal, both Jones and Baker bring the goofy, emotional support back from the main series to help ground Pinkman.

Vince Gilligan returns as writer/director for the film and it’s very apparent that he has grown as a creative force. His signature dark and gritty visual style helps to reinforce the desperation that Pinkman faces.

The score is provided by none other than Dave Porter, the man who provided the score to the main Breaking Bad series. While his iconic theme from the main series isn’t present, his minimalistic score does provide a reflective backdrop to the visuals.

The story itself may not provide a lot of action or guns-a-blazing moments, but it never sets out to do that. This is a world where Heisenberg’s reign has come to an end and this is the slow crawl to a halt for these characters. There is a tense shootout towards the end of the film that provides a classic Breaking Bad fake-out, but don’t expect the film to be a wall-to-wall action movie.

Despite the positives that this movie provides, both as a movie and an epilogue to the series, it is completely unnecessary. It doesn’t add much to the character of Jesse or anyone in the Breaking Bad world, and really only serves as a buffer to the true end of the story. That itself isn’t a bad thing, but one could leave Jesse’s story as is at the end of the finale.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie does well to close out the story of Pinkman, even if it wasn’t exactly needed. It gives fans a chance to live in that story and universe one more time with a character who has helped redefine dramatic television. ■

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Entertainment

Review: The Addams Family

The kooky gothic family is back.

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© Universal

Starring a near perfect cast, The Addams Family tells the story about an unusual family in an unusual (for them) new town.

6.5/10

Trailer for The Addams Family from Universal

“They’re creepy and they’re kooky…” as the theme song goes. After a few years off of television and movie screens, The Addams Family, a gothic family with horror elements within their circle, are back in a new animated feature for a new age. With a cast that could not be more perfect, good animation and some decent jokes, the film is indeed enjoyable, although it has many flaws that pervade this edgy (but not edgy enough) movie

The film concerns the titular family Gomez, played by Oscar Isaac and Morticia (Charlize Theron) having just gotten married, before being chased out of their traditional home by an angry mob for being “weird” according to the locals. To escape from the torches and pitchforks of the “regular people,” they move to the most hideous place they can think of: a converted abandoned insane asylum in New Jersey. From there they live “peacefully” with their hand servant, Thing, and the asylum’s lone living resident turned butler, Lurch, played by co-director Conrad Vernon and later having their 2 children, their solemn and blunt daughter Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and their explosive loving son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard).

13 years later however, as the family is planning for a family celebration that would see Pugsly become a man in the eyes of the whole family, they discover a small town called “Assimilation” built by HGTV-esque reality show host Margaux Needler for her next big project right at the foot of the hill their house is. And when the town meets the reclusive “creepy” family, tensions begin to boil, both from within and without both sides.


Impeccably animated, the films style mimics that of the original New Yorker cartoons. Despite being cgi, the animation is given similar rules to 2d, such as the utilizations of squash and stretch for certain comedic moments. Whatever plastic look objects within are deliberate, as the town of Assimilation feels creepy in its own way, with vibes of artificiality and conformity that makes the Addams Family, despite their (sometimes literal) creature comforts, seem natural by comparison.

The cast is probably the best part of the film. It’s good to the point where they could have easily played these characters in live action and be non the worse. This especially goes to Issacs and Theron in their roles, convincingly portraying a couple who very much care for each other (in their own way). Nick Kroll also deserves some spotlight as Uncle Fester, the adorably naive uncle, who has his own lovable but odd quirkiness.

The comedy also works very well, although not 100% of the time. Certain jokes involving Thing were definite causes of laughter, as well as some very funny sight gags throughout. Thankfully the film doesn’t loose all of its edgy morbid humour, though it has noticeably dulled, possibly to accommodate a more family oriented audience that the film appears to be targeting.

The dullness of The Addams Family does come across in its story. The film is rather warm hearted, at times contradicting the tone the family displays across other media. Certain characters will do something wrong or reprehensible, but will receive a proper happy end to it regardless.

The message of the film, while it may be more personal for some than others, is not exactly subtle and can be easily seen coming if you are above the age of a teenager. This also means the story is predictable, following similar beats and motions to some other animated movies, even if the style and timing is different.

Some of the reactions of the characters can be a bit out of touch with who they are, such as the certain times the family will get hurt and they will either act with glee/nonchalance, or react negatively. And in some cases moments where they shouldn’t react negatively.

The Addams Family might not have a complete grasp of the tone that these characters are usually associated with, and may need to polish its script and characters a bit more, but for an animated family film involving slapstick, light morbid humour and colourful designs and animation, you could definitely see a lot worse, especially with a property like The Addams Family.

It just perhaps needs to be more creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky. ■

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