Ring in the season with these festive picks to get you in the holiday spirit

Note: I originally started writing this piece in 2019 when I was A&C Editor, but I needed the year to take some time to think about what I wrote, reflect on it and then do some more rewrites. After a year-long process, this is what I’ve come up with. 

I was born the day after Christmas. There I was, fresh out of the womb and already wearing a Santa hat thanks to some festive nurses. Was I adorable? Yes. Was it necessary? I’m not sure, but I do know that from the moment I was born, I’ve been surrounded by the warmth of the holidays. 

[/media-credit] Photo of newborn Andrew, December 26, 1999

I grew up always looking forward to the holiday season and watching my favourite Christmas movies at home. Over the years, I’ve found that important lessons from these movies have shaped my outlook on life, not only during the holiday season but all year round. 

I can’t quite pinpoint what it is about this specific genre of movie, but something about them really resonates with me. Perhaps it’s the nostalgic joy that comes from movies I grew up with, or perhaps it’s the optimism that inherently comes with Christmas movies. It was no easy task to narrow down this list of movies; however, I believe these three that I’ve chosen contain values that encapsulate who I am.

No matter how much time passes, The Year Without A Santa Claus always sticks out to me. The stop-motion film explores what would happen if Santa Claus got sick and couldn’t do Christmas anymore — and subsequently shows Santa getting better because others filled his shoes.

This movie taught me that Christmas is more than just presents and it’s for this reason that it’s kicking off my list. It’s a movie that’s ultimately about a community coming together — a principle that resonates with me throughout the entire year. Although I’m not helping a jolly old man deliver presents across the world, I do try to make myself available when I can to help others, to help foster connections with the end goal of building community, regardless of what that may entail. Whether it's the community that I am building through the Silhouette, or amongst my friends or my family, these connections are as important to me as they were to Santa in the film.

"Whether it's the community that I am building through the Silhouette, or amongst my friends or my family, these connections are as important to me as they were to Santa in the film."

On the other hand, Disney's The Santa Clause 2 sparked my vivid imagination as in childhood. It visualized the North Pole in a way that I can only describe as magic. I can watch this movie again and again, bawling my eyes out every single time due to the romantic nature of a plotline wherein Santa tries to regain his quickly disappearing magic by finding a Mrs. Claus (which, in itself, likely stems from my desire for a Christmas wedding).

While it is truly one of the most magical movies I have seen (sorry, Harry Potter), I love how it integrates the idea that there is magic all around us. We just need to look around to find it. I try to carry that idea with me day to day. That is probably the most Disney-esque thing I’ve ever said, but I truly believe that we have the ability to make everything magical, and it ultimately depends on how we tackle the situation. Having an optimistic outlook and putting your energy into making each and every moment special — that’s magical. That’s what Santa did in this movie and it’s something that I also try to do every day. 

"Having an optimistic outlook and putting your energy into making each and every moment special — that’s magical."

Although these films will always inspire holiday nostalgia, the third movie in this list, Christmas With the Kranks, is my favourite movie of all time. It has taught me life lessons that I will always carry with me.

In the film, the titular Krank family tries to skip Christmas altogether for a tropical cruise but get caught up in their town's festivities and their daughter's unsuspected visit. They eventually realize that there is no greater joy than spending time with loved ones and that going the extra mile (or staying home, something we can all relate to this year) is always worth it.

The values that I learned from this movie are probably the easiest to see throughout the year. For me, my family and my friends are the most important thing and I’d do absolutely anything for them. I’m typically known to drop what I’m doing if someone asks me to do something, just as the Kranks did when they found out their daughter was coming home for Christmas. 

[/media-credit] Baby Andrew did not like Santa Claus

The lessons learned from these movies aren’t just central to how I live my life, but I believe that they are important for everyone. The Year Without a Santa Claus teaches us that community is important. The Santa Clause 2 shows that you can live every moment with a little bit of magic, regardless if things seem to be piling up on your plate. Having a forward-looking, optimistic approach will shift your mindset and enable you to tackle the hurdles in your path.

Finally, Christmas With The Kranks teaches the importance of family, whether they’re directly related to you, or whether they’re your chosen family. I think that especially during a year in which we’ve all had hurdles and have been cut off from those that we love, these three lessons give us hope to keep pushing forward. These lessons are not just the plot of Andrew’s favourite holiday movies; they can also be tools to use in shaping how we perceive our future.

[media-credit name="C/O Sasha Mrozowski" align="none" width="388"][/media-credit]

Christmas is so central to everything I do in my life, not just because I was born right next to it, but because I truly believe that the values I learned from this season and its movies have helped mold me into the person I am today. For me, every day is Christmas. Yes, you can apply these messages to only the winter months, but the real joy is integrating them throughout the year. That’s where the real magic is. 

"That’s where the real magic is."

To some, this might just be a list of holiday movies. To me, it’s a list of challenges continuously pushing me to be better and to remind me that there is always time for me to spend with my loved ones. There is always something to celebrate. There is always time to create a little magic in the world.

[/media-credit] My last photo with Santa in first-year

Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

By Adrian Salopek, Staff Writer

Are you bored at home with nothing to do? Are you wanting to spend time with your friends but can’t think of any fun activities other than working on homework or refreshing the Worldometer Coronavirus Update religiously? Check out these five Netflix movies from the comfort of your own bed. 

Skype or Facetime your friends and turn it into a fun movie night using Google Chrome extensions like Netflix Party, which lets you kick back and hang out together over screens from the comfort of your social distancing at home. 


 If you’re in the mood for a good laugh:

The Other Guys, rated PG-13

If tasteless and excessively silly movies are your thing, you can’t afford to miss this classic. Directed by Adam McKay, this crime comedy stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as a pair of two New York City cops. Ferrell plays the bespectacled new guy on the force while Wahlberg plays the tougher guy of the pair. Outshined by another duo of officers, played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, Ferrell and Wahlberg are dubbed “the other guys”. Things change when they are handed a case to investigate a shady capitalist. What follows is 107 minutes of endless laughter that is sure to lighten you and your friends’ mood during this time of collective isolation.


If you want to escape COVID-19, but not entirely:

Contagion, rated PG-13

If you’re a fan of viruses and are more in the mood for movies that play off of pandemics such as the one our world is facing right now, this movie is for you! Starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet, this movie follows the pandemic caused by a new fictional virus, MEV-1, and the fight of scientists across the globe to stop it. Make sure to stay tuned until the end; you will be left reflecting on how easy it is for a deadly virus to spread and yield catastrophic results. 


If apocalyptic movies are your thing, but you also want to laugh:

Shaun of the Dead, rated R

If your friend group is keen on apocalyptic movies, but isn’t in the mood for something too heavy, make sure to check out the British cult classic, Shaun of the Dead. A comedic movie that pokes fun at zombie movie clichés, Shaun of the Dead stars Simon Pegg as Shaun, a likable loser, and Nick Frost as Ed, his roommate. Shaun’s life falls apart when he is dumped by his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield). Just when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, the dead return from their graves as zombies to take over the UK. Follow Shaun’s comedic journey with your friends as he tries to not only survive a zombie apocalypse but also rescue his ex-girlfriend from zombies, just as you battle that temptation to go out and start a comedic journey of your own! 

If you enjoyed this movie, check out Hot Fuzz, another Simon Pegg classic that is sure to be on the same wavelength as Shaun of the Dead. In fact, go ahead and have a movie marathon!


If you’re craving something wholesome to take your mind off things:

Christopher Robin, rated PG

If you and your friends really want to be distracted from the pandemic, check out Christopher Robin, starring Ewen McGregor and Hayley Atwel. Set years after the last time he left the fictional Hundred Acre Wood, an adult Christopher Robin finds himself in the daily routine of being an adult. When Robin finds his old friends (Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the gang have somehow left the Hundred Acre Wood and entered the real world) Robin tries to reconcile his values as a kid with those he learned as an adult. This trip down memory lane is filled with nostalgic moments that are sure to make anybody emotional. Filled with laughs and tears, this movie is sure to remind you the importance of loved ones in this time of uncertainty. So grab your childhood stuffed animal, sit down and watch this film!


If you’re looking for a change of scenery:

A Hologram for the King, rated R

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. If you’re sick of all things coronavirus, try out this movie set in Saudi Arabia starring Tom Hanks (yes, he had coronavirus, but that’s beside the point) and Omar Elba. 

Follow Hanks as he plays a failed American businessman who tries to propose and close a business deal abroad with a wealthy monarch. Kick back and enjoy this drama/romance with friends as Hanks is hampered by Middle Eastern bureaucracy, an ever-absent monarch and a suspicious growth on his back while falling for beautiful doctor named Zahra (Sarita Choudhury). 


Honourable Mention:

Instant Family, rated PG-13

If you and your friends really want to be distracted from the coronavirus outbreak, check out Instant Family, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as a young married couple seeking to fill their home with a family. After deciding to adopt, the couple falls in love with teenager Lizzy and decides to take her in; however, the couple gets more than they bargained for when they also take in Lizzy’s two younger misfit siblings. What ensues is a hilarious yet saddening culture clash between the white parents and the Hispanic children they have adopted. Filled with laughs and tears, this movie is sure to remind you the importance of loved ones in this time of uncertainty. 

All of the above movies can provide a great distraction for you, your loved ones and friends to take your mind off the craziness that has ensued our world recently. Microwave some popcorn, turn on your video chat and start a Netflix party with your friends to help the time pass a little bit more quickly!


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Photo by Kyle West

By: Natalie Clark

When the quaint and beloved Westdale Theatre closed down in early 2017, residents of the Westdale community and many McMaster students were especially upset. Although fairly run down, the Westdale had been the community’s hot spot for Friday night dates, Hollywood’s must-see films and the best popcorn in town for as long as anyone could remember.

On Feb. 14, the Westdale community celebrated the long-awaited re-opening of the Westdale Theatre. Guests were told to dress in period attire for a special event accompanied by cocktails and a screening of the 1942 classic, Casablanca. The event also featured a silent auction, where guests could explore the new and improved venue while admiring local Hamilton art.


With searchlights lighting up the night sky and a red carpet gracing the floor of the doors of the theatre, the Westdale certainly dressed to impress for their grand re-opening. The 350 ticket event sold out in two weeks.

For the past 30 years, the Westdale was owned by an elderly man in Toronto. It wasn’t until he passed away that his family put the theatre up for sale, allowing new owners to claim the theatre, known as the Westdale Cinema Group.


“An enormous amount of changes were made… the theatre was in terrible condition, we spent 2.5 million dollars restoring it,” mentioned Fred Fuchs, chairperson of the Westdale Cinema Group.

“Besides equipping it with state-of-the-art projection, screens, new seats, new sound, new acoustic panelling, we also had to completely redo the air conditioning and the heating, the electrical system, the roof, the bathrooms — it was a complete overhaul of the entire theatre,” said Fuchs.

About two years later, the Westdale Theatre is back open for business, and the community is thrilled. Westdale resident and Silhouette alumnus, David Simpson, had one word to describe the re-opening event, “fabulous”.

“I think that the re-opening will be great for Westdale and for McMaster too, creating a hub for the community,” said Simpson.


Members of the Westdale community are thrilled about the re-opening of the theatre but are also admiring the other advantages that the theatre welcomes to the community.

“It’s wonderful to see it revitalized, and to see hundreds of people in the theatre is great,” said Vivian Lewis, a member of the Westdale community.

“I think that the theatre is going to bring a diversity of films to the community,” mentioned Lewis. “Right now in Hamilton we just have lots of box theatres that are showing the same thing on every screen, and so this theatre will be our chance to see more art films and more alternative films that aren’t currently available in Hamilton.”


Aside from standard film movies, the Westdale Theatre will also be hosting frequent live music shows, talks, performances and other special events.

“I’m excited about the idea that it’s not just a movie theatre anymore and that it’s also performance based,” said Sue Trerise-Adamson, another Westdale resident.

“I think that is a really good idea, and it expands all the possibilities of the theatre… I think it’s a real anchor for the whole community of Westdale,” mentioned Trerise-Adamson.

Westdale locals have already begun visiting the theatre for their regular screenings and are grateful to have the theatre back in the community.

Experience the new and improved Westdale Theatre on your own and check out all available screenings and shows on their website: https://www.thewestdale.ca/now-playing/


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In December of 2016, Westdale’s iconic movie theatre was put on the market. Opening in 1935, the 495 seat, 6630-square-foot, single-screen avenue was a staple of the Hamilton community.

At the time, Ward 1 councillor and longtime theatregoer Aidan Johnson had been working for over a year to designate the theatre as property of Cultural Heritage to help protect it under the Ontario Heritage Act.

“The cinema is an integral part of the original heritage landscape of Westdale Village. It is inseparable from Westdale itself. It needs to be protected,” said Johnson

The Westdale Cinema Group, a non-profit, was formed to purchase the theatre shortly after, and their offer was accepted in February. A group of individuals and organizations alike, they are continuing to find the donations needed to restore the theatre.

The planned renovations promise new washrooms, an expanded snack bar, new theatre seats, state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment, and an expanded stage to host theatre, music and lecture series.

Films remain a priority, but it is apparent that they wish to expand the functions of the area to make a multi-purpose venue.

“Through our Board of Directors, our goal is to create Hamilton’s premier cinema screening experience for art and independent films and a state-of-the-art exhibition space for music, readings, lecture, video streaming and public meetings,” said the group.

Despite these additions and changes, they also promise that the heritage and historic atmosphere of the theatre will remain intact with a restored 1935 façade, restored architectural detailing, a restored auditorium and the consistency of the front lobby snack bar and back lobby lounge.

While restoration of the theatre begins this month, the group still needs $1.5 million. They are accepting grants from all levels of government, but they need additional funds. Their method is a public fundraising campaign called, “Building Magic,” with reward levels similar to a Kickstarter with products and services from local companies and people featured.

The lowest starts at $19.35 with a custom designed pin by local designer Rachelle Letain. The mid levels include a special screening of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with the film’s producer, multiple options for limited-edition prints, the ability to name a seat and the ability to have your message on the marquee for a week. The maximum level is

$10 000, which offers the full theatre for the night with unlimited popcorn and soft drinks for all attendees.

They are also accepting volunteers if you would like to contribute with time instead of money.

“As we build the new Westdale, we want the tradition of presenting magic to continue — whether visiting the Westdale, for film, music, theatre, or to hear an author.”

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Read the full story here: https://www.thesil.ca/westdale-theatre-sale

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By: Hess Sahlollbey

If my tickets were refundable, I would’ve left the theater after five minutes and asked for my money back. What should have been a simple grudge match between two orphans before they team up to face a greater evil is encumbered by a lengthy and superfluous political story and abstract metaphors.

While Man Of Steel was an effective introduction to Superman, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice can easily be surmised as Warner Bros. attempt to address the faults in Man of Steel. While technically a sequel, it rehashes the same themes, ideas and symbolism but with a much darker tone. This over-reliance on previously used material is what ultimately causes this movie to fumble out of the gate. The darker tone also adds a sense of hopelessness that creates an unattractive package.

Zack Synder is a man who’s not unfamiliar with adapting comics to the screen. His past credits on 300, Watchmen and on Man of Steel easily prove that. However a poorly measured ambition to pay homage to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Dan Jurgens’ The Death of Superman is what ultimately led to the direction losing its way. Snyder’s view is clearly on that depicts Superman as a poorly stitched together Christ­-figure, while Batman comes off as a billionaire fascist.

While Man of Steel gave hints to Superman being regarded as a messiah, the symbolism and metaphors in that film were subtle. In BvS however, the references are overly pleasant and forced. One element that allowed Man of Steel to succeed was the solid story-arc. Clark Kent/Kal-El struggled and grew with a culminating scene where he overcame severe odds, defeated the evil Kryptonians and ultimately found his place as Earth’s saviour. Batman V Superman, however, doesn’t have a plot that can be recounted in a few sentences because there simply isn’t one. It’s a string of beats that are poorly tied together to form an abstract narrative. Multiple convoluted plots in the story falter near the middle of this film because the acts also fail to smoothly transition from one to the next. Superman and Batman find themselves in a situation where they must fight each other and only stop when a CGI Doomsday shows up.

A poor plot could be forgiven by strong characterization, but BvS mostly comes up short in that aspect too. Superman is a character that’s simply there but has no presence. The bulk of his scenes see him engaging in self-loathing and are a regression from all the emotional development he had in Man Of Steel. He has the least amount of dialogue and spends the majority of the film transitioning from one place to the next, gathering what is often irrational advice. Henry Cavill gives a paper-thin performance with no depth. It’s a stark juxtaposition to his endearing performance in Man Of Steel.

When Ben Affleck was first announced as the new Batman, there was significant backlash online from fans. Even I was unsure whether or not he could pull it off, but his was one the stronger performances in the film. While Batman’s methods of crime fighting were questionably brutal in comparison to previous depictions of the Dark Knight, Ben Affleck easily blurs the line between himself and the character. Jeremy Irons is equally delightful as Batman’s trusty butler, Alfred. His portrayal of Alfred sees him as more of a hand’s on mechanic, while also delivering some of the wittiest lines of dialogue in the film.


Jesse Eisenberg who takes on the role of Lex Luthor, is a different story. While at first he appears as a Mark Zuckerberg-type billionaire with a sinister agenda, his ramblings make his character come off as more cuckoo. Historically the character has been portrayed as a super-genius obsessed with greed and besting Superman. In BvS however, his motivations aren’t just unclear, they’re non-existent. Eisenberg’s most captivating scenes are those where he operates silently because his conversations are filled with nonsensical biblical and theological ramblings. This dialogue again ties back into the movie’s overabundance of depthless symbolism.

The real star of this film however was Gal Gadot. She is an absolute show-stealer anytime she’s on screen. Gadot’s depiction of Wonder Woman is sexy, mysterious and most importantly sparse. She has few scenes in the movie but always leaves you wanting more. Gadot’s role in the film is the only place where Zack Snyder seems to be aware that less is more. It should also be noted that it’s the first depiction of Wonder Woman on the big screen and sets the bar very high for whatever comes next. The same can also be said of Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher who all appear as Barry Allen/Flash, Arthur Curry/Aquaman and Victor Stone/Cyborg respectively. We get brief peeks that leave us wanting more.

Despite months and anticipation and millions of dollars of marketing, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is ludicrous in its reasoning and plot. A film whose purpose is to launch an expanded cinematic universe, the film has slivers of brilliance, but does everything else in the most inefficient manner possible.

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By: Joe Jodoin

Earlier last week, Napster-founder Sean Parker announced his plans to release a video streaming device that will allow people to watch newly released movies at home the same day that they are released in theatres.

The box itself would cost $150 to purchase and install, while each viewing of a movie would cost $50. This may seem expensive at first, but there are many scenarios where such an option would be significantly cheaper than a trip to the movies.

Famous and influential directors such as Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Peter Jackson and Martin Scorsese have come out in favor of the device, and actually serve as shareholders in the company. However, directors such as Christopher Nolan and James Cameron are very much against it, since it would negatively impact the ways movies are made and experienced.

Screening Room is so controversial amongst the industry because the pros and cons are pretty much equally balanced. One of the main benefits would be that it aims to capture an audience that doesn’t already go to the theatre, such as families. A family of four would usually need to spend more than $50 on tickets alone, while also needing to spend money on fuel and concessions. If my five roommates and I all split the money to watch a new movie together on a Friday night, it would turn out to be relatively cheap and easy compared to a trip to the theatre.

It would also serve to eliminate all the problems with going to the movies. You wouldn’t have to worry about waiting in lines, trying to find good seats, or even running late and missing part of the movie. You also wouldn’t have to deal with other audience members, who may be talking or texting on their phones. Bathroom breaks would also be possible, due to the ability to pause the movie, and you would have a 48-hour window to finish the movie in case there is an emergency (although you are only able to watch the movie once within this time period).

There are also reasons why Screening Room is feasible for theatre owners and the studios. Twenty of the $50 would go to the studio that made the movie, and when you rent a movie, you will receive two free tickets to a movie theatre. Since theatres make their money off concessions (and not the tickets), this provides encouragement for people who don’t normally go to the theatre. People should then feel more comfortable about buying snacks, since they got their tickets for free. It also provides people with a chance to see movies that aren’t playing in a theatre near them. I recently had to go to Mississauga to watch three movies, which I would have rather watched at home.

Let’s break it down. If I wanted to see a movie with my mom, we would spend $50 on a movie and get two free theater tickets. The two tickets would be worth $24 each, so we would really be spending only $26, which adds up to only $13 a person. This is only slightly more expensive than going to a theatre, yet I would have the comfort of watching the movie in my own home.

A lot of people hear the $50 price tag and immediately dismiss the service as too expensive, and the $150 cost for the box itself doesn’t help, but in the long run it could be worth it.

This device would also not be useful for people who are happy to wait for a much cheaper option to watch their movies, such as a digital download or on DVD. I’m someone who always needs to see movies as soon as possible in good quality, but people like me are a rare breed. Screening Room also plans on being the one and only video-on-demand box on the market, which will encounter problems since other companies offering VOD services have contracts with major studios. This issue would need to be resolved before the product hits the market.

Finally, Screening Room would not only change the way movies are seen, but the way they are made too. Filmmakers such as Cameron and Nolan are against this device, because they specifically design their works as movies that need to be experienced in the cinema. Whether this is because the movie is shot on film, or because of surround sound, or 3D, an artist should have the right to have people see their movies in the way they intend them to be seen. Studios also specifically make movies that people will want to see in theatres, because that’s how they make most of their profit. If audiences transition to mostly watching movies at home, things like bombastic action, special effects and sound won’t matter as much.

In an age where more and more people are investing their money into home theatre systems, Screening Room may seem like a path to the future. However, this is also an age of piracy, Netflix and Blu-ray, where people have many cheaper alternatives to accessing infinite amounts of media and entertainment. While Screening Room is attracting a lot of attention and controversy right now, if it ever does hit the market, I doubt it will be anything more than a niche product, aimed to attract families and movie obsessives. Don’t expect to see all the movie theatres getting torn down anytime soon.

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By: Joe Jodoin

Eight years after the original Cloverfield was released in 2008, a new iteration of the movie has hit the big screen, but surprisingly, not as a sequel. Just by watching the trailer, there seems to be no connection to the original whatsoever. Producer J.J. Abrams has said that 10 Cloverfield Lane is “a blood-relative” to the original. I was very interested to see the movie and figure out how these two seemingly unrelated movies are connected.

A lot about this movie has made me very excited. First of all, nobody even knew this movie existed until the first trailer dropped in January. The trailer was also fantastic, and left a lot of mystery surrounding what the film was really about. Abrams has even described this film as his “mystery box”, which worked very well in generating excitement and buzz around it.


I felt terribly conflicted walking out of this movie, since overall I really enjoyed it. However, calling it a Cloverfield movie was completely unnecessary. It pretty much contains no connection to its 2008 predecessor, and it seems to have just gotten the title 10 Cloverfield Lane to generate more buzz and make more money.

You’re not supposed to know too much about the plot going in to this movie, as the mystery and surprise are the movies biggest strengths.

A girl gets into a car accident. She wakes up in a bunker with two men who say there was a chemical attack and the outside world is uninhabitable. But one of the men seems to be more than meets the eye, and our protagonist begins to wonder if staying with her captor is even more dangerous than life outside the bunker.

About 90 percent of this movie is filled with tension, scares, and nail-biting scenes, mainly driven by John Goodman’s performance as the unhinged man who built the bunker. His performance stands out, but is complemented by great directing from first-time director Dan Trachtenberg. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is excellent as the female protagonist, and her character provides the lens through which the audience experiences the movie. John Gallagher Jr. is the third person in the bunker, and plays one of the construction workers who built it. These three actors are the only lead actors in the movie, and all three of them do excellent jobs keeping viewers entertained.

While a majority of this movie is incredibly well made and enjoyable, the ending is where things fall apart. Without giving away spoilers, there is a silly twist that makes what’s left feel pretty much pointless. The twist forces a completely different tone on the rest of the movie and takes away all the tension without an amazing payoff.

Not everyone will hate the ending as much as I did, but I’m sure everyone will love the bulk of the movie. I won’t say anything else, because the less you know about this movie, the better. I don’t think it will by as re-watchable as some other movies this year, because a lot of the fun comes from not knowing what will happen next, but I definitely think this movie is worth seeing.

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Every year, I naively await the Oscars’ Best Animated Feature Film. Every year, Disney proves itself to be the most powerful force in the animated world, and every year, I nod and grudgingly agree as yet another Studio Ghibli film gets sidelined. With Pixar’s Inside Out setting the bar for animated films this year, Mark Osborne’s The Little Prince was released at the Cannes Film Festival with relatively minimal fanfare. However, I’ve been anticipating this adaptation for a long while, and when it was released for the English-speaking audience late last year, I welcomed it with open arms.

Antoine Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince is dearly loved by the world of children’s literature, and for good reason. It’s intent on driving home the relevance of childlike wonder in the face of the many facets of adulthood, all while retaining a heartfelt charm that never gets old. Osborne’s version maintains all this, but with a twist.

Instead of adapting the book scene by scene, this Little Prince introduces a young girl whose life has been scheduled perfectly to the very seconds by a helicopter mom. The family moves in next to a former aviator — the same aviator from the original story, only much older and quirkier. Priorities start shifting for the unnamed little girl as she gets to know the story of the Little Prince from her neighbour, all of which innocently reminiscent of the aviator’s own experience in Saint-Exupery’s book. The two storylines, old and new, are laced together for the first half, with the distinction made by the animation style. The girl’s daily life is computer animated, while the aviator’s narration of the story of the Little Prince is executed in lovely stop-motion that really cemented the emotional groundwork of the film for me.

Antoine Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince is dearly loved by the world of children’s literature, and for good reason. 

This first half gives way to a storyline that wholly belongs to this film alone, and the result is something that can make or break the film depending on who’s watching. I chose to go into it with the intention of loving it no matter what, and while I didn’t ultimately love some of the changes they made, I liked them enough to allow them to pull at my vulnerable heartstrings. Osborne set out with this film to make his own personal statement about family and parent-child relationships, and make a statement, it did. The problem is that I’m not sure exactly what that statement is.


I love Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince, and it might be my longstanding loyalty to the original story speaking here, but the one flaw of the film for me is that its original plotline fell short of where it really needed to be. Instead of growing into whatever they were trying to prove with the added story, the film reiterates the same monotonous mantras from Saint-Exupery despite blatantly being determined to distinguish itself. The moral of the story became something repetitive and not unlike anything we’ve ever heard before, and the repetition became something that bordered on ridiculous. It stripped away the emotional brilliance that could have been maintained if handled carefully, and while all was not lost at the end of the day, the rescue can only be credited to Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey’s beautiful score. Osborne’s The Little Prince is a movie targeted towards children, but for a film that preaches about the importance of childlike imagination, it severely underestimates their capability to understand subtle thematic messages in what was otherwise a lovely film. It beats you over the head with the same message, explicitly stated through the little girl, and while nice at first, it was something the second half of the film could have done away with, or at least managed better.

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By: Joe Jodoin

Remember three years ago when some over-the-top Die Hard rip-off came out of nowhere, and it actually turned out better than the last couple Die Hard movies? Well that movie got a sequel, full of more of the same mindless action. London Has Fallen is a fun throwback to the simplistic but entertaining action movies of the late 80s, early 90s period of cinema. Think of the classics with Schwarzenegger, Stallone, or Van Damme, full of graphic violence and cartoony explosions. This film will at least provide a short period of escapism for action lovers, but not much else for other audiences.

The story follows Islamic terrorists who carry out an attack at the British Prime Minister’s funeral, in order to kill most of the world’s leaders, including the American President. The only man who can protect the President is Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, and the two men travel around London fighting countless waves of terrorist bad guys. The plot is incredibly unrealistic and silly, but serves to create many over-the-top fantastical action sequences.

Olympus wasn’t a movie that I thought needed a sequel, and London isn’t a movie that needs to be seen, but it’s a movie that can be enjoyed if you’re bored on a summer afternoon.

Gerard Butler does a decent job in the lead role, but has to play a very cliché character with no great lines. Aaron Eckhart plays a boring and wooden prime minister, and Morgan Freeman’s role solely involves sitting in a chair and speaking in a monotone voice. However, because the action takes the spotlight, none of these strange decisions are bothersome. It never became mind numbing or boring, and despite a complete lack of emotional investment, I was having fun watching it.


Even though the movie is technically a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, this really doesn’t matter as the prequel is never referred to at all. Olympus wasn’t a movie that I thought needed a sequel and London isn’t a movie that needs to be seen, but it’s a movie that can be enjoyed if you’re bored on a summer afternoon and want to relax and watch some mindless action for an hour and a half.

Overall, the movie lacks sophistication and elegance, but it makes up for it in gleeful brutality. Be prepared going into this film that there will be many plot holes and countless clichés, and by no means is the movie well made. This is just a good cure for boredom. It isn’t a movie for everyone, but hopefully you will know what you’re getting into if you decide you want to watch it.

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