Category Archives: Features

Just Because: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Review

By Amelia Chen

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of watching the new Marvel movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. From the emotion of the plot to the acting, to the cinematography it was all around incredible to watch. 

This film paid a beautiful and touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman, the actor who originally played Black Panther, and sadly passed away two years ago from colon cancer. Instead of just “replacing” his character T’Challa, the creators of the film made a way for him to live on. They created this theme that even though a person may die, they live on in our hearts. Although in the movie, it was about T’Challa, what was really being displayed was how the actors carry the legacy of Boseman as the Black Panther. The amount of respect and love for Boseman was shown throughout the entirety of the movie. The writers did an extraordinary job composing this grief that was not shared just by the actors in the movie, but with the audience as well. They were able to properly show how people deal with grief differently, giving the opportunity for necessary character development.

Not only was the film moving and emotional, but it was also cinematically beautiful. Two completely different worlds were created with amazing detail, making each world unique on its own and entrancing to look at. The action sequences were intense and had me on the edge of my seat.

Official trailer for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Above all else, the acting was exceptional and really stood out. The actors portrayed their real pain and loss of Boseman with such emotion and pure genuineness. Letitia Wright (Shuri) was exemplary and poured her whole soul into every scene. It was beautiful to watch these actors morph their characters from the first movie to the sequel. 

Overall, I would give the movie a 10/10. I don’t have any critiques because of how well it was done. This is one of those films that really shows that it doesn’t take one person to make a movie good. It takes a whole cast and crew and it’s not just the actors. Without the incredible work of everyone behind the camera, it wouldn’t be as amazing as it is.

All in all, this was an incredibly moving film and quite possibly one of my favorite Marvel movies. It is definitely worth the watch, and I highly recommend it. Chadwick Boseman’s unfortunate and untimely passing was handled with care and this incredible movie is a dedication to him.

Just Because: Music Review

Chosen Album: Midnights by Taylor Swift

By Amelia Chen and Bailey Thorp

At midnight on Oct. 21, country-turned-pop-sensation (and America’s Sweetheart) Taylor Swift released her new album Midnights which incorporates 13 songs she wrote about sleepless nights scattered throughout her life. Amelia and Bailey ranked each song out of 10 based on the lyrics, the singing, and the hype. Amelia’s reviews are in blue while Bailey’s reviews are in green.

Track #1 – Lavender Haze
This one isn’t a favorite, but I enjoy it because of how hype it is. It is upbeat and has a way of making me feel happy as soon as I hear it. The lyrics are written so beautifully about being in love, referencing a saying from the show Mad Men. The way she expresses her love in her lyrics and wrote so metaphorically was incredibly eye-catching. As many might be aware, she is not entirely known for being an extremely talented vocalist, but I feel as though in Lavender Haze she sang in the exact range meant for her. 
Rating: 8.5/10

Track #2 – Maroon
I believe that this song is supposed to be a parallel to the song Red, which is on an earlier album. Reddescribes love through colors, and Maroon does this as well, although its lyrics depict darker images. This is fitting, as maroon is a darker shade of red. Overall, I feel this is song is catchy and entertaining. 
Rating: 8/10

Track #3 – Anti-Hero 
Although this song has been huge on social media and streaming services, it most definitely is not my favorite. I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t give the same vibes as the other songs on the album. I don’t like how the singing goes from a high key to a low key, but I do love the lyrics. I think it’s incredible how she portrays self-blame so beautifully and really paints a picture of her character. This song isn’t anything special and doesn’t stand out. It’s boring throughout many parts and doesn’t have a great bridge. 
Rating: 6.5/10

Track #4 – Snow on the Beach
This is one of my least favorite songs on the album and it also happens to be one of the least popular songs. While it has a nice flow, the song is pretty repetitive, and you can hardly hear the featured artist, Lana Del Rey. This song could have benefitted from being a little bolder. 
Rating: 5/10

Track #5 – You’re On Your Own, Kid
I absolutely adore the lyrics in the song and feel the emotion when I listen to it. Although this song is a bit slow and emotional, it is a hype song, and it gets even better every time I listen to it. The chorus is my favorite part of the song along with the bridge. I also think throughout the song the singing was done well and listeners can feel the emotion through her voice. 
Rating: 9/10

Track #6 – Midnight Rain
This song is one of my favorites and is so catchy and fun. The song is about meeting the right person, but ultimately wanting different things. The lyrics are beautiful while still upbeat and lively. 
Rating: 9/10    

Track #7 – Question…? 
This one is not as good as the others. I feel like the lyrics were well-written, but I don’t love the singing as much or feel like I could scream-sing in a car to it. In some parts of the song, the singing sounds slightly breathy. There just isn’t enough in the song to make me as excited to listen as I was for others on the album. 
Rating: 7.5/10

Track #8 – Vigilante S**t 
The song has some darker lyrics and imagery, and is very heavy on the bass, which could make this song popular with listeners. In my opinion, this song is cringy in both the lyrics and music composition. It feels like Taylor is trying too hard to be hardcore and almost gangster. I don’t think this song really fits the rest of the album. 
Rating: 4/10

Track #9 – Bejeweled
I had extremely high expectations for this song but unfortunately, those expectations were not met. The lyrics are, again, very good but not as well done as others from the album. I also feel like it was bland in some places, and don’t love the entire song. She actually did a pretty good job singing because it could easily get breathy in some parts, but she never did. This song is also not as good as I would’ve hoped just because the only hype part is the chorus and the bridge. 
Rating: 8/10

Track #10 – Labyrinth
This song is incredible lyrically. It describes the never-ending cycle of falling in love and going through heartbreak only to, once again, get involved in another relationship and restart the cycle. The song lyrics do repeat quite often, but in this song, it is represented of getting trapped in that labyrinth. I love the laidback tone of the song, and think it is an amazing addition to the album. 
Rating: 9/10    

Track #11 – Karma 
This is much better than I thought it was going to be. I’m always blown away by her incredible writing skills and was certainly not disappointed. I absolutely adore the extended metaphor she put in the song and how she makes it relatable. I also love the bridge and how it builds up. The only critique I would make is I wish the singing was a little better in some parts. 
Rating: 8.5/10

Track #12 – Sweet Nothing
This song has a really unique sound to it, and it stands out from the rest of the album because of this. The lyrics are also very beautiful and heartfelt. The lyrics describe a love in which the complexities of the world can be escaped by simply being in the presence of the one you love. I really love how the lyrics and the music combine to create and upbeat, yet relaxing song. 
Rating: 8/10

Track #13 – Mastermind
I love the symbolism of the song and the rippling beat. The singing was the best in this song, and this was the most hype song out of the whole album. What makes the song so special is the build-up in the chorus, making it so catchy along with its bridge. It has me scream-singing every time I hear it and an exciting feeling wash over me. 
Rating: 10/10

Just Because: Petit Uppercrust

By Elizabeth Birkner

Originally located in Millhopper, Uppercrust Bakery opened a new store in Haile Plantation earlier this year named Petit Uppercrust. Open from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily, the store sells several delicious pastries, cookies, and baked goods. French pastries are particularly notable for its extra flaky, layered texture due to the use of butter. Petit Uppercrust opened in February 2022 and has grown to have an impressive reputation around town. The food never fails to disappoint, and Uppercrust is an amazing addition to the Haile community.

My all-time favorite food from Petit Uppercrust is the veggie quiche. Quiche is an egg-based dish that is cooked in a pastry like a pie or tart. Uppercrust’s quiche is amazing because it tastes very fresh and is perfectly baked. I am a vegetarian, so I appreciate any good vegetarian meal, and this quiche is unquestionably one of my favorites.

A few of the choices at Petit Uppercrust and Uppercrust Bakery

Both Uppercrust bakeries produce many flavorful and seasonal cookies. From tulip flowers to hearts and butterflies, these festive cookies are a wonderful treat. The vibrantly colored icing makes the cookies look like little art masterpieces. My favorite Uppercrust cookie is the blue tulip, because the blue and purple icing has a marbleized look making it especially aesthetic. These cookies are always a great option at the bakery. It will be exciting to see what cookies Uppercrust will bring to the table this upcoming fall.

Another notable dessert at Petit Uppercrust is the guava pastry. I enjoy this treat because the guava flavoring has such a tropical flavor very true to the actual fruit. The guava pastry is perfectly crispy and delicious, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys tropical treats. Uppercrust’s pastries are also massive, so it is fun to share them with your friends.

Petit Uppercrust is an incredibly special confectionary shop. The food is incredible, as well as the location. It has been a wonderful addition in the Haile Market Square, a hub for retail and restaurants. Uppercrusts’s convenient location provides a lovely place for local community members to gather, visit, and enjoy delectable food. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a café atmosphere to gather with good friends for good food.

If the MLB Playoffs Started Today

By Brody Beaupre

When most people think about October one word comes to mind: Halloween. Unless, of course, your favorite Major League Baseball (MLB) team is in the playoffs. October was not only made for ghosts and ghouls, but for homeruns and high scoring games. In the 2022 postseason, there are bound to be many great matchups and upsets.

The Good, the Bad, and the Angels

This season has been full of some very high highs, and some very (very) low lows. There are many examples of this throughout the baseball season, but my personal favorites are the Angels and the Braves. First the good, a.k.a. the Braves. The Atlanta Braves went on one of the hottest winning streaks in baseball this year. The team won 14 straight games. This streak, which started June 1 and ended June 15, was one of the main reasons the Braves are in the playoffs. For a large part of the season, the Braves have been two to four games behind the New York Mets for the Divisional Series spot but were able to make a good run for the Wild Card spots. The younger team led by head coach Brian Snitker has a very solid chance at the NLCS, if not the World Series. Now for the not so good, a.k.a. the Angels. The Los Angeles Angels went on one of the worst losing streaks in the MLB this year. A straight 14 games without a win. This is oddly ironic, because two of the biggest names in baseball are on the Angels. This would be Mike Trout (#27) and Shohei Ohtani (#17). Mike Trout has been on the cover of many MLB video games, and Ohtani was recently the cover of “MLB The Show ‘22”. Unfortunately, the superstars could not save the team from a very low spot in the rankings. 

If the postseason started today:

Brody’s Official First Round Predictions:

All of the teams in the playoffs this year have the ability to beat their opponent but there can only be one winner. 

Seattle Mariners @ Cleveland Guardians – Seattle
Seattle has not seen the playoffs since 2001 and now that they have a shot, I believe that they will claw and fight for the series win.

Tampa Bay Rays @ Toronto Blue Jays – Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is starting to spread its wings as an organization. They have good pitching and some quality hitters, whereas Toronto is lacking in the quality pitching department.

Philadelphia Phillies @ St. Louis Cardinals – St. Louis
If I pick Philadelphia, there’s a high chance Ms. Alvarez will fail me (kidding…kind of). St. Louis has star catcher Yadier Molina and designated hitter Albert Pujols, both of whom are retiring after this season. They will have extra incentive to go all the way as one final hurrah.   

San Diego Padres @ Atlanta Braves – Atlanta
Atlanta is coming off a World Series win in 2021 so the extra motivation is there for the Braves to go back-to-back.