Monthly Archives: April 2016

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The Spartan Spectator congratulates our Student of Excellence, Cathleen McRitchie!

“When I found out, I was shocked, because many other people were in the running, and I was just doing what I like to do. I was honoured, and I’m still honoured.”


By: Nathan MacKinnon

     I’m finally getting the chance to talk about what I love, and no, it’s not chocolate dipped strawberries. Although they’re extremely delicious and appropriate for various occasions, they’re – sadly – not the topic in question for today. If you’re still reading this article and not questioning my sanity, I guess I’d better tell you; I wish to talk about cinema. After the biggest awards night of the year – the Oscars – you’re probably asking yourself some questions. Which movie is the best to watch? Which is the worst? How many movies was Tom Hardy in? Did Leo actually win or am I dreaming? Who in the world was that dude from Bridge of Spies and how did he beat Rocky? No one can beat Rocky!

       Don’t worry. I’m here to give you the rundown of the winning films of 2015. I have seen the majority of the winning films and wish to give you, oh wonderful reader, the guidance needed to cascade yourself with cinema.

Bridge of Spies: Directed by Steven Spielberg.

Based on a true story, this film stars Tom Hanks as the key negotiator within a hostage exchange in the 1960s. Whenever Mr. Hanks and Mr. Spielberg get together, it’s usually cinema gold. People flocked to this film, anticipating the likes of Saving Private Ryan in film prowess. Sadly, this film does disappoint on some levels. For instance, the film lacks good pacing and slows at some parts, leading to unavoidable boredom. The performances aren’t life-changing, and even though the Academy felt that Mark Rylance deserved the Oscar for best supporting actor, his performance was not the best, considering the packed lot of other contenders. Bridge of Spies seemed like it made the Oscars because of Spielberg and Hanks. If those names weren’t placed on the movie poster, it might not have been so widely-acclaimed. Don’t go and run to this film, it’s your basic period piece of suspense and substance.

The Martian: Directed by Ridley Scott

This sci-fi comedy stars Matt Damon as an astronaut stuck on Mars after a freak accident. He is then tasked with the difficult trial of survival on a deserted planet. This film felt like it really lacked identity. It struggles finding its own tone. One minute the film is trying to be funny, the next it’s serious. This leads to issues, especially when a serious tone is taken. Dangerous situations can’t really be taken as dire, for the tone is too comedic, and this confusion only dismantles any shot at suspense. That being said, the film does do well in presenting a relatable voice, one that is real. A huge kudos to Matt for delivering such a joyous effort. This film is worth seeing, but it does not challenge or change much for the viewer. ”Was I right to laugh?” is a common inner-thought.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Directed by George Miller

This film was a genuine surprise. It found its specific tone and played heavily within it, delivering a powerful performance.This film stars Tom Hardy as Mad Max, a shady individual given the opportunity to be the hero, even when he doesn’t really want it. The film also stars Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, a powerful female deliverer and the real antagonist of the film. No longer is the female role designated as the “Princess in Distress”; Furiosa brings down the enemy with girth – a sight beautiful to behold in modern cinema. Where this film truly separates itself from the regular action thriller genre is within its pacing. From the very start, the film feels like it’s running down hill, explosion after explosion. It is hard to blink without missing something! The problem with lightning fast pacing is keeping it up. Most action movies tend to have a decompression period; a place to breathe for the characters, just before another big fight. The lack of this all-too-important component leads to an artificial taste of action and leaves the viewer feeling like they’re constantly on their feet. The whole world is beautifully crafted: costumes, CG, makeup, and various different production stations come together to create a surreal world. Definitely go watch this film – and that’s coming from someone who genuinely dislikes the basic big-budget action film.

Room: Directed by Lenny Abrahamson

This Irish-written film is also outstanding. It does not need the explosions and extra destruction to reel the viewer into a story of sheer perseverance and growth. A mother and her son have been trapped within a tiny shed-like room for seven years, and what unfolds in the rest of the story will tug on many heartstrings. This film is beautiful in its simple delivery of human emotion. Brie Larson stars as the kidnapped woman, turned mother. She does not overplay her role, casting a beautiful elegance, even in such dire conditions. Young Jacob Tremblay does really well for his age, playing the son who has never seen the outside world. Ms. Larson totally deserved the Oscar; her personal tone certainly warranted the award. When watching this film, which is a must, really pay attention to the perspective shots – the ones that are shot to portray the vision of the character. These shots are often overused, leaving the viewer with an artificial feel. In this film, it only brings to attention the reality of the character. Especially when the little boy sees the world for the first time; it’s a moment that I still think about today. A film hasn’t done that to me in a while! What a delightful surprise.

The Revenant: Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Well, I really don’t want to say a whole lot about this film till you see it. Which is hard for me because I usually love talking about movies. These types of films only come ever so often, an experience unlike anything you’ll ever see. I could go on for hours, it is a personal favourite of mine. So, please watch this film, then come talk to me. I am not even gonna explain what’s it about, or what to look at when viewing. The truth is, we all will leave the film a little differently. I could go watch it for a fourth time and I’d still get something new out of it. So, experience this masterpiece of cinema, then come running to me. I am excited to see what you truly get out of it.

Here’s the my review of Spotlight, the Best Picture Award WInner.

Spotlight: Directed by Tom McCarthy

This film does deserve the Oscar. Even though I absolutely loved The Revenant, this film is a better blend of story and technical appeal. This film stars multiple big names, like Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton. They all play reporters within the Spotlight division of the Boston Globe. This surprisingly true story looks at how these journalists uncover a massive scandal within the Catholic Church. I’ll be honest, I was scared when I started this film, political dramas are usually too slow and drawn out. Heavy on plot and short on technical appeal. Well, I was wrong. The shot composition is superb, especially for a political drama. Just watch the tracking shots of characters walking through their office or out at a park. These kind of shots are so rarely used in the genre and bring a refreshing taste to any viewer. It’s also paced beautifully, leading one plot point to another simply, yet powerfully, like Ping Pong. With no real drag in plot, there is no point where the viewer wants to press the fast forward button. Mark Ruffalo drives the acting the heaviest, bringing a reserved role out of it’s shell at the best of times. I was even surprised by how powerful his character seemed, even though he wasn’t expressing any sort of rage or anger. He showed that yelling and screaming isn’t the only way of showing real emotion. I had heard great things about the film, and even with that in mind, I gasped in astonishment. The plot helped the actors do almost perfectly, which was launched by the shot composition. All these points are rarely placed together in unison, which created a revitalized and original view of the political genre. I, the film guy that usually loves to hate on movies, couldn’t find something off-putting. This film just felt right, like the example of when a director is able to put every piece of the puzzle together. A written masterpiece, I was speechless. If you’re gonna see any film this year, watch this one. Whether you’re an actor, a film guy or a classic joe, it doesn’t matter. Everyone will appreciate the film differently. The deserving winner of Best Picture.

You agree? Disagree? Come and see me, I am totally down to here your opinion!

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By Bhavani Narayanan

Four years ago, in a land far, far away, in the middle of an old cornfield, a secondary school was born. What was once a possibility for future Spartans to thrive became the death of the Spartan spirit.

     Four years ago, people would crawl over each other to go to the school dance; now, semiformal can only scrape together thirty attendees. Four years ago, students would actively cheer for our sports teams; now, half the school isn’t even aware of the teams or their accomplishments.

     Members of our current Student Activities Council (SAC), have expressed their disdain towards the lack of excitement in the student body.  “We try, we advertise, but in the end it’s up to the students, and they don’t seem to care. All students that have school spirit are involved in SAC and other student councils, but we can’t profit from ourselves. No one [in the school] seems to care what we do.”

     And that is frighteningly true. The only sense of bond that is ever formed in this school is on noncompliant day and when the student body decides that Krispy Kreme doughnuts are worth being fifteen minutes late to class.

     Even in assemblies, despite there being hundreds of faces in the crowd, most of them are turned towards their phone, voices hushed as they talk to their friends; the air of indifference washes across the gym because of this.

     So, what can we do? Craig Kielburger Secondary School cannot just remain this dull school in the middle of an old cornfield! There’s the possibility of having more rallies, holding more events, bake sales, and dances, but it’s really up to the students to make the spirit of the school come to life.

     That is why SAC created a survey for the students of Craig Kielburger to ask them what the council could do better to bring up the spirit. This survey will look at the students from all four grades and their involvement with the school’s events, and what future events the students would like to attend. The survey then asks the student for advice on how to get the school more involved.

     The results of this survey will be released during the next Student Activities Council meeting, and using these results SAC will work towards a more enthusiastic student body.


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By Bhavani Narayanan

     With Prom just around the corner, everyone is scrambling for dresses. If you’re thinking of attending the CKSS prom and planning to wear a dress, the girls of CK have put together a facebook group where they share their dresses to avoid wearing the same dress on the night of prom.

     Looking through the selected dresses, it is obvious what the popular choices are. This year’s winter colours have dominated the dresses with a surplus of dark blues, vibrant reds, and the ever classy black. Meanwhile, spring colours, such as the pastels, have been surfacing with the arrival of spring.

     There are several styles of prom dresses, as well. You have your ball gowns, your two pieces, your illusions, your short dresses, and your sleeve and sleeveless dresses. The options seem to be endless!

     With a vast selection of dresses to choose from in terms of style and material, one might ask, “How do I find the perfect dress?” And that comes with a simple answer, dear reader. A perfect dress is any dress that you feel comfortable and attractive in. Can you dance in it? Do you feel like you’ll have fun dancing in your dress? Do you love the colour and the fit? Do you just love it? If yes, then you’ve found the perfect dress!

     In the end, Prom is not about who has the best dress, or who is wearing what colour. It’s about seeing your friends and partying with them one last time before you all part ways. It’s about making the most of your last night as a Spartan, and feeling confident and attractive doing so. Whatever dress makes you feel that way is the perfect dress for you.

     Happy Prom dress shopping, Spartans!

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By: Alyssa Matheson

      St Patrick’s Day is always a big party at my house. Not only has some of my family probably come from Ireland at some point, but it is also my dad’s birthday. That morning I woke up to the sound of birds peacefully chirping outside my window, and also the blaring trill of beeps sent from my mom to wake me up in time for work. From the moment the first kid arrived at the tutoring centre for camp, there was nearly incessant chatter directed at me ranging from a high-pitch recounting of a story I had already heard the past three days, to an array of voices asking the same question within thirty seconds of each other. The peace that came when the children started to watch their movie was as short-lived as can only be expected when the students found hard-hitting questions, and completely relevant comments. I don’t blame the kids, if I had to know if a real hamster’s eyes could be that big or comment on just how funny it was that Adam Sandler got pushed into a pool, I would totally interrupt a movie and disturb the peace of my teacher who was just trying to check her Twitter feed in the few moments where she wasn’t completely responsible for the actions and productivity of kindergarteners.

      On the ride home my mother regaled me with our plans for the evening to a background chorus of rattles and creaks from our van which has come from years of being driven through our construction-riddled town. We we greeted when we arrived by a rousing Irish song (the likes of which became the soundtrack of our entire evening) and I responded in kind, singing lyrics that describe the flora and fauna found in a bog.

      That night, after a traditional Irish dinner complete with boiled vegetables, the true party began. It was filled with dancing, and giggling about missteps, and discussions ranging from T.V. shows (mainly Friday Night Lights – a show that can’t lose in my opinion,) to March Break activities, covering a range of topics with a balanced level of depth achieved through years of friendship. The comfortable conversation was far from the only sound filling the house, the quietly squeaking shoes from an abandoned March Madness game accompanied the singing of Irish songs, which eventually devolved into various genres of music which at one point prompted a cry of “This is the Arctic Monkeys you dummies!”
      The true silence after our guests left was a welcome respite from the normal cacophony of my days, which only lasted until the birds’ songs and alarm’s harsh trill shattered it once again.

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Why Your Name Should Get the Pronunciation It Deserves By: Catiyana Élanwy Adam

     A recent Facebook post opened my eyes to the discrimination many “non-white” individuals face against the most basic form of their identity; their name. While it’s often funny to hear a jittery supply teacher nervously rattle off barbaric travesties during the morning attendance, it’s not so funny when your name is mispronounced every single day. Like your appearance, heritage, and personality, your name is an integral part of your identity, something you have identified with yourself since a very young age. And when that piece of you is constantly degraded, simplified, or downright butchered by everyone around you, it becomes much easier to lose that part of you.

     People with more “difficult names” face this kind of covert discrimination every day. In an article I read, a woman named Shailee (pr. “Shuhy-lee”) described how her teachers and friends’ “anglicised” pronunciations led to an attachment of shame and embarrassment to her name, a feeling she would not shake off until well into university. By then she was introducing herself as “Shay,” a nickname that was deemed ‘cuter’ but not at all a reflection of her real name.

     I myself have received a little grief over my more “difficult” name. “Catiyana” isn’t really commonplace, so I introduce myself as “Cat” most days. My middle name, which is French, is pronounced “ay-lon-wee”. I’ve gotten several interesting versions of that over the years, the most memorable of which being when a fellow kindergartner exclaimed to my face: “Wait, your middle name is SALAMI?” Needless to say, I avoided bringing that up for years, and I’ve never quite managed to look at luncheon meats the same way.

     The truth is, some names are difficult. Some people, no matter how many times you tell them, are still going to call you Fih-tee-mah, when it’s Fat-uh-ma, and vice versa. The important thing is that you do tell them. We are human, and we are capable of learning how to pronounce a few syllables correctly. Don’t let laziness on the part of you or another shrink your name into something you are ashamed of or embarrassed about.

     Learn to respect your name, so others will too!. Like it or not, it’s going to be with you forever. (Unless, of course, you decide to change it when you’re thirty-five and in the grips of a devastating mid-life crisis – but by then, all the power to ya. I just wouldn’t recommend Élanwy as a top choice.)

By: Alyssa Matheson

     What is with this school and our dances? We have tried to throw three dances – a Halloween dance, a winter dance, and semi-formal; yet all of them have been cancelled, because we can’t scrape together enough students to buy tickets.

     Now, what might be holding us back from having all the fun that high schools in movies and T.V. shows get to have? Some concerns are that nobody’s friends are interested in going to the dances. Jessica Kennedy, a grade twelve student, said that dances “aren’t really [her] scene,” and that “none of [her] friends are interested in going, and [she doesn’t] want to go without them.” This an all-too common attitude that causes a huge lack in the number of attendees; which can easily be fixed by one friend deciding to go.

     That one friend might have chosen not to go due to the cost of our school dances, particularly the $40 semi-formal. Carole Palattao, another grade twelve student, says that the dances are “too expensive, and our school lacks the spirit which would motivate us to pay for it,” which is also a common sentiment. We will never end our streak of cancelled dances if, instead of trying to participate in school planned activities, we wallow in our lack of pride.
     Here’s hoping we can pull together enough spirit to keep our next dance from getting cancelled. If some of us go, it might actually be fun!