Category Archives: Reviews

Is Marvel getting worse?

Captain Marvel, Thor the Dark World, and The Eternals. That’s a list of just a few of the low-quality Marvel movies. In my opinion, Marvel has only worsened since the release of Avenger’s Endgame. However, there’s still hope. If you’re a lifelong Marvel fan like myself, chances are you are caught up with all the movies, or have read enough about them, whether in the comics, or online. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was recently released to rave reviews and big sales. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, and Guardians of the Galaxy 3, are all some of the new upcoming movies that Marvel is releasing. That doesn’t include all of the movies or TV shows.

Photo Credit: Igor Bumba on Unsplash

Whether you agree or not, Marvel hasn’t been the same since 2020. After a disappointing phase 4, Marvel should be looking to bounce back. Blame Covid all you want, but there is more that we as fans fail to see. I still will go to the theaters and see Marvel movies in action, but I have not gotten the same nostalgia as I did in Marvel’s “peak.” Spider-Man: No Way Home and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings showed promise, but I think Marvel has much work left.

I have found the recent Marvel production to be underwhelming. They were given a large budget to create these films and TV shows, but none gave me the great experience of watching the Marvel universe unfold in front of my eyes. I want to tell you all now I think Thor: Love and Thunder was a bottom 10 Marvel movie, and Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness was average. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard to lose some of the beloved characters and cast, such as Chris Evans (Captain America), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki), but the show must go on.

Photo Credit: FORMAT arw on Unsplash

However, with the release of new DC movies, such as The Batman and Black Adam, a question remains: Is Marvel getting worse? Marvel seems to be going in that direction. Looking at the reviews or having an opinion is one thing, but the numbers show the reality. Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther, and Spider-Man: No Way Home have made the most money at the box office. Other than that, not much production.

In my eyes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be one of the greatest movie franchises of all time, which is why I have been disappointed with the newest releases of movies and shows. They seem to be becoming more satirical, and the fight scenes are getting worse. For example, She-Hulk and Thor Love and Thunder are written to make the audience laugh, but they take things too far. Thor Love and Thunder only had 3 notable fight scenes, which is not the pacing I was expecting compared to Thor Ragnarok or Captain America Civil War.

Photo Credit: Marcin Lukasik on Unsplash

Marvel is great, but they could be in serious trouble if they don’t keep up the high production while maintaining good reviews on their films. From one fan to the next, let’s hope Marvel doesn’t lose a fan for the wrong reasons.

David Cohn is a Senior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

A Review: Hogwarts on Broadway

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child​ came to Broadway on April 22, 2018. It takes place 19 years after the events of ​Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. All of the original characters are now parents, and they have to deal with new responsibilities. Hermione is the Minister of Magic, Harry is the Head of Magical Law Enforcement, and Ron runs a silly joke shop. In an odd way, each of those professions end up tying into the dark story. 

Albus Potter deals with being the son of the great Harry Potter and being in Slytherin, unlike the rest of his family. It is in Slytherin where he meets Scorpius Malfoy, his best friend. Albus soon thinks his father is not the hero people say he is. Albus and Scorpius use time travel to save “the spare” Cedric Diggory. They end up corrupting the timeline, erasing people from existence, and creating an alternate evil reality. Not only is there the adventure of Albus and Scorpius, the story of Harry, Ron and Hermione continue on in the show. Harry begins to believe Voldemort is still out there, ready to strike again.

The cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. (Photo Credit:

I was lucky enough to go and see the show in early August. The show is split into two parts, each two and a half hours long. The special effects for the show makes it appear like magic is real. The show was filled with effects that blew me away. From people appearing out of fire to evil creatures flying over the audience. The show was very well done.

The cast is complete with great actors portraying the iconic characters. James Snyder is the actor who plays Harry Potter. He was in many small films and tv series, but his biggest was She’s the Man, a teen rom-com in 2006. The young actor playing Albus Potter is Nicholas Podany. He has not starred in any movies, but he has appeared in a few episodes in the CW show, Hart of Dixie. Jenny Jules, is a English actress who plays Hermione Granger alongside Matt Mueller as Ron Weasley. Jonno Roberts plays the Slytherin nemesis Draco Malfoy. He has starred in many TV shows throughout the years. He was Declan Stanwick in the comedy show, Wrecked for nine episodes. Many of the actors have starred in crime shows like Blue Bloods and the NCIS franchise.

After the second part of the show, I was able to go behind the scenes. I got to meet the main cast members of the show, James Snyder, Nicholas Podany, and many others. Since the actors cannot reveal the “secrets” to the magic, I was unable to figure out the way the magic is really done. Each character seemed to have many costumes, some are even identical to the rest. The production crew really did a great job with the show. A family friend of mine Kimberly Dodson, played Rose Granger Weasley. She told me she is a “swing”, so she covers 12 tracks. This means she has to prepare for 12 different roles and she goes on whenever they need her.

This is a great show to see, especially if you are a Harry Potter nerd like I am. It’s funny, dark, advernterous, and has an amazing story. The play was written by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. I highly recommend seeing this show. The show has a rating of 91% by critics, and a 3.7/5 for the book. Do you think you’ll see the magic?

Ethan Webber is a sophomore member of The Quill, and is also a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Drama Club puts on a show with West Side Story

image1Mount Saint Joe has never failed to give us amazing plays and musicals. This spring, the drama club performed the 1957 Broadway show West Side Story. Junior Brennan Hyde played a lead role as Tony with sophomore Patrick Scott playing his best friend Riff. Riff is the leader of the gang, the Jets, and deals with the feud between the Jets and the Sharks. The Sharks are a gang full of Puerto Rican boys led by Bernardo, played by senior Ezra Melchor.

While the two gangs fight for territory, Tony meets the love of his life, Maria, who is the sister of Bernardo. Mount De Sales junior Maya Nellum played Maria, as she and Tony fall in love and can’t wait to spend their lives together. Unfortunately for Tony, Maria is already engaged to Chino. For those of you literary scholars, West Side Story is obviously a modern twist on the classic story, Romeo & JulietAs the two star-crossed lovers deal with the affair, it causes conflicts between the gangs. Maria and Tony fight for the freedom to love, while the gangs fight to end the feud once and for all.

Cast members Brennan Hyde and Patrick Scott during rehearsals.

As the cast and the crew were preparing for their performances, I had the chance to speak to Mr. Ader, who played the lead role of Tony when he was a student at St. Joe. Mr. Jason Ader, reflecting on his past performances, playing the role occupied by Brennan Hyde, said, “There was a lot of nostalgia watching some of my students play the same part I played 15 years ago…I’m really impressed and it was better than what we did!” Mr. Adam Kauffman, who was also in the show while a student at St. Joe, played the role of Jet member, Baby John. Sophomore Zach Polignone occupied the role this year, which was once filled by Mr. Kauffman. Mr. Kauffman said in the lead-up to the show, “I had a lot of fun in 2003 doing the show, I’m excited to see it. I have many students who are in the show [acting, stage crew, and in the band].

“There was a lot of nostalgia watching some of my students play the same part I played 15 years ago…I’m really impressed and it was better than what we did!” – Mr. Jason Ader

The show was seemingly a great success, as the audiences were overwhelmingly positive in their reception of West Side Story. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, I definitely recommend checking out the link below of all of the photos taken of the show. As a cast member, it was a cool experience playing a role in the production, and something I hope to hold onto, just like Mr. Ader and Mr. Kauffman. The production was led by theater director, Mr. Mike Hartsfield, who has guided this, his 30th show in his 15th year at Mount Saint Joe! As a cast member, I hope you enjoyed the show if you attended one of the performances. If you weren’t able to attend, I hope you come in the fall to see our next production!

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To check out the full album of pictures from West Side Story, click here.

img_0071Ethan Webber is a freshman member of the Quill.


Beauty and the Beast Review

c3v2m59w8aikwmsIt’s that time of the year again, Mount de Sales and Mount Saint Joe unite on the stage to  dazzle us all with their portrayals of some of the most iconic Disney characters.

Emma Romeo as Belle and Joe Pereira as Maurice in Mount de Sales’ production of Beauty and the Beast.

At the beginning of the first act the curtains open up to the first number in the center of the town. Belle; who is played by Emma Romeo. Right away wows us with her powerful yet gentle vocals. The townspeople joining in create a perfect opening to this classic. Not too much later we meet Gaston; who is played by Michael Stromberg. Michael in the first act, did a great job of encapsulating Gaston’s macho, but not so humble persona. While Gaston may not have wooed Belle, he might just impress the crowd instead. Cogsworth, who is played by Stephen Kirby, and Lumiere, who is played by Connor Hurley, created my favorite part of the first act. Stephen and Connor bounce off of each other well, and incorporate the humor and sarcasm that make us love these characters. Now the Beast, played by Alexander Scott, while on the stage, draws the interest of the crowd with his ferocious voice and stalking presence.

The second act is where everything begins to pick up, we get to see the Beast perform his first number, it played a bit flat at first but Alex is able to bring it back home to kick off Act II. Once again in Act II, Kirby and Hurley’s humor brought airiness to an act which craves it. The cast as a whole brought the house down when they performed their rendition of the popular Disney song “Be Our Guest”

The joint Mount Saint Joseph and Mount de Sales Pit Band led by Mr. Jeff Hosier.

Overall the entire cast was wonderful, Emma Romeo, who portrayed Belle, looked very comfortable in her very first MDSA-MSJ lead role. Alexander Scott who was the Beast was the perfect counter to Emma’s Belle. With the delicateness of Belle’s character to the stomping and roaring of the Beast, it created a nice production. The pit band was outstanding, bringing  to life these iconic songs. Mr. Jeffrey Hosier did a fantastic job ensuring the band was able to transport us to the world of Disney. I highly recommend everyone to go see this play, everyone involved worked endlessly to put out a great show and it absolutely shows on stage.

“Beauty and the Beast” will be presented on Friday, February 3 at 7:00pm; Saturday, February 4, at 2:00pm & 7:00pm; Sunday, February 5, at 2:00pm in the Mount Saint Joseph Fine Arts Auditorium. Tickets are $10 at the Box Office. Remember to follow @MDSDrama on Twitter for more information.

“The Wiz” – A Review of the Spring Musical

It’s that time of the year again! MSJ’s Spring Musical has concluded, and it’s time to go through and nit-pick everything that happened during the show.

DSC_6368Well, not really, but what I am going to do is give you all the highs and lows of this year’s show, The Wiz. The show ran through the weekend of April 16th starting Friday night at 7 PM and ending on Sunday at 2 PM, and I am basing my review on the Saturday night performance.

We can start with the actual Music/Pit Band performance. The music was great! The band was able to create emotions with their instruments to an extremely high degree. Shout-out to Chris Arreza, ’17, who did an amazing job playing the drums during the performance. If there were any negatives, it would be that the band played a bit too loud, making it hard to hear the actors throughout the performance.

On to our first role: Dorothy, played by MDSA junior Azaria Oglesby. She commanded the stage and the audience’s attention throughout the whole performance. Having a great amount of power in her voice helped her achieve this. One thing that I noticed was how committed she was throughout the whole thing, especially in the choreography. Never missing a beat, she danced in circles around some of the other actors, to her benefit and their deficit. Even while running throughout all of the Marion Burk Knott Fine Arts Center, she was able to stay  on beat and hit every note. Great job Azaria!DSC_6824_crop

We move on to the role of Aunt Em, played by MDSA senior Meghan Hanlon. In Cinderella, she was an A+ actress, but I think this role was a less than perfect match. Aunt Em seems to be a huge role vocally needing a huge range to sing. “The Feeling We Once Had,” which is a song in the very beginning of the show, is basically a solo. It is a very challenging song, and in my opinion, it was a little pitchy. However, her characterization and acting was excellent and reminded us of the great performances of past. Overall, it was a solid performance. She pushed through and gave it her all. Well done and good luck in your future performances Meghan!

DSC_7545Moving onto our first MSJ performer: Mark Haver, ’16. The role of the Tinman is one of the most important in the show.  Mark brought something to the MSJ stage that I had yet to see, tap dancing. In his introductory scene/song, “Slide Some Oil To Me,” he separated himself from the rest of the group when he broke out into dance. His voice was also the epitome of what a Broadway voice sounds like: vibrato, drama, and attitude.

“Steeeeeeeeeeeeeve” could be heard throughout the whole auditorium when MSJ fan favorite Steven “Big Steve” Alford, ’16, bowed to the crowd at the end of the performance. Steve was able to get the crowd laughing, especially with the line, “Imma get the hell outta here!” It was definitely cool seeing a 6’1″, 340-lb lineman on the MSJ stage (Yes Steve, I know you’re going to read this, and yes, I looked at your Hudl to get those stats, lol.). From his performance you would have had no idea that it was his first musical while in high school. There were some times though where the choreography seemed a little fuzzy,  but who am I kidding? It was awesome! Congrats Steve on a job well done, and good luck at McDaniel!

DSC_6612One actor that seemed particularly well-cast to me was senior Kyle Starling as the Scarecrow. He played the character with mindlessness and humor totally appropriate for the part. There were times when I lost Kyle on the stage, and that was a real shame. He had the most stage time with Dorothy compared to all the other roles, and I thought his solid performance suffered a bit simply by its comparison to Azaria’s star turn. Also, I felt like the acting like the Scarecrow couldn’t walk was way overdone. It was funny the first 2 times, but continuing to do so 3/4 of the way through got a little old. On the other hand, Kyle did use some excellent comedic timing though in his dialogue which really got people laughing and enjoying the show. Although mixed, I think it was a positive performance! Good luck Kyle in your future theatre productions!

DSC_7732_cropLet’s continue and look at the role of the Wiz, played by MSJ junior Connor Hurley. Again I felt mixed about this performance. I didn’t quite get this characterization/interpretation of the Wizard, which I think needed a little explanation. Just imagine Evel Knievel and David Bowie having a child. That’s what this was like. It wasn’t a major problem though, and I might be the only person who felt this way. The actual performance Connor displayed was very well-executed. He definitely made the most out of the time he was on stage. And Connor once again brought that great Broadway-esque voice that the MSJ stage has now heard for some time. Bravo!DSC_6708

Bridget Edmondson, my favorite actress from MDSA’s Cinderella, once again put on a performance for us that night. It wasn’t a very big role, but she definitely made the most of being Evillene (Wicked Witch of the West). “Shut Up!” rang throughout, and the laughter quickly followed. Bridget has great comedic timing which benefits her no matter how big her role is. Could I say it was enough to be a repeat of my favorite individual performance? The answer is no, it just wasn’t enough. If she would have had any more stage time, she probably would have stolen the show again for me. Way to go Bridget!

DSC_6982The Good Witches of the North and South were played by Seton Keough junior Pria Graham and MDSA senior Amelia Congedo, respectively. Both had pretty small roles but together did a great job in adding to the play. Pria was able to bring in a modern feel that just added to the performance and freshened it all up. Amelia sang a beautiful ballad while on stage and was visually captivating in an elegant costume to fit the part.

Other notably positive performances were that of senior Peter McKernan (Royal Gatekeeper), those who performed the Poppy Field Dance, and my dear friend Greg Rogers (Leader of the Winged Monkeys).

DSC_6398My expectations for this musical were pretty high. Coming off a great Winter musical (Cinderella), I thought that all of a sudden his would become a Broadway cast. And I also didn’t do my research. When I heard that this musical was written in an urbanized vernacular, I expected it to be 21st century, R&B or Hip Hop style music. The Wiz was written and originally shown in the 70’s, which explains why I felt like the urbanized feel I expected didn’t shine through. If I were to do one thing to improve the musical for today’s audience, it would be to update the music to a more modern style of R&B and Hip Hop, just so the modern idea of urbanized would show through and make it more contemporary.

The cast did a good job and I was entertained, and that’s all I can ask for. I rate it 4 stars out of 5.

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