A gifted and haunted older sister and an air-headed younger sister duo, along with their traditional immigrant father, struggle with mental illness in the family while opening a new shop. It sounds like a clichéd story of a family overcoming their dark past and everything is back to normal and everyone is happy at the end. However, it was a pleasant surprise to be wrong.
Little Pretty and The Exceptional is one of the six plays that charts new Canadian experiences at the Factory Theatre in Toronto.
— Jaclyn Qua-Hiansen (@JaclynMQH) April 8, 2017
It’s a bittersweet family story that deals with heavy themes. Simran (Farah Merani) is an aspiring lawyer — the exceptional — while her younger sister Jasmeet’s (Shruti Kothari) highest ambition is to be prom queen — little pretty — and spending time with her boyfriend, Iyar (Shelley Antony). Dilpreet (Sugith Varughese), their father, acts traditional and thinks differently from the sisters, but together they plan the opening of their sari shop on Gerrard Street East. Simran becomes frantic after receiving poor LSAT results. Over time, Simran’s mental state declines, and the family has to support each other through the hardship.
The acting was notable, particularly Sugith Varughese as Dilpreet, the father. Sugith portrayed the character to a T. He never broke character and even put on an accent. Even without lines, all the actors still stayed in character; it was most noticeable during the microwave scene, when the actors were waiting for microwaved Chinese food. Iyar, portrayed by Shelley Antony, lacked depth as a character originally. He would awkwardly leave when the scene became serious and didn’t quite fit. However, in the second part, Iyar became more aware, resulting in a better character. Jasmeet also matured in the second part, but lacked a reaction when she learned new information about their family’s tragedy.
The set was spectacular. The lighting was the most impressive aspect; it helped smoothly transition between scenes and set the mood of each scene. A good example is when Simran was hallucinating — the flickering of the lights in the shop added a horror feel. The usage of all of the stage was wonderful. An example of this is Simran peeking from the curtain and stepping out from there. All of it is made even more impressive by the fact that the whole story took place in one location, the shop.
— Sugith Varughese (@SugithVarughese) April 6, 2017
The playwriting/script/plot was good. The struggles of an immigrant family, the ties of family and the toll of mental illness on everyone was portrayed well. The family strain when Simran was slipping away from them was tear-jerking. Simran having schizophrenia wasn’t shown well; the various symptoms were questionable, especially in a specific scene where Simran was detached from her body. It could’ve been interpreted in many ways. It could’ve shown disillusion of reality or another personality (Dissociative Identity Disorder) or Depersonalization Disorder. It was also disappointing to how quick and easy it was for Simran to find the right medication that works and getting the correct diagnosis, considering the play took a minute or two to microwave Chinese food for authenticity.
The story set a base for the actors, but the actors really brought it to life. Everyone stayed focused throughout the production and the set allowed the scenes to feel more real. The plot had so much potential, but could’ve been more precise. It’s a play worth checking out. Unfortunately, Little Pretty and The Exceptional showings ended on April 30th but the Factory Theatre offers other productions also worth looking at.
Readers are just one tap away from unlocking the power of the written word.
Borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your local public library.
Libby allows you to use multiple cards and different libraries, which is great if you want to include the whole family. Libby’s design is simple and easy to use. The app starts with the user saying hi to Libby. All materials will be available as soon as you log on. There are collections of different genres and types of materials. There is a single bookshelf that automatically presents all of your loans and holds, all the materials you borrowed through the OverDrive app (or your library’s OverDrive website) will show up in Libby too. All the materials can be downloaded and borrowed with a single tap.
Some advantages of using Libby is that your session doesn’t time out, you can download your materials to use offline, you can sample books, tag your materials, you can keep track of what you read with your activity tab and you can skip and rewind your audiobooks. The best part about Libby is that materials are always available and will be returned automatically, so fees will never be a problem.
This is an educational and potentially fun app. Libby has books and materials for everyone. From beginning readers with read-a-long picture books to the foreign language learner and anyone else. However, you still must monitor children using Libby to keep them away from material that isn’t age-appropriate. It is possible to apply preferences but some materials could slip through and the setting could be changed easily.
A mission to Mars… A mistake… A cover up… Star-crossed lovers…
Space Between Us is science fiction movie (rated PG-13) that’s main focus is on human relations, in particular, love.
A group is sent to Mars to colonize the planet because Earth won’t be able to sustain us forever. Unfortunately, on Mars, a lead astronaut dies giving birth. The child born on Mars has to be kept a secret from humanity on Earth as to not ruin the reputation of the company that planned to colonize Mars. Gardner Elliot, the first human born on Mars feels alone. He has only met less than 15 people consisting of astronauts and scientists; who have raised him into a very brilliant child. He managed to forge an unlikely friendship with a girl on Earth named Tulsa, through an internet chat room. Gardner really wants to meet Tulsa, find his father, and experience Earth. However, his body wouldn’t survive on Earth due to the effects of zero gravity on him during pregnancy. He has an enlarged heart and his bone density and lungs might not be able to handle Earth’s atmosphere.
Luckily, with a surgery and rehabilitation/training; he was able to go to Earth. When he was on Earth, he was quarantined in NASA to run tests for abnormalities that could jeopardize his time on Earth. The tests seem never ending and the likelihood of Gardner actually taking in Earth is dim. Gardner decides to escape. He eventually finds Tulsa, a sharp girl that has been bouncing from foster home to foster home. She is very upset that Gardner hasn’t messaged her in seven months, but she forgives him and agrees to help him find his father.
On the search for his father, Gardner comes to encounter the wonders of Earth and love. Within this movie, there are many good qualities and not so good qualities. I adored the amount of detail put into the movie, for example, Gardener walking funny when he arrived on Earth due to the change in gravity, or the effects of space on the body (osteogenesis imperfecta). The producer and co-writer, Richard Lewis put in a lot of effort for realism; he consulted with experts from NASA, physicians, flight surgeons, astronauts and Hubbard.
The film had lots of action and different changes of scenery which kept it exciting. However, the story was just okay. The characters all have interesting backstories and interesting quirks but they weren’t fully fleshed-out. Unfortunately, the movie went by too fast to grow a strong connection with the characters. The main part of the movie, the love between the star-crossed lovers felt disappointing and cheesy. I could sum it up in two easy words ‘puppy love’. “Gardner Elliot: [to Tulsa] I was scared I wouldn’t know how to be human. You made me human, and no matter what happens, it was worth it. All of it.”
The ending, in particular, felt dissatisfying, I felt a lot the problems were unresolved and everyone just went back to how things were in the beginning. It was a typical teen love movie that had the special element of Mars. The premise of the movie was interesting but the movie’s plot was underwhelming. In my opinion, it receives 3/5 rating.
Color Switch is an app by Fortafy Games. It’s an addictive game in which you tap to move a ball through a variety of obstacles. The colour of the ball must match the colour of the obstacle otherwise you will have to start the level again. There are bunches of different balls to collect and different game modes to play. You can collect stars when playing different levels. The stars collected can then be used to buy unique balls. The game design changes according to the holidays/seasons.
It’s a great app to waste time by playing endless mode or the plethora of levels in all very distinct game modes. Color Switch is a challenging game that requires your attention and quick reflexes.
It’s hard to lose interest because new modes are constantly being added, and the game style changes too. The layout is colourful and bright, which is eye-catching. The game can become frustrating and tedious, however, since you only have one chance to complete the level, causing you to play the same level over and over. That is, unless you decide to watch an ad to skip a level or to get an extra life, but the extra life option only works if you’re near the end of the level. There’s also a lot of ads on the game, which is quite tiresome.
In conclusion, Color Switch is a very entertaining free game that doesn’t require wi-fi and can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s annoying when you struggle to beat a level and a wave of ads barrage you. Nonetheless, it’s a great time waster and has a colourful appearance.
Kubo and the Two Strings is a fantasy adventure film. It’s directed by Travis Knight and produced with Lanika. The film follows the adventure of young boy Kubo. He resides above a village with his mother. His mother instructs that Kubo must never stay out past sunset. When Kubo disobeyed this rule, his mother’s fractured past comes back to ruin their peaceful life. It sparks an old vendetta, and forces Kubo to leave his mother and to seek the armor, helmet and sword of his father, a legendary samurai…
Kubo and the Two Strings uses traditional stop motion, puppets, computer-generated imagery, and 3D printing to create breathtaking scenery and lively characters. This interesting process added more elements to traditional stop-motion (made it futuristic), and made the transitions flow better. An 18-foot stop-motion puppet was even created! The story has the characteristics of a folklore influenced by Japanese culture. It displays a variety of emotions, as well as coming to terms with imperfections, and being human.
In conclusion, Kubo and the Two Strings has an interesting story and unique characters. In my own opinion though, I felt the story was missing something. The scenes have been laboured over to create its wondrous appearance. It teaches new methods of stop motion and Japanese culture. I think it’s a great movie to watch. However be cautious of watching with young children, there are some deep topics. I enjoyed it immensely, 4.5/5 stars.
Behind the scenes: technology – How the studio behind ‘Kubo’ went high tech to make stop-motion look astonishing
Behind the scenes: timelapse of stop-motion – A Behind-the-Scenes Timelapse Captures the Extraordinary Physical Labor for the New Stop Motion Film ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a historical fiction book. It’s written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. The book takes place in Paris following a young boy named Hugo Cabret. The book is 526 pages long, not including the credits and sources.
Stop! Wait, don’t dismiss this book for being long or historical. This book has so much to offer. It gives you a glimpse of the city of Paris and its residence. You’ll follow the life of Hugo Cabret, who is left to fend for himself.
Hugo is very talented with clocks and mechanics like his father. Hugo’s father was working on fixing a mechanical man at a museum late at night. The museum guard locked the entrance, forgetting Hugo’s father was in there. A fire broke out and Hugo’s father died. Hugo stays with his uncle. Hugo’s uncle would leave Hugo unattended for long periods of time, until one day he disappears altogether. When wandering the streets, Hugo sees the mechanical man thrown out and vows to fix it. I could go on but I don’t want to give away spoilers.
The book is fast-paced and primarily composed of illustrations. The illustrations give a soft and dream-like appearance that’ll capture your attention. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an educational and entertaining book since it’s historical fiction. The book discusses early cinema in France, clockwork, mechanics and automatons. The book has it’s own website and has also been made into a movie.
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