Escape Room Movie Review

January is commonly referred to as the worst month for movies. While Aug-Sept are usually not memorable either, the typical January movie gets trashed by critics and audiences alike. 2019’s beginning brings audiences Adam Robitel’s (Insidious: The Last Key, The Taking of Deborah Logan) new horror flick, Escape Room to theaters. Columbia Pictures obtained the right to be the first studio in theaters this year.

 

Written by Matt Cunningham

January is commonly referred to as the worst month for movies. While August and September are usually not memorable either, the typical January movie gets trashed by critics and audiences alike. 2019 brought audiences Adam Robitel’s (Insidious: The Last Key, The Taking of Deborah Logan) new horror flick, Escape Room to theaters. Columbia Pictures obtained the right to be the first studio in theaters this year.

The premise of the film alone is intriguing, using an increasingly popular activity as its selling point. Escape rooms are essentially puzzles that require the participants to find clues in order find a way to ‘escape’ the room they are locked inside.

Escape Room takes this concept, and turns it into a sadistic game for the players. Each room offers life-and-death scenarios, and the audience gets to see how these characters respond to every situation. From extreme heat to the threat of poisonous gas, each room offers new perils for our characters.

Some of the real-life rooms have games masters who will come inside and let the participants know what they’ve missed if the timer hits zero. This style is what the movie uses to explain the game to the audience. However, some real escape rooms allow the participants to continuously return until they have solved the puzzle.

From the beginning of the movie,  Robitel shows he is excellent at directing. Robitel uses long, single-take cuts to create a feeling of mystery and suspense. This makes the film rather riveting at times, because the craftsmanship behind the camera is so uniquely handled.

For example, one of the escape rooms in the movie is an upside-down room, where the ceiling is the floor and vice-versa. The way the camera pans around this room as characters attempt to find clues is mesmerizing. Robitel fools the audience with certain objects inside of this room, keeping them guessing throughout the whole sequence and for most of the film. This is how visual storytelling should be done, and it’s proven with Robitel’s direction in Escape Room.

All of the actors do a good job in the movie. Zoey, portrayed by Taylor Russell (Lost in Space), is the most developed and likable and she ends up becoming the star of the film. Russell flexes her acting muscles as she delivers raw emotion throughout the film. Zoey is the most well-written character, because she is relatable. Russell’s acting helps Zoey’s relatability, because she reacts to each situation logically, and rarely ever makes a questionable decision.

A lot of the other characters have almost nothing respectable about them. Movies like these use cliches, because it makes it easier for the audience to handle when they bite the dust.

The escape rooms are extremely imaginative. They are all unique in their own way, and continually challenged the characters with more and more hardships. While one room tested the characters’ wits, another tested their ability to handle sharing limited resources in a harsh environment. The rooms are never used as plot devices that have to give needless exposition. 

The climax of the movie had me on the edge of my seat, leading up to a surprising reveal.   Robitel’s direction continued to be masterful throughout the ending of the film. The way the plot wraps up will certainly polarize audiences. It allows people to discuss various theories about what certain things may or may not mean, which is one of the most beautiful features of what film can do.

Escape Room is highly unrealistic and is surely not perfect by any stretch. However, the film is entertaining enough throughout the run time, which is the polar opposite of what I expected. I’ll give Escape Room a B+.

Government Shutdown: Minimal Financial Aid Impacts

 

Written by Ezra Ekman

 

While the longest government shutdown in U.S. history now has ended with a three-week reprieve, it’s possible that this is only a temporary fix.  Financial aid processing delays and alternative verification methods have raised concerns for some students’ ability to continue through the spring semester. However, while some issues related to the shutdown aren’t yet resolved, FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) isn’t one of them.

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated in a Sept. 25, 2018, memorandum “Programs with mandatory funding can make obligations and payments during a shutdown. Examples of such programs include Pell Grants and Federal Student Loans.”

FRCC’s Financial Aid office had some good news about whether the shutdown impacted students: as of today it has not. The Department of Education ran as usual, according to Financial Aid. Students were not able to request their IRS return transcripts due to the government shutdown, but the Department of Education since made a statement that schools could accept tax returns instead.

Financial Aid also confirmed that there would not be delays for spring disbursement of financial aid, nor for 2019-2020 FAFSA applications.  FAFSA verified that, as far as they knew, the Department of Education’s processing of applications has not been affected. This includes all FAFSA funding, including Pell grants, federal loans, and work study. Still, FAFSA did warn that there may be some indirect impacts.

The IRS normally verifies income reported in FAFSA applications.  Since IRS tools were down for maintenance, this hasn’t been possible to do during the shutdown.  Male students between the ages of 18 and 25 also have to register with Selective Service, so it’s possible that delays in Selective Service verification may affect younger students.

FRCC has another way for income verification: the Financial Aid department can use your 2017 Form 1040 tax return. Students who were exempt from filing taxes in 2017 can get a signed document verification of non-filing from a tax preparer for those who didn’t meet income requirements to file.

FAFSA continuing to process applications and disburse financial aid doesn’t mean there are no remaining concerns for students, however.

Laura Wurzburger, a TRIO student, said, “I get a stipend from the VA depending on how many credit hours I’m taking and what my percentage of disability is. I don’t know if I’m going to get a check in February. If the VA didn’t get all the paperwork processed, I know my financial aid is in there. I use it for supplies and things. But I depend on that check to, you know, live.”

FRCC Veteran Services Advisor Jeramey Reamer was confident about veteran students benefits.

“The VA is one of the few government institutions that is fully funded despite the government shutdown,” Reamer said. “Front Range Veteran Services has stayed proactive to ensure its students have experienced as little hardship as possible”.

The government shutdown has had impacts, but one thing eligible students can still count on is their ability to receive financial aid this semester.

Welcome Week Spring 2019

The holidays are in the rearview mirror, and Winter Break has officially come to a close. Spring classes begin Tuesday, at Front Range Community College, meaning the halls will be full of students once again. To celebrate, Student Life will host Welcome Week Jan. 22-25. From food to music, there is a lot happening in the opening week of the spring 2019 semester.

 

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Written By Matt Cunningham                                                                                                    Photograph by Lindsey Brand

The holidays are in the rearview mirror, and Winter Break has officially come to a close. Spring classes begin Tuesday, at Front Range Community College, meaning the halls will be full of students once again. To celebrate, Student Life will host Welcome Week Jan. 22-25. From food to music, there is a lot happening in the opening week of the spring 2019 semester.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Welcome Waffles will be served in the Cafe Rotunda from 8:30-11 a.m. Students can kick-start their semester with this classic breakfast item and potentially meet some new people on campus.

On Thursday, Rock the Red Carpet will be held near entrances 2 and 3 from 9 to 11 a.m. Students are invited to take selfies on the red carpet and share them to social media using #FRCC.. Later in the Rotunda, the local band Rocket Surgeons will be performing from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students can sit back and enjoy their lunch as they watch the band perform songs, including “Won’t Stop.”

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Welcome Week will conclude with Friday’s event, Freebie Friday. This will be held at the Student Organization Center tables from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m..

For more details about Welcome Week, stop by the Student Life Office in C650. The spring semester is upon us!