Review: Apple’s newest endeavor is successful

BY DANNY GONZALEZ

People have been using credit cards to pay for restaurants, mall purchases, and taxi rides for over half a century. However, Apple is doing a good job in making this practice obsolete with its easy to use new Apple Pay feature.

Apple Pay is a new way of paying for everyday expenses by allowing people to save their credit cards on their Apple devices and use their Touch ID technology (which reads fingerprints) to make payments. Apple Pay comes free with the iPhone 6, along with the Apple Watch, which is set to release in 2015.

Apple Pay uses NFC (near-field communication) chips that allow the iPhone to send payments wirelessly by holding the iPhone over a special receiver. Apple has been able to get companies like Starbucks, Walgreens, McDonalds, and Macys to purchase these receivers and use Apple Pay.

The app is helpful in little ways, giving an alert for the most recent payment, and having the payment option automatically show up on the phone when close to a receiver. Apple has done a good job in making this app capable of keeping up with a fast-paced lifestyle.

Financial corporations such as American Express, Bank of America, and Chase are partnered with Apple to allow their credit cards to be stored on the devices. Reward cards that are used at participating stores are also available to be paid with Apple Pay.

Setting up Apple Pay is a user-friendly experience, as all it takes is a few minutes to input credit card information, and it is ready to go.

However, there are complaints that the Touch ID form of payment often stalls on users, as the phone is unable to read fingerprints after a few uses. This could cause people to revert back to using regular credit cards, since users do not have time to constantly clean their fingerprint sensors.

By using people’s fingerprints to pay, the app opens up a new standard of security, as it makes it much more difficult for criminals to steal identities since there is no record kept of past transactions left on the iPhone.

People no longer have to show cashiers their names, card number, or security code.

Apple Pay is trying and succeeding in eliminating the days of searching through a packed wallet for credit cards.

 

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Holly jolly holiday movies: The Circuit’s staff review popular movies for the holidays

The Circuit’s staff review popular movies for the holidays.

Read our December print edition of the Circuit to see more holiday movie reviews.

 

12 Dates of Christmas

BY KATHERINE GIBSON

Though the 2011 ABC Family movie “12 Dates of Christmas” is not a holiday classic, it sure deserves more credit than it’s given. This romantic comedy puts a spin on the holiday song of the same name by turning the idea into a suspenseful yet hilarious love story. Kate Stanton (Amy Smart), a divorced and stressed out advertiser, goes on a blind date on Christmas Eve with Miles Dufine (Mark-Paul Goselaar), based on her stepmother’s suggestion. Due to frustrating complications in her date that night and her life in general, Kate longs for a second chance. With a bit of Christmas magic, Kate is transported back in time to the beginning of the night, and is given 12 chances at the perfect redo. The movie can get repetitive at times, but for the most part, each of the occasions on which she starts Christmas Eve over again result in a new ironic twist presented. This movie will have viewers crying and clapping along with Kate on all of her dates as she learns more about herself and the true meaning of Christmas and love. Just like the song, viewing this catchy family movie is bound to become a Christmas tradition for years to come.

 

Elf

BY CAROLINA BOU

ONLINE ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” This quote accurately depicts the story of “Elf,” a whole-hearted, hilarious Christmas classic, which came out in 2003. Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) learns that he is not an elf, despite growing up as one throughout his life by living in the North Pole and helping Santa Claus. Now grown up, he goes to New York City in search of his father Walter (James Caan). While with his family, Buddy learns to appreciate family values and helps spread the true meaning of Christmas in New York, with hilarious twists and turns along the way. On his first day in New York, he arrives at Gimbels, a department store, and meets Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), and immediately falls in love with her. This turns out to be a smaller storyline throughout the movie, which will eventually come together with the main story by the end. Ferrell’s acting in this movie is simply incredible, with comedy being his strong suit. He fully immerses himself into the role of Buddy, even singing and being giddy when necessary. “Elf” is easily one of the best holiday movies, with a perfect mix of love, laughter, and true Christmas spirit.

 

Home Alone

BY ELANNA HEDA

OPINION COPY EDITOR

“Home Alone” is a cute holiday movie for all viewers, whether they grew up with it or not. The movie tells the tale of underappreciated 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) who is accidentally left behind while his family goes to Paris for Christmas. Meanwhile, two burglars try to steal from the McCallister house, but Kevin is crafty and set on stopping them. The film has everything a person could want from a holiday movie: a wise and spunky kid, kind strangers, classic physical comedy, a snowy setting and multiple Christmas songs. Of course, it also comes with a happy ending. And it has not one but two major themes: looks can be deceiving and forgiveness is the cure to regret. The film is light-hearted and humorous, making it perfect to end a day and watch while curled up on a couch with friends, family and a mug of hot chocolate. “Home Alone” has just the right level of cheesiness to make it a great pick for the holiday season.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Argentine restaurant popular in Weston

BY IGNACIA ARAYAphoto

SPORTS PHOTO EDITOR

Weston, being so rich with cultures from all over the world, especially Latin America, has made a delicious addition to its vast range of Hispanic restaurants. Graziano’s, an Argentine restaurant, opened up in late 2013 in Weston’s Town Center, and just recently completed expansion in early November by opening up a bigger dining section and bakery, and a new market.

Located just in the center of this Weston hotspot, this restaurant offers a wide variety of categories of ethnic foods from Argentina.

From fresh meats to sweet pastries, this restaurant has it all. The expansion gives customers the opportunity to purchase well-known wines, foods in the market, and meats to take home. The new market offers Argentine foods made at Graziano’s, ranging from dulce de leche to chimichurri.

The different types of meats that the restaurant is known for include both chicken and steaks. Both can be accompanied with a plate of fries, a house salad, or rice for less than $10. Although this may sound simple, these sides make the dish versatile and filling.

To order the food, however, one must walk up to the cashier in the front of the restaurant. Although this can be a hassle when placing a large order for a big family, it order still gets placed in a speedy manner. Foods like empanadas and tequeños can be taken to-go, as well. Empanadas available to-go range from the typical cheese empanada to some that are a little different, containing fillings like chicken and even tuna, for less than $5 each.

Graziano’s does not disappoint with the desserts either. The pastry section of the restaurant offers a wide variety of different Argentine sweets and also gives customers the opportunity to enjoy warm drinks like coffee or tea. The desserts, ranging from pastries to cakes, are fresh and handmade.

Graziano’s is a great place for families, as well as friends, to sit down and enjoy Argentine foods, both salty and sweet.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Chorus attends annual Candlelight event

BY ZOE BIRGERDSC_0078

One hundred and fifty Chorus students traveled to Disney’s Epcot for the annual Candlelight Processional event Nov. 30 Dec. 1. Candlelight is an event telling a Christmas tale with a live choir, orchestra, and celebrity narrator, this year’s being Neil Patrick Harris.

“It was the best trip because we got to sing in front of 2,000 people,” junior Katherine Miller said. “It was so much fun because of the Christmas feel.”DSC_0077

Miller was also pleased with this year’s celebrity.

“A lot of the time celebrities are mean people in person, but Neil Patrick Harris was the most hilarious person I’ve ever seen,” she said.

Schools from all over the country come to participate in the event.

“I got to meet so many awesome people,” junior Edward Moreno said. “Not everyone is like Weston kids, so it was cool to meet new people.”

This wasn’t the first Candlelight trip for some chorus students. This year’s juniors have been attending since they were freshmen.

“Every year it’s a different experience,” Moreno said. “Every year I go with different people, meet different people, and it’s a whole new story and songs.”

 

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Junior divides time between AMT and Color Guard

use

BY MARISSA BABITZ

Acting and dancing can be described as an artistic facet of self-expression, and junior Jordanne Cantrill has turned it into her passion.

She discovered her love for theater about five years ago when she decided to get involved in school productions at Falcon Cove Middle School and started dancing in high school when she joined the Cypress Bay color guard.

“The first play I was in was ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ in sixth grade, and I fell in love with acting,” Cantrill said.

Acting in that musical inspired her to continue theater in high school and join the American Musical Theatre (AMT) program her freshman year by recommendation of her middle school drama teacher.

Cantrill said acting in her first AMT show “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” as a freshman set the foundation for her entire high school career. She also discovered a love for dance when she earned a spot on the JV Color Guard team.

“Color guard opened me up to a whole new kind of performance,” she said. “I fell in love with dancing and I use some of what I learned from guard in AMT as well.”

Cantrill said her sophomore year was even more important because she learned that for a good performance, a great cast can make or break a show.

“‘Les Miserables’ was another great show because it gave me an opportunity to play multiple diverse characters,” she said.

Throughout her sophomore year, Cantrill assisted in choreographing numbers in “Les Miserables,” putting together publicity ideas, and won multiple awards for the productions she was cast in.

“The experience was incredible because I learned so much about choreographing and having all of that responsibility,” she said. “Being recognized for my hard work by winning awards is like the icing on the cake.”

[caption id="attachment_5947" align="alignright" width="482"]Junior Jordanne Cantrill Junior Jordanne Cantrill[/caption]

Cantrill won an overall superior rating at the Districts One Act Thespians Festival for her solo piece in ‘Admissions.’

“It was such a fantastic year as far as Thespians Festival was concerned, and I was able to go to Tampa that year as an observer for the States Thespians festival,” she said. “It was great to go and not perform because it allowed me more time to go to workshops and see other actors’ pieces.”

Cantrill said acting in “Admissions” as Evelyn was her favorite role of her high school career.

“She was an older woman who had died and gone to a sort of afterlife that was in the form of a waiting room, more like an interview,” she said. “The woman giving the interview, unknown to my character, was God and she leads Evelyn through this process to analyze her life.”

At the Districts One Act Thespians Festival she was awarded All-Star Cast Members and “Admissions” was one of only four shows that got a superior rating.

“I loved it so much because it really tested my limits in a new way since the character I was playing was 54 and dead but also alive at the same time, so it had to be spot on in order to be believable,” she said.

Cantrill’s sophomore year in drama was also greatly influenced by her membership in the varsity color guard team. It was a completely different kind of performing that not only made her a better dancer but also gave her the most incredible opportunities.

After weeks on end of competitions and performances, in the end Cantrill and the rest of her team were rewarded with the opportunity to compete in Ohio at a worldwide WGI (Winter Guard International) competition.

“I cannot even describe how grateful I am to have learned from the experiences of that entire season,” she said.

Cantrill is currently in her junior year and is the Drama Club historian, co-coordinator of the advertising committee, and is in charge of organizing the Lip Sinc show that will be held during the second semester.

use2

She will be acting with the Drama Club playing a primary character, Luann, in the competing one act this year called ‘After Hours’ and she’ll also be playing a challenging role as Nina, a lead character, in the production ‘In The Heights’ on March 13.

AMT director Cynthia Lutwin said she has seen Cantrill grow into an incredible young woman over the past three years.

“Over the past years she has taken every role and made it her own,” she said. “Her voice is wonderful, her dancing is sensational, and her acting is real and believable.  I adore her on and off the stage.”

Mrs. Lutwin said Cantrill makes everything she performs in memorable.

“She always gives her all in every role she earns and she has developed more confidence and personality on stage,” she said.

Cantrill said the best thing about being involved with acting in AMT and dancing in color guard at Cypress is that she has been given exceptional opportunities while still feeling relatively in her comfort zone.

“Basically, we have programs with such potential and competitiveness but we also support each other and everything is relaxed,” she said. “I met almost all of my best friends through AMT and color guard. Even when we disagree and want to scream and cry we always end up pulling everything together and having an amazing shows in both programs.”

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Terrifying app ensures loud screams and potential heart attacks

BY ARIEL GRIFFINfive nights at freddy's

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is an animated survival horror game that can also be considered a virtual heart attack because of its unexpected pop-outs, creepy setting and uncannily suspenseful silence.

Based in a Chuck-E-Cheese-like pizza restaurant Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, this app allows players to take on the role of a security guard who works the night shift and monitors the restaurant while trying to stay alive. The goal is to last from midnight to 6 a.m. and fend off the creepy-looking animatronic animal characters roaming the facility.

Players must track the whereabouts of the animatronic characters by observing different sections of the restaurant through security cameras. The objective is to survive five nights (hence the name of the game) and avoid coming in contact with the animatronic characters for as long as possible.

For people who are very brave, this game is highly recommended. In order to beat the game, players can’t be easily scared or freak out when loud, creepy noises burst through the speakers of their phone or computer. There are many instances in the game when things get quiet and extremely scary. The multiple pop-out scenes and the sight of the animatronic characters is enough to get players to pee their pants.

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is currently one of the biggest apps in the gaming industry. Since its initial release, it has gone up in the App Store, and is currently the No. 1 paid game, currently costing $2.99. When it was first released for Microsoft Windows on Aug. 8, it was very inconspicuous; not many people knew about it. The game was released for the Android on Aug. 27 and was then released for the iPhone on Sept. 11.

“Five Nights at Freddy’s,” available for Android, iPhone and Microsoft Windows, is a spine-chilling game that could give anybody nightmares. With its intensely scary scenes and horror movie-worthy characters, this game is a full package deal and definitely worth the cost.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Drama Club prepares for Thespians

BY RACHEL SCHONBERGER

As the Drama Club prepares for the competition that brings all thespians together to compete in what they love most, all members are working hard every day to achieve their maximum theatrical potential at the annual Florida Thespian Festival.

On Dec. 6 thespians from all over District 13, which covers the southern region of Broward County, will gather at American Heritage School to perform in categories such as ensemble acting and duet musicals and submit technical works, such as scene designs and playwrighting. Club sponsor and AMT teacher Cynthia Lutwin and her students are working together to rehearse for the competition.images-1

“Everyone is working hard, going through their monologues, songs, and scenes every day,” Mrs. Lutwin said. “They all have to feel comfortable with their events, so it is important to rehearse a lot.”

Students also worked in collaboration with Tequesta Trace Middle School on Nov. 4. Students participating in the Thespians Competition from Cypress Bay and in the Junior Thespians Festival from Tequesta Trace performed in front of each other to get help on their district pieces and help others with their pieces.

Freshman Camryn Handler, who competed in the Junior Thespians Districts Festival every year in middle school, is looking forward to Thespians.

“I’m excited to do what I love with my friends and see all the other students from other schools around the district and their performances,” Handler said.

Co-president of drama club, senior Jon Batista, is looking forward to his fourth and final year participating in the festival.

“I’ve never done a solo, so I wanted to try it this year,” Batista said.

Batista is also performing in the pantomime category, which he has always wanted to do, and the large group musical category.

“I want to do well in all my performances and enjoy my last districts,” Batista said.

Mrs. Lutwin, the AMT and drama teacher, is looking forward to bringing troupe 6510 to Districts once again.

“I’m always excited to see what the new students will do,” Mrs. Lutwin said.

Senior Gillian Rabin, co-president of the club, is excited that it has many active members to participate in these competitions.

“There are always tons of people. This year we have 74 people participating,” Rabin said, which is “relatively consistent with the usual level of thespian participation.”

During the full day of theatrical festivities, thespians will be ranked by the quality of what they have been working on for months. If the students are fortunate this year with their given rankings, a select few will be able to go to the state competition in March.

“We convinced Mrs. Lutwin to let freshmen go to states if they receive a straight superior rating and if she thinks they are responsible enough,” said Paloma Leon, vice president.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Joshua Bell’s performance moves all who hear it

BY RACHEL SCHONBERGER

Joshua Bell has made a name for himself as a violin prodigy, and his most recent performance at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts lived up to all expectations. On Nov. 1, Bell took the stage at the Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center in front of an audience of 1,100 people. Through playing his 301-year-old Stradivarius violin, Bell conveys the depths of sorrow and the highs of happiness.joshuabell

With the help of pianist Alessio Bax, Joshua Bell, 46, creates music to be appreciated by all. By playing pieces from such renowned violinists and composers such as Franz Schubert and Sergei Prokofiev, the American Grammy Award-winning violinist and conductor covers an enormous range of emotions.

Whether he is playing pieces of serenity or pieces of fear, Bell moves the audience in a way that only he can. His feelings are contagious as he illustrates all emotions, moving in such a sharp manner while creating a beautifully graceful melody. Playing classics such as Schubert’s “Duo Sonata” and Pablo de Sarasate’s “Introduction and Tarantella,” Bell proved himself to be a violin virtuoso in all aspects of his performance.

The way that Bell makes such incredible sounds with only a violin, a bow, and his two hands leaves all who hear his music in a state of bewilderment and amazement.

The accompaniment of pianist Bax, 37, adds to the magic of the music with the emotional power he puts into the performance. The two musicians together create a memorable experience for the ears of many by playing pieces that can never be forgotten due to the talent and skill that they both possess.

A two-hour performance of only classical music may seem boring to many people, especially in this day and age, but Bell and Bax make sure that nobody feels an ounce of boredom with their amazing performance. The uniqueness in which Bell moves his entire body with emotion captivates and intrigues the audience members, leaving them on the edges of their seats, waiting for Bell’s next stroke of genius.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Romance movie does title justice

BY VALERIA SALGADOMovieTheBestofMe

“The Best of Me” is a movie that brings together suspense, romanticism, tragedy and joy beautifully. It truly is a great movie based upon yet another of Nicholas Sparks’ successful romantic novels.

The story focuses on Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) and Dawson (James Marsden), high school sweethearts who are reunited after 21 years by the death of a close friend.

In high school, their relationship was problematic due to Amanda’s life being quite privileged and Dawson’s not. Years later, Amanda continues to lead a pretty stable life. She has a husband and kids. The only problem is that her husband is an alcoholic and this plays a role in the rekindling between her and Dawson.

When she meets up with Dawson 21 years later, a truly unexpected turn of events occur. The concept of “the perfect love story,” being quite hackneyed, is actually presented in a way that is interesting and demands the audience’s attention.

Unlike Sparks’ other hits like “The Notebook,” “The Best of Me” has a lot more action and suspense. It commences slowly, developing the background and setting of the story. As the film unravels, it picks up speed and events start occurring that create the basis of the current dilemma.

The characters are developed through a series of flashbacks and present day reality. Amanda is a very dynamic character who helps the movie progress through its ups and downs.

The casting of Luke Bracey to play the role of Dawson while he was in high school was a poor choice because he is way too mature looking for a high school student. Marsden once again proves himself to be a fitting and appropriate actor in any role. He has previously been in both “The Notebook “and “X-Men.”

The scenery and images portrayed are exceptional, and the story takes the audience on a journey of emotional changes. While this film is a bit unnecessarily long, it is very suspenseful and romantic and an all-around enjoyable film.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Hozier appeals to emotion in debut album

BY CAROLINA BOU

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITORHozier

Every song tells a story. Indie singer-songwriter Hozier tells several stories through his debut self-titled album, released on Oct. 7. With the incredible musical ability that Hozier has as both a singer and a guitarist, his album is pure brilliance.

As a songwriter, Hozier is not only able to perfectly express his sentiments through a song, but also appeal to the emotions of the listener. Topics such as love, life, and humanism are discussed, and it is a surprise that a 13-track compilation can be so well executed. There is no bad song, as each helps to create equilibrium throughout.

Hozier’s first single, and first track of the album, “Take Me to Church,” is his breakout single. Combining his unique talent with some mainstream aspects to the song, such as the catchy lyrics and rock vibe, it has become a viral sensation.

The song condemns organizations such as the Catholic Church, but it’s really about what it is to be human. It’s surprising that two different topics can be juxtaposed so well. In his Album Track by Track videos on YouTube, Hozier said, “People interpret it differently, but to be honest I want it to be that way,” which makes the track so special.

His other singles include “Sedated” and “From Eden.” “Sedated” brings out Hozier’s edgy rock side, compared to his indie, more serene side. Despite this, it is one of the weaker songs, because the composition of it is not as good as that of the others. “From Eden” is one of the best songs on the album, which emphasizes his raw talent both vocally and instrumentally. “From Eden” is the single that will really attract indie fans to Hozier, since it is so memorable.

Some emotional highlights of the album include “Work Song” and “Cherry Wine.” “Work Song” is absolutely beautiful, capturing a vague story of life and love, and Hozier refers to it as a “sad little love song.” The hard, raw emotion is felt through both the lyrics and his voice when he sings. “Cherry Wine” is well crafted, juxtaposing the heartbreaking lyrics describing an abusive relationship with the sweet sounds of the acoustic guitar.

Hozier balances the deep, slow-tempo songs with more upbeat, playful songs, continuing with the idea of equilibrium throughout the album. The repeating line of “I fall in love just a little, oh, little bit every day with someone new” in the hit song “Someone New” is one that will get stuck in someone’s head for days.

“Jackie and Wilson,” a fun, upbeat song, pays tribute to soul artist Jackie Wilson, whom Hozier cites as one of his influences.

Hozier’s album is brilliant, with each song creating a euphonious sound that is addicting.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story