Review: New “Thor: Ragnarok” Film Shines

Ryan Cook with the “Thor: Ragnarok” poster at the Country Club Mall in Lavale, MD. Photo courtesy of Cook.

by Ryan Cook

 2017 has been an excellent year for superhero movies. First, we were treated to the groundbreaking Wolverine film “Logan” in March. Then came the colorful and emotional “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” in May.

Audiences across the world fell in love with Gal Gadot in the blockbuster hit “Wonder Woman” in June, and July reintroduced Spider-Man to fans of all ages in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

Now, Marvel’s mightiest Avenger returns to the big screen in “Thor: Ragnarok.”

Directed by indie-filmmaker Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”), “Thor: Ragnarok” picks up two years after the events of 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now on a quest to stop the evil goddess of death, Hela (Cate Blanchett), from unleashing Ragnarok, “the end of all things,” upon his home world of Asgard.

After Thor’s first encounter with the goddess of death doesn’t go his way, the mighty Thor is cast off to the savage planet known as Sakaar.

It’s while he’s on Sakaar that Thor reunites with his fellow Avenger, Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

Comic book fans are treated to one of the most epic gladiatorial movie fights in recent years between Thor and Hulk before the plot of the film really starts running.

In a year with no shortage of great comic book movies, “Thor: Ragnarok” doesn’t disappoint. Hemsworth gives his best and most comedic performance as the god of thunder yet.

With “Ragnarok” being his fifth outing as Thor, Hemsworth seems to be having more fun than ever in his role.

Tom Hiddleston is outstanding as usual as Thor’s adopted brother, Loki. While he still lives up to his nickname of the god of mischief, Loki has a significant change of heart in this movie, and Hiddleston plays this to perfection.

The Hulk has never been more interesting than in this movie. For the first time in movie history, the Hulk speaks in full sentences, which provides some great comedic moments with Thor.

What makes this Hulk more interesting is that because his intelligence has improved, Banner and his Hulk side are fighting for mental control. Ruffalo brilliantly portrays this as both Banner and Hulk.

As for the new characters in the film, Blanchett’s Hela is a force to be reckoned with. Blanchett brings the perfect balance of humor and pure evil that makes Hela the best villain of the Thor franchise since Loki in the original film.

Jeff Goldblum (“Jurassic Park”) also joins the cast as the Grandmaster, and every line of dialogue he says is appropriately golden. No one can deliver a line quite like Goldblum, and his talent is on full display in this movie.

One of the many standout characters in the film is actually played by the film’s director, Taika Waititi.

In “Ragnarok,” Waititi plays Korg, a giant rock monster with a gentle, soothing voice who tries to befriend Thor.

It’s impossible to do the character justice by describing his appearance and lovable personality, but it’s definitely a highlight of the film.

Overall, the “Thor” franchise takes a pleasing direction with “Ragnarok.” The film has a similar look and color palette to Marvel’s other space franchise, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, but  “Thor: Ragnarok” has a very different sense of humor and adventure than the other superhero movies that were released this year.

The film has a runtime of over two hours, but it never feels too long. The jokes are related to the plot, and the sense of urgency in the movie makes its runtime fly by. “Ragnarok” is a funny action/adventure film to watch over Christmas break.

Heads up to Marvel fans who know to stay seated when the credits start to roll — there are two scenes during the credits of “Ragnarok.”

Landau Eugene Murphy Returns to Keyser


The lights dim as the audience sits quietly in anticipation. The band swiftly rushes to their seats to prepare their instruments. Suddenly, the saxophone starts to play as Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. energetically takes the stage to do what he loves.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, Murphy returned to Potomac State College for a third year to sing for the students and citizens of Keyser. As a native of Logan, West Virginia Murphy rose to fame after winning the sixth season of “America’s Got Talent.”  After his big win, Murphy secured a one-year contract to headline at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Murphy kicked off the concert with his rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me.” The audience couldn’t stay in their seats as he sang other jazz classics. Murphy was very good at interacting with the audience. He was always quick with a joke between each of his songs.

Murphy ensured that each member of his band was given credit throughout the concert. He even gave them time to perform solos.

Murphy was joined on stage by the music group LCB (Leonard, Coleman and Blunt.) The band consists of Glenn Leonard (former singer for The Temptations,) Joe Coleman (former lead singer for The Platters) and Joe Blunt (former lead singer for The Drifters.)   The members of LCB are lifelong friends who decided to put together their band after retiring from their respective former groups. The musical trio performed many Motown classics.

“The show was really good. It’s not the type of music I’d normally listen to, but I think I might give it a try,” said PSC student Joshua Rubin.

Student Mixes Original Music

Snapchat-1870740327Seth O’Neill making his own music. Photo Provided by: Seth O’Neill

Potomac State College student Seth O’Neill has been mixing his own music in his free time. He mainly creates Downtempo, Low Fidelity and Trip-Hop music. O’Neill tries to make mellow sounds for all of his followers to enjoy.

“Mixing music involves a lot of repeatedly listening to the same thing over and over trying to get it right. Adjusting to the frequencies, volumes and adding distortions to a sound to get it right,” said O’Neill.

O’Neill started working on music when he was in middle school. He was introduced to Soundation, a website that allows users access to free loops. A loop is a beat that continuously repeats.

O’Neill draws a lot of his inspiration from listening to bands such as Gorrilaz, Daft Punk and Deadmau5.   

  Although he was really into mixing music, O’Neill failed to master any musical concepts until this year.

At the beginning of the year, he was able to break through the learning curve and attract some attention to his music.

“In September, I was interviewed for the first time on Free Music Archive. It is a website that is all about posting curated artist’s songs for free creative commons use in any media, which was cool. I never expected to attract this much attention to be interviewed in such a short amount of time,” said O’Neill.

You can also check out his music at his Bandcamp: his SoundCloud:

His music is also posted on other commercial platforms. You would be able to find his songs on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.

O’Neill would like to make music professionally if his career takes off. O’Neill believes that a job in the marketing field might be a good use of the skills he has learned.

Wherever O’Neill may end up in the future, he knows that he will still have a blast mixing his own music.


brown writes his musical

Edward Brown holds his script for his musical “Rednecks.” Brown is also wearing a red bandana similar to one that the miners would have worn. Photo by Ali Barrett

Potomac State College’s activities program manager, Dr. Edward Brown, wrote his own musical “Rednecks” on the history of southern coalminers in West Virginia.

Brown’s idea for the musical all started with a dream he had. This dream led him to writing the main song “Tallahassee.” After a few songs were written, Brown started to create the dialogue for the musical based off of his research.

“I began researching the coal mining history in West Virginia and came upon the Battle of Blair Mountain. I decided that this was the story I wanted to tell,” Brown said.

The Battle of Blair Mountain is known as the largest labor uprising in United States history. Occurring in 1921, the battle involved over 10,000 West Virginia coal miners. They had armed themselves to fight the coal companies and the U.S. Government in hopes of receiving better pay and working conditions.

Brown said he got the idea for the title of the musical from these miners who wore red bandanas around their necks to help identify themselves.

He said the story has inspired him in many ways. While researching, Brown found the percentage of European immigrants and African-Americans who worked in the coal fields to be interesting. “I feel that I now have a duty to tell this story for the men who fought and died for what we today take for granted,” Brown said.

Brown has recently been working with local theatre director Chris McCabe and PSC music professor Dr. Brian Plitnik to act out the songs and scenes to see how it appears on stage. The PSC theater classes helped bring the musical to life.

Blockbuster Movies For Summer 2017

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Check out the list of projected blockbusters for the Summer of 2017.

“Guardians Of The Galaxy      Vol. 2” May 5, 2017

   “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” will be the first time that three Marvel films will be released in one year.

   The first one out is James Gunn’s much-anticipated follow-up to “Guardians Of The Galaxy.”

   The first movie was a big risk for Marvel, but it was the biggest surprise hit of 2014.

   Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel are all on board.

   Kurt Russell will be joining them this time too, and we should get another awesome mixtape.

   A third film is already being planned.

   Don’t be surprised to see this second movie slide in a few surprises for the 2018’s ”Avengers: Infinity War Part One.”


“Baywatch” May 19, 2017

   Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron are bringing this infamous television show to the big screen.

   Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff have planned to make a cameo in the movie.

   Director Seth Gordon has a shot of having the second-biggest grossing Dwayne Johnson movie of summer 2017.

   Johnson is also appearing in “The Fate of the Furious,” was released on April 14, 2017.

   They are expecting a hit, so let’s not rule out a sequel.

“Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” May 26, 2017

   Johnny Depp returns as the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow.

   This tale finds Captain Jack feeling down and out.

   His only hope is to make an alliance with a beautiful astronomer and a very headstrong sailor of the royal army in hopes to take down Captain Salazer, who wants to kill every pirate.

“Bad Boys 3” June 2, 2017

   This will be the first of two new “Bad Boys” movies and is an example of studios regaining their confidence in releasing R-rated summer films.

   Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are both returning to their popular roles.

Wonder Woman” June 2, 2017

   “Wonder Woman” is a DC Comics movie based on the character of the same name.

   The film will not pick-up from the movie “Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice.”

   Instead, the story will start from the beginning, which was over a 100 years ago when she was first discovered as an Amazon princess and daughter to Zeus.

“Cars 3” June 16, 2017

   “Cars 3” is the third installment of Pixar Studios and Walt Disney Pictures.

   This movie is sure to entertain children and adults, as Lightning McQueen trains for a comeback against the rookie, Jackson Storm in the Florida 500.

   For those of you who may be wondering, no worries, Mater will be there to cheer on his friend, Lightning McQueen.

“Transformers: The Last Knight” June 23, 2017

   This will be the fifth installment of the film series, with Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci reprising their roles along with Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson.

   With Optimus Prime gone, a battle has started between the humans and the transformers.

   An alliance is formed with Bumblebee and an Oxford professor as they try and figure out why the Transformers continue to come back to earth.

“Despicable Me 3” June 30, 2017

   Gru comes up against Balthazar Bratt, a former child star who has grown up and become obsessed with the character that he played during the ‘80s.

   There is some sibling rivalry when he meets his long-lost successful twin brother Dru.

   Gru wants his brother to help with one last heist to retrieve the diamond that Bratt has stolen.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming”   July 7, 2017

   This will be the second Marvel movie to be released in 2017.

   Peter Parker attempts to balance his life during high school with his new career as the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man, following the new fame he found during his help in “Captain America: Civil War.”

   Robert Downey Jr. will be making appearances during the movie, as well as Marvel creator, Stan Lee.

“Alien: Covenant”  August 4, 2017

   The crew of the Covenant, who are bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is a new-found paradise.

   So, they uncover a threat that is way beyond their imagination and they must attempt a tormenting escape.

PSC Theatre Presents “Oliver!”

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The stage lights of Church-McKee hit the cast of “Oliver!” as they practice their figure-eight choreography for what seems to be the 100th time. As they weave in and out of the center, the actors begin to bring their characters to life by interacting with each other. Smiles on faces as they sing out the song prove this musical will be a sight to see.

Chris McCabe is directing this classic tale with choreography by Kim Rowley. Dr. Brian Plitnik, PSC music professor, is producing and conducting the music. “We chose to do ‘Oliver!’ this year because we were looking for a show with a large cast as well as being able to sell to school groups and families,” McCabe said.

The cast is made up of children, teens and adults. Donny Ness, community actor, is playing the iconic role of Oliver Twist.

Justise Clay, a sophomore, said she tried out due to her love for theatre and performing on stage. Her favorite part of “Oliver!” is the dance numbers and meeting new faces that share the same passion as she.

Clay is part of the ensemble for “Oliver!”; she will be dressed as a boy. This is her third musical performance with PSC. “I hope the audience will see how hard the cast and crew have worked on the show come opening night,” Clay said. The cast has been practicing three times a week for two months and will meet every day this week to put finishing touches to the show.

Karlee Witherite, an eighth grader in Meyersdale Area School District, said her favorite part of “Oliver!” is the musical number of “Consider Yourself.” This is also her third musical with PSC.

Witherite, also dressed as a boy, will join Clay as part of the ensemble. Witherite has been dancing for 12 years and has taken many different styles of dance. Her favorite is tap; she will be able to showcase her skills in a tap dance break in the show. “I am beyond excited for the tap break. The last time I performed tap on stage at PSC, I was a chimney sweep,” Witherite said.

The writer and composer, Lionel Bart, turned the famous Charles Dickens novel, “Oliver Twist”, into an award-winning musical. Oliver Twist is an 11-year-old orphan growing up on the streets of Victorian England, and he finds himself friends with thieves and pickpockets. Oliver is later captured for a crime he did not commit.

However, the victim takes him in to raise as his own son. While learning the ways of how a family unit works, Oliver faces being kidnapped by the leader of the pickpockets.

Show dates are March 17-26. For more information concerning tickets, visit Potomac State College’s website under the “Campus Life” tab.

For the first time, tickets are being sold online through

PSC students can get in for free with a student ID.



Check Out Netflix’s Binge-Worthy Shows

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As the semester progresses, students need to remember that sometimes taking study breaks are much needed. The best way to relax is Netflix. The biggest issue is finding what to watch. Check out these binge-worthy shows:

“The 100”

When a nuclear bomb destroys earth, the only human survivors are in the International Space Station. The station’s resources diminish after three generations. To test the earth’s habitability, the space station sends 100 juveniles to the surface, where they learn how to live and survive on earth. “The 100” has three seasons on Netflix.


This show follows main character Amy Fleming and her family. They operate the family-owned ranch after the passing of her mother.

Amy is a horse whisperer who fixes horses that have issues, and she stands up for what she believes in.

This show will have you laughing and crying all in one episode. This Canadian show currently has seven seasons on Netflix — with three more to come.


With two seasons on Netflix and a third to come, “iZombie” is a creative new crime-solving show.

Liv Moore turns into a zombie at a party. Attempting to blend in with the other humans, she takes a job at a coroner’s office where human brains are available.

“Jessica Jones”

Jessica Jones, an ex-superhero based off of a Marvel character, becomes a detective who solves cases with people who have special abilities. Though she is trying to do well, she seems to find herself in more trouble than expected.

This dark and twisted Netflix Original might only have one season, but do not worry; this action-packed mystery will keep you entertained until the next season comes out.

“The Magicians”

This SYFY series keeps you guessing through the whole episode as main character, Quentin Coldwater, finds a magical world while he is a grad student studying magic at Brakebills College.

Quentin and his friends discover the world they read about as children is actually real and poses a danger to humanity. Netflix currently has the first season of “The Magicians”; the second season aired in January this year.


All four seasons of this series will have you thinking about what’s next as Emily Thorne plots her revenge for The Hampton socialites who ruined her family and their reputation. At any cost, she will get her revenge.

This series will have you on the edge of your seat as she moves into her childhood home with a different identity.

“Stranger Things”

“Stranger Things” is a Netflix Original series that takes place in 1983 in a small Indiana town. After a child goes missing, his mother and friends search for him.

They reveal supernatural forces, secret governments and an extremely peculiar girl. This show will have you hooked after one season.