ALL PAWS ON DECK – Cletus, a yellow lab, looks out from the deck of the F/V Jackpine this morning as ANB Harbor empties out. Today is the opening of the summer troll season and with good weather much of the Sitka fleet is now out on the fishing grounds. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Sitka Movie Reviews: Highs, Lows of 2013

By Daniel Olbrych
Sentinel Movie Reviewer
    It’s been quite a year for the cinema. Actually, one of the biggest years, financially, that Hollywood has ever seen.
    In Sitka, 2013 got off to a rather interesting start with the odd pairing of “Life of Pi” and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback film “The Last Stand.” One of these films went on to receive four Academy Awards, including best director, while the other grossed only $12 million. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which.
    The following weeks brought us a slew of 2012 award nominees, including “Lincoln,” which I found to be mundane; the wonderful “Silver Linings Playbook”; and an impressive film adaptation of the musical “Les Misérables.” But these acclaimed pictures were soon eclipsed by two of the year’s worst, “Jack the Giant Slayer” and “A Good Day to Die Hard.” Both were critical and financial failures.
    The big money didn’t always come from where it was expected, either. Some major films really tanked. Take for example, the $130 million Will Smith flop “After Earth,” which is concrete evidence for all parties involved that M. Night Shyamalan should stop making movies. And let’s not forgot Johnny Depp’s racist portrayal of a Native American as seen in “The Lone Ranger,” though that movie tracked so poorly it wasn’t even screened in Sitka. There were several other big budgeted failures, including “Pacific Rim,” “Ender’s Game,” and “R.I.P.D.” (Though a misfire in the U.S., “Pacific Rim” did end up making a fortune in the foreign market. Which for some reason, doesn’t seem to matter.)
    But with such failure comes a dark horse, success stories like “The Conjuring.” No one really expected a haunted house film to make its budget back in just one weekend, or to be any good, but it did and it was. And that’s because big budgets do not guarantee big returns.
    Similarly successful, albeit not critically, the $3 million budgeted film “The Purge,” which grossed an astonishing $90 million. “Bad Grandpa” took home an undeserved $100 million. How “Grandpa,” which is easily the worst “movie” of the year, made that much money is beyond me. But as the words “worst movie of the year” echo in my head, let us not forget a few others deserving the title.
The Bottom 5
“Mortal Instruments”
“The Host”
“Kick-Ass 2”
“Bad Grandpa”
    So this was definitely a year of Superheroes and Sci-fi. I count 18. Is anyone else getting a little tired of this? Though “Gravity” ended up being one of the best films of the year and, as far as Oscar contenders go maybe the only film in the 2013 running that screened here in Sitka. (The nominees mentioned earlier were from 2012.)
    “Oblivion” and “Elysium” were both interesting films, but proved rather empty when all was said and done. “Ender’s Game” despite being well received was put to rest by “Thor.” “Iron Man 3” took home the gold (box office), and not too far behind was “Man of Steel.” So many Superheroes ....
    In fact, 10 out of 11 of the top-grossing films this year featured elements of either science fiction or superheroics – 11 out of 11 if you consider Vin Diesel (“Fast and Furious”) a superhero. This trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, either. I fear this over-saturated market is really going to destroy the genre.
    As the year 2013 wraps up, Bilbo Baggins and Ron Burgundy will be here to usher us into a new year. 2014 is looking vaguely familiar, more superheroes and science fiction. Actually, strike that, there isn’t anything vague about it. It’s practically identical. We can count on a ton more superheroes, “Transformers 4,” and even a new “Godzilla.”
    I will say that I am excited to see “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the sequel to the classic “Dumb and Dumber,” appropriately  titled “Dumb and Dumber Too.” Also, the Wachowskis’ new science-fiction film, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks to be an interesting ride as well.  
    To wrap this up, in no particularly order, here are my top five of the year.
Top 5
“Man of Steel”
“Evil Dead”
“Catching Fire”
“Mud” (available to rent; we did not see a theatrical release)



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-1-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 38

Total statewide – 978

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (5 resident; 3 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 11 (8 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

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