Thankful for Thor:  a review of the new film
Nov16

Thankful for Thor: a review of the new film

Marvel has been producing quality movies since Iron Man debuted in 2008, and Thor Ragnarok falls in line with Marvel’s other superhero films. Thor Ragnarok’s opening debut was Nov. 3 and has been received with mostly positive responses. On IMDb, it has an 8.2/10 rating, and according to Vulture, the third installation to the Thor movie series earned the highest rating of any Marvel movie on Rotten Tomatoes. The film begins with Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, chained up by a fiery monster named Surtur. Escaping to Asgard, Thor meets up with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and they’re transported to earth to find their father. After discovering that they have an evil sister named Hela (Cate Blanchett) who decides to take over Asgard, the duo find themselves on a mysterious planet called Sakaar run by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). As the power struggle ensues in Asgard, Thor is trapped on Sakaar, forced to battle gladiator-style against none other than Hulk. The rest of the movie is about Thor and his focus on getting back to Sakaar to confront Hela. This was by far my favorite Thor film, as Thor: The Dark World, that was released in 2013, was a disappointment. It was boring compared to Thor Ragnarok, which was filled with many comedic moments as well as plenty of action. There are some characters in the movie that make a stunning debut, such as Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a fierce and brave warrior who quarrels with Thor constantly. There’s also Korg, another warrior trapped on Sakaar who wants a rebellion against the system on Sakaar. And of course there’s the Grandmaster, who rules over the planet with great eccentricity. Also, the Incredible Hulk makes a return after his last appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Perhaps my favorite part about this movie is the incredible graphics. Everything appears so lifelike, and, no spoilers, but the last fight scene is one of the most epic ones I’ve ever seen. Would I recommend this movie? Absolutely. Whether you’ve always been a Marvel fan or know little to nothing about the franchise, this film incorporates all kinds of genres that are sure to please just about anyone. In an industry that seems to be rehashing the same ideas over and over again, this film is refreshing in its originality. Thor Ragnarok breaks the typical barrier of an action film, combining humor, adventure, and drama in one package. Also, make sure to stay after the movie for two after-credit...

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Green’s new release: Turtles all the Way Down
Oct26

Green’s new release: Turtles all the Way Down

I had previously read Green’s The Fault in Our Stars when it first came out in 2012. I remember liking it, so when I heard about his new book Turtles All The Way Down, I thought I would enjoy it as well. So, I picked up the book and read it within a few days. The storyline: The novel follows a high school girl named Aza Holmes who, along with her loud and rambunctious friend Daisy, discover that local billionaire Russell Pickett is missing. There is a $100,000 award, so they are determined to get more information about his whereabouts to receive the money. In the process, Aza reacquaints herself with Pickett’s son Davis, who she used to be close friends with when she was younger. While all of this is happening, Aza struggles with major anxiety and OCD. She has “intrusive thoughts” in which simple things such as eating or kissing cause her to freak out. My thoughts: The story does not necessarily follow the tale of trying to find Pickett as much as Aza’s internal battle and how that relates to her connections with other people. Throughout the novel, she refers to her thoughts as spirals, a reference that basically resembles her never-ending worries. Maybe it’s because of her struggles, but boy, this girl speaks and thinks about some deep issues. Practically every word that comes out of her mouth is a metaphor. And it’s not just her character – it seems that everybody speaks in metaphors. The problem I have with this is that people, teenagers especially, do not talk like this. And maybe it’s just Green’s writing, but I got tired of the profound writing after the first page. I enjoy learning about deep, philosophical truths, but it began to sound so scripted, and not at all how people actually talk, that it actually deterred me from wanting to read more. Aza’s psychiatrist even discusses how Aza speaks in metaphors, and do you know how she addresses this issue? With another metaphor. Also, regarding the storyline, I thought it was going to be more of an action novel. However, the main characters practically stay within the same radius location-wise. Now, this can either be played out really well or not so, and I would have to go with the latter. The story began to feel repetitive within the first few chapters. I would actually categorize this book as self-exploration and romance. In addition, the product placement is ridiculous. Star Wars (including The Clone Wars, the TV show Rebels, and EA’s Battlefront as well as fan fiction), Chuck E. Cheese’s, Star Trek, and Applebee’s are mentioned...

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Professor brings home international film prize
Oct26

Professor brings home international film prize

UMHB’s Assistant Professor Andru Anderson took the top prize at the 17th Annual International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films in Varna, Bulgaria on Oct. 12-15. His documentary about overcoming adversity, “Turn Left Now: Surviving the Unbelievable,” will have a preview showing at the new Sue & Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center Thursday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. Anderson’s film revolves around the lives of young adult stroke victims, and highlights the fact that as much as 1 in 7 strokes occur in adolescents and young adults, ages 15 to 49 (Centers for Disease Control, 2016) “Part of this movie is trying to show the audience that strokes are not a condition of the elderly. Strokes are actually something that can hit anybody at any part of their lifespan,” Anderson said. “Everyone has a grandfather or grandmother who was either affected by a stroke or has essentially died from a stroke,” he said. “I started looking at that, and then I met a bunch of survivors who were younger.” The film took four years to make, with the first two in pre-production and filming, and then two years of post-production. He had a lot of help from his wife Natalia, he said. “She did everything I did,” he described of her assistantship over the four years. The two met in Dzershinsk, Russia through some friends when traveling there, and six years later they were married. She has seen him go from his industrial film work with Andersen Worldwide and Applied Materials, utilizing his undergraduate and masters degrees from Baylor, to working as a lecturer at Baylor while pursuing his MFA at SMU in Dallas. During this time, he participated in many film projects, and perfected his craft. “I’ve done just about everything: small shorts, full length, film and digital and soup-to-nuts filmmaking,” he said. Anderson is in his third year now at UMHB as the Assistant Professor of Film Studies, and teaches Introduction to Film Studies, Screenwriting, Film History and Criticism, Documentary Film Making, Narrative Film Production, and Special Topics. The program has gone from four students when he got here, to now 22, “I’m preparing students to be independent filmmakers,” he said. He does this by addressing their need to tell stories. “Everyone who makes films wants to tell a story that has not been told before, and then have people see it.” Anderson’s creativity goes beyond film and teaching, as he has always had a glass blowing hobby on the side. But he knew he wanted to do something with production in his career, even in high school when he was building sets for theater. “I...

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Stunt Night Preview: Classes prepare for this year’s Stunt Night featuring Crutoons
Oct13

Stunt Night Preview: Classes prepare for this year’s Stunt Night featuring Crutoons

Stunt Night is a tradition that has been a part of the university for 107 years. Every year, directors lead each class in performing a skit in front of a live audience, where two winners are selected – the audience’s pick and the judge’s. This year’s theme is CruToons where underclassmen and upperclassmen will take the stage and perform skits based on classic cartoons. The freshmen will be doing their play based on the square-shaped cartoon SpongeBob, sophomores will create a skit featuring the characters from The Fairly Odd Parents, juniors will pretend to be The Flintstones, and seniors will act base their performance on Scooby-Doo. These classic characters will come to life Oct. 19 and 20 in Walton Chapel at 7:00 pm. This is freshman business major Eunice Michaelson’s first year as director for her class. “Just to sum up our plot a little bit, this is where we dive deep into the world of Bikini Bottom,” Michaelson said. “SpongeBob and his friends are there and we see Sandy on the scene and she is devastated because she misses her home – the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.The plotline is SpongeBob’s trying really hard to cheer Sandy up because she’s having a really bad day. In the end, we’ll see if his efforts work or not.” Michaelson has high hopes for the freshman class, as the whole group is determined to win. Every freshman is bringing their unique talents to the table. “Every person that I’ve met here is so awesome,” Michaelson said. “And seeing them come together and working towards a common goal brings each other closer because there’s competition involved too. We want to win.” Junior multimedia and information technologies major Chase Mariott has enjoyed his time as a director for the junior class. “My favorite part about being the director for the junior class is just getting to hang out with our cast and my co-director,” The junior said that “Every practice is tons of fun and full of laughter.” “Our theme for the juniors is the Flintstones. So, we are all there, but the main focus is on the kids, Pebbles and Bam-Bam, and their transition from home to UMHB. There’s also some hidden chemistry between Bam-Bam and Pebbles,” Mariott said. This year’s classes are hoping to entertain a wide variety of audiences as nostalgia comes to the stage during Stunt...

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Convenience comes at a price
Sep28

Convenience comes at a price

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are available at any time with just a click of a button. Pull out your headphones, plug it into your phone, and watch a wide assortment of movies anywhere you go. Now, think of this – the smell of popcorn and sweet candy filling the air. Movies, hundreds upon hundreds of selections, able to please just about anyone, sitting on shelves on every corner and spare inch of the room walls. The moment you step into this atmosphere, you get the complete movie experience. Unfortunately, this has been stripped from us, and so soon. Millennials have never really had a chance to walk inside a Blockbuster. I feel that it is too convenient and easy for us to get entertainment. It’s not just movies. It’s really any form of retail. Bookstores and mom and pop shops are closing, as are large stores such as JCPenny, which plans on terminating 14% of its stores this year alone (Bankrate.com). Why go somewhere to buy something when you can easily get it online? Yes, there are positive attributes to online shopping. Items are often cheaper online, especially with Amazon Prime. Avoiding lines and crowds is also great. And who doesn’t want a large variety of items? Which brings me back to my main point – easy accessibility. How does living off of convenience reflect a society’s values? We can sit on the sofa comfortably, buying to our hearts content and watching Netflix until the sun sets, but there is a cost. With fewer people buying their items at stores and relying on technology to fulfill their orders or desires, brick and mortars are at risk of shutting down. Jobs are also lost at corporations that close as a result. One store that I’m incredibly sad about that went out of business is Family Christian, which has been around for 85 years. They closed 240 of their shops, letting go of around 3,000 people who are unemployed – due to consumers and their desire for convenience (USA Today). I have fond memories of Family Christian, one being my mom taking me there after coming home for the weekend during my freshman year. We saw all of the encouraging Bible verses on the décor and felt a sense of happiness that we could spend some time together before I had to head back to college. No matter how hard you try, you can’t have memorable experiences on online stores. The same goes for Blockbuster. I went there many times as a child and had fun looking at all the different types of movies upon the shelves as my father,...

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