Scary movies becoming more of a reality for viewers
Sep28

Scary movies becoming more of a reality for viewers

What ever happened to the good ole classic scary movie? The ones where there’s a serial killer man in a mask and a house tormenting teenage kids? For the past five years or so, plot lines for scary movies have turned in an all new direction. There was a craze for a time of seeing who could come up with the goriest flick by means of torturing people, but even that plot is now old. Story writers and film makers have recently been blowing up the box office with movies about demons, exorcisms and now even the devil. The reactions of most to watching these sorts of movies are chilling. Scary movie plot lines seem to have gone from the unrealistic, mass murderer in your house, to realistic. Viewers of these movies are afraid because demons are out there and exorcisms do happen. Senior marketing major Julia Bishop doesn’t enjoy watching scary movies because they remind her of the bad things in the world. “For as much as I hate scary movies, I can watch them,” she said. “In older scary movies, it was very obvious who the bad guy was, but today it’s turned more realistic. Your neighbor next door could be a serial killer or the girl in class with you could be demon possessed.” The Exorcism of Emily Rose could be traced to kicking off this series of movies, and  after that came The Village and Devil, both directed by M. Night Shyamalan. However, the most famous of these demonic movies would be Paranormal Activity. Numerous students from UMHB went to see the movie the opening night at the midnight showing. For freshman Stacy Hillin, scary movies are an enjoyment because of the suspense theyembody. “Watching movies about demons and things like that doesn’t bother me because I know that the content isn’t real,” Hillin said. “It’s just like movies about aliens and science fiction. It’s entertaining because it’s fake.” Hillin said that if you feel affected by the storyline of the film, simply don’t watch it. However, with the sudden population of demonic flicks comes with some Christians not wanting to see them because of what they are about. Sophomore Rudy Nerio believes that Christians shouldn’t be scared to watch these movies just because of what the movie may or may not represent. He said, “I think that it’s OK for Christians to see scary movies because if they have a strong faith already, they should not be affected by anything that happens in the...

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Inexpensive, but just as addictive: D&D
Sep28

Inexpensive, but just as addictive: D&D

The times, they are a changing. One of the greatest things humanity has seen is the past few years in the leaps and bounds made by technology. One of the most changed areas of technology is the current state of video games. In 1972, Pong was released, a game that bounced a white ball back and forth across a screen. Boring, but addictive. But now we are given gorgeous cinematic experiences with games such as Bioshock 2 and Final Fantasy XIII. For college students, there is just one problem. Money. A new game will typically run around $60, far over the average entertainment budget for a college-going person. Instead of picking the latest and greatest game, he is left to ogle the store windows in the rain while his friends huddle around the warm glow of a PS3 power light. Luckily, there are a plethora of great free-to-play games out there, as long as you know where to look. That’s where I come in. One MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) should sound familiar. Dungeons and Dragons Online was originally a pay-to-play game, but the creators switched to a free method of play in June 2010. Set in the D&D universe, the gameplay feels very familiar to long-time fans of the dice and paper game, yet it remains friendly to first time adventurers and gamers alike. Six different character classes are available right out of the gate. There is the hardy fighter, the devout cleric and the sneaky rogue, just to name a few. The options don’t end there, either. Like classic D&D, the player can also select a race for his character to be. Options include old favorites like the human or elf, with some new ones  such as the metallic warforged thrown in. The story begins with the chosen character washing up on the shore of the island of Korthos after a white dragon destroyed the ship the player was traveling in. For a free online game, the scenery is gorgeous to look at. Textured waves lap at the shore of the beach, and character facial expressions convey a wide range of emotions. Birds flit through the air, and the starting zone actually feels like an island jungle ripe for exploring. If the scenery stands out as a contender with online games, the combat brings home the gold. While typical online games are just one-button hack-and-slashers, a lot of thought went into DDO to make it feel like the source material. Each class has their own set of skills that they can use in a wide variety of situations, and they each gain more as they...

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The American gets kudos for cinematography
Sep15

The American gets kudos for cinematography

George Clooney plays Jack, an American assassin who specializes in making custom guns for his clients, in the new box-office hit The American. Released Sept. 1, the film brought in more than $13 million during opening weekend. Director Anton Corbijn has a keen eye for dramatic cinematography. With a photography background, Corbijn framed each shot to perfection, which only enhances the mystery and drama of the film. His angles and camera placement set the movie apart from other assassin films. All of these aspects gave this movie 2 out of 5 bells. After escaping from his enemies and having to kill his girlfriend in Sweden, Jack retreats to the countryside near Rome to protect himself from being murdered. This specific scene was a downfall in the plot. Clooney’s character faces many difficult decisions and makes horrible choices which ruins the movie, but perhaps those choices are ones an assassin makes. There he begins his next assignment and meets Father Benedetto (Paolo Boncacelli). Jack then changes his name to Edward, posing as a traveling photographer. While protecting himself in the peacefulness of Italy, he falls in love with Clara (played by Violante Placido), a beautiful but unique character — not the typical religious, pasta-eating, family-oriented Italian woman. His friendship with Father Benedetto and relationship with Clara develop while he secretly puts together a long-range rifle for his next assignment. Edward leaves his new friends questioning him, but they do not mention their suspicions — Father Benedetto and Clara have secrets of their own. Edward (Jack) begins to imagine a life without killing as he whiles away his time with Clara. Walking away from the business seems tempting, but isn’t that easy. This assassin/spy film isn’t action packed, but the suspense will certainly keep the audiences’ attention. Corbijn does create a great ’70s spy movie vibe using the beautiful scenery, but there are many nudity scenes that were unnecessary. Let’s just say the end of this movie will keep one guessing. After all, how did they...

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The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University
Sep15

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University

Liberty University, or “Bible Boot Camp” to some, is among the most conservative universities in the nation. In a move that baffled and even worried his friends and family, unreligious Kevin Roose took a semester off of studying journalism at the liberal Brown University to try to bridge the culture gap and went to Liberty. He candidly chronicles his time and discoveries in the memoir The Unlikely Disciple. The first few pages of the book contain praise from Christian Science Monitor, The Onion, New York Times, FriendlyAtheist.com, Jewish Weekly, ChristianityToday.com and even Playboy. The readers associated with these publications aren’t known for agreeing, but they all reach the same consensus. Roose’s work is worth the read. Liberty University was founded in the 1970s by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. He wanted to provide an accredited university for Christian students. The school has grown rapidly since that time, with more than 11,000 students enrolled in 2010. Falwell was once the poster-boy of evangelism, but lately is more often associated with sensational remarks he made in the last decade of his life. Roose’s friends and family were quick to point to Falwell’s statements on the 700 Club after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as a reason for Roose to avoid Liberty. “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle … I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen,’ ” Falwell had said. Falwell was still living and presiding over Liberty, with almost a rock star persona among students, when Roose moved onto campus. Roose’s open-mindedness and honesty, along with witty writing, makes the book more than another memoir. He candidly lives alongside devout evangelical students, participates in their religious activates, abstains from cursing, sex, dancing and R-rated movies and everything else described in Liberty’s 46-page code of conduct. Roose even sang in Jerry Falwell’s choir every Sunday morning at the nationally televised Thomas Road worship service. Roose deals extensively with social and moral issues. He also abandoned many of his preconceived ideas about evangelicals. Some of the stereotypes held up, however. He chronicles how hostile the campus is toward homosexuals. Instead of swearing, students were prone to using synonyms for gay as their expletives. He also tackles a class called History of Life where he is instructed that Noah carried dinosaurs on the ark. Despite problems like this, Roose never takes a shot at Christians, and genuinely is interested in the spiritual aspect of their lives. Roose embraced many of the new areas of his life...

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Art professor displays work
Sep15

Art professor displays work

John Hancock has been an art professor at UMHB for more than ten years. He has taught many students and seen many of his students’ art projects become recognized. On Aug. 26 in the Arla Ray Tyson Art Gallery of the Townsend Memorial Library, Hancock’s featured works were placed on exhibit. The show’s theme is “The World’s Happiest Place,” which the artist leaves up to the viewer to decide wherever that special place may be. “The World’s Happiest Place is in my head, heart and hands,” Hancock said. Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes said he values Hancock as a professor. “Obviously we think he’s a great teacher,” he said. “He’s a good asset for the department because he demonstrates a strong professional attitude toward his personal art making. A bit eccentric, but that’s somewhat normal with faculty in university art departments.” Senior art education major Krista Troy has taken Hancock’s figure drawing class and finds him to be very helpful. “He’s a great man to learn from, and he’s given me encouragement in works I thought were gone,” she said. To Barnes, the happiest place Hancock is at is when he is creating art. “I believe when John called this show ‘the World’s Happiest Place’ he was making a comment about his state of mind when he is in the process of making art, metaphorically saying that he is at his happiest when he is making images,” Barnes said. Troy has a different sense of art, but she still recognizes Hancock’s interesting and unique style. “I thought the works themselves were brilliant because they truly challenged me to think and figure out the thoughts behind them,” she said. There are many different ways to interpret art and it may or may not be what the artist intended. Barnes said, “In terms of content, my reading of the work is that it is about man’s inhumanity toward man. He does this by using common vernacular images in a comical sense to confront those things that are...

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Heartfelt student-created film, The Last Waltz
Apr27

Heartfelt student-created film, The Last Waltz

For roughly 12 minutes, the audience that went to see the student- created Cru Films production, The Last Waltz, sat in silence waiting to see what happened to the hard-minded character of Waltz. After living a life of continually being cold to people due to the events in his life, we find Waltz as an old man alone in a hospital bed. With every comment he makes proving to be negative and rude, nurse Steve, performed by 2009 UMHB graduate and performance studies major, Tank Turner, always stays positive and has hope that Waltz’s hard shell will be cracked before his life ends. At the end of the short film, Waltz’s family has come to visit him. After experiencing a heart attack, Waltz wakes up to realize he should let go of his hatred of his life and accept the love of not only his family, but also the love of Christ. Dr. Diane Howard is passionate about the Cru Films organization and was one of the producers of the film. She is honored by the fact that the production blessed her with students who dedicated themselves in order to have a great finished product. “The most rewarding facet for me has been to see our students begin to appreciate the talents and gifts that our Lord has given them for great positive Christian good in the world,” she said. “Watching them learn and practice skills to artfully captivate and persuade audiences as they produce redemptive films has been a joyful adventure.” One of the main characters is the nurse, Steve. Turner enjoyed being a part of the film, and the story line had a lot to do with that. “To me the film was about reaching forgiveness through human connection, and being able to allow yourself to connect with another human being after being hurt in the past by someone,” he said. The whole experience of acting and interacting with the cast and crew was very rewarding for Turner. “It was an awesome experience working with everyone who was involved in creating this film,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be with in taking this journey.” Howard and the other producer of The Last Waltz, professor Donna Teel, had about eight to ten student written scripts to choose. However, it was film studies minor Mateo Gamboa who had the winning story line. He said, “I was happy about it. I was nervous. It really made me anxious to see how it was all going to turn out.” On a whole, watching the short film was inspirational. Seeing a man being redeemed...

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