Have you heard of BEN-HUR?

Published in the August 24 issue of The Bells Two brothers stand at the starting line, waiting to begin a chariot race of a lifetime. From the moment Ben-Hur begins, the audience is thrown into action. Ben-Hur is a remake of the 1959, Oscar-winning film. Several reviewers, including Rolling Stone and CNN, believe the new film doesn’t come close to comparing to the original epic. As I have never seen the original, I went into the film as an uninformed moviegoer without any standards to compare the film to. While I do not believe this film will be 2016’s Best Picture, I was thoroughly impressed. Ben-Hur tells the story of the Jewish prince, Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), and his quest for vengeance against his Roman adopted brother, Messala (Tony Kebbell). Hur and Messala are devoted friends and brothers until Messala leaves Hur’s family to join the Roman army due to his insecurity over his birth family. A few years later, Messala returns to Jerusalem only to have Hur and his family arrested for treason against Rome. The film takes place during the period where Pontius Pilate (Pilou Asbaek) and his army were killing those who wanted freedom against Rome. Hur is sentenced to be a galley slave, while his mother and sister are supposedly jailed and crucified. Five years later, Hur finds himself back in Jerusalem thirsting for revenge. Huston plays a convincing Judah. The audience is able to mourn with him as he loses everything he has after being falsely accused by Messala. And the audience will find themselves cheering him on in the intense chariot race scene that will determine the fate of the two brothers. Love plays a huge role in this version of Ben-Hur, as well. Once Jesus teaches Judah about the importance of loving your neighbor, he is never the same. Judah’s story intermingles with the life of Christ. And the film portrays a biblically accurate depiction of Christ’s crucifixion that left more than one audience member with tears on their cheeks. Another notable appearance in the film is Morgan Freeman’s Ilderim who serves as Judah’s advisor/life coach/ trainer. Ilderim’s guidance saves Judah’s life more than once in the film. Ben-Hur combines biblical, fictional, and historical elements that when put together depict a moving tale of suffering and redemption. If you can sit through the two and a half hour film, Ben-Hur is a...

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BTX; the places to be for Cru and locals alike
Aug24

BTX; the places to be for Cru and locals alike

Published in the Aug. 24, 2016 issue of The Bells Students have officially arrived to their home away from home in the great city of Belton, Texas and the fall semester is in full swing. For some, it is a new adventure full of excitement. For others, it’s just another year in the place they now call home. While it is important to study and be successful in your academic career, college is also a place to make memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you are new to the area, or have been in Belton for years, there is something for everyone to make the best out of your college experience. Go Hiking Hiking is a great way to see the beauty that central TX has to offer. There are many hiking trails located around Lake Belton for all skill levels. Chalk Ridge Falls Park Trail is a great spot for those looking for some adventure. It is a 2.5 mile, moderate trail that features a waterfall and a suspension bridge. Just a short drive up the road in Temple, Texas, Miller Springs Park located at the Miller Springs Nature Center is also a popular spot for hikers. It is a somewhat easier 1.2 mile trail that also features a waterfall. Hiking trails can be found all around Belton, so get out and explore the area. Enjoy the Lake Since the summer heat is still in full effect, going to the lake is a great way to cool down and have some fun. There are two lakes in the Belton area, and they are just a short drive up the road. Belton Lake features picturesque beaches for swimming, while Stillhouse Hollow Lake contains camping spots, fishing, and water skiing. Going to the movies Grand Avenue Theater in Belton, which is located near the Sonic and Walgreens, has movies to offer for everyone. This theater also has deals for UMHB students, including $5 movie Tuesdays with your Cru Card. It’s a perfect way to have some fun with your friends without breaking the bank. Explore downtown Belton Every Crusader should explore the town of Belton outside of campus. A great place to immerse yourself in the local culture is to travel downtown Belton. Not only is it a great place to experience the town’s history, but it is also a great way to take advantage of the shopping and eateries that are nestled on the bank of Nolan Creek. You can also check out the Bell County Museum or shop in antique shops in the downtown area. Either way, get out and see these amazing things our town has...

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Lip Sync Battle: A show fit for the Queen

For those of you who can’t binge watch your favorite shows on Netflix because you don’t have a Netflix account, don’t worry. There is still hope for quality entertainment on cable television! Lip Sync Battle is a fairly new reality show on Spike that got its pitch from a popular karaoke segment on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. This popular show takes classic karaoke to the next level by allowing celebrities to dance, dress up, and perform their favorite songs in front of a live audience. The first episode aired April 2, 2015 and has yet to disappoint. With LL Cool J as host, and model Chrissy Teigen providing colorful commentary, the show is thriving.Viewers tune in weekly to see their favorite pair of A-list celebrities go head-to-head in a lip sync battle. Channing and Jenna Dewan-Tatum set the bar high during the premiere of the show’s second season with phenomenal performances of Beyonce’s “Who Runs the World” and Genuine’s “Pony.” The “Queen Bee” herself even made a guest appearance along with Paula Abdul and some of Channing’s Magic Mike co-stars. The star couple had the audience and viewers raving about their performances. The list of star-studded guests has ranged from comedian Kevin Heart to actress Anne Hathaway, and the list will continue to go on into the third season. Spike officially announced the hit show, which is currently in its second season, will be returning for a third season consisting of 20 new episodes. This comes at no surprise to those who love the show. Lip Sync Battle smashed viewership records when they pulled in 4.7 million viewers in one episode and three days worth of video-on-demand and DVR playback. Its initial premier was one of the highest-rated shows to ever premier on Spike. The show now has versions airing in Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Philippines, and the United Kingdom. The popularity of the show has clearly made its mark on the world. So the next time every one is binge-watching on Netflix or Hulu, you can catch the stars on Lip Sync Battle on Spike HD channel 112 Thursday nights at 9...

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Star Wars makes the big bucks
Jan28

Star Wars makes the big bucks

“Luke, I am your father.” Darth Vader’s gravelly voice echoes through the chamber. “No, that’s not true,” one-handed Luke Skywalker screams in disbelief and agony before he jumps down a hole into the abyss. Most Americans instantly recognize this iconic scene from the franchise that changed the course of cinema. Star Wars, directed by George Lucas, pushed its way into the box office in May of 1977. Considered a low budget B-movie, Star Wars opened to only 43 theaters. However, each week more theaters began to show the movie. Star Wars remained in theaters for almost 70 weeks, and made more than $460 million. “The first Star Wars was so appealing because it brought a new genre to the big screen with a great storyline that hadn’t been heard before,” sophomore Christian studies major Franklin Groseclose said. From this point on, Lucasfilms began licensing the brand to other companies for merchandise. In addition to the usual action figures and T-shirts, some rather unorthodox items have been spotted including airsickness bags, Darth Vader toasters, and fishing gear. During the next 28 years, Lucasfilms released five more Star Wars films, including three prequels to the original Star Wars movie. Star Wars was renamed as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when these prequels were released. Disney bought the franchise in 2012 for $4 billion from George Lucas. Once they acquired the franchise, Disney instantly expressed interest in adding onto the Star Wars saga. “When I heard that Disney owned Star Wars, I was angry, because it seems like they own almost everything. But when I saw the new Star Wars movie, I was very pleasantly surprised,” freshman nursing major Michaela Williams said. In December of 2015, Disney released Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Thousands of moviegoers of all ages flocked to see the new movie featuring old characters such Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Han Solo, and new characters such as Finn and Rey. “Star Wars is a movie franchise that a generation has been able to pass to the next,” Groseclose said. “Since our parents grew up on it, they understood what it would be like to see Star Wars once again, and it is appealing to the younger generation because of the action and that it was probably part of their childhood as well.” After just 20 days in theaters, Star Wars: The Force Awakens beat Avatar’s $760,507,625 domestic gross to become the #1 grossing movie in the nation. For those of you who have not seen the newest movie, let’s just say that Disney left everyone with a cliffhanger. I guess we’ll have to wait until...

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Adele says Hello after three years with new album
Dec08

Adele says Hello after three years with new album

Adele said “Hello” to fans in a new way on Oct. 23 when she released her first single from her newest album, entitled 25. The full-length album was released not long after the hit single on Nov. 20. The album was much anticipated since her last album, 21, came out more than three years ago. Adele is known for naming her albums after the age in which she draws her inspiration. Now, at 27 years old, she is showing the world her emotions from 25, and they are, for the most part, heart-wrenching. Her new album is somewhat different from 19 and 21. Adele has called it more of a “make-up record” to herself, that was inspired by the time she lost between albums. “My last record was a break up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make-up record. I’m making up with myself. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did,” Adele said in a Facebook post on Oct. 21. Though it is drastically different from her previous albums, it does not lack that signature Adele passion. This album was overall really great, but that doesn’t mean that every song on the track list was worth a repeated listen. In fact, some of the songs really blended together, even the really good ones. And while a lot of them evoked strong emotions, it wasn’t as bold as 21, which was disappointing to long-time fans. If you want songs that will mend your broken heart, because if we are being honest, that’s what we all thought the entire record was going to do, then skip to track four, “When We Were Young,” track eight, “Love In The Dark,” or track 10, “All I Ask.” These love-filled ballads are the songs fans were hoping would shine throughout 25. “River Lea” is a song with no real meaning or emotion. It might actually be the only song lacking Adele charm on the entire record due to its annoying repetition. “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” was filled with a sound that was very unlike Adele. It was more of a happy, fun song which shows a different side of the Grammy-winning artist. This album wasn’t the greatest one put out by Adele. In fact, it isn’t really comparable to the boldness of 21. It was missing the vocal strength fans are used to. However, it does have some noteable songs throughout the record that are well-worth the buy. You can purchase the album on iTunes or at Walmart or Target. If you buy the album...

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Action, adventure meets the screen
Nov19

Action, adventure meets the screen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year–a time when holiday blockbusters begin to make an appearance. This year’s movies are sure to be classics, so pack up your family, head to the nearest movie theater and make some unforgettable memories. Spectre, PG-13 Has Bond finally met his match? 007 has always been a fascinating, mysterious character. This generation’s Bond, Daniel Craig, has definitely portrayed this role well. The film opens in a classic 007 style–a beautiful city during an event, a shady character, and Bond who, of course, has a stunning woman in his arms. Then you see the shady character leave the big event and Bond follows. Next thing you know Bond is eavesdropping on the villains’ conversation. Something happens that gives Bond away. Then, BANG! There’s an explosion that hints at the identity of the main antagonist. From there the film leads into the opening credits, along with the new James Bond song, “Writings on the Wall,” which is performed by the very talented English singer, Sam Smith, who doesn’t disappoint. The song fits perfectly with the theme and the story of this 007 movie. The opening credits for Spectre are definitely one of the best parts of this movie. This wasn’t like any other movie that just puts the title of the movie and the big actors name in it. These opening credits are a masterpiece –a movie of their own. It gives you an idea of how the movie will be portrayed. The antagonist of this film is different from the others. In this film you learn that the villain has been watching Bond since childhood. It takes Bond a while to realize who this foe is. This movie is filled with so many twists and turns, and sheds some light on who James Bond is. And if this is Daniel Craig’s last time as the legendary 007, he went out with a bang. The movie once again proves that James Bond is the best spy around, and his movies are some of the best around. Mockingjay Part II (trailer review), PG-13 Tell me where the sign up list is to help District 13 overthrow President Snow. As a huge fan of both the books and the films, I am sad to see that the series is coming to an end. But at the same time I am really excited to see how they will conclude this series. This trailer had me captivated from the beginning to the end. Katniss, who is portrayed by Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence, gives a motivational speech that will make fans feel like they can take on the world....

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