Uncertainty haunts fans
Mar10

Uncertainty haunts fans

By Emily Keahey Psychological thriller, Shutter Island, stuns viewers with sudden twists and an uncertain ending. Set in 1954, U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) go to the infamous Ashecliffe Asylum. Located on Shutter Island off the coast of Massachusetts, this nearly impenetrable mental hospital houses only the most dangerous criminally insane. They have been dispatched to investigate the disappearance of a murderess named Rachel Solando. The mystery is how she managed to escape; her cell has a secure metal bolt and is protected by guards 24/7. Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) even says, “It’s as if she vanished through the walls.” While talking to Cawley about the facility and its treatments, Daniels learns that there is a war going on in the psychiatric community. Some believe in human experiments, which include lobotomies, while others are trying new psychotropic drugs. Cawley says they believe in listening to the patient and trying to make their existence more comfortable, but with all the creepiness in the movie, viewers get the feeling that he may not be completely honest with Daniels about the subject. Strange interviews with patients, an uncooperative staff and restricted buildings lead Daniels to quickly realize that something much more sinister is going on. Frustrated by the case and lack of progress he has made, Daniels threatens to go to the FBI, but the following day a hurricane hits and makes it impossible for the ferry to get to the island. As expected, the extra time on the island is where things get really interesting. Although some questions seem to be answered, even more are raised. Daniels seems to be haunted by the patients around him. The flashbacks of World War II and his dead wife add to his anxiety and the movie’s suspense as the line between reality and illusion blur. Director Martin Scorsese’s adaption from Dennis Lehane’s novel is fantastic. It is a dark, gothic plot that twists and surprises viewers until the end. From the initial fog on the ferry ride over to the razor-like cliffs of the island, an ominous mood is set. The performances from all the actors and actresses are great. Dicaprio’s unwavering accent is quite impressive, and Kingsley’s performance is one of the best he has done in years. Within the first weekend, Shutter Island earned more than $40 million and held the top of the box office list for two weeks. Originally scheduled to release last October, many suspected that the February premiere was a bad move, but the high ratings proved those pessimists wrong. This terrifying thriller keeps viewers captivated. Although it may be...

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Spring opera production proves: the show must go on

A beautifully performed, spring operetta, The Merry Widow, opened at Temple’s Cultural Activities Center this past weekend. With many setbacks during the rehearsal period of the production, the cast and crew came together to put on a great show. Director of the operetta was Dr. George Hogan, who praises the dedication of everyone involved. “There were days that we couldn’t have practice, like the snow day,” he said. “Other days some people had to miss due to illness. We also had a problem with our costumes being sent to the wrong city. But everyone persevered and didn’t let any of this get them down.” With a few bumps in the road, the cast and crew needed a way to lift their spirits. Luckily this production is light hearted and quite comical in areas. The main character is young widow, Hanna Glawari, who is extremely wealthy due to her husband’s recent death. Glawari decides to go to Paris were she is wooed by many men for her fortune. She does run into an old lover, Danilo, but his current life consists of wasting money at a maxim, women and drinking. With much bickering and uncovering of a fib, they are then together. With other little stories intertwined into this big one, The Merry Widow, is an opera that captures the audience with elements of comedy, exceptional singing and gorgeous costumes. Glawari was played by senior vocal performance major Kathleen Shelton. As a senior, she has worked on many UMHB productions in the past, but was happy with this one. “These past two months we as an ensemble have worked so hard. So many hours have gone into rehearsals, and we’re forced to turn down other fun things to do, but all for the greater purpose of the show,” she said. “But it’s what I absolutely love to do, so it’s no problem for me.” For Shelton, there is no greater satisfaction than to put forth countless hours of rehearsals, memorizing hundreds of lines and getting in front of people she doesn’t know in order to give them an hour and a half worth of content. “The Friday night audience was everything we could have asked for,” she said. “I think they really enjoyed it, and I know we did, it was so nice to finally have laughter and applause after months of delivering lines and learning notes.” The Merry Widow was performed by more than just UMHB students. An array of actors in the operetta ranged from UMHB staff and faculty. Also people of the Belton and Temple community were a part of the cast and crew. One of the...

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Cru Film Project under way
Feb25

Cru Film Project under way

This spring’s Cru Film Project is The Last Waltz, written by junior mass communication major Mateo Gamboa. Waltz is a 92-year-old man who has slipped into a coma due to the severity of Alzheimer’s disease. Because of the death of his wife years earlier, he has pushed everyone dear to him out of his life. He is also traumatized by his actions when he was in the military. However, the highlight of this production is when Waltz suddenly wakes up from his coma and decides to love and live the rest of his life to the fullest. Waltz makes every effort to become a part of his estranged family and mend the wounds with them. Ultimately he makes his peace with God as well. Though the cast and crew have only met a few times, one of the producers of the film and professor in the communications and media department, Dr. Diane Howard, sees the potential of this becoming a great film. “We have had rich, insightful discussions and rehearsals of this screenplay,” she said. Working at the university for 21 years, Howard always enjoys seeing new scripts come on her desk for the Cru Films project each year. “My students have been writing their own scripts and screenplays for the 21 years that I have been at UMHB,” she said. “Our students have produced outstanding original work in many categories for many years.” The script doesn’t call for a lot of actors. The granddaughter of Waltz is named Melody, and this character is played by sophomore performance studies major Rachel Jeske. “I participated in Cru Films last year and it was a really great experience to learn what being on a movie set was like,” she said. Jeske, along with the rest of the cast and crew, enjoys this year’s script. They all give Gamboa a lot of praise on the originality of the story. “Mateo’s script is really good. It covers many generations of family, so I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it. It’s authentic and real,” Jeske said. ”It’s easy to like a script when it’s so honest.” One of the crew members is senior performance studies major Terrance McGee, who is the student director. He wants this to be the best production it can be because he values the quality of the film. “I just want everyone to fully commit,” McGee said. “The people we have for this production are amazing, so I know it will be a great journey.” The film will have two screenings for the public. The first will be Monday, April 19, in Lord Conference...

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Valentine’s Day shocks fans with unexpected twists
Feb25

Valentine’s Day shocks fans with unexpected twists

By Emily Keahey When dealing with matters of the heart, anything can happen, especially on Valentine’s Day. A star-studded cast was assembled for one of the most anticipated movies of the season. With more than 20 big name celebrities ranging from Country musician Taylor Swift to the always funny George Lopez with others like JessicaBiel, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Lautner, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts and Jessica Alba, the movie was predicted to be a hit. Unfortunately, countless viewers left the theater more than a little disappointed. The storyline follows the intertwined lives of a group of Los Angelenos on Valentine’s Day, who exemplify the wide range of emotions typically felt on the holiday. Viewers see everything from young, irrational love to heartache to the power of true friendship. Kutcher’s character, florist Reed Bennett, anchors the movie. It begins with his proposal to girlfriend Morley Clarkson, played by Jessica Alba and then ends with him and his best friend, schoolteacher Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner), standing on a bridge. The plot is very predictable and the movie delivers everything that a romantic comedy typically offers, although there are definitely some big surprises that no one will see coming. Opening the weekend of Valentine’s Day, the movie was on top of the box office charts, earning more than $52 million, most likely due to countless girls dragging their boyfriends to the newest chick flick. It does have some really funny parts, like an adorable elementary school boy named Edison (Bryce Robinson) confessing some rather inappropriate feelings. Also, the portrayal of an overly-giddy high school couple played by Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner is quite hilarious. One of the sweetest couples in the movie is played by Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo. After a long, happy marriage, a confession may prove to be too much. Due to the almost overstuffed cast, most of the stars get a very limited amount of time on the big screen, which is a little sad because there are a lot of really great actors and actresses. The movie isn’t a complete bust; the acting is very good and there are some genuinely good parts, but it is probably just one to rent later on. This movie deserves 3 stars out of 5, solely based on the fact that the casting directors did an amazing job convincing so many A-list actors and actresses to do a solid B...

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Bioshock 2 is a perfect sequel
Feb24

Bioshock 2 is a perfect sequel

Welcome back to Rapture. Bioshock 2 gives players a return to the underwater city of Rapture, the utopian dream city of founder Andrew Ryan. The 2007 game of the year, Bioshock, showed the flawed city in its raw form, and invited players to explore the underwater dream-turned-dungeon. The game made use of a mix of special powers called plasmids and heavy weaponry to combat the Splicers, Big Daddies and other opponents in order to escape Rapture. More importantly, the game offered an immersive experience, mixing in-depth storytelling, hi-def cinematic experiences and the ability to make moral decisions that would impact the end of the game. It’s sequel, Bioshock 2, delivers all the same extraordinary elements with a new story, new characters and an entirely new view of Rapture. Players begin the game as a Big Daddy, one of the most feared enemies of the original game. The main character, known only by its code name, “Delta” is a Big Daddy who just woke out of a coma and is in search of his Little Sister, who was taken from him more than 10 years earlier. The shift from being a human to becoming a fearsome Big Daddy is hard to describe. It is almost like the transformation from boy to man. It gives players more of a feeling of moral responsibility to the underwater world. The choices presented in the game certainly give Delta the chance to choose between the path of a ruthless, selfish killer and an upholder of the moral code, or somewhere in between. Each choice players make in the game has an effect on the ending, much like its predecessor and equally impressive Mass Effect 2. Bioshock 2 raises several moral and ethical questions, making you, the player, an authoritative fi gure in Rapture. This responsibility really pulls players into the game, inviting them to make the right (or wrong) choice; to be self-serving or to save lives. The relationship between a Big Daddy and Little Sister in the original game was never fully explained, but the story in Bioshock 2 gives players an insight into the strong emotional and physical bond between the two. Several new weapons and plasmids are introduced in the game. Players can use a 50-calibur machine gun, the rivet gun, a remote hacking tool, a grenade launcher and the Big Daddy drill to make their way through the depths of Rapture. Along with most of the plasmids from the original game, Bioshock 2 gives players the ability to use winter blast, an ice plasmid; cyclone trap, a defensive plasmid; Scout, which allows players to become invisible to survey the area;...

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In Dear John, letters keep love alive
Feb10

In Dear John, letters keep love alive

All the single ladies, you don’t have to join Beyonce at the dance party to enjoy this romantic emotional roller coaster ride about getting a ring put on it. Dear John, starring the ever- attractive Channing Tatum of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, is a pretty good film for girls’ night out − or the movie to beg your sweetie pie to take you to see for Valentine’s Day. Tatum, as John Tyree, joins Amanda Seyfried, who plays Savannah Curtis, a college girl who fi nds love by dropping her purse off a pier into the ocean. (John quickly jumps in, making Savannah’s then current boyfriend look like he cares more about his Polo shirt, even though he’s the reason the purse ended up in the water). Because the film is based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, also the author of The Notebook, viewers expect to be swept away by a gripping tale of passionate young love and the conflicts of living within different social strata. Passion, yes. Conflict, yes. Believable? Not completely. Without spoiling the film’s unexpected twists, it is obvious from the start of the movie that there is no easy way for most girls to put themselves in the shoes of Savannah. In fact, little that happens in this film is realistic, despite the fact many girls in relationships with soldiers deployed might relate more easily. For starters, the love story begins when John rescues Savannah’s purse from the ocean and is offered a beer for his walk home, and just two weeks later he is shipped back overseas. “I love you’s” are exchanged, as well as the first of many letters, which will be the only form of communication for the two lovebirds as they spend an entire year apart. Even though Tatum’s seemingly monotone declarations of love don’t always match the charm in his physique and intense gazes, girls will fall for his character right along with Savannah. For many love-hungering college ladies, it’s still necessary to bring the box of tissues to the theater. In one letter, Savanah claims that the two weeks she spent with John on the beach in North Carolina were so great that they will be more than enough to carry her through “just” one year apart. There are many similarities to Sparks’ previous chick flick hits, and though this brings predictability, it is what most viewers have come to expect. A scene that pulls heart strings is when Savanah takes John to see the Habitat for Humanity home she is helping to build. John says the way she uses her spare time is further proof that...

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