Haiti gets star-studded help
Feb10

Haiti gets star-studded help

By Emily Keahey In the wake of the devastating earthquake that ravaged Haiti, celebrities have rallied together to help the relief effort. As the death toll rises, not only have stars given large amounts monetarily, but they have come up with other creative ways to inspire the rest of the world to give, as well. Sadly, even before the massive earthquake hit, the country was having problems. Their infrastructure was failing; roads were crumbling, bridges were falling down, water was rarely sanitary, electricity was not readily available, the government was ineffective and they were regularly pounded by hurricanes, but when the earthquake hit, all their problems intensified. An estimated 200,000 people have been killed, and another three million people are in need of emergency care. Immediately after the natural disaster, celebrities jumped into action; many donated money in large amounts to charitable organizations like Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and Partners in Need. Some of the generous donors included Gisele Bundchen who donated 1.5 million. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Oprah and Sandra Bullock all gave one million, along with George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio. Although times are tough, celebrities are urging others to give whatever is possible; they have come up with creative ways to spur donations. Scarlett Johansson is auctioning herself. For the opening night of her Broadway show, A View from the Bridge, four people will not only get tickets to the show, but they will also get to meet her afterwards. Many musicians, including Rhianna, Jay-Z, Linkin Park and Bono, have released songs, and the proceeds from online downloads will be donated to relief organizations. Clooney organized and hosted a global telethon called Hope for Haiti Now. This two-hour star-studded affair aired Jan. 22 on several networks, including ABC, NBC and MTV. It had performances by Madonna, Sting, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Bono, Justin Timberlake and Coldplay. In addition to those musical acts, Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others, told stories about some of the earthquake victims while other celebrities were in the background answering phones. The event raised more than $61 million, which is going to be split up and given to seven different organizations. A live album was also made from the performances at the telethon. It features 20 tracks and all the money from sales will go to Haiti relief funds. Since it has been released, the album has broken countless records, including first digital-only album to top the Billboard 200 album chart and the highest one-day album pre-order in iTunes history. Wyclef Jean, who co-hosted the event with Clooney and is a Haitian-born musician, said in a statement, “I...

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Final season for Lost
Feb10

Final season for Lost

After months of anticipation, Lost has returned for the last time, bringing viewers to ask more questions about how the show will end. The sixth season, which was supposed to be flooded with answers, has done little to accomplish that expectation. A show about time traveling, highly advanced mathematics, parallel universes and complicated relationships naturally comes with confusion, but the lack of answers in the first episode of the final season was disappointing. A few revelations were made, though, which have been long awaited. The once and still dead John Locke as the embodiment of the Smoke Monster brought his character into major play, which has been a long-time build up since the first season. With this key information, the small insights into Locke’s life further confuse viewers as they wrestle with which universe and story is real. The island is shown at the bottom of the sea while following the airplane story, which supports Juliet’s claim from the grave that “It worked.” This would make sense that the island simply sank and could do no more to crash planes and change lives except that half of the time the stories of the characters are being lived out on that same island. The main conflicts of the show take place on the restless island, compared to the rather peaceful plane ride and post-flight world of the characters. Smoke Monster Locke convinces Ben to kill Jacob. Ben’s leadership has completely diminished and he now follows the orders of evil Locke against the godlike Jacob, who has always reigned supreme before. With Jacob dead and gone, the good force shifts to the location of the Temple where Hurley, Kate, Jin and Jack bring Sayid to be healed. In their attempts to heal him, the Temple people actually drown Sayid, but he overcomes death and wakes at the last minute. It is clear that the war is now in motion between Locke and the previously Jacob-led Temple people. Some of the main characters of the show seem to be simple bystanders in the beginnings of this war, but they are being further developed in the parallel world of the plane. Richard is on the side of Locke, along with Ben. This continues the ongoing tension between Locke and Jack, even though no one is looking to Jack for leadership. Jack and his crew are in the Temple with The Others, and eventually Miles and Sawyer join them. In the peaceful airport world, Jack and Locke have a friendly conversation as both are hoping to find something that’s missing. Jack’s father’s coffin has been misplaced, which might explain how Christian has previously shown...

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Faith survives post-apocalyptic world

The trailer does it no justice. What looks like an average action flick featuring Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Denzel Washington is actually much more. In The Book of Eli, Washington plays Eli, a man trying to survive on what is left of the post-apocalyptic earth. He has been walking for the past 30 years heading west after a revelation from God. Along the way, things are not easy due to his encounters with thieves and murderers. Water is precious, and when he arrives in a town that has some, he is persuaded to stay the night by a power hungry man who calls himself Carnegie (Gary Oldman, Harry Potter). Carnegie sends out men day after day in search of a book. This book is not just any book; he claims it has the power to manipulate people into doing whatever he wants. The book he wants is none other than the King James Bible. Eli coincidentally happens to be in possession of that very book, the last known copy due to widespread burnings after the final war. When Carnegie finds out, it becomes a full-on combat, machine guns included. A young woman, Solara (Mila Kunis, That 70’s Show), is sick of Carnegie and the way he treats her and her mother. She begs to go west with Eli in hope for a better future, but her involvement only adds to the drama. The movie definitely does not hold back on the violence and gore. Eli is particularly handy with a machete and when people get in his way, it is lethal. Washington fits the role perfectly. He can be both bad and good at the same time. He battles between his faith and what he must do in order to survive. A twist near the end will have viewers awestruck and inspired, but rooting for Eli even more. The movie is different from the typical end of times movie in the fact that it causes people to question their own faith and its power. It receives 4 out of 5...

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New series, Life Unexpected, wows fans
Jan26

New series, Life Unexpected, wows fans

It’s about time a show came out that’s worth an hour every week. Life Unexpected is the best show since Gilmore Girls, and it’s no surprise critics have compared it to the unique relationship between Lorelai, Rory and Chris and the teenage love drama in the independent film, Juno. For those who have been searching for a show to be a die-hard fan of, this may just be it. The pilot is catchy and the characters are inviting — viewers feel like they’ve known them since going to high school with them. The dialogue combines comedy, drama and emotion, and the relationship between the main characters is priceless. The show is about a 15-year-old girl named Lux — played by Britt Robertson — who is tossed from foster home to foster home and is searching for independence. Locating her parents so they can sign her emancipation documents, Lux finds her plan destroyed. The court dismisses her request and gives joint custody to her irresponsible father, Nate, played by Kristoffer Polaha, and her cynical mother, Cate Cassidy, played by Shiri Appleby. Unsurprisingly, the biological parents’ discovery of their daughter comes at a bad time. Nate is a bar owner who has no plans of growing up any time soon, and Cate is a successful radio talk-show host who just got engaged. But Cate realizes she can’t keep running from important relationships and invites Lux into her home. However, it’s not that easy. Though Cate and Nate hadn’t seen each other in the 15 years prior to Lux’s news, the high school partners’ juvenile attraction never graduated or moved on. It’s easy to see by the way they look at each other, they still have feelings for each other — which could pose as a problem for Cate’s fiancé and coworker Ryan Thomas, a sweet, gentle guy who’s willing to help take care of Lux. The relationship between the biological family of Cate, Nate and Lux is classic and easy to dive into beginning with the pilot episode. Life Unexpected is a cute show and is a good portrayal of a real-life situation without the corny soap-opera drama or the melodramatic teenage edge like the ones that come on Noggin. The show, which comes on at 8 p.m. Mondays on the CW, deserves 4 out of 5 bells and is a season...

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Have a Little Faith inspires readers

After the riveting story Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom has managed to do it again with the inspiring story of three different men. Have a Little Faith is a easy 24-hour read. Albom’s 82-year-old rabbi from his hometown, Albert Lewis, asks him to do his eulogy. What starts as a simple question turns into an eightyear journey. Along the way Albom discovers the true character of his singing rabbi and meets an unusual African American pastor with a rap sheet. Albom sets out to discover his rabbi, but in the end discovers himself and his faith. As a boy, Albom did what was expected of a Jewish boy while regularly dodging his intimidating “man of God.” Life has taken over with its demanding schedule and his religion has been pushed to the side. In an effort to get to know the rabbi as a man, Albom travels to regular meetings with Lewis. At the same time, he encounters an impoverished pastor from his current city, Detroit, who ministers to the homeless. Albom gains insight from both men, but not in an overly preachy kind of way. The book is written in conversational style with excerpts from Lewis’ sermons. The unique part of the novel is how a bestselling author is riveted by both a Jewish rabbi and a born-again Christian. One of the main points in the novel is acceptance, not just of one’s own religion, but of other’s beliefs. Other topics are forgiveness, doubt and the significance of faith. Although the men come from different spiritual worlds, Albom sees that all beliefs are united in faith. Lewis holds this especially dear to his heart, relaying how he and a Catholic priest once walked arm in arm in the playground of a Catholic school, despite stares. Albom finds himself clinging to his singing rabbi, the eulogy an almost distant thought in his mind. Winter brings trying times for all men as death and harsh weather threaten their lives. The time comes for Albom to write the eulogy and by then he knows so much of Lewis he has no need for notes. What is amazing about the novel is that it doesn’t lead to a certain way of thinking. It leads to thinking. Why not be comforted by the belief that something is bigger than...

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Celebrities prepare for Grammy Awards
Jan26

Celebrities prepare for Grammy Awards

By Emily Keahey Music’s biggest night is around the corner, as artists prepare to come together and make magic at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards. Set for Jan. 31 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, it has a lineup of stars as far reaching as its influence on the music industry. In a live concert hosted by LL Cool J on Dec. 2, nominations for the ceremony were announced, which range from genre-specific awards like best country song to the all-inclusive ones like record and song of the year. Beyoncé led the list for the most nominations with 10, including album of the year for her CD, I Am … Sasha Fierce, song of the year for, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” and record of the year for “Halo,” as well as many other awards. Taylor Swift follows closely in second place with eight nominations which includes “White Horse” for best country song and her CD Fearless for best album . Coincidentally, Beyoncé and Swift are nominated in four of the same categories; hopefully, there will not be a repeat of the VMA scandal. Other nominees include The Black Eyed Peas, Maxwell and Kanye West, each with six nominations. All five album of the year nominees are scheduled to perform, which includes 10-time Grammy winner Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga and The Dave Matthews Band. Along with those headliners, The Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum and Green Day announced they would perform as well. A special show is planned by Bon Jovi; he is letting fans decide which song his band will perform. To vote in the “You Pick It, They Play It” special, log onto www.cbs.com/grammys. The Grammys are the only awards based solely on artistic achievement and presented by their peers. Not only do the majority of performers present as well, but other icons such as actress Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Ke$ha, actor Josh Duhamel and new pop/R&B sensation Justin Bieber will be presenting. The Recording Academy, which puts on the Grammys, revealed a new innovative advertising campaign entitled “We’re All Fans.” It shows the unparalleled impact that fans have had on music in the digital age. The portraits of the Grammy nominees are made exclusively of real-time, fan generated YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr posts, which make a “live” portrait of the artist. To see who goes home with the gold, tune in to watch the live broadcast from CBS at 7 p.m. Central Standard...

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