Love Happens to those who least expect it
Sep29

Love Happens to those who least expect it

Love Happens is a romantic and heartfelt comedy. Burke Ryan, played by Aaron Ekhart, is a motivational speaker mourning the death of his wife three years previously. The stereotypical “lonely man in need of love” again knows what it’s like to be in love with someone and lose them, but doesn’t practice what he preaches — the proper way to grieve. Burke is the self-help author of A-Okay, a best-seller that makes him well-known to the American culture. He and his manager (Dan Folger, playing his normal funny role) make quite a team and are about to strike a deal with a multimedia company about expanding Burke’s fame into more than just a book. The duo holds a seminar in the Chicago area for helping people to ‘get over grief.’ The hotel where the convention is held is where Burke bumps into what could unveil a dark secret and change his life for the better — forever. Eloise, played by Jennifer Aniston, is a flower shop owner who is as eccentric as her company’s vintage ’60s Ford Falcon. She works on all the center pieces at the same hotel where the A-Okay seminar is held. After breaking up with a cheating rock star boyfriend, she purposefully blows off the approaching Burke by pretending she’s deaf. Eloise’s uncanny friend/ employee (Judy Greer) believes Aniston’s character could be the one to help Burke love again. Cowriter/director Brandon Camp (of Benji) nails the romantic and emotional theme of the movie, and counters it by adding a comedic twist with specific characters. Some are Martin Sheen, Burke’s father-in-law, and his daughter’s cockatoo. Together they make several hilarious and heartwarming appearances throughout the film. One occurs when Burke breaks into Sheen’s house and bird-naps the pet to set it free — his wife’s wish. The film’s soundtrack enhances each scene by capturing the emotions of the audience. The touching script of Love Happens will bring lots of laughter, along with tears, to audiences in theaters...

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From class to the big screen
Sep29

From class to the big screen

In the past few years, students have had more opportunities to participate in area film-making than ever before They have worked with both small and large film production crews in their efforts to further penetrate and positively influence the growing Texas film industry. Two university communication students have landed roles as extras in a Robert Rodriquez film, Machete, set to debut in 2010. The movie is about a renegade Mexican federali named Machete who is hired to assassinate a U.S. senator, but gets set up by the people who hired him. He survives the attempt on his life and Rodriquez offered his fans a peek at the movie in a mock trailer in Planet Terror, a part of the Grindhouse double feature including Death Proof released in 2007. Senior mass communication/journalism major Terrance McGee was asked to be an extra in the film after auditioning and being accepted for a Southwestern Airlines commercial. McGee had a time conflict between class and the commercial, but was called back a second time to ask if he was interested in being an extra in Machete. The film employs several big-name actors, including Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez and Danny Trejo as Machete. McGee found himself beside some of the celebrities. He said, “Often times, the majority of the extras are subconsciously trying to get in scenes with a celebrity. I’ve been nothing but blessed in my role as a reporter, which ironically placed me in scenes alongside Jessica Alba and Robert De Niro. I just think that’s hilarious.” Junior biology major Cassy Olvera was also able to take part in the film. She said, “Being on set was really awesome. It was really cool to see how everything was made and how they make the movies look the way they do. I got the opportunity to work with Danny Trejo, who is the lead character, and Lindsay Lohan. My character was actually being a day labor worker, and we got to do some fight scenes.” This was the first role in a large production that either student has been able to take part in. “Well, first off, it’s a privilege to be on set with such top-notch celebrities. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside people with such reputable stance. I have learned how vital it is to be a team player and that no one movie is a success without the hard work ethics of every individual,” McGee said, “It is exciting to be on a set because, not only are you surrounded by popular actors or the production team, but...

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Students groove to an ’80s royal bash
Sep29

Students groove to an ’80s royal bash

Crusaders got to “kick off their Sunday shoes” with new President and first lady, Randy and Julie O’Rear at the ’80s Bash held in their honor. Students dressed in costume were welcomed at the door of the Mabee-Farris Gymnasium by senior Jeremy Williams. Sporting a shiny red raincoat material suit from head to toe and wearing a curly-haired mullet, he stamped everyone as they entered – the stamp bearing the image of O’Rear in coat and tie. Sophomore computer graphics design major Lauren McKenzie said, “When I first got to the dance, Jeremy was stamping people. I didn’t think anything of it until I looked down on my forearm, and it was a man’s face.” McKenzie said at first she thought the stamp resembled Elvis. “But I thought, ‘Wait a minute, the ’80s weren’t his decade’,” she said. “So I did a double take, and burst into laughter when I realized it was Dr. O’Rear.” Students welcomed the night’s special guests to the dance floor with “Endless Love” for their first dance. The first lady wore a bright pink dress and elbow-length gloves. President O’Rear wore a sequined purple coat and several inches of black hair,which he must have grown within a few hours of his inauguration. Underneath flashing lights, students danced to tunes such as “Foot Loose,” “Strangers” and “One Way or Another.” As an emcee for the event, Vice President of Student Life Byron Weathersbee sported a golden MC Hammer outfit that fellow faculty found for him to wear. “Two problems,” he said. “One is that only MC Hammer wore crazy clothes like that in the ’80s, and the other is I really looked more like Aladdin.” Assistant Director of Campus Activities Jeff Sutton served as the “master emcee.” Weathersebee said, “(He) is great up front and connects with people in amazing ways.” Student Body President Tommy Wilson took center stage sporting zebra pants and killer-cool sunglasses to officially dub the O’Rears as president and first lady on behalf of the students, saying with a Bawcomlike accent, “I dub thee forever.” Crusaders snapped pictures with friends posing with various posters of so-twenty-years-ago stars next to an inflatable pool full of Cheeto balls. At a nearby table, director of student organizations Kristy Brischke dished out assorted candies in rainbow colors. Students also got to take “prom pictures” in front of a sparkling backdrop – all photos are available on Facebook. Residence directors joined the show, too. As students formed a fashion show like line of free space on the dance floor, RDs were announced, moving to the catwalk wearing their retro getup. Students cheered them on as they...

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University president dubs renowned artist a Crusader
Sep16

University president dubs renowned artist a Crusader

Christian music sensation Phil Wickham rocked the steps of Luther Memorial with a concert and a worship service Aug. 22 and 23. As the sun sank beneath the horizon, the night sky illuminated a stage for worship. “My music is an ultimate goal to create a response, and to respond with and encounter God and to go deeper with him ––to create a moment with God,” Wickham said. The musician encourages the younger generation to be convicted by their beliefs. “It is a massive struggle with my generation and a problem that goes way beyond the generation,” Wickham said. “There’s a professing of Christianity and what it means to pursue God every day. There is a lack of passion to live, not just raising your hands in church and witnessing once a month. A phrase to describe it well is ‘reckless abandon.’ Our job as young believers is to live a life that is unafraid, abandoning all cares into the wind and saying ‘I’m going to live for Jesus.’” During his time spent at the university, Wickham was dubbed a Crusader by university President Randy O’Rear. Junior nursing major Sarah Herriott was excited about the event. “I thought it was cool that he was made an official Crusader for life,” she said. Sophomore sports management major Andy Evans agreed. “The concert was well done; and everybody got a kick out of him being dubbed as a Crusader,” he said. Wickham encouraged students to be conscious of their actions. “It’s easy to be a Christian because the lines are more blurred in the world,” he said. “Romans 12:1 … should be the motto or statement for living. There are so many songs and poems, but can you say day to day, ‘I’m going to put you (God) over myself.’ It’s impossible because we’re human, but a passion is created that will change us.” Aside from touring, Wickhan recently married his longtime girlfriend. “I’ve been married 10 months now, and it has affected my career very well,” he said. “Our relationship has had an amazing improvement. We were dating when I first signed as an artist. She tours with me and is also involved with Compassion International.” Wickham said his marriage has taught him more about God. “It’s so amazing to have a partner to make me be honest with myself,”he said. “It’s complete love and a reminder of God’s love.” Wickham and his spouse are both strong supporters for Compassion International. “The foundation is an opportunity for more fortunate people to sponsor an individual child for $38 a month,” he said. “It will provide clothing, education, clean water (and) food...

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Novelist Ted Dekker gives Skin goose bumps
Apr21

Novelist Ted Dekker gives Skin goose bumps

By Evangeline Ciupek Wendy Davidson could barely see the road through the pounding storm—she had just escaped from an abusive cult. Blinded by the rain, she crashes into a stalled pickup. Blood smears the truck’s window, and the driver is gone. Wendy runs back to her car for the pistol she keeps under the seat. Ted Dekker’s 2007 novel, Skin, takes readers on a wild ride through the otherwise sleepy town of Sommerville, Nev.. The town is plagued by tornadoes and Sterling Red, a serial killer who enjoys sucking mustard bottles, killing the innocent and hiding their bodies like Easter eggs. Wendy is joined by Carey and Nicole (a brother and sister with secrets), and policeman Colt, “a clumsy, insecure mess around women, and only slightly better around men.” They all rush into a safe house to escape the tornadoes. Afterward, everything outside has changed. Is it a freak of nature? Is it an alternate reality? Are they all going crazy? Is one of them Red? After the tornadoes pass, Wendy, Casey, Rachel, and Colt are astonished at the sight of Sommerville. It is submerged beneath tons of sand. It is a wasteland criss-crossed with dangerous electric currents. Wendy hears a humming sound. She’s tormented by ever-increasing blackouts. “She gasped, then immediately realized that it wasn’t the world but her own vision that turned black. Pinpricks of light swam on the horizon. She was losing her sight ….” Jerry Pinkus joins the fray. He’s a computer whiz whose index finger was chopped off in his sleep. He claims Red did it. But Wendy isn’t convinced. They get trapped in the library, which becomes the set for Red’s deadly mind games. To say that Dekker is a prolific, as well as exciting, writer would be understating the truth.  Since 1997 he’s authored and co-authored more than 30 books, including graphic novels and series. The novels Thr3e and House became movies. Dekker creates supernatural thrillers pumped with spiritual metaphors. “Darkness and evil are no less comforting than a wolf is a sheep. So when I write about the wolf, I give him fangs and a thirst for blood. (He’s) not a lap dog who we feel nice about cuddling …. If … illuminating such an enemy disturbs the reader, we should all be grateful,” Dekker said in an interview with Ann Vande Zande for CBN. Skin exhibits common threads found in many of Dekker’s novels: no-way-out dead ends, romance, self-sacrifice, villains experiencing tremors and (excuse the expression) a black-and-white view of good and evil. Some common words used include “pig,” “black bat” and “the circle.” Dekker seen life as a stage...

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‘Duplicity,’ two sides for every story
Mar31

‘Duplicity,’ two sides for every story

The Movie Duplicity is not unlike many espionage movies before it. Elements from Mission Impossible and Mr. and Mrs. Smith weave themselves into the plot of the film and the planning process by the characters in the movie rivals Ocean’s Eleven and it’s similarly named successors. Julia Roberts adds a slick, sneaky and sexy feel to the story alongside stunning co-star Clive Owen, playing a pair of spies plotting to take down their respective companies. Pros Despite an awkward opening scene, the movie starts rather quickly and wastes little time giving no more background to the characters than what we would absolutely need for the story. Duplicity’s strengths lie in its thrilling moments. When plans are set into motion, it is easy to get emotionally involved in the outcome of the covert operation. The ending to the movie is superb, shocking and surprising to movie-goers. The film keeps viewers on their toes, wondering where things are going to go next, following every emotional rise and fall and guessing the outcome of the worst (and best) situations in which the characters find themselves. Duplicity is not going to have the same kind of ostentatious entertainment as a movie like Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean, but delivers its value in the intellectual play between both of the main characters, Ray and Claire. Cons The movie goes back and forth in time too much, causing problems in the continuity of the film. Information is not provided about what is going on until the actions are set into motion, which breaks the momentum and becomes problematic. An attention span is required to enjoy the movie to its fullest. There are so many details involved that viewers have to remain on their toes to catch each little facet of the plot. Duplicity is hard to follow, but if you can keep up, the reward at the end of the movie is worth it. The Bottom Line The Bells gives Duplicity a three out of five bell rating because of Julia Roberts’ impressive return, an interesting heist story and some great chemistry between both of the leads. The film makes use of great cinematography and mixes the use of older-style editing with great camera work to pull off a visual treat. The twists in the plot keep the audience guessing at each turn and pulls everyone’s emotions into the final steps of the heist. Although not distinctive in its ideas, Duplicity does a lot of things right and pulls it all together into a pleasant, but forgettable...

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