Disney Pixar goes “to infinity and beyond”
Oct13

Disney Pixar goes “to infinity and beyond”

Woody, Buzz and Mr. Potato Head are back on the big screen in their third appearance in a special Toy Story double feature in 3-D. Generations past and present will be able to enjoy some of America’s most popular toys for a limited time in their promotion of the third installment of the series set to release June 18, 2010. The 3-D translation of the popular family movie is stunning, to say the least. No extra scenes were added to the movies in their third theatrical appearance, but the new, subtle 3-D effects give the whole story a little more flavor and doesn’t shove the new movie presentation down the audience’s throat. None of the effects are overdone, and the new polish on the visual scheme of the film gives viewers convincing eye-candy. The double feature shows the films back to back, which could be problematic for small children or those with short attention spans, but the spectacular reinvention of these classic family movies is all the reason one needs to stick around for the full three-hour presentation. For those that haven’t had the privilege of seeing the two animated movies, the story chronicles the adventures of toys that come to life when their owner isn’t around and the emotions that they encounter when they are replaced by newer toys or more “grownup” items. The movies boast a high-profile voice acting cast, including Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack as Jessie and will include Michael Keaton as Ken and Whoopi Goldberg in an unnamed role in Toy Story 3. The third movie in the series is set just before Andy, the toys’ owner, leaves for college. The toys are dumped into a day care center, which puts the toy-box bunch in the mouths, hands and pockets of drooling preschoolers. As Buzz says, “to infinity and beyond.” The original production was the first big-screen movie to be made by Disney Pixar and premiered more than a decade ago. The story of some of America’s favorite toys brought to life revolutionized the way that animated movies were made. Following the release of Toy Story, Disney Pixar released family favorites like The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, WALL-E and the recent critically acclaimed...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More