CAB sponsors event, coffee and live music draw crowd
Mar31

CAB sponsors event, coffee and live music draw crowd

By Russell Dotson Texas Java opened its doors for more than 200 students March 3 for an event hosted by the Campus Activities Board. This small-town coffee shop has progressively become the local student hotspot for studying and social networking, so it was only a matter of time before student organizations began to bridge the gap between campus and students’ favorite caffeine dive. Jeff Sutton, assistant director of campus activities, organized the event with Jennifer Larkin, a junior history major, who serves as the executive board member over logistics. “We had a lot of students say they wanted to do coffee house events,” Sutton said. “They like music, and they like free stuff.” So CAB came up with an idea. “We tried combining as many things as we could, passed out free drinks, and had live student musicians, and then we were able to pass out some surveys to find out what students would like to do next year.” Once students filled out the survey, they got a ticket that was good for any drink in any size. “The surveys gave us vital information, helping us know what events students have gone to and what events they liked, and what they have heard about from other places that they would like to bring here,” Sutton said. The first musicians to hit the stage were Ryan Chandler and Jacob Campsey, who call themselves Two Guys and Two Guitars. After Chandler and Campsey were Alison Hankins, Mark Rojas, Jonathan Dean, Abbey Smith and Megan McCuscy. “Jeff and I wanted an easy, low-key event,” Larkin said. “It was a great opportunity to get feedback on CAB that we might not necessarily have gotten on campus.” Larkin is one of three executive board members working with CAB. “I plan events, make sure they go well and make sure that if any problems come up, I can deal with them,” she said. “I also take event ideas and make them a reality.” Larkin and the other two board members meet throughout the week, assisting with the planning and oversight of events. They work closely with 30 other students who volunteer their time and services. Mara Prindle is a freshman who works with CAB. “At the meetings, we talk about the upcoming events and volunteer to help with them. Each event has to have a chairperson. I served as the chair for Ladies Night and Preview Weekend last semester,” she said. For the Texas Java event, she handed out flyers in Johnson where she lives. Last semester, the Beltonian, Belton’s dinner-and-a-movie movie theatre, started offering UMHB students a free movie pass on Thursday nights. Sutton...

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The Watchmen makes  top of box-office charts
Mar10

The Watchmen makes top of box-office charts

The Movie Consider yourselves warned. The Watchmen is not your typical superhero movie, and the heroes are not what most would consider “super.” Despite having mixed reviews, The Watchmen grossed $55.7 million over the weekend, earning $4.55 million at its midnight showings alone. The film presented some interesting concepts and did some good things while destroying the image Superman, Batman and Spiderman have built. The superhuman group isn’t all that different from any average Joe. They curse, drink and smoke cigarettes while trying to save New York from the criminal population. If I had to compare the characters to a popular superhero, I would say they are most like Batman. Batman is an average guy who helps Gotham as a vigilante, just like the Watchmen. The group is made up of six members: the Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, The Comedian, Rorschach and Nite Owl. The only character with supernatural abilities is Dr. Manhattan, a godlike figure in the film. The adaptation from graphic novel to film is impressive to say the least. The visual styles are beautiful and vivid, and the special effects add an exciting feel to the production. Like the innovative Sin City, The Watchmen uses interesting camera angles and overly-dramatic lighting to give a dark touch to the movie. **ADVISORY** this film is not for young viewers or people with weak stomachs. Rating The content of the film is surprising. There was much more cursing, nudity and gore than I anticipated, and the naked Dr. Manhattan made several scenes uncomfortable and awkward to watch. The Watchmen almost boasts its R rating by filling the movie with nude scenes and other adult content. The gore also made viewers in the theater cringe at times. Many would deem the film inappropriate and lewd at times, but The Watchmen does a couple of things right. Pros First, the plot is pretty interesting and keeps true to the “save the world” theme that most superhero movies stick to, but puts an exciting twist on a stock idea. Second, the film ties the plot into important events in U.S. history and shows how things might have gone with a superhero group helping out the American side. The movie gives an alternate reality of a New York City gone wrong during the Cold War. The nuclear standoff between Russia and the U.S. is a key element in the story. Now, on to the things the movie did poorly. Cons The nudity, language and gore really take away from the value that The Watchmen could have had otherwise. It all just gets a little ridiculous and over the top. The 163-minute run-time...

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High School Musical 3  DVD release
Feb24

High School Musical 3 DVD release

The Film: HSM3 is exciting to watch and explores the many emotions seniors feel their senior year. It is just as hard to say goodbye to the cast as it is for them to say goodbye to each other. Special Features: The two-disc special edition has an expansive selection of special features to choose from. Viewers can go behind the scenes of prom and graduation and learn how the stylists chose specific outfits to suit each character and their personality. The bloopers are a treat, and the deleted scenes hint that there may be another HSM movie following the last in this trilogy. Sing Along: The extended version features a sing-along version of the movie with the choice to switch between the different dance routines and songs. Digital Copy: The best reason to buy the special edition of HSM3 is the inclusion of a digital copy disc. The digital copy of the movie allows buyers to save the film onto their computer and into their iTunes, which can transfer the movie onto an iPod or...

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Slumping economy, TV shows cut short
Feb24

Slumping economy, TV shows cut short

By Evan Duncan The economic crisis is not just hitting businesses, banks and real estate. Most industries are pinching pennies these days, and entertainment is no exception. Television networks are cutting costs, and the effects are showing up on screen. Marketwatch.com says automotive ads, which normally supply one third of all TV ad revenue, are disappearing as auto sales decline. Overall, television profit is down 40%. Executives are being forced to find new ways to be successful. In January, NBC announced a plan to give Jay Leno the 9 p.m. central time slot five days a week. That means five hour-long dramas, such as E.R., will not be returning in the fall. Conan O’Brien will be taking over the Tonight Show at 10:30, and Jimmy Fallon will run things in Conan’s old slot. In the life of college students, who spend most evenings studying or with friends, this move may not have much impact. Tanner Perkins, a junior English major, is unfazed by the adjustment. “Let’s just say, watching Craig Ferguson at midnight is worth more than watching Jay Leno any time,” he said. “Jay Leno is only good for wasting time for the good shows.” Even before the economic troubles, TV networks had been facing issues. Digital Video Recorders, or DVRs, allow viewers to record television and watch it later. DVR users can also fastforward through advertisements. Web sites like hulu.com offer shows on demand with limited commercial interruption. As fewer viewers are seeing ads, advertisers are not willing to pay as much as they had before. Cheaper ads mean less money for networks to put into content. As other businesses falter, even less money can be put into advertising, especially on a medium that is not as influential as it once was. “I love Lost, but I watch it online,” said sophomore biblical studies major, Brittany Montgomery. “That way it fits my schedule. I can pause it when I want, and I don’t have to sit through blocks of commercials. I barely even use a TV.” Despite the worries of executives, the crisis has been good for some shows. The Sarah Conner Chronicles of Fox, for example, would normally be canceled after the low ratings it has received. But Fox, like other networks, has little material after last  year’s writer’s strike and low funds to develop new shows. For Conner...

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Dakota Fanning all grown up, stars in new sci-fi thriller Push
Feb10

Dakota Fanning all grown up, stars in new sci-fi thriller Push

New sci-fi action movie Push features Dakota Fanning as Cassie Holmes, a second generation “watcher,” and Chris Evans as Nick Gant, a second generation “mover.” Now before you get confused about what  a“watcher” and “mover” are, let me explain what each means. There are several different kinds of people with supernatural abilities in the movie, including Watchers, who can see and draw the future; Movers, who can move things with their mind by using telekinesis; Pushers, who can convince people to do anything by pushing their own thoughts on them; Sniffs, who can see the history of something by smelling it; Shadows, who can act as a shadow over other people, hiding them from potential watchers or sniffers; Shifters, who can change any object for a short period of time; Bleeders, who emit a loud shriek that can disable and potentially kill people; Wipers, who can wipe away people’s memories; and Stitchers, who can heal others. The premise of the movie is a heated struggle between two factions of people with abilities: The division, who are the “Galactic Empire” of the film, and the rebellion. Although the idea behind Push seems pretty original, the film is rather bland. The idea of two superhuman groups battling each other has already been used several times in movies like X-Men, Jumper and the popular TV show, Heroes. Young actress Dakota Fanning does a great job of keeping the movie interesting in her scenes with superb acting. She almost upstages the other actors in the film while breaking out of her “little girl” roles such as that in War of the Worlds and Uptown Girls. The plot is more or less shaky. Its twists take away from the movie more than they gain the viewer’s interest. The love interest between Nick and Kira (Camilla Belle) is vanilla. The two actors share little chemistry on screen and add much more complexity to the plot than what is otherwise needed. In fact, the duo is plain boring to watch. When the two actors look into each other’s eyes, viewers can almost see each of them thinking “When will this be over?” Few on-screen twosomes rival the mediocrity that Nick and Kira exemplify. The action in the movie is enjoyable and entertaining, but the lack of plot direction can’t be covered up with all the special effects, gun fighting and mind games. Summing it up Overall, the movie is disappointing due to the lack of quality and over-hyping by the media. The only things that save this film from being a complete failure are Dakota Fanning’s superior acting and the slow-motion, high-energy action scenes. The bottom...

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Free theater admit for Cru with ID
Feb10

Free theater admit for Cru with ID

With Belton being such a small town, extracurricular activities are limited. There is no glamorous shopping mall, and only a handful of restaurants. However, there is one thing this area has that many other towns its size do not. The Beltonian is Belton’s very own movie theater located minutes away from campus at 219 E. Central Avenue. It is a small theater with one screen that opened its doors in December of 2007. Since then, it has been a fun spot for students and the people of the community. Malinda Castleberry, the theater manager, has been with The Beltonian almost since the beginning. “I’ve been here since February of last year, but I’ve been managing since September,” she said. So what makes this theater unique and what draws people to it? For one reason, it’s cheap. The price for adults is just $4, and $3 for children. They even have a special on Saturdays in which students from UMHB get in free with their student ID. Junior education major Robyn Pharis said, “In comparison to other theaters, it’s definitely cheaper. Even the student price at Temple is more than a regular price at The Beltonian.” Another distinctive quality of the theater is food service. “We have a wait staff that serves before the movie and a little bit into the movie,” Castleberry said. They try not to serve too much once the feature has started because it can be a distraction. The menu consists of typical movie treats: popcorn, candy and nachos. However, the theater is under new ownership, they have added a foot-long hotdog and a small pizza. Senior exercise sports science major Jeremy Whitehurst said, “The food was good.” The theater chooses the films they show carefully. Castleberry said, “being a small theater, we’re very limited on the kinds of movies that they’ll let us have. We are a family theater, so anything that’s rated PG-13 or R for nudity or sexual content is automatically ruled out.” You won’t find anything gratuitous in this neighborhood friendly spot, which is another reason people like it so much. Sport management major Ally Sargeant said, “the staff is really personal. I like it because it’s like an old-fashioned movie theater.” Freshman volleyball player and communication major Jasmine Austin was impressed with the arrangement of the place. “They have tables set up in front you so you have lots of space, and the seats are so comfortable,” she said. Other students think the proximity of the theater to campus is a major plus. Junior marketing major Rob Neuenschwander said, “It seems pretty cool. It gives people something to do in Belton...

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