Miss Search CRU wins Miss MHB 2020
Nov09

Miss Search CRU wins Miss MHB 2020

  17 stunning young women made their way into Walton Chapel Saturday, Nov. 9 to throw their hat into the ring for the opportunity to be crowned Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor for 2020. The show began and contestants introduced themselves, stated their hometown and said something witty regarding where they were from. The talent portion of the pageant featured the contestants’ musical stylings and speeches, with one contestant even shooting arrows to show off her archery marksmanship. There was never a dull moment during the night as contestants sought to show UMHB what they were capable of. They were judged on confidence, creativity, preparation, originality and their overall presentation. “What I liked about the talent portion was all the different things and how all the girls weren’t afraid to express themselves or to step outside the box,” said Hailey Baez, freshman psychology major. “Not only does it show that no one on campus is afraid to be themselves, but also they know everyone wants to see who they truly are. It inspires and encourages people to go out and do what they feel they are good at and have fun doing,” Baez said. Following the talent portion of the pageant, the 17 contestants joined one another on stage to perform a group dance number set to the popular show tune “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” The contestants skillfully and gracefully danced on stage twirling umbrellas. At one point they bounded into the audience, to envelop the crowd in song and dance. The evening gown portion of the show featured the contestants walking with grace and poise to show off their silken and jeweled gowns. During this time, the audience would learn a little bit more about each contestant as they strode elegantly across stage. These contestants were graded on gracefulness, ease of movement in their gowns, color and dress appropriateness and overall impression. From here the top five finalists were narrowed down and thus began their interview from 2019’s Mr. Crusader Knight, Richard Rogers. The answers presented would determine who was to be crowned Miss MHB, and the runner-ups for the position. They were judged on confidence, diction, personality and sincerity of response. This was followed by one last evening gown stroll and heartfelt goodbye with Miss MHB 2019, Briana Fredrickson, as she prepared to hand the crown off to Mary Hardin’s next Pageant Queen. In her farewell address she stated: “To have held the crown as Miss MHB has truly been one of my most treasured experiences and I cannot thank you enough,” Fredrickson said. Overall, the pageant was a stark representation of the heart and passion many of...

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“Sinister:” A perfect film to watch of Halloween
Oct31

“Sinister:” A perfect film to watch of Halloween

If you ask any of my friends, they can all tell you that my favorite holiday is Halloween. I go all out. I watch at least three horror films a week during the month of October. One movie, though, has come back throughout the years. Some watch “Halloween” every October 31, for obvious reasons, but I watch Scott Derrickson’s “Sinister.” Not only is it one of my favorite horror films, but it’s also one of my favorite movies. It’s an understatement to say that Scott Derrickson is talented. Looking at his filmography, there are few movies that are below average. The standouts in his film catalog are Marvel Studio’s “Doctor Strange,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “Sinister.” Each are very different films and great on their own regard, but I’d argue that “Sinister” stands out above the rest. “Sinister” follows Ellison, played by Ethan Hawke, a murder novelist who moves his family into a new town. The problem, though, is that he moved his family into a house where the family before was found dead. They weren’t just found dead, but the entire family was found hanging from a fallen tree branch. Ellison made the decision to not tell his family about this incident, instead acting like everything was okay. Soon, Ellison finds reels of 8mm film that contains footage of the family who lived in the house previously being hanged and other murders. Slowly, Ellison finds that these murders are connected in a terrifying way. These connections lead Ellison down a dark path as he unravels what is at the heart of the murders. “Sinister” is one of the most tense experiences I’ve had watching a film. The film is unrelenting as it masterfully builds up to scares. Even though they start in a cliché manner, every scare in the film finds a way to twist the cliché in a way that audiences don’t see coming. From the famous lawnmower scene to extremely flexible children, each scare is great in its own right. Oftentimes, horror films rely on loud music and flashy camera tricks to scare audiences, but “Sinister” never pulls away. It racks up the tension by never backing out of a scene until the film feels that it earns its scares. The film, though never graphic, makes you feel every second. Time goes slower watching Ellison sift through the reels of film. Sometimes you may want to look away, but you just can’t bring yourself to. This is a sign of not just a good horror film, but a great one. It’s a masterclass in filmmaking, and one that will haunt your dreams for years....

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Two Will Smiths can’t save “Gemini Man”
Oct25

Two Will Smiths can’t save “Gemini Man”

From “The Life of Pi” to “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” Ang Lee crafts technical and action-packed marvels of cinema… sometimes. “Gemini Man” has everything going for it. The film has star power with Will Smith playing two main characters in the film, the budget for the film is roughly $140 million and it has a talented director behind the camera. Sadly, none of these aspects of the film can save the bore that is “Gemini Man.” The film is fascinating, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. I really tried to find a positive note in the film, and the only thing that could be considered positive is the VFX. The de-aging technology used in “Gemini Man” is the best that the technology has been. Most of the time, the technology is seamless and I never thought about how young Will Smith looks. That being said, there are scenes where the technology doesn’t look right. Will Smith looks closer to a character out of a video game rather than a realistic version of Smith in his 20s towards the end of the film. There are elements of “Gemini Man” that could have been great, but the film isn’t able to pull through on the story. The philosophy of cloning could have been a really cool touch. The film tries to hit the deeper notes, but doesn’t get into anything that could be considered worthwhile for the audience. Instead of going deeper into what could make a great film, “Gemini Man” decides to play it safe and never even scratch the surface in anything worthwhile. We instead follow bland characters through exposition dumps and action, of which none contribute to the film. The action doesn’t know how it wants to work. Sometimes the action is underwhelming: the action is shot close-up and you can’t tell what exactly what is going on. What makes this even worse is that the action is either boring or completely over the top. People try to push each other off of motorcycles, bullets glow orange when shot and the fight scenes easily go too far into the realm of cheesiness when trying to be serious. The whole problem is that “Gemini Man” doesn’t mean to do anything. When trying to be serious, the film comes off almost comedic, when trying to be comedic, the film comes off as cheesy and when trying to be fun the film comes off as boring. I really wanted to love Will Smith and Ang Lee’s newest outing, but I found myself wishing that the film would just end. Rating:...

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Phi Alpha shines light on domestic violence through coffee house event
Oct25

Phi Alpha shines light on domestic violence through coffee house event

Coffee, good music and laughs were in abundance as people gathered in McLane Great Hall to support those who have been affected by domestic violence Tuesday, Oct. 14. October is national domestic violence awareness month so Delta Epsilon Phi Alpha (Phi Alpha) teamed up with Teach Them to Love (T3L) in Killeen to spread awareness. Phi Alpha President Taylor Ballou gave a speech explaining Phi Alpha and what the honors society was all about. Senior Officer Maya Wiemokly explained what exactly T3L was as an organization and the kind of work they were doing for those in need. Briana Frederickson, Miss MHB 2017/18 and recent graduate gave a short yet powerful speech about domestic violence and was keen to share her story. “My sophomore year I was in a relationship that turned abusive,” Frederickson said. She was “…assaulted by someone I did not know, and after that had happened I tried to commit suicide, and all of this happened within a span of five months. So, I had hit rock bottom, pretty much,” she said. “Had” was the keyword, as she realized over the course of her time at UMHB what her purpose was, when she was suggested for the Miss MHB pageant by one of her professors during her senior year. “Miss MHB is supposed to be this picture of grace, virtue,” Frederickson said. “And I thought there is no way I can do that.” As a guest singer for the event, Frederickson was obviously talented in singing. She used it as her special talent in the pageant. “I knew I wanted to sing, but I didn’t know what I wanted to sing. So I asked [the judges] if they could listen to my song I wrote and see if it was an option. When I played it they said, ‘you have to play it!’” The song in question has no title. In fact, the title is whatever each person thinks it is. But, personally, an appropriate title could have been ‘Uphill Battle.’ “Everybody has a story and some people might hear my story [specifically] and think that my story isn’t filled with as much heartache, or even more heartache,” Frederickson said. “Wherever people are, they can find something to relate to in the song and get the message that it might be hard to keep going… whether they gave up, or kept going, I wanted this song to be for them.” After a fantastic, tear-inducing performance by Frederickson, everyone broke off into smaller groups and chatted the night away. As the coffee ran out and the music stopped, people started to head home. After hearing the sobering,...

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Brad Pitt soars in career defining “Ad Astra”
Oct11

Brad Pitt soars in career defining “Ad Astra”

The Hubble telescope estimates there are 100 billion galaxies in our universe. Outer space is an inconceivable, infinite place. Ad Astra is Latin for “looking to the stars,” which has been a sign of hope on our Earth, a symbol of a kind of goal for humanity to achieve. We’ve been looking for life outside of Earth for so long. What happens if we figure out that there is no other life? What if we’re all alone in our galaxy? Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is struggling in “Ad Astra.” His father (Tommy Lee Jones) left Roy when he was 16 to search for alien life at the edge of our galaxy. Roy’s wife has left him. He has no friends in the space program. He is just a machine with no true goal. He’s stopped struggling with his depression and now, he’s just living. He’s alone, just like humanity. When the space program comes to McBride with news of his father’s survival on Neptune, McBride does not know what to feel. He just knows that he needs to see his father again. Maybe he’ll finally feel something. The movie “Alien” was released in 1979 with the tagline “in space no one can hear you scream.” In “Ad Astra,” apparently no one can see your pain either. In a lot of ways, Brad Pitt’s character is screaming for help. With every fiber of his soul, he wants to help people so that they see him. He can get people out of the most difficult situations. He can fight space pirates, but he also has to fight his thoughts of worthlessness. That’s depression for many people. It’s an inner struggle that you just can’t escape, no matter how much you want out. “Ad Astra” is a slow-moving movie. Almost in the vein of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” there are scenes in the film that merely show off the sheer beauty of space. That beauty, in all forms, is a testament to what McBride truly wants. He hopes that one day he won’t feel so alone. “I am looking forward to the day my solitude ends,” Pitt narrates at one point of the movie. We all hope for that same thing, right? Recently the sci-fi genre has been groundbreaking with its cinematography. Movies such as “Annihilation” (2018), “Arrival” (2016), “Interstellar” (2013) and “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) are beautifully shot. Sci-fi is a genre that is truly able to revolutionize the way we look at films, and “Ad Astra” keeps that trend going. The film studies themes of solitude and depression not just through the story, but through the lens...

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Local artists Illuminated
Sep27

Local artists Illuminated

Illuminate held its second event here on campus, Friday, Sept. 27. Illuminate is labeled as a “positive vibes only” event that highlights the talents of various students and Belton locals with performances in Christian rap, singing, dancing and poetry. The event was founded by UMHB Alums Michael Carpenter and Alish Burden, along with sophomore Jan Carlo Rodriguez. It took only 3 months for the determined students to get their idea off the ground, which created major buzz within the UMHB and Belton community. “We feel like there is a gap in cultural events on campus,” Carpenter said. “There is a group of students whom we call ‘cultural minorities.’ They aren’t a specific race, gender or ethnicity, but they are cultured in a way that’s different than the majority of UMHB students, so a lot of times they fall through the cracks…we want to help fill that gap.” “These students appreciate a wide variety of music, fashion, humor, etc. than is normally promoted on campus,” Carpenter added. Illuminate was held at the Parker Academic Center in partnership with the CRU Bridge student organization. The scene for the event was decked out with lights, cameras and eager students ready to support their fellow classmates throughout the night. “I find it important for it to be hosted near or on campus, because there is a lot of talent in our backyard. A lot of dope artists and creators, but they have no platform for their voice,” junior marketing major Kalen Chatman, a previous Illuminate performer, said. “Illuminate allows UMHB to empower those artists and give them a platform,” Chatman said. Each performer had a lengthy amount of time to express themselves and show off their talents. The audience was filled with laughter and dance moves.  The room was packed with so much diversity. To learn more about Illuminate and their upcoming events follow their Instagram handle...

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