First Man film review: A blast
Nov13

First Man film review: A blast

“One giant step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” We have all heard this famous phrase. Neil Armstrong said this when he made it to the moon on July 20, 1969. His story has been told so many times from movies and television specials. The new movie “First Man” tells the story again. This movie is directed by Damien Chazelle who directed the incredible “La La Land” film, which won six academy awards. This movie stars Ryan Gosling as Armstrong and Claire Foy as his wife. The movie is based on a book by James R. Hansen on the life of Armstrong. I did not know all of the hardships he faced in his life. It was so shocking. Gosling did a great job playing Armstrong. When he was up in space I really believed that he was there. Armstrong was kind of a jerk to his friends and family, as it is portrayed in the movie. This surprised me since he is known to us as an American hero who was such a good guy. Clair Foy also did an amazing job in this movie. She played a great grieving mother and wife. She always wanted what was best for Armstrong even though he just cared for himself. She was so passionate in every scene she did. This movie is getting a lot of Oscar buzz and I can see it winning a few. The score for this movie is by Oscar winner Justin Hurwitz who worked with Chazelle in “La La Land.” The music was amazing. I felt like I was in space because of it. In the scenes where they were testing out the rockets, I was at the edge of my seat. The acting and directing had me thinking that I was actually right next to Gosling as he ejected from a fiery training crash. I did think that the movie was a little slow in a lot of parts. There was just a lot of science stuff that I did not really care about. I just wanted to see Gosling in a rocket and blasting off. I also thought that Armstrong’s character could have been developed more. Minor spoiler: His family went through a hard time at the beginning of the movie, which was somewhat portrayed, that also could have been developed more. The movie left me wanting to know more about it. In spite of that, this was an overall interesting movie to...

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Cru Crunch: the new coffee house in town
Nov13

Cru Crunch: the new coffee house in town

College students are always in need of a delicious cup of coffee to get them through their day. If you’re looking for a new coffee shop to try, look no further than Cup of Joe Coffee Shop. Located 15 minutes away from campus in Harker Heights at 600 Indian Trail #101; Cup of Joe is totally worth the drive. The coffee shop is new to the area, having just opened on Aug. 18. It is owned by Joseph Taylor, a 22-year-old entrepreneur. This coffee shop has an amazing ambiance. When you walk in, you find a ton of natural lighting and comfy chairs and couches. The far accent wall features a huge mural of the Austin skyline that really adds to the atmosphere of the space. The coffee is amazing. The (2.5.4), named for the Bell County area code, is Joe’s most popular specialty drink. I had the honor to try it, and boy, was it amazing. Other specialty drinks include the Colorado Peak, a white chocolate creation that is bound to knock your socks off, and the Dear Joe, a vanilla and caramel mix with the perfect amount of cinnamon on top. The Dear Joe is another favorite of mine. It is so subtle, yet so amazing. The Bellagio is the drink for the chocoholic, while Starfire is the drink for the cinnamon lover. Not in the mood for a specialty? Try Joe’s Dark Side, a dark rich coffee with a subtle chocolate twist, or the Casa Joe, a rich dark coffee with hints of caramel and chocolate. Your typical Nitro Cold Brew, which comes black or vanilla, is $5 for 24 ounces of pure joy. Drop by during the fall and try one of their fall-themed drinks, such as their version of pumpkin spice and the Hazel, which is a hazelnut drink with a note of cinnamon. Prices for non-specialty coffees range from $2-$3.50 and specialty coffees range from $3-$5.25. You can make any drink iced or blended. Joe’s also sells kolaches, cinnamon rolls and Round Rock donuts, which are all phenomenal. The people who work here are the sweetest people. You can tell they really love their coffee and their job. Not a coffee person? My hot chocolate expert recommends the hot chocolate with all its whipped and chocolatey goodness. The sweet and unsweet teas, which come in green and strawberry varieties, are also highly recommended. Cup of Joe has a 5-star rating on Google and a 5-star rating from this Cru Crunch editor. Needless to say, this coffee connoisseur is now a regular of...

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The vital issue with Venom
Oct10

The vital issue with Venom

The main protagonist said in the trailer for this movie “we all have our own problem.” He is right. I definitely have one. This movie. Sony pictures and Marvel Studios collaborated to make the movie Venom, which was released on Oct. 5 to low reviews from critics. Even though Marvel and Sony teamed up to make this movie, Venom is not connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in any way. Warning: there is a very minor spoiler below. While this PG-13 superhero spinoff wasn’t bad, it wasn’t all that good either. Don’t get me wrong – there were a few good things about the movie – but overall, I felt it was a lackluster film that could have been better. The movie was really slow at the beginning and then, once Venom was introduced, it was like whiplash as everything was sped up and squished together. The protagonist is of the movie is yet another journalist, Eddie Brock (played by Tom Hardy), who digs too deep of a hole to get out of at the beginning of the movie, trying to get evidence of misconduct in what is called “Life Foundation.” While investigating, he becomes the host for the alien symbiote that is Venom. With Venom’s help, Brock now has the power to stop whatever shady business that the Life Foundation is doing. While the movie was easy to follow at the beginning and did a good enough job explaining the alien issue so that I wasn’t totally lost, there were still moments that left me confused. For example, it is apparent that these alien symbiotes can transfer between hosts and that they are living things. This is also made clear in the trailer when Eddie refers to himself as ‘we’ before engaging in a fight with the bad guys. (Minor Spoiler Alert) The movie explains that the symbiote is bonding with the host to live and the host will slowly die no matter what. The writers didn’t do a good job explaining why some hosts die immediately after the alien is transferred and others lived. My friend and I discussed this issue at the end and we came up with a semi-reasonable explanation, but it is just speculation at this point. One thing I liked was how Venom was a separate entity and would converse with Eddie. It wasn’t a situation like in Spider-Man, where Peter was bitten and suddenly had powers for himself. The dialog was interesting, comical at times, and very believable. Tom Hardy’s acting was great when it came down to it. His emotions were very up front and I liked that, but I...

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The Disney College Program: a look behind the mouse ears
Oct10

The Disney College Program: a look behind the mouse ears

Do you want to have fun? Want to live in Disney World for a whole semester? Want to get college credit? Then the Disney College Program is the internship for you. This program lets you live at Walt Disney World or Disneyland for a whole semester. You get to work at the park and you also get paid as well. There are a lot of different departments that you can work with. You can work with attractions or transportation, or, you can work as a convention guide, custodian, or photographer, to name a few positions. A student named Kylie Wittmer, who was a film and television major when she participated in the program, said positive things about it. “The best things about the program are the friends you make while you’re there and being able to call Disney World your home,” Wittmer said. “People will tell you that the friends you make at Disney World are lifelong friends and you may think that sounds dramatic but they are right, you get to know these people at the happiest place on earth. You will get to know each park like the back of your hand and really never get sick of it. I can’t see advertisements for Disney World anymore without being sad that I’m not there.“ During a Disney College Program information meeting at UMHB on Sept. 26, Assistant Professor (Management) Chris Langford had a similar sentiment, because he loved his time at Disney and he wants students to experience the program. ”Going to the Disney College Program was one of the top five experiences of my life,” Langford said. “I worked at Splash Mountain and me and my group of friends were called Splash Trash. After the program we used to go on trips to Dis- ney World.” Film studies major Alyssa Silva was accepted into the Disney College Program for the spring 2019 semester with a custodial position. “I applied the day applications came out in August,” Silva said. “Within two weeks, I received an email with a link to the second step of the application which was a web based interview. As soon as I finished the web-based interview, I was informed I made it to the last step, the phone interview. I scheduled my phone interview and the day of I was super nervous, but I feel as though I did well and was confident. Then, after four long weeks of waiting, I got the magical email saying I got accepted into the DCP! I was at a stunt night rehearsal when I found out and had tears of joy. I then called my mom...

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Central Texas State Fair hosts Josh Ward
Sep12

Central Texas State Fair hosts Josh Ward

Josh Ward, one of country music’s hottest stars, brought his band and their pure country sound to the opening night of the 31st annual Central Texas State Fair in Belton on Thursday, Aug. 30. Playing at an outdoor venue, Ward’s music at the Bell County Expo Center sounded the way country music used to. It had the classic twang that makes country, country. Somewhat based on the sounds of his favorite stars growing up, it is Ward’s own, unique brand. “We’re the more run-of-the-mill country,” Ward said in his blue jeans, T-shirt and a ball cap in an interview behind the stage prior to the show. “I was raised up … you know Merle Haggard, George Jones, Keith Whitley … ,” Ward said. “I cut my teeth on those guys, so we kind of got this ’90-ish vibe going on. We’re definitely not mainstream … it’s just not my brand,” he said. Ward, who has frequented Belton, said he opened for a fellow Texas group, the Josh Abbott Band, last year, but this was his first time to headline at the Central Texas State Fair and he said before the show that he was looking forward to it. “We’re here to play country music for them, so [if] they show up, they’re going to get a good show,” Ward said. A majority of the music Ward and his band played at the fair were songs off of their last two albums, “Holding Me Together” and “More Than I Deserve.” However, they did play some cover songs by his country music idols growing up, such as Haggard, Jones and Whitley. The songs that received the best reception from the crowd were “All About Lovin” and “Ain’t It Baby,” a song he played in tribute to the women in the crowd. The audience, varying in age and gender, were dressed in outfits one might expect to find at a country concert – plaid shirts, tight blue jeans, cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Some people were leaning against the metal stage barrier, getting the closest spot they could to the stage. Some were dancing and singing along to the music, while others were enjoying their corn dogs, funnel cakes and other fair foods. All in all, about 300 people seemed to be enjoying a great show. After a few songs, Ward gave a special acknowledgment to veterans, active duty servicemen/women and first responders. Ward explained he does this gesture during all of his concerts. “It was a good concert … I play his music in bars, I’m a DJ,” said Daniel Williams after the show. Regarding Ward’s songs, Williams said, “I like...

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Kin: a fatal flop for the sci-fi genre
Sep12

Kin: a fatal flop for the sci-fi genre

Kin is a movie created from the minds of Jonathan and Josh Baker, and based off of their 2014 short film titled “Bag Man” (imdb.com). Both movies are about a young boy who finds a powerful otherworldly weapon, which, by the way, we never learn anything about. However, the weapon is somehow used to save Jimmy’s adoptive brother Eli from a crew of thugs. Before long, the two of them are also pursued by federal agents and mysterious mercenaries aiming to reclaim the weapon (imdb.com). The acting in this movie was terrific. Eli Solinski is played by Miles Truitt and you wouldn’t know that this was the first time he has ever acted in a movie. He played a boy who had a hard life, and who’s mother died at an early age. For a long time it was just he and his dad living together because his brother Jimmy was in prison. He acquires the mysterious weapon when he goes to an abandoned warehouse to find and take materials that he can then sell for money. While he was there he finds the weapon that he keeps secret. Their father, Hal Solinski, is played by Dennis Quaid, who was great in the movie. He is by far the character with the best morals. Eli’s and Jimmy’s dad might have been hard on them at times but he taught them many things like the importance of honesty and family. It is evident that both Eli and Jimmy look up to their father because Jimmy tells Eli “be more like Dad and less like me.” Jack Reynor plays Eli’s brother Jimmy Solinski and did a great job portraying this character. However, I did not like this character because as soon as he gets out of jail he just falls back into his bad ways. He then takes Eli with him and isn’t a very good example for him. It’s like he did not learn from his past mistakes and that is kind of frustrating for the viewers. The man Eli saves his brother from is named Taylor Balik and is played by James Franco, and I loved his performance in this movie. Jimmy owes Balik a large sum of money. Balik will do whatever it takes to get the money, including following Jimmy and his brother around the country. While Eli and Jimmy are running away from Balik and his gang they run into a character named Milly played by Zoë Kravitz. She wants a better life for herself and she convinces them to let her go with them. I really liked Milly as a character. I really felt for...

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