Ender’s Game: expect the unexpected
Nov05

Ender’s Game: expect the unexpected

Ender’s Game is the perfect movie for those science-fiction lovers who enjoy a good action-packed film. Based on a book written in 1985 by Orson Scott Card, the movie keeps the book fans’  favorite scenes. It takes place in the future when Earth is invaded by aliens and almost destroyed before Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) defeats them. Since the attack, The International Military is on the hunt for a new commander of the fleet, and they are training children under 15 to help them find their match. The military has been watching Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) closely. Ender surpasses many tests and obstacles before he is finally sent to the training ship. He continues to pass his peers and proves that he knows what he’s doing, and that he owns the game with his mind and emotions. When the ending comes around, it is surpising for those who haven’t read the book. Ender’s Game brings a lot to the table when it comes to special effects. Of course, it has the futuristic cars and spaceships, but what’s really unexpected is how realistic everything looks. The CGI used in the film is remarkable. It really makes viewers feel as though they’re in the movie. Director and screenwriter Gavin Hood discussed the simulations in the movie. A visit to a planetarium is where he got his inspiration, “…and all of the stars come up all around me, and it’s being projected, and I thought ‘That’s it.’” Harrison Ford, who played in Star Wars: Episode V, is definitely in his element with this sci-fi adventure movie. While Ford is widely known, Butterfield is a different story. Butterfield has played small roles in most films he’s been in. He is young and still has a lot to learn, but his acting in this movie compared to his previous films has improved. Overall, the acting in Ender’s Game is better than some movies that have recently been released. While you can’t compare the movie to Star Trek or Star Wars, you can expect it to bring a whole different outlook on similar movies. It constantly keeps the audience on their feet. Not one part is slow or unnecessary to the movie. Most are thinking that the film will be a flop since it is being compared to The Hunger Games trilogy, but they are sadly mistaken. Although not many people know of Ender’s Game, it shouldn’t be hard for the  movie to make it in the box office with all the positive comments coming from critics and...

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Twisting Rhymes, Telling the Truth
Oct22

Twisting Rhymes, Telling the Truth

He was only 11 when he first freestyled. It came with the territory. Rhythm filled his lungs, and beats buzzed in his head. Junior exercise sport science major Neal Ewing calls Corsicana home, but he also spent a lot of time in Dallas growing up. It was a rap-fueled culture, he said, and something that he and his friends picked up at a young age. “We did a lot of freestyle battling,” Ewing said. Freestyling, in its purest form, is all about improvising. Rappers can sing to an instrumental beat, have someone create a beat through vocal percussion (beat boxing), but lyrics are not premeditated. In a freestyle battle, two rappers compete, spitting beats to outshine their opponent. Ewing said their battles were all about joking around —“just having a good time.” He said most of the freestyling he did growing up was unwholesome. “Most people wouldn’t condone what we were rapping about,” he said. Regardless, the battles propelled him to desire more. “It definitely gave me an advantage as far as … experience,” he said. At 17, Ewing took his rap a step further; he began to write down his lyrics and form songs. He also discovered a different way of life and of rap. Originally, Ewing’s rapping was mainstream. He said, “God wasn’t in the picture.” But it was Christ who brought him salvation and artists like Christian rapper Lecrae who got him hooked on a new way to use his abilities. “I got saved … and then I began to do Christian music,” Ewing said. Now, he focuses on using rap to tell people about Christ. Ewing has performed at an I Am Second camp, at different churches and around his home community. “Not all the places have been Christian places,” he said. “I have heard skeptic people who (say) ‘Why would you want to bring Christian music to a mainstream world like that?’” To that he replies: “Why would you bring light to light? You want to bring light to darkness. They don’t have that. That’s why I like to work with the mainstream world.” It’s that attitude that inspires Ewing to create music that has a mainstream feel. “I want you to be able to tell through the lyrics I’m a Christian artist,” he said. “But through my delivery and ability as an artist, I want my music to be just as good as someone like Kendrick Lamar.” His album, Zero Gravity, which came out July 7, was considered by some to be a step in that direction. “I have the (album) in my car, and I jam out to it,” junior Christian ministry...

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Cru Culture
Oct22

Cru Culture

A longboarder rolls past a casual pedestrian texting his mom the good news about the A on his test. He doesn’t notice the young woman on a bike across the quad, but she continues to gain speed as she heads toward the man making his way to class. All of a sudden, the “I’m texting and walking so I don’t look awkward” guy fails to walk in a straight line, and teeters to the left side of the sidewalk just as the biker swooshes next to him. Bam! Collision. Because the English drive on the left side of the road, many people falsely believe  they walk on that side as well. While their natural tendency may be to veer left, the majority of Europeans walk exactly the way we do. Sidewalk laws may be unspoken, but they are universal. Whether you’re in London, Cambodia, Hong Kong or Belton, Texas, pedestrians stick to the right side of the sidewalk. Just because there aren’t any yellow signs that warn you when one lane ends or when you need to merge, on a pedestrian college campus, these things should just be understood. In Texas, pedestrians have the right of way. While that applies on the freeway, it doesn’t apply on the pavement. Bikers, longboarders and walkers all deserve the same respect, right? Stay on your side of the sidewalk and avoid a lot of awkwardness. There is no need for those highly embarrassing bike crashes. You’ve all seen the longboarder who doesn’t know what he is doing, right? He wobbles back and forth as he tries to glide to his next class. He is like a rolling game of Jenga. One touch and that tower is coming down. These beginner longboarders probably can’t maintain their balance and think of the Cru sidewalk laws at the same time, so be wary of them. Everyone else, know this: Texting and walking might cause bruises. Walk on the right side of the road, and be sympathetic to those baby  bikers and lousy longboarders. Follow the traffic laws, people, and no one gets...

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No Panic With New, Repetitive Sound
Oct22

No Panic With New, Repetitive Sound

Panic! At the Disco has never been a predictable (or restrained) band. From the release of its first album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out in 2005, P!ATD has been known for a unique mash-up of punk-rock, alternative rock, emo-pop and flashes of various other genres. Their newest release, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, introduces elements of electronic and dance music to the mix, and the new textures and vibes work to the benefit of the band. The opening track, “This Is Gospel,” the best song on the album, flawlessly meshes pop rock and dance music, producing a mixture that is sure to please long-time fans of the band as well as newcomers. The second track and lead single, “Miss Jackson,” keeps this energy going with its anthemic shouts and heavy drums, though the track suffers from an over-use of repetition and a verse from featured artist Lolo that is done well but fails to add anything to the final product. Afterward, the album takes a slight stylistic turn, moving toward a moody, electronics-heavy sound that recalls slower Muse tracks from The Origin of Symmetry and Absolution. This direction feels natural for the band, and vocalist Brendon Urie is in his element singing alongside the heavy bass and synthesizers on “Girl That You Love.” He delivers the best vocal performance on the album with the haunting melodies of “Far Too Young to Die.” The only real frustration with the album is its inconsistency. The problem is exaggerated by the fact that the weak tracks, as opposed to being grouped in one section of the album, are spaced out, which causes the album as a whole work to be a frustrating listening experience at times.  “Nicotine” and “Girl/Girl/Boy” which follow “Girl That You Love” feel like repetitive rehashes of the previous tracks. “This is gospel for the fallen ones,” front man Urie sings at the onset of “Too Weird,” a line that perfectly embodies the lyrical content of the album. With the exceptions of “This Is Gospel” and the closer, “The End of All Things,” the album spends almost all of its 32 minutes dealing with the lies and sins that the narrator knows he is committing. Though he sees the devastation it will cause, he chooses instead to indulge in the damage again and again and again … and again. By the time the second half of the album comes around, the continuous regurgitation of stories of one-night stands and broken relationships wears out the listener, and strong profanity on tracks like “Miss Jackson” and “Nicotine” don’t offer any relief from the brutal nature of the...

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‘Carrie’ Brings Horror, Gore to Cinema
Oct22

‘Carrie’ Brings Horror, Gore to Cinema

The remake of Carrie is the closest version of any movie that has been based on the novel by Stephen King. It tells the story of a troubled teenager, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, who is harassed and tormented by her classmates throughout her childhood. When the popular clique in school takes it too far and posts an embarrassing video of her in the showers after gym class, Carrie’s life turns upside down. Her social life is miserable, and her home life isn’t any better. Her overly religious mother, played by Julianne Moore, is constantly telling her daughter she is sinful and locks her in the closet for hours on end so the teen can pray for repentance. Moore is the perfect fit for the character of Margaret White; she leaves the viewer wondering just what she has up her sleeve next. Kimberly Pierce, director of the movie, does an excellent job in the remake of Carrie to incorporate current technology and issues in the story line. She also lets t he viewer really get to know Carrie White and creates sympathy for her miserable character. In the trailer and previews, the movie looks as though it will be a horror film with a lot of twists and turns, but in reality, it isn’t all that scary. But  the way the mother carries herself and her over-the-top beliefs will give you chills. In the movie, Carrie is constantly teased until she is finally pushed over the edge at the junior-senior prom and is forced to retreat to her secret powers, which she discovers early in the film. The same people who posted the   embarrassing video of her make it a point to ruin her perfect night out at the prom. All the people that made going to school every day a struggle for Carrie ultimately pay for it in the end. It is worth the $7 to watch this movie, which offers the viewer an underlying theme, that you can only push people so far until they break. And the quietest, m ost vulnerable-looking people could be capable of the most powerful acts. By the end of the movie, it’s hard to distinguish just who is the victim and who is the villain, and this is well played by director Pierce. The only thing that might turn moviegoers away from this film is the fact that it is  very bloody. But this aspect doesn’t take away from the overall feel of the movie. It only enhances it. Carrie probably won’t be a box office hit, but it definitely won’t be a...

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Celebrities use influence for positive change
Oct09

Celebrities use influence for positive change

All too often we see  celebrities in the limelight doing things that  shouldn’t even be covered in the media, yet they are glorified simply because they are famous. What is often forgotten are the celebrities who are working hard to make a difference and do something positive with the platform they have been blessed with. For example, former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has continued to be the same guy throughout his success and his failure. Isn’t this what it is all about? Famous athletes are in the public eye as much as anyone, and it has shown time after time that they can get caught up in themselves and forever ruin the  opportunity of positively influencing others. But Tebow has never faltered from his stance on being a man of God. He is a former Heisman Trophy winner, but his positive influence on others is not covered nearly as much as current Heisman, Johnny Manziel. When Tebow formed a genuine friendship with a young boy struggling with cancer, the media covered it, but not as long as the media covered Manziel’s sudden exit from the Manning Passing Camp. What this says is public attention focuses on the negative much more than  the positive. This is evident because countless numbers of celebrities are doing good works that ultimately go unnoticed. Many people see these celebrities giving to charities, and just think of it as something they are doing for a write-off on their taxes. This may be true in some cases, but in reality, the majority of these actors, musicians, or professional athletes are genuine in their giving and create relationships with the people they are helping. For instance, Angelina Jolie has been involved in charity work for years, and her acts of kindness seem like they are legit. Since 2001, she has not only sent funds and necessities in war-torn countries but  has visited more than 20 of these countries. Recently Jolie donated $1 million to Doctors without Borders, who give aid to countries that are in severe poverty or are in the midst of wars or natural disasters. It may seem easy for these celebrities to make a difference because of all the money they have. Money  doesn’t fix everything. It is the relationships within the charity that really stand out. Super Bowl winning quarterback Drew Brees from  New Orleans realized he needed to make a difference when he arrived in the destroyed city after Hurricane Katrina. Brees didn’t just give money to help rebuild playgrounds and child care centers that were washed away. He actually got out there and worked side by side with the locals. These stories of...

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