Bond film celebrates “gold” anniversary
Oct02

Bond film celebrates “gold” anniversary

Fifty years ago, an iconic legend burst onto the big screen. On Oct. 12, 1962, the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, premiered. Ian Flemings’ character, James Bond: 007, was modeled after Merlin Minshall, who worked for Fleming as a World War II spy. But the name “Bond” Fleming took from a Caribbean bird expert and ornithologist. And now this name is a legend. Although Dr. No is not considered the greatest Bond film, another stands out that was made two years later: Goldfinger. With fast cars, double-crossing women, slick gadgets and outrageous power-hungry villains, James Bond makes Goldfingerthe most essential of all the films. In Dr. No, Bond goes to Jamaica to investigate the death of a fellow British agent. Soon he is led to the underground base of Dr. Julius No, who is plotting to disrupt an American space launch. Of course, scantily clad girls are in the movies. Ursula Andress co-stars in Dr. No as she Honey Ryder. Often referred to as the “definitive” Bond Girl, Andress’ appearance made her the first in a long line of actresses to add the “Bond Girl” status to their resumes. The first Bond, Sean Connery, set the tone for the hero in six of the films through the early 1960s to the early 1970s. Roger Moore, who played the hero for seven movies, was a little more comic and lighthearted. Timothy Dalton brought the character down to earth, making him a relatable character for two films. Pierce Brosnan played the agent four times and brought charm to the character. Daniel Craig, the current secret agent, brings back the Sean Connery days to the character. Craig has starred in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall which will premiere Nov. 9. Agent 007 is a legend and will be remembered for his charm, tough appearance, cars and martinis, shaken, not...

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Broadway & Opera Gala talents shine
Sep11

Broadway & Opera Gala talents shine

Where can you go in the small town of Belton to see a Broadway show? Usually nowhere. But last weekend the university made an exception by creating a night filled with great music and talented musicians. The Opera and Theatre program presented a variety of music from Broadway shows as well as arias and other pieces from famous operas. The show was performed in Presser Hall from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. “My favorite piece that I performed is a musical theater piece called ‘Home’ from Beauty and the Beast,” senior vocal performance major Madaline Garcia said. “I love this song because it is a beautiful arrangement with meaningful lyrics.” Senior vocal performance major Samuel Davis II also enjoyed the number he performed. “My favorite song is my aria (‘Bella sicome un angelo’) from the opera Don Pasquale because I get to be expressive and have fun with a comic role,” he said. Other pieces performed were “Something’s Coming” and “Tonight” from West Side Story, “Libiamo” from La Traviata, and “Best of All Possible Worlds” from Candide. Other numbers were included from Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and Don Giovanni. Junior vocal performance major Josiah Davis finds the meaning behind his aria “Donne Mie La Fate a Tanti” from Cosi Fan Tutte interesting. “It’s my favorite piece that I performed. Guglielmo sings this piece after his wife had given up her constancy and cheated on him with his supposed best friend, Ferrando. The irony is that he had already successfully seduced Ferrando’s wife without a second thought. The piece talks about how women are all alike, and despite gestures of help and friendship still ‘cheat on every single one of us.’” Davis is grateful that he and the older members already knew the songs. “A number of the pieces we have learned and performed at prior dates, but we did have a large incoming freshman class that we had to get up to speed on the group numbers,” he said. Although time was short, music professors George and Penny Hogan, along with accompanist Nelda Milligan, made it possible to put the show together. “George Hogan, and his wife, Penny Hogan, are the architects of the great productions that come out of this small school,” Davis said. Garcia is also grateful for her mentors. “They’ve helped us, not only with the technical aspects of the song, but also with finding the meaning behind what we are singing to help bring the music to life.” Junior nursing major Kaylynn Armstrong enjoyed the show immensely. “I recognized some of the Broadway songs, and the singers definitely did the songs justice. Everyone was so talented...

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Fall TV shows are soon-to-be hits
Sep11

Fall TV shows are soon-to-be hits

TV fans know what September means: prime time is back. While new episodes of hit series like How I Met Your Mother and The Walking Dead will air, cable connoisseurs are also eager to welcome this season’s slew of newcomers. Here are some of those shows and what you should know about them before picking up the remote. The New Normal – This new series from Glee creator Ryan Murphy has been the center of much controversy. The plot features Goldie, an out-of-luck waitress who starts over as a surrogate mother for a gay couple wanting a baby. While the quirky show tackles issues such as bigotry and tolerance, the crude dialogue and eyebrow-raising subject matter of the show already face opposition from two major sources. Utah-based station KSL-TV blacklisted the show from its fall schedule and activist organization One Million Moms has called for a boycott, both concerned the show is inappropriate for the average family’s values. Go On – This heartwarming comedy features Friends star Matthew Perry as Ryan King, a radio sportscaster coping with the loss of his wife while being forced to attend group therapy. The Mob Doctor – Expected to be the next big medical drama, it features a young surgeon caught between her blossoming career and her family’s debt to the mob. Here’s hoping House fans will idolize this next multifaceted doctor. Elementary – CBS puts a modern twist on the wildly popular Sherlock Holmes. Set in New York, this version of Holmes checks into rehab and meets Joan Watson, a female alternative to the Dr. Watson of the original stories. This show will certainly bring feedback from fans of both the Guy Ritchie films and the BBC show Sherlock.   Nashville – Country music lovers will enjoy seeing Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere face off in ABC’s portrayal of the music business. As one’s career fades, the other seeks to break into the industry. Chicago Fire – Though shows about fires have not always held their ground, NBC is taking the chance that Chicago Fire will spark an interest with audiences this fall. It stars Jesse Spencer of House and Taylor Kinney of...

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Premium Rush sets new standards for action movies

By Zach Winfield Fixed gears, steel full frame, no brakes and an endless race. Premium Rush is a nonstop thrill. The film follows a daring bike messenger named Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in New York City who uses quick thinking and what appears as accelerated probability, the ability to predict multiple outcomes and choose the one most likely to succeed. Wilee is a law school graduate who refuses to wear a suit and take the bar exam and who signs the ticket for an envelope and a death wish. The antagonist of the show, Officer Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon), is a crooked cop with anger issues and gambling problems who tries to kill Wilee with his car. Wilee also has girl trouble with a fellow messenger, Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), a girl with an attitude and fear for Wilee’s safety. If that wasn’t enough, he has to work side by side with a narcissistic coworker, Manny (Wolé Parks). The acting was better than the entire cast of Twilight and Kristen Stewart’s one facial expression. Gordon-Levitt puts a face and personality to the thousands of NYC messengers with his quick comments derived from the New York City streets. Although the movie is full of action, the actors still work in humor, some a bit dark. While riding on the wrong side of the road into traffic, Wilee always has a comment to agitate Monday even further, and Gordon-Levitt has no problem insulting the man trying to kill him at high speeds. Gordon-Levitt has become more popular recently from his success in The Dark Knight Rises and brings great acting to the screen. Michael Shannon is another character you love to hate but have to watch his every move. His emotions are as stable as a fault line. Shannon obviously enjoyed his role as the bad cop with some serious psychological issues and plays the part well. In fact, too well. The soundtrack is amazing. The opening credits crank out “Baba O’Riley” by The Who and ramp the audience for the action that unfolds. The soundtrack also includes music by Sleigh Bells, My Chemical Romance and Titus Andronicus. The story takes place on the busy streets of Manhattan and Chinatown. Although the story follows Wilee’s dangerous job, the director worked in the other characters by jumping to the past that connects them. The director made the changes obvious with a large clock that rewinds to the current time of the scene. The changes are easy to follow, and the audience can easily adjust to the different setting. The story is a nonstop adrenaline rush with an amazing cast and soundtrack. I would suggest...

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Lecrae’s new album goes mainstream

Christian rap started in the 1980s with most mainstream hip-hop fans giving it little consideration. It wasn’t until groups like DC Talk started becoming mainstream that the world started to listen. Still, an expectation for mediocre beats and rhyming skills left many to mock the genre and dismiss their convicting lyrics. It wasn’t until the late 1990s and early 2000s that rappers like BB Jay, GRITS, Trip Lee and Lecrae changed how Christian hip hop-music was perceived. The envelope was pushed even more when Lecrae’s latest album Gravity dropped on Sept. 4. Many people expected big things from the 32-year-old Houstonian whose first mixtape Church Clothes was released for free on May 10. Many considered this to be his jump into mainstream hip-hop music with producers like Don Cannon, Boi-1da and 9th Wonder behind him. Audiences loved it with 100,000 downloads in less than 48 hours, but the Christian media had a few concerns. Several thought that Lecrae’s work with secular producers would mean him “selling out” to mainstream audiences and the loss of his Christian convictions in his songs. This could not be further from the truth, with most fans finding Church Clothes to be an amazing and real commentary on the church and non-believers. In light of the controversy, Gravity emerged with critics waiting to see Lecrae’s next move. What they got was mainstream beats and sounds with all the poetic, Christ-filled lyrics that Lecrae fans expect to hear. The first single from the album, “I Know,” is one of his most upbeat songs to date. The production value is higher with multiple layers not heard in Rehab or Rebel. Songs like “Lord Have Mercy” show how different this project really is for Lecrae with tough lyrics and a haunting chorus. The second single, “Tell the World,” has a catchy hook and gospel-focused message that make this song an automatic hit with Christians and non-Christians alike. Any fan of Lecrae will love Gravity from beginning to end and will find the lines between Christian and mainstream hip-hop music blurred. This is a very good thing. Getting the message of Christ to people through the medium of hip-hop is a great opportunity. AllHipHop said that Church Clothes had the “ability to focus on the Christian values without coming off as preachy, or even Bible-thumping.” Mainstream hip-hop audiences are listening, and rappers like Lecrae are presenting the gospel through secular sounds and modern beats. Gravity is going to be Lecrae’s latest push into the headphones of...

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Bollywood: A genre of music growing in popularity
Apr24

Bollywood: A genre of music growing in popularity

Bollywood music is an acquired taste. With foreign sounds and an unidentifiable language, it can be something to get used to. However, in some respects, it gives an understanding of a different    culture. With ornate costumes that are a mixture of western dance moves and clothing, Bollywood has become more popular today than ever before. With the combination of the terms “Hollywood” and “Bombay,” the music is integrated into Hindi movies. What does that mean exactly? It means that every couple of minutes, a song-and-dance sequence will be brought forth to go along with the current scene.  So if there is happiness, there is a song. If the moment is sad, there is a song. Is it like American Broadway shows? No, not necessarily. Broadway shows consist  mostly of singing. Bollywood songs occur after roughly 30 or 40 minutes of dialogue. The Hindi film industry releases the most movies per year than any other country, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Thus, there is a movie album (or two)  released roughly every two weeks. Each album has five to 11 songs and will most likely include remixes. As other countries attempt to be more westernized, India is no different, with American dance steps included in songs and an all-too-familiar sound of some instruments, like drums, guitar and the piano. Liking Bollywood music may be easier than you think. It has progressively become more American, and now the music is a mixture of pop, rock, R&B and hip-hop. This popular music genre is slowly turning international. With Middle Eastern countries and European countries now turning their ears to Bollywood music, America is next in line. Even Hollywood has turned its head toward Hindi film music It is just like American tunes when it comes to music. A bad break-up? There is a song for that. Falling in love? Plenty of songs for that. Relationship highs and lows? There are songs for that. The familiar sounds of guitars, drums and keyboard will frequently be used. However, the lesser known noises of the dhol (type of drum) and the sitar (stringed instrument) will be unfamiliar but equally interesting. Therefore, the musical fusion of two different nations provides a unique sound that can positively grab attention. With Bollywood movies now having to appeal to a “desi” audience (Indians born in America), there is nothing that will stop the Indian music industry from grabbing their attention and appealing to that target market niche. They will go after American singers/songwriters to be a part of Bollywood tunes.  And they already have Snoop Dog, Ludacris, Akon and Drake, artists who have sung in Bollywood...

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