Moana steals hearts nationwide at Grand Opening
Dec07

Moana steals hearts nationwide at Grand Opening

Published in the December 7, 2016 issue of The Bells Walt Disney studios released their newest animated film Moana to theatres nationwide on November 23, and so far, it has been a big hit for all ages. The movie was given a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the first high rating for a Disney movie in a long time. It is 1 hour and 43 minutes long and is rated PG for its brief scary images. While it was given such a high rating, I personally give it a 8 out of 10 stars. The movie itself had great potential, but I felt like it was missing something. The story is focused on a teenage girl named Moana, who is the daughter of the chieftain on a small island in the Polynesian Islands. From a young age, Moana Waialiki has always wanted to venture out but no one is allowed beyond the reef. Moana takes great pride in her homeland and people and when she discovers her island is dying and her people’s chances of survival are dwindling because of a plague of darkness. She decides to find the Demi-god and master way-finder Maui and restore life to the island What I really liked about the plot is that there are many conflicts the character’s face before reaching the final climax of the movie. It is not a ‘solve one and done’ type of film. Instead, the main characters must overcome multiple challenges before they can succeed. The animation style was gorgeous and has continued to improve and become more realistic with each new Disney film. The elaborate detail is consistent throughout the movie and is mesmerizing. The way the water glistens and rolls as the waves hit the island gives the audience the feeling that they are on this journey with Moana. While Moana’s character development evolved over the film’s entirety, her counterpart Maui didn’t have much improvement. The only noticeable thing was that Maui was a little more considerate to the mortals toward the end of the movie, but was still vain until the end. Also, in the last few scenes, Moana’s father participates in an action he was so against in the beginning of the movie. His participation in the event feels almost random and forced. Sure, he is happy to support his daughter, but he personally has a hatred for the action and so it is strange to see him performing it with his daughter. I’m sure the last few scenes were meant to take place a month or so later but they seemed highly unlikely. What I enjoyed most about this movie was...

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Spread Christmas cheer by watching these family-friendly holiday favorites

Published in the December 7, 2016 issue of The Bells The Christmas season is finally here, and it’s time to sit back and watch some of the greatest holiday films Hollywood has to offer. From a boy left alone to his own devices to a selfish man who transforms into Santa Clause, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a list of our favorites. Find out if yours made the list. 1. Elf (2003) PG Plot: Buddy, a human-raised at the North Pole by Papa Elf, travels to New York City after finding out that he was adopted as a baby. His quest to find and connect with his real father leads to hilarious hi-jinx as he attempts to adjust to life outside of Santa’s workshop. Why you should watch: Movie star Will Ferrell displays his comic genius in every scene, and with one-liners like “I’m just a Cotton-headed Ninny-Muggins,” there’s so much to enjoy. This film is sure to leave both children and adults singing and laughing along. 2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) PG Plot: Everyone in Whoville is excited and full of Christmas spirit. Everyone, except, the Grinch. After a glimpse into the grumpy Christmas-stealer’s past, the audience comes to understand why he feels the need to ruin the holiday for the Whos. Why you should watch: From the producers of “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” How the Grinch Stole Christmas gives audiences a chance to laugh and cry as they watch the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes too big. 3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) PG-13 Plot: In hopes of impressing his wife, children and visiting extended family, Clark Griswold sets to have the perfect Christmas. From the picture-perfect tree to the most elaborate light display, Griswold puts everything he has into creating a classic Christmas. But, unfortunately he can’t achieve perfection, and fails to live up to his own expectations. Why you should watch: This timeless comedy has a cult following, spanning multiple generations, and never disappoints. Despite the dated clothing and décor, this film hits all the right marks when it comes to holiday cheer. 4. The Polar Express (2004) G Plot: In this modern holiday film, a little boy goes on a journey of a lifetime to the North Pole on a magical train ride across frozen tundra, icy lakes, and windy mountain roads. The boy learns to find his inner strength and learns to believe in Santa and himself once more. Why you should watch: The Polar Express is the perfect way to relive your childhood and the magic of believing in Christmas. 5. Home Alone (1990) PG Plot: After his parents accidentally forget...

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Doctor Strange Blows away Marvel fans everywhere

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells Marvel, almost as a rule, produces some of the most popular and widely viewed films in the United States, with an eye for quality and storylines like no other. Their latest film, Doctor Strange, is no exception. The movie features Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous hero-to-be, Doctor Stephen Strange, Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, and Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, the human antagonist of the story. The acting was exceptional, the special effects could not have been better, and the storyline, while different from its comic book origins, did an amazing job of staying in canon. Doctor Strange begins his hero’s journey as an arrogant neurosurgeon. He is shown performing brain surgery, and showing off his impeccable memory and displaying extreme confidence in every aspect of his demeanor. Once out of the hospital, he is shown in a luxurious apartment. The audience sees numerous awards displayed throughout his home as well as other signs of his wealth. From a drawer full of expensive watches to the Lamborghini that ends up being the instrument of his fall from prestige, it all shows his extravagant lifestyle. Strange is shown driving distracted, before getting into an accident that ultimately costs him the use of his hands. He hears of another man that has had similar issues concerning nerve damage, and he seeks him out in order to learn his secret. This puts him on the path that will bring about the events that put him on the path of a sorcerer. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a good deal of bias towards Marvel movies, and waited for more than a year to see the movie, seeing it twice in the week immediately following its release. At face value, the movie is entertaining, just another superhero movie with great special effects, the occasional joke, and at least one swoon-worthy actor. Beyond the simple story though, it carries a deeper message, showing the story of a man who goes from incredibly self-centered, to becoming much less self-involved (albeit through some fairly extreme circumstances). One of the best features about Marvel is the teaser trailers that hint at movies to come; little clues that certain characters will be interacting in one of their upcoming movies. Doctor Strange has two of those, one after the initial breakdown of important characters throughout the movie, and another after the full credit roll. Never leave a Marvel movie before the lights come on in the theater. Doctor Strange is one of the best Marvel movies in a while. The amount of...

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Grab your popcorn, sit  back, and get  ready to ‘scream’
Oct26

Grab your popcorn, sit back, and get ready to ‘scream’

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells Fall. The time when the weather is nice and cold, the leaves on the trees turn different colors and when an abundance of horror movies are released just in time for Halloween. Now the weather may not exactly be cool enough to wear all of your favorite fall clothes, but the horror movies are still being released. So what exactly should you watch in preparation of Halloween? Well for starters, a classic. This classic is more of a family film, so if easily scared, this film may be perfect for you. Hocus Pocus, rated PG and released in 1993, is very popular with ‘90s kids. Hocus Pocus follows the story of two teenagers and one child who accidently set free a coven of evil witches on Halloween night. They spend the rest of the night trying to trap them once again. Two of the more famous actors who star in this film are Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker. It also has a memorable musical number and wonderful one-liners that could be quoted all Halloween. For fans of the horror genre who enjoy the thrills, Ouija: Origin of Evil was released on Friday, Oct 21. The film is rated PG-13 and currently has a 6.7/10 rating on IMDb. Ouija, is about a widowed mother of two who runs a séance scam. After deciding to boost their credibility by adding a Ouija board to the game, things go south when they accidently set free an evil spirit who possesses the youngest child. From there the trailer shows a series of creepy, disturbing things that come along with possession and someone playing the Ouija board again, but this time with bloody fingers. Talk about a game night gone wrong. Another movie that was released on Oct 21, 2016 is Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween. This is rated PG-13 and is another in a series of Tyler Perry’s movies that feature Madea. Like the other films in the series, Madea winds up in mayhem and she spends her Halloween fighting off Halloween themed villains in order to survive the night. The film may feature not feature as many screams, but there are definitely lots of subtle life lessons. Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween currently has a rating of 7.3/10 on IMBd. While people still go to the theaters to watch movies, bingeing and streaming has become more popular. So if you are more into bingeing and have access to a Netflix account, there are two shows you must watch in preparation for Halloween. The first is Scream, which is the...

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Tricks, treats, and zombies:  Halloween 2016 in (and out) of Belton
Oct26

Tricks, treats, and zombies: Halloween 2016 in (and out) of Belton

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells This Halloween there are plenty of places to go and celebrate the spooky holiday. From fall festivals to haunted hayrides this Halloween is bound to be special one. Historic ghost walk of Salado There is a legend that on Salado’s main street there are many ghosts of cowboys and Indians that come out on Halloween night to scare those who walk its lantern-lit street. If students are brave enough to venture out his far, they can meet a tour guide at the ghost wagon across the street from the Stage Coach Inn and get lost in the tales of cowboys, Indians, lost treasure, and most importantly ghosts. The tour lasts around an hour-and-a-half, and tickets can be purchased for $20. All ages are welcome on this spooky tour but ages 13-and-up are recommended. This event will take place Oct 28, when the sun goes down and the ghosts come out to play. Trunk-or-treating/Fall Festivals Trunk-or-treating is a safe alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating. Many churches do this for families in the community, but older youths are also welcome to join in on the fun. One option is the First Baptist Church of Killeen, who will be hosting a trunk-or-treat event from 6 p.m.to 8 p.m. on the churches property on Oct. 31. This specific event will have bounce houses, food, games, music, and candy for all to enjoy. The Trinity Baptist Church in Harker Heights will hold its annual Fall Festival from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Oct. 27. Admission is one can or box of nonperishable foods that can be donated to the Harker Heights Food Care Center. The event will feature a bounce house and slide, games, booths, a cake walk, and free hot dogs, popcorn and snow cones. There will also be a chili cook-off sponsored by Sunday school classes that participants can help judge. Zombie 5k Run For this crazy event you can preregister to be a zombie or human for $25. Online registration will close Oct. 27 at midnight, but tickets can be purchased for $30 at the gate the morning of the race. Children under the age of six get in free. The chase begins at 9 a.m. on Oct. 29 and will last until 11 a.m. The goal is for the humans to save Belton by zipping to the finish line before the zombies make it there first. There will be zombie makeup artists on-site for an additional fee, and costume prizes will be awarded after the race for both categories. Halloween Carnivals Killeen Special Events Center is hosting a carnival on Oct...

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Standing for Christ: New film depicts life of Columbine victim
Oct26

Standing for Christ: New film depicts life of Columbine victim

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells I’m Not Ashamed, a Christian movie based on the events of the Columbine shooting on April 20, 1999, came out in theaters this Friday, October 21. The movie is an uplifting flick that encourages teenagers in the struggles that many young Christians face, like loneliness, the desire to fit in, and resisting temptation from other students. Reviews however, have blasted Pure Flix, the producers of I’m Not Ashamed, for misrepresenting the actual historical account of the event portrayed in the movie. The reviews on this movie are mixed, so what’s important is to research and compare what happened in the movie to what happened in real life. The Columbine shooting is the name given to the mass murder at Columbine High school in Littleton, Colorado. The two perpetrators, 17-year-old Dylan Klebold and 18-year-old Eric Harris, opened fire on their classmates and teachers when their homemade bomb failed to detonate. The movie implies that the two students targeted Christians, such as protagonist Rachel Joy Scott, who was historically the first victim in the shooting. However, these accusations were proven false, and the murderers had no specific group of people in mind. Klebold and Harris ended up killing 12 students and one teacher, and injuring 20 more people. Although the movie was uplifting as well as tragic, it may have misrepresented the events of Columbine. Theguardian.com writes a scathing review on the Pure Flix film, who also created God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2. They call I’m Not Ashamed “a false narrative of Christian martyrdom.” Other reviewers, such as the Hollywood Reporter, criticize the movie for being poorly written and disrespectful to the victims of Columbine. The movie is touching and sweet, and Masey Mclaine’s performance as Rachel Joy Scott goes beyond the somewhat cheesy and predictable script. The upset that I’m Not Ashamed has caused is not only due to the historical discrepancies between the movie and the shooting, but also when it comes to the motive behind the entire shooting as something more “martyr-like” than it is. Additionally, the depictions of the shooters are shamelessly flat and give little to no consideration of their motives and lives outside of the crime. There are plenty of rioters that would rally to stamp out the humanization of criminals like these, but the movie medium has a bit more leniency and opportunity to portray all sides, which needless to say, I’m Not Ashamed did not take advantage of. The film is the epitome of a feel-good, Chrsitian motivational flick, with a dark overtone that led to more controversy and resistance...

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