Preview of films to hit the box office in the new year
Jan27

Preview of films to hit the box office in the new year

With movies like The Dark Knight, Twilight and Iron Man, 2008 was a year for the record books for the Hollywood industry. The start of the new year also promises movie-goers a reason to visit the theater. Movies like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen will build on the stories set by previous entries into their respective stories. Listed below is a 2009 movie-viewing guide, including films expected to be box-office hits with a short preview of what makes each significant and view worthy. X-Men Origins: Wolverine The previous X-Men disappointed critics, but 20th Century Fox has promised that this installment into the X-Men universe will not have the same reputation. X-Men Origins: Wolverine gives viewers a chance to look into the background of one of the most popular characters in the comic book and superhero world. This film deserves a chance after the X-Men resume was tainted by The Last Stand. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Shia Labeouf returns to his role as Sam Witwicky in the new sequel to 2007 summer blockbuster, Transformers. Director Michael Bay has kept plot information on lock-down, but with the first movie being such a hit, viewers can expect the sequel to be just as action packed and full of visual eye-candy. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince The new addition to the Harry Potter saga is expected to be the best in the series thus far. Fans of the novels know what to look forward to in the story of Harry Potter and his epic struggle between being a teenager and a hero. Harry’s showdown with “he who must not be named” may not necessarily go great for him this time around. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel Who doesn’t love singing chipmunks? This movie will be great for kids and anyone who liked the first film. Year One Michael Cera and Jack Black team up in this “prehistoric” comedy. They play two hunter-gatherers in a primitive tribe, and are banished, leaving them to explore an earlier version of the world than what we recognize. The comedy duo of Cera and Black is sure to be hilarious. New Moon Teenage girls, begin screaming now. The Twilight series is back with sequel New Moon in which an accident leaves Edward separated from Bella and the rest of his vampire family. Although mostly intended for teens, the first film was stunning, and the sequel, hopefully, will be just as impressive. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus The last film of the late Heath Ledger looks interesting to say the least. After Ledger’s  death, Jude Law, Johnny Depp and...

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American Idol: Fourth judge debuts
Jan27

American Idol: Fourth judge debuts

Many people dream of one day being a star, to be worshiped by adoring fans and constantly in the spotlight. This dream has been realized by countless individuals, but the popular television show, American Idol, has been able to create superstars seemingly overnight. Thousands of contestants from around the country audition in the hopes of making it to Hollywood, where the journey to superstardom can begin. Some people thrive in the competitive environment and release raw talent that lies within, while others crack under intense scrutiny. Over the years, American Idol has produced gifted artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordan Sparks and, most recently, David Cook. Now in its eighth season, the panel of judges look to find a new singer to take the world by storm. Traditionally, the show has been made up of three judges: Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Abdul is an ex-pop star who is known more or less as the “nice” one. Cowell is an Englishman who has no problem speaking his mind and adds an obvious flair to the group. Jackson is a musician who has performed with various bands, and he provides a happy medium among the other judges. In order to receive a golden ticket, a contestant only needs the approval of two out of the three judges. This season, however, the show made a big change and added producer and songwriter Kara DioGuardi as the fourth judge. Senior sport management major Lucious Cotton said, “I think it should be the original judges, but to make it even, they added another woman.” So what happens when the decision is split? This has already been an issue with contestant Katrina Darrell, better known as “bikini girl.” Both Jackson and Cowell agreed she was good enough, while Abdul and DioGuardi felt otherwise. After a heated battle, the judges came to an agreement, and she was permitted to move on to the next round. Senior history major Luke Beasley said, “I think it’s good to have four judges because it evens them out. Plus you get to see a different perspective.” The real question is, who is the new face that is holding the key to a hopeful’s dream, and why the change from three? Kara DioGuardi is a new face but she is no stranger to the music industry. She began writing her own songs while working a desk job at Billboard Magazine. In 1995, she received a record deal with MCA. It was Abdul, however, who gave her the break that led to the successful career she now has. Abdul gave the pop artist Kylie Minogue a copy...

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Twilight grosses $139M despite criticism
Dec09

Twilight grosses $139M despite criticism

Twilight revolutionizes the way most view vampires and embraces the infatuation between a human and a vampire who has been 17 since 1918. The story is based on the New York Times best-seller, Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, in which Bella and Edward, played by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson respectively, struggle to uphold an out-of-this-world relationship under the persecution of their peers and the threat of other vampires who thirst for Bella’s blood. The vampires in the film break the stereotypical mold of bloodthirsty, devilish beasts. The Cullins vampire family is made up of Edward, Emmet, Rosalie, Jasper, Alice, Esme and Dr. Carlisle, who compare themselves to vegetarians because they fight the urge to feed on human blood and choose to feed on animals instead. Edward describes it as being similar to eating tofu because all the nutrients are there, but it never quite satisfies. Bella’s story begins in hot and dry Phoenix, Ariz., as she prepares to move to cold and wet Forks, Wash., with her father because her mother and stepfather are moving to Jacksonville for his chance in minor-league baseball. Her relationship with her father is strained because of the distance and inability to connect over the years, and it is interesting to watch both grow over the course of the film, despite their differences. Both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson do a good job of convincing viewers that their characters, Bella and Edward, are truly in love. Their transcendental feelings toward one another provide a backbone to what would otherwise be a flimsy retelling of the book. The movie makes good use of lighting and scenery to set the vampire-friendly scene in Forks. The overcast skies, thick forests and nearly constant rain all make the town habitable for the vampire Cullins family. The gray tones and paleness used in the video production embrace the overall mood that director Catherine Hardwicke attempts to mimic from the best-selling novels. Twilight is obviously marketed to teens and young adults. The story takes place in high school and incorporates things like prom, inexperienced driving and curfew to relate to the target audience. The weakest part of the movie is the lack of closure. The story is left open ended, which strikes resemblance to the books. But without finality, it is frustrating. The film seems to just stop without warning or resolution. The technique is effective for novel writing, but in film, closure is key to determining the great movies from the mundane. Critics expressed negativity over the film mostly because of the inability to live up to the hype created by the books and the lack of resolution to...

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Pause for Thought: Fantasy Football

By Joshua Thiering Everyone keeps asking me, what are you going to do when you graduate this month? Well I’ve made up my mind to pursue a career as a professional football player. Never mind that I only have two years of playing backup safety on the Grisham Middle School A-Team under my belt. I’ve seen Rudy. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Skeptics will tell me, “Josh, you are 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and always seem to be awkwardly bumping into door frames instead of moving through them.” Well, prepare to be baffled, all you armchair critics, who claim they don’t even make shoulder pads small enough to fit me. I will wear as many T-shirts as it takes to fill out the pads. And for the record, whenever I accidentally collide with the door frame, I always get a better piece of it than it does of me. To all of you who still remain unconvinced of my athletic potential and make allegations that I move slower than FEMA — stop treading on the egg shells of my dreams! I’ve got things going for me. Things like inspirational quotes and motivational posters. I’ve spent thousands of hours watching football on TV, and I’m open to criminal activity. To be a professional athlete, you need to have a big ego. Well, my ego belongs in the hall of fame right next to Muhammad Ali, and Chad, I-can-swim-faster-than-Michael- Phelps Johnson. Furthermore, if I were ever interviewed, I could say politically incorrect things, and string together sporting cliché after cliché, by calling my own number when the going gets tough in this game of inches. I’ve spent many late nights sprinting through my living room carrying the pigskin, juking the coffee table, hurdling the remote and breaking imaginary tackles. I’ve even played pickup football with real people a couple of times since eighth grade, but the results have been mixed. Often times I’ve wondered if I’m getting slower or if fat people are getting faster. According to my astute roommate, who always tells the truth, it’s the latter. So, naturally, I will just eat myself into top-playing condition. I will use the local church flag football league as a spring board to the pros, by racking up bloated statistics and putting forth every possible effort to win each game so that pro scouts will have to take notice. I expect nothing less than to become an overnight YouTube...

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Music of the heart
Dec09

Music of the heart

Jimmy Needham and Downhere entertained Crusaders, Preview students during weekend concert

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Fun, laughter infuse lively Date Auction
Dec09

Fun, laughter infuse lively Date Auction

There was a cool, crisp breeze in the starry night. Lights twinkled in the trees, transforming the usually dull steps of Mabee into a romantic scene. The smell of hot chocolate and warm popcorn lingered in the air. It was the night of Date Auction. Some students were there to find a special someone, while others just wanted to enjoy a night with friends. Sophomore business finance major Lindsey Weaver was the master mind behind it all. “Date Auction is a fundraiser done by First Year Council to raise money for spring formal,” Weaver said. She likes being able to support the university and the school spirit of the student body. “FYC was a doorway for me to get involved and make friends,” she said “I’m excited to be a leader, and I’m proud to have had Date Auction as my fundraiser.” The most eligible bachelors on campus planned dates that the university’s young women could bid on. The girls didn’t know who their date might be, but had to bid based solely on what kind of date activity they wanted. Freshman business management major Stuart Bellan put some deep thought into his decision. “I want a nice romantic evening with a special girl,” he said. “I want to take my date to a fun dinner and then dancing. I want her to feel comfortable. If she doesn’t want to go dancing, then we will go play laser tag. That’s such a sweet game to play.” Sophomore business administration major Michael Beach was also trying to make his date memorable. “I just want my girl to have a comfortable time,” he said. “I want to make her laugh and to be sure that she has fun.” Not all of the men were just looking for a casual evening. Some were looking for love. Freshman business major Tobin Davies was searching for just that. “I want to find a wife,” he said. “My date will go on a scavenger hunt at Belton Lake that will lead her to a picnic.” Junior Christian studies major Tommy Wilson was wearing his heart on his sleeve. “This is a chance for me to meet someone in a deeper way and to have fun while doing it.” The thrill-seeking bidders had choices such as ice skating, rock climbing, bumper cars and even a ticket to see Texas country music star Aaron Watson in concert. Junior computer graphic design major Courtney Pett came to the event ready to bid. “I had my eye on a certain someone,” she said. “I feel that UMHB did a really good job with this fundraiser.” Freshman fine arts major...

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