“How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy conclusion conquers box office
Feb27

“How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy conclusion conquers box office

The “How to Train Your Dragon” (HTTYD) series has sadly come to an end with the release of the latest film “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” on Feb. 22. This hour and 44-minute movie neatly ties up all loose ends while enticing audiences with breathtaking animation, multi-dimensional characters and great story progression. The HTTYD franchise is successful, and all three movies have ratings above 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The newest film has a rating of 93 percent. This movie deserves the great rating. The animation is astoundingly beautiful. The animators took the time to animate the wind ruffling fur on cloaks, little nicks in the metal on armor and faded scars on the dragons. This attention to little details changes the whole dynamic of the movie. The scenery and background art is also beautifully animated. One of my favorite scenes is when the dragon riders are flying through the clouds over the ocean. You can see the clouds and wind sliding off the wings and equipment so smoothly, making you feel as if you are in the sky with them. Another aspect that makes this movie stand out is the characters and the natural development of the story. At this point, the characters all have a great dynamic and are consistent in their development as individuals and as a team. Additionally, the characters are truly interesting and humorous. There is no cheap comedy here, just well-written characters with humorous jokes that fit the timing and their personalities. The plot of the movie is established well and includes an interesting subplot featuring Toothless’ efforts to befriend another dragon of his kind. In my opinion, the subplot makes sense and is played out very well alongside the main plot. However, having two story lines sets this movie just a smidge below the first two because of the slightly divided attention. I recommend that audience members stay during the credits for a nostalgic look at clips from the first two movies. I have been a fan of the HTTYD series since the first movie’s release in 2010, and I have enjoyed watching the characters grow and develop over the three films. I think this movie is the perfect ending to a great franchise. While I am sad the series has ended, I am extremely satisfied with how the writers and directors told fans goodbye in this movie. I give “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” a 10/10 and a wave as the franchise is put to...

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Spending this Valentine’s Day with your pet?
Feb13

Spending this Valentine’s Day with your pet?

Many people on Valentine’s Day don’t always have a special someone to spend their time with. Instead, many choose to enjoy it with their pets. Statistics show that American households this year alone will spend about $647.9 million on gifts for their cats and dogs (finder.com). However, whether it’s spoiling them with a treat, hitting the outdoors, or just watching a movie together, pets will always enjoy getting the attention from their owners. After all, Valentine’s Day is about spending it with the ones you love, even the furry ...

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Trilogy conclusion “Glass” shattered expectations

On Jan. 19, the highly anticipated end to the “Unbreakable” trilogy hit the box office. “Glass,” directed by M. Knight Shyamalan, features several well-known actors and actresses, including James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and Sarah Paulson. “Glass” follows three incredible people with extraordinary gifts. They all meet each other when a woman named Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) finds them and takes them to a psychological facility to learn more about the gifts they have. Kevin (James McAvoy) is a very complex character because he has Dissociative Identity Disorder. In this movie we get to see 20 of his personalities. McAvoy portrays Kevin’s character well and handles the difficult task of portraying multiple personalities with expertise. When Kevin is especially angry, he becomes an unstoppable monster and takes on the name “The Beast.” Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is responsible for derailing David Dunn’s train in “Unbreakable,” the first film in the series. Elijah has Type I Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which causes his bones to be fragile. Elijah’s alterego is a villain named “Glass.” His inspiration for this name comes from his childhood nickname due to his rare genetic condition. The main theme of the movie was terrific. In the movie, Dr. Staple told the characters that they were just imagining their extraordinary powers and gifts. They almost started to believe that they were not special. However, Elijah told Kevin that they were special and that their gifts should be shared. While his plan to achieve this goal was not morally right, his idea is correct. “Glass” is a suspenseful movie that keeps the audience guessing until the credits roll across the screen. Additionally, the screenplay and cinematography in this film made “Glass” a great movie. Content goes...

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The art of Sofia LeJeune: child prodigy’s artwork featured
Jan30

The art of Sofia LeJeune: child prodigy’s artwork featured

The art of Sofia LeJeune, a 10-year-old legally blind and autistic child artist from McKinney, Texas was on display from December 2018 to Jan. 14 at the UMHB Baugh Center for the Visual Arts. Sofia’s interest in art began when she was just 18 months old, and she has been creating ever since. During a phone interview, Sofia was more than happy to share about her life and her passion for art. She says that it is a great way to “…express your feelings, it looks pretty,” and it’s a “…good way to impress people.” Her mother, Rebeca Gracia, shared the details about how Sofia’s condition has developed over time. “She was severely autistic when she was younger. We have been using natural therapies… for the past five years with great success. Now, she is high functioning, and we thought we would see how she likes public school,” Gracia said. After being homeschooled since the start of her education, Sofia began her first year of public school in 2018. “Sofia’s vision impairment originates in the brain, not the eye. [It] has several components: nystagmus, which is improving, decreased acuity, which has remained the same, and astigmatism, which has worsened since starting public school,” Gracia said. In relation to Sofia’s talents, Gracia said that Sofia’s school does not have a strong art program, so it brings her daughter joy when people share an interest in art and talk to her about her artwork. Sofia said that she tried her hand at pottery and made some books with a lady named Helen. She was talking about Helen Kwiatkowski, who teaches book arts, photography and design here at UMHB. Although Sofia has experimented with various media and subjects, her preference is for drawing animals of all kinds. Using simple pencils and any scratch paper she can find, she creates lively illustrations through contour lines and expression. Sofia was recently diagnosed as legally blind but has struggled with her vision for a while. She described her vision as, “kinda good, kinda bad.” She can see to draw up close but has a very hard time seeing far away. Aside from her artistic hobbies, she, like most third graders, finds additional joy in a large array of things. Her favorite subject in school other than art is, as she said, “Science! Science! Science!” Sofia has also been participating in mixed martial arts for two years and is delighted to share that she has just earned her yellow belt. She also enjoys playing games inside and outside, like checkers, Go Fish and playing pretend. She shows pure excitement when she talks about the fun times she has on her great-grandmother’s...

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Jácome Flamenco troupe ignites the Performing Arts Center
Jan30

Jácome Flamenco troupe ignites the Performing Arts Center

The latest Highways and Byways performance in the Sue and Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Jan. 24, left audience members in awe. Jácome Flamenco, led by Chris B. Jácome, performed breathtaking flamenco routines that had the crowd bobbing their heads and tapping their feet along with the music. During the introduction, Jácome encouraged the audience to interact throughout the performance by yelling “Olé!” and cheers to the dancers. Chayito Champion, the lead singer of the group, jokingly stated they didn’t want to hear any “yee-haws,” which prompted laughter from the crowd. Three of the troupe members played various instruments while Champion sang and three dancers made their way onto the stage. The emotion and intense dancing, as well as the beautiful music, captivated the audience, causing many to cheer and chant with the dancers. After intermission, each of the dancers performed a solo. Jácome and Champion performed a duet. There was never a dull moment. While the dancers underwent costume changes, Jácome shared some facts and trivia about the flamenco form to the audience. The show went wonderfully, which is why it was surprising to hear they didn’t rehearse beforehand. “We got here today, did sound check, talked about what we were going to do, and we did it. No rehearsals,” Champion said. When asked how she knew when to chime in with her singing or clapping without rehearsals, she explained, “Sometimes they just give me a look or do something with their body, and I know to come in. Its all about feeling.” After the event, audience members had the chance to buy signed CDs and take pictures with the performers. Paulina Riewald is a senior sports management major who attended the show. “I loved it. I wanted to be up there with them,” she said. “I loved the music and the dancing was beautiful and it was really fun.” To learn more about Jácomes Flamenco, visit jacomeflamenco.com. There you can browse merchandise, find tips and tricks about the art of flamenco and get a sneak peek at where they will be performing...

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UMHB’s 10-year Transformation
Jan30

UMHB’s 10-year Transformation

If you have been on the internet or social media recently, then you have probably noticed the new trend called the “10-Year Challenge.” People are posting a photo of themselves from ten years ago next to a current photo to show how their look and personal style have evolved over time. Just like the individuals in these personal comparative photos, the UMHB campus has also seen many changes in the last 10 years. Since 2009, several new buildings have been added to campus to accommodate academics, athletics, visual and performing arts and residence life. There is also a new parking lot. The Baugh Center for the Visual Arts, named after Eula Mae and John Baugh, opened in the fall of 2012. The art department had outgrown its home in the basement of Presser Hall, creating a need for a new building solely for the visual arts. Located across the street from the Mabee Student Success Center, the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts has accommodations for all types of art, including studios for painting, drawing and ceramics, as well as computer design labs and an art gallery. The Scott and White College of Nursing at UMHB has grown substantially in the last 10 years, presenting the need for a building for all things medical.   Dedicated in 2013, the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center brought a new look to campus. Thanks to generous donations, including a leading contribution from the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation, the three-story building was designed to include classrooms, offices and a simulation hospital equipped with state-of-the-art technology. One of the greatest and most recognizable additions to UMHB is Bawcom Student Union and Crusader Stadium. This two-year construction project resulted in a new main hub for student activity on campus. In Bawcom, you can find students enjoying a meal in the dining hall, studying with friends, buying supplies at the bookstore or practicing their instruments in Farris Band Hall. In addition to several offices and conference rooms, each floor has a panoramic view of Crusader Stadium. This 8,000-seat stadium was the first football field on campus, providing a permanent home field for the Cru. In 2017, a dream was turned into a reality when the first performing arts center at UMHB was opened. The Sue and Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center is outfitted with rooms used to host theater productions, ensemble performances, dance recitals and other performing arts events. The Baugh Performance Hall occupies the main portion of the building. It seats 524 audience members in front of a multipurpose performance stage equipped with an orchestra pit and accommodations for theater productions. Each year,...

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