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Archive | Arts & Entertainment

Movie Review: Bad Grandpa

Posted on 06 November 2013 by Harley Marsh

Bad Grandpa is one of the funniest movies to be in theaters since I can even remember. Jackass outdid themselves this time and outdid any movie or show they have done in the past. For the first time they had an actual story line they used consistently while still going around and making people’s jaws drop in disbelief.

Johnny Knoxville plays the role of a grandfather to a little boy named Billy. The whole movie takes place while Knoxville is driving Billy down south to be with his father since his mother was just put away in jail. On their journey they encounter many hilarious and outrageous adventures.

This movie was made in dedication of Ryan Dunn who was a cast member of the original Jackass and died in a car accident in 2011. The cast wanted to make sure they did him justice with humor and craziness, and they certainly did. Through trying to send Billy to his dad through the postal service to signing Billy up in a beauty pageant to leaving him to go to a male strip club, Knoxville had the performance of his life. Everyone in the audience was laughing nonstop during the entire movie.

The credits were amongst some of the funniest moments in this film. They showed the reactions to the by standers of Knoxville and Billy when they were told that they were being filmed for a Jackass movie. The bystanders had no idea and truly thought that the things these two were doing were actually legitimate. I’d give Bad Grandpa two thumbs up.

Bad Grandpa is rated R and is showing in Cinemark Cinema 5 in the Carnation Mall Wednesday evening at 4:30, 7:10, and 10:05.

By Stephanie Treubig

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The Getaway movie review

Posted on 06 September 2013 by Bailey Miller

Car chases, adrenaline and the thrill of the unknown. The last of the major motion picture “summer blockbusters”, Getaway, speeds into theaters just in time, promising action flick fanatics a good time, despite the watered down plot.

Getaway, directed by Courtney Solomon, stars Ethan Hawke as Brent Magna, a retired race car driver whose wife has recently been kidnapped. He is now receiving instructions from an unknown caller, who he must follow in order to get his wife back.  What do these instructions involve? Stealing a souped-up Shelby Super Snake and wreaking havoc on the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria. Enter “The Kid”, played by Disney alum Selena Gomez. The Kid informs Magna that the car he has stolen is hers and that she wants it back–with a profanity laced delivery of course. After the voice instructing Magna demands that he take The Kid with him on the joy-ride throughout the city, she uses her computer hacking skills to assist Magna on his mission of finding his wife, and foiling the Voice’s bigger plan of robbing one of the largest banks in Bulgaria.

Confused? So are we.  The problem with Getaway lies primarily in the film’s plot holes. Why is all of this happening? Who is this voice and what vendetta do they have with Magna to make them want to take his wife hostage? Why do these people live in Bulgaria? Most importantly, why on earth does a teenage girl own a custom luxury car, such as that of the seemingly indestructible Shelby Super Snake in the film? These questions, and more, are what drags down the film for audiences, and leaves them constantly questioning the point of the film.

However, what Getaway lacks in substance, it makes up for in action. Fans of racing and demolition of automobiles will be enthralled in the almost constant car chases and crashes that occur in the film. One shot in particular that occurs at the end of the film features a brilliantly shot car chase scene that will leave viewers gripped with adrenaline and strapped to their theater seats in anticipation for the conclusion.

Getaway is currently playing at movie theaters nationwide, and is coming soon to Cinemark Carnation Cinema 5. Mount Union students receive a student ticket discount every Thursday when they show their PurplePlus card. For more information on movie showtimes, visit Cinemark.com.

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What is the best prank you’ve ever pulled on someone or had pulled on you?

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Harley Marsh

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Safe Heaven is a safe bet for any romantic date

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Bailey Miller

Nobody can deliver a romantic love story quite like best-selling author Nicholas Sparks can.  His novels and their movie counterparts have brought us some of the greatest love stories of all time.  The latest of Sparks’ novel to film adaptations, Safe Haven, is no exception.

The film stars Julianne Hough as Katie, a young women who travels to the sleepy North Carolina beach town of Southport from Boston, desperate to escape demons from her past, and reluctant to make close ties with the residents.  Katie soon takes up residence in Southport, and forms a friendship with her single neighbor, Jo (Cobie Smulders), who urges her to open up to the residents of the town. Events soon cause her to let down her guard, and meet Alex, a widowed, kind hearted shop owner who is played by Josh Duhamel.  As Katie begins to put down roots in the town, she becomes increasingly close to Alex and his two children.  As love blossoms between the two, Katie still struggles with the dark secret from her past that haunts her constantly, and is the reason she took refuge in the secluded safe haven of Southport.  As her past threatens to catch up with her, and shatter the life she has started in Southport, Katie realizes that she must make a choice; a choice between living a life of safety, or to continue to run from her past.  With the relationships and security Katie has found in Southport, she soon realizes that only love is the true safe haven.

The film was directed by Swedish director Lasse Hallström, and currently is receiving mixed reviews from critics.  Currently, the film has received a 12% rating on rottentomatoes.com from critics, with 71% positive audience response.  As the eighth film adaptation from Sparks’, it is possible the love story formula that he has perfected, is beginning to lack originality. Safe Haven has its own fair share of high points.  The casting of fresh faces such as Hough and Duhamel is pleasing to contemporary audiences and their chemistry onscreen meshes together nicely.  In addition, the unexpected twist at the end of the film will leave audiences talking about the film long after the credits roll.

The main issue with Safe Haven, aside from the exaggerated melodrama that comes with the typical romantic film, is most definitely the lack of originality present in the film.  On the surface the film appears to be a typical Nicholas Sparks adaptation, and the film is simply just that.  The setting, situations the characters are placed in, and the dramatic events are all quite reminiscent of previous Sparks fare, and could leave audiences feeling like they have already seen this kind of film–and they most likely have.

Nevertheless, audiences wishing to indulge in a bit of romance, some eye-candy, landscape shots of North Carolina and a slight air of mystery for 150 minutes will find what they are looking for in Safe Haven, and will leave the theater to go purchase the novel counterpart as well.

Safe Haven is currently showing at Cinemark Carnation Cinema 5.  Show times for the week are 10:20 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 4:10 p.m., 7:10 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.

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Almost, Maine is a hit!

Posted on 06 October 2012 by Stephanie Porten

This past weekend was Mount Union’s first fall play of the season, “Almost, Maine” at Rodman Theater. Directed by Rudy Roggenkamp, the show is a series of scenes about different characters living in Almost, Maine.

The show has only four actors: Savanna Lancaster, Megan Ostrofsky, Tyler Portner, and Alex Wolfe. Wolfe described the show as “a bunch of little love stories about people falling in (and out of) love. It’s a show that has a lot of funny moments and some sad ones too.”

The scenes varied between heartwarming and heartbreaking, and the characters were well acted and endearing. Mixed with humor, “Almost, Maine” is an honest, and sometimes introspective, look at life and love.

The set is simple and allows for a variety of settings to play out with relative ease. The highlight was the special effect used to create the northern lights, which were a backdrop for the show. Sophomore Christina Price enjoyed the set, commenting, “It looked like a snowglobe.”

Auditions for productions at Mount Union are open to students of all majors and classes, including freshmen.

“We have a great cast and a wonderful crew. It’s always a pleasure to work together with so many awesome people to put together a quality show for others to see,” said Wolfe.

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Splinter Cell Blacklist Where is the Stealth Gameplay?

Posted on 29 September 2012 by Kevin Poltis

Splinter Cell Blacklist is the sixth installment in the popular Tom Clancy video game series, created by Ubisoft. Splinter Cell games have always provided a revolutionary experience in the stealth genre. In previous games, players controlled Sam Fisher, an undercover spy who works for Third Echelon, a sub-branch within the National Security Agency. His job is to neutralize threats that could harm the global population. In each game, Sam had to sneak through shadows, stalk his targets, and interrogate or eliminate them without detection. Chaos Theory, the pinnacle of the series, allowed for several tactical gameplay options from lethal to non-lethal high-tech gadgets and weaponry. In 2010, however, Ubisoft released Splinter Cell Conviction. This game radically redefined the stealth genre. Now there was colossal emphasize on agro-stealth action instead of what longtime fans were familiar with. Conviction combined trigger happy gun play and fierce explosions to create a stealth-action game. Now with Splinter Cell Blacklist, Ubisoft hopes to cater to both the hardcore stealth fans and the action fans by emphasizing both types of gameplay styles. From gameplay videos shown thus far, I remain concerned about this message.

Ubisoft unveiled Blacklist at the Electronic Gaming Expo in June. Most hardcore fans instantly labeled the game, “Conviction 2”. Third Echelon is shut down and Sam Fisher is back in the field as commander of the newly formed Fourth Echelon. Working under the President of the United States, Sam has the fifth freedom to protect his country. This is where the action concept is implemented. The first gameplay demo showcased Sam at the Iraq / Iran border, in the daytime, seeking out terrorist leader, and former M-16 agent, Jadid. Sam, like in Conviction, is still able to mark and execute his targets, but now he can do it while in motion. Sam can call in airstrikes from his former partner Grim, and he can control an UAV drone to eliminate his targets. In contrast, some stealth elements have been revealed. Abductions pull enemies towards you, the sticky shocker returns, and moving dead bodies is back. These elements were mysteriously absent from Conviction.

Here is the problem: Ubisoft is focusing too much on action. The E3 demos showed plenty of firefights and explosions. A new trailer released last week showcased the same. There is also a video showcasing stealth. The problem with that video is that the stealth looks tacked on. Sam is seen sneaking past guards without directly avoiding them in the middle of their camp. Instead, he shimmy’s on the side of a random cliff, which looks geologically unnatural for the formation of the mountain. Instead, it appears to have been added at the last minute to direct stealth players on an alternate path. The path eliminated the potential risk and tension of being detected by guards. Night time missions have not been shown either.

The new trailer shows only glimpses of new locations, including a night time mission. Most of the trailer is a rehash of E3 material. It has been four months since E3. I feel Ubisoft is scared to reveal anything new. Their marketing and public relations teams are not listening to the hardcore fans. In several interviews the game developers asserted players be patient because stealth will be shown in the coming months. The new trailer states otherwise. The target group for Blacklist is obviously action gamers who play many matches of Call of Duty and Gears of War. Ubisoft even admitted that their intention at E3 was to come out big and to differentiate their game from others. The bottom line is that the hardcore fans are not the target audience anymore. Ubisoft is trying to appeal to a wider audience, one that likes to have everything handed to them on a plate and told how to do it. The stealth that was once a staple for the series has vanished in place of agro-stealth. The only way to feel the nostalgia again is to the play the older titles.

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Mount professor hits big with novel!

Posted on 22 September 2012 by Katelyn Chef

Those who love to write, read and listen to fascinating stories and elaborate myths and fist curling fictional tales can appreciate the amount of time and dedication it can take to form those stories into a well-written piece of fiction. Mount Union professors, faculty, students and all others that love a good story are now lucky enough to benefit from that commitment and hard work as English Professor Michael Olin-Hitt’s first published fictional novel, “The Homegoing,” has been released.

Certainly, everyone who knows Dr. Olin-Hitt is excited for his success with his book, but perhaps it is Dr. Olin-Hitt who is the most pleased, as he stated, “This is my first novel. I have published eight short stories and two books of nonfiction. Of all of these projects, I am finding the novel to be the most enjoyable because it has the widest readership.”

“The Homegoing” is a work of fiction, but the setting, themes and characters in the novel stem from Dr. Olin-Hitt’s childhood and family history. “The Homegoing” is set in the rustic land of Appalachian America in Laurelville, OH—the place where his mother was raised. Dr. Olin-Hitt has said that the story is roughly based on his mother and grandmother, but when it came time to create a plot and pick a setting, Dr. Olin-Hitt’s family history offered all the right details.

“My great-grandmother had been a prayer healer and midwife in southern Ohio, and I was always fascinated by stories about her,” said Dr. Olin-Hitt. “I created a fictional story around the people in my family who lived in southern Ohio… I didn’t choose Appalachia, my family history presented it.”

The title “The Homegoing” is appropriate for Dr. Olin-Hitt’s story commemorating his ancestry because the term “homegoing” refers to a celebration to someone’s life. In the novel, this theme becomes apparent as one of the story’s main characters, Ruth Sherman, attempts to find balance between her ancestor’s Appalachian customs and her modern life while away at college.

Not only did Dr. Olin-Hitt find excitement in recreating the setting of his ancestors, but in creating relatable characters as well. “I love creating characters and making them seem real. To do this, a writer has to consider the depth of emotions and reactions a character will have,” he said.

“Good characters seem real because they speak and react from a specific history, which the writer has to create.” Olin-Hitt added.

The New York Journal of Books gave “The Homegoing” a rave review, demonstrating that Dr. Olin-Hitt has accomplished what he set out to do with his family history inspired tale. The University of Mount Union Bookstore has copies of “The Homegoing” available now, and the novel can also be purchased on Amazon.com.

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Hunger Games movie review

Posted on 14 April 2012 by Rosa LaMattina

The brutality of war, hungry and hopeless children, and the higher class sacrificing an elite group of children: these are just some of the plot points of one of the biggest hits in young adult literature and the big screen, “The Hunger Games.”

Directors picked the best characters to play the parts of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. In Parade Magazine, fans said they would love to have a partner like Everdeen and many were in love with the heart of Mellark. What was categorized as an action movie instilled much more then just action, including teen romance, violence, tears, laughter and suspense.

This futurist tale takes place in the country of Panem, after an apocalyptic war. The country split into 12 districts, with two contestants (ages 12 to 18) being sent to compete in a reality show called the Hunger Games from every district. A total of 24 tributes compete to the death until only one remains as the winner.

Chanel Simpson, a senior at Mount Union went to see Hunger Games the day it released on March 23.

“This movie is for people that really like to be on the edge of their seat. This movie shows up all those movie watchers that like to predict what happens next; in this movie you can’t,” Simpson said.

Bryan Bober and Kaleigh Stanley, two seniors at Mount Union, reserved tickets for the Alliance theater premier at midnight.

“It was definitely better than expected. All I have to say is may the odds be forever in your favor,” Bober stated.

“I read all the books and the movie did a great job of illustrating the books. It was the first time the movie didn’t disappoint after reading the books for me,” Stanley said.

The film, based on the book by Suzanne Collins, makes up an imaginary saga about teens that have to fight to the death to show thanks and appreciation for the country and government. Both readers and viewers are mainly young adults 18 and up.

Character President Coriolanus Snow’s line “hope is the only thing greater then fear” sums up the movie. The action in this movie will keep the audience from blinking. So hope for the best, face your fears, grab the popcorn and get out to see Hunger Games. Critics say it will leave you hungry for more.

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GCB

Posted on 14 April 2012 by Katelyn Chef

Grab something fried and praise the lord, because ABC’s new runway hit TV sitcom, GCB (Good Christian B******) dishes out that the old Texan stereotype remains true: Everything is bigger, better and, in this case, holier in Texas.

ABC’s new show is well underway in its first season, stirring up laughs while playing a twist on the typical mean girl in high school plotline. TVrage.com gives the full synopsis of GCB’s premise. Former high school mean queen, Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb), returns to her Texan roots after her Californian life goes up in smoke after the death of her husband, who coincidentally stole millions from the family.

Poor Amanda has no choice but to return to Texas with her two children and finds herself at her wealthy mother’s mercy. Amanda’s new outlook of living a simple, peaceful and kind life is dashed by Texas’s outrageous expectations. She may be the former mean girl gone good, but her high school classmates played by Kristen Chenoweth, Annie Potts, Jennifer Aspen, Miriam Shor and Marisol Nichols are now scorned women out for revenge.

Despite all the bickering, blackmailing and backstabbing that goes on between the scorned women and Amanda, they always show up for church on Sundays. However, church days are when the ladies’ claws really come out.

While the show has a lot of sass, some may question its class. Newt Gingrich slammed GCB for mocking Christianity, stating the show displays, “anti-Christian bigotry” suggestions.

Star of the show, Kirsten Chenoweth, fired back, “The Bible tells us we’re not supposed to judge, and people shouldn’t judge before seeing the show.”

Chenoweth’s response certainly mimic’s her character’s personality. In the show’s pilot, her character stated, “Cleavage helps your cross hang straight.”

Despite the controversy, ABC remains to laugh straight to the bank as GCB pulled in 7.6 million viewers according to the dailmail.co.uk.

Watch out, no one messes with these Southern Belles.

GCB can be viewed Sunday nights at 10 p.m.

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The Changes of Cope Music Hall

Posted on 16 March 2012 by Georgia McCartney

A redesigned theater and changes to room 114 are two of the major changes planned for Cope Music Hall.

Changes to Cope, including improvements to the heating and cooling, are still being planned and won’t take place for two or three years.

When improvements begin, one of the biggest planned changes is building a bigger theater.  The theater will be redesigned to house a larger audience with an expansive stage and possibly provide a work area for theater members to build sets.

“The improved auditorium can also be used for concerts and musical theater productions,” said Dr. James Perone a Professor of Music.

Another major change is the transformation of room 114 into a combination of a choral rehearsal room and a multi media class.

“I think that it will be wonderful to have the choir and instrumentals in two different rooms because it will help with scheduling and acoustics,” said Perone.

The heating and cooling system of the building will also be repaired.

“If it’s too dry wooden instruments crack and pianos become more difficult to keep in tune,” said Perone.

“I am very excited about the changes because not everyone gets a chance to be a part of renovation planning in their career and we get the rare opportunity to answer the question of what our dream building would look like,” said Patricia Boehm, Associate Professor of Music.

“I hope the renovations will be built with the goal of attracting more student musicians to our campus as well as providing the general student population with more opportunities to participate in the arts,’ said Suzanne Moushey, a music librarian.

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