DC finally gets it right with ‘Wonder Woman’

DC finally gets it right with ‘Wonder Woman’

Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air in a line of previously underwhelming DC films. Gal Gadot stars as the Amazon princess crafted by clay — her performance a triumphant achievement in portraying such an iconic character. Gadot brings both a strength and beauty to Princess Diana, who exhibits a relentless drive and desire to embrace her heroism rather than run from it. The origin story hearkens to the original classic superhero films such as Christopher Reeve’s Superman, and also somewhat parallels Marvel’s Captain America with its World War focus. The story is not particularly unique, but its emphasis on providing a heroine who the “world of men do not deserve” is new in such a male-dominated genre. The tale begins with Wonder Woman as young Princess Diana growing up on a peaceful island of only Amazon women who are adept at fighting and protecting their utopian community — a stark contrast to the way women are treated when Diana arrives in World War I London on a mission to stop the war. Gadot does an excellent job of mixing worldly innocence with classic superhero charm and skill once arriving in London, with Chris Pine portraying her sidekick and love interest, Captain Steve Trevor. Pine and the rest of the cast do an admirable job, but their respective characters remain flat and stereotypical, one of the few weaknesses of the film. Behind the camera is Patty Jenkins, who directs an atypical DC film focused on story, preferring to show the horror of war and fighting instead of its glorification. This is not to say that Wonder Woman’s fight...
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ may be best movie of summer

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ may be best movie of summer

If Guardians of the Galaxy fans were hoping for a worthy sequel, they’ve got it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might not be a classic like the first movie, but it definitely is worth watching, and viewers will leave the theater smiling and satisfied with many unanswered questions finally answered. The film opens with the Guardians – Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill), Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Baby Groot hired to protect precious batteries owned by a powerful and elite alien race, the Sovereign, from a space monster. When Rocket steals some of the batteries, the Guardians then find themselves on the run from the Sovereign. Along the way, Peter’s father finally reveals himself. Remember in the first movie when Peter (spoiler) is able to hold an Infinity Stone without dying? Moviegoers finally have the answer as to why that is possible when Ego (Kurt Russell) arrives. Even though this is a superhero movie, the real theme throughout the Marvel masterpiece is finding your family — and who truly is your family. Drax says it best: they’re not friends (as Nebula calls them), they are family. This movie isn’t just about saving the Galaxy after all; it’s about realizing that sometimes what you’ve been searching for your whole life is right in front of you. On a less-serious note, fans will absolutely love the way the characters have developed since the first movie. Baby Groot is adorable and is the tiny hero that the Guardians never realized they needed. Drax is funnier in this movie as well and has opened up a lot more to everyone. Gamora has also softened...
‘Gifted’ excels with talented cast

‘Gifted’ excels with talented cast

A big-name cast leads the way in Gifted, a melodrama with a thought-provoking tone. McKenna Grace (Designated Survivor, Once Upon A Time) plays Mary Adler and carries the film on her own. The pint-sized actress is similar to the Fanning girls, Dakota and Elle, in her “giftedness” on the screen at such a young age. She stars in the film as the protagonist who has an exceptional talent in mathematics. Chris Evans (The Avengers, The Nanny Diaries) is Mary’s single Uncle Frank, who struggles with how to deal with his niece’s profound gift. Frank had been homeschooling Mary, but enrolls her in the local public elementary school to start first grade. Due partially to the environment she was raised in, Mary has a strong attachment to her uncle and begs him not to make her go, but Frank tells Mary that he’s taught her “all he knows.” Despite her academic talent, Frank doesn’t plan on enrolling her in sort of special program to strengthen this talent. Begrudgingly, Mary attends school, and her teacher immediately recognizes her mathematical ability. Frank’s British mother, who has been absent all of Mary’s life, is contacted concerning Frank’s insistence on not enrolling Mary in a gifted program at a different school to hone her ability. This escalates into a custody battle between Frank and his mother, played by Lindsay Duncan (About Time, Birdman), which is what the remainder of the film centers on. This conflict overtakes the plot just a little too much, rather than focusing on Mary’s gift, which is the most engrossing and engaging part of the film. Gifted’s best quality is...
Lipscomb, local jazz musicians close out year with a bang

Lipscomb, local jazz musicians close out year with a bang

“It meant a lot to go out on a bang like this.” Senior Glenn Hill could not stop smiling after the Jazz and Improvisation Workshop Concert on Wednesday night in Shamblin Theatre. The show, directed by Music Adjuncts Marcus Finnie and Kyle Whalum, featured many Lipscomb students like Hill alongside professionals in the music industry, including Whalum’s father, Grammy-winner Kirk Whalum. The students involved worked hard in their Jazz and Improvisation Workshop this semester to develop their soloing skills. Many had not soloed in front of an audience before Wednesday. Director Kyle Whalum was excited to see the students’ work come to fruition because he knows how scary it can be. “When a student jumps in for the first time and goes for it, that’s what it’s all about,” Whalum said. Whalum also compared the fear to something a little more “modern”. “It’s an incredibly difficult thing to say you’re going to do,” Whalum noted. “I think in modern terms, it’d be like freestyle rapping. How many times have you been hanging out, someone’s free-styling, and you kind of want to, but you’re way too scared to? That’s what it feels like.” These young musicians were not only able to exhibit their abilities, but they were joined by seasoned veterans who were able to throw down their own solos. “The concert would have been great regardless, but having them here made it even better.” Whalum’s father, Kirk Whalum, headlined the night, and is a Grammy-winning sax player who has soloed for many, including the late Whitney Houston. “We’re just so honored to have world-class musicians — which Nashville has...
Rev your engines for the ‘Fate of the Furious’

Rev your engines for the ‘Fate of the Furious’

The Fast and Furious franchise gets another high-octane, action-packed addition with The Fate of the Furious. The movie is the eighth film in the saga and sticks to the same street racing and over-the-top stunts rubric that led to the franchise’s early success in 2001 with Fast and Furious. The cast is full of the same lovable characters such as Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel) and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). It also features some who are new to the film such as Charlize Theron (The Italian Job) and Jason Statham (The Transporter Trilogy). F. Gary Gray directs — the fifth director of the saga — and is a veteran in the action film genre, having directed movies such as Law Abiding Citizen and The Italian Job. The film begins with Dominic and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) on their honeymoon in Cuba. “Dom” soon has to put his racing skills to the test and raced in his cousin’s beat up 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline against a 1956 Ford Customline. The backbone of the franchise has always been larger-than-life stunts and tons of explosions. However, this movie features a more interesting storyline. Dom’s relationship with his family is intriguing, especially for those who are hardcore fans of the franchise. Moviegoers get a deeper look into Dom’s psyche, and what makes him who he is. Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson are both action juggernauts, allowing for an interesting conversation surrounding the question of who would win in a fight. Viewers have already started a Twitter war, using the hashtags, #teamVin and #teamDwayne. The franchise is the highest grossing movie franchise in Universal Studios history, and...
Lipscomb graduate student is ‘Making Disciples’ with missions documentary

Lipscomb graduate student is ‘Making Disciples’ with missions documentary

On Monday, April 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m., a premier screening of “Hacer Discipulos” will be shown in Ezell Chapel. The film is the result of a collaborative partnership between Lipscomb Track Missions and Manna Global Ministries. The film’s producer is Katie Bianchini, who graduated in December of 2016 from both the Journalism New Media and Spanish programs. Bianchini is now in the Graduate Instructional Practice Program, working towards her goal of becoming a High School Spanish teacher. “Creating this documentary was a pairing of both of my majors in Spanish and Journalism,” she said. “It just made sense.” Bianchini grew up in Snohomish, Washington, and said that she always had an interest in learning Spanish. She came to Lipscomb as part of Track and Cross Country program, where she excelled and obtained numerous awards, including second and third place all-team conference awards, the ASUN Indoor Runner of the Week award and the mile at the Don DeNoon Invite with a time of 4:57.43. She also finished first in the 5000m at the Bellarmine Invite and the 1500m at the Joey Haines Invite in 2016. During her undergraduate years at Lipscomb, Bianchini participated in several missions programs, and traveled to the Dominican Republic with the track team four times. The film “Hacer Discipulos” was an idea born during an internship that was required to complete the Journalism program. Bianchini said that what started an idea for a short film about a mission trip ended up being extended into a full-length feature.“Originally, I just did it to fulfill the three-credit Journalism requirement, but now it has taken on a life of...