‘Moana’ sails its way into Disney animated Hall of Fame

‘Moana’ sails its way into Disney animated Hall of Fame

Moana isn’t your typical Disney princess. In fact, despite being the daughter of the village chief, having an animal sidekick and occasionally breaking out into song, even Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) herself insists that she is not a princess. Originally, I thought Disney was trying to make Moana the newest installment in the Disney princess franchise, but it appears they’re trying to mix it up a bit by providing an animated young female who doesn’t have to be a princess and doesn’t have to have a love interest to be a heroine. The film is reminiscent of Pocahontas with its focus on heritage and mythology; the story places a heavy emphasis and theme on mythological Hawaiian island gods and demigods, perhaps Disney’s most religious-oriented film to date. In fact, this focus is almost a little unsettling for an animated movie. The story is a journey, typical of a Disney animated tale with a young girl simply trying to “follow her heart.” She’s smart, capable, encouraging and independent — a heroine who does not incessantly complain about the problems of her situation before attempting to fix them; rather, she solves them by initiating the action herself. On this journey, its beginning and its end are its strong points. The story seems to get a little lost in the middle, especially when the quite odd and unlovable coconut-pirates come into play, but it finds itself again with the fiery ending and Moana and Maui finally working together as a team. Speaking of Maui, he’s not quite as lovable a character as Moana. Even after his heroism at the end, it still feels difficult...
Rules don’t apply in ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ (but perhaps they need to)

Rules don’t apply in ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ (but perhaps they need to)

When first seeing the trailer for Rules Don’t Apply and all of the A-list actors involved, one would think that it would be a hit. However, it was more confusing than anything. To briefly summarize the plot of a two-hour movie that felt more like five, small-town beauty queen and devout Baptist Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) comes to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting. Under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty), she works and works to get her name out there, but of course that doesn’t happen at first. She then meets her personal driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich), who is also from a very conservative and religious background. Of course, they are immediately smitten with each other, but it is forbidden for a driver to have a romantic relationship with one of the contracted actresses. It also risks their religious views. So after hearing that, one would expect this movie to be a compelling love story about two people meant to be together and defy all the odds and make that happen, right? Wrong. Instead, viewers are told about three to five different stories in one, with confusing jump cuts, overly-dramatic acting by some of the actors and a crazy old man (a.k.a. real-life Old-Hollywood-film-tycoon Howard Hughes) who is slowly but surely losing his mind (Beatty). I’m all about throwing audiences off and not sticking to the norm, but there is also risk in that, and that shows in Rules Don’t Apply. Walking into this movie, I was actually pretty excited to see it. I love Lily Collins, and being a huge Star Wars fan,...
‘Loving’ wins hearts of audiences nationwide

‘Loving’ wins hearts of audiences nationwide

Loving is a historical-drama film directed and written by Jeff Nichols. It stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving, who were the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, the landmark trial that invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The film was released in theatres on November 4, 2016, by Focus Features. Loving follows the courtship and marriage of Mildred Jeter, a black woman, with Richard Loving, a white man. Mildred becomes pregnant and they travel to D.C. to marry in secret. However, the two are soon discovered and arrested, each sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958, because their interracial marriage violated the state’s anti-miscegenation laws. They are able to get probation if they agree to leave the state of Virginia for 25 years. Exiled to Washington, D.C., they sue the state of Virginia in a series of proceedings leading to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Loving v. Virginia, which holds that laws prohibiting interracial marriage are unconstitutional. Director Nichols was able to tell the story of the Loving family as accurately as possible by relying on Nancy Buirski’s documentary The Loving Story (2011), which captured many details of the private lives of the Loving couple. The film was extremely poignant in its portrayal of the couple, who defied all odds to maintain their home and family. There was always a breathtakingly suspenseful undercurrent. The movie led the audience through one challenge after another as the couple fought to love and stay married, despite the fear and hatred that they endured daily. Edgerton’s performance was powerful. Determined but thoughtful and quiet,...
‘Fantastic Beasts’ is fresh, exciting addition to wizarding world of Harry Potter

‘Fantastic Beasts’ is fresh, exciting addition to wizarding world of Harry Potter

In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling takes us to the magical, wizarding world of Harry Potter once more, but in a new, fantastic (pun-intended) way. The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander, played by Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne, has just arrived in New York City — but not unnoticed, of course.  Having a suitcase full of magical beasts, a No-Maj (American for Muggle) and an underlining evil surrounding the city, this movie really put out all of the stops to be an absolute joy to Potterheads everywhere. Within the Harry Potter Universe, Newt Scamander’s book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was first published in 1927 and became a massive bestseller in the wizard world. It eventually became an approved textbook at Hogwarts, and Harry Potter even used it for his classes. Remember Chocolate Frogs and their cards? Well, Newt Scamander has a card of his own, which of course is a huge honor. There are even more references to the original series throughout the movie. At one point, it is revealed that Newt is greatly favored by Albus Dumbledore, and he even tried to prevent Newt’s expulsion from Hogwarts. In the very beginning of the movie, it is revealed that Gellert Grindelwald is causing mass chaos across the world . . . but especially in America. However, he has yet to be found. Maybe at some point over the next few movies, we will finally see the famous duel between him and Albus Dumbledore. That is one of three story-lines in Fantastic Beasts, but don’t worry, it’s not hard to follow. What’s so...
Bisons basketball kicks off men’s and women’s seasons

Bisons basketball kicks off men’s and women’s seasons

Lipscomb basketball is officially here as the men’s team kicked off its 16th season Friday afternoon at noon in Allen Arena. The Lady Bisons will open their season with a game against Loyola (MD) tonight at 5 p.m. The following preview is a rundown of last season as well as predictions for both the men’s and women’s upcoming season. Last Season for men’s basketball Last year, Lipscomb finished 12-21 (7-7) and advanced to the A-Sun semi-finals as the number six seed. Lipscomb was beaten by Stetson 96-75. As a team, Lipscomb out-shot its opponents from the three-point line, making 331 to its opponents’ 305 made threes. The Bisons were led by leading scorer and senior point guard, J. C. Hampton (15.9 PPG) and leading rebounder freshman forward Eli Pepper (7.8 RPG), who was also third in the A-Sun in rebounding. Sophomore guard Nathan Moran led the team in assists with (4.6 APG). Outlook Subtractions: The Bisons lost J. C. Hampton and fellow senior forward Talbot Denny as both players transferred. Lipscomb will look to replace Hampton’s scoring. Denny redshirted last year due to injury. Additions: Four freshmen: guards Kenny Cooper, John Matt Merit and Michael Buckland and forward Kenny Bunton. One transfer: guard Matt Rose from Samford University. Coach Casey Alexander’s thoughts: “I don’t walk into this season, this year – at all thinking we’ve got holes.” “I think that we have depth. I think we have balance, and so that’s really the first time since we’ve been here that I knew that was the case.” “This is really the first time since we’ve been here that we’ve got...
‘Almost Christmas’ delivers hilarious, heartfelt Christmas experience

‘Almost Christmas’ delivers hilarious, heartfelt Christmas experience

The holiday season is full of fun, food and for most American families, drama. “Almost Christmas” tells the story of the Meyers family as they gather for Christmas in Alabama for the first time since the death of their matriarch. The two-hour film stars Danny Glover (“Lethal Weapon”), Gabrielle Union (“10 Things I Hate About You”), Jesse T. Usher (“Independence Day”) and several other top-billed cast members who make the movie a highly-anticipated film. The first few scenes show the montage backstory of Walter (Glover) and Grace as they grow old together raising their four kids and three grandchildren. As time goes on, the opening tastefully shows the sudden death of Grace 10 months before Christmas. Despite the family’s great loss, Walter tires to honor his wife’s legacy by visiting the town’s homeless shelter, where Grace spent most of her time, and he helps serve the single mothers and their children. He attempts also to recreate his wife’s famous recipes, especially her signature sweet potato pie, as the family starts arriving for the holidays. First to arrive is Grace’s sister, Aunt May (Mo’Nique) with her colorful personality. Soon after, Walter’s son Christian (Romany Malco), his wife Sonya (Nicole Ari Parker) and their son and daughter arrive. Though eager to spend time with family, Christian is pulled away throughout the movie due to his progressing Congress campaign that may jeopardize the town shelter that his mother loved. Walter’s two daughters, Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and Rachel (Union), arrive next, bringing their long-lived sisterly feud making the following scenes amusingly awkward. Rachel, a strong-willed, single mother, and her quick-witted daughter show up ready for family time amidst...