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Twilight Saga: Eclipse

[Longhorn Review] Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: David Slade, Eclipse, Summit Entertainment, Twilight — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:48 pm

By: David Slade

Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the third movie in the Twilight series, directed by
David Slade. Compared to the movies before this one, Eclipse is different in the
fact that the characters have finally discovered how to truly act out their parts.
As the movie opens, Victoria is seen turning a boy named Riley, into a newborn
vampire. Her point in doing this is to begin her plot in killing Bella. Having an
army of newborn vampires is Victoria’s idea of getting the job done quickly. This
dark opening scene starts the movie out with a sort of suspense, especially if a
viewer has not yet read the book. In the midst of all of this, Bella desires nothing
more than to become a vampire. Edward, on the other hand, refuses to let this happen
until they are perfectly married. Jacob is still in the mix of things and is
constantly seen confessing his love to Bella. There is one scene in particular where
Bella is mad at Edward for not telling her Victoria’s evil plan. Jacob is standing
in their circle, posted up against his motorcycle, listening to them argue. To evoke
some jealousy within Edward, Bella has no problem with getting on the back of
Jacob’s motorcycle to go have a private conversation. This is important because it
shows how this work is arguing to prove that a guy on a motorcycle has a different
kind of strength and power to take control.

Eclipse does a great job in proving that
there can be friendly relations between the werewolves and the Cullens. For example,
when Edward realized that an unknown newborn vampire had been sneaking around
Bella’s house, the werewolves were happy to guard the home while the Cullen’s went
to hunt. Although Edward and Jacob are still not considered to be friends, they will
do anything and everything in their power to protect Bella. Towards the end of the
movie Jacob tells Bella, “I’m going to fight for you.” This is another example as to
how the director is trying to prove what this work is arguing for. Slade constantly
alludes to everything in the movie as a constant battle; therefore, strength/power
is a must. Jacob tries to kiss her, but Bella is furious. After spraining her hand
from punching him, Jacob still, never stops fighting for her. Edward proposes to
Bella, but they must keep it a secret from Jacob until after the fight. When the
newborns finally come, the Cullens are prepared because of Jasper’s training.
Although Jacob finds out about the proposal, he still fights for Bella. Edward
finally kills Victoria and the movie ends with Edward and Bella talking about their
excitement to marry each other.

Overall, Eclipse manages to bring more action to the
series, while keeping a good balance between the violence and romance that takes
place throughout. Because of the constant switching between love scenes and fighting
scenes, the viewer never becomes disinterested. The music and sounds keeps the
audience engaged as well. Eclipse also does a great job in avoiding becoming a chick
flick. Although love is a huge part of this movie, the fighting scenes are sure to
keep guys on their toes too. Slade,

David, dir. Twilight Saga Eclipse. 2010. Summit Entertainment, 2010. DVD.

Reviewer: Macy Morris

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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The Movie (2010)

[Longhorn Review] The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The Movie (2010)

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: David Slade, Eclipse, Twilight — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:47 pm

By: Slade, David

“The Twilight Saga” that made people fall in love with it’s intriguing characters
and made teen (and grown women’s) hearts melt over the compelling love story between
a vampire and an ordinary girl is back with its latest edition, “Eclipse.” This is
the best movie of the series yet, packed with action and an interesting love
triangle that will keep you on your toes. Whether you are Team Edward, like me, or
Team Jacob you are sure to be satisfied or possibly even a little frustrated at
times.

Being that Vampires are now a genre all their own, “Twilight,” compared to TV
shows such as “The Vampire Diaries” and “True Blood,” is the most popular vampire
film out there right now, and I can see why. There is something about the
supernatural and realistic combination that has women drooling over this series,
especially in this third installment. The intriguing love triangle between Bella
(Kristen Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattinson), and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) really
begins to heat up. Bella has her mind made up on being turned into a vampire so she
can be eternally attached to Edward, but Jacob pleads that she “wouldn’t have to
change for him.” Jacob ditches the long locks and beefs up for his part in this
edition. Accompanied by his motorcycle, Jacob’s newfound ethos comes across as cocky
but has teen viewers gawking. However, his relentless and forceful pleading to Bella
gets to be annoying and frustrating after a while.

The introduction of a new vampire clan (newborns) adds some intensity to the movie and will keep you on the edge of
your seat. It is suspected that Victoria is the one who created the clan in order to
kill Bella to get revenge on Edward for killing her mate. The Cullen’s and the
werewolves must come together to battle the newborns in order to protect Bella. This
puts an unexpected twist in the plot since vampires and werewolves are natural born
enemies. The fight scene was a little weak and short considering how much the
Cullen’s and werewolves prepared for battle and how anticipated it was meant to be.
I found it to be somewhat disappointing. However the special effects were epic and
the camera angle made it seem as though you were caught in the middle of the battle.

Under the direction of David Slade, this film has had a tremendous growth from the
previous ones. The acting is better than the previous films and the actors have also
grown into their characters better. As a Twi-Hard, it’s hard to find a reason why
anyone would dislike this movie.

Slade, David, dir. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Rosenberg Melissa. 2010. Film

Reviewer: Gianna SanGennaro

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Flawless (2007)

[Longhorn Review] Flawless (2007)

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Emily, Pretty Little Liars, Series, Teenage Drama, Toby — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:47 pm

By: Sara Shepard

The second novel of the young adult series Pretty Little Liars proves that the
drama and mystery are no small matter. Flawless is full of teenage girl problems but
it also touches on the scandal surrounding their late friend, Alison’s, re-opened
murder case. Starting off with a premonition about a certain male character then
following with a flash back to middle school, this novel is full of turns and no
conclusion. Bulimia, a lesbian romance, and “The Jenna Thing” are all major issues
that threaten the girls’ reputations and friendship.

Alison, Spencer, Aria, Emily and Hanna are an inseparable group of teenage girls who have a few secrets that they
will never share. “The Jenna Thing” refers to a prank they played on Toby Cavanaugh,
their creepy neighbor. They threw a lit firework into his tree house one night when
they thought he was sitting in it alone, but when the paramedics came and lowered a
young girl from the destroyed tree house, they all agreed it was one more secret
they would take to the grave. Shortly after their pact was solidified, Alison went
missing and the girls became ex-best friends. The story picks up three years later
after Alison’s body is discovered in cement, the remaining girls are brought back
together at her funeral and the “A” contact begins. The girls know that this
mysterious person texting them can’t be Alison…or can it?

The secrets that Alison used to hold against them are on the verge of getting out. When it comes to female
teenage development, anything that makes them appear different can shake them at the
core, which causes these girls to do anything to keep them under wraps. Emily in
particular struggles with her sexuality and fears that her friends and family won’t
accept her if she is honest with them and herself. She at one time felt close to
Alison, but the “A” character knows of a kiss she shared with another girl and
threatens to tell. A past eating disorder is also a topic that “A” haunts Hanna
with, and the messages continue to leave the girls in the dark at figuring out who
they are. The argument the book presents is that betrayal and friendship are often
mixed when honesty is missing. The girls have been hiding and hurting others to
cover their own tracks, but when the lies start adding up things get messy.

Toby is the girl’s main suspect in this book as Alison’s murderer. They know that she had
dirt on him and they think he is seeking revenge on all of them as “A.” As Emily and
Toby begin to get closer, the others become suspicious of his motives. Toby has his
own concerns, and fears that the girls are going to frame him for his secret past.
The drama intensifies at the end when a biker comes to Emily’s porch asking for a
phone. He mentions that has been an emergency in the woods and things. The night
before, Toby had come to her door begging to speak with her but she told him “Go
Away! You heard me, I know. What. You. Did. To. Her” (Shepard 287). Little did Emily
know that this would be the last thing she says to him and that the girl’s fears
would be greater when Emily received “A’s” text message: “Poor confused Emily. I bet
you could use a big warm girl hug right now, huh? Don’t get too comfortable. It’s
not over until I say it is” (Shepard 330).

Shepard, Sara. Flawless. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007. Print. Pretty Little Liars.

Reviewer: Kelli Scandrol

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Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

[Longhorn Review] Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Terry Gilliam — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:46 pm

By: Terry Gilliam

A polarizing film, Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas takes on Hunter
S. Thompson's novel of the same name, successfully converting the counterculture
classic to the big screen without straying too far from the original ideas behind
the work. Based on his own experiences on two trips to Las Vegas with his attorney,
Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the tale of two men travelling to Las
Vegas to cover a motorcycle race for a magazine, but end up becoming sidetracked by
their rampant drug use and the situations that accompany it. After several failed
attempts to adapt this work into a film, Gilliam does what many others could not in
finding a way to portray the outrageous adventures of Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and
Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) in a movie.

Although the adaptation does an overall
good job in transitioning the book into film, Gilliam's version does have
shortcomings. Once the men arrive in Las Vegas the story becomes difficult to
follow, especially for those unfamiliar with the work. The characters' drug use
leads to a distorted reality, with the protagonists coming in and out of
hallucinogenic trips, making it difficult for the viewer to grasp what is actually
happening in the story. In these sequences some of Thompson's best rhetoric is lost
to wild scenery and undecipherable speech by Duke. Johnny Depp's accurate portrayal
of Thompson's alter ego has some drawbacks, as his speech difficult to understand a
lot of the time. Gilliam surely noticed this as a voiceover narrator is used
throughout the movie, keeping the audience from being completely lost at times.

Transforming this novel into a movie is no easy task, and Terry Gilliam makes a
valiant effort. The film certainly has it’s flaws, it is confusing at some points,
and sometimes feels like there is a lack of focus, but Gilliam excels in staying
true to the story. Big fans of Thompson's work can appreciate the fact that no
storylines were added for cinematics, and no major events were cut from the film.
Johnny Depp gives a great performance as Raoul Duke, effectively capturing the
quirks and personality that make him such a fascinating character. Terry Gilliam's
film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas delivers a satisfying production for
both old and new fans of the work.

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Terry Gilliam. Universal Pictures, 1998. Film.

Thompson, Hunter S. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: A Savage Journey To The Heart Of The American Dream. 1971. New York: Random House
Inc, n.d. Print.

Reviewer: Matt Morales

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The Twilight Saga, New Moon the movie: 2009

[Longhorn Review] The Twilight Saga, New Moon the movie: 2009

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Chris Weitz, New Moon, Twilight — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:45 pm

By: Chris Weitz

Devoted readers and fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, brace yourself.
After falling in love with the handsome vampire and dreamy Edward and wishing you
were Bella, “New Moon” the movie makes you look at the book’s characters and story
line in a whole new light—a rather faint and dim one.

Directed by Chris Weitz, the
second film in the Twilight series begins on Bella’s 18th birthday in the town of
Forks, Washington. Edward Cullen--Bella’s true love--and his family throw her a
party and while opening a gift, Bella, played by Kristen Stewart, cuts her finger.
Unable to hold himself back from the taste of human blood, Edward’s brother, Jasper,
attempts to kill Bella. After Edward, played by Robert Pattinson, fends him off,
Carlisle, a doctor and father to Edward, bandages Bella’s wounds. Edward soon
reveals that he and his family must leave town without her to protect her by
preventing an incident like Jasper’s outburst from happening again.

As viewers
follow Bella throughout the following months, we watch her experience depression and
moroseness from Edward’s absence. However, when she invites Jacob Black, the
werewolf heartthrob, back into her life, Bella is lifted out of her lifeless and
emotionless state. Played by Taylor Lautner, Jacob spends hours with Bella while
fixing up her battered motorcycle. When he pulls off his shirt, Lautner exposes his
hard abs and newly formed biceps that don’t only catch Bella’s eye but any gooey,
heart-struck teenage girl’s.

If you were deeply connected to the book and Meyer’s
characters, you’ll probably find yourself detached from the film’s. As seen in the
first movie, Stewart appears yet again too tough and masculine for the frail Bella
conveyed in the novel. The only glimpse of her innocence observed in the movie was
during a scene that caused an immediate uproar of laughter that I almost needed a
tissue to wipe my eyes. When Alice has a vision that Bella will become a vampire in
the future, we see Bella frolic through the forest with Edward, both of them wearing
white, loose clothing as their vampire skin glitters in the sunlight. What exactly
was Weitz thinking when he decided to dress the couple like peasant children running
blissfully in slow motion? If he was trying to incite sheer amusement than he
definitely succeeded. The movie Bella and Edward seem nothing other than angelic and
carefree children running through the forest, a completely different portrayal than
that which was conveyed through the novel.

But the laughs do not stop there. When
Jacob comes into Bella’s house to see that she is safe from any vampires, he finds
her with Alice. They get in an argument, Jacob saying “You don’t want to make me
upset. Things could get very ugly.” Again, rather than let the audience feel for the
characters, we end up poking fun at their reactions. Lautner’s inflection and facial
expressions distract from our ability to fully connect with his character. We are
left chuckling at his rather poorly delivered comeback and are unconvinced of his
genuineness to say the least.

Fans of Meyer’s books, don’t set your standards too
high; you’ll most likely be let down. “New Moon” clearly did not shine bright. What
should have been a sentimental and heartfelt movie was rather a humorous and poorly
filmed one. Compared to the first film, Weitz did not accomplish much more than the
original director, Catherine Hardwicke, whose film failed to meet the expectations
of book lovers like myself; let’s hope that Weitz or director of the next book,
Eclipse, proves the past trend wrong.

New Moon. Dir. Chris Weitz. Perf. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison. Summit Entertainment, 2009. Film.

Reviewer: Catherine Sze

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New Moon

[Longhorn Review] New Moon

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: New Moon, romance, Stephenie Meyer, supernatural, vampire, werewolf — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:44 pm

By: Stephenie Meyer

New Moon, written by Stephenie Meyer, is the second book in the phenomenon that
is The Twilight Saga. The book picks up where the first book left off, Bella barely
escaping a close call with a red-eyed, aka non-vegetarian, vampire. The book begins
with an 18th birthday celebration at the Cullen’s for Bella. Jasper, the newest
addition to the family, is unable to control himself when Bella gets a paper cut and
tries to attack her. After this, Edward comes to the realization that Bella isn’t
safe when he or his family is around her. The Cullens leave Forks, causing Bella to
go into a deep depression for months after. Once she starts half-heartedly
attempting to put her life back together she realizes that doing dangerous things
make her hear Edward’s voice. This inspires her to buy and fix up two motorcycles
with Jacob, a family friend. She becomes very close with Jacob through this process.
While Bella is still stuck on Edward, Jacob begins falling for her. Everything
changes, though, when Bella decides to go “cliff diving”, aka jumping off a really
high cliff into dangerous waters. Alice, Edward’s sister who has the gift of
foresight, sees her jump off in a vision, but doesn’t realize that she made it out
alive. Edward comes to believe Bella is dead and as he later tells her, “[He] can’t
live in a world where [she did not]” (p 509). So Alice has to employ Bella’s help to
stop Edward from having himself killed by the Volturi. And in the end life changing
decisions are made.

While many will be saddened by the absence of Edward through a
large part of the novel, they will get to know Jacob and his story. Through the
process of fixing up the motorcycles that Bella brought him, a transformation in
Jacob is seen. His motorcycle represents all the transformations to come in his
life: the changes in his heart, in his body, and in his soul. The motorcycles can
also be seen as a symbol of Bella’s new taste for danger. While the motorcycles
bring Bella and Jacob together, Bella uses it as a way of also feeling closer to
Edward.

The cover art of the book and the meaning behind it is important to how the
reader will experience the story. It is a red and white tulip. Tulips are a symbol
of perfect love. Red tulips specifically symbolize true love, while white tulips
symbolize forgiveness. This is very important in that Bella and Edward’s love is of
Romeo and Juliet status, while they did not have quite the same ending. Meyer even
begins the book with an epigraph from Shakespeare’s play, “These violent delights
have violent ends, and in their triumph, die, like fire and powder, which as they
kiss, consume!” Just from the cover and this quote, there is much foreshadowing of

Meyer, Stephenie. New Moon. New York & Boston: LITTLE BROWN AND COMPANY,2007.

Reviewer: Heather Douglass

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Stay Away, Joe

[Longhorn Review] Stay Away, Joe

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Dan Cushman, Elvis Presley, Stay Away Joe — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:42 pm

By: Dan Cushman (1953)

Dan Cushman wrote the novel Stay Away Joe in 1953. It was a
Book-of-the-Month-Club selection and reviewed by the New York Times. The book is a
mixture of a western, Indian comedy. The book is fairly old and is no longer being
printed. It is an easy read, and printed on actual paper by a press. Copies of the
book are somewhat hard to come by, but if you can get a hold of one it is well worth
it.

The book Stay Away, Joe was written for the sole purpose of bringing enjoyment
and laughter to the reader. Cushman wanted to write about the old western days in
order to show his readers the comical life of an Native American family that are
living between their reservation and the ways of the white man. The book is written
for people who enjoy comedies, western, Native American culture, and books that show
the everyday struggles of a family. Dan Cushman combines all of these attributes to
make an enjoyable book for the readers. Just in case you are curious I will give you
a brief overview of the book. Joe is a half breed Native American, war veteran, who
knows how to make the girls sigh, and comes back to his father’s ranch looking to
have fun and help out with the farm. Everyone thinks Joe is the greatest thing since
a slice of bread, except for a few that has him figured out. Unfortunately,
everywhere Joe goes trouble seems to follow; he also manages to come up with some
idea to make the situation better, but it usually leaves someone irritated and mad.
Most people get fed up with Joe, hence the title of the book “Stay Away, Joe”.

I loved the book. I started it and finished it in one day. I could not put it down. I
was always wondering what Joe was going to do next. It was a very good read. It is
simple but it has a great story behind it. There are so many different characters in
the book and you get to build a relationship with all of them. You want to help them
with their problems but you cannot, which is unfortunate. Cushman does an excellent
job of keeping you on the edge of your seat. He sets up the plot so that you have no
idea what is going to happen. The best characteristic of this book is that it is a
western style comedy. I personally love western comedies. There were multiple times
in the book when I actually laughed out loud. I would recommend this book to anyone
who is looking for some old school humor. You will not be disappointed with Stay
Away, Joe, because it is worth all 250 pages. I will give you one piece of advice;
if you are thinking about watching the movie Stay Away, Joe starring Elvis Presley
instead of reading the book, I would advise otherwise. The movie was horrible; it
did not live up to the greatness of the book. It was one of the worst movies I have
ever seen.

Reviewer: John Tremmel

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Ghost Rider: Movie 2007

[Longhorn Review] Ghost Rider: Movie 2007

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Ghost Rider, Johhny Blaze, Mark Johnson, Marvel — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:41 pm

By: Mark Steven Johnson

Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes, is a movie based off the
Marvel Comic book. I kept hearing that the movie was a bust but I wanted to see it
for myself. But soon after the movie started I was able to see what everyone else
was talking about. The movie was just awful. Nicolas Cage, who plays Johnny Blaze,
was a teenage stunt man with his father when he was visited by the devil. Blaze’s
father was sick with cancer so he was given the opportunity to save his life by
selling his soul to the devil. Soon after selling his soul, the devil tricked him
and caused his father to die. Years later, Johnny becomes a world-renowned daredevil
by day and at night he becomes the Ghost Rider, the devil’s bounty hunter, in charge
of returning evil souls back to hell. The devil reappears to Blaze and tells him
that he can win his soul back if he defeats his evil son. Power hungry son
Blackheart who wants to bring a thousand souls to Earth so there will be hell on
Earth.

Ghost Rider was just way over the top; from the dialogue to the gestures that
the characters used. They all seemed to be trying too hard which made the movie
humorous at times when it should not have been. Eva Mendes’ Character Roxanne was
horrible. She was ditzy and forgettable. Her only real purpose in the movie was to
play as Ghost Riders weakness and to be a damsel in distress. Mephistopheles (the
devil) and blackheart (Devil’s Son) were terrible as villains. They were not scary
nor were they evil enough to play the parts.

Some of the special-effects, like
everything else in the movie, were over the top and were clearly animated, but then
there were a few scenes where I was blown away by how cool it looked. The best
aspects of the movie for me were how the creatures looked, from the evil element
creatures, to the Ghost Rider’s flaming head, to his chopper motorcycle that turns
into a rolling creature from hell. Seeing the Spider-Man movies I was expecting a
great movie from Ghost Rider, but that was not the case. Spider-man stayed true to
the comic and original story-line while Ghost Rider seems to take the story
somewhere else.

Overall the Ghost Rider was very entertaining, maybe not the way the
director intended it to be, but I was entertained. The movie had potential to be a
really good film but at the end failed miserably. If you are looking to watch a
poorly made, bad acted movie Ghost Rider is for you.

Johnson, Mark Steven, dir. . Mark Steven Johnson. 2007. Columbia Pictures. DVD.

Reviewer: Joshua Phillips

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The Twilight Saga: New Moon

[Longhorn Review] The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Fantasy, Motorcycles, New Moon, Twilight, Vampires, Werewolves — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:39 pm

By: Chris Weitz

New Moon, the second movie of the series, continues the story of a relationship
between a human girl in high school, Bella Swan, and her vampire lover, Edward
Cullen. The movie begins with Edward leaving Bella behind due to a series of events
that causes Edward to believe staying with Bella would be harmful to her. Bella goes
on to suffer from a state of depression until she begins to hang out with her friend
Jacob Black. We later find out that Jacob, a werewolf, hates vampires and vice
versa. Through a series of misunderstandings, Edward believes that Bella has killed
herself and he attempts to do the same. These events lead to Bella having to try and
save Edward before it’s too late.

The basis of New Moon follows the interactions
between Bella and Jacob since Edward leaves at the beginning of the movie and does
not return until near the end. This differs from the first movie, where the audience
focuses on the interactions between Bella and Edward. Nancy Gibbs, the author of a
review of New Moon for Time Magazine, states how “the worst thing about New Moon the
book is the best thing about New Moon the movie” (para 3), referring to the focus on
Jacob rather than Edward.

Gibbs continues to go on to give her take on Edward,
describing his appearance as “pale passion and tortured restraint [with]… eyebrows,
like muskrats determined to mate, [hunched] together in the middle of his sunken
face, [and] the few times he smiles, it looks as if it hurts” (para 3). Gibbs
contrasts Edward by describing Jacob as “warm, tawny, genial and [being] able to get
Kristen Stewart's shrink-wrapped Bella to stretch out and relax a little onscreen”
(para 4).

Gibbs has a pretty strong sense of ethos, being a writer for Time
Magazine, but it takes a blow based on her descriptions of the main characters.
These descriptions of the two love interests of the protagonist Bella are somewhat
exaggerated but justifiable based on what we see on screen. Although justifiable,
clearly Gibbs had an extreme bias towards Jacob, which makes her review less
credible to the die hard Edward fans. The Twilight series has created a “Team Jacob”
and “Team Edward” fan base, and the harsh criticism of Edward’s character does not
favor well among “Team Edward” fans.

The movie’s overall appeal targets teenage
females with the series focusing on the love between a girl and two males and her
struggle to decide who to be with. Although the producer targets females as the
primary audience of the film, this does not mean that males cannot enjoy the movie
as well. New Moon incorporates action and fight scenes and moves along at a good
pace. The movie has plenty pathos appeals on the sides of romance and action.

Gibbs, Nancy. "New Moon Review: Team Jacob Ascending." Rev. of New Moon, by Chris Weitz.
Time. N.p., 19 Nov. 2009. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. .

Reviewer: Dan An

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The Great Escape

[Longhorn Review] The Great Escape

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Escape, pilots, prisoner, Steve McQueen, War, WWII — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:38 pm

By: John Sturges

Masculinity in the United States is a big issue regarding the persona of millions
of men in the nation and this film can attest to that notion. This light hearted and
fun oriented war drama is far from the usual drama that we think of. It follows a
band of American and British Air Force officers who in the past have tried numerous
attempts to escape prison camps. As the German Luftwaffe Colonel von Luger stated “I
have all of the rotten eggs in one basket”, this predicament turns out to be in
favor of the allied prisoners due in part to all of the expertise that these guys
contribute to escaping the facility.

This particular film is full of well-known
actors including Richard Attenborough (old guy from Jurassic Park), Charles Bronson,
and the King of Cool Steve McQueen. The film is full of things to describe men
during the time period that this film debuted. Take all the clichés of what men do
such as patting a baseball with gloves, smoking cigarettes, etc and what you have is
this film. It essentially epitomizes the MAN or what every guy should be. They even
throw in lighthearted jokes regarding countries such as the scene in which the
Americans celebrate the 4Th of July. They march up to their British partners in
colonial clothing and straight up tell them “down with the British, and join us by
having a drink.”

Based on a true story, this film revolves around a plan of escaping
the German stronghold by digging a series of tunnels underneath the compound by the
use of ingenious techniques. Then using gathered expertise from the population of
the prisoners, they devise what to do after escaping the facility. Clichés include
Lt. Hendley (Garner), an American who can scrounge up anything and use his charisma
to befriend German officers, and Danny Velinski (Bronson) as the “ tunnel king” who
has a bravado and sensitive side to his character.

Even though the main plot of this
film was about digging tunnels and escaping an impossible Nazi German prison, it
very much centers on Steven McQueen and the character that he embodies. McQueen
essentially symbolizes the American way and is very much seen through the motorcycle
scenes where he cruises through the German countryside, taking bold approaches, and
using his wits to outsmart the Germans. Very much manly throughout the film, his
tough guy persona takes a turn towards the end of the film where he gets himself
into a tough situation. This reveals the true moment of the movie and becomes one of
the most memorable scenes in film history.

Reviewer: Daniel Lam

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