Editorial: Christmas Traditions for CBC Students

Craig Summers, Turret staff writer

Today, many people hear the word Christmas and think only of Santa, snow, and presents. They  have long since wandered away from the true Christian importance of Christmas. Christmas was the day in which we celebrate baby Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. While some things have changed throughout the years, many people still have special Christmas traditions of their own. Several CBC students shared their views on the religious aspect of Christmas and what traditions their families have during the Christmas season.

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Editorial: Will the Rams Leave St. Louis?

Justin Frazier, Turret staff writer

The Rams have become the favorites to move to Los Angeles says Profootballtalk.com. That is the shocking truth for most die-hard Rams’ fans.  The Rams have been a fixture in St. Louis since 1994 and have won the organizations only championship in 1999. The Rams haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004, but still carry a solid fan base. CBC sophomore Joseph Chamberlain said that his family has had season tickets for as long as he can remember.  On the flip side, sophomore Max Nicholson said no one really cares about the Rams. Every game I have ever gone to I have seen almost as many open seats as fans and many of the fans  are wearing jerseys other than the Rams.

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Transcendence Doesn’t Transcend Audiences

Malcolm Schulz, Turret staff writer

2014 will go down in cinema history as the year that heaven and God became Hollywood’s top sellers.  Within the first four months of the year we have had Noah, God’s Not Dead, Heaven is for Real and Son of God.  I entered the movie theater, bought my ticket, got my over-priced medium soda and immediately walked past all four movies to see Transcendence.  You’ll see why I brought up religion in a minute, because this movie heavily alludes to spirituality and the idea of God, but in a flawed way.

Transcendence is the first movie from both director Wally Pfister and writer Jack Paglen.  Pfister has worked with Christopher Nolan as his cinematographer for all of Nolan’s movies.  This time Nolan is stepping back and playing the role of executive producer.  Jack Paglen is well …. Jack Paglen (this is his first time behind the scenes as a writer).  Together these two virgin filmmakers set out to give audiences a creative but half-hearted science fiction experience.

The movie stars Johnny Depp as a computer scientist, Will Caster, who leads an agency in creating the world’s most advanced computers and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Caster foresees that the analytical power of computers will be greater than the combined intellect of all humans that have ever existed. Thus he is trying to convince humans to embrace this idea, hailing it as the key to solving humanity’s ills.  After delivering a speech, he is struck down by an assassin’s bullet, connected to the anti-tech group R.I.F.T.  Caster survives the shot, but the bullet is laced with radioactive materials that will eventually kill him.  Before he dies, in extreme desperation, his wife Evelyn “uploads” his consciousness to the agency’s most advanced computer. With “Will” uploaded to the computer, Evelyn releases him into cyber space, where his power only grows.

To be honest I didn’t like this movie.  I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t watch it again. For one, the movie has an incredibly slow pace and gets boring. Two, some parts of the movie don’t make any logical sense.  But first, let me say what I do like.

Transcendence is a movie full of Hollywood stars, including Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy.  They all give good performances, but the way they perform is different.  They all act as if they all had some degree of anti-social behavior. They probably did this to show how technology was tearing our society apart by “cocooning” us through social isolation.  The movie looks like a classic Nolan film with fantastic special effects.  The scenery is also top notch, balancing between ruins and pristine architecture sometimes in the same scene.

The movie has a strong and steady pace at the beginning of the film, then it slams on the brakes and slows down to a snail’s pace.  I feel like some rich Hollywood executive is saying “Well we already have their money, distract them for two hours with diluted logic and a boring script while we make a break for the bank”.

There is a lot not to like about Transcendence. The first is that it slows down tremendously about one-third of the way through and doesn’t pick up the pace anywhere throughout the rest of the film.  After Caster commands Evelyn to build a laboratory in a remote desert town, the movie then does a time jump ahead two years. At that point the fallacies in many parts of the script start to shine through.  If the dragged sequences were meant to make us think, it back fired.  My second problem is that some parts of the movie didn’t make any sense.  One example is when R.I.F.T hears about Caster’s laboratory in the desert, then waits two years to attack it.

One thing the movie is clear about, is the use of biblical imagery and allusions to illustrate how Caster became the most powerful being on earth; a god.  He tells his wife Evelyn (which includes the name Eve) to go out into the dessert and build a research facility, where he begins to perform biblical grade miracles, like curing deafness and blindness.

This movie leaves me thinking, do they endorse terrorisim?  I mean R.I.F.T did kill people, but they were right the entire time. Had they killed Caster, they would have stopped the emergence of a “god”.

Transcendence would have been a great science fiction film, but it falls flat on its face with a boring script and half-hearted writing.

I give Transcendence … a 6.5 out of 10.

Racing Fans Should See “Need for Speed”

Justin Lewis, Turret staff writer

The new movie “Need for Speed”, just released March 14 and starring Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper, has a lot of hype going into it. So how is it? Surprisingly great.

The plot to this film focuses on mechanic Tobey Marshall (Paul) who is framed for the death of his friend by racer Dino Brewster (Cooper). After spending two years in prison, he sets off on a road trip of revenge, bent on besting Dino at De Leon, a legendary underground street race.
The acting in the film was fluid and none of it felt forced. The audience connected to these characters because of the realness of the different personalities of all the supporting cast: the funny friend, the optimist, and the young kid. With these characters, the film is a fun time for moviegoers of all ages.

Another high point of the movie is that it showcases awesome race scenes in great action sequences. Loosely taking plot points from some of the “Need for Speed” video games, the film does everything it can to keep the audience engaged in the story. It may have its cheesy moments due to lines such as “We’ll settle this behind the wheel,” by Marshall and “Never judge a girl by her Gucci boots,” by Julia Bonet (Imogen Poots), but displayed on camera, these actors really make it work.

With superior symbolism adding depth to the plot and realistic action sequences, “Need For Speed” is a very amusing film that the audience will enjoy for a solid 130 minutes. Even though it may not win an Oscar, for serious racing fans it is a must watch because it leaves viewers with a need for more races, a need for more cars, and yes, a need for speed!

Robocop: For a New Generation

If I was a Hollywood director, nothing would strike more fear in me than being asked if I would do a remake of a popular movie.  I compare making Hollywood remakes to a man walking through a den of hungry lions with pork chops strapped to his body. One wrong move and everything goes to pieces (literally).  In all seriousness, remakes are extremely hard to pull off; you have to not only please fans of the original movie, but bring the movie into the modern era with a new twist to gain fans in a new generation.  2012’s Total Recall was considered a bad remake by pretty much everyone, so I entered the theater hesitantly to watch the newest remake of a another popular 80’s film, RoboCop.  And I have to admit, they did a good job.

RoboCop takes place in a near-future Detroit, where corruption is rampant and crime is king.  Enter OmniCorp, a private security firm that specializes in deadly military robots and drones.  After working with the US military to terrorize, I mean patrol, the streets of Tehran after the most recent US military invasion; Omnicorp seeks to put the machines on US streets to fight crime.  However, Americans do not trust the robots due to their lack of emotion and loss of liberty at the hands of machines.  Enter Alex Murphy, a fresh-faced cop who seeks to take down a drug king pin and stop corruption throughout the Detroit Police Department.  He soon becomes a target and an attempt is made on his life.  A bomb is placed under his car and is triggered in the driveway of his own home.  Murphy loses most of his limbs and suffers severe burns over most of his body. OmniCorp now sees a perfect opportunity to integrate their technology with the human body and to show the American public the promise of robots.

RoboCop 2014 is saddled with the task of bringing an old 80s movie up-to-snuff in the 21st century, but they still did a good job. Because the movie was rated PG-13, I worried that they would make the film too kid friendly.  While the sequel didn’t have all the gore as the original, it did express itself in another fashion. There is something about seeing a man almost die in an explosion right in front of his own home that has an effect on you.

The new RoboCop focuses heavily on the humanity of Murphy as he tries to adapt to being mostly a robot. He has more depth and emotion than he ever did in the original; he seems like a human being and not some bland movie character.  I also loved how he has a human hand, to really emphasize the point that there still is a human underneath that suit of armor.  The new movie also created a family dynamic that greatly influences Murphy, something the original should have capitalized on. Oh and Samuel L. Jackson is in the movie; nothing more needs to be said.

After watching the movie for no more than five minutes, I could tell it screamed “FUTURE” from the highest virtually-simulated mountain it could find. The movie puts tons of real and possible technology in it, giving it a sleek and futuristic look. Holograms are heavily used, huge paper-thin monitors are everywhere, and pretty much everything is a hand-held device. In addition, RoboCop’s armor looks different in the sequel with a batmanish-look, a flip-up visor and a fresh coat of black paint. The technology doesn’t stop there. RoboCop is given full access to all surveillance cameras in Detroit, a massive index of felons from the police and a high-tech combat system.

Another key aspect of the movie’s futuristic appeal is the heavy inclusion of other robots and fake body parts. Robots are more numerous in this movie and serve an essential part of the film’s plot. OmniCorp also produces prosthetic limbs, giving the company a good side. And let’s not forget the action in this movie. If they had the type of technology we have today for the  first movie, I imagine it would look this. The action is fast paced and doesn’t disappoint. The movie really builds on the fact that RoboCop has increased speed and while the original only makes him more protected against bullets, the sequel emphasizes his super-strength.

But in that lies the problem. The movie is too focused on flashy visuals and action that it forgets to do much of anything else. Crime isn’t nearly as prevalent as it was in the first movie.  Detroit looks like your average city; not the crime-ridden, hell-hole of the original.  One of the main antagonists of the original was a drug lord, and in this movie he occupies a lesser role and had no real character traits what so ever. The remake instead focused on the OmniCorp executive as the main villain, and I mean he is essentially the only villain who has any sort of significance.  One thing that made the first RoboCop so great was the interconnectedness and number of the villains.  The villains also in this movie aren’t nearly as evil as the ones in the original. Viewers absolutely hated the villains in the original.  Detroit was missing the same depth of evil and grittiness that made the original so good.  Without that, the movie feels strangely empty.

In short, RoboCop 2014 wasn’t the best remake, but it’s an entertaining movie that can at least hold its own. If viewers are expecting a deep, gory crime film, they will be disappointed. But if they want a futuristic guy film filled with explosions and robots, they should gather up their mates and head to the nearest theater.

I give RoboCop 2014 … a 6.5 out of 10.