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‘Film Riot’ does the impossible

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Visit to view sketches and filming/production highlights.
Written by | Austin Ulen | For those who ever have wondered how to make a crowbar out of foam or maybe how to set a car on fire without going to jail or who simply ever have seen something in a film and said, “I wish I could make something like that,” Ryan Connolly’s YouTube channel, “Film Riot,” makes it absolutely possible. Not only will the “Film Riot” crew show how it can be done, but they’ll show how to do it on a budget. Started in May 2009 as part of the “Revision3” multi-channel network, which it now no longer is a part of, “Film Riot” gives those who might not have a Hollywood budget the tools to create a film that still should be on the big screen.   The show is hosted by Connolly himself, and the channel has several different themes for its episodes. Most episodes begin with a sketch that incorporates and highlights a certain aspect of pre-production, filming or postproduction. The sketches usually are comedy-driven and cleverly written. Connolly then gives advice and walks viewers through the process of creating the effects seen in the sketch.Other episodes feature the crew reviewing a piece of equipment used in the process of filmmaking. Reviews have included cameras, lighting, rigging, sound equipment, software, online resources and more. Connolly also takes questions via Twitter, Facebook and email and answers them on episodes called “Film Riot Mondays.” They are episodes that tackle tough questions ranging from copyright issues to practical effects vs. CGI effects to how to shoot in extreme weather, all things that might not be covered in a standard episode. “Film Riot” could be called a family affair. Connolly, along with brothers Josh and Tim and sister Emily, all contribute to the channel’s success. The siblings banded together not only to create the “Film Riot” YouTube channel but also Triune Films, an independent film production company. The company has released several short films that also Read more [...]

‘God’s Not Dead 2’ teaches importance of faith

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High school history teacher Grace Wesley, played by Melissa Joan Hart, comes under fire for answering a student’s question about Jesus. When Wesley refuses to apologize, the school board votes to suspend her and threatens to revoke her teaching certificate.
Written by | NATALIE VILLARREAL | Let me start out by saying that God’s Not Dead 2 is phenomenal. One would not expect that since it is a sequel, but for me, this movie was better than the first one. The storyline is incredible and really displays that faith always is on trial and that you have to stand up for what you believe. The film focuses on a teacher accused of preaching to her class when asked a question about Jesus and responding with scripture in an attempt to compare the movements of the Rev. Dr. Martin King Jr and Jesus Christ. With Melissa Joan Hart playing the leading role, you can see how her faith is displayed throughout. Not once does she lose her character, and you can see that her faith isn’t just in the movie but also is the same faith she has in her everyday life. Personally, some parts of this movie made me teary-eyed. Just to see the power of God in a movie that displays every emotion I feel on a daily basis is amazing. The plot of this story is incredible, and it shows that the real reason Hart’s character Grace Wesley is put on trial is not because of her answering a question about Jesus but because the prosecuting lawyer hates what she stands for. This situation displays the true discrimination that some Christians in our society do face on a daily basis. Another thing I really enjoyed about this movie is the movement that it stands for. In the last scene, right before the ending credits, the movie shows the reason that sparked the plot and also shares the teachers who were on trial in similar conditions. Seeing a situation taken out of context and used to attack someone based on their beliefs spoke volumes to me. Though the first movie is phenomenal, I strongly suggest looking for the first one on Netflix if you plan to see God’s Not Dead 2. I truly feel that this is one of the best movies I have seen. I enjoyed the plot, actors and message. It is a good movie that displays standing up for what you truly believe, Read more [...]

Ask Agnes | ‘Because your crystal ball is broken’

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Dear Agnes: I’m having issues visualizing my dreams and aspirations, so I’m losing a lot of momentum. Do you know of any tricks to help me stay motivated? Visualization is super important when it comes to your dreams. Imagine if a random person came up to you and yelled, “YOU HAVE JUST WON A MILLION DOLLARS!” You’d probably just say, “Cool, bro,” and keep walking. Now, imagine a random person hauling a million dollars behind them as they stated that you won a million dollars. I’m guessing that you’d start freaking out! Being able to see what you’re working toward is the exact same way. I don’t know what your dreams and aspirations are, but regardless, this trick may work for you: Close your eyes and imagine you are sitting in a movie theater where the movie playing is actually just footage of you doing what you’re working toward. Then imagine yourself walking up to the screen, opening a door next to it and walking into that reality. That’s one way to work on visualization. I hope that helps you stay motivated! Dear Agnes: My friends no longer are going in the same direction as I am. I still love being their friends, but I don’t see the relationship being mutually beneficial. Does that make me a bad friend? I’m sorry that you’re in this predicament, but I want you to know that you’re not alone. Many people go through seasons of life where the people they surround themselves with no longer are the people they want to be around. If you don’t see your friends as positive influences, then I do not blame you for contemplating ending the relationship. Friends are supposed to be there to support you, fill you with energy and encourage your growth. Honestly, if you’re spending more time worrying about your friendship than enjoying it, then that is a sign in and of itself. Good luck with this, and know that your worth is not diminished based on the decision you make. Dear Agnes: The realization that this is my last semester at AC Read more [...]

Bow tie breakdown

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Bow Tie Breakdown is a forum for Amarillo College President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart to connect with readers of The Ranger. Each edition, he sits down with The Ranger to give insight on what’s happening at AC. It’s a deeper, more exclusive look into the mind of the man behind the bow tie.

Here’s Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart’s viewpoint on the importance of the arts (media, theater, music, fine and visual arts) at AC and his personal opinion on their importance in our culture.

“The arts have changed my own personal life. They’ve changed the lives of my children, who are highly involved in their artistic endeavors, be it music, or theater or art.”

“I have a son who is a professional actor. I have a 14-year-old who plays basketball, and that’s all he thinks about, but he also plays oboe. I also have a daughter who eats, drinks and sleeps theater and musical theater.”

“My family is defined by the arts. My own personal journey has been defined by music and theater. I found my confidence and my voice through those endeavors, and I want our students to have the same experience.”

“The arts at Amarillo College are really important, and we need to broaden students’ scope and influence. Right now a lot of our artistic opportunities for students are really limited to students who have a professional interest or major interest in the field.”

“I would like for us to have a theater club and a community choir for students. With those you can engage in those artistic endeavors and build community around them, but not necessarily see that as your professional endeavor.”

Fey, Poehler do it again

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Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler play two sisters who decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home in Sisters.
Written by | Katlin Lanners | Anybody with kids probably is in the same situation my husband and I are in. You never get to go to the movies. So when the kids go to bed, your living room becomes your movie theater. You finally get to watch everything you have been waiting to see on pay-per-view. That is exactly what we did as soon as Sisters came out to rent on pay-per-view. After my husband and I bathed and fed the kids, we popped some popcorn and had a movie night. We didn’t really know much about Sisters other than it was a comedy and obviously was going to be about two sisters played by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The plot is great. Two parents are tired of their grown daughters’ way of life and are ready to pass on the torch and live simply. They sell the girls’ childhood home to a snooty city couple, and the girls do not take it well. Trying to run off the couple and have one last night in their home, they throw a huge party and completely trash the place. The party causes all kinds of chaos, but I won’t spoil the ending. The main thing that makes the movie funny is the sisters. Fey and Poehler play two sisters who are the complete opposite. The younger sister is, and always has been, a “goody-goody,” while the older sister has a teenage daughter and still has a bit of a party streak. One of the sisters crushes on a neighbor guy, and the guy who plays that role (Ike Barinholtz) is not an “eye-catcher,” but for some reason, they make a cute couple. John Cena plays a drug dealer, and he is right on point. Sisters is funny and has a good story line. I don’t know if I would recommend it to my grandparents due to the bad language. My grandmother would find the language, sex and drugs very distasteful. Overall, Sisters is a comedy that actually made us laugh and still has a great ending and message. I recommend it to people who think stupid is funny. It isn’t my favorite comedy of all time, but I would watch it again. Read more [...]

‘Life of Pablo’ proves its worth

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Written by | Savannah Tarbet | Kanye West is known for being unapologetic and sometimes overly confident. His fans have waited three years for the release of his new album, The Life of Pablo. West continued to bring attention to his album by tweeting the multiple name changes. According to West’s Twitter account, he changed the album title three times before deciding on The Life of Pablo. He continued to publicize the album on social media, calling it “the greatest album of all time,” and saying, “This is not the album of the year, this is the album of the life.” To say the least, he piqued the interest of many. West debuted The Life of Pablo Feb. 11 at a listening party combined with a fashion show for his Adidas line Yeezy Season 3 at Madison Square Garden. He officially released the album Feb. 14, only available on his personal website and on Tidal, a new music streaming website. West is known for game-changing albums, and his latest is no different. Each track seems to flow effortlessly into the next, giving the feel of one long song. It includes a feature artist on every one. Being a producer first, each beat on every track of The Life of Pablo offers something different, with no two songs sounding the same. Each song brings a different energy and sound. There’s not one song on the album that I did not like. West put together a dream team of features, including Chance the Rapper, Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, Sia, Chris Brown, the Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna and the artist we all thought we’d never hear from again: Frank Ocean. Only Kanye West could compile all those artists, and many others not listed, on one album. No one has heard or seen Ocean since the release of his first album, Channel Orange in 2012, and he has not released any new music since. The music world was losing its mind at the fact that West got Ocean on his song “Wolves.” It was a big deal, to say the least. The quality that always has made me a fan Read more [...]
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