Saturday, September 18, 2010

From Breakouts Stars to Overnight Legends

Why overnight success leads to legendary status

“…With success on their side, look out for this new star to hit the entertainment scene. They’ll be giving Hollywood a run for its money!”

It is so often that we hear statements like these from the media praising celebrity newbies in the field of music, television, and film. It seems like every other year a new star comes into the entertainment scene and is immediately labeled “the next big thing.” Some go so far as to compare certain up and coming stars to either being the next Madonna, Prince, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Elvis Presley, or even Lauryn Hill. Why are overnight sensations being compared to legends? And, could it have something to do with these new talented stars being manufactured so as to project an image that the public is already familiar with?

Sometimes, when it comes to new talent receiving praise, the public doesn’t always agree with the media. Often some say that the media shows favoritism to certain upcoming stars, giving them more credit than what they deserve. They call them “overrated” which is a term that’s most often used in the music industry and sports.

But it’s not only the haters that use this term. Most of time there are some even within the music industry that have felt this same way about new artists. In an interview with CNN, Rock icon Ozzy Osbourne was asked what his thoughts were about music today. He replied, "The music industry is completely different now,” he adds, “they're manufactured people now... like ice cream- when the flavor runs out, they move on.”

Just to note, there is nothing wrong with praising new talent, because even current celebrities admit they had to work hard for years before they finally reached success. In fact, veteran stars encourage and even seek out fresh talent as a way to share with the public other talented newcomers that are looking for their big break. The problem is fame is happening too quickly for certain talented stars. With that there is a risk of becoming overhyped to the point of overkill and soon the public becomes fatigued by the new star.

“This is a fickle business with a high turnover and an insatiable appetite for something new,” said singer/songwriter Jewel, “And there are one thousand young aspiring talents to take that place any given day.”

It is quite often we see certain new talent try their best to project an image of a legendary artist they want to be. They go so far to copy a legendary star's style of dressing to their speech, conduct, and also in their creativity.

Now it is fine to pay homage to an idol that you grew up listening to their music or watching the films they had starred in. But is it really necessary to copy every single aspect of them? Instead, wouldn't it be much better if a new artist created their own trend, so that years from now they will be remembered for their own unique talent, rather than copying a legendary star that so many others before them have done?

Personally it doesn’t make sense to give newcomers such prestigious credit when they’ve just started in the industry; meaning they haven’t proved their worth to receive such a title. Usually you can not determine whether an artist will be a legendary star or not based on one or two hit singles. For a new talent to reach legendary status it takes time and after they’ve created several successful projects then the public will be able to see where that star’s career will be heading.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Salt (Movie Review)

The film’s promotional tagline 'Who is Salt?' will leave you asking that same question after watching this movie.

Warning: There are spoilers throughout this review.

Action-spy thriller Salt was released on July 23, 2010. Originally, Tom Cruise was set to star in the film as Edwin A. Salt, but opted out after feeling that the role was too similar to his Mission Impossible character, Ethan Hunt. Actress Angelina Jolie decided to take on the role, having the character’s named changed to Evelyn Salt.

Salt was directed by Phillip Noyce, who worked with Jolie before in the 1999 film, The Bone Collector.

The story involves CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who’s accused of being a Russian sleeper spy by Russian defector Vassily Orlov, played by Daniel Olbrychski.

Though Salt claims her innocence of being a Russian spy, she displays conflicting behavior by frantically running away from her CIA colleagues, Peabody, a ONCIX agent played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Ted Winter, played by Liev Schreiber. Peabody doesn’t believe Salt is innocent and takes the lead in tracking her down. Winter, her closest friend of 15 years, won’t accept that she is a Russian spy but goes along with Peabody to capture her.

Because the story line comes off a bit vague, it is easy for viewers to assume what her motives are. Maybe Salt was only thinking about the protection of her husband, Mike, a German arachnologist, that she was willing to go along with the assassination plot of the Russian President. However, when Orlov allows her husband to be killed right in front of her eyes, that’s when Salt’s motives had changed. 

Pretending to show loyalty to Orlov, she questions him on what will happen after Russia attacks America. When she learns of his plans, that is when Salt retaliates against her “father and brothers.” Her mission now is to stop the nuclear attack against America. Or was that her personal mission all along?

The downside to Salt is that there are too many flashbacks and plot holes throughout the film. But towards the end, it comes together just enough that a viewer isn’t entirely disappointed.

What makes this film worth watching are the suspenseful fight scenes, particularly involving Jolie and Schreiber. Not to mention, the fact that Jolie is the only actress that can pull it off as a believable female action star. Though Salt does deliver some good action sequences due to Jolie doing her own stunts, it fails in the category of being a great film.

It’s a shame that more isn’t revealed about Evelyn Salt and whether or not she is a Russian spy or CIA operative. The film’s ending gives the notion that there might be a follow-up to the film.

Perhaps if the sequel does happen, it’ll follow the same path of the Jason Bourne films; revealing more of Salt’s true identity. But it is doubtful that people will anxiously be waiting for Salt 2 to come out.

Salt is rated PG-13 and contains sequences of intense violence and action.

Reviewer's Rating: 3 out of 5

Written by: Bridget Campos


Friday, July 30, 2010

Technology’s Adverse Effects on Society

No matter what a person’s age or level of education is, they always want to get the latest gadgets in order to keep up with today’s trends. With the advancement of technology changing so rapidly, this has affected the way people are communicating with each other.

Yes, technology has proven to be a powerful tool for society. Such inventions as the automobile, telephone, and the computer have helped make work and social life much easier, more efficient, and at times enjoyable. Some people feel that having a computer and a cell phone is a necessity in life. Are people becoming too obsessed with having electronics? Is there a possibility it is dangerous?

It seems every year cell phones continue to improve; and with that many people want to get the latest device, such as the recent iPhone craze. Across the country, people were willing to wait outside of several electronic stores for hours, (not to mention pay hundreds of dollars) just to get one. Some admit they just can’t live without their cell phone! Some take this obsession with cell phones even further by jeopardizing other people's lives, because they want to text or call someone while driving.

In a recent study, conducted by Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group, titled, “The Digital Family”, in which 1,083 kids and 1,061 parents were tracked to see if computers and the internet had an effect on basic skills. They were surprised to find that 23% of parents and 33% of kids agreed that they no longer needed to make casual conversation.

Because of an increase in technology affecting every aspect of a person’s life, people are embracing these changes, while certain individuals that are not technologically savvy are finding that they have no choice but to accept it. This has caused them to develop a form of anxiety known as “technophobia.” Though some haven’t quite developed a fear of advanced technology, they still choose to avoid the annoying intrusions of electronic devices, such as cell phones used in public areas, like in a movie theater or restaurant. Instead they believe in social interaction on a personal, face-to-face level. “The convenience of emails and video conferences just cannot entirely replace the feeling and warmth of a person’s handshake or presence,” says blogger, Wenbin Nah in an article titled, “Technology’s Effect on Interpersonal Communication.”

Many people are divided about technology. Some feel that technology has brought their family much closer. Others feel that the advancement of technology has added stress and financial hardship to their life, because they have to overwork themselves to pay for the latest (costly) gadgets. Identity theft is also a cause for concern.

Parents complain that they feel less connected with their kids, who are too busy texting friends or constantly playing video games. Adults also worry about who their children are communicating with over the internet.

Yes, everyone agrees that advance technology has caused major breakthroughs in the fields of medicine, science, education, and business; however, when people do not a have balanced view of technology, it can become very addictive and the results can be disastrous. On September 25, 2008 in Los Angeles, California a Metrolink train had collided head on with another train. This accident had injured 125 passengers and killed 25 people, including the driver of the train. Further investigation showed that the driver of the train was text messaging right before the crash happened. Following this shocking event, the state of California had passed a law banning the use of text messaging while driving.

As technology continues to change one thing remains the same and that is time. People are always saying they wish they had more hours in a day to complete all of their tasks. Advanced technology has definitely made life more convenient and has brought people around the world much closer; but there is a downside to it. For example, though technology has helped shorten the time it would take to complete a task, it has caused some to add more to their “to do list.” They take on so many responsibilities that they increase their work load to the point of exhaustion. So what was once convenient now seems like a burden.

In his book, The Technological Society, author Jacques Ellul states how technology is so common in people’s lives that they feel they can not function without them. He observed that “modern man’s state of mind is completely dominated by technical values and his goals are represented only by such progress and happiness as is to be achieved through techniques.” He pleads that mankind should focus more on the social concerns happening in the world. But as time goes on technology will still keep advancing. So as long as we live in a technologically-filled world, let’s do our best to have a balanced view of electronics.

Written by: Bridget Campos

Monday, May 24, 2010

Adam Lambert - For Your Entertainment (Album Review)

For Your Entertainment is American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert’s first official album that was released November 2009, and debuted third on the Billboard 200. So far, the album has sold over 639,000 copies in the U.S., and has been successful internationally as well.

The album is mostly Glam Rock with an '80s techno-pop-sound of the past, like that of Human League and Soft Cell, but slightly more modernized.

Several well-known musical talents contributed to the album, including songwriter/ producer Linda Perry, pop star Lady Gaga, and Pink, who co-wrote the painfully addictive song, “Whataya Want from Me.” Also, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder co-wrote the lovely ballad, “Sleepwalker,” and American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, for the fierce-like track titled “Strut.”

The song “Broken Open” is a softer ballad that’s very somber and has a somewhat haunting feel to it. On this track, Lambert displays more composed vocals, like Freddie Mercury from Queen would sometimes do, rather than belt out the high notes every time. I doubt that this song would be popular on the radio but it really displays Lambert’s incredible musical talent, not only as a singer but as a songwriter as well.

Though “Sleepwalker” sounds really good, it does fall short, because the song sounds almost identical to Beyoncé’s “Halo” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone,” whose tracks Tedder had written as well.

The songs that are more upbeat tends to come off theatrical yet bold, but the lyrics are playful and catchy. The downside is that the music doesn’t fit the lyrics, because the tracks sound so sugar coated it’s difficult to take what he is saying as believable. But when Lambert sings the songs that have a slow vibe to them, that’s when his vocals really display heart and strong emotions. Listeners can feel the contrast between the upbeat and slow songs.

Some will have mixed feelings for this album. Either you’ll like the album or not. It just depends on your taste in music. For those that are fans of Lambert and of '80s techno pop music, you will love all the songs on this album. However, those that are not really into '80s music that much will have a difficult time liking this album. But there are a few tracks that contain current rock music, like for example the song “Aftermath.”

For Your Entertainment is a type of album you have to listen to a few times before you’ll start liking it, or catch yourself singing the lyrics. But what listeners can agree on is that Lambert’s showmanship style as an entertainer is reflected in his music.

The best songs on For Your Entertainment are “Whataya Want from Me,” “Loaded Smile,” “Time for Miracles,” and “Broken Open.”

Reviewer's Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewer: Bridget Campos


Friday, April 30, 2010

Shyness: a Curse or a Virtue?

At some point in a person’s life they’ve experienced some degree of shyness, whether they were a child attending their first day at school, or, as a teenager being attracted to someone they liked but were afraid to ask him or her out on a date.

There are levels of shyness; some can briefly experience mild discomfort when they are in an unfamiliar situation/setting, but at a certain age they grow out of it; while others have chronic shyness that can last for years or even a lifetime. According to an article from explains that “Shyness can mean feeling uncomfortable, self-conscious, nervous, bashful, timid, or insecure. People who feel shy sometimes notice physical sensations like blushing or feeling speechless, shaky, or breathless… When people feel shy, they might hesitate to say or do something because they're feeling unsure of themselves and they're not ready to be noticed.”

There are some people that consider shy people to be weak and naïve, so they take advantage of their kindness, thinking that the shy person will never say anything to them. That is usually why kids that are shy are easily picked on at school by bullies. But, just because a person is shy does not make them in anyway mentally or psychologically impaired, but rather shyness is an emotion.

It’s a well-known fact that people with chronic shyness are easily misunderstood as being indifferent or arrogant, but this is far from the truth. Being shy can make you feel like a prisoner within your own skin. Shy people really want to get to know other people, but their self-consciousness prevents that from happening, and so they clam up and keep to themselves.

At times shyness can affect family relationships within the home. Usually if one or both parents are outgoing and a sibling of yours isn’t shy, a parent will more than likely feel closer to the outgoing child, because they will relate better with them. For a shy person, this can make them feel inferior and feel out of place in their family setting, as if they are a stranger in their own home. This, in turn, can cause a shy person to make even more of an effort to feel validated by their parents. But sometimes the opposite can happen, in which, a parent will notice that their child is shy and clingy towards them; but instead of encouraging their child to socialize more with children their age, they instead enable this behavior, by allowing the child to remain shy, not letting them explore the world, make childhood friends, and take more risks in life.

There are times when being shy can have its advantages. Shy people are often complemented for being good listeners and observant, but sometimes their observations can work against them. For example, in the mind of a shy person they avoid eye contact because, when talking to someone, they'll examine every reaction of a person’s facial expressions or body language. A shy person is already self aware of their flaws and feel they are being judged by society through a magnifying glass; so while a shy person could be calmly talking to you, internally, they are thinking about what you could be thinking about them. If for some reason during the conversation a person makes a disapproving facial expression towards a shy person, they will overreact, in their mind, thinking they must have said something you didn’t like and so their motor skills get affected, meaning they stumble over their words, forget what else they were going to say, or start talking faster/slower or more incoherently and thus causing them to feel foolish.

What shy people need to keep in mind is that overcoming their shyness will not be fixed overnight. They have to first break the ice. The more they practice, then they will start feeling comfortable around strangers. Have topics in mind and rehearse in advance what to say and make eye contact. Sometimes just smiling and saying hello can easily open the door to starting a conversation with someone. Remember, a conversation involves two people, so don’t worry about carrying the entire conversation, it should be 50/50 percent give or take.

Do keep in mind that not everyone is suppose to like you. If a person ignores you, or seems moody don’t let that be your problem, just approach them another time or find someone else to speak with. There are people out there that will appreciate who you are.

Most importantly, never be someone else just to fit in. If a person can’t accept you for who you are and instead wants you to be someone you're not, than they are not your real friends. But, if for peer pressure reasons, you do go along with being someone you're not, you will regret it later on.

Even those that are not shy can help in getting a shy person to be more social, whether they are a family member, or, someone they know at work or at school. Try to talk with them; don’t wait for them to come to you. Never put a shy person on the spot, especially in front of a group of people. More than likely they will avoid you, fearing you will put them in that same, embarrassing situation again. Also, never force them to socialize with other people when you first start hanging out with them. Perhaps they are not ready to engage in conversations will multiple people at this time. Let them get to know you first and you know them. Then include others friends, so that their circle of friends can expand.

Though being shy can, at times, feel like being trapped within yourself, it doesn’t have to be that way forever. Yes, though shyness can show your good qualities of being considerate and tactful, it can have disadvantages that will affect you later on in life, causing you to look back at the opportunities you missed out on.

Written by: Bridget Campos


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Hurt Locker (Movie Review)

A war movie that critics have labeled 'One of the best films of 2009.'

The Hurt Locker was written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn  Bigelow, who also directed such action films as Point Break and  Strange Days.

The independent film was first released in 2008 in Italy. The next year, The Hurt Locker was limitedly released in the U.S. Soon after the film started receiving positive reviews The Hurt Locker got a widespread release on July 24, 2009 and has so far made more than $16 million worldwide.

 What makes this film different from other past war films is that it does not follow the same concept of displaying high-octane combat and excessive bloody-violent sequences that are predictably shown in the battlefields of almost every war film. But, rather, The Hurt Locker focuses more on a war tactic that’s been overlooked in past films that being the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit (bomb squad). The film’s setting is in 2004, during America’s early invasion in Iraq. Sergeant First Class William James, (Jeremy Renner), becomes a team leader of a EOD unit that consists of two other army soldiers: Sergeant JT Sanborn, (Anthony Mackie), and Specialist Owen Eldridge, (Brian Geraghty).

The realistic setting can have viewers on the edge on their seats, as these soldiers are under great pressure to defuse these complex, intricately placed bombs before their “enemies” either try to shoot them and/or detonate the bombs. The movie gives two different perspectives on how these soldiers try to survive while in a hostile environment. Sanborn and Eldridge are used to being overly cautious when completing their missions, but their new team leader James throws caution to the wind, knowing that the risks he takes are a matter of life or death but is not over anxious and just focuses on living life day by day. In one scene James goes so far as to take off his bomb suit when attempting to defuse an explosive device, saying to Eldridge “If I’m gonna die, I want to die comfortable.” At first, Sanborn and Eldridge become threatened by James’ reckless behavior, feeling he is unnecessarily putting their lives in danger too.

The action and suspenseful moments in this film are worthwhile. The incredible acting is realistic with an added touch of drama without being too melodramatic.

Personally, the ending of the film is really good. When James returns home to his wife and baby, he tries to find some form of normalcy in his daily life but mentally is still reflecting about life on base. The difficulty in separating these two lives is evident when James makes conversation with his wife by casually talking about a gruesome event that happened during his mission in Iraq. A few months later, James returns to Iraq to serve another year with his EOD team. It is to no wonder why the beginning of the film stated, “War is a drug.”

Despite some questioning the authenticity of the film, several critics have praised The Hurt Locker. It has won various awards and has even been nominated nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Jeremy Renner), and Best Director.

Kathryn Bigelow has definitely set a high standard for other female action-film directors. Hopefully more female directors will embrace this genre in the near future.

Whatever a person’s political views are about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and whether or not it is a war that soldiers are dying in vain for; everyone can agree on that soldiers put their lives on the line for the sake of their country. They do their job no matter what and for this you can have nothing but respect for the sacrifices they’ve made. That is what The Hurt Locker portrayed so realistically; a soldier’s perspective on fighting the war in Iraq without any political agenda attached to the film.

The Hurt Locker is rated R and contains war violence and language.

Reviewer's Rating: 4 out of 5

Written by: Bridget Campos


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be Nice (Give It Up Like a Good Girl Should)

Note: Contains Some Explicit Content

Can’t Resist Your Mysterious Charm
Keeps Me Guessing What’s On The List For 2Day
My Heart Aches When I Dream Of You And Me Becoming A Unity
Just When I Think You Could Be My Everything
You Show Me Your True Identity
When You Say To Me:

'Be Nice (Be Nice)
And Give It Up (Give It Up)
Like A Good Girl Should'

You Tell Me:

'Be Nice (Be Nice)
And Give It Up (Give It Up)
Like A Good Girl Should'

Tell Me All The Sweet Things You Want To Say
You Know, The Stuff You Say When I’m Naked
How I’m A Sight To Be Seen And Not Heard

Looking For A Good Time Is The Only Thing On Your Mind
Treat Me Like A Hot Mess Like You Know What’s Best
Keeps Me Guessing What’s On The List for 2Day
Displayin’ Your Masquerade
Hoping Not To Get Caught Up In Your Own Game

This Battle Of Wills Won’t End Until I Realize
You Don’t Want To Be With Me
Just Bust A Load On Me

Treat Me Like A Hot Mess Like You Know What’s Best
Keeps Me Guessing What’s On The List For 2Day
Displayin’ Your Masquerade
Hoping Not To Get Caught Up In Your Own Game

In Reality You’re Too Much For Me
With So Many Possibilities
But You Choose Only One Destiny
Being The Life Of The Party
Your Never-Ending Fill Of The Thrill
But You Didn’t Realize Your Last Chance Went Bye-Bye

(Written By: Bridget Campos)