Last updateWed, 03 Mar 2021 2pm


Volume 83 (Fall 2011 - Spring 2012)

Mario Kart 7 Hits a Few Bumps in the Road on the 3DS

Mario Kart 7And they’re off… whether you like it or not in 3D. Like 3D, your opinion for Mario Kart 7 will most likely be that you love it for staying true to the formula of Mario Kart racers or you’ll hate it for not changing a thing since Mario Kart 64. I’m more on the latter track in this case.

To be fair, there is some, and I do mean some, innovation for Mario Kart 7. As far as game play goes, you’ll find that there is the new hang glider on all of the karts. Fortunately it isn’t an item you pick up but something that will always be implemented on the course and you’ll have to get acquainted with it.

One of the better things about the Mario Kart games is their easiness to pick up and play. You drive forward, you use an item, that’s all you need to know to pick the game up and play it. There are a few levels of depth, mostly in mastering drift boosting, and now in making the use out of gliding in the air. Mario Kart 7 is no exception, which isn’t a bad thing.

As far as graphics go, the game looks pretty. It’s vibrant and colorful, each track has a unique look to it and the colors match the theme the track represents. Since it’s on the 3DS I’m obligated to bring up that elephant in the room and answer the question: Is the 3D any good?

I won’t lie, the 3D actually looks decent. The racers actually appear like they’re jumping out as they turn the track. However, the rest of the track is blurred and it’s difficult to tell where the items and obstacles are. It really messed with my hand eye coordination, so I just turned the 3D off and never turned it back on.

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Liliana Ursa Captures Life Experiences Through Poetry

Liliana Experience PoetryRomanian poet Liliana Ursa shared some of her work last Thursday at Samuel Magill Commons as part of the Visiting Writers Series, which is connected to the University’s Center for the Arts.

On the University’s Visiting Writers Series webpage, Michael Thomas, Director of the program and Assistant Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said in a video recording, “What we’re doing is following an ancient tradition of the oral performance of literature, and whether we know it or not, we have a real hunger for that kind of live oral performance of literature. And I love the way that the Visiting Writers brings people together like that.”

The reading began with an introduction by Thomas, who acknowledged the fact that Ursa wasn’t originally considered to be part of this year’s engagement, since she lived in Romania, until it was known she’d be touring the United States. “When we had an opportunity, we took advantage of it,” Thomas said.

After Ursa was introduced, the eager audience gave a generous applause. She took to the podium, grateful for the response, and thanked Thomas for his introduction. Ursa started with a story about a friend pleading her to come to America, since the friend suggested, “America is your writing desk.” She finally took the journey from Romania, and was immediately moved by the weather in New Jersey. “And of course,” Ursa said, “I started writing a poem. And then a second arrived.”

Ursa also explained that some foreign language poets didn’t hold the same values of translating their work to other languages like she did, or liked “covering a rose with a blanket” and attempting to smell it through the blanket. Ursa said she tries to cover the rose with “a thin veil” so the poem doesn’t lose its original meaning.

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Documentary Offers a Deeper Insight at Life in Pakistan

Documentary Deeper InsightAccording to Newsweek, Pakistan is one of the most dangerous nations in the world. Many people are, understandably, offended by this remark, such as Ayesha Khan, executive producer of Made in Pakistan. 

The documentary, which was screened for audiences on February 21 in Pollak Theatre, was the second feature in this year’s Provost Film series and part of the Caravanserai cultural program.  This year’s films share the theme of Muslim culture, with an emphasis on women.

For Khan, a driving force and motivation in making the documentary was showing the world that Pakistan is not a dangerous place to live in, and in many ways, is much like the United States of America.

Dr. Thomas Pearson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, thought that the film “shattered our perception of there being a Pakistani culture.”

Made in Pakistan shows the lives of four working class citizens in the city of Lahore. These four people aren’t very different from Americans in regard to living a good life and doing things such as paying bills.

Tara Mahood is a public relations worker in the fashion business. Rabia Aamir is an editor for the Fourth Article, a magazine that is trying to both entertain and inform. Mohsin Wartaich is an aspiring politician. His father is running for the presidency in Pakistan and wants to implement changes that will actually benefit the Pakistani people.

Yet, the person who really drew my attention was Waleed Khalid. He is a conservative and religious lawyer partaking in the boycott following Pervez Musharraf declaring a state of emergency in 2007 (this led to the suspension of the country’s constitution).

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Cowboy Junkies Didn’t Carry the Same Tune For All

Cowboy Same TuneIf you were depressed and brooding on Friday night, Pollak Theatre would’ve been the perfect place for you. The event was called “An Evening with Cowboy Junkies,” but probably should’ve been renamed “Three Hours of Depressing Songs and Awkward Swaying.”

Cowboy Junkies, despite their name, are not actually a country band with a penchant for drugs. They play a mix of rock, folk and blues. It culminates in them sounding a lot like 90’s alternative music like The Cranberries or Alanis Morissette.

Singer Margo Timmins acknowledged their love for depressing songs. They sang a song that is apparently famous in China, but had to translate it first. Timmins laughed, “We found the song, translated it and found that [the Chinese singer/songwriter] likes depressing songs too.”

The Canadian band, which was formed in 1985, divided the set into two parts. The first part consisted of all of their new songs, without much reaction from the audience. Timmins acknowledged that the audience probably didn’t come to hear songs they didn’t know. “Grin and bear it,” Timmins said to the crowd, “Maybe you’ll like some of them.”

The new songs were from four albums, collectively known as The Nomad Series, which were written and recorded over 18 months. Why record four different albums in 18 months? They just wanted a challenge. Timmins said that each album can be listened to on its own, as there isn’t much linking the four together. I’d have to disagree and say that based on the sampling they gave the audience, all four albums sounded exactly the same.

Listening to Cowboy Junkies is a lot like listening to a Nickelback album. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the music. It’s actually pretty good for the first few songs, but after three hours everything sounds exactly the same.

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Ghost Rider Fails to Seek Vengeance For a Sequel

Ghost Rider Sequel“It doesn’t matter how far you run. There are some demons you just can’t escape,” says Johnny Blaze, played by Nicolas Cage.

After sitting in the theater for about 45 minutes, I felt like I needed to escape this new demon after going through a disappointing experience watching Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (3D) directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank). I had high hopes for this sequel, but with the mediocre acting and some cheesy effects, my burning passion for a positive review was put out.

The story began with Johnny/Ghost Rider hiding out in Eastern Europe in an attempt to escape his struggle with the spirit of the Ghost Rider. As explained by Blaze at the start of the film, he was a stunt motorcycle rider who performed shows with his father.

After his father was stricken with cancer, the Devil offered to save his father for Johnny’s soul. The Devil held up his end of the bargain by curing Blaze’s father. However, he got killed in a motorcycle accident at his next show.

With Johnny having signed a contract for his soul, the Devil made him the Ghost Rider, a demon capable of numerous supernatural abilities.

While Johnny has been staying at an isolated area in Europe, a French monk named Moreau (Idris Elba) finds Johnny to ask for his help in locating Danny (Fergus Riordan) and Nadya (Violante Placido), a mother and son who are being hunted by a group of mercenaries led by

Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth from Limitless). In return, Moreau and his fellowship of monks can help free Johnny from the Ghost Rider curse.

As the Ghost Rider, Johnny can sense Danny’s whereabouts just as the boy has been captured by Carrigan, who is following orders from his boss Roarke (Ciarán Hinds), the Devil.

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Music and Theatre Arts Department is Working on Spring Musical

Typically when you try to contact anyone famous, they ignore you. If you’re Nicole Ricciardi, assistant professor of Music and Theatre Arts, they might get back to you immediately. At least that’s what happened when Ricciardi contacted Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz about doing the revised version of Working at the University this spring.

The original musical was written in 1978, making it a bit dated. It’s about how jobs affect and shape everyone’s lives, so the concept is still very much relevant. However, there were references and jobs that really don’t exist anymore. Ricciardi said, “I read it and I didn’t like it that much. I did some research and heard through the grapevine that Stephen Schwartz revised it, and that it had actually been produced last year in Chicago. […] On a whim I wrote to Stephen Schwartz and said this is the situation: I’ve committed to directing your show, I love the show, but I’d love to work on the newer version of the show.”

Schwartz’s office almost immediately contacted Ricciardi with much enthusiasm. They were completely on board with the idea of the revised version being performed at the University, but the revision wasn’t quite complete.

While it was performed in Chicago, that wasn’t necessarily the finished product. What Ricciardi was sent was sort of a mess. “[Schwartz’s office] warned me that they were going to send me a mess. I was so excited that I didn’t care. […] They literally photocopied the prompt book from the Chicago production and sent it to us without any explanation as to what a lot of things are. It’s like a puzzle: they took it apart, put it in a box, shook it up and sent it to us.”

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The Music and Voice of Whitney Houston Remembered

Voice of WhitneyPop icon, R&B soul singer and actress Whitney Houston passed away February 11, a day before the 54th Grammy Awards, in Beverly Hills, California, at 48 years old.

Clive Davis, the music mogul that originally signed Houston to a recording contract, still held his annual pre-Grammy show on the day of her death, telling audience members, “Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Houston’s memorial service took place this past Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey where her singing abilities first began to shine as a soloist of the junior gospel choir.

The funeral was invitation only, but was attended by celebrities like Davis, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and her Bodyguard co-star, Kevin Costner.

Houston leaves behind a legacy as a recording artist, being the only singer to have seven consecutive number one hits and the only female singer to have two albums reach multi-platinum in the same year, according to Recording Industry Association of America.

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Recalling the Best “Simpsons” Stories: The Most Memorable Episodes Out of 500

Recalling the BestWhether you like “The Simpsons” or not, this show has definitely left a footprint on our pop culture. I n certain ways, we can recall the most memorable jokes, stories, and overall hilarity featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and all the residents of Springfield even if one has only seen a few episodes.

With “The Simpsons” having reached their 500th episode, it seems like a good time for this mega-fan to review the series. Although I could go on and on about my favorite episodes, I’ve chose to narrow down my list by focusing on each family member, original stories, Halloween specials, and Springfield itself along with honorable (or d’ohonorable) mentions.

Favorite Homer Episode:

“Mr. Plow”

Among all the Homer episodes, the ones that stand out to me are when Homer leaves the Springfield Nuclear Plant to get a new job, and his career as a snow plow driver tops the l ist. N ot o nly d oes t his s tory highlight Homer’s idiocy (buying a snow plow at a car show when he was supposed to get something for Marge), but it demonstrates his spontaneity to just do whatever he wants regardless of consequences.

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Exposing Issues in Hip-Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes

Issues in Hip HopThe documentary Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes was screened on February 16 in Bey Hall’s H.R. Young Theater.

The event was hosted by Claude Taylor of the Communication Department and welcomed all University students and faculty to view the documentary and participate in a discussion.

The film screening was part of the University’s celebration of Black History Month, which continues to host events until the end of the month.

Directed by Bryon Hurt, the film thoroughly presented the deeper social issues that are apparent in hip-hop music, but often ignored. Within the opening moments of the documentary, film director and anti-violence activist Hurt identifies himself as a life-long hip-hop fan that is conflicted by the issues with the music he loves.

“The more I grew and the more I learned about sexism and violence and homophobia, the more those lyrics became unacceptable to me,” Hurt said in his introduction to the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.

Through interviews with hip-hop fans, rap artists, industry executives, and hip-hop culture experts, Hurt successfully exposes issues of masculinity, violence, representation of women, and homophobia within hip-hop music and the effect it has on society and, more specifically young black men.

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The Vow Promises to Shed Tears and Break Hearts

Vow PromisesTo no one’s surprise, it was mayhem at the movie theaters this past weekend as women of all ages dragged their significant others to see the sappiest new release, The Vow, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

A heartbreaking story inspired by true events, the film meets the standard expectations of a romantic drama by not leaving a dry eye in the house, including my own.

Just by judging the trailer and comparing the film to similar recent releases, one would think The Vow was a Nicholas Sparks film. This is ironic, since both Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams have starred in movies based on Sparks’ books like Dear John and The Notebook, respectively.

It’s a bit sad to admit that every time I watched a preview for the film (which has been running across my television screen since November), my eyes would instantly well up. How many motion pictures really can affect you that deeply, especially in a matter of two minutes?

Tatum and McAdams star as Leo and Paige, a newly married couple who seem to have the blissful, fairytale future ahead of them when a car accident wipes away the last five years of Paige’s life, including all recollection of her husband.

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On Screen In Person Presents the Challenge of Growing Up

Challenge of Growing UpMoney Matters, written and directed by Ryan Richmond, kick started the second set of movies in the On Screen In Person series on February 6 in Pollak Theatre. On Screen In Person is a traveling film series along the East Coast where filmmakers present their work and participate in Q&A’s with audiences.

This series is sponsored by the Department of Communication and the Center for the Arts. It is also funded by National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Touring Program.

Directors that have come to campus are: Nancy Kelly (Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives), Jim Hannon (Bethlehem), and Huey (In Good Time: The Piano Jazz of McPartland).

Chad Dell, Chair of the Department of Communication, welcomed a small crowd by saying, “I am really pleased you were able to come out tonight.” and introduced himself and Richmond. Richmond is an NYU Tisch School for the Arts graduate, and besides writing and directing, is “an accomplished cinematographer.” Dell said Richmond has worked on films like We The People, and his works have been screened in festivals like Sundance and Cannes.

Before the movie, Dell said Money Matters “started out as a short and [Richmond] expanded it.”

Money Matters is about teenager Monique Matters (Terri Abney), nicknamed “Money,” who is contemplating her life as she enters adolescence. She feels stuck and wishes to grow up, doing things like stuffing paper towels in her bra.

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151