Wed03202019

Last updateThu, 14 Mar 2019 12pm

Entertainment

Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)

YouTuber Casey Neistat is Changing the Game

Youtuber Casey NeistatIf you have ever heard of the app Beme or the HBO series The Neistat Brothers, you might know someone by the name of Casey Neistat. He is a 34-year-old YouTuber and filmmaker who pretty much broke the internet last week with just one YouTube video. Neistat resides in New York City, and his location is a key factor in what makes his content on YouTube highly interesting and different than anything else on the site.

Over the past 15 years, Neistat has made a name for himself by producing multiple films and viral videos, but this past year his focus transitioned mostly to YouTube. He started daily vlogging last year and has since produced amazing quality on a daily basis, which is a pretty incredible thing to do. On Jan. 24, Neistat uploaded a video just like he does every other day, but with this one in particular he got over 11 million views in about a week—and the number is only growing.

Neistat’s video, entitled “Snowboarding With the NYPD,” has been featured on Ellen, various news sites and channels, the Jumbotron at different sporting events, and more. In this two minute and 41 second long video, Neistat snowboarded while being pulled around by a Jeep (not even with a rope, but with an HDMI cord) all around New York City during winter storm Jonas. Neistat has always been known to pull crazy stunts and go above and beyond, but this particular act was on an entirely different level, making his video extremely talked about and shared at an insane rate.

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Brie Larson is Hollywood’s New “It Girl”

Brie Larson 1Room is a film of about captivity in many more ways than one. Based on Emma Donohue’s 2010 novel, the story follows Joy, a kidnapped young woman, and her five-year-old son Jack before and after they escape from the 11-by-11 room in which Jack has spent his entire life. The isolation of Joy, known more prominently by Jack and the audience as “Ma,” is both physical and mental: kept in a miniscule garden shed for seven years and having mothered the child of her kidnapper, Ma is left to find solace within her own mind, even after she returns home. The most impressive and rewarding case of escaping captivity, however, is that of Brie Larson and the industry attention she’s now owed.

This is not to say Larson has had an unsuccessful career—far from it. Starting from her childhood, Larson has attached herself to a number of successful television shows and films that only increase in acclaim: the much-loved series United States of Tara, the impressive indie-romance The Spectacular Now, and the critically acclaimed Short Term 12. And while the last role mentioned is considered to be her “break-out” by industry media, Room is the project that has thrust her into the narrow eye of the public.

Rather than exploiting the horrific details of Ma’s isolation and repeated sexual abuse, the film and its screenplay (a terrific adaption written by the novel’s author) force the audience to witness her turmoil on a more rewarding and weighty emotional platform through moments between mother and son. These moments are where Larson’s quiet mastery is at its best: Ma’s quick anger when Jack fails to connect with Legos, her subtle triumph when he grasps the difference between TV and real life, and her acute frustration when he won’t eat his birthday cake. And while her character spends much of the film battling fear and depression, Larson shows Ma’s inner strength and complexity rather than allowing the heavy subject matter to create a broken victim.

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“Star Wars” Makes Triumphant Return with "The Force Awakens"

Star Wars Force AwakensThe Force Awakens, the long-awaited seventh chapter in the Star Wars saga, entered our galaxy on Dec. 18, 2015. With it came a new generation of scavengers, soldiers, and pilots alongside the passionate royalty, fur-covered warriors, and scruffy looking nerf-herders of the past.  This combination of old and new inhabits a galaxy both vastly different and strikingly similar to the hopeful universe we left 30 years prior.

The film opens in true Star Wars fashion as an invasion force from the Empire’s successor, The First Order, storms a desert world looking for missing plans. The plans are given to a droid, who meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a young scavenger. In the course of helping BB-8 deliver the map, she is joined by a disillusioned Stormtrooper, Finn (John Boyega). Escaping their pursuers in the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) later reclaims his ship, aiding them in a battle between the First Order and Resistance, and escaping to the Resistance base. In an effort to draw out their enemies, the First Order fires their ultimate weapon, setting the stage for a final battle over Star Killer base.

In many ways, The Force Awakens lives up to its cinematic legacy. The visual effects are as strong in The Force as the Chosen One. Starfighter battles are the pinnacle of this, particularly in the skirmish between the Millennium Falcon and First Order TIE Fighters during Rey and Finn’s escape from Jakku. With their weapons locked in forward position, Rey is forced to take the Falcon through the innards of a crashed Star Destroyer. The twists and turns of the ship as it jukes and dodges across outcroppings and pieces of wreckage capture the intensity of the moment and desperation of the young pilot fighting not just for her life, but the fate of the galaxy. After leaving the wreck, Rey pulls a move worthy of Han himself and kills the Falcon’s engines in mid-ascent to give Finn a shot at their last pursuer. The moment that the ship begins to drop from the sky is enough to stop the hearts of the audience as if it were them on board. The other space battles in this movie also do not disappoint; effects such blaster bolts and lightsabers are better looking than ever before.

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Fey and Poehler Throw a Party in “Sisters”

Sisters 2016December’s R-rated comedy Sisters was essentially an extended Saturday Night Live skit, the kind that tries a little too hard but is charming enough to merit a re-watch. The film stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as the titular Ellis sisters who reunite for one last house party when their parents put their childhood home on the market. During a holiday movie season that was packed with heavy dramas and fantasy franchises, Sisters’ raunchy antics were a welcome change.

While they’ve built their respective careers on individual projects, Fey and Poehler are perhaps funniest as a duo, riffing off of one another in the way that only best friends can. They served a long tenure together at SNL where they famously manned the Weekend Update desk and performed various skits as Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton. More recently they hosted the Golden Globes for three years in a row, raising the bar for awards season emcee’s everywhere. Sisters marks their first film together since the 2008 comedy Baby Mama, in which Fey plays a successful businesswoman who enlists Poehler’s irresponsible character to be the surrogate for her child.

In Sisters, the duo plays opposite roles: this time Poehler stars as Maura, a by-the-book entrepreneur, while Fey plays Kate, an out-of-control single mom without a place to live. They embody these roles well, Fey in particular reaching a depth that she doesn’t always achieve. She’s thoroughly convincing as the more outrageous of the pair, often using expert delivery to make the best of a mediocre line. As the plot shifts to incorporate Kate’s struggle to find employment and provide for a daughter that has all but given up on her, Fey hits the emotional notes and helps to carry the story.

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Catching Up With Blue Hawk Records

Langosta Lounge 2016It’s a new semester here at Monmouth and Blue Hawk Records, the University’s student-run record label, has some rocking stuff in store for us this spring. We closed out our fall semester in December with an EP release show in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC)  for the record label’s seventh compilation album, Shades of Blue. Dan Amato opened the show with his retro style showcased in a cover of “Houndog” by Elvis Presley as well as his single “Beautiful to Me” on the EP. Dan and Jackson performed their single off the EP, “I Told You,” along with some other cool tunes. They were then followed by a set from jazz artist Kellan Brennan, who covered “I Get a Kick Out of You” by Cole Porter as well as his original “Old Soul” on the compilation album. Thanks Genie closed out the show with a set including their song from the album, “Run.”

Over the winter break, University students kicked off the Light of Day festival in Asbury Park with a four-hour show at Langosta Lounge. Light of Day is a foundation that raises awareness and money for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. There are over 30 shows across 13 countries as a part of this festival and Monmouth is the only college involved in the Light of Day festival. Joseph Rapolla, Chair and specialist professor of the Music and Theatre Arts department, commented, “It’s great to see a show like this that has so much meaning being completely ran by students.” This is the third year that The Music Alliance and Blue Hawk Records have put on this show at Langosta Lounge and it only gets better every year. Some of the featured acts included: Jackson Weipert, freshman music industry student; Dan Amato, freshman music industry student, with Jon Bass and Owen Flannigan, both sophomore industry students. Also playing at the Light of Day festival were Joey Affatato, junior music industry student and The Emily Youth Project consisting of Mike Grant, Jon Bass, Justin Murray, and Andrew Jackle. The night was closed out by junior music industry student, Brittany Cannarozzi, along with senior music education student, Vinnie Espinoza, and junior music industry student, Steven Fillipone. There was also a surprise performance by Dave DePaola, Jackle, Bass, and myself on vocals. It was one of my first performances ever and it was personally an honor to work with Blue Hawk Records and perform in the festival among these many other incredible musicians.

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“Dance Moms” Kicks Off Sixth Season

Dance Moms“You save those tears for your pillow,” is one of the many famous quotes of dance instructor and choreographer Abby Lee Miller, who has run the Abby Lee Dance Company, or ALDC, since she was fourteen-years-old. Her dance studio in Pittsburgh, PA, has been featured on the Lifetime series Dance Moms since July 13, 2011, when the first episode premiered. The show, which has a rating of 4.6/10 on IMDB and 6.8/10 on TV.com, is currently on its sixth season. The show is full of drama between Abby’s harsh and demanding teaching skills and the over-the-top, preposterous dance moms.

The show follows Abby’s junior elite team through the highs and lows, wins and losses, of the different competition seasons leading up to nationals. Throughout the competition seasons, the dance moms will do anything and everything to get their child ahead. However, in Abby’s eyes, one of the children is already ahead: Maddie Ziegler has been Abby’s star pupil since she was three-years-old. It is obvious that Maddie is the star dancer, as it truly is her passion and she works harder than her teammates; losing is not an option for her. She even insisted on being homeschooled so that she could have more time for dance. Her hard work and determination has paid off, and she has since starred with Shia LaBeouf in two of Sia’s music videos, “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart,” which have had more than 1.6 billion views on YouTube.

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Academy Rewards “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Mad Max Fury RoadA film that includes a post-apocalyptic wasteland, breakneck action, and was actually a huge summer blockbuster that thrilled mainstream audiences is not usually considered an “Oscar film.” But on Jan. 14, when this year’s 88th Academy Award nominations were announced, Mad Max: Fury Road wound up with 10 nominations, just second behind The Revenant and its 12 nominations. These nominations weren’t in minor categories, either; the film racked up nods for Best Picture, several visual and sound categories including Best Cinematography, and Best Director for George Miller.

So Fury Road is not your typical Oscar bait, unlike competitors The Big Short (with a large A-list, award-friendly cast) or The Revenant (made by a director still riding high off success from last year’s Oscars and starring a little-known actor named Leonardo DiCaprio, gunning hard for an Academy Award). So why such overwhelming success for a hard R-rated action film that was released all the way back in the month of May? The simplest answer: Fury Road is a ridiculously fun, wildly ambitious ride that neither mainstream audiences nor critics could resist. 

Fury Road is set up as a sort-of sequel, or as director Miller called it, a “revisit,” to the Mad Max franchise that once starred Mel Gibson in the titular role. Picking up in the middle of a desert wasteland, the audience is led by Max Rockatansky himself, played now by Tom Hardy, as he unsuccessfully tries to flee the War Boys, the insane army of men under leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Connected to and used as a blood bag for War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult), Max is dragged on the Fury Road with Nux and the War Boy army when Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a lieutenant under Joe, goes rogue on a routine trip with his five imprisoned “brides.” With the help of Max and the brides along the way, Furiousa aims to find safety for herself and the brides at the “Green Place.”

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Will Smith’s “Concussion” is Captivating

Will Smith ConcussionThe quick staccato of coaches’ voices shouting out plays mixes with the sound of crashing helmets, and echoing whistles pound your eardrums as a plain black image emerges onto the screen. Concussion brings the audience to the setting of an average football field, then cuts to the induction of Pittsburgh Steelers center, Mike Webster, into the NFL hall of fame. Webster notably emphasizes in his speech that the only thing players have to do is “finish the game. If we finish the game, we win.” While this saying may appear motivational and reflect the dedication that football players have towards the game, when it is combined with clips of brutal physical injuries that people have experienced on the field, it makes one wonder whether finishing the game should really be the main concern. This initiates the conversation on the issue that the film delves into.

The movie shifts focus onto Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who performs autopsies on the deceased to figure out the reason for their death. Portrayed by Will Smith, Dr. Omalu is an immigrant from Nigeria who moved to America to start a better life. To my naïve ear, I thought his accent was convincing and served its purpose, but many critics and fans familiar with the language were not exactly impressed with Smith’s take on Dr. Omalu’s accent.

Even though his speech may not have been very impressive, I found the depiction of Omalu’s actions and the way he performed his autopsies intriguing. The careful and precise motions along with the classical music playing in the background made his job seem more like an art rather than a science. In this way I feel that Smith excelled as an actor in the film.

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Blue Hawk Records Spotlight: Thanks Genie

Andy JackieBlue Hawk Records’ seventh compilation album contains a great group of talented musicians. At the release show, we will be hearing all the amazing tracks on the album and you can pick up your very own copy outside of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on Dec. 9 at 2:50 p.m. The artists featured on this album are: singer-song writer Dan Amato and his song “Beautiful to Me,” dynamic duo Dan and Jackson and their track “I Told You,” ‘Homebrew Jazz’ artist, Kellan Brennan with his song “Old Soul,” and our final spotlight, Thanks Genie.

Thanks Genie is a four piece rock and roll band with some blues and jazz vibes. The members consist of: junior music industry students, Dave DePaola on guitar and Andy Jackle on drums; senior music industry student, Chris Durham on bass; and sophomore music industry student and singer Amanda McTigue. Their sound is greatly influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin with Haylee Williams-esque vocals.

Thanks Genie actually began last spring semester when DePaola and Jackle had just ended their old band, The Trusties. At this point, the two musicians were looking for a new project and a new bassist to jam with. Durham transferred to Monmouth from Kutztown last spring and began playing with DePaola and Jackle. The trio played under the name “Uncle Leo” in reference to the iconic Seinfeld character, Jerry’s crazy uncle. The three began playing a lot and even performed at the promotional event for the music department, “Where’s Woods?”, in May 2015. Over the summer, the boys began writing music and putting together some songs. They had some tracks written out but still no lyrics or strong vocalist for the group. Once school started up again in September, DePaola, Jackle, and Durham were able to play more and Durham asked McTigue to join the band as their singer. McTigue’s role in the band is lead vocalist and lyricist.

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Winter Break Recommendation: “About a Boy”

About BoyIf you’re bored this winter break and are looking for something to do, watch About a Boy. The 2002 English movie is one that has an interesting plot but also contains a great message. It even ends around the holidays, which definitely corresponds with the time of year.

In search of a movie that’s different than the typical ‘rom-com,’ I stumbled across this film and found it to be entertaining in a different way than other movies. The humor is subtle yet present, but also has some life lessons and serious scenarios in it. It’s definitely a different kind of movie than I’ve seen before, which is refreshing.

According to IMDb, About a Boy is about, “A cynical, immature young man [who] is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.” The movie is 101 minutes in duration and received an average rating of 7.1 on the site out of 138,475 users.

The movie begins with Will (Hugh Grant) talking about how “every man is an island,” and showing that he is a loner in his adult life. He enjoys being at home, doing his own thing, and that’s about it. He’s a single man that never settled down or worked hard because he lives off of the royalties of a Christmas song that his father wrote, which is partly why he is unmotivated to achieve more in life.

The plot flips between Will’s point of view and Marcus’ (Nicholas Hoult), who is a young boy that gets bullied in school. Marcus has a tough time at home as well, but doesn’t let these things bring him down. He constantly worries about his mother, who suffers with depression. Though it sounds as though the movie is dark and sad, it gets much lighter.

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“Star Wars Battlefront”: No Stars, No Wars

Starwars BattlefrontEarlier in the semester, I wrote a feature on video game preorders in which I mention Star Wars Battlefront. I cautioned readers away from preordering Battlefront, citing questionable business practices of the game’s publisher. I also warned of potential bugs/balance issues, and that this new Battlefront title may bear very little resemblance to the original Star Wars Battlefront titles on which it is based. I finished on a positive note, stating that Battlefront would probably be a great, albeit flawed, game, due to Dice being the developer (Dice is known for the wildly successful Battlefield series). After spending a large number of hours playing it, I can say that I was very wrong about Star Wars Battlefront. It is not a great game, and, for most gamers, isn’t even worth playing.

Let’s start off positive. There are two things Battlefront nails: graphics and sound. Visually, this is the most impressive representation of the Star Wars universe that I have ever seen (be it in games, movies, or animated television series). Dice put a lot of effort into allowing players to customize the game’s graphics for their computers. In a gaming industry where console titles dominate sales, it’s impressive that they did this. When I should have been storming an Imperial bunker, I was occasionally stopping to watch AT-AT Walkers blow up my fellow rebels or stare at Endor’s foliage; the graphics were just that good. I played Star Wars Battlefront on my PC at max graphics, and you’ll need a very powerful PC to do that, but from what I’ve heard the console version’s graphics are quite phenomenal. If any gaming outlets give rewards for best graphics this year, I would expect Battlefront to be the front-runner. As for the sound, it’s basically an updated version of the original Star Wars trilogy. Imagine those sorts of sound effects, and the same orchestral score.

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Contact Information

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

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu