Last updateThu, 14 Mar 2019 12pm


The Wild West Comes to Life in Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2I like to think just about every kid at one point had a fantasy about living out life in the wild west.

Gun slinging your way through a desolate town, taking out any desperado that gives you an imposing glare as tumbleweeds roll through the scene. Red Dead Redemption 2 breathes life into that fantasy, but this isn’t the west like you imagined.

Red Dead 2 is the newest release and highly anticipated sequel from Rockstar Games, the same developer that created the wildly successful Grand Theft Auto franchise.

The game creates a vast landscape of the west in the late 1800’s where the main character, Arthur Morgan, roams with his crew of outlaws.

As Morgan and his gang drift through snowy mountains and into wider territories, it’s up to the player on how Arthur acts in this lawless land.

The game is an open world story mode that features everything you could think of whether it’s robbing a train, to fending off wild bears, or getting into shootouts with the rival O’Driscoll gang.

Every little detail is fleshed out and fundamental to the immense success of this game. Playing for the first hour gave me the itch to go horseback riding, dressed head to toe in denim, and equipped with a cool cowboy hat.

I, self-admittedly, haven’t played the first iteration of this game and dove fresh into the sequel.

Not to worry, the events of the game actually take place prior to the first version and setup to introduce the game mechanics for new players.

It’s a rare example of a video game that is so rewarding on a granular level that it makes every minor action exciting and new.

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Bombs Away! Why Do Movies Bomb at the Box Office?

Movie Bombs Box OfficeIn a given lifetime, a viewer has definitely seen a trailer for a film that just didn’t click with their interests.

It flew past their eyes and out of their heads.

There are other trailers that could have sparked a distinct reaction: ‘we have to see it!’ or ‘God, who made this?’

Movies have been fighting for public viewership since their inception. Some succeed dazzlingly, many movies coast along, and others nose-dive into an always-growing cinema graveyard.

But how does a movie ‘bomb?” What must happen for a film to fail so badly, that it has virtually no attendance and falls quickly from our collective memory?

This was the case for the neo-noir flick London Fields directed by Matthew Cullen, which was released on Oct. 26.

This film follows a “clairvoyant femme fatale” named Nicola Six, who predicts her own murder. Nicola begins love affairs with three oh-so-handsome men, despite knowing one of them will murder her.

Recently, this film snatched the title of one of the lowest box office grosses, with a production budget of about $8 million and a bombastic box office revenue of $249,686 over two weekends.

Knowing this, what happened to London Fields, and why did this seemingly inconspicuous movie burn so harshly?

Robert Scott, a specialist professor of communication with previous experience behind the camera in film, lent some ideas.

“Movies can fail financially as a result of numerous factors today,” Scott said, “a weak marketing campaign can impact ticket sales. Timing can be a factor. The type of release can also have an impact.”

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Bohemian Rhapsody Will ‘Rock You’

Bohemian Rhapsody“We’re four misfits who don’t belong together but sing to the other misfits.”

This is how lead singer Freddie Mercury defines Queen in Bohemian Rhapsody.

It’s a humble definition given the global success of the band, and the prominent influence they have had in so many people’s lives.

Bohemian Rhapsody shows another side of the globalized rock sensation, from Mercury’s sexual discoveries to his relationship with family; the man who sang in tight white pants and sported a theatrical mustache becomes just like the rest of us.

You sometimes wonder if someone as daring and bold as Mercury is just born that way.

Played with great vigor by Rami Malek, Mercury is a quirky, confident guy with dreams of grandeur that nobody seems to take seriously, not even his family.

After displaying his gritty and soulful vocals for his future bandmates after their original lead singer quits, it seems as if Queen was brought together by great timing and pure coincidence.

Mercury struggles with his own demons, such as his need to always be the life of the party, causing him to push many people away and destined to be a party of one.

Filled with relationship turmoil and a historically memorable musical score from the band, the film captures Mercury in his darkest and triumphant moments.

Malek had his time in the sun with this film, and his rock and roll persona was captivating.

When Malek performed as Mercury, he became the icon.

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Michael Myers Returns for Another Halloween

Michael Myers ReturnsI hate horror movies. I fear the reality of them, but I suppress it with harsh criticism and insensitive and poorly timed jokes.

In spirit of doing “fun” fall things, I ventured to the theater to scare myself into a sleepless night.

I binged the first three Halloween movies over the “Halloweekend” and was disappointed to find out that the latest flick was going to be sequel to the original, completely disregarding its other predecessors.

Director David Gordon Green invites us 40 years after John Carpenter’s frightening classic, where Lauri Strode, played Jamie Lee Curtis, seems to have lost all of her sanity.

Even all these decades later, the trauma from that terrifying Halloween night still resides in Lauri as she battles against the  threat of Michael Meyers.

The slasher is institutionalized and has captured the attention of over 50 psychiatrists and reporters.

Two foreign reporters hope to find clarity in the case from eons ago that still has everyone talking.

Unfortunately, their efforts end up taunting Myers into making what is considered, poor life choices.

In this spooktacular film, there are a plethora of comedic scenes that lighten the mood and let your guard down. Ultimately, it’s a great way to add more ‘scare’ to jump scares, because the viewer is so vulnerable with the humor used.

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The Horror! What Makes a Great Scary Movie?

What Makes a Great Scary MovieTis the season for Halloween! Whether you are trick-or-treating with the young ones, barhopping, or contemplating the reasonable amount of money to spend on a costume, the holiday calls for some festivity.

Like myself, we might be reminded of the time that kid in our third-grade class wore a Jason mask to the Halloween parade and scared the whole class.

Looking back, that kid had quite an early appreciation for the horror film genre.  

Classic horror films such as Halloween and Scream have stood the test of time, having remakes made over the years along with modern adaptations.

Cult classics such as The Shining and Children of the Corn approach horror from a different perspective, with less of a focus on blatant murder and more on the psychological fears of abandonment or being lost in a foreign environment.

Even the theater genre has dabbled in the art of ghoulish and uncanny themes, with films such as Rocky Horror Picture Show or Little Shop of Horrors, including guest appearances by large piranhas and crossdressers.

A handful of horror films have had multiple remakes or sequels such as Carrie and the newly released Halloween.

There are eleven Halloween flicks, with the first one premiering in 1978, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle.

The films around Michael Myers, a disturbed man who is out to murder the majority of his bloodline every Halloween.

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The Wonder Years Put on a Spooktacular Show

The Wonder YearsThey’re back! The Wonder Years returned to the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey last Friday night for their Occasionally Annual Halloween Extravaganza, and brought along bands Have Mercy, Oso Oso, and Shortly.

This concert featured a costume contest with the grand prize being a 2019 season pass.

I was dressed in all red, complete with an absurd pepper hat and told people I was a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Among the ghouls and ghosts in the crowd, I thought my costume was clever, but alas, the winner was Quailman from the TV show Doug.

Considering he wore a cardboard box and tightie-whities, while others had very impressive makeup done, his victory was a sour robbery.

The fans weren’t the only people dressed up for Halloween, so were the bands!

Each band had a cover set and costumes of esteemed musicians.

Shortly began the show dressed as My Chemical Romance, in black formal wear and red neckties. They performed classics such as “Teenagers,” “I’m Not Okay (I Promise),” and “Famous Last Words.”

The female lead singer’s voice complemented Gerard Way’s tenor very nicely, and the crowd erupted in applause following each song.

However, once Shortly played their original material, the trouble began: technical difficulties with microphones and pedal boards led to communal boredom among the concertgoers.

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Moviepass is Left for Dead

Moviepass DeadGrab a shovel and a big enough body bag for your red debit card, because it looks like Moviepass is knocking on death’s door.

Moviepass is the popular movie subscription service that used to let subscribers see one movie a day for only $10 a month.

After a year of such a great deal, the company announced last August that it would limit subscribers to three movies per month and would select the features moviegoers were allowed to see.

Now it looks subscribers may not see any movies on Moviepass’ dime in the near future.

Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (ticker: HMNY), the parent company of Moviepass, announced on Oct. 24 that they will spin off the dumpster fire disaster.

Essentially, HMNY, the company who has helped provide funds for Moviepass’ operations, has decided to cut them off.

When a company spins off one of their subsidiaries, it means that the subsidiary will be traded separately as its own stock.

When Moviepass is allowed to be traded on a market, the unfortunate shareholders of HMNY will also earn some small stake of the new stock.

For example, when Moviepass goes on its own, shareholders will hold a majority of say 90 percent in HMNY and the remaining ten percent will be designated to ownership in Moviepass.

If you want to see something spooky, check out HMNY’s stock price and financials.

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The Rise of Basement Concerts

Rise Basement ConcertsThe rise of basement shows have been sweeping the Jersey Shore and tristate area.

However, you don’t have to go out of your way to New Brunswick or Philadelphia to enjoy a show at one of these places, because there are basement concerts with great live bands in our own back yard

Long Branch, Ocean Township, and Asbury Park are known for their basement scene.

The reason why these venues are gaining recognition is a matter of money, promotion, and the return of something that is sometimes forgotten in the music world: an intimacy between band and audience.

In larger venues, the band is playing to the audience.

Contrarily, in a basement, they are playing with the audience. But if you ask any local or aspiring musician about playing or hosting basement gigs, they will tell you how it has  advantages and disadvantages.

Sara Wojciehowski, a music industry major, has played enough basement performances to identify the pros and cons of this informal environment that is gaining so much traction.

Wojciehowski said, “One advantage would definitely be experiencing that intimacy you can’t get at a formal venue, on a stage above the audience.”

“I like letting people get more involved and feeling like they’re included in that bubble with all our friends, fans, and family. The band [is] family” Sara said.

“But it has its disadvantages too. I’ve played a show in someone’s basement and for a few house parties, but I am not a fan of doing it too often” Wojciehowski pointed out.

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Roseanne is Barred From The Conners

Roseanne Barred ConnersAfter the cancellation of its second reboot, prompted by a racist Tweet sent by the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, the brand new and third reboot of Roseanne called The Conners premiered on ABC Tuesday, Oct. 16.

The infamous laugh of Roseanne Conner will never be heard again all because of one tweet.

Barr tweeted on May 29, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby= vj.”

The tweet was directed at then-President Barack Obama’s former White House advisor, Valerie Jarrett (“vj”).

Barr’s tweet was condemned by many because she compared Jarrett to an ape.

Later that day, Barr tweeted out an apology with, “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks.”

Barr’s tweet continued with, “I should have known better. Forgive me- my joke was in bad taste.”

Shortly after her apology, Barr went on a bizarre Twitter spree where she threw coworkers, ABC executives, and drugs under the bus.

Barr’s activity went so far that she blamed her Twitter spree on the sedative that she was taking.

The actress tweeted, “It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting.”

Barr further explained in the tweet, “I went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but…don’t defend it please.”

After Barr sent out this tweet, the drug company of Sanofi, who creates and sells Ambien, fired back, tweeting, “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

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Blast Off! First Man Shoots for the Moon

First Man 1I remember the day when someone called to inform me that I got a summer internship.

There I was, in the beauty of Magill Commons Dining Hall with a roast beef sandwich and almost crying tears of joy after saying, “thank you so much!”

Contrarily, when astronaut Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, got a phone call from NASA to be a part of the Gemini Eight space mission in an effort to go for the moon, he simply said, “yes,” hung up the phone, and carried on eating the mashed potatoes on his plate.

Well I guess my emotions are a little out of this world.

Armstrong was the First Man to land on the moon, through space flight Apollo 11 with pilot Buzz Aldrin in 1969.

It was an impossible task as the weight of the country, family, friends, and world laid on the back of Armstrong.

In the trailers, audiences expect to see a Hollywood space spectacle similar to recent films in the sci-fi genre such as The Martian, Interstellar, or Gravity, but director Damien Chazelle takes a realistic and stripped down approach to Armstrong’s triumph.

Instead of dramatizing the life of Armstrong, Chazelle chooses to show him as a somber family man who quietly put in astronomic efforts into anything he did for his family or work.

Gosling, who portrays Armstrong in the film, is practically emotionless.

In the beginning, we see the man he could be: a smile on his face, reading stories with his daughter, Karen, and playing in the yard.

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It Ain’t Easy Being a Fan of Yeezy

Fan Of YeezyOpinions, we all have them.

However, imagine your thoughts plastered on the next headline.

Better yet, imagine millions of people idolizing you for your artistic form only to stop listening because of that opinion.

Kanye West finds himself in this situation more often than not.

West is no stranger to fuming critics and paparazzi with a lack of understanding for personal space.

A recent appearance on SNL, on Sept. 29, has shaken up fans and viewers, even actor and comedian Pete Davidson went as far to say that he left the scene, “in order to keep his career.”

The rapper made an appearance on the late-night comedy show and performed a series of chart-toppers from his new album Ye, such as “Ghost Town” in collaboration with Kid Cudi and his hit single “I Love It” featuring Lil Pump.

At the end of the episode, West decided to make a spontaneous speech about his political views, which evoked a variety of reactions from the cast, most not being too agreeable.

West has made many daring statements lacking factuality, such as when he said slavery was a choice on May 4.

The artist’s political stance and patriotism for a president that some of his musical peers may not appreciate throws him into high water.

In spite of it all, West recently made an appearance at the White House to speak with President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

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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