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Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm

Entertainment

“Her” Redefines the Unconventional Love Story

OSCAR NOMINEE REVIEWS


Do not cross the line. This is the oldest story in the book. From the playground to the workplace, society has been advised to never cross the proverbial line. In an age where society is connected by a constantly evolving technology, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish where the line actually exists. In fact, where is this new line and have we crossed it yet?

Director Spike Jonez, fresh off the success of “Bad Grandpa”, works in tandem with costume designer Casey Storm and production designer KK Barret to create the world that Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Pheonix) lives in. While many would expect a future Los Angeles to resemble something similar to the style of “The Matrix”, Theodore’s planet is eerily similar to today’s world. The major difference between Theodore’s world and our own is the complete advancement of technology. It becomes apparent that in Theodore’s world, social interaction amongst humans has become obsolete.

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“Gravity” Soars Beyond Expectations

OSCAR NOMINEE REVIEWS


Outer space has always been characterized by the dichotomy of inexplicable beauty and overwhelming terror. Director Alfonso Cuarón depicts the great unknown as such in his Oscar-nominated film, “Gravity,” using innovative 3D technologies to take his audiences on an otherworldly adventure. The film’s cinematography (done by visual expert Emmanuel Lubezki) is arguably the best of 2013’s lineup and succeeds in establishing realism in an otherwise fantastical story.

“Gravity” begins with simple statements on a black screen, providing the viewer with textbook information about space before Cuarón drives his point home, delivering a 12-minute long panoramic view of the Earth. The shot is captivating and instills in onlookers a real sense of weightlessness.

For those who prematurely believe that the film is nothing more than astronauts floating in space, these opening scenes may not show much potential. But much like one of the film’s prevailing themes, it’s worth sticking around for the ride - especially when a nearby shuttle just exploded.

The debris is headed towards a US shuttle where two astronauts are in the middle of conducting research when they receive word from Houston about the impending collision. Matt Kowalski is the veteran of the duo, played with an off-beat reverence by George Clooney. With him on this routine mission is Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer played by Sandra Bullock, who has no previous experience in a space suit but a ton of emotional baggage.

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New HBO Series is “Looking” Good

“It’s San Francisco. It shouldn’t be so hard to meet cool people in this town,” said charming Patrick (Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff), who’s trying to find the right guy for him and figure out what has gone wrong on his search. This solidifies the focal point of HBO’s new series “Looking”: looking for love as a gay man in San Francisco. With his best friends by his side, looking is only the start of their journey for a happy ever after.

Set in modern day San Francisco, Patrick is a 29-year-old successful video game developer along with his two best friends Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) and Dom (Murray Bartlett). All three of them are gay and are trying to figure out their love lives. Patrick wonders where he goes mistaken, due to a history of bad dates. Dom is approaching his forties, is still single and is saddened how he can no longer attract younger men with ease. Agustín, with his boyfriend are exploring whether to be monogamous or not.

The pilot episode, “Looking For Now,” opens with Patrick having an erotic encounter with a stranger in a park because he is desperate for companionship and love. He soon realizes that this isn’t his style. He has just been invited to his ex-boyfriend’s bachelor party, which triggers emotions of loneliness and wonder. He begins to question his dating life. Dom is hung up on his ex and Agustín is experiencing minor growing pains with his boyfriend. Anybody and everybody can relate to them and certain experiences of these characters already, no matter what their sexuality is.

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Grammy Winners

And the winners are....

Record of the Year: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers

Album of the Year: “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk

Song of the Year: “Royals” by Lorde

Best New Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Rock Album: “Celebration Day” by Led Zeppelin

Best Alternative Music Album: “Modern Vampires of the City” by Vampire Weekend

Best Rap Album: “The Heist” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: “Holy Grail” by Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake

Best Pop Vocal Performance: “Unorthodox Jukebox” by Bruno Mars

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: KRISTI HUNT

Kristi Hunt is one of the newest artists to be welcomed into the Blue Hawk Records family. The music major’s love of music started as a child in Marlboro, NJ.

“I used to put on shows where I would sing and dance for my family. Once I started attending school I was always involved in choir and I haven’t stopped since,” Hunt said.

Hunt loves pop music, and she admires the heavyweights of the pop world. “I’ve always been drawn to pop music that has a vocalist with a huge range. I’ve always admired Christina Aguilera for her vocals... Since I was about six years old I always wanted to sing like her and emulate her. I’m so impressed by the power and range of her voice. She keeps me motivated to practice my butt off!” Hunt said.

The senior was lucky enough to be in Applied Music Industry II and Applied Music Industry III, the classes that started the University’s record label. This fall, Hunt decided to audition to be an artist on the label. Obviously, it went pretty well.

At the release party for the label’s latest compilation, Hunt performed her own music for the first time. Hunt said, “I’ve performed all over, but the release party in Plangere was the first time I ever performed my own music. I was really nervous because I did not know how it would be recieved by my peers but it ended up being so much fun. A lot of people seemed to enjoy it and I definitely want to do it again.”

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“The Hobbit” Sequel Succeeds

Peter Jackson’s second installment of J.RR. Tolkien’s novel, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” follows a group of dwarves on a mission led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage)to take back the lands that once belonged to the dwarves during their period of success, growth, and stability. Their homeland is demolished by the tyrannical dragon, Smaug (a CGI version of Benedict Cumberbatch) who uses his great size and strengths to destroy the land of Erebor, the kingdom of the Lonely Mountain, and acquire all its riches, leaving many slain.

Thorin, with the help of Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) the Grey Wizard, other dwarves, and Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), treks into the Lonely Mountain in order to find the arkenstone—one of his most prized possessions lost among the riches Smaug claims in the Lonely Mountain

The film is filled with tremendous detail from the character’s personalities, which reflects Tolkien’s literary eloquence. The actors work well with that detail in order to make the story come alive and capture the audience’s attention. The visual effects make the hunt for the arkenstone all the more dangerous with the inflections in light in the Lonely Mountain and the drastic changes in color. The changes in color and light exemplify the unsettling fears of all people under Smaug, including Thorin and his pack. It also serves as a simple means of representing Smaug’s malevolent nature.

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“The Wolf of Wall Street” is Howlingly Good

The American Dream can mean a lot of different things, but to Jordan Belfort, the titular “wolf” in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” it’s quite simple: Getting rich and living large. But how far can one push the American Dream before it becomes a nightmare?

This is what director Martin Scorsese explores in his latest opus, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a stylish, fast-paced, and completely unforgettable romp through the greatest and most ridiculous excesses to come out of Wall Street that speeds through its three-hour run time in a pristine Lamborghini.

Set in the late 80’s and early 90’s, when everyone seemed to want a bite of Wall-Street’s cheddar, “The Wolf of Wall Street” tells the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a stock broker who started his own firm called Stratton Oakmont with a bunch of scoundrels in Long Island, employed some more than shady business practices, and yes, got insanely, deliriously rich in the process.

It’s sort of a rags-to-riches story, as Belfort’s humble beginnings and naïve attitude in the film’s beginning greatly contrast the ruthless, hedonistic monster he’d grow into, but “riches” feels like an understatement. In fact, what “The Wolf of Wall Street” does best is highlight just how rich he is, from the enormous pool parties to yachts with helicopters attached to all of the drugs and women in the world, to really paint the portrait of a man on top of the world. But wait, how does that old adage go? Oh yeah, what goes up….

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Disney’s “Frozen” Melts Hearts

When “Frozen” was first advertised last year, I’ll admit I was skeptical of what Disney was trying to accomplish with this film. With the exception of “Tangled” and “Toy Story 3,” the past few years of Disney films have not been a portrayal of their best work. Yet, “Frozen” was a pleasant surprise that gave me that same giddy feeling as when I watched other classics like “The Little Mermaid” or  “Beauty and the Beast” as a child.

Disney’s “Frozen” is the story about two sisters, Elsa and Anna, in the fictional Kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa was born with magical powers that allow her to create snow and ice with the wave of her hand. One day while the sisters are playing as children, Anna is accidentally injured by Elsa’s power.

She is healed, but all memory of Elsa’s power is erased from her memory. Because of this incident, Elsa is forced to suppress her powers and emotions from everyone except her parents. This leads to Elsa giving Anna the cold shoulder as she shuts her sister out in order to prevent Anna from being injured again.

The movie jumps to when the girls are fully grown on Elsa’s coronation day. The emotional stress from this event causes Elsa’s power to be revealed, and then she is shunned by the local townspeople who deem her power as witchcraft.

This causes Elsa to unintentionally create an eternal winter as she runs and hides in the snowy mountaintops outside the kingdom. With the help of mountain man Kristoff, potential husband Prince Hans, and a live snowman named Olaf, Anna now must face the cold weather and sister to restore order to Arendelle. 

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: JPIFF

Earlier this semester, James Porricelli, also known as JP or JPiff, had an opportunity to perform a hip-hop set at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, the very venue where Bruce Springsteen earned his nickname “The Boss.”

Imagine looking out across a sea of people, all anxiously awaiting the musical compositions you’ve practiced repeatedly with angst and gusto, anticipating this very moment. But instead of looking in to the eyes of eager fans, your gaze cannot help but drift to the back wall that is covered in guitars autographed by notable musicians. Standing on the stage, you can feel the history that was created by artists such as Kiss, Cheap Trick, Jon Bon Jovi and Maroon 5. While the knowledge of playing in a legendary venue may give some stage fright, you’re more amped than ever.

Many artists forget the history of the club when they step on stage, but JP is serious about his music, so for him it is not just about having fun. After performing, JP stated, “...the whole time, my mind was just running down the list of all the famous people who’ve played there.” JP hopes this performance is just one in a slew that will lead him to eventually making a living from performing music like all of his Stone Pony predecessors.

Kyle Brendle, The Stone Pony house promoter, seems to believe that JP’s determination to keep improving will help him propel forward in the music industry, as he did during the battle of the bands performance. Brendle said, “JP ruled the Pony stage with great presence, the words flowed effortlessly and naturally. Determined and focused, new school hip-hop at its best, the crowd loved him.”

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Get Back in the Studio

If anything helped define the music landscape this year, it was the insane amount of high profile artist comebacks made throughout the year. From hugely popular artists like Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, and David Bowie to less popular (but no less important) music groups like My Bloody Valentine, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Boards of Canada, it seemed like nearly every artist any big music fan wanted to return to the scene either released an awesome new album or went on a big comeback tour.

Well, almost every artist. 2013 saw many huge comebacks in the world of music, but I still can’t help but think of a few more big names that haven’t reared their head in quite some time. Some of these artists haven’t released an album in decades, while others have often publicly decreed they’d never get back together, but after seeing so many big returns this year, it seems like just about anything is possible.

Will 2014 be the year these artists finally come out of hiding? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Outkast

Surprisingly, this one may have actually beaten me to the punch. Andre 3000 and Big Boi, the two distinct halves of hip hop’s most eccentric duo Outkast, have been unofficially defunct for close to decade now, with their last album, “Idlewild,” being released back in 2006. But word has it that the duo are set to make a big return in 2014, with strong rumors of a tour and headlining set at Coachella currently in the wings.

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Matisyahu Makes Music at Monmouth

Rapper Matisyahu played Pollak Theater on Dec. 5.

When Brooklynite Matthew Paul Miller first burst onto the international music scene in the early 2000s, he was not known as Matthew Paul Miller at all—instead, by his Hebrew name Matisyahu, as a Hasidic reggae superstar. In a little under a decade, from his 2005 “Live at Stubb’s” album to this year’s “Spark Seeker,” so much has changed in Matisyahu’s personal and professional life.

While he might have changed his sound (“[Spark Seeker] is definitely pushing the boundaries of what I’ve done before,” he said.) and traded in his long beard and yarmulke for a clean shave and short, graying locks, one thing has remained the same along the way—his mission to provide youth of all backgrounds with interesting, inspirational music.

Matisyahu’s acoustic event, presenting his fourth studio album at Pollak Theater, was a testament to this. Humbly seated on a stool, armed with a microphone, and accompanied by a thumping bass, finger-picking acoustic guitar, and cello, Matisyahu delivered a powerful blend of reggae, hip-hop, and rock to the crowd for two hours. As if this mix were not distinct enough, he managed to make an incredible display of beatboxing for prolonged periods of time and at varying speeds through a majority of the set list.

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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