Last updateMon, 10 Dec 2018 4pm


Oscars 2018: Picks and Predictions

Oscars 2018 1This Sunday, the biggest stars in Hollywood will come together under one roof to celebrate some of the greatest films in the past year.

There’s a competitive field stacked with talent, including The Shape of Water with 13 nominations and Dunkirk at 7.

But which films will take home the coveted gold statue?

My predictions are who I think will win the Oscar and my picks are the ones I would like to see win.

Best Picture:

Call Me by Your Name

Darkest Hour


Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Prediction: Three Billboards

Pick: Lady Bird

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Monmouth's World Cinema Series Presents: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

default article imageOn Thursday, Feb. 22 in Pollak Theater, students, faculty and members of the Monmouth community gathered for a screening of The Reluctant Fundamentalist as part of the World Cinema Series hosted by Thomas Pearson Ph.D., a professor of History and Anthropology.

The focus of this year’s World Cinema Series is on the roots, ethics and impact of global capitalism, which the film checked all the boxes for.

From Lahore, Pakistan to the United States, Changez Khan, played by Riz Ahmed, is chasing the American dream by working with a consulting firm on Wall Street.

However, with a culmination of events including 9/11 and a hostage crisis, Khan’s dream is put on hold.

Khan’s difficult journey tackles important issues such as corporations’ little care for employees, nationalism and prejudice, but with so much stuff happening it’s difficult to feel the weight of the messages.

The consulting firm Khan works for sends their employees to different companies to assess how they can better maximize company or shareholder wealth.

If you work at a company and see Khan walk through workplace, you may have to look at the classifieds during your lunch break.

Although Khan is helping companies gain profits by suggesting different approaches to conducting their business, it comes at the price of people losing their jobs.

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The World Only Spins Forward Book Review

World Only Spins ForwardThe World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America was released on Feb. 13,  and is just as sprawling and emotional as the play it focuses on. 

Described as an ‘oral history’ of Angels in America, which will be opening on Broadway on March 25 after transferring from the National Theatre in London, it tells the story of the show’s inspiration, creation, and production, as well as describing the societal, historical, and cultural contexts at the time of the show’s creation and following productions. 

Co-authored by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois, the book includes stories from playwright Tony Kushner, members of various productions – including the upcoming Broadway production, the original production, and several different versions in between.

Arranged chronologically, it shows how a play can be in flux and constantly be being changed, even though it was first produced 25 years ago. 

Described as “a play that redefined what theatre could be” by the Washington Post, Angels in America tells the story of six characters, including President Donald Trump’s former mentor Roy Cohn, during the AIDS epidemic. Throughout The World Only Spins Forward, different actors describe their take on and portrayal of the characters, explaining why they chose to interpret the roles in certain ways.

Also included is commentary from reviewers and journalists who covered the AIDS epidemic, remarking on the evolution and importance of the play.

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More Tears Than Laughs in This Year's Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts

Oscar Nominated 1Usually when you go to the movie theater you sit down and strap in for the long haul. For about two hours you follow a character’s journey while crying, laughing, or holding your breath.

But can you feel the same way sitting through a film around 20 minutes long?

The task is daunting, but the best short films can make you feel like you’ve experienced a feature length film’s worth of information or emotion.

This year’s Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts from around the globe features more dramas than comedies, but each touches upon important subjects with messages that will last in one’s heart forever.


The Eleven O’Clock, 13 minutes, Australia

Those who work at psychological services on campus may get a kick out of this one. A psychologist meets with a patient who thinks he is a physcologist.

Director Derin Seale brings the only comedic piece of the bunch. The doctor and patient have a comical spat as they try to prove how the other person is not a psychologist.

When the two argue, it’s difficult to determine who is the doctor.

Each uses the same tricks in the book that psychologists are notorious for like, “what does this word mean to you?” and, “cross-examination.”

Their witty exchange packs in a good amount of laughs while taking a swipe at the profession.

Amidst the heavy material in the other four short films, The Eleven O’Clock is a nice reminder that not all films have to be dramatic for a point to be made.

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Your 2018 Guide to Music Festivals (That Aren't Coachella)

Music Festival 1Over the past decade, music festivals have evolved and gained a large following. The list has expanded greatly and there is no way our wallets or our calendars can conquer them all.

It seems as though Californian music festival, Coachella, is on everyone’s musical bucket list.

It’s no surprise, considering it has been named one of the best Music Festival’s by USA Today.

By no means am I hating on Coachella— trust me, I would jump through hoops to be able to hit the Californian dessert, be among celebrities in the crowds, and ride the notorious ferris wheel.

However, the cost of tickets could cost you an arm and a leg; that doesn’t even include the plane ticket, accommodations, and transportation.

For us East-coast kids to spend the weekend at Coachella, it would be the same amount as a Bahamas all-inclusive 5-day getaway.

The breakdown potentially goes like this:

A round trip from Newark airport to LAX for that weekend goes for $404—without luggage. Then, according to Coachella’s website, general passes started at $429. According to TIME Magazine you can be prepared to spend an average of $70 on a shuttle from LAX to the festival and $590 on a mid-range hotel which covers a 2 night stay.

Ladies and gents, your grand total is: $1,493.

After exploring TicketMaster’s “Festivals” tab, there are, luckily, several music festivals in the tri-state area that are more affordable and equally entertaining.

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Asbury Park: The Center of New Jersey's Music Scene

Asbury Park NJ Music Scene 1Asbury Park has become home to New Jersey’s local music scene; the town has even adopted “Where Music Lives” as its slogan.

Through its multitude of venues, as well as recording studio space, NJ artists are being given more opportunities than ever before to enter the music industry close to home.

Asbury Park’s historical venue, “The Stone Pony,” is known for launching legendary careers, particularly those of New Jersey natives; names such as Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi ring a bell, i’m sure.

Currently, The Stone Pony is looking to find New Jersey’s next “big act” through its “Rock to the Top 2018” (RTT) competition.

According to The Stone Pony’s website, local bands can enter the competition by submitting their information to

The venue’s website explains, “Ten bands will be in each showcase, with the top three from each show moving on to the semifinal round.”

The details continued, “Three bands from each of the three semifinal rounds will then become finalists in the big showdown, the RTT Finals.”

According to the criteria on the venue’s site, if a band reaches the Rock to the Top Finals, its members will have the chance to win the first place prize of $2,500 in cash, a headlining show at The Stone Pony, and other career-moving promotional services.

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Darkest Hour Shines Bright

Darkest Hour Shines BrightIt’s May of 1940 and Great Britain is in its Darkest Hour. Thousands of British troops are pinned on the beaches of Dunkirk, where the Nazi forces are attacking by the land, sea and air.

Meanwhile, the Nazis are steamrolling through Western Europe by taking over countries such as France, Belgium, Holland and others.

In a time where people look to their leaders, there seems to be no hope. The incompetent Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is encouraging peace talks with the Nazis, but we all know how loyal dictator Adolf Hitler is.

Then, on May 10th, the course of history changed when Great Britain elected Winston Churchill as Prime Minister.

Right from his first day in office, Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, must make difficult choices that have historical consequences.

How will Churchill save the immobilized troops in Dunkirk? Also, will Churchill cave to the Nazis’ “peace treaty?”

Churchill’s colleagues try to sway him to fulfill their party’s desires, but the Prime Minister acts in the best interests of Great Britain.

Although the subject of Dunkirk is recycled for the third time in a year, Darkest Hour still gives the audience a fresh story as to how Churchill handled the high stakes. It’s nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Gary Oldman’s performance.

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I, Tonya Brings Home the Gold

I Tonya GoldIt takes the country by storm for one week every four years and we never hear about it outside of that time frame.

No, I’m not talking about an update on Bob Barker’s health, a New Year’s resolution to get back on the treadmill, the anxious wait for a new Carly Rae Jepsen album or Joel Embiid’s availability to play twenty-minutes of a basketball game.

Figure skating dominates the major television channels for a brief moment and holds all boyfriends across the country hostage in their girlfriend’s living room. Although some boyfriends might be chained to the living room couch, there’s plenty to appreciate about the sport.

The skaters glide on the ice, gracefully place their feet one in front of the other, lift their bodies high in the air, spread their arms out like the medal is in reach and elegantly nail the landing; triumphant classical music plays in the background.

As gracious as figure skating may sound, it takes hours of hard work and dedication to master. But what happens when dedication goes too far?

Tonya Harding, played by Margot Robbie, was a figure skater who started at the age of four.

Her mother, played by Allison Janney, is a toxic and abusive intimidator who forces her daughter to pour everything she has onto the ice.

At fifteen, Tonya meets her husband, played by Sebastian Stan, who also torments the figure skater with punches to the face and pushes at the wall every day.

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Kylie Jenner Wins the Super Bowl: Confirms Pregnancy Rumors with Birth Announcement

Kylie Wins Super Bowl1After nine long months out of the spotlight, Kylie Jenner, 20, reveals the reason why she was missing-in-action from the public eye and social media.

She went from sharing every detail of her life and body to leaving her posts infrequent and vague.

Little did we know, Jenner was preparing for the “role of a lifetime” of being called “Mom”

Her healthy daughter was born on Feb. 1, at 4:43 p.m.

She broke the news first with an Instagram post which, in summary, states that she was sorry for not including her fans in this journey with her and not addressing the speculation and rumors upfront.

Jenner then said that she knew she had to deal with this situation the “only way she knew how;” which, ultimately, was by being out of public view because it could cause both her and the baby stress.

Her full post can be found at the bottom of this column along with a photo of her during her pregnancy.

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"Hostiles" Has True Grit

HostilesStarring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi.


Somewhere out in the desolate deserts of America stands a tombstone that reads, “The American Western: 1903 to the 21st century.” 1903’s The Great Train Robbery marked the beginning of an era where audiences lined up to see cowboys gun down foes under the great big sky, but it’s hard to pinpoint when the genre officially died.

There have been unsuccessful attempts to revitalize it throughout the past eighteen years.

A notorious example is 2013’s The Lone Ranger that had a budget of $375 million and flopped by earning only $260.5 million when the dust settled.

With those results it’s clear: westerns have steered clear of people’s interest.

And why would audiences be interested in westerns today anyway?

Marvel has been spitting in the genre’s spittoon over the past decade with glittery CGI action and cash cow franchises.

Today, no one has the endurance to appreciate the stripped down grit of westerns, which is why audiences might overlook Hostiles.

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"The Shape of Water" Drowns in a Cliche Plot

The Shape Of WaterStarring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg


At Nino’s Pizzeria, there was a large fish tank towards the back where customers could admire the beauty of salt water creatures. From yellow tangs to clown fish, I’d find myself gazing at them in the background rather than staring at an empty plate waiting for the sicilian pie to come out. Over the years, the number of fish have dwindled. The beauty that was once nestled in the back is now filled with a bunch of bottom feeders hiding in the pebbles.

There’s a special connection we can feel with the creatures who swim around in the water. Sure they don’t talk much or play fetch, but their presence is missed when they’re gone. I may have liked the fish that swam around in the tank, but Eliza Esposito, played by Sally Hawkins, has taken her admiration for amphibians a little too far.

Eliza is a mute who works as a cleaning lady at a top secret government laboratory. She has a couple of friends in her support group, but Eliza is a single and lonely woman. While cleaning one of the facilities in the laboratory, scientists bring in a creature for observation. Although the scientists mistreat the creature, Eliza sparks a connection with it. The creature does not see the faults in Eliza many others may judge her for; he sees Eliza for who she is.

The Shape of Water holds the most Oscar nominations this year at thirteen. The nominations include Best Picture, Best Actress for Sally Hawkins, Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer, Best Supporting Actor for Richard Jenkins, and Best Director for Guillermo del Toro.

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The Outlook
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Room 260, 2nd floor

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

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