Last updateWed, 14 Oct 2020 1pm


Coheed and Cambria Ascends to New Heights

coheed-and-cambria2Although Coheed and Cambria’s freshly released sequel album in The Afterman series might be labeled Descension, this musical composition is proving to be far from a decline.

Coheed and Cambria, composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Claudio Sanchez, lead guitarist Travis Stever, drummer Josh Eppard, and bassist Zach Cooper, is recognizable to many and is usually found as a curious oddity amongst the wide span of musical libraries.

Despite their beginnings in 1995 as metal-headed rock group with pop-punk habituals, the band seems to have finally found a stable identity as a progressive rock group in their Afterman project and is flying high as a result.

Things were not always as positive as they are currently for Coheed. They were initially thought to have reached the glass ceiling with their hit 2005 record Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness and with the assistance of chart-topping singles such as “Welcome Home,” “Ten Speed (Of Gods Blood and Burial),” and “The Suffering.” Through critical opinion the band fell down with their following two albums, appearing to have run out of creative compositions with the 2010 release Year of the Black Rainbow. But with The Afterman, Coheed appears to be setting aside any past inhibitions and melodic faux pas.

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Warm Bodies Heats Up Theaters

warm2While movies and television have lately been plagued with the apocalyptic and zombie genres, few have really delved into the mind and emotions of the flesh-eating monsters. Rarely are the movies or shows ever written from their point of view, and they hardly ever have a zombie romance.

However, Warm Bodies, written and directed by Jonathan Levine, seems to have created a genre of its own-meshing together romantic comedy and zombie-horror in a clever way.

The zombies are not portrayed as the villains per se, but rather  are victims of a plague in limbo between their former human lives and their ultimate demise. The film is narrated by R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie, whose only memory of his human life is that his name began with an R.

During a routine feeding on some of the few humans who have survived the mysterious zombie-causing epidemic, R meets Julie and becomes immediately drawn to her after eating her boyfriend’s brains (romantic, huh?). R then adopts some of the late boyfriend’s memories with Julie and is inclined to protect her.

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Peter’s Picks: Video Games Coming in 2013

Bioshock-Infinite-previewGamers, we’ve finally made it to 2013, and now that we’ve gotten that whole ‘Mayan apocalypse’ thing out of the way, it’s time for us to shift our focus towards an exciting, interesting, and impressive looking year for video games.

There’s no doubt about it: this year will bring about some exciting advancements to the world of video games, as it seems that the next generation of consoles is right around the corner.

Both Sony and Microsoft plan to unveil their newest consoles at some point this year, and this also happens to be the first full year for Nintendo to prove the might of its latest console, the Wii U.

But while we can speculate and debate about the future these three new devices all we want, there’s a much more vital question to address first: how many games can we look forward to playing this year? The short answer: quite a bit, actually.

The video game industry is known for many of its high profile titles being sequels and reboots and, for better or worse, 2013 looks no different. With games like God of War: Ascension for PlayStation 3, Gears of War: Judgment for Xbox 360, and countless other titles like Dead Space 3, Dark Souls 2, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Tomb Raider, and TWO Metal Gear games on the way, it seems like nearly every major video game series of the past few years is making a return to the limelight.

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Lumumba Enlightening Yet Tragic

LumumbabaThe Provost Film Series screened their second movie, Lumumba, on Monday, January 28, in Pollak Theatre.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Thomas S. Pearson hosted the event. The 2012-2013 Provost Film Series focuses on the theme of African Journeys: Haunting Legacies, Fragile Futures.

Lumumba tells the story of Patrice Lumumba, an ambitious leader whose powerful words were a threat to those who opposed his vision of an independent Congo from Belgium in 1960. It’s a tragic yet inspiring historical film surrounding one visionary man and country that received its independence 50 years too soon.

“I think tonight’s film could not be more timely,” Pearson said as he introduced the movie. He discussed the plot of the film along with topics of racism and colonial independence in today’s world.

Lumumba was packed with oppressive violence and an inspiring story told in a non-linear structure. Economic, social and cultural issues within the territories of the Congo were brought to light and the film touched on the themes of love and devastation.

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The Music of 1940’s comes to Pollak

1940Pollak Theater had a full house on Sunday when audiences came for a 1940s music revue, In the Mood. The revue has come to the University every year for the last three or four years, making it an annual event. The sold out show even had to add extra chairs as general admission seats to meet the demand for tickets.

The show took the audience back to the year 1940 and asked audience members to turn off all their electronics because, “They were not invented when this show takes place, and they are annoying. We’d also like you to take this time to unwrap anything in cellophane, which was invented during this time period, but is also annoying.”

The show had The String of Pearls Orchestra, a 13 piece band, playing with six singers and dancers. Each orchestra member got their own solo throughout the night and even contributed their voices to a couple songs. Each of the six singers and dancers got to show off their talents with both song and dance solos.

Unfortunately, the singers were sometimes hard to hear over the big band orchestra. However, their high notes were loud and clear all the way in the back of Pollak Theater.

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A Dark Fairytale Disappoints

Do you ever wonder what happens to fairy tale characters after the endings of their stories? “And they all lived happily ever after, the end” is a sweet little wrap-up for small children, but as I have grown older, I have become dissatisfied with this unrealistic sentence. I find myself wondering if Cinderella divorced her Prince Charming after finding him cheating with another, fairer princess, taking half of his money and shacking up with another prince half her age. The perfect world of fairy tales and children’s stories never appealed to me because they do not reflect what the world really is: imperfect and, sometimes, not so happy

So when I saw a preview for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a dark and violent extension on the classic Grimm children’s story, I felt compelled by curiosity to see it. Finally, a real-world (well, besides the witches) sequel to a classic fairy tale! There are no breadcrumbs leading the two little German children home to their perfect families and a happy-ever-after in this film.

Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are abandoned in the woods by their parents, only to wander into the candy-crafted home of a hungry witch hell-bent on devouring the two children. After stuffing Hansel full of enough candy to give him diabetes (literally, his “sugar sickness” is a recurring character flaw throughout the film), the witch is stabbed and burned to death by an angry Gretel. The two children never see their family again, and spend their lives hunting down and killing every witch they can find, due to their mysterious immunity to black magic.

I was excited to see the movie for a number of reasons. First, I love profanity, violence and disturbing plot twists in films. What that says about my psyche, I don’t know, but I cannot turn down watching a nice bloodbath on the silver screen. As for disturbing plot, two innocent little kids who get lost in the woods spend the rest of their lives on a cold-blooded killing spree, using futuristic weapons like tasers and automatic pistols to brutally murder practitioners of the occult? I’m sold.

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Snow Means New Shows: Midseason Television Brings Hits and Flops

newshowsMidseason television is, for lack of better term, a crapshoot. Sometimes viewers get fantastic, long running cult favorites (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and other times viewers scratch their heads wondering how certain shows get the green light (these shall remain forgotten). This season is no different.

Plenty of actors will be getting six degrees closer to Kevin Bacon on “The Following” (FOX, Mondays at 9 pm). This is probably the most buzzed about show this winter, but is it actually good? The pilot was actually really fantastic. Bacon stars as a former FBI agent who is called back to duty after a serial killer he originally caught has broken out of jail. The killer is concise and organized, planning every kill to relate to Edgar Allen Poe’s works. He isn’t working alone anymore though. He has developed a cult-like following on the internet. The thriller pushes boundaries for blood on network television. Be prepared to cringe. The acting is fantastic as is the writing. Kevin Williamson proved his knack for writing mystery with “The Vampire Diaries” and he brings that talent to “The Following.” It’s fast paced and creepy. It’s definitely worth watching.

“The Carrie Diaries” (The CW, Mondays at 9 pm) also has a lot of buzz but is not really worth the hype. The teen drama is a spinoff of the HBO hit “Sex and the City.” Viewers get to know Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) in 1980s Connecticut as she deals with her mother’s death and gets an internship in New York City at a law firm. The book series by Candace Bushnell are bestsellers, but the show falls flat. It’s missing the wit and snark of the original series, which is surprising since Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (“The O.C.” and “Gossip Girl”) are executive producing. Also, there is a slight issue where the original series stated that Carrie’s father abandoned her and her mother when she was four, and the prequel series portrays him as a supportive single parent. The acting is better than usual for a CW show, but unless they figure out how to pick up the pace of both the plot and the dialogue, this spinoff will sink fast.

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Beating the Odds with Jon Kilik

jonkilikShortly before the winter commencement on January 18, 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Jon Kilik, the producer of The Hunger Games as well as 40 other major motion pictures, including The Limits of Control, Babel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Miracle at St. Anna.

Kilik is known for producing films that focus on giving voice to groups or people that otherwise have none. As such, his work tends to have passionate social or political themes. He had come to campus to deliver the Winter Commencement address as well as to receive an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts.

When asked what inspired him to produce The Hunger Games, Kilik said that one of his friends, the director Gary Ross, had children who read the books. Ross recommended Kilik read them, and Kilik found them to be very enjoyable. Ross was looking to direct another film, and since he’d worked with Kilik on Pleasantville, they decided to team up once again. 

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The Best of Both Worlds

bestofbothworldsWhen a popular piece of media gets remade, there’s a fine line that all design teams must be wary of. The makers of the reimagining have to create something that captures the spirit and entertaining qualities of the original, but still make it different enough that it doesn’t seem like an exact replica.

A lot of people didn’t think Ninja Theory would succeed in their reboot of Devil May Cry, but many were surprised when the new game hit shelves and blew them away- myself included.

The remade version of the original hack-and-slash game features a new Dante, the son of Sparda, a demon knight who saved humanity from his own kind. The son of the demonic general and twin to his katana-wielding twin brother, Vergil, Dante is now also the son of the angel, Eva. This is a huge difference, considering that the original Dante’s mother was human.

With his parents gone, Dante must team up with his brother to free the human race from the clutches of Mundus, the demon king.

For those of you who haven’t seen the trailers for this game, DmC takes place in the fictional location of Limbo City, the home of Mundus. The original Devil May Cry games typically took place in gothic castles or cities that had been corrupted by the ‘demon-world’.

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Country Star Shines at the MAC

entertainment-martina-mcbrideAs the holidays inch closer and closer, I’ve been in my room grinching away with my pup. In a desperate attempt to cheer myself up, I went to the Martina McBride “Joy of Christmas” Tour (which involves 16 charity performances) this past Sunday night. Did her cheerful and upbeat collection of Christmas beats make my heart grow three times its size? Realistically, no, as that would lead to a boatload of medical problems.

McBride has been awarded “Top Female Vocalist” by the Academy of Country Music three times and received “Female Vocalist of the Year” from the Country Music Association four times. She is a Grammy-winning artist who has sold more than 18 million albums throughout her career.

Emotionally, I’d say it got me feeling considerably better. I was very happy to hear that the concert donated five dollars for every ticket sold to the New Jersey Hometown Heroes, a group dedicated to helping those devastated by Hurricane Sandy. They were founded in 2008 to support families facing sudden crises, and they’ve been a major presence in the past few weeks, though they also help the elderly, the disabled and victims of domestic abuse regardless of natural disasters.

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Peter’s Top 10 Albums of the Year

As finals week approaches and winter break comes within arm’s reach, it’s clear that 2012, and potentially the world as we know it, is coming to a close. With the end of the year approaching, I’d like to reflect on some of my favorite music releases from the past year.

While there have been many albums this past year that I obsessed over and played to exhaustion, I narrowed it down to 10 albums that really left a strong impression on me. Give these albums a chance if you’ve missed any of them this year.

1. Cloud Nothings, “Attack on Memory”: In what is easily my favorite album of 2012, the Cleveland rock band Cloud Nothings add some serious muscle and grit to their previously scrappy sound, resulting in a hefty album of raucous yet surprisingly catchy post-hardcore. From the moody opener “No Future/No Past,” to the harrowing epic “Wasted Days,” to the infectious pop punk of “Stay Useless,” Cloud Nothings manage to put together equal amounts of angst, passion, and hooks to create a masterpiece, in all of its loud, soar-throated glory.

 2. Mount Eerie, “Clear Moon / Ocean Roar”: Though a “singer-songwriter” by nature, Phil Elverum, who records atmospheric folk music  as Mount Eerie, uses his songwriting abilities to try and capture the majestic yet powerful essence of nature, while simultaneously searching for his place among it. His two back-to-back releases this year, in this sense, act as something of a yin and yang: The soothing, graceful beauty of “Clear Moon” both matches and contradicts the feral brutality of “Ocean Roar.” Though they are separate releases, it’s hard to imagine the two without one another.

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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