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Entertainment

A 17th Century Play with Timeless Value

No matter when you were born, whether you like or don’t like theater, you probably know the name ‘William Shakespeare’. He is arguably the greatest playwright of all time, and his works are very well known, but are his works are still relevant?

The University’s honor school recently sponsored a trip to see Shakespeare’s Henry V at the Two River Theater Company. Honor students, especially those in the first year clusters, were allowed to attend free of charge.

Kevin Dooley, Dean of the Honors School, felt this was a very important experience for the students, especially in today’s political climate. “Political dramas always have the same themes of intrigue, revenge and justice, whether we’re talking about Henry V or Julius Caesar,” Dooley said. “Good literature has many layers. Shakespeare wrote for the comman man and expressed very human themes.”

The play is about King Henry the Fifth’s fight to become the rightful heir of France. Though he is already the King of England, he can lay claim to the French throne since some of his ancestors had been French nobles. He’s also coerced to go to war by the Catholic Church, who would make a large financial contribution to support the war if Henry pursues the French throne, but that is only because they want to distract him from passing a new law that requires the church to give up much of its money and land to the crown.

Jeffrey Jackson, assistant professor of English, particularly enjoys the timelessness of this play. “With Henry V, you also have a play about the role war plays in our overall perception of a leader, an issue that remains timely and controversial. During World War II, the play was celebrated for its patriotism in the face of Nazism’s threat. We’re a little more ambivalent about war now, especially when it’s seen as bolstering a ruler’s power or popularity, so the play continues to hit a nerve. Henry V is the story of the young, wastrel son who is forced to grow up when he inherits the throne and does so through war: I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere down the road we get an adaptation set in the Bush-Cheney White House!” said Jackson.

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Strong Characters Dominate Red Dawn

Movies with as many explosions as Red Dawn are not supposed to make me want to cry. Yet that’s what happened with this movie. This is an action flick with a lot of heart and it exceeded my expectations.

The film depicts a small town in Washington that has just been invaded by North Korea. A group of young adults escape capture and form a retaliation team known as the Wolverines. The Wolverines don’t blow everything up simply for fun (though they have a lot of awesome explosions). These teenagers are fighting for their lives and their country.

They follow Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth), a marine on leave from Iraq. Jed teaches his brother Matt (Josh Peck) and his friends how to be soldiers. Hemsworth is fantastic as a jaded marine. He immediately goes into soldier mode when their town is attacked, and he keeps his emotional brother Matt in check. Matt thinks more with his heart than his head, and, as high school quarterback, he isn’t used to having someone else call the shots.

As Matt, Peck has a lot of dramatic material to work with. It’s easy to have doubts about casting him in a dramatic role, since he’s most known for his roles in Nickelodeon comedies such as “Drake and Josh”. As it turns out, Peck can bring on the tears just as well as the laughter. He is really the character that has the more emotional role in this film. While Jed puts up a cold, stoic front due to his training, Matt reacts with sorrow and anger to the ones he loves being killed or captured, much like anyone would.

However, Peck is kind of shoved in the corner of the movie poster. He really carries the movie just as much as Hemsworth, but it seems like advertisers thought that the newfound fame and success of Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson would bring in more viewers. It’ll be very disappointing for any teenage girls on Team Peeta who discover that Hutcherson’s part as Robert is rather minor.

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Award Winning Writer Inspires Hawks

entertainment-meena-alexanderMeena Alexander, internationally renowned poet and scholar, spoke at the University on Tuesday, October 16 as part of the Visiting Writers series. A huge crowd filled the Wilson Auditorium with students, faculty and members of the surrounding community.

Alexander, who was raised in India and Sudan, currently lives and works in New York City, though she taught at several universities in India prior to that.

She earned her PhD in romantic literature from Nottingham University at the age of 22. She is currently a distinguished professor involved with the Masters of Fine Arts degree in creative writing program at Hunter College and the English PhD program at the City University of New York graduate center. 

According to her website, “She is the author of six volumes of poetry including Illiterate Heart (winner of the PEN Open Book Award), Raw Silk and Quickly Changing River. She is the editor of The Everyman Library’s Indian Love Poems. She has written the acclaimed autobiography Fault Lines (picked by Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of the year) as well as two novels, one of which is Nampally Road (A VLS Editor’s choice).”

She has also been given the 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award in Literature from the South Asian Literary Association.

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American Horror Story: Asylum Delivers Tricks & Treats

entertainment-american-horror-storyIf you’re in need of a good scare, blood or kinky sex, you’ll be happy to know that American Horror Story returned to FX last week. The thriller has adapted an anthology format, meaning each season will be one self-contained story. A different season means different characters, places and stories (but expect some of the same actors). This season, aptly subtitled Asylum, focuses on Briarcliff Manor, a mental institution in the 1960s.

The show opens with present day newlyweds Leo (Adam Levine) and Teresa (Jenna Dewan Tatum) entering the abandoned asylum on the last stop of their honeymoon. The trip included visiting the 12 most haunted places in America and having sex in each.

After they realize that Briarcliff is legitimately haunted, the show flashes back to 1964. Kit Walker (Evan Peters) is committed after supposedly killing and skinning numerous people, including his wife. However, he can’t remember murdering anyone; he only remembers aliens probing him.

AsAmerican Horror Storydid with their first season, they have tons of subplots that are incredibly interesting but hard to track. The subplot involving a reporter investigating the asylum but quickly getting herself committed was predictable.

However, other plotlines are much more mysterious. What lives in the woods and needs to be fed every night? What is Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) doing to patients without family that causes them to die suddenly? Every character has a storyline, each one more enigmatic than the last.

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Heavenly Howls Heard at The Saint

entertainment-sea-wolfMonmouth County is full of legendary venues; few of those places, though, have the charm and renown of The Saint. This bar is considered the center of the local music scene. Nationally recognized bands, from Lifehouse and Red Wanting Blue to Sick Puppies, Creed and Incubus, come to perform here as well, often for a price that you just can’t beat.

Upon entering The Saint, I was immediately struck by the classic rock-venue décor. It’s a throwback to the era where the music scene was all that people talked about. The walls are lined with posters of the artists that have played there. It’s spacious enough to give everyone room to breathe, but it has a feeling of closeness- of people being brought together by the singular love of great live music.

That’s not to mention their state-of-the-art equipment. A full soundboard, stage and professional lighting bring the quality of a venue that should cost upwards of 100 dollars- but the tickets are typically no more than 15.

As part of their recent tour, Sea Wolf, along with Hey Marseilles performed at The Saint on Tuesday, November 16 alongside a local band called Underwater Country Club, 

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On Screen, In Person: Runaway

entertainment-on-screen-in-personThis last session of On Screen, In Person was the film Runaway directed by Amit Ashraf. This popular event took place in Wilson Auditorium on October 15. It was a great film that gave this reviewer and the audience multiple viewpoints.

Student Tara Cooney said the film was “enjoyable” while student Kevin Kaisian thought the film was “better than expected,” and the ending was a “crazy twist.”

“Enjoyable” might not be the word; “disturbing” was more appropriate, a word that even Professor Demirjian, the host of the presentation, used to describe the ending. Ashraf sought to show that evil can get away and he got his point across. 

Right away the audience is thrown into the film without any exposition about what is going on and who we are supposed to be paying attention to. It’s jarring, but so is the film, and it’s all the better for it.

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Batman Producer Michael Uslan Honored at Founder's Day

batman_headline_imageThe University recently had the honor of awarding the world’s first doctorate in fine arts with a special concentration in comic book literature to Michael Uslan, executive producer of every major Batman movie since 1989. Uslan delivered the convocation address at the University’s 79th founders day ceremony.

He also took time to speak with students beforehand, and autographed copies of his autobiography, “The Boy Who Loved Batman”, after the ceremony.

David Knotts, business management major, thought Uslan was a great inspiration. “It’s interesting to see how somebody who wasn’t involved with filmmaking got there by a different path,” said Knotts.

Uslan is a native New Jersey resident who grew up in Ocean Township, in Monmouth County. He got his start reading comic books, but really broke out into the industry when he began teaching comic book folklore, while pursuing his undergraduate degree at the University of Indiana. It was the first course to seriously discuss comic books in contemporary society.

His course, “The Comic Book in America,” dealt with the mythology, anthropology, psychology, and thought processes behind how a comic book is made and how it be became popular. This course brought him significant fame-eventually leading to him being contacted by Stan Lee.

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Coheed and Cambria’s “The Afterman: Ascension” Fails to Rise Up

coheedWhether you worship them or can’t get past the singer’s highpitched voice, there’s one thing that’s undeniable: Coheed and Cambria are one of the most unique rock bands to achieve any sort of mainstream success.

With sprawling, science fiction themed concept albums and a sound that marries elements of progressive rock, post-hardcore, and heavy metal, Coheed and Cambria’s ambitions have pushed them past the point of being a typical rock band, with fantastic albums like “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” and “Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness” operating on a level of epic that most bands only dreaming of ever reaching.

Recently, however, Coheed have been falling somewhat short of delivering these ambitions in the ways that they used to. With their last album, 2010’s “Year of the Black Rainbow”, contained some good ideas but ultimately falling short of the majesty of their previous releases.

However, with news of a planned double album known as “The Afterman” to be released in two thematically differing parts, there seemed to be hope that Coheed could once again reclaim their position as gods of epic scifi rock. Now that the first part, “The Afterman: Ascension,” has been released, does the album prove that Coheed are living up to this possibility?

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Ed Gallucci Comes to Pollak Gallery

gallucciEd Gallucci, a University alumnus and famous photographer best known for his photographs of Bruce Springsteen and Muhammad Ali, among other well-known names, visited the University on October 2. Many of Gallucci’s most famous works are on display in Pollak Gallery in an exhibit considered to be a companion piece to September’s Springsteen Symposium. It is open to the public. The photos on display include a reel of photos featuring Bruce Springsteen, taken in 1972, photographs of Muhammad Ali on a car ride with Gallucci, a few photos of Taj Mahal, and even a picture of John Madden. The gallery also hosted pictures of several other famous names who Mr. Gallucci photographed.

Gallucci was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947. Graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri, he majored in graphic design with a minor in photography. Despite it being his minor, photography became one of Ed Gallucci’s main passions.

As he saved money for the equipment he required for professional photography, Gallucci rode taxi cabs to and from work each day, taking photographs of people walking by. He mentioned that these photographs are some of his favorite shots because every person in each photo was in their natural state. No pre-setup was arranged for a photo shoot, no plans were created. He only photographs everyday life.

Gallucci never used flash when photographing his subjects, claiming that flash is a photographer’s prime enemy. Most of his photographs were shot in black and white, with color only being used sometimes when indoors.

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Prepare to be Taken... Again

TAKEN-2When released in theaters in 2008, Taken w as a b ox-office s mash. Audiences flocked to theaters to watch Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson (starring in the role of Brian Mills) mercilessly beat and kill dozens of European gangsters who planned on selling his kidnapped daughter into prostitution. The chilling phone conversation between Mills and the kidnapper, during which he ominously tells the man, “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you,” will undoubtedly become one of those classic clichéd action movie lines, to be quoted often, satirically or not, for generations to come.

The sequel, Taken 2, was released on October 5. It places Brian, his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), on a family vacation in Istanbul. The first half of the movie is primarily background – there is a lot of interaction between Brian and his family and a lot of dialogue revealing that he was not a very good father before his divorce from Lenore. The movie shows romance rekindling between Brian and Lenore, and a better relationship growing between him and his daughter. The sentimentality explored here is boring, but nevertheless important to the plot. After all, the movie needs to establish Brian as a human being before expecting the audience to care whether his family lives or dies.

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No Need to Fear this Impressive Game

It’s that time of the year when fear takes over. Horror and paranoia run rampant as the supernatural rule popular culture for the month. On that note, let’s look at Resident Evil 6, the supposed return to horror that fans of the series have been waiting for.

Resident Evil 6 is unique in that it attempts to please all of the fans of the series through its three different campaigns. For those of you who wanted a horror based adventure, Leon’s campaign was supposed to be your answer. If you wanted good solid action, Chris’s campaign delivered. Capcom even made Jake’s scenario similar to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis for those who wanted to be stalked by a giant tyrant.

I’m sorry to say, there isn’t much horror to be found in this game. If you were looking for the next action packed “kill everything in sight” entry, here you go.

The game sports highly detailed graphics and a superb musical score. They tend to get overlooked in favor of the action packed campaigns, but if you slow down you’ll notice a dramatic piece playing as the camera zooms out dramatically as you cross a narrow bridge over a burning building.

The story of the game is that a new virus, the C-virus, is being used by terrorists all over the world. In an attempt to slow down the new wave of terror, U.S. President Adam Benford was planning to reveal the American government’s involvement in the dreaded Raccoon City incident of 1998. Unfortunately the speech doesn’t go as planned when the president is turned into a zombie shortly beforehand.

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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