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Entertainment

Ghost Rider Fails to Seek Vengeance For a Sequel

Ghost Rider Sequel“It doesn’t matter how far you run. There are some demons you just can’t escape,” says Johnny Blaze, played by Nicolas Cage.

After sitting in the theater for about 45 minutes, I felt like I needed to escape this new demon after going through a disappointing experience watching Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (3D) directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank). I had high hopes for this sequel, but with the mediocre acting and some cheesy effects, my burning passion for a positive review was put out.

The story began with Johnny/Ghost Rider hiding out in Eastern Europe in an attempt to escape his struggle with the spirit of the Ghost Rider. As explained by Blaze at the start of the film, he was a stunt motorcycle rider who performed shows with his father.

After his father was stricken with cancer, the Devil offered to save his father for Johnny’s soul. The Devil held up his end of the bargain by curing Blaze’s father. However, he got killed in a motorcycle accident at his next show.

With Johnny having signed a contract for his soul, the Devil made him the Ghost Rider, a demon capable of numerous supernatural abilities.

While Johnny has been staying at an isolated area in Europe, a French monk named Moreau (Idris Elba) finds Johnny to ask for his help in locating Danny (Fergus Riordan) and Nadya (Violante Placido), a mother and son who are being hunted by a group of mercenaries led by

Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth from Limitless). In return, Moreau and his fellowship of monks can help free Johnny from the Ghost Rider curse.

As the Ghost Rider, Johnny can sense Danny’s whereabouts just as the boy has been captured by Carrigan, who is following orders from his boss Roarke (Ciarán Hinds), the Devil.

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Music and Theatre Arts Department is Working on Spring Musical

Typically when you try to contact anyone famous, they ignore you. If you’re Nicole Ricciardi, assistant professor of Music and Theatre Arts, they might get back to you immediately. At least that’s what happened when Ricciardi contacted Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz about doing the revised version of Working at the University this spring.

The original musical was written in 1978, making it a bit dated. It’s about how jobs affect and shape everyone’s lives, so the concept is still very much relevant. However, there were references and jobs that really don’t exist anymore. Ricciardi said, “I read it and I didn’t like it that much. I did some research and heard through the grapevine that Stephen Schwartz revised it, and that it had actually been produced last year in Chicago. […] On a whim I wrote to Stephen Schwartz and said this is the situation: I’ve committed to directing your show, I love the show, but I’d love to work on the newer version of the show.”

Schwartz’s office almost immediately contacted Ricciardi with much enthusiasm. They were completely on board with the idea of the revised version being performed at the University, but the revision wasn’t quite complete.

While it was performed in Chicago, that wasn’t necessarily the finished product. What Ricciardi was sent was sort of a mess. “[Schwartz’s office] warned me that they were going to send me a mess. I was so excited that I didn’t care. […] They literally photocopied the prompt book from the Chicago production and sent it to us without any explanation as to what a lot of things are. It’s like a puzzle: they took it apart, put it in a box, shook it up and sent it to us.”

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The Music and Voice of Whitney Houston Remembered

Voice of WhitneyPop icon, R&B soul singer and actress Whitney Houston passed away February 11, a day before the 54th Grammy Awards, in Beverly Hills, California, at 48 years old.

Clive Davis, the music mogul that originally signed Houston to a recording contract, still held his annual pre-Grammy show on the day of her death, telling audience members, “Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Houston’s memorial service took place this past Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey where her singing abilities first began to shine as a soloist of the junior gospel choir.

The funeral was invitation only, but was attended by celebrities like Davis, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and her Bodyguard co-star, Kevin Costner.

Houston leaves behind a legacy as a recording artist, being the only singer to have seven consecutive number one hits and the only female singer to have two albums reach multi-platinum in the same year, according to Recording Industry Association of America.

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Recalling the Best “Simpsons” Stories: The Most Memorable Episodes Out of 500

Recalling the BestWhether you like “The Simpsons” or not, this show has definitely left a footprint on our pop culture. I n certain ways, we can recall the most memorable jokes, stories, and overall hilarity featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and all the residents of Springfield even if one has only seen a few episodes.

With “The Simpsons” having reached their 500th episode, it seems like a good time for this mega-fan to review the series. Although I could go on and on about my favorite episodes, I’ve chose to narrow down my list by focusing on each family member, original stories, Halloween specials, and Springfield itself along with honorable (or d’ohonorable) mentions.

Favorite Homer Episode:

“Mr. Plow”

Among all the Homer episodes, the ones that stand out to me are when Homer leaves the Springfield Nuclear Plant to get a new job, and his career as a snow plow driver tops the l ist. N ot o nly d oes t his s tory highlight Homer’s idiocy (buying a snow plow at a car show when he was supposed to get something for Marge), but it demonstrates his spontaneity to just do whatever he wants regardless of consequences.

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Exposing Issues in Hip-Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes

Issues in Hip HopThe documentary Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes was screened on February 16 in Bey Hall’s H.R. Young Theater.

The event was hosted by Claude Taylor of the Communication Department and welcomed all University students and faculty to view the documentary and participate in a discussion.

The film screening was part of the University’s celebration of Black History Month, which continues to host events until the end of the month.

Directed by Bryon Hurt, the film thoroughly presented the deeper social issues that are apparent in hip-hop music, but often ignored. Within the opening moments of the documentary, film director and anti-violence activist Hurt identifies himself as a life-long hip-hop fan that is conflicted by the issues with the music he loves.

“The more I grew and the more I learned about sexism and violence and homophobia, the more those lyrics became unacceptable to me,” Hurt said in his introduction to the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.

Through interviews with hip-hop fans, rap artists, industry executives, and hip-hop culture experts, Hurt successfully exposes issues of masculinity, violence, representation of women, and homophobia within hip-hop music and the effect it has on society and, more specifically young black men.

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The Vow Promises to Shed Tears and Break Hearts

Vow PromisesTo no one’s surprise, it was mayhem at the movie theaters this past weekend as women of all ages dragged their significant others to see the sappiest new release, The Vow, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

A heartbreaking story inspired by true events, the film meets the standard expectations of a romantic drama by not leaving a dry eye in the house, including my own.

Just by judging the trailer and comparing the film to similar recent releases, one would think The Vow was a Nicholas Sparks film. This is ironic, since both Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams have starred in movies based on Sparks’ books like Dear John and The Notebook, respectively.

It’s a bit sad to admit that every time I watched a preview for the film (which has been running across my television screen since November), my eyes would instantly well up. How many motion pictures really can affect you that deeply, especially in a matter of two minutes?

Tatum and McAdams star as Leo and Paige, a newly married couple who seem to have the blissful, fairytale future ahead of them when a car accident wipes away the last five years of Paige’s life, including all recollection of her husband.

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On Screen In Person Presents the Challenge of Growing Up

Challenge of Growing UpMoney Matters, written and directed by Ryan Richmond, kick started the second set of movies in the On Screen In Person series on February 6 in Pollak Theatre. On Screen In Person is a traveling film series along the East Coast where filmmakers present their work and participate in Q&A’s with audiences.

This series is sponsored by the Department of Communication and the Center for the Arts. It is also funded by National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Touring Program.

Directors that have come to campus are: Nancy Kelly (Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives), Jim Hannon (Bethlehem), and Huey (In Good Time: The Piano Jazz of McPartland).

Chad Dell, Chair of the Department of Communication, welcomed a small crowd by saying, “I am really pleased you were able to come out tonight.” and introduced himself and Richmond. Richmond is an NYU Tisch School for the Arts graduate, and besides writing and directing, is “an accomplished cinematographer.” Dell said Richmond has worked on films like We The People, and his works have been screened in festivals like Sundance and Cannes.

Before the movie, Dell said Money Matters “started out as a short and [Richmond] expanded it.”

Money Matters is about teenager Monique Matters (Terri Abney), nicknamed “Money,” who is contemplating her life as she enters adolescence. She feels stuck and wishes to grow up, doing things like stuffing paper towels in her bra.

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Cherish the Ladies Brought the Sounds of Ireland to Campus

Ireland to CampusPollak Theatre hosted An Irish Homecoming last Friday night showcasing the many talents of all-woman Irish jig band, Cherish The Ladies, featuring Grammy-nominated vocalist Maura O’Connell.

The lobby was filled with people before the doors were open, families and friends sharing kisses and laughter, couples drinking coffee while conversing about their day as everybody waited anxiously for the doors to open.

There were a select few wearing green, sticking out like five leaf clovers. One elderly woman chose her Kelly green knit dress for the evening, everybody seemed overly excited for the concert.

Sam Tobias, of Matawan, is a jazz musician and had seen Cherish the Ladies perform at Pollak Theatre before, and fell in love with Irish music that night. He has since tried incorporating Irish music into his jazz playing.

“I’m very excited to see them again,” said Tobias. “I went through a phase where I started wearing an Irish cap and I spoke an Irish accent for a while. I probably will tonight after seeing them.”

After the doors were open and the auditorium was filled, Cherish the Ladies took the Kelly green stage and bandleader and flutist, Joanie Madden asked the crowd, “You ready for some Irish music?” The band leaps into their first song off their latest album Country Crossroads as Madden played a tin whistle, shaking her head in joy and stomping her feet, just as excited as everyone else for what the evening held. Within less than minute the audience couldn’t help but feel compelled to clap along.

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In The Mood Was a Toe-Tapping Trip to the Past

Toe Tapping TripI hadn’t even left the parking lot when I was knocking into elderly ladies in mink coats trying to hurry out of the cold and into the Pollak Theater Sunday, February 12 for In the Mood, a 1940’s musical revue.

Without the use of a time machine, the performances somehow managed to bring the audience back to an era of gramophones, black and white films, and music, music, music.

In the Mood was more than just a celebration of music and “crafting harmonies from heaven.” It paid homage to 1940’s America and acknowledged the memories of all the men and women of that period in history buried within all the silly and sentimental tunes performed in one evening.

The String of Pearls Orchestra, featured the talents of Bud Forrest, Tom Bupin and, Eric Harper in rhythm, Gene Thorne, Brian Hicks, Greg Armstrong and, Hal Fryer on saxophone, Dan Smith, Bob Garrett and, Bill Moore on trumpet, and Brad Bobcik, Art Swanson and Brandon Moodi on trombone.

The Orchestra, without missing a beat, performed a selection of arrangements made famous by bandleaders such as Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman.

In turn, the singers and dancers included ladies Jennifer Andrews, Elizabeth Baumgartner and Cori Cable Kidder, who also doubled as the Andrews Sisters for a few performances, and gentlemen Mark Brignone, AJ Converse and Tim Quartier, who served as soldiers.

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New FOX Series Can Be a Little Out of ‘Touch’

New FOXKiefer Sutherland (Jack Bauer on “24”) is making a surprisingly quick return to television. Most actors who finish an eight season television series might take a break or at least try to act in movies.

Yet, Sutherland will be returning to your screen March 19 on FOX after deciding the sci-fi drama “Touch” was just too good to let someone else have. Why was it so appealing to him? After watching the pilot, your guess is as good as mine.

The show revolves around a single man, Martin (Sutherland), and his 11-year-old son, Jake (David Mazouz). His wife was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11, leaving him to raise his son alone.

Jake has been diagnosed as autistic as well as mute and does not interact with anyone. Jake will not let anyone touch him, not even his own father. He spends his time writing numbers in books and playing with cell phones that Martin brings home from the lost and found at his job. Jake often escapes from his care providers and climbs up cell towers.

After one too many adventures up the cell tower, child services is called to check up on Martin and Jake, and decide if Jake should be institutionalized. Martin doesn’t think his son is crazy. He finds a website from an institute that claims that humans with advanced intelligence are often mistaken as being autistic.

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University Alumni Rocks With Karmic Juggernaut

Karmic JuggernautLocal psychedelic progressive rock band Karmic Juggernaut tore up The Press Room in Asbury Park during their show last Friday night. The three-man band rocked so hard that the audience was left slack-jawed and mind-blown.

Karmic Juggernaut (K-Juggs for short) is a heavy rock group whose music mixes forms of funk, blues, metal, and classic rock to form an exceptional band. This sound would be comparable if you had Rush, Umphrey’s McGee, and Primus morphed into one fantastic super group. Their style is truly original and refreshing.

As the band took the stage, the bar had an overwhelming smell of beer and urine. People began to crowd the band with the first squeal of the guitar. Without hesitation, the band unleashed a dark, technical, groovy jam.

Hours before the show the guys sat in their studio called “The Hangar,” and discussed the history and future of Karmic Juggernaut. The band is made up of Kevin Grossman (drums), Randy Preston (guitar/bass/vocals), and University alumni, James McCaffrey (guitar/bass/vocals).

All three members attended Wall High School, and in 2004, they formed the band to try out for a battle of the bands. The first time they played together during the audition, “We just went into the audition and jammed…it was cool,” Grossman said.

After winning the battle of the bands, K-juggs created their first demo. “We made a sick demo and sold it to everyone in the high school,” Grossman said. That recording ended up getting the band their first gig at the Stone Pony.

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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