Last updateWed, 21 Apr 2021 3pm


Don't Answer The Call of the Wild

Call Of WildThey say a dog is a man’s best friend, but Buck has a different calling. Based on the famous 1903 novel The Call of the Wild by Jack London, Buck is captured and sold as a dog sled pusher for a mail carrier. After the carrier is forced to sell his dogs, Buck eventually finds a new home with John, played by Harrison Ford.

The adaptation has the makings of a good film: a compelling story with a beautiful Alaskan backdrop. The problem? That Disney touch weighs this sled down.

The film is marketed as Ford’s film, as the actor is featured prominently in the trailer and poster. However, Ford doesn’t doesn’t come into play until around the 45 minute mark. And by then, we’re already down to an hour left.

Maybe it’s because I’m ignorant and don’t remember the book being dog centric, but when something promises one of Hollywood’s legends, I’d rather see him more rather than a silly CGI dog.

While Ford’s late entrance is a doggone outrage, so are the effects. There are no real dogs, nor real sets. Buck is actually played by a man, choreographer Terry Notary. So while Ford is rubbing the dog’s belly, it’s a little unsettling to think that’s some dude rolling around on the floor in a green skin suit pretending to be an animal.

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50/50 by 2020s Sweden Emphasizes Gender Equality in Film

Sweden Gender Equality 1In 2012, the Swedish Film Institute began an initiative called 50/50 by 2020. The following year there was a plan put in place to achieve the goals by having equal representation for female film directors. There was a program put in place called Moviement so women in the industry could have mentors, as well as resources, to hopefully encourage women to be part of the film industry.

By 2016, there would be 50 percent funding delegated to female-produced films and 50 percent funding for male-produced films. The next year, there was a report put out by the Swedish Film Institute touching on gender equality in the film industry and then on a larger scale in everyday life. 

For the remainder of this year, the goals of this initiative to continuously move towards equal representation of men and women in the film industry include women in more key roles for larger films, increased visibility, and continuous education on gender equality and other kinds of diversity.

The CEO of the Swedish Film Institution, Anna Serner, is a huge advocate for this initiative and speaks often about her opinions. She wants to spread the word about gender inequality, what she has been doing to help and what she believes can still be done to help. In an interview with Rebecca Martin of Cinema Femme, she stated,“We have a responsibility to find the equality in the industry. We want to work with gender equality and diversity, and we want to take all of the talent in consideration… it’s just ridiculous to believe that you leave half of the population out.”

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Tokyo Twilight: The Films of Yasujiro Ozu

Tokyo Twilight 1In Tokyo Story, an aging mother and father from a small village go to Tokyo to visit their adult children, but when they arrive, their children don’t have any time for them. In Late Spring, Noriko is a beautiful young lady who would like to marry, but she doesn’t want to leave her father all by himself. In Equinox Flower, a daughter refuses an arranged marriage to choose her own spouse, but her stern father has a difficult time accepting her decision.

It’s these simple stories that Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu told so eloquently during his 35-year-long career. Ozu (1903-1963) saw a time where films transitioned from silent to talkie, even from black-and-white to color, and the director successfully made those transitions. A lot of Ozu’s work is free on YouTube, but some of his best films are a part of his Criterion Collection set, Late Ozu. Most of the director’s films, which he also wrote the screenplays for, centered around family, along with understanding the different perspectives from older and younger generations.

The way he told his stories was unlike any other director. While the subjects are simple, Ozu made the audience think a little bit by throwing them right into the conflict. There was never any formal introduction to the characters or backstory, Ozu just got right on with it.

When I began watching Ozu’s films, I was a little flustered and confused when he’d dive right into the story without any context. However, you learn to accept it because you realize that after a half hour, the film will come to you. Twenty minutes ago you had no clue who Noriko was, but suddenly you’re wrapped up in her situation.

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'Top of the Pops': A Conversation with The Smithereens

Top Pops SmithereensThe Smithereens are an iconic American rock band that formed in the 1980s, with founding members Pat DiNizio, Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros, and Dennis Diken. They are from Carteret, New Jersey and have played around the Jersey Shore throughout their ongoing career, so it’s only fitting that they stop by West Long Branch.

The Smithereens are performing with guest vocalist Marshall Crenshaw at Monmouth University on Saturday, March 7 at 8 p.m. in Pollak Theatre.

They earned a large following with their single ‘Blood and Roses’ from their first album, 1986’s Especially You. The song was also featured in an episode of the hit 80s TV show Miami Vice. The band’s most notable hits include ‘Beauty and Sadness,’ ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep,’ ‘Strangers When We Meet,’ ‘Only a Memory,’ ‘Too Much Passion,’ and so much more.

Their alternative/punk energy mixed with the “teenage symphonies” of some of their heroes Brian Wilson and The Beatles, makes them stand out as a music group.

After the passing of lead vocalist Pat DiNizio in 2017, founding members Babjak, Mesaros, and Diken decided to do the only thing they knew how to honor their friend and bandmate: by playing one last live show. However, to continue his legacy, the band has gone on with touring.

The Smithereens have performed at famous places along the Jersey Shore. From the Stone Pony to the Wonder Bar, and Green Parrot, they are rock kings of the Shore.

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Too Soon for Criterion? The Irishman and Marriage Story Become Part of the Collection

Irishman 1The Criterion Collection is a place where film connoisseurs can go to see which movies have been given the titles of “classic” and “contemporary.” If you look through their website, there is a sea of titles from around the world that have been released for the public to view and collect. The films have been released on their streaming service, DVD, and Blu-Ray.

Film fans look forward to seeing what new masterpieces will be added to the Collection every year and their most recent claims have been director Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and director Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.

After hearing this announcement, it makes you wonder; how can two films that just came out on Netflix be considered classic and contemporary already?

Professor of History and Anthropology Thomas S. Pearson, Ph.D., mentioned, “I think the phrase classic is overused in speaking about contemporary films because it’s not always clear which ones will stand the test of time.” It can be such an easy word to throw around, but the film has to back it up.

So for the film community, is it too soon to be announcing The Irishman as a classic film? Pearson explained, “I feel The Irishman is very deserving of a Criterion release. It will make film collectors and archivists like me very happy and it is a fitting capstone to Martin Scorsese’s films about the workings of the mafia.”

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The Eagle Huntress Lands at the World Cinema Series

default article imageMonmouth’s Global Education Office will be presenting The Eagle Huntress at Pollak Theatre on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. The viewing is free and open to the public. This film is a part of the World Cinema Series and it fits perfectly with this year’s theme, Women: Power and Identity.

The film follows a 13-year-old girl, Aisholpan, who trains to become the first female eagle huntress in 12 generations of her Kazakh family. Eagle hunting is an old tradition in East Asia where men train female eagles to snatch their food. Aisholpan and her family are from Mongolia, and she attempts to compete in the eagle festival at Ulgii, Mongolia.

The festival was established in 1999, and has only ever had male competitors. Aisholpan is determined to become the first female eagle hunter not only to compete in the competition, but the first in her long family line. Despite there being many old Kazakh eagle hunters who reject the idea of any female taking part in the tradition, Aisholpan’s father, Nurgaiv, supports her. He believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she is determined.

The event’s hosts, History and Anthropology Profesor Thomas Pearson, Ph.D. and Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature Priscilla  Gac-Artigas, Ph.D., discussed what audiences can expect next week. Artigas said, “This is a film on the power of determination. [It’s] an inspiring film for young girls to dare to chase their dreams. Even if to conquer them, they have to first confront and transgress traditions that undermine people’s rights. It takes a lot of courage to do that, and the young protagonist of the film has both courage and determination.”

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Enter Shikari Enters 'The Dreamer's Hotel'

default article imageSt. Albans, U.K. rock giants Enter Shikari premiered their latest single, ‘The Dreamer’s Hotel,’ with BBC Radio host Annie Mac on Feb. 10. The track comes with the announcement of their sixth studio album, Nothing is True & Everything is Possible, which is due out April 17.

‘The Dreamer’s Hotel’ is a furious track that, in many ways, is the culmination of Enter Shikari’s long history of genre melding. The group’s tendency to meld punk, pop, electronica, drum-and-bass, metal, and rock into an angry union of defiance and nonconformity is in no way lost on this track. Drummer Rob Rolfe lays down a mean drum beat against scathing synthesizers and guitarist Rory Clewlow’s dissonant riffage. The hard hitting track is driven by frontman Roughton Reynolds’ commanding and mildly overblown voice as he outwardly announces he’s “going on a rampage.” The track manically turns on a dime with an infectious chorus that is clearly just the tip of the iceberg that will be the new chapter of Enter Shikari’s career.

The band tries to capture the world’s current polarizing climate in the new single. “It’s trying to encapsulate the vibe in the world right now, which is one of polarity,” said Reynolds in an interview with BBC host Annie May moments before the track’s afternoon (or evening, if you’re a Londoner) premiere. “‘The Dreamer’s Hotel’ is this fictitious place that we’d all love to go and just be peaceful and compassionate and nice to each other,” said Reynolds. “The metaphor is that the hotel is just completely desolate and dilapidated.” According to Clewlow, the verse and chorus each represent a different character that interacts with the “hotel.”

Though the band has yet to announce any American dates in support of Nothing is True & Everything is Possible, they have announced several summer appearances at festivals throughout mainland Europe.

Sonic the Hedgehog Drops its Rings

Sonic HedgehogAdmittedly, I was never really good at Sonic the Hedgehog (Uncharted on the other hand, I let my three platinum trophies do the talking). In Sonic 2, I had a hard time zipping around the map and I’d always drop my rings everywhere. Sonic’s movie is like me behind the Genesis controller: it’s a little all over the place.

After playing a game of baseball by himself, Sonic causes an electrical power outage in the small town where he lurks. To find the source of the power outage, the government hires Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carey, who will stop at nothing to destroy Sonic. While on the run from Robotnik, Sonic befriends the town’s local cop, played by James Marsden, and the two set off for an adventure.

Before we zoomed here, Paramount released a trailer last April that stunned fans around the world. Their initial design of Sonic was terrifying, for the hedgehog had sharp teeth, disconnected eyes, and an ultra slim body. After a $5 million redesign and a pushback date, we now have a more friendly looking Sonic (who can probably sell a lot of plushies).

While Sonic looks good along with the other nice CGI in the film, that’s pretty much the only bright spot. I mean let’s face it; it’s a videogame movie about a character from the 90’s. How good do you expect this thing to be?

The plot is all over the place, as Sonic asks the “Donut Lord” cop to get him to the mushroom land where the mother owl who protected him as a child told him to go to when in danger (you read that right). There’s also an Olive Garden joke that comes full circle, an intense Jim Carrey dance sequence, guacamole quips, and plenty of Sonic flossing. Yes, it truly has the makings of a videogame film.

As for Carrey, he’s just what you’d expect. Carrey’s completely over-the-top and eccentric in his role, but it does look like he had fun.

If I was five-years-old, I would’ve eaten this up and that’s who it’s for, not so much the original Sonic fans who are probably in their thirties now. It’s a kids movie and I’m sure it’ll ignite a new love for the little hedgehog. I’ll just go back to Uncharted, because at least I’m good at that.

IMAGE TAKEN from Reddit

Justin Bieber Goes Through Changes

Justin BieberOntario-born pop icon Justin Bieber graced the world on Valentine’s Day with his newest record, Changes. The Canadian singer has come a long way from the days of sideswept hair and My World 2.0. Back in the days of songs like ‘Baby’ and ‘One Time,’ I was a simple middle schooler fiending on the likes of Green Day and Blink-182; so Bieber wasn’t my scene. To me, he was another teen icon pumping out generically catchy pop songs to a mainstream audience. That Justin is no longer the Justin we see on Changes. “People change. Circumstances change. But God always remains the same,” says the now 25-year-old singer in the closing measures of the new album’s title track.

Changes is the first new release from Bieber since he announced his musical hiatus last spring. In March 2019, Bieber announced through his Instagram account that he would be taking a break from music to fix “deep rooted issues” he has been dealing with, as well as a desire to work on his marriage with Hailey Baldwin. Changes is an explosion of emotional honesty and genuinity in which Bieber closes a proverbial door on the person he once was; the “rebellious playboy and pop maximalist,” according to Apple Music.

Stylistically, Changes also marks a departure from the pop stylings that put Bieber on the map, in favor of a more modern pop sound fit for the world of 2020. Bieber delivers a sublime hook against a blues-inspired guitar lick on ‘E.T.A.’ The opening track, ‘All Around Me,’ reverberates with dreamy guitars and synths under Bieber singing about how he never thought he could be “loyal to someone other than myself.”

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Gemini Coming to Woods Theatre

Gemini ManWith a towering, eroded brick apartment setting the stage, Monmouth’s Woods Theatre gets a slice of blue-collar South Philadelphia for the Department of Music and Theatre Arts production of Albert Innaurato’s 1976 dramedy, Gemini.

Directed by Jack Burke, Ph.D. Director of Theatre Arts, and Katherine Fernandez, Assistant Director the ’70s-set Gemini revolves around the 21st birthday of Harvard student Francis Geminiani (Anthony DeFilippo). On the eve of the big day, Geminiani is surprised by his two Ivy-league chums, privileged siblings Judith (London Jones) and Randy Hastings (Riley Anderson), who pitch a tent in Francis’ South Philly backyard.

Culture shock to them, the Hastings are thrown into the loud world of Francis’ father, laborer Fran Geminiani (Joe Marano), and Fran’s widowed girlfriend Lucille Pompi (Samantha Ventola & Dominique Lengyel). In the adjoining home resides the wild Bunny Weinberger (Emily Woods) and her asthmatic son, Herschel (Nick Sewell). Chaos and hilarity ensue for everyone, especially the birthday boy, who has serious self-reflection to do upon the Hastings’ arrival.

Tackling topics of cultural division, familial conflict, sexuality, and more, Gemini is packed with meaning. When the cast members rehearse, they channel excellent levels of energy and professionalism to execute each character with intention and style.

Burke selected the show because of its ability to challenge the cast in material and emotional depth.

On the impact of the show, Burke described universal goals for Gemini’s characters, “They’re all looking for a way to be happy, but they don’t know how to yet. They need to be true to themselves, but they still haven’t found that truth.”

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Aurora Robson: Inquire Within

Aurora Robson 1Canadian-American artist Aurora Robson gave a lecture on her experiences cultivating works for her exhibit Inquire Within at the Wilson Hall Auditorium last Friday night, Feb. 7. The exhibit is being hosted at DiMattio Gallery in Rechnitz Hall until March 13.

Robson creates sculptures, paintings, and collages focusing on themes relating to the environment and humanity’s impact on it. She uses junk mail, plastic bottles, and other single-use everyday items as a medium. Robson’s work calls attention to the vast amounts of plastic pollution that is taking place on our planet, but she does not necessarily view the climate denial movement as something that has influenced her to make a statement in her work: “I don’t know that it has [influenced me]. I think it’s like when people want to say negative or derogatory or inflammatory things; if you focus on that, it will derail you,” said Robson. “I don’t know if I’d call [climate denial] a movement. I feel like I would call it the opposite; it’s like a wrench in the gears.”

According to Robson, her work is a part of a “love-based” fight, which is a narrative she values having in her current Hudson Valley residence, where she feels most of her fellow community members, “do not really understand why I do what I do.” The goal of this “fight,” according to Robson, is to convince “people to do things that are kinder and better for themselves and each other.”

The Toronto-born artist grew up in Hawaii, where she struggled with a rough home life throughout her childhood. “It was this beautiful paradise, with a wonderful landscape that I got to exist in while my father was in and out of jail, and my personal home life was very frightening,” said Robson.

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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