Last updateMon, 10 Dec 2018 4pm


There’s Magic In The Florida Project

Starring Willem Dafoe, Bria Vinaite, and Brooklynn Prince

My friend Andrew transferred from Monmouth to Miami University because he wanted a change of scene, and he got it. Any time I receive photos from Andrew, I expect to see golden beaches, crystal clear waters, enormous palm trees, or a blazing sunset. When someone mentions Florida, these images come to mind.

On the other hand, when one mentions Florida to Director Sean Baker, he thinks of the busy roads packed with shopping malls, the abandoned waterfront properties, backcountry filled with cows, and of course, the purple Magic Castle Motel.

The Magic Castle Motel is located right down the street from Walt Disney World, the place where dreams come true. It is home to a rebellious young adult mother Halley, played by Bria Vinaite, who struggles to make each week’s “rent.”

Her around 5 year old daughter, Moonee, played by Brooklynn Price, is basking in the glory of summer, going off on daily excursions with her playmates.

As the ringleader of her small group of friends, she drives them to spit on people’s windshields, ask customers for money to buy ice cream, and shut down the motel’s power.

Ya know, kid stuff.

While Moonee is out playing with her friends, Bobby the motel manager, played by Willem Dafoe, has a residency to run.

With the ice and laundry machines on their last legs, Gloria tanning shirtless by the pool, and fights breaking out in the parking lot, Bobby has his work cut out for him.

What elevates the authenticity to their lives are the excellent performances, well written script by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch, and gorgeous cinematography by Alexis Zabe.

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Greetings from Beautiful Columbus

The first time I came to Monmouth University, I was in awe of Wilson Hall. Its marble floors, stained glass ceiling, and grand staircase were striking. The enchantment of this building continued into my freshman year, when I had a political science class on the third floor. The gorgeous painted walls and picturesque views outside the window were breathtaking (and no, not from climbing up those stairs).  Now as the years go on, I and many other students overlook the beauty of Wilson Hall. However, a film like Columbus brings architecture to the forefront, while reminding viewers of the grandeur they may take for granted.

After the collapse of his father, Jin (Cho) flies in from Korea to be with his father as he recovers in a Columbus, Indiana hospital. Jin is a translator, who has a distant relationship with his father. During Jin’s stay, he accepts a cigarette from Casey (Richardson), a library employee whose appreciation of architecture is fervent. The two hit it off well, and Casey becomes Jin’s architectural tour guide of town. Although there is an age gap between the thirty-something-year-old Jin and twenty-year-old Casey, what brings them together is the small conversations that negate from the daily grind.

When the couple first come together, it makes for one of the year’s best moments in camerawork and choreography. Casey shares her cigarette with Jin, who is on the other side of a brick wall with columns. The two slowly walk straight as they break the ice. Once there is an opening in the gate of the fence, Jin steps towards Casey and introduces himself. This shows that Jin and Casey will have nothing to hide in their forthcoming conversations and beautifully sets the tone.

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The Opposition is a Missed Opportunity

Opposition Missed OpportunityThe first episode of Comedy Central’s new satire comedy The Opposition with Jordan Klepper begins with the eponymous Klepper introducing the Golden Rule of his show: may you only hear from others what you’ve already been telling yourself.

 From just this “rule,” audiences will get a pretty quick idea of what this program is all about. It also previews the overall content of the show: clever, but not packing enough punch.

After the cancellation of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, the coveted post-Daily Show timeslot of 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday was left wide open. This previous spot made a star of Stephen Colbert (who now hosts possibly the most prestigious late night stage, The Late Show), and it has potential to launch some underappreciated new talent. Especially in the era of Trump, a political satire is guaranteed to gain some interest among audiences. Is Klepper the right person to have this spot? I say yes. Is this show the best platform for him? The answer would have to be no.

What sets The Opposition apart from some of its contemporaries (The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, Full Frontal, etc.) is Klepper’s character. Where Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee all stay true to life, Klepper adopts the image of a paranoid, conspiracy crazy, ultra conservative, in the way of infamous Infowars host Alex Jones.


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Blade Runner 2049: Feels like a Marathon

Blade Runner 2049Blade Runner 2049: Starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, and Sylvia Hoeks

Finally, the long wait is over! Rick Deckard is back on the big screen! The only price to pay is sitting through two-hours’ worth of moody Ryan Gosling shots to reach this point. Is it worth it? Not quite.

Officer K (Gosling) is a young blade runner who hunts old replicant models. One case leads K to a secret that has big implications for society.

As K digs deeper into the case, he follows a trail to Rick Deckard (Ford), a former blade runner.

Thirty-five years after director Ridley Scott’s acclaimed Blade Runner, established director Denis Villeneuve gives the sequel a strong production effort while revisiting the same questions.

However, the film is overbearingly long and surprisingly much duller than the original.

1982’s Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott underwent seven different cuts over the span of twenty-five years for the true message of the story to get across.

Out of all the different versions, The Final Cut is the definitive Blade Runner film; credited to director Ridley Scott having complete control.             

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iPhone X : Say Hello to the Future

IPhoneX Hello FutureIt was in 2007 when the first iPhone was released by Apple.

Now, almost a decade later in 2017, the iPhone X will be the latest and most advanced model to be available for purchase on Nov. 3, with preorders getting taken Oct. 27.

This phone will be unlike any iPhone that has preceded it. 

A statement on Apple’s website states the following:

“Our vision has always been to create an iPhone that is entirely screen. One so immersive the device itself disappears into the experience. And so intelligent it can respond to a tap, your voice, and even a glance. With iPhone X, that vision is now a reality. Say hello to the future.”

One major change in the iPhone design of this new product is the lack of the home button.

The screen fills the entire front side of it. This means an even bigger display for games, videos, and photo sharing.            

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‘Ex Libris’ is Booked with Library Footage

Ex Libris: New York Public Library is a Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman explores the New York City Public Library as it enters the digital age.

Although many may think libraries are a dying institution, Wiseman beautifully shows how they continue to thrive in a digitized world.

However, at close to three-and-a-half-hours, it can be a challenging watch.

Instead of employees or patrons of the New York Public Library approach the camera and explain to the audience how each function benefits their community, Wiseman brilliantly lets the camera roll during the events to show of the library’s importance, rather than tell of it.

There are a myriad of programs provided by the library like classes on how to read braille, job fairs, robotics clubs, slam poetry, and author conversations that help bring a community together through education.

Outside of programs, patrons can use the many educational resources of a library like books, microfilm, laptops, and take-home broadband hotspots for those who do not have an internet connection.

Behind all of the library’s functions, there are meetings concerning their budget and patrons, where the president and his administration discuss how they can improve the public institution.

There are plenty of meetings where the president encourages funding from both public and private resources to tackle their current problems in the technologically fast-paced world, like digitalizing their entire print collection.

Although the library may face this problem, it is still amazing to see many patrons continue to use microfilm and read newspapers.

Wiseman tells of all this information just by placing the camera in the middle of a function or program. For instance, during a class trip to the library’s picture collection, Wiseman captures employees explaining the importance of the collection to the class.

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ARK: Survival Evolved Review

Ark Survival Evolved ReviewDark and Light recently became available on Steam’s early access, and many of its systems were taken from Ark: Survival Evolved, making the two easily comparable. Studio Wildcard’s controversial but popular title, which I recently reviewed, had just left Early Access.

My greatest criticism of Ark was its developer’s unethical acts and ineptitude. Perhaps Dark and Light’s greatest advantage is that the title has little to do with that studio. Dark and Light has been developed and produced by Snail Games USA, Wildcard’s parent company, who appear to have had little to do with Ark’s development. Essentially, Dark and Light is built off the same foundation as Wildcard’s Ark, in that it uses the same engine and incorporates many of Ark’s game systems, but it is being further developed and maintained by a different developer.

Whereas Ark was meant to be a first-person action survival game, Dark and Light is locked to third-person on official servers, and draws more influence from MMORPGs. Dark and Light features multiple player races and factions, a currency, trade, human NPCs, and towns. Players can invest in these NPC towns, rent housing, or even attack the NPC residents.

The premise of Dark and Light is that the various elven, human, and dwarven civilizations fled their destroyed mother planet, Gaia, making their home on a new one, Archos. However, Archos is primal and inhospitable, so players need to tame the land’s creatures and build new homes. To make matters worse, dark creatures leftover from the destruction of Gaia are raiding Archos, attempting to destroy this new world. As with most MMORPGs, plot is secondary to gameplay, but the premise is well supported by various gameplay systems, such as undead invasion events.

Dark and Light uses the same building system as Ark, one where players gather resources, build them into various pieces, like floors, walls, or pillars, and create more complex structures by snapping these together. There are also different tiers of building materials, such as straw and iron, which create structures that are different in both aesthetics and durability.

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Tom Petty: 1950-2017

Brads StatusThe news that Tom Petty had passed away Monday, Oct 2., due to cardiac arrest was a true “heartbreaker” to the nation. He was a rock legend that inspired so many modern artists. John Mayor tweeted upon hearing the sad news, “I loved Tom Petty and I covered his songs because I wanted to know what it felt like to fly.” Petty’s music will live on for generations to come. Inevitably, he will always make his fans feel like they can fly whenever a Petty song comes on the radio or they hum his tune. May he rest in paradise and memories of his music live on forever.


Stiller Still has it in Brad's Status

Brad’s Status Starring Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, and Michael Sheen

Brad Sloan (Stiller) lives a respectable life as the owner of a small nonprofit. With a loving wife, good son, and a nice house, many would assume Brad has a balanced life. However, Brad is going through a midlife crisis, assessing his existence compared to those who went to college with him.

While dealing with this situation, Brad goes to Boston with his son to tour colleges.

The study of Brad’s midlife crisis is intriguing by exploring the pros and cons of his situation.

Additionally, it successfully uses narration, while providing Ben Stiller’s best performance in years

At 47-years-old, Brad has a midlife crisis where he asks himself a series of questions to determine the quality of his life. There are many instances where Brad takes stock into his life, and compares himself to others. One of Brad’s old peers is Craig Fisher (Sheen), a famous author who has connections all the way to the White House and is featured on T.V. often.

Another is Jason Hatfield, the owner of a multi-million-dollar company with his own private jet and a beautiful family.

Then there is Brad, the owner of a small nonprofit, who works at home. While others are living a seemingly fruitful life, Brad feels like he is stuck in purgatory. 

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Ed Sheeran Sells Out Barclays Center Three Nights in a Row

Ed Sheeran Sells Out BarclaysEd Sheeran sold out Brooklyn’s 18,000 seated arena, Barclays Center’s, for the 3rd night in a row on Sunday, Oct. 1st.

Opening for the world’s best solo male artist was James Blunt, who announced to the crowd he was a distant relative of Sheeran.

“I know you all aren’t here to see me,” Blunt told the crowd over his microphone. “And that’s okay. I know you only know one of my songs, and I am not going to sing it.”

Blunt was referring to his one-hit-wonder of a song, “You’re Beautiful.”

The crowd was mixed with laughs and sighs of disappointed as the singer continued on his musical agenda.

Before he introduced Sheeran to the stage, he surprised the crowd with singing the one song he refused to sing; the entire crowd belted out the lyrics after the first strum of the note: “My life is brilliant/my love is pure/I saw an angel/Of that I’m sure.”

When Blunt left the stage, crewmembers flooded the stage to reset for Sheeran and the audience waiting excitedly for what would soon be the best concert of their lives.

The red haired, bestselling international artist opened up with one of his first singles “Castle on the Hill” from his new album, “÷.”

Sheeran entered center stage and the crowd shrieked in star-struck unison.

Altogether, the choir of strangers came together for the first line of the song: “When I was 6 years old I broke my leg/I was running from my brother and his friends.”

Sheeran ended “Castle on the Hill” and greeted the crowd as soon as the prolonged applause ceased.

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Blue Hawk Records Auditions for Fall Release

The fall semester is off to a quick start with the Music Industry II class jumping right into their 11th compilation album.    

A lot of new faces and amazing talent came to Woods theatre on the night of Sept. 20 last week to showcase what musical assets they bring to the table.

The music students are able to get hands on experience with this record label imitation class; each has their own role including A&R, street team, set up, live, publicity and so on.

Once artists are chosen, studio time will be scheduled for our talented musicians.

Followed by this action, the process of promotion, news articles and pop-up shows are all exciting pieces to the puzzle to come together.

The final album release concert will be held sometime in December with a venue still in the works.

Auditions were open to all Monmouth University students of all grade levels and majors for the album.

Excited, anxious, and extremely talented acts practiced in the lobby of Woods Theatre while the auditioners filled a classroom at max capacty in the music school.

Music ranged from soft rock, to acoustic, to funk-rock, to alternative and many more genres that students made their own.

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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