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Last updateMon, 10 Dec 2018 4pm

Entertainment

Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)

“The Walking Dead” Concludes with Cliffhanger

The Walking Dead CliffhangerProducer Denise Huth was asked to describe the season finale of The Walking Dead in one word. She replied, “Negan.” Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, bears the nauseating name, which has evoked excitement from various viewers and complete despair from others. The episode delivered on Huth’s promise. Season 6, episode 16 was as tense as it was unsatisfying.

Approaching this season finale, the characters show complete disregard to the protection of the safe-zone community Alexandria. From Carol’s (Melissa McBride) annoying hide and seek attempt, to Darryl’s (Norman Reedus) quest for revenge, Alexandria is more dead than the walkers gnawing on its walls. Tell Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) to say a prayer and hang a vacancy sign on the front gate.

In the episode, director Greg Nicotero shows multiple vantage points. The viewer follows Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) crew as well as Carol and Morgan (Lennie James) through their individual travels. Unbeknownst to Rick and the rest of the group, the previous episode revealed that key players in the “Team Alexandria” fighting force were taken by a group of people called “The Saviors.” So, with half the group gone or taken captive and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) having painful pregnancy issues, Rick makes the call to leave in search of a doctor.

The idea of laying low is completely thrown out of the RV’s rear window as the gang piles in. While Rick’s unit heads to their allies in the Hilltop, Morgan searches for and finds Carol. Carol will not comply with Morgan’s pleas for her to return to Alexandria, insisting that Morgan leave immediately. The writer, Robert Kirkman, does a great job pairing this character combination and highlighting the fact that their beliefs differ on so many levels.

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“Black Desert Online”: A Time-Saving Time Sink

Black Desert OnlineMMORPGs, or massively multiplayer online role playing games, are often thought of as “time sinks.” Games in this genre typically expect players to sink hundreds of hours into them (perhaps thousands, in some rare cases). Black Desert Online is an entirely different animal in that it expects the average player to log over 1000 hours, and quite quickly. Black Desert has been designed to accommodate players with limited free time; due to several innovative new systems it allows one to accomplish hours of work with minutes of play. I personally feel that these features make Black Desert an ideal MMORPG for college students, but more on that later.

Similar to the popular Guild Wars: 2 and TERA, Black Desert is an action MMORPG in a high-fantasy setting. In terms of quality, it’s on a level of its own; Black Desert is hands-down the best-looking MMORPG on the market today but still manages to be very well optimized. The sound is also praise-worthy, containing a number of orchestral tracks, all deliberately lacking vocals so as to increase longevity. Two of Black Desert’s shortcomings are the voice acting and story, even though this is pretty standard in MMORPGs (particularly ones translated from Korean). As such, I was personally willing to give Black Desert a pass on this, although some might not.

Moving onto the gameplay, action combat in MMORPGs is notoriously clunky and imprecise, but Black Desert is by far the best I’ve ever seen. There is no comparison between Black Desert to others in its genre, and the quality of its combat is closer to what I would expect from an Assassin’s Creed title. Gameplay in Black Desert isn’t limited to combat though, as there are a number of occupations in game called “life skills.” These include fishing, cooking, hunting with a rifle, alchemy, taming horses, trading and more. It’s perfectly viable to neglect combat somewhat in favor of sharpening your life skills.

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Record Store Day Rolls Around

Record Store Day 2016The third Saturday of every April marks an annual event that is well known to every novelty collector and hipster across the country: Record Store Day. Record Store Day is a celebration of purchasing vinyl recordings, the oldest and most official way of collecting music. On Record Store Day, musicians and record labels release exclusive copies of their work on vinyl (either a 12-inch or a 7-inch), CDs, or even taped recordings. Musicians will also make appearances, host Q&As, and even perform at local store in celebration of this event. The first Record Store Day occurred on April 19, 2008, and has been a massive success in the following years. It has expanded to over 1,400 independent record stores in the United States and has been catching on across several continents.

It is worth noting that all stores that participate on this day are independently owned, meaning they are not under control by any major record label. The stores partake in this event because of their passion for music and their love of this format. That being said, not all record stores will have every release that is mentioned on the official list, which turns the event into an Easter egg hunt with everyone going in to search for the most exclusive of releases.

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“Zootopia” is Wildly Entertaining

Zootopia 1As a Disney film starring a bunch of talking animals, one might go into a screening of Zootopia, Walt Disney Pictures’ newest animated comedy directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, and expect nothing less than an overdone idea and clichéd story.

Zootopia proves that it’s best to leave expectations at the door.

The film is not only incredibly intelligent and clever, which should amuse all audience members no matter what age, but also provides an important message while still being fun and surprising at every turn. While looking like many animated films of the famed company’s past, Zootopia feels new and exciting a là recent hits Inside Out and Wreck-It Ralph, thanks to some brilliantly original characters, gorgeous animations, and a memorable storyline.

Zootopia follows the astute and ambitious Judy Hopps, a female rabbit who, despite her small stature and unassuming upbringing in the farmland of Bunnyburrow with her protective family, ventures to the busting city of Zootopia to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a police officer. As she is forced to play traffic cop instead of being assigned real police work, she meets the conniving Nick Wilde, a charming con-artist fox, and learns of an ongoing investigation of animals going missing under mysterious circumstances.

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“Dancing with the Stars” Opens its 22nd Season

DWS 22nd Season“Dancing is like dreaming with your feet,” and no one embodies this saying more than the performers of Dancing with the Stars. The very first episode of the reality competition premiered on June 1, 2005, so it is crazy to think that the show has been around for 11 years. The celebrity competitors dance in a variety of styles, like the cha-cha, quickstep, rhumba, tango,  fox trot, and the samba, in hopes of winning the renowned Mirror Ball trophy. Each week, one competitor is eliminated based off of votes from the fans through text messages. DWTS has three judges: Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Len Goodman, who provide professional input, but ultimately, the fate of the competitors lies in the hands of the voters.

This season’s competitors range from actors and actresses to football stars and journalists. The only two competitors that I already knew of, which happen to be my favorites, are Jodie Sweetin and Ginger Zee. Sweetin is a 34-year-old actress who started her acting career at just four years old and is best known for her role as middle child Stephanie Tanner on Full House and most recently on Netflix’s Fuller House. Zee, 35, is a meteorologist for Good Morning America and ABC News who recently had a baby. The remaining 10 competitors are Mischa Barton, Antonio Brown, Nyle DiMarco, Kim Fields, Doug Flutie, Marla Maples, Von Miller, Wanya Morris, Geraldo Rivera, and Paige VanZant. Only three of the professional dancers this season are from the United States: Witney Carson, Lindsay Arnold, and Mark Ballas. The other professionals, Artem Chigvintsev, Sharna Burgess, Peta Murgatroyd, Sasha Farber, Karina Smirnoff, Tony Dovolani, Edyta Śliwińska, Keo Motsepe, and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, are natives of Poland, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Prishtina, and the Ukraine.

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The Story Behind “Why Bother Records”

Why Bother Records 1Cassette tapes are making a comeback with Why Bother Records, an independent record label that specializes in releasing local music in a retro format. Since its inception in March of 2014, the label has released punk and indie hits from bands such as On Your Marks, Have A Good Season, and most recently, Halogen. The guys of Why Bother Records fulfill all responsibilities of a full-service label in house, recording music with an antique tape recorder before carrying out all the promotions, PR work, and graphic design necessary for a release—all while being full time students.

Behind the operation are John Bazley, a junior English and secondary education student at the University, and Christian Granier, a junior computer science/math science student at NJIT. Bazley and Granier have worked towards building a network over the last two years and aim to expand their label by working with more well-known artists as well as breaking new bands into the business.

Bazley explained that releasing these records has already been a fulfilling experience. “Nothing has been more rewarding than seeing our first release in person,” he said. “We made tapes and CDs for On Your Marks’ Movements In Loss EP and seeing the artwork, holding it in my hands, and hearing it play from my car stereo was just something else. A lot of time, money and effort went into that first release and to see it exist like that was incredibly rewarding.”

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An Interview with Editor Norman Buckley

Norman Buckley Interview 1Q. When did you realize you wanted to work in television?

A. I worked for many years as an editor in independent features. Around 2000 I started editing pilots for Warner Brothers and all of my pilots became series. I edited the pilot for The OC and asked that they consider me as a director. I started directing the show in the second season and began full time in the fourth season.

Q. What advice do you have for college students who are looking to pursue the television industry?

A. I think it is very important to be clear about what you want to achieve–for instance, if you were to say you want to work in TV or movies–that’s great, but doing what? Are you saying you’re willing to assist someone or do you only want to be a star? Do you want to start at the bottom, or do you expect to begin at the top? It’s an important distinction, because if you’re not willing to start at the bottom, then don’t bother calling people. You should just wait for lightning to strike. Certainly, there are situations where people move up quickly, but I’m a big believer in the tortoise approach (it worked for me). Proceed step by step, without discouragement or judgment of your current position. Play full-out where you are. 

Q. What is something you wish someone told you about the industry?

A. I wish someone told me earlier that no one knows any more than anybody else. Everybody is trying to figure it out. One shouldn’t be intimidated by what one doesn’t know. And people are always willing to help.

Norman Buckley Interview 2

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"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" is Off the Mark

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 2Tina Fey’s wartime journalist Kim Baker isn’t the only one having an identity crisis in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; the film itself isn’t quite sure whether it’s a drama or a comedy, and ultimately fails to find its footing as something in between.

Based on “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the film wastes no time in tossing its protagonist directly into the main plot. Presented with an opportunity to broadcast live from the frontlines of Afghanistan, Kim packs her bags and boards a plane just 10 minutes into the movie. The pacing effectively jumpstarts the story, but the generic character trope leaves something to be desired. It makes it awfully hard for the audience to actually know Kim as something other than a fish out of water, and the decision effectively hinders the film from ever diving too deep.

When Kim arrives, she’s greeted by security detail Nic (Stephen Peacocke), angry army general Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton), and fellow journalist from a competing station, Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie). Tanya takes Kim under her wing and they form a fast friendship with a promising dynamic, but Tanya is never quite as funny as the trailer makes her out to be. She mostly just says outrageous things and gives Kim relationship advice, which she routinely ignores. After Kim catches her boyfriend from back home cheating on her via Skype, Tanya suggests that she pursue some of the guys around the camp—as long as she stays away from Iain (Martin Freeman), a combat photographer and notorious player.

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The 1975 Releases Another Hit

The 1975 Relase HitThe 1975, a band that many millennials are familiar with, released their second studio album entitled I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it on Feb. 26. The album might be nearing a month old, but its relevance and significance is far from dwindling in the world of music. The English band released their successful self-titled debut album in September of 2013, and ever since the band has become well-known and favored by many. Songs like “Chocolate” and “Settle Down” have not lost popularity since their first album, which truly set the bar high for their sophomore release.

The 1975 is often referred to as an indie pop or indie rock group, which is a genre that has become quite mainstream in recent years. Their presence on social media is a huge reason for their largely millennial fan base. With the band’s Instagram page having over a million followers (and lead singer Matty Healy having over half a million), it is evident that their following is devoted and definitely sizeable. The band is also extremely present on the popular blogging site, Tumblr. It is near impossible to visit the site without seeing something regarding the 1975, whether it be a picture, quote or song. Months before the release of I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, sneak peeks of the album were featured all over the site, along with on many other social media platforms. Healy went as far as to tweet various lyrics from the album before its release, giving the band’s audience a taste of what was to come.

Given the previous album’s success, the bar was set quite high for this installment, and it was highly anticipated by their outrageously dedicated fans. Overall, the album received generally favorable reviews, and hit number one on the U.S. and U.K. charts. Currently, the album is listed at number six on the iTunes top alternative albums chart, demonstrating its overwhelming commercial success.

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Guitarist Laurence Juber to Perform at Wilson Hall

Laurence JuberAs part of its 10th Anniversary schedule of events, The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for an April 1 concert featuring the Grammy winning guitar master Laurence Juber.

Part of the 2016 Winter-Spring Performing Arts Series, the 8 p.m. show finds the London-born musician making a long-overdue return to central New Jersey, on the heels of the 2015 album Fingerboard Road and the imminent publication of his third folio of innovative pop song arrangements for guitarists. It’s also a rare opportunity to enjoy a performance by a musical guest artist inside the auditorium of Monmouth’s historic Wilson Hall, a warm and intimate setting in which to experience Juber’s celebrated finger-style technique and encyclopedic knowledge of alternative tunings.

None of which is to suggest that the cerebral, innovative guitarist could not boast his own “rock star” moment. As a member of Paul McCartney’s Wings, Juber joined his hero for that 1970s band’s final album and arena-filling tour, sharing in a Grammy award for the instrumental “Rockestra Theme” and seeing his likeness featured in top music press publications on both sides of the Atlantic. While the experience remains a calling card in a career of more than 40 years, it ranks as but one highlight along a timeline that has found the sought-after session man playing Monty Norman’s iconic guitar figure in James Bond adventures, appearing on hit records by Charles Aznavour, Belinda Carlisle and Barry Manilow, and illuminating the soundtracks to fondly remembered TV shows (Happy Days, Home Improvement) and feature films (Dirty Dancing, Good Will Hunting).

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2015’s Top Video Game Titles

2015 Top Video GamesMetal Gear Solid: V, Bloodbourne, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Destiny: The Taken King, Final Fantasy: Type 0, Fallout 4… Games like these make it clear that 2015 was a very good year for video games. If you’re at all like me, you’re disappointed that you didn’t have time to play them all. However, when one stops to think about it, this attitude makes no sense; there are a number of advantages when you’ve waited to play a game. For one, the hype dies down; it’s now easier to tell the must-play titles from the duds. More information is available on them, so if you get stuck at some point, there’s sure to be a solution posted online.  On top of all that, they’re considerably cheaper, and games that were $60 last year can now be found for under $20. With all this in mind, I’m going to be rounding up and recommending some of my favorite games of the year.

Fallout 4, a first-person roleplaying game (RPG), was one of the most high-profile releases last year, but it received a surprisingly lukewarm reception. Fallout 4 was anticipated to be a major game of the year contender, yet none of the major critical video game outlets awarded it the overall prize. I personally rated it 10/10; this doesn’t mean it’s flawless, just that it’s outstanding. Despite my enjoyment of it, Fallout 4 has a number of faults, chief among them being graphically outdated character models, underwhelming melee weapons, and the new dialogue wheel, which some felt restricted conversational choices (I myself personally feel its effects are minor).

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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