Review Category : Blogs

Film Review: ‘Interstellar’

If you thought listening to Matthew McConaughey’s southern drawl was cumbersome in Dallas Buyers Club, try listening to him use it to talk about galactical jargon for three hours in Christopher Nolan’s latest science fiction thriller Interstellar. In Interstellar, Nolan depicts a dystopian world plagued by hunger, sandstorms and depleting resources. McConaughey portrays Cooper, a former NASA pilot turned farmer who finds himself struggling in a world that has no use for engineers, and has lost all hope for survival. Cooper’s daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) shares similar sentiments with her father, and discovers a mysterious, encoded message in her room that leads the two to a secret NASA base. There, Cooper meets scientists Professor Brand (Michael Caine) and his daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), who inform Cooper of NASA’s plan to locate hospitable planets for humanity to move to, and subsequently recruit Cooper as the pilot for the mission. Cooper reluctantly agrees and leaves his family to embark on a lifelong mission in search of a solution for the world. Accompanied... ...

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Film Review: ‘Big Hero 6’

This time last year Frozen was dominating the screens. This year, however, children have a new lovable character to fawn over in Walt Disney Pictures’ latest animated feature Big Hero 6. Based on the Marvel comics of the same name, Big Hero 6 marks Disney’s first on-screen collaboration with the comic book company, who they partnered with in 2009. Set in the fictional metropolis of San Fransokyo, Big Hero 6 follows Hiro Hamada, a 14-year-old boy genius who, much to his brother’s dismay, would rather spend his time competing in clandestine robot-fighting matches than use his intelligence for something productive. In order to shake Hiro out of his habits, Tadashi, Hiro’s older brother, takes him to his university’s robotics lab, where Hiro meets four of Tadashi’s friends who later make up the Big Hero 6. At the lab, Hiro also meets Baymax, a robotic, personal healthcare companion who Tadashi has been working on and that rounds out the film’s superhero sextuplet. Inspired to pursue robotic engineering after visiting his brother’s... ...

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Review: The Morgue’s Instagon House Show

The Davis house show scene is a bit of a mixed bag. Really, the only certainties are that PBR cans will be littered about and the location will be far from the center of town (and its many sound ordinances). In the past, I’ve been thrown into walls by eager moshers, nodded my head to smooth and sweet acoustic sets, and sat on the floor, eyes closed, absorbing transcendent tunes. At The Morgue this past weekend, Instagon, Suzuki Junzo, Chopstick, and Mulva Myiasis with the Duchess and Friends treated listeners to an improvisational, experimental evening. The audience stood and sat this time around. The tapestries, freaky art and fake spiders decorating the walls of the living room were illuminated by soft, warm lighting and the performers jammed on top of ornate rugs. The show opened with Mulva Myiasis (Noa Ver, second-year transfer technocultural studies major) on her homemade synthesizers (the Duchess and Friends). The synthesizers themselves were beautiful, neatly packaged inside of decorated tins. Homemade synthesizers represent a bit of... ...

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#blacklivesmatter

This Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced in a press conference that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, would not be indicted for his actions. Rather than taking the case directly to a trial court to press charges, McCulloch brought the issue before a Missouri state grand jury—an unusual and seemingly unnecessary choice in the midst of the tragic death of an unarmed victim. The use of this grand jury (comprised of nine white and three black jurors) ultimately led to Wilson’s release under the decision that the officer was legal in his actions under Missouri’s controversial “Use of force” Doctrine,which states that a law enforcement officer can use “deadly force” against someone if they feel their life is being threatened. We believe, though, that Wilson’s case should have gone to trial and we sincerely hope the federal court picks up where the state of Missouri failed to press charges. The process through which the grand jury decision was made... ...

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Davis firefighters distribute Thanksgiving food baskets, despite rising food costs

For the past two weeks, Davis Firefighters Local 3494 (Local 3494)  stood on traffic partitions at the 5th street intersection near Central Park with empty firefighter boots and signs asking passersby to donate money to fund their Thanksgiving basket drive. This year, however, the firefighters experienced a shortfall in donations and had to supplement their budget with a second fill-the-boot fundraiser. Local 3494 has given away baskets filled with the necessities for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for those in need for the past 28 years. “We’ve never had to turn anyone away and I’m hoping the same for this year. There have been years where it’s been pretty close. Right at the end there were one or two families left and the firefighters all reached into their pockets and we were able to get the food for those families as well,” said Bobby Weist, president of Local 3494. Although Weist was unsure of the number of baskets the firefighters were planning on distributing this year, in previous years they have... ...

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Tuition increase

Beginning Nov. 18, the campus has once again erupted in protest. Exactly three years removed from the infamous pepper spray incident that marred the relationship between UC Davis students and administration. Most recently, the focus lies on the decision by the University of California administration to pass a proposed tuition increase over the next five years. This tuition hike is the result of a struggle between the UC Board of Regents and the California State Government. The UC Regents, led by UC President Janet Napolitano, are well aware of the state’s low funding of the UC system. Napolitano and her council, while not explicitly saying so, determined that the best option for forcing the state into action was raising tuition and creating an uproar among the UC community. For these reasons, the UC Regents have decided to stop resorting to temporary solutions and take a stance. Brown, meanwhile, established his reputation as an influential governor by making difficult choices and righting the California budget after years of mistreatment. The governor... ...

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Album Review: Through the Glass by Kaz Mirblouk

I got my first impression of Kaz Mirblouk’s music in a cramped, upstairs makeshift bedroom in San Francisco. I was there for a house show, but it felt more like a labyrinth with its lack of light, closed-in walls and winding staircase. The room was the finish line, the prize in the game, but it felt more like a dead end. As one would in a labyrinth, I felt unsettled, that is, until the music started and everything started to make sense. It’s not that the place got any cozier or that my spontaneous case of claustrophobia went away. Something about Mirblouk’s music just complimented the scene so well, and in the best way possible. Hearing Mirblouk’s music in that sort of space just felt right. I stopped caring about my surroundings. Everything was how it was supposed to be: simple and personal. Recently, Mirblouk put out his first official studio release, a five-song EP titled Through the Glass. The album features Mirblouk, a fellow Aggie, on vocals, guitar and... ...

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Memories lost to Alzheimer’s disease are recovered through music

In recognition of Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month Dr. Petr Janata, UC Davis professor and researcher in the department of psychology and the Center for the Mind and Brain, visited Carlton Plaza, a senior home in Davis, to present his ongoing research of the relationship between music and memories. The association of music and memories is not exactly a new concept. Imagine driving to work and you just happen to be listening passively to the radio when all of a sudden the song sucks you into the memory of a nasty breakup or maybe your first kiss. Dr. Joel Krueger, UC Davis alumnus and philosophy lecturer at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, explained in an email interview that he has been working on a number of issues in philosophy of the mind and cognitive science, philosophy of music and Asian and comparative philosophy. “When we remember a past event , we’re not simply summoning an inventory of ‘cold’ facts,” Dr. Krueger said, “we are also summoning an ‘affective... ...

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ASUCD Fall 2014 Senate Election Results

On Nov. 21 at 4 p.m, ASUCD Elections Committee Chair, John Wu, announced the results of the ASUCD Fall 2014 Senate Elections. The winners are as follows, in order of highest voter turnout: Alex Lee, Casey Nguyen, Reem Fatayerji, Roman Rivilis, Anabiah Syed and Andrea Velazquez. “I don’t know how I feel yet, it’s going to be a really long year,” said fourth-year political science and economics double major and senate-elect Roman Rivilis. “ We have a lot on our table and a lot of obstacles we need to overcome, especially with the coming tuition hikes and the climate of student activism that we need to foster in ASUCD.” 2,896 voters turned out for this quarter’s elections. This was significantly lower than the Winter 2014 Senate Elections, whose voter turnout was 27.11 percent — the second highest in recorded ASUCD history. “I do have to say that I am disappointed in the voter turnout,” said current ASUCD Senator Gareth Smythe. “ASUCD controls a lot of resources. This is one of... ...

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Students lead protest in response to impending tuition hikes

Update (11/19/14, 1:30 p.m.): The UC Board of Regents passed Napolitano’s tuition plan this morning, Nov. 19, 7-2.    Three years to the day of the infamous pepper spray incident involving campus police and student demonstrators, UC Davis students once again filled the Quad this afternoon to protest, this time in response to impending tuition hikes. An estimated 500-600 students, faculty and community members convened in the center of the Quad at noon, Nov. 18, to make speeches, develop signs and mobilize the crowd to march across campus in protest of University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano’s proposed UC tuition plan, which would increase UC tuition by up to five percent annually over the next five years. The UC Board of Regents will vote tomorrow, Nov. 19, at its meeting on the UCSF Mission Bay campus, on whether or not to implement the tuition plan. UC officials hope that the plan will pressure California state legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown to increase UC funding. Protesters marched through campus, chanting “Whose... ...

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UC students protest against proposed tuition hike

The ASUCD and a coalition of student organizations and labor unions have called UC Davis students to gather on the Quad for a campuswide protest on Nov. 18 at noon against the possible tuition hike. Event coordinators expect upwards of 1,500 students to participate. The action is a response to University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano’s proposed Long-Term Stability Plan, which implies a five percent rise in tuition fees annually for all UC undergraduate and graduate students over the next five years. This would likely raises tuition to $15,564 tuition by the academic year of 2019-20 (compared to the current amount of $12,192). The UC Board of Regents will consider the Long-Term Stability Plan during its meeting at UC San Francisco Mission Bay Campus on Wednesday. “We oppose the tuition hike because education is a right and it should not be cost-prohibitive,” said Harvey Litzelman, director of the ASUCD Office of Advocacy and Student Representation, a second-year sociology major and one of the organizers of the UC Davis protest... ...

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Album Review: ‘1989’

Although the year 1989 is typically characterized by leather blazers, tunic dresses and feathered hairstyles, Taylor Swift’s fifth album is nowhere remotely near bad fashion. 1989, titled after Swift’s birth year, marks the singer-songwriter’s official departure from cowboy boots and country twang and her full-fledged leap into music’s pop industry. The album marks a new era for Taylor Swift fans, one that is characterized by red lipstick, sleek bobs and an evolved version of Swift who is unapologetic, self-deprecating and a general badass. Swift leads 1989 with synthpop track “Welcome to New York,” which represents Swift’s move from country town Nashville to The Big Apple. Co-penned with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, “Welcome to New York” serves as an anthem for equality as evidenced by lyrics “You can want who you want / Boys and boys and girls and girls.” Swift’s move away from country is further seen in pop anthem “Style,” which is rumored to be about Swift’s alleged ex-boyfriend Harry Styles (hence the title) and includes one of the most... ...

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Film Review: ‘Birdman’

In a world where Marvel is dominating the superhero movie industry, Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu’s latest film Birdman waits patiently in the wings as the next great superhero movie, although not for the reasons you might think. Iñárritu’s black comedy follows the cast of a New York play as they frantically prepare for opening night. Michael Keaton portrays Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor who acts, writes and directs the play in an effort to restore his career to what it was 20 years ago. Riggan is continually haunted by his past in the form of Birdman, a superhero he once played in a blockbuster franchise, who is heard through voiceovers offering words of discouragement to the actor. Both in life and in theater, Riggan struggles with taking center stage as he is often outshone by those around him, particularly his co-star Mike Shiner (played by Edward Norton), a pretentious Broadway actor who joins the cast after another actor is injured. Despite possessing the superpower to telekinetically move items, Riggan poses as... ...

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Campus receives notice of non-specific bomb threat

According to Campus WarnMe system, the UC Davis campus received a non specific bomb threat at 10:49 a.m. this morning. As of 1:00 p.m., no credible threat has been determined, but students are asked to remain vigilant and to report all suspicious activity to UC Davis Police Department. ...

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Student Drowns in Rafting Accident

UC Davis student Lisa Sayaka Nakamaru, a 20-year-old third-year political science major from Torrance, CA tragically passed away on Sunday. She had been rafting with a friend on Putah Creek. According to Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Gina Moya, the cause of death was drowning with the manner of death being accidental. The two rafters were discovered the same day at around 2:50 p.m. after their raft had hit a rough spot at a popular campsite near Lake Solano County Park and Monticello Dam that holds Lake Berryessa. Nakamaru’s friend whose name and medical condition are not currently disclosed, was transported to Sutter Davis Hospital and released the same evening. At 2 p.m., the Winters Fire Department was dispatched to investigate the scene. Aaron McAlister, Winter’s fire chief called for backup including a helicopter and other specialists among which were the Yolo County Boat Patrol and Vacaville Fire Rescue Water Team. Almost immediately upon arrival, the dispatch team heard a commotion from four men who had seen the the deceased... ...

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