Review Category : The Musings

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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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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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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‘Sheltered’ inhabits Davis Art Center

New art exhibit to raise animal awareness Among the many charming traits Davis is known for, being an animal-friendly environment often stands out. Soon, the animal compassion the city of Davis is known for will be taken to a whole new level. From Oct. 10 to Nov. 14, the Davis Art Center will be hosting Sheltered, an art exhibit devoted to raising awareness of animal homelessness and organizations in support of bettering animal lives. The nationally-curated project features works by artists throughout Davis as well as the country. There will also be opening and closing celebrations for the exhibit’s run. On opening night, Sheltered will welcome guests to its free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Scheduled for the opening reception are live tunes, art activities, wine samplings and vegan-friendly treats for both pets and owners alike. The closing reception will feature a talk given by curator Ryann Casey, a Philadelphia-based photograper and art history professor. MUSE connected with Ryann Casey as well as Sheltered organizer and UC Davis alumna... ...

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AggieAngelous

In loving memory of the Resilience & Inclusivity of Maya Angelou   Welcome to the introductory installment of The California Aggie’s first poetry column: AggieAngelous. AggieAngelous is here to display the diversity of Aggie creativity and interest through the beauty of poetry. This column will display poems written by UC Davis students of all majors, years, talents and backgrounds in a variety of styles including free verse, sonnets, haikus, epics, ballads, odes, etc. Every column will feature one to three poems written by Aggie students and a short bio about them. Be sure to check in with AggieAngelous online weekly to read the work of up-and-coming UC Davis writers and get to know your peers in sections of the column entitled “ThePoetry” and “ThePoets&Poetesses.” AggieAngelous welcomes all writers and will offer a glimpse of the poetry scene in Davis. One of the sections of the column, “ThePoetrySlams,” will feature event information about anything poetry related in the city of Davis. This section will be a resource for people interested in seeing... ...

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OK Go’s Tim Nordwind talks optical illusions, new album, upcoming tour

If you’ve been on YouTube anytime in the last decade, you’ve probably experienced the artistic endeavors of alternative rock band OK Go. This Grammy-award winning group is known for their quirky-creative music videos, like the treadmill-choreographed “Here It Goes Again” and the puppy-dominated “White Knuckles”, as well as their innovative dance-inducing alt-rock sound. OK Go recently released their first single “The Writings on the Wall” from their highly-anticipated album, Hungry Ghosts, which is set to drop October 2014. The music video which was released with the song garnered more than one million views within the first day. The band is set to kick off their first tour in three years at Assembly Music Hall in Sacramento on July 15. MUSE spoke with OK Go co-founder and bassist Tim Nordwind about the upcoming tour, Hungry Ghosts and the band’s creative pursuits. MUSE: What kind of sound were you going for with “The Writings on the Wall” and can we expect the same feeling with the rest of the album? Tim: “The... ...

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Mac DeMarco’s “Salad Days” review

The first time I heard the name Mac DeMarco, I was listening to a friend rave about the Canadian musician’s show at Scala in London, last October. DeMarco’s wild enthusiasm and insane genius led to his losing shoes and screaming comedy covers on stage. Previously recording as Makeout Videotape, Salad Days is Mac DeMarco’s second full-length solo album under his own name. The album was released on April 1, 2014 through Captured Tracks and garnered a “Best New Music” accolade from Pitchfork. DeMarco plays and records all the instruments himself in his box room in Brooklyn. DeMarco’s cut and paste style gives him an irreverent appeal. It’s nice to see an artist who isn’t precious about imperfections in his process. DeMarco is the gap-toothed, laid back voice of reason we all need. The title track, “Salad Days,” allows DeMarco to acknowledge his youth from the off. The message lies somewhere between a love ballad and telling everyone to chill out. It’s hard to escape the fluid rhythm and guitar flicks... ...

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Review of Diana Krall’s Mondavi performance

I’m that obnoxious girl that knows every hit single on the radio, has contemplated life to every song by every obscure indie band too mainstream for Coachella and listens to Mozart while doing her homework. Though this is all true, my heart first and foremost belongs to jazz, which is why I am so grateful I got to attend Diana Krall’s performance at the Mondavi Center this past Sunday. Diana Krall is one of today’s most popular traditional jazz vocalists and pianists — a modern-day tribute to the likes of the brilliant Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Her current tour features covers from her new album Glad Rag Doll as well as old favorites from past collections. Krall opened her dynamic set with a sassy arrangement of “When the Curtain Comes Down” from her newest project. The song was accompanied by a video of actor Steve Buscemi providing old-timey theatrical asides and dance, setting the show up for a whirlwind of nostalgic repertoire. Krall was accompanied by a jazz combo... ...

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Review of The Wind Rises

Studio Ghibli’s most recent animated production, The Wind Rises, is now showing at Regal Cinemas on G Street in downtown Davis. The film is Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s final movie of his career and is perhaps one of his best pieces yet. Miyazaki, writer and director of the Academy Award-winning film Spirited Away, has brought forth themes of love, growing up, feminism, good vs. evil, environmentalism, flight and reality vs. fantasy over the years in all of his movies and The Wind Rises is no exception. The Wind Rises imagines the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a real life aeronautical engineer from the 1950s who designed aircrafts used by the Japanese army in WWII. The film, though based on historical events, is whimsical in quality and invites the viewer into a highly aesthetically appealing experience. The film beautifully intertwines the ideas of flight and love into one in the same for young Horikoshi. It explores the difference between Horikoshi’s ambitions to create beautiful aircrafts and the reality of how his designs... ...

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The Mondavi Center hosts Circa’s “S”

On March 30, The Mondavi Center will host the Australian circus group Circa. Circa will be performing their show “S,” a captivating and raw example of the modern circus. Drawing inspiration from the smooth contours and constantly changing directions of the letter “s,” the cast will explore their physical and emotional limits with organic and powerful acrobatics. The performance is influenced by the simplicity of the letter “S.” With no numbers, acts, props or even elaborate costumes, the ensemble is said to be able to capture a sense of purity and vulnerability with their movement. As a result, Circa’s acrobatics engage the audience’s emotions. According to Yaron Lifschitz, the CEO and Artistic Director of Circa, “S” is a different piece from what he has done in the past. Lifschitz said he was excited about “S” being regarded as something beyond explanation but still moving. “It [“S”] is a place where the body and the artist become a resonant, poetic, theatrical, medium that generates an authentic human connection between the performers... ...

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Sun Kil Moon’s ‘Benji’ Album Review

In the opening track of Sun Kil Moon’s Benji, singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek makes it clear that he is confused and intrigued about — yet ultimately fixated upon — death. Describing the titular “Carissa,” Kozelek explains the “senseless tragedy” of her death (an aerosol can explosion, just like the way his uncle died, nonetheless). His paced revelations of his second cousin Carissa conclude with his homecoming to Ohio and decision to honor Carissa by making “sure her name is known across every city.” In this statement, a reflective, often introspective journey into the life of Mark Kozelek begins, and in the undeniably powerful directness of Benji, Kozelek’s sense of gratitude for all those who have formed him triumphs over the morbid subject matter. The sixth album of Sun Kil Moon, Kozelek, now the only current member of the project, recruited the likes of Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, Owen Ashworth, Will Oldham and Jen Wood to heighten the universality of the album’s deeply personal songs. This technique is apparent in the second... ...

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Stories on Stage presents author Anthony Marra

Guess what crazy thing I did Saturday night? I went to a book reading at the Pence Gallery! I know, pretty badass, am I right? Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the ideal “wild Saturday night out,” but it was actually quite enjoyable. Every month the Pence Gallery on D Street hosts “Stories on Stage.” During the event local actors read aloud excerpts from books or short works by a successful author and a promising young writer. I dragged a few friends with me to the show to find there was only standing room in the excessively small gallery area and that everyone seemed to be perspiring. Pence Gallery was set to showcase New York Times Bestseller Anthony Marra, so everyone and their mothers were in attendance. The show started with a reading from Maria Kuznetsova’s (a rising author) story “The Foreigner.” Actress Gia Battista, artistic director of the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble, read an excerpt from the book about a young Russian girl attempting to live normally during wartime. Kuznetsova’s written... ...

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