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Hello Boise State! Check out the 13th episode of our weekly Pulse Check. This edition features information about how to save a life, an upcoming concert, and our radio show spotlight of the week! Tune in every Wednesday to find out what’s going on in the music scene and beyond in Boise.

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You heard me right, Interstellar is the best film of last year and dare I say, the best science fiction film of the 21st century. Although 2014 provided some strong competitors, at the end of the day, Nolan’s enrapturing exploration tale, backed by the thunderous brilliance of another fantastic Zimmer soundtrack, has them all beat.

Granted, Interstellar doesn’t feature a cynical self-reflection on the movie world, a monotone reflection on the cliched expressions of white suburban male life, a stirring hip-hop/piano combo anthem or a dearth of veiled Amurca’ references, but I think it has a little something more to offer current and future audiences, both as an entertaining blockbuster and as a cinematically valuable and enduring piece of film.

Perhaps the most important and impressive aspect of Interstellar is its scope. Quite literally encompassing multiple universes, the movie is a grand tale of humanity, a concept for which the risk alone was enough to intrigue me earlier in the year.

The great thing is, for the most part, Interstellar gambles big and wins big. You can almost feel the desperation of humanity and the determined glare of survival in Cooper’s face.

As Cooper feels the life he knows slip away your heart drops and then rises again on the wings of human achievement that occurs not through logic or science, but through relationship and a love that echoes throughout eternity.

A huge part of these emotional highs and lows are the stunning visual effects. Learning from the successes and failures of Gravity in the prior year, Interstellar offers otherworldly vistas that actually connect deeply to the characters, furthering the stark, lonely nature of the voyage and reinforcing the incredibly high stakes involved.

I won’t spoil the wave scene, but from an effects standpoint, it might be the best scene of the year. More than anything, the locations for Interstellar feel both familiar and alien, managing to look shockingly real and yet frighteningly unknown.

Capping off what would already make for an excellent movie on its own is a cast that probably didn’t get enough credit for what they accomplished.

Granted, Anne Hathaway (Brand) has a tough time integrating into the complex and emotional plot but she manages to shine, especially when her character starts to do more than talk. But beyond her, this cast is a gem, with McConaughey’s (Cooper) career resurgence on full display with the expert support of a rising Chastain (Murph) and an always excellent Caine (Prof. Brand).

Despite being separated by time, space and relativity, the real gem is the interaction between Murph and Cooper, which takes on such an emotional power that it drives the movie seamlessly through the film’s minor flaws and engages the viewer on an extremely personal level.

Ultimately, Interstellar is one of the only movies of late that refused to allow me to sit back in my chair. It is a film that engages any viewer on the most fundamental level and it is a film that captures the essence of what it means to be human.

Interstellar has its flaws but has the rare ability to overpower them with its better traits. On top of all of this, these cinematic achievements are done on a science-fiction stage that spans two universes. Although the 21st century has produced some worthy science-fiction additions, none have been able to bring the full house like Interstellar is able to.

With its impressive visuals, top-notch cast, powerful score, real world effects and its deeply moving humanity, Interstellar slides easily into the top ranks of the science fiction world and stands strong as the top candidate of the 21st century. Bring on the challengers.

If you are looking for more entertainment news and reviews, check out The Showbiz radio show, on the University Pulse every Wednesday (3-4pm) and Friday (2-3pm). The show features Brandon Walton, John Armstrong, Patty Bowen and Phillip Daily.

Check out more reviews for the following films:

Birdman-Brandon Walton

American Sniper-Brandon Walton

Jupiter Ascending-Brandon Walton

 

Hello Boise State! Check out the 11th edition of our weekly series “Pulse Check”. This episode features news about upcoming concerts, as well as information about an Interview Strategies and Techniques workshop. Towards the end we reveal our weekly Radio Show Spotlight. Tune in next week for continued updates about the music scene and beyond in Boise.

University Pulse Facebook

IamSu! and Rome Fortune Tickets

Interview Strategies Workshop

The Fuzzy Armchair Facebook

Hello Boise State! This is the tenth edition of the Pulse Check, where dreams come true and news comes to you—most of the time. Check out some information about Treefort, a free bicycle maintenance workshop, and our radio show spotlight of the week. Comment and let us know what bands you are most excited for, or maybe RSVP to the bicycle workshop, whatever you think will excite some conversation. Until next time, enjoy your life and spread the L-O-V-E.

Treefort Tickets

Joyce Manor Facebook

The Head And The Heart Facebook

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Bicycle Maintenance Workshop

On the Sideline Sportscast we discuss everything in the world of sports. If its happening then we are talking about. We have a great group of guys that know sports through and through. The Sideline Sportscast features Brandon Walton, John Armstrong, Rylan Kobre, and Chad Helgeson. Please make sure you join us every Monday and Friday from 11 am to 1pm. On this particular episode we do our regular segments “Would You Rather” and “Around the Sidelines.” We also discuss the craziness that is NFL free agency.  The Sideline Sportscast so close to the field we might as well just be in the game.

 

A wise man once said to me, ” don’t sick your hand in to a marsupial’s pocket, or you will suffer the consequences of approaching a marsupial, when it is their time”. To this day I keep this little nugget of gold handy in my pocket, like an antique familial heirloom. When the sky grows dark and the wolves descend from their mountain-side sanctuaries, I take refuge in this little gem being so near-to-hand.

The wise man whom bequeathed these words to me, was a eccentric in appearance and thought. He was tall and lean. From his ear-holes spouted silver tufts of wiry hair. His bald dome sparkled in the sunlight. His beard was long and his tales ever longer. He was the true spiritual heir of Zarathustra.

On one fateful sunny day, he and I were sitting cross legged beneath a gnarled pine tree, enjoying the fruits of our labors; a considerable bounty of recently harvested galactoid beans. Between mouthfuls of beans, the wise man related to me his experience as a young boy imprisoned in the Great Panopticon.

The Panopticon’s boundaries formed a horizontal circumference, within which the inmates lived their day to day lives. Children born in the Panopticon became fully fledged men and women who worked, loved, suffered, and died all within boundaries of the Panopticon. This is not to suggest that the denizens of the Great Panopticon were physically impounded there. The boundaries were clearly articulated within the collective mind of the inmates, for it was commonly believed that high above the Panopticon there resided the watchful presence of the guards. It was also fervently believed by the inmates that these guards held the efficacy to carry out terrible vengeance upon deviants.

These guards were never seen or felt directly (at least in recent memory), but their presence was heavy on the minds of the Panopticonians and so it was that the Panopticonians were sharp to upkeep the status quo, on their own terms, out of fear guards. Fellow inmates were socially ostracized so as to appease the guards. Everyone kept everyone else in check.

The result was a self-sustaining society in which human beings lived and died; having never stepped out of the Great Panopticon. This ‘self-sustaining’ society, the wise man was quick to note, was not one of human flourishing. It was rather a society of ‘persisting stability’. The Panopticonians lived much of their lives in two basic states of being; in the mode of ‘distraction’ and in the mode of ‘quiet desperation’. The wise man recounted that it was the latter mode of being that he most often found himself enduring within.

The wise man felt as though he existed as a living contradiction. He wished to uphold the often-admired trait within the Panopticon best captured by the adjective: authenticity. And yet authenticity, of a specific sort, was to be punished by his peers if it was interpreted to be overly deviant. It was this double standard that left the wise man’s psyche stricken with cognitive dissonance. He desperately wished to extend his existence in all directions and live in a way that one might call ‘cross-categorically authentic’. But his culture demanded strict adherence to the law of the land. This tension grew within him until his fear of social sanction outgrew his fear of the guards. Recognizing this, the wise man concluded that in order to escape the terrible quiet desperation that assailed his mind, he must attempt to overcome the source of his psychological tyranny.

That very day the wise man walked out of the Great Panopticon and held no fear in the thrall of his desparation. His first step into the outside felt to him like falling into icy waters. His mind recoiled in horror as he realized he may in fact just have left the mortal realm at the hands of the guards. The post-shock of authentic choice subsided and the wise man was able to take stock of his state. He looked back and to his astonishment saw that his now-past cohabitators could not see him. He watched as they looked about confused and agitated. He had left their realm and was no longer perceptible by the Panopticonians, and yet he could clearly and distinctly perceive them. The wise man recounted to me that this new freedom allowed him to experience existence in the raw. Instances of ecstasy were, from then on, higher and more vibrant, but  so too were times of trial and tribulation. This new freedom was an attunement to his own being.

The wise man was quick to add at this juncture that such a realization ought not to be understood as neutral in this way. Despite the equally low to high valleys and peaks of life, the wise man claimed he would never return to the Great Panopticon. He claimed the higher aesthetic, that his life style laid claim to, made all things worthwhile; the low and the high. The appeal to the higher aesthetic has validated him as a human being. Despite the unruliness of nature, the wise man was able to cling on to his essence as an authentically existing creature.

The Oscars are this Sunday, and before the awards are given out, here are my Oscar predictions on who will and who should walk away with the gold.

Best Supporting Actor

Who will win: JK Simmons for “Whiplash” – Simmons is a lock for this award and rightly so; he gives the best performance of his career in a mesmerizing role.

Who should win: JK Simmons. Adding to what I have already he said, he has won every single award up to this point and there is no reason he won’t add the Oscar to his collection of hardware.

Dark Horse: Edward Norton for “Birdman”. While I don’t think anyone else has any shot at all, Norton like always delivers a great performance worthy of recognition.

Best Supporting Actress

Who will win: Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood.” Once again, The Academy is enamored with “Boyhood” and that includes Arquette’s performance as a mom trying to raise her two children. To top it all off, she has won numerous awards for her performance that includes the Golden Globe.

Who should win: Keira Knightley for “ The Imitation Game.” Knightley was brilliant in her performance opposite Benedict Cumberbatch. She provided a great counter to his performance and their chemistry was tremendous.

Dark horse to win: Emma Stone for “Birdman.” Emma Stone gives a surprising and fantastic performance and is able to stand out among a plethora of great actors that includes Keaton, Norton, and Watts.

Best Director

Who will win: Richard Linklater for “Boyhood.” Given the fact that the movie was filmed over 12 years and turned out to be pretty good, plus the fact that “Boyhood” is the Oscar darling of this season, he should be walking away with the gold.

Who should win: Linklater. This was a gigantic risk for Linklater, but he took it and it paid off. He deserves to be recognized for this historic achievement to cinema.

Dark Horse to win: Alejandro G. Inarritu for “Birdman.”  He was responsible for bringing the most original movie of the year, both in story and in which it was filmed. It’s incredible one-shot technique made the movie stand out among all the others of 2014.

Best Actress

Who will win: Julianne Moore for “Still Alice”. She is basically a shoe in at this point and has been sweeping up all the awards prior to the Oscars. She gives such a powerful performance of a woman struggling with early set Alzheimer’s that will stay with you long after.

Who should win: Rosamund Pike for “Gone Girl”. She gave the best performance of her career and in my opinion the year. She really showed a lot of range in her portrayal of a wife that will do whatever it takes to get what she wants.

Dark Horse to win: Felicity Jones – She could be the Oscar darling as everyone is buzzing for her performance as Stephen Hawking’s wife. The fact that she is able to hold her own against Redmayne’s incredible performance speaks volume to her performance.

Best Actor

Who will win: Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything”- His performance as Stephen Hawking has garnered critical praise and has already won numerous awards including the Golden Globe. Despite spending most of the movie not being able to talk, he still is able to illustrate the incredible life of Hawking.

Who should win: Michael Keaton for “Birdman” – Talk about a career-defining role. Keaton makes his comeback to the big screen and gives the best performance of the year where he isn’t afraid to take shots at himself.

Dark horse to win: Benedict Cumberbatch for “Imitation Game”- His portrayal of Alan Turing was spectacular and brought great emotional depth to the unsung hero of WWII.

Best Picture

Who will win: “Boyhood”. The Academy is clearly in love with this movie and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It has been cleaning up all the other awards and should be considered the favorite to walk away with the Oscar gold.

Who should win: “Birdman”- The most original movie of the year is just absolutely fantastic and should be recognized for its achievement to cinema.

Dark horse to win: “Imitation Game”- An emotional roller coaster ride and a great look at Alan Turing, the man that was instrumental in helping the Allies win WWII.