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November 10, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, November 10, 2014 - 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com Monday, November10, 2014- 5A

01

Time is a flat circle, Renesmee.
'Interstellar' falls
under own weight

Welcome to Litchfield.
Coupe shines bright
in USA's 'Benched'

Despite special
effects, Nolan's latest
doesn't deliver
By ANDREW MCCLURE
DailyArts Writer
Brace yourself for
the inevitable philistine
contending
that B+
Christopher
Nolan's Inter-
"Interstellar" stla
trivializes stellar
time-folding State
wormholes Theater,
and ignores Rave and
quantum Quality 16
mechanics.
This movie Warner Bros.
by and
large demonstrates Nolan's
filmmaking prowess as both
an entertainer ("The Dark
Knight" 's nocturnal, nihilistic
Gotham) and deconstructionist
(the limited nature of words
in finding one's identity
in "Memento"). To a fault,
"Interstellar" is a hyper-
ambitious love letter that
envelops time and space to
remind us that only human
connection will ultimately
drive progress.
Nolan likes to manipulate
time in his films, typically to
rediscover some form of lost
love. Unlike his previous work,
"Interstellar" augments his
oeuvre by attempting to build,
then break, hearts without
sacrificing bent minds. He guns
for the heart and mind, both
equal in daring and sugariness.
To not mince words, this
film will leave even the most
stoic jaws glued to their laps
by its astonishing visual
fireworks and umpteenth-
dimension hallucinogenics -
an unashamed nod to Kubrick's
genre-establishing "2001: A
Space Odyssey."
But Nolan (who co-wrote
the screenplay with his brother
Jonathan), in its three-hour
running time, creates a lean
film to which the 80-20 rule
applies: 80 percent of the visual
awe-acrobatics, which borders
at times on irksome incredulity,
and backed by the 20 percent of
lived-in, raw human feeling.
However, this emotion and
the script too often bleed
with melodrama and poetic
recitation: Dylan Thomas's
"Rage, rage, rage against the

dying of the light" might be the
best line - and it was stolen.
The film is set in the near
future when World Series
games are played on tee-
ball-sized fields with empty
bleachers because, well,
who has time and money for
recreation when- people gotta
eat? Matthew McConaughey
plays Coop, a sharp former
NASA pilot who turned farmer
because the world "needs
good farmers" as corn is one
of the only not-yet-depleted
resources left. Thanks to his
super-inquisitive, mini-him
daughter Murph (played young
by newcomer Mackenzie Foy
and all grown-up by Jessica
Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"),
the two discover the "best
kept secret" in a U.S. that can't
afford to fund anything but
farming: NASA's underground
headquarters. Much to Murph's
dismay, NASA elects Coop as
chief pilot on a mission to find
a new habitable planet. Father
and daughter split on wretched
terms.
"Mankind was born on
earth. It was never meant
to die here," Coop muses to
former professor named Brand
(played with assured elegance
by Michael Caine, "The Dark
Knight").
The shuttle mission to find
a new home is crewed by
Professor Brand's daughter
Amelia (played with typical
theater-camp overacting by
Anne Hathaway, "The Dark
Knight Rises") and two other
astronauts. Once coasting
from Earth's atmosphere, the
team lets witty robot TARS
(standup comic version of HAL
from "2001") take the driver
seat as they embark on a two-
year spaceflight nap toward a
wormhole that will zip them to
a new galaxy. I'm hard-nosed
to say the wormhole traveling
sequence reaches heights
unseen in special effects
artistry.
The problem with this
"ideal candidate" planet is
that one hour there equates
to seven years back on earth.
Chop, chop, goes Coop, who
wants to rekindle things with
Murph before she checks into
a nursing home. The remaining
film, albeit grows closer to
figuring out mankind's destiny,
rather revolves around family
and promise. Nolan stretches
to marry their microcosmic
familial bond to the larger-

than-life predicament of saving
the human race, but doesn't
ever make us care enough
about the daddy-daughter
detachment in the first place.
It's challenging, however,
to not first mention
McConaughey's ace
performance. The guy has had
a peerless last few years and
in "Interstellar," we find him
at his most altruistic, where
lines are blurred between
save-the-world explorer and
unconditionally loving father.
The Nolan brothers create
some timely heart-wringing
moments - none more
lachrymose when Coop reviews
his videoconference tapes from
his kids. Decades later on Earth
are merely hours for Coop.
They grow up before his eyes in
minutes. It's overwhelming but
profound.
In post-production, Nolan
simply gave resident musical
composer Hans Zimmer a
love letter from father to
daughter, but without access
to film footage. The result is a
hair-raising score that meets
the stunning imagery and,.
ultimately, an indecisive, tell-
all script at a crossroads: an
occasionally emotive love story
that humbles its space-cowboy
ego without ever reconciling
with the unrelenting sappiness.

By MATTHEW BARNAUSKAS
Daily Arts Writer
The new USA comedy
"Benched" doesn't spend a lot of
time waitingto playto its greatest
strength, series
star Eliza
Coupe. Having
previously Benched
starred as Tuesdays
Jane on the at 10:30
all too short- USA
lived "Happy
Endings," Coupe continues to
bring the type-A personality
humor she utilized to "Benched"
protagonist Nina Whitley.
Nina is a high-strung, career-
minded corporate lawyer who's
sacrificed almost all of her
personal life to reach the top of
her field.But when she loses outon
the position as partner at her firm,
Nina goes on a bridge-burning
tirade. "Igave you everything for
nothing!" Nina screams as she
proceeds to smash possibly every
breakable object in her reach. The
breakdown is one of the episode's
greatest moments, and Coupe
sells the absolute frustration that
has boiled over in her character
who proceeds to call out most of
her colleagues before having to
awkwardly wait for the elevator
to go down.
Now reduced to being a public
defender, Nina finds herself in

a case of culture shock. Having
defended the rich, Nina now must,
representthe poor. Her coworkers
areagroupofmisfits, mostnotably
Phil Quinlan (Jay Harrington,
"Better Off Ted"), a jaded, day-
drinking lawyer. The pilot goes a
little paint-by-numbers with Phil
and Nina, playing off the pair's
immediate sexual tension, which
is aided by Coupe's chemistry
with Harrington. As Phil tries to
offer Nina a drink, "Did anybody
ever tell you it's rude to turn
down a drink," she counters, "Did
anyone tell youthatyou talk like a
date rapist."
Inside the courtroom Nina is
a fish out of water, dealing with
the grouchy and apathetic Judge
Don Nelson (Fred Melamed,
"In a World...") who just wants
to get through the day as fast as
possible. Nelson is probably the
most standout of the rest of the
supporting cast, who are mostly
relegated to the background, as
his cantankerous personality
clashes with Nina's overachieving
sensibilities. Also in the court
as assistant district attorney is
Trent (Carter McIntyre, "Drop
Dead Diva"), Nina's ex-fiance.
Trent's barely defined, and the
show"makes it clear that all the
audience really needs to know is
he's a douche.
Written by series creators
Michaela Watkins ("Saturday

Night Live") and Damon Jones
("G.IL.F"), "Benched" takes
a relatively smart look at the
position of a woman in the
profession of law. Despite her
excellent track record, Nina
struggles to gain recognition in
the workplace. At her corporate
firm she's passed over by her male
superior in favor of a younger,
more attractive coworker. Post-
meltdown, Nina's turned into
mostly a subject of gossip and is
most noted for her breakdown
and having slept with Trent. At
one point Nina questions, "Is
there any gossip out there about
my good qualities?" as she's been
reduced by her coworkers to a
parody of herself. The writing
successfully passes off that even
though Nina is out of her element,
she is a smart and competent
enough lawyer to successfully
adjust to her new surroundings
and earn the respect she deserves;
therefore, her win at the end of
the episode feels genuine and not
contrived.
A lot of credit for the successes
of the episode goes to Coupe, who
brings the necessary intelligence
to, the character of Nina, while
giving her the vulnerabilities that
come with her uptight attitude.
Even though the secondary cast
needs some further definition,
"Benched" can comfortably lean
on its leading lady as it settles in.

II aIsIf I ,4r Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmailcom
RELEASE DATE- Monday, November 10, 2014
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ALRIGHT.
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@MICHIGANDAILY
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