By Cassidy Robinson
NWA were a raw force in the music industry and helped popularize what would later be known as “gangster rap.” The band’s break-up also resulted in the influential and successful solo careers of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Easy-E. With “Straight Outta Compton” director F. Gary Gray makes a statement about the plight of underprivileged African-Americans through the gauze of a traditional rock and roll biopic and manages to do so with a certain amount of style and competence.
One could say history repeats itself or that there’s never really been a break in the depressingly familiar pattern when it comes to the endless stories of police brutality and the unfair treatment minorities are given by law enforcement. Either way, without having to make broad or obvious symbolic gestures to draw the connection, this movie mirrors the history of what South-Central LA was like in the late ‘80s and the early ‘90s with how similar these modern tensions with police have expressed themselves.
In what is probably the best sequence of the film, Gray introduces us to each character by their surroundings and their lives in the hood. Dre (Corey Hawkins) is a struggling DJ at a club, looking to further his own career in hip-hop, while Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) is a fresh talent and an ambitious lyricist who’s also trying to find a comfortable fit. Easy (Jason Mitchell), on the other hand, is the only member of the group who actually lived the life of hustling and dope dealing to survive on the streets, but is looking for a way out. When the three find each other in Dre’s studio, magic is almost instantaneous as their message and their aggressive attitude reflects the frustration within culture they represent.
Australian Academy Award winning movie, “The Water Diviner,” starring Russell Crowe, is the feature this Sunday, August 23, at 2:30, 5:00, and 7:30 p.m. in ISU’s Bengal Theater at the Pond Student Union. Winner of 3 Australian Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the story follows a father who goes in search of his three sons lost at the Battle of Gallipoli. Admission is $2 for the public or $1 for ISU students. (Rated R due to a couple scenes of war violence.) For more information and trailer, go to www.pocatellofilmsociety.com/water.
Best By Yesterday
POCATELLO — Gate City based band Best By Yesterday will perform a free concert on Saturday, August 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lower Ross Park band shell. The concert is part of the Pocatello Zoo Ross Park Summer Concert series. The concert is free.
Best By Yesterday is Caleb Morrison on guitar and vocals, Dylan Linnastruth on bass guitar and vocals, Kevin Page on percussion and Chris Henrickson on guitar and lead vocals.
The band recently performed at Revive @ 5 and at Portneuf Valley Brewing, both in Pocatello. For more information on Best By Yesterday visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bestbyyesterday
Submitted by Old Town Actors Studio
POCATELLO — Idaho State University’s International Programs has invited Old Town Actors Studio to present their recent production of “Little Shop of Horrors”
on campus to kick off “Week of Welcome.” It runs Aug. 20, 21 and 22 at the Black Box Theater in the Stephens Performing Arts center at 7:30 p.m.
The musical revolves around Seymour, an orphan and a nerd who works in a
run-down flower shop on Skid Row. He spends his time doing menial tasks and dreaming of his co-worker, Audrey. Then, one day, just after an eclipse of the sun, Seymour discovers a strange plant. The exotic plant draws customers, saves the flower shop from bankruptcy and makes Seymour a hero in Audrey’s eyes. But the plant has a rather unique appetite …
By Jenny Hopkins
POCATELLO — The 12th annual Bannock County Bluegrass Festival will be held August 27-29 at the Bannock County Fairgrounds.
This year’s line up includes Chicken Dinner Road, Strings Attached, the Fall River Ramblers, Portneuf Gap, New South Fork, J.D. Webb and the Downstate Ramblers, Wild Coyotes and the Red Desert Ramblers.
Tickets are $35 for a weekend pass, $10 for Thursday only, $10 for Friday only and $15 for Saturday only. Children under 14 get in free. Camping is available with and without hookups, and campers will need to purchase the weekend concert pass.
Chicken Dinner Road
Music will begin on Thursday, Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. when the gates open, then there will be an opening ceremony from 5:45 to 6 p.m. The ceremony will be followed with performances by Wild Coyotes, Red Desert Ramblers, Fall River Ramblers, and New South Fork.
Gates will open at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 28 and beginner and advanced jam sessions will be from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Open mic time will follow from 5:30-6:45 p.m. The Opening Ceremony is from 6:45 to 7 p.m. followed by performances by Strings Attached, J.D. Webb and the Downstate Ramblers and Chicken Dinner Road will close out pennies the night from 9:15 to 10 p.m.
Saturday’s events span the entire day, starting with the gates opening at 9 a.m. and then music workshops, band scramble, open mic and opening ceremony. Music will start at 2:25 p.m. with Portneuf Gap and will be followed by Strings Attached, Fall River Ramblers, Wild Coyotes, and Chicken Dinner Road. After a meal break the music will continue with the Red Desert Ramblers, J.D. Webb and the Downstate Ramblers, New South Fork and Chicken Dinner Road.
Maria on Stairs with kids
By Hannah and Mary Keating
For the Journal
POCATELLO — The Blackfoot Community Players proudly present “The Sound of Music,” as a 50th anniversary celebration of the beloved 1965 film.
After watching the movie repeatedly for years, it was definitely an enjoyable change to see the live musical production.
There are a few significant differences. However, the variances do not detract from the story. Audiences will be able to sing along, or rather silently hum, and enjoy a great show.
While the musical itself is well-written and fun, this production is brought to life by some very strong leads. The show, directed by Sharon Hoge, stars Karin Dance (Maria), Joseph Bosteder (Captain von Trapp) and Tiniel Williams (Reverend Mother Abbess). Each of them possess strong voices that beautifully carry the pieces throughout the hall. The seven von Trapp children are a delight — each charming and talented in their respective roles.
By Cassidy Robinson
The “Mission: Impossible” franchise has become low-stakes cannon of summer-fluff films, and I mean that in a good way. Unlike the Bond franchise, which means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, or the superhero movies that always come with an unfair amount of fan-pressure and canonical expectations, nobody is that invested in the integrity of Ethan Hunt’s continued misadventures in espionage. With that in mind, filmmakers are now allowed a certain amount of freedom to let the movies exist for their own sake and to reinterpret their appeal for newer generations, as most younger fans have not seen the earlier films and practically none of them have watched the 60s TV show in which they’re based.
The last two films in particular have become less about characters realizing anything new about themselves and more about setting up a loose framework for directors to show-off their set-piece skills, upping the ante with new exotic locations and complicated stunt coordination.
In the first scene of “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is framed for the murder of a fellow agent and forced to go into hiding from his own network. While on the lam, he discovers a shadow cell of spies known as The Syndicate who are organizing global terrorist acts, using trained spy techniques. Hunt must then clear his name and convince his friends to help him take down the mysterious Syndicate leader known as Solomon Kane (Sean Harris). On the way Hunt runs into another British spy named Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who may or may not be working for or against Kane, and he is forced to decide if he trusts her enough to get close to the core of The Syndicate or to keep her at a careful distance.
As this series has progressed Ethan Hunt has become less and less interesting on an emotional or psychological level. Cruise plays him with confidence and still performs the stunts in a way that looks deceptively effortless, but we are no longer expected to follow hunt as a hero with wants and needs that reflect our own–and sometimes that’s okay. Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote and directed this installment, gives all the movie’s needed humanity to Cruise’s costars like Simon Pegg’s Benji who gets to deliver the best dialogue and Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt who’s slowly transitioning into becoming the franchise’s new lead. With the charisma now in place by the satellite cast, McQuary can concentrate on wowing the audience with gracefully shot and delicately edited sequences of spy verses spy.