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February 16, 1982 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-02-16

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I

ARTS

375N MAPLE
769-1300
BARGAIN SHOWS $2.53 Before * PM Mon-Fri
Before 3 PM Set-Sun
JACK NICHOLSON
He found o line TUES
within himself.

The Michigan Daily Tuesday, February 16, 1982 Page 5

'Amateur' is amateunsh

THE
BORDER
UNIVERSAL-
RK IJ1:00-3:05-5:15-7:30-9:45

By Richard Campbell
OHN SAVAGE was last seen in this
area as a young mid-western man
in Hair, who grew disenchanted with
the Vietnam War. In The Amateur,
Savage plays a young CIA code-breaker
who grows disenchanted with the world
of international intrigue. Unfortunately
that's where the similarity ends. For
where Hair was a sunny, fast-paced,
exuberant fantasy, The Amateur is a
dark, slow, boring drama.
The promotional blurbs for the film
speak of'the tension "riveting you to
your seat." You'll be riveted to your
seat, all right-you'll be sleeping in it.
For a spy movie to be this slow-paced
should be against the law.
Director Charles Jarrott's editing of
even the simplest scenes show a com-
plete absence of artistic talent. The
beginning sequence, intended to
develop tension surrounding a terrorist
takeover of an American Embassy, is
extremely disjointed, jumping from
one meaningless shot to another.
Further, the shots are boring on even
the simplest level: The camera lingers
over actions that don't advance the
plot. And, John Coquillon's
photography is too often too dark. If you
can't see what's going on, how are you
supposed to get involved with the story?
If it weren't for the mention in the
publicity package of Jarrott's earlier

credits, notably Anne of a Thousand
Days and Mary, Queen of Scots, one
might easily assume that he had had no
experience either behind the camera or
working with a group of actors. The
most crucial scenes in the film are
those in wich Savage decides to avenge
the death of his girlfriend. These scenes
of intense emotional and intellectual
conflict just do not come through in the
movie.
Asthe film progresses, the viewer's
interest quickly wanes. Long,
"dramatic" pauses; dark, low-contrast
photography; pointlessly short sequen-
ces in diners and on beaches-all com-
bine into an amazing feat of anti-
cinema. It's as if Jarrott wants to find
out how quickly he can alienate his
audience.
Savage's acting is the kind that would
be idolized if it were in a movie good
enough to take advantage of it. He
cries, gets angry, and generally emotes
his heart out. This would be Oscar
material-if only the film had enough
substance to make that acting worth-
while.
Plummer's acting, on the other hand,
would work no matter what movie he
was in. Although in recent years he
seems to have favored bit parts over
larger roles, he is so good that even in
only one minute in The Amateur, he
brings life to the minor part of the
secret police chief. Through shuffling,
absent-mindedness, and a peck on his
wife's cheek, his character springs out

of the background to capture your in-
terest.
However, neither of these perfor-
mances can make up for the hopelessly
jumbled production. Jarrot's direction
has taken care of that.
Adding insult to injury, the film ends
with a title card relating what happens
to the characters after the final scene,
pseudo-documentary style. As if
anyone cared.
Read and Use
Daily Classifieds

BURT LANCASTER
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Riveting...
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CHARIOTS
OF TIRE
NO $1 TOES MP

ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S
DIAL "M" 35
15001
for MURDER L:
in 3-D

TUESDAY LUNCH-DISCUSSION
FEBRUARY 16-12 NOON
"MEDICAL IMPLICATIONS
OF NUCLEAR WAR"
A Video Tape of DR. HELEN CALDICOTT,
A Founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility

At The International Center
603 E. Madison Street

Lunch $1.00
For additional information,
,lease coll 662-5529

Co-sponsored by: The Ecumenical Campus Center, The International Center,
Church Women United in Ann Arbor.

John Savage as the intense CIA code-breaker in 'The Amateur.'

" Records

David Byrne--'The Catherine
Wheel'
Jerry Harrison-'The Red and
the Black'
'Tom Tom Club' (Sire)
Now that all of the Talking Heads'
solo albums are out, the point is clear
that the whole is: going to have to work
to keep up with some of its parts.
Of the three, the front-runner is also
the' most unlikely-Tom Tom Club, as.
bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer
Chris Frantz dubbed their collaboration
with Jamaican keyboardist-producer
Steven Stanley and assorted friends
and relatives. "It's hard to praise this
album too highly, largely because it is
such as unassumingly refreshing work,
every bit as playful as it is adven-
turous. A few others have tried such a
far-reaching synthesis of reggae, rap,
pop, and psychedelia, but no one else
has achieved dance music as surreally
iensual as this.
Although both the Byrne and
Ijarrison albums are just as good as
anything they've ever done previously,'
b'th of their works lack the charismatic
magic and inventive spirit that makes
Tom Tom Club seem like something
more than the Heads. For better or
worse, both The Red and the Black and
Trhe Catherine Wheel have "Talking
Heads" written all over them.
From Byrne, this is somewhat of a
surprise. Certainly, no one has more of
right to the Talking Heads sound than
he, but the point is that each of his
albums up until this one has had a
unique sound all its own. This is the first
to sound more like its predecessors
than something unique unto itself. (Of
course, though,. that's not half as
worrisome as the quotes lifted ver-
batim from Eno's ambient catalogue.)
To be sure, there are plenty of joys on
Catherine Wheel, especially delightful
combos of the Heads' early rhythmic
THE DAILY
CLASSIFIEDS
ARE A GREAT
WAY TO GET
FAST RESULTS
CALL 784-0557

lightness and their more recent produc-
tion technology as found on tunes like
"His Wife Refused."
Still, I can't dismiss the nagging fear
that Byrne is being dragged down an
avenue of self-obsessedintellectualism
in the wake of Brian Eno. Like Byrne,
Eno's first three albums were as dif-
ferent from each other as day and night
(and neither-day-nor-night, I suppose).
Then, the ideas behind each album
slowly became more narrowed and in-
bred. Now, the man seems to be such an
intellectual dilettante that everything
h, consumes comes back up viscerallys:
neutered, his albums, sounding like
living creatures fully dissected and
then pasted back together.
Perhaps I'm overreacting to this
slight indication of a slowing in David
Byrne's creative pace, but I would like
for Byrne and Eno to end up putting out
a series of albums virtually identical
except for the manipulation of one
minor variable and thinking that that
idea is really valuable and stimulating.
How this all relates back to The

Catherine Wheel' is that I respected
both Remain in Light and My Life in the
Bush of Ghosts, but rarely wanted to
listen to either of them after an intense
but brief infatuation with both of them.
The tone of each was a but too dryly
calculated and intellectually strident to
be very listenable, even though I found
them both quite impressive. I fear that
the same fate will befall The Catherine
Wheel-it will be an album I enjoy more
talking about than listening to.
The Jerry Harrison album is also a
surprise, though of a different sort.
Like the Byrnejalhum, it's obviously a
Talking Heads product. In fact, it's vir-
tually a reproduction of Remain in
Light in personnel and sound. But it is
to Harrison's tribute that for a
songwriter whose major songwriting
credit until this LP was "Hospital" for
The Modern Lovers, this album com-
pares surprisingly well to its
progenitor. To call it Remain in Light,
Part II would not be misrepresenting,
overestimating, or belittling it in any.
fashion.

Obviously, though, the unexpected
beacon of hope for Talking Heads is
Tina Weymouth. If David Byrne should
falter, Tina seems more than capable of
picking it up and running gleefully for
new territory.
Hopefully, though, no one will falter,
and their planned studio
album-following the (still) upcoming
live double album-will show us' a
Talking Heads beyond our wildest
hopes.
-Mark Dighton

VA I B '. U k. E j * -l

1 "CLASSES TAUGHT IN ENGLISH"
The University is located in Santo Domingo, I
Dominican Republic. Our Medical Program is tailored,
after the traditional U.S. Model of Medical Education1
and is fully accredited.GA
1 OPENINGS AVAiLABLE1
"Our school is listed in Vol. 35, No. 4 of the WHO
chronicle published by the World Health Organization." 1
1 I
_I01014101 "I

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5th Aweco L iberty 741-9700 "
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anyway?
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Daily-7:30, 9:40 (PG)
WED-12:50, 3:00, 5:20, 7:30, 9:40
EXCEPT
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