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April 18, 1985 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-04-18

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Thursday,

April 18, 1985

Page 5

Murder can go wrong,
'Blood Simple' doesn't

The Polish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by founder Jerzy Maksymiuk, will perform bowmanship tonight at
Rackham Auditorium beginning at 8:30 p.m. Expect a unique and versatile program.
Polish ensemble to unleash skill

By Richard Campbell
IT'S HARD to kill a person.
First you have to want to doit.
More importantly, yous have to know
that youuwant to do it. Then you have to
figure out how you're going to kill, and
that can be very difficult-you've got to
make sure that your victim is stone cold
before you count your success. Finally,
you've got to create the opportunity to
kill; preferably an opportunity that will
leave you alive and in relative safety.
BLOOD SIMPLE is the kind of movie
that understands the difficulty in mur-
der. The film also knows how difficult it
can be to make a movie. And when you
compare the two, you'll probably agree
that it's easier to kill somebody than to
make a movie.
This is why Blood Simple is such an
enjoyable and exciting movie to watch.
It concerns itself not only with the
details of death but with the mechanics
of movie-making. Blood Simple not
only delights in showing you just how
many ways a killing can go wrong, but
also how many ways there are to make
a movie of that killing go right.
Joel Cohen directs his first effort with
what seems to be years of experience.
His cinematic treatment of a Texas
love-and death triangle will hit many as
being odd and stagey, but the
exuberance in his art is real, the
emotions direct, and the technique un-
canny.
Like Brian DePalma, Cohen loves to
fascinate his audience with bizarre
camera angles and menacing
photography. When the married
woman and her lover are fighting
upright on the lawn outside his house,
the camera starts from across the
street sweeping over to them in one

long rushing take. When DePalma does
something like this, it's usually for no
reason than to show he can do it. But
Cohen should get more respect than
that, for the characters to which he sub-
jects his technique are much more
profound.
Special effects and quirky
photography never work in movies on
their own merit. They've got to have a
strong story filled with people you care
about to even have a chance of being in-
teresting. Happily, Blood Simple uses
it's gimmickry only to keep the story
and characters working on the ideas in-
side the film.
The movie, written by Joel and Ethan
Cohen, sounds like a Sam Sheperd play.
Characters talk to one another as if
they were talking only to themselves;
ideas expressed are spoken more to
exorcise sin or doubt than to explain
motivation. The dialogue in Blood Sim-
ple is sparse not just because the film is
cinematic, but because it is the actions
of the characters and not their commen-
tary that defines the film's arena.
No one will argue that the film is

socially important or epic in nature.
Neither does the film attempt to explain
any immortal truths beyond the facts of
death and killing. And yet, by the end of
the plot, each character has discovered
something about himself, killing, and
living with killing.
It's never wise to indulge in sum-
maries of the plot for a murder
mystery. Suffice it to say, that nobody
kills anybody that they intended to kill,
but there's still enough violence and
blood to satisfy modern tastes.
Blood Simple is the kind of film that
so many people try to make. It's Hitch-
cockian to the core, with some of the
cinematic humor of Truffaut, and the
visual excitement of Spielberg thrown
in for good measure. In a genre and
style at which so many fail, it's fun to
watch somebody succeed.
Making movies is very hard work,
but not as hard as killing. The success
of Blood Simple is that it knows what to
do, knows how to go about it, and does it
with unrestrained, hard-hitting, movie-
making talent.

By Neil Galanter
LAND WILL represent The University Musical Society's
1 last concert of the 1984-85 season as Jerzy
Maksymiuk leads the Polish Chamber Orchestra at a
Rackham Auditorium concert at 8:30 p.m. this evening.
Maestro Maksymiuk and these fine musician Poles con-
stitute, considered one of the world's greatest chamber
ensembles, appear on a regular basis at many of Europe's
major music festivals including past performances at the
Edinburgh, Vienna and Lucerne Festivals. This season's
tour marks their sixth consecutive tour in the United
States, with a tour of Japan scheduled in the very near
future.
Founded in 1972 by Maksymiuk, the ensemble has a
respectable history of recording; under Maksymiuk they
have recorded on the EMI/Angel label Mozart Diver-
timenti, Bach Brandenburg Concerti, Vivaldi Four
Seasons, Haydn Symphonies, and music of Tchaikovsky,
Mendelssohn and Grieg. Their Mozart recording was
honored with Mozart Society of Vienna's Award for Best
Mozart Recording of 1978.
Now that we have elaborated about the orchestra them-
selves, Maestro Maksymiuk deserves equal if not more
mention. To his name he can claim Principal conductor-
ship of the BBC Scottish Symphony besides leading the
Polish Chamber Orchestra. His recent engagements have
included such respected ensembles as the English Cham-

ber Orchestra, the Birmingham Symphony, the Calgary
Philharmonic and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of
Ottawa, just to name a few. Maksymiuk is one of
Europe's busiest conductors.
Born in 1936 Maksymiuk is a musician of the most ver-
satile qualities. He is a pianist and a composer on top of
his role as conductor, having won a first prize from the
Paderewski Piano Competition in 1964 and a second prize
in the G. Fitelberg Composer's Competition.
For this evening, Maksymiuk has chosen a most unique
and versatile program. It will include music of his Polish
homeland by Witold Lutoslawski; the C Major Cello Con-
certo of Joseph Haydn; a romantic intermezzo by Max
Reger and perhaps what may be the climax of the
evening, Russian composer Shostakovich's Opus 110
which is a unique piece in its own right. Written originally
as a string quartet, it developed in to an orchestral
vehicle. There are references to many other works of
Shostakovich in the Opus 110 such as snipets from the Fir-
st, Fifth and Tenth Symphonies, a cello concerto, a piano
trio, and some opera material.
The Toronto Star said of the Polish Chamber Orchestra:
"One of the world's finest chamber orchestras parks its
fiddles in Warsaw." You too can park, but in a seat at
Rackham Auditorium for between $5 and $10. Tickets are
still available all day today at the University Musical
Society in Burton Tower until 4 p.m.; they will also be
available at the door before the performance. For more
information call 665-3717.

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I I.1

Records

Come enjoy
the mat nem
tias ¢emntown4,

Katrina and
Katrina

the Waves-
and the

Waves (Capitol/EMI)
First of all, let's make it very clear
that "Red Wine and Whiskey" is a
dream of a song, the kind that makes
you wonder (if you're jadedly ignorant
like me and honestly don't know
what's going on on those FM-rock air-
waves( because here's a song that's got
to be there.
Colossal slowed-down wine-cooler
beat, drawley woman (not girl, for on-
ce) vocal, guitar mmm-mmm-
goodness, lyrics about being
somewhere over the hill (you know,
twenty-four or so) and dirt poor 'cause
we had alot of money/but we blew it
down the line and no apologies for it.
Jack Kerouac fun-on-the-run stuff for
the young 'n' dumb, big chords and big
mood of summer-breeze restlessness. A
song to blast out the car stereo as you
cruise, a little drunk, in somebody
else's car to the state park rendezvous
where you'll get a lot drunk. Hope I die
before I get old, etc. A goodAmericana
feel-good, uh-uh-oooh kinda AOR song,
built to last.
The rest of Katrina and the Waves'
debut LP is a bit of a letdown, but it
grows on you. It has a bit of the same
trash/groovin'/bemused feel the
Pretenders' first did, with a bit less
distinctiveness all around and a bit
more kidding self-consciousness about
its teen themes. Where Chrissie Hynde
was freely pouring a short lifetime of
sandpaper-smooth living into the
medium-to-hard rock mediums she
grew up loving, the Waves' Kimberly .
Rew is shrewdly distilling the tough-
girl mythos from Shangri-Las toJoplin
to Runaways. The result sounds more
calculated than cathartic, and vocalist
Katrina Leskanich's style is just a
shade to the preferable left of Pat
Benatar-ish generic rockgirl bluesy-
pouting.
But there's still a lot of skill at work
here. Rew used to be the mastermind of
one of the best and least sung of late
70's/early 80's bands, the Soft Boys, and
what the Soft Boys hinted at with their
agreeably rowdy revivals of early

"earthy" and "brash" (to quote the
press fodder) in a way carefully balan-
ced to both appease those (mostly
critics and other commercially
irrelevant snots) concerned with fin-
ding the all-important 'roots,' and to
rev up kids who just want a girl singing
a sexy song with big drums and mime-
inspiring guitar. It works and it doesn't
work. When it doesn't, it's because
you're left too well aware of what sour-
ces Rew is milking; it's like rock-
animation day at Madame Tassaud's.
Crisply produced (as is everything
here), "Machine Gun Smith" still
sounds like any song you can remember
with a similar title ever did; "Cry for
me" is such a blatant invitation to
Katrina's Joplinesque screamouts that
you'd swear it's some half-forgotten
oldie; and "Mexico's" verse blithely
rips off "La Bomba," or whatever that
hoary old standard was called.
On the other hand, "Game of Love"
has a delightfully plain rockabilly ap-
peal, "The Sun Won't Shine" sounds
like the Pretenders at their most plain-
tive (though they would have done it
better), and "Que to Quiero" recycles

yet more south-of-the-border cliches
with such bounce that you can't
possibly cry deja vu. The British single
"Walking on Sunshine" is a cheerful
hunk of Lovin' Spoonful-ish happy-idiot
pop, though it probably doesn't need the
horn section. "Going Down to Liver-
pool" is a great song, or at least it is as
performed by the splendiferous
Bangles on last year's All Over the
Place LP. Here, Rew's own song
retains its overall appeal but the more
conventionally AOR arrangement and
vocal are less intoxicating.
Katrina and the Waves is an ex-
ceedingly clever, almost convincing
piece of tomfoolery-its mimickry is sb
exact that you might almost think you
were listening to the various Real
Things from time to time. You can't
really begrudge a band that's gotten
down the formulas to a science and
very nearly succeeds in faking spon-
taneity on top .of it all. If that sounds
snide, well, I don't mean it to. Not exac-
tly. All this immaculately conceived
record needs is (go ahead, groan) a lit-
tle original sin.

--Dennis Harvey

JJ. Muggs Restaurant is the great new taste in town! Discover a variety
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Enjoy them here in our casual, friendly atmosphere or order our great
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Pizza Pocets
Better than pizza! Parmesan pizza pockets filled with sliced pepperoni,
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B.YO Tacos
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BabceBaby Back Ribs
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Our own creation! One-half pound of 100% choice ground chuck, topped
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New York Strip
A tender sirloin strip, charbroiled and served with house salad, cheese
toast, BBQ baked beans and choice of fries or baked potato.
RESTAURANT & BA R

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