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March 15, 1988 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-15

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Tuesday, March 15, 1988 Page 5

Beware!

This film should be kept

'Off Limits'

By Andrea Gacki
"So, what movie are you review-
ing this week?" a friend asked me.
I responded, "Um ... (squinting
eyes) ... It's called, uh, Against All,
no, wait ... (scratching head) ... the
movie is No Way, no, that's not it
. (waving hand in air) ... oh, yeah,
it's Off Limits."
This little scene (which actually
happened a couple of times) might
cause you to conclude that I have a
really bad memory. You'd probably
be better off, however, in taking this
lapse as a warning; for not only is
the title of Off Limits rather generic
and forgettable, the same can unfor-
tunately be said for the entire movie.
To its credit, the film at least
tries to make itself conspicuous
amongst all those other adventure-
drama movies involving two cops
trying to solve a case fraught with
perversion. For instance, it is set in
Saigon in 1968, and the love interest
does happen to be a nun. Regardless
of these distinguishing characteris-

tics, however, the movie all too of-
ten follows the same old standard
formula.
The opening scene immediately
lets you know that this is going to
be a film without much subtlety or
daring.,How do you know the time
is the late '60s? Why, that lava lamp
in the corner, of course. How do you
know the place is Viet Nam? Why,
that ceramic Buddha on the dresser.
One also sees a baby in the room;
close by is the mother, a prostitute.
Her customer is just leaving, care-
fully putting on his officer's uni-
form. Then he shoots her in the
head.
There's the crime. Now, here are
the heroes. Buck McGriff (Willem
Dafoe, Platoon) and Albaby Perkins
(Gregory Hines, in yet another side-
kick role) are in the Criminal Inves-
tigations Detachment of the Army.
They discover that this murder is re-
lated to several others; the targets all
prostitutes with children fathered by
Americans. This investigation be-
comes their way of creating reason in
the madness of the war, and they
pursue it to great lengths.

In their search for the truth, they
enlist the aid of novice Sister Nicole
(Amanda Pays), the love interest of
McGriff. Opposition comes in the
form of Lime Green (Kay Tong
Lim), the Vietnamese police chief
who sports an ascot of the same
color. Through many typical travails
and life-threatening situations, false
leads, and warped ideologies, our two
heroes finally discover the murderer.
Because Off Limits is so conven-
tional, the killer is no surprise.
(What's disappointing is that the
murderer's motive is so stupid.)
Ultimately, Off Limits is pretty
uneventful. The only emotional

reaction besides boredom that the
film provokes is irritation. For ex-
ample, the triumph of American
military might over the Vietnamese
civilians would probably be infuriat-
ing under normal circumstances;
here, it's just sort of bothersome. It
is infuriating that such actors as
Dafoe and Hines were squandered on
one-dimensional characters and an
insipid storyline, but, nevertheless,
the predictability of Off Limits
doesn't even warrant harsh criticism
- only a yawn.
With luck, everyone will forget
the title of this entirely unmemo-
rable movie. It's really not that hard
to do.

McKenna:

Solo

pianist

or. trio?

Buck McGriff (Willem Dafoe,
(Gregory Hines, left) star in the

right) and Albaby Perkins
easily forgettable 'Off Limits.'

Records

David Lee Roth
Skyscraper
Warner Brothers Records
Well, Diamond Dave has taken
time off from rock-climbing and
jungle expeditions to grace us again
with his bigger than life, Day-Glo,
spandexed, older but-still-studly self
in the form of a new album (with
accompanying videos) and surely a
tour. The Clown Prince (or principal
clown) of rock 'n' roll is back.
And he's brought his merry band
along with him. Steve Vai,. Billy
Sheehan, and Gregg Bissonette pro-
vide the musical stage for Roth's
vocal antics. Vai's colorful guitar
and Sheehan's hyperactive bass keep
the show on the road, with Bis-
sonette's drumming doing the driv-
ing. (Billy Sheehan left Roth's band
after completing the album. He was
replaced by Matt Bissonette, the
drummer's brother.)

"Just Like Paradise" is the desig-
nated single, and it's not bad, al-
though it sounds like Huey Lewis
with Steve Vai on guitar. The rest of
the songs on the album are much
better; "Hot Dog And A Shake" and
"2 Fools A Minute" stand out. Steve
Vai does a pretty acoustic intro and
rhythm on "Damn Good," a song
that is, well, damn good.
One minor quibble: Dave made a
mistake by printing his song lyrics
on the inner record sleeve. It's my
opinion that lyrics, unless they
make major statements that need to
be understood, are best left to the
listener's ear, instead of displayed for
all to dissect. Dave's no poet, and
I'm not sure why he felt he had to
share his writings with us. The title
track's lyrics are a prime example of
babble.
The best thing about this album"
is that it gives Roth and his band a
reason to tour. Live is the best way
to experience this flamboyant per-
former. So listen to the album but
get in line for your concert tickets.

more than you can say about an un-
ripe honeydew. The fascinating thing
about Green is listening to them
struggle for a mature rock 'n' roll
identity. Rock 'n' roll not like Dick
Clark and David Lee Roth blather
about on television, but rock 'n' roll
like Lester Bangs wrote about. This
is honest, real music.
Some of Elaine MacKenzie's at-
tempts at style are obvious. The anti-
romantic "Don't Ever Fall in
Love...," for example, is performed
as a simple exercise in new wavish
Elvis Costello songmaking. "Heavy
Metal Kids," a finger-pointing ser-
mon directed at the pointlessness of
that genre, is imitative of Ziggy-era
Bowie, the original rock doomsayer.
Elsewhere The Clash, early Who, and
psychedelic Byrds serve as role mod-
els. The point isn't that Green are
faceless copycats. This shifting of
idols is evidence that Lescher and the
band alternately wear and discard a

variety of classic rock costumes in
order to create an original
During a couple of instances -
too few to make this a great record
but too many to ignore it - Green
succeed at this endeavor. Moments
on the record's opener "Up All
Night" and the excellent ballad, "She
Was My Girl," soar to splendid
heights until they are subdued by
Lescher's sometimes overmannered
vocals, or fade through sheer repeti-
tion. "Can't Seem To Get It Thru
My Head" may be a see-through re-
cycling of the old "Like a Rolling
Stone" riff, but the band have never
sounded better than when they build
to the mindblowing finale.
Overall, this is a green record by a
green band, but it does preview a
fully blossomed rock and roll trio on
the rise. Waiting for the harvest
won't be easy. Elaine MacKenzie at
least makes it a little easier.
-Mark Swartz

By Brian Bonet
I saw jazz pianist Dave McKenna play solo Sunday evening at the
Kerrytown Concert House, but I heard a trio.
But it wasn't your standard trio. It was a one man trio. The lineup
went like this: on bass was the renowned left hand of McKenna,
serving as bandleader and leading the trio through wide-ranging jazz
styles. Accompanying the bass was McKenna's right hand that is
not as well known as its mirror counterpart, but proved equally
adept. Keeping the beat and rounding out the trio was the "big guy,"
McKenna's tapping right loafer (about a 13 EEE). Quiet during bal-
lads, it led the audience into swing (going strong from heel to toe)
and then deliberately slowed down with feeling for the blues (mostly
heel here).
McKenna, a quiet giant behind the piano, let his fingers do the
talking, only pausing for lengthy applause which he modestly re-
ceived with nods and silent "thank you's."
McKenna took the Kerrytown crowd through versatile interpreta-
tions of classic jazz standards that touched every jazz style: His con-
stantly interchanging style never let the audience latch on to one in
particular, but led them through a teasing game of musical tag.
McKenna would begin a ballad and just when you thought you had
him cornered, he'd switch to swing, dodge and duck with ragtime, or
maneuver with the blues. Then he'd move us back, slowing the tap-
ping large loafer, to the original ballad.
McKenna at the Kerrytown Concert House was the closest thing
to having him perform in your living room. It may very well be the
most friendly and personal place to see a performer in Ann Arbor.
It's been said that if McKenna ventured from his Cape Cod home
more often (he's the barroom pianist at the Plaza Bar at Boston's
Copley Plaza), he'd garner the acclaim he deserves, putting his name
among notable contemporary jazz pianists such as Tommy Flanagan
and even among those of the past, such as Art Tatum. Sunday's per-
formance substantiated that claim.

STUDY IN ISRAEL

um

- Chuck Skarsaune
Green
Elaine MacKenzie
Pravda
When grocers refers to an item of
produce, like a honeydew, as "green,"
they mean it isn't ripe enough to eat
yet. They know, of course, that in
due time the melon will be fully
sweet and succulent. And so it is
with Green, the young trio from
Chicago.
Green are a green band. They are
unperfected, unprofessional, and un-
polished. Jeff Lescher's guitar play-
ing, singing, and songwriting are not
so much immature as they are reck-
lessly young-sounding. Fortunately,
Green are aware of their green-ness.
It's part of their charm, which is

Wednesday. March 16
Zoe Olefsky, the Midwest representative for the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will answer your
questions from 10 am to 4 pm at the Hillel Foundation.
339 E. Liberty (2nd Floor)
Thursday. March 17
Dr. Dov Friedlander, Director of the Office of
Academic Affairs, will be available to meet with
students from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm at Hillel.
For further information or an individual
appointment, call Hillel at 663-3336.

SD

rn ImemI

Diamond Dave
... same studly self

SZE-CHUAN WEST
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DINING - COCKTAILS - CARRY-OUT
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TIE DETROIT NEWS' choice as "the
best new Chinese restaurant."
In 1986. Sze-Chuan West...
VOTED BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT
IN"BEST OF ANNARBOR" BYYOU, THE STUDENT.
* In 1988. Sze-Chuan West...
REMAINS THE FAVORITE CHOICE FOR ORIENTAL DINING.
Open 7 days a week

c'mon.. thursday's classes aren't all that impc
presents comedianC
GARY KE'F
With Student Comedians
TOM VAN BRAGT
FRED CLARKE
MATT SCHLEIN
WEDNESDAY
MARCH 16
And Your Host
PETER BERMAN

!C

MMM

ortant
Comedy

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