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September 11, 1990 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-11

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ARTS
Tuesday, September 11, 1990

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

Local boy

Raimi

makes film

by Mike Kuniavsky
T he revenge fantasy is a basic
aple of our culture, from the Old
restament through the French Revo-
lution to Death Wish 4, we've been
punchin' the lights out of those who
wronged us. Not to say that there's
anything inherently bad about this
- there are a couple of high school
teachers and ex-girlfriends who play
a large part in my sadistic daydreams
- but Hollywood's been really get-
ting on a kick about getting back at
riose persecute our heroes.
Mostly, this is done by circum-
venting all forms of aid and law -
rolling one's sleeves up, dusting off
one's M-60 and slamming a few
rounds into those who get in the
way. Okay, so it's a catharsis of
sorts, but come on, there have been
more "partner is killed so cop takes
law into own hands" films in last
couple of years than I have ap-
ndages! Into this melee comes De-
troit-area director Sam Raimi's first
big-budget film, Darkman.
Covering the transformation of a
brilliant but mild-mannered scientist,
Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson),
into the brilliant but physically and
psychologically deformed super-anti-
hero, Darkman, the film, also
doesn't cover much new ground.
hough strong in premise, direction
and cinematography, it descends
quickly into a pretty generic action
film (there's a 30-minute chase scene
with lots of helicopters and explo-
sions - we haven't seen anything
of this scale since Gone in 60 Sec-
onds).
The film's strongest point is its
visual style. Raimi employed famed
nusic video director Bill Pope for
?his cinematographer. Pope gives the
film a visual slickness absent from
Raimi's earlier work, and quite ap-
propriate for the comic book ideol-
BILLS
Continued from Page 1
the major private sector supporter of
*the Michigan package. AFA Director
Bill Johnson said the fears Dana ex-
presses are exaggerated.
"I think their side is attempting
to scare the public by saying that
even legitimate booksellers will be
affected by this legislation," he said.
"That is baloney."
The bills also provide for the clo-
sure of buildings and the seizure of
*assets if a store owner, manager,
agent or employee is convicted on
obscenity charges. The fact that the
penalty for being charged with ob-
scenity would be increased means
prosecutors might find it more lucra-
tive to take on these cases, said
David Cahill, legal counsel to the
House Judiciary Committee.
The committee is headed by one
of the bills' most vocal opponents,
Rep. Perry Bullard (D-53rd dist.).
Cahill is in charge of research on the
package.
If Cahill is correct and prosecu-

Nowa
Arty
Opinion
Photo...
Join the Daily!
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* Acotember 18

A Tribe Called Quest
"Bonita Applebum" (12")
Jive
This is how the interchange-
able-name-producer-produced-club
remix should be done. Anyone who
knows the Tribe knows that their
production technique is in a class by
itself. With painstaking attention
given to time, rhythm and juxtaposi-
tion, Q-Tip, Jarobi, Ali and Mr.
Muhammad drop rap classics in my
lap. "Bonita Applebum," a sultry
ballad that actually improved on De
La Soul's "Eye Know," has been re-
vamped to perfection.
The original was killer with its
synth lines and sexy sitar licks,
something out-of-this-world but still
amazingly down-to-earth. Q-Tip,
who actually held back on the debut
album, Peoples' Instinctive Travels
and the Paths of Rhythm, scored the
deffest line about prophylactics ever.
But dig the original beat
spliced together with the sexy
groove of the Isley Brothers'
"Between the Sheets." Scratch the
original. The bassline thumps now
with a merciless eroticism, almost
syncopating the beat, and with a
chant of "Bonita Applebum, go
'head with yourself," the "Hootie
mix" is out of control. They should
have called it the "Drawers mix." Q-
Tip's all-new lyrics add a heartfelt
and delicate recount of his adventures
with Ms. Applebum. This is soul,
with Tip's voice achingly raw at
times. "In the words of the immortal
Sweet Daddy," indeed. This, and the
next offering by De La Soul will
only attest that the chief of the Na-
tive Tongues tribe can only be Q-
Tip.
-Forrest Green I
Happy Mondays
Step On (12")
Elektra
Annette: Brideshead is so cool.
Julian Sands in Room With A View.
And that Rupert Everett...!
Nabeel Mustafa: Oh girl, you've
just got a thing about these snotty
English schoolboys. They're just so
fey, so effete. Why can't you fixate

on more muscular fellows? You
know, the kind with the charming
proletarian accents.
Annette: Well, I like the way
Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays
says "Fook."
Nabeel Mustafa: Not another
English pop sensation bore! And
from Manchester too. I've never seen
a city so hyped since the Paris Ex-
position of 1889. It's horrible; grey,
wet, dank, a frightful sore on the
face of my country's green and ver-
dant land.
Annette: But all the best bands
come from Manchester: The Stone
Roses, James, Inspiral Carpets, 808
State, and the Smiths. Morrissey is
God.
Nabeel Mustafa: Well, he does
have a certain je ne sais quoi that
endears him to me. Don't his nip-
ples look divine in the latest video.
Annette: They're sensational, but
Shaun Ryder's goatee is almost as
pretty..
Nabeel Mustafa: Bleugh!
Annette: Look, he's totally sen-
sual. His whistling on "Step On" is
so resplendent.
Nabeel Mustafa: Give me Otis
Redding sitting on the dock of the
bay any day of the week, dear.
Though I confess that I'm partial to
the piano on the Mondays' record.
You do call them the Mondays
don't you?
Annette: No matter what Spin
says, the bassline and the hook, fhc
riff, whatever you want to call it,
have enchanted my musical sensibil-'
ities beyond belief. The two mix(cs
twist the basic song format into glo-
rific celebrations of the fabuldus
groove.
Nabeel Mustafa: You're a trifle
hyperbolic, n est ce pas, dear?
Annette: No, my blissful enthu-
siasm for this record will never be
quenched. With such beatific, ahm-'*
biguous lyrics like "You can chage
your desire," how can one not rate
for hours on the brilliance of this
vinyl? That soul woman's chantof
"he's gonna step on you again" ties
.the groove to the song like no other
See RECORDS, page g

Scary, man. Did Sam Raimi get his images for Darkman from his days in Detroit? Let's hope not.

ogy in the film. Unlike Dick Tracy,
which took the comic look too liter-
ally - intending to convey the bril-
liant colors qn the screen but only
managing to get a bunch of actors
dressed in funny colored clothes -
Darkman takes the philosophy that
"the comic book look" is one of an
exaggerated reality, where it's more
important to emphasize visual drama
than the colors of the print medium.
When coupled with Raimi's use of
overlapping and rear-projected im-
ages, the film really looks like a
comic book feels.
Unfortunately, all the visual
grandeur does not gloss over the
film's pretty thin plot. Initially, the
film sets up lots of good concepts
and situations: Peyton's physical de-
formity affecting his psychology,

the ambivalence of good and evil
(the chief villain, played well by
Larry Drake, and Darkman are sup-
posed to drift psychologically closer
and closer together), Darkman's ex-
pulsion from normal daylight soci-
ety into a shadowy revenge-ridden
existence, and Peyton's futile at-
tempts at retrieving his "old" life
with his girlfriend (Frances McDor-
mand). But about an hour into the
film, most of these ideas are forgot-
ten (as are character development and
plot exposition) and begins a long,
action-packed chase scene. Though,
admittedly, it is a good chase scene,
it doesn't finish what could be a
fresh twist on both comic book
heroes, revenge fantasies, and Phan-
tom of the Opera reworkings.
In his previous two films, Evil

Dead and Evil Dead II: Dead by
Dawn, Raimi put a new angle on
the old slasher/supernatural horror
flick by adding a lot of humor
(especially in II) and clever plots.
Here, though a bit of that shines
through, there's too much missing
to make it as successful (artistically
speaking) as the previous films. Pre-
sumably, Hollywood's attitude and
gargantuan budgets are to blame, but
since Raimi's name is all over this
thing, I wonder. Nevertheless, with
all of its faults, and with half the
budget, it's still a much better comic
book film than either Batman or
Dick Tracy, which at least says
something about Raimi's potential.
DARKMAN is showing at Showcase
Cinemas.

tors do find it worth their time to
take on these cases, the only real
safeguard of the bills - that prose-
cutors won't find it worthwhile to
bring legitimate booksellers to trial
- would be void. And, Cahill said,
recent events have shown that there
is an interest in prosecuting book or
music distributors and other mem-
bers of the arts community. In one
such event, a record store owner in
Royal Oak was issued a citation by
local police last month for display-
ing an allegedly obscene poster de-
picting a band's album cover. The
charges were dropped because local
officials do not have the authority to
issue such a citation,
"Across the country we've repeat-
edly seen censorship attempts of ev-
erything from Huck Finn to you
name it by self-appointed censorship
groups both in schools and libraries
and the public arena as a whole,"
Cahill said. "You've got the rock
music issue and the National En-
dowment for the Arts controversy.
This is all the same thing."
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Perhaps more frightening than
the lack of safeguards in the package,
Shanker said, is that S. 330 and H.
4642 cover more material than Act
No. 343, which only outlaws ob-
scene materials, not "hard-core" ma-
terials or performances of any kind.
"This bill shockingly creates new
categories of speech which can be...
criminalized," said Todd Shanker, a
summer legal intern for the Ameri-
can Civil Liberties Union's Michi-
gan office.
Another anticipated side effect of
the passage of the legislation that
troubles the bills' critics is the
vaguewording of the package. While
what constitutes "hard-core" acts and
performances is spelled out in S.
330, Shanker said another important
reference point would be removed
with these bills.
Currently, booksellers and other
merchants can seek advice from the
Attorney General to determine
whether material might be deemed
obscene. But S. 330 does not allow
for an advisory opinion, nor does it
exempt sales clerks from prosecu-
-tion.
"That removes an important tool
for book publishers and sellers,"
Shanker said.
The AFA's Johnson said these
omissions are not a problem; he
feels too many safeguards against
prosecution now exist. "I think the
public should be more concerned
with the safeguards that exist than
with censorship," he said.
While Sen. Cropsey maintains
;that his target is the porn industry,
not the art world, his aide McCallum-
'said 2 Live Crew, a rap group that
was arrested in Florida for the al-
legedly obscene lyrical content of
their performance, could also be cov-
pred by the proposed legislation.
With this lack of advisory contact

and more far-reaching obscenity
standards, another major concern has
arisen among the critics of S. 330:
"We're quite certain that many
bookstores would be compelled to
change what they do if these bills
were to pass, not because they
change what they believe in or any-
thing but because the bills really
cast too broad a net and they affect
many things that are currently con-
stitutionally protected and ought to
be constitutionally protected," said
the MBA's Dana.
As the owner of a bookstore,
Dana says he cannot see one positive
aspect of the bills. "We're opposed
to the entire package," he said.
"There's really nothing in that pack-
age that we find acceptable."
Acceptable or not, Johnson said;
he hopes, through compromise, to
get the bills passed and decrease
pornography.
But House legal counsel Cahill
said that would not be the end result.
"Rep. Bullard does see this is a cen-
sorship package," he said. "It's an at-
tempt by the right wing to control
what people can read and what peo-
ple can see. That's the whole point
of the package."
However, Shanker said, there1
may not be too much to worry
about. Although he calls S. 330 "an
extremely offensive piece of legisla-
tion," he believes the proposal has
done more to prove existing attitudes
than to provide new laws.
"Truthfully we don't think the
statutes are ever going to come to a
vote," he said. "They are so vaguely
worded. They are so badly worded.
They are bad law."
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