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September 29, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-09-29

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Tuesday, September 29, 1992 Page5
II' WHA Horror comedy without the sentimental crap

The plays, the zing!
There's certainly a plethora
(if you'll forgive the word) of
fascinating things to do in Ann
Arbor, but when we really want
to get away, we bend our tracks
toward the Stratford Festival in
Stratford, Ontario. It's most
popular in the summer, of course,
but it runs all the way through
November 15th (and we so prefer
to avoid the sweating masses).
Highlights of this year's reper-
tory include "The Tempest" and
Joe Orton's "Entertaining Mr.
Sloane" with the volcanic Alan
Scarfe. There's also "Romeo and
Juliet" with Megan Follows of
"Anne of Green Gables" fame,
but the best production of the
year is by far "Measure for
Measure," with Brian Bedford as
the Duke and Colm Feore as
Angelo. This play never really
made sense to us until we saw
Bedford's hilarious performance.
By the way, there are mid-week
discounts if you'd like to skip out
on a few classes - and damn it,
this is more important anyway.
Call 1-800-567-1600 for ticket
information.
Austen space
Did you miss the Cinema
Guild's presentation of "Pride
and Prejudice" a while back?
Well, you have a second chance.
TNT (channel 30 on Columbia)
is obliging us at 1 a.m. tonight.
(OK, so you'll have to wait up a
bit, but isn't Olivier worth it'?)
We admit that it's not quite the
same on the small screen, but
Austen's dialogue is better than
the cinematography anyway. In
fact, chuck the movie, just go out
and read the book - it'll do your
soul good.

by Michael Thompson
Anne Parillaud is back, but this
time she's not speaking French, and
she's packing more than a gun. The
star of "La Femme Nikita" is now a
vampire struggling in New York in
John Landis's new horror comedy
"Innocent Blood."
The movie begins with Parillaud
lamenting over the death of her lover
- she killed him so she could feed.
Now she's got to find another way
Innocent Blood
Directed by John Landis; written by
Michael Wolk; with Anne Parillaud,
Robert Loggia and Anthony LaPaglia.
of getting blood without getting
caught. While looking through the
newspapers, she learns that two
mafia families are having a gang
war. This is her big chance to get
some blood and blame it on some-
body else.
This works pretty well with the
first mafia victim. She drains him
and then blows his head off with a
shotgun. Of course, undercover cop
Joe Gennaro (Anthony LaPaglia)
knows something is peculiar when
the victim has lost too much blood.
In no time he is hot on her trail.
Parillaud has a bigger problem,
however, when she fails to blow her
second victim's brains out and he
becomes a vampire. This guy just
happens to be the boss of one of the
mafia families. As soon as he dis-
covers that he is practically inde-
structible, he begins to make more of
his men into vampires. Parillaud
knows she's screwed up so she
teams up with LaPaglia to rid New
York of vampirous mobsters.
Although the plot of this film
leads us to expect a really bad
movie, "Innocent Blood" is surpris-
ingly good. Landis returns to the
theme of horror comedy and actually
manages to top "An American
Werewolf in London." The secret
here is that Landis is clever enough

Femme fatale Anne Parrillaud takes a bite out of mafia kingpin Robert Loggia in "Innocent Blood." Hate to see that hickey, though.

not try to scare his audience, but
rather to show the humorous side of
being a monster in today's trying
times.
Of course, this usually requires
humanizing moments and other sen-
timental crap, but Landis makes this
so funny it doesn't matter. The re-
quired sex scene between Parillaud
and LaPaglia is hilarious enough that

the convention almost slips by with-
out being noticed. Landis also skips
the garbage about stakes through the
heart and not being seen in mirrors.
The only truths here are that bullets
and the sun kill -- but isn't that true
of everyone these days'?
Parillaud is great as a sweet, sin-
cere woman whose only setback is

that she is a vampire. Although
LaPaglia is the typical male good
guy, Robert Loggia steals the show
by chewing up scenes and raw meat
at the same time. Loggia's resurrec-
tion and escape from the morgue is
at least as good as David Naughton
running around nude in London.
OK, the film's not a masterpiece.

It's a bit on the long side and every
time a TV is on, some form of
Dracula is playing. But-with cameos
from Frank Oz, "Evil Dead" director
Sam Raimi and the return of Don
Rickles, how bad can it be? Don't
answer that, just see the movie.
INNOCENT BLOOD is playing at
Showcase.

Rhapsody in black and white

'by Jon Altshul
"Manhattan" presents itself as a
pulsating montage of "Rhapsody in
Blue", 42nd Street, and idealized
romance. What follows is perhaps
,the greatest love story since
"Casablanca."
Floating onto our palate with
candor, style, and unbeatable thera-
Manhattan
Directed and written by Woody Allen;
with Allen, Diane Keaton, Mariel
Hemingway and Michael Murphy
pist jokes, it is a light, yet mesmeriz-
ing tribute to the virtues of the heart.
Even though "Annie H all" is usually
considered Woody Allen's measuri-
ng stick, "Manhattan" is truly his
masterpiece.
"New York was his town, and it
4,lways would be," Isaac (Allen) says
in a voice-over at the climax of the
film's rousing introduction, a stun-
ning visual tour of Manhattan, ac-
companied by Gershwin's music.
For Allen, New York is still a city
that exists in black and white. He
celebrates his town with a hodge-
podge of distinctly New York im-
ages, which serve to highlight its
dynamic and almost irrational
charm. It is a powerful cinematic
device which reminds the audience
that this is Woody's home, and that
this film is from the heart.

While "Manhattan" features an
all-star cast that includes Allen, 17-
year-old Mariel Hemingway, Meryl
Streep, Michael Murphy, and Diane
Keaton, only Allen and Hemingway
really shine. The shortcomings of the
peripheral actors, however, hardly
detract from the emotional poignan-
cy evoked by the touchingly in-
nocent relationship between Isaac
and Tracy (Hemingway). When
they're together the movie is at its
best - Tracy's naivete provides the
perfect foil for Isaac's neurotic anxi-
eties.
And though the recent unfoldings
of the not-so-romantic fantasies in
Allen's personal life may skew
Hemingway's depth and sincerity,
the coy sexuality with which she
says to Isaac, "Let's fool around, it'll
take your mind off the noise" and
the unaffected simplicity with which
she concludes the film, are undeni-
ably appealing.
Released in 1979, the picture is
as grandiose as the city it extols. It
moves with the graceful complexity
of a Gershwin ballad, celebrating the
irrationality of romance in New
York City with the informal grace of
a Whitman poem.
Allen's message is anti-cerebral,
wryly espousing the somewhat banal
facets of our lives which give us lit-
eral happiness. "Why is life worth
living?" Isaac asks himself,
"Groucho Marx ... Swedish movies,
Brando, Sinatra." The script is per-
fectly suited for Allen, whose casual,

unrehearsed style adds a unique real-
ism to such profundities as "nothing
worth knowing can be understood
with the brain." If this is not his
finest starring role, then it is cer-
tainly one of them.
"Manhattan" is unquestionably
the director's most introspective and
autobiographical project to date
(sorry "Husbands and Wives") -
complete with every "Woody-ism"
from Bergman to pedophilia. It is a
bold, even awkward film which at
times seems held together by only
elbow grease and dumb luck. In the
end, however, "Manhattan" is a
cross between "Lolita" and "On the
Town," with just enough vintage
Woody Allen humor and free-form
dialogue to make it a classic.
MANHATTAN is playing tonight at 7
p.m. and tomorrow at 9 p.m. at the
Michigan Theater.

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