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November 10, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-10

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*The Michigan Daily Tuesday, November 10, 1992

Page 5

0

Life didn't always
stink for Mel Brooks

Allen transcends the labels

by Jon Altshul
It's hard to believe that the
same Mel Brooks who redefined
terrible cinema with last year's
"Life Stinks" was also behind
"Young Frankenstein." Indeed,
"Life Stinks" is as unfunny as
"Young Frankenstein" is funny.
With such films as "High Anx-
iety," his ode to Hitchcock,
"Blazing Saddles," his parody of
the Western, and "Spaceballs," his
George Lucas rip-off, Mel Brooks
has single-handedly ushered in a
new cinematic genre. So what if
his films are about as profession-
ally crafted as those home movies
you made the summer before your
juniOr year of high school when
you and all your friends were
drunk. Yeah, you know the ones.
And sure, maybe the Zucker,
Abrahamns, Zucker team is a tad
more amusing, but were it not for
Mel Brooks' virtual re-invention
of the screwball comedy, Leslie
Nielsen would still be playing
Willie Loman at some dinner
theater outside of Tunpa.
Anyhow, "Young Franken-
stein" is good, very good. Like
Brooks' other films, it is not

"original," per se, but derives its
humor from mocking the corner-
stones of cinematic history- in
this case, James Whale's 1931 in-
terpretation of Mary Shelley's
classic novel.
Gene Wilder plays Dr. Fredrick
Frankenstein, the baron's grand-
son, and an American surgeon ob-
sessed with re-animation. His
performance is brilliant. Noncha-
Young Frankenstein
Directed by Mel Brooks; written by
Brooks and Gene Wilder
lantly reeling off one-liners with a
showman' s grace, Wilder makes
us think of how good an actor he
could have been had he not made
all those stupid comedies with
Richard Pryor.
Teri Garr co-stars as Inga, the
token Bavarian "lavoratory assis-
tant." Delightfully hamming up
her stereotypical character with
revealing dresses and an obviously
contrived accent, Garr is comi-
cally fake, yet never to the point of
annoyance.

by Joshua Keidan
Writer Paula Gunn Allen sees
herself as both an outspoken propo-
nent of Native American culture, as
well as an ardent feminist, but dis-
likes being limited by the labels.
"Critics have trouble seeing more
than one thing at a time," she said in
a recent interview. "I'm primarily a
poet, writer, and American scholar,
but since I write as a native woman,
that perspective informs my work."
Allen has won numerous awards
for her work. She has written seven
volumes of poetry, a novel, and a
collection of essays, as well as edit-
ing and introducing two anthologies.
For her Ann Arbor appearance today
she promises a varied evening; she
will read from her most recent book,
"Grandmothers of the Light: A
Medicine Woman's Sourcebook," as
well as from poems she wrote while
in England. In addition, she may
read from her latest volume of po-

etry, "Skins and Bones," or some
new fiction.
"'Grnudmothers of the Light' is a
collection of American Indian tradi-
tional narratives that I rewrote,"
Allen said. In our interview she
shifted the focus to her role as col-
lector, bringing the stories to light:
"Part of (the reason for this collec-
tion) is to bring to the attention of
the American readers all this aston-
ishing literature, history, and wealth
of information that has been tragi-
cally passed over by American
scholars and critics."
A look at the introduction to the

volume, however, shows the consid-
erable artistic dilemmas which Allen
had to deal with. "Rendering works
from the tribal ritual tradition aims
to enable readers unfamiliar with
those traditions to comprehend
implicit as well as explicit meanings
of the myth," she said.
This rendering is necessary be-
cause "unfortunately, we bring west-
ern assumptions to these things and
then we misread them," Allen ex-
plained. She sees the Native Ameri-
can voice not just as dissenting but
as creating. "Allthe stories together
See ALLEN, Page 7

Wilder

The ensemble (including Ma-
deleine Kahn and Gene Hackman)
works well together, and despite
some problems in the script - at
times it can get so boring that you
might forget it's a parody- the
actors all successfully establish
themselves as members of the
comic elite.
"Young Frankenstein" is worth
more than a few looks. The acting
is wonderful, the milieu is perfect,
and the humor is timeless. No self-
respecting movie buff can do
without it.
YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is
playing at the Michigan Theater
tonight at 7 and tomorrow at 9.

*'Jennifer': a thriller with character

i

by Alison Levy
Stylish thrillers seem to be just
that: high on style, action, and de-
ign, but low on plot and character.
"Jennifer Eight" is a film that bucks
the system and incorporates a strong
storyline and interesting characters.
Jennifer Eight
Directed and written by Bruce
Robinson; with Andy Garcia, Uma
Thurman and John Malkovich
While it's no Hitchcock masterpiece,
it is a worthwhile thriller, big on ten-
sion and suspense.
The plot centers on John Berlin
(Andy Garcia), a typical burnt-out
Mercedes-driving L.A. cop with a
oiled marriage who moves to
Northern California to work in his
brother-in-law's department. While
trying to restructure his life, he
tumbles on to a string of murders
where all the victims are blind
women. Garcia becomes obsessed,
and falls in love with Helena (Uma
Thurman), his chief witness and a
target herself. Subsequently, Berlin
also becomes a suspect.
Bruce Robinson's (writer of "The
Killing Fields") script presents the
story with rounded characters, real-
istic relationships, and a strong un-

dercurrent dealing with the theme of
obsession. While it contains standard
turning points, and hits all the marks,
Robinson sprinkles his script with
enough twists and turns to keep the
film intriguing. Evemi after it finally
becomes a bit predictable, Robin-
son's foundation keeps the audience
involved until the lights go up.
While the characters are well
drawn, the actors do a superb job of

bringing them to life. Garcia is ex-
cellent as Berlin. (As if he could be
bad.) Playing his millionth cop role,
Garcia's performance, filled with
anger and obsession, helps to bolster
the story and adds doubt to his inno-
cence.
Uma Thurman ("Henry and
June") also turns in a magnificent
portrayal of the blind Helena. Thur-
See JENNIFER, Page 7

Uma Thurman: modem Venus

by Camilo Fontecilla
It is surprising and pleasing to
find once in a while actors that obvi-
ously do not belong to the Holly-
wood standard crop. Uma Thurman
("Jennifer 8") belongs to this rare
species. At the age of 22, she has
stavred in three major studio film
productions, and yet her name re-
mains unknown to many mnoviego-
ers. Perhaps due to her extreme
height and stylized features, Thur-
man has managed to maintain a high
degree of individuality in an industry
that generally leans toward a more
traditional kind of beauty. This has
prevented her from becoming a
tabloid gossip item, but has granted
her high credibility as an actress.
At the age of 16, Thurman chose

to completely dedicate her life to
acting, and soon found herself pro-
pelled into an ever accelerating
whirlwind of performing opportuni-
ties. Of course, as it often happens,
her first fihn break was modest, the
low-budget film "Kiss Daddy Good
Night," followed by "Johnny Be
Good" with Anthony Michael Hall.
"The Adventures of Baron Mun-
chausen" was to be her most impres-
sive early effort. She played the love
goddess Venus, emanating an inno-
cent sensuality that has become the
trademark of her onscreen presence.
In "Dangerous Liaisons" Thur-
man lost her sexual purity and trans-
formed herself into a curiosity-
plagued vixen. The role of Cecile,
See UMA, Page 7

a a a a a a
- b U. ir r s~ " -
" "4 I~ 'i m U - i 1 " \
-,---

U M Department of Physics
OPEN HOUSE
to present the new
A. B. DEGREE
in
GENERAL PHYSICS
This new degree program is designed for the student who wishes to major
in physics and still have the opportunity to double major or acquire a

Opportunities in
Investment Banking
First Boston, a global investment banking firm headquartered in
New York, will be recruiting University of Michigan degree
candidates for its financial analyst program. Positions are available in
the Investment Banking Department.
You are invited to join First Boston representatives for an
introduction to the firm and the analyst program on:
Wednesday, November 11, 1992
The Wolverine Room in the Business School
5:00 p.m.
Interviews for First Boston's analyst program will be held on the
following date:
January 19, 1993
To request further information, please feel free to contact:
Nehemiah Richardson
Investment Banking
(312) 750-3015

y+ Y

broader general education.

Compared to the B.S. in Physics Degree, this

program requires fewer credit hours in physics and offers a wider range of
electives.

-II1

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