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January 07, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-01-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ARTS

Rob Reiner's' Men' provide a few guilty pleasures

murder one of their own during an illegal hazing
incident. Enter Demi Moore, an average lawyer who
has been working on the case and wants Cruise to put
the two men on trial because she believes they were
acting under orders issued by base commanderNathan
Jessup (Jack Nicholson).
"A Few Good Men" skips along entertainingly,
breezily, intermittently combining jokes with big dra-
matic set pieces like the final courtroom confrontation
between Cruise and Nicholson. Reiner's direction,
however, is too soft, more suitable for romantic com-
edy than serious drama. It's like watching Hany and
Sally doing their verbal sparring in a courtroom. There
doesn't seem tobe very much hinging on the outcome.
Reiner bathes the movie in a fuzzy golden halo and
turns on the laugh track, usually at the expense of
Demi Moore as the dizzy comic foil, oddly reminis-
cent of Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally...".
Though the movie wants to tackle serious issues
like honor and individuality in the military, every time
"A Few Good Men" talks about the differing views of
honor in the film and achieves a bit of complexity,
Reiner backs off, particularly at the end. Nicholson
delivers a passionate and even persuasive speech
explaining his point of view, but then Reiner writes
him off as an animal by having him physically assault
Cruise shortly thereafter. The marines don't seem to be
very happy with the outcome, yet instead of exploring
their reaction, Reiner has Tom Cruise give a little
Hallmark card speech about honor, flash his trade-

mark grin, and then Reiner pours on the triumphant
trumpets and "The End" appears in laughably pre-
cious script lettering.
Although "A Few Good Men" isn't very deep, it
still has an irresistible momentum due largely to the
strength of its cast. Each actor, one after another, nails
his performance on the head. Tom Cruise, who in his
last attempt at serious acting, "Born on the Fourth of
July," gave a performance that was technically strong
but failed to involve the audience on an emotional
level, succeeds brilliantly ini making Daniel Kaffee a
sympathetic, fully-rounded human being. Cruise goes
from drunken pathos to the cool rationality of the
courtroom scenes with Nicholson and more than holds
his own. It's his best work ever.
Nicholson, who has the flashiest role, is fun to
watch and Kevin Pollack as Cruise's right-hand man,
adds strength and even a note of grace to what might
have been a throwaway role. Kiefer Sutherland, of all
people, shines as a fierce Marine bulldog. Finally,
Kevin Bacon, as the prosecutor battling cruise, con-
firms that his expert performance in "JFK" was no
fluke and that he is indeed one of Hollywood's best
character actors.
"A Few Good Men" features strong performances
and is slickly entertaining, but don't be too surprised
if when you leave the theater you feel like you've just
been watching "When Harry Met Sally...".
A FEW GOOD MEN is playing at Briarwood and
Showcase.

Tom Cruise making a case for why he should win the Oscar this year.

Talip Ozkan
The Dark Fire
Axiom/Island Records
The music of Talip Ozkan is at once
dizzying and powerfully beautiful. He
is world renowned as a studious and
accomplished performer of classical
Turkish music on the saz. Yet, you must
experience his dexterity and fret acro-
batics to realize his virtuosity.
The saz is a four to eight stringed
member of the lute family considered
Turkishinorigin.AlthoughotherAxiom
releases suffer from over-production,
"TheDarkFire" exemplifies the natural
resonance of the saz and the raw inten-
sity of its plucked metal strings. Most of
the tracks pair Ozkan with a percussion-
ist who doubles on saz. Yet, "Girdin
Yarnin Bahcesine" and similar compo-
sitionsaremostimpressivebecause they
allow Ozkan to jam solo saz, creating
freely flowing improvisations (called
0 taqsims) while stretching or compress-
ing the rhythms.
Ozkan's rich vocals span from de-
scriptions of heroic 15th century trou-
badoursto loveand dance. Buried within
these songs is the archeology of Talip
Ozkan's native land.
-Chris W),od
Orchestra of the
Opera de Lyon
Kent Nagano, conductor
John Adams:
The Death of Klinghoffer
Elektra/Nonesuch
A year and a half after its world
premiere, John Adams' "The Death of
Klinghoffer" is available on CD. The
opera, about Leon Klinghofler's mur-
derontheAchilleLauroin 1985, brought
together a classical dream team of
Adams, librettist Alice Goodman, cho-
reographer Mark Morris and director
Peter Sellars.
On record, the music itself is quite
appealing. Adams' minimalism is en-
livened here with emotion. The cho-
ruses, such as the "Ocean Chorus" and
"Chorus of Exiled Palestinians" are
immediately accessible, even tuneful.
The arias (actually somewhere between
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aria and recitative) are also agreeable,
sung by distinguished Adams regulars
as James Maddalena and Sheila Nadler.
It's Goodman's libretto, however,
that takes the work a level higher than its
tunes. Shifting the focus to individual
feelings instead of politics, she takes the
subject of a made-for-TV movie and
turns it into a series of profound medi-
tations, closer to a Bach oratorio than an
opera. Hardly anything happens; ac-
tions are reflected on, remembered, not
performed. And the dense poetry of
Goodman'schoruses isbeautiful, though
sometimes too obscure. From
"Klinghoffer," toCorigiliano to Bolcom,
American opera is thriving in the '90s.
- Michael .Iohn Wilson
Thomas Dolby
Astrwnauts n Hieretics
Giant
Thomas Dolby ... Isn't he the one
responsible for that tune "She Blinded
Me With Science" that was a hit back in
the early eighties when MTV still played
24 hours of music videos'? He sure is,
and a decade later I am conscious of
more Dolby originals.
"Astronauts and Heretics," Dolby's
fourth release, is packed with unique
titles and lyrics, innovative sounds and
an array of instruments, including pi-
ano, keyboards, organ, synthesizer, sax,
accordion, fiddle, banjoes andbass, lead,
rhythm and slide guitars. In addition,
Dolby boasts quitea surprisingguestlist
- the most impressive appearances by
Eddie Van Ilalen of Van Halen and Jerry
Garcia and Bob Weir of The Grateful
Dead.
Van I lalen plays lead guitaron "East-
ern Bloc" and "Close But No Cigar."
"Eastern Bloc" is an upbeat tune that
allows for Van Halen's guitar licks to
offer an interesting contrast that works
well with Dolby's keyboards. Eddie's

appearance on "Close But No Cigar" is
much more subtle. The attention on this
song is more directed toward the charm-
ingly silly chorus that is easily memo-
rized by the second repetition. Garcia
and Weir appear on the beautifully engi-
neered "Beauty Of A Dream." Garcia's
lead guitar and Weir's rhythm guitar
highlight Dolby's characteristic key-
boards and vocals.
-Jayne Wawrzyniak
Southgang
Group Therapy
Charisma
Well, they've got cool hair.
Beyond that, this pop-metal four-
piece from Atlanta doesn't have much
to offer. The music is straight from the
'Group Therapy' does
offer a few moments of
hope, though. In terms
of lyrics, they seem to
have plenty to say
about death ...
seedy bar, and judging from this mo-
notonous noise, these guys probably
should have stuck to Motley Crue cov-
ers.
"Group Therapy" does offer a few
moments of hope, though. In terns of
lyrics, they seem to have plenty to say
about death ("Final Resting Place"),
cultural diversity ("Culture Clash City"),
and our duty to help improve the world
("The Call"). The problem is, these
sentiments are buried beneath shallow
cliches such as the comparison of life to
a "Tug of War." Unfortunately,
Southgang's repetitive, mediocre mu-
sic won't capture the attention needed
to discover their good points.
Alas, if only they'd spend as much
time on their songwriting as they do on
their hair.
-Kristen Knudsen

3.: }
3
" .

Southgang have cool hair, a new album, and they look like Extreme. They also do a good impression of sitting.

I ____________________________U

The office of Minority Affairs
is now taking applications for
Student Program Hosts for
the KING/CHAVEZ/PARKS
College Day
Spring Visitation Program
Application deadline is
January 15, 1993
Student Program Ihosts are responsible for
supervising and developing work schedules for
teams of student leaders who will work with
students from middle schools visiting the univer-

WE
It's Our Motto.
Enough Said.
WE ARE PLEASED TO OFFER A
ON ALL NEW TEXTBOOKS TO STUDENTS USING THEIR ENTREE PLUS CARDS.

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