'Shadowlands' finds love
By SCOTT PLAGENHOEF
This is a love story.
Stop what you're thinking. This is not a love story in
the "Ghost" sense of the phrase. Love does not occur
between physically perfect individuals. Love is not asso-
ciated with the naivetd that it can be fostered through a
Directed by Richard Attenborough; written by William
Nicholson; with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
medium after death. It is not a fairy tale. It would be nice
to think that such a love can exist, but it doesn't, and to
have such ridiculous a premise be identified as true love
"Shadowlands" respects the pain that can accompany
love. It realizes the difficulty in admitting to love. It flirts
with the possibility that one may never find love, or that
one may have to try multiple times before it is truly
attained. The film is honest about both the euphoria and
the torment which accompanies love.
"Shadowlands" is based upon the true story of Oxford
professor and writer C.S. Lewis (author of "The Lion, the
Witch, and the Wardrobe" and other mystical tales of
Narnia) and Joy Gresham, an American mother of one and
Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) is an academic in the truest
sense. To him, and particularly his fellow professors, life
is pursuit of scholarship along with the reduction of life
and love to abstractions whose characteristics must be
argued and examined in order to be discovered. Lewis
does, however, have a fondness for things from his child-
hood, such as the inspiration for his children's books, his
old wardrobe, which he keeps in the attic. His authorship
of the Chronicles of Narnia reveals a human side discov-
ered, touched and drawn out by Joy.
Hopkins possibly tops his own performance earlier in
the year in "The Remains of the Day." In this film he is
allowed to display the range of emotions which his re-
pressed butler in "Remains" never admits to possessing.
There is no moment which shakes him free of his scholarly
nature. Hopkins reveals Lewis' feelings gradually, and
therefore, more convincingly and impressively.
Gresham's intelligence is a result of the experiences of
life. She seeks out Lewis both as a mother of a fan of his
work and a fan herself. Her New York accent contrasts
with Lewis' English droll and to the proud and the proper
men of Oxford she is an uncouth outsider. Joy is an
intelligent woman, not from a book or university, but from
keenly observing and experiencing life.
The film is not without its melodramatic moments.
Moments at which you wish that Director Richard
Attenborough ( Director of "Ghandi" and the old-man
curator of "Jurassic Park") would turn off the cheezy
music and let the script and the performances of Hopkins
and Winger be all the emotion needed.
Yet Attenborough does avoid the temptation for the
film to slip into a total collapse of mysticism and artificial
emotion. In a distressing moment in his life, Joy's nine-
year-old son confronts Lewis' wardrobe in the attic only
In this film (Hopkins) is allowed to
display the range of emotions which
his repressed butler in "Remains"
never admits to possessing.
to push aside the coats and find nothing but the back wall.
No Narnia. No perfect utopia. He and the older Lewis,
pining for the innocence of his childhood, could have
easily slipped into the world of Lewis' creation. Instead
Attenborough presents the possibility, casts it aside as
absurd, and the two characters connect in a real and
True love is an acceptance of the better and the worse,
sickness and health, just as the vows indicate. Damn
"Ghost" and all others like it. True love's obstacles are
real pain and grief, not a climatic battle between good and
evil ghosts (You would have half expected Bill Murray
and Dan Akroyd to come photon guns blasting and hope
that Patrick Swayze got it in the crossfire).
This is a love story.
SHADOWLANDS is playing at Showcase.
Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger discover the meaning of a true love story in "Shadowlands."
Otis! - The Definitive Otis
Five years into the CD box set
reissue boom and the well has begun
to run dry. Most of the box sets of this
past year have either been undeserved
(the second Jethro Tull box, Emerson
Lake & Palmer and Annette Funicello)
or sloppily produced (Steely Dan and
Paul Simon). At first glance, Rhino's
four disc Otis Redding box, "Otis! -
The Definitive Otis Redding" also
appears to be a consumer rip-off. Af-
ter all, the superb three-disc "Otis
Redding Story" has been available
for several years and it covers all of
his best material. Think again. "Otis!"
is one of those rare box sets that not
only fully states the importance of the
artist but is also compulsively listen-
Nearly all of the material from
"The Otis Redding Story" is repeated
on "Otis!," with an extra disc that
creates the "ultimate live Otis Redding
show" from a variety of sources. Soni-
cally, the remastering on Rhino's box
far out-distances any other Redding
material (with the exception of the
Stax/Volt box and Mobile Fidelity's
edition of "Otis Blue - Otis Redding
Sings Soul"), but the real strength of
the box lies in its song sequencing. By
now, Redding's biggest hits are so
well-known and over-exposed that
their power has been somewhat lost.
However, when they are placed in
context of his other songs, they regain
their strength, making his lesser-
known material sound equally as pow-
erful. Such forgotten gems as "Don't
Leave Me This Way," "Cigarettes
andCoffee,' "I'm Sick Y'All,"
"Pounds and Hundreds," and an
unissued Coca-Cola commercial shine
as brightly as the familiar "Respect,"
"These Arms of Mine," "Mr. Pitiful,"
"Shake," "I Can't Turn You Loose,"
"Try A Little Tenderness," "Hard to
Handle," "Love Man" and "(Sittin'
On) The Dock of the Bay." And that
is why "Otis!" is more satisfying than
such single disc compilations like
"The Ultimate Otis Redding" - the
amount and variety of material shows
how deep Redding's talents were.
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Featuring a storming run-through
of his best material, the live disc is
indeed the "Ultimate Live Otis
Redding Show;" this disc completes
the portrait of the artist that the first
three discs started and is what makes
this box more essential than "The
Otis Redding Story."
Thankfully, the lavish packaging
is the equal of the music - one hun-
dred pages filled with photos and sev-
eral enlightening essays. But the ex-
ceptional, seminal music alone makes
"Otis! - The Definitive Otis
Redding" one of the best box sets ever
released; it's essential listening for
anyone with a slight interest in popu-
- Torn Erlewine
Moby's latest EP, "Move," is an
attempt to add melody to the bass-
heavy sound of techno, but the end
result is something that could be de-
fined as "techno lite." Disco rhythms,
campy vocal samples, house piano
and some rather pleasant string synths
make up the album's title track as
well as it's aptly named remix, "Move
(Disco Threat)," while songs such as
"All That I Need Is To Be Loved" are
nothing more than fast-paced techno
rhythms blended with some truly asi-
Less annoying is Moby's attempt
at ambient techno, "The Rain Falls
and the Sky Shudders," which is pleas-
ant enough, but considering all of the
amazing things being done in that
realm by outfits such as Aphex Twin,
Orbital and Vapour Space, this track
falls a little flat. Moby fails to break
any ground here; his mellow rain-
storm samples and keyboard textures
create a listenable atmosphere but fail
to take the listener anywhere.
While "Move" could have been an
interesting experiment in melodic
techno, it ends up being a watered
down version of the real stuff. Like
nearly all of techno, these are per-
fectly acceptable tunes to dance to,
but beyond that, there aren't too many
fresh ideas thrown in to the mix. Hope-
fully, Moby will begin to develop a
more unique melodic sound rather
than continue in his current direction.
- Andy Dolan
The Emigre Music Sampler
The Emigre label has long beer,
associated with the words "experi-
mental music." While their willing-
ness to take chances with performers
outside the fringes of radio friendly
formats is admirable, inevitably this
trait is also their worst enemy. This
compilation, fittingly, captures both
of these contradictory moments.
On the positive side there are per-
formers such as Basehead, Uncle
Clarence the Thomas and the Grassy
Knoll. Michael Ivey's Basehead takes
the rap and rock fusion and mixes it
into the chillingly beautiful acoustic
version of "Not Over You." Ivey also
makes an appearance with his wah
guitar on Uncle Clarence the Tho-
mas' "Local NRA" which poignantly
equates the NRA with the KKK
through Muriel Brown's soulful, yet
startling, vocals. The Grassy Knoll
play techno (not a bad stereotype here)
with a solid slap of jazzy trumpets to
boot, on "Sri." The results are fasci-
However, before you jet out to
buy this record, you should be made
aware that these few moments of sheer
bliss are lost within the rest of the
album. Bands like Audioafterbirth
(who basically plagiarize Skinny
Puppy) and Supercollider (who sound
like very trite Joy Division) shame-
lessly rip-off performers who frankly
just play better music than them.
These bands are a far cry from
being "experimental" in any sense.
Trying to sound like Dylan (as Honey
Barbara do), doesn't cut it as cutting
Emigre undoubtedly have some
cool, young bands on their roster. For
these performers, their music will for-
tunately get out to a bigger audience
because of compilations like this. The
other bands included here, however,
have a long way still to go before they
meet the label's lofty aspirations.
- Nima Hodaei
for a few
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre MainStage Production 1
by Charle fuller
Directed by Wallace Bridges
January 12- 15.1991
Wednesday thru Saturday at 8 p.m.
Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
Lydia Uendeliohn Theatre
for Tickets information. call 971- ACT
Beginning January 10. 761-1085
Tuesday Live Jazz With
_t The Maitres