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March 21, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-21

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8- The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 21, 1994

High-paced 'Chase'lacks the filling

Hollywood has been slow
producing good comedies lately. Oh,
sure, "Mrs. Doubtfire" made billions
and even though it looks like the most
gawdawful thing since low-fat
The Chase
Written and Directed by Adam
Rifkin; with Charlie Sheen, Kristy
Swanson and Henry Rollins.
granola, "Ace Ventura Pet Detective"
is getting ok reviews. But for the most
part, those films are aimed at two age
groups: children, and the parents who
have to drag the aforementioned

children to the theater and buy them
Sweet Tarts. Where are the Ferris
Buellers of today? The light-hearted
comedies which mock ourculture with
joyous abandon, dancing along to
soundtracks filled with Village People
songs? "The Chase" might not be as
good as that, but it is pretty damn
"The Chase," as its title might
imply, is about a high-speed chase on
the busy freeways of Southern
California. Charlie Sheen (the star of
such diverse films as "Platoon" and
the Heidi Fleiss home video
collection) stars as Jack Hammond, a
convicted felon who escapes while
being transferred to San Quentin.
When the car he steals is located by

the police, he kidnaps Natalie Voss
(played by Kristy Swanson) and the
chase is on.
Henry Rollins, front-man for the
Rollins Band, has quite a sizable part
as Officer Dobbs. Along with his
partner Officer Figus (Josh Mostel),
Dobbs drives the first police car to
join the chase.
Dobbs and Figus are joined in
their car by the camera crew of one of
those real-life shows, a take-off of
"COPS." During their pursuit, Dobbs
entertains the camera with his take on
the life of a cop. "We're standard
issue street soldiers. People might
think we don't get a lot of crime here,
not as much as in New York, but
proportionally, we do. We get it all."
While they're busy dodging the
cops, Jack and Natalie take the time to
fall in love. Of course Jack is innocent,
but the system didn't recognize that
so he's running for Mexico. Natalie is
the daughter of Dalton Voss (Ray
Wise of "Twin Peaks" fame),
described as "The Donald Trump of
Dalton is the typical uncaring
father figure, and Natalie is the typical
spoiled brat, but Swanson gives
Natalie enough quirks to make her
different and likable.
The film has a harder edge then
most recent comedies, due to the
influence of writer / director Adam
Rifkin (who did the classic black
comedy "The Dark Backward").
During the chase a truck carrying

corpses to a medical lab is forced to
swerve, its back door opening and
spilling bodies onto the highway, right
into the path of oncoming police
cruisers. And when Natalie becomes
carsick, she really becomes carsick.
Rifkin doesn't pull any punches, and
the film comes out that much better
for it.
Charlie Sheen does his usual dead-
pan, nice-guy act and for once he's in
a film that ideally suited to all his
squinting. Henry Rollins plays Officer
Dobbs with grim-faced intensity,
delivering lines that only he can
deliverin a believable way. "I've never
killed anybody, but I'd like to. It's
why I joined the force."
There are other cameos, but the
limitations of the chase scenario
prevent them from becoming overkill.
Anthony Kiedis and Flea of the Red
Hot Chili Peppers play Will and Dale,
two hicks in a monster truck who
decide to try and bag the criminals by
themselves in the hopes of getting on
"We'll tell our story to anybody,
Oprah, Geraldo, Sally Jesse," they
proclaim happily.
"The Chase" is hilarious and fast-
paced. There isn't a dull moment in
the entire film. The only problem is,
the film is shorter than most. It's kind
of like Film-Lite: you watch it, but
you want more right away. Great taste,
but definitely less filling.
THE CHA$E is playing at
Briarwood and Showcase.

Various Artists
Brace Yourself' A Tribute to
Otis Blackwell
Shanachie Records
Oneofearly rock'n' roll's greatest
songwriters is definitely Otis
Blackwell. His catchy, well-written
rock standards gave such stars as Elvis
Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Jones
and Dee Clark the means to acclaim.
This tribute is meant to showcase
the very best of Blackwell's work
with old and new voices interpreting
his material for an especially good
cause - the treatment and medical
care of Blackwell, who in 1991 was
left a mute quadraplegic by a stroke.
Though he may not be able to play
music ever again, "Brace Yourself!"
celebrates the joyful spirit he brought
to his music and gives it new life in
these recent interpretations.
"Brace Yourself!" is one of the
most consistent tribute albums on the
market; it works noftonly as a tribute
to a songwriter but as a collection of
great songs.
It starts with Graham Parker's
energetic reworking of Elvis' hit
"Paralyzed," Paul Rodgers' (ex -
Free) gritty "Home In Your Heart,"
Tom Verlaine's fluid rendition of
"Fever" and the Smithereens' rather
Continued from page 5
Thomas' words with all the right
inflections for the hearing members
of the audience. The eight deaf
performers, however, were the ones
who mesmerized, translating the
spoken words into American Sign

menacing version of "Let's Talk'
About Us."
Dave Edmunds' faithful
interpretation of "Return to Sender"
and "Brace Yourself" by Ronnie
Spector are also terrific, but the fact
that Frank Black has two great covers
on this album - "Breathless,"
originally by Jerry Lee Lewis, and
"Handyman," originally by Jimmy
Jones - make this album a must for'
Pixies/Frank Black fans.
These well done modern
interpretations of Blackwell's songs
really rock and offer new insights into
what makes rock 'n' roll from the
'50s so timeless: the art ot matching
great melodies with cleverly crafted
lyrics and tying them together in less
than three minutes.
The weaker renditions of
Blackwell's work (like Deborah
Harry's flat "Don't Be Cruel," and
"All Shook Up" by Jon Spencer, which
is too campy for its own good) are not
utterly awful and are in the name of a
good cause.
All in all, the new renditions do
not try to compete with the originals,
and they don't need to; "Brace
Yourself! A Tribute to Otis
Blackwell" is more than worthwhile
for fans of both the new and old artists.
- Heather Phares
Language. They literally wrapped
their hands around Thomas' diction,
truly bringing it alive. But it was their
body language that made the denizens
of Llareggub real, their facial
expressions that allowed the audience
to care about their experiences.
Granted, the NTD was helped by
Thomas' perfect mixture of
poignancy, humor and heartbreak. A
plain woman hopes every day for a
repeat of a stolen kiss from years
before. A meek schoolmaster dreams
of murdering his shrewish wife even
as he responds to her every beck and
call. An old, blind former sea captain
mentally visits his long-dead lover@
time and again.
The performers, however, gave
credence to the common belief that
the best actors are the ones who don't
say anything. It's easy enough to bring
across an emotion or a thought by
altering the sound of your voice. It's
another thing to manipulate your face
and body to do the same thing; that's
why Holly Hunter has been nominated.
for an Academy Award.
Whoever thought that sign
language could beeso affecting? Its
synthesis with the spoken word gave
"Under Milk Wood" a vitality that
few productions have, and in these
days of formula theater and star
vehicles, that's not such a bad thing.

Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson star in "The Chase." Just call it Film-Lite.

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s Required coursework in language and culture
Coursework also available in African-American
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Optional traveling seminar with visits to locations such as
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Independent study and internships available
Academic scholarships and study abroad grants
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The Michigan Daily Classified Department is now accepting
applications for Fall '94.
Apply in person at the second floor of the Student Publications
Building, 420 Maynard St. (Right next to the Student
Activities Building)
Applications accepted through 4 p.m. Friday, March 25, 1994.
Interviews will be held on March 28-30.
Questions? Call 764-0557. Ask for J.L. or Eileen.

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