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September 14, 1994 - Image 10

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-14

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0- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 14, 1994

Not-so-good 'Man in Africa'
Quest for awakening fails in this faulty bio-pic

By JOHN R. RYBOCK
James Earl Jones does Yellow Pages
commercials as a way to sustain him-
self while he takes on low paying film
and stage roles.

Directed by Bruce Beresford;
(with Sean Connery
and Colin Friels.
Since the last time I heard of Sean
Connery being on a stage was when he
got his first gig in the chorus of "South
Pacific," I have to wonder what his
excuse i for appearing in such com-
plete dreck as "A Good Man in Af-
rica."
Based on a 13-year-old novel, the
story sounds like a good read, and I
certainly plan on finding a copy. How-
ever, what may work on the page does
not always work on the screen. After
writing "Chaplin," William Boyd, the

screenwriter for that bio-pic as well as
this adaptation of his own book, should
have learned.
Set in the politically volatile, fic-
tional West African nation of Kinjanja,
the film is supposed to follow the awak-
ening of Morgan Leafy (Colin Friels).
A British diplomat in the newly inde-
pendent nation,
Morgan couldn't One feels a
giveadamnabout
anything other the film wa
than liquor and to Its hour
women. He fol-
lowsthedamned- length from
if-you-do, longer "dire
damned-if-you-
don'tordersofhis which bore
hyper-angloboss, semblance
ArthurFanshawe ____a____
(John Lithgow),
tries to make in-roads with the sure-to-
be-elected-president, Sam Adekundle
(Lou Gossett, Jr.) and beds any woman
he can.
During the supposed journey of the
film, Morgan continually crosses paths
and butts heads with Alex Murray
(Connery), a Scottish expatriate who
practices medicine for the poor in
Kinjanja. Through his experiences with
Dr. Murray, Morgan is supposed to

3l
Is
a
e4
:c

"awaken," to find the error of his ways
and become a "good man in Africa."
We can see from the offset that
Morgan is a bit of a self-centered bas-
tard. He keeps a separate apartment so
he can meet his Black girlfriends with-
out anyoneknowingabout it. Hecuts in
front of some 200 poor nationals to see
the doctor. And,
most that totopitoffhe's
a diplomat who
icut down knows nothing
!nd-a-half aboutthenation
in which he is
some stationed.
ctor's cut ,, But at the
Scend, he does the
some right thing.
)f a plot. Why? It is not
clear on the
screen. At what
moment does the awakening take place?
One feels almost that the film was cut
down to its hour-and-a-half length from
some longer "director's cut," which
bore some semblance of a plot. But
whatever it was, it is not on the screen
now.
The film boasts an all-star cast,
from Gossett to Lithgow to Connery to
Diana Rigg. All are good actors who
have been known to pick shlock films

It's a mystery to us why Sean Connery is in a movie as bad as "A Good Man in Africa."

and still give decent performances. The
way the dice was rolled, all four ended
up in the same film, all giving decent
performances. But not good enough to
save the film.
One positive aspect of "A Good
Man in Africa" is that is showcases a
potential new star. Friels, "best" known
to American audiences for mid-sized
roles in "Class Action" and"Darkman,"

and lesser known as the husband of
Judy Davis, shows considerable prom-
ise in the lead role, radiating a charisma
that never allows one to truly hate his
character.
But all involved in the film should
forget about it. Director Bruce
Beresford has done better, directing
the late Jessica Tandy to an Oscar in
"Driving Miss Daisy." Boyd's original

novel won several awards and was well,
received by critics. And pretty much-
the entire cast has done much beyi
work in much better films.
Fortunately, they all struck outof
the same film, creating just one piece
celluloid to be burned instead of sri
eral.

A GOOD MAN IN AFRICA is
playing at Showcase.

4,

RECORDS
Continued from page 9
Khan traveling through much slicker
waters. Canadian Michael Brooks pro-
duced this album of eight traditional
vocal exercises'and two actual songs,
one romantic and one devotional.
Brooks contributes his self-invented
infinite guitar to two tracks and gives
the entire record a fairly polished, al-
most Western feel. Khan's amazing,
undulating voice keeps it grounded in
tradition and alone makes it worth an
extra listen but the addition of a remix
of the title track by Massive Attack
serves little purpose.
-Dirk Schulze
Chant
The Benedictine Monks of
Santo Domingo
Angel Records
The country that brought us the
inquisition and conquistadors is at it

again. "Chant" is an incredibly beauti-
ful and awe-inspiring album that is
becoming an "international phenom-
enon" and has cracked the American
barometer of worth, the Tower Records
Top 25!!
"Chant" is a timeless album that
transcends comparison. No knowl-
edge of Gregorian chant is necessary to
be moved by the sublime qualities of
this record. Listening to this record has
the healing quality of a three-hour-long
mental massage; the "serene spirit"
conveyed is a spiritual cleanser.
The record was recorded in the
monk's cloister and the acoustics are
nothing short of perfect. The echo's
and reverberations ofthe monk's voices
only adds to the ethereal nature of their
music. The music is incredibly mov-
ing.
"Chant" promises to be a European
import of extreme importance. This
album can be equally enjoyed by any
person desiring a beautiful and healing
experience.
- Ben Ewy

NBA Jam Session
Various Artists
MCA Records
Comin' at ya with sounds more
slammin' than any of Scottie Pippen's
dunks (andthecrowdroars!), the "NBA
Jam Session" is packed with more su-
perstars than the Detroit Pistons (and
the crowd roars again!).
The Lost Tribe of Boodah starts off
this CD kickin' some smooth rhymes
in "On the Blacktop." Heavy D is also
featured making a comeback from his
rather pitiful "Blue Funk" release. He
throws some strong raps with the aid of
TheNotoriousB.I.G. and Troo-Kulain
"Jam Session."
The BBD single "Above the Rim"
can be found on "NBA Jam Session",
and the CD also features "Rim Shaker,"
a remix of the hit "Rump Shaker,"
performed by the bad boyz of Wreckx-
N-Effect. The B. Brown Posse, the
East Coast Family of 1994, performs
"Drop It on the One." The song is
slammin'!

"NBA Jam Session" also introduces
the musical newcomers FrontPage and
IV Example, among others. Their
sounds do be hittin'.
This CD is action-packed with some
smooth lyrical sounds, and it almost
makes up for the pitiful final game
between New York and Houston this
year.
-Eugene Bowen
Sounds of Blackness
Africa to America; the Journey
of ihe Drum
Perspective Records
Are you ready to hear the best, most
spiritually and personally uplifting col-
lection of music of 1994? If you are,
then grab acopy of"AfricatoAmerica"
and get ready for some beautiful sing-
ing, nicely arranged music and beats
and a barrage of powerful messages
thrown here and there.
This CD, the third released by
Sounds of Blackness, is a musical ex-
ploration of the history of African
American music in this country. Some
songs on this whopping 19-cut album
pay tribute to the Motherland, like
"African Medley" and "A Very Spe-
cial Love," which features tablas, an
African/Indian drum. We are then
whisked away to the antebellum South,
birthplace of the spiritual ("Hold On")
and gospel ("He Took Away All My
Pain"). Music of the first half of the
20th century like jazz ("Black Butter-
fly") and blues ("Living the Blues")
give rise to more contemporary forms
See RECORDS, Page 31

0 1

James Harman is one of modem blues' finest raconteurs, singing, writin||
and playing harmonica for 30 years; his latest release, "Cards on the
Table," is filled with stories of heroes, clowns, and "everyman." "I'm in
constant pursuit of trying to do something different with each album,
focusing on what's in my heart and mind. Just trying to fit in, yet stand '
apart." His eloquent and evocative titles like "Night Ridin' Daddy,"
"Temporary Blues," and "Black Under Black" express that feeling
completely. Luckily, Ann Arbor gets the chance to experience Harman's
perspective on the blues at the Blues & Jazz Fest on Sunday at Gallup Park.
A one-day pass for the Gallup Park shows costs $10 for students with ID,
$13.50 in advance, and $15 at the gate._Call 747-9955.

.4 Pyd w Qrc.
..;I4NL

More'

O~s4t F&%/24!
Thexpasnded tOr eat
216 North Fourth!
fine organic and commercial produce *

FATE
Continued from page 8
the film. The movie is being billed as a
family story, disrupted by a bitter cus-
tody battleoverwhatconstitutesa"real"
family. Save that for the Baby Jessica.
made-for-TV movie. .
Martin has written some great one-
liners, and the rest of the dialogue is
fine. Catherine O'Hara is a bright spot
as a quirky antique show owner, but
Gabriel Byrne is wasted. However,
Gillies MacKinnon needs to re-read
his "director" job description, because
he obviously had no idea how to slap all
of this together.
Just rent "Parenthood" or "Leap of
Faith," and pray that Martin can put "A
Simple Twist" behind him and move
on quickly, without any permanent
career damage.
A SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE is
playing at Showcase.
I T~ - I T.

Next semester, what's outside your residence hall window can

be more than just an attractive view.

When you study abroad

with Beaver College, you come to understand another culture

in a way no tourist can.

Whether you prefer to frequent the

faulous salad bar * lots of healthj and organic food !*
More economicak* priced buk products-
Live munic right outside!
Blues * Jazz * Folk * Surprises
tfe
lots of foodi carple!

haunts of Dublin's famous writers, explore the ancient sites of
Athens, sample the plaza nightlife of Guadalajara, devour
Sachertortes in Viennese coffeehouses or watch the sun set

Israel! 1uaibĀ±t!

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