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January 30, 1996 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-30

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 30, 1996 - 9

'Death' kills interest suddenly

By Kristen Okosky
Daily Arts Writer
It s a Van Damme movie. Need I say
more?
;,sA&an audience, we're already going
infdis movie with pretty low expecta-
'ie0tlWe don't need pure art. We just
pant an entertaining, fast-paced action
ick that can hold our attention.
Unfortunately, "Sudden Death" can-
not even deliver in this capacity.
The film opens as our generic hero,
Jean-Claude (as a fireman this time),
fails to rescue a little girl caught in a
burning blaze.
This tragic event is meant to motivate
his character in the tradition of
"Cliffhanger" and more recently and hu-
orously, "Ace Ventura: When Nature
Walls." Will it break him or inspire him to
atergreatness? We can only guess.
He is also divorced a la "Die Hard,"
subtly signaling to the audience that he
is aman driven by his work andisolated
in his pain. Obviously, when his wife
learns of his failure, she has to take his
childen away and start having sex with
someone else immediately. What else
b is a gal in an action movie to do?

REVIEW
Sudden Death
Directed by Peter Hyams
with Jean-Claude
Van Damme
At Fox Village
Years later (as a caption tells us),
some generic bad guys take over a
hockey rink where the vice president of
the United States is in attendance; Jean-
Claude is now working as a security
guard and his two cute kiddies happen
to be enjoying a game.
The villains do not have a cause or
plight. (Luckily, they seem to be part of
that just-plain-greedy trend in bad guys
that makes the screenwriter's job so
much easier.) They demand that funds.
be transferred into their own accounts
each period or someone dies and, even-
tually, the whole stadium will blow.
The government agrees to the demands,
but stalls and doesn't do as it says. Surely

this is a bizarre and completely unrealis-
tic plot twist none of us can believe.
Can Jean-Claude prove himself to
his kids and save the vice president and
a stadium full of innocent civilians all
at once? Things look pretty bleak until,
shockingly, the hockey game below
goes into sudden death overtime.
(Hence, the name of the film. Are you
paying attention?)
This movie is pure formula. The only
typical element missing is the love in-
terest. I originally thought it might be
the cute blond in the Penguins' mascot
suit, but I was forced to revise this
thesis when she died in the first 15
minutes. I guess filmmakers did not
feel necrophilia would add that special
something the film is lacking.
But despite the fact that it contains
nearly all the conventional elements,
"Sudden Death" doesn't work.
For one, it drags. There are some OK
fight scenes, but most of them are played
for an unsuccessful, comical effect (es-
pecially in the kitchen, where an evil
penguin is maimed by a dishwasher and
a security guard is terminated with a
large bone to the jugular).

"When will this game end so I can go home and get out of this tight uniform? These boots are killing me!"

The final confrontation, which takes
place on the stadium roof, is actually
somewhat suspenseful -especially for
those of us afraid of heights. It starts to
draw us in, but at this point, it's too late.

All in all, "Sudden Death" is a poor
quality cross between the familiar plots
of"Die Hard" and "Under Siege" with-
out any of their chemistry or spark.
Will good triumph over evil, justice

over lawlessness, and the forces of the
universe be restored to their proper or-
der? I recommend saving your seven
bucks and taking a guess. The odds are
in your favor.

Sanan Rushdie

The Moor 's Last Sigh
Pantheon Books
"T begin with, pass the pepper," is
how the narrator introduces Salman
Rushdie's novel "The Moor's Last
gh." Yet pepper, and other spices, are
only a few of the ingredients in
Rushdie's exotic and convoluted narra-
tive.
The story is told by Moraes Zogoiby,
known as "Moor," a wry, dramatic and
engaging narrator. He relates a surreal
four-part family history, spanning the
entire 20th century - "a Moor's tale,
complete with sound and fury," which
is'noexaggeration. It includes murder,
fdction, British-Indian conflicts,
masterpieces of art, counterfeit Lenins,
burning spice fields ... and that's only
the first section.
Moor's family, the da Gama and
Zogoiby clans, are Bombay spice mer-
chants. The central figure of the group
is, Aurora Zogoiby, Moor's mother,
whpm he describes as "too bright a
star; look at her too long and you'd be
blinded." Aurora is a beautiful, im-
ensely talented painter, also re-
nowned for her hot temper and sharp
tonigue. She dominates the book from
thefjrst scene, and while the story
begins in her grandparents' genera-
tionit has the most life and vividness
when Aurora is involved in the ac-
tion.
the book follows Aurora's scandal-
*us marriage to Abraham Zogoiby
(she's a young Christian heiress, he's a
*iddle-aged Jewish clerk), and the lives
of their children Ina, Minnie, Mynah,
and Moor. Along the way, fortunes,
paintings and relationships are created
and lost, and all these events are re-
corded by Moor.
It would be enough to have written
this family saga; Rushdie's frenetically
active variation on the genre makes an
entry like "The House of the Spirits"
look dull. To make his tale even more
' nusual, the first half is spiced with
stances of magic realism - which
actually seem as plausible as the rest of
the plot.
Moor, for example, was born with a
condition that forces him to physically
age twice as fast as normal. "Four and a
;half months from conception to birth,"
forexample. But"ifabirth is the fallout
Free! Free! Free!
'hat's exactly how you could
describe the passes that we have
for the new period epic film,
"Restoration," now playing at the
Michigan Theater. This film, starring
Robert Downey Jr., Meg Ryan, Sam
Neill and Hugh Grant - among
many others - is an extensive
study of one of the most tumultuous
periods in British history. So are you
interested yet? Well, for you and a
companion to see this movie, all
ou have to do is stop by the Daily
Arts office, 420 Maynard St.,
seclnd floor, and answer the
question: In what recent film,
directed by Jodie Foster, did
t6wney star? Then take your pass
to the Michigan and have some fun!
You know you deserve it.
Do you want
/l to wnteb
conCert, art,
danCe or

from the explosion caused by the union
of two unstable elements, then perhaps
a half-life is all we can expect." Moor's
fictional world also features ghosts and
synagogue tiles whose pictures change,
but these phenomena are presented as
more or less usual events.
The tone of the book changes in the
third and fourth sections. Uma, Moor's
lover, is introduced as Aurora's nem-
esis and opposite number, but never
catches the reader's attention as Aurora
does.
After Aurora's death, the story veers
into far less interesting worlds; Abraham
discovers organized crime, and con-
verts the family business from the spice
trade to banking and the World Wide
Web. However, the action goes back to
normal (that is, abnormal, in this case)
with Moor's strange, final journey to
Spain in search of Aurora's lost paint-
ings.
The novel's structure becomes es-
pecially important, as the book draws
to a close. Moor has lost all of his
family, and finally succumbs to exile
and imprisonment. Frequent refer-
ences are made throughout the book
to the Sultan of Granada, an ancestor
who met a similar fate in 1492 - and
who also had a deceptive lover and
powerful mother. Their two stories
are linked, as are the themes of loss
contrasting to "the defeated love that
is greater than what defeats it, to that
most profound of our needs, to our
need for flowing together."
Readers will no doubt think of a third
linked story - Rushdie's own. The
author has been in hiding since afatwa,
or death sentence, was issued for him in
1989. But it is fortunate that Rushdie,
like Moor, has been able to tell such a
story while in exile. "The Moor's Last
Sigh" is a brilliant and relentlessly in-
triguing work.
- Elizabeth Lucas

doll. She is an artist.
Photographer Jody Cobb takes the
perception of the geisha one step fur-
ther in her photo study "Geisha." The
straightforward, honest view Cobb of-
fers into the life of the Japanese per-
formers proves that geisha are not only
doll-like and beautiful, but also not
solely anonymous artists. Delving deep
inside the private lives of the women
who practice this ancient tradition,
Cobb's photographsillustrate that these
"icons" are one thing above all else:
Human.
Some of the most startling photo-
graphs are simply those of the women
going about their everyday lives. Smok-
ing a cigarette. Kneeling in prayer.
Sleeping. It brings back the reality that
underneath the makeup and elaborate
Kimono is a woman with the same
dreams and fears as any other woman.
Considering that this type of "art"
involves playing along with a very
male fantasy, geisha may sometimes
be perceived as submissive, or in a
less-powerful position than the men
that they entertain. The quotes Cobb
includes next to her strikingly beauti-
ful photographs suggest that just the
opposite may be the case. The fact
that the geisha can separate the woman
she is from the woman she becomes
as a performer is a power in and of
itself.
"A man becomes a geisha's patron as
a secondhand way of acquiring art. He
just acquires the person who performs
the art," a geisha named Mayumi points
out.
Cobb, a National Geographic staff
photographer, has managed to capture
this particular life-style without judg-
ing or glorifying it in the process.
The photographs of the old, the
young, the painted and the plain women
are head on, real, alive. But perhaps, in
the end, only a geisha herself can sum
up what Cobb's photographs attempt to
illustrate.
"In the geisha world," Mayumi says
to Cobb, "the saving grace is that even
though you may enter with nothing,
you will come out with your own skill,
your world of art. That's a huge thing
you gain. And what I have just said is
what you should have as the final thing
in your book."
And knowing when wise words have
been spoken, Cobb placed this quote on
the very last page.
- Kari Jones

RECORDS
Continued from Page 8
Various Artists
Music From the MGM Original
Motion Picture Bio-Dome
Priority
Let me be honest- I didn't see "Bio-
Dome." I just wouldn't feel right pay-
ing $7 to see The WEEEEEEEEZEL
and the black-sheep Baldwin in their

retarded adventure. Don't get me wrong
- Pauly Shore is a comedic genius,
right on par with Jerry Lewis, but I'll
just wait for it to come out on video.
But the "Bio-Dome" soundtrack ...
that's a different story. Like many other
recent Gen X comedies, the soundtrack
sounds a bit more promising than the
movie it's supposed to support.
The great thing about the "Bio-Dome"
soundtrack is its combination of new
and old tracks to make one big ol' fun
record. The album kicks off with a new
androckin' remix of Men Without Hats'
'80s classic "The Safety Dance." Bow

Wow Wow's "I Want Candy," Camper
Van Beethoven's "Good Guys & Bad
Guys," and "World Destruction" by
Time Zone (featuring John Lydon and
Afrika Bambatta) are all here, too.
The soundtrack also features Wax
covering Bobby Freeman's "Do Yo
Wanna Dance" (previously covered by
the Ramones) and Fourth Grade
Nothing's version of"Kids In America"
(which was incidentally also covered
by the Muffs on last year's "Clueless"
soundtrack).
New material on the disc includes
Wax's cool new track, "Your Intelli-
gence" and a new Magnapop tune,
"Come On Inside." Among some ofthe
remaining tracks are the Dance Hall
Crashers' "Don't Wanna Behave," and
those wacky Rugburns with "Subur-
bia."

Here we see the Rugburns, four fine, upstanding young gentlemen.

Jody Cobb
Geisha
Knopf

To the western world, the geisha is
somewhat of an icon, a Japanese doll,
painted in the palest whites, the deepest
reds and clothed in a delicate beauty at
all times. Perhaps native Japanese know
that the geisha is more than a dancer,
more than a "prostitute" or a delicate

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