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February 02, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-02

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U.IW i ud ? The Director Speaks

Mann's 'Heat' is a lukewarm effort

my Joshua Rich
Daily Arts Editor
Perhaps better founded on its impres-
sive gimmick than on its gritty, if not
slowly unfolding plot, "Heat" is a film
that shoots onto the screen with the
thrust of a bullet and enters our souls
long after we've realized what hit us.
Nevertheless, and despite some sig-
nificant shortcomings, it is one of the
more original crime stories to come out
of Hollywood in a while. And when
considering the fine talents that com-
bined to produce this dark urban epic,
this should come as no surprise.
In his first effort since the acclaimed

Written and directed by
Michael Mann; with
Al Pacino and
Robert De Niro
At Showcase

1993 adaptation of James Fenimore
Cooper's "Last of the Mohicans," di-
rector Michael Mann, a famously me-
ticulous filmmaker, has, in "Heat,"
crafted a sublime study into the mind of
a career bank robber and the cop hot on
his trail. Just as with 1986's
"Manhunter" and with the '80s TV
drama, "Miami Vice" (on which he
served as executive producer), Mann
uses a mesmerizing score and stylish
photography to romance the audience
in his slick, sinister world. His script,
however, leaves a little too much to the
Let's be honest here: We won't nec-
essarily go to this film for its plot or its
director; our interest is its stars - and
the movie feeds us with more of its
leading men than is necessary. Indeed,
this is the first picture since 1974's
"The Godfather Part II" in which Rob-
ert De Niro and Al Pacino have both
been cast. Further, it is the first time we
have ever seen these two giants of the
American silver screen acting in the
same scene; twice in the film the two
even appear in the same frame.

If anything, the picture suffers because
it takes the whole concept of their acting
together a little too seriously. In the end,
we are left with memories of high-strung
detective Vincent Hanna (Pacino) and
hardened career criminal Neil McCauley
(De Niro) sitting across from each other at
a table in a coffee shop.
This scene, like the shocking but ap-
propriate final stanza involving both men,
is no doubt strangely epiphanic. But it
really overshadows "Heat"'s particularly
stimulating fare. While we certainly
shouldn't, we may lose track of more
thrilling and innovative moments, like
the wild shoot-out on a busy street or the
ingenious robberies committed by De
Niro and his band. It is these situations
that shine in the film - in them, the true
heat that builds up inside these men over
the course of the movie comes to a raging
and spectacular blaze.
Moreover, when witnessing the ex-
tra-curricular relationships of all these
men - each as dedicated to his "pro-
fession" as the next'- we learn the
borderline offensive fact that, in this
dark world, women are virtually insig-
nificant and weak. Pacino is stuck in a
troubled marriage with a confused
woman and a suicidal step-daughter;
De Niro becomes involved with the
beautiful but naive Eady (Amy
Brenneman), but she turns out to be a
superfluous, teary heap.
Only Ashley Judd's Charlene, wife
of Val Kilmer's Chris, comes off as
completely empowered. She, unlike the
rest of the women, is able to abandon
her criminal husband and survive on
her own. If only the others were given

Come and check outQh :
the King's Singers ._.ir.

The group known as the King's Singers
has been around for nearly 30 years.
Garnering tremendous popularity with
their intriguingly eclectic mix of pop
songs, Renaissance madrigals and new
works. With a sound that has given
delight at both lighter rock concerts or
grimmer cathedrals, the King's Singers
are more than worth your time. Take
the opportunity to study these six
Englishmen while they are on this very
campus Saturday at 8 p.m. at Hill
Auditorium. Tickets are $28, $26, $22
and $18. Call the UMS box office at
764-2538 for more information.

Bonnie Raitt
Road Tested

On her first live record in an ac-

claimed career, Bonnie Raitt proves
hands down that she's got a pretty good
case of the blues.
Throughout the two discs spanning
Raitt's 25 years and eight Grammy's,
"Road Tested" displays some of the
singer/guitarist's finest moments ever
recorded. Taken from six of her shows
from this past summer at Portland's
Schnitzer Auditorium and Oakland,
California's Paramount Theatre, the 22-
track live album shines from start to
Combining numerous early and re-
cent Raitt classics with a bunch of her
favorite covers and a new Bryan Adams
duet, "Road Tested" does an excellent
job of showcasing her rich vocals and
slippery slide guitar to create a fun,
loose and impressive release.
Highlights of the double-album in-
clude multiple duets. Raitt and Adams
perform the new track "Rock Steady,"
and Bruce Hornsby, Jackson Browne,
Ruth and Charles Brown, and Kim
Wilson all make appearances through-
out the rest of the discs.
Kicking offthe album is Raitt's "Nick

of Time" hit, "Thing Called Love," Everyone who answers the
where she performs a fiery duet with question correctly will be
Hornsby. The album continues to crank eligible to enter our grand prize
out slightly different versions of Raitt's contest, to receive a "Black
other hits "Something to Talk About," Sheep" T-shirt. Come on down
"Love Sneakin' Up On You," "Long- to the Daily. Remember, there is
ing In Their Hearts," "Angel From no purchase necessary;
Montgomery," and on and on. however, supplies are limited so
Raitt's choice of cover songs for the only one prize per person. Daily
album is also interesting. From the clas- and Paramount employees are
sic blues of Mississippi's Fred not eligible to win.
McDowell's "Kokomo Medley," to the
Talking Heads' "Burning Down the
House," Raitt tackles the tracks with check in her first two solo albums,
her songbird-meets-the-crow ballsy "Little Earthquakes" and "Under The
vocals to produce beautiful tracks. Pink" since these albums were bal-
The main problem with "Road anced with excellent songwriting and
Tested" is that productionwise,it'svery smart production.
similar to Raitt's more recent studio On those albums, her ego was al-
releases. Since Don Was produced both lowed to flourish and forge the sharply
the studio and live records, "Road defined personality that makes her
Tested"'s sound doesn't vary all that such a cult favorite, without detract-
much from the studio versions. But no ing from the music. It's here that
matter; the tracks sounded great to be- "Boys For Pele" falters as an album:
gin with. there's plenty of good songs, but it's
- Brian A. Gnatt hard to find your way around Tori's
big head.
Tori Amos A handful oftracks stand out as being
brilliant. The spare arrangement, tem-
Boys For Pele pered vocal and gorgeous lyric of "Hey
Atlantic Records Jupiter" is Tori at her most mature,
without a shred of pretension. On the
cello-drenched "Putting The Damage
Tori Amos has built a career and a On," orchestration and drama have
substantial cult following with her never sounded prettier. Harpsichord is
quirky blend of esoteric, self-absorbed all over the album, and its strange and
lyrics and forceful, classically influ- refreshing presence helps tracks like
enced piano. "Blood Roses" and "Talula" enor-
As a sort of Joni Mitchell/Kate Bush mously.
hybrid for Generation X, she thrives There's also lots of filler. On a disc
on her own overindulgence and melo- that runs over 70 minutes, there's sim-
drama. These tendencies were kept in ply too much Tori; songs that might

The lovely Ms. Bonnie Raitt.

Quentin Tarantino
Robert Rodriguez Laurence Fishburne
Present Kenneth Branaugh

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