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February 12, 1996 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-12

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 12, 1996

Stormy'Squall'

By Michael Zilberman
Daily Arts Writer
"White Squall," a surprisingly low-
profile offering from Ridley Scott, is a
fairly simple coming-of-age story. We
follow the Albatross, a sailship with a
crew comprised of 15 year olds, on an
ill-fated, year-long cruise; in that time,
the boys lose the ship but learn a thing
REVIEW
White Squall
Directed by Ridley Scott
with Jeff Bridges
and Scott Wolf
At Showcase
or two about themselves.
Still, there's something immensely
weird about this movie. First of all,
"White Squall" is not a Ridley Scott
film. There's been some sort of mix-up
or an elaborate conspiracy. Why, it's a
TONY Scott film. It has all the instantly
recognizable elements of Tony Scott's
oeuvre, from "Top Gun" (young
hotshots learn about life through macho
rivalry and collective labor) to "Crim-
son Tide" (there's a stand-off between
the captain and his first mate).

It has a huge tech
that it worships: a s
flowing with ba
homoeroticism: The
times the director s
cent flesh is rivaled
Sant and leermeister'
it has nothing, absol
would indicate thatt
movie is, in fact, the
"Blade Runner" and
Even "Party of Fiv(
the wide-eyed protag
convenient substitute ft
that the actual Tom Cn
his gallery of cocky in
enough, there's a pate
a captain of the Albat
Bridges, who, in his
becomes absolutely
from Kurt Russell.
Come to think of
wrong with a good "
in the age of "Seven,
use one. Unfortunate
also a school; this
immediately saturate
"Dead Poets' Societ)
And be sure, you'l
neyed subplots and i
acters. Here's a serio
who finds strength
past. Here's a guy wh
of heights - of cours

slowly sinks
inological artifact the movie, he's gonna have to come to
ailship. It's over- terms with his vertigo. There's a men-
rely concealed acing bully who, as we learn, is just
sheer number of about illiterate, and - get this - his
howcases adoles- former victims organize a secret study
only by Gus Van group so that they can help him cram for
Victor Salva. And the exam (when he's not busy cram-
utely nothing, that ming his boot up their masochistic
the author of this asses).
man who helmed If there ever were a potential for
"Alien." genuine human drama in these stories,
e"'s Scott Wolf, as it has fizzled out by the beginning of
nist, seems to be a this century; even the most professional
orTomCruise(now direction can't help it now. The factthat
uiseisthroughwith this schoolboy schmaltz is set against
nocents). And sure what is basically a glorified travelogue,
rnalistic co-star- leads to further weirdness. Between
ross played by Jeff tests, the students manage to have a
tough-guy mode, rendezvous with a Cuban armada, a
indistinguishable volcano, 20 Dutch schoolgirls (to
quench our growing suspicions) and
it, there's nothing finally a "white squall" itself, a hori-
Top Gun" rip-off; zontal tornado of sorts, which sinks the
" we can certainly ship.
ely, the sailship is The boys survive, however, and as
is the touch that they return home, the film suddenly,
es the movie with shockingly, gains power. After what
y" overtones. they've been through, everything about
1 get all the hack- their lives before the journey seems
unnecessary char- dull,unnatural and pointless. Their feel-
usly troubled guy ings are conveyed to us by pretty
to overcome his minimalistic means: The shock of star-
o's mortally afraid ing at a "20 percent OFF" sign after an
e, in the climax of hour and a half of beholding seascapes

"I'm Jeff Bridges, captain of the ship and star of this movie. Give me some Grey Poupon, little man!"

and Dutch schoolgirls, once again,
throws us completely off balance. But
this time, it works: Finally, we're ready
to sympathize with the heroes.
But no, that's not enough for "White
Squall": In its last reel, the movie feels

an urgent need to change into a court-
room drama. Watching the trial scene,
as the captain of the lost ship equivo-
cates the past and the boys deliver one
teary-eyed testimony after another, is
an utterly anticlimactic experience.

"White Squall"clumsily winds up with
Scott Wolf narrating in voice-over that,
if he only had a chance, he'd relive the
journey all over again. By that time, as
viewers, we physically can't subscrp
to that.

RECORDS,
Continued from Page 5A
Slipstream
Side Effectsy
Cho Records
With the critical success and alterna-
teen acceptance of U.K. pop-rock im-

ports like Oasis and Blur, it was only a
matter of time before a flood of melodic
Brits washed ashore. "Side Effects" is
certainly riding the wave, but it does so
in impressive style.
The album gets off to a tepid start
with the lame "Up In Heaven," a tune
that really wants to rock out but doesn't
quite know how. It's also a poorindica-
tor of what's to come: most of the tracks
succeed in being smart, textured and
playfully mopey, if fairly derivative.

Slipstream flows best in the mid-
tempo melancholy that dominates the
generous 78-minute disc. Chiming gui-
tars, gloriously self-loathing vocals and
memorable hooks are all over the place.
"late too late," "Give It Some Time"
and "I Saw Your Face" are prime ex-
amples, paying homage to the pioneer-
ing power-pop of Big Star while plac-
ing it in a modern context. "Home-
town" and "All The Symphonies" will
make you think of Oasis, but the simi-

larity doesn't get in the way. The music
is so well done, you can easily see
beyond the obvious influences.
There's bound to be some mistakes on
such a long record, and here it comes in
the form of misguided experimentation.
"Computer Love," with its laughably

deadpan delivery and obnoxious key-
boards, really should have been left on the
cutting room floor. In general, their at-
tempts at up-tempo rock are only moder-
ately successful, as the messy "Do You
Have An Answer?" demonstrates. Ulti-
mately, the good far outweighs the bad.
"Side Effects" is a well-written, flaw-
lessly produced example of British
power-pop. Like Teenage Fanclub at
their best, Slipstream wear their influ-
ences on their sleeve, but do it with such
flair that you can hardly complain.
-Dave Snyder
Mel Torme with Rob
McConnell and the
Boss Brass
Velvet and Brass
Concord Jazz
Mel Torme, like many jazz greats, has
a nickname: the Velvet Fog. A listen to

Areyoglokg for a -- -alernaive'

I

Monday, February 12 5:10-6:30 pm Michigan Union, Kuenzel Room
Cosponsored with the Math and Economics Departments

Mel Torme Is happy.

Tuesday, February 13 5:10-6:30 pm
Cosponsored with Undergraduate

Michigan Union, Pendleton Room
Psychology Society

Thursday, February 15

4:10-5:30 pm

CP&P Program Room

Stop by eP&p to explore these and other fields in the P&P/ career /IbrarY.

3200 Student Activities Building
http://www.umich.edu/-cpp

764-7460

The Unn emit, fr M hir
Career Panning Pla ent
:'Iwbifl iiSudern Aiai

I

this album provides more' than ample
proof that he deserves the moniker. Mel
puts out a level of creamy goodness that
makes Nat King Cole sound like John
Fogerty. His voice is so rich and languid,
without being flabby or cheesy that it's a
wonder he hasn't received the same kind
of recognition that his peers Joe Will-
iams, Johnny Hartman and Billy Eckstein
have. Until you listen to the band.
The Boss Brass seems to be suffen
from the Doc Severinsen disease. While
displaying a certain technical tightness
and flawless intonation, they're just,
well, silly. Every arrangement sounds
almost identical, right down tothe goofy
predictable high notes in the lead trum-
pet part. Featuring five trumpets, five
saxes and five trombones they're just
too damn big. At times Mel's heavenly
voice was squashedbetween thick slo,
of brass sound, effectively obscuring
the best part of the album.
The Gershwin standard "Liza" is one
of the better tracks. Mel executes an-
other one of his flawless scat solos,
exhibiting a melodic inventiveness ab-
sent in many horn players.
One of the album's brighter spots is
"If You Could See Me Now," by Tadd
Dameron An expert at writing brood-
ing,dark,bittersweetmusic,Damero,
piece is given color and depth by
band without overstepping its bounds.
As usual, Mel gives a wonderful inter-
pretation of the vocals.
There are a few more good points, like
the drums and auxiliary percussion on "I
Get a Kick Out of You," or the unison
figures shared by Mel's scat solo and the
band in "My Sweetie Went Away." In
fact, in almost every song, there are mo-
ments when it is just Mel and the surp
ingly able Boss Brass rhythm secti ;
they actually swing. But in a matter of
moments, the rest of the band ruins it.
I feel bad for Mel. Torme is a brilliant
singer and composer. Almost all of his
records are worth picking up. Except this
one. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
- James P. Miller
Stevie Wonder
Natural Wonder
Motown Records
Stevie Wonder: Who on this planet
hasn't been exposed to his music and
his name? This sightless marvel has
prevailed for decades over the barriers
his blindness and the ignorance of oth-
ers created to become a musician of
well-deserved legendary status. Thogh
his 1994release,"Conversation Piec,
didn't generate much hype, his newest,
two-CD release should.
In theearly'60s, Wonderbecame the
first Motown artist to record an album
live; some 30 years later, Wonder has
done it again. "Natural Wonder" is a
live taping of a concert Wonder did
with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestrain
Osaka, Japan. Twenty-four songs mag-
nificent, "Natural Wonder" offers s-
lections from the entire span
Wonder's works and more.
"My Cherie Amour,'' "You Are the
Sunshine ofMy Life,""For Your Love,"
"I Just Called to Say I Love You" -
"Natural Wonder" is chock full of
songs that are unmistakably Stevie in
creation. Wonder has such a wide range
of musical talents, and this keepsake
reflects that. In its two CDs lie blues
("Stevie Ray Blues"), reggae ("Mas
Blaster"), funk ("Superstition"), b
lads ("Ribbon in the Sky") and a good
dosage of oldies craze ("Signed, Sealed
Delivered, I'm Yurs").
Throughout "Natural Wonder," you
will hear and experience the musical
magic only Stevie can generate with his

WHEN & WHERE.
February 14th,
* See an American Express
rep for theatre location.
WHAT.
Cardmembers get tw2 compli-
mentary passes to United Artists'
blockbuster The Birdcage.
HOW.
Just bring the American Express
Card or Optima Card and your
student ID to the location listed
below to pick up your passes.
NOW.
If you're not yet a Cardmember
and would like to take part in
our exclusive previews, it's easy
to apply for the Card. Just call
1-800-942-AMEX, ext. 4114.
MORE TO COME.
The Birdcage is one in a series
of five major motion pictures to
be previewed on your campus
this year, compliments of

R "37 7: BO ". B ESE MAY S hBQLS 5

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