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February 13, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-13

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Ulb irihgtunttg

John Renbourn and Isaac Guillory
Wanna hear some groovin' guitar music? If so, come check out these
two masters, playing at The Ark tonight. The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets
are $12.50. You can pick them up at Schoolkids.

Tuesday
February 13, 1996

5

jravolta's
By Ryan Posly
For the Daily
Imagine the cheesiness of a Bruce
Lee flick, the high-tech military ambi-
ance of a Tom Clancy thriller and the
nonstop action of a good
Schwarzenegger movie. Put them to-
gether, throw in today's hottest star and
you'll get one entertaining movie, right?
Well, yes - but if you're looking for
*thing beyond basic, mind-numbing
xcitement, you're out of luck. Try
Black Sheep," two doors down.
What you actually get when you com-
bine the triple-threat above is "Broken
Arrow," a relentless but flawed bomb-
chase picture, which marks the sopho-
more American effort of veteran Hong

Arrow' fails to woo

REVIEW
Broken Arrow
Directed by John Woo
with John Travolta
and Christian Slater
At Brairwood and Showcase
Kong director John Woo. Considered
by many to be the greatest action auteur
alive, Woo is best known for his cre-
ative, intricate and often lyrical action
sequences. In that respect, "Broken
Arrow" does not disappoint.
"Broken Arrow" also marks another
important step in the "comeback" of
John Travolta. He plays another bad
guy here, but unlike the charismatic
Vincent Vega ("Pulp Fiction") or the
semi-reformed Chili Palmer ("Get
Shorty"), Vic Deakins is truly an evil
character. This might dismay fans of
Travolta, who don't want to have to
root against him, especially when they
must root instead for the ineffectual
Christian Slater..
The term "broken arrow" is military
parlance for a lost nuclear device.
Travolta and Slater play military pilots
who take the new Stealth B-3 bomber
around the bend for a test drive. On this
particular flight, however, two nuclear
bombs -"big ones" - are part of the
cargo. Before we know what's going
on, Travolta's Deakins, who plays men-
tor to Slater's Riley Hale, is releasing
the bombs over Utah after a skirmish in
the cockpit. Both Deakins and Hale

eject, and the barren landscape of south-
ern Utah becomes the setting for the
rest of the film.
Hale then teams up with a feisty park
ranger named Terry Carmichael
(Samantha Mathis), to track down
Deakins and his band of nuclear terror-
ists, who are attempting to make ran-
som demands to the government for the
safe return of their bombs. Before long,
the formula kicks in. Several confron-
tations and numerous massive explo-
sions later, we're left with a standard
bare-fisted face-off between Deakins
and Hale, and it's not hard to guess who
wins.
The action here suffers from insipid
dialogue and a routine plot. It is not
surprising that "Broken Arrow" was
scripted by Graham Yost, who wrote
"Speed." The similarities abound. But
while "Speed" succeeded because of its
believability and realistic characters,
"Broken Arrow" falters because of the
exact opposite. These characters are
cartoons, and their situation is com-
pletely fantastic.
Slater re-teams with his "Pump Up
the Volume" partner-in-teen-angst-
crime Mathis, and unfortunately both
suffer the worst from the script's banal-
ity. Mathis' park ranger seems to have
undergone more training than the Navy
SEALS; she never even breaks a sweat
as she consistently takes on these ex-
military baddies. To make matters
worse, her character is the human
equivalent of a vacuum.
Slater is way out of his element here,
which is even more unfortunate. He
apparently wanted the sort of career

John Travolta teaches young Christian how to blow smoke rings.

boost given to Keanu Reeves after
"Speed," but it just doesn't work. Slater
is usually at his best when he plays the
cocky, sarcastic anti-hero or the sweet-
as-sugar lover boy, but Woo tries to
turn him into a kung fu hero. He prances
around beating people up and consol-
ing his emotionally whimsical love in-
terest without a trace of believability.
Thankfully, he does have his moments.
The saving grace of this suffering
ensemble is Travolta, who plays the
sort of bad guy that you love to watch,
yet you can't wait until he's dead. Al-

though most of his lines are just as
boring as the rest, Travolta delivers
them with such zest that you can't help
but grin. He seemed to relax and have
a good time with this character, and
that delight rubs off on the audience.
What makes this movie worth watch-
ing, however, is the only thing that
should realistically be expected of it.
As an action film, there are no pre-
tenses about character or plot. Granted,
it's nice to have an intelligent action
movie every once in a while, but our
appetites should still be sated from

recent films like "Crimson Tide."
John Woo, working with a consider-
ably larger budget than even his most
famous pictures, certainly delivers the
goods with "Broken Arrow." For spec-
tacular action, one need look no further
than Woo's spectacular interpretation
of an underground nuclear bomb blast
and his stars' reaction to it. While the
floor of the desert is buckling beneath
him, Travolta sums up this film while
paying homage to Uma Thurman with
his improvised reaction: "I say goddamn,
what a rush!"

Christian Slater is still out to get those
pesky Heathers.

i

Working i
America oi
1y Jeffrey Dinsmore
Daily Arts Writer
The Blind Pig looks completely dif-
ferent in the daytime. With the neon
lights shining and the stools lined up
' eat rows, the club exudes an arti-
fi ial glow that makes it look like a
movie set after shooting has wrapped
for the day.
It was in this atmosphere that I inter-
viewed Jack Logan.
By now, Logan's story should be
familiar. For anyone who hasn't read
my fanatical ramblings in the Daily
about the man who I consider to be one
of the greatest talents in music today,
Wever, let me bring you up to date.
REVIEW
I Jack Logan
The Blind Pig
Feb. 8,1996
Jack Logan is a 37-year-old singer/
songwriter from Athens, Ga., who was
"i'scovered" by Peter Jesperson, the
i who signed the legendary Replace-
muents. Jesperson put together a 42-
song double-CD from more than 600
tunes that Logan and friends recorded
on four-track, the culmination of about
11 years of late-night drunken jams.
Billboard Magazine did a piece on
the album, Rolling Stone gave an ex-
tremely positive review, and People
Magazine wrote about Logan in a hu-
interest story. Thanks td my
ther's unwavering dedication to the
lattermag, I read the article and promptly
bought Logan's debut, "Bulk." It has
not left my stereo since.
Logan's honesty and good-guy charm
were enough to offset the rather impos-
ing environment that the well-lit bar
created. For a man who has had one hell
of a career boost in the past few years,
Logan's remarkable humility was a re-
fr shing surprise. When asked who he

pan Logan
i a record

FY
$ 1
o S

Author Pollack to speak

would consider to be his contemporar-
ies, Loganjoked that he "wouldn't want
to insult anyone." Truthfully, pinpoint-
ing any one artist who's doing what
Logan does is impossible. His influ-
ences range from twangy country to
bitter blues to happy punk to good ol'
pop. In short, Logan is America on
record.
"We've gotten a lot of mileage out
of the 'working guy makes a record'
thing," Logan said, puffing on a
Marlboro. "And it's true, I can see the
hook that provides for a writer. But
it's not like we sat around and plotted
it out - 'Yeah, let's say I'm a pool
mechanic.'"'
Logan is a pool mechanic. Even
though his first album and the new
release, "Mood Elevator," have both
garnered four-star reviews from Roll-
ing Stone, Logan and the band are
still working their day jobs. But don't
think it's out of any grand sense of
commitment, "As sad as it is, it breaks
down to a financial thing. I need my
job to pay the rent right now." With
"Neon Tombstone," the first single
and video from "Mood Elevator" start-
ing to see some airplay, everything
may soon change.
For Logan, songwriting is a collec-
tive process mostly between himself
and guitarist/keyboardist Kelly
Keneipp: "Usually the music comes
first. (The Liquor Cabinets, Logan's
back-up band) come up with a track,
and the music will suggest some lyrics
and a melody line. I don't know any-
thing about musical theory or anything
like that, so I don't have a lot of stuff
cluttering up my decisions. If it sounds
good, I like it."
When asked about the comparison to
Bruce Springsteen, the most oft-men-
tioned rocker in Logan stories, Jack
said, "Well, I'm flattered. He's written
some great songs."
If the truth be known, so has Logan.
Tunes like "Estranged" and "Chinese

Jack Logan recently performed at the Blind Pig. O" 11

Lorraine" from "Mood Elevator"
bounce with the intensity that
Springsteen once embodied. It'sniceto
know that there's still hope for rock 'n'
roll.
Incidentally, at Logan's concert at
the Blind Pig later that evening, the
opening band, 13 Engines from East
Lansing, played the best country rock
I've heard come from Michigan.
They're definitely a band to remem-
ber.
Near the end of their set, the lead
singer said, "I think I see Jack walk-
ing in right now." And the whole bar
turned around to see the unassuming
star of the evening stroll in, hands in
his pockets, still wearing the beat-up
jeans and smiley-face shirt he wore at
the interview.
While The Liquor Cabinets got their
equipment ready, Jack Logan walked
around the bar, talking to fans and sip-
ping on a Labatt's. There were good
vibes in the air, a feeling that we were
about to be treated to something spe-
cial. Logan said earlier that he's had
people tell him they "drove for 300
miles to see the show," and watching
him on stage, it's easy to see why.
The set consisted of a pretty good
mix from "Bulk" and "Mood Eleva-
tor," plus a few new songs thrown in
for fun. Although Logan's name
brings people in, much credit should

go to The Liquor Cabinets, a tight,
versatile four-piece that gave the
songs an intensity that doesn't quite
come through on CD. Logan's lyrics
are great, sure, but with The Liquor
Cabinets playing their hearts out, the
songs took on a different meaning.
Getting introspective and digging on
lyrics is alright at home, but in the
bar, it's time to get drunk.
Lucky for Jack, it was his birthday,
so every time his beer ran out, some
nice fan would buy him another. By
the end of the night, everyone was in
good spirits, thanks to the free-flow-
ing good spirits. Logan joked that he
was "gonna play every song we ever
wrote," and one got the feeling that, if
not for time constraints, he probably
would have.
The band chose to eschew the nor-
mal encore, instead playing straight
through until the end of the show. The
last few songs showcased a side of
Logan that you won't find on record
-Jack stopped singing, and the band
embarked on a Sonic Youth-style jam
that sounded great to my beer-happy
ears. This provided a segue into the
final song of the night, "Vegetable
Belt," from "Bulk." The show ended
on a great note, and everyone went
home happy and contented, with a
renewed faith in the dying monster
called rock 'n' roll.

By Sarah Beldo
For the1Daily
Language can be a seductive tool,
and words have long been used to woo
and impress objects of desire - just
ask Cyrano de Bergerac or any em-
ployee of the cliche-driven Hallmark
corporation. So what could be a better
way to set the mood for a romantic
evening than a pre-Valentine fiction
reading by Eileen Pollack, director of
the University's Undergraduate Cre-
ative Writing Program?
Pollack reassures the unsappy cyn-
ics and uncoupled individuals among
us, however, that we need not be fright-
ened away by the holiday theme. "Nei-
ther of the selections I'm reading has
EILEEN POLLACK
Where: Rackham
Amphitheatre
When: Today at 4 p.m.
Admission is free.
anything to do with romantic love,"
she stresses emphatically. "But they
are appropriate for Valentine's Day."
Pollack has had a distinguished ca-
reer as both a teacher and a writer of
fiction. She received her master's of
fine arts in creative writing from the
University of Iowa in 1983 and went
on to teach and lecture there, as well as
at Harvard University, Tufts Univer-
sity and Emerson College before arriv-
ing at her current post in Ann Arbor a
year and a half ago.
She has received fiction fellow-
ships from the National Endowment
for the Arts, the Massachusetts Coun-
cil for the Arts, the Arts Foundation
of Michigan and the Michener Foun-
dation. In addition, she has been hon-
ored with two Pushcart Prizes, the
Cohen Award from "Ploughshares"
magazine, and an award for best fic-

tion of the year from "The Literary
Review."
In reviews for her 1991 work, "The
Rabbi in the Attic and Other Stories,"
critics praised Pollack for her humor and
insight, and for employing strong, moral
characters who transcend their surround-
ings in surprising ways.
Her other published book-length fic-
tion is "Whisper Whisper Jesse, Whis-
per Whisper Josh," a book for children
about AIDS. Pollack's individual short
stories have appeared in such maga-
zines and literary journals as "So-
journer," the "New England Review,"
"Ploughshares" and "Playgirl." Her
book reviews and essays have been
featured in "The Washington Post"
and "The Boston Sunday Globe,"
among others.
For this afternoon's event, which is a
part of the Hopwood/Borders Books
Reading Series, Pollack plans to read a
short story and a brief selection from her
newest novel, not yet published, tenta-
tively titled "The Valentine's Gene."
The novel, finished just weeks ago, is
about a geneticist, so "biology majors
may have an interest in attending the
reading," says Pollack.
Although she has never given a read-
ing in Ann Arbor before, Pollack antici-
pates it will be a good experience. "Au-
thors aren't supposed to say this, but I do
love giving readings," she laughs. So
come to Rackham Amphitheatre today
at 4 p.m., bring a significant other or a
biology major, and enjoy the seduction
of the spoken word.
****... Classic
r****...Excellent
***...Good
**...Fair
o ...APoor
W Zero.. A Bomb

,

AWHT

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR INFLUENZA
TREATMENT STUDY
The University Health Service seeks volunteers to participate
in a medical study evaluating an experimental antiviral for the
treatment of symptoms of influenza infection.
To be considered for this study, candidates must:
" be 18 years of age or older and in good health;
" currently have influenza-like symptoms; symptoms
include fever plus head and muscle aches, cough and
sore throat;
- be willing to receive treatment and participate in
evaluations;
" present at University Health Service within the first
48 hours of illness.
Involvement in the study will require an initial

THIS

"Have you seen7
great ads the Da
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Executives? Lets
an annlication h

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those
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I

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