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December 09, 1996 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-12-09

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apScltmz I~aft

Go eat a house!
Nothing to do tonight? Then go decorate a holiday gingerbread house
at Bryant Community Center. Go build the the tastiest house you can
make with frosting, candy and other goodies. There is a $22 fee per
house, and you must pre-register, Bryant Community Center is located
at 3 W. Eden Court. For more information, call 994-2722.

Monday
December 9, 1996

'Daylight' stays in the dark

By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Writer
We've seen three true "Die Hard"
films. We've sat through even more
"Die Hard" impostors. We've paid for
die-hard-on-a-battleship. We've wit-
nessed numerous examples of die-hard-
on-an-airplane. We've been forced to
watch die-hard-in-an-amusement park.
Is there any steam left in the "Die Hard"
machine? What could possibly be next?
To answer that question is the ever-
original Sylvester
Stallone - whose die-
hard-in-an underwa-
ter-tunnel film, SO
"Daylight," breaks into
theaters everywhere
this week.
Not horrible and not
especially good, "Daylight" tentatively
blends the action and thrills of that
groundbreaking Bruce Willis trilogy
with the tension and tragedy of disaster
films like "The Poseidon Adventure."
"Daylight" achieves great, though
not innovative, success when emulating
the full-throttle adventure and explo-
sions made standard by "Die Hard," but
it falls short when it is purporting to
create the tumultuous humanity and
sweeping melodrama seen in nearly
every disaster film to date.
Though it is a carbon copy of nearly
every action film since the mid-'80s,
"Daylight" still nanages to be some-
what creative while wallowing in a
genre all but devoid of creativity.
Take its plot, for example. It's Friday
evening in New York City. Several citi-
zens and tourists are wrapping up their
arduous weeks of work and play. They

R
At

hop into their cars, taxis, and / or lim-
ousines and head for New Jersey. The
bridge is congested with commuters.
The obvious second choice is the
Holland Tunnel. Although that choice is
obvious, it is not exactly the correct
option, in terms of destiny.
The vehicles inch toward the tunnel:
the bus transporting juvenile prisoners;
the family sedan carrying a trio of dys-
functional Maryland residents; the luxu-
ry car holding an elderly couple and
their dog; the
jalopy taking
EV I E W the fed-up play-
Daylight wright back
home to
** Indiana; the
Briarwood and Showcase hummer racing
the famous head
of a sportswear company to the airport;
the trucks hauling explosive material;
the stolen car careening toward doom
with three young criminals inside.
As all these vehicles enter the tunnel,
the criminals spin out of control and
collide spectacularly with the explosive
material, setting off an amazing series
of explosions that seal off both ends of
the north tunnel and immediately kills
most of the people inside.
Conveniently, former EMS chief Kit
Latura (Stallone), now a cab driver, is
directly outside the New York end of the
tunnel and springs into action, tending
to wounds and directing traffic.
Even more conveniently, Kit has
inside knowledge of the tunnel's struc-
ture and functions, due to a test situa-
tion in the tunnel two years earlier.
Before you can say superhero, Kit
decides that the only way to save the

trapped survivors, who, coincidentally,
are the people we have just been intro-
duced to, is to perilously enter the tun-
nel through a sequence of enormous,
precariously spinning ventilation fans.
Once inside, Kit attempts to organize
the bickering, skeptical, panicked sur-
vivors and get them to, who'd have
guessed, daylight. The all-night ordeal
in the tunnel is composed of many trials
including downed power lines, fires,
rising water, hypothermia, crumbling
cement, cascading milk trucks and
flocks of rats.
Needless to say, there's a happy end-
ing to the film, but not without losing
some people and fears along the way.
So the plot is not all that creative; it is
a Stallone film, after all.
Better than past Stallone vehicles,
namely "Judge Dredd" and "Assassins,
"Daylight" is brightened by the support-
ing cast of survivors and the supporting
menagerie of great sets and stunts.
Even though the characters are, for the
most part, one-dimensional, stereotypical
caricatures, they are definitely believable
in the reluctancy to work as a team.
"NYPD Blue" veteran Amy
Brenneman, as the burned-out writer
Madeleine, becomes the unofficial leader
of the group, ultimately relinquishing
control to Sly's heroic cab driver and
reducing her role to that of spunky side-
kick. Though limited, Brenneman's char-
acter is the most plausible of the film, and
also gets some of the best lines, calling
the rats "shit with legs."
Also rising above their weak material
are renowned character actors Claire
Bloom, who is the only actor in
Hollywood to have starred with both

Sly Stallone looks astounded as he is trapped In another horrible action-adventure flick.

Charlie Chaplin and Sylvester Stallone,
as the fragile elderly socialite; Viggo
Mortensen as the arrogant, vain sports
entrepreneur; Stan Shaw of "Fried
Green Tomatoes" fame as an ill-fated
transit cop; and "What's Love Got To
Do With It" co-star Vanessa Bell
Calloway as Grace, the above ground
protector of the survivors.
Sets and stunts-are probably the great-
est asset the film has to offer. Seemingly
pre-designed for a ride at Universal
Studios, the sets range from a surreal
wind tunnel that Kit must overcome, to a
waist-high pool adorned by a rolling
truck, to a creepy, long-lost chapel that
serves as a refuge from rising water - all
are wonderfully tactile and vivid.

The stunts quite possibly exceed the
mastery of the set design. Starting with
the awe-inspiring explosion and con-
cluding with the awe-inspiring geyser-
like escape sequence, the film is a thrill-
ride of treacherous predicaments that
come to life with some movie magic.
Using "movie magic" to describe
"Daylight"is not to insinuate that the film
is an unforgettable classic of the screen
that possesses that special something.
Rather, the opposite is true. "Daylight" is
a forgettable, throw away piece of action
fluff that defuses its own explosiveness
with some soggy melodrama.
Who wants to see a melodramatic
action flick, anyway? Especially one in
which choice lines like "It feels like

you're getting tired, but you're actually
getting dead," and "Where's Cooper?
Where's John? Cooper-John?" are
uttered about hypothermia and the use
of a dog (Cooper) to take the place of a
dead son (John).
And don't forget the worst melodrama
of all - seeing Sylvester Stallone get all
misty recalling his past mistakes to an
already teary Amy Brenneman. "Did
you ever have a way out?" a curious
Brenneman asks. "No," replies a weary
Stallone, tears in his eyes, his voice
breaking. This scene begs, "Respect me
as an actor! Give me an Oscar nomina-
tion, damnit!" But pathetically, it just
receives some chuckles, blank stares and
seat shifts to avoid cramping.

I

'Messiah'
chsarms,
Hill
audience
By Jack Schillaci
Daily Arts Writer
The grandeur and glory of Handel's
"Messiah" exploded into Hill
Auditorium this past weekend as the
University Musical Society Choral
Union continued its 118-year tradition
- once again
astonishing the
audience with the
sheer intensity with
which they per- U
formed it.
The four soloists
were huge assets to
the musical quality
of the work. Soprano soloist Janet
Williams sang with the beautiful oper-
atic sound that has landed her roles with
the New York Metropolitan Opera. Her
voice was the only one that managed to
completely fill the auditorium - its
strength and beauty was showcased
best in the soprano solo of "I Know
That My Redeemer Liveth."
Baritone Kevin McMillian also
deserves an especially hardy congratu-
lations for his performance. His deep
bass exuded a strength that carried him
well above the background of the
orchestra - falling just short of com-
pletely filling Hill. Handel requires a
lot of vocal theatrics involving speedy
musical runs. McMillian handled these
with great skill, as shown in "For
Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the
Earth."

'Holmes' cast
makes scant
plot enj oyable __
By Evelyn Miska
Daily Arts Writer

Fritz and Watson performed "0 Death, Where is Thy Sting?" at Saturday's show.

e
'E
II'
E

The other two soloists also deserve
significant praise. Mezzo-soprano
Malin Fritz and tenor William Watson
did excellent work, especially with
their duet in "0 Death, Where is Thy
Sting?" Their voices blended miracu-
lously - creating a sound both beauti-
ful and strong.
When singing
V I E W alone, their voices
had great tone but
V[S Messiah lack the intensity
and dynamic
lill Auditorium diversity of the
Dec. 8 1996 other two soloists.
The Ann Arbor
Symphony Orchestra provided an
excellent performance in and of
itself. Its dynamic control was both
accommodating to the soloists and
powerful enough to match the output
of the chorus - maintaining the
intensity necessary for Handel's work
throughout the duration of the
evening.
The string section's offering was
alone a marvel, pulling off extremely
complex parts while showing the
energy and passion running -through
them with the body movements they
made.
First trumpet David Kuehn also
deserves a special recognition for his
personal performance. While the trum-
pet part is somewhat sparse in the ora-
torio, Kuehn came out strong when he
played, especially in the "Hallelujah

Chorus" and "The Trumpet Shall
Sound."
The chorus was definitely the best
part of the performance. Their
strength and versatility while singing
in unison was showcased in all 17
choruses, bouncing from a quiet
whisper to a literal roar as they filled
the auditorium with music. Despite a
few technical errors among the tenors
and baritones, the individual sections
also performed exceptionally alone
- another augmentation to their
diversity.
One of the most unique things done
in this production was the audience
joining the chorus in singing the
"Hallelujah Chorus" - it drew the
audience in, making us feel closer to
the performance. It did have a few
minor drawbacks - someone stand-
ing near me sounded like he had just
swallowed all of the frogs from the
bio-labs of Pioneer High School. But
all in all, it was a huge boost to the
overall entertainment value of the
show.
The performance was indeed a mile-
stone in UMS' season. The talent on
the stage of Hill Auditorium success-
fully executed a complex musical piece
without any major problems or glaring
deficiencies. The five-minute standing
ovation the artists received on Saturday
night was probably one of the most
well-deserved in Hill Auditorium's his-
tory.

It is said that people who do something wrong eventually
get what is coming to them. In University Productions' enact-
ment of "Sherlock Holmes," This idea was put to the test.
Through careful reasoning, Holmes captured his man, solved
a crime, and returned important property to its rightful owner.
The theme of the play is blackmail. Holmes has been hired
to find some letters which could destroy the entire empire,
should they be found by the wrong party. These letters have
been placed in the safekeeping of Miss Alice Faulkner, who
in turn has been taken prisoner by the evil Larrabees.
Professor Moriarty, and then Dr. Watson, become wrapped up
in the plot, and the show ends in a rather surprising manner.
Of course the only detective who could solve such a crime
would be Holmes. David Ivers created a Holmes that satis-
fied the imagination. Serious, cunning and always a step
ahead, Ivers showed the audience a side of Holmes rarely Sherlock Holmes is a peeping Tom.
seen. Holmes was quick as always, picking up every clue no
matter how small, but he was also sensitive and sincere when the show as well as providing ther
declaring his love for Miss Alice Faulkner. Faulkner, played landish and showy evil character. L
by Alison Edythe Fisher, was not quite the usual damsel in great deal with the direct evil of N.
distress. Indeed, she is frightened as she is relentlessly pur- variation to the show.
sued by the evil Larrabees, but at the same time she holds As well as having many talented

performance with an out-
Lindner's role contrasted
Moriarty, and added som
d actors and actresses, the

onto her convictions. The letters should
not be handed over to her pursuers, and
Miss Faulkner would rather die than have R
this happen.
Madge Larrabee, one half of an evil She
twosome, was chillingly sinister. Greta
Enszer, who played the role, created a
convincingly evil enemy for Holmes.
Trying her best to outwit the great detec-
tive, Enszer tried every trick in the book. Whether it was pre-
tending to be someone else so as not to show her guilt, or
whether it was in order to assist Moriarty capture Holmes,
Enszer was a great adversary. James Larrabee, played by
Matthew B. Witten, was the other half of this crime team.
Witten never quite seemed to achieve the height of evil that
Madge did, though. While he was extremely concerned about
Holmes, he always seemed nervous and cautious, as opposed
to corrupt and relentless.
Jeffrey M. Bender was none other than Holmes' arch-
enemy, Prof. Moriarty. Bender created a great deal of con-
sternation when sweeping on stage as Moriarty. Perfectly
evil, Bender made the audience believe that he did indeed run
every corrupt operation in town, and that you would be quite
sorry if you did him the least disservice.
The slightly crooked character of Sid Prince was played by
Jason Lindner. Lindner's role brought a bit of comic relief to

I

sets and costumes, as designed b
Russell Metheny and Jessica Hahn, we :
E V I E W outstanding. An incredibly rich atmos-:
phere was created, drapes, fur rugs, and-
rlock Holmes elegant furniture and clothing all helped
Power Center make the world of Sherlock Holmes
seem more real.
Dec. 6,2996 Although the set design,-costumin
and players were all remarkable, thi
almost wasn't enough to make up for the areas in which the
plot lacked. The two-and-a-half-hour play never seemed to get
entirely off the ground. In addition, for a detective story there
was not all that much suspense. On top of this, there were
areas in which the plot was difficult to follow, due to dialogue
spoken too quickly, and with accents which were too heavy.
Even though the visual aspect of the show was stunning,
the cast did well with what they were given - a rather scant
plot. This caused the production to come off as flat and not
as exciting and suspenseful as one might expect Sherlock
Holmes to be. A balance needed to be achieved between th
magnificent visual side of the show and the :story line.
Sherlock has been around for a long time and has never
grown tiresome or shown his age. It seems this admired
detective has fallen a little short of his expected outcome, and
perhaps it is the first time that Sherlock Holmes has not come
out on top of things.

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,._ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _

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