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Director Joseph Vismalor's "Brother of Sleep" delves into the life of a
musical genius who is overtaken by an all-consuming obsession with
his profession. The acclaimed German film visits the Michigan Theater
this week. So, after you cast your vote, head on over to 603 E. Liberty
St. at 9 p.m. to catch today's screening.
November 5, 1996
Roll over Shakespeare!
The latest installment of 'Romeo and Juliet' takes off in
modern America. But its flashy gimmick may go too far
By Kelly Xlntarls
Daily Arts Writer
Watching "Romeo and Juliet" is like dancing under a disco
ball and strobe light for two hours - the effect might feel
exhilarating at first, but then the novelty wears thin. Director
Baz Luhrmann ("Strictly Ballroom") invites a new genera-
tion of high school students to ditch
their "Cliffs Notes" in favor of his
hyperkinetic, MTV-style adaptation.
Luhrmann stages the classic drama
against a surrealistic modern backdrop
- an enticingly risky undertaking. By
opening the film with a TV news
anchor who speaks of two "star-crossed
lovers," the filmmakers immediately warn
bolic version in store.
you of the hyper-
In the initial confrontation between the Montague and
Capulet boys, headed by a devilish Tybalt (John Leguizamo),
Luhrmann's style speaks loud and
clear. Verona Beach, Miami, replaces
the original Verona setting, "Dagger"
brand guns replace swords and souped-
up cars replace stallions.
These 20th-century twists filter
down to the characterization as well.
The film relies solely on such clever
details to sustain interest in its charac-
ters. Romeo shoots pool at the run-
down Globe Theatre, while Juliet col-
lects angel stickers for her bedroom.
The Nurse (Miriam Margolyes) has a .:
Spanish accent (she screams "Hoo-
lieta!" repeatedly), and the benevolent
Father Laurence (Pete Postlethwaite)
sports a huge tattoo of the cross on his
back. In perhaps the greatest character
departure, Mercutio (Harold
Perrineau), Romeo's loyal friend to the Athlaetnc
end, makes his entrance as a glitzy drag Clairte Danes Is an
The booming soundtrack, featuring
a choir-boy version of Prince's "When Doves Cry," and
Tarantino-esque cinematography propel the frenetic pace of
the film forward. "Romeo and Juliet" indulges the senses, but
it doesn't maintain the emotional appeal of Shakespeare's
original piece. ?
When Romeo, banished from Verona Bbach, trucks out to
a shantytown in the middle of nowhere, the scenes may have
just as well been from the Smashing Pumpkins' "Today"
video, or even the conclusion of "Seven," for that matter.
"Romeo and Juliet" continually bows down to "hipness,"
but it stumbles over itself in the
ME W Luhrmann continually tries to outdo
o and Juliet his own over-the-top style, which
works against the film. When Father
**1 Laurence's face appears ominously
arwood and Showcase over a series of flashbdacks, the effect is
too in-your-face to take it seriously.
Often, some of the actors seem as overeager as their direc-
tor. When Fulgencio Capulet (Paul Sorvino) or Benvolio
(Dash Mihok) scream in protest, their otherwise powerful
words become garbled. On the other hand, ostelthwaite and
Margolyes act with grace and ease as
they console DiCaprio and Danes.
Brilliant as always; DiCaprio is a
boyishly charming, lovestruck Romeo.
Though Danes has comparatively less
dialogue to work with, she is a con-
vincingly innocent Juliet. In one
exquisitely romantic scene, Romeo and
Juliet fall in love while gazing through
an aquarium at each other. Later, they
submerge themselves in the Capulet
swimming pool, enrautured by their
As the film fluctuates between such
scenes and action sequences, full of
helicopters and gun fights, DiCaprio
and Danes get lost in !the shuffle. By
the time the lovers commit suicide
(sorry to ruin the ending), the love
bond between them is tdo weak for you
ation of JulIet, to really care.
ngelic beauty. Convinced that the average movie-
----___ ---------- goer needs a spoonful of-stylized sugar
to make Shakespeare's medicine go down, Luhrmann valiant-
ly puts a new spin on an old tale. The resultiig "Romeo and
Juliet," a dizzying product of directorial mischief, ends up
choking on itself.
to end her so-
Danes imagine a
life of Generation
By Kristn Long
Daily Arts Writer
There are times when a film based on
some dramatic event like war or love is
too intense to be appreciated; the idea
of dealing with fictional problems
along with realistic dilemmas can be
tedious and simply not enjoyable. That's
when the uncomplicated story is better.
Even if the flick is far from receiving a
single look from the Academy, the light
hearted mood often successfully devi-
ates from the trauma that we would
In his latest film "Dear God," Greg
Kinnear creates the kind of mellow
humor that is characteristic of these
comedies. He takes a situation that
could be a dramatic series of events and
turns it into a whimsical mixture of the
unfortunate reality and the hopeful
dream. He is the all-American guy, who
Fleck strikes back with latest release
Bela Fleck and the
While some bands seem to tire after
excessive touring and deteriorate into
boring, uninspired jam sessions, others
just get better with age. With their
newly released fifth album, "Live Art,"
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones prove
that practice does make their diverse
musical stylings close to perfect.
Led by banjo master Bla Fleck, the
Flecktones are at their best on "Live
Art," playing off each other as they
would onstage, because, well, they are.
Without the constraints of the recording
studio, the trio of Fleck, bassist Victor
Lemonte Wooten and synth-axe drumi-
tarist Roy 'Future Man' Wooten are at
their energetic concert best, with audi-
ences cheering on their lively mix of
banjo-driven bluegrass, funk, rock, jazz
and worldbeat instrumentals.
Their fusion sound shows on the var-
ied track list of the two-disc set, with a
reggae feel on Victor's "More Luv," fea-
turing Bruce Hornsby on vocals and
Bela on electric and synthesizer banjos
Greg Kinnear is just SO CUTE!
manages to create more trouble than
anything, and everyone loves him for it.
"Dear God" is not a film of dynamic
character development and plot; we
learn that early on when Tom Turner
(Kinnear) is arrested for trying to scam
some foreigners into buying an outdat-
ed airplane ticket. A judge presents him
with two options: He can either serve
his punishment in jail, or he must find a
See GOD, Page 12
to give the effect of steel drums, a quiet
country attitude flavored with a funky
bass groove on old favorite "Sunset
Road" and on "Early Reflection / Bach
/ The Ballad of Jed Clampett," Bela
mixes 1920s flapper styles with classi-
cal Bach motifs, leading into a full-
scale, knee-slappin' bluegrass version
of the "Beverly Hillbillies" theme.
Having toured in the Far East, South
Africa and Ireland, the Flecktones'
sound has expanded from frequently
playing with new musicians, adding
local flavor to their repertoire in every
One of the best examples of incorpo-
rating different styles on the album is
"Far East Medley," an interpretation of
songs learned while touring in Outer
Mongolia and the Philippines. Rather
than parroting the slow and melodic
waltzes as they learned them, the
Flecktones make the tradi-
tional tunes even fresher
by underscoring them
with Latin and jazz
beats. Their Korean
tour also inspired
" S t o m p i n g
Grounds," in which
the homesick trio
worked with guests
Sam Bush on mandolin
and Paul McCandless on
soprano sax, to create some foot-tap-
ping American bluegrass.
The easy way they blend with guest
artists, including Hornsby, saxophonist
Branford Marsalis and keyboardist
Chick Corea, shows clearly in their
innovative musical romps, making the
Flecktones an integral part of a musi-
cally balanced diet. Although I usually
think it should be against the law to
remake any Beatles songs, to avoid
tragedies like Tiffany's "I Saw Him
Standing There," the heartfelt bluesy
wails of tenor John Cowan joining the
Flecktones on "Oh Darling" make it
absolutely legal. Cowan doesn't try to
be Paul McCartney, and with old
Flecktone Howard Levy making a brief
appearance on keyboards, the song
takes on new life.
Overall, "Live Art"is vibrant, tuneful
and, in an age of acts like Hootie apd
the Blowfish topping the cha ,
reminds us all what art really is. O
you listen to Bela Fleck and the
Flecktones, you won't be able to forget
that important musical lesson.
- Stephanie Jo KlIin
60 Ft Dolls
This pop-punk trio from Newpi
Wales have just released "Supernatural
Joy," their debut domestic release This
specially priced EP contains.-fiye
tracks compiled from U-K.
singles dating bak Tto
1994. The British"ihve
had a long line of
power trios ranging
from the The Jam to
the current b
Supergrass. Th e
guys easily fit into this
category due to their
melodic tunes and sing-a-
Listening to their first single, "Happy
Shopper," you can't help but pogo abo'ut
as you sing along to the chorus The
next track, "White Knuckle Ride,"
offers the same and features some slide
guitar to accentuate the Paul Weller
vocals of singer Richard Par .
"British Racing Green" reminds thelis-
tener of The Jam's "Going
Underground," their U.K. No. I hit in
the early '80s. "Yellow Candles"
exhibits the same pop-punk sounfd as
the other songs but, apparently, the for-
mula works for these guys. However,
the final track, "Rosalyn," shows a dif-
ferent side. This slow track begins with
See RECORDS, Page,
is sponsoring a live downlink telecast:
"Inheritin a Broken World"
A Nationwide Teleconference
Live from Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Wednesday, November 6, 1996
8-10 pm, Eastern Standard Time
The Michigan Union, Kuenzel Room (main floor)
530 S. State St., Ann Arbor
What do young people say about the global community they
are inheriting? What are their greatest concerns and where
do they place their greatest hopes for healing
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We're looking for more.
Please join us to discuss careers in our information technology and
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Event Date Location
Presentation Nov. 7 Michigan League, 7-8:30 pm