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February 14, 1997 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-14

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 14, 1997

Ray Charles performs this weekend

Sundance delves
into the bizarre

By Kristin Long
Daily Arts Writer
No one ever said it was easy to pre-
dict the future. But when you have an
event like The Sundance Film Festival,
you usually have the opportunity to pre-
view the year's potential low-budget
bloomers - usually.
This year was a bit of an exception.
With mega-hits like "Shine" and "Big
Night" stemming from the Park City,
Utah fiesta last year, everyone waited in
the mass crowds to see which film,
director and actor would become the
icon of the 1997 Festival.
Too much anticipation? Too many
high expectations? Whatever the case,
many left the scene still searching for
more. What they did find, however, was
a variety of unexpected trends and
styles. The vast topics strayed from
standard themes that have shaped cur-
rent dramas into the stories that ven-
tured into a land of the mysterious and
bizarre.
Critics claim\ there were no prevalent
works that far surpassed the others. The
festival's founder, Robert Redford,
probably couldn't expect anything less.
After all, the intent of the festival was to
give high-profile opportunity to low-
budget films and evade the commer-
cialism of big business.
But there's always hope to discover

unknown talent, especially with
"Shine"'s (1996) heavy Oscar potential.
The consensus of the festival seems to
be one of odd and mixed remarks.
While the true winners really cannot be
awarded until non-Sundance audiences
have their say, the festival seemed to
honor only mediocre projects.
Some efforts, however, did leave a
memorable impression on the minds of
judges. The most talked-about actress,
Parker Posey, revealed her talent and
versatility in three films. She played a
publicist in "subUrbia;" in the unhappy
"Clockwatchers," she was a temp; and
in "The House of Yes" she was an
incest-driven woman, who thought she
was Jackie Onassis. In all three, Posey
displayed eccentric style in devious
roles. The third film brought Posey dis-
tinction, granting her the Special
Recognition for Artistic Merit, the
event's only acting award.
Other films relished in the oblique
and distraught worlds that stem from
Generation-Xers. Not only did "Yes"
focus on incest, but "The Company
of Men," winner of the The
Filmmakers Trophy, focused on two
businessmen tangled in a world of
misogyny.
Another Sundance winner was
Morgan Freeman's "Hurricane,"
which stole the Audience Award, as

"Prefontaine," starring Jared Leto, was a disappointment at Sundance Film
Festival this year.

well as the Directing and
Cinematography Awards. It has been
called a gentler "Kids," a teen-aged
drama of love and deceit.
Even the most acclaimed drama,
"Sunday," focused on the dark side of
life. Noted with the Grand Jury Prize,
the middle-aged story focused on the
process of making a film. The lives of
those behind the camera were paral-
leled with those in front of it, crazed by
the illusion of big business. The
deceived profile exemplifies the Gen X
motif in many of the features.
The documentaries made a great
showing. They also include the much-
awaited, non-competitive premieres of
the promising "love jones" with Larenz
Tate and Nia Long and the disappoint-
ing "Prefontaine," starring Jared Leto.

Much talk was given to the disturbing
documentary, "Sick: The Life and
Death of Bob Flapag
Supermasochist." The judges'}gave the
film Special Recognition for Acting,
and it offered insight into the sick and
twisted dimensions of the superstar's
life.
While no stellar flick pervaded ctit-
ical thought, the festival brought to
light a peculiar sense among film-
makers. Many abandoned the -feel-
good sense of last year's proteges t
focused on the depressed and.pecu a
instead.
Once again, Sundance hardly fol-
lows any regular pattern, especially
when it comes to film entrepreneurs
who are trying to make their mark on
audiences.

On Saturday, at Hill Auditorium, Ray Charles will play and sing his heart out
for you. Brother Ray is one of the last living artists of his generation, having
outlived Sam Cooke, Solomon Burke and the other titans who helped invent
soul music. Tickets are available at Burton Tower, $15-$65. Come see him
and be reminded that heaven and earth sometimes do meet. This show will
help finance Top of the Park's free summer shows.

A&E makes 'Emma' worthwhile

By Camille Noe
For the Daily
Another "Emma?" Can it be? It
seems as though Jane Austin's classic
novels have become a rage for film-
makers. The 1995 film release of
Austin's "Sense
and Sensibility"
turned out to be PR
excellent, as did the
cable mini-series
"Pride and
Prejudice."
However, Gwyneth
Paltrow recently
managed to mangle Austin's "Emma,"
which left critics and viewers alike
skeptical.
So how is one to expect that a made-
for-television attempt of the same story
will be worth watching? You'd be sur-
prised. It's obvious that the Britain-

R

made version of "Emma," which pre-
mieres Sunday on A&E, has quite a dif-
ferent agenda.
"Emma" is a delightfully tangled tale
about the love lives of a 19th century
rich. English social group. Kate
Beckinsale, who
made her acting
E V I E W debut in "Much
Ado About
Emma Nothing," portrays
A&E the passionate yet
Sunday at 8 .m. mischievous young
E m m a
Woodhouse.
It seems that Emma has an incredible
knack for "making marriages." Indeed,
it seems that she can find love for
everyone but herself.
Throughout the course of the movie,
Emma manages to marry off her old
governess; ruin her closest friend's,
Harriet Smith's (Samantha Morton),
chances at marriage; swear off men;
and consequently fall in love with the

arrogant Frank Churchill (Mark
Strong), who secretly loves Emma's
rival, the charming, but poor, Jane
Fairfax.
But in that Jane Austin style we all
know and love, our young heroine man-
ages to save face in the end: Emma real-
izes she has been in love with an old
family friend all along, and Harriet gets
her chance at marriage after all.
"Emma" is more than 1 1/2 hours of
who-loves-who. It is an exceptional
movie that will leave viewers captivated
from beginning to end. Kate
Beckinsale's radiating talent is, in itself,
enough to impress even the toughest
critic.
Beckinsale takes Emma to dimen-
sions far beyond "cute," as she brings
out the complexity of her character's
nature. However, the remainder of the
cast and the stunning costumes and
scenery should not be overlooked.
A&E has gone above and beyond to
outshine previous ideals of Austin's

Kate Beckinsale is Emma Woodhous
in A&E's "Emma."
"Emma." This is one of the few made-
for-television movies you won't want to
miss.

i

Spring Commencerment
Student Speaker
Call For Entries
The Office of University Relations is making a
Call for Entries for a Student Speaker
at Spring Commencement
Saturday, May 3, 1997
9:30 a.m.
Michigan Stadium
The student speaker must be receiving a
bachelor's degree during Winter Term 1997 or
Summer Term 1997
Submit
* Curriculum Vitae (or resume) highlighting U-M
s scholarship and campus leadership
" Typed draft of speech (no more than 5
minutes in length)
" Audio cassette tape of yourself reading the
speech

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Announcing the
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Get the low down on
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salary charts...
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Salary Suppement,
available
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