Getting psyched for the Ann Arbor Film Festival? Here's your chance
to view some of the entries early. Tonight at the Gypsy Cafe, the Film
Festival committee will be watching the local screen gems, and you
can come too. The evening of free fun begins at 7 p.m. and it's at
214 N. 4th Ave. For more information, call 995-5356.
February 19, 1997
By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
"Absolute Power" stars Clint Eastwood as Luther
Whitney, a crafty old burglar, who decides to hit the
suburban Washington home of billionaire Walter
Sullivan. While in the mansion, he hears voices and,
unable to escape, quickly hides.
Whitney proceeds to see Alan Richmond (Gene
Hackman), who is president of
the United States and Walter's RI
trusted friend, fooling around
with the young and attractive 1Abs
Mrs. Sullivan. But when the pres-
ident starts to play rough, the sit-
uation gets out of control, and she At B
ends up being fatally shot by a
couple of Secret Service agents (Scott Glenn and
Dennis Haysbert), just before she almost stabs
Richmond with a letter opener.
Distraught, the three men and Presidential Chief
of Staff Gloria Russell (Judy Davis), clean up most
of the mess and try to remove any incriminating
evidence, in making it look like a botched robbery.
However, they leave behind the letter opener, which
is picked up by Whitney after the group leaves the
scene. Realizing their error, the Secret Service
agents go back in the house to retrieve the object,
only to find it missing. But they see the burglar
Led by Detective Seth Frank (Ed Harris), the police
begin investigating the case and Whitney is identified
ntertaining, not powerful
as the probable culprit. Thus, the veteran thief
becomes the prime target of the cops, who want to
arrest him, and the Secret Service, which wants to
eliminate him. Somehow, the veteran thief must figure
out a way to expose the truth, without losing his free-
dom or his life.
Overall, the film's strength can be attributed to its
tight, well-developed screenplay. While the general
plot is a bit contrived and relies on
E V I E W too many inexcusable errors
being committed, all of the char-
solute Power acters and the subplots are rele-
vant. They are intertwined and
'*** build on each other, making every
riarwood and showcase sequence a necessary part of the
Also, the film is well balanced in its presentation of
all the material. As director, Eastwood never focuses
too strongly on one set of characters or events, which
is significant because everything is interrelated and of
Eastwood permits the film to flow at a natural pace,
never forcing the action. He slowly shakes up
"Power"'s contents until they finally start leaking out.
The payoff is not explosive, but it is restrained and
ironic, if not a bit too clean.
Aside from Eastwood's Whitney, who at first is bril-
liantly engaging before reverting to a Dirty Harry-
esque persona, and E. G. Marshall's Sullivan, who
never shows any evidence of being the great man the
film claims he is, the characters are well-written.
Of the bad guys, President Richmond is a typically
sleazy politician, who isn't that cool under pressure;
the efficient, cold and calculating chief of staff is also
quite charming, and the Secret Service agents are torn
between their love of country and their responsibility
towards the president.
On the other side, Whitney's daughter, played by
Laura Linney, faces the dilemma of choosing between
assisting the police or helping out the father who was
never there for her. And finally, Detective Frank is an
intelligent, personable, sensitive man who always
seems to get the job done.
The acting in the film is quite effective in bringing
the characters to life. Eastwood excels early in the
movie in portraying a personality opposite the one
expected of a big time burglar. However, as the role
becomes more cutthroat, Eastwood's performance is
not as entertaining, probably because we've seen it so
many times before.
Hackman, Davis, Haysbert and Glenn are all con-
vincing as the facilitators of the cover-up. However,
the screen is owned by Ed Harris, the peerless charac.
ter-actor who never receives enough credit for his tal-
ent. He magnificently captures the complexities of
Detective Frank, and particularly excels when inter-
acting with Eastwood.
As far as political thrillers go, "Absolute Powet" is
hardly exceptional, but it works. The screenplay is
tight, the characters are clever and the acting is good.
Although the film does have its shortcomings, it
proves to be quite enjoyable.
apt Eastwood stars as Luther Whitney in "Absolute Power."
Bjork is back
Iceland's reigning queen of pop has
released a CD that showcases her odd
vocal stylings mixed with an increas-
ingly diverse blend of background
sounds and rhythms. In "Telegram,"
Bjork produces 11 tracks of techno
thms, relying on remix masters like
Tncky and Dobie to give her album the
drive that is characteristic Bjork. At
times, however, the music is a little too
formulaic to be exceptional.
The CD crosses many dif-
ferent genres of music dur-
ing its play. The disc's
first track, "Possibly
Maybe," is a psyche-
delic acid trip with a
t. Branching out,
Jork continues on
with the Brodsky
screechy violins and Bjork's
howling tone made me think that the
spirit of Tori Amos had infested her body
- but the Icelander's voice is backed by
strength rather than desperation. All told,
the song is haunting in its beauty, fore-
shadowing some of the songs to come.
fTricky's contribution comes on
"Enjoy." The banging of the drums is
reminiscent of "Human Behavior,"
hinting at a Nine Inch Nails vibe but
never quite getting there. The following
song, "My Spine" is another percussion
thrill - this time, the heavy bass drum
is replaced by exhaust pipes played by
co-producer Evelyn Glennie. Bjork's
voice creeps up into the melody like the
nd - producing a sound at once
Oique and unnerving.
In "Cover Me" and "Army of Me,"
Bjork exhausts her remixing resources
in an attempt to reign over the land of
"Headphones" brings Tricky and the
bells back with a wispy wind sound
forming the base from which to build.
Bjork makes her appearance in this
song in a quiet, background voice -
sounding like feedback bouncing
Bound in the back of the song's con-
Bjork Is an evil little elf.
"I Miss Me"-appearing twice -is
the disc's highlight. The first play,
remixed by Dobie, is interesting but
pales in comparison to its counterpart
in the last position on the disc. This
work is excellent - full of energetic
background beats while Bjork fills the
foreground with her illustrious howl.
Coming out with a bunch of remixes of
songs is not a new idea. In many
ways, it serves Bjork well to
show off her voice in its
many forms. Despite
that, the disc's best
track is the last one --
the only one that did-
n't get remixed.
- Jack Schillaci
Henry David Thoreau once wrote
that "in wilderness is the preservation
of the world." If that is the case, then as
far as the musical world is concerned,
"Forever Wild" is a preservation of the
feel of nature.
"Forever Wild" is a compilation of
music used in the TV series of the same
name. Its two CDs, featuring music per-
formances from such artists as Michael
Whalen, Eric Tingstad and Kostia David
Arkenstone, are chock full of more than
two hours of music inspired by nature's
wonderful, awe-inducing feel.
The sounds are so vivid that one can
envision the majesty of an eagle soaring
among the mountains or being immersed
in the clearest pools of coral reefs.
Vocal-less from start to finish,
"Forever Wild" is a celebration of the
variety of non-human life which is
sprinkled throughout the world.
- Eugene Bowen
By Emily Lambert
Daily Arts Writer
Linda Larson isn't a starving artist -
she doesn't even play one on TV But
when the New York City Opera's tour-
ing company rolls into town today, there
are definite parallels to be drawn
between the performers and the charac-
ters they portray.
To understand, you have to first know
the story of "La Boheme." Puccini's
refined opera contains some of history's
most beautiful and famous arias, but this
is not stuffy stuff. "La Boheme," which
recently spawned the hit musical Rent,
is about a group of twenty-somethings
in Paris around the turn of the century.
Marcello is a painter. Colline is a
philosopher. Mimi is a seamstress.
Musetta, Marcello's former fiancee, is a
flirt. Rodolfo, a poet, burns his screen-
play to heat the
ment. Benoit, the
landlord, stops by
to demand rent.
Dianna Heldman stars as Musette in the New York City Opera National Company production of Puccini's "La Boheme."
She now sings wherever she can and
teaches voice lessons in her home in
upstate New York.
This is Larson's maiden voyage with
the NYCO. She auditioned for a part in
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November and was
called a week later.
Now she's on a tour
that takes her all
over the country,
far from her home
it, sounds somewhat
starving artist, or at least the starving
company. When Executive Producer
Sherwin M. Goldman saw that the $2
million tour projected a deficit of
$400,000, he asked the orchestral musi-
cians to take pay cuts. When the musi-
cians refused, Goldman decided the
company would tour with two pianos
instead of an orchestra. But presenters
around the country complained vehe,
mently. Discussions reopened, the
musicians agreed to a wage .freeze, and
this week's show will be performed
with an orchestra.
"I can't imagine it without an orches-
tra!' said Larson of the show. "To me,
So the show goes on.
Six days a week.
"Traveling's hard," Larson said, "but
the best part is the people you work
When this tour is over, Larson will go
back to New York to lead her freelance
life. The cast members will split up,
until they happen to work together
again in one situation or another. Their
lives won't return to normal after this
tour. Their lives are normal now.
"This is what we do," Larson said.
"All these people are freelance people.
We patch together careers out of this
gig and that gig. These are our real
This is a story
At Power Center, Tick
artists who search '
for ways to make their livings, sacrific-
ing for the people and arts they love.
The characters could be Ann Arborites.
The story could be about the cast of the
NYCO's touring company.
"We're all giggers," said Linda
Larson in a telephone interview last
Friday from a hotel in Rochester, N.Y. It
was St. Valentines' day and Larson was
on week five of a 16-week tour.
Larson, who sings in the chorus and
will play the role of Musetta in Sunday's
performance, is a University alumna.
The opera biz is a funny place, and
Larson would rather it not be revealed
how long ago she walked the hallowed
halls of the School of Music. But it was-
n't too long ago - some of the same
professors are still here.
After graduation, she spent a year
working full-time at a local store. Then
she left for Texas and earned her mas-
ter's degree in conducting.
But opera called, and Larson listened.
like an elementary school field trip.
There's one bus for the singers and one
bus for the orchestra. Larson travels
with her blanket, pillow and slippers.
There are quiet hours in the mornings.
Larson can't read on buses, but lis-
tening to music passes the time. "I sleep
or I sit or I talk to people - although
you have to be careful about that
because it's hard on the voice.
Ah, the life of the artist.
The crew rides ahead of the tour, and
the sets, scenery and costumes occupy
several buses of their own.
Days vary, but not by much. The
musicians board the buses in the morn-
ing and arrive at a hotel in the after-
noon, sometimes as late as 5 or 5:30
p.m. They perform the show once,
maybe for a few more nights. Then the
tour is off again. Ann Arbor hosts one of
the company's longer stays.
The NYCO could play the role of the
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