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January 14, 1997 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-14

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 14, 1997 - 9

i'ravolta's wings fail to keep film in flight

'English Patient' poster giveaway

By Kristin Long
Daily Arts Writer
For a long time, John Travolta
seemed as though he was in the zone of
the movie world. He evaded the wrath
of slapstick bombs, like the "Look
-a i king" "
logy; he REV]
came from
nowhere on IV
the come-
back tour,
beginning At Briarwood
with "Pulp
Fiction" and then "Get Shorty." He was
the star we revered.
And now he stars as the archangel
' ichael - a slimy, crude heavenly
dy on his last excursion to Earth.
"Michael" is a film of mediocre act-
ing intertwined with a story of less than
interesting quality; the film's only
strong point is its many popular stars in
roles that perfectly fit their style and
personality. Along with Travolta, Andie
MacDowell and William Hurt join in
the unexciting angelic adventure.
As a part of Michael's final trip to
arth, it is his hidden objective to try
change the life of Frank Quinlan
(Hurt), a tabloid reporter for the
"National Mirror," who has lost his
will to love. He and his partner Huey
(Robert Pastorelli) manage to unravel
the oddest of stories which makes the
publication delve into the world of
unbelievable news.
Soon, Quinlan receives word of an
angel living in a reader's home. The
topic's potential brings the troublesome
o to Iowa, where all the chaos
The relationship between Quinlan
and Huey is one of a common partner-


ship: Quinlan is the reckless divorcee
with few cares in the world, and Duey is
the responsible husband, always think-
ing of his wife. While their interactions
are predictable, much of their humor is
enjoyable and a pleasant break from the
long-winded plot.
Before the two pack
E W their bags, they confirm
the excursion with their
ichael editor, only to find that
** they will not fly
solo. A new
d Showcase staffer, '...,"

tele includes dogs. Her contribution to
Quinlan's and Huey's story is mere
anecdotes of a goody-goody flake with
low self esteem.
MacDowell plays the typical sweet
and sensitive character who seems
attached to her career; she serves as a
guard for the two careless veterans,
while simultaneously acting as simple
prey for the single Quinlan. Her inno-
cence matched with Quinlan's cold
heart makes for an anticipated
Ik relationship - with only
sporadic moments of

pudge of an out-of-shape 40-year-old
and a face with protruding stubble. The
reporters' skepticism increases, espe-
cially at the sight of his tarnished
Michael tells Quinlan that he will
return to Chicago with them via car
and by his rules alone. He is deter-
mined to prove a point to the doubting
reporter and to dazzle women along
the way.
Travolta fills the role of the angel
perfectly, as few others could be a
greasy hunk who attracts the most
beautiful women. Only he, with his
charming ways and his debonair style,
could fit a role with such bizarre
The remainder of the film is a tale of
the group's adventures en route to the
Windy City. When the scenery along
the way is mostly cornfields, the excite-
ment is immensely low. The characters
attempt to reach some monumental
change of lifestyle, but they fall short
when the details of these modifications
are hardly developed.
True, "Michael"'s stars are full of
potential and experience; but the events
throughout the course of the film hard-
ly compare to their quality. In the end,
the substance within the film is not
strong enough to fill two hours.
Travolta seems to resort back to his pre-
"Pulp" days of a fine actor, settling for
a mediocre role.
"Michael" is filled with fantastic
ideas that are diminished to nothing
more than lame fiction. The bits of
comedic dialogue between the actors
can prompt some laughs, but the
chuckles are minimal and brief. The
plot lacks the depth of its intent and
the lofty tones that make an angel film

"The English Patient," starring sizzling sexpot Ralph Flennes and the beauti-
ful Kristin Scott Thomas, is still at a theater near you. The film, set against
the backdrop of World War 11, artfully traces the attraction, love and tragedy
of its characters. Guess what? Because we're so nice, we are going to give
away steamy and sensual "Patient" posters. Just stop by the Daily Arts
Office, located on the second floor of the Student Publications Building
(420 Maynard St. - first room on the right) after 1 p.m. today. Isn't FREE
stuff fun? Remember supplies are limited, so get here fast. We're patiently
waiting for you.


lilt, -- I M 1

John Travolta might have trouble "staying alive" with his latest film, "Michael."

Lengthy epics make latest Yes album a 'no' for fans

*eys to Ascension
CMC Records
As with most groups that recorded
their first albums before many of
today's rockers were born, Yes' time has
come and gone. And while we can't
blame these five members of the "clas-
sic Yes lineup" for wanting to
econvene for some new
'usic and past glory, that
doesn't mean we have
to listen to it.
"Keys to
Ascension" takes
advantage of modern
technology by cram-
ming nearly 2 1/2 of
music onto two CDs.
But little of this music
olds even a tenuous connec-
n to what made Yes so much fun to
listen to in the past. Most of the album
consists of a reunion concert that
occurred in March 1996, and the focus
is almost entirely on the extended
"suites" that Yes has felt compelled to

Mlass Meeting
Tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 14) at 8 p.m.
Pendleton Room, Michigan Union
Jan. 24 through 26
Call 763-1107 for more information, or drop by the
MUSKET office at 2105 Michigan Union.

write in the past.
Only one of the nine songs on the two
discs is under nine minutes long. On the
first CD, we are subjected to the 22-
minute "The Revealing Science of
God," which took up an entire album
side upon its original release in 1973.
We also have to deal with a 10-minute
version of Paul Simon's "America," a
song that no British hard rock band
should be allowed near. The 18-minute
"Awaken," from a 1977 album, is
the hardest of them all to get
f 1It doesn't work. Just
when you think some-
body's about to turn
the amps up to I1,
the drums slip away,
and we're left with
lead singer Jon
Anderson, whose voice
still hasn't changed, war-
bling on ethereally about birds
and mountains. The birds can fly away.
The mountains aren't so lucky.
Things do get better on the second
disc. "Roundabout" and "Starship
Trooper," both under 10 minutes, prove
that when Yes concentrates more on

songwriting and less on histrionics,
they can truly rock. The two new songs,
"Be the One" and "That, that Is," are the
group's most ambitious works since the
'70s, providing enough rhythm changes
and electric organ to satisfy any starved
old-school progressive rock ears.
It can be said that "Keys to
Ascension" is the best possible introduc-
tion to Yes one can get. While it's true
that it does the group's impressive 30-
year canon more justice than a single-
disc greatest-hits album could, it forgets

two big things. First of all, less can often
be more, even for Yes; an "Owner of a
Lonely Heart," "Sweet Dreams" or "I've
Seen All Good People" stuck in between
20-minute epics would make these discs
much less tedious. But more important-
ly, all of these songs, even the longest
ones, were far more exciting in their
original incarnations. The only reason
for Yes fans to buy "Keys to Ascension"
is the two new songs, and if you don't
like Yes, then just say no.
- Mark Feldman


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