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September 03, 1997 - Image 25

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-03

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 3, 1997 - 25A

Masterminds' masters
cinema mindlessness

Biography reveals Bogie's private life

By Julia Shih
Daily Film Editor
When we were children imprisoned
against our will at school, we took
at solace in wild fantasies involving
Aging authoritative figures to their
knees or planning daring escapes. But
as adults, those thoughts seem silly
and even a bit dumb. Which is how
most mature audiences will view the
film "Masterminds," a kids-movie
based on somebody's adolescent fanta-
sy
"Masterminds" is no more than a
rehashed, Mickey-Moused version of
t' 1991 thriller, "Toy Soldiers." The
rence between the two films is that
in his one, the terrorists use darts
instead of bullets, they only threaten to
kill, and things get blown up only if it's
established that nobody will get hurt in
the explosion.
The film has Patrick Stewart playing
Bentley, a villain trained by the British
Secret Service who takes over a private
:elementary school in California. His
is to extort a large sum of money
Sri the parents of a select few of these
children, who are some of the richest
people in the country.
His plans are threatened by 16-
year-old Ozzie Paxton (Vincent
Kartheiser), a rebelbous, skate-board-
ing computer hacker who was once
thrown out of the elementary school.
Ozzie was on campus dropping off
.his younger step-sister when Bentley
took over, and is now determined to
Bentley
irector Roger ( hristian begins the
movie with an incredible sequence of
Ozzie hacking into another computer
and stealing an un-released video game,
starting the movie off on an aesthetically
COPLAND
Continued from Page 19A
-ping w ith Joey, when not downing
ktails
As the lives and stories of Garrison
intersect, "Copland" builds to a fevered
pace, when secrets are revealed, loyal-
ties are broken and people are obliterat-
ed.
Even with such a high body count,
"Copland" retains its humanist focus,
remaining as tender, quiet and intro-
spective as anything at the Sundance
Festival
uch of the credit for its indepen-
dent feel goes to writer/director James
Marigold, who debuted last year with
the, um, tender, quiet and introspective
"Heavy"
Mangold's flair for realism is quite
apparent in the vibrant players and
electric dialogue, but far more subtle is
his flair for high cinematic art, reflect-
ed through Mangold's use of sound and
isc to reflect the film's ever-chang-
i mood, best shown in the muted
finale as Freddy fights back as his
hieanng deteriorates further.
But all the credit for this stunning
and, dare I say so early, Oscar-worthy
film does not land in the lap of
Mangold some lands smack in the
oversized gut of Sylvester Stallone,
whose Freddy ranks as one of the most
tcomplicated and memorable character-
-ions in recent years
Ie brings the same lovable-loser-
fTghts-against-the-odds quality as he
did to his other great performance as
Rpcky Balboa, but he peels back many
more layers to expose Freddy's core -
revealing more about love, ambition
end. mascuhmty with nuance than
Rocky did in boxing gloves and four
sequels
Though surrounded by enormous
ent namely the performances of a
nc Ray I iotta, a quirky Janeane
Garofalo and a dnven Robert DeNiro

- Stallone still casts the biggest shad-
-onto this year's movie landscape -
-nth or without the 40 extra pounds.
"Copland" is an amazing film and a
;Tic place to visit, so go ahead, love
this movie until you're all loved out. As
fk Sylvester Stallone, he's at a lovely
ieer high forgive him if he's gotta
D Iow

REVIEW
Masterminds
At Showcase
good note.
As the film progresses, it's theme of
how kids are much smarter than adults
be-comes overbearing. Ozzie is able to
outsmart
Bentley in
s u c h
ways that '
he may
possibly
e v e n
outshine
Macauley
C uik i n's
character in
"Home Alone"
with the antics he
uses to battle the
bad guys.
Admittedly, itf
is pretty cool to
watch how Ozzie
sets up an elec-
trocution of a
bad guy (of
course, the man
wasn't killed
but merely
injured) But
this movie is
so obviously
children -
friendly, that
the assur- Patrick Stewart in "M

Vincent Kartheiser foils Patrick
Stewart's plans In "Masterminds."
ance of a predictable, happy ending in
store takes the edge off the thrill.
Patrick Stewart's talent seems wast-
ed in this film, but he still does an
excellent job at portraying a profes-
sional villain - while also displaying
a large streak of humane kindness so
that his character will not excessively
scare the younger members of the
audience.
"Masterminds" is a film that com-
bines a child's outlook on
life with the hard images
of the American
favorite - loud,
explosive vio-
lence. This soft-
ening of a sus-
pense thriller
makes it unap-
pealing to
adults, while
the violent
content
makes it
unsuitable
for children.
This is a fan-
tasy film
that is strict-
ly for R.L.
Stine's target
terminds" audience.

BOOKS
Continued from Page 23A
be what he calls a character, to distinguish himself away
from his occupation ... He has never allowed his (own)
character to develop. (He) would love nothing better than
to be considered a character, even more than a good actor.
(He) does not like his career and at the same time he is
proud of it."
As "Bogart" details the life and personality of Humphrey
Bogart, it soon becomes apparent that through this actor, we
learn a great deal about the budding movie industry and
American history. Bogart's career began approximately when
sound pictures began, and his life was constantly touched by
political and social changes within the nation.
Bogart's participation in the Committee for the First
Amendment, which protested against the House Committee
on Un-American Activities was prominent and well docu-
mented. Claims that Bogart identified with the Communist
Party during the Cold War were all unfounded, though his
part in fighting for freedoms caused a great deal of tension
between him and his studio.
From his childhood to his death, "Bogart" is very com-
prehensive in creating a portrait of a man who touched so
many lives. It's story is one about a man who was an inspi-
ration, and includes many elements that make a great film:
love stories, scandal, a dab of politics and characters whose
complexities make them endearing.
"Bogart" reveals that the fine actor amounted to much more
than the masculine persona he presented onscreen. He was more
than just a tough guy with a soft spot for beautiful women.
-Julia Shih
Sinbad's Guide to Life (Because I
Know Everything)
By Sinbad with David Ritz
Bantam
"If you want tips on how to lead a dull, stable life and wear
the right clothes for success, you can look somewhere else.
Me, I believe you'll learn more worthwhile lessons from the
man who couldn't hang on to a job, a woman, or a residence

for any decent length of time ever. Someone who went from
goofy kid to brain-damaged adult and is still smiling"
These are the words of the wise comedian Sinbad, whose
qualifications for teaching us about life include dropping out
of college, being kicked out of the Air Force, being fired from
every single job he's had except for his job as a comic, and
having his electricity turned off several times.
In "Sinbad's Guide to Life (Because I Know Everything)"
(written with David Ritz), the comedian shares with us amusing
anecdotes and observations from his own life that if we were
smart, we would steer clear of applying to our own.
Sinbad is best known for his energetic and hilarious stand-
up routines, which have been showcased on successful HBO
Comedy Specials. "Sinbad's Guide to Life" is derived from
these routines, so people who have watched him perform will
be familiar with a lot of the material in this book.
Nevertheless, he provides an abundance of laughs even if
much of the material is recycled.
. Probably the funniest sections of the book (and the funni-
est part of his stand-up act) are the vivid descriptions of his
view of his dominating parents as a child. Descriptions of
getting in trouble, his father brandishing the dreaded whip
and his attempted rebellion are all extremely amusing.
He also has a lot of observations about other trials of life
that will get readers chuckling. On men, Sinbad writes, "If
there were no women in the world, men would be naked, dri-
ving trucks, living in dirt." On dealing with women, he
writes, "Women, when you are mad at us, please just tell us
you're mad. Don't make us play the 'Oh, Are You Mad?'
game. See we're not stupid, we know we did someihing
wrong; we just don't know which one you found out about."
Sinbad, who grew up in Michigan and is the son of a preacjh-
er man, talks about almost anything that pops into his mind about
life. His unique point of view and his forte at humorous obser-
vations make him one of the best comedians in the country. -
The book is occasionally unevenly paced and rambling.
There are stretches where it is obvious that certain jokes
would have carried much better in spoken-word but bomib-in
print. Despite these flaws, "Sinbad's Guide to Life" is still
amusing overall.
There is no dispute that Sinbad may be one of the most tal-
ented comedians around. Through "Sinbad's Guide to Life,"
we get an appetizer to his talent that should convince readers
to go out and watch the man perform his unbelievably funny
stand-up routine if they haven't seen it before. His book will
give you a few hours of amusement and a new way of look-
ing at the little things in life.
- Julia Shih

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