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September 29, 1997 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-29

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Don't miss this one-time-only screening of Frank Capra's classic "You
Can't Take It With You." The themes of this 1938 Best Picture
Oscar-winner starring James Stewart will resonate long after the
house lights go up. See this comedic drama the way it was meant to
be seen - on the Michigan's big screen. Today 4:10 p.m. $5 for
students.

Monday
September 29, 1997

5A

Two

hot tickets

Spicy family drama 'Soul Food,' fiery thriller 'Peacemaker' ignite at box office

.By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
Directed by George Tillman Jr., "Soul Food" is
a funny, touching film about a family trying to stay
together after the sudden illness of its matriarch.
Although the movie has some shortcomings that
d to weigh it down, Tillman, a relative new-
mer, shows that he has what it takes to really
make a name for himself.
Every Sunday, the entire Joseph clan comes
over to Mother Joe's house for a huge feast that
includes fried catfish, cornbread, collard greens,
macaroni and cheese, and many other delicious
treats. Even as they bicker among themselves and
struggle with the difficul-
ties of daily life, they put
their differences aside and RE
enjoy one meal a week
:bether as a loving family.
Seen through the eyes of r
Ahmad (Brandon
Hammond), a perceptive At Briar
child, the family begins to
come apart at the seams after Mother Joe (Irma
Hall) falls into a diabetic coma.
Always at each others throats, the conflict
between Ahmad's mother Maxine (Vivica Fox)
and her sister Teri (Vanessa Williams) explodes.
eri, a successful lawyer, enjoys flaunting her
ancial and career success in her sister's face, but
deep down she's unhappy. She's in a second
unhappy marriage with Miles (Michael Beach), an
attorney whose musical aspirations are not sup-
ported by his wife. Despite her wealth, she's jeal-
ous of Maxine for having a happy marriage to
Kenny (Jeffrey D. Sams).
Meanwhile, the youngest sister Bird (Nia Long)
is learning to deal with her new husband, the ex-
convict Lem (Mekhi Phifer). While they are very

much in love, a strain is put on their relationship
when the system isn't very willing to give Lem a
second chance.
In the hands of director Tillman, these issues are
dealt with in a thoughtful manner. He balances the
movie well, reasonably developing each sub-plot
and pacing the film nicely. The transitions from
one problem to the next are seamless, making the
movie very watchable.
Moreover, he has great control over the movie's
emotional content. The conflicts are powerful
without being overdramatic and he uses subtle dia-
logue and camerawork to create some truly
poignant moments.

VIEW
Soul Food
wood and Showcase
of the movie

However, his biggest mistake
as writer/director, and the glaring
weakness of the film, is the
reliance on too many external
events to rip the family apart. He
uses issues such as unemploy-
ment, violence, incarceration and
infidelity to drive the wedge
between them. As a result, parts
seem coincidental and contrived,

Clockwise from above left: The ladies
of "Soul Food" get cookin'; George
Clooney and Nicole Kidman reach out
and touch each other in "The
Peacemaker"; Clooney and Kidman get
stuck in a hot spot; Vanessa Williams
stars as eldest daughter Teri in "Soul."

By Ryan Posly
Daily Arts Writer
When Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and
David Geffen formed Dreamworks SKG a few
years ago, the excitement surrounding the
prospect of a new, creatively liberal and financial-
ly independent film studio was intense. It is only
now that Dreamworks has released its first motion
picture, "The Peacemaker," and one can only hope
that it is not a sign of things to come.
It's cliche, but it's also a fact: the Cold War is
over. Our once steadfast enemies of the Soviet
Union no longer pose an immediate threat; they
like McDonald's and they want freedom. So where
does that leave the average
terrorist-action filmmaker
these days? Middle Eastern or RI
Irish terrorists are overused,
so what's left? The answer: The I
Who cares? This genre of film
has become so stale in the last
few years that it's a wonder At Brig
anyone makes these movies at
all, let alone the seemingly brilliant triumvirate
behind Dreamworks.
"The Peacemaker" stars George Clooney as Lt.
Col. Thomas Devoe, a U.S. Army Special
Operations officer who gets teamed up with Dr.
Julia Kelly (Nicole Kidman) after a shipment of
Russian nuclear warheads gets hijacked. The
paint-by-numbers plot follows the two of them as
they attempt to track down the terrorists. Their
search contains the usual elements of an interna-
tional thriller: chases through semi-exotic city
streets, evil terrorists with funny accents and
swaggering, righteous heroes.
The film never misses a beat, which basically
means that the audience knows exactly what will
happen and when. The only interesting thing about

rrarN

the film is the character of the main villain, the
guy who cares about Dr. Kelly so much because he
only wants one nuclear bomb. His motives are
entirely personal, and it is unfortunate that the film
doesn't focus more on that aspect of the story.
Instead it piles on cliche after cliche of Tom
Clancy convention, trying as hard as it can to be
suspenseful and intense.
"The Peacemaker" is directed by Mimi Leder,
who impressed Steven Spielberg with her direc-
tion of television's "ER" enough to hire her for this
big action picture. It was a risky move, but it
worked just fine. Although there's nothing great
about the film, there's nothing particularly wrong
with it either. Clooney and
Kidman handle themselves suf-
V I E W ficiently well and, more impor-
tant, seem to have a great deal
eacemaker of fun with their roles.
The real problem with "The
Peacemaker" is not necessarily
wood and Showcase the movie itself, but the fact
that there no longer is any real
suspense or fear in situational films such as this.
Having seen every part of this film several times
before, it cannot pose a real threat to our self-
being. And although there are still problems in the
world, terrorists with foreign accents no longer
scare us.
But that's not to say that films like this aren't
any fun anymore. In fact, the only thing that makes
them remotely entertaining (at least for men) is
that they occasionally bring out the child in us,
playing cops and robbers or war out in the woods.
"The Peacemaker" is not a terrible movie, it's
simply a terribly mediocre one made all the worse
because it comes from such a promising young
studio. Things can only go up for Dreamworks
now.

dulling the overall effect.
Still, Tillman is able to create a rich, wonderful
portrait of a large middle-class African American
family. While the food itself is beautifully pho-
tographed, the characters are the film's true
strength. Each is developed well and has their own
persona. And to his credit, Tillman creates women
who are strong, independent and caring, and men
who are thoughtful, intelligent and sensitive.
Directing only his second film, George Tillman
Jr., has managed to create an enjoyable work that
appeals to the emotions without being too senti-
mental. While "Soul Food" is a familiar cinematic
meal, it definitely satisfies a hearty moviegoing
appetite.

stunning Winston show offers refreshing change

By Curtis Zimmermann
For the Daily
Growing up a product of the MTV
generation, certain stereotypes about
solo piano concerts were naturally
embedded into my brain.
*One was that they have to be dull.
Two is that they will
only be enjoyed
when the sounds of R1
rock music become Geo
noise to me. George
Winston's sold-out Mi
performance at the
Michigan Theater
Friday night dispelled all of those
myths.
Winston, who is best known for his
*son albums and his most recent
release "Linus and Lucy: The Music of
Vince Guaraldi" performed what was
known as his Summer show. It com-
bined elements of rural folk, stride, and
classical piano as well as Hawaiian
Slack Key guitar and harmonica. The
evening showcased the many talents of
one of the most accomplished pianists
in the world.
IThe show began as Winston, amidst
plause, approached his Steinway and
Sons piano dressed in the proper con-
cert attire of jeans and a T-shirt. After a
few short words with the audience he
began the show with a three song med-
ley that combined Irish folk music with
his rural folk sound.
His second piece of the evening,
"Rain," was one of his finest of the
evening. Mixed with sporadic playing
the high notes to imitate the sounds
V precipitation were his loud banging
of the low keys producing a haunting
sound that filled the theater.
The biggest attraction of the first set
was Vince Guaraldi's standard "Linus
and Lucy," which he played in a melody
with "You're in Love Charlie Brown."
Just mentioning Guaraldi's name
seemed to spark enthusiasm.
Throughout the piece the taps of feet
ild be heard throughout the theater.
nother song that seemed to captivate
the crowd was the stride piano piece
"The Elephant and the Mouse"
According to Winston stride piano is, "a
jazzy outgrowth of ragtime."
He closed out the set with a piece on

the guitar that he played in the Hawaiian
slack key tradition. Slack key is a fin-
ger-picking guitar style that was devel-
oped in Hawaii in the 19th century.
At this point in the show it provided
a refreshing change from the usual
piano pieces.

EVIEW
rge Winston
chigan Theater
Sept. 26

After an extended
intermission, he
returned to the stage
and performed a
song he described as
reminding him of
Spring. His next
piece, which was

which time his face just seemed to get
more red, but earned the loudest
applause of the evening.
He closed the show with Vince
Gauraldi's 1962 hit "Cast Your Fate to
the Wind."
This piece was by far the finest of the
evening. From the light beginning to the
powerful ending, in which Winston
plucked the strings of the piano, it
seemed to show off the talents of not
only Winston but Guaraldi as well.
Upon song's end Winston gave a
quick bow than left the stage.
His encore was by far the most dis-
appointing piece of the evening. For it,
he played another slack key piece,
which at this point in the show seemed
to be a little much, especially after his
previous song seemed out of place.

Overall, George Winston's show was
fun, entertaining and musically stun-
ning. The show proved why over the
years he has been able to captivate so
many with his works.
Winston's show wasn't just a perfor-
mance of piano player, but it was a look
at what he has to offer as a musician.
Instead of just performing selection
after selection in an attempt to show his
superiority he provided the audience
with a glimpse of himself as well as his
music.

George Winston
performed a
diverse benefit
concert to a sold-
out audience at
the Michigan
Theater on Friday
night.

VISHEN MOHANDAS LAKHIANI/Daily

much more somber, was titled "Living
Without You." One of the highlights of
the second set was his performance of
an Irish folk song on the harmonica. It
lasted close to five minutes, during

" d fsale then
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The UTM School of Music
1997 HALLOWEEN CONCERTS
Sunday, October 26 at Hill Auditorium
4:00 PM & 7:30 PM
*1Number your preferences (from 1 to 6) so if your first choice is unavailable, we can
fill your order with your next choice. If you do NOT indicate any other choices, your
check will be returned to you if your choices are not available. All ticket requests will
be filled in order of receipt. Limit 10 tickets per order.
2 Make your check payable to the University of Michigan for your full payment. One
check or money order per order, please. Sorry, no credit card orders.
3 Include a self-addressed STAMPED envelope so we can mail your tickets to you. If
both concerts are sold out, we will use the envelope to return your check to you.
4 Mail yourorder form, payment,and self-addressed stamped envelope to: Halloween
Tickets, League Ticket Office, 911 N. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1265. Mail
orders only!
5 Please allow TWO WEEKS to process your order.
6 In-person sales for any remaining tickets will begin Monday. October 20 at 10 AM
at the League Ticket Office. Orders will not be accepted by phone.
7 All tickets are reserved seating. No one will be admitted without a ticket, including
all children, regardless of age!
O ....._.- ..... - --...- - ..- .... . ...-...... . - .......
1997 Halloween Concerts Mail Order Form
Mail Orders will be accepted September 29 through October 10!

Name

Phone

A

LIMIT 10 TICKETS PER ORDER FORM!
PERFORMANCE LOCATION number in order of preference # TICKETS $ TOTAL
SUNDAY[_OC Main Floor @ $7.00

I

.1

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