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September 30, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-30

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A 1948 classic, "Easter Parade" plays on the Michigan Theater's big
screen. Starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland as dance partners,
the film features Astaire's infamous solo, "Stepping Out with My
Baby." Don't miss the opportunity to watch two greats dance the
night away. The screening begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.

September 30, 1997

Mamet's meaty 'Edge' bears weight

ly Michael Zilberman
,,Daily Arts Writer
:" . "The Edge" refers to a simple hunt-
' -ing knife. The one a trendy fashion
photographer gives to a bored billion-
aire as a birthday gift. The one both
the billionaire and the photographer
will use to hunt squirrels for food 24
hours later.
Penned by David Mamet, "The
Edge" is a kind of film that delights in
seeing a "sophisticated man" temporar-
ily reduced to his instinct of self-preser-
vation. The essence of any movie has
once been described as "you put a guy.

up a tree; you get him down." In "The
Edge," the tree is quite literal, and
there's a man-eating bear hanging
around it.
Anthony Hopkins plays Charles, the
billionaire, whose trophy wife - is
there any other kind of wife in a David
Mamet script? - happens to be a fash-
ion model who might or might not be
sleeping with her photographer Bob
(Alec Baldwin).
Suspicious, Charles follows her to
a remote location photo shoot, a
ridiculous Native American-themed
enterprise. Before long, a tiny air-
plane crashes over unknown terrain,
with Charles and Bob on board and a
hungry kodiak salivating on the
In one of the more predictable plot
turns, another man survives as well, but
it's fairly clear that this one is bear fod-
der. (Harold Perrineau of "Smoke"
plays the part as if it were clear even to
him.) The real beef of the film is
between the other two.
Boy, are we dealing with fragile
material here. A step to one side -and
the movie turns into muddy social
satire: See billionaire eat squirrel! A
step to the other - and we end up with
"The Ghost and the Darkness."
Thankfully, David Mamet gives the

kodiak business a rather short shrift,
preventing the whole thing from mutat-
ing into "The Old Man and the Bear" of
Instead, it is a story of redemption
- and the main hook of the film,
once the bear gets the spear, is which
one of the two
main characters
will be redeemed R
by the ordeal. The
trick of "The 41
Edge" lies in the
fact that it's a AtBi
human movie masquerading as a
human-versus-nature movie, and it
unfolds for its first three quarters
without requiring you to pick a side;
when it finally does, the effect is like
a harsh wake-up slap in the face.
If at first we are somewhat lulled by
the traveloque imagery, however, the
blame compass points straight to the
director. Lee Tamahori, who first
attracted Hollywood's attention with
the rather unsentimental "Once Were
Warriors," has since switched into a
mode of lush melodrama, as evi-
denced by the repulsive "Mulholland
The New Zealand-born director is a
natural to helm "The Edge," with its


ascetic mountain vistas, but the bom-
bast with which he approaches every
other shot becomes thoroughly dis-
tracting once the human conflict sets
And the conflict sets in all right ---
in ways only David Mamet can man-
age it. The screen-
writer, better
EVIE W1 known as the play-
The Edge wright behind
"Glengarry Glen
**' Ross" and
rwood and Showcase " A m e r i c a n
Buffalo," is a mas-
ter of the inobtrusive set-up: He
plants drama in minuscule bits, shuf-
fling them together with mundane
dialogue and routine actions - so
that some crucial plot points can only
be seen in retrospect, after the resolu-
tion. As "The Edge" hurtles along, it
keeps changing your perception of
what you've already seen.
Mamet also being the Stradivari of
the shouting match, Hopkins and
Baldwin get to exercise some serious
acting chops as well. By now, it should-
n't surprise anyone that the eldest
Baldwin can hold his own against the
best of thespians; his effortless manner
in "The Edge" reminds one of the early
Kevin Costner (laid back but not yet to

Anthony Hopkins fights the bear in Lee Tarnahori's "The Edge."

a fault). Elle Macpherson bookends the
film as Charles' wife, to no discernible
"The Edge" at once spoofs and
upholds a tradition of wilderness
movies actually teaching you some-
thing about wilderness. The film is
loaded with more practical survival
information than a diary of a Montana
With the characters, you learn - and

with the characters, you chuckle at hav-
ing to learn - how to make E(compass
out of a needle, for instanci or (the
central metaphysical joke of the film)
fire from ice.
The main lesson, howeverr Is the
instability of the cultural buildup mask-
ing the base nature of our conflicts: a
goose in an airplane propeller- takes
care of it in a second. And that's wher
the hunting knife comes in.

Alec Baldwin Is Bob, the photographer.

Fighters bring
Sangrysound to A2
By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
There's nothing like a little mid-week excitement in Ann
Arbor. Tonight a fast-paced unit named the Freedom Fighters
k is rolling into the Blind Pig.
With two guitars and a drum, the band is not your everyday
blunt head rock. The group has an angry sound, fairly reminis-
cent of label mates Guzzard. But that's coincidental, explained
drummer Jeff, Freedom Fighter. "The first time we got into that
stuff was when we were on tour with Calvin Krime who're on
AmRep. They had taken copies of all the AmRep albums on
tape and we were borrowing them from their van. We knew
about Hammerhead, we were all really big Hammerhead fans,
'land Boss Hog and the Cows, but other than that we'd never
beard Guzzard, besides a song or two,
That stuff kind of came to us after we were
signed, strangely enough." P
Parallel evolution is all fine and good Fre
when it comes to sound, but when it
comes to touring, a little advice is always
good. "We toured for about a month in with unde
April with a band called Arm, which
books its own tours and gave us the Touring 101 by taking us
out. Then I went ahead and booked this whole tour, so now
we're doing it by ourselves for the first time.'
The Freedom Fighters have just begun their first major solo
tour. The band will be on the road for six weeks, and after a
month hiatus, it will go out for another six weeks. "It was inter-
esting (touring with Calvin Krime) in that we learned what it's

Catchy Elcka has 'Nothing to Lose'

By Brian Cohen
Daily Arts Writer
Currently on tour supporting
Morrissey, West London's Eleka is still
fairly new even to British audiences. In
fact, its debut album "Rubbernecking"
won't even be released in the UK until
mid October. But with debut single
"Nothing To Lose" already notching its
way up the CMJ charts (it's currently at
No. 20), America just might get fairly

familiar with the lads before too long.
"This tour was very last minute for
us," said Eleka's enchanting frontman
Harrold before last Wednesday
evening's sold-out Hill Auditorium per-
formance. "It was like two days before
- 'pack your bags ... you're going!"
The haste with which the band has been
moving is rather remarkable, especially
considering that its first assignment in this
country is the difficult task of warming up


like out there now, which is a lot of playing to nobody," said
Jeff. "Which is kind of a test of how much you love it."
After this current batch of touring, though, a spectacular
opportunity has presented itself to the Freedom Fighters: "I
don't know if you've heard of the Incredibly Strange Wrestling
Tour, but it's these DIY Mexican
wrestlers that set up their own ring and
E V I E W wrestle. And Calvin Krime, and us and
loin Fighters this band called Gimme Gimme, we're
at 9:30 p.m. playing and then wrestling happens in
Tonight Pi between the bands. I would love to wres-
ound Asian Movement tle but I can't get in on that. They want the
Mexican wrestlers. It's a tight clique"
The Freedom Fighters also have a new album coming out
soon. Titled "My Scientist Friends," it showcases an eclectic
mix of proper rocking songs with words and instrumental
Remember, tonight there is a band in town that could eas-
ily free you from your doldrums. You just have to let them
fight for you.

thousands of screaming fans who have
been waiting five years to see one of the
music's most sought after artists.
"I think it's kind of a signifipapt tbin
that of all people Morrissey kindaf take
a shine to us and introdumesus to
America," Harrold said. "I couldn't think
of a better way to come over here really.
"People that like Morrissey.xend to
have a bit of a take on music,4and they
enjoy what we do and there're cheers 4nd
it makes us feel very welcome ;by the
time we finish playing," said drummer
Darren Berry. "So it's a challenge but it's
an enjoyable one, it's a rewarding one."
And Elcka's performance w4sjust 1
rewarding for the audience as it was for
the band members themselves.,.Withv its
current UK single "Supercharged"
kicking off the live set, it was no sur-
prise that audience's eyebrows raised as
the band started playing. Harrold's
throaty delivery was effortless as he
appeared to be "dressed to kill, seeking
thrills, never coming down."
"Paradise In Poison" was a bit of
departure from the other live tunes, but i'
intriguing guitar and Harrold's uncom-
promising energy combined in a tri-
umphant swirl. Thanks to Matt Barker's
handiwork on keyboards, more refined
greatness was unleashed on the the
urgently intense "Try," which has already
sparked some comparisons to fellow
British superpowers Suede and Pulp.
"I don't think we sound like anyone
really," Harrold said. "It's not as if
we're rambling on about 'T
Beatles, Beatles, Beatles man.' We'v#
been compared to literally everyone."
After Elcka eased into "Nothing To
Lose," all other band comparisons
quickly vanished into thin air. The
single has more hooks than a 24-hour
fish-and-tackle shop, and the inspir-
ing chorus left the audience clapping
with fierce approval.
Having already started to nibble the
appetizers on America's menu for succesd
the members of Elcka seem more than
ready to continue putting in the long and
sometimes draining hours into their music.
If Wednesday's performance was any
indication of what the band is capable
of producing, then "Nothing To Lose"
might just be the beginning of a long
and prosperous relationship between
America and Elcka - one with inil-
lions of "silver smiles all around?'

Singer "Harrold" (front), and drummer Darren Barry of Elcka.
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