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January 08, 1998 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-08

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ftif~ tdow~mi1atolg

The final stretch of new "Seinfeld" episodes begins tonight.
Announcing last week that this season, the show's ninth, would be
its last, Jerry Seinfeld and his eccentric circle of friends have made
the future of "Must-see TV"uncertain and perhaps a little less must-
see. Catch the antics tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC, as if you didn't
know.

Thursday
January 8, 1998

5

'Low down

J'ackie Brown': Tarantino's latest disappoints

By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Editor
If it looks like a Tarantino film, talks
like a Tarantino film and is more than 2
1/2 hours, like a Tarantino film, then it's
safe to assume that it is a Tarantino
film.
And Quentin
Tarantino's latest, R
"Jackie Brown," an
ultra-cool, jive-
talking crime com-
edy, is. indeed a
Tarantino film -
too bad it's just not a good one.
Occupying your time much longer
than it should, "Jackie Brown" clocks in
at a life-threatening 154 minutes, one of
many hallmarks that made Tarantino's
previous two films successes; others
include a great '70s soundtrack, a semi-
intricate structure and engaging dia-
logue that sometimes veers off into
quirky pop culture tangents.
But unlike "Reservoir Dogs" and
"Pulp Fiction," "Jackie Brown" sets off
on one too many tangents right from its
sluggish opening, and then never quite
,_ sets a specific course for itself.

a
E
lai

Is "Jackie Brown" a crime thriller?
With a straightforward plot, based on
Elmore Leonard's "Rum Punch," the
film concerns down-and-out flight
attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier)
and her life running money to Mexico
® ® _ for gun-smuggler
,V i E WOrdell (Samuel L.
Jackson).
Ckie Brown When Jackie is
apprehended by a
** hyper ATF agent
At Showcase & State (Michael Keaton)
and $500,000 of
Ordell's money comes into the picture,
Jackie begins playing both sides of the
law in order to snatch the money for
herself. But this rickety shack of a plot
cannot withstand the dull blows of
Tarantino's pointless dialogue.
Or is the film a touching romance for
the older generation? Jackie Brown, in
her attempt to get rich quick, seeks help
from her goodhearted bail-bondsman
Max Cherry (Robert Forster) and gets
unexpectedly close to the big lug.
Grier and Forster have great chem-
istry and offer up Oscar-worthy perfor-
mances as hesitant lovers, but they'd

groundbreaking "Shaft" - films that
defined a decade of action flicks.
But "Jackie Brown" is more interac-
tion than action, which would be wel-
come if Tarantino would just stop mak-
ing clever pop allusions and start mak-
ing the worthwhile character study that
Grier's performance promises.
Or is the film a quirky ensemble
comedy? Heavily populated with the
usual crop of comic wackos, Jackie
Brown's life is complicated by charac-
ters ranging from Bridget Fonda's jaded
beach bunny to Robert DeNiro's nearly
wordless ex-con to a Supreme-loving
lady called Simone. Her life also
includes people waxing poetic on such
subjects as marijuana, the Delfonics
and AK-47s.
But all this hilarity just isn't funny,
ill-fated for a film marketed as a come-
dy.
No one can blame Tarantino for
attempting to cross genre boundaries
(his attempt at heartfelt sentiment is
even promising), but someone should
have stopped "Jackie Brown" and
frisked her at the border, detaining her
for possession of mediocre entertain-

ment with intent to inflict boredom.
Still, the well-cast and perfectly
scored (featuring music from Johnny
Cash to Foxy Brown) "Jackie Brown"
isn't all bad, it just isn't at all good.
Wading through the bad and the ugly,
the good can be found in a spectacular
scene involving a scared Grier, bran-
dishing a gun and desperately trying to
look tough. Scenes like this are all -oo
sparse in the meandering journey
towards the elusive "good part" of
"Jackie Brown," which arrives in. the
form of a three-perspective telling of
the climactic money-exchange.
But in that inventive and thrilling
sequence, the big Q.T. seems to be des-
perately remaking his best work, trying
to recapture some of that cinematically
creative violence- and humor-driven
electricity that charged "Pulp Fiction."
Quentin, you've already made "Pulp
Fiction,' there's no need to make it
again. As for you "Pulp" fans, don't be
fooled. "Jackie Brown" may look and
sound like vintage Tarantino, but at this
disappointing spectacle you won't find
shots in the heart and brains in the hair
-just cramps in the butt.

Foxy Pam Grier is a brilliant Jackie Brown in the not-so-brilliant "Jackie Brown."

have been better served as the main
attraction in a 90-minute movie without
the pesky "Pulp Fiction"-redux distrac-
tions - but no, Tarantino had to get
medieval on our collective ass.
Or is the film a throwback to '70s

blaxploitation films? Reviving Grier
and Forster from the dead, the film has
a distinctly Gordon Parks atmosphere;
taking more than a few stylistic cues,
the clever title sequence for example,
from Grier's own "Foxy Brown" and the

Soft 'Scream' sequel still thrilling

Hot 'Minigolf' game combats cold

By Ryan Posly
Daily Arts Writer
I scream, you scream. We all scream
for scary movies. And let's face it -
when the first "Scream" came out late
in 1996, there had been a dearth of
those classic teen slasher flicks for
many years.
But with that
single film, the R
horror industry
was seemingly
revitalized, and
now we're faced
with a string of At B

you'll ever see assembled in one place.
The lights dim, and I'm immediately,
surprisingly, impressed. The film
begins with the premiere of "Stab"'the
movie-within-a-movie based on Gale
Weathers' (Courteney Cox) best-selling
book about the Woodsboro murders of
the previous film.
Right from the start,
V I E W "Scream 2" begins
Scream 2 parodying its prede-
C cessor.

El

Briarwood & Showcase

Once we move to
the primary setting,
the campus of fic-
tional Windsor

copycat teeny-
bopper thrillers such as "I Know What
You Did Last Summer" and now
"Scream 2," the highly anticipated
sequel to that visionary film.
The problem with this trend is that
nobody is screaming. The original
"Scream" was clever, fun and howling-
ly funny; it was a unique gem, a subver-
sive, tongue-in-cheek homage to the
slasher movies of the '70s and '80s.
But scary it was not (unless you con-
sider jumping in your seat a couple of
times scary). Now Hollywood thinks
that they can ride on that film's coattails
by attempting to replicate it countless
times until every last penny is squeezed
out of the concept, never mind that in the
process they'll squeeze every last bit of
freshness and creativity out of it as well.
Although "Scream" was one-of-a-
kind, here we are feeling very old sit-
ting in a theater packed with rowdy
,teens (and, unfortunately for their ten-
der psyches, pre-teens) waiting for the
inevitable sequel, cleverly titled
"Scream 2." 1 must admit that if anyone
is going to attempt a follow-up to
"Scream," at least it's the same brilliant
team as the original: director Wes
Craven, writer Kevin Williamson and a
slew of the most attractive young actors

College, we are presented with a
sparkling in-class debate about the
inevitable failure of movie sequels.
Perhaps "Scream 2" can muster as much
self-mocking wit and pop-culture com-
mentary as the first, after all, or die try-
ing.
Indeed, Craven and
Williamson have managed to
eke out a film that is almost as
funny, almost as tricky and
(no pun intended) almost as
sharp as the original. The plot
is identical, except that it now
takes place in the supposedly
more mature setting of a col-
lege campus. Sidney Prescott
(Neve Campbell), now a
freshman at lovely Windsor,
is finally getting over the
trauma of the Woodsboro
murders when, as the trailer
puts it, somebody takes
their love of sequels a little
too far. Bodies start pil-
ing up in the usual fash-
ion, and it is up to
Sidney, reunited with
doofus-cop Dewey
(David Arquette) and Courteney Cox
Weathers, to escape Weathers in 'Si

the stalkings of the sad-ghost-masked
killer once again.
Some other familiar faces return,
including cheeky Randy (Jamie
Kennedy), now a student at Windsor as
well, and Cotton Weary (Liev
Schreiber), a free man since Weathers'
book proved his innocence. There are
some new faces as well, but don't
worry, they're just as pretty as the rest
of the gang. The mystery lies in the
identity of the killer, and, once again,
the filmmakers do a wonderful job of
making everyone a suspect, never leav-
ing more than a hint as to whodunit.
In essence, this is the same movie as
"Scream," except that the novelty is
gone. It is injected with a similar wit
and wisdom as the first, but it is dilut-
ed. Nonetheless, Craven has not lost his
touch to excite us, and there are some
truly marvelous, chilling and, above all,
heart-stopping scenes here (even more
so than the original). He also plays
with aural motifs for great effect,
like a hilariously out-of-place gui-
tar riff whenever Dewey appears.
Though the end is a surprise, it
is also a disappointment. The
film resorts to trickery:
instead of keeping the
killer's identity a mystery
to us through clever cover-
up writing, his/her identi-
ty is a surprise because
the character is kept hid-
den from us entirely for
most of the film - it is
just thrown at us like a
bone that we're expected
to chew on but never won-
der where it came from.
Still, whether it's in laugh-
ter, fright or sheer awe of
Neve Campbell's beauty, I
eturns as Gale guarantee you'll

3-D Ultra Minigolf
Sierra
Win 95/31 CD-ROM
Is there anything more fun than a few rounds of putt-
putt? (Okay, maybe there is, but go along with me on this
one.) But with the cold weather settling in, we may not be
able to enjoy this great pastime. But wait - thanks to
those great programmers at Sierra, we can putt-putt all
winter long and never leave the room.
"3-D Ultra Minigolf" is certainly hot enough to combat
the cold weather. This game is by far one of the best golf
simulators to hit the market. The premise is simple: put
the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible.
The 18 holes contained on this CD-ROM are extreme-
ly creative and range from the standard windmill green to
holes underwater and in outer space. There are multiple
paths to each hole and you never know when you may
stumble across a new one. The graphics are pretty well
done, but due to some of the camera angles, lining up a
shot may prove to be difficult.
The music for each green is also very appropriate. For
example, the band breaks out the banjos for a hole set in

the Wild West.
The mechanics behind the game are solid and close
attention was paid to the physics of ball motion. There are
two methods of control for the putter: True Putt and Easy
Putt. True Putt depends on mouse movement and is more
difficult to master, whereas Easy Putt is based on holding
down the mouse button and letting go. Other putting
options include a choice of ball color and an all-too-help-
ful aiming line (this makes putting way too easy).
Minigolf offers three modes of competitive play.
Naturally, there is the regular old game of putt-puttand
skins-style mode of play is also offered. The third option
- race mode - pits the golfers against the clock as the
lowest total time wins.
The game is great when playing with a group, as unpre-
dictability and laughter reign. Some of the holes are just
too hilarious to watch. An octopus may throw a ball back
at you, a pelican might fly off with your ball, or even
worse, a dinosaur just may feel like a little lunch. The
game will offer many hours of playing time before afl the
secrets and quirks expose themselves, so the investment
will be well worth it. Check it out if you want to have'a lit-
tle fun.
- Deveron Q. Sandes

____ ._ .
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Paco (10 Lucia E Bis flamenco Septet for $10

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