The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 - 9
SBy Geordy Gantsoudes
Daily Arts Writer
Michael Crichton must know what he is doing. He
has conquered media in almost every form: books,
movies and television. But after several miserable
adaptations of his books, such as "Rising Sun" and
"Congo," the makers of "Sphere" decided to trust
the talent of Crichton, and left the story the same as
he originally created it. The resul' is a fantastic
thriller that is made even better by an outstanding
The story takes place 100 feet beneath the ocean's
surface, where a more than half-mile long fuselage to
a ship resides. A crack-team of scientists has been sent
to be the contact group, if there is any alien life to be
encountered. According to measurements based on
the surrounding coral growth, the ship has been there
for about 300 years.
The film wastes no time getting to the action; the
team is inside the ship within the first 15 minutes.
To the group's amazement, the inhabitants of the
ship were human, and more surprisingly, they were
from the future. Their lone cargo is a giant, floating,
shimmering sphere. The story of the film lies with-
in the secret of the sphere.
To call the cast anything less than fantastic would
be an anathema. With Dustin Hoffman, Sharon
Stone and Samuel L. Jackson, there is a total of 10
courtesy of Warner Bros.
Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Stone and Dustin Hoffman combine their talents for the film "Sphere," based on a
Michael Crichton novel.
By Andrea Herzog
For the Daily
How did Cupid's love potion work
out on Valentine's Day? Did Cupid
make a mistake and that dream date
instead ended up falling for an ass?
The University's musical theatre
department presents William
Shakespeare's version of mistaken
lovers in the studio production of "A
Midsummer Night's Dream."
This production is a studio event,
which means "it is lower tech than a
regular production," director Philip
"The musical theatre department
does only two musicals per year (this
year being 'Sweeney Todd' in the fall
and 'West Side Story' this spring) so
some students do not get to be in a
play, Kerr said. "This is their opportu-
These performances are also a
chance for audiences to see a wonderful
rendition of Shakespeare - free. This
year is the second that Kerr has imple-
mented this opportunity with the
University's musical theatre students.
Last year, they performed "Born
Guilty" by Ari Roth.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is
about "young and old people being in
love and going through the process of
finding the right partner," Kerr said.
With love potions, mishaps and
fairies in the forest, the characters
learn, grow and find love. The forest
setting "processes the event," Kerr said,
"to go through the journey to come out
changed and enlightened:'
The production uses Shakespeare's
original text (trimmed down for clari-
Tomorrow 8 p.m.
local band, com-
posed an original
score for the show
that has been
James }Kerr, a
Music junior in
jazz, adds a guitar
component to the
production. A stu-
er designed origi-
for the perform-
ty), but puts an original spit on the
"The world of music is one that the
play invites," Kerr said.
Singing, dancing and instruments
join in as an integral part of the show.
Academy Award nominations and two Oscars wins
The director isn't too shabby either. Barry
Levinson has been nominated six times and won
Liev Schreiber, Queen Latifah and veteran Peter
Coyote round out the cast. The wonderful thing
about having a film take place that far underwater
is that the action is very similar to that of a play.
There is a limited amount of people who can be put
in the underwater habitat where the cast resides, so
the quality acting quotient is very high. The unnec-
essary characters are kept to a minimum, and in the
case of "Sphere," there aren't any.
Hoffman (Norman), fresh off his Oscar-nominat-
ed role in "Wag the Dog," is fantastic as usual.
Although "Sphere" can be considered a technologi-
cal thriller, it is primarily a "talkie" - a format in
which Hoffman excels. He is the nucleus of this cast
and makes his co-stars better.
Jackson (Harry) unfortunately is underused in
this movie, but he is fantastic nonetheless. Along
with Stone, he is wonderful at exuding the paranoid
aura that surrounds the film.
His character is supposed to be the foremost
mathematician in the world, and there is no doubt
that he could be. Jackson's intelligence as an actor
shines in "Sphere."
After seeing this movie, one may notice that
Sharon Stone (Beth) is gorgeous at any depth. She is
becoming the best actress in Hollywood for roles
that center on a sketchy personality; she by far the
movie's best component.
Perhaps the only flaw her character possesses is
the eye shadow she wears throughout the movie;
amazingly, it doesn't really matter that she is wet for
half the film.
The character interactions are the film's dri-
ving force throughout the sluggish middle.
While the audience is waiting for the next
thing to startle them,
Hoffman and company
keep the plot rolling. The
story revolves around his
character, Norman, but
Stone and Jackson excel in
their roles as not-quite-
Perhaps what makes this
movie so much fun to watch is
that the audience seems to be
another character in the film,
trying to solve the various
mysteries that are brought
A note to those who read the
The play is a community movement
for all of the students involved in the
production. All of the students involved
put effort into gathering costumes and
props and in building and decorating
the environmentally-themed set.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" has
been assembled with love by the hands
and hearts of the performers, which
should assist in illustrating
Shakespeare's themes in the story.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream"
begins tomorrow night at 8 p.m and
will run through Sundayat the
Trueblood Theatre. Saturday and
Sunday shows begin at 2p.m.
Free, reserved tickets can be obtained
at the Michigan League Ticket Ofice
or by calling 764-0450.
novel; The script follows the story nearly perfectly.
There are no major changes as those painfully evi-
dent in "Jurassic Park"'s transformation to film.
This is most likely due to Crichton's presence as a
Finally, at long last, a good Crichton movie - and
it only took the finest actors and filmmakers in
Hollywood to make it.
Are you a writer who wants to be published?
If you have original, unpublished poetry or short stories that
you feel are some of your best, bring them by the Daily Arts
office at 420 Maynard as submissions for the Literary
Magazine. Manuscripts will be judged by a student panel,
and winning selections will run in the March 12 edition of
Weekend Etc. Submissions are due Friday. For more infor-
mation, call Emily or Liz at 763-0379.
Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Stone and Hoffman collaborate in the sci-fi thriller.
Emotional issues surround hooks' latest
Wounds of Passion
Henry Holt and Company
Free love, free sex, sexism, feminism
and racism. What could these vastly dif-
ferent, though very poignant topics
have in common? bell hooks. She is the
author of the recently published book
"Wounds of Passion." She eloquently
discusses all of these issues in the con-
text of her life.
bell hooks, formerly known as Gloria
Watkins, took on her grandmother's
name but dropped the capital letters as a
comment on egotism. She says she does
not want a name, or anything else to
define her. She is ever-changing and
feels that nothing in her life is constant
or should be defining. hooks is extreme-
ly prolific and has written more than
novels. Her newest is the second in a set
of autobiographies documenting various
stages of her life. This novel focuses on
her journey to college, life with her long-
time lover Mack and continues until the
Just as she is unique with her name,
she is even more so in her writing.
Though primarily an autobiography
written in first person, hooks has inter-
woven various sections of a third-per-
son narration as a sort of alter-ego, an
outsider commenting on her life.
Perhaps it is her hindsight, that which
her naivete did not allow her to see as
she lived through her various traumatic
and exciting experiences. It is interest-
ing to see the contrast in these views.
Truth is one of the main virtues
hooks holds dear. She believes in brutal
honesty and this comes through in all of
her anecdotes. She discusses her sexual
experiences, with both women and
men, without any inhibitions. Free love
is something in which hooks firmly
believes and she documents the posi-
tive, and ultimately negative sides to
this type of relationship. It is interesting
to see how such seemingly insignificant
incidents occurring in her childhood
had a lasting
her life. Her par-
would forever fright-
en her from a firm
commitment thus form-
ing her views on free love.
Such insights give readers a
deeper vision with which to
view their own life.
Another interesting aspect of
bell hooks is her involvement with
Buddhism, which has had a great influ-
ence on her life. She continually, on a
day to day basis, strives to attain the
inner peace and sanctuary that the reli-
gion professes. She believes this kind of
open-mindedness and open-hearted-
ness has a profound effect on an indi-
vidual, and perhaps could influence an
In her autobiography, hooks discuss-
es the long process her writing has
undergone. She discloses her need to
write in an enclosed, confined place.
The irony is apparent when realizing
how open and free her writing truly is.
Documenting her life, hooks cannot
help but to make a statement on the
racism and sexism in the United States.
As an African American female, hooks
was forced to overcome various hard-
ships to get where she is
today. Perhaps earning her
Ph.D. from white author-
ities who ultimately
challenged her was
)X' *:one of her greatest
:"xy~:?,;;: .r:i;;: .:x:xj;:went on to
teach at such
versities as Yale.
Though an out-
spoken feminist, at times hooks seems
just as much a sociologist. She com-
ments on the moral stagnation of soci-
ety, the sexism of black men and the
racism of all white people. She is nei-
ther angry, nor overly preachy in her
oration. She merely tells the tale of her
life and gives her opinion on the prob-
lems of society.
hooks wrote her first book at age 19,
and has not stopped writing since then.
She has experienced many fascinating
things her in life which make her auto-
biography an engaging read. Beyond
this, her insights into a society still
plagued by sexism and racism make
this book not only entertaining, but
bell hooks will read from "Wounds of
Passion" tonight at Borders
beginning at 7:30
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