The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 1, 1998 - 9
PretyNewton Boys' shoot blanks
Dwy B Os itBy Matthew Barrett picking cotton, Willis is looking for an exciting attempts at humor. Hawke brings nothing bu
Daily Arts Writer job that will give him the opportunity to lead the pretty face to his one-dimensional character.
Who were the nation's most successful bank
robbers? That would be the Newton brothers who
earned the title while never killing a single person.
Known for meticulously planning each heist, the
Newtons were able to take down more than 80
banks in the early '20s.
: Their story comes to the
big screen in Richard
The Newton Linklater's "The Newton
Boys Boys," an inconsistent
movie with a cast chock-
At Briarwood full of pretty boys.
A BMatthew McConaug-
6nd Showcase hey plays Willis Newton,
the ringleader of the group
and the driving force
1 " behind the robberies. Fresh
out of prison when the
movie begins and sick of
affluent lifestyle that he craves. He views bank
robbing as a serious job. Willis is careful to point
out that they aren't stealing from the people,
they're stealing from the insurance agencies that
back the banks. Once the cash starts coming, he
gets swept up in his newfound fortune and starts
throwing around Benjamins as if they were coins.
Although he has his annoying moments,
McConaughey is fairly on target in the role of
Willis. During their first robbery, he goes from a
nervous newcomer searching for reassurance to a
ferocious criminal who shoves a gun in the man-
ager's face in a split second. McConaughey can
also flirt with the best of them on screen as evi-
denced by his irresistible antics with the ladies.
Ethan Hawke is goofy and bothersome as Jess
Newton. The character is constantly drunk and
when he's not robbing banks, he does little more
than sit around singing and making unsuccessful
Joe Newton (Skeet Ulrich) is by far the most
reluctant of the brothers in his career, but he
always ends up succumbing to their pressure to
come in on the robberies. lie's the wide-eyed do-
gooder who is constantly asking questions about
when it will all end and wondering whether or not
the profits from banks are worth the risk.
Vincent D'Onofrio plays Dock, the fourth
brother. He comes into the movie later in the story
and isn't given a great deal to work with. But Dock
is behind most of the movie's few moments of
humor. Other supporting players include Julianna
Margulies as Louise Brown, Willis' true love, and
Dwight Yoakam as Brentwood Glasscock, a friend
of the Newtons who helps them in their larceny.
Director Richard Linklater gives the audience
several clever scenes but a story that is unengaging.
Linklater starts and ends the film with interesting
shots of the individual characters that help to set the
Courtesy of 20t",
What you _
stars as rifle- ;
movie in its time period.
The main problem with "The Newton Boys" is
the lack of a good story. The basic tale of the
Newton brothers is interesting, but this doesn't
translate to an worthwhile film. There are long
stretches of downtime throughout the picture,
including a finale that drags on way too long for
its own good. The criminals are hard to associate
with, and other than Willis, the rest of the brothers
just seem to be motivated by nothing more than
Overall, "The Newton Boys" has some inter-
esting moments but it is unable to cash in on its
potential. As Willis said: "There are a few
things we Newtons don't do. We don't kill
nobody. We don't steal from women and chil-
dren and we don't rat." But you sure could rob;
a mean bank,
kles in 'Afterglow'
'Refusal' wins with emotion
By Laura Flyer
Daily Arts Writer
Adulterous affairs rank high as
ne of the most common motifs in
movies nowadays, which in turn
mpakes it all the more difficult for
4jrectors to creatively derive a sce-
naro that intrigues the audience.
.Such is the case in Alan Rudolph's
latest film, "Afterglow." The blot,
which deals with the distraught exis-
tences of four individuals and how
their lives inevitably intertwine
brough scandalous rendezvous, is
btle, intriguing and seductive.
Montreal, the setting of the film, is
a place where lapsing into a little
French dialect adds some mystery
and romance to people's lives. Two
charActers are first presented, the
ically and artisti-
last on his agenda.
Amidst all of Jeffrey's contradic-
tions in personality, Marianne is hurt
by the fact that Jeffrey isn't fulfilling
all of her needs. She is insecure, and
looks for an alternative thrill herself.
Her encounter with the plumber,
Lucky Mann (Nick Nolte), ignites
impending trouble. Lucky is married as
well, to the mediocre actress-of-the-
past, Phyllis (Julie Christie). A runaway
child has destroyed their loving rela-
tionship, as Phyllis grieves over her lost
one. Because she can't satisfy her hus-
band, she implicitly, yet complacently,
allows Lucky to have all the freedom to
fulfill his sexual desires when on the
job. In the meantime, Phyllis sits on the
couch all day and watches her poor
debuts in her old films with nostalgia,
and visits doctors to complain of a sick-
ness she doesn't have.
Things change when Phyllis' curiosi-
ty concerning Lucky's affairs reaches a
new height. While spying on her hus-
band at the Ritz Carlton one night, she
coincidentally (and we forgive this
remarkable coincidence for the sake of
the intriguing presentation of the situa-
tion) meets Jeffrey, who is infatuated
with the mature woman in a boyish
The resulting clash between the
two couples brings each individual to
terms with their own issues, and the
existentialist nature of their relation-
ships. An intense scene between
Nolte and Christie brings forth deep-
er aspects of life, that perhaps expe-
riencing the "afterglow" of our joy-
ful memories of the past is as neces-
sary as dealing with the pains of the
Julie Christie is mesmerizing; one
feels the anxious anticipation for
every sentence to follow from her
mouth. She is suave and sophisticat-
ed in a subtle manner, which makes
her all the more interesting. Nolte's
performance in "Afterglow" is also
an imperative; without his piercing
blue eyes and slightly crude yet
seductive mannerisms, the stereotyp-
emphasis on the
of their home
h i g h - t e c hi
ical role of a plumber would be
reduced to its basest and most lowly
Prevalent in "Afterglow" is the
recurrence of deep, rich red colors
that offer powerful, symbolic ges-
tures. Primarily, it reflects the title of
this movie, the "afterglow" in life,
but also insinuates a veil-like screen
that obstructs certain characters
from emotionally either obtaining or
releasing other people.
A fascinating peculiarity of
"Afterglow" is how similar it is to
last year's triumph, "The Ice Storm,"
both in content and context. Both
movies centered on the tension
between two adulterous couples, the
only difference being that in "The
Ice Storm," the duos were both mid-
dle-aged, and in "Afterglow," one is
middle-aged and the other is young.
The same existential quality with
these couples is also evident. Lastly,
both "The Ice Storm" and
"Afterglow" employ similar themes
iluminated through camera direc-
tion. The omnipresent stiff, cold ice
motif in "The Ice Storm" parallels
the red colors/veils theme from
It is frustrating that there is just
one small pitfall to this movie that
could have otherwise elevated it to
greater excellence. Along with the
intense romance and seduction
involved, there are sporadic witti-
cisms to add entertainment value.
There is, however, an overuse of
double entendre jokes such as one
instance when Phyllis questions
Lucky one day after work, saying,
"Did you have a good day, Lucky ?
Unclog a few tubes?" Also, while
there was a certain degree of subtle-
ty that can be appreciated, other
times ideas were overly candid.
These minor weaknesses set aside,
"Afterglow" is surely a winner, and
though there may be some nostalgia
from such remarkable similarities to
"The Ice Storm" it is a rare display
of seductive intrigue in its own right.
Friday, March 27
old Russian scientist that
becomes much more to her
than a stolid photograph. Ben,
although he keeps up a healthy
facade as best he can, needs
serious medical treatment that
he cannot get in Russia.
The element of the show that
maintained the focus of the
audience was the honest acting.
In the small, intimate black box
theater, it is hard not to feel
physically close to the charac-
ters, but their true perfor-
mances are what moved them
into people's heart.
When someone got angry,
By Andrea Herzog
For the Daly
Dank and cold are two words that are commonly
associated with Russia. Following this pattern, with-
out experiencing the energy of the main characters,
these also might have been terms that would be
associated with "Life in Refusal."
Art Roth, a former University professor, brought
his play, "Life in Refusal," to the Performance
Network this past Friday for its world premiere.
The play centers on the life of Alison, a Jewish
American filmmaker in Russia and her quest to help
a Russian Refusnik to emigrate to the United States.
Alison goes to Russia to make a film about sci-
ence. One of the contacts that she makes is Ben, an
the fight for Ben's freedom along with her. Her emo-
tional attachment to Ben helped make the audience
also care about him.
Leo McNamara, a former University English pro-
fessor, was charming as Ben. The emotion, visible in
his eyes, turned him into his character, his hopes and
fears were exposed. His Russian accent sounded as
if he really was a native speaker of Russian who was
doing his best to speak English.
In the show at some points, some of the characters
- Alison especially - talk to the audience, this
helped to forward the plot somewhat, but also could
possibly have helped link together the most confus-
ing aspect of the play if it had been used more. The
90-minute play takes place during a span of approx-
imately 10 years in several different countries.
Skipping around to different countries and differ-
ent years made it unclear as to when and where the
characters were, and if they were in a flashback or
not. This time aspect made parts of the show con-
fusing, it needed better transitions.
The set to the show was not inviting by any means,
but at least the color tones were not overly dreary.
Neutral sponge-painted walls, doorways with no
doors and mauve and tan checkerboard painted floor
kept the minimalist set unspecific enough for the
many different scenes that the actors would present
on this single set. In the few cases when a spotlight
was shown on a single actor, the stage was so dark
that even the spotlight did not show the whole per-
son who was acting, requiring intimate concentra-
tion on what the actor was saying.
"Life in Refusal" would not be a play with the
inclination to see every time that it rolled into town,
but it did serve its main duty while in the theatre. ft
was a personal play that came from the heart and
that made it important.
" Life in Refusal" runs until April 12 with perfor
mances Thursda' through Saturday at 8 p.m., and
Sundavs at 2 and 7 p.nt. Tickets are $12, Thursdays
contemporary furniture and impec-
cable orderliness by the husband's
Handsome Jeffrey and attractive
Marianne are a purely blissful duo.
:Jeffrey has an urge to live on the
;edge, and achieve what he calls "the
-impossible." He has a certain
naughty infatuation with older,
ature women, though, which illu-
inates his strict conservativeness
with the sexual aspect of relation-
Flirting with his middle-aged sec-
.retary, he then goes home to his wife
where spontaneous love-making is
they were believeably angry, and when someone
cracked a joke to calm down a tense situation, it pro-
vided a relief to the audience as well as the onstage
Alison, played by Tracy Leigh Komarmy (director
of drama at Washtenaw Community College), was
true-to-life in her role as a business executive. As
her emotions got in the way of her work and the
story got into her heart, the audience was drawn into
.: - l-c
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