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December 07, 1998 - Image 8

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-12-07

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June Spence reads at Shaman Drum. The novelist will read tonight
from her collection of stories, "Missing Women and Others," at
that quaint little bookshop so famous for the presentation of high
literature. 315 S. State Street. 8 p.m. Free.

Ufi td jiim aThg
I.T

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
Breaking Records returns with reviews of new releases by
Faith No More and the film soundtracks to "You've Got Mail"
and "Prince of Egypt."
Monday
December 7, 1998

Shot for shot,

'Psycho'

makes stab in the dark-

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
Bad Gus Van Sant. Blame Wes Craven. Blame
Ben Affleck. Blame Kevin Williamson. Blame
Will Hunting. They all contributed to the horror
that is the new "Psycho." Because, without the
success of "Scream" and "Good Will Hunting,"
this movie would never have been made.
Some unknown force possessed director Gus
Van Sant to do the unthinkable, remake "Psycho."

Psycho
At Showcase

Alfred Hitchcock's master-
piece that made taking
baths seem a bit more
attractive than showers and
is still the standard against
which all horror movies are
measured. Hitchcock's
black and white original is
one of the best movies of all
time, but for some reason
Van Sant was compelled to
grab some Crayolas and get
busy.
For the shot-by-shot
remake, set in 1998, Van
Sant made two significant

he's just discovered it (witness Marion Crane's
(Anne Heche) wide variety of neon undergar-
ments and apparel). Also, the gore was sufficient
in the first version, simply adding stab wounds or
cuts to the victims does nothing for the movie.
* The movie starts with Marion, a secretary torn
about making things work with her boyfriend.
Money is a problem for the two as he has to pay
off debts and alimony to his ex-wife and doesn't
want to get married until that situation is settled.
The perfect opportunity arises for Marion
when, on a Friday afternoon, her boss gives her
$400,000 to drop off before the weekend. Marion
pockets the cash and hightails it out of town.
Eventually, things lead to a rainy night stop at
the ill-fated Bates Motel. Trouble ensues for
Marion and the movie takes off from there.
A big misstep for the movie was the casting of
Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. Known best for
his performance in "Swingers," Vaughn puts too
goofy a spin on the character and ends up making
a ridiculous Bates. Every so often he gives a funny
gesture or expression, but for the most part he is
off the mark with the role.
Another downside to the portrayal of Norman is
his behavior as he spies on Marion undressing. In
the original, when the seemingly good-natured
Bates looks in on Marion, it comes off as a per-
verted peak. In the new version, Norman is heard
masturbating as he watches Marion change, and it
ruins the innocence that the audience should feel

as her boyfriend.
"Psycho" does get some memorable acting out
of Julianne Moore and William H. Macy. Moorc
plays Lila, Marion's sister, and her performance is
once again top-of-the-line. Lila is far more aggres-
sive in the recreation as she leads the search ffr her
missing sister. In her scenes where she chewqvout
Mortensen, Moore blows the actor off of the
screen.
Macy is equally spectacular as Arbogast, the pn-
vate investigator hired to search for Marion and the
$400,000 that she is believed to have stolen from
her employer. Macy is one of Hollywood's most
consistent and greatest actors. Walking around in
suits and a goofy hat, the private eye could have
become a cliche Sherlock-type investigator, but, to
his to credit, Macy makes things work.
Van Sant tackled a mammoth task in deciding
to remake "Psycho" shot for shot and basicall
word for word. The director's ambition is to b
admired, but the final product is not. There aren't
any real surprises for anyone who's seen the first
version, which makes the film a little dull, to
watch.
The director would have been much better off to
veer from the known story at some point in the
film. Even ifjust for a few moments, it could have
energized the film with some much needed verve.
The final credit in the film is "In Memory of
Alfred Hitchcock." Thank you for remembering
him, Gus. He's rolling in his grave.1,

Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Anne Heche doesn't even come close to Janet Leigh in Gus Van Sant's updated "Psycho."

changes from the original. One: His version is in
color, and two: He trumped up the violence.
Neither of these changes were necessary.
For this type of film, black and white is a more
powerful medium, and Van Sant uses color as if

for the character. Here again, Van Sant is upping
the stakes without positive results.
Heche reprises the role of Marion Crane that
Janet Leigh made famous. Heche does a satisfac-
tory job in her role, but compared to Leigh, she
just doesn't cut it. When audiences have seen parts
played to perfection, it's a bit of a letdown to see

anything else on screen.
In the end, Heche comes up short, although in
her defense, she has to play off some bad acting
and dopey dialogue in many of her scenes. Heche
has scenes with an atrocious Vaughn, a bubbly
Rita Wilson as her co-worker, and Viggo
Mortensen, complete with a bad Southern accent,

Volpone shows high comedy

By Jeff Druchniak
Daily Arts Writer
'Just a few minutes before opening night, the Power Center
stage seemed to suggest no word so much as "culture." The
impression made by the marbled, rich-looking stage floor was
echoed by the enormous, skillfully rendered, Italian
Renaissance-style murals that covered the two-level set. Then,
as the theatre darkened, a luxurious curtained fourposter bed
slowly entered through huge double
doors. Meanwhile, the arresting opening
a 2notes of "Carmina Burana" filled the
house. The impression: that the spectator
Volpone was about to experience an evening of
high culture.
Nothing could be further from the
Power Center truth. The theatre department production
e of Ben Jonson's classic comedy
Dec. 3, 1998 "Volpone" owed much more this week-
end to the "Carmina's" lewd lyrics, than
to the pretensions with which network
TV producers use those same notes for a
football game's opening montage. It
comes very close to representing com-
plete theatrical anarchy, and here's to it.
Indeed, after that grandiose setup, the
curtains of thebed were drawn back and the play began with a
look at the central character, Volpone, relieving himself in a
chamber pot. That was about par for the course for this pro-
duction, which was mounting a play all about every kind of
grossness that exists behind drawn curtains and closed doors.
Director John-Neville Andrews should be commended, howev-
er, for eschewing any concessions to realism and letting mad-

ness rule.
The play, which deals with a rich but depraved Venetian
nobleman's attempt to scam half the town by feigning his
deathbed and playing on their greed for his fortune, requires a
huge central presence as Volpone, and it got one in Music
senior Joshua Parrott. Unleashed like the rest of the cast to test
the limits of rational stage behavior, Parrott was the best kind
of over-the-top.
In the original text of the play, most of the main characters
are written as allusions to particular animals, to represent the
range of bestial behavior. In this production, however, absolute-
ly every character directly represented an animal. Parrott's
Volpone, as an old fox, was thus a marvelously hideous sight
with pointed ears, orange tufts of hair flecking his bald head
and a large furry sex organ standing semi-erect out of his fly,
for the entire show.
The animal motif was strengthened by Erika Furey's wildly
inventive costumes, and Malcolm Tulip's ambitious movement
coaching, which asked each actor to assume the physicality of his
or her animal to comic effect, with varying degrees of success.
The shameless Parrott was especially adept at this, but he
was given a run for his money by Matt Oberg as the doddering
raven Corbaccio, and Angela Lewis as the screeching and foul-
breathed parrot Lady Politic Would-Be. Both were a riot, par-
ticularly Lewis, who livened up a plodding moment in Jonson's
second act with her first entrance. With her gravity-defying
cleavage, nervous tics, and demented haute couture, Lewis was
an energetically outrageous parrot, both physically and
metaphorically.
The best thing about Neville-Andrews' to-the-hilt animal
scheme was that every actor was freed from behaving out-
wardly like a human being and received at least a moment to

courtesy of University Productioni
Angela Lewis and Joshua Parrott "ham" It up in Ben Jonson's "Volpone," an animal satire on human ways.

strut their stuff. It was thus not only coherent but welcome
when scenes were stolen by smaller parts such as Volpone's
ubiquitous coterie of servant-mice, Tony von Halle's addled
badger-slash-court-stenographer, and C. Ryan Metzger's inde-
scribable Androgyno the giraffe. When I say that Metzger,
playing possibly the theatre's first and last 10-foot-tall
Renaissance drag queen, chewed up the stage, it is a fear as
much as a compliment.

UNIVERSITY SECRETS:
YOUR GUIDE TO SURVIVING A COLLEGE EDUCATION
Author: Robert D. Honigman
You'll invest thousands of dollars and years of your
life in a college education. But your education
won't be complete unless you learn how dorm
overcrowding, bad off-cam pus housing, and grade
competition help the U exploit students. Also learn
why "father knows best" authority is ruining your
education.
Full text available at http://universitysecrets.com.
Also sold at Borders and Shaman Drum.

Newest Zelda becomes its

The Legend of Zelda:
Ocarina of Time
Nintendo
Nintendo 64
When "The Legend of Zelda" first came out,
people of all ages were transfixed in front of their
television screens, playing the game for days.
They could be told their house was on fire, and
they would merely respond, "Just a minute. I'm
about to beat this dungeon." Well, it's that time
again, because Link returns in "The Legend of
Zelda: Ocarina of Time."
Once again, you play Link in the game.
Princess Zelda needs your help. Gannon, or
Gannondorf rather, is once more the evil guy
causing all the trouble. Everyone, including
Link's friends and allies, seems to have a secret or
riddle that has to be solved. Finally, the key to all
of this again is the Tri-force.
But familiarity does not mean conventionality.
Hyrule in this latest Zelda adventure is a com-
plete 3-D interactive world (well, maybe small
country). Traveling around in it is like going to
see Star Wars for the first time; the player is
placed into a new universe of fantasy, sight and
sound. Yes, sound. There are 12 songs (that I
know of) that Link learns throughout the game
which can bring the sun up or down, summon rain

or clear skies or perform more specific functions.
Those who have a Rumble Pak also have their
sense of touch indulged. If you find the Stone of
Agony, your controller will rumble (if you have
this accessory) when you are near treasure chests
or hidden items.
Familiarity can be a joy as well though. While
Zelda 64 offers much more in originality then the
Star Wars re-releases did, something of the same
enjoyment was there of seeing upgraded special
effects. All the old enemies from the first Zelda
have been remade, as well as many of the boards
from the dungeons, but going from 2-D to 3-D has
literally opened up a whole new dimension. What
you see in Zelda 64 is what we all had to sort-of
imagine happening in the first and second Zelda.
Of course, anyone who has kept up with video
games is familiar with the incredible graphics
they now offer, and they're probably sick of hear-
ing about how great the remakes of all the old
classics are - or they soon will be with the new
"Asteroids," "Centipede" and "Castlevania" com-
ing out. The real question is what is Zelda 64's
playability, it's fun factor if you will. Well, forget
about it. Besides the fun of fighting and explor-
ing, some of the other actions you'll have to do to
beat the game are incredibly entertaining. You can
take a high dive off a water fall, riding a horse
across Hyrule (once you have shown you can ride
it well enough), hiding from guards as you sneak

neath all the lunacy was a satirical bitterness about
inity. Neville-Andrews called his production "animal$
g on a spoof of humans:" When recollected in tranquil
high esteem in which the lower-than-low Volpone ishel
> his social status, and the consistent poverty of each char;
s morals whenever they pretend to behave most honor=
stick with the spectator longer than the memory of any
gag;
own legendK
into a castle or even the simple joy of fishing.
Because of how much Link is asked to do, it 4
difficult somewhat to familiarize yourself with the
player controls. The first part of the adventure is
really just an instructional course on how to mov4,
look around and attack. The third person camer
shot from which the player usually views link takp
a little getting used to, and using the Z button op
the controller to bring the camera back directly
behind will become a habit. This difficulty is not a
real flaw in the game, but it is a frustrating obstL
cle for those who first pick it up. Also, the
should be a way to speed up how fast the te
appears on screen when the other characters spea
to you, as well as some way of keeping your fairl
friend Navi from repeating the same thing over
and over again. She can be ignored, at least.
Otherwise, the game lives up to all the hyped,
and none of those rumors that it's outdated or
Mario 64 clone. "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina
of Time" is not a giant step in game evolution
either, as many video game magazines have said.
But the lifelike controls, the sheer fluidity
graphics, the detail and thought put into ever
setting and, frankly, the amount of time that was
put into the game makes Zelda 64 not a new stan-
dard for emulation. Rather; as with all great
works, it's a creative height worthy of aspiration
Go buy it.
- Michael Galloway

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