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November 17, 1998 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

N Rodger Kame
Jew in the Lotus
"Stalking Elijah.
M Medeski, Mai
copies of its new

netz reads at Shaman Drum. The author of "The
" will read from andsign copies of his new book
*-Shaman Drum. 8 p.m.
rtin and Wood, oh myt The music trio will sign
vest release today at Tower Records. 2 p.m.


iTomorrow in Daily Arts:
U Come back to Daily Arts tomorrow for a preview of "Blood
Wedding," University Productions' new presentation of the
Federico Garcia Lorca play.


November 17, 1998



'Max Q' hurls through television airwaves and crashes

By DWkran Orneian
Daily Arts Writer
If you've seen "Armageddon," then you've
also seen "Max Q." The new television movie
is Jerry Bruckheimer's first foray into the
world of television, an
attempt that fails miser-
For those unfamiliar
Max Q with Bruckheimer, he is
the man responsible for
* several mediocre but
extremely popular films
ABC such as "Top Gun," "Con
Thursday at 9 p.m. Air," and the laughably
bad "Armageddon." For
"Max Q," Bruckheimer
has recruited the talents
of Bill Campbell, best
known for his role in
"The Rocketeer."
Campell plays Clay
Jarvis, the cocky, heroic pretty boy astronaut
who is an exact parallel to the role Ben
Affleck played in "Armageddon." Geoffrey
Blake (Jonah Randall), the wise-cracking
filmmaker who doesn't really know what
he's in for, is basically the same character
Xe Buscemi played in "Armageddon."
U fortunately, Randall doesn't have half the
talent of Buscemi. While his character is sup-

posed to provide the comic relief, the urge to
change the channel dramatically increases
everytime he opens his mouth. Dennis Arndt
plays the Bruce Willis role, while Leslie
Horan fills in for the part Liv Tyler played in
The biggest fault of "Max Q" is that it's
too ambitious. It uses second-rate actors for
roles that Hollywood's biggest stars couldn't
make work. But the plot and dialogue are just
as poor as the acting.
Within the telefilm, NASA is desperate for
more financial support for its space program
so it is forced into a joint venture with
Kaysat, a multi-billion dollar company co-
funding the mission. Of course, NASA isn't
happy about "selling out" to the greedy cor-
poration, but it has no choice. The main goal
of the mission: to release Kaysat's very
expensive satellite, which would allow for
thousands of new television channels to
become available. Jarvis cleverly replies,
"Yeah, but there still won't be anything on."
Witty and original?
But something goes terribly wrong once
the astronauts get up in space and their lives
are put in danger by the satellite - the very
thing that is funding their mission. From this
point the film becomes even blander, as the
new focus of the mission is to get the astro-
nauts back home, relating the story from

both the astronaut's point of view in space
and through mission control's viewpoint
back in Houston. Since the show's creators
didn't want to face a plagiarism suit by copy-
ing one movie entirely, it looks as if they
decided to "borrow" heavily from both the
very bad "Armageddon" and the very good
"Apollo 13."
Several hindrances face the heroes while
they struggle to get back to Earth, just as
what happened to Tom, Bill and Kevin in
"Apollo 13." The crew worries about running
out of oxygen before they make it back. The
possibility of the ship burning up in the
atmosphere on its return home becomes
another worry.
These are obstacles Bruckheimer hopes
will make viewers care enough to continue
watching his ridiculous movie. But the char-
acters are so poorly developed, so cliche and
just so annoying that, by the end of the
movie (if you haven't already changed the
channel), you may end up wishing that the
whole lot of them chars, just so long as you
don't have to listen to another one of their
embarrassing one-liners. Perhaps some real
dialogue would prevent the cast of "Max Q"
from becoming one-dimensional comic book
characters. But maybe Bruckheimer is trying
for this effect since he uses low angle shots
to make his characters seem more heroic and

momp- 1 lki
., s

t ,. :



Courtesy of Touchstone Televison
Bill Campbell stars as Commander Clay Jarvis In "Max Q," a television rip-off of "Armageddon."
an "action-packed" score taken mostly from logue instead of creating a melodramatic
"Armageddon." action flick. But as it stands, "Max Q" is
Perhaps "Max Q" would have worked if merely a poor mockery of movie block-
Bruckheimer tried to make the television busters. Bear in mind that "Armageddon"
movie a comedy and included wittier dia- really didn't deserve the ticket sales.

Depp steps from
eVegas to video
By Matthew Barrett and Aaron Rich'
Daily Arts Writers
Today's release of the high school coming-of-age flick "Can't
Hardly Wait" gets us thinking about things for which we can't'
hardly wait: John C. Reilly at the Oscars, WCW Monday Nitro,:
playoffs for the Tigers and the return of peach season. In the
mean time, plan on settling for Jennifer Love Hewitt and the rest
of the gang at a high school graduation
party. Although this movie did not do
much last summer, it should spread someY
love on video shelves across the land.
New On Former "Saturday Night Live" funny-
man Norm Macdonald brings his wry
Video ThIS wit to the small screen with "Dirty
Week Work." In an interview with the Daily
earlier this year, Macdonald stated that
the movie is "funny." What more can we'
say, except that Macdonald has been
known to exagerrate from time to time. Can't hardly wait for
Macdonald's next picture, "Ballbusted"
knd finally, Johnny Depp lays it all on the line in "Fear and
Eathing in Las Vegas" the story of Hunter S. Thompson's wild
times in Sin City. Hugs and drugs abound, along with a few dis- Courtesy of Universal Pictures
gusting sequences in Thompson's hotelroom. A bulky typewriter wasn't the only problem for Johnny Depp.
. A brief look at who's doing what in the entertainent industry

'Slam's poetics break out ofjail

By Laura Flyer
Daily Arts Writer
Spiritually empowering the mind and overcoming the temp-
tation to resort to violence and hatred is an idealized notion
that, if carelessly conveyed, can fall into a seemingly loftly and
unrealistic trap. Director Marc Levin, however, whose suc-
cess may be attributed to former experience in documentary
filmmaking, creates a wholly inspirational yet realistic motif
of this very idea in his drama, "Slam," laden with rich and
powerful emotion.
"Slam" pinpoints the utter frustration and helplessness felt
by youth trapped in the perpetual ring of gangs, drugs and vio-
lence in southeast, inner-city Washington D.C. What
Raymond Joshua (Saul Williams) must
discover is how to utilize his creative tal-
ents of music and poetry so that he can
replace vengefulness with an increasing
$IAM buildup of awareness and communica-

notepad words that metaphorically reveal the essence of his
troubles. He raps about everything from mythological and
religious figures to brand-name food products and slang
While his fellow inmates form alliances, thereby creating
enemies, Ray chooses to stand alone. In a passionate, poetic
rap he eventually proves to these brainwashed individuals that
violence and revenge only deepen conflict and stagnate any
future prospect of eliminating gangs and violence. Ray is able
to connect with his friends in the 'hood while hoping to
impact society as a whole.
Hearing his display of talent, writing mentor Lauren (who
conducts writing workshops in the jail), played by Sonja Sohn,
becomes Ray's confidence-provider. On probation, Ray is
introduced to local poetry slams by Lauren where he soon
breaks free from his inner turmoil with the power of words.
The blending of unique sound effects with color-filtered
images work well in the film. In one scene, Ray looks out
onto a lake while beams of a fading sunset seep through his
body, a moment that illuminates the significance of his poet-
ry and the emotions that flow through his soul. True, these
images are cheesy and romanticized, but they are subtle and
infrequent enough to get the point across.
Often working with a hand-held camera, Levin is able to
give a documentary-like and downright realistic feel to "Slam."
This stylistic preference doesn't make the movie dull or the
audience dizzy, such as Woody Allen does with "Husbands and
Wives," but rather fits well with the movie's tone.
The acting in "Slam" coincides with the film's realistic
approach - Williams and Sohn (Lauren) are both convinc-
ing and natural. On the other hand, an odd cameo by former
D.C. Mayor and former cocaine addict Marion Barry, who
plays a judge admonishing drug dealing, is ironic, but in poor
taste for the movie.
Miniscule flaws set aside, "Slam," successfully steers clear
of idealistic loftiness and envelops the audience into a vat of
heightened emotionality and drama.

At the State Theater

The turning point of Ray's life, which
falls at the beginning of the movie, is
instigated by his arrest for drug dealing.
Sent to jail, Ray discusses his options
with his lawyer. If he fights his charge
in court, his chances of winning are vir-
tually nonexistent; if he loses he'll face
eight to 10 years in jail. On the other
hand, if he pleads guilty, he'll serve two
to three years maximum.

What would seem like a simple solution becomes an
extremely troubling one for Ray. He refuses to believe he is
guilty of anything - his drug dealings merely reflect the rut
of continuous corruption in poor, minority-populated neigh-
borhoods with the strength of perpetual crime and violence as
his only means for survival.
Intelligent and gifted, Ray finds his strength in his infusion
of music and poetry, and, while in his jail cell, scribbles in his

Perhaps the most anticipated movie in history is "Star
Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace." The long, awaited
prequel doesn't hit theaters until Memorial Day Weekend,
but that doesn't mean you can't have a taste of "Star Wars"
a little early.
According to the Official Star Wars Website (www.star--
wars.com),"'The Phantom Menace"'s trailer will have a spe-
cial premier in theaters today. The trailer will play before
and after selected films, in selected theaters, in selected
states. Unfortunetly, there will be no special screening ofthe
trailer in the state of Michigan.
Michiganers will have to wait until the trialer goes-into
*wide release on Friday to see it.
Elton John will soon feel the love of Albert Brooks, as
John has been commissioned to write the score for Brooks'
upcoming comedy 'The Muse."
Elton John, composer of 1994's "The Lion King," hasn't
written the score for a live action film since 1971's
"Friends." John will again team with his writing partner,
lyricist Bernie Taupin, for the title song of the film, which,
if there is any justice in the world, will not be a reworking of
"Candle in the Wind."r
Also on the windy front is the news that Germany's

Wolfgang Peterson has signed on to direct the film version
of Sebastian Junger's blockbuster book "The Perfect
Storm," which tracks the true tales of fishermen fighting a
chilling, killer maelstrom at sea.
On another German front, Tony Scott, director of this
week's "Enemy of the State," is set to helm "Josiah's
Canon," a Holocaust-themed action flick.
The rather timely and much-buzzed about script is billed
as a contemporary heist thriller and concerns a legion of
robbers, led by a concentration camp survivor, that attempts
to steal Nazi gold from Swiss banks.
Speaking of crimes against humanity, Keenen Ivory
Wayans is in talks with the Fox network, home of his sole
previous success "In Living Color," to create another, most
likely lower-quality, sketch comedy show.
Wayans, whose talk show failed grandly this summer and
whose films have all but been forgotten ("Most Wanted"
was hardly that), appears to be looking to duplicate the
greatness of sketches like "I'll rock your world" Wanda, Fire
Marshall Bill and bodybuilder Vera DeMilo, most of which
included some form of Jim Carrey.
- Compiled from www.starwars.com and Entertainmnent
Weekly by Bryan Lark and Ed Sholinsky.

New theater offers student discounts

By Ed Sholnlky
Daily Arts Writer
What to do about those first run
movies? Local theaters near campus
rarely carry first run movies, or don't
carry many. That leaves most students at
the mercy of Showcase Cinemas or
Now there's another option for movie
goers. For a bit more driving time and a
lot less money, students can make the
trek out to Livonia's new AMC theater.
Unlike Showcase, AMC Livonia
offers a student discount, which brings
the price of a ticket to $4.75. With its new
renovations, seeing a movie in the
evening will run you $7.75 at Showcase.

AMC Livonia marketing director Tina
Vocia says that the student discount is
one of the ways in which the new theater
hopes to attract students.
The AMC offers 20 theaters - in
comparison to the 24 .theaters at
Showcase - which Vocia says, com-
bined with the AMC already in Laurel
Park Place, makes a "30-plex." With it,
Vocia reveals that they plan to show lim-
ited release films, like "The Mighty" that
screened only at Laurel Park.
Equipped with state of the art sound
and stadium seating, the theater very
much resembles the renovated Showcase
The seats also are made to transform

into "love seats." This is nice if you have
a date and want to cuddle up, but is a dis-
tinct pain if you're behind two horny
That being said, the new theater is gor-
geous and very art deco. It really ties well
into the glitz and glam of Hollywood.
The only drawback to ,the AMC
Livonia is that it's in Livonia. But the
extra gas money it takes to get to Livonia
is insignificant compared to saving $3.a
As far as megaplexes go, the new
AMC appears to rank with the best. Its
competitive student prices, glitzy deocr
and brand new technology make the trip
to Livonia seem not so far a distance.

'I __ U


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