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January 15, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-15

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* Performance Network presents world premiere. Joanna
Hasting's new play, "The Moon Wolf," began a two-weekend run
last night at Ann Arbor's only professional theater. The play,
described as "a delight for children and adults alike," tells of a
celebration of life. 408 W. Washington Ave. 663-0681. $12 for
students, $15 for others.

mfle £IciuIm aft

Daily Arts returns Tuesday withareview of "Varsity Blues."
Friday
January 15, 1999

5

The Big Contest
-Daily Arts isgiving away a
b)unch of posters and foam foot-'
- balls to coincide with the open-
ing of "Varsity nglues." Togain a
~chance at obtaining a ball or a.,
poster, come to the Daily Arts.
office today between 1 and 4
p.m. and tell us the name of the
Wmovie for which "Varsity Blues"
star Jon Voight won an
Academy Award.
Spawn, the popular action
comicbook, was recently recre-
ated for film. The movie's
soundtrack features a selection
of songs played by Marilyn
Manson, Butthole Surfers,
Moby, Prodigy, Henry Rollins
Metallica, Incubus and
Silverchair, among others. Daily
Arts has a small number of 10"
vinyl albums of the triple-disc
limited edition. Visit the Daily
Arts office and tell us the name
of the private eye/sex miachin~e
from the Richard Roundtree
classic film of the '70s. (Hint:
The detective's name is also
the title of a song from Incubus'
debut album).

Malick film draws line between war and art

By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Writer
Upon its wide release today, "The Thin Red
Line" faces an uphill battle.
Not only because the soldiers of the film try to
recapture the hills of Guadalcanal to stop the
Japanese advance in the South Pacific during
World War II, but also because of the phenomenal
success of a certain other WWII picture in the last
year.
Regardless of what is written for "Line," in
terms of future critical acclaim or box office tal-
lies, it must eke out its own existence in the tow-
ering shadow of Steven Spielberg's "Saving
Private Ryan."
Although the films tread common ground in
duration, subject matter
and costume design, the
" i similarities cease there. In
fact, the epics are incompa-
h rable.
The Thin"The Thin Red Line" is
Red Line to "Saving Private'Ryan,"
and to narrative film in
general, what poetry is to
At Showcase prose - a different species
of artistic expression, pro-
duced in the same medium.
"The Thin Red Line"
truly is different, unlike
anything seen in recent
years.
It's a visual poem rife
with physical beauty and philosophical chal-
lenges. It's a film not about plot, characters and
resolutions but about images, thoughts and meta-
physical communions. It's art that defies descrip-
tion and transcends its very medium, and it should
be judged as such or, rather, not judged at all.

subconscious than with developing any one char-
acter.
Without the melodramatic exchanges and patri-
otic soliloquies that can often plague war movies,
"The Thin Red Line" becomes not an actor's
movie, not a writer's movie, not even a director's
movie.
It, once again, is the work of an extremely gift-
ed artist who composes his celluloid masterpiece
with a palette of trees, soldiers, skies, explosions,
memories of home, the wails of the wounded,
bayonets and butterflies that are wonderfully vivid
and tactile.
Textured with meaning on may levels, "Line"
does not have a theme or moral in the conven-
tional sense, but is about the fear of Keck
(Harrelson) when he mistakenly pulls the pin
from the grenade strapped to his belt, the dying
bird amidst the battle, the pretty middle-American
wife who dominates the thoughts of Bell (Ben
Chaplin).
With his movie of moments, Malick is extend-
ing the boundaries of what film can do and his
ingenuity ultimately proves to be both the film's
downfall and its greatest strength.
The singular, painterly vision of Terrence
Malick, "The Thin Red Line" craves awe, respect
and undivided attention but never attains cohesion
or fosters enjoyment on the part of the audience.
This movie exists to evoke, not entertain.
The fact that that might not be a bad thing is a
testament to the power of "The Thin Red Line."
Travelling uphill with this visually arousing,
wholly confounding, poetic Guadalcanal diary is
highly recommended - the ride may not always
be enjoyable but it will surely lead you some-
where.
Where exactly, that "somewhere" is, only
Terrence Malick knows for sure.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Ben Chaplin, John Cusak and Jim Caviezel decide where to shoot next In "The Thin Red Uine."

Owe also have "Star Trek:
insurrection" posters for
Trekkies. .No trivia questions
necessary.
The Daily Arts Office is located
on the second floor at 420
Maynard, just past the Coca-
Cola machine.
Only one award will be awarded
,er person. Prizes will not be
awarded until 1 p.m., so early
birds need not bother.

This is a defiant, elusive, increasingly chal-
lenging film to be experienced and discussed, not
a film to be easily star-rated, categorized and filed
under "War"
Created by Terrence Malick, who directed the
film and wrote the screenplay, "Line" follows the
men of Charlie Company as they land on the
island of Guadalcanal and head into the arduous
ground battle that awaits them behind the idyllic
palm trees that cover coastline.
The film is as much about those trees and the
other plant, animal and human natives of
Guadalcanal as it is about the grunts and officers
of the company, played with varying levels of
import and screen time by Sean Penn, John
Travolta, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte, John

Cusack, George Clooney and hundreds of others.
With an enormous turnaround of actors in the
film, the film is, like war itself, crowded. Still, it
stands as an elegant meditation on the nature of
men and nature itself, with the nature of war
destroying them both, but never quite focuses
enough on anyone with whom audiences can
identify.
Instead, the film offers glimpses into several
soldiers' minds and souls, including those of
Nolte, Penn, Ben Chaplin and newcomers Jim
Caviezel and Dash Mihok, rendered through a
complex web of voice-over narration.
Aside from the narration, dialogue is scarce
and largely unnecessary in the film, which is con-
cerned more with the impermanent verse of the

Zoe and company mimic Seinfeld

Fleming triumphs on Hill stage

By En Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
ot satisfied with cornering the
Mket on teen soap with its sudsy
dramas, the WB is moving into new
territory on Sunday night with the
multisyllabic sitcom "Zoe, Duncan,

Zo, Duncan,
Jlack & Jane
The WB
Sundays at 9 p.m.

Jack & Jane."
Whether or not
this fearsome
foursome will
get audiences in
a lather remains
to be seen.
The "ZDJJ"
kids are privi-
leged New York
high schoolers
who attend an
elite private
school, although
from what we
see in the pilot
to place more

about how to nab the men of their
dreams without making total fools of
themselves.
The show appears to have a typi-
cally adolescent preoccupation with
relations with the opposite sex, as
boy wonder Duncan (David
Moscow), an insecure George
Costanza-like character who could
also be the poster child for Ritalin,
and Jane's confident-yet-opera-lov-
ing twin brother Jack (Michael
Rosenbaum) also attempt to traverse
the rocky path of scoring. The life
lesson here comes from a minor char-
acter, Gigi Buxbaum (Amy
Hathaway): If you act like you don't
care, they'll come running. Pathetic
grade school lust-ships (as opposed
to relationships) have always been
about attitude and status, so at least
"ZDJJ" gets things right if not politi-
cally correct.
In the pilot, Zoe schemes innocent-
ly (if one can do such a thing - it's
more that she's naively tongue-tied at
the moment of truth) to get a date
with college hunk Montana Kennedy

(special guest/WB regular Scott
Foley) by using his younger, less cool
sister Breeny as an entry pass to his
apartment. This does not bode well
for the show, however, because
Breeny (Sara Rue) is by far the most
entertaining character we are intro-
duced to in this sometimes funny,
sometimes painful first half-hour.
Strapped to a wheelchair but far more
verbally and physically mobile than
the rest of the cast, Breeny possesses
a vicious tongue, an unhealthy obses-
sion with airplanes and a killer
dodgeball arm.
"Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane" has
the potential to develop its own thing
if it moves away from the derivative
character portrayals and sticks with
excellent characterizations such as
Breeny. As it stands, "ZDJJ" is
patchy - think "Dawson's Lite"
crossed with a healthy dose of
"Friends Jr." and "Mini-Seinfeld."
The cross-pollination theory will
only take it so far, and hopefully
"ZDJJ" will find its own groove
independent of its creative gene pool.

By Christopher Tkaczyk
Daily Arts Editor
Last night marked a fond welcome to a grand opera diva
of the greatest extreme. Soprano Renee Fleming, whose
popularity has skyrocketed to the moon over the past two
years, was joyously received by Ann Arbor audiences for her
local recital debut. Could this singer be the latest of the great
American sopranos, joining the likes of Callas and Norman?
After an astonishing repertoire of German leider and chan-
sons francais, Fleming wowed the already amazed audience
with five encores.
The evening became a definite Goethe gala when
Fleming recreated heroines Suleika, Gretchen, and Mignon
with songs by Schubert, Glinka, Liszt and Strauss. Two ver-
sions of the poem "Do you know the land," were performed,
with alternate compositions by Liszt and Hugo Wolf.
The second half of the program featured pieces by
Debussy, as well as an excellent rendering of Samuel
Barber's "Nuvoletta," with lyrics taken from Joyce's poem.

Fleming's regality and beautiful voice, when combined with
her active expressions and vocal language, make the most of
any song.
For encores, Fleming offered Gershwin's "Summertime,"
the unknown "Another New Voice Teacher," and a classical
take on Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't
Got That Swing." Fleming's soprano scatting was more than
an interesting twist to the jazz genre, it brought excitement ~
and power to an already jubiliant crowd.
The greatest moment of the bravura performance catne
when Fleming announced her intention to sing "Song to the
Moon" from Dvorak's "Rusalka," the operatic version of
Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." "It's my favorite aria,"
Fleming explained to the crowd: After her brilliant perfor-
mance, she made it theirs as well.
Capping off the night, Fleming sang "Morgan" by
Strauss, a composer with whose work she's closely connect-
ed.The lilting grace of her voice bid a fond farewell to a per.- '
fect evening.

the school tends

emphasis on physical rather than
tal education. The rest of the
t e the cast hangs out at their vari-
ous places of residence (which,
unlike other shows, seem to have real
live grown-ups around - ooh! -
alternately pretending at pseudo-
coolness or asking, "have you
scraped your tongue today?") or at a
local coffee shop trading witticisms
and lamenting their social lives.
Zoe (Selma Blair, clearly the
s@d-out member of the cast) is a
reasonably well-adjusted girl given to
crushes that refuse to be denied. She
is much more outgoing than her
timid, world-weary sidekick, Jane
(Azura Skye), but both haven't a clue
pontecfc4

STOP GAMBLING AND START INVESTING

CALL
TRIA

FO FREE
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WINYOVUDOW? PAY

PN@R TMTOT wl 11111
888-(888-8257)

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