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January 07, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-07

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Michelangelo Antonioni's work makes Ann Arbor appearance.
"l Grido," the Italian filmmaker's 1957 drama about a working
class hero whose wife leaves him and their daughter, will screen
tonight at the Michigan Theater. 7:30 p.m.

f1 tdriogm~t

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
® Come back to Daily Arts for reviews of "You've Got Mail"
and the new Julia Roberts/Susan Sarandon tearjerker,
"Stepmom."
Thursday
January 7, 1999

8

Irish win big money in hilarious 'Devine'

comedy'

By Kristin Long
Daily Arts Writer
When a film hits the ground run-
ning with an action or a comedy
sequence, it either sets itself up for
disaster or success. Luckily, "Waking
Ned Devine" wins this lottery, and is
almost a complete success.
The film is set in a quaint Irish vil-
lage, and the opening sequence is
bound to make bellies bust with

Waking
Ned Devine
At the Michigan

laughter that
continues until
the final credits.
The humor that
thrives in the
film comes
from the ironies
of human nature
- especially
those that no
one wants to
talk about, but
everyone thinks.
The opening
sequence
informs us that
the lottery is

lotto with the intensity one views a
football game, and with the excitement
of a touchdown as each number falls
into place. What ensues with the con-
clusion of the game, is nothing but hys-
terical and then a challenge: To find the
person in the town who has struck it
rich with the winning numbers.
David Kelly plays Jackie's partner
in crime, Michael O'Sullivan, whose
scrawny build adds plenty of charac-
ter and humor to the battle of finding
out who holds the winning ticket.
Through a lot of schmoozing and
plenty of pints, Michael and Jackie
find that the adventure of finding one
millionaire in a town of 52 is tougher
than it might appear.
We meet the people of the town and
some of their own personal dilemmas
in the boys' search. One of the side
crises, namely that of Pig Finn (James
Nesbitt) and Maggie (Susan Lynch),
whose romantic turmoil is enough to
make the film drag, drag and then
drag some more.
Once Jackie, Michael and Annie
find that the lucky lad, Ned Devine,
bought the farm when he heard that
he found the gold at the end of the
rainbow, it becomes a battle of con-
sciences in deciding whether to
impersonate the dearly departed or to

let it rest. Obviously, the former is
more exciting.
All this occurs within the first half
hour of the film which almost gives
the film high expectations to meet.
Those who can't stomach these first
30 minutes, most likely won't enjoy
the remaining hour; the humor that
sets the tone, carries on throughout.
In many ways, it's a love-it-or-hate-it
kind of film.
The plot follows the pulling togeth-
er and pulling apart of members of the
community in making this decision to
impersonate Ned and split the money
equally among each citizen. There are
of course the naive and the greedy
which always makes for an interesting
dilemma.
When the lotto man comes to town,
the entire village becomes a stage,
and to a certain extent "Waking Ned
Devine" carries that nail-biting inten-
sity that comes with the most action-
packed thriller - only without the
guns and ammo.
"Waking Ned Devine" is a fun film,
filled with the things that we'd like to
see more of in our day-to-day lives,
but things that never actually happen.
It's filled with human inhibitions and
embarrassments from body odor to
old, skinny naked men that create

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

The genteel Irish toast the memory of their friend, millionaire Ned Devine.

quite the talk of this town and its folk.
Ian Bannen stars as Jackie O'Shea,
one of the town's "bad" boys, and his
semi-levelheaded wife Annie
(Fionnula Flanagan). He watches the

embarrassing giggles whether you
want to laugh or not.
With the diverse themes of films of
1998, "Waking Ned Devine" definite-

ly ranks among the best. It starts with
a laugh, ends with a laugh and throws
in a few more to keep the sweetly
short film moving. "Ned" wins with

originality and creativity, and ono
falls with a few odd moments that
don't quite match the other oddities of
the characters themselves.

High school sci-fi 'Faculty'

receives failing grade

By Chris Cousino
TV/New Media Editor
As hoards of students return to
their schools from a much needed
winter break,
Hollywood
serves up enroll-
ment at small-
The town Herrington
Faculty High where
Salma Hayek is
the school nurse
At Briarwood and Famke
and Showcase Janssen (Bond
girl Onatopp)
squeezes out
essay tests as
English teacher
Miss Burke. As
sizzling as this
sounds, Robert Rodriguez's "The
Faculty" plays more like a routine
high school sci-fi horror fest with
the usual slugs, bugs and jugs
instead of a possible "hot for
teacher" theme.

Written by "Scream" scribe Kevin Faculty." Remember that age-old the-
Williamson, the now stale "Dawson's ory that your teacher is an alien? Ha
Creek" characterizations of high ha, Kev.
school students roam the halls in the Peppered through the dialogue
form of a brat pack of up and com- are Williamson's usual barrage
ing young 'uns, led by the hip of pop film references. The
Elijah Wood, fresh off his unex- movie-conscious characters
pected marriage in the asteroid -continually take note of
movie, "Deep Impact." Spielberg, Lucas, Sonnifeld
With a "Breakfast Club" out- andEmmeri ch."
line in full effect, quarter- Through their search,
back Stan (Shawn Hatosy), the gang recalls
newspaper editor starlet 4""Invasion - of the
Delilah (Jordana Body Snatchers,"
Brewster), goth freak "Independence Day,"
Stokely (Clea DuVall), and "The Puppet
girl-next-door Marybeth Masters" for clues.
(Laura Harris) and smart At one point, they
rebel Zeke (Josh ask paranoid Casey,
Harnett) join geek loser "When did you
Casey (Wood) in an become Sigourney
investigation to uncover a Weaver?"
secret plot that finds Williamson has
aliens taking over the reached his mark with
school and inhabiting Courtesyf DiensiFilms this tiresome verba-
the bodies of "The Nurse Salma Hayek? Yeah... tim. It was ultra

cool in the pseudo satire "Scream"
and tolerable from James Vander
Beek's mouth as Dawson Leary, but
enough is enough. How many more
self-conscious words can this '90s
bard pen? How about a line concern-
ing a bootleg porno Zeke sells that
features Williamson alums Neve
Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Ha ha, again.
Joining Williamson's movie
mouthings are numerous sequences
that are throwbacks to memorable
moments in "Blue Velvet," "Jaws,"
and "Jurassic Park." While
Rodriguez's flashy, energetic direct-
ing fuses temporary excitement,
these scenes are predictable and
rarely find unnerving frights as they
appear far too routine.
Rodriguez does highlight "The
Faculty" with his lore for gore in
several bloody stabbings. He adds
his high energy in a legitamate drug
snorting sequence and rapid fire
editing to a scene where Zeke vio-

lently rips the blade off a paper cut-
ter.
While the frights are few, the
numerous role players make for an
interesting spark to
"The Faculty."
Usher shows
he's more than
all that as 1
defensive back,
Gabe, Piper'
Laurie ("Twin N
Catherine
Martell),
looking -
m o r e
plastic
Olson, j
Robert I
Patrick
looks for
m o r e Efflah Wood and Ravmond Us

than just a boy as Coach Willis and a
pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart takes
science to a new level as Mr. Furlong.
Take note of two shots that
include "Ain't-It-Cool-News"
creator Harry Knowles.
The combination of this
multi-faceted ensemble cast
and a new breed of young;
hipsters gives "The Facult'
some of its enjoy
moments. While the
girls are hot, howev-
er, the special:
effects are not and:
the frights:
are rarely:
present, giv-
ing this,
unmemo-i
r a b
"Faculh'
a barely
pass-
Courtesy of Dimension Films g'
r aren't faculty. grade

Am

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Better Scores
Better Schools
Better Career'
THE
PRINCETON I
REVIEW
800-2RE VIE W '

Updike's newest collection of
stories travels with writer Bech-

Bech at Bay
John Updike
Knopf

John Updike's new book, "Bech at
Bay," is a well-written compilation
of short stories about an Updike
character, Henry Bech. Henry Bech
is a Jewish-American writer and the
subject of two other John Updike
books: 1970's "Bech: A Book" and
1982's "Bech is Back."
The most recent Bech book fol-
lows the writer from Czechoslovakia
to Manhattan to California. All of
his adventures involve politics and
the strange people who are familiar
with his work. His perspective and
voice come through clearly in the

collection of stories and the reader is
essentially in his head throughout
the book.
The travels of Henry Bech don't
seem to follow a plan from Updike
but are still engaging. In
Czechoslovakia, he resides with
Ambassadors and visits graveyards
where he is greeted by fans of his
work. Wherever he goes in the for-
eign country, people are eager to
discuss his novels and talk about lit-
erature. Bech finds the reception
confusing, but it isn't nearly as con-
fusing as the rest of the book.
Bech then finds himself on trial in
California, and later has a sidekick
named Robin. Through it all, Updike
makes a series of seemingly unrelat-
ed stories feel as though they are

part of a whole.
Updike creates situations for his',
main character that seem impossible,
and irrelevant but still manages to
make the book come together.
Without having read the first two
Bech books, "Bech at Bay" mly
seem confusing, but is still entert@
ing. The main strength is Updike's
mastery of the language and the fact
that he is writing about an author, a
subject quite familiar to him. A pre-
vious knowledge of the character
would help to make this book more
understandable for readers, but the
book still enthralls despite a lack of
previous knowledge. John Updike
manages to make the impossible and
ridiculous make sense.
- Caitlin l

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