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February 08, 1999 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-08

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 8, 1999
Predictable teen comedy akes resistable effort-

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
"Simply Irresistible" has a hard
time deciding what kind of movie it
wants to be - a drama, a romantic
comedy, a feel good flick for the
middle school crowd, a fairy tale, a
love story and a supernatural fable
are all possibilities. This indecisive-

little bit of magic can save the day.
This pretend friend, Gene
O'Reilly, first comes to Amanda's
aid as she shops at a market for food
and restaurant supplies. Gene comes
out of nowhere and offers Amanda a
wonderful basket of crabs that she
just can't seem to resist buying. One
of the pesky critters, who will later
become Amanda's friend and cook-
ing companion, escapes from the
bucket and crawls under a table.

ness by the makers
Simply
Irresistable
(No stars)
At Briarwood

leads to a movie
with no direc-
tion, plausibility
or appeal. The
flick is uninten-
tionally funny
when it tries to
be serious and it
is painful to
watch when it
tries to get real.
S a r a h
Michelle Gellar,
best known for
her role on tele-
vision's "Buffy
the Vampire

When she reaches for the little devil,
Amanda comes up with the leg of
Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery).
Tom is one of these business exec-
utives who only seem to exist in the
movies. He never does anything con-
structive, puts off all his work and
yet has somehow been placed in
charge of setting up a new multi-mil-
lion dollar restaurant in New York
(One's a chef, the other has a restau-
rant. Any ideas where this is head-
ed?). Of course, no movie character
would be complete without some
quirky habit and Tom's comes in the
form of his love for paper airplanes.
Director Mark Tarlov uses this to
create both funny - a paper airplane
crashing in an old lady's hair - and
touching moments - when a paper
airplane lands in Amanda's lap she
knows that Tom must be in love with
her.
With the role of Amanda, Gellar
continues to struggle translating her
television success to the big screen.
Much is made of how her Buffy is
one of the few strong female charac-
ters around today, so it's disappoint-
ing to see her turn around and accept
a weak part as the girl who waits
around until the guy decides that he
loves her. In addition, by decking her
out in blood red lipstick, rusty hair
and jazzy outfits, the makers of the
movie did the best that they could to
make a nice looking actress appear

Slayer," plays Amanda Shelton, a
down on her luck 20-something who
isn't getting the job done as a chef at
her family's restaurant. Amanda's
troubles are compounded when her
sweet aunt informs her that they'll
have to close their restaurant because
the nasty landlord has jacked up the
rent (and they'd been there for 70
years). All seems lost. That is unless
a pretend friend, a playful crab and a

C
t
1

Courtesy of 2oth Century Fox
Magic cookies, anyone? Besides starring in bad movies and teleivision shows, Sarah Michelle Gellar bakes too.
down right unattractive. It worked, to go through the whole movie play- theaters. The story is not weP
Flanery is no better as the man ing dumb just so that he doesn't fall thought out and the result is a variety
who falls in love with Amanda's in love with Amanda until the of goofy characters (both pretend
home cooking first and her second. required running time has been ful- and real) and a lucky crab that the
There is no chemistry between the filled. audience could care less about.
two actors, which is a bit of a prob- "Simply Irresistible" is an awful Seems like "Simply Repellent"
lem for a love story. Also, Tom seems movie that has no business being in would have been a little more fitting.

I.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Sean Patrick Flanery enjoys the bitter-
sweet aroma of Head and Shoulders.

Opera Works tiphantly redempts with revealir

By Christopher Tkaczyk
Daily Arts Editor
The newest gem in Ann Arbor's cultural
crown belongs to Michigan Opera Works, the
one-year-old student-run opera group. MOW
began as an outlet to students who didn't
have the chance to perform in the one opera
that the School of Music produces each
semester. Last year brought an excellent ver-
sion of Handel's bel canto hit "Semele." It's
reassuring to know that there are students out
there who are motivated enough to produce

The Rape
of Lucretia
McIntosh Theater
Feb. 6. 1999

such high caliber work
as this past weekend's
"The Rape of Lucretia."
The opera, composed
by Benjamin Britten in
1946, is set 500 years
before the birth of
Christ. Oddly enough,
the male and female cho-
ruses sing from a
Christian perspective,
long before such a reli-
gion could exist.
The myth surrounding
Lucretia, a devoted
maiden, involves a tri-

Collatinus' jilting tale an empathetic turn and
became the true hero of the piece.
As Tarquinius, prince of Rome, Guilherme
Rogano reigned supreme. His portrayal of
the prince's Lotharic endeavors were fearful-
ly threatening, and the maddening scene of
the rape was a dramatic highlight of the
opera. The scene itself was masterfully
staged, leaving a bit to the audience's imagi-
nation with only a few teases from De Vaere.
As Bianca, Lucretia's nurse, and Lucia,
Lucretia's maid, Ruth Christensen and-
Darlene Patterson provided a strong support
system of female companions for the
destroyed Lucretia. In the second scene from
the first act, the trio sang a beautiful melody
about the simple joys of maidenhood, all the
while gracefully folding sheets in a choreo-
graphed fashion. Later, in Act Two, each.
shined in her different role as they provided
post-trauma comfort with alternating takes
on the event.
Although it's not specified in the sung dia-
logue, the lusty month of May seems to pos-
sess the characters' libidos. The women's sea-
sonal recreation of arranging flowers plays a
large part in the action of the scene, giving
light to the pure and chaste ways of Lucretia.
Paul Mow and Eliza Warner as the Male
and Female Choruses, respectively, brought a
nice framework to the opera. Functioning
mostly as narrators, the two lent their voices
in the style of a Greek chorus. The pair was
present onstage throughout the entire opera,
each having a seat on either side of the
action, only rising to give commentary
between the scenes. Mow's superb tenor cap-
tivates as well as soothes. His voice is bright

ig 'Lucretia'
and commanding, and gave the Male Chorus
a definite burst of power. Warner's deep
mezzo characterized the outsider female per-
spective well, and complemented Mow with
tenacity and drive.
The libretto for "The Rape of Lucretia" is
entirely in English, which often makes for a
difficult listening. But the singers ennunciat-
ed the dialogue well and not a problem was
detected by the intrigued audience. 0
Musical director Tania Miller's collection
of musicians deserve recognition for the
opera's success, as they -sounded Britten's
work with the ease and emotion that one usu-
ally imagines with perfection. David Tolen's
percussion performances were quite notice-
able, not because they are a large part of the
score, but because the emphatic movements
of the opera are characterized through dra-
matic drums and highlighted tambourines at
the tragic onstage turns-of-event.
Lucretia's suicide comes as a shock, givO
the fact that the humbled Collatinus presents
her with his forgiveness of the rape. In a dra-
matic conclusion, Lucretia stabs herself,
brimming with the damaging loss of her pas-
sion and wounded virtuosity.
Director David Gordon assembled a fine
cast and can only be commended on the
fruits of the labors that the singers cultivated
from Britten's score. With a second superb
production under its belt, Michigan Ope
Works seems to be heading in the right dir
tion.
Michigan Opera Works will be presenting
two performances of Purcell's "Dido and
Aenus" on April 16 and 18. Tickets can be
reserved by calling 763-TKTS.

umverate of sardonic Roman men who cajole:
one another over each's bedroom prowess, as
well as the physical devotion committed by
their lonely wives. The men make a wager as
to whose wife is the most chaste. Prince
Tarquinius decides to betray Collatinus' trust
by seeking erotic enjoyment through
Lucretia, Collatinus' wife.
Although the opera is not your typical fare,
Britten's music is moving and emotional.

Courtesy of Davd Smth Photography
Julie De Vaere unwillingly succumbs to the lust of Guliherme Rogano in "The Rape of Lucretia."

Filled with suspense and mystery, it concen-
trates on the tense behaviors of the charac-
ters. It feels more like a chamber piece than
anything else, but adapts to the story through
its outpouring of delicate emotion and over-
wrought trag'edy.

Julie De Vaere's performance as Lucretia
was skillful and passionate. The strong devo-
tion of her character shined freely through
her interpretation, as her acting ability
matched her vocal agility.
Dan Singer's deep, rich bass gave

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Carlin disappoints with 'Diseased' show

By Anika Kohon
For the Daily
Up to his usual shtick, George Carlin
hates everything and condemns every-
one. With the first words out of his
mouth, Carlin tears into the jugular of
society. It is a given that Carlin's live
special "You are All Iseased" is rid-
dled with profanity and hyperbolized
opinions. This is merely an informative
observation, however, not necessarily a
pejorative or an indictment of his style
because that is exactly what it is: His
style.

Carlin's show deviates from the stan-
dard comedie routine, relying on per-
sonal or anecdotal narratives. His ban-
ter is more of a series of stylized, cyni-
cal and witty observations.. Essentially,
nothing is above ridicule.
He condemns parents for loving their
children and God for being a failure. At
one point, he says that the disaster of
the universe is proof positive that God
is indeed a man. He makes fun of bike
helmets, soccer moms and above all,
white males. In one breath, Carlin
attacks the business executive for being

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a rapist and a cigar-smoking menace, in,
the next he curses the feminization of
the "American Male."
One can easily imagine that Carlin
does not mean a thing he says. That's
fine. Insincerity does not preclude
humor. It is probably the only show this
year that will refer to having sex with
cattle as a segue, though. Carlin's fasci-
nation with anal
penetration and
genitalia in gen-
eral is a recurring
George Carlin: theme. Freud
You are All would have has a
Diseased field day with
** this guy.
HBO In one of his
n Fb funnier moments,
Carlin claims that
his immune sys-
tem is superior to
those of people
who wash their
hands frequently
because his white
blood cells get practice killing germs.
On a personal note, he relates this back
to swimming in the sewage-filled
Hudson River. Stylistically it is a devia-
tion from his distanced observations,
but this works because Carlin relates it
to his personal experience.
Along with a few tirades about natur-
al selection, he basically comes to a

conclusion that children who swalb
too many marbles should not live to
reproduce. The segment on children is
one of the more original in his routine.
Leave it to Carlin to find fault with chil-
dren.
Cynically, Carlin finishes with the
revelation that he prays to Joe Pesci
instead of God because Joe is a good
actor, and he "looks like the kind of guy
who can get things done."
Although there are a few fuol
moments, overall "You are All
Diseased" is not a laugh out loud, hys-
terical hoopla. The initial tirade about
airline security is entirely too long, and
it is easy to lose interest. Carlin's fasci-
nation with sodomy is unoriginal and a
little cliched. While much of his banter
is clever and amusing, little of it suc-
ceeds in producing much laughter.
Profanity is fine, and cynicism, espe-
cially when it is intelligent or creat ,
is amusing, but profanity and cynic1
do not necessarily create laughter. This
is the fatal flaw of Carlin's routine.
When audiences watch a comedian,
they want to laugh, and most of his
observations are just not that funny.
"You are All Diseased" is the kind of
show one might watch after a long day
in bad traffic or after failing an organic
chemistry exam. The show is a lot more
about catharsis through diatribe that
is about unadulterated humor.

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