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March 18, 1999 - Image 12

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-18

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0

The David Grisman Quintet will jam The Ark tonight. The
esteemed ensemble will present an ecclectic mix of jazz, Latin,
typsy and bluegrass. 8 p.m. $25.
Thursday
""I2A March 18, 1999

Ufie£klim lau

0 Return to Daily Arts tomorrow to learn more abiut Alvin
Ailey Dance Theater, which begins its 4-day run tonight at
the Power Center.

a' nr +

4i

HE' S OUTTA MIND, SHE'S OUTTA SIGHT

Out of Sight
Universal DVD
The greatest benefit of the Collectors Edition
DVD of "Out of Sight," which boasts an impressive
inventory of extra goodies including hugely enter-
taining deleted scenes and an hilariously informa-
tive commentary track from director Steven
Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Frank, lies not in
the extras but in the film itself.
The DVD format allows, with its crisp purity of
picture and sound, for the repeated discovery and
rediscovery of this sleeper's many charms, which
are not limited tQ indelible imagery (the already
classic trunk scene), a kicky script (spawning catch-
phrases like "You a good bitch, Tuffy") and those
oh-so-cool freeze frames.
"Out of Sight," based on Elmore Leonard's novel
of the same name, can be defined as a sleeper in the
sense that most audiences chose to sleep instead of
attending this mismarketed and underappreciated
summer love-and-crime flick, which brought in a
paltry $38 million at the box office.
But box-office receipts mean very little when a
film is this great; it'll earn its classic, genre-tran-
scending love-and-crime story status in time in
home theaters everywhere.
Here, however, love means never having to say
you're sorry for kidnapping your object of affection
and seducing her with your knowledge of Faye
Dunaway movies while locked in a trunk or forcing
her to shoot you in the leg.

The red hot lovers of "Out of Sight" are a per-
fectly cast and even more perfectly matched George
Clooney and Jennifer Lopez as a suave bankrobber
and the federal marshal on his trail.
It's like "The Fugitive," only with sexual tension
between its principles that's actually acted upon.
And the act is one of the most beautiful, under-
stated, intoxicating love scenes ever filmed, egpert-
ly employing the film's signature freeze-frames and
its time-bending structure.
But "Out of Sight" is much more than a techni-
cally tricky novelty in the sub-genre of neo-noir
kiss-me-or-kill-me tales.
It's a rich tapestry of fascinating supporting play-
ers and arousing scenery, made all the more appeal-
ing with its extensive DVD trappings, which are
presented on menus with brilliant stop-motion
footage from the film set to David Holmes funky
score.
The hand of director Soderbergh presides over
these extras, most notably "Inside 'Out of Sight,"' a
half-hour making-of documentary and the afore-
mentioned commentary track.
On this second audio channel, Soderbergh dis-
cusses with Frank how he made the best of his con-
siderable ensemble, an impeccable roster that
includes Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Dennis
Farina, Steve Zahn, Isaiah Washington, Catherine
Keener, Albert Brooks and Michael Keaton.
Keaton, reprising his jumpy federal agent charac-
ter Ray Nicolet from Quentin Tarantino's 1997

"Jackie Brown' is revealed by Soderbergh to be the '
first actor to play the same role in two non-seriet,
films by different directors in the history of film.
Other revelations in the track include
Soderbergh's planned alternate ending to the film,
which he jokes would depict Rhames' character at
Metro Airport handing over the stolen loot to Jack
Lemmon.
Soderbergh also discusses what may be the film's
greatest asset: its striking use of color, using a
palette of deliciously evocative scenes that vary
with the film's locations.
Master chef Soderbergh cooks up images thatW'
makes the pinks, oranges and yellows in the film's '
bright, Miami-set opening and the muted blues and
gun-metal grays of Downtown Detrcit look equally
edible.
The tasty, stylized "Out of Sight" surely. goes
down easy, if just as the ultimate tribute to Elmore
Leonard's terrain: the retirement communities and
prisons of southern Florida to the mansions of
Bloomfield Hills and Detroit landmarks such as
the State Theater, Kronk Gym and Dot and Etta's
Shrimp Hut on McNichols.
Whether touring our fair metropolis, The conflict-
ed psyche of a bankrobber trying to go straight, the
endless beauty of Jennifer Lopez's molt-discussed
asset or the creative genius of a brilliant filmmaker,
the "Out of Sight: Collector's Edition" on DVD is a
collector's edition truly worth collecting.
- Bryan Lark

Courtesy of Paramount
Jef Daniels convinces Jim Carey that he's living a real life In "The Truman Show."
Weir presents Carey
dirough televised life

The Truman Show
Paramount DVD
IVe're a media culture, there's no
docbt about it. We watch "The Real
V1rld," "COPS," "American's
Funniest Home Videos," but what's
gmng too far? Would it be wrong to
tae a child and raise him, unbe-
knownst to him, on television?
Mtuld it be wrong to give him a
hime and a family and a life if it was
alta lie, if they were paid by a cor-
p'ation?
-'That's just a small part of the
niDal questioning at the center of
"VW Truman Show," the 1998 film
that showed how Jim Carrey was
more than just a guy who could talk
oatc.of his ass. Truman Burbank is a
l1ro for the masses, a man who has
been on television every second of
his life without ever knowing it. But
vhen he starts to suspect, things start
getting out of hand, and Truman is
determined to discover the truth not
only about his world but about him-
self
64-

Paramount DVD released "The
Truman Show" to little fanfare, and
with good reason: there's zilch on
this disc besides the movie itself and
two trailers. It's a shame that
Paramount didn't put more effort
into putting out a stellar disc, which
is something they could have done;
anybody who heard director Peter
Weir speak on campus last spring
knows how gung-ho he is about his
film. It would have been wonderful
to hear him do a commentary track if
only to know why he excised a split-
second shot at the beginning of the
film that reveals a crack in the "sky"
when the light falls from it in favor
of having Truman see only a smooth
expanse of blue.
Instead, we'll have to be content
with having one of the most thought-
provoking, smart, witty films of the
past year as part of the DVD library.
"Truman" might go home (wrongly
so) from the Oscars empty-handed,
but it will remain at the top of the
great movies released on DVD.
- Erin Podolskv

Aces are
hgh on
neW
Rounders
M iramax DVD
A simple pair makes this hand a
winner. Matt Damon and Edward
Norton, the two most talented actors
of their generation, strut their stuff in
the gambling drama "Rounders." The
film, which was, for the most part,
passed over by audiences in theaters,
paints an unrelenting picture of the
underground world of gambling and
is worthy of another look.
Damon plays Mike, a law school
student who lost his fortune on one
bad hand and who works the night
shift while attending school to make
ends meet. Mike has sworn off gam-
bling, much to the pleasure of his nag
girlfriend (an unbearably wretching
Gretchen Mol). Things get complicat-
ed when his old buddy Worm
(Norton) is released from prison and
starts leaning on Mike to gamble with
him. Once he's back on the streets, it
becomes apparent that Worm owes
the wrong people some serious dough
and Mike must decide whether to
help his friend or steer clear of the
game that robbed him of everything.

John Malkovich

With the glaring exception of Mol,
the cast here is uniformly excellent
with standout performances from
John Turturro, Martin Landau, John
Malkovich and a sumptuous Famke
Janssen. In the end, Norton rises
above all (does he never?) and steals
the show as the shady friend from the
wrong side of the tracks.
The only downside to the DVD ver-
sion of "Rounders" is its lack of extra
materials. A documentary on card
playing, a featurette on the making of
the movie or a commentary track with
Damon and Norton all could have
raised the stakes on this DVD.
Despite this, the film's quality and
top-of-the-line cast make "Rounders"
worth cashing a few of your chips in
for.
- Matthew Barrett

Willis tnology lives

.1

'Die Hard Trlogy
Fox DVD
Bruce! Bruce! Brre!
Three Bruces for three "Die Hard"
movies (perhaps you haven't heard of
them - after all, they're only the films
that rocketed Bruce Wllis to action star-
dom and saved him fron career disaster
after "The Bonfire of th(Vanities") aren't
nearly enough to tell whit a lean, mean
terrorist-fighting machineJohn McClane
(Bruce Willis) is in the "Dte Hard" boxed
set recently released by Fix DVD. Let's
run down the "Die Hard' plots one by
one, shall we?
I. John McClane goes tohis estranged
wife's office for a Christmasnarty only to
discover that she and her felow revelers
are being held hostage by motey-hungry
European terrorist Hans Gnrer (Alan
Rickman). McClane must save them all
with the help of a donut-loing cop.
McClane walks on glass. Ouch. i4oral of
the story: Women are nothing but rouble.
2. In "Die Harder" McClane pes to
Dulles Airport on Christmas to wit for
his wife's flight, which is unable teland
because terrorists, led by Colonel StWart
(William Sadler) have sabotaged theair-
port's landing system. They demandthe
freedom of a drug lord being born over'r

trial. McClane kicks complete ass in this ;
sequel, which is just as good as the origi-
nal. Moral of the stroy: Women are noth-
ing but trouble.
3. "Die Hard With a Vengeance",has _
McClane, suspended from the pojice
force, pound the streets ofNewYork while i
his marriage dissolves until he gets The a
Call. Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons),'9
bomber extraordinaire and brother to:the
now-dead Hans, is holding a school
hostage. McClane gets an assist from
master electrician Zeus (Samuel ¢ L.
Jackson) in-a "Pulp Fiction" reteaming.
Moral of the story: Women are nothing
but trouble.
Willis is a strong enough actor to carry
these films on his own, but the supporting
villains and good guys are what really
make the "Die Hard" series special.
Unfortunately, Fox did not think it was
special enough to warrant special edition
treatment, a policy that sadly plagues its
entire slate of DVD releases. Here's hop-
ing that Fox starts putting out some discs
with special edition content (hint: "There's
Something About Mary" commentary
tracks and deleted scenes, maybe?) so that
they can catch up with front-running stu-
dios Warner Bros. and Columbia Tri-Star.
- Erin Podoisky a

Wouldn't Staying
Home Again
This Summer Stink?

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Devil in a Blue Dress
Columbia
The new DVD treatment of Carl
Franklin's 1995 "Devil in a Blue
Dress" is a one-stop argument for
making Denzel Washington's private
investigator Easy Rawlins and Don.
Cheadle's trigger-happy Mouse the
heroes of a cinematic franchise, which
they were intended to be until "Devil"
stiffed at the box-office.
Already the stars of Walter Mosley's
crackerjack detective novels, of which
"Devil" was the first,.Rawlins and
Mouse are based on the considerable
strengths of Franklin's intriguing '50s
L.A. period piece that's less a mystery
yam than it is a fascinating examina-
tion of an African-American man's

post-war state-of-mind.
That social commentary is the pre-
vailing topic on director Franklin's
commentary track, which also high-
lights the film's award-worthy art
diection and the top-notch ensemble-
ind ding Tom Sizemore, Jennifer
Be4 and "Ally McBeal"'s Lisa Nicole a
Caron in'a brief but pivotal role.
Bu the real treat of this DVD treat- }
ment 'i Cheadle's original screen test
a mustee for any fan of rising big,
bright srping star Cheadle.
The rw power and charisma of
Cheadle it this screen test is proof of
the actor'sfuture superstardom and,
more than e ough reason that the cases.
of Easy ai Mouse should be re-
opened on-sceen.
- Bryan Lark

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AME AN RED CROSS

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