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March 22, 1999 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-22

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The Michigan Theater presents the 50th Anniversary edition of
the classic film "The Bicycle Thief." Considered to be one of
film's greatest triumphs, this Italian gem follows a man and his
son as they chase after the person who stole their bike. 7 p.m.
$5.50 for students.

Ure idiju Nt

Tomorrow in Daily Arts,
U Check out Breaking Records for a review of Blur's
latest release.
Monday
March 22, 1999 5A

'Shakespeare

' takes top honors

Robert Carlyle prepares his next meal.

By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
The Oscars started 24 hours early
this year, but it was certainly no acci-
dent that the curtain rose before the
usual appointed time. Scheduled for
the first time on a Sunday instead of a
Monday, the 71st annual Academy
Awards began with host Whoopi
Goldberg appearing in full Elizabethan
regalia as the virgin Queen, pancake
make-up and all, to deliver her bawdy
opening'benediction.
Goldberg's takeover of Oscar hosting
duties from Billy Crystal was surpris-
ingly entertaining despite her penchant
for Ken Starr jokes, but the biggest sur-
prises of the night came from the sev-
eral upset wins in major categories.
Miramax executive Harvey
Weinstein's one-man, one-checkbook
campaign for both "Shakespeare in
Love" (13 nominations) and "Life is
Beautiful" (seven nominations) result-
ed in a 50 percent success rate as
"Shakespeare" had seven wins to write
home about and "Life" danced on
writer/director/star Roberto Benigni's
shoulders and soaring vocabularic tum-
blings to three victories, including Best
Dramatic Score. After winning such
categories as Art Direction,
Musical/Comedy Score and
Costume Design "Shakespeare
in Love" provided a final quill
in Weinstein's cap as it beat out
the World War II drama "Saving
Private Ryan" for Best Picture.

Memorial Award.
Aside from "Shakespeare in Love"s
huge success, the big story of the night
was the controversial bestowal of the
lifetime achievement award on director
Elia Kazan, presented by Martin
Scorsese and Robert De Niro. Much
controversy surrounded Kazan's selec-
tion, stemming from the testimony he
gave to the HUAC that blacklisted
many Hollywood writers and fueled
Senator Joseph McCarthy's red scare
fire. The majority of audience mem-
bers at the Academy Awards participat-
ed in a standing ovation for Kazan,
while several notable people such as
Nick Nolte remained seated and did
not applaud. Kazan said nothing of his
involvement in the blacklist but kept
his speech rather short.
Roberto Benigni leapt out of his seat
and walked on the chairs of his fellow
audience members when "Life is
Beautiful" was announced as the Best
Foreign Film. His acceptance speech
was typically loud and lusty as he
thanked everyone present for the "hail-
storm of kindness. Later he beat out
nominees such as Ian McKellan and
Nick Nolte for the award for Best Actor
and delivered yet another entertaining
speech.
In the supporting actor category,
old-timer James Coburn was rec-
ognized for his work as an abu-
sive father in "Affliction," leaving
# fellow nominees Ed Harris ("The
Truman Show") and Billy Bob

'Ravenous' suffers
from bone-thin plot

n Podosy
Daily Arts Writer
There are good ideas and there are bad
ideas in Hollywood. A very good idea
might make a very bad movie, and vice
versa. The trick is in the execution. But
in "Ravenous," execution (of characters,
not plot) itself is the trick and it's hardly
enough to support even an hour of this
stultifyingly over-gory movie mistake.
ninally a horror film, the only thing
truly horrific in it is the thought of how
much money in the budget was wasted
on buckets of blood and guts.
The bone-thin plot of "Ravenous"
claims that once a man eats the flesh of
another man, his hunger for human meat
will never be satisfied until his own tick-
er stops ticking. In itself, this is an inter-

Ravenous
At Briarwood
be found in the

esting idea, espe-
cially when you-
consider what
lengths one could
go to in the
wilderness to try
to satisfy the insa-
tiable desire for
cannibalism. For
the men in
"Ravenous" are
indeed in the
wilderness (and if
you believe the
film, there is only
a single woman to
entire expanse of

after a cowardly-yet-heroic act during
the war that enabled him to turn the
tables on a Mexican military band after
the bloody massacre of his entire unit,
where he encounters several quirky
archetypal soldier characters: the com-
mander, Hart (Jeffrey Jones), Jesus-
freak Toffler (Jeremy Davies), bourbon-
guzzling Knox (Stephen Spinella),
gung-ho gun-toter Reich (Neal
McDonugh) and peace pipe-toker
Cleaves (David Arquette). A couple of
Native Americans round out the motley
military crew that spends its days doing
little more than watching the grass grow
or the snow fall.
All of that changes when would-be
homesteader Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle)
stumbles seemingly half-dead to the gate
of the fort. He tells a tale of terror, of a
Donner party-esque experience where
an Army colonel who was acting as a
guide for he and his companions pur-
posefully stranded them in the moun-
tains and ate all except Colqhoun.
Through a series of so-called surprises
that are the film's pathetic attempts at
suspense, the Scotsman turns the tables
on Boyd and company and the film dis-
integrates into a cat-and-mouse game of
who can eat whom first.
Like the plot of the film, the characters
in "Ravenous" also lack substantial fla-
vor. They are little more than outlines of
people that, given a better script with a
little more activity beyond the cannibal-
ism angle, could have been interesting.
It's not even that "Ravenous" is bad, per
se. It's just extremely boring and not at all
suspenseful, which is a cardinal sin if
you're trying to make a horror film. The
minimal comedy dropped into the script
generally falls flat ("You know, if you die
first, I'm definitely gonna have to eat
you") and seems wrong in light of the
grave material that the film works with.
There is little that ties the elements of
the film together beyond the pervasive
presence of blood and gore, and when a
film tries that without even offering so
much as a single pin-up guy or gal for
lazy eyes to feast on, recommendations
are rare. This is a dirty, scruffy, bloody
film filled with dirty, scruffy, bloody
men, a state of existence that will always
leave us hungry for more.

"Saving Private Ryan"
did not go home empty-
handed, however, win-
ning ina fight to the fin-
ish five awards and cap-
ping off its run with a
Best Director award for
Steven Spielberg.
Spielberg also received
recognition for his role in pro-
ducing "The Last Days,"
which won as Best
Documentary Feature.
"Ryan" took home four
other awards, for cinematogra-
phy, editing, sound and sound
effects editing.
Just before winning his
directing award, Spielberg
introduced a touching tribute
to Stanley Kubrick, who
passed away two weeks ago.
Other Academy tributes includ-
ed a retrospective of
Frank Sinatra's work,
cowboys who have
gone to the big cor-
ral in the sky and the
annual roll call (or, in
this case, role call) of
deceased members of
the Academy.
P r o d u c e r
Norman Jewison
received the
Irving G.
T h a I b e r g

,
'A....

Iw+

Thornton ("A Simple Plan)
with nothing more to say
than the standard "It was an
honor just to be nominat-
ed." Contrary to rumor,
Coburn did not perform
one-armed push-ups during
his acceptance speech.
"Shakepeare in Love" won
fully half of the acting awards
as Dame Judi Dench received
the Best Supporting Actress
Oscar and Gwyneth Paltrow
won for Best Actress. Dench
was smooth and composed
during her acceptance speech,
but Paltrow nearly burst into
tears as she mentioned each and
every member of her extended
family and, of course, her "dear
friend" Ben Affleck.
Another major upset occurred
n the Best Original Screenplay
category as Bill
Condon's script for
"Gods and Monsters"
emerged victorious
over supposed lock
and Writers' Guild of
America choice "Out
of Sight." The award
was something of a
vindication for
the film, as its
other two
nominees,
McKellan and

Gwyneth Pairwo and the producers of "Shakespeare in Love" pose with Oscar
(top), and Judi Dench kisses her award for Best Supporting Actress.

California mountain territory) of 1847,
and tasty people are hard to come by.
The cannibalism plot is, however, the
only plot of substance in the film and it
suffers for that. We're left with a hodge-
podge of people who have only one thing
on their minds: eating each other. The
possibilities for suspense are effectively
n ted by our knowledge of who is the
t&n good and the token evil character,
and therefore we know who must sur-
vive. And there is nothing in "Ravenous"
to distract us from the main drag of a plot
- a few minor characters here and there,
but there's little doubt that sooner or later
they've going to become chow for one of
their compatriots.
"Ravenous" takes place at a remote
foT soon after the Mexican War. Capt.
J* Boyd (Guy Pearce) is sent there

Lynn Redgrave, lost in their respective
categories.
The other writing award, for Best
Adapted Screenplay, was no surprise at
all. Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman's
script for "Shakespeare in Love" fell in
line with the rest of the
"Shakespeare"/Miramax juggernaut
and put the two writers up on stage
with their own statuette.
Remaining Best Picture nominees
"The Thin Red Line" and "Elizabeth"
went home, for the most part, with
nothing more than what they came
with. "The Thin Red Line" did not win
any awards, while "Elizabeth" won for

Best Makeup apd did not succeed in its
other six bids for Oscar gold.
Other award winners included
"What Dreams May Come" for Best
Visual Effects, "The Prince of Egypt"
for Original Song, "The Personals" for
Documentary Short, "Bunny" for
Animated Short and "Election Night"
for Live Action Short.
After all was said and done, Oscar
night included a few surprises, a
parade of poor fashion choices and
hundreds of thank yous. Check back
next year for a whole new millennium
of honor, recognition and shameless
campaigning.

"Entrepreneur of the Year"
-Small Business Administration
"Poet Laureate of American Capitalism"
-Inc. magazine

mm 9

Ann Arbor
atunu, 3anquet & eanfrence eentert
Sp'tng Weddinq i'dae &xpo 1999
2900 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor (1-94 exit 172)
For additional information call (734) 665-4444, ext. 372
f.ia'Uo! Sunday, March 28, 1999
Time: Noon - 4PM
Everything you need, or want, for that Special Day!
Fashion Show - Food - Refreshments -
Prizes - Cash Bar

i
aul

Nap

Y
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;; ',

Natural Capitalist and
Distinguished Author on
The ext Industd I Revolution

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