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January 13, 1999 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-13

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Tomorrow, Renee Fleming makes her Ann Arbor recital debut.
The talented soprano will take the stage at Hill Auditorium,
featuring a program of songs by Schubert, Glinka, Liszt,
Mendelssohn, Wolf, Debussy, Barber and Strauss. Last year, Fleming
created the role of Blanche Dubois in Andre Previn's operatic render-
ing of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" for the San
Francisco Opera. Thursday at 8 p.m. $14-40. 764-2538.

ire (icti 3mK3

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
® Weekend, etc. magazine will review the hot happenings of
1998.
Wednesday
January 13, 1999

'V arsiBlues'
By Josh Pedersen
Daily Arts Writer
Few could have predicted the surprising success of the
WB's prime-time lineup. "Felicity" is nominated for two
Golden Globes. "Charmed" debuted with the network's high-
est Neilson ratings ever. And it seems as if one of the stars of
"Dawson's Creek" appears in a feature film monthly. Katie
Holmes headlined this summer's "Disturbing Behavior"
Joshua Jackson appeared in the recently released "Urban
Legend" and Michelle Williams helped close out the

cast combines new and old faces

Pa
Varsity
Blues
Starring Jon
Voight
Starts Friday

Halloween slasher serial in "Halloween:
H20." So, it was just a matter of time
before James Van Der Beek, the show's
eponymous hero, made his Hollywood
premiere. The result is "Varsity Blues,"
the story of an unlikely golden boy
given instant fame by his Texas-home-
town's football fetish.
He plays Mox, a discretely intelligent
backup quarterback forced into the
starting position when the starter is
injured. His moralistic idealism mirrors
that of television's Dawson. But Van Der
Beek does not gravitate towards such
roles.
"Yeah, they're both good guys, but I

Voight, who has worked with film greats such as Al Pacino
and Robert DeNiro, is an imposing presence on-screen in this
film, often seeming out of place among the new, untested cast.
But he is anything but out of place when talking about his rela-
tionships with his costars.
"It's fun working with all these young actors," he said. "I
always reminding me how long I've been around, but it's good
to be in contact with new talent and fresh viewpoints."
He even refers jovially and openly to his recent appearance
in the critically questionable box office debacle, "Anaconda,"
citing his role as one of his more memorable in recent years.
He speaks of the work he did on the character, and the dedi-
cation he brought to the film in its creation. And while this
may not speak well of his selection of roles, it speaks volumes
to his integrity as an actor.
Also starring in "Varsity Blues" is Eliel Swinton, the team'
running back. Swinton has real-life experience as a footbW
player, signing in 1997 with the Kansas City Chiefs but leav-
ing the game shortly after because of an injury. He brings an
element of credibility to the fictional team's athleticism, and
speaks of the crew's attempts to create a realistic setting for a
football movie.
"We actually ran plays and practiced routes in preparation
for this movie ... (the director) told the extras to go easy on us
when we were hitting, but I talked to them in private and asked
that they lay it on for a while," Swinton said. "It made it more
real, and I think you can tell."
The variability of "Varsity Blues"'s cast may well be i
greatest strength. The cast members possess a real chemist
obvious in their dialogue, and one can catch glimmers thereof
on the screen. And it makes for an ultimately enjoyable film,
which may well benefit all parties involved, granting its new-
comers a taste of prominence, giving its veterans a pleasantly
memorable experience to add to their already impressive ros-
ter, and catapulting its rising stars to the next level.

I X

didn't choose the roles for that reason," said the rising star.
Citing his work in "Angus," he points to his range of charac-
terizations, which he hopes would attest to his versatility as an
actor.
There is further evidence to support this assertion, for Van
Der Beek began his acting career not on the screen, but on the
stage, starring at age 17 in a production of "Finding The Sun,"
a play written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning play-
wright Edward Albee.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Jon Voight advises James Van Der Beek in "Varsity Blues."
"Working on the stage helped me to prepare for my work in
the movies," he said. "The two areas aren't completely differ-
ent, and I'm able to use some of my stage experience to make
myself a better screen actor."
Another thing that may have improved Van Der Beek's per-

formance in "Varsity Bl ues" may well have been the chance to
work with veteran actor Jon Voight. Voight won a Best Actor
Academy Award for hi; performance in "Coming Home" In
"Varsity Blues," he plays the football team's dictatorial head
coach, Bud Kilmer.

Game captures 'Star Wars' hype

i

King reigns over
popular book sales

.

Star Wars: Rogue
Squadron
LucasArts
Nintendo 64
By DiWran Oreldan
Daily Arts Writer
With anticipation for "Star Wars:
Episode I" (just four months away)
starting to reach a fevered pitch,
LucasArts is hoping to cash in on the
hype with the release of "Rogue
Squadron" for the Nintendo 64.
In this flying action game you take
the role of Luke Skywalker and pilot
any of five different ships (X-wings,
Y-wings, A-wings, Speeders and the
new V-wing) in an effort to defeat the
evil empire.
The absence of any space battles
allows for each of the 15 different
missions to take place on the surface
of an incredibly detailed planet taken
right from the Star Wars Universe.
The gameplay is very similar to the
first level of an earlier Star Wars N-
64 game, "Shadows of the Empire,"
which put the player in a speeder on
the ice planet of Hoth. Fortunately,
the control in "Rogue Squadron" is
much better than in "Shadows of the
Empire."
Mastering the flight control of
each ship is a quick and easy process.
The first level of "Rogue Squadron"

highlights an (-Wing sweep over
Luke's home planet of Tatooine. The
detail involved in the game is amaz-
ing. During the mission, land speed-
ers roam the streets as skyhoppers
soar through Beggar's Canyon. Major
landmarks from the films, such as
Luke's original desert house, Jabba's
Palace and even the legendary
Sarlacc Pit can all be found here.
Later levels include a flight through
Cloud City and a visit to Han Solo's
home world of Correlia.
After each level is completed, a
bronze, silver or gold medal is award-
ed, depending on the feats accom-
plished. Gold medals can only be
won by solving secret mission objec-
tives. But, if the player obtains a gold
medal, bonuses are awarded that
include extra missions and the con-
trol of new ships, including the
Millennium Falcon. These bonuses
add to the game's replay value. This,
however, really could have been
enhanced by the addition of a multi-
player mode.
The best part of "Rogue
Squadron" lies in its incredible
graphics. When running in high reso-
lution, the game's ships look better
than any seen before in a Star Wars
game, PC or console based. To get
the game running in high resolution,
though, players will have shell out
$30 for the four MB RAM expansion

Courtesy of LucasArts Entertainment
"Rogue Squadron" adds to the multitude of merchandise available In preparation
for "Star Wars: Episode I."

Bag of Bones
Stephen King
Scribner
The time has long passed since the
pending arrival of Stephen King's
latest work would generate genuine
excitement in the publishing world.
The man is such a cottage industry
by now, the monolithic sales of his
books so numbingly assured (though
no more so than the monolithic bulk
of the books themselves) that the
publicity for whichever one happens
to be hot off the presses operates
more or less automatically.
Oddly enough, now that King is
no longer the young phenom with a
creepy public persona who caused
parents to squirm and English teach-
ers to talk to themselves, he is com-
ing up with work that is less formu-
laic than any he has produced before.
Perhaps King is finding it cre-
atively stimulating not to have to
deal with the burden of would-be
groupies and the knowledge that his
next book's title will be on bumper
stickers and T-shirts.
It's also possible that his latest,
"Bag of Bones," is made more
memorable by the degree to which it
is so clearly the author's most per-
sonal work.
The narrator and protagonist is1
best-selling novelist Mike Noonan,
a character who is not a publishing
supernova of quite the magnitude of+
Stephen King. Nonetheless, through +
his detailed accounts of his career,+
Noonan doesn't identify, but at least
aligns himself on negotiable terms1
with his real-life creator.
In despair and suffering from ter-

minal writer's block as a result of his
wife's death four years before,
Noonan returns to his summer home
in a small Maine town that also
seems drawn from particular authori-
al affinity, even above and beyond
the extent to which it parallels much
of King's milieu.
From the hoary mainspring of the
outwardly circumspect but inwardly
rotten small town, King explores a
broader palette of tones and moods
than for which he might be given
credit. The result is a work that is
engaging but not lasting, for King is
so aggressively referential to other
writers that he obscures anything of
his own that is really original.
This is a long-standing trait of
King, about whom it is not a joke to
say that the use of a mere three
epigraphs at the beginning of "Bag
of Bones" constitutes restraint. In
his defense, King does smoothly
and effectively synthesize such
diverse influences as Robert Frost's
Yankee mysticism, Daphne Du
Maurier's .psychological
lyricism,and Kurt Vonnegut's zani-
est science fiction, as well as King
himself as reflected in Mike
Noonan's dormant, then threaten-
ingly resurgent, creative endeavors.
In the end, these complaints, as
well as King's prodigal-as-ever dic-
tion (does the man have a bonus
clause in his contract for surpassing
500 pages?) are trumped by the
emotional sincerity that distinguish- 4
es "Bag of Bones" from anything
else in its league. It seems to be a
league to which King is restricted,
though, even when mining his per-
sonal resources so boldly.
-Jeff Druchniak

t'

SWORK STUDY POSITION
a '$6.50/HR
at the School of Public Policy-
Duties include, but are not limited to,
routine office tasks, errands, moving boxes
of office supplies and Xerox paper. You
must have work study money to apply.
Call 763-2258 and talk with Linda.

pak. While the display still looks
decent without the expansion pak,
with it, the game looks so beautiful
it's enough to make a "Star Wars"
geek break down in tears.
The 3-D ships, worlds and enemies
are so stunning that they rival any
game that has been released thus far
on the N-64. The only minor flaw
with the graphics is the excess fog
'hat appears in the middle of the
screen on certain levels, but this
doesn't hinder the overall graphic
beauty of this game.
'Another remarkable aspect of
"Rogue Squadron" is its sound quali-
ty. For a cartridge, the game dupli-
cates John Williams' original score
with near CD quality. The music is
quite possibly the best the N-64 has
to offer. Although the sound effects
exclusive to the game are just as

amazing, from the roaring engines of
passing Tie fighters to the thundering
stomps of attacking AT-ATs, it's all
here and it sounds great.
Also included in the game is 40
minutes of digitized speech. The
voice of "Star Wars" superrstars from
Wedge Antilles to Chewbaocca are all
excellently imitated. The speech that
occurs during the action adds excite-
ment to the game and help,; to totally
immerse the player into the "Star
Wars" universe.
The addition of a muilti-player.
"death. match" option cotuld have
made "Rogue Squadron" a Nintendo
classic on par with "Goldeneye" or
"Zelda." But as it stands, it'S still one
of the best games of the year and will
help make that four month wait until
the release of "Episode I" a little
more bearable.

The Princeton Review
will get you
a little closer
to medical school.
Invest in your future.

Want to write for the Daily?
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420 Maynard at 7:30 p.m.

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