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February 01, 2000 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-01

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jSd u U
t t S.vj


FEBRUARY 1, 2000


By David Victor
Daily Arts Writer
Ah, Gilbert and Sullivan. Those
names go together like peanut butter
and jelly, Rocky and Bullwinkle, or
Starsky and Hutch. The pair's comedic
musical theater has delighted audi-
ences since the late 1800's.
Writer/director Mike Leigh brings us
into the world of William Gilbert and
Arthur Sullivan in his film "Topsy-
Turvy." The problem is, he takes us in
a le too deep. What promises to be a
sWof "Shakespeare in Love" for the
Victorian era gets bogged down in a
Medium of unnecessary details and

McCarthy busts onto big
screen in latest 'Scream'

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Film Editor

Jenny McCarthy is known for a variety of things rang-
ing from her Playboy days to her hosting job on "Singled
Out" to "Jenny," her short-lived sitcom. Her acting in
movies is not one of them. Until now.
After taking sonme time of", McCarthy is back on the
scene with roles in two upcoming movies. "I kind of took
a break for about a year and a half. I thought it was a good
idea after my rollercoaster of three years working non-
stop. 1 kind of wanted to regroup and wait fr' the next
'ight thing to do And when the right thing did come
along, which was 'Diamonds,' I jumped on it. And then
folow ing right after that was 'Scream 3,"' McCarthy said.
For McCarthy, a long-time fan of the first two
"Scream" films, the chance to be a part of the much-
hyped third installment was a thrilling opportunity too

Grade: B
At the Michigan
Penzance." The

length, spoiling
an otherwise
amusing and
insightful film.
We all know
how it went -
Gilbert wrote the
lyrics and
Sullivan scored
them to music.
Their collabora-
tion resulted in
many memorable
works, including
" T h e
Gondoliers" and
"The Pirates of
film opens when

good to pass up.
"I was so excited.
Starring Jenny
Starts F day

I remember when the first 'Scream'
came out and I thought 'Why the
hell am I not in that?' Because it
was always meant to be a trilogy,
this is for sure the last one. Spoken
from God, mind you. So I'm glad I
caught it, I'm glad I'm in the last
one," McCarthy said.
"Scream 3" also afforded the
actress the opportunity to work
with Wes Craven, director of the
film. It seems that Craven is not
quite as fierce in person as the
films that he directs. "Wes blew my
mind in terms of what my thoughts
were about him before I even came

Courtesy of October Flms
Jim Broadbent stars as the famed W. S. Gilbert in Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy."

Cbert (played marvelously by Jim
Il adbent) and Sullivan (Allen
Corduner) are debuting their latest,
"Princess Aida." The mediocre success
of the play underscores the lagging
inspiration in their relationship; the
plots are starting to repeat, as are
Sullivan's accompaniments.
After Sullivan takes a sabbatical for
his health, he decides to go on with his
own work, a grand opera he's never
the opportunity to work on.
M ert, without his steadfast partner,
goes into a creative funk. Only after
attending a travelling exhibition about
the then-still-foreign Japan is Gilbert
inspired, which convinces Sullivan to
rejoin him as they produce one of their
finest works, "The Mikado."
The characters that fill the back-
stages and parlors of "Topsy-Turvy"

are quite varied and engaging - even
the least of them has something funny
or poignant to say. Standout perfor-
mances are given by Martin Savage, as
the morphine-addicted comic George
Grossmith, Lesley Manville, as
Gilbert's sadly neglected wife and
Timothy Spall as the porcine stage
diva Richard Temple. Being able to see
into all these people's lives is usually
worth the time taken, but some charac-
terization could have been removed to
reduce the film's 160 minute running
Speaking of running time, "Topsy-
Turvy" offers perhaps a little too much
stage production. Gilbert and Sullivan
fans will be in heaven to see portions
of "Princess Ida," "The Sorceror" and
"The Mikado" played by professional
actors on elaborate sets. However, for
the average movie-goer (i.e. yours
truly) they would have been better
shortened, as they draw from the
behind-the-scenes motif the rest of the
film is centered on.
The film is excellently written, cap-
turing the essence of late-19th Century
London. The dialogue is overflowing
with dry British witticisms - it
almost seems too stifled and gentle-
manly to be natural. Nevertheless,
their banter is very entertaining and
injects life and levity into all the char-

There are some touching scenes,
especially those centering around
Gilbert's father and wife. However,
don't expect to cry a river or roll in the
aisles, as the stifled manner of the
British characters keeps the emotional
level of the film on an even keel.
Leigh set out to create an accurate
portrayal of Gilbert and Sullivan's place
and time, and he succeeds admirably.
The settings are exquisitely furnished
and the dress is more than proper for
the era. Even modern conveniences like
the telephone and the fountiOn pen,
brand new to the characters of "Topsy-
Turvy' aid in creating the perfiect aibi.-
ence and setting for the ?ilm.
Overall, "Thpsy-Tur-y" is an excel-
lent period piece that captures the
essence of its time and subject.
Sometimes the film seems to lack
focus, trvin to show everything at
once. The stifled emotional conten also
fails in creating any real high drama
the film begining and ending in the
middle of Gilben and Sullivan's career
leaves many issues unresolved.
Despite these minor shortcomings,
"Topsy-Turvy" is bound to be a real
treat for Gilbert and Sullivan fans, and
a worthwhile show for those of us (i.e.
yours truly) that sometimes confuse
Gilbert and Sullivan with, say, Rogers
and Hammerstein. Or, God forbid,
Rocky and Bullwinkle.

on set" McCarthy said. "I thought he was going to be a
typical harsh, hard director and he was the sweetest,
shyest man I've ever met. Anything but scary. He's got a
mind of his own and a great eye for the camera and how
to move it."
Very little information regarding "Scream 3" has been
released to the general public, and McCarthy said this
secrecy carried over to film's set. "It was so confidential
that none of the actors had a full script, we only had our
pages honestly do not know what the movie's about, I
don't even know who the killer is. It's going to be just as
much a surprise to me as it is to the public, which makes
it even more fun. The word's not out, people don't know,
it's a big mystery and I like that," McCarthy said.
However, we do know that McCarthy plays Sarah
Darling, a longtime actress who's struggling to be taken
more seriously. This is something McCarthy can relate to
and she gave it some thought during her time away from
"I thought it would be really smart to show a little bit of

Courtesy of Dimension Films
Jenny McCarthy. On the phone in the shower. Hmm....
a dramatic side to show that I am capable of doing it, just
so I have the opportunities of both," McCarthy said. "For
instance if I could have the career of Robin Williams,
who's able to make people laugh in comedies and then
also make them cty in dramas, I would be the happiest
This fall, McCarthy is set to give television another stab
with a new series on Fox. And while she doesn't have the
details ironed out, she has some ideas of where she'd like
to see the show go. "I'm not quite sure what show I'm
doing yet, but I would like to show other sides, almost an
'Ally McBeal' type of show where I could get away with
serious stuff but also have that comedic Jennyness to it,"
McCarthy added.
McCarthy also has some advice for students in college
- the degree is key. "(A college education) is so impor-
tant. I'm so kind of bummed that I didn't graduate. I feel
like I still missed out on something. The two years that I
was in college were probably the most influential to me. I
think it's very important to make sure you get that




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By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
"Eye of the Beholder," a misbegotten faux-
#chcockian thriller that is an insult to the name of the
late, great director, has an identity crisis. Its crisis is
completely independent of that of Ewan McGregor and
Ashley Judd, although the two's psychological problems
are not to be discounted. But the film as a whole can't
decide who or what it wants to be. And in true curse of
the father's fashion, it passes on that indecision to its
What at first seems to be a tale of a father haunted -
or, yes, cursed - by his torn loyalty to his job and his
absent young daughter slowly unravels as a strange cat-
a d-mouse game between techno-whiz McGregor, witti-
nown as code name Eye, and Joanna (Judd). Did I say
slowly? I do not choose such words lightly. "Eye of the
Beholder" sports half the running time of "The Green
Mile" but, incredibly, feels just as long. The chase hops
from city to city and state to state.
The horrifying suspicion I enter-
tained midway through that I was
going to be dragged to all 50 states
Eye of the by these crazies wasn't too far off the
Beholder mark.
Grade: c The Eye is a special agent or
attache or whatever such people are
At Briarwood, Quality 1 called working for the British
& sOwce Embassy. He hides out in sparse
rooms surrounded by wires and
screens, using the latest gadgetry to
spy but not interfere. (This apparent-
ly pays a lot better than point-click-

serial murderess across the country, spurred on by
thoughts of his daughter, feeling responsible for both of
them. In the process he - gasp! - falls in love with her.
Oh no! The hunter has become the hunted! Judd really
chews up the scenery during her wig-outs (of which there
are quite a few), proving that maybe she does have a
pulse, or at least a good stack of Joan Crawford videos at
home. McGregor, for his part, tries to nail a quieter, gen-
tler James Stewart (if such a thing were possible, and 1
assure you after watching this movie that it isn't), one
part "Vertigo" and two parts "Rear Window."
Eye has one of those special character traits that we all
know characters must have to humanize them. He col-
lects snow globes from each place he visits in his line of
work, ostensibly to give to his daughter, whom he has
hallucinated conversations with about how his mean wife
wrongly took her away from him because he was too
married to his work. This sob story plays out in muted
pain behind McGregor's eyes since he hides his heart-
throbbiness behind the computer screens and wicked
gadgetry he weasels out of his expense account. This is
to his credit; there's not much you can do with a guy like
Eye, but McGregor tries.
Judd doesn't try at all. Or at least she pretends not to,
which she's gotten really good at. She's one of the most
flat, personality-lacking actresses working in film today
(witness every single one of her line-reading s in Double
Jeopardy"). But Judd is perfectly cast here as Joanna,
who is also completely lacking in personality and defin-
ing characteristics other than the special, purposely
attention-grabbing article she's awarded on the same
level as Eye's snow globes (yet another nod to H itchcock,
who had a certain preoccupation with objects that were
of the utmost importance to his characters). The obvi-

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