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February 23, 2000 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 -- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 23, 2000


'Social Club' makes for 'Buena' DVD

By Aaron Rich
Daily Arts Writer
The title, "Buena Vista Social Club," refers to
an old dance and music hall in Havana that has
been shut down for several decades. American

Buena Vista
Social Club
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Aaron Rich

guitarist Ry Cooder recently
put together a band consist-
Ig of the greatest names
-i d k n!o Cuban Son
m uihough none of
ihese men necessarily played
any gigs at the Social Club.
As the band begins play-
ing, German director Wim
Wenders films their
rehearsals and small bios of
all the band members. We

cigars (because it's Cuba, after all, and they're
legal) and talks frankly about his past female
We also meet Ibrahim Ferrer, Cuba's answer to
Frank Sinatra (in voice). As the story goes, he
was once a well-known singer, but then fell on
hard times and began shining shoes. By a pure
stroke of luck, Cooder found out about his tal-
ents and brought him into the fold.
We must never forget when.watching this that
these musicians would never have come together
if it were not for the exhaustive efforts of Cood-
er, who found many of these band members after
some thought they were dead.
Ruben Gonzalez is another great example of
such a man. Gonzalez, a master pianist, had
stopped playing due to his severe arthritis and
the fact that he had no access to a piano.
When Cooder found him and gave him the
chance to play in the recording studio while the
group cut its first album, we are told that he

always arrived early to practice and was always
loath to step away from the keyboard.
Throughout the film we see a few striking
details of Cuban life - at least life for these
Havana-based musicians. First is the poverty in
which these men and their families live (we are
told at one point that the roof of the recording
studio had recently fell apart during a storm).
Second is joy and tradition with which these
men live every day of their lives.
The DVD includes a commentary by Wenders.
Despite being the only major bonus material,
this track gives lots of interesting, fun details
about the production and about the men. Also on
the disc are extensive written biographies of all
the members of the band.
"Buena Vista Social Club" is one of the nomi-
nees for this year's Academy Award for Best
Documentary Feature. Though it might not win,
it is definitely worth a viewing before Oscar

seeCompay Segundo, the Cuban answer to the
Rat pack - yes, all five of 'em in one - a gui-
ttist who is easily pushing 85, smokes fresh

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Continued from Page 5
Miss Cross. "She was

mine, too,"

I I1

La IATi :

Planning Trips for

X, Y, and Z.

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1103 South University, Suite 1

Max replies. Well, "Rushmore" is my
Rushmore. It has that quality, a quali-
ty that comes through loud in clear in
the care that has been taken with this
new and improved DVD release.
The new "Rushmore" DVD is
stocked with extra features. Even
before you pop the disc in your DVD
player or DVD--
ROM drive, it's
a joy to behold
with a chapter
and feature list-
ing incorporat-
ed into a
map of the
settings. Most
DVD releases
don't take the
time with their
physical inserts,
but the map is
very much in
the spirit of the Phu
film itself and is Big, badBill Murray star
well worth tak-
ing a few minutes to explore.
The map's motif continues with the
DVD menu system. Again, Criterion
and Buena Vista put a lot of effort
into even this small part of the DVD
experience, making each menu innov-
ative and different. The designs and
multimedia aspects of the menu aren't
nearly as cumbersome or annoying as
they could have been (anybody who's
played with the "American Pie" DVD
is well aware of that little pitfall).
The disc's content proper includes
screen tests for some of the actors, a

commentary with star Jason
Schwartzman and writers Owen Wil-
son and Wes Anderson (Anderson
also directed the film), and a lengthy
documentary shot by Anderson's
brother, Eric, during the film's pro-
duction. Also included on the disc are
storyboards, trailers and Anderson
and Murray's appearance on "The
Charlie Rose Show." The documen-
tary is the best of these while the
commentary leaves something to be
desired -- I
guess I just
expected a little
more insight
and entertain-
ment from the
guys who came
up with one of
the best movies
of the last few
years. It doesn't
help that
contribution to
the commen-
tary was clearly
recorded at a
courtesy of Touchstone Pictures separate time
in "Rushmore." from Wilson
and Anderson's,
making things a bit choppy when he
pipes in with a remark or an anec-
Perhaps the biggest treat on the
disc is a group of parodies of other
films done by the Max Fischer Play-
ers, Fischer's school theatre troop.
These shorts were made for last year's
MTV Movie Awards and send up
"Armageddon," "Out of Sight" and
"The Truman Show" in high comedic
style. They're special in the same way
that this is a special movie, and make
this a truly special edition DVD.

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Film Editor

Line" Whether or
Grade: B
in Love
Miramax Collector's
Series DVD
Reviewed by
Daily Film Editor
Matthew Barrett

Courtesy of Miramax
Widows peak and all, Ben Affleck stars in the Oscar winning "Shakespeare in Love."
MiramaX makes

not it was worthy
of Oscar gold
remains debat-
able, but that
doesn't take
away from the
fact that
"Shakespeare in
Love" is an
enjoyable and
w o r t h w h i I e
The story

With the recent announcement of
the Academy Award nominations,
it's only logical to take a look back
at the film which won Best Picture
at last year's awards - "Shake-
speare in Love." Since winning, the
film has taken a number of shots
from those who feel it was unde-
serving to triumph over "Saving
Private Ryan" and "The Thin Red

contains two separate commentary
tracks - one with director John
Madden and the other with a large
assortment of the cast and crew.
During his track, Madden doesn't
shed much light on the process of
directing, and seems content to just
point out the various allusions to
the works of Shakespeare that he
put into the film.
The cast and crew commentary
track is also a huge disappointment
as it's really just general interview
snippets of various stars played over
the movie. Why they didn't just
throw everyone in a banquet hall
with a few pitchers of their favorite
mead to tape a real commentary
track is beyond me. As it is, the cast
track contains a few interesting bits
including Paltrow saying "I thought
it was basically the best script I ever
read," and Ben Affleck adding that
"Shakespe are" was "my favorite
thing she's (Paltrow) ever done."
The disc also features a docu-
mentary, "Shakespeare In Love
And On Film," which contains
interviews with the main cast
members and is fairly interesting to
watch. A deleted ending is also
included on the disc, but after
watching it you'll see why it was
left on the cutting room floor. All
things told, the disc is a worthwhile
pickup for diehards of the film and
another fine effort from the Mira-
max Collector's Series.

irs i

centers on a young William Shake-
speare (Joseph Fiennes) in need of a
hit play and yet crippled with a hor-
rible case of-writer's-block. Shake-
speare draws inspiration from his
forbidden romance with Lady Viola
(Gwyneth Paltrow) and is spurred
on to write "Romeo and Juliet."
A second, collector's series DVD
version of the film was recently
released and it contains a variety of
special features that should be of
interest to fans of the film. The disc





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