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January 05, 2000 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-05

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

I The screen adaptation of the Austen novel plays at the
Vlichigan. You have only one more night to catch this flick, so
nake sure you're quick. 7:15 & 9:30 p.m.

, &i4W

® Check out Erin Podolsky's review of Anthony Minghella's
"The Talented Mr. Ripley," starring Matt Damon and Jude Law.
January 5, 2000

fying s mistakes sour 'Cider House'

y Edn Podolsky
aily Arts Writer
"The Cider House Rules" tries to be a
reat many things and fails at nearly all
f them. It's a moderate failure, to be
are; it's a moderate movie trying to mask

The Cider
House Rules
A s
t At Showcase

itself as something
more. It has its bit
of charm and its
warm period
magic, but it lacks
something far
more important:
Adapted by
author John Irving
from his own
novel, the film
suffers from the
same problems
that plague its lit-
erary counterpart.

what we know of our main character. But
alas, at the end hero Homer Wells (Tobey
Maguire) returns to the beginning, pass-
ing off everything he has done for the
previous 90 minutes as a phase.
Born and raised at the orphanage in
St. Clouds, Maine, Homer turns out
early on to be impossible to send out into
the world. Several times he is adopted,
and several times he is returned. Dr.
Larch (Michael Caine), the agingly stern
but soft-hearted man who runs the
orphanage, sees that Homer is a true son
of St. Clouds and takes him under his
wing. Homer becomes Larch's appren-
tice and in the process an accomplished
if not accredited ob/gyn, a necessity in
the barren wintry land of Maine.
Larch seems to have little to say to
Homer and his other charges other than
informing them that they are "princes of
Maine, kings of New England" and
imploring them to be of use. Okay,
maybe that's not fair; he also teaches
Homer the ins and outs of the female
reproductive system, including how to
deliver babies - and how to deliver

mothers. There are times when "Cider
House" strains towards abortion drama,
but it ends up being downplayed to the
point of being innocuous. That's about
the best that can be said about the movie
as a whole, too.
Once Homer escapes from the orphan-
age via visitors (to deliver the mother, not
the baby) Wally Worthington (Paul
Rudd) and Candy Kendall (Charlize
Theron), his adventures tumble out of the
narrative with boredom masquerading as
grace. Homer lives on Wally's farm and
picks apples in his orchard, making him-
self generally indispensable once Wally
goes off to fly for the ol' red, white and
blue in WWII. A group of black migrant
workers show up each year to harvest the
apples and tolerate Homer's pale face.
Homer has an affair with Candy. Dr.
Larch gets old and needs a replacement
director for the orphanage. Does this
sound matter-of-fact? That's because it is.
What "Cider House" really needs is a
strong hand to guide a misguided tale, a
tale that spins out of the control of the
usually masterful Irving. Lasse Halstrom

directs the movie with little of the flair he
brought to "What's Eating Gilbert
Grape." Things just keep on happening
without much rhyme or reason. The
motivations behind Homer's egress from
the orphanage are clear, but his decision
to return is explained with the simple
echoing of Larch's instruction to be "of
use." His passion for Candy is equally
impenetrable, as is their silent decision to
break off the affair when a wounded
Wally returns from overseas. Although
Irving wisely compresses much of his
book's final act for the screen, it is not
"The Cider House Rules" had the
potential to be a touching story about an
orphan and his interactions with the
world. Instead it is a not-very-bright piece
of work that dimly meanders around
interesting issues and plot developments,
always skirting the passionate stuff in
favor of a duller view and resolution. It's
disappointing to see Irving unable to rec-
tify his mistakes of years gone by. It's dis-
appointing to see him drag down a talent-
ed cast and crew with him.

Unfocused and lacking direction after an
excellent opening act, "Cider House"
peters out - and wimps out, avoiding an
ending that, had it been chosen, would
have seemed much more in line with

Courtesy of Miramax Films
Charllze Theron decides to "wait and see" in "The Cider House Rules."

mes Bond's
gadget wizard
dies n car crash
Lo~geles Times
Desmond Llewelyn, best known as 'Q,' the faithful and
canny supplier of trick cars, reverse-firing guns, exploding
toothpaste and other spy-baiting toys through 17 of the 19
James Bond films, died Dec. 19 of injuries suffered in a car
crash. He was 85.
Llewelyn was returning home from autographing books
about his life in the town of Firle in East Sussex south of
London when his car slammed head-on into another auto.
Sussex police ;said the actor died of massive multiple internal
injuries after he was airlifted to a hospital. Llewelyn was dri-
EFen as the actor portraying the suave British secret agent
changed from Sean Connery to George Lazenby to Roger
Moore to Timothy Dalton to the current Pierce Brosnan,
Llewelyn endured. His most recent Bond caper, "The World is
Not Enough," is currently in theaters. Aging wisely in the cur-
rent film, Llewelyn is shown trying to train an apprentice -
the comic John Cleese - for the day he ultimately might retire.
But in real life, the actor had no intention to ease out of the
franchise that brought him his greatest fame, cinematic status
and t long last, modest wealth.
ill play Q as long as God lets me. I have no inclination
to stop," he told a Scottish newspaper shortly before the open-
ing of the current film, which has Cleese, designated 'R,' mov-
ing into the gadget department.
Less than a month ago, Llewelyn told CBS News he hoped
to be on board for the 20th Bond installment scheduled for
release in 2002.1

DJ Hawtin spins Detroit
techno scene into 2000

Courtesy of MGM
Llewelyn (with Pierce Brosnan) in his last Bond film as Q. 4
On board from the second Bond film, "From Russia with
Love" in 1963, Llewelyn resisted the director's instruction that
he use a Welsh accent, even though he was born in South
Wales, the son of a Welsh coal mining engineer.
"My interpretation of the character was that of a toffee-
nosed English," Llewelyn said. "At the risk of losing the part
and with silent apologies to my native land, I launched into Q's
lines using the worst Welsh accent, followed by the same in
English." The actor's version won out.
Llewelyn missed only the first Bond film, "Dr. No" in 1962
and the 1973 "Live and Let Die," Moore's first outing as 007.
The Q character, formally named Major Boothroyd, was
nicknamed "Q" for Quartermaster, a position in the British
army that specializes in sciences for the military. No such char-
acter existed in the Ian Fleming novels creating James Bond,
although the written Bond did receive equipment from Q
Ironically, Llewelyn said that absent the Bond cinematic
magic, he was "allergic to gadgets" and couldn't even manipu-
late a hotel key card correctly. His comfortable home in
Bexhill, England, has no computer or cell phone.

By Jason Birchmeier
Daily Arts Writer
Nine hundred and nintey nine people
experienced the future of electronic
music at Richie Hawtin's highly antici-
pated New Year's Eve party in Detroit.
Adequately titled "Epok," the event first
retrospectively looked back at the roots
ofTechno in Detroit. Then once the clock
struck midnight, Hawtin took over the
decks, showing not only how he helped
pioneer the genre but also how he plans
to define the future of Techno music.
After a talented young female DJ
from Detroit named Magda warmed up
the party with a short set, special guest
Scott Gordon took over the duties. The
legendary Detroit DJ who gave Hawtin
his start in the late '80s at the Shelter
gave the ecstatic audience a history les-
son, spinning classic tracks that were
precursors to the futuristic sound of
In less than an hour, Gordon navigat-
ed quickly through classic electro bass
anthems such as Telex's "Moskow
Diskow" and Hashim's "Al-Naafiysh"
before moving on to some of the early
Detroit prototype techno of Juan Atkins,
Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson
from the late '80s.
Among the many Detroit techno clas-
sics Gordon spun were "Strings of Life,"
"No UFO's" and "Good Life" Then,
once Hawtin joined his former teacher in
the DJ booth, the clock struck midnight
and everyone danced to the two Detroit,
P-Funk classics, "Flashlight" and "(Not
Just) Knee Deep," as the evening's musi-
cal guide took control. Hawtin's five-
hour musical journey passed through
many soundscapes besides the sparse
techno he is most well known for pro-
ducing as Plastikman. Surprising many,

Hawtin began his epic performance with
some lively house music, retaining the
celebratory mood ignited with the dawn
of the new century.
In addition to the two turntables on
which he spun his records, Hawtin
armed himself with his versatile Roland
909 drum machine and various: effects
processors to tweak, modulate and phase
his sounds. Throughout the night Hawtin
would typically drop a record then begin
adding his own sounds until the record
became unnecessary. For several min-
utes he would then further his extrapola-
tion of the record until eventually mixing
in a new record.
Until 5 a.m., little disrupted the seam-
less continuity of Hawtin's performance,
consisting half of spun records and half
of Hawtin spontaneous techno composi-
tions. The highlight of the evening came
when Hawtin reinterpreted his signature
Plastikman track from 1993, "Spastik."
Consisting entirely of multi-layered
percussive rhythms produced on his 909
drum machine, the dense hailstorm of
this legendary track with its symmetric
percussion and the occasional appear-
ance of pounding bassbeats sent the old-
school Plastikman fans into a state of
frenzy. This along with several other
noteworthy tracks from Hawtin's past
gave his performance a retrospective
The relentless suturing effect of
Hawtin's performance with its continu-
ous soundtrack of both records and
spontaneous composition sets the artist
apart from his peers in the global elec-
tronic music community. Outside of the
studio, few artists have the talent to
spontaneously compose music foran
audience in such a manner that the com-
positions cannot be differentiated from

the records.
As illustrated on Hawtin's latest
album, "Decks, EFX and 909,"the com-
bination of DJing and live performance
creates not only suturing continuity but
also adds an element of individuality that
cannot be duplicated. Any DJ can buy
the same records as Hawtin, but not even
the most talented impersonators can
recreate the spontaneous elements the
Detroit artist adds to his set.
In addition to Hawtin's unparalleled
talents as a live performer of electronic
music, his parties also set him apart from
even his most renowned peers such as
Jeff Mills. While other artists can pro-
duce great music or spin amazing sets,
few artists or even promoters can match
Hawtin's knack for creating the perfect
context for his performances. Epok-like
past events such as Consumed, Spastik
and Sickness/Recovery - functioned as a
unique constructed world appealing ,to
the mindraltering sounds of Hawtin's
music and the escapist idealism of the
Unlike most of Hawtin's parties which
usually take place in long-abandoned,
vacant buildings, the party took place
within the context of a drastically altered
version of Motor - currently the city's
most popular legal venue. Hawtin and
his camp of Techno apostles at M-nus
records constructed a low hanging inter-
mediary ceiling for the venue composed
of black plastic screen. The many shin-
ing, flickering and strobing lights above
the screen ceiling were heavily diffused
to create a dim, disorientating aura fur-
ther enriched by a series of red lights sur-
rounding Hawtin.
The secondary room of Motor
became a large installation art exhibit
where vertical walls of the same plastic
screen were erected in a maze-like fash-
ion. Countless green lights were shone
on these screen walls, making them
appear holographic. At the rear of this
hallucinogenic playground were two
large stacks of speakers clearly teleport-
ing Hawtin's cosmic audio transmissions
from the main room.
While this gigantic art exhibit housed
anywhere from 200-300 people snug-
gled and conversed with others to the
transmitted sounds of Hawtin, a third
room featured the ambient sounds of the
artists on Hawtin's successful record
label, M-nus. A small group of audience
members taking a break from the inten-
sity of Hawtin's performance sipped on
drinks, wished each other a happy new
year and chilled out to the down-tempo
sounds of M-nus artists Clark Warner,
Theorem and Matthew Hawtin.
When the party finally ended around
5 a.m., it was clear that Hawtin had set
new standards in the minds of the audi-
ence members about the possibilities for
techno performances. No other artist on
the planet besides Hawtin could, have
blended the art of DJing so effortlessly
with the art of composition.
In addition to the artistic performance,
Hawtin added Epok to the growing list
of his legendary atmospheric environ-


- -'

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1217 PROSPECT, ANN ARBOR 665-1771
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