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November 01, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-01

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

p

Author Ann Marlowe comes to Ann Arbor.
Marlowe comes to Shaman Drum bookstore to discuss her book
"how to stop time,"a quasi narrative drug memoir.

OI~ Ld jgan Datj

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
0 Check out Breaking Records for reviews of the new albums
by Counting Crows and Marcy Playground.
Monday
November 1, 1999

NW

'Haunted Hill' spooks with tired frights

By Joshua Pederson
Daily Arts Writer
There once was a movie that was
eased to a wide audience. It was billed
as a horror blockbuster. It cost millions
to make. It was concentrated.on its spe-
cial effects value. It was called "The
Haunting." And frankly, for all its
advance hype, and for all its special
effects, "The Haunting" just wasn't a
very good movie. It turned out to be too
much computer animation crammed into

V.
House on
Haunted Hill
At Quality 16, Showcase
and Briarwood

not enough plot,
with horrible act-
ing and a trite
screenplay to
b o o t
Furthermore, the
storyline was
implausibly pre-
sented, and the
viewer couldn't
identify with any
of the characters,
good or evil.
Hence, the "hor-
ror" film just was-
n't that scary.
Audiences

Courtesy of Warner Brothers
Famke Janssen gets busty as Evelyn in "House on Haunted Hill."

reacted to this sub-par effort by showing
up at the theaters in respectable numbers
near the movie's opening, but in steadily
dwindling figures as the summer months
progressed. Yes, "The Haunting" was
officially a flop.
Little did audiences know that they
Id Id be subjected to an almost identi-
ca debacle only months later, coming in
the form of fellow remake "House on
Haunted Hill." Paying no respect to the
intelligence of audiences around the
globe, Hollywood decided to release
more or less the same film as "The
Haunting," hoping that its Halloween

release date would bolster ticket sales.
With a little bit of luck, the movie
viewers in the United States will prove
themselves smart watchers, recognizing
this clone for what it really is and doom-
'ing it to its predecessor's fate. But these
days, a little bit of luck is hard to come
by.
"House on Haunted Hill" starts out
looking eerily like a Nine Inch Nails
video gone horribly horribly wrong. And
it never really frees itself from this stig-
ma throughout its full length. A word of
advice: Just tape "Closer" and watch it a
couple dozen times through. Yes, Trent
Reznor is weird as heck, but your time
will be better served.
So, here's the basic plotline, as if you
couldn't surmise it from the previews.
Six characters are brought together to
spend the night in an insane asylum that
was, long ago, the site of a horrible mas-

sacre. Though those who survive are
promised a hefty sum of money, those
who do not are given up to the obvious-
ly angry, and obviously deceased tenants
of the present-day asylum.
"House on Haunted Hill" features a
number of notable actors whose
careers all take a step or two back
because of the tripe that passes for a
script. Most prominent among these
is Geoffrey Rush, who won an Oscar
for his performance in "Shine" just a
few years back. Oh, how the mighty
have fallen. One wonders to which
member of the production team Rush
owes his life, reputation or a really
great dinner at White Castle in return
for this forgettable performance. He
plays the wealthy amusement park
tycoon who unwittingly organizes the
mayhem.
Chris Kattan, of rising "Saturday

Night Live" fame, plays the caretaker
of the asylum, a direct descentant of
the doctor who organized the massacre
of yore. Kattan actually shows promise
as an actor, and may rise to some level of
dramatic stardom. But one must look
very, very closely to descry this fact, for
the script of "House on Haunted Hill"
reduces his lines to hackneyed com-
ments such as, "It's the house, dammit!"
and "We're all going to die, don't you get
it?" and "Hey, did anybody see 'Night at
the Roxbury' last year?" and "Gosh, I
hope no one sees this film, so my career
doesn't take the nose dive that it proba-
bly now deserves!"
The funniest thing about the film is
the fact that as soon as the charcters'
names are mentioned once, the writer
expects the audience to recall the identi-
ties linked to them immediately and
throughout the film. The writer assumes
that his "memorable" personae connect
nicely to their witty monikers. However,
the likelihood of one remembering the
pet name of "Dead Psychologist 3" in his
first reference after 45 minutes is pretty
darn small.
The film's downfall, though, may be
its most valuable redeeming quality -
there are few things that are more fun
than blowing eight bucks on a Saturday
afternoon to go and rip on a terrible hor-
ror film with one of your most sarcastic
friends.
This film, though, may not even
deserve this dignity. "House on
Haunted Hill" is really not worth even
close to eight bucks, and really, who
has that kind of money to go to a bad
film these days anyway? But fear not,
dear readers! "The Haunting" is
bound to hit a video store shelf near
you very, very soon!

ALEX WOLIK/Daiky
Ibrahim Ferrer of Buena Vista Social Club sings to an enthralled crowd.
re
Cuban S"ocial
Club sparks Hil

I

loan's sugartwes
rock Pontiac show

By Curtis Zimmermann
Daily Arts Writer
It was only fitting that the tempera-
ture was unseasonably high Saturday
night when the Buena Vista Social
Club performed at H ill Auditorium.
The rising thermometer combined
with the troupe's brilliant performance
made it feel as though the concert hall
was transformed into a Havana night-
club.
The artists of the Buena Vista
Social Club have emerged in the late
'90s as one of Cuba's premiere
exports thanks in part to their
Grammy award-winning album and
documentary of the same name. Its
music blends many of the popular
styles of 20th Century Afro-Cuban
music, including Son, Rumba and
Mambo. The two

By Erin Podolsky
and Ken Barr
Daily Arts Writers
Normally, Sloan treats the audi-
e to every song they've ever
r "orded with words that they can
still remember. Often, they'll throw
in a few songs that they can't remem-
ber just for good measure. This cre-
ates a relaxed, large-scale garage
band, sing-along atmosphere that has
been a successful
5 -formula for the
past several
Detroit shows.
Sloan Sloan's recent
performance
lutch Cargo's before a sold-out
Oct. 29, 1999 crowd at
Pontiac's Clutch
Cargo's consisted
of a much shorter
set (due in part to
the fact that the
apparently wildly
popular "Latin
Dance Night"
* scheduled immediately follow-
ing the concert) comprised mostly of
songs off their newest album,
"Between the Bridges." Such old
favorites as "Deeper than Beauty"
and "Underwhelmed" were axed in
favor of the newer "So Beyond Me"
and "Delivering Maybes." In addi-
tion, Sloan's intensive touring sched-

ule has had the (tongue firmly in
cheek) unfortunate side effect of pol-
ishing each song and developing the
band's talent. Despite this horrifying
evolution, Friday night's crowd thor-
oughly enjoyed every moment of
Sloan's exciting concert.
And you get the feeling that Sloan
also enjoys its reinvented self.
Careful concert-goers may have
noted a beaming smile on the face of
usually stoic guitarist Jay Ferguson at
several points during the evening.
They may have noticed his homage to
The Who as he "windmilled" closing
chords instead of trying to sneak a
peek at his watch. Both drummer
Andrew Scott and bassist/vocalist
Chris Murphy played the drums with
a passion.
Wearing a large t-shirt and strug-
gling to keep his glasses from falling
off his face, Murphy evoked images
of a little kid banging away on his
first drum kit. It is these images that
will ingrain the show in the minds of
fans and that prove the necessity of
witnessing a live performance.
Slower songs such as "The
Marquee and the Moon" were per-
formed even more subdued than their
studio versions, while fun tracks like
"All by Ourselves" and "Anyone
Who's Anyone" made it clear than
Sloan's tight harmony is legitimate,
not the product of studio doctoring.

Bualna Vista
SoilClub
Hill Auditorium
Oct. 30, 1999
<I

featured per-
formers on the
bill were vocalist
Ibrahim Ferrer,
who has been
singing in Son
groups since the
'30s, and pianist
Ruben Gonzalez,
who is consid-
ered one of the
finest in the
world, in any
genre.
Before the

dition of "Somewhere Over the
Rainbow."
At first the audience didn't compre-
hend that the music was meant for
dancing until halfway through the first
set when singer Omara Portuondo,
who also appeared on the album,
joined the group on stage. With her
singing and dancing she finally got
the crowd to its feet. As she left the
stage, most sat for the rest of
Gonzalez set, but a select few kept
dancing in the aisles.
The second set had thirteen musi-
cians and featured Ibrahim Ferrer.
Even though he's now in his seventies,
Ferrer danced and sang with the
tenacity of a 20-year-old and appeared
to be having a great time on stage. He
blended fast upbeat dance tunes with
slower more seductive numbers.
Portuondo joined him on stage for
many of the songs and the two occa-
sionally dancing close as the Orquesta
wailed.
One of the memorable instrumental
elements of the set was when Ramos
and fellow trombonist Demetrio
Muniz became engaged in a musical
duel. As the group was raging these
two kept giving explosives solos that
accelerated the intensity level in the
auditorium and gained one of the
many standing ovations that evening.
For the first encore both Ferrer and
Gonzalez returned with the smaller
band. Having the two dynamic per-
sonalities on stage literally brought
the crowd to its feet. In second encore
the full Orquesta returned and the
show became a Cuban jazz jam ses-
sion with Ferrer and Portuaondo at the
helm. The piece had the entire 4,000
plus crowd dancing, singing and clap-
ping in the aisles.
As Latin pop stars begin making
their presence felt in mainstream
American consciousness, it is good to
see that the people who helped devel-
op and define the music in the last
century are still getting the recogni-
tion that they deserve. In the process
they even taught a bunch of mid-west-
erners how to get down, Cuban style.

Courtesy of murder records
Canadian based Sloan has served sweet fun for fans since the early '90s.

Sloan's ability to rotate like volley-
ball players to new instruments after
every few songs continues to impress
both old fans and new and shows the
breadth of their talent and experi-
ence. Their musicality was also fea-
tured in an extended instrumental
jam during a song from the Japanese
version of "Between the Bridges."
During their performance of last
summer's radio hit, "Money City
Maniacs," Sloan embarked on a sur-
prise tribute to Kiss and the Rolling

Stones. Bandleader Murphy first
clawed his way up a speaker stack to
sing "Detroit Rock City." He then
managed to vault himself into the
balcony to pluck a lucky few from the
audience to join him on stage as he
led the crowd in the frenzied chorus
of "Jumping Jack Flash."
After returning for a short encore
that reminded the audience to see
"The Good in Everyone," Sloan left
the stage and left the audience with
memories that will last a lifetime.

first set Gonzalez needed some assis-
tance walking to his piano. Once he
sat down however he showed that his
talents are not slowing down with age.
He played the first piece without
accompaniment and showcased his
skills with a song that sounded more
like a classical piece than Afro-Cuban
Jazz. Following this his five-piece
group joined him on stage.
Beyond Gonzalez the various mem-
bers of the group gave spectacular
solos including stand-up bassist
Orlando L6pez who kept banging on
the side of his bass as he plucked the
strings. Bandleader Jesns Ramos'
trombone solos were also a highlight,
even with his rather out of place ren-

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