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September 10, 1999 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-10

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10 -- The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 10, 1999

Chamber
bring
'usic' to *
liy Adlin Rosli
Odaily Arts Writer
Heavy music group Coal ChamberY
recently released it's second album x
entitled, "Chamber Music." The
abum successfully avoids the dread-
qd "sophomore slump" and is instead
a mature progression away from ther

'Stigmata' provides no salvation*

By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
This year's winning entry in
Hollywood's annual "How can we
offend the Vatican?" contest,
"Stigmata" (previous winners
include "Priest" and "Last
Temptation of Christ"), comes to
audiences courtesy of the falling
regime at MGM studios and a curi-
ously biblically named write Tom
Lazarus.
Patricia Arquette plays a non-
mouth-bleeding stigmatic in a film
filled with so many plot holes, inad-

overpowering heavy music assault of
the group's self titled debut.
Commenting on the album, Coal
Chamber's lead singer Dez Fafara said
the group was intentionally looking to
give its audience a more varied offer-
ing this time around. "I wanted to take
the fans through a journey instead of
just taking them through the angry
mind of Dez so that maybe they can
feel the subtle beauty that exists in all
of us. I tend to write about humanity
and that leads to many different
worlds to go to and many different
landscapes and textures. Theres just
beautiful worlds that speak of love and
endless love and theres worlds of
hate," said Fafara.
To realize the group's vision of
more variety in its songs, Fafara
eded up straying away from the
cathartic
screaming of the
group's first
album and put a
Coal lot of effort into
Chamber developing a
Harpo's strong singing
Tonight at 7:30 voice for the
newer songs. As
he mentioned, "I

equacies and out
commercial-esque,
Stigmata
At Showcase

and out douche
frolicking-in-the-
grass interludes
between she and
non-love interest
Gabriel Byrne
that it's hard to
imagine the
Pope doing any-
thing but laugh.
Unfortunately
for "Stigmata,"
though, it still
manages to
offend with its
r e v i s i o n i s t
gospel of Jesus
theories and

Her vacationing mother sends her a
rosary that, unbeknownst to both of
them, was ripped off the corpse of a
priest by a Rio street urchin and, as
all relics of the angry dead do, is
about to bring a world of hell down
on poor Frankie's wrists, feet, back
and forehead. Naturally, the other-
worldly powers of the rosary do not
occur to Frankie and certainly not
the priest sent to investigate her
"case," Andrew Kiernan (Byrne), so
they spend the remainder of the
movie trying to figure out what evil
force is possessing her.
Kiernan is under attack as well, a
scientist in an industry, if you will,
that relies not on fact but on faith.
He investigates - that is, he dis-
proves, in true Agent Scully fashion
- "miracles" like crying statues of
Mary and stigmatics like Frankie.
But with Frankie he believes,
although he cannot explain it. His
superior at the Vatican, Cardinal
Houseman (Jonathan Pryce), seeks
to keep the Church stagnant and holy
without interference from ideas that
might rock the foundation of
Catholicism.
Rocking the foundation of
Catholicism is exactly what the so-
called demon possessing Frankie
wants to do. The dead priest had
found what was presumably a gospel
actually written by Jesus himself and
was in the process of translating it
when Houseman and the other cow-

ardly lions in Rome shut him down.
Apparently the only way to free the
gospel is to make Frankie bleed from
every orifice and speak in tongues.
And let's not forget temptation -
yes, Frankie even tries to seduce
celibate Kiernan.
Of "Stigmata"'s many sins, noneW
so great as that of director Rupert
Wainwright. Like so many flashy,
insubstantial feature helmers of late
who graduated from the music video
circuit, Wainwright relies entirely
too much on visual acrobatics and
not at all on, say, logical plot devel-
opments, strength of character or
anything else typically associated
with a "good" film.
Arquette and Byrne are innoc
bystanders in this horrid case of ego-
mania run amok, although they cer-
tainly fail to do anything to help their
cause. Nia Long makes an appear-
ance as Frankie's purple-haired best
friend and then disappears for the
remainder of the film. The script by
Lazarus and Rick Ramage is half-
baked and filled with ugly quasi-
witty, religion-tinged dialogue.
And what of offense to t
Vatican? It wouldn't be surprising if
a holy order of protest came down
from up on high. No, the surprise
would be that religious officials
shelled out money for this pathetic
attempt at holy horror in the first
place.

ROADRUNNER RECOI
Ah, the quintessential kids next door, Coal Chamber, crash Detroit this evening.

with, the group's new album actually
still posesses a couple more surpris-
es up its sleeve. Fans used to pegging
the band to only its savage and heavy
downtuned songs, such as "Loco"
and "Sway," from its first album will
no doubt be either elated or irritated
by the inclusion of eerie and melon-
cholic ballads on "Chamber Music."
And as if that is not enough to sur-
prise the seasoned Coal Chamber
fan, there is yet one more thing about
the new album that will make of
break the group's relationship with
its older fan base: a cover of Peter
Gabriel's "Shock The Monkey."
Heavy bands recording covers of
popular '80s numbers seem to be the
trendy thing to do these days, what
with Limp Bizkit with "Faith," Orgy
with "Blue Monday," Fear Factory
with "Cars" and Machine Head with
"Message In A Bottle."
Fafara defends his group's deci-
sion to do the cover however saying
that, "Well, we've wanted to do
"Shock The Monkey" for like five
years now, amidst all of the pop
songs around at the time it was a
very "anti-pop" song. I. totally stress
that we did it like a Coal Chamber
song, we did it so anti-popthat we
don't even know if radio is going to
play it. It's really heavy and its got
Ozzy on it too. We shot a video for it
and it's really dark and unflashy so
we're not afraid of any criticism
-about us doing that song."'
The Ozz-man himself making an
appearance on the group's new album

was certainly a big highlight for
Fafara and his band. Fafara explained,
"I think Peter Gabriel sounds a lot like
Ozzy and Ozzy sound a lot like Peter.
We called Ozzy and he said, "I'm a
huge Peter Gabriel fan, I'd love to do
it!" In fact he listens to Peter Gabriel
before he goes on stage at night. So
we were thinking, "Oh my God!"" The
group's tie to Ozzy Osbourne does not
merely end there as the group is actu-
ally managed by Osbourne's wife,
Sharon Osbourne.
The group is presently out on the
road supporting "Chamber Music"
with Machine Head, Slipknot and
Amen. Of the group's pairing with its
fellow label mates from Roadrunner
Records, Fafara said "This is kind of
our one hand washes the other with
Machine Head. They took us over to
Europe and made us big. Now we
want to take them out now and let peo-
ple who may never have heard of
Machine Head, Slipknot or Amen for
that matter, and let them get a good
dose."
One member of Coal Chamber
will unfortunately not be out with the
group for this leg of shows. As
Fafara clarified, "Rayna (Foss, bass
player) is pregnant and due in the
next two weeks or so. We got anoth-
er lady out here to fill her shoes
named Nadia. We want to keep the
whole boys and girls thing going on
for the shows and Nadia is an awe-
some bass player whose getting
along great with everybody."

tract-like lessons of the Church mas-
querading as dialogue.
Frankie Paige (Arquette) is a 23-
year-old hairdresser who parties all
night and doesn't believe in God.

Cable TV shows strength

>9

knew in order to
secure longevity
doing this as a
career I had to
sing my ass off.
It couldn't have

just come from my heart, it had to
come from other places as well so I
had to learn how to do that. Me
singing more overall was a total.
effort between all of the band mem-
lers It was a conscious effort
between all of us to push each other
you know?".
Although hearing Fafara sing more
mhay already be one new thing that
Coal Chamber fans will be dealing

Apply for the
GTE Visa on the web
and get up to ue of
FREE calling time.'*

I

The Hartford Courant
Every summer, as the dog days of
August dwindle, one thing can be
counted on as reliably as hurricanes
delivering a wet lashing to the Gulf
Coast. The nation's TV writers, fresh
from three weeks of flirting with star-
lets over fruity frozen confections and
schmoozing poolside in Pasadena,
Calif., at the annual critics conference,
return to deliver a wet smooch to the
fall's prime-time schedule.
It's the time of year when critics
suspend skepticism to gush. Last
year, hyperbole was lavished upon
Nathan Lane's "can't miss" sitcom
"Encore, Encore" and CBS' bold
"Brian Benben Show." Both bombed.
This year, it's time to offer the requi-
site hopeful profiles of NBC's "The
Mike O'Malley Show" or find some-
thing cute, nostalgic and ironic about
Urkel and Punky Brewster joining
forces on UPN's twentysomething
comedy "Grown Ups."
The conventional wisdom this season
is betting on retread Rob Lowe in
NBC's "The West Wing," as if graduat-
ing from "St. Elmo's Fire" to the White
House equals ratings gold. "Pleasingly
brisk!" offers Entertainment Weekly, as
if the show's a new iced tea. Then
there's "Ally," a half-hour of Calista
Flockhart's regurgitated gags, as if Dick
Clark and Ed McMahon didn't drain
the bloopers shtick a decade ago.
"Ally" isn't the only show being
shamelessly repackaged. There are
spinoffs galore, from "Party of Five,"
"Moesha," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
and "Law & Order." Then come the
knockoffs, as "Felicity" begets
"Wasteland" and "Dawson's Creek"
becomes "Manchester Prem." Alas,
"Manchester" is just another show
about white-bread adolescent angst
among rich New Yorkers.
So how about this as a fall preview?
Don't get too excited about the over-
heated prose from the critics in
Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide or the
newspapers, most of whom don't fully
comprehend the changes roiling
through the business of television. This
fall season will likely prove to be just as
inconsequential as last year's. Maybe
three of these shows will last the year.
The rest will disappear, buried under an
_ avalanche of hype and hope for midsea-

son replacements.
The real story this fall is that the
broadcast networks' annual cotillion of
new shows is as passe as '80s nostalgia.
Call it the blowing up of television.
Cable television has the traditional net-
works locked in a death dance. They're
trapped in an outdated economic model
that requires large audiences during an
age of fragmentation. They're hemmed
in by their inability to deal as candidly
as cable with edgy issues such as sex,
violence and race. And - as the very
existence of the fall-season hoopla
attests - they're trapped in yesterday's
system of broadcasting shows once a
week. Cable, and the new age of digital
television, is obliterating the very idea
of a viewing schedule.
That, really, is the essence of tele-
vision this fall. With their audiences
disappearing and their programming
agenda in shreds, the networks are
lashed to an old-fashioned system as
hapless as a passenger railroad in an
age of jumbo jets. Technologically
and culturally, the networks have
been left behind at the very moment
that cable is pioneering a brave new
world of programming.
This year, HBO completely aban-
doned the traditional concept of waiting
until autumn to roll out a show. In
January, HBO launched one of the
smartest and most talked about dramas
on television today, the brilliant mob-
ster-in-suburbia series "The Sopranos."
The gritty prison drama "Oz" arrived
on HBO in July 1997, and new episodes
have been introduced every summer
since then. The cable network had the
sense to wrap with cliffhangers and
begin working on new episodes that
will be shown starting in January -
completely dodging the need to "coun-
terprogram" against the nets.
Meanwhile, the most-talked-about
network show is a Regis Philbin
game show. And the networks are so
confused about how to attract a mass
audience that they seem frozen in
place with the same tired cop shows
and newsmagazines.
The networks - while growing from
three to six with the birth of Fox, The
WB and UPN - have seen their col-
lective share of the audience dwindle to
its lowest level ever, with less than 70
percent of the total viewers. In 1985,

the average American family received
18 channels on their TV That number
has grown to more than 60.
The networks have also lagged
behind cable creatively, failing to
launch a big "water-cooler" hit since
"Ally McBeal." HBO alone has
launched three, with "TO
Sopranos," "Oz" and "Sex and the
City." That doesn't even include
Todd McFarland's first-rate animated
series "Spawn," or the acclaimed
sports-agent comedy "Arliss." That
HBO has the edgiest, best-acted
shows on TV was recognized by this
year's Emmy nominations.
HBO's shows might be the best-
written, but they're hardly the only
programming on cable that is mo
daring and original than the netwo
offerings. Showtime has the addic-
tive "Rude Awakenings," with
Sherilyn Fenn as a bad-girl-gone-
worse. MTV's "Tom Green Show"
turns adolescent practical jokes into
an art form. MTV also attracted
"Killing Fields" director Roland
Joffe to create the addictive
"Undressed," which follows friend..
ships and relationships through
varieties of pillow talk and late-nigt
confessions and confusions.
Another issue is attracting the
best, young demographics. The net-
works continue to flail about trying
to clone "Dawson's Creek" in an
attempt to attract the coveted 18-to-
34 age group. The lengths they go to
are pathetic - of the 32 new shows
this fall, five revolve around high
school life, and six track twen-
tysomething angst. Meanwhile, t*
teen and post-teen set continues to
deliver record ratings to MTV's
"Real World," in the midst of a ban-
ner eighth season, and Comedy
Central's "South Park." Once more,
cable effortlessly triumphs.
The traditional networks, each about
to become just one of several hundred
viewing options, are going to have to
adapt or die. Judging by their prograti
ming choices this fall, the netwo'
execs in New York and Hollywood are
either in deep denial about what kind of
trouble they're in, or they're rolling out
the same-old (to all the attendant hype)
because they haven't a clue or the dar-
ing to try anything new.
Come to the
Daily Arts mass
meetings:
Sept. 14th,
16th and 17th
7:30 pm in the
Daily Arts
Room

Y !

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