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November 22, 2000 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-11-22

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tam a little dream... I ii tUt U
equiern for a Dream," Michigan
eater, through Nov. 23 See drug
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niig time TBA, call 668-8480.
rhiganiIyxom/arts s NOVEMBER 22, 2000

2li4 Jackson prove 'Unbreakable'in Shyamalan's newest

Christopher Cousino
ily Ans Writer
titer-director M. Night Shyamalan could not
ve expected to top his surprise success, "The Sixth
nse,' an Academy Award nominee with a solid
ipt and the acting talents of Haley Joel Osment
d Bruce Willis (who also stars in "Unbreakable").
Thus, Shyamalan settled for a
genre picture - almost. With
his latest film, the former
G 'M Philadelphian returns again to
eakable his hometown to craft the latest
comic book super hero movie,
the first in a long time that actu-
Grade: B+ ally has a real character and
At Showcase cares about people in leu of
and Quality 16 flashy special effects, skin tight
nipple enhanced costumes or
ridiculously paced plots and
action sequences.
Willis portrays David Dunn,
your average middle-aged Joe
whose waning marriage to his
college sweetheart Audrey
n Wright Penn) and position as security guard
the local college football stadium are on the outs.
hen )ie returns home from an interview in New
rk, the train he rides suddenly breaks off the
cks,:which results in the deaths of 131 passengers
everyone, except for miraculously Dunn, who
lI sway without a scratch.
The near death experience gives Dunn a second

chance with his wife and his young son Joseph
(Spencer Treat Clark), who sees his father as any boy
does - superman. With "Unbreakable," Shyamalan
makes an ode to fathers everywhere, literally and fig-
uratively embellishing the idea that your cad is a
super hero, that he's stronger and tougher than the
res and he's indestructible (Joseph asks, "Do you
think you could have beaten up Bruce Lee?"). Here,
for one, is why Shyamalan is so fresh and crisp - he
takes a basic idea and transforms it into a real human
story, one about fathers and sons, cracked marriages
and the basic struggles amidst a sebf-pitying,
defeatist world.
"These are mediocre times," says the mysterious
Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) to Dunn veen the two
first meet after Price leaves a cryptic note on the hood
of Dunn's car, asking, "When was the last time you
were sick?" Price, a main afflicted by osteogensis imper-
fecta, a rare disease that causes his bones to break eas-
ily (54 times to be exact), senses a spiritual-like con-
nection with the seemingly "unbreakable" Dunn. The
pair form a bond as Price tries to convince Dunn that he
has been given a special quality, a theory that he
adamantly rejects but his son firmly believes.
Shyamalan doesn't waste time with silly, inane
action scenes; we've seen these time wid time again
in superhero movies where the good and bad guys
fight, the bad guys start to kick ass blut then, at the
last possible moment, the hero ultimately regains
strength or mind to win the battle. Instead,
Shyamalan treats his audience with a. character study
of Dunn, oflhim coming to terms witi his own power
and sense of self in the world. Scesies such as one

involving a breakfast where Joseph "threatens" to
shoot his father to prove his power and one with a
fearful dive into a covered swimming pool are so
fresh and intense that they jump off the screen.
An ode to comic books and the comic's form of sto-
rytelling and structure, "Unbreakable" is loaded with
shots of comics on the racks as well as a prelude of sta-
tistics about the comic book market, buyers, etc.You get
a sense that Shyamalan was a comic book kid and that
his film is alittle swan song to the longstanding art
form of the comic. Much of this seethes out of the
words and wisdom of Price, who spent more time with
the heroes and villians in the tiny boxes during his hos-
pital stays than with other kids his age.
While Price remains a mystery through the entire
film, Jackson's eeriness (much due to his wide-eyed
look like he took the red-eye a few too many times
between LA and the Philly film shoots) keeps his char-
acter believable and effective. However, like Puce, or
"Mr. Glass" as the kids would call him, Shylaman's
script loses a leg or so. Price is such a mystery that
Shylaman leaves the audience in the dark on his overall
character a little too long; for much of the film, he
works simply as a catalyst for Dunn.
Though Price is not as clearly defined as he could be
and the twist ending (yes, there is another one) has its
flaws, Shylaman scores again in the supernatural
thriller realm with "Unbreakable" Filled with the same
darkish cool tones of. "The Sixth Sense,"
"Unbreakable" is a moody, subtle film that s really
about findini' your place in the world and knowing who
you are. Sound like the tagline for another "X-Men"
flick? God help us. "1 j

ust don't dig on swine." Samuel L Jackson and Bruce Willis star in "Unbreakable'

Sheen & Co. fill executive
oid in new 'Wing' season

Melissa Golob
ly Arts Writer
I~this year's presidential election
ught us anything, it's that life is
ays better on television. Case in
int with "The West Wing," which
ppens to be the only sane repre-
sentation of poli-
tics on television
to date.
With nine
The West Emmy wins
under its belt, the
Wng icritically
NBC acclaimed "The
Tonight at 9P.M. West Wing"
entered its sec-
and season with
a hang- Coming
back from an
explosive season
finale, the season
premiere found
ir favorite President' shot while
alking out of a town hall meeting
se a white-supremacist group
cid ed that the First Daughter
ould not date the President's black
,rsonal aide Charlie (Dule Hill).
hile the stunned presidential staff
orked through the emotional over-
ad, viewers were taken on a trip
ack in time using innovative flash-
ck sequences to explain how the
1st came together and united under
> "Jed" Bartlet (Martin Sheen).
f the mesmerizing premiere,
The West Wing" dispelled any
tion of a sophomore jinx.
President Bartlet is the kind of
tan we wish would run for the job.
Ithough he is a Notre Dame
iehard, Bartlet loves being presi-
ent and takes great pride in the fact
lat he leads .the most powerful
ation in the world. He is the back-
one of the show and Martin Sheen
a sensational job at presenting
tret as a man as well as a presi-
J ed also relies on his quirky staff
including two Emmy winners), to
rovide the bulk of humor and drama
within each storyline. The White

Courtesy of NBC
Martin Sheen and Richard Schiff star in
NBC's hit, "The West Wing."
House staffers returning for another
year of political maneuvering
include Toby Ziegler (Richard
Schiff) and Sam Seaborn (R4
Lowe) who run White House conw-
munications, which ranges fronu
securing appointments to lie
Supreme Court to writing tile
President's everyday speeches. Chief
of Staff Leo McGarry (Jhn
Spencer) is the patriarch of the stafff
keeps everything runing siwoetlly
while his deputy Josh Lyman
(Braol'ey Whitford) makes a full
recouky from the shooting to battle
Capital Hill once again. The inde-
pendeit Press Secretary C.J. Cregg
(Allison Janney) completes this
inner circle of confidantes to the
This season also finds fan favorite
Donna Moss (Janel Moloney), Josh's
"guru of unknown facts" scretary,
as a full-fledged cast member. 1er
addition means much more bantering
between the two, as their odd couple
relationship begins to slosly brew
into romance.
An integral part of the success of

"The West Wing" has been its wide
use of various big name guest stars.
Maioe Matlin made brief appear-
anaes last season bantering with Josh
while Stockard Channing brightened
up a handful of episodes as first lady
Abby Bartlet, M.D. She also returns
throughout this season to monitor the
president's health and give him
John Larroquette visited "The
West Wing" as Chief White House
Counsel to help introduce the new
Republican staffer Aimsley Hayes
{Emily Proctor). Can we say bi-parti-
"The West Wing" takes viewers to
the most famous office in America,
the OvalOffice. This fictional office
does a pretty fine job of portrayinig
the system at work. The outcome is
never perfect for either side and
that's precisely the point. Even when
they lose, they always come back the
next day to fight for their cause in
the next new battle.
"God Bless America" resonates
from every episode provoking debate
on issues that confront us on the
news every night. Presidential par-
dons, English as the official lan-
guage and bi-partisan spirit are only
a few of the conflicting issues that
"The West Wing" faces.
Yet, the staff continues to be an
inspiration for even the most apoliti-
cal person. "The West Wing is
putting a new face on politics, as
well as upping the gripping televi-
sion ante.
Tonight's episode titled,
"Shibboleth" brings everyone imto
the Thanksgiving spirit when C.J.
must decide between two turkeys,
and one will take part in the annual
Presidential Pardon Ceremony and
the other will be led to the
Thanksgiving guillotine.
President Bartlet must also decide
what to do about a boatload of
Chinese evangelical Christians in
Galifornia seeking asylum for reli-
gious persecution. Forget the real
political coverage and tune into a
president wsorth watching.

Courtesy ofIColumbia/Phoenix ictures
From Conan the Barbarian to, well, a modern Conan: Arnold can't seem to make it work in "The Sixth Day."

By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Arts Wriltcr
What happened to the days when Schwarzenegger could
just play a bad-ass or a humorless, vengeful maniac? His
regular Joe type roles, like his part in
"Tile Sixth Day," pale in comparison
with "Commando," "Predator" or
"True Lies." Schwarzenegger'slatest
The Sixth effort, though a valiant attempt, fol-
Day lows the same path as his latest
Grade: D+ heartbreaking failures.,
In the near future, "sooner than
At hiase ay umight think," cloning of cattle,
ani Quality 16 fish and even house-pets has become
commonplace. Human cloning,
however, is highly illegal because of
'.ts the controversial and biblically
ispired "Sixth Day" law, which was
implemented after a botched attempt
to clone a person scared the public
and the government.
Enter Adam Gibson (Schwarzenegger), a mild man
nered every-man who is forced to run for his life and
defend himself against a far-reaching conspiracy (you
should Total(ly) Recall seemig this set-up before) when lie
comes home one ight to find himself replaced by a clone
and pursued by assassins. Through his quest to re-claim his
life and his family, he discovers a sinister plot involvimg
cloning and the future of humanity.
Okay, I just have to get this out of the way: Would it kill
the filmmakers to amend the script to explain how a guy

with a name like Adam Gibson can have an accent like
Schwarzenegger's? Not that it bothers me that his accent
hasn't changed since "The 'erminator," but I meian, hon-
estly, Adam Gibson?
"The Sixth Day" falls into the same rut as so many
other action/science fiction movies, for although it's
entertaining in that train wreck, can't avert your eyes
sort of way, it never fulfills your expectations, and
Schwarzenegger's endless attempts to provide the
comic relief himself are terrible as usual. His almost
painful one-liners only seem worse when one remem-
hers "True Lies," his best comic effort. Also, the whole
cloning thing is only half explained. Although a lot of'
time is spent talking about tie techlItoogy , it never
seems believable.
Many of the special effects are impressive, and there
are some pretty decent car chases. However, there are
also extremely irritating visual transitions between
scenes. They seem like they are supposed to be modeled
after the overhead surveiliance style of films like "Enemy
of the State" but they end up feeling like the cuts in the
Adam West "Batman" TV series.
"The Sixth Day" has the potential to be a really enter-
taining and innovative film, but it lacks heart, and an
abundance of horrendous, cringe-inducing dialogue seals
its fate. Despite the presence of strong supportimg actors,
imcluding Robert Duvall (I think it's agent firing time at
the Duvall homestead), the movie never feels satisfying.
My words of advice to Arnold are to return to his roots.
He should try to remember thatino one wants to see him
as the lighthearted every-man. Peop want McBain, o
that's what he should give them.

Food For Thought
The Women's Role
Over 265,000 women
*served in the armed
forces of the United
States during the
Vietnam War, all of them
volunteers. For more
information, go to:
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