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January 30, 2001 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-30

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'heck out online...
The new Life Sciences Orchestra
played their first concert on Sunday.
-ead the review on our new and
"umproved website.
michigandaily.com /arts

ARTS

TUESDAY
JANUARY 30, 2001

EDDIE IZZARD TUESDAY

'Shadow' combines brilliant
acting with harrowing visuals

'Action transvestite'

y Andy TaylorFabe
Daily Arts Writer
The vampire movie has been a staple of film since
the beginning of the art-form, and stories of the
cursed undead continue to enthrall people even
. today. The newest examination of the subject,
"Shadow of the Vampire," takes us back to the cre-

Shadow of
the Vampire
Grade: B+
At The Michigan
Theater

ation of one of the earliest and
greatest vampire movies of all
time, "Nosferatu," with an eerie
atmosphere and exceptional
performances that make you
remember why the vampire is
such a fascinating subject.
"Shadow" follows the mak-
ing of the silent film
"Nosferatu" in the early 1920's.
(In this first film adaptation of
Bram Stoker's "Dracula," all of
the names had to be changed
due to the fact that Stoker's
widow refused to sell the rights,
so Count Dracula becomes

and crew of the film begin to suffer as he gives in to
his need for blood. Murnau soon realizes that he does
not have as much control over the Count as he
thought.
This portrayal of a vampire and both his physical
and mental state is one of the most complex and real-
istic that I have seen. Instead of the more common
depiction of vampires with enlarged canines and
mostly human features, Orlock is much more primi-
tive. Between his bat ears, rat-like front teeth, long,
dark claws and hunched body, he seems more like a
rodent than a man.
Dafoe gives Orlock real depth, and there are times
where he is even a sympathetic character. As we see
him looking longingly at a film clip of a sunny sky
or speaking of his painful and forgotten past, we
begin to really identify with him and his terrible sit-
uation. He is drawn beyond his will to carry out his
actions and live his nightmarish existence, and his
desperation is tangible. Dafoe is incredibly creepy,
and it is easy to forget that he is just wearing make-
up. The first time that he glides onscreen, he truly
looks the part of a monster.
The humor in the film is dark and disturbing, but
it is also highly enjoyable. During a private meeting
between Orlock and Murnau, the director is trying to
persuade the Count to control his appetite and refrain
from destroying more crew members, and Orlock
desperately mutters, "I do not think we need the ...
writer" with a sheepish and hopeful grin on his face.
Murnau, always clad in a white lab coat, is por-
trayed more as a scientist than an artist. His obses-
sion with producing a perfect record of events
stretches to the point of madness, and Malkovich's
thousand-yard stare gives Murnau just the right mix
of instability and genius. Unfortunately, this film is

chats on di
By Lyle K. Henretty
Daily Film Editor
British stand-up comedian Eddie
Izzard has been slowly infiltrating his
way into American society by way of his
double Emmy-award winning HBO spe-
cial "Dress to Kill" and his growing
number of memorable supporting film
roles. The comedian/actor spoke with
The Michigan Daily about his new film
"Shadow of the Vampire" as well as his
comedy and his status as the world's
most popular transvestite since Divine.
In "Shadow of the Vampire," Izzard
plays Gustav von Wagenheim, an actor
in the silent vampire classic "Nosferatu."
There is very little historical information
on the von Wagenheim, so Izzard went
with his own instincts. "I sort of made up
his life. I came to the conclusion that he
was an arrogant, bad actor ... He was of
the opinion that he was a very good
actor. Except for the scenes with [Max
Shreck, who played the vampire] up in
the castle, he was quite good in those."
When I suggested that Mr. Izzard's
stage shows were notoriously over-the-
top, he bristled at the comparison. "If
you're saying that I'm hammy like [von
Wagenheim] is, I'd have to shoot
myself." The stand-up shows are not
hammy, certainly, but have a tremendous
energy. "You can't really do stand-up
and hide on stage. I mean you have to
come out, I mean 11,000 people you
won't succeed if you're just piddling
around on stage"
His high energy, however, did not
clash with his notorious, scene-stealing
costars in "Shadow," the formidable
Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich. "I
don't think they needed to steal scenes

verse roles
because it was their novie.,ohn
Malkovich is very much -_ hn
Malkovich. Whether he's on" een
shooting a scene or when he's off sefbn,
he's quite similar And Willem would get
right into the vampire and then he'd be
back to Willem."
Izzard's upcoming role in "A l the
Queen's Men" with "Friends" stair Matt
LeBlanc has the stand-up playing a
British soldier who must dress up like a
woman in order to steal an Enigrna
machine from the Germans duing
World War 11. Izzard describes it as-'ort
of 'Some Like It Hot' meets 'Raidprsof
the Lost Ark."' It is a role cf4Zto
Izzard's heart because he consid& the
character, like himself, as a "action
transvestite." When asked to expound,
the comedian was right in his element.
"The term is a little flip term I came
up with. I have to look for language to
explain and promote transgender, or my
sort of branch of transgender ... in nle
areas there's straight t.v.'s [transvestites],
bisexual transvestites, and gay transves-
tites. So, I'm a straight t.v., or male les-
bian ... It's like the inverse of a tomboy,
a male tomboy. So I'm still into runnifig,
jumping, climbing trees, being an action
transvestite, Emma Peel from "The
Avengers," Laura Croft. That type of
thing."
Izzard tries to take as many diverse
roles as possible, such as playing Charlie
Chaplin in Peter Bogdanavich's new
film, "The Cat's Meow," a fictionalized
noir take on early Hollywood.{And
despite his history of playing in intelli-
gent films, Izzard does wish to branch
out even further. "I really like action film
I don't want to do intellectual, high
literate films."

Count Orlock.) In "Shadow," when-German director
F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) plans his film, he is
so obsessed with perfection that he decides to use a
real vampire to play an actor playing the vampire.
Got that? As part of the bargain, Murnau tells Orlock
(Willem Dafoe) that in return for pretending to be
actor Max Schreck and starring in the film, he will
t to feed on the leading lady at the end of the pro-
Uction.
At first, their tentative alliance seems feasible.
1owever, Orlock, who has been in isolation for
years, is overcome by his primal urges, and the cast
the michigan daily

courtesy of Lions Gate Films
Eddie Izzard looking less feminine than usual.
another example of Malkovich botching an accent.
Usually, he does either no accent at all (e.g. his por-
trayal of Charles VII of France in "The Messenger")
or a completely over the top cartoon character
(Teddy KGB in "Rounders"), but in "Shadow," he
never really decides what accent he is using.
The editing of the movie is a little jarring, and
some bizarre, morphine laden interlude scenes seem
thrown in and merely distract form the rest of the
film. However, vivid imagery and amazing acting by
Dafoe make the film intriguing and guarantee it a
place of honor in vampire film history.

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By Rohith Thumati
For the Daily
Well, the Super Bowl was over at half-
time (again), but the ads ran throughout,
giving us a reason to watch. A total of
60 ran this year, though maybe half of
them were new. Here are the top five:
1. Cingular Wireless: This is one of
the most powerful advertisements I have
ever seen. It shows a mentally retarded
person, who can barely move or talk,
painting these absolutely beautiful self-
portraits with a brush strapped to his
head. The Cingular tagline, "We believe
in the power and beauty of self-expres-
sion" is extremely appropriate for this
ad. This advertisement proves that
humor is not the only way to get your
message across.
2. E-Trade: The commercial shows a
monkey leading a horse through a
desert. All of a sudden, a wrecking ball
hits a building, and a sock puppet that
looks suspiciously like the spokes-pup-
pet of the now-bankrupt Pets.com falls
on the ground next to the monkey. The
tagline "Invest Wisely" comes on the
screen.
3. Nacho Cheesier Doritos: Ali
Landry, after pouring a bag of Doritos
into a tennis ball machine, tries to catch
the chips in her mouth (as she has done
in other Doritos commercials). But she
nt h. t iti- rlbye m and is,

5. Accenture: A guy is driving a
Pagani Zonda (a very rare and expensive
Italian super-car) around some Italian
city. A headline appears on the screen
saying "65% of Online Shoppers
Abandon Sale Before Checkout" The
driver disappears, and the salesman in
the passenger seat tries to prevent the car
from crashing. This is actually a good
add, as opposed from their other com-
mercials.
And now, the inescapable worst five:
1. Exit Wounds: It is a Steven Seagal
movie. 'Nuff said.
2. Pepsi: Bob Dole playing with bis
dog on a beach, talking about being
"revitalized", and his "little blue friend".
He then sips from a Pepsi can, and does
a back flip in front of two attractive
young girls running by. This is actually
funny, but any reminder of Bob Dole and
Viagra makes me vomit.
3. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. This ad
is pretty standard action film fare, with
lots of quick cuts of fighting scenes.
Angelina Jolie looks pretty damn good
and has some acrobatic moves, but her
horrid English accent places it on this
list.
4. Accenture: A bunch of green cell-
like things float around, which turn out
that to form a computer chip. A news-
paper headline appears on the screen
sving."Racteri tested as microchir"

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