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January 12, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-12

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Slim Cessna's Auto Club
Will the real Slim Cessna please stand
up? These high-energy alt-country
preachers will hit East Quad's Halfway
Inn on Sunday night. Yeeeeec-haw!

michigandaily. com/arts

FRIDAY
JANUARY 12, 2001

" 'State and Main' cast
accents film's appeal

'Save'mixes it up in life
and on the dance floor

By Wilhelmina Mauritz
Daily Arts Writer

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Film Editor

David Mamet's "State and Main"
shows that the prolific writer, and
sometimes director, is just as
skilled at light satire as he is at cap-

State and Main
Grade: A
At The Michigan
Theater
and Quality 16

tWring the dark
intensity of
"G I e n g a r r y
Glen Ross" or
the complex
paranoia of
"The Spanish
Prisoner." This
film is an
actor's feast,
and the ensem-
ble cast shines
in their pitch-
perfect roles.
M a m e t ' s
amazing dia-

is being held hostage, the
scriptwriter (Phillip Seymour
Hoffman) must come up with a new
way to rework the story. Mvacy and
his balls-of-brass producer (David
Paymer) try to stay on the mayor's
(Charles Durning) good side while
dealing with their leading lady's
(Sarah Jessica Parker) refusal to do
an important nude scene.
Other perils come in the form of
a young Lolita (Julia Stiles) with an
eye for Baldwin, and the-blowhard
attorney (Clark Gregg) who tries to
shut down the movie because
Hoffman stole away his fiancee
(Rebecca Pidgeon).
The characters and stories con-
nect perfectly, and the whole film
has the feel of the old-fashioned
Hollywood story that it is satiri'z-
ing. There is a wild logical jump or
two, and Pidgeon's odd reading of
Mamet's dialogue (she speaks the
"uhs" and "ums" as if they were
written on the page, which they
probably were), but these elements
simply give the film more charac-
ter. The story, which could easily
have seemed too busy, comes
across as hectic and full, yet enjoy-
able to watch.
Macy's arrogant, snide perfor-
mance is miles from his career-
making turn in "Fargo." He does
not seem like the same man playing
a different role, but an entirely dif-
ferent person.
"State and Main" also marks
Alec Baldwin's best work since,

Save the Last
Dance
Grade: B+
At Showcase
and Quality 16

"Save the Last Dance" is not simply a
movie about dancing. It's about what
dancing means and how it correlates to
life. lip-hop and ballet are the two
forms of dancing that are seen in this

film. Both are
very different
types of dance and
both mean differ-
ent things to the
star of the movie,
Sara Johnson,
played by Julia
Stiles.
At the start of
the movie we find
Sara on a train. A
fellow passenger.
noticing Sara's
ballet magazine,
asks if she dances.

logue flows organically from the
actor's mouths and rings pitch per-
fect nearly every time.
The film juggles as many charac-
ters as a Dickens' novel, and sati-
0 rizes both Hollywood and small-
town life while being a love letter
to both.
The story begins with a film
director (William H. Macy) invad-
ing a small town in order to contin-
ue shooting "The Old Mill."
Production was interrupted in the
originally intended town because of
the star's (Alec Baldwin) enjoy-
ement of underage women.
Since the old mill that they built

Covtesy o' F I e Li..
"Hey, you want a fresh one?" Director David Mamet threatens to slap that sassy
grin off of Alec Baldwin's face (again) during the production of "State and Main."

well, "Glengarrv Glen Ross." his
disreputable actor is just enough
self-mockery * to be fuinnv, vet
restrained enough to avoid com-
plete parody.
hoffman is as fine as ever, and
Pavmer is laugh-out-loud funny as
a film producer not afraid to kick
some ass (literally as well as fiuu-
rativelv).
It is, as usual, the situations and
Mbamet's dialogue that are the stars

of "State and Main." There is as
much characterization in each sen-
tence of "State and Main' as there
is in most mainstream Hollywood
movies cmnbined.
This film is fun to watch because
it showcases a highly talented
groupof artists doing what they do
best, it is unashamedly fun and
wholesome, even when it deals
with statutory rape and extortion.
That, methinks, is a neat trick.

With a hint of annoyance she replies
quite simply, "I used to." At this point the
movie flashes back to the day of Sara's
audition for the famous dance school
Julliard. That same day her mother dies
in a car crash while trving to make it in
time to see her daughter dance.
After the loss of her mother and the
almost inevitable failure of her audition,
Sara moves to Chicago to live with her
wayward father in the midst of an urban
ghetto. She starts attending a school
where she is the minority student but
quickly makes a few fiends. The most
significant being a single mother named
Chenille and her brother, Derek (Sean
Patrick Thomas), a star student on his
way to medical school who teaches Sara
the ropes of her new world.
Sara soon realizes that not much from
her past life applies to her new one. This
is evident through the comparison of
hip-hop dancing and ballet. lip-hop
beinga big part of her new friends' lives,
Sara discovers that as good as she is at

ballet, she doesn't know the first thing
about dancing hip-hop.
There is a great scene where Derek
takes Sara out on the dance floor and
tries to dance with her. Sara studies
Derek and those around her to try ind
pick up the moves. Eventually she pr'cks
them up but something is obviusly
missing because she still looks ridicp-
Ious. Unlike ballet, hip-hop isn't. all
about rules and exact positioning. There
are no rules in hip-hop. Like life, (11h
hip-hop you just need to let the music
take you and go with the flow.
Besides dancing, another focus 1 of
"Save the Last Dance" is the relationship
between Sara and Derek. Their relathon-
ship is unique genre because it is interra-
cial. What can be a somewhat torkc y
subject to some people is handled,, I
think, beautifully in this movie. Ilie
many different aspects of interrei'al
relationships are dealt with in this film.
Sara and Derek are the neutral char,4-
ters that simply look at their relationslhip
as normal because they know they' i e
each other and enjoy each other's iEk-
pany. They don't see it as an issue of.-kin
color but an issue of the heart. It is the
people around them that create the pro>-
lems and cause the inevitable conflicis'
"Save the Last Dance" does fallixno
the common trap of many movies ained
at young adults in that it was somie hat
predictable at times although this wIS
not unbearable. It is unusual to find
totally original movies these days-.
when you find one that is so totaily
enjoyable it is hard to complain. And
hey, if nothing else, you get some mighty
fun dance scenes. The one at the ed
almost blew me away. I heard someone
comment about wanting to get some
dance lessons to learn some of the awe-
some moves she had seen that night' s
we were all filing out of the movie. All, I
could think of was, "where do I sign
ups ?.."

Stunning, highly recognize d
Quartet returns for ravishing
By Jee Chang **
Daily Arts Writer :

' Be prepared to be stunned once again by the
Vermeer Quartet, now returning to Ann Arbor's
University Musical Society's chamber Arts series

Vermeer
Quartet
Rackham
Auditorium
Jan. 13, 2001

for its second performance.
The performance will be held
in the Rackham Auditorium,
Saturday, January 13. at 8
p.m. The repoitoire for the
evening will include works of
Hayden, Shostoakovich,
Tchaikovsky, and
Mendelssohn. There will also
be a lecture held prior to the
performance by Inna
Naroditskaya . of
Northwestern University. The
Vermeer Quartet has been
praised for its expressiveness
and vitality as a team effort,

Vermeer
performance
ented musicians united to form the Vermeer
Quartet in 1969 at Marllboro, and since then,
have flourished. The quartet has already per-
formed at virtually the most highly recognized
festivals such as Tanglewood, Aspen. Alldeburgh,
South Bank and many more. They have traveled
and performed in major cities in the United States
and have also toured extensively in Europe.
This quartet is also known for its vide variety
il repertoire. They not only perform the standard
classics, but also explore less familiar composi-
tions as well as many 20th century pieces that
were specifically for their quartet. They have
been acclaimed as one of the world's finest musi-
cal ensembles. The quartet also had a Grammy
nominated CD titled, "The Seven Last Words of
Christ" which has been broadcasted throughout
the world.
This week's performance is expected to be rav-
ishing with embellished sounds resulting in a
mesmerizing experience. The Vermeer Quartet
have quite an expectation to live up to which they
will no doubt prove at Saturday night's perfor-
mance.

IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO TURN YOUR LIFE AROUND.'
COME TO A MICHIGAN DAILY MASS MEETING.
JAN. 16, 18 AND 22 AT P.M.
IN THE STUDENT PUBLICATIONS BUILDING.
COME STRONG OR STAY HOME.

Cour,'tesy of UMS
Vermeer Quartet rocks Rackham on Saturday.
The Vermeer Quartet consist of Slimuel
Ashkenasi as the first violinist, Mathias Tacke,
second violinist, Richafd Young, violist and Marc
Johnson as the cellist of the ensemble. These tal-

and will prove their capabilities as they have in
the past, living up to theirworldy claims.

'WB jumps on reality
trend with 'Popstars'

By Jacquelene Smith
Daily Arts Writer
Ever since the debut of "The Real
World," TV networks have been indefati-
gable in their search for their own perfect
"reality" based show that will strike a
chord with a major audience. "Reality" is
of course used loosely here and should
not be confused with what is actually

Popstars
The WB
Tonight at 9
females. In the first

real. Be honest,
how many of you
showed up for
MTV's casting call
when they visited
Ann Arbor? Let's
see a show of
hands. The WB
puts forth the
effort with
" Popstars."
Remember that
other show
"Making the
Band?" Same con-
cept, but this time
it's ; with five
installment of this

America temporarily abandon their
everyday lives and revel, if only for a
fleeting moment, in the idea that they
could be the next Brittany Spears. Wait.
There's more.
Ordinarily. it would be easy to dismiss
such a shamefully capitalistic degrada-
tion of music. Quite honestly, many of
these wannabes deserve credit for having
the courage to stand up in front of a hun-
dred other girls and sing a piece of "What
a Girl Wants," "I Will Always Love You"
or "How Do I Live."
I'm partial to the second song. It
sounds fabulous in the shower. But there's
no way I'd have the guts to belt it out with
Miss Pre-teen USA standing next to me.
The WB does a decent job of showing
the awkwardness and even humiliation
some of them feel after being rejected or
shown up by the girl they've been waiting
in line with for six hours who says she
doesn't have much vocal experience but
is in fact some niece of Whitney
Houston's. She gets the callback. I don't.
The competition is ruthless.
I say watch it. Watch it to see who
makes the cut. So what if they're not on
a desert island and who cares whether or
not if one of them is trying to sabotage
the entire group. Watch it to see how you
measure up. Don't diss it 'til you've tried
it

bubblegum-flavored serial/documentary,
three judges, a music manager, the new
group's manager and a choreographer,
travel to five different U.S. cities to hold
auditions. Thousands of females across

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- ~i, E i iI~ri

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