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December 10, 2001 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-12-10

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Time warp...
Check out the new Meg Ryan/ Hugh
Jackman film, "Kate and Leopold"
tonight at the Natural Science building.
8 p.m. Pick up passes at the UAC office.
michigandaily.com /arts

ARTS

MONDAY
DECEMBER 10, 2001

8A

Soderbergh banks

'Pretender' back
with more twists

with
By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer

'Ocean's 11'

Steven Soderbergh had a very big
year last year; some may argue one of
the best years ever for a director. He was

doubly nominated
Ocean's
11
Grade: A
At Showcase
and Quality 16

for best director
(winning for
"Traffic") and for
best film at the
A c a d e m y
Awards. "Erin
Brockovich" and
"Traffic" did not
only bring Soder-
bergh widespread
recognition, but
he now also has
the power to
make what pic-
tures he wants,
and actors every-
where are dying

radiate with each sequence.
Danny Ocean (Clooney) has recently
been paroled, and he wastes no time get-
ting back to his previous profession, lar-
ceny. The target is the vault of the
Bellagio Hotel, which on the night of a
championship boxing match also con-
tains the holdings of two other Las
Vegas casinos. This $150 million job is
of course no piece of cake, and Ocean
immediately starts to assemble his crew;
there are 11 necessary cohorts. After
enlisting card dealer.Frank Catton
(Bernie Mac), Ocean heads to L.A. for
his old partner Rusty Ryan (Pitt), who is
teaching gambling to "Tiger Beat cover
boys," (who are played by real teen stars
themselves; think "Dawson's Creek"
and "That '70s Show").
With Ryan's help, the rest of the crew
comes together: Damon plays pickpock-
et Linus Caldwell. The financial support
comes from a casino owner (Elliot
Gould) who has it in for Bellagio owner
Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Scott
Caan and Casey Affleck are a couple of
driving experts who also provide lots of
humor with their little arguments. Carl
Reiner is a retired con man easily lured
back into business. Don Cheadle is a
British explosives expert with an odd
vocabulary, and an acrobat (Shaobo
Qin) and surveillance man (Edward
Jemison) round out the pack.
Also thrown into the mix is Tess
(Roberts), Benedict's girlfriend, who
may have some history with the man
with the plan himself, Ocean.
The pilfering team is definitely inter-

By Jennifer Fogel
Daily Arts Editor
"The Pretender" is back once more to
entertain his most loyal fans for a sec-
ond go-round on a new network.
Tonight at 8 p.m., TNT premieres "The
Pretender: The Island of the Haunted,"
the second in the trilogy of original
movies based on the canceled series.
For those of you just joining us,
here's a little recap: Jarod (Michael T.

r

to appear in his films. This newfound
clout brings us to "Ocean's 11," a film
that aims not for the Oscars but for a
most entertaining time at the movies,
and it accomplishes this goal unques-
tionably.
What may first appear as stunt casting
actually turns out to be one of the best
ensemble acting performances in recent
memory. The names Brad Pitt, George
Clooney, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts
and more may seem too good to be true
in one movie, with each making their
split second cameos and that's it, but
each actor receives more than adequate
time on screen and their shining stars

We knock out women with our good looks,
ested in getting its hands on all that
money, but it is truly the challenge of
the job and the joy of working collec-
tively that brings it together. The men
have fun training, planning and then
stealing -- the actors must be having
fun playing these well written roles and
spitting out the quick, clever dialogue
-- and the audience may have more fun
than anyone, riding the roller coaster's
turns and dips even though they are well
aware of the ride's end.
Soderbergh's style is everywhere; it is
in the music, the photography, the edit-
ing - it bleeds cool. Great perfor-
mances are also found everywhere you
look. In the leads, Clooney, Pitt,
Roberts, Garcia and Damon show no
ego, constantly giving to other actors
and never overplaying the material.
Clooney and Roberts look as good as
ever, while Pitt also looks good despite
the fact that he is seen eating in almost
every sequence, a great in-joke of the
film.
Shining through amongst this horde
of stars are the perfonnances of Gould,
Reiner and Cheadle. Gould can now be
seen in episodes of "Friends" as Mr.

then knock over banks.
Geller, but he is still a deftly talented
comedic actor who has sadly faded from
sight. Reiner is another comic genius
who has disappeared to a new genera-
tion; he reemerges in a major way with
"Ocean's 11," out-acting today's new
elite and hopefully garnering a best sup-
porting actor nomination for his trouble.
And finally there's Cheadle, who
somehow manages to steal moviegoers'
attention with every character he plays.
His exciting, natural performance as
Roscoe Means continues a masterful
run. including "The Rat Pack" and
"Boogie Nights,",that demands he be
offered more lead roles.
"Ocean's II" does not try to com-
pletely reproduce its Frank Sinatra star-
ring predecessor in plot or details, but
what it does copy is the feel of a Rat
Pack film.
You walk out of this movie wanting to
be these guys, or at least hang out with
them. There is only one word for them:
Cool. Soderbergh's very under-appreci-
ated "Out of Sight" had the same feel;
they may be the bad guys robbing the
bank, but it sure is a lot of fun to watch
and root for them.

Weiss), a genius,
The
Pretender
TNT
Tonight at 8 p.m.

was stolen from his
parents when he
was four, and
taken to an objec-
tionable and
treacherous think
tank called the
Centre. Here he
was formed into a
Pretender, some-
one who has the
ability to be any-
one he wants to
be. Jarod eventu-
ally escapes from
his prison and
ventures into the

From 'Alias' to 'Scrubs:' highlights of
Fall 200.1's freshman television class'

While most publications are preparing their Top
10 lists for the year, the Daily TV staff is not. Why?
Because honestly, there are not 10 quality new
shows from this season. After HBO's "Six Feet
Under" wowed critics this summer, the networks
were less than solid in their fall crops. Nonetheless,
a few managed to follow last season's hits like "Ed,"
avoiding the chopping block that hit many shows
within a few episodes ("Bob Patterson," pick up the
white courtesy phone). We have our own favorites
from this fail we feel deserve acclaim (sorry "Wolf
Lake" fans).
"Scrubs," is easily the funniest new show of the
year (if you don't count "Inside Schwartz's" unin-
tentionally self-inflicted mockery). It is also one of
the season's most successful new shows. Witty,
inventive and surprisingly touching, the medical
comedy has maintained a healthy portion of its
Tuesday night powerhouse lead-in "Frasier," and it
became the first new show to get a full season order.
Besides, it's much more entertaining than "that other
hospital show on NBC."
- Christian Smith, Daily Arts Writer
"Do you wanna be the victim or the killer?"
Every Monday night Jill Hennessy asks this trade-
mark line in the new hit drama "Crossing Jordan."
Jordan works as a medical examiner obsessed with
solving the crimes that cross her examination table.
This new show surpassed expectations by using
guest stars and suspenseful plotlines to grab audi-
ences and keep them coming back for more. Plus,

when a show goes all out and brings on Chris Noth
("Law & Order," "Sex and the City"), it's all right by
me. Hennessy makes a great comeback after her
departure from "Law & Order." Her supporting cast
has bizarre personalities that seem to work in a
coron o fice. They create j ustthe-4ght r
between serious drama and comic relief.
- Melissa Gollob, Daily Arts JVriter-
Without taking anything away from other solid
premieres, "Alias" is the most entertaining new
show this season. It's hard to avoid falling for Jen-
nifer Garner's double-agent Sydney Bristow. This
year's Jessica Alba, Garner is terrific as Sydney,
working for the evil organization SD-6, which she is
trying to defeat with the CIA. Though her cover is in
danger, the multilingual, brilliant, sexy Sydney
should be all right. So should the show, which is far
better than its counterpart on FOX, "The X-Files,"
and even the show it follows, "The Practice."
- Ryan Blay, Daily Arts Writer
From the creators of the excellent "New Batman-
Superman Adventures" and "Batman Beyond," "Jus-
tice League" has already proved to be a winner. The
writing is very smart (Batman admitting he's "not a
people person" is classic), the animation meets Warner
Bros.' high standards and despite the huge cast of pro-
tagonists (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green
Lantern, Martian Manhunter, IHawkgirl and Flash),
none of the characters are ignored. "Justice League" is
easily one of the best new primetime shows of the year.
- Rohith Thumati, DailyArts Writer

Kiefer Sutherland, who seems to have been
restricted to supporting roles in films from "Dark
City" to "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me," has
finally stepped back in the public eye with the criti-
cally acclaimed FOX thriller "24" The mass praise
is more tharvwelcome as the action drama features
one of the most inventive narrative structures in
recent years, far more intriguing than the formulaic.
cop shows and cliched legal dramas flourishing on
network television.
- JeffDickerson, TV'New media editor

real world in search of his parents.
Along the way, Jarod uses his abilities
to impersonate multiple professions,
allowing him to help all those he
encounters. Looking for Jarod is Miss
Parker (Andrea Parker), whose father
runs the Centre. For four years, Jarod
has eluded her while exposing the Cen-
tre secrets from the past. Jarod comes to
find that he and Miss Parker share
numerous connections, including a
brother.
Building on the secrets revealed in
the last movie, "The Pretender 2001,"
Jarod and Miss Parker search for
answers regarding his mother and her
father. Their search leads them both to
Carthis, a Scottish island rumored to
house a great evil. The duo, with the
help of a blind visionary, learn about an
ancient evil secret society, the Vespari-
ans, which possessed scrolls said to
hold great power.
Hoping to find the truth through the
scrolls, Jarod and Miss Parker get
trapped on-the island, during a danger-
ous storm, and are forced to work
together for the first time, altering their
cat-and-mouse relationship forever.
While some of the questions raised in
the last movie are precariously
answered, more mind-boggling issues
are raised, particularly why the Centre
desperately "needs" to find Jarod. Even
he doesn't believe it's because of his tal-
ents anymore. Unfortunately, that ques-
tion is basically disregarded in favor of
Miss Parker's paternity and the revela-
tion of her true father, a la "Empire
Strikes Back." Not to worry, she doesn't
lose her hand.

Courtesy of TNT
Michael T. Weiss and Andrea Parker.
There are many points in the movie
that fans will truly enjoy. We finally
catch another glimpse of Jarod's mother
(fleeting of course), and the complex
relationship between Jarod and Miss
Parker is finally starting to heat up.
Trapped together, they are forced to
confront each other and face their true
feelings. In the series, they were never
in the same'scene for more, that a few
minutes except when the two were
thrown into a precarious situation. The
chemistry between Weiss and Parker is
still strong and they play off each other
well.
The movie also intertwines the Cen-
tre's past with Jarod's search for his
family. It was definitely not a surprise
to learn that the Centre spawned from
an ancient evil order, but the movie
makes it perfectly clear that the Cen-
tre's lies are beginning to hinder its
progress.
The mythology of the show contin-
ues to evolve, perhaps too much so.
Much of the movie focuses solely on
Jarod and Miss Parker, neglecting the
rest of the supporting cast, especially
Sidney (Patrick Bauchau) and Broots
(Jorf Gries). The dapper doctor and the
lovable computer geek are left at the
Centre to do research while everyone
else gets to have all the fun. Fortunate-
ly, we do get to witness a braver
Broots, as he still pines for Miss Park-
er.
A fair warning to those who have not
followed "The Pretender" regularly:
You many not be able to follow the plot.
However, for those of you who are not
loyal Jarod fans, the-film still-offers
enough action, thrills and mystery to
keep anyone's attention. From ghosts to
haunted pasts, "The Pretender: Island of
the Haunted" kicks the series into high
gear, leaving another cliff-hanger end-
ing and fans thirsting for the explosive
ending befitting of such a creative show.
The new two-hour film is preceded
by a 19-hour marathon of "The Pre-
tender" episodes culminating in an air-
ing of the series finale as well as "The
Pretender 2001."

Crmpiled by Daily TV stalf

Dubrinsky croons
songs at Southside

0
a

Superman and Batman lead troop of costumed heroes.

p I

By Chris Lane
Daily Arts Writer
The otherwise frigid evening began
with a warm round of applause from
about 70 pairs of hands. Singer/song-
writer Annie Dubrinsky returned the
favor with a smile and a hoarse, "Good
evening." Then, as she would later sing,
something like a warm front filled the
room. Actually, it was the music, friend-

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Annie
Dubrinsky
Southside Cafe
Dec. 7,.2001

ly and disarming
and offering up a
steady hand to
guide us through
the maze of rela-
tionships and inti-
macy within her
songs.
Although she
maintained
throughout that her
voice was not up to
snuff, it was. And
surprisingly, she
did not have to
stretch for the

in Dubrinsky's smoother vocal
approach. And for this, the hands are
still clapping.
Dubrinsky finished off the night with
"Brilliant Girls" and "Quietly." The for-
mer was a slightly funky, slightly rock-
ing, foot-tapper with some truly
unpredictable breaks and tempos. The
latter was short and bittersweet and also
concludes Dubrinsky's new EP Try as I
Might. While it is deceptively good,
"Quietly" is not a big finish song. Alas,
the show ended a little too soon.
Only playing two songs from her new
EP also left a little something to be
desired because the show was supposed-
ly the release party. But Dubrinsky
wisely included the song "Altadena,"
which will send shivers down the spine
of anyone trying to recover from losing
what they never really had in the first
place. It builds with a single piercing
note, it grows and then pulls back; it,
howls and then it sighs. The shiver-value
is about a thousand.
Most of Dubrinsky's songs tend to
dwell on the infamous "you." "You said
..." "What do you know ..." etc.
Despite the prevalence, there are layers
to Dubrinsky's "you." In fact, there is
something more personal here. It's like a
trial inside her mind, where she is
defense, prosecution and jury. And her
verdicts possess both confidence and
vulnerability. As she tells us in "Altade-
na," "You are not the reason I sing."
Annie Dubrinsky writes and performs
the kind of music that seems to have
vanished from Earth, or at least the

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acoustics of the Southside Cafe, which
are not exactly crystal clear. The set
began with "12," an energetic and heart-
filled number, that echoed through the
room with ease.
The show continued with titles like
"Warn Front" and "Ransom," both of
which exhibited a genuine talent for
observation and self-description. This is
the real gold at the center of Dubrinsky's
maze. She turns the mirror on herself in
such a way that reflects and captures

.

r

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