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September 10, 2001 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-10

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Watch your step...
Check out Angelina Jolie's main squeeze,
Billy Bob, in the psychological thriller "One
False Move." Tonight at The Michigan
Theater, 6 p.m. Free for students.
michigandaily. com/arts

ARTS

MONDAY
SEPTEMBER 10, 2001

9A

AVERAGE MOVIE MONDAY

'Rock Star'

offers

Lame lead actors
hurt new 'Musketeer'

feel-good appeal

By Jenny .Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer
To bring back the glory of blood-
pumping, head-banging, good old
rock n' roll, director Stephen Herek

brings us "Rock;

Rock star
Grade: B
At Showcase
and Quality 16

Star," the story of
a young man
who soon
becomes the
lead singer of
the band he
idolizes.
Although one
must tolerate
some cheesy
and overdone
aspects, the
story itself is
still worth-
while. It just
doesn't have

brings to mind Cameron Crowe's
"Almost Famous." "Rock Star"
however, is forgettable, although it
maintains a passive interest
throughout its duration.
Chris Coles (Mark Wahlberg)
has everything but one thing -
fame. Although his tribute band
"Blood Pollution" has its own
crowd, he is known only for his
imitation of Bobby Beers (Jason
Flemying), the lead singer of the
top heavy metal band "Steel Drag-
on." Chris' dream is to become a
rock star, but his desires are per-
haps mixed up, as his brother points
out, "You only fantasize about
being somepne else."
Chris remains ignorant however,
and it is his pure innocence and
adoration that lead him into
inevitable conflict.
When Steel Dragon loses Beers,
Chris can hardly believe he is
called in to audition. Steel Dragon
realizes that his perfect imitation of
Beers and incredible voice is all
they need. Chris, nicknamed "Izzy,"
soon finds himself on the road, now
touring with the band and living out

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Once again Mark Wahlberg wants you to keep your focus on his most worthy
feature.

By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Film Editor

the substance
that would make it outstanding.
Perhaps it follows too closely the
pattern that other films have cho-
sen: With the main character having
a somewhat flawed dream, he soon
learns valuable lessons that lead
him to a far deeper realization. This

his dream.
His girlfriend Emily (Jennifer
Aniston) accompanies him and
shares in his excitement, but soon
finds that his experience is "not her
life," so she moves out to Seattle to
start a business with a long-time
friend.
Aniston delivers a wonderful
performance and perhaps the best
scene of the film is when she
makes their preplanned visit to his
hotel in Seattle during his tour,
only to find him completely stoned
and disoriented, standing in the
hallway with an endless line of
women waiting for "their turn"
with the star. After she walks out,
Izzy starts to realize what he's los-
ing and his perspective changes.
In addition to Aniston, Timothy
Spall, who plays Mats, Steel Drag-
on's tour agent, stands out incredi-
bly.
In a conversation with Izzy, the
alternative, pot-smoking agent
shares that he was once indeed
married, of all things, but one
day,while staring at the wall in the
bathroom while pissing, he decided
to just leave and never return. The
British actor is believable and he
grasps the necessary depths that

make his character intriguing.
"Rock Star" picks up little speed
until its very end. The story is too
predictable and some parts should
have been eliminated. For example,
after Chris auditions for Steel
Dragon, Bobby bursts into the
room, fuming over the fact that no
one can truly replace him; besides
the fact that he's gay, Bobby rips
off a wig (revealing that he has
AIDS), asking Chris "You really
thought that I was singing about
my girlfriend the whole time?"
This scene may simply aim to show
Chris' naivety, yet it comes off as
irrelevant and absurd.
Despite silly plot additions such
as this, "Rock Star" still has a feel-
good quality that somehow sustains
itself. The soundtrack also sets the
mood, featuring Bon Jovi and
INXS, among other famous rock
stars.
Although Chris encounters a
problem being the new lead singer
of Steel Dragon - they won't con-
sider the music he wrote himself -
things are of course resolved at the
end of the film, so it is satisfying
in that sense. This film won't shine
in the spotlight, however - it lacks
the originality.

"The Musketeer," the most recent
adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' clas-
sic novel "The Three Musketeers,"
mixes traditional swashbuckling with
martial arts chore-
" : ography with exhil-
arating results, but
the unfortunate
The casting- of a gener-
Musketeer ic, square-jawed
soap opera type
Grade: C actor in the lead
At showcase role of D'Artagnan
and State dooms an other-
wise entertaining
movie.
The film takes
:,':t;y} place in the 17th
century, when
instability between
France, Spain and England threatens
to erupt into a full-scale war. The
Musketeers, sworn to protect the King.
of France, have been suspended by the
tyrannical and manipulative Cardinal
Richelieu (Stephen Rea), who along
with his cohort Fevre (Tim Roth), is
plotting to unseat the King. (Those
wacky Catholics are at it again.)
D'Artagnan (Justin Chambers), the
son of a Musketeer, has spent his
young life training to join the ranks of
this elite cadre, and when Richelieu
and Fevre begin to move on the King,
D'Artagnan is given the opportunity to
prove his worth. With Mena Suvari
("American Beauty") at his side as a,
peasant who falls for the dashing
wannabe Musketeer, D'Artagnan
attempts to save the day.
I think I'm finally beginning to
understand the plight of women who
are forced to sit through movie after
movie of female characters played by
actresses who are chosen for their
measurements rather than their acting
talent. Justin Chambers is flat, uncon-
vincing and altogether irritating as he
delivers his lines like a high school kid
auditioning for a play.
With a supporting cast featuring
amazing actors like Tim Roth ("Reser-
voir Dogs") and Stephen Rea ("The
Crying Game"), one would think that
"The Musketeer" would have to boast
a respected actor as the lead, but
Chambers and Suvari play out their

scenes together as if they are reading it
for the first time. (That casting director
is going to have to answer for this in
Purgatory.)
The other Musketeers are all excel-
lent, including Porthos, played by
Steven Spiers ("Topsy Turvy") and
Aramis, played by Nick Moran, best
known as card-player Fast Eddie from
"Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Bar-
rels."
Tim Roth is deliciously evil as
Fevre, the one eyed, black-clad side-
kick to Richelieu who shows no mercy
and hunts D'Aragnan with all of his
cunning and ferocity.
The action in the film is enthralling.
(It's almost, but not quite, enthralling
enough to distract from the failings of
the film.) Xin-Xin Xiong, veteran
Hong Kong action director, brings the
swordfight to a new level as Muske-
teers pull off flips, dives and death-
defying stunts to rank with the most
heart-pounding martial arts films.
Although the camera work is some-
times a little too close and jumbled to
tell what is going on, the majority of
the action is top-notch.
D'Artagnon fights the Cardinal's
guards while hanging from a stone
tower by a grappling hook, while sus-
pending himself. across ceiling rafters
with one hand while fighting with the
other. And finally, by performing a
balancing act on a conveniently locat-
ed wine cellar full of exceedingly tall
ladders that he and Fevre must traverse
to do battle.
All of these vertigo-inspiring
sequences are both electrifying and
ridiculous, because unless they were
fighting on the moon, there's no way
that gravity works the way it does in
some scenes. But one has to be willing
to suspend belief every once in a while
in action movies, even when Newton-
ian laws of physics are at stake. Hell,
look at "Crouching Tiger Hidden
Dragon."
The atmosphere of the film and the
setting is often well done but occasion-
ally overdone. As the Musketeers trav-
el down dark, torch-lit, cobblestone
alleys with cannons booming, the ride
"Pirates of the Caribbean" kept pop-
ping into my head.
Maybe they should go for subtle, or
maybe I've just been to Disney World
one too many times.

Courtesy o Warner Bros.
"Finally I get a chance at a music career! This is better than the final scene in
'Boogie Nights."'

Two

rehashes old battle of the sexes

By Todd Weiser
For the Daily
Mark Brown, writer-director of the new film
"Two Can Play That Game"
has only one other feature
..:r *film writing credit, and that
is. 1997's "Def Jam's How
Two Can to Be a Player."
Play That This time around Mr.
Brown takes the female
perspective through Shante
Grade: C Smith (Vivica A. Fox,
"Soul Food"). Now the sub-
At Showcase ject is no longer men play-
ing women, but women
taming men.
\ ' Apparently, there are cer-
tain. rules for dating and
games to be played if your
man, in this case Keith (Morris Chestnut, to be
remembered forever as Ricky in "Boyz N the
Hood") proves to not be the perfect, monoga-
mous m1an you think he is.
Not only is Shante a very successful and
beautiful advertising executive, she is also
something like a Yoda of information on how
to handle your man. She supplies constant
advice to her three best friends, and also opens
herself up to us, the audience, talking directly
to the camera throughout the film.
So when her situation backfires and she is
the one with man trouble, she resorts to the
"Ten Day Plan" to getting your man back.
But Shante is not the only one playing
games, as the title indicates. While Keith
regrets his momentary lapse in being faithful,
he is still being coached by best friend Tony

(Anthony Anderson, Me, Myself & Irene") on
how to handle every situation Shante throws at
him. If she won't take your calls, then go over
to her place looking not only like Denzel, but
better than Denzel.

While Fox and Chestnut make one of the
most beautiful couples seen on screen in recent
memory, the very familiar tale of the battle of
the sexes, with a conclusion that is sure to
shock no one, does not succeed in the end.
This is not to say that the entire film is a
wasted effort. Anderson once again shines as
the comedic backbone of the film; he is turn-
ing into a wonderful acddition to every film he
joins, almost making films like this and
"Romeo Must Die" worthwhile.
Also, the sight of Bobby Brown with
crooked teeth and a jerry-curl is certainly not
to be forgotten anytime soon in my memory
banks.
"Two Can Play That Game" is a mixture of
"Waiting to Exhale" and "Booty Call," but it
sadly never finds a happy medium. It is also
filled with annoying endorsements for certain
companies that are not just subtlety slipped in
but are thrust into the way of the camera and
the plot (if I hear the letters M, G or D one
more time, I'm going to have to go out and get
myself a fake ID.)
The film simply falls flat because girlfriends
laughing and dancing for half the movie does
not count as imaginative and engaging material
to most audiences.
Sure, there are people out there who will
relate and laugh with them, but a few bright,
funny observations about dating does not make
a film.
We have seen this movie before and we have
seen it done better with something new and
original thrown in. The romantic comedy is a
tired genre that fills screens across the nation
but never really achieves any artistic signifi-
cance.

" 'ourtesyo c e
Vivica A. Fox and Morris Chestnut like to play love
games by making sexy faces at one another.

Courtesy or Unwersai
An Elizabethan Mr. Orange, sans eye, wonders what the hell he's doing playing a
supporting character to Justin "Ano#her Wortd" Chambers' D'Artagnan.
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