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October 12, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-12

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"With Nobody"
This coming of age film by "U"
alum Michael Joshua plays today at
4 p.m. at the Modern Language
Building Auditorium 2.
michigandaily. com/arts

OReSita Iai

OCTOBER 12, 2001


Willis, Thornton
show silly sides in
Levinson' s 'Bandits'
By Andy TaylorFabe
Daily Film Editor
Bad wigs, bank robberies and Bruce Willis. "Bandits" has all the elements to
be a successful comedy/action film. With clever, if bizarre, dialogue and a
strange and entertaining atmosphere, this heist film is a nice break from the

Lincoln Center to
bring orchestral
jazz to a new level

By Jim Schiff
Daily Fine/Performing Arts Editor

The Lincoln Center Jazz Orches-
tra may be the most exciting show

Grade: B
At Showcase
and Quality 16
mot:°s,'' ^

"Reservoir Dogs" clones that hit the market. However, the
film is not perfect, for there are times when the plot drags
and the characters lose their charm.
Joe (Bruce Willis) is a handsome, suave and altogether
irresistible bank robber, and his partner in crime, Terry
(Billy Bob Thornton), is a hypochondriac who imagines
symptoms from numb lips to brain tumors at the mere
mention of an illness. After making a daring and reckless
escape from prison, the two men re-embark upon their
careers as bank robbers, but Terry, the brains of the outfit,
decides to change their game plan.
Instead of dealing with guards, bank tellers and pain in
the ass customers, they decide to kidnap the bank manager
in his own home the night before the heist, wait with him
until the next morning and stroll in and out of the bank
without a struggle. With a slightly slow witted stuntman

Lincoln Center
Jazz Orchestra
Hill Auditorium
Sunday at 4 p.m.

you'll see all
Comprised of
15 of the finest
American jazz
musicians, the
LCJO has
brought this
musical style to
a new level.
Under artistic
director Wyn-
ton Marsalis,
the group has
rocked the
world with their

wannabe as their driver, the "Sleepover Bandits" make their way across the coun-
try, gaining notoriety for their non-violence, their cunning techniques and their
good nature. Along the way they pick up a bored and unappreciated housewife
(Cate Blanchett), who immediately takes a liking to the two men, causing an
unusual love triangle.
"Bandits" is full of hilariodis and unexpected dialogue, mainly from Thornton
and Willis. Willis is in top form with dry humor at every turn, and Thornton's
whiny, manic, even nonsensical interactions with everyone around him, com-
bined with his constant imagined illnesses, yield a unique character - Try to
imagine a hybrid of Cameron Frye and Mr. Pink in a bad early '70's Neil Young
wig (by the way, that was "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere"). Blanchett is
fantastic as a wide-eyed, energetic woman who has an affinity for crappy soft
rock tunes, which she belts out with little prompting. The interactions, both
humorous and serious, between the three main characters are well-timed and
School of Music pr

courtesy or MUM
Hey, Thornton and Willis - Rudy Ray Moore called. He wants his hats back.
delivered, and considering the somewhat asinine situations that they find them-
selves in, their chemistry sort of works.
To enjoy this movie, all expectations of logic and rational human behavior
must be checked at the door, because the majority of the encounters that the two
men have are thoroughly unrealistic. Joe is so damn enticing that he can politely
hijack a woman's car by complimenting her dress, leaving her slightly confused
but still swooning. Every person whose house they break into is as polite as can
be, and one teenage girl even makes them coffee in the morning after being
caught the night before making out with her boyfriend when the two burgeoning
criminals burst into the house. Beginning to understand?
This is not "Heat" or "The Score." There is minimal violence, and it is not pre-
sented as particularly intense or vicious. The heists themselves are not really the
focus of the film, because most of the film takes place between the actual rob-
beries (which mostly go relatively smoothly). The action sequences are well
doie, but the surprises are not surprises to anyone who watches closely. Howev-
er, the middle of the film is slow as they get bogged down in the details of the
romantic situation between the characters, which, frankly, is sometimes repetitive
and played out. The three-way relationship between them only works in short
bursts, but when it becomes the focus, the movie loses momentum.
fessor Ellen Rowe

extensive repertoire and phenome-
nal playing ability.
This season, the LCJO has
embarked on their most extensive
national tour in their history, called
"United in Swing." Although
they're touring dozens of cities over
the course of nine months, the
LCJO is devising a different pro-
gram for each night. The group
selects their songs from the history
of jazz, ranging from obscure older
pieces to popular favorites by Duke
Ellington, Count Basic, Charles
Mingus and Thelonius Monk.
Sunday's performance will
include works by Mingus, a new
piece by Marsalis and other compo-
sitions written by LCJO members.
"'United in Swing' is one of the
best representations of jazz that the
audience will ever see," said LCJO
bassist Rodney Whitaker. "They'll
have a good time. People say that
they've never seen jazz and liked
the LCJO."
Marsalis is perhaps one of the
most accomplished musicians of the
twentieth century. Born-in 1961, he
began his classical training on trum-
pet and entered The Julliard School
at age 17. Since 1982, Marsalis has
recorded more than 30 classical and

jazz compilations, which have
earned him nine Grammy awards.
Four years ago, he became the first
jazz musician to win the Pulitzer
Prize for music, for his compilation
"-Blood on the Fields." He also regu-
larly hosts the "Jazz for Young Peo-
ple" series at the Jazz at Lincoln
Center in New York and was recent-
ly named a United Nations Messen-
ger of Peace by UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The LCJO is as equally commit-
ted to education as they are to per-
forming. The group travels to junior
highs and high schools and works
with students in music programs.
Each musician gives master classes
and pre-concert lectures that allow
the communities to get to know the
band. In addition, Whitaker is the
Director of the Jazz Studies pro-
gram at MSU. "To travel the world
playing great music - it's a great
opportunity," said Whitaker. "It's
almost as if you're in graduate
school - you get to be exposed to
some of the best people in every
walk of life."
The group's performance in Ann
Arbor is a welcome trip home for
Whitaker, who was born and raised
in Detroit. Musicians such as Paul
Chambers, Doug Watkins and Louis
Hayes all got their start in the motor
city. "It's a homecoming," Whitaker
said. "I get to see some of my fami-
ly and friends - it's great.to see a
community that has supported me
as a musician."
In 1999, the White House Millen-
nium Council Program named the
LCJO as Cultural Ambassador of
the United States. To Whitaker, this
honor carries a special connotation.
"From a cultural standpoint, jazz is
America's only uniquely true art
form - everything else comes from
Europe," he said. "And Jazz is
America - it represents everything
that America is ... a spirit of
democracy and improvisation and a
spirit that makes you use everything
you have in the face of adversity."
& E I

debuts new recording at Firefly Club

By Denis Naranjo
Daily Arts Writer
Ellen Rowe gets to smile wide, finally. For too long
she's counted the days to a weekend like this. Tomor-
row night at the Firefly Club she'll jump forjoy with a
debut recording and CD release party. But it's more
than mere celebration. It's a personal statement about
the qualities of her educator's role and international
piano playing career.
At the School of Music she directs the jazz band
ensemble and does master piano classes. Come night-
time she dishes up hearty piano soloing as a featured
Firefly Club headline artist. But through the years, she
always championed an idea for cutting her own
record. It's time to tip some fluted champagne with
her recording Sylvan Way.
"I've always been challenged about balancing my
work, whether teaching, playing or writing," said
Rowe, an associate professor of jazz studies. "I've
been lucky since I focus on educating students. Play-
ing and teaching really feed off each other for me."
For Sylvan Way Rowe actually opted not to shop for a
major record label deal. Her standards were too high
and she wanted to capture an ideal performance with a
precise blend of tunes. Using the jazz-blues specialists
and Ann Arbor-based BOPO Records, Rowe says she
bankrolled her own expenses and controlled the final
end product. Since her playing and arranging on Syl-
'Ualum to de
By Jenny Jetes
Daily Arts Writer
Moviegoers will often encounter unexpected surprises
one knows little about; "Mission" is a film well worthc
University of Michigan alum, who recently wrote, dire
sion," made the film in the San Francisco community of
sion prospered with many young adults out of colleg
explains a little more about this experience for him and ot
"It's autobiographical to some extent. The main chara
from New York and is sort of green, and he is changed
thought that was an archetypical story for people that car
time. A lot of people came there because they were ur
were, or they didn't know quite what they were doing,
occurred to them to try something else out and see if it'dt
In "Mission," Marvin (Chris Coburn), a struggling wri
co to write a novel, yet his meticulous plan changes w
Leonard), a crazy, "hapless womanizer," as Marsh describ
"I couldn't find the guy to play Jay ... no one I met cou
Marsh was impressed when Leonard auditioned. At th
finishing up the "The Blair Witch Project," which quickly
"I saw that he did this movie called 'The Blair Witch P
And I was like: 'Yeah, I'm sure that was very interesting,)
do' ... he was perfect for the role and was exactly what IN
During filming, Marsh included almost all of his favo
along wuith his very own apartment, where Marvin and
familiar friends and faces in obvious abundance, Marsh


an Way delivers all the goods, all label recruiting will
ladly have to wait.
Reflective moments permeate Rowe's acoustics on
>ylvan Way. Her composing hand tapped the refresh-
ng outdoors at her parent's family cabin in upstate
aine for compositional inspiration. A quick listen
hows she nimbly injects dazzling color and warmth
me and again. Four standards receive artful grace

with her popular local trio (bassist Paul Keller, drum-
mer Pete Siers). "Like other jazz musicians, I know I
certainly get a fair amount of inspiration from the nat-
ural world," she said.
Her four original pieces, like the title track, soar
with emotion andexpression, bowing to influences
distilled from hearing Bill Evans' piano soliloquies.
On playful mainstream fare like "Funk In Deep
Freeze" and "The Phoenix," Rowe gets to shift gears
and stretch out. Her excitable phrasing ably uplifts the
in-the-pocket groove, the latter featuring Andrew
Bishop's soprano sax. Elsewhere, Rowe alters her trio
accompaniment, leaning to West coast stalwarts John
Clayton (bass) and Joe LaBarbera (drums) for a pen-
sive, yet penetrating mood-set on "Hymn."
Rowe's CD release party tomorrow also doubles as
a fundraiser for her sister-poet Judy Michael. On Sun-
day at 3 p.m. at the Firefly, Rowe and Michael, a sur-
vivor of ovarian cancer, aim to raise dollars for Gilda's
Club in Detroit, a branch of the nationwide organiza-
tion named after comedian Gilda Radner of "Saturday
Night Live" fame.
Rowe graduated from the Eastman School of Music
and previously served as director of jazz studies at the
University of Connecticut. She's won the Hartford, CT
Advocate Readers' Poll for "Best Acoustic Jazz,' and
has performed throughout the U.S. plus tours of Ger-
mnnv Hland Swit.erland Ireland. Poland and Aus-

Courtesy of U-M Schoolof iMusic rmally, o I1 1d1, ~ .C1a1., lca , iva ar -
Professor, writer, musician: Ellen.Rowe. tralia.
!but independent 'Mission'
and theirs by including them in the film. While filming a Halloween party scene, for
example, Marsh had all of his friends come in costumes (even though it was
August) and basically just throw a party. Filming was almost secondary at the time,
if they seek out films that as he ventured around with his actors, having them deliver their lines among the
exploring. Loren Marsh, a crowd.
cted and produced "Mis- Marsh began experimenting with film here at the University. At the University of
the same name. The Mis- London during a semester abroad, he had an opportunity to be part of a film club
e in the '90s, and Marsh that funded the production of short films written by its members.
hers. "Mission" is definitely a film worth viewing on the big screen. With little fund-
cter (Marvin) comes there ing, it is unusual for independent films to use special costly techniques, such as the
by his experience there. I wide screen format known as Cinemascope. However, Marsh found a way to use it.
ne to San Francisco at that "It's a luxurious format because it's wider. I thought the cinematography was
nsatisfied with where they great and that the cinematographer did a great job. It was just so pretty and I love
or for a lot of reasons it the music in the movie too."
work better, and then leave It's always interesting to hear where directors and writers have gotten their inspi-
ration. "Raging Bull," directed by Martin Scorsese, is one of Marsh's favorite films.
ter, comes to San Francis- "That movie changed my life. I didn't know that a movie could be so profound.
hen he meets Jay (Joshua it was a transcending experience, and when I saw it, I realized what movies could
es him. do and that a movie could be as powerful as any experience ... That movie really
ld do it right." inspired me'
me time, Leonard had been Marsh also wrote, directed and produced "Virginity," which was about a man
soared to success. with a new theory about women and what exactly encompasses their "first time."
roject' that wasn't out yet. Amanda Peet had a lead role in "Virginity" before moving on to star in "The Whole
but show me what you can Nine Yards" and "Saving Silverman:'
wanted." "Invitation to a Suicide" is the next Marsh film, and it is a comedy about a man
rite places in the Mission, who sends invitations for people to witness his own death. Marsh likes to incorpo-
Jay resided. With real-life rate irony in his work and "Mission" explores this irony in a wonderful sort of way.
used this to his advantage "I want people to leave the movie feeling they've been there.

uty U

The LCJO looking awfully dapper behind their instruments.
Wishnia will read
tonigt at the Drum
By Alyson Scott and Sarah Stewart an encapsulating way.
For the Daily If you are interested in hearing one

"Exit 25 Utopia:
Shaman Drum
Tonight at 8 p.m.

A Great American
Punk Rock
Novel" will be
read by author
Steven Wishnia
today at the
Shaman Drum
Wishni a's
background as
not only the
"High Times"
editor but a
believer in the
'60's revolution
qualifies his as a

man's account of a lost decade, or if
you would never have the balls to do
what this guy has done, come and hear
him speak. This is the opportunity to
live vicariously through someone else,
at last for a couple of hours. With the
artistic drive of William S. Burroughs
and the strength of Kerouac, the read-
ing is sure to inspire.
The event will take place at 8 p.m.
Call Shaman Drum at 662-740 if you
need more information.

I ___________________________________

Su- mimer

May 9, 2002 - July 9, 2002





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