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October 24, 2001 - Image 9

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-24

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ART S

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 24, 2001- 9

Reggae-rock
O.A.R. to rock
Mich. Theater
By Stacy Anderson
For the Daily
It's time for a revolution. That's right, the five guys that
collectively make up ...of a revolution (known to many

Top notch 'Phantom Menace'
DVD a plethora of extras

By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Film Editor
George Lucas may take his sweet time getting things
done, but he does 'em right. The long awaited "Star

N w.,
O.AR.
Michigan Theater
Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
(

as simply O.A.R.)'will rock the
Michigan Theater tonight, with spe-
cial guest Ordinary Peoples, on their
national tour. They have been selling
out venues from New York to Ver-
mont and are sweeping college cam-
puses all over the country with a
style of music that some describe as
"reggae'rock" and others compare to
the likes of Dave Matthews and Bob
Marley. Whatever style you consider
O.A.R. to encompass, you're sure to
get a down-to-earth yet ultimately
adrenaline rushing performance.
Lead singer and guitarist Marc
Roberge, guitarist Richard On,
bassist Ben Gershman and drummer
up together in Rockville, MD. O.A.R.

Courtesy of Everfmie

"Risen" is the latest album from O.A.R.

Star Wars
Episode 1:,
The Phantom
Menace
Twentieth Century Fox
first "Star Wars"

Wars: The Phantom Menace" DVD
ranks as one of the best discs ever
released.
"The Phantom Menace" (if you
actually need this explanation,
shame on you) is the first episode of
the "Star Wars" series, which set the
standard for sci-fi in the late-'70s
and early-'80s with the original holy
trilogy. "Phantom Menace" is Lucas'
film that he has directed himself since

phonist for Ordinary Peoples and now officially the saxo-
phonist for O.A.R., while attending Ohio State Universi-
ty. They released their first album, The anderer, in 1997
and had a breakthrough hit with "That Was a Crazy
Game of Poker." Their follow up albums, Souls Aflame,
released in 1999, and most recently Risen, in 2001, have
become staples of college-aged youth across the country.
With meaningful lyrics and a style all their own,
O.A.R. have the ability to connect with their fans, mainly
because their fans are reflections of themselves. Not one
of the band members is over 22-years-old and they hail
from a Midwest university, just like most of their fans.
And even though O.A.R. has never been on MTV, they
have turned their popularity into a national tour, and for
S15 a ticket, you can't get a more exhilarating and
resounding evening.

Chris Culos grew

was formed while these boys were still in high school and
they hooked up with Jerry DePizzo, formerly the saxo-

the original in 1977.
This "prequel" gives background on Obi-Wan Kenobi
(Ewan McGregor) as a young Jedi knight, his wise but
defiant master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), a young
Anakin Skywalker (in his more tender, innocent, non-
genocidal days) and a trade dispute that will indirectly
affect the fate of the galaxy.
I'm one of the first people to admit that this install-
ment, although it is highly entertaining and visually
astonishing, doesn't hold a candle to the original films
in terms of story, characters or plot, but the double disc
DVD is just, well, awesome. Disc 1 contains the movie
itself, presented in anamorphic widescreen format, and
both the picture and sound are first-rate.
The commentary track, featuring Lucas as well as
Producer Rick McCallum and the other major heads of
sound, visual effects, etc., is an enlightening and actual-
ly interesting guide to the film. Whereas most commen-
tary tracks are full of gems like "Oh, this scene was
really cool" or "Oh, this was the day when I had really
bad diarrhea," Lucas and his dream team give truly
insightful facts about the film 'and the ideas behind it.
Lucas considers his films to be more like silent films, in
which the dialogue is like background music to accom-

pany the visual story, or the origins of the various sound
effects, which are all recorded from actual (and fairly
mundane) sounds.
The second disc has a one hour documentary about
the film, covering everything from the casting to the
shooting to the premiere, and it covers an amazing
amount of ground. Among other things, we get to see
the little kids that tried out for the role of Anakin, Ewan
MacGregor picking out his light saber, a sandstorm in
Tunisia that ravaged the sets of Tatooine as well as
Lucas agonizing over the excruciatingly difficult
sequences, such as the pod race.
There are also short featurettes giving details about
the story, design concepts, costumes, visual effects and
fight scenes (you'll be mock fighting in your living
room after this one) that show the extensive pre-produc-
tion necessary for the nuances and feel of the film to
work.
One of the most intriguing parts of the disc is a fea-
ture that combines the storyboards, animatics and the
final cut of certain scenes that required vast special
effect sequences. The screen is split into the comic
book-like drawings of the scenes, the animatics, which
consist mostly of rough animation, and the final cut of
the film. You can either watch all three at once or one at
a time. Seeing the evolution of the sequences is fascinat-
ing, and to see the amount of work that goes into the
shots gives you a new respect for this Herculean effort.
The extra deleted scenes, for the most part, have been
deleted for a reason; they would have interfered with the
flow of the film, and most of them are just plain boring,
but it is interesting to see exactly how much was cut out.
The disc also features a link to a web docmentary
about the film and a weblink to a site that contains spe-
cial material only available to those with the DVD.
There are also assorted production still photos, posters,
a music video with the John Williams score as well as the
original teasers and trailers for the "Phantom Menace"
that you saw back in the fall of 1998 when you knew for
sure that "Star Wars" would finally return. It rules.

Allen's obscure metaphors
hamper appeal of new novel

;.

By Babawole Akin-Aina
For the Daily

Hatch and Jesus Jones, sons of John
and Lucifer - who are married to
Gracie and Sheila - are cousins.
They are related on both sides and
decent family
does not get any
deeper than that.
It is the lives,
Rails loves, hate and
Under My loss of this fami-
Back ly that Jeffery
Renard Allen
Jeffery Renard chronicles in his
Allen ambitious tome
Grade: C+ "Rails Under My
HarcourtBooks Back."
The story
starts with the
escape of the
boy's grandmoth-
er from her
home, abandon-
ing her children to follow a lover to
New Mexico. This event sets the stage
for a reenactment of this episode of
abandonment in every generation of
the family.
Husbands abandon wives, children
leave home and lovers never return.
Despite the apparent closeness and
affection of the Jones family, its mem-
bers still find it easy to up and leave
whenever they feel the need.
Mr. Allen has written an ambitious
book, one that attempts to capture a
century of African-American family

life. However, his reliance on confus-
ing and obscure metaphors together
with his somewhat wilted poetry all
detract from this powerful story of a
black family in 20th century America,
a family that is both closer together
and further apart than most.
The story itself is impressive; the
time scale is enormous even though
there are few if any blatant chronologi-
cal references, plus Allen fills the
reader's mind with chameleon-like set-
tings that change at the drop of a hat.
The city, the country and the college
- we see all these places from an
African-American perspective. This is
a story with the African-American
experience of the 20th century as its
base. Major historical events serve as
a backdrop to the lives in this tale:
The Kennedy assassination, Martin
Luther King's marches and speeches,
soldiers dodging bullets in Vietnam.
We see how the Jones family, and the
other families that it is connected to,
interpret and exist around these
events.
Unfortunately, every time we get
closer to Mr. Allen's message, we are
distracted by everything else he has
thrown in the mix. While one is loath
to criticize those who are courageous
enough to get their work published,
the reader cannot help but notice that
in his attempt to ascribe to a certain
level of literary sophistication, Mr.
Allen has basically shot himself in the
foot. He appears to have sacrificed
clarity at the altar of self-important

and pretentious prose-- and it shows.
It seems that in his writing, Mr.
Allen sees himself as the inheritor of
a great literary tradition, one embod-
ied by the works of James Baldwin
and Toni Morrison.
However, neither Baldwin nor Mor-
rison ever gave the reader the impres-
sion that they try too hard. This seems
to be one of the clearer messages in
Allen's writing.
It is obvious that in his quest to be
like his heroes, Mr. Allen has lost his
own voice and as a result his writing
comes across as contrived and inau-
thentic.

Courtesy tTwentieth Century Fox
;di; Z'

Yoda (left) asks Renton why h& smells'ds if he had just elitnbed out of a toilet.

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. 'Boogeymen' a gory offering
of clips, games, horror facts

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WANT TO

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor
It's an unfair life for the gore-film fan, his passion usu-
ally exiled to the bargin bin at Blockbuster or some
seedy neo-comicbook hellhole run by a dude with greasy
black hair, a goatee composed of 16 hairs, and a t-shirt
showcasing William Hickey's
Toulon. Flixmix attempts to save the
'oogYe splatter-freak from exile to "USA
Boogaymen: Up-All-Night" or the oft-too-artsy
The Killer Italian and Japanese fare by compil-
Compelation ing what they believe to be the finest
DVD collection of American horror clips
ever assembled for DVD in
Columbia/Tristar "Boogeymen: A Killer Compila-
tion."
While the disc kicks off with Pinhead from "Hellrais-
er" removing a man's cheeks with assorted hooks, and
climaxes with Dr. Loomis shooting Michael Myers in

"Halloween," these classic clips book end a mixed bag
that goes from the obscure ("The Ugly") to the antithesis
of what horror movies should try to accomplish ("I
Know What You Did Last Summer "). The die-hard fans
that would purchase this disc probably have already
shelled out their blood money for 'nost of these films on
DVD.
The clips are certainly fun, aside from the few times
the DVD producers decide to cut a scene before the end,
leaving it confusing or unresolved. Robert "Freddy
Kruger" Englund provides an optional running commen-
tary track, where the horror legend waxes philosophical-
ly about the state of horror films, or simply mentions
knowing certain actors as they appear on screen. It's
clear that Englund did nothing to prepare for his com-
mentary, yet unclear whether he even knew what scenes
were included on disc.
Anything he says of interest can also be seen on the
"FlixFacts Animated Trivia" option. If you enable the
trivia ("Pop-Up Video" style) and listen to Englund at
the same time, at times they both provide the exact same
information.
It's a pity that they couldn't have gotten a few more
icons to work on the commentary. What are Gunner
"Leatherface" Hanson and Tony "The Candyman" Todd
doing that makes them so busy, huh? At least that would
have taken away from Englund's fanboy knowledge of
films in which he did not appear.
The true gem comes in the form of a dozen or so orig-
inal theatrical trailers that can be accessed in the "special
features" section. As the films span three decades (four if
you count the wildly misplaced "Psycho" clip) it's great
fun to see how advertising changed to conform to taste.
What was unrelenting horror during the '70s became
campy humor during the '80s and arrogant irony in the
'90s. Also included is a "Name That Frame" game that is
nearly impossible if you have not watched the clips, yet
pointlessly easy if you have just finished them.
While the special features are certainly nice to look at,
the real reason anyone would shell out their hard-earned

CHANIGEJTh
Application Deadline: OCTOBER 30,,

Come visit a Teach For America alumnae at the
Graduate School Informationfair on Wednesday,
October 24, 2001 from I lam-3pm!

R

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