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November 12, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-12

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Ultraviolent ...
If you haven't viddied Kubrick's
"A Clockwork Orange," catch it
tonight at the Michigan Theater.
7 p.m. $6.25 for students.
michigandaiLy.com /arts

NOVEMBER

MODAY
12, 2001

Linklater's brilliant 'Waking Life'
dares to dream in stunning colors

By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer
Seldom has a film lived up to its
title as much as Richard Linklater's

Waking
Life
Grade: A
At The Michigan
Theater

"Waking Life."
Through the
analysis and
questioning of
life, dreams
and the rela-
tionship of the
two, a new
sense of vitali-
ty and appreci-
ation for life is
achieved.
Every once and
a while, there is
that rare film
that takes you

the life you are leading. If you
walk around complacently, going
through your daily actions without
consideration, then this film is just
what you need. One of the film's
topics is that of sleepwalking and
the reverse idea of life-walking.
Sleeping through your life without
asking questions of the nature of
the universe or the possibility of an
afterlife will not be possible after a
viewing of this film; "Waking
Life" violently shakes you from a
sleep-like life of monotony and
reminds you that the search for
knowledge by asking questions is
what makes us human and what
makes life so exciting.
Previews for "Waking Life"
show its amazing visual composi-
tion but do not hint too much at its
actual focus and "story." It will be
this innovative animation that

attracts viewers and then attains
their attention as the film starts.
"Waking Life" has been made by
filming all the compulsory scenes
and then digitally animating them
in a process called rotoscoping.
This creates a semi-realistic image
of characters moving and talking
like real people while their images
and the surroundings constantly
move and shake due to the anima-
tion effects. It is at once startling,
nauseous and beautiful. Each
image could be a painting out of
Picasso's or Dali's own gallery. It
takes a -lot to divert attention from
such beautiful frames, and "Wak-
ing Life" wisely does not use a
standard plot structure. Linklater
has crafted a similarly creative
structure for the film that equals
the animation in its transcendence
and innovation of the art of film.
Our guide through this journey
of life and lucid dreams is a no-
named protagonist played (voiced)
by Wiley Wiggins ("Dazed and
Confused").
Wiggins' character wanders
around in a dream that he struggles
to comprehend or control. The
dream takes him from conversation
to conversation on topics that
range from political action to the
chemical composition of mhan. He
flows in and out of these strange
scenarios, sometimes just observ-
ing other people's conversations.
Some dialogues are very "heavy"

and come too fast for you to take
in, let alone comprehend. But this
is OK; it is not always what they
say that is important as much as
how passionately they say it. Try-
ing to understand the world around
us is an impossible goal, but this
unattainable search can still be
worthwhile.
Featuring cameos by Steven
Soderbergh as well as Linklater
regulars Ethan Hawke, Julie
Delply, Adam Goldberg and even
Linklater himself, "Waking Life"
has an almost never-ending door-
way of new characters and topics.
Each comes with their own views
and perceptions and also new ani-
mation tricks to visually convey
the ideas they share.
Many will write off "Waking
Life," either because they cannot
stand the dizzying animation or
due to ultra-philosophical dia-
logue. However, those in search of
a new, exciting film experience
have found it here. Linklater once
again proves to be a very capable
director of the highest caliber. He
is able to craft purely enjoyable
features like "Dazed and Con-
fused" and "Newton Boys," but is
also incredibly adept at more seri-
ous pictures such as "Slacker" and
"Before Sunrise." On this occa-
sion, Linklater produced a refresh-
ing and stimulating film simply by
showcasing the beauty of ideas and
the unknown.

courItesyo ar netr 0lo.
Breathe, for God's sake, you're 71 Gene, quit running around like yer still 50!
Mamet's new film
cracks with acting,
supenor dialogue

outside of yourself for a couple
hours and inspires introspection on

Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Film Editor.

David Mamet's "Heist" is a story
of a high profile caper and compli-
cated confidence scams that rises

Animation, anishmation, it has the same effect as acid.

Fat jokes quit being funny in abysmal
new Farrelly brothers comedy 'Hal'

Heist
Grade: B+
At Showcase
and Quality 16
The basic plot

to the top of an
otherwise tired
genre. It pro-
pels the classic
"one last job"
s c e n a r i o
beyond the
usual cookie
cutter story,
and it does it
with a uni qud
style that will
soon be (if it's
not already)
associated with
Mamet.
at the opening of

By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer

There comes a time when a joke is not funny
anymore. It may be very amusing at first, but
then it loses its appeal ... fast. The story of
"Shallow Hal," directed by the Farrelly brothers
("There's Something About Mary," "Me, Myself,
& Irene")' loses its flair after
about 15 minutes.
The story begins when Hal
(Jack Black, of the band
Shallow Tenacious D), as a little boy,
Hal receives last words of advice
from his father on his
Grade: D deathbed. Although his
At Showcase father was a reverend, the
and Quality 16 man is surprisingly outspo-
ken about women and their
looks. He tells Hal to never
settle for average, get routine
' poontang and find a, classic
beauty. This advice roots
itself in Hal's ideas about
women. We then flash forward to about 20 years
later, where Hal, an average-lpoking guy, i# con-
stantly pursuing women far out of his league -
women who also know he is after them solely for
their looks.
After getting stuck in an elevator with self-
help guru Tony Robbins (as himself) on his way
to work, the two soon find themselves sharing
personal thoughts with one another - Hal does
most of the talking. Robbins is surprised with
how, picky Hal is about women and he stresses
how it is the "inner beauty" that really matters -
not just physical attractiveness. Even though Hal
would "like her to be into culture and shit too,"

Robbins puts a spell on Hal, which will from
then on allow him to see only the inner strength
and beauty that women have to offer. Only Hal
does'not realize that all of the extremely hot and
sexy women he encounters from then on are real-
J ,hrge,,plan and d1ly, u ata tiy .t9 everyone,
else. Yes, his perception is entirely altered.
The problem with "ShallowHal" is not just the
theme - "inner beauty.,matters,mq e than the;.
outside"f-- because however cliche this point is,
it is sufficient to produce a fairly good comedy.
"Shallow Hal" just doesn't get you busting a gut
like "There's Something About Mary" did. There
are some funny scenes - don't get me wrong -
but the joke is so plainly obvious, that the audi-
ence may scream ..."OK, I get it already!" Noth-
ing new happens, and you may find yourself
fidgeting during all of the forced dialogue.
Although Hal's attraction to Rosemary
(Gwenyth Paltrow), his newfound love, is funny
initially, as he sees her as a tall knockout blonde
with a perfect body when she is really a 300-
pound whale to everyone else. After a few dates,
the audience will wonder when something will
change. It is somewhat amusing to see 1osemary
down a chocolate shake in a matter of seconds
and break a booth seat in the restaurant, but then
the plot itself becomes even more "shallow," and
so utterly predictable that these type of incidents
are overused and not funny anymore.
A redeeming quality of the film is the presence
of Hal's buddy Mauricio (Jason Alexander),
whose eccentricity and impatience with Hal's
new absurd attitude makes for a great character.
Paltrow also does an excellent acting job. Despite
the limitations of the script, she successfully por-
trays the sweet and thoughtful, yet extremely
unconfident Rosemary.

"Shallow Hal" has the ingredients for a good
comedy, but you might wonder when the film's
creators simply lost all notions of variety and
creativity. The film is simply bland and stale, and
you walk out feeling relieved it finally ended -
.in the, 'way you kn9W it, would all along, of
course.

"Heist" isn't terribly complicated,
and it is actually misleading in its
simplicity. Joe Moore (Gene Hack-
man) is an expert thief and con-
artist, and along with his crew,
Bobby Blane (Delroy Lindo),
Pinky Pincus (Ricky Jay) and Joe's
wife, Fran (Rebecca Pidgeon), he
successfully robs a jewelry store;
there's only one problem: He is
caught on tape without a mask. He
decides that his best hope for sur-
vival is to take his earnings and sail
away with his wife. Unfortunately,
Joe's partner and financier
Bergman, played by Danny Devito,
tells Joe that he won't get his cut of
the jewels until he does one last
heist: A shipment of Swiss gold. To
make things worse, Bergman
insists that Joe take Bergman's
loose-cannon nephew, Jimmy Silk
(Sam Rockwell), along on the job.
The plot is a maze of double
crosses and near disasters, with
only a few characters in control at
any one time. The way that the plot
moves is characteristic of Mamet in
that, at times, it seems that the
writer doesn't really care whether
the audience understands every-
thing that is happening - it's sink
or swim, and the audience had bet-
ter start dog-paddling with all its
might. This is not to say that the
movie is confusing, onLy that we
are drawn into the movie quickly
and not allowed to stop to catch our
breath at any point, since we are
too busy trying to stay at the same
level as the characters.
The characters are the real gold
in the film. Hackman gives his
usual excellent performance as a
quick and resourceful thief who

always has a back-up plan to his
back-up plan, and as Pinky says,
Joe "is so cool, when he goes to
sleep sheep count him." Lindo fits
his part perfectly, showing panic
and fear in just the right amounts,
and Pidgeon makes a successful
departure from some of her previ-
ous characters with her role as the
slinky and unpredictable Fran.
Devito steals the show as
Bergman, with funny dialogue and
a strong but panicky presence. In a
shouting match with Joe over the
final job, he waves his arms and
exclaims "Everybody need money!
That's why they call it money!"
A hidden talent who is making
his way into the light is Sam Rock-
well, who has proved his range as
an actor, from an absolutely hilari-
ous role as Guy in "Galaxy Quest"
to the psychotic Wild Bill in "The
Green Mile." His portrayal of
Jimmy Silk is convincing, and
Rockwell is able to make Jimmy
surprisingly menacing, considering
how weak his character is com-
pared to Joe and Bobby.
Some of Mamet's real gifts are
the abilities to write scenes that
you feel like you've never seen
before and give you dialogue that
you can't predict. Although the
film is not on the level of "The
Spanish Prisoner," Mamet does an
excellent job of giving the film its
own atmosphere, one that doesn't
feel borrowed.
In a gunfight at a harbor (a
familiar enough setting), we see
Bergman flailing around, avoiding
bullets and yelling "Let's talk this
over" like a kid who has thrown
one too many insults on the play-
ground. We expect the stylized
gunfight with overused slow
motion and dramatic music, but
what we get is probably what a real
gunfight looks like.
"Heist" being Mamet's first sus-
pense/action film since "The Span-
ish Prisoner," comparison of the
two is unavoidable. One of the
things that made "The Spanish
Prisoner" so enjoyable and so
enthralling was that the main char-
acter was just a normal guy, a ver-
sion of Hitchcock's "everyman,"
the regular guy caught up an the
absurd and dangerous situation.
The characters in "Heist" have no
such innocence, and their power
and direction are part of their
charm, but at some point we long
for someone we can identify with
for reasons sther than the fact that
we know he is going to win.

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
Yeah, it's me, it's JB (sans Rage Kage).

Legendary Dylan rocks Cobo Arena

By Chris Lane
Daily Arts Writer
Waves of applause and high-
pitched whistling shook one's

Bob
Dylan
Cobo Arena
November 9, 2001

eardrums as the
man, the myth
and his band
took the stage of
the Cobo Arena
last Friday night.
The . air was
thick with clove,
patchouli, ciga-
rette and other
forms of herbal
vapor. A group
of bald, middle-
aged men start-
ed howling like
wolves. The salt

the talking.
The night pranced itself into gear
with a lively version of Fred Rose's,
"Wait for the Light to Shine." The
musicians kept their heads down,
poised almost robotically on the tight
sound. It didn't take long, however,
for the foot tapping, head bobbing
and hip swiveling to start for all
those onstage. Even Dylan himself
took a few moments of inspired coor-
dination to lay down some wax with
his tiptoes, while tweaking out a solo
of pure country blues.
Most of the evening was dedicated
to Bob's latest shade of identity, i.e.
the country minstrel. "High Water"
and "Floater" from Dylan's latest
album Love and Theft rambled in and
perked up the crowd. "Sugar Baby"
also made a serene appearance as the
backdrop was dimly lit with purple,
and the dark silhouettes of the band
fading in and out.
Many a ghost of deep southern
blues. country and bluegrass flew

sics from "Don't Think Twice, It's
All Right," to a super charged ver-
sion of "Tangled Up in Blue." It
didn't seem possible to extract that
much drama and fire from that song,
but the rising and falling dynamics
just rang waves of truth. The crowd
was on its feet; not an ass was plant-
ed. The thundering applause that wel-
comed Dylan in also sent him out
after an equally charged "Rainy Day
Women #12 & 35" ended the first set.
The band returned to the stage
amongst a roar worthy of the Big
House. They picked up their instru-
ments and went right back into their
world like they had heard that kind of
recognition a million times before.
No doubt they have.
If the night began with Dylan-as-
minstrel, than it definitely ended with
classic rock. "Like a Rolling Stone,"
"Knocking on Heaven's Door" and
"All Along the Watchtower" once
again removed nearly every ass off
its seat. The lights went bright for the

U

The girl with the "I Love Rock" shirt
passed by again smiling. The middle-
aged howlers filtered out; Dylan and
his music seeming as vital and conta-
gious as ever.

d

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and pepper haired songster
approached the mic in a shiny red
suit. He introduced the band. The
music started, and barely ever
stonned At one noint, a teenage.

Everything Else
Clhinese bamboo steamers. French coffee presses. Adirondack chairs. Cost Plus World Market brings the

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