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November 26, 2001 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-26

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Jazz jam...
Check out the jazz scene at
Leonardo's at Pierpont Commons
tonight. 8 pm. Free.
michigandaily.com/arts

Wlefii~iwt 19
ARTS

MONDAY
NOVEMBER 26, 2001

Scott's 'Spy Game' proves too much
explanation hinders intriguing plot

By Jenny Jokes
Daily Arts Writer
"Spy Game," directed by Tony
Scott ("Crimson Tide," "Enemy of

the State"), has or
Spy
Game
Grade: B-
At Showcase and
Quality 16
beaten and set to

ne major flaw -
the majority of
the film feels
like an explana-
tion, not a
story. The
opening scene
shows Tom
Bishop (Brad
Pitt) as a doctor
working in the
Su Chou Prison
in China. But
then we learn
he is an Ameri-
can spy when
he is caught,
be executed the

op's current plight. His capture also
occurs at the most inopportune
time, because the Republican
administration is ready to secure
foreign negotiations with China
after the Cold War, and an act of
espionage would just not look good,
to say the least. After realizing there
is a crucial link between Muir and
Bishop, Muir's knowledge of the
event and his following decision to
postpone his retirement, build virtu-
ally all of the suspense for the entire
film.
When the supposedly suspenseful
and action-packed scenes explain-
ing Muir's past discovery and train-
ing of Bishop pale in comparison to
Muir's handling of the event back at
headquarters, one finds that regard-
less of the importance of their past,
it is more exciting to watch Redford
cleverly dodge accusations and
scrutiny from his co-workers. Red-
ford plays his part excellently, how-
ever, and Muir's wit and cunning
never fail to impress viewers. Pitt
plays his part well too, but unlike
Redford, his character is not
explored in depth.
Despite great acting and a good
premise, the entire set-up of the plot
seems a bit loose and disjointed.
The series of flashbacks explaining
Bishop's work as a spy and his past
completion of the various opera-
tions given by Muir - involving
rescue attempts in Germany before
the collapse of the Berlin Wall and

Lebanese occupation in Beirut -
eventually lead up to Bishop's
encounter with Hadley (Catherine
McCormack), a first aid worker at
the Beirut camp.
By this time, when you are trying
to make sense of the events thus
far, sometimes with little back-
ground information (i.e. you might
feel lost if you don't know about
Lebanon), you realize these events
will inevitably somehow lead up to
Bishop's capture in China. With
this in mind, along with a saturation
of historical events, you may sim-
ply lose interest - the only
redeeming aspect being Muir's

decisions and adeptness back at
home.
It's too bad the majority of the
film befuddles viewers in all these
past events when the heart of the
story lies in Muir's decision to save
Bishop. One may be left wanting to
see- more of Bishop in his current
state, not in all his past experiences.
Also, Muir's motivation to post-
pone retirement for one last opera-
tion to save his old student is not as
convincing as it could be, thus
weakening the persuasiveness of
their friendship. The ending pulls
everything together, but perhaps not
in the most effective way.

"Hey Martin ... come explain this stupid ass movie to me."
awrence offers
one unfunny joke
in dismal'Knight'

following day. Meanwhile, at CIA
headquarters in Washington D.C.,
Nathan Muir (Robert Redford), an
extremely talented agent, is ready to
call his career quits and retire to the
warm and sunny beaches of the
Bahamas. This little introduction is
very engaging, but then ... up until
the very end, the audience may find
itself waiting through the numerous
flashbacks that are used to explain
the entire plot.
Suddenly under CIA scrutiny,
Muir realizes that his cohorts sus-
pect his past involvement with
Bishop and its connection to Bish-

By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Arts Editor
Imagine "Army of Darkness"
without chainsaws, armies of the
dead, a kick-ass soundtrack or any

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Sexy old, sexy young, but all dead sexy.

'Getting Around Detroit' gives students

successful humor
Black
Knight
Grade: D
At Showcase and
Quality 16
than Bing Crosby.

and you've got
"Black Knight."
Although a
more common
and "accurate"
c o m p a r i s on
may be to the
1949 film "A
Connecticut
Yankee in King
Arthur's Court,"
most of the peo-
ple going to see
this movie will
be much more
familiar with
Bruce Campbell

glance at pasi
By Elizabeth Manasse
Daily Arts Writer
If you've ever driven in Detroit, chances are you've
been lost on a one-way road, missed an exit or gotten
stuck in traffic. A new exhibit at the Bentley Historical

L

Getting
Around
Detroit
Bentley Historical
Library
Through Dec. 21

Library, "Getting Around
Detroit," takes yiou. back to
Detroit's early years, when it
had only pa few roads. The
exhibit is a collection of maps,
pictures and documents that
display the evolution of
Detroit's transportation system
from the early 1800s to the
modern freeway era. It coin-
cides with the 300th anniver-
sary of the founding of the city
of Detroit.
The majority of the materials
in the exhibit are donations
from people, organizations and
societies that were active in the

tirough trafi
less than 12 feet wide. During this time, all free adult
male inhabitants were required to work on repair of
roads in their district. The first mile of concrete road-
way in the United States was laid on Woodward
Avenue between Six and Seven Mile Roads in 1909.
In the 1910s and '20s, Detroit became one of the
largest cities in the country, and along with the popu-
lation rise came traffic congestion. By 1925 city offi-
-cials.-became.concerned- that Detroit was become,
saturated with automobiles, with 1,000 cars added to
the traffic each week. A plan to build a network of
suburban "superhighways," was devised in 1925,
which would bring traffic to and from the city. These
"superhighways" were 204-foot wide divided high-
ways with rapid transit tracks in the medians. Better
roads led to suburban development and expanded
Detroit's boundaries.
The exhibit also features the historical changes
leading to the bridge and tunnel to Canada. Plans for
both were successfully developed in the 1920s. Con-
struction on the Ambassador Bridge, then the longest
suspension bridge in the world, began in 1927. It
opened for traffic in 1929. Construction on the
Detroit-Windsor Tunnel began in 1929. Most of the
underwater section of the tunnel was built onshore as
a series of steel and concrete tubes, which were towed
to position, sunk in the river and joined together with
cement. Two different groups of investors were inter-
ested in the two links to Canada and therefore, the
tunnel and bridge have competed for traffic since they
were built.
By 1941, it was clear that the superhighway project
was not doing enough to relieve traffic congestion in
Detroit. This period marked the era of modern urban
freeway building. The Davison Expressway, the first

I

.

ic congestion
urban freeway in the country, was built during World
War II. The Davison and the many other urban motor-
ways in the freeway network required massive neigh-
borhood demolition. This was the first time wide
roads had been proposed for built-up areas of Detroit.
Drivers were given flyers to prepare them for the new
freeway driving experience. Most of the freeways,
such as the Lodge and Ford Expressways were not
opened until the 1950s.
"Getting Around Detroit" is a great way to learn
about life on the road in Detroit during the last two
centuries. The 300th anniversary year is almost over,
so visit the Bentley Library before the end of the
semester. Come prepared to spend some time looking.

Lawrence has demonstrated that,
while he has a habit of choosing ter-
rible movies, he does have comedic
talent, and he can make a joke
work.
When the King commands Jamal
to dance for him since his people
are fine dancers (don't worry, he
means the Normans, not the
Moors), he initially attempts to
mimic the nobles' courtly style of
dancing. Getting strange looks from
everyone, he begins to struggle with
the band a Ia Marty McFly, setting a
baseline and eventually crafting a
version of Sly and the Family
Stone's "Dance to the Music" using
only mandolins, drums and those
long, skinny trumpet dealies.
Although this makes the rest of the
film look pretty realistic by coi-
parison (somehow the trumpet guys
pick up their part automatically),
Lawrence's reactions during this
scene are surprisingly funny. As he
approaches the bewildered musi-
cians, he confides in them, "Now,
this is a pretty white crowd, so noth-
ing too crazy."
The big problem with this film is
that it seems to be afraid to give us
anything but the lowest common
denominator of comedy. It seems to
rest all of its hopes on the "Get it?
ie's a black guy in medieval Eng-
land, and he talks using slang and
makes modern pop culture refer-
ences!" type gags, and it never goes
beyond that level.
The attempt to insert a message
and a life lesson at the end of the
film is laughable, considering the
asinine nature of the rest of the
film. Remember the classics - I
don't recall Ash learning a strong
work ethic at the end of "Army of
Darkness."

development of the city. The materials collected over
the years have made Bentley a central research
resource for people interested in the evolution of
Michigan's largest city. Maps provide valuable evi-
dence for capturing what everyday life was like in the
community of Detroit. They depict the state of the
physical environmeni and cultural features at a partic-
ular time, identify place names, modes of transporta-
tion, locations of population centers and land use.
The 18th century photographs of Detroit in the
exhibit reveal that the streets were narrow lanes, some

Jamal Walker (Martin Lawrence)
is a disgruntled and lazy employee
of Medieval World, a dilapidated
theme park that is about to be shut
down due to the opening of a new
competing park called Castle
World. While cleaning the moat
outside Medieval World, Jamal sees
a medallion shimmering in the
murky water, but as he attempts to
reach for it, he falls into the moat
and ends up in 14th century Eng-
land. Don't hold your breath wait-
ing for the film to give you a logical
explanation (or even a stupid one),
because you won't get it.
After being mistaken for a French
messenger while explaining his
South Central address, Florence and
Normandy, he is taken into the cas-
tle as a guest of the tyrannical King
Leo (Kevin Conway).
The running gag, which becomes
tiresome, to say the least, is that
Jamal thinks he's just down the
block at the theme park/hotel Castle
World, surrounded by overzealous
actors and poorly maintained toi-
lets. It is not until he sees someone
beheaded that he realizes what has
really happened, at which point he
gets caught up in a plot to over-
throw the king and restore the
deposed queen to the throne. Jamal
(or as he is called in the court, Sir
Skywalker) is immediately smitten
with Victoria (Marsha Thomason),
one of the chamber maids, which
also gets him on the bad side of Per-
cival (Vincent Regan), the head of
security for the king, who disdain-
fully calls Jamal "moor" at every
opportunity.
The movie is full of Lawrence's
supposedly clever remarks and slap-
stick comedy, but very little of it is
even the least bit entertaining. Most
of this can be blamed on the atro-
cious script (we can thank the writer
of "Big Momma's House"), because

Detroit's transit strike of 1941.

Lowe's 'Tunnel Vision' a long, strange trip

By Neal Pais
Daily Arts Writer
Whatever might be said of Keith
Lowe's "Tunnel Vision," let it not
be called uno-
riginal.
Boldly set
within the
Tunnel depths of Lon-
Vision don's Under-
Keith Lowe ground and
Grade: B+ spanning less
MTV/Pocket Books than 24 hours,
this highly con-
ceptual novel
takes a fresh
look at
romance, urban
society and the
everyday chaos
that seems to creep into allof our
lives. It is a stunning debut for

Lowe and falls solidly within the
ranks of today's finest Gen-X fic-
tion.
Beginning at just before five
o'clock one gloomy summer morn-
ing, we are introduced to Andy -
a tube-obsessed trainspotter with a
penchant for making drunken bets;
his wait for the first train.into the
city is a product of one such bet.
Hung over and weary from a night
of excessive drinking with a simi-
larly obsessed tube pal, Andy pro-
logues for the audience the
seemingly impossible task he is
about to embark upon. It seems
that in an effort to show his
supremacy over all other London
transport freaks, he has not only
bet his wallet, keys and passport
(that would be just too pass6)
but also his wedding.
You see, Andy is about to be
married to his true love the next
day. And the task at hand: To travel
the entire length of the London
Underground -- each and all of its
265 stations before one o'clock the

befriends early on in his journey.
In a race in which every second
counts, Andy must fight his way
through train delays and huffy
Londoners if he is to be united
with the woman he loves in time
for their wedding. .
Lowe smartly builds each chap-
ter around a different section of the
tube while regularly providing pre-
cise time frames for the reader.
The book flows with the fluidity of
a metropolitan subway train -
without the delays. While keeping
the adrenaline pumping, "Tunnel
Vision" also manages to reflect
with considerable depth, on the
hurriedness of modern society and

the natural displacement of priority
that we often suffer.
Interspersed with a predictable
amount of tube trivia are witty
looks at city living and the often
ignored idiosyncrasies of urban
transport. Lowe maintains a tone
utterly devoid of pretension and
transforms a normally esoteric
subject (the London Underground)
into something that can be univer-
sally appreciated. After a humor-
ous and harrowing series of twists,
"Tunnel Vision" finally emerges as
a story about persistence, priority
and the essence of time. Lowe's
brilliant "Vision" is truly worthy of
every gram of acclaim it receives.

Courtesy oT fwentietn Century iox
Do you know what a chambermaid is?

a .

jI

You've excelled at Michigan...
What's Next?
Spend a year in Jerusalem among

_ ,l

So, what're you

doing for the rest of
your life?
Still looking for a
concentration?

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