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February 11, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-11

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Visiting Writer's Series
Former Poet Laureate Robert
Haas reads from his collection
of poetry.
michigandaily.com /arts

ARTS

MONDAY
FEBRUARY 11, 2002

5A

P. Diddy sent to die
in 'Monster's Ball'

Media Union walls are
shaking at Inmnedia 2002

By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer '
The movie about the Death Row inmate
facing his last days before execution has
been told time and time again. It asks
whether he even
committed the
crime. It creates
suspense as to ****
whether last
minute appeals MONSTER'S
will keep him BALL
alive. It also
features that At Michigan Theater
final emotional
phone call, or Lion's Gate
conversation,
with the inmate's family before capital
punishment commences. The fact that
these situations never arise in "Monster's
Ball" is proof that this is a film that will
lead you down roads you do not expect. In
Marc Forster's film, the inmate is not
around very long because he is not the
focus. "Monster's Ball" is not about jus-
tice, but rather passion, need, hurt and
love.
Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Combs) is on
Death Row, and is being prepared to die in
a few days. Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) and
his son Sonny (Heath Ledger) are two of
the prison guards responsible for carrying
out the execution. Hank and Sonny live
together along with Hank's sick, crass and
old valued father (Peter Boyle). The three
don't get along too well with each baring
lots of love and hate for their respective
family members.
Lawrence's wife Leticia (Halle Berry) is
losing her home due to lack of payment,

losing her car due to lack of repair and los-
ing her mind trying to raise an obese food-
addicted son (Coronji Calhoun) all on her
own. Addictions to cigarettes and alcohol
temporarily ease her pain.
The passing of Lawrence is certain and
has differing effects on Leticia, and on the
relationship of Hank and Sonny. However,
it is the additional family losses to both
Leticia and Hank that send them spiraling
down and seeking answers to the tough
lives they have lead. Finally, they meet and
find solace in each other. Feeling so much
pain and confusion, together they unleash
unbridled passion and love. Is it really last-
ing love or just the much-needed comfort
they seek so greatly? This is barely ques-
tioned as they just try to keep a relation-
ship together based on built up desires.
Halle Berry gives the performance of
her career. She remains subtlety beautiful
underneath the skin of an emotionally
fragile widow. Billy Bob Thornton is
equally impressive as he undergoes a
major transition of character from the man
his father raised to the one he thinks he
can be. In a romance so unpredictable and
brimming with danger, they both emit
warmth, humor and most of all, realism
into their characters. The relationship is
one of the most powerful and beautiful
captured in recent cinema, and their initial
lovemaking, filmed as a mix of violence
and tenderness encapsulating their lives,
is unforgettable.
"Puffy" Combs and Ledger are both
wonderful as well, which may be surpris-
ing to many viewers. Combs is quiet and
thoughtful; there is also a great sadness
about him that he emits with delicacy and
honesty. Ledger proves that he does not

Courtesy of Lion'sGate
Billy-Bob (right) takes Puffy back home.
need the limelight of the starring role as
he (along with the rest of the cast) appears
in this low-budget affair that does not
even offer him much screen time. But
when Ledger is on screen, it is hard to
look away from him. Being able to handle,
and almost outperform, several highly
emotional and furious scenes with Thorn-
ton is testament enough to Ledger's per-
formance.
Nevertheless, "Monster's Ball" is a plat-
form for Berry and the film's wonderful,
complicated script. Berry shows once again
that she is more than just a pretty (very,
very pretty) face, and there should be more
scripts like this, where it doe not go on the
path the audience thinks it will while
simultaneously not making all character's
thoughts painfully obvious. "Monster's
Ball" offers many challenges to its actors
and its audience, and this journey is heart-
breaking, joyful, and redemptive for all.

By Archana Ravi
Daily Arts Writer
When first approaching the Media Union, a
fierce drumbeat seemed to make the windows
vibrate, while a high-pitched, electronic techno
melody slipped through the
cracks of the doors. Such a
combination was unfamiliar to
most, but it was just one of a IMMEDI
variety of unfamiliar combina-
tions at the Immedia 2002 art Media
exhibition.T
The Immedia art exhibition ThrU
was developed by a group of
creative thinkers called "Entity," which want-
ed to expand artistic possibilities through
electronics. This group, as well as the entire
Immedia community, believes that the
advancement of technology does not go hand
in hand with a loss of personal expression.
The union of art and technology is a sign
that we have entered the digital world. This
exhibit in particular also shows the evolution
of art over the years. What are thought to be
two vastly different fields of interest are in
fact a fascinating and somewhat comparable
pair. It was interesting to see electronic artists
expressing themselves through digital paint-
ings, sound art, music and virtual reality.
The gallery includes a wide variety of
pieces, some focusing more on electronics
and others on art. One of the most intriguing
in the gallery was titled, "Are You Afraid of
Dogs?" by Tamara Stone. This was an interac-
tive piece in which audience members trigger
sensors, which, in turn, set off a "pseudo-ran-
dom program." This program, called "Basic

[IA
Su

Stamp," turns on the mechanical dogs random-
ly. One by one, they all start barking and danc-
ing at random, until all of them are making a
ruckus. At the end of this short production,
they all shut off simultaneously.
Another great feature in this exhibit was
the sound art, in which digital
images are transformed into
sound, allowing the audience
2002 to literally listen to a picture.
The exhibit also includes a vir-
Jnion tual reality CAVE (Cave Auto-
matic Virtual Environment),
inday modern dance, electric sculp-
ture and much more.
In addition, the exhibition holds a some-
what international flare. Containing sub-
missions from Asia, Europe, Canada and all
over the US., it's a remarkable depiction of
the digital age.

Courtesy of Immedia
I don't know art, but I know what I like.

Dreams go south i 'Body'
By Christine Lask the play because it granted him artistic freedom.
Daily Arts Writer The stage directions are unspecific and when
deciding on a set plot, Klein took the black box

'Big Fat' waste of time and money

By Johanna Hanink
Daily Arts Writer

Occasionally the temptation of a no-
brainer, passive-entertainment, time-
killing flick is too nuc, to'reist If you
find yourself in this position any time

*.

BIG FAT LIAR
At Showcase and
Quality 16
Universal
ers, slapstick and

soon, "Big Fat
Liar" is not the
movie to give in
to.
In a formula-
ic film built on
a tenuous
comedic foun-
dation of situa-
tional humor,
teenage one-lin-
pratfalls, Frankie

Marty's limo. The entire premise of the
movie unfolds in this scene - Marty
gives Jason a ride to class, but Jason
drops his essay and leaves it in the limo
for the conniving producer to discover,
sta'l a venually turn inito the mnos-
anticipated blockbuster of the summer.
Jason only discovers Marty's stunt
when heand his friend Kaylee (Amanda
Bynes, "The Amanda Show," "All That")
are watching television together and a
commercial for the upcoming film "Big
Fat Liar" appears.
Jason and Kaylee pack their bags and
head to Los Angeles intent on con-
fronting Marty. The rest of the movie is
an arrogant collection of antics and hi-
jinx that already have been done in every
Olsen twins or early-'90s Disney movie
ever made. In "Big Fat Liar's" pinnacle
of comedic artistry, Jason and Kaylee
manage to arrange for Marty to be dyed
completely blue. The humor is superfi-
cial, the dialogue contrived and the point
nonexistent.
Giammatti, who has made appearances
in two Woody Allen movies ("Mighty
Aphrodite" and "Deconstructing Harry")
and who has had roles in several other
respectable films ("Man on the Moon,"
"Saving Private Ryan") has sold out to a
role that clearly was designed for Rob

Schneider. Muniz and Bynes represent
the scrime of teenage talent who, admit-
tedly, fill out their roles as well as the
lamer than lame screenplay could allow.
"Big Fat Liar" may be an overly obvi-
ous satire of the over-stereotyped Holly-
wood shark. The movie, however, lacks
any semblance of subtlety or cleverness,
and its face value represents exactly what
it is worth: Not nine dollars.

Basement Arts director Benjamin Klein will
be presenting audiences with John Guare's play
"Landscapes of the Body" this weekend.
"Landscapes of the Body" is a version of the
American dream gone horribly wrong, told in
the black comedy style. The main
character, Betty, travels to New
York in order to retrieve her porn
star sister, Rosalie and bring her LANDSC
back to their hometown. Rosalie, THE
however, is killed in a freak
cycling accident shortly after Betty At Aren
arrives in New York and in order to Thurs. t
settle Rosalie's debts, Betty 8 p.m. Ad
assumes her sister's life in pornog- TBA
raphy. The audience sees how New Basemi
York changes Betty and her son
Bert, and also how the action of the play culmi-
nates in Bert's death and Betty being accused of
it.
John Guare, author of "Six Degrees of Sepa-
ration," wrote "Landscapes of the Body" in
1978. Guare is primarily known for writing real-
istic plays. Although "Landscapes of the Body"
was written over 20 years ago, the characters in
the play are still pertinent in today's society, as
the issues they deal with are universal. The
majority of Guare's plays take place in New
York and will often implement newspaper head-
lines in the dialogue, grounding the plots of his
pieces in reality.
Benjamin Klein is a BFA major at the Univer-
sity and "Landscapes of the Body" is his final
project with Basement Arts. Klein was drawn to

I
B
na
hr
dit
.
nen

acting space into consideration. "Directing
'Landscapes of the Body' has made me more
creative," said Klein.

In order to get a feel for the "urbanness" of
Greenwich Village, Klein plans to highlight the
natural architecture of the Arena
Theatre.
"Landscapes of the Body" does
APES OF not follow the conventions of the
IODY theater. The play is episodic and
the different scenes melt into one
Theater another, but also jump around in
u Sat. at time. The play is narrated by the
ional times dead sister, Rosalie, who acts as
Free. an all-knowing omniscient guide
t Arts to the audience, as well as a char-
acter within the plot. At first, the
play seems centered around the mysterious mur-
der of Bert, yet this gives way to the more seri-
ous: A universal issue of being content with
what one has in life. Betty believes that she has
no love in her life and subsequently spends her
two years in New York trying to fill this void. In
the end, she loses the only real love she ever had
in the death of her son.
"Landscapes of the Body" promises to be
both a hysterical and harrowing piece of drama.
The show is intense, but the cast seems capable
of the high energy necessary to make it a suc-
cess. Megan Lesperance, who plays Betty, said,
"This play has been an adventure, a work in
progress, and a discovery. It's very demanding,
both mentally and physically, but it's also been
very rewarding."

Muniz ("My Dog Skip," "Malcolm in the
Middle") plays Jason Shepherd, a too-hip
skateboard riding, Coke-guzzling, studio-
manufactured pre-teen heartthrob who
whips up the story "Big Fat Liar," in
order to save his sorry ass from summer
school.
Marty Wolf (Paul Giammatti, "Planet
of the Apes," "Big Momma's House,") is
a sleazy, greasy, caricature of a Holly-
wood producer who crosses paths with
Jason after Jason, frantically biking to
school to turn in the story, collides with

Courtesy of Universal
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