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March 04, 2002 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-04

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 4, 2002


Aaliyah's teeth not
enough to save
sub-par 'Damned'


should be

given up for lent

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor

Your enjoyment of "Queen of the
Damned" may hinge on your reac-
tion to the following: Hong Kong -
style martial arts vampire fight
during a goth-metal concert. Are
you drooling? Did you think "The
Brotherhood of the Wolf" was OK
but a wee bit too hoity-toity for
your taste? "Queen of the Damned"
will not tax your reserves. It is
never clear whether the film desires
to be a dark, moody, atmos-

Deep") crams two Anne Rice novels
(one that gives the movie its title,
the other "The Vampire Lestat")
into one film, sacrificing nothing
except coherence and character
development. What saves it from
being a complete waste of time is
the dirty-decadent joy that turns
this bloated B movie into a fun
bloated B movie. The blood is
sharply red over the washed out
whites, grays and blacks that per-
meate the rest of the film. Vampires
don't simply bite, they slurp. The
film wallows in its own


At Showc

Is there a petal in your pocket ...?
metal band, which subsequently
becomes the most popular band in
the world. Seriously. Oh, and Lestat
tells everyone that he's a vampire,
and no one seems to
have a problem with it
except for the other
* vampires (of which,
apparently, there are
OF THE plenty) who decide to
NED come after him.
After these early-film
case and happenings, the audi-
y 16 ence is treated to a long
flashback documenting
Bros. Lestat's early days
vamping with Marius
(Vincent Perez), who originally
introduced Lestat to the dark side.
The film then makes the obvious
transition back to the modern day,
where Lestat's music has awakened
ancient vampire Queen Akasha
(Aaliyah) who eats everyone in
sight and goes after Lestat to mate
with him and attacks another group
of vampires lead by Academy
Award winner Lena Olin who want
to kill both her and Lestat and
they're all being tailed by Mar-
guerite Moreau who works for some
sort of underground vampire-hunt-
ing group. If you're confused, it's
because this movie doesn't make
any sense, and you could fit large,
many-sided items through the holes
in the plot.
Moreau's character seems to be a
Lestat love interest, as he never
kills her and she helps him save the
day, though it is never explained
why the vampire doesn't just eat

her. Olin, as far as I can gather,
plays the Glenda to Aaliyah's
Wicked Witch of the West, though
I'm not sure, as it is never really
While only on screen for about
10 minutes, the late R&B singer
Aaliyah received more press than
anyone else in what amounts to
Townsend's movie. The singer died
in a plane crash last summer just
before completing her role, and her
older brother provides voice-over
for a few scenes. The actress
exhibits a strange control while
onscreen, gyrating and eating peo-
ple with the fierce animalism of
Grace Jones (or an angry rhino).
While the part calls for nothing
more than looking beautiful and
wearing fake blood, Aaliyah's
provocative presence suggests her
film career could have broadened
beyond fake diamond headdresses
and plastic teeth.
Rymer aptly guides the audience
through special effects sequences
and decadent, bloody-sensual slow
burn shots with the vampires. Scott
Abbott script tries to do too much
without explaining anything. Char-
acters come and go, and major plot
points aren't introduced until the
final reel.
That said, anyone who goes to a
movie entitled "Queen of the
Damned" should not expect Jean-
Luc Goddard. "Queen of the
Damned" is by no stretch a good
movie, but few movies are these
days, and this one certainly isn't the

By John Laughlin
For the Daily
Spontaneous erections, naked
women, Viagra, condom flinging
and a female orgasm from a flower.
Mix in a little religion and you have
the basic ingredients to Michael
Lehmann's "40 Days and 40
Nights." The film
centers on Matt a
(played by Josh Hart-
nett), who has decid-
ed, in an attempt to
regain control over his 40 DAYS
love life, to give up NIG
all sexual activity for
Lent (yes, that At Show
includes masturba- Quali
tion). The audience
then spends the next Mira
hour and 30 minutes
reveling in this young man's sexual
The film is not without a love
interest, named Erica (Sossamon)
who some may remember from her
role as Jocelyn in "A Knights Tale."
She and Matt both work for dot-coin
companies set in San Francisco.
Erica checks porn sites all day and
Matt designs web pages. These two
cyber-geeks stumble upon one
another in a laundromat, but due to
Matt's "situation," the relationship is
all but easy.
A few other familiar faces grace
the screen, such as Matt's best
friend and roommate Ryan, played
by Paulo Costanzo (Road Trip), Neil
(anyone remember Ben Fong-Torres
from Almost Famous?) and Michael
C. Maronna, playing the infamous
"Bagel guy," who looks like the lead
singer from the Spin Doctors (so
that is what happened to one of the
brothers from Nickelodeon's "Pete
and Pete" ... poor bastard). Female
members include Monet Mazur
(Nicole) and Maggie Gyllenhaal
(Samantha). The cast is decent but
falls a bit short due to its sole pur-
pose on screen being to run a bet-
ting pool or chiming in with the
occasional funny remark.
'Nights' is definitely not a "chick
flick," but it isn't just some guy


movie with a lot of T&A (although
it does contain that in spades). The
film rides that fine line between the
two and makes it enjoyable for both
sexes. It is interesting to see a male
lead with a sexual dysfunction. The
cinema gives us many male models,
but this one gives us a man who is
atypical in that we see the psycho-
logical reason why he
leaves after sex; we see
his heart being broken, 0
and we see him dealing
with real issues. Lost
3ND 40 love, a test of one's self
TS and a new found
romance - formulaic?
ise and Yes. Stale? No.
16 Lehmann's craft is
quite good at getting
ax these points across. The
opening credit sequence
with home movie look? Awesome.
The portrayal of his hometown of
San Francisco? Great shots. His Alt-
man-esque, quasi- "Dr. T and His
Women" scene with Matt floating in
a sea of breasts? Killer.
The main problem with this film
is that you can only make so many
jokes revolving around erections
and sexual frustration before they
lose their luster. The religion ele-
ment adds some character to the
film - I don't think I've seen a half
naked boy handcuffed to a bed quot-
ing the bible on screen to date. This
is not to say that the film doesn't
work - because it does. The pacing
is slow, but the idea of the story is
fresh and interesting. The plot
between Matt and Erica is quite
cute, and having a date sequence
take place on a bus ride was actually
pretty cool.
That said, "40 Days and 40
Nights" won't be the greatest film
you will ever see, but it is a fun
ride. While the Queen song from the
trailer is absent in the film, the
soundtrack is hip and meshes well
with scenes. Hartnett is cool and
Sossamon is sassy. The film will
make you laugh, make you cry,
maybe make you hard and maybe
make you want to go out into the
desert and be tested by Satan.

Entertainment's worst awards live up to b *Ing
On Feb. 27 the biggest names in music gathered for the 44th annual Grammy awards to continue their staunch tradi-
tion of doling out awards that don't actually count for anything other than proverbial artistic resume builders. U2, Alicia
Keys and the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers' "O Brother Where Art Thou" came away with largely useless and gener-
ally unimportant wins. It is unfortunate that the genuine musicianship of the performers on the "O Brother" soundtrack
had to be recognized in the same evening as Keys and U2.
Equally unfortunate for viewers was National Academy of Recording Arts and Science President Michael Greene's
devotion of his entire speech to the condemnation of file-sharing software. Greene's lecture confirmed beliefs that all
the music industry does in fact care about is money.
-Luke Smith, DailyArts Editor

Spend some time at home alone
with your best 'Friends' on DVD

By Christian Smith
Daily Arts Writer
Audiences, advertisers and net-
work honchos alike breathed a collec-
tive sigh of relief as NBC announced
that "Friends" would be coming back
for another year. Signing on for a
ninth season for a reported $1 million
per episode each memeber, the cast
will postpone its has-been status as
some of the highest paid
stars on television. a
But for those of you
who can't get enough of THEI
your "Friends", either FRIENI
from the new episodesP
Thursday nights on NBC Picture/Sot
or the incalculable num- Movie: **
ber of reruns that air Features:
every day in syndication
on UPN and TBS at all
hours of the day, there is a special
DVD box set highlighting the best of
"Friends." The DVD four pack
includes two discs with 10 episodes
of fan favorites and two discs con-
taining the top 10 episodes, also as
voted on by the fans. Each episode
features additional footage and re-
mastered Dolby Digital 5.0 sound,
and the discs are also available indi-
vidually as well as in two separate
Extra features on the discs include
cast and crew biographies, a docu-
mentary, and extra bits of footage
added to each episode, but most of
the time this just consists of an addi-


tional joke that was cut out because it
wasn't that funny in the first place.
However, The One That Goes Behind
the Scenes is an extremely informa-
tive 42-minute documentary that
gives an in-depth look into the mak-
ing of the show. Originally broadcast
on The Discovery Channel, this
behind-the-scenes look details the
creation of the episode entitled The
One After Vegas. The rest of the DVD
isn't quite as enlight-
ening, leaving out last
year's hilarious outtake
;EST OF special hosted by
IS DVD Conan O'Brien, but
the episodes them-
d: * * selves make up for
k Everyone knows the
____ story of the six rela-
20/30-somethings, but this set gives a
concise and thorough summary, span-
ning from the pilot all the way to The
One With the Proposal. The one gaffe
is the two-part fantasy episode, enti-
tled The One That Could Have Been,
which imagines what would have
been if the "Friends" had made dif-
ferent choices (i.e. if Monica was still
fat and had Ross stayed married to a
Except for a few clever inside
jokes, this was one of the series' low
points. Highlight episodes include
four of the always-funny Thanksgiv-
ing episodes and first season gem
The One With the Blackout, in which

Chandler is trapped in an ATM
vestibule with a Victoria's Secret
model. But the heart and soul of this
anthology, like that of the show itself,
comes courtesy of the emotional
roller coaster that is Ross and
Rachel's relationship. The discs take
us through their all-encompassing
voyage, from the breathtaking highs
to the heartbreaking lows.
This best-of collection may seem
somewhat unnecessary with the
approaching season-by-season
release of the entire series, and you
might not even need it at all for
another year. But assuming that the
ninth (and probably last) year is as
charming and witty as the current
one, this DVD set is still a great way
to enjoy "Friends" forever.

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