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March 25, 2002 - Image 7

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-25

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Barton Fink ...
The Coen Brothers' film
plays at the"Michigan
Theater tonight at 7 p.m.

Aftdftm BuOu
ARTS

MONDAY
MARCH 25, 20027

michigandaily.com

Updated 'I
than bri11ia
By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor
"E.T." is a masterpiece. It remains one of
the finest family films to ever grace the
silver screen, now and forever. Steven
Spielberg's 1982 blockbuster boy-meets-
alien, boy-loves-alien, alien-leaves, boy-
cries tale captured the hearts
of millions and became a cul-
tural phenomenon, grossing
just shy of $400 million at the Movie:
U.S. box office. To celebrate
its 20th anniversary, Spiel- Secia
berg has re-released the mod-
ern classic, hoping to enthrall E.T. TH
a new generation of film TERRI
viewers. But buyer beware, THE
this is not the same "E.T." ANNI
you grew up with. At Qual
As a result of our current Sho
state of political correctness
and sensitivity, "E.T." has Uni
been sanitized by Spielberg
and his strong liberal ideals. Questions
arose shortly after the announcement of the
theatrical re-release regarding the fate of
the beloved "penis breath" line from the
opening dinner scene. Thankfully the
childish banter has
been included,
and remains
some of the
most mem-
orable dia-
logue in the
film. The
most dras-
tic, yet sub-
Courtesy of Universal F
Barrymore, befo
the blow.

EOTOI

worse

ant original

f
1

tle change is the digital removal of all all
guns from the film. No longer do govern-
ment agents brandish pistols and shotguns
in the dramatic finale, rather the roadblock
consists of sharp-suited men wielding
menacing ... walkie-talkies. Thank you
Steven Spielberg.
Aside from the removal of "offensive"

I Edition:
stars)
[E ExTRA -
ESTRIAL
20TH
VERSARY
ity 16 and
wcase
iversal

material, Spielberg has gone
one step farther to update his
highest grossing film. Several
of E.T.'s facial expressions
have been digitally altered to
make his reactions more ani-
mated, giving the adored char-
acter a cartoonish appearance.
The new shots of E.T., done
with computer generated
effects, fail to blend well with
the original puppet-style
appearance of the alien. The
distinction between the origi-
nal E.T. and the computer ani-
mated E.T. are blantatnly
as the CGI alien moves much

f

obvious,

more fluidly than the restriced movements
of the original. An added scene of Elliot
and the befriended.extra-terrestrial in the
bathroom serves no purpose other than to
fulfill the promise of "never before seen
footage" promoted heavily on commercials
and billboards. The saving grace of the
20th anniversary edition of the
film is the
remaster-
& a in g

Courtesy or universal

Henry Thomas and the new E.T. stand in astonishment at the stupidity of Steven Spielberg.

of John Williams' Academy Award winning
score. The acclaimed composer's score,
with its rich themes and uplifting ending
medley, is one of Williams finest.
Part of the blame for this new yersion of
"E.T." can be placed on long time friend
and collaborator of Spielberg, George
Lucas. In 1997, Lucas re-released his "Star
Wars" trilogy for its 20th anniversary with
new scenes, improved digital effects and
promotional tie-ins, complete with toys
from your local Taco Bell. Titling them the
"special editions," Lucas created a mael-
strom of controversy from hard-core fans
for altering the holy film series. "Star
Wars" included similar political correct-
ness, as Lucas unwisely made Greedo
shoot first in the meeting with Han Solo at
the Mos Eisley Cantina. The criticism was
not enough to prevent the mammoth box
office receipts, and studios took notice.

Over the past few years there has been a
tidal wave of re-releases, including: "The
Exorcist," "Apocalypse Now," "Grease,"
"The Godfather" and "Dirty Dancing."
In its original form, "E.T." is a flawless
tale for any generation. The cutesy story of
Elliot and E.T. may have many younger
viewers ignoring the skillful direction of
Spielberg and the finely tuned script. To
this day, the relationship between Elliot
and the glow-fingered E.T. can induce
tears in the eldest of hearts. One of the
masterstrokes of the film is the character
aptly called "Keys," who is framed for
most of the movie from the waist down,
identifiable only by he keys that hang from
his belt. Spielberg masterfully uses the trite
environment in unique ways, with clever
lighting and camera movement. In "E.T."
Spielberg perfects his directing skills intro-
duced in his first masterpiece, 1975's shark

thriller "Jaws."
Unfortunately there are no laws or legis-
lation to protect classic films from being
re-edited, re-imagined and re-rereleased for
the purpose of the all mighty dollar. Holly-
wood needs an equivalent to the Environ-
mental Protection Agency. Once brilliant
directors can freely reclaim their golden
years to make up for their recent failures
(think Francis Ford Coppola and "Apoca-
lypse Now: Redux"). Following the world
premiere of the "E.T." anniversary edition,
rumors have been circulating around the
industry that the Spielberg/Lucas collabo-
ration "Raiders of the Lost Ark" might be
the next modern classic to receive the spe-
cial edition makeover. The thought of a
computer enhanced boulder chasing after
Harrison Ford, with a digitally removed
whip, may not be far fetched. Is nothing
sacred?

Pictures
'ore

Poor 'Sorority Boys'
leaves much desired

Judi Dench's talent
blooms in fine 'Iris'

By John Laughlin
For the Daily

Two households, KOK and DOG, in fair college,
where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break
to new mutiny, where ramped sexism makes civil
hands unclean.
"Sorority Boys" is
about two houses: The
KOK (yes, that's pro- **
nounced "cock")
house is a group of SORORITY BOYS
frat guys who are At Ouality 16 and
characterized by their 'Showcase
perpetual degradation
of women and dislike Touchstone
of the DOG house.
The DOGs live in the house across the street from
KOK and is home to female outcasts who do not fit
into the "Tri-Pi" blond bombshell image.
Three KOKs: Dave/Daisy (Barry Watson),
Doofer/Roberta (Harland Williams) and
Adam/Adina (Michael Rosenbaum) are kicked out
of their house for a crime they did not commit. In an
effort to prove their innocence, the three dress in
drag and go to one of their parties to steal a video-
tape.
Almost immediately, they get kicked out and
dropped on the doorstep of the DOG house. The
DOGs take them in, and the boys bide their time as
girls until they can work up a better plan to steal the
tape back.
The saving grace of this film is in its rating-'R.'

Plenty of T & A can be
found, as well as some
good old fashioned
raunchy humor. Dildo
fights, erections andk
tampon humor all
ensue in a "heavy
flow" that will actually
make you laugh.'
The boys spend time
and see what it is like
to live on the other I don't care if you're addicted t4
side, and of course, all
come to miraculous revelations as to the proper
treatment of women by the end of the film.
The love interest plot in the film is definitely
twisted. Dave/Daisy falls for Leah (Mellisa
Sagemiller) while s/he is living at the DOG house.
Leah is a cliched feminist who thinks that KOKs are
all the same.
Leah falls for Daisy and kisses her/him (she is
now a lesbian), but remember, Daisy is really Dave.
Dave eventually tells Leah who he really is and Leah
rejects him (is she still gay?). After some good talk-
ing though, Leah realizes she loves Dave and the
two end up together. Leah's character is amazing -
she changes her gender preference at the drop of a
hat and doesn't really seem to have too much of a
problem with it (by the way, she's the only "hot"
DOG in the house too...how convenient).
The major problem with this film is in its pacing.
The boys join the female world so fast you constant-
ly ask yourself the questions, "Why are they doing

"Iris" tells the story of a wonder-
ful genius, crippled with a debilitat-
ing disease and the love that genius
shares with a spouse as they grow
into their senior years. Both "Iris"
and "A Beautiful Mind" contain

Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer

o pom.

this again?" and "How did they get here?"
The film is just another example of taking a
ridiculously simple plot and making it overly com-
plicated for the central protagonists to achieve goals.
Granted, the film is just supposed to be funny: a
bunch of guys dressed up as girls living in a sorority
house.
However, it raises questions about sexual identity,
beauty and preferences that go unanswered. The
swinging lesbianism of Leah is absurd, and the con-
stant like/dislike of transvestitism on the guys' parts
grow old fast.
Sorority Boys is not a total loss - it is a comedy.
It has some great gross out humor moments, and
Harland Williams is hilarious in the role of Roberta.
Barry Watson pulls off the female image pretty
well, while Michael Rosenbaum is constantly wor-
ried about his "fat ass." While the film does not
tackle the issues it raises with any real depth, it cre-
ates a funny atmosphere where boys will be girls.

incredible performances b
casts and both have
interesting takes on the
disease being por-
trayed.
However, unlike Ron
Howard's film, Richard
Eyre's "Iris" is not
interested in tricking
the viewer. The long
and complicated history
of Iris Murdoch and John

y talented

IR

At Michiga
Mirar
Bayley is

i

v - - -

'Kadaar' chonicles
Afgan woman's life
By Andy Taylor-Fabo
Daily Film Editor
When "Kandahar" premiered in May at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, there was
little hope that theaters in the United States would have any interest whatsoever in the
Iranian film that depicts the horrors of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. However,
Mohsen Makhmalbaf's film has become a post-Sept.
11 staple.
The film is based on the true story of the lead
actress, Nelofer Pazira. In the film, Nelofir plays
Nafas, an Afghan refugee living in Canada. She **
receives a letter from her sister, who is in despair after
having been maimed by a land-mine and is living in KANDAHAR
the oppressive city of Kandahar, where women must
lo, L _ . _--- r--U- .. +- ,--A At Michigran Theater

told honestly and beautifully and is
much less about the fight to retain
intelligence than concentrating on
the fight to keep love alive despite
all obstacles.
In a creative and powerful use of
editing, the older, disease-troubled
relationship of Iris and John is inter-
cut with the budding friendship and
love of a younger Iris and a younger
John.
As the socially awkward, intelli-
gent, young John (Hugh Bonneville)
first meets the young, confident,
soon to be writer Iris (Kate Winslet),
it is obvious that John cannot take
his eyes off her. He is immediately
drawn to her but her intentions are
more hidden. Iris is a very sociable
person and it is soon learned that her
social behavior is not limited to the
normal chitchat.
John find his first love in Iris, but
to be with her he must accept that
she is a lover of other men and
women. Iris proves that John is not
just another throwaway lover in her
life by letting him be the first to
read her first novel. John offers sup-
port and kindness that Iris will need
later.
Later in life, Iris (Judi Dench) is
now a renowned novelist and John
(Jim Broadbent) remains at her side.
Alzheimer's slowly eats away at the
vnY(Y wntn she nce was_ It takesq

revered British novel and philoso-
pher and it turns out to be an amaz-
ing story of devotion and enduring
love that requires little of the typical
movie storytelling deceit.
In a year filled with ensemble
casts elevating material to greater
heights, the cast of "Iris" almost
makes the storyline disappear into
unimportance with their deft por-
trayals of real-life peo-
ple, young and old.
Dench, Broadbent
and Winslet all earned
is Oscar nominations for
their performances, and
n Theater it would be a shame to
max not mention Bon-
neville's accomplish-
ments in the same
breath as his co-stars.
While Dench has shown before
that it can take a mere six-minutes
of screen time for her to pick up an
Oscar, so giving her over an hour
here is mesmerizing. The contrasts
she displays as Iris are intriguing
and real, though not enough for the
academy honor her this year. Halle
Berry took the statue home for
"Monster's Ball."
First, Dench captures all the con-
fidence and smarts of Iris, deliver-
ing an honorary speech. Later, she
perfectly recreates the mindset of a
simple child in a world of her own.
It is a sad difference, and a breath-
taking one as well.
Broadbent won as a supporting
actor, but his screen time and promi-
nence in the film should have been
honored in the lead actor category.
Here, he does a complete reversal of
his loud, over the top owner in
"Moulin Rouge," stuttering his way
through his role as the gentle and
caring John.
Despite the title, it is John who is
truly the main character as we see
Iris through his eyes and experi-
ences. While Broadbent cannot take
his eyes off of Iris due to his love
and worry, the viewer cannot look
away from his John, as he can reveal
much emotion in with a blink of the
eyes.
Winslet shows onnce ag~ain that she

Courtesy of Avatar Films

Nelofir Pazira's first role was inspired by events in her life.

A,-a] of A ztf h to anv of the oharartarc anA mnet of the npnnlp whn hpln ht-.r ['.nmP and

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