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April 01, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-01

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Episode II Sneak Preview ...
There will be a special screening of
"Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the
Clones," tonight at the Natural Science
Auditorium. 8 p.m. Free.
michigandaiiy.com

~ET~s

MONDAY
APRIL 1, 2002

5A

Foster sizzles in
mundane 'Room'

ABC's 'Bachelor' a
shameless waste of
Monday TV time

By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer

David Fincher is not a household
name. Yet. But, when you mention
the names of his films, Fincher
quickly becomes associated with a
daring, inventive style mixed with
dangerous, gloomy material that
most mainstream directors would
never have the courage
to create. His third A
installment of the
"Alien" series is the
most underrated; the
grisly, dark detective PANIC
st ory "Seven" is ~a At Sho'
modern masterpiece; Qua
"The Game" keeps the
audience guessing up Col
until the very end; and
"Fight Club," despite a variety of
errors, has somehow reached a
whole generation of people sick of
their technological society. In a
short time, Fincher has given him-
self a mini-legacy and it is possible
that one day his name might be as
big and well respected as Ridley
Scott or Jonathan Demme. "Panic
Room" does not do much to tarnish
his reputation, but it does nothing
to boost it.
Meg Altman (Jodie Foster),
recently divorced (but not from
Robert Altman) and very well off,
has found a new home for her and
her daughter, Sarah (Kristen Stew-
art). Sarah is a diabetic girl with
tomboyish tendencies. In the open-
ing minutes, a slow and informa-
tive real estate tour is given of their
new Brownstone in Manhattan.
While the home's sale hinges on
this tour, so does the film's, as the
viewer now knows the layout for
all the upcoming action. The four

lit
un

floors, the elevator and the panic
room are now common knowledge
for the superior feeling audience.
But wait, what exactly was that
last part?
Yes, a panic room, in case of
break-in, with security monitors of
the entire home, its own ventilation
system, supplies to last any length
of time endured, and most impor-
tantly, steel walls so
no can possibly get in.
Fighting impossibil-
ity are the man with
the plan, Junior (Jared
ROOM Leto, "Requiem for a
case and Dream"), security
y 16 expert Burnham (For-
rest Whitaker, "Ghost
nbia Dog") and a ski-
masked, gun-carrying
Raoul (country singer Dwight
Yoakam, "Sling Blade"). The Alt-
mans apparently moved in a little
earlier than they were supposed to
and Burnham immediately wants to
forget the plan, he wants whatever
is inside that room but nothing to
do with any necessary violence.
Junior may have thought of the
plan, but that's probably the only
clever thought to ever come out of
his head, and Raoul remains "dan-
gerously mysterious," while not
wanting to leave. So, the bad guys
cannot get along but the good guys
are stuck inside the room. From
here on out, it becomes a battle of
the wits.
The first act plays out slowly
with Fincher's visual mastery pro-
viding all the excitement. Combin-
ing a freewheeling camera with
computer special effects, the cam-
era supplies angles and movements
that the human eye could never
achieve itself. The camera darts

By Ryan Blay
Daily TV/New Media Editor

Watching "Nell" on their new-fangled panic room TVs.

inside keyholes and flies down
floors, nearly hitting nearby
objects. It is elegant cinematogra-
phy that mostly departs when the
game of cat and mouse begins.
One of the reasons Fincher's
films have provided such excite-
ment is their quality to throw plot
twists at the viewer every five min-
utes while never tidying things up
at the end in a "perfect world" sce-
nario. A fault of "Panic Room" is
David Koepp's script keeps the
audience continuously guessing but
makes it all too easy for that guess
to be right. "Panic Room" thinks it
is being unpredictable while wal-
lowing in predictability. Even in
the end, the film can be admired
for its restraint. In not creating
multiple endings, the way thrillers
so often do these days, Fincher's
attempt to continually shock and
surprise plays out in mostly disap-
pointing and banal ways.
"Panic Room" is not devoid of
mesmerizing sequences and per-
formances, they just seem to be
overshadowed by clumsy dialogue
and conventional sequencing. Jodie

Foster is terrific as the strong and
intelligent Meg. In a role originally
intended for Nicole Kidman, Foster
proves that she should have been
the first choice and not just some
backup.
Forrest Whitaker once again
plays the sensitive, concerned
antagonist and he once again plays
it well. With those twitching eyes
and husky build Whitaker seems
perfect for a the role of an insane
villain, but luckily for the viewer
he just doesn't have it in him to
shed off his kindness and turn to
cliche.
Fincher lovers need not panic
over "Panic Room," it could be a
sign of temporary restraint on
behalf of the director or maybe he
just felt that Hitchcock imitation
bug every filmmaker feels at one
point or another. Either way, he did
make certain that all viewers run
out and install a panic room in
their own homes. If installation is
not for comfort and safety, it may
be in the hope that either Jodie
Foster or Jared Leto will stop by
for some conversation.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The good news about ABC's "The
Bachelor" is that it's not "Who Wants to
Marry a Multi-Millionaire." The bad
news is that the differ-
ences between the shows
are so subtle; it's hard to
tell them apart.
In FOX's now infa-
mous "Multi-Million- THE B.
aire," one "lucky" Mondays
woman got to marry theA
titular man after a series A
of questions and contests
that alternated between humiliating and
dull. "The Bachelor" follows a similar
pattern, but it does allow the women to
reject the bachelor if they don't hit it off.
This is, unfortunately, the only bone the
producers throw to the women, who are
otherwise left to be narrowed down
seemingly by chance.
The randomly choosen women from
across the country gathered to meet the
bachelor. His name is Alex. He's a 31-
year-old management consultant. He
was student body president, homecom-
ing king and valedictorian in high
school. He graduated from Harvard, got
his MBA from Stanford. He's six feet
tall and handsome. He likes the out-
doors, and, most importantly, cites "The
Simpsons" as his favorite TV show. He
seems like a nice guy, and occasionally
reveals a soft side on the show. He wor-
ries that he might make the wrong
choice and eliminate a girl before he's
gotten a chance to really know her. Yet
Alex sounds creepy when it comes time
to choose. He describes his search for
"the perfect package" of beauty, brains,
and wit. It's hard to fault him (or his suc-
cessful parents) for wanting a nice girl,
but the business lingo he uses when
describing his hunt and the countless
previews of him making out with just
about every girl he dates really makes
one wonder how noble this guy really is.
Granted, he may not have the violent
streak or criminal record of Rick Rock-
well, but is he really that much better a
person? What makes him think he won't

AC
,s a
,B

end up with another Darva Conger?
In last week's premiere episode, we
had the unfortunate job of meeting
awful host Chris Harrison ("Bounce,"
"Showtime"); a man who makes the
viewers long for Jeff Probst or even
Paul Reubens. A former
sportscaster and news-
caster, Harrison tries to
position himself as a
confidante to Alex.
HELOR Except that most of
it 9 p.m. Alex's exploits will be
shown on TV, so there's
C not much to keep secret.
The 25 women were
whittled down to 15 by means of the
all important first impressions. The
15 received a rose in one of the typi-
cal lame ideas the show has ("Girl X,
will you accept my rose?"). The 10
rejected girls looked pissed, which
was the only entertaining part of the
episode, unless you include the girls
explaining why they are the perfect
gal and every other lady is a man-
eating hooch. None of the girls
seemed to stand out physically or
personality-wise. They ranged from
about 20-30 years of age, and careers
included teacher, graduate student,
lawyer, and power tool distributor
(going for diversity, evidently).
By tonight, the 15 girls will be
eight. In the sixth and final episode,
Alex will make his choice, and the
girl will have the choice of humiliat-
ing him in front of a national TV
audience (oh please God, let this
happen) or accepting his proposal.
If there's a reason to keep watch-
ing, it's unclear. It may be less revolt-
ing and offensive than "Temptation
Island" or "Multi-Millionaire," but
this hardly makes it watchable. The
bland women you can only feel sorry
for, as they obviously have very little
self-esteem. Even in their cattier
moments, they fail to register any
excitement. As the girls move into a
little "bachelorette pad," they are
sure to realize just what kind of
lousy deal they've entered into.
Hopefully, ABC will too.

RaliSport focuses on arcade style racing

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor

Finally XBox owners have a racing;
show off to their friends. For months,1

game to
the only

redeeming racing game on the
XBox was "Project Gotham Rac-
ing," but gainers quickly grew tired
of the stale formula and average
graphics. Since the launch of the
XBox and the release of the first- RALL
person-shooter-masterpiece "Halo," CHAL
there has been a severe lack of qual-
ity games for the new system. After For
a four-month drought, Microsoft Mic
has released the second must-own
game for the XBox.
"RalliSport Challenge" is the first great racing
game for the Xbox. It does not capture the realis-
tic simulation of PS2's "Gran Turismo 3," but it
doesn't try to. Rather than focusing on simula-
tion, Microsoft has gone with an arcade style

IS
L
x
.ro

racer, suitable for even the most casual gamer.
From the moment the game starts, the beautiful
graphics of "RalliSport Challenge" stand out.
Cars are recreated in visual perfection to the
smallest detail, complete with sponsor decals.'
The selection of vehicles is minimal
compared to other racing games, but
with 25 different models to choose
from it still provides a good selec-
tion for each type of terrain. The
SPORT most impressive visual aspect of the
ENGE game are the interactive tracks, 41 in
all. The tracks include everything
Box one might expect on a rally course,
soft from mud, snow, dirt and grass. The
attention to detail is astounding, sur-
passing even the visual splendor of
"Gran Turismo 3."
"RalliSport ,Challenge" is divided into three
modes of play: career mode, quick race and time
attack. The bulk of the game is condensed into
the career mode, where you play a series of 19

events with varying degrees of difficulty. Thank-
fully the game has enough variety between the
environments and events to keep gamers busy for
hours without becoming stale. Different modes of
racing include rally, hill climb, ice racing and
rally cross.
Controlling the rally cars of "RalliSport Chal-
lenge" is a quick learn, with easy turning better
suited for the arcade style gameplay. The sensa-
tion of speed adds to the fun of the game, even
though it sways from the realm of realism. Tech-
no music accompanies the glorious visuals, and
gamers may find themselves utilizing the mute
feature of their TV after a few races.
Microsoft wisely opted to try a different style
of racing game than "Gran Turismo 3," and the
results are splendid. For those hell bent on simu-
lation, "RalliSport Challenge" may not be the
ideal racing game, but for those just looking for a
well balanced racer to show off the hardware of
their Xbox, "RalliSport Challenge" is the best
game available.

Courtesy of
Which one of these lovely prostitutes will be the winner of her own tool?

Denis uaid makes 'Rookie'
worthw e despite predictability

Health care
You've worked hard to gain the training and experience to reach your career goals,
and now the future is yours. Make the right career decision and join the Memorial
Health System of South Bend, Indiana team.

By Jenny Jetes
Daily Arts Writer

Coach Morr
come true. J
Joaquin, or.

There are so many films that fail to achieve the utopian ive teamma
story of "follow your dreams and everything will just turn promise. Hu
out wonderful, and everyone will be happy
and satisfied." They are often so exaggerated M
and cheesy that you can no longer see any real
significance to the real world. Disney's "The R s D
Rookie," starring Dennis Quaid, could have T ERO I
easily been this type of film. ROOKIE
But, it is generally entertaining and uplift- At Showcase and
ing, and although it is not over-the-top incredi- Quality 16
ble, it does succeed at leaving you with an
overall pleasant feeling. (note: If you love Buena Vista
baseball, you'll probably also love this film)
Taking place in Quaid's native state of Texas, "The Rook- baseball in T
ie" is about Jimmy Morris (Trevor Morgan), a young boy and a nice
with a passion for baseball: As he gets older, he develops an important stu
extraordinary ability to pitch incredible fastballs, but due to simply super
a lack of his father's support and having to move around a these drawbas
lot due to his father's job, he never gets his big break - or
even realizes his talent.
After skipping years ahead to the middle-aged Jimmy
Morris (Quaid), we find he is a high school science teacher
who coaches the school's unenthusiastic and half-serious
baseball team. Due to a past injury, Morris had learned he
could no longer pursue baseball as a career, so coaching
seemed to be the next best choice.
But when he makes a deal with the team that if they win
every game of the season, he will actually try out for some-
thing big, like the major leagues, he finds he also has some-
thing to live for, despite his age or lack of confidence.
"The Rookie" is a story of team success and personal ful-

is the most and really want to see his dream
ay Hernandez ("Crazy/Beautiful"), who plays
"Wack," stands out as one of the most support-
tes who won't let'Coach step down from his
nter Morris (Angus T. Jones), Jimmy's 5-year-
old son who is always with his daddy and the
team, is adorable, and he reveals that Morris
is a great father who cares a lot about his fam-
ily.
"The Rookie," except for a few flaws, is a
pretty satisfying film. The downfall is that
there are few surprises, and it is somewhat
predictable. Also, the scene that transitions
Jimmy from a young boy to an adult is not as
smooth as it could be - it seems too abrupt.
In addition, there is mythical legend about
Texas that allows for an introduction to the story
sweet conclusion, but it does nothing for the
uff that occurs in between. Because of this, it is
rfluous and somewhat distracting. But despite
acks Quaid makes the movie worthwhile.
t~

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