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January 21, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-21

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January 21, 2003

Urtbe Lidd~aig


COur esy of MGMi

There's a fever dog scratching at your back door.

A ridiculous 'Guy Thing'

By Tara Billik
Daily Arts Writer

Getting your ass saved by a fellow
male cashier who actually convinces
your fiance that he may have sold
you dirty ladies' underwear is really
what this "Guy Thing" is all about.
This incident is as ridiculous and
painfully stupid as the rest of Chris
Koch's film. What starts out as a
warning against sleeping with a tiki
dancer on the night of your bachelor
party, "A Guy Thing"
quickly turns into the s
disturbing lesson that
you have to cheat on 7
your fiance in order to
find true love. A GUYr
The film begins with At Showc
leading man Paul Qualit
(Jason Lee) shocked to MG
wake up next to a
strange girl in a hula
skirt the morning after his bachelor
party. With his fiance Karen (Selma
Blair, "Cruel Intentions") on her way
over, he rushes the girl (Julia-Stiles,
"Save the Last Dance") out of his
apartment before she can even recov-
er her misplaced underwear. As the
mystery girl job-hops, she encounters
Paul again on multiple occasions. In
fact, at a pre-wedding function, Paul
discovers that the girl is actually
Becky, his bride-to-be's cousin. Pre-
dictability ensues in a series of snow-,
balling lies as Paul tries to cover up
his dirty deed (the misplaced under-
wear from the opening makes anoth-
er appearance).
Added to the mix is Becky's psy-
cho ex-boyfriend, forcing Becky and
'Ev'elyn' finds
power in
torn families
By John Laughlin
Daily Arts Writer


Paul to join forces in order to save
each other. Paul realizes his relation-
ship with Karen is too "safe" for his
liking; Becky offers a more daring
alternative, and Becky thinks Paul is
a genuinely good guy. How sweet!
The film follows the formula for a
cliched romantic comedy, yet it's not
very romantic and not very funny.
The hour and 40 minutes of screen
time bear a compilation of tasteless
jokes, unoriginal coincidences and
tired slapstick topped with a sicken-
ingly predictable ending.
The major relationships
are all underdeveloped
71 and the minor characters
are unrealistically over
THING the top, especially Paul's
case and asinine, John Wayne-
y 16 worshiping father. Poor
M Jason Lee gets punched
in the nose, thrown in a
dumpster, framed for
drug abuse and shot at by his own
father. Desperate for a laugh, he earns
only one at the inappropriate time
when he attempts to be serious.
Lee's failure as a leading man
should not to be confused with bad
acting on Lee's part. Actually, casting
him was the only half-way redeeming
quality of the film. The major fault
lies within the poor directing and even
poorer script. Blair is well cast as the
prissy, yet likeable, fiance but is
offered litt4le time to shine. Stiles
looks absolutely fabulous, but it
remains an insufficient substitute for
acting. The popular young talent will
certainly draw in an audience even
though Lee is the only freshness this
rotten movie has to offer.

By Stephanie Kapera
Daily Arts Writer

There is much to admire about "The Hours," a lit-
erary film adapted from the 1998 Pulitzer Prize win-
ning novel by Michael Cunningham. It is a story
with a scope that takes on various layers of narrative;
an ambitious project that touches on the profundity
of our daily lives, the beauty of the mundane and the
frustration that stirs -- sometimes dangerously -in
the minds of creative people. Yet it is hard to say
with any amount of certainty what, exactly, the film
is actually about.
Despite the three plots that bleed into each other
and the three very different characters occupying

living in placid Richmond, England, trying to escape
the bouts of mental illness that seem to afflict her
when she stays too long in London.
In the suburbs of 1950's Los Angeles, we meet
depressed, pregnant housewife and mother Laura
Brown (Julianne Moore) as she struggles to bake a
cake for her WWII vet-husband's (John C. Reilly)
birthday. Laura's pains to create the perfect sphere of
domesticity are punctuated by her retreats into "Mrs.
Dalloway," which she reads with increasing hunger
as the day progresses.
The third story is about a modern day Mrs. Dal-
loway; Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep), a woman
dubbed so by her ex-lover Richard (Ed Harris), both
of whom reside in Greenwich Village. Clarissa, as
she plans a party for Richard at the

three separate days of the 20th century,
the film (and, too, the book) seems,
above all, to be about the woman as an
artist. "The Hours" is, in the simplest
terms, a product of Michael Cunning-
ham's devotion to the writer who,
along with Joyce, turned the banality
of everyday life into the stuff of fic-
tion. Ie that sense, the film is nothing
more or less than a love-letter to Vir-
ginia Woolf.

Cou y tsy of Para ou[ t i am ax
Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep: Three women now forever linked by "Mrs. Dalloway" and a prosthetic nose.

At Showcase and
Quality 16
Paramount / Miramax

home she shares with her lover Sally
(Allison Janney, "The West Wing"), is
held taut between her love of life and
a crushing sense of regret for all the
loves and memories she has had, yet
will never live through again.
The symmetry of the three story-
lines is breathtaking. Each is joined,
at its core, by its relationship to

formulaic writing, steering clear also of flashback
(another large aspect of the novel). The interesting
thing here is that the film is faithful to the novel,
but it uses entirely different methods to move the
plot forward.
The stand-in for interior monologue turns out to
be the fine performances of Streep, Moore and espe-
cially Kidman, as well as the excellent supporting
cast. Streep's tiniest gestures, such as the way she
cooks with fierceness, relay what is going on in her
mind in a manner that approaches the thoroughness
of Cunpingham's prose. Moore is her usual, brilliant
self, so sensitive that she seems to have turned her
fragility into a desperate energy that disturbs others,
including her four-year-old son Richie.
Kidman is fascinating as Woolf. Rendered nearly
unrecognizable due to a prosthetic nose, Kidman is
still too beautiful to bare much honest resemblance
to the strange, harsh face of the real Woolf. Kidman's
acting, however, captures Woolf's quiet rage impres-
sively. In her posture and the deepness her voice
takes on, we sense the steel that kept Woolf writing
in even her darkest moments.
"The Hours" is a powerful and nuanced film, but
it is no substitute for the book. The film is some-
thing to admire; the book is something to fall in
love with. There were many changes made in the
shift from novel to film, one of the largest being
that, in the novel, the centerpiece is Clarissa
Vaughn, yet the film uses Woolf as an anchor. This,
in addition to the stylized way the 1950s sequences
are shot, the sensitivity of the camerawork and the
haunting performances of John C. Reilly and oth-
ers, let the film take on a shade that distinguishes it
from the book in a worthy way.
Kidman portrays a Woolf who knows that there
is much at stake when we make the choice to "look
life in the face." That challenge is what drives the
three women at the film's core, and it is their stren-
uous attempt to push forward that makes "The
Hours" so worthwhile.

"The Hours" mines the depths of Woolf's 1923
classic "Mrs. Dalloway," scooping it out and turn-
ing the pulp into a sort of foundation for an explo-
ration of what Woolf and her work have meant to
us. It seems to raise the question of why we love
her so fiercely, why we accept both her personal
life and her work as iconic to both feminism and
fiction. The movie, and the characters, seem to be
in love with Woolf, whether they know it or not. It
is easy to have a crush on Virginia Woolf, and her
savage magnetism drives the film even when the
other characters are onscreen.
The film opens in 1923 with Woolf beginning to
write "Mrs. Dalloway," arguably her greatest book.
Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is, at this point in her life,

"Mrs. Dalloway," yet the three char-
acters also, echo and replicate one another's feel-
ings of alienation, depression and appetite for
human connection.
In a dramatic departure from the uplifting realism
of his last film, "Billy Elliott," director Stephen
Daldry approaches "The Hours" with thoughtfulness
and grace. David Hare's screenplay is not a master-
piece, but its faithfulness to Cunningham's book and
its brave attempt to translate Cunningham's difficult
style into workable cinematic form is admirable.
One of the major problems "The Hours" faces is
that act of translation, since the novel's story is told
almost entirely through interior monologue, and the
film would only be able to replicate that type of nar-
ration with voice-over. Hare veers away from such

When families are torn apart,
some people retire into hopelessness
while others fight with every bit of
power they have left. Based on a true
story, "Evelyn" tells the tale of how
one man's fight for the right to keep 1
his family led to the reversal of The
Children's Act in Ireland, thereby I thought C
freeing many children who were
unjustly sent away. Accomp
On Christmas Eve, circa 1950, cutting an
Desmond Doyle (Pierce Brosnan) and film prese
his three children are out caroling when Desmond,
he decides to fetch their mother, who his two so
has left the family for another man. An presented
out-of-work painter with no income, exist in aN
the state forces Desmond to give up his and be sub
children until he can ameliorate his and wrathc
financial situation. brought in
Making money by singing with his and her fat
father in a local pub at
night and painting during
the day, Desmond even-
tually accomplishes what * * * 7
he was led to believe
would reunite him with EVELYN
his children. The law in At Madstone
Ireland, however, states
that the signatures of United Artists
both parents are required
to give singular custody unless one the heroicf
spouse is deceased, and Desmond's other child
wife left no forwarding address. Now tutions due
Desmond must try and reverse a law "Evelyn,
for which there is no precedent. her, is shor
"Evelyn" could be described as a gives a con
local color film as its cinematic pres- ing a near
entation is deeply enriched with Ire- Bond pers
land and its culture. From subtle attemptin
nuances in the dialogue, references to famous typ
Oscar Wilde and Yeats or ripping on serious act
the English and Yanks, the film oozes film seems
with "Irishness." The importance of the ning, one i
local pub in terms of community is and witnes
presented while Desmond is either family that
singing or planning with his cohorts,
thus adding more cultural flavor.

Courtey o fU rt ists
hristmas only came once.
dished by means of cross-
d parallel development, the
nts three realities at once:
his daughter Evelyn and
ons. Evelyn's situation is
more fully as she must
virtual Catholic stronghold
bjected to both the kindness
of nuns. It is Evelyn who is
nto court to testify on her
her's behalf.
Through his love inter-
est, Bernadette Beattie
(Julianna Margulies),
Desmond meets her
brother Michael (Stephen
Rea, "Interview with the
Vampire") and Nick Bar-
ron (Aidan Quinn) who
take on his case pro
hono. This trio provides
force for Evelyn and all the
ren who are trapped in insti-
to an unjust law.
," like the actress who plays
rt and sweet. Pierce Brosnan
nvincing performance. Play-
polar opposite to his James
ona, Brosnan appears to be
g to step away from his
pecast role and trying some
ing for a change. While the
s a bit rushed in the begin-
s eventually able to settle in
ss the strength of love in a
would help change a nation.

'The Hours,
By Matthew Wright Hollerbach
For the Daily
The 60th Annual Golden Globes
Awards, the best indicator of what and
who will win at this year's Oscars, took
place Sunday, and once again it was a
night of few surprises.
As expected, "Chicago" was one
notable winner of the Beverly Hills cer-
emony, grabbing three big awards,
including Best Picture for a musical or
comedy. Richard Gere continued to sur-
prise as he walked away with the Globe
for Best Actor, beating a favored
Nicholas Cage, while a stunning Renee
Zellweger edged out fellow star Cather-
ine Zeta-Jones for Best Actress.
"Adaptation" had a quick start with
awards for Chris Cooper and Meryl
Streep in the supporting actor/actress
categories, but did not cash in, as many
predicted, for Charlie Kaufman's
screenplay. Instead, Alexander Payne
and Jim Taylor were recognized for
"About Schmidt," as was Jack Nichol-
son, who won Best Actor in a drama.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Asso-
ciation unsurprisingly named Nicole
Kidman Best Actress for "The Hours,"
but many were shocked to see the film
take the top honor as Best Picture,
drama. Martin Scorsese took home
Best Director honors for the monumen-
tal "Gangs of New York."
In television, "The Gathering Storm,"
an HBO historical drama centering
around Winston Churchill, nabbed the
award for Best Mini-Series and its star,
Albert Finney, was honored as well.
Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

finally received its due in the comedy
series category.
Michael Chiklis of "The Shield" con-
tinued his beginner's luck and snagged
the Globe for Best Actor in a drama
series as his show beat out favorites like
"The West Wing." An injured Jennifer
Aniston of "Friends" and the laryngitis-
stricken Edie Falco of "The Sopranos"
each received recognition, and Kim
Cattrall of "Sex and the City" won her
Best Supporting Actress category
(again). A big surprise of the night
came as Tony Shaloub of "Monk" over-

came seemingly impossible competition
to win Best Actor in a comedy show.
Uma Thurman was granted the
award for Best Actress in a mini-series
for her work in HBO's "Hysterical
Blindness," and Donald Sutherland
was recognized as Best Supporting
Actor for his involvement in the HBO
original film "Path to War." The award
for Best Original Score went to Elliot
Goldenthal for "Frida."
Missing from the winner's circle
were "The Lord of the Rings: The Two
Towers" and "The West Wing," which

both went notably unrecognized.
Some of the show's few highlights
included presenter Brendan Fraser,
after instructing the audience to salute
him, grabbing the ass of Dagmar Dun-
levy, president of the Hollywood For-
eign Press Association, Bono saying
"fucking" while accepting for U2's
original song award in "Gangs of New
York" and Pedro Almod6var, accepting
the foreign film award for "Talk to
Her" of Spain, proclaiming his solidar-
ity with those who "fight for peace"
around the world.

' 'Chicago' predictable Globe winners


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