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January 24, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-24

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January 24, 2003




By Katie Marie Gates
Daily Arts Writer

* According to the realm of television drama,
there are only two settings in which intellectual
and successful Americans reside: The operating
room and the courtroom. CBS once again pro-
vides the latter with its latest "Queens Supreme,"
a drama that rehashes the legal system from the
perspective of the Queens, N.Y. Supreme Court
judges. Tossing in some colorful cases and char-
acters, the one-hour Friday night show provides

serves as a father figure, presiding over the seri-
ous case of a cancer patient, reminding him of his
own wife's death.
Surprisingly interesting characters are also
found in the legal aides, Carmen Hui (Marcy Har-
riell, "Rent") and Mike Powell (James Madio,
"Band.of Brothers"). The two offer assistance and
comic relief to the judges.
Refreshingly, half the cast sport New York
accents, a detail often overlooked in TV dramas
set in areas with a distinctive dialect. The story-
line has potential but fails to live up to it. The

some laughs but leaves viewers
wanting something more.
The pilot episode introduces us to
eccentric Judge Jack Moran (Oliver
Platt, "A Time to Kill") as he bursts
into song in the middle of trial. A
hilarious opening to the series
proves to be the undoing of this
unconventional liberal judge. While
he finds himself on trial against the
mayor's associates, the young Kim
Vicidomini (Annabella Sciorra, "The


opening scene of singing on the
bench indicates a different show
than what follows, leaving the audi-
ence questioning the program's
intent. Are we supposed to laugh or
cry? Maybe both. However, this
realistic attempt proves boring.
Half-way through the first
episode Kim's gun is stolen from
her handbag by a crazed father
seeking justice for his daughter's

Fridays at 10 p.m.

Courtesy of Nintendo

Mario scores hi!


a Republican, shows up to take his place. It is
soon clear that the mayor, up for reelection, is
looking to make his mark in the Supreme Court.
While Kim attacks her first trial, in which the
only piece of evidence is the plaintiff's penis in a
jar, she must also contend with her new cowork-
ers. Judge Rose Barnea (L. Scott Caldwell, "Wait-
ing to Exhale") is tough and rude. Hard headed
and looking for justice, she disagrees with
Vicidomini's new appointment. The kinder Judge
Thomas O'Neill (Robert Loggia, "Jagged Edge")

rape. Moran soon pulls out his gun and it
seems the show is going to take a drastic turn,
but all is resolved and the only shot fired hits
the ceiling. Obviously, creator Kevin Fox real-
ized the audience needed a little wake up, but
comedic writing would have been more appro-
priate than gunplay.
By the end of the first edition, Moran.has
regained his job with the help of newcomer
Vicidomini. The show ends with another humor-
ous musical interlude by Platt, showing he is
"Queens Supremes"'s best bet for survival.

Nintendo's 'Mario
Party 4' lacking in
depth, not action

Courtesy o1
Here comes the judge. No wait, it's your man.

By Daniel Yowell
Daily Arts Writer

Common plays ringmaster on eclectic 'Circus'

By Joseph Litman
Daily ArtsWriter

Oh boy. We should have seen this
coming. Between hanging out with
the Roots and falling in love with
Erykah Badu, Common has been fix-
ing for something new, and partially
crazy, for a while, and now it is
finally upon us. Elec-
tric Circus is one of the s
most eclectic, bizarre
records hip-hop has *E
seen in recent time.
Such distinctions do ELETRII
not carry with them Con
normative evaluations, O
however, and this Okay
album has both many
strengths and many
flaws. Oddly, though, the record is
almost more about the growth of its
executive producer, Roots drummer
Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, than
Common himself. Those familiar
with ?uestlove's profound apprecia-

tion for and curiosity about music
will quickly begin to appreciate this
distinction as they listen to a varied
album that draws as heavily on rock
and roll as it does on standard hip-
hop elements.
Thompson has endowed this LP
with a wide range of sounds. The
record's opening song, "Ferris
Wheel," is a quiet,
smooth instrumental
piece featuring the
* infrequent, melodic
chants of Vinia Mojica
CIRCUS and Marie Daulne,
non evocative of a pristine,
bucolic setting. Any
er MCA remnants of these
serene feelings are later
completely destroyed
by the loud, energetic "Electric Wire

sounds are found throughout Circus,
as are a bevy of instrumental jams
between tracks that serve as the
album's transitions.
Noting the significant influence of
the Roots' drummer and sound mas-
termind does not diminish Common's
creativity or talent, however. The
verses spit by Lonnie Lynn at times
border on poetry, and as always, he
makes use of his forum by filling the
songs with poignant ideas about love,
black society, the music industry and
knowledge of self. "I'm the only cat
in hip-hop who could go to a thrift
shop / Bring that up to the ghetto and
still get props" is just one example of
Common's keen awareness concern-
ing his place in music, a hiche from
which he commands great respect by
being himself - a funky cat with
diverse interests and influences.
As alluded to previously, Circus is
a mixture of good and bad. The best
tracks, "Come Close" and "I Got a
Right Ta," are Neptunes productions,

When the first "Mario Party"
debuted on Nintendo 64 in 1999, it
ushered in a new wave of video
board games. Since then, Nintendo's
inventive game has been replicated
time and time again, with other
developers copying the format and
inserting their own mascots. While
two more entries in the "Mario
Party" series appeared on the. N64,
clones featuring characters from
Crash Bandicoot to Pac Man fol-
lowed, with minimal success. Now,
"Mario Party" is back in its fourth
installment, and it's still the best
game of its kind on the market.
This time around, Mario has relo-
cated his party to a more upscale


the former a smoother R&B song
while the latter a funky jam with a
sinister bass. The unique "New
Wave" also deserves mention for its
beautiful chorus. Other, more exper-
imental songs, like "Star *69" and
"Jimi was a Rock Star," don't work
because they sound flat and boring.
These shortcomings are illustrative
of the album's theme, growth, and all
that comes with it.

locale - namely, the
Nintendo GameCube.
As the first game in the
series to appear on the
system, "Mario Party 4"
features greatly
enhanced graphics and
sound. The characters
and environments are
polished and look great
while the music and
sound effects suit the
game very well. Althoughl

Hustler Flower," an electric guitar-
carried song whose chorus features
Common and Sonny of P.O.D.
shouting the title in a scratchy har-
mony. Similar juxtapositions of

For Gam
MP4 does

ters, for example, can stomp on their
opponents in passing and snag some
of their coins. Mini characters can
pass through pipes and participate in
mini games that normal characters
can't reach.
Aside from the mushroom update,
few other additions have been made to
the "Mario Party" formula this time
around. Instead, MP4 is a tighter
"Mario Party" than its predecessors,
featuring the most dynamic level
design seen in the series so far and 70
well-designed mini games, with filler
trimmed down to a bare minimum.
Few, if any, of the mini games fall flat
and some, such as the "Tetris"-
inspired Bob-omb Breakers, are even
good enough to stand alone.
Unfortunately, "Mario Party 4"
includes hidden features that can only
be unlocked in the sin-
gle-player Story Mode,
which is just like Party
Mode only without the
human interaction that
ARTY 4 makes Party Mode fun.
In order to play the final
ndo/ board with friends, a
n Soft player must first finish
ecCube every board alone,
which is an excruciat-
ingly boring and tedious
task. While Story Mode does feature a
handful of excellent single player mini
games, playing through six full-length
games against computer-controlled
characters is not much fun. If locked
features are a must, they should be
accessible either through a better Story
Mode optimized for single players or
through standard Party Mode.
"Mario Party 4" may be the best
game in the series so far, but it is still
a party game and little more. Fans of
the series or multiplayer gaming in
general should definitely check it out,
but it is doubtful that MP4 will keep
lone garners entertained for long. Cre-
ative groups of friends can also make
"Mario Party 4" their own by spicing
the game up a little. Raising the
stakes by putting some cash on the
line can add a whole new dimension
to the game. Or, to make a "Mario
Party" really interesting, why not turn
it into a drinking game? "Mario
Party" possesses nearly endless mul-
tiplayer possibilities, but without at
least two players, it has little to offer.
In order to get the most out of "Mario
Party 4," it is best to bring the party
to Mario, not to expect Mario to
bring it to you.

Korean drummers keep the beat alive at U'

By Melissa Runstrom
Daily Arts Writer
Rhythm, beat, beauty and move-
ment all unite in Sinaboro's third
annual concert on Saturday. Sin-
aboro is the University's traditional
Korean drumming group that aims
to raise awareness of Korean culture
in the Michigan Community. The
group performs a type of music
called Poongmul, which utilizes
four instruments representing natu-
ral elements; the Janggo and Buk
drums symbolize rain and clouds
while the Kkwengari and Jing stand
for lightning and wind, respectively.
The Poongmul music has its ori-
gins.in the agricultural communities
of Korea where it was used to
express happiness and thanks after
the harvest season. Now it is being
employed to increase solidarity and
awareness between students and tra-
ditional Korean culture and political

rights. In 1978 the music was revo-
lutionized and adapted for stage per-
formances and concerts. Currently
the music is practiced at almost
every major university in the nation.
Sinaboro, itself, formed in 1998
with just nine members. Currently,
the group is comprised
of thirty enthusiastic
students who practice
once a week, shaking SINA
the walls with their
.motivating beats. The At T
group isn't all work, as Mendelsso
Sinaboro president Saturdaya
Hahna Kim states, "In $6 pre-s
addition to everyone $att
being passionate about
drumming, I think everyone likes
coming together and having fun."
The word Sinaboro means little
by little or gradually without notice.
The group seems to have kept true
to its name by slowly growing and
impacting the community. This year,


in particular, they are trying to
increase attention on.substance
abuse problems at U of M. Two
years ago Sinaboro member Byung
Soo Kim died of alcohol poisoning
just after his twenty-first birthday.
The drummers are donating all tick-
et sales to his memori-
al fund, which
endeavors to educate
BORO students on substance
abuse issues.
L dia The upcoming show
in heater differs from past annu-
7:30 p.m. al concerts in that
e tickets there will be a "Romeo
e door and Juliet" subplot
with feuding families.
Besides the Sinaboro students, a
group of adopted Korean children
from the community will also be
performing along with the Korean
Students Association group, pre-
senting modern Korean dancing.
The theme for this concert is "Love

of a Century." This ties into both
their "Romeo and Juliet" subplot as
well as honoring the one-hundredth
anniversary of Korean immigration,
a time filled with trials and difficul-
ties in terms of discrimination, but
is ultimately a kind of love story.
Sinaboro, a group where everyone is
welcomed, attempts to cross Korean
ancestral differences. "It is better to
be united as one, as. Sinaboro, then
apart from each other," Kim says.
During this year's concert, which
has more of a play aspect than in
previous years, there will be two
kinds of drumming and three types
of dancing including mask, sword
and fan dancing performed by Sin-
aboro. The group feels that the play
aspect will add a new and interest-
ing dimension to the concert, which
is important to Sinaboro. The
group's president said, "I feel good
when people really enjoy them-
selves at the show."

not push the envelope technically, it
looks great for what it is and makes
good use of the GameCube's hardware.
"Mario Party 4" retains the same
basic gameplay that made the first
three games popular - players control
Mario and his pals as they advance
around a board, challenging each other
at a variety of mini games and earning
the coins necessary to purchase stars.
The player with the most stars at the
end of the game wins.
What keeps "Mario Party 4" excit-
ing is how quickly a game can turn
around. The "Reversal of Fortune"
board forces random players to swap
stars or coins, and "Boo's Crystal
Ball" allows players to steal from their
opponents, keeping things interesting
all the way through the final turn.
For its first foray into GameCube
territory, Nintendo has refined "Mario
Party," incorporating only a few inno-
vations. Most significant is the addi-
tion of mega and mini mushrooms,
which not only increase or decrease
the number of dice used for a player's
turn, but also increase or decrease
their character's size, triggering spe-
cial events on the board. Mega charac-



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