February 10, 2003
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Duo battles, royalty in 'nights'
By Zach Mabee u,
Daily Arts Writer y.
The comedic, action-packed western
escapades of Chon Wang (Jackie
Chan) and Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wil-
son) return to the silver screen in
"Shanghai Knights." After taming the
wild west in "Shanghai Noon," the
unlikely duo now finds itself in a situa-
tion of global proportions.
Wang's father, the guard to the Imper-
ial Chinese seal, is murdered by a mys-
terious gang of Chinese Boxer rebels.
The rebels steal the imperial seal, which
is symbolic of the empire's strength, and
flee China for London. Wang's sister,
Lin (Hollywood newcomer Fann Wong),
follows her father's murderers, seeking
both to unravel the building conspiracy
and to avenge her father's death.
All the while, Wang is blithely enjoy-
ing his career as a sheriff in Nevada. He
bides his time hanging new wanted
posters and discussing the famed Roy
O'Bannon adventure novels with his
half-wit deputy. Upon receiving a
telegram from Lin, Wang
leaves his post as sheriff
and departs for New York
to find Roy and his
money. In a somewhat SHAP
humorous reunion, Wang KNI
discovers that his former
partner has not only At Sho'
squandered all the gold Qua
they found in "Noon," Nev
but that Roy is working
as a waiter and a gigolo. After leaving
for London, the film's duration focuses
on Wang's, Lin's and Roy's humorous
escapades to foil the evil incumbent
monarch Rathbone's (Aiden Gillen,
"The Final Curtain") scheme.
Courtesy of New Line
I'm not playing anymore. I'm out.
As in his countless other films, Chan
employs his martial arts expertise not
only to leave audiences in awe but also
to humor them. He uses everything
from lemons to the arms of statues at
Madame Toussaud's to fend off attack-
ers, but he still maintains
Fann Wang is similarly
dazzling in her display of
martial arts prowess.
Chan and Wilson's
chemistry is not phe-
nomenal, but it functions
rather well within the
script. The writers make
clear both characters'
characters effectively enough for some
The film tempers Chan and Wilson's
slapstick humor with a slew of funny
historical and cultural allusions, all of
which only enhance the movie's
comedic effect. From a tongue-in-
cheek look into the life of Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle to a timely encounter
with Jack the Ripper, the film brings to
life London's history and makes the
film all the more enjoyable to those
who appreciate its significance.
For what it's worth, "Shanghai
Knights" is a pleasant moviegoing
experience. It knowingly operates with-
in its own boundaries and showcases
some amusing comedy and innovative
martial arts displays. Chan and Wilson
have proven themselves to be an effec-
tively-foolish duo, and those who like
their blend of comedy will surely enjoy
what "Shanghai Knights" offers.
Courtesy of Capital Records
Lot of naggin' old hags, lot of fools, lot of fool scum bags.
idiocy, and the resulting brand of come-
dy is extremely goofy and admittedly
entertaining. It's hard expect much
more from a teaming of Jackie Chan
and Owen Wilson, but the filmmakers
manage to use the quirkiness of both
CHICAGO ROCKERS HEAD TO THE PIG
By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
"You know it's just open mic night, right?" That was
the curt greeting OK Go received the last time they
unloaded their gear in Ann Arbor. Since then, the Chica-
go quartet has gracefully made their way onto the
national scene via their cathartic anthem "Get Over It."
Indeed, the band has taken its crunchy, intelligent rock
across the country and back, and its fan base has grown
in leaps and bounds.
It wasn't always so easy, however. Guitarist Andy
Duncan, bassist Tim Nordwind and drum-
mer Dan Konopka toiled in Windy CityM
obscurity before singer guitarist and long-
time friend Damian Kulash arrived in
Ciicago from Brown University. At the.
In the beginning, the band went about Tuesday
building a reputation much as it might
in Ann Arbor: By posting flyers every-
where. "We'd sneak into the (Chicago) Art Institute
to make them," Kulash admits. "It's important that
you have people to listen to your music. Sometimes it
just means putting your name everywhere until they
wonder who you are."
No one's wondering anymore. Successful tours with
established acts like Elliott Smith, The Vines and the
Donnas, as well as radio and MTV exposure, have etched
the band's name onto the current music landscape.
Despite the heavy rotation, Kulash sees only slight
similarities with their playlist peers. "We're not part of
any scene. If you look at what's on the radio, we're
part of larger things that-are not like Creed, or are not
like Limp Bizkit."
Despite being one of only a handful of bands playing
smart pop-rock, OK Go has found allies in other pro-
gressive acts. "It's nice that the White Stripes and the
Strokes are on the radio ... building off stuff that's
melodic and fun and not based on Pearl Jam."
Indeed, the band seems to draw its influences from
more disparate sources, and one listen to the album con-
firms it. For every straightforward rock nugget like
"You're So Damn Hot," the band unfurls a charming,
harmony-laden pop melody. Songs like "There's a Fire"
and "Hello My Treacherous Friends" recall the complex
tunes of Elvis Costello and Big Star. -
Kulash credits this to a wide base of
influences: "The ideas behind our songs
-- come-from all over the place.-We're as
lind Pig likely to be inspired by Toto as by Prince
t 9 p.m. as by Fugazi. We try to make [the songs]
O all melodic. I think it's important that
sometimes they engage your brain and
sometimes they engage your gut."
Fans can expect to hear that dual appeal this Tues-
day, when the band takes another stab at Ann Arbor.
They return as a headliner that's made great strides in
both their commercial and artistic develc' '--ent.
"When we first played these songs they were a little
simpler. We've added a keyboard player, because
there's so many extra lines."
The "competitive rat race" of the record induaky
has certainly taken its toll, but it hasn't dampened
Kulash's optimism. "There's so much great music out
there. We do our best to be a part of it." This time,
the mic is all theirs.
By Josh Neldus
Daily Arts Writer
Lately, Hollywood seems to be
rehashing every plot possible. Now it's
even recycling the actors. Obviously
Gabrielle Union forgot who she was in
"10 Things I Hate About
You" because her new
movie, "Deliver Us
From Eva," is almost the
same exact story. In "10 DELL
Things," Union's -best FRO]
friend's sister is the
biggest bitch in the At Shov
school and her would-be Qua
wooers are forced to Focusl
employ a suiter to tame
the shrew. In "Deliver Us," Union
assumes the role of the bitch and LL
Cool J gets paid for the service of
breaking her down.
Ray's (LL Cool J, "Toys") attempt
to tame the wild and vicious Eva
(Union) provides the only bright spot
in this pitch-black attempt at a
romantic comedy. He is on the job to
help his three friends who are dating
Eva's three sisters and can no longer
put up with Eva's interference in their
relationships and lives. Eva assumed
the role of guardian and protector in
the family after her par-
ents' deaths, and now
she is taking the job a
little too seriously.
VER US Eva's sisters are
M EVA completely dependent
on her, and their
wcase and respective other halves
lity 16 fail every time they try
Features to stand up to her. This
could be due in part to
the poor dialogue given to these
three men. Almost all of their lines
are adolescent, while the script pro-
vides Eva the wherewithal to recite
enumerable facts and values as if she
were an encyclopedia.
LL Cool J is perfectly cast as Ray,
New Eva' tells old tale
Mama said knock YOU out#
the slick, smooth player that can get
any woman he wants, and sometimes,
any two women. His pick up lines are
perfectly timed and executed, and
eventually break down Eva's emotion-
al force field. Eva is a great role for
the up-and-coming actress Gabrielle
Union. In the end, the audience just
loves her but not the movie.
Provocative 'Max' a sensitive subject
By John Laughlin
Daily Arts Writer
Not necessarily taking the route
that might have been expected, but
definitely not too far removed, "Max"
paints a picture of a budding young
Adolf Hitler trying to come to terms
with his own art under the guidance
of a wealthy Jewish art dealer.
John Cusack plays Max Rothman,
an artist-turned-dealer after the first
World War took his arm, his skill and
# his self-esteem. Using an old boxcar
warehouse as his gallery, he surrounds
himself with darkness and cold steel
- seemingly unable to function in the
world of color that is his home, his
family and his life that once was.
Using the setting of 1918 Munich, the
film slowly adds scenic nuances to
help add to the feeling of an escalated
anger felt by a dying nation.
From the rubble, starvation and
hopelessness emerges Adolf Hitler
(Noah Taylor, "Almost Famous").
Hitler desperately desires to be an
artist, and, by chance, he stumbles
upon Max Rothman. The two inter-
play both comically and dramatically.
When Rothman decides to take
Hitler on under consignment, their
relationship grows despite that fact
that one is a Jew and the other an
anti-Semite (who claims the term is
not appropriate for him).
Rothman states in the film, "It is
easier to be a critic than an artist."
Interestingly enough, both he and
subjected to the militaristic world that
is supplying multitudes of propagan-
da and anti-Semitism. Hitler's com-
becomes Rothman's M
foil as Hitler cannot
deny the opportunities
given to him to speak M
publicly about his per-
sonal political views. At theA
The set design for Th
"Max" is ingenious, Lion
and the contrast
between light and dark is in constant
motion. In addition, the performanc-
es by Cusack and Taylor are both
highly memorable, but special adula-
tion must go to Taylor. Playing the
role of a young Hitler is one that
carries with it an
almost endless amount
of baggage and respon-
sibility. However, Tay-
X lor's speeches and
re-enactments are both
ichigan hypnotic and terrifying
iter - his ravings and spit-
Gate flying words and the
tion that takes place through the
course of his character is both
astounding and nightmarish.