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January 13, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-13

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 13, 2003


Vows tested
Kutcher in
Just Married'
By John Laughlin
Daily Arts Writer

"Cockroach!" cries out Brittany Murphy
alongside co-star Ashton Kutcher in "Just Mar-
ried." Lying in bed in a cheap motel in Venice,
Italy, the two try and grab some sleep while on
their honeymoon. The film begins, however, in
media res: the newlyweds feuding all throughout
the trip and then at the airport back home upon
their return from what can only be dubbed "the
honeymoon from hell."
"Just Married," unlike the story it tells, is not
hell and contains some of the best on-screen
chemistry in a romantic comedy seen for quite
some time. Conceivably the most important
attribute for a romantic comedy,
Kutcher and Murphy's performanc- a
es foster a relationship that is both
endearing and entertaining. *
Kutcher plays Tom Leezak, an
aspiring radio personality with a JUST M
love for America and sports. While At ShoN
playing football on the beach, he Qua
meets Sarah McNerney (Murphy), 20th C
who comes from money and high
society. Moving from the beach to
the bar to a passionate tryst, the two find them-
selves deeply in love with one another and
decide to get married despite their youth and
conflicting worlds. Their love is true, but each
has a lie in their past that will inevitably come
back to test the strength of their bond.
The "third wheel" figure in this film is played

I may not be standing, but I'm still strong.

'Fisher': Breakout for Luke

Oh, so that's where we put the Continuum Transfunctioner.


by Peter Prentis (Christian Kane, "EdTV"), the
secret Sarah keeps locked away. Peter arrives in
Venice just in time to really stir up the heat, and
his wooing of Sarah on her own
honeymoon is countered with
Tom's naivety in taking a girl back
* t to his suite. The only lag in the film
is contained in these parallel,
4ARRIED "cheating" scenes. While somewhat
wcase and necessary for plot, the film spends
lity 16 too much time developing this
entury Fox bomb that, unfortunately, slows
down the pace of the story.
This film is not the stereotypical
"teen sex romp" its trailer makes it out to be.
"Just Married" stays on the cusp of copulation
without consummation, and this is what adds to
some memorable scenes, such as in an airplane
lavatory and in a Euro-compact car embedded
in snow.
Kutcher and Murphy have an engaging quality

By Ryan Lewis
Daily Arts Writer
Life is drama. The best conflicts be
plucked from personal stories and
movies always seem a little more ter-
rific when they really happen. After
years of gripping performances earn-
ing him two Academy Awards,
tremendous recognition and a spot
amongst Hollywood's acting elite,
Denzel Washington, in the new role of
director, tackles the true story of Navy
sailor Antwone Fisher. Antwone's life
- so filled with horrible events that
just living to tell the story has enough
poignancy to draw tears - takes

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Damnit Kelso, put some clothes on.
about them. Kutcher retains some of the amus-
ing qualities from his former role in "Dude,
Where's My Car?" and Murphy still has some of
the likable spunk she conveyed in "Clueless."

shape through a well
crafted film with heart-
felt performances.
Equally compelling
himself, newcomer
Derek Luke blossoms in
his portrayal of Fisher.
Prone to outbursts of
anger leading to an
assault on a superior offi-
cer, Fisher finds himself
under psychiatric evalua-

At Showc
Fox Sear

friend (Joy Bryant, "Showtime") and
how he later acts around her on his
first date. These moments of cringing
intensity and tear-jerking emotion
make "Antwone Fisher" a perfect tes-
tament to the talents of the actors.
The film's passion and potency arise
through the relationships. As another
relatively new face, Bryant brings an
enjoyable air of warmth and compas-
sion to Fisher's girlfriend. Denzel's
character, although in a supporting
role, is well acted as always. With a
compelling lead performance, Luke
makes a name for himself, putting in a
winning first attempt and providing
the most notable aspect of the film.
While both interest-
ing and entertaining,
"Antwone Fisher" fal-
ters in emotional fod-
der. The film is also
VONE laden with sappy sym-
IER bolism and other
case and devices that become
ty 16 more overkill than
effective background.
chlight At points, the film also
moves much too slowly
for the established pacing. Superflu-
ous storylines and rambling dialogue
sometimes distract from the plot, but
Washington still manages to pull it all
together in the end, maintaining the
level of quality to which audiences
have become accustomed.
Certainly worthy and wonderfully
acted, "Antwone Fisher" aagain
proves Denzel Washington to be one
of the most skilled personalities in
film. What he lacks in story, he
makes up for by evoking winning
performances from his young actors.
"Fisher" is exactly what should be
expected in two such highly antici-
pated debut efforts.

Benigni s Pinocchio' lacks Disney wonder



By John Laughlin
Daily Arts Writer

the donkeys). This creates some con-
fusion as to whether or not characters
such as the Fox and the Cat should be

Forever Land. While on his journey,
Pinocchio is visited by the Blue Fairy,
who guides him in his quest to

"Pinnochio's" set designs and cine-
matography are up to Italian director
Roberto Benigni's standards, but he
foolishly opted for dubbed voices
instead of subtitles for the U.S. release.
The decision was likely due to the pro-
jected fan base being composed of
mostly children, yet a dark tone makes
this film all but for the kids.
Benigni stays true to the original
story, but innovates in his choice to
use real actors to play both the
humans and the animals (except for

seen as members of
society, or rather charac- S
ters that simply operate
due to the magic of the
story and film.P
Benigni plays Pinoc-
chio with a great enthu- At
siasm. Prey to any that
take advantage of his
naivety along the way,
Pinocchio eventually
meets a friend named Leonardo
will lead him to the infamous


Showcase and
Quality 16
M iramax

become a real boy.
Pinocchio's nose grows
for telling lies, and he
fails to show up at the
party where the Blue
Fairy has promised to
turn him into a real boy.
The film's saving
graces are in its
admirable cinematic
elements. His direction

tion by Dr. Davenport (Washington).
Fisher resists at first but finally gives
in to Davenport's sternness and opens
up his heart-wrenching past. His father
died before his birth, his mother gave
birth in jail and, upon release, never
came back for him. His foster mother
had a crass brutality and harsh manner
courtesy of Miramax that would have made the Menendez
Yeah, sure, we'll get a ride In a tank. brothers cry for help.
Nobody has ever helped him, and
ever, the film maintains a slightly together with Davenport, they provide
dark feeling running through it. It the strength for each other to move on.
would seem that with this film Benig- Some of the lighter and most enjoy-
ni is perhaps exploring the darker side able scenes happen in the banter
to sucha fairy. This is definixely not.;,betweenTisher and Davenport, espe-
film that children should explore. cially when Fisher discusses his girl-,

who _is, and he.,,Aes.succeed in-
Fun creating a storybook-like feel. How-

,4 '

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