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October 21, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-21

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October 21, 2002



Watts shines in frightening 'Ring'

By Ryan Lewis
Daily Arts Writer
Chilling from the moment it opens, "The Ring" is a
frightening trip that exploits and expands every horror trick
leaving audiences shivering well after the credits have
rolled. A remake of the Japanese horror film "Ringu," Gore
Verbinski's version transforms a tired, cliched, and too-often
teen topic into a fascinating two hours of captivating sus-
pense. It gradually builds a level of anxiousness and edge-
of-your-seat trepidation that amounts to a remarkably scary
film. "The Ring" pulsates with inspiration through a ride of
anticipation and terror.
There is a video. Nobody is sure where it
came from, but if you watch it, you die seven
days later. In a startlingly daunting opening
scene, a young girl learns the consequences
dying an unexplainable, horrible death. When THE
her aunt, Seattle newspaper reporter Rachel
Keller (Naomi Watts, "Mulholland Drive"), At Shov
learns of the mystery surrounding the tragedy, Qual
she quickly begins investigating. As it turnsD
out, her niece's boyfriend and two friends all Drea
died on the same day at the exact same time. Rachel's digging
leads her to a cabin where she finds the rumored video. Pro-
voked by curiosity, she watches the tape full of powerful,
creepy images, receiving a phone call afterward informing her
that she now has one week until she will die.
Like a terrifying chain letter come to life, the video gets
passed on to Rachel's friend Noah (Martin Henderson,
"Windtalkers") and falls into the hands of her son Aidan
(David Dorfman, "Bounce"). Her quest becomes more des-
perate and concentrated because she now fights for more than
her own life. Disturbing events continue to occur for Rachel
as she ventures ever closer to answering the mystery. Images
from the video come to life having ingrained their freakish
nature into her memory. Slowly and deliberately, the story
unravels into a psychothriller involving the bloodcurdling
story of a young girl Samara (Daveigh Chase, "Donnie
Darko) who will never go away.
Verbinski (director of "The Mexican") does a wonderful
job using cliches to draw the audience into the trap of
assuming before they have actually seen. He manipulates
what we have been conditioned to expect from these type of
films increase the film's tension. He skillfully allows the


film to unfold without using shock tactics but by tormenting
expectations and using deliberate camera movements. While
the film does drag and has too much dialogue in the first
half, it pulls together for a second half of excitement and
very unique scares.
Astounding visuals and a shrieking score greatly contribute
to the suspense and dread. The photography by cinematogra-
pher Bojan Bazelli is simplistic and calculated, but strikingly
beautiful through its use of Expressionism. Some of the shots,
including the video itself, are absolutely breathtaking. The
film even manages to reference a shot from "Rear Window"
revering the master of suspense himself. Like all films in the
genre, it does use the high-pitched sounds to stir the audience.
However, Hans Zimmer's score includes deep
string chords and sounds straight from a baby's
crib to enhance its aerie tone.
If Watts has not yet proven herself to the
ZING masses, she surely will with this fine perform-
ance. Carrying the weight of the movie almost
ase and entirely by herself, she provides a scintillating
y 16 display of her abilities. Watts shines as she is
works part of nearly every scene in the film, and her
transition from composure to near helplessness
is uncommonly genuine. She single-handedly elevates the
movie from a visual spectacle deficient of persona into a truly
moving film about one woman's tribulations.
Other than her portrayal, the rest'of the cast, although effec-
tive, is hardly notable. Dorfman does seem to have the capa-
bilities of many of the best young actors, but his talent is lost
in the overplayed role of the child with a sixth sense. Hender-
son is decent, but forgettable. The only other characters of
note are a welcomed cameo by the legendary Brian Cox and a
perfectly unsettling Daveigh Chase. Chase's performance is
probably the scariest by a young girl since "The Exorcist."
"The Ring" has some fabulous moments and a very good
overall quality. At some points it fags, and early on it relies
too heavily on dialogue, but it finishes with a punch. By far
the most convincing features of the film are the enumerable
questions left unexplained. Life has many loose ends; where
other horror movies try to explain it, this one is more effective
without closure. What it lacks in originality and script, it cer-
tainly makes up for through its simple and provocatively sin-
ister atmosphere. Through its photography, it is a piece of art
unto itself; and through its delivery, it is a film that will leave
even the most stalwart people with goosebumps.

Yoshimi is winning but the Pink Robots have the momentum.
The Flaming Lips sing along
with Beck in Detroit tonight

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor
"We've never really been part of
a scene," said Michael Ivins,
bassist and co-founder of The
Flaming Lips. "We've sort of, in a
lot of ways, always charted our own
course." Tonight Ivins and his
bandmates, vocalist/guitarist
Wayne Coyne and drummer Steven
Drodz, will be performing with
Beck in the Motor City's unlikliest
of rock venues - the Detroit
Opera House.
The Flaming Lips - who have
spent much of their career in the
obscurity of a homogenized music
industry - formed in 1983, in the
unlikely confines of Oklahoma City.
The eccentric musicians began their
experimental musical career when
frontman Coyne supposedly stole
musical instruments from a local
church. "When we were making our
first few albums it would be like,
'Check this band out, The Birthday
Party. That's some weird shit, why
don't we try and do something like
that,"' added Ivins.
Since their humble beginnings,
The Lips have released 10 studio
albums, ranging in sonic tones from

the drug-induced-psychedelia of
1987's Oh My Gawd!!! to the pop-
perfect bliss of 1999's The Soft Bul-
letin. Ivins explains, "Not to sound
too pretentious, we've sort of moved

it the one step beyond of 'Can you
open for me' to 'Can you actually be
the band,"' Ivins told of how the tour
came to fruition. "It's just one of
those things where you go 'I wonder

into a realm where, in
a way, we're just trying
to make Flaming Lips
Their most recent
album, 2002's aptly-
titled Yoshimi Battles
the Pink Robots,
received mass critical
praise for its kitsch,
catchiness, and origi-
nality. The Lips have
certainly earned more
notice from critics than

At The Detroit
Opera House
Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Sold Out
Clear Channel'

what would happen?'
Which seems to be a
lot of our career."
Beck, whose fifth
major studio release
Sea Change came out
only weeks ago, has
undergone many of the
same experiences in
his career, struggling
with his folk poetry
until his slacker single
"Loser" hit airwaves in
last show in the area was

from the

1994. His

public over the years. Sans their
improbable Top 40-hit "She Don't
Use Jelly" (from the brilliant album
Transmissions from the Satellite
Heart) the group has been virtually
ignored by mainstream audiophiles.
The Flaming Lips are hoping to
spread their music to unfamiliar ears
as they tour the country with the
sullen singer/songwriter Beck. But
they are more than just an opening
act, as they will be assuming the role
of Beck's backing band as well.
"He called up and asked us to take

an acoustic set at the Michigan The-
ater in August.
"We're just fans of music," Ivins
said. "When we opened up for Can-
dlebox it was too weird to pass up."
The Flaming Lips are willing and
able to perform if simply for the
sake of being strange. They have
played at Lollapalooza and toured
Europe with the Red Hot Chili Pep-
pers. Ivins concluded, "If Pink
called up and said hey let's go out
on tour, that would be weird. I think
it would be kinda fun."

Courtesy of Dreamworks

And the Oedipus Complex lives on.

Ohio rocks with Dakota Floyd

By Rob Brode
Daily Arts Writer

The land of the Buckeye rarely catches the
Wolverine unless it happens to be a football
Saturday in late November. And why not?
What else of any importance comes from
Ohio? Quite possibly music. Dakota Floyd, a
two-year-old pop outfit from Cleveland is
fixing itself to prove, as Drew Carey claims,
"Cleveland rocks!"
Dublin native Sorca McGrath leads Floyd
with an irrepressible pop power strum and
sweet cherubic vocals with more substance

eye of the
At The Elb
Tonight at

and melodies featuring Porter's background in
Jazz/African Beat and Watterson's love of funk currently
absent from most radio fare.
The band's sound has been described as the bastard child
of Hank Williams and Kim Deal. Their heav-
ily varied musical background is enough to
make one wonder how DF is able to write a
OTA coherent song. "We're basically avoiding a
YD train wreck," said Porter "we start with a
ow Room simple country base, courtesy of Sorca, but
often end up with complex songs after Bill
10 p.m. and I get done with them. Despite our differ-
$5 __ ent backgrounds we have the natural ability
to take a song in a good direction."
The band signed to Ragz Records in 2001 releasing a
three-song single and plans to release a full length by the
end of the year. DF's Midwest tour will bring them through
Ann Arbor to The Coffee Beanery at 1pm for a short
acoustic showcase before hitting the stage at The Elbow
Room in Ypsilanti this evening.

than a Blimpy Burger topped with egg, onion rings and a
healthy dash of Tabasco. Though it may be Sorca that gar-
ners the most attention a la the No Doubt syndrome,
Gerry Porter (drums), a student of Kenny Arnoff and Bill
Watterson (bass) carry their weight in the rhythm section
often morphing simple pop/country licks into rhythms


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