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September 15, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-15

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 15, 2003

ART S

U

Poor acting eats away at 'Fever'

Courtesy of
Columbia
Antonio
Banderas,
Enrique
Iglesias and
some other
guy re-for-
mulate the
Mariachi
trio in
Robert
Rodriguez's
trilogy
finale.

For those who are tired of the slew
of chick flicks and sugar-coated
sequels served up this summer, never
fear, "Cabin Fever" is here. Oozing
with blood, guts and profanity, Eli
Roth's new horror flick is sure to dis-
gust and delight genre enthusiasts and
thrill-seekers alike.
Written, directed and produced by
Roth, "Cabin Fever" follows five col-
lege friends who rent a remote cabin
to celebrate graduation and stumble
upon the breeding grounds of a horri-
ble flesh-eating virus. Before long
they are forced to trade beer and
bathing suits for
shotguns and
shovels in a Cabin Fever
bloody struggle At Quality16 and
for survival. When Showcase
within the first 20 Lion's Gate
minutes the kids
encounter an 11-year-old boy named
Dennis sporting a mullet and a tenden-
cy to bite strangers, it's obvious that
this is no normal vacation.
"Fever" marks "Boy Meets World"
staple Rider Strong's return to the
realm of movies people might actually
pay to see. Strong stars as Paul, the love
sick friend to Jordan Ladd's ("Never
Been Kissed") unattainable good-girl
Karen. Sadly, Strong's extended stint on
the Disney Channel has taught him lit-
tle in the way of acting. Yet maybe it is
his sugary sitcom pedigree combined
with his annoyingly awkward line
deliveries that make it so enjoyable to
watch him suffer. Ladd's performance

4

Courtesy of Lion's Gate

I'll have what she's having.

EL'S 'MEXICO'

is decidedly bland; however, one unfor-
gettably grotesque scene will inevitably
insure that her character does not go
unnoticed.
Rounding out the cast from young
Hollywood is Joey Kern ("Super Troop-
ers") as the golden-haired Jeff, Cerina
Vincent as Marcy, his sexually charged
girlfriend, and James DeBello as the
beer-chugging squirrel-shooting fifth
wheel. While Kern hands in a less-than-
stellar performance that leads one to
wish he would trade in acting for mod-
eling, DeBello's good timing offers wel-
come comic relief in the occasional
slow spot. Overall, the fact that the
youthful cast is essentially unheard of
lends the characters an everyman quali-
ty, which makes their plight increasing-
ly horrifying for the viewer.
Roth is a relative newcomer, as this
is his first project eligible for substan-
tial commercial success. Yet he is well
versed in what it takes to instill horri-
fied fascination in his audience. lie
never misses an opportunity to use his

special effects and makeup crew to
their full capacity, and they deliver all
of the gory details one could wish for-
including several sound effects that
border on too much information.
Forced dialogue hinders the begin-
ning, replaced by chaos in the second
half. By this point, the audience is too
occupied with simultaneously covering
their eyes and watching through the
cracks to hold a grudge. However,
blood and guts fail to completely over-
shadow larger weaknesses such as the
less-than-par supporting cast, several
embarrassingly unfunny jokes and an
ending as predictable as it is disap-
pointing.
With that said, Roth remains
admirable for his unwavering dedica-
tion to the horror tradition. This ded-
ication, demonstrated through
fantastically elaborate gore,
unflinching sexuality and gritty
courage, is what saves his film from
the pathetic fate of your average,
modern slasher flop.

This plot variation creates interest
and doesn't become excessively
muddled; however, it does lead to a
protagonistic shift: Sands becomes
the film's driving force. Depp's char-
acter is clearly scripted and crafted to,
draw and hold attention. He speaks in
quips and has a very curious, unpre-
dictable demeanor about him. All
these traits come to fruition in an
astounding closing gunfight involv-
ing a then-blinded Sands.
Just as in the movie, much here
has been said about Depp - some-
what at the expense of the other cast
members. Banderas turns in another
sound performance, executing his
best scenes with a scowl on face and
a gun in his hand. Willem Dafoe,
Cheech Marin and Enrique Iglesias
round out the notable cast, but their
roles, especially relative to Depp's,
are not remarkable.
"Mexico," more than "El Mari-
achi" or "Desperado," attempts to
entertain and doesn't take itself, and
consequently its characters, as seri-
ously. The roles are more caricatured,
the dialogue more comical and the
film itself more focused on techni,
cally sound, dynamic action than
reflection or personal emotion.
Amid all these changes, though, the
tale of the mariachi retains the simple
poignancy and entertainment value
that made it so great.

10

Good Jackson equals bad 'No Good Deed'

By Jennie Adler
For the Daily
MOVI E REVI EW **
Shotgun toting bank robbers? Samuel
Jackson? What could be better? For

starters, Jackson as
Good Deed" is the
latest film directed
by Bob Rafelson,
better known for
his work "The
Postman Always
Rings Twice"
opposed to lesser-

the bad guy. "No
No Good
Deed
At Madstone and
Showcase
Remstar

classic story, but it lacks quality acting
and is filled with nauseating dialogue.
The plot is typical - bank robbers
take police officer Jack Friar (Jackson)
hostage when he stumbles into their
hideout. Jack's simple life of cello play-
ing and insulin shots are brought to a
halt as he involves himself in the crime;
for his life, or maybe love.
The bad guys are led by Tyrone (Stel-
lan SkarsgArd, "Good Will Hunting"),
with team members including his lover,
Erin (Milla Jovovich, "Resident Evil"),
who, strutting around in her slinky out-
fits, seems to have "the ins" with every
guy in town. Hoop (Doug Hutchison)
takes care of the dirty work while trying
to keep his temper under control and the
Quarres (Joss Ackland and Grace
Zabriskie), the elderly swindlers seem
almost,,&eleva t to the quickly dissolv-

ing sure-fire heist plan. With everyone
doubting each other's loyalty and clash-
ing motives, it's no wonder; they are all
fighting constantly.
Jackson, interestingly, strays from his
usual line of swearing badasses to play
not a good neighbor and a moral cop
but a cellist as well. With Jackson -
the best actor in the film (as is usual for
him) -- tied to a chair for almost the
entire movie, Rafelson leaves the others
awkwardly stumbling around the film's
greatest asset. The movie too often
relies on this group of shoddy actors as
well as Jackson's cheesy lines.
The body count, however, takes care
of the bad acting. The quirky characters
provide entertainment but not enough to
hold the movie. Maybe Jackson should
stick to "Shaft, because in the end, no
good deed goes unpunished.

40

seen "Erotic Tales". Originally based on
Dashiel Hammett's short story "The
House on Turk Street" way back in
1924, "No Good Deed" is decidedly
noir-fare due to the dark setting and

41

VbT : - " d& j r r r .

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