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September 22, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-22

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4

Monday
September 22, 2003
www.michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

21tRTjwS

DEATH & THE DEALER
DARK FORCES DO BATTLE IN 'UNDERWORLD'

By Justin Weiner
For the Daily

LAURENCE J. FREEDMAN/Daily
Suck my kiss, mic. Chill's guitarist John Frusciante.t
Aways smokin 'Chili
Peppers fre up Place

"Underworld" is an intense, violent tale of an
ancient war between vampires and lycans (were-
wolves). The thundering techno/rock soundtrack and
acrobatic fight scenes allow for comparisons to "The
Matrix," but "Underworld" is a distinct story of the
blurry line between good and evil.
An intriguing opening scene introduces Selene
(Kate Beckin sale, "Pearl Harbor")
perched high above a city street, Underworld
delivering a brief monologue on
the history of the vampire/lycan At a 16,
Showcase eand
war. Selene is a "death dealer," a Madstone
vampire that stalks and kills Screen Gems
lycans. After nearly a 1,000 years
of war, the vampire death dealers have nearly
destroyed their prey.
Beckinsale's portrayal of Selene is tremendous,
giving the character a resourceful, gritty quality. Her
dark seriousness and cold, calm voice match the
mood and lighting of the film. She is also a refresh-
ingly powerful heroine. Selene's fighting ability and
quick thinking are often necessary to save the trou-
bled, human med student Michael Corvin (Scott
Speedman, "Felicity").
Though humans are generally not involved in the
war, Corvin has unwittingly been drawn in for myste-
rious reasons. Corvin is a genetic anomaly, capable
of becoming both a vampire and a werewolf. His
existence will have important ramifications for the

war, and his role is one plot twist that makes the
movie unique.
Convincing in his portrayal of Corvin,
Speedman's screen time is oddly limited
for a central character. When he is on
screen, Corvin is usually being
chased, beaten or tortured. This
constant harassment leaves little
time for character development,
and consequently one learns
very little about the male hero
of "Underworld."
While the ongoing beast-
ial engagement con-
tains numerous
twists and
surprises
beyond
the tradi-
tional war
story, adding
a unique touch,
writer/director Len
Wiseman adds a few
too many wrinkles, often
making the plot confusing and
difficult to follow.
The distinctive story and act-
ing of Beckinsale make "Under-
world" an enjoyable two hours. If
nothing else, the visually stunning
action sequences and dark cinematography
will entertain moviegoers and make the film
worth the price of admission.

By Laurence J. Freedman
Daily Arts Writer

Over 15 years after pioneering rap-
rock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have
refined themselves into a band that is
always explosive yet often just as
breezy and melodic. Their two-hour
concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills
on Thursday night featured their grad-
ual and incredibly
successful musi-
cal evolution. It The Red Hot
was an eclectic Chili Peppers
stew of rock The Palace of
showmanship, bit- Auburn Hills
tersweet soul, Friday, Sept. 18
funky rhythms
and frantic punk.
Musically, the best songs were
those off their latest album, By The
Way. Guitarist John Frusciante's spi-
raling lines and Beach Boys-esque
background vocals are the core of
that album, and they were on full dis-
play throughout the show. They pro-
pelled early performances of "Scar
Tissue" and "The Zephyr Song" to
new heights. "Parallel Universe" fea-
tured a remarkably fluid, soaring solo
while Flea and singer Anthony
Kiedis squared off as if to duel, legs
spread wide, at the center of the
stage in front of four flashing video
screens.
Kiedis, like bassist Flea and drum-
mer Chad Smith, is over 40 years old
now. There was no question that age
would slow him down. Manically
delivering one aerobic performance

after another, Kiedis jumped, kicked
and most of all, leaned through his
perfect arena rock star act. If his age
forced him to rest every few songs,
the crowd was only rewarded. The
interplay between Frusciante and
Flea was flawless, and often they,
along with Smith, would jam out
enjoyable and interesting instrumen-
tals or snippets of covers like Kiss'
appropriate "Detroit Rock City" in
between their own tunes with Kiedis
off the stage.
The show was both innovative and
familiar. "Don't Forget Me" took a
slow and simple rhythmic bass line
from Flea, mixed it with claps of
thunder from Smith, and eventually
burst into a screaming vocal over
Frusciante's spacey siren-like guitar
wails. "Can't Stop" took extra advan-
tage of it's greatest asset, the build-
up to its razor sharp riff. An encore
performance of "Under The Bridge"
was as triumphant as it should have
been, the whole crowd swaying and
singing to what is arguably one of the
finest rock songs of the '90s.
The pre-encore show ended with a
stark example of the two vibes
which have defined the Chili Pep-.
pers' career. "Venice Queen" is
awash in what sounds and feels like
the sea along California's coast. It
sweetly ends with repeated moaning
proclamations of "love, my friend"
over acoustic guitar that invites
emotional reflection. "Give It Away"
is a raucous, rap and bass-driven
funk party that invites intoxicated
head banging. They sounded perfect
together.

Dennis and Dorif leave 'Manor cold

By Chris Pitoun
For the Daily

MOVI E REVIEW
It's hard to imagine that when direc-
tor Mike Figgis was weaving together
his world of intrigue in "Cold Creek
Manor," his psychological ploys would

I

only meet laugh-
ter from audi-
ences. Sadly, this
is precisely what
happened.
The mystery of
what happened at

Cold Creek
Manor
At Quality 16 and
'"howcase
Buena Vista.

Cold Creek is 'es l.
than captivating. "Cold Creek Manor"
tells the story of Cooper and Leah
Tilson (Dennis Quaid and Sharon
Stone) who decide, after their son Jesse
(Ryan Wilson) is nearly hit by a car, to
escape New York City for a more
peaceful life in the town of Bellingham.
Finding the beautiful fixer-upper in the
countryside, they embark on the begin-
nings of a new life, restoring an old
mansion and the fabric of their family.

uourtesby Utof Uenisi lta
Usten to this: seven ... minute ... abs.
That all begins to slip when Daek
Massie (Stephen Dorff) rudely pushes
himself intheir lives by rpping the
Tilsons into letting hin help restore the
house. Dale was the former owner of
the house until he went to prison for
three years and lost it to the bank. But
he hasn't let it go so easily.
As the tale unfolds and the various
twists are revealed, the shock level is
minimal. A mysterious large house
with a tainted past is not a new concept
and no original spin is added to that
framework. From slithering reptiles to

Youth and angst focal point of emotional 'Thirteen'

a

By Mary Hillemeier
For the Daily

enters junior high. Wood encapsulates
youthful innocence, enhancing the
impact of the corruption that follows.
In search of acceptance, Tracey

IaRE
A brutally honest portrayal of one
seventh grader's fall,"Thirteen" raises
serious issues concerning America's
youth. Laudable for its sensitivity
with painful subjects and gritty
courage, Catherine Hardwicke's film
promises to stay with the audience
long after the credits have rolled.
Facing intense peer pressure armed
with only a shaky self-image, Tracey
(Evan Rachel Wood, "Once and
Again") is doomed the moment she

ditches her friends
dangerously flir-
tatious, quintes-
sential popular
girl Evie. Expert-
ly played by new-
comer Nikki

and focuses on the
Thirteen
At the State Theater
Fox Searchlight

own. This lax atmosphere gives
Tracey and Evie free reign to
indulge in typical teenage misadven-
tures juxtaposed with swiftly esca-
lating drug use.
Both Wood and Reed maintain ter-
rifying vulnerability throughout the
film that starkly contrasts their lack of
respect for everything, especially
themselves. Although Reed's charac-
ter is the instigator, she reveals
glimpses of inner struggle, adding
dimension to her character.
The semi-autobiographical script,
co-written by the teenage Reed and
director Hardwicke, rings refreshingly
true, adding heartache to Reed's per-

formance when one considers the
reality upon which it is based.
Hunter's sharp instincts and weath-
ered maturity play well against the
rebellious energy of her fresh costars,
creating palpable tension from begin-
ning to end. A tension that is height-
ened by the Los Angeles setting, the
perfect backdrop for Tracey and
Evie's unraveling at the price of shal-
low beauty and false acceptance.
Simultaneously frightening and riv-
eting, "Thirteen" is a well crafted
story told with honesty and integrity
that, although at times difficult to
watch, is more than worth the energy
it requires.

Reed, Evie's daring schemes and
knack for never telling the truth suc-
cessfully seduce Tracey.
Tracey's mother Mel (the flawless
Holly Hunter) struggles with alco-
holism and discipline issues of her

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