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November 10, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-10

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November 10, 2003



Disco rockers retooled to please

By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer

When anticipating a large
special-effects-laden blockbuster
such as "The Matrix Revolutions,"
the common practice is to appeal to the oppo-
site audience with an unre-
lated genre picture. New Elf
Line Cinema follows the AtShowcaseand.
formula wisely with the Quality 16
Will Ferrell ("Old New Line
School") comedy
vehicle "Elf," in time for the holiday
season and for families not into Neo.
Also on hand is director Jon Favreau
("Swingers") with his first attempt at fami-
ly fare.
Working upon the ridiculous premise of
an orphaned baby sneaking into Santa's
bag unbeknownst to St. Nick and then
being raised in the North Pole as an elf
unaware of his human identity, the movie
starts off slowly with the pervasive feel of
a children's television show. Buddy the Elf
(Will Ferrell) lumbers around as a 30-year-
old, 6-foot-3-inch elf, out of place to every-
one but himself. As the disparity becomes
harder to ignore, he overhears his true origin
and sets off for the coming-of-middle-age tale
that is to be.

Courtesy of
irk' yNew Line
I would love
to see this
town In
autumn. I
Crabvllle In
would be
sion is clear, to search for his father, Walter Hobbs
(James Caan, "The Godfather"), a curmudgeon
workaholic unaware of his elf son's existence. The
contrast of Bud's eternal optimistic naivete is con-
trasted well by Walter's jaded profit-driven
demeanor, and it works. The initial rejection by his
father causes him to wander into a department store's
Christmas section in full elf attire, which paves the
way for more misunderstandings and the introduction
of the necessary love interest.
It's fairly clear what path the plot is following
and where it will reach. But what matters is how
fun Will Ferrell makes the journey there. Ferrell
knows comedy and he knows exactly how to milk a
role with such obvious schmaltz while steering
clear of the histrionics of a Jim Carrey or Adam
Sandier. The physical comedy, facial expressions
and innocence all fall into place for Buddy and for
some reason you believe it. Ferrell is truly a man
who spent the first 30 years of his life building
children's toys in the North Pole.
This film is unique in its unabashed embrace of
its love for Christmas and the sentimental holiday
spirit it encompasses. With a director and lead
actor not known for producing family fare, the
film manages to avoid a feeling of suppression and
pandering jokes that struggle to find any audience.
The humor is fairly universal although the overen-
thusiastic ending, only a small step away from "It's
a Wonderful Life," is a bit orgasmic and plays off
of every drop of foreshadowing possible. Regard-
less, if you have heard of elves before or seen a
gift in ;your life, youfwill lagh, Ti j A_ are sort
of holiday movie that manages to entertain with
full con'idence in its focus.
4 ,a ' o h'" " *

road again, but this
For starters,
they've added to
their lineup. Luke
Jenner and Vito
Roccoforte, the
core members on
the band's debut
Mirror, have addedj

By Alex Wolsky
Daily Arts Writer
Functioning in limbo between
dance-rock saviors and punk revival-
ists, the Rapture hasn't missed a beat.
The once icy indie post rock band
turned N.Y.C. dance-punk icons have
done a lot of things in the past four
years since they first made a ripple in
the music world. An already accom-
plished live act, they found solace in a
freely growing live atmosphere more
so than they did in the studio.
After meeting up with famed pro-
duction team the DFA and radically
changing their sound, they've hit the

talist Gabriel Andruzzi to the fold as
well as bassist Matt Safer. Additional-
ly, they've got a new, highly polished
sound that desires to be translated into
the live setting.
Their 2003 release Echoes came dur-
ing a wave of "punk-funk" releases that
ignited a blaze within the music com-
munity. Creating an eclectic hybrid of
black rockers Joy Division under an
electronic moniker reminiscent of
Aphex Twin, the band has concocted a
wildly popular style for the live setting.
From the morbid hum of "Infatua-
tion" to the bouncing, glitch-hop sounds
of "Olio" the Rapture's live show is
something of a dark, twisted dis-
cotheque shut out from the mainstream

time things are
Wednesday, Nov. 5
At the Magic Stick
Clear Channel

courtesy o1U.f DFA eCOM
The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven and ...
world - hundkeds of people dancing dance-hop with "The Coming of
like nobody s watching. When the Spring" and "Heaven" before
smoke clears, the band opens up the descending into the extravagantly
room with their inimitable blend of wasted love beats of "Love is All" and
punk music, wrought withthe sounds of "Open Up Your Heart."
late-'70s funk. But it sonehow works Finally, "House of Jealous Lovers"
for the Rapture. bears its head down and brings the
The hyper-intensified "I Need Your show to a complete circle and com-
Love" pulsates throughout the room as pletes the transformation from mere
the band simply plays it like they made punks to unabashed saviors. Vocally,
it: standing tall with drum machines in Jenner emulates Mark E. Smith of the
hand, twiddling knobs as Jenner Fall and Robert Smith of the Cure,
karaoke's .over with;spastic bursts. His bellowing in a love sick tone.
inalienable howl escapes the confines They may . 19e shamelessly catego-
of the studio an ffn d$%dequate space rized into the inimitably demeaning
to be fully projectedfrughout every, term "disco-tock" but if the Rapture
cornet of the room. j as proved anything it'd be that
The band behind him 0 ta ai change is almost always a good
focused as they ,trek through song option. And, while they outgrew their
after song in a melee of sound. They roots as brash punk rockers, they've
continue to growl through the majori- fallen into something just as pleasing.
ty of Echoes, creating a blitz of Dance on!


Gray's new
piece tells
history's roe
in terrorism
By Matthew Grlnshpun
For the Daily


As with most things, the movie picks up
once Bud reaches New York City. His mis-
- 1

far from
'Ave rage'
By Niamh Sievin
Daily Arts Writer
Arriving on the set of what he
thought to be "Life of the Party," a faux
reality series centering on former frater-
nity brothers, Brad Holcman was
stunned to learn he had been slightly
duped. Rather than a frat-based show,
he discovered he'd just set foot into
another of NBC's dating shows. With a
cast of 15 other men and one woman,
he said it didn't sound much like a party
show anymore. "It sounds like a
sausage show;'he laughed.
After a few looks at his new competi-
tors, he quickly called his family back
in Detroit and chuckled, "I'm on the
'Revenge of the Nerds' set." "Average
Joe" follows the dating fiascos of
Melana Scantlin, a former NFL cheer-
leader, as she searches for love among
an unusual slew of guys. While there
are no Brad Pitt look-alikes in the
bunch, each man hopes to win her heart
and distinguish himself from the crowd
with their outstanding personalities.
But, in the eyes of many needy
Detroit area families this latest new
recruit to NBC's reality empire, is far
from an "Average Joe."
Holcman graduated the University
of Michigan in 1999, only two years
after co-founding Dance Marathon, a
charity group dedicated to funding
pediatric programs through C.S. Mott

In choosing a title for his latest book,
"Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be
Modern," John Gray has employed a
clever marketing flourish. Gray, a pro-
fessor of European thought at the Lon-
don School of Economics, proposes the
unconventional thesis that al-Qaida's
political Islam is the twisted progeny of
the Europeans, W09

The majority of his
book is spent on
analysis of modem
politics against this
historical back-
drop, and it's only'
within the context

Al Qaeda and
What It
Means to Be
By John Gray
New Press

Courtesy of NBC

Obviously you don't know my dog.
Hospital and William Beaumont Hos-
pital. Though the organization hosts
charity events throughout the year, the
largest sponsorship occurs at the annu-
al culmination, a 30 hour dance
marathon to raise money for pediatric
therapy classes.
Serving as the morale chair for the
first two years of the group's existence,
Holcman was always interested in host-
ing fun projects to capture attention for
their cause and now seeks to continue
this mission as an alumni liaison. With
the help of the current Dance Marathon
staff and the Blue Martini Bar in Birm-
ingham, Holcman discovered a way to
mesh his newfound network fame with
his dedication to pediatric charities.
Monday night, Holcman will appear
at the Blue Martini as part of a charity
viewing party for the show's second
episode. All of the door proceeds and a
portion of the bar receipts will go

towards Dance Marathon. The 200
expected guests will be privy to extra
stories from friends and family mem-
bers as well as some ex-girlfriends and
former frat brothers.
Even though the show labels him as
an average Joe, those involved seem to
disagree. Atul Porwal, executive direc-
tor of Dance Marathon, notes, "He's
always been a great resource. (As an
alum) he still comes back for the
marathon in March."
As a fan of reality TV in general,
Holcman is thrilled for the opportuni-
ties the show will afford him, both on
and off the set. "In a non-pompous way,
I think I'm a good catch. I have a good
time. I'm laid back and it's time for the
groomsman to be the groom." Whether
or not he makes it to the final cut, he
hopes this week's event will encourage
support and donations for one of his
favorite campus activities.

of modernism that Gray spends a few
pages discussing the organization for
which the book is titled.
Gray's polemic is a welcome blast of
wind against the overflowing stacks of
scrawl that attribute al-Qaida's peculiar
style of proselytizing to medieval
atavism. Gray is quick to note that al-
Qaida's operating principle, "the belief
that a new world can be hastened by
spectacular acts of destruction," was
first promulgated by European anar-
chists of the late 19th century.
Gray, however, is not satisfied with
leaving the history of radical violence
to its origins in practice and delves
into its theoretical sources. He
emphatically argues that the violent
pursuit of utopia is a doctrine owing
itself to the positivists, the early 19th
century's "original profits of moder-
nity." Positivism, the philosophy-
cum-religion founded by Count Henri
de Saint-Simon, holds that world
progress is attained through scientific
advance. Gray provides a captivating

'Actually' massive cast falls in love

By Mary Hillemeler
Daily Arts Writer
What's better than a triumphant British love

writer on the romantic comedy front with "Four
Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill" and
"Bridget Jones' Diary." His combination of exag-
gerated displays of affection teamed with quirky
accented characters delights shameless romantics
and anglophiles alike. "Actually" is a love letter


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