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November 17, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-17

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0

Monday
November 17, 2003
michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

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Courtesy of Tag Team Media

So ... uh, you guys like Gordon Lightfoot, eh?

Art, politics and the new
Stars of Canadian music
By Alex Wosky normal school," Millan confesses. "I
Daily Arts Writer needed the arts."
"(The Tories) had cut it so there was
Art and politics have always had a no such thing as arts in a lot of high
ynamic relationship. Often clashing schools," she notes. "They don't have
with one another, some of the greatest any visual art, they don't have any
artistic expressions have come as a music classes and they don't have any
reaction to political decisions. Torquil instruments. They have nothing. (The
Campbell and Amy Millan, two of the Tories) had cut it out."
driving forces behind the Montreal pop The replacement of the Tory party
quartet Stars, have recognized first- came at a time when Ontario politics
hand how political decisions can serve were at an all-time low. But Camp-
to unite a community of artists. bell can't help but acknowledge the
"In Toronto right now I feel like Darwinist benefits that also came as
there is a lot of art being made in all a result of their reactionary educa-
areas, not just music," according to tional policies.
Campbell. "Bad times often make for "In some ways the Harris govern-
great art." ment and all the problems Ontario
In early October, Ontario resi- has had over the past decade has
dents voted out the governing Con- actually made it so that people who
8ervative Party from the provincial weren't really doing anything seri-
Parliament, a victory for Dalton ously (with respect to art) fucked off
McGuinty's Liberal Party. somewhere else," claims Campbell.
"I was really excited," said Millan, "People who have something to say
remembering her first iAiii es n ao and are really committed to living in
the new government, "but they're all that community have really stepped"
the same assholes, really. That's the up their game and have extended"
unfortunate state of politicseg w eir voice. These people are becom-
You're just happy when the person you ing more vital now as time goes on."
disliked gets kicked out:' The success of many nascent Cana-
-The eight years of Tory rule in dian artists can be seen everywhere.
bntario cast a direct impact on Camp- Broken Social Scene's latest You For-
bell and Millan, as well as many other got It in People was released domesti-
emerging bands in Canada. For bands cally to critical praise. Stars' latest
like Broken Social Scene, the Con- album Heart has sold more than 3,000
stantines and the Weakerthans, the copies in Canada alone, which Camp-
reactionary policies of the Tory gov- bell denotes as a success. "We've sold
rnment blocked the programs that got in Canada in eight months what we've
them interested in making music in the sold in three weeks in America.
first place. There's not a lot of growing room in
S"It was a really dark time in Canada. You've got to transcend that,
Pntario's politics," Millan notes. which Broken (Social Scene) has
(Mike Harris) did terrible things for begun to do."
education. He cut arts (programs) When asked about the future of
%vhich were the whole reason there are Canadian politics, both Campbell and
bands like (Stars), Metric and Broken Millan were blunt. "I don't want to
(Social Scene). We're out here only completely sound like an old curmudg-
because we had it in school." eon, I think in politics there are people
Campbell recalls the period as a trying to do well," he notes. "As I've
dark moment for the arts in Canada. gotten older, I've realized that you have
"They cut anything that didn't make to work within politics but nothing will
you into an office worker, essentially," change in the world if people don't
Campbell said. "I think the Harris change their lives, and that's where art
government was full of ideologues. comes into play. The power of self-
They didn't care about the conse- expression and understanding other
quences of what they were doing; they people's expressions is where you can
did it because they thought it was ide- get so much achieved."
ologically correct." "I think things are going to change
"They didn't consider (arts) a but McGuinty is probably a wanker,
necessity and that's probably crushing so I don't know," Campbell states.
a lot of people because when I was "He's a politician, so I assume he's
growing up, I couldn't be happy in a another wanker."

Oh I get It. His roommate wasn't really there.
By Joel Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
MOVIE REVIEW ****I
Peter Weir's "Master and Commander: The Far
Side of the World," based on the series of novels
by Patrick O'Brian, is a refreshing epic adventure

that hearkens back to the days
Arabia," valuing its characters
and plot over stylized vio-
lence, non-stop action and
unnecessary digital effects.
"Master and Commander"
follows British Capt. Jack
Aubrey (Russell Crowe),
commander of the HMS Sur-

of "Lawrence of
Master and
Commander
At Showcase,
Quality 16 and
Ma dstone
20th Century Fox

Stephan Maturin (Paul Bettany), who coolly per-
forms difficult surgeries (including one on himself
after he receives a near-fatal gunshot wound) in a
cramped, dimly-lit room. Maturin attempts to bal-
ance his professional duties as a doctor and sailor
with his curiosity as a naturalist. He gets close
enough to the Galapagos Islands to see its won-
drous variety of species only to be torn away as
the enemy approaches.
In a film that lacks any female characters (save
a few brief glimpses of South American natives),
the film's emotional center falls to the relation-
ship between Aubrey and Maturin. They spend
much of their time in quiet conversation or play-
ing music together, and it becomes clear that the
two respect each other as both professionals and
longtime friends.
While Russell Crowe certainly turns in a fine
performance as Capt. Aubrey, once again playing
the role of epic hero with grace and ability, Paul
Bettany (Crowe's "A Beautiful Mind" co-star)
emerges as a true star, effortlessly capturing
Maturin's inner conflict and making him the
film's most intriguing character. Big screen new-
comer Max Pirkis also makes a big impression as

midshipman Blakeney, a precocious and coura-
geous 13-year-old who is given the honor of com-
manding the ship during a key battle. Pirkis plays
Blakeney with the skill and confidence of a sea-
soned veteran.
Much like David Lean used the desert as a char-
acter in "Lawrence of Arabia," Peter Weir uses the
ocean to create a vast and desolate backdrop for
his story and limits the action to the claustropho-
bic quarters of the Surprise. He gives the audience
a palpable sense of isolation and confinement by
focusing on the atmosphere of the ship right down
to the smallest details - the ceaseless groaning
and creaking of the aging ship, the tangled web of
ropes and sails, the dark and cramped quarters
deep within the ship's bowels.
It takes a director of Weir's caliber to make an
epic film like "Master and Commander" work. As
a filmmaker with more than 30 years of experi-
ence, he carefully avoids the modern-day crutches
of computer-generated effects and ceaseless
action. He opts instead to allow his characters and
plot to develop naturally, and "Master and Com-
mander" is better for it. If only more directors
could show so much patience and restraint.

prise, at the turn of the 19th century as he pursues
the French ship Acheron in hopes of stemming the
tide of Napoleon's expanding empire. Aubrey, an
experienced and resourceful sailor, leads his men
and commands their respect with a careful combi-
natio fstifetiiess and compassion.
The film also focuses heavily on the ship's
eqially experienced and resourceful doctor,

'Looney Tunes' gives silliness, TNT a bad name

By Jennie Adler
Daily Arts Writer
MoVE REVI EW I
Guns, car chases, cannons and TNT.
It's not another Bruckheimer block-
buster, just cartoons in the human
world taking a stab at the big screen.
Joe Dante ("Gremlins") directs this
poor attempt of combining cartoons

and humans.
"Looney Tunes:
Back in Action" is
action packed, but
void of humor and
originality.
DJ Drake (Bren-
dan Fraser), Daffy
Duck, Kate (Jenna

Looney
Tunes: Back
in Action
At Showcase and
Quality 16
Warner Bros.

shamelessly mugs his way through the
movie. As the bad and good run all over
Las Vegas, Paris and Africa, they not
only wear out the bounds of originality
but exhaust the audience's patience.
Supposedly, "Looney Tunes" isn't
just another wild goose chase of explo-
sives and immortal cartoons. With
suave action stars like DJ's father
Damien and the oh-so-subtle carrot
chomping Bugs Bunny, the little guys
want their glory too: Daffy wants to be
a star like Bugs while DJ wants to make
his father proud. This underlying theme
in Looney Tunes is too overused and
saccharine to be touching and is luckily
lost among bad jokes.
While Looney Tunes is clearly a fam-
ily movie, it's not even funny enough
for the kids. After seeing Yosemite Sam
blown up at least five times, the sixth
isn't any better. The humor is dependent
on burnt duck and exploding cartoons
with a pantless Fraser to boot.
Looney Tunes doesn't even attempt
to make-up for its bad humor with orig-
inality. Relying too much on old clas-
sics, it incorporates a slew of movie
references. If it isn't "Invasion of the
Body Snatchers" then it's a dramatic

61

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Elfman) -- the dry Vice President of
Comedy at Warner Brothers - and
Bugs Bunny set off to rescue DJ's
father, a secret spy (Timothy Dalton,
"License to Kill") by saving the magical
Blue Monkey diamond from falling
into the hands of the villainous Acme
Corporation Chairman (Steve Martin).
Donning undersized pants as well as a
wide selection of Acme Shoes, Martin

Kill da wabbit, kill da wabbit:

interpretation of "Psycho." And if
they're going to spoof James Bond,
they could've at least gotten Sean Con-
nery, as opposed to the lesser-seen Tim-
othy Dalton. Is this supposed to be
Looney Tunes or an animated version
of "Scary Movie 3?"
In what was supposed to be a movie

of who's the bigger star, Rabbit vs.
Duck, all one can think is, which will
taste better for dinner? Looney Tunes is
nothing but a bomb of old movies,
repetitive bad humor and an all too for-
mulaic plot. The only thing worth
watching is Mr. Chairman's constantly
changing footwear.

Strong cast
canies ieces
of April'
By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer
MOVI E REVI EW ***9
Writer and now director Peter
Hedges' ("About A Boy") new film is
another exercise in his exacting yet
natural balance between light comedic
moments and dark character situa-
tions. April (Katie Holmes) is the old-
est daughter and black sheep of an
eclectic family
tha is r *vnv i1=0

Lady rockers get their due in 'Rock & Roll'

4

By Christopher Pitoun
Daily Arts Writer

Finally a film acknowledges the contribution women
have made in punk rock. "Prey for Rock & Roll" suc-
ceeds in showing audiences that girlie rockers are just as
passionate, crazy and hard working as
their male counterparts.
Exceptional performances define Prey for Rock
this film. Gina Gershon ("Bound") & Roll
carries "Prey" beautifully as the At Madstone
band's nothing but attitude lead Mac Releasing
singer. She's supported by a potent
cast led by Drea De Matteo ("The Sopranos") and Marc
Blucas ("We Were Soldiers") who help form a variety of
characters only found in the underground music world of
Los Angeles.

The wildest elements of what it's like to be a struggling
musician is brilliantly compressed into a sub-two hour
film. "Prey" succeeds in being both sexy and ugly, funny
and serious, complex and straightforward.
The tumultuous relationship between the band mem-
bers helps draw audiences into the story. Writers Cheri
Lovedog (on whose autobiography the film is based) and
Robin Whitehouse prove an ability to write female char-
acters exquisitely, a skill often lost in today's Hollywood.
It's clear that had this project been undertaken by a less
skilled writer, audiences could find the material over the
top, killing the film's credibility.
So often musicians say that their art is their method of
escape from the chaos that defines their lives. "Prey"
concludes by showing how a victim of tragedy can find a
positive resurrection in the artistic expression of those
who survive. The audience is reminded that although it
may sound like incoherent noise to so many, like most
art, punk rock is in fact very deep.

Courtesy of InDigEnt

April, come she will.

MPanwhilP Anril fichtc in her tent--

NA i~ui Arr1 ~ybc~ h~ tpp..ladin, a nd amhivale1nt missionn n- -

A11.1

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