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December 01, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-01

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Monday
December1,23
michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

R TSldd aak

5A

I

LOVE LIFE LOST
MAYER'S CYCLIC SONGS OF SADNESS

By Brandon Harig
Daily Arts Writer
CONCERT REVIEW
While many artists can put on a decent
live performance, it is the overpowering
enthusiasm of John Mayer that makes his
show so engrossing. It appears with every
song there is a little more energy, a little

Courtesy of Dimension

Coffee makes me nervous when I drink it. Mmm hmm.

Billy Bob no help in
laughs of Bad Santa'

more emotion being
poured into the lyrics, a
little more life in his
signature hop. With
bouncing guitar solos
and the microphone
moans of a rock star,

John Mayer
Saturday, Nov.29
At the Palace of
Auburn Hills

trademarks of Mayer's latest album, Heav-
ier Things. With each transition came a
step toward some sort of conclusion, the
concert playing out like a read through
Mayer's journal.
Flowing seamlessly between his various
electric, poppy songs (like "Back To You")
and those more mellow and slow-paced
("Daughters"), the show progressed as a
lover's lament. One of his more somber
and bluesy pieces, "Come Back To Bed,"
lasted nearly 10 minutes with its various
solos and a Mayer dialogue regarding the
pitfalls of arguing with a woman. With
mock reactions of surprise as his guitar did
the woman's side of an argument, the song
exhibited what anyone could see through-
out the show: Mayer was having an incred-
ible amount of fun. It'd be impossible for
him not to with the reaction that came with
songs like "Your Body Is A Wonderland."
The floor section was at his mercy and
the overall crowd enthusiasm was at its
highest of the night when Mayer showed
his ability to change the energy of the
crowd with a simple strum of his guitar.
Mayer proved this control over the audi-
ence by dropping it to a hush and closing
with the slow and contemplative "Wheel."
A meditation on the cyclic nature of life, it
was a fitting end to a show which present-
ed an entertaining look on the highs and
lows of life.

By Jennie Adler
Daily Arts Writer
MOVIE REVIEW *** _ j
This holiday, Santa is sleeping with
Mrs. Claus' sister and getting into a dif-
ferent kind of ho-ho-hoing. Without his
jolly demeanor, Willie (Billy Bob
Thornton), the anti-Santa, is a skinny
washout, guzzling alcohol by the gal-
lon. Terry Zwigoff ("Ghost World")
directs this twisted
portrayal of
Christmas in "Bad Bad Santa
Santa." At Showcase and
Willie and Mar- Quality 16
cus (Tony Cox, Dimension
"Friday") land
jobs as Santa and his elf, respectively,
at various malls only to rob them after
their 30-day stint. But when the two
end up at a mall in Phoenix, their plan
derails. Thanks to the illustrious reputa-
tion of Santa, Willie swindles his way
into the pants of warm-hearted bar-
tender Sue (Laura Graham, "Gilmore
Girls") and the home of a timid little
boy (Brett Kelly).
The tubby face of Kelly, who's lov-
ingly referred to as "the kid" (which is
far better than his given name of Thur-
man Merman) steals the screen. He's so
persistent in his questions and his
advent calender, it's hard not to cry for
him. Under false pretenses, Anti-Santa

befriends the lonely naive kid. The
story, although simple and sweet, man-
ages to avoid most of the schmaltz
thanks to its dark humor and the
biggest wedgie ever.
In almost every scene, Thornton
grates on your tolerance, as his humor
is overdone and repetitive. The flavor-
ful supporting cast deserves all the
comedy credit. Bernie Mac as the
head security guard is decked out in
lavishly colored suits that match the
oranges he's always eating. Mac shows
off a different side of his talent by
relying on his body language for once,
as opposed to one-liners.
Weighing in at three feet, 92
pounds, Cox is the perfect size for
every feat. As a bitter thief who takes
care of business, Cox is finally mak-
ing the "small people" jokes and not
just the butt of all the laughs as he was
in his former movies.
And not to be forgotten is John Ritter
as the moral and anal mall manager.
His lack of authority seems straight out
of "Office Space." His puckered-up
facial expressions compliment his
scenes with Mac's lax demeanor. These
dynamics between the characters bring
humor to the film. Whether it's people
wanting to see Ritter's last on-screen
appearance or looking for a not so sug-
ary Christmas tale, "Bad Santa" gets
laughs with its cast, sans Billy Bob
Thornton of course.

Mayer put on a performance Saturday at
the Palace of Auburn Hills that allowed his
true skills and musical depth to come
through.
"Clarity," a rumination on the temporary
nature of the present, set the stage for the
sound and feel of the rest of the show. Fea-
turing a trumpet and saxophone in the
background, the song reflected a bluesy
atmosphere which continued throughout
the night. It was during songs such as
"Only Heart" that Mayer let loose on the
guitar, proving his dexterity by stomping
on the fret and presenting a solo worthy of
any true rock'n'roll show. The setlist was
one of reflection on time and women,

I want to dedicate tonight's set to my ass hair!

Effective with faults, 'Freedom' fights a lost Cold War

By Jared Newman
Daily Arts Writer

I.EOGAME REVIEW ***I
IO Interactive has restored 1980's
patriotism without being redundant.
Its latest action-strategy shooter,
"Freedom Fighters," is set in an
alternate history in which the Unit-
ed States is the final target for a
Soviet Union that won the Cold
War. Gamers take on the role of
Christopher Stone, a plumber who is
inadvertently thrown into a revolu-
tion after being attacked by Reds
during a routine maintenance job.

This background is actually the
only non-gameplay element that
deserves mention. While the plot -
as well as its vague parallels to the
conflict in Iraq

- is intriguing,
its progression
and characters
lack develop-
ment. The graph-
ics are mediocre
and laden with

Freedom
Fighters
GameCube, PS2
and XBox
Electronic Arts

stuff as long as the gameplay gets
the job done, especially considering
that the single-player is rock solid?
The premise is simple: Gun down
commies, save hostages and destroy
buildings. Added to this is the abili-
ty to enlist the help of your fellow
Americans along the way. They
respond to a number of simple com-
mands like "attack," "defend" and
"follow me" and are actually much
brighter than the moronic enemy AI.
The way that comrades use cover
fire or seek shelter when under
attack goes a long way in substanti-
ating this feature.
What is most interesting about

"Freedom Fighters" is that it doesn't
stand out in any one way but is still
one hell of a game. The level design
is fresh and creative, offering tons
of attack routes in constantly chang-
ing environments. The result is a
feeling of non-linearity within a lin-
ear setting, requiring players to
actually think about their methods
of attack. Will you lead your team
through the obvious pathway, will
you sacrifice good cover for a sur-
prise attack through the hills or will
you split up for a two-fronted
assault? Gameplay like this makes it
easy to look past "Freedom Fight-
ers"' shortcomings.

clipping issues, the sound lacks
punch, the music is for the most
part ineffective and the multiplayer
mode is boring.
But who cares about that minor

- I

We Reserve The Right To
Limit Quantities. No Sales
To Dealers.

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