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January 16, 2004 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-16

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Fnday
January 16, 2004
arts.michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

iRTS

5

DVD captures sci-fi, noir classic

By Alex Wolsky
Daily Arts Writer

"Lost in Space" has finally come to
DVD, continuing a recent wave of nos-
talgic television series making their
way to the digital medium. The set
compiles the entire first season in its
original full-frame, black-and-white
appearance and chronicles the series'
penchant for bringing popular film
styles to the small screen.
The first season of "Lost in Space"
defied the stereotypes of the time in sci-
ence fiction writing. Shying away from
the obnoxious sets and abstract plot
lines, the series' writers drew on a vari-
ety of influences from the silver screen.
Throughout the first six episodes, the
series attached itself to the stylistic sim-
ilarities of film noir and the macabre

Courtesy 0!f FOX

Walt, where's Matt LeBlanc?

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

I am a wild and crazy guy.

DIME A DOZEN
MARTIN SHOOTS PAR WITH TYPICAL FAMILY FARE

stories of the typi-
cal western.
The start of the
series exempli-
fied the darker,
more refined side
of the show when
the producers
and writers were

Lost in
Space: The
Complete
First Season
FOX

By Hussain Raltim
Daily Arts Writer
MOVIE REVIEW * *
In the grand tradition of family-focused holiday films,
Hollywood dipped into the vault for a remake of the
1950s film "Cheaper by the Dozen." The story has been
given a millennial update with Steve Martin and Bonnie
Hunt, who both deliver charming performances, at the
helm as the effervescent parents of a
group of equally energetic children. C
As two parents who gave up their Cheaper by
respective careers to raise an ever- the Dozen
growing group of youngsters, Tom At Quality 16 and
Baker (Martin) is offered his dream Showcase
job of coaching his alma mater's foot- 20th Century Fox
ball team and decides to attempt city
life with his hodgepodge of children. The transition from
country life is exacerbated by the demands of Division-I
coaching on their father.
The film captures the chaos of living in a family with 12
siblings and manages to personalize the children while
never compromising the narrative. Some children stand out
more than others, partially due to casting decisions and par-
tially due to the reality of family. Hilary Duff plays the sec-
ond-oldest daughter, a snarky pseudo-fashionista who.is
basically Lizzie McGuire. Tom Welling is the conflicted
son who can't stand the big city or his parents and Forrest
Landis is "FedEx," the child a deliveryman dropped off.
Every personality stereotype is filled,, from tomboy to
inseparable twins.

still working out their vision for the
burgeoning series. The emotive,
stark cinematography of the first
season complimented the plot lines
lavishly.
Unlike the witty, humor-driven plots
seen later in the series, which focused
primarily on the Robinson family, the
earlier episodes were driven by Dr.
Smith (Jonathan Harris), including his
plan to murder the family in their sleep,
which is more reminiscent of a grim
western than a family show. As the sea-

son progresses, Smith's character gradu-
ally softens and becomes a source of
comic relief. It's here that the writers
drew an amiable balance between out-
landish humor and intelligent science
fiction.
Father and Mother Robinson,Guy
Williams and June Lockhart, exemplify
the original casting of the series, dis-
playing a unique chemistry on the set
while Mark Goddard exudes an inspir-
ing energy throughout the season. How-
ever, the true mark of the series was
cohesion displayed by the family unit,
the Robinsons. While the individual
performances were merely above aver-
age for the time, especially the children,
their work as a group was unmatched.
Despite this, the DVD set lacks the
depth of most box sets being released.
The 29 episodes, including the un-aired
pilot "No Place to Hide" are featured on
seven discs and display a lackluster dig-

ital transfer, which can be expected
from film stock that's nearly 40 years
old. The distorted, grainy black and
white picture resembles a transfer that's
gone untouched and has not been
remastered at all. Besides the inclusion
of the un-aired plot, the special features
are lacking significantly.
The first season of "Lost in Space"
traced the show's transition from a dark-
er, highly stylized artistic vision to the
witty, humorous space comedy it later
came to define. Its inclusion into televi-
sion history is imperative since it
became the basis for how science fic-
tion should be handled. The truest testa-
ment to the show's power is its ability to
provoke the same emotions it originally
intended, 40 years later.
Show: ***
Picture/Sound: **
Features: *

New shooter impresses, despite flaws
By Jared Newman70
Daily Arts Writer

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
I like football on TV, Steve Martin ... and twins!
Slapstick is expected in a family film like this, but at
times the movie uses one gag too many and you remem-
ber who the target audience is. When Bonnie Hunt leaves
for a book tour to establish her career, Martin shows him-
-self as-an utterly inept father which, of course, pravides,
most of the laughs. The family's activities quickly become
a strong case for child welfare until mom quits and reme-
dies the situation. The message is unbridled in its praise
of family and the overlying optimism makes for good
wholesome fare.

VIDEOGAME REVIEW
It's no surprise that "XIII" was not as well received as
UbiSoft had hoped. The graphics are flawed and the
gameplay feels like a next-generation spawn of Nintendo
64's "Goldeneye."
But an over-hyped game doesn't have to be "Game of
the Year" to serve up a fistful of trigger-happy, first-
person action. "XIII" is still an
enticing videogame, despite its lack
of technical achievements, simply XI1
because of the thrilling experience GameCube, PS2,
that it provides. XBox and PC
Based on a Belgian graphic novel of UbiSoft
the same name, the cel-shaded world
delivers an action packed experience much like that of the
original material. Though the backgrounds are grainy and
the trace lines on the characters occasionally clip, the style
feels good, especially when a thick red "AAH!" appears
above a defeated foe.
"XIII" is at its best when the pace becomes frantic. The
first few scenes play out just that way: Wash up on a beach,
declare amnesia, get rescued by a cute blonde lifeguard.
Enemies come out firing, lifeguard dies. Grab a convenient-
ly placed gun from your office, leave and run frantically
down the boardwalk with helicopters and grunts in tow.
Of course, it is possible to hang about in the office with
only one grunt coming in to attack you. Yes, the game has
quite a few slow moments like these, but when the pace
slackens, the plot keeps things fresh. Though the characters

Courtesy of UbiSoft

Get outta my office!

SHORT TAKE

S

KELIS
TASTY
AISTA
Kelis, the hip-hop chanteuse
who got her start working with the
Neptunes, is back with another
album of rich, agile vocals and
superfun beats.
After a slight from Virgin,

which didn't distribute her sopho-
more album, Wanderland, in the
US, Kelis has released Tasty, the
best album about food since Cibo
Matto's Viva!' La Woman. Kelis
has, with the help of producers
Andre 3000 and fiancee Nas, cre-
ated a hip-hop album that's fun,
snappy and soulful. Tasty has an
edge that puts Kelis outside the

typical hip-hop female role:
despite her notable connections,
Kelis sounds like a real artist,
rather than a carefully maintained
persona.
The album's most addictive track
is the single, "Milkshake," but
"Trick Me" and "Stick Up" also
feature energetic, sultry beats.
Despite a few nu-soul lulls between
dance tracks, Tasty is spicy, sweet
and substantial enough to keep you
satisfied. ***
-Alexandra Jones

are drab (despite celebrity voice acting by Adam West, Eve
and David Duchovny as number XIII) and the story feels
distant, it's fun to see how the conspiracy unravels. The abil-
ity to view collected documents as well as dossiers of the 20
conspirators involved is a nice touch.
The sound and music also boost the experience. When
one is unloading every clip in his arsenal at the unrelenting
enemy, there had better be some meaty sound effects, and
"XIII" delivers. With the addition of a jazzy spy-fusion
soundtrack, players may find themselves craving a shaken-
not-stirred martini before long.
"XIII" may not be the best game of the year, but when
everything works together to create something that is so
much fun, it certainly is a game. worth playing.

Macy and
Baldwin hit
the jackpot
By Ryan Lewis
Daily Film Editor
MOVIE REVIEW
In a tribute to old-style nuance
and Las Vegas nostalgia, a yearning
for the 1950s glory days, Wayne
Kramer's "The Cooler" presents a
changing of the guard that revolves

Sometimes 'Daddy'
doesn't know what's best

By Jennie Adler
Daily Arts Writer
MOVI E REVIEW *
Just to say the name "My Baby's
Daddy" is embarrassing enough, but

the movie, direct-
ed by Cheryl
Dunye manages
to top that. Con-
sidering the cred-
its are the film's
only redeeming
quality, writer and

My Baby's
Daddy
Quality 16 and
Showcase
Miramax

friends, Lonnie, G and Dom, manage to
impregnate their girlfriends on the same
day. With the birth of Jasmine, Bruce
and Leroy, the three friends are forced
to grow up and face reality.
"My Baby's Daddy" opens with a
somewhat promising animation skit but
quickly tumbles downhill with overused
baby humor that was better received in
films like "Three Men and A Baby" and
even "Daddy Day Care." Griffin bom-
bards the script with sour jokes that
touch upon every subject from Asians
and white rappers to lesbians. While the
film attempts to achieve ethnic diversity
with interracial couples, the cliches
used just end up being racist. And real-
ly, how many more Vanilla Ice jokes can
audiences endure?
Not only do lame lines smother the

I'm sorry Ms. Jackson. Wool

Courtesy of Miramax
everything and
haphazard and

around the
unluckiest man
in the world.
William H.
Macy plays
Bernie Lootz, an
easy mark whose

The Cooler
At Quality 16
Lions Gate
lack of luck rubs

screen, but the chaotic style suffo-
cates as well. Using subtitles, anima-
tion and talking babies, Dunye tries

too hard to include
ends up directing a
harebrained film.

co-star Eddie Griffin has a long way
to go before he makes original and
funny comedy.
The plot is obvious enough: Far from
ready for parenthood, three immature

off on people, employed as a "cool-
er" in the hazy world of the Las
Vegas casino the Shangri-La. Most
everything in his life is determined
by casino owner/mean S.O.B. Shelly
Kaplow (Alec Baldwin). Even his
chance meeting with lady luck
Natalie (Maria Bello, "Payback") is
orchestrated by Shelly. But when
R 12ar. a' lc -i. nit nrtc fto taurn frur the.

Courtesy of Lions Gate
And at this rose ceremony I select ...
tained, strife-ridden world of solitude
lacks the intense drama and dire
straights of a "Casino," it certainly
encapsulates the whit and spunk of
the hip Vegas it remembers.

WANNA BE RICH AND FAMOUS?
OR DO YOU WANT TO WRITE FOR DAILY ARTS?
COME TO OUR MASS MEETINGS AT 7 P.M. ON JAN. 20, 22
OR 26 AT 420 MAYNARD ST.

KID,

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