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February 11, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-11

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Wednesday
ebruary 11, 2004
arts.michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

ARTS

8 .

.
IRW

I

IT STINKS!
JAY SHERMAN BRINGS HIS CYNICISM TO DVD

GrammY
THE HOTTEST PICKS INAENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER

--ATAk
W

Sean Paul and Sting - The former Police frontman is about as close
to super-human as you can get. From his unshakably firm grasp on
rainforest politics to his pioneering, and often unpleasantly odd, musi-
cal experimentation, he can regulate just about any domain. Any
domain, that is, except for duets with Sean Paul. The performance will
inspire some good laughs, but Sting should never again allow himself
to be seduced by a whack rapper.

Coldplay - Cheers to Coldplay, especially Chris Martin, for a 2003
4 well done. Sure, they won record of the year, but that pales in com-
parison to headlining the "Peter Pan" soundtrack and thieving U2's
long-held crown of grossly-overrated U.K. rock band that uses public
speaking engagements to push politics ... and, in Martin's case, to
seduce foolish actresses.
50 Cent - 50 deserves a shout-out for his overwhelming confidence
... best exhibited by his stroll onto stage when he hadn't in fact won
an award.
Robert Randolph - A viable con-
tender for future bearer of George Clin-
ton's groove torch, Randolph sported a
suit embroidered with NBA graphics,:
perhaps the coolest formal threads
ever donned for an awards show
George Clinton - Kudos to the
father of funk for foolishly get-
ting arrested for cocaine posses-
sion, wisely using his Grammy
performance as a get-out-of-jail-
free card and croakily performing
his greatest hits with the rag-tag
Parliament.iCotesy of Sony
Gripping story of despair,
recovery brought to DVD

By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editor
D VD R E EW
With the immense success and popularity of "The
Simpsons," the early '90s saw an animation boom.
While many shows quickly faded (i.e. "Capitol Crit-
ters" and "Fish Police"), one had the pedigree to suc-
ceed. "Simpsons" producers/writers Al Jean and
Mike Reiss created "The Crit- ___________
ic," a series that finally enabled The Critic:
them to satirize as many movies The
as they desired.
To describe the treatment that Complete
"The Critic" received from both Series
ABC and FOX - the networks Columbia
that aired the show in its two-
year run - Jay Sherman, the title character, would
utter his catchphrase, "It stinks!"
Jon Lovitz voices the titular character, who cap-
tures the actor's sarcastic and self-deprecating sense
of humor. Jay hates nearly every movie he sees, yet
somehow manages to hold down a job as an
esteemed television critic. The world of "The Critic"
is populated with characters like Jay's insecure son,
insane white-bred parents, doting sister, Ted Turner-
esque boss, and best friend, an actor who epitomizes
everything Jay hates about Hollywood.
The DVD set features all 23 episodes that were
produced. While some of the jabs are incredibly
dated, the harsh and biting tone enables the show to
continue in its hilarity. No film is safe from mock-
ery, and even the opening credits feature an individu-
alized spoof - much like how "The Simpsons" use
the chalkboard - as a running gag. With a Gersh-
winian theme that echoes the best of Woody Allen's
films, the show also serves as a love letter to the city
of New York.
The animation is on par with the competition of
the early '90s, but does not equate with more current
shows like "Futurama" that utilize computer technol-
ogy. The video quality, however, manages to main-

tain a crisp image as most animated series do on
DVD. The sound is nothing special, but it is adequate
for the set.
"The Critic" is loaded with special features that
will appease even the most diehard fans. However,
Columbia doesn't even make mention of any of
these anywhere in the packaging or the insert. In
spite of this horrible marketing oversight,
the extras are plentiful. The commen-
tary tracks have the participation of
almost all of the talents involved
(notably Loditz), many of whomx
have experience from the excep-
tional "Simpsons" commen-
taries. There is an episode on
the second disc that contains
an option to view animatics and sto-
ryboards at certain key moments,
which help show how much
work goes into animation.
The third disc offers clip
compilations with hilari-
ous introductions, fea-
turettes into the production process
and - the creme de la creme - the
10 shockwave episodes made in 2000.
These online "webisodes" bring the
show into the near present, while
maintaining the same humor and
voice talent of the original.
Maybe the comedy was -
too dry, maybe there
were too many film
parodies, maybe
it was too
New York,
maybe the

network didn't give it a fair shot ... whatever the
case, the show was cancelled after two years. But
"The Critic" still elicits laughter 10 years after its
debut. If this set manages to sell well, there is always
the slim hope that it could follow in the mold of
"Family Guy" and return. And if that were to hap-
pen, not even Jay himself would think "it stinks."

| Awl Quirky 'Arms' fun, despite glitches.

By Ryan Lewis
Daily Arts Writer

Quirky and beautiful. They're the
only two words that accurately
describe Mark _______________
and Michael Pol-I I
ish's notably Northfolk,
unconventional Paramount
film "Northfork."
A timeless tale of a town about to be
flooded by the explosion of a dam, the
idea that began with door-to-door
wing salesmen turned into an intense-

ly allegorical tale of loss, redemption
and recovery.
Though relatively devoid of the
myriad of features that would accom-
pany a blockbuster DVD release,
"Northfork's" features are few but
plentiful. Especially praiseworthy is a
series of short behind-the-scenes clips
in "Bare Knuckle Filmmaking: The
Construction of Northfork" which
detail the making of the film from
start to finish, including colorful tid-
bits from the brothers and the cast.
An additional commentary track by
Mark and Michael has all the energy
and imagination of the film itself. The

You see that hair, son?.

brothers truly are an original pair. The
final feature on the disc is a segment
from the Sundance Channel's "24-
Frame News Segment" series, almost
as crafty as the making-of featurette.
Like the film, the picture and sound
are phenomenal.

By Jason Roberts
Daily Arts Editor
Recovered from a junk heap on an
abandoned planet and recreated as a
tiny droid, Glitch, star of Vivendi
Universal's "Metal Arms: Glitch in
the System," is one badass robot. A
strange hybrid that melds the third
person shooter with a side-scrolling,
puzzling-solving, coin-collecting
adventure (a la "Sonic the Hedgehog"
or "Donkey Kong Country"), "Metal

Film: ****
Picture/Sound: ****I
Features: ***I

U U

Arms," if nothing
else, makes a
unique and often
humorous, addi-
tion to the realm
of console action
shooters.
The gameplay
is fairly straight-
forward: Destroy

Metal Arms:
Glitch in the
System
GameCube, PS2
and XBox
Vivendi Universal
the evil overlord

Courtesy of Vivendi Universal

And to think that R2-D2 was used as an ashtray.

Would you still consider
Psych 111 the Best Blow-Off
Class if you got a B minus?
Feel free to discuss amongst
your multiple-personalities.

while saving your fellow droids from
slavery and ending a civil war. Glitch
has an extensive array of weapons
and accessories at his disposal and
can upgrade the destructive power of
each through barters with Shady and
Mr. Pockets, two merchant droids that
show up throughout the course of the
game. In addition to the arsenal,
Glitch can also hijack enemy bots
and vehicles, utilizing their powerful
attributes to further his mission.
The colorful graphics are impres-
sive and soak the game with a lively
and cartoonish feel. Particle effects
from explosions and reflections are

all nice graphical touches and the
expansive, interactive levels are an
absolute thrill to explore.
The controls of "Metal Arms,"
however, are one of the game's
biggest detriments. Glitch often does
not respond to commands quickly
enough or he over rotates when
requested to turn, making necessary
jumps and tight rope maneuvers
more difficult then they should be.
Think back to the difficulty of driv-
ing the fire truck or ambulance in
"Grand Theft Auto 3" and one can
see how loose controls can hamper
gameplay. Also, when intense fire-
fights break out, the overly compli-
cated and unresponsive controls
make it even harder to take out ene-

mies and ultimately result in an
untimely demise.
In addition to that, Glitch's damage
is not registered very well with the
player. Usually, when a player is hit,
the controller will vibrate suddenly or
the screen will shake. Unfortunately,
Glitch barely reacts, even in intense
gunfire, and it's difficult to be sure
how much damage he has received
until he suddenly explodes in a flurry
of gears and sparks.
Vivendi Universal has laid the
ground for a solid third person
shooter. If the nuisances that sepa-
rate good games from great games
can be further ironed out, the next
"Metal Arms" should raise a few
more eyebrows.

THIS WEEK IN DAILY ARTS HISTORY
TAKE A BOOK IN CASE YOU GET BORED. BETTER YET, TAKE A BUNCH OF
FIFTH GRADERS. THEY'LL TELL YOU WHEN TO GUFFAW AND KICK THE PERSON
IN FRONT OF YOU. IT'LL BE A SCREAM. CARREY TAKES HIS GOOF-BALL COMEDIC
APPROACH TO HORRENDOUS LEVELS.
-As quoted in the Daily's review of 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," on Feb. 16, 1994.

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