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February 17, 2004 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-17

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Tuesday
February 17, 2004
arts.michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

ARTS

5

Courtesy of Sony

Alright, who forgot to book our transportation?

The Coral use black
Magic to entice fans

By Matt Kivel
Daily Arts Writer

Courtesy of Sony
Talk to the hand.

MASTER OF WAR
McNAMARA REFLECTS ON LIFE

In an unlikely sextet of British
natives, 1960s-era folk has found a new
torch bearer. In 2002, The Coral took the
U.K. music charts by surprise and
scored a hit with their self-titled debut.

By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer

Robert N. McNamara stands as one of the
most vilified men of the Vietnam Establishment
era. As much as he is hated, his importance

demands that he be under-
stood and remembered. Errol
Morris's latest documentary
examines the complexity sur-
rounding McNamara's life
and reflects on the many
careers he has pursued.
As a president of the

The Fog of
War
At the Michigan
Theater
Sony

In sharp contrast to the shock-and-awe
Michael Moore style of documentary, Morris's
film, "Fog of War," is a collected sit-down inter-
view with more conversation than interrogation.
Even though the bulk of the movie is conducted
face to camera, the movie stays above the
monotony of the talking-head picture with an
atmospheric and immediate score by Philip
Glass, archival footage interspersed expertly
throughout McNamara's recollections as well as
remarkable graphics and visuals mirroring the
issues being discussed.
Often criticized as being a cold and calculat-
ing politician with a detached personality, it is
incredible to see his reassessment of the Tokyo
firebombing for its brutality and admit that had
America lost World War II, those involved with
the firebombing would have been tried as war
criminals. His memories of implementing seat-
belts into the early Ford cars as well as the
behind-the-scenes details of how close America
came to full nuclear war with Cuba give a per-
sonal face to what eventually becomes the musty

pages of a history book. To capture the earnest
thought process of a man who shaped domestic
policy for decades is undeniably powerful.
The Tokyo fire bombing is only one of the
many revelations he shares during the film.
McNamara has so much knowledge, in fact, that
the film is loosely focused on 11 life lessons
extrapolated from the interview. All of these reve-
lations come as strangely prophetic, especially
since the interview was conducted well before the
Iraqi inspections and eventual war. Lesson No. 8:
"Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning."
What is most interesting is that after all this
time, he still has not come to full terms with his
guilt over Vietnam, or at least not on camera. In
Morris's most probing questions to McNamara,
the ex-Secretary of Defense answers, "I'm
damned if I do, damned if I don't, I'd rather be
damned if I don't." He is obviously trapped by
the restrictions of secrecy, but he is still learning
from his mistakes. Lives and films like this are
captured so others may learn from them and do
not have to make the same mistakes.

tric clothing and quirky lyrics helped to
solidify their "independent" status while
their album sales skyrocketed. Their
youthful energy was the key element in
their debut's songs. With Magic and
Medicine, the band has discovered a
slightly darker sound that displays both
their musical prowess and lyrical wit.
The album begins with the church
organ drone of"In the Forest," conjuring
memories of The Doors and establishing
the theme of the album: Replicating '60s
folk and psych-rock. Bands are often
attacked for sounding too much like
their predecessors, but The Coral's song-
writing talents deem them unworthy of
the overly used "imitator" label.
"Don't Think You're the First" kicks
out of the stereo, sounding a lot like the

Its eclectic blend of
folk, blues, ska and
pop was a breath of
fresh air in a- scene
that so often falls
into conformity.
The group's eccen-

The Coral
Magic and
Medicine
Sony

theme from "The Good, the Bad, and the
Ugly." The highlight of the song is the
recurring call and answer between a
flute and lead singer James Skelly.
"Liezah" is the band's finest moment as
it combines musical restraint with a
beautiful melody. An acoustic guitar
plucks away as Skelly's smooth vocals
carry out the repeating line, "Liezah /
Can't despiseaher d She'll change your
look / She'll have you hooked."
Guitarists Bill Ryder-Jones and Lee
Southall have distinctive tones that are
stamped upon all of The Coral's songs.
Snappy, vintage sounds can be found
emanating from the entire album and
the guitarists reward the observant lis-
tener with intricate fills. The band fal-
ters with "Talkin' Gypsy Market
Blues," a poor attempt at capturing the
Rolling Stones's rock 'n' roll blues
style. "Eskimo Lament" is a somber,
'60s folk-rock number that would make
Arthur Lee proud. The single, "Pass it
On," provides a sweet melody that is
the only bright spot in the album's final
four songs.
The Coral have musical talents that
are well beyond their years, and it shows
in this album. There are some really
wonderful moments here, but there are
not enough of them to make this a great
album. The potential that can be heard in
these songs seems unlimited; hopefully
their next batch of tunes will capitalize
on this band's unique talent.

World Bank, the first non-Ford to run the Ford
Motor Company, a Kennedy administration
member during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and
the Secretary of Defense who helped engineer
the Vietnam War, the man is living history. He
has held more prominent positions than most
could hope for in several lifetimes.

Out of control teens
spotlight'Thirteen' DVD

thirtOn

By Katie Marie Gates
Daily Arts Writer
After tumultuous teenage years on
her own, 15-year-old Nikki Reed
teamed up with family friend Cather-
ine Hardwicke to write the script for
"Thirteen," a disturbing look into an
urban, seventh-
grade arena full of i r
drugs, sex and Thirteen
self-doubt. The 20th Century Fox
recently released
DVD captures this seemingly far-
fetched but gripping downfall of two
young girls.
Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood, "Once
and Again") enters junior high as a
sweet, studious 13-year-old but soon
desires the attention of the beautiful
and popular Evie (Nikki Reed). Over-
whelmed by a broken home and des-
perate to fit in, Tracy makes drastic
changes to her lifestyle by following
the cues of her new manipulative
friend. Theft, piercings, make-up,
alcohol and marijuana soon trans-
form the naive young girl into a much
older looking rebel.
Wood's performance is multifaceted
and intense, and newcomer Reed is
surprisingly convincing for having no
previous acting experience. Holly

Hunter also stars as Tracy's struggling
mother, Mel. Hunter is impressive as
she copes with the uncontrollable
changes of her on-screen daughter and
the eventual realization that things
have gone too far.
In spite of itself, "Thirteen" is still
plagued with stereotypical middle
school drama in which the popular
girls spout cruel comments such as
"who let her out of the cabbage patch."
On many levels this story has been told
before, but this time the stakes are
higher and the scenes more riveting.
The two-sided DVD offers
widescreen and fullscreen presentation
with minimal extra features. "The
Making Of 'Thirteen' " is less of a
behind-the-scenes featurette than it is a
brief synopsis of the film told by the
actors and director.
For more in-depth information on
everything from dealing with the
film's low budget to interesting facts
about rules involved when filming
with a cast of minors, turn to the audio
commentary provided by Hardwicke
and the teenage leads. Filming tech-
niques and the wide variety of music
used are also discussed in the upbeat
discussion.
Ten deleted scenes are available with
optional commentary by Hardwicke
discussing the motives behind each

. ...,.. .;s .,

scene and why they were eventually
cut from the film. Her reasoning for
removing most of the early scenes is to
tighten up the movie to expedite the
rising action of the story. One scene in
particular, however, showing the sweet
side of Tracy before her adventures
with Evie, would have better shown
the drastic contrast in her character if
included in the final cut.
Overall, sound quality is good for
this disc, except for the muted voices
of the characters in the deleted scenes.
Picture quality is intentionally grainy
and changes hues throughout the
course of the film, but strikingly
achieves the chaotic atmosphere it
strives to create.
Film: ***I
Picture/Sound: ***
Features: **I

Casualties' newest a victim of bad hair day

By Rachel Kruer
For the Daily
MUSIC REVI EW
The Casualties reflect the current
state of punk rock: image-obsessed,
generic and insincere. Their new
album, On the Front Line, regurgi-
tates the same formula as their pred-

Worked to death by the ones you
respect / Hate and death and war."
The only advice The Casualties have
for rebelling against "the man" is to
conform to another system - to be
different like them.
The lyrics aren't of much impor-
tance, as they are, for the most part,
indecipherable. Jorge's raspy voice
sounds like that of an emphysema
patient who just inhaled an entire
pack of Marlboro Red's. This prompts
one to wonder when punk rock credi-
bility began to be correlated with how

ecessors Crass,
DRI and Naked
Aggression but
lacks the convic-

The
Casualties

am

.I

i

m

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