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March 10, 2004 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-10

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Wednesday
March 10, 2004
arts.michigandaily. com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

Ulbe£tdygan139Vt
ARTS

8

4

ANIMANIAC }

ANIME HITS THE
MAINSTREAM IN 'TOKYO'
By Raquel Laneri
Daily Arts Writer

URIQI!S

-LYE.

THE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER

S

Jay Z, "Big Pimpin' " - When Jay sings "let's RI-I-I-I-I-IDE," it
sounds like "Sra-a-a-a-a-a."Yet another sign that he loves me.

Anime isn't just for nerds or kids anymore. In the past
few years, quite a number of anime films released in the
United States have won over critics, infiltrated into the
mainstream, and even won Oscars (Miyazaki's master-

Pink handkerchiefs - Take a look around: The color of choice is pink,
especially for men. Rose colored shirts and metallic-pink ties are every-
where, be it on A-Rod or Bill Clinton. A handkerchief adds the extra
touch of style and in pink provides just the right splash of color.

piece "Spirited Away"). Anime director
est, "Tokyo Godfathers," has garnered
similar praise and mainstream appeal
with its combination of slapstick and
melodrama.
But is it too mainstream? It should-
n't be, considering that the cast of
characters consists of three bums - a
drunk, a transvestite and a runaway

Satoshi Kon's lat-
Tokyo
Godfathers
At the Michigan
Theater
Sony

k

Ywenz Studios - University alum Yang Wen's
innovative productions of flyers, websites and
videos are accessible and affordable multimedia
resources that capture large events through the
most creative of expressions.

teenager - and an abandoned baby. In addition, there are
enough plot twists to make your head spin. Yet for an art
form that, in many respects, allows for great fluidity and
freedom in structure, atmosphere, tone and probability,
this animated film is disappointingly rigid.
All of the plot twists turn into a string of random, lucky
coincidences that helps the characters find what they are
in search of - specifically, reconciliation with a lost past
and the abandoned baby's parents. Every time the story
reveals that the twist falls perfectly in place with the pro-
tagonists' plan, the viewer can't help but roll his eyes.
For a film that boasts gritty realism - the animation
looks startlingly authentic and uncompromisingly por-
trays the roughness of the streets - its happenings are
largely fantastical, and the twists, instead of complicating
the narrative, make it simplistic and formulaic. The three
heroes do not complete the journey themselves; instead,
they are led by the hand of the director the whole way.
"Godfathers" has a great premise. Three bums alienated
from their families bond together to create their own

makeshift family while coming to terms with the families
that they threw away. The film, however, gets a bit heavy-
handed in its delivery as the maudlin hysterics of Hana
the transvestite lead to gigantic arguments, the awkwardly
timed flashbacks and dream sequences reek of melodrama
and the characters suffer brushes with death.
Kon tries to balance the sentimental and serious story
with goofy or slapstick antics, which are often enough to
elicit ample chuckles. Hana's fondness for reciting haikus
at moments he finds profound is cleverly executed, with
the writing of the haiku at the side of the screen. The
expressive, flexible faces of the cartoons are perfect for
comedy.
The versatility of the expressions certainly help create
real, sympathetic characters that ground the improbable
story. This, in addition to the breathtaking scenery, almost
makes the over-sentimentality forgivable. But can it com-
pletely wash away the sickly sweetness clinging to your
body by the film's sappy conclusion?
"Tokyo Godfathers" is reasonably entertaining, amus-
ing and at times even touching, but the perfectly-timed
coincidences that lead to syrupy reconciliations don't
make for an intriguing enough storyline.

"Haley's Hints" on PBS - For the
slightly obsessive compulsive,
cleaning isn't just a chore, it is a
daily necessity. Watching Graham
Haley work his magic by remov-
ing the most stuck-on stains is
nothing short of thrilling. Even
more rewarding is following along
with either "Haley's Hints" or
"Haley's Cleaning Hints." Grab one of
the books, turn on PBS and you've got
yourself a fascinating Friday night.
Shah Rukh Khan - The reigning
king of Bollywood films can make a
girl weep before the opening credits
begin and can dance with impeccable
grace even with an injured knee.

I

Circus features eclectic
mix of folk, pop stylings

007 boasts 'Everything' in latest

Adam Rottenborg
Daily Arts Editor

By Emily tau
Daily Arts Writer

and shuffling percussion in a waltz beat
make this song a bittersweet reflection
on the past, with lyrics such as "Every
man's the same / Only the times and

Jonatha Brook has been in the music
business since the mid-'90s. She is vir-
tually unknown to the under-25 set,
however, since her folk-tinged pop
songs in the vein of Shawn Colvin and
Paula Cole mostly appeal to middle-
aged women.
The CD insert of Back in the Circus,
Brooke's fifth album, implements a
carnival theme but aside from the art,
the title track is the only feature remi-
niscent of the big top. Accordion tunes

places change / On
this rollercoaster
ride, up and down /
But I never get to
the other side."
This track sets the
mood for the rest
of the album,

Jonatha
Brooke
Back in the
Circus
Verve

VIDEOGAME REVIEW
Few movie-licensed games ever turn
out well. One notable exception is
"Goldeneye," based on the popular
James Bond flick, which ended up
becoming one of the most memorable
games for the Nintendo 64. Nintendo
subsequently lost the license to the
series and a string of mediocre titles
using the Bond name were released.
With the release of "Everything or
Nothing," EA finally found a way to

which consists of contemplative love
songs. "Less Than Love Is Nothing"
utilizes an annoying drum beat that
attempts to sound vaguely like an elec-
tronic song. Her voice switches on the

Mel
n Jim Carrey's new movie,
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,"
he plays a man whose memory of a tumultuous relationshi is being
gradually erased.
Have you ever wished that you could have one horrible date or relationship
wiped away?
Write to us about your worst date and/or relationship (no more than 500
words). The person with the best entry will win a free dinner for two
as well as other cool swag and have their story published in a future edition
of Weekend Magzine.
Send your submissions to eter akontest@umekdu before
Monday, March 15th at 10 pi..

album from gentle and sighing to
whiny and wailing without much inten-
sity in any.
Brooke also covers three songs -
James Taylor's "Fire and Rain," the
Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" and
the Alan Parsons Project's "Eye in the
Sky" - approaching each differently.
Brooke mangles "Fire and Rain" by
complicating it with keyboards and an
obnoxious handclap beat, but does a
decent job with a minimalist version of
"God Only Knows." The tempo is
slowed down, and Brooke uses her
breathy voice to her advantage during
the a cappella harmonizing in the song's
bridge. In "Eye in the Sky," Brooke eras-
es all traces of the '80s, opting instead
for a yearning, mournful folk song char-
acteristic of her style.
All of the songs - with the exception
of the covers - on Back in the Circus
are written, performed and produced by
Brooke, resulting in a tightly-woven
album that thankfully plays through
quickly. It's telling, however, that while
Brooke is technically skilled, her own
songs are not executed as well as her
treatments of covers.

make another
game worthy of
the 007 moniker
by taking a differ-
ent approach from
the N64 classic.
To create the
feeling of a real

Everything
or Nothing
GameCube, PS2
and XBox
EA

Shaken not stirred.

Courtesy of EA

cinematic adventure for James Bond,
"Everything or Nothing" boasts an all-
star cast for a videogame. As Pierce
Brosnan, Judy Dench and John Cleese
reprise their theatrical roles. In addi-
tion, Mya, Heidi Klum and Shannon
Elizabeth are the requisite Bond babes
and Willem Dafoe plays the evil Russ-
ian antagonist. The story features the
requisite twists and turns as well as
constant excuses for explosions and
sexual innuendo.
Bringing Bond out of the first-per-
son was a risky choice and could have
been disastrous, but the third-person

perspective actually helps to create a
more cinematic feel. The action system
features a targeting system and it relies
heavily on the ability to shoot objects
from behind. Bond's arsenal is full of
guns - from pistols to rifles, grenade
launchers and machine guns - and Q
has provided plenty of gadgets.
Another new addition to the Bond
franchise is the driving component. EA
went the extra mile, and taking the
existing driving engine of the "Need
for Speed" series and applying its game
physics to "Everything or Nothing."
The vehicles available include the
Porsche Cayenne, Ducati motorcycle,
the Aston Martin Vanquish, a tank and
even a van. Each ride comes equipped

with the appropriate weaponry and
gadgets often seen in the 007 films.
"Everything or Nothing's" greatest
strength is its theatrical feel. Besides
the A-list talent, excellent espionage
gameplay and incredible driving, the
game features "Bond moments." If the
gamer completes a special objective -
like driving through a building instead
of around it - a cut scene or event will
occur, indicating the "Bond moment."
While "Everything or Nothing" is
not flawless, especially with its aver-
age multiplayer and lack of true
stealth gameplay (a la "Splinter
Cell"), it is the best game to carry
the Bond name since the seminal
"Goldeneye."

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