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April 05, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-05

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 5, 2004


Folds returns to form
with concert atHill


Take that
Ben Folds.

AHouCIG CRe ofCui

By Scott Serulla
Daily Arts Writer
Since his days fronting Ben Folds
Five, the North Carolina-born song-
writer Ben Folds has built a live reputa-
tion for turn-on-a-dime spontaneity,
improvising arrangements, setlists and
even new songs to
please a crowd. At
their best, Folds's Ben Folds
recent string of solo Saturday, Apr. 3
piano tours have At Hill Auditorium
been orchestrated
sing-alongs, calibrated to reward the
militant sects of BFF loyalists who stuck
by Folds as he embarked on his solo
career. Admitting to being booked at
more intimate venues "and gymnasi-
ums," Folds might have felt slightly dis-
tant from the audience in the cavernous
Hill Auditorium on Saturday.
Kicking off with "There's Always
Someone Cooler than You" from the
Sunny 16 EP, Folds leapt from one end
of his catalogue to another all night
long, pulling out the pre-Five classic
"Silver Street" and debuting almost a
half-dozen new tracks. In his ongoing
stage banter, Folds acknowledged he's
unsure about exactly what shape his
next record will take until tunes like the
Elliott Smith tribute "Too Late" or the
yet-unfinished "Breakup at the Food
Court" find their feet in concert.
Folds was slightly subdued because
he was playing on an unfamiliar
piano as opposed to the touring piano
he's famous for beating on and lob-
bing his stool at. With a nod to his
professed guitar envy, Folds walked
out from his piano to strap on a bass
for the funky new track "Renegade
Rent-a-Cop," which also found the
artist enlisting the audience to stomp
out the song's rhythm.
The crowd-participation segments of
the show were endearing highlights,
bringing in fans to mimic the call-and-

Hey, nerd! Down in front.

By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer
There is something inexplicably interesting about
the casting of Ron Perlman ("City of Lost Children")
as the lead in a superhero movie. Based on Mike
Mignola's long running comic book series from
Dark House Comics, "Hellboy"
is faithfully and enthusiastically Heliboy
translated to the big screen by
director Guillermo del Toro At Quality 16,
Showcase and
("Blade II"). Madstone
"Hellboy" opens with the Columbia
revelation that the Nazis turned
toward the occult near the conclusion of World War
II and attempted to open a portal to hell in order to
turn the tide in the Axis's favor. Though the effort
was thwarted by Allied forces, an infant demon man-

aged to pass through before the portal closed. How-
ever, thanks to a nebbish but determined scientist
who decides to raise the boy as his own, the creature
ends up on the good side.
The events of World War II led to the creation of
the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense,
where Hellboy resides in hiding from society.
"Hellboy" shares territory with "Men in Black,"
another like minded comic-book adaptation that
deals with this world of storytime creatures and the
people who labor to keep them separate from
everyday citizens. The lack of a Will Smith ego or
Tommy Lee Jones self-assumed coolness makes
this film surprisingly real.
The visual style is true to Mignola's comics and
the tone manages to stay enjoyable, all while dealing
with the apocalypse and Hellboy's father's terminal
cancer. Ron Perlman's believability as a 6'5" man-
child from hell is the glue that holds the entire film
together. He captures the cigar-smoking, dingy

trenchcoat-wearing, horn-filing attitude with camp
and conviction. He shoots off one-liners with ease
and grace, all in the middle of brutal fights with
more of his trademark wit intact than Spider-Man
managed to retain in his entire film.
The villains, while extra evil and malicious with
their Nazi affiliations, have the typically vague
movie motives of general world destruction. It's all
understood that they need to be stopped despite
how cool their retractable spinning blades are; how-
ever, a more distinctive scheme would have sharp-
ened the narrative.
After an engaging and confident first two acts, the
third is unfortunately weighed down by the need for
a large fight and a dime-store discourse about fate
and free will as Hellboy searches the depth of his
soul in all its predetermined dramatic glory. Even an
anticlimactic ending can't take away from the
pure entertainment of this film. "Hellboy 2" is
certainly something to look forward to.

response horns of "Army" and the hym-
nal swell of "Not the Same."
Regretably, the show closed with the
back-to-back sentimental ballad fest of
"Brick" and "Luckiest:' The collective
tear hanging on everybody's cheek
seemed too kitschy for the usually
more perceptive Folds. The encore fea-
tured the unrelenting "Song for the
Dumped," where Folds seemed to
remember what has always been at the
core of his appeal.
He was admittedly rusty yet still
managed to delight a capacity crowd.
Sporting a trademark self-deprecating
charm, the singer/pianist rambled
through a loose set of old and new
material. Dropping the occasional lyric
here and there, largely to the indiffer-
ence of his forgiving fans, Folds
unquestionably was still warming up to
performing again after "living in (his)
own world" on vacation in his wife's
native Australia. Folds's saving grace
Saturday night was the sheer joy he
exhibited getting back in front of fans,
an undeniably contagious energy that
couldn't help but win over the hall.

EA's 'MVP Baseball 2004' a champion installment

By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editor

then select accuracy and control via
a moving cursor. The game adds to
the realism by keeping track of the

Spring is in the air, the sun is shin-
ing and the boys of summer are ready
to"turn. "MVP Baseball 2004," the
latest offering from EA Sports arrives
on store shelves just in time to capi-
talize on baseball fever. Running on
an enhanced version of last year's
installment, "MVP" hits a homerun.
The duel between pitchers and bat-
ters is an essential facet of the sport.
Each pitcher is provided with any-
where from three to five unique
pitches. Using an icon, players navi-
gate the location of the pitch and

pitcher's stamina
and pitch history
over the course of
the game.
Hitting is-inear-
ly as complex as
pitching, but
novice players
can take advan-

GameCube, PS2
and XBox

tage of the single-button batting inter-
face. More advanced gamers are able
to control the direction of every
swing, choosing whether to hit a
grounder or a fly ball. This added
dimension moves the game beyond
simple timing. A rectangle shows the

strike zone for each batter, with hot
areas and cold areas for the pitcher to
aim at, signified by red and blue
boxes. If a pitcher throws the ball into
the red area, the batter is more likely
to make better contact.
Fielding is a breeze. Gainers con-
trol the players asthey run under fly
balls, throw out runners or hit their
cut-off man. Using the right-thumb-
'stick, the players dive or jump, mak-
ing better moves toward the ball. This
addition enables the gamer to take
risks with fielding, leading to poten-
tial Sportscenter web gem style plays.
Visually, "MVP Baseball" recreates
the perfect ambiance of the game.
Batting stances, mound visits and
pitching motions are representative of
the real sport. Nevertheless, the roster
leaves much to be desired. EA froze
its rosters in mid-January, before A-
Rod got traded to the Yankees or
Pudge signed with the Tigers.
All of the standard EA Sports
modes of play are present: Exhibition,
-Dynasty and Skills Competitions.
While exhibition games and homerun
derbys are fun, Dynasty mode pro-
vides the most comprehensive way to
play. The gamer manages every aspect
of the organization - trades, free
agent signings and even concession
prices - from the Major League all

Apple PowerBook G4.

courtesy of EA
Hitting another in-the-park homer ...
the way down to the AA level minors.
The option to play through all 162
games for not only the big league
franchise, but the minor league affili-
ates as well puts "MVP" in a class all
its own.
"MVP Baseball 2004" is not with-
out faults, but it is still the best base-
ball game on the market. EA Sports
revived this franchise with the name
change and engine overhaul last year;
this year, they refined it.

Super light 5 lb.s and only 1 inch thick/thin
loaded with advanced capabilities like
the turbo-charged Power PC G4 processor,
DVD burning SuperDrive, the fastest speed in
wireless networking and cutting edge graphics.
Say "Goodbye" to PC computer viruses.
1.25GHz G4, 512MB RAM (333MHz DDR, 2-DIMM)
15.2" Display, 80GB HD, DVD-RW/CD-RW SuperDrive,
Integrated GigaBit Ethernet/56K Modem, Airport
Extreme wireless card, Mac OS X (10.3 Panther),
AppleCare 3-Year Warranty.

U ml 1

Vim a a nd ta aUnir,

From Your


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