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December 14, 2004 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-14

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

ARTS

A

Holiday ballet continues tradition in A2
By Rachel Berry
Daily Arts Writer MEMEM

I'm so high right now ...

'Arsenal' blasts its way
into cosmic success

The Ann Arbor Ballet Theater will celebrate its
20th anniversary performance of E.T. Hoffmann's
full story-length ballet, "The Nutcracker Prince,"
by donating proceeds from the opening show to
the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's
Hospital.
The hospital is hosting a
campaign, "Champions for The
Children," to build a new chil- Nutcracker
dren and women's hospital. Prince
The project is part of the Uni- Friday at 8 p.m.,
versity's $2.5 billion fundrais- Saturday at
ing campaign. The campaign 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.,
kicked off in May. Sunday at 2 p.m.
In the "Nutcracker Prince," Benefit
the Christmas party atthe Performances: $50
Stahlbaum home takes an unex- Alohr:$22
pected twist after Drosselmeyer At the Power Center
gives young Clara a nutcracker
doll that comes to life. After thertoy soldiers slay the
King Mouse in a battle around the family's Christ-
mas tree, the Nutcracker Prince whisks Clara off
to the Land of Sweets. There, the kingdom of mir-
litons, Chinese dancers, Arabian dancers, a Sugar
Plum Fairy, flowers and more, dance for the couple.
The next morning Clara wakes up and is left to
wonder if it was all only a dream.
The performance will feature more than 100
local dancers under the direction of Carol Radovic.
They will be accompanied by more than 30 local
musicians and the Michigan Sinfonietta, directed
by Leo Najar.
The dancers range in age from 7 to mid-40s,
but most are in high school or college. Assistant
artistic director and co-founder of the Children's
Aid Society (CAS) Ballet Theater School, Kathy
Scharp, said, "Although a community effort, most

By Zach Borden
Daily Arts Writer

The holiday season is always a big
time for videogames, and this year
is no exception. Interestingly enough
though, all of the major titles that have
come out are sequels to popular fran-
chises. "Ratchet & Clank: Up Your
Arsenal" is yet
another follow-up
vying for gamers' Ratchet &
dollars during this Clank: Up
busy time of year. Your Arsenal
Amazingly, the PS2
latest installment P
of the popular SCEA
action-platform-
ing series is a fresh and engaging
experience for the third year in a row.
There's still a tremendous amount of
life left in the furry warrior Ratchet
and his robotic companion Clank.
The plot of the single-player game
doesn't break any new ground, as the
evil "robot supremacist," Dr. Nefarious,
is trying to destroy much of the galaxy.
Once again, Ratchet and Clank, with
a little help from their friends, travel
from planet to planet to stop Nefarious
and his henchmen. The game's story
is well-told through some entertaining
cut scenes and has its tongue firmly
planted in cheek.
The games action and platforming
elements don't break any new ground,
but that's not entirely a bad thing. The
"Ratchet & Clank" series has always
been about collecting a variety of
weapons and blowing up everything
that stands in the way. Gainers who
are familiar with the past two games
will certainly know the drill, and even
though the play mechanics haven't
changed much, the mindless action
is still quite involving. There's also
some depth to be found in how one
approaches the game, as Ratchet can

gain experience to level up his health
the more he fights and make his weap-
ons more powerful.
While the single-player mode offers
its fair share of enjoyment, there is
more to be found in the multiplayer
mode. Up to four players can compete
in several different modes, which can
be a bit frenzied given all the game's
weapons and items. It also features
impeccable online multiplayer support
- available only with a broadband
connection - which allows players to
fight it out online, complete with voice
chat and the ability to join or create a
clan. Plenty of effort by the developers
has gone into the multiplayer mode.
The game's visuals are outstand-
ing and vibrant, perfectly bringing
the game's intergalactic worlds to life.
With bright colors and sharp lighting,
the game's visuals should be consid-
ered showpiece material for the Play-
station 2, right alongside the "Metal
Gear Solid" sequels. The game's
sounds are also robust, with decent
music to complement the various stag-
es and immersing sound effects that
highlight all the action and gun-blaz-
ing. The controls are remarkably solid
and responsive as well, which makes
controlling characters a breeze. A
nice addition to this third installment
is the ability to play the game from a
first-person perspective, which makes
the game feel a bit more like a first-
person shooter.
Once again, Sony has delivered a
solid gaming experience that does not
disappoint. "Ratchet & Clank" has
now proven itself to be one of the rare
franchises that is able to sustain itself
year after year - not an easy task.
Fans of the action genre and multi-
player games will certainly want to
invest in the duo's latest adventure,
and if the two decide to return again
next year, chances are good that their
next adventure will be just as great
- if not better.

Nutcracker. Sweet.

(dancers) are trained at the ballet school." Scharp
founded the Church Street school 24 years ago with
her mother, and artistic director, Carol Radovic.
In addition to holding the benefit performance
for C.S. Mott, the company also annually invites
elementary children from the area to watch the
Thursday dress rehearsal. This arrangement not
only gives children the opportunity to experience
"The Nutcracker," but also provides the danc-
ers with an enthusiastic audience for the dress

rehearsal. Scharp said that these children make
one of the best audiences. "They just love it," she
commented.
Scharp said to expect a "visual feast" with Fri-
day's opening night. Local Suzuki Violin groups
will also perform for guests in the theater lobby.
Scharp added, "We put it as close to Christmas as
we can to make it a much more festive evening." As
the production has grown each year, it has become
an Ann Arbor Christmas tradition.

Time travel tale muddled
by its technical rhetoric

By Lindsey Bieber
Daily Arts Writer

What happens when a brilliant
engineer decides to become a film-
maker? A puzzling plot with a genius
idea behind it is
produced. First
time writer/pro- Primer
ducer/direc- At the Michigan
tor/actor Shane Theater
Carruth traded Think Films
careers to pursue
his interest in the
film industry without disregarding
his scientific background.
His debut film, "Primer," is
about two young engineers, Abe
(David Sullivan) and Aaron (Car-
ruth), who work for a big company
in an unnamed metropolitan city by
day, but tinker with inventions in
their garage by night. They create a

machine that reduces the mass of any
object with the accidental side effect
of time travel. However, it is difficult
for the audience to realize what they
have actually created because of the
heavy use of engineering and phys-
ics jargon to explain their invention
to each other. The rest of the film
is about how Abe and Aaron control
the power of being able to change
the future with their machine.
The film is successful in mak-
ing the situation seem down to
earth, unlike most other sci-fi
films. Their machine does not have
a shiny chrome exterior or a fancy
dashboard that digitally displays
the year. It is made up of everyday
household materials put together in
a haphazard manner. Their plans do
not always follow through as expect-
ed because Carruth's time travel is
not the neat version seen in other
movies like the "Back to the Future"
trilogy. This version is portrayed as
messy and dealing with uncharted
dangerous territory. For a first-time
filmmaker, Carruth does an excel-
lent job in making the adventure
seem realistic.
"Primer" is not for the carefree
moviegoer who likes to relax in the
theater. In order to understand the

Courtesy of Think Films

Ooooo ... Angell Hall has wireless now ..

plot, the viewer must strain his mind
and ears to understand the charac-
ters' dense scientific dialogue. It is a
movie that most people will not fully
understand until they see it for a sec-
ond time. Perhaps the most frustrat-
ing aspect of the movie is expecting
an explanation at the conclusion of
the film. The ending is the most con-
fusing part of the story because by
then, the viewer is lost and cannot
figure out if the time is the present,
past or future.
Aside from the absence of a crisp
plot, the character development is

also limited. The dialogue between
Abe and Aaron almost always con-
sists of the technical aspects of the
machine, so the audience never got
to know them as individuals. View-
ers couldn't care less about what
happens to the characters in their
time travel adventures because there
is no sympathy for them.
Carruth's first trek into the movie
business is a success, but a muddled
one. The film, while not for those
who enjoy passive entertainment, is
ideal for those who like to interpret
films.

.... .... .... - . Ill .... ...

REC
SPORTS
[NT RAM U RA IS

The University of Michigan
Department of Recreational Sports
Intramural Sports Program
www.reCSports.umich.edu
734-763-3562

K9
REC
SPORTS
Y q RAMUR^' AL

Re-release revels in jones's' success
By Amanda McAllister
Daily Arts Writer '

f
S n :,,
s ti
z
i ''t
a
k: . ._,.

Entries taken:
Mon, 01/10 ONLY
11:00 AM -.5:30PM
IN Building
Entry Fee
$88.00 per team
Manager's Meeting:
MANDATORY
Wed, 01/12
6:00 PM or 9:00 PM
IM Building

)' ,

Entries taken:
Thurs, 01/06 ONLY
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
IM Building
Entry Fee:
$440.00 per team
Manager's Meeting:-
MANDATORY
Thurs, 01/06
6:00 PM
IC Building
Play begins:
Sun, 01/09
Yost Ice Arena

Play begins:
Thurs, 01/13
IM Building
Basketball

Ice Hockey

11

Entries taken:
Mon, 01/10 ONLY
11:00 AM-5:30PM
I Building
Entry Fee:
$88.00 per team
MANDATORY
4 4 Wed, 01/12
8:00 PM
SIM Building
Play begins.
Thurs, 01/13
IM Building
Inner Ube Waer Polo

The wanton sex-goddess Bridget
Jones debuted on the big screen in
2001 and found success among legions
of women. Now, just in time for holi-
day gift-giving and trying to capital-
ize on the recent sequel, Miramax
has re-released the original "Bridget
Jones's Diary" as_________
a feature-laden
"Collector's Edi- Bridget
tion" DVD. Jones's Diary:
Inthe2001 film, Collector's
Renee Zellweger Edition
plays Jones, a Miramax
goofy but lovable ___a _
30-something Brit
who, in her own opinion, drinks and
smokes too much and always needs to
lose a few pounds. She begins to keep
a diary, which tracks the progress of
her new year's resolutions to cut back
on the bad behavior and "find a nice,
sensible boyfriend." Two men emerge
JOBS!!
Winter Term
Apply now
at the Law Library-
* Non-Law students
" Law Students

4

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as candidates: Daniel Cleaver (Hugh
Grant), her raunchy, exciting - but
unreliable - publishing-house boss,
and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who is
just as handsome and certainly more
stable, but quite boring. Cleaver and
Darcy have their own troubled past,
which leads to a series of hilarious
encounters and ultimately Bridget's
decision. The three leads are right on
target; Zellweger's nuanced acting
lets every insecurity shine through,
and Grant and Firth have perfected
their respective roles, showing why
typecasting can sometimes be a good
thing.
While the 2001 release was sparse
on features - with only director's
commentary, a 'making of' clip and
a few music videos - the collector's
edition more than makes up for it.
n~arnrClnrnn MnA a ec flflfl Wi P

Look out! There's a bad sequel on the way!

With so many great features, it's
not surprising that a few duds snuck
in. The first, "Portrait of the Makeup
Artist," is mind-numbingly dull; no
one cares how many coats of mascara
Renee Zellweger wears in each scene.
Save the makeup features for "Lord of
the Rings."
By far, the worst is the hypocriti-
cal "The Young And The Mateless
- Expert's Guide To Being Single,"
which, despite its title, is actually a
thinly disguised guide to getting a
man. Women with high profile jobs,
such as the editor of Allure maga-
zine and the creator of "Sex and the
City," relinquish their normal female
empowerment duties in order to boast
the importance of being pretty and
trapping a husband. Besides working
in exact opposition to their normal
mn ntrne cthe 1woCmen1 interv~iewed are

4

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