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October 04, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-04

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Monday
October 4, 2004
arts. michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

RhemTSajtu

8A

. .. .. ... .. .. .. .. .. ... .. .. .. .

Molina
offers up
heaping of
alt-country
By Andrew Gaerig
Daily Music Editor

Jason Molina's reputation as a prickly,
self-important artist is in jeopardy. To wit:
Upon taking the stage at Detroit's Magic
Stick this past Friday, he politely asked
the house to turn the lights down, turned
back to his five-piece band The Magno-

0
0

lia Electric Co. and
said, "You know
how to start it."
Given his band's
penchant for ringing
country-rock, there's
no reason Molina

The Magnolia
Electric Co.
Friday, October 1
The Magic Stick

Courtesy of
Dreamworks
Do I look
fat In this?

shouldn't be in a good mood. Molina re-
configured Neil Young and Crazy Horse
as an alt-country juggernaut, infusing
his Midwestern poetry with a sense of
urgency missing from his early, sub-folk
records.
The band stuck to mostly new mate- By Zach
rial, trying out new songs like "Hammer Daily Ar
Down" in front of a sparse but appre-
ciative crowd. Songs from last year's
Magnolia Electric Co. were rollicking
crowd-pleasers. While
Molina, for his part, was a changed D anima
man. He thanked the crowd for their sup- depicting
port and ignored the clanking glasses and notable c
murmurs that persisted throughout his headedu
set. His voice - a fire-and-brimstone frey Katz
mix of Young and Van Morrison - grew sequel "S
stronger as the show progressed. Any self- current d
importance melted away during a rousing compute
cover of country staple "Mamas Don't this time
Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cow- "Shark
boys." For the encore, the band re-imag- Oscar (V
ined "Steve Albini's Blues" as a slow-leak trying to
psychedelic jam, and closed up shop with pond. W
Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," at the W
playfully singing the "Whoa-oooohs" of active d]
the chorus to an exultant audience. famous.
Molina's transformation from dark schemes1
troubadour to classic-rock mastermind tin Scors
was well-documented on record, but it's mob bos
his revelatory live show that truly proves foolishly
how fa i~mtas an' rtee oilaM Ps
full well the soulful, communal power of (Doug E
a great band, Molina has assembled just slacker f
that: agoup f rag-tag Midweste In a h
paying homage toall of the"ey4t yF
and rock greats, and doing so jubilantly.
Burnout 3'
delivers arcade-
style thrills
By Andy Putman
For the Daily

UNDER THE SEA
DREAM WORKS' LATEST TOON LOADED WITH HUMOR

h Borden
ts Writer

Disney ruled the roost when it came to 2-
ation, it has faced some stiff competition in
g three dimensions. The Mouse House's most
competitor has been Dreamworks Animation,
up by former Disney animation honcho Jef-
zenberg. Hot off the heels of summer's smash
Shrek 2," Dreamworks hopes to continue its
dominance with another

r-animated comedy,
set under the sea.
k Tale" tells the story of
Will Smith), a small fish
stand out in a very big
Working his days down
(hale Wash, the hyper-
reamer fantasizes about

Shark Tale
At Showcase
and Quality 16
Dreamworks
becoming rich and

awry when Frankie is hit by an anchor and is killed
while chasing Oscar. Seeing Frankie's death as an
opportunity to receive the notoriety he's always want-
ed, Oscar takes credit for the shark's demise and is
given the label "Sharkslayer." Lenny is too ashamed
to go back to his father, who considers his vegetarian
son a disappointment. The kind-hearted shark ends
up striking a deal with Oscar: As long as the now-
famous fish helps Lenny avoid the life and family he
disapproves of, Lenny will help Oscar continue his
charade. But Don Lino is out to avenge Frankie, and
Oscar soon has to realize the consequences of his
actions - and that perhaps it's sometimes better to
be a beloved nobody to a disillusioned somebody.
Like the best animated films, the beauty of "Shark
Tale" is that it works on two different levels. Younger
viewers will probably love the characters and enjoy
the more broad strokes, but older viewers will cer-
tainly pick up on a lot more. Dreamworks' hook in
its computer-generated features seems to be the lam-
pooning and constant referencing of popular culture,
and their latest entry is no exception. While the under-
water world is plastered in modified product place-
ment (Kelpie Kreme and Coral-Cola, anyone?), film
buffs will probably have the best time as there are
some clever, if not always subtle, references to other
movies: "Jaws" and "Titanic" are the most obvious,
but popular gangster classics such as "The Godfather
" and "Scarface" get their dues here as well. The film
is genuinely funny, but not to the point of laugh-out-
loud hiairity.

Yet for all its references and slyness, the main
problem with "Shark Tale" is that it lacks freshness
and originality. Even though some of its concepts are
interesting, the film's plotting is strictly by the num-
bers - the story arc and how the characters change
are completely predictable. While there is nothing
terrible about this, it feels like the filmmakers didn't
attempt to push the boundaries or take any chances.
In comparison to other computer-animated movies,
particularly the ones by Pixar, "Shark Tale" could
have been a lot more creative and could have used
some more development to really stand out.
Other than the stupendous computer animation,
one of the film's best assets is the talented voice cast,
which adds a lot to the movie. Will Smith is engag-
ing as the high-energy Oscar while Renee Zellwegger
brings the right kind of expressive voice as Oscar's
love interest and voice of reason. The standout here
is Jack Black, who plays against type as the innocent
and even cutesy Lenny. It's a strark contrast to Black's
usual manic screen personas, but Black shows range
by doing a more calm character in a much different
voice.
Even though "Shark Tale" is stuck in basic story-
telling conventions and doesn't truly evolve the genre
of computer-animated films, it has plenty of enjoy-
able moments and great characters makingit-worth
seeing. But in such an overcrowded genre that will
only continue to grow more, "Shark Tale" will swim
feverishly in the minds of moviegoers for now but
over time it'll probably start to sink.

Unfortunately for Oscar, his get-rich-quick
have put him in debt to his boss Sykes (Mar-
ese). In turn, Sykes needs to make good with
s Don Lino (Robert De Niro). After Oscar
doesn't make good on a payment, Sykes
henchmen -"pair of Rastafarian jellyfish
. Doug and Ziggy Marley) - take care of the
ish once and for all.
appenstance, Oscar and the jellyfish are spot-
Yankie and Leiny (Ja:k Black). But thing§ go

s
r

_4

Nathanson delivers
acoustic rock to the Pig

By Brandon Harig
Daily Arts Writer
Twenty minutes before he is to perform
in front of a sold-out Blind Pig crowd, Matt
Nathanson sits on a toilet, ruminating on
world issues and about being the new guy
on the label. Talking in the bathroom while
the presidential debate plays in the other

Traditional racing games get rear-ended by
"Burnout 3: Takedown," the latest title in which
crashes are key and superior driving is an after-
thought. The "Burnout" series has always prided
itself on the high-speed-arcade style racing and
its spectacular crashes. Simplistic controls fit the

room, is a surreal,
yet appropriate set-
ting for a man who
brings sophomoric
humor to acoustic
rock.
"Playing before
a crowd and doing

Matt
Nathanson
Thursday, Sept. 30
Blind Pig

arcade style, but gamers find
its lack of sophistication a let-
down.
Most of the time is spent
in traditional racing with a
destructive twist. Dangerous
activities earn racers a bonus
"boost," which allows cars to

Burnout 3:
Takedown
PS2 and Xbox
EA

Courtesy of EA

Further proving that Germans love David Hasselhoff.

son surfacing. The latter, a tongue-in-cheek
performance, raised eyebrows, even those
of Nathanson's, who knew every word and
performed enthusiastically.
The substance of the show, though,
came in those songs that allowed him to
be his immature and angry self. Pieces
like "Bare" and the throwback "Church
Clothes" show the originality and complete
emotional depth of Nathanson's music.
Running through "Pretty the World" and
the resentful "Oh Princess," the show did
not hit its climax until the familiar chords
of Jeff Buckley were strummed out on his
acoustic guitar. Standing alone and slowly
singing, in his trademark rasp, the familiar
lyrics of "Last Goodbye" the audience was
silent. Midway through the song, Nathan-
son manipulated the instrumental set to
slam into one of his strongest and oldest
songs, "Wide-Eyed and Full." It was then
that Nathanson was the nearest to perfect
that anyone watching has seen.
All this bitterness might make Nathan-
son seem to be some disenfranchised and
melancholy singer. These expectations are
erased when you note Nathanson's non-
drinking, married status. "You know, my
wifeistheshit.Itourlloutofl2monthsso,
yeah, she's the shit." Such happiness with his
current life, fan base and place in the music
world is perhaps the reason for such upbeat
instrumentals. Maybe the sadder lyrics are
just alook back at anunhappy past while he
happily smiles and jokes onstage with his
favorite people in the world.

drive along at even more manic speeds. It's not
too difficult to keep the bar filled and the best
drivers will never take their fingers off the boost
button as long as they have some to spare. Win-
ning races and circuit tours will open up new
locations and vehicles. The controls are respon-
sive and since only a few buttons are used, no
one should have trouble picking up "Burnout."
Along with racing modes, progressing through
the one-player game will open crash challenges,
in which the object is to cause as much damage
as possible. Each event is set in small section of a
race track. A flyby of the area at the beginning of

each challenge reveals traffic patterns and pow-
erups along the path. As the car begins to crash,
control it through the air or across the ground to
grab point multipliers and smash into as many
other vehicles as physically possible.
Additional mayhem can be found in the mul-
tiplayer modes. Challenge a friend to a race or
see who can be first to rack up 10 takedowns in a
demolition-derby-style setting.
As is standard with most arcade racers, the
game's physics are not altogether realistic. For
example, a single car may be able to plow through
a row of five semi-trucks, but if it hits a light
post, it stops dead in its track and explodes.
Mediocre pop-punk makes up the majority of
the soundtrack, which will cause some gamers to
rejoice even as others will cringe. But once the

racing action kicks in the soundtrack becomes
moot. Players will not be able to ignore the hor-
ribly annoying narrator who gives his two cents
before and even during races. Once he shuts up,
screeching tires and crunching metal sounds take
over the stereo and all is well in the world.
"Burnout 3" has visually appealing graphics
and detailed racecourses that look good even
when racing at high speeds. The look really
shines during giant pileups as each car is torn
apart piece by piece, leaving only a trail of the
carnage. Besides the image of a completely
destroyed car (which basically looks like a lump
of coal) and overly shiny effects on cars, this
game has top notch visuals. "Burnout 3" is great
fun, although it might just be worth a rental until
the price drops below $50.

some unmotivated show before a random
crowd, it's like having sex with a prosti-
tute. But playing in front of the best fans in
the world that sing back every word of the
song, that's like the best love-making ever,"
Nathanson said. Weaving bitter lyrics with
an upbeat melody, Nathanson kept the
attention of everyone in attendance even
when the song was over.
Relying heavily on his label-debut
Beneath these Fireworks, Nathanson
would actually "prefer to play a show of
covers than my own because other people
have written stuff so much better than my
music." The show stood as a meld of cov-
ers and originals, with a small bit of Ozzy
Osborne, R.E.M. and even Ashlee Simp-

*I

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