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October 05, 2004 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-05

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 5, 2004 - 9

Abstract
film blends
genres with
mixed results
By Sheila Merchant
Daily Arts Writer
"What the Bleep Do We Know?" is more a
philosophical paradox than your run-of-the-mill
plot-focused film. With a combination of science,
spirituality and special effects, the creators pro-
duce a film that questions the very basis of our
sense of the world, minus the
cookie-cutter answers.
The filmmakers, William What the
Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Bleep Do
Vicente, have created an amal- We Know?
gam of a scientific documen- At the
tary and a melodrama, tinged Michigan Theater
with spirituality. It follows Roadside Attractions
the story of Amanda (Marlee
Matlin, TV's "West Wing"),
a divorced photographer who generally hates her
life. She can't find a passion for her art, she can't
get over her ex and she can't stop taking anxi-
ety pills. Each of these problems are solved as
she comes to understand the scientists' theories
on the effects of thought, the existence of God
and the addictive quality of emotions. This trans-
formation is enhanced by vivid cinematography,
strong color palettes and a surreal focus in oppo-
sition to her surrounding environment.
Yet Amanda's awkward story is a flimsy device

Politically charged film
attacks FOX News

By Ian Dickinson
Daily Arts Writer
Michael Moore, if nothing else, has
contributed greatly to the transformation
of the documentary into an accessible,
marketable and politically influential
genre of film. Director Robert Green-
wald's ("Uncovered: The War on Iraq")

"Outfoxed: Rupert
Murdoch's War
on Journalism" is
another raw and
dissenting piece of
filmmaking that
seeks to refute,
through interviews
and footage, FOX
News Channel's
"Fair & Balanced"
tagline. Though
not necessarily

Outfoxed:
Rupert Mur-
doch's War
on Journalism
Available at
www.oufoxed.
org Opens Oct.
15 at Quality 16
Carolina Productions

"What the Bleep" sure seems to be an appropriate title.

for the audience to understand the abstract ideas
put forth by scientists. In one instance, when
explaining how the Native Americans couldn't
see Columbus's ships because their minds had no
concept of them, she has a dream about it; where
a shaman gets her to see the unseen. Later, she
runs into a young boy, Reggie (Robert Bailey
Jr., "Dragonfly"), who asks her to play a game
of one-on-one basketball and moves into a deep
philosophical and scientific discussion about the
sub-atomic world. As the audience begins to ques-
tion why this child knows so much about complex
theories, he whips out his "Dr. Quantum" comic
book, and all of the issues are put to rest.
The topics themselves, however, are thought-
provoking. The idea that objects are not really
static, unchangeable entities outside of our bodies
is quite mind-blowing. But once again, the exam-

ple is shown through a forced scene with Aman-
da, where she misses her train and runs across a
lady in the subway giving a presentation of Dr.
Masaru Emoto's water experiments, obviously a
common occurrence in subway stations. Later,
in a wedding scene, the scientists try to explain
how emotions are addictive, a fascinating and
profound idea made light by animated dancing,
singing cells crooning out "Addicted to Love."
Overall, the story of Amanda, meant to keep
the audience from getting lost in abstraction, ends
up distracting from the scientists' ideas. The spe-
cial effects - though noteworty - unnecessar-
ily lighten several points in the film. And though
the ideas put forth are fascinating, they become
tedious. The filmmakers' attempt to make an

unorthodox
their goal.

and provocative film falls short of

Female MC Jean Grae wins with latest'This Week'

objective, "Outfoxed" works well as a
refreshingly academic argument against
the cable news media stranglehold.
Flanked by footage of vitriolic out-
bursts from FOX commentators like
Bill O'Reilly and interviews with former
employees and media experts, "Out-
foxed" utilizes spartan techniques, opt-
ing out of elaborate montages and the
sort of gonzo journalism preferred by
documentarians like Moore. Greenwald
lets the primary sources - interviews,
clips, graphs and copies of internal
FOX memos - do the talking while he
endeavors to make a profound argument
against a network that has thrived for
several years as the purported "victim"
of a witch hunt by the "liberal media."
Partisan though Greenwald's project
may seem, "Outfoxed" works more as
media criticism than political ploy. The
vast majority of those interviewed by
Greenwald are media critics (Jeff Cohen,
Eric Alterman, etc.) and more derision is
reserved for FOX's unprofessional tactics
than its conservative message. Examples
of memos from FOX producers demand-
ing that their reporters not pay too much
attention to the Abu Ghraib scandal and
speeches on Iraq by John Kerry are fol-
lowed by interviews of former FOX
employees who claim to have been vic-
tims of "Stalinist" management prac-
tices. At one point, a former consultant
for FOX is essentially fired for not refer-
ring to suicide bombers as "homicide
bombers." Greenwald excels by focusing
on FOX's ethical dereliction rather than
Rupert Murdoch's personal politics.
For all the damning evidence, though,
"Outfoxed" stumbles into unnecessary

partisanship that damages its impact
by devoting a disproportionate amount
of time to FOX's handling of the war
in Iraq. Although effective in his criti-
cism of FOX's foolhardy dedication to
presenting a rosy image of life in Bagh-
dad, Greenwald nevertheless damages
his argument by using interviews that do
little else but criticize the Bush adminis-
tration's handling of the conflict.
Despite its few failures, "Outfoxed"
still manages to effectively criticize
FOX's biggest draw. No segment is more
profound than a clip of Bill O'Reilly
lashing out at the peace activist son of a
Sept. 11 victim. O'Reilly flails around,
whines and interrupts the man at every
opportunity, before ending the interview
and seeing off the man with an exple-
tive-laced tirade.
Through "Outfoxed's" analysis of
O'Reilly and FOX's other "news analy-
sis" programs, Greenwald introduces
the hypothesis that FOX's failures, and
cable news's failures, as well, are the
result of over-reliance on similar shows
that reward mindless arguing and target
short attention spans. FOX is worse than
its competitors, according to Greenwald,
because it has assimilated analysis into
every news broadcast.
"Outfoxed" thrives in adequate-
ly reproaching FOX by utilizing a
plethora of interviews and dishearten-
ing FOX News footage not simply to
prove that FOX News is a conserva-
tive organization, but rather to show
the extent of its partisanship. Though
cable news, in general, is in dire need
of rebuke, Greenwald passionately
claims that no media outlet has done
more to damage TV journalism than
FOX, and, based the film's myriad
examples, he may be correct.

By Khepra Ananke
For the Daily

This one is for the ladies. Jean
Grae represents the women who do

not want to rap
about breast size
and sexual prow-
ess.

Jean Grae
This Week

her personal experiences. "Style
Wars" showcases her thug attitude,
making it known that she will take
it to the streets if need be. Soft and
mellow, "Supa Luv" is about the
search for the love that will be for-
ever. "Give It Up" is about battles
that women fight at various stages
of life. She asks if she should pursue
a romantic relationship with a good
friend that could possibly ruin the
friendship, but might turn out to be
that special love.
"P.S." is written in a similar style
to Eminem's "Stan." It reveals e-
mail exchanges between an ex-boy-
friend and Jean expressing the way
most people feel after a break-up, but
rarely admit. She is honest enough to
tell him that she knew it was wrong

and feels bad about the way things
happened. "P.S. I just had to get this
off my chest / I hope you're well / I
really wish you the best / And as you
can tell I've done a lot of growing
up / And time goes fast with no sign
of slowing up / So if its any concili-
ation karma got me bad / And any-
thing I did wrong I wish I never had
/ I hope all this drama we can leave
in the past / Please feel free to write
back."
The one negative aspect of the
album is the interludes heard
throughout. These skits were meant
to be funny, but are unrelated and
seem to be randomly inserted.
Each song is different enough
that Jean is able to reveal a creative
lyrical style that doesn't come off as

.\....k : i

Her sopho- Babygrande
more album, This
Week, talks about
life's struggles, estranged relation-
ships and other matters that most
people can relate to. Her rhymes are
smooth and skillful wordplay and
"wit to keep listeners interested.
Each song reveals something about

monotonous. It's well-written and
well-produced. Jean Grae's This
Week succeeds as a unique entry
into any hip-hop collection.

m

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