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November 08, 2004 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-08

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Monday
November 8, 2004
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily. com

RTS

SA

... . .. . ...

TREVOR CAMPBELL/Daily
Somebody gave me some flubber before the show.
Green Day's punk,a
politics hit D-town

By Trevor Campbell
Daily Arts Writer

"Is George Bush still an asshole?"
This and a few other inquiries were
part of the barrage of political def-

Why won't any cabs stop for me?

OUT OF

THIS WORLD

amation that
accompanied
Green Day's show
Saturday at Cobo
Hall. Although
their anti-Bush
stance is widely

Green Day
Saturday,
November 8
At Cobo Hall

LAW SHINES IN CHARMING REMAKE

By Amanda Andrade
Daily Arts Writer

Attempting to catapult himself from critically
lauded character actor into the more lucrative
realm of leading man, Jude Law makes his third
bid of the year for movie star-
dom in the comedy/drama
"Alfie." While his previous Alfie
films, "Sky Captain" and "I'V At Showcase
Huckabees," were praised for and Quality 16
their originality and ingenu- Paramount
ity, "Alfie" traipses through
remarkably well-trodden ter-
ritory. Much like Law himself, the film is both
immensely charming and entirely forgettable.
1 ,ped QA the 1966 origjnal staryjpg Michael
Caine, "Alfie" follows the titular limo driver (Law)
on his many sexual escapades around Manhattan.
The film skirts romantic comedy territory by not
allowing Alfie to fall for the "one girl" -who con-
vinces the beguiling lothario to change his ways.

Rather, through a series of more realistic events, Theft Auto" and "Sex and the City," the idea that
Alfie comes to see the emptiness of his lifestyle someone would use sex wantonly and exploitative-
and the harm his carelessness has caused the peo- ly is seen not so much as a mild shocker but as a
ple around him. fact of life. Traveling through such mundane terri-
By passing up the easy, crowd-pleasing version tory as though it were cutting-edge, the film's core
of the all-too-familiar premise, the film is forced concept feels irrelevant and highly outdated.
to abandon the typical story arc in favor of an In fact, the only justification this otherwise
overly episodic approach. As a result the whole unnecessary remake has for its existence is a won-
second half of the movie feels recklessly unedited. derful leading performance from Law. He smirks,
But more patient members of the audience, not to winks and defies any actor to pull off a variety of
mention more than a few female fans, will respect scarves with so much panache. The truth is, no mat-
how much faith the story and director Charles ter how irritatingly overexposed he may be, Law is
Shyer ("Father of the Bride") put in the audience's undisputedly a talented actor. And though he excels
intelligence. Real life, after all, rarely offers up at dramatic supporting performances, he also has
easy answers. And in that sense, Alfie's numer- the requisite charisma to carry a breezy leading
ous missteps, such as trying to settle down with role. Sarandon is also a bright spot, wonderfully
a manic party girl (Sienna Miller, TV's "Keen sharp and restrained as Alfie's female foil.
Eddie") and a wealthy older woman (Susan Saran- "Alfie" is probably too low-profile a film to
don), as well as the ambivalence with which he launch Law into that upper echelon of movie star-
accepts his changing lifestyle, provieor a more dom to which s nylessi!eserving actors have
interesting film. ascended. That's really a shame because the film
But while "Alfie" feels refreshingly nonformula is a star-making turn if ever there was one, asking
ic, it also lacks the kind of novelty eecud to le- 3Law only to be good-looingcharming aitlb4and
an impression. To a generation reared on "Grand - everything America wants from its stars.

known, Green Day lead singer Billie
Joe Armstrong took shots at the whole
governmental system rather than the
recently re-elected president.
Coming out on stage to their latest
protest song, "American Idiot," the
crowd roared with an overwhelming
approval. "That song means so much
more to me now than it did four days
ago," Armstrong said, making ref-
erence to Tuesday's election.
Politics aside, the event was
packed with pyrotechnic onslaught,
that would make Whitesnake blush
and crowd participation that could
rival the Big House. Explosions,
flashes of light and 20-foot-tall
flames added an interesting touch to
the usual punk-rock show.
Green Day's set list was packed
vith songs spanning the band's 15-
year career, including songs off of
American Idiot such as "Holiday"
-and-the widely talked about rock
opera "Jesus of Suburbia."
Their age seemed to be a negli-

gible factor in their stage presence.
Leaping around with more vertical
lift than Richard Hamilton, gui-
tarist Armstrong and bassist Mike
Dirnt hopped off of stage monitors,
speaker cabinets and drum stands
while slinging songs to the energetic
crowd.
At one point in the set the band
paused to create a three-man group
composed of fans pulled out of
the crowd to play a simplistically
watered-down song. Although it
added a creative aspect to the show,
and added a few laughs, it took away
from the overall energy of the band
and seemed to be an excuse to give
the band's tired vocal chords and
exhausted muscles a chance to rest.
The fortunate guitarist was allowed
to keep the guitar that he played on-
stage.
Closing out their set for the night,
the band pulled out a stunningly
powerful rendition of Queen's "We
are the Champions" along with piano
accompaniment. The crowd fed off of
the power-ballad and sang out with
all of their hearts as the band neared
its departure. Immediately follow-
ing the seemingly never-ending flow
of red and white confetti fired out of
stage-side cannons, Armstrong slowly
strolled out to the front of the center-
stage walkway and ended the night
with a solo performance of "Good
Riddance (Time of Your Life)."
Their power, humor and enthusiasm
make their live show a must-see for
anyone with even an inkling of interest
in their music.

Wolf Eyes
play with
innovative
sounds
By Lloyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer

Lush 'Stage Beauty' takes on gender roles

By Katie Schorr
For the Daily
"Stage Beauty," the seductive 17th century drama
directed by Richard Eyre ("Iris"), is a witty and
absorbing story of sex, the stage and the actor's pro-
vocative infatuations with both.

Wolf Eyes have drawn a linei
sand the same way Lou Reed's1
Machine Music did back in 1975.;
will find the layered sheets of

in the
Metal
Some
noise

appealing; others
will consider it
downright appall-
ing and unlisten-
able. If listeners
can get past the first
abrasive electronic

Wolf Eyes
Burned Mind
Sub Pop

blast 45 seconds into Burned Mind's
first track, "Dead In A Boat," they'll find
Wolf Eyes' uber-indie debut on the Sub
Pop label their most consistent, coherent
and cleanly recorded work to date.
Wolf Eyes is currently Ann Arbor's
most famous indie export. Originally the
solo vehicle for Nate Young, vocalist and
chief instrumentalist, the band expand-
ed into its current lineup when guitar-
ist Aaron Dilloway and drummer John
Olson joined. Since then, they've put
out dozens of to-fi CD-Rs on Dilloway's
Hanson Records, American Tapes and
another local label, Bulb. Recognized as
the leader of the new noise movement,
along with similar artists Black Dice and
Lightning Bolt, they were snapped up by
Seattle-based Sub Pop earlier this year.
Despite the wider distribution, Wolf
Eyes didn't tone down their sound.
instead, Burned Mind is even more pun-
shing, making better use of silence as
-negative space. Burned Mind sees the
'Iand carrying over the harshest elements
of prior standout releases Dead Hills
end Dread but with more song struc-
ure. There are no verses or choruses

on any of these songs, but the bludgeon-
ing seems to have more of a beginning,
middle and end.
This all pays off on "Stabbed In The
Face," by far the most visceral song
the band has ever recorded. Featur-
ing a looped female scream over grat-
ing tonal shifts and massive waves
of crushing feedback, the song gets
uncomfortably close to the feeling of
being stabbed in the face. The may-
hem doesn't end there though: "Village
Oblivia" is another standout track. Held
down by a steady kick drum, "Village
Oblivia" sounds like Ann Arbor would
during a zombie invasion.
While the front end of the album
delivers the best songs, the latter half is
more cohesive. "Rattlesnake Shake" is
perhaps the most aptly titled song, lay-
ering drones over bursts of percussion
sounding exactly like a rattlesnake.
This relatively low-key track melts into
the piercing title track, whose scorch-
ing high tones burn themselves into
listeners' brains. From there it's onto
the pulsing bass of "Ancient Delay,"
the most accessible song on the album.
"Ancient Delay" fades into "Black
Vomit," the march to the final noise
climax of Burned Mind.
Wolf Eyes is not for everyone, but
any album that can inspire this much
imagery deserves multiple listens. It's
the most accessible and coherent release
from this groundbreaking Ann Arbor
band and it's the perfect place to start
for the uninitiated. All in all, Burned
Mind is a fascinating and psychologi-
cally compelling work at the forefront of
its genre.

Set in London, with Charles
II restored to the throne after
Oliver Cromwell's Puritan
takeover, the film features
Billy Crudup ("Big Fish") as
Ned Kynaston, the beloved and
beautiful player of female roles,
and Claire Danes as his loyal
stage assistant, Maria, an aspir-

ing actress herself. Since England's men are trained
and legally bound to act out women's roles, Maria
makes her debut on the sly in a seedy tavern. Swift-
ly, shabby Maria has taken a stage name, weaseled
her way into the royal palace and, with help from
the King's puckish mistress, reversed the edict, rob-
bing Ned of the only part he can play: a woman's.
The score alternates between lush, emotive
violins and heavily percussive Irish dance music,
propelling forward the film's already hurried
pace. Amid darkened backstage and nighttime
settings, there is a stunning play of light and

Stage
Beauty
At the State
Theater
Lions Gate

shadow on the colorfully made-up faces of the
actors and audience, turning shot after shot into
rich portraits evocative of Rembrandt. The idea of
illumination, of visibility on the stage, is voiced
early on by Maria, who explains to Ned why she
wants to take the stage. "When you act," she says
"you can be seen."
Eyre also explores way the artist's identity is
elaborately knit up in his art. The devoted actor
does not know who he is without his gestures, his
costumes or while away from the dusty dreamland
of the stage. The conundrum of "Stage Beauty" is
that the freedom of the woman to act on stage is at
odds with the freedom of the man to play a wom-
an's role, prompting a murky discussion of gender
and sexuality. How is a woman made? Is she cre-
ated on stage, in the bedroom or on the stage bed?
For Ned, sex is between a man and a woman, but
for his sometimes lover, the Duke of Buckingham,
sex is an entirely theatrical role-play between him
and Ned's character. Crudup is initially most rivet-
ing when he plays a woman, both onstage and off.
But as Ned's confidence begins to falter, Crudup
intensifies an otherwise petulant role with deter-
mined desperation.
The film has been edited extensively, making
Maria's rise to fame and Ned's fall from it abrupt.
Like a Shakespearian play, whose plot is known in
advance, it is not so much the narrative of "Stage
Beauty" that engages the audience, but the over-

No, I will not make out with you.

whelming beauty of the dramatic details unfold-
ing on screen. Danes's blunt, boyish face, as bare
and plain in its expressiveness as her voice, which
lends her character a lack of credibility. Bounded
by a troupe of capable British actors, including
Tom Wilkinson, Richard Griffiths and Ben Chap-
lin, Danes holds her own impressively, though for
a lower class stagehand, her accent is awfully posh.
Nonetheless, it is her Maria, in love with Ned from
the start, who initiates the captivating, if predict-
able, conclusion of the film. Brief bouts of period
drama dullness aside, "Stage Beauty" is a dazzling,
perhaps even sexually edgy, slice of stage life.

i

'Fade' reveals rapper Jay-Z in triumphant farewell

By Phonz Williams
Daily Arts Writer

MOVE R EV IEW
"Fade to Black," a documentary
about rapper Jay-Z's "final" con-
cert at Madison
Square Garden,
is grounded in the Fade to
simple premise Black
that every good At Showcase
thing eventually Paramount Classics
comes to an end.
Jay-Z has, of
course, continued touring a year after
the release of The Black Album and
shows no signs of legitimately retir-
ing. While the prototypical example of

the farewell genre, Martin Scorsese's
"The Last Waltz," actually documents
the swan song of The Band, "Fade to
Black" does an excellent job revealing
an artist at the peak of his fame and
creative capacity while portraying the
excitement at the heart of this amaz-
ing concert.
In the opening of the film, Jay-Z is
narrating while the audience is bom-
barded with images of New York City.
Then Madison Square Garden, the
venue for the evening's entertainment,
is illuminated. Amid the blinking
lights and signs reading "Sold Out,"
Jay-Z describes his last concert as "a
long kiss goodbye" to his fans. The
feeling of being up close and personal
with Jay-Z is created by the great deal

of engaging shots used by directors
Patrick Paulson and Michael John
Warren. The intensity of the sold-out
crowd only enhances the visual stimu-
lation. The behind the stage interviews
of hip-hop stars P. Diddy, Common,
Q-Tip, Ghostface Killah and Slick
Rick all provide commentary on Jay-
Z's importance to the evolution of
hip-hop. On stage he is also joined
by his girlfriend Beyonce, Missy
Elliot, Foxy Brown, Mary J. Blige and
Pharell to perform a collection of his
hits. Occasionally, the film verges off
toward exaggerated hagiography, in
an attempt to build up the legend of
Jay-Z, but for the most part "Fade to
Black" makes up for this shortcoming
by keeping its focus on the music.

The film interweaves the concert and
the process of making of Jay-Z's The
Black Album from inspiration to con-
ception. The audience is transported
into the studio where Jay-Z creates The
Black Album with a host of big-time
producers, including Timbaland, Rick
Rubin, Jus Blaze, Pharell and Kanye
West. "Fade to Black" is at its finest
when it shows the master at work, lay-
ing a track down perfectly in just one
take. Through the use of cinematogra-
phy, the indescribable and electrifying
experience is recreated for the viewer.
It provides an exciting accoutrement to
the images of Jay-Z rocking a diverse
crowd of people all captivated by the
music. This is why legends never die
- they just fade to black.

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