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November 10, 2004 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-10

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Wednesday
November 10, 2004
arts. michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

abl mJai t 3idtiig a
RTlrS

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THE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER

S

"America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction"
- If only for the naked pictures of the Supreme Court justices, this book
should be required reading for all political science majors. "America" is
an even better read after seeing Jon Stewart verbally assault "Crossfire's"
bow-tie sporting Tucker Carlson in front of a live audience.

Don Cheadle - America's most underappreciated actor will finally have
his shot at an Oscar with December's "Hotel Rwanda," a factual account
of the 1994 genocide. On the lighter side, he'll also be reprising his role as
a Cockney gangster in the upcoming "Ocean's 12." Well done.
Guided by Voices - This band's final album is among its best work,
and its last tour was a religious experience for anyone who made
it to the Detroit show at the Majestic Theatre. During a three-hour
performance, lead singer Robert Pollard managed to drink himself
half to death, while still staying conscious enough to rock out, play
the band's best hits and wax intellectual about the war in Iraq, Jack
White and why Motown is cool.

Versiz - Detroit's most talent-
ed rap act and slam poet is the
one guy who can make south-
east Michigan a respect-
able haven for independent
hip-hop. Versiz's rhymes
make Eminem look even
more juvenile than before, and
his social conscience packs a Joe
Louis-like punch.
"Casshern" - It's the
greatest movie you'll
never see, unless you
shell out $50 for the
Japanese box set. Made
for just $6 million, it
somehow manages to
piece of filmmaking
ever. Dreamworks just
bought the rights,
so see "Casshern"
before it gets botched.
The film is most effec-
tive as a visual complement
for a Motorhead album,
although the Japanese
heavy metal that accompa-
nies the robot fight scenes
is a more than adequate
soundtrack.
Action-
filled 'Sly 2'
builds upon
By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editor
VIDOGAE REVIW * **3

Courtesy of Virgin
We need an extreme makeover. Just look at us.
COMPLETING THE CIRCLE
BAND'S NEW ALBUM COVERS IT ALL

By Garrick Kobylarz
Daily Arts Writer

At some point, almost every band in existence
plays a cover that pays reverence to those artists who
came before them. Far fewer, however, are capable

of recording an album consist-
ing exclusively of covers.
On their latest release, eMO-
TIVe, A Perfect Circle revamps
classic songs of revolution,
describing the record as "a
collection of songs about war,
peace, love and greed," and

A Perfect
Circle
eMOTIVe
Virgin

Rhythm of the War Drums," reminiscent of Tool's
"Die Eier Von Satan," gives the song a profoundly
different feel from its original incarnation and rivals
"Pet" in its ability to transmit the song's influential
message. With "Passive," the band returns to true
form, led by Maynard James Keenan's vocal lines
blazing the trail. "Go ahead and play dead / I know
that you can hear this / Go ahead and play dead /
Why can't you turn and face me / You fuckin' dis-
appoint me / Passive aggressive bullshit," Keenan
demands.
Bands that play covers well always approach
them from new angles, and thankfully, that's exact-
ly what A Perfect Circle does. Unfortunately, just
one or two of the artistically gifted members of the
band stand out on each track. Josh Freeze, for exam-
ple, only makes his creative drumming talents well
known on a few songs, the best of those being the
spastic, breakbeat-influenced "Let's Have a War."
Guitarist James Iha, a recent acquisition made after
the demise of The Smashing Pumpkins, is credited
on "People are People," but has no other appearance
on the entire disc.
A Perfect Circle must be given recognition for
having the balls to tackle songs that most people

consider "untouchable" like John Lennon's "Imag-
ine" or Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." By
dropping "Imagine" down to a minor key, A Per-
fect Circle gives the song a dark, sinister feel that
is paradoxical to the sense of yearning hope Len-
non's lyrics provide. "What's Going On," backed by
flanged drums and echoing vocals, is bland in its
arrangement without enough driving bite to carry
the song to the end. They will certainly never be
held in the same esteem as the originals, but they
are fearless, unabashed attempts at recreation.
More disheartening, though, is the cover of
"Gimme, Gimme, Gimme." Keenan, sounding
more like Marilyn Manson than the Maynard fans
have come to know and love, abandons his versa-
tile, pristine voice in favor of a dirty, death-metal
scream. The comparatively gentle "Annihilation"
accentuates the tenderness Keenan is able to supply,
but is sadly supported by what sounds like a child's
toy piano.
By far the best use of A Perfect Circle's capa-
bilities, "When the Levee Breaks" and "Fiddle and
Drums" underline the inventiveness the band estab-
lished on its first two albums and what fans should
expect on future records.

looks to elevate the awareness of societal shortcom-
ings. The message is powerful, but it would have
carried a greater amount of weight if the album
were stacked with completely original tracks.
"Passive" and "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to
the Rhythm of the War Drums" are the only two
original tunes on this recording, the latter being a
redesign of vocal sections from their song "Pet."
The remix of "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the

4

Corey e w Line

Tennessee Williams's obscure dark
comedy needs no 'Adjustment'

Sly Cooper and crew sneak back
onto the Playstation 2 in the promising
sequel to 2002's "Sly Cooper and the
Thevious Racoonous." Mixing together
the stealth-action genre with a cartoon
world, "Sly 2" stands out as a unique
entity that is both
incredibly engross- "
ing and off-putting Sly 2
at the same time. PS2
The game oozes
style. From the cel- SCEA
shaded graphics
to the comic book inspired cut-scenes,
"Sly 2" has a look all its own. The world
seems like a fully realized cartoon with
excellent character and level design.
Each member of Sly's team moves flu-
idly, especially the titular thief, making
every tiptoe noticeable. Yet the fanciful
appearance - although incredibly strik-
ing - often fights against the stealth

aspects of the game by looking too car-
toonish.
Unlike most action platformers, "Sly
2" places its emphasis on stealth, making
it more attuned to games like "Splinter
Cell" and "Metal Gear Solid" than "Super
Mario Sunshine." Instead of simply col-
lecting items and fighting off throngs
of enemies, Sly must also creep silently
past foes in order to complete the game's
objectives. Adding to the ambiance of
the missions is the criminal nature of Sly
and his band of thieves, making the goals
of each level actually seem to have a pur-
pose within the context of the story.
The original "Sly" was lauded for
its combination of substance and style,

but it faced many complaints about
its length. "Sly 2" not only fixes that
problem but also adds more playable
characters and abilities. While nothing
revolutionary, "Sly 2" does everything
exceptionally well.
"Sly 2" faces a conundrum in its game-
play because of its criminal theme and
occasionally methodical stealth-action
that counteract the lighthearted graph-
ics and design. Sometimes the two mesh
well, but the kiddie look of the charac-
ters might deter many older players who
would otherwise enjoy the title. All in
all, though, by fixing and improving
upon the original, "Sly 2" is everything a
gamer could ask for in a sequel.

from leaving his
imprint on the
production.
Travis, who
has worked with
The Performance
Network in Ann
Arbor and The
Purple Rose The-
ater in Chelsea,
is better known
for his acting

Period of
Adjustment
Today through
Nov. 20.
Thursdays through
Saturdays at
8 p.m. and
Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $7 for students
(all proceeds go to
the "Kids in Need"
scholarship fund)
At the Blackbird Theatre

long-married friends speak of the
future in their bedroom upstage.
The play is set in a post-World War
II suburb of identical "Spanish style
cottages." One unhappy homeowner,
Ralph (Matt Pinnard), is a knowing,
gentle and ethically rooted man, per-
fectly suited for the job of comfort-
ing the new bride of his war buddy
George, since George drank through
his wedding night. The innocence
his bride (Courtney Myers) gives her
character is tender, while her South-
ern accent is authentic.
The audience is almost sorry
George treats her so poorly. All
three have recently become unem-
ployed, and Ralph's wife has run
off and taken their son while the
boy's Christmas presents sit sadly
under the tree. But the audience is
not sorry, because it is consistently,
made to laugh at these untimely mis-
fortunes.
Aside from the comedy, the show
is easy and enjoyable to watch. A
fur coat Ralph bought for his wife
becomes the symbol of his devotion
to her. The audience can sense its
warmth and watch characters fight
over it. Similarly, the damage of war
is made visible in George's tremors.
Russ Hedberg strains his body to

express the neurological state of his
guarded character. He shakes from
his entrance to the final curtain and
even more so at moments of great
stress.
One of those moments is the cli-
mactic scene in which Ralph's in-
laws and wife barge in; they try to
reclaim her valuables, she tries to
reclaim Ralph. Supporting actors
Marty Smith and Linda Hammill
make brief, but solid appearances
as the parents, and the audience
can sense the upheaval of Ralph's
domestic existence in this palpably
crowded scene. Ralph's wife Dottie
(Kathleen Orr) remains on stage,
and her skilled performance explains
why Ralph loves her.
Engineering graduate student
Joshua Parker built a remarkable set
that adds to the performance. Ralph
Bates's cottage is built so that the
audience can view both the common
TV room and the private bedroom.
Actors can go "outside" into the cold
of Christmas Eve by the front door
or window.
The show is a pleasure to watch
and very well done. The cast and
crew put in a good performance as
did Tennessee Williams, who cre-
ated this touching and funny script.

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but reveals his obvious talent for
directing here. The polished ensem-
ble perfectly executes one scene in
which two new lovers confess their
nervousness at the forefront of the
stage while, simultaneously, their

NELP
New England Literature Program

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