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February 02, 2005 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-02

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Wednesday
February 2, 2005
arts.rmichigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

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THE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER
'The Karate Kid' Collection - With this shiny new DVD set, the
classic franchise can be enjoyed by a whole new generation. Mr. Miyagi
and the gang look fantastic in these remastered classics. Good thing they
decided not to include "The Next Karate Kid" ... oh wait, they did.
Michael Jackson Trial - Wacko Jacko is back in the public eye and
this time around it has nothing to do with a four-hour self love-fest of a
comeback concert. At least Chris Tucker is nowhere to be found. Hang
in there Michael, this one could get ugly.
'The Surreal Life' - Don't be mislead, this show is really not that bad.
Where else can you get high-school-style drama and washed up celebri-
ties? The show, especially Go Go guitarist Jane Wiedlin, showcases all
kinds of personalities. Its raciness harkens back to pre-Michael Powell
America, and it's the only place on television where you can see Verne
Troyer have a nervous breakdown during tonal massage.

"Where did I put that AARP application?"

A CHOIR OF ONE
PREWITT WEAVES FOLK AND POP TOGETHER ON WILDERNESS'

Fleshbot.com - Anytime a celebrity drops her dress
or shows up in a video with Rick Solomon, this adult-
oriented blog will not only report on it, but will show you
pictures - lots of pictures. The design of the site is easy
to navigate and makes it easy for even the
most innocent celebrity watcher to track
down the mishaps that make actresses
like Lindsay Lohan interesting.

By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
Archer Prewitt sounds like a citizen of heav-
en: He inhabits a world of sickly sweet tenors, a

palace of acoustic chords so
clean that mothers the world
over lay their old Simon and
Garfunkel records at his feet.
He makes indie rockers forget
recent flings with soft-folkers
like Devendra Banhart and

Archer
Prewitt
Wilderness
Thrill Jockey

folk genius of that song on almost every track
on Wilderness. The album is so self-assured in
sound and intent that it easily dismisses any of
the easy-listening, mom-and-pop rock criticisms
that will undoubtedly be levelled against it.
Prewitt sings with a soothing voice and
smooth delivery that seems to buff the jagged
edges from his off-kilter compositions. But
repeated listens reveal the depth and complexity
of Prewitt's arrangements, as well as the inten-
sity of emotion behind his buttery voice. "O,
KY" sounds like an innocuous '70s AM radio
pop tune, but the song builds to a stirring climax
that might've bordered on cacophony in a rough-
er man's hands. Prewitt's great talent is subtly
integrating challenging textures and structures
into easily likeable pop tracks.
Few could steer the curves of the elegiac
"Without You" with Prewitt's signature grace.
A lilting pedal steel drips as the songs opens,
and lazy acoustic strumming brings up the rear.
Time-tested countryisms like "I used to think
that I was strong / But now I believe that I'm
barely making it" sound fresh in Prewitt's writ-

ing. By the time the song morphs into a poppy,
McCartneyesque bounce, his talent is no longer
in question.
"Leaders" follows a more straightforward
path, as Prewitt chimes in brilliantly from some
other, better planet, "Say hello to your leaders."
A flowing, finger-picked acoustic guitar steadies
the mix until an organ props up the chorus. Pre-
witt convincingly sighs, "Nothing seems to be so
far from the truth and the natural laws."
Ultimately, only real flaw on Wilderness lies in
one of its strengths. Prewitt's silvery voice lends
the album enviable clarity and unity, but also a
frustrating consistency. No matter how varied
the arrangements or song structures, Prewitt's
pipes, finally strong enough to be the focus of
his work, are the sonic element that most appar-
ently binds these tracks together.
Desptie this trivial fault, Wilderness is a mag-
netic album, its simple beauty disarming, its
hard-won complexity mystifying. Prewitt may
not physically inhabit a different plane than
the rest of us, but parts of Wilderness make the
notion seem plausible.

The Big Takeover -
but try not to be
"indie-timidated"
by this quarterly
music magazine.
Takeover gets
access to some of
the biggest names
in music, but still
devotes a lot of
space to up-and-
comers. Not only
are hundreds of art-
ists covered, but also the
writing is succinct and
clear, offering great
insight into some
truly fantastic
music.

Sufjan Stevens. He lives in a
place where a chorus like "We can go by the way
of the sun" sound like the most innocent kind of
come on, one not of deviant sexual desire but of
nearly infinite possibility and immediate calm.
Prewitt inhabits this marvelous construct for
the whole of "Way of the Sun," the opener on his
fourth studio album, Wilderness. In fact, Prewitt
(a veteran of Chicago's post-everything pop-
sters The Sea and Cake) approximates the subtle

__j

'Korean Conundrum'
wants change in policy

By Nichole Gerard
For the Daily
America's recent relations with both
North and South Korea have created

a volatile politi-
cal situation on
the Paciofic Rim.
North Korea's
nuclear ambitions
combined with
the U.S. military
presence in South
Korea could turn
the peninsula into
a tinderbox. This is

The Korean
Conundrum
By Ted Galen
Carpenter and
Doug Bandow
Peigrave Macmillan
the basis for Ted

to boost economic growth by saving on
military spending. The United States
also took advantage of the opportunity
to have troops so close to the Soviet
Union during the Cold War. However,
Carpenter and Bandow point out that
both countries have since built up large,
booming economies and are able to sup-
port their own military programs. The
authors deem the 77,000 U.S. troops in
the region unnecessary.
Some polls report that even South
Koreans, who hold a more favorable
view of Americans, have begun to
question the U.S. presence. With U.S.
troops in Iraq spread too thin, those
troops could be put to better use in the
Middle East.
Without this U.S. military presence,
North Korea would have to choose
between negotiating with South Korea
for a nuclear arms reduction plan or
standing by as South Korea builds a
superior military. According to the
authors, North Korea would most likely
choose the former course of action.
"The Korean Conundrum" makes
solid points and is mostly enjoyable to
read. However, the actual prose is a little
dense. Carpenter and Bandow empha-
size the importance of U.S. involvement
with future agreements between North

THE
CONUNDRUM
AMERICA'S TROUBLED RELATIONS WITH
NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA
TED GALE P 09P6 MA W8 OOUG BANDO
and South Korea. Instead of stating their
ideas plainly, they say, "Obviously, when
assessing North Korean assurances on
any subject, one ought to take them not
only with a grain of salt but with the
entire salt shaker in hand." This clumsy
style distracts the reader and lessens the
impact of the authors' argument.
In spite of this fault, the arguments
in "The Korean Conundrum" are
thoughtful and humanitarian. Car-
penter and Bandow want the United
States to help resolve the tension in the
Korean peninsula and they have pre-
sented a strategy that may accomplish
this with minimal harm to the people
living there.

Every few months, a game touts itself as the "Grand
Theft Auto" killer - this past summer, it was "Driv3r."
Despite the game's dynamic cinematic presentation, it
failed to deliver on any level when it came to what was
most important: gameplay. Unfortu-
nately, SCEA's "The Getaway: Black
Monday" aligns itself with Atari's The Getaway:
"Driv3r" in far too many ways, and Black
the end result is a game that crumbles Monday
under its own dead weight. PS2
The most disappointing aspect of a SCEA
game like "Black Monday" is that a
lot of time and effort was obviously
put into the game. The presentation is excellent, bring-
ing a realistic depiction of the London underworld to life.
Graphically, the game's cut scenes are well refined, with
beautiful art direction and superb voice acting. In fact,
the game would have been better without any gameplay
at all.
Even the in-game environments look good, despite the
far-from-perfect character models. Water reflections are a
nice touch, as are the crisp environmental textures. Unfor-
tunately, it's difficult to sift through all of the garbage pre-
sented in "Black Monday" to get to the good stuff.
The controls are a prime example of the game's complete
lack of refinement. The right analog stick, as in most third-
person shooters, controls the character's view. However,
in this iteration, the camera is confined to a 180-degree
view - the limits of the character's actual line of sight.
This technique may add a bit of realism to the game, but
even in open spaces, it makes the controls incredibly awk-

Poor control marks gang game
B Jason Roberts
Daily Arts Writer

*

Galen Carpenter and Doug Bandow's
"The Korean Conundrum." The book
presents a critical view of Washington's
policies regarding the situation; the
authors organize their analysis and pres-
ent their ideas for a resolution clearly
and persuasively.
The authors contend that the United
States. should withdraw its troops from
South Korea and Japan, arguing they
have been "security free-riders" for
many years, benefitting from the pres-
ence of a U.S. militia. Initially, a U.S.
military presence allowed both countries

CoA.urtesy of SCErA
My dad goes a little nuts when he goes to the store
ward. When the action gets tight, the controls are down-
right deplorable. The ability to steer a character through a
game's environs easily should be a given in any third-per-
son shooter; "Black Monday" makes it a frustrating task
that ultimately detracts from the flow of the story.
The artificial intelligence of the enemy characters is
also underdeveloped. Enemies don't seem to understand
how to act in a gun battle, stepping into the line of fire or
acting oblivious when their friends kick the bucket a few
feet away. Most of them-simply stand there, firing back and
ducking occasionally until they die.
At its core, "Black Monday" feels like a beta release,
a game that should have been polished further and more
carefully refined long before it made its way into the pub-
lic's hands. The well-executed cinematic direction and the
meticulous recreation of London that sets the stage for this
dark tale are ultimately lost in this mismanaged and mis-
guided attempt to recreate cinema-style action.

Baby Spice goes solo with poppy 'Free Me'

By Rohin Guha
For the Daily

As a member of the Spice Girls, Emma Bunton
sported pigtails, strutted around in platform shoes and
coyly responded to the moniker "Baby Spice." But after
the made-to-order girl group dis-
solved in 2001, Bunton let her
hair down, swapped her chunky Emma
natforms for sniked heels and Bunton

well-suited to Free Me's orchestration. The stylistic
harmony between Bunton and her instrumental support
is enough to keep listeners interested throughout the
full duration of the album. Free Me's sparkling sound
makes up for the mediocrity of the lyrics, most of which
Bunton co-wrote.
The title track and album opener begins with a sul-
try, delicate shimmer of strings, flute and keyboards;
Bunton starts her crooning, singing of liberation. Next,
"Maybe" begins with a rhythmic mix of driving per-
cussion and riveting staccatto vocal syllables that set the
stage for one of the strongest tracks on Free Me. This

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