March 11, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com
. . . ...... . ........ .
Courtesy of Basement Arts
Music freshman Rebecca Whatley and Music junior Justin Holmes
perform in an act from "Love's Fire" called "Bitter Sauce."
'Love's Fire' imagines
sonnets as theater
By Zach Borden
Daily Arts Writer
Courtesy of Buena Vista
"Hey, Vin, I have a present for you. It's in my diaper and it's not a toaster."
DIESEL FUMBLES THROUGH POORLY WRITTEN FAMILY COMEDY
By Amanda Andrade
Daily Arts Writer
There's a scene in the family comedy "The Paci-
fier" in which star Vin Diesel dives valiantly into
a sewer only to emerge caked
with human excrement, clutch-
ing an uncannily appropri-
ate message: "Ha Ha." Either
Diesel acutely understands the
current state of his career or
someone at Disney has a very
cruel sense of humor.
At the Showcase
and Quality 16
far-fetched, don't worry. There's actually an elabo-
rate video-game-style minefield installed, complete
with flame-shooter, falling spikes and trapdoor acid
wells that must be crossed in order to gain access
to the program.
The focus of the movie, unlike typical Diesel
fare, is not the conspiracy, but the characters. In this
case, it's the little munchkins Wolfe must protect
from the spies and terrorists seeking the program.
All five kids are well cast and well used to provide
humor and some vague notion that the audience
should care about what happens onscreen.
Even the steely Wolfe falls for the kids as he
learns to cope with his worst fear: dirty diapers.
Apparently, he's man enough to swim through
sewers but is highly averse to a task most girls
learn to do at age 13 for less than minimum wage.
There are also those challenging baby car seats
(he installs a comprehensive computerized secu-
rity system, but he can't buckle a seat belt?) and
various other heartwarming parenting troubles
that awkwardly collide with Wolfe's rigidly disci-
plined military training. Oh, the hilarity of exces-
sively emphasized incongruity.
Though it's familiar, the premise is still ripe for
much funnier material than this. The film's jokes
take too long to set up, and director Adam Shank-
man ("Bringing Down the House") moves from one
failed gag to the next with no sense of pacing or
point, giving the film a lazy, haphazard feel that it
can't shake even when the story gains momentum.
The whole movie becomes flat, redundant and often
Diesel tends to muddle through what funny
dialogue he has with a lumbering, incompetent
delivery that makes any scene in which he has
to react painfully strained. That said, the man
can play a hardass like no one else in the busi-
ness, roaring intimidating commands brilliantly.
Because of this, other characters' reactions to his
authoritarian persona work to strong comedic
effect; this proves to be one of the film's much-
needed saving graces.
With "The Pacifier" sucking up more than $30
million in its opening weekend, maybe that sewer-
diving scene is metaphorically misleading. After all,
it seems Diesel is the one finally getting the last laugh
on the film's skeptics. Ultimately, it's the unfortunate
viewing public that must wade helplessly through this
kiddie pool of shit.
Love is a tricky term to define - it
can evoke so
emotions, such as Love's Fire
ness and jealousy. Tonight at 7 p.m.
This weekend's and 11 p.m.
Baseent rtsSaturday at 7 p.m.
performances of Free
"Love's Fire" puts At the Arena Theatre
a fresh perspective Frieze Building
on what love can
mean by recreating several of William
Shakespeare's sonnets onstage.
Originally performed by The Acting
Company in New York in 1998, "Love's
Fire," is the brainchild of renowned the-
ater director Mark Lamos. Lamos sent
seven different Shakespeare sonnets to
seven American playwrights. Each writ-
er's mission was to craft a one-act play
based around the meaning of the poem
each received. While all of the pieces are
different, they are linked by their Shake-
spearean origins and the theme of love.
Helming the Basement Arts production
of "Love's Fire" is actress Chelsea Lein-
berger, who discovered the play and felt an
immediate rapport with it. "Shakespeare's
words are timeless, and they catch the
meanings in our everyday lives," she said.
With a yearning to direct, Leinberger
faced several challenges in mounting
the performance. "It's hard to do Shake-
speare in a black box theater, since it's
really meant for unseen works," she
explained. Leinberger was able to put her
own unique spin on this production with
transitions between the segments and
featuring the actual sonnets more in the
second part of the performance.
Several notable playwrights, such as
William Finn, Wendy Wasserstein and
Tony Kushner, have contributed to this
enticing piece of theater. Kushner's seg-
ment, the comedic "Terminating, or Lass
Meine Schmertzens Nicht Verloren Sein,
or Ambivalence" is based on Sonnet 75.
Focusing on a therapist, her patient and
their lovers, the act touches on a variety
of topics, such as life and sexuality.
Leinberger believes the real highlight
of "Love's Fire" is writer John Guare's
contribution, "The General of Hot
Desire." Essentially a discussion within
a discussion, Guare's work focuses on a
group of students debating the meanings
of Sonnets 153 and 154. Their interpreta-
tions lead to a religious debate that touches
on Adam and Eve, different religions and
how God feels about people on earth.
For those who come to see"Love's Fire,"
Leinberger hopes that the audience will
not only gain additional appreciation for
Shakespeare and the playwrights behind
the interpretations - she wants them to
connect with what the performance has to
offer. "Nobody can close their minds to
the different ways and types of love, such
as friendship, sex, betrayal and forgive-
ness. I hope the audience walks away with
something to talk about and something to
feel," she said. - ., .
With high-profile failures threatening to disgrace
the actor's career beyond recognition, "The Pacifier"
is Diesel's last-ditch effort to sustain his fame; this
grants this incompetent and embarrassing waste of
film its own thick stench of desperation.
Navy SEAL Shane Wolfe (Diesel) is assigned
to protect the children of a recently assassinated
government scientist who may have hidden a com-
puter program that's capable of controlling foreign
nuclear weapons in his house. If the premise sounds
By Abby Frackman
Daily Arts Writer
On In Between Dreams, Jack John-
son breaks the typical singer-songwriter
mold, producing a
new genre of music, Jack
an amalgam of surfer- J
style, blues-inflected Johnson
pop. Despite faulty in Between
sequencing, the smooth Dreams
vocals and poignant Universal
lyrics produce a mostly
Johnson's debuttalbum, Brushfire
Fair ytales, was met with high praise
from college kids and teenage girls,
immediately creating a loyal fan base
for the to-fi pop artist. Despite luke-
warm reception, 2003's On and On
managed to debut at No. 3 on the Bill-
board chart and went platinum. It's two
years later, and Johnson has returned
with his third studio album, and In
Between Dreams lives up to fans'
expectations. The carefree melodies
supported by the depth of the lyrics
create the trademark Johnson sound
that admirers are sure to eat up.
Perhaps the most striking quality of
Dreams is the fact that Johnson marries
catchy melodies with subtle yet strong
lyrics. "Crying Shame" is one of these
tracks; Johnson croons emotionally
about the war in Iraq: "We say it's a war
Third season of 'Shield' shines on DVD
By Nick Kochmanski
Daily Arts Writer
When "The Shield" first premiered on FX in 2002, the
series was heralded as the forerunner of a new era in cable
TV programming. With its gritty cam-
era work and complex plotlines, "The
Shield" paved the way for edgy shows The Shield:
like "Nip/Tuck" and "Rescue Me," for Season 3
which audiences should be thankful. ~ 20th Century Fox
Season three of "The Shield" provides
a compelling look into how an L.A.
policeman and his motley crew of fellow cops (called The
Barn) abuse criminals in brutal displays of violent justice. The
Barn's chief, David Aceveda (Benito Martinez), takes part
in what might be the season's most dramatic plotline. After
being raped at gunpoint, he sets out to regain the confidence
and self-worth he lost by exacting vengeance on those who
stole his dignity. The emotionally wrenching performance by
Martinez will keep audiences watching for more.
The nonstop action doesn't let up as the season progress-
es. The Strike Team, led by Vic (Michael Chiklis), faces
harrowing challenges throughout the season, most of which
conclude in a high-octane climax. Despite a few similar
story arcs, the thrills are more than enough to keep audi-
Visually, "The Shield: Season 3" translates well to DVD.
The gritty, sometimes shaky camera work makes an easy
transition from television to digital. In many instances, the
colors and lighting on this accurate and appealing conver-
sion look clearer and more brilliant on the DVD set than
when viewed as a simple television broadcast.
Unfortunately, "The Shield" DVD set lacks any worth-
while special features. Besides season three's episodes, only
a bonus documentary, a few deleted scenes and commentary
by cast and crew serve as extras. While the commentary
is a nice treat, it is only available on a few episodes, and
it should have been incorporated into more of the season's
"The Shield: Season Three" DVD warrants a buy on the
show's merits alone. The episodes are faithfully reproduced,
and the additional scenes, while not necessarily awe-inspir-
ing, add to each episode. For fans, this set is a must-have.
Courtesy of universal
"Now I just need some bongos. Where's McConaughey when you need him?"
for peace / It's the same old game / But
do we really want to play ... a number of
people are numbers / Who ain't coming
home." Johnson's tender vocals cause lis-
teners to become affected by the delicate
subject matter. The emotional heaviness
continues on the touching "If I Could,"
in which a family's newborn baby has
only a few weeks to live.
Thankfully, the album is not all
slow, heart-wrenching tunes. The up-
tempo "Staple Is Together" adds a
new depth to Johnson's material with
exploding drum kit work. The lead
single on In Between Dreams, 'Sit-
ting, Waiting, Wishing" is a song of
unrequited love, underscored by wail-
ing guitar chords. Despite the gravity
of the track, the music is undeniably
catchy and the arrangement surpris-
Unfortunately, Johnson's latest
is not without fault. "Banana Pan-
cakes" is a painfully tedious dirge,
while "Situations," clocking in at a
little over one minute, makes a point-
less addition to Dreams. The album
would no doubt have been better
Play examines Thoreau, not just protests
By Mike Hyatt
For the Daily
It would be easy to mistake the
without this afterthought of a song.
Another misstep is the sequencing:
The songs seem to be grouped in
blocks of similar subject matter, with
all the heavier tracks weighing down
the second half of the album.
Regardless of these faults, In
Between Dreams is a solid release,
chock-full of low-key, relaxing music
fit for snoozing on the beach. To
those who consistently compare Jack
Johnson to John Mayer: Stop. The
man has much more personality than
Mayer, and it shines through on In
play "The Night
Jail" as a pro-
test against the
Iraq war. The
work tracks the
events that led to
ist writer Henry
for not paying
taxes to help the
Thoreau Spent in
Spent in Jail
Saturday at 8 p.m.
$5 and $3 for students
Mexican-American war and was
originally published as a response
to the Vietnam War. However, the
directors of the Residential College
production want audiences to notice
another aspect of the play - Tho-
"We don't want people only rant-
ing about the war," assistant direc-
tor William Rak said. "The war
is only a candy-bar portion." The
complex production is done mostly
in flashbacks that reveal why Tho-
reau formed many of the famous
ideas featured in his famous essay
"Civil Disobedience." The produc-
tion's directors are excited because
the play will shine a more revealing
light on the writer, not just his pro-
"(The play) sounds liberal with its
anti-war sentiment," director Luke
Randall admitted. "Thoreau's life
was not just anti-war ... Thoreau's
life was not just one piece."
The play promises to give a
detailed account of Thoreau, impos-
sible to decipher from the stoic nar-
rator presented in his writing. "The
Night Thoreau spent in Jail" is per-
fect for both fans and cynics of Tho-
reau because it sheds light on both
comedic and tragic moments of the
writer's life that reveal a much more
colorful character than his writings
might let on.
GET AHEAD OR CATCH UP-
SUMMER COURSES GIVE YOU AN EDGE
6t" annual Pre-Med Club
Saturday, March 12
IMBIdg,6pm- H pm